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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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Romans 9 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

1. Who are the “witnesses” to Paul’s sorrow and anguish?

2. What are the “advantages” of being Jewish, and how does Paul pick up again on this topic?

3. What Six things preceded the creation of the world according to the sages of Israel and how does it relate to Paul’s point about Israel’s election?

4. What does Paul really mean when he says for not all those who are descended from Israel “are Israel”? explain…

5. How does Paul use the theme of twins to illustrate a point about this “promise”?

6. How does Paul deal with the argument against Israel’s Election by God as being unfair and unjust?  Explain…

7. Who are the vessels of wrath designed for destruction, and who are the vessels of mercy referring to according to Paul?

8. What then is the basis for God’s calling of people for salvation?

9. What is the Talmudic formula that Paul uses that determines the understanding of the next two chapters?

10. Do the Gentiles replace Israel as God’s chosen people, if not, explain who then is the “Remnant of Israel”?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Romans 8 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

1. What exactly does Paul mean by saying in vs. 1 that there is no “condemnation”?

2. What was impossible for the Torah, and how does this statement disagree with rabbinic theology?  give an example, and explain…

3. Why is it critical and required that God send His own Son in the “likeness of sinful flesh”? explain why it must be this way according to Paul…

4. What is required for those who want to fulfill the requirements of the Torah and overcome the flesh?

5. What is the “hostility” that Paul describes that is against God and His Spirit, how is it described?

6. How is the Ruach described as “dwelling” and how does this correlate with the Hebrew Scriptures?

7. How is Paul’s concept of “sons of God” a “Jewish Concept”? and, describe the difference between the Spirit of Slavery and the Spirit of Adoption, what is the key to understanding the difference?

8. How is apokaradokía (ἀποκαραδοκία)  similar to ta’arog (תַּעֲרֹ֥ג) and how are they related to what Paul is saying in vs. 19?  Give the infamous Tanakh reference from the Psalms.

9. Explain, what does Paul mean by “groaning”, both by Creation and us; what is this a reference to?

10. Explain how the Ruach helps us in our weakness?

11. What does Paul mean by “Predestined”? Who is Paul really talking about?  explain…

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Romans 7 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

1. Who is Paul now addressing in vs. 1 and what is the meaning of קא משמע לן  “ka mashma lan” and how does Paul use it?

2. How does Paul use the analogy of marriage to make a point regarding how observing Torah has no effect on the יֵצֶר הַרַע yatzer hara, the evil inclination, and how is his conclusion similar to that of Rabbi Simon & Rabbi Jonathan in the midrash?

3. Explain the Halacha (Jewish Law) of marriage, what does the Torah say about a woman who’s husband dies or one who divorces her and how does this apply in Romans 7?  Does this mean the Torah dies to us?

4. What therefore is the effect of the Torah according to Paul?

5. What is the meaning of חליצה‎‎ Chalitzah and Yibbum and how does it correspond to "dying to sin"?

6. What is the connection between “coveting” and the themes of divorce, and the “spirit of the flesh” in which Paul is describing?

7. Furthermore, what connection is there between coveting and idolatry and adultery; and how do we see this since the Creation?

8. How does Paul say that the Torah deceived and killed him, and is there any evidence that this is supported by Rabbinic literature?

9. What does Paul mean when he says, “for I do not understand what I am doing..” when we sin, what does this mean?

10. Paul describes the struggle between the Spirit and the Flesh that is in all of us, and also describes his “intentions” to do good but his/our inability to do it.  Is he making the point that what really matters is what a person “intends” to do or something else?  Explain…

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Romans 6

1. What are the two masters that Paul addresses in chapter 6 and regarding the question of sinning in order to bestow God's grace, how does Paul handle this question?

2.  How does Paul answer the question that after we become believers" die to sin" some still live in it?  How is this same question addressed also in the midrash?

3. What does it mean to be immersed or "baptized" into his death?

4.  How does Paul developed the idea of "dying to sin"?

5. Explain the Jewish understanding of "the old self".

6.  How do we see the doctrine of the "two ways" in the Didache compared to the two spirits in the Qumran scrolls? Are they the same? Explain

7. What is the rabbinic principle of Hakesh, הקש and how does it apply here in chapter 6?

8.  Explain how the rabbinic midrash associating the number of Commandments negative and positive, with the number of man's limbs in the human body are applicable to theological points made in chapter 6.

9. How does Paul explain that the freedom from sin gives us the freedom to obey God? Explain

10. What is the principle of klal ufrat כלל ופרט ?  How does Paul use it in conclusion of chapt

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Romans 5 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

1. What is the direct result of “justification” before God? Explain…

2. Explain what Paul means by “this grace” what is he talking about?

3. How does Paul describe tribulations and how does his description agree with Rabbinic Jewish commentary?

4. How does Paul use the word “helpless” and how is this significant?

5. How was the Messiah’s death & resurrection “at the right time” as Paul says?  Explain…

6. Vs. 7-8 gives a description of a Suffering Messiah, where else in Scripture do we find this best described?

7. Paul now uses again another “Jewish” argument in logic, what is the argument and how does he use it in this chapter?

8. What are the implications given of Israel’s justification for the whole world, and what analogy between 2 individuals does Paul now use to make his point?

9. Why would the Torah be given, so that sin might increase, what does Paul mean by this?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Romans 4 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

1. What does Paul mean by describing Abraham as our father “according to the flesh”, what is that symbolic of?

2. How does this also make Him the father of others?

3. What is the definition of יֵחָשֵׁב yachshav; or it’s root “chashav” how does Paul use it here in it’s relation to Gen. 15:6 and Psalm 119:123?

4. What verbal analogy from another character in Scripture does Paul now use and what kind of rabbinical form of argument is Paul now employing?

5. How does the blessing in Gen. 15:6 apply universally and what is it depended upon according to Paul?

6. Paul asks an important question in vs. 10, why is the question important and what are the implications of the correct answer?

7. Vs. 12 Paul says, he is the father of the circumcised, who are these, and who else is he the father of and on what basis?

8. What does “heir of the world” mean? Define this phrase…
Pgs. 166-167

9. What does the text mean when it says, “those who are of the Torah are heirs, trust has become empty”… what does it really mean to be B’nei Avraham? Explain…

10. What is the next “purpose of the Torah” that Paul now introduces, and how does this explain why Torah cannot be used to merit righteousness?

11. How important was Paul’s example of Abraham’s faith, how it was strengthened and how it gave glory to God?  Explain the statement in vs. 20…

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Romans 3 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

Romans 3  Tree of Life Version (TLV)

1. Last week, Paul made the point that both Jew and Gentile are equally guilty for breaking the Torah and sinning against God – he now begins ch. 3 with two questions.  Is there any advantage then in having the Jewish people anymore as being a distinct nation?  If yes, what are those advantages according to this chapter and the rest of the Bible?  Give references…

2. If human disobedience to God does not nullifies God’s plan to have an “elected nation” (i.e. Israel), how exactly then does this demonstrate God’s righteousness and His innocence in punishment?  Give Biblical references?

3. What is the Biblical and Jewish premise of God’s judgment in wrath?  Give examples

4. How does Paul deal with the argument that our sin proves God’s righteousness?  Explain…

5. Paul now gives his own Biblical evidence for the argument that both Jew and non-Jew are both bound up in sin, how is this same argument also supported by Jewish literature?

6. What is one of the main purposes of the Torah, and what is the Torah powerless to accomplish, according to our chapter and to the Bible overall?

7. If the Torah is not the “source of righteousness”, what is?

8. Is the true source of righteousness antithetical towards Judaism? If not, give Biblical and Jewish references to support…

9. How does God make a man righteous and what is the definition of “Mishpot”?

10. So if the way to make one righteous is separate from the Torah, does Faith (emunah) nullify the Torah? If not, then why have Torah?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Romans 2 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

Romans 2

1. Who is Paul talking to by using the phrase “O man”?

2. What are the two related principles Paul brings up in this chapter, summarize the two sections?

3. Explain the spiritual principle of מדה כנגד מדה “middah kneged middah” (measure for measure), and how does Shaul use it in his argument?

4. What is the Greek word for “belittle” in vs. 4, how else can it be translated and what is the accusation that Paul is making using this word?

5. Vs. 4, Shaul says that kindness leads to repentance; give other biblical examples of how this is true…

6. What is the meaning of “keshei oref” קְשֵׁה-עֹרֶף  in Exodus 33:3, and “ve-chizkei lev” וְחִזְקֵי-לֵב in Ezekiel 2:4 and how does it relate to our chapter?

7. What does Paul mean by saying “storing up wrath” and how is it “Jewish”?

8. How is “self-seeking” connected to the “Spirit of Perversity” and where else is this found in the Bible?

9. Who is Paul talking about when he describes some people as “sinned without the Law”?

10. Who are the B’nei Brit; and how does Paul describe them as opposed to those who “do not have the Law”?

11. According to commentators, what does Paul mean when he says, “They are a law unto themselves”; also what is your opinion of what he means?

12. What does it mean to bear the name “Jew”, what are the implications according to Paul?

13. What is Chilul Hashem חילול השם  and how does Paul say that Jews dishonor God and slander Him among the nations? Give the citation…

14. How can a righteous deed by an uncircumcised person be counted to him as “circumcision”? explain…

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Romans 1 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

1. Who is the author of this epistle, and what do we know about him?

2. What titles does he give himself in introduction to ch. 1?

3. Compare the call to preach Messiah, to what the Qumran community called the “Teacher of Righteousness”, how does this relate to verse 1?

4. What does Pesachim 54a (Talmud) have to say about Pre-existence of the Messiah, and how does this relate to the intro to Ch. 1?

5. What does Jewish literature say about the Messiah being a descendant of David? Give an example…

6. How is it “Jewish” that the Messiah would be the “Son of God” as described here in vs. 4; give an example from the Tanakh (O.T.), and an example from Jewish literature.

7. How is “apostleship” or the office of Shaliach given and for what purpose and from whom; what do the commentaries say?

8. Shaul claims that the community in Rome’s faith became known throughout the world – how is this true, give Biblical references?

9. Why does Shaul want to get to Rome, for what purpose and what spiritual benefit; and how did Jews perceive these spiritual benefits at this time in the first century?

10. What is the “fruit” that Paul is referring to in vs. 13?

11. What is “Emunah”, also what is the “Righteousness of God”; and what does Shaul mean when he says, from “trust to trust” – how do the commentaries explain these?

12. Explain the Hebrew concept of “Nistarot” and related it to what Shaul is saying regarding God’s evidence to humanity.

13. Where does idolatry come from and what are it’s results/consequences according to Shaul?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Acts 28 מעשי השליחים

מעשי השליחים
Acts 28  Tree of Life Version (TLV)

From Malta to Rome

28 Once safely ashore, we learned that the island was called Malta. 2 The natives showed us unusual kindness. Because it had started raining and it was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed us all.

Acts 28  King James Version (KJV)
28 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.
2 And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.

1. Compare the vs. 1 & 2 in the KJV to the TLV – note the “they” vs. “we/us” statements, and what are three explanations as to why both are used in the traditional Greek according to the commentators?

2. Why would the Maltese natives consider Paul a “murderer”; explain their background, what would make them come to the conclusions they did about Paul?

3. How large was this island and who was Publius and what do we know about him, and why would he have hosted Paul and the group for 3 days?

4. What do we know about a common disease found on Malta that could be related to Publius’ father’s condition, what is it, and what do the Jewish sages say about healings in relation to certain sins the victim may have committed?

5. When did the crew now set sail from Malta, with the most possible accuracy what date would it have been most likely to occur; and explain what is the “Twin Brothers” mentioned in vs. 11?

6. What do we know about the city of Syracuse? (not NY)

7. Who were the “brothers” they met at Puteoli, why did they stay 7 days; and explain who the brothers at Rome were and the significance of where they came from and why it encouraged Paul?

8. Who did Paul later call to see after 3 days in Rome, how did he refer to them (what term is used to describe them), and what explanation did Paul give them for his imprisonment and how was that significant?

9. What is interesting about the council’s response to Paul that they’ve received “no news” about him, yet they do know about this “sect” of Jews (i.e. Messianic Jews) and somehow they know it is spoken against?  Explain this…

10. What is culturally “Jewish” in the description of the disagreements that arose among the Jews who later met to hear Paul share the Good News; and should vs. 28 be interpreted to mean that God is now finished trying to reach the Jews with this Good News, and only Gentiles will now listen?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Shaliach Shaul's Letter to the Congregation in Rome אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

Beginning on Shabbat Shuvah morning Oct. 8th @ 9:00 a.m. we will begin a new Sefer of the Brit Chadasha study for Adults.  The Book of Romans from a Messianic Jewish Perspective.  We will us the Commentary on the Jewish Roots of Romans by Joseph Shulam available on Amazon.  Also, you can register for an email update on the weekly study questions on our website at:  click on “ADULT BIBLE STUDY” enter your email to register.  Class is free and open to all coffee is served.  Let’s study together!

Acts 27 מעשי השליחים

מעשי השליחים
Acts 27

1. Who was Julius, and what do we know about him?

2. Who was Aristarchus, and where have we seen him before?

3. Why did the group stop in Sidon, why is this significant, and why did Julius allow Paul to go to his friends, what does this imply?

4. Describe the conditions after the departure from Sidon, why was it ideal to set down in Myra, and how was Paul connected to that city before?

5. What do we know about the type of ship Julius found, likely what commodity was it carrying and how was that significant in the ancient middle-east?

6. What does sailing for a “number of days” indicate, how long to scholars think this journey to Cnidus took and why?

7. What “fast” is this passage talking about, what time of year would this be referring to?

8. Why did Paul make such a stern warning, what personal experience of his made him qualified to warn as he did, (cite your source); and was Paul successful in convincing the crew, why or why not?

9. Explain what peril the ship and crew experienced, and how did they avoid “Syrtis”, and what was Syrtis known for?

10. What was the “cargo” that was thrown overboard and what multiple reasons were there for doing this; and what challenges were there for such an undertaking?

11. What is significant about Paul’s “I told you so…” message; and how is Paul like Jonah, and how is Paul “not like Jonah”?

12. Bonus: “How is the theme of Jonah connected to this narrative in ch. 27 regarding the time of year these events are happening”?

13. Why did the crew long for daylight to come, and how was this chapter similar to the story of Homer’s Odyssey?

14. Why did Paul warn against the secret escape by some of the sailors, why did he also encourage them to now eat after 14 days, what is significant of the “breaking of the bread” and why is it also very significant that the number of persons was mentioned?

15. Why did the soldiers want to kill the prisoners, and why did Julius ultimately decide against this, what was his motivation for this?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Trump Video Every Jew Must Watch

I'm exercising my 1st amendment right to "free speech"...  Here you go fellow Jews...

For the record, as the rabbi, "I'm not endorsing any particular candidate"... just an interesting video...



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Acts 26 מעשי השליחים

מעשי השליחים
Acts 26
Defense Before King Agrippa

1. What is the meaning of Shaul “stretching out his hand”; what does it mean and why was it worth mentioning?

2. Was it good in Paul’s view to now be testifying before Agrippa, if so, why?

3. What witnesses does Paul now provide for in his own defense; and what character references does he provide?  Does he cites his deeds or his beliefs more than the other, and how does this set a precedent for us today?

4. How exactly does Paul define the accusations against himself, what does he think he’s being accused of; and what is the implication he is making in mentioning the “twelve tribes”, how is this significant?

5. How does Paul portray himself in the narrative, what is his purpose; and what does it mean when it says that he “caused them to blaspheme”; what did he actually do?

6. What is the meaning of “kicking against the goads”; and what other Scriptures do we see this application, and how is this Jewish?

7. What purposes was Yeshua revealing Himself to Paul and how was this a Prophetic calling?

8. Why does Paul indicate that through him Gentiles are called to open their eyes and come out of “darkness into light”, what references are there concerning this in Tanakh (Old Testament)?

9. How does Paul’s testimony of what Yeshua told him regarding the salvation of the Gentiles have something also to do with Israel’s spiritual restoration coupled with their return to the Land out of exile?

10. Why was Paul originally arrested, did he defile the Temple, what does he say about it here as to the real reason he was seized?

11. What is the implication of Festus’ interruption and how does his own cultural background lead him to this exclamation?

13. Was Paul trying to convert Agrippa from being a Jew into now a “Christian”; how should the text be understood in light of the original translation?

14. In light of the whole chapter, was Festus successful in his own adjudication of Paul’s case and was Agrippa helpful to him; why or why not?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Acts 25 מעשי השליחים The Appeal to Caesar!

מעשי השליחים
Acts 25

1. Who was Festus, what do we know about him; and why did he go to Jerusalem so quickly?

2. Who were these ruling kohanim, and leading Judeans, are these the same guys from ch. 24?

3. Festus apparently did not want to bring Shaul up to Jerusalem to be tried, instead he proposed to take the accusers with him back to Caesarea, why was this problematic for the accusers?

4. What is significant of the “judgment seat” mentioned herein vs. 6, how is this term borrowed from Jewish and rabbinic writings.  Also, what was once again the plaintiff’s problem with their case similar to ch. 24?

5. What did Festus propose to Shaul, why did he propose it, and why did Shaul refuse his proposal decisively?

6. Who was Agrippa and Bernice and what do we know about them?

7. What was the purpose of Festus putting Shaul’s case before Agrippa, and how was his presence a benefit for Festus?

8. How was the way this case with Festus handled differently than the way it was handled before Felix?

9. How is Agrippa’s interest in hearing Shaul’s case for himself reminiscent of the case against Yeshua the Messiah?

10. What was Festus’s apparent real reason for bringing Shaul before Agrippa (and Bernice); and how was Festus’s own competence and career on the line in this matter?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Acts 24 מעשי השליחים

מעשי השליחים

1.   What is “odd” about the high priest of Israel hiring an attorney to argue this entire case on the Sanhedrin’s behalf, and what is most significant about how this case is being handled by the Judean leaders?

2.   What does Jewish tradition say about “informers” and how does it apply to this case against Shaul?

3.   The proceeding now formally opens where Shaul stands accused in front of a Roman governor, Felix; explain the significance of the attorney’s  opening speech and why it was done in that manner?

4.   What is the official accusation/charge against Shaul?

5.   What is the meaning of the title: Natzratim; and how is the mention of it here in the Bible significant?

6.   What is the definition of the word “ringleader” here and why is this title significant?

7.   What was the “proof” that Tertullus now gives as evidence of the accusation against Shaul?

8.   Did Shaul have the opportunity to obtain his own legal counsel, and if so, why did he not have one?

9.   Why was it significant for Shaul to point out that he was only in Jerusalem for 12 days before this whole event went down?  How would this help his defense?


10.                  How does Shaul challenge the Prosecutor’s “proof” of the charges laid against him?

11.                  Rather than concerned about his own defense, what does Shaul seem to attempt to clear up in his refutation of the charges?

12.                  Shaul now adds to his refute, his motives for appearing in Jerusalem, what are they and how do they add to his defense?

13.                  How is the absence of the “Asian Jews” significant in the outcome of this case before Felix?


14.                  What was the reason for Felix to adjourn the hearing at this time?  Why could he not make a ruling at this time?

15.                  What were the conditions in which Shaul now had regular access to Felix and later his wife, how did this contribute towards Felix becoming afraid when the topics discussed became personal?


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Acts 23 מעשי השליחים

מעשי השליחים

Acts 23 

1.   Who was Ananias, and why did he order Shaul struck in the mouth?


2.    Why did Shaul object to the blow; and why did Shaul now apologize for his response and words to the Kohen Gadol?


3.   What were the main differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees and how did Shaul exploit them to his own agenda and benefit?

4.   Now we learn of a new plot to murder Shaul, who formed the plot, how many were there, and what did they vow to do or not to do?

5.   Who now intercepts the plot, how is his identity significant; and what does he do to save Shaul?


6.   Why did the commander now make orders to move Shaul to Caesarea for Felix at “night”, with 200 soldiers?


7.   Why did the commander now write a letter to Felix and require his accusers to testify before Felix, and why did the commander not accompany Shaul himself?

8.   Why did the soldiers escorting Shaul stop at Adipatris? And what technical difficulty did Shaul’s native province of Cilicia pose to Felix and did he seem to want to try this case in the first place?



Friday, July 22, 2016

All Eyes should be on Turkey right now - Events of Biblical Proportions...

Who is Erdogan? Click Here for article

Especially here in Cleveland, Ohio, we Americans are distracted more about our own politics and the events surrounding our own lives, rather than on what the Bible says about the world we are living in and the prophetic events that are unfolding even in these recent days in the Middle East.

Tonight, at sundown, not only marks the Holy Sabbath, but also a very sad day in Israel's history.  The 17th of Tammuz.  The Seventeenth of Tammuz (Hebrew: שבעה עשר בתמוז‎, Shiv'ah Asar b'Tammuz) is a Jewish fast day commemorating the breach of the walls of Jerusalem before the destruction of the Second Temple, at the hands of the Romans.  Essentially, it is the anniversary of the current Exile of the people of Israel.  Observant Jews will begin fasting after the Sabbath on Sunday.  If that is not enough...

The liturgical reading from the Torah on this week's liturgical calendar is "Balak" Numbers 22:2-25:9, which is the story of Balak the King of Moab who hires a sorcerer by the name of Balaam to curse the Jewish people.  When that fails, instead they resort to seducing the men to commit sexual immorality with the Moabite women and to worship their gods in pagan idolatry.  Why is this significant at this time?

This sorcerer Balaam is also mentioned in Revelation 2, where Yeshua the Messiah rebukes a city in what is now called "Turkey".  It is the city of Pergamum.  Yeshua is rebuking the congregation or K'hal, a Messianic congregation that was there originally in the area now known as Turkey. And Yeshua had this to say to them, and to us...

Rev. 2

Pergamum: Beware the Trap of Balaam

12 To the angel of Messiah’s community in Pergamum write: “Thus says the One who has the sharp two-edged sword 13 I know where you live—where satan’s throne is. Yet you continue to hold firm to My name, and you did not deny your faith in Me even in the days of Antipas, My faithful witness, who was killed among you, where satan resides.

14 “But I have a few things against you. You have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who was teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before Bnei-Yisrael, to eat food sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent then! If not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. To the one who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna,  and I will give him a white stone—and written on the stone a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
What do we know about this city Pergamum (i.e. Turkey)?  Why does the Messiah call it the "Throne of Satan"?

There are 3 factors of significance of this city in Turkey:

  1. It was a city of great Roman influence – political power
  2. A city of great Pagen influence – spiritual darkness
  3. A city of great persecution of believers in Yeshua
According to Biblical scholar John Gill, writing in the 19th century: "this was a city of Mysia, situated by the river Caicus, formerly the seat of the kings of Attalia, and was bequeathed by Attalus, their last king, to the Romans: it is famous for being the native place of Galen the physician, and of Apollodorus the rhetorician, master to Augustus Caesar, and for the invention of parchment in it, from whence it seems to have its name: it is now called by the Turks Bergamo, and is almost sixty four miles from Smyrna..”

In it was a congregation (i.e. “k’hillah”) of Messiah, but when it begun, and how long it lasted, is not certain. 

Antipas, who is mentioned, Revelation 2:13; is thought, by some, to have been the pastor of it. Though, according to the Apostolical Constitutions F19L. 7. C. 46. , Caius was the first bishop of it; and it appears, that in the “second” century there were several in this place that suffered martyrdom for Christ, as Carpus, Papulus, and a woman whose name was Agathonice F20Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 4. C. 15. . Attalus, the martyr, who suffered in the same century, was also a native of this placeF21Ib. l. 5. C. 1. . In the “fifth” century there was a bishop of Pergamos in the council at Ephesus; and in the “sixth” century, there was one in the “fifth” synod at Constantinople; and in the “seventh” century, Theodorus, bishop of the church here, was in the sixth synod held at the same place; and in the “eighth” century one Pastilas was bishop of Pergamos; and in the same age, Basil, bishop of this place, was in the Nicene synod F23Hist. Eccl. Magdeburgh. Cent. 5. C. 2. P. 3. Cent. 6. C. 2. P. 4. Cent. 7. C. 2. P. 3. C. 10. P. 254. Cent. 8. C. 2. P. 4. ; and the Christian name now is not wholly, though almost extinct; for when our countryman, Dr. Smith F24 Notitia, p. 120. , was there, there was a little church called St. Theodore’s, whither a priest was frequently sent from Smyrna, to perform divine service, there being but a very few Christian families in it. This church represents the church from the time of Constantine, and onward, rising up to, and enjoying great power, riches, and honour Pergamos signifies high and lofty; things that were sublime and lofty, were, by the Greeks, called τα περγαμα, and also all high and lofty towers F25 Servius in Virgil. Aeneid. L. 1. P. 403, & l. 2. P. 633. Ed Basil. 1586. . It was built under a very high and steep mountain, upon the top of which a tower was erected, by the lords of the lesser Asia, which still continues F26Smith. Notitia, p. 112. . The church it represents had its principal seat at Rome, where Satan dwelt, Revelation 2:13; which signifies exalted likewise; and it introduces the man of sin, antichrist, the popes of Rome, who exalted themselves above all that is called God, princes, kings, and emperors; whom they excommunicated, dethroned, trod upon their necks, kicked off their crowns, and obliged them to hold their stirrups while they mounted their horses, with other haughty action, too many to name," 

Gill here explains the Roman influence of this city (remember the significance of this day... the 17th of Tammuz), but he also explains above the great persecution of the believers there.

Another significant point of Pergamum ("Turkey") is it's spiritual condition (i.e. "The Throne of Satan").

Christian Author Rick Renner writes in his book, “A Light in the Darkness”:

“So why does the book of Revelation call it the dwelling place of Satan? The answer lies in the ruins of the city's temples.

“On one side, it was a very beautiful city,” says Renner. “But on the flip side, it was one of the darkest, eeriest cities in the whole Roman Empire.”

The people of Pergamum were known as the "Temple-keepers of Asia." The city had three temples dedicated to the worship of the Roman emperor, another for the goddess Athena, and the Great Altar of Zeus, the king of the Greek gods. Many scholars believe this altar is the “Throne of Satan” mentioned in the book of Revelation.
Antipas was sentenced to death on the Altar of Zeus. Most of that altar still survives today, and surrounding it are some of the world's most famous marble friezes. They depict the Gigantomachy, or the battle between the Greek gods and the giants. At the top of the altar was a hollow bronze bull, designed for human sacrifice.

Renner describes the method of execution suffered by Antipas.          

“They would take the victim, place him inside the bull, and they would tie him in such a way that his head would go into the head of the bull. Then they would light a huge fire under the bull, and as the fire heated the bronze, the person inside of the bull would slowly begin to roast to death. As the victim would begin to moan and to cry out in pain, his cries would echo through the pipes in the head of the bull so it seemed to make the bull come alive.”

Even in the midst of the flames, the elderly bishop Antipas died praying for his church. The year was AD 92. 

A few years later, the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation, mentioning the death of Antipas in Pergamum. Today, all that's left there is the foundation; the Altar of Zeus is more than a thousand miles away.

In the 19th century, German engineers dismantled the altar and took it to Berlin. The so-called "Throne of Satan" went on display in the city's Pergamon Museum in 1930, just in time to inspire one of the most brutal dictators the world has ever seen. (Robertson, 2016)

The reassembled "Altar of Pergamum" which has been in a Berlin Museaum since the 1930's currently being restored and will be unveiled again in 2020!

Hitler held his rallies in Nuremberg at the Zeppelin field in front of the tribune modeled after Satan’s Altar of Pergamos, above...

In 2008, after President Obama had visited Berlin and the Altar of Pergamum, which led to his inspiration of the Democratic National Convention that year in Denver Co.

From Pergamum to Berlin, the spirit of the "Throne of Satan" has traveled entered the heart of Adolf Hitler and produced a persecution unlike anything the ancient believers in Pergamum could have ever imagined. And while this altar is currently under restoration for another unveiling due in 2020; it appears that the "spirit of the Throne of Satan" is and has traveled back to it land of origin, "Pergamum" (i.e. Turkey).

Today, a new dictator has arisen, and he has been no friend of Israel.  In fact he has taken what was once a predominately "Secular Turkey" as is advocating for another "Islamic State" (see the article above "Who is Erdogan?"

And just tonight at sundown as we remember the anniversary of the Roman Exile beginning, this same evil Throne of Satan, this Satanic spirit is busy back again in Turkey, establishing a new Totalitarian Dictatorship, right under our noses!  Just this week, Erdagon survived a failed coup and he has forced his Parliament to grant him absolute power and control over the country!  He is currently rounding up anyone who has dissented against his authority - police, soldiers, even university professors are being rounded up, arrested and God-knows what else!

Ladies & Gentlemen, friends, tomorrow on Shabbat, I will be addressing these current events from the pulpit and not only how they affect our world, how and why they are significant to us as believers who live much like the way the early Messianic Jews in Pergamum lived 2000 years ago.

We face a spiritual enemy, a threat to Israel and a threat to our own lives.  On this Shabbat, 17th of Tammuz, I pray that you will stay alert in the Messiah spiritually.  Let us not fall asleep!

1 Peter 5:8

Stay alert! Watch out! Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, searching for someone to devour. 

Luke 12:37 

37 “Happy are those slaves whose master finds them alert when he comes. Amen, I tell you, he will prepare himself and have them recline at table, and will come and serve them.

Keep your eyes open.  Stay awake, Stay Alert, Stay sober, Stay in the Word of God.

See you tomorrow, Shabbat Shalom,

R' Eric

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Holocaust Survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Elie Wiesel, Has Died

We lost Elie...

Holocaust Survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Elie Wiesel, Has Died: Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor whose sad eyed face became a piercing, reminder of humanity’s ongoing agony, has died at age 87.