Archives For Isaiah 2

  1. I don’t know of any groups that come up as intellectually deficient as White Supremacists. The idea that white skin makes you superior, and therefore gives an inherent right for whites to dominate other races, goes against common sense and the word of God, which says all men were made in God’s image.
  2. I do not believe that President Trump is a white supremacist. However, the so-called Alt-right, egged on by Steve Bannon’s (who probably isn’t a racist either, but saw the need to mobilize these people) Breitbart News (how sad to the memory of Andrew Breitbart—a good man) marshalled the forces of these folks to help get Trump elected. That is a fact—just go read the comments section of Breitbart.com before the election. It worked.
  3. In an interview with then candidate Trump, I remember that he would not condemn the racist David Duke, and then flat out lied, saying, he did not know who David Duke was. Why? Because sadly, he felt he needed these people to get elected. The same David Duke said to a reporter (during the rally) that he was there to support Donald Trump’s agenda to take America back—I guess from African Americans, Latinos and Jews. Now, just because he invokes Trump’s name, it doesn’t make Trump a racist, but it does demand radical and regular condemnation from President Trump.
  4. The only reason Steve Bannon has a job in the White House is to appease these people. Trump doesn’t want to alienate them. He needs them in 2020. This is also why Trump gave a placid condemnation, not even mentioning the white supremacy groups, this weekend, and then only under pressure finally called them out by name. This is unacceptable.
  5. However, amongst the progressives, there are too few condemnations of the violent radical left—for the same reason. Hillary, Bernie, Chuck and Elizabeth will need the new Antifa and BLM (Not saying all BLM members are violent, but certainly many) to get elected. It seems there is a lack of courage on both the left and the right to condemn violence from potential voters. The only difference is that virtually every other republican came out and swiftly condemned the KKK and neo-Nazism—even the infamous Anthony Scaramucci chided the president for his toothless statement! I have not seen one democrat condemn the violent Antifa and when they have condemned the violence of BLM, they quickly walk it back because of angry response.
  6. In the video I saw of the fighting in Charlottesville, I didn’t see armed White Supremacists against peaceful protestors (though I am sure there were many local peaceful protestors—and if I was in my home state of Virginia, I may have been one of them). But I saw two armed groups ready to fight. In the short clips on the news, I could not figure out at first who were the white supremacists and who were the protestors.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9AOMXuJSd4
  7. The Alt-Right is a term that racist Richard Spencer coined in 2010 to refer to White Nationalism. It has nothing to do with conservatism. Conservatives believe in small and government, free enterprise, traditional family values, low taxes and limited government regulation. The Alt-Right is focused on white nationalism, nativism (which is funny because they all came from Europe), anti-Semitism, anti-feminism, anti-homosexual and anti-immigration. Conservatives are pro-legal The Alt-Right are not conservatives, but racists.
  8. The rise in violence of both the white nationalists and the radical left is troubling. Martin Luther King was arguably the most effective social rights leader in history and he would not resort to violence. It is clear that both the white supremacists and the protesters were not local to Charlottesville. The killer of Heather Heyer was from Ohio and the BLM New York signs there.
  9. We have a media that is so obsessed with a story that they cannot ignore the racists. After the tragic death of Heather Heyer at the hands of a Hitler-living domestic terrorist, White Power leader Jason Kessler announced a press conference in Charlottesville and the press flocked to give him a stage. Why not just ignore him? Imagine if no one showed up? During the actual march, photographers jumped in front to get pictures of the neo-Nazis so the world could see. Why? Why are you giving the most evil in our culture a stage—and for free!? (I know this is wishful thinking on my part.)
  10. As a normal human being, as I watched some of these bozos making Nazi signs and shouting racist slogans and even carrying Nazi flags, I would have liked to have been there with a two by four. It would taken tremendous self-control not to become violent as someone attacks the essence of who you are, calling you less of a human because you are black or Jewish or Latino. While violence is definitively not the answer, the urge to resort to it is understandable.
  11. President Trump needs to condemn these people in the strongest terms, fire Bannon (who gave them a voice) and distance himself from them completely and forever. There is no question that the media has been unfair to Trump, but he is equally responsible for constantly leaving room for ambiguity—like with his statement this weekend.
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Part 2

Often, well-meaning, Israel-loving people will say to me, “I am Jewish now. I am grafted in.” I never, ever say anything close to, “No, you’re not Jewish.” I focus more on how grateful I am that they love God and pray for the Jewish people. However, it is interesting that the Church went from saying, “You can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus,” to, “All believers are Jewish.”

Which is it? What does the Bible actually say? I will make six statements and then seek to back each one up with Scripture, one blog post at a time:

  1. Jews who receive Yeshua remain Jews, just as a females remains female or a male remains a male, after coming to faith.
  2. Gentile simply means a member of the nations. When a member of the nations comes to faith, he does not become Jewish, but continues to be a member of his or her nation.
  3. However, Jewish and Gentile believers are equal in the sight of God. Jews are neither favored above Gentiles nor discriminated against, in regards to non-Jews.
  4. Salvation is free, but rewards in the kingdom are based on merit, not ethnicity. Intimacy with God is based on the desire and passion of the individual believer, not whether they are Jew or non-Jew, male or female, etc.
  5. Jewish and non-Jewish believers make up the One New Man—a mystery that was hidden in times past. Paul calls this the household of God. In this household, the Gentile believers become joint-heirs with Jewish believers—without losing their own ethnicity and without replacing the Jewish people.
  6. Ethnicity is important to God, which is why non-Jewish believers do not become Jews or Israelis (Israelites) after coming to faith. They are called to stand in the gap for their nation.

Blog One: Jewish believers are still Jews

The early believers clearly had zero issues with the idea of being Jewish and believing in the Jewish Messiah. The question with which they wrestled was, “Can a Gentile believe in Jesus, without converting to Judaism?” The apostles, through their lives and teaching, give no hint of leaving Judaism. In fact, rumors were being spread about Paul teaching Jewish believers “to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs” (Acts 21:21). Paul, upon the advice of the Jerusalem apostles, went to the Temple to make a sacrifice so that, “everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.” (Acts 21:24)

Church Fathers turn against Jews

However, the Church Fathers in the second century began to teach that once a Jew comes to faith, he is no longer a Jew. Many were vicious in their accusations against the Jewish people. Peter the Venerable wondered about the humanity of Jews: Truly I doubt whether a Jew can be really human.

Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (98-117A.D.) – Epistle to the Magnesians

For if we are still practicing Judaism, we admit that we have not received God’s favor…it is wrong to talk about Jesus Christ and live like Jews. For Christianity did not believe in Judaism, but Judaism in Christianity.

They lined up to accuse the entire Jewish nation of killing Yeshua (forgetting that He laid down his life by His own free will for them.) Another, Justin Martyr taught that Christians were the true “Israelite race” and that the Hebrew Scriptures now belonged to the church exclusively. He did not believe you could be both Christian and Jewish. He also taught that circumcision was for judgement (as opposed to being there mark of the covenant of Abraham).

The purpose of [circumcision] was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and your cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of you land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem.

Apostles continued to live as Jews

However, it was not like this a century before. Paul continued to identify as a Jew, preaching the Jewish Messiah to the Jew first in every city he went. We never see Paul inviting Jews to enter into another religion. To the Jewish leaders in Rome, he shares, “For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain” (Acts 28:20). Certainly the hope of Israel was not a new religion, but the fulfillment of the Hebrew prophets.

We find Jacob (James) the brother of Yeshua, 30 years after the resurrection, praying daily in the Temple. It was said that he was the most respected Jew in Jerusalem from all the sects of Judaism. He was called the “camel-kneed” for the hours that he spent in prayer for Israel. The evidence is clear that he remained a part of the people of Israel till his death.

When Peter preached on Shavuot (Pentecost), he did not present a new religion, but proclaimed to his exclusively Jewish crowd, salvation and forgiveness through Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah.

Paul says in Romans that the gift and calling of God to Israel is “irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). He says, in Romans 3, that there is “much value” in being Jewish (Romans 3:1-4). Clearly, Jewish believers in Yeshua are still Jewish and part of Israel.

Neither Jew nor Gentile?

What, then, do we make of the oft-quoted Galatians 3:28?

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.”

Bible teachers have used this statement to say that Jewish believers are no longer Jews. But they miss one major issue. If that is true, then male and females no longer have distinctions, and yet, I have never been able to get pregnant!

So, what then is the point of his passage? That being in Messiah overshadows our other roles and callings. I live in Israel. We have many Jewish immigrants from all over the world. Suppose I brought all the Jewish people together from so many nations and said, “Today, we are not Americans, Ethiopians, Russians or Argentinians, but we are Israelis!” Technically, that is not true. I am still American even though I am also Israeli. But anyone with common sense would understand my intention—that I am focusing on what unites us.

While our roles/callings are important, none of them bring any special favor with Messiah. In other words, God doesn’t reward me for what he made me. He rewards me according to faithfulness to that calling (Matt. 25:14-30)

Any person—Jew, non-Jew, slave, female, etc., can freely come to Messiah. This was a major difference between the Old and New Covenants and what Paul was so excitedly shared with his Gentile audience: “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Eph. 3:12), no matter what your background, race, class, ethnicity or gender.

So, in Galatians 3, he is not saying something negative about Jews, but something positive about non-Jews—that there are no restrictions keeping them from Messiah. As Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:34-35).

In the second part, we will address are second statement: Gentile simply means a member of the nations. When a member of the nations comes to faith, he does not become Jewish, but continues to be a member of his or her nation.

Part 2

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This is a guest post from my dear friend and mentor Asher Intrater, leader of Revive Israel/Tikkun International. We often fear messages about self control, because we see it as ‘human effort’. But see the smile on God’s face when you say no to the flesh and yes to the Holy Spirit. There is grace for this. More and more I see that self-control regarding our appetites is a major key to spiritual power. Don’t be afraid to read and embrace. We love and bless you!

How we love the fruit of the spirit! – love and joy and all that good stuff. It is the very personality of God within us. There’s one fruit of the spirit at the end that seems to be less talked about: self-control. We could call it the Final Fruit.

 The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, generosity, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self-control… – Galatians 5:22

Perhaps people are less attracted to this fruit because it demands saying “no” a little bit. It means saying “no” to our own desires, or at least restraining them to a certain degree. But this fruit is quite important.

Yeshua received the power of the Holy Spirit, primarily by saying “no” three times to the devil (Luke 4:1-14). Self-control is about saying “no” to ourselves. It is similar to “denying ourselves” (Luke 9:33). It means guarding our minds so that dark thoughts don’t come in at any time (II Corinthians 10:3-5; Philippians 4:4-8). It is keeping the door closed to anything that would give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:25-29).

We receive every blessing by grace because Yeshua was crucified FOR us. At the same time, God calls us to live as if we are crucified WITH Him.

I am crucified with Messiah, and I no longer live, but the Messiah lives in me. The life I live now in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. – Galatians 2:22

We call this the crucified life. It is our response to His being crucified for us. We are not actually crucified physically. We live daily “as if” we are crucified. Self-crucifixion is a spiritual parable. On a day-to-day basis I exercise self-restraint over natural desires. The fruit of self-control is the way we live out the idea of being crucified with Him.

When the Lord wants to bless us, there is first a period of self-control. Sometimes this period is one minute, sometimes one year. Often it seems like forever. Self-control is needed before the blessing, during the blessing and after the blessing.

Just because God blessed you with a nice meal doesn’t mean you have to eat everything on the table. We exercise self-control in order to keep the blessings in their place. We keep the bad things out, and we keep the good things under control. God remains on the throne over us.

This example may be a bit graphic, but self-control reminds me of when you are forced to wait before going to the bathroom. You squeeze a muscle deep down inside and hold it shut tight. On a soul level, that is what self-control is like.

We are not waiting to relieve ourselves. We are waiting on the Lord. We hold ourselves back from our own instincts in order to give the Lord time and opportunity to work in our lives. While we wait on the Lord, we exercise self-control.

Patience is greater than power; and he who rules his own spirit is greater than one who captures a city. – Proverbs 16:32

You can be greater than an army general, an athletic champion or a prime minister. They are heroes. The one who can control himself is a “super”-hero. Self-control is the greatest of victories.

I sense even as I write this that there is divine ability to increase self-control. I pray for you right now as you read this that the fruit of self-control will grow abundantly in your life.

Israel is the lowest ranked team at the World Baseball Classic, 200-1 underdogs! They have been compared to the Jamaican Bobsled Team. And, as I am typing, they are in the ninth inning at 8:19 AM, Sunday morning (Israel time) and are about to defeat baseball powerhouse, Cuba. This is after going undefeated in their first round against third-ranked Korea, fourth-ranked Taiwan and ninth-ranked Holland.

This is nothing short of a miracle…well, just short of a miracle. After all, we are talking baseball, not Red Sea partitions.

Yawning, not Fawning

Now you would expect that the nation is just overwhelmed with excitement and pride. The truth is, most Israelis could not explain the rules of baseball and are unaware of our success at the #WBC. When our Sports Minister was asked if she was going to South Korea, (where Israel is playing), she was clueless that the event was even taking place.

Players and coaches read the book of Esther for Purim before going out and being Cuba (@Yair_Rosenberg, Twitter)

Nevertheless, to see sluggers wearing the kippah and singing (or at least listening) the Israeli national anthem is moving. In addition, according to Jewish tradition, the players read from the book of Esther (known as the Megillah) from the dugout.

“The Finger of God!”

So, why isn’t the nation more excited? Let’s go back to 2004. When Maccabi Tel Aviv scored six quick points, they were still trailing by three with two seconds left in the Euroleague basketball game that would decide if they made the playoffs or not. They fouled the other team’s best shooter. He hadn’t missed a foul shot in his last 18 Euroleague games! He missed them both. Tel Aviv got the rebound and Gur Shelif quickly passed the ball to Derek Sharpe, who swished a three-pointer, as time ran out. We won in overtime!

The headline read the next morning, “The Finger of God!”

“Maccabi’s coach, Pini Gershon, declared the shot a Passover miracle. “You have witnessed a miracle. I am a believer. And if this is not a miracle, I don’t know what a miracle is.”

As a new immigrant, I watched the ending on a beach in Eilat with about 500 people. It was truly the greatest comeback I’d ever seen. We went on to win the Euroleague Championship that year.

You see, being the people of the book, rebirthed after 2,000 years of wandering around nationless, we view every victory as God-inspired. When Israel won just two medals—a bronze and silver—in last summer’s Olympics, the bronze medal winner, Or Sasson said, “We did something amazing. Israel is a judo empire.”

Well, not quite. But we overcame a lot to get those medals. First, a Saudi opponent forfeited her match to avoid going up against an Israeli. Then, the Lebanese Judo team would not let the Israeli team on the bus they were supposed to ride together. Finally, after the aforementioned Sasson, defeated his Egyptian opponent, the Egyptian refused to shake his hands. So, with the world against us, we tend to see the finger of God, not only in theology and war, but also in sports.

Why not Baseball?

And yet, when I just told my very Israeli wife of Israel’s heroics in the World Baseball Classic, she had no idea what I was talking about. Let me explain why.

  1. First, Israelis don’t play baseball. We play soccer and basketball. In schools, there are no baseball teams.
  2. Secondly, Israelis don’t watch baseball. Your average Israeli could not tell you what a bunt is. A sacrificed fly might be mistaken for doves being sacrificed at the Temple, before connecting it to baseball.
  3. And, thirdly, our “Israeli” team doesn’t have many Israelis—two, to be exact—and my guess is they immigrated.

“Support has also suffered because the team is, well, not very Israeli. Thanks to the WBC’s “heritage rule,” its players are almost all Americans with major or minor league experiences and varying degrees of ties to Judaism and Israel.”

So the only way for Israelis to truly get excited about this “Purim Miracle” is for our team to keep winning.

Mensch on the Bench

A mensch is a Yiddish word for “stand-up guy” and some are crediting Israel’s miraculous success with their mascot, who actually can’t stand up. The Mensch on the Bench, as he is known, resembles a rabbinic Jew; he is 5ft tall and was the idea of infielder Cody Decker.

“[The Mensch has been a] big hit in South Korea and with pictures of him wearing a t-shirt making the rounds on social media, he’s also been involved with generating the hashtag #JewCrew.”

Is Baseball the new Judo?

After Israel’s Olympic success in judo, it became all the rage for younger Israelis. However, the problem with baseball is that you need 18 people, a field and equipment. Nevertheless, if the Israeli team continues on this tear, the larger population will rally behind our sort-of-Israeli team. The good news is that it slowly catching on. After today’s win, I noticed that it was on the front page of, not just our English news sites here in Israel, but our most popular Hebrew site had a story about it as well.

If Israel somehow reaches the finals in Dodger Stadium, they will arrive too soon for us to connect it to Passover, and Purim is just now ending. We might just have to event another Jewish holiday. Maybe this one will be celebrated with hotdogs, peanuts and crackerjacks.

 

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It has been reported that some 500,000 Syrians have been killed in the six-year-old civil war. This has created a refugee problem numbering more than 10,000,000. Yet, it is the country on Syria’s southern border—her mortal enemy, Israel—that has done more for the refugees and for those wounded in attacks, than Arab countries like Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Israel agrees to take 100 Syrian Orphans

According to an Amnesty International report, these countries have not taken in even one Syrian refugee. And yet, Israel is preparing to receive 100 Syrian refugee orphans. (Note: some of the nations listed dispute the Amnesty report.)

It does seem quite strange that you would take in refugees from a country that would love to see you eliminated from the face of the earth. In fact, the L.A. Times published an article back in 2015 entitled: One country that won’t be taking Syrian refugees: Israel.

Think again. A plan proposed by Israel’s interior minister would have 100 Syrian orphans come to Israel. For three months, they would stay in dorms and then be placed with Israeli Arab families. Yes, Israel has 1.5 million Israeli Arab citizens. These are not Palestinians but Israeli, with all the freedoms that Israeli Jews enjoy.

Israel’s Secret Field Hospital

Imagine this scenario. A wounded Israeli needs medical attention. He doesn’t have time to get to an Israeli hospital, but there is a hospital just over the Syrian border. So, he pleads with the Syrians to let him in. Would they let him in? How would they treat him? Would they charge him for treatment?

Of course, this is a nonsensical postulation. It would never happen, but if it did, more than likely the Israeli would either be turned away, kidnapped or killed. And then, there is that adage, “Love your enemy.”

Up in the Golan Heights, Israel established a field hospital to treat Syrians. As of last August, Israel had treated over 2,500 wounded Syrians at both this field hospital and in other Israeli hospitals, saving many of their lives.

In one case, the Israeli Defense Forces went into Syria, just over the border to evacuate eight wounded Syrians. Under heavy fire, Israeli soldiers (our sons and daughters) risked their lives to save members of an enemy state. This is unheard of. But it doesn’t surprise me. Despite the image that the media spreads of an imperialist, apartheid state—this is the real Israel.

The field hospital has been closed, but Israel’s heart has not. The military decided that it would instead do emergency treatments in military ambulances while they are on their way to a hospital in the Galilee. The IDF Northern Command said that the closing of the field hospital was done to increase efficiency, and that the field hospital can be re-opened at any time.

Of course, the Syrians, who have been taught since youth that Israel is a bloodthirsty, evil nation, were shocked to see the compassion. One surgeon said:

“They say that before the previous week, before they came, they thought we were the Great Satan, the enemies, and looked for the tails between our legs.”

In the same article, a rebel fighter remarked.

“Bashar [Assad] didn’t take care of us. Here, in Israel, we are being taken care of. Bashar doesn’t care about us, whereas Israel does. Bashar fires shells at us, he doesn’t care about us at all.”

Another expressed his shock:

“They taught us about the Zionist enemy, the Zionist oppressor. But when we saw the Zionists, [we realized] they were nothing like what we’d been told. They’re human beings just like us, human, and even more than that.”

The Times of Israel wrote an excellent piece on the Israel field hospital.

100 Tons of Secret Love from Jews

An Israeli group has collected 100 tons of supplies for Syrian refugees. Winter coats, boots, warm clothing and more will be donated for those Syrians fleeing civil war. But there is one catch. All clothing tags with Hebrew or any other reference to Israel had to be removed. In addition, the goods will be delivered via a third party so the recipient will never know that it was their mortal enemy, Israel, that is helping them in their most difficult moment.

 “I thought people would be reluctant to support an effort they would not get credit for,” Gilad Perry, Dror Israel’s international collaborations director, said in a statement. “I was amazed to see how wrong I was. The generosity of people just caring for those who suffer from the cold winter on the other side of the border, in an ‘enemy country,’ overwhelmed me.”

Whenever Israel does something like this, there are those who scoff, saying, “You are just doing this for the PR.” And yet, here there is no PR. I want those Syrian refugees who have been breastfed lies about the character of Israelis since birth, to know the truth about us. But even as they are wearing Israeli jackets and Israeli boots, they will still assume we hate them.

“Through you, the whole world will be blessed”

God said to Abraham that His seed would be a blessing to the world (Gen. 12:3). This has come true—even towards our enemies. While the donors were happy to give anonymously, I want the world to see what a great country we live in. So I don’t apologize for asking you to be sure to share this information with your friends.

PIC: from Israel’s field hospital in Haiti, which received the worlds highest grade possible and has become the standard that other nations are copying. 

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