Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, June 29, 2018

(Early) Shabbat Shalom!

Reminder:  Please plan to attend our Friday night fellowship/meal/worship service at the synagogue.  We meet once a month on Friday night at 6pm and this Friday night is the night.

A few days ago I spoke with my original Messianic rabbi (who immersed [baptized] Ann and me in 1982), David Chansky, about the prophesies of Daniel in preparation for writing these Reflections.  He sent me some of his own writings which I have incorporated here.

The New Covenant and the Last Days

Did Yeshua make the New Covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah as predicted by Jeremiah the Prophet? Yeshua says that he did. Why the question?

In Acts 1 the Apostles asked the resurrected Yeshua if he will at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel.  His answer (and I paraphrase) to them is that only God, the Father, knows His timing.

Chapter 31 of Jeremiah speaks of the restoration of the Jewish people.  This is the opposite of the destruction of Jerusalem about 35 years after the Last Supper in 70AD.  It was during that Last Supper that Yeshua declared the New Covenant at his Passover Seder with his disciples.

For 20 centuries now Jewish people have wrestled with questions about the promised Messiah.  Many in Orthodox Judaism (and even a few in other branches of Judaism) have struggled with their expectation as opposed to their perceived reality.

Unless we understand the fullness of the first and second comings, we cannot realize the fulfillment presented by Yeshua’s first coming.  We were expecting a reigning king and we got a suffering servant, it’s a shock to the system.  We’re looking for Machiach Ben David and Machiach Ben Yosef appears.  The lack of reception by Jews suddenly becomes easier to understand.

So, I ask you to join me with fresh eyes as we answer the question,  “Is Yeshua the promised Messiah that was prophesied to come?  Let us consider all the related questions and see if there are true answers to them.

There are a couple of phrases used often in Jeremiah Chapter 30 and 31, “The last days,” or “In those days.”  This is not two 24 hour “days” but a period of time identified as “the last days.”  We read in Psalm 90:4 “a thousand years is as a day when it is past.”  The New Testament confirms this, stating: “A day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as a day.” (2 Peter 3:8)

So, what are the defining characteristics of the last days?  I’m glad you asked.  The last days will be a period of time when Israel is restored within the Kingdom of God and that finally Kingdom of God will be established on the earth (of course including Israel).

Certainly the writers of both the Old and the New Testaments knew about these things. Yeshua certainly indicated that there would be a restoration of the Kingdom of Israel as promised in the Tanach.  (see Acts 1:6,7 Luke 21:20-24 and Paul also in Romans 11:25-29.

We need to not just read Jeremiah 31 to find the answer. We need to back up and read Jeremiah 30 which deals with the time of Jacobs trouble as well as the final restoration of Israel. Jeremiah refers to this as “…the days are coming…a time of trouble…”

This fits neatly into considering that when Yeshua wept over Jerusalem and his prediction of its destruction confirmed the prophecy of Daniel 9:27,28. We must see that the “Days that God would make The New Covenant were actually a period of time that included the Time of Jacobs trouble which time Daniel referred to as “the great time of trouble” ending with “your people shall be delivered and the resurrection of the dead.” (Daniel 12)

Looking back at these events through history, we can see that not just Jeremiah 31 is involved in this picture but every prophet.  Especially Daniel  (2,7,9,11,and 12) are involved.  The Apostle Paul also had something to say in confirming these things. We can quote Paul from Romans 11 where he speaks of the restoration of Israel and the departing of the blindness from the nation:  “For THIS IS my covenant with them in the day that I take away their sins”

Paul is saying that the covenant was already made with Israel and Judah thus in his understanding the long period of time was inclusive of the dispersion and restoration of the nation of Israel and their final redemption.

I believe it is worthy of mention that Luke (believed to be the writer of Acts) makes a statement that is often passed over in Acts 2:16,17 as he quotes Peter who is quoting the prophet Joel: “But this (the miracles of Shavuot/Pentecost) is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel, and it shall come to pass IN THE LAST DAYS, that I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh.”

Again some may say that what was prophesied in Joel didn’t occur during 33 CE, but the Bible says it did.  To be clear, “The last days” is a period of time, and that period of time has not yet ended.  Welcome to the last days.

Week 26
Memory Verse: Daniel 6:27 I issue a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom people are to tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. “For He is the living God, enduring forever! His kingdom will never be destroyed, His dominion will never end.  28 He delivers and rescues. He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions!”

126 6/25   Monday:     Daniel 5-6
127 6/26   Tuesday:      Daniel 9-10,12
128 6/27   Wednesday Ezra 1-2
129 6/28   Thursday:     Ezra 3-4
* 130 6/29   Friday:     Ezra 5-6

Question of the day:  Well alright then.  What is the happy ending (to Ezra chapter 6) all about?

Answer:  Ezra means “helper.” Here we find God helped the children of Israel rebuild the Temple.  It took 4 years, but “b’ezrat haShem” (with the help of God) the house of God was rebuilt.

You may recall there was a suspension of all construction activity at the end of chapter 4 (by order of king Cyrus).  But then a new king, Darius, rose to power.  He ordered a complete resumption of the construction.

We apply the Scriptures to our lives by asking one question, “What lesson does the Lord have for me in this?”  What dream, desire, objective, or talent, has been planted within you?

The answer will be as individualized as there are people in the world.  God has made you in a unique and special way.  Your skill set is one-of-a-kind.  In every one of life’s situations we encounter adversity.  How will you respond to adversity remains the main question.

God created the world to have fellowship with YOU!  Satan has a lifetime assignment to obstruct that relationship.  Satan covets the perfect world (his other name is prince of this world) God created.  Coveting is a sin and sin ruins what God created to be perfect.  Therefore; Satan is ruined before he gets started.

So let’s get back to living our dream according to the will of God.  Theodore Herzl (who birthed the modern Zionist movement) said famously, “If you will it, it is no dream.”  He was almost right.  I would make a slight modification.  “If you will it (whatever “it” is) in agreement with God’s will, it is no dream.”  The world says, “Keep on keepin’ on.”  God says it like this…

1 Corinthians 9:24 Don’t you know that in a stadium the runners all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win! 25 Every competitor exercises self-control in all respects. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we do it to receive an imperishable one.

Philippians 3:13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself as having taken hold of this. But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua. 15 Therefore let all who are mature have this attitude; and if you have a different attitude in anything, this also God will reveal to you.

May you all be blessed.  R. Michael.