Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Journey With Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive

by Julie Almanrode

Have you ever felt like you’ve ‘inherited lies’ in your faith? That something was missing and you needed more to grow in the grace as well as the knowledge of the Lord?  This is our family’s journey of how we ‘tore down’ those lies,  ‘replanted’ and built up a re-newed covenant walk of faith in the Messiah of Israel using scriptures in Jeremiah as our vision.  Journey With Jeremiah was written with reasoned and documented Biblical responses to questions we have been asked and challenged with over the past 30 years.  This book is a unique tool for those just learning about their Biblical heritage or needing a reference that explains to friends and family how you have not ‘fallen from grace’, but want to walk as Yeshua/Jesus taught and as the chosen, redeemed, holy nation of people of God should.

Part One explores many of the misunderstood doctrines in Christianity: the new covenant, the problem in Galatia, the law vs. the Law, Peter’s vision, and the timing of Jesus’ birth. Part Two brings the ancient shadows into the reality of Yeshua bringing prophetic insights into the unexplained ‘Jewish Festivals’ that leave holes in the pages of the New Testament. Part Three includes simple recipes, study guides, and crafts to incorporate into a walk of faith that celebrates the Biblical holy days.

We are not theologians, scholars or even affiliates with any ‘brand name’ ministry or teachers. We are  non-Jewish believers in Yeshua of Nazareth, the Messiah of Israel, who desired to know Him and our heavenly Father more deeply.  His Spirit was faithful to teach us.

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“What a refreshing drink from a deep well! This book answers so many questions those who are coming out from the church and into a true walk with the Messiah seem to have. Written in a personal, gentle way but covering every topic with such clarity and depth. You will be forever changed by reading this wonderful book. Highly recommend!” (Truth Unveiled)

“An eye opening read! I find myself going back time and again for reference. It’s a perfect companion for bible study, and a great starting point for exploring the Jewish context of the Bible and our Messiah. My life and walk with God has changed so much for the better since first opening for this book!” (Bambobutler)

Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts

Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts is a personal or group in-depth study that reveals the shadows and realities of the Messiah in the prophetic visions in the Feasts of the LORD. It will fill in the holes of your Bible when reading the words ‘Jewish feast’ or ‘the feast of the Jews.’  This study will illuminate often-overlooked phrases and idioms that allude to the ‘appointed times’ of God.

Both the prophet Micah and King Solomon state that without prophetic vision and knowledge, God’s people perish. Studying the Biblical holy days will revive the searching soul and bring insight and understanding into the complete salvation found in Yeshua – his past, present and future work.

This study includes Scriptures from the Torah, Prophets, Psalmes, Gospels and Letters. It includes activities for families and children that will enhance celebrating the Biblical ‘appointed times’ as well as sgugestions for digging deeper into traditional and Biblical Jewish customs surrounding Yeshua In His Father’s Feasts.

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“This is the best Bible study I have ever done. I can’t seem to put it down and I am learning more and more about my faith everyday. I have been a believer for 60 years and I am learning truths I was never taught in church. I even asked my pastor if he knew all of this and admitted, he did not.” (M. Graves)

“I have been growing in my faith from reading and studying the Feasts in this guide. Thank you for your faithfulness to Yeshua!” (S. Corben)

“Few Christians understand that the context for the Jewish Messiah of the New Testament of their Bibles is the culture and language and history of the nation of Israel. This book helps explain why that culture, language and history is necessary knowledge for understanding the identity of the Messiah and how knowing the Jewish Messiah enlarges the understanding of the Biblical feasts. Good, basic foundational information from which to launch further study. Very enjoyable and eye-opening.” (W. Lopez)

“Loved it. Will keep going back for future Wisdom that truly matters.” (J. Banta)

The Budding Fig Tree

The Fig Tree‘s Start

“The serpent said to the woman, “It is not true that you will surely die;  because God knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it had a pleasing appearance and that the tree was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her; and he ate.  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together to make themselves loincloths” (Genesis 3:4-7). 

When the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened to their physical condition, they sewed fig leaves together to cover their spiritual nakedness.  This is the first mention of the fig tree and its leaves as an allusion to the spiritual condition of the nation of Isra’el from whom would come the ‘Seed’ of redemption.

Ficus Carica

The common fig tree is called  Ficus carica.  This tree has a long juvenile period and does not produce fruit for the first four to five years after being planted.  In other words,  the fig remains a child-tree for a period of time before maturing into adulthood.  Adult fig trees produce two crops every year.  The early crops are frequently small, acidic and inferior, only good for preserving.  The latter crop of figs has edible fruit.  Interestingly, fig trees produce their fruit before leaves.  

“I found Isra’el like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first ripe fruit on the fig tree in its first season…”  (Hosea 9:10).

Elohim saw the Israelites who came out of Egypt as being the first fruits of a nation.  As an immature fig tree, they fell into idolatry which resulted  in captivity and their dispersion among the nations.  They assimilated into the nations around them until Abraham’s descendants lost the faith of their ‘father.’    As Yeshua sat on the Mount of Olives with his disciples, they wondered what Isra’el would be like at the time of his return, the end of the age.  He mentions three signs, one of which is the fig tree.

“The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Yeshua was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.  Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it” (Mark 11:12-14).

The day before this event, Yeshua had ridden into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey.  He had been hailed as the coming King by the Jews in Jerusalem.  He had been welcomed into Jerusalem with “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD and “Blessed is the coming Kingdom of our father David” (Matthew 21:9-10). 

The ‘next day’ he was leaving Bethany with his disciples and discussing sign of the end of the age.  Bethany is in the present-day West Bank at the site of the tomb of Lazarus east of Jerusalem on the south-eastern slope of the Mount of Olives.   He is hungry and sees a fig tree in the distance.   Because there are no figs, he ‘curses’ the tree to never bear fruit again – even though it was not the season for figs. 

Hebrew Word Pictures

Fig or te’enah  – tav, alef, noon, hey

– sign of the first life revealed

Baskets of Figs

“There, in front of the temple of Adonai, two baskets of figs were placed. One of the baskets had in it very good figs, like those that ripen first; while the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they were inedible. Then Adonai  asked me, “Yirmeyahu, what do you see?” I answered, “Figs — the good figs are very good; but the bad ones are very bad, so bad they are inedible” (Jeremiah 24:3).

Jeremiah sees two baskets of figs.  Both baskets sit in front of the Temple in Jerusalem.  One basket has good figs like those that ripen early; the other has very bad figs so bad they could not be eaten. 

“‘But concerning the bad figs that are so bad as to be inedible, Adonai says: ‘I will make Tzidkiyahu the king of Y’hudah and his leaders resemble them, likewise the rest of Yerushalayim remaining in this land and those living in the land of Egypt. Everywhere I drive them I will make them an object of horror, repulsive to all the kingdoms of the earth, a disgrace, a byword, a laughingstock and a curse; and I will send sword, famine and plague among them until they have disappeared from the land I gave them and their ancestors’” (Jeremiah 24:8-10).

The bag figs are the survivors in Jerusalem, the leading officials and the last king of Isra’el, King Zedekiah.  Though his name means ‘my righteousness is Yah,’ he had only become king because of Nebuchadnezzar.  King Zedekiah’s nephew surrendered Jerusalem to Babylon in order to save his own life.  Elohim compared the leadership of Isra’el to bad figs, detestable to all the kingdoms of the earth.  Because of their spiritual apostasy, they would be banished and destroyed by sword, famine and plague until they were gone from the land.

The bad figs in Yeshua’s day were still the spiritual leaders with whom he was constantly in conflict.  Everything within the Temple services, the lineage of the high priest and the Levitical priesthood had been perverted.  After the event with the fig tree, Yeshua returns to the Temple and judges the moneychangers and their corrupt practices.   The chief priests and Torah teachers looked for a way to kill him.

The next day as the disciples passed the fig tree, Peter sees the fig tree and says, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you ‘cursed’ has withered!”   The withering of the tree exemplified what was happening in the Temple and spiritual apostasy of Isra’el through their leadership.

‘Cursing’ the Fig Tree

The fig tree produces fruit then leaves which is why Yeshua expected to find fruit on the fig tree.  It was unnatural for a fig tree with leaves not to have fruit.  He used this unusual occurrence to prophesy about the nation of Isra’el and its spiritual condition.

According to Vines Expository Dictionary of Greek Terms, there are several Greek words for ‘curse’: ara, katara, anathematizo and epikaratos. None of these words is used in the accounts in Matthew 21:19 or Mark 11:14.  None of these words meaning ‘devoted to destruction,’ ‘wishing evil against,’ or ‘speaking evil against’ is used.  Yeshua never ‘cursed’ the fig tree. He never wished evil against it or devoted it to destruction.  He only spoke to the tree and told it that it would not bear fruit.  The Greek word in both Matthew and Mark is lego meaning ‘said, tell, declare.’  The Greek word for ‘curse’  in Peter’s exclamation is kataraomai and means ‘to pray against.’

The cursing of the fig treehas evolved from a skewed perspective of Isra’el and the Jewish people.  From this simple anti-semitic twist, many believe the Jews killed Jesus and are cursed.  They believe Isra’el has been replaced by the Church and the chosen people of Elohim have been set aside for a new religious group called Christians because they are cursed. This is not the truth; Yeshua never cursedthe fig tree.  A cursed fig tree would remain cursed and without hope. This is not what happened to the fig tree; this is not what is prophesied for Isra’el.  If the tree had not withered, Yeshua could not have used it as a prophetic sign for the end of the age.

As a symbol of apostate Isra’el, Yeshua doesn’t curse the fig tree and send Isra’el to destruction. Though he knew his people were being led by ‘blind guides,’ and were spiritually hungry, he did not speak a curse upon them.  Instead, he prophesied that the budding of new life on the fig tree would be a sign of his close return.

“The word of Adonai came to me: “Here is what Adonai the God of Isra’el says: ‘I will regard the exiles from Y’hudah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Kasdim, as good, just as I do these good figs. “‘I will look after them for their good, I will bring them back to this land; I will build them up and not tear them down, plant them and not pull them up. I will give them a heart to know me that I am Adonai. They will be my people, and I will be their God; for they will return to me with all their heart” (Jeremiah 24:4-7). 

Jeremiah’s prophecy for the ‘good figs’ and the regathering of the Jewish people back to the land of promise after 70 years of captivity in Babylon was fulfilled, however, they still have not returned wholeheartedly to Elohim.  This becomes the prophecy of Yeshua for the fig tree and spiritual Isra’el. 

The early crop of fig fruit may be compared to the small group of disciples turned apostles.   The ‘acid’ of the Spirit filling their lives burnt holes in the spiritual corruption of Isra’el.   They were inferior to the leadership that deceived the ‘lost sheep of the house of Isra’el.’   Yet, the testimony of these first few figs brought forth the fruit of the first century congregation of followers of Messiah.  Their actions and words are preserved in the gospels and the letters.

“Now let the fig tree teach you its lesson: when its branches begin to sprout and leaves appear, you know that summer is approaching.  In the same way, when you see all these things, you are to know that the time is near, right at the door.  Yes! I tell you that this people will certainly not pass away before all these things happen. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:32).

According to Yeshua’s prophecy, at an ‘appointed time’ near the end of the age and the restoration of the Kingdom, Isra’el would be restored as a nation.  The fig tree would bud.  This happened in 1948 when Isra’el became a nation again.  They would begin to have life when the leaves appeared which happened in 1967 when Isra’el regained control of Jerusalem and their ‘spiritual’ center.   The Messianic Jewish movement of Jewish people putting their faith in the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua took root.   This remnant of faithful returned to the Land and to Elohim wholeheartedly.    However, according to Yeshua, there will be no latter spiritual fruit until after the great apostasy and all of Isra’el cry out for him and welcome him back.  These edible figs will nourish the nations through the Messianic era.

“Look! God is abandoning your house to you! I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of Adonai!’ (Luke 13:35).

©2017 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Passover Haggadah

by John and Julie Almanrode

Purchase Haggadah

“The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness” (Psalm 38:19).

Passover is a story that has been retold for thousands of years. It is the account of God’s miraculous deliverance of His people from slavery to freedom, from despair to hope, from darkness to light. It encompasses the eternal truths of His character and personal involvement with His people. It endures as a testimony to His grace and merciful redemption because of the faithful who have told the story to their children from the time of ancient Egypt through the days of Messiah until this very day.

Our Passover Haggadah is a compilation from several different sources: the Covenant Community Church in McCook, Nebraska, two Messianic Haggadahs that were formatted from a traditional Jewish one, and our own personal insights from years of celebrating the memorial to the LORD’s Passover.

Messiah Yeshua is the reality in the shadows of Passover and his last Passover seder is central to our Haggadah. From it you will learn more about your Savior, his words to his followers and this ”appointed time” of God.

Use the How-to celebrate Passover to prepare your table and food in order to have a memorable celebration.

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