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?

Continue reading
 

Blog Scripture Readings for 10-11 Through 10-17-20

Aside

Parashat B’reisheet — Genesis 1:1 – 6:8
Haftarah — Isaiah 42:5 – 43:10 | 1 Samuel 20:18-42**
Prophets — Joshua 1:1 – 7:26
Writings — Psalms 1:1 – 10:18
Testimony — Matthew 1:1 – 6:34

Our new annual Scripture Reading Schedule for 2020-2021 with daily readings that begins this week 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.

** A different Haftarah is read when it is a special sabbath in Jewish tradition. This week it is Shabbat Machar Chodesh on the traditional calendar. Otherwise, Isaiah 42:5 – 43:10 would be read.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 10/11 through 10/17/2020.

 

Happy End of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret 2020!

As we close out this year’s Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) and Shemini Atzeret (the Eighth Day), our family would like to wish you and glorious rest of the year as we enter into the dark winter season in preparation for a new feast season next biblical year starting with Passover.

By the way, please feel free to share with us your praise reports and testimonies of how you were blessed this year at Sukkot. You can do this in the comments section of this post.

The Nathan and Sandi Lawrence family gathered together on the Shemini Atzeret after a Bible study.
Sunset of Sukkot on the Deschutes River a couple of blocks from temporary home.
Shemini Atzeret morning on the Deschutes River with a gentle rain falling to wash the dust off of everything, to water the land, and to clear the forest fire smoke out of the air. This coming year, may the gentle rain of the Holy Spirit and the water of YHVH’s Torah-Word clean and refresh us and water the ground of our hearts, so that we can bring forth a bountiful spiritual harvest for our Heavenly Father. Amein.