Yeshua Showing up in the Gaza Strip!

Friends, after days of tension in and around the Gaza Strip, are you ready for good news?  If so, I’ve got just the thing: King Jesus is ruling in the hearts of a growing number of Muslim men and women in the Gaza Strip!  One for Israel is at work ministering to the people of Gaza and they are seeing Gazans respond to the voice of the Living God!  Check this out:

So, what is our response?  It should be one of rejoicing, as our gracious Lord has snatched souls from the grip of false theology and brought them into eternal life with Himself! 


For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

~Galatians 3:27-29

Time to Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles!

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Shalom friends!

Tomorrow night at sundown marks the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles, the seventh (and final) annual feast of Israel.  What an incredible celebration it is!  (Be sure to read to the end for a special invitation to celebrate!)

Yesterday, we reviewed the fall feasts, beginning with the Feast of Trumpets and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).  Now we come to the culmination of the feasts!  Jesus will fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles, just as He has already fulfilled the spring feasts (Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost).  In fact, fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles will also fulfill the Davidic Covenant, and we know that time period as the Millennial Kingdom!

It is this time period that the prophet Zechariah writes about in the passage above.  Notice that ALL nations are invited to the Feast of Tabernacles to worship the King of Kings!  This is the only Jewish feast that isn’t totally, 100% Jewish.  Why?

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
~Galatians 3:28

Related imageOne in Christ Jesus!  No Jews, no Greeks (no Gentiles)…just one in Him!  No need for “Jewish feasts” any longer because Jewish feasts are simply shadows of what is to come.  Jesus is the substance!  (See Colossians 2:17.  The context is a bit different here, but the principle is the same: God uses certain things to teach about Himself.  Those things, however, are not the “real deal,” they simply point to the “real deal” – Jesus!)

Thus, we are all invited to the Feast of Tabernacles, where the greatest worship the world has ever seen will take place!  It comes after the Feast of Trumpets (to be fulfilled when a trumpet sounds and Jesus’ foot touches down on the Mount of Olives) and Yom Kippur (to be fulfilled when the eyes of our precious Jewish friends are opened, they repent and finally see their Messiah).

For those who follow this blog, we just finished a study called Why Israel Matters.  In it, one of the foundational principles is that all nations will be blessed through Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12:3), and we know that blessing to be salvation.  Put the puzzle pieces together and you come to this:

  • God set apart a special group of people (Abraham and his descendants) for a very unique purpose: to be vehicles of world redemption.
  • They became that, but missed the day of His visitation (Luke 19:41-44).  ie – they did not recognize Him as the Messiah.
  • That opened the door for Gentiles to be grafted into the olive tree.  (The olive tree represents spiritual Israel.  Thus, Gentiles were offered a means of salvation through the Jewish Messiah!)
  • God implemented the 7 major feasts as a calendar of His plan for His people (the Jews), which includes drawing them back to Himself…in salvation.  Four of the seven are already fulfilled, the final 3 will happen in very quick succession!
  • Once the trumpet sounds and Jesus physically appears, the Jews will repent and turn to Him, THEN Jesus says He will “tabernacle” among His chosen ones…both Jews and Gentiles, and there will no longer be a distinction!

Wow!  Incredible, isn’t it!?!  I can hardly wait for that day!

But…we can practice while still on earth!  It is a faint glimpse, but a glimpse nonetheless, when the Feast of Tabernacles kicks off in Israel tomorrow evening.

Did you know the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem hosts a huge Feast of Tabernacles celebration each year, and that people come from all over the world to worship the King of Kings right there in the Holy City!?!  Yes, its a preview!

Most of us cannot physically go to Jerusalem to participate, but thanks to modern technology, the ICEJ sends the Feast of Tabernacles celebration right to our computer screens!  They will live stream (and record) events during the Feast of Tabernacles, and they invite us all to join!  You will find a calendar of events here, so join in by clicking the “Media/Live Stream” button on the top right!

Take advantage!  Join the celebration, and rejoice with believers around the world in worship of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  Enjoy!

Preparation of a Kingdom

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In His covenant with Abraham, God promised land and descendants…a kingdom.  He gave Abraham and His descendants the land of Canaan (Israel today), establishing “headquarters” for the earthly kingdom.  But a new kingdom is being developed!  This kingdom is a worldwide family made up of those who receive the Messiah.  (Jews and Gentiles)  In this kingdom, there is no distinction.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
~Galatians 3:26-29

This is the Millennial Kingdom…the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant!  It will be established when Jesus returns physically to this earth.  But remember, He must be invited back!  Here is what Jesus said in Matthew 23:37-39:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

But interestingly, did you know Jesus heard that invitation previously?  Mark 11:9-10 records His triumphant entry into Jerusalem a few days prior, when the people welcomed Him with the very words, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

That was the first preparation for the Kingdom.  A practice run, perhaps.  But what it tells us is the Jewish people have been looking for the King and the Kingdom since the time of Jesus!  This is a long pursuit because they saw but didn’t believe.  Next time, they will see and believe!

As for the timing of the King’s return, we must remember there are two “finish lines.”  Spiritual Israel looks to the rapture, when those who have put their trust in Jesus are snatched away to meet Him in the air.  For unbelieving (natural) Israel, the earthly “finish line” is the glorious appearing of Jesus when He physically sets foot on the Mount of Olives and sets up His Millennial Kingdom.  The Second Coming is actually 1 event in 2 phases (rapture, glorious appearing).

Oh, what glorious days those will be (with a 7 year tribulation period in between).  To see the Lord and to be with Him for all eternity is the only thing worth living for!  I hope you are living to see that day!

Tomorrow’s focus will be on the immanency of Christ’s return, including a special surprise I want to share with you.  Come back tomorrow for the excitement!

 

One Olive Tree, One Flock, One Family

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Let’s pick it up where we left off yesterday.  We’ve established, based on Galatians 3:7, 29, that those who are in Christ are descendants of Abraham.  God invites us (Gentiles) into a special family, and we will dive deeper into that today.

Let’s think of Israel in two ways: natural Israel and spiritual Israel.  Natural Israel is the nation itself, to whom God gave a destiny.  Natural Israel is the custodian of God’s Word, as it was written by Jews, primarily for the Jews (though we certainly benefit from it!), and it was preserved in Israel!

Spiritual Israel, on the other hand, is the true family of God.  It is those circumcised in the heart by the Holy Spirit and “born again.”  Spiritual Israel is made up of both Jews and Gentiles who trust in Jesus the Messiah.

Paul describes spiritual Israel in Romans 11:17-23.  It’s a familiar passage if you’ve hung out at our virtual study table, but I encourage you to read it in the New Living Translation.  Here, Paul uses the spiritual symbol of Israel, the olive tree, to describe spiritual Israel!  Notice:

  • Only believers in Jesus (Jew or Gentile) are part of the olive tree.
  • Jews and Gentiles alike must believe in the Messiah in order to be grafted into the olive tree.
  • Unbelieving Israel is cut from the tree…though they may be grafted back in.
  • Christians are those grafted into the Jewish heritage spiritually (but not naturally).
  • Those grafted in have no room for arrogance or boastfulness, as they do not support the root, but the root supports them!

There you have it!  God made a way for Gentiles to be “grafted into” His family tree!  We gain the spiritual benefits as adopted children.  But let’s be clear: this DOES NOT mean Gentiles become Jews ethnically, nor does it mean all God’s promises now belong to us Gentiles.  That is part of the teaching of Replacement Theology and it is not true.  God’s promises to the the Jewish people still belong to them, and the church has in NO WAY replaced Israel.

Before we call it a day, let’s see how the apostle John describes the relationship.  Read John 10:14-16.  Here, John refers to “other sheep, which are not of this fold.”  That reference is to unbelieving Israel.  But His intent is to bring them into the fold, so we become “one flock with one shepherd.”

Again, God’s view is a worldwide view.  He desires that none perish, but all come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Those who do are “one flock with one Shepherd”…Jesus Himself!

The Old Testament prophets looked forward in history and saw the shadow of the cross.  By forward-looking faith, they were saved.  In New Testament times, substance replaced shadow.  Jesus Christ lived, died, was buried and rose again to free us from sin.  The faith we have is backward-looking, to the cross, and we are saved.

We are one family in Christ Jesus, and Abraham is our father.  This is spiritual Israel…this is the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16).

Amazing how God creates His family, isn’t it!  By His grace alone, we Gentiles have been granted access to the family tree of His chosen.

But what about natural Israel?  God still has a plan for them, and we’ll touch on that tomorrow!  See you then.