Archive for May, 2013

25
May
13

A great reminder every week of messianic hope

The first ten chapters of the Book of Numbers is about how the Jewish people prepared to march to the promised land. They got themselves organized; they also made sure that they were inwardly organized by purging sin from their midst and being spiritually prepared. By the time we get to chapter ten, they are ready to go. At the end of the chapter we see that the Ark moves first – ahead of the people and the cloud is upon them to guide them along the way. Then Moses says these words:

Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, “Rise up, O LORD! And let Your enemies be scattered, And let those who hate You flee before You.” (Num 10:35) The picture that we see is one of tremendous confidence in the Lord to reach the land.

This verse is repeated in Psalm 68:2 and Psalm 132:8. In each case the verse is used to exude confidence in the power of God to bring to pass his promises. In Psalm 132 the verse is used to give assurance that the promise of a Davidic dynasty will come to pass.

This verse is a reminder to us that the Messiah has come and in him is the victory. We can have confidence that God will indeed rise up and scatter the enemies. When Yeshua came he defeated sin and death in his own death and resurrection. When he appears again he will bring victory to the Jewish people over her enemies and he will be the final king of Israel.

What is of special interest to me is the fact that the words of Moses are repeated every week when we open the Aron HaKodesh. When we open the Ark we sing: Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, “Rise up, O LORD! And let Your enemies be scattered, And let those who hate You flee before You.” (Num 10:35 NAU) Therefore every week we are reminded that we can still have confidence in God to bring his words to pass. As we lift the Torah out of the Ark we are reminded that his word abides forever and that the Messiah will return and bring the final peace to this world.
But there is more…

I find it amazing that after singing Numbers 10:35, we continue to sing…ki mitzion tetze torah… this is the last part of Isaiah 2:3 ” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. ” This verse is clearly a promise of messianic peace and faith. Evidently the Sages of old who organized this liturgy identified Numbers 10:35 as a verse that not only was about the wilderness wanderings but also applied to the victory of God in the end of days when the Messiah will bring peace and the Word of God will be the way of life of the world. What other reason could there be for placing these two verses together in such a prominent spot in the Torah service?

Every week therefore we sing…Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, “Rise up, O LORD! And let Your enemies be scattered, And let those who hate You flee before You.” ” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. ”

The Rabbis (without realizing it) give us a great statement that we sing every week of messianic hope that has begun to be fulfilled in Yeshua! Indeed he has risen up and scattered the enemy. He goes before us and defeats the enemy so we can move forward in our journey. In Yeshua we have the assurance that the day will come when he will be bring peace to the world and his word will have universal acceptance.

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13
May
13

Messianic Jewish Movement – end time revival? not today!

This past Shabbat in our Torah study we were talking about Bamidbar – the Torah portion of the week which spoke of the order of the tribes and the placement of the tabernacle as the children of Israel were preparing for their journey to Canaan. Somehow this led to a discussion of our role – that of the messianic Jewish movement – in bringing the word of God to the nations. Someone asked if the Messianic Jewish Movement is really an ”end time revival.” That is an idea that many people believe and propagate.
Personally I do not see the Messianic Jewish Movement as an end time revival. How could I say such a thing? Today the “Messianic Jewish Movement” seems to be more of a movement of Gentiles appreciating the Jewishness of the faith rather than a revival of Jewish people coming to faith in Yeshua. While the appreciation of the Jewishness of the faith is a good thing, that is not “revival.” According to the Scriptures, it is the embracing of Yeshua by the Jewish people that constitutes the end time revival. Today we are not seeing lots of Jewish people coming to faith – like we did in the 1970’s. (even then it was not huge numbers.) The term “messianic Jewish Movement” has been co-opted by many groups who consider themselves Jews but who are not Jewish as well as by groups that may not identify as Jews but who clearly are living like Jewish people. Sometimes this and of itself is cited as a sign of the imminent coming of the Messiah. However, the Scriptures are clear that it is the embracing of Yeshua by our people that is the “end time revival.” I am very appreciative of the Gentiles who are part of our congregation. We are indeed one in Messiah while we maintain our individual ethnic identities. At Beth Messiah we have spiritual Italians, spiritual African Americans, spiritual people of other ethnic backgrounds – and Spiritual Jewish people! Let us not forget our calling to reach the Jewish people with the Good News of Messiah Yeshua. Let us remember the words of Paul in Romans 11:13-15 But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?