Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

‘Eid ul Adha’ in the Binding of Isaac

‘Eid Al Adha’ is an Islamic holy day that is found in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Testing of Abraham

“Take your son, your only son, whom you love, Yitz’chak; and go to the land of Moriyah.  There you are to offer him as a burnt offering on a mountain that I will point out to you.

“Then Shlomo [Solomon] began to build the house of Adonai in Yerushalayim on Mount Moriyah, where Adonai had appeared to David his father. Provision had been made for this at the place David had chosen, the threshing-floor of Ornan the Y’vusi” (2 Chronicles 3:1). 

Mount Moriah is where the Temple mount is today.  It is the place of Abraham’s testing and the second burnt offering (the first being the one Noah did after he left the Ark).    Burnt offerings were not done for specific sins, but as a reminder of the complete sinfulness of man.  For specific sins, the burnt offering accompanied other offerings.

Burnt offerings were personal offerings as opposed to corporate and no one, not the priest nor the person offering took any portion of the offering.  The person bringing the offering had an integral part in the sacrifice.  He would put his hands on the head of the animal, cut the animal’s throat, dice it up and put it on the altar.  With the complete burning of the offering, there seemed to be a divine solution for man’s fallen state, his depravity and his need for redemption from the cycle of death.

Abraham is taken by God to the very place where his descendants, the Israelites, would worship God  according to His prescribed manner.   In the same courts of the Temple, Yeshua would stand and proclaim that He is the Messiah (John 10:10).

To answer Isaac’s question regarding the missing lamb, Abraham states that “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.”   Isaac obviously understood burnt offerings and the need for a lamb.  Abraham understood that God HIMSELF would be the Provider of the lamb – El Yireh.

As Abraham is about to offer his son, God stops him and he finds a ram in the thicket and offers it in place of Isaac.  Just as ‘the lamb’ was used in the Garden of Eden to show Adam and Eve their coming redemption through the blood of a lamb; God uses a ram to show Abraham that the redemption would come through a substitute.  Because of Abraham’s faithfulness to obey God, he is commended.

For now I know that you are a man who fears God, because you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Genesis 22:12).

Ibrahim and Islam

The Lamb of God
The Lamb of God

Abraham didn’t have only one son.  He had another son named Ishmael.  Muslims believe this exact account of Abraham’s testing except for the son.  They believe the son was Ishmael.  They commemorate this event with a holy day called Nabi Ibrahim, The Momentous Sacrifice of the Lamb.

For any of us, the specific son, though absolutely relevant to the redemptive promises given to Abraham and passed onto Isaac, could have been Ishmael.  It was not the ‘son,’ but the substitution of a lamb that is significant for all mankind.

As Ibrahim offered his son as a sacrifice, God intervened at the last moment and provided a ram. In the words of the Islamic account, “What a momentous event!” Instead of sacrificing his son, God, El Shaddai,  provided Abraham with the substitute sacrifice of a ram.

The sin of mankind is deeply rooted in the soul.   It doesn’t matter whether we are Arab, Israeli, Chinese, Brasilian, African American or  American Indian.   The consequence of sin brought death into the world.  The lamb in the Garden of Eden had to die so that Adam and Eve could live and procreate.   It’s blood covered their sin, its flesh paid their wage of death.  In order to atone for our sins, we can try to cover ourselves with fig leaves or our own good works, but how do we know when we’ve done enough good works or that our fig leaves are actually removing our sin rather than just covering the ugliness.

Thus, there is the Eid ul-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice that focuses on the ram.

But who or what does the ram symbolize? What is the purpose of killing a lamb?  What is significant about the son, the only son that Abraham loved?

The ram in the thicket points to another lamb, the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.  As Ibrahim stated, God Himself would be the provider and would send a lamb.  In the immediate moment, a ram appeared in the thickets, but that ram was a shadow of a greater needed sacrifice, the very Lamb of God, Yeshua (Jesus).

With his death on the cross, Yeshua (Jesus) became the momentous lamb sacrifice for sin for all mankind, for all time, everywhere.  Those who put their faith in his work on the cross are the true children of Abraham whether they come from Ishmael, Isaac, or the nations of the world.

Though it may be difficult to accept that God became flesh in the form of a man, His Son, it would be necessary for God Himself to provide His own Son as the offering – His only Son, the Son that he loved –  in the place of Abrahams’ son that he loved.

Because of Abraham’s faithfulness, God promised to make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands on the seashore.   Ishmael, like Isaac has become great nations of people as promised; but the seed that represented the ram in the thicket, the seed of promised redemption that was spoken to Adam and Eve, went through Abraham to Isaac, Jacob, Judah and David until Yeshua came into the world.

There are no works good enough for anyone to atone for their own sin because sin deserves death.  Yeshua’s death on the cross became the final work necessary for deliverance from personal sin.

Hebrews 11:17-19 relates an even greater hope that Abraham realized on Mount Moriah.  Abraham’s faith was so great that he believed that God could raise his son from the dead if he sacrificed him on the altar.

“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.”

This is exactly what happened to Yeshua.  Though he was the Lamb of God sacrificed for the sin of the whole world, death could not hold him.  He rose from the dead to show that He truly is the Son of God, divine in nature and holy unlike any man, priest, or prophet.  Abraham was counted righteous and faithful and put his trust in the God that would not only bring about the  resurrection of the dead, but the resurrection of his son as well as the Son, God Himself would provide.

©21014 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Muslim Christian Dialogue

This post is not public at this time.

Why did Yeshua have to die?

My response to a Muslim friend:

For my dear sweet Arab daughter.   I am so blessed to have met you.  I thank God He brought you into my life.  I have learned so much from you and your sunshine smile.   While you were at my house you asked a question in the form of a statement.  I want to answer your question because I believe you deserve an answer.  I will not answer with a simple response because I think you deserve a wise and intelligent explanation. 

In order to answer your question properly, I did a little research into Islam and the prophets.  I am going to use the prophets: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Ezekiel, Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist), and Yeshua.  I will use Hebrew  Scripture verses whenever I quote from the Bible because I believe the Hebrew Scriptures are the only authentic source for knowing these prophets because it was written long before modern times.  Over the centuries many different religious leaders have added to or taken away from the Hebrew Scriptures and today they do not line up with what was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.    It is wrong for man to change or modify the Bible for their own purpose, so I do not use their teachings, their discussions, or their ideas.

If you question something I’ve written, get a Bible and read it for yourself.  That is what I did, what I do, and what I’ve taught my children.  Since you are my ‘adopted daughter’, you can do the same thing.

Your question: Why did Yeshua have to die?

Adam.  Bereshit.  In the beginning.  

In the beginning, God created two people: Adam and Eve.  They were put in a garden and given a choice.  They could eat the fruit  from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil OR they could eat the fruit from the Tree of Life.  God said that if they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would die.  They disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and suffered the consequences.

First, they died.  This could not have been a physical death because we know that Adam lived 900 more years and had many children with Eve.  It must have been a different kind of death – a spiritual death or separation from a personal relationship with their Creator.

Second, they realized they were naked.  This is where something extraordinary happens.  Though they try to hide their nakedness with fig leaves, God provides a better covering.  God kills an animal and gives them the skins to wear (Genesis 3:21).   Because of their disobedience called sin, something had to die – blood had to be shed.   In this instance, it was an animal because if God killed Adam for his sin, we wouldn’t be here.

Third, they are kicked out of Gan Eden.  If they had eaten from the Tree of Life, they would have stayed in Gan Eden/Paradise forever in an eternal place of separation from God.  Because they chose ‘good and evil’,  they were sent out.

Fourth, they there were individual punishments. Adam and all men would have to work by the sweat of their brow.  The earth from which they were created would become the place where they would have to toil to provide their own food.  Eve and all women would experience pain in childbirth, but through childbirth would be redeemed.  The serpent would be cursed to crawl on its belly.  Yet, something interesting was also prophesied.

“And I will put enmity (hatred)  between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

What is sin?  According to the Bereshit account, sin is disobeying God’s commands.   There was only one command in Gan Eden.   It had to do with food choice.   Adam and Eve ate from the wrong tree, disobeyed, died spiritually, God shed blood, and they were kicked out of eternal life with their Creator.  How could they return?

The answer is in the ‘offspring of the woman’.

Abraham – Our father of faith.

Abraham was called a ‘friend of God’ and knew the Creator as El Shaddai or God Almighty.  We both know that Abraham had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac.  You probably know Ishmael’s life history so I’m going to share with you Isaac’s life.  Please note that there is nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures that suggests that Isaac or his offspring were homosexual (lesbians).  If this was the case there would have been no children and there were many children or there would be no Jewish people today.

Bereshit chapter 22.  Some people believe Isaac was a boy when this event occurred; others a man, but it makes no difference.  Abraham obeyed El Shaddai and took Isaac to Mt. Moriah (modern day Temple mount).   He put him on an altar as a sacrifice.  This is a horrible thing for both Abraham and Isaac, I’m sure.  I cannot imagine putting Jesse or Jacob on an altar in order to sacrifice them,  but Abraham is not known as the ‘father of faith’ for no reason.  As he is about to kill his son, he sees a ram (a male lamb) caught in some thickets.  Instead of his son, he kills the animal.

In a strange way, Abraham experienced the resurrection of the dead with his son, Isaac.  He never expected to return home with his son. Yet, he does tell Isaac that “God Himself would provide a sacrifice.”  God provided a lamb, a male lamb, an animal, a substitute just like he did for Adam.

“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”  “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together” (Genesis 22:7-8).

Who or what could possibly a substitute sacrifice or a person?

Moses – The prophet who taught God’s teachings and instructions (Torah). 

Moses was a great prophet.  There is no doubt about that.  He was given the personal name of God –  יהוה – Yahweh.    He spoke face to face with Yahweh.  When the people did not want to hear the voice of Yahweh because it was too frightening, Moses became their mediator or intercessor.  When the Israelites fell into sin and idolatry, Moses offered his own life for the people – even telling God to remove his name from the Book of Life.   It is one amazing prophet who is willing to give his life for sinful people.

“So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written” (Exodus 32:31-32).

However, Moses speaks about a greater prophet in Deuteronomy 18:18-29:  “יהוה 

Your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from you, from your brothers. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of יהוה your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of יהוה my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’ 

“And יהוה said to me:  ‘… I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brothers, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. ‘And it shall be [that] whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will call him to account.” 

Who will be like Moses?  Whoever it is must coming from the brothers of Israel. He must  only speak the words of Yahweh.   He must be willing to lay down his life for sinful people?

Ezekiel (Dhul-Kifl)

I love the prophet Ezekiel.  He talks about something that amazes me.  It’s in Ezekiel 36:25-26 where he talks about idolatry in the lives of the Israelites (as well as everyone else).

What is idolatry?  Whenever we put something or some person, man or woman,  before Yahweh we are in idolatry.  Everyone needs to be set free from idolatry as it is breaking the first of the 10 Commandments given to Moses by God.

Ezekiel prophesies, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my commands.”

What does Ezekiel mean? He is saying that because our hearts are hard like rock, we sin and rebel against God.  Everyone sins and breaks יהוה commandments.  We all have hearts of stone that are not willing to listen to the voice and words of  Yahweh and obey.  We all have idols in our lives – sex, money, education, careers, ideologies, marriage, children, dreams.   What יהוה promises is a new heart of flesh.  He will put His Spirit in us and He will move our new hearts to follow His commands.

How will Yahweh change our hearts from stone to flesh?

Yochanan the Immerser

Yochanan is another prophet of יהוה.  Yeshua came to him at the Jordan river to be immersed.  When Yochanan sees Yeshua he says, “Look, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).

This is a huge statement.  First, Yochanan calls Yeshua a lamb.  What do we know about animals, especially lambs and rams?  They are substitutes for people’s sins.  They die.

The animal that God killed in order to make coverings for Adam and Eve was a lamb.  We also know that a ram was killed instead of Isaac.  Now, Yeshua is called a lamb.

In the Temple worship system, there was an altar of sacrifice.  On this altar, people offered lambs as a sacrifice.  The blood was poured out as a ‘covering’  or atonement for their sin and disobedience.

Now, a human being is being called a lamb.  He’s not called just any lamb, but the Lamb that God has sent.  He is called ‘the lamb that would take away the sins of the world.’

This is a high calling for a mere man.  A human whose death would take away – not just cover over – the sins of the world.   John did not say  ‘the sins of the Jews or the sins of Israel, but the sins of the world (olam).  The death of the Lamb of God, Yeshua, takes away sins: mine, yours and everyone else’s.  It’s his blood that is needed on that altar of sacrifice.

This is the reason Yeshua had to die:  He was our substitute sacrifice for sin.  His blood takes away our sins.  

Adam and Eve had blood shed for them through an animal and they were covered.   Isaac had a lamb’s substitution.  Moses offered himself as a sacrifice, but he wasn’t the ‘lamb of God’, another person was promised to come and that person is Yeshua.

Good Works or Faith

All major world religions teach that we have to do good works to make up for our sins – rebellion, idolatry, lies, murder, adultery, etc.  Some teach we have to get to nirvanha or there is karma or they have have to become missionaries and make converts or they have to do whatever they can.  They make all sorts of rules and lists of good works so people feel good and hope that they pacified a mean, ruthless God.

I have always wondered who actually determines what these good works are and and who determines when a person has done enough good works to qualify for heaven or to stay out of hell.  What about people who don’t do any works?  There are religions that say even they get ‘to go’.  What about people who work their lives away doing everything they think is good and right, but it falls short?   It seems that human lives are full of work, worry, wonder, work some more, worry, and then we wonder if it’s enough to keep us from hell or take us to heaven.   Yahweh says that no works are good enough to make up for our disobedience.

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6).

There was nothing Adam could have done to correct his huge sin of eating the wrong fruit.  He tried by covering himself with leaves,  but it wasn’t enough.  It wasn’t the requirement of death.

So, Yahweh took the issue of working for heaven, eternity, salvation, paradise, out of our hands and put it on the promised seed of the woman. 

“What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:1-3).

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Yeshua and Sin

Yeshua was sinless.  This means that he never broke any of God’s  commands – ever.   As the only sinless man to ever live, his death and his blood sacrifice was enough to make atonement for our sins and to save us from ‘eternal spiritual death’ and ‘eternal separation from God’ that some people call ‘hell’.   In reality it is a separation from Gan Eden or Paradise.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

How can it be that Yeshua is SINLESS?

Visible God

“He is the visible image of the invisible God; the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15).

The Holy Scriptures teach that God is spirit.  No one can see ‘spirit’.  In fact, spirit in Hebrew is Ruach and means ‘breath’.  We cannot see anyone’s breath unless it’s freezing outside and we breathe and you see steam.  🙂

What if God wanted us to see Him for real?  What if he wanted to know us personally?  What would we see?  How would he look?  Like a rabbit?  Like a bird?  Like a dinosaur?  Because God made us in His image (body, soul and spirit), He would come to us as a man with a body, soul, and His Spirit.

The Holy Scriptures teach that Yeshua is the visible image of the invisible God.   This means that when God as Spirit wanted us to see him and know Him personally,  He became flesh and blood through the seed of the woman.

This does not mean that there are two gods.  This just means that Yahweh made a way for us to see him, know him, touch him, and learn about him in a PERSONAL way.  The name of that person is Yeshua.

Yeshua is the visible representation of God so we can know God personally.

The Word of God – The Scriptures

“The Word became flesh and lived among us for a time.  We have seen the glory, the glory of the Echad and only who came from the Father full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

In the beginning, God said, “Let there be light.”  From the burning bush, God spoke to Moses, “Remove your shoes for you are standing on holy ground”.  From the Mount Sinai, God wanted to speak to the Israelites, but His voice caused them to fear so Moses spoke in His place.

Israel and anyone who was a god-fearer could always ‘hear’ God’s voice through the prophets, but they could not see him.  What if God wanted them to see His Words?  What if He wanted His Words to be more than just Words and to become real life Living Words?  What if He wanted His words to become something humanity could see, hear, feel, and touch?  What if He wanted His Words to penetrate their HEARTS?

With Yeshua, the Words that Israel had been hearing for thousands of years, became a person.  Yet, they did not all recognize him because he didn’t look like what they expected.  That happens all the time to us.  We talk to someone on the phone, but when we physically meet them, we think, “Wow, they don’t look like what I expected!”  Nevertheless, Yeshua became the Word revealed in flesh and blood.

Yeshua is the spoken Words of God in a physical body called the Living Word.

Prophet or Son of God 

“Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth?  What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!” (Proverbs 30:4).

Let me state emphatically again, I do not believe in three gods or even two gods.  Yahweh is ECHAD.   Yet, I do believe Yeshua is God’s Son.

Here’s my question:  Why can’t God have a Son?  Why can’t the divine nature of God , the Creator, be put inside a man?  That doesn’t mean that there are two gods, but that God put His divine character and nature a physical body.  He’s God, Yahweh, the Creator, can’t He do that?

Yeshua did not believe he was ‘another god‘ which is why I don’t believe there are more than One God.  Read what Yeshua says about himself:

Yeshua says, “I and the Father are ECHAD” (John 10:30).

In this statement, Yeshua makes it pretty clear about himself.  He is not ANOTHER GOD; he is ‘echad’ with the Father.

Yeshua says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  The only way to the Father is through me” (John 14:10).  

Think about how you personally met my husband, John.   You met him through Jacob.  You would have never met John if he never had a son named Jacob.    Through meeting and becoming friends with the son of John, Jacob, you were brought into our home and our lives.  This is the same way with God’s son, Yeshua.  He is the way for us to meet God and enter His home and become part of His family.

“Yeshua answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9).

Yeshua never states that he is a different god, but only wants us to know his Father, Yahweh.

“But after he Yosef had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Yosef son of David, do not be afraid to take Miriam home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).

The Hebrew Scriptures say that Yeshua was conceived in his mother by the Ruach haKodesh.  This means that Yeshua is a human, flesh and blood expression of  Yahweh’s living, breathing, Spirit.  As  יהוה reached down His right arm to work salvation (yeshua)  for us, we see that salvation in the person of Yeshua.  Just as I cannot separate an arm from a body; I cannot separate Yeshua from Yahweh.  Just as I do not worship someone’s arm, I do not worship Yeshua.  I worship Yahweh Elohim because Yeshua showed me the way to do it.

“Sing to YHVH a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him” (Psalm 98:1).

What does God Himself say about Yeshua being a ‘son’?

Twice in the Scriptures God speaks audibly about Yeshua so the people hear his voice and understand who Yeshua is.  Yahweh also states that He is pleased with His Son and that the people are to listen to him.

“As soon as Yeshua was immersed (in the Jordan), he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened,and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17).

“While he (Cephas) was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5).

Yeshua is the flesh and blood offspring of God’s Spirit and the seed of a woman – a son.

The Love of God – Yeshua

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Yeshua died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Yeshua is not just any normal prophet.  He is a visible image of God.  He is the very Words of God in the flesh.  He is the flesh and blood offspring of a woman and of God’s Spirit.

As the lamb of God,  Yeshua dies.    How often is someone willing to die for us?  In this world people are more willing to kill innocent people to make a point rather than die themselves so someone innocent doesn’t have to die.  Most, if not all prophets are self-serving and demand obedience to them and their Words and not the Word of the Creator.   I don’t know one man other than Moses who ever offered to die for a nation of sinful people.

“This is how we know what love is: Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ)  laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16).

Yeshua is so full of His Father’s love, that even though he was perfect and we’re all rebellious sinners, he was willing to lay down his life to be the sin sacrifice for us.  He was willing to pour out his blood so we might enter a new covenant relationship with God.

“In the same way, after the Passover seder he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).

Through His blood we all have forgiveness of sins.

“In fact, according to Torah, there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood” (Hebrews 9:8).

Through His life and death we, too, can have the Spirit of God living in us, changing our hearts from stone to flesh as prophesied by Ezekiel.   We become children of Abraham by faith and children of the Living God.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

So, Yeshua dies for us and now he’s dead.  According to Islam and what you said, it wasn’t Yeshua who died, it was Judas.  So, I guess that’s the end of the story of Yeshua.  However, if you believe this then you cannot believe that Yeshua was a prophet or even a good man.  You have seen that Yeshua says too many things about Himself, His Father, and His purpose that if you don’t believe him, then he is really a liar, not a good person and definitely not a prophet of God.  It’s a choice we all have to make – is he or isn’t he the salvation of the world.

Yeshua is the ultimate expression God’s love for us as His created people.

The Heart of God

Ezekiel promised a new heart of flesh that would be able to hear God.  It was on this heart that God would write His commands and we would obey Him.  Yet, what is Ezekiel talking about.

Here are some words of Yeshua from Matthew chapter 5 that discuss sin and the heart.  I think these will help you understand the heart condition of men and why it needs to be changed from stone to flesh.  In each instance Yeshua speaks about what the people have ‘heard’ as part of the commandments, but he makes each issue a heart issue and takes the command to a deeper spiritual level.   For example, when he talks about murder, he says it begins as anger in the heart.   In the case of adultery, the deeper heart issue is lust.  In the case of revenge, Yeshua says to turn the other cheek rather than fight back.   When it comes to our enemies, we are to love them and pray for them.

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brotherwill be subject to judgment.”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighborand hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”

With a hard heart, we are always going to think of ourselves first and how we can fix things.  Ultimately, we disobey God’s commands.   With a new heart of flesh, our sin is removed because the root of the sin is taken from our heart.   This is incredibly ‘good news’!!  With the new heart of flesh through the Spirit, we will experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Who doesn’t want these things in their own personal lives?

Yeshua is the perfect man who lived and taught the instructions of God with a spiritual heart of flesh.

Eternal Life  

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).

Let’s go back to Abraham’s faith – the faith he had when he was going to kill his own son.  There was a substitution for Isaac so he could live.

I believe that lamb/ram was a symbol of Yeshua who died on the cross in my place, in your place, even in Isaac’s place.  Yeshua made way into paradise and a personal relationship with the Creator for everyone.  His way, by faith in his life, death and resurrection,  frees us from our own works so we can know we have eternal life.   When we put our faith in Yeshua’s works then we are free to truly experience life with peace, joy, and hope.

Yeshua is the testimony that we can have eternal life with God.

My Expression of Faith in Yeshua

Because I do put my faith in Yeshua, I also believe he was born to show us how to  live for God.  I believe that the Scriptures say that Yeshua was born as a man to teach us the ways of יהוה in their correct interpretation.

This is why, for example, we don’t go to church on Sunday.  Yeshua said,  he is Lord of the Sabbath and that is the seventh day according to creation.   This is one reason why Jewish people do not believe in the “Christian Jesus”.  They are looking for a Jewish Messiah and not a European one.

“Then Yeshua said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5).

We also only eat a kosher or diet as Moses outlined in Torah – Leviticus 11.  Christians believe they can eat everything since “Jesus died”, but nothing changed with the animals when he died.  This is another reason why Jewish people do not believe Yeshua is the Messiah.

We also do not celebrate Christian holidays like Christmas or Easter.   These traditions come from the nations and have traditions that nullify the commands of God.  Yeshua said that using these traditions of men is vain or pointless worship.

“They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”  And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (Mark 7:7-9).

Yeshua, contrary to how he looks in the Christian faith, was not a Christian nor did he bring a new religion to the world.  Yes, it seems so, but that is not the Truth.   What he did was live a perfect life so he could be the perfect atonement for our sins – the sins of the world.   Then, he died on the cross.

The good news is that Yeshua is alive.  Three days after He died he came back to life.  I think the better question is why did he have to come back to life?

He came back to life to give us hope that we, through faith in his work, can and will live eternally with Yahweh forever in a restored Gan Eden.

Your friends who said that if you don’t believe in Jesus, you’re going to hell.  That is a terrible judgment call on their part.  You see, Yeshua made the way from death to eternal life.  You have a choice to accept that or not.  If you choose to accept it, then you begin eternal life the moment you accept it.  If you do not accept it, then you have to put your faith in yourself, your works and what other people determine is best for you.  I have chosen to put my faith in Yeshua because I know I sure can’t work hard enough for unconditional love and acceptance.

Simply Put

Yahweh, as the Creator of heaven and earth and all of us, is our Father.    His Son is the visible image of the invisible One who is Spirit.  The Ruach haKodesh or breath of God makes Yahweh Elohim a Living God.  Yahweh Elohim put His Sprit into a flesh and blood person so we could see Him and know Him personally.   This person has a name, Yeshua.

Yeshua never claimed to be God nor wanted to retain the glory of God that could have been his just because Yahweh is his Father.  Instead, he humbled himself and became a man, and lived a life just like you and me.  He was tempted to sin, but did not.  To redeem us from death and make a way for us to have eternal life with our Creator in Gan Eden, he had to die, pour out his blood, and then come back to life.  This show us that there is a resurrection of the dead and it is possible for us through Yeshua.  He showed us that if we choose to be born again by by faith,  the Ruach and will give each of us a new heart like Ezekiel promised.  All of our idols and false belief systems will be washed away and we can live and follow the example and teachings of Yeshua:

… the visible representation of God.

… the spoken Words of God in a physical body called the Living Word.

… the flesh and blood offspring of God and the seed of a woman – a son.

… the ultimate expression God’s love for us.

… the perfect man who lived and taught the instructions of God with a spiritual heart of flesh.

…  the testimony that we can have eternal life with God.

©2012 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

The Land of Promise to Abraham

This was written for a very sweet Islamic girl named Lena.  Thank you for asking me, “Do your writings say the land belongs to Israel?”

Hebrew Scriptures

First, I use only the Hebrew Scriptures because they are the most reliable of the ancient writings.  Often times people say, well, over the centuries men have changed them and so we don’t know what is true and what is not.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  The Hebrew Scriptures were hidden in 70 A.D.  in some caves near the Dead Sea.  No one knew they were there so no one could change what was written.  In 1948, they were found by an shepherd boy in what is now known as the West Bank.  They are known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.  When compared to the manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures of today, they are identical.   This means that what exists today in the Holy Bible is authentic and has not been changed by anyone.

Even before the Dead Sea Scrolls were put in clay jars in a cave, the Greeks began in 300 B.C. to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into their language.  These writings are known as the Septuagint and they, too, have been compared to the Dead Sea Scrolls and no important differences have been found.

Some people claim that the Jews rewrote the Torah to contradict others’ religious beliefs and books, but this cannot be true as proved by the Dead Sea Scrolls.   If the Jews had changed anything, it would have been found in more modern writings.   If there is a writing or another book that claims to be authentic, it needed to be written before A.D. 70. or compared to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

For example, the Jehovah Witnesses say they use the Bible.  However, their Bible was translated in the 1800s and has many differences from the Hebrew Scriptures.    I know this for a fact because I’ve looked up Scriptures to find they have been deleted or changed.  These changes and contradictions from the Hebrew Scriptures mean that their holy book is wrong.  Consequently, they view God, His redemption and His people wrongly.  Another example is the King James Version of the Bible written in 1611.    Many Christians won’t use any other translation.    However, King James was a tyrant and the reason many Christians left England and became known as the Pilgrims in North America.  These Christians wanted to flee King James’ translation of the Bible because he used the translation to control the people.  The are many contradictions in the King James translation when compared to the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Another example is the Koran.  It was written between 653 and 656 A.D. a long time after the Dead Sea Scrolls were buried and hidden.  Just like the Jehovah Witnesses and the King James Bible, it, too, like every other prophetical writing should be compared to the Dead Sea Scrolls to verify and authenticate what it teaches.  If it doesn’t agree, then the Koran is flawed and not the Hebrew Scriptures.

There are warnings in the Holy Scriptures about adding to or taking away from the Words or prophecies of God.  These warnings are for everyone: Jew and non-Jew, Israel, and non-Israel, Jehovah Witnesses, Church of England and Islam.   Unfortunately, men love to bring glory to themselves and want power and control over people.  So, they change the Hebrew Scriptures to say what they want them to say in order that they are followed and not Yahweh Elohim – God Almighty.

Everyone has to choose what words of God they will accept, but I am going to use the Hebrew Scriptures because they are the most ancient and proven by the Dead Sea Scrolls to be authentic to explain the Land and the people of Israel.

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6).

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).

Abraham

In Genesis (Bereshit) 12:1-3 Abraham is told to leave his country and go to the land that God (El) wanted to show him.  In this ‘calling out’  from the land of Ur, Abraham is promised to be made into a great nation; he will be blessed and all families on the earth will also be blessed.

“Now Adonai said to Abram, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Abraham obeys – a sign of his great faith – and travels toward the Promised Land.  He has his nephew Lot with him and they realize the land they are in is not big enough for both of their families and livestock.  Abraham allows Lot to decide which land he wants.    Lot chooses the plains to the east of the Jordan River and Abraham stays in Canaan.  We know that Lot eventually moves to the cities of  Sodom and Gomorrah.  Those cities are destroyed for their sin of homosexuality.

In Genesis 13:14-18, after Lot chooses the best and most fertile land, God tells Abraham to look to the north, south, east and west as this is the land God is giving him.  It is known as the ‘promised land.’

“Adonai said to Abram, after Lot had moved away from him, “Look all around you from where you are, to the north, the south, the east and the west. All the land you see I will give to you and your descendants forever,and I will make your descendants as numerous as the specks of dust on the earth — so that if a person can count the specks of dust on the earth, then your descendants can be counted.  Get up and walk through the length and breadth of the land, because I will give it to you.” Abram moved his tent and came to live by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron. There he built an altar to Adonai.”

Now we come to Genesis chapter 15.  There are several key verses in this chapter the explain Abraham’s history and the land of promise.

Verse 7 gives the land to Abraham to possess — Then he said to him, “I am Adonai, who brought you out from Ur-Kasdim to give you this land as your possession.”

El Shaddai (God Almighty) goes on to say that Abraham’s descendants would become slaves (as they were in Egypt) and then  in the fourth generation, they would return to this same land – the land of promise – Canaan.  This is something repeatedly seen in the Scriptures.  The Israelites, no matter what happens to them, they always return to the Land promised to Abraham.

Verse 16 – But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not complete.”

Though there were other people living in the promised land, they did not own it.  Only God owns land and He says that Abraham’s descendants will possess it.  From God’s point of view, just because someone occupies land does not mean they ‘own’ it.  This is because God is the creator of heaven and earth and everything in the earth is His.  If we think we ‘own’ the land, then we deny God as the Creator.  Because Yahweh is the Creator, He can give land to anyone He chooses.  Thus, we have the land promised to Abraham as his possession.

Verses 18-21 – These are the verses that give the covenant boundaries of the promised land.  Though I tend to believe the Israeli flag is a prayer shawl, the other explanation is also valid.   Abraham was given the land between the Nile River and the Euphrates.  This is not a modern-day Zionist threat, this is the actual land boundaries given to Abraham and is a prophecy with a promise.

“On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites,Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

Today, this words might read from the river in Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates –Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt!  Though the world would hate this truth and blame Israel for stealing land when they rightfully posses, (even through wars when they give it back) it’s all land given to them by covenant promised contract with Abraham.

Isaac

Genesis chapter 16 records the birth of Ishmael.  Though Sarah was Abraham’s wife, Ishmael became the son of her maid, Hagar.   Several years after Ishmael’s birth Abram’s name was changed by God to Abraham.  The name Abraham means ‘father of many nations.‘  It was at this time the covenant of circumcision was given to Abraham as a  ‘sign’ of his faith.’  Ishmael, along with all the other males in Abraham’s family were circumcised.

Genesis chapter 18 records three men coming to visit Abraham.  It is at this time that God promises Abraham a son from his wife, Sarah.    They are both so old in years, that only through faith can Isaac be conceived. Their bodies no longer could procreate a child.  Genesis chapter 21 records the birth of Isaac.

This is when the sibling rivalry begins.  Isaac is the son promised by God through Sarah, Abraham’s wife, while Ishmael was from another woman.  I believe that Abraham loved both of his sons, but because of problems that developed between the child, Isaac, and the young man, Ishmael, Abraham had to send Hagar and Ishmael away.   Yet, Yahweh Elohim does not neglect Ishmael.   Why?  Because Abraham was called the ‘father of many nations’.  In fact, while Hagar and Ishmael were dying of thirst in the desert, God comes to them and promises Hagar that even Ishmael would become a great nation.   He provides a well for them so they have water.    They settle in the Desert of Paran which is considered to be the modern Sinai desert.

“God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

In Genesis 22, Abraham’s faith is tested.  This is where he takes his son Isaac to Mt. Moriah (the mount where the Temple was eventually built by King Solomon).   It is on this mountain that Abraham is asked to offer his son as a sacrifice.  Abraham has great faith in God and trusts that either God will ‘provide himself a sacrifice’ or ‘raise his son from the dead.’  Why?  Because Isaac is the son of a promise.  The account continues that a ram is sacrificed instead of Isaac.  The lamb becomes a substitution for the life of Isaac.

In Genesis 26 the land promise is given to Isaac.  The promise had nothing to do with Isaac, but with the faith of Abraham, his father.  Again, Isaac will have many descendants just as his father was promised.

“The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live.   Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.  I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspringall nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws.”

Jacob

Isaac marries Rebekkah and they have two sons, Jacob and Esau.  These two also have sibling rivalry and are separated.  Esau became the Edomites.  Today this nation of people have assimilated into the Arab nations.  This is an historical fact as there are no Edomites today, but they settled in what is known today as Jordan.

In Genesis 28:13-14, Jacob is in the wilderness because of the situation between he and Esau.  Jacob has a dream in which there is a ladder reaching to the heavens.  From the top of the ladder El Shaddai  speaks to Jacob and says that he will give him the land on which he is sleeping.  Jacob names the place BeitEl – House of God.   This place was about 12 miles (19 km) north of Jerusalem, west of Jericho and the Jordan River.  Archaeological findings have the site of BeitEl with the ruins of Beitin, a small village south of Shiloh.

“There above itstood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”

Israel

In Genesis 35:9-15 Jacob returns from Haran in Mesopotamia and an angel comes to him and blesses him.  The blessing includes a change of name – Yisrael.

“After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram,God appeared to him again and blessed him. God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Yisrael.” So he named him Yisrael.

And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.”  Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.

Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. This is the place where God had talked with him – Bethel.”

Jacob had 12 sons.  One of the sons was named Y’hudah.  This is where the word “Jew” or “Jewish” comes from.  The name Y’hudah means ‘praiser of God”.   Over the centuries the Israelites became known as Jews.  Thus, the land promised to Abraham is to be possessed by the Israelites.

Today

As we look today at the problems in the Middle East with Israel and the Arab nations, this is what I see and how I understand it.

Abraham was promised to be the father of  ‘many nations.’  Through Ishmael, there are over 400 million Arabs and they live in many lands.  These are the many ‘nations‘ represented by the name Abraham – ‘father of nations’.     The promise to Ishamel has been fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled.

Abraham was also promised land and a lot of land – from the Nile to the Euphrates River.   The PROMISE of this land did not go to Ishmael, but to Isaac and then to Jacob who became known as Yisrael. Today we know the Israelites as the Jewish people.  In reality Israel is way more than just the descendants of Judah, but the descendants of all of the Tribes of Israel  (the 12 sons),  but today these people are scattered all over the world and have assimilated into other peoples. Someday soon, there is a promise that God will gather all of these children of Jacob/Israel together in the Promised Land.   This will not be man’s doing, but God’s work.

Now, let’s look at the Jewish people.  In 2010, there were 5,703,000 Jewish people living in Israel.  Compared to 400 million Arabs, this is nothing.  This isn’t even the population of the city of Cairo which has 9,120,350.  Deuteronomy 7:7 (one of the books of Moses) says that God didn’t choose the Israelites because they were GREAT in number, but because they WERE SMALL.

“For you are a people set apart as holy for Adonai your God. Adonai your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure. Adonai didn’t set his heart on you or choose you because you numbered more than any other people — on the contrary, you were the fewest of all peoples. Rather, it was because Adonai loved you, and because he wanted to keep the oath which he had sworn to your ancestors, that Adonai brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from a life of slavery under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.From this you can know that Adonai your God is indeed God, the faithful God, who keeps his covenant and extends grace to those who love him and observe his commands, to a thousand generations. But he repays those who hate him to their face and destroys them. He will not be slow to deal with someone who hates him; he will repay him to his face.”

God (Yahweh) gave Israel the Promised Land so they would have a place to live among the many nations of the world that would always be bigger than they were and fighting against them because they are a holy people and a people loved by Elohim.  Unfortunately, the sibling rivalry continues, and Ishmael and Isaac are still fighting over a really tiny piece of land.

The Real Battle

Could it be that the land really isn’t the problem, but it’s really a desire to rid the world of a group of people because of a promise?  It was from the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah, that the promise of salvation would come to the world.  This salvation comes through Yeshua.  Without an Israel, Yeshua could not come the first time nor can come the second time.  He was to be born in BeitLechem and he is to return to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.   Throughout the history of the Jewish people, from their slavery in Egypt until the Holocaust in Germany, the world just wants to rid themselves of these people.  Why is that?  Why is it they have had to fight just to stay alive? Could it be that it’s a spiritual battle and not really a physical land battle?  Could it still be a hard-hearted sibling rivalry that needs redemption from the only redeemer, Yeshua?

You, my friend,  live in the Land of Israel.  You say it is beautiful.  You say you have freedom there and are treated as an equal citizen.  Yet there are many who hate the Jewish people and rejoice when they are murdered in their own streets and on their own buses.  This confuses me.  Why does the life of a small nation of people create such anger and hatred.  Why does the death of the Jewish people cause rejoicing.  It is not only sick, it is sinful and against God’s will for Abraham’s promise.

Israel,  for all of time, has had to defend herself.  This is nothing new and it will continue until all nations of the world come against her to destroy her.  Even today, only 9 out of 188 nations stood against Palestine becoming a nation.  That’s the world against Israel.  That’s the world against a land covenant given to Israel through Abraham because no one believes in the Hebrew Scriptures and the promises of  God.  They mock Him and destroy His chosen people.

The Scriptures say ‘He who blesses Abraham will be blessed and he who curses him will be cursed.”  I believe the leaders of the world are walking on very dangerous ground and some very terrible things will begin to happen as the world continues to hate and curse Israel.  There are many Biblical and historical accounts of nations that came against Israel and the Jewish people.  They suffered serious consequences.  Most, if not all, of the nations no longer exist.  Many of the modern-day nations like the United States are falling apart because we do not stand with Israel.

To Answer Your Question

Was the land of Israel given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Jewish people?  Yes.  Should there be boundaries that are bigger than what Israel is today?  Yes.  Will politicians and world leaders solve the problem?  No.  Men are sinful, hate God, want power, and covet something they can never own, only possess.    The battle isn’t really with Israel and the Jewish people, it’s with the Creator of the Universe.  Mankind, in all his pride and greed, is waging war with the Creator.  It can only turn out bad for mankind.

Will the situation ever be resolved so there is everlasting peace.  Yes.  I believe the situation will only be resolved when Yeshua returns to the Mount of Olives.   At this moment everyone who pierced his hands and feet will mourn.  He will enter Jerusalem and set up His Kingdom rule.   I also believe that when the time of the end comes and all nations come against Israel, everyone will see the miraculous Hand of Yahweh deliver His people.

©2012 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

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