Monthly Archives: March 2011

Are you gonna go my way?

Whether you think it’s a big world or a small world there is no denying that this world is filled with many choices, many different roads you can travel and many divergent paths you can take that do not all lead to the promised land or even some place you might consider remotely close. This is true both physically and spiritually. In the beginning, Adam and Eve made a choice that would alter the road of humanity and subsequently the path to paradise was blocked.
During the sermon yesterday at Baruch HaShem Messianic Synagogue, Rabbi Marty made a brief Midrash (interpretation or exegesis) on Leviticus 11. Last week’s Torah Portion was Sh’mini from Leviticus 9:1-11:47. The Sixth Aliyah for this portion begins with Leviticus 11 (Baruch HaShem is on a 7 year cycle by which they break up the Seven Aliyot from each Torah Portion and publicly read 1 Aliyah from each weeks portion).
Rabbi Marty noted the fact that there are many more unclean animals in the animal kingdom than clean animals. There are many more unclean insects than there are clean insects, there are many more unclean birds than there are clean birds, there are many more unclean ocean creatures than clean ocean creatures, ect. The book of Leviticus is considered the “Holiness” book of the Torah, it deals with many aspects of Sacrifice, Purity and Separation. God had redeemed the Israelites by His grace through their faith in the Blood of the Lamb and now He was at work in a very tangible way leading them through the desert with the physical manifestations of His glory in the clouds and smoke. He was sanctifying them, revealing His heart and will, sharpening their focus and putting them on the narrow path. Yeshua said “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy [1] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” Matthew 7:13 
 So what does this have to do with clean and unclean animals? The distinction of animals for the Israelites is but one example of the narrow path that God was putting them on.  They (Israel/Jews) would be entrusted with the revelation that Moses’ generation was receiving in real-time to transmit to future generations and even to bring this revelation of God’s wisdom to the nations.  This message of separation didn’t terminate just on food for them and that wasn’t God’s fullest intent, for Paul said  “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17. It’s about God being holy and glorified amongst all people as such. It’s about God providing atonement and then lighting up the narrow path which leads to abundant life. Yeshua said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6  and “I have come so that they may have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10.
May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the name of Yeshua the Messiah!

The Hidden Face of God – Part II

Read Part I here. Last week I discussed some of the more prominent Scriptures from the Torah portion  Ki Tissa (When you take) from Exodus 30:11-34:35 along with relatable Scriptures that tie back in to the theme of The Hidden Face of God in Ki Tissa. In this post I wanted to go over some additional Scriptures that Calev mentioned in his sermon.

Deuteronomy 31:16-18  And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them. 17 Then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they will be devoured. And many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’ 18 And I will surely hide my face in that day because of all the evil that they have done, because they have turned to other gods.

God tells Moses that he is about to die and that after he is gone, Israel will forsake the One who has protected and nurtured her for the past 40 years and in fact since the beginning, though not always so physically near. This begins a period of God hiding His face that continues through today.

Isaiah 6:8-10 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” 9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people:  “‘Keep on hearing, [1] but do not understand; keep on seeing, [2] but do not perceive.’ 10 Make the heart of this people dull, [3] and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”

So Isaiah gets the call to go and prophesy to Israel and you can almost feel his excitement in his answer to God’s question. A prophet usually gets to bring revelation and awaken people from their slumber to what God is saying and doing. Not so for Isaiah, he get’s the task of prophesying blindness, deafness and dumbness as his message from God. Yeshua echo’s Isaiah in Matthew 13:10-15 when He speaks to the great crowds that were gathered around Him near the sea to hear his message from God that He concealed in parables.

Romans 11:7-11 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” 9 And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; 10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.”11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.

Paul agrees in Romans that for the most part God has hid himself and namely the Messiah Yeshua from Israel by a spirit of stupor and revealed himself to the Gentiles. This is apparently part of God’s plan to make Israel jealous for God and their Messiah.

Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

One day and hopefully soon, God is going to take away that spirit of stupor from Israel and give them a spirit of grace and mercy to see Yeshua as Messiah, their Lord and King.

Ezekiel 39:28-29 Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God.”

Per Calev, this is the only verse in the Bible that says “I will not hide my face anymore from them”. When God reveals His face in Messiah Yeshua to Israel it will indeed be “life from the dead” for them and “riches for the world” for the rest of us as Paul notes in Romans 11. My prayer is for God to keep revealing His face to all according to His will and may His face always go before us as Moses pleads in Exodus 33.

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the name of Yeshua the Messiah!

For What It’s Worth

Below are excerpts and links to 3 articles I read online this week that I thought were interesting and worth checking out:

From the CNN Belief Blog – Jews laud Pope’s insistence Jews did not kill Jesus

My fervent hope is that your clarity and courage will strengthen the relations between Jews and Christians throughout the world and help promote peace and reconciliation for generations to come,” Netanyahu wrote in a letter to Benedict, which the prime minister’s office made public

From the Biblical Archaeology Review – The Oxyrhynchus Papyri

Compared with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Nag Hammadi Library, these later discoveries seem now to pale in significance. But even those two great discoveries of the 20th century cannot compare to an archaeological event that unfolded at the turn of the previous century in the dry sands of Upper Egypt, near the village of el-Behnesa—neither for drama, nor significance, nor surprise. It all happened at a place that ancients once called the “City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish.”

Another from the Biblical Archaeology Review – Making Sense of the Unlikely Easter Story

It wouldn’t make sense to create a story about a crucified and risen man being the savior of the world—unless you really believe it is historically true—because the instinctive reaction to such a message is exactly what Paul, the earliest New Testament writer, said it would be: It was a stumbling block or scandal to the Jews, and sheer nonsense to Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23).

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the name of Yeshua the Messiah!