Are We There Yet?

Part 1

My son Scott learned early on how to travel four hundred mile trips to his grandparents’ house. He took his favorite pillow and blanket along with him and slept for at least half the trip. The long trip then became a much shorter one for him.

On the other hand, my daughter Susan was the exact opposite. She was always so excited about seeing her grandparents that she would never fall asleep. It didn’t matter what time we started out, early morning or late at night, she was wide awake the whole trip.

Twenty-five miles into the journey, she would ask, “Are we there yet?” She would then repeat this question for the next three hundred and seventy-five miles until we finally arrived at the grandparents’ home.

This still makes me laugh because it’s sort of the way I’ve acted during my whole Christian walk.

When I began my Christian journey on May 20, 1985, I listened and read hundreds of messages from the Word of Faith movement. I devoured teachings by Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Charles Capps, Marilyn Hickey, and so forth.

“Lord, am I there yet?” 

Yet, just when I was ready to take a front row faith seat, I received a powerful revelation on grace, which forced me to prune back some of the faith teachings I had learned.

Then, I jumped on the Prophetic Movement and Spiritual Warfare movement bandwagon. Once again, I listened and read hundreds of teachings by Roberts Lardon, William Branham, Bill Hamon, Cindy Jacobs, and so forth.

“Lord, am I there yet?” 

But when I went through the worst trial of my life in Ames, Iowa, I discovered some of their teachings did not work, which once again forced me to do some more pruning.

This has happened in every step of my journey so far.

Okay, guess what?

Carol and I are now joining the Hebraic Roots movement, but this time, I’m not looking to arrive at some endpoint where I will wear a prayer shawl with a talis bag, blow a shofar, and make aliyah.

You see, this time I’m looking for the revelation of Jesus in this movement and how it will help me fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith for the rest of my life.

So, I won’t be asking: “Lord, am I there yet?”

 

Part 2

Carol and I walked into our first Hebrew Roots teaching meeting at the Noah’s Ark Christian Bookstore in Temecula, CA. Chauncey Navarro mentioned that his teaching for the evening would be “A Call to Arms” from a Hebrew viewpoint.

We had no expectations, but both of us felt the Lord wanted us to attend the meeting. So, we were eager to learn.

In the first ten minutes, Chauncey used the words: Torah, Pentateuch, Tanakh, and Talmud.

Now, if he would have stopped and asked, “Can anyone tell us what these three terms mean,” I would have slid down in my chair, hoping to hide behind the person in front of me. I had never fully understood these terms.

It turns out the meanings are —

Torah is a Hebrew word that roughly refers to the first five books of Moses, which includes B’resheet (Genisis), Sh’mot (Exodus), Vayikra (Leviticus), B’midbar (Numbers), and D’varim (Deuteronomy). The word Torah is usually translated into the English word Law in most of our English translations, but it more nearly means instructions or directions.

Pentateuch is the Greek translation of the first five books of the Old Testament, and thus our modern Christian translation. Pentateuch means five (penta-) books (-teuchos).

Tanakh is an acronym for TorahNevi’im, and Ketuvim, which mean Law, Prophets, and Writings, respectively. It is the whole Hebrew Bible.

Talmud roughly means the Oral Torah or the rabbinic commentary on how to apply the written texts of the Torah.

Chauncey wove his teaching through the books of Revelation, Daniel, Romans, Ephesians, Isaiah, and others, connecting the Old Testament and the New Testament into one seamless teaching. To him, the New Testament is an addendum to the Old Testament.

Okay, but what did I think when the teaching was over?

I went home and rewrote one of my eBooks, which is published on Amazon. There is no doubt that his teaching opened my eyes to new revelations that I had not seen in my thirty years of studying the Bible.

Carol and finished the week by attending a Feast of Trumpets celebration near Lake Arrowhead, California.

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Part 3

I have memorized and meditated on the following verses for weeks at a time, but I missed some major points. Maybe you have too?

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law [Torah] or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law [Torah] until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)

My thoughts have aways focused on the premise that Jesus fulfilled the Law [Torah] and since He lived in me, I no longer had to pay attention to the Law [Torah], right?

By faith and through the finished work of the cross, Jesus has fulfilled the righteous requirements of the Law [Torah] for us believers, but still, have all things been accomplished in the Law [Torah] or the Prophets?

The answer is NO.

Speak to the people of Israel, saying, “On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Tabernacles [Sukkot] to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:34)

The Feast of Tabernacles is one of the seven Jewish feasts, which include the Spring Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost. Jesus fulfilled these Spring Feasts by being crucified as our Passover Lamb, by being our Bread of Life without sin [Unleavened Bread], by being resurrected as our First Fruits, and by giving us the Holy Spirit at the First Pentecost.

Why is the Feast of Tabernacles so important?

Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. (Zechariah 14:16-17)

The above scriptures refer to the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ on earth. Notice how every living person is required to go to Jerusalem and observe the Feast of Tabernacles and if they don’t observe the feast, they are cursed with no rain.

Maybe we should study the Fall Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.

Part 4

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:24)

Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) is celebrated on the first two days of Tisri of the Hebrew lunar calendar, which usually falls in September or October according to our Gregorian solar calendar.

After the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, the chief rabbis redefined Judaism via the Mishnah (or Oral Tradition) so that the Feast of Trumpets started the Jewish civil year. Thus, the feast is also known as Rosh Hashanah  (Jewish New Year.)

It is believed that the offering of Isaac occurred on Feast of Trumpets. It is said among the Jews that when God hears the shofar, He is moved to leave His judgment seat and go to His seat of mercy and forgiveness. Every year, the Jews read the story of the binding of Isaac by Abraham and blow shofars to remind God of His mercy.

So, the Feast of Trumpets is likened to a day of Judgment with mercy extended and the Feast of Yom Kippur is a day of mercy while atoning for our sins with Justice. It is a day to remind people to repent of their sins and to remind God of His mercy. (Mark Bilttz)

The Feast of Trumpets is a time of rejoicing for the New Year and a time of repentance, as it is the first day of the Ten Days of Awe or Repentance, leading up to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

Interesting enough, the Feast of Trumpets is also known as the Hidden Day:

The Feast is the only one that falls on a new moon, which can happen on one of two days at the beginning of a lunar month. The new moon must be spotted by two witnesses and since it happens at night when people are sleeping, they just celebrate it as one long day. Thus, it is known as the “Feast that no one knows the day or the hour,” as in Matthew 24:36.(Mark Biltz)

Prophetically, the Feast of Trumpets is probably when Tribulation begins, when the First Resurrection (or Rapture) happens, when Messiah marries His bride, and when the coronation of Messiah as King occurs.

This is just a brief overlay of the Feast of Trumpets. So, if you want to learn more, take the time to watch Mark Biltz’s great video here. You will be blessed for watching it.

Next, we will look at Yom Kippur.

Part 5

“Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the LORD. (Leviticus 23:27)

Yom Kippur (or Day of Atonement) is celebrated on the 10th of Tishri on the Hebrew calendar, which falls in the period between mid-September and mid-October on the Gregorian calendar. It is the most solemn and holiest day of the year and is not a feast as such, but rather a time of fasting and repentance.

What does atonement mean? The Hebrew word is kaphar. It literally means to cover. Think of a credit card, which doesn’t pay your bill, but covers you until you can pay the bill. So, the Day of Atonement covered the sins of Israel, but did not take them away. (Mark Biltz)

In traditional Judaism:

Yom Kippur marks the climax of the ten day period of repentance called the Days of Awe. According to Jewish tradition, on Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) the destiny of the righteous are written in the Book of Life and the destiny of the wicked are written in the Book of Death. However, most people will not be inscribed in either book, but have ten days – until Yom Kippur – to repent before sealing their fate. Therefore, on Yom Kippur, every soul’s name will be sealed in one of the two books. (Hebrew for Christians)

When the Temple was still in use in Jerusalem, Yom Kippur was the only day of the year when the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and invoke the sacred name of Yahweh to offer blood sacrifices for the people of Israel. There were no “do-overs.” If mistakes were made, the sins were not atoned for that year and then carried over until the following year.

From a prophetic viewpoint, after the Tribulation has begun on a future Feast of Trumpets, the people of Israel will have their blinders removed on a future Yom Kippur and Jesus will return on that day. It will be that generation of Jews who will all be saved.

This is just a brief overlay of Yom Kippur. So, if you want to learn more, take the time to watch Mark Biltz’s great video here. You will be blessed for watching it.

Next, we will look at the Feast of Tabernacles.

(Part 6)

“Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) for seven days to the LORD. You shall keep it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year…It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.’ ”(Leviticus 23:34, 41-43)

Sukkot (or Feast of Tabernacles) is celebrated on the 15th of Tishri until 22nd of Tishri on the Hebrew calendar, which corresponds to mid-September to mid-October on the Gregorian calendar. The Hebrew word sukkot means hut, tent, or tabernacle.

Today, Jews and Messianic believers construct temporary huts or tents in which meals are eaten throughout the Feast. Some still dwell in them for the full Feast in observance to Leviticus 23:42.

The Feast of Tabernacles is also known as the Feast of Ingathering. From an agricultural standpoint, the Feast represented the end of the crop year with the harvest of grapes and other fruits. It was now time to rejoice.

No whiners during this feast. REJOICE! God loves to party, even more than we do. (Mark Biltz)

Interesting enough, many believe that Jesus was born on the Feast of Tabernacles.

If He was born on the Feast of Tabernacles, why do you think there was no room in the Inn? Thousands of pilgrims. If He was born in December, there would have been all kinds of room. (Mark Biltz)

From a prophetic viewpoint, the Feast of Tabernacles foreshadows the sheltering presence of God over Israel during the Millennial Kingdom. It is also a feast that every nation must keep during this thousand year period or there will be drastic consequences for them.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain. (Zechariah 14:16-17)

This is just a brief overlay of the Feast of Tabernacles. So, if you want to learn more, take the time to watch Mark Biltz’s great video here. You will be blessed for watching it.

 

Part 7

“I’m not under the Law. I’m under grace.”

The above words have slipped off my tongue hundreds of times over the last thirty years, but are they really true?

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law but under grace. (Romans 6:14 NKJ)

When I used to read the word “Law” in the New Testament, I immediately connected it to the Old Testament and assumed that the word “Law” was a bad thing, but of course, I never checked the word out.

The Hebrew word “torah” is translated into our English word “Law” in both the Old and New Testaments. Yet the true meaning of the Hebrew word “torah” is not “Law”, but rather, “instructions or teaching.”

Thus, should I be under the instructions or teaching of God?

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law [Torah] or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)

The word Law (or Torah) in the above verse refers to the Pentateuch or the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. And the word Prophets refers to the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the other prophetic books with Malachi being the last one.

Admittedly, for thirty years, I have looked at the above verse and believed that since Jesus fulfilled the Law or Torah, I did not have to do so. My attitude was — “Thank you Jesus, I can ignore the Law or Torah and its requirements and just follow the red letters in the New Testament.”

I know! I know! I know!

My logic was childish at best because one of my favorite sayings, “Anyone who believes in Me will do the works I am doing and greater ones because I go to the Father,” blows this logic to pieces. You see, one of Jesus’ works was following the Law or Torah.

“…I came not to destroy, but to fulfill.” And surely to ‘fulfill’ means to complete, in the sense of bringing to perfection, not, as Christians have all too often interpreted it, to render it obsolete; but to fulfill in such a way as to perfect a foundation on which to build further. (Christian Jewish Heritage, Western Sussex: Angel Press, 1988, p. 8 via Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, 1992, p. 26)

The Apostle Paul wrote:

Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah. (Romans 3:31 Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, 1998, p. 1408)

Am I there yet? Heavens no! I have many miles to go yet.

So, stay buckled up until next time.

 

Part 8

Señor Luiz introduced himself to our Brazilian Portuguese class at the beginning of my sophomore year at the University of Illinois. He stated that he was from São Paulo, Brazil, and looked forward to teaching us. He then went around the room, asking each student his or her name. When the student mentioned his name, Señor Luiz asked, “Would you mind if I called you  by the Brazilian Portuguese translation of your name?”

Thus, William became Guilherme, Mary became Maria, Edward became Eduardo, and so forth.

After I had told him my name, he said, “Do you mind if I call you Señor Lourenço?”

“I never liked the name Lawrence. So, if it’s okay with you, just  call me Señor Larry,” I said.

He nodded his head and said, “Sim.”

Now, most of us want to be called by the names given to us by our parents. It’s the names which our parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, teachers, and everyone have called us all through our lives. Our names reflect our family heritage and often contain the dreams and hopes pinned on our lives at our births by our parents.

For instance, my wife was named Carol, not Carole. She was born just after the holidays and her mom thought of her as a Christmas carol. Interesting enough, Carol went off to college, studied music, and became a singer.

Okay, what about New Testament names?

This may come as a shock to you, but almost every character in the New Testament has had their names changed. This is due to the fact that our New Testament has been translated from the Greek into the English language. All of the Hebrew and Jewish names have been changed into a Greek form of the same name.

The Greek name – Jesus Christ – was really Yeshua HaMashiach. Mary was Miryam. Joseph was Yosef. Matthew was Mattityahu. Simon Peter was Shim’on Kefa. James was Ya’akov Ben-Zavdai. John was Yochanan. T’oma was Thomas. Judas Iscariot was Y’hudah from K’riot. Saul or Paul was Sha’ul. Barnabas was Yosef or Bar-Nabba.

It was almost as if Señor Luiz went around to each New Testament character and asked, “Do you mind if I call you by a Greek name instead of your Hebrew one?” They, of course, said nothing because they were dead.

Sadly, the name changes removed the Hebrew-ness from our New Testament.

Part 9

The Two-Covenant Theology was pioneered in this century by the non-Messianic Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929), and since elaborated by such liberal Christian theologians as Reinhold Niebuhr and James Parkes. This theory holds that the Jewish people were brought close to God by means of the covenant with Avraham (Abraham) and the Torah of Moshe (Moses), so that they have no need to “come” to the Father through Yeshua (Jesus) or anyone else, because they are already with Him. Accordingly, Yeshua’s word is not for the Jews, but for the Gentiles and is to be understood thusly: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; and no Gentile comes to the Father except through Me.”

The Two-Covenant theory enables the Jewish Community to live in apparent peace (from its point of view) with its Christian neighbors by alleviating the pressure on Judaism to downgrade Jesus, the New Testament, and Christianity; for a non-Messianic Jew can say, “We Jews have our way, Judaism; and you Gentiles have your way, Christianity. We will each serve God best by following the way provided for us. It is a manifestation of God’s grace that He has provided Jesus for you Gentiles and Torah for us Jews.” Thus Jesus can be held in high regard because His claims are not taken as posing any threat to the structure of non-Messianic Judaism. (Excerpt from Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H. Stern, 1992, Jewish New Testament Publications, p. 196-197)

However, this whole theory falls to pieces when you consider that Jesus (Yeshua) was a Jew and preached His Gospel of the Kingdom of God to mainly Jews. All of the early evangelism was focused on the Jews with the message being, “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus.” (John 14:6)

Paul the Apostle stated:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)

Jews and Gentiles alike need a Savior named Jesus (Yeshua).

 

Part 10

I’m a grace to the nth believer, by which I can’t think of a single way that a truly born again, new creation believer can lose his or her salvation.

Okay, with that in mind, our Hebraic Roots teacher, Pastor Bruce Dowell of Shiloh Messianic Congregation, said something last night that shocked me. “Do you believe every Christian will be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb? Now, I don’t mean that some believers will lose their salvation, but rather, I mean some may not make the cut to be a part of the Bride.”

I sat there thinking, “Wow! This goes against most evangelical teachings that I’ve heard.”

Pastor Dowell quoted the verses about the ten virgins who took their lamps out to meet the bridegroom –

Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. (Matthew 25:2-4)

The Greek word mōros is translated into our English word foolish in this verse, but it also may mean: “godless or showing lack of reverence or respect for God.”

The same Greek word mōros also appears in Matthew 7:26 –

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand”

Pastor Dowell then quoted Revelation 12:17 –

The dragon [Satan] was enraged with the woman [Israel] and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

What are the commandments of God? The Torah or the first five books of the Old Testament.

This morning as I studied and meditated on the marriage supper of the Lamb. I came across the following verses –

“Let us rejoice and be glad! Let us give Him glory! For the time has come for the wedding of the Lamb, and His bride has prepared herself — fine linen, bright and clean has been given to her to wear. (Fine linen means the righteous deeds of God’s people.) The angel said to me, “Write: ‘How blessed are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!”‘ Then he added, “These are God’s very words.” (Revelation 19:7-9 Complete Jewish Bible)

We believers have the responsibility of preparing ourselves. You see, we determine the level of godliness we choose to walk in.

And also:

Then, he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy…For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:8, 14)

The Bible states there are Kingdom levels that believers choose to walk in by our obedience to God’s commandments or Torah. These levels range from the leastto great and the greatest. Will the least be allowed to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to take the chance of missing the marriage supper, but rather, I’m going to learn more about God’s Torah and our Hebrew roots.

Part 11

Was Jesus a Christian? 

Jesus’ mother’s name was Miryam (Greek name: Mary) and his earthly father’s name was Yosef (Greek name: Joseph).

The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Miryam, for you have found favor with God. Look! You will become pregnant, you will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua (Jesus).” (Luke 1:30-31 Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern)

Jesus (Yeshua) was born to Jewish parents and was sent by God to be the mediator for the New Covenant.

Okay, who was the New Covenant made with and promised to?

“Here, the days are coming,” says ADONAI (Lord), “when I will make my new covenant with the house of Isra’el and with the house of Y’hudah (Judah). It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, violated my covenant, even though I, for my part, was a husband to them,” says ADONAI. “For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra’el after those days,” says ADNONAI: “I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Jeremiah 31:31-33 Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern)

The New Covenant was made with and promised to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. We Gentile believers were grafted into the olive tree (Israel) and now share in its nourishing root: Jesus (Yeshua).

So, was Jesus a Christian?

Heavens no! He was a Jew and still is one.

Our Lord is a Jew.

 

Part 12

With the exception of Luke who wrote Luke and Acts, the New Testament’s books were written in Greek by Jews who framed their religious thinking in Hebrew. Why? Because the foundation for the New Testament was the Tanakh(our Old Testament), which was written in Hebrew.

Sometimes, we miss deeper meanings because the authors used the Greek language.

For instance, my eyes were recently opened to one word in Paul’s greetings for his letters —

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:3)

The above greeting was used in one form or another in most of Paul’s letters. The Greek word eirēnē is translated into the English word peace. So, when we read the word peace, we think of tranquility, calm, and quiet.

Yet, the Apostle Paul who wrote the word would have been thinking about the Hebrew word shalom, much like Joseph spoke to his brothers —

And Joseph said, Peace [shalom] be to you… (Genesis 43:23)

The Hebrew word shalom means peace and tranquility, but it also means safety, welfare, health, contentment, success, comfort, wholeness, and integrity.

So, when Paul used the word peace in his greeting, his deeper meaning was the whole complex of peace/wholeness/well-being that is in our Lord Jesus.

If you want to hear how to say, “Peace be to you,” in Hebrew, click here.

 

Part 13

A big dilemma for the early church was – did new Gentile believers have to be circumcised and then become Jews in order to complete their salvations?

This issue came to a head when the Apostle Peter visited Paul and Barnabas in Antioch. Peter ate with Gentile believers until a group of Jewish believers arrived from Jerusalem. Then, Peter separated himself from the Gentiles and only ate with the Jews because he feared what the Jews would think and say. Paul confronted Peter to his face about his hypocrisy —

“If you, who are a Jew live like a Goy [Non-Jew or Gentile] and not like a Jew, why are you forcing the Goyim to live like Jews? We are Jews by birth, not so-called ‘Goyishe sinners’; even so we have come to realize that a person is not declared righteous by God on the ground of his legalistic observance of Torah commands, but through the Messiah Yeshua’s trusting faithfulness. Therefore, we too have put our faith in Messiah Yeshua’s trusting faithfulness… (Galatians 2:14-16a Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern)

This confrontation resulted in Paul, Barnabas, and others going to Jerusalem to consult with the apostles and elders there. A decision was made that the Gentile believers just needed to abstain from:

(1) Things polluted by idols, especially meat sacrificed to false gods.

(2) Fornication, or any form of sexual immorality, including homosexuality and other improper sexual practices.

(3) What is strangled…that is meat from animals not slaughtered in a way that allows the blood to flow out.

(4) Blood, such as blood sausage.

(Taken from Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H. Stern)

These minimum conditions were placed on the Gentile believers so that the Jewish believers would not be offended to fellowship with Gentile believers. It was a good compromise.

Sadly, two centuries later, when the Gentile influence in the Body of Christ far exceeded the Jewish influence, a new dilemma developed – did new Jewish believers have to reject their Jewish roots and become Gentile Christians?

 

Part 14

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 ESV)

Most of us know the above verse, but have we considered the following?

Moreover, Yeshua’s (Jesus Christ) being the same yesterday, today, and forever means that He is still Jewish and will return a Jew. The Messiah has not been transformed into a Christian (rather the word “Christian” refers to people who are being transformed by Him.) Yeshua was born a Jew, died a Jew, and was resurrected a Jew. He is a Jew now, serving in heaven as a Jewish cohen gadol (High Priest) [Hebrews 2:17]. He will return as a Jewish King to occupy the throne of His Jewish ancestor David. His humanity makes Him the Savior of all, both Jews and non-Jews. But He has not Himself been made over into a Gentile. (Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H. Stern, ©1992 by David H. Stern, pp. 721)

Our Lord is a Jew.

 

Part 15

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodieswill be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for andhastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! (2 Peter 3:10-12)

Most probably hope to see the Messiah return in our own lifetimes, but how can we hasten His return?

Peter goes on to mention that we should walk in godliness, keep our conduct holy, look forward to new heavens and new earth, making sure if the Lord returns today He will find us abiding in His peace, without spot or blemish. But yet, this still does not answer how we can hasten His return.

The Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H. Stern quoted an interesting answer for this question:

“Many of His true children are earnestly looking for the early return of our Lord, and they are putting forth every effort to hasten His coming. To all such we would say that there is no surer way of hastening this blessed fulfillment of His promise than by evangelizing the Jews. The reasons for this are many, but…of special interest here…[is that] it was only to the Jews that our Lord said in Matthew 23:39, ‘For I say unto you, ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Which, if we interpret Scripture aright, means to us that whenever the Jews as a nation accept Him as Lord and Savior, then He will come. And who does not long for His appearing? And who does not realize that unless He does soon appear, this world is doomed to a horrible cataclysm the like of which has not been duplicated in history.” (Joseph Hoffman Cohn, son of the founder of the American Board of Missions to Jews, written in 1921, quoted on p. 765 of Jewish New Testament Commentary)

We always have to remember Jesus is Jewish and the End-times revolve around the Jews and Israel.

Part 16

“My best guess is that the Tribulation will begin in October 2017, during Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles),” said Chancey last night at our Hebraic Roots meeting. “This means the first seal will be opened, Israel will be deceived, and then sign a seven-year peace pact with the Antichrist. Sacrifices will begin at once in Jerusalem.”

Chauncey was just a teenager in 1978 when the Holy Spirit revealed to him the Church’s Pre-tribulation teachings were wrong. He has spent the last thirty-eight years studying end-time events and teaching his revelations to whomever would listen.

Let’s say Chauncey’s guess is correct and that he is also correct about the Church’s Pre-tribulation teachings being wrong, what does this mean for us?

It means that in 22 months the time clock for the Great Tribulation will begin for us believers. We will struggle and agonize through seven long years of tough times until eventually we are caught up in the air with Christ in the first Resurrection, which should happen on Yom Kippur, October 12, 2024.

Doesn’t the possibility of this happening just blow your mind?

It does mine.

Okay, do I believe Chauncey’s guess is correct about October 2017?

To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me because I will get up tomorrow morning and seek the Lord. He holds every second of my life in His hands. If he isn’t worried about the Tribulation, why should I?

But I do plan on emphasizing the Feasts in 2016 and studying the book of Revelation until I understand it better than I do now.

What about you?

Part 17

The number one theory for the end-times over the last thirty years has revolved around the “budding of the fig tree.” It is based on:

“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. (Matthew 24:32-33)

The theory goes something like this:

The fig tree is Israel, based on Jeremiah 24 and other scriptures. The time of budding and putting out new leaves happened in 1948 when Israel became a nation once again, after almost two thousand years of nonexistence. Thus, when you see this happen, the second coming of Jesus is so near that the generation of Jews who were born and alive in 1948 will not die until Jesus returns.

A biblical generation is forty years.

So, since Jesus did not return in 1988 or 1998 or 2008, we have to assume this end-time theory is incorrect, right?

What is the most likely the problem?

If you read Matthew 24:1-31, you will see that Jesus was talking about the days leading up to the end-times, about the abomination of desolation, about the great tribulation, and also —

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30)

The above verse refers to Jesus returning to earth, but the important words to understand are – “then all the tribes of the earth will mourn” – which refers to Zechariah 12:10. This is the exact moment when Israel realizes that Jesus Christ is their Messiah and all of them regret having had hardened hearts against Him.

It is this generation that will not pass away until all things take place.

The mistake is that the parable of the fig tree was taken out of contest.

Part 18

Have I ordered a kippa, shofartallit (prayer shawl), and other Jewish items for the upcoming feasts? No, I’m still a Gentile, learning about the Hebraic roots in Christianity.

Yet one interesting thing did happen this week:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3)

I have read this verse countless times without really seeing it, but three or four days ago, I read it and could not move pass it to the rest of the chapter. After meditating on the verse, I realized that I had no clue how to access our “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”

Shouldn’t we be able to do so if we are in Christ?

I eventually read to the end of the chapter and hit another snag:

And He put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church,which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23)

The fullness of Him — isn’t this what we should be seeking?

You can see that I have a few unanswered questions.

So, this will be the conclusion of my early journey into the Hebraic Roots because I will soon begin a new series about the one new mancombining the Jews and the Gentiles into one body.

(Conclusion)

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17 thoughts on “Are We There Yet?

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