Three facts every Israeli should know about Good Friday and Easter.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

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Jesus-onthecross(Central Israel) — It is fascinating to live in Israel and discover how little Israelis know about Easter and the impact of the Easter story on humanity.

Whether Israelis choose to believe the claims of Jesus to be the Messiah or not, it would certainly behoove all Israelis to read and to know the Messianic prophecies laid out in the Hebrew Scriptures, the basic New Testament story of Jesus’ life, and to better understand how the story of the most famous and beloved Jewish man in human history continues to impact the world.

To that end, here are three specific facts that every Israeli — and every Jewish person around the world — ought to know.

  1. An Israeli scholar from Hebrew University says First Century Jews awaited a Messiah who would die and rise again from the dead, and argues that “third day resurrection” is a Jewish concept that pre-dates Christianity.
  2. More former Muslims are celebrating Easter this year as devout followers of Jesus than at any other time in human history.

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Day 7 – From Deliverance to Glory

The book of Exodus begins with the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in bondage in Egypt.  They are in bitter enslavement to Egypt.  Exodus ends, however, fulfilling the meaning of its title “Exodus” and the children are free from bondage.

My reading this morning included Exodus 35 – Leviticus 8.  I will not be commenting on the Leviticus reading, but only on the Exodus portion, and particularly the ending.

From bondage in Egypt the children of Israel, are delivered after many wonderful things which God performed through His servants Moses and Aaron.  Plagues which came upon Egypt; unlike anything they had ever witnessed; or ever would witness in their lifetimes.  It was God’s plan to deliver them, His way.  It would not be the way of Moses, nor the way of Aaron; but God’s.

It is God’s intention that His name be glorified and nothing else.  That is the greatest desire of God; that He be glorified.

The Exodus shows us the children of Israel on a journey from Egypt, through the wilderness; at least to Mount Sinai; receiving God’s commandments; instructions, and designs on worshipping God.

In the Exodus we see sin raise its ugly, demonic head while Moses is on the Mount receiving the law; and after they have said, “All that God commands we will do.”  They call on Aaron to make them gods (32:1-2) of gold and to honor for their deliverance from Egypt; I suppose.  God tells Moses to go down quickly, and he finds a riotous, debaucherous worship more in tune with the surround peoples than godly going on; defiling everything the people has said they would do.

Yet, God in His grace and mercy brings them to His glory.  They see His glory in the “tent of the congregation” or tabernacle,

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.  For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”  Exodus 40:34-38 (KJV)

And, even Moses cannot enter due to His glory upon the tabernacle.

That shows us, that even Israel, and the Law cannot bring us into His glory.  The law fulfilled in God’s only begotten Son, His blood sacrifice on the cross, His burial, and resurrection can bring sinful man, redeemed, cleansed, and into the very presence of God.

“For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:15-16

Jesus Christ is our High Priest who has given His own blood that we might go into the very presence of God.  I pray you find yourself there today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Challenge to Pastors

It is, I believe, a very important thing that we as pastors lead our people to know God through knowing His Word.  There is far too much ignorance of Scripture in our churches; and some of that responsibility lies on the steps of her leadership.

Do you read  the Bible daily, or do you just study it to prepare for sermons?  I can tell you that if you do not spend time reading to learn the word; your preaching will not matter much; for you or your people.

My challenge is this.  Start today, or as soon as possible to endeavor to read through the Bible in 90 days.  You can do it by reading 14 chapters per day, leaving you some room for being short of time a few days.  It will bless your life, your ministry and your preaching.

If you want to know God; you must begin by hearing His Word.  Begin in Genesis and read through Revelation in 90 days.

Join me.

-T.A.

Day 4 – From a Garden to a Grave, and Beyond

I do not believe I have ever read so much of Genesis so quickly as I  have since beginning this reading through the Bible in 90 days.  It is exciting, challenging, and enlightening.

Our reading this morning covers Genesis 43 – Exodus 6.

We have gone from the days of creation; Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, their expulsion, a murderous son (Cain), the flood; the calling of Abraham to father a nation; and we have seen his tests, trials, and troubles.  Abraham’s and Sarah’s trying to do things their own way, and ending up causing a mess.

We see Isaac’s son Jacob practicing deception; he and a whole lot of other people doing the same thing.  Yet, God chooses Jacob to be the “prince with God” calling him “Israel”.  Jacob  has a son named Joseph who is betrayed by his brothers, sold into Egypt, cast into prison unjustly, then, promoted to second in command under the Pharoah of Egypt.  Sin is progressing; and so to is grace.  “Where sin abounds, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).

Beginning in a garden of perfection, comfort, and every need provided to a grave in Egypt.

“So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”  Genesis 50:26 (KJV)

One of the things we can see following Adam’s and Eve’s sin in the garden is death seems to dominate the picture; however, it does not rule forever.  Since the fall everything ages, weakens and dies.  The curse of Adam’s sin is upon all of creation.  Not a one of us can rejoice in death, because death is the fruit of sin.  It is a bitter fruit.  It is a separating act.  It divides – separates the  spirit and soul of the human from their bodies.  There is, however, a death worse than physical; and that is the spiritual death which separates God from man.  That death happened instantly when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden

That death is seen when they heard God coming to them; they hid themselves.  Death is not a pleasant thing to discuss, or to write about; but it is a part of our lives.  It is also and foremost “the wages of sin” (Romans 6:23).

From the death of Joseph we go to Exodus, showing us that death is not the end.  In Exodus we find that God hears the cries of the children of Israel crying for help.  He hears their cry, prepares a man from Egypt – one of their own who has grown up with the rulers of Egypt – and sends him back to deliver His children from the bondage that has come about because of lying and deception of the brothers of Joseph.

When God calls a man it is an awesome thing.  And it was for Moses,

“And Moses said unto God, ‘Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?’  And He said, ‘Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.’  And Moses said unto God, ‘Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, ‘The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, ‘What is His name? What shall I say unto them?’  And God said unto Moses, ‘I AM THAT I AM: and He said, ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, ‘I AM hath sent me unto you.’  And God said moreover unto Moses, ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.”  Exodus 3:11-15 (KJV)

Life does indeed go on beyond death, and the grave.  And, I do not mean only in the physical realm of life, but also the spiritual.  There is an eternity to shun, and there is an eternity to indulge in, and be filled with the greatness and glory of God.

We find in the verses above that God called Moses to go and deliver the children of Israel from their captivity.  Who was actually doing the deliverance?  Moses was only a man; who had faults, failures, fears and doubts; but was still greatly used by God.

Who was sending Moses?  The “I AM”.  Meaning the “Self-Existing One” the “Self-Sustaining One”.  He needs nothing to be; He is.

He is the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He is also the LORD God of Jesus the Son of the LORD God [YHWH-‘Elohyim].  Jesus, the God-man who walked in flesh among us.  Jesus the God-man who bled and died on the cross for the sins of mankind as the atonement for our sins.  Those who believe in Him will be rejoined with GOD for all eternity.  That is the only eternity to indulge, and be filled with the presence, greatness and glory of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 3 – Destiny of a Nation

Many trust in what is called fate.  Some trust in faith as though faith has power of its own.  “Just have faith” is what is heard quite often.  What is the difference in “fate” and “faith”.  Fate is events guided by events to the best of my knowledge; “What ever will be will be” mentality.  Faith is belief in something or someone to have power of guiding events or times or things even; but “faith” in what or whom?  It does make a difference what you believe.

As we  continue at reading the Bible through in these next 87 days we will find that there is a Person; a divine Individual who is guiding the events and times of our lives.

That is evident in the life of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  We can see it in the life of Joseph as well.

God told Abraham back in Genesis 15:13-14,

“And He said unto Abram, ‘Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”

Then as we read today in Genesis 29 – 42 we find one of Jacob’s children, a younger son, is sold into slavery by his older brothers due to their jealousy, and Joseph ends up in Egypt, in prison and eventually the Pharoah’s second man ruling the nation.

Joseph was a man of dreams, and passion for God, His promises, and His Word.  Joseph dreamed that all his brethren would one day bow down to him,

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.  And he said unto them, ‘Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.’  And his brethren said to him, ‘Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?’ And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.  And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, ‘Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.’ And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, ‘What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?’ And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” Genesis 37:5-12 (KJV)

I tell this because it was by his faith in God Joseph was able to deal with the betrayal of his own brethren, the selling into Egypt, the false accusation of Potiphar’s wife, and his imprisonment.  Through it all Joseph kept God as his guide, his comfort and his strength.  Believing that God would bring about what He had shown him in his dreams.

After Joseph has arrived in Egypt and imprison; in prison Joseph continues to say and believe,

“Do not interpretations belong to God?”  Genesis 40:8   and,

“It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”  41:16

The Psalmist even mentions Joseph in the 115th Psalm,

“Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” (v.19)

Faith that God is guiding the affairs of His people to be a great nation was a part of Joseph’s life.  He believed God, and though it does not say it by verse, and words; it says it by implication; “It was counted to him for righteousness.

God not only guides and directs nations; he directs individual lives.  He prefers to use you for good and His glory.  He will do that through your faith in His Son Jesus; as you humbly bow before Him as your own personal Lord and Savior; believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead; and that He is eternally alive; and through Him you will live eternally.

Believe/Trust and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 1 – Genesis 1 – 14

The first day of reading through the Bible in ninety days is here.  I have completed the first 14 chapters.  As I told you in the last post I will be reading the Bible in the New Living Translation, which I realize is a weak “translation”, but it has an ease of reading which the KJV does not have, thus and can read without too much distraction by trying to decipher the days, months and years; lengths, weights  and such.

I did discover in my reading of the first fourteen chapters that there is much with the NLT which I have problems with in interpretation, but as I wrote of one of those problems in my journal, it could be a matter of perspective.

That problem was the NLT’s interpretation of Genesis 10:25,

“Eber had two sons. The first was named Peleg—“division”—for during his lifetime the people of the world were divided into different language groups and dispersed. His brother’s name was Joktan.”  Genesis 10:25 (NLT)

Now the KJV,

“And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.” Genesis 10:25 (KJV)

The problem I have with the NLT here is that it provides and interpretation that is not present in the text.  The word “earth” in the KJV is “eh’-rets” in Hebrew and can mean various things,

“From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land): –  X common, country, earth, field, ground, land, X nations, way, + wilderness, world.”  From Strongs Concordance — e-Sword.

The people had been divided by the change difference in languages, and there could have been a massive moving of the planet earth as well; not only causing a dividing of languages, but also of the land.  That is my thought on the matter.

We find in the reading of Genesis 1 – 14 that God is the Creator; that He created the earth and all things upon it in a seven day period.  On the sixth day having already prepared things for the crowning of creation He creates humanity, beginning with Adam, then his wife Eve.  Things were without problem in the garden God had prepared for them.  He even spent time with them in that garden, at least at one point He came to visit them, and found them hiding from Him.

Here we find the answer for all the ills and problems in our world today.  Why is there killing, sickness, disease, hardships of all sorts?  It comes down to this point that the first man and woman did not listen to God, nor obey His commandment.  That one commandment was,

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'” Genesis 2:16-17

Following their sin of disobedience, God comes to them, finds them hiding from Him and God drives them from paradise; places a guardian at the gate of Eden preventing their way to eternal life at the Tree of Life, and they begin to die.  Adam Eve have two sons Cain and Abel.  Rebellion sets in Cain’s heart even to the point of killing his brother.  God curses Cain.

Adam and Eve have other children.  We find the godly lineage in chapter 5; however there is much evil on the earth, and God destroys the earth and every land going animal; except for those He has chosen to save through the only justified man living.  “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (6:8).  The flood comes.  Noah, his wife, their sons, and their sons wives are in the ark of redemption with the chosen animals – 7 of each clean animal; 2 of each unclean.  My how God is full of grace and mercy.

From paradise to death to hope through Abram and a new land.  A new people, nation, a Promised Redeemer.

-Tim A. Blankenship

New Bible Reading Adventure

I hope the title of this post sparked some interest.  Starting February 01 I will be starting a new Bible adventure in reading through God’s holy, inspired, infallible Word.  I, with God’s help and strength, will endeavor to read through all 1,189 chapters of the Old and New Testaments in ninety days.

If you would like to take up the challenge and join me let me know by leaving a comment, and telling me.  I will also endeavor during those days February 1 – April 30 to write a daily comment or comments concerning something of the chapters I have read.  My goal is to read 14 chapters per day for 90 days.  I am a slow reader, so I will plan on at least an hour to read it maybe more; and I do not want to alarm anyone, but I will be reading from the New Living Translation, rather than the King James Version.

Each year since surrendering to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of God I have set my goal of reading through the Word at least once per year.  There have been a couple of those years I failed to do that; but I was always at a loss for missing it.

Let’s stop ignorance of the Bible by starting with ourselves.  Will you join me?  Leave your comment and let me know.  You might be made a different person by April 30, 2012.

Let me leave this caveat’ with you.  All this will be according to the will of our Lord; because we are not promised February 1, 2012; little lone April 30, 2012.  I also know that if we  read 14 chapters a day it will be finished in about 85 days.  That does give us a little bit of room, if we get caught short on time or something on some days.

-Tim A. Blankenship