Purim Sameach!

IMG_4624

Hamentashen from our neighborhood bakery.  The sign on the left says “rosemary” and the sign on the right says “nuts”.

We want to wish you a very Happy Purim and encourage you to read the account of Esther.  Purim falls on March 1st this year.

Baruch has written a little article about Purim, which I am posting here.  Enjoy!

Purim 5778

Many believers in the Messiah do not place the proper significance on the holiday which is found in the book of Esther. This special day occurs on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month of the Hebrew calendar, exactly one month before Passover. This festival day is called Purim, which means lots. It refers to the fact that wicked Haman casted lots to find the time to destroy the Jewish people. Throughout history, there have been many individuals like Haman, who made it their objective to remove the Jewish people from this world. Why is anti-Semitism so common? The answer is because there has been, there is and there will be Satanic influence in this world until the Messiah establishes His Kingdom. In fact, the worst time of anti-Semitism is yet to be. The prophet Daniel reveals that the worst suffering for the Jewish people is the time immediately before the final redemption (see Daniel 12:1).

Satan hates the Jewish people because he knows that G-d has placed upon them a call to be His instrument of blessing. As Paul stated, “the gifts and calling of G-d are irrevocable” (see Romans 11:29) and therefore Satan knows that if he can destroy the Jewish people, the world will not be blessed, i.e. the Kingdom will not be established.

In the book of Esther, it is Mordechai the Jew who hears a plot to kill the king. Mordechai reported this to the proper authorities and it was investigated and found to be true and the two conspirators were hung. Immediately thereafter, the king who Mordechai saved, made an agreement with the wicked Haman to destroy the Jewish people. It would have been easy for Mordechai to think that he had made an error by saving the king’s life. Perhaps, if the king had been killed, then this agreement would not have taken place. Mordechai never thought this. He knew that it is always right to do the right thing.

There is wisdom for us in this way of thinking. A person does not know the future and the one who tries to anticipate what will be is usually very wrong. Therefore, do the right thing always and leave the outcome to the L-rd.

Although Mordechai did in fact save the king, he initially received nothing for this deed. What if the two men were successful and the king was killed? Perhaps the new administration would have looked at Mordechai as a loyalist of the old government and he too would have been put to death. Here again, it is not wise to think too much about the consequences of one’s actions, because one does not know the future. True wisdom behaves according to the truth of G-d and trusts that in the end, doing the right thing will lead to godly results.

It has already been stated that initially Mordechai received nothing for his proper behavior, and in reality the king was never told about Mordechai. Mordechai could have become angry and felt disrespected. Such attitudes are not productive and not the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Do the right thing, not because you are expecting something in return, but in order to honor G-d.

When reading through the book of Esther, one learns that eventually the king found out  about Mordechai’s righteous deed and did reward him. This occurred at just the right time. In fact, it was immediately prior to wicked Haman going to request from the king that Mordechai be put death, that Mordechai’s deed was made known to the king. One could say that Mordechai’s saving the king actually ended up saving himself. Furthermore, it allowed Mordechai to be positioned to alert the other Jews about this plan and gather them to fast and pray about the situation. In the end, Mordechai became very similar to Joseph in Egypt, second in the kingdom only to the king, but the one who in actuality was administrating the Empire.

I hope you see that it is doing the right thing that results in the Holy Spirit positioning the believer where he or she can be of greater service unto the L-rd. Never spend time deciding whether or not to do the right thing. Simply do it immediately, before one of Satan’s tools can deceive you. What is that tool? It is our rational mind. The right thing is usually not derived from how we think, but is the outcome of the revelation of G-d. Remember what king Solomon taught in the book of Proverbs— The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the L-rd (see Proverbs 9:10).

Another important truth found in the book of Esther is how many small things that were done, ended up having some very significant consequences. Similarly, one learns that G-d was at work in the situation for the benefit of His people, long before there was any visible evidence of this that the Jewish people could detect. Once again, it is important that we trust in G-d to be faithful even when we at first do not see any signs of His faithfulness.

We are entering a time of an increase in anti-Semitism in the world. Another Hamam is certainly going to rise up. How will believers respond? Although there were exceptions, most of the church failed miserably during the Holocaust. Today there is a growing trend in “Christian” theology to want to remove the role of the Jewish people from G-d’s purposes in the last days. For example, there is an organization called the Gospel Coalition.  This is a fellowship of evangelical churches in the Reformed tradition. I strongly disagree with Reformed theology and believe that its basic tenets are very dangerous. The Gospel Coalition believes that “The earthly Jerusalem is no longer central in God’s purposes.” They state that they look forward to a new heaven and a new earth, i.e. the New Jerusalem. I do too, but one must not forget the Millennial Kingdom which Yeshua (Jesus) will rule from for a thousand years. A major problem with many in Christianity is that they tend to ignore or deny outright the Millennial Kingdom. They also tend to be prophetically illiterate and do not know what the prophets reveal in the last days and how indeed Jerusalem and the Land of Israel in general will play a Major Role in the G-d’s plans and purposes.

In an article by the Gospel Coalition entitled, “7 Reasons Christians Are Not Required to Tithe” by Thomas Schreiner, on March 28, 2017, he writes, “Abraham isn’t heir of the land of Israel, but the whole world (Roman. 4:13).” The problem is that this promise will not be fulfilled until the Jewish people are back in the Land of Israel and Israel’s borders are enlarged. Dr. Schreiner states the conclusion, but ignores the events that must take place for the end results to be realized. It is like ignoring the Cross and only speaking of the Resurrection.

Purim falls on March first this year. I strongly recommend reading the book of Esther and giving financial gifts to the poor and baskets of food to friends and family to celebrate this festival day which proclaims the faithfulness of the L-rd G-d of Israel. Shalom

Advertisements

Trip Recap

IMG_4737

One of the sessions on the book of Jeremiah at the school in Singapore.

We made it home to Israel this morning.  It is always good to land at Ben Gurion airport!  The trip to Singapore was such a blessing and very fruitful.  We arrived on Wednesday and had 2 meetings that day and evening.  We met with a pastor of a large congregation and we spoke about how we can work together to further the Gospel.

Over the course of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we met with people from Singapore, China, Malaysia and Indonesia about using Baruch’s teaching in their theological schools.  The organization Baruch taught for this trip has schools in 10 different countries, 9 of them are in Asia and 1 is in Africa.  Some of the countries we cannot go to since we are Israeli citizens, but they are very anxious for us to come to the other countries for Baruch to teach.

We praise G-d for the opportunity to share sound Bible teaching around the world.  Being able to equip Bible students will multiply the results, as they in the future reach many more people with their own ministries.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Views from our trip:  Hong Kong and Singapore.

While in Singapore, we also visited one of the synagogues and learned more about the Jewish community there.  We learned that the Jewish community formed in the 1800s from Baghdad Jews who fled persecution from the Ottoman empire.  Today, there are approximately 2,500 Jews living in Singapore.

Here are pictures from inside the synagogue and outside of the Jewish community center:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Jewish Community Center is next to the synagogue.  The exterior of the synagogue was covered with scaffolding due to renovations.  Below are pictures of the Bet HaMidrash which is housed inside the Community Center.

 

Shabbat Shalom!

IMG_4705

Decorations for the Chinese New Year.

Last night was the first set of sessions for the class Baruch is teaching.  It went very well and the students were very eager to learn.  The book of Jeremiah is many times not studied by Bible students, so this is a great opportunity for them to study one of the prophets.

I plan to post pictures from the sessions on Sunday.  We want to wish you all a wonderful Shabbat and ask for prayer for the people taking this class who are preparing to be leaders in ministry.

Below is a brief commentary by Baruch on this week’s Torah Portion, Parashat Tetzaveh.

Parashat Tetzaveh (You shall command) Exodus 27:20-30:10

This week’s Torah reading teaches about the Kohanim (Priests) and their garments. In the midst of the parashah one reads,

And you shall take from the blood which is upon the altar and from the anointing oil and you shall sprinkle upon Aaron and his garments and upon his sons and upon the garments of his sons with him and he and his garments and his sons and his sons’ garments shall be holy with him.” Exodus 29:21

This verse is in the section of Scripture that deals with inaugurating the Kohanim for service. It is very significant that both blood and anointing oil are mentioned here. By means of the work of Messiah Yeshua, believers become a type of priesthood (See 1 Peter 2:9). It is important to note that the blood is not just any type of blood; but the text states that the blood must be taken from the altar. This means the source of the blood is from a sacrifice and therefore the blood is for the purpose of atonement. The idea here is that the priests could not serve HaShem until two things happened. First, the priests needed to come into contact with the blood. This contact involved both their garments and themselves, “…you shall sprinkle upon Aaron and his garments“. In other words, until one receives the blood of atonement, he is not able to serve G-d. The fact that both the priests and their garments received the blood informs the reader that not only does the atonement affect the person, but also one’s deeds (Scripture often mentions garments when symbolically referring to deeds or works). Secondly, the priests needed to be anointed with oil. Just like garments often refer to deeds or actions, oil refers to the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This means that an individual is incapable of serving G-d until first he is cleansed by the blood of Messiah Yeshua and secondly anointed with the Holy Spirit.

The verse concludes with revealing to the reader that after atonement and anointing the person becomes Holy. In this context, the concept of holy is referring to being set apart for a specific purpose. Most of you who read this weekly article have already received by faith the redemptive blood of Yeshua and therefore are recipients of the Holy Spirit. The problem is that some of you have not realized that these two experiences have prepared you for service. Believers tend to walk through their lives without purpose. They fulfill their normal obligations of work, family, etc. but never really pursue the calling that a salvation experience brings about in each and every believer.

It is most significant that the Hebrew word for priest כהן is derived from a word which relates to service. As part of a royal priesthood, believers are called to serve. Obviously the giftedness that the Holy Spirit imparts to the believer is central in determining how one should serve G-d. What gift(s) have you received? This Shabbat, why not concentrate on I Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4:11-12 and pray to discover how you have been equipped to edify the body of Messiah.

In Singapore

 

We made is safely to Singapore yesterday.  We were greeted by a friendly face, a couple we’ve know for some years now lives in Singapore, and the wife graciously met us at the airport.  It was very nice to see her!

We then went to a meeting with a pastor and his wife, who are interested in partnering perhaps in some way, to get the Word out to as many people as possible.  They truly have hearts for the world and are gracious and kind people.

We then went to another get together, where Baruch taught a Bible study and we were able to meet some wonderful people.  We are enjoying the gracious people of Singapore very much.  This is our first time ever to this part of the world.

This afternoon we have a meeting with leaders from the Bible school where Baruch will begin teaching the short course this evening.

Tomorrow we have another meeting to discuss opportunities for outreach and then Baruch will continue teaching at the Bible school.

The Jewish populations dates back to the 1800s when Baghdadi Jews immigrated here as a result of persecution by the Ottoman Empire.  These were traders who did business with Calcutta and Singapore, which at the time were both ruled by the British.  There has been a continual presence of the Jewish people here since then.

In recent years, the Jewish population has actually grown and now numbers around 2,500.

One of our goals for this trip is to make individuals and institutions aware of our work and the resources we have available.  We would like to see Baruch’s teaching used by home groups, churches and schools of various levels to deepen the understanding and faith of believers here and around the world.

Shavuah Tov!

IMG_0711

Tel Beersheva (ancient) in the foreground with present-day Beersheva in the background.

Last night we studied the end of Isaiah 19 and all of Isaiah 20 at our study center.  We discussed the fact that (v. 19) in the last days “there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan (Hebrew), and swear to the L-rd of hosts; only one of the five shall be called the city of destruction.”  If one reads carefully in the book of Exodus, only 20 percent of the Jewish people actually came out of Egypt. But in the last days, 80 percent will be saved.  We also know that the land of Israel will expand her borders  into Egypt in the South and into Assyria in the North, as  promised by G-d.

It would be hard for the average person today, especially those without faith, to know that in the future the borders of Israel will expand!  This, as the world leaders seek to take land away from Israel. Please pray for Israel today.  There is so much pressure on her leaders to give in to policies which are against the Word of G-d.  Even this past Friday night and Saturday night, there were several rockets shot into southern Israel. These rockets typically cause these world leaders to demand that Israel make foolish concessions, all for an empty promise that in doing so Israel will find peace.

The 20th chapter of Isaiah scolds Israel for trusting in an alliance with Egypt and Ethiopia (Cush) as the threat of an Assyrian attacked loomed ever closer. Israel chose unwisely to rely on the two nations, instead of trusting in G-d as the prophet Isaiah was exhorting. What ended up happening? Assyria took control of both Egypt and Ethiopia and the promise of help from them never materialized. Israel also forgot her call to bless other nations with the truth of G-d; rather, than expecting them to come to their assistance.

Prophecy is so relevant today and wise people study the message of the prophets so as to be prepared for the end times. May our L-rd grant you a blessed week. Shavuah Tov!

Shabbat Shalom!

This week’s Parasha is parashat Terumah.  Below is a brief commentary by Baruch on this Torah portion.

In this week’s Torah portion, there is a verse that summarizes the will of G-d. One reads,

And they will make for Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst.” Exodus 25:3

An interesting question concerning this verse is “Why is the subject in the third person plural (They)?” It seems more logical that the verse should read, and you shall make for Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell in your midst. The reason for the use of the third person plural is to reveal to the reader that not all of Israel will participate in the building of the Sanctuary. Earlier in the chapter, when Moses is commanded to speak to the Children of Israel about making a donation for the purpose of constructing the Tabernacle, the text states, “everyone whose heart desires to give.”

HaShem does not force Himself upon a person; rather, He calls or invites people to enter into a relationship with Him. There is enough evidence in the created world for all people to know that there is a Creator, i.e. G-d. This being the case, one should seek Him. Even those on a remote island, who have never had contact with the rest of the world, can understand there is a G-d. When one begins to seek HaShem, He will be faithful to reveal Himself and His Son. He may use a person or He may supernaturally reveal Himself to one who has never even seen a Bible in his language, if he can even read. The point is G-d is a righteous Judge and those who seek Him sincerely; He will get the truth to them (Please see Proverbs 8:17).

The problem which I have is with individuals who doubt the faithfulness of G-d and therefore believe that it is necessary to change the truth of the Gospel. Such people say that those who never heard the Gospel have an acceptable excuse. I have even met a person who shies away from giving the Gospel to the lost, because he does not want to make them accountable for having heard it.

The time is short! People need to hear the message of salvation. Please join with me in making a new commitment to be much more conscious and bold in sharing the only truly good news, that Yeshua is the Savior. For when one shares Him with a lost individual, he or she is fulfilling the commandment of making a Sanctuary for HaShem to dwell with them.

Back in the Land

IMG_4667

Baruch and I returned home safely today, thankful for getting the next set of Hebrews lessons taped in Romania.

Today Baruch had a meeting with a friend who works in outreach as well and then he taped a Genesis video.  We are very grateful for all of the positive comments and encouragement concerning these teachings.

Tomorrow Baruch has more taping to do and then we will enjoy Shabbat.  Saturday night, as usual, we will have our study at the Study Center and then our “Midnight from Jerusalem” Live Stream.

Sunday, we leave for Singapore, where Baruch will be teaching a short course on prophecy at a Bible School.  This will be a new opening for LoveIsrael.org and we want to maximize the exposure in Asia.  Our television show is broadcast throughout Asia on Daystar and GOD TV.