Life in this world is difficult. That is not a flaw, it is a feature.
For a believer, the states of the world and the nation are pretty grim right now. It would be natural to succumb to fear and despair. Scripture makes it very clear that such an attitude is sinful and displeasing to God. The victory is His, but the struggle is ours. We are to meet todays challenges with confidence and courage.
Seeds are information - the seed has all that's needed to build the plant. At the resurrection when the graves are opened, the body that has died is the seed for the new life to come. What information does it have?
Cush and Egypt were allies of Israel during the time of the Assyrian conquest. Since the Assyrians were God's chosen instrument, they proved insufficient. Also during these chapters we get a look forward to Apostolic times when peace would reign from Egypt to Syria.
We deal with two concepts of time, cyclical and linear. Cyclical time encompasses the cycles of the day, week, month, year, lifetime. In this view, everything that is will repeat. Linear time embodies progress, the idea that the cycles are moving toward a goal.
Being sorted into the flock of goats at the final judgment will probably come as a surprise to most. As we see in the prophets, when Israel gets sent into exile, it is generally a surprise to those who go.
When humanity gets too comfortable and far from God, He pulls them out of civilization and into tents. In this wilderness sojourning, God tries to develop a relationship. That relationship, if it is successful begins in following Him for the promise of blessing. As the relationship matures, He tests it. That is what happened to Abraham. It happens with all who follow God.
In the second half of this discussion, we talk about the nature of risk in business and life as it relates to what Messiah wants to find with you when He returns.
There's quite a bit going on in the Parable of the Talents. This is a character study not only of the three servants, but of the master as well.
In Luke 20 the Sadducees ask Y'shua a 'gotcha' question about resurrection and marriage. He replies that in the resurrection there is no marriage. Why? Perhaps because humans are a two stage life form like butterflies or mayflies. They live part of their lives in one form and environment and then transition to a different shape and environment. Just as the larval stage in a river is fundamental to a mayfly, so birth and life on this earth is fundamental to humans.
The parable of the 10 Virgins in Matthew 25 is often made to seem more difficult than it has to be. When considered in the context of Matthew 24, it represents the second possible attitude toward Messiah's seeming delay in coming.
The idea that no one knows the day or the hour of Messiah's return may not mean what most people think it means.
Knowing what is true is both important and very difficult. Everyone claims to be telling the truth yet each tells a different story. How does one determine truth from lies? If the Bible is to be trusted, it claims to be of help in this, but Scripture itself is under attack. How do we know that the Bible is true and a reliable guide to sorting out conflicting information?
As we await the Messiah's return, the important point is not when that will be, but what you'll be doing.
Revelation is not difficult to understand or mysterious. It is straight forward and intended to be understood. In this final segment, we explore the meaning of the three sequences of seven in the book.
The Book of Revelation is intended to be understood by the average believer. The book is clearly organized and all of its symbols are explained elsewhere in Scripture. This series presents a quick overview of how Revelation is organized and how to read it.
Just like Passover Succot predates Moses. When human civilizations get too big and challenge God, He breaks them up and sends people to live in tents for a while. The concept is that we are sojourners in this world and it is not our permanent home. It appears right now as if God is shaking the world and preparing to send us into tents for a time. The nations sense this and are scrambling to prevent it.
Revelation is really an easy book to understand. This series lays out the structure and describes how to interpret the symbols.
The Parable of the Minas in Luke 19 and the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 have the same surface level point. Christ is going to be gone for a long time and He expects His servants to invest His resources rather than hoarding them out of fear. At a deeper level the parables are very different and serve two different purposes. As an example the Luke parable is for the general public where the Matthew parable is for His disciples.
God promises that the regathering of His people will be so great that the Exodus from Egypt will be forgotten by comparison.
In Scripture there are two sorts of hard heart. In Pharaoh's case his hard heart led him to defy God. This was also the case with the wilderness generation who refused to enter the Land because of the spy's bad report. The disciple's hard hearts were if a different character. When faced with a storm on the sea, their life experiences and fear prevented them from realizing the power that Y'shua had given them. They tried to solve their problem by worldly means and failed.
In English we've lost the distinction between a vow and an oath. In the Bible they are two very different things.
The actual responsibilities God gives to levitical priests go far beyond butchering sacrificial animals. They were to be Israel's teachers and moral arbiters.
The Biblical dietary laws are in disrepute today because people think they're archaic or have been done away with. That is actually not true. and diet is very important to God.
Over the decades we have been assured that the US was pursuing noble goals abroad and that our societal 'experts' had things well in hand both locally and globally. The mess in Afghanistan has exposed our prideful incompetence to the entire world. Our civic and government elites are far from being expert at anything. Our only option is personal and national repentance. We must dump our pride and call upon God's mercy if we are to have any hope.
The final section discussing the parables in Matthew 21-22. These parables taken as a single conversation present a comprehensive view of eschatology starting with the Crucifixion and ending at the Great White Throne.
The parables in Matthew 21 and 22 form a running dialog between Y'shua and the Pharisees. Part 2 discusses the wicked tenants who try and steal a vineyard by killing the heir.
The parables in Matthew 21 and 22 form a running dialog between Y'shua and the Pharisees. This video starts with the cursing of the fig tree and includes the landowner sending his two sons into the vineyard.
The prophetic books of the Bible serve several purposes; one of which is to provide 'clues' to God's mysteries. Some of those mysteries having to do with Christ's first appearance have been revealed. Some are still unfolding and have not yet been explained. In the meantime, prophecy provides us with context and encouragement.
People wonder why some things are not spelled out clearly in the Torah. It might be because God is dealing with a rebellion and doesn't want the enemy to know His plans.
The Sadducees, trying to trap Y'shua, ask Him what they believe is an impossible question.
The battle of Ai under Joshua explained on a topographc map.
In Luke 16 there is a bridge passage between the parable of the dishonest manager and Lazarus and the rich man. This bridge explains the source of the violent conflict between Y'shua and the Pharisees over the nature of the Kingdom of God. The problem was that the religious authorities, through oral Torah, had turned Moses into an idol which had allowed them to enrich themselves unjustly.
The shape of the land has a large effect on the events of the Bible
The role terrain plays on Biblical history. This is the second segment of the first hour.
God asks that we love Him with our whole heart, soul and might. A love that doesn't touch your wealth is no love at all. It is a 'love' with some things reserved out of the union. You would not accept that in a marriage, nor should you approach your relationship with God with reservations.
Part 1. This discusses the military and economic implications of Israel's location within the ancient world.
When Balaam is called to curse Israel, he instead gives three blessings. Those blessings mirror the the three Feasts of Ascent given by God.
Balaam's story mirrors the stories of Abraham and Moses in many superficial ways. In the same way, the Anti-Christ will mirror Y'shua.
On Tisha B'Av we remember the destruction of the first and second Temples and the exiles from the Land of Israel. In both cases the calamity was brought on by internal strife which weakened the nation. We are seeing much the same situation in the United States today.
Every miracle in the Bible has a purpose and it's not to satisfy our desire for signs and wonders.
The ninth of Av when the spies in the wilderness brought back a bad report has marked Hebrew calamities throughout history.
The tongue is unique in that it is half hidden and half public. It is the organ by which the heart expresses itself. It has the ability either to cause great harm or to build healthy solid relationships. Learning to guard the tongue is of greatest importance, both for the individual and for the community.
Biblically, Israel can exist in any one of three distinct spiritual regimes: wilderness, in the land, exile. Each regime has different rules and conditions. It is God who decides which regime is appropriate at any point in history.
God is not harsh, but He does deal with rebellious sin.
Many believe the New Covenant is found only in Hebrews. Actually, it is all over the Tanak. This is Zechariah's version.
Law is the only lasting basis for liberty. The American Revolution was a reaction to the British Parliament changing laws without the consent of the American colonies. Without the stable rule of law, tyranny quickly follows.
In addition to worship, God demands that we look after the defenseless.
The pattern of Israel's exile and return suggests that another messianic event is eminent.
The US is undergoing a 'Great Awokening' where secular culture is attacking Christian culture with religious fervor. The central fixture of this movement is a set of shifting standards of what is a 'sin'. This creates fear because one never knows what past or present behavior will be labeled a heresy and get one excommunicated. One point of the Torah being written in stone is that it does not change and is not subject to the whims of popular culture. What was sinful 3000 years ago is sinful today. On the flip side what was not sinful then is not so today either. Opposing 'cancel culture' requires a Christian revival - simple logic will not do it. The idea for this talk came from: https://bonifaceoption.substack.com/p/the-great-awokening.
We have just finished and posted a teaching series on Luke 9-19 the Travel Narrative Parables. These are parables Y'shua told in rural villages as he was traveling to Jerusalem for the final time. These ten chapters in Luke form a chiasm. The study proceeds according to the chiastic structure rather that sequentially through the text.
When God's people are not in His land, that land becomes desolate.
As much as we try to order the events in our lives, often things happen that are beyond our control. That happened to Joseph. He was jumped by his brothers, sold as a slave and then framed for attempted rape by his master's wife and thrown into prison. He had every opportunity to become bitter and lapse into helpless victimhood. He did neither of those things because he was able discern a meaning for his circumstances and develop a sense of purpose. We have the same opportunity in our lives.
Everything in the Bible is significant. In the instructions for packing up the Tabernacle we can see a portrait if God - Father, Son and Spirit.
A cautionary tale for the leadership of Israel. Indeed, for anyone in leadership.
Fear has been used by every aspiring slave master from Satan on down to the present. Looking at the past year's events in the news from Covid to cancel culture it is evident that the goal is to keep people fearful, divided and uncertain. That is why God in Scripture tells us over and over not to be afraid - fear clouds your judgment and makes you easy to enslave.
God sends prophets hoping that their predictions will not come to pass.
Temptation is a necessary part of life, but woe to the one by whom it comes.
In the Bible humility is regarded as one of the central virtues. In the Jewish mussar tradition it is the foundation upon which character rests. Both Moses and Y'shua are described as humble, so humility is clearly a trait to be cultivated.
The wary relationship between Jews and Messianics can best be explained by the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
Only the willfully ignorant can deny that there is a God.
In the book of Malachi, God decried Israel's religious establishment for its cynicism and corruption. Their problem was that they did not see themselves and their behavior in the same way. There was, however, a remnant that feared God and spoke correctly about Him. These people are written in a book of remembrance that God will consult when He makes up His treasured possessions. Our nation today is every bit as corrupt as was Israel at the time of Malachi. The criteria for being entered into the book of remembrance is still the same.
When God gives you a bumper crop, it's probably not to finance new barns.
Strength of character is the only thing that keeps the flesh in check.
There are probably as many beliefs about the end times as there are denominations. That confusion serves as a method to keep us divided and arguing, making us much less effective than we should be. If we consider the seven appointed times on God's calendar, it is possible to clear away much of the clutter and attain clarity.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Y'shua packs a lot of information into a very few words.
Humility is the ability to take up just the proper amount of space in the world.
The laws of God are the only source of worldly freedom.
In Genesis Joseph weeps exactly seven times. His tears are never the result of the affliction that he suffers. Rather they are all in the context of his relationship with his family. In this we see a very powerful man who is ultimately alone. His power is unable to gain him the thing that is most important to him - acceptance. The idea for this talk came from an article by Rabbi Sacks.
What do you do in the time between when you pray about something and you get an answer?
Getting rid of demons is not the issue, it's keeping them from coming back.
When a nation falls because of wickedness, the righteous go down too.
Idol worship, the desire to get what appears to be a 'better deal' than God offers, is a constant temptation. Whether the idol be some pagan god or a politician or a man in a white lab coat, the details may differ, but the impulse is the same. In all cases the master idol is covetousness.
The fact that you're not perfect has everything to do with why you were created.
Offerings made to God are not for His benefit.
Life's trials are not always from God or from Satan.
The human impulse to seek a 'better deal' than they believe is available from God has not gone away. Idol worship today looks a bit different than in Biblical times, but all of its pathologies are still with us. This new look helps keep idolaters from realizing what they are doing - allowing them even to attend church with a clear conscience.
Believers are fond of saying, 'God's sovereign, He can do whatever He wants.' Unfortunately that doesn't mean what they think it means.
The events of Exodus 19 and 20 constitute a betrothal and marriage between God and Israel. Unfortunately something went wrong in the consummation.
Why is the Bible not written more clearly? What can you trust?
This is an extremely Jewish prayer reflecting a difference in focus between the synagogue and the church. The focus of both the synagogue and the early church was bringing Heaven down to earth or repairing the creation. About 300 years ago the church shifted focus to getting people into heaven and began neglecting earthly governance.
We tend to give more weight and attention to people than we do to God. Not so with Moshe
Philip was engaged in a very productive ministry when God diverted him to something else.
Hebrews 9 discusses the death of someone who has made a will as being necessary to obtain the inheritance. This is a poor translation as it does not fit with Hebrew culture.
As different cultures encountered God as described in the Hebrew Bible, they tended to try and understand and relate to Him in terms they were familiar with. Calvin, for example, was a lawyer and tried to fit God into a legal structure. The Catholic Church within the last decade wrote the humans could not understand God and out only access was through Jesus. These are all distortions. In the Bible, God presents Himself to man in very understandable and relatable terms.
Without a Temple or Tabernacle, is tithing still required by God?
Why is the Covenant at Mt Sinai inferior to the New Covenant?
The fifty days from First Fruits to Shavuot (Pentecost) are symbolic of the transition from slavery to liberty in God's Kingdom. Those 50 days are echoed in the 50 years between Jubilees where liberty is proclaimed "throughout the land." This had special significance for Israel and for the founding fathers of the United States.
In the Garden, God does not say to Adam, 'If you eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, I will kill you.' Rather, He says something very different.
Both the prophets and Y'shua speak to Israel in parables which are designed to tell the truth in such a way that most people will not understand.
The Torah is not done away with, just obsolete. Just what does that mean to us?
The events that happen in the Patriarch's lives echo through succeeding generations. This is also true for the Nation Israel. If one studies the events of the Passover, one may find the same events happening in the burial of Jacob hundreds of years earlier. One may also find them foretold in the prophets. This talk is based on ideas originally presented by Rabbi Fohrman.
During the plagues, Pharaoh seems to have been remarkably thick in realizing what was going on. Perhaps he had good reasons.
Bitterness destroys the one who bears it.
Contrary to much Christian belief, the Law of Moses is the only source of liberty.
Prophets serve an unique function in God's administration of Israel. They provide a check on human government's abuse of power.
The Spirit is passed from one to another through touch.
Dealing with demons was a significant part of Y'shua's ministry. It also featured prominently in the instructions He gave His disciples when He sent them out on their own. Demons are still very much a factor in the world we must deal with, and His instructions are still pertinent.
The four great men of exile in the Bible, Joseph, Moses, Daniel and Mordecai all handled themselves differently. Those temperamental differences trace back to the sons of Jacob.
When Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of God divides soul, spirit, joints and marrow, what does that mean?
Many Messianic believers refer to the Apostolic Scriptures - the New Testament - as the New or Renewed Covenant. Is this correct?
As Messianic believers, we get asked by our Sunday church brethern why we are doing all this 'Jewish' stuff. The feasts of God are for all members of His Kingdom, not just the Jews.
The structure of reality tends toward morality.
What was the purpose of the miracles performed by the apostles after the Resurrection?
In the Gospels, Y'shua twice sent His disciples out ahead of himself to, "Heal the sick, cast our demons and announce that His Kingdom was at hand." In other words, they were to establish a beachhead in enemy territory. That was also the mission of the church after His resurrection. The church today has largely lost sight of that mission. It has been expelled from politics and has ceased to be an authority on cultural issues. As the church has faded, Satan has advanced. How should we act to regain the ground we have lost?
In God's economy generosity is the only policy that makes any sense
The Bible often teaches through case studies; telling stories of two men each faced with the same choices. In the case of Lot and Abraham, Lot's choices lead inexorably to his destruction.
Scripture is very clear that when the Holy Spirit comes upon a person, those around him immediately notice that something has changed.
Much Christian teaching is in terms of salvation, grace and law. While each of those subjects is important, they cause us to miss or neglect understanding that God, first of all, loves people. Grace, law and salvation all deal with punishment - or more accurately the avoidance of punishment. Such a focus misses the warmth of the relationship that is possible when we focus on love.
Despite the miserable things we often do, God shows us His loving kindness
Our society believes that the pursuit of happiness is the highest of goals. That is a dead end; leading to the spiritual cul-de-sac of appetite and consumption. Rather than happiness, we should be searching for meaning in our lives. This leads to purpose and the satisfaction of knowing that we are useful in God's hand.
Jacob's life was difficult, mostly because of the things he did as a younger man before his encounter with God. Despite his early character flaws, he was used by God to found the twelve tribes of Israel. His use by God is a source of great hope to those who are struggling to find our way.
Jacob stole Esau's blessing by tricking his father. He also 'purchased' Esau's birthright by taking advantage of his brother's impulsive nature. After over twenty years under his hard uncle Laban, Jacob has in many respects become the 'man of the field'. He has, in a sense become Esau.
Comparing the lives of Judah and Esau, it becomes obvious that they are the same character. This casts a different light on Jacob's theft of Esau's blessing in the face of Isaac's desire to split the blessing of Abraham.
In explaining the Parable of the Sower, Messiah concludes that the good soil is fruitful where the road, the rocks and the weeds are not. If we compare his to Genesis 1 where God tells us to be fruitful and multiply, it becomes clear that fruitfulness in God's eyes involves more than just children. We are also expected to reproduce spiritually.
Before Jacob died, he blessed his sons. To Judah he gave the role of king and to Joseph he gave the blessing of Abraham. Both of these men displayed extraordinary humility. In Joseph's case humility was forced upon him by slavery. Judah had to learn it through being confronted by his own failures.
Because Hebrew names all have a meaning, it is often possible to find sentences in Biblical name lists. That is the case in Genesis 5 where the names spell out the Gospel.
With the nation in turmoil over political events, the prayers of believers are increasingly important. Pray that God have mercy upon the United States.