Passover: Rest, Relax, Lounge

I love the understanding of Jewish Roots and Hebrew when studying the New Testament.  It unlocks the mysteries of the gospels and gives a deeper revelation of what Jesus (Yeshua) is saying in scripture.  Two weeks ago while preparing a message on Luke 12, I came across an amazing truth (at least amazing to me.)  Luke 12:22-34

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Hebrew understanding about “Do Not Worry” consist of two words in Hebrew: yi hi ye, (meaning will be)  as to say don’t worry everything is going to be fine.  The second Hebrew word is be seder (meaning order or to be organized.)  In Hebrew this word is to say “OKAY!”   Seder is also the word for the Passover meal called the Seder Meal.  It goes along with everything is done, orderly, and organized so it is time to REST, RELAX, AND LOUNGE.

Imagine how this translated to the disciples in the Upper Room.  Jerusalem was full of contempt, anger, political jostling.  The air was full of fear, worry and anxiety.  The disciples felt and  heard everyone seemingly out to get Jesus.  So he participates in the Passover Seder with them.  Around Him is coolness, calm, and rest because Yeshua understands that God has got His will all planned and it is all going to be OKAY.  He exemplifies rest and that is why the Seder is to be one of Lounging.

Wow, I find that to be so reassuring.  For me being self employed and not knowing from week to week what my income will be I can rest knowing God has got my needs in “order.”  Rather it is finances, meals, clothing, health, relationships, or whatever,  God has Got This!  Yeshua reminds us in Luke 12, if God can take care of the birds and the lillies than how much more will he take care of us in Covenant with Him. This word be- seder is the embodiment of our Covenant God who is:  El Roi- The God who sees me, El Sali-God My Rock, El Gibhor- Mighty God, and El Honnora- Awesome God.  So remind yourself this Passover that Yeshua’s death and resurrection was all in God’s plan to secure for us God’s order for Heaven here on earth and all eternity.  Shalom

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Passover: The Blood of the Lamb on the Door Post, the Gateway to Heaven:

Moses commanded the children of Israel to mark their homes with the blood of the Passover lambs. They were to dip hyssop into the blood and smear it on their doorposts. Although Passover was thereafter celebrated annually, the Israelite homes were never again smeared with blood from the Passover lambs. The smearing with blood was a one-time ritual. Every Passover thereafter, the blood of the Passover lambs was splashed on the altar in the Tabernacle/Temple as a remembrance of the plague of the firstborn and the blood on the doorposts of Israelite homes in Egypt.

Try to imagine the Passover in the Temple on the day the Master died. While His precious body hung dying on the cross, a short distance outside the city walls pilgrims were flooding the Temple courts, leading their lambs to slaughter. While His blood stained the stones beneath the cross, the priesthood of Israel was splashing basin after basin of Passover blood against the stones of the Temple altar. While the women wept at the foot of the cross, the Levites in the Temple courts were chanting the songs of the Hallel: Psalms 113-119. Once slaughtered, the lambs in the Temple were hung from iron hooks in crucifixion poses for skinning, and once skinned, they were bound by the hooves, hand and foot as it were, to wooden poles, to be carried from the Temple on the backs of the worshippers. Meanwhile, the Master hung in crucifixion pose from iron nails, bound hand and foot to a wooden pole.

Believers have traditionally interpreted the Passover blood on the doorway as a symbol of Messiah’s blood. Consider a few of the parallels. Messiah is called our Passover Lamb. He died at Passover time. Just as the death came upon Egypt to claim the firstborns, so too all mankind is given over to death. Just as those under the protection of the Passover lamb’s blood markings were protected from death, so too those who take refuge under the blood of Messiah are protected from condemnation. They are given eternal life and will overcome death in the resurrection.

What is more, Messiah’s blood marked the soil of Jerusalem, the city in which the Holy Temple is located. According to Jewish tradition, Jerusalem and the Temple therein are called the “gateway to heaven.” It is as if Messiah’s blood was smeared upon the doorposts of heaven.

Copied from FFOZ Pesach

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Preparing For Passover

Fourteen hundred years after the exodus from Egypt, Yeshua went to Jerusalem with His disciples to keep the appointed time of Passover. He and His disciples had been to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover many times, but this time, as they neared Jerusalem, Yeshua said, “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover” (Matthew 26:18). He knew that He was going to fulfill the appointed time in a marvelous and unexpected way.

The Torah instructs the Jewish people to keep the first day of Passover as a “memorial” of the exodus from Egypt. It works as one of God’s reminders. God rescued Israel from Egypt and told the people to keep the festival as an appointed time and a remembrance of their salvation.

Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. (Exodus 12:14)

The Master kept the seder meal with His disciples in Jerusalem. He took the unleavened bread and the customary Passover cup and instructed His disciples to do so henceforth in remembrance of Him. On the day of the sacrifice, He became a spiritual sacrifice—Israel’s Passover lamb. At the appointed time for the Jewish people to sacrifice their Passover lambs in remembrance of the nation’s salvation from Egypt, Yeshua went to the cross.

When believers keep Passover, we have two things to remember. We remember the historic salvation from Egypt as the Torah commands us, but we also remember the salvation granted to us through the sacrifice of Yeshua. The two remembrances are not mutually exclusive. They naturally complement one another.

Every year we keep Passover in remembrance of Yeshua. Messiah Himself told us to do so: “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (Luke 22:19). Did He have in mind only the breaking bread and a sip from the fruit of the vine? No. He spoke within the specific context of Passover. The commandment to do “this” in remembrance of Yeshua refers to the Passover Seder meal. It is not one cup but the traditional cups of Passover. It is not any bread; it is the unleavened matzah bread of Passover. What could be more appropriate for a disciple of Yeshua to do than to keep the festival of Passover in remembrance of Him, just as He told His disciples?

(copied from First Fruits of Zion, Pesach)

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Fool, Today Your Soul is Required.

I preached this morning from Luke 12, But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

When Jesus says Fool, this is incredibly important to take notice. The Hebrew meaning of fool means, “perversity, not seeing the bigger picture.”

In this passage Jesus mentions three types of fools:

1. The crowd that only follows Jesus for He can do for them.

2. The Person who builds wealth for themselves and believes their success is because of them.

3. The Religious person who knows the Law, Doctrine, and doesn’t miss the church service. But doesn’t have love in their heart for their fellowman. Jesus said these are morally corrupt.

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Purim, Aunt Marjorie, and the Power of Prayer

I’m sitting waiting to take my parents to DesMoines, Iowa and board a plane back to Dallas this morning.  We’ve traveled to my mother’s sister celebration of Life service this past Thursday.  As I sat in Aunt Marjorie’s service, the presence of God was real and thick with God’s glory.  Aunt Marjorie was a true prayer warrior and intercessor.  Every day until her passing to glory last Sunday, she would take her note book of prayer request and pray for each person and situation.  She prayed for people to receive Christ as Lord and Savior, for missionaries, for pastors, for family, for friends and many other requests.  She would date the day she began praying for the request and then once the prayer was answered she would put a star by the name and request signifying the answer of prayer.  The question was asked by her Pastor at her memorial service, “who will take up this mantel?”

As I have pondered these words from Aunt Marjorie’s life, I have meditated on this week’s celebration of the Old Testament book of Esther.  This is called PURIM, which means in Hebrew “to cast lots.”  This was a cultural tradition in that day for people to cast lots to determine a major decision or the hearing from God.  Haman the evil Prime Minister of the Persian empire hated the Jewish people.  He had devised a plan to have them all murdered at the gallows by the casting of lots.  This past week was the anniversary of that day.  The Jewish people are in exile again and find themselves away from their Promised land and home of Jerusalem.  Esther is the only book in the Bible that does not mention God’s name.  He is working behind the scenes.  Esther is a Jewish Orphan girl who is being raised by her uncle Mordecai.  He is one of the elders of the King’s palace.  Through a series of events the queen, Vashti is killed by her husband the King.  The King orders all the young virgins to come to the palace and he will choose his king after each one spends a night with him.  Esther prepares herself for 12 months in baths and oils (anointing) to meet the King.  God’s favor is all over her though the King does not know she is of Jewish descent.  She is chosen queen.  Mordecai is her support and intercessor.  He represents the Holy Spirit in this story.  Through his wisdom and directions she saves her people from a Holocaust.

The book of Esther tells us every year we are to share this miraculous story to the world and celebrate with joy, gladness and feasting how GOD CAN TURN AROUND YOUR STORY.  Like, Mordecai and my Aunt Marjorie, who is praying for you and who are you praying for?  Like Esther, God is working behind the scenes of your life and He can Turn Around your circumstances.  God is working in secret behind your life.  Someone is praying for you today.  If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever he can do it for you.

In the New Testament, the book of John, chapter 11 there is a parallel story.  The story of Lazarus.  He is the brother of Martha and Mary who is sick and dies.  This story happens around the same time of Jewish celebration of Purim.  Lazarus is in the grave for 3 days.  Yeshua shows up and speaks to Lazarus to “come forth.”  Why didn’t all the people named Lazarus rise from the dead and come forth that day?  I believe it was because Lazarus had eyes to see and ears to hear when he was alive recognizing Yeshua as Messiah.  In Rabbinical teaching it is taught that what has become dead, there is where God will breathe life into it.  WOW!  What hope!  In your life whatever has died or is dying: dreams, goals, relationships, health, whatever through the Holy Spirit God is breathing life.

My Aunt Marjorie prayers got many people through dark and hopeless situations.  Someone is praying for you today.  Make sure you are praying for someone today.  God can turn your story around on a dime.  Happy Purim and Shabbat Shalom.

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Shabbat: God Sanctifies His People

Shabbat (Sabbath Day) is a Moadim. An appointed time when God meets with his people. It is a funnel from heaven to earth for God’s People.

According to Exodus 35, The Tabernacle was to be a holy place, a sanctuary in space where Israel could meet God. In the same way the Sabbath is a sanctuary in time in which we can meet with God.

So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. (Exodus 31:16)

Why are the laws of Sabbath repeated here in the Torah? The Sabbath laws have already been stated in Exodus 16 and Exodus 20. By repeating them here (and again in Exodus 35) in conjunction with the instructions about building the Tabernacle, the LORD shows us that there is a connection between the Sabbath and Tabernacle.

The Israelites might have assumed that, though regular melachah (work) was forbidden on the Sabbath, it was all right to work on the Sabbath to build the Tabernacle. Since the work was holy work, it should be permissible on the Sabbath. The repetition of the Sabbath laws next to the instructions for the Tabernacle makes it clear that the Sabbath was not to broken even for that holy work.

The Sabbath was given as a sign of God’s covenant with Israel. It is a perpetual sign of the covenant relationship between the children of Israel and the LORD. The Tabernacle functioned in a similar manner. It too was a sign of Israel’s relationship with God.

The Jewish people are commanded to observe the Sabbath. “You shall surely observe My Sabbaths. … The sons of Israel shall observe the Sabbath” (Exodus 31:13, 16). The Hebrew word translated as “observe” is shamar (שמר). The word shamar means “to guard, protect and keep.” God wants His people to guard and protect the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

This can be compared to a man who wanted to marry a girl. He gave her an expensive diamond engagement ring as a sign of his commitment to her. He told her, “This ring is a sign between you and me. It represents the covenant of our betrothal. Guard it well and keep it safe.”

The LORD told Israel, “This is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you” (Exodus 31:13). Just as the diamond engagement ring represented that the girl was set apart for her fiancé, the Sabbath represents that God’s people are sanctified by God.

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Friend Of The Bride Groom

At Mount Sinai, God officially proposed to Israel (so to speak) offering to make them His people if only they would obey Him and keep His covenant. The rabbis compared it to a betrothal. In that metaphor, the Holy One, blessed be He, came to Israel as a suitor proposing marriage to His beloved.

The Almighty was the bridegroom. Israel was the bride. The Torah was their wedding contract (ketubah). Moses played the role of the “friend of the bridegroom” as a liaison between God and the people.

In Jewish wedding customs, the friend of the bridegroom served as an intermediary between the suitor and the woman. In the wedding, he presented the bride to the groom. As the friend of the bridegroom, Moses was responsible for negotiating the match. He brought the bridegroom’s proposal to the girl, and he carried messages back and forth between the two parties.

Finally, Moses led the people to the foot of the mountain and presented them to God:

And Moses went forth and came to the camp of the sons of Israel, and he aroused the children of Israel from their sleep, saying to them, “Arise from your sleep, for behold, your God desires to give the Torah to you. Already the bridegroom wishes to lead the bride and to enter the bridal chamber.” … And the Holy One, blessed be He, also went forth to meet them like a bridegroom who goes forth to meet the bride. So the Holy One, blessed be He, went forth to meet them to give them the Torah. (Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer 41)

In the Gospels, John the Immerser played a similar role. Once, his disciples came to him, warning him that Yeshua of Nazareth was growing in popularity and that His disciples were baptizing people. John’s disciples felt as if Yeshua’s ministry infringed upon their ministry. John corrected them, pointing out that he only came as the forerunner of Messiah. Just as the friend of the bridegroom gets out of the way, relinquishing the girl under his charge to the groom, so too, John needed to relinquish his ministry to Yeshua. John seems to have alluded back to the story of Moses at Mount Sinai by comparing the people of Israel to a bride, Yeshua to a groom, and himself to a friend of the bridegroom:

John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:27-30

Taken from First Fruits of Zion commentary.

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