Guardian of the Galaxy

On what did Yeshua found His congregation?

Immediately the mind goes to His statement to Kefa, “I tell you also that you are a stone, and upon this stone I will build my Congregation; and the gates of She’ol shall not shut in on it.”

The harlot teaches that this ‘stone’/’rock’ is Kefa, the man.  Context and plain interpretation teaches us that it is the confession that Yeshua is “the Mashi’akh, Ben Elohim Khayim,” Messiah, the Son of the living G-d, that is the cornerstone of His congregation. 

The congregation of Messiah is founded on the CHARACTER of Messiah.

Yeshua’s first message to a Jewish crowd is recorded in Matti 5-7; this would be considered His ‘foundational’ teaching; this passage was the ‘eye-opener’ for me some 32 years ago.  I had been brought to life in Messiah at 11 years old, had lived it for three years, and then ‘slept’ spiritually for eight years, going off not into egregious sin, but into a habit of not following Messiah daily.  As such, I was having a difficult time in my young years; I had joined the Navy, and was on a Submarine when finally I called on the Creator.  I was in my bunk, mourning the loss of a girlfriend, just a sweetheart, just before we left port, sorrowing also over the lack of communication from my family, and over a close friend going cold and silent on the boat.  I picked up the bible my grandmother gave me when I was 14.  I said a small prayer, asking Abba to show me what Yeshua would say to me if He were standing there.  I ‘saw’ in my mind, whether imagined or not I do not know, Yeshua standing beside my top bunk; I opened that Bible to Matti 5 and began to read.  And the ‘character’ of Yeshua LEAPED off the pages at me.

“poor in spirit”, “mournful”, “meek”, “hungry/thirsty for righteousness”, “merciful”, “pure in heart”, “maker of shalom”, “persecuted”, reproached because of who He is”….And Yeshua goes on and teaches The Torah, expressly saying that He came to ‘confirm’ the Torah, and He does that in the next 2 ½ chapters, elucidating the behaviors of those who build that character in themselves.

I saw all these character traits, and mourned the fact that this was not me.  I set out that day to change that.  I was at sea with 180+ men whose mouths were foul, and the first thing that happened is that mine was cleaned up, immediately, without effort at all on my part.  The salt water turned sweet.  The next thing that happened is that I hungered and thirsted for righteousness, and I devoured the whole NT in those next weeks.  After that, I started reading the OT.  In those days, I felt like He was doing a miracle for me every day: I was first persecuted for my new ‘behavior,’ and that persecution actually got me off the boat two years early, and I was ‘miraculously’ transferred to shore duty 2 years before I was supposed to be eligible, without having to reenlist like my peers who also transferred.  The ‘favors’ that He did for me over the next few years were numerous and obvious.  I wish I could recount them all here.

As I said, however, its been 32 years.  I still see the passages in Matti 5-7 as a description of the CHARACTER of Messiah Yeshua.  To confess Him means to confess that His Character is the goal at which we aim [Rom 10:4, Phil 3:14]. For 32 years I’ve desired to achieve those traits, and I still ‘press on’, in spite of my failures over the years.

He founded His congregation, ONE congregation, on that character.  His Nature: who He is.  And His followers began to exude that character, and to teach HIS way to the Jewish people, and then the nations, also demonstrating His Power.  But, even though Yeshua Himself founded His congregation, others came along and perverted it, despoiled it.  They built on His foundation with ‘wood, hay, and stubble’.  They ‘re-founded’ it on harlotry, lies, deceit, selfish pride, and false accusations against the righteous, judgmental hearts, and murder.

I have seen the pain of Yeshua in regard to the perversion of His congregation.  He showed it to me thirty years ago in a dream, and periodically through those years.  And it is sad that mankind can seem to have such power over His congregation, and yet ‘think’ that they are anointed by Him, and still call themselves by His Name.  At times, His congregation seems to ‘fail’.  But, Yeshua said ‘the gates of She’ol shall NOT shut in on it.’ On what?  On HIS congregation!  The LIVING entity that exudes His character.

His congregation is a LIVING ENTITY, and is NOT confined within the walls of a building or within the paperwork of a manmade institution. His congregation is HIS BODY.  And it does NOT move in harlotry, lies, false accusations, judgmental attitudes, and murder!  It moves in poorness in spirit [detachment from mammon and trust in His provision], mournfulness, meekness/humility, hunger/thirst for tzedaka, mercy, pureness of heart, shalom….when these things are not present, or are overwhelmed by the others, His Body is separated from it, by its very nature.  And for that, His congregation suffers persecutions and reproaches.  By the self-righteous, usually. “ 20For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner ceases, and all they that watch for iniquity are cut off; 21that make a man an offender by words, and lay a snare for him that reproves in the gate, and turn aside a tzadik with a thing of nought.”

History tends to repeat itself.  But, Messiah is indeed still preparing for Himself a SPOTLESS Bride.  I have maintained for years now that she is the ‘remnant,’ and is a very, very small number of people.  I only PRAY that I am consecrated as the remnant.  I do NOT assume I am.  And I mourn my failures deeply. But, I also STRIVE to love the brethren, and all people, and not to judge them, and to see if there is any unclean way in me. And continually to confess trust in the blood shed by Messiah, the Son of the Living God, offering that forgiveness to those who offend me, though they do not offer it up in return sometimes.

Another summation of the character of Yeshua is known by Jews as the “Thirteen Attributes of G-d.”  I have tried to inspire others to be like that.  Some very few have moved more toward His character, and some few have shown me those attributes.  For that, and for those few, I am most grateful.

יהוה, יהוה , El, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in compassion and truth; guardian of compassion unto the thousandth generation; forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and pardoning…

The word ‘guardian’ has a special character in a Torah scroll, a descended ‘nun’ [noon], in the word ‘notzer’.  This word does mean ‘guardian’ or ‘protector,’ but is also “branch/offshoot’, and is the root word for “Natzri”, or Nazarene.  Yeshua is truly the GUARDIAN of compassion! HE will make CERTAIN that those who love Him WILL receive compassion!

Trump Ishtar!

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Purim is coming up.

Many people who keep Torah do not observe Purim, even though it is in scripture.  One reason for this is that some in our Jewish community can tend to treat it a bit like Halloween.  But that’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  That’s like not remembering the promise of Elohim because the LGBT community perverts the rainbow, a beautiful symbol of a promise turned to represent perversion of the design.  Purim is indeed NOT a commanded feast, and we in the Messianic Peshitta fellowship do not treat it as such.  But, it is a worthy celebration of the Salvation of Yisra’el, by whom Yeshua comes to us.  Some think that the book is not inspired writing, and should not be part of the canon of scripture, but I disagree.  For one, there are lessons in the book of Eisteir [Esther] that fit the whole narrative of scripture, and there are allusions to Messiah Yeshua and His ‘Bride’ that are very difficult to dismiss.  There are other reasons to treat it as canon, but that is not my purpose today.

The book linked at the bottom of this post was written for the purpose of studying the book of Eisteir, and also for celebrating it.  It contains some very helpful insights into the text, as well as suggestions for how to remember the events honorably in celebration.  It can be a great time of fun and learning.  The name of Hadasah, ‘myrtle’, was changed to Eisteir, “Ishtar”, much like the Pesakh was changed to the same name, distilled to “Easter” for most.  Yet she ‘unveils’ herself and shows she is Jewish [ just like “easter” is not that, but is Pesakh, and is Jewish and the world doesn’t know it] Was Hadasah not a true Jewess, simply because she bore another name for a season?  She trumps ‘Ishtar” by her faith!  Her faith caused her to reveal her Jewishness!  That’s a moment that everyone who truly follows Messiah will come to!

There are allusions to the Pesakh in the Purim story, and it precedes Pesakh by exactly a month.  It’s almost like a primer to get the thoughts prepared for the Bedikat Khametz of Pesakh.  This year, Purim falls on 03/09, and Pesakh on 04/08 or 09.  Pesakh can be enriched by the study of this great deliverance of Yisra’el!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Messianic-Peshitta-Megilah-Purim/dp/1457568675/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Messianic+Megilah+for+Purim&qid=1579025499&sr=8-1

Eureka Flesh!

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Lately I have seen the worst in people.

In thinking on some things after prayer this morning, I wondered about people’s ‘prayers’, when they ‘say’ they are praying ‘for’ someone.

Based on what I’ve heard and observed, I don’t think very many actually truly pray ‘for’ people when they say, “I’m praying for you.”  That phrase has become almost cliché these days, especially in the age of facebook and email.

I am starting to see that most people actually pray ‘about’ someone, if they ever actually pray.  They pray according to the flesh.  If they pray at all.  I think most people just toss the phrase out there to appear righteous and compassionate in a moment, and then either forget to pray, or they never had the actual intent to do so in the first place.  I’ve asked Abba always to help me remember to pray, if I’ve said I would; usually these days I try to do it right away.  If I don’t manage to do so, I’ve been ‘reminded’, thankfully, by something.  The problem I have, is that if people do actually pray, many times it seems they observe what they perceive to be faults/issues in others, and ask their brand of deity to ‘fix’ that person.   I’ve seen/heard of a lot of that lately.

It’s tricky.  There may be actual observation or perception of ‘issues’ in their brother that they see, and so they think it is their duty to bring that before the Creator.  They think they are doing a thing of mercy, I suppose, by being wise enough to see the sin/error/flaw/issue in someone’s life, and compassionate enough to make the Creator of the Universe aware of it.  Umm.  I think He was already aware of it!  IF indeed the observation of one human being of another human’s heart is correct.  I submit that MOST of the time the observation is incorrect, on some level, and always incomplete of understanding.  It is written that a man himself is the only one who knows his own mind, and that G-d is the only one who knows a man’s heart.  Yet so many jump to conclusions based either on one moment, a series of segmented moments, or on one morsel of gossip they heard, and set out to pray for that brother who is so at fault more than themselves.  This behavior is exactly the opposite of the examples of the Nevi’im, the teachings of all biblical, sacred writ, and especially of the mind of Messiah Yeshua.  NO ONE on this earth is so righteous that they know what another human needs from G-d by way of personality changes!  It may be that Abba is using that person’s ‘issue’ to expose something in the one who is ‘praying for him’.  No one is the master of another’s servant. NO ONE has that kind of insight into another human soul altogether, that they can deign to instruct G-d on how to fix their neighbor.  Especially if they themselves have never asked, counseled, or had a thorough conversation with that person about their perception of his issue.

I have learned never to pray for/over my brother’s ‘sin that easily besets.’  I have learned never to instruct G-d on the issues of human flaws in my brothers.  I do not think or dwell on those issues in my mind anyway, and certainly not in prayer life, as I am too busy trying to get the log out of my own eye.  I strive NOT to talk about their ‘issue’ with others, either.  I’m certain I have failed in that regard, but I’m also certain that when I have, He has corrected me and reminded me of my own nature, and brought forth genuine contrition in me.  Not so of some, who most recently spoke Lashon Harah about me in my own home.  And have done so like a tommy-gun since.  The thing about ‘self-righteous’ people, is that they don’t see when they are being self-righteous, even if it is only for a moment, but especially when it is the pattern of their life.  That is the very nature and definition of self-righteousness!  Just because a person  prays, especially if he says he’s praying “for you”, that does not mean he is righteous.  Yeshua taught on this topic this way:

“And He [Yeshua] spoke this mashal against the men who relied upon themselves, that they were righteous, and despised every other man: “Two men went up to the Heikhal to pray, one a Parush, and the other a tax collector. And the Parush stood by himself, and prayed thus: ‘O Elohim, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men, extortionists, covetous, adulterers, and not like this tax collector. But I fast twice a week, and I give tenth-parts on everything I earn.’ But the tax collector stood afar off, and he would not even lift up his eyes to Heaven, but smote his breast, saying, ‘O Elohim, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ I say to you that this man went down to his house more righteous than the Parush. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled; and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Parush mentioned the sins of others.  The tax collector did not mention anyone’s sin before G-d but his own.  Somehow, G-d has kept me feeling like the tax-collector.  I hope I never become a ‘parush’ [Pharisee].  Incidentally, a ‘parush’ is a divider.

The self-righteous person may not actually say “thank you that I am not like….”, but that is what his heart says, when he sets his soul on another’s sin issue before the Judge.  That is an exaltation of self over his fellow.  Sha’ul writes, “Let each regard his neighbor better than himself,” and “Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love, in HONOR preferring one another.”  And Kefa writes, “Finally, live in harmony, share the suffering of those who suffer, be affectionate one to another, and be kind and gentle; not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but instead of these, render blessing; for to this end you have been called, that you may inherit a blessing.”

When we pray ‘for’ our brother by telling G-d of his personality issues and asking Him to help them ‘overcome’ them, all we are doing is focusing on the flesh.  You reek of flesh, too!  You have the EXACT same sin issue, in that your flesh deceives you and betrays you in sinful ways of which you may not even be aware!  Sha’ul, who, late in his life, after he had saved thousands of souls, founded many congregations, performed hundreds, if not thousands of ACTUAL miracles, suffered in his flesh and bone body the stripes of criminals, the stoning of abominations, imprisonment, poisonings, shipwrecks, et cetera, declared, “Not as though I had already attained or were already perfect; but I am striving that I may reach that for which Yeshua HaMashi’akh appointed me. My brethren, I do not consider that I have reached the goal; but this one thing I do know, forgetting those things which are behind, I strive for those things which are before me; I press on toward the goal to receive the prize of victory of the highest calling of Elohim through Yeshua HaMashi’akh.”  Just before this he had said, “I have no tzedaka of my own gained from the Torah, but the tzedaka which comes through HaEmunah of Mashi’akh; that is, the tzedaka which comes from Elohim.”  And we are taught by Yeshua to give that kind of understanding to every brother, that our righteousness is not our own, and that His has been imparted to ALL who trust, even those who are not yet perfect.

People get lost in the search for ‘more righteousness’, especially many of those who think they are Torah keepers.  In one sense, NO ONE IS!  No matter how hard we try, we break it, especially when it comes to the ‘weightier matters of the Torah’.  Yeshua said, “you have overlooked the more important matters of the Torah, such as justice, compassion, and absolute trust. These [tithing from the smallest crops] were necessary for you to have done, without having left the others [justice, compassion, and absolute trust] undone.”  Justice without compassion is self-righteousness.  Those who wear tzitziyot, a tallit, a kippah, and attend or even teach somewhere on Shabbat, who also commit adultery, lie, falsely accuse, and assassinate the character of a brother of Messiah, whether actively or passive-aggressively, have merely put a jewel in the nose of a pig.

So, how do we actually pray ‘for’ someone?  By BLESSING.  Kefa writes it, and it is quoted above.  “…not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but instead of these, render blessing; for to this end you have been called, that you may inherit a blessing.”

After having heard all manner of lashon harah about myself from people who profess to follow Yeshua, I plunged myself into the scriptures, asking Abba to forgive me of my sins, and asking Him to speak to me and guide me through the perilous waters of strife.  I posted on another site one of the ‘themes’ that has been speaking to me lately from the chapters I have been imbibing for the past month or so.  I am learning even greater the ‘reality’ of entering into His Sukka by prayer, and being among the ‘throng,’ the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ above, and this is helping me to ‘forget’ what is behind:

“One thing have I asked of יהוה , that will I seek after: that I may dwell in Beit יהוה [His abode above] all the days of my life, to behold the kindness of יהוה , and to visit early in His Heikhal [sanctuary]. For He conceals me in His Sukka in the day of evil; He hides me in the covert of His Ohel [sacred tent, above]; He lifts me up upon a Rock.

You hide them [those who take refuge in יהוה ] in the secret place of Your presence from the plottings of man; You conceal them in a Sukka, from the strife of tongues. I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a numerous people.

If you then are risen with Mashi’akh, seek those things which are above, where Mashi’akh sits on the right hand of Elohim. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth, for you are dead, and your life is hidden with Mashi’akh in Elohim.”

Like Sha’ul, I am ‘forgetting what is behind,” and I am “striving for those things which are before me.”  In spite of people who judge without compassion.

שׁוּבִי נַפְשִׁי לִמְנוּחָיְכִי: כִּי יהוה גָּמַל עָלָיְכִי

Shalom!  V’Simkha L’kha!

Anyone who ‘knows’ me knows that I’ve endured something very painful of late.  I will not even give a nod to it, beyond just acknowledging that it was very difficult for Tzilah and me.  All the while, I could ‘feel’ our Creator ministering to me in His Word; reading a set of four Tehillim daily for His voice of comfort.

This morning, after a brother finally ‘saw’ and ‘understood’ me and my perspective in this, I wanted to offer the Creator thanks.  While I ‘knew’ that Tehillah 116 [not one of the four I’ve been praying daily this past month] contained in it “Zevakh Todah”, a ‘sacrifice/offering of thanks’, I had NO idea before I read it how He would speak to me beyond just my giving thanks.

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The first thing I noticed is that this is one of Miqedem’s melodies, at least vs. 1 and 2 and 19 are.  This helped to make it more ‘worshipful’ for me right away.  After seeing how relevant to my ‘times’, my ‘days’, the whole thing was, then His breath breathed on me in a way only one who has the Ru’akh of Messiah would understand:

שׁוּבִי נַפְשִׁי לִמְנוּחָיְכִי: כִּי יהוה גָּמַל עָלָיְכִי

“Shuvi nafshi lim’nukhaikhi, ki  יהוה  gamal alaikhi”

“Return, O my soul, unto my rest!  For  יהוה  has dealt bountifully with me!”  [the title verse]

How I have waited for that moment!  And now that it has arrived, how I have REJOICED!  It is indescribable!  I wish I could give it away!

And then, the next verse that ‘spoke’ in power:

יָקָר בְּעֵינֵי יהוה הַמָּוְתָה לַחֲסִידָיו

“Yakar b’einei  יהוה  hamav’tah lakhasidaiv”

“O how PRECIOUS in the eyes of  יהוה  is the death of His devout ones”.

Why would that ‘speak’ and bring me joy?  Just this morning, during prayer and reading, I meditated on Sha’ul stating “I die daily,” and: “for you are dead, and your life is hidden with Mashi’akh in Elohim”.

In Tehillah 116, I wondered if there is ‘more’ to verse 15 than just our Creator welcoming the passing of a devout one out of this life?  Is it possible that the ‘death’ about which we read in this verse is also about our dying to self?  Dying and rising in Messiah Yeshua?  Every day?  Is it possible that this is ‘yakar’, very, very dear to Him?  I think it is.  And I think that is really ‘how’ we compel our soul to return to ‘my rest’.  HE is my rest!

 

 

Bye Gosh

This week’s portion, “VaYigash”, ‘And he drew near’, is one of my favorite passages of scripture.  Yosef was betrayed by his brothers, cast into a pit, sold as a servant, becomes the head of a household of Mitzrayim, is cast into prison on false accusations, then brought before Paroh as an interpreter of dreams, and even Paroh recognized the Ru’akh of Elohim in him.  So, he makes him the ruler of all the land, second only to Paroh himself.  I was reminded this week in my reading of it that David once took comfort among the P’lishtim, when those he loved betrayed him.  Sha’ul dwelt among the Arabs for a season, after Messiah saved him and appointed him.  Many patriarchs were driven out of their ‘comfort’ zone, to be ‘comforted’ elsewhere for a season.  By Elohim Himself.  And then used for purposes even they themselves could not imagine.  The same is true of Yosef.

Yosef predicted the famine that would come on the whole world, a message that the Creator had given to Paroh through his dreams.  After the seven years of plenty, the famine has hit the whole world, hard.  Twice now the sons of Yisra’el have come to Paroh, to their brother Yosef, unbeknownst to them, to acquire food.  It seems at first that Yosef is being unreasonably hard on them, provoking them to bring Binyamin, his younger brother, to him, knowing how hard that would be for his father.  Our portion picks up when the brothers return to Yosef, known to them now as the ruler of the world, as Zafenat Pane’akh. צָֽפְנַת  פַּעְנֵחַ  .  One can ‘see’ immediately in this name “Storehouse”, “treasure”, in “tzafenat”.  This is an Egyptian word, but written in Hebrew letters in a Torah scroll.  The first three letters are “tzafon” in Hebrew, meaning ‘storehouse of treasure’.  In Hebrew, the tav on the end is many times the ‘construct state’, showing possession: “storehouse of”.  Pane’akh is less obvious, but gets rendered into English by some as “glorious rest”.  The ‘glory’ of G-d is His Face, as expressed in many verses.  The first two letters of Pane’akh, “Peh” and “Ayin”, are ‘face and eyes’, and the last two are “Nakh”, which must be from where translators derive ‘rest’.  “Nakh” is the root of “No’akh”, which does mean ‘comfort’, or ‘rest’.  “The storehouse of glorious comfort”, then, would not be a bad rendering of Yosef’s Egyptian name.  And his Hebrew name means ‘gatherer’, one who gathers up.  He is certainly bringing glorious comfort to the whole world by gathering/storing up food.  But, that ‘comfort’ is most especially important to his family, the brothers who betrayed him.  And in this week’s portion, their comfort is in having their brother, whom they betrayed for dead, revealed to them again as their own flesh and blood.

It is amazing to me how quickly his brothers all turned on him.  Not only so, but it is amazing how willing they were to lie to their father about what happened to Yosef.  For nearly twenty years, they’ve kept up a ruse with their father, knowing all the while that Yosef ‘could’ be alive.  They knew that they had sold him like chattel, their own brother.  They had treated him as far less than a brother.  They ignored their common bond, and chose to feed their own jealousy and serve themselves by being rid of him.  They had been supposedly tending their father’s flock; but instead, were in “Dotan”, ‘two wells’.  They’d left the flock to go to the city, probably to do things they should not be doing. We later see Yehudah’s willingness to adultery; it is possible that was why they were in Dotan.  Nonetheless, they’re ‘tending the flock’, yet at the same time, tending their own flesh in some way.  Yosef showed up, and was their conscience, which condemned them, and they lashed out.  They thought to murder him.  We know that Yeshua teaches that if one even thinks to do so, one has done it.  One brother said not to do so; so Yehudah suggested that they sell him.  Then, they all lied to their father, together, for many, many years.  Their own self-righteousness caused them to ignore the truth: they were simply jealous of their brother’s “elaborate tunic,” the symbol of their father’s affection for him.  And they lived in the sin of lies and murder for years and years.

It was not until they had to rip their other brother, Binyamin, from their father’s side, due to the famine, that Yehudah finally humbles himself.  He put up his own life in the stead of his younger brother.  His contrition and humility breaks Yosef, who wept over his brothers before all Mitzrayim.  He then tells his brothers not to grieve too much over what they had done, as he had been betrayed for greater purposes: Elohim used their betrayal to save all of Yisra’el.  The purpose was not only to preserve that generation of B’nei Yisra’el, but all future generations, in order to bring about Messiah Yeshua, a direct descendant of Yehudah, the eventual ‘hero’ of our story.  I have long thought that Binyamin can represent the Messianic community in our future, and Yehudah can represent the Jewish community that does not yet believe.  Yosef, of course, would be an archetype of Messiah, sold into bondage by Yehudah.

For 2,000 years now, Yehudah has resented Yeshua.   In fact, ‘he’ has lied about Yeshua, saying He is dead, though He lives.  ‘He’ sold Yeshua to the Romans.  In fact, the individual who took the silver bore the same name, “Yehudah”.  [Judas]  ‘He’ [figurative Yehudah, our unbelieving Jews] has lied to his father about his brother!

Just this past week, I and another brother were accosted by a descendant of Yehudah, an unbelieving Jew.  He came at us with an accusatory, aggressive tone, and called us “charlatans,” using the Jewish pejorative for Yeshua’s name, and saying that He is not the son of G-d.  THIS is the spirit of Mashi’akh HaSheker: to deny that Yeshua is come in the flesh.  I looked this Jewish man in the eye and told him with absolute confidence that Yeshua is the Son of G-d, and is risen from the dead, and is standing at the right hand of the Creator.  He said Yeshua is not in the Torah, to which I replied, “He is in the song of Moshe: Shemot 15:2, ‘Yah is become for me Yeshua’.  It’s on the surface of the text!”   The verse actually reads: “Yah is my strength and my song, and He is become my Yeshua[h].”  Yeshua is salvation.  I hoped beyond hope that he would ‘hear’, but he did not.  I had been so exhausted that day, having worked out very hard the day before, and twice that day, and was already hungry after a mere two hours since my last meal.  And, I was on borrowed time with a brother who was helping me, and did not have time to engage him further; plus, I could see he was completely unresponsive.  In fact, he’d told me that I would not change his mind about Yeshua.  He was there only the heckle and scold, and I knew it.  So, I backed out of the conversation as politely as I could.  And since, I have been praying for him, and for all our Jewish people to ‘see’ Yeshua as their brother.  And lo and behold, our portion surfaces yesterday, and all of this comes reeling through my mind again.

I was affectively accused of being a “False Messianic”, by this Jewish ‘brother’, even though I repeatedly declared the flesh and bone Body of Yeshua, which was dead, but is now alive, and is seated at His Right Hand.  Clearly, my accuser doesn’t understand who Mashi’akh HaSheker is.  Mashi’akh HaSheker, and ‘false Messianics’, do not ‘know’ that Yeshua, a man, was raised from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Creator. His hatred of this ‘fact’ caused him to lash out at Messiah in me.  I’ll never forget looking dead into his eyes and telling him of Yeshua’s resurrection and living Body.  If there is one thing I will carry before the throne of judgment, it is that fact alone.

Hatred is a fickle beast, and it lurks in far too many hearts, especially among the religious.  They see their sense of ‘justice’/’righteousness’ as cause for their haughtiness, when it is merely hatred.  Religious hatred is the worst, too.  Rarely does it ever truly do teshuvah, and restore the bonds of shalom, because hatred of another human in the Name of G-d, or any ‘god’, is the ultimate self righteousness.  Yehudah, the brother of Yosef and progenitor of Messiah, had to learn this, and had to submit to humility and contrition, for all our sakes, or we would have no Messiah.  He did so because he realized how he’d been hurting his father.  But, in spite of that, what I took note of this week is that in his telling Yosef, whom he thought was merely Zafenat Pane’akh, he still perpetuated the lie that Yosef was dead! I’ve written before on the power of a lie.  That power, I conclude, is greatest over the one who tells it.  And HaSatan is the father of every lie.   Most especially of the lie that Yeshua is not raised from the dead, or, that someone who professes that with faith is a ‘false messianic’.  To attack a brother who professes that with confidence is to commit the very sin of denying the Body of Messiah.

Perek Khadashah : Yovel

So, Tzilah and I were discussing this yesterday, in relation to the previous week’s parasha, and out of our discussion bubbles the realization that the math is off a bit.  Yeshua would have ‘started’ His ministry in 27 AD, at 30 years old, having been born in 3 BC.  This would put the 40 years of khesed and khen, time for Yisra’el to do Teshuvah, from 27AD to 67AD, which is when Rome’s attack on Yerushalayim began.  I’ve fixed the article below to reflect this.  I had written this in haste one morning, and the math played tricks on me.  The Yovel in 27AD would make the next Yovel in our time be 2027, a mere seven years away.  Are we possibly in the last sh’mitah cycle of mankind, the last opportunity to ‘forgive’, to learn compassion?

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A new chapter has begun in the life of our family.  The old one closed pretty much just before Khanukah, just before we lit lights to celebrate the conception of Yeshua in this darkest time of year.  “Perek” means chapter, and is a representation of my surname.  And this year, our family is praying for ‘newness’ of life, and for ‘liberty’.  We are starting a new ‘chapter’ in our lives, and we are welcoming it joyfully.

Since my memories go back so far, all the way to just before my fourth birthday, and I began learning scriptures at that early age in the historic Penfield church in Georgia, this year is looking to be a ‘yovel’ for us.

A Yovel is the fiftieth year of a cycle of years called “Sh’mita” years.  Yovel is a ram’s horn, from which they make the shofar, which is blasted on Yom Kippur of the Yovel year.  We are told a Yovel blew at Har Sinai [Shemot 19].  There is a 49 year cycle where every seventh year, the land lies dormant, giving the land itself a ‘sabbath’ [7th] rest for a year, a year of ‘release’.  In the fiftieth year, after the seventh ‘sh’mita’ cycle, there is another year, called a year of ‘liberty’, making a back to back sabbath year for two years.  “Yovel” is known to most as Jubilee.  In this year, a Shofar is blown, and there is a proclamation throughout all the land: דְּרוֹר .  There is a linguistic link in this word, ‘d’ror’, ‘liberty,’ to one of my favorite scriptures:

“[The] Ru’akh of Adonai יהוה is upon me; because יהוה has anointed me to bring good tidings unto the humble; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the eyes that are bound; to proclaim the year of the good pleasure of יהוה ….”

One of the reasons that this scripture is so special to me is because Yeshua read this passage in the Beit K’nesset in Natzrat, His home town, before his family and the friends with whom he had grown up.  I was contemplating all of this just this previous first day of the week, and began writing this blog.  And then, by mid morning, I began to read the parasha for the week, and realized this passage of Yeshua’s visit to His home town synagogue was our Brit Khadashah portion for the week.  In the Yesha-Yahu 61:1-2a portion, which Yeshua read from at the Bimah in Natzrat, the word there for ‘liberty’ is also ‘dror’, as in the Yovel passage, where a year of ‘liberty’ is declared, since Yeshua was reading this very passage.  Yeshua declared this ‘liberty’ in His synagogue in Natzrat.  Prophetically, I have been looking for the ‘benchmark’ of the biblical Yovel cycle for about twelve years now.  Scholars differ on when the last Yovel cycle of the land of Yisra’el would have been. Some have said 67AD, some have said 70AD, and there are other ideas, but those are the two I’ve been waffling between a bit, but leaning toward the latter.  The reason that I have searched for it for so long, is that years ago, while studying the Hitgalut [Revelation], I was praying and asking Abba to show me just a bit as to how close we might be to Messiah’s return and the restoration of all things.  I determined that there must be a prophecy timepiece, a ‘key’.  And then I read VaYikra 25-26.  I ‘saw’ the Hitgalut in there!  The Yovel cycle leaped out at me.  “Time” in the scriptures had already come to mean a lot.  I had already concluded that there are 6,000 years reserved for mankind, and a 7th “Shabbat” Millennium when Yeshua would rule on earth.  I was wondering if we could get closer to knowing when the Shabbat Rest of Messiah Yeshua, the last Millennium, would start. I started doing basic math, and realized these facts:

A Yovel is a 50 year cycle

In a 6000 year period, there would be 120 Yovel cycles

Abba told No’akh “I have numbered man’s days to 120 years”

A Yovel is a figurative timeframe; there is an unfolding of time.  There are ‘weeks of years’, etc.

From 70 AD to 2020 AD there would be 39 Yovel cycles, so 2020 would mark the beginning of a 40th Yovel from the destruction of the Temple.

40 is the number of judgment: the rains lasted for 40 days and 40 nights, Yisra’el wandered in the desert for 40 years, Torah’s limit of 40 lashes with the whip for punishment, 40 years of Philistine control, Yeshua fasted for 40 days, etc etc.

To me, this pointed to 2020 as a ‘possible’ yovel year, given that the Yovel not kept comes with a promise of judgment, and given that there are 39 cycles from 70AD to 2020.  The 40th would be 2070, but I can’t see how our current state of mankind and prophecy could last that long.  It could, but I just struggle believing it will.  So, 2020 is still a possible demarcation of the Yovel cycle, IF 70 AD was indeed the last one.  Which is how I leaned for years.  These days, I am not so certain, even though 2020 is upon us, and the ‘signs of the times’ do seem to be quickening these days.  It could all turn so fast.  But, there still seems to be ‘too much’ to be fulfilled before the fall of 2020.  And, there is no real biblical reason to believe that 70 AD was a Yovel year, other than the destruction of the Temple.  Yeshua did predict that.  But, He predicted the destruction of the Temple in the last year of His ministry, just before His execution.  He said that the generation of that day would see its destruction.  That was a warning.  That would be only 40 years before 70 AD.  There should have been a forty year cycle, a generation!  A biblical ‘generation’ is 40 years.  It would seem that Yeshua would have given Yisra’el forty years to repent from the time He first stood and declared, “Repent!”.  A whole ‘generation’.  If He started His ministry and declaration for ‘teshuvah’ in 27AD, then it was forty years before Rome sacked Yerushalayim in 67AD.

In the times of Yirme-Yahu, Yisra’el, which at that time was Yehudah and the return of the remnant of the 10 northern tribes, our Jewish people, was about to be punished for not keeping the Torah.  One of the sins that יהוה punished Yisra’el for, that is called out in this Navi’s book, is that of not keeping the Sh’mitah and Yovel cycles.  One of the great things about those cycles is the lesson of compassion.  It is not just about giving the land rest, nor of relieving debt, but about learning to trust יהוה , and learning to demonstrate compassion to those in bondage.   So many people today do not want to learn compassion.  Especially among “Messianic” people who are bent on punishing people for ‘their’ infractions, which usually end up not being Torah infractions at all.  The Yovel cycle calls to mind the same sins in Yisra’el that Elohim punished them for in sending them into captivity into Bavel.  After Yeshua’s day, when they had been visited by Adon HaKavod, they refused to repent, and would not accept Messiah Yeshua as their Moshiah.  For those 37 years, they chased, persecuted, and killed the Kadosh ones, the Khasidim, those who trusted in Messiah and obeyed the Torah.  At the end of those 37 years, their spirit of “Mashi’akh HaSheker,” their מִתְנַגֵּד הַמָּשִׁיחַ spirit, ‘against Messiah’, was punished, and their Temple was destroyed.  And their religious life became a ruin.  They were scattered.   As predicted by Yeshua.  But, that was only 37 years after Yeshua predicted it.  However, perhaps the benchmark of the Yovel has been hiding under our noses all the while.   Yeshua declares a Yovel in our parashah this week! And this was FORTY years exactly before 67 AD!  A ‘generation,’ time enough to warn of impending judgment.

“[The] Ru’akh of Adonai יהוה is upon me; because יהוה has anointed me to bring good tidings unto the humble; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the eyes that are bound; to proclaim the year of the good pleasure of יהוה ….”  The yovel year was indeed the “good pleasure of יהוה …”

Who better to ‘declare’ the Yovel than Yeshua the Messiah? Especially since it came with His anointing, miracles, and His declaration and warning: “The time has come to an end, and Malkhut HaElohim is at hand; repent, and trust in HaB’sorah.”  He spoke these words just days before entering the Beit K’nesset at Natzrat and declaring Yesha-Yahu 61:1-2’s declaration of “D’ror”, Liberty!  The Yovel? !

In the Hebrew, “likro lishvu’im dror’, gets rendered as ‘declare liberty for the captives’ in many translations.  This is not wrong.  However, there may be a hint in that middle word: sh’vu’im.  The root word is very similar to the root for “seven/shabbat”, which would be what the seventh year of the cycle is called.  And the Yesha-Yahu verse finishes with another declaration, the “Year of the Will [good will/favor] of  יהוה .” But, more importantly, the idea of ‘dror’ and ‘good will’ being declared by Yeshua Himself in this first year of His ministry, is very telling, considering that the clock of mankind ‘revolves’ around Him.  If he was born in 3 or 4 BC, then either 27 or 26 AD could have been the year He stood and read this passage.  I tend to believe it was 3 BC, which would make our year of this ‘declaration’ 27AD.  Yeshua then says, after reading this ‘good news,’ “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your ears..”  If this is the case, then exactly 40 years later Rome sacked Yerushalayim.  Forty years is the year of judgment in many scriptures/events of precedent.  This forty years would have been an opportunity for Yisra’el to do teshuvah, which we know that only a remnant did, by returning to Elohim, and trusting in Messiah and not in their own Tzedaka.  For forty years, starting with Messiah Himself, the B’sorah was declared and the Messianic community grew, and only the Messianic community fled Jerusalem before Rome shut it in in 67AD, forty years after Yeshua’s declaration of Yovel, until its destruction in 70AD.  If this is the case, then 2027 may be a very interesting year, as that would be the next biblical Yovel, if my math is right.  It may have been a Sabbath just before or after Yom Teru’ah or Yom Kippur when Yeshua stood and read, and ‘declared’ what looks strikingly like a Yovel.  Would not it make sense that Messiah start His ministry with the official declaration of Yovel, “D’ror”, and that it coincide with the actual clock of scripture?  And would it not then make sense that as soon as His Messianic ministry started, and the opposition of it, that forty years later, the time of judgment, the Temple would be destroyed, and all the punishments for breaking the Yovel would be meted out on Yisra’el?  It is certainly something to consider more deeply.  And it would be further sensible to see that there would be exactly 40 Yovels of time between Yeshua’s declaration and 2027, which ‘could’ mark the 6,000 year mark of the time appointed for man.

As my family and I enter into this time of ‘release,’ ‘freedom’, great joy, we will certainly be contemplating these things more deeply.  Khanukah is a good place to start, too.  So, may the approach to both 2020 and 2030 be rife with introspection and preparation of hearts.

Shalom to all, and Khanukah Same’akh!

 

Yosef The Kohen

Yosef [Joseph] was the first son of Rakhel, the wife whom Yisra’el loved.  As such, Yisra’el loved Yosef abundantly.  He expressed this love lavishly, and gave to Yosef an ‘elaborate tunic’.  This garment has been a part of even our pop culture, commonly referred to as a ‘coat of many colors’, but I suppose my favorite cultural reference to it would be Dolly Parton’s song.  But the word for ‘tunic’, which is rendered ‘coat’ in most renderings, is a special word, and is not in any way a coat like we in the west call our outer winter garment.  The word here, in Hebrew, is כְּתֹנֶת , “k’tonet”.  It is a special type of tunic.  It slips over the body, has long sleeves, and comes down to just below the knees.  Yosef’s was ‘elaborate,’ which does not necessarily speak of color, but more of quality.  The material was likely very expensive, something only royalty would wear.  Yisra’el, his father, took the time himself to make this tunic.  He must have bought the most expensive materials, and he must have devoted hours to fashioning this garment.

Why is this garment mentioned?  Other than that it seems to be the implement of provoking the jealousy and hatred of his brothers, his own flesh and blood, why do we need to know about this garment?

There are some hints to us about future things.  But, lets understand some context first.  In the house of Yisra’el, and I speak of the man at this point, and not the nation, it was understood that the head of the house is the “Kohen”, the intermediary between G-d and the family.  Yisra’el’s family was predicted by Elohim, and chosen by Elohim, to be the family of the coming Messiah and Savior.  The twelve sons we read about here are the heads of the tribes of the nation of Yisra’el, and their thrones are seen in the Hitgalut, beside the throne of G-d.  This whole chapter is linked very tightly with the Hitgalut [Revelation].  A kohen is one who speaks between G-d and man, who ministers, who carries the ‘mantle’ of anointing.  The garment that Yisra’el gave to Yosef was not a ‘me’il’, the more common word for the outer garment, nor an ‘abayah’ [if memory serves], nor any of other several words that speak of clothing in ancient Yisra’el.  The word is ‘k’tonet’, and is a word of very limited and specific use in scripture.

This is actually the word used in B’reshit 3, where Elohim makes ‘coats of skin’ for Adam and Khava.  Those skins were made from the first creatures ever to physically die in the history of the world, and their death was for the purpose of making ‘atonement’, ‘covering’, covering over the shame of nakedness after Adam had lost the Presence of the Creator due to his sin.  It is also, however, used of the priestly garment, a tunic worn close to the body under the robe of t’khelet.  It is the long-sleeved, white garment seen below.

Screen Shot 2019-12-19 at 12.32.37 AM

This word is used in only a few other places, other than concerning Adam and Yosef and the Kohen.  Namely, it is the garment of Tamar, the daughter of Melekh David:

“Now she had an elegant, flowing garment upon her; for with such robes were the  daughters of HaMelekh that were virgins apparelled.”

So, a k’tonet is associated with the priesthood and with royalty.  And both priests and kings are anointed.  And the garment is associated with the anointing:

“It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard; even the beard of Aharon, that comes down upon the collar of his garments…”

Is it any wonder, then, that as soon as we learn that Yosef received this ‘k’tonet,’ this elaborate tunic, that we then learn of his brothers’ jealousy, and immediately of his dreams from G-d.  His dreams were not just childish fantasies, but prophecy.  He was anointed!  His whole life is the picture of the Kohen, interceding for all the world, making provision for the whole world.  He is most definitely an archetype of Yeshua, our Kohen Gadol.

Yosef’s brothers already despised him because of their father’s love for him, but now, they ‘hated him yet the more’ because of his dreams and his words.  His dream is echoed in the Hitgalut, chapter 12, where we see the young child snatched up to heaven, under a sign, a woman clothed in the sun.  Yosef’s dream was not only about his eleven brothers, who did bow down eventually to him, but also of Yeshua, before whom all twelve tribes will bow.

What makes this more interesting is that when the brothers betray him, they are in “Dotan”; this was a rebellion against the anointing, in a sense.  And we learn that this rebellion, this overthrow, happened in “BaMidbar”.

“Shed no blood; cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him.”

There was another ‘pit’ in the wilderness later in scripture.  The rebellion of Korakh occurred, and a man named Dotan was part of that rebellion.  This happens in BaMidbar, chapter 16 [Numbers].  After Korakh and Dotan and all his bands rebelled, the earth opened up and swallowed them.  And why did they rebel?  They sought the kehunah; they had their own anointing, but wanted someone else’s role.  They envied the garment, perhaps, on a spiritual level.

Yosef’s elaborate tunic is so much more than a mere ‘coat’.  It is a symbol of the anointing.  It is a foreshadowing of Messiah.  And Yeshua had a robe very similar to this one, and to that of the Kohen:

Now when the soldiers had executed Yeshua, they took His clothes and divided them into four parts, a part to each of the soldiers; but His robe was without seam, woven from the top throughout.  So they said one to another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” And the scripture was fulfilled, which said, “They divided my clothes among them, and for my robe they cast lots.”

The most amazing part of the whole Yosef story, is that his brothers were able to carry a lie to their father, give him his elaborate tunic soaked in blood, and deceive him for twenty years.  The most glaring thing that ‘hit’ me when I read it this time was:

“And his father wept for him.”