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Posts tagged ‘Jew’

3 Proofs Christmas Is a Jewish Story.


 

Nativity scene
Messiah‘s Mandate’s Ron Cantor says the Christmas story is really a Jewish story.

Luke gives us a beautiful glimpse of the entrance of the God-man, Yeshua, into earthly life. It was a glorious moment, no matter when it took place:

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’” (Luke 2:8-12, NIV).

Every now and then I come across a passage and I think to myself, “Oh, how I wish I was there!” Acts 2, the road to Emmaus, the Exodus and this one. Jewish shepherds are watching over their sheep at night when suddenly an angel appears to them, announcing the birth of the Messiah.

But notice the angel’s words. This is a Jewish story.

1. He says this will “cause great joy for all the people.” What people? The people of Israel, of course. And we see this great joy manifested in Jerusalem in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit is poured out, and we will see it again in the end-time revival that is sure to touch Israel (Rom. 11:26).

2. He says the baby has been born not in Rome nor in Antioch but in Bethlehem, presently a PLO-controlled city next to Jerusalem (as an Israeli, I can’t even visit the city if I wanted to) but once a completely Jewish town, home to the young shepherd David. David was a type of the Messiah, and the prophets foretold that while the Messiah would minister in Galilee (Is. 9:1-2), He would be born in the Bethlehem:

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Mic. 5:2).

3. Next, the angel does not announce the coming of a new religion called Christianity that will one day be based in Rome but simply says that the One the Hebrew prophets spoke of has come, the Messiah. For Jews, to believe in this prophesied Messiah certainly did not mean changing religions. In fact, when Gentiles began to believe in the Jewish Messiah, the Jews’ first reaction was, “OK, let’s get you guys circumcised and converted to Judaism.” They did not understand that Gentiles could come to the Jewish Messiah without first becoming a convert to Judaism. It was a revelation to Simon Peter in Acts 10 that ultimately became doctrine in Acts 15. Now, as the one new man (Eph. 2:15) made up of Jew and Gentile, together we worship the Messiah of Israel.

Yes, Christmas, or Messiahmas, is a Jewish story indeed.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Cantor also travels internationally teaching on the Jewish roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. His newest book, Identity Theft, was released April 16. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.

For the original article, visit messiahsmandate.org.

Why a Chinese Pastor Follows the God of Israel.


Chinese Christians
Chinese Christians know how to sing and dance, and they do it with all their hearts. (Maoz Israel)

Pastor Paul is one of a multitude of Chinese Christian leaders who has a burning desire to see his nation converted and brought into abundant life in this world and everlasting life in the world to come.

He founded a church in 2003 and then sent his young leaders out to start more churches, and today he has 40 growing churches bringing the gospel to his people—the Chinese!

He also has connected with many other pastors in his area, understanding from God’s Word that our Lord loves unity.

Most of all, he understands that the first and foremost act of obedience to bring forth a harvest in his land is a strong network of prayer.

One day a fellow pastor urged him to go to the All Nations Prayer Convocation in Jerusalem, led by Tom Hess. At first Paul thought, Why go to Jerusalem? I’m working in the harvest field in China, and that’s where my heart is.

But he attended the conference in 2008, and his heart was stirred. However, when he felt God prompting him to come to Jerusalem every year, he said he felt shocked. “I will obey,” he said, “but I don’t know why.”

The Jewish Connection to China

After attending the conference for the next two years, Pastor Paul began to understand that Israel is very important in God’s plan and, indeed, for the salvation of China.

He began to read everything he could find on Israel in the Chinese language. Books like Don Finto’s Your People Shall Be My People: How Israel, the Jews and the Christian Church Will Come together in the Last Days began to open up before him a huge horizon. (You can order Don’s book here.)

Pastor Paul devoured the Bible, now seeing the Jewish connection that runs from Genesis to Revelation. He also heard about Christians in the West giving donations to nonbelieving Jewish organizations, some of whom actually fight against the Messianic Jewish believers. Instead, he felt stirred to help the local body fulfill its purpose in the land.

Pastor Paul explains the spiritual journey he underwent:

“I thought deeply about the new awakening concerning Israel that I saw happening around me among my Chinese fellow Christians.

“I developed a profound desire to go deeper with my understanding of God’s plan for Israel. Most of all, I wanted to connect with the local believers. In 2011, I and my tour were in an Arab hotel in Jerusalem praying and struggling to understand what God was saying to us.

How Can I Bless Israel?

“I knew that I wanted to do something that would enable China to bless Israel. This verse shouted its message to me:

“‘Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples!’ (Is. 62:10).

“I felt God was telling me to host a conference in Jerusalem between Chinese pastors and local Israeli Messianic Jewish leaders. I was shocked. Absolutely shocked.

“I said, ‘But Lord, I am an unknown pastor. I am not famous or rich. I don’t even know any Messianic Jews in Israel! God, you could use someone from Hong Kong or from Taiwan—some famous father in the faith.’

“But then I said, ‘Lord, I have faith. I will obey, and I know you will open the door.’

“The very next day, I met a Messianic Jewish couple, Noam and Debra, who worked for the believing tour company, Sar El. A further shock—without Debra knowing my struggle with the directive from the Lord, she simply said to me, ‘God will use you to organize a conference here in Jerusalem.’

“I left to catch my plane and entered the airport heading towards my airline check-in counter. As I walked, I happened to glance at a man sitting by the side, looking at his iPhone messages. I recognized him although I didn’t know his name. But I remembered I had met him for two minutes at a prayer meeting some time before in Tel Aviv, hosted by Tom Hess.

“Something leaped in my spirit. I went over and introduced myself, reminding him where we had met. He was Ari Sorko-Ram. He began to tell me his vision for the local body of Messiah. He told me how he had begun studying Chinese a year before.

“I had brought with me an offering of about $2,000 from my churches but hadn’t known what to do with it, because until that day I hadn’t met any Israeli spiritual leaders. I had been feeling sad that I would be taking the offering back to China!

“Now I felt that I was to give Ari that offering. Of course, he was very surprised! As we talked, I told him, ‘I want to organize a conference next year between Chinese pastors and Israeli Messianic leaders.’

‘I Can Help You’

“Ari looked straight at me and said, ‘I can help you. You have met the right person! In fact, I will adopt you! I feel like the Lord has said to me to adopt you.’

“I didn’t know what the word adopt meant, and perplexed, I stopped to look it up in my Chinese-English dictionary!

“Ari continued, ‘I know the Israeli leaders here in the country. I can help you organize a conference.’

“Back in China, I shared with my elders the story. We prayed, and God gave me this plan—to create an alliance of Chinese Christians who will pray for Israel, who will love Israel, who will build a bridge between Christians in China and Israel’s Messianic body, and who will help Israel and China realize their destiny.

“We held three conferences in China last year to bring the knowledge of God’s plan for Israel to our people. I also visited Israel several times and found the Messianic leaders I met excited about such a conference.

“In 2012, some 100 Chinese and I came during Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), and at our first conference we met with a number of Israeli pastors.

“This year, 150 Chinese leaders interfaced with 80 Messianic Jewish leaders. We prayed, worshipped and gave Israelis opportunity in small groups to share their vision and their work in the land. I was amazed at the connections being made—even though it was through translators!

“Next year, we are planning for somewhere around 100 Israelis and 200 to 300 Chinese pastors and leaders to meet, again during the Sukkot holiday.

“Yes, I am amazed what God has done with an unknown pastor like myself. Through divinely directed encounters, God has begun to build a bridge between the Christians in China and the Messianic Jewish leaders of the land of Israel.”

For the original article, visit maozisrael.org.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Why a Chinese Pastor Follows the God of Israel.


Chinese Christians
Chinese Christians know how to sing and dance, and they do it with all their hearts. (Maoz Israel)

Pastor Paul is one of a multitude of Chinese Christian leaders who has a burning desire to see his nation converted and brought into abundant life in this world and everlasting life in the world to come.

He founded a church in 2003 and then sent his young leaders out to start more churches, and today he has 40 growing churches bringing the gospel to his people—the Chinese!

He also has connected with many other pastors in his area, understanding from God’s Word that our Lord loves unity.

Most of all, he understands that the first and foremost act of obedience to bring forth a harvest in his land is a strong network of prayer.

One day a fellow pastor urged him to go to the All Nations Prayer Convocation in Jerusalem, led by Tom Hess. At first Paul thought, Why go to Jerusalem? I’m working in the harvest field in China, and that’s where my heart is.

But he attended the conference in 2008, and his heart was stirred. However, when he felt God prompting him to come to Jerusalem every year, he said he felt shocked. “I will obey,” he said, “but I don’t know why.”

The Jewish Connection to China

After attending the conference for the next two years, Pastor Paul began to understand that Israel is very important in God’s plan and, indeed, for the salvation of China.

He began to read everything he could find on Israel in the Chinese language. Books like Don Finto’sYour People Shall Be My People: How Israel, the Jews and the Christian Church Will Come together in the Last Days began to open up before him a huge horizon. (You can order Don’s book here.)

Pastor Paul devoured the Bible, now seeing the Jewish connection that runs from Genesis to Revelation. He also heard about Christians in the West giving donations to nonbelieving Jewish organizations, some of whom actually fight against the Messianic Jewish believers. Instead, he felt stirred to help the local body fulfill its purpose in the land.

Pastor Paul explains the spiritual journey he underwent:

“I thought deeply about the new awakening concerning Israel that I saw happening around me among my Chinese fellow Christians.

“I developed a profound desire to go deeper with my understanding of God’s plan for Israel. Most of all, I wanted to connect with the local believers. In 2011, I and my tour were in an Arab hotel in Jerusalem praying and struggling to understand what God was saying to us.

How Can I Bless Israel?

“I knew that I wanted to do something that would enable China to bless Israel. This verse shouted its message to me:

“‘Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples!’ (Is. 62:10).

“I felt God was telling me to host a conference in Jerusalem between Chinese pastors and local Israeli Messianic Jewish leaders. I was shocked. Absolutely shocked.

“I said, ‘But Lord, I am an unknown pastor. I am not famous or rich. I don’t even know any Messianic Jews in Israel! God, you could use someone from Hong Kong or from Taiwan—some famous father in the faith.’

“But then I said, ‘Lord, I have faith. I will obey, and I know you will open the door.’

“The very next day, I met a Messianic Jewish couple, Noam and Debra, who worked for the believing tour company, Sar El. A further shock—without Debra knowing my struggle with the directive from the Lord, she simply said to me, ‘God will use you to organize a conference here in Jerusalem.’

“I left to catch my plane and entered the airport heading towards my airline check-in counter. As I walked, I happened to glance at a man sitting by the side, looking at his iPhone messages. I recognized him although I didn’t know his name. But I remembered I had met him for two minutes at a prayer meeting some time before in Tel Aviv, hosted by Tom Hess.

“Something leaped in my spirit. I went over and introduced myself, reminding him where we had met. He was Ari Sorko-Ram. He began to tell me his vision for the local body of Messiah. He told me how he had begun studying Chinese a year before.

“I had brought with me an offering of about $2,000 from my churches but hadn’t known what to do with it, because until that day I hadn’t met any Israeli spiritual leaders. I had been feeling sad that I would be taking the offering back to China!

“Now I felt that I was to give Ari that offering. Of course, he was very surprised! As we talked, I told him, ‘I want to organize a conference next year between Chinese pastors and Israeli Messianic leaders.’

‘I Can Help You’

“Ari looked straight at me and said, ‘I can help you. You have met the right person! In fact, I will adopt you! I feel like the Lord has said to me to adopt you.’

“I didn’t know what the word adopt meant, and perplexed, I stopped to look it up in my Chinese-English dictionary!

“Ari continued, ‘I know the Israeli leaders here in the country. I can help you organize a conference.’

“Back in China, I shared with my elders the story. We prayed, and God gave me this plan—to create an alliance of Chinese Christians who will pray for Israel, who will love Israel, who will build a bridge between Christians in China and Israel’s Messianic body, and who will help Israel and China realize their destiny.

“We held three conferences in China last year to bring the knowledge of God’s plan for Israel to our people. I also visited Israel several times and found the Messianic leaders I met excited about such a conference.

“In 2012, some 100 Chinese and I came during Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), and at our first conference we met with a number of Israeli pastors.

“This year, 150 Chinese leaders interfaced with 80 Messianic Jewish leaders. We prayed, worshipped and gave Israelis opportunity in small groups to share their vision and their work in the land. I was amazed at the connections being made—even though it was through translators!

“Next year, we are planning for somewhere around 100 Israelis and 200 to 300 Chinese pastors and leaders to meet, again during the Sukkot holiday.

“Yes, I am amazed what God has done with an unknown pastor like myself. Through divinely directed encounters, God has begun to build a bridge between the Christians in China and the Messianic Jewish leaders of the land of Israel.”

For the original article, visit maozisrael.org.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

SHIRA SORKO-RAM AND PASTOR PAUL

8 Reasons the Apostle Paul Would Want Churches to be Multiethnic.


What does your church look like culturally?

What does your church look like culturally? (Lightstock)

The apostle Paul did not go into a Greco-Roman city and plant a church for the Jews and then a church for Gentiles (non-Jews), because that would have been out of step with the gospel he loved, lived and proclaimed (Gal. 2:11-21).

Paul relentlessly believed the power of the gospel could create a new kind of humanity that was an altogether new ethnic group called the church. The church would be a community where racism, classism and sexism would be defeated by gospel love (Gal. 3:24-28).

The apostle Paul was so committed to the glory of God through the local church that eventually He was imprisoned and killed for planting Jewish and Gentile (multiethnic) churches throughout the Greco-Roman world.

“And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live’” (Acts 22:21-22, ESV).

The following are eight reasons why Paul would want local churches to be multiethnic whenever possible:

Soteriological (Doctrine of Salvation)

  • “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph. 2:14-16).
  • According to Ephesians 2, in Christ, Jewish and Gentile (African, Asian, Arab, Greek, etc.) congregations in Ephesus were “one new man” (v. 15), reconciled to God and each other. This new humanity was birthed through the cross (v. 16). In addition, they were members of God’s household (v. 19), God’s temple (v. 21) and God’s dwelling place (v. 22).

Christological and Missiological

  • “For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph. 3:1-6).
  • The apostle Paul was on mission to reach Jews and Gentiles and incorporate them into one local body because the gospel demanded it.

Gospel

  • “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,  and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things” (Eph. 3:7-9).
  • Apparently, the apostle Paul believed the gospel of God’s grace not only caused people to love Jesus, but to also love each other in such away they formed “one new man,” in spite of the first-century Greco-Roman culture that said they should hate each other.

Theological and Eccesiological (Doctrine of the Church)

  • “So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (Eph. 3:10-12).
  • As the ethnically multicolored congregations in Ephesus read Paul’s letter, they learned the church is composed of a variety of colored people (manifold). And this unifying display alerted the rulers and authorities that is the angelic and demonic world that Jesus had indeed won.
  • Peter T. O’Brien, in his commentary on the letter to the Ephesians, says, “In our present context, however, this variegated wisdom has particular reference to God’s richly diverse ways of working which led to a multiracial, multicultural community being united as fellow-members in the body of Christ.”

Sacrificial

  • “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory” (Eph. 3:13).
  • The apostle Paul suffered greatly to see God’s new society, comprised of multiethnic, socio-economically diverse people formed on Planet Earth.
  • “From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” (Gal. 6:17).
  • I personally have suffered greatly, planting and leading a multiethnic church. It’s hard work. But it’s gospel.

Eschatological (Ultimate Destiny of the Church)

“And they sang a new song, saying,

“’Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.’

“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“’Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing’” (Rev. 5:9-12).

The eternal church will be multiethnic. There will be no white church, black church, Latino church or Asian church. There will only be Jesus’ multiethnic church. If this is the future, let’s pray for it today.

Derwin L. Gray is the founding and lead pastor of Transformation Church, a multiethnic, multigenerational, mission-shaped community that loves God completely (Upward), themselves correctly (Inward) and their neighbors compassionately (Outward) in Indian Land, S.C., just south of Charlotte, N.C. Transformation Church was recently recognized as one of the fastest-growing churches in America for 2010 by Outreach Magazine.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Written by Derwin Gray

The Media Uses Double Standards Against Israel.


The mainstream media tends to ignore Jewish persecution.
The mainstream media tends to ignore Jewish persecution. (Reuters file photo)

Israel is so constantly subject to obscene double standards by the media that it reminds me of a touching scene from the movie Defiance, about Jewish partisans during the Holocaust, where the prayer leader begs of G-d, “Please, choose another people! We’ve run out of blood, so please choose another people.”

When incidents that portray the truth about Israel as the victim, they are often ignored by the media. This past week, two incidents that occurred in Jerusalem received zero mainstream media coverage, outside of the Israel/Jewish-related media. If the shoe had been on the other foot, there would have been wall-to-wall media coverage, United Nations condemnations and who knows what else.

At the holiest Jewish site in the world, Jews dared to sing Hanukkah songs and pray—and for this they were attacked by Muslim worshippers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Sunday. In Israel, which is often falsely condemned for “oppressing” Arabs, Jews were banned from praying at the site after the Muslims attacked them. There was no media coverage surrounding any of this—no calls from world leaders about this Palestinian Arab action creating a crisis for peace talks or being an obstacle to peace. Imagine what would have happened if Jews attacked Arabs while they were praying.

A 2-year-old toddler, Avigail Ben-Zion, sustained serious head injuries as a result of Arab terrorists throwing a three-pound rock through the window of the car her mother was driving in Jerusalem Thursday night. For that, there was a complete black wall of silence.

Both of these incidents occurred in Jerusalem—and there was literally not one foreign or international news organization that covered either of these stories. Imagine what would happen if Jewish teenagers threw rocks at Arab toddlers.

Jews pray, and Jews drive cars; they are attacked, and the media ignores it. Media ignoring these incidents is simply insane.

Bob Dylan wrote a song in 1983 called “Neighborhood Bully,” which is a perfect description of today. Here are some lyrics: “He’s criticized and condemned for being alive. We are supposed to turn a blind eye while millions of Israeli citizens are in danger. He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin, he’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in. The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land—he’s wandered the earth an exiled man. Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn. He’s always on trial for just being born. He’s the neighborhood bully.”

Everything in Israel attracts undue media attention—except when Jews are harmed. A Zionist leader, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, had the answer when he wrote “Instead of Excessive Apology” in 1911: “We constantly and very loudly apologize. … Instead of turning our backs to the accusers, as there is nothing to apologize for, and nobody to apologize to, we swear again and again that it is not our fault. … Isn’t it long overdue to respond to all these and all future accusations, reproaches, suspicions, slanders and denunciations by simply folding our arms and loudly, clearly and calmly answer with the only argument that is understandable and accessible to this public: ‘Go to Hell’?”

Israel needs to act in its best interest always and regularly—and sometimes forget about negative publicity.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent public relations agency.

The Mystery of the Hanukkah Menorah.


Jewish menorah.
Jewish menorah.

The Bible speaks of the menorah, or lampstand, on three levels: one in the Torah, one in the Prophets and one in the New Covenant. Moses was commanded to build a seven-branched golden lampstand and place it in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle (Ex. 25:31-40).

The priests were required to take care of the lampstand, but there was no clear teaching as to the spiritual meaning of the menorah. When there is no clear teaching on something in the Torah—such as the Feast of Trumpets—it is often because it can only be understood in light of the New Covenant.

In the Hanukkah story, the Jews, led by Judah Maccabee and his small army, defeated the Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanies. It was considered a miracle that this tiny army of Jews could defeat the massive Syrian force.

Antiochus Epiphanies “devastated Jerusalem in 168 B.C.E., defiled the Temple, offered a pig on its altar, erected an altar to Jupiter, prohibited Temple worship [sacrifices], forbade circumcision on pain of death, sold thousands of Jewish families into slavery, destroyed all copies of Scripture that could be found, and slaughtered everyone discovered in possession of such copies, and resorted to every conceivable torture to force Jews to renounce their religion.”

The Menorah

After the surprising Jewish victory, the temple, including the menorah, was rededicated by the Maccabees as they celebrated the new holiday of Hanukkah. (Hanukkah means “dedication.”) The lampstand at Hanukkah is called in Hebrew a Hanukkiah. It has nine lights that represent the eight days the menorah in the temple remained lit, despite having only enough oil for one day (according to tradition) and an extra candle, called the shamash, that is used to light the others. Though most American Jews call this a menorah, it is not a replica of the tabernacle menorah. Nevertheless, it was clearly meant to represent the temple menorah in Jewish religious tradition, as it commemorates the miracle of the seven-branched menorah during the temple’s rededication.

A Sign of Restoration

On the second level, the prophet Zechariah saw a vision of a mystical menorah with two olive trees—one to each side. This symbolized the Lord restoring Zion and the temple by the power of His grace and Spirit (Zech. 4:1-10). This vision became the basis for the symbol and seal of the modern state of Israel.

The Body of Messiah

The third level is found in the book of Revelation, in which John has a supernatural vision of Yeshua in a glorified form, standing in the midst of seven lampstands. It is more likely, if we are going to be consistent with Scripture, that it was either a menorah that John saw, with seven branches, or seven menorahs with 49 lights in total. The word for lampstand in the Hebrew Scriptures is almost alwaysmenorah, a seven-branched candelabra. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the same word is used for menorah as John used for lampstand in Revelation. In the Hebrew New Testament,lampstand is translated as menorah. Furthermore, the menorah(s) in Revelation are made of gold, just as God told Moses (Ex. 25).

Each branch of the menorah (or each menorah) represented the seven churches or congregations of Asia Minor (Rev. 1:12, 20), which are symbolic of all types and streams making up the internationalecclesia, or body of believersAnd let’s not forget—everything in the temple was an earthly shadow of a heavenly reality (Heb. 8:5). The menorah represents the worldwide body of believers.

As the Mosaic lampstand found expression in Jewish religious tradition, Zechariah’s prophetic vision found expression in modern Zionism, and John’s vision pictures people of every tribe, tongue and nation being glorified by the power of God.

Unity Brings God’s Fire

We know that the menorah in the temple had to be built according to the pattern God gave Moses. (“Be sure to make them according to the plans you were shown on the mountain” [Ex. 25:40].) So if John’s vision of a seven-branched menorah was representative of the united body of believers, then fire must also have meaning.

Without the menorah, you cannot have fire—certainly not a contained, managed, focused fire. Once the menorah was built, it could be lit. In the same way, when the believers gathered on Shavuot (Pentecost) in unity—with one purpose and focus, waiting on the Holy Spirit—they became that spiritual menorah that could be lit, and the Spirit came as tongues of fire. In fact, the image of the 120 with flames of fire upon them is an image of one menorah with many branches. Each branch is on fire, doing the will of God.

With the menorah is in place—just as Yeshua instructed (“But stay in [Jerusalem] until you have been clothed with power from on high” [Luke 24:49])—the fire or Holy Spirit could not only fall upon, but also function through each believer. The fruit was that 3,000 men, plus women and children, were born again that day.

The lesson is that like the menorah, the body of Messiah must be built according to the heavenly pattern. Yeshua tells us in John 17 that His deep desire is for unity. Only when the body is in unity can the Spirit flow as He desires (Acts 2). Gossip, backbiting, dissensions, jealousy and the like all work to thwart the authentic fire of God.

Only the Servant Can Light the Candles

It is interesting that in Jewish tradition, it is that one special candle, the shamash, that leaves His special position above the other candles to come down and give light to the other unlit ones. Shamashmeans “servant.” Once the shamash has brought light to the other candles, He then takes His place, once again, above the others. Unbeknownst to most religious Jews, this is played out in Philippians 2:

“Who, being in very natureGod, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant [Shamash!], being made in human likeness.

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:6-10).

Shine Your Light!

One more thing. According to Jewish tradition, we are to take the lit Hanukkiah and place it in a window to declare the Hanukkah miracle to all who would see it. Was Yeshua thinking of this (even though the tradition came later) when He said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16)?

Or, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12)?

You also might find it interesting to know that Yeshua himself celebrated Hanukkah. In John 10:22, it speaks of Him being in Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah). What is the lesson?

  1. Strive for unity (Phil. 1:7).
  2. Expect the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).
  3. Let your light shine (Matt 5:14-16).

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Asher Intrater is the apostolic overseer of two congregations in Israel. He also leads Revival Israel and international prayer ministry in Jerusalem. He is the author of Who Ate Lunch With Abraham? andCovenant Relationships.

Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Cantor also travels internationally teaching on the Jewish roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. His newest book, Identity Theft, was released April 16. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.

God’s View of a Woman.


women of different races
(© zdenka iStockPhoto.com)

Editor’s Note: What follows is the transcript of a spoken message Frank Viola delivered to a church in Chile. Keep in mind that the Chilean culture tends to have a very low view of women.

After tonight’s message, if this recording gets out of this room and someone hears it in your country, I will be declared a heretic. I may even be in danger of my life.

Further, after tonight’s message, some of the men in this room may not want me to come back. Thewomen, however, will want me to move here!

Note the following passages:

“And the women also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the tomb, and how His body was laid” (Luke 23:55, KJV, emphasis added).

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren” (Acts 1:14, emphasis added).

Let’s take a trip back to ancient Israel and look at how women were viewed before Jesus came. Generally speaking, the Jews had a dim view of women. Jewish women were not allowed to receive an education. Hence, they were largely uneducated. Their only training was in how to raise children and keep house.

Women were also largely excluded from worshipping God. In Herod’s temple, there was a special court that stood on the very outside. It was called the Court of the Gentiles. The Gentiles could go into that court, but they were limited to that area alone.

Five steps above the Gentiles court was the women’s court. The women were limited to that one area. Fifteen steps above that was the Jewish men’s court. Thus men were given far more privileges to worship God than were women.

A woman had no voice in her marriage. Her father decided whom she would marry, when she would marry and why she would marry. A woman couldn’t divorce her husband under any condition. Only a man could initiate a divorce.

Jewish women were to be seen as little as possible in public. In fact, young men were warned about talking to women in public—so much so that it was a shame in ancient Israel for a man to talk to a woman in public. Consequently, most women stayed out of the streets.

Women were regarded as inferior to men. They were regarded as property, just like cattle and slaves. Jewish males prayed a daily prayer of thanksgiving. This prayer shows how poorly the Jews looked upon women. It goes like this:

Praise be to God. He has not created me a Gentile.

Praise be to God. He has not created me a woman.

Praise be to God. He has not created me an ignorant man.

This was man’s view of a woman in first-century Israel. It was not much better in other cultures. In fact, ever since the Fall of humanity, women have been regarded as second-class citizens—inferior to men. But something happened that changed all that.

Jesus came.

In Jesus Christ we find God’s view of a woman. Not man’s view. Not the American view. Not the European view. Not the Asian view. Not the African view. Not the South American view. Not even the Chilean view. But God’s view.

Jesus Christ is God made flesh. As such, He embodies all of God’s opinions. In His earthly life, Jesus was the visible expression of God Himself. By His actions and His words, we discover God’s view of a woman. And that view was utterly contrary to the prevailing view of His day.

Consider this. When God decided to make His entrance upon this planet, He visited a woman. He chose a woman to bring forth the eternal Son, the Messiah—the Anointed One for whom Israel had waited thousands of years.

The life of God was first placed in the womb of a woman before it got to you and to me. And God was not ashamed.

Sisters in Christ, this is your Lord’s view of a woman. Take your high place.

But that’s not all. As Jesus ministered, He ripped down all social conventions that were pitted against women. On one occasion, He rose to the defense of a woman caught in adultery. He became her attorney and saved her life. And God was not ashamed.

Jesus was noted for palling around with sinners. He supped with prostitutes and tax collectors. We are told in John 4 that He met a woman, and He did something that shocked the disciples: He talked to her in public. And He was not ashamed.

Not only was she a woman, but she was a divorcee. But not only was she a divorcee, she was actively living in immorality. Yet not only was she a woman, a divorcee, an adulteress living in sin, she was worse than a Gentile. She was a Samaritan—a half-breed. (A Samaritan was a person with whom Jews were never to talk.)

Your Lord talked to this divorced, adulterous, Samaritan woman in public, and He forgave her of her sins. And He was not ashamed.

Sisters, take your high place. This is God’s view of a woman.

But that’s not all. Jesus Christ had a custom of using women in His parables and making them heroes. He talked about the woman who searched and found her lost coin.

He spoke of the woman who was unrelenting in the presence of the unjust judge who honored her for her persistence. He spoke of the widow who dropped all the money she had into the temple treasury and praised her for doing so. And He was not ashamed.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

Hanukkah: The Miracle of Light.


menorah
Jewish people celebrate the miracle of light over Hanukkah. (crisderaud/rgbstock.com)

Hanukkah is the last feast in the Jewish calendar and tells a remarkable story of the deliverance of Israel from the control of the Syrians in 164 B.C. The Syrians had assumed rule of the area through a political and military struggle after Alexander the Great had died.

In their wake, they sought to assimilate the people into their Hellenistic culture (ancient Greek culture or ideals) and way of life with no exceptions, dealing ruthlessly with anyone who would oppose them. Had they been completely successful, they could have threatened the very environment that brought Messiah into the world.

Not only did they ransack the holy temple of God, desecrating all of its contents, but they actually sacrificed a pig to their Greek god Zeus on the temple altar, which naturally repulsed all of the Jews, owing to their strict dietary laws, where the pig was considered most unclean.

The Jews were outraged, and a priest named Mattathias and his five sons took up against several Syrian soldiers and killed them, which sparked a revolt. Being completely outnumbered, they utilized guerilla-style warfare tactics, first in the hill country and then throughout the land. They met with surprising success, and their faith in the God of Israel inspired the nation to take back their own country, despite the odds that were against them.

In the month of Kislev (December), they reached Jerusalem and took back the temple. In restoring the menorah, which symbolized the light of God, they only had enough oil to last for one day, as it took eight days to prepare new oil. However, the oil miraculously lasted for eight days. This event demonstrated two miracles of God: the first to deliver His people and the second to lighten His temple.

The temple was restored and rededicated to G-d, and a new holiday was established called Hanukkah (Hebrew for dedication) to remind Israel of these miracles. Hanukkah was not one of the original Jewish feasts mentioned in Leviticus 23, as it had not happened yet. However in light of its significance, its prophetic picture through Daniel, as well as God’s intervention, it became part of the Jewish calendar and has been celebrated ever since by Jews and some Christians all over the world.

In fact Yeshua/Jesus celebrated this holiday and forever connected its significance by reflecting His own messiahship through the feast (John 10:22-39). Isn’t it interesting that in every Jewish holiday, we can see the character of God’s love and light for mankind? And nowhere is this clearer than through the Hanukkah celebration that we see the light of the world.

Isn’t it fascinating that the very last miracle recorded in the Jewish calendar is a miracle of light to foreshadow and tell us of the great Light that was to come into the world?

On Hanukkah itself, Yeshua/Jesus, the great Light of the world, went into the temple area giving perhaps one of the only teachings where He actually refers to Himself as the Messiah and asks the Pharisees to review His credentials by acknowledging the miracles He had performed to provide authenticity as to who He said and claimed to be in the flesh. And if you look carefully, please note the very next miracle recorded that Yeshua performs (in John 11) is life from the dead by raising Lazarus and foretelling the world of His resurrection and life (John 11:25-26).

There is no greater miracle in this world than the gift of God’s one and only Son, and so there is also a beautiful connection that exists between Hanukkah and Christmas, as Hanukkah truly foretells of the great Light that was to come into the world. As believers in Yeshua, both Jew and Gentile alike, we have the liberty to celebrate these holidays that remind us of God’s faithfulness and deliverance of His people.

Hanukkah is observed using a menorah, which is a candlestick that holds nine candles, one for each day of the miracle and the ninth, called the Shamash, which actually means servant. On each day, the Shamash candle is lit and used to light the other candles, increasing one each day until the last day, when they are all lit. Gifts are given and special foods are eaten, usually those cooked in oil.

May His great light and His servant’s heart lighten us and cause us to show His presence and His glory to the world.

Happy Hanukkah, everyone!

Source: STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Grant Berry is a Jewish believer in Yeshua/Jesus and author of The New Covenant Prophecy and The Ezekiel Generation. He has founded Reconnecting Ministries with the specific focus to help the church reconnect spiritually to Israel and considers it vital to the kingdom of G-d in the last days. His message focuses on the unity, love and healing that the Father wants to bring between Jew and Gentile yet clearly points out the differences and misunderstandings between the two groups. Now is the time to look more carefully into this mystery to make way for healing and reconnection in the Spirit. For more information, please visit reconnectingministries.org.

Mercy and Praise.


Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
Romans 11:33

Recommended Reading
Psalm 136http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20136&version=NKJV )

One of the most beautiful doxologies in Scripture comes from the apostle Paul in Romans 11:33-36. Leaving Paul’s doxology in context begs the question, What caused Paul to burst out in these words of glory to God at this point in his letter?

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

The doxology begins in verse 33. Looking back at verses 30-32 which precede the doxology, we find one dominant theme: the mercy of God. Paul mentions mercy four times in verses 30-32. In Romans 11 Paul is talking about how the wild branches of the Gentiles have been grafted into the root stock of Israel. And in verse 30 he says that all who receive mercy from God do so in spite of their disobedience, Jews and Gentiles alike. And God is committed to such mercy because “the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (verse 29).

God’s promises are made on the basis of His character, not on the basis of our worthiness. God’s mercy is always a good reason to offer praise and worship to Him.

Who shall the LORD’s elect condemn? ‘Tis God that justifies their souls, and mercy like a mighty stream O’er all their sins divinely rolls.
Isaac Watts

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Romans 11-14

By David Jeremiah.

Why isn’t the Obama Administration serious about stopping Iran’s nuclear programme.


A SPECIAL MESSAGE
From Mike Evans the founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team

Dear Nnamdi,

For months now, it’s been apparent as I read the news and talk to friends in Washington and Jerusalem that the Obama Administration is not serious about stopping Iran‘s nuclear weapons program. Make no mistake–nuclear weapons in the hands of the radical Islamists in Tehran are not just a threat to Israel; they pose a grave threat to America and to the rest of the free world as well.

Yet the Obama Administration is doing everything it can to stop Congress from passing tougher sanctions to force Iran to stop its illegal nuclear weapons and uranium-enrichment program.  I am not sure why the Administration refuses to take this matter seriously, but it is common to the liberal worldview to downplay the threat of evil.  We cannot afford to make that mistake.

It is more important than ever before that you and I stand in the gap for Israel. The scripture tells us that God controls the heart of kings, and we need to seek His face to turn the hearts of world leaders in favor of Israel during these critical days.  Today, I am asking for your gift of support for the Jerusalem Prayer Team as we stand for and with Israel and the Jewish People.

This year, Hanukkah actually starts before Thanksgiving.  The first night of Hanukkah begins at sundown on the 27th of November, and Thanksgiving is on the 28th.  The last time this happened was in 1888, before the date for Thanksgiving was changed to where we observe it now.  And it won’t happen again for 77,000 years!

During Hanukkah, I will be returning to Israel again as your Ambassador.  In addition to meeting with the leaders of Israel and working on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center, we will be hosting a special Jerusalem Hanukkah party for Holocaust survivors.  I have also received an urgent request for us to increase our efforts to help and touch the lives of Holocaust survivors in great need.  This is an amazing open door God has set before us.

Would you celebrate Hanukkah with a prophetic Holy Spirit-led gift today? Jesus celebrated Hanukkah.  “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch” (John 10:22-23).  Will you do the same right now?

Even as we host our Hanukkah party for Holocaust survivors and work to meet their ongoing needs, we cannot delay our work on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center.  This vital witness of Christian love to the entire nation of Israel will only become a reality if we work and give today.  And remember that your gift today will be doubled through the matching gift offer.

DONATE NOW: https://secure.etransfer.com/JPT/JerusalemPrintMugsPrem.cfm?dn=1032&commID=467675205&ID=711760 

With your gift of any amount, we will send you a gorgeous Jerusalem Peace Print. It is suitable for framing, and you will be proud to display it in your home or office. Each time you see it, you will be reminded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

With your gift of $40 or more, we will send you the print and a set of Jerusalem Prayer Team mugs. Featuring a sleek and unique design, these 10-ounce mugs are perfect for your favorite drink…and a great way to share your support of the Jewish People with everyone who sees them.

If you are able to send a gift of $250 or more, we will send you the print and a stunning Torah Scroll. In addition, your name or the name of someone you wish to honor will be placed on a special Scroll of Honor in the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center.

Perhaps you would like to do even more. If you are able to send a gift of $1,000 or more, we will send you the print and a massive collection of 12 of our most popular and requested books and resources, including several of my newest, best-selling titles. We will also place your name or the name of someone special you wish to honor or remember in the Hall of Righteous Gentiles in the Jerusalem World Center.

DONATE NOW: https://secure.etransfer.com/JPT/JerusalemPrintMugsPrem.cfm?dn=1032&commID=467675205&ID=711760

Your support of the Jerusalem Prayer Team today allows us to continue our work on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center, to stand up and speak out for Israel, and to meet urgent humanitarian needs among the poor Jewish people living in Israel.  Thank you so much for being part of this vital worldwide prayer movement.

Your Ambassador to Jerusalem,

Dr. Michael Evans

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