The Clarion, July 2020
It’s hard to believe that this is already the third issue of The Clarion. We hope you had an enjoyable celebration on Independence Day. Make sure you stay cool and hydrated during these dog days of summer. If you haven’t seen our newest brochure, Social Justice, you can find it on our website, along with an extended teaching on the same subject.
RUNNING WITH HORSES, PART 3
As we continue looking at Jeremiah 12:5, God tells Jeremiah this: “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?” We want to continue looking at this response of God to Jeremiah and how it relates to us. Please refer back to parts 1 and 2. Revelation 6:5-6 continues with the third horse, and it reads, “When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, ‘Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!’” We have had famines all throughout time. We see this in the days of Abraham. Genesis 12:10 tells us, “Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.” Isaac also saw a famine as we read in Genesis 26:1, “Now there was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar.” Jacob also saw a famine, as we see in Genesis 42:5, “So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.” This was the famine that brought Jacob to Egypt, for Joseph was sent ahead to save the people. These are just a few of the times in the Bible (there are many more), but even today we see famines, mostly in Africa, but this is not totally what this Scripture is talking about. Today if there is a famine or natural disaster, countries from around the world send relief. But, notice the cost of the wheat and the barley? A day’s wage! You see, the longer the horses ride the greater in intensity their judgment. This is talking about global famine, a famine where other countries will not be able to send relief. How then will you be able to run with the horses? Will they bring you down? Today food is everything. We have so much, especially in this country, that all we have to do is go to our refrigerators or open our cabinets or run to the nearest store or even the gas station. For many people, food is their god as Philippians 3:18-21 tells us, “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Messiah. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Messiah Yeshua, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” Today we must put nothing before our Messiah. We must have that self-control which is a fruit of the Spirit and we must put our mind on things above. We must return to fasting and praying. We must learn to deny ourselves and pick up our cross and follow our Messiah. In Revelation 6:7-8 we see the horses continue to ride, as it tells us, “When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” We see here that the fourth horse will bring such destruction and it will encompass all the other three horses. So, maybe you may say that you are able to run with the horses, but when the fourth horse comes along it will bring an overwhelming time of trials and tribulations. It will take great faith to overcome the trials. Over the decades, we have seen different wars. Even here in America we had the Civil War and of course different attacks on our country like Pearl Harbor, 9/11, and civil unrest. We have seen so much violence in our larger cities, mass shootings almost every weekend if not daily. We have had different plagues like ebola, polio, the Spanish Flu, the bubonic plague, influenza, and the coronavirus for some examples, where thousands of people have died. We have had recessions and depressions and great poverty over the years. But today God wants to do a work in you so that you will be an overcomer. 2 Peter 1:5-11 tells us, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Messiah Yeshua. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Messiah Yeshua.” Paul tells us in Romans 5:2-5, “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” In John 16:33 Yeshua tells us, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” God wants us to overcome. He wants us to have the faith that will see us through. He wants us to learn to trust Him in all things. How about you? Will you win the race? Let God prepare you today so that you will be able to cross the finish line as an overcomer. We are going to look at the last three horses next month, but till then run the race with endurance.
COUNTRY OF THE MONTH
Every month, we pray for a specific country where Christians are experiencing persecution. This month, we are praying for the nation of Algeria. The population of this country is over 98% Muslim, and people who convert to Christianity from Islam face serious backlash from their family and community. Additionally, the government has recently started closing down churches. Here are some ways you can pray:
• Pray that Christians in Algeria will be encouraged and emboldened despite violence and hardship.
• Pray that religious freedom will prevail.
• Pray that missionaries will be successful in providing Bibles to believers.
• Pray that those who are sharing their faith will be protected and successful, and that many Algerians (including the persecutors) will come to know the truth and receive salvation through Yeshua.
By Sandie Balistreri, Copyright 2010
Time is endless when you know the Lord.
Trust the Lord, For He is good and worthy to be trusted.
When all seems lost
And you don’t know where to turn,
Trust the Lord.
Give Him your anxieties and let Him fill you with peace.
In your weakness, your brokenness, and your littleness,
Let the Lord take over for you.
Let Him strengthen you, let Him lift you up,
Let Him make you tall as you allow Him to work in your life.
Nothing is impossible for the Lord if you trust Him.
He can make all things new.
He can change your life in every situation if you trust Him.
He is ready to take your hand and lead you.
Trust the Lord, for He is worthy to be praised.
Are we today repeating what took place with Moses? Let’s look closer using this analogy. Exodus 34:29-35 says, “It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers in the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them. Afterward all the sons of Israel came near, and he commanded them to do everything that the Lord had spoken to him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded, the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him.” When the people saw Moses and the skin of his face shone, they were afraid to come near him. So Moses put a veil over his face. Isn’t this what is happening today? We are afraid to come near people if they do not have a mask. Today we say that we must listen to the scientists and the doctors. The world relies on science. That is Humanism. But as Christians, we must rely on God. If we trust man and not God, then we are not worshiping God but man. If we do not come before God and seek Him out, then we are relying on man and not God. Psalm 9:10 says, “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” As believers, God does not want us to hide. We are the light of the world, and right now the world needs the light. Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Acts 13:47 says, “For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” We can not hide behind a mask. We can not hide the Word of God, nor can we hide ourselves from people. We must seek God and do His will. The longer the believers hide, the quicker the world is falling into darkness. Mark 16:15 tells us, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” As believers we should be out on the front lines—not protesting, but preaching the Word of God, trusting Him in all things. As 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 tells us: “Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Messiah. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” Now, you may say this is all foolish: I would not close my eyes and cross the highway thinking that God would protect me, and you would be correct to not do that. But I began by saying that we need to seek God, because God is able to protect us. There are numerous stories about God’s protection. Let us not get sidetracked about a virus or any other thing that may come along. We serve God, and we must go out and gather the fruit of His fields. We must go out and comfort those who need to be comforted. We must encourage and bring hope and light and salvation. We must be strong and courageous, walking in faith as children of a mighty God.
EXCERPTS FROM “WHERE DID THE KINGDOM GO?”
We want to look at the question, where did the Kingdom go? Now you may say, “The Kingdom is in heaven, why ask where it went?” Today, the believer lives more for the world than he does for the Kingdom. We have lost the vision of the Kingdom to come. We do not live by Kingdom principles nor do we promote the Kingdom. Yeshua talked so much about the Kingdom and what it was like and who will see it that you have to ask yourself, “Where did the Kingdom go?” Today we seldom hear anyone preach or teach about the Kingdom of God. So let’s look at what the Scriptures tell us about the Kingdom, otherwise known as the Messianic Age. But first, has there been a misconception about the Kingdom? The kingdom is not in heaven only, but right here on earth. The prophets spoke a lot about the coming Messianic Kingdom. See, for example, Isaiah 2:2-4 and Zechariah 9:9-10. The book of Revelation also talks about the Kingdom. See Revelation 20:6 and 21:1. In these passages we see that after the 1,000 years, a new heaven and a new earth will be created, for the Kingdom will continue to exist forever. Prior to Yeshua’s birth, his mother Mary was told by the angel that He would sit on the throne of David (Luke 1:30-33). Yeshua began His ministry with the message, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Yes, the Kingdom has now come down to earth and we can now live as citizens of the Kingdom, here and now. Yeshua talked a lot about the Kingdom. He said that the Kingdom will belong to the poor in spirit and the persecuted (Matthew 5:3, 10). He said that whoever keeps and teaches the commandments will be called great in the Kingdom (Matthew 5:19-20). He said we should seek the Kingdom and trust God to take care of our physical needs (Matthew 6:32-33). So how do you seek the Kingdom first? Yeshua tells us in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon this earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Could this be why we have lost our vision of the Kingdom? We are serving the wrong king. Yeshua continues to tell us in verse 24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You can not serve God and money.” (Other important parables about the Kingdom include Matthew 13:44 and Matthew 25.) Are we doing the work of the Kingdom? Is our light shining in the darkness of this world? Is the oil of the Holy Spirit burning in our hearts as we long for the Kingdom? If not, then we are not ready for Yeshua’s second coming. If we are not daily doing God’s will on earth as it is being done in heaven, then we have lost our vision. Isn’t it time to get ready for our coming King? He is coming not as a little baby, not as the suffering servant, but as the Messiah, our victorious King, the Anointed One of the Father. “Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the Kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, ‘The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or, “There it is!” For behold, the Kingdom of God is in your midst’” (Luke 17:20-21). It is here and now, and we should be living in the Kingdom today serving our King Yeshua. We do not know the day or hour, so if you need oil for your lamp don’t delay, because while you are out buying oil He may come and you will not be prepared for Him or for His Kingdom. Open your eyes and your hearts to the vision of the Kingdom, the coming Messianic Age.
JEWISH RECIPE—ISRAELI ORZO SALAD
A delicious and refreshing fruity pasta salad.
1 lb. orzo
1-1/2 cups diced dried apricots
1-1/2 cups craisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (to taste) Panera Tangerine Honey dressing
1. Boil the pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and allow the pasta to dry well.
2. Once pasta is dry, add the other ingredients and mix well. Chill and serve.
There are two words for “nut” in the Hebrew Bible. One of them is used in Song of Solomon 6:11, and is traditionally believed to be the walnut. Apricots, although not native to Israel, are grown there in modern times. Israeli scientists have even developed a heat-resistant variety of apricots that have a better chance for survival in the warm climate.
“And how did you manage to bring so many souls to hell at that time? -Because of fear. -Ah, yes. Excellent strategy; old and always current. But what were they afraid of? Fear of being tortured? Fear of war? Fear of hunger? -No. -Fear of getting sick. -But then, no one else got sick at that time? -No. -Yes, they were sick. -I’m sorry. -Nobody else was dying? -Yes, they died. -But there was no cure for the disease? -There was. -Then I don’t understand. – Since no one else believed and taught about eternal life and eternal death, they thought they had only that life, and they clung to it with all their strength, even if it cost them their affection (they did not hug or greet each other, they had no human contact for days and days); their money (they lost their jobs, spent all their savings, and still thought themselves lucky to be prevented from earning their bread); their intelligence (one day the press said one thing and the next day it contradicted itself, and still they believed it all); their freedom (they did not leave their house, did not walk, did not visit their relatives. . . . it was a big concentration camp for voluntary prisoners! They accepted everything, everything, as long as they could overcome their miserable lives one more day. They no longer had the slightest idea that He, and only He, is the one who gives life and ends it. It was like that, as easy as it had ever been.”— C. S. Lewis, “The Devil’s Letters to His Nephew” (1942)
In each newsletter, we will teach you a new Hebrew letter and give you a little information about it. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. This month, you will learn the second letter. The name of this letter is bet, pronounced like the English word “bait”. In Hebrew, each letter also has a numerical value. If you open up a Hebrew Bible, you will notice that the chapter numbers will be Hebrew letters. The numerical value of bet is 2.
Bet makes a ‘b’ sound when it has a dot inside and a ‘v’ sound when the inside is empty (see the difference between the two letters above). An example of this letter in a word is below. This word uses the two letters that you know, aleph and bet, and they are connected with a vowel. This word is pronounced “bow”, and it can mean “to go” or “to come.” Remember, in Hebrew you read right-to-left.
The first word of the Torah is bereishit, “in the beginning”, which starts with the letter bet. Thus, bet is the first letter of the Torah. The rabbis wondered, why is the first letter of the Torah the second letter of the alphabet? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the first letter of the Torah be the first letter of the alphabet (aleph)? One answer was based on the shape of the letter itself: “In the same manner that the letter bet is closed on all sides and only open in front, similarly you are not permitted to inquire into what is before or what was behind, but only from the actual time of Creation.” Since Hebrew is read right-to-left, the bet looks like it is opening up toward the letters which follow it. This explanation serves as a warning not to delve too deep into speculation about what was happening before creation (or similarly about other things outside of what God has revealed). God has chosen to reveal certain things in His Word while intentionally leaving other questions unanswered. As the Torah says, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever” (Deuteronomy 29:29).