Saturday, May 25, 2013

Some Christians are Balaam while others are the Donkey

In Revelations Chapter 2:12-17 there is a letter to the one of the early churches that is critical of them for holding to the teaching of Balaam.

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:  The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:  13 ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15 So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’  NASB

Balaam was a prophet from Midian that had a relationship with the one true God.  However he did not understand God’s plans for his chosen people, the Israelites, and was willing to hire himself out to curse God’s people (Numbers Chapter 22).  Balaam was siding with Israel’s enemies against God and His people even though Balaam himself knew God and had a relationship with Him. 

I see many Christians today that fit this description and belong to the church of Pergamum.  They side with the Palestinians and push for the “Two State Solution” to divide the land promised to the Israelites in an effort to alleviate Palestinian suffering and bring peace to the region.  They fail to recognize that the Palestinian suffering is a result of choices the Palestinians have made and they also fail to see what God’s plan is for Israel just as Balaam did.  Some of the extreme in the Church of Pergamum teach replacement theology saying that the church has replaced the Jews and are now God’s chosen people.  They teach that the Jews are not from Judah but are Edomite converts.  These extremists say they love God and follow him all the while filled with hatred for the Jews.  These “Christians” indeed have the spirit of Balaam in them.

In the Biblical narrative in Numbers Chapter 22, Balaam is on his way to curse the Israelites and the Angel of the Lord is waiting along the way to kill him.  Here is where we are introduced to the donkey that Balaam was riding that saw what Balaam didn’t and then talked to Balaam.

Numbers 22:22-35:  But God was angry because he was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as an adversary against him.  Now he was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand, the donkey turned off from the way and went into the field; but Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back into the way. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pressed herself to the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall, so he struck her again. 26 The angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn to the right hand or the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his stick. 28 And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” 29 Then Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.” 30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?” And he said, “No.”


31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed all the way to the ground. 32 The angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was [i]contrary to me. 33 But the donkey saw me and turned aside from me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and let her live.” 34 Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the way against me. Now then, if it is displeasing to you, I will turn back.” 35 But the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you shall speak only the word which I [j]tell you.” So Balaam went along with the leaders of Balak.  NASB

Those of us not from the Church of Pergamum are represented by the Donkey.  Even though we see through a glass darkly and don’t understand all the plans within plans that God has, we do see small glimpses of His plans in the prophecies in scripture and recognize that God is working with the Jews in the State of Israel for His purposes.  We are not fooled by the world and the lies being told about the House of Judah and we don’t join in cursing them.  Instead we love and support our brother Judah. 

Are you of the Church of Pergamum and Balaam or are you the Donkey that recognizes the Angel of the Lord and some of God’s plans in scripture? Those that curse Israel will be cursed and those that bless Israel will be blessed.  Choose wisely the path you take!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Joseph’s Bones

Exodus 13: 17-22  Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.”   Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt.   Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you.”  Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness.  The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.  He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.  NASB

There is a prophetic pattern in the verses above.  We see Israelites, both dead (represented by Joseph’s bones) and those alive.  It is Moses that leads both out of Egypt, the land of spiritual confusion, to the land promised to Abraham and his descendants where they would receive clear teaching from God.  The Israelites who were alive were able to hear Moses words and receive instruction although often they rebelled against Moses and against the source of his authority, God.   Joseph’s bones had no life left since his spirit had been gone for a very long time.  The spiritually dead Israelites are represented by the bones of Joseph.

Joseph was the predominant tribe that came to represent the Northern Kingdom of Israel where the 10 northern tribes were located.  The northern kingdom was exiled 2800 years ago, lost their identity and became dead, dry bones represented by Joseph’s bones in the Exodus 13 passage.  In contrast, the Southern Kingdom never lost their identity and remained physically and spiritually alive.   Judah was the predominant tribe that represented the Southern kingdom of Israel and so they were called Judah or the Jews.

We are currently in the early stages of the second exodus.  Modern America is the Egypt of our time.  All 13 tribes are again represented here in America.  The Jews know their identity and a portion have already returned to the State of Israel to prepare the land.  The rest of the Jews in America seem to be waiting for the messiah to bring them home.  The lost 10 tribes that are here are just now waking up to who we are and God is giving us a burning desire to return to the Promised Land.  All 13 tribes need Moses (or the messiah) and his leadership to revive our spirits and lead us home to where we belong.

Today’s Moses is represented by the rabbis who sit in the seat of Moses as state by the Christian messiah.  In Matthew 23:1-3 it says:  Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses;  therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” (NASB)  It is clear from this passage that the key for the lost 10 tribes to awaken from our spiritual slumber and receive instructions for going home, back to Torah and the Promised Land, is through today’s rabbis that sit in Moses’ seat.  It is rabbinic responsibility until the Messiah son of David comes to complete the task of returning the tribes and restoring the Kingdom of God.

The promises of Ezekiel 37 will be fulfilled in full when Joseph’s bones awaken and come together with the bones of the whole house of Israel (all 13 tribes) as prophesized by the prophet of old.

Ezekiel 37:  Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones (NASB)

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” 4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. 6 I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

The Vision Explained

11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 14 I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.’”

Reunion of Judah and Israel

15 The word of the Lord came again to me saying, 16 “And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.’ 17 Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. 18 When the sons of your people speak to you saying, ‘Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?’ 19 say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”’ 20 The sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. 21 Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God.

The Davidic Kingdom

24 “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. 25 They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”’”

May it happen speedily in our days!  Amen!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A legendary story of Abraham’ early years

In ancient times there was a man who was different from most.  He had an intuitive sense that allowed him to see beyond the physical realm into the spiritual one.  He could see evidence of a Creator God in all that he observed around himself.  He believed in this Creator and was able to connect with Him on a spiritual level.  He learned right from wrong by following his spiritual guide.  As he walked his allotted path through life, his belief in the god with no name and faith increased with each passing year.  His growing faith was put to the test when one day his father asked him to watch their craft store while he ran some errands.  His father made idols out of metal and wood.  Some were simple while others were more elaborate and the prices offered tiered to their complexity.

As the man pondered his newly acquired belief in one creator of all, he sat looking at the various gods of wood and stone.  A soft voice deep inside his mind, similar to a dove cooing softly, whispered to him, “What of these gods of wood and stone?  What should be done?”

Immediately the answer was clear!  “They are not gods, but mere wood and stone objects made by hand”, he thought in his mind.  So he picked up the largest of the gods and smashed them all!

Again the voice of the dove whispered to his mind, “Well done my son!”

When his father returned he surveyed all the smashed idols and inquired of his son, “Who did this?  Who destroyed all my handiwork?”

His son replied, “It was the large one there!  He did it.  He smashed all the others and damaged himself in the process!”

His father’s anger intensified as he yelled “They are just made of wood and stone!  They cannot do anything!”

The young man, with a wise smile upon his face replied, “Exactly!”

Several days later the young man loaded his belongings and left home.  He headed west following his pioneering instincts and that soft voice of the dove.  He was eager to follow the Creator of all, the God with no name, into the unknown.  He mostly wandered all his years and had great adventures as recorded in the Bible.  His biggest adventures, however, were to come through his descendants.  Some of them had the same spiritual gift that he did and some did not.  Those that did, found the God with no name and walked with him like their father had and did things even greater than their ancestor, for they had become tribes of clay, to be molded and used for the Creator’s purposes and for His glory.  All of this man’s offspring were special in the Creator’s eyes because they were clay that had vast potential to be developed and used.  Those that discovered their spiritual eyes and found their Creator were lights for those around.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Our Father and Our King

I read the following response related to the Arab relationship with God from Rabbi Dov bar-Leib on his blog End of Days.

“There is much to say on this topic regarding Yishma'el's relationship with G-d. It should be noted that the name HaShem (YKWK) never appears in association with Yishma'el. Only the Name Elokim appears with Yishma'el in the Torah. This is NOT the case of Hagar, his mother, though, who entreated HaShem the first time Sarah afflicted her when Hagar had first become pregnant. Yet, with Yishma'el himself one only finds the Name Elokim (G-d's attribute of strict justice without tempering Mercy.) So the Name of G-d which Yishma'el knows is Allah. They know NOT the Name of HaShem. Allah is from the root Elokim. It also shows up in their understanding of G-d's relationship to the individual. They understand being Allah's servant (Abdullah for instance as a common name amongst Muslims). Yet, they cannot conceive G-d to be a Father. There are no names like Benaiyahu (Son of HaShem) in Islamic names. So Muslims only understand their obedience to Allah while Christians are honed in to G-d as their Father, service out of love. I once had a friend who was a Muslim. He was very critical about the concept of G-d being a Father. He thought the only appropriate way to understand G-d was as a King. Yet, the Jewish way of course is to understand G-d as being Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father Our King), not the Christian way of exclusively Our Father and not the Muslim way of exclusively Our King.”  May 5, 2013 Rabbi Dov bar Lieb

In a general sense Rabbi Dov’s view is very accurate.  Islam emphasizes harsh, strict judgment while Christians tend to emphasize God’s love and mercy seeing God as the merciful father.  The exceptions to this are those Christians that read and know the Old Testament and are able to see God as One. Deuteronomy 6:4 says “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!  He is both the merciful Father and our King.  He is both loving and just.  He not only provides the loving messiah but also the reigning King messiah.  When the messiah arrives some will be expecting the God’s merciful aspect and will be shocked to see severe judgment instead!

As it says of the messiah in Isaiah 61:1-2, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God.”