Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yom Teruah

Today is Yom Yeruah, the biblical name for what is also known as Rosh Hashana (the "Jewish new year"). It is the beginning of the fall feasts of the LORD, known as the High Holy Days. It is a demonstration of the heavenly courts being opened, called into session (on Yom Teruah-the "Feast of Trumpets"), and then God judges the peoples (on Yom Kippur-the Day of Atonement). The season finishes with Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), a week-long celebration picturing God "tabernacling" with His people (which He will do when He returns, and which He did when He came the first time - "And the Word was made flesh, and *dwelt* (Lit. "tented" or "tabernacled") among us..." - John 1:14). One of the synonyms for Yom Teruah is "The Day of the Awakening Blast." One of the themes of this Holy day is "WAKE UP"! Rico Cortez recently did a teaching on GLC (God's Learning Channel) about Yom Teruah, and he listed 12 "themes" for this Holy-day:

1) Teshuva - The Season of Repentence
2) Rosh Hashana - Head of the Year
3) Yom Teruah - Day of the Awakening Blast
4) Yom Ha Din - Day of Judgement
5) Yom HaZikkaron - Day of Remembrance
6) HaMelech - Coronation Day (or Day of the King)
7) Days of Awe
8) Opening of the Gates of Heaven
9) Kiddushin Nesu'in - Wedding Ceremony
10) The Last Trump
11) Resurrection of/from the Dead
12) Yom HaKeseh - The Hidden Day

One of my first posts was titled "Awake", and was meant to stir up fellow believers (and unbelievers) to awaken to the times we are in. This is the perfect day to remind everyone that we need to "awake" - the scriptures are replete with the warning to wake up - prepare oneself - make ready, for the Day of the LORD is coming - a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness. Paul (or the writer of the book of Hebrews) tells us in Hebrews 10:30,31 the following: "For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

And again in 2 Corinthians 5:10,11 - "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men...."

What I mean when I say that we need to awaken to the times we are in is not only that we need to realize, or acknowledge that we are getting close to the return of the LORD (which we certainly need to do), but even more so, we need to awaken to the realization that judgment is coming - therefore we must repent. Repentance is not a one-time thing: it is a continuing need in the believer's life. The purpose of the "awakening blast" is to get people to awaken out of their slumber, and repent - teshuva (turn) towards the LORD. The LORD is returning as a "thief in the night." This was not/is not a new term that Jesus made up. There is a story behind it that you can read about here. However, as I pointed out in my post "Awake", Jesus' followers were not to be taken by surprise, such as a thief overcoming us in the night. We are supposed to be watching and waiting. We are expected to know the time and season of His coming ("But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." 1 Thess. 5:1-4). Prophetically, the season of the fall feasts is the season of the return of the Messiah, and the great and terrible day of the LORD. The Messiah MUST fulfill the fall feasts. He has already fulfilled the spring feasts (Passover/Unleavened Bread/First Fruits), as well as the summer feast (Shavuot, or Pentacost, which is the Feast of Weeks). He WILL fulfill the fall feasts, and today is the rehearsal for the time when the Messiah returns. One of these days - one of these Tom Teruah's rather - will be the real deal!

Are you preparing yourself for the return of the bridegroom? Today is a "wedding rehearsal." If you are a part of the Bride (those that are born-again know what this means), then you should be sharing in the wedding rehearsals. Are you preparing yourself to be one of the 5 "wise" virgins, or are you one of the 5 "foolish" virgins (Matt. 25:1-13)?

May you have a blessed Yom Teruah.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Homosexual Christianity?!?

As some of you may know, a very popular and well known *Christian* singer has recently come "out of the closet." Ray Boltz, after living in a heterosexual marriage for some (30?) years, and fathering 4 children, apparently decided that he was done with trying to conceal his homosexuality. So he "came out" publicly in a recent interview in a very prominent "gay" newspaper, the Washington Blade. According to reports, he came out to his family in 2004, but publicly only recently in the Blade interview. What I find so alarming about this is not so much Ray's story per se (though it is saddening to hear that such a popular and well known gospel/contemporary Christian singer is homosexual), but rather the fact that this is becoming more commonplace today in the world. There is a "tsunami" (to use the metaphor Ray used in the interview) of Christian denominations and Pastors supporting supposed "Christian" homosexuality, for lack of a better term for it. Somehow, God's clear teaching concerning homosexuality, not to mention the witness of nature itself, doesn't matter. In fact, many are so brazen (including Mr. Boltz himself) as to boldly proclaim that God "made" them that way; that it is God's "blessing" to them (as I had a Pastor of a United Chruch of Christ in Phoenix Az. once tell me in a personal email discussion we had concerning the issue), as if God would do such a thing despite His clear written word concerning the matter!

Fellow born-again believers in Yeshua (Jesus), please know that we are in the "perilous times" that Paul wrote to Timothy about in the bible. If "Every word of God proves true" (Prov. 30:5-ESV), then it must needs be that the "perilous times", the great "apostacy", the workings of "lawlessness" that will precede, and accompany, the "man of lawlessness" will come - and folks, I believe very srtongly that they are here and getting worse. Take up the sword of the Spirit (which is the WORD of God) and prepare your minds and hearts for the times ahead.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Petra Anyone?

This is one of my favorite songs of all time. I grew up listening to it, and it has special significance to me now because it reminds me of an uncle whom I loved very much. It makes me think of one of the last family vacations that our families enjoyed together.


Sunday, September 7, 2008


The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
-Proverbs 1:7

If you are a Christian - or even if you are not, but have even a cursory knowledge of the bible, you know that the bible speaks of "the fear of the LORD" many, many times. I have sat through various bible studies through the years wherein this issue was discussed with the intention of trying to define what it means to fear the LORD. The most common and usual proposals are as follows:

1) to "fear" the LORD is to have "reverence" for/towards Him.
2) to "fear" the LORD is to actually "fear" Him ( as in, be afraid/terrified).

The fact of the matter is, both are right. The Hebrew word most commonly used in the bible for "fear" of the LORD is "yir'âh" (pronounced 'yir-aw'). It means: fear, reverence, dreadful.

The Greek word for "fear" is "phobeō" (pronounced fob-eh'-o). It means: frighten, alarmed; by analogy to be in awe of, revere, reverence.

So we can see that both are in view in light of the definitions of the two primary words used in scripture that are translated as "fear."

If this is so, it really does not tell us very much - that is, if all we have are the definitions of the Hebrew and Greek words. I mean, I have "fear" and "reverence" for lightening, but on a day to day basis, that fear and reverence does not really affect my thoughts and actions. In fact, even during a thunder storm, my actions vary little more than staying indoors and trying not to stand under the biggest tree in the neighborhood, or not standing on my roof holding up a 10 foot metal pole!

The bible speaks often about the "fear of the LORD", or similar such sentiments. But what does it mean to fear God, since we are commanded to do so? Fortunately for us, God gives us example after context after example of what it means to fear Him. The verse that I opened with states that if we want to grow in knowledge, we must begin with the fear of the LORD. But how does one "begin" with the fear of the LORD? Deut. 6:2,3 gives us a clue: "That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey." YHWH called Israel to "hear" Him many times; and it was understood that to "hear" meant to listen to instruction with the intention of obeying. And by obeying, one would "fear the LORD thy God." So, one of the biblical "definitions", if you will, of what it means to "fear" the LORD is to "hear" God and obey Him. What is interesting to me is that the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the LORD. In other words, to hear God, and then to obey Him is to fear Him - and this is the beginning of knowledge. Wow! God expects us to listen to what He says, obey Him, and then we will grow in understanding. This is totally opposite of what the world teaches. This is completely opposite of our natural inclinations. We want to understand first, before we "obey." God's ways are certainly NOT our ways. We obey Him because He is God - He is King and Judge over all:

"The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land."
- Psalm 10:16

"That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" - Gen. 18:25

When there is an earthly King, the subjects of the Kingdom fear and revere that King (if he actually has true authority, such as in the Kingdoms of time past). They do as he commands, for they know that if they don't, they will suffer the consequences. Under a "King" such as Caesar Nero, for example, the consequences for disobedience or disloyalty were dire. The whole Universe has a King - He is King over ALL of the earth's inhabitants. He is Mighty, All Powerful, Glorious, Majestic, Holy ( "Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?" - Ex. 15:11). This King demands obedience. There are dire consequences for those that refuse to obey the King. This King demands that we have faith in Him first (faith being a trust in Him that acknowledges that He is who He says He is; that He will do what He says He will do; that we are who He says we are). In fact, this is one of His greatest demands.

This King has given us a book that tells us what He expects from us. His name is YHWH. His Son's name is Yeshua. His "book" is known as "the bible", the "TaNaKh", the scriptures, the "Holy" book, the "good" book, etc.

This King has had, and has still, emissaries and ambassadors to call to action His people, and to assimilate new subjects. One such ambassador, in time past, was named Peter, who said: "Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king" (1 Pet. 2:17). This ambassador had read (or heard it read to him rather) the Kings book all of His life. He even spent several years in direct contact with the King. He knew what it meant to "fear" Him. He knew that it meant to "hate evil" (Proverbs 8:13). He knew that it meant to "walk in all [the LORD's] ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD [his] God with all [his] heart and with all [his] soul (Deut. 10:12). He knew that to fear the King he needed to "... keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and... serve him, and cleave unto him" (Deut. 13:4). In fact, once the King even told him personally that "If ye love me, [you will] keep my commandments" (John 14:15), and " He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (John 14:21). Peter knew what the King meant, for the King had already told His subjects such things in His book. It had made it much more personal for Him that day, though, when the King said it to him face to face.

The King calls to His people today through the voice of His Spirit. He says to them, morning by morning (Isaiah 50:4) that if we are His indeed, we will continue in His word (John 8:31) . We will walk in His ways (Zech. 3:7). In fact, we will walk even as He walked (1 John 2:6). We will touch not the unclean thing (2 Cor. 6:17). We will hear His voice (John 10:16) and do whatsoever He commands (John 15:14). Or, to simplify if you like, we will "fear" Him.

Are you one of His - a subject of the King? Do you love Him? Do you fear Him? To love Him is to fear Him. Then do what He says. The King has issued His decree.