Tuesday, January 10, 2017

He`s Alive!

Today was a day of fasting on the Jewish Calendar, Tevet 10.  You can read about it HERE.  I just wanted to mention how the year`s parashiot (Torah Readings) and the feast days--which includes fast days-- are arranged to go together.  Our Messiah Yeshua himself read the readings on this same timing, on  Shabbat in the synagogues, though I am not sure if in His time it was on a three year cycle of the reading or one year like we do today, but in either case we see Him in the Scriptures reading on this very cycle of Parashiot that continues year after year today!!   

This fast day of repentance commemorates the the seige leading to the destruction of the second Temple of Jerusalem.  It falls in the middle of the Parashiot readings about Joseph, and his brothers repentance.  If we take the time to do these observances, there is so much spoken through them. It is my first year to do many of the observances, so I am by no means an expert, but I just want to share  some of the things that were on my heart while learning about the Tevet 10 this first time, and how it relates again to the parshat and readings and in our lives.

In the parshat, Joseph just revealed himself to his brothers.  Just imagine their hearts that for all these years.   They knew and were keeping inside the terrible thing they did by trying to kill and sell their own brother.  This thing they lived with all these years, and then they meet Joseph who is not only alive but is King over all Egypt and the world at that time, and who is the one who will save the family and nations.  Now finally it is their time to repent.

Now skip to today, on this day of Tevet 10.  It is very beautiful to have this day of fasting.  Even though I didn`t know anyone personally who was observing it, I wanted to join in my heart with the Jewish people on this day, in this year for me of `teshuva` , which means `return` to God.  It is a time to seek forgiveness for the days of the second Temple when Jewish people were assimilating and not keeping their ways and focus on ADONAI.  It is also a time to remember the death of Ezra the Scribe, and other occasions in Jewish history.  I learned also that in recent times, 10 Tevet also became the day to say kaddish for the victims of the Holocaust, for many of whom the day of martyrdom is unknown (reference link to article about 10 Tevet).   It is a day of prayer and repentance world wide.  

On this day I also think about how many Jewish people still do not know that the Messiah we are waiting for has come.   When Messiah Yeshua reveals himself to the Jewish people, how will we receive Him in our hearts?  We have a chance to understand the great feelings of remorse and repentance, and the overwhelming joy,  that we as a people will have when we see, like Joseph`s brothers did, that our Messiah is alive! He has been all along, and is coming back as King of all the World.

Like Joseph whose identity on the outside was changed, and his brothers don`t recognize him until the time he reveals itself, can we see this as the same with our Messiah Yeshua.  In Paul Wilbur`s book, Touching the Heart of God, he gives an example from the life of Joseph.  When Joseph`s brothers came to Egypt before Joseph to buy grain...not one of them recognized him! Why?  Because he looked like an Egyptian, he dressed like an Egyptian...He was called by an Egyptian name, and he even spoke to them by way of an interpreter...because he was so carefully removed and completely absorbed, Joseph was unrecognizable for who he truly was.  Paul Wilbur goes on to make the connection to Yeshua, who too ...is a prince among His people, but because He has been so carefully and methodically removed from His land and culture, He is unrecognizable by His own brothers (the Hebrews) as the Jewish Messiah.  His name has been changed; even His culture and clothing have been changed.  (quoted from `Touching the Heart of God, Embracing the Calendar of the Kingdom, Paul Wilbur, pages 82~83.  Read more in the book you can find HERE!)

I grew up Jewish and never even knew that Jesus Christ was Jewish, or that he was even considered as a candidate for the Messiah.  It was as if He didn`t exist as far as our Jewish education was concerned.  So when He revealed Himself to me, a Jewish girl from Long Island all the way here in Japan, it was indeed a great Miracle, a great surprise surpassing anything I ever imagined,  and a great joy.

 If the Jewish people knew that the one we are awaiting, our Jewish Messiah the Prince of Peace and Salvation of the World, Yeshua, His name itself means Salvation, has come, how do we prepare our hearts for our great repentance, and at the same time joyous and over-joyous news that our Messiah has come!

On this day of repentance on the 10th day of Tevet, I pray that Jewish people around the world will seek deeply in our hearts and repent and receive the Good News that indeed our brother and Saviour Yeshua is alive. He is not only our Messiah, but Saviour of the World, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.  He is the one who gives us bread in times of plenty and in times of famine.  He is the Bread of Life.  And He is coming again.  May we recognize Him, embrace Him, and may we come to Him humble and with repentant hearts, and receive the bread He has stored up for us in times of our (spiritual) famine, and receive His abundance of Truth and eternal Life.

When  Joseph`s brothers showed the great fear they had of that Joseph was holding anger towards them all these years, what does Joseph say?

He told them not to be afraid, and that even though they themselves planned evil against him, "God planned it for good, in order to bring about what it is this day---to preserve the lives of many people".  (from Genesis 50:30) 

We know all too well Yeshua`s amazing last words on the cross where he asks that his `brothers` and those who planned evil against him, be forgiven.   Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.  ---Luke 23:34

May we let down our defenses that we have built up in our hearts; may we seek forgiveness and receive His Salvation as we eagerly await and pray for all Israel be Saved, and for all  to become one in Messiah Yeshua!!

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