There has been much written about why the Lord gave Israel laws separating the clean from unclean, the holy from the unholy, generally categorized in Judaism as the “laws of Kashrut.” Interesting, the Lord’s categorization predates the Mosaic Law, as it is written, “You [Noah] shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female” (Genesis 7:2, NKJV).
The term “Holy One of Israel” is used more than thirty times in the Bible. However, the English translation does not accurately convey the genuine meaning as seen in the Hebrew. In the English language, the words “one” and “of” added to the translation (הקדוש של ישראל). In Hebrew, on the other hand, it is written as “Holy Israel” (קדוש ישראל). The difference is rather significant.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he talks about the physical resurrection of the body— “[For] Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8, NKJV). Paul’s evidence lay in the accounts of more than five-hundred credible witnesses.
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” (Leviticus 23:1, NKJV).
These are the eight feasts and celebrations of the Lord, and His holy convocations declared in Leviticus. They belong to Him and point to His first and second advents. Interestingly, the first holy assembly referenced is the Sabbath. The remaining seven festivals are seasonally divided into spring and fall. These include the Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Firstfruits (Resurrection Sunday), Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), Feast of Trumpets (Jewish Civil New Year), Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles.
In Christian circles, we hear much about God’s covenant with King David. After all, Yeshua is called the King of Kings. However, there is little mention of God’s eternal covenant with Levi and his descendants through Aaron, the first High Priest of Israel after Moses. To further complicate things, Christology has adopted another form of supersessionism regarding the Levitical priesthood, presuming that, somehow, Christ has done away with Aaron’s priesthood, and replaced it with a new one for the church that follows a different order—called “the order of Melchizedek.”
It can be arguably said that the Apostle Paul might be one of the most misunderstood characters in the Bible. He is considered one of the chief builders of the early church and most significant purveyor of the gospel to the Gentiles. And yet, it was Christ’s apostle, Peter who is considered Rome’s first monarchical bishop. From him, and by one-man, apostolic succession (monarchical episcopacy) was presumed to continue through every church generation.
Most of us probably know the story of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian maidservant. She became Abraham’s second wife and bore his first son, Ishmael. Conflict and jealousy arose within the family which led to Ishmael’s banishment, not only from Abraham’s household but also from his father’s inheritance.
Who is the Anti-Christ? That is an interesting and complicated question. First, let me say that the Anti-Christ will be an actual person. However, like Judas Iscariot, he will not become this person until Satan himself enters him— “Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve” (Luke 22:3, NKJV). Second, let me say that it is currently impossible to identify this person. The Bible tells us this man will be revealed to the world at a specific point in time.
Is God judging America? That is a good question, and the answer will depend on what you mean by judging. The definition of judgment is a divine sentence or decision, specifically a calamity held to be sent by God. This leads us to another question: Why would God do this, assuming He is even doing it at all? The answer to this question will also vary depending on our view of God’s character. Is God’s character benevolent or malevolent, meaning, is He disposed towards doing good, or is He disposed towards doing things that are hateful?
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, NKJV). This is probably one of the most popular verses in the New Testament, clearly pointing to Yeshua as the Divine Messiah; God in human form, manifest and revealed to the creation. However, what exactly did the Apostle John mean when he said, the word became flesh? In a general sense, the word is the bible. So, how does paper or parchment turn into living flesh? I think there more to understand here.
The term firstborn is used extensively throughout the Bible, and God makes it clear that He holds a unique interest and affection for those who are His firstborn, whether of man, plant, or the animal kingdom. It is written, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore the Levites shall be Mine, because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the Lord’” (Numbers 3:11-13).
I hear a lot these days about what our Christian Community should resemble. A common biblical reference often cited is in the Book of Acts. It is written, “And they [the church] continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:43-45). Now, this would have been a Christian community to behold. The church members prayed, took communion, and studied the word of God together as one family.
The first mention of the Jews in the Bible occurs in the second book of Kings, which describes the fall and captivity of Judah. “Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around. 2 So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah” (2 Kings 25:1-2)
What is Zionism, or maybe a better question to ask is what Zion is? The first thing to understand is there is both a natural and spiritual component to God’s Kingdom. Let’s look at the natural first. Mount Zion, called Mount Moriah in the Bible is a ridge system located in Jerusalem. East of Mount Zion is the Mount of Olives. These north-south ridgelines are separated by the Kidron Valley. The Mount of Olives is where Jesus ascended to heaven and is the place where He is prophesied to return.
It should be apparent to anyone even casually reading the news that the world is becoming more divisive. Some might argue the earth has always experienced conflict, which is probably accurate, and only proves that humanity continues to go through cycles of self-destructive behavior that ultimately leads to major national and international conflicts. Are we in that same place today? A new survey from the Pew Research Center reveals the political polarization in the United States has reached a dangerous extreme.
It is written, “The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [nishmat chaim]; and man became a living being [in Hebrew a living soul—Nefesh Chaya]” (Genesis 2:7). Thus, God created man in His image, male and female He created us. We are therefore complex beings comprised of a body formed by the hand of God and made from the dust of the earth, and a soul, a spirit that God breathed into us. While certain basic instincts and emotions chemically derive from our physical bodies, our God-breathed souls contain the more profound essence of who we are. For this reason, we are not like any other creature.
The Apostle Paul had much to say to the gentiles about their relationship with the Jewish people, even warning them to not boast or become arrogant against them. Paul made these critical points in his message to the church at Rome, specifically Chapters nine through eleven. I have paraphrased and emphasized these below, and I believe scripture speaks plainly for itself.
Arguments between early Jewish and gentile believers often resolved around a theological disagreement over the Law of Moses. The word law is translated from the Hebrew word Torah, and literally means instruction. This instruction was intricately woven into the Mosaic Covenant, encompassing 613 positive and negative obligations (does and don’ts).
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21, NKJV). There is much to understand from these three verses. We are going to focus on the last part, where it reads, “until the times of restoration of all things…”