Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement is upon us. Beginning tomorrow evening, Yom Kippur marks the holiest of all holy days on the Hebrew calendar. It is the anniversary of the fall of man and it is the climax of the time of Teshuvah (repentance). Starting tonight night and into Saturday, all around the world, the religious will fast from food and water and read prayers in the synagogue, as will the majority of traditional Jews.
Tonight begins one of the highest holy days of all the feasts of the Bible, Rosh ha Shana (Head of the Year). According to Jewish tradition, Rosh haShana is the Day of Judgment, the day when the righteous have their names inscribed in the Book of Life and the wicked are judged for their transgressions. It is a day to commemorate the creation of the world, the creation of mankind, and the Akeida, the binding of Isaac to the altar. On this day only the ram’s horn (or the shofar) is blown in synagogues all over the world to commemorate the ram that was provided in lieu of Isaac’s life and call us to repentance.
So Jonah goes and begins to preach in this pagan city. His message is very simple. "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown"(v. 4). That's it. That was his whole message. It's eight words in English; only 4 words in Hebrew.
While most read the story of Jonah focusing on Jonah's journey, I want to pause and examine the lives of the pagan sailors. What a journey they were on! We see the hand of God touching them providentially through Jonah's disobedience. Talk about God bringing good from evil.
Since we returned to our home in the Negev Desert in Israel, we've noticed that the usual "desert scene" we are so accustomed to, has completely blossomed with grass and flowers — what an amazing difference! It suddenly occured to me, as we were delighting in the beauty of it all, that the seed was already there! No one planted it. All the hills, now rolling endlessly with green — they are not owned by anyone. Miles and miles of grass and wild flowers suddenly shoot forth where there was nothing but brown before! It was just waiting for someone to water it! And God brought the rains.
While on the road to Damascus, Jesus appeared to Saul, blinded him and directed him to go to Damascus. There, God spoke to Ananias of Saul and told to lay hands on this troubled man. Ananias did as he commanded and Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit, healed of his blindness and immediately baptized.
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt I'm sure several million people were wondering, "How am I going to be fed? How am I going to survive in this wilderness?" Imagine the logistical nightmare. An incalculable quantity of food and water were needed to survive in the desert. Where would it come from? Yet, in this seemingly impossible situation, God provided!
I could tell you about countless difficult and drawn out circumstances over which we have tried to stand firmly in faith until they finally came to pass. Sometimes we made it and sometimes we were weak and began to doubt. But God mercifully came through for us on most of these things, despite our lack of strength to stay faith-ful.
I heard a story once, of a chaplain who was speaking to a loyal soldier in the hospital. "Bless you son, you saved a fellow soldier’s life — and lost an arm in the great cause doing it," the chaplain said. "No," said the soldier with a smile. "I didn't lose it … I gave it.
The LORD bared His holy arm, in a manner of speaking, God rolled up his sleeve(s) and revealed Yeshua, (Jesus) in the eyes of all the nations. A major sign of the end of this age will be the preaching of this gospel of salvation ("yeshua", in Hebrew) to the entire world for a witness to all nations. We are called to participate in this mandate.
On December 25, 1908, a newspaper in Messina, Silicy dared God to make Himself known by sending an earthquake. Three days later, the city was destroyed by an earthquake that killed over 84,000 people.
The apostle John quotes Isaiah 53:1, saying to whom has the z’roah [arm] of the Lord been revealed? It’s a question that God answers throughout the rest of Isaiah 53, describing in detail the life of Yeshua (Jesus) and the ultimate price He would pay for the sins of the world.
Matthew 18:19-20 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of […]
One of the paradoxes of our walk is that God’s gifts often require work on our part. After He delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, the Lord led them to the Promised land and told them He was going to "give" it to them. It wasn't long before they realized, however, that they were going to have to fight battles and overcome fortified cities in order to inhabit the land. God did promise that they would not have to fight the battles on their own, but even with this divine advantage the Israelites themselves would be required to destroy their enemies – they would still need to fight.
Tomorrow begins the holiday of Pesach (Passover), the day we remember God's merciful redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt. When the final plague struck Pharoh and the Egyptians in Exodus, those who were spared were were the ones who applied blood to their doorposts as God warned. Interestingly, the blood that God required them to apply then was the blood of a spotless, unblemished lamb.
This past Monday marked the beginning of Pesach (Passover) on the Hebrew calendar as it was the 10th of Nisan and also the day that Yeshua (Jesus) would have entered Jerusalem 2000 years ago. Every 10th of Nisan, four days before Pesach, the children of Israel would choose a lamb for the Passover sacrifice. Each man would take a lamb for his household. Four days were required to inspect the animal to make sure it was perfect and without blemish.
As thousands of believers around the world celebrated Palm Sunday, I thought I'd offer some additional historical insight into the day Yeshua (Jesus) entered Jerusalem. Most people associate Palm Sunday with the fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, “behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass”. But there is another significant detail associated with this beautiful fulfillment…
At first glance, it would seem that God allowed this earthquake to take place in order that Paul and Silas would be set free. The earthquake came and their bands were loosed. There was nothing holding them back. They could have fled immediately — wouldn't have you?
The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur in Hebrew, was the single most important day during the time of Yeshua (Jesus) and still holds utmost significance in Israel and among Jews worldwide today.
This is a true story. When I wanted to ‘pop the question’, I planned the whole event out very carefully — the restaurant, the roses delivered to the corner table between two big windows overlooking the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, an especially made heart shaped cheesecake (her favorite) with beautiful orchids atop for decoration.