Category: newsletter-post

Diversity

Diversity

By Eric Carlson in February-1 on February 1, 2023

I’ve read many, many articles recently that discuss diversity as a strength in AmericaI want to speak to this as it is false and I’m going to share whyThe term diversity is a noun, it means the state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness: dissimilarSome of the tenant understandings of the term Diversity are okWe are a diverse nation made up of people from many backgrounds and culturesThe etymology of diversity is 14th century Old French diversite, from Latin diversitas, veristas means the whole, so univeritus or university are many made into a whole, Di (latin for more than one) Diversity: quality of being separate, different, oddness, contradiction, disagreement, turned different ways, distinctly dissimilar or unlike The etymology reveals the issues with diversity. 

Proverbs 29:18. Where there is no divine vision people cast of restraint, but blessed is the one who keeps Torah.  

The key here which speaks to Diversity is that without a divine visions people cast of restraint, “Para” in Hebrew, to unbind, to let loose, anarchy, and even death. There must be just one visionMore than one vision is DIVISIONAmerica is a nation of immigrants, a people of diverse background, many cultures, Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous people (native Americans) Jew, Gentile, but what makes us a great republic, a great nation isn’t division, its visionFor centuries immigrants arrived in America seeking a better lifeA life with possibilities, a life without restrictions, a life where hopes and dreams may be fulfilled! A life where if a person who worked hard, had initiative, and lived a righteous life could make something of themselvesA life of choices the individual made for themselves, not by Monarchs, Tsars, or Emperors A life of freedom, unrestrained by tyrannical governments, monarchies, Socialism, and communism.   

How did we transition from this “light upon a hill” type of free republic to the polarized, divided, combative, anarchy we experience today which is not only in the government but the people, the citizens themselvesWhat happened to civility, brotherly love, of loving thy neighbor as thyself?  What’s amazing is that there is a direct parallel to what’s occurring in the greater body of Messiah today and in our greater societyDemocracy only works when its citizens choose to obey the LawAmericans in the past followed the rules because they didn’t believe we were just accountable to the nation, but that we were accountable to God as wellAmericas morality and ethics came from the bible that was taught weekly in every town!   

Leviticus 26:3-10.  “‘If you live by my regulations, observe my mitzvot and obey them; 4 then I will provide the rain you need in its season, the land will yield its produce, and the trees in the field will yield their fruit. 5 Your threshing time will extend until the grape harvest, and your grape harvesting will extend until the time for sowing seed. You will eat as much food as you want and live securely in your land. 6 “‘I will give shalom in the land -you will lie down to sleep unafraid of anyone. I will rid the land of wild animals. The sword will not go through your land. 7 You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall before your sword. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand -your enemies will fall before your sword. 9 “‘I will turn toward you, make you productive, increase your numbers and uphold my covenant with you. 10 You will eat all you want from last year’s harvest and throw out what remains of the old to make room for the new

The reward or recompense for obedience and compliance to Adonai and His commands are Shalom, a state of “National Tranquility”, the absence of conflict, peace, prosperity, safety from both the wild beasts of the land and outside foes or enemy forces IF we are Adonai’s people, His loyal servantsOne could argue this is true for Israel when God Himself ruled yet God knew Israel would beg for a human king like the nations around them and they got what they asked forThe same holds true under a secular government as Sha’ul shared as he lived under the Roman occupation and governance of Judea 2,000 years ago: 

Romans 13:1-3.  Everyone is to obey the governing authorities. For there is no authority that is not from God, and the existing authorities have been placed where they are by God. 2 Therefore, whoever resists (anthistemi {anth-is’-tay-mee}: to set one’s self against, to withstand, resist, oppose) f the authorities is resisting what God has instituted; and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are no terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you like to be unafraid of the person in authority? Then simply do what is good, and you will win his approval; 

Not that many years ago an overwhelming majority of America’s population were believers who regularly attended weekly servicesEvery state had blue laws (The concept was right even if it was a day off-Adonai honored the heart and intent) and every public event started with prayerThe first book Congress authorized to print was the bible for elementary school reading primersOn September 12, 1782, Congress approved printing of the Bible Called ‘The Bible of the Revolution’ it was the first English-language Bible printed in America and the only Bible ever authorized by an act of Congress! Oh how far we’ve come!  

As our greater society loses Godly influence, morality, and brotherly love continues to rapidly decline what will become of the RepublicRemove Adonai and you won’t be able to hire enough policeRemove Adonai and America will soon experience an attack we cant throw off! Ironically, America’s issues and the bible issues are intertwined 

Matthew 24:10.  At that time many will be trapped (skandalizo {skan-dal-id’-zo} (“scandalize”): entrap, trapped, cause to stumble, to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, to offend, to entice to sin, to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert what they ought to trust and obey, to cause to fall away) into betraying and hating each other, 

A trap, a snare, a big scandal causes many to be trapped into a lie, to stumble, to block, impede, to causes a person to distrust and desert what they should be trusting and obeying which results in betraying and hating each otherThis is exactly where we are at in our nation todayAcidic, hateful, vindictive behavior, betraying each other… I want to pause here for a moment and digressJoseph, was sold into slavery by his brothers who then winds up in Egypt and sold to a wealthy man names Potifar whose household became even richer and more blessed with the addition of Joseph who was put in charge of everything in Potifar’s household: 

Genesis 39:7-20.  In time, the day came when his master’s wife took a look at Yosef and said, “Sleep with me!” 8 But he refused, saying to his master’s wife, “Look, because my master has me, he doesn’t know what’s going on in this house. He has put all his possessions in my charge. 9 In this house I am his equal; he hasn’t withheld anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10 But she kept pressing him, day after day. Nevertheless, he didn’t listen to her; he refused to sleep with her or even be with her. 11 However, one day, when he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men living in the house was there indoors, 12 she grabbed him by his robe and said, “Sleep with me!” But he fled, leaving his robe in her hand, and got himself outside. 13 When she saw that he had left his robe in her hand and had escaped, 14 she called the men of her house and said to them, “Look at this! My husband brought in a Hebrew to make fools of us. He came in and wanted to sleep with me, but I yelled out loudly. 15 When he heard me yelling like that, he left his robe with me and ran out.”. 

The wife made a false accusation to her husband Potifar who had Yosef imprisoned! False accusations (scandal) are an ancient and primary tool of HaSatan to destroy character and integrity, polarizing people into betraying and hating each other!  There’s nothing new under the sun! It takes an accusation which leads to a scandal to start the ball rolling, starting toxic rhetoric, gossip, slander, character assassination, polarization, instant fighting, and division.  

The truth is done away with, it no longer matters! What gets people’s attention are those who shout first, who are the loudest, or posts first on some social media site regardless if its truth or not!  We see the same disregard for our constitution, its being treated like the bible.  100 years ago the constitution was a rock solid document for the ages.  Now a new generation is rising up that believes its is no longer unalterable, that it is fluid and must change to reflect our DIVERSITY!  See where this is going!  Either all of God’s word is truth, infallible, and unalterable or none of it is: 

II Timothy 3:16. All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living; 

This passage was written almost 350 years before the canonization of the New Testament, the Brit ChadeshaWhat scripture is Sha’ul talking about in this passageThe Torah, The Tanach, the Nevi’im, Prophets, and the Tehillim, the PsalmsNot select parts of it or choosing the parts you agree withDiversity leads to divisionThere has been a systematic attack upon the word of God since Yeshua was on this earthIt was small in the beginning but over time it has gained momentum and increasingly gotten worse.  

I’ve often wondered why it is that though we all (Believers-for the most part) read the same bible have so many schisms and divisions within the body of Messiah!  How can someone biblically endorse or justify slavery as it was known in America? Yet hundreds of thousands did.  How can one read the bible and justify the racist, rabidly Anti-Semitic, Anti-black Aryan Church?  Why so many protestant schisms?  There are even Catholic schisms (mostly arguing about who’s in charge) and Judaism schisms (again, mostly about who’s in charge)!  How can we all read the same bible yet experience such diversity in the greater body?  This is actually very dangerous: 

Matthew 12:25.  However, knowing what they were thinking, Yeshua said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not survive. 

Chillingly a nation divided will be brought to ruin, a home or family divided will be brought to ruin.  America faces a grave danger, it is transitioning from a unified nation to a diverse nation where all desire to keep their ethnicity, their previous nations identity while not becoming part of the republicIts elevating self above the nationWe witness the same effect within the greater body of Messiah, individuals elevating self above the greater body! As a Messianic Congregation Yeshua’s words speak directly to us here today2,000 years later not much has changedWe, as Messianic Believers exist at a crossroads, an intersection of, between two communities, two cultures. So many believers have been taught and believe the lie that Torah has been done away with which is exactly what the Deceiver, HaSatan wants you to think and believe

By disregarding, denying, or throwing away an overwhelming portion of the bible we also disregard, deny, and throw away morality, ethics, holiness, purity, and righteousness!  At one time the body of Messiah was THE MORAL VOICE of our nation and society, not anymore!  Because of our diversity (over 2,500 denominations and counting), the body is divisive, dysfunctional, and disunified, rarely influencing society!  Now you begin to profoundly see why HaSatan wants the word removed!  God’s word is HaSatan’s nemesis, its Satan’s Kryptonite, HaSatan’s end.  If Gods infallible word is fallible it can be dispensed or done away with!  How much easier than to also disregard our U.S. Constitution?

These issues parallel each other, and we knowthe source, HaSatan who is the author and father of all lies!  A rapidly growing world view of an ever expanding percentage of the western world is built upon a foundation of lies and willing, willing self-deception! Such as the growing acceptance that gender identity isn’t biological, that it’s determined by how a person feels day by day, hour by hour!  Or that Adonai is done with Israel, that anyone or anything has replaced Israel… on and on and on! HaSatan knows his time is short, so we are experiencing an increase in lies, deceptions, and division worldwide!  Adonai doesn’t want us diversified into separate camps! The Word of God tells us not to live like the crowd (Ephesians 4:17-25). Don’t do what everyone else is doing, don’t live like a non-Jew, don’t live like those who aren’t serving Adonai, whose thinking is void of truth or force, whose thinking is perverse and depraved!  We are not to live like them, be like them, or associate with them. 

We are not to remain diversified, celebrating a separate but equal mentality which estranges us from Adonai, from the fullness of His kingdom So many are shrouded in darkness with corrupted thinking, their thoughts and capacity for spiritual truth shrouded by darkness. Yet society tells us to accept, to receive them and celebrate our diversity! Retaining perverse and depraved thoughts they are disconnected from Adonai, abandoning themselves to sexual depravations, wantonness, and insolence This old nature must be stripped off as we renew, reform, regenerate our minds and spirits When you come to America and become a citizen you’re an American, not African American, Jewish American, Irish American, Japanese America, not Spanish American Espousing diversity destroys unity, destroys patriotism, it elevates SELF over all This is not what Adonai desires in the kingdom of God. When you refuse to change your mind and spirit, when you don’t strip off your old nature and cloth yourself with the new man, new creation! Here is what Adonai desires: 

Psalms 133:1. Song of ascents. By David: Oh, how good, how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in harmony  

This defines how the One New Humanity is to be lived and walked out, how Adonai desires we liveWhen you get married you and your spouse don’t live in separate but equal houses across the street from each other, celebrating your diversityNo, you dwell together, marriage is cohabitation, not divisivenessSo, it is with the One New Humanity in the Kingdom of God and in our greater nation!! Let us be unified, not diversified! 

Rabbi and Rebbetzin’s Corner February 2023

Rabbi and Rebbetzin’s Corner February 2023

By Eric Carlson in February-2 on February 1, 2023

Shalom Mishpocha,

        February is a quite month for us, comprised of the biblical months of Shevat and Adar. Sunday, February 5th at sunset through Monday February 6th at sunset is Tu BiShvat! Tu BiShvat is a Rabbinical Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. It is also called Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot, literally “New Year of the Trees”. The day is celebrated in modern Israel as an ecological awareness day, and trees are planted in celebration. This day is akin to our Arbor Day celebrated in April!

February is Black History month:

“The segregationists and racists make no fine distinction between the Negro and the Jew”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Why is this geographical area (Jamestown, VA), the birthplace of America so Important?  When we spirit map and go back to our nations beginning on May 14th 1607 at Jamestown Island we see that our nation was founded upon the biblical covenants of God’s Kingdom. We also see a complex, symbiotic relationship develop between the various cultures that clashed, melted, mixed, and developed over the course of Americas History. The Indigenous People who called this land their home! English colonists who came here claiming this to be a new world that now belonged to them and black slaves that were brought here against their will. Centuries have passed and wars have been fought to end the curse of slavery and establish justice. There is a biblical secret encapsulated within this complex, symbiotic relationships forged over our history that confounds those who seek to divide, oppress, and hate.  It is the power of unity. 

Psalms 133.  A song of ascents. By David: Oh, how good, how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in harmony. 2 It is like fragrant oil on the head that runs down over the beard, over the beard of Aharon, and flows down on the collar of his robes. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon that settles on the mountains of Tziyon. For it was there that ADONAI ordained the blessing of everlasting life.

The enemy does everything with his power to develop division through men and their teachings of racism and bigotry. History records the first Slaves in America arriving at Old Point Comfort in 1619.  Brought by Spanish Traders who had suffered damage to their ships in a great storm and low on supplies, they traded several slave women for food and supplies at Old Point Comfort in 1619.  History also records the first freed slave occurring at the same spot in what was to become known as Fort Monroe in 1861 commanded by General Butler.

In the modern bid for freedom, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the predominate leaders.  But I want you to see a common thread that weaves through this fight, Adonai and Yeshua.

Born January 15, 1929, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister, political activist and perhaps the most famous leader of the civil right movement.  In 1955, Dr. King led the Montgomery Bus Boycott that started when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in compliance with Jim Crow laws.

Dr. King also organized and led marches for the right to vote, desegregation, and labor rights in addition to basic civil rights. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are attributed, in part, to the works of Dr. King.

Dr. King was fundamental in founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957.  The SCLC is a group that used the moral authority and organizational capacity of black churches to conduct non-violent protests on behalf of civil rights. The Southern Leadership Conference established an Executive Board of Directors, and elected officers, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as President, Dr. Ralph David Abernathy as Financial Secretary-Treasurer, Rev. C. K. Steele of Tallahassee, Florida as Vice President, Rev. T. J. Jemison of Baton Rouge, Louisiana as Secretary, and Attorney I. M. Augustine of New Orleans, Louisiana as General Counsel.

At its first convention in Montgomery in August 1957, the Southern Leadership Conference adopted their current name, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Basic decisions made by the founders at these early meeting included the adoption of nonviolent mass action as the cornerstone of political strategy, the affiliation of local community organizations with SCLC across the South, and a determination to make the SCLC movement open to all, regardless of race, religion, or background.

SCLC is a now a nationwide organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans across this nation. Its sphere of influence has broadened to a global scale regarding human rights that transcends national boundaries.

Let’s look at the organizations past and present Presidents:

  • Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: 1957 to 1968
  • Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy: 1968 to 1977
  • Rev. Joseph E. Lowery: 1977 to 1997
  • Mr. Martin L. King, III: 1997 to 2004
  • Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth: February 2004 to November 2004
  • Rev. Dr. Charles Steele, Jr.: November 2004 to Present

I want you to see the relationship here with the SCLC and a majority of other civil rights organizations! Most of those active in the Civil Rights movements were Pastors and Believers!  Their kingdom, biblical knowledge and understanding led them to know that Jim Crow and segregation laws were not according to God’s will, word, or design. 

According to the Rev. Glenn Plummer, 82 percent of black Americans are Christians who belong to a church.  Black Americans consider their churches to be the core of their communities and the fount of their identity. The church is a place where the word “Israel” is heard over and over, and a place where black men and women feel a connection to the Bible and the Jewish People who share a similar background.  Unity is the key!

Ezekiel 11:19 – and I will give them unity of heart. “I will put a new spirit among you.” I will remove from their bodies the hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh;

In 1964 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1965 the American Jewish Committee presented him with the American Liberties Medallion. Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Why did the American Jewish Committee present Dr. King with the American Liberties Medallion?  Because there was and is a Shared Empathy between the Jewish and Black communities.

This is a quote from the PBS series, Swastika to Jim Crow:

Since the time of slavery, Blacks have in some ways identified with the Jewish experience. They compared their situation in the American South to that of the Jews in Egypt, as expressed in Black spirituals such as “Go Down, Moses.” The longing for their own exodus inspired the popularity of “Zion” in the names of many Black churches. Black nationalists used the Zionist movement as a model for their own Back-to-Africa movement.

Over the years Jews have also expressed empathy with the plight of Blacks. In the early 1900s, Jewish newspapers drew parallels between the Black movement out of the South and the Jews’ escape from Egypt, pointing out that both Blacks and Jews lived in ghettos, and calling anti-Black riots in the South “pogroms”. Stressing the similarities rather than the differences between the Jewish and Black experience in America, Jewish leaders emphasized the idea that both groups would benefit the more America moved toward a society of merit, free of religious, ethnic and racial restrictions. From the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, Blacks and Jews marched arm-in-arm.

In 1909, W.E.B. Dubois, Julius Rosenthal, Lillian Wald, Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch, Stephen Wise and Henry Malkewitz formed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). One year later other prominent Jewish and Black leaders created the Urban League. Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington worked together in 1912 to improve the educational system for Blacks in the South.

Thus, in the 1930s and ’40s when Jewish refugee professors arrived at Southern Black Colleges, there was a history of overt empathy between Blacks and Jews, and the possibility of truly effective collaboration. Professor Ernst Borinski organized dinners at which Blacks and Whites would have to sit next to each other – a simple yet revolutionary act. Black students empathized with the cruelty these scholars had endured in Europe and trusted them more than other Whites. In fact, often Black students – as well as members of the Southern White community – saw these refugees as “some kind of colored folk.”

The unique relationship that developed between these teachers and their students was in some ways a microcosm of what was beginning to happen in other parts of the United States. The American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Anti-Defamation League were central to the campaign against racial prejudice. Jews made substantial financial contributions to many civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the Urban League, the Congress of Racial Equality, and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. About 50 percent of the civil rights attorneys in the South during the 1960s were Jews, as were over 50 percent of the Whites who went to Mississippi in 1964 to challenge Jim Crow Laws.

Whoever saves one life, it is as if he saved the entire would

Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5

God reveals the infinite value of Human Life in that he originally created only one-the Patriarchal Father of every one of us; Adam! Medical science announced in 2005 that upon completely mapping the human Chromosome chain they had discovered that we have all descended from one person!  Had Adam been killed, all of humanity would have perished, and conversely, if his life was threatened and he was saved; all of humanity would be saved! 

It is therefore incumbent upon each and every one of us as children of God to actively involve ourselves in fashioning a world in which each and every person, regardless of skin color, race, or culture is treated as if he or she has the infinite value of life like that of Adam! Each and every life is the most precious gift from God. We are all created in His image. Let us live, worship, walk, and stand together as one, Jew and Gentile, Black and White, First Nations, Asian, and Hispanic. As Dr King stated:

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

Echad

Echad

By Eric Carlson in February-3 on February 1, 2023

(Words in Parentheses are my additions to highlight concepts) 

Bereshit 1:1-5Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’arets. 2 Veha’arets hayetah tohu vavohu vechoshech al-peney tehom veruach Elohim merachefet al-peney hamayim 3 Vayomer Elohim yehi-or vayehi-or. 4 Vayar Elohim et-ha’or ki-tov vayavdel Elohim beyn ha’or uveyn hachoshech. 5 Vayikra Elohim la-or yom velachoshech kara laylah vayehi-erev vayehi-voker yom echad.” 

Genesis 1:1-5In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was unformed and void, darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the water. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. So there was evening, and there was morning, one day. 

God divided between the light and the darkness 

Darkness, translated from the Hebrew word: Choshech:  Root word Chosh, which is the root word for lacked, missing, unenergetic, lacking energy, powerless, beyond repair, aimless, hopeless, feared, suspected, secret, secret place, worthless, meaninglessDarkness or Choshech is all of the previous descriptionsThe enemy, HaSatan, the Devil, the Prince of Darkness is chosech or darkness. 

Light, translated from the Hebrew word: “Or: Ha Or, The LightA Beam of LightOr is the root word for illumination, joy, happiness, instruction, teaching, directive, order, puts in order, lawyer, attorney, woke up, roused, and parenthoodLight is all of these termsYeshua is the light of the worldHe is all of these descriptions! 

Or and Choshech” are structured and unstructured energy The Torah says that both Or and Choshech are Echad, that the two are one, chaos and order are one.  The biblical day begins at sunset and ends at Sunset Genesis 1:5 So there was evening, and there was morning, one day (Yom Echad). What is Echad? 

Echad is the Hebrew word for one that is a completeness through pluralism!  What does this mean?  Aleph represents the Numeral ONE.  Echad is something different, a completeness, a wholeness.  The root word of Echad is “Ached” which means to unify, to be in accord, in unison, no more separate parts! Adam and Eve are described as “one flesh” or Echad in:  

Genesis 2:24:This is why a man is to leave his father and mother and stick with his wife, and they are to be one flesh.”  

Echad FleshComplete, Whole, in Unity! This does not denote a sexual connotationIt is a spiritual concept!  Let’s read Yeshua’s comments on the same subject: 

Matthew 19:3-6: Some P’rushim came and tried to trap him by asking, “Is it permitted for a man to divorce his wife on any ground whatever?” 4 He replied, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, 5 and that he said, `For this reason a man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two are to become one flesh’? 6 Thus they are no longer two, but one. So then, no one should split apart what God has joined together.”

Sh’aul shared the same view in: 

I Corinthians 6:16-17. Don’t you know that a man who joins himself to a prostitute becomes physically one with her? For the Tanakh says, “The two will become one flesh”; 17 but the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. 

God also taught us this concept about Himself in the “Shema”, a traditional Jewish prayer from Deuteronomy that is recited daily. 

Deuteronomy 6:4. Sh’ma, Yisra’el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad [Hear, Isra’el! ADONAI our God, ADONAI is one]; 

We are Echad with God and our spouses There is also a warning to us from Paul in I Corinthians, sex outside the bounds of marriage make a person spiritually “One” or “Echad” with that person!   If you have an affair, you become complete with all the negative spiritual baggage of the other personYou become cursedEchad has a powerful impact in our lives and is found over 900 times in Tanach!

Exodus 24:3. Moshe came and told the people everything ADONAI had said, including all the rulings. The people answered with one voice (Kol Echad): “We will obey every word ADONAI has spoken.” 

Kol Echad, a voice of UnityThis is simply understood to be the voice of many people speaking in unison so that God heard one sound, one unified reply 

Numbers 13:23 They came to the Eshkol Valley; and there they cut off a branch bearing one (Echad) cluster of grapes, which they carried on a pole between two of them; they also took pomegranates and figs.” 

A complete cluster, individual grapes make up a cluster! The concept of unity and wholeness is built into the tabernacle, whose curtains were fastened together to form one (Echad) unit (Ex 26:6, 11; 36:13). The concept is further developed in: 

Isaiah 40:31.but those who hope in ADONAI will renew their strength, they will soar aloft as with eagles’ wings; when they are running they won’t grow weary, when they are walking they won’t get tired.” 

The word “hope” in this verse (some translations use “wait”) is the Hebrew word Khavah (kaw-vaw) which means to “twist and bind, gather together, to be strong and robust from the idea of binding fast.” Read this verse again replacing wait with the definition “But they that are bound/gathered together with the Lord shall renew their strength.” The revelation is that strength and unity result when we bind our lives together with the Lords. This twisting, this binding, this gathering with the Lord makes us Echad (complete-one) with God. 

Back to Genesis, The biblical day begins at sunsetThe day begins in darkness, a chaotic, unenergetic, lacking energy, powerless, beyond repair, aimless, hopeless, feared, suspected, secret, worthless, meaningless time periodAs the day progresses it gives way from the darkness and chaos to light and order!  From nothing to life, order, illumination, joy, happiness, instruction, and teachingThe creation of the universe is from a formless void in darkness that gives way to order, life, and light! As David revealed, you and I were born into sin, darkness. 

Psalms 51:5. True, I was born guilty, was a sinner from the moment my mother conceived me.”  

David declares we are all born sinners, we are born into the darkness! But that darkness gives way to the light, who is Yeshua as revealed in His own words in:

John 8:12.Yeshua spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life.”  

Yeshua is our Order, He is our teaching, He is our Illumination, He is our Joy, He is our Happiness! He is Ha Or Olam, The Light of the World! 

We, as created beings, follow the pattern as set forth in God’s creation of the universe and individual days, we all begin in darkness and proceed towards the light, from chaos into order! In response to a group of Judeans who asked Him to tell them plainly if he was the Mashiach, Yeshua gave them an answer in: 

John 10:25-31. Yeshua answered them, “I have already told you, and you don’t trust me. The works I do in my Father’s name testify on my behalf, 26 but the reason you don’t trust is that you are not included among my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, 28 and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands. 29 My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them from the Father’s hands. 30 I and the Father are one.” 31 Once again the Judeans picked up rocks in order to stone him.

Echad, One, is the same word used in Deuteronomy 6:4, and by using it, Yeshua defines its meaning. He uses the word Echad in the same vernacular as used in Genesis as well. Yeshua clearly identifies himself as Echad, complete with the Father, YWHW. The Jews of that time period knew exactly what he was sayingThey became enraged and picked up rocks in order to stone him. He was declaring that he and the Father are unified, twisted, and bound together, gathered together, complete, EchadThat they are in complete Shalom and harmony Yeshua said I only do what I see me Father do! Yeshuas clearest interpretation and use of Echad is found in: 

John 14:7-11 Because you have known me, you will also know my Father; from now on, you do know him — in fact, you have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it will be enough for us.” 9 Yeshua replied to him, “Have I been with you so long without your knowing me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father; so how can you say, `Show us the Father‘? 10 Don’t you believe that I am united with the Father, and the Father united with me? What I am telling you, I am not saying on my own initiative; the Father living in me is doing his own works. 11 Trust me, that I am united with the Father, and the Father united with me. But if you can’t, then trust because of the works themselves. 

Yeshua’s definition of Echad with God is: I am united with the Father, and the Father united with me, united, bound together, gathered together, complete, wholeJust as the two parts of a day or Adam and Eve are Echad or complete, so too is Yeshua Echad or complete with Adonai, the Father 

We, as believers are to be Echad as well! Yeshua teaches us that Echad is not an isolated principle between He and Father!  Yeshua’s prayer found in John 17 reveals prayer not only for His disciples, but for all those who shall trust in him through their word. 

John 17:20-23.“I pray not only for these, but also for those who will trust in me because of their word, 21 that they may all be one (Echad). Just as you, Father, are united with me and I with you, I pray that they may be united with us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. 22 The glory which you have given to me, I have given to them; so that they may be one (Echad), just as we are one —23 I united with them and you with me, so that they may be completely one (Echad), and the world thus realize that you sent me, and that you have loved them just as you have loved me. Then the world will know that you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me.” 

Yeshua prays and teaches EchadHe prays that we, you and I, Jew, Gentile, Male, and Female, Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, and Indigenous people will all be Echad, united, bound together, unified, in accord, no more separate parts in the Kingdom of God Yeshua tells us that this Echad, this oneness, will not only bring maturity in our lives with God but with one another. The manifestation of this Echad, this binding together, this unity, is love of the Lord and love for one another Yeshua is our example of Echad with God. If a person says that he is Echad with God but does not manifest love for one another, then by Yeshua’s definition, they are not Echad. Finally, Echad is the One New Humanity! Sh’aul reveals the secret of Echad in: 

Ephesians 2:11-19. Therefore, remember your former state: you Gentiles by birth – called the Uncircumcised by those who, merely because of an operation on their flesh, are called the Circumcised –12 at that time had no Messiah. You were estranged from the national life of Isra’el. You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God’s promise. You were in this world without hope and without God. 13 But now, you who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah’s blood. 14 For he himself is our shalom – he has made us both one and has broken down the m’chitzah which divided us 15 by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances. He did this in order to create in union with himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom, 16 and in order to reconcile to God both in a single body by being executed on a stake as a criminal and thus in himself killing that enmity. 17 Also, when he came, he announced as Good News shalom to you far off and shalom to those nearby, 18 news that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers. On the contrary, you are fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s family.” 

This scripture shows us that through the sacrifice and blood of Yeshua, God has made Jew and Gentile, One (Echad) New Humanity, the Blood of Yeshua has made us complete, whole, in unison, un-separableThe Gentiles were as Ephesians 2:12 states without hope, chosech, in darkness, aimless, MISSINGThe One (Echad) New Humanity cannot exist without the GentilesThey were formerly missing but now have been brought inGod has brought us all together to work towards accomplishing His divine purpose in the world. Sh’aul’s writings refer to TODAY, NOW, OUR GENERATION WE ARE ENTERING INTO THE ONE (ECHAD) NEW HUMANITYWhen grafted in as Sh’aul explains in Romans Ch.11, the wild olive branch is fed by the Jewish rooted olive tree, but the branch still produces its original fruitIn other words, if a pear branch was grafted into an apple tree, the flavor of the fruit changes a slightly as nourished by the new root, but the branch still produces pearsThat is the miracle of the One (Echad) New HumanityAll are bound together through the blood of Yeshua and nourished by the Jewish Olive Tree and each branch retains its own identityWe need to celebrate and rejoice in who we are, whether a Jew, Gentile, Black or White, Hispanic, African, Asian, European, First Nations People, it matters notGod loves all the same and has made us EchadTHERE ARE NO CONVERSIONSThe One New Humanity in its freedom tears down the walls of Anti-Semitism, Racism, Bigotry, religious, and cultural barriersWe become united, joined together, unified, striving towards the same goal, sharing God’s plan of Salvation to the world and preparing ourselves for the return of Yeshua!  As Sh’aul said, “It is life from the dead.”  The One New Humanity will usher in World Revival! In Yeshua’s name I pray that we all become Echad! 

Rabbi and Rebbetzin’s Corner January 2023

Rabbi and Rebbetzin’s Corner January 2023

By Eric Carlson in January-2 on January 1, 2023

Shalom Mishpocha,

 

Happy New Year! We have entered into the Gregorian Calendar year of 2023. The 1st of Nisan (the Biblical New Year) begins at sunset, Wednesday March 22nd 2023 beginning the year 5783. As we move into a new year one of the meanings of 5783 is the year of retribution. Retribution is the dispensing or receiving of reward, punishment, and judgement! 5783 spells “Ur” in Hebrew which means to be exposed! 23 in the Gematria means to drop or trickle, to flow scantily. The year 2023/5783 will be a year of famine, a year of lack regarding food and water. It will also be an extremely troubling year financially as well! Adonai has been preparing us for such a time as this!

Adonai has given us divine authority to succeed! He has given us heavenly strategies to sustain us and give us access to everything we need. We must think like Yosef so that we may survive through the lean times. Egypt experienced seven years of fatness and followed by seven years of drought and famine! Adonai gave Yosef specific directives and strategies for the administration of supplies. Once implemented Egypt, and a considerable portion of the Middle East were able to sustain, to survive the seven years of drought and famine.

Adonai has supplied us with provision in the fat years so that we will be able to advance His kingdom in the lean years ahead. That’s His words in:

Deuteronomy 8:18. 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.

Power in Hebrew is Koach: the ability to do something. That means He’s giving us the ability to sustain ourselves, to gain what we need to accomplish His covenant purposes. This is key as we advance into the season ahead.

We’ve already been experiencing significant issues with the supply chains the last 18 months. Adonai has given us “Multiplicative Blessings” of supplies. Adonai has already given us the authority to multiply what we have! How will we fill the house with the supplies and provisions that will sustain us in years to come? Fruit is the Key, fruit is critical because one fruit contains hundreds, even thousands of seeds which are future trees which in turn produce even more fruit. A tree that does not produce fruit will never produce more trees, there’s no harvest. If you don’t produce fruit, you don’t replicate more believers, if there are no more believers the Kingdom declines.  A fruitless tree may look strong, tall, vigorous, and be full of leaves, but it has no legacy; because it failed to reproduce the seed that it received to create itself, it’s the living dead. Fruitless trees are cut off and destroyed, trees that produce fruit are pruned so even more fruit comes forth.

John 15:2. Every branch which is part of me but fails to bear fruit, he cuts off; and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, so that it may bear more fruit.

One apple seed that is planted in good soil, nourished, and cared for will grow and mature into a large tree that will produce tens of thousands of Apples in its lifetime which contain millions of seeds!  You are the fruit from a seed planted sometime in your life. You then must produce fruit and sow seed, or you are not of the Kingdom of God. However, from one seed comes one tree that can produce millions of seeds. This is God’s multiplicative process known as fold. Here is where this all comes together, profoundly. Humanity (Mammon) works in simple interest format. You borrow money at a simple interest rate, let’s say 5 percent.  If you borrow $100 dollars in simple interest you’ll pay back $105 dollars.  5% of 100 is $5.  This is NOT how heaven works.  Heaven works on sowing and reaping.

Matthew 19:29. Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times (hekatontaplasion {hek-at-on-ta-plah-sec’-own}: 100-Fold, 100 times) more, and he will obtain eternal life.

When we stand in covenant with God, when we toil for Him, when we sow into the Kingdom of heaven we are not working for simple interest, we are working in the power of God, His multiplicative power of the supernatural, where a few loaves of bread and fish fed thousands of people, where a little amount of Olive oil will fill dozens of containers, where a little portion of meal will not run out and feed a widow and her son for weeks.  Where heaven will provide food for over six million souls every day for forty years in the wilderness!  Where Yeshua blesses a few fish and some loaves of bread and thousands are fed with twelve baskets of leftovers. That’s the 100-fold, the “Multiplicative Blessings” of Adonai! Remember, 1,000,000 times 0 equals zero. But 1,000,000 times 1 equal One Million! Fear not, we serve a Covenant keeping God as King David profoundly shares in:

Psalm 37:25. I have been young; now I am old; yet not once have I seen the righteous abandoned or his descendants begging for bread.

Adonai will not abandon His children!  Rejoice as all things work together for the good of them that believe!  May you have a blessed and powerful Year!

Why is Torah for Today?

Why is Torah for Today?

By Eric Carlson in January-1 on January 1, 2023

There are 613 commandments in the Torah: 248 positive commands (what we should do); and 365 negative commands (what we should not do). According to rabbinical reckoning, the 248 positive commands correspond to the number of separate parts of our body and 365 negative commands correspond to the number of days throughout a year. We are commanded to do all the commands with all the joints and parts of our body, that’s why religious, Orthodox Jews rock back and forth while praying so that all their body parts are being used!

There is a significant difference between Biblical commands (Mitzvots) and Rabbinical commands.  Rabbinical commands are designed as a fence, a hedge surrounding the Torah to protect or buffer people from possibly breaking one of the Biblical commands (Mitzvots) and sinning. Those who don’t fully understand the Old Testament (Tanach) come to the above conclusions.  These statements could be true or far from the truth, let me explain further as we go on!

Torah is the Hebrew word meaning Teaching.  Its root means to throw or shoot an arrow.  God uses the word Torah scripturally to signify His teaching to His people.  The teaching that God gave to Moshe on Mt. Sinai is called the Torah of Moses,  but Moses did not author it……he only received it from Adonai.  God uses the word Torah to signify His instructions throughout the Hebrew scriptures.  Some Jews also believe in an oral teaching called the Talmud which is in error as the Word says:

“Moses came and told the people everything Adonai had said including all the rulings.  The people answered with one voice: “we will obey every word Adonai has spoken”. Moshe wrote down all the words of Adonai.  He rose early in the morning, built an altar at the base of the mountain and set up twelve large stones to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.” Exodus 24:3-4.  Gods covenant between Himself and His people is based exclusively upon the written words of God and nothing else!

Christians call the Torah “the Law” because most English translations of scripture translate Torah as law.  The reason this came about is because Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek, called the Septuagint.  The Septuagint translated Torah into the Greek word Nomia.  Nomia was used in the Greek culture to mean “unalterable law”.  Following in the same tradition,  the Greek New Testament used Nomia to signify Torah.  The Word of God is in fact unalterable and can be construed as Law since breaking one of the commandments could lead to punishment (either from man or from God!). Torah is really a teaching tool of the Most High who loves his people, revealing to them what is or what is not sin.  Messiah Yeshua was the payment for our sins once and for all through His Blood, He bought and paid for our righteousness!  The Torah showed us what that righteousness was!  7The Torah of Adonai is perfect, restoring the inner person.  The instruction of Adonai is sure, making wise the thoughtless.  8 The precepts of Adonai are right, rejoicing the heart.  The mitzvot of Adonai is pure, enlightening the eyes.  9 The fear of Adonai is clean, enduring forever.  The rulings of Adonai are true, they are righteous altogether, 10 more desirable than gold, than fine gold, also sweeter that honey or drippings from the honeycomb.  11Through them your servant is warned; in obeying them is great reward”.  Psalm 19:7-11.  Messiah Yeshua also said in Mathew 5:18-19. “ Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or Prophets.  I have come not to abolish but to complete.  18  Yes indeed!  I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or stroke will pass from the torah – not until everything that must happen has happened.  19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvots and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven.  But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Messiah Yeshua said here that Sin is forgiven through him and Torah is the life guidelines from God,  not the written word of man.  Rabbi Shaul (Paul) said in Romans 7:7,12.  “7 Therefore, what are we to say?  That the Torah is sinful?  Heaven forbid!  Rather, the function of the Torah was that without it, I would not have known what sin is.  For example, I would not have become conscious of what greed is if Torah had not said “Thou shalt not covet””.  “12 So the Torah is holy; that is, the commandment is holy, just and good”.  Torah makes us accountable for our actions.  Mankind must walk within specific divine guidelines and regulations or we pursue perverted and sinful ways.  Without Torah, God would be unable to convict and condemn sin for without Torah, what would identify sin!  Paul struggled to explain this and stated in Romans 3:20. “ For in His sight no one alive will be considered righteous on the ground of legalistic observance of Torah commands, because what Torah really does is show people how sinful they are”. He also wrote in Galatians 3:23. “Now before the time for this trusting faithfulness came, we were imprisoned in subjection to the system which results from perverting the Torah into legalism, kept under guard until this yet-to–come trusting faithfulness could be revealed”.  Paul then explains how sins are forgiven in ACTS 13:38 “Therefore brothers, let it be known to you that through this Man (Yeshua) is proclaimed forgiveness of sins!”.  Lets look at some of these Mitzvot’s in the scripture and see what they say:

    1. Do not blaspheme Gods name or your leaders! Ex. 22:27.
    2. To know that God is one, a complete unity! Deut. 6:16.
    3. Do not put God’s word to the test! Deut. 6:16.
    4. To honor the old and wise. 19:32.
    5. To learn Torah and teach it. Deut. 6:7.
    6. Not to add or subtract from the Torah! Deut. 13:1.
    7. To circumcise the males. Gen 17:12, Lev 12:3. (I would still recommend this even though the New Testament says this is not necessary for the Gentiles to do, it is healthier for men. It’s a testament to the supreme knowledge of God.  Recent medical studies have shown that male babies antibodies and coagulants peek on the 8th day of birth, the day when Brit Milah  (circumcision) is commanded to be perform, miraculous isn’t it!.)
    8. Not to stand by idly when a human life is in danger. Lev. 19:16.
    9. Do not cherish hatred in ones heart. Lev 19:17.
    10. Not to take revenge. Lev. 19:18.
    11. Not to bear a grudge. Lev. 19:18.
    12. Rebuke the sinner. Lev. 19:17.
    13. Don’t refrain from maintaining the poor man and giving him what he needs. Deut. 15:7
    14. To honor father and mother. Ex.20:12.
    15. Not to withhold food, clothing, and conjugal rights from your wife. Ex. 21:10.
    16. Not to indulge in familiarities with relatives which may lead to incest. Lev. 18:6
    17. Not to do wrong in buying or selling. Lev. 25:14.
    18. Not to commit fraud when measuring. Lev. 19:35.
    19. Not to delay payment of a hired mans wages. Lev. 19:13.
    20. That a man should fulfill whatever he has uttered. Deut. 23:24.
    21. Not to make a graven image (idol), don’t make it or have someone make it! Ex.20:4
    22. Not to covet what belongs to another. Ex. 20:14.
    23. Do not murder. Ex 20:1, 20:13.
    24. Not to indulge in evil thoughts and sights. Num 15:39.
    25. Not to practice astrology. Lev. 19:26.
    26. Not to consult wizards. Lev. 19:31.
    27. To set apart the tithe (ten percent). Lev. 27:30, Num 18:24.

These are sound rules to live by and of course there are many more, these are just a random sampling. Some deal with Government that should be abided by in Israel (and we really need these in our own legal system) and some deal with sacrifices which are no longer required as we are covered and cleansed of these commandments through the blood of the Messiah.  Yaacov stated in James 1:25. “But if a person looks closely into the perfect Torah, which gives freedom, and continues, becoming not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work it requires, then he will be blessed in what he does”.

Even in the early congregations, some from Judah to Antioch were saying that you could not be saved unless you undergo b’rit-milah (circumcision) (legalistic observance of Torah!).  The early Messianic Movement was in discord over Torah and the new Gentile believers, which we observe in Acts 5:5 “But some of those who had come to trust were from the party of the P’rushim; and they stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and direct them to observe the Torah of Moshe””.  This was taken to Jerusalem and a council meeting took place to decide the issue.  A decision was made and a letter was written to the Gentiles and sent with Paul and Barnabas.  Their decision reads in Acts 15:28-29. “For it seemed good to the Ruach HaKodesh and to us not to lay any heavier burden on you than the following requirements: 29 to abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication.  If you keep yourselves from these, you will be doing the right thing.  Shalom!”.  Yeshua said himself in Mathew 13:52 “ He said to them, “So then, every Torah teacher who has been made into a talmid (disciple) for the Kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of a home who brings out of his storage room both new and things and old”.  The Master Himself states that both new and old are valid and one!  The old is not done away with the new.  Dr. Michel Brown in: “OUR HANDS ARE STAINED WITH BLOOD” writes “Of course, most of us realize that the roots of our faith are Jewish.  But did we ever stop to consider that Jewish roots mean Jewish fruits?  Our faith not only began in Israel with Jewish people in the middle of everything, but it will also end in Israel with the Jewish people in the middle of everything.” Torah is clearly for today!

God’s Covenant Signs

God’s Covenant Signs

By Eric Carlson in January-3 on January 1, 2023

What is a sign?  It’s a motion or gesture by which a thought is expressed or a command or wish made known, a mark having a conventional meaning and used in place of words or to represent a complex notion, something material or external that stands for or signifies something spiritual.  Sign in Hebrew is Oth; a sign, signal, a distinguishing mark, banner, remembrance, miraculous sign, an omen, or a warning! Signs (Oth) are extraordinary events by which Adonai reveals His will through nature, people, dreams, and His word. Adonai does this to reveal His will, to instill trust, and or demonstrate His authority.  Signs are a heavenly revelation to your earthly senses of God’s divine power and will. God made a covenant sign with Noach and all living things:

Genesis 9:12-13.  God added, “Here is the sign of the covenant I am making between myself and you and every living creature with you, for all generations to come: 13 I am putting my rainbow (Et-kashti: Bow, Rainbow, a sign of strength) in the cloud – it will be there as a sign of the covenant between myself and the earth.

Signs were the method God used to reveal Himself to both Israel and Egypt while Israel was enslaved in Egypt!

Psalms 135:9. He sent signs and wonders among you, Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his subjects.

Signs were used by Yeshua, the Son of God to reveal that He is the Messiah sent by God:

Sign 1: Yeshua’s birth and death.

Luke 2:34 – Shim`on blessed them and said to the child’s mother, Miryam, “This child will cause many in Isra’el to fall and to rise, he will become a sign whom people will speak against;

Matthew 12:39-40.  He replied, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign? No! None will be given to it but the sign of the prophet Yonah.  For just as Yonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea-monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the depths of the earth.

Sign 2: Yeshua’s second sign was healing an official’s son

John 4:46–54.  He went again to Kanah in the Galil, where he had turned the water into wine. An officer in the royal service was there; his son was ill in K’far-Nachum. 47 This man, on hearing that Yeshua had come from Y’hudah to the Galil, went and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Yeshua answered, “Unless you people see signs and miracles, you simply will not trust!” 49 The officer said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Yeshua replied, “You may go, your son is alive.” The man believed what Yeshua said and left. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him with the news that his son was alive 52 So he asked them at what time he had gotten better; and they said, “The fever left him yesterday at one o’clock in the afternoon.” 53 The father knew that that was the very hour when Yeshua had told him, “Your son is alive”; and he and all his household trusted. 54 This was a second sign that Yeshua did; he did it after he had come from Y’hudah into the Galil.

Yeshua gave us signs regarding the season of His return:

Matthew 24:30. “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, all the tribes of the Land will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with tremendous power and glory.

The Adversary, HaSatan, will cause apostasy through deception and false signs:

II Thessalonians 2:8-10. Then the one who embodies separation from Torah will be revealed, the one whom the Lord Yeshua will slay with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the glory of his coming. 9 When this man who avoids Torah comes, the Adversary will give him the power to work all kinds of false miracles, signs and wonders. 10 He will enable him to deceive, in all kinds of wicked ways, those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them.

There are three specific signs unique to Israel that reveal God’s covenant decision of choosing Israel as His very own people.  These signs mark the foundation of who and what we are as children of God:

  1. Circumcision:

Genesis 17:11. You are to be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; this will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

God states that He will bless the seed of Abraham, that His seed will be as numerous as the grains of sand at the beach, that His seed will possess the Land of Israel forever, and that through Abraham’s seed all the Nations will be blessed! Circumcision is a permanent mark on the body symbolizing the permanency of God’s covenant with his people. Because of its significance for personal cleanliness, it symbolized also the purity that the covenant demanded of them. Circumcision is a covenant act, a cut that releases blood which is always required for any covenant! The result is that Abraham’s seed passes through the covenant cut thereby becoming covenant seed. 

  1. Shabbat:

Exodus 31:13.  “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘You are to observe my Shabbats; for this is a sign between me and you through all your generations; so that you will know that I am ADONAI, who sets you apart for me.

Adonai’s covenant signs are what separate us from the world and those who don’t honor and serve Him. Representing God’s covenant, it’s no wonder that these three humble signs have experienced the brunt of HaSatan’s fury.  Every religion known today and many governments have attacked and attempted to change, altar, and or remove these covenant signs.  The Philistines, Midianites, Ammonites, the Persians did, the Greeks did (under Antiochus Epiphanies in the Hanukkah story), Christianity tried under the Constantine/Rome Hellenization influence, as well as communism and Islam.  Throughout History there have been numerous periods of time when it has been illegal to keep Shabbat, circumcise your children, display Mezuzahs, or wear Jewish symbols. Even Adonai’s covenant “Rainbow” sign after the great flood has been hijacked to represent the unbiblical LGBQT community. Remember who established the covenant signs, God and God alone, anything else is manmade and false.

Tefillin is dated to the second Temple period.  Prior to this time these verses were interpreted to have Adonai’s word in your mind.  Placing the word on the doorposts is the only part of this scripture that actual was done in both first and second Temple periods. Prior to the 2nd Temple period silver amulets (bracelets, necklaces and rings) were worn (numerous ones having been found in archeological digs) that had the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) written on them.  These were worn in full view to express the wearer’s dedication to Torah and Adonai.

Verse eight is performed in modern orthodox Judaism by wrapping Tefillin. Tefillin or phylacteries, are a set of small black leather boxes with leather straps containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from Deuteronomy 6. One box is worn on the persons head above the forehead wrapped with the leather straps, the second box is wrapped on the left bicep with the leather straps while the remainder of the leather straps are wrapped down the arm creating the letters of one of God’s names, Shaddai (שׁדי) — shin (), dalet (ד), yod (י).  They are written across the hand using the tefillin straps. The Tefillin are worn by adult males during weekday morning prayers. You may read further on this subject by using the link below!

Deuteronomy 6:4-9.  Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord;5. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart; 7. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9. And you shall write them upon the posts of your house, and on your gates.

  1. Torah: God’s Word.

The sins of Jeroboam are made up of manmade religious doctrines that are still being practiced in the greater Body of Messiah today!!

I Kings 12:26-33. Nevertheless Yarov’am said to himself, “Now the rulership will return to the house of David. 27 For if these people continue going up to offer sacrifices in the house of ADONAI in Yerushalayim, their hearts will turn back to their lord, Rechav’am king of Y’hudah. Then they will kill me and return to Rechav’am king of Y’hudah.” 28 After seeking advice, the king made two calves of gold and said to the people, “You have been going up to Yerushalayim long enough! Here are your gods, Isra’el, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!” 29 He placed one in Beit-El and the other in Dan, 30 and the affair became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one [in Beit-El and] all the way to Dan [to worship the other]. 31 He also set up temples on the high places and made cohanim from among all the people, even though they were not descended from Levi. 32 Yarov’am instituted a festival in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, similar to the festival held in Y’hudah; he went up to the altar in Beit-El to sacrifice to the calves he had made; and he placed in Beit-El the cohanim he had appointed for the high places. 33 He went up to the altar which he had set up in Beit-El on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had chosen on his own, and instituted a festival for the people of Isra’el; he went up to the altar to burn incense.

The Lord calls it His day and His day alone. God recognizes, honors, and keeps Shabbat! Anything else he doesn’t honor and becomes a sin according to His word. When Israel split into two kingdoms Jeroboam (Yarov’am) became king of Israel, the northern Kingdom and the ten tribes:

Isaiah 58:13. “If you hold back your foot on Shabbat from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call Shabbat a delight, ADONAI’s holy day, worth honoring; then honor it by not doing your usual things or pursuing your interests or speaking about them.

First this is perpetual, second it was established in the beginning of creation in Genesis Chapter 2.  Adonai stated that it’s His Shabbat, a Moedim, and appointed time like the feast days! Different days have not been established for different cultures or people! There’s not one scripture that states that Shabbat has been changed.

Rabbi and Rebbetzin’s Corner December 2022

Rabbi and Rebbetzin’s Corner December 2022

By Eric Carlson in December-2 on November 28, 2022

We pray you had a blessed Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends! As we have entered into the month of December we look forward to the M.J.A.A. South East Regional Conference December 16th-18th, 2022 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando Florida! It is a powerful, supernatural weekend of Messianic praise, worship, teaching, and fellowship! Paul Wilbur and Sarah Liberman will be our guest psalmists! This is a weekend you don’t want to miss!

Register at https://mjaa.org/southeast2022/#schedule

Tuesday, November 29th 2022, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is national Giving Day! The intent is for people to kick off the holiday season by donating money to a charitable cause such as Congregation Zions Sake! Giving Tuesday was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. In the year 2021 Americans spent $707.5 billion, that’s right, $707.5 billion dollars on the Christmas Holiday! Congregation Zion’s Sake and every Church I know sees a downturn in Tithes and offerings in December every year! That’s a tragic and horrible statistic! What an impact for the Kingdom of Adonai and Jewish revival we could do with just 1% of this spending! Consider honoring God first with a special donation to Congregation Zion’s Sake today, on giving Tuesday!

        We look forward to celebrating Hanukkah for eight days which begins at sunset, Sunday December 18th 2022. Then on Wednesday, December 21st 2022 we enter the “winter Solstice”, the shortest day of the year that officially marks the first day of winter! At our Erev Shabbat service on Friday, December 23rd we will have a special Hanukkah service with both a children’s and youth group holiday presentation! You don’t want to miss this special service with all of our children and youth!

The end of this month, December 31st marks the end of the Gregorian Calendar year of 2022 and the start of the New Year 2023. The 1st of Nisan (the Biblical New Year) begins at sunset, Wednesday March 22nd 2023 when we begin the year 5783. As we move into a new year one of the meanings of 5783 is the year of retribution. Retribution is the dispensing or receiving of reward, punishment, and judgement! 5783 spells “Ur” in Hebrew which means to be exposed! 23 in the Gematria means to drop or trickle, to flow scantily. The year 2023 will be a year of lack regarding food and water. Adonai has been preparing us for such a time as this! The good news is that it will be a year of great revival as people will seek Adonai and His Kingdom!

        The term “Revival” unfortunately is an overused, miss understood term used by religion to announce weeklong services in the summer or to facilitate guest speakers or traveling evangelists. Also, unfortunately “Revival” is a term that is rarely used in the Jewish Community even though the term is found throughout the Tanach:

Isaiah 57:15. For thus says the High, Exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy: “I live in the high and holy place but also with the broken and humble, in order to revive the spirit of the humble and revive the hearts of the broken ones.

        The term “Revival” unfortunately is an overused, miss understood term used by religion to announce weeklong services in the summer or to facilitate guest speakers or traveling evangelists. Also, unfortunately “Revival” is a term that is rarely used in the Jewish Community even though the term is found throughout the Tanach:

Isaiah 57:15. For thus says the High, Exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy: “I live in the high and holy place but also with the broken and humble, in order to revive the spirit of the humble and revive the hearts of the broken ones.

    To revive is to have an abundant live, a prosperous life, to be restored to health, to have victory over disease, to grow in the Lord, to be healed of sickness, depression, and even have victory over death! This isn’t a term to announce a special service, it is a life changing transformation that is cultivated. Cultivate in Hebrew is: “le’ovdah”, to work, to serve, to be a bondservant, and worshipper.

    To be revived, to experience life from the dead, to have signs and wonders be part of our daily lives is something we must work towards, to strive for, to cultivate through prayer and worship! Those with a humble and contrite heart, those who seek Adonai, those who are His bondservants, those who praise and worship the God of Israel in spirit and truth, those who rejoice in Him, to them He pays attention.  In fact, He revives those who are humble! Those who have a broken, contrite heart, those who seek Him! As we enter a new year shortly let us enter His gates with Thanksgiving, with expectation, with anticipation for revival, for a move of God! The onus is upon us to be a mature, sin free body that acquires the groanings of the Holy Spirit for revival. We must matriculate into society, into work, into school, into malls and stores, sharing the Good News by demonstrating the dunamis power then introducing the King. May we be humble servants for the Lord to use to usher in Worldwide Revival.

What is Shabbat?

What is Shabbat?

By Eric Carlson in December-1 on November 28, 2022

Why do we enter into and Keep Shabbat? Shabbat is our weekly Moedim, a divine appointment, a feast with God.  It is the time that we lay down everything from the week and world, all of our concerns, worries, and stress.  All the things that we have allowed to occupy our time during the week and enter into God’s rest to minister to and worship Him.  God knew we needed rest and without all the distractions we can fully enter in His presence. Shabbat is our weekly reminder that we serve the God of creation. Shabbat goes from sunset on Friday evening until sunset on Saturday evening.  Biblical days begin at sunset and end on sunset:

Genesis 1:5. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. So there was evening, and there was morning, one day.

Darkness in Hebrew is: “Choshech” means lacked, missing, unenergetic, lacking energy, powerless, beyond repair, aimless, hopeless, feared, suspected, worthless, and meaningless.  Darkness or Choshech is all of these descriptions!  The enemy, HaSatan, the Devil, the Prince of Darkness is Chosech or Darkness. Light in the Hebrew is: “Or”,  means light, illumination, joy, happiness, instruction, teaching, directive, order, puts in order, woke up, and roused. Light is all of these terms! Yeshua is “Or”, the light of the world!

“Or” and “Choshech” are structured and unstructured energy.  Torah states that both Or and Choshech are Echad, that the two are one, chaos and order are one just as we are to be one! Every day begins at sunset and is a recreation, a reminder of God’s creation of the universe.  Each day begins just as the universes began in darkness, powerless, beyond repair, aimless, hopeless, feared, suspected, secret, worthless, meaningless and streams towards the light, the knowledge of God Himself who separated this hopelessness with His very being which is joy, happiness, instruction, teaching, directives, power, order, perfection, holiness, righteousness, purity, and love.  Shabbat is the culmination of this understanding, just as the day begins in chaos and streams towards the light, the week begins in such a manner and streams towards Shabbat, God’s blessing and perfection. Shabbat separates the profane and mundane from the Holy!

Just as Light was the first act of creation, the first act we do on Shabbat is to light the Shabbat candles. First, two Shabbat candles are lit and a blessing is recited. The lighting is performed by the woman of the house who is the keeper of the light.  Why, because it was a woman who removed the light from the world (Eve) and it was a woman who returned the light to the world (Miriam/Mary who gave birth to Yeshua).  The wife (woman) is the keeper of the light for her entire family and holds the honor of lighting the candles and reciting the blessing.  Lighting the Shabbat candles is an eternal bond linking us to thousands of years of heritage and tradition that defines Biblical life and culture!  The holy flames of the Shabbat candle are our link to the future generations while connecting us to our past!

The flickering flame is a reflection of the divine spark within each of us. It is a focal point for the family, united in Shalom, to gather around the “light” which represents Yeshua, to pray together, to spend time together, to pause and share the Shabbat meal together, united in Messiah!  Light is significant in many ways.  It represents truth, purity, trust, and the removal of darkness and sin through the revelation of God’s Glory, the Light of the World! Yeshua, commanded us to be a light:

Matthew 5:14-16. “You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.

The candle lighting officially marks the beginning of Shabbat.  Two candles are used for several reasons:

  1. The two candles represent the two biblical commandments concerning Shabbat: zachor (remember) and shamar (observe & Guard).

  2. The first candle represents Creation "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...And God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light." -- Genesis 1:1,3. The second candle represents Redemption, Yeshua said, "I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12.

As the woman lights the candles she waves her hands over them three times.  This is not only to welcome in the Shabbat but to also invite the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be with us!  She will then cover her eyes to remind herself that it is not the lights she worship but the Radiant One, the giver of the light, the one who made it that we are worshipping! This is the candle blessing that is recited:

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu melech ha-olam, asher kid-shanu b’mitz-votav, v’tzinvanu l’hadlik neyr shel Shabbat 

Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe

who has set us apart by Your commandments and has enjoined upon us the kindling of the Sabbath light.

The man of the house then recites Kiddush (Blessings), a prayer over wine and Challa bread sanctifying the Shabbat blessing which is not communion but represents the double portion blessing of Manna given in the desert wanderings! The Hamotzei (bread blessing) Two covered, braided or twisted loaves of challah, the traditional Shabbat bread, are used and eaten every Shabbat.  Two loaves of bread are used, they are interwoven together making a braided bread in remembrance of the double portion blessing of manna God caused to rain down every Friday during the Israelites wandering through the desert.  It is also a reminder of two arms folded together in rest for Shabbat.  The Children of Israel were able to collect enough bread to last through Shabbat, when no manna fell. This is the bread blessing:

Baruch ata adonai elohenu melech haolam, hamotzei lechem min ha-aretz.

 Blessed are you ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from the ground.

Then the wine kiddush, the blessing said over the wine: The kiddush is said over wine as a reminder that everything in our world was created by God.  It is interesting to note that when Yeshua “gave thanks” in Matthew 26:27, he would have recited this ancient blessing used here.

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu melech ha-olam, boaray peree ha-gofen

Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Shabbat is a taste of the heavenly World to Come and is often misconceived. Some people think of Shabbat has been done away with, some think Shabbat is a day filled with legalistic constrictions, others think Shabbat as prayer day. 

Those who observe Shabbat, those actually observing it discover a precious gift from God.  The arrival of Shabbat is greatly anticipated, a day of great joy when the mundane and profane of the weekday are set aside as we pause to devote ourselves to ministering to and serving Adoani!  In biblical Jewish culture, poetry, and music, Shabbat is described as a bride or queen, as in the popular Shabbat hymn Lecha Dodi Likrat Kallah (come, my beloved, to meet the [Sabbath] bride).  There is a deep, profound understanding with this: We don’t keep Shabbat, Shabbat keeps us!  The word “Shabbat” comes from the root Shin-Bet-Tav, meaning to cease, to end, or to rest.  Shabbat is the first of seven moedim, divine appointments God gives to us in Leviticus 23.  Shabbat is considered the most holy of biblical feast days for several reasons.

  1. Because Shabbat was made first before the other feast days in Genesis Chapter 2.

  2. Shabbat is so Holy a Feast Day that He made 52 of them.

  3. Shabbat is the only Moedim mentioned in the Ten commandments, the only commandment with the statement “Remember” attached to it. "Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God.” Exodus 20:8. (zachor (remember) and shamar (guard and observe).

Often times I hear people say that Shabbat is only for Jews which isn’t the case. Who is Israel?  Ephesians 2 states that before Yeshua Gentiles had no God, No Messiah, no hope, and were estranged from the national life of Israel. But through Yeshua, Gentiles were grafted in and have been made one with us:

Ephesians 2:19. So then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers. On the contrary, you are fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s family.

Gentiles have become part of the national life of Israel: 

Ephesians 3:6. that in union with the Messiah and through the Good News the Gentiles were to be joint heirs, a joint body and joint sharers with the Jews in what God has promised

The first blessing mentioned in scripture is God blessing His creation then blessing Adam and Eve in Genesis 1.  The next blessing is about Shabbat!

Genesis 2:3. God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce.

This passage is the spiritual key to this day and is what makes Shabbat special: “God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy” God states that Shabbat is a sign of the covenant between Himself and the His people:

Exodus 31:17. “It is a sign between me and the people of Isra’el forever; for in six days ADONAI made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and rested.'”

The late Rabbi David Stern, Translator of the Complete Jewish Bible Comments on this verse:

“We learn that the essence of Shabbat-observance for believers is not following the detailed rules which Halakha sets forth concerning what may or may not be done on the seventh day of the week. Rather, as v. 10 explains, the Shabbat-keeping expected of God’s people consists in resting from one’s own works, as God did from his; it consists in trusting and being faithful to God (vv. 2–3).”

Hebrew 4:9-11. So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God’s people. 10 For the one who has entered God’s rest has also rested from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Therefore, let us do our best to enter that rest; so that no one will fall short because of the same kind of disobedience.

For over 3,000 years there is no known Jewish community, regardless of geographical location and political status that did not remember, celebrate, and keep Shabbat!  Shabbat is the heavenly thread that weaves us alive today into the fabric of time with ancient Jewish history and tradition, binding us together as one with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Yeshua!

Exodus 20:8-10. “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. 9 You have six days to labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for ADONAI your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work -not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property.

We are commanded to remember the day, Shabbat! Remembering means much more than not forgetting to observe Shabbat. Shabbat is set apart, its consecrated for God. It means to remember the significance of Shabbat, both as a commemoration of creation and as a commemoration of our freedom from slavery in Egypt. It’s not just an understanding of what Shabbat is that brings the blessings, it’s those who do and keep:

Romans 2:13. For it is not merely the hearers of Torah whom God considers righteous; rather, it is the doers of what Torah says who will be made righteous in God’s sight.

James 1:25. But if a person looks closely into the perfect Torah, which gives freedom, and continues, becoming not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work it requires, then he will be blessed in what he does.

The last act done on Shabbat is the Blessing the Children and the wife!  It is customary on Shabbat for the father to lay his hands upon and bless each of his children then his wife.  This custom originated from the blessings Isaac gave his sons Jacob and Esau (Genesis 27:49), as well as from the blessings Jacob gave to Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:20). Shabbat is when the King is off the throne and among His people, as His word states! It is a date night with God, ordained by God and established by God forever! May the Living God of Israel bless you and keep you as you honor Him by observing and keeping Shabbat! 

Hanukkah

Hanukkah

By Eric Carlson in December-3 on November 28, 2022

The story of Hanukkah begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Syria, Egypt, and Judah in 332 B.C.E. Alexander the Great allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated to much of Hellenistic culture, adopting the language, the customs and the dress of the Greeks, in much the same way that Jews in America today blend into the secular American society.

More than a century later, a successor of Alexander, Antiochus IV was in control of the region. He began to oppress our Jewish people severely, placing a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, massacring Jews, prohibiting the biblical practices, and desecrated the Temple by requiring the sacrifice of pigs (a non-kosher animal) on the altar. A group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee led a revolt against both the assimilation of the Hellenistic Jews and oppression by the Seleucid Greek government. The revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated on the 25th day of Kislev.

Antiochus tried to eliminate the Kingdom of God, not so much by killing the Jewish people as by forbidding the Worship of the God of Israel. Studying and reading Torah was forbidden, along with circumcision, honoring the Sabbath, etc. In 167 BC a priest by the name of Mattityahu Hasmonea started guerrilla warfare along with his sons and a few followers. What they did in the hill country of Judea and Samaria was so amazing that books on their exploits are still studied by modern guerrilla fighters. Early in the war Judas Hasmonea took over after his father’s death and he is the one who came up with the legendary tactics. His motto was “Mi Camokha Ba Elim Adona’y,” from Exodus 15:11. The translation is: “Who is Like You, Oh Lord, Among the Mighty.” The initials of those words spell Maccabee, which is the name that was later applied to Judas and his followers. Although spelled differently in Hebrew, the Hebrew word for hammer sounds like Maccabee. Therefore, he was called “The Hammer,” which in Hebrew is Maccabeus, so the books of Maccabees in the Apocrypha were written about their successful wars. In 164 BC they retook the Temple on Kislev 25, two years to the day after it was taken by the Syrian Greeks. They needed to repair and dedicate the temple right away. Dedication is an eight-day process that requires the use of sanctified oil for the lamp stand in the Holy Place, the first room of the sanctuary.

They could only find a one-day supply of oil, but rather than wait eight days to sanctify more, they began the temple sanctification process with the one-day supply. Adonai, through a creative miracle made that one-day’s supply last the full eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight-day celebration was declared to commemorate this miracle. The Apocrypha records their struggle:

II Maccabees 10:1-8. Now Maccabeus and his followers, the Lord leading them on, recovered the temple and the city; 2 and they tore down the altars which had been built in the public square by the foreigners, and also destroyed the sacred precincts. 3 They purified the sanctuary, and made another altar of sacrifice; then, striking fire out of flint, they offered sacrifices, after a lapse of two years, and they burned incense and lighted lamps and set out the bread of the Presence. 4 And when they had done this, they fell prostrate and besought the Lord that they might never again fall into such misfortunes, but that, if they should ever sin, they might be disciplined by him with forbearance and not be handed over to blasphemous and barbarous nations. 5 It happened that on the same day on which the sanctuary had been profaned by the foreigners, the purification of the sanctuary took place, that is, on the twenty-fifth day of the same month, which was Chislev. 6 And they celebrated it for eight days with rejoicing, in the manner of the feast of booths, remembering how not long before, during the feast of booths, they had been wandering in the mountains and caves like wild animals. 7 Therefore bearing ivy-wreathed wands and beautiful branches and also fronds of palm, they offered hymns of thanksgiving to him who had given success to the purifying of his own holy place. 8 They decreed by public ordinance and vote that the whole nation of the Jews should observe these days every year.

The olive oil that is used for the menorah in the temple (A seven-branch menorah, a Hanukkiah menorah has nine branches which is only used for Hanukkah) was an extra virgin oil that is the first fruits offering of the oil press.  This oil was not pressed by a pressing stone, rather, as the olives are placed into the press their weight upon themselves causes a very light, clean, and pure oil to be released from the olives which is collected and sent to the temple to be burned in the menorah. Cloudy olive oil or olive oil with debris in it will smoke and sputter in the menorah and was not allowed, so the purest, cleanest, first fruits pressing only olive oil was used for the menorah in the temple. The stone vases that were used to hold this special pressing were marked by a priestly seal on the lid of the jar denoting its purity and dedicated use in the temple menorah only!

Dedicate is a devotion to a cause, ideal, or purpose, zealous. To be given over to a particular purpose. God commands dedication unto Him, He searches for it among those that serve Him! This was celebrated then with great joy, thankfulness, and with decorations! This is our model in the days, months, and seasons to come.  When we dedicate ourselves, volunteer for God’s duty (this is the story of Hanukkah), when we are zealous and dedicated unto Adonai signs and wonders will follow! The same spirit of apostasy that was working in the time of the Maccabee’s was also working in Yeshua’s day.  Zealousness, dedication, and obedience to the Word is the only foundation that will sustain us!

Deuteronomy 12:11. then you will bring all that I am ordering you to the place ADONAI your God chooses to have his name live -your burnt offerings, sacrifices, tenths, the offering from your hand, and all your best possessions that you dedicate to ADONAI;

And in:

Judges 5:2.  “When leaders in Isra’el dedicate themselves, and the people volunteer, you should all bless ADONAI.

We begin to understand the complexity of the moral issue they faced, a question arises:  Who or what was the real enemy? The Syrians Greeks who were attempting to Hellenize Israel through assimilation or the Israeli Aristocracy who were openly embracing the new and wildly popular Greek philosophy and cultural fad! This parallels Americas flirtation with Socialism and Communism. The Syrian Greeks then are now the Chinese and Russians, and America’s Aristocracy are embracing them seeking a new world order!

I Maccabees 1:11-15. In those days certain renegades came out from Israel and misled many, saying, “Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles around us, for since we separated from them many disasters have come upon us.” 12 This proposal pleased them, 13 and some of the people eagerly went to the king, who authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. 14 So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, 15 and removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil.

Assimilation through Hellenization would result in a complete annihilation and replacement of the biblical culture and philosophy of Israel with Greek culture and philosophy.  This would have eliminated Israel, the Jewish People, and the prophetic soon coming and birth of Messiah!!  What is Assimilation?  Assimilation is a verb, an action which means to become like another people, another nation, or another people group through culture, language, viewpoint, and character attributes.

Assimilation to a religion or expression of worship contrary to Adonai, His word, His Kingdom, His Son is apostasy, it’s sin! It’s contrary to Adonai’s word, commands, and mitzvahs!  This is especially true for Israel! Throughout our history we have continually strayed from Adonai, worshipped and served other gods which resulted in death, destruction, and exile to foreign lands. Its critical to be dedicated, sanctified for Adonai, Hanukkah! Hanukkah isn’t just about Sufganyut (jellied fill Donuts) and Latkes, it’s a time of ‘dedication.

The Maccabees dedicated themselves to Adonai long before they rededicated the temple! We must do the same! Hanukkah reveals a mystery, the miraculous power of trust in Adonai in the face of hopelessness, a spark of light in the depths of darkness, the limitless, divine, dunamis power of Adonai against a worldly superpower! Hanukkah is the story of restoration and dedication! To accomplish this, we like the Maccabee’s must first seek a personal, spiritual restoration through the word and the Blood of Messiah! Yeshua Himself, the Light of the world observed Hanukkah in the temple.

John 10:22-23.  Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter, 23 and Yeshua was walking around inside the Temple area, in Shlomo’s Colonnade.

The menorah, kept in the temple, represents the “light unto the world”.  The temple, which was located on a hill had inverse windows which allowed the light of the Menorah to be radiated to the world. This light represents the knowledge of the kingdom of God. The light which separated the upper and lower heavens! Yeshua said He was the light of the world (John 8:12, 9:5). The supernatural light of Adonai will be restored in the Messianic Age when we will no longer need the sun or the moon (Rev. 21:23). Yeshua told us that we are a light for the world.

Matthew 5:14-16. “You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.

Be creative this Hanukkah, let your light shine before people so that they may see the good things you do and praise Adonai!! Rebbetzin and I always decorate for Hanukkah! We place blue and white lights in and around our home. We have a 3ft tall lit menorah and lighted Star of David that we hang on the front of our home that can be clearly seen from quit a distance. Why? Because we are up front in defining our Jewish identity in Yeshua, we’re letting our light shine.  Everyone on our block knows that we’re Messianic Jews! Rededicate yourselves and rejoice in this season of miracles, be a light for the world! Chag Hanukkah Sameach, have a Happy and Blessed Hanukkah!

HANUKKAH MENORAH LIGHTING 2022

The Hanukkah celebration is a time for family and prayer. Hanukkah is a time to focus on the light of the world, Yeshua. The Hanukkah (9 branch) menorah should be placed in a window or outside to publicize this great miracle. The candles are placed in the menorah from left to right and the candles are kindled from right to left. The center candle is called the shammash (caretaker/helper). The shamash is removed, lit, and used to kindle the other candles then returned to its holder. The first night of Hanukkah you will have two candles in your menorah, the Shamash and one candle for the first night of Hanukkah. The second night you will have three candles, the Shamash and two candles on the far right of the menorah representing two nights of Hanukkah and so on through the eight days! On the last night of Hanukkah you will have all nine candles in the menorah. You will need a total of 44 candles for the entire Hanukkah celebration. The candles should be lit after sundown and the whole family should be gathered (it’s acceptable to wait past sundown so that the entire family can gather around the menorah). The candles should remain lit for at least 30 minutes. The following blessings are recited when kindling the candles: 

Lighting the Candles 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה 

 Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, Asher Kid’shanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu, 

 Le hadlik Ner Hanukkah.Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has set us apart by Your commandments and has enjoined upon us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah. 

Miracles 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בִּזְּמַן הַזֶּה 

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, Sh’asa Nissim La’avoteinu Bayamim Hahim B’zman Hazeh. 

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season. 

The Mashiach 

ברוח אתא יהוה אלוהנו מלך העולם אשר נתן לנו את דרך הישוע במשיח  ישוע 

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha olam, asher natan lanu et Derek ha Yeshua, b’Mashiach, Yeshua. 

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has given us the way of salvation in Messiah Yeshua. 

Shehechiyanu  

ברוך אתה יהוה אלוהינו מלך העולמ שהחינו וקימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה. 

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloiheinu Melech ha olam sh’hekiyanu v’kiyimanu
v’higiyanu l’azman hazeh. 

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion. 

After the blessings, kindle the candle or candles. The following scriptures may be read, followed by family fellowship. This is a quiet time, a time focused on our heavenly Father. Shut off the television, turn off the radio, and enter into the presence of the Most High God! 

Night one, Sunday, Dec 18th, 2022 @ sunset:

Night two, Monday, Dec 19th, 2022 @ sunset:

Night three, Tuesday, Dec 20th, 2022 @ sunset:

Night four, Wednesday, Dec 21st, 2022 @ sunset:

Night five, Thursday, Dec 22nd, 2022 @ sunset:

Night six, Friday, Dec 23rd, 2022 @ sunset:

Night seven, Saturday, Dec 24th, 2022 @ sunset:

Night eight, Sunday, Dec 25th, 2022 @ sunset:

Isaiah 60:19, Psalm 27:1.

Psalm 119:105, 119:130, Proverbs 6:23.

Matthew 5:16, Luke 11:30.

Luke 11:34, Acts 26:18.

John 1:4-5, John 8:12, John 12:35-36.

Acts 26:12-18.

Ephesians 5:8-11, I Peter 2:9, Ephesians 5:11-15, I John 1:5-9.

Philippians 2:14-16.

Anointing

Anointing

By Eric Carlson in November-1 on October 24, 2022

In the body of believers today there is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion regarding the term anointing and what it means.  The term anointed is misused, misunderstood, and used out of context by most believers today including myself.

What does it mean to be “anointed?”  Anointing has various uses associated with it.  Those various uses, understandings and applications are bound together in that each involves the application of Olive Oil being rubbed on the person or object being anointed.  Anointing is a consecration; to be set aside.

Anointing in the Tanach is the setting aside of something or someone such as the Temple implements or Aaron and his sons as High Priests.  Anointing scripturally means to be consecrated for a holy or sacred use unto God, the devoting or setting apart of anything or anyone to the worship or service of Adonai.  Anointing is performed by rubbing sacred Olive Oil on the person or item (smearing with the hands).  Anointing in true biblical context is that the object or person being anointed are being sanctified for service unto God.”  The Hebrew term “mashiach” means anointed one and refers to Yeshua the Messiah, in the Greek its “chrio” which is the root word of Christo which means anointed one in Greek, or in English: “Christ”. 

Yeshua was anointed by God for service unto God.  I Samuel 16 records David being chosen as the next king by Samuel who anointed David with that special Olive Oil from a horn (exactly the same way Saul was anointed by Samuel).  It didn’t mean David was King then, it meant he was consecrated, set aside for this service unto God as King of Israel.  In Leviticus all the components of the Tabernacle where anointed, set apart for service unto God by Oil, then purified by the blood!

The oil used to signify that someone or something is consecrated or set aside was a special oil made of ingredients proscribed by God.

Exodus 30:22-32. ADONAI said to Moshe, 23 Take the best spices – 500 shekels of myrrh [121/2 pounds], half this amount (250 shekels) of aromatic cinnamon [61/4 pounds], 250 shekels of aromatic cane, 24 500 shekels of cassia (use the sanctuary standard), and one gallon of olive oil – 25 and make them into a holy anointing oil; blend it and perfume it as would an expert perfume-maker; it will be a holy anointing oil. 26 Use it to anoint the tent of meeting, the ark for the testimony, 27 the table and all its utensils, the menorah and all its utensils, the incense altar, 28 the altar for burnt offerings and all its utensils, and the basin with its base. 29 You are to consecrate them – they will be especially holy, and whatever touches them will be holy. 30 Then you are to anoint Aharon and his sons – you are to consecrate them to serve me in the office of cohen. 31 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘This is to be a holy anointing oil for me through all your generations. 32 It is not to be used for anointing a person’s body; and you are not to make any like it, with the same composition of ingredients – it is holy, and you are to treat it as holy.

To use this oil for any other purpose was considered an abomination to God. I want to pause here for to clear up some common, widespread mistakes I commonly hear among the greater body.  An anointing means your set apart for service unto the Holy One of Israel. Often individuals have come to me and say: “Rabbi, you’re operating under a new anointing, or your anointing has increased, or there is a change in your anointing”. It’s common to confuse the anointing with the power of the Ruach HaKodesh and God’s Glory, the Shekinah.  Either I’m anointed by God to be a Rabbi or I’m not.  The anointing can’t increase or decrease, its simply anointed or it’s not.  Anointing is mentioned only twice in the Brit Chadesha in Mark 6:13 and in James 5:14. They both speak specifically about anointing with Olive Oil!

Mark 6:13 – And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.

James 5:14 – Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.

I know this is very subtle, but authority and its source are very important in fulfilling our destiny within the Kingdom of God.  This is performed through S’mikhah, the laying on of hands or ordination. 

Scripture relates that Moses ordained Joshua by placing his hands on him, thereby transferring a portion of his spirit to Joshua (Num. 27:22, 23; Deut. 34:9). Moses also ordained the 70 elders who assisted him in governing the people (Num. 11:16–17, 24–25).  

Here’s a thought to ponder.  The elders ordained by Moses ordained their successors, who in turn ordained theirs and so on and so on so that there exists an unbroken chain of ordination from Moses on through time to the period of the Second Temple and Yeshua!  (Maim. Yad, Sanh. 4:2)

Joshua and those seventy elders were set apart, then S’mikhah was performed-the actual spirit that was resting upon Moses-notice it doesn’t say anointing, it’s the Spirit, the power of God, a literal part of Moses Spirit was transferred from him to each of the Seventy then to Joshua.  This is where they received the authority and ability to carry out their task.  Their power was increased.  So if someone states, Rabbi you’re more anointed than before it’s really not the anointing but the presence or Spirit of the Lord that’s changed.  Elisha asked only one thing from Elijah:

II Kings 2:9. After they had crossed, Eliyahu said to Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away from you.” Elisha said, “Please! Let a double share of your spirit be on me!”

Paul does the same with Timothy:

II Timothy 1:6. For this reason, I am reminding you to fan the flame of God’s gift, which you received through s’mikhah from me.

Yeshua’s source of power and authority (which came from God) was challenged by people:

Matthew 21:23. He went into the Temple area; and as he was teaching, the head cohanim and the elders of the people approached him and demanded, “What s’mikhah do you have that authorizes you to do these things? And who gave you this s’mikhah?”

Again, the anointing doesn’t change, it’s the presence and power of God that increases.  An extremely powerful period of worship really isn’t anointed as much as it is infused with the power and glory of Adonai through the Holy Spirit.

So where am I going with this.  Let’s look at King Saul, who is anointed by Samuel with oil to become Israel’s first king.  But Saul falters, because of disobedience God will dethrone Saul.  David, Saul’s successor, is also anointed with oil by Samuel to become the next King.  Years after being anointed David assumes the throne and becomes King.  David, in a rare period of peace in his palace ponders the building of a house for God.  Nathan, the prophet of God is given a word for David concerning the building of this palace and a great insight to King Saul and what was removed from him:

II Samuel 7:12-15. When your days come to an end and you sleep with your ancestors, I will establish one of your descendants to succeed you, one of your own flesh and blood; and I will set up his rulership. 13 He will build a house for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. 14 I will be a father for him, and he will be a son for me. If he does something wrong, I will punish him with a rod and blows, just as everyone gets punished; 15 nevertheless, my grace will not leave him, as I took it away from Sha’ul, whom I removed from before you.

Here we see a powerful and profound revelation.  The anointing did not depart from Saul, he carries the anointing to be king until death.  What departed from Saul was God’s grace, the presence of God, His Spirit, His Glory.  The verse doesn’t say the anointing was taken from Saul, it was God’s grace, His presence, His Spirit that’s removed.

Now we see this followed through with David.  Even though a young David is anointed to replace Saul as King in I Samuel 16, David awaits the timing of the Lord to ascend to his rightful place on the throne of Israel.  David doesn’t kill Saul even though Saul mercilessly persecutes David and seeks to kill him.  Saul, who is anointed by God, consecrated, set apart to be King is not touched by David because of God’s anointing:

I Samuel 24:10. Here, today you have seen with your own eyes that ADONAI put you in my power there in the cave. Some of my men said I should kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I won’t raise my hand against my lord, because he is ADONAI’s anointed.

As the Psalmist stated:

Psalm 105:15. “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”

So we see scripturally that the anointing is not a power itself; it is the means of process through which someone or something is consecrated, set aside for service unto Adonai! It allows the Holy Spirit to operate through people through people to fulfill their divine calling. The anointing is permanent, the Holy Spirit will only operate through one who is anointed! Understanding your own personal anointing allows you to fulfill God’s call and purpose in your life. May the Lord God of Israel bless you and keep you! Shalom!