One of the most well known stories in the Bible is when God tests Abraham. And yet, so many miss how this powerful, prophetic act points to Yeshua. When Abraham is preparing for his 100th birthday, the Lord visits him and gives him the shock of his life:

“‘And I will bless Sarah and also give you a son by her; and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.’ Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’” … Then God said: “Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.” (Genesis 17:17, 19)

And sure enough, in their old age, Abraham and Sarah have a son. The Bible says that Sarah’s womb was dead and yet God gave her a child.

Sometime later God decides to test Abraham and tells him, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

What’s interesting is we don’t get to see Abraham’s reaction. Maybe he had none. By this time, maybe he had learned to trust the Lord. Maybe he argued, even as he laughed, when the Lord told him that 90-year-old Sarah would have a son. What we do know is that he obeyed.

They set out for Moriah. And it looks like Isaac gets a little concerned going up the mountain. They have a conversation:

“Father”…”Yes my son”… “Ehhh, The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Did Isaac know? Was he getting concerned?

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb.” And that is the most powerful verse in the passage. God will provide a lamb. In Hebrew the word is ‘seh’ (like ‘say’) and it refers to a young lamb.

Okay…they reach Mount Moriah and Abraham builds an altar. And again, I would love to see the response of Isaac when his dad begins to tie him to the altar. Did he protest? “Eh, Abba, what are you doing?” Or did they walk so close to the voice of God that both trusted that the Lord who opened Sarah’s womb could also raise the dead.

Abraham lifts the knife and is about to plunge it into Isaac when the Angel of the Lord stops him. Many believe that this is Yeshua appearing in the Old Testament, which makes what I am about to say next even more amazing!

Abraham sees a ram caught in the thicket. There is only one problem. Abraham, a prophet of Yahweh, said that God would provide a lamb—a seh—not a ram which is a different Hebrew word, ‘ayal’ and refers to adult male sheep. A lamb or a seh in Hebrew, is a baby lamb, innocent, like young Isaac.

You see, God would never ask of Abraham that which he was not willing to give Himself. They were in covenant together. God asked from Abraham his most precious possession, his son. God purposely placed Himself in debt to Abraham and would make good on it when He sent to Israel, and the world, His only son as a sacrifice. Many years later, his cousin John, seeing Yeshua come toward him, declares, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Isaiah prophesied that, like Isaac, “he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,” and Paul calls Yeshua our “Passover lamb.” On Passover, you could not use a ram, but only a one-year-old male lamb, without spot or blemish.

You know that you were redeemed from the futile way of life handed down from your ancestors—not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with precious blood like that of a lamb without defect or spot, the blood of Messiah. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

The lamb that God provided was not the ram caught in the thicket, but was the angel of the Lord, Yeshua, that stopped Abraham from killing Isaac.

And then that same Lamb, who would come 1600 years later, also in a supernatural birth to a young Israelite, says to Abraham: “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore… and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

WOW!

 

Jerusalem’s Old City is the most controversial piece of real estate in the world. More specifically, the Temple Mount. Recently, the United Nations confirmed the UNESCO decision that the Temple Mount had no connection with historic Israel. Donald Trump has pledged to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, essentially confirming that the US recognizes Jerusalem (and not Tel Aviv) as Israel’s capital. While some countries in the past did have embassies in Jerusalem, they have all now moved to Tel Aviv. These moves were against the desire of the State of Israel. I know of no other country where the international community does not recognize her capital.

But what does God think? God loves Jerusalem. The Psalmist laments in Ps 137:

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.

But the world hates Jerusalem. We read in Zechariah that God is:

“going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 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. (Zech. 12:2-3)

Jerusalem will be a cup that sends the nations reeling. In other words, she will cause the nations to be confused. They will not be able to figure her out or know what to do with her. For instance, the nations will seek to erase her history as we see with UNESCO or take it over, as the UN wanted to do in 1948. And the imagery her is of a hernia, “all that try to move it will injure themselves.” Be careful, UN.

In the past 83 years, Jerusalem has been under the control of five entities. The Turkish, the British, and then the UN had control over her for a very brief time in 1947. They voted for Jerusalem to become an international city controlled by the UN. Shortly after that, the Jordanians seized control during the Israeli War for Independence. And then, in 1967, the Israelis captured Jerusalem when Jordan attacked her during the Six-Day War.

Since that time, she has been in Jewish hands. But the controversy surrounding her has remained and even increased. Now the Palestinians want control over Jerusalem and, more specifically, THE TEMPLE MOUNT. In fact, the Temple Mount is full of vocal and aggressive Hamas activists that harass Jews who want to visit. There truly is no real estate more controversial than Jerusalem’s Old City and the Temple Mount.

Why Jerusalem? It is a dot on the earth. It’s not much bigger than a shopping mall, and yet all the nations are going crazy over it. Why the Temple Mount? Because that is where Yeshua will return. It is from this area that He will rule in the age to come. His throne will be here. There is more warfare over this little piece of land than any other in the world. Nations have fought over it for centuries.

But according to Joseph Farar, the Temple Mount is not even mentioned in the Koran. He says, “Koran says nothing about Jerusalem. It mentions Mecca hundreds of times. It mentions Medina countless times. It never mentions Jerusalem. With good reason. There is no historical evidence to suggest Mohammed ever visited Jerusalem.”

Of course this doesn’t matter to them. What matters to them is that Jews cannot control Jerusalem and they must be dealt with. In Zechariah 12:3 it says that all nations will gather against Jerusalem.

God is not impressed. The UN may claim Jerusalem is not Jewish, but they are mere ants in the eyes of God. They have no authority over Jerusalem. Yes, God used them in 1947—during a momentary lapse in their anti-Semitic judgment—but they have no say over her future.

The closer we get to the coming of Yeshua, the more controversial this piece of real estate will become. In fact, the Bible says all nations will attack her leading up to the final attack on Jerusalem in Zechariah 14. But, as we know, the Lord will come and fight against them as He sets up His millennial kingdom.

Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name. (Zech. 14:3-4a, 9)

 

 

I was 100% sure that when I woke up a week ago, Wednesday, Hillary Clinton would be the next president. Clearly, like so many, I was wrong—and so happy I was. While personally I was never a fan of President Elect Trump (for obvious reasons of character), I did like a lot of his policies and Ms. Clinton would have been disastrous. In the beginning of his candidacy, he made a strategic error regarding Israel. He said that he would remain neutral in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, adding correctly “You understand a lot of people have gone down in flames trying to make that deal [peace between Israel and the Palestinians].” But then he said, “I don’t want to say whose fault it is — I don’t think that helps.”

This led to a firestorm of criticism. He was not approaching the issue from someone who knows the facts on the ground, the bias against Israel or the double standards that she deals with every day. Rather, he approached it as a businessman—a negotiator—making a deal. One thing Trump cannot yet understand is negotiations in Middle Eastern culture. Even President Bush and President Obama fell prey regarding this issue, being naive in comparison to the skilled manipulators in the Middle Eastern Arab countries, where lying is not a sin, but an honorable art form.

Trump/Pence Got It on Israel

But then Trump gave his AIPAC speech and hit it out of the park. Pro-Israel Christians and Zionist Jews were raving about his passionate support for the Jewish state. Mike Pence, only days before the election, released a video addressed to Republicans in Israel, expressing unwavering support for the Jewish State. He called Israel not merely a friend, but America’s best friend. Trump has promised to do something that no president has yet done. We have a fully functional, state of the art Embassy for the United States in Jerusalem. But it is not operational because no president has had the chutzpa (gumption) to move it from Tel Aviv. Trump has pledged to do this.

I will curse those who curse you—Genesis 12:3b

Bush came in as pro-Israel and was blessed as a leader. But then he pledged to divide Israel’s land and encouraged the evacuation of 10,000 Jews from Gaza, and things went downhill from there in regards to his presidency. Obama, from the beginning, was hostile towards America’s best friend, even to the point of exuding rudeness and hostility to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Now, not only is he done as president (because of term limits), but also his entire agenda from Obamacare to Immigration Amnesty has been rejected by the American people and will most likely be reversed.

I will bless those who bless you—Genesis 12:3a

It doesn’t take a prophet to tell President Elect Trump how things will go for him and, thus, America, if he backs down from his bold pledge of support for Israel (there will be tremendous pressure on him to do so and most who have gone before him have faltered under its weight). God will bless him and America if he leads the way he proclaimed in his AIPAC speech and moves the embassy (going against the wishes of the UN and most nations). It is really is that simple. If he crumbles under the weight and compromises his commitment, the Lord will not be pleased. But if he sticks to his guns, and favors Israel, God will most surely favor him and the nation will benefit.

“The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire”?

Great Britain was once the best friend of the Jewish people and thus the greatest power on earth. They used to say, the sun never sets on the British Empire. But then she became hardened against the Jews, taking 80% of the proposed Jewish homeland to create Jordan. In 1939, as Hitler was beginning his Final Solution, Great Britain closed British controlled Palestine to Jewish immigration from Europe, leaving them to die. And the sun quickly set on Great Britain, and she is now a shell of her former self.

Harry S. Truman was the first head of state to recognize Israel on May 14, 1948. He began a long legacy of the United States being Israel’s best friend, and the US quickly replaced Great Britain as the greatest power on earth.

I, for one, will be praying for President Trump to stand strong in the face of opposition when it comes to Israel. It will mean blessing for the United States of America and for Israel. I did not vote for him in the primary, and while I did vote for him in the election, it wasn’t easy (Hillary was never an option obviously), I am now firmly interceding for the soon to be commander-in-chief to be the president that America needs. And I am rejoicing to no end that Hillary Clinton is finished in politics and will not be able to continue the moral decline in our country or place anti-constitutional liberals on the Supreme Court.

A breakthrough discovery was found at Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City. In brief, archaeologists have dug deeper into what some believe to be the tomb of the Messiah and they found a cross on it. If it is the tomb of Yeshua, the cross would have been added much later. At the time of His death and resurrection, the cross was not a symbol of the faith, but rather the fish is probably the earliest symbol. Some of the first Greek-speaking believers turned the Greek word for fish, Ichthus, into a creative acronym for “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.”

Was the Cross a Symbol?

However, at the time of His death, the cross was a symbol of execution. It would be like wearing an electric chair around your neck. It became more popular in the late second and third centuries, finally adopted by the anti-Semitic Emperor Constantine as the official symbol of political Christianity.

Helana

Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, who sought to identify the significant biblical sites in the fourth century.

So what does this conclude? More than likely that Constantine’s mother, Helena, who in 326CE went throughout the Holy Land with a delegation seeking to identify places considered holy, identified this as Yeshua’s tomb. She is also credited with finding the original cross (which of course, she did not). Locals who told the delegation that Roman Emperor Hadrian had built a pagan temple over the tomb to declare the supremacy of the Roman state religion over the New Testament faith led her to this place. This is the emperor who changed the name of Judea to Palestine and sought to destroy the existence of Jewish life and culture in 135CE. Hadrian’s pagan temple was destroyed (though some of its remains have been identified) and Constantine had a church built above the tomb.

It is important to note, that Constantine popularized the idea of building shrines or church buildings, not as dynamic houses of praise and worship, but as memorials.

“The great era of church buildings began with Constantine’s patronage of the church in the fourth century. He commissioned basilicas to signal his support of the new religion and to advertise his reign.” source

The slab on the tomb pictured goes back, it is believed, not to the first or even fourth century, but to the Crusades (1099CE). What this says is that at least a thousand years ago, the Crusaders thought this to be the tomb of the Messiah. “We can’t say 100 percent, but it appears to be visible proof that the location of the tomb has not shifted through time, something that scientists and historians have wondered for decades,” said Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic’s archaeologist-in-residence.[i]

Definitely COULD be Yeshua’s

Furthermore, this tomb is consistent with the way that wealthy Jews, such as Joseph of Arimathea, buried their dead. However, it doesn’t prove that Yeshua was the Jewish person buried there. Of course, there are no bones in this tomb! Approximately a year after burial (when the body had completely decomposed) the bones would be collected and placed in a stone box called an ossuary.

Ossuary, where bones of the deceased were stored and placed in the tomb.

Ossuary, where bones of the deceased were stored and placed in the tomb.

While I am not a fan of the practice of building church structures over places of significance (often people come from all over the world just to touch a stone or light a candle, assuming there is spiritual power apart from relating directly with the Father through Jesus), I can’t help but be moved at what might be the burial spot of Yeshua.

“We may not be absolutely certain that the site of the Holy Sepulchre Church is the site of Jesus’ burial, but we certainly have no other site that can lay a claim nearly as weighty, and we really have no reason to reject the authenticity of the site.”[ii]

When the researchers removed the marble slab that for centuries had covered the tomb for its protection, that were stunned to find it completely in tact.

First Ever Photographs of Tomb

Clearly the archeologists were moved, as we can see in the short movie. The marble slab revealing the tomb had not be seen by a human for centuries and had never before been photographed. Before resealing, the team will spend the next five months gathering data. It will be interesting to see if they find any markings or graffiti connecting it to Yeshua.

As exciting as this finding may be, nothing compares to the intimate relationship with Yeshua that is available to anyone, anywhere, who puts his or her faith in Him.

 

i http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/jesus-christ-tomb-burial-church-holy-sepulchre/

ii ibid

 

An amazing thing happened the other day!

We were filming the fourth episode of a series on the Six Day War for #OutofZion, when I began to read a powerful and long quote from Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who gave an amazing speech as Israeli Soldiers took Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in 1967. Suddenly, I felt God’s presence in a powerful way. Deep emotion welled up and I spoke with passion. We were in the Western Wall Plaza and a small crowd formed around us. While we had already filmed three episodes, this was clearly different.

When I finished speaking, I noticed an Orthodox family. The father told me how powerful the message was and asked me if I would come give sermons at his Orthodox synagogue. He said that had been looking for someone to bring messages. He hung around while we finished a small video clip. After I finished, I thanked him for his encouragement but told him, “You might not want to invite me to share sermons, as I am a Messianic Jew. I believe Yeshua is the Messiah.”

He responded, “You just lost a job.” And then added I could still do t’shiva—repentance and become orthodox. I told him I repented when I found Yeshua and added that it was nice to meet him.

The point is that he and his family felt the presence of God, but his bias towards Yeshua quickly closed him off. Of course that is why I wrote Identity Theft—so people like him can see that believing in Yeshua is perfectly Jewish.

Yigal, one of our cameramen, said that it reminded him of when the people said of Yeshua, “he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” Of course, it wasn’t me, but any New Testament communicator under the anointing would have been just as effective. It is the Presence of God.

Please pray for him and his family.

Here is the quote I was reading as the first Jewish soldiers entered the Western Wall Plaza towards the end of the Six Day War:

“I am speaking to you from the plaza of the Western Wall, the remnant of our Holy Temple. ‘Comfort my people, comfort them, says the Lord your God.’ This is the day we have hoped for, let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation. The vision of all generations is being realized before our eyes: The city of God, the site of the Temple, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the symbol of the nation’s redemption, have been redeemed today by you, heroes of the Israel Defense Forces. By doing so you have fulfilled the oath of generations, ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning.’ Indeed, we have not forgotten you, Jerusalem, our holy city, our glory. In the name of the entire Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, I hereby recite with supreme joy, Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us in life, who has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this day. This year in Jerusalem – rebuilt!”