Tuesday, February 19, 2019


       I am taking the time to write this because of my great love for the people of God - the Jews. I believe the Jewish people are the Elect spoken of by the Apostle Paul.  Even a cursory study of the Old Testament prophets reveals a future time when God will restore the fortunes of Israel and rule the world from Jerusalem.

          It is my prayer for Jewish people to not "convert" to Christianity, but to embrace the True Messiah for the remission of sin.  Yeshua did not set out to start a new religion, He came to reveal God's redemption for His people. Many of the first believers retained their Jewish identity, only recognizing the sacrifices offered at the Temple were a foreshadow of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God and no longer necessary.  In fact, God took the Temple away for this reason.

        The Jewish scriptures, the Tanakh, clearly speak about a future golden age in which God will restore the fortunes of Israel and the earth will revert to a Garden of Eden like state.  Isaiah 65:17-25 speaks of a time when Israel shall experience peace and prosperity where even the most ferocious animals will be tame herbivores, just as they were before the fall of man.  This golden age is referred to as the Messianic age.  Ezekiel 37 speaks of a time when Israel will be reborn, the 12 tribes regathered into the land and united as one nation, and God will dwell among them.  Ezekiel 37:26-28  I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore.  My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.   Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”  Two very important key statements appear in this passage: "I will make a covenant of peace with them" and "My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God"  

 Jesus, obviously, did not usher in this golden Messianic Age. Clearly His followers expected Him to and were quite perplexed when Jesus began to talk about going away.  In fact, Jesus' followers cowered in fear after the crucifixion.  Judas, so disheartened by the realization he had bet on the wrong horse, first betrayed his master, and then regretting his decision, took his own life. Following this, something changed, causing the remaining 11 to not only proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, but emboldened  them to stand by this belief through torture and death.  What changed?

              Throughout every Biblical age, from the Garden of Eden to the destruction of the Temple by King Nebuchadnezzar, God gave clear instruction as to His expectations, warned of the consequences for failure and made restoration once repentance was established.  God never left His people without a witness or a method of reconciliation.  Every covenant was contingent on man's ability to obey God's commands. Every covenant, until the one introduced in Ezekiel and Jeremiah, a future covenant, of which God says, Jeremiah 31:31-33  “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,   not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.   For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. God tells His people there will be a New Covenant and it will be unlike the Old Covenant.

    In the Garden of Eden, the covenant God made with Adam required Adam's obedience. When Adam failed, sacrifice was made to cover Adam. God warned Adam failure would result in death. The institution of substitutionary sacrifice was established to restore mankind to fellowship with God. 

  At the time of the flood, God warned mankind through Enoch, who prophesied judgement, and through Noah, the preacher of righteousness. Mankind failed to heed the warning and destruction came.  God restored mankind on the earth through Noah.  When Noah exited the ark, sacrifice was made and restoration took place. 

      Following the Great Flood, God told man to spread out upon the earth.  Man ignored God's command by establishing a city and building a tower of defiance.  God confused the languages and drove man apart. God then brought restoration through the bloodline of Abraham, establishing a people through whom He could reveal Himself to mankind. 

Out of the bloodline of Abraham, God brought forth the nation of Israel and  Moses the Lawgiver. Through Moses, God established a covenant with Israel.  Israel violated these instructions.  Tabernacle worship and sacrifice was established. God sent Judges to lead Israel to repentance and freedom from the consequences of rebellion.  Then came the time of the kings.

        During the time of kings, God sent prophet after prophet to warn the people to repent.  God warned of dire consequences for rebellious behavior.  The people refused to heed God's warning and disaster struck the nation.  Even after the Temple was destroyed and the city conquered, God brought restoration.

         In all these scenarios, God gave warning, followed through on his threats and provided a means of restoration.

  In 70 AD, Rome sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple.  Where was the prophetic warning?  What did God prescribe to avoid this tragedy?  Now, almost 2000 years later, what form of restoration has God offered?         

     If God is true to Himself and truly loves the Jewish people as He claims, the destruction of Jerusalem could not have simply happened inadvertently, without warning or means to avert. What prophet did God send?  Was there a  message?  

If God provided no specific warning to Israel prior to 70 AD, then He lied to the nation when He spoke through the prophet Amos.
Amos 3:6-7 Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?  “For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. 

     God did, indeed send a prophet.  John the Baptist came preaching, "repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand."  John warned the religious leaders who represented the people to prepare for the coming Messiah. 

    Messiah did, indeed, come and He offered the Kingdom.  The first chapters of Matthew's Gospel reveal Jesus offering the kingdom to Israel.  It is only after Jesus is rejected, via representation, we see Jesus change the message and begin to expand His ministry beyond Israel.  At first, Jesus taught what we call the beatitudes, the rules for living in the Kingdom.  The religious leaders (priests) were established, by God, to represent the people before God. The High Priest, specifically chosen by God to represent the people, rejected Jesus' message, in effect, leading to a national rejection.   

        God gives another warning through the prophet Amos, indicating the Messianic Age coming only after great tribulation: Amos 5:18-20  Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light,   as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him.  Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? 
     Every Israelite knew the Day of  YHWH was the beginning of the Messianic Age. Through Amos, God revealed the Day of YHWH would not be a pleasant time for Israel.  

    Many today reject Jesus as Messiah because He did not usher in the Messianic Age.  Rabbinic Judaism continues to look for Messiah and modern day Jewish leaders state it will be easy to know when Messiah is here because He will fulfill the prophecies calling for the restoration of Israel and the destruction and/or subjugation of her enemies.  

      What many in the Jewish community fail to realize is Bible prophecy reveals a two fold ministry for Messiah.  Isaiah 53 refers to Messiah as a suffering servant who suffers death for the sins of the people.  The Talmud, the Septuagint version and the Aramaic translation found among the Dead Sea Scrolls all attest to Isaiah 53 referring to a specific man, not the nation of Israel, as purported by modern Rabbinic thought.

         Many ancient Rabbis and Jewish scholars could not reconcile passages of scripture attributed to Messiah portraying Him as suffering and dying and conquering and reigning.  Because of this supposed conflict, the two Messiahs theory was born.  On Messiah would suffer for the sins of the people, as described in Isaiah 53. This Messiah, it was believed, would be descended from the Patriarch Joseph through Ephraim, thus the title Messiah Ben Joseph.  The second Messiah, believed to be descended from Judah through David was referred to as Messiah Ben David.

          God did a neat little trick, assigning Jesus' adopted father duties to a man named Joseph.  Jesus, in his true lineage, descended from Judah through David, on His mother Miriam's side and humanly speaking Jesus was, through adoption, the son of Joseph.  Jesus fulfills both roles of suffering servant and reigning king and can rightfully be called both Ben Joseph and Ben David. Ben Joseph through adoption and Ben David through lineage. 

              The most important question you will ever have to answer is, "Who is Jesus?"  How you answer this one simple question will govern your whole life and beyond.  The matter of whether or not He lived is not worth debating as only the most intellectually dishonest among us will attempt this argument.  The question of His identity, however, has been debated and redefined for 2000 years, yet His followers continue to change the world.

             Sadly, many evil men have done monstrously evil things in the name of Jesus.  Today, evil men continue to do Satan's work disguised as Christianity.  Satan has been misrepresenting the truth of God since the Garden of Eden. 

The Torah and he Tanakh all point to the coming Age of Messiah.   I have written previously, how God has revealed in Psalm 60 how Israel will call out to Jesus in the Great Tribulation ushering in the Messianic Age

               My prayer for you today is, if you are Jewish, you will consider these things and understand, Jesus never set out to establish a new religion.  Jesus' mission was and is to set His people free from sin.  

               My prayer for you today is, if you are a follower of Jesus, you would represent the Messiah well and be burdened for the nation of Israel as the Apostle Paul who wrote: Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 

          Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!!

Thursday, February 14, 2019


             With Valentine's Day upon us, love is on the minds of many people.  The question is, what really is Valentine's day and more importantly, what is love?

             A little background:

           According to Legend, Roman Emperor Claudius, in the 3rd century, was having a difficult time recruiting soldiers for war. Many men were reluctant to leave wife and family to fight wars on foreign soil.  Claudius came up with a solution - outlaw marriage.

Enter Valentine - a priest who secretly married several couples and was, in return sentenced to death. 

The legend goes on to inform us, while in prison, the priest fell in love with the daughter of one of the guards and sent her a letter signed, "from your Valentine."

Prior to all this, February 14 was known as Lupercalia, a pagan holiday, in which men of valor would draw the names of maidens from a box and thus become sworn protectors of the chosen maiden, or one year.

In order to incorporate Lupercalia into Christian practice, the roman church chose February 14 to be the St. Valentine's day, the patron saint of love.   Instead of drawing the name of a maiden, celebrants drew the name of a canonized saint and thus were charged with emulating the attributes of the chosen saint, for one year.  Over time, the observance evolved into the Hallmark holiday we celebrate today.

While Valentine is not the author nor definer of love, God is.

1 John 4:6  -  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 

God's love supersedes anything man can express. Most romantic love is contingent upon a quid pro quo, so to speak.  We love and expect love and affection in return.  With God, love goes way beyond any ideas of reciprocation.  While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  

Romantic love is great, if you can find it, but true love transcends feelings and emotions.  True love is sacrificial and expects nothing in return.  This is the love we receive from God and the love we are to strive to emulate.

If you are celebrating today with someone you love, love them well. If you find yourself without someone special to share this holiday, know you are not insignificant and most importantly, you are defined by your relationship with God and you are much loved!  

And in all things, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.

Now, go live as Christ.... and give the devil hell!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


  Have you ever been so sure you were right you were willing to stake your very reputation and even risk damaging relationships?  Few things engender such conviction as do faith and politics.  Often,  differences of political and religious views equate to an immovable object meeting an irresistible force.  For many, the idea of discourse to understand opposing views is foreign, leaving an argument of talking points and witty personal attacks as the preferred method of addressing disagreement.

      We no longer care why someone believes as they do, proving those with whom we disagree wrong is the main objective.  Is is possible to be wrong even when what you believe is right?  What if our main objective was to be correct rather than right?  How would this shape our approach to handling disagreements?

            What many believe on any given political or religious topic is, primarily, shaped by worldview.  Chances are, your views on abortion, gay marriage, the resurrection of Christ or the inerrancy of scripture is based on what you believe about the world in general and not based on any independent study of the particular topic.  On the abortion issue, for instance, your source of information will generally be from sources in agreement with what you already believe.  If you are pro-abortion, your sources of information, to defend your position, will come from Planned Parenthood.  If your position is pro-life, National Right to Life will be, most likely, where you turn to for information. 

       America is filled with arm chair quarterbacks, content with allowing others to provide the arguments in defense of political and religious positions.  When was the last time you read a scholarly piece from an opposing viewpoint on an issue you hold?  Christians lose credibility when we spout off on a divisive topic on social media and then have no ability to actually defend the position. 

         When we form opinions based on our identity with a group that holds a particular view, without first investigating the position for ourselves, we contribute to further polarization of society.  Without understanding a person's reason for holding a position, it becomes easy to demonize them and pronounce all sort of evil intent over them.  Is this really what Jesus had in mind when He instructed us:  Matthew 5:44  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,?

        Obviously, we cannot thoroughly investigate every controversial topic.  I have strong opinions on many topics but refrain from sharing some publicly as I do not feel I have done my due diligence in supporting my argument.  Not every opinion needs to be shared on Facebook or Twitter.  If you do share your opinion on social media, you better be able to defend yourself against attack.

       If, for instance, as a Christian, you choose to post something on social media concerning your opposition to gay marriage, you are well within your right to do so.  Please, however, have a better defense than the ridiculous "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!" cliche.  If your argument can fit on a bumper sticker, you do not have an argument and should probably keep what you think to yourself.   Uninformed opinions are like bowel movements, everyone has them and they usually stink. 

        If I claim the moon is made of cheese and offer no empirical evidence to support my thesis, I have no credibility in anything I say.  "Because that's what I have always believed" or "that's how I was raised" are not arguments for any position, yet when it comes to faith and politics, these seem to be common statements of the uninformed.  Spouting off uninformed opinions, without any factual evidence to support said opinion, only serves to contribute to further polarization of society. 

        As followers of Christ, we have allowed our voices to be silenced in the court of public opinion for fear of offending.  The Gospel is offensive to unbelievers.  Jesus was offensive to the status quo powers that were, in His time.  It is time we learn the difference between being offensive and speaking the truth in love, which may be offensive. Speaking arrogantly or belittling others with whom we disagree is offensive behavior, which should never be practiced by God's people. Speaking the truth, in love, may offend inadvertently, but the offense is a result of truth, not our poor behavior.

         Know what you believe and know why you believe it.  Educate yourself.  If what you believe on any given topic is truth, you should not fear opposition.  Resist opinion formed of emotion or false reason, void of factual representation.  If you hold a position on an issue based on feelings, you will lose every time.  

    You may be surprised to find many people who hold opposing views to yours are motivated by a desire to make the world a better place.  Learning what motivates a person helps shape your presentation of the facts. Do not demonize those with whom you disagree. Many times, finding common ground is the best place to start a dialogue.  You may not change someone's mind immediately, but you may cause them to think, which is a very good start.

      Our ultimate goal should never be merely winning an argument or debate, the ultimate goal is to represent the truth well.  1 Peter 3:15-16  but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 

         Based on what I witness on social media these days, this passage seems to be missing from many Bibles. If God's people can practice  these verses in he court of public discourse, we may find far less polarization and more profitable dialogue.  Know the truth, present the truth in love and leave room for the Holy Spirit to water the seeds you sow.

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!!