Archive for 2010

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 opened.  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 and I still had to go to church.

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 Lutheran.  Everything was in the hymnal or pre-printed.  So, reading an actual Scripture (pre-printed though it was) was different.

As I read through Psalm 143, I really began to cry.  The words “answer me quickly, LORD, my spirit fails” were nothing but the truth at that time.  “Rescue me from my enemies” also 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 a surprise, but even that ended too soon.

Psalm 143, however, became the Psalm in which I knew God was talking to me or at least hearing my cry for help.  Thirty-six years later, I see how He did answer my cry – not the cry of a teenager whose world was built on social and emotional foundations, but the cry that person whom the Father knew was crying inside of my spiritual being desiring to be set free.

For the past 40 plus years, God has been teaching me His incredible 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 deception and given me an incredible life in Him.  I have learned about His goodness through the preservation of my life in times of serious illness and miscarriages.  I have witnessed Him silence not only my enemies, but also the enemy that endangered my life and the lives of my children.    I have come to know His unfailing love in so many circumstances that seemed to make no sense, but had great purpose.   Today, I read Psalm 143 with victory and assurance of my faith, hope, and love in Yeshua, my salvation.

“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).

©December 2010 Tentstake Ministries

Witnesses of Two Establishing Matters

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

Life or Death?

“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).

Yeshua used the ‘witness of two’ 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, it seems they had forgotten about establishing innocence or guilt on the ‘witness of two.’

“They brought in a woman caught in adultery.  They made her stand before the group and said to Yeshua, Rabbi, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Torah, Moses commanded us to stone such women.  Now what do you say?’  They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Yeshua bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’  And he stooped down and wrote on the ground.” (John 8:1-7).

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 an authentic witness.  Authentic witness 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.  No one was either being honest or willing to condemn themselves with her.

“At this those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Yeshua was left, with the woman still standing there.  Yeshua 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,’ Yeshua declared.  ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’ (John 8:8-11).

Yeshua could have been been a witness against this woman.  As God 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 not enough witnesses to establish her guilt.

This ‘witness of two’ is what is used to establish the ‘death sentence’ in all of Torah.  No one was arbitrarily killed. No one killed their children for simple disobedience.  There was a system of justice rendered after there was a witness of two or three.

Heaven and Earth

The heavens and earth establish the ‘I AM’ as the Creator of the Universe, the only Elohim.  The heaven and earth become the witness of Him to all mankind.

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

“My own hand laid the foundations of the earth and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together [as witness]” (Isaiah 48:13).

“To Adonai your God belong the heavens even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it” (Deuteronomy 10:14).

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen …” (Romans 1:20).

The heaven and earth became the witness of HaShem to Noah.  He used the heavens and earth to judge the sinfulness of mankind – the floodgates of heaven opened and the springs of the earth burst forth.

“He summons the heavens above, and the earth, so that he may judge his people…” (Psalm 50:4).

Elohim used the heavens and the earth as the witness of two against Isra’el when they choose between life and death, blessings and curses.

“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 angels  bear witness by the One who made the heavens and earth.

“And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it …” (Revelation 10:6).

The heavens and earth themselves declare the evidence of Elohim.

The heavens declare the glory of God, the dome of the sky speaks the work of his hands. Every day it utters speech,
every night it reveals knowledge. Without speech, without a word, without their voices being heard, their line goes out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). 

To be sure, the witness of two with the heavens and the earth will be eternally established when Elohim makes everything new.  There will be a new heavens and new earth along with a new Jerusalem (Isaiah 66:22, Matthew 5:18, Revelation 21:1-2).

“Then the One sitting on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!” Also he said, “Write, ‘These words are true and trustworthy!'” (Revelation 21:5).

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, as the Messiah of Isra’el is established by a witness of two: Torah and the Prophets.  False messiahs will not have this witness of two.  Because many in the church do not believe the Torah is valid in the life of a believer, they no longer study it and have lost touch with its requirements for the Messiah.   Without Torah they have also lost the greatest prophet who was a shadow of the coming Redeemer.  The Jesus many people worship falls short of the witness of the man who walked on the Road to Emmaus  declaring that the Torah and Prophets testify to him.  This lack of witness has nullified Jesus as the Jewish Messiah for Isra’el and leaves the Jews still seeking their Deliverer.

““Adonai will raise up for you a prophet like me from among yourselves, from your own kinsmen. You are to pay attention to him,” (Deuteronomy 18:15).

Stephen, who was martyred for his faith,  spoke the following words.  It was his testimony about Yeshua being the prophet promised by Moshe in Torah and spoken of by the prophets.

“This man led them out, performing miracles and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moshe who said to the people of Isra’el, ‘God will raise up a prophet like me from among your brothers.’  This is the man who was in the assembly in the wilderness, accompanied by the angel that had spoken to him at Mount Sinai and by our fathers, the man who was given living words to pass on to us” (Acts 7:36-38).

Moshe was not only the greatest prophet, but he became the intercessor between Isra’el and yod-hey-vav-hey.  They did not want a face-to-face relationship with ‘I AM’ because of fear.   Moshe took on the role of intercessor and even offered his own life when Yahweh wanted to destroy the Israelites.  At the end of his life, Moshe promised another prophet like himself which the people were to obey.

Moses was a very unique man and prophet called by Elohim.  To deify him would be wrong, but to make his witness of Yahweh of no value is equally wrong.  He did not write the instructions for Isra’el from his own mind.  He was not arrogant or prideful.  He was the humblest man on the face of the earth and the only man who ever spoke with yod-hey-vav-hey face to face and lived (Numbers 12:3, Deuteronomy 34:10).   To remove his prophetic witness of Yeshua comes from Biblical ignorance and spiritual arrogance over Elohim’s choice of man to bring deliverance, His Torah and eternal promises to Isra’el.

Some people suggest that because the Jewish people have Torah they have Messiah.  This view denies the second witness necessary for Yeshua: the Prophets.  Without the Prophets, Yeshua’s birth and becoming flesh, life, suffering and death, and resurrection cannot be established.

“But you, Beit-Lechem near Efrat, so small among the clans of Y’hudah, out of you will come forth to me the future ruler of Isra’el, whose origins are far in the past, back in ancient times” (Micah 5:1).

Therefore Adonai himself will give you people a sign: the young woman* will become pregnant, bear a son and name him ‘Immanu El [God is with us]” (Isaiah 7:14).

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; dominion will rest on his shoulders, and he will be given the name Pele-Yo‘etz El Gibbor Avi-‘Ad Sar-Shalom [Wonder of a Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace]…” (Isaiah 9:6). 

“To whom is the arm of Adonai revealed? For before him he grew up like a young plant, like a root out of dry ground. He was not well-formed or especially handsome; we saw him, but his appearance did not attract us. People despised and avoided him, a man of pains, well acquainted with illness. Like someone from whom people turn their faces, he was despised; we did not value him. In fact, it was our diseases he bore, our pains from which he suffered; yet we regarded him as punished, stricken and afflicted by God. But he was wounded because of our crimes, crushed because of our sins; the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him, and by his bruises* we are healed. We all, like sheep, went astray; we turned, each one, to his own way; yet Adonai laid on him the guilt of all of us” (Isaiah 53:1-6).

Without the Torah and the Prophets,  the Jewish Yeshua as Messiah of Isra’el cannot be established for  Christianity or Judaism. True and honest fellowship with the Father through Yeshua cannot be established without Moshe, the greatest Prophet and the Torah given to him by Elohim.  Without the Torah and the Prophets, false messiahs and Jesus’ proliferate around the world leaving many lost in sin without hope or God in this world.

Jew and Gentile

“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 the Jew and the gentile (male and female)  becoming ‘one new man.’  This witness can only be realized when the wall of partition is removed.

This wall of partition or dividing wall was found in the Temple.  It kept the gentiles from entering the Court of Isra’el and worshipping God with Isra’el according to the instructions in Scripture.  There were also courts that divided the women of Isra’el (Middle Court) from the men (Inner Court).  Until Messiah came, non-Jews had to remain in the Outer Court and had no access to Temple worship.

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups (circumcised and uncircumcised) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two ….  For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:14-18).

Today there are other barriers that keep Jews and non-Jews from becoming ‘one new man.’  One barrier is anti-semitic doctrines that have removed everything Jewish from the Judeo-Christian faith.  In the first century, for example, the Sabbath was being kept on the seventh day by all believers in Messiah – ‘one new man’.   Non-Jews were being taught God’s instructions in Torah in the synagogue – ‘one new man’  (Acts 15:21).   Non-Jews were encouraged to keep the feast 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).

“He [Yeshua]  said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the Torah who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old” (Matthew 13:52).

Another barrier is found in the modern-day Bible.  It is a page that separates the new testament from the old.  This page keeps the Jew from knowing their Messiah and the Christian from knowing the foundation of their faith in Torah and the Prophets, which establish Yeshua as Messiah.  Historically, this ‘page’ came from a man named Marcion who decided that the Bible should be divided into sections: one section for the angry God of Isra’el and the other for the merciful God names Jesus.   He was considered a heretic in the first century yet today his heresy is found in every Bible.

Separating the Torah along with the Prophets and the Writings (the Old Testament) from the New Testament, Christians build their spiritual temples with questionable building materials and their witness to the world is an incomplete message of the Kingdom of Heaven.   Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and Moshe must be used along with Peter, James and John.  Yeshua himself said that everyone who teaches Torah must bring out old treasures with the new.

Until these barriers are removed, the witness of two to the world for the Body of Messiah will remain divided.  Jews will continue to reject their own Jewish Messiah and Christians will continue to add bricks on the wall of partition  proliferating a Jesus who is not Jewish, rejects all Biblical commands for his followers and isn’t recognized by the Prophets.

True Worship

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.

“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).

In John 17:17, Yeshua says that the Word is Truth and it sanctifies those who use it.    Through the Word – as written in the Torah,  spoken through the Prophets, revealed in the flesh of Yeshua, and proclaimed through the Apostles, true worshipers will worship the Father in the way He desires to be worshipped.

In John 14:15 Yeshua tells his disciples if they love him, then they will obey his commands.  He would then ask his Father to send them a comforter – the Spirit of Truth.   Through the Word, worship begins, but through obedience to the commands, true worship is completed through empowering Spirit.

“When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the Truth.  He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13).

The Spirit or Ruach HaKodesh is the breath of Elohim that brings forth a born again experience into the Kingdom of God.   The Ruach HaKodesh  writes the Torah on hearts of flesh (Jeremiah 31:31, Ezekiel 36:26-27).  The Ruach HaKodesh convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgement (John 16:8-11).  The Ruach HaKodesh transforms us in the sight of God,  helps us to remember the Word of God, leads us in a righteous, fruit-filled life and gives us gifts to build up the Body of Messiah (John 14:26,1 Corinthians 6:11, Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7).  The Ruach HaKodesh seals us with hope in receiving our inheritance from the Lord, empowers us to be witnesses in the world testifying to Yeshua (John 15:26, Acts 1:8, Ephesians 1:13-14).

The Spirit and the Truth support and witness to each other.  Without the Truth of the Word, spiritual worship will become nothing but confusion and disorder (1 Corinthians 14:33).    Without the Spirit, worship in Truth becomes empty and dogmatic.  We need the Spirit to change our hearts so that we become spiritual beings so that our worship in Truth has power, hope, joy, peace, and love.

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 or ‘set apart’  portion of the Body of Messiah or the saints  has a ‘witness of two.’  This witness is holding to a testimony of Yeshua and obeying the commands.   Yeshua is the cornerstone on which the ‘holy ones’ build their spiritual lives.  Obedience to the commandments is the evidence of our faith in Yeshua.   To have only faith in Yeshua without action is dead.  To only obey the commandments without Yeshua could be considered ‘good works’ in the flesh or humanism.  According to Revelation, holding onto faith in Yeshua and obeying the commandments will  require perseverance on the part of the sanctified holy people of Messiah.

There are many more witnesses of two throughout the Scriptures.  There is the ‘witness of two’ for marriage: man and woman (Genesis 2:24).   There is the ‘witness of two’ for the born again experience: water and the Spirit (John 3:5). There is the ‘witness of two’ in Zechariah: the Gold Menorah and the Two Olive Trees (Zechariah 4).   The armies and bride of Messiah are the witness of two for the coming Messianic era.  Every ‘witness of two’ found in the Bible must be like Yeshua, Faithful and True to the Word of God (Revelation 19:11).

©2010 Tentstake Ministries

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.

Hanukkah 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 of Hanukkah that occurred in Jerusalem about 165 B.C.E.

The first miracle is the victory of the Jewish people over the Greek armies who had taken control of the Temple in Jerusalem and desecrated the altar by sacrificing a pig and pouring out its blood, along with erecting a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies.

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

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

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

The Game of Dreidel

Bags of Gelt – Chocolate Money

1. Each player begins with 10 pennies, MnMs, buttons, toothpicks or gelt.  Gelt 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 will put another coin, candy, item in the ‘pot.’

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

 

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