Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Out of Bethlehem
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting” (Written 700 B.C., 300 years after King David.) ~Dr. Gary Cohen; Zion's Fire, Sept.-Oct. 2005)
Fulfillment: “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house of lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:4-7)
Monday, November 28, 2005
Hear. Love. Keep.
The Shema whittles down the complexities of faith: Hear. Love. Keep (the Word). Teach. Apply (to mind and hands). Display boldly in your homes. To keep God and His commandments in our hearts as a people and nation is proving to be a private and public struggle of grand proportions. Jesus warned us about affluence, false teaching, and outright hostility. As Dr. Cohen points out, "In God We Trust" is the latest aim of attack while the Ten Commandments battle yet rages. We are still in defense mode when any good General will agree, offense is the best defense. Isn't there a leader out there who can wage a massive assault on secularism. Get the Bible and prayer back in the schools!
"Israel, however, was plainly commanded that God and His name was to be kept in the center of their vision and on their hands that worked and built." (Cohen; Zion's Fire, p. 14) They were to overcome until Meshea, the Anointed One, came. This "Messiah would be a) one sent by God, and b) one filled with the Spirit of God." (Cohen)
Cohen then quotes the twelfth principle of the "Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith" (Moses Maimonides, 12 century A.D.) "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah, and though he tarry, I will wait daily for his coming." This hope is displayed every year at Passover Seder with the place set for Elijah, the prophet who would announce Messiah's arrival. (Malachi 3:1& 4:5; Isaiah 40:3)
John the Baptist, who did prepare the way for the Christ by crying in the wilderness for the people to repent, cleanse themselves of sin in a public demonstration of baptism in the River Jordan, and start afresh a new life. Why is it clear from the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth that his name was to be John--not Elijah? God went to the trouble of naming the baby Himself...it was important. God's ways. Who can know them?
Dr. Cohen lists a few Messianic prophecies. I will include their fulfillment in Jesus Christ and historical Scripture
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Shema, 1400 B.C.
Jewish children memorize the above first line, which means, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”! This brings a favorite memory of mine back…a pinnacle of my music experience. While in college, a local cantor wrote a beautiful (and I mean some of the most gorgeous harmonies I had ever heard) cantata (for lack of a name), which we performed in the Synagogue. It was all in Hebrew, the pronunciation of which the cantor patiently taught us…but the meaning of our words was left to God and some hearers. We were clueless. And you know about youth! The meaning wasn’t only lost in the words. As fresh young things, the depth of the experience was lost on us too. I can only try to recapture the tiny fragment of El-o-he-nu coming from my lips! But would adults even grasp it? Did my mom and grandma catch a glimpse of Christianty’s roots, sitting in the sanctuary that night? Like shards from a stained glass window before they are pieced together, I am so sad for expressions that were yearning to be seen, words wanting to be heard.
No, the grafting never took. Christianity has been trying to grow hydroponically and it can never produce the rich tasting fruit without the tree, Yisrael. We do share our God, Elohenu. He is our Lord, Adonai, One God, Echud. Hear, Shemai.
4) “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
5) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7) And thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8) And thou shalt bind them upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9) And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” ~The Shema, Deuteronomy 6
More to come...
Friday, November 25, 2005
Oracles of God
So what male circumcision could not do, keep separate God’s Chosen, the circumcision through faith has achieved. We cannot know, except of our own heart, who belongs in the remnant. But that does not mean the line isn’t drawn! What exactly parts mankind into two? Mrs. Schaeffer pinpoints it better than I: “It is the way of coming to please [their false gods], or trying to please the real God, by works of their own hands—religious good works or moral good works.” (p 78)…those springing off from the spiritual line of Cain. Too simplistic? All religions, other than Christianity, either work their way to their god or believe they can approach God as they are. Many Christians follow the same self-sufficient logic, putting them on the wrong side of history as well.
Here might be an opportune time to introduce a very apropos website written by four young Christian men. Deathway (ht: qandablog!) theme is, “to die is gain” as we let go of our own will, die to self, and live by faith in Christ alone. “Thy will be done…in our hearts, and lives, and throughout all the earth.” Amen.
Surrender: a recurring theme in my faith journey of late. May God have His way with you and me. May we follow in the line of Abel and truly be God’s remnant.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
"But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, (too harsh? think demons.) on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.
"Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers..." ~Malachi 4:2-6
The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. ~Revelation 22:17,20-21
Sunday, November 20, 2005
“When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, what mean these stones? [The twelve stones from the Jordan built into a memorial of this place and time] Then ye shall let you children know, saying Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up from before us, until we were gone over. That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God forever.” ~Joshua 4:21-24
Thank the Lord every day for His Word, for what could we know without it? He has protected and preserved it for you and me, dear people of the earth.
Joshua, before he leaves the people he has cared for and fought for, reviews God’s faithfulness in their yet short history and then implores, “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt and serve ye the Lord…choose you this day whom ye will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” ~Joshua 24:14-15
Joshua was a strong leader, a courageous warrior, a savior to the Hebrew nation. His Hebrew name is the same as our Savior, Jesus, Just as Joshua stood fiercely for God’s Kingdom to be established, Jesus fought the mother of all battles in the spiritual realm so that His Father’s Kingdom would be planted anew, in our hearts, in our lives, to grow across the earth.
I love this part, found in Joshua 10:22-27. Following a victory of five Canaanite kings’ armies, the kings ran and hid in a cave. Tradition had it that the victor placed his foot on the head or neck of a defeated leader, says Dutch Sheets (Intercessory Prayer). Joshua prophetically instructed some of his soldiers to perform the ritual on the found cowardly kings. Remember the verse, Psalm 110:1, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet”? That would be Jesus, sitting. Jesus Himself quoted Psalm 110. Joshua, a type looking forward to Christ, gave Israel’s (symbolically, the Church’s) warriors the task of sewing up the victory in grand style. The Victory is utterly His. The Father promises the Son, “Relax here at my side while your brothers and sisters tap into My Power, to make Thine enemies a footstool, and bring us Glory in the Victory! That, my friends, is what we are here for!
“Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war.
With the Cross of Jesus, going on before.
Christ the royal Master, leads against the foe
Forward into battle, see His banners go.”
Pray…bind…in the Name of Yeshua…get on your knees, unleash the Victory, Church of Christ…Yisrael.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Instant World, Just Add God
The scientific argument behind the philosophy of intelligent design : D is that life is too complex even in its most basic form--a cell—to thrive in any lesser form. Evolution naturally stresses an evolving cell, if I understand it correctly. That is not what Darwin said. He believed the cell to be the simplest life form, which eventually progressed to more complex life forms. The point is life was NEVER simple and ID scientifically observes that life had to appear on earth in fully developed form---instantaneously.
John claims that evolution science allows for abrupt appearing of complex organisms and species, due to environmental changes of greater proportion. Somehow I think he means out of their previous forms, not out of nothing. This is the crucial divisive belief. Life, in a momentous instant, begins with no previous living matter. Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made of what was visible.” Please forgive my unscientific lapse, but abrupt complex life forms point directly to creation/ID science…er, um philosophy.
Origins science must be supported by actual scientific evidence. The science of ID observes the evidence of non-stages between non-life and life. At the very core of life, the cell could not possibly function at any level without ALL its workings, mechanisms; they are symbiotic. Without even one of its functions, there is non-life. There is a proven leap in intricacy between nothing and something living. The other scientific observation is the interweaving of chemicals in a symphony of responses to a wound. Blood clotting results from a perfect harmony of multiple chemicals—a balance without which life cannot be sustained.
The argument—philosophical theory—is that the immediate measure for functioning is not something that is built upon, randomly or otherwise, in stages. “It” must occur in a moment. “For He spoke and it (earth) came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm." ~Psalm 33:9 “For the Word of God is living and active.” Hebrew 4:12 The Greek for ‘living Word’ is Zao. Other ways it has been translated are “come to life”, “receive living”, “brought to life”, and my absolute favorite, “returned to life”.
Sudden, abrupt, spontaneous life! If there is no gradual climb to this point of demarcation, no “little bit” of life, then truly, evolution and ID are diametrically opposed. Either life and each species were momentarily designed creations or they were not. Once the taste of sweet Truth is digested, the lie becomes bitterly exposed. It is not poison in itself but as it creeps into the honey of Christian faith, Zao becomes less sweet. Who needs it when science is revealing a supernatural event? To God be the glory for all His wondrous deeds.
God pulled a cell together, all at once! He sure as heck wouldn’t have any trouble with throwing a human or two together, all at once! Spontaneous life—key words—from God…not nature, not natural selection.
Hebrew word: Bara-“created out of nothing” God created. The word is only used to refer to man and woman, the heavens and earth, and, for a more mysterious reason, the great creatures of the sea. There was dust involved and a bone, so the history goes. Lifelessness became Life. Void became Earth. Jesus never said, “Remember that story Uncle Moses used to tell?” No, when He quoted the words of Genesis, He spoke matter-of-factly of the history of Creation.
While the battle rages in Dover, a real war is being waged between the angels of God and those of Satan. Where there is a struggle for Truth against lies, there be Satan. Changes have occurred in nature. Now, with all the searching and observation of the millions of varieties of life, logic alone declares those changes are always within a species. Empirically, the verdict is in. Theory needs evidence. How on earth has evolution remained a theory, philosophy or anything but a myth? Dear Father, let the debate burst from its prison into whatever arena it finds itself!
"...But man is so shrouded in the darkness of errors that he hardly begins to grasp through this natural law what worhsip is acceptable to God. Surely he is very far removed from a true estimate of it. Besides this, he is so puffed up with haughtiness and ambition and is blinded by self-love, that he is as yet unable to look upon himself and, as it were, to descend within himself, that he may humble and abase himself and confess his own miserable condition. Accordingly (because it is necessary both for our dullnes and for our arrogance), the Lord has provided us with a written law to give us a clearer witness of what was too obscure in the natural law, shake off our listlessness, and strike more vigorously our mind and memory."
~John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion; Book 1:VIII:1)
Monday, November 14, 2005
What is natural law? It is law based in human nature as revealed by an objective Being, grounded in Truth. In other words, it is law discovered by man’s ability to reason, as opposed to law created, subjectively, by reasonable men. You see, Justice Scalia could have been hedging on either side of this definition, could he not? Fluff meaning “who can know it?” or “who is clever enough to create it?”
Before we get worked into a frenzy calling for Scalia’s impeachment (since there are five others to consider more seriously!) there is a weak link in nature’s law that could break tomorrow or sooner. We are actually fighting a war for the weakest link. It is a gnawing fact: the natural law—revealed by an objective truth and fitting the definition—of Islam is shown to be faulty and therefore, by reason, false. What is it that exposes the lie? Oppression. Hate. Death. Natural?
Granted, the free republic is relatively new to the Judeo-Christian world but its development had been building for centuries. The birth of the United States was only a matter of time! Is the free republic of Islam a question of working out the chinks? It appears we are about to find out.
As true believers in the One True God who said, “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life”, are we left with any room for doubt? Natural Law and the foundational statement, “ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL” is Judeo-Christian Law by definition because we believe there is no other truth beside Thee, Jehovah God. We had better start calling Him by Name because there is some confusion out there.
Nature’s law tells us nothing more than trees grow and clouds eventually spill, the sun rises regularly and animals are not human! It is very base. Is it found in conscience? Theoretically yes. Actually? Not while the Deceiver yet survives. Not by meditation and inward searching is it made known. You would think human nature senses murder as an absolute wrong but socio-paths lose this sense. Terrorists, whether by brainwashing or gut belief, follow Death as their god. We will not know this side of heaven if conscience, the voice of nature, ever kicks in before they push the button or yield the sword.
Is this why Justice Scalia refers to the laws of nature as pure fluff? Oh sure, the flip side of the coin is that relativisticly, in the multicultural world of cultural equality, natural law is buried with all of its implications: one truth exists to be found. Scalia’s court decisions have shown little to no evidence of this mindless wondering. He is about the business of law, keeping his head out of the fluffy clouds of idealism and his feet on the solid Rock.
Thus I conclude, the Honorable Antonin Scalia is shooting for the stars with a few, very few, others. Judeo-Christian principles are to be found in the Holy Written Word of God, Jehovah-M’Kaddesh, Who sanctifies. This is God’s Name found in Leviticus, the book of LAW.
“To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” ~Peter, who knew Him (1Peter 5:11)
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Devil's in Dover
"Dover School Board Voted Out. Dover Residents voted yesterday to replace
their school board with a slate of Democratic candidates named Dover
CARES. The group narrowly won over the incumbents who voted to include
mentioning Intelligent Design in the biology curriculum. Judge Jones'
decision on the Dover case is expected in mid-January."
Thank God for Church leaders like Pope Benedict! The Family Institute shares this quote for the week:
"It will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are, or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation."~ Jane Austen, Mansfield Park English novelist (1775 - 1817)
Friday, November 11, 2005
“Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed for the Lord, thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.” ~Joshua 1:9
Three days of fasting and prayer was the preparation for the next leap of faith…or literal step. The priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant are being asked to believe…and trust …and obey. For the simple hearted believers who choose a more natural faith of love and kindness, believing that’s all God really wants…this command to step into a gushing, deep, flood stage river might sound obscure, even ludicrous! What does this have to do with loving your neighbor? I can hear the committee meeting now: “This isn’t practical…we could lose our priests and how can we take such a risk with our holy relic, the ark? This can’t be what God wants! Let’s adjourn and discuss this further next time.”
The only meeting was for the purpose of relaying God’s message to the people. Joshua spoke, they listened. There was no waiting for a good opportunity. The river raged when the priests stepped in in total reliance on their amazing God. The river did a repeat of the Red Sea. Here was another impossible situation relieved by the power of God. Here was a vivid reminder for the few who had experienced the escape from Egypt. Here was a picture for those too young so that they could more than imagine it.
This time, obedience was required prior to the miracle. Sometimes love isn’t enough. You know how kids are…"I love you Mom, love you Dad”…as they walk out the door in defiance of your wishes. I don’t doubt they love us in their own teen way…but it hurts because there is little willingness to sacrifice, trust their parents’ wisdom, let go of their own will when it collides with authority.
God’s authority had spoken and the priests were strong and of good courage because they surely trusted God. After all, it was God’s Ark too! Wouldn’t He take care? To carry His Law is to have Him provide a way to the other side, rest assured! Have you been in the Word today? I know some of you have and are more disciplined than me. Just thought I’d ask!
Moses delivered the people out of bondage (from sin) with the Law of the Covenant from God. Although the Law revealed their inability to overcome sin, it should not be negated that it provided a map for freedom and peace. Joshua, picturing Christ the Messiah, was the one able to deliver God’s Chosen into their Paradise. The Law would prove inadequate without a Mighty Deliverer. Time did tell.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
"Believe the Unbelievable...
Demonstration—God is so good at it. Instead of writing down myths and legends for our insight, the Lord uses all of history, man’s time on earth, from beginning to end, as revelation. Jesus gave us a clue, as John writes in his gospel. Did you ever notice what a great showman He was? He blatantly ignored Lazarus as he lay dying; was it for His benefit or the disciples, to dodge the authorities? Uh…was He afraid? Maybe Mary and Martha needed to grow spiritually? John plainly describes the crowd at Lazarus’ resurrection. This time, Jesus wasn’t going to perform for a couple of people. He waited so that the whole community could witness God’s power. So that we couldn’t miss the point, He prayed, aloud and said, “I’m not saying this for You, Dad. I’m saying it for them.” Later on, in John 12:28-30, Jesus is quoted again:
“Father, glorify Your Name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there (and heard it) said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to Him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.”
The picture paints a view of our Father which, if we apply to all of history—a ‘show’ for all of mankind to see—we will read God’s Word in a whole new light. I have always read my Bible to find what God is teaching me…something I can apply to how I live. This idea I am proposing (the sense I received from Edith Schaeffer) is enough different that it has transformed my faith. The Bible is not just a collection of life lessons. There are faith lessons abounding…not lessons in story or myth form—not allegory. History. Science. Who is our God and what is He up to? These lessons give us deeper understanding, wisdom, closer relationship with our God, a means for defending our stronger faith, a reasonable faith, and insights beyond our wildest imagination! Genesis reveals origin and condition of man, covenant and promises of Abraham’s story and Isaac’s salvation (a snapshot of the Lamb). Joseph and his personhood pointing to the personhood of Christ, and then Moses’ obedience and reception of God’s Law, the old covenant as a precursor to Christ bringing the New! This is where we will pick up from God’s continuing Story.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Three Thousand Men
“Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get
out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. So he stood at
the entrance to the camp and said, ‘Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.’ And
all the Levites rallied to him.
“Then he said to them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: “Each man strap
a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the
other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.”’ The Levites did as
Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.”
Moses went to the Lord after this, to intercede for the people and did offer to surrender his place in Heaven for
“The Lord replied to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.’” ~V 33
Jehovah God then “struck the people with a plague because of what they did.” ~V 35
In vivid contrast to this blotting out and death, the New Covenant sealed by Christ shone in living color on the day of Pentecost when another crowd of three thousand was selected. This time, the chosen lived. They didn’t only survive God’s coming; they absorbed Him! The first Church Body was born in the Spirit as Peter spoke the Word unto them. ~Acts 2
Same number of men, both a chosen people, the first condemned, the second saved. All Jewish…no Gentiles yet! Christianity…very Jewish!
“And everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.” ~Acts 2:21
“Those who accepted [Peter’s] message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” ~Acts 2:41
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
The Finger of God
The historic moment is recorded in Exodus 31:18. “When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.” God wrote the conditions of the covenant on two tablets, not because it wouldn’t all fit on one, as one commentator explains. It was an agreement between God and His Chosen with two copies—one for each party. Both copies would be kept in God’s dwelling, the soon to be built Tabernacle.
The other time, years later, when history records the hand of God writing, God didn’t reveal exactly what He wrote…It would seem the content was less important than the action.
John 8:6: “But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger.” As if to pronounce, “I’ll do that again so you don’t miss it,” “Again, He stooped down and wrote on the ground” v.8
I am very sorry that the author and source is lost in my feeble memory, but there is a book somewhere on my shelf, which takes on the meaning of Jesus’ action when the woman’s life stood in the balance. Supposedly caught in the crime of extra-marital relations, punishable by death, the very finger of God, once again, writes. Only one place have I seen it, this pinpoint explanation. Just as Moses had witnessed God’s putting down, documenting in legal fashion, a Covenant, now the crowd, the disciples, the officials, and the lonely, ashamed woman bear witness to a new Covenant. Clearly, Jesus was drawing up the papers in exquisite demonstration! This is My Father’s Covenant of Redemption!
“Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
‘No one, sir,’ she said.
‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared, ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” Vs. 10-11
Jesus’ action was symbolic of the promised covenant, which He would seal with His pure, precious blood.
“Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.’” Exodus 24:8
Our God, Jehovah is a covenant-maker and a covenant-keeper. We are the ones who fail to keep the treaty “between me and Thee”…the Lord God is unfailing. Moses was the priest who sealed Israel’s Testament---Jesus, the greater; our Great High Priest sealed the New Testament.
“Therefore, since we have a great high Priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” Hebrews 4:14
So be it.