Friday, January 16, 2015

The Lord's Prayer - (a commentary from a Jewish perspective)

From the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus instructed Israel to put their hearts into prayer toward a future hope of the promised Kingdom based on His Messiahship. Israel was prayerfully encouraged by Jesus to learn the truth of His Kingdom message and to accept Him as the promised King. The Lord’s Prayer contains a wealth of knowledge concerning God’s future Kingdom on Earth where Christ will physically reign as King and ruler over all Earth.
Matt 6:9-13:
  • (vs.9) after this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come…

In subjection to the Father’s will Jesus’ prayer from the Sermon on the Mount was an acknowledgment of God’s Promised Kingdom for Israel. Jesus’ prayer was a request to the Father to help Israel to see the moral righteousness of God’s Law offered to Israel through their obedience toward His Messiahship and Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Jesus in compassion knew Israel’s doubt and lax attitude toward receiving their King was a direct result of deviation from the Law of Moses.

Deviation from the Law made it difficult for Israel to recognize that God could be three distinct personalities yet only one God within one entity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were the three persons of the Godhead taught within the four Gospels. Had Israel’s hearts been right and obedient to the authority of the Law of Moses they would have also recognized the truth of the Divine Godhead being (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit).

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount contained two matters of importance: First, He taught Israel to see the moral requirements of the Law of Moses. Second, He taught Israel to recognize the truth of His Messiahship. Holiness of heart and character was the fruit of receiving the Kingdom message. As a whole, if Israel would have kept the Law and accepted Christ’s Messiahship holiness of heart would have allowed God to establish the Kingdom pre-planned from the foundation of the world.

· Matt 25:34…Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

  • (vs.10) Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Jesus prayed for the Fathers will to be done in Israel by setting up an Eternal Kingdom on earth under His Messiahship. This allowed the whole earth to become Heaven on earth and restored to a place like the Garden of Eden was, before the fall of Adam. In the eternal plan of the Father only the Determinate Council of God would appoint the chosen time when Heaven’s prophetic Kingdom would come into existence and become a visible and earthly Kingdom in Israel. Christ’s earthly ministry for 3 years (after He was thirty years of age) was that very “appointed time”. Daniel prophesied 483 years prior to the exact day Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem and declared that Christ would be presented as “Prince and Messiah ” of Israel.

· Dan 9:24-25…and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks. (The seven weeks or seven sevens mentioned here was 46 years it took to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem…John 2:20 and Christ’s 3 year ministry which totaled 49 years)

The will of the Father was the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven where Christ would become King of Israel. Zechariah’s prophecy testified to this approx. 557 years prior to Christ’s appearing. Christ was the promised “King” that entered into Jerusalem riding upon an ass’s colt.

· Zech 9:9… Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Unfortunately the King and the Kingdom were both rejected because of Israel’s hardness of heart. Israel’s backslidden state from the Law of Moses is why Christ’s message of the Kingdom was not recognized or accepted. This very rejection stopped the visible Kingdom of Heaven from being established at that time even though it was offered “according to the will and mercy of God.”

The righteousness taught in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was to change the heart of Israel from a backslidden condition. This change would guide Israel back to the authority of the Law. By doing such Israel would have repented, kept the Law of Moses, and accepted Christ as the promised Messiah. In turn this would have brought in the Kingdom of Heaven. A pure heart and holiness of character has always been the will of God for humanity since the creation of man because God created Adam in His own image. Christ came to restore man with the very divine image that Adam lost. Within this divine image was the moral righteousness of God that Israel failed to have when Christ appeared during His earthly ministry. Israel’s moral obligation to the Law of Moses that Jesus taught allowed them to see their inability and helplessness outside the Law of God. Only recognition of such allowed Israel to become, poor in spirit. When men of Israel “kept the Law of Moses” it would help them to personally recognize Christ as God. This personal revelation in obedience to the Law of Moses allowed Israel to become, pure in heart.

The will of the Father during Christ’s Messiahship required something of man and obligated Israel to keep the Law. If they kept the moral requirements of the Law they would love God with their entire being. Loving God with their entire mind, will, and strength; and loving their neighbor as they did themselves allowed them to be children of God and thus enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

· Mark 12:29-31…And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Keeping this first commandment was Israel’s down payment to enter into Kingdom of Heaven. This attitude of heart allowed the heavenly will of the Father to be done on earth…as it is in Heaven.

  • (vs.11) Give us this day our daily bread.

This prayerful verse and request from Christ was asking the Father to provide Israel with everything needed to fulfill the moral requirements of God. Hearing the Kingdom message was one thing, but actually receiving and living the message could only be obtained through daily bread, which was keeping the Torah, or the Law of Moses. Jesus said if Israel would hunger and thirst after the righteousness of God…and they would be filled.

· Matt 5:6…Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

To understand God’s daily bread toward Israel through the Kingdom message it’s important to know there’s a distinct difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven:

The Kingdom of God is God’s present rule over each individual believer. It is a divine nature restored in the heart of man through faith in Christ.

The Kingdom of Heaven is a rule of Christ where Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah are fulfilled in an earthly and visible Kingdom. Believers in Christ at that time are given dominion over the earth like Adam had before the fall.

***Note the fact that in order to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven all believers in Christ must first have the Kingdom of God in their hearts through the new birth!

Had the Kingdom of Heaven been established during Christ’s earthly ministry, restoration of the earth would have provided much more than daily bread for all humanity. Earth would have become an eternal place like heaven is now! In the Kingdom of Heaven, God in three persons will make His abode within the hearts of the entire human family. All humanity will have dominion like Adam had before the fall. There will be no sicknesses, no sorrow, and no death as the Sun of righteousness offers complete healing from His wings! (Malachi 4:2) In the eternal Kingdom on earth where Christ will reign from His Throne in Jerusalem, man will have need of nothing…but God!

If you look back to the Children of Israel after their deliverance from Egypt through the Red Sea you’ll see God provided them with everything needed.

· Ps 105:37-45…He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes. Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them. He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night. The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river. For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant. And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness: And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people; that they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD.

Remember, blessings such as prosperity and success came to Israel through obedience to the Law of Moses. (Deuteronomy 28) The Law of Moses was God’s greatest blessing for Israel “before” the death of a Savior and the Church, the spiritual body of Christ came into existence. The Grace covenant we now live under through the death of Christ is even a “greater blessing” than the blessing of Law given to Israel.

  • (vs.12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

From this verse of prayer Jesus expressed by the Law of Moses Israel had to forgive first in order to be forgiven by God. By hearing the truth of righteousness through the Kingdom Message, Israel was able to repent and forgive those that trespassed against them. The truth and revelation of Christ helped Israel to realize their own hardness toward the Law of Moses and even the Roman society. Israel hated the Roman’s because of oppression under Roman dictatorship. As Christ ministered holiness to Israel they were able see and accept the moral demands of the Law of Moses. By doing such they could offer forgiveness toward the Romans, and God thus would forgive them of their sin. Under Law, forgiveness was a debt to the moral authority of the Law of God.

Forgiveness was an attitude of heart for those in obedience to the authority of the Messiahship of Christ. As Israel forgave, they were also forgiven by God. As they showed mercy they also became merciful toward God and man, and as they became peacemakers insurrections against Rome would cease and peace would sweep over the nation of Israel. All these blessings were a product of Israel’s moral obligation to the Law which enabled them to receive both the Kingdom of Heaven and its King.

· Matt 5:7…Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

· Matt 5:9…Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Note how Jesus took Israel back to the moral requirements of the Law. The following verse shows how Christ instructed Israel to have “holiness of character”. Holiness of character (based on perfect love that exceeded the Publicans love) produced forgiveness and right standing according to the Law of God.

· Matt 5:43-48…Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

  • (vs.13a) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

In this verse Jesus prays for Israel to trust God’s Divine providence for a life of victory over temptation and sin. Faith in the Messiahship provided Israel with such deliverance. All that was needed was faith the size of a mustard seed. During Christ’s earthly ministry Israel was wrapped up in many things that hindered them from seeing the truth of His Messiahship. Traditional (Talmudic) teachings, men’s opinions, and hypocrisy were all rampant. Even the Lord’s Holy Temple had become a den of thieves. The reason Christ came was to offer holiness, purity, and obedience to the Law through the righteousness of His message. Christ’s Kingdom message in righteousness and truth exposed Israel’s cloak of sin and backslidden state. Acceptance of the King and His message provided Israel with victory over temptation, deliverance from evil, and put them back in touch with the authority of the Torah.

Remember the children of Israel who wandered in the wilderness forty years? They lost sight of the Divine Providence of God as temptations influenced them, and they fell away. They yielded to the deceitfulness of sin and forgot what God gave after He delivered them out of Egypt.

· Ex 32:7-8…And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them:

After the giving of Law at Sinai Israel became lax, intellectually opinionated, and created traditions of men that caused them to deviate from the holy standard of the Law of Moses. Without being attached to the Divine authority of God’s Word from the heart, Israel subtly failed to keep the Torah and swayed toward the traditions and opinions of men. During the Babylonian captivity in 606 B.C. Israel’s approach toward the authority of the Word of God compromised the authority of the Torah and allowed the Babylonian Talmud to be written. The Talmud was Israel’s interpretation of the Torah. This deception is why John the Baptist and Christ both preached Repentance and the Kingdom message to Israel.

Jesus prayerfully offered Israel hope for a greater deliverance than the hand of God from Egypt through the Red Sea. Israel’s acceptance of the King offered deliverance from Jewish religion and Roman oppression. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was deliverance that taught a righteousness that would exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. True righteousness allowed Israel to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

· Matt 5:22…For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

In completion of the Father’s plan (future tense) after the Millennium where Christ reigns as King in the physical Kingdom of Heaven, final redemption will occur through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. At that time there will be no more need of redemption because temptation and evil will cease to exist.

  • (vs.13b) For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.

God’s Kingdom on Earth was an answer to the Lord’s Prayer. His prayer contained all the heavenly blessings placed into the will of God for the restoration of earth and humanity starting in Jerusalem. In the Kingdom of Heaven all Biblical prophecy will be fulfilled. Christ will visibly reign in power and glory from the throne of His father David. In this eternal and visible Kingdom on earth Christ will be King over all the earth. All the redeemed saints likewise will be with Christ in the splendor of this “fulfillment of prophecy”. The will of God will be fulfilled with unspeakable peace on earth…in the earthly and visible Kingdom of Christ…that shall never end.

· Luke 1:32-33…He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end

· Dan 7:27…and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

· Isa 9:6-7…For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.

***Note from the writer: Since the visible Kingdom of Heaven was rejected by Israel and postponed until the return of our Lord we now live in the invisible Kingdom of God where Christ is seated on the Throne at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. We now await the future Kingdom of Heaven on earth according to fulfillment of prophecy. The Bible teaches us the present tense Kingdom of God is the operation of the Holy Ghost within the hearts and lives of those who have received the new birth.

· Rom 14:17…For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

· John 3:3…Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The earthly ministry/priesthood of our Lord began at John's Baptism

At John's Baptism the man Jesus was:

  • Consecrated (Legal Age of 30 according to Law - could minister in Temple)
  • Cleansed (purification of the body according to Law - John the Baptist was a Levite)
  • Anointed with the Holy Spirit under Law (God's ownership to begin the 3 1/2 year earthly ministry preaching the Kingdom as the Messiah) Acts 10:38

After John's Baptism Jesus entered into the earthly priesthood which was appointed by God - to be after the order of Melchizedek. Psalm 110: , Hebrews 7: , Melchizedek had an earthly priesthood and was King of Salem. In similitude Jesus had an earthly priesthood and was King of Jerusalem. During His earthly priesthood Jesus performed:

  • Earthly service for the nation of Israel - meeting needs
  • Earthly ministry for the nation of Israel - Preaching Kingdom
  • Human ministry in obedience to Law for the people
  • Ministered 27 times in the Temple
  • Ministered in synagogues
  • Ministered in the open air
  • Duties as a priests who were responsible for teaching the Jewish people the law of God
  • Duties as a priest to offer divine sacrifice unto God (the crucifixion)

Josephus  a Jewish historian stated about John's Baptism: and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness

God spoke audibly when the man Jesus was baptized of John. God spoke out loud about Christ after He received the waters of purification, "This is my beloved son  in whom I am well pleased". Matthew 3: Jesus was inaugurated into the priesthood, anointed with God's ownership, and sent out to present the Kingdom Message to Israel. This earthly priesthood and ministry lasted 3 1/2 years until the Kingdom Message was rejected and Jesus went to the cross at Calvary.
A vast number of Old Testament prophecies unfolded and were confirmed at John's Baptism. Only more evidence of Bible Truth that makes the substance and meaning of God's Word so real and alive. This kind of truth is a faith builder. Faith is the heart of our Salvation by Grace. Faith is fortified by truth and evidence.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Another reason for Jesus' baptism...a Jewish perspective

The anointing of the Spirit took place at John's Baptism when the Spirit descended on Christ like a the age of thirty

Acts 10:38...That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power:

John's baptism was the inauguration of Christ into the earthly priesthood

Psalm 110:4...The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (earthly)

God spoke the beginning and ending of Christ's earthly ministry...3 1/2 years - anointing represented God's ownership and announcement of the Kingdom Message presented to backslidden Israel

John's baptism was prophesied to prepare the way of Christ...Malachi 3, Isaiah 40

Christ had to obey Levitical Law to be without spot or blemish...

Psalm 1 (perfect lamb without spot of blemish)

Christ was born with the Spirit
Christ had the Spirit without measure  his whole life on earth
Christ was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil
Christ was anointed with the Spirit at John's Baptism and beginning of His earthly ministry
After Israel rejected the promised King...Christ had the eternal Spirit when He gave himself at Calvary

Jewish ritual purification termed as Baptism in the Greek text

A lady contacted me yesterday about explaining Baptism to a Jew...God gave me these verses. I felt the necessity to share this data base for further study...

John 2: And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews,

These waterpots where Jesus turned the water to wine...were used after the water was sifted through the ashes of  a Red Heifer by a Levite...and thus used in ritual purification (baptism). Jesus' Apostles baptized more than John...

John 3:25...Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.

John 4:When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

Baptism was Jewish ritual and washing purification of people, pots, vessels, etc. - Jewish Law and ritual purification was traditionalized and changed under God's Covenant of Grace

Hebrews 6:Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms,

Jewish rituals were to be were ordinances of the Law
Hebrews 9:10...Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation

Mark 7:8...For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do (traditions of men)

John baptized with water to allow backslidden Israel to be eligible to worship Christ as Messiah... John's baptism was ordained by God and spoken of by the Prophets. John's authority came from God but never violated Jewish Law. John was the last record of a Levite in the Bible

In Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews

An account of John the Baptist is found in all extant manuscripts of the Jewish Antiquities (book 18, chapter 5, 2) by Flavius Josephus (37–100):[26]
Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now when [many] others came in crowds about him, for they were very greatly moved [or pleased] by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise,) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God's displeasure to him.[27]