For the faithful follower of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, twenty years might represent less than a wink of time in the eye of the Eternal One. But from our limited human perspective, given the possibility of longevity noted by Moses in Psalm 90:10b (“Or if due to strength, eighty years”), a score of years could be as much as a quarter of a physical lifetime, or even a third of life after one matures…
Let it be known from the onset of this article, that the author makes no apologies for attempting, by the indwelling teaching of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26; 15:26)—to construe life and spiritual applications through the unvarnished grid of the sacred Holy Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. For by the unmerited grace of the Creator God, He chose to reveal His Word to certain selected individuals in Ancient Israel and others after the resurrection of the Messiah, who spoke and wrote and collected it for the instruction and edification of all. In His infinite wisdom, God chose to preserve His message of goodness and redemption, initially by the Jewish people (Romans 3:2)—but certainly since the Day of Pentecost, by those from nations indwelt by His Holy Spirit as well, who have believed in the efficacy of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
For millennia, historians, theologians, and demographers have debated and discussed the concept of “generations,” and how cohorts of people traveled through time and influenced their respective cultures throughout the world. This subject is fascinating, particularly if one is at all concerned about their specific individual ancestry, or how and why they even exist. Personally, I know that those incessant questions in my mind, to a God I inherently knew created the world where I live, were instrumental in drawing me to the walk of faith I now pursue. Praise the Holy One for His faithfulness to those who seek Him and implore Him for the answers that only He can communicate to searching souls, such as the words spoken to the Israelites and Solomon…
Yeshua the Messiah’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chs. 5-7) undoubtedly shares some of the Lord’s most profound teachings, as His followers are to be properly directed in the path of practical holiness, being most consciously aware of how their behavior is observed by outsiders (Matthew 5:16). Here, on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee, with a multitude carefully listening to every word, Yeshua describes what truly following the Torah of Moses entails—offering His “fulfillment” of the Law. After amplifying the individual blessings that result from a heart bent toward God’s priorities (Matthew 5:1-12), the responsibilities for being salt and light by obeying the commandments of Moses’ Teaching (Matthew 5:17-19), and discussing various personal relationships among people (Matthew 5:21-48), Yeshua then provides some critical instruction on religious activities and how to avoid hypocrisy. By properly following Him as the Teacher of Teachers, today’s born again Believers should be striving to have the same degree of intimacy and closeness to the Father that the Son of God was able to demonstrate.
Therefore let no one judge you in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival day or a new moon or Sabbaths—things which are a shadow of the things to come; and the substance is of Messiah (Colossians 2:16-17, PME)
In recent weeks, months, and even years, there has been a considerable amount of angst among both Jewish and Christian followers of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob about the precarious position the State of Israel has in the global community. In particular, attention is riveted on Israel’s eroding relationship with the United States of America. For the first time since the declaration of statehood by the pioneers of the Jewish state in 1948, other than the tenuous times in the 1950s during the Eisenhower administration over Egypt and the Suez Canal, there is an openly, publicized gap in the rapport between the American President and Israeli Prime Minister. This significant breach in relations has forced many to their knees for mercy and understanding.
For almost 3,500 years, the writings attributed to Moses found in the Torah (or Pentateuch), have been the foundational building blocks of what has been labeled the “Judeo-Christian” worldview. For over two millennia, Western Civilization has developed laws, institutions, and societal mores that are derived predominantly from the legal, moral, and ethical principles recorded in these ancient texts (along with the balance of what has been determined to be the Holy Scriptures). The historical religious institutions developed by Judaism and Christianity generally recognize the authenticity of these writings, as coming directly or indirectly from the Creator God of the Heavens and Earth. But now, more than ever before in the history of Western civilization, Judeo-Christian values are being relentlessly challenged from every conceivable direction. The “culture war” for the hearts and souls of humanity is seemingly, from a human perspective, being won by the multitude of godless maturing “-isms,” that are collectively overwhelming the marketplace of ideas. Evil is considered good, while good is considered evil. What has been historically regarded as “sinful behavior” is no longer recognized as such, because moral “absolutes” are no longer considered in vogue.
For we know that if the Earthly house of our tent is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens. For indeed in this we groan, longing to be further clothed with our dwelling from Heaven; inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed we who are in this tent do groan, being burdened, not that we want to be unclothed but that we want to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life (2 Corinthians 5:1-4, PME)
For the unbelieving, “natural” human person who is bereft of the Spirit of God, journeying through time on terra firma—life is a series of struggles with elemental realities, ranging from: simple survival, thriving by one’s own faculties and five senses, and achieving success without either knowledge or experience of dimensions beyond this one. Whether it is the vagaries of different societal environments that have developed over the millennia around the world, an occasionally predictable climate or unexpected natural disasters requiring shelter to prevent death, the ubiquitous thorns and thistles impeding food production, the challenges of capturing game or raising edible livestock, or simply avoiding the violent intrusions of self-justifying humans seeking to conquer in order to survive—maintaining physical life can be compared to a series of battles to minimally endure and perpetuate the species.
In recent weeks (Summer 2016), given the human propensity to focus on the here and now, as the inundation of information and current events cloud our thinking and thoughts, I was hurled back in time by reading a master’s thesis and a book which both detail how the Holy Scriptures have influenced events in ancient and relatively modern times. As I read those historical accounts and marveled at how a diverse array of people made significant life decisions, a specific verse from Hebrews frequently came into my mind, because there is no doubt that God’s Word has accomplished all that it was intended to, during the time since the resurrection of the Messiah…
Now that the appointed times (moedim) of the seventh month of Tishri have ended, I have been reflecting on several things learned and observed during this year’s season of restoration toward the God of Creation. What a joy to follow this pattern for life (the Creator’s calendar) for the past quarter century, and realize how the Holy Spirit uses this time for the saint’s personal sanctification process (John 17:19)—so desperately sought by all who want to truly please, bless, and minister to our Heavenly Father, the Holy One of Israel!
Human nature by design was created in the image and likeness of the Creator (Genesis 1:26-27), and consequently—since the Maker is an initiator of actions from declaring that there be light, to the infinitesimal details of the motions of the universe, down to the anatomical minutiae of every particle ever conceived—the propensity for the people He made to naturally yearn to make things happen, is intrinsically normal. In fact, upon the formation of humanity, God positioned man and woman as stewards over the Earth with its creatures and vegetation, ultimately proclaiming the extraordinary goodness of what He initially intended them to do…
The words and instructions shared by Yeshua with His Disciples during the moments steadily leading toward His betrayal, humiliation, and execution—should give today’s Believers great confidence in the Divine work that is expected of them by the Holy One of Israel.
Several weeks ago on the way to our Shabbat services (Summer 2008), I mentioned to my family that with Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9) being the Torah portion, it would be an excellent time for our congregational leader to address some of the problems associated with immorality in the camp. In light of our desire to keep him informed about some of the problems emerging in the Messianic community today, we had loaned him our copy of a vile volume circulating that endorsed polygamy and a number of other serious sexual deviations.
The indwelling power of the Holy Spirit of God is an awesome advantage Believers have, as the Comforter or Helper has been placed into the hearts of the faithful, to lead and teach them what the will of the Almighty is for His Creation (John 14:16, 26). With this reality manifesting itself in a very real and practical way, recent impressions from the Holy One, have given me a much fuller appreciation for what He is allowing to transpire during this critical season of the Messianic restoration currently proceeding. Hopefully, by a fuller and more mature understanding of the providential plans of the Lord God, this article will describe some of the means which have often been used by Him to communicate His will to humanity, recognizing the various limitations, because His ways and thoughts are far beyond mortal comprehension (Isaiah 58:8-9). After all, our Maker desires an intimate relationship with His human creations—and regardless of how He achieves it—He utilizes the peaceful proclamation of His Word to achieve His objectives.
For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was loosening the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” (John 5:18, PME)
Since 1995, our family has been committed to a Messianic approach to our faith in Yeshua (Jesus), the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world. While many evangelical Christian Believers have heard about the Messianic movement, Hebraic Roots, Jewish Roots, ancient paths, etc.—and in various degrees have been enriched by this perspective—our family is among the many thousands who have moved beyond enrichment, and have made things like the seventh-day Sabbath, appointed times of Leviticus 23, and kosher a part of how we live our lives. We take God’s Word, and especially the Law of Moses or the Torah (the Biblical Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), very seriously. Having been called into not only a Messianic walk of faith, but also Messianic ministry, gives us a unique perspective on various issues that many of your average Believers do not have.
Outreach Israel Ministries and Messianic Apologetics wish you
a Shanah Tovah on this Rosh HaShanah!
May the Lord bless you greatly as we enter into the New Year 5780!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support of our ministry efforts!
Inevitably, the work of the ministry that we have been called to walk by faith, always seems to be full of unexpected twists and turns—where the Almighty One is consistently teaching us more about Him and His ways, so we might come to know Him even more intimately. For whatever reasons over the past several decades, the last few weeks of August and the beginning weeks of September, typically have major life altering events occurring within our family. This past month and into September is no different, especially with the homegoing of Margaret’s one hundred year and nine month old mother, Mary Ruth Franklin Jeffries, on August 30 in Jacksonville, FL, and followed by her burial in Birmingham, AL on September 9. An epoch definitely closed in our family, that we are significantly reflecting on!
Now this might sound silly, but the obvious fact that one cannot keep the commandments of God unless he or she knows the commandments seems fairly elementary. After all, how can a person keep God’s commandments if one does not know them, or for that matter, has never spent any time reading and studying them?