When Joseph became ruler over Egypt, his name was changed, and his identity was altered so that he no longer appeared or lived as a shepherd son of Israel from the land of Canaan, but as an Egyptian Prime Minister. The transformation was so thorough that when his ten brothers arrived in Egypt he was totally unrecognizable to them. This true story beautifully illustrates Mashiach ben Yosef (Yeshua/Jesus at His first coming), and contains a prophetic picture pointing to Yeshua and His Jewish people living today as we approach the Second Coming.
There are many who are not aware of the very deep significance of Bethlehem,Yeshua's (Jesus') birthplace. Everyone knows that Bethlehem was a place where shepherds grazed their sheep, and where the Messiah was to be born, but do not realize that it was a town designated as the birthing place for lambs which were used for the Passover sacrifice. The Scriptures give significant details about this little town lying slightly south of Jerusalem.
A National Geographic article published a few years describing a real celestial event which took place at the time of the birth of Jesus reminded me of Risto Santala’s explanation in his book, "The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings". He wrote about a conjunction of major planets that took place which could have led the wise men from the east, to Israel.
Over the past few weeks, rockets have been landing roughly 30 miles from where we live in southern Israel, and we've been overwhelmed with the number of emails from people who are praying for us– which we so appreciate!… more than you could imagine! We're living in a unique time in history, as once again Israel finds herself surrounded by enemies with few friends willing to stand with her. So often we are asked, and we wonder, how things will turn out here…we've found it's usually foolish to try and predict; but one thing is absolutely certain; the God of Israel is watching over this tiny nation!
When God called Gideon to lead Israel against their enemies, He wanted to show that a small army empowered by God was more effective than the largest armies. But notice how they fought – without weapons that an army would normally use. They fought with shofars and lamps! They fought with weapons that the world would consider ineffective, yet triumphed mightily over their enemies. They shouted as loud as they could, sounded the shofar, and broke the vessels that held the fire so that their lamps burst through with brightness.
This parable in Matthew 25 is a warning to the entire body — be ready with your oil! Each of these virgins was anticipating the Lord's return; none were atheists, or non-believers. They were all virgins who claimed to be awaiting the Bridegroom's arrival. But notice carefully that only half of them were truly ready.
Chanukah, a time of celebration and rededication, began last night here in the Land and for Jewish people all over the globe. Those of us who are grafted in through the atoning work of Messiah, we who know God, have an opportunity to see the deeper significance in the Jewish holidays and are not only welcome but encouraged to celebrate as well!
For the first time in over a 100 years, Thanksgiving and Chanukah will fall on the same day, November 28th, 2013. Some have termed it "Thanksgivukkah", however my wife calls it, "Todanukah". (The Hebrew word for "thanks", is "toda".) According to one calculation, the next time that Thanksgiving and Chanukah will align perfectly will be 79,043 years from now! I expect we will all have gone to our reward by then.
While Chanukah is not a Biblical feast, it is an important one. Chanukah commemorates the story of small group of men with much courage — enough courage to defeat even the greatest of the world’s empires.
As parents trying to raise kids in this world, we're constantly reminded by the Lord of Proverbs 22:6, 'Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.' The Hebrew word 'train', in this passage is, 'Chanak' which can be translated, 'train up' or 'dedicate.' It's the root word from which we get the word, Chanukah.
As we mentioned a couple of days ago, Chanukah commemorates of the desecration of the holy temple of old, (just another attempt of the enemy to wipe out the Jewish people and the things of God), God's great grace and the rededication of the temple to Him.
D. L. Moody told the story of a man who was crossing the Atlantic by ship. He was terribly sick and confined to his cabin. One night he heard the cry “Man overboard!” He felt that there was nothing he could do to help, but at second thought, he said to himself, “I guess I can at least put my lantern in the porthole.” He struggled to his feet and hung the light so it shined out into the darkness.
2Ch 20:17,21-22 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face […]
Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. This Year both Christmas and Chanukah fell on the exact same date, one […]