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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

From the Soles of His Shoes: Obama's Hostility Toward Israel

From the Soles of His Shoes: Obama's Hostility Toward Israel: Hanukkah reminds us that even Obama's final and most severe attempt to harm Israel will ultimately fail

As 2016 comes to a close, and as we observe the Festival of Hanukkah, and prepare for a political transition here in the U.S., we have received this unfortunate news of yet another U.N. sanction against the State of Israel.  Now some of you maybe asking these questions...

Why is this happening at this time?

How did this vote of the U.N. hurt Israel?

What did the U.S. do or "fail to do" to stand with Israel?

Let me help unpack this for you a little bit by summarizing in simple form.  This proposed resolution in the U.N. was introduced by Egypt’s President al-Sissi, on behalf of the Palestinians.  It accuses Israel of  “illegal” settlement activities in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.

Keep in mind, this area is Israel's "Sovereign Land" afforded to Israel by this same body "U.N." This ridiculous proposed resolution would be the same as condemning the United States for building housing in Washington D.C.  According to our contacts in Israel (as we do not rely on CNN or Fox, for the truth of what is really going on there): "According to international law, Israel has every right to settle all the land west of the Jordan River. This was approved by the League of Nations, then passed on in the Palestinian Mandate that Great Britain was supposed to implement – but didn’t – and then accepted in total into the newly formed UN Charter after WW II. Yet Israel today is seen as breaking international law, when in fact, it is the UN and all nations that view this land as “occupied” who are doing that and they are also blaspheming God"  (IFI, Jerusalem).

The problem that occurred is that the Obama administration apparently decided to abstain from voting – which is the same as voting “yes”.   They did not "veto" this proposed measure.  Our Government which traditionally stands with our only ally in the Middle East, this time decided to just "say nothing", and allow Israel to get thrown under the bus.

This UNSC resolution is legally binding and has placed Israel into a very tough spot internationally.

Friends, as this article so accurately points out, I do not think it is any accident that these political activities are happening right at the beginning of the season of Hanukkah.

Throughout the Bible, from the Exodus, all the way through the prophecies of Revelation, the same theme is found over and over again, and most exemplified as well in the story of Israel's Deliverance of Hanukkah in 165 BCE; and that is: "Adonai, delivers the strong into the hands of the weak, He delivers the numerous into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the ungodly into the hands of the Godly.

The God of Israel has made a Name for Himself in this world.  Make no mistake, He will defend His Name, His Honor, His People and His Land.

The Promise he made our father Abraham in Genesis 12 remains solid and sure.  "I will Bless those who Bless you, and I will Curse those who Curse you".

As Messianic Believers, we must always stand with Israel, no matter what any government does in the lands we find ourselves in.  We must be informed and wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  We cannot afford to put our heads in the sand and ignore politics.  Being a Believer who stands with Israel, does not give us the luxury of remaining "apolitical".  Daniel had to resist bowing to an idol, and so too, there are times like these when the boundaries of allegiances and alliances are challenged for us, because there is no such thing as a complete "separation of church and state".  That my friends is a fallacy.  We are "in" the world, while we are not "of" it.  And by this fact, we must deal and operate and maneuver ever so slyly with all wisdom and discernment living in lands that are NOT our own, serving gods that are NOT our God, and NOT being afraid the speak the truth.

Perhaps the U.S. will one day choose to "speak" instead of remaining silent when the Anti-Semitic nations of the world want to raise their voices against Israel again; but we as individuals must never "remain silent".  As Edmund Burke famously said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Happy Hanukkah,

Rabbi Eric

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hanukkah: The Festival of "Lights"

John 10: 22 Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Yeshua was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade.

Here we see that Yeshua observed this holiday.  Therefore, we Messianic Jews do as well.
But the Messiah had a lot to say about the message of this season, and he embodied this message in Himself.

I. Light in the Beginning

The very first thing G-d created was the light.  The Torah says that G-d spoke, “Let there be Light”.
There is much commentary on these 4 short words, and I believe it has a lot more to do with truth than simply the absence of darkness.  Literal light is used figuratively in the Scripture as equating to truth and the knowledge of G-d. It is more than just the existence of “daylight”. Darkness on the other hand refers not only to the absence of light, but it translates in scripture as lies, and evil. One commentator of the Torah was John, he expanded the knowledge of G-d and light in creation when he wrote by the inspiration of the Ruach Hakodesh:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. 6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. 

A couple of things to take notice here.

John says that the Word of G-d is G-d, all is created through Him and by Him, and in Him is life.  G-d is the source of all life, right? Now an important statement, that: “life, was the light of all men”. And it shines in the darkness. Important fact: men need light.  The light is the true life.  We have physical life here on earth, but earth is filled with darkness.  Remember what I said earlier, darkness is more than just the absence of daylight, it refers to evil & sin. We are living in a "dark" world.

The Bible says that G-d created light and that light is the life for all men. John says that the darkness does not understand the light. Until you come and receive the light from G-d, you do not understand the light, because you are in darkness. Now John, the Apostle, is now speaking about John the Immerser  in vs. 7....

7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

Who was coming into the world? The Messiah…

Look at the next verse…

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

II. Messiah Yeshua is the Light

John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

Remember how I said darkness is symbolism for evil, and light is the symbol of truth?  In Yeshua there is light, therefore in Yeshua there is truth.  He is the truth.  He is the way the truth and the life.

Yeshua told us this about himself…

John 8:12 When Yeshua spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Hanukkah is the Festival of Light, and we have to know what light really is, and we have to know what Light G-d intended to create and illuminate our lives with.

John 9:4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Yeshua warned his disciples that there is a time that is coming when darkness will rule, and while it is day, while he is with them he was about his Father’s business.  But notice he said while he was in the world, he was the light of the world. What happened to the light when he left this world.  He did leave this world, he ascended to the Father, so what of the light of the world?

III. You are the Light of the World

Matthew 5:14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Just as we light the Menorah and put it out where everyone can see it, so too does Messiah tell us that we are like these candles. Now we need to recognize that a lone candle is not very bright.  Each of us is a lone candle and we have the light of Messiah in us by faith. The Bible says that that faith in Messiah is the light and that light is the life that all men need. Just as this candle is used to ignite the others on the Menorah, so too are we to be a candle that illuminates the light into the life of others.
So even though we alone are not very bright, together if we form a Menorah, our light becomes very brilliant.  In the illustration of the Menorah, Yeshua is The Shammas Candle (i.e. "the Servant Candle")…and He lights us with His light...

Matthew 23:11
The greatest among you will be your servant.

May the One who came to bring the Light of Life into this dark world, illuminate your hearts and homes this Hanukkah, and may we all rededicate ourselves to Him in the new year of 2017.

Happy Hanukkah,

Rabbi Eric D. Lakatos

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Romans 11 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

1. Is there any doubt where Paul stands on the topic of “Replacement Theology”, and what proof statement does Paul make to argue against this false theology?

2. What other proof from the Prophets does Paul give as an example to argue against replacement theology?

3. What is the “Remnant” that Paul mentions in vs. 5?  Who exactly is this?

4. If it is true that “Replacement Theology” is false and should be rejected; then how is it equally true that Israel has indeed “stumbled and fallen”, how does Paul explain this, and what text does he use from the Prophets to support his argument?

5. What is the classic rabbinic argument that Paul employs now in vs. 12, what is it called and how does he apply its logic regarding transgression and reconciliation?

6. How does Paul bring out the full implication of God’s purpose to bless all the nations of the world through Abraham?

7. What is the illustration regarding a batch of dough, and where does this concept come from?  Use Scriptural references to explain…

8. Was Paul the first writer in the Bible to introduce the concept of Israel being a “branch”?  If not, where did this concept come from and how did Paul build upon this foundation?  Give Scriptural references to explain…

9. After Israel has fallen so far from faith in Yeshua, is it possible for them to be saved?  If so, how?  Do they need to convert to the religion of Christianity?

10. What exactly is this “mystery” that Paul is so emphatic about his audience to not be ignorant of…?

11. Define what is the “fullness of the Gentiles” according to Shulam or other scholars?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Romans 10 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

1. How does Paul demonstrate the true heart and vision of the Good News, and how is this vision central to Messianic Judaism?  If this is the central vision of our movement and the Good News in general, how should all believers relate to Paul’s true heart and vision?

2. Are Jews “ignorant”; and what does Paul mean that the Jews’ zeal for God is not based on “knowledge”; is this an accusation of stupidity or something else?  What  is the definition of “seeking to establish their own” (what does this mean)?

3. What is the Greek translation of “end” or “goal” in vs. 4, how is this verse typically translated differently in various English translations, and what does this word really mean?

4. What are the two ways of finding “righteousness” (or ‘life’), and what two passages from Tanakh does Paul use to illustrate this truth and which is the best way to achieve righteousness according to Paul?  How is the disappearance of the body of Moses also related to this argument?

5. If Israel have not “believed” in Yeshua, but have stumbled over the stone, then how will they be saved?  What does Paul say and what are two solutions offered by Shulam?

6. On the other hand, how can Gentiles who walk in darkness, without hope and God in the world (cf. Isaiah 9:1-2, Eph 2:12, IPet. 2:9) “believe” without a witness to enlighten them?  What does Paul say? Give Scriptural references…

7. In the “But I say…” statement (vs. 18) it is not clear who exactly Paul is referring to: Gentiles or Jews?  In your opinion who exactly is the subject he’s referring to and why?  Give proof statements/verses to support your answer.

8. How does Paul prove what the purpose of the Gentiles are in the Messianic revival movement, describe that purpose and define it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

IDF Ambushes Arab Firebombers in Gush Etzion

IDF Ambushes Arab Firebombers in Gush Etzion

IDF has declared war on terrorists who throw Molotov Cocktails at passing cars. On Monday night an observation post spotted three Arab Palestinians nearing the wall adjacent to road 60, near the village of El-Hader in the Etzion region. The three were carrying Molotov Cocktails and intended to throw them on the road. The Nitzan battalion placed an ambush in the area and managed to catch one of the offenders redhanded.

The prophets tell us:

Isaiah 43:2 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you,
or through the rivers,
they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned,
nor will the flame burn you.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Chodesh Tov!

Shalom & Chodesh Tov, friends,

Today is not only Dec. 1, but it is also Kislev 1, 5777 - this is the month of Hanukkah, (the month of Dedication), when the Lord delivered our people from the hands of our enemies, yet again, and allowed our fathers to cleanse and rededicate the Holy House.

I and the intercessors are praying for you all, for health and victory, and breakthrough, power and authority in Messiah, miracles, deliverance and answers from Heaven for all of your prayers.

As we approach this new season, a season of "New Beginnings", please consider the article below recently published in Forward (an International Jewish publication); all about "Messianic Jews".  I think you'll find this article very interesting and encouraging.

God is giving us favor, and despite the challenges we are all facing, I want to encourage you that our Movement, and the Ruach Adonai is moving and changing the hearts of our people.  Revival of our people Israel is coming, more and more.  Be encouraged in this New Beginning.

R' Eric