Sivan/Tamuz 5774 June 2014
Shavuot (the Holiday of Weeks, Pentecost) starts Tuesday night, June 3. Join us on Wednesday evening, June 4, at 6:30 p.m. to focus on this holiday.
THANKS VERY MUCH!
In ancient times, on Shavuot the High Priest waved two loaves of leavened bread (yeast or leaven can be a symbol for sin). We understand the two loaves to represent the two groups that comprise Messiah’s Holy Community – the Jewish people and the peoples from the other nations. It was fitting that on the Shavuot following Messiah’s atoning death, God sent the Holy Spirit to Yeshua’s followers, which empowered them for evangelism. That day, 3,000 Jewish people were added to Messiah’s Community! Our prayer is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so that we may powerfully proclaim the Good News about Yeshua and many more will be added to His Holy Community! Thank you for your prayers and support as we try to do this, especially during the summer months when we have some good evangelistic opportunities. Todah Rabah! Thank you very much!
Here’s why: When Adam and Eve joined the rebellion of the fallen angels, they became alienated from God, who is the Source of eternal life and eternal happiness. Because of the Fall, Adam and Eve were no longer headed toward the eternal God and eternal life and eternal happiness. Instead, they and their descendants were headed away from the eternal God and eternal life and eternal happiness. But the Hope of Israel is merciful and gracious and didn’t leave Adam and Eve and their descendants in their godless, hopeless condition. The God of Hope loved us so much that He took radical action to help hopeless humanity. First, He created the Chosen People, who were given the task of getting the world ready for the Redeemer. Then, in the fullness of time, God the Father sent Messiah the Son into this world to become a human being. Yeshua lived a perfect life then died an atoning death that overcame the very real and ruinous forces of Satan, sin, the sin nature and death. Messiah’s life and death and resurrection and ascension and the sending of His Spirit made it possible for hopeless humanity to have hope.
Apart from knowing the Three-In-One God, and transferring his loyalty to the Three-In-One God, no human being should expect to live forever in the New Heavens, the New Earth and the New Jerusalem. But in 1 Thessalonians 5, the Lord’s divinely inspired representative teaches us that our hope is salvation – that when a human being understands the truth about God and transfers his loyalties to the Father, Son and Spirit, he can be sure he will be rescued from the forces of Satan, sin, the sin nature and death! He has the hope of living forever with God in His blessed and everlasting kingdom! Salvation is our hope – and not a temporary or partial salvation, but a full and perfect and everlasting salvation! No more danger of any kind! No more enemies that can harm us! No more losses! No more need of deliverance because we will be perfectly and forever rescued, never in need of being rescued again! Safe. Secure. At peace. Saved. What an amazing hope – the hope of salvation! Do you have that hope – that sure expectation of salvation?
And we have other tremendous things we can look forward to enjoying in the future. The Word of God teaches us that God Himself is our hope. That means that if we come to God on His terms, we can expect to live forever with the eternal and infinite God, who is self-existent; who has life within Himself; who is without beginning and without end; who is all-present, all-powerful, all-knowing, infinitely wise, perfect, and complete; the God who is love; the God who is gracious and merciful, holy, righteous and just, faithful and true; the God who never changes! He will be our God and we will be His people – forever and ever! No longer godless! What a great expectation – God is our hope! Is God your hope?
In Ephesians 1, Paul reveals that Messiah is our hope – that if we know who Yeshua is, and believe that He died and rose from the dead and is alive now, and if we commit ourselves to Him, Messiah will be ours, and we will be His. And who is this Anointed One? According to Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Yeshua is the Son of God. He is Before All Things and worthy of honor and respect from all who come after Him. He is the Creator of all things, for whom all things have been created. He is the Sustainer Of All Things, holding together everything that exists. He is the Firstborn Over All Creation, preeminent over all created things and the special heir among the sons and daughters of God. He is the Reconciler Of All Things, who brings peace to all relationships – especially our most important relationship, the Creator-creature relationship. He is the One Who Overcame Death and who enables those of us who know who He is and become loyal to Him to overcome death. He is the One In Whom The Fullness Of God Lives, who is able to fill our need for God. He is the image of the invisible God, who perfectly reveals God to us. He is the Living Leader of all Christians and Messianic Jews everywhere, who gives us life and strength and direction. He is the King of a very great and real and wonderful and eternal kingdom. What an amazing thing – that Messiah is our hope – that we will belong to the Son of God, and He will belong to us! That we can expect to receive from Him all of the good things that come from Him and His eternal life and ministry. Is Messiah your hope?
In Thessalonians 2:19, Rabbi Paul tells us that our hope is in our fellow believers – that we will enjoy the other children of God and live forever with them. No more conflict with other human beings. No more damaged relationships. No more envy, jealously, hatred. Only good and enjoyable and beneficial relationships with the glorious sons and daughters of God!
In Galatians 5, we are promised that our hope is righteousness. Even though we come into this world alienated from the Creator; even though we are not in a right relationship with Him; even though we are dead in our trespasses and sins; even though we are unrighteous creatures who must be rejected by the infinitely righteous God – a time is coming when we will be completely righteous! Instead of a broken relationship, we will enjoy a right relationship with God. Instead of not doing the right things, we will always and only be able do the right things. No more unrighteous actions. No more injustice. No more harm done to anyone, or harm done to us. No more sins – and the sadness and sorrows and remorse and loss and other awful consequences that come from doing wrong. Our great future expectation is righteousness – being in a perfectly right relationship with the eternal God, and always and forever doing the right things.
In Colossians 1, we are told that Messiah in us gives us the hope of glory. Right now, humanity is not glorious. People are like grass, and all their beauty is like the flowers of the field … and the grass withers and the flowers fall. Mankind is in rebellion against the King of kings. We are fallen, depraved, ruined, marred, deformed, twisted, ugly, perishing – anything but honorable. But, a time is coming when our guilt and depravity, our shame and weakness and poverty, our foolishness and corruption will be replaced by glory and honor and praise, power and strength and riches and wisdom! Why? Because Messiah is in us! Because the glorious Son of God joined Himself to humanity and made our salvation possible! Because some of us were given the grace to understand who He is and what He has done, and the grace to respond and say yes to Yeshua; and because the Spirit of Messiah has taken up residence in us and will transform us completely into the image of the glorious and honorable Messiah! What an amazing thing – Messiah in us, the hope of glory!
In Titus 1:2, the Lord’s inspired emissary assures us that our hope is eternal life. Because of the Fall, human beings are not headed to life; they are headed to the First Death – physical death – followed by the even worse Second Death – spiritual death, eternal death in Gehenna, Hell, the Lake of Fire. But our sure expectation is that we will not die, but live forever; and not just any kind of life, but perfect life, meaningful life, happy life, a life of blessedness and bliss!
Our hope, or better yet, our hopes, the things that we are assured will take place in the future, are that all of the amazing promises made by God to us will be fulfilled – that we will live forever with the eternal God! That we will be righteous, that we will receive everlasting praise and honor and glory, that we will live forever in unending happiness in the New Heavens and New Earth and the amazing New Jerusalem with the God who loves! That we will live forever with the holy ones of all the ages, with the glorified children of God, with our loved ones who have faithfully served the Lord, with the good angels and the cherubeem and serafeem and the living beings and the other creatures who will be there. That we will enjoy all the wonders of that very real and blessed kingdom; drinking the water from the river of life, which runs through the center of that beautiful city; eating from the Tree of Life, which produces a different fruit each month and gives healing and life. That we will have meaningful things to do, like help God rule the new universe!
Some hopes can disappoint because they don’t happen; or if they do happen, they don’t turn out to be as good as we expected – but not these hopes! These hopes will not disappoint because they are real. They are good. They have the firmest of foundations! They are based on the perfect work of the Three-In-One God. They are found in the pages of the divinely inspired Word of the faithful God who promises and always keeps His promises!