Archives For Jewish Roots

Part 1

Continuing with our series on Israel and the nations, I want to move to our second statement.

Gentile simply means a member of the nations. When a member of the nations comes to faith, he does not become Jewish. He continues to be a member of his or her nation, but has complete access to all the heavenly benefits found in Yeshua.

What is the ecclesia?

I have heard many believers say that now that they believe in Yeshua, they are Jewish. However, I do not think that this is what Scripture teaches. This is the beautiful mystery of the New Testament Ecclesia (often translated church). I don’t like to use the word church for two reasons:

  1. The English translation of the Greek Ecclesia is not church, but assembly. It is simply a mistranslation. (see video on the subject here)
  2. In our modern culture, the word church tends to speak of something completely non-Jewish (with steeples, etc.), while the one new man (Eph. 2:15) is made up of both Jews and the nations.

It is important to note that when Paul uses the term ecclesia, it is not an ecclesia, but the ecclesia. Ecclesia was a common word in his culture, but he ‘branded’ it for something specific. For example, in Richmond where I grew up, we have the Coliseum. In Rome, there was the ancient Colosseum. However, the word coliseum simply means “a large theatre or stadium,” from the word ‘colossal.’ Both in Rome and in Richmond, they took a common noun and made it a proper noun. If I have tickets to a concert in Richmond, I say, “I am going to the Coliseum,” not “I am going to a coliseum.”

One New Man

So Paul is saying there is a new thing, called The Assembly or Gathering. And this Gathering is different in so many ways. It is unique in that it is NEW and it is a UNITED assembly of Jews and Gentiles.

In Ephesians 3, Paul uses the word mystery four times to describe God’s marvelous plan for the nations. He says that this revelation, that has now been revealed to God’s holy apostles and prophets, was a secret in times past.

“The mystery is that, through the Gospel, the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Messiah Yeshua.  Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Messiah, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.”  (Eph. 3:6, 8-9)

First, we see that non-Jewish believers become heirs with Israel, not in place of Israel. Second, despite our unique callings, we are one body. Third, Gentiles share in the promise in Messiah—there is equal access to “the boundless riches of Messiah.”

What was the mystery?

He created…

“in Himself one new man from the two [Jews and Gentile], thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.  And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” (Eph. 2:15-18)

So God has created a new thing—the Assembly—comprised of Jews and Gentiles. In the Assembly, both groups are reconciled to God and both have access to the Father by the Holy Spirit. There is no hierarchy. Yes, there is leadership (Eph. 4:11ff), but there is no inherent status based on ethnicity or gender or race. All have equal standing in the Assembly, but not the same calling.

Is there Jewish calling?

As stated before, men are still men and women are still women. No one argues that. But when it comes to Jews and Gentiles, it gets a little stickier. For those believers of Jewish background that maintain there is a calling connected to that, it could be an offense to those who feel that we are saying that Jewish status is better status (which we are not saying!). Still, Paul maintains that the unique calling on Israel remains. Romans 11:29 he says this calling it “irrevocable.” In Acts 13:47 he sees the calling on Jewish believers to be connected to Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6, to “be a light for the nations.”

What is a Gentile?

The question is, are Jews still Jews and Gentiles still ethnically Gentile in the New Covenant? Before I answer that, it is important to note that the word Gentile (in Hebraic thought) can have two meanings. The positive meaning is simply a member of the nations. The negative meaning is heathen or pagan—someone outside of God’s covenant. In the context of Ephesians, Paul uses both meanings.

So, the same Paul can say both, “You who were formally called Gentiles,” when referring to the negative usage. And “I am writing to you Gentiles,” (Rom. 11:13) when using it in a positive way.

He makes an amazing statement regarding access to the Gentiles in chapter three:

“This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Messiah Yeshua.”

If Paul’s intent was that the Gentiles who come to Yeshua are now Jewish, then that would not be a mystery. At the time, there were a myriad of Gentiles throughout the Roman world that attended synagogue and many went through a formal conversion to Judaism. The mystery of the New Covenant, about which Paul is so excited, is that in Yeshua, there is no need for conversion to Judaism, but merely conversion from death to life.

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Col. 1:13)

Is there anywhere in the New Testament where Paul specifically refers to a Gentile believer as a Jew? No. And yet, before going into the Temple, he circumcises Timothy (who was Jewish through his mother, but not raised as a Jew). He doesn’t circumcise Titus. Why? Because he is not ethnically Jewish.

One in Messiah

Clearly, the Jews are still Jews as shown in part one of this series. The mystery is that in Yeshua, Jews are still Jews and Gentiles are still Gentiles (or Greeks are still Greeks, and Brazilians are still Brazilians, etc.). And yet, our oneness in Messiah is so awesome, that we can say when it comes to access to God, there are no Jews or Gentiles, male or female, slave or free…we are one in Messiah.

Paul was not ethnically Roman, but he did enjoy all the benefits of being a Roman citizen. That is the mystery of the Gospel of which Paul speaks in Ephesians three, that believers from other nations become “co-heirs” and “members of God’s household” without becoming ethnic Jews. Believers from the nations enjoy all the benefits of citizenship in God’s household, just as if they were ethnically Jewish, though they are not. That is good news! And the truth is, being a new creation is far higher than being ethnically Jewish.

That is Paul’s meaning in Romans 2:28-29, when he says:

“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”

This is hyperbolic speech. Like when Yeshua said to hate your family or cut off your hand. It wasn’t literal, but because it is the word of God, we struggle with hyperbole. Paul isn’t saying that ethnic Jews are not Jews. He is saying the one who truly pleases God is the one born again—with the circumcision of the heart.

Value in Circumcision

How do we know this? Because, in the very next verse, Paul asks, “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way!” Circumcision through the Abrahamic covenant ties the Jewish people to the land of Israel. Non-Jews were not part of the physical Abrahamic covenant, but can be part of the greater Abrahamic covenant through Yeshua. But the New Testament does not cancel the physical Abrahamic covenant—which never promised eternal life. The land of Israel and many blessings? Yes. But eternal life is only through Yeshua.

This is why Paul was going nuts when Gentiles were being taught that they had to be circumcised in order to be saved. He is shouting in Galatians that there is no greater benefit than salvation and salvation is free. There is no higher status than “born-again”.

Lastly, if all Gentiles are suddenly Jews when they get born-again, who are the members of the great multitude in heaven?

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” (Rev. 7:9)

The great Assembly of God, the One-New-Man, the Household of God, that great Olive Tree, is made up of regenerated Jews and regenerated members of the nations.

 

 

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Part 1

When I turned the page (actually, I clicked to go to the next chapter), I found something interesting in chapter 36. There are these two guys, Bezalel and Oholiab, and they are super gifted in craftsmanship and engraving. It says that the Spirit of God had anointed them for this task.

That is not the big deal. The big deal is that Moses takes all the money—all the gold and silver—and he gives to these guys and their team. They are tasked with building a tabernacle.

‘Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary.’ (Ex. 36:2-3)

Several years ago, I met a pastor who pledged to support our congregation. I never saw a penny. However, he communicated to me as if we were buds. Now I am friends with many people who don’t support us financially, but it was weird—it was as if he thought he was supporting us. Money is a touchy subject, so I just continued in relationship with him and never said anything.

After more than a year, I received a message from this pastor. He was so apologetic. Apparently, someone was stealing money. He thought they were supporting us, while a staff member was siphoning off cash. Since then, he has been one of our biggest supporters and cheerleaders.

My point is that in the midst of this great move of God, these men, Bezalel and Oholiab, were completely trusted with the funds. How do we know that they weren’t stealing from the kitty? Maybe good ole Oholiab stuck a few gold coins in his tunic every day. We know he didn’t nor did the other because of what we read next.

‘And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”

Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.’

According to Exodus 38:24, they gave about one metric ton of gold. That alone—forget the silver, bronze and other elements—would be worth $40,000,000 today!

Now, that is biblical giving and accountability.

  1. The people gave with such zeal and joyfulness that Moses had to give an order for them to stop giving.
  2. And the men receiving the funds were so honest in the fear of the Lord, that instead of giving into the temptation to let the people keep giving, they told Moses about the problem of “over-giving.”

The New Testament equivalent of this can be seen in the book of Acts. In the Hebrew scriptures, God uses elements from the earth to build His Tabernacle and then His Temple. Both times the glory of God comes:

‘Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. (Ex. 40:34-35)

When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.’ (1 Kings 8:10-11)

This, too, came after supernatural giving:

‘King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.’ (1 Kings 8:5)

Wow! What I would give to be able to have experienced that. But we see the same thing in the New Covenant. This time God doesn’t need gold and silver, but he builds His house with people. In Acts 2, we see the Holy Spirit fall on the 120 in a similar fashion in Jerusalem, causing a revival that would shake the Roman Empire!

And one of the first hallmarks of this revival is… sacrificial giving.

‘They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…’ (Acts 2:45-46)

‘There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.’ (Acts 4:34-35)

The first thing that jumps out at me is similar to what we see in the time of Moses. There was no IRS. No one was checking up on them to make sure the money was spent right. In fact, when two of them in the chapter five lied about how much money they received for a property they sold, they died! The fear of the Lord in the midst of revival caused the people to live in integrity when it came to funds.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in accountability. We are a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and have received their highest rating. Accountability has saved many from giving into temptation. What I am saying is that in the absence of the ECFA, the people were honest.

We can’t get away from it. Revival and supernatural, generous giving go hand in hand. We see it when the tabernacle is dedicated, when the temple is dedicated and when the New Covenant community is birthed and commissioned.

This week Christianity Today published an article by two rabbis claiming the Last Supper was no Passover Seder. Here are the facts!

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Three Reasons we Give

Revival, Giving and the Tabernacle

This week’s Torah reading starts in Exodus 35. The tabernacle, which will become the central meeting and worship site for the Israelites, is going to be built. There is excitement. They have seen the miracles of God—the plagues, the Red Sea, and now Moses coming down from the mountain, shining from the glory of God. He brings them the Ten Commandments.

Moses speaks:

“Take from among you an offering for Adonai. Whoever has a willing heart, let him bring Adonai’s offering: gold, silver and bronze…” (Ex. 35:5 TLV)

The people respond enthusiastically.

“Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit was willing came and brought Adonai’s offering for the work of the Tent of Meeting and for all its service as well as for the holy garments. So they came, both men and women, everyone whose heart compelled him, and brought nose rings, earrings, signet rings, bracelets, and all kinds of golden jewels—everyone who brought a wave offering of gold to Adonai.” (Ex. 35:21-22)

We live in a day and age where we are reluctant to respond to such calls. And rightly so. There is so much corruption in ministries today that people are afraid that their gifts are not going to enrich the kingdom, but enrich some would-be king.

Not long ago, a media pastor asked people to buy him a luxurious jet—for the Kingdom. A few years ago he may have gotten his plane. But one of the beautiful things about social media is that it has given the regular guy a voice. And regular guys all over the internet said, “WHAT? Why in the world do you need a $65,000,000 jet?” Donors were encouraged to give at least $300 a piece towards the luxury jet, but the social media backlash was so intense, they abandoned the project (only to take it up again later).

By and large, believers want to be generous. But they don’t want to be abused. They want to give to the Kingdom of God. But they also want to make sure their giving is going to result in genuine fruit.

In Exodus 35, the people gave freely and liberally. Why? Three Reasons:

Generosity is a fruit of revival

By revival, I mean a visitation by the presence of God. In His presence, it is hard to be selfish. I saw this when I served in Pensacola at the historic Brownsville Revival. Not only did people give, but also they sacrificed in ways they would not have before the move of God, in order to be there. People quit good jobs and took lower paying ones to be in the revival. People moved from beautiful cities to the deep south, so they could go four nights a week to revival meetings. They were so hungry for God, and generous giving was a fruit of that hunger.

They trusted Moses

Because of the lack of accountability, the abuse of funds given by hardworking people and the lavish lifestyles that some in ministry live, many believers do not trust their leaders. Even though the vast majority of leaders in local congregations are accountable and want to do the will of God, we often only hear about the $65,000,000 jets.

The Israelites were a fickle bunch—my ancestors. One moment Moses was a hero; the next, they are talking about killing him. But at that special moment—after the golden calf incident and after Moses had gone back up on Sinai and came down glowing with the tablets—they knew Yahweh was their deliverer. And they gave. They knew that God was doing something special in the earth through them. And “everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit was willing came” and gave cheerfully.

We give to Local Projects

I made a mistake a few years back. We built a beautiful Coffee House at Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv. I didn’t want to be a burden on our people, so I raised all the funds outside the congregation. As a result, even though the project was a great success and we now have regular outreach concerts, the people did not own it initially. I never gave them the chance to. It was Ron’s project. Once it was built, they loved it, but I didn’t give them the chance to be part of the building.

People love to invest in their home congregation—especially if it is the consequence of growth. We are getting ready to embark on a $200,000 renovation so we can double our capacity from 150 to 300, and begin to livestream our meetings in Hebrew to the whole country—and Israelis around the world. Many in our congregation are barely surviving financially, but they will want to give to this. Yes, most of the funds will come from outside of Israel, but they will be a part of it—whether in giving or some other way. They will own it.

The people were excited to give to their tabernacle. This would be akin to their local congregation—except it would be mobile. They lived in a very religious world. They had to learn the hard way that there would no idols, no marking of their bodies in worship, or prostitution and no boiling of kids in their mother’s milk. There would be no child sacrifice. They were eager to worship their God, but they were steeped in pagan traditions. Now, with Moses’ guidance, they would give of their most precious possessions to see a beautiful tabernacle arise.

Take some time and read Exodus 35. It will encourage you.

Part 2

To read more about Tiferet Yeshua enlarging our congregation, click here.

 

Outrage on the Temple Mount

Ron Cantor —  January 4, 2017 —  Comments

Tour guide bullied by Islamic Guards for using the term TEMPLE MOUNT on the TEMPLE MOUNT!

Today, in Israel, a tour guide was leading a group of American students on the Temple Mount—you know, the place where the First and Second Temple stood (according to any historian with an ounce of integrity). In his teaching, Israeli archeologist, Dr. Gabriel Barkay, used the suddenly controversial term, “Temple Mount”. He was confronted immediately by Islamic thug guards.

You see, the Islamists on the Temple Mount not only deny that there ever was a Temple there, but they demand that you deny it as well.

According to the TimesofIsrael.com:

In passing, he once again referred to the site as the Temple Mount; its Arabic name is Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary. Incensed, the guards interrupted once more, ordered 72-year-old Barkay to stand, and marched him over to a cluster of Israel Police officers who were standing beneath a clutch of pines.

Not long ago, UNESCO, the joke of an organization within the U.N. that promotes education, science and culture (but apparently not history!), passed a resolution which proclaimed that the Western Wall and the Temple Mount were solely Islamic sites and denied their Jewish connection.

Islamic guards had been following Dr. Barkay and his group to make sure they didn’t say anything inappropriate such as, Temple Mount. Now, standing with the police, the Islamic thugs wanted Dr. Barkay expelled from the Temple Mount… I mean, Haram al-Sharif. Of course, he was breaking no law, just hurting their feelings and therefore he was able to continue.

You might wonder, if Israel is a Jewish state, why are there Islamic guards harassing people on the Temple Mount? After Israel defeated Jordan in 1967, the WAQF (the organization that oversees the Temple Mount) was created under Jordanian oversight, which then employs Palestinians to run it. This is a direct contradiction to how Jordan treated Jerusalem’s Old City from 1948 – 1967. They destroyed every Jewish symbol, monument and synagogue. Now they cry foul if a Jewish person simply utters a prayer on the Temple Mount. And we put up with it.

This thuggish aggression against Jewish and Christian tourists is not new. Many tour guides will tell you that they have suffered a similar encounter. Instead of defending the tourists, the United Nations, against all logic and intellect, agree with the Islamists that the Temple Mount is really and only Haram al-Sharif. Of course, the Islamic block of nations has sway in the U.N., so truth takes a back seat to myths that are meant to weaken Israel.

The funny thing is that we have no direct evidence that Mohamed ever even visited Jerusalem, but we have tons of evidence of the two different Jewish Temples that stood there.

And to be clear, Yeshua will return to the Mount of Olive directly facing that area. He will enter and I am quite sure that He will acknowledge it as the Temple Mount, as He sets up His 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.” (Zech. 14:3-4a)