Preparation for unity

Just an other few days and we have Shabbat HaGadol – literally “the Great Shabbat” before Pesach.

The readings for this week bring us “wisdom” with proverbs but we also take time to remember what God did with His people. They had to know like Pharaoh had to know who is the Mightiest, the Most Almighty of all. The children of Israel, having been enslaved wanted their freedom and got to hear form Moshe (Moses) what they had to do. They believed that he had received the words from the Most High Elohim. They trusted Moses and even more they trusted God.

A person from Jews for Jesus handing out flyer...
A person from Jews for Jesus handing out flyers in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Am Yisrael, God’s people, received the commandment to take the lamb or a goat on the first day of the month of Nissan. They did not have to actually take the young male born of the sheep or goats until the tenth of the month, and they did not have to slaughter it until the fourteenth. Their willingness to carry out Hashem’s will was sufficient. Aharon (Aaron) and his sons did all the things that Hashem commanded through Moshe.

The Jews stood ready to leave Egypt like God demanded them. Though we must admit that their willingness to carry out Hashem’s will was was short-lived indeed. As soon as Am Yisrael crossed the Red Sea their obedience got thrown out the window. They complained every time they were hungry or thirsty and they threatened to return to Egypt. When they received the manna they disregard Moshe’s explicit commandment not to look for the manna on Shabbat. And to top it off they ended up worshipping a Golden Calf, a sin for which the Jews are still being punished to this day.

But what about the goshem, the gentiles? The non-Jews also got prepared a lamb for them. How are they willing to prepare themselves for it?

For months Jesus also had tried repeatedly to prepare his apostles, telling them what was in store. But, they simply hadn’t understood – they couldn’t accept that Jesus would be killed. Now that it was imminent, Jesus worried about how they would cope. When he’d told them, they’d hardly listened – they’d been arguing about which of them would get the best government jobs when Jesus became king. This arguing particularly concerned Jesus. The infighting had to stop; they must come to trust one another and work together, because Jesus wasn’t going to be around to keep the peace. So he prayed for God to help them put their differences behind them.

“Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” ( John 17:11)

Jesus for months had spoken about his heavenly Father, God His People, and how all people from all over the world could have a restored relationship with their Creator. Many times Jesus prayed for his disciples to experience the same unity of thought, purpose and action that he and his Father shared. He didn’t pray for a mystical process to make the disciples lose their separate identities and coalesce into a single entity. Instead he prayed for them to forget their personal ambitions and learn to work together. Jesus presented the relationship between himself and God as the model for the unity he wanted for his disciples: …

“that they may be one, even as we are one” (John17:21).

Going up to the most important day of the year this Saturday, in the service we shall talk about our attitude we should take in these days and how we should listen to God His Wisdom, take it at heart and share it with others. We also shall talk about the unity we do have to get in our Christian community and how we should help each other to stay always on the right path and not to wonder about like the Israelites did in the desert. Though today we also may be in a desert. A desert of ungodliness, a bare land where it looks like no seed can bring forth a bush.

In this desolate country we should feel the necessity to look for the light of God, making a strong Body of Christ in which we all “are one, you and I”. And like the slaves in Ancient Egypt had hopes we too should have the hope and keep watering the ground , remembering the apostle Paul:

“He who plants and he who waters are one” (1 Corinthians 3:8).

Lots of Christians when spoken about that unity think those persons like Jesus and God had to be one person, but we do know that when we become one with Christ we shall not be Christ nor God, like Paul and Apollos kept separate identities while working closely together.

God is unique because there is only One True God. Jesus is unique because he is God’s only begotten son. Since both God and Jesus are unique, their relationship is also unique. Long before Jesus was born, God had plans for him. In fact, from the beginning of creation, God had Jesus in mind. Even his death and resurrection were planned from the beginning:

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8) (NKJ).

The lamb represents Jesus. He is described as slain from the beginning of time. This was centuries before Jesus was born, let alone killed. But God’s plans were so clear in his mind that it was as certain as if they had already happened.
Some scholars miss this point and struggle to understand passages like this. Some Bible translators have even changed them in their Bible translations and altered their meaning. However, the Greek text of Revelation is clear, and there is no justification for translators changing the Bible to fit their own ideas.

Long before Jesus was born, God had his life, death, resurrection and kingdom planned. God told people about it. As the New Testament tells us, God organised many Old Testament events to teach about his coming son. Genesis 22 tells of God testing Abraham’s faith by ordering him to sacrifice his only son. When Abraham obeyed, God stopped him before he struck the fatal blow. The New Testament tells us this had a meaning – Abraham’s son was as good as dead when he was released – a symbol of resurrection. The whole episode was a prophecy of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Other Old Testament prophecies were more direct. God told King David that one of David’s descendants would be called the Son of God and would reign for ever on David’s throne. The Jews called him ‘The Anointed One’ – in their language, ‘Messiah’. So the Old Testament was bursting with prophecies about Jesus. But they were only words in books. When Jesus was born, those prophecies started coming true. John commented that

“the word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us” (John 1:14).

The words written long ago came to life in Jesus.

We don’t know exactly when Jesus came to understand whom he was and where his destiny lay. We know that by the age of 12, he had remarkable understanding of scripture and knew that he was Son of God. When Mary and Joseph lost him at Jerusalem, Mary chided him,

“Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress” (Luke 2:48).

Actually, she was wrong in referring to Joseph as Jesus’ father, a point Jesus made in his reply:

“Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:48, 49).

Jesus understood that he was Messiah and from scripture he came to understand that he faced crucifixion. That was foretold,

“they have pierced my hands and feet” (Psalm 22:16).

It must have been a terrible realisation. It’s no surprise to read of Jesus spending long periods talking to his Father in prayer, seeking further understanding and comfort. We can imagine him exploring all the possibilities – was there no other way to save mankind from sin and death? No, there was no other way. Only Jesus could bring salvation, and only by facing crucifixion.
God had designed this plan of salvation. Now Jesus considered it and realised that God was right. He agreed totally with his father on this and every point they considered. So it’s no surprise that he said,

“I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).

Jesus said this to some Jews who asked whether he was Messiah. However, they misunderstood his answer and accused him of claiming equality with God. In fact, they gathered stones to kill him for blasphemy. Jesus calmed the situation by explaining that he never claimed equality with God. He was simply doing work for God, his Father.

Something similar is recorded a few pages earlier in John 5: This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. On that occasion, we have a more detailed record of how Jesus refuted the accusation. In replying, he emphasised the superiority of the father by saying repeatedly that he could do nothing on his own – it was only by his father’s power and authority that he performed mighty works;

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19).

He also said that though God had life of his own, Jesus had it only because God granted it to him, that Jesus judged only because God gave him authority.

When we read these scriptures in their context, they are not ambiguous. It’s a sad irony that Jesus took trouble to refute any suggestion that he was equal with God, but people even today choose to ignore what he said and to proclaim that he is ‘co-equal and co-eternal’ with God. This is not what the Bible teaches, is not what apostles taught and is the exact opposite of what Jesus taught.

Jesus is no ordinary man. He is the greatest man ever. By what he achieved, he has risen to be in heaven alongside God himself. We can describe him as ‘divine’. But we must remember that while he and his father are one in thought and purpose, Jesus emphatically insisted that he and his Father were not equal:

“… the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).

Before Jesus the gentiles were slaves of the world, but those who after the birth of the Immanuel chose to follow Jeshua became liberated by the Blood of the Lamb.

The redemption took the Jews out of Egypt but it did not completely take Egypt out of the Jews. As a result of a century of bondage, Am Yisrael possessed a slave mentality that they could not fully shake. Each and every one of their sins in the desert can easily be shown to be a result of a slave mentality. This is the Judaic problem of centuries which is not solved yet.

The Jews did not see their Messiah, except a few, the Messianic Jews, but the others are still in a ‘desert’ or partly blind. They should know that the same as for Christians the exodus from Egypt opened up the possibility of redemption. As slaves under Pharaoh, Am Yisrael could never give fully themselves over to Hashem. god allowed them to make sure that the firstborns would survive and that they could leave Egypt, land of slavery to go to the promised land.

As in the garden of Eden God gave man freedom, again man got freedom and could enjoy the good relationship with Hashem. Like the Elohim gave Adam and Eve the possibility to name all things and to manage their own life Am Yisrael was given the challenge of navigating its own direction, building up a good life. If they chose wisely, they could complete the redemption.

Each year the Jews recite those last words in Ha Lachma Anya to remind themselves that they’re not there yet. In 1948 some start may be given to the establishment of that Holy Land, but we still have to go a long way. While many Jews have returned to the Land of Israel after two thousand years, the majority of World Jewry has chosen not to live there. And as much as the Israelis celebrate their independence, the State of Israel is highly dependent upon the support of the Nations of the World, particularly the United States. The past few months should be sufficient proof that they are not yet in a position to do without their political and financial support, and for this they bear great consequences.

And yet, they are lauded for doing “precisely as they were commanded”, once, thirty-five hundred years ago, even though they have faltered copiously ever since.

The message is clear. Judaism is not about perfect people doing perfect things. Judaism is about imperfect people doing imperfect things, while continually striving for perfection. Our success is not guaranteed. We will falter and we will slide, but make no mistake, we will get back up. Yes, in many ways today we are still slaves. But if we try to do precisely as we are commanded, if we look neither to the left nor to the right, no matter how enticing the scenery, then next year, or sometime in the future, we will be free. {Ari Sacher}

The Jews all over the world should come in unity with the other followers of the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. Christians should welcome them all and work with them at the establishment of that Holy Land. We should not work against God His Plan and should allow the things to happen like God wants it to happen.

English: Shabbat Candles Deutsch: Schabbatkerzen
Shabbat Candles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We invite you to partake at our service on Saturday March 28 at 4 pm at the Quiz’inn, service station Heverlee-Leuven.

– Article made with respect and thankfulness to Rocket Scientist Ari Sacher.

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Preceding articles:

Fools despise wisdom and instruction

We may not be ignorant to get wisdom

So it will be on the day when …

 

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Find also:

  1. 14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception
  2. 14 Nisan a day to remember #3 Before the Passover-feast
  3. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  4. Vayikra after its opening word וַיִּקְרָא, which means and He called
  5. Lacking legitimacy in the eyes of his people
  6. Netanyahu Election Tactics Spark Apology and Rebuke

+++

  • No Fear: Our Present is Where Our Past Is (lazerbrody.typepad.com)
    Can you imagine demonstrating right in the faces of the world’s cruelest national guard and riot police, with complete emuna and no fear? That’s what our ancestors did in Egypt, and that’s why we celebrate Shabbat HaGadol, the Shabbat before Passover which is this coming Shabbat. Read all about in The Demonstration, my feature article in this week’s stimulating issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.
  • A Daily Pesach Preview (5tjt.com)
    The main reason that we observe mitzvos is because it is the Retzon Hashem. Nonetheless, it is important to understand and appreciate some of the reasons that are brought down that explain the mitzvos. The Rambam writes that this is, in fact, an obligation.
  • Are Christians Idol Worshipers? (mymorningmeditations.com)
    More to the point, by Christians worshiping Jesus as divine, does that automatically make Christians idol worshipers according to Judaism?

    The Jewish criterion regarding idolatry – as it relates to non-Jews – is also subject to debate. The accepted ruling is that if a non-Jew believes in a single all-powerful God, even if he accepts other forces together with God (such as the Christian belief in the Trinity), it is not idolatry. (Note that this distinction only pertains to non-Jews.) However, any other type of belief in a deity independent of God is idolatry (Code of Jewish Law – Rema O.C. 156:1).

  • Netenyahu: “America is a golden calf and we will suck it dry, chop it up, and sell it off…” (careandwashingofthebrain.blogspot.com)
    Gordon Duff is now calling on President Putin and Russian Intelligence to send him the following information that he is aware exists.
  • Kurdish Honor, Poll of Polls and Spiritual Cafe (jewishpress.com)
    Knesset Insider Jeremy Saltan joins Yishai to explain the latest Israeli election polls, the swing towards the Zionist Union party and why he says that PM Benjamin Netanyahu will probably end up being the next PM.
  • Chuck Kolb 03/20/2015 abbreviated (conpats.blogspot.com)
    In traditional Judaism, it is believed that just as the month of Nissan
    ushered in our redemption from bondage in Egypt, so too will the
    Messiah return this month to bring our eternal redemption.

    “In Nisan they were redeemed, and in Nisan they are destined to be redeemed in the future.”
    (Rosh ha-Shanah 11a; Mechilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yochay 12:42; Tanchuma, Bo 9)

    How true that is.  Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) suffered for us in the month of Nissan.
    So, too, may we reckon all time beginning at the point of our redemption from sin and death.
    Nissan is truly a new beginning for Jew and Gentile.

  • Today in appropriation (groupthink.jezebel.com)
    I have no problems with Christians *at* seders—there will be Christian friends at mine—I have a problem with their taking our holidays and twisting them around and making them theirs. When Christianity spread and became a major religion ostensibly based on Judaism, they not only purged our holidays from their religion, they literally killed Jews for celebrating. The blood libel (that we bake matzoh with the blood of Christian children), along with the belief that Jews killed Jesus, was an excuse for pograms at Pesach and Easter. Jews in Spain and Portugual were killed during the Inquisition for any observance of Jewish tradition, even after they had “converted” to Christianity to avoid being murdered. My great grandparents came to this country fleeing pograms. My great aunt and uncle are Holocaust survivors. More of my relatives died in the Holocaust. But now Christians, at least in some places, like us and want to celebrate our holiday. Well, Christians do not get our holidays now that they’ve remembered Jesus was a Jew and decided we’re maybe okay. Also, they aren’t actually celebrating our holidays. They’re picking one holiday that’s about redemption and Jesus-ifying it to make it about Easter and the liberation of Christians from sin and death, not just about the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. If Jesus himself fell out of Heaven and landed at a Christian seder, he would not even recognize it.
  • The worst book ever written about Jesus? (patheos.com)
    Gonzo archaeologist Simcha Jacobovici has published a new book:   The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene.  The reviewer in The Los Angeles Times, no less (not some conservative Christian), calls it “perhaps the worst book ever written about Jesus.”  From Anthony Le Donne
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