- PROCLAIM -
andTzur (Rock) -
- Psalms 89:26 -
Growing a community of followers of Yeshua, bringing Him to Jewish Pittsburgh and beyond !
© 2012 - Abraham E. Sandler, Congregational LeaderofMaoz Tzur - Rock of Ages Messianic Jewish Congregation. All rights reserved.
PO Box 225 East McKeesport, PA 15035 - (412) 609-1117
The history of Humankind provides the unescapeable truth that we are unable to manage our own affairs - individually or corporately. We did not make the planet we live in nor the sun that provides its energy. SomeOne Else must have created all this, the Design is too far beyond man's imagination or capability (really, you think in a billion years Mankind could make just one star like our Sun, never mind the trillions in the universe?)
War upon war, horror upon horror, mankind has been at war with himself since the dawn of time. Mankind's best falls short of perfection. There has to be SomeOne Else who determines what is right and wrong, determines what is True. Some One who is not given to compromise as is the fate of EveryMan. The Evidence of this Unchanging One is readily seen in His Creation. (Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 19:1-6. Romans 1:16-32, Isaiah 64:6)
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
GOOD - It is also obvious that Mankind has been given an amazing design - spirit, soul, mind and body. We can almost imagine the perfection with which The Universe, The Planet and Mankind were created. Any rational person can see the awesomeness of Creation and Mankind, but also the imperfections that dim its beauty. God created man to share a relationship of with Him, and to be a partner in ruling His Creation.
BAD - Man chose to rebel against his Creator, and stopped acknowledging The Creator's rightful position as Adonai Elohim - Lord God. This rebellion - this choosing to listen to another voice and calling it "god" (whether our own voice or some other man) - is what the Bible calls sin.
UGLY - Sin messes up God's stuff (you didn't create the stuff, did you? So Who does it belong to?). It messes up His Creation, it damages our fellow man, and it damages us. God's Word is Life. God spoke and The World came into being. To reject God's voice is to separate oneself from Life... to join oneself to Death. Sin separates us from God. (Psalm 139, Genesis chapters 1-3, Ezekiel 18:4, Deuteronomy 30:17,18, Isaiah 59:1,2)
God knew mankind would wander from Him. Israel is another picture of Adam and Eve. Both were created by God, and given special relationship with Him, and His Word of Life. And yet with all that Adam and Eve chose to listen to another voice besides God, as did the nation of Israel. Still, by their very existence, mankind and Israel testify to a loving, awesome Creator.
Only "perfect" animals (without defects) were allowed as sacrifices - substitutes upon whom the death sentence for sin fell, instead of the sinner. God required blood (because it represents life) as the payment for our rebellion against Him, to teach us how serious, how damaging is our rebellion, our sin.
If the Israelites believed what God said (He described in Scripture exactly how these sacrifices were to take place) and carried them out as God said - showing faith in what God said by doing what God said - these animals' blood provided forgiveness and kippur - atonement - a covering over - of our sin. This was a gracious mercy from God - the way to have our broken relationship with God (broken because of our rebellion) restored, and also the way to avoid the punishment we deserve for messing up His stuff.
God promised however, that there would be One Ultimate sacrifice - His Son. Isaiah 53 tells us he would be "pierced through for our transgressions, beaten for our iniquities, the punishment for our peace would fall upon Him and by His Stripes we are healed." If we would only believe that God's Son - Yeshua - Jesus - came and offered His Life, His Blood as a sacrifice in our place - that He took the punishment we deserve when He died on The Cross - we today can have forgiveness of our rebellion against God and have our relationship restored with Him, with His Creation, and with our fellow man.
We prove we believe this is what God says about our rebellion and what God says about His Way - Yeshua - Jesus - to come back to Him by surrendering the government of our life to Him, committing to obeying His Words in Scripture. (Deuteronomy 7:7, Deuteronomy 32:15-20, Genesis 12:1-3, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Exodus 12:5, Romans 9:4, Leviticus 16:1-34, Isaiah 53:1-12, Exodus 15:26, Romans 10:9, Isaiah 9:6,7)
THE PROBLEM AND THE ANSWER
Those who commit to following God's Word - who tell God they want Him to be The One In Charge of their life - quickly find out that as much as we desire this, we do not have the ability in ourselves to live life God's way. Along with our Salvation (avoiding the Death Sentence on us because of our rebellion) God also made provision so that we can have Power In Life to choose to listen to and obey God's Word. This is what Yeshua - Jesus - meant when He taught, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
In other words, acknowledging that Yeshua - Jesus is Adonai - Lord - and believing God that Yeshua's shed blood paid the price that should have been exacted from us - this opens The Way for us to experience Tikkun ha Olam - The Restoration of All Things - the closeness with God and the authority from God that was given to Adam. The promise of the New Covenant is that God would put His Word inside us - His very Breath of Life, His Ruach ha Kodesh - The Holy Spirit. Now the life we live in our human created bodies can be empowered by God Himself to be lives where we do what is right, lives where we have an abundance of His Life and Love and Mercy to extend to others. His Word, His Spirit within us is powerful and we should see change in character (the Fruit of the Spirit) and in ability to impact others for good (the Gifts of the Spirit), pushing back the darkness of this world, helping our fellow man see and receive The Answer for our sin sickness found in Yeshua ha Moshiah - Jesus the Messiah. (Romans 7:21-25, Jeremiah 31:33, Psalm 118:19-24, Galatians 2:20, Galatians 5:22-25, 1 Corinthians 12:25,28, Mark 16:15-20)
HOW IT ALL ENDS
For those who refuse to acknowledge God and the Truth about God and His Creation and the truth of Mankind's sin-sick condition, those who refuse to accept God's provision - Yeshua - Jesus - the One Who Took The Punishment We Deserve - these people will be judged by The Creator - The God of Israel - as not deserving of Life and will be under an eternal judgment by God. God will say, "All your life you did not want to be connected to me. Now, I'm going to allow you to have that choice for eternity." Daniel, the prophet, says (chapter 12, verse 2) that there will be a resurrection in the end of times - some to everlasting life, but for those who haven't believed God the will enter "everlasting contempt." The Hebrew word means that God will find us repulsive and will reject us.
For those who believe God and demonstrate they do believe by surrendering governance of their Life to His Rulership - these will grow closer and closer to God now in this life, experiencing more and more of His forgiveness, becoming more and more different from those people who are still their own boss, and becoming more and more like Yeshua. Even death will not be able to end this relationship, this closeness with God, for if we have returned to Him, if we now are Redeemed and Adpoted as His Children, "to be absent from the body it to be [fully] in the presence of The Lord."
Someday Yeshua - Jesus is returning to this Earth, just as He was when His disciples saw Him ascend into Heaven 40 days after His Resurrection. Yeshua will set things right on Earth and literally rule the whole Earth as King. (Matthew 25:41, Daniel 12:2,3, Revelation 20:11-15, Revelation 3:5, 1 Cor 15:50-55, Hebrew 9:27, Zechariah 14:1-9)
A SPECIAL WORD ABOUT ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE
God created Israel in order to bring blessing to "all the families of The Earth." God chose Israel as His Own not because they were the biggest and best, but because they were (and were going to be) the least, and He had set His affection on them. Israel was given the assignment by God to bring His Light - The Good News of How We Can Return To God - to the whole world. In some ways, before the time of Yeshua they did well.
However, much of Israel and the Jewish people struggled and failed in her relationship with God,. Yet God said, even while they were in rebellion to Him, "I have loved you with an EVERLASTING love." God considered Himself the Husband of Israel, and said, "Israel is the apple of my eye!" Despite Israel's failings, God never repented of His decision that Blessing and Salvation for the whole world would come through them. In fact, also while they were in rebellion, He promised the New Covenant (salvation in Yeshua - Jesus) to THEM !
The New Testament says that the Christian Church is founded on "The Prophets" (all Jewish) and "The Apostles" (also all Jewish). Many, many Jewish people believed Yeshua and accepted Him as Messiah, Saviour and Lord in the 1st and 2nd centuries. It is Jewish followers of Yeshua who spread the Good News to the entire world in the 1st century. Since God says that the Jewish people are the conduit through which He pours blessing out on the entire world, it makes sense that God would protect this conduit [the Jewish People], saying "I will bless those that bless you [Israel], and curse those that curse you."
Gentiles who believe the Word Of The Lord are commissioned by God to pray that the Jewish people come back into right relationship with God, through Yeshua - Jesus, and commissioned to bring the Good News of Yeshua to the Jewish people. It is a major part of why God saved Gentiles - to bring Salvation - Yeshua - Jesus - back to the very people from whom He came. (Genesis 12:1-3, Deuteronomy 7:6-8, Exodus 19:6, Isaiah 57:6, Jeremiah 31:3, 35-37, Zechariah 2:8, Romans 11:29, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ephesians 2:20, The Book of Acts, Isaiah 62:11, Romans 1:16, Acts 13:46, Romans 11:11-15)
What We Believe - Plain Version
( our White Paper on God's Plan for Us )