Archive for 2015

December 14, 2015 – A ‘Last Day’ Hanukkah Thought

The Light to the Nations

The Light to the Nations

“It is not enough that you are merely my servant to raise up the tribes of Ya‘akov (Jacob)  and restore the offspring of Isra’el. I will also make you a light to the nations, so my salvation can spread to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).

In order to be a light to the nations that would bring salvation to the world, the Jewish people had to stand against assimilating into the idol worship being forced upon them by the Syrians. They could not allow the culture and customs of a different religious system to infiltrate and destroy their Biblical heritage within the Torah and the promises of God to their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When it did, they fought against it with their lives.

“When you enter the land Adonai your God is giving you, you are not to learn how to follow the abominable practices of those nations” (Deuteronomy 18:9).

In order for each of us as believers in the Messiah of Israel, the salvation of the world, to be a light in the darkness of this world, we cannot assimilate into any culture and customs that are contrary to Biblical truth. Through various points in church history, the assimilation of pagan practices and nations into the pure faith of the prophets and apostles has slowly taken place. This mixing of the holy and the profane has created a lukewarm faith to the world; a faith that doesn’t bring the hope of salvation, but a faith people that not only the world rejects, but Messiah will vomit out of his mouth as well.  Because we are not taught and are unwilling to use the whole counsel of God’s Word for a life of holiness, from Genesis to Revelation, a great deception has been in progress and has become the foundation of a lawless gospel on which ‘the man of lawlessess’ will be free to set up the final ‘abomination of desolation’ in a temple in Jerusalem.

“Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians], and the man of lawlessness is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition), who opposes and exalts himself so proudly and insolently against and over all that is called God or that is worshiped, [even to his actually] taking his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming that he himself is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 Amplified Bible).

"Your word is a light to my path and a lamp to my feet" (Psalm 119:105).

“Your word is a light to my path and a lamp to my feet” (Psalm 119:105).

We must always be willing to cleanse and purify our spiritual temples from everything that contaminates whether physical or spiritual.  We must search for the idols on the altars of our hearts and remove them, even if it is painful and contrary to everything we have ever known.  We must begin to embrace a Biblical faith that includes an obedient life to the commandments of God that honors and glorifies, Yeshua, the Light of the World.

“Therefore the LORD (YHVH) says, “‘Go out from their midst; separate yourselves; don’t even touch what is unclean. Then I myself will receive you. In fact, I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters.’ says YHVH, LORD of Hosts”. Therefore, my dear friends, since we have these promises, let us purify ourselves from everything that can defile either body or spirit, and strive to be completely holy, out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1).

Until next Hanukkah, Feast of Dedication … 

“Pay careful attention to how you conduct your life — live wisely, not unwisely.  Make the most of every opportunity, use your time well, for these are evil days” (Ephesians 5:15-16). 

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Book Nosh

Hanukkah “Alternative” vs. Christmas

For many Biblical reasons, our family stopped celebrating Christmas many years ago.  Our relatives didn’t understand our reasons, but accepted the decision as best they could.  One side still sent Christmas presents that we reminded our children to accept with gratefulness because ‘every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).   The other side began wrapping Christmas gifts in Hanukkah paper.  Though that was their way of respecting our decision, Hanukkah is not a Jewish substitute, replacement or alternative to Christmas.  Hanukkah and Christmas have two very different historic backgrounds and have nothing in common with one another.

The roots and traditions of Christmas can be found in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia on which the Catholic church sprinkled holy water,  incorporated the birth of a non-Jewish Jesus, and created the Christ Mass (which ironically means ‘death sacrifice’).   Those who embrace Christmas believing it as Jesus’ birthday  are doing nothing more than acknowledging catholicism as the roots of their faith (even if they are protestants who reject everything catholic).   In fact, all of Christiandom and secular society for this one day of the year become catholic in their celebration and promote the idolatrous Saturnalia with a holiday of stars, greenery, and gift giving.  

The events surrounding Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication (John 10:22), are found in the Apocrypha and are rooted in Jewish history during the time of Alexander the Great when he wanted to Hellenize the world.  It was during this time that the Emperor Hadrian changed the name of Judea to the Greek/Latin Palestine in order to expedite the destruction of the nation and people of Israel.  Alexander’s cohort Antiochus Epiphanes (means ‘antichrist manifest’) went about ‘Palestine’  forcing the Jewish people to renounce their faith in the God of Israel or die.  He sought to destroy the people and the lineage through whom the Messiah would come. They were not allowed to circumcise their children, celebrate Passover or any of God’s other holy days or offer sacrifices in the Temple.  As Antiochus’ armies entered Jerusalem, they desecrated the Most Holy Place in the Temple with pig’s blood.  This is the same Temple that today Muslim world leaders claim never existed; the same place where an Islamic mosque stands.   

Our family is not nor ever was Catholic thus we do not take part in the Christ Mass.   Our children were raised to understand the historical roots of Christmas and have never felt like they were missing something.   Instead, they were taught about Hanukkah and the anti-semitism of the Greek/Roman world, the same anti-semitism that still exists today in much of the church due to its catholic heritage along with the growing ideology of hatred for Israel in the much-tolerated religion of Islam. 

As they are all grown and have their own lives, each still remembers the Maccabees and their fight to free the Jews from being Hellenized with paganism.   They light their menorahs for eight days to remember the re-dedication of the Temple Altar back to Yahweh.  Each night with the candle light they look forward to the day when the Messiah Yeshua returns, sets His feet on the Mount of Olives, enters the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem and the Temple area.  On that day he will cleanse a newly-built  Temple from the coming ‘abomination of desolation’ (Matthew 24:15-26, 2 Thessalonians 2:4). He will restore Jerusalem and the nation of Israel to the eternal glory that is promised in the Holy Scriptures.  

Hanukkah is not a Jewish alternative to Christmas.  Changing the wrapping paper on a present or saying “Happy Hanukkah” rather than “Merry Christmas” changes nothing about the deeply rooted differences.  One is a celebration with unBiblical roots and decorated to entice the world into idolatry; the other is a memorial to those who fought against anti-semitism in order to protect the Temple in Jerusalem and to stand against the destruction of  their faith in the God of Israel.   Unlike the Roman catholic-based Christmas, Hanukkah is a reminder from a century before the birth of Messiah that nothing and no one, especially a modern ‘antiochus’ can destroy the Lion of the Tribe of Judah through whom the redemption of the world will come.

“You people don’t know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22).

This year, 2016, Hanukkah begins the evening of December 24 and lasts 8 days.

©2015 Tent Stake Ministries

Nations – Hebrew: goyim

Nations – Genesis 17:4

Hebrew: גוי, גוים – goy or goyim, name of a people, nations

“As for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations” (Genesis 17:4).

Abram’s name was changed to Abraham meaning ‘father of many nations.’  It was not changed to mean ‘father of many pagans or gentiles.’  In fact, ‘gentile’ and ‘pagan’ are mistranslations of the Hebrew word goy. 

Goy is used 561 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and refers to peoples and nations generally in a context of geographical or governmental identity.  They have a unique origin and language.  Only twice is goy used with the idea of pagan and seven times it is  [mis]translated as ‘gentile’.

With this understanding in mind, Abraham became the ‘father’ of many geographical peoples with many different origins, languages and governmental identities – the goyim [nations].  Though those living in the nations may have a pagan belief system, many within those systems would recognize Abraham as ‘the father of  faith’ in the coming redemption for the world.   When they did and do, they were and are the goyim promised to ‘the father of many nations.’ 

Genesis 25:22-23

“The children fought with each other inside her so much that she said, “If it’s going to be like this, why go on living?” So she went to inquire of YHVH, who answered her, “There are two nations [goyim]  in your womb. From birth they will be two rival peoples. One of these peoples will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”

Here again, the Hebrew word for ‘nations’ is goyim.  Two goyim fight in Rebecca’s womb – not two pagans or two gentiles.  Two nations.  These two nations grew from Esau (the Edomites) and Jacob (Israelites).

Deuteronomy 4:32

“Therefore, observe them; and follow them; for then all peoples [goyim] will see you as having wisdom and understanding. When they hear of all these laws, they will say, ‘This great nation [goy] is surely a wise and understanding people.”

Obedience to God’s commands would lead to the goyim to recognize Israel as a wise and understanding people with a God who is nothing like the pagan gods within goyim.  

Jeremiah 10:2

““Do not learn the ways of the nations [goyim] or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations [goyim] are terrified by them.”

Jeremiah tells Israel not to learn the ways of the nations.  Of course, the ways of the nations are not God’s ways and could be considered pagan or holding to religious beliefs different from the ways of God.  This does not make the nations pagan, but their practices.

Ethnos is used for ‘a nation or people’ in the Greek.

Romans 16:26

“… But now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles [ethnos] might come to the obedience that comes from faith—“.

This verse is the evidence of the fulfillment to the promise given to Abraham regarding all nations.  Note that the word ethnos is mistranslated ‘gentiles’ rather than ‘nations.’ 

Pagan, both in the Hebrew and Greek,  is a completely different word than goy.

2 Kings 23:5

“He did away with the pagan [idolatrous] priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem—those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts.”

The Hebrew word for pagan in this verse is כמר or komer and means ‘idolatrous’. 

Isaiah 57:8

“Behind your doors and your doorposts you have put your pagan [memorial] symbols. Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked with lust on their naked bodies.”

The Hebrew word for pagan in this verse is זכרון or zikkaron and means ‘memorial’.

Lamentations 1:10

“The enemy laid hands on all her treasures; she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary— those you had forbidden to enter your assembly.”

In this verse there is only the word goy or nations.  There is no separate reference to pagan which suggests that the translators added it to PERHAPS differentiate from Isaiah 56:6-7 when foreigners from all nations [goyim] will come to worship God on His holy mountain.  However, adding to or subtracting from the Word of God will be judged.  Whatever the reason, the nations entering the sanctuary had been forbidden to enter.  Lamentations is about the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.  During the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, the goyim, the Greeks, entered the sanctuary and defiled it with pig’s blood.  Thus their actions were pagan, but they were will goyim.  

Amos 7:17

“‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword. Your land will be measured and divided up, and you yourself will die in a pagan [unclean] country. And Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.’”

The Hebrew word for pagan in this verse is טמא or tame and means ‘unclean.’

Matthew 18:17

“If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan [nation] or a tax collector.”

The Greek word for pagan in this verse is ethnikos with comes from ethnos and means ‘nations’.  However, again it is translated numerous times as pagan and gentile and not its intended meaning of ‘nations.’  Those who refused the discipline of the Body of Messiah are to be treated as one would treat an outsider, one of the ‘nations.’

Luke 12:30

“For the pagan [nations of the] world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.”

The Greek word for pagan in this verse is ethnos and means ‘nations.’ Again, there is no specific word for pagan in this verse.  

1 Corinthians 10:7

“Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.”

The Greek word for pagan here is paizo and means ‘indulge in pagan revelry.’   It is only used ONCE this way in all of Scripture. 

Nations, unclean, memorial and idolatrous have been substituted with the word ‘pagan’ and even ‘gentile’ creating a mistranslation of the Scriptures and ultimately a division within the Body of Messiah. 

Romans 11:12-14

“But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles [ethnos], how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!  I am talking to you Gentiles [ethnos]. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles [ethnos], I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people [Israel]  to envy and save some of them.”

The underlining issue with the mistranslation of the words goy and ethnos into pagan and gentile, especially in this passage,  is that it creates an identity crisis in the Body of Messiah.  Those of the nations, the goyim, though they may be living among ‘pagans’ are not always ‘pagan’ and learning the ‘ways of the nations’.   They are living in the nations because of the foresight of YHVH who knew His people would be dispersed among the nations.   Those of the goyim or ethnos who have put their faith in Yeshua have the responsibility to make Israel envious for their Messiah. 

The goyim are grafted into the Olive Tree of Israel and are not to become something they are not.  They need to accept their heritage from the goyim within their adoption.  For example, if a white person adopts an Asian child, the child definitely become part of their adopted family and obeys they same family rules,  but they do not lose their Asian heritage, that visible difference that makes God’s promise to Abraham powerful in the world.   The goyim need to accept this understanding if they don’t want to become arrogant over the natural branches of Israel.  When the goyim lose sight of their value and responsibility for bringing the nation of Israel to repentance, they make the covenanted promise to Abraham, the father of all nations,  null and void. 

©2015 Tentstake Ministries

Thoughts on Marriage

My husband, John and I (Julie) have been married 31 years; neither of us ever married before.    We have had some tough times to be sure, but we promised something to each other on our wedding day (at the advice of my dad):  Never go to bed angry.  We have lived true to that advice all of these years … talking everything out so the devil doesn’t get a foothold in our relationship.  Forgiveness is a huge concept in marriage whether one is a believer or not.  It is commanded by Yeshua to his disciples.   It is the first step in realizing our own part in every disagreement and the second step to bringing restoration. 

Did we bring junk into our marriage? Of course.  We’re human and we were unbelieving sinners!  But we never focused on that or blamed the junk when there were issues.  In fact, in some cases we hit the issues head on.  For example, many years ago an old girlfriend of my husband’s stayed with us for two days and we attended her brother’s wedding.  More recently, I met an old girlfriend of my husband’s on a trip to Arizona.  My husband went to a Denver  football game with me to watch an old beau from college play on the Seattle team.  Sometimes we just have to know who we are in Messiah and know who we are in the marriage relationship and go with the flow.  All of these awkward situations brought healing to both of us rather than driving a wedge between us.  We sin against God and against each other enough times that to allow past junk to fester and destroy our marriage is pointless. 

What I see in marriage relationships around us is that there is no personal responsibility.  Husbands and wives tend to blame each other and/or other people and situations for their problems.   When we are born again into God’s Kingdom, the past is in the past and should not be thrown into anyone’s face or be the cause for judging our spouse.  That’s the work of the devil.  Period.  Of course our past affects who we are, but again, if we’re born again, we’re new creations and the old has passed away.  That is how I like to live in my marriage relationship and I appreciate that my husband does too.  And, yes, we do sometimes talk about our pasts and have regrets or even huge moments of laughter at our own stupidity.

I remember being married only a few weeks and my husband confessed something from his past that was pretty shocking to me.  I remember stopping while we were walking and looking at him and asking, “Are you born again?”  He responded, “Yes.”  I asked, “Have you asked forgiveness?”  He responded, “Yes.”  At that point the discussion was over.  The event has never come up again and this is the first time in 31 years that I’ve even acknowledged it happened.

I also feel that many times a husband, but mostly wives since that’s my world as a woman, want to be the Holy Spirit (Ruach) in their spouse’s life.  That is not the job of a spouse.  If you don’t like something figure out if it’s just personal or judgmental.  Then let it go!  If your spouse is sinning, present it as a sin and then allow the Ruach to deal with it.  It’s called faith and trust in God to bring us to His perfection.  If your husband is not a believer, then women are commanded to live such pure and holy lives that their husbands are convicted.  Pure and holy again doesn’t mean being the Ruach, but allowing the Ruach to live, rule and convict your life.

Another example.  I had a friend years ago who was pregnant with her third child.  Her husband wanted her to have an abortion.  He was not a believer.  She didn’t know what to do as their first child was born out of wedlock and they married when he was 7 months.  They had been through this before.  God brought a opportunity in her life to leave for three days on a little boat trip.  She went.  When she came back, her husband apologized and is now pro-life.  That little girl is his special child.  This friend had faith that God would work while she was gone.  He did.

If you are both believers (and even if you’re not), I believe God joins people together – for better or worse (and it amazes me what people think is worse as I would be divorced numerous times over by now if I had those same standards) and no one is to divide them – no one, not a friend, a child, a pastor or a parent.  Especially a parent.

Parents have no place in a marriage.  This is why the woman leaves her home and a man leaves his mother.  Torah says that for the first year the married couple is to be ‘left alone’ in order to begin their own home – leave and cleave are the buzz words.   When my son got married, we did just that.  We only visited them or them us when they initiated it.  They needed to start their own life together without interference from us.  My husband and I had it good as my family lives on the east coast of the U.S. and my husband’s family lives on the west coast.  We lived in the middle and neither family ever interfered with us because of distance even though neither side ever understood our walk of faith and struggled when we stopped celebrating the holidays.

Another thing we agreed on early is that we would never ever use the D (divorce) word.  That just opens doors for the enemy to take hold of one of our sins and we would follow its obvious course.  It a sign of wanting to give up rather than to press on toward an upward higher calling in life. 

I was a staunch feminist when I met my husband. In college I had a book bag that said, “A woman’s place is in the House and the Senate.”  I was all for equal rights and everything that went with it.  However, today I am so far removed from that thought process for two reasons.  First, it is founded in the Jezebel spirit and and creates a woman’s ruling household including the congregation of the Messiah.  If a woman wants a leading man, then let him lead!   Second, according to Scripture we’re only equal in terms of sin, redemption and forgiveness.  There is a line of authority and I am asked to submit to my husband as I would to the Lord – like the holy women in the past.   For me it has been a journey of learning how to do both simultaneously because like a father is the essence of how we feel about God as a Father; a husband and how we treat him is the essence of how we feel about God as our Husband.

I was blessed to have parents who were Christians,  loving and married until death parted them after only 21 years of marriage (my father remarried and has been married 36 years).  My grandparents were Mennonite and plain people and that is how I was raised.  My husband’s parents divorced when he was 18 and he purposed in his heart that he would never take that path BEFORE he ever met me or the Lord.  My husband and I were both blessed (we were just talking about this yesterday) that we did not come from manipulative homes where there was alcohol, drugs, or control freak, overbearing moms or dads; consequently, we are not controlling and overbearing to one another or even our children.

More importantly, we have trust in our marriage.  This doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been stretched a time or two and even to the point of breaking, but if one doesn’t trust their spouse, then what is there?  Remember YHVH divorced Israel for their faithlessness!  Faithfulness is everything.  I do not care to know my husband’s passwords to his computer or phone except in the event he dies,  nor do I stalk him on Facebook because he has his own life and I have mine and we trust each other.   This trust comes not only from early years when we both did foolish things with other men and women and found ourselves in dangerous situations, but in trust is how we have chosen to ground our marriage.  

Several months ago we listened to a teaching on marriage for young people.  My husband said, “We did it all wrong.”  Yes, we did.  We lived together, one a believer; the other not.  We didn’t understand anything about purity of the marriage bed, protecting our hearts and minds, or even the spiritual warfare that is strong and steady against the marriage covenant.   Let us all remember that it’s not how you began the race that matters, but how you finish it.  Forgive, press on, and pray your hearts out for your spouses.  Have faith that God will work in His perfect timing.  There are still things that bug me about my husband as I’m sure there are things that bug him about me.  BUT, we have overcome a lot and will continue to do so because that’s what marriage is about.

©2015 Tentstake Ministries

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