Monthly Archives: March 2015

How Old is the Earth?

For in six days YHVH made the heavens and the earth

“…for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.” Ex 30:17

My first posting on the topic of God (Elohim) as Creator discusses why we should believe that YHVH is the Creator of everything in the universe. In my second posting on this topic, I talked about the vast storehouse of evidence that points to a super intelligent Designer for our universe. One of the most controversial and divisive topics in the creation-evolution debate, even within the Christian community, is the actual time-frame for the creation of the world.

The best place to begin our study is Genesis 1. It is significant that the Hebrew word for Genesis is bereshit, which means “beginnings”. Starting with Genesis 1:5, each passage that describes an element of God’s Creation uses the Hebrew word yom (day), plus a number (1,2,3..). The Hebrew word yom is used over 2300 times in the Tanach (Old Testament). Outside of Genesis 1, yom plus a number (used 410 times) always refers to an ordinary day, that is a 24-hour time period. The words “evening” (erev) and “morning” (boker) are used together 38 times in the scriptures, and always denote an ordinary day. Finally, when yom + “evening” or “morning” or yom + “night” (Hebrew lailah) are used in scripture, they also denote a 24-hour day.

Since yom is used in one of these ways every time it is stated in Genesis 1, it is evident that the author meant 24-hour periods. The references to “evening” and “morning” make no sense unless they refer to a literal 24-hour period. This literal translation of yom was the standard interpretation of the Creation passages in Genesis 1:5-2:2 until the mid-1800’s when a paradigm shift occurred within the scientific community (based on the theories of Sir Charles Lyell and others), and the earth’s sedimentary strata layers were reinterpreted to show long ages of time (millions instead of thousands of years). Whereas previously the rock layers were interpreted as evidence of Noah’s flood, the flood model was thrown out by the scientific community and the rock layers were reinterpreted as evidence for an excessively old earth. Some well-meaning but very misguided Christians then sought to reconcile this new anti-flood, anti-biblical interpretation with the Genesis account by reinterpreting yom to mean vast, unspecified periods of time.

Scientific research over the past 50 years reveals that the sedimentary rock layers in the crust of the earth formed very rapidly and under catastrophic conditions. This would be an expected result of a global, catastrophic flood (see Five Evidences for a Flood, Brad Forlow). A strong indication of the wide-spread scale of this catastrophe is the scope of the rock layers which, in some cases, cover an entire territory such as the Rocky Mountain, Midwest, and Ozark states of the US. Another strong piece of evidence for a global flood is the sedimentary rock layers and marine fossils found at the top of the highest mountain ranges in the world.

Dramatic geologic formations around the world, such as the Grand Canyon, also show evidence of catastrophic flooding. Although there are 5,000 feet of layered strata stacked on top of one another in the Canyon, the fact that they are sedimentary and twisted into very dramatic formations within a short space indicates that the rock layers were laid down underwater, with a large volume of water rushing through the area at a high velocity. A modern-day illustration of the power of water is the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. Although this was a local catastrophe, the incredible earth reshaping damage was mostly water-related. When it was heated, the glacier on top rapidly liquefied, and the super-heated torrent of water raced down the mountain as a mighty flood, eroding soil rocks, trees and anything else in its path. When the eruption and ensuing floods were finished, up to 600 feet of sediments had been deposited, forming layers made up of plant and animal remains. The sediments have now hardened, forming a “mini Grand Canyon”.

In addition to rock layers, there are many other evidences for a young Earth and solar system, including (see Thousands…Not Billions, Dr. Don DeYoung): rapidly decaying magnetic field, number of years that the Sun could continue to burn intensely; lack of dust on the moon; lack of sediments and salts in the world’s oceans; soft tissue and DNA found in “ancient” fossils; helium in radioactive rocks; and Carbon-14 found in fossils, coal, and diamonds, to name a few. For many years, scientists have realized that Carbon-14 particles are found in places where they should not exist according to the evolutionary timeline. With a half-life of about 5,700 years, measurable levels of Carbon-14 should not be found within ancient fossils, coal or diamonds, which are supposedly millions of years old.

The evidence cited above for a young earth (thousands and not billions of years old) is amazing, but it is far more amazing when we think of a God who could create all of this in only six days. This amazingly creative God, who is our Father and Lord, loves us and wants to spend time with the humans He created to be in His image. Give it a try – spend time with YHVH – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

When Will Yeshua Return?

blessed is He who comesAmid endless speculation and discussion concerning end times events, and especially the timing of Messiah Yeshua’s return, one important factor is often overlooked. Both the Old and New Testaments agree that one thing must happen before Yeshua will return (Matt 23:39). The Jews as a group must invite Yeshua to return.

At Yeshua’s first coming, He announced that He was the long-awaited Messiah and performed signs and wonders that only Messiah would be able to perform. However, many of the Jewish leaders were threatened by Messiah’s coming. Yeshua criticized their practices and leadership. They did not humble themselves and submit to Messiah’s kingship, but rejected Yeshua and many Jews followed the guidance of their leaders and rejected Him as well.

 Yeshua warned them that He would not return to them until they proclaimed, “Blessed is He that comes in the name of YHVH.” In 70 AD the Temple was destroyed as and the Jews were killed or driven from Israel. Although, there has always been a small remnant of Jews who remained in the land, the Jewish people would not again reside in the land as a nation until 1948.

 It is now over 70 years since Israel was declared a nation once again. So, why hasn’t the nation of Israel made the statement necessary to usher in Messiah Yeshua’s return? What are the obstacles to Israel welcoming Yeshua as Messiah? The list below provides some insight:

  • Persecution of Jews at the hand of Christians in the name of Jesus for 2000 years
  • Reading the New Testament is forbidden or discouraged for many Jews since it is viewed not only as heresy, but is perceived as a hate document due to the aforementioned persecution
  • Key passages of Old Testament Scripture pointing to Yeshua are forbidden reading or are not included in the Parasha series in most Jewish congregations.
  • False teaching and tradition regarding Yeshua from both Jewish and Christian leaders
  • Fear of the loss of identity as Jews due to false Christian teaching (having to relinquish worship, feasts, Sabbaths, etc. and adopting practices that are not only foreign, but are even expressly forbidden by YHVH
  • Speaking the name of YHVH. Current common practice is that the name of YHVH is too sacred to be written or pronounced aloud, rendering it impossible to welcome the One Who comes in the name of YHVH.
  • Misunderstanding of the tri-une God and thus rejection of Yeshua as the Son of YHVH or as equal to YHVH because YHVH is one (echad). Actually, echad not only designates the number one in Hebrew, but can also designate unity, such as a husband and wife who are one (echad).

 Both Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Messiah Yeshua who yearn for Yeshua’s return can play a vital and active role in addressing and removing these obstacles. How can we make a difference?

 First, pray for the salvation of Israel and for the Jewish people still scattered throughout the world (Gen 12:2-3).

 Second, educate yourself and seek the truth concerning the history and development of Christianity, the various forms of persecution of the Jews by Christians over the past two thousand years, the reasons for avoiding the name of YHVH, and so on. Seek to understand the misconceptions of the Jewish people as well as your own misconceptions. Some suggested resources are listed at the end of this article (Hosea 4:6).

Third, reach out to the Jewish people with love and understanding. Seek forgiveness and reconciliation where needed (Ps. 133:1).

 YHVH has always known that the enemy would go all out to bring about the rejection of Messiah Yeshua and to try to prevent Yeshua’s return in glory. YHVH is well aware that the enemy would succeed in deceiving humans into cooperating with him. However, YHVH has graciously provided opportunities to each of us to shake off the lies, embrace the truth and reverse the present course

 YHVH carries out His plan through us even when our own efforts are misguided. This is clearly demonstrated in the gospel accounts of Yeshua’s entry into Jerusalem on a donkey just days before His crucifixion. The people were lined up with palm branches silently awaiting the arrival of the high priest’s spotless Passover lamb. His followers recognized the true spotless Lamb (Yeshua) and began to hail Him. The others, thinking that the high priest’s lamb had been spotted, joined in the chorus, not realizing that they were “accidentally” hailing the ultimate High Priest and Lamb.

 YHVH will see to it that the Jewish people recognize their Messiah. Yeshua will return to Jerusalem to begin His reign on earth. We can have the privilege of helping in YHVH’s plan by doing our part to bring about this glorious event.

Suggested Resources

Our Hands Are Stained with Blood by Michael L. Brown

Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus by Michael L. Brown (3 volumes)

Introducing Your Jewish Friend to Yeshua by Daniel Nessim and Mark Surey

The Messianic Church Arising!:Restoring the Church to Our Covenant Roots by Robert D. Heidler and Chuck D. Pierce

Restoring The Jewishness of the Gospel:  A Message for Christians Condensed from Messianic Judaism by David H. Stern

Messiah in the Feasts of Israel by Sam Nadler

Ultimate Struggle in God’s Star Pictures

Scorpio2

Many scriptures describe Yeshua’s conflict with and victory over the great adversary (HaSatan). These “good vs. evil” conflict scriptures lead us into the third major sign in the Zodiac: Scorpio, or Akrab in Hebrew which means “the Redeemer’s conflict”. The word pictures in this sign and its three related constellations clearly depict the Messiah as our Redeemer, who comes to save us from the power of the enemy.

The first and most familiar allusion to Messiah’s great battle with the enemy is in Genesis 3:14-15, where God curses the serpent (the devil) and says to him that He will “…put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He [Messiah] shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel”. This prophecy from YHVH set in motion the spiritual battle between HaSatan and the children of Eve that continues through the ages. Hebrews 2:14 describes how Yeshua, through His death, destroyed the one who has the power to bring death (the devil). Because of Yeshua’s victory over the enemy, we as YHVH’s children now have His authority to defeat the power of HaSatan in our lives (Luke 10:19, Romans 16:20, Psalm 91:13 and Revelation 12:11).

The Scorpio star-pictures graphically illustrate each of these scripture prophecies. In a couple of previous “Gospel in the Stars” postings, I discussed how Yeshua (Jesus) represents the strong man in Psalm 19:5. In this star sign, there are two images representing the Messiah as the Strong Man: El Gibbor (which means “Mighty God” as in Isaiah 9:6) and Ophiuchus, derived from a Hebrew word meaning “Mighty One”. In Scorpio, these Strong Men characters are actively engaged in warfare with the enemy, and are winning the battle! We see the serpent (Serpens) struggling vainly with Ophiuchus. Although the serpent [HaSatan] stole the crown from Adam in the Garden, he is not able to steal the crown from Messiah Yeshua in the ultimate battle between YHVH and the enemy. At the same time Ophiuchus is treading on the heart of the Scorpion, which is the bright star Antares, meaning “the wounding” (from Arabic) or “the heart of the scorpion” (from its Latin name).

In this star-picture, the Mighty God, El Gibbor (paganized to Hercules by the Greeks) has His foot positioned over the head of Draco the dragon (which also represents the devil in Revelation 20:2-3) ready to crush him with His foot. The finality of Messiah Yeshua’s victory over the evil one is shown in Revelation 20:1-3, 10 (“And He [Yeshua] seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, which is the devil and Satan,…and threw him into the pit…and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur…where [he] will be tormented day and night forever and ever”). In the end, HaSatan is thrown into the lake of fire and will never again return to deceive and torment YHVH’s children.

Many people in our modern society seek to know the future by studying the stars from a pagan perspective (astrology) or other means of worldly prophecy. However, we can know the truth of the future from the beautifully accurate stories YHVH painted into the stars from the beginning of His creation. The message in the Scorpio star-pictures has helped confirm for us the scriptures which prophesied Messiah’s victory over the enemy, as well as our authority to tread on the enemy (serpents and scorpions, from Luke 10:19) and to trample the serpent [HaSatan] under our feet (Psalm 91:13).

We pray Abba’s blessings over you to seek and know the truth of Abba’s word (both in writing and painted in the sky). We pray that this new revelation will help you grasp ahold of the authority that YHVH has blessed us with, that in the name of our Lord Yeshua HaMashiach we can defeat the fiery darts of the enemy that come against us in our daily lives.

Invisible Treasure

keep pursuing the goalAs discussed in previous article, Yeshua paid a heavy price for His treasure. We are His pearls of great value. Yeshua is our Pearl of great value, a value far beyond what we can comprehend. Yeshua was once on this earth, but we can no longer see Him. However, He is real and still very much alive, even though to us He is invisible right now.

Let us examine Scripture to learn some of the aspects of Yeshua’s value. The following list is but a fragment of all that describes Messiah Yeshua, but it is plenty for us to contemplate. Yeshua is fully human, but He is also fully God (Matt 16:16; 1 Tim 3:16)). Our treasure is God Himself! Our Father refers to Yeshua as “My Beloved Son. (Matt 17:5).” In western thinking, we tend to view Yeshua as somewhat inferior to Father, but in Hebrew thinking the firstborn son is equal to his father. Colossians 1:15 refers to Yeshua as the first-born of every creature. Yeshua came to restore all creation.

 Our Redeemer is the Creator and Upholder of all things. (Col. 1:16; Heb.1:3). Yeshua refers to Himself as the Alef and the Tav (in Greek, the Alpha and Omega) (Rev. 1:8, 22:3). In ancient Hebrew, each letter was a picture. The alef is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and was a picture of a strong bull designating both a leader and a protector. The tav, which is the last letter of the alphabet, was a picture of a cross being carried. Yeshua, Who is first and strongest, made Himself to be last and weakest for our sake (John 1:29).

 Yeshua is eternal life (1 John 1:2; John 11:25). We all face death in our mortal bodies, but we have hope of eternal life in and through Yeshua. In our present life, we may have many trials and tribulations, but we can look forward with hope to a joyous and triumphant life in Messiah Yeshua for eternity.

 Everything we will ever need or desire is in Yeshua. He is our Shepherd (John 10:16). He is the true Vine and we, the branches, receive power and abundant life through Him (John 10:10; John 15:5). It is only with His lifeblood flowing through us that we are able to be fruitful in the Kingdom of God.

 Yeshua is our Provider (John 6:35) and with Him we will want for nothing. We need never fear for Yeshua is also our Rock (Ps. 19:14; 1 Cor 10:4); and our Refuge in all the storms that threaten us (Isa 25:4). Yeshua is our wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption (1 Cor 1:30).

 Many people mistakenly believe that there are many ways to God. Yeshua has revealed to us that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Even if it were possible to find another way to the Father, why would we desire anyone or anything else? Yeshua is everything to us (Col 3:11). Therefore, it is our joy and privilege to die to ourselves, so that we may have life in Him. If we are willing to give up all that we have, we will be abundantly compensated (Mark 10:29-30). Our Pearl is priceless indeed!