Friday, September 18, 2015


Shalom Fellow Israelite,

The shofar and the trumpets have sounded and now we are on our way to Yom HaKippurim.  When we think of “Kippur” we mostly think about afflicting our souls with fasting, prayer, or reading scriptures all day.  Most do not like or tend to think about sacrifices and blood. But this is what the atonement is really all about - “blood”!   We don’t have a Temple and a Levitical Priesthood to give us a graphic example of what would have taken place on that day, being the only day in which the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy Holies and be before the Presence of YHVH, but not without blood.  It is the atoning blood that appeased the Creator, propitiating and thus allowing a human being into His presence.  But why blood?  Leviticus 17:14 points out: "For it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, 'You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood’”. 
Why does Elohim need to be propitiated?  He is Spirit, sovereign, all -knowing, all-powerful and has created everything.  Why would He need to be appeased?  Or is there something else being placated?  Perhaps it can be found in Paul’s words when he uses the term “justified” or “vindicated”.  Both words point directly to “Law”.  Sin is a violation of Divine Law, thus it is actually Elohim’s Law that has to be satisfied, as we see over and over in both the Tabernacle and the Temple - the true usage of a sacrifice and the need for the blood to be placed before YHVH.  When He saw the blood, He forgave the guilty party and in the case of Israel, the entire nation. 

At Mount Sinai, at the “giving of the Law”, the nation stood before the awesome presence and saw and heard the words.  They agreed with those words and so intoned: “we will hear and do”.  From then on they were bound to the blessings and the curses, and became aware of the “laws of sin and death” and “guilt and shame”. 
How was it possible to live with a conscience that condemned us every time we violated one single aspect of the “thou shalts” or “thou shalt nots”?   We, as a nation, now became totally depended on the mercy of the Law Giver. But how did we experience this Law Giver at Sinai?  It was with fire, loud sounds, mountain quaking, lighting flashing, along with knees buckling under us from fear.   We could not even touch the Mountain, let alone the awesome Presence.
The Bible is one book that is full of YHVH’s interventions in the life of humanity and the creation.  Every day Man has face to face encounters with a living Elohim, but due to his blindness (actually not blindness, just looking in the dark), he is ignorant of YHVH’s presence and reality.  Job understood the darkness, and also the Psalmist when he wrote:     “If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there…  Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You” (Psalm 139:8; 12).

Our spiritual enemy knows just how important blood is for the atonement of humanity.  And so he took it upon himself to make blood detestable, and irrelevant to redemption, using throughout history a variety of philosophical techniques and graphic images of blood, for example, war, violence and terror, in order to instill fear.  The consequence of that being that the shedding of blood solely means death not life.  Modern religions have tried to move as far away from anything that smacks of blood, especially tagging as outdated, immoral and inhuman blood sacrifices, pointing especially at the “Old Testament” covenants and Feast Days, all of which required blood sacrifices.  Modern man being still steeped in his own pride and self-righteousness, reels at the thought of God requiring a human sacrifice and blood.  He wants to appease God by some kind of good works that will remove the guilt of violating Elohim’s great Commandments and Laws, and also Elohim’s very words in regards to how He views “blood”.   There would be no “New Covenant” (or Renewed Covenant) without the “Torah of Moses” pointing out the requirement of blood for its implementation, nor would we have knowledge of “Sin” and its consequences. We would have no understanding of how YHVH sees “Sin” and what is required when His Laws are violated, and why blood is necessary for Him to grant forgiveness that leads to reconciliation and life.

Perhaps all the “blood moons” that we have been witnessing during the Feast Days are to remind us of “blood”, and the importance it has in the economy of the Almighty Creator of this world, and in our relationship to Him.  As “Hebrew Roots” believers, perhaps Yom Kippur makes for an opportune time to reading about and considering the “blood”, with special emphasis on Hebrews Chapters 9 and 10. 

I pray that we will be given more revelation-understanding about the blood that is required on the 10th day of the 7th month, called Yom HaKippurim.   

In His Unmerited Mercy and Love,  


Friday, September 11, 2015

Standing Before Entering

Shalom Fellow Israelite,

In this week’s Torah reading of NITZAVIM (Deut. 29:10 – 30:20) we find the chosen people “standing” before YHVH.  They have just received a reminder of the covenant and the awesome commands which enumerated the consequences of obedience and disobedience (the blessings and the curses).  But were they ready for the final commitment, which would catapult them into something so fearful, yet so promising as this covenant with the Elohim of their fathers?  The conditions were clear, and so was their inherent weakness (which would actually make meeting the requirements almost impossible).

How could YHVH subject these second generation wilderness men, women and children to such laws, when He already knew that they were born of the “sin nature”, and would obviously miss the mark of Torah and suffer the consequences, just like their parents?  Moses said to them:  “Yet to this day YHVH has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear” (Deut. 29:4). How unfair it all seemed, or was YHVH concealing His plan in the darkness of the “mystery of iniquity” (2nd Thes.2:7, also Eph.2:1-2)? 

“YHVH has not yet given you...” In this short phrase we see that YHVH holds Himself responsible for the future success, or failure, of His plan.  Even after the flood YHVH declared that, “man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21).  Because of this inherent condition, Moses, under the anointing of the Holy One, begins to prophesy the destiny of the Hebrew people:  “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations, where YHVH your Elohim has driven you…” (Deut. 30:1). Before the Children of Israel had a chance to prove themselves or even make any kind of free will choice, YHVH already knew what would happen to them, because of the condition of their heart.

The covenant He made with the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, obligated YHVH to be accountable to His promises of blessings of land, and the fruitfulness that would multiply and spread to all nations through their seed. This “seed”, the people of Israel, were now in a position to be the recipients of the promises to their forefathers. But before entering the land YHVH is stating the conditions for the promises’ fulfillment.  Standing before YHVH, the Israelites were looking toward the land that they were about to enter, the land of milk and honey that was promised to their forefathers.  The said conditions for remaining in the land were now going to hang over their heads like a seething prophetic refining pot. "But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess” (Deut. 30:17-18).  YHVH was using these conditions as a tool to fulfill the original promises to the Patriarchs, and preparing the way for an even greater promise.

History reveals that YHVH was true to His word, even though the potential consequences of the covenant may be interpreted as negative and even disastrous (abounding in curses and not blessings).  Some may even venture to condemn the generations of our forefathers for failing to live up to the righteousness of the Torah.  YHVH, aware of these weaknesses, built into His covenant the sacrificial system for atonement and forgiveness of sin to be in effect year after year throughout the cycles of the feasts, in order to enable Him to fulfill the original covenant with the Patriarchs.  But did this present form of the (expanded) covenant take care of the condition of the heart?  Obviously we would have to answer: “no, it did not”. In fact, it did the very opposite, revealing the corruptness of the heart.  Yeshua pointed out this condition, as recorded in the Gospel of Mark: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (7:21-23).  This is why Yeshua describes the religious man as a white washed tomb: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.  Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Mat. 23:27-28).

How then was YHVH going to have a people that would become a holy nation (Ex. 19:6), and be His witness (Isa. 43:10,12), and for that matter, how were the promises to the fathers going to be fulfilled? As Moses continues to prophesy we are given one of the first glimpses into the mystery of the will of YHVH (ref. Eph. 1:9-10), and into a covenant that would once and for all deal with the condition of the heart:  “YHVH your Elohim will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live” (Deut. 30:6).  A door of hope was left open; the destiny of the people was sealed by the prophetic word. The irrevocable calling upon them as YHVH’s people could not fail.  YHVH said: “I WILL”, thus leaving no doubt that it was not going to be by the will of man, nor by might, nor by power but by the Spirit of the infallible Word/Torah of YHVH.

YHVH’s feast of Yom Teruah is ‘standing’ before us, ‘trumpeting’ the coming days of repentance.  However, without the laws given at Sinai we would not know what we are to be repenting of.  Paul writes in Romans: “Do we then make void the Law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the Law” (Romans 3:31).  How does a New Covenant believer establish (validate) the Law given at Sinai? The Greek word for establish (histemi) means: to make to stand, to stand. Thus not only were the people “standing”, “nitzavim”, but the Torah also was ‘standing’, right alongside them.  They could not enter the land promised without the Torah of Moses. So too, a New Covenant believer cannot fully enter into its promises without the Torah written on their hearts.

Without understanding the reason for YHVH giving us laws we will not know how we are to establish them.  Paul continues in Romans 3, explaining: “…for by the Law is the knowledge of sin” (v. 3b).  This sets the stage for true repentance.  Here is the example the apostle uses:  “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet’" (Romans 7:7).  This absolute and invariable reality (as we noted above) makes us desperate for YHVH’s goodness that leads to repentance (see Romans 2:4) and the need for the ultimate atonement which was wrought through Messiah Yeshua, Who made it possible for the Torah to be etched into hearts of flesh.

Hag Same’ach and Shabbat Shalom,

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Positive Harbingers

Shalom Fellow Israelite,
On 12th of May 1948 a decision on the name of the newly formed State of Israel had to be voted on by ten council members. The choices were Yehuda, Tsyion, Tsabar, and Erets Yisrael.  Most assumed that it would be Yehuda, but a divine harbinger manifested in a last minute suggestion by David Ben Gurion, and that was the name “Yisrael”. Seven of the council members voted for that name, which was a prophetic sign of the future return of all the tribes of Israel.  The order of the restoration and return in Ezekiel 37 places Yehuda/Israel first, and thusly Yehuda’s dry stick became at that time a nation once again. 

Perhaps you are not aware that also in 1948 a contest was held by the temporary government for a national emblem.  One hundred and sixty four individuals submitted
450 ideas. The one chosen, which the State of Israel adopted, on February 10th 1949, was designed by two brothers, Gabriel and Maxim Shamir. Their suggestion included the seven candle branch Menorah. The final draft, however, did not totally resemble the brothers’ original design, as the committee decided to incorporate a few other features into it and changed the shape of the Menorah to the one depicted in the Arch of Titus (in Rome).  The two olive branches which flank the Menorah, were meant as peace symbols, and only later were associated with Zechariah 4:11. I believe that this design was another harbinger of the restoration of the two sticks of Ezekiel 37:16.                                     

In his book The Harbinger, Jonathan Cahn makes mention of the significance of trees in the Bible.  He specifically notes the two cited in Isaiah 9:10 - the sycamore and the cedar, both in relationship to the 9/11 terror attack in New York, as being symbolic of judgments upon the United States.  In an interview about his latest book, The Mystery of the Shemitah Unlocked, he noted how Shemitah years are associated with judgments and changes, both positive and negative.  The rise and fall of nations in connection to Shemitah is one example he brings up in this book.  Hence, if the USA is indeed spiraling down, and if that began in a Shemitah year (2001), what about the rise of the nation of Yehuda in 1917 (another Shemitah), or the reconstitution of the second stick/nation of Yosef/Ephraim in the current Shemitah?   Is the latter also a harbinger of this eventuality, with the first Yehuda-Yosef “United 2 Restore” group marching in the Jerusalem Succot parade last year and then with the convening of the first B’ney Yosef National Congress on Shavuot?   Is this the Shemitah year in which the second stick/nation of Joseph/Ephraim is beginning to bud?  By the same token, should many of the harbingers of judgment be also interpreted positively, in that YHVH is going to bring back and restore the whole House of Israel?  The branch of Yehuda in the national emblem is fully leafed, but what about the second branch in that national emblem, what should it look like at this time?  Here is my rendition:

Shabbat Shalom,