Blog Scripture Readings for 10-25 Through 10-31-20

Aside

Parashat Lekh L’kha — Genesis 12:1 – 17:27
Haftarah — Isaiah 40:27 – 41:16
Prophets — Joshua 15:1 – 21:45
Writings — Psalms 19:1 – 26:12
Testimony — Matthew 12:1 – 15:39

Our new annual Scripture Reading Schedule for 2020-2021 with daily readings that began on 10/11/20 is now available to download and print. The link to the previous 2019-2020’s Scripture Reading Schedule will still be available on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links” into next year. If you are using a mobile device or tablet, the link may be below, meaning you’ll need to scroll down instead.

Most of this week’s blog discussion points will be on these passages. If you have general comments or questions on the weekly Scripture readings not addressed in a blog post, here’s a place for you to post those. Just use the “leave a reply” link or the “share your thoughts” box below.

The full “Read Through The Scriptures In A Year” schedule, broken down by each day, can be found on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links.” There are 4 sections of scripture to read each day: one each from the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and from the Testimony of Yeshua. Each week, the Torah and haftarah readings will follow the traditional one-year reading cycle.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 10/25 through 10/31/2020.

 

On Being a “Fool” for Yeshua in Confronting the Forces of Antichrist (Part One)

Recently, I have been asking myself what can I personally do to fight the forces of evil that are taking over this earth unlike anything we have ever seen before. I am a nobody. I have no power or influence in worldly terms. I have little if any financial or material resources. I have little or no platform from which to speak and be heard. I am backed by no organization. So what can I do?

I have determined, by the grace and power of YHVH, to become a one man spiritual revivalist starting with the people one-by-one that I meet every day in the normal course of my life. This is not easy for me to do; it doesn’t come naturally. It takes love, boldness and faith. I have to stretch myself way past my comfort zone to do so. I HAVE TO BECOME A “FOOL” FOR YESHUA like Paul the apostle was… Here’s how:

The Spirit of Antichrist Is Rising Up and Taking Over

Can’t you see it? Can you hear it? The dust clouds and the sound of marching feet from Satan’s foot soldiers who are driven by the spirit of Antichrist intent of conquering the earth. These determined warriors are on a murderous warpath and in the crosshairs of their weapons of mass destruction are the saints of the Most High Elohim. What are the saints supposed to do about this?

The pounding of jackboots of Satan’s fascistic thugs can be heard everywhere as they advance relentless across the face of the earth. They have a thousand faces and numerous front organizations carrying their banner and supporting their nefarious cause. In their wake is death, darkness and the destruction of everything that is good, honorable, decent and righteous: the family, marriage, godliness, law and order, civility, honor and respect for others, love of truth, and the fear of Elohim and his ways. Usurping its place is atheism, secularism, leftism, deprivation of civil liberties, extreme hedonism, lawlessness, licentiousness, anarchy, chaos and death. The driving force behind it all is a rabid hatred of Elohim, Yeshua the Messiah, the Bible and anyone who is remotely associated with these. And no surprise. Yeshua and his apostles prophesied that this would occur in the last days just prior to his return. We can read these prophecies in Matthew chapter 24, the book of Revelation, in John’s first epistle and elsewhere. Moreover, these satanic armies are empowered and financed by the most powerful and seemingly unstoppable forces that control this planet. So is there anything that the true followers of Yeshua can do about this? If so, what should our response be?

In the Face of Evil and Death, What Did the Biblical Saints Do?

The Bible is full of stories of YHVH’s people facing overwhelming odds in the face of their enemies. For example, think of the Israelites against the Pharaoh and his armies, or confronting the Canaanites guarding the Promised Land, or Gideon against the Midianites, Samson against the Philistines, David against Goliath and the list goes on. But let’s be honest. To most of  us, the biblical record of the valiant heroism and victories of YHVH’s saints over their enemies are nothing more than wonderful stories from dim antiquity and have little or no relevance to us today in our present situation. However, if we scroll forward in history closer to our time, we might find some biblical scenarios that are more analogous to the times in which we are now living. For example, in the book of Acts, when the Jewish murderers of Yeshua were on a rampage against the disciples of Yeshua, what was the saints’ response? Run and hide cowering in a corner? No. We read,

Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Yeshua.” And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of Elohim with boldness. (Acts 4:29—31)

Their prayerful plea to heaven wasn’t, “O Lord protect us from our enemies.” Rather, it was, “O Lord, grant us boldness to preach the gospel with signs and wonders following as Yeshua commanded us to do in Mark 16:15–18 and Matthew 28:19–20.”

The “Foolishness” of Preaching the Gospel

Preaching the gospel seems like a bizarre and foolish if not an insane response to those who are intent on depriving us of our God-given or “inalienable rights… [of] life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to quote the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. This is because:

[T]he natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of Elohim, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2:14)

It is also because the ways of Elohim are not the ways of men. 

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says YHVH. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa 55:8–9)

And as Paul stated,

Because the foolishness of Elohim is wiser than men, and the weakness of Elohim is stronger than men. (1 Cor 1:25)

For YHVH has chosen the “foolish” method (in the eyes of the world) of gospel preaching to advance his kingdom and to confuse the world.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of Elohim. For it is written: “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND BRING TO NOTHING THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRUDENT.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not Elohim made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of Elohim, the world through wisdom did not know Elohim, it pleased Elohim through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1 Cor 1:18–21)

Moreover, not only has YHVH chosen the seemingly “foolish” method of preaching the gospel to expose the genuine foolishness of this world’s “wisdom,” but he has chosen the “foolish” people (in the world’s eyes) to do the preaching.

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But Elohim has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and Elohim has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised Elohim has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. (1 Cor 1:26–29)

Are You Willing to Be a “Fool” for Yeshua Like Paul?

So are you willing to be a “fool” for Yeshua? Paul, the great apostle who help to turn the world upside down for Yeshua the Messiah (Acts 17:6), considered this label to be a compliment.

We are fools for the Messiah’s sake, but you are wise in the Messiah! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! (1 Cor 4:10)

One verse earlier, Paul declared that in preaching the gospel “we have been made a spectacle [literally, a public spectacle as in a theatrical performance] to the world, both to angels and to men” (1 Cor 4:9).

This is a pretty heavy duty thing for most people to consider doing. You may be thinking,“What will people think if I become a fool for Yeshua like Paul?” Or, “I’m not cut out for this. This isn’t my calling.” Or, “I don’t have the personality for preaching the gospel to others.” Well, frankly, there’s no end to the excuses that people can invent NOT to do what Yeshua has called and commissioned his disciples to do! Go ahead and rip that  page out of your Bible and ignore Yeshua’s command to “Go ye therefore into all the world and preach the gospel.” If you do, you do NOT have a Holy Bible, but a Holey Bible, the Swiss Cheese Version—one with holes in it with pages that you have ripped out of it. Moreover, what did Yeshua say? “If you [really] love me, keep my commandments…He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:15, 21). One of his commandments was to preach the gospel to the whole  world. The whole world starts just outside your doorstep…

How to Overcome the Evil One

Some of you will stop reading right here, and that’s your choice to dismiss truth that challenges you out of our disobedient and lukewarm complacency. You might be saying, “He has gone too far this time.” Well, your argument is not with me but with the Word of YHVH Elohim and Yeshua the Messiah. He may be your Savior, but his he your Lord and Master? Are you doing what he told you to do, or only those things that suit YOUR fancy? For those of you who are serious about your spiritual walk and about serving Yeshua your Master who bought and paid for you with his blood, read on. Remember, we are discussing how to confront the spirit of this age—the demonic spirit of Antichrist that is sweeping relentlessly across the globe a tsunami. What are you going to do about it? Cower in the corner or run and hide, or occupy until Yeshua until he comes not living your life unto death? Or are you going to confront this evil spirit with the most powerful and life-changing weapon that has the full force and power of the Most High Elohim, the sovereign and all powerful Creator and Ruler of the universe behind it? This is what John wrote of those end time saints who deigned to stand up against Satan and his henchmen:

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our Elohim, and the power of His Messiah have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our Elohim day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Rev 12:9–11, emphasis added)

A major aspect of overcoming the evil one and his minions in the last days involves “the word of our testimony.” A word is something that is spoken to others and involves sharing the gospel message with others including your personal testimony of what Yeshua has done for you. This may mean that you have to put yourself out there past your comfort zone and even do what doesn’t come naturally to you. In this regard, what has YHVH promised to do for those who step out in faith and obedience trusting him as they share the gospel with others?

Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Ps 81:10)

Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of Elohim. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of Elohim.…Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. (Luke 12:8–9, 11–12)

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of the Messiah may rest upon me. (1 Cor 12:9)

“This is the word of YHVH to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says YHVH of hosts.…For who has despised the day of small things? (Zech 4:6, 10)

Stay tuned for part two…

 

Have YOU crossed over?

John 1:28, Bethabara beyond the Jordan. John’s discussion with these Jewish leaders occurred “beyond the Jordan” or on the east side of the Jordan River. Bethabara in Hebrew means “house or place of the crossing over” and contains the same three letter root (עבר) as the name Eber, who was the grandfather of Abraham from which the name Hebrews drives. 

John baptizing in the Jordan River was spiritually symbolic of one making the choice, as did Abraham, the father of the Hebrews and the saints’ spiritual father of faith (Gal 3:29), and the one to whom YHVH initially showed the path or pattern of salvation (Romans chapter 4), to cross over from the world (or “Babylon”) and to become a Hebrew. A Hebrew or Ivrit is one  who has crossed over by faith from the world and its religious systems into the Promised Land of one’s spiritual inheritance. 

In the case of John, the priest or cohen, he was baptizing those who were crossing over from a manmade or worldly religious system that had largely become disconnected from the essentials of its Hebraic roots and had become a confused (or Babylonian) mixture of good and evil (as in the tree by that name that was located in the garden) and was no longer a tree of life. 

Baptism was a symbolic act of dying to the world, the flesh and devil by coming out of false religious systems of men and crossing over into deeper, purer and anointed spiritual relationship or walk with Elohim through Yeshua the Mashiach (or anointed one) just as Abraham had done two millennia previously.

Presently, YHVH is calling all of this people to come out of spiritual Babylonian religious harlot systems that are fornicating with the world by becoming like or syncretizing with the it (Rev 18:4) and to cross over into a more Hebraic spiritual orientation in their walk with him. This act along with one’s faith in Yeshua the Hebrew Messiah (John 1:1–18, 29) is a pre-requisite for becoming a child of Elohim (John 1:12).

 

Blog Scripture Readings for 10-18 Through 10-24-20

Aside

Parashat Noach — Genesis 6:9 – 11:32
Haftarah — Isaiah 54:1 – 55:5
Prophets — Joshua 8:1 – 14:15
Writings — Psalms 11:1 – 18:50
Testimony — Matthew 7:1 – 11:30

Our new annual Scripture Reading Schedule for 2020-2021 with daily readings that began on 10/11/20 is now available to download and print. The link to the previous 2019-2020’s Scripture Reading Schedule will still be available on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links” into next year. If you are using a mobile device or tablet, the link may be below, meaning you’ll need to scroll down instead.

Most of this week’s blog discussion points will be on these passages. If you have general comments or questions on the weekly Scripture readings not addressed in a blog post, here’s a place for you to post those. Just use the “leave a reply” link or the “share your thoughts” box below.

The full “Read Through The Scriptures In A Year” schedule, broken down by each day, can be found on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links.” There are 4 sections of scripture to read each day: one each from the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and from the Testimony of Yeshua. Each week, the Torah and haftarah readings will follow the traditional one-year reading cycle.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 10/18 through 10/24/2020.

 

Celebrate the Birth and Resurrection of Yeshua Minus the Paganism? (Say What?)

Doubtless, this post is bound to generate some controversial and interesting comments. — Natan

Zechariah 8:19, The fast of. What are these four fasts of the house of Judah (the Jews) that YHVH is here approving and refers to as “appointments” or moedim (though not necessarily “divine appointments” [except for the fast of the tenth month, which is Yom Kippur], since they weren’t mandated by YHVH)? These four fasts are (according to https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/609607/jewish/Jewish-Fast-Days.htm):

The fast of the fourth month of Tammuz: Shivah Asar B’Tammuz— The fast actually commemorates five tragic events that occurred on this date:

  • Moses broke the tablets when he saw the Jewish people worshipping the Golden Calf.
  • During the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, the Jews were forced to cease offering the daily sacrifices due to the lack of sheep.
  • Apostomos burned the holy Torah.1
  • An idol was placed in the Holy Temple.2
  • The walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans, in 69 CE, after a lengthy siege. (Three weeks later, after the Jews put up a valiant struggle, the Romans destroyed the second Holy Temple on the 9th of Av.)The Jerusalem Talmud maintains that this is also the date when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem on their way to destroying the first Temple.

The fast of the fifth month of Av: Tisha B’Av— The saddest day on the Jewish calendar is the Ninth of Av, “Tisha B’Av.” It is the date when both our Holy Temples were destroyed, and an era of exile, persecution and spiritual blackness began.

The fast of the seventh month of Tishrei: Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement

The fast of the tenth month of Tevet: Asarah B’Tevet— On Asarah B’Tevet, the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tevet, in the year 3336 from Creation (425 BCE), the armies of the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem. Asarah B’Tevet is observed as a day of fasting, mourning and repentance. 

What can we learn from this Bible passage? This verse tells us that YHVH is not opposed to our observance of man-made, extra-biblical holidays if they commemorate important events in the religious history of his people and if they are done on the basis of love and peace. This could be applied to such momentous biblical events as the birth and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah as long as we do not substitute these for YHVH’s commanded biblical festivals as listed and commanded in Leviticus 23 and elsewhere. Of course, it is patently contrary to the Word of Elohim for any man-made holidays to contain any taint of paganism (Jer 10:2–5; Lev 18:3; 20:23; Deut 12:30–31) as do most if not all of the popular modern Christian holidays.

 

Fresh Insights on “Not By Might Nor By Power, But By My Spirit…”

Zechariah 4:6, Not by might.

For years, in my Bible, I have had Zechariah 4:6 marked as significant with a large red check mark, and can even quote this verse from memory (admittedly, it’s short and not difficult to memorize):

So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of YHVH to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” Says YHVH of hosts.

But only recently, as a younger senior citizen, have I stopped to consider what this verse really means and to wonder, as I look back over six decades, thirty of which have been in ministry including 25 years pastoring, whether or not and to what degree my life’s major ministry and other life activities have measured up to this wise proverb. To be honest, I believe that much of what I have done “for the Lord” has been weighed in the balances and has been found wanting.

Honestly, I have accomplished a lot for YHVH and, to be sure, there is some good fruit that has come from 30 years of ministry, but I can’t help wonder how much was done in my “might and power” as opposed to “by my [YHVH’s] Spirit.” For example, what have been the effects of my ministry upon my marriage and family? Positive or negative or somewhere in between? The answer to this necessitates pause for some serious reflection, which I have been doing lately. This then begs a couple of questions. First, when doing my ministry ostensibly “for the Lord,” was I doing so in the good, better or perfect will of YHVH (Rom 12:2)? Honestly, it would be arrogance on my part to rate myself very highly on the superlative side of this scale! Second, how much of my ministry has been about self and ego—in other words, pride, which is a pitiable and abominable sin in the eyes of YHVH (Prov 6:16–17 cp. Jer 9:23–24)? How much of my ministry has been done in accordance with my own will and impetuosity, as well intended as it may have been, as opposed to the leading of the Spirit?

Even though this is not the main message behind this Zechariah chapter four passage, when pulling this verse out, it can stand alone as a proverb or adage to live by. If we take our spiritual microscope to this verse, one can’t help but to ask oneself these questions.

So what is the real contextual message of Zechariah 4:6?

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