Genesis 22-24

September 21, 2015

abraham-isaac-sacrificeCh 22: Abraham is told to sacrifice Isaac. While ascending Mt Moriah to do the deed (Father) Abraham lays the wood for the sacrifice on his son Isaac, the child of promise, just as Jesus, the promised Messiah, carried His own cross up the same mountain centuries later. The angel of YHWH calls to Abraham “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me. Two things to note: We see the angel of the LORD describing Himself as God (because this is actually preincarnate Jesus), and Isaac is called Abraham’s “only son” (even though he did have Ishmael, who was not the child of promise) just as the Father called Jesus his “only begotten son”.

Ch 23: Sarah dies when Isaac is 37 yrs old. Abraham buys a piece of land for 400 shekels of silver in Hebron and places Sarah in a burial cave.

Ch 24: Abraham sends his servant back to Iraq to find a relative for Isaac to marry but makes the servant swear, if Abraham dies, not to take Isaac back with him, even if he can’t find a bride. Abraham is very concerned that his son continues to walk in the calling of Abraham, which was to settle in a new land. The bride, Rebekah, is Abraham’s brother’s grand daughter, a humble and lovely servant.


Interview with Asher Intrater, Messianic Jewish Pastor in Jerusalem

September 14, 2014

CBN News – “Asher Intrater, director of Revive Israel Ministries and pastor of Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem, has authored several books about Israel and its role in history.

Intrater was raised in a conservative Jewish home in the United States, but came to faith in Yeshua (Jesus) by what he describes as a series of supernatural experiences in the late 1970s.

Asher has helped write several books, including From Iraq to Armageddon, which offers an in-depth analysis of end-time prophecy concerning the Middle East, whether there’s a deeper reason for the war in Iraq, and how close the world may be to the battle of Armageddon.

Intrater spoke with CBN News in depth about what’s really happening in the Middle East from a biblical perspective.

What are the two prerequisites for Christ’s return? Are more Jewish people putting their faith in Christ? He answers this and more.” Source – CBN News.

Check out this awesome interview with Pastor Intrater.  Here is a shorter version, but the longer 18 minute version is highly recommended:


Galatians 3 — Faith or Human Effort?

September 1, 2014

Tiepolo-Abraham-and-IsaacIts important to recognize via the transitive property the equivalence that Paul assigns to the words “Law” and “flesh” in the first few verses of Chapter 3.  Paul says “did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” in v2 and then v3, “having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”  Paul understands that pursuing a relationship with God via the Law is tantamount to attempting to please God through fleshly efforts.  We know from Chapter 2 the law being discussed is the Mosaic Law, identified clearly by its association with circumcision.  Paul said in Ch. 2 that he is not rebuilding the old religion of rules and regulations, that if he did he would be nullifying the grace of God and Christ would have died needlessly.

Paul contrasts fleshly effort with faith, the act of believing God.  If God says that we are righteous in Christ, then the way we please Him is to simply receive that righteousness and walk in the Spirit (5:16).  Paul commends Abraham who believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (v6).  We are are blessed with Abraham “the believer” if we walk by faith.  Whereas Jim Staley wants us to demonstrate our faith by obedience to the Torah, Paul makes it clear that “the Law is not of faith” (v12).

Jim gives an “umbrella” illustration–he says the Law is like an umbrella that offers protection and keeps us dry–when we test the limits of the Law we begin to get wet.  The Law according to Jim defines a blessed life and keeps us from being cursed; obedience was never meant as the method to achieve salvation.  Paul however gives a different illustration of the Law–he describes it as a “tutor” (teacher) leading us to Christ to be justified by faith; and now that we have been so justified we are no longer under a tutor(vss 24-25).  So to Paul, those under the Law are seeking justification by obedience and those in Christ are justified by faith; Paul is clear: “the Law is not of faith”.

Mr. Staley says “we have turned (the Law) into the curse” but Paul quotes Duet 27:26:Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.”  The law is undoubtedly good (1 Tim 1:8, Rom 7:12) but that does not mean we should continue to live under it, umbrella or not.  Staley talks about there being a new Sheriff/authority in our lives, that we are no longer under the tutelage of the Law–he is correct–we are “under” the Spirit (Gal 3:2, Rom 8:1).  This completely changes our mindset from one of fear of violating rules and boundaries to confidence of acceptance in Christ (Eph 1:6)–we now walk in the command of Christ: “love one another” (John 13:34-35).

In reading through Galatians verse by verse Staley skips 3:13-18 for some reason, perhaps it was just an oversight.  This section is very important to Paul’s argument that we are no longer under the Law, however.  In it he discusses the difference between the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, and how the former is not invalidated by the later.  Earlier in verse 8 Paul quotes Gen 12:3 where it is written that all nations will be blessed in Abraham, “the believer” (v9).  Paul says our inheritance is not based on the Law which came 430 years after Abraham’s first act of faith, but on the promise given to Abraham.

When Jim resumes in v19 he criticizes “Greek” thinking which places the Law earlier and Jesus later, “linear points on the timeline”–but yet this is exactly what Paul is saying, over and over!  “Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (v25)–Paul is saying “it was this, now it is this”–I died to the Law” (2:19).  Staley says this doesn’t mean we still don’t have to keep the Law, just that there has been a “transfer of authority”, that the previous authority “has to step down”.  I would like to know what the difference is between that and the fact we are no longer subject to the Law?  Paul has made very clear that we walk by faith in the Spirit and not by the Law through the efforts of the flesh (v3).

Staley proceeds directly into Chapter 4, which is appropriate since the chapter break here does not follow the line of argument Paul is making about slaves vs. heirs.  We will pick up with the end of Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 next time.

This article is in reaction to this Jim Staley video.




Galatians and Jim Staley — Introduction and Discussion of “Two Houses”

June 26, 2014

staleyThis study of Galatians will be both my own, abbreviated commentary of the book and a critique of and rebuttal to Jim Staley’s video commentaries found here and here. After debating a poster on an online discussion board (see here) about whether the new covenant requires Christians to follow the Mosaic and Old Testament Laws or not (he and Jim Staley say “yes”, I say “no”), he suggested that I and other forum readers watch the teachings linked to above, which I have done.  So my principle purpose in this series will be to rebut the false teachings of those such as Jim Staley who prescribe following the old covenant as new covenant believers, not to elaborate on every nuance and uncover every nugget of Paul’s epistle to the Galatians.

In the first video, prior to interpreting the Book of Galatians, Mr. Staley begins with a 15-20 minute summary of his “two houses” belief system wherein Christ was sent only for the “lost House of Israel”, i.e., the 10 northern Hebrew tribes taken into exile in 722 BC who never returned and whom God “divorced”.  Although in the Law God prohibits remarriage, because Christ “the Bridegroom” died, the prohibition of remarriage also died, allowing God to remarry Israel.  Staley postulates that we who have believed in Christ belong to these lost tribes of Israel—we are one of the two sticks that are to be reunited in the land, per Ezek 37.  This belief is absolutely central to his construct around which is built our need to keep the Torah (more than just the 10 Commandments, we are to keep all the Laws except the sacrificial ones or that have to do with living in the land) since we are being called back into covenant with YHWH. Thus, in nearly every teaching he encourages watching his “Identity Crisis” video in which he proceeds to tell Christians that they can’t understand 2/3 of the Bible unless they see things his way, namely that God has two houses, Judah and Israel, and that you can’t be saved unless you are part of one or the other. Fortunately, per some proponents of this belief, you can be part of Israel without knowing it. Whew.twosticks

Mr. Staley opens his talk with 1 Peter 1:1-2 which uses the Greek word eklektos or “elect” to describe those called to salvation by God including those in Galatia, to whom of course the epistle to the Galatians is written.  So then, when Paul went to Galatia and the rest of the Mediterranean he was only looking for the “lost ship of Israel”, and in fact, Jesus was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel (see Mt 15:24). But Staley, perhaps for a lack of time, perhaps not, ignores the context of Christ’s statement, namely a Gentile woman asking for help, which Jesus eventually gives.  The whole notion of redemption for the “lost sheep of Israel” only is preposterous when we look at the entirety of the new testament and specifically Paul, who declares that the gospel brings “salvation to everyone who believes—to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom 1:16). Jesus statement is one of priority, not exclusion.  Paul describes himself as an “apostle of Gentiles”, which in the OT is the opposite of Israel.

Staley mistakenly says we, as Gentiles, are “split from one olive tree, one cultivated and one wild, and he’s grafting them both together…”  No, this is not what scripture says.  In Rom 11:24 Paul says “For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree…” Our (Gentile, v13, 25) tree was always “wild”—Israel (not Judah, see context and particularly v7 and v25) is of the “cultivated” olive tree.  We were never part of their tree; per v24 we are “grafted into a cultivated olive tree”, Israel. There is no “two houses”, there is one “house”, Israel, and the believing Gentiles have been grafted into it.

This falsestaley2 “two house” view could be explored in much more detail, and has been elsewhere.  I would recommend which says “Two House doctrine is sort of “Replacement Theology” in reverse.”  Exactly true. See also and . Although I haven’t read every word of these and can’t endorse them without reservation, these will offer a good start at unmasking the non-biblicality of “Two House Theology”.

The next article will look at Galatians 1, compared with Staley’s view.

Zechariah Ch. 02

March 13, 2014

zechariah_21 Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a man with a measuring line in his hand. [In v16 of Ch 1 the Angel of the LORD predicted that Jerusalem, the city of God, would be measured; the “man” in this verse is likely YHWH’s “angel”, since the man of Ch 1 was also revealed to be the Angel of YHWH]

2 So I [Zechariah] said, “Where are you going?” And he [the 1st angel, the Angel of YHWH] said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see how wide it is and how long it is.” [The reason will be revealed in verse 4]

3 And behold, the angel who was speaking with me [the Angel of YHWH] was going out, and another angel [a second angel] was coming out to meet him,

measuring line4 and said to him [to the 1st angel, the Angel of YHWH], “Run, speak to that young man [Zechariah], saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it [in the future it will be bursting at the seams, amazing given the few that returned from captivity to the devastated city].

5 For I’, declares the LORD,‘will be a wall of fire around her [no walls needed, YHWH will protect His people], and I will be the glory in her midst.’” [He will be present with her]

6 Ho there! Flee from the land of the north,” [the 2nd angel speaking] declares the LORD [YHWH],“for I have dispersed you as the four winds of the heavens,” declares the LORD [though the Jews slowly returned to the land of Israel, with the population zenith occurring in the 1st Century AD, this seems to be a dual prophecy concerning the 2nd, “end times” regathering prophesied by Isaiah (11:11)].

7 “Ho, Zion! [the 2nd angel speaking] Escape, you who are living with the daughter of Babylon.” [calling to others who had not yet returned, as Zechariah had]

8 For thus says the LORD [YHWH] of hosts [the 2nd angel speaking], “After glory [after YHWH is glorified by his people “they will look on Me whom they have pierced”] He [YHWH the Father] has sent me [YHWH the Son] against the nations which plunder you [Israel], for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.Apple of God's Eyes

9 For behold [the 2nd angel continuing to tell the 1st angel, the “man” who measured Jerusalem, what He is to say to Zechariah], I [YHWH the Son] will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts [YHWH the Father] has sent Me [YHWH the Son].

10 Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion [the 2nd angel speaking]; for behold I am coming [YHWH the Son] and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the LORD [How will He do that? As a glorified man, YHWH the Son].

11 “Many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day [the 2nd angel speaking about what YHWH would do] and will become My people [By receiving YHWH the Son]. Then I [YHWH the Son] will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the LORD of hosts [YHWH the Father] has sent Me [YHWH the Son] to you [Israel].

12 The LORD [YHWH] will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem [where YHWH will dwell bodily as Yeshua the God-man, “after glory”].

13 “Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.” [YHWH will be coming to earth to dwell in Jerusalem].

Zechariah Ch. 01

January 26, 2014

zechariah_horses1 In the eighth month of the second year of Darius [Fall of 520 BC within months of Haggai’s prophecy; Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon on March 16, 597 BC, so this book begins about 7 years after the 70 years of the Babylonian Captivity], the word of the LORD [YAHWEH per Blue Letter Bible, see here] came to Zechariah [meaning: “The Lord Remembers”] the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo saying,

2 “The LORD [Capitalization of “LORD” or “GOD” in NASB always is “YHWH” (YAHWEH) in Hebrew, The triune God’s personal name] was very angry with your fathers.

3 Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the LORD of hosts [If we return to YAHWEH-God He will always return to us, see also James 4:8: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”]

4 “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return [Hebrew ‘shuv’, occurring over 1100 times in the OT] now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.”’ But they did not listen or give heed to Me,” declares the LORD [In the NT we are told to “repent”, which simply means to “return”, turn around, change one’s mind].

5 “Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But did not My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, overtake your fathers? [Don’t think you can outsmart God, be wise, submit to Him] Then they repented [again the word ‘shuv’, same as “return” in v4 above] and said, ‘As the LORD of hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so He has dealt with us.’”’”

7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat [Winter of 519 BC, about 4 months later], in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, as follows:

8 I saw at night [the work of rebuilding the temple took place in the context of spiritual darkness], and behold, a man [Because of Zech 1:11, we know this “man” is the Angel of the LORD (YAHWEH), and that He is God, see v11] was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtle trees [an evergreen of the Laurel family, probably representing Israel, the people of God] which were in the ravine [a low, humble place], with red, sorrel and white horses [connecting these with the four horsemen of Revelation 6:1-8 doesn’t seem to work, because these are patrollers and not messengers of judgment] behind him.

9 Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” And the angel [Yeshua, the angel of the LORD, see v11] who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are.” [when we ask for wisdom, God gives it]

10 And the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered [Zechariah asked the angel, but it was the man among the myrtles that answered – they are the same person] and said, “These are those whom the LORD [YAHWEH] has sent to patrol the earth.”

11 So they answered the angel of the LORD who was standing among the myrtle trees [here it is even more clearly stated – the “man among the myrtles” and the angel of the LORD are the same; moreover, this is a special “angel”, the “angel of YAHWEH”; this is a Christophany, an appearance of Christ Jesus in the OT, wherein a heavenly man is revealed to be God Himself; see also Gen 16:7-13,  22:11-18, Exo 2:3-9 and Judges 2:1-4, among many others] and said, “We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth is peaceful and quiet.” [but not the right kind: the earth is at rest at the expense of YAHWEH’s people, so in reality, there is no rest at all]

12 Then the angel of the LORD said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” [Yeshua interceding for His people before God the Father; per Heb 7:24-26 He is a priest forever and is always interceding for us]

13 The LORD [YAHWEH the Father] answered the angel [YAHWEH the Son] who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words. [Per 2 Cor 1:3 He is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort”]

14 So the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I [the angel speaking in the first person as God] am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. [the passion of God for His people is clearly evident]

15 But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease [the import of a “peaceful and quiet” earth is now evident]; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster.”

16 Therefore thus says the LORD [YAHWEH], “I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,” [the temple was completed in four years] declares the LORD of hosts, “and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.”’ [the ultimate fulfillment is in Rev 21:15, when the heavenly Jerusalem descends and is measured: 1,500 miles square]

17 Again, proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.”’” [quite a promise for the returnees just a few years removed from Babylon, struggling to rebuild the temple and ruined cities]

18 Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there were four horns. 19  So I said to the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these?” And he answered me, “These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.” [the number four represents the world and worldly kingdoms – for instance there’s 4 seasons, 4 compass directions and 4 kingdoms described in Dan 2 & 7: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and most likely Rome; these could be the same four kingdoms represented by the horns, two of which had not yet come to trouble Israel; a “horn” is symbol of human power, for instance, the “little horn” of Dan 8]

20 Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21 I said, “What are these coming to do?” And he said, “These are the horns which have scattered Judah so that no man lifts up his head; but these craftsmen have come to terrify them, to throw down the horns of the nations who have lifted up their horns against the land of Judah in order to scatter it.” [the craftsman are sent by God to protect vulnerable Israel from worldly powers; a craftsman would grind down or cut off the horns]

NASB translation [with my notes in blue]

Zechariah Ch. 04

January 21, 2014

twoolivetrees1 Then the angel [Yeshua, the angel of YAHWEH/”the LORD”] who was speaking with me returned and roused me [it is God who initially awakens us], as a man who is awakened from his sleep [Zechariah is seeing a vision, either while sleeping or during a waking dream; ‘sleep’ in the NT is a euphemism for ‘death’; we are spiritually dead until we are awakened by Yeshua/Jesus].

2  He said to me, “What do you see?” [similar to the question Yeshua asked the blind man after opening his eyes in Mark 7:33] And I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it [they had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, he sees a vision of the lampstand, representing the presence and light of God, that would always stay lit in the temple.  The temple is a type of the people of God, in which God’s presence should be continuously dwelling];

3  also two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left side.” [John also saw two olive trees in the Rev 11:4 interlude, representing the old and new covenant “ekklesia”, Israel and the church. Two is the number of ‘witness’–Yeshua sends out the witnesses two by two in Mt 18:16]

4 Then I said to the angel who was speaking with me saying, “What are these, my lord?” [properly addressing the “angel”, since he is actually Yeshua-God]

5 So the angel who was speaking with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” [we need revelation from God to discern spiritual truths]

6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD [YAHWEH] to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD [YAHWEH] of hosts. [In this OT verse we have the three persons of the triune God – the “angel” Yeshua the Son declaring Yahweh God the Father says we can only accomplish His purposes through God the Spirit]

7 ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel [the leader, called and chosen of God to accomplish His purposes; a type of an obedient disciple] you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” [Jesus said if we had faith we could declare to the mountain “be removed” – mountains in our lives will be removed by faith in God’s grace]

8 Also the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will finish it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. [The words of the Lord are trustworthy; “He who began a good work in you will complete it …”]

10 For who has despised the day of small things? [Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, one of the smallest, but it will grow into a tree, Lk 13:19] But these seven will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel—these are the eyes of the Lord which range to and fro throughout the earth.” [see also Zech 3:9; ‘seven’ is the perfect number of God and the ‘eyes’ represent God’s omniscience–He alone is able to see all things perfectly, no matter how concealed they are to our perception]

11 Then I said to him, “What are these two olive trees on the right of the lampstand and on its left?” 12  And I answered the second time and said to him, “What are the two olive branches which are beside the two golden pipes, which empty the golden oil from themselves?” [the ‘oil’ from the olive trees, God’s OT & NT ekklesia, give glory to God by the oil (fruit) they produce–the lamp of God shines by burning the olive oil, giving glory to God]

13 So he [Yeshua the angel of YAHWEH] answered me, saying, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” 14 Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones [the OT and NT ekklesia, Israel & the church] who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth.”

%d bloggers like this: