Category Archives: Holidays and Observances

The Red Heifer Bridge from Impurity to Purity and the Deaths of Aaron and the Prophetess Miriam

The Red Heifer Bridge from Impurity to Purity and the Deaths of Aaron and the Prophetess Miriam
Building a holy Temple and worshiping in it are not permitted by God without the restoration of ceremonial purity, which is only possible with ashes of the Red Heifer mixed with the purification water necessary for restoring ritual purity or ceremonial cleanliness. But as we will read a perfect Red Heifer is needed first to make the purified water!
The prophet Haggai indicates a connection between the building of the Temple and peace in the Holy Land.  As a result, many Jews today believe that the Holy Temple is the only solution for achieving the peace that currently seems so elusive.
There is a tradition that all throughout history there were nine perfect red heifers that were used for the cleansing and the purification, and that the appearance of the tenth red heifer is associated with the advent of the messianic era, and the rebuilding of the Temple.
CHUKAT (Statute or Decree)
Numbers 19:1–22:1; Judges 11:1–33; Hebrews 9:1–28
“This is a requirement [חֻקַּ֣ת / Chukat / statute] of the law [Torah] that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer [parah adumah].” (Numbers 19:2)
Last week in Parasha Korach, the Levite Korach incited mutiny against Moses.  He and 250 chieftains of Israel questioned the anointed position of Moses as leader and Aaron as high priest.
This week’s Torah portion, called Parasha Chukat, presents the ritual laws of the Parah Adumah (פָרָה אֲדֻמָּה / Red Heifer) and the deaths of Aaron and the prophetess Miriam, Moses and Aaron’s sister.
Red cows
Red cows (Photo by James Martin)
The Bridge from Impurity to Purity
To purify the Temple vessels and priest, the chosen red heifer (a young female cow that has not yet borne a calf) was to be blemish and defect free.  It also must never have borne a yoke.
It would be slaughtered under the supervision of the Jewish Priest (Cohen), who would then sprinkle its blood seven times toward the Tabernacle.  Its body would be burned outside the camp and its ashes used to create the waters of purification.
The waters of purification are necessary to ritually cleanse those who had been contaminated by death through contact with a corpse, bone, or grave.  Once purified, they could enter the Tabernacle to draw near to the Living God.
 In Hebrew, the concepts of clean and unclean or pure (tahor) and impure (tamei) are akin to an insider and an outsider.  Only those who were tahor (clean / pure) could enter the dwelling place of God’s presence.
 Those who were deemed tamei (unclean / defiled) would be kept outside and, if not purified, would be cut off from Israel — for example, lepers.
Bar Mitzvah boy carries Torah scroll at the Kotel
A 13-year-old Jewish teen carries the Torah scroll at the Western
(Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem.
Along with the ashes of the Parah Adumah being added to the waters of purification, three other elements were put in:  hyssop, cedar wood, and scarlet thread.
These elements were all used in the building of the sanctuary.  The hyssop was used by the priests for sprinkling the blood, the cedar wood was used for the posts, and the scarlet thread was used in the curtains.
Though this mysterious mixing — the sacred elements combined with the ashes of the heifer — death and life would come together in order to bring forth cleansing and purification, which would allow a person to cross the bridge from tamei to tahor.
The Brit Chadashah (New Testament) also speaks of the ashes of the Parah Adumah, promising that the blood of the Messiah has greater power to cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the Living God:
“For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the Living God?”  (Hebrews 9:13–14)
Ein Gedi oasis
A father and his children refresh themselves at the Ein Gedi oasis,
which is near Masada and the Dead Sea.
Miriam Perishes in the Wilderness
“Then the children of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the Wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh; and Miriam died there and was buried there.”  (Numbers 20:1)
Besides the symbolism of life and death in the waters of purification, this week’s Parasha also provides some details of the death of Moses and Aaron’s sister, Miriam, in the Wilderness of Zin.
 Her death occurs about one year before the Israelites enter the Promised Land, and it is also connected to water.
 The last time we read about Miriam, she had been stricken with tzara’at (leprosy) as a punishment for speaking against Moses’ choice of a Cushite (Ethiopian) wife.
 The tzara’at caused her to become tamei (defiled / impure), and she was exiled from the camp for the required period of seven days after “Moses cried out to the LORD, ‘Please, God, heal her!’”  (Numbers 12:13)
 Miriam lived many years after this, healed of her leprosy, and apparently never again allowed pride and arrogance to cause her to speak against the leadership of Moses.
Illustration of Jocheved, Miriam, and Moses
Jocheved, Miriam, and Moses (illustration from the
1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by
Charles Foster)
Miriam had played an important role in the prophetic fulfillment of God’s promise to bring Israel out of Egypt, and two of the biggest highlights involved water.
 She was the one who carefully watched over baby Moses as he floated among the reeds of the Nile River in a basket.  She bravely intervened and offered her mother’s services as a wet nurse when Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him.
 Miriam led the procession of women singing, dancing, and rejoicing with tambourines after God safely led the Israelites through the waters of the Red Sea on dry land while drowning the pursuing Egyptians army.
 Although Miriam was considered a leader and prophetess, her death is mentioned only briefly in the Scriptures.  No mention is made of the usual mourning period.  Rabbinic commentary suggests that Moses and Aaron buried her in the middle of the night (Yalkut Shimoni Mas’ei 787), and it seems that Moses and the people did not mourn her properly.
After Miriam’s death, the people thirsted for water and complained, yet again:
“Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to bring us to this terrible place, a seedless place without a fig or a vine or a pomegranate, without even water to drink?” (Numbers 20:5)
Since a vine can represent a mother at home with her children, like little shoots all around her table, some commentaries believe that the people who complained were mourning the loss of Miriam, who was like a mother to the Israelites, especially the women and children.  If so, they were misdirecting their anguish. (Psalm 128:3)
Mother strolls with infant in pram
A mother pushes her infant in a stroller on a street in Jerusalem.
The Well of Miriam
 According to Jewish tradition, a water-bearing rock followed the Israelites in the wilderness, but dried up and disappeared at Miriam’s death.  First Corinthians 10:1–4 is seen by some to confirm this rock:
“For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were mikvahed [baptized] into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Messiah.”
This rock is called the Well of Miriam because the water that flowed from it was based on her merit.
 One Jewish Midrash fills in the gaps found in this tersely-written Bible account of her death with the following story:
 “Miriam died, and the well was taken away so that Israel would recognize that it was through her merit that they had had the well. Moses and Aaron were weeping inside, and (the Children of) Israel were weeping outside, and for six hours Moses did not know (that the well was gone), until (the Children of) Israel entered and said to him: For how long will you sit and cry?
 “He said to them: Should I not cry for my sister who has died?  They said to him:  While you are crying for one person, cry for all of us!  He said to them:  Why?  They said to him:  We have no water to drink.  He got up from the ground and went out and saw the well without a drop of water (in it).  He began to argue with them….”  (Otzar Midrashim)
Torah Ark
This elaborately decorated Aron HaKoshesh
(Torah ark) houses and protects the Torah scrolls.
Whether a rock followed them, providing water, or Adonai gave them water wherever they went through other means, He did show mercy for their thirst, telling Moses to speak to the rock to bring forth water.
 Nevertheless, before following through on God’s command to give them water, Moses responded in anger to their complaining, or perhaps anger at Adonai for Miriam’s death, saying, “Listen, you rebels, shall we get water for you out of this rock?”  (Numbers 20:10)
 There is a play on words in this verse.  The Hebrew word for rebels (morim מרים) is spelled the same as the name Miriam (מרים) in Hebrew.
 It seems that Moses is thinking of his sister Miriam and had not yet properly mourned.  He may have misdirected his anger about her death toward the people.
 In his anger or frustration, Moses struck the rock twice and water gushed out giving the people water to drink — but God had told Moses to speak to the rock, not to strike it.
Moses failed to model obedience at a time when all of Israel was looking to him for leadership. Why did Moses strike the rock twice? Jesus is the rock and as a precursor of what was to happen, Jesus was struck in the hands and feet!
 Therefore, the name of the water was called Meribah (which means to argue, strive or contend).
“Those were the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with the LORD, and He proved Himself holy among them.” (Numbers 20:13)
This word, Meribah, can also be connected to Miriam.  It can be read Meri-bah, which means Miri[yam] is in it—that is, Miriam is in the waters of contention.
Although Miriam’s name means bitterness, it can also be read Miri–yam (Miri of the sea).  So, in yet another way, this “woman of the sea” is connected to the waters flowing out of the rock after her death.
Fun in Water and Sun
Children play in a Tel Aviv fountain.
Tending to Our Emotions
Although Moses never mentioned Miriam again after her death, and although she seemed to have been buried quickly, without great public ceremony, the memory of her has been irrepressible.
Like Moses’ anger that caused him to disobey God and strike the rock, whatever we repress instead of dealing with will ultimately demand attention.  And it might be expressed in ways not pleasing to God.  For instance, we must take the time to properly come to terms with our feelings of loss.
We must take the time to grieve, just as the people did at the end of this Torah reading for Aaron — six months after the death of Miriam.
Perhaps Moses did not take the time or did not have the luxury of that time because of his role as leader or because the people were thirsty.
Furthermore, it seems that Moses might not have brought his pain and disappointment to the Lord.  In not doing so, he missed an opportunity to model his trust and faith in God’s love.  Instead, he raged and disobeyed God.
If Moses cannot model faith during such times of loss, then it is only natural that many of us will suspect that we cannot.  But we can and must.
We can bring to Him our deepest pain, our darkest despair, and our broken hearts.  He will cleanse us spiritually from our contact with loss and death, and He will heal us.
May we likewise be healers, allowing rivers of living water to flow freely out of our inner being to help bring people back into a restored relationship with Adonai through the purification we experience in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).
“For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  (Revelation 7:17)

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The Marriage Feast of the Lamb in Jewish Wedding Customs

Since June is the month of weddings, there is no better time to reflect on the much anticipated gathering of the bride (kallah) and the wedding of the Lamb!
“For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. … Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”  (Revelation 19:7, 9)
While the exchange of covenant vows between a man and woman who love each other is a blessing in any culture, there are aspects of the Jewish wedding celebration that are rich in spiritual truths.
This ancient ritual prophetically points to the coming of the Messiah and the great celebration of the marriage supper of the Lamb.  It also teaches us unique lessons about God’s covenant love for His people.
One would be hard pressed to find an occasion more joyous than that of a Jewish wedding.  In Hebrew, it’s called a simcha (a joyous occasion).
“Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither people nor animals, there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom.”  (Jeremiah 33:10–11)
 
An Orthodox Jewish wedding in Jerusalem: Traditionally, the chatan
(groom) on the day of his wedding first wears the kittel (white linen garment),
which signifies purity, holiness, and new beginnings.  Thereafter, he wears it
on special occasions such as Rosh Hashanah (New Year’s), Yom Kippur
(Day of Atonement), and Pesach (Passover).
Since Yeshua (Jesus) used the model of the ancient Jewish marriage ceremony to refer to His future second coming, to recognize exactly what He was talking about, it’s helpful to understand the nature of marriage during His earthly ministry in Israel.
There are three distinct parts to the ancient Jewish wedding:
  • shiddukhin (mutual commitment),
  • erusin (engagement), and
  • nissuin (marriage).
Shiddukhin:  A Time of Mutual Commitment
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.’”  (Genesis 2:18)
Shiddukhin refers to the preliminary arrangements prior to the legal betrothal.
 
Signing the ketubah (marriage contract): in ancient times, the ketubah
protected the rights of the wife by specifying the groom’s responsibilities in
caring for her, and the amount of support that would be due her in the event
of a divorce. 
In ancient times, the father of the groom often selected a bride (kallah) for his son, as did Abraham for his son Isaac (Genesis 24:1-4).
In Ultra-Orthodox Judaism today, many marriages are still arranged by a marriage broker or matchmaker called a shadkhan.  It’s considered an exalted and holy vocation to find and arrange a good marital match, called a shiddukh, between a man and woman.
In ancient times, marriage was looked upon as more of an alliance for reasons of survival or practicality, and the concept of romantic love remained a secondary issue, if considered at all. Romantic love grew over time for some.

Rebecca at the Well, Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini
Of course, the consent of the bride-to-be is an important consideration. Rebecca (Rivkah), for example, was asked if she agreed to go back with Abraham’s servant to marry Abraham’s son, Isaac.  She went willingly (Genesis 24:57–59).
Likewise, we cannot be forced into a relationship with the Son, Yeshua (Jesus).
In the same way that Rebecca was asked if she would go with Abraham’s servant, the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) asks us if we are willing to follow Him to be joined in a covenant of love with Yeshua.
Traditionally, in preparation for the betrothal ceremony, the bride (kallah) and groom (chatan) are separately immersed in water in a ritual called the mikvah, which is symbolic of spiritual cleansing.
In Matthew 3:13–17, we read that Yeshua has already been immersed (baptized) by Yochanan (John) in the waters of mikvah at the Jordan River.
As the Bride-to-be, we are also asked to be immersed.
“Whoever believes and is baptized [ritually immersed] will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”  (Mark 16:16) 

A groom rejoices by dancing with his friends after immersing
himself in the mikvah.  The water for this mikvah bath is outside
and fed by a spring from which the natural water runs down a
hill into the mikvah, just outside of Jerusalem.

Erusin:  The Betrothal

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”  (Proverbs 18:22)
After the immersion, the couple entered the huppah (marriage canopy), symbolic of a new household being planned, to establish a binding contract.
Here, the groom would give the bride money or a valuable object such as a ring, and a cup of wine was customarily shared to seal their covenant vows.
In this public ceremony under the huppah, the couple entered into the betrothal period, which typically lasted for about a year.  Although they were considered married, they did not live together or engage in sexual relations.

An outdoor Jewish wedding under a huppah in Vienna
To annul this contract, the couple would need a religious divorce (get), which had to be initiated by the husband.
 Matthew 1:18–25 provides an excellent example of this.
 During the erusin of Yosef (Joseph) and Miriam (Mary), Yosef discovered that Miriam was pregnant, and he considered divorcing her, although he had not yet brought her home as his wife.
“…he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’”  (Matthew 1:19–20)
During the erusin period, the groom was to prepare a place for his bride, while the bride focused on her personal preparations—wedding garments, lamps, etc.
 Although the bride knew to expect her groom after about a year, she did not know the exact day or hour.  He could come earlier, and it was the father of the groom who gave final approval for him to return to collect his bride.
 For that reason, the bride kept her oil lamps ready at all times, just in case the groom came in the night, sounding the shofar (ram’s horn) to lead the bridal procession to the home he had prepared for her.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, by William Blake
In the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1–13), Yeshua (Jesus) likened the Kingdom of Heaven to this special period of erusin, when the groom comes for his bride:
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him!’  Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.”  (Matthew 25:6– 7)
So too today, in the season of Yeshua’s end-time return, we should be careful to remain alert and prepared for His coming, since Yeshua was speaking to His disciples prophetically about the condition of the Church in the last days.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  (Matthew 7:21)

In Jewish weddings today, there are two cups of
wine during the wedding ceremony.  After the rabbi
recites the betrothal blessings accompanying the
first cup, the couple drinks from it.  Since wine is
associated with Kiddish, the prayer of sanctification
recited on Shabbat, and since marriage is the
sanctification of the bride and groom to each other,
marriage is also called kiddushin.
Nissuin:  The Marriage
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  (John 14:3)
The final step in the Jewish wedding tradition is called nissuin (to take), a word that comes from naso, which means to lift up.
At this time, the groom, with much noise, fanfare and romance, carried the bride home.
Once again, the bride and groom would enter the huppah, recite a blessing over the wine (a symbol of joy), and finalize their vows.
Now, finally, they would consummate their marriage and live together as husband and wife, fully partaking of all the duties and privileges of the covenant of marriage.

It is traditional in some Jewish communities for the
bride to circle the groom seven times and then stand to
the groom’s right side under the huppah.  Since the
number seven biblically symbolizes completion and
perfection, this represents the wholeness and
completeness that they cannot attain separately.
Likewise, the Messiah, as the Bridegroom, has gone to prepare a place for us.
The day of the return of the Messiah for His Bride is soon approaching.
Although, we know approximately the time of His return from the signs of the times, “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”  (2 Peter 3:10)
The Bride (Believers in Yeshua) should be living consecrated lives, keeping themselves pure and holy in preparation for the Nissuin and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, when the Groom comes with the blast of the shofar (1 Thessalonians 4:16) to bring His Bride home.

A Jewish bride and groom take a walk beside the ocean together for the first
time as man and wife.
Traditional Jewish Marriages Today
“Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber [huppah].”  (Joel 2:16)
Today, in traditional Judaism, the erusin and the nissuin are combined into one.
The bride and groom sign the marriage contract (ketubah) in the presence of the rabbi and two witnesses before the ceremony.
Unlike a Christian wedding, where it’s generally taboo for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony, in a Jewish wedding, the groom must see his bride before the ceremony.
Why?  Remember the story of Laban, who tricked Jacob into marrying his eldest daughter, even though he loved Rachel?
Since Jacob didn’t ensure the identity of his bride, he ended up marrying the woman he thought would be his sister-in-law, Leah (Genesis 29).

Jacob Meets Rachel at the Well, by William Dyce
In ancient times, the wedding feast (seudah) after the nissuin might have included seven full days of food, music, dancing and celebrations (Judges 14:10–12).
Today, the Jewish ceremony is usually followed by a wedding supper and reception with food, wine, music, and dance!
However, Orthodox Jews do celebrate after the wedding for seven nights with friends and family, hosting festive meals in honor of the bride and groom.

Jewish Wedding in Morocco, by Eugene Delacroix (Louvre Museum)
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  (Revelation 21:1–2)
When Messiah returns for us, and everything in the world today indicates that this will be very soon, we will celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb with Him and our joy (simcha) will be beyond measure.
But there will be those who won’t share in our simcha or celebrate with us because they do not know Yeshua!
Now is the time to reach out to them, while we are still in the erusin period, before the Bridegroom comes.
“Behold, I am coming soon!  My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. … The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’  And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come.”  (Revelation 22:12, 17)
Now so much more can be said on how Jesus has already fulfilled the first two distinct parts to the ancient Jewish wedding, like the covenant has been fulfilled by God, giving us His word the Holy Bible! and how He plans on fulfilling the third! But for now the point is made, and I hope you have a fresh understanding on what is in God’s heart for you and me!
In these end times, please help us bring the Good News of Yeshua and of His Salvation to Israel and the world, so that everyone has the opportunity to come to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Time is Short!

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The Elements of the Passover Seder point to Christ

Bethlehem or the City of David means “House of Bread.”

Migdal Eder, the Tower of the Flock, was the place where lambs destined for the Temple were born and raised. Every firstborn male lamb from the area around Bethlehem was considered holy, set aside for sacrifice in Jerusalem. The Passover sacrifice also known as the “sacrifice of Passover”, the Paschal Lamb, or the the Passover lambs were slain in Solomon’s Temple.

The Seder is the traditional dinner that Jews partake of as part of Passover. The annual Passover commemoration is celebrated by nearly the entire Jewish community, bonding families and communities to their Jewish roots. Each year Jewish people, religious and non religious, celebrate the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by gathering and experiencing the Passover Seder.

The Hebrew word Seder means “order.” The Passover meal has a specific order in which food is eaten, prayers are recited, and songs are sung. Each item on the Passover plate has a specific historical meaning related to the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and their freedom from slavery. But 1 Corinthians 5:7 identifies Jesus Christ as our Passover; thus, the Seder carries a New Testament meaning related to Jesus the Messiah.

In the Seder, there are several strong symbols of Christ. One is the shank bone of a lamb, which reminds the participants of the feast of God’s salvation. During the tenth plague, God instructed the Israelites to daub their doorposts and lintels with the blood of a spotless lamb so that the Lord would “pass over” their homes and preserve the lives within (Exodus 12:1-13). This is a symbol of salvation in Egypt, but it is also a picture of Jesus who was and is the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29). His sacrifice preserves the lives of all who believe. The instructions for the original Passover specified that the lamb’s bones could not be broken (Exodus 12:46), another foreshadowing of Christ’s death (John 19:33).

Another symbol of Christ on the Seder plate is the matzoh, or unleavened bread. As the Jewish people left Egypt, they were in great haste and therefore had no time to allow their bread to rise. From then on, Passover was followed by the week long Feast of Unleavened Bread (Deuteronomy 16:3). There are some fascinating things about the matzoh that provide a remarkable picture of the Messiah.

For example, the matzoh is placed in a bag called an echad, which means “one” in Hebrew. But this one bag has three chambers. One piece of matzoh is placed into each chamber of the bag. The matzoh placed in the first chamber is never touched, never used, never seen. The second matzoh in the bag is broken in half at the beginning of the Seder, half of the broken matzoh is placed back in the echad, and the other half, called the Afikomen, is placed in a linen cloth. The third matzoh in the bag is used to eat the elements on the Seder plate.

The word echad is used in Genesis 2:24 (the man and his wife will become “echad,” or “one” flesh). The word also appears in Numbers 13:23 when the spies returned from Canaan with an echad cluster of grapes. In both cases, the word echad refers to a complex unity of one. Many Jews consider the three matzohs to represent Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But they cannot explain why they break “Isaac” in half or why they place half of the middle matzoh back in the echad and keep the other half out, wrapped in a cloth.

The meaning of the Seder’s ritual of the matzohs is understood with clues from the New Testament:

The Trinity is pictured in the matzohs. The first matzoh that remains in the bag throughout the Seder represents Ha Av, the Father whom no man sees. The third matzoh represents the Ruach Ha Kodesh, the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. And the second matzoh, the broken one, represents Ha Ben, the Son. The reason the middle matzoh is broken is to picture the broken body of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:24). The half put back in the echad represents Jesus’ divine nature, the other half, wrapped in a linen cloth and separated from the echad represents Jesus’ humanity as He remained on earth.

The linen cloth that wraps half of the second piece of matzoh suggests Jesus’ burial cloth. During the Seder, this linen cloth with the Afikomen inside is hidden, and after the dinner the children present look for it. Once the Afikomen is found, it is held as a ransom. Again, we see that these rituals point to Christ: He was fully God yet fully human; He was broken for us; He was buried, sought for, and resurrected; and His life was given a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Jesus is the completion of the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31, and the Passover Seder rituals bear that out.

Also, the matzoh used for the Passover Seder must be prepared a certain way. Of course, it must be unleavened, leaven is often equated with sin in the Scriptures, and Jesus is sinless. Second, the matzoh must be striped, Jesus’ “stripes” (His wounds) are what heal us spiritually (Isaiah 53:5). And, third, the matzoh must be pierced, Jesus was nailed to the cross (Psalm 22:16).

The other elements of the Seder plate are traditional reminders of the Israelite enslavement to the Egyptians. They are as follows:

Vegetable (Karpas) – This element, usually parsley, is dipped in salt water and eaten. The karpas pictures the hyssop that was used to apply the blood of the Passover lamb to homes of the Israelites in Egypt. In the New Testament, hyssop was used to give the Lamb of God vinegar when Jesus said He thirsted (John 19:29). The salt water represents the tears shed during the bitter years of slavery and the Red Sea that God split during the exodus.

Bitter Herbs (Maror) – The eating of “bitter herbs” is commanded in Exodus 12:8. In modern times, this is usually horseradish, one of the bitterest herbs. The maror reminds the Jews that they were unable to offer sacrifice and worship to God, and that was bitterer than the slavery of Egypt.

Charoset (haroseth) – Charoset is a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, and spices. It represents the mortar the Israelites used in the constructing buildings during their slavery to the Egyptians. Of all the elements of the Seder, charoset alone is sweet, and this is a reminder of the hope of redemption.

Hard-boiled or Roasted Egg (Baytzah) – Traditionally, hard-boiled eggs were eaten by mourners, and the egg is eaten during the Seder to remind participants that they are always in mourning for the loss of their temple. The fact that the egg is roasted evokes the roasting of the sacrifice on the altar of the temple.

There are also four cups of wine used at various points during the Seder. Each of these glasses of wine has a name: the first glass is the “cup of sanctification.” The second is the “cup of judgment.” The third is the “cup of redemption.” And the fourth is the “cup of praise.” At the Last Supper, Jesus took the first cup and promised His disciples that the next time He drank the fruit of the vine with them would be in the kingdom (Luke 22:17). Later in the Seder, Jesus took the third cup-the cup of redemption-and used that cup as a symbol of the New Covenant in His blood (Luke 22:20). Thus Jesus fulfilled the Passover symbolism and infused the whole feast with a new meaning.

In Exodus 6:6, the Lord God promised His people that He would save them from slavery: “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.” The phrase “with an outstretched arm” is repeated throughout the Old Testament in connection with Passover remembrances: Deuteronomy 4:34; 7:19; 9:29; 26:8; 2 Kings 17:36; Psalm 136:12; Jeremiah 32:21.

Can it be coincidence that, in the New Testament, the Messiah had both of His arms outstretched as He freed us from Sin and brought us Salvation?

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Good Friday and the Cross

Simply put, the meaning of the cross is death. And on Good Friday it meant Jesus death. From about the 6th century BC until the 4th century AD, the cross was an instrument of execution by the Romans that resulted in death by the most torturous and painful of ways. In crucifixion a person was either tied or nailed to a wooden cross and left to hang until dead. Death would be slow and excruciatingly painful; in fact, the word excruciating literally means “out of crucifying.” However, because of Christ and His death on the cross, the meaning of the cross today is completely different.

In Christianity, the cross is the intersection of God’s love and His justice. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The reference to Jesus as the Lamb of God points back to the institution of the Jewish Passover in Exodus 12. The Israelites were commanded to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and smear the blood of that lamb on the doorposts of their homes. The blood would be the sign for the Angel of Death to “pass over” that house, leaving those covered by blood in safety. When Jesus came to John to be baptized, John recognized Him and cried, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29), thereby identifying Him and God’s plan for Him to be sacrificed for sin.

One might ask why Jesus had to die in the first place. This is the over-arching message of the Bible-the story of redemption. God created the heavens and the earth, and He created man and woman in His image and placed them in the Garden of Eden to be His stewards on the earth. However, due to the temptations of Satan (the serpent), Adam and Eve sinned and fell from God’s grace. Furthermore, they have passed the curse of sin on to their children so that everyone inherits their sin and guilt. God the Father sent his one and only Son into the world to take on human flesh and to be the Savior of His people. Born of a virgin, Jesus avoided the curse of the fall that infects all other human beings. As the sinless Son of God, He could provide the unblemished sacrifice that God requires. God’s justice demanded judgment and punishment for sin; God’s love moved Him to send His one and only Son to be the propitiation for sin.

Because of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross, those who place their faith and trust in Him alone for salvation are guaranteed eternal life (John 3:16). However, Jesus called His followers to take up their cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). This concept of “cross-bearing” today has lost much of its original meaning. Typically, we use “cross-bearing” to denote an inconvenient or bothersome circumstance (e.g., “my troubled teen is my cross to bear”). However, we must keep in mind that Jesus is calling His disciples to engage in radical self-denial. The cross meant only one thing to a 1st-century person-death. “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). Galatians reiterates this theme of death of the sinful self and rising to walk in new life through Christ: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

There are places in the world where Christians are being persecuted, even to the point of death, for their faith. They know what it means to carry their cross and follow Jesus in a very real way. For those of us who are not being persecuted in such fashion, our job is still to remain faithful to Christ. Even if are never called to give the ultimate sacrifice, we must be willing to do so out of love for the One who saved us and gave His life for us.

 

Jesus died on the cross for redeeming our sin, a punishment for a rebellious man against God’s commands (Isaiah 53:3-12), so the meaning of the cross is: to remind a rebellious man against God’s command to repent! (Mathew 3:1-3; 10:38; 16:24; Galatians 5:22-25).and become a believer and follower of Jesus (John 3:16-18).

 

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HAPPY and THANKFUL THANKSGIVING!

We at whatshotn wish all our readers, followers, disciples and truth seekers,Happy Thanksgiving.  We appreciate each and every one of you.  We are thankful for your participation in the work that we are doing here.  Each one of you is a branch of the True Vine that is bearing much  fruit for the world to consume.  We are thankful for God’s grace that abides in us.  As you prepare for your family gathering, be mindful of all that we have to be thankful for on this great day.  Let your hearts be filled with love, joy and peace as you reach out and touch those that are in the greatest need this day.  We love you and again, we wish you, your families and ministries a HAPPY and THANKFUL THANKSGIVING.   May God provide all of you with His peace and mercy and grace on this day.  Make it a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.  You are blessed.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends and reflect on the blessings of the last year. Many of us experience renewed hope and faith during the Thanksgiving holiday because we turn our eyes onto what is most important. What if we spent time each day in giving thanks and prayer? How could God grow out faith and trust if we lived a life of thanks through all seasons and not just Thanksgiving time? When your heart is filled with gratitude, there is little room to worry or complain.

Bible Verses for Thanksgiving – Be encouraged with Scripture on why we should give thanks and how to express our gratitude. You can find many instances in the Bible that talk about giving thanks to God and Jesus for all the blessings we’ve received and take for granted! It’s so easy during the holiday season to be overwhelmed with all the tasks and activities to do. We often forget to stop and reflect on why we should be celebrating. Forget the food, forget the decorations, forget the shopping and read these Bible verses to meditate on all the ways God blesses us! Then share these Scriptures with your family and friends this Thanksgiving to help bring peace and joy to a season that is normally run by anxiety and stress!

Read our favorite thanksgiving prayers to inspire you and your family to talk about your blessings over Thanksgiving dinner. These are also wonderful to pray any day of the year as you seek to experience a heart of gratitude!

27 Thanksgiving Bible Verses

  • 2 Chronicles 5:13

    13 The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud,
  • 2 Corinthians 4:15

    15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:11

    11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
  • Jeremiah 30:19

    19 From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.
  • Nehemiah 12:46-47

    46 For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors for the musicians and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. 47 So in the days of Zerubbabel and of Nehemiah, all Israel contributed the daily portions for the musicians and the gatekeepers. They also set aside the portion for the other Levites, and the Levites set aside the portion for the descendants of Aaron.
  • Psalm 9:1

    1 I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
  • Philippians 4:6-7

    6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Colossians 3:16-17

    16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
  • Psalm 107:8-9

    8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, 9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
  • Psalm 95:2-3

    2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. 3 For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:4-5

    4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—
  • 2 Corinthians 4:15-16

    15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:11-12

    11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
  • Ephesians 1:15-16

    15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
  • 1 Timothy 4:4-5

    4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
  • 1 Chronicles 16:34

    34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
  • Psalm 7:17

    17 I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.
  • Psalm 28:7

    7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
  • Psalm 100:4

    4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
  • Psalm 106:1

    1 Praise the LORD.Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
  • Isaiah 12:4

    4 In that day you will say: “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.
  • Jeremiah 33:11

    11 the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying, “Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; his love endures forever.” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the LORD.
  • Romans 16:6

    6 Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18

    18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table.
From far and near we travel home,
Blessed that we are able.
Grateful for this sheltered place
With light in every window,
Saying welcome, welcome, share this feast
Come in away from sorrow.
Father, mother, daughter, son,
Neighbor, friend and friendless;
All together everyone in the gift of loving-kindness.
Grateful for whats understood,
And all that is forgiven;
We try so hard to be good,
To lead a life worth living.
Father, mother, daughter, son,
Neighbor, friend, and friendless;
All together everyone, let grateful days be endless.
Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table.

Happy Thanksgiving Day

O Heavenly Father:
We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service.
That Thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.

 

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Are You ready for the Jewish High Holy Days 5776/2016- 5777/2017?

For our Messianic Jew Brothers and Sisters, Shalom!

“These are My appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.”  (Leviticus 23:2)
The very special and holy time known as the High Holy Days—Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)—is just around the corner.
These Biblical feasts and fasts, which are called moadim in Hebrew, are appointed times.
The Book of Leviticus in the Torah specifies the reason for each of them and how they are to be celebrated.
Although many people, including Christians, consider these holidays to be “Jewish holidays,” the moadim are in fact God’s Holy Days and festivals.
As such, they are entirely relevant to anyone who wants to know Him and have a better understanding of the New Covenant.  We invite you to share this special season with us!
“These are the LORD’s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times.”  (Leviticus 23:4)

This Jewish Israeli wears his tallit (prayer shawl) over his head as he blows a
shofar fashioned from a Greater Kudu horn.
Sounding the Shofar in Preparation of Rosh HaShanah
We are now in the final days of Elul, the Hebrew month that is set aside as a time to repent and begin the process of asking for forgiveness in preparation for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
Because of that, the shofar has been and is continuing to be sounded every morning except Shabbat in many Orthodox Jewish communities.
Its piercing, haunting sound stirs our hearts to seek God and repent of the sin in our lives.

Ram’s horn shofar: the call of the shofar is a call to teshuvah (repentance).
A well-known and greatly respected Jewish sage of the Middle Ages, Maimonides, likened the sound of the shofar to an alarm call that awakens us:
“Sleepers, arise from your slumber, and those who are dozing, awake from your lethargy.  Review your actions, repent from your sins, and remember your Creator!”  (Hilchot Teshuvah 3)
Likewise, the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) exhorts us to wake from our spiritual slumber and make the most of our time by loving and following God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, rather than following empty or frivolous pursuits.
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Messiah will shine on you.  Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”  (Ephesians 5:14–16)

An Orthodox man earnestly petitions Elohim (God) at the Western Wall.
Selichot Confessions
As the new year approaches and the month of Elul draws to a close, the call to repentance is being felt all the more urgently throughout the Jewish community.
Since Rosh HaShanah begins on the evening of October 2, special penitential prayers called Selichot (pronounced s’lee-KHOT, meaning forgiveness) were added today to the daily morning prayer service in Ashkenazi communities (Jews of France, Germany, and Eastern Europe and their descendants).
However, the Sephardic Jewish community (Jews of Spain, Portugal, North Africa and the Middle East and their descendants) has been saying these special prayers throughout the month of Elul.
And they are not short; they add an extra 45 minutes to the regular daily morning service.
Moreover, they are often recited before the sun rises.
A central theme found throughout these prayers is the 13 Attributes of Mercy (Shelosh-Esreh Middot), which were revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai and enumerated in Exodus.
“The Lord, The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin.  Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished.”  (Exodus 34:6–7)

Selichot is prayed before the morning prayers.
The Hebrew word selichot is related to slichah, which is the equivalent expression for excuse me, I’m sorry, and forgive me.
Although we strive to live a pure and holy life before God, all of us sin and fall short of the glory of God.
Each one of us needs to repent and seek forgiveness for the many errors we make that hurt both ourselves and others.
“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.”   (Lamentations 3:40)

The days before Rosh HaShanah and throughout the High Holy Days are
characterized by seeking and extending forgiveness.
This is a special time in which we request forgiveness from those we have wronged and extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us.
Jewish tradition, in fact, holds that God cannot forgive us for sins that we commit against another until we obtain forgiveness from the person we wronged.
Forgiveness and saying sorry can be life changing.
They are crucial to leaving the past behind and moving forward with God’s plan for our lives.
Asking for forgiveness is pivotal to repentance, a closer walk with God and to successful relationships with our family, friends and our fellowman.

Women pray in Jerusalem.
Yeshua (Jesus) also identified unforgiveness as a critical issue.
He said that it would keep us from receiving forgiveness from our Heavenly Father.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  (Matthew 6:14–15)
Since fallen human nature leads to sin and unforgiveness, God provided this special time to focus on repentance and forgiveness.

A Jewish man seeks God at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem.
This period of Selichot, repentance and forgiveness does not end on the last day of Elul, which is next Sunday.
In most Jewish communities, Selichot will continue to be recited in prayer services right through the Days of Awe or Ten Days of Repentance, a special ten-day period that begins with Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) on October 2, and culminates with Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) on October 12.
This ten-day period is an even more intensive time of introspection and self-examination.
It provides everyone the opportunity to survey the condition of their lives and hearts and get right with God.
Yis-RA-El

Yis-RA-El

Interestingly enough, the very name Israel (pronounced Yis-RA-el in Hebrew) can be taken to mean right with God, from two Hebrew words—Yashar (straight, right, or honest) and El (God).

An Orthodox man in Jerusalem meditates on the
Tehillim (Psalms).
During these final days of Elul and throughout the High Holiday season, may we each be challenged to look inside ourselves, asking the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to reveal hidden sin in our hearts and lives.
Over the next three weeks, please join with the Jewish People worldwide and here in Israel, repeating the prayer of the Psalmist David:
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  (Psalm 139:23–24)
Amen!

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Are Christians Required To Keep The Jewish Sabbath Day?

The command to observe the Sabbath day was given to Israel EXCLUSIVELY. It was not given to the Gentiles. It was given to Israel as the SIGN of the Mosaic Covenant

“Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations,  for a perpetual covenant.” Exodus 31:16 (KJV)

The Reason for the Jewish Sabbath

If God instituted the “Sabbath” before the “Fall of Man,” it seems strange that the fact is not recorded in Genesis, and that Adam was not told to observe it. Nowhere in the Book of Genesis do we read of Adam, or any of his descendants, or Noah, or Abraham observing the Sabbath. The only hint we have of a “seven-fold” division of days is found in Genesis 7:4, 10, when seven days of grace were granted before the Flood came, and in Genesis 8:8-12, where a seven day period elapsed between the sending forth of the dove.

The first place we read of the Sabbath is in Exodus 16:23-26, in connection with the gathering of the manna–“Six days ye shall gather it; but on the SEVENTH day, WHICH IS THE SABBATH, in it there shall be none.” Here we have the “SEVENTH” day designated as “THE SABBATH.” That the “Seventh Day” of the “Creative Week” was a type of the Sabbath is clear from Exodus 20:11–“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the SEVENTH day; wherefore the Lord blessed the SABBATH DAY, and hallowed it.” But we have no evidence that the Sabbath was commanded to be observed until after the Exodus, and the reason is clear. God’s “Rest Day” was broken by the “Fall of Man,” and there could be no “rest” until redemption was brought in, and this was typically brought in by the redemption of the children of Israel from Egypt through the offering of the “Passover Lamb,” a type of Christ.

The purpose of their deliverance was that they might find rest in Canaan from the weary toil and slavery of Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15). When a few weeks later the “Ten Commandments” were given on Mt. Sinai, the Lord said to Israel, “REMEMBER the Sabbath Day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8), the Sabbath Day they were to remember was not the “Seventh Day” on which God rested, but the “Day” that God had appointed as the “Sabbath Day” at the time of the giving of the manna.

The Sabbath Was Given to Israel alone

The command to observe the Sabbath day was given to Israel EXCLUSIVELY. It was not given to the Gentiles. It was given to Israel as the “SIGN” of the “Mosaic Covenant.” “Verily My Sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a ‘SIGN’ between Me and you throughout your generations” (Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12, 19-21). The Sabbath Day then belongs to the Jews alone and is not binding on the Gentiles (the world), or on the Church (Christians). Nowhere in the Bible do you find God finding fault with any nation or people, except the Jewish nation, for not observing the Sabbath. As a Jewish ordinance it has never been abrogated, changed, or transferred to any other day of the week, or to any other people. It is now in abeyance as foretold in Hosea 2:11 it would be.

It is to be resumed when the Jews are nationally restored to their own land (Isaiah 66:23; Ezekiel 44:24; 46:1-3). If this be true, then the “Sabbath” does not belong to the Church, and is not to be observed by Christians, for the “Sabbath Day” is a part of “THE LAW,” and Christians are not under “LAW,” but under “GRACE” (Romans 6:14). In his letter to the Galatian Christians Paul reproved them for going back to the “Law,” and declared that those who did so were “under the CURSE” (Galatians 3:10). “How turn you again to the ‘beggarly elements’ (religious ordinances) whereunto you desire again to be in bondage? You observe DAYS (Sabbath and Feast Days), and months, and times, and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain” (Galatians 4:9-11). “Let no man therefore judge you in meats or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the SABBATH” (Colossians 2:16). If Christians are under obligations to keep the “Jewish Sabbath,” then they are under the Jewish “Ceremonial Law” and should observe all the ordinances and Feast Days of the Jewish Ritual.

The Christian Church does not replace the Jews or Israel

As an institution of Judaism, the Sabbath, with all the “Feast Days” and other ritualistic ceremonies and offerings of Judaism, ceased to function with the close of the Jewish Dispensation. The JEWISH Sabbath was not changed to the CHRISTIAN Sabbath, any more than “Circumcision” was changed to “Baptism.” There is no such thing as the “CHRISTIAN Sabbath.” “Sabbath” has to do with LAW, and “Christian” with GRACE, and to join “LAW” and “GRACE” is to unite what God has forever separated. After the Resurrection, Christ and His Disciples never met on the “Sabbath” but on the “FIRST DAY of the week” (John 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).

It is true that they went into the Jewish Synagogues on the Sabbath, but not to worship, but that they might have opportunity to preach the Gospel. The “First Day of the Week” is the day to be observed for rest and worship by the Christian Church. It is prefigured in the Old Testament as the “EIGHTH DAY,” or the “DAY AFTER THE SABBATH.” “You shall bring a sheaf of the ‘FIRST-FRUITS’ of your harvest unto the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for  you; on the ‘MORROW AFTER THE SABBATH’ the priest shall wave it” (Leviticus 23:10-11).

The Church and Israel are separate but equal

Jesus-WHATSHOTNWhat did that “First Fruits” typify? Read 1 Corinthians 15:20–“Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the ‘FIRST-FRUITS’ of them that slept.” When did Christ rise from the dead and become the “FIRST-FRUITS?” Not on the “Sabbath,” for He lay dead in the tomb on that day, but on the “FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK,” on the “MORROW AFTER THE SABBATH.” The fact that the “Birthday” of the Church was at Pentecost, and that fell on the “First Day of the Week,” is further proof that the Church should keep the “First Day of the Week” and not the “Seventh” day or “SABBATH.” The Jewish Sabbath links man with the “Old Dispensation,” the “First Day of the Week” links man with the “New.”

“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:” Colossians 2:16 (KJV)

It is claimed that the Roman Catholic Church changed the day of rest from the “Seventh Day” to the “First Day of the Week,” but the claim is false, for the Papacy did not exist until a long time after the “First Day of the Week” had become a fixed day for Christian worship. It is a noteworthy fact that the whole of the “Ten Commandments” (Exodus 20:1-17) are reaffirmed in the New Testament, except the “Fourth Commandment” regarding the Sabbath (Romans 13:8-10; Ephesians 6:1-2; James 5:12; 1 John 5:21). Why this omission if the Law of the “Sabbath” is still in force?

It is called the “LORD’S DAY.” It belongs to Him. It is not called a “rest day” in the Bible. It is a day that should be filled with worship and service and holy activity. It is not a day to be spent in laziness or pleasure, or the giving of sacred concerts and the discussion of worldly betterment schemes, but a day for the teaching and preaching of the Word of God. Clarence Larkin 1918

 

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SHOULD CHRISTIANS BE CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS?

LOOKING AT CHRISTMAS FROM THE BIBLE’S PERSPECTIVE

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

Let me begin this article by hitting a direct shot across the bow of what is wrong, from the bible’s perspective, with the idea of Christians celebrating Christmas as it has come to be known in America. In a word (or two), it is Santa Claus, the great counterfeit of Satan.

I list a series of points based on Scripture, why Santa Claus is a satanic creation and something that no bible believer should have anything to do with. Please take a moment and read what is listed there. If you are a teachable believer whose heart and mind are open to follow what the Lord has declared to be true, then you will find it to be a timely and necessary eye-opener.Now let us go on to some common objections that Christians raise regarding Christmas.

Santa Claus: The Devil’s Counterfeit:

The modern-day Santa Claus is an American version of Saint Nicholas, a fourth century Roman Catholic bishop from Asia Minor who was noted for his good deeds and gift giving. This tradition first spread throughout Europe, and then found its way to America by the early Dutch settlers. Since God’s word warns us to BEWARE of tradition (Col. 2:8), we shouldn’t be surprised to find the Devil right in the middle of the world’s most celebrated holiday.

santa-claus

 

Lucifer’s desire has always been to dethrone God and exalt himself (Isa. 14:12-15). He desires worship (Luke 4:7; II Ths. 2:3-4). Perhaps you’ve never thought of it, but please note how Satan robs the Lord Jesus Christ of His glory by spreading the Santa Claus tradition

SANTA IS ETERNAL
A child knows nothing of his beginning. To a child, Santa has just always existed.

JESUS CHRIST IS ETERNAL
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8)

SANTA LIVES IN THE NORTH
Tradition holds that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, a place ABOVE the rest of us.

JESUS CHRIST LIVES IN THE NORTH
“Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” (Psa. 48:2)

SANTA WEARS RED CLOTHING
Santa wears a red furry suit.

JESUS CHRIST WEARS RED CLOTHING
“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” (Rev. 19:13)

SANTA HAS WHITE HAIR
Santa is always pictured as an old man with white hair like wool.

JESUS CHRIST HAS WHITE HAIR
“His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;” (Rev. 1:14)

SANTA IS OMNISCIENT
Children are taught that Santa “knows when you’ve been good, and he knows when you’ve been bad”.

JESUS CHRIST IS OMNISCIENT
“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Pro. 15:3) “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” (Mat. 9:4)

The 2 most common objections to the celebration of Christmas:

The Christmas tree: In Jeremiah 10, we read of something that sounds a lot like a modern-day Christmas tree. “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.” Jeremiah 10:2-5

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Analysis: This passage has to do with the creation of an idol to worship, something that you would bow down to, and give homage to. God is against idol worship in all forms. Having said that, I personally do not worship my Christmas tree. To me, it looks nice, fills the house with the sweet scent of pine, and I like the twinkling lights I put on it. Now, let every man be convinced in his own heart. If you are convicted of having a Christmas tree, then don’t have one. But don’t be a legalistic shrew and spoil someone else’s pleasure in enjoying the beauty of a tree that God created. And if someone needs correcting on this matter, why don’t you do us all a favor and let the Holy Spirit do the correcting? Amen.

The pagan roots of December 25th: How, then, did the Romish Church fix on December the 25th as Christmas-day? Why, thus: Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise time of the year, in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ. Alexander Hislop

Analysis: Yes, it is true that the pagan roots of a celebration on December go back all way to ancient Babylon. It is also true that the Catholic church took a pagan feast day, and renamed it as a celebration of the birth of Jesus. This is where our modern celebration of Christmas comes from. So the knee-jerk reaction would be to not celebrate the day, seeing as it has it’s roots in paganism. But in doing so, a serious problem arises.

If your desire is to remove all connection between you and pagan holidays and symbols, then the first thing you need to do is to no longer use or have any connection with using the days of the week. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…they all have strong pagan meanings and symbolism from Greek mythology attached to them. Can you imagine trying to function in this world and not use the days of the week as they currently exist? You couldn’t do it. But there is no need to not use the pagan names for the days of the week, because you do not attach any pagan meaning to them. When you say you are going to do something on Thursday, you mean the day between Wednesday and Friday. You do not mean to give glory to the Greek god Thor, for whom the day is named. Right? And so is the samelogic applied to Christmas on December 25th.

The bible does not same what day Jesus was born, though it was probably sometime in September or October. It is never wrong to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, on December 25th or on any other day you choose to celebrate. Again, it is the ‘thoughts and intent of your heart’ that is at issue, and not a particular day.

Conclusion: If you truly wish to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, then do it in spirit and in truth. Make Him the focus, and cut Santa Claus out of the picture. Santa doesn’t figure anywhere in the true Christmas story.

yeshua-hamaschiac-salvation

Jesus came to this world as a babe in the manger, but He will never again be that little child. He and He alone bore YOUR SINS on the cross, and it is only His Shed Blood which can redeem you. So if you want to have a manger scene, why don’t you put a bloody cross next to it? Because without that bloody cross, a baby in the manger is meaningless.

At Christmas time, we love to give gifts to our loved ones, but what about the greatest gift of all? Is the sweet child you are giving the 10-speed bike to also a child of the King? Are YOU a child of the King? HINT: If Christmas and Easter are the two times you attend church each year, then maybe you need to get saved.

Santa Claus, reindeer, elves and presents have nothing to do with any day that might be called Christmas. If these elements are prominent in your celebration, then you are indeed celebrating something pagan in nature. If you bow down to anything other than the Holy God of the bible, then you are giving worship where it ought not go. If you are lying to your children, and making them believe that Santa is bringing them gifts, then that is a sin. And you should repent immediately. You should be telling them about the Gift that Jesus wants to give them.

It is all about Jesus Christ and Him alone. He will share His glory with no one, especially not with Santa Claus.

But if you from a pure heart want to celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th, and your sins have been paid for, and you are eagerly looking forward to His soon return, then I only have Two things to say to you, Remember you once were a pagan and a Very Merry Christmas!

Contribution made by: NTEB NEWS DESK

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How did Jesus fulfill the meanings of the Jewish feasts?

The way in which Jesus fulfilled the Jewish feasts is a fascinating study. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Jewish prophet Amos records that God declared He would do nothing without first revealing it to His servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7). From the Old Covenant to the New, Genesis to Revelation, God provides picture after picture of His entire plan for mankind and one of the most startling prophetic pictures is outlined for us in the Jewish feasts of Leviticus 23.

The Hebrew word for “feasts” (moadim) literally means “appointed times.” God has carefully planned and orchestrated the timing and sequence of each of these seven feasts to reveal to us a special story. The seven annual feasts of Israel were spread over seven months of the Jewish calendar, at set times appointed by God. They are still celebrated by observant Jews today. But for both Jews and non-Jews who have placed their faith in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, these special days demonstrate the work of redemption through God’s Son.

The first four of the seven feasts occur during the springtime (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Weeks), and they all have already been fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament. The final three holidays (Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles) occur during the fall, all within a short fifteen-day period.

Many Bible scholars and commentators believe that these fall feasts have not yet been fulfilled by Jesus. However, the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) for all believers in Jesus Christ is that they most assuredly will be fulfilled. As the four spring feasts were fulfilled literally and right on the actual feast day in connection with Christ’s first coming, these three fall feasts, it is believed by many, will likewise be fulfilled literally in connection to the Lord’s second coming.

In a nutshell, here is the prophetic significance of each of the seven Levitical feasts of Israel:

1) Passover (Leviticus 23:5) – Pointed to the Messiah as our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening (John 19:14).

2) Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6) – Pointed to the Messiah’s sinless life (as leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible), making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.

3) First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10) – Pointed to the Messiah’s resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the “first fruits from the dead.”

4) Weeks or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16) – Occurred fifty days after the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and pointed to the great harvest of souls and the gift of the Holy Spirit for both Jew and Gentile, who would be brought into the kingdom of God during the Church Age (see Acts 2). The Church was actually established on this day when God poured out His Holy Spirit and 3,000 Jews responded to Peter’s great sermon and his first proclamation of the gospel.

5) Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24) – The first of the fall feasts. Many believe this day points to the Rapture of the Church when the Messiah Jesus will appear in the heavens as He comes for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:52).

6) Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27) – Many believe this prophetically points to the day of the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth. That will be the Day of Atonement for the Jewish remnant when they “look upon Him whom they have pierced,” repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11:1-6, 25-36).

Biblical Feasts Lev237) Tabernacles or Booths (Leviticus 23:34) – Many scholars believe that this feast day points to the Lord’s promise that He will once again “tabernacle” with His people when He returns to reign over all the world (Micah 4:1-7).

Should Christians celebrate these Levitical feast days of Israel today? Whether or not a Christian celebrates the Jewish feast days would be a matter of conscience for the individual Christian. Colossians 2:16-17 tells us, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Christians are not bound to observe the Jewish feasts the way an Old Testament Jew was, but we should not criticize another believer who does or does not observe these special days and feasts (Romans 14:5).

While it is not required for Christians to celebrate the Jewish feast days, it is beneficial to study them. Certainly, it could be beneficial to celebrate these days if it leads one to a greater understanding and appreciation for Christ’s death and resurrection and the future promise of His coming. As Christians, if we choose to celebrate these special days, we should put Christ in the center of the celebration, as the One who came to fulfill the prophetic significance of each of them.

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To my Friends all around the World Merry CHRISTmas and a Happy New Year!

To my friends all around the world Merry CHRISTmas;

Afrikaans Gesëende Kersfees
Afrikander Een Plesierige Kerfees
African/ Eritrean/ Tigrinja Rehus-Beal-Ledeats
Albanian Gezur Krislinjden
Arabic: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Argentine: Feliz Navidad
Armenian: Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Azeri: Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Bahasa Malaysia: Selamat Hari Natal
Basque: Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Bengali: Shuvo Naba Barsha
Bohemian: Vesele Vanoce
Brazilian: Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
Breton: Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat
Bulgarian: Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
Catalan: Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou!
Chile: Feliz Navidad
Chinese: (Cantonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun

Merry CHRISTmas!!

Merry CHRISTmas!!

Chinese: (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
Choctaw: Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito
Columbia: Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo
Cornish: Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Corsian: Pace e salute
Crazanian: Rot Yikji Dol La Roo
Cree: Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
Croatian: Sretan Bozic
Czech: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish: Glædelig Jul
Duri: Christmas-e- Shoma Mobarak
Dutch: Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast
English: Merry Christmas

Eskimo: (inupik) Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo!
Esperanto: Gajan Kristnaskon
Estonian: Ruumsaid juulup|hi
Faeroese: Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjar!
Farsi: Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Finnish: Hyvaa joulua
Flemish: Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar
French: Joyeux Noel
Frisian: Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
Galician: Bo Nada
Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!
German: Froehliche Weihnachten
Greek: Kala Christouyenna!
Hausa: Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka
Hebrew: Mo’adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Hindi: Shub Naya Baras
Hausa: Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Hawaian: Mele Kalikimaka ame Hauoli Makahiki Hou!
Hungarian: Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Icelandic: Gledileg Jol
Indonesian: Selamat Hari Natal
Iraqi: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Irish: Nollaig Shona Dhuit or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat
Iroquois: Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay.
Italian: Buone Feste Natalizie
Japanese: Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Jiberish: Mithag Crithagsigathmithags
Korean: Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Latin: Natale hilare et Annum Faustum!
Latvian: Prieci’gus Ziemsve’tkus un Laimi’gu Jauno Gadu!
Lausitzian: Wjesole hody a strowe nowe leto
Lettish: Priecigus Ziemassvetkus
Lithuanian: Linksmu Kaledu
Low Saxon: Heughliche Winachten un ‘n moi Nijaar
Macedonian: Sreken Bozhik
Maltese: IL-Milied It-tajjeb
Manx: Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa
Maori: Meri Kirihimete
Marathi: Shub Naya Varsh
Navajo: Merry Keshmish
Norwegian: God Jul or Gledelig Jul
Occitan: Pulit nadal e bona annado
Papiamento: Bon Pasco
Papua New Guinea: Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go

long yu
Pennsylvania German: En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
Peru: Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo
Philipines: Maligayan Pasko!
Polish: Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie
Portuguese: Feliz Natal
Pushto: Christmas Aao Ne-way Kaal Mo Mobarak Sha
Rapa-Nui (Easter Island): Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua
Rhetian: Bellas festas da nadal e bun onn
Romanche (sursilvan dialect): Legreivlas fiastas da Nadal e bien niev onn!
Rumanian: Sarbatori vesele
Russian: Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Sami: Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Sardinian: Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou
Serbian: Hristos se rodi
Slovakian: Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce
Sami: Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Scots Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil huibh
Serb-Croatian: Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina
Serbian: Hristos se rodi.
Singhalese: Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
Slovak: Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
Slovene: Vesele Bozicne. Screcno Novo Leto

Certificate of Birth for Jesus Christ!

Certificate of Birth for Jesus Christ!

Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Swedish: God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År
Tagalog: Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon
Tami: Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal
Trukeese: (Micronesian) Neekiriisimas annim oo iyer seefe feyiyeech!
Thai: Sawadee Pee Mai
Turkish: Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Ukrainian: Srozhdestvom Kristovym
Urdu: Naya Saal Mubarak Ho
Vietnamese: Chung Mung Giang Sinh
Welsh: Nadolig Llawen
Yugoslavian: Cestitamo Bozic
Yoruba: E ku odun, e ku iye’dun!

Over 2,000 years ago a little baby boy was born in a little town call Bethlehem. He wasn’t born in the biggest town, He wasn’t born to the wealthiest, or most powerful parents. He was born in a small town in a Stable. He was born as the son of a Virgin and a Carpenter, but really the Son of God. Jesus could have been born anywhere, but from birth, He demonstrated how humble He is. We celebrate the birth of our Lord a savior Jesus, a birth like no other, a birth that would change the world forever, a birth of our Lord of Lords, King of Kings, a birth that gave hope to a sinful world. We remember and humble ourselves, realizing the true meaning of Christmas, we remember by sharing love, not just on Christmas, but throughout the year. Tomorrow we say, “happy birthday Jesus’. Thank You Jesus!!!!! Merry Christmas to all my family and friends!!!! I love you!!!

“He that had no room in the inn. Has promised if we make room for him in our hearts, he make room for us in his home. What a deal. Beautiful post. Thank you.”

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