Archive for 2010

My Encounter with Psalm 143

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground”  (Psalm 143:9-11).

Psalm 143 takes me back to a time when I was about 16 years old.  I grew up in church and went to church every time the doors were open.  Though I loved God, I  felt that church inhibited my social life in school.  This particular night was a Lenten service and I was just plain ol’ sick of attending church.  I fought with my parents and even told them I hated God.  I went to my room, took my Bible, and stomped on it over and over with tears in my eyes.  My argument failed, my parents prevailed, and I went to service.

That evening was different than the previous weeks.  For whatever reason, we read a Scripture corporately before entering the sanctuary.  This was highly unusual because I do not remember reading Scripture at ALL growing up in the Lutheran church. Everything was in the hymnal or on pre-printed bulletin papers.  So, reading an actual Scripture (pre-printed) was different.

As I read through Psalm 143, I really began to cry.  The words “answer me quickly, LORD, my spirit fails” were the truth for me at that moment.  “Rescue me from my enemies” seemed to fit the suffering I  believed was happening in my teen life.   I clung to “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love for I have put my trust in you”. The morning did bring an amazing surprise, but even that ended too soon.

Psalm 143, however, became the Psalm in which I knew God talked to me or at least heard my cries for help.  Thirty-six years later, I see that He did answer my cry –– not the cry of a teenager whose world was built on social and emotional foundations, but the cry from the soul that the Father knew was wanting to be set free.

For 40 years and more, God has been teaching me His Will through His Word, and His Spirit has been leading me on not only level ground, but firm and stable ground.  He has taken my life from a pit of despair and given me an full life in Him.  I learned about His goodness through the preservation of my life in times of serious illness and miscarriage.  I have witnessed Him silence not only my enemies, but also the Adversary that endangered my life and the lives of my children.    I have come to know His unfailing love in circumstances that seemed to make no sense, but had great purpose.   Today, I read Psalm 143 with an assurance of my faith, hope, and love in Yeshua –– and a little nostalgia.

“I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.  I spread out my hands to you” (Psalm 143:5-6).

©2010  Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Witnesses of Two Establishes Truth

“A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses”  (Deuteronomy 19:15).

Heaven and Earth

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

Heaven and earth establish yod-hey-vav-hey as Creator of the Universe, the only Elohim (God) (Isaiah 48:13). Heaven and earth are the ‘witness of two’ proving Him Creator. The heaven and earth became the witness of Elohim to the ancient world as he used heaven and earth to judge the sinfulness of mankind –– the floodgates of heaven opened and the springs of the earth burst forth.

Elohim used heaven and the earth as the ‘witness of two’ against Isra’el before they entered the Promised Land (Psalm 50:4). As they heard the commands of Elohim, they had to choose between life and death, blessings and curses. Even so, Elohim told them to ‘choose life’ that they may live.

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love Adonai your God… (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

The ‘witness of two,’ the heavens and the earth, will eternally establish Elohim as Creator when He renews the heavens and the earth along with the New Jerusalem (Isaiah 66:22, Revelation 21:1-5).

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth  for the old heaven and the old earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer there.  Also I saw the holy city, New Yerushalayim, coming down out of heaven from God …” (Revelation 21:1-2).

Life or Death Sentence

“On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness” (Deuteronomy 17:6).

The ‘witness of two’ is used to establish the a death sentence.  No one was arbitrarily sentenced to death. . No one killed their children for simple disobedience.  There was a system of justice rendered after there was a judicial hearing with two or three witnesses.

Yeshua used the ‘witness of two’ Torah regulation with the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11).   The Pharisees and Torah teachers understood the death penalty of stoning the woman caught in adultery; however, they had forgotten about establishing innocence or guilt on the ‘witness of two.’

Knowing  the death penalty could not be carried out without two or three witnesses, Yeshua called for these men who knew  Torah to put their own lives on the line.   Witnesses had to be upright, honest, and present at the time of adultery to be authentic witnesses.  This meant that two or three of the accusing men had to come forth and incriminate themselves for either being the adulterer or watching the act.   This would mean death for them as well.  Clearly, none of the men were being honest or willing to condemn themselves to death along with the woman they accused.

Yeshua could have been been a witness against this woman; as the Son of Elohim, he could have called heaven and earth against her.  However, he chose instead to follow his Father’s instructions and set her free because there were no witnesses to establish her guilt.

Torah and Prophets

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

Yeshua is established as Messiah of Israel by a ‘witness of two’: Torah and Prophets.  False messiahs will not teach the Torah or the Prophets.   Because many in the church have been taught the Torah has been ‘abolished at the cross,’ they no longer have ‘two witnesses’ for the Messiah.  By abandoning Torah, they have also abandoned the greatest prophet who was a ‘shadow’ of Messiah –– Moshe (Deuteronomy 18:15). ‘Jesus’ no longer has the ‘two witnesses’ of the Messiah who walked on the Road to Emmaus and declared that the Torah and Prophets testify about him.  This lack of a ‘witness of two’ has changed Jesus from the Jewish Messiah who came for the ‘lost sheep of the House of Israel’ into someone unrecognizable to the Jewish people.

Without the Torah and the Prophets as the ‘witness of two,’  the Jewish Messiah of Isra’el cannot be established for Christianity.  Yeshua cannot be considered the Messiah without the testimony of Moshe, the greatest Prophet who was given the Torah ‘face to face’ with Adonai.   Without the Torah and the Prophets, a false messiah and false Jesus is taught around the world.

Body of Messiah

“For all of you who were immersed into Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah.  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua” (Galatians 3:27-28).

The ‘witness of two’ for the Body of Messiah is Jew and the gentile worshiping God together as He outlined in Torah –– ‘one new man.’  In the first century, the Sabbath was being kept on the seventh day by all believers in Messiah –– ‘one new man’.  Gentiles were being taught God’s Torah in the synagogue –– ‘one new man’  (Acts 15:21).  Gentiles were encouraged to keep the feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread, were being taught about the Feast of Trumpets and the restoration of Isra’el –– ‘one new man’   (1 Corinthians 5:6-8, 1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, Acts 1:6).

In the second century, a man named Marcion decided that there were two Gods: the angry God called Yahweh and the merciful God named Jesus.   He was considered a heretic, yet his heresy remains with page that divides the Old Testament from the New. Separating the Torah and the Prophets from the New Testament creates a huge dividing wall; a dividing wall that Yeshua removed by his death.   Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and Moshe must be taught along with Peter, James, and John. Other dividing walls like anti-semitic doctrines that have removed everything Jewish, keep Jews and Gentiles from unifying and becoming ‘one new man.’ 

When the barriers are removed, the ‘witness of two’ for the Body of Messiah will be fulfilled and the ‘one new man’ will come forth.   Jews will accept the Jewish Messiah and Christians will accept their Biblical roots. Together, they will build on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, proclaiming Yeshua as Messiah as ‘one new man.’

True Worship

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers worship the Father in the Spirit and in Truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in Spirit and in Truth” (John 4:23-24).

When Yeshua met the woman at the well, he offered her living water.  In their discourse he described true worship that includes another ‘witness of two’:  the Spirit and Truth.

Yeshua says the Word is Truth and it sanctifies those who use it (John 17:17). The only Word that Yeshua had to teach from was the Torah and the Prophets. True worshipers will worship the Father in the ways He desires to be worshiped as proclaimed by Moshe, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and King David in the Psalms.

Yeshua tells his disciples if they love him, then they will obey his commands. Once they obeyed his commands, he would then ask his Father to send them the Comforter –– the Spirit of Truth (John 14:15).  

The Spirit is the ‘breath of Elohim’ that writes the Truth –– Torah –– on hearts of flesh (Jeremiah 31:31, Ezekiel 36:26-27).  The ‘breath of Elohim’ helps us to remember the Word of Truth and leads us into a fruit-filled life giving us gifts to build up the Body of Yeshua (John 14:26,1 Corinthians 6:11, Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7).  The ‘breath of Elohim’ seals us until we receive our inheritance and ‘the breath of Elohim’ empowers us to be witnesses of Yeshua (John 15:26, Acts 1:8, Ephesians 1:13-14).

The Spirit and the Truth are a ‘witness of two;’ they need each other.  Without the Truth, worship becomes nothing but confusion and disorder (1 Corinthians 14:33).   Without the Spirit, worship becomes dogmatic.  When we worship, we need the ‘witness of two:’ Spirit and Truth.

The Saints

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who keep his commands and remain faithful to Yeshua” (Revelation 14:12).

The sanctified part of the Body of Yeshua has a ‘witness of two.’  The first witness is having a testimony of Yeshua’s saving power. The second witness is obeying the commandments. To only have faith in Yeshua is ‘faith without action and is dead.’ This is the state of Christianity today –– a testimony of Jesus only. To only obey God’s commandments is ‘good works.’ This is the state of Judaism –– obedience to Torah only.  According to John, saints or those who are sanctified have a testimony of Yeshua and obey the commandments (Revelation 14:12). It is those who are sanctified by their righteous acts that become the Bride of Messiah. As with the testimony of the Body of Messiah, Jews who obey the commandments and Gentiles who have faith in Yeshua need to become ‘one new man.’

There are more witnesses of two: marriage between a man and woman (Genesis 2:24), the born again experience through water and the Spirit (John 3:5), the witnesses of the Menorah and the Two Olive Trees (Zechariah 4), and the coming Messianic Era through the armies of Yeshua and the Bride of Messiah.

©2010 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Challah Latkes

This is made from leftover Sabbath challah (if that happens to your family).

1 – 1 1/2 challah bread

4 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

Oil for frying

1 – 1  1/2 loaves of challah, broken into small pieces in a large bowl.  Cover the bread with water and allow to soak until soft.  Then, squeeze out excess water.

To the challah add the eggs, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon.  Mix well.

Form into small pancakes and fry in hot oil about 2 minutes on each side.

Drain on paper towels on a wire rack.

Serve with hot maple syrup or confectioner’s sugar.

© Tentstake Ministries Publishing

Spin the Dreidel – נ ג ה ש

A dreidel is a four-sided top with a different Hebrew letter on each side.

Outside of the Land of Israel, the letters are: 

Nun – נ  Gimel – ג  Hay – ה  Shin – ש

When the letters are put together, they stand for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham or ‘A Miracle Happened There.’

Within the Land of Israel, the letters are: Nun – נ  Gimel – ג  Hay – ה Peh – פ.    When these letters are put together, they stand for Nes Gadol Hayah Peh or ‘A Miracle Happened Here.’

The ‘here or there’ refers to the miracles surrounding Hanukkah that occurred in Jerusalem about 165 BCE. When the Greek armies came into Jerusalem and took control of the Temple, they desecrated the Altar by sacrificing a pig and pouring out its blood and erected a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies. The first miracle is the victory of the Jewish people over the Greek armies and regaining control of the Temple to re-dedicate it back to God.

The second miracle about the holy Menorah and the oil is one that has grown over the centuries. When the priests restored the Temple, there was only one sealed jar of consecrated oil for the Menorah. It would take eight days to consecrate more oil. Miraculously, the one jar lasted the entire eight days.

The third and greatest miracle of Hanukkah is Yeshua who stood in Solomon’s Colonnade as the true Menorah of the Temple (John 8:12).

The fourth miracle is that the nation of Israel survived the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes. If anyone was found the reading Torah, they and their families would be put to death. According to tradition, when the soldiers came to a home and the family was reading Torah, they would hide their scrolls, pull out their tops and begin playing a gambling with a dreidel.

The Game of Dreidel

  1. Each player begins with 10 pennies, MnMs, buttons, toothpicks or gelt. Gelt means ‘money’ and is chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil.

2. Each person puts one of their gelt into the center ‘pot.’

3.  One person goes first by spinning their dreidel.  The letter that falls face up determines what the player will do.

Nun – נ – The player does nothing, takes nothing.

Gimel – ג – The player takes all the coins, candy, items in  the ‘pot.’

Hey – ה  – The player takes half of the coins, candy, items in the ‘pot.’

Shin – ש  – The player puts another coin, candy, item in the ‘pot.’

Two and three are repeated again with the next person spinning their dreidel. 

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.