On the wall next to the table that we sat at, there was a large picture of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. God's Light was all around him and all Israel was watching. Ruti began to weep, the Holy Spirit was moving upon her. We asked the owner, Mosheh (Moses), where we might be able to purchase another print like that. He told us that he got it from a friend of his that has a Judaica shop in Eilat. He gave us his friend's card and after lunch we went to the shop.
It's a very small store. Perhaps it's only about eight paces long and five paces wide. It has a few books on the walls and only one print and one photograph for sale. The print was of the scene we wanted. The large photograph is of the late Lubavitch Rabbi Schneerson who died a few years ago. His followers love to display his picture on billboards, walls and anywhere else they can find to put it. We saw the price tag of the print we had been hoping to buy. It went for 180 shekels ($45). I thought that was a little too much for a print, even though it had a nice wooden frame to it. I asked him if he would come down on it and he said that he couldn't.
Ruti and I talked about it and I decided against getting it. We returned to our place, tired from the events of the day and took a rest. We got up about four in the afternoon and I began to work on some ministry papers. About 7:00 P.M. Ruti asked me about the picture again. I could see that she wanted it so I told her that we'd go back into the city and pick it up.
We came back to the store that Matan owns and purchased the print in the frame. It was about 7:30 P.M.. A friend of Matan's, Izhar, was sitting on a ledge with his wife. Izhar mentioned how nice the picture was, in that it represented the giving of the Law to Israel. I said that it was God giving or revealing His Heart to us (His Word for our understanding of what is right and what is wrong (Deut. 4:6-8), that we might not sin against Him).
Then Matan said that it was God marrying Himself to Israel. I agreed with him as this is not only how the Rabbis see it but also how God Himself sees it. The giving of the Law by God and its acceptance by Israel is like a marriage covenant. In Judaism it's called a Ketuba. The laws or rules are the stipulations of the relationship of that Covenant Marriage; how the Wife (Israel), was to obey her Husband (Yahveh), and what the Husband would do for His Wife (love, provide and protect her). The formal ratification of the Covenant at Mt. Sinai came a little later, the sacrifices acting to sanctify the words and the union (Ex. 24).
I said that this is 'a picture of what Messiah does for us. Messiah allows us to marry God in a way that Mt. Sinai was only a pale picture of.' Well, that got their attention. I told them that in order for us to be in the Presence of God, to be one with God, to marry Him, our nature, our perverse heart, would have to change. This is the Work of Messiah.
Matan asked me if I knew when the Messiah would come. I told him that Messiah had already come. He asked me if I thought Messiah was the late Rabbi Schneerson. I told him no. Rabbi Schneerson had never set foot in Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel). How could he possibly be the Messiah? The Prophet Micah says that the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem:
'But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrata, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you, One will go forth for Me to be Ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.' (Micah 5:2)
So Rabbi Schneerson couldn't have been the Messiah. (Many of the rabbi's followers continue to believe that he was, and still is, the Messiah. They say that he is in Heaven now, praying for all Israel. There is no end to the total disregard for the Scriptures that some Jewish minds can display.)
Matan asked me if I knew the Name of Messiah. I told him that I did. Matan then asked me to give him His Name. I asked Matan if he knew anything about Messiah. He told me that he did. So I asked him to share with us what he knew. He said that Messiah will come when all the people of Israel are righteous, or wicked, for one day.1 I laughed! I said to him, 'How did God save us from Egyptian slavery?! Were we all righteous for one day? Did we keep His Torah?! Of course not! It hadn't been given yet. Even the Rabbis state that the spiritual condition of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt was on the second to the lowest rung of their spiritual ladder. I've heard that they were down to the 49th rung, when there were only 50. And the Rabbis say that if we had slipped to the 50th, not even God Himself could save us. (What hutzpa!) So our righteousness didn't save us. 'What delivered us out of the hands of mighty Pharaoh?'
Matan didn't quite know where I was going with that. He said something about the miracles of Moses. I told him it was with the blood sacrifice of the lamb. As we obeyed God and put our faith in Him and His sent one, Moses, we put the blood on the doorposts and lintel of our homes. When the Lord saw the blood, He 'passed over' the homes of Israel but struck the homes of the Egyptians. The blood of the lamb saved our firstborn sons.
I shared with them that this is a picture of Judgment Day (Ex. 12:12), as God could have destroyed all of Egypt that day. Instead, He only required the life of the first born who didn't have the blood of the lamb. He let the rest of the Egyptians live so that He would receive glory from them, as they told other nations what had happened to them. As Yahveh said to Pharaoh through Moses:
'But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My Name throughout all the Earth' (Ex. 9:16).
I then went on to say that Messiah died to give us His Blood, to cleanse us of our sins and to transform us into the Image of God. This was His predetermined plan, that we might be betrothed to Messiah now, and be able to stand in His Presence on Judgment Day, when He will consummate the marriage in the New Jerusalem. With the Blood of Messiah we will not be consumed by the Fire of Heaven.
About this time, Izhar's wife got up and left the store. I didn't sense any hostility, just someone who wasn't interested in what was being said. Then I asked them if they knew what thing in the natural was most like God. Matan said that God was light and I said yes but there's something closer. They were puzzled and I said that Scripture says that our God is a consuming fire:
'So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the Covenant of Yahveh your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which Yahveh your God has commanded you. For Yahveh your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.' (Deut. 4:23-24)2
'In order for us to be able to stand in His Presence, which is spiritual Fire, we must become like Him. This is why we need to believe and surrender our lives to Messiah. Only through Messiah will we be transformed.'
Fire is seen in the Burning Bush and when Yahveh descends upon Mt. Sinai. And the Pillar of Fire by night was seen by every Israeli in the Wilderness. Heavenly Fire is also seen as a refining or purifying agent for Israel in Zechariah (13:9) and Malachi (3:3). 'When Yahveh fully manifests, this Heaven and Earth will melt away.' There won't be any place 'in the Universe' where He isn't. And that means that Hell is nothing less than His Presence for those who aren't like Him (and don't like Him).
I then shifted to Messiah Himself. And this is where it was very good that we were in Matan's store because he had the Scriptures right there. I asked him if he would get one out and he was glad to do so. I directed him to Isaiah 53 and asked him to read the whole chapter out loud in Hebrew, for all of us there. He did and as he did, I would stop him and comment on things like the Messiah growing up in 'parched ground'. I shared that it meant Israel would be in rebellion to God when Messiah came:
'For He (Messiah), grew up before Him (God), like a tender shoot and like a root out of parched ground. He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.' (Is. 53:2)
A ground that is parched or arid is without water. This type of land is no good to anyone as it will not yield food. It is the opposite of the Land of Milk and Honey which pictures abundance, and therefore, God's blessings for an obedient people. Rebellion though, was a picture of how God saw Israel when Messiah came. Very few were really looking for Messiah and that is the way it is today. Matan agreed with me.
Many think that Isaiah's statement about Messiah not having any 'stately form or majesty' means that Messiah was either ugly or plain looking. But this is not what the verse is about. Isaiah is saying that Messiah wouldn't have the Shekina Glory Cloud around Him for all to see (like a neon sign), telling us that He was the Messiah. The Glory Cloud was certainly part of the Tabernacle in the days of Moses, and was dwelling within Messiah when He came, but the human eye couldn't see it. He looked like an average Israeli, not the King of Glory. At least to the human eye this was true. The demons had no problem seeing Who He was.
The death of Messiah was spoken of 700 years before Messiah came. I told Matan to continue reading:
'He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with
grief. And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised and we did
not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore and our sorrows He carried.
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.'
'But He was pierced through for our defiant rebellion, He was crushed for our crooked heart. The punishment for our peace (with God), fell upon Him and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way but Yahveh has caused the wickedness of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb that is led to slaughter and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.'
'By oppression and judgment He was taken away. And as for His generation; who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the sins of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. (Is. 53:3-9)
This Messiah, the Rabbis had named after Joseph: Messiah, the Son of Joseph. Not because Messiah would literally descend from Joseph but because like Joseph, Messiah would be hated, rejected and betrayed by his brothers, the House of Israel. But God would raise Messiah up to be second in command to God Himself, just as God did with Joseph (in relation to Pharaoh). I said that Israel would reject Messiah, just like Israel rejected Moses when he first came to Pharaoh, and in the Wilderness.
Like Joseph, when his brothers came because of the famine, they didn't recognize their long lost (and they thought, dead!), brother. But Joseph recognized them and would provide food, shelter and safety for them. Israel today doesn't recognize Messiah but I told them that Messiah provides the Food (John 6:50-15), Clothes (of Righteousness),3 and Shelter (Ps. 91:1) of Heaven for all who believe in Him. 'This Messiah, who died for our sins, as we read in Isaiah, God raised from the dead.' This is how Messiah ben Yosafe (Son of Joseph), could also be Messiah the Son of David, who would rule and reign for all eternity in the New Jerusalem.
'The Rabbis, unable to reconcile the prophecies about a dead Messiah, and one that would live forever and rule and reign over Israel (Ps. 2; 2nd Sam. 7:8-13f), created two Messiahs.'
But I told them that God would send this same Messiah that died, and was raised to never die again, back to Israel a second time. And the Gentiles would have the Great News about the Heavenly Marriage told to them also. I asked Matan to read about God's love for the Gentiles in Isaiah 49:6:
'He says, 'It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the Tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel. I will also make You a Light of the nations so that My Salvation may reach to the ends of the Earth.'
I asked Matan, is God the God of the Jews only? Did He not create the whole world for His Glory? The Gentiles will share in the blessings of Father Abraham, as it is written:
'In your Seed all the nations of the Earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My Voice.' (Gen. 22:18)
This was all very new to Matan and much to my delight, he hadn't been prejudiced against the Isaiah passage in the way that the Rabbis 'interpret' it today. The Rabbis say that Israel will die for the sins of the Gentiles. This interpretation came on the scene a thousand years ago with Rashi (1040-1105 A.D.), and when it did, it was soundly renounced by most rabbis of the time, including the greatest Rabbi of all time, Maimonides, also known as Rambam (1135-1204 A.D.). Eventually though, Rashi's interpretation would become the Jewish way 'to understand' Isaiah 53. (With this 'understanding', the Rabbis close the door on Is. 53 speaking about the Messiah as God's suffering Servant and therefore, shut the door in the face of any Jew seeking to see Yeshua in this.)
I went on to explain that because this Messiah would take our sins and sickness upon Himself, and that the word 'to strike' ('stroke,' 'blow,' 'smite,' etc.), in both Isaiah 53:4 and 53:8 would come from the root word associated with leprosy, the ancient Rabbis also named Him, the Leprous Messiah (Sanhedrin 98b). Those ancient Rabbis understood that Messiah would be our ultimate atonement for sin. Why that biblical understanding could change had a lot to do with how the Church has treated the Jewish People over the last 1900 years.4
I said that this was what the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16), was all about. Only the blood of the goat could cleanse the Tabernacle and all the articles in it, and the sins of Israel. It was a picture of what Messiah's Blood would do to the Heavenly Tabernacle, the dwelling place of God, and for us today, again referring to the blood of the lamb at Passover. It would allow God to save and to dwell within His people because His people would be clean on the inside by Messiah's Blood.
Unfortunately, contact with a few Christians had already raised important questions about why they didn't like the Jewish people, and how they could eat things that Moses said were not clean, etc. Trying to explain the 'reality' of how the Church has acted toward Jews in a demonic way, in calling them 'Christ killers' over the centuries, in persecuting them because they were Jews, is almost impossible to have a Jew understand.
The Church has condemned the Jew for being Jewish. This is not how it was supposed to act toward the Jewish people, in light of knowing Jesus. And this is not how the Apostle Paul felt toward the Jewish People: Paul would have given his eternal life, if he could have, for his Jewish brethren to come to Messiah Yeshua:
'I am telling the truth in Messiah, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Messiah for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,' (Rom. 9:1-3)
I spoke of the fact that not all Gentiles that said they believed in Jesus
were really believers, just as all of Israel, from the days of Moses, didn't
follow Moses and the Commandments of Yahveh. I said that all the kings of the
northern Kingdom of Israel were wicked and sacrifices to pagan idols abounded.
They weren't good Israelis and gave the Lord a bad name. 'So it was, I told
them, 'with many Christians in the Church over the years.'
There are many Christians today that have a strong love for the Jewish people and Israel, but this often has little emotional impact for the average Jewish or Israeli person who doesn't know any personally. 1900 years of Church anti-Semitism has taken its toll on the psyche of many Jews. It's not only the reality of Gentiles who are obviously not true believers, like the Nazis who celebrated Christmas and went to church, but of the masses. For about 1,600 years, the people in the Church didn't have a Bible in their own language.5 For those centuries, much anti-Semitism from the pulpits found ample ground to grow in the hearts of the people. Today, with the people reading the Scriptures, it has opened up God's understanding of the place of the Jewish people in His Heart, and many Christians are walking in that. But still, there is much anti-Semitism in the Church today.
I then said that we are in a two part Reality now. One part is the time period before Messiah, where we have the promise of being made into the Image of Messiah and marrying Him on Judgment Day, and the other is the actual time when that happens. Before that takes place though, many will leave Messiah, not wanting to go on with Him, thinking that He has taken too long, as we Jews thought at Mt. Sinai when Moses was on the Mount for many weeks. We didn't know what became of Moses, so we started doing exactly what God had told us not to do, less then 40 days earlier. We built an image of a calf and worshipped it as our God, calling the Gold Calf, the God Who delivered us from Egypt:
'He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf and they said, 'This is your God, Oh Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.' (Ex. 32:4)
But one day, Moses came back! And one day, Messiah will return and repay those Gentiles who said they believed in Him, but hated Jews, and therefore hated Him who is a Jew.6 I could see that this made some sense to them. As for why the Gentiles didn't celebrate the Feasts of Israel, etc., I directed Matan to read Daniel 7:23-27, which states that someone who hates God will change the Law and the Feasts:
'He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the holy ones of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in Law. And they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. (Dan. 7:25)
I shared with the both of them that many Gentiles today were coming to see
the beauty in the Passover, etc., in that it is a picture of Messiah and His
Death, that we would be set free from the Kingdom of Satan, much the way we
were set free from the Kingdom of Pharaoh. I said that a number of Gentiles
were coming into this understanding and this coincided with the reality that
a number of Jews, like my wife and me, were coming to know Messiah Yeshua.
In the United States, I told him there were over a hundred and fifty thousand
of us Jews that believed in Yeshua. That really surprised them both and I said
that wherever there are Jews, whether Europe, South America, Australia or Africa,
etc., many of them are coming to know the forgiveness, cleansing and life that
Messiah Yeshua brings.
I then asked Matan to turn to Zechariah, to reinforce that Messiah would die and that His Death would open up the Fountain of Living Waters for Israel, that Israel might be cleansed from sin and wickedness:
'I will pour out on the House of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of Grace and of supplication, so that they will look upon Me whom they have pierced. And they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.' (Zech. 12:10)
'In that day a Fountain will be opened for the House of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.' (Zech. 13:1)
I told them that this is why the Messiah would have to die; to give His Blood for our atonement. Then we went to Psalm 118:19-24, 'the Stone that the builders rejected,' to again reinforce that Israel would reject Messiah, even though Messiah would give us a salvation that was greater than what Moses gave us. I said that Israel's despising of Messiah would not take God by surprise. It was wonderful that Matan was reading the Scriptures in Hebrew. He was seeing for the first time, a Picture of His Messiah:
'Open to me the Gates of Righteousness. I shall enter through them. I shall give thanks to Yahveh. This is the Gate of Yahveh.7 The righteous will enter through it (Him!).8 I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me and You have become my Salvation.'
'The Stone which the builders rejected has become the chief Corner Stone. This is Yahveh's doing. It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the Day which Yahveh has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it (Him!).' (Psalm 118:19-24)
The 'Gate' is Yeshua Crucified. This is the Way that all must enter into the Kingdom of Messiah. Please realize though, that in all this time, I have not yet mentioned the Name of Yeshua to Matan. I desired to lay a foundation from which Yeshua would naturally arise. Having spoken His Name too early on other occasions, before laying a foundation, I had come to see that it turns many Jews off. They don't want to hear anything more about what God has to say about Messiah in the Tanach.
Matan, wanting to impress me with his knowledge of Judaism, told me that he wasn't as well versed in things about Messiah but, that he studied a lot of the Talmud and the Kabbalah. He said that he could go 'very high' in this. I wasn't impressed. He said that he would get up in the middle of the night, two or three A.M., and learn the Talmud. (This is not an uncommon, self-righteous practice among the religious.) This was a point of pride for him.
I told him that the Talmud wasn't the Word of God. I said he needed to be immersed in God's Word so that he would be able to discern what was True from what was False. The Deceiver is very clever. I related that if I came to him with a counterfeit 200 shekel note ($50), and it was a good counterfeit, he would accept it as the real thing. If I asked him for change, he would give me real money for false, not being able to discern the true from the false. But when he went to the bank to cash it, he'd be out 200 shekels because they'd tell him it was worthless.
'Satan is like that. Satan is not going to come in and ask for change for a 300 shekel note because he knows that he couldn't deceive you that way' (Israel doesn't have a 300 shekel note). I said to Matan that he should put away the Talmud, and especially the Kabbalah, as both were 'from Babylon and corrupt the pure religion that the God of Israel would have His people to walk in.' It registered with Matan that I didn't like the Talmud and the Kabbalah. Later on, when he would bring things up from them, he would do it by acknowledging first that I didn't put much stock in them.
Matan shared with us a little of who he was and how he grew up. He said that his mother and father were religious and that his father served in the Army in all the wars. They lived in a village that was next to an Arab village and there was always trouble with the Arabs. One day, an Israeli was murdered and Matan's father took his machine gun and murdered two Arabs. I don't know what became of his father, if he got picked up by the authorities or not, as I was listening and Matan just kept on going. It seemed like life just went on. He said that when he was small, he was trained in religion but when he was a teen, he left it and did whatever he wanted to do. He told us that he was 23 years old and already had had seven businesses and five cars, or was it seven cars and five businesses? : ) Matan is handsome, lean, with dark hair and about five foot six inches tall.
He wanted to impress us with his 'get up and go' and he went on to say that just a few years ago, he went to a religious seminar with some friends, as he was beginning to see the futility of greed. This seminar was sponsored by the Lubavitch sect of Hasidic Judaism and they had many rabbis there. Their purpose was to bring wandering Jews (like Matan), back to the flock. One of the things that drew him and his friends was that they were put up in a very nice hotel for a few days and well fed, and it only cost them 200 shekels. This was really a terrific deal. The seminar dealt with different areas of the Torah and the Talmud, always the focus being on bringing back 'the lost sheep.'
It began to get to him. His then current lifestyle clashed with how he knew a Jew should live, and in one class, it all came together for him. Matan told us how there were many different types of rabbis there; some with a hard approach and some with a gentle approach, etc. But there was this one that was known for cutting off long hair on new converts. Matan was afraid of him as Matan had very long hair at that time.
In that class, the rabbi made a point about coming back to God and everybody agreed with him. Matan had taken a seat in the corner, so as not to be seen. Now, after everyone, including Matan, agreed, the rabbi pointed his finger at Matan and asked him if he would come up front and have his hair cut short! Matan countered that God looked on the heart so why did he have to cut his hair?
The rabbi, having done this many times before with other 'Matans', came back with a great answer. He told Matan that if he would have his hair cut short, it would be a sign to the others that Matan had actually made a decision to turn back to God. And in doing that, he would bring many others to God. The rabbi said that this was a great mitzva (colloquially it's 'a great deed'. Mitzva literally means, a 'Commandment' of God). It would be a sign of Matan's holiness. Matan couldn't resist any longer and he came forward and had his hair cut short. He also began wearing the kipa again, which tells others that he is religiously observant.9
Well, Matan still had a store at that time and a Corvette Sting Ray. He left the seminar and the first day that he came to the store, he didn't wear his kipa because he thought that the crowd that he hung around with would only mock him. Much to his surprise, his first friend that saw him that day came to him and said that he knew what had happened to him and, where was his kipa?! Matan told him that because he had a convertible, he took it off so it wouldn't blow away. And then he put in on, like he had forgotten to do so before. None of his anticipated rejection materialized that day, much to Matan's delight.
I could sense that Matan was hungry for God but like most Jews, he didn't have the proper outlet to satisfy his hunger. He was given the glorified gobbledygook10 and mystical mumbo jumbo11 of Man, instead of Living Waters and the Bread of Life.
I told Matan that if he would follow me, as I follow Messiah, that many would reject him, just as they had rejected Moses and Messiah. It was not a pleasant feeling I told him but this is the Way for the Righteous. God's true followers have always been rejected as we read in Isaiah about Messiah. I said that it happened to Joseph and King David as well, when King Saul wanted to murder David. And Moses was also rejected by our people when he first came to Pharaoh (Ex. 5), and many times when he was in the Wilderness with Israel (Ex. 16:3; 17:3; Num. 11:5, 20; 14:2-4; 20:5; 21:5; Deut. 1:27, etc.).
He heard what I was saying. I sensed that this rejection might be a rallying pole for him. I also wanted him to realize that a real commitment to Messiah would bring him much hardship and rejection. It was not a matter to enter into lightly or blindly.
Matan went on to share that initially, he studied very hard, for five or six months but since he had known what it was to have sex, and now he was abstaining, it was very difficult for him. After a few more months of walking the straight and narrow, he decided to take his girlfriend to Paris for two weeks and do 'everything' he wanted to do. Of course, when he came back, he said that he felt very guilty for betraying God. So, he immersed himself again in the books and got 'very high.'
I said that was exactly the reason why Messiah had come. No matter how hard we try or how strong our will power is, we fall down and fail God time after time. That's the human condition since Adam and Eve. Messiah, His Blood, would forgive us of our sins, which is what all the Mosaic did, but Messiah would also give us a new heart and God's Spirit, that we could overcome our temptations by the Power of God. And on Judgment Day, we would be made into His Image that we might marry our Messiah for Eternity. I asked him to turn to Ezekiel and read about God bringing us Jews back home to our Land, cleansing us from sin and filling us with His Spirit so we could walk in His Torah the way He wanted us to, with a new heart, His:
'I will vindicate the holiness of My great Name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am Yahveh,' declares the Lord Yahveh,' when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.'
'For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own Land. Then I will sprinkle Clean Water on you and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new Heart and put a new Spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.'
'I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My Statutes and you will be careful to observe My Ordinances. You will live in the Land that I gave to your Fathers. You will be My People and I will be your God.' (Ezk. 36:23-28)
By this time, we've been talking for more than two hours and Izhar, who had interjected a comment here and there, began to speak of his knowing some friends of his, Christians, that believe that Messiah was Jesus. I said, 'Oh really? And what do you think of that Izhar?'
He said that he wasn't quite sure but they had certainly showed him things that were beginning to persuade him. I thought to myself that here was an Israeli, born in Tel Aviv, 32 years old, who was close to coming to Messiah. But again, the hatred of many Christians toward the Jews left him with questions in his heart about Jesus. It is not easy for an outsider to understand all the centuries of evil toward the Jewish people that has passed for 'Christianity'. And many Christians today are entirely ignorant of this part of their history.
I wanted to know just what impressed Izhar about Jesus being Messiah and asked him, when all of a sudden, his wife, who was pregnant and had been gone for over an hour, came back and told him that she wasn't feeling well. He apologized to us, saying that he wanted to stay longer and talk, but he couldn't. I felt that much of my talking there had really been for Izhar, as I sensed that he was more open than Matan. Many times I felt Matan was boxing with me, trying to impress me with his Judaism. But Izhar was really listening.
I was concerned that Izhar was leaving at the wrong time, another ambush of Satan. As he left, I wanted to go after him and give him the Hebrew handout, A Picture Of Messiah, but I didn't want to leave Ruti in the room by herself with Matan. I didn't feel that would be proper. I asked Ruti to come outside with me, telling Matan that we would be right back. He understood my reasoning and as I left the gift shop, I saw Izhar and his wife getting into a taxi.
I told Ruti to stay on the street while I approached the taxi from the front, holding my right hand up to summon the driver's attention, so he wouldn't drive off. Izhar was just seating himself in the back seat, next to his wife and I went to him. I gave him, A Picture of Messiah and asked him to read it. I told him that he wasn't far from the Kingdom of Messiah. He told me he would read it. I could see that he appreciated it.
Ruti and I returned to Matan's store but before we did, I asked her if it wasn't for Izhar that we were really there. She said that Izhar was certainly of a different attitude than Matan. I asked her if we should leave and she said that we should go back inside and see. When we got inside, Matan was ready to continue and so we thought we'd stay and share some more. Ruti was praying all the while, that the Lord would open Matan's and Izhar's heart to hear the Great News.
I continued by asking Matan to turn to Daniel 9:24-26 which tells of Messiah, the Prince, coming at a certain period of time and being cut off or murdered before the Second Temple would be destroyed. I reaffirmed the previous Scriptures by saying that Messiah did come, but that our people, just as Isaiah and Psalm 118:22 said, rejected Him, and still reject Him to this day. But only in His Name can our sins be forgiven. Only in His Name can our natures be transformed that we might be able to marry Him and live forever:
'Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your Holy City, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in Everlasting Righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.'
'So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, until Messiah the Prince, there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.'
'Then after the sixty-two weeks, the Messiah will be cut off but not for himself, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the City and the Sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood, even to the end there will be war, desolations are determined.' (Daniel 9:24-26)
I could see this was all new to him too. I explained that Messiah would have had to come before the Second Temple was destroyed. I told him that Messiah did come.
Only the prophet Daniel was given the time when Messiah would come. Without getting into mathematical calculations of the 'weeks', it's fairly easy to see that in Daniel's day, the Temple and Jerusalem were in ruins. The King of Babylon had destroyed it 70 years earlier. In Daniel's prophecy, he foretells the rebuilding of both Jerusalem and the Temple, and then, Messiah would come, die for our atonement, and after that, another prince would come and destroy Jerusalem and the Temple.
With this understanding many Jews were looking for Messiah to appear during the time of Yeshua. The ancient Rabbis who lived before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D., voiced in Sanhedrin 99a and in Nazir 32b that 'Messiah must come during the Second Temple is destroyed.' They based this on the words of the Prophet Daniel in 9:24-26.
With the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., the Rabbis barred Jews from studying the prophecy of Daniel, because it was very evident that Yeshua was Messiah. One such rabbinic wall is seen in this Talmudic account:
Rabbi Samuel ben Nachmani said in the name of Rabbi Yonatan: 'Blasted be the bones of those who calculate the end.' Sanhedrin 97b, volume 2, p. 659, Soncino Press. Editorial footnote No. 6 says: 'i.e., Messiah's advent.'12
Of course, in the Messianic and Christian world, all saw that Daniel spoke of Messiah Yeshua even if they didn't agree on the exact understanding of the 'weeks'. Jerome, the translator of the Latin Vulgate who lived in the fifth century reports that Christian interpretations of Daniel 9:24-27, current in his time, were as various as ours are today.
Getting back to Matan, I told him that at Messiah's Death there would be the fulfillment of the prophecy in verse 24 that spoke of sin being taken care of for good ('to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity'). Messiah's Death would deal with our transgressions and make an end to sin in that it would not have mastery over us and we could stand before Yahveh as righteous. It was the 'end' or fulfillment of what the Prophets, the Psalms and Moses had spoken of.13
The prince who destroyed Jerusalem and the Second Temple was Titus, the Roman general who would later become Emperor of Rome (78 A.D. to 81 A.D.). Both of the prophecies, of the coming of the Prince of God, and the prince that would destroy Jerusalem happened. Yeshua had to be Messiah. There was no other possibility. But I still hadn't told Matan His Name.
I asked Matan to read from Jeremiah. As he did, his voice changed to surprise and unbelief when he read about God giving Israel a New Covenant. I had been speaking of this all along and now he saw it in the Word of God through His prophet, Jeremiah:
'Behold, days are coming,' declares Yahveh, 'when I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah, not like the Covenant which I made with their Fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My Covenant which they broke, although I was a Husband to them,' declares Yahveh.'
'But this is the Covenant which I will make with the House of Israel after those days,' declares Yahveh, 'I will put My Torah' (Law), 'within them and on their heart I will write it. I will be their God, and they shall be My People. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know Yahveh!', for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,' declares Yahveh, 'for I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will remember no more.' (Jer. 31:31-34)
'Isn't that beautiful?' God Himself says that the reason why Messiah would come was so that our sins would be forgiven in this New Covenant and that we would walk in His Torah. Matan was seeing things in his own Scriptures that he had never seen before.
I then felt I needed to make Yahveh more personal to Matan. I told him that the reason why God had Father Abraham offer up his son Isaac, was so that we would have some idea of the pain that God had when He offered up His Son, our Messiah. We can identify with a human being, in their pain, when they lose a child, but it is very hard to understand what God and Messiah went through for us. That's one reason why God led Abraham to offer up Isaac.
The Rabbis have their own distorted understanding of why God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. They explain that God was showing us that He didn't want the future nation of Israel to offer their sons in sacrifice to God, as the pagans did to their gods. This is a nice concept but has nothing to do with Genesis 22, as nowhere in Scripture does God say that was the reason for the test. The test is a perfect picture of a father offering up his son, and as such, serves to parallel what our Father did for us, when He sacrificed His Son, Messiah Yeshua.14
The point that I was bringing to Matan though, was that we can imagine the tremendous pain that Abraham went through, in order to keep God's command. This pain and suffering transfer to God who loved His Son, the Messiah, as much as Father Abraham loved his son, Isaac. And because of this, God allowing Himself to experience that pain, that we can rest assured that He truly cares for us and feels our pain. And that the giving of Messiah as a Sacrifice establishes God's Promise to us in the most ultimate way possible. Our marriage to Messiah on Judgment Day is guaranteed by the Blood of God's Son. If God allowed His Son to die like that, God is not going to go back on His Word.
I told Matan that the Name of God's Son is Yeshua. He didn't seem upset by that, which was a relief to me. I imagine he head put 'one and one together' with Jeremiah speaking of the New Covenant and Isaiah telling us of a Messiah who would die for our sins and Daniel's time when Messiah would come. I said, 'Remember how the ram-lamb was sacrificed instead of Isaac?' That substitute was a picture of Messiah Yeshua dying for us. We, as sons of Abraham, should all die because of our sins but Messiah took our place. He loves us that much. And only with Yeshua's Blood upon us can we expect to be declared Righteous for the Kingdom of Heaven, just as the blood of the lamb was upon the houses of Israel in Egypt on that mini-Judgment day. We escaped that judgement because we obeyed God:
'For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments. I am Yahveh!' (Ex. 12:12)
'Messiah Yeshua came, as Daniel the Prophet said (40 years), before the destruction of the Second Temple. He is the only person that has ever lived that could fit that prophecy. The time period is over. The Temple is gone. Messiah must have come or God is a liar.'
In His Sacrifice, we have both the forgiveness of sin and the giving of the new Heart with the Spirit of the Living God, as Isaiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah spoke of. Only in Messiah Yeshua's Name,' I told him, 'could we expect to stand before our God who is Living Fire15 and enter into the Heavenly Jerusalem. This is our Messiah and what our God has done for us.
'You must believe what I say to be Truth from God, for God Himself sent me to you today, to declare Messiah Yeshua to you. Take it and ask the God of Israel if what I have shared with you is His Truth and if Yeshua is your Messiah.'
Matan was handling it fairly well, or so it seemed. Then another man came into the store. He sat down and heard us talking and began to question what was going on. Ruti and I were getting extremely tired, as now, we had been in the store for more than four hours. It was almost twelve o'clock midnight and we had gone there to buy the picture of the giving of the Ten Commandments, at 7:30 P.M. This is the most time that I have ever qualitatively shared Messiah with any Jew. We went over just about everything. There are many things that I haven't written about because I don't remember them now as I'm writing this. But it was wonderful, both in that I was able to do it and in that Matan and Izhar were open to hearing it. Thank You, Yeshua.
I said one or two other things and then I asked if Matan would like a Hebrew Bible (with the New Covenant in it), so he could read about Messiah Yeshua. Matan was thinking about it and the other man said that he would take the Hebrew Bible, if I would study some book on the Talmud. Tired beyond belief, I turned to Ruti and she said to me that we weren't there to make any deals. I shared that with the men.
I told Matan to relate to his friend that I knew many things about the Talmud and that if he had been there for the previous four and a half hours, he would have understood that. (His friend suggested the 'book swap' thinking that I wasn't aware of the 'glory of Judaism.') Matan verified that I knew the Talmud. I thought that, coming from Matan, his friend would believe him. I could see that Matan was 'in my corner' on this issue. I asked him again if he wanted the Bible. He stopped for a moment to think and said that he didn't. I could see that with his friend there and wanting 'to remain a Jew,' he was looking for an out. And as I've seen many times before, whether with a Jew or a Gentile, God always allows a person that door.
Matan said that he didn't believe that Yeshua was the Messiah because if He was, then no one would need anyone to teach them about God! He went back to the passage in Jeremiah 31 about the New Covenant, where it states that God Himself would teach us His ways. And since the Christians who believed in Jesus didn't know His ways (Torah), Yeshua couldn't be the Messiah. Oye!, such logic. It's no wonder that we Jews make good lawyers! I told him that he didn't fully understand the verse but that God was teaching His people, both about Himself, His Torah and Messiah, and that I and many others were living proof of that. Matan was set though. He didn't want to believe. Of course, what he didn't realize is that in this age, that part of the prophecy is fulfilled to the degree that one hungers and thirsts after Messiah. The fullness of it will come when we are in the New Jerusalem and 'one' with our Messiah in a most glorious way.
It's amazing how one can use a verse in Scripture to nullify the whole council of God. I've seen it with both Jews and Christians. I could see that Matan was very satisfied in his own self confidence (self-righteousness), and that he wasn't open to my suggesting that his interpretation of that verse was not quite accurate. As we left, I told him that we would be praying for him, that the God of Israel would open his eyes to Messiah Yeshua.
As you are led by the Lord, please lift up both Matan and Izhar. Thank you.
1. This is a rabbinical concept. Another one states, 'Israel could be redeemed by keeping two Sabbaths' (in a row) 'properly (Sab. 118b)'; C. G. Montefiore and H. Loewe, A Rabbinic Anthology (New York: Shocken Books, 1974; originally written in 1938), p. 665.
2. This is reiterated in Heb. 12:28-29.
3. Jer. 23:5-6; Mt. 22:12-13; Lk. 12:28; Rev. 16:15. The story of the man invited to the king's wedding, who didn't come with the right clothes on is made understandable when we realize that in ancient weddings, kings would issue clothing for all the people invited. In the account in Matthew, the man is thrown out of the wedding hall into outer darkness for not having the clothes that the king would have provided. We are to seek the Lord to clothe us in His Righteousness so we needn't be ashamed on Judgement Day, for that is the day of our marriage to Yeshua, the Son of the King.
4. Rashi, the rabbi that first came up with the perverse idea that Israel would die and atone for the Gentiles, twisting the ancient Jewish understanding of Is. 53, saw the persecution of the Jews by the Christian Church and wanted to alleviate Jewish sufferings. Christians would use Is. 53 'to prove' that Jesus was the Messiah and Rashi set up an alternative approach. For more understanding on Isaiah 53, see Jewish Newsletter #28 (and following), at www.seedofabraham.net/nltr28.html
5. Even today, the Catholic Church strictly forbids the reading of the Bible in the language of the people. They say only the priests can properly interpret the Word of God. In South America for example, and Mexico, etc., the Catholic Church forbids the reading of the Scriptures in the language of the people, thus keeping them in the dark. This restriction has changed for Catholics in the United States where people are much more educated. In the United States though, the phenomenon of Catholics reading the Bible in English is only recent, but with that, now many Catholics are seeing and walking in the Word of God. Part of this godly knowledge has meant that Catholic anti-Semitism, propelled by the priests, has been challenged by many Catholics as unbiblical.
6. Aside from the obvious things like Yeshua was circumcised on the eighth day, according to Jewish Law (Luke 2:21), and that He 'came unto His own' people (Jn. 1:11), Rev. 22:16 has Yeshua saying that He is 'the Seed of David'. It doesn't get more 'Jewish' than this.
7. Yeshua calls us to enter through the narrow Gate and refer's to Himself as the Gate in John, through whom we must go through: 'Enter through the narrow Gate. For the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. But the Gate is small and the Way is narrow that leads to Life, and there are few who find it.' (Matthew 7:13-14) 'Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the Gate into the fold of the sheep but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. So Yeshua said to them again, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the Gate of the sheep' (John 10:1, 7). The English translation, 'door', should be translated as 'gate.' Wesley J. Perschbacher, editor, The New Analytical Greek Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publications, 1990), p. 205. The concept of a door or a gate is identical. They are both used to enclose or secure a building or wall. When referring to sheep though, one doesn't go through a door, but a gate.
8. In Hebrew, the word for 'it' and 'him' are the same and so it is easy to see the greater meaning here referring to Yeshua as the Gate of Righteousness that we must enter Heaven through.
9. There are far more Jews that don't observe the Commandments of the Lord than there are that do. This generally surprises many Christians who think that all Jews walk in Judaism and Jewish ways.
10. J. M. Sinclair, general consultant, Diana Treffry, editorial director, Collins English Dictionary, Fourth Edition (Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998), p. 657. Gobbledygook: 'pretentious or unintelligible jargon, such as that used by officials', 'whimsical formation from GOBBLE', 'the loud, rapid, gurgling sound made by male turkeys.'
11. Ibid. p. 1022. Mumbo jumbo: 'foolish religious reverence, ritual or incantation.' 'meaningless or unnecessarily complicated language', 'an object of superstitious awe or reverence.' Not everything in Judaism is perverse. There is much godly understanding in it but, if a glass of pure water has just a little poison in it, there is none of the water that one can drink that doesn't have the poison. To separate the water from the poison takes God's discernment.
12. Sanford R. Howard, L'Chayim: Finding The Light of Shalom (Thorsby, AL: Sabbath House, Inc., 1999), p. 209. Much of this information about Daniel is taken from Sanford Howard's book.
13. This also relates to the 'fulfilling' Messiah speaks of in Matt. 5:17. He didn't come to do away with the Law but to fulfill its need of a Sacrifice that would transform our nature. This is something that God spoke of in Deut. 30:6 when He said that He would circumcise the hearts of Israel and of course, the theme of this is found in Jeremiah's New Covenant being given so Israel could walk in God's Law (Jer. 31:31-34), and also Ezekiel's prophecy where God's Spirit is placed within Israel to walk in God's Statutes, etc., (Ezk. 36:24-26). The 'heart' of the Law is sacrifice as it allowed Israel to continue to walk with its holy God. Without sacrifice the covenant relationship could never have continued. For more on how Yeshua fulfilled the Law of Moses without doing away with the Law, see www.seedofabraham.net/fulfill.html
14. The reason why Abraham is called the Father of our Faith, of both Jew and Gentile, is because his faith in Yahveh was such, that he loved Yahveh more than the most precious thing in his life; his son Isaac. This is why he earned the title of Father Abraham. When we live our lives like that, we are truly Seed of Abraham.
15. Ex. 24:17, Deut. 4:24; 9:3, Is. 33:14, Heb. 12:29.
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