Posts Tagged ‘Jews’

Hanukkah Word: Anti-semitism

“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” (Genesis 12:3).

Many years ago I was listening to a Messianic Jew and non-Jew discuss the Biblical roots of the Christian faith on a talk radio show. A woman called in and said, “If I had know Jesus was Jewish, I would not have become a Christian.” Anti-semitism.

When our family began celebrating the Feasts of the LORD in Leviticus 23 along with Purim and Hanukkah, we were asked if we were becoming ‘Jewish’. What is wrong with becoming ‘Jewish’ when all of our Scriptures were written by Jews (aka physical descendants of Abraham, Issac and Jacob) and our Savior is Jewish? Anti-semitism.

In the past few years I hear many say that we shouldn’t listen to the rabbis, the sages, the Jews, because they added to the Torah, the created the Talmud, they don’t know Messiah. I often wonder if these same people realize where these Jewish men came up with all of their rules and regulations. It was their heart to obey God even in the smallest ‘jot and tittle’ and so they spent hours and days, months and years, studying the commandments of the LORD and outlining the best ways they could understand for obedience. Their intention was not to add burdens upon the people even though that is what many of their ideas became when others made them equal to commandments. They were just men trying to obey the God of Israel to the best intent of their heart and mind. We can learn a lot from those who went before us and we should. Rather than calling everything that has bound the Jewish people together for millennia ‘manmade traditions’, we should seek to understand their reasonings. With the Spirit of God in our lives, we should be able to discern which traditions nullify God’s Word and which traditions do not (Mark 7). When we as non-Jewish believers put as many years into study and obedience to the best intent of our new hearts and minds, perhaps then we can make judgmental assumptions. Otherwise it’s anti-semitism.

Anti-semitism is a lurking disease in the darkness of this world, but when it appears in the hearts of those who carry the Light of Messiah Yeshua, it needs to be dealt with however subtle it may appear to be. It is anti-semitism to believe that the myriads of Christian denominations, Hebrew Roots groups, Torah Observant groups and the plethora of other religious delineations have more understanding than the Jewish people from whom God chose to bring salvation. The Word says they have a veil over their eyes. It needs to be removed, not judged. It is anti-semitism to read a Hebrew Bible, written by Jewish people over many centuries, and not love those same people who gave their lives to protect it so they could be the light to the nations they were called to be. Anti-semitism in the heart of Antiochus Ephiphanes led to the near destruction of the Jewish people, their Torah and their Temple. But our great God, Yahweh Elohim, by empowering a mighty deliverer, Judah Maccabee, along with a small army of courageous, spiritual men, gave His people victory over anti-semitism and restored them to their Land, their Biblical ways and even their traditions.

Let’s remember that God says curses and blessings come from how we treat the ancestors as well as the brothers and sisters of Yeshua. They were human like each of us desiring to obey the commandments of God through the grace and mercy of salvation.

“Indeed, if someone gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little [Jewish] ones because he is my disciple — yes! — I tell you, he will certainly not lose his reward!” (Matthew 10:42).

What is Aging and Obsolete?

For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said,

 “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand  to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,  and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.”

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel  after that time, declares the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.  No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

“By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear” (Hebrews 8:13).

These are some of the most difficult verses in the New Testament.   Most often, they are interpreted as meaning that there was an old covenant of law that was replaced by a new covenant of grace; consequently, ‘we are free from God’s commandments.’  However, these verses in Hebrews don’t mention grace or law, only covenant.

According to verses 7-8, God did not find fault with the covenant, He found fault with the people in regards to the first covenant.   If the old (former) covenant was the Torah or the Law that God gave to Israel,  then the Scriptures in Hebrews would probably read something like this:

“For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another, but God found fault with His Law (Torah) and said, I will remove my Torah from the people so they no longer stumble in wickedness and sin ….”  However, the Scripture does not say this and such a concept, is no only ridiculous, but creates a lawlessness among God’s people.

Hebrews says quite clearly that God found fault with the people not the law.   This must mean that what has been perceived as ‘covenant’ is misunderstood, confused and needs to be clarified.

The Former Covenant

What exactly was the first or former covenant that is now considered ‘old and obsolete’?

In Exodus 24:7, the Scriptures state, “Then he (Moses) took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people.  They responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.”  According to this verse the first or former covenant involved a ‘book’.  It contained all the teachings and instructions of YHVH and was known in Hebrew as Torah.

God presented His Book of Covenant (Moses only read it)  and the people responded that they would obey.  They entered into a covenant relationship.  It was not a one-sided relationship nor should it have been.  It was a relationship and a covenant made between two parties: YHVH and His people.

Yet, only weeks later, the Scriptures relate how these very same people are being unfaithful and breaking the covenant relationship.   Hebrews 8 states that because of their unfaithfulness to the covenant, God turned away from them.  He didn’t turn away from His Torah; He turned away from His people for breaking His teachings and instructions.

“… because they, for their part, did not remain faithful to my covenant; so I, for my part, stopped concerning myself with them,’ says YHVH” (Hebrews 8:9 CJB).

Hebrews 8:8 says, “For God found fault with the people”  which suggests He had to do something to correct the fault.     He could not change His Law or Torah for that will exist until there is a new heavens and new earth according to Yeshua in Matthew 5:17-19.    He could not change essence of Himself – His holiness and righteous standards.  He could, however,  change the people because they were His creation: He is the potter, we are the clay.    Whatever change He made, it would have to enable His people to return to Him in faithfulness.  Whatever change He made would have to be able to  ‘renew’ the covenant relationship that had been broken.

According to the prophet Jeremiah and reiterated in Hebrews chapter 8, God would make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  This covenant would NOT be like the one he made with the mixed-multitude after they came out of Egypt.  This ‘renewed’ covenant would change the hearts of the people.  The Spirit of God would then be able to write His Torah on the new heart.  The prophet Ezekiel speaks of this change of heart from stone to flesh.

“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 laws” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

Instead of changing or removing Himself and His teachings and instructions, YHVH changed the people by giving them new hearts that “would move them” to obey His commands.

Paul describes these two heart (and mind) conditions in Romans 7.  He explains that God’s Torah is spiritual, but sinful men are unspiritual.    Consequently, there will always  be a battle between the carnal man and the spiritual Torah.  Carnal man will never be able to accept the things of God because they are spiritually understood (Romans 8:7-8).

The former broken covenant of people promising to obey the commands had to be renewed for there was never going to be any way for them to keep the promise of obedience in and of themselves.  They were carnal, sinful people.  Only through rebirth – becoming a new creation with a new heart – could God put His Torah into their heart.    This spiritual rebirth would change them from carnal people to spiritual people and they would no longer be in conflict with the spiritual Torah. Faithfulness and obedience would be integrated as part of their new inner man.

Yeshua  instituted the ‘renewed’ covenant with the people of Judah and Israel at Passover (Luke 22:20).   However, he only set in motion.   As of today it is still not a completed process.  Corporately, all Judah and Israel is not born again with new hearts and every man does not know God from the least to the greatest.  To say that the ‘old is gone’ and the ‘new has come’ doesn’t work for the common presumption of old covenant law and new covenant grace because even the new covenant has not yet been fully realized as prophesied by Jeremiah.

The Tabernacles and Priesthoods

Some people interpret the verses in Hebrews  as meaning the Aaronic priesthood is the ‘old’ and  was replaced with a ‘new’ royal priesthood with Yeshua as High Priest.  

According to Scripture,  the Tabernacle was a shadow on earth of the true one in the heaven.   This means that the Tabernacle on earth and the heavenly Tabernacle are not linear; one happened, ended and then the other began.  The Tabernacles are simultaneous as one being a reality in heaven and casting its shadow on earth.

“They (the Levitical priesthood) serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.  This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain” (Hebrews 8:4-6).

Yeshua’s sanctuary is not in this present world and never was.  His sanctuary is in the world to come and it is the substance behind the shadow on earth.    As Yeshua walked in this present world, he spoke of his kingdom.

“Yeshua said, “My kingdom is not of this world…. my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:26).

“We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man” (Hebrews 8:1).  

Yeshua could never have been a High Priest in this world.   He was not of the proper lineage.  He was from the Tribe of Judah not Levi.    Sons of Judah never served in the Tabernacle; they were the Kings.  Yeshua’s calling and service as High Priest was not according to the sons of Aaron.  Yeshua’s calling as a High Priest was by God, in the order of Melchizedek. As it had ‘no beginning nor end’, it could not be something ‘new’ replacing something ‘old’ for it has existed for all time.

“If he (Yeshua) were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men (of Levi)  who offer the gifts prescribed by the Torah. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven” (Hebrews 8:5).

“No one takes this honor upon himself he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.  So Messiah also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest.  But God said to him, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.  And he says in another place, ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek’ (Hebrews 5:4-6).

The very nature of the Millennial Kingdom refutes the idea of one ‘old’ priesthood being replaced by a ‘new’ one.    According to the prophet Ezekiel, during the Millennial Kingdom there will be another Temple.  As required in this present world, the Levites will once again serve and minister in this Temple.

However, something else  extraordinary will be happening at the same time.   Yeshua, as the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, will return to earth with his armies of resurrected and glorified believers.  Yeshua will rule as High Priest with an iron scepter; his priesthood will rule with iron rods (Psalm 2:9, Revelation 2:27, 19:15).

For one thousand years, the Aaronic priesthood in this present realm of the world and the royal priesthood from the heavenly realm  WILL SERVE TOGETHER.   The two realms of heaven and earth will converge on this earth at the same time and rule from Jerusalem!  No linear ‘old’ and ‘new’ here!

Change in Law (Torah)

“For when there is a change in the priesthood there must be a change in the law (Torah)” (Hebrews 7:12).  This verse is often used to support the change in Torah as ‘old’ and becoming ‘obsolete’.  Does this verse actually say there is  a change from an ‘old’ to a ‘new’?  Does this verse suggest that there was an ‘old’ obsolete law and the ‘new’ is freedom from the law or lawlessness?

As previously written, the Levitical priesthood ministered in the shadow of the true Tabernacle.  This Tabernacle was perfect for this present world and through Torah ordinances brought the worshipper closer to God through gifts, offerings and sacrifices.  Yet, the gifts and sacrifices prescribed by the Torah could never change the iniquity in the heart of sinful man and was never meant to (Hebrews 10:1).

A unique priesthood was ‘called out’ with the renewed covenant-changed heart condition of the inner man through faith in Yeshua.  Once the stoney, rebellious carnal  heart was transformed into an obedient, loving spiritual heart of flesh, the born again man, regardless of lineage became part of a royal priesthood.   This priesthood, though called out while living in this present world, become the ministers/priesthood  for the world to come.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his glorious light” (1 Peter 2:9).

King David lived in a time when there was no Tabernacle or Temple.  He had no way to draw close to YHVH except in a personal way.  When he sinned against God with Bathsheba, he cried out to God to return his joy of salvation (yeshua) and not to take the Holy Spirit from him.  King David put his faith in the new covenant promises long before it was actually instituted.  This is perhaps why King David was called a ‘man after God’s own heart.’

“Create in me a clean heart, God; renew in me a resolute spirit.  Don’t thrust me away from your presence, don’t take your Ruach haKodesh away from me.  Restore to me the joy in your salvation, and let a willing spirit uphold me.  … For you don’t want sacrifices, or I would give them; you don’t take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; God, you won’t spurn a broken chastened heart” (Psalm 51:10-17).

King David also understood how to delight in the Torah of God.  Through the Holy Spirit, he wrote Psalms about loving God’s Torah. For him, the Torah was not something ‘old’ that he no longer needed because he had the Holy Spirit, but it was the very Words of God centered in his heart that gave him wisdom, comfort, encouragement, conviction and direction for life.  Torah was for David, the very essence of knowing God personally.

“How blessed are those who reject the advice of the wicked don’t stand on the way of sinners or sit where scoffers sit!  Their delight is in YHVH Torah and on his Torah they meditate day and night…” (Psalm 1:1-2).

“The Torah of YHVH is perfect, restoring the inner person.  The instruction of YHVH is sure, making wise the thoughtless.  The precepts of Torah are right, rejoicing the heart.  The command of YHVH is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of YHVH is clean, enduring forever.  The rulings of YHVH are ture, they are righteous altogether, more desirable than gold …” (Psalm 19:7-10).

We are in  the same situation as King David.   There is no physical Temple in Jerusalem for us to draw near to God.  There is no way to offer physical sacrifices and gifts according to the ordinances.  Gifts and offerings are our lives.

“I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God.  This will please him; it is the logical ‘Temple worship’ for you.’ (Romans 12:1).

Like King David, we, as born again believers,  have the joy of our salvation, Yeshua.  The only way we have to draw near to the Father is through Him.      We have been given the  Holy Spirit in our inner man.  Through the Holy Spirit, the Torah of YHVH is written on our new hearts of flesh.  The Torah written on stone tablets that once condemned us in this present world  no longer does.  But it has not disappeared or become obsolete.  Through Yeshua, the Living Torah,  it has become the Way, Truth and Life for the person born into the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven.

“So then, the Torah is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good” (Romans 7:12).    

“We know that the Torah is good if one uses it properly” (1 Timothy 1:8).

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (1 Timothy 3:16).

What “Old” FINALLY Disappears for “New”?

“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:20-22).

Romans explains exactly what is decaying.   It is this present world:  the creation, the earth.  Since the fall of man in the Garden, the creation has been in bondage to death also waiting for its redemption.   Everything in this present world is aging and becoming obsolete.    Along with mankind, the creation moans and cries out for deliverance.

Deliverance seemed to happen one time in the days of Noah.  Noah experienced a change in the heavens and the earth through flooding, but it wasn’t a new heavens and earth.  Physically it appeared different, but it was the same earth.   Moreover, Noah was also given a covenant promise in the rainbow that God would never judge the earth by water again.  Even so, the earth that Noah and his family repopulated was one where death and dying continued and continues to occur.  In fact, life spans after the flood decreased tremendously from nearly 1000 years to 80 years within a couple of generations.

At the end of the Millennial Kingdom, according to Isaiah, John and Peter, the old heavens and earth will disappear and there will be a new heavens and new earth.  The covenant that God made with the earth about seedtime and harvest, summer and winter, will cease.  When this happens the something ‘old’ – the earth and the heavens –  will become obsolete for something ‘new’ – a new earth and new heavens.

“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17).

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Revelation 21:1).

“But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth…” (2 Peter 3:13).

While we are living on this earth and it remains, there is an ‘old’ order of things that we must adhere to.    The Levitical priesthood, the earthly Temple and its ministry, and the Torah are  part of this order and will continue until the new heavens and earth.     As long as there is this present earth and heaven, there will always be the law of sin leading to  death and the cry of mankind for redemption.   When redemption of the earth along with mankind is completed,  then and only then will “the old order of things [will have]  passed away” (Revelation 21:4) making a way for the new.

When the ‘old’ order passes away, there will be a ‘new‘ order of things – the new covenant in its fullness.  God’s Kingdom will be on the new earth.    His holy city, The New Jerusalem, will descend from the heavens.    Sin and death will be swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54).

There will be no need for a Temple or priesthood for drawing near to God for God will live in the middle of His people forever.    The Torah will no longer be needed because everyone will know God from the least to the greatest.  Wickedness and sin will have been completely removed from the kingdom.   A completely new world will be established inhabited with fully regenerated glorified people serving as kings with Yeshua as King of Kings.  Behold the new …

“I did not see a temple in the city (New Jerusalem), because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple….  Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life… The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  …And they will reign for ever and ever… ” (Revelation 21: 22-27,  22:4-5).

©2011 Tent Stake Ministries