Day: July 1, 2023

T’shuvah is Topical & Relevant

T’shuvah is Topical & Relevant

By Eric Carlson in 07_2023-3 on July 1, 2023

We must be relevant! In light of all the crisis in our world today many, many clergy aren’t being topical in their messages, they’re not relevant. The word of God, The Kingdom of God, Adonai is the same today as it was yesterday, as it will be tomorrow! The reality is, as a Messianic Rabbi, as a Messianic Believer every situation, every topic, every scenario, all decisions we make both congregationally or as a family are done through scriptures as all believers should! I don’t view our current world situation through the eyes of the world, I view it through a biblical perspective, it’s the only way I can view it! Not only because I’m a Messianic Rabbi, but because I’m a believer, a servant of Yeshua! A lack of Biblical Worldview is a significant issue we have in the greater body of Messiah today!

This gives rise to several concerns. First, a non-negotiable core tenant of Christianity and Messianic Judaism is our foundation upon the Word of God and acceptance of Yeshua as the Messiah! Not on doctrine, religion, Talmud, Oral Traditions, or any other manmade interpretation of the Word of God. Salvation is only through the Blood of Yeshua. We accept and receive Yeshua as our atonement sacrifice for sin, He’s the only way unto the Father for Jew and Gentile!

Second, in general, organized religion isn’t topical or relevant! Only the Word, the Kingdom of God, and Yeshua are topical and relevant! The recent surge of racism and Anti-Semitism both in our society and in the church are symptomatic of the shortfall of religion vs. intimate relationship with Adonai, His Son Yeshua, His Word, and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit)! Those who are relationally intimate with Adonai, those who know and consume His word, love Israel and the Jewish People!! Scriptures contain the answer for every question, every life decision, every scenario and aspect of your life, from family relations, to marriage and finances, from raising children to conflict resolution, business practices and morality, to the prophetic future and what your role and part of that is as a child of God! There exists a grievous lack of topicality in the greater body today because it does exist in the bureaucracy of religion.

A perfect example is post 9/11 if you can remember. Surveys revealed that almost 90% of the messages given in the first two weeks after the traumatic 9/11 terror attack weren’t topical! They had no mention, no discussion, or even a reference to the recent 9/11 attacks!! What a horrible reflection of the greater body! Then, like now, people were scared, confused, looking for answers and couldn’t find them in most houses of God! Topical means to be of immediate relevance, interest, or importance, relating to current events. We have heavenly, scriptural guidance regarding topicality and relevance, unfortunately, many individuals and even a majority of clergy are unaware! There must be an awareness of the world around us as believers, both individually and corporately as the greater Body of Messiah as Yeshua was:

Luke 13:1-5. Just then, some people came to tell Yeshua about the men from the Galil whom Pilate had slaughtered even while they were slaughtering animals for sacrifice. 2 His answer to them was, “Do you think that just because they died so horribly, these folks from the Galil were worse sinners than all the others from the Galil? 3 No, I tell you. Rather, unless you turn to God from your sins, you will all die as they did! 4 “Or what about those eighteen people who died when the tower at Shiloach fell on them? Do you think they were worse offenders than all the other people living in Yerushalayim? 5 No, I tell you. Rather, unless you turn from your sins, you will all die similarly.”

Yeshua topically relates to two specific current events of His day that everybody knew about, no explanation regarding what happened was required! He directly related these horrific deaths to those who were listening! In both cases He stated that unless the people repented, they would face similar circumstances! Our relationship, interaction, our expression of worship ministering to Adonai isn’t based upon feelings or emotions. It’s based upon covenant relationship with the Most High God. This is exactly why the word of God is topical, and relevant to us in our current circumstances today!

Hebrews 4:12. See, the Word of God is alive (zao {dzah’-o}: Alive, living, active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God, living water, having vital power)! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword – it cuts (diikneomai {dee-ik-neh’-om-ahee}:cut, pierce, penetrate, reach through) right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart.

The word is as alive, topical, relevant, powerful, and active in our current crisis and radical, toxic hatred and culture war today as it was 2,000, 3,000, 4000, and 5,000 years agoThe word of Adonai is written for people and not for specific epochs of timeThe word isn’t relegated to history! As we just read the word cuts right to where soul meets spirit and judges the inner reflections (secret places) and attitude of the heart! Scripture is written for people and their hearts which are timeless! Sin and repentance were as critical in Yeshua’s day during times of trouble and crisis just as it is today! Throughout all human history fallen humanity have sinful naturesRegardless of what century or millennium people have lived in, sin has been, and will always be an issue until Yeshua establishes His kingdom upon this earth, and even then sin will still affect humanity until the end of the thousand year reign…… 

The writer of Hebrews compares the word of Adonai as a sword that’s able to pierce, penetrate, reach through to the heart! Adonai gave His Word the power of a sword to penetrate our pride, flesh, haughtiness, and selfishness to get to our deceitful, dark, and wicked hearts. Kardi in the Greek is the place of human emotion, personality. God’s word reveals that our desires, joy, understanding, love, emotions, wickedness, trust, and belief all reside in the heart. 

Psalm 51:10-11. Create in me a clean heart, God; renew in me a resolute spirit. 11 Don’t thrust me away from your presence, don’t take your Ruach Kodesh away from me.

In the sickening realization that he had sinned against God, David wrote Psalm 51 in an agonized cry of repentance unto Adonai pleading for forgiveness of his sin and evil regarding his inappropriate sexual relationship with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah her husband. Psalm 51 contains foundational truths and power that we as believers base our relationship with God on. David, a man after God’s own heart has insightful knowledge in his relationship with Adonai that we tap into and learn from today. David was human just as we are, God’s word is written to humans like David, like us!

David’s downward spiral of sin, shortcomings, failures, followed by confession and repentance serves as model of real, heartfelt T’Shuvah. David, like so many believers today was zealous for God, he had a longstanding intimate relationship with Him! Here is the topical, relevant key that reveals where many in the greater body of Messiah are at right now; Over time David had become lukewarm, believing He was so highly favored of God that He could have and do whatever He wanted. Being Lukewarm resulted in pride, arrogance, and haughtiness that began David’s downward spiral. Exactly where America is today, including many, many believers! Counterfeit Grace and Hyper Love teachings and theology has resulted in many believers becoming Lukewarm, believing they can behave any way they want, simply doing whatever they think is right (Judges 21:25). Like King David many believers are lukewarm, prideful, haughty, and fearful which prevents repentance! Then people wonder why we are experiencing all the issues that we are!

David was indeed a man after God’s own heart, but it didn’t make him perfect. He fell prey to the common lust of the flesh; the lust of the eyes (he should have turned his eyes away from the bathing Bathsheba) and pride of life (David thought he was above the Torah). The heart of Man is wicked. And Adonai searches the heart!

Jeremiah 17:9-10. “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and mortally sick. Who can fathom it? 10 I, ADONAI, search the heart; I test inner motivations; in order to give to everyone what his actions and conduct deserve.”

Adonai must pierce our deceitful heart (like a sword) with His word! As Hebrews 12:4 states it must be deep, right to the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart. David spoke to this as well:

Psalms 51:6. (NKJV) Behold, You desire truth in the inward (tuwchah {too-khaw’}: inner regions, hidden recesses, inward parts) parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Tuwchah {too-khaw’}, inner parts, the hidden recesses, are the areas that only you know about, your motivations, your attitudes, your inner reflections and thoughts! God desires that His truth reside in your secret areas, the places YOU THINK only you know about! The places of both your hope and dreams as well as your temptations and weaknesses. In this area David asks that Adonai’s wisdom be placed! Scripture is topical, addressing all of life’s situations, every joy, every temptation, every battle, every defeat, every victory, wealth, poverty, marriage, children, crisis, tribulation, pandemics, famines, recession, depressions, insecurity, fear, anxiety, pride, immorality, gender confusion, arrogance, life and death, every possible situation in life you will face the word of Adonai has an answer in truth, spirit, and wisdom because its topical, relevant, speaking to the nature of the Human heart and not specific events! Adonai created us in His image, He has perfect understanding of human nature which is why He sent His Son Yeshua, Divine yet in the flesh to give us this topical and relevant statement to America today:

Matthew 13:14-15. That is, in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Yesha`yahu which says, `You will keep on hearing but never understand, and keep on seeing but never perceive, 15 because the heart of this people has become dull — with their ears they barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, so as not to see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and do t’shuvah, so that I could heal them.’

Today, right now, this topical and relevant message must be our heart cry for T’shuvah, for repentance! American’s hearts have become dull, hardened, not hearing, not seeing, not understanding with our hearts what’s unfolding before our very eyes! Adonai sternly warned us in:

Deuteronomy 8:11-20. “Be careful not to forget ADONAI your God by not obeying his mitzvot, rulings and regulations that I am giving you today. 12 Otherwise, after you have eaten and are satisfied, built fine houses and lived in them, 13 and increased your herds, flocks, silver, gold and everything else you own, 14 you will become proud-hearted. Forgetting ADONAI your God – who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you lived as slaves; 15 who led you through the vast and fearsome desert, with its poisonous snakes, scorpions and waterless, thirsty ground; who brought water out of flint rock for you; 16 who fed you in the desert with man, unknown to your ancestors; all the while humbling and testing you in order to do you good in the end – 17 you will think to yourself, ‘My own power and the strength of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 No, you are to remember ADONAI your God, because it is he who is giving you the power to get wealth, in order to confirm his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as is happening even today. 19 If you forget ADONAI your God, follow other gods and serve and worship them, I am warning you in advance today that you will certainly perish. 20 You will perish just like the nations that ADONAI is causing to perish ahead of you, because you will not have heeded the voice of ADONAI your God.”

The word of Adonai cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and quickly, powerfully judge the inner reflections and attitudes of our hearts. America has become so abundantly wealthy we’ve come to believe ‘My own power and the strength of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” And have gone on to worship and serve other Gods. We retain the ability to turn this nation around! We must repent!!

The word of God is clear, convicting, relevant, topical, and powerful IF we allow it to pierce our heart and transform us! Adonai is and has been calling unto us to repent, to return, to Shema, hear and obey His word so that He could heal us, to set us free!!

Shalom and Blessings,

Rabbi Eric S Carlson

Independence Day

Independence Day

By Eric Carlson in 07_2023-1 on July 1, 2023

As we enter into this 4th of July holiday weekend, I believe it is one of the most critical Independence Day celebrations America has experienced in 247 years.  This remembrance has become a time of fireworks, picnics, and long weekends while few actually know what this day is about.  The Continental Congress, comprised of 56 representatives from the 13 Colonies, met under duress to discuss their current moral and ethical situation in the Americas.  They were suffering grievances, injustice, and wickedness from their own Government.  Those 56 representatives were Godly, righteous, upright men who knew the Holy Scriptures very well, most of them had intimate relationships with God. 

The 4th of July holiday commemorates the initiative, the drive, the boldness, and the character of those founding fathers.  Suffering grave infringements upon their liberty, freedom, happiness, and prosperity these righteous men composed and wrote a letter of grievances to the King of England explaining their heart and what their issues were because the very foundation of their beliefs and livelihood were being revoked and attacked. 

Psalms 11:3. If the foundations (shathah {shaw-thaw’}: foundations, supports, stays) are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

What do the righteous do?  They take action! Here is what they wrote 247 years ago and signed in unity on the 4th of July 1776: 

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly, all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. 

    Our current nation, government, and society is under siege by those who seek to remove our freedoms! As you are all quite aware, we live in a world that’s immersed in gender dysphoria, non-binary references, preferred pronouns, with Federally mandated inclusion training for dysfunctional sexual minorities whose immoralities are normalized and celebrated. Meanwhile, propaganda says with bold confidence that science proves that a certain percentage of people are born gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered. When did sexual orientation become a variable, merely a psychological choice, changeable with drugs and surgery? When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? 247 years ago our ancestors, Jew and Gentile alike through off the restraints of unrighteousness, evil, and wicked deeds and took a stand against it. We too must now fight!

    When in the course of Human Events when humanity is caught between righteousness, holiness, and subservience to God and the wicked decrees of a worldly, secular government, there are no viable choices for the holy servants of God but to stand upon the absolute truth of God’s word and defy, denounce, and fight any law, tenant, proclamation or decree that would require us to accept, condone, or participate in any wickedness, evil, sin, or ungodliness.  As for me and my houses (Both my home and Congregation Zion’s Sake); We will serve the Lord! 

This is a rally cry for all believers no matter what your theology is. We have a heavenly mandate to lay down all fear, to not succumb to political correctness, Wokeness, the LGBQT agenda, or governments to both stand and proclaim the truth of God’s word, to stand with us and fight!  Here is the truth, and remember, truth is truth regardless if one believes it or not: 

Leviticus 18:22. “‘You are not to go to bed with a man (yishkav: to lie with in sexual relations, to be lain with sexually, to ravish, rape, to take forcibly) as with a woman; it is an abomination (to’evah: a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable both ethically and ritually).

In fact, this sin is so severe that GOD – who? God decreed that this is a capital offence, the punishment is death.

Leviticus 20:13. If a man goes to bed (yishkav: to lie with in sexual relations, to be lain with sexually, to ravish, rape, to take forcibly) with a man as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination (to’evah a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable both ethically and ritually); they must be put to death; their blood is on them.

It’s not what I think or feel, it’s not homophobia, it’s not religious intolerance, or hatred. We clearly see that God states this is a sin, an abomination before Him. It’s not what any special interest group thinks, it’s not what the US Supreme Court thinks, what the United States Government thinks, or what the United Nations thinks, it’s what God says and what God commands that matters. What’s occurring, what we’re experiencing today, is exactly what Yeshua told us would happen:

Matthew 24:12, 37-38. and many people’s love will grow cold because of increased distance from Torah.

37-38. For the Son of Man’s coming will be just as it was in the days of Noach. 38 Back then, before the Flood, people went on eating and drinking, taking wives and becoming wives, right up till the day Noach entered the ark;

What were those days of Noach? What were people doing back then?

Genesis 6:5. ADONAI saw that the people on earth were very wicked (ra’at: bad, evil, wicked, malignant, calamity), that all the imaginings (vechol-yetser; Vechol: The Whole, everything, all. Yetser imagination, mind, handiwork, intentions) of their hearts were always of evil only.

Their hearts were wicked, bad, sinful, malignant, their thoughts, their actions, all of their work was wicked. America is heading down this path both morally and socially. Remember, our thoughts and God’s thoughts are not the same. Without the guidance, discipline, morality, and ethics of God’s word and His Kingdom people will fulfill the desires of the flesh. America is doing what it thinks right according to its own eye not only without consulting God, but in defiance of God. America has literally challenged God’s authority, defiantly challenging His sovereignty, attempting to alter the covenant meaning of the Rainbow that Adonai would never flood the earth again to represent a sexually deviate, immoral movement!

Unfortunately, many people (Believers) have bought into the theological lie that that Old Testament is done away with, so they agree with this ruling and have sympathy towards the LBGQT community.  Many, and I mean many religious leaders today share the blame for this sin and failure through their false theologies, cherry picking of scripture, and teaching people that the Tanach, Old Testament is done away with. 

Here is what we must uncover and understand. The Homosexual – LBGQT agenda truly doesn’t seek marriage or equal rights, they seek to silence us, they seek to silence the voice of morality and righteousness, they want to eradicate us. You, the righteous man and woman of God are the only hindrance to their sin, you are the light in the darkness and they want it removed, the darkness hates the light. For those that are sympathetic to this wicked Gays rights agenda the word gives a stern warning:

Proverbs 14:12. There can be a way which seems right to a person, but at its end are the ways of death.

In fact, to sit back and do nothing at this juncture is a sin:

James 4:17. So then, anyone who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it is committing a sin.

We’ve been prisoners of this wickedness long enough! The Good News in all of this is that its always darkest before the dawn! We have a biblical promise of one last great outpouring of God’s glory before the end, before the final judgment! Are you ready! It’s once again time to stand for freedom, justice, and righteousness. It’s time to restore truth and purity back into the Body of Messiah and our society! It’s time once again to let Freedom Ring!

Shalom and Blessings,

 

Rabbi Eric S Carlson

Rabbi and Rebbitzen’s Corner July 2023

Rabbi and Rebbitzen’s Corner July 2023

By Eric Carlson in 07_2023-2 on July 1, 2023

It’s July, the lazy days of summer have arrived! It’s common in our culture to call these summer days the “lazy days of summer,” and now, there’s evidence to back up that it’s a real thing. Psychologists say it’s a biological phenomenon! Studies show that when it’s nice outside, our thoughts tend to focus more on what we’d rather be doing instead of the task at hand. We tend to get a little lazy regarding work and daydream of vacations, the beach, or just about anything outside! We are also halfway through this year, where is the time going?

The Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (M.J.A.A) annual “Messiah Conference” begins this Sunday July 2nd at Messiah College in Grantham PA. Tuesday, July 4th, 2023, Congregation Zion’s Sake offices will be closed in observance of Independence Day! On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress secretly voted for the Colonies to declare their independence from Great Britain. Two days later, on July 4, the Declaration of Independence was finalized and published. Knowing this would be considered an act of treason against Great Britain, the signatories included the words at the end of the document: “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

The Declaration was primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, who would later become the third President of the United States. In a historical irony, both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the second President of the United States, died on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after the Declaration was published. Achieving that independence took seven more years. The declaration was made to guarantee equal rights for every person! 

As you celebrate Independence Day this year, please pray for no traffic fatalities across the entire Commonwealth of Virginia over this four-day weekend! Say a prayer of thanks for those who have served and are currently serving in our military preserving our freedoms and way of life! As believers, we can thank Adonai for both physical and spiritual freedom in Yeshua. As you enjoy the Fourth of July festivities, picnics, fireworks, and celebrate our nation’s freedom, thank Adonai for the deliverance and freedom from sin He has given us through His Son, Yeshua, and for make us a new creation in Him! 

Galatians 5:13. For, brothers, you were called to be free. Only do not let that freedom become an excuse for allowing your old nature to have its way. Instead, serve one another in love.

May you have a blessed and safe summer!

Rabbi and Rebbitzen