Please mark your calendars. Let’s join the Jewish community for a Yom HaShoah Observance.
Surviving the Nazis – The Mira Kimmelman Story
Sunday, April 26th 7:00 p.m. Online via ZOOM or Phone.
Please join with me as we join the Knoxville Jewish Alliance in an observance of Yom HaShoah with a dramatic reading of a play entitled Surviving the Nazis: The Mira Kimmelman Story, based upon Mira’s book, Echoes from the Holocaust: A Memoir. This reading was created with the author’s permission several years ago by Dr. Mark Littmann, who used it to teach religious school students about the Holocaust.
Last year, Mira Kimmelman, who was an Oak Ridge resident, died at age 95. When she was only 15 years old, she and her family were swept up by the Nazi army invading Poland. She spent the next six years in four Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. She lost her mother, brother Benno, and 18 other family members in the Holocaust. But through tenacity, ingenuity, the blessing of God, and the help of others, Mira survived. This dramatic reading is her story–and her lasting challenge to us who live on.
Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, April 26, 2020
Shavuah Tov *|FNAME|*,
Counting the Omer – Day 15
Here is the proper blessing to be said each day. This is how Jewish people fulfill the command to count.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹֽמֶר
Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-Olam, Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu Al Sefirat Ha-Omer.
Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments and commanded us about the counting of the Omer. Today is two weeks and one day of the counting of the Omer.
Ancient Jewish Marriage Custom: A Rehearsal for Messiah
(Part 2 of 2)
by Dr. and Senator Raymond Finney
INTRODUCTION: I conclude the two-part series on the first-century marriage custom, as a prophecy of the life and ministry of our Bridegroom Yeshua HaMashiach. Steps 1 through 8 were discussed in last week’s RR. Again, I thank Perry Stone (Voice of Evangelism) for a teaching on this subject I learned from him many years ago, although others have offered similar teachings.
STEP 9: CONSECRATION OF THE BRIDE:
** First century Jewish wedding: Recall that immediately after betrothal, the bride placed a veil across her face and took her place in the company of other virgins (unmarried women) in the village. The virgins kept each other morally pure and provided companionship.
** Yeshua’s ministry: A Believer/ Christian (a spiritual “virgin”) is expected to meet with others of similar faith (other spiritual “virgins”), while awaiting Bridegroom Yeshua’s return. The Greek word for “church” or spiritual meeting place is ekklesia (literally, “the called out ones”). We “called out ones” are expected to live in our temporary home (earth), as we wait to occupy our permanent home in His presence.
Rabbi’s note: Is this Heaven in the traditional sense? Yes and no. Yes, in that it will be spiritual, but it will also have physical dimensions that might be characterized as heaven here on earth. Yeshua is coming to rule and reign on this earth, and His saints are coming with Him. End RN.
While in our temporary home, we are expected to remain pure and free of worldly corruption (Romans 12:2): Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God– what is good and acceptable and perfect.
During this time, Yeshua’s brides should do more than merely wait, though. In the Book of Revelation, Believers are compared to lamp stands, meaning let your light shine by spreading the Gospel of Yeshua, Who is the Light of the world.
Learn from Yeshua’s Parable of the Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). These virgins are Believers. While Bridegroom Yeshua is away in the Father’s “village,” the “virgins” will be judged by the way they live for others. Wise “virgins” keep their wicks trimmed (spreading the Light of Yeshua to a dark world) and keep their lamps filled with oil (oil = the symbol of the Holy Spirit). They will go to the Marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9), when the Bridegroom returns (at the Rapture/ Resurrection). Foolish “virgins” are lazy, and their lamps have untrimmed wicks (do not spread the Gospel) and are empty of oil (pay no heed to the Holy Spirit). When the Bridegroom Yeshua returns, they will not go to the wedding, which is, the Marriage of the Lamb (Matthew 25:11-12): [Yeshua said] “Now later, the other virgins came [to the bridegroom in the parable, representing the Bridegroom Yeshua in reality], saying, ‘Sir, Sir, open up for us!’ But he [that is, the Bridegroom Yeshua] replied, ‘Amen, I tell you, I do not know you.’”
HINT: When Yeshua gathers His Bride for a trip to Heaven, you do not want Him to look at you and tell you He does not know you. Is it more difficult to enter Heaven than many claim? In addition to the Bridegroom’s harsh rebuke in the preceding verses, consider also Matthew 7:13-14: [Yeshua said] “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
STEP 10: RETURN OF THE BRIDEGROOM FOR HIS BRIDE:
** First century Jewish wedding: When the bridegroom completed building and furnishing a house in his father’s village, he was ready to go to the bride’s village to gather her for the wedding. Four points are pertinent:
… Point A: Jews realized a bridegroom would be eager for marriage and might be tempted to marry before housing arrangements were complete. The bridegroom’s father was responsible for approval of his son’s work to assure the housing was worthy and properly furnished. Only when the father approved was the son given permission to go for his bride.
… Point B: When the father gave his son permission to go for his bride, the son left for the bride’s village, after forming a party of his friends to travel with him. The bridegroom’s party almost always arrived at the bride’s village in late evening or early morning, when everyone was asleep. Because the bridegroom had been gone for approximately one year, the bride did not know when to expect him.
… Point C: Upon arriving at the bride’s village, the bridegroom’s party made a loud noise. He shouted out the bride’s name that she would join him. The bride joyously rushed to meet her bridegroom. Her long-awaited marriage was close at hand!
… Point D: Relatives and friends happily joined the couple, as they walked to meet the bridegroom’s relatives and friends in the village of the bridegroom’s father. Because the journey started in the dark of night, lamps were required to light the path. Lamps always needed to be at the ready for the bridal party’s journey. The custom of using ten olive oil lamps began in ca 1400 BC. (Recall the ten lamps in Yeshua’s Parable of the Virgins, previously discussed.) The bridal party walked to the bridegroom’s village to meet his relatives and friends.
** Yeshua’s ministry: When He returns, Yeshua will fulfill the preceding four points:
… Fulfillment of Point A: Yeshua said that only His Father knows the day and hour of His return to earth (Matthew 24:36): [Yeshua said] “But of that day and hour [of My return] no one knows, not even the angels of heaven nor the Son, except the Father alone.”
… Fulfillment of Point B: The Bridegroom Yeshua will return to earth (His bride’s “village”) in the same manner as He left (Acts 1:9-11): After saying all this– while they [Yeshua’s followers] were watching– He [Yeshua] was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. While they were staring into heaven as He went up, suddenly two men [angels, surely] stood with them in white clothing. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you keep standing here staring into heaven? This Yeshua, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.” This passage is one of several assurances that Yeshua will come in the future to gather unto Him those who follow Him. This event is the Resurrection/ Rapture.
… Fulfillment of Point C: At the Resurrection/ Rapture, the Bridegroom Yeshua will appear in the clouds with His “friends” (angels), accompanied by much noise– the blast of God’s trumpet and the shout, “Come up here!” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17): For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the blast of God’s shofar, and the dead in Messiah shall rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left behind, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air– and so we shall always be with the Lord. – AND – (Revelation 4:1): After these things I [John] looked, and behold, a door was standing open in heaven. And the first voice, which I had heard speaking with me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”
QUESTION TO PONDER: If the pre-Tribulation theory is correct (there are other theories) and only Believers are snatched away, leaving non-Believers behind, will only Believers hear this trumpet and shout? Could this be what Yeshua meant in John 10:27-28a? – [Yeshua said] “My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life! …”
… Fulfillment of Point D: Yeshua told His followers to always be ready. Recall the Parable of the Virgins, previously discussed, in which all “virgins” (Yeshua’s followers) are commanded to always be ready. Yeshua concluded this parable (Matthew 25:13): “Therefore stay alert, for you know neither the day nor the hour [of My return].” See also Mark 13:33-36 and Luke 12:36-40. In Luke 19:13b, the Master of the parable (representing Yeshua), as he prepared to go away, told the servants (Yeshua’s followers): “Do business until I come back.” We Believers are expected to work in our secular lives and fulfill our spiritual duties while the Lord is away. Laziness is not a commendable trait for a Believer. No crowns will be awarded at the Bema Judgment for napping.
STEP 11: PROCESSION OF WEDDING PARTY TO BRIDEGROOM’S VILLAGE:
** First century Jewish wedding: The wedding party walked to the bridegroom’s village, except for the bride. The still-veiled bride was carried in a chair-like device, an aperion, fitted with two staves and supported by four men.
** Yeshua’s ministry: Each saint– resurrected and translated (raptured) Believers/ Christians– will be given an immortal body and will be taken to Paradise in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians15:51-52): Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed– in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. [In this TLV rendition, the Hebrew shofar (ram’s horn trumpet) is chosen. In the B’rit haChadashah text, but in the Greek, salpinx (trumpet) is written.] – AND – (1 Thessalonians 4:17): Then we who are alive, who are left behind, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air– and so we shall always be with the Lord.
STEP 12: MARRIAGE CONSUMMATION, CHUPAH PROTECTION:
** First century Jewish wedding: Under Talmudic law, a marriage was not legally established until it was consummated (until intimate relations occurred). Upon arriving at the bridegroom’s village, the couple was betrothed, but not yet married. A chupah was built beside the house of the bridegroom’s father. The bride and bridegroom entered the chupah, where they stayed seven days. (The Books of Daniel and Revelation teach that the Tribulation is seven years.) During this time, sexual intercourse was expected to occur, thereby making the marriage legally binding. While sequestered and protected in the chupah, the couple was sheltered from the outside world. Loving relatives and friends brought them food and water and saw to every need. This seven-day period was a time in which the couple was expected to come to know each other. (The PG Bible translators have a husband “knowing” his wife. “Knowing” each other is a euphemism for intimate relations.) The week in the chupah was important, though. Until this time, the bride and bridegroom had only met briefly, and there was no telephone, email, postal mail, Twitter, and so forth to permit conversations between these two virtual strangers.
** Yeshua’s ministry: Believers/ Christians are presently betrothed to Yeshua. The first part of their journey to eternal life is being transported “in the twinkling of an eye” to Paradise. While in Paradise, they will experience two events:
… Judgment at the Judgment Seat of HaMashiach (the Bema Judgment), and
… Marriage to the Lamb (followed by the Marriage Supper of the Lamb).
In an earlier RR, I discussed end-time judgments, including the Bema Judgment. This is not a judgment unto condemnation, but a judgment of reward.
Concerning the Marriage to the Lamb:
… Two Witnesses will appear during the Tribulation (see Revelation 11:3-12). They will provide testimony about Yeshua. Since they could not be as effective as the 144,000 Jewish evangelists (see Revelation 7:4-8), who also evangelize about Yeshua, they have a different role. These Witnesses, murdered by the Antichrist’s regime at the mid-point of the Tribulation, lie in dishonor for three and one-half days on a street in Jerusalem, while the world gleefully watches. (The Apostle John undoubtedly recorded a prophecy of satellite television coverage. As a first- century citizen, John could not have imagined how “the whole world” could watch an event in Jerusalem, whereas you and I completely understand how this can occur.) The Two Witnesses are resurrected and ascend into the heavens, as the world watches. Why do these persons suddenly appear and just as suddenly disappear? A Jewish wedding then and now requires the presence of two witnesses. These men– suggested by many to be Elijah and either Moses or Enoch; or even two others now unknown to us– are thought to be the two witnesses required at the Marriage of the Lamb. According to the pre-Tribulation Resurrection/ Rapture theory, the resurrection of the two witnesses and the Marriage of the Lamb are in perfect synchronization. Other theories of the timing of the Resurrection/ Rapture exist, but I am not smart enough to reconcile them with the Bible’s calendar of events.
… Today, Jewish weddings are still conducted under a chupah (chuppah). The modern chupah is a covering (a canopy) stretched above the wedding party. Today’s chupah is a canopy of cloth, representing a tallit (prayer shawl) stretched between four upright poles. In ancient times (the time Yeshua lived), the chupah was a special room built onto the house of the bridegroom’s father. The marriage chupah then and now symbolizes the home to be established in the marriage of the bridegroom and bride– and the hope that this home would be a safe refuge for all family members established under the cover of prayer.
STEP 13: BLESSINGS FOR THE COUPLE:
** First century Jewish wedding: In the Jewish wedding, seven blessings were spoken over the wedded couple.
** Yeshua’s ministry: The Book of Revelation records seven distinct blessings for a Believer/ Christian (see Revelation 2:7b; 11b; 17b; 28b; 3:5; 3:12; and 3:21). Note that all of these blessing are for “overcomers.” What is overcome is not specified, but presumably it is sin that can only be overcome through repentant faith in Yeshua’s sacrificial death. Only by acceptance of the conditions of the New Covenant can any person be eternally blessed by being wed to Yeshua and living in Heaven.
STEP 14: INVITATION TO THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB:
** First century Jewish wedding: Recall that Yeshua’s first miracle occurred at a Jewish wedding ceremony (see John 2:1-11). Yeshua’s ministry began with the miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and His ministry will be completed by a wedding in Paradise. In the ancient ceremony, the couple emerged from the protection of the chupah, after spending seven days in privacy. The wedded couple, called “children of the bride chamber,” were happily greeted by friends and relatives. During the celebration that followed, the couple, also referred to as “king and queen,” were always surrounded by those who adored them. Notice how much the Jews respected marriage and family! Contrast their belief with how casually we modern people too often treat courtship, engagement, and marriage. **
Yeshua’s ministry: Like the ancient Jewish wedding, present-day weddings often have a celebration (reception, party, dinner) after the ceremony. After the Marriage to the Lamb, which I interpret as occurring in Paradise during the last half of the Tribulation, there will be a Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9a): Then I [John] heard something like the voice of a great multitude– like the roar of rushing waters or like the rumbling of powerful thunder– saying, “Halleluyah! For Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot reigns! Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready, She was given fine linen to wear, bright and clean! For the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the kedoshim.” Then the angel tells me, “Write: How fortunate are those who have been invited to the wedding banquet of the Lamb! ….” He also tells me, “These are the true words of God.”
The Tribulation lasts seven years, which is Daniel’s seventieth shabua (Daniel 9:24-27). Recall the two different Tribulation fates: Those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will joyously celebrate in Paradise; those whose names are not written in this Book will experience a living hell on earth. These time periods, whether in Paradise or on earth, last 2,520 days (7 x 360 = 2,520).
Although we cannot fully appreciate the grandeur of Paradise/ Heaven (see Isaiah 64:4 and 1 Corinthians 2:9), try to imagine the scene at the Marriage Supper. Rows of white linen-covered tables will extend farther than you can see. Seated at these tables will be joyful overcomers, praising the Lamb whose sacrifice purchased their invitation to this celebration. Your friends and family hopefully will be there alongside you. Oh, there’s Paul, and John, and Peter, and…. Each saint will be dressed in pure white, spotless, unwrinkled, unblemished clothing, adorned with evidence of his/ her earthly works for Yeshua. The finest food ever prepared will be served. Placed before each diner will be a chalice. The chalices may be made of silver (silver is the Biblical metal of redemption). The chalices may be filled with the same wine Yeshua miraculously created at the wedding at Cana of Gaililee. Then, our Bridegroom Yeshua may stand up. Profound silence will fall over the crowd, as each saint wishes to hear every word the Master says.
We can only speculate what Yeshua’s words may be. Will He thank the assembled saints for overcoming their sins? Will He thank the saints for serving and loving others in His name? Will He tell how long He has waited for this moment, when we are all gathered together for eternity? What else do you think He may say?
Then, Yeshua may lift His chalice– the Passover cup He declined to drink with His disciples nearly two millennia ago, saving it for the future to drink with His followers in His Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29). He may say something like: “This is My blood, shed for your redemption. Drink it.” As we drink together with Yeshua, we are eternally wed to Him. All Scriptures have come full circle. All prophecies have been fulfilled. God’s New Covenant is completely, eternally established. Mysteries of the faith which frustrated the Apostle Paul, you, and me will be cleared up. Pain and sorrow vanish. Death is defeated. Even an eternity in Heaven may not seem like enough time to explore, learn, and give thanks!
Enjoy this marriage supper. Every Communion you have ever observed has been leading up to this final Communion in Paradise.
MARRIAGE, A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP: To Jan and Rabbi Michael on their recent marriage: Mazel tov! To each reader of this RR who awaits his/ her marriage to our Passover Lamb, the Bridegroom Yeshua, in Paradise: Mazel tov!
We humans celebrate special dates, which are commonly anniversaries. You have a birthday. If married, you have a wedding anniversary. In writing this RR, I am reminded of two anniversaries I recently observed. Substitute dates for your anniversary/ anniversaries.
** On December 22, Linda and I celebrated our fifty-eighth wedding anniversary. Linda has been an exemplary wife, mother, and grandmother. I love her more now than when I married her. My marriage means a great deal to me, but I am promised a marriage in Paradise which will be even more meaningful.
** On March 29, I observed my seventy-ninth birthday, but I have an infinitely long time (an eternity) yet to live. The best part of my eternal life– the best part of your eternal life– is still in the future (1 Corinthians 2:9, NKJV): But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
God’s grace and love have given us promise and hope (Titus 2:11-14): For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, training us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live in a manner that is self-controlled and righteous and godly in the present age. We wait for the blessed hope and appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Messiah Yeshua. He gave Himself for us so that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and so that He might purify for Himself a chosen people, zealous for good deeds. Some day, Messiah Yeshua will call every Believer (every chosen person) home to be with Him, which is our glorious promise and hope. Secure in Yeshua’s promise (John 14:2-3), I extend this invitation– see you at God’s house! Shalom and Maranatha.