The Conference begins tonight!

 

The facility is set up now for the conference.  Many volunteers have worked hard to get everything set up!

This week’s Parasha is Parashat Beresheet.  Since we have just celebrated Simchat Torah Shemeni Atzeret, it is now time to begin the cycle anew in the reading of the Torah.  Here is a brief commentary on the Torah portion by Baruch.

Parashat B’reisheet (In the beginning) Genesis 1:1-6:8

Haftarah: Isaiah 42:5-43:10

From this week’s Torah portion, we are going to learn a very important principle of Biblical interpretation. Last week I was speaking to a very nice individual who pointed out that on the second day of creation there is no statement that, “G-d saw that it was good“, as was stated on the other days of creation. This person wanted to know my thoughts on this matter. I responded that I would look into the Scriptures and respond at a later time. A few days later a different person posed the same question. However this time this individual had a very detailed reason and interpretation for why the phrase “G-d saw that it was good” was not included on the second day of creation.

This interpretation sounded very much like some of the Chassidic interpretations which I heard on other matters. Although his words were interesting, the fact of the matter is that his views were pure speculation. His thoughts were actually not his own but what his spiritual leader had taught in a lecture. Now however, they were received by my friend as a Scriptural doctrine that if one did not accept, he would be labeled as Biblically in error. Many religious movements have their origins in such “mystical” interpretations which cause the messenger of such doctrines to be viewed as a unique receiver of Biblical revelation and the leader of the true followers of G-d.

A well-known Scripture that I frequently turn to was stated by Shimon (Peter),

Knowing this first, that all prophecy of Scripture, (upon) one’s own interpretation, should not based.” 2 Peter 1:20

In other words, interpretation of Scripture must be based in that particular text with assistance from other Scripture, and not have its basis in the opinions of an individual or of a group of people.

On this Shabbat, as we begin to read the Torah again, let each person strive to understand its revelation based upon the clues located in the text and not in the imaginations of human intellect. There are rules for interpreting Scripture and a most worthy use of time is to learn the laws of exegesis and hermeneutics. If these terms are unfamiliar to you, invest the time to master the methodology of these two disciplines. You will most certainly find the Scriptures speaking to you in a much clearer manner.

Advertisements

The Anticipation Builds!

2014-10-16-22-01-14

This is the scene at our conference location today.  All the preparations are being made for another great conference!  Almost 600 people have signed up.

People are beginning to arrive in Orlando in preparation for the Seventh Annual LoveIsrael.org Conference.  We are looking forward to a time of deep Bible study, worship and fellowship.

First Day in Orlando

img_2295

Baruch, myself, and Claud Bowers, owner of Superchannel 55 in Central Florida

Today Baruch and I arrived in Orlando.  We went to the studio at Superchannel 55, where Claud Bowers, the owner, interviewed Baruch for his talk show.  We are very blessed to have our television program aired there on Monday evenings at 7:30pm.

Baruch was interviewed about our work, prophecy, and our conference this weekend.  Mr. Bowers was very kind and went out of his way to promote our conference and gave a testimonial of his attending our conference last year.

They also touched on topics including the Septuagint, the state of Christianity, our lifestyle in Israel, and the coming one world government.  The point was made that a one world government and a strong America cannot coexist.  We are at a crossroads in the United States and we should be very concerned about the direction we are headed.

Mr. Bowers and his staff at the television station have been committing to a Fasting Friday, where they are committed to fasting and praying for the United States.

We look forward very much to the conference.  If you are planning to attend, leave a comment about what you are looking forward to most.  Blessings…

Shemini Atzeret and an Update

img_2205

Shemini Atzeret is confusing to a lot of people.  It is NOT part of Sukkot.  Because it is called the “Eighth Day Assembly”, it is assumed that it is the eighth day of Sukkot.  That is not the case.  The Bible is not specific about what this day is for, except to say that Shemini Atzeret is a day of convocation.  Within Israel, this is just one day and it is also Simchat Torah.  Outside of Israel, it is for 2 days and the second day is Simchat Torah.  But, since we are Israeli citizens who happen to be outside of Israel, we only are required to observe it one day (yesterday).

Today we are in New York and we will be traveling to Orlando tomorrow to prepare for our conference.  We are very excited for the event, but ask that you would pray for some families who were going to attend.  One attendee, a friend of ours for many years, passed away just a week ago, but she had been planning to come.  Let’s pray for her family. Another wonderful family lost a daughter/sister who was still in her 30s.  Finally, I received an email today from someone whose dear, close cousin passed away.  As we plan to study the great writings of Paul, let us also remember those who are hurting at this time.

If you are signed up to attend the conference, leave me a message telling me what you are looking forward to the most!  See you soon!

Shabbat Shalom!

 

img_2267

This is the Sukkah constructed by the National Park Service at the Qumran site.

Here is a special commentary from Baruch on this week’s Torah portion, which is special.

Parashat Chol HaMoed Succot (Feast of Tabernacles)

Torah Reading: Exodus 33:12-34:26        Maftir: Numbers 29:20-22                                Haftarah: Ezekiel 38:18-39:16

This Shabbat is the Shabbat during the Feast of Tabernacles (Succot). This holiday period has great significance in regard to the Kingdom. Jewish tradition associates the entrance into a succah (booth) like the entrance into the Kingdom of G-d. Most of you who hear this would take great exception to such a statement. Nearly anyone can walk into a succah, while only those who are believers in the Gospel of Messiah Yeshua will enter into the Kingdom. This represents a big difference. You are right. The point is that not just anyone who walks into a succah will be in the Kingdom; rather the message is that one should enter into a succah recognizing his or her absolute dependence on G-d’s grace. The succah was a temporary structure and represented one’s life in this world. In the same way that the succah was really insufficient for the forty years in the wilderness, but in the same way that one’s clothes and shoes did not wear out, so too did HaShem cause the succah to last until it was time to enter into the Land of Promise. This was a result of the grace of G-d and only afforded to those who trusted and recognized their dependence upon G-d.

It is very appropriate for followers of Messiah Yeshua to build a succah for the Feast of Tabernacles. Please note that it is impossible today to make the required sacrifices that the Torah demanded for the Feast of Tabernacles without a Temple and a functioning Priesthood. For the sake of this article, let us set aside the question of whether one should make such offerings even if there were today a Temple and a functioning Priesthood. Also, one should be aware that the only place that one could observe this Festival was in Jerusalem. My message to you is that despite all the impossibilities of observing the Festival as the Scripture instructed, one can have a great spiritual experience building a succah52 and studying the Biblical truth surrounding this Festival and applying this truth to one’s life. Being unaware of the Scriptural truth concerning this Festival or any of the Biblical Festivals makes it more difficult to understand the Biblical Yeshua. For example, understanding the Feast of Tabernacles provides the reader with greater insight into John chapters 6-7.

Marking the Feast of Succot and exploring its message can assist one in being prepared for life in the Kingdom. Recently I spoke to a Christian leader who called such Festivals unfitting for New Covenant believers and tied to legalism. This conversation took place as he was discussing with his staff his church’s observance for October 31st. I asked him why they were having a special event on that date. He responded because of Halloween. We want to give our children an alternative. I came to find that this alternative was dressing in “appropriate” costumes and eating candy and a party with Christian music. I remarked, why not teach your children and adults about a Biblical Festival that Yeshua observed and how the New Covenant relates it to a particular time in Yeshua’s life? Why not teach them about an observance that all those in the Millennial Kingdom will observe with Yeshua (See Zechariah chapter 14)? His response was again that I am legalistic and tied to the old and they have the freedom to do as they please.

Sometimes speaking to brothers and sisters in the L-rd can be frustrating.

Masada

 

2014-10-07-11-29-32

A view from the top of Masada.

On Tuesday, we went to Masada with a very diverse group of people, many who didn’t know each other prior to that morning.

One of the places we went was Masada.  Most of you are probably familiar with the history of this place.  It is situated in the hills of the Judean Desert, by the Dead Sea.  The surroundings are very stark.  Masada is always a meaningful place for me, as I contemplate the future events which believers in Yeshua will have to endure prior to the Rapture.  We will not suffer the wrath of G-d, but we will endure persecution from the enemy for our faith.

We had some great conversations that day; many people have heard false teaching and Baruch was able to share important Biblical truths.

Let’s pray that our faith will be strengthened so that we can endure to the end.

What are the Lulav and Etrog?

Pictured above are the etrog (in the box on left and out of the box in right photo) and the other 3 species (palm branch, myrtle and willow) not put together.

The lulav is comprised of the 3 species listed above, bound together.  Many merchants will include a little “holder” made out of woven palm leaves.  As you can see in the picture below, it has 2 pockets.  The palm branch goes in the middle and the 3 myrtles go in the right side pocket and the two willows in the left pocket.

img_2271

There is a blessing to be said each day of the holiday before the waving of the lulav and etrog.  In English it is, “Blessed are You, O L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us by His commandments and commanded us to take up (wave) the lulav.  There is an additional prayer on the first day, which says, “Blessed are You, O L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, for having kept us alive and sustained us, and enabled us to reach and enjoy this day.”

The waving of the lulav and etrog is in 6 directions–north, south, east, west, up and down.  This symbolizes that G-d’s presence is everywhere.

Chag Sameach!