The Clarion , Dec. 2020
As they say about December, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Maybe because it is the “Season of Light.” People put strings of lights all around their homes inside and out and for eight days the Hanukkah lights are lit. Light just makes people feel happy. I think that is because our Creator is the God of Light and I think He wired us to be light also. The first thing God said in creation was , “Let there be light.” This is the season of gift giving but I think the best gift you can give someone is the gift of Light. John 8: 12 records Yeshua saying this, “ Again Yeshua spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Yeshua which His very name means salvation, was God’s gift to us because He so loved us that He sent His only begotten son to die for us, so that those who would believe would have Salvation (Eternal Life).When we accept God’s gift of salvation then we too become like Him….light. Matthew 5:14-16 tells us, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” So this holiday season don’t just light up your house or your menorah, but let your light shine for all to see.
Happy Season of Light
Running With Horses Pt. 8
We have been looking at Jeremiah 12 these last several months and now we want to conclude our series by looking once again at the question and God’s answer. Jeremiah 12:1-5 “ You are always righteous, Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts. Yet you know me, Lord; you see me and test my thoughts about you. Drag them off like sheep to be butchered! Set them apart for the day of slaughter! How long will the land lie parched and the grass in every field be withered? Because those who live in it are wicked, the animals and birds have perished. Moreover, the people are saying, “He will not see what happens to us. If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses.” So is it that God does not care about His people? Does God turn a blind eye when the wicked keep on being wicked? Or could it be that God uses the wicked so He can do a work in us? We may gain a little insight from Hebrews 5:8-9 , “Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” If Yeshua was made perfect by His sufferings then we too, must also be made perfect by what we suffer. We have been looking mainly at God’s response because we see something that is of the utmost importance to us. In Jeremiah 12:5 God asks, “ If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?” God is preparing His people for a time in which they will need to be strong and courageous to overcome what lies ahead. We have seen a steady decline in this country over the last few months. We have seen many people become sick and die from a virus, a country shut down and locked down for weeks. Fear took hold of many people. No sooner did we see anger and protest and looting and burning of many cities. Quickly as law and order went awry we were defunding our law enforcement officers. Chaos broke out in our streets and murders increased. Before we could even take a breath, our history was being destroyed and America was coming apart at the seams. And you say, “All of this just to prepare us for what is still to come?” Yes, but there is still one more thing we must put on to fight the battle to overcome and Paul tells us in Colossians 3:5-17, “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Messiah is all, and in all. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on lov e, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Messiah rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Messiah richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” We must put on the new self. So how can we put on the new self if we don’t understand the old self? We see that the old self had it’s evil practices and the old self was self serving. The old self serves for the purposes of the world and serves the ruler of this world, but the new is just the opposite. We must let go of the world’s ways and beliefs and in reality we are putting on God, His glory and righteousness. We take off our filthy rags and robe ourselves in garments of splendor, garments of the priesthood. We must put on godliness and holiness and the foundation to this is love. Love is the complete opposite of hatred. Yeshua tells us that they will know that we are His disciples by our love. Love overcomes all wickedness. We are running a race to the finish and if and when we finish, we must finish with the Torch of God in our hand, for God has called us to be the Light of the world. James 1:12 tells us, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.’ Are you an overcomer? Consider Revelation 7:13-14, “Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’” Having trouble with what is going on in the world? How will you run with the horses? Let God prepare you so you will be able to stand.
May The Star Be With You
The stars have been navigating people probably since the beginning of time. Sailors used the north star called Polaris, but in all there were about 57 stars that gave them their position and direction. We know that there was a priestly class of Perians and Medes, most likely from Babylon, who were called Magi, they would have been the ones to follow a star, Especially the star which has become known as the “Star of Bethlehem.” So how did they know to follow this particular star? Numbers 24:17 tells us , “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, a scepter shall rise from Israel, and shall crush through the forehead of Moab, and tear down all the sons of Sheth.” This prophecy was foretold by Baalam when King Balak asked him to curse Israel, but instead he prophesied what would happen to Balak’s people by Israel. So by this prophecy we know that the Jewish scholars would have been looking for this star that would have appeared over Israel. This was a foretelling sign of a king that would crush Israel’s enemies. But this was only one Scripture that foretold the coming of this new king. Micah 5:2 says, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Let’s take a closer look at this very familiar story. Matthew 2:1-6 begins the story. “Yeshua was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea during the time when Herod was king. When Yeshua was born, some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the baby who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, as were all the people in Jerusalem. Herod called a meeting of all the leading priests and teachers of the law and asked them where the Messiah would be born. They answered, “In the town of Bethlehem in Judea. The prophet wrote about this in the Scriptures: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not just an insignificant village in Judah. A ruler will come from you who will be like a shepherd for My people Israel.’” The Magi called the star “His Star.” So what was “His Star” and when did it appear? Most historians and early fathers of the church believed that Yeshua was born between 3-2 BC. We know that the star appeared in the East. A star rising in the east is called a “Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16 tells us this , “I,Yeshua, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright Morning Star.” Now we want to say that in no way are we speaking astrology here, but only astronomy, because the Magi were astronomers. Yeshua is the Morning Star and the morning star is the planet Venus. So we must ask ourselves, did the planet Venus do anything special between these years? And the answer is “Yes!” The Magi would have seen Venus, (the Morning Star) and Jupiter come close to the constellation Leo the Lion, from Babylon on August 12, 3BC. Yeshua is also called the Lion of Judah in Revelation 5:5. So Venus comes close to Jupiter causing them to believe in the appending birth of the King of Israel, fulfilling the prophecy of Numbers 24:17. So they headed out to follow the star. Venus moved out of Leo into Virgo, the virgin. On September 11, 3BC, Virgo rose in the morning skies,and clothed in the sun; a new moon was seen at her feet. Venus was near her head. Revelation 12:1-2 tells us this, “ A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.” This sign was the sign of the birth of Messiah who according to the sign in the heavenlies would have been born on September 11, 3BC. Now this date back then, on the Jewish calendar, was the Feast of Rosh Hashanah. Two weeks earlier would have been the pilgrimage Feast of Tabernacles. As John 1:14 tells us, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The weather in Jerusalem at that time of year would have been anywhere between the 60-70’s, perfect for those shepherds. We don’t know how long it took those Magi to travel the 600 miles between Babylon and Jerusalem, but we do know that it was long enough for Joseph and Mary to get a house to live in with their new born son. The Magi came to their home, not to a stable. Matthew 2:9-11 tells us, “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” On June 17, 2BC about ten months after the Magi saw His star, it reappeared in the southern evening skies in Jerusalem. Jupiter and Venus again , in the constellation of Leo the Lion. In its location in the sky it would have taken it about 2 hours to set after sundown. Bethlehem is a 6 mile walk from Jerusalem which would have taken them about two hours to walk, so the star could have easily stood right over His house. Psalm 19:1-4 proclaims this wondrous truth. “ T he heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” So the question is, “Is the star, the Morning Star, the Star of Bethlehem, leading you today? From the beginning, the shepherds stood with their flocks around a baby lying in a manger, but that baby today is the Great Shepherd, and He is calling you to follow Him as He has called His flock for all these years. So I say, “May the bright Morning Star be with you to light your way through the darkness of this world and to bring you to His side.”
Israeli Doughnuts (Sufganiyot)
Doughnuts are a staple for Hanukkah because they are fried in oil, which represents the miracle of the one day’s worth of temple oil lasting eight days.
Frozen sweet dough, defrosted
Oil for frying
1. Buy frozen sweet dough and defrost
2. Prepare oil for deep frying. Lightly coat a large tray with flour. Roll out half the dough on a floured surface until it is ½ inch thick Cut dough into rounds. Transfer rounds to a tray, placing them ½ inch apart. Continue with remaining dough.
3. Cover rounds with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. Line a tray with paper towels. Pour oil into a deep fryer or a deep, heavy saucepan. Fry donuts about three minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
4. Pat the tops gently with paper towels to absorb excess oil. To insert jam, make a small hole in the side with a skewer and stuff with jam, using a small piping bag.
5. Sift powdered sugar over them
YIELDS 1-2 DOZEN.
Zayin has the sound of a Z, like in zebra. It is also the number 7. Seven is completeness. God rested on the seventh day. Zayin in classic Hebrew script has three dots on the top of it which makes it look like a crown. Zayin is the crown of Vav, (our letter last month). Vav is the “straight light”, the light from God to man and Zayin the “returning light.” Zayin means weapon or sword, but it can also mean food or nourishment because the root zan is in the word mazon, which means food. Zayin represents the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, our food and the crowned Zayin represents Yeshua, carrying the sword of the Spirit. The crowned Zayin is the crown that Messiah, the King, will wear. Zayin is in Hebrews 4:12, “ For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The double edged sword of Zayin is the Old and the New Testament, you need both sides of the sword to fight and to complete the meal. Zayin is the letter of completeness, the crowned Mighty Warrior, King Yeshua.