One Yisra’el

TMenorahburn

Yes, Yisra’el was divided way back in around 930 BC.

As a result of that division, the northern faction was called Malkhut Yisra’el, the KINGDOM of Yisra’el.  It was called the Northern Kingdom.

That kingdom lasted until about 732 BC.  And then, it was invaded and destroyed.  Three times.  By Assyria.  And all three times there was a dispersion of the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom. [ of the 10 tribes, northern Israelites ] The ten tribes were dispersed into Assyria in three ‘waves,’ by Tigrath Pileser III in 732, by Shalmaneser V and Sargon II in 729, and by Sargon II again in 715, into parts more easterly.

This was the fulfillment of prophecy by Hoshe’ah.  But, Hoshe’ah also prophesied the RETURN of the northern tribes, a remnant of them.  And that happened in the scriptures, when Khizki-Yahu invited them back for the Pesakh, and many of them came.

Several of the Nevi’im were warning the northern kingdom of their destruction.  But, none so much as Hoshe’ah, except perhaps Yesha-Yahu.

But, the portion for the Haftarah for this week is Yekhezkel Chapter 37.  And so many people THINK that this is happening today, and the prophesied collection of the northern tribes is the salvation of the gentiles of today, who many today think are the peoples like the Brits, the Danes, the Irish, the Dutch, etc, etc.  They believe that these people groups are the ‘lost tribes.’  They completely ignore the prophecy of Hoshe’ah, the fulfilment of it in II Chronicles, and the fact that Yekhezkel ministered to Yisra’el [Judah] a full 100 years AFTER the destruction of the NORTHERN “kingdom”, predicting the destruction of Jerusalem in the SOUTHERN Kingdom, Yehudah, which Yekhezkel called Yisra’el!  And they overlook Sha’ul calling himself an Israelite, a Jew, and a Binyemini, and they overlook Kefa and Ya’akov writing to the 12 tribes in their day.

Yekhezkel ministered to Yehudah, the SOUTHERN Kingdom.  The ‘lost tribes’ were already SCATTERED.  And Elohim told them he would utterly forget them.  But, He also said he’d save a remnant.  That remnant already returned, and the ‘unification’ already happened.  BEFORE Yekhezkel ministered to Yehudah.  So, why would Yekhezkel say what he said in that chapter, about the two ‘trees.’  Reading that chapter out of context, we understand how so many can think that there is a rejoining of Yisra’el in our day.  On the surface, without a timeline, and a firm understanding of the history, one could easily come to that conclusion.  But, we need to be responsible, and set everything in CONTEXT.

Yekhezkel writes, in the twelfth year of the siege of YERUSHALAYIM : ‘Thus says Adonai יהוה , ‘As I live, surely they that are in the waste places shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that are in the strongholds and in the caves shall die of the pestilence. And I will make the land most desolate, and the pride of her power shall cease; and the mountains of Yisra’el shall be desolate, so that none shall pass through. Then shall they know that I am יהוה , when I have made the land most desolate, because of all their abominations which they have committed’.'”

Bear in mind, Yisra’el is now the combined TWELVE TRIBES again, living together in the land of Yehudah, and the Navi calls them “Yisra’el“.  He is speaking of the future of those living in the land under the kingship of Yehudah.  All. Twelve. Tribes.

He then addresses the “Shepherds” of Yisra’el.  This is the later greek-translated word ‘pastor,’ and is concerning the kohanim, those tasked with teaching Yisra’el. “So were they scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the beasts of the field, and were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains [of their OWN land], and upon every high hill, yes, upon all the face of the land were My sheep scattered, and there was none that did search or seek. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the D’var  יהוה .”  This is an echo of Yirme-Yahu, who is also a Navi to the SOUTHERN KINGDOM.  He ministered BEFORE Yekhezkel, concerning the destruction of Yerushalayim.  In Chapter 50 he writes, concerning those gathered IN BAVEL, AFTER the destruction of YERUSHALAYIM [which had not happened yet, but is about to, from his context]: “B’nei Yisra’el shall come, they and B’nei Yehudah together; they shall go on their way weeping, and shall seek  יהוה  their Elohim. They shall inquire concerning Tzion with their faces her way, ‘Come, and join yourselves to יהוה in an everlasting Brit that shall not be forgotten’. My people has been lost sheep [Yisra’el and Yehudah TOGETHER]; their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains; they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting-place. All that found them have devoured them [Assyria AND Babylon]; and their adversaries said, ‘We are not guilty’; because they have sinned against יהוה , the habitation of justice, even יהוה , the hope of their fathers. Flee out of the midst of Bavel, and go forth out of the land of the Kasdim, and be as the he-goats before the flocks. For, lo, I will stir up and cause to come up against Bavel an assembly of great nations [Medes and Persians] from the north country; and they shall set themselves in array against her, from there she [Bavel] shall be taken; their arrows shall be as of a mighty man that makes childless; none shall return in vain. And Kasdim shall be a spoil; all that spoil her shall be satisfied, says יהוה .”  This is Yirme-Yahu predicting the destruction of Bavel, BEFORE it happened, which finally happened and is to us history; he called out the destruction of Bavel, before even Yerushalayim was destroyed he predicted it.  And Yisra’el AND Yehudah are told TOGETHER to leave Bavel when the Medes and Persians attack it.  They would already be unified.  And they were lost TOGETHER, just as Yekhezkel said.

So, when Yeshua sent his Talmidim to the ‘lost sheep of the house of Yisra’el’, he did NOT send them to the ‘ten lost tribes.’  In context, that Brit Khadashah passage makes this very clear: Matt 10:

“These twelve Yeshua sent out, and charged them and said, “Keep away from pagan practices, and do not enter a city of Shomron; but above all, go to the sheep which are lost from Beit Yisra’el. And as you go, declare and say that Malkhut HaShamayim is near. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons; freely you have received, freely give. Do not accumulate gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses; nor a bag for the journey, nor two shirts and shoes, nor a staff; for a laborer is at least worthy of his food. Whatever city or town you enter, ask who is trustworthy in it, and remain there until you leave. And when you enter into the house, ask for shalom for that house. And if the house is worthy, your shalom shall come upon it; but if it is not worthy, your shalom shall return to you.”  When Yeshua finished commanding them concerning their temporary journey, he departed [chapter 11].  All the gospels bear out that the twelve went out, TO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, the JEWISH people in the land of Yehudah! and then rejoined Yeshua.  In very similar fashion He later sends out 70 in another episode that is recorded in Luka 10, and we then read, “So the seventy whom He had sent returned with great joy, and they said to Him, “Adoneinu, even the demons have submitted to us in Your Name.”

Understand this:  ALL TWELVE TRIBES WERE LOST, BECAUSE THEIR ‘PASTORS’ WERE NOT TEACHING THEM THE TORAH!  This was not a ‘physical scattering,’ but “LOST” in the sense of NOT KNOWING TRUTH.  This was true of ALL TWELVE TRIBES in Yirme-Yahu’s day, and in the days of Yekhezkel, AND in the days of Yeshua!  They were LOST TOGETHER.  Yeshua called the Jewish People of His day, “Yisra’el“.  Having been reunited in the land, and yet going into error.  This is why Abba destroyed Yerushalayim!  AFTER Yirme-Yahu predicted it.  It was true in Yeshua’s day, when the P’rushim’s Rabbis taught men’s commandments in the place of Torah, as if they were teaching Torah.  This is true of our Jewish people today.  If they do not follow Messiah, they are LOST!  The Rabbis and all of Israel that do not believe and trust in Yeshua, ARE LOST.  Yeshua sent out the 12 to JEWS…. people of all twelve tribes living in the land of Yehudah!  Our Jewish people TODAY are comprised of people from ALL TWELVE TRIBES.  Just because one might be from another tribe, does NOT mean he is not a JEW.  Sha’ul was of the tribe of Binyamin, but he called himself both a Jew and an Israelite.  Yehudah bears the scepter, just as predicted.  Those who rebelled against Yehudah’s kingship, and against G-d, are FORGOTTEN.  Israelite and Jew are two terms that are not mutually exclusive, but synonymous.

To further prove this, lets consider.  Today’s ‘two house’ people like to say that Danes, Brits, and Irish, and others of European xtian stock are the descendants of the ten lost tribes, ie, “Ephraimites.”  Well, the scriptures called the land of Efrayim “Shomron.”  When Yeshua was sending out the 12, He specifically told them, “do not enter a city of Shomron; but above all, go to the sheep which are lost from Beit Yisra’el.”  Please ‘hear’ His word.  Yeshua sent HIS TWELVE, 2000 years ago, to Beit Yisra’el, and specifically said DO NOT GO INTO SHOMRON!  Shomron had inhabitants who could PROVE they descended from the 10 northern tribes… the ‘woman at the well’ was a Shomronit, and she tried to legitimize her faith as a descendent of Ya’akov.  But, Yeshua told His twelve Jews, from several of the tribes, NOT to go to their ‘half brothers.’  If THEY are not candidates to be “Beit Yisra’el,’ HOW in the wide world are today’s Danes and Brits?  The Shomronim were certainly closer kin than European xtians. 

Next in Yekhezkel, after admonishing the ‘Shepherds’ and warning Edom, he speaks to all nations trampling His people, and says to Yisra’el, “For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and you shall be tilled and sown; and I will multiply men upon you, all Beit Yisra’el, even all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited, and the waste places shall be built; and I will multiply upon you man and beast, and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited after your former estate, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings; and you shall know that I am יהוה .”  The context tells us that this is ALL TWELVE TRIBES He is addressing here.  Remember, Yekhezkel is a minister to the SOUTHERN kingdom, 100 years AFTER the ten northern tribes were dispersed.  Scattered.

He is talking to the remnant.  This is a concept that every believer needs to understand.  There is and always has been only a remnant, a group of people within ALL Yisra’el, all twelve tribes, that know and trust  יהוה  for Salvation [Yeshu’ah, ie, Yeshua].  It is the remant that will grow and sprout.

Then, Yekhezkel turns to prophesy again, this time of later events:  36:17

“Ben Adam, when Beit Yisra’el dwelt in their own land [ONE HOUSE, all twelve tribes], they defiled it by their way and by their doings; their way before Me was as the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. Therefore, I poured out My fury upon them for the blood which they had shed upon the land, and because they had defiled it with their idols; and I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries; according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. And when they came unto the nations, wherever they came, they profaned My kadosh Name; in that men said of them, ‘These are the people of  יהוה , and are gone forth out of His land’. But I had pity for My kadosh Name, which Beit Yisra’el had profaned among the nations, wherever they came.'” “Therefore say unto Beit Yisra’el, ‘Thus says Adonai יהוה , ‘I do not do this for your sake, O Beit Yisra’el, but for My kadosh Name, which you have profaned among the nations, wherever you came. And I will consecrate My Great Name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am יהוה , says Adonai יהוה , when I shall be consecrated in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean; from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Ru’akh within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them. And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I will be your Elohim. And I will save you from all your uncleannesses; and I will call for the grain, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that you may receive no more the reproach of famine among the nations. Then shall you remember your evil ways, and your doings that were not good; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sake do I do this, says Adonai יהוה , be it known unto you; be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O Beit Yisra’el, thus says Adonai יהוה . In the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be built. And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, whereas it was a desolation in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, ‘This land that was desolate is become like Gan Eden’; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited. Then the nations that are left round about you shall know that I, יהוה , have built the ruined places, and planted that which was desolate; I, יהוה , have spoken it, and I will do it; thus says Adonai יהוה . I will yet for this be inquired of by Beit Yisra’el, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. As the flock for sacrifice, as the flock of Yerushalayim in her Mo’edim, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men; and they shall know that I am יהוה “.  

And from here we turn to chapter 34.  But, let’s reason a bit.  Is he REALLY telling ONLY the northern kingdom that He would put HIS RU’AKH in their hearts, and SAVE them?  Really?  That is how and what many people teach.  But that is NOT the heart and the way of Elohim.  He only has ONE YISRA’EL.  And ‘Salvation is of the Jews’.  So, what is this prophecy about, and to whom is it written?

Again, Yekhezkel is a Navi to Yehudah, the SOUTHERN KINGDOM, calling the SOUTHERN KINGDOM “Yisra’el”, for several reasons.  The twelve tribes were re-unified in the days of King Khizki-Yah.  The twelve tribes were scattered together to Bavel.  Elohim is promising to bring them BACK to the land, and THEN put His Breath in them and SAVE them.

One must learn something when studying the Nevi’im and Nevu’im.  Abba says something, and it sounds like it will happen in one fell swoop, but then, it happens over a course of years and in several stages.  This is true of the destruction and expulsion of the ten LOST tribes.  This is true of the destruction and captivity of Yehudah to Bavel.  This is true of the return and the rebuilding of the Beit HaElohim.  This is also true of the saving and return of ALL YISRA’EL into the land.  It is also true of the final dispersion, which began in 70 AD and was completed in 150 AD.  Our Jewish people, all twelve tribes together, have roamed the earth together for 2,000 years.  Yekhezkel is predicting their return in the LAST of the LAST days, and it has not happened yet, and is not happening yet. Our Jewish people, ALL TWELVE TRIBES, are still lost: apart from the REMNANT: those who trust in Yeshua.

We cannot forget history from 586 BC to the late 1st century. In summary, all twelve tribes were banished to Bavel; they returned.  They rebuilt the House.  They were again conquered, and then took back the land from the Seleucids.  Then the Romans occupied the land.  And then Messiah came and ministered to all twelve tribes.  And then HE put His Ru’akh into the hearts of all twelve tribes.  [Acts 2]  But, He is NOT DONE.  Because ALL TWELVE TRIBES were again SCATTERED, and LOST doctrinally.  They still are, to this day.  First, some of them remained “jewish” in the lands near Yisra’el.  Sha’ul goes into those lands, into the synagogues, and SAVES them, ALONG WITH GENTILES.  Did Sha’ul call THOSE GENTILES ‘Efraimites’?  NO!  He called them STRANGERS!  But Ya’akov writes to ALL TWELVE TRIBES!  Why would Ya’akov [James] write a letter to people, if he did not know who and where they were?  [James 1:1]  Further, the TWELVE TRIBES have since been scattered!  In waves/stages again, from 70 AD to 150 AD.  And it is to THAT group of people, JEWS, that Yekhezkel is now writing.

Today’s Jews are in NO WAY ‘united’.  There are as many factions and schisms in Judaism as there are in some streams of xtianity.  Geographically they are not united, but scattered among the nations, still.  It may be precisely because they are from separate tribes that they quibble so much over even their Talmudic doctrine and practices!  But, the chapter in question, the chapter of our Haftarah, is indeed written concerning END TIMES.  But, it is NOT about ‘gentiles’ who are the ‘house of Efrayim.’  Efrayim is forgotten!  Only a remnant of Efrayim, and of the other tribes, survives today.  And they are Jews.  [Rev 12]  In the first part of the chapter, 37, we read:

“Prophesy unto HaRu’akh, prophesy, Ben Adam, and say to HaRu’akh, ‘Thus says Adonai , יהוה  ‘Come from the four winds, O Ru’akh, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live’.'” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and HaRu’akh came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said unto me, “Ben Adam, these bones are the whole Beit Yisra’el; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off’. Therefore prophesy, and say unto them, ‘Thus says Adonai יהוה , ‘Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O My people; and I will bring you into the land of Yisra’el. And you shall know that I am יהוה , when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, O My people. And I will put My Ru’akh in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land; and you shall know that I, יהוה , have spoken, and performed it, says יהוה “‘.’

The passage above immediately precedes our Haftarah portion this week.  Yekhezkel is assuring future Israelis that the REMANT who trusted would be resurrected.  Nothing in this passage is about a mysterious morphing of Efrayim into ‘gentiles’.   The portion about the two trees/sticks is NOT independent of this passage concerning the dried bones.  The two ‘trees’ or ‘sticks’ that Yekhezkel joins together are indeed representative of Efrayim and Yosef, and Yehudah.  But, the WHOLE POINT of it is that there is ONE TREE…. ONE HOUSE….the promise given to the WHOLE HOUSE is the same as the one given above, AFTER THE RESURRECTION, which I would assume EVERYONE would agree has NOT HAPPENED YET.  Do you not get it?  Yisra’el coming into the land as a unified, single house, does NOT HAPPEN until AFTER the resurrection.  Consider, Yekhezkel, who lived in circa 600 AD, is speaking about DEAD MEN.  And only FAITHFUL dead men.  He is speaking to the remnant from ALL TWELVE TRIBES, in HIS day, telling them that those dead prior to 600 AD would one day rise again.  And of course, this is ‘The Resurrection,” so the remnant of the future would also participate in that.

But, further, in our Haftarah, we also see that when Yisra’el does become unified, AFTER THE RESURRECTION, that Messiah Ben David will be the ruler of Yisra’el.  THIS IS of course MESSIAH YESHUA!  He will one day rule IN THE LAND, with ALL TWELVE TRIBES living in the land in safety.  Today, the twelve tribes are scattered all over the world: and they are called Jews.  The re-unification has not happened yet.  And according to the first part of the chapter, does not happen until after The Resurrection.  And then ALL JEWS will be ‘saved.’

Yekhezkel spoke, once again, 120 years AFTER the complete destruction of the northern kingdom and the scattering of the northern ten tribes.  They are forgotten.  When he referred to Yisra’el, he referred to the believing/trusting remnant, all twelve tribes.  The REMNANT of Efrayim has already been returned to Yehudah.  The 30th chapter of Divrei HaYamim Bet [2 Chron] bears this out, just as Hoshe’ah prophesied.  That REMNANT, made up of Messianic Jews, is awaiting the Resurrection.  Today, any Gentile that says they directly descend from Efrayim or Dan or Yosef is fooling himself.  There is simply no proof whatsoever.  And they are putting a measure of their hope for salvation in their DNA.  This tramples the blood of Messiah, and betrays a lack of trust in that blood ALONE for salvation.  Sha’ul was from the tribe of Binyamin, yet called himself an Yisra’elite AND a Yehudi [Israelite/Jew].  There is NO DISTINCTION.  “A House that is divided SHALL NOT STAND.”  There is ONLY ONE house in the Kingdom of Elohim.  Efrayim and Dan were guilty of creating ‘two houses’ in the northern kingdom, because they did not want to follow Yehudah’s King.  These two tribes are conspicuously missing from the census of tribes in the book of the Hitgalut [Revelation].  This matches the prophecies, that they would be destroyed AND FORGOTTEN.  [minus the remnant, that would unify with Yehudah and become Jews].  They became Jews; just the opposite of what ‘two-house’ teachers teach, that they became gentiles.  A Jewish person cannot become a Gentile, EVEN IF he forgets he is descended from Avraham, Yitz’khak, and Ya’akov.  But, it is NOT our DNA that saves us, but ONLY our trust in the blood of Messiah, whether we are Jewish OR Gentile.

“There is neither Yehudi nor Arami, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Yeshua HaMashi’akh. So if you belong to Mashi’akh, then you are descendants of Avraham, and his heirs according to the promise.”

Identity religion is sin.

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זה יום ההולדת שלי, בסדר, בסדר (in Matthew McConaughey voice)

The day that will live in infamy.

My father was a military man, through and through.  Career Navy he was.  From a long line of American warriors, all the way back to the Revolution.  He married my mother on 9/11.  His first son was born on D-Day, the next on VJ-day, and myself on Pearl Harbor Day.

That’s always been a shadow of a thought on my birthday, especially after realizing my parent’s anniversary related to the little phenomenon.

Anyone who walks in true “Emunah” in Messiah Yeshua knows that His people are a ‘warring’ people, in the realm of His Ru’akh.  Last week, my drash [teaching message] in the Synagogue was about the “Matzliakh”, the ‘prosperous’ man.  One who ‘succeeds’ in this life, spiritually.  If I’m not mistaken, Yosef was the first one in scripture called a matzliakh; and he was a servant, a slave, when he was so called.

But, as Friday was the anniversary of my birth, I prayed that day, as I do each day, for all I know, especially those whom I hold dear, to have ‘shalom’ each day..

My birthday started very, very special.  I woke up, and read a second email concerning someone who had been studying our congregation’s website, http://www.battzion.org , and had come to repentance.  My last post was about the JOY in HEAVEN concerning ONE SOUL doing Teshuvah, so much so that the Malakhim REJOICE in HIGH PRAISES….. FOR ONE SOUL!  So, when I read that second email, and learned that the person who had repented, whose name is in our Torah portion this week!, is going to come to the synagogue this Shabbat, then I ‘heard’ the echo of that rejoicing in Heaven…. it sunk in. [the first email had came in thur night, after my family and I began celebrating my birthday.. with cake…can’t help it, biblical days start at night! and I’d briefly read it, but it didn’t sink in; then another came in through the night].

I cannot express how much joy that brought me, considering all the labor we put into the website, into the congregation, investing in people’s souls, versus the number of times people actually do ‘return to G-d in obedience to His Instructions’ [biblical repentance].  when I wrote that last blog post, I asked G-d for that experience again, that deep joy of knowing His Malkhut is truly advancing because of our efforts.  Et voila.

Friday, I decided to drive to work, versus riding the bus, because I took a half day off.  My jam came on when I got in the car, but it was my whole playlist.  I wanted to focus on worshipping and thanking Him, so I switched it just to play Miqedem’s last album.  I’ve noticed this before, about that album.  But I’ve only shared this with my wifey.  I don’t know if Jamie and the rest of Miqedem intended this, but it has certainly caught my attention, what I am about to try to explain:

Friday morning, when I switched it over, I set it to play the album, Volume II, in order, and not to shuffle, because it’s been a while since I just listened to the album straight through.  I finished listening to it this morning, and remembered this compelling theme I will try to explain here, starting with the first song, to the last, in order.

“Khanun V’Rakhum’ is the first song, “Gracious and Merciful”.  That is the last phrase in the 4th verse of the psalm…. The music starts with a very distinct Hebrew, Middle-Eastern sound, very upbeat, and the first words are “I will thank יהוה “…. [I say/sing His Name… I hope Miqedem can forgive me, as I simply cannot edit His Word when reading/singing it, nor blot out His Name as quoted in scripture with another word].  The first verse of this song is actually the first four verses of Psalm 111.   I have the great pleasure of understanding them in Hebrew…. and this phrase, “Khanun v’Rakhum’, is an echo of Moshe’s encounter with G-d that so few people consider, when He said, יהוה   יהוה  El RAKHUM V’KHANUN…. Merciful and GRACIOUS G-d… this is ‘old testament’, and is describing יהוה  as MERCIFUL and GRACIOUS….  the whole description there flies in the face of the xtian idea that the ‘god of the old testament’ was a ‘hateful, mean/angry god.’  Those first verses of 111 expound on His works of mercy and grace as WONDERFUL.  Then, the second verse of the song, from Ps 112, tells of the works of a Tzadik, a Righteous One.  This is a foreshadowing of Messiah, but also describes one who actually trusts in obedience, delighting in the Mitzvot of G-d.  This echoes the fb post I made yesterday, asserting that we, as believers, should strive to be like G-d!  Khanun V’Rakhum V’Tzadik, echoing Khanun V’Rakhum יהוה !  Ultimately, it is HIM whom we emulate.

I won’t have time to detail each of the psalms on this album.  But, I pray the psalms every Shabbat in the Synagogue during our prayer hour, with a numerical pattern that gets me through all 150 of them about 5 times in a year.  And this pattern is in such a way that I sample each type of Psalm [praise, ascent, imprecatory, etc] each Shabbat.  And each week, I think about how this mimics the life and experience of believers.

The Tehillim [praises/psalms] are Tefilot [prayers] and SONGS.  And they are FULL of EMOTION.  ALL emotions.  Happiness, sadness, sorrow, pain, rejoicing, anger, bitterness, hurt, the list goes on.  They run the whole gambit of the human experience.  And so do my Shabbat morning prayers.  And so does Miqedem Volume II.  They sampled almost every type of Tehillah.  This one starts very upbeat, rejoicing and thanking G-d for His MERCY AND GRACE, the way a believer starts his life of faith, and the way he SHOULD start EVERY DAY!

It is followed with B’tzet Yisra’el, ‘When Yisra’el Went out of Mitzrayim’, which is a mini Pesakh Psalm, a recalling of the MIGHT of Elohim, who delivered Yisra’el and brought them into The Land.  The psalmist almost seems to mock the natural barriers to Yisra’el’s ‘going out,’ reminding us that He Goes BEFORE us, IN MIGHT.  This, too, ought to be a theme of our minds as we begin our days.

The next is Ba’erev Yelin, and has been my favorite for a while, though I think it got edged out of late.  But, the tone changes, becoming very mellow.  This one is a KHANUKAH song!  It is the “Dedication of the House,” or “Khanukat HaBayit.”  Nothing causes a believer in Messiah more sorrow than for the ‘House’ of his heart to be defiled with sin.  “Weeping WILL linger for the night”, as long as the believer walks in self-induced darkness,’ but REJOICING comes ‘la’boker’…. yes, ‘in the morning,’ but, ‘boker’ can imply ‘early,’ and the prefix is ‘for’ in this conjugation…. the earlier ‘light’ comes back to the ‘house,’ the sooner the believer can REJOICE!  This one is Psalm 30:4-6.

Then, we get even more contemplative, meditating on the “Compassions of יהוה  ” .  from 89:2-3, 12.  Here, we confess that His compassions are worthy of our declaring them. So much so that the mountains will cry out rejoicing in Him [if we don’t].  I seem to remember Yeshua alluding to this?  We stay contemplative, and ‘sing,’ “I love that יהוה will hear the voice of my supplications….”  Ps 116:1-2; And then we can say, “Because He has turned His ear toward me, I will call on Him all of my days…. “In the courts of His HOUSE, in the midst of you, O Yerushalayim, HALLELU YAH!”  [v19].  We who are believers in Messiah Yeshua do this in such a literal way, because we have a House that is fashioned by Messiah!  I can’t EVEN get into all the depth of what is revealed here!

And now it’s time again to REJOICE!  The next melody is a complete Tehillah, 117, which is only two verses long.  It has a very middle-eastern flare, and a driving beat.  Hallelu Et יהוה  , kol Goyim, Shabekhuhu kol HaUmim; Ki gamal aleinu khasdo, v’emet יהוה  l’olam.  That’s it!  Praise Him, all nations, Worship Him all peoples!  For His compassion upon us is abundant, and His Truth is FOREVER!

The next melody is again quiet and meditative; its all piano and vocal, and is simply one verse; but, it’s not from the Tehillim.  It is from “Eikha”, or “Lamenations”: “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of Adonai; lift up your hands toward Him for the life of your young children, that faint for hunger at the head of every street.”  Our life indeed should be about praise, and Abba is certainly deserving of all our praise, but the world is deserving of our supplication, our standing in as the royal Kohanim we are, pleading on behalf of the innocent.  In our day and age, there is probably no better verse to express how desperate children today are for our intercession.   And sometimes, it ‘seems’ as if Abba is not responding to our plea.  “Ad Ana,”  “Until when?” is the next lyric, from chapter 13.  We left our rejoicing, and in the middle of the night got up to pray for the children, and now we ask, “Until when?  How long will our enemy rejoice over me?   But then, in spite of the waiting we must do, we yet say, “But as for me, in Your compassion do I trust; my heart shall rejoice in Your Salvation.  I will sing unto יהוה , because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  And we begin to leave our sorrow behind, returning again to our trust that HE IS going to move, and give justice, and compassion.  And the music picks us back up again at this point.

The next melody seems to us to be a blend of Hebrew with Appalachian Mountain music.  It’s bluesy, “Shir LaMa’alot,” from 121:1-5.  It is a reminder that we have to return ourselves to this world, in our journey of ascent [Shir LaMa’alot means “Song of Ascent”]; along the way, there are many perils, but HE is our help!  The Maker of Heaven and Earth.

The next song is another deviation from the book of psalms, taking us to Yesha-Yahu 40:31, again a single verse.  And the tempo picks back up again, returning to a very authentic, Hebrew sound.  Those who wait/hope in יהוה will renew their strength, they will soar in the air as eagles!  They will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.  This is like the second wind of life.  It is a reminder, especially for one in my stage of life, that it is WORTH waiting on and hoping in HIM.  And that ONE DAY, He is going to ‘lift us up’.  And HE strengthens us to get through this life.

And having that in mind, knowing that one who ‘waits for’ and ‘hopes in’ Him, we are HAPPY!  And Tehillah 1:1-3 begins with a very upbeat, modern guitar rif, “Happy is the man!  And this one has, at least for a season, become my favorite, as I have come to know that my happiness is completely rooted in HIM, and being OBEDIENT to His Tzedaka.  And it is not a drummed up, temporary happiness.  It is permanent, and completely  independent of my circumstances.  It is typically a more mature person who really discovers this truth.

And the last song, I don’t know if it was intended this way, but it certainly seems well placed, and seems to fit this theme of the album, that of our journey through life, whether that theme was intended or not as well.  Tehillah 23 is read often upon the departure of a loved one; but, it is not written in the voice of the 2nd person, but of the first person:  He leads ME beside still waters; he restores my soul… The melody starts very subdued, in contrast to the previous “Ashrei Ha’Ish, and takes us through the first three verses.  Oddly enough, the tempo picks up when we get to the valley of Tzal Mavet…  EVEN THERE we can PRAISE HIM!  Passing through this life into the next! Though I walk through the valley of Tzal Mavet….  All of us are going to do it.  But, HE sits us down and feeds us, while our enemies watch!  He covers our heads in oil, protecting us.  I will dwell in Beit   יהוה  FOREVER!  What else could be so comforting for one ‘crossing the Yarden,’ going into Paradise?  

Oddly enough, it almost doesn’t seem to matter in what order one listens to these particular scriptures, the message is the same.  And this is true of the book of Tehillim; our ‘worship of David.’  I wish everyone who trusts in Messiah could come to understand the power of restoration and life that is in these songs.  Not Miqedem’s, but David’s.  Miqedem does a phenomenal job of bringing life to the lyrics, and giving us a taste of Yisra’el in our worship, and we at our congregation are very grateful.  But, it is because the words are the very words of His Ru’akh [breath], expressing the very heart of Elohim THROUGH us, if we let them, that we sing them with such passion.  I wish I had more time to elaborate, but I hope the reader has ‘seen’ what I have so many times when listening to this album; and so many times when praying these prayers in silence on Shabbat.

This ‘book of prayer’ is a mechanism that could restore the congregations to UNITY in Messiah.  Singing them is wonderful.  But inwardly meditating on them is even more wonderful, and powerful.  I hope someone in inspired to do just that.

The REAL MIRACLE of khanukha….

 

Khanukah celebrates DEDICATION.

It is what the word khanukah means.  But, the season of this celebration of the dedication of the house happens to be a celebration of LIGHTS, held at the DARKEST time of the year.

One thing I am ever more certain of, is that we are certainly at the darkest time in history, right before Messiah returns….

And this year, even though our Khanukah celebration at home has been a bit muted [just me and the wife so far], what I have determined to celebrate  is HIS LIGHT.

Yeshua was conceived on the first night of Khanukah, some 2,000 years ago.  This was the beginning of true LIGHT coming to the world, in flesh.

And of course, if Yeshua is that light, and we learn that He tells us to be ‘born anew,’ and then says that those who are born anew are those who ‘come to the light’; then we are recipients of that light.  But, that receipt is predicated upon true “repentance,” which means turning to G-d by turning to His mitzvot.

So, one who repents by turning to His Mitzvot, is then born ‘anew’, and is given light.  And He is told to share that light with everyone.

In the day we live in, there are precious few people who will turn to that light.  The Light is the Torah, which is the purity of G-d that manifested in Yeshua’s obedience, even to the point of death.  All of us are reluctant to die.  But every single one of us are completely resistant to spiritual ‘death’, which is REQUIRED, in order to be truly ‘born anew.’  This is the GREATEST MIRACLE that we can EVER experience or witness.  I have had the joy of witnessing it a few times in my life, and even the great and humbing honor of participating in it, if only by declaring Yeshua’s death to someone who’s never truly ‘heard’ it before.  I remember those occasions with perfect clarity.  There truly is NOTHING more miraculous than for a sinner [everyone sins] to actually be broken and contrite over offending G-d, and TURNING, accepting G-d’s offer of atonement through Yeshua, imparting HIS perfection to us, and then beginning to seek how to OBEY G-d in HIS TRUTH, Yeshua’s way.  That is truly the biggest MIRACLE EVER.  When one considers the miracle of Yeshua’s conception, is that really so ‘spectacular’?  It was unseen for nine months.  When His birth finally occurred, no one really noticed, except some shepherds, who heard Malakhim rejoicing in Heaven.  The same is true of our birth into His family.  Very few ever really notice on earth.  As in Yeshua’s conception, only Miryam, Yosef, Elisheva, Yokhanan HaMatbil [an unborn baby who LEAPED at the sound of Miryam’s words] and perhaps Elisheva’s husband, really ‘rejoiced’ in the conception of our Messiah; so, only those BELIEVERS who really know us and can perceive a change can rejoice in our new birth; and as at Yeshua’s birth, only Miryam and Yosef and a few unnamed shepherds took note.  AND SOME MESSENGERS OF HEAVEN.

But, just as they rejoiced at HIS birth, so do they rejoice about the new birth here on earth:

“I say to you that such will be the joy before the Malakhim of Elohim over one sinner who repents.” ~Yeshua, Luka 15:10

Yeshua was conceived at this time.  As I am likely writing only to believers, I can draw attention to His conception and birth with some meaning.  But for one who does not yet trust in His Word, it is HIS DEATH that must be declared.

“And I, my brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech, nor did I declare to you the Sod [scriptural mystery/counsel] of Elohim in wisdom. For I did not pretend to know anything among you except Yeshua HaMashi’akh, and Him executed on the stake.”  Kor Alef 2:1-2

Death is darkness and LIFE is light.  In order for one to be at Shalom with himself and with Elohim, both here and eternally, one must face his own sin, admit to sinning, confess it, and die, to be reborn into the Ru’akh of Elohim, by confessing the truth of Yeshua the Messiah, and his atonement for us as individuals.  And only then, but then, HE gives us of His Ru’akh, and the Messengers in heaven REJOICE!  Like they did the day Yeshua was born.  Like Miryam did herself at her conception of Yeshua; like Yokhanan did when he sensed Yeshua in Miryam.

Oh, how I LOVE to rejoice with those Messengers in heaven over ONE person coming into light.  How I grieve that so many, who have heard this word, yet walk in darkness, fellowshipping with this world rather than with Him and His people, in truth.  In the same fashion, the FATHER rejoices HIMSELF when a SON comes home.  Oh, how a father who is a Tzadik REJOICES THE MOST over a son who will serve G-d in truth.

So, I hope someone, somewhere, finds the LIGHT of Messiah in this dark world, amidst all those competing for religious attention, whose eyes are off the prize: SALVATION.  We all seem to be to worried about our own comfort, and not the salvation of our own lives, much less those who have not yet heard the TRUTH of Yeshua’s gift.

As one who received that knowledge and that light forty-one years ago, I am truly ‘dedicating’ this ‘house’ of my heart, and rejoicing in the miracle of the OIL of His Ru’akh being given in this DARK TIME.

Ma’oz Tzur, Yeshua-ti ::  What a STRONG ROCK is MY YESHUA!

Khanukah Channukah Chanuka Hanuka Hannukahh Honiekie

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Just like there are many variations on how to spell Khanukah, there are a few variations on when to observe it.

We do not start our observance until tonight.  The reason?  Khanukah is a FIXED-DAY feast, and is celebrated on the 25th day of the NINTH Biblical Khodesh.

Many Messianic people, in fact most, do NOT follow the correct calendar.  They think it is their duty to unify with the Jewish Sages, who rejected Messiah.

For some reason, so many people who SAY they follow Torah, actually follow the Rabbinc community that has DENIED that Yeshua is the Son of G-d.  Just ask ANY writer of Talmud, and they will tell you [if they were alive, but they tell you in their writings] that Yeshua is NOT the Son of G-d!  They now even deny that the Messiah would EVER be “Ben HaAdam,” or “Ben HaElohim”; but they certainly deny that Yeshua, HaNatzri, Ben Yosef, is in fact the Son of G-d.  And yet, so many Messianic people follow THEM!

Sha’ul is largely misunderstood today, as he was back then.  As was Yeshua.  The Rabbinic community THOUGHT Yeshua came to do away with Torah.  His repudiation of them made them THINK He meant to overturn ALL Jewish customs.  Yeshua, however, was even a participant in Khanukah!  BUT, what He did NOT do is MOVE THE FEAST DAYS, just because the Pharisees did!  At that time, they had only moved the Pesakh.  They observed it then, as they do now, on the 15th evening of the fisrt Khodesh, whereas Yeshua, who CLEARLY observed it the day BEFORE the P’rushim did, observed it on the 14th evening of the first Khodesh.  As yet they had not moved Khanukah.  That did not occur until nearly the 7th century AD, when Hillel the 2nd created a Babylonian solar/lunar calendar, versus the lunar Biblical calendar, in order to unify the RABBINIC community, which had rejected Yeshua for more than 500 years.  And today, most of the Messianic community follows them.

We know how ‘lonely’ our Messianic walk can be.  And we know how we are looked down upon by the majority of the Messianic Jewish community because we will not unite with Rabbis.

But, it is a form of hypocrisy, ‘you say and DO NOT DO’, to ‘say’ you follow Messiah, and yet adhere to Rabbinic error, IN MANY, MANY WAYS.

Messianic Jews seem to forget that Yeshua was not ‘in favor’ with the Rabbis.  Neither was Kefa, nor Sha’ul, nor Tzefan-Yah [Steven], or any of the TRUE followers of Messiah, who were NOT AFRAID to break ranks with the ‘majority,’ that had REJECTED the Son of G-d.

Being Jewish DOES NOT SAVE YOU.  Being Jewish DOES NOT MAKE A RABBI correct!  Just because he is Jewish and calls himself “Rabbi,” “My Great One,” clearly seeking a title of his own, more than lifting up Messiah Yeshua, our ONLY RABBI [Matti 23], does NOT mean that he is ‘right.’  Yet so many people who SAY they want to follow Messiah and the Torah more closely, simply trade one set of liars [Constantine and the xtian world] for another [Rabbis who reject Yeshua].

It is clear to me that most people who SAY they do things for the sake of unity, do not want to unify with Messiah Yeshua, who would NEVER move the calendar of His Father, not for Pesakh, and not even for Khanukah, but would rather unify with Rabbis who say they have authority over G-d, to move His feast days, to CHANGE HIS mitzvot, and to negate HIS WILL.

Being a TRUE Messianic person is being one who follows the ONLY RABBI who is ‘certified’ by HEAVEN.  Yeshua HaMashiakh!  Yet, so many look to the Talmud for ‘halakhic rulings,’ in a desire to ‘unify’ with the Jewish community, who have REJECTED THE MESSIAH!  Yokhanan shows us this is ERROR!

“Hereby we know that we are in Him: he who says “I am in Him” ought himself also to walk His halakha.”

Yet most Messianic people walk the Halakha of those who follow Sheker HaMashia’kh, the very spirit that DENIES Messiah Yeshua!

Our take is very simple.  “Peshat” interpretation.  We are truly walking out Yeshua’s Halakha, who would not DARE to move the feasts of Elohim.  He was killed by people who were keeping the Pesakh a full 24 hours late!  They did not recognize Him, the Pesakh Lamb, because He did not DO AS THEY DID.  He did ONLY WHAT HIS FATHER TOLD HIM.  And His Father told Him to observe Pesakh on the 14th evening of the first Khodesh.

To move Khanukah, which is indeed not a commanded feast, but is nonetheless a legitimate, Messianic observance [Yeshua taught a very Messianic theme during the season, Yokhanan 9-11], is to equivocate, and to unify with a community of Jews who are NOT true Jews.  [Rom 2:29]  NOT EVERYONE who has Jewish blood is Jewish! [Rom 2:28]  ONLY those who TRUST IN MESSIAH are actually Jewish, in the eyes of Elohim!  And in the eyes of HIS Messiah!

Messianic people who consciously CHOOSE to walk according to Talmudic ‘law’ versus simply doing what Torah says, the way Yeshua does, are in a very, very dangerous ‘way.’  Yet they ‘trust’ in the comfort of ‘numbers’, versus TRUTH.

So, to those Maccabees who are BRAVE enough to DO WHAT TORAH SAYS, and to STAY THE COURSE of truth: KHAPPY KHANUKAH!  We will start night one TONIGHT, on the actual 25th evening of the ninth month, when the Maccabees actually lit the Menorah for the first time, after the Greeks contaminated His House.