In the 1883, Captain Sampson of the British navy witnessed one of the greatest volcanic eruptions in history which took place in Indonesia. The eruption was so powerful that its shock waves traveled around the world seven times. The volcano shot miles of debris into the atmosphere which fell to earth as far away as Madagascar – over 2000 miles distance. Captain Sampson wrote in the ship's log: "I am writing this blind in pitch darkness. We are under continual rain of pumice-stone and dust. So violent are the explosions that the ear-drums of over half my crew have been shattered … I am convinced that the Day of Judgment has come."
Today marks Holocaust Memorial day here in Israel. At ten o'clock in the morning on this day, war sirens sound calling the entire Land to remembrance of the 6,000,000 Jews who died and many more who suffered under the Nazi regime during WW2. People in their homes and workplaces rise in silence; cars come to a halt, even on the highways; pedestrians stop where they are and pause… for one minute as the sirens wail, we remember.
Some time ago, we wrote about pearl harvesting as an illustration of how the Lord takes us into His "shell" like an irritating grain of sand, and over time, covers us with His beautiful covering, forming us into polished and precious gems for his glory and delight. This image of sanctification takes the metaphor in one direction: but here is another interesting thought. The beautiful pearl inside the oyster cannot be seen or enjoyed without a great price being paid. The oyster must die. It must be torn open in order to find the treasure within. This speaks to me of the original foundation and source of our beauty. Yeshua (Jesus) our Messiah had to be bruised, afflicted, torn and killed so that the beautiful treasures God intended us to be from the beginning, could be discovered and released from the darkness of sin.
An interesting parallel exists between these two passages of scripture: Isaiah 53:9 and Acts 3:15. Isaiah renders the "death" of the messiah in the plural form, "deaths" ("motav"). Acts renders the life of the Prince of Life as "lives" ("chaim"). Some scholars suggest that the plurality of the word death indicates a violent death this servant would suffer, and that making the noun plural is a way of emphasizing the terrible intensity of his experience. Jewish counter-missionaries suggest that the "death" in plural shows that the suffering servant is not an individual man, but a group of people, specifically the nation of Israel, thus denying that the passage refers to an individual messianic figure.
Every day roughly 150,000 around the world die. Death has a way of raising our spiritual temperature and quickening us to re-evaluate life…especially to ask, "Am I doing all that I can do?"
Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian Jewish Believer and an amazing man of God, spent 14 years in communist prisons where he was tortured brutally for his faith, then lived to tell about it. In his book, The Oracles of God, he writes about acquiring inner peace and tells the following powerful story.
The central fact of the gospel message is the resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus), declared in Psalm 2, the begotten Son of God. In 1952, Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in Cave 4 called the "Messianic Apocalypse". The Messiah's ministry of resurrection is reiterated in these ancient documents with an obvious reference to Isaiah 61:1-3. The scroll identifies someone who "… will heal the wounded, and revive the dead and bring good news to the poor." It is clear that at least some of the authors of these documents clearly understood the central nature and ministry of the coming Messiah, most certainly based on their intimate knowledge of the prophetic writings in the Tenach (OT)…that ministry, resurrection of the dead.
From the moment we were conceived we began aging, growing older by the day. We may slow down the physical aging process by exercising, eating right and other natural techniques – but we cannot ultimately stop it. This mortal flesh, our outer man, is "wasting away" and moving toward decay as we await the immortal bodies promised us in the Resurrection.
The Temple Institute in the Old City of Jerusalem has been preparing temple articles, priestly garments and studying for years to prepare a priesthood for service in a proposed rebuilt temple on the Temple Mount. A recent news article reported that training had begun for the preparation of the Passover sacrifice. The day for the training was the 10th of Nisan, the day designated in the Old Testament for choosing the Passover lamb. Since the eyes of the Jewish people are still partially blinded to the true identity of their Messiah, most of them don't know that the ultimate Passover Lamb was already sacrificed 2000 years ago.
There are two kinds of birds that roam the desert: vultures and hummingbirds. The vulture thrives on a diet of rotting meat. He flies overhead searching for traces of leftover carcasses from slow-footed critters eaten by wild animals who’ve already had their fill.
This is one of my favorite promises in the Bible — that God turns mourning into dancing! He takes away the anguish of being clothed in sadness and replaces it with gladness. However, notice what God doesn't do — simply stop your mourning and make it disappear. No, He transforms it…into joy!
We have seen that names have significant meanings, and as discussed earlier, Elimelech, whose name means "My God is King", left Bethlehem with Naomi his wife and their two sons. The birth of these two boys must have brought joy and happiness, yet, having perished in Moab actually caused their very names to lose their original meanings.
As I write, it seems the prevailing concern among people everywhere is -– what's going on with the economy? Europe is on the verge of an economic collapse. Even the kings of wall street are suffering huge losses with JP Morgan reporting losing over $2 billion yesterday. People are watching their wealth dissipating and dwindling away. Reflecting on these material losses reminds me of a story about a lady who perished in Pompeii in the first century.
As we discussed last week, the word for "sign" in ancient Hebrew is "oht". It was used in Genesis to designate God’s covenant sign with Noah, (the rainbow). And we see now the same word again, in Exodus, identified with the deliverance of the Jewish people from the tenth plague, when the angel of death passed through all Egypt to strike the firstborn. Anyone under the "sign" of the blood was spared.
Psalms 97:10-12 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. Driving […]