March 19, 2011
The faithful man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among men – Micah 7:2
I hardly recognize my country anymore. Driving to the grocery store I passed a tattoo parlor, palm reading shop, and drive-thru espresso operated by bikini-clad baristas. In the store parking lot I looked next door to the Regal Cinema, aglow in red and purple neon. Now playing: Season of the Witch and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Our society glorifies the occult.
Everywhere you look, people are agitated and angry. Socialists, communists and Islamists are calling for revolution. In Wisconsin 18 Senate Republicans receive death threats after passing a controversial anti-union bill. Rioters clog the state capitol, screaming and pounding drums. Before the vote a mob of protesters bang on the windows of senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald's home at 6 a.m., demanding he come out. More madness: a brawl erupts inside a Massachusetts Denny's when a woman won't share her maple syrup with another table. Middle-schoolers in East Oakland incite another Denny's riot, hurling chairs, food and plates at one another. In a tirade against God and the Bible, MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell tells viewers the book of Revelation is a work of fiction.
My spirit groans. Judgment is coming. Messiah is returning. It feels close. Am I ready? Is my heart right? I hear Yeshua (Jesus) calling, "Draw near to Me. Trust no one but Me." It's like Moses crying out to the Israelites who committed idolatry with the golden calf: "Whoever is on the LORD's side – come to me!"
Addendum – Maybe the faithful person hasn't perished after all. Twelve-year-old Tamar Fogel (pictured right), whose Jewish father and mother and three younger siblings were stabbed to death when suspected Palestinians broke into their West Bank home, has promised relatives she will care for her two surviving brothers, ages 8 and 2. "I will be strong and succeed in overcoming this. I understand the task that stands before me, and I will be a mother to my siblings," says Fogel, who discovered the slain bodies after returning from a friend's house late Friday night. Well done, Tamar. You are a remarkable young woman. Your parents, Udi and Ruth Fogel, raised you well.
Addendum – Two Palestinian teens have been arrested for the brutal slaying of five members of the Fogel family in their Itamar home, the Jerusalem Post reports. The suspects, who are affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, confessed to the stabbings. They did not express remorse for their crimes, according to Army Radio. Several suspected accomplices are also under arrest.
December 23, 2010
God is too big to measure. Louie Giglio makes that point by using a golf ball as a visual in the YouTube video below. The ball, representing earth, is dwarfed by massive stars with names like Beetlejuice and Canis Majoris. Conclusion: We serve an awesome, mighty God who stretches out the heavens like a curtain (Isaiah 40:22). Below are parts one and two of his "How Great Is Our God" presentation. Parts three through five can be found here, here and here. A couple highlights:
Like the universe, the human body is a reflection of God's greatness. The protein molecule that holds us together, laminin, is stamped with His signature – a cross symbol, which is the Hebrew letter tav in the ancient pictographic script. The tav is the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Yeshua (Jesus) says in Revelation 22:13 He is the Aleph and Tav, the beginning and end (in Greek it's translated Alpha and Omega). This picture fits perfectly with Colossians 1:16-17 – "All things were created through Him (Yeshua) and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist."
Giglio also shares a startling image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. A tav symbol is silhouetted across the nucleus of the Whirlpool spiral galaxy, 31 million light years from earth. The photo was released in 1992 and published in Time magazine. Scientists believe dust rings formed the cross, which marks the location of a massive black hole. The galaxy lies perpendicular to earth and offers an unobstructed view of its bright core. In other words, God didn't hide this celestial sign, which points to a cross. The ancient tav symbol can angle either right or left, just like the shape of the laminin molecule and Whirlpool cross.
December 05, 2010
Frank Sinatra recorded a hit single called My Way, and he wasn't quoting Jesus Christ, who identified Himself as The Way. The lyrics depict a man nearing death. In a moment of reflection he boasts how he navigated life on his terms. No regrets. No remorse. No repentance.
For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way.
My Way is the anthem of pride and rebellion. Christ offers a better way – dying to self so we might live through Him – but most reject it. Even the Israelites spurned God to go their own way. In the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, the LORD punishes His covenant people for their open rebellion. He complains to the prophet, "They have not been humbled, to this day, nor have they feared; they have not walked in My Torah or in My statutes." What was one of their chief offenses? Worshipping the queen of heaven, also known as the fertility goddess Ishtar or Easter. The Israelites rebuke Jeremiah for calling out their sin: "We will not listen to you! But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth." Sinatra provides the soundtrack:
I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way,
"Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way"
In His mercy, God gives man free will. We can go our way or His way. One road leads to death, the other life. As Christians we need to look in the mirror and ask tough questions. Which way are we going? How many of us, by our actions, are saying to God, "We will not listen to you!" Do we honor Him by observing the birth, death and resurrection of His Son on pagan holidays? Is it OK to replace Passover with Easter, the idol that ensnared the Israelites? Whose kingdom are we trying to build, ours or His?
Addendum – Dave Daubenmire has similar concerns. He says American Christians have deceived themselves. Here are excerpts from his online post How Great Is That Darkness:
The American Experience is in trouble because those who claim to be followers of Jesus really don't follow Him . . . . Christianity is the life of Jesus living through you. It is an exchange of your life for His, a living out of His nature instead of yours, a "putting on" on the life of Jesus, not a process where you "accept" Him, or "receive" Him, or "come" to Him. It is a death process, a dying of you and your old nature . . . . Everyone wants to "follow Jesus" until they find out where He is going. He is heading to a Cross and He asks you to take yours and follow Him . . . . Most church-goers are not followers of Jesus. They are merely members of a social club called "Christianity." How do you heal someone who doesn't know he is sick? How do you save someone who doesn't think he is lost?
Addendum – Brannon Howse is warning Christians not to be yoked spiritually with TV and radio host Glenn Beck (left), who promotes New Age Mormonism and universalism in his new book "Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life." Howse writes that Beck is a committed and knowledgeable Mormon, and does not believe in hell, original sin or that Jesus is the only way. Beck admits on page 56 that he read Helen Schucman's New Age book "A Course in Miracles." Schucman, an atheist, claims the book was channeled to her by an "inner source." Read Howse's review of Beck's book here.
July 16, 2010
What is His Son's name?
Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?John Boylan works like Old Testament like a crossword puzzle. He connects overlapping words in rows and columns of key Hebrew passages to see what God might be revealing about Himself. His most significant discovery is the name of Messiah embedded in Proverbs 30:4.
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His Son's name,
If you know?
The position of the tav in Boylan's diagram is also a picture of the crucifixion. The cross symbol touches the middle Hebrew letter of the highlighted text. The tav is flanked by six letters to the right and six to the left. Six is recognized biblically as the number of man. Yeshua was nailed to a crossbar with thieves on his right and left (Mark 15:27-28), fulfilling Isaiah 53:12, "He was numbered with the transgressors."
Jewish scholars have been mining embedded nuggets from Scripture by hand for centuries. Boylan, a Gentile, says his research is a "non-interactive method wherein God Himself is the revealer and the reader becomes nothing more than a passive observer. . . . Our study is about God and is not some fanciful attempt to predict the future. These are teachings about God alone, His Nature, His Being and His Will as regarding His creation and our human understanding about Who He is and What He wants us to know about Him and His Messiah."
July 14, 2010
Mary Galione could not escape the piercing gaze of the missionary. Sitting in the back pew of a crowded Johnsville, Pa., church, the 15-year-old squirmed as the man pointed and called to her, "Young lady, come up here please."
Mary stood and walked forward. "Was your father in the war?" asked the missionary from Guyana.
"God is going to use you greatly," he said.
A second missionary, also from Guyana, walked over and asked his partner, "Who is she?"
"Her father was the liberator."
"Whom did he liberate?" the second missionary asked.
"German concentration camps . . . her father's journey was behind it all, but he hasn't told anyone." He turned to Mary and said, "Your father walked. He took a journey and walked for miles. He hasn't told you yet, but he has a story to tell you and the Lord will use you greatly to touch nations."
Mary rushed home to share the missionaries' words with her father, John Galione. "These guys must be real because there is a war story I've been keeping to myself," he told his daughter, "and I do want to tell you someday."
"Tell me now!" Mary pleaded.
"No. It's not time yet."
It took John 30 years to fully tell his story to Mary, communicated through tears and an anguished heart. In April 1945 he had stumbled upon an unmarked tunnel in Germany's Harz Mountains. The discovery saved the lives of hundreds of European Jews and impacted the course of world history. Mary wrote a tell-all book about her father's war exploits, The Journey of Private Galione. It was released in 2004, five years after his death. Although the book has touched lives, including Holocaust survivors and their families, John remains a forgotten hero. No one named a school or dedicated a ball field after him. The military has never decorated him.
Galione's journey began with little fanfare. The Army private was resting with the U.S. 104th Infantry Division on the front lines near Lippstadt, Germany, when a foul odor drifted into camp. Galione was troubled but didn't know why. He expressed concern to a sergeant, who told him the smell might be linked to a rumored labor camp. Galione asked if he could search the area but was denied permission by the sergeant, who was wary of a German ambush. The 104th had fought bravely in Europe but with the war nearing an end many soldiers were tired of taking risks.
Galione wasn't one of them. About 9 p.m. on April 5 he slipped out of camp and headed for the nearest railroad tracks, hoping they would lead to the source of the odor. Galione's plan was to search all night, if necessary, and return before morning roll call. He left camp 18 hours after his sergeant refused him permission, a delay that would haunt him the rest of his life.
Galione disappeared into the darkness alone but he soon had company. After walking for several hours on a gimpy leg, wounded earlier in combat, someone or something came from behind and nudged him in the back. Galione turned but didn't see anyone. Then he felt two hands grab his elbows and push him forward. He was shoved just as he was thinking about quitting because of fatigue and hunger. "My legs were tired but something was making me walk, telling me to keep following the trains," he said. "Somehow it gave me the strength to keep going."
Five days later the tracks led Galione to the mouth of a tunnel. Hidden inside was the Nazi's top-secret V1 and V2 missile factory. Outside stood a cluster of buildings surrounded by a fence and locked gate. It was the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp, which supplied slave labor to the underground Mittelwerk plant. More than 20,000 Dora laborers died manufacturing the world's first ballistic missiles in harsh, degrading conditions. Jewish and non-Jewish prisoners who were caught sabotaging missiles were tortured and hanged. The V weapons killed more people during production than in launched attacks against Allied targets. He didn't know it then, but Galione had beaten the advancing Russian Army to Germany's prized rocket technology.Continue reading "The liberator"
July 07, 2010
The mark of God
When God introduced the Biblical feast days He wasn't scheduling a potluck. The Hebrew word for "feast," mow'ed, means sign or signal. God was signaling the Israelites a direct, clear message: Watch for Messiah. The spring and fall feasts were dress rehearsals for the first and second coming of Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth.
Passover is the spring feast that not only commemorates the Moses-led exodus from Egypt, but mankind's redemption through the death and resurrection of Yeshua, our Passover Lamb. Two years ago in March, as Christians around the world were preparing for Easter, I received a different signal. God was calling His church to rally around Passover, which fell in April in 2008.
I felt a sense of urgency but didn't know why. Then I heard a teaching by Peter and Christie Michas of Messengers of Messiah, a Hebraic Roots ministry in Southern California. I took notes and searched the Scriptures myself. And I agree with their conclusion: Passover is linked to the sign or mark of God and our eternal security in Him. Here's why:
Passover is the most significant Biblical feast because it points to God's finished work of redemption. God tells Moses in Exodus 13:9 that Passover "shall be a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes." What kind of sign or mark would God give those who keep Passover? We believe it is the Hebrew letter "tav," the same mark God placed on the forehead of Jews who rejected idolatry in Ezekiel 9:4.
The tav is the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet. In the ancient pictographic script (see chart) the letter resembles two crossed sticks or a cross. One of the most significant uses of the tav is found in columns of the Great Isaiah Scroll, one of the original seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947. Eleven tav symbols appear in margins next to Messianic passages. In Revelation 22:13 Yeshua calls Himself the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. In Hebrew it is translated Aleph and Tav.
Jews who were sealed with a "tav" in Ezekiel 9 were protected from God's wrath. Ezekiel 8 exposes the offenses that provoked God's anger, including veneration of the sun god Tammuz and an image of jealousy, which scholars identity as the fertility goddess Astarte (also known as Ishtar or Easter). Tammuz was a counterfeit savior born on Dec. 25. Those same abominations flourish in the church today. Tammuz (Christmas) and Astarte (Easter) were assimilated into Christianity in the fourth century. If Christ is our Passover, as the apostle Paul confirms in 1 Corinthians 5:7, why does the church smear His name and character with an idol every spring?
The Bible also speaks of another sign. Revelation 13:16 says followers of the beast will receive a mark on the forehead or right hand. But it is not a barcode, tattoo or implanted chip as many Christians today believe. The mark we receive reflects the belief system we take into our heart and mind, symbolically the forehead and hand. It is unseen by man.
Revelation 13:18 asks those with understanding to calculate the number of the beast. The Greek word for "calculate," psephizo, means to count or vote with pebbles. The ancient Greeks voted by dropping pebbles into urns. In a court of justice a white pebble represented acquittal and a black stone condemnation. Yeshua says in Revelation 2:17 He will give a white stone to those who overcome the beast system. The mark we receive is determined by how we vote with our stone. Our vote reflects what is in our heart and mind.
Peter Michas believes the Greek letter chi, which looks like an "X," represents the mark of the beast. The chi and the Hebrew letter tav look almost identical, suggesting that Satan has counterfeited God's mark. The "X" is an ancient symbol linked to sun worship. Tammuz, whom the Greeks called Bacchus, was depicted with chi symbols, or crosses, on his headband. When people violate God's calendar by observing Christmas and Easter they invite the beast's mark. They choose the black stone.
Does that mean God will condemn every Christian who observes Christmas and Easter? No. God knows those who love Him. I believe He extends grace to the believer who participates out of ignorance. But if a Christian learns about the pagan roots of Easter and Christmas and continues to willfully participate, that is dangerous ground spiritually. It is adultery in God's eyes.
Exodus 13:3 will lead a person to good ground. It is a Passover command included in the cube-shaped boxes that Jewish males wear on their forehead and left arm during morning prayer: "Remember this day in which you went out of Eygpt, out of the house of bondage." The word "remember" in Hebrew, zakar, represents a mark that can be recognized. It is used in the infinitive form, meaning the subject should be remembered constantly. Why remember Passover? Not only did God's strong hand free the Israelites from slavery, it delivered us from the bondage of sin through the Passover sacrifice of His Son.
God grants that pardon freely when we place our trust in Yeshua alone, turn from sin and serve Him obediently. To maintain a healthy relationship with Him it is critical that we mature in our faith (1 Pet. 2:2), divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) and worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). God will reveal the truth, including the significance of His calendar, to true seekers. But with this knowledge comes accountability. When we are exposed to the truth we must choose between the white and black stone, and Yeshua asks us to count the cost. God will mark us accordingly.
Addendum –Yeshua's death and resurrection fulfilled three of the four spring feasts – Passover, Unleavened Break and First Fruits – to the letter. He was crucified at the very hour priests were slaughtering Passover lambs in Jerusalem. God filled believers with the Holy Spirit on Shavuot (Pentecost), the last of the spring feasts. Messiah will fulfill the fall feasts – Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot – when He returns as Davidic King. Yeshua uses coded language in Matthew 24:36 to reveal the timing of His return. He says no one knows the day or hour, a direct reference to Rosh Hashanah, the only holiday with an undetermined start time. Hebrew months begin with the sighting of the new moon. Rosh Hashanah is the only feast that falls annually on the first day of a Hebrew month. For more information on the fall feasts look here.
Addendum – In preparation for the first Passover in Egypt, God tells Moses in Exodus 12:13 that the blood of sacrificial lambs "shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are." The Hebrew word for "sign," ot (pronounced "oat"), is spelled with the Hebrew letters aleph, vav and tav (modern Hebrew letters displayed). The vav is dropped and inferred only in pronunciation. That leaves the aleph and tav, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In Greek it is translated alpha and omega. Yeshua identifies Himself as the Alpha and Omega in Rev. 22:13. The sign points to the shed blood of Yeshua, our Passover Lamb.
July 05, 2010
The LORD was with him
Only God can discern the hearts of men. And here is what He saw in Hezekiah, king of Judah:
He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him. For he held fast to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments – 2 Kings 18:5-6.
That is a great relationship model for us today. Hezekiah "held fast," which means in Hebrew to cling, follow closely or pursue hard. How many professing Christians do we see today pursuing the Savior with tenacity? Hezekiah also "kept" God's commandments, which doesn't mean he simply reserved a Torah scroll for the royal library. Hezekiah had the Torah written on His heart, not just parchment. The Hebrew word for "kept" means to hedge about, guard, look narrowly.
In other words, the king took his relationship with YHVH seriously. Obeying God's word wasn't an obligation, but a privilege. And how does God respond to Hezekiah's loyalty? Verse 7 says "the LORD was with him; he prospered wherever he went." The Hebrew rendering for "prospered" denotes understanding and wisdom, not material wealth. LORD, create in us a heart like Hezekiah's, devoted to You. May we pursue hard after You.
June 04, 2010
Free online books
Messengers of Messiah, a Hebraic roots ministry, has made available three of its books for free online: Christianity's Misconceptions of Tithing, Christianity's Misconceptions of Women, and What Really Happened at Pentecost. Authors Peter and Christie Michas are solid, grounded Bible teachers. As the titles suggest, the books expose and correct doctrinal errors in mainstream Christianity. Look for the free books and booklets on the left column of their website here.
The authors point out that Yeshua (Jesus) never accepted a tithe. New Testament giving is based upon free will, motivated by a sincere and unselfish desire to support the work of the Lord and to help others in need. Giving today is led by God's Spirit. The purpose of Old Testament tithing was to support the Levitical priesthood, which served in the tabernacle and later the temple. Tithing stopped when the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. The church did not replace the Levitical priesthood and therefore cannot make a legitimate claim to tithes of the Old Testament covenant.