Psalm 83- Then and Now.

The Psalms are a wonderful collection of the poetry David created, as well as from other authors. Moses is credited to have written Psalm 90, and 12 Psalms (Psalm 50 and Psalms 73-83) are credited to Asaph.  Asaph was one of the Temple leaders in charge of the musicians during the time of King David.

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It struck me that many of these psalms Asaph wrote don’t seem to be at the time of King David. They talk often of how God has abandoned his people and ask for his intervention to save them from their adversaries.

Here are some examples (all my quotes are from the CJB):

Psalm 74:

(1) Why have you rejected us forever, God? ;

(9-11) We see no signs, there is no prophet anymore; none of us knows how long it will last. How much longer, God, will the foe jeer at us? Will the enemy insult our name forever?

Psalm 79:

(1) God, the pagans have entered your heritage. They have defiled your holy temple and turned Yerushalayim into rubble.

(5) How long, Adonai? Will you be angry forever?

Psalm 80:

(15-17) God of armies, please come back! Look from heaven, see, and tend this vine! (referring to Yehuda) Protect what your right hand planted, the son you made strong for yourself.

 

It is clear to me that the references in these psalms could not have been at the time of David, or even Solomon since the kingdom did not have these issues of abandonment. However, when we consider that the Bible often refers to descendants using the name of their ancestor, even when it is generations later, these psalms could have been written by the descendants of Asaph, who would have been fulfilling the same role in the Second Temple during the time of Nehemiah as the original Asaph did under King David. If this is the case, then the references to God having judged, punished and abandoned the people, with their enemies having taken over, would make sense.

Now we come to Psalm 83. As I read this psalm, I was not transported back to the days of the Second Temple; on the contrary, I was thinking about today.

Verses 5-9 say this:

They say, “Come, let’s wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” With one mind they plot their schemes; the covenant they have made is against you- the tents of Edom and the Yishma’elim, Mo’av and the Hagrim, G’val, ‘Amon and ‘Amalek, P’leshet with those living in Tzor; Ashur too is allied with them, to reinforce the descendants of Lot. 

Who are these countries today? They are Jordan, Iraq, and the surrounding countries. The plans they made to wipe out God’s people way back in the time of Nehemiah (about 450 BCE) are still being made this very day. Modern-day attacks are no different than what these ancient civilizations tried to do. Today, they fire rockets to kill innocent civilians, they build tunnels to invade the country, and there are even political attacks from European countries (such as the Brexit movement) and the United Nations. There are even attacks from within our own Congress! These recent activities were, and are, intended to do just what the Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans tried to do, which is to destroy God’s people.

Yet, Israel remains. And it is not just surviving, but thriving! And where are the Babylonians? The Philistines? The Romans? The Assyrians?

Let’s not stop there: what about the Crusades? The Spanish Inquisition? And, of course, the Nazi’s- where are they all today?  Gone, and what is left of their country is no longer a world power. In fact, some of these countries are barely surviving.

Psalm 83 ends with a request to God to shatter and destroy the enemies of Israel, to let them be ashamed forever, and to let them know that “you alone, whose name is Adonai, is the Most High over all the Earth.” 

I see the End Days approaching, prophecy coming true as the whole world seems to be reviving Anti-Semitism and coming against Israel. This is what the Prophets told us would happen, what Messiah said would happen, and what was revealed to John when he had his vision on the island of Patmos. God is done judging Israel- now he is turning his wrath upon the nations of the world, the Goyim, for their part in all they have done to try to destroy the apple of God’s eye.

We should be calling out to God for his help, but not to stop the terror. Yes, pray for Israel, but not that it finds a peace which men make, but that it finds the eternal peace God will provide for it. That means it must go through the fire, so pray for the trip to be swift.

We are going to be hurt. Israel and the Jewish people, as well as those that support them,  will not be judged, but as the nations are judged the Jewish people will feel the brunt of the hatred that the nations will have for God’s punishment.  It is inevitable, it is no longer coming but has already arrived, and it will get worse! It’s fine to pray and cry for relief, but I recommend you also steel yourself for the coming tsuris. Pray for strength, pray to maintain your faith, and pray that God’s work is finished swiftly.

I do not look forward to the destruction, strife, and evil that will be perpetrated in the near future. No one wants this to happen, but it is God’s plan and I will not turn my face away from God. I do not want to hear someone tell me, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” There has never been a lasting peace between men, so why waste time asking for it? And why even expect that it could happen?

Do the right thing and ask God to send the Messiah so we can have eternal peace, the kind that only God can create.

Thank you for being here, and please subscribe (if you haven’t already); don’t neglect to check out the books I have written. If you like what you are hearing on my ministry website, you will also enjoy my books.  And I always welcome comments and conversation- all I ask is that you be nice.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

How Should We Really Pray for The Peace of Jerusalem?

In the Gospels, when Yeshua (Jesus) is in the garden praying to God, he asks if the cup can be passed from him. He was asking, “Lord? Do I really have to go through this? Isn’t there a Plan B?”

And the answer he gave himself was, “Thy will be done.”

Do you know where we commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem? Nowhere. There is nowhere in the Bible we are commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The Torah is where we find God’s instructions and there are none telling us we must pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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We are asked to pray for the peace of Jerusalem by King David in Psalm 122:5-6, where he says:

For there the thrones of judgment stand, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you prosper. May there be peace within your walls, and prosperity inside your fortresses.”

This psalm is asking that we pray for peace in Jerusalem so that there is peace in the house of David, and also in the house of Adonai.

Since its formation as a state in 1948, Israel (and Jerusalem as its capital) has been attacked daily by her enemies, which surround her on all sides. These attacks aren’t just military or terroristic; Israel is also being attacked economically, it is being lied about in the media, and it’s people are attacked throughout the European nations through anti-Semitic activities, such as in France and many former Soviet Union states, to name a few.

Even in the Congress of the United States, there is a New York Representative who is blatantly anti-Semitic! New York has always had a tremendously large Jewish population, yet here is a New Yorker who is obviously against Israel. Let’s not forget to mention there are some representatives from other states who also demonstrate a public persona that is anti-Semitic.

With regards to Jerusalem and Israel, we have prayed and prayed until our tallitot are frayed, and yet there is no peace. Is God ignoring his people? Does God want the enemies of the Jews to succeed?  Are we praying the wrong way?

I believe we are praying the wrong way, or maybe I should rephrase that: I believe we are praying for the wrong kind of peace.

First off, let’s all see if we can agree on this: whatever God wants to happen, will happen. Are we all OK with that? Good.

Next, let’s see what God intends for Jerusalem and Israel, so we know what he wants to happen:

Zechariah 12:3– On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.

Luke 21:24– Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Isaiah 34:1-2- For the Lord’s anger is against all the nations. And His anger is against all their armies. He has destroyed all of them. He has given them over to be killed.

Revelation 21:1-3– 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. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

 

These are just a few of the many verses telling about Jerusalem and Israel in the End Days, called the Acharit HaYamim.  God has punished Israel for her sins, and since the re-establishment of the State of Israel, the regathering promised throughout the Tanakh by nearly every prophet has been underway. The time of Israel’s punishment is over, and the time for the punishment of the nations is starting.

However, that doesn’t mean Israel is going to have peace- not yet.

God’s plan is that all the nations of the earth will come against Israel, and when the end of Israel seems to be certain, Messiah Yeshua will return, land on Mount Carmel and then (as we Marines say) he will kick butt and take names.

And when he kicks butt there won’t be any names left to take.

God’s plan for Israel is that it be attacked and decimated, nearly to the point of total destruction. We don’t have to like it, but that is what it is. He had the same plan for Messiah, who was insulted, beaten, whipped, tortured, and crucified. Israel will have to undergo the same treatment, and just like her Messiah, who rose triumphant and resurrected in a perfect body, Israel and Jerusalem will also be resurrected as a perfect place, and we will live in the presence of God, forever.

We should be following Yeshua’s example of praying, which means not praying for the avoidance of the terrible things to happen, but for God’s will to be done. We should not pray for the peace that men design, for we have seen throughout the history of Mankind that the peace men create is not lasting. Forget about peace with Jordan, or Syria, or any other nations. It ain’t in the cards!  Pray that the attacks against Israel and her people be ended by the return of Messiah.

That is the way I pray for the peace of Jerusalem: I pray that Messiah’s return happens swiftly because that is the only thing that will bring everlasting peace to Jerusalem.

We cannot go against the plan of God, and his plan is that Israel is attacked until it is nearly destroyed. We can’t stop that and we shouldn’t- it is what God wants, therefore I say we must not pray against it but for it to be done speedily so that the fewest number of people will have to suffer.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, but not for a man-made peace, which is a waste of time. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem that God has planned for it by praying for the speedy return of Messiah Yeshua.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share this message to everyone you know who believes in God. I welcome your comments, just be nice, and until next time…L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

More Gloom and Doom to Report

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I feel a little like Jeremiah; he never had anything really good to talk about, either.

I was reading the paper this morning and decided that I should add a new viewpoint to my messages- showing where God is NOT in the news. I believe by seeing where we leave God out of our society we can get a better idea of where we need to add Him back in.

So, in this light, today I was reading about the aftermath of the mass shooting on this past Valentine’s Day here in Florida. Governor Scott has called a roundtable committee to discuss different actions that we should take to help prevent this sort of atrocity from happening. Here’s one thing that really scared me about the report: a psychologist from Florida State University College of Medicine has stated that by looking at the family history we may be able to predict the mental illness of the child and proactively act upon that. The paper reported she said that we can “predict pretty well which families will have this forward trajectory even before the child is born.”

I don’t know about you, but that scares the HE(double-hockey-sticks) out of me. Someone will be evaluating pregnant women and determine that the child will be mentally ill?  Who can do that? And if they do, then what? Should the child be placed in a program for the mentally ill and/or have his (or her) rights restricted? Does that sound good to you?

I also read today that yesterday in a Florida middle school some students were making jokes about shooting up the school. It was heard, reported and those two boys were taken into custody by the police. Now, what they did was totally stupid (if I was “PC” I would have said “inappropriate”, but it was STUPID), yet these are middle school aged boys- stupid is what we are at that age. I believe they should have been chewed out by the Principal and their parents should have been called in to take them home for that day. Do you think the school overreacted?  And if you don’t, do you think that in an atmosphere of fear that eventually people will tend to overreact? Isn’t that what history shows us does happen?

What I see happening here is that the government of the United States, at all levels, is advocating that everyone report about anyone who they think is a threat.

Sound familiar?

In major transportation hubs there are signs and announcements telling the people to report anything that they see as suspicious; schools are telling the students to report on anything they see or hear that they think is suspicious; and when we add the recent flurry of sexual harassment charges and the current (pardon the expression) exposure of this problem, more and more people are being sensitized to be afraid of almost anything anyone may say.

Here’s the doom and gloom- it will get worse. This is all a set-up for the enemy to take complete charge of our lives. We cannot overtake this, we cannot resolve it, and we cannot avoid it.

See why I feel like Jeremiah?

The enemy will rule by fear and intimidation, and this will not come from him (or maybe her) directly, but from each one of us. Just like in Nazi Germany, where children reported their parents and neighbors couldn’t were afraid that someone might say something that will get them in trouble, the atmosphere of fear and distrust is exactly what will help the enemy take charge.

This is also the kind of environment where people can “rat out” anyone that they have a personal grudge against.

I am not a card-carrying member of the ACLU, and neither am I a Libertarian, but I am someone who believes what I read in the Bible, and all this makes sense to me as a sign of the events yet to come that we are told about in God’s word. I am not saying there is no hope- what I am saying is that the only hope we have is in God. We must strengthen our faith and help lead others to God and Messiah as things worsen. We need to stop wasting energy, time and money trying to fix what God has decreed will happen, and get to work trying to save as many as we can, while we still have the time.

I am no Jeremiah and I do not profess to be a Prophet, but I do think I am on the right track when I say we need to prepare for what is coming because we cannot get out of the way.

I see the writing on the wall- do you?

Let’s Talk End Times for a Moment

Thursday is usually a non-posting day for me, but after I did the Crossword Puzzle, Cryptogram, and finished reading the Comics (the only really worthwhile parts of the newspaper) I decided to check out the article about how some psychiatrists say that President Trump is exhibiting narcissistic, sociopathic behavior.

Last November I didn’t think Clinton or Trump were good choices, and the rest weren’t anything to “write home to Mommy” about, either. But I accepted what the country wanted. Of course, since last November all we have heard is that what we got is not what the country wanted but what Russia wanted. Oh wait! Maybe it isn’t what Russia wanted because both Clinton and Trump had secrets with Russia, or was that Obama? No, he was secretly a terrorist benefactor. Or was it…well, I am all confused now. Seems that the last couple of Presidents and presidential hopefuls are all in cahoots with someone, and all are working against the Constitution one way or another.

So I need to ask you: is this the sign of the times? Yeshua said that we know when the weather will be good or bad but we can’t read the sign of the times.

We have a political civil war raging, and racial hatred is rising at an alarming pace. Some of the country’s professional medical associations are now publicly discussing if the president is a narcissistic sociopath, and some of his own people are publicly saying they are concerned that Trump has full and unrestricted access to the nuclear codes, implying they think he might launch a nuclear attack against another country without consulting his Cabinet or Congress beforehand.

Sign of the times? So nu? … when do we start to hear people accusing Trump of being the Anti-Christ? Or has that already happened and I just haven’t heard it yet?

I have no answers, and I have no opinion on whether or not Trump is the Anti-Christ, or if he even wants to be (I doubt he does because I think he already considers taking that job as a step down from his current position.) I don’t have any answers, but I have absolutely no doubt that we are very close to entering the End Times, if not already in the initial phases.

The world is having climate issues (regardless of one’s position on Global Warming, the climate is worsening for whatever reason), hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and social unrest globally. Worldwide terrorism is rising at an alarming rate and the worst part of all this is that the world leaders are doing nothing to stop it. In fact, some are encouraging it by allowing immigrants into their country without concern for their own people’s safety!

Everyone today is a victim of one sort or another, and everything that is wrong is wrong because someone else made it that way. We are so irresponsible, individually, that when you buy a radio the warning label has to tell you not to use it in the bath or shower!  What’s up with that?

And the biggest sign I see is that while the world’s country’s are being attacked by Islamic terrorists from the inside, the United Nations constantly holds up Israel as the reason for this unrest. They accuse Israel of violating human rights, while at the same time ignoring the Arab diatribe about how Israel has no right to exist and all Jews should be killed. The world turns a blind eye to how the Arab countries teach their children (from kindergarten age and up) that it is not only legal and useful to kill Jews, but an honor, and the accelerating terrorism attacks throughout Europe and in America by Islamic terrorists is blamed on Israel!

The bible tells us that in the End Days the entire world will come against Israel; sign of the times?

I have to admit that I am scared. I am ready to fight for God, I am ready to suffer when I refuse to take the microchip, and I am ready to die today in order that I may live forever. I am ready, but I don’t want to see this happen to my loved ones. I don’t want to be separated from those I care about because they take the mark, and I know that most everyone in my life that I love or care about will be in that group. Anyone who says otherwise is putting blinders on their eyes. For me, one of the hardest things to live with is the knowledge that I will suffer, not so much physically as emotionally, when I see my loved ones come against me. And I know what they don’t; they are destroying their eternal soul, and while the suffering I go through is temporary, the suffering they will have to endure will be eternal. That tears me up inside, so I repress it and try to go on without thinking about it.

Sign of the times, my Brothers and Sisters…sign of the times.

I call on all Believers to go to Ephesians 6:10-18 and get into the habit of wearing your armor every day. Many are already used to wearing it, and for those that aren’t, it’s time.

Forget about Eschatological studies, forget about arguing who the Anti-Christ is or might be, and give up worrying about the fate of your loved ones because none of that will make any difference or help you. All that is left today, and going forward, is to wear the armor, double your efforts to show people how much better it is when you trust God instead of people (given the current political and social environment, we have a really good chance of people listening to us now) and prepare yourself for suffering.

Protect your heart, prepare your spirit, and toughen up!

Signs of the times.

 

Freedom through forgiveness

We all struggle to be free of things that bother us, don’t we? We want to be free of our debts, free from the drudgery of a meaningless job with no future, free of our bad habits, and more than anything, I think, free of our pain. Especially emotional pain.

We can be free of debt through careful financial management, we can be free of a go-nowhere job by educating ourselves and making ourselves more valuable in the job market, and we can free ourselves of bad habits through group rehab.

Many people seek therapy, but to be rid of emotional pain therapy isn’t always the best answer. I believe the best way to gain freedom from your emotional pain is to forgive the causer of that pain.

In my experience people just don’t understand how forgiveness works. They think that forgiving someone makes that person right with God, and by forgiving them it justifies what they did.

Not so.

Forgiveness actually has nothing to do, whatsoever, with what they did or their relationship with God, and has everything to do with your relationship with God.

Yeshua (Jesus) tells us we are commanded to forgive; in fact, in Matthew 6:15 He tells us if we do not forgive on earth then we won’t be forgiven in heaven. That’s a pretty powerful statement; it comes right after He teaches us the way we should pray, which tells us to ask that we be forgiven as we forgive others. That is a statement of cause and effect: forgive me for my sins against Thee using the same level of forgiveness that I extend to those who have sinned against me.

In other words, when it comes to forgiveness, I am asking God to do unto me as I do unto others.

The sinner who has hurt you will have to face God in the Acharit HaYamim (End Days), and your forgiveness of that person will have no bearing on that case. It will, however, be considered when you are standing “on the carpet.”

One of the the fruits of your salvation can be shown through your willingness and ability to forgive others. The end result, the reward (if you will) for doing as God says is the release from the pain. When you forgive, you are released from the pain of that event. Not right away, and not always completely, but it will happen (eventually) and you will feel better.

One “trick” I have learned is to pray for the one who has hurt you. Pray for their salvation because, as in my personal life, someone who has hurt me terribly is also someone that I know is in great pain herself, and needs the love of the Lord more than anyone I have ever met. I feel pity for this person, who will have to face God; and when she does, He will strip the Teflon off her body and all that she has done will come back upon her and stick to her skin like shingles. When you think of that pain and suffering, the emotional futility of having lived a lifetime of being unaccountable, then suddenly and completely, without any means of escaping the truth, have all the things you have ignored and shuffled off as everyone else’s fault come down on your head like a ton of bricks…I can’t imagine the horror and pain that will cause. And to top it off, you get a one-way ticket to Hell.

When you think of it, if you know the love and compassion and forgiveness that God has had for you, how can you feel anything but remorse and pity for this poor soul? The imagery just makes you want to forgive them, doesn’t it? If not, you’ve better do some serious talking with God.

It’s simple- forgiveness is God’s aspirin for the emotional pain of being sinned against.

Take two, and call me in the afterlife.

Stand or sit: it’s all the same to Uncle Sam

If you follow this blog, you know that I rarely, if ever, get involved in political stuff. But the White House has gone too far, this time.

Within the past few weeks, the White House (i.e., President Obama) has issued a letter to public schools (you can “google” it) that says, essentially, if a student says they are gay or transgender they must be allowed to use whichever bathroom their gender identification makes them comfortable using.

In other words, we will now have 4-5 bathrooms available: one with an image of a man, one has an image of a woman, one is marked “Family”, one has a blue handicap banner, and the last one has a question mark on it.

No medical determination has to be submitted, just a letter from the parent saying Junior isn’t really Junior anymore.

OK- we know from the bible that gender identification issues, in whichever form it takes, has been around as long as gender has been around. It is as much a part of humanity as sin, and will continue to be around until the Day of the Lord is over. Once the final battle is fought, the new Jerusalem is lowered from heaven and all the saved are resurrected, I don’t know if we will even have gender. Maybe at that time we will be beyond gender, beyond sexual activity (that doesn’t sound like heaven, does it? But, well, maybe?) and all of this will be a moot argument.

But until then, we have to live with it. I don’t see this for anything other than what it is- a mockery of God. God made man and woman, separate, distinct and designed to help each other. It is how things are designed in this world- two of the same thing can’t become any more than double what they are- no synergy, no improvement, no change. Two men, two women- only that. Two of the same.

But put a man and a woman together, and you get three things, Not double of the same, but three distinct and unique things. Then you get four, and more and more and more. There is improvement, there is synergy, there is the working of God’a plan.

When we say ‘transgender’, ‘homosexual’ or whatever label we use as an identification that is anything other than what the person’s anatomy identifies him or her as, then we are making a mockery of God’s creation and insulting the Lord who:

“…created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

Wait a minute! It says He created them in His image- male and female He created them. Hmmmm??? Does that mean God is both male and female? Is God a transgender? I mean, He identifies Israel as His son but also as His bride, and He is often referred to in the plural throughout the bible. Maybe we should all be transgender, right? Perhaps we should all be mollusks because all mollusks are hermaphrodites. That would solve this whole issue, wouldn’t it? If we were all blessed with male and female anatomies, then there wouldn’t be domestic violence- I mean, really, who would beat himself up? There wouldn’t be rape, there wouldn’t be expensive shoes for women and cheap shoes for men (how come the government doesn’t pass laws dealing with why women’s clothing is so much more expensive than men’s clothing, huh?), and there wouldn’t be any issue with using separate bathrooms.

I don’t think God wanted humans to be clams. He made us human, He made us in His image, meaning above the animals and spiritually aware. His image has nothing to do with sex or gender, and if God had intended for us to be non-gender specific, He would have made us that way. Adam and Eve didn’t seem to have any issues with who each of them was, but somewhere down the line someone got confused.

I am not homo-phobic. I am not a hater of those who have gender identification issues. I am simply a person who believes that what God did was to make us separate so that we would complement each other. He made us to be men and women, and that is what we are. I believe those with gender identity issues are suffering from either a hormonal imbalance, or a mental/emotional issue that represents itself in gender identification. I believe that it is something that can be treated, something to be seen as an emotional or physiological imbalance, and something to be handled respectfully and compassionately.

I have close family members who are homosexual, and I love them. I enjoy being with them, and I don’t tell them how they should be and they don’t tell me. They know how I feel and I know how they feel, but we love each other because we are family, and I can love the person even though I  disagree with their choice of lifestyle. And, yes- I believe it is a choice. That should not insult or bother anyone who thinks it is normal. I choose to accept God, His word and what He says in the bible. If someone tells me they don’t, I am not insulted. That is the one thing that really gets my goat- the hypocrisy of people. If I disagree with someone, it’s horrible and wrong for me to do so, but it is perfectly acceptable for that person to call me a bigot and hateful just because I disagree with them. If they think apples taste good and I don’t like apples, does that make me a bigot? Am I apple-phobic if I say I wouldn’t eat an apple pie if my life depended on it?

The real issue here is that the government has rejected God, again. First we threw Him out of the school when we refused to allow people who believe in Him to say, “One nation, under God” in the pledge of allegiance. In fact, we got rid of the pledge, altogether. Then we threw Him out of the court system when the 10 Commandments were considered improper on a courthouse.

Now we are mocking Him by ignoring the most basic creation of God: gender difference. Sit or stand, it makes no difference to Uncle Sam, you can all use the same bathroom, and at the same time, too!

Do you have a young daughter? A son entering puberty? Do you feel comfortable knowing they may have to share a bathroom with a child of the (physically) opposite gender? Or, worse, at a public building like a Target department store (yes, I understand they have embraced this whole idea) your 13 year old daughter going into a bathroom where there may be a man who is 40?

Do the kids really understand? Children entering and going through puberty don’t even understand their own gender yet: how can they possible make the life-changing decision that it isn’t the right one?

Better get ready, Folks- the end is coming up on us faster and faster every day.

 

Suffer the sins of thy government

We have heard, over and over (which is a comforting thing for us) that God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. We understand this to mean He is always compassionate, forgiving and merciful.

We also know that His timing is perfect, and all that He wishes to accomplish He will. Throughout history we see God doing what He wants done, using the peoples and nations He wants to use to fulfil His plans.

So, when something works, you keep doing it the same way, right? I always say to my clients,  “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken.” Therefore, if God is the same all the time, and what He has done to accomplish His will has worked all the time, then doesn’t it make sense for us to expect that He will do things the same way today He has in the past?

Let’s look at how God has worked in the past:

  1. 1 Samuel 31 (King Saul and his sons all are killed, and Israel is defeated with many killed because of Saul’s sin of offering the sacrifice)
  2. 2 Samuel 24:15 (God sends a plague against Israel for the sin David committed);
  3. 2 Kings 15:29 (first attack against Shomron by Assyrian army because of the sinfulness of their kings)
  4. 2 Kings 17:3 -6 (Second invasion of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria under Shalmaneser and Sargon in 721 B.C, resulting in destruction of Israel and dispersion of the 10 tribes)
  5. Isaiah 37:1 (Assyrian incursion into Judah under Sennacherib in 701 B.C. Jerusalem was delivered, but Assyrian records indicate forty-six cities and 200,150 captives were taken)
  6. Daniel 1:1 (Fall of Jerusalem to Babylon about 605 B.C. Many from Judah were carried to Babylon at that time)
  7. 2 Chr. 12:1 -12 (Shishak, Pharaoh of Egypt, invaded the country, plundered the treasures of the Temple and the royal palace, and destroyed a number of newly built fortresses)
  8. Jeremiah 52 (the invasion and final destruction of Judah by the Babylonians)

This timeline is incomplete- as we read through the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles we read about the punishing destruction that rained on these kingdoms, all because of the sins that the people performed. But it doesn’t say that the people were punished for their sins- it says that the people punished because of the sins of their kings.

In Jeremiah 52:2 we are told:

“He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.”

Jeremiah is talking about King Zedekiah, but the wording is the same we read throughout those books I mentioned, throughout the history of Israel and Judah. When the king sinned, the king and all the people were held guilty. In fact, if the king sinned and there were righteous people in that kingdom, they suffered as well. You can read it throughout the bible- the young and the old, the men, women and children, all who lived in the kingdom and under the rule of those kings who were sinful suffered for the sins of their kings and of their kingdom (in other words, God doesn’t seems to be adverse to the idea of guilt by association.)

This is how God has punished those that sin against Him. We are in the early stages of the End Days, the Acharit HaYamim that God promised (through His prophets) would come and which Yeshua talked about to His Disciples. It is no longer time to judge Israel or the Jewish people- this is the time of their regathering to their Homeland.

The judgement is coming upon the Goyim, the Nations; those who have been attacking Israel and/or sinning against the Lord by ignoring His mitzvot (commandments) are the ones coming under judgement now.

The Lord, as I have shown above, historically has punished nations by using other nations to destroy them. Assyria was God’s rod of punishment, and for their sins they were punished by the Medes, who were punished by the Babylonians, by the Greeks, by the Romans, etc., etc., etc. throughout history.

And now it is our turn. America, along with the other major nations of the world, are feeling God’s wrath through terrorism. It is not a large powerful army that is attacking, it is a small, annoying flea. Yet, enough small. annoying fleas can drive a large, strong bull mad.

I would pray that we find and kill every terrorist out there before they have a chance to attack us, whether it be America, or France, or Europe… whomever. But I know that prayer is bound to fail because  it goes against God’s will.

Our country, America, has fallen into sin, and it is our government, our “kings” that have caused this punishment to come upon us. We have rejected God’s word, we have kicked Him out of our courts, we have encouraged and legally allowed sinful relationships, we have literally shaken our fists in the face of God and told Him we don’t care what He says, He isn’t ‘politically correct”, He is a bigot, He is intolerant, He is outdated and His commandments are no longer valid in our “modern” world.

Gee, ya think maybe the Lord is a little upset with that attitude?

I don’t disagree that we should be aware of the political tenor of the day, and I think it is a good idea to be up to date on your current events. Yet, I don’t read the paper (except for the comics and word puzzles) and I don’t follow or listen to the President’s speeches, or what the candidates say. I can glean what is going on just by listening to what I hear around me and on the radio between songs. I don’t follow politics, and the reason for that is simple: I know where it is all going to end up. Like it or not, this country will be punished for it’s sinfulness, we will all, righteous and unrighteous alike, be punished. Just as God causes rain to fall on the righteous and unrighteous, alike, so too will the hammer of His justice fall and crush all of us.

That hammer is ISIL, Al-qaeda, ISIS: whatever name these cowardly, murderous psychopaths want to use, they are (and they don’t even know it) the rod of punishment that God (not Allah, but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) is using to bring judgement upon the nations.

We can stop them- we have the military might and ability to kick their butts and take no names. All we need to do is set the Marine Corps on these guys and that will be it.

What we really need to do is send an international army against Syria and totally clean it up. If we put an internationally-sponsored government in there by sending in the United Nations army (just like we did in Korea in the 1950’s) we will essentially set up what is a beneficial dictatorship (aw, c’mon- we’ve done it plenty of times before: Panama, Guam, Iran, and many other places you never even heard of) and we will destroy these terrorists. That will put an end to ISIS/L.

But it won’t stop God’s punishment. Once we kill off ISIS/L, another “nation” will arise- it will be the international army we created, which will be the means by which the Son of Perdition will arise and take power.

Mark my words- it may not happen as I describe above, but it will happen. These terrorist attacks will grow and spread, the governments of the world will unite (seemingly in a first-time ever peaceful coalition) to destroy this threat, but the threat is no more than the bait, a lure which will bring the world governments together and allow the enemy to rise to power.

Not a very pretty picture, but definitely not a pessimistic one. Did they call Jeremiah a pessimist? Did they accuse Elijah of being a Debbie Downer? No- they called them foolish, and even treasonous, but not pessimistic.

In fact, my view of the future is very optimistic, because the worse things get, the sooner we will receive our eternal reward. Not good for the non-Believers, but great for those of us who have accepted Yeshua as our Messiah and have the indwelling Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to guide us and comfort us throughout these terrible times.

If you are reading this and haven’t accepted that Yeshua (Jesus) is really the Messiah God promised us, and you haven’t really accepted that you are a sinner (just like everyone else), you need to know that being a “good person” is not going to do you any good. The only way to really be saved from the second death is to accept the gift of grace that God is holding out to you, to accept your own lack of ability to be what God wants, and to ask His forgiveness in Yeshua’s name. And even if you do all that, if you aren’t willing to do T’shuvah- turn from your sins- then understand that asking forgiveness is useless if you don’t really want to try to stop sinning.

The times are only going to get worse, and because the rod of God’s punishment is not selective you cannot possibly know when or where you are going to “buy it.”

I used to sell Revocable Living Trusts. One of the objections I received often was that the person liked the idea and would probably want to have one when he dies, but he isn’t ready yet to invest in it. He wants to wait until a better time.

I would agree- why pay for it until you need it? I would explain the process of  writing the trust and getting all the assets transferred into it so that the family is fully protected takes at least three months. Then I would pull out my calendar, and say, “OK- we know you need three months for this to be done, so tell me when you are going to die and I will make an appointment now to be here three months before that day.”

If you think this “God” thing is probably something you should consider but just don’t feel you need to do it now, or want to put it off till you have more time (after all, we’re all soooo busy, aren’t we?) then make an entry in your calendar for an hour before the moment you are going to die and ask for God’s forgiveness.  I think since you know, absolutely, you are going to die that your desire to be forgiven will probably be an honest one.

Got your calendar out?

Parashah Pinchas Numbers 25:10 – 30:1

The plague was just stopped by the zealousness of Pinchas, the grandson of Aaron, when he killed a prince of Israel who was with a Midianite woman (also of high birth) and blatantly showing disdain and rebellion against Moses’s command to not have any relations (especially physical ones) with the Midianites. God makes a covenant with Pinchas that throughout his generations his seed will serve in the Priesthood.

The Israelites are at the end of their wandering, and God has already demonstrated His support as they have defeated two kings and taken their lands. Now He has them take another census, and after 40 years of living in a desert, the difference in the size from when they came out of Egypt and now is less than 3/10 of 1%. Essentially, there are as many now before entering the Land as there were when they left Egypt. Some of the tribes are less but the nation, as a whole, is the same size.

The rules for inheritance are stipulated and God reminds the people about the regulations for sacrifices, Joshua is appointed as Moses’s replacement and Moses is allowed to view the land, although he is still not to cross over and enter it.

Isn’t it amazing that when the Jews were in Egypt as slaves, with plenty of food, water and shelter they were able, despite their slavery, to grow into a great nation, and then after 40 years in a desert, devoid of food, water and shelter, they were still able to maintain their great size? Well, maybe it is amazing to someone who is secular minded, but to me it is just what I would expect from God. He said that the generation which had rebelled would die in the desert, and they did, but still we read in this parashah that not only did God maintain the size of His people, but even the descendants of Korach have survived (26:11) to enter the land.

Now, as God prepares the people for what is to come, He reviews the laws for the daily sacrifice and the holy convocations, since these were first given to the prior generation (Leviticus) before they were to enter the land. They didn’t get in, though, and it has been 40 years, so God is reminding them what to do when they enter.

The lesson I see here is simple: God’s plans, whatever they are, will be accomplished. He is flexible enough to make it seem to us, with our limited ability to understand, that He changes His mind or doesn’t accomplish what He said, but what is really happening is that the ship is moving. We may have to take a round-a-bout way to avoid some reefs and rough waters that weren’t on the chart, but it is always going to the place it is sailing to.

God’s plan of salvation has been working itself out since before Adam was created. The Israelites in the desert got to see miracles daily, and these have been recorded for us because we are too “sophisticated” and too “scientifically wise” to see the miracles that are still happening today, every day. We think that just because we can explain how an event occurs that knowing how it happens makes it less of a miracle. I can describe how the digestive system works, but does that make it less of a miracle? Could anyone of us design that system? Could any one of us make a stomach? Can we create a physical being that can spontaneously create hydrochloric acid inside itself and not burn itself to death from the inside out?

God needed a nation to enter the land that was big enough and strong enough (and faithful enough) to be His weapon of judgement against the nations that had been defiling His land for centuries. The first group didn’t meet that criteria, so God got rid of them and had the second group, just as large but more faithful, do the job. When all was said and done, what God wanted was accomplished. Oh, yes, not all of the baddies were destroyed and, yes, the people screwed up royally and ended up being thrown out of the land, also. But has that stopped God’s plan? No, of course not: God is this very day actually completing His plan. We see the regathering of the people back to the land and the land becoming a fruitful garden, again. And we see the world starting to suffer the judgement that God promised would happen through the words of the Prophets and in Revelations.

This parashah shows us that whatever God plans to do gets done. Maybe not when it was first started, maybe not with the people that it was first intended to use, but it will be done, one way or another. That is something that the enemies of God should find totally frightening, and the children of God should find totally encouraging.

The generations we are reading about in today’s parashah got to see God up close; they saw Him on the mountain when they were children, they have been miraculously fed and watered by him in a desert for forty years, and now they see Him supporting them in their battles, allowing them to defeat bigger and stronger nations, easily. They saw His plan to free them from slavery and lead them into the land evolve and succeed. We, today, are also seeing His plan evolve and succeed. We have seen the Messiah overcome sin, we have seen the gathering of the people back to the land happening for the past 60 years, and we are seeing the earth being judged and in turmoil, weather-wise, politically and spiritually. The enemy is on the move, this is his time and we are seeing it happen. We need to steel ourselves against what is to come because it will come! Don’t listen to the prophets that advised Ahab, or the ones that told Zedekiah everything is fine. We are coming into the End Days, and it won’t be pretty.

Take hope, no matter how bad it gets, in the knowledge and the proven, historical evidence that God’s plan WILL be done, and the promises He made and the ones He will make are all absolutely trustworthy.

And also remember that you are responsible to do your part- God will keep His word to you, but you need to hold up your end of the bargain.

What’s Coming is Already Here

I have often heard people say that the Kingdom of God is here, it just hasn’t arrived yet. I like the sound of that statement because it offers hope in two ways: first, we can be hopeful because the kingdom is here and second, those who aren’t yet members of that kingdom can be hopeful because it hasn’t arrived yet, so they still have time to become a member.

Today we can say the same thing about the Acharit haYamim, the End Days. They are here but the worst part hasn’t fully been realized in the world.

Look at the regathering of the tribes of Israel back to their land. From the four corners of the world Jews are returning to Eretz  Yisrael. And as the Jewish people return, the land becomes more fruitful and productive. That’s because the End Days are not the time for judging Israel, but for judging the Nations. Throughout the books of the Prophets we read of how, back then, Israel came under judgement for it’s sinfulness. But, as the people are regathered, God will hold the nations that were so destructive to His Elect accountable. Even though Israel will come under attack, it is not from God but from the Enemy through the nations. God says He will judge the Nations in the End Days and the Enemy, still trying to win a battle long ago lost, will try to defeat Israel. God, however, will use this to show His power and might, and glorify His name throughout the world.

If you think it was remarkable that Rocky beat Apollo Creed, wait until you see what Yeshua does to protect Israel when He returns to the Earth in power and glory! One punch, nay- a single word from His mouth- and the armies of the world will be defeated.

I heard my Rabbi, Jeff Friedman, once say that he thinks the word from the mouth of Yeshua at that time will be, “Enough!” I like that- “ENOUGH!!!”  Yup: that is all He needs to say. That’ll do it.

The regathering of the people  is not the only sign: look at the number and ferocity of all the earthquakes we have had in the last decade, look at increasing number of Tsunami’s, there is war in the Middle East and the rumors of war (threats from ISIS, ISIL and the constant racial and political tensions throughout the world.) The world’s forests are being destroyed by acid rain: is that the first trumpet in Revelations? The first couple of trumpets cause destruction to the Earth- just because in John’s vision we are told that the angels sounded these trumpets doesn’t mean that the angels had to be the ones causing the destruction, does it? Remember, this is a vision, a virtual reality, not a word-for-word narration of witnessed, real events. So, that said, the angels may sound the trumpets but someone has to react to those blasts, and we are the ones that have been “loosed” on the planet. God put us in charge of the world, and we have been screwing it up since that time, and we will continue to do so. The terrible weather conditions, oil spills killing sea life, global warming, etc. are all because of our poor husbandry and management of the world God created for us. I think today the world has had enough and is fighting back.

Look at Israel: the land was a wasteland, unproductive and desolate but since the mid-twentieth century, as the people God gave that land to returned, it has prospered. It is now a garden, again, and getting better. The opposite is true of the rest of the world, and that is because now Israel is once again blessed while God sends His judgement down on the rest of the world.

If you study the writings of the Prophets, you can see that they come together and finalize in Revelations. And, when you study Revelations (meaning read it for yourself and let the Holy Spirit guide your interpretation- don’t go on what anyone else says as absolute, including this dissertation of mine, but use it to guide you to your own understanding) I believe you will see that we are already in the End Days. Not a spiritualized type of Tribulation, but the real thing.

It’s here, folks. No longer is there a need to say, “The End is Coming!” because the End is here. If you aren’t on the winning side, it is not too late. You still have time, but no one knows how much time.

I used to sell Estate Planning, and people would tell me that they weren’t ready yet but when they are they will call me. I would tell them,  “I understand. After all, why spend money until you need to, so here is what we’ll do: since this planning takes about 3 months to complete , {as I pull out a calendar}  you let me know the day you are going to die and we will set an appointment three months before then.”

That usually got their attention, and it was a very successful closing line for me. So pull out your calendar and mark the day that you will die, and make sure that (at least) a day or so before then you get yourself right with God.

If you are already saved, then put the calendar away and pull out your Bible, go to Revelations and start to study it- not read it, STUDY it because the end has begun and if you want to know what to expect, Revelations is your guide book.

Parashah B’Har (On Mount) Leviticus 25:1 – 26:2

God instructs us to be fair to each other in our economic dealings, to use a pro-rata system of valuation when we are exchanging  and redeeming property, and that slavery is an acceptable form of servitude, except that other Israelites were to be treated with more respect and allowed to go free in the Jubilee Year (Yovel) whereas slaves which had been purchased were slaves forever, and property that could be transferred in one’s estate to one’s heirs.

I am not sure what happens if you are a foreigner who is a slave, then you convert, i.e. become a fellow believer, and the Yovel year comes. There isn’t anything I saw that covered that, but I wonder because in all other areas, one who sojourns with the people and worships as they do is to be considered as one of them, and equal in the eyes of the law.

Anyone got an opinion?

This book is all about the everyday relationship between people and God, and between people and people. We are told about cleanliness, personal hygiene, the festivals, the sacrifices, the selling of property and the methodology of evaluation when redeeming that property. We are also told that all property belongs to God and we are just temporary residents. This goes well with the prior statements God made, and ones He will make later in the Torah, regarding how the land vomited out the prior residents because of their sinful ways, and will do the same to this people if they follow that example.

We are reminded about the Shabbats, rest for the people and now, too, rest for the land. And the wonderful law of the Jubilee Year, the Yovel, where all the followers of God are brought back to their land, a year of rest for the land and the people. Since this happens every half-century, given the normal lifespan of a person, everyone would most likely get to enjoy a Yovel, at least once, during their lifetime.

What I see in this parashah is a legal description of what Yeshua brings to us spiritually: redemption. The main difference being that in the physical world, when someone is redeeming their land, there is a pro-rata evaluation of the worth of the land. When Yeshua redeems us spiritually, there is no valuation: we are redeemed, totally, and forever. No matter whether our sins outweighed our righteousness, or vice-versa, this redemption is complete and once-and-for-all.

Just as God told the people (this comes later in the book) that so long as they do as they should their lands will be productive, we who are redeemed by Yeshua’s sacrificial death are to do T’Shuvah, to turn, and live our lives as representatives of God. Our redemption is immediate, and just as the people had to obey God and follow His laws for the land to be productive,  we are to do the same with our spiritual lives in order to produce “fruit.” We are to obey God’s commandments, the ones in the Torah (there is nothing ‘New’ in the New Covenant- everything Yeshua taught and said we should do is from Torah. Same for Paul, John, and all the other writers of the B’rit Chadasha) and when we do so, we will be blessed. If we reject God, even after He has redeemed us from our sin, we apostatize and throw away our redemption.

That is what I said: I have said it before and will continue to say it because it is so very, very important to understand: salvation is irrevocable, but that only means God will not take it back. It doesn’t mean we can’t throw it away, and if you want Biblical evidence that what I say is true, go to Hebrews 6:4-6; John 15:6; 1 Corinthians 15:2; 2 Peter 2:20-21. There are many other verses demonstrating clearly that salvation gained can be rejected, how in the End Days many will turn away from and betray Yeshua, and Revelations tells us that most will be turned from the true faith. Believe it- salvation is guaranteed to be given, but it can (and by most, will) be easily lost.

Redemption is the underlying theme of the entire Word of God, and we see here one aspect of it- the one that is in the physical world. Both the redemption of property and of self; God-granted freedom from slavery. Even freedom from work during the seventh year Shabbat for the land (Shmita) and the Yovel.

Redemption of your life and property in this world, and redemption of your soul in the next. This is what the Bible is all about, this is the plan God has for all of us.

Redemption: easy to get and hard to keep.