Archive for the ‘Daily Thought’ Category

The Western Wall of Partition

“For he [Yeshua]  himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,  by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace …” (Ephesians 2:14-15).

Many Christians believe that the ‘dividing wall’ that Yeshua destroyed is the Torah, the instructions of God found in the first five books of the Bible.   The Torah is NOT, nor ever was, the ‘barrier wall’  destroyed by Messiah.  “Setting aside in his flesh the law’,  he destroyed the regulations that separated men and women, Jew and gentile, and slave and free from worshipping the God of Abraham together in Spirit and in Truth as proscribed by the Torah.

Dividing Walls of 'Hostility"

Dividing Walls of ‘Hostility” at the Kotel

The Western Wall area (the Kotel) still has dividing walls today.  There is an ‘outer court’ barrier between those who are just visiting as tourists (in the foreground) and an ‘inner court’  barrier between men and women (down the center).   And according to some manmade regulations,  reading a Torah scroll by women is still forbidden.  

When I was at the Western Wall on the Sabbath, I wondered why the men were dancing in circles and praising God with loud voices, but the women were not.  I asked some young women who were studying at a yeshiva (school for religious study)  in Jerusalem.  I was told that ‘only men dance’.  I  asked why they  could not praise God through the dance. Were they not joyful too?  It was the Sabbath after all!  They didn’t know the answer.

Fifteen minutes later these same women had a circle within a circle within a circle of 50-60 women dancing while singing the Psalms from their prayer books.  I joined one circle with a Swedish woman and we listened to these women’s voices beautifully harmonize the Psalms in Hebrew.  Together as women, Jew and non-Jew, we worshipped  just like the men (and my husband was dancing with them).  This is the ‘one new man’ for which Messiah gave his life.  This is the unity of worship the God of Israel desires between His chosen people and the nations.  This will be the testimony of Messiah for the world.

We visited the Kotel multiple times during our visit.   We noticed that most Christian tourists, who most likely believe the ‘dividing wall’ was destroyed by Messiah, actually stay behind the ‘outer court’ barrier rather than approach the Wall to pray with and for the literal brothers and sisters of Yeshua, the lost sheep of the House of Israel.   By remaining behind the barrier (and taking photos), these believers effectively still believe a barrier exists and lose the opportunity as the nations to make Israel envious for their own Messiah.   I will never forget my Sabbath experience dancing at the Western Wall because through discussing dancing with those young women, I also had the opportunity to talk to them about Yeshua, the very reason they should be joyous on the Shabbat at the Western Wall.   Their salvation has come!

“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 3:28).    

©December 2015 Tent Stake Ministries Book Nosh

1492, Columbus and the Jew

1000509261001_1951472476001_BIO-Mini-Bio-Christopher-Columbus-SFWhat really happened in 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue?  Was it to come to America and ‘take whatever he could?’  Or was there some greater purpose behind his finding a ‘new land’ that was not in the continental U.S.?  Could  anti-semitic attitudes be behind all the misconceptions and deceptions behind celebrating Columbus day?

The following are quotes from two different sources, The Other 1492 by  Norman H. Finkelstein and Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, by Edward Kirtzler.

“Within three months there must not remain in my kingdom a single Jew.” King Ferdinand of Spain

“In the spring of 1492, within a three-week period, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain issued two seemingly unrelated but fateful decrees.  In the first, issued on March 31, 1492, the royal couple ordered all Jews to leave Spanish soil within four months; they could take nothing of value with them.  The second edict, on April 17, bestowed the exalted title of Admiral of the Ocean Sea upon a persistent Genoese sailor, Christopher Columbus, and directed him to undertake an expedition in search of a new route to the rich Indies.

“Throughout Spain, Jewish families were busily winding up their affairs, saying tearful good-byes, and making plans for their departures.  The plight of the Jews affected nearly every Spanish village: no one could ignore the upheaval.  Even Columbus, whose thoughts were now intently focused on his upcoming voyage, began the diary of his momentous journey by noting what was happening to the Jews.   …There are some scholars who suggest that Columbus himself may have had Jewish roots.  Whether this is true or not, there is no doubt that Columbus knew many Jews and that his celebrated voyage was made possible by their contributions and efforts.  The noted Astronomer Abraham Zacuto designed the astronomical charts that assured Columbus a safe voyage.  Important Jewish mapmakers, like the Crecas brothers, were much sought after by other explorers of the time.  Among the ships’ crews were at least three Jews including Luis de Torres, the interpreter.  He became the first European to set foot upon the soil of the New World because of his knowledge of Hebrew and Arabic, languages Columbus thought the natives of the Indies would probably speak.

“Support at the royal court for Columbus and his plan had come from two  important Jewish advisers to the king and queen, Luis de Santagel and Don Isaac Abravanel.  Santangel, the royal treasurer, was a Marrano – that is, a baptized Jew who in public behaved like a Christian, but inwardly considered himself still a Jew” (Marranos, the Spanish word for pigs, was the contemptuous term given these “New Christians” by the established Catholics, and the name has endured). 

“There were many like Santengel in Spain: Jews whose families over the years had been forced to renounce their own faith and accept Catholicism.  Many New Christians advanced quickly in professions not previously open to them as Jews.  By 1492 many of the descendants had reached the highest positions available in government, business and even the Church.  It was said that there was hardly an aristocratic family in all of Spain – including the king’s – that did not have at least a little Jewish blood flowing in its veins” (Finkelstein, p. 1-2).

“In the last decades of the fifteenth century, there began what came to be called the Holy Terror.  Queen Isabella vowed she would root out all heretics from her kingdom once the Catholic reconquest of Spain from the Moors [Muslims] was complete.  Meanwhile, she would begin by ferreting out heretics in Seville,  a city known for Jews pretending to be Christians.  Her means was the auto-da-fé (act of faith), the church’s idea of Judgment Day on earth, with a Grand Inquisitor playing God” (Kritzler, p. 3).

Both Santangel and Abravanel saw beyond the immediate benefits to the monarchy of a successful voyage by Columbus.  They realized the tremendous implications the settlement of a new land had for the increasingly harassed Jews of Spain.  … They offered to finance the voyage themselves ….  Their lengthy behind-the-scenes maneuvering finally paid off when the monarchs granted Columbus permission and funds to sail” (Finkelstein, p. 3).

“On August 1, 1492, when Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World, ethnic cleansing was the order of the city: 100,000 Jews left Spain, expelled as mandated by the Royal Edict of Expulsion of Jews.  Those who remained behind, or crossed the border to Portugal, converted to Catholicism.  The more adventurous went on to the New World” (Kirtzler, p. 1). 

“…On the very day Columbus set sail, Spain’s monarchs banished her Jews to purify and thereby unite their nation.  Jews settled everywhere they were permitted and, disguised as Portuguese New Christians, where they weren’t.  …They thought themselves safe, but the white-hooded Inquisitors soon followed.  In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thousands of New Word conversos were arrested, tortured, and tried.  Found guilty, they saw their wealth confiscated, and they were first flogged, then imprisoned, strangled, burned or condemned either to work in the salt mines of Venezuela or to row galley ships across the Pacific, a sentence from which none returned. 

“Inquisitors were thorough in their questioning of heretics, and the trial transcripts offer an intimate look into the condemned Judaizers’ secret lives.  During the day, they went about as exemplary Catholics, attended Mass, went to confession and had their children baptized.  But on certain nights they met secretly in one another’s homes, reverted to Hebrew names, and read from the Torah.   History would come to call these secret Jews, Marranos, meaning pigs.  Though this term has generally lost its pejorative meaning, I prefer to call them what they called themselves in the sanctity of their homes: Jews” (Kirtzler, p. 3-4).

“On the morning of March 31, 1492, Columbus was in his room in Santa Fe overlooking the main square when the sound of trumpets brought him to his balcony.  Below, the town crier, flanked by mounted guards, read the expulsion order of the Inquisition: Jews had four months to leave. …It is thought that Columbus himself was a descendant of Spanish Jews, the Colón family, who had converted and moved to Genoa a century before on the heels of the Massacre of 1391.  Whatever his genealogy, he was in sympathy with the People of the Book, and they with him. In his early years, in Portugal and Spain, he lived in a largely Jewish and New Christian world of navigators, cartographer, astronomers, and mathematicians.  While others looked askance at this wandering sailor and laughed at his dream, Iberian Jews and conversos assisted Columbus in developing his Enterprise of the Indies.  In their learned circles, they dealt with a round world.  [Catholic] Church geography did not apply to them” (Kirtzler, p. 15-16).

On April 17, Columbus agreed to the Capitulations of Santa Fe, which limited his rights to lifetime rule.  Two weeks later, this ruling was reversed, and Columbus was granted hereditary rule.  …Columbus would sail with his right to rule  [given by royal Spanish edict] any new lands he discovered, to be “enjoyed forever by his heirs and successors” (Kirtzler, p. 17).

“From the time that Santangel financed Columbus’s Enterprise of the Indies and persuaded the royal couple to grant the explorer’s family hereditary rights to any new land he might discover, Columbus sailed with a hidden agenda: Along with his stated goal of gaining the riches of the East, it was hoped he would acquire a new land where Sephardim [Sephard is the Hebrew name for Spain; Sephardim are Spanish Jews] could live free from the terrors of the Inquisition.  … For more than a century his heirs kept Jamaica off-limits to the hooded Inquisitors.

After Columbus returned from his successful first voyage, he made three more trips across the Western Sea.  He never reached Asia, and he didn’t live long enough to fulfill his pledge to Santangel and the court Jews to provide a homeland for converted Jews.  But it would be kept by his family in the ‘new land’ the Crown did bequeath to Columbus’s descendants, the island of Jamaica” (Kirtzler, p. 18). 

“Despite the fact that no practicing Jews were left in Spain, Columbus’ second voyage was financed by Jewish funds that had been confiscated by royal decree before the Expulsion.  Columbus died in 1506, just a year after Luis de Santangel, the man who made the first voyage possible” (Finkelstein, pg. 58). 

It is our fervent wish that you treat the Jewish Nation on a basis of equality with all other residents …” Directors of the Dutch West India Company to the Supreme Council in Recife, 1646” (Finkelstein, p. 58).

“The first openly Jewish settlement in the New World was in Brazil.  In 1624, the Dutch captured Brazil’s capital, Bahia, from Portugal with an invasion force that included “several dozen declared Jews.”  The invaders were assisted by local conversos who had gotten word than an Inquisition office was to be established in their province, where two hundred of them were living as counterfeit Christians” (Kirtzler, p. 7).

“What made the Expulsion from Spain so devastating was that Spanish culture, tradition, and civilization were so much a part of the lives of the Sephardim.  They carried this heritage with them into exile” (Finkelstein, p. 45).

“The Expulsion from Spain in 1492 was but one of many tragedies to befall the Jewish people.  Yet the memory of that disaster scarred the Jewish mind forever.  In spite of the sadness and personal anguish of that event, one direct positive outcome was the the eventual establishment of the first thriving Jewish community in the United States” (Finkelstein, p. 89.)

For those who celebrate Passover with the ‘If only … it would have been enough ….’

“If Luis de Santangel and Don Isaac Abravanel had not bee influential members of Ferdinand and Isabella’s court.

“If Spain had not expelled the Jews from its territory.

“If religious bigotry had not forced the conversion of Jews.

“If the Portuguese had not claimed Brazil.

“If the Dutch had not welcomed the Jews to Recife.

“If the Portuguese had not reconquered Brazil. 

‘If the Valk had made a successful journey to Holland in 1654. 

“If the twenty-three Jews had given in to Governor Stuyvesant’s bigotry and left New Amsterdam [New York].

“And, finally, if Columbus had not made it possible for Jews and Marranos to find an “escape hatch” to the New World.

“The year 1492 was an eventful one.  For the Spaniards, it signified joy – the unification of their country under Catholic rule.  For Columbus, it signified – his discovery of the New World.  For the Jews, it signified disaster – expulsion from a land they had called home for centuries. 

“At the time no one could realize how the three seemingly unrelated events of 1492 would dramatically become important chapters of the same story.

“Later Jewish immigrants to America were no less thankful to Columbus than were the original refugees from Recife.  The title of a popular Yiddish song sums up the gratitude felt by the generations of American Jews: Leben Zoll Columbus! – Long Live Columbus” (Finkelstein, pg. 91-93).

These are documented historical facts: Columbus did not sail to North America.  For  several generations, through the right given him by the King and Queen of Spain, he ‘owned’ modern-day Jamaica until his descendants gave it back to the Jamaicans.  Columbus, whether or not he had Jewish roots, had a heart for the Jewish people and their plight during the Spanish Inquisitions.  It was his desire to find a place for them to live in peace as Jews and not as Marrano pigs or forced catholics.  Many Latinos and Latino culture in Central and South America have definitive Jewish roots and many Jews have lived as counterfeit catholics without realizing their complete heritage and history.  After reading these two books, my view of Christopher Columbus did a 180 degree turn as did my understanding of the anti-semitism once again gathering around degrading and denouncing a man whose courage and stand with God’s Chosen People had a profound affect on Jews worldwide especially American Jewry.  Today, the Jews have a homeland called Israel where they are free to practice their faith in peace. We all need to make sure they do not lose it to new Inquisitions and Intifadas rather than stand against those who did what they could to preserve Jewish lives and Biblical culture.

For the complete picture, read The Other 1492 by  Norman H. Finkelstein and Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, by Edward Kirtzler.

Psalm 119:56 – Lying in Bed

When I came ‘back to bed’ to read my Bible (after letting the chickens out of the barn), the LORD said to read Psalm 119:56.  I opened my bedside Bible which happens to be an NIV Student Study Bible that contains little insights or comments regarding verses or sections of the Word.  I often find them quite appropriate to the moment and today was another one of those days.  Immediately I noticed the bold highlighted verse and comment right above Psalm 119:56, the verse I was to read. Remember, I just returned to bed and am ‘lying in bed.’  

119:55 Lying in Bed: “The psalms consider every aspect of life – even the thoughts that come while lying in bed at night.  You can easily become obsessed with other people’s wrongs against you.  But you can also turn your thoughts to God and quiet your anxieties while strengthening your commitment.”

Verse 56, my verse, followed this comment: “This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.”

Since I was a very little girl, I have prayed for people before I go to sleep.  Up until I was about 25 I had a list that took me probably 20 minutes to ‘recite’.  I can still reel off most the list to a certain point even though some of those people, like my mom, my Nana, and my grandparents,  have passed away.  Some people on the memory list I have no idea where they are on this earth while others are still part of my life.

The little blurb listed a few more Psalms that refer to ‘lying in bed’.  I looked them up and I can honestly say that I have experienced all of the emotions, thoughts, blessings, joys, and probing that David wrote about.  I have included a few other Scriptures to show the concepts and experiences are not limited to the Psalms.   

“You can be angry, but do not sin! Think about this as you lie in bed, and calm down” (Psalm 4:4, Ephesians 4:26)

“I am worn out with groaning; all night I drench my bed with tears, flooding my couch till it swims” (Psalm 6:6, Luke 7:38). 

“I bless Adonai (the LORD), my counselor; at night my inmost being instructs me” (Psalm 16:7, John 14:26).

“You probed my heart, you visited me at night, and you assayed me without finding evil thoughts that should not pass my lips” (Psalm 17:3, John 3).

“I am as satisfied as with rich food; my mouth praises you with joy on my lips when I remember you on my bed and meditate on you in the night watches” (Psalm 63:5-6, Philippians 4:8).

“On the day of my distress I am seeking Adonai (the LORD); my hands are lifted up; my tears flow all night without ceasing; my heart refuses comfort” (Psalm 77:2, 2 Peter 2:6-7).

“Because of my loud groaning, I am just skin and bones. I am like a great owl in the desert, I’ve become like an owl in the ruins. I lie awake and become like a bird alone on the roof” (Psalm 102:7-8, Isaiah 41:10).

“At midnight I rise to give you thanks because of your righteous rulings” (Psalm 119:62, Acts 16:25).

“For Adonai (the LORD) takes delight in his people, he crowns the humble with salvation (yeshua). Let the faithful exult gloriously, let them sing for joy on their beds” (Psalm 149:4-5).

‘Lying in bed’ is my special prayer closet where God has challenged me, blessed me, encouraged me, allowed me to weep, think, and grow.   He has given me visions. He has shown me events in my life before I have actual mental memories that brought healing to my life.  He has even woken me up in the middle of the night to pray for some obscure person I haven’t thought about in years – some even from childhood or friends of my parents.   I still pray for friends, family, my husband and children, and I also include praying for myself.  Then I listen,  listen intently for that still, small voice of the Spirit to speak to my mind and my heart that will take me on another unique spiritual journey that only my Abba can take me on.   

So what was verse 55?

“In the night I remember your name, Yahweh, and I will keep your Torah” (Psalm 119:55). 

©2015 Tentstake Ministries

Sheep or Goat?

Sheep or Goat?

Sheep or Goat?

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. ‘All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left…” (Matthew 25:32).

Have you ever thought about why there needs to be a separation of sheep and goats?  I remember the first time I heard that sheep and goats look alike, especially Middle Eastern goats and sheep.     I found a fun article about how sheep and goats are similar and how they are different.

Sheep are grazers while  goats are browsers and tend to be loaners and wander in the mountains. Sheep are bold and confident once they get over their initial fears. They are survivors for they have the ability to  evade predators by following dominant ‘lead sheep’.  Sheep are hard workers (carry salt in Mongolia) while goats tend to be lazy or would ‘lay down.’  Sheep are more robust than goats and tend to get less disease.

There are 63 references to goats in Scripture most of which are about sacrifice while a few are about Rebecca using goatskin to deceive Jacob and Jacob using DNA to create a goat flock for himself.    There are 230 references to sheep.  Many are in reference to sacrifice, but most are of  sheep as symbols of God’s people throughout the prophets.   In Isaiah we are ‘all like sheep who have wandered away’ and need a shepherd.  In Jeremiah ‘false shepherds destroyed the sheep by leading them into the mountains’ and making them wanderers (browsers) which is contrary to their nature.  They are followers.   In Ezekiel, God will rescue his sheep and then judge between the fat sheep and thin sheep, rams and billy-goats.

“He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering his lambs with his arm, carrying them against his chest, gently leading the mother sheep” (Isaiah 40:11). 

God gave a Good Shepherd to His people named Yeshua.  Yeshua continues to use sheep as a symbol for people.   There are those who follow him and those who follow deceiving shepherds or ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’. There are ‘the lost sheep of the House of Israel’ who are ‘without a shepherd’.    There is the ‘one lost sheep’ that needs saving because ‘the value of man’s life is greater than a sheep’.  There are ‘sheep in other pens that need to be brought into the fold’ (separating the sheep from the goats that are wandering in the mountains?)  He sends his disciples out like ‘sheep among wolves’.  He tells Peter to ‘feed my sheep’.  He ‘lays down his life’ for his sheep.

One woman who knew the correct animal in the above picture said: “It’s  all in the ‘ears'”.

Yeshua answered them, “I have already told you, and you don’t trust me. The works I do in my Father’s name testify on my behalf, but the reason you don’t trust is that you are not included among my sheep.  My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me,(John 10:25-27).

What kind of ears do you have?

©2015 Tentstake Ministries

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