Shabbat Shalom!

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This week’s parasha is Parashat Vayeishev.  This portion covers Genesis 37:1-40:23.  Here is a brief commentary from Baruch.

There are many hints in the Hebrew Bible that point to the work of the Messiah in an unmistakable manner. In this week’s Torah portion, one encounters such a hint to how King Messiah was prophesied to be our sacrifice for sin. Even though the Messiah will come from the tribe of Judah, it is clear that Joseph’s life personified Yeshua in many different ways. Not only was Yeshua rejected by His people, as Joseph was rejected by his brothers, there is another interesting clue concerning Messiah in this week’s parashah.

After his brothers put Joseph in a pit and then raised him out of it, which signifies the resurrection, one reads about an interesting thing they did to Joseph’s coat. This coat is emphasized in this Scriptural passage. It is called literally a coat with stripes. This is the same terminology which is found in the book of 2 Samuel in regard to Tamar. There, this garment is called a royal garment. Hence, it is very significant that Jacob gave precisely to Joseph a royal garment. Remember that the word Messiah relates to King. The reader is further told that the brothers did something with this royal garment.

And they took the tunic of Joseph and slaughtered a goat (like the ones which were used at Passover and Yom Kippur- The Day of Atonement) and they dipped the tunic in the blood.”   Genesis 37:31

Some scholars understand this sacrifice as relating to the offering for the brothers’ sin against Joseph. In addition, one must understand that ultimately the brothers were rebelling against G-d’s will.  The dreams of Joseph which so angered his brothers were really revealing to them how HaShem was going to use Joseph.

It is important for one to remember two things. One is that garments in the Scriptures relate to one’s deeds and the second thing is that Joseph personified Yeshua. In other words, this verse informs the reader that King Messiah would be the sacrifice which would atone for sin as the Yom Kippur sacrifice did and which would bring about redemption, as the Passover sacrifice accomplished.

A great deal of truth in one little verse. This should motivate us to prayerfully study every verse of Scripture.

 

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A New Little Video Today

Today has been a busy day.  I spoke to Baruch and he is on his way home.  It is not a direct flight and the whole trip home is taking about 18 hours, from Finland to Tel Aviv!

Friday night Baruch will be speaking at a Messianic congregation in Jerusalem.  We will come home after Shabbat and go to our study center for the weekly meeting and then have the Live Stream.

Today I taped a new video.  I just wanted to tell a little bit about myself and also deal with “ואהבת לרעך כמוך”, love your neighbor as yourself.  These videos are just to present a short nugget of something to think about.

On Tuesday night, Baruch and I head to the U.S. for about 12 days.  We will be in Murphy, NC; Marietta, GA; Dothan, AL; McDonald, TN; and North Augusta, SC (greater Augusta, GA area).  The specifics should be up on our website within the next day or so.  But in the meantime, here are the first few engagements:

Dec. 5.        7:00 PM.    Broken Shells Ministry, 115 Tennessee Street, Murphy, NC

Dec. 6.        6:30 PM.  Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, Room 108, 955 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, GA. 30068

Dec. 7-8       5 Sessions:  1 Friday night/2 Shabbat morning/Lunch/2 Shabbat afternoon, 2026 Campbellton Highway, Dothan, AL

The complete list will be posted on the LoveIsrael.org website.

New Chanukah Article

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Chanukah, A Festival for the Kingdom

As followers of Messiah Yeshua, we are called to live a life similar to His. In fact, He instructed us to take up our cross and follow Him. This statement reveals that as believers, we are called to live in what Judaism calls מסירות נפש. This term literally means “turning over the soul”, and its intention is delivery of one’s life for the purposes of G-d. Living a sacrificial life is not the exception, but should be the norm for all believers. Such a willingness to deny oneself and pursue the will of G-d certainly describes the Maccabbees during the brutal rule of Greek leader Antiochus Epiphanes.

The Jewish people were forced to assimilate, abandoning the commandments of G-d, and embracing the pagan practices of the Greeks. Most of Jewish individuals accepted this situation, seeing no other alternatives. Their focus was on survival. Such a perspective is logical, but is devoid of our spiritual responsibility. We are not called to behave logically, but obediently!

As I set down to write this Chanukah article, we are not in Israel; rather we are concluding a time in Asia. We visited three different Asian countries, each so very different from our home in Israel. It is hard to gather thoughts about Chanukah, remembering the atrocities committed against the Jewish people, in place so far removed and different from the Land of Israel. One of these countries, which I will not name, is experiencing significant change, especially for those who are believers. Freedom to practice one’s commitment to Yeshua and share his or her faith with others is being severely limited. There is no doubt in my mind that in the very near future there will be bloodshed in this country for those who live obediently to the will of G-d as revealed in the Scriptures. Such persecution is growing in numerous other places throughout the world.

In light of this, we can learn from the Maccabees and their behavior during the barbaric rule of Antiochus. The Maccabees were a priestly family that led a revolt against the Hellenistic practices forced upon the Jewish people. Their leader, Matityahu ben Yochanan (Mattathias), was killed early in this revolt. This fact teaches us an important lesson. One should be ready to die for his or her faith. A faith for which one is not willing to die, is not true faith in the teachings of Messiah Yeshua. The revolt of the Maccabees was not at first against the Greeks; rather it was against their fellow Jews who faithlessly chose to accept the changes that the government imposed.

When looking at the theological positions of believers today and the congregations they attend, there are some alarming trends. Worship has changed drastically over the last two decades and clearly reflects a desire to be pleasing to man and not G-d. The vast majority of songs which are sung in believing congregations are focused on what G-d has done for the individual; instead of praising Him for Who He is. Many of the psalms of course thank G-d for His mighty acts, yet there is an emphasis on exalting Him for His excellent greatness! It is very significant that the Maccabees were a priestly family. G-d set apart the tribe of Levite and the sons of Aaron to serve Him in an unique way. The sons of Aaron were the priests and they were responsible to lead the rest of the Children of Israel to worship HaShem (the G-d of Israel). Judaism teaches that it is G-d Who is the very life of the Jewish people. The New Covenant states something most similar,

When the Messiah shall be manifested, your life then also, you with Him, will appear in Glory” Colossians 3:4

The intent of this verse is to inform the reader that it is only when Yeshua returns that the believer will experience true life and this life is with Him. Hence,  what one experiences in this present world should not be the focus of the believer. Rather our focus should be on influencing others while in this world to behave in manner consistent with the revelation of G-d.

Chanukah is not only called the Feast of Dedication, but also the Festival of Light. Obviously, the emphasis on light is due to the miracle of the oil in lighting the menorah. However, an additional reason is given by the sages. They state that the Maccabees’ action in resisting those who demanded G-d’s covenant people turn from His truth provided illumination, I.e. light to their fellow Jews. The ability to provide light to others does not originate within oneself, for Yeshua is the light of the world. This fact does not only mean that without His presence in our life we cannot behave in a way that manifest His truth to others, but also we will not have the assurance to stand in faithfulness in spite of intense persecution. Notice the confidence of King David who said,

The L-rd is my light and my salvation, from whom will I fear?” Psalm 27:1

When one truly knows G-d by means of His only begotten Son, Yeshua, then this person will place G-d first and will not allow anything or anyone to move him from doing the will of G-d. This faithful behavior is known as living a praiseworthy life. Such a lifestyle does not automatically come to believers; rather it is a result of worship. When studying the events that gave rise to Chanukah, one must never forget that the Maccabees wanted to defeat the Greeks in order to restore a Torah obedient worship in Jerusalem. When I state a “Torah obedient worship” I wish to convey a worship that is rooted in the the Holy Scriptures.

Each person should ask himself or herself a very important question. This question is “How does my worship of G-d reflect the revelation of the word of G-d? Worship which is pleasing to G-d must be as Yeshua taught, performed in the Spirit and in the Truth (See John 4:24). This verse teaches that the Holy Spirit must lead the worship experience. What are the implications of the Holy Spirit leading our worship? Yeshua provided some very insightful words when He stated,

And after having come, that One (the Holy Spirit) will convict the world concerning sin and concerning righteousness and concerning judgment.” John 16:8

This verse reveals a great deal about what true worship will bring about in the believer’s life. When one’s worship is led by the Holy Spirit, this person will fall under conviction of sin. Every believer is being conformed into the image of Messiah Yeshua. This means that we are in a process of transformation. Proper worship will reveal to the believer areas in his or her life which contain sin. Even though we have been saved by G-d’s grace and forgiven of all of our sin, this does not mean that the believer does not continue to struggle with sin. Until the time when we receive our new bodies (Kingdom Bodies), there will be sin in our lives. Spirit-led worship not only manifests the sinful areas but releases the sanctifying power of G-d to give us victory over sin. Hence, a worship experience that fails to contain conviction of sin is not true worship.

Yeshua not only taught that worship convicts of sin, but also of righteousness. What does this mean practically speaking? Worship which is pleasing to G-d will cause the believer to desire to live in a way that expresses the righteousness of G-d. I stated previously “that the Maccabees wanted to defeat the Greeks in order to restore a Torah obedient worship in Jerusalem.” There is a connection in the Scriptures between the Torah and righteousness. The Torah does not have power to make one righteous, i.e. the Torah cannot justify the individual; but the Torah does indeed reveal the righteous expectations that G-d has for His people.

This means that when a believer worships G-d properly, this one will desire to live in obedience to the instructions found in the Bible. In other words, worship will bring an entirely different mindset into the believer. Instead of desiring what he or she wants or thinks is proper, the true worshipper will have his / her mind transformed into the mind of Messiah. The results of this is an overwhelming desire to obey the commandments found throughout the Scriptures.

What is the motivation for this type of obedience? Worship draws us into the presence of G-d and therefore by means of worship we not only experience the L-rd, but our love for Him will deepen. What did Yeshua teach?

If you love Me, the commandments of Mine you will keep.” John 14:15

Although the first word of this verse is normally translated “if”, it is better understood by rendering it as “since”. Notice the change in the emphasis of the verse,

“Since you love Me, the commandments of Mine you will keep.”

Loving Yeshua always changes the believer and does so in a consistent way in each and  every believer’s life; namely, this one will express the righteousness of G-d which the commandments reveal.

Finally, Yeshua concluded John 16:8 with the revelation that the Holy Spirit will also convict us in regard to judgment. It is unfortunate today that many congregations ignore the Scriptural fact that Yeshua is returning to bring judgment, i.e. condemnation upon this world, upon all those who have not received Him. When believers do worship G-d in Spirit and truth and experience the changes that proper worship always brings upon the individual, then this one will manifest the glory of G-d. In the Scriptures, there is a relationship between the concept of light and G-d’s glory.

Remembering that Chanukah is also called the Festival of Light, let us concentrate as we celebrate Chanukah this year to be obedient disciples of Yeshua and manifest His glory to others as we rededicate our lives to the Light of the World.

Happy and a most blessed Chanukah

Tel Aviv

This afternoon/evening I was in Tel Aviv to meet with our older daughter and to drop off some videos to be edited.  We had a great time and of course I always love getting to spend time with her.

I found out that a 13 year old girl was murdered yesterday in Tel Aviv and our daughter knew her.  She was an Eritrean asylum seeker who our daughter knew from the Centre she used to work at.  It is such sad news.  Another teenage girl, an Arab from the Galilee was murdered also and there are 4 Arabs in custody related to that.

Other news in Israel or about Israelis:

Two new desalinization plants will be built in Israel by 2023-2024, Water Authority head Giora Shaham said on Tuesday during a committee discussion on the water sector.  One will be built in Sorek (the second one to be built there) and the other in the Western Galilee. The first Sorek plant, completed successfully and ahead of schedule in 2014, provides clean water for more than 1.5 million people.

Czech President Milos Zeman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today inaugurated a Czech House just outside the Old City walls in Jerusalem, with both saying they hoped it was a precursor to moving the Czech Republic’s embassy to the capital.

Also, an Israeli news reporter was attacked in Berlin as she was reporting news.  Some young men heard her speaking in Hebrew and attacked her and threw lit firecrackers at her.

Finally, this coming Sunday night is the lighting of the first Hanukkah candle.  Tomorrow I plan to get everything out and make sure we have all the candles we need, etc.

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Hanukkah supplies for sale.  The big, glass box is to put a Hanukkiah in and then you can place it outside without the wind blowing out the flames.  Very pretty when in use!

It’s Been Too Long!

Scenes from Singapore.

This has been the longest I’ve gone without posting for quite some time.  My apologies!  Thankfully, I am a very healthy person and both Baruch and I have adapted well to long haul travels.  Unfortunately, this trip was not my healthiest and I did not post as much as I had hoped.

The first leg of our trip went very well.  We have found some favour there, which I cannot elaborate on, but we appreciate your prayers so very much.

Our second stop was in Singapore.  As you can see from the photos above, Singapore is an extremely modern, lovely city.  Christianity only comprises about 18% of the population, but I was pleased to see a quote from Romans 12:12 displayed on the side of a building.

The students in Singapore are more advanced than some of the other countries and we are excited to be a part of their education.  Baruch taught 3 evenings, the first night for 4 hours and the other two nights for 3 hours each.  They tape the sessions and also hand out a very detailed syllabus, which Baruch writes.  He also writes the final exam, which is administered by the school.  We do not handle any of the grading, etc.

While there, we were able to meet with the director and leaders of the school.  We received an update on the sensitive areas in Asia and how things are changing quickly.  The time is truly short!

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Bangkok, Thailand.

Due to our connections, we spent one night in Bangkok.  This proved to be a blessing, as I was not feeling very well and the little break before the next 11 hour flight helped a great deal.

We also took the time to learn about Thailand, as there are more branches of the college there.  They are very anxious for Baruch to also teach a course.  I cannot tell you the feeling of being in such a large city (over 8 million people) which is, for the most part, totally lost and in bondage to idolatry.  I know that many people around the world have their idols (money, fame, etc.) for which they devote their lives, but to see people praying to a Buddha statue or giving offerings of food and flowers, is just a whole other experience.

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Bangkok!

As you can see from the pictures, Bangkok a large city, filled with idolatry, with a large segment of the population living in wooden homes which were falling apart.  But I must say, everyone was extremely nice to us.  We look forward to Baruch’s teaching being a part of the college here.

Singapore Teaching

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Teaching at the college tonight in Singapore.

Baruch and I flew to Singapore late Saturday night and arrived there on Sunday morning around 5 am.  We went to dinner with three other couples and then the eight of us headed to the school for Baruch to teach.

Tonight Baruch began teaching the book of Daniel, a short course for an international Bible college.  The students were all very serious and we are very happy to be here.  We also met with some people who are coming on our Israel Tour next Spring as well.

Late Saturday night we completed the first part of our Asia trip.  I am unable to write about it here, due to the security needs of those whom we shared teaching with; but suffice to say that there is great need for the Word and we need to pray for people around the world who take risk in order to learn the Holy Scriptures and worship the    G-d of Israel and His only Son, Yeshua. The varying degrees of freedom to worship and study the Bible in many countries are quickly changing and in a very adverse way. These are signs of the time in which we are living.

 

 

 

New Video from BIL

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Today I posted a new video on the Biblically Inspired Life.  It isn’t a Marriage Monday video, but rather it is a short discussion about Shabbat.  I hope you enjoy it.

My ultimate goal for “The Biblically Inspired Life” is to produce two videos each week and one quality written post each week.  Our wonderful web manager, Steven, is working on the website right now.  It will eventually also hold this blog, which will continue to be an [almost] daily blog for LoveIsrael.org.

Adding all of this to my schedule will take some time, but I do hope you’ll join me on this journey!

Just one note, the Bible also mentions not gathering sticks on Shabbat, which I failed to mention in the video.