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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Acts 13 מעשי השליחים

מעשי השליחים

Acts 13 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Sent Out from Antioch

1.   What do we know about the role of prophets and teachers in the early Messianic community, what extra-biblical sources are available that describe these roles in greater detail; and describe who Simeon, Lucius and Manaen were?

2.   How was prayer and fasting part of mainstream Jewish life in the first century, and in the Messianic community; and how was the appointment of Shaul and Barnaba different from other Divine messages?


3.   What is significant about “sea-journeys” and the time of year and the fact of where they began preaching the Word when they arrived?

4.   Who was Sergius Paulus, also who was the false prophet; and how did this incident change the proconsul’s life and that of his family?

5.   What do we know about Perga, and why did John leave and go back to Jerusalem?


6.   Who was Shaul addressing in the synagogue and what does this tell us about audiences in synagogues in the First Century Diaspora, and what do scholars think was the text of the day that Shaul possibly preached from?


7.   Was Shaul condemning the people of Jerusalem and their rulers for crucifying Christ in vs. 27, explain why he was or why he was not, what did he mean and how can it be interpreted?

8.   What does Shaul mean in saying “the removal of sins which you could not be set right by the Torah of Moses; what is he referring to?


9.   Why did Shaul and Barnaba become the subject of jealousy from the Jewish leaders in the city?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Shabbat Hagadol Drasha from R' Eric

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶעָשַנִי יִשְרַאֵל
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, King of the universe, who has made me a part of Israel.
Shalom members and friends of Tikvat Yisrael.  Last Shabbat, “Shabbat Hagadol”, rabbis typically give an annual “drasha” on how to prepare for Pesach.  While we were busy with the African-Jewish Presence in the Bible outreach, I am instead sending this message in lieu. 
The above blessing is part of the Birkat Hashachar (morning blessings), recited each morning, thanking God for creating us as we are, as members of the Covenant with Israel.  This reminds me of the purpose of this message.  Whether you are born under the law, or you were born outside the law, (non-Jewish); the D’var Elohim reminds us that we have all been brought near and made members of the Commonwealth of Israel.
What does it mean to be a member of the “Commonwealth of Israel”?  There are many answers to this question, however speaking directly to a Messianic Jewish Community, at this season of the year it is my endeavor to remind you of your covenantal responsibility as a member of the Commonwealth of Israel.  You are no longer foreigners and outsiders, you have been brought near and you are qualified in your faith in the Messiah of Israel to practice the Seder in preparation for His eventual return for His Bride, and the wedding supper of the Lamb!
Today, April 18, 2016 on the Hebrew calendar is 10 Nisan, 5776.  What is significant of the 10th of Nisan?
Exodus 12:Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month, each man is to take a lamb for his family one lamb for the household…. Your lamb is to be without blemish, a year old male. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You must watch over it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to slaughter it at twilight.
The Torah instructs us that this day is the beginning of “Preparation Week”.  You are to be preparing for the Lord’s Passover.  On Friday night, April 22nd at sundown is the beginning of this festival of the Lord.  This should be on the minds of each and every believer in our community. 
Some of you may be new to all of this as you have begun the transition out of “Babylon”, others have been at Tikvat now for years and you should be familiar at least with the basics of the Passover.  A “Moad” מוֺעָד in Hebrew means an “Appointed Time”.  In other words, you have an “APPOINTMENT WITH GOD”!!
If this is how the Bible describes this appointed time, how much more should we who are believers, members of the covenant take this day seriously?  Again, it starts Friday night at Sundown; and today is the beginning of the preparations.  So, how do you prepare?
We prepare both physically and spiritually.
First, the physical.  We don’t take lambs because there is no Temple to slaughter them, this doesn’t mean we don’t prepare however.  We begin by cleaning out our homes.  Spring Cleaning.  It is time to clean your homes.  Also, begin to plan your Seder meal, shopping, invitations, open your homes and be hospitable.  By Friday afternoon, you have searched your homes for all Chametz (yeast and leavening) and remove it by either destroying it through burning, or throw it away and renounce it at the same time.  It is not to be in our homes.  (i.e. no possession).  It is NOT a Messianic practice to sell it to Gentiles and then buy it back after the holiday.  So it is best to stop buying chometz products weeks in advance so that you have a minimal amount to throw away or destroy this week.  Keep in mind all of the “hidden chometz”.  Cookies, pretzels, breaded chicken in your freezer; even the Ice Cream sandwiches have yeast in them!  Don’t forget to clean out your toaster and toaster ovens.  Why are we so meticulous at removing the chometz, does God really care about all this?
I Corinthians 5: Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The Physical affects the Spiritual.  We go through this exercise each and every year as a reminder of the complexities and the difficulties of removing all of the sin and pride in our lives.  If we think it is arduous to remove every little crumb of bread from our homes, how much more difficult is it to renounce and repent and remove every little sin and white lie from our lives?  Do you think it was “simple” for Yeshua to atone for your sin?
It is NO EASY TASK!  The least we can do, is to prepare for Seder night by practicing the Spiritual exercise of cleansing.  Do it with your family, do it with your kids.  Do it by yourself if you have to, it is a spiritual discipline and by doing it, YOU are the one who benefits. 
Then when you sit down for your Seder meal this Friday night, at the Appointed Time, you are engaging in the covenant as a member of the Commonwealth of Israel.  This is no cheap religious exercise.  Don’t dismiss it or think it is not important anymore.  There is a great reward for those who grasp hold of their covenant relationship and take it seriously. 
You have a covenant, a heritage, you have a place at the table with the Messiah, with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and his 12 sons and the 12 Shaliachim!  You are a Messianic believer grafted into the covenant with Israel.  It is time we take hold of our heritage and do it! 
Will there be opposition?  Will there be people who mock you and ridicule you and question why you are doing this?  Certainly.  What happened to our fathers when they came back from Babylon to rebuild the Temple?
Ezra 4: Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. They bribed officials to work against them and frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia and down to the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Don’t be discouraged.  You are rebuilding the ancient foundations of the faith that were stolen and broken down for generations in your family.  Yes you can expect opposition, both physically from those you love and especially spiritually from the enemy of your soul.  The Passover continuously was forgotten by Israel over the millennia and had to be restored by Kings and Prophets.  Just because you may have people in your family who don’t get it and question you, don’t allow that to stop you.
I have attached to this message a handy Messianic Jewish Preparation Guide and Haggadah for you to use for your personal Seder this Friday night and Saturday night.  Use it.
If you are single and alone, and find yourself without a Seder to attend or host, then call on your Mishpocha at Tikvat, make friends and ask around about Seders.  If you have a family and can host a Seder, invite the stranger, the orphan, the widow, the downtrodden, the lonely, open your home on this night and BE HOSPITABLE!  IT IS A MITZVAH!
Matthew 22: 22 Yeshua answered and spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who made a wedding feast for his son. He sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they wouldn’t come…. Now the king became furious! Sending his troops, he destroyed those murderers and set fire to their city.“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. So go into the highways and byways, and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast.’ 10 And those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all they found, both bad and good; and the wedding was filled with guests.
The Wedding Supper of the Lamb is a Passover Seder, and Yeshua told this Parable.  Many are invited but few will come.  It is a mitzvah to host others at your table, just as it is during to Sukkot to invite guests to your Sukkah. 
No one should be without a Seder to attend this Friday evening.  This is also why it is important to join a Havurah Group during the week.  Cleveland Heights, Parma, and Mayfield all meet weekly and Tikvat has other small groups that meet as well.  We are all responsible to get plugged in, and not separate ourselves from the community.
Most of everything in the Torah is observed in “family” environments.  For example, you can’t have a Seder without children to ask the 4 questions and search for the Afikomen.  Likewise, how do you properly light Shabbos candles without a lady of the house, and bless the children?  The Torah says of the Passover:
Exodus 12: But if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor are to take one according to the number of the people. According to each person eating, you are to make your count for the lamb.
You are supposed to OPEN YOUR HOME to your neighbor if their household is too small.  If someone is single, or a widow and they have no one to celebrate with… this is a COMMANDMENT.
Friends, this message is an appeal to make Passover as important or even MORE IMPORTANT than Thanksgiving.  We live in a society that forgets God’s commandments and makes laws and customs that deteriorate the family unit.  Even the Body of Messiah has assimilated to a “once a week religious experience” where Sunday is the only day of the week where a believer rubs shoulders with other believers, and if it is a “mega-church” you can get lost in the crowd without ever being noticed.
Friends, this is NOT the way God intended for believers to live.  We have to change our community, one family at a time.  We must not neglect the Mika Kodesh (the holy gathering) (Hebrews 10:25), but we must also not make the Shabbat the only time we gather. 
Hebrews 13:2 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers—for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Friends, if Passover hasn’t been on your radar this year, it’s not too late.  Make today, Nisan 10 the beginning. Use the attached Preparation Guide, just do it.  You won’t regret it and make it your annual observance.
Practice it year in and year out so that we will be ready for the Day.  Remember that you have been brought near, you are now a member of the Commonwealth of Israel, you have an Appointed Time scheduled by the Almighty Himself, and he expects to meet with you this Friday night.
Start preparing now.
B’ahava Yeshua,
Rabbi Eric
To download the Preparation Guide & Haggadah click here2016 Passover Prep & Haggadah.pdf

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Acts 12

מעשי השליחים

Acts 12

1.   Why did Harod now begin persecuting the Messianic Jews, and what do we know about Jacob, John’s brother?


2.   How is the mention of “Days of Matzah” significant?

3.   Why was Peter not sure if the experience with an Angel was real or just a vision?

4.   How is Peter’s deliverance similar to that of previous accounts of righteous delivered from prison in the Bible?

5.   Who was Rhoda, what do we know of her, why didn’t she open the gate, why didn’t the rest of the talmidim believe her, and why did Peter instruct this be reported to Jacob and how is this Jacob distinct from the one previously mentioned?

6.   Why did Herod go to Ceasarea, what was there?

7.   Why was Herod angry with Tyre and Sidon, who was Glastus, what do we know of him, and why did Harod have to “win him over”?


8.   Why is the description of Herod’s royal robes significant during his speech, and why would the people respond the way they did, and how did this end up with Herod’s judgment?


9.   Why did Barnaba and Shau’l now return to Jerusalem, and why is it significant that the text mentions Yochanan (i.e. Mark), who was he?