Monday, April 19, 2010

Yeshua means God's Salvation

Yoseph & Miriam took their new Son to the Temple to be circumcised on the 8th day according to the command of God. They named Him Yeshua, which means God's Salvation.

In every language the Name of Jesus is powerful, but I wish our translations had not obscured what His people called Him to His face: Yeshua - yehôshûa, God's Salvation, the Messiah. Yeshua HaMaschiah. His name is made of of two Hebrew root words - yeh-ho-vaw' GOD and yâshaŹ½ salvation.

To not understand Jesus first as a Hebrew boy named Yeshua, born of God to be the prophesied Messiah of Israel, is a disconnect from reality.
We are also used to the term "Christ" but it is the term AND concept of "Messiah" that is the foundation laid by all the prophets - our faith is built on the foundation of the prophets (of the Old Covenant) and the apostles (of the New Covenant).
The prophets of today may be continuing to experience non-acceptance of their role in five-fold New Testament ministry because they have failed to hear and heed what God spoke through the foundations laid by the prophets of Old about Israel. Selah.

I am not quibbling over semantics here. The concept of Messiah is necessary for Jews of all times to understand their own connection to Him who is the Messiah of Israel. Otherwise, they can go on thinking this "Jesus Christ" is just some Christian god that has nothing to do with them.

Why don't we get it? Jews cannot relate to what a "Christ" is, but they all know well what the Messiah means.
They cannot relate the Christian Jesus Christ to the Messiah prophesied for Israel's salvation. The name "Yeshua" is, in fact,purposeful and He was pointedly named - Salvation. It is the same root of the name of Joshua (yehôshûa), who was a prophetic type of the Messiah to come who would lead "all Israel" into the promised Kingdom.

This article was not conceived in order wrestle over terminology or to debate who is right and who is wrong, but for the real issue at stake: the salvation of Israel that is in progress. In our Christian insistence of not recognizing God's purposes in the foundations of our faith that were laid in the prophets of Old FOR THE SAKE OF ISRAEL's SALVATION of how we refer to Him, we become a stumbling block to faith for the Jewish people.

We don't own "Christ" - the Messiah is the salvation of us all - Jew and Gentile.

Some may say, well, all these thousands of years the Jewish people have not recognized that Yeshua was the Messiah, so what difference does it make? The difference is timing. Specifically: God's timing.

The blindness of Israel to their own Messiah was according to the plan of God, this is explained by the apostle Paul - the apostle to the gentiles - in Romans 9-11. The purpose of Israel's blinding was in the plan of God to open the door of salvation to all the nations - not just to Israel.

"For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" Romans 11:32-33

Paul is exclaiming, the human mind has a difficult time laying hold of this "judgment" or plan of God, but in His wisdom, God spoke blindness upon Israel to the Messiah IN ORDER THAT He might open up salvation to all the nations beyond Israel and including Israel again in the end.

That word in verse 32, For God hath "concluded" them all in unbelief - concluded means "to shut together" or "enclose in a common subjection" to unbelief.

Israel's unbelief was a God-thing! It was according to the plan of God from the foundation of the world because "God so loved the world." The whole world - all mankind, Israel and every other nation was always in the heart of God's Salvation. That is why Paul breaks out in praise of the "riches of both the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out."
God's plan makes no sense to the human mind, but it is spiritually perceived - but God's plan was in His Mind from the beginning.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

Israel did not stumble that they should fall, Paul stresses in Romans 11:11, "Certainly not! But through their fall...salvation has come to the Gentiles." Paul goes on in verse 15 to ask a rhetorical question, "For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?"
Clearly, the Apostle to the Gentiles taught there would be an acceptance of Israel into salvation in the timing and plan of God. There are hints throughout the Hebrew scriptures of this plan, just as there are plenty of hints about what would happen in the life of Yeshua when the Messiah would be born in Israel.

In Deuteronomy 29:4 Moses called all Israel and said to them that the LORD did mighty miracles before their eyes, "Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day."

What we understand from the Word of God is not due to our brilliance or faithfulness, it is a gift of God, lest any should boast. We cannot perceive His truth unless He gives us a "heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear."

The apostle Paul says in Romans 11:25-27 that he would not have us (Christians) ignorant of this great mystery:
"lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part has befallen Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

I firmly believe that self-pride is the legal cause of spiritual blindness, as Paul told the Christians in this Roman letter not to be "wise in your own self-estimation" so you would not miss the great mystery behind the partial blindness that befell Israel. Thousands in Israel DID believe that Yeshua was the Messiah and what they possessed was a humility instead of pride that allowed them to perceive the Truth.

But where does that leave us today as so much of what I call the "cutting edge Church," those that are operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Indeed,the very prophetic portion of the Church that are possessing and teaching of our inheritance in Him, are also GUILTY of having NO VISION for the plan of God that is being revealed in the current harvest underway of "all Israel" just as the apostle Paul predicted?

Are the Jews really more faithless people than all the non-Jewish nations? Is this really what we Christians think, that we are so much better than Israel in the natural that we can believe what they could not believe just because of spiritual superiority?

If so, we need to get over ourselves and just read what the Word has to say about all that. Otherwise, we show ourselves full of unbelief because the Word of God clearly spells out that God blinded the spiritual eyes and ears of Israel FOR HIS PURPOSES to widen the net of salvation beyond Israel to all the nations.

Isaiah 6: 9-10 is a prophetic proclamation spoken over Israel specifically regarding their coming spiritual blindness to the Messiah. "And He said, “Go, and tell this people:

‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
“Make the heart of this people dull,
And their ears heavy,
And shut their eyes;
Lest they see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart,
And return and be healed.”

Why would God put a blindness on the people of Israel "lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their eats, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed?" So that God could "conclude" them all in unbelief and widen His Salvation to all the nations of the world - including Israel.

God did not (and does not) hate and repudiate Israel, the spiritual blindness was for a season. He had (as has) every intention of removing the scales of blindness in His own timing and for His own stated purposes to turn away all ungodliness from Jacob.

At the end of the age, the spiritual scales of blindness like those that were upon the eyes of the apostle Paul, are being removed, and Israel will increasingly be able to see that the Messiah of Israel has come in the form of the Son of man, Yeshua, perfectly fulfilling the the prophecies of Israel's Messiah.

This is why we Christians need to lighten up and realize that Israel has paid a price too - FOR OUR SAKES - in the big picture of God's plan of salvation for man.

Is it such a big obstacle to us to embrace that a Jewish child was born of a Jewish virgin. She named Yeshua according to His destiny to be God's Salvation - the Messiah, not only of Israel but for all the nations?

Can we Christians put our feelings of insecurity aside about "the Chosen People" and look upon those fields and spiritually perceive the fields are white unto harvest?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Healing for the Holocaust

The healing for the pasts of every single one of us is only in Yeshua. I do not say this to minimize this day of remembrance of the devastation of the Holocaust, but to point us all to our sole hope of healing from the devastation and emotional wounds of our pasts.

I have never liked it how others have borrowed the term "holocaust" for their causes. It trivializes the true horrific attempted genocide that took place in the big middle of the European "Bible belt." Every cause that chooses the term "holocaust" to apply to their cause, diminishes what was done to the Jewish people - not in the backwoods of a third world nation, but in a modern Western "civilized" country. Not by personal choices made by individuals, but a collective, organized attempt to annihilate a people from the face of the earth. Comparisons to slavery and abortion are not on the same level as what took place in the Holocaust.

There must be a special memorial for Holocaust, but our memory of the attempted genocide of a whole people is not enough to keep it from happening again. The saying, "Never again!" is understandable, but keeping the memory alive is not enough to stop the powers of hell from inciting another run at the Jewish people. Israel is the center point of the fulfillment of God's plan in the salvation of mankind and that is the target that is on the back of the Jews.

Nor is there ever healing available in the memory of the Holocaust. We must never forget such evil but the healing of every devastation in each of our personal lives, as well as in the lives of the Jewish people, is only to be found in Yeshua.

Isaiah 53:3-5 says of Israel's Messiah,

He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Throughout the scriptures - from the Hebrew through the New Covenant - there is an idea expressed that not many of us like very much and that is the concept of "the fellowship of His suffering." This fellowship of His suffering is not only the role of those of us Christians or Messianic Jews who have taken up His cross, but the nation of Israel, too, has played a role in the fellowship of His sufferings.

The first example that comes to my mind is the scapegoat of Leviticus 16. There were actually two goats in that prophetic picture - one upon whom the sins of Israel were laid as a sacrifice to the LORD for sins, and the other goat, according to verse 10,

"But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD,TO MAKE AN ATONEMENT WITH HIM, and TO LET HIM GO FOR A SCAPEGOAT IN THE WILDERNESS."

Surely this is exactly as the prophetic picture painted, Yeshua was sacrificed as the Passover Lamb for the sins of the world, and the Israel - the Jewish people - were sent out into exile (the wilderness) as a scapegoat "to make an atonement with Him."

I know this may be controversial, but the picture holds perfectly true to the explanation in Romans 9-11 given by the apostle Paul for the part Israel was playing in opening salvation to the Gentiles.

11:7 and 11 "Israel has not obtained that which he seeks for; but the (Jewish) election has obtained it, and the rest (of Israel) were blinded ....I say then, Have they all (Israel) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles..."

Paul explains that the setting aside of Israel was not a complete rejection and repudiation, but a setting aside for a season in order to accomplish God's purpose of widening salvation beyond Israel to the whole world.

It is the plan of God - explained repeatedly in prophetic pictures throughout the Hebrew scriptures and explained most fully by the apostle Paul where he also said that a time would come when Israel would no longer be locked up in unbelief and "all Israel shall be saved, as it is written" - Romans 11:26.

11:32-33 For God hath concluded ("to shut together") them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

11:15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

In the beginning of this note I spoke to the only healing that is able to truly heal a devastation as great as the Holocaust, and it is Yeshua. Until, as Isaiah 53:10 says, Israel "shall make His soul an offering for sin" there can be no true healing from the national trauma of the Holocaust. There can be memory and the repercussions of being a scapegoat in the wilderness, but only the full revelation of the Father's love through the embrace of Israel's Messiah can wholeness come for the wounds of the Holocaust..

Some of us have experienced considerable trauma and personal devastation in our lives. The only healing that is capable of restoring our wounds to the state of original purity and integrity is the healing that is available to us in the salvation of Yeshua. For salvation is not only a ticket to heaven or an occasional answer to our prayers but it is God's provision for our full restoration, for healing to the uttermost. It is not the light work of the Holy Spirit that many of us have been settling for, not merely being "patched up" but being fully restored "to original purity or integrity."

Who would not rather have complete wholeness rather than just being patched up? It is part of the price that was paid by Israel's Messiah, Yeshua. He who was pictured as a goat upon whom all the sins of the nation were laid. This inheritance of healing is not only for our individual personal salvation, but it is for the national salvation of Israel that has already begun.

Some people will not like that I have identified Israel as the scapegoat sent out into the wilderness, but what was exile from their nation for almost 2,000 years if not being scapegoated in the wilderness? Now we do not yet see "all Israel saved" but who among us that knows the faithfulness of God would believe that God has given the nation of Israel a re-birth - a one of a kind event among all the nations that ever lived and died - if He did not also intend to give Israel a spiritual re-birth?

Is the "fellowship of His sufferings" so difficult to see in the nation of Israel?

When Yeshua was carrying His cross to the place where He would be crucified, He had already borne great affliction, smiting, bruising, chastisement predicted in Isaiah 53. His tormentors "compelled" a bystander in the crowd, a man named Simon from Africa, to help Yeshua carry the cross to Golgotha.

While we human beings often bear the wounds and suffering from living in a fallen world - sometimes devastation to our emotional souls, the good news is that Yeshua is able to fully heal and restore each of those places in our hearts.

The catch is we have to give up those wounds. We can't keep our wounds alive for ourselves, nursing our damaged feelings about the hurt and pain we have just barely endured. To be healed, we have to be willing to give our wounds up. It sounds like a no-brainer, but we often define ourselves by the devastations of our lives. We have to forgive and we have to stop see ourselves through the prism of the pain and suffering.

The only way we can do this is in recognizing that full healing is included in our inheritance of Yeshua's salvation, and by giving Him our wound so He can do for us what no other power or intellect on earth can do: restore us to wholeness.

For Israel, there is a day on God's horizon where all Israel shall be saved. The tears of the Holocaust will be washed from every eye. The hundreds upon hundreds of years of rejection and wounding as the scapegoat wandering in the wilderness will be healed - fully restored to original purity and integrity of the nation before God. It is the promise God made to Abram come full circle.

When Abram first left Ur of the Chaldees, he went out with his father, Terah. Abram's brother Haran, had died before Terah took Abram, Sarai and Haran's son Lot to go to the land of Canaan. Some say that it was Terah that God first sent to the Promised Land instead of his son Abram. I don't know about that but for certain God chose a family line and spoke to Abram's father to leave Ur to the distant land of Canaan.

Terah started the journey but he did not finish it. He only got as far as the city of Haran - the city that had the same name as his beloved dead son. There Terah stayed where he eventually died.

It may be that the memories of his lost son overwhelmed Terah. Haran means "mountaineer" and in prophetic terms mountains are often the obstacles we must overcome to go on with God. Terah was not able to overcome the mountain of Haran, so he stopped on the journey God called him to take and could not go any further.

When we do not give every wound and devastation of our lives to the Lord to heal, we get stopped in our journey too. Abram went on with the calling of God. He did not stay camped out at the memory of the loss in his family, but left his father's house in Haran and continued on the unknown path of God's leading.

We have to do this too. We have to leave behind the place where other members of our family may be camped out mourning the losses of our family line. We have to be willing to go forth in the calling of God to the place of promise where everything God has spoken to us for the future of our families and blessing to be fulfilled.

I would never suggest that Messianic Jews should not remember the Holocaust. It is an important identification with Am Israel. But the future and blessing of Israel lies in the healing - the full restoration of original purity and integrity - that is only available through Yeshua. I would suggest to us all that we each personally lay hold of this part of our inheritance in Him, for the sake of all our families and for their future salvation. If they see us take hold of this measure of healing, we will indeed be a bright light set upon a hill.

The most important identification we can make in our lives is our identification in Him. In my family line there are many identifications I have made from the suffering, wounds, rejection and poverty I can clearly see that have come down to me from the generations before me. I would be the greatest fool of all not trade all of those identifications for my identification in the the Messiah of Israel, by whose stripes I am healed.