For God So Loved…

Passover, to Unleavened Bread, to First Fruits. All a beautiful leading up to the Risen King.

What does this mean?

This is how we are no longer bound by sin and shame but we are set free in Him and can worship Him in Spirit and Truth. Death is now defeated and we are alive in Him forever.

What did Yeshua do for us? 

He made a way. When you feel bound by your sin, when you feel defeated, when you feel hopeless, remember what He did for you. He died FOR YOU. He died and then He rose so that you could live a life with Him by your side everyday. He came as a man and left as a King. You know all that sin you are embarrassed about? Ashamed of? He can forgive it, and He can give you eternal life. Lay your sin out before Him and confess it because He is just to forgive it.

I am Unworthy

You feel unworthy of His sacrifice? So do I. I daily say, “Lord, why me? I am so unworthy. Why did You die for me?” He is so kind, so good, so loving. He says that we are beautiful in His sight, we are white as snow when we confess our sins to Him. He moves mountains for us, He heals us, He fills us with His presence. He does so much for us that we do not deserve. He doesn’t want Heaven without us, so that is why He tore the veil. He desires to be close to us, to have a relationship with us. Without Him dying on the cross we would not have that closeness with Him. You ARE worthy, you are worth it to Him. Don’t ever forget it. In your time of distress, remember Him, remember His love…

He Loves Us

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,” 1 Peter 3:18

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” 1 John 3:16

“Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed…”Isaiah 53:1-12

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Today we celebrate the Risen King. We worship Him, give Him thanks and honor for what He did on the cross. He is coming again.

For God so loved the world… He made a way where there was no way. He freely gave His life, now I owe my life to Him. Make that commitment today. Give Him your all. He deserves all the glory and honor. Amen! He is risen and He is coming back again!

Behold the Lamb of God

An article by Joel Allen

1 Corinthians 5:7b “…Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.” For who, you might ask and what is exactly the Passover lamb? The Apostle Paul the author of this epistle uses the comparison of an ancient Hebrew feast symbol to teach a Biblical principle that God’s people are saved and set free from the slavery of sin through the sacrifice of a chosen spotless lamb. Paul clearly emphasizes that this is not an ordinary lamb like so many Hebrews had slain but this lamb was in fact, Yeshua Messiah. Ever since the days of Abraham and the offering of Isaac, his only begotten son, there was an expectation of a perfect ram/lamb sacrifice to come in the form of another son…the son of God:

Genesis 22:2, 6-7 KJV 2 “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. … 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid [it] upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here [am] I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where [is] the lamb for a burnt offering?

It is important to note here that Solomon, the son of David and King of Israel, built the Temple of God on the same mountain region as where Abraham and Isaac were when God provided the sacrifice ( 1 Chronicles 3:1). And just as Abraham lifted the knife of sacrifice toward his bound son, the voice of the Lord tells him three times to stop and that God Himself will provide a sacrifice, as a ram is caught in the thicket by Abraham. Ever since these days there has been an expectation on Israel for God’s lamb sacrifice to come and take away the sins of the world. It is the love of God that would give of His most precious offering, His only son, Jesus. In fact, the Hebrew word for love is ahav אהב and the very first time this word is mentioned in the entire Bible is found in this passage dealing with Abraham giving up his son whom he “loved.” There is no greater love than this according to the Biblical definition of love. Indeed it was John the Baptist that proclaimed on the banks of the Jordan river that Jesus, the embodiment of His love, was that lamb chosen by God to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

So where did the term “Passover” come from? The mention of Passover is in the story of the people of Israel bound in slavery in the land of Egypt. The sons of Jacob (Israel) came down into Egypt and settled in the land of Goshen. Scripture tells us that a new Pharaoh rose up that did not know Joseph or the God of Joseph (Exod. 1:8). This Pharaoh saw the blessing of God upon Israel because they prospered at all they did. Their cattle and their crops were greater and even their sons and daughters multiplied greatly (Exod. 1:12). Pharaoh became fearful that the children of Israel would try to take over Egypt so he devised a plan of putting them under slavery to keep them from multiplying any further. For 400 years the children of Israel served Mitzrayim (Egypt) and it became known to the Pharaoh that a deliverer was coming to set the people of Israel free who would be born among the Hebrews. Moshe (Moses) was that deliverer  and through 10 judgments or plagues the hand of God through the prophet Moses slew the “Goliath” nation of Egypt and cut off the head or posterity of the King of the known world. It was at the 10th judgment that the children of Israel would be set free. It was the judgment of death to the first born and the only judgment that offered instruction for those that would obey to escape this death penalty. Through the blood of a spotless yearling lamb placed on the door posts and lintel anyone (Hebrew or non-Hebrew) would be saved from death.  The blood was a sign so that the death angel would “pass over” the homes that had this sign and only enter the homes that did not. The Passover meal is a remembrance of this day and includes elements that are to remind and teach future generations about the deliverance of the children of Israel with a “mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” It is during this strange feast in the evening instructed by God Himself that we see a remarkable picture of salvation and deliverance.

Exodus 12:21-23 ESV 21 “Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.”

If you have read this story before or maybe have seen the popular movie, “The Ten Commandments,” with Charleton Heston you sort of get the picture that the Lord entered Egypt and killed the first born of anyone that didn’t have the blood applied to their doorposts. However, at closer investigation you will see that it is the “Destroyer” that kills the first born of Egypt and the Lord is the one that sees the blood and places Himself over the doorway and keeps the Destroyer from entering into those homes. Exodus 12:23b… “the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.” It is worth noting here that in the Ancient Near East during this time there were customs that sacrifices would be killed at the threshold of the door of houses and that in some cases this would protect the home from invaders and bad spirits1. Later in history the Jewish people added this theme to a commandment of the Torah to write the commandments upon the doorposts of their homes. This was called a mezuzah and modern day mezuzahs on the doorways of Jewish homes bear the Hebrew letter shin, representing “shaddai” or the protector of the door.

Scholars believe that after the prophet of Malachi finished his written scroll there was approximately 400 years of “silence” when no prophet spoke to Israel and the land was void of a voice from heaven. During this 400 years Israel was taken over by the Babylonians, the Medio-Persians, Greece, Egypt, Syria, and finally Rome. Instead of slavery to one nation they were slaughtered and pillaged by many nations and during the reign of King Herod (not from the lineage of David) there arose a rumor of a King of the Jews and deliverer to be born at this time. Like in the days of Moses, the ruler of the Jews decreed for the slaughtering of innocent male children in a futile attempt to debunk the Sovereign’s plan (Matthew 2:16). In fact the similarities don’t stop there. Joseph and Mary were told by the Angel of the Lord to flee to Egypt and to return when it was safe. Mary’s name would have been the Hebrew name Miriam and in the Old Testament Miriam was the sister of Moses that hid him in Egypt. Was this coincidence or God’s prophetic plan? It was in a town called Bethlehem, that the deliverer was born. This was the town that Rachael, Jacob’s wife died (Gen. 35:19), and the place that she would be “weeping for her children” as they were slaughtered by the evil King Herod (Matthew 2:18).  In this desperate time a deliverer named Yeshua not Moses was born and the one promised to be a prophet like unto Moses (Deut. 18:15). Born to be rejected, beaten and torn and just like Isaac who carried the wood of sacrifice upon his back so He would be destined to carry the heavy wood of the cross upon his back as he climbed the same hill as God’s spotless lamb caught in the thickets of a crown of thorns upon his head.  It would be the blood of Yeshua that would set the captives free not from the grips of Egyptian slavery but the pangs of slavery of sin that leads to death. Just as the blood of the lamb caused the Lord to protect the first born from the Destroyer, so the blood of the Lamb of God brings freedom and protection from the enemy of our souls. This is why the writer of Hebrews in chapter 11 states that “Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.” He adds a very important clue in this statement that it was by “faith” that the Passover was kept. There are many believers that think today that the observance of Passover is an empty Jewish tradition but in all reality this feast of the Lord is a symbol of the passing over from death into life and entering into a covenant protection and blessing in the Lord. When we drink of the cup and eat of the unleavened bread, called matzah, we discern the body and blood of Jesus. As believers in Yeshua Messiah as the Passover lamb, this feast is not about leaving Egypt but it is about celebrating the feast of freedom from sin and death.

1Corinthians 11:23-25 KJV “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Yeshua the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.”

Bibliography:

1Turnbull, H. Clay (1896) The Threshold Covenant

Pesach | פסח | “Passover “

(v) 21 Then Moshe called for all the leaders of Isra’el and said, “Select and take lambs for your families, and slaughter the Pesach lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop leaves and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and smear it on the two sides and top of the door-frame. Then, none of you is to go out the door of his house until morning. 23 For Adonai will pass through to kill the Egyptians; but when he sees the blood on the top and on the two sides, Adonai will pass over the door and will not allow the Slaughterer to enter your houses and kill you. 24 You are to observe this as a law, you and your descendants forever.

25 “When you come to the land which Adonai will give you, as he has promised, you are to observe this ceremony. 26 When your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this ceremony?’ 27 say, ‘It is the sacrifice of Adonai’s Pesach [Passover], because [Adonai] passed over the houses of the people of Isra’el in Egypt, when he killed the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” The people of Isra’el bowed their heads and worshipped. 28 Then the people of Isra’el went and did as Adonai had ordered Moshe and Aharon — that is what they did.

(vi) 29 At midnight Adonai killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. 30 Pharaoh got up in the night, he, all his servants and all the Egyptians; and there was horrendous wailing in Egypt; for there wasn’t a single house without someone dead in it. 31 He summoned Moshe and Aharon by night and said, “Up and leave my people, both you and the people of Isra’el; and go, serve Adonai as you said. 32 Take both your flocks and your herds, as you said; and get out of here! But bless me, too.” 33 The Egyptians pressed to send the people out of the land quickly, because they said, “Otherwise we’ll all be dead!”

34 The people took their dough before it had become leavened and wrapped their kneading bowls in their clothes on their shoulders. 35 The people of Isra’el had done what Moshe had said — they had asked the Egyptians to give them silver and gold jewelry and clothing; 36 and Adonai had made the Egyptians so favorably disposed toward the people that they had let them have whatever they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

37 The people of Isra’el traveled from Ra‘amses to Sukkot, some six hundred thousand men on foot, not counting children. 38 A mixed crowd also went up with them, as well as livestock in large numbers, both flocks and herds. 39 They baked matzah loaves from the dough they had brought out of Egypt, since it was unleavened; because they had been driven out of Egypt without time to prepare supplies for themselves.

40 The time the people of Isra’el lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of 430 years to the day, all the divisions of Adonai left the land of Egypt. 42 This was a night when Adonai kept vigil to bring them out of the land of Egypt, and this same night continues to be a night when Adonai keeps vigil for all the people of Isra’el through all their generations.

43 Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, “This is the regulation for the Pesach lamb: no foreigner is to eat it. 44 But if anyone has a slave he bought for money, when you have circumcised him, he may eat it. 45 Neither a traveler nor a hired servant may eat it. 46 It is to be eaten in one house. You are not to take any of the meat outside the house, and you are not to break any of its bones. 47 The whole community of Isra’el is to keep it. 48 If a foreigner staying with you wants to observe Adonai’s Pesach, all his males must be circumcised. Then he may take part and observe it; he will be like a citizen of the land. But no uncircumcised person is to eat it. 49 The same teaching is to apply equally to the citizen and to the foreigner living among you.”

50 All the people of Isra’el did just as Adonai had ordered Moshe and Aharon. 51 On that very day, Adonai brought the people of Isra’el out of the land of Egypt by their divisions.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.
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Parsha Tzav

 Parsha Tzav (צַו) “Command”

 Torah portion: Vayikra/Leviticus 6:1-8:36
Haphtarah (concluding portion): Malachi 3:4-24
Brit Chadasha (New Testament): Hebrews 9:11-28

Did you know: Tzav is the second parsha [portion] of sefer [the book of] Vayikra [Leviticus]?

Science: Drinking blood from coming from another person or animal is dangerous because many diseases are blood borne and there is an increased chance of having their diseases transferred to you. This week we will learn about blood-borne diseases.

Bible and Pop Culture: This week we learn that anyone who drinks blood will be cut off from Israel (Leviticus 7:26-27). It is interesting to note that vampirism is becoming more and more popular in our society because of movies like The Twilight Saga, Underworld, etc. Those movies glorify vampirism. In past generations, vampires were depicted as villains in stories such as Dracula. This week, the older kids will be writing a paper that answers this question: What do you think the repercussions are on the younger generations our society of changing the way they view vampirism? What does the Bible say about drinking blood? What does the movie industry say about it?

Culinary Fun: This week we learn that the sacrifices were offered with unleavened bread. This week we will be making unleavened bread in preparation for Pesach. We might also make some honey butter and some garlic butter to accompany our unleavened creations.

Health: This week we will be studying the nutritional benefits of eating the traditional foods found on the seder plate. Who knew? 😀

Haphtarah Connections: This week’s haphtarah (concluding portion) is found in Malachi chapter 3. Malachi 3:13-18 reads

Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’” Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.”

Isn’t it awesome that a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name? This week we will midrash (discuss) what this verse means and why its important to never lose sight of the importance of walking in holiness and reverence before our Father.

Crafty Fun: Malachi 3:8 talks about the importance of bringing a contribution before the LORD with our tithes and offerings. This week, let’s make a recycled tzedakah box. If you already have a tzedakah box, consider making a breakfast gift basket or a pampering bath salts gift in a jar for someone you know who is in need of food, pampering, and/or cheering up.

Brit Chadasha (New Testament) Connection: Our reading for the NT this week is in Hebrews 9. Verses 11-14 read,

But when Messiah appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

Let us never forget that the most important thing in our walk with the Father is the blood of His son, YESHUA that purifies us of our sin and washes us clean. As we prepare for the Passover in the coming weeks, may we focus on his amazing, loving sacrifice and thank him with true thankfulness and continue to be in awe of His mercy and grace. I like this object lesson from the folks at Kids’ Sunday School online that shows our kids what NOT being washed of sin can look like on the outside.

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Unleavened Bread- Chag Hamatzot

Chag Hamatzot/Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Facts:
What do the Scriptures say about it?
Exd 12:15 KJV –
Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
Exd 23:15 KJV –
Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)
Exd 34:18 KJV –
The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.
Lev 23:6 KJV –
And on the fifteenth day of the same month [is] the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.

When is it?
Exd 12:18 KJV – In the first [month], on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.
Exd 12:19 KJV – Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses:
What should you do?
1. The first day and the seventh day of the feast is a Sabbath of rest to the Lord. (Exod. 12:16)
2. There is a holy convocation on the first and seventh day sabbaths of the feast
3. No ordinary or servile work should be done on the first and seventh day of the feast
4. Remove all leaven or yeast from your home. (Exod. 12:19)
5. Eat unleavened bread for seven days. (Exod. 12:18)
Messianic Fulfillment-
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is significant of several things:
1. We are to strive to get all of the sin or leaven out of our lives and homes.
2. Yeshua was the sinless lamb, the bread of the earth without leaven.
3. We are to eat or internalize the bread of heaven which is the word of God.
Leaven in scripture is an analogy of sin or pride. Just as leaven or yeast causes the bread to be puffed up or raised, sin and pride in our own lives can cause us to be puffed up. Listen to what Shaul (Paul) teaches about it:
Col 2:18 KJV – Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind…”
It is very clear in scripture that none of us are completely sinless before the Father. So do we just throw up our hands and say “well none of us are perfect” and go ahead and sin anyways? God forbid! What we learn in the Feast of Unleavened Bread is that even though sin and/or pride is present in all of us we still strive to get it out of our homes. As we search through our pantries and cupboards for every last crumb of leavening we should reflect on our own lives in searching out every dark corner of our souls to cast out prideful and sinful things. Shaul admonished the New Covenant brethren of his day to re-evaluate why they were eating the Feast of Unleavened bread without understanding what it meant and applying its significance to the believer’s life:
1Cr 5:7-8 KJV – Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Messiah our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth.
Isn’t that interesting that if Shaul supposedly taught that the Torah and feasts were no longer necessary in the New Covenant believer’s life then why would he say, “let us keep the feast.” The problem wasn’t in the feast itself but in how it was being observed in this particular assembly. Even today we have those that go through the motions lacking any spiritual zeal for what the feasts are about and what they represent. Let us keep the feast with sincerity of heart and in truth.
Yeshua came as our Passover Lamb who was the Son of God and without sin. The unleavened bread is a representation of His body that was without sin or leaven. Yeshua also removed the leaven from the temple by chasing out the moneychangers:
Mat 21:12 KJV – And Yeshua went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
Not only that, but Yeshua removed the last piece of leavened bread from the disciples when he told Judas to leave.
Jhn 13:26 KJV – Yeshua answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped [it]. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave [it] to Judas Iscariot, [the son] of Simon.
Jhn 13:27 KJV – And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Yeshua unto him, that thou doest, do quickly.
Jhn 13:30 KJV – He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
The third thing we are to understand about the Feast of Unleavened Bread is that the Word of God is likened unto bread.
Mat 4:4 KJV – But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
The Word of God does not have leaven or sin but religious men add leaven to it with false interpretations and bad doctrine meant to glorify themselves and not God. That is why it is so important to honor the Torah commandment:
Deu 12:32 KJV – What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
During the feast we are not only to refrain from eating leaven but we are also commanded to eat unleavened bread. It is not enough for us to merely cease from sin but to also to what is right in the sight of the Lord. We have to not only be hearers of the Word but doers also:
Rom 2:13 KJV – (For not the hearers of the law [are] just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Jam 1:25 KJV – But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.