During times of challenge and difficulty, many ask - “God, where are You? - “Do you hear me when I pray” - or are my circumstances every going to change?” In our frailness, and lack of focus on the Lord, we often forget that Adonai is always watching, always protecting and will never forget the promises he made to you, reminding that He has always given us Hope and a Future in Him.
In this week’s Torah reading of Parashah Vayetze (Genesis 28:10-32:3) Ya’akov (Jacob) leaves his hometown of Beersheva and journeys to the land of Haran. In route he encounters a location which the Scriptures simply refers to as makom (or, “the place”). At this place our Patriarch and sleeps there and while dreaming, Adonai gives him a vision of a ladder connection both heaven and earth and angels of God descending and ascending upon it. Of this strange dream and “dream vision,”, the Spirit of God gives the prophetic interpretation where God appears to the man He has chosen and promises (as He did to Avraham (Abraham) and Yitzchak (Isaac), proclaiming that the land upon which he slept will be given to his descendants forever! Of this, the Torah powerfully reminds,
“I am Adonai, the God of Avraham your grandfather and the God of Yitz’chak. The land on which you are lying I will give to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the grains of dust on the earth. You will expand to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. By you and your descendants all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 28:13-15, CJB)
From this, we see two central points - First, that Adonai is a God who both makes promises and keeps them, and Secondly, nothing happens in our lives apart from holy visitation. This echoes Parashah Terumah (in Exodus 25:8), where Isra’el was to make Adonai a sanctuary, so that He might “live (or dwell) among them!”
Here we find both Promise and Revelation, Assurance and Impartation and that of Hope and Visitation - and miraculously this is all verified and confirmed in our weekly Parashah!
Thus, in Vayetze, we find that God had to first bring our Patriarch to the (makom) “place” for him (Ya’akov) to receive His Appearing and Prophetic Direction! It was from this “makom” (place) that God continued in reminding him that ALL He had promised from generations past would in fact be fulfilled!
This is a powerful word for us today as well, in that as we seek Adonai, He will not only lead us to the place we need to be, but he will always reveal to us all that He has promised and desires to fulfill in our lives. From this we are assured that we are never alone and that we have a God who is lovingly active in every aspect of our existence!
Be blessed and know you are chosen by Him and for Him!
~ Rabbi Mark Rantz
Erev Shabbat | November 27, 2020, 12th of Kislev - 5781
“And Yeshua went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am’?” - Mark 8:27
As the months have passed, 2020 has brought to all of us challenges as well as twists and turns which no one anticipated or even, ahead of time conceived were ever possible. Of these events, none stand out with greater impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on culture, our economy and our perceptions of reality. In some cases, this deadly virus has shaped how government, travel, the job market and even in some cases how some approach faith and that of human responsibility.
During the early months of the year, prognosticators warned that soon many if not all of us would know someone who have contracted the disease, and at the time we all doubted - with only to become true! Yet with truthful reporting, there has also been lies and deception mingled in by the Adversary to produce fear, anxiety and doubt in even the most mature believer. Even with the spread of the disease, other factors have arisen to exploit and play upon these fears and anxieties, causing many believers and non-believers alike to question God’s faithfulness and strip away from us a sense of security and in wondering what the future might hold? During the late-spring and summer months we saw forced shut downs and when we thought things could not get any worse, riots and unlawful acts of violence spread the nation and world - and in some cases, even went completely unchecked!
When reading our nations and the worlds headlines, we are nevertheless reminded that there is nothing new under the sun and we have all seen this before. In this, our age of COVID and unrest is easily reminiscent of the first-century, as Rome ruled unlawfully in Jerusalem and that of ancient-Israel. For many, this was a time of great fear, uncertainly and injustice and where life was cheap and very little value. Yet, in the perfect moment of God’s impeccable and divine timing he sent Yeshua our Messiah to live and die and rise again. He came to us declaring the Good News and asking us as he did his talmidim, “Who do you say that I am?”
In the “Tale of Two Cities” we are initially told that “It was the best of time, it was the worst of times,” and with COVID-19, it is as if Dickens is speaking again where I believe that Adonai has been speaking clearly and loudly about our calling as the Body of Messiah during this terrible pandemic in reminding that despite the anxieties, fears and uncertainties of the world - that this could in fact be our finest hour!
Friends, it is always in times of deepest destress and greatest worries that the Lord speaks with that still small voice and reveals both words of comfort, revelation and assures that we are never alone. This reminds us of Hebrews 1:3 in stating,
“The Son is the radiance of the Sh’khinah, the very expression of God’s essence, upholding all that exists by his powerful word …,”
In this, Yeshua our Messiah is the very presence of Almighty God - and his glory dwells in us as we go in his name declaring Restoration in Yeshua’s name to our hurting and broken city and unto the entire world!
Yes, this year has brought changes and uncertainties like no other in recent years - but the calling of God upon us is now ever greater than ever before and with every step we are called to go in God’s love, proclaiming freedom and deliverance and with our lives - in going we are asking the world, “Who do you say that Yeshua is?”
Rabbi Mark Rantz
November 21. 2020, 5th of Kislev - 5781
"Of Sarah, she was as beautiful at 100 as she was at 20 … and she was as pure at 20 as she was at 7 - these were the years of Sarah’s life.” ~ Midrash on Genesis 23:1
In Judaism, very few women are honored as that of Sarah, the wife of Abraham!
According to Jewish tradition, the words of Eshet Chayil ("Woman of Valor" in Proverbs 31) is believed to speak of Sarah while holding a direct link to our Parashah 5 in Genesis 23:1-25:18. In this section of Scripture we find a unique paradox where Sarah is honored in Judaism as our greatest and first matriarch. What is even more noteworthy is the name of our Parashah, “Chayei Sarah” (the Life of Sarah) but is acclaimed not as she is living or following a great accomplishment - but instead at the time of her death. Here at the offset, Judaism from its early beginnings is set apart from the practices of all other faiths in areas of mourning and remembrance.
Yet, in speaking of this Parashah reading, it is most outstanding when read from the Art Scroll translation in its keynote verse in Genesis 23:1in declaring,
“And the life of Sarah was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years, the years of the life of Sarah.”
Of modern translations, a proper memorial or yahrzeit of Sarah’s life seems to be lost in only stating that Sarah lived to be 127 years of age with no further description. Yet through rabbinical eyes, our true meaning comes forth where each and every one of us are challenged to be as Sarah in making the best and most of our lives before the Lord! It is for this reason our Midrash above notes that our matriarch was as beautiful at 100 years old as she was when she was but a girl of 20, and she was, in turn just as holy before Adonai at the age of 20 when she was but a small child at age 7 when she was untainted by a sinful world! Such an honoring holds within its sentiment a very real tension between mourning, loss and pain and a somber remembrance of the one we love and have lost. Abraham knew this as we mourned his wife in Genesis 23 and sought to bury her and as he “zachor” - Remembered her for who she was before Adonai!
Christian funerals and memorial services often miss this reality where instead of holding this God given tension, the time of “mourning” is turned to a party or a celebration of life - and in the proves a time to mourn (Ecclesiastes 3:4) is lost altogether. In this many forget that the point of Chayei Sarah is to remember and to be reminded, where we see in Sarah’s life an example of righteousness from Hashem in everything!
As you read this, today, the Lord would remind us all that the work of holiness is that of the work of the Spirit in the life of the believer. Although Sarah was a righteous women who committed everything to the ways of Adonai, it was nevertheless the power and presence of God in her life that enabled her to be an example for us to live in holiness, fear and faithful obedience to Torah. Yet, even in this we must daily choose as with (Chayei Sarah) “The Life of Sarah” to lead lives of faithfulness and obedience as she did. We like Sarah have all been set-apart by God’s grace and like her, we must never forget that we are called to be holy, for He is holy! (Leviticus 19:2)
Rabbi Mark Rantz
November 14, 2020, 27th of Cheshvan, 5781
With last week’s Parashah Vayera וַיֵּרָא, (Genesis 18:1-22:24), central to God’s message for us is the reminder of Adonai’s enduring faithfulness despite what we may deem as evidence, timing or actual fulfillment. In retrospect, the heart of doubt and spirit of unbelief always questions the faithfulness of God for His people as noted in the Psalm of Asaf reminds, "Why should the nations ask, 'where is their God'." (Psalm 79:10, CJB)
In the turbulence of our 2020 Presidential election, many believers have become disillusioned and questioned where God is in light of the Promises we know He has spoken and he direction His Spirit has told us that He is leading. This was also Sarah’s concern in vs. 13, where she “laughed’ in unbelief, doubt and fear when she heard she would deliver a son in her old age.
Yet in the end, the word of לֶךְ-לְךָ Lech Lecha (Gen. 12:1-3) was fulfilled and from Avraham and Sarah, God made a great nation and from that, the nation and people of Israel was born! In the dark night of the soul, if looking at the natural alone - one can easily become sidetracked, and lose sight of what the Lord has promised, but like Avraham and Sarah - today dear friends we must place our Hope and Trust in Yeshua alone, as we pray - despite the outcome of political elections, that God will reposition us for His Kingdom Purposes and His Heart in this season. In this, it vital that we keep our eyes (spiritually and physically) looking to Adonai and His high calling on us in Last-Days for the things of the Kingdom and the salvation of those who are perishing.
In the end dear friend, Adonai has not forgotten you and every promise He has uttered to you will be fulfilled! His faithfulness is not limited to the will of man or the schemes of the Adversary and his agents, Instead, the Purposes of God will be fulfilled in you and you seek Messiah in everything and choose to be used by Him in this definitive hour. the heart of the word, of all peoples and every nation is what hangs in the balance, will you walk in confidence, faith and hope and declare justice to the nations and salvation to the lost?
Hold fast to His perfect and unfailing and perfect promises!
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” - 2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV
From this passage, we find a command and instruction of Adonai that is both captivating and demanding of our hearts, thoughts and actions. As with all passages of Scripture, CONTEXT is essential in not only interpreting its message, but also finding our calling within it. As such, the words before 2 Chronicles7:14 provides the reader not only the “why,” but also the hope for those who seek above all things to obey Adonai. Thus, in verse 12-13 we read, “Adonai appeared to Shlomo Solomon) by night and said to him, I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself (the Temple] as a house of sacrifice. If I shut up the sky, so that there is no rain; or if I order locusts to devour the land; or if I send an epidemic of sickness among my people.” (CJB) Thus, from this chapter, we find “choice,” where on one hand, BLESSINGS come for those who walk in faithful obedience, yet for those who reject God’s path, they will find judgment in pestilence, poverty and hardship.
From this, Shlomo knew that God’s direction here was but an echo of Deuteronomy 28, where only a few verses later we read, “But if you turn away an abandon my regulations and mitzvot which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, worshipping them; then I will pull them up by the roots out of the land I have given them. This house, which I consecrated for my name, I will eject from my sight; and I will make it an example to avoid and an object of scorn among the peoples.” (2 Chron. 7:19-20, CJB). Therefore, from this bold passage, we find an elevated demarcation, where on one hand, if we follow righteousness and pure-worship we will be blessed, but if we reject the Word of Adonai, then we will only reap what we have sown!
Likewise, when looking at this passage of Second Chronicles, we come easily to the conclusion of the “IF’s” which embolden our text …
For if we as the people of God, who are called by his name (or, as the CJB renders, “who bear my name”), and if we would choose to humble ourselves and pray, and if we would not only seek his face, but also turn from our wicked ways - Then, and only then, would Adonai hear our prayers from heaven, He will forgive our sins and heal our land!
What is noteworthy of this passage, is that which many usually avoid - that the restoration we seek, the healing we pray for and the salvation we desire for our nation and for the world is interictally tied to how we heed God’s calling and IF we do what He commands. Equally, with this passage, there is the reality of what will happen IF we choose a more laissez faire or overtly rebellions approach, and do not heed the admonition of the Spirit’s call, where as a result, the Lord will not hear us from heaven as we pray, He will not forgive us of our sins and He will not heal our land!
In stating this, are we then suggesting that IF we use this “formula” that we ourselves are those who bring redemption to the world? NO! But, what it does mean is that when we choose to cooperate with the Holy Spirt, walk in humility and first repent of our sins and turn from our wicked ways (and with this, stand in the gap on behalf of the nation and own our collective sin, and ask God to forgive us), then we will see an outpouring of Yeshua’s grace in a greater measure than we have ever seen before and with it find Redemption for ourselves as we see the Goodness of God poured out as water on a dry and parched land!
Believed, Lets stand in this decisive hour of decision and stand in the gap for our nation and the world! Let us examine our hearts and turn from our wicked ways - and may we be the vessels God uses in this generation for healing and restoration!
~ Rabbi Mark Rantz
Rabbi argue and debate! Yes, we do! Historically we are known for this in taking deep theological issues and matters of deep spiritual importance and discuss them, debate them and ponder its significance as we seek to come to a consensus of that which is true, verses that which might be false or potentially misguided. The primary reason for this is not for the sake of argument, but instead for the purpose of not only coming to a clearer understanding of God's Word, but also to more readily provide an answer to all who might ask!
It is from this that we get the phrase, “three rabbis, five opinions” and from this important approach to biblical interpretation we are enabled to learn new things and to be stretched where we consider interpretations and applications which might slightly differ from that of our own. However, in our calling to known God's Word and given an answer to other, Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Father) 2:14 aptly reminds of the wisdom of our Sages in stating that,
"Rabbi El'azar did say, 'Be diligent to learn the Torah, and know what to answer a skeptic'."
This is echoed in the B'rit Chadashah to,
"Treat the Messiah as holy as Lord of your hearts; while remaining always ready to give a reasoned answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you ..." (1 Kefa/Peter 3:15, CJB)
Of our Parashah this week, the topic of Noach and the Flood is one of those cases where the rabbis have asked many questions, including, how righteous was Noach, really? In Genesis 6:9 we are told that Noach was a man who was righteous in his generation. From this, our Sages ask, “Was he really righteous?” “Was he just tzaddik at his time, but not as an example now, “ or “Did he even fail in the pursuit of righteousness in his final days where he turned to drunkenness and compromise. In Christian tradition, this debate sadly, completely overlooked, but in Judaism it is both essential and central. Some say he was only partially good, because he only saved his own life and that of his families, but not the rest of the world. Others point to the shame at that end of his life (mentioned above) and alert, … See! He was not righteous at all - a drunkard and a man who left himself uncovered!
But, somewhere in the “middle” we find the true answer I believe, and in that we find comfort and redemption for ourselves. We as believers in Yeshua can be so quick in assaulting and judging our neighbor from a distance, but if the truth is told - Noach was only a man, and despite his weaknesses, Adonai still used him to save the world by boarding the ark with his family. We too, are mere human beings who sin and fall as well, but God has called us to the practice of Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) in Messiah’s name. It is not who we are, instead, it is He who is in us which ultimately matters and every act of righteousness we fulfill only means something in light of that which God, in Messiah has done for us! Certainly, sin is always sin and that can’t be ignored, but in the end, God’s grace is always even greater and His love covers a multitude of sin!
May we walk in grace toward one another and go and repair the world!
- Rabbi Mark Rantz
October 24, 2020 | Sixth of Cheshvan, 5781
With the end of our reading the end of Deuteronomy and the the end of our High Holy Days celebrations and Simchat Torah, we annually roll the Sefer Torah back to Genesis to where the Torah begins -
בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ
Where most, if not exclusively all discuss this passage in the sole-context of Adonai as our Creator, there is still another nuance of our text which we cannot forget. When we speak of Bereshit (Genesis) and God’s acts of creation, we also find the inspiration for new beginning, restoration and an eternal hope for the future as seen from, רֵאשִׁית “…in the beginning.”
Although this interpretation may seem esoteric by some, we can nevertheless see that creation and new beginning equally reflects the work of Messiah in our lives as noted by Rav Sha’ul (Paul),
“… he is the beginning, the firstborn of from the dead, so that he might hold first place in everything. For it pleased God to have his full being live in his Son and through his Son to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace with him, through having his Son shed his blood by being executed on a stake.” (Colossians 1:18b-20, CJB)
In speaking of Yeshua as our Lord and Creator, Rav Sha’ul eloquently chooses the phrase that Yeshua “… is the beginning, the firstborn of from the dead, so that he might hold first place in everything,” or as the NIV notes that, “…in everything he might have supremacy,” It is here that we see Messiah not just as creator, but also Savior and Sovereign King. May Yeshua, king Messiah fill all our hearts with hope and new beginnings in Adonai!
Rabbi Mark Rantz
October 10th, 2020 | 29th of Tishrei, 5781
As believers in Yeshua, and for all of us as a nation we all now facing what seems to be unprecedented times. With political and social unrest to a virus out of control and with the very threat to our values and way of life - many are wondering where is there hope, where can truth be found and what are we called to do as followers of Yeshua?
At Beit Hallel Ocala, the very hallmark of our calling as a Messianic Community is to be a people of prayer, a people of action, and called out ones for the sake of the Kingdom of God and the Power of the Holy Spirit. For us as a Messianic Synagogue, significant to this call I believe is what we do EVERY Tuesday night as we gather either online (or since COVID-19, through Zoom) and we intercede for not only the members of our community and our region but also in Messiah also as watchmen on the wall, in declaring the wholeness and healing of Adonai over the streets of our nation, in upholding the Lord's Age-Old Foundations and to come against the stirrings of the present demonic forces of socialism, radical-Islam, anarchy and divination, and witchcraft and perversion. Likewise, friends, our calling is as agents of peace and salvation in the precious name of Yeshua. Central to this calling is furthermore seen in the proclamation of the Kingdom of God and where we are commanded by God to bless Israel and pray for the Messianic community throughout the world.
In Messianic ministry some might misinterpret this calling, thinking that this is far too political in nature (when it is not political at all) while forgetting that our calling as the Body of Messiah is to the world and to make a difference in the name of Yeshua in EVERY sphere of influence, every chamber of authority and to impact every sphere and to declare righteousness into and over the marketplace of ideas.
In a recent leadership Zoom call, one person made a comment, stating that since Yeshua's Kingdom is not of this world then we should not be concerned with such things, and in essence "the church" need only preach the Gospel and not seek to impact internally secular spheres of influence. Sadly, this line of thinking was originally foster nearly 500 years ago by the Anabaptists who insisted on non-action and neutrality and as a result, the mission of the faithful suffered in that they made no impact in fulfilling God's calling to influence the world or make an impactful difference for the sake of Yeshua. Although their theory was on Messiah and his calling for holiness (separation from the world), they neglected the missional calling of the church to make disciples in every sphere of human life, existence, or social-structure.
This is best validated by Dr. Rabbi Dan Juster who in defining the Kingdom of God states,
"Where is the Kingdom of God? It is wherever the rule of God is established. To the extent that his rule is established in any sphere of human life, we can say: 'There is the Kingdom,' However, the Kingdom can only be established by his power; we in our human weakness and sin do not have the ability to establish it. Therefore, Yeshua comes with the power to establish his rule, beginning with the rule in our hearts'."
By this definition, what Dan Juster is defining is that which many through ecclesiastical history have called, "Common Grace Structures." Although there is a general common grace give to all of mankind (where that person is saved yet or not), Adonai nevertheless looks favorably on all of his creation as the rain to falls on both righteous and the unrighteous. (Matt. 5:45b) Yet apart from this grace, it is just that - "common," where apart from it, saving grace is given through Messiah alone and is made available only through the expansion of God's Kingdom on earth. If the Good News can be preached in the careful confines of a church or synagogue, then it must also go forth and shouted in every other realm, by the power of the Spirit and the risen Messiah! This is God's Truth in troubling times where we are called to impact every vestige of the world - for God's Kingdom, from the congregation- to the White House and in all places of secular influence where the Gospel must be heard and where lives can be changed! For us as American's today, this is highly important as we are now facing possibly the most important Presidential election in our lifetime! With it, no more than ever we all feel the pressure of being thrust as intercessors - headlong into a spiritual battle against dominions and principalities and moreover, as we see the truth of God demonstratively opposed by so many, we are reminded more than ever that as we pray - we are truly fighting for the heart and soul of our nation!
Case in point to this is revealed in the ahistorical inference "separation of church and state," which by definition the Body of Messiah is willfully removed from a place of influence in the world to the shadows of non-relevance and isolated church walls. Sadly, when it comes to this debate, advocates of "separation" forget that this was a philosophy which was never taught by our founding fathers who instead established the founding of America on the Judeo-Christian ideal, on biblical principles and specifically from the idea of common grace structures - while at the same time refusing the imposition all people must adhere to Church of England and in that, the English throne. In the end, America was to be a people liberated for worship and observance unto God and never against. In the end, all of this shows that the hand of spiritual warfare and battles of good vs. evil was present at the beginning of this "one nation under God" and now, Satan our Adversary is trying to destroy it altogether!
So, with this revelation - what should we do - especially now?
1. First, we must remember that as Dan Juster noted above, " the Kingdom can only be established by [Yeshua's] power ...." and in knowing that he alone can do it, we too must be people of prayer, power, authority, and influence for Messiah toward every sphere of human life and for the purse of every life influence.
2. Secondly, as with disciples who asked Yeshua how to prayer - we must be people of prayer who pray not according to our own understanding (the flesh) nor the influences of the world, but instead for Truth, Righteousness, Justice, and the Holiness of Adonai. In this, we must never forget that the only prayers the Father's answers are those in alignment with his Word.
3. We must never forget that as intercessors, our calling is not only as the watchman on the wall who alerts of the attack of the enemy but also with our prayers we are called to act as agents of truth in as messengers of shalom in every sphere of life's influence and by doing so, at times to be the answer to our prayers as the Torah commands, "Justice, only justice you shall pursue." (Deut. 16:20; Jer. 9:23)
THIS IS TRUTH IN TROUBLED TIMES!
Rabbi Mark Rantz
Tuesday, October 11, 2020
“Then Moshe called for all the leaders of Isra’el and said, ‘Select and take lambs for your families, and slaughter the Pesach lamb’.” - Exodus 12:21, CJB
At the beginning of our selected readings for Pesach (Exodus 12:21-51), we are immediately confronted with not only the personal nature and impact of our sins, but also the redemption which God has been afforded to us that we in no ways deserve. For us in our modern-age, we can only imagine the scene, where only days before the Passover sacrifice is offered for you and your family, you must first bring that spotless lamb, not firs to the Temple, but instead into your home to dwell with you! In the end, it is only after it has dwelt with you and your family (and you have connected with it), that you have to take it to Adonai's cohanim and have is sacrificed (killed) on your behalf for your sins!
For some if not most, this scene may seem unthinkable (where the animal that you have now dwelt with and bonded, has now is sacrificed for you), yet within such a setting - the observant is not afforded the luxury of passivity or indifference, and instead, after the slaying, you must return to your home and annually explain WHY this sacrifice was not only needed, but also absolutely necessary. Thus, in Parashah Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16), our scene is not to be seen as casual, but instead is highly significant and by definition, immensely intimate in reminding of the reality that this Passover sacrifice demands not just individual response, but also a personal change!
As in comparison to our Holiday readings, in Parashah Terumah (from Exodus 25:1-27:19) God reveals both the heart and foundation of divine love and spiritual healing in stating,
וְעָ֥שׂוּ לִ֖י מִקְדָּ֑שׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖יבְּתוֹכָֽם׃ - “They are to make me a sanctuary, so that I may live among them.” (Ex. 25:8, CJB)
In this, it is through loving sacrifice that God restores us to himself through the shedding of innocent blood and redemption for our lives! Yet in noting this, one is forced to ask, how does Parashah Bo and he command to construct the Most Holy Place point to the redemption and shedding of innocent blood in the Passover sacrifice?
Where the Passover Lamb in the Temple offered only a kaporah (annual/temporary covering) for our sins, the coming, perfect lamb and sacrifice of the Messiah is that one who once and for all sealed redemption and hope for all of humanity and to all who call upon him, and receive the benefit of his afforded atonement. For over 2,000 years (since 70 C.E.) there has been no Temple, no Mishkan, no sacrificial system and no Cohanim serving on our behalf, and yet the Prophet Isaiah has promised that one would come and be wounded for our transgression and bruised of our iniquities and by his bruising we would be healed (Isaiah 53:5).
But what if it’s coming fulfillment? And is there one that was prophesied long ago that would come and redeem not only the entire House of Israel, but also for the entire world?
For as fulfilled in the B’rit Chadashah (New Covenant Scriptures), the Good News of Matthew states,
“All this happened in order to fulfill what Adonai had said through the prophet, ‘The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him ‘Immanu El.’ The name means, ‘God is with us’.” (Matt. 1:22-23, CJB)
As with Parashah Terumah, the purpose of the building of the Mishkan was so that HaShem (God) might dwell with Israel and establish covenant relationship with them, so through both his incarnation and perfect sacrifice, Yeshua our Messiah alone was able to pay the penalty we could never afford, and through him, all peoples, through trust might be reconciled to Adonai and be given redemption and be restored back to the Father through sacrificial love! If we could have saved ourselves, we would have, but no matter how much we seek to “fix or repair ourselves,” we nevertheless slipped even deeper into our own brokenness and spiritual barrenness!
For us today, this has profound significance when we consider the rise and worldwide effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, where today people are not short on despair, brokenness or an overall sense of hopelessness and fear. Yet, in the midst of our pain, it is Yeshua alone that is our redeeming Passover Lamb and he alone is the hope of the entire world. Where as noted above in Exodus 12:21, the Passover sacrifice is both “highly significant and immensely intimate,” so, the perfect sacrifice of Yeshua offers us the fulfillment of Tikkun Olan (the Restoring and Repairing of the World) but for us spiritual, Yeshua our Messiah provides us all a way home and an eternal hope for the future! (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Chag Pesach Sameach,
Rabbi Mark Rantz
Beit Hallel Messianic Congregation, Ocala, FL. | Pesach, 5780
In light of the current Coronavirus threat, our Shaliach, Dr. Rabbi Daniel C. Juster has drafted the following pastoral letter of encouragement to Tikkun leders, congregants and ministerial friends. Be encouraged and prayerul from his loving exhortation.
Dear Tikkun Members and Friends,
Greetings from near Jerusalem.
We are living in challenging times indeed. For the first time in the history of the world a large part of the Body of Believers is forced to not meet. This has never happened. What does it mean? There are many and varied prophetic responses. We hope to provide some summaries for you and give our sense of what is credible guidance from those who have prophetic words within and without our network. We are working on this.
This letter is mostly to encourage all of you to know that such a time is a time of opportunity. Some have already seen that it is so and are making the most of these opportunities. As you can imagine in such a time there are many prophetic words. A few have been given and recommended by Tikkun members but more have come to us from our friends in the larger Body. With Ben’s help, I will construct a prophetic perspectives for your encouragement and discernment. With this letter I want to note the opportunities that come to us at such a time.
We are still hoping for a dramatic reversal of the situation so that we can safely have the Tikkun Conferences at Turf Valley. Do keep this in much prayer.
Generally, the time we are in needs to be turned into a time of opportunity.
In our local congregations we have opportunity to strengthen our communities. First of all, we can make ourselves as leaders available to our fellow leaders and members in the congregation. Internet connections by Skype, Zoom, Face Time, WhatsApp and other video, make such communication easier than ever. One possibility for growth during this time is to strengthen chavurah groups. It is even a good time to start some new ones. They can begin as temporary groups but may continue after. The people of the small group can pray together, read and discuss a passage on the word and catch up with one another. The severity of the command to stay at home varies in different areas of the country. Here in Israel it is very severe. However, no one is telling us to stay six feet from our computers. Consider all who can lead a zoom type group and encourage them to do so and all to be part of them.
Several of our congregations are doing online services. Some are only putting them online to view. Here in Jerusalem, we did our first Zoom meeting and the congregational members were live online. We did the Lord’s Supper together and trusted that we could bless the bread and wine by the internet! Our worship leader sang and all were able to join him.
During this time, the members of the America Apostolic Team are available to you and this includes Ben and myself. We encourage you to be in touch with the team members with whom you have developed a special relationship.
We hope to get back to you soon on the prophetic words and issues soon.
In the Messiah’s Love and Service,
Please follow our Rabbi's blog as he shares from our weekly Torah Portion from a distinctively Messianic Jewish Perspective! Shalom!