Christ in Hanukkah

Christ in Hanukkah

Based on and adapted from: Christmas Would Be Impossible Without Hanukkah by Dr. David Brickner of Jews for Jesus, video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5dorTgPUXY

Nes gadol haya sham! [Shabat] Shalom! Welcome!

We know from Scripture that after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, His followers began spreading the news and people were coming to faith in Jesus as their Christ, their Messiah; coming to faith in Y'shua ha Mashiach.

In Acts 2 we read how Peter preached with the anointing of God's Holy Spirit and 3,000 got saved; all Jews. But in Acts 10 the LORD really shook things up by having Peter preach the Good News of salvation to Gentiles! And God granted them salvation too!

In Galatians 3, starting with verse 26 we read:

… You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise. (NASU)

It was God’s plan from the beginning to break down the dividing wall that separated Jews and Gentiles and make us one in the body of Christ. [Eph. 2:14] Romans 11 tells us that believing Jews and Gentiles are now part of the same tree, nourished from the same roots – salvation stems from faith in the grace and provision of God.

Because of this we share a rich heritage: the heritage of the people of Israel and all God did to reveal Himself through the patriarchs, prophets, and festivals of Israel. This all becomes our heritage in Messiah. Tonight we are going to look more closely at one aspect of that heritage in the story of Hanukkah. [This year Hanukkah begins on the evening of the 16th (understanding from Genesis 1 that each day begins at evening,) and lasts for eight days.]

Tonight we are going to see that Hanukkah and Christmas go together. Some think Hanukkah is just the Jewish version of Christmas, but it's not. It's a lot more than that. Some even would say that without Hanukkah there would be no Christmas. My hope is that tonight you will see for yourselves and be enriched as you celebrate this season.

Following Jewish tradition, as many get themselves ready to worship and hear from the LORD, there are several things regularly done:

2 We will take a tallit, or prayer shawl, and untangle the tassels, prayerfully remembering that we need to untangle ourselves from the cares, worries, and even sins of this life (as Hebrews 12:1 reminds us), but it is only possible in the LORD.

We then put ourselves under the tallit, which reminds us of God's authority and commandments, the glory cloud of His presence, His light, protection, blessing, and so much more: all of which we need to be under.

Ps. 61:4 says, I will live in Your tent forever and find refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Ps. 91:4 says, He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

Talking of Messiah, Malachi 4:2 says, … to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings …. that is the tallit with the tassels on the corners.

So, in Matthew 9, when the woman with the issue of bleeding for 12 years touched the “fringe of his garment” it was the tassels, and she was not only looking for healing that the “Sun of Righteousness” would bring, but declaring her faith in Him as the long awaited Messiah.

Some will wrap or cover their heads with the prayer shawl for a time of private prayer; like entering their “prayer closet” for a personal time with God.

Others may wear a yamaka, or kippah (with or without a tallit). More than just being a Jewish custom, the kippah reminds the wearer that there is always someone greater, someone over them. This custom varies widely, but is not to be confused with Paul's admonition in 1 Corinthians 11, since there he is talking about men having something down over the head, like a veil, during public prayer.

Many of the services are opened with the sounding of the shofar. Most of the references to trumpets in Scripture are referring to the shofar. It is used

 to sound an alarm, and to gather people to worship;  to call people to attention because something important is going to be said, and as part of rejoicing in the LORD.

In blowing the shofar, there is generally a single blast, then three varied tones, followed by nine rapid notes. This is followed by what is called the great blast, or last trump: a much longer note. [blow the shofar] 3  You will remember, in Matthew 24, Jesus (Yeshua) said, “they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15: Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

 And 1 Thessalonians 4 says, For the LORD Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.

If you have your Bibles turn with me to John, chapter 10. We're going to begin with verse 22. As you may know Hanukkah is not mentioned in the Older Covenant, the Old Testament, because it commemorates something that took place during the intertestamental period: the time between the Older and the Newer Covenants.

The 400 year timeframe between when Malachi ended his ministry and Yochanan the Immerser, John the Baptist, began his ministry was a time of great upheaval in Israel. A time when many foreigners fought and tried to impose their will on the people of Israel, but none to the extent of the Seleucid king Antiocus IV.

On a military campaign in Egypt, his path was blocked by a single, old Roman ambassador named Gaius Laenas, who delivered a message from Rome directing Antiochus to withdraw his armies from Egypt and Cyprus, or consider themselves in a state of war with the Roman Republic. Antiochus said he would discuss it with his council, whereupon the Roman envoy drew a line on the ground around him and said,

"Before you cross this circle I want you to give me a reply for the Roman Senate" – implying that Rome would declare war if the king stepped out of the circle without committing to leave Egypt immediately. Weighing his options, Antiochus decided to withdraw: a confrontation that gave rise to the idea of drawing a “line in the sand.” [Wikipedia]

While Antiochus was busy in Egypt, a rumor spread in Judea that he had been killed. The deposed High Priest Jason gathered a force of 1,000 soldiers and made a surprise attack on the city of Jerusalem. The puppet High Priest appointed by Antiochus was forced to flee Jerusalem during a riot. On the king's return from Egypt in 167 BC, enraged by his defeat, he attacked Jerusalem, reinstated his man, and executed many Jews.

4 The apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees records it this way: When these happenings were reported to the king, he thought that [all] Judea was in revolt. Raging like a wild animal, he set out from Egypt and took Jerusalem by storm. He ordered his soldiers to cut down without mercy those whom they met and to slay those who took refuge in their houses. There was a massacre of young and old, a killing of women and children, a slaughter of virgins and infants. In the space of three days, eighty thousand were lost: forty thousand meeting a violent death, and the same number being sold into slavery. [2 Maccabees 5:11–14]

Antiocus sought to dominate the entire region through forced Hellenization: coercing the people, on pain of death, to adopt Greek culture, language, and philosophy, which included the Greek gods and their form of worship, and forbidding the Jewish people from practicing their own faith or even admit they were Jewish.

He proceeded to defile the Jewish temple in Jerusalem: he extinguished the golden menorah which represented the light of God's presence; set up statues of the Greek gods in the temple; and sacrificed a pig (an unclean animal) to Zeus on the altar of God. Antiocus went so far as to call himself Epiphany meaning he considered himself to be a revelation of the gods: that he was divine; that he was god manifest.

That was the last straw and the Jewish people revolted. It started small with a single family that became known as the Maccabees from מַקֶבֶת Hebrew for “hammer.” Slowly others joined them and, though vastly outnumbered, they were eventually able to drive out the invaders, and recapture and rededicate the temple of God on the 25th of Kislev: a month of the Jewish lunar calendar that at times approximates December.

Though separated by over 100 years, the early church saw a direct link between the announcement of the birth of Christ by the wise men coming to Jerusalem, and this rededication of the temple: both dealing with a temple dedicated to the service of God; both bringing hope to Israel; both pointing people to the LORD and the promise of Messiah. Since that time the announcement of the birth of Jesus has been celebrated on the 25th of December.

cHanukkah, or Hanukkah, is Hebrew for “dedication,” this is the season we are rapidly approaching. Look with me at John 10, beginning with verse 22:

At that time the Feast of the Dedication (Hanukkah) took place at Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon [or Solomon's Colonnade].

5 Where else would He be? If you want to celebrate Hanukkah in Jerusalem you are going to be in the temple, the center of all the action, the center of where all the excitement is. We find Jesus here in a specific part of the temple called Solomon's Colonnade.

Verse 24: “The Jews gathered around Him....” Now this sounds a little strange: who else would be in the Jewish temple? But John uses this term “the Jews” in a very specific way to refer to the rabbis, the pharisees; in particular the Judean pharisees that were opposed to much of what Jesus had been teaching. Jesus was adored by the Jews in general.

This is not a welcoming committee, this is a confrontation. These Jewish leaders gathered around Jesus and said, “How much longer are You going to keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah [the Christ], tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered them, “I told you, but you do not believe.”

You can talk to some people until you are blue in the face, but what you say doesn't make a difference. There's a difference between “hearing,” “listening to,” and “obediently following” the LORD.

“The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for Me.”

It's very important to understand the miracles of Hanukkah. The Hebrew word is נֵס [nes] it's the same word for “wonder.” You have the “wonder” or “miracle” of Hanukkah. The wonder of the light. The miracle of the oil. All things Jesus is alluding to here.

When Jewish people greet each other at this time they say, nes gadol haya sham = a great miracle happened there. [Unless, of course, you are in Israel. Then it's nes gadol haya po = a great miracle happened here.]

Hanukkah is very well known as a time of the miraculous, and the miracle foremost in every Jewish person's mind at this time is the miracle of the light. Jesus alludes to His miracles several times in this passage. Remember where He is, and the timing. (Not only is Jesus a miracle bringing light to the world, but being the Light of the World, every miracle He did was a miracle of the Light.) Hanukkah is also called the “Festival of Lights.”

Remember that when Antiocus desecrated the temple, one of the things he did was to extinguish the light of the golden menorah. When the Maccabees recaptured, cleansed, and re-dedicated the temple to God, a thorough search was made, but there was only enough oil for the menorah for one day.

A rider was dispatched to Mount Ephraim, where the olive trees grew that provided the oil for the temple Menorah. It would take three days to reach his destination and three days to return, plus the day needed to press the sanctified oil. [The Everything Judaism Book, 136] 6 The miracle of Hanukkah is that they re-kindled the menorah, knowing they only had enough oil for one day, yet it lasted for eight days: long enough for fresh oil to be ceremoniously prepared. So that miracle is celebrated with singing, games, and eating: especially eating things made with oil to remind us of that miracle.

Even more significant is the hanukkiah a special menorah with nine candles rather than the typical seven. There are eight days of Hanukkah and then the ninth candle. That ninth candle, often in the middle, is called the shamash meaning “servant”: it is used to bring light to all the other candles.

All this is significant because when we talk about the Festival of Lights or the Feast of Dedication we are not just talking about what happened at Hanukkah, but all that the Bible has to say about light, and oil – and connected to that is the promise of the One Who was to come: the hope of Israel, the Messiah; God's anointed one, “Messiah” from the Hebrew, and “Christ” from the Greek. He is the Light and also the Servant.

We take the shamash, this servant candle, and light it, and then use the shamash to light the other candles saying traditional blessings that sound something like this:

בָּרוּד אַתָּה ײַ אֱלֹהֲינוּ מֶלֶד הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשְָׁנוּ בְּמִצוֹתָיו וְצִוְָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה cHanukah ner l'hadlik v'tzivanu b'mitzvotav kid'shanu asher

Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the universe (King of eternity) Who sets us apart by your instructions and call us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ײַ אֱלֹהֲינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁעָשָׂה נִשִׁם לַאֲבוֹתֳינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בּזְמַן הַזֶה ha/zeh baz'man ha/hem ba/yamim la'avo/to/nu nishim she/asah

Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the universe Who has done wonders as in the days of our fathers

And, only on the first day of Hanukkah: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ײַ אֱלֹהֲינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לֵזְמַן הַזֶה ha/zeh laz'man v'hi/gi'anu v'ki/manu she/he/che/yanu

Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the universe Who has kept us and sustained us, and brought us to this season 7 On the first day of Hanukkah the shamash and the first candle are lit. On the second day, the shamash and two candles, and so on until on the eighth day all nine candles are burning.

This hanukkia is not like most others. This was made with materials that others considered worthless, they were being thrown out as trash, but they were re-worked, redeemed you might say, so that it now shines with the warmth and light of the Shamash, the Servant: much like we can when we know Jesus as Savior and Lord.

After it is lit the hanukkia is traditionally put in the window to let everyone know that we believe in the promise of the Light, we believe in the promise of the Servant, we believe in the promise of the One Who is to come.

In Isaiah 49 there is a “servant song”; one of the songs of the servant Messiah. In verse 6 we read:

IT IS too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring y'shua/ti [my salvation] to the ends of the earth.

You see, the promise of the Messiah is that He would be a light, not just to Israel, but to the Gentiles as well: to every tribe, tongue, and nation. He is the Light of the world. Some hanukkiah have the shamash in one position or another. Here we see the shamash in lower position. Jesus, Y'shua, God's Servant, humbled Himself and not only took on flesh and blood, but the role of a servant. But, as Philippians 2 tells us,

9 … God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus [the name of Y'shua] every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ, Y'shua Meshiach, is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [move shamash to elevated position]

Jesus said, I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (Jn. 8:12) Jesus claimed to be God's special Servant, the Light, and His name is used in this verse of Isaiah: y'shua/ti, My salvation. God sent His salvation, Jesus, Y'shua, to the ends of the earth.

Here we are, over 2,000 years later, worshipping the Light of the world; especially at this holy season. But there were those who did not believe, especially those leaders who were standing around Jesus. Back to John 10, verse 25:

8 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for Me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not My sheep.”

There are many who hear but are not sheep. Jesus is in the midst of a confrontation with people who not only were not hearing themselves, but were doing what they could to keep others from hearing as well. People like that are still around today. Verse 27: My sheep listen to My voice; I know them and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life ….

Jesus gives eternal life. Life that is beyond a really, really, long time, yes, but also life that is eternal in it's unfolding quality: it is so good, so great, so fantastic it is beyond human imagination. Rabbi Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 2:9: … No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him

John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.

Jesus is referring to the preserving power of God. A miracle we see at work today in the modern state of Israel. The fact that the Jewish people exist to this day is part of this preserving power of God, it's part of the story of Hanukkah.

Think about it. If Antiocus IV had had his way what would have happened? Any Jewish survivors would have ceased to exist as a unique people on the earth. They would have melded into the other Greco-Roman cultures of the day like so many other people you read about in Scripture. That would have been the end of the Jews.

Antiocus said you can't speak Hebrew, you can't practice the Jewish Law, you can't sacrifice in the temple: you can't be Jewish or worship the LORD. And at that time he was no longer going up against just the Jews, he was going against the God of Israel.

God said He would preserve His people. He said to Abraham, I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you. [Gen. 12:3] That blessing was passed on to Isaac, and then Jacob, who became Israel through whom Christ has come. 9

Throughout history there has been, and still are, those who have been satanically inspired to wipe out the Jewish people. But God has staked His reputation on the preservation of His people because of His love for all of humanity.

You see, that preserving power is part of the promise of Messiah. That same servant song in Isaiah 49 talks about this very thing. Verse 6 there says,

… to … bring back those of Israel I have kept.

That keeping, sustaining, preserving power. Now skip down to verse 15 that drives the point home by first asking a question:

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Is there a relationship that is more profound than that of mother and child? Is there any relationship that is more unbreakable than that of mother and the child she has just given birth to? Can she forget that child? Unfortunately we do see that from time to time, but as we read on:

Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands ….

God was so committed to preserving His people Israel that in Messiah He would engrave them on palms of His hands.

That's what He did with Hanukkah, and now Jesus at Hanukkah, in the temple, uses that imagery and takes it a step further. John 10:28

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.

Do you see what He is saying here?

The same preserving power, through which God, the gracious preserving One of Israel, has kept His people, in spite of Antiocus and all those like him, and has kept them until this very day, offers that same preserving power to those who are the sheep of the Messiah. Those who hear His voice, those who follow Him, He has engraved on the palms of His hands through the nails on the cross. Through His shed blood He preserves forever those who trust and follow Him.

10 He died to pay the penalty for your sin and for mine. Because of Who He is, because He is the Servant, because He is the Light, because He is the Messiah, death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him, and He rose again from the dead. Now that same preserving power, that resurrection power of God is available to all who hear His voice and follow Him.

I will give them eternal life and they shall never perish.

That is great news we can be proclaim at this holy season. Then in verse 30 Jesus says:

I and the Father are one. – Strongly emphatic!

That is a controversial statement any time of year, but especially at this time; and place.

What was the tipping point for the Jewish people with Antiochus? He walked into the temple and said, I am Epiphanies: I am god manifest. And the Maccabees said, no you're not! And they revolted and threw him out calling him epimanies Greek for “the mad one.”

Jesus chose this time and this place to proclaim, “I and the Father are one.”

Some try to tell us that Jesus just meant that He was one in purpose and unity with the Father, but look at the context. Speaking within His own time, culture, and language what did the Jewish leaders understand Him to be saying? What was their response? Verse 31:

… The Jews picked up stones to stone Him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

They got part of it right. He claimed to be God. He made that statement very clearly and He didn't deny it. What they were wrong about is that He was a mere man. He was fully man, but also fully God. That is part of the promise of Messiah.

Jesus knew it, and so should have those who knew His family. Matthew 1 records Joseph getting an important message from an angel of God, verse 20:

… Do not be afraid to take Miryam (Mary) home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Yeshua (Jesus), because He will save His people from their sins. 11 How can this be? Verse 22: All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel” - which means, “God with us.”

No mere man. There's no confusion here. Jesus knew it – and so should we. No apologies necessary. It's true at Hanukkah and it's true at Christmas, Jesus is Immanuel. Jesus is God with us.

It is because He is God that He is able to save us from our sins. It is because He is God that He is able to give us eternal life so that no one can snatch us out of His hand. It is because of Who He is that we worship Him … ... if we are His sheep.

But some are not, and so they pick up stones to stone Him.

Remember that the temple where this confrontation took place was a magnificent structure, the pride of the Jewish people, a wonder of the ancient world. Hundreds of Levites were on duty day in and day out to care for the temple. No loose stones laying around, any more than we have right here [in this sanctuary].

Scripture says they “picked up stones to stone Him.” Where did they get the stones? That too is part of Hanukkah.

Remember that Antiochus had defiled the altar of the LORD by sacrificing a pig on it to his own deity. The blood soaked into those porous limestone rocks. They had to build a new altar, but they had a problem: what to do with the old one?

The stones of the altar had been used for holy purposes; set apart for God: They couldn't just be thrown out. But they had been defiled: they could no longer be used in the temple service.

They decided to break it apart, piece by piece, and put it to one side of the temple: in Solomon's colonnade. They decided, when Messiah comes He will tell us what to do with the stones.

What a grand irony. Here He comes, the Light of the world, the Shepherd of the sheep, Immanuel, and they have seen the miracles and they have heard the words, and those who are not His sheep see the stones and pick them up to stone the Prince of glory.

That is what they chose to do when they were faced with Immanuel because they were not His sheep. What will you do? 12 This is a season wonder, and I wonder if we will bow before Him in worship, or will we bow to pick up a stone. Jesus said you are either for Me or against Me. That's the choice He confronted the leaders of His day with: it's the choice we are still confronted with today.

Maybe our lives haven't been what they should be. What a great time to rededicate our lives to the Lord. It is Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. What will you make of it?

--pause-- [adapted from an article at www.chabad.org] Nes gadol haya sham, a great miracle happened there. One of the ways the idea is kept alive at this time is a simple game with the dreidel, a four-sided top. Each side has the first letter of the saying. Each player puts one coin, or piece of chocolate, etc., in the middle. Everyone takes a turn spinning the dreidel and follows the directions:

A Gimmel wins the whole kitty, a Hei gets you half, Nun gets nothing and for a Shin you must pay in. In Yiddishe Gimmel stands for Gantz, meaning the whole thing. Het is for Halb, meaning half. Nun stands for Nisht or nothing. And Shin is for Shtell arein or put in. These also represent four basic modes of being, depending on the person, his or her period in life, or even the particular day. We all have our Gimmel days, when we feel that everything is going great. We have our Hei days, when things are going good. The Nun and Shin days we won't talk about. But each of these letters represents only one face of the dreidel -- only a single angle or perspective of the whole. What do the letters spell out? What is the "whole" of the dreidel? Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, "a great miracle happened there." This refers to the great miracle of Chanukah that occurred in the Holy Land. The situation there seemed dire and beyond hope. They were definitely having a Shin day. The commitment of a few people turned the situation around (like a dreidel) and God used it to bring about the miraculous and people were saved. The Macabees did not dwell on the fact that they were being oppressed and persecuted. They focused on the Gimmel that was on the other side of the Shin, and acting in faith, saw G-d do the miraculous. Remember that whatever letter we seem to be getting at a particular point in life, it's all part of one dreidel. And that dreidel is telling us that miracles happen. We can see the dark situations of life transform into the bright light of the Chanukah Menorah: light brought to us by God's shamash. This depends upon our faith in G-d’s plan, and our commitment to follow Him no matter what. 13

The Dreidel in the Bible?

Based on this theme we find a phenomenal "coincidence" with these four letters of the dreidel. The first place these letters occur as a word in Scripture is in the Parshah (Torah Reading) always read in proximity to Chanukah, Genesis 44-47, where they spell the word Goshnah, [גּשְׁנָה] meaning "to, or toward, Goshen." The sages tell us Jacob was sending his son, Judah, to the Egyptian city of Goshen to set up a house of study, in advance of his entire family's relocation there. He knew the prophecy God had given his grandfather in Genesis 15: 13 … Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. 14 But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. These possessions were much more than the materials for the Tabernacle, priestly garments, and living in the wilderness for 40 years: it was a solid knowledge they were following and serving the One true God of heaven and earth. Jacob was aware that this was a dreadful descent into exile. But he looked at all of the letters of the dreidel, if you will, and realized that hidden in the exile are the seeds of redemption. Study must continue, especially in exile. As long as we are able to keep God in our perspective, and His Word in our hearts, the exile cannot hold sway over us. And so our study of God's Words, how we live out our lives, and the Holy Spirt, Ruach HaKodesh, work together for our redemption. This is similar to the origin of the dreidel. During the times of Greek oppression in Israel Torah study was forbidden. According to tradition, when the children were studying, they would keep a dreidel nearby to pull out and play in case they were discovered. At the time, the students may have thought that the game was a distraction from their true purpose in life. But in truth, G-d will, at times, conceal His countenance to draw out our commitment and connection to Him. It's all about discovering and revealing the Divine in the least likely places. Isn't that a miracle? The sages say the dreidel was the formula to elicit the underlying truth of the Jewish soul.

14 The Dreidel and Meshiach One more idea. If you add up the Gimatria (the Hebrew numerical value) of the letters of the dreidel, you get 358 (Nun (50) + Gimmel (3) + Hei (5) + Shin (300) = 358). This is the same value as Meshiach (Mem (40) + Shin (300) + Yud (10) + Chet (8) = 358), the Messiah. When Meshiach, Christ, comes into a life, He teaches us how to see divine purpose in every facet of life: Even times of exile and darkness can be illuminated. We may have been focusing on one particular letter. Meshiach helps us to see that all of life is a tapestry of Divine wonder.

The dreidel game asks, what will you do with Meshiach, with Christ?  Will you do nothing?  Will you give Him a token and wait to see what happens?  Will you take only some of what He has to offer?  Or will you take all He has for you and enjoy the sweetness of living with Him and then share that others around you?

Ending our services, we are often reminded of the LORD's commandment in Num. 6:

23 Speak to Aharon and his sons, and tell them that this is how you are to bless the people of Isra'el: you are to say to them,

יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ veh-yish-meh-reh-kha Adonai yeh-va-reh-ka-kah and guard/keep you bless you יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָ vi-chu-neh-kha eh-leh-kha pa-nav Adonai ya-ehr and be gracious to you on/upon you his face make shine יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם sha-lom leh-kha veh-ya-sehm eh-leh-kha pa-nav Adonai yi-sa peace ++ you and give on/upon you his face lift up

24 May the LORD bless you and keep you. 25 May the LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. 26 May the LORD lift up His face toward you and give you shalom!

27 In this way they are to put My name on the people of Isra'el, and I will bless them.

by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley

Hanukkah

Parashah: Hanukah ([Feast of] Dedication)

B'midbar (Numbers) 7:1-11 Z'kharyah (Zechariah) 2:14(10)-4:7 M'lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 7:40-50 Yochanan (John) 9:1-7; 10:22-39

Numbers 7 1 On the day Moshe finished putting up the tabernacle, he anointed and consecrated it, all its furnishings, and the altar with its utensils. After anointing and consecrating them, 2 the leaders of Isra'el, who were heads of their father's clans, made an offering. These were the tribal leaders in charge of those counted in the census.

 The tabernacle was “put up” before the LORD at His word, by His direction, by His plans. Then it was “anointed and consecrated” for His service, His honor, His glory.

 If this is the case with a physical structure that served as a place of worship, how much more so for ministering there?

 Anyone aspiring to be a congregation leader is seeking worthwhile work (1 Tim 3:1), but the responsibilities are many and are sacred.

 God will call into account shepherds who are self serving (see e.g. Ezek 34)

 He will also judge those of the flock that are goats rather than good sheep (e.g. Matt 25:32, 41).

 How many are really “square pegs in round holes”?

 A bad fit that may function for a time, but it is bad for the peg and bad for the hole.  Those who are “put up” before the LORD at His word, by His direction, by His plans, and are “anointed and consecrated” for His service, His honor, and His glory are on the front lines of spiritual warfare

 we need to regularly, consistently, even daily lift up our shepherds and their families in prayer

 recognize, respect, and honor them as ministers of the Most High God.

 Our pastors and rabbis are under-shepherds of the LORD Who shepherds His people. They are officers in the army of Adonai Tzva'ot that need faithful armor-bears: pray for them, yes, but also support, defend, strengthen, and encourage them.

 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your lives, as people who will have to render an account. So make it a task of joy for them, not one of groaning; for that is of no advantage to you. (Heb 13:17)

3 They brought their offering before Adonai, six covered wagons and twelve oxen – a wagon for every two leaders and for each an ox – and presented them in front of the tabernacle. 4 Adonai said to Moshe, 5 “Receive these from them; they are to be used for the service in the tent of meeting. Give them to the L'vi'im, to each as needed for his duties.” 6 So Moshe took the wagons and oxen and give them to the L'vi'im. 7 He gave two wagons and for oxen to the descendants of Gershon, in keeping with the needs of their duties. 8 Four wagons and eight oxen he have to the descendants of M'rari, in keeping with the needs of their duties, directed by Itamar the son Aharon the cohen. 9 But to the descendants of K'hat he gave none, because their duties involved the holy articles, which they carried on their own shoulders.

 Wagons, or carts, were given to the Levites for the Tabernacle and its furnishings: but not all!

 The “holy articles” were to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites from the family of Kohath.

 2 Sam 6:1-2, 6-7 Again David summoned all the picked troops of Isra'rl, 30,000 men. 2 Then David, taking along the entire force he had with him them, set out for Ba'alei-Y'hudah to bring up from there the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Avinadav on the hill, with 'Uzah and Achyo, the sons of Avinadav, driving the new cart. … 6 When they arrived at Nakhon's threshing-floor, the oxen stumbled; and 'Uzah put out his hand to steady the ark of God. 7 But Adonai's anger blazed up against 'Uzah, and God struck him down on the spot for his offense, so that he died there by the ark of God.

 The new cart may have been because the cart used by the Philistine's cart may have been used for unholy things (e.g. moving dung).

 Was the idea of moving the ark by cart a carryover from the Philistines, or possibly from the passage in Numbers?

 We are not told in Scripture, but was Abinadab descended from the Kohath's mentioned in Numbers 7?

 Either way, they got it wrong: “just a little off”

 How much does it matter if we are “just a little off”?

 If we are dealing with a 10-digit number and are only one digit off, does it really matter?

 What if that 10-digit number is a telephone number? Does it matter if we are “just a little off”?

 How much more important is it when we are talking about following God's Word?

 Later, David got it right and the ark was brought to Jerusalem (see 2 Sam 6:13).

10 The leaders brought the offering for dedicating the altar on the day it was anointed. The leaders brought their offering before the altar, 11 and Adonai said to Moshe, “They are to present their offerings to dedicate the altar, each leader on his own day.”

 “on his own day”

 God's instruction to Moses was that the princes should bring their offerings not according to seniority by birth of the tribal ancestors, but according to their order when journeying as described in chapter ii (Rashi in The Soncino Chumash, p.828).

Tribes in Camp & Marching Order Meaning Where Named 1st Group Encamped East of Tabernacle 1 Y'hudah (Judah) “praise” Gen 29:35 2 Yissakhar (Issachar) “hire, reward” Gen 30:18 3 Z'vulun (Zebulun) “living together” Gen 30:20

2nd Group Encamped South of Tabernacle 1 Re'uven (Reuben) “see, a son” Gen 29:32 2 Shim'on (Simeon) “hearing” Gen 29:33 3 Gad “good fortune” Gen 30:11 Encircling Tabernacle Levi “joining” Gen 29:34

3rd Group Encamped West of Tabernacle 1 Efrayim (Ephraim) “fruitful” Gen 41:52 2 M'nasheh (Manasseh) “causing to forget” Gen 41:51 3 Binyamin (Benjamin) “son of my right hand” Gen 35:18

4th Group Encamped North of Tabernacle 1 Dan “judge” Gen 30:6 2 Asher “happy” Gen 30:12 3 Naftali (Naphtali) “my wrestling” Gen 30:8

• Although the order of our birth is predetermined by the sovereignty of God, it is not the determining factor in our relationship with Him, but rather a heart to follow and serve Him, and do what is right in His sight.

 Yeshua spoke to them again: “I am the Light of the world; whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life.” (John 8:12)

 “You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matt 5:14)

Z'kharyah (Zechariah) 2:14(10)-4:7

14(10) “Sing, daughter of Tziyon; rejoice! For, here, I am coming; and I will live among you,” says Adonai.

 Whenever that time is or shall be, whatever we may be facing, we can sing and rejoice because

 the LORD, Adonai-Tzva'ot is coming, and  He will live among us (in our midst)

 If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – 17 the Spirit of truth, Whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-17, NKJV, emphasis added)

 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (John 15:4, NKJV, emphasis added)

15(11) When that time comes, many nations will join themselves to Adonai. “They will be My people, and I will live among you.” Then you will know that it was Adonai-Tzva'ot Who sent me to you. 16(12) Adonai will take possession of Y'hudah as His portion in the holy land, and He will again make Yerushalayim His choice. 17(13) Be silent, all humanity, before Adonai; for He has been roused from His holy dwelling.'”

 “many nations”

 “nations” here is the Hebrew word גוֹיִם [go-yim], plural of גּוֹי [goy] meaning

 Strong's: a foreign nation; hence, a Gentile; also (figuratively) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts

 BDB: nation, people (used of non-Hebrew people; of descendants of Abraham; of Israel); used of a swarm of locusts or other animals (figurative)

 In a sense, a גּוֹי is a pagan, someone without faith in the one true God of Scripture.

 With this understanding, once someone has come to faith in Yeshua / Jesus as their Savior and Lord (the two are inseparable), they are no longer a גּוֹי but grafted into the commonwealth of Israel (see Rom 11).

 For in union with the Messiah, you are all children of God through this trusting faithfulness; 27 because as many of you as were immersed into the Messiah have clothed yourselves with the Messiah, in Whom 28 there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor freeman, neither male nor female; for in union with the Messiah Yeshua, you are all one. 29 Also, if you belong to the Messiah, you are seed of Avraham and heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3:26-29, cf promise to Abraham Gen 12:1-3; 22:15-18; to Isaac 26:4; to Jacob 28:14)

 In another sense, a גּוֹי is someone of non-Jewish ancestry whether or not they have faith in the one true God.

 With this understanding, once someone comes to faith in Yeshua / Jesus as their Savior, they are a “believer.” So we read in Acts 15:23 and 21:25 of “Gentile believers,” “brothers from among the Gentiles,” or even “the Goyim who have come to trust in Yeshua.”

Zechariah 3 1 He showed my Y'hoshua the cohen hagadol standing before the angel of Adonai, with the accuser [Hebrew: satan] standing at his right to accuse him.

 Y'hoshua is a transliteration of the Hebrew יְהוֹשׁוּעַ meaning “Yahweh is salvation,” a shortened form being יְשׁוּעַה (Yeshua). Both are rooted in the verb יָשַׁע [yah-shah] meaning

 Strong's: properly, to be open, wide or free, i.e. (by implication) to be safe; causatively, to free of succor

 BDB: to save, to be saved, to be delivered

 (Niphal) to be liberated, to be saved, to be delivered; to be saved (in battle), to be victorious

 (Hiphil) to save, to deliver, to save from moral troubles, to give victory to

 “Y'hoshua the cohen hagadol” = Joshua the high priest

 Yeshua is our High Priest (see e.g. Heb 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-15; 5:5-10; 6:20; 7:26; 8:1-2; 9:11, 25-28)

 “Accuser” here, as noted in the Complete Jewish Bible, is the Hebrew שָׂטָן [sah-tahn], anglicized as satan [yes, my use of a lower case in typing “satan” is intentional – he has proven undeserving of even so much as a capital letter in this label] meaning an adversary, one who withstands; an adversary (in general, personal or national), from

 שָׂטַן [sah-tahn (the 2nd “ah” is slightly shorter)] meaning to attack, (figuratively) accuse: to be or act as an adversary, to resist, to oppose 

The word picture meanings of these letters give us an understanding of his nature and modus operandi  The “sheen” (ש) is pictured by a tooth or teeth symbolizing to devour, to consume, to destroy, something sharp.

 The “tet” (ט) is pictured by a snake and symbolizes to surround, to twist, a snake.

 The “nun” (נ or in its final form ן) is pictured by a fish darting through the water symbolizing action and life.

 Together we have a word picture that satan is the snake that devours life, or the teeth that surround life.

 You belong to your father, satan, and you want to carry out your father's desires. From the start he was a murderer, and he has never stood by the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is speaking in character; because he is a liar – indeed, the inventor of the lie! (John 8:44)

 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, “Now have come God's victory, power and kingship, and the authority of His Messiah; because the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them day and night before God, has been thrown out! 11 They defeated him because of the Lamb's blood and because of the message of their witness. Even when facing death they did not cling to life. 12 Therefore, rejoice, heaven and you who live there! But woe to you, land and sea, for the adversary has come down to you, and he is very angry, because he knows that his time is short! (Rev 12:10-12)

2 Adonai said to the accuser, “May Adonai rebuke you, accuser! Indeed, may Adonai, Who has made Yerushalayim His choice, rebuke you! Isn't this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

 In fighting satan and his minions many people go through various gyrations, and yell, and stomp their feet, etc, failing to realize their position and authority in Christ.

 satan is a defeated foe (see e.g. Col 2:15) and our position is in Messiah (see e.g. Col 3:3), therefore we need to stand in Him and the power of His might (see e.g. Eph 6:10f)

 We need to be careful of our relationship with Yeshua, and be careful of our words. Then when confronting the enemy simply speak the word and stand our ground in Jesus. If the adversary does not obey in a timely manner, simply turn them over to the Lord Yeshua for Him to deal with as He sees fit.

 We should not assume and overreach our authority, but neither should we forget or neglect our authority in Christ.

 Isn't this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?

 Aren't all who have been saved in Yeshua?!

 Early in our time as missionaries in northern Belgium the Dutch pastor we were working with told the congregation to greet one another and ask, “Waar zou je zijn zonder de genade van God?” (Where would you be without the grace of God?) Sometimes I answer before I take time to think the question through. This was one of those times as I said, “Burning in hell!”

 You used to be dead because of your sins and acts of disobedience. 2 You walked in the ways of the 'olam hazeh [this age] and obeyed the ruler of the powers of the air, who is still at work among the disobedient. 3 Indeed, we all once lived this way – we followed the passions of our old nature and obeyed the wishes of our old nature and our own thoughts. In our natural condition we were headed for God's wrath, just like everyone else. 4 But God is so rich in mercy and loves us with such intense love 5 that, even when we were dead because of our acts of disobedience, He brought us to life along with the Messiah – it by grace that you have been delivered. 6 That is, God raised us up with the Messiah Yeshua and seated us with Him in heaven, 7 in order to exhibit in the ages to come how infinitely rich is His grace, how great is His kindness toward us who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. 8 For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God's gift. 9 You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast. (Eph 2:1-9, emphasis original)

3 Y'hoshua was clothed in garments covered with dung; and he was standing before the angel, 4 who said to those standing in front of him, “Take those filthy garments off of him.” Then to him he said, “See, I am taking your guilt away. I will clothe you in fine robes.” 5 I said, “They should put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and gave him fine robes to wear, while the angel of Adonai stood by.

 Joshua was the high priest, yet here he stands before the LORD in filthy garments.

 All of us are like someone unclean, all our righteous deeds like menstrual rags; we wither, all of us, like leaves; and our misdeeds blow us away like the wind. (Isa 64:5)

 Jesus took our sin upon Himself to pay the just penalty for our wrongdoing

 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the stake, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness – by his wounds you were healed. (1 Pet 2:24)

 I am so joyful in Adonai! My soul rejoices in my God, for He has clothed me in salvation, dressed me with a robe of triumph, like a bridegroom wearing a festive turban, like a bride adorned with her jewels. (Isa 61:10)

 Finally, grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with His mighty strength! 11 Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the adversary. 12 For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. 13 So take up every piece of war equipment God provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. 14 Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, 15 and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom. 16 Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of God; 18 as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all God's people. (Eph 6:10-18, emphasis original)

6 Then the angel of Adonai gave Y'hoshua this warning: 7 “Adonai-Tzva'ot says this: 'If you will walk in My ways, obey My commission, judge My house and guard My courtyards; then I will give you free access among these who are standing here.

 Most of the LORD's blessings are conditional on our obedience. Here there are four conditions for this one overwhelming blessing:

 If you will: 1) walk in My ways Then I will: 2) obey My commission give you free access 3) judge My house, and among these who 4) guard My courtyards are standing here

8 “Listen, cohan gadol Y'hoshua, both you and your colleagues seated here before you, because these men are a sign that I am going to bring My Servant Tzemach [Sprout]. 9 For look at the stone I have put in front of Y'hoshua: on one stone are seven eyes; I will engrave what is to be written on it,” says Adonai-Tzva'ot; “and I will remove the guilt of this land in one day. 10 When that time comes,” says Adonai-Tzva'ot, “you will all invite each other to join you under your vines and fig trees.”

 “My Servant Tzemach [Sprout]” or “Branch” – a prophetic title of the Messiah

 “The days are coming,” says Adonai, “when I will raise a righteous Branch (Tzemach) for David. He will reign as King and succeed, He will do what is just and right in the land. 6 In His days Y'hudah will be saved, Isra'el will live in safety, and the name given to Him will be Adonai Tzidkenu [Adonai our Righteousness].” (Jer 23:5-6; also 33:15-16)

 Take silver and gold; make crowns; put one on the head of Y'hoshua the son of Y'hotzadak, the cohen hagadol; 12 and tell him, “Adonai-Tzva'ot says: 'There is coming a Man Whose name is Tzemach [Sprout]. He will sprout up from His place and rebuild the temple of Adonai. (Zech 6:11-12)

by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley

Rosh HaShanah-02

Rosh HaShanah (Head of the Year = New Year):

B'resheet (Genesis) 21:1-34 B'midbar (Numbers) 29:1-6 Sh'mu'el Alef (1 Samuel) 1:1-2:10 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Genesis 21 1 Adonai remembered Sarah as he had said, and Adonai did for Sarah what he had promised. • That the LORD “remembered” does not mean that He had forgotten, but that here He chose to call to mind both Sarah and what He had said • the promise is specific in Genesis 17:19-22: God answered, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you are to call him Yitz'chak [laughter]. I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 But as for Yishma'el, I have heard you. I have blessed him. I will make him fruitful and give him many descendants. He will father twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But I will establish My covenant with Yitz'chak, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year.” 22 With that, God finished speaking with Avraham and went up from him. • The promise is then reiterated in Genesis 18:10 and 14: He said, “I will certainly return to you around this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” … Is anything too hard for Adonai? At the time set for it, at this season next year, I will return to you; and Sarah will have a son. ◦ The LORD can be taken at His word, and yet for our sakes the promise is repeated for emphasis and the surety of it. 2 Sarah conceived and bore Avraham a son in his old age, at the very time God had said to him. • The LORD does not do things according to our timing ◦ but, He is always “on time” ▪ because He alone is Eternal, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Sovereign …. • He has made everything suited to its time; also, He has given human beings an awareness of eternity; but in such a way that they can't full comprehend, from beginning to end, the things God does. (Eccl 3:11) • And He said to me, “It is done! I am the 'A' and the 'Z' [Α and Ω (Alpha and Omega); א and ת (Aleph and Tav)], To anyone who is thirsty I Myself will give water free of charge from the Fountain of Life. (Rev 21:6) 3 Avraham called his son, born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Yitz'chak. 4 Avraham circumcised his son Yitz'chak when he was eight days old, as God had ordered him to do. • The cutting away of a tender and intimate part of the flesh involved in reproduction symbolizing a tender and intimate relationship with HaShem that is to be reproduced and carried on • Many claim that there is no medical reason for circumcision and no reason for it to be performed on the eighth day, however many who deny the existence of God will also ignore evidence that supports the authority and accuracy of God's Word. Though the following citation is “old” by some standards, that does not mean it is “outdated.” ◦ “In 1935, H. Dam proposed the term vitamin K for a factor in foods which would prevent hemorrhaging in chicks. Vitamin K is known to be synthesized in the human intestinal tract by bacteria. Subsequently, vitamin K is responsible for synthesis of prothrombin by the liver. If vitamin K is deficient, there is a corresponding prothrombin deficiency and hemorrhaging may occur. Since vitamin K is synthesized by bacteria in the intestinal tract, newborn infants are particularly disposed to suffer from vitamin K and prothrombin deficiencies. These deficiencies occur because newborn infants have not had time to become contaminated with bacteria. “Nathan Scanzillo has prepared a paper in which he indicates that the rise of vitamin K and prothrombin levels in infants reaches its peak around the eighth day. Thus, he points out that circumcision is best performed on that day. Prothrombin levels rise to 30 percent on the third day of life, and to 110 percent the eighth; thereafter, it levels off to 100 percent. The eighth day is the best day to circumcise and avoid hemorrhaging. … “There are also some medical advantages in circumcision. Recent surveys show that gentile women have 8.5 percent times more cancer of the cervix than Jewish women. Careful studies indicate that the bacterium known as Mycobacterium smegmatis (smegma bacillus) inhabits the external genitourinary tract, but they tend to build up in the uncircumcised male. These bacteria can convey cancer of the cervix to women. “Circumcision is used in Scripture in the spiritual sense as well as in the physical sense. 'Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked' (Deuteronomy 10:16). 'And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live' (Deuteronomy 30:6).” Dr. Jean Sloat Morton, Science in the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1978, pp. 243-244. 5 Avraham was one hundred years old when his son Yitz'chak [laughter] was born to him. 6 Sarah said, “God has given me good reason to laugh; now everyone who hears about it will laugh with me.” 7 And she said, “Who would have said to Avraham that Sarah would nurse children? Nevertheless, I have borne him a son in his old age!” • Keil and Kelitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament Jehovah did for Sarah what God had promised in Gen 17:6 (cf 18:14): she conceived, and at the time appointed bore a son to Abraham, when he was 100 years old. Abraham gave it the name of Jizchak (or Isaac), and circumcised it on the eighth day. The name for the promised son had been selected by God, in connection with Abraham's laughing (Gen 17:17 and 19), to indicate the nature of his birth and existence. For as his laughing sprang from the contrast between the idea and the reality; so through a miracle of grace the birth of Isaac gave effect to this contrast between the promise of God and the pledge of its fulfilment[sp] on the one hand, and in incapacity of Abraham for begetting children, and of Sarah for bearing them, on the other; and through this name, Isaac was designated as the fruit of omnipotent grace working against and above the forces of nature. Sarah also, who had previously laughed with unbelief at the divine promise (18:12), found a reason in the now accomplished birth of the promised son for laughing with joyous amazement; so that she exclaimed, with evident allusion to his name, “A laughing hath God prepared for me; every one who hears it will laugh to me” (i.e. will rejoice with me, in amazement at the blessing of God which has come upon me even in my old age) …. 8 The child grew and was weaned, and Avraham gave a great banquet on the day the Yitz'chak was weaned. • Through propaganda, and also through ignorance, many in Western culture have wrongly considered nursing to be old-fashioned, unsophisticated, embarrassing, unhealthy, and at best only for the very young baby. Helpful and insightful organizations such as the La Lache League work to educate people as to the well documented benefits of nursing. Not only is human milk the absolutely best milk for baby humans, nursing promotes parent-child bonding, and feelings of warmth, security, love, and belonging that have life-long impact. That children may be nursed well beyond infancy is obvious when we understand that the “average age of weaning around the world is 4.2 years.” (Ester Davidowitz, “The Breastfeeding Taboo,” Redbook (July 1992): 114, cited in Baldwin, Elizabeth N. Esq., Extended Breastfeeding and the Law, La Leche League International, http://www.llli.org/law/lawextended.html, accessed 22 Sept. 2014, emphasis added.) 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, who Hagar had borne to Avraham, making fun of Yitz'chak • In looking at what this might have been about, the Jewish sages relate a story in which Ishmael claimed to be more loved than Isaac because he was circumcised at the age of 13: as an “adult” who had a choice. “... But you were circumcised as a baby and had no choice in the matter.” 10 So Sarah said to Avraham, “Throw this slave-girl out! And her son! I will not have this slave-girl's son as your heir along with my son Yitz'chak!” • Culture and custom dictated that the firstborn son receive a double portion of the inheritance. • Culture and custom also allowed for a slave-girl who had been involved with her master sexually to be set free / turned away without needing to pay for her freedom (cf Ex 21:10-11). ◦ Turning Hagar out, along with her son, would allow her to go free without needing to pay for her freedom, but it would also remove Yishma'el from any direct inheritance. 11 Avraham became very distressed over this matter of his son. 12 But God said to Avraham, “Don't be distressed because of the boy and your slave-girl. Listen to everything Sarah says to you, because it is your descendants through Yitz'chak who will be counted. 13 But I will also make a nation from the son of the slave-girl, since he is descended from you.” • Yishma'el's name means “God pays attention.” Even though Yishma'el is not mentioned by name in this chapter (his name is absent from chapters 18-24), God is paying attention and will watch over him for Avraham's sake. 14a Avraham got up early in the morning, took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child; then he sent her away. ... • It seems to have been Avraham's habit to get up early in the morning, especially when something important had to be done (cf. Gen. 19:2, 27; 20:8; 22:3) • Before sending them off, he gave them some basic provisions, including bread and water ◦ putting it on her shoulder, and the child (who was 13 years old when Yitz'chak was circumcised, so Yishma'el may have been 17 or 18 by now) 14b After leaving, she wandered in the desert around Be'er-Sheva. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she left the child under a bush, 16 and went and sat down, looking the other way, about a bow-shot's distance from him; because she said, "I can't bear to watch my child die." So she sat there, looking the other way, crying out and weeping. 17 God heard the boy's voice, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What's wrong with you, Hagar? Don't be afraid, because God has heard the voice of the boy in his present situation." • she left the child under a bush - with the scarcity of shade in the desert, the idea of resting and even napping "under a bush" is not surprising • Hagar went about a bow-shot's distance away, sat there, looking the other way, crying out and weeping, but G-d heard the boy's voice - it appears Yishma'el was doing more than weeping and crying out; looks like he, at least, was praying to the G-d of Avraham 18 “Get up, lift the boy up, and hold him tightly in your hand, because I am going to make him a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water So she went, filled the skin with water and gave the boy water to drink. • Hagar receives the same assurance Avraham had received about Yishma'el (Gen 17:20). • “God opened her eyes” to what was either unnoticed or invisible before, as with ◦ Avraham in Genesis 22:13, and ◦ Geichazi (Gehazi) in 2 Kings 6:17 20 God was with the boy, and he grew. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 He lived in the Pa'ran Desert, and his mother chose a wife for him from the land of Egypt. • Gen. 16:11-12 "The angel of Adonai said to her [Hagar], 'Look, you are pregnant, and you will give birth to a son. You are to call him Yishma'el [God pays attention] because Adonai has paid attention to your misery. 12 He will be a wild donkey of a man, with his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, living his life at odds with all his kinsmen." ◦ even so, at this point anyway, "God was with the boy ...." • פָּארָן (Pa'ran) means ◦ Strong's: ornamental ◦ BDB: “place of caverns” ◦ from פָּאַר meaning ▪ Strong's: to gleam, i.e. (causatively) embellish; figuratively, to boast; also to explain (i.e. make clear) oneself ▪ BDB: to glorify, to beautify, to adorn 22 At that time Avimelekh and Pikhol the commander of his army spoke to Avraham. They said, "God is with you in everything you do. • Avimelekh => אֲבִימֶלֶךְ is a compound name meaning אֲבִי "my father" מֶלֶךְ (is) king ◦ Avimelekh was a king of Gerar in Abraham's time (Gen. 20:2), and a king of Gath in David's time (Ps. 34:1) -- this may have been a title for a line of Philistine kings. This was also the name of a son of Gideon by a concubine (Judges 9:1). • Pikhol => פִיכֹל = "strong" appears to also be a compound name from פִּי meaning "mouth," and כֹל meaning "all." This makes sense because the person who is the "mouth of all" (speaking for all the people) would have to be "strong"; and in this case was the commander of Avimelekh's army. This may have been a title for the Philistine commanders. 23 Therefore, swear to me here by God that you will never deal falsely with me or with my son or grandson; but according to the kindness with which I have treated you, you will treat me and the land in which you have lived as a foreigner. 24 Avraham said, "I swear it." • Whether or not Avimelekh believed in God, he knew that Avraham did. Since he wanted Avraham to swear, it was important that he swear by his God. • A wise and caring parent will look out for more than just their own interests. If this pagan king does this, how much more should the people of יהוה ! • Even though you lived as a "foreigner" here I treated you well. I "sowed" kindness into your life: do the same for "me and the land." 25 Now Avraham had complained to Avimelekh about a well which Avimelekh's servants had seized. 26 Avimelekh answered, “I don't know who has done this. You didn't tell me, and I heard about it only today.” 27 Avraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Avimelehk, and the two of them made a covenant. • This complaint and answer are the types of notations that substantiate the fact this is a historical document: Scripture being with unique and unparalleled credentials. • "made" a covenant is actually "to cut" a covenant => the root word being כָּרַת [kah-raht]: to cut off, to cut off a body part, to behead; to cut down; to hew; to cut (make) a covenant ◦ Genesis 15 gives a snapshot of this practice. Verse 10 tells us Abram "cut the animals in two and placed the pieces opposite each other; but he didn't cut the birds in half." ◦ In cutting a covenant, the larger animals involved were cut in two with the halves places opposite each other with a sort of trench in between. The blood of the sacrifices would flow into the trench. Once the terms of the covenant were agreed upon both parties would walk between the pieces, through the trench. The idea being, if I do not fulfill my part of this covenant, may what happened to these animals happen to me. ◦ This helps us understand the seriousness with which a covenant was entered into and what happened later in Genesis 15; understanding that Avram was being brought to cut a covenant with יהוה , verse 12 tells us that “horror and great darkness came over him.” ▪ He knew, there was absolutely no way he could ever possibly fulfill this covenant the LORD was making with him. He knew, if he dared to even put a toe in that trench, he was a dead man! ◦ In verse 17 יהוה , in the form of "a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch appeared, which passed between these animal parts." ▪ This covenant, the outworking of it, and its fulfilling was (and is) totally a work of the Sovereign LORD. * For more on what was involved in making a covenant and God's covenant with us see http://www.followtherabbi.com/guide/detail/a-covenant-guarantee. There is a wealth of information on this website for every student of Scripture, put together by Bible scholar / historian Ray Vander Laan. 28 Avraham put seven female lambs from the flock by themselves. 29 Avinelekh asked Avraham, “What is the meaning of these seven female lambs you have put by themselves?” 30 He answered, You are to accept these seven female lambs from me as witness that I dug this well.” 31 This is why that place was called Be'er-Sheva [well of seven, well of an oath] – because they both swore an oath there. 32 When they made the covenant at Be'er-Sheva, Avimelekh departed with Pikhol the commander of his army and returned to the land of the P'lishtim. • בְּאֵר [beh-ār] ◦ Strong's: a pit, especially a well ◦ BDB: a well, a pit, a spring • שֶׁבַע [sheh-vah] ◦ Strong's: a primitive cardinal number; seven (as the sacred full one); also (adverbially) seven times; by implication, a week; by extension, an indefinite number; from ▪ שָׁבַע [shah-vah] • Strong's: properly to be complete, but used only as a denominative from שֶׁבַע; to seven oneself, i.e. swear (as if by repeating a declaration seven times) • BDB: to swear, to adjure ◦ (Qal) sworn (participle) ◦ (Niphal) to swear, to take an oath; to swear (used of Jehovah (Yahweh) by Himself); to curse ◦ (Hiphil) to cause to take an oath; to adjure ◦ BDB: seven (cardinal number): as ordinal number; in combination, 17, 700, etc. 33 Avraham planted a tamarisk tree in Be'er-Sheva, and there he called on the name of Adonai, the everlasting God. 34 Avraham lived for a long time as a foreigner in the land of the P'lishtim.  Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament Here Abraham planted a tamarisk and called upon the name of the Lord (vid., Gen 4:26), the everlasting God. Jehovah is called the everlasting God, as the eternally true, with respect to the eternal covenant, which He established with Abraham (Gen 17:7). The planting of this long-lived tree, with its hard wood, and its long, narrow, thickly clustered, evergreen leaves, was to be a type of the ever-enduring grace of the faithful covenant God. Sh'mu'el Alef (1 Samuel) 1:1-2:10 5 ... he loved Hannah, even though Adonai had kept her from having children. 6 Her rival taunted her and made her feel bad, because Adonai had kept her from having children. • the comments that "Adonai had kept her from having children" reflect a trust, a faith, even a conviction that even though ... ◦ I don't understand ◦ I don't feel His presence ◦ I don't see His hand ... ... the LORD is still sovereign, present, and working ▪ my part is to seek, follow, trust and obey Him • as finite creatures, we are currently locked into both time and space • the Eternal, Omnipresent LORD (Who created time and space) has plans for us that transcend both ◦ the creator of any thing must logically be known as outside of, and greater than, the things created or the confines of them -- in this case "time" and "space" ◦ said to have been found after World War II inscribed on a wall of a concentration camp: ▪ I believe in the bird, though it may not sing I believe in the sun, though it may not shine I believe in the LORD, though He may be silent 6 Her rival taunted her and made her feel bad .... • the LORD's plan and design for marriage was, from the beginning, one man and one woman ◦ Gen. 1:27 So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. ▪ "male" and "female" here are both in the singular in the original Hebrew ▪ each carries with them certain aspects of the nature and character of HaShem that can not be fully seen in either individually ◦ Mt. 19:4 He [Yeshua] replied, "Haven't you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, 5 and that he said, 'For this reason a man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two are to become one flesh'? 6 Thus they are no longer two, but one. ... ("male" and "female" are both strongly emphatic in the original; I emphasized "two") ◦ the one man and one woman -- in a unique and special way -- complete, balance, and fulfill one another so that, together, they can better reflect the love and character of their Creator ▪ adding to that God-ordained relationship (i.e. another wife / more wives) breaks down the God-image / reflection of the relationship, and their ability to whole-heartedly love one another • in a two-part epoxy, the proper mix is an equal amount of both parts for an optimum bond (1 + 1); if the mixture is out of balance (i.e. 1 + 2 or 1 + 3), to the extent it is out of balance, not only is optimum bonding is impossible, often there is no bond at all • In another way of looking at it, I once saw a video where the speaker used duct tape to symbolize the "stick-tuitiveness" of the sexual relationship. She took a piece of duct tape and put it on her arm, pressing it down, explaining how sexual intercourse binds two people together in spirit, soul, and body. She then pulled off the tape and handed it to the first person in the audience. They were to press the tape on their forearm, then pull it off and pass it down the row, where everyone in the row was to do the same thing. It did not take long for the tape to lose its ability to stick. The more people involved, the less able the tape is to stick, because a part of each person is torn away and stays with the tape. ▪ The LORD designed sex to be enjoyed by both within the mutually exclusive relationship of marriage between one man and one woman. Within the safety of this God honoring, loving relationship, the two are bound together in a way that God intended would last a lifetime; and He can bless it. Anything less is outside the parameters He set, and sex is degraded to lust and selfish desire. • Talking with Anne about the situation, she shared a woman's perspective: ◦ If she were the first wife and her husband took another: ▪ What about me isn't good enough for him? ▪ Or is no longer good enough? ▪ Did he really love me, or was he just using me? ▪ There will aways be questions; How I could ever feel secure in our relationship, and how can I ever trust that he won't keep looking for more wives? ◦ If she were the second wife: ▪ What about the first wife isn't good enough for him? ▪ Was he just using her, and is now going to simply use me? ▪ If he really loved her, how can he really love me? ▪ There will aways be questions; How I could ever feel secure in our relationship, and how can I ever trust that he won't keep looking for more wives? ◦ It is impossible to whole-heartedly devoted to more than one person. 8 Her husband Elkanah said to her, "Hannah, why are you crying, and why aren't you eating? Why be so sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?" • a lot can happen "behind the scenes," so Elkanah might not have been aware of all that was happening between his two wives, yet he seems to have an idea because he asks "Am I not better to you than ten sons?" ◦ children were generally the only type of "social security" aging parents would have ◦ children represented life and the continuance of life ◦ God's command to "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28; 9:1; 35:11), and the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 28 (e.g. 4 and 18) continue, so Hannah may have been seen by others as cursed by God (and felt that way herself) ◦ but a question remains: what if (remembering that asking too many 'what ifs' can drive you crazy!) -- what if Elkanah had said something like, "Hannah, you are better to me than ten sons"? 10 In deep depression she prayed to Adonai and cried.  “deep depression” here is מָרַת נָפֶשׁ in the Hebrew  מָרַת is the feminine construct form of מַר meaning:  Strong's: bitter (literally or figuratively); also (as noun) bitterness, or (adverbially) bitterly  BDB: as an adjective: bitter, bitterness: used of water or food; used of harlot's end, end of wickedness, cry (figurative); used of pain (substantive): as an adverb: bitterly  נָפֶשׁ [nah-fehsh] is the feminine singular pausal of נֶפֶשׁ [neh-fehsh] (PAUSAL: 1: of, relating to, or occurring at a pause (as at the end of a clause or sentence); 2: of, relating to, or constituting the form taken by a word or vowel before a pause (as in Hebrew). http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pausal, accessed 17Sep15.)  Strong's: properly, a breathing creature, i.e. animal of (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental); from נָפַשׁ [nah-fahsh]  BDB: a soul, self, life, a creature, a person, an appetite, a mind a living being, a desire, an emotion, a passion: what breathes, the breathing substance or being, a soul, the inner being of man; a living being; a living being (with life in the blood); the man himself, a self, a person or an individual; the seat of the appetites; the seat of emotions and passions; the activity of mind (uncertain); the activity of the will (uncertain); the activity of the character (uncertain)  נָפַשׁ  Strong's: to breathe; passively, to be breathed upon, i.e. (figuratively) refreshed (as if by a current of air)  BDB: (Niphal) to take a breath, to refresh oneself  trying to translate the depth of emotion involved various translations have rendered מָרַת נָפֶשׁ as “bitterness of soul,” “greatly distressed,” “deep anguish,” “deeply distressed,” “deep depression”  Any, or all of these may be used to try to describe a state of being that can be brought on by loss, hormones, trauma, drugs, demonic activity, etc., or nondescript or unknown causes. Depending on its cause(s) depression can last for minutes or years. Each case needs to be dealt with individually as there are no “stock answers,” but praying for the LORD's guidance, wisdom, and discernment, along with healthy doses of compassion and patience are always in order.  Hannah “prayed to Adonai and cried”  Praying is always best and should be a priority.  For many, crying is a natural, normal way to “de-stress.”  Before Anne and I got married she had me watch a movie with her in which the main character was a woman television reporter with a very stressful job. Every so often she would get a box of tissue, sit in the middle of her bed, and make herself cry as a way of dealing with (and getting rid of) the stress.  While there may not be any one thing “wrong,” a good cry can help “de-stress” and be very cathartic. 11 Then she took a vow; she said, “Adonai-Tzva'ot, if You will notice how humiliated your servant is, if You will remember me and not forget your servant but will give Your servant a male child, than I will give him to Adonai for as long as he lives; and no razor will ever come on his head.”  “then she took a vow” in the Hebrew is וַתִּדֹּר נֶדֶר [vah-ti-dōr neh-dehr]  וַ [vah] commonly prefixed to Hebrew words, ו usually means “and”  תִּדֹּר [ti-dōr] is the Qal (verb form) imperfect 3rd person feminine of נָדַר [nah-dahr] meaning  Strong's: to promise (pos., to do or give something to God)  BDB: to vow, to make a vow; (Qal) to vow a vow  נֶדֶר [neh-dehr] is the noun; the vow itself, or the thing promised  in Hebrew, when two forms of the same word are used right after each other it emphases the point (makes it emphatic)  Adonai-Tzva'ot is often translated LORD of Hosts  Adonai or LORD is a rendering of יהוה , the holy Name of God, sometimes referred to as the tetragrammaton  Tzva'ot or Hosts is a rendering of צְבָאוֹת [tzeh-vah-ōt], plural of צָבָא [tzah-vah] meaning  Strong's: a mass of persons (or figuratively, things), especially reg. organized for was (an army); by implication a campaign, literally or figuratively (specifically, hardship, worship)  BDB: what goes forth, an army, a war, warfare, a host; an army a host (a host (used of an organized army; used of angels); used of sun, moon, and stars; used of whole creation; a war, warfare, service, go out to war; service  “if You will notice” here is another doubling, an emphatic construction, in the Hebrew:  אִם־ רָאֹה תִרְאֶה [im rah-oh tir-eh]  אִם־ is the hypothetical participle  רָאֹה is the Qal infinitive absolute of רָאָה [rah-ah]  תִרְאֶה is Qal imperfect, 2nd person, masculine, singular of רָאָה which means  Strong's: to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitive, intransitive and causative)  BDB: (Qal) to see; to perceive; to have vision; to look at, to see, to regard, to look after, to see after, to learn about, to observe, to watch, to look upon, to look out, to find out; to see, to observe, to consider, to look at, to give attention to, to discern, to distinguish; to look at, to gaze at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 This is one of the great passages dealing with the rapture. The word “rapture” is not in Scripture, but is used to describe a Biblical concept. (The same is true for the word “trinity” – but that is a lesson for another day.) [NOTE: some of the ideas presented here will be challenging to some, but let's remember that the idea of Yeshua returning twice, or one near-coming plus a return, once for part of His bride and again later for the rest of His bride (often called a “pre-tribulation rapture” {popularized by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins in their “Left Behind” novels}, or a “mid-tribulation rapture”) has a questionable biblical basis and no historical basis earlier than the mid-1800s in the United States. The idea that believers will escape tribulation is unknown in most of the world (e.g. North Korea, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Algeria, Libya, Chad, Somalia, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, …..) . How the LORD will work out the final events of history are His prerogative. He alone is Sovereign, Eternal, All-Knowing … . The fulfillment of prophecy can most clearly be seen in retrospect.]  “... Indeed, all who want to live a godly life united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). Consider also:  “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.” (Mt. 24:9)  “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we also have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom. 5:1-3)  “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, 'For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' (Ps 44:22) 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 not height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:35-39)  “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” (Rom. 12:9-13)  “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thes. 1:6) Vs 13 Now, brothers, we want you to know the truth about those who have died; otherwise, you might become sad the way other people 14 do who have nothing to hope for. For since we believe that Yeshua died and rose again, we also believe that in the same way God, through Yeshua, will take with Him those who have died. • the truth of the resurrection of Yeshua gives us a future and a hope; even if these bodies we are in may die 15 When we say this, we base it on the Lord's own word: we who remain alive when the Lord comes will certainly not take precedence over those who have died. • what we say, we base on what the Lord said 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God's shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; 17 then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord. 18 So encourage each other with these words. The culture of the time, and in many places even now, is to go out to meet a dignitary or even a friend, greet them, and escort them back (into your home, etc.) The base word from the original Greek manuscript here is ἀπάντησις [ap-an-te-sis] meaning: Strong's: “a (friendly) encounter” and to “meet” someone. Thayer's: “a meeting” and “to meet one.” Matthew 25:6 “ It was the middle of the night when the cry rang out, 'The bridegroom is here! Go out to meet [ἀπάντησις] him!” And after the five wise bridesmaids met the bridegroom? Matthew 25:10 “... Those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut.” The entire wedding party, family and friends, were with the bride and groom for the duration of the feast. (The bridegroom did not return to the village for the rest of his bride; some part left behind.) The only other use of ἀπάντησις in the B'rit Chadashah (New Testament) is in Acts 28:15, “The brothers there had heard about us and came as far as Appian Market and Three Inns to meet us. When Sha'ul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” As was Yeshua's custom, (and that of other rabbis and Pharisees of the time,) the parable in Matthew 25 is drawn directly from everyday life of Second Temple period Jewish custom. Once a man and woman were betrothed (an engagement that could only be broken by death or divorce), they would separate for a time. The couple was legally considered married, but not allowed to consummate the relationship until their wedding day. We see this custom in Mt. 1:18-19. Miryam (Mary) was engaged / betrothed / pledged to Yosef (Joseph). Before they had come together / were married (before the relationship had been consummated), she was found to be pregnant from the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Yosef, being a righteous man, wanting to do what was right, and not expose her to public shame that would have led to her being stoned to death (Deut. 22:20-21), made plans to break the engagement / divorce / put her away quietly. Because of the “bride price” paid, the betrothed woman would be said to have been “bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20) and would need to be ready at a moment's notice for the return of her bridegroom: she did not know the day or the hour of his return (Mt. 25:13). During this “engagement period” the young man would return to his father's house to build a type of room addition for his bride and future family. He went to prepare a place for her, and would certainly come again. Each son would do this around a common courtyard, so that in the father's house there might be many rooms (Jn. 14:2-3). The groom would work on the project until it passed the father's inspection. No one knew the day or the hour everything would be “checked off” and he would be given the "go ahead" to retrieve his bride: only the father was in the know (Mt. 24:36, Mk. 13:32). Once everything was ready, the father would tell his son, who would, in turn, gather his friends and head to the young woman's house. With the sound of a trumpet (shofar) the bridegroom and his entourage would come (1 Thes. 4:16-18), and every young woman who had been bought with a price would look with anticipation to see if it was their groom coming for them. The bridegroom would come once for his bride who had made herself ready (Rev. 19:6).

By Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement):

Vayikra (He called - Leviticus) 16:1-34, B'midbar (in the desert - Numbers) 29:7-11 Yesha'yahu ('Yah has saved' = Isaiah) 57:14-58:14 2 Corinthians 5:10-21

Leviticus 16 1 Adonai spoke with Moshe after the death of Aharon's two sons, when they tried to sacrifice before Adonai and died; 2 Adonai said to Moshe, "Tell your brother Aharon not to come at just any time into the Holy Place beyond the curtain, in front of the ark-cover which is on the ark, so that he will not die; because I appear in the cloud over the ark-cover."

• The dignitary, or higher ranking individual, dictates the terms of any meeting. The greater the difference between the two parties, the stricter the terms may be.

◦ While the L-RD allows us a certain familiarity in Meshiach, we must always remember He is THE Great and Awesome KING of all kings and L-RD of all lords. (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14, 19:16)

• Some say there is no grace under the Law, but I disagree. When we consider the utter sinfulness of unregenerate man, and the total purity, holiness, righteousness, and justice of the L-RD we can see that any approach of man is totally reliant on G-d's grace and mercy. Were it not for His grace and mercy (and patience) we would be totally consumed in the brightness of His glory. (Ex. 24:17; Dt. 4:24; Isa. 30:27, 30, 33:14; Heb. 12:29)

3 Here is how Aharon is to enter the Holy Place: with a young bull as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering. 4 He is to put on the holy linen tunic, have the linen shorts next to his bare flesh, have the linen sash wrapped around him, and be wearing the linen turban – they are the holy garments. He is to bathe his body in water and put them on. 5 He is to take from the community of the people of Isra'el two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering. 6 Aharon is to present the bull for the sin offering which is for himself and make atonement for himself and his household.

• Even the first high priest had to first offer a sin offering for himself and his household; but not our Great High Priest Yeshua:

But when the Messiah appeared as cohen gadol [high priest] of the good things that are happening already, then, through the greater and more perfect Tent which is not man-made (that is, it is not of this created world), 12 he entered the Holiest Place once and for all. And he entered not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of his own blood, thus setting people free forever. 13 For if sprinkling ceremonially unclean persons with the blood of goats and buls and the ashes of a heifer restores their outward purity; 14 then how much more the blood of the Messiah, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself to God as a sacrifice without blemish, will purify our conscience from works that lead to death, so that we can serve the living God! (Heb. 9:11-14)

7 He is to take the two goats and place them before Adonai at the entrance to the ten of meeting. 8 Then Aharon is to cast lots for the two goats, one lot for Adonai and the other for 'Az'azel. 9 Aharon is to present the goat whose lot fell to Adonai and offer it as a sin offering. 10 But the goat whose lot fell to 'Az'azel is to be presented alive to Adonai to be used for making atonement over it by sending it away into the desert for 'Az'azel.

• עֲזָאזֵל [ah-zah-zel] means ◦ Strong's: goat of departure; the scapegoat ◦ BDB: entire removal, scapegoat (refers to the goat used for sacrifice for the sins of the people: scapegoat; entire removal [the meaning is uncertain]). ▪ From • עֵז [ehz] ◦ Strong's: a she-goat (as strong), but masculine in plural (which also is used ellipt. for goat's hair) ◦ BDB: a female goat, a she-goat, a goat, a kid • אָזַל [ah-zahl] ◦ Strong's: to go away, hence, to disappear ◦ BDB: to go, to go away, to go about / around ▪ (in the Qal) to go away; to go about / around; to be used up, to be exhausted, to be gone, to be evaporated ▪ (in the Pual) to go to and fro ◦ עֲזָאזֵל is only found four times in Scripture; all four in this chapter of Leviticus. ▪ The idea, however, is carried over in Yochanan (John) 19 when Yeshua is before Pilate and the gathered crowd shouted, “Take Him away! Take Him away!” (verse 15).

11 Aharon is to present the bull of the sin offering for himself; he will make atonement for himself and his household; he is to slaughter the bull of the sin offering which is for himself. 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before Adonai and, with his hands full of ground, fragrant incense, bring it inside the curtain. 13 He is to put the incense on the fire before Adonai, so that the cloud from the incense will cover the ark-cover which is over the testimony, in order that he not die.

• Even as high priest, Aaron had to present a sin offering for himself before he could do anything else in that office.

• Yeshua was without sin (Heb 4:15) and offered His own blood, setting people free forever (Heb 9:12).

• As we approach the LORD, we do so by the blood of the Lamb (Jn. 1:29, Rev. 7:14) and the incense of our prayers (Rev. 5:8).

14 He is to take some of the bull's blood and sprinkle it with his finger on the ark-cover toward the east; and in front of the ark-cover he is to sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.

• The priest must use his finger, representing our actions: sin always begins within, in the heart and mind, but comes to fruition by our deeds which need to be covered by the blood.

• "... Toward the east ....": facing the direction of the rising sun, as we need to come face-to-face with the risen Son.

15 Next, he is to slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, bring its blood inside the curtain and do with its blood as he did with the bull's blood, sprinkling it on the ark-cover and in front of the ark-cover. 16 He will make atonement for the Holy Place because of the uncleannesses of the people of Isra'el and because of their transgressions -- all their sins; and he is to do the same for the tent of meeting which is there with them right in the middle of their uncleannesses.

• "Uncleannesses," "transgressions," "sins," "uncleannesses" -- any single sin, uncleanness, or transgression is enough to cause death. These are all plural and listed four times, and yet

◦ the Holy Place, and the very presence of HaShem is "there with them right in the middle of their uncleannesses" and they are not obliterated. Talk about grace!

• His holiness is never affected by our unholiness; but our unholiness needs to be affected by His holiness.

17 No one is to be present in the tent of meeting from the time he enters the Holy Place to make atonement until the time he comes out, having made atonement for himself, for his household and for the entire community of Isra'el. 18 Then he is to go out to the altar that is before Adonai and make atonement for it; he is to take some of the bull's blood and some of the goat's blood and put it on all the horns of the altar. 19 He is to sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, thus purifying it and setting it apart from the uncleannesses of the people of Isra'el.

• Only the high priest could enter the Holy Place, only with blood, and only once a year.

• Then, before he could make atonement for the sins of the people, he had to make atonement for his own sins and the sins of his household.

• A long and drawn out process, but it helps to emphasize the seriousness of G-d's holiness, of our sinfulness, and our need for a Mediator and Messiah.

◦ For God is One; and there is but one Mediator between God and humanity, Yeshua the Messiah, Himself human, 6 Who gave Himself as a ransom on behalf of all, thus providing testimony to God's purpose at just the right time. (1 Tim 2:5-6)

◦ But now the work Yeshua has been given to do is far superior to theirs, just as the covenant He mediates is better. For this covenant has been given as Torah on the basis of better promises. 7 Indeed, if the first covenant had not given ground for faultfinding, there would have been no need for a second one. (Heb 8:6-7)

◦ For if sprinkling ceremonially unclean persons with the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer restores their outward purity; 14 then how much more the blood of the Messiah, Who, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself to God as a sacrifice without blemish, will purify our conscience from works that lead to death, so that we can serve the living God! 15 It is because of this death that He is Mediator of a New Covenant. Because a death has occurred which set people free from the transgressions committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. (Heb 9:13-15)

◦ to the Mediator of a New Covenant, Yeshua; and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better things than that of Hevel (Heb 12:24)

20 When he has finished atoning for the Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he is to present the live goat. 21 Aharon is to lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the transgressions, crimes and sins of the people of Isra'el; he is to put them on the head of the goat and then send it away into the desert with a man appointed for the purpose. 22 The goat will bear all their transgressions away to some isolated place, and he is to let the goat go in the desert.

• This scapegoat was to bear the sins of the people outside the camp.

◦ He himself bore our sins in his body on the stake, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness -- by his wounds you were healed. (1 Pet. 2:24)

◦ So too Yeshua suffered death outside the gate, in order to make the people holy through his own blood. (Heb. 13:12)

◦ The sins of the people were put "on the head of the goat" -- even Yeshua's head was wounded and pierced in dealing with our sins. (Mt. 27:29-30, Mk. 15:17-19)

◦ The goat was taken out into the desert. Yeshua had already been there, and had overcome satan and his temptations. (Mt. 4:1-11)

29 It is to be a permanent regulation for you that on the tenth day of the seventh month you are to deny yourselves and not do any kind of work, both the citizen and the foreigner living with you. 30 For on this day, atonement will be made for you to purify you; you will be clean before Adonai from all your sins. 31 It is a Shabbat of complete rest for you, and you are to deny yourselves. This is a permanent regulation. ... 34 This is a permanent regulation for you, to make atonement for the people of Isra'el because of all their sins once a year. Moshe did as Adonai had ordered him.

• Three times in this passage we are told that this regulation is "permanent." The Hebrew word used here is עוֹלָם [o-lam] which we generally translate as "eternity," "forever," or "universe."

◦ עוֹלָם is used in the opening line of many Hebrew blessings referring to HaShem:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה אֱלֹהֵנוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם ha-o-lam meh-lehk eh-lo-hā-nu HaShem a-tah ba-rukh

[common translation] the universe king of our God LORD You blessed are

• Understanding the nature and character of יהוה , we understand that He is eternal, everlasting, forever, and that His reign extends to the far reaches of the universe.

• We have a question, a dilemma, though when we look at passages such as Leviticus 16, which says this regulation is עוֹלָם [o-lam], when we know that the Temple was destroyed and the priesthood scattered or killed. Since יהוה is sovereign over all, this was allowed by Him for His own purposes. As messianics we believe that Yeshua fulfilled the requirements of the Law and was installed by HaShem as High Priest (as we read throughout the book of Hebrews), thus the sacrificial system and the attending priesthood was no longer needed.

Still there is the question: How can God's Word say that this regulation is "permanent" or "forever" when we know from God's Word that it was stopped? Let's look more closely at עוֹלָם:

◦ Strong's defines עוֹלָם as ▪ concealed, i.e. the vanishing point ▪ generally, time out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity ▪ frequentatively, adverbial (especially with prepositional prefix) always

◦ Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon: long duration, antiquity, futurity, forever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world ▪ ancient time, long time (used of the past) ▪ (used of the future) • forever, always • continuous existence, perpetual • everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity

◦ Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words: eternity; remotest time; perpetuity ▪ First, in a few passages the word means "eternity" in the sense of not being limited to the present. Thus, in Eccl 3:11 we read that God had bound man to time and given him the capacity to live "above time" (i.e. to remember yesterday, plan for tomorrow, and consider abstract principles); yet He has not given him divine knowledge: "He hath made every thing beautiful in his time; also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."

▪ Second, the word signifies "remotest time" or "remote time." In 1 Chron 16:36, God is described as blessed "from everlasting to everlasting" (KJV, "for ever and ever"), or from the most distant past time to the most distant future time. In passages where God is viewed as the One Who existed before the creation was brought into existence, 'olam may mean: (1) "at the very beginning": "Remember the former things [the beginning things at the very beginning] of old: for I am God, and there is none else..." Isa 46:9; or (2) "from eternity, from the pre-creation, till now": "Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindness; for they have been ever of old [from eternity]" Ps 25:6.

In other passages, the word means "from (in) olden times": "mighty men which were of old, men of renown" Gen 6:4. In Isa 42:14, the word is used hyperbolically meaning "for a long time": "I have long time holden my peace: I have been still, and refrained myself...." This word may include all the time between the ancient beginning and the present: "The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied..." Jer 28:8. The word can mean "long ago" (from long ago): "For [long ago] I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands..." Jer 2:20. In Josh 24:2, the word means "formerly; in ancient times." The word is used in Jer 5:15, where it means "ancient": "Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the lord; it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation...." When used with the negative, 'olam can mean "never": "We are thine: thou never barest rule [literally, "not ruled from the most distant past"] over them..." Isa 63:19. Similar meanings emerge when the word is used without a preposition and in a genitive relationship to some other noun. (Emphasis added)

So, when we read in Leviticus 16 that the regulations of the annual Day of Atonement are עוֹלָם we can understand that they were to occur continuously, "time [then] out of mind," until, as we know from the B'rit Hadashah, (especially the book of Hebrews,) the Sovereign LORD of All inaugurated something better and subsequently allowed the Temple to be destroyed, thus putting an end to the sacrificial system.

It is still good to celebrate Yom Kippur and the other feasts of the LORD as we can, to honor Him and our spiritual roots, and to focus our attention on a particular aspect of His goodness. As finite beings living in a fallen world we need regular reminders; the calendar of feasts does that. We should regularly, even daily, come before Him, ◦ repenting of any sin, ◦ pleading for mercy and grace because of the shed blood of Yeshua, ◦ thanking the LORD for all He has done for, in, and through us, and ◦ praising and worshipping Him for His great works and Who He is!

• The service which begins Yom Kippur is the Kol Nidre, a call to repentance and intercession.

◦ A 10 minute overview of the Kol Nidre service, presented by Messianic Rabbi Daniel Schnaider originally from Argentina, may be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvpN3LzpZvg&t=53s, accessed 12Oct16. (Although I don't see Scripturally the idea of blood being put directly on the Tablets as Rabbi Schnaider indicates, the rest is an interesting presentation on just what Kol Nidre is about.)

Numbers 29 8 … [the offerings] are to be without defect ….

• What we bring as any type of offering to the LORD reflects our view of Him. He is perfect, without fault (defect), the first, the best ….. So should our offerings be.

• Also, a defective sacrifice could never atone for a person with the defect of sin.

Haftarah: Yesha'yahu (Isaiah) 57:14-58:14 15 For thus says the High, Exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy: “I live in the high and holy place but also with the broken and humble, in order to revive the spirit of the humble and revive the hearts of the broken ones.

• Adonai is the High One, the Exalted One, eternal, and Holy

• He lives, inhabits => the root word here is שָׁכַן [sha-khan] meaning ◦ “to settle down,” “to abide,” “to dwell,” “to tabernacle,” “to reside” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon). Strong's brings out the idea of permanency: “... to reside or permanently stay (literally or figuratively)” • What does He inhabit? Where does He reside, abide, dwell, tabernacle? עַד [ahd] meaning ◦ “perpetuity,” “forever,” “continuing future” ◦ used of past time “ancient”; used of future time “forever,” used of continuous existence; used of God's existence “forever” ▪ Even though time, matter, and space have all been adversely affected by the Fall (e.g. sin, decay / rot, death): none of the righteous character or attributes of יהוה have been so affected – only His heart • His very name is holy => קָדוֹשׁ [kha-dosh] ◦ “... Whose name is Holy ….” In Hebrew thought a person's name expresses their character, or some important aspect of it, e.g.: Avraham = father of many nations Elijah / Eliyahu = the LORD is God Sarah = princess Joshua / Y'hoshua = the LORD is salvation Jacob / Ya'akov = supplanter / trickster Isaac / Yitz'chak = laughter Isra'el = strives with God [“with” as in “against,” but also as in “along side”] יהוה = Holy, Righteous, Pure, All-Mighty, Eternal, All-Knowing, Ever-Present …......... • He lives in “forever” and “eternity” AND => וְאֶת [veh-eht] ◦ אֶת is a sign (marker) of the definite direct object and is not normally translated in English, but it can also mean “with,” “near,” and “together with” depending on context ◦ the ו [the Hebrew letter vav] prefix, with any of several vowels, means “and” ◦ In this verse the All-Mighty, Perfect, Holy, Eternal, LORD of All confirms that He lives in ▪ the high place (i.e. the high heavens, the spiritual realms outside the confines of space and matter,) and ▪ eternity (outside of, unbound and unaffected by time,) ▪ AND also, AND at the same time, AND along with, AND near, AND together with the broken and humble of spirit • broken: דַּכָּא [da-ka] crushed (literally powder, or figuratively, contrite) AND • humble: שָׁפָל [sha-phal] humble (used of condition or spirit); low (in height or station) For thus says the High, Exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy: “I live in the high and holy place but also with the broken and humble, in order to revive the spirit of the humble and revive the hearts of the broken ones. ▪ לְהַחֲיוֹת [leh-ha-khai-ot] • לְ is a prefix meaning “to,” or “for” • הַ is a prefix meaning “the” • חֲיוֹת is the infinitive construct form of חָיָה [kha-yah] = “to live” whether literally or figuratively; causatively, “to revive.” • this word, in this verse, is in the Hiphil verb form meaning: ◦ to preserve alive, to let live ◦ to quicken, to revive ▪ to restore (to health) ▪ to revive ▪ to restore to life … … … the spirit (רוּחַ [ru-akh]) of • שְׁפָלִים [sheh-pha-lim] => plural of שָׁפָל [sha-phal] humble (seen above) = humbles => “humble ones” ▪ וּלְהַחֲיוֹת [uv-leh-ha-khai-ot] this is the same as לְהַחֲיוֹת (seen above) with the ו [vav] prefix “and” restore (to health), to revive, to restore to life • לֵב [lev] = heart: ◦ the midst (of things) ◦ the heart (of man) ◦ the soul, the heart (of man) ◦ the mind, knowledge, the thinking, reflection, the memory ◦ inclination, resolution, determination (of will) ◦ the conscience ◦ the heart (used of moral character) ◦ as the seat of the appetites ◦ as seat of the emotions and the passions ◦ as the seat of the courage … … … … of • נִדְכָּאִים [nid-ka-im] => the Niph'al verb, participle, plural form of דָּכָא [da-khw] (seen above) = brokens, crusheds, contrites => “broken ones,” “crushed ones,” “contrite ones” 18 I have seen their ways, and I will heal them; I will lead them and give comfort to them and to those who mourn for them – 19 I will create the right words: “Shalom shalom to those far off and to those nearby!” says Adonai; “I will heal them!”  “I have seen their ways”: the LORD has seen all of our ways, and yet still has a love and compassion that reaches out to us as long as we have breath. He knows all about us, and loves us anyway.  John 3:16 For God so loved the world (κόσμος - kosmos) that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed.  κόσμος =  Thayer's Greek Lexicon (Abridged)  an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order  ornament, decoration, adornment (1 Pet. 3:3)  the world, i.e. the universe (Acts 17:24; Rom. 4:13)  the circle of the earth, the earth (Mk. 16:15)  the inhabitants of the world (1 Cor. 4:9)  the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ (Jn. 7:7)  worldly affairs; the aggregate of things earthly; the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments, riches, advantages, pleasures, etc., which, although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ (Gal. 6:14)  any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort (Jm. 3:6)  e.g. all of creation, which has order and was good (Gen. 1), but has come under the curse and needs to be redeemed (Rom. 8:18-22)  “I will heal them” - the root of the word “heal” is רָפָא [ra-pha] (in this verse in the Qal verb form, and imperfect) meaning: “to heal”  of God  a healer, a physician (of men)  used of the hurts of nations involving restored favor (figurative)  used of individual distresses (figurative)  “I will lead them” - the root of the word “lead” is נָחָה [na-khah] (in this verse in the Hiphil verb form, and imperfect) meaning: to lead, to guide  “and give comfort to them and to those who mourn for them”  “give” here is from the Hebrew שָׁלַם [sha-lam] (in this verse in the Piel verb form and imperfect) meaning:  to complete, to finish  to make safe  to make whole or good, to restore, to make compensation  to make good, to pay  to requite, to recompense, to reward  “comfort” here is from the Hebrew נָחַם [na-kham] (in this verse as a plural noun). As a verb נָחַם means:  Strong's: to sigh, i.e. breathe strongly; by implication, to be sorry, i.e. (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself). Sometimes translated as comfort (self), ease [one's self], repent.  Brown-Driver-Briggs: to be sorry, to console oneself, to repent, to regret, to comfort, to be comforted 19 I will create the right words: “Shalom shalom to those far off and to those nearby!” says Adonai; “I will heal them!”  “I will create” here is from the one Hebrew word בָּרָא [ba-ra] (here an active participle in the Qal form) meaning: to shape, to fashion, to create (always with God as subject)  used of heaven and earth  used of individual man  used of new conditions and circumstances  used of transformations  The Creator creates, and what He creates is all-encompassing (unless He otherwise specifies): it affects everything – spirit, soul, body; past, present, future. It is beyond putting into words. Nothing is ever half-done with HaShem.  “the right words” is a paraphrase of נוֹב שְׂפָתָיִם (sometimes translated as the fruit or praise of the the lips)  נוֹב [nōb] = produce (i.e. fruit: literally or figuratively)  שְׂפָתָיִם [seh-pha-ta-yim] is the plural of שָׂפָה [sa-phah] =  the lip (as a natural boundary);  by implication, language;  by analogy, a margin (of a vessel, water, cloth, etc.)  Shalom shalom (שָׁלוֹם שָׁלוֹם): while commonly translated “peace” שָׁלוֹם is not necessarily, or not completely, the absence of conflict, but rather a state of being that can carry a person through whatever circumstances they may find themselves in. True שָׁלוֹם can only come from HaShem, and that only really when we are in right relationship with Yeshua Mashiach. שָׁלוֹם also encompasses (and is therefore sometimes translated as):  completeness (i.e. in number)  safety, soundness (in body)  welfare, health, prosperity  peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment  peace, friendship  used of human relationships  with God especially in covenant relationship  peace (from war)  peace (as adjective) • Part of the significance of this pronouncement, this blessing, is that the greater the understanding of the individual making the pronouncement, the more encompassing it is. In this case the pronouncement comes from יהוה Who is Omniscient (All-Knowing) and the Creator of this language. • יהוה is also Eternal, which means His desire is that we experience His presence and blessings eternally • “Eternal” is more than beyond a very, very, very long time. Within the eternal, the confines of time and space are shattered. Time is no more. Eternal, with Yeshua, by nature, also includes all that is good, right, and perfect multiplied exponentially beyond even what we can imagine. But, as the Tanakh says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no one's heart has imagined all the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9) • It is also highly significant that shalom is repeated. When something is repeated like this in Hebrew it makes it emphatic.  to those far off and to those nearby!  רָחוֹק [ra-khoq] = remote (literally or figuratively) of place or time … … and  קָרוֹב [qa-rōv] = near of place, time, personal relationships  says Adonai – יהוה  within this Name are many facets, many aspects of His character that are sometimes spelled out and listed individually, some of which are listed here: LORD God All-Knowing (Omniscience) All-Powerful (Omnipotent) Eternal Almighty Self-Sufficient Righteous Just Holy Pure Sovereign Creator Provider Healer the God Who Sees Redeemer Master our Banner Sanctifier our Peace our Righteousness Shepherd Is There Names of God by Nathan Stone discusses 12 names by which the LORD is known in the Tanakh; Names of the Holy Spirit by Ray Pritchard 87; Names of Christ by T.C. Horton and Charles E. Hurlburt more than 300. All three are published my Moody Press.  I will heal them!  Reiterated from the previous verse making it emphatic! 20 But the wicked are like the restless sea – unable to be still, 21 there is no shalom, says my God, for the wicked.  “But” indicating some type of contrast; changing gears  “the wicked” = רָשָׁע [ra-sha] (in this verse plural, so “the wicked ones”)  morally wrong; concretely, an (actively) bad person  a guilty one, one guilty of crime  wicked (hostile to God); guilty of sin (against God or man) Such is the unregenerate person, dead in trespasses and sin, unrepentant and hostile toward God (including the people and the things of God). There is no shalom for them. At the Fall a hacker (satan) wormed in and reprogrammed mankind's operating system to do evil. This virus replicates itself in such a way that it is now considered “natural” for everyone with a human father to live in ways that violate God's will. Yeshua the Master Programmer (and the only man, beside Adam, without a human father) came to clean our hard-drives and reinstall our original programming; if we will simply let Him. In and with Yeshua we can live lives that are pleasing to HaShem. But, beware, our working environment is riddled with malware. We must have the virus protection software of Scripture and the Holy Spirit installed AND operating! Yesha'yahu (Isaiah) 58 2-4 The “fruit” of a fast by a wicked person. Cf Gal. 5:19-21 6-7 Here is the sort of fast I want …. 8-12 The “fruit” of a fast by a godly person. Cf Gal. 5:22-23  Godly fasting goes hand-in-hand with praying and seeking God's face, listening to Him, doing His works (cf Eph. 2:8-10), and being blessed. 13-14 Set apart Shabbat as something special; it is! It is the LORD's holy day; seek His interests, not your own. It is in God's appointment calendar as a day to meet with His people; where are we? 2 Corinthians 5 10 for we must all appear before the Messiah's court of judgment, where everyone will receive the good or bad consequences of what he did while he was in the body.  we will all give an accounting – everyone who believes in Yeshua  this is not the judgment for salvation, but a judgment of our works (what we did “while ... in the body”)  1 Cor. 3:9-15 also not a judgment for salvation  Mt. 25:31-46, Rev. 20:11-15 is a judgment for salvation  1 Cor. 11:31-32 If we would examine ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined, so that we will not be condemned along with the world.  If we are children of the King we will be judged now, as we live out our lives. This is a loving discipline to conform us to the likeness of Christ.  If we are not His children, judgement is reserved for now, but that final judgement is just that: final – once and for all.

by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley

Rosh HaShanah

Rosh HaShanah (Head of the Year = New Year):

B'resheet (Genesis) 21:1-34 B'midbar (Numbers) 29:1-6 Sh'mu'el Alef (1 Samuel) 1:1-2:10 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Genesis 21 1 Adonai remembered Sarah as he had said, and Adonai did for Sarah what he had promised.

• That the LORD “remembered” does not mean that He had forgotten, but that here He chose to call to mind both Sarah and what He had said

• the promise is specific in Genesis 17:19-22:

God answered, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you are to call him Yitz'chak [laughter]. I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 But as for Yishma'el, I have heard you. I have blessed him. I will make him fruitful and give him many descendants. He will father twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But I will establish My covenant with Yitz'chak, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year.” 22 With that, God finished speaking with Avraham and went up from him.

• The promise is then reiterated in Genesis 18:10 and 14:

He said, “I will certainly return to you around this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” … Is anything too hard for Adonai? At the time set for it, at this season next year, I will return to you; and Sarah will have a son.

◦ The LORD can be taken at His word, and yet for our sakes the promise is repeated for emphasis and the surety of it.

2 Sarah conceived and bore Avraham a son in his old age, at the very time God had said to him.

• The LORD does not do things according to our timing

◦ but, He is always “on time”

▪ because He alone is Eternal, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Sovereign ….

• He has made everything suited to its time; also, He has given human beings an awareness of eternity; but in such a way that they can't full comprehend, from beginning to end, the things God does. (Eccl 3:11)

• And He said to me, “It is done! I am the 'A' and the 'Z' [Α and Ω (Alpha and Omega); א and ת (Aleph and Tav)], To anyone who is thirsty I Myself will give water free of charge from the Fountain of Life. (Rev 21:6)

3 Avraham called his son, born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Yitz'chak. 4 Avraham circumcised his son Yitz'chak when he was eight days old, as God had ordered him to do.

• The cutting away of a tender and intimate part of the flesh involved in reproduction symbolizing a tender and intimate relationship with HaShem that is to be reproduced and carried on

• Many claim that there is no medical reason for circumcision and no reason for it to be performed on the eighth day, however many who deny the existence of God will also ignore evidence that supports the authority and accuracy of God's Word. Though the following citation is “old” by some standards, that does not mean it is “outdated.”

◦ “In 1935, H. Dam proposed the term vitamin K for a factor in foods which would prevent hemorrhaging in chicks. Vitamin K is known to be synthesized in the human intestinal tract by bacteria. Subsequently, vitamin K is responsible for synthesis of prothrombin by the liver. If vitamin K is deficient, there is a corresponding prothrombin deficiency and hemorrhaging may occur. Since vitamin K is synthesized by bacteria in the intestinal tract, newborn infants are particularly disposed to suffer from vitamin K and prothrombin deficiencies. These deficiencies occur because newborn infants have not had time to become contaminated with bacteria.

“Nathan Scanzillo has prepared a paper in which he indicates that the rise of vitamin K and prothrombin levels in infants reaches its peak around the eighth day. Thus, he points out that circumcision is best performed on that day. Prothrombin levels rise to 30 percent on the third day of life, and to 110 percent the eighth; thereafter, it levels off to 100 percent. The eighth day is the best day to circumcise and avoid hemorrhaging. … “There are also some medical advantages in circumcision. Recent surveys show that gentile women have 8.5 percent times more cancer of the cervix than Jewish women. Careful studies indicate that the bacterium known as Mycobacterium smegmatis (smegma bacillus) inhabits the external genitourinary tract, but they tend to build up in the uncircumcised male. These bacteria can convey cancer of the cervix to women. “Circumcision is used in Scripture in the spiritual sense as well as in the physical sense. 'Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked' (Deuteronomy 10:16). 'And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live' (Deuteronomy 30:6).” Dr. Jean Sloat Morton, Science in the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1978, pp. 243-244. 5 Avraham was one hundred years old when his son Yitz'chak [laughter] was born to him. 6 Sarah said, “God has given me good reason to laugh; now everyone who hears about it will laugh with me.” 7 And she said, “Who would have said to Avraham that Sarah would nurse children? Nevertheless, I have borne him a son in his old age!” • Keil and Kelitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament Jehovah did for Sarah what God had promised in Gen 17:6 (cf 18:14): she conceived, and at the time appointed bore a son to Abraham, when he was 100 years old. Abraham gave it the name of Jizchak (or Isaac), and circumcised it on the eighth day. The name for the promised son had been selected by God, in connection with Abraham's laughing (Gen 17:17 and 19), to indicate the nature of his birth and existence. For as his laughing sprang from the contrast between the idea and the reality; so through a miracle of grace the birth of Isaac gave effect to this contrast between the promise of God and the pledge of its fulfilment[sp] on the one hand, and in incapacity of Abraham for begetting children, and of Sarah for bearing them, on the other; and through this name, Isaac was designated as the fruit of omnipotent grace working against and above the forces of nature. Sarah also, who had previously laughed with unbelief at the divine promise (18:12), found a reason in the now accomplished birth of the promised son for laughing with joyous amazement; so that she exclaimed, with evident allusion to his name, “A laughing hath God prepared for me; every one who hears it will laugh to me” (i.e. will rejoice with me, in amazement at the blessing of God which has come upon me even in my old age) …. 8 The child grew and was weaned, and Avraham gave a great banquet on the day the Yitz'chak was weaned. • Through propaganda, and also through ignorance, many in Western culture have wrongly considered nursing to be old-fashioned, unsophisticated, embarrassing, unhealthy, and at best only for the very young baby. Helpful and insightful organizations such as the La Lache League work to educate people as to the well documented benefits of nursing. Not only is human milk the absolutely best milk for baby humans, nursing promotes parent-child bonding, and feelings of warmth, security, love, and belonging that have life-long impact. That children may be nursed well beyond infancy is obvious when we understand that the “average age of weaning around the world is 4.2 years.” (Ester Davidowitz, “The Breastfeeding Taboo,” Redbook (July 1992): 114, cited in Baldwin, Elizabeth N. Esq., Extended Breastfeeding and the Law, La Leche League International, http://www.llli.org/law/lawextended.html, accessed 22 Sept. 2014, emphasis added.) 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, who Hagar had borne to Avraham, making fun of Yitz'chak • In looking at what this might have been about, the Jewish sages relate a story in which Ishmael claimed to be more loved than Isaac because he was circumcised at the age of 13: as an “adult” who had a choice. “... But you were circumcised as a baby and had no choice in the matter.” 10 So Sarah said to Avraham, “Throw this slave-girl out! And her son! I will not have this slave-girl's son as your heir along with my son Yitz'chak!” • Culture and custom dictated that the firstborn son receive a double portion of the inheritance. • Culture and custom also allowed for a slave-girl who had been involved with her master sexually to be set free / turned away without needing to pay for her freedom (cf Ex 21:10-11). ◦ Turning Hagar out, along with her son, would allow her to go free without needing to pay for her freedom, but it would also remove Yishma'el from any direct inheritance. 11 Avraham became very distressed over this matter of his son. 12 But God said to Avraham, “Don't be distressed because of the boy and your slave-girl. Listen to everything Sarah says to you, because it is your descendants through Yitz'chak who will be counted. 13 But I will also make a nation from the son of the slave-girl, since he is descended from you.” • Yishma'el's name means “God pays attention.” Even though Yishma'el is not mentioned by name in this chapter (his name is absent from chapters 18-24), God is paying attention and will watch over him for Avraham's sake. 14a Avraham got up early in the morning, took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child; then he sent her away. ... • It seems to have been Avraham's habit to get up early in the morning, especially when something important had to be done (cf. Gen. 19:2, 27; 20:8; 22:3) • Before sending them off, he gave them some basic provisions, including bread and water ◦ putting it on her shoulder, and the child (who was 13 years old when Yitz'chak was circumcised, so Yishma'el may have been 17 or 18 by now) 14b After leaving, she wandered in the desert around Be'er-Sheva. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she left the child under a bush, 16 and went and sat down, looking the other way, about a bow-shot's distance from him; because she said, "I can't bear to watch my child die." So she sat there, looking the other way, crying out and weeping. 17 God heard the boy's voice, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What's wrong with you, Hagar? Don't be afraid, because God has heard the voice of the boy in his present situation." • she left the child under a bush - with the scarcity of shade in the desert, the idea of resting and even napping "under a bush" is not surprising • Hagar went about a bow-shot's distance away, sat there, looking the other way, crying out and weeping, but G-d heard the boy's voice - it appears Yishma'el was doing more than weeping and crying out; looks like he, at least, was praying to the G-d of Avraham 18 “Get up, lift the boy up, and hold him tightly in your hand, because I am going to make him a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water So she went, filled the skin with water and gave the boy water to drink. • Hagar receives the same assurance Avraham had received about Yishma'el (Gen 17:20). • “God opened her eyes” to what was either unnoticed or invisible before, as with ◦ Avraham in Genesis 22:13, and ◦ Geichazi (Gehazi) in 2 Kings 6:17 20 God was with the boy, and he grew. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 He lived in the Pa'ran Desert, and his mother chose a wife for him from the land of Egypt. • Gen. 16:11-12 "The angel of Adonai said to her [Hagar], 'Look, you are pregnant, and you will give birth to a son. You are to call him Yishma'el [God pays attention] because Adonai has paid attention to your misery. 12 He will be a wild donkey of a man, with his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, living his life at odds with all his kinsmen." ◦ even so, at this point anyway, "God was with the boy ...." • פָּארָן (Pa'ran) means ◦ Strong's: ornamental ◦ BDB: “place of caverns” ◦ from פָּאַר meaning ▪ Strong's: to gleam, i.e. (causatively) embellish; figuratively, to boast; also to explain (i.e. make clear) oneself ▪ BDB: to glorify, to beautify, to adorn 22 At that time Avimelekh and Pikhol the commander of his army spoke to Avraham. They said, "God is with you in everything you do. • Avimelekh => אֲבִימֶלֶךְ is a compound name meaning אֲבִי "my father" מֶלֶךְ (is) king ◦ Avimelekh was a king of Gerar in Abraham's time (Gen. 20:2), and a king of Gath in David's time (Ps. 34:1) -- this may have been a title for a line of Philistine kings. This was also the name of a son of Gideon by a concubine (Judges 9:1). • Pikhol => פִיכֹל = "strong" appears to also be a compound name from פִּי meaning "mouth," and כֹל meaning "all." This makes sense because the person who is the "mouth of all" (speaking for all the people) would have to be "strong"; and in this case was the commander of Avimelekh's army. This may have been a title for the Philistine commanders. 23 Therefore, swear to me here by God that you will never deal falsely with me or with my son or grandson; but according to the kindness with which I have treated you, you will treat me and the land in which you have lived as a foreigner. 24 Avraham said, "I swear it." • Whether or not Avimelekh believed in God, he knew that Avraham did. Since he wanted Avraham to swear, it was important that he swear by his God. • A wise and caring parent will look out for more than just their own interests. If this pagan king does this, how much more should the people of יהוה ! • Even though you lived as a "foreigner" here I treated you well. I "sowed" kindness into your life: do the same for "me and the land." 25 Now Avraham had complained to Avimelekh about a well which Avimelekh's servants had seized. 26 Avimelekh answered, “I don't know who has done this. You didn't tell me, and I heard about it only today.” 27 Avraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Avimelehk, and the two of them made a covenant. • This complaint and answer are the types of notations that substantiate the fact this is a historical document: Scripture being with unique and unparalleled credentials. • "made" a covenant is actually "to cut" a covenant => the root word being כָּרַת [kah-raht]: to cut off, to cut off a body part, to behead; to cut down; to hew; to cut (make) a covenant ◦ Genesis 15 gives a snapshot of this practice. Verse 10 tells us Abram "cut the animals in two and placed the pieces opposite each other; but he didn't cut the birds in half." ◦ In cutting a covenant, the larger animals involved were cut in two with the halves places opposite each other with a sort of trench in between. The blood of the sacrifices would flow into the trench. Once the terms of the covenant were agreed upon both parties would walk between the pieces, through the trench. The idea being, if I do not fulfill my part of this covenant, may what happened to these animals happen to me. ◦ This helps us understand the seriousness with which a covenant was entered into and what happened later in Genesis 15; understanding that Avram was being brought to cut a covenant with יהוה , verse 12 tells us that “horror and great darkness came over him.” ▪ He knew, there was absolutely no way he could ever possibly fulfill this covenant the LORD was making with him. He knew, if he dared to even put a toe in that trench, he was a dead man! ◦ In verse 17 יהוה , in the form of "a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch appeared, which passed between these animal parts." ▪ This covenant, the outworking of it, and its fulfilling was (and is) totally a work of the Sovereign LORD. * For more on what was involved in making a covenant and God's covenant with us see http://www.followtherabbi.com/guide/detail/a-covenant-guarantee. There is a wealth of information on this website for every student of Scripture, put together by Bible scholar / historian Ray Vander Laan. 28 Avraham put seven female lambs from the flock by themselves. 29 Avinelekh asked Avraham, “What is the meaning of these seven female lambs you have put by themselves?” 30 He answered, You are to accept these seven female lambs from me as witness that I dug this well.” 31 This is why that place was called Be'er-Sheva [well of seven, well of an oath] – because they both swore an oath there. 32 When they made the covenant at Be'er-Sheva, Avimelekh departed with Pikhol the commander of his army and returned to the land of the P'lishtim. • בְּאֵר [beh-ār] ◦ Strong's: a pit, especially a well ◦ BDB: a well, a pit, a spring • שֶׁבַע [sheh-vah] ◦ Strong's: a primitive cardinal number; seven (as the sacred full one); also (adverbially) seven times; by implication, a week; by extension, an indefinite number; from ▪ שָׁבַע [shah-vah] • Strong's: properly to be complete, but used only as a denominative from שֶׁבַע; to seven oneself, i.e. swear (as if by repeating a declaration seven times) • BDB: to swear, to adjure ◦ (Qal) sworn (participle) ◦ (Niphal) to swear, to take an oath; to swear (used of Jehovah (Yahweh) by Himself); to curse ◦ (Hiphil) to cause to take an oath; to adjure ◦ BDB: seven (cardinal number): as ordinal number; in combination, 17, 700, etc. 33 Avraham planted a tamarisk tree in Be'er-Sheva, and there he called on the name of Adonai, the everlasting God. 34 Avraham lived for a long time as a foreigner in the land of the P'lishtim.  Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament Here Abraham planted a tamarisk and called upon the name of the Lord (vid., Gen 4:26), the everlasting God. Jehovah is called the everlasting God, as the eternally true, with respect to the eternal covenant, which He established with Abraham (Gen 17:7). The planting of this long-lived tree, with its hard wood, and its long, narrow, thickly clustered, evergreen leaves, was to be a type of the ever-enduring grace of the faithful covenant God. Sh'mu'el Alef (1 Samuel) 1:1-2:10 5 ... he loved Hannah, even though Adonai had kept her from having children. 6 Her rival taunted her and made her feel bad, because Adonai had kept her from having children. • the comments that "Adonai had kept her from having children" reflect a trust, a faith, even a conviction that even though ... ◦ I don't understand ◦ I don't feel His presence ◦ I don't see His hand ... ... the LORD is still sovereign, present, and working ▪ my part is to seek, follow, trust and obey Him • as finite creatures, we are currently locked into both time and space • the Eternal, Omnipresent LORD (Who created time and space) has plans for us that transcend both ◦ the creator of any thing must logically be known as outside of, and greater than, the things created or the confines of them -- in this case "time" and "space" ◦ said to have been found after World War II inscribed on a wall of a concentration camp: ▪ I believe in the bird, though it may not sing I believe in the sun, though it may not shine I believe in the LORD, though He may be silent 6 Her rival taunted her and made her feel bad .... • the LORD's plan and design for marriage was, from the beginning, one man and one woman ◦ Gen. 1:27 So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. ▪ "male" and "female" here are both in the singular in the original Hebrew ▪ each carries with them certain aspects of the nature and character of HaShem that can not be fully seen in either individually ◦ Mt. 19:4 He [Yeshua] replied, "Haven't you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, 5 and that he said, 'For this reason a man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two are to become one flesh'? 6 Thus they are no longer two, but one. ... ("male" and "female" are both strongly emphatic in the original; I emphasized "two") ◦ the one man and one woman -- in a unique and special way -- complete, balance, and fulfill one another so that, together, they can better reflect the love and character of their Creator ▪ adding to that God-ordained relationship (i.e. another wife / more wives) breaks down the God-image / reflection of the relationship, and their ability to whole-heartedly love one another • in a two-part epoxy, the proper mix is an equal amount of both parts for an optimum bond (1 + 1); if the mixture is out of balance (i.e. 1 + 2 or 1 + 3), to the extent it is out of balance, not only is optimum bonding is impossible, often there is no bond at all • In another way of looking at it, I once saw a video where the speaker used duct tape to symbolize the "stick-tuitiveness" of the sexual relationship. She took a piece of duct tape and put it on her arm, pressing it down, explaining how sexual intercourse binds two people together in spirit, soul, and body. She then pulled off the tape and handed it to the first person in the audience. They were to press the tape on their forearm, then pull it off and pass it down the row, where everyone in the row was to do the same thing. It did not take long for the tape to lose its ability to stick. The more people involved, the less able the tape is to stick, because a part of each person is torn away and stays with the tape. ▪ The LORD designed sex to be enjoyed by both within the mutually exclusive relationship of marriage between one man and one woman. Within the safety of this God honoring, loving relationship, the two are bound together in a way that God intended would last a lifetime; and He can bless it. Anything less is outside the parameters He set, and sex is degraded to lust and selfish desire. • Talking with Anne about the situation, she shared a woman's perspective: ◦ If she were the first wife and her husband took another: ▪ What about me isn't good enough for him? ▪ Or is no longer good enough? ▪ Did he really love me, or was he just using me? ▪ There will aways be questions; How I could ever feel secure in our relationship, and how can I ever trust that he won't keep looking for more wives? ◦ If she were the second wife: ▪ What about the first wife isn't good enough for him? ▪ Was he just using her, and is now going to simply use me? ▪ If he really loved her, how can he really love me? ▪ There will aways be questions; How I could ever feel secure in our relationship, and how can I ever trust that he won't keep looking for more wives? ◦ It is impossible to whole-heartedly devoted to more than one person. 8 Her husband Elkanah said to her, "Hannah, why are you crying, and why aren't you eating? Why be so sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?" • a lot can happen "behind the scenes," so Elkanah might not have been aware of all that was happening between his two wives, yet he seems to have an idea because he asks "Am I not better to you than ten sons?" ◦ children were generally the only type of "social security" aging parents would have ◦ children represented life and the continuance of life ◦ God's command to "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28; 9:1; 35:11), and the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 28 (e.g. 4 and 18) continue, so Hannah may have been seen by others as cursed by God (and felt that way herself) ◦ but a question remains: what if (remembering that asking too many 'what ifs' can drive you crazy!) -- what if Elkanah had said something like, "Hannah, you are better to me than ten sons"? 10 In deep depression she prayed to Adonai and cried.  “deep depression” here is מָרַת נָפֶשׁ in the Hebrew  מָרַת is the feminine construct form of מַר meaning:  Strong's: bitter (literally or figuratively); also (as noun) bitterness, or (adverbially) bitterly  BDB: as an adjective: bitter, bitterness: used of water or food; used of harlot's end, end of wickedness, cry (figurative); used of pain (substantive): as an adverb: bitterly  נָפֶשׁ [nah-fehsh] is the feminine singular pausal of נֶפֶשׁ [neh-fehsh] (PAUSAL: 1: of, relating to, or occurring at a pause (as at the end of a clause or sentence); 2: of, relating to, or constituting the form taken by a word or vowel before a pause (as in Hebrew). http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pausal, accessed 17Sep15.)  Strong's: properly, a breathing creature, i.e. animal of (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental); from נָפַשׁ [nah-fahsh]  BDB: a soul, self, life, a creature, a person, an appetite, a mind a living being, a desire, an emotion, a passion: what breathes, the breathing substance or being, a soul, the inner being of man; a living being; a living being (with life in the blood); the man himself, a self, a person or an individual; the seat of the appetites; the seat of emotions and passions; the activity of mind (uncertain); the activity of the will (uncertain); the activity of the character (uncertain)  נָפַשׁ  Strong's: to breathe; passively, to be breathed upon, i.e. (figuratively) refreshed (as if by a current of air)  BDB: (Niphal) to take a breath, to refresh oneself  trying to translate the depth of emotion involved various translations have rendered מָרַת נָפֶשׁ as “bitterness of soul,” “greatly distressed,” “deep anguish,” “deeply distressed,” “deep depression”  Any, or all of these may be used to try to describe a state of being that can be brought on by loss, hormones, trauma, drugs, demonic activity, etc., or nondescript or unknown causes. Depending on its cause(s) depression can last for minutes or years. Each case needs to be dealt with individually as there are no “stock answers,” but praying for the LORD's guidance, wisdom, and discernment, along with healthy doses of compassion and patience are always in order.  Hannah “prayed to Adonai and cried”  Praying is always best and should be a priority.  For many, crying is a natural, normal way to “de-stress.”  Before Anne and I got married she had me watch a movie with her in which the main character was a woman television reporter with a very stressful job. Every so often she would get a box of tissue, sit in the middle of her bed, and make herself cry as a way of dealing with (and getting rid of) the stress.  While there may not be any one thing “wrong,” a good cry can help “de-stress” and be very cathartic. 11 Then she took a vow; she said, “Adonai-Tzva'ot, if You will notice how humiliated your servant is, if You will remember me and not forget your servant but will give Your servant a male child, than I will give him to Adonai for as long as he lives; and no razor will ever come on his head.”  “then she took a vow” in the Hebrew is וַתִּדֹּר נֶדֶר [vah-ti-dōr neh-dehr]  וַ [vah] commonly prefixed to Hebrew words, ו usually means “and”  תִּדֹּר [ti-dōr] is the Qal (verb form) imperfect 3rd person feminine of נָדַר [nah-dahr] meaning  Strong's: to promise (pos., to do or give something to God)  BDB: to vow, to make a vow; (Qal) to vow a vow  נֶדֶר [neh-dehr] is the noun; the vow itself, or the thing promised  in Hebrew, when two forms of the same word are used right after each other it emphases the point (makes it emphatic)  Adonai-Tzva'ot is often translated LORD of Hosts  Adonai or LORD is a rendering of יהוה , the holy Name of God, sometimes referred to as the tetragrammaton  Tzva'ot or Hosts is a rendering of צְבָאוֹת [tzeh-vah-ōt], plural of צָבָא [tzah-vah] meaning  Strong's: a mass of persons (or figuratively, things), especially reg. organized for was (an army); by implication a campaign, literally or figuratively (specifically, hardship, worship)  BDB: what goes forth, an army, a war, warfare, a host; an army a host (a host (used of an organized army; used of angels); used of sun, moon, and stars; used of whole creation; a war, warfare, service, go out to war; service  “if You will notice” here is another doubling, an emphatic construction, in the Hebrew:  אִם־ רָאֹה תִרְאֶה [im rah-oh tir-eh]  אִם־ is the hypothetical participle  רָאֹה is the Qal infinitive absolute of רָאָה [rah-ah]  תִרְאֶה is Qal imperfect, 2nd person, masculine, singular of רָאָה which means  Strong's: to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitive, intransitive and causative)  BDB: (Qal) to see; to perceive; to have vision; to look at, to see, to regard, to look after, to see after, to learn about, to observe, to watch, to look upon, to look out, to find out; to see, to observe, to consider, to look at, to give attention to, to discern, to distinguish; to look at, to gaze at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 This is one of the great passages dealing with the rapture. The word “rapture” is not in Scripture, but is used to describe a Biblical concept. (The same is true for the word “trinity” – but that is a lesson for another day.) [NOTE: some of the ideas presented here will be challenging to some, but let's remember that the idea of Yeshua returning twice, or one near-coming plus a return, once for part of His bride and again later for the rest of His bride (often called a “pre-tribulation rapture” {popularized by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins in their “Left Behind” novels}, or a “mid-tribulation rapture”) has a questionable biblical basis and no historical basis earlier than the mid-1800s in the United States. The idea that believers will escape tribulation is unknown in most of the world (e.g. North Korea, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Algeria, Libya, Chad, Somalia, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, …..) . How the LORD will work out the final events of history are His prerogative. He alone is Sovereign, Eternal, All-Knowing … . The fulfillment of prophecy can most clearly be seen in retrospect.]  “... Indeed, all who want to live a godly life united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). Consider also:  “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.” (Mt. 24:9)  “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we also have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom. 5:1-3)  “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, 'For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' (Ps 44:22) 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 not height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:35-39)  “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” (Rom. 12:9-13)  “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thes. 1:6) Vs 13 Now, brothers, we want you to know the truth about those who have died; otherwise, you might become sad the way other people 14 do who have nothing to hope for. For since we believe that Yeshua died and rose again, we also believe that in the same way God, through Yeshua, will take with Him those who have died. • the truth of the resurrection of Yeshua gives us a future and a hope; even if these bodies we are in may die 15 When we say this, we base it on the Lord's own word: we who remain alive when the Lord comes will certainly not take precedence over those who have died. • what we say, we base on what the Lord said 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God's shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; 17 then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord. 18 So encourage each other with these words. The culture of the time, and in many places even now, is to go out to meet a dignitary or even a friend, greet them, and escort them back (into your home, etc.) The base word from the original Greek manuscript here is ἀπάντησις [ap-an-te-sis] meaning: Strong's: “a (friendly) encounter” and to “meet” someone. Thayer's: “a meeting” and “to meet one.” Matthew 25:6 “ It was the middle of the night when the cry rang out, 'The bridegroom is here! Go out to meet [ἀπάντησις] him!” And after the five wise bridesmaids met the bridegroom? Matthew 25:10 “... Those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut.” The entire wedding party, family and friends, were with the bride and groom for the duration of the feast. (The bridegroom did not return to the village for the rest of his bride; some part left behind.) The only other use of ἀπάντησις in the B'rit Chadashah (New Testament) is in Acts 28:15, “The brothers there had heard about us and came as far as Appian Market and Three Inns to meet us. When Sha'ul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” As was Yeshua's custom, (and that of other rabbis and Pharisees of the time,) the parable in Matthew 25 is drawn directly from everyday life of Second Temple period Jewish custom. Once a man and woman were betrothed (an engagement that could only be broken by death or divorce), they would separate for a time. The couple was legally considered married, but not allowed to consummate the relationship until their wedding day. We see this custom in Mt. 1:18-19. Miryam (Mary) was engaged / betrothed / pledged to Yosef (Joseph). Before they had come together / were married (before the relationship had been consummated), she was found to be pregnant from the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Yosef, being a righteous man, wanting to do what was right, and not expose her to public shame that would have led to her being stoned to death (Deut. 22:20-21), made plans to break the engagement / divorce / put her away quietly. Because of the “bride price” paid, the betrothed woman would be said to have been “bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20) and would need to be ready at a moment's notice for the return of her bridegroom: she did not know the day or the hour of his return (Mt. 25:13). During this “engagement period” the young man would return to his father's house to build a type of room addition for his bride and future family. He went to prepare a place for her, and would certainly come again. Each son would do this around a common courtyard, so that in the father's house there might be many rooms (Jn. 14:2-3). The groom would work on the project until it passed the father's inspection. No one knew the day or the hour everything would be “checked off” and he would be given the "go ahead" to retrieve his bride: only the father was in the know (Mt. 24:36, Mk. 13:32). Once everything was ready, the father would tell his son, who would, in turn, gather his friends and head to the young woman's house. With the sound of a trumpet (shofar) the bridegroom and his entourage would come (1 Thes. 4:16-18), and every young woman who had been bought with a price would look with anticipation to see if it was their groom coming for them. The bridegroom would come once for his bride who had made herself ready (Rev. 19:6).

by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley

Fasting

~ Fasting ~

~ not partaking, on purpose, for a purpose ~

Ecclesiastes 3:1 – To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

There is a time and purpose to feast and there is a time to fast.

Fast - means to abstain from eating all or certain foods.

~ Fasting involves getting help from the inside out ~

~ Fasting is about starving the flesh and feeding the spirit ~

Daniel 1:8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. Daniel 1:9 And GOD gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, Daniel 1:10 and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, "I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king." Daniel 1:11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Daniel 1:12 "Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Daniel 1:13 Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see." Daniel 1:14 So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. Daniel 1:15 At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food. Daniel 1:16 So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

In the Bible, in the Book of Daniel, chapter one; Daniel and his friends did a type of fast. Daniel fasted from partaking the king’s meat and wine. There are different ideas about why they did this. Some say, because the king’s food was probably not kosher and would therefore render Daniel and friends, as defiled and unclean. Others say, that the king’s food might have been offered to false gods and idols. Maybe it had something to do with health and nutrition. Maybe it had something to do with Daniel not being used to that food in that environment. Maybe it had something to do with their difficult situation and a time of mourning, because they, were captured, taken from their family, taking from their land and turned into eunuchs. Whatever the reason, they chose to eat only vegetables and drink water. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah purposed in their heart, not to eat certain foods, and as the story unfolds, if proved to be very beneficial and a great blessing to them and to others.

~ Fasting can be beneficial and a blessing, emotionally, physically and spiritually ~

Daniel 9:3 And I set my face toward the Lord God, to seek by prayer and holy desires, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes. Daniel 10:2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. Daniel 10:3 I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.

In the Bible, in the Book of Daniel, chapter ten; Daniel fasted and prayed for twenty-one days. During this time, Daniel did not abstain from all food, but purposed not to eat pleasant bread, flesh, drink wine or anoint himself with oil. Apparently, between the timeframe of Daniel chapter one and chapter ten, Daniel had begun to eat meat and drink wine. Some say that Daniel was the first president over many princes and because of that, could now make sure that the king’s food was prepared kosher, healthy, not offered to idols or false gods. That is a possibility. Or, maybe, as time elapsed, Daniel had time to mourn and adjust to the new environment, land and his situation; he was now able to eat freely the meat and wine. In Daniel, chapter ten; Daniel fasted to understand a vision and to chasten himself before God. Chasten – means to abase oneself, to be submissive or to humble oneself. Daniel purposed in his heart to fast and pray.

Some like to refer to a “Daniel Fast”, as a type of fast to abstain from certain foods for a season, set time, in order to obey God, hear God’s voice and keep oneself humbly and submitted to God’s authority and will. So, a “Daniel Fast” is a partial fast. A regular fast would be to abstain from all foods. Usually a fast is for a set apart time, such as a day, three days, seven days or twenty-one days, etc. A one day fast, can be done with no food and no liquids. Usually beyond that, one will need to consume some type of liquid(s) during the fast. Usually going into a longer fast and coming out of a fast should be done carefully and prayerfully. Usually you want to go into a fast by eating lightly before and eating lightly afterward. You don’t want to break a long fast will a huge buffet meal with lots of meat and wine and so forth.

~ Fasting is good for the body and good for the soul ~

Isaiah 58:6 "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Isaiah 58:7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Isaiah 58:8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, Isaiah 58:10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. Isaiah 58:11 And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. In the Bible, in Isaiah chapter fifty-eight; An acceptable fast to the LORD has definite and specific purposes. Fasting should be done to get set free from satan and set free form selfishness. Here in Isaiah, it speaks of many benefits of fasting. We should fast so that we may decrease and the Spirit of GOD within us may increase. Fasting with faith filled fervent prayer will be fast forwarded to the Father. Prayers with fasting will affect many generations to come and give back bone to intercession.

~ Fasting is a powerful tool to bring about powerful results ~

~ Fasting looses wickedness, yokes, bondage, sickness and oppression ~

Matthew 6:16 "And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. Matthew 6:17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, Matthew 6:18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you fast, do it as unto GOD and not unto men. Fast and pray secretly and not for show. Our heavenly Father will reward us publicly for privately abstaining from food for godly purposes. Hypocritical fasting done for prideful self righteous reasons will wreck on the road of reward from the LORD.

~ Fasting will reap rewards ~

Matthew 17:15 Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and grievously vexed; for oftentimes he falls into the fire, and often into the water. Matthew 17:16 And I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him. Matthew 17:17 Then Yeshua answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him here to Me. Matthew 17:18 And Yeshua rebuked the demon, and he departed out of him. And the child was cured from that very hour. Matthew 17:19 Then the disciples came to Yeshua apart, and said, Why could we not cast him out? Matthew 17:20 And Yeshua said to them, Because of your unbelief. For truly I say to you, If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Move from here to there. And it shall move. And nothing shall be impossible to you. Matthew 17:21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. The disciples could not cast out a demon because of their unbelief. Prayer and fasting will increase our faith and belief in GOD. Faith pleases GOD. Unbelief and doubt and demons keep people in bondage. Without Faith it is impossible to please GOD. By praying to GOD, we get to know Him, and getting to know Him, we love Him and trust Him. Trusting God, we move in the miraculous. We should live a fasted life, always prepared for spiritual warfare and always prepared to help set others free. Prayer and fasting will cause us to triumph and overcome during demonic confrontations.

~ Fasting helps faith, that helps us to receive what we need ~

~ Fasting helps put down the flesh and helps faith to arise ~

~ Fasting is a secret weapon of spiritual warfare ~

Luke 4:1 And Yeshua, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness Luke 4:2 forty days, being tempted by the Devil. And in those days He ate nothing. And they being ended, He afterward was hungry. Luke 4:14 And Yeshua returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. And a report went out throughout all the neighborhood concerning Him.

~ Yeshua prayed. Yeshua fasted. ~

Even though Yeshua was the Son of GOD and full of the Holy Spirit, He fasted. Yeshua fasted at one point for forty days. If Yeshua, the Son of GOD, needed to fast, how much more do we need to fast. After Yeshua fasted, He resisted all of the devil’s temptations and was empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13:1 And in Antioch some among the existing church were prophets and teachers. (such as Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, the foster-brother of Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, So, then, separate Barnabas and Saul to Me for the work to which I have called them. Act s13:3 Then having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they let them go.

Before making important decisions, you should fast and pray. When you need to hear from the Holy Spirit, you should fast and pray. After the prophets and teachers fasted, then the Holy Spirit spoke and sent forth Barnabas and Saul.

~ Fasting helps us to hear from GOD more clearly ~

1Samuel 1:7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her. And she wept and did not eat. Hannah wept, prayed and fasted because she had a barren womb. We need to weep, pray and fast for spiritually barren people, for those who have not become children of GOD. After Hannah wept, prayed and fasted, then she received a son.

After we weep, pray and fast, then people will receive the Son of God and be birthed into the kingdom of GOD.

~ Fasting will help bring lost sheep into the Shepherd’s hands ~

Psalm 69:10 When I humbled my soul with fasting, it turned to my reproach.

Our souls, that being, our appetite, desire, lust and pleasure can be chastened meaning, to correct, judged, maintained, rebuked and reproved with fasting. Those who despise and scorn GOD will despise and scorn those who pray and fast to GOD.

Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

~ Fasting helps to humble our lives ~

Abstaining from food for praying purposes should be done by every believer everywhere. Fasting believers will be full of faith and ready for spiritual battle. Fasting believers will be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and strong in resisting temptations.

~ Fasting helps bring about help faster ~

~ Fasting helps put everything in its place ~

~ Fasting helps remove hindrances ~

Leviticus 23:26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Leviticus 23:27 Also, on the tenth of this seventh month, this is a day of atonement. It shall be a holy convocation to you. And you shall afflict your souls and offer a fire offering to the LORD. Levitcus 23:29 For any soul who is not humbled in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.

Have you humbled yourself before the LORD? Have you surrendered your life and work to Him, the Almighty? Have you submitted to His Atonement that He has provided for you? Have you given your life over to Yeshua the Messiah. Have you fasted lately? Do you pray and fast? Are you neglecting your spiritual life? Is your physical appetite out of control? Do you need revival? If so, then do something about it. Spend some time praying and fasting. Crucify the flesh and walk after the Spirit.

James 4:7 Therefore submit yourselves to GOD. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:8 Draw near to GOD, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, double-minded ones. James 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness. James 4:10 Be humbled before the LORD, and He will lift you up.

by Jones Carl Jones

Messiah

~ Messiah ~

~ Messiah is God and Messiah is King ~

~ Messiah is Master Over Everything ~

~ Messiah Rules and Messiah Reigns ~

~ His Great Power Never Wanes ~

~ There is None - greater than He ~

~ Messiah is the Superiority ~

~ Every knee will, one day, bow to Him ~

~ Every mouth will, one day, acknowledge Him ~

~ He died for us upon a tree ~

~ He shed His Blood at Calvary ~

~ He was the Passover Lamb Sacrifice ~

~ He was the Deliverance Freedom Price ~

~ Messiah came to redeem all men ~

~ Messiah came to wash away sin ~

~ Messiah came to mend broken hearts ~

~ He came to give us a brand new start ~

~ He was born of a virgin, a man among men ~

~ He was God in the flesh, a man without sin ~

~ The Word of God tabernacled among us ~

~ Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God with us ~

~ Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Jesus ~

~ God sent His Son, Messiah Yeshua, to save us ~

~ Messiah was born to die and to shed His blood ~

~ He was born to save us from sin’s great flood ~

~ Messiah was spit on, whipped and beat ~

~ Nailed to a cross, both hands and feet ~

~ He cried out, died and stabbed with a spear ~

~ The whole earth shook and onlookers feared ~

~ Messiah was dead and they took Him down ~

~ There was great sorrow and many frowns ~

~ In a stone cold tomb His body did lay ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ But, He came back to Life after three days ~

~ Messiah is Alive, Yes, Alive and Well ~

~ Victorious over death, the grave and hell ~

~ Messiah the Firstfruits, alive from the grave ~

~ Messiah the Victor, The Champion that saves ~

~ He ascended to Heaven and will soon return ~

~ He will set up His Kingdom and satan will burn ~

~ He will return quickly like a thief in the night ~

~ Eliminating evil and establishing what’s right ~

~ The Trumpet will sound and the King will come ~

~ The King of kings, Jesus, Messiah, God’s Son ~

~ Forever and ever The Lamb that was Slain ~

~ Forever and ever - Messiah will Reign ~

by Jones Carl Jones

Bloody Mess

Bloody Mess

Messiah, Savior, Son of God, became a beaten, bruised, bloody mess, so that we can come to Him and rest and take upon His Righteousness.

Isaiah 52:14 Just as many were astonished and stunned at You—so was He marred and disfigured in His appearance, more than any human, and His form beyond that of human semblance— Isaiah 53:4 "Surely he has borne our sufferings and carried our sorrows; yet we considered him stricken, and struck down by God, and afflicted.

Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water; all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. Psalm 22:15 My strength is dried up like broken pottery; my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth, and you have brought me down to the dust of death. Psalm 22:16 For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of those who practice of evil has encircled me. They gouged my hands and my feet. Psalm 22:17 I can count all my bones. They look at me; they stare at me. Psalm 22:18 They divide my clothing among themselves; they cast lots for my clothing!

Isaiah the prophet says that Messiah was messed up and marred more than any man until His appearance was basically beyond identity. Messiah Yeshua, Jesus, bore 39 stripes across His back that left Him bleeding and severely wounded. Each lash of the whip tore the Messiah’s flesh and caused extremely painful sensations. He was a beaten, bruised, bloody mess! They crammed a crown of thorns onto His head, punched Him in the face, mocked Him, ripped out handfuls of hair from His beard and spit on Him. His face was probably swollen and covered with blood. He had been betrayed by one of His own disciples, denied by another disciple and the rest of His disciples left Him and the crowd of people cried out for Him to be crucified. Talk about a very bad day!!! But remember, Messiah was not a victim, but rather a victorious volunteer! He knew what was in store for Himself before it happened, but He moved by great love, went ahead and suffered through it all so that He would be able to deliver us, set us free from sin, satan and hell. He loves us with an incredible great love. His love knew no limits. Hallelujah! He became a bloody mess so that He could deliver us out of our sinful mess. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Messiah took upon Himself all of the sins of the whole world, past present and future. That is a whole bunch of ugly sin! Messiah became a curse, because it is written cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree. He became a curse so He could redeem us from the curse. When Messiah was hanging up there on that cross, it was not a pretty sight. It was not something that you would like to hang around your neck on a necklace as a pretty decoration. He was hurting, bleeding and dying. He was bruised, beaten and broken. When they hammered those big nails into His hands and feet, I know that could not have felt too good. What a bloody mess! But this was all part of God’s plan before the foundation of the world. This should be a reminder to us of how much God loves us and a reminder of how much God hates sin! God really hates sin! God does not take sin lightly. Sin is a serious problem. God was willing to have His only begotten Son killed and murdered so that the power of sin could be broken. The wages of sin is death! God’s only Son was the medicine the world needed for their sin sickness. When you are tempted to sin, remember the price that was paid for you. Messiah had to become a bloody mess in order to get you out of your mess. Don’t count that blood lightly. We can rest and be at peace with God through Messiah. We can enter a new life of rest from sin and sorrow. We can enter a new life of rest and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Messiah has paid the price for us to be delivered, forgiven and set free! We need to believe and receive! This is the ultimate rest and refreshing everyone needs to experience. Through the shed blood of Messiah, we can become right with God and forgiven from all sin. Messiah took upon Himself our sin. When we put our faith in Him, we take upon ourselves His righteousness. We give Him our sin and in return He gives to us righteousness and eternal life. That is a really good deal! That is good news.

2Corinthians 5:21 For He has made Him (Messiah) who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

1Peter 2:24 "He himself bore our sins" in His body on the tree, so that we might die to those sins and live righteously. "By His wounds you have been healed and made whole."

Messiah, Savior, Son of God, became a beaten, bruised, bloody mess, so that we can come to Him and rest and take upon His Righteousness.

by Jones Carl Jones

Rewards

< Rewards >

Messiah came once and He will come again -

Soon He’ll return and from heaven He’ll ascend -

Are you ready for that day and ready for that hour -

Are you ready to see Messiah in His awesome power -

Don’t get caught living in sin or living in strife -

Don’t get caught up in the affairs of this life -

Only one life and it soon will pass -

Only what’s done for Messiah will last -

We’ll stand before Him and give an account -

He’ll give out awards in different amounts -

Rewards will be given for what we have done -

Some rewarded much and some hardly none -

Messiah loves us all and wants us all blessed -

So give Him your best and give nothing less -

The life you live is no dress rehearsal -

What has been done. . . . has been done -

What has been said. . . . has been said -

Only Messiah’s blood can cleanse -

Only Messiah’s blood can forgive -

No reincarnation and no purgatory -

These are just false devilish stories -

There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun -

There is a life to live and work to be done -

Live your life like the Lord wants you to -

Walk in love and do what He would do –

And when it’s over and your life is through –

You will have many rewards waiting for you –

2Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah, so that each one may receive the things done through the body, according to that which he has done, whether good or bad.

Revelation 22:12 And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each according as his work is.

by Carl e Jones

Running with the Wind

~ Running with the Wind ~

Some run fast and some run slow

Some run steady, some stop and go

Some run wild and some run astray

Some run off course and get eaten by prey

Some run with the world and run with sin

Sin ruins their run and their victory ends

All run the course and most want to win

But winners are those that run with the Wind

Not the wind of this world with its fading fads

Not the winds of nature with weather that’s bad

Not winds of fame, money or riches

Not winds of drugs, warlocks or witches

But a Mighty rushing Wind form heaven above

A Wind that descends like a beautiful dove

An invisible Wind that you can not see

A wind that blows holy and righteously

The Holy Spirit of God, the Wind of the Lord

The Mighty Holy Ghost, the Breath of the Word

The Wind of God gives Strength and power

The Wind makes conquerors out of cowards

God’s strong Wind will show you the way

The Wind will lead you and help you each day

Run with the Wind that blows holy and pure

Run with the Wind that flows steady and sure

To run with the Wind is what you need

For in running with the Wind, you will succeed

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

by Carl e Jones

Prayer

Prayer Poem

Prayer is a mighty weapon. Prayer is a mighty tool. Prayer makes things happen. To not do it, I'd be a fool.

You'll Pray, if you care. You'll pray, if you dare. Your problems to share. Your burdens to bear.

God is listening for you. Are you talking to Him? He delights to help you. Are you trusting in Him?

You have not. . . because you ask not. So ask and believe. Believe and recieve.

Be patient and wait. Don't give up in haste. God is very great. And He is never late.

Prayer makes hell quake.Prayer makes satan shake. Prayer makes bondage break. Prayer makes demons ache.

Go ahead and do not delay. Go ahead and make God's day. Go ahead and begin to pray. Pray, believe and receive today.

'

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

Proverbs 15:8 The prayer of the upright is God's delight.

Prayer to the believer should be like water to a fish. We should be living lives of prayer. Time spent in prayer is time well spent.

by Jones Carl Jones