Who we Are…

From Petah Tikvah, a Messianic Congregation in Rochester, NY.
“We believe in Yeshua the Messiah, otherwise known to many as “Jesus Christ.” As a Messianic Jewish assembly, we happen to prefer calling him by the name he used when he walked this planet 2000 years ago. Yeshua is a Hebrew word meaning “salvation.” The term Jesus comes to us from the Greek Ia-Sus, which eventually was transliterated into “Jesus.” Yeshua is our Messiah, as well as our Lord and Savior. He came the first time as the Lamb of God to provide an atonement for our sins. He will return a second time as the “Lion of Judah,” to reign and rule the world from Jerusalem, according to Isaiah 2:2-4.

Petah Tikvah is a Messianic Jewish ministry. The first believers in Yeshua the Messiah were all observant Jews. For the early decades, the only Bible they had was the Tanakh (“Old Testament”). They also had the teachings of Yeshua, which were passed on orally to his talmidim (disciples). Yeshua taught them, “Think not that I have come to destroy the Torah (Law), or the prophets: I have not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)

Yeshua never taught his disciples that the Law was ever “done away with.” Yeshua continued as a Torah-observant Rabbi. We seek to imitate our Master in this area, although we may fall woefully short. We don’t observe the mitzvot (commandments) to “get saved.” We observe the mitzvot as an expression of our love, as the lifestyle of a redeemed people. We believe in living a New Covenant lifestyle, as spoken by the prophet Jeremiah (31:31-33) and the writer of the Book of Hebrews (chapter 8:8-10): “Behold, the days come,” saith YHWH, “that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant they broke, although I was an husband unto them,” saith YHWH. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days,” saith YHWH, “I will put my Torah (Law or “Teaching”) in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Who is this Philistine?

David was a very young man. He had spent his life obeying his father, a farmer. He had been taught from babyhood, the ways of the G-d of his ancestors and had placed his faith with his heavenly Father. Out in the fields, he had plenty of time to meditate on heavenly things. He sang his poetry, he worshiped his Creator and learned to depend on Him. He fiercely protected his sheep. They were his sole responsibility. Should lions or bears or wolves come around (were there wolves in Israel?) He was ready to fight! This is who he was – this is what he knew. He surely had many occasions to test his methods.

He learned early on to quickly obey his parents and did as he was asked – even if it was hard or seemed impossible. Once he was called in from the fields, his beloved, quiet, serene and beautiful meadows, to go on a mission of mercy. His father asked him to run to the battlefield and take food to his army brothers. This was no easy task. It was a long ways away and the load was heavy. He obeyed without hesitation, even though he knew his brothers had no love for him. There seemed to be confusion and chaos going on when he arrived. Seems there was a giant of a man threatening the Israelis – he roared and gestured and mocked from the top of the hill across the Elah Valley. Mary & I have been there and here is a rock I picked up…

David was amazed. Perhaps he had never seen a man over 9 feet tall. One could not help but compare the two. Little David in his hillblly shepherd’s outfit and this mountain of a man in full armor and a cocky attitude. There was a lot at stake. King Saul must have been desperate as well as out of his mind to allow this snip of a red-headed fellow to represent the whole Israeli army. One against one took the whole battle. David, sure of his G-d, sure of his standing with that G-d, and sure of his abilities, made his move. He presented himself to the enemy and after the roaring laughter – picked his best rock. He had four more in his pouch – not for Goliath, but perhaps if he needed them for Goliath’s four brothers?

David took a last look at the gargantuan monster before him and thought to himself, “Who is this Philistine?” (I Samuel 17:26) He took a deep breath and slung his sling. The stone hurled right into the giants forehead, knocking him out. He grabbed Goliath’s own huge sword and cut off his head. What a trophy!

Was David afraid? You think? But fear is a sin because it is a command to “fear not”. Surely David had some trepidation. He certainly must have felt at least some tension, knowing what was at stake. But he stepped out in faith and DID IT! He had enough practice behind him. He had accomplished much in the name of the Lord. He was read up, prayed up and practiced up. Despite the extreme circumstances, he knew who his G-d was. He knew the Power behind the throne. He had experienced it first hand. He was not afraid. He saw/heard the challenge and took it. Who are you? Are you ready? Prepared? Prayed up? Who is your Goliath? Can you say, with David, in great confidence, “Who is this Philistine?” as you face all of life’s battles and know in your heart of hearts that YOU can claim victory? I dare you to find out!

Shalom, Sharaka 2/14/14

Are You Peculiar?

Abraham, and his nephew, Lot, had huge herds. Water & grazing were limited and it became impossible to stay together. Their herdsmen constantly quarreled. Abraham was Lot’s senior – clearly in a position of authority over Lot. He could have sent him back to Haran, or assigned him to any scrap of ground he chose. Instead, Abraham elected to give Lot the first choice of territory and to be content with whatever remained. What kind of a person would do that? Would you? Here’s what Rav Shaul said: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Phil 2:3–4) By giving Lot the first choice of the land, Abraham showed the spirit of humility that Yeshua described. To Abraham, preserving peace between family was more important than success or prestige. Predictably, Lot chose the best land for himself. Lot was not wicked. He was a normal sort of person, self-serving and looking out for his own interests. Abraham was not normal. Are you normal – or are you peculiar? Which one SHOULD we be?

Inspired by FFOZ – Lech Lecha Torah Parasha

Shalom, Sharaka

Who Do You Belong to?

Are you a Believer? Do you belong to Him? If so, then you are bought with the price of His blood. You are bought and paid for. Everything you are and everything you have now belongs to your Lord and Master – Y’shua HaMashiach/Jesus the Messiah.

Your home belongs to Him – and everything in it. Do you have a mezuzah on your door? It says your home is ruled by the King who owns the place. The things that come into your home are His. Are you careful about what you bring into your home? Every book, every magazine, every article of clothing are His. Would He be comfortable reading what you bring in? Would He watch the same television shows you do? “…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” says Philippians 4:8.

Would He approve of what you wear? He tells us in His Word to dress modestly and appropriately. 1 Timothy 2:9 states “…in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation,….” I believe that goes for men as well. We don’t need to dress in an outrageous manner or stick out like a sore thumb. Dress like you are somebody. After all – you ARE! You belong to the King – especially when you meet to worship and praise Him. We don’t need a fashion parade but we shouldn’t look like we are ready to clean the barn or spend a day at the beach either. Be clean and wear your best.

What do you eat? Leviticus 11 tells all. We are also told not to eat blood. Acts 15:20
“but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.”

Our thoughts also belong to the Lord. (See Phil 4:8 again…) We need to turn away from jokes that are not clean and any inappropriate speech. What about slang

Our relationships belong to Him.. What kind of friends do we have? Who do we let our children play with? Who should we marry? These things must be carefully thought about. The answers will effect our lives for all eternity! “Birds of a feather flock together”. So choose wisely who you fly with.

And lastly, our wallets belong to Him. 100% of everything in there belongs to Him! Yet He lets us keep 90%. Isn’t that a great ratio? We can give over and above that if we choose, but we are to bring His tithe “into the storehouse”. There are many worthwhile places to give and we should check them out to make sure they are honest and use our money in the right way. Some teach we should pay “where we are being fed”. I believe our first choice should be the Congregation we attend. Y’shua talked more about money than He talked about Heaven, so it must be important. For sure if He doesn’t have your money, then He doesn’t have you heart! Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

That pretty much covers it all, doesn’t it? Our homes, our clothes, our food, our thoughts, our relationships and our money. Salvation is free – to us, but Y’shua paid the ultimate price for it and shouldn’t we do our best to make Him proud of us by living and acting like we should? Let the Holy Spirit guide and direct how you live and who you are and may the Lord bless and keep you as you do your best to live for Him.

Shalom, Sharaka

Chanukah and the Draydel

Let’s talk about draydels… you can spell it “draydel” or “dreidel”.
Do you know what a draydel is? Well, first of all, it is a four sided dancing top. Give it a twist, and it will dance and spin and prance and pirouette and when it’s out of energy,
The momentum will slow and the dancer will bow and then ever so gently fall – plop! On it’s NUN, GIMEL, Hay or SHIN side up.

Secondly, the dancing top has a magnificent story to tell us. Each of it’s four sides has one Hebrew letter. These letters stand for the Hebrew words “Nes Gadol Hayah Shim” – in English, this means “A great Miracle happened there.”

Tiny Israel, over 2000 years ago, was conquered by the Syrians (Greeks). The Israelis were not allowed to study Torah, circumcise their sons, learn Hebrew or practice their religion. After many, many years of this, a priestly family of Hasmonions from the little city of Mo’adim north of Jerusalem, started a revolution and after 3 years of “gorilla” warfare, they were able to take their country back! They were now free to worship G-d as they chose. They rededicated their Temple (chanukah means dedicate) and the story goes that there was only one bottle of consecrated oil to light the menorah in thev Temple – enough to last only one day. It is said it lasted a full eight days until more could be made!
That was the miracle. To me, the miracle was that a small dedicated-to G-d-and-His- Word group of soldiers won over the mighty army of their enemies!! We, as Believers today, have the same authority to win over the evil one in our lives. We can take back what we have lost and rededicate ourselves to the Lord! Isn’t that a great miracle?

These four letters make up a sprightly Chanukah game. Set a time limit for how long you want to play. Fifteen minutes might be right. Each player places an equal number of wrapped candies or ? in the center of a table. Seven would be good. Then the players sit around the table and take turns spinning the top and follows the instructions according to which letter is on top when the draydel stops.

NUN = nothing The player neither wins or loses anything.
GIMMEL = gets all
HAY = half goes back in the center of the table
SHIN = share, or put all you have back into the center of the table

Have fun and remember the real miracle!

 

From “The Source for Everything Jewish” and fjc 12/4/12

Shalom,                                                                                                       Sharaka

 

 

Jerusalem

My young granddaughter asked me why I love Jerusalem and why I got tears when I talked about it. I did this research and it satisfied her. Do you love Jerusalem?

Jerusalem
There is no town as Biblical as Jerusalem, but it was neither built nor named by Hebrews. Remnants of a Canaanite town called Salem date back to the early bronze age, and the first Biblical mentioning of this place is in Genesis 14:18, where Abraham and Melchizedek meet.

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Jerusalem.html#.To0aoXI2iWY

First mention: Joshua 10:1
The LORD bless you out of Zion, And may you see the good of Jerusalem All the days of your life.
• Psalm 135:21
Blessed be the LORD out of Zion, 1 Kings 11:13
However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”
1 Kings 11:32
(but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel),
1 Kings 11:36
And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.
2 Kings 21:4
He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.”
2 Kings 21:7
He even set a carved image of Asherah that he had made, in the house of which the LORD had said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever;
2 Chronicles 6:6
Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’
2 Chronicles 12:13
[ The End of Rehoboam’s Reign ] Thus King Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem and reigned. Now Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king; and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His name there.
• 2 Chronicles 33:4
He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem shall My name be forever.”
• 2 Chronicles 33:7
He even set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever;
Ezra 5:15
And he said to him, ‘Take these articles; go, carry them to the temple site that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its former site.’
• Psalm 122:6
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.
• Psalm 125:2
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the LORD surrounds His people From this time forth and forever.
• Psalm 128:5
ho dwells in Jerusalem! Praise the LORD!
• Psalm 137:5
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill!
Psalm 137:6
If I do not remember you, Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth— If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy.
Isaiah 2:3
Many people shall come and say, “ Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Isaiah 4:3
And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.
• Isaiah 66:10
“ Rejoice with Jerusalem, And be glad with her, all you who love her; Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her;
• Isaiah 66:13
As one whom his mother comforts, So I will comfort you; And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Jeremiah 3:17
“At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts.
• Joel 3:17
“ So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, And no aliens shall ever pass through her again.”)
• Joel 3:20
But Judah shall abide forever, And Jerusalem from generation to generation.
• Amos 1:2
And he said: “ The LORD roars from Zion, And utters His voice from Jerusalem;
Micah 4:2
Many nations shall come and say, “ Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Zechariah 1:17
“Again proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “ My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; The LORD will again comfort Zion, And will again choose Jerusalem.

• Zechariah 8:3
“Thus says the LORD: ‘ I will return to Zion, And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, The Holy Mountain.’
• Zechariah 8:4
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘ Old men and old women shall again sit In the streets of Jerusalem, Each one with his staff in his hand Because of great age.
• Zechariah 8:8
I will bring them back, And they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people And I will be their God, In truth and righteousness.’
• Zechariah 8:15
So again in these days I am determined to do good To Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear.
• Zechariah 8:22
Yes, many peoples and strong nations Shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, And to pray before the LORD.’
Zechariah 9:9
[ The Coming King ] “ Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 12:10
[ Mourning for the Pierced One ] “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
• Zechariah 14:4
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Makinga very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.
Zechariah 14:3-5 (in Context) Zechariah 14 (Whole Chapter)
• Zechariah 14:8
And in that day it shall be That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur.

Matthew 5:35
nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Luke 24:47
and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luke 24:49
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
• John 2:23
[ The Discerner of Hearts ] Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.
John 2:22-24 (in Context) John 2 (Whole Chapter)
• John 4:20
Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
John 10:22
[ The Shepherd Knows His Sheep ] Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
Acts 1:8
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 1:8
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 20:16
For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.
• Galatians 4:26
but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.
• Hebrews 12:22
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
• Revelation 3:12
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
• Revelation 21:10
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
• Revelation 21:22
[ The Glory of the New Jerusalem ] But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

References to Jerusalem in the Bible = 808

Jerusalem /Yerushalayim = means “City of Peace”
because it seems to mean Rain Of Peace.
Jerusalem was to be the radiating heart of a world of completeness and wholeness. It seems that history supplied her with a most suiting name.
For a meaning of the name Jerusalem, NOBS Study Bible Name List reads Possession Of Peace. Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Foundation Of Peace.

Jerusalem has been the holiest city since, according to the Biblical Old Testament, King David of Israel first established it as the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel in c. 1000 BCE, and his son Solomon commissioned the building of the First Temple in the city. In Christianity, Jerusalem has been a holy city since, according to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified in c. 30 CE.

Pop. of Israel = 7,759,300 (6/11)
Pop. Of Jerusalem = 795,291 (10/6/11)

Shalom, see you next time!                                                                      Sharaka

 

Red Heifer

B’Midbar/Numbers 19:1- 4:

A red heifer was to be slaughtered and burned outside the camp and the ashes, mixed with water, were to be used for purification. The Red Heifer was burnt on a pyre, together with crimson dyed wool, hyssop, and cedar wood. (In recent years, the site of the burning of the Red Heifer on the Mount of Olives has been tentatively located by archaeologist Yonatan Adler.) It is now believed by many scholars that it was the site of the crucifixion. From there one could see through the Eastern Gate into the Temple.

A heifer is a female, showing, I believe, that G-d has both male and female characteristics. It’s not always a male that is to be chosen. I believe when G-d made Adam, he held ALL of G-d’s likeness and when He made Chavah from Adam, He put his female characteristics into Chavah (Eve). Neither is better – they are just different – each complimenting the other. Together, they make a ‘whole’. This is not to say a single person cannot be whole by him/herself. Having G-d – a person needs nothing else.

This heifer, a female under the age of three, never having been bred, never having worked or having any more than three white hairs and no blemishes of any kind, was to purify various things. It is said there have been only nine recorded and Y’shua was to be the 10th. She was to be red – the color of blood.

“The sacrifice of a flawless Red heifer is necessary to ensure
appropriate construction of the Temple.

From Dr. Gary Collett, Apocalyptic Biblical Scholar
( http://www.haydid.org/redcow.htm ):

“The significance for us is in regard to the rebuilding of the Temple.
The Temple Mount has been trodden down by Gentiles for nearly 2000
years. The Temple was destroyed after it was defiled by Titus and has
laid waste until covered over by Islam. Before a Temple can be
rebuilt, the site must be cleansed. Before animal sacrifice can be
reinstated, the site and stone altar (of course an altar must be
constructed first) must be cleansed.”

The Red Heifer is to be sacrificed (Numbers 19:1-22 gives very
detailed instructions as to how) and burned. The ashes will be used
to purify the temple site to ensure that it will be worthy of the
Messiah.”

March 7, 2010 = “Rabbi Chaim Richman has announced on a radio show that there is at least one kosher red heifer alive and well in Israel. This is a very momentous announcement.

This is very significant from a prophetic and Jewish perspective as the ashes from a red heifer are required for purification and a requirement for the future Temple. Here is a quote from the website, “The Temple Institute”, (you can find it here.. http://www.templeinstitute.org/red_heifer/introduction.htm ) “For G-d has ordained that its ashes alone are the single missing ingredient for the reinstatement of Biblical purity – and thereafter, the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. ”

With the recent completion of the sacrificial altar, and with the announcement from the Sanhedrin inviting the world to participate in the Korban Pesach sacrifice this Passover season, and now with the arrival of the red heifer you have to wonder if the time of our Savior’s return is near.”

Vs. 5:
Every part of the whole heifer was to be burned (used). G-d needs everything – every one of us – “the good, the bad and the ugly.” He uses it ALL!

Vs. 6:
The priest was also to use “cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet (wool).
Cedar, from Lebanon was very highly prized in ancient times. It grows in Lebanon to be 130’ tall and over 8’ around. It grows best at an altitude of between 3300 and 6500 feet. Up high where it is away from the dust and the quagmires. (Where did that come from? lol) I guess I am thinking “look to the mountains from whence cometh thy help.” Up above the common, up where refreshing breezes blow, where you can see with a clear eye, miles and miles of G-d’s precious land. (I was born in the Rockies and I love the mountains).
Anyway, cedar is a special wood. Egyptians used its resin in the making of a mummy.
Hebrews used it during circumcision and for leprosy. It is mentioned 75 times in the Bible. However, Isaiah used the cedar as a metaphor for pride. Few of the old cedars are left in Lebanon, but efforts are underway to replant and conserve them today. The cedar is the national symbol of Lebanon and is in the center of its flag.

Cedar oil is used as an insect repellant – did your mother have a cedar chest? It is said to be a soothing, comforting oil often used in aromatherapy. It calms nervous tension, relaxes muscles and just makes you feel good. G-d knew what He was doing when He chose the cedar to burn with the red heifer. He also used hyssop. This ancient/modern day herb grows about 2’ tall and spreads about a foot around. It has purple/blue flowers, smells like mint, looks like catnip and is used as a cleaning agent because of its anti-fungal and detergent qualities. I can see why G-d chose it, too!

The last thing mentioned is scarlet (wool). The dye was extracted from the dried body of of the insect coccus ilicis; qirmiz (or kermes). It was very, very expensive. It is said scarlet is the color of arterial blood – that which is fresh from the heart. Wool comes from the sheep and who is the Lamb of G-d? If we just ask the Lord, He will show us so many, many things from His Word, from His creation and from His heart.

We were told to use a perfect red heifer, cedar, hyssop and scarlet wool in the purification
process. Now, what else can we learn?

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

Shavu’ot – what is it, anyway?

Shavu’ot

Shavu’ot – what’s it all about? And what are we supposed to do?

Leviticus/V’Yikra 15 ‘And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed.
16 Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath;

then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD.

17 You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves

of two-tenths of an ephah. (4 quarts of flour) They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD. 18……19……..

20 The priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the LORD,

They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 And you shall proclaim on the same day that it is a holy convocation to you.

You shall do no customary work on it. It shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.

So from this we learn that 50 days from the crucifixion (from the morrow after the Sabbath – and I chose the Sadducean count – the WEEKLY Sabbath). Each day is an opportunity to meditate on what we can do to improve ourselves and to be more kind and loving to others. There are many sources available to find suggestions on how to accomplish this.
We are to bring two loaves of leavened bread made from 4 qts. of “fine” flour to wave before the Lord. We can only wave toward the East as there is no Temple in Jerusalem. He said we (Believers) are ALL priests now. So we are all responsible to do this. Rabbis made up a series of things to do. But it is not commanded by G-d to follow these instructions. I chose not to…..

We also learn that day (always a Sunday) is to be a holy Sabbath with its customary cessation of regular work and a holy convocation is required. A convocation is a meeting of Believers to worship and honor Yah. This is done by meeting together, worshiping Him with song and dance, sharing a Feast together and rejoicing in His love for us.

It is a lovely tradition to dress well, eat sweet dairy foods, (Israel is a Land of milk and honey) decorate with flowers and greenery, read the Book of Ruth, which took place at the time of the wheat harvest, and stay up all night studying Torah.

In the Book of Ruth, it says “barley” harvest, but actually barley was harvested earlier – about the time of Pesach. There is some confusion concerning grains.

No matter – at least we know it wasn’t corn! There was no corn in Israel at that time.

“Another misnomer is the word corn. In the Bible, corn generally means wheat or barley or some other cereal grain. Corn, as we know it today, did not exist in Bible lands. Corn, was discovered in Cuba by Columbus, and was taken back to Europe on his first or second return trip. When the Europeans came to what is now called the United States, the Native American Indians were growing a crop called maize. It was a primitive form of the corn as we know it today.” http://www.newfoundationspubl.org/cornwine.htm

After the first Pesach, the Israelites left Egypt and went to Mt. Sinai. It was an eleven day journey from Egypt to Canaan. How long to Mt. Sinai? Scripture says it took 45 days. That’s understandable – with 2 million + people and livestock. Moshe was on the mountain 40 days. He came down with the tablets of stone, written by the finger of Yah. The Torah was given there. It was a marriage proposal from Yah to His people. They accepted. It was our betrothal and we were “called out” and became the kehilot – the beginning of “the church”. The church was “born” at Shavu’ot. It is said the “church” was born at “Pentecost” in the New Testament. Not so. But it was the same day.

Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost (Shavu’ot – both mean fifty) had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

3,000 people died at Mt. Sinai after the incident of the Golden Calf.

Exodus 32: 27 And he said to them, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’” 28 So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.

Old Covenant = 3,000 souls lost
New Covenant = 3,000 souls gained Interesting?

Summary:
• Count each day from the “morrow after the Sabbath” for 50 days. It will bring you to Shavu’ot. The connection is – Pesach freed us from the bondage of Egypt (original sin) and Shavu’ot frees us from immorality (daily sins) by showing us what to do and not to do.

• We bring our challot, (first fruits) made with 4 qts. of fine flour to wave before the Lord at a holy convocation (meeting).

• This is a Sabbath and no regular work is to be done.

• Our meeting place is to be decorated with baskets of spring flowers, fruits and greens.

• We worship in song and dance, study Torah and give praise and honor to Yah.

• We dress well, eat sweet dairy foods and stay up all night studying Torah.

• Shavu’ot is the second of the three Pilgrimage Festivals when all males were required to go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord and bring offerings

• These days are called mo’adim or appointed times or rehearsals for what is to come. We are practicing! If you didn’t do all that you should have done for Shavu’ot this year – you can strive to do better next year! May Abba bless our efforts to please Him and do all that we can do
to worship Him in Spirit and Truth.

Shalom!

fjc – 6/9/11

The Seventh Day:

All Scriptures are from KJV or NKJV

Please read and consider – which day does G-d call “the Sabbath”? Which day should we honor as He asked us to?
selah

B’reshit 2:2&3
G-d stopped His work of creation and rested. He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it
sanctify = (v.) To set apart for sacred use; consecrate.
(v.) To make holy; purify.
(v.) To give religious sanction to, as with an oath or vow: sanctify …set it apart from all other days.

Exodus 16:30
So the people rested on the seventh day. The people rested on the seventh day…
(they had been given the Sabbath since Creation)
Exodus 20:10
But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
Exodus 20:11
For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the
seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Exodus 23:12
Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
Exodus 31:17
It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
Exodus 34:21
Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in plowing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.
Exodus 35:2
Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.

Leviticus 23:3
Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
convocation = con`vo`ca´tion 1. The act of calling or assembling by summons.
2. An assembly or meeting.
Leviticus 23:8
But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. (After the cross – the sacrificial laws are no longer valid)

More on the Sabbath

Numbers 28:9
[ Sabbath Offerings ] ‘And on the Sabbath day two lambs in their first year, without blemish, and two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour as a grain offering, mixed with oil, with its drink offering—
Numbers 28:10
this is the burnt offering for every Sabbath, besides the regular burnt offering with its drink offering.

Deuteronomy 5:12
Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.
Deuteronomy 5:15
And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

2 Kings 4:23
So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “It is well.”
2 Kings 11:5
Then he commanded them, saying, “This is what you shall do: One-third of you who come on duty on the Sabbath shall be keeping watch over the king’s house,
2 Kings 11:7
The two contingents of you who go off duty on the Sabbath shall keep the watch of the house of the LORD for the king.
2 Kings 11:9
So the captains of the hundreds did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each of them took his men who were to be on duty on the Sabbath, with those who were going off duty on the Sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.

1 Chronicles 9:32
And some of their brethren of the sons of the Kohathites were in charge of preparing the showbread for every Sabbath.

2 Chronicles 23:4
This is what you shall do: One-third of you entering on the Sabbath, of the priests and the Levites, shall be keeping watch over the doors;
2 Chronicles 23:8
So the Levites and all Judah did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded. And each man took his men who were to be on duty on the Sabbath, with those who were going off duty on the Sabbath; for Jehoiada the priest had not dismissed the divisions.
2 Chronicles 36:21
to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.

Nehemiah 9:14
You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, And commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand of Moses Your servant.
Nehemiah 10:31
if the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the seventh year’s produce and the exacting of every debt.
Nehemiah 13:15
In those days I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions.
Nehemiah 13:16
Men of Tyre dwelt there also, who brought in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on the
Sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 13:17
Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, “What evil thing is this that you do, by which you profane the Sabbath day?
Nehemiah 13:18
Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you bring added wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.”
Nehemiah 13:19
So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath. Then I posted some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day.
Nehemiah 13:21
Then I warned them, and said to them, “Why do you spend the night around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you!” From that time on they came no more on the Sabbath.
Nehemiah 13:22
And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should go and guard the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy!

Psalm 92:1
[ A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath day. ] It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;

Isaiah 56:2
Blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who lays hold on it; Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
Isaiah 56:6
“ Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, And to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants— Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And holds fast My covenant—
Isaiah 58:13
“ If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words,
Isaiah 66:23
And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD.

Jeremiah 17:19
[ Hallow the Sabbath Day ] Thus the LORD said to me: “Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, by which the kings of Judah come in and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem;
Jeremiah 17:21
Thus says the LORD: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;
Jeremiah 17:22
nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.
Jeremiah 17:24
“And it shall be, if you heed Me carefully,” says the LORD, “to bring no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work in it,
Jeremiah 17:27
“But if you will not heed Me to hallow the Sabbath day, such as not carrying a burden when entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.”

Lamentations 2:6
He has done violence to His tabernacle, As if it were a garden; He has destroyed His place of assembly; The LORD has caused The appointed feasts and Sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion. In His burning indignation He has spurned the king and the priest.

Ezekiel 20:12
Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them.
Ezekiel 20:13
Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them.
Ezekiel 20:16
because they despised My judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols.
Ezekiel 20:20
hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.’
Ezekiel 20:21
“Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; but they profaned My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the wilderness.
Ezekiel 20:24
because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, profaned My
Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers’ idols.
Ezekiel 22:8
You have despised My holy things and profaned My Sabbaths.
Ezekiel 22:26
Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them
Ezekiel 23:38
Moreover they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and profaned My Sabbaths.
Ezekiel 44:24
In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed meetings, and they shall hallow My Sabbaths.
Ezekiel 45:17
Then it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel.”
Ezekiel 46:1
[ The Manner of Worship ] ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “The gateway of the inner court that faces toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the Sabbath it shall be opened, and on the day of the New Moon it shall be opened.
Ezekiel 46:3
Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the entrance to this gateway before the LORD on the Sabbaths and the New Moons.
Ezekiel 46:4
The burnt offering that the prince offers to the LORD on the Sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish;
Ezekiel 46:12
“Now when the prince makes a voluntary burnt offering or voluntary peace offering to the LORD, the gate that faces toward the east shall then be opened for him; and he shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings as he did on the Sabbath day. Then he shall go out, and after he goes out the gate shall be shut.

Hosea 2:11
I will also cause all her mirth to cease, Her feast days, Her New Moons, Her Sabbaths— All her appointed feasts.

Amos 8:5
Saying: “ When will the New Moon be past, That we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, That we may trade wheat? Making the ephah small and the shekel large, falsifying the scales by deceit,

Matthew 12:1
[ Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath ] At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.
Matthew 12:2
And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”
Matthew 12:5
Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?
Matthew 12:10
And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him.
Matthew 12:11
Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?
Matthew 12:12
Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Matthew 24:20
And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
Matthew 28:1
[ He Is Risen ] Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

Mark 1:21
Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.
Mark 1:32
[ Many Healed After Sabbath Sunset ] At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed.
Mark 2:23
Now it happened that He went through the grain fields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain.
Mark 2:24
And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
Mark 2:27
And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
Mark 2:28
Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
Mark 3:2
So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.
Mark 3:4
Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.
Mark 6:2
And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!
Mark 15:42
Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath,
Mark 16:1
[ He Is Risen ] Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.

Luke 4:16
[ Jesus Rejected at Nazareth ] So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
Luke 4:31
[ Jesus Casts Out an Unclean Spirit ] Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths.
Luke 4:40
[Many Healed After Sabbath Sunset ] When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. (This was a home Havdalah service)
Luke 6:1
Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands.
Luke 6:2
And some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the
Sabbath?”
Luke 6:5
And He said to them, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
Luke 6:6
Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered.
Luke 6:7
So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him.
Luke 6:9
Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?”
Luke 13:10
Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
Luke 13:14
But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the
Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”
Luke 13:15
The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it?
Luke 13:16
So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”
Luke 14:1
Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely.
Luke 14:3
And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the
Sabbath?”
Luke 14:5
Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?”
Luke 23:54
That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. (We must prepare on Friday)
Luke 23:56
Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

John 5:9
And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the
Sabbath.

John 5:10
The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
John 5:16
[ Honor the Father and the Son ] For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
John 5:18
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
John 7:22
Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath.
John 7:23
If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?
John 9:14
Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes.
John 9:16
Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.
John 19:31
Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Acts 1:12
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called
Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.
Acts 13:14
But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down.
Acts 13:27
For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him.
Acts 13:42
So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.
Acts 13:44
On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.
Acts 15:21
For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
Acts 16:13
And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there.
Acts 17:2
Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
Acts 18:4
And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.

Colossians 2:16
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths,
(If a pagan comes up to you and laughs because you keep these days, don’t let it get to you.)

These verses come, some from the KJV, but mostly from the New King James Version (NKJV)
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

See you next time!                                                                                                                                                                                                        Shalom – Sharaka

What is an Adult?

One who has learned the basic responsibilities of  life:

- to honor G-d and keep His commandments

- to see what needs to be done ~ and do it

- to respect and care for those around you ~man and animal and nature

- to never run from Duty ~ and do it with a song in your heart
and a smile on your face

- one who instantly forgives

- one who laughs loudly, loves passionately,
and dances ~ even in the rain

To my Granddaughter, Amy Nicole Gudmundson
with love on the occasion of her 18th birthday -  May 7, 2010

See you next time,

Shalom, Sharaka

Passover Lamb or Easter Ham?

Passover Lamb or Easter Ham?

The following is from the Bible, G-d’s written Word, several encyclopedias and a few other reference books, along with some thoughts of my own in italics scattered throughout.

The Bible: from the New King James Version (NKJV)

Exodus 12:1-11 (Shemot – Names)
1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “This month (Aviv/Nisan) shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb (Y’shua/Jesus is the Lamb of G-d), according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 …… 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year…. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. (Passover) Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two door posts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. 11 ………. It is the LORD’s Passover.
Exodus 12:24,26-28
24 And you shall observe this thing (Passover) as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. 25…..26 And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, ……..’ So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
Leviticus 23:4&5 (V’yikra – and He called)
4 ‘These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations (gathering together to worship) which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. 5 On the fourteenth day of the first month (Aviv/Nisan) at twilight is the LORD’s Passover.
Numbers 9:1-3 (B’Midbar – In the Wilderness)
1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: 2 “Let the children of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. 3 On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time. According to all its rites and ceremonies you shall keep it.”
Matthew 26:2
2 “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
Matthew 26:17
17 Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus,
saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”
Mark 14:12
12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?”
Luke 22:7&8
7 Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. 8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.”
John 13:1&2
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 And supper (the last Supper – His last Passover Seder) being ended, ……..
John 19:14
14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he (Pilot) said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
Acts 18:21
21 but took leave of them, saying, “I (Paul) must by all means keep this coming feast (Passover) in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Epheses.

In the Brit HaDeshah (New Testament) we see that the disciples were STILL keeping the “Feasts of the Lord” according to Leviticus 23. EVEN after the crucifixion of Y’shua/Jesus. It didn’t change then and it hasn’t changed to this day. We are to keep the Feasts. Period. If you have Scripture that shows otherwise, I’d like to see it.

I Corinthians 5:7&8
7 Therefore purge out the old leaven (symbolic of sin), that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of
sincerity and truth.

Institution of the Lord’s Supper – The Last Seder

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed (Aviv 14, Passover Luke 22:7-20) took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME

The Passover meal was/is called a Seder. Y’shua was eating this meal with His disciples. He asked us to do this – for Him. How can we not eat this meal as He commanded?

Suggested reading: Eddie Chumney’s book http://hebroots.com/sevenfestivals_chap3.htm

Here is an excerpt from Eddie’s book, “The Seven Festivals of the Messiah”

Did Yeshua Have a Passover Meal? (Seder)
Mark 14:12, it is written, “And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover [the Pesach lamb]….” The word translated as first is the Greek word ‘protos’, which means “before, earlier, and preceding.” Because there was a temple (Beit HaMikdash) in Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) in the days of Yeshua, the First Seder would be on the fourteenth of Nisan, and the Second Seder on the fifteenth. The Seder could be held on either night. Yeshua had His Passover (Pesach) Seder by midnight on the fourteenth of Nisan (remember that the fourteenth of Nisan begins at sundown, which is roughly six hours prior to midnight), and was crucified the next afternoon at 3:00 p.m., which is still the fourteenth of Nisan. The high priest (Cohen HaGadol) kills the Passover (Pesach) lamb for the nation of Israel at 3:00 p.m. on the fourteenth of Nisan. At sundown, the fifteenth begins, so Yeshua would have to eat His Passover lamb by midnight of the fourteenth of Nisan, which is prior to the time that the high priest kills the Passover lamb for the nation. To further prove this, in John (Yochanan) 18:28, when Yeshua was brought before Pilate, Caiaphas the high priest (Cohen HaGadol) wouldn’t enter the judgment hall of the Gentile ruler because he would be defiled and couldn’t eat the Passover lamb. So, this event must have taken place on the morning of the fourteenth of Nisan because the high priest had not yet eaten the Passover. If he was defiled, he would be defiled for one day. Since Yeshua had already eaten the Passover by the time He was seized and taken before Caiaphas and Pilate, He had to have eaten the Passover with the disciples on the evening of the fourteenth. Thus, we can see how Yeshua ate a Passover meal and could still fulfill being the Passover Lamb of G-d by being killed at 3:00 p.m. on the fourteenth of Nisan.”
Visit Eddie’s website at www.hebroots.com and

http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=30&country=34

Ishtar
From the wikipedia

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_did_the_celebration_of_Easter_originate

“Easter is a pagan holiday that Xtians adopted into their religion. The idea of an Easter egg hunt within this Holiday comes from the goddess of fertility that the pagans had. Easter eggs were originally known as “ishtar eggs” to celebrate His resurrection from the dead. Rabbits have lots of babies, up to 42 a year! and eggs are where babies come from. In pagan cultures it was popular to paint the maidens and hide them in the forest and fields before the young men went and found them. It’s in the spring when a lot of animals are born. To Christians the resurrection of Jesus fell nicely into this pagan celebration of life.

In addition, the ancient pagans of Europe had a spring-fertility goddess known as, Eastre. In one legend, she is tricked into turning into a rabbit, not realizing she cannot turn back. She still retains her powers of fertility (symbolized by the egg) however, and thus you have an egg-laying rabbit. So the symbols of rebirth (the egg) and of Spring (when it seems rabbits overrun the woods) were joined and survived with the coming of Christianity. It was then quite easy for the missionary Christians (Catholics) to bring together an ancient concept of Easter, the important pagan time of rebirth with the idea of a “reborn” or resurrected God in Christ. It may not seem it in these times, but Easter is the most important day of the Christian world. It is the day of resurrection and proof of everlasting life. Thus, for a large population, already accustomed to spring-rebirth celebrations, it was quite easy to transition to the new religion.”

according to a number of various sources:
The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible says that Easter was “originally the spring festival in honor of the Teutonic goddess of light and spring known in Anglo-Saxon as Eastre,” or Eostre. In any case, the Encyclopedia Britannica (11th Edition) states: “There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament.” The book Medieval Holidays and Festivals tells us that, “the holiday is named after the pagan Goddess of the Dawn and of Spring, Eostre.” And who was this goddess? “Eostre it was who, according to the legend, opened the portals of Valhalla to receive Baldur, called the White God, because of his purity and also the Sun God, because his brow supplied light to mankind,” answers The American Book of Days. It adds: “There is no doubt that the Church (Catholic) in its early days adopted the old pagan customs and gave a Christian meaning to them. As the festival of Eostre was in celebration of the renewal of life in the spring it was easy to make it a celebration of the resurrection from the death of Jesus, whose gospel they preached.”
“This adoption explains how in certain lands the Easter customs, such as Easter eggs, the Easter rabbit, and hot cross buns, came about. Concerning the custom of making hot cross buns, “with their shiny brown tops marked by a cross, the book Easter and Its Customs states: “The cross was a pagan symbol long before it acquired everlasting significance from the events of the first Good Friday, and bread and cakes were sometimes marked with it in pre-Christian times.” The book Curiosities of Popular Customs answers: “It was the invariable policy of the early Church to give a Christian significance to such of the extant pagan ceremonies as could not be rooted out. In the case of Easter the conversion was peculiarly easy. Joy at the rising of the natural sun, and at the awakening of nature from the death of winter, became joy at the rising of the Sun of righteousness, at the resurrection of Christ from the grave. Some of the pagan observances which took place about the 1st of May were also shifted to correspond with the celebration of Easter.” So Easter is actually a Pagan ritual that was absorbed by the church. G-d tells us over and over in His Word NOT to do the things the pagans do!

http://www.goddessgift.com/pandora%27s_box/easter-history.htm

Easter History : Christian and Pagan Traditions Interwoven
The history of Easter reveals rich associations between the Christian faith and the seemingly unrelated practices of the early pagan religions. Easter history and traditions that we practice today evolved from pagan symbols, from the ancient goddess Ishtar to Easter eggs and the Easter bunny. Easter, perhaps the most important of the Christian holidays, celebrates the Christ’s resurrection from the dead following his death. . . a rebirth that is commemorated around the vernal equinox, historically a time of pagan celebration that coincides with the arrival of spring and symbolizes the arrival of light and the awakening of life around us.

“Easter was originally a celebration of the fertility god, Ashtoreth of Babylon. More commonly known as Ishtar (Easter) is the praise of fertility, eggs, birth, and was incorporated into celebration of Jesus’ resurrection because the Catholic church didn’t want to stop the pagan worship. They folded it into ours (Catholicism) to keep the peace and money flowing. It will be exposed and punished severely in the near future by King Jesus.”

Easter
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11044a.htm from the Catholic encyclopedia:
First Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, held in 325 AD “….. Constantine, having ….. become sole emperor, concerned himself with the re-establishment of religious peace as well as of civil order. Other matters dealt with by this council were the controversy as to the time of celebrating Easter.

And from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05228a.htm
“The emperor himself, (Constantine) writing to the Churches after the Council of Nicaea, exhorts them to adopt its conclusions and says among other things: “At this meeting the question concerning the most holy day of Easter was discussed, and it was resolved by the united judgment of all present that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day. . . And first of all it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin. . the Christians (Roman Catholics) calculated the time of Easter for themselves, paying no attention to the Jews.”

In other words, the new Emperor, paid no attention to what G-d’s Word told His children to do and decided that the celebration of the resurrection of Y’shua/Jesus was always to be held on a Sunday. They decided it would be the “first Sunday, after the first Full moon, after the 21st of March.” They wanted nothing to do with the hated Jews and their G-d commanded celebration of Passover. It was Passover that G-d commanded us to keep – AND First Fruits – the day of His resurrection. “To keep the traditions of man and/or the doctrines of the church over the written Word of G-d —– is sin.” fjc

“Even then in Ireland and in parts of the North some years passed before the adoption of the Roman Easter became general (Moran, Essays on the Origin, Doctrines and Discipline of the Early Irish Church, Dublin, 1864).” So we see that the Easter date was from the Roman Catholic Church. This fake holiday was accepted by Martin Luther when he broke from the Roman Church and has been with us ever since. Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the 31st of October 1517, to the door of Wittenberg Castle/Church, sparking the Reformation. In this he did well, but he should have insisted on forbidding the so called Sunday Sabbath, Easter and Christ Mass, other inventions of Constantine at the Council of Nicea in 135 AD.

CONCLUSION
Passover is mentioned 77 times in the Bible. Easter only once – in Acts 12:4 in the KJV and it is a miss-translation. It was corrected in all 20 of the newer translations. It should be Passover.
Ishtar/Ashtoreth/Eastre/Easter/Eostre or however you want to say it, depending on your location, is all the same fertility goddess myth and has nothing to do with our blessed Lord’s death or resurrection. Why would you ever even want to connect the two?
G-d told us about Passover, commands us to observe it and He told us not to change His Word in any way. What will you do? Accept G-d’s Passover Lamb or accept the Easter ham? Speaking of ham – do you realize what a slap in the face of G-d it must be to serve ham in the supposed honor of Resurrection Day? Pigs are the garbage cans of earth, created to clean it.

Isaiah 65:3-5 “A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face; ……. Who eat swine’s flesh, And the broth of abominable things is in their vessels; 5 Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, Do not come near me, For I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.” Leviticus 11:4,7&8 “…..you shall not eat ….. the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. 8 Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. They are unclean to you.”

Y’shua/Jesus never ate pork or a ham sandwich in His whole life. He ate according to Leviticus 11. (No pork products) He told us to do what He did. So again I ask – it is Lamb or ham? When you stand before the Lord – what will you tell Him?

See you nert time!
Shalom! Sharaka

Chanukah, What’s it All About, Anyway?

Nobody told us, when we were in the Christian church, about Chanukah.
What is it and what’s it all about, anyway?

There are about 400 years of time between the “Old” and “New” Testaments. Four hundred ’silent’ years when we never heard anything from G-d. This is when the Alexander, the Great, conquered the tiny nation of Israel and marched into Jerusalem. He was friendly to the Jews and respected their beliefs. He conquered the whole known world and it is said he cried when there were no more nations to take over. He died a broken-hearted man at age 33. Having no sons, his top generals divided up his kingdom. Selucis took the northeast (Syria) and Ptolomy took the southwest (Egypt). These two dynasties fought constantly. One would march against the other and rape, rob and pillage little Israel on the way, taking control of its government.. Then when the other got strong enough, they would do the same. And there Israel was, right in the middle of everything. Sounds almost like today’s newspaper!

When the story of Chanukah begins, the northern kingdom of Syria, still Greek run, was “in”. Antiochus IV was the tyrannical leader. He actually gave himself the added name of Epiphanes, which means, “god in the flesh”. Behind his back, he was called Antiochus, Epimanes, (the madman). I think he was the original Borg! He tried to destroy the Nation of Israel – not by death but by assimilation. He wanted to kill their spirits. To do this, he tried to stop their Jewishness. No Torah study; no speaking Hebrew – Greek only; no circumcising or keeping the Sabbath. He had a huge statue of Zeus placed in the Temple and then inscribed his own face onto it. Some scholars say this likeness is what is found on the Shroud of Turin. On Kislev 25, he entered the Temple and had a large sow sacrificed. Broth was prepared from it and poured all over the holy books. He was truly one of the world’s most wicked men.

Greek soldiers were sent all over the land, setting up idols and forcing sacrifices of pigs. One such group entered the small village of Mo’adin, a few miles from Jerusalem and called the people together.
The most respected man in town, an old priest, Matityahu (Matthew in English), was called upon to make the sacrifice. He refused and another Jew stepped forward to do the job. Matityahu killed him with his sword and he and his five sons killed the rest of the soldiers, called the men to follow them into the hills where they could carry out gorilla warfare. Soon a large army gathered and in three years they had driven out the Greeks!

They entered the Temple on Kislev 25 – same date – three years later and began to cleanse it. They threw out all the unclean things, made a new altar and looked for oil with the seal of the high priest on it. Only one small flash could be found with only enough oil to burn in the menorah for one day. The people were rejoicing and waiting to hear the menorah was once again burning. They lit it anyway and it is said the menorah burned for eight days. Long enough for more oil to be prepared. This is the miracle of Chanukah. Some believe it this story was manufactured just to make it sound good. It was not recorded for some two hundred years. G-d certainly COULD have brought this about. Maybe He did – maybe He didn’t. To me, the real miracle is the fact that this small ragtag band of men were able to take over the Temple from mighty Greece! They got their Temple back, their religion back, their language back and their daughters back. This family of priests, the Hasmonean family were godly men above reproach. When Matityahu died, his son Yehudah took over. He was a real Rambo! He was such a good warrior that he was nick-named The Hammer, which is Maccabee in Hebrew. Sad to say, most of the sons were slain in battle and the last one, trusting no one else, made himself king. They were Levites – not from the tribe of Yehudah so this was a definite no-no! It only got worse from then on and by the time the first Herod came in, a hundred or so years later, the people were once again under foreign rule. The Romans this time. This is where the Book of Matityahu – Matthew – begins.

So what does all this mean to us today? A year after the Temple got back into Jewish hands, the sages decreed Kislev 25 to be a grand holy day and a celebration should take place for eight days. Why eight? Some say it was a re-do of Sukkot, because they had not come to Jerusalem to celebrate it properly; some say because circumcision was not allowed to take place on the eighth day, they would celebrate that long because now they were free to put their sons in covenant with G-d again. Who knows? We DO know that this time of Dedication, Y’shua went into the Temple to the Feast. He celebrated the Hasmonean victory. What they won was the right to be a set-apart people. A holy people of G-d who followed His Torah and all His ways. They wanted to remove themselves from the pagan practices around them. It was a bitter fight and many lost their lives. But it was worth it!

It is good to remember what happened back then. But it is good to look into our hearts today and see where we stand. Are WE willing to fight against the surrender of our language? our covenant with G-d? our keeping of the Sabbath? Are we willing to fight against paganism in every way – no matter what the cost? Every generation makes its choice. You can’t do it for your children. You can only teach them all you can and leave them in G-d’s hands.

And what about YOU? If you have never made the decision to follow G-d’s holy ways or asked Y’shua, His Son, to be your Saviour and Redeemer, today is the day! Don’t continue to steep yourself in the ways of the world – but come and join the winning side! I’ve read this whole Book
and G-d is the ultimate Victor! If you are already a Believer – simply rededicate your life to Him.
This can be the best Chanukah of your life! Just do it!

Chanukah 2004 = Eight days beginning Kislev 25
(Sunset December 7th – Sunset December 15th)

(five sons, Yohannan; Shimon; Yehudah, who was called Maccabeus; Eleazar, and Yonatan)

FYI = The word “Chanukah” in Hebrew means Dedication. It starts with the Hebrew letter, “chet”. It is a gutteral sound made in the throat – almost like a gargle. It’s too hard for many English speaking peoples so they have Americanized it by starting the word with an “h” instead, “Hanukkah”. You can’t misspell a Hebrew word in English as they are two different alphabets.
I still say it should be spelled “Chanukah“, and keep the “ch”…………… Let’s do it right!!!!

Sukkot – so soon? Yessssss!

Shalom!
The following is this week’s letter from FFOZ – First Fruits of Zion – an organization headed by my friend, Boaz Michael.
I receive this service every week – love it!
I would like to point out that Messianics (and Jews) outside the Land (Israel) are NOT required to spend nights sleeping in a sukkah. Sukkah is the singular of the Hebrew word “Sukkot”, which is pronounced sue-COAT with the accent on the last syllable, as most Hebrew words are. Please note the requirements for building the sukkah are rabbinical rather than Biblical. There are not many requirements given in Scripture, so we have to rely on the rabbis for instruction. If Y’shua wanted to change things, He would have when He was here. Jews have been keeping these commandments for thirty-seven hundred years (?), so I guess we can in our generation. Common sense still rules. Can you imagine an Alaskan, under 2 feet of snow, sleeping in a sukkah? “Do the best you can with what you have” certainly applies here.
My sukkah is a cube – 8’X8’X8’. I think G-d likes cubes. The Holy of Holies is a cube – 15 ft square. Mine has three sheets of 4’X8’ painted plywood lying on their sides, nailed to 2’X4’s. Two door hinges on the back 2X4s hold it together. When the holydays are over, just pull out the pins and you have three sides to stack and store. The top sides are left open and the back wall has bamboo shades. We can decorate on that, hang fruit and other décor from the lattice covering the top. I use Jewish calendar pictures and whatever else suits me, to decorate. I have a small table and two benches to complete the furnishings. A menorah and an etrog sit on the table. It’s so refreshing to just sit and sip a hot cup of coffee and contemplate the goodness of the Lord and the blessings He has given me. I believe the first day of Sukkot is the birthday of the Messiah and the eighth and last day, the day He was circumcised. I have been singing, “Joy to the World” and “Little Town of Bethlehem” for several days now! Drives my non-Messianic kids crazy! Here’s the story:

Parashat Hashavuah (Portion of the Week)

Sukkot : “The Feast of Booths”
Torah : Leviticus 22:26-23:44
Haftarah : Zechariah 14
Gospel : Luke 2

Sukkot: Camping Out with God

Thought for the Week
The Feast of Tabernacles is the culmination of all the appointed times. It is to the other festivals what the Sabbath is to the other six days of the week. It is a prophetic picture of the coming kingdom. It foreshadows the great celebration when the entire world will live in peace and brotherhood under the reign and rule of the righteous Messiah King. sukkot: Camping Out with God

Commentary
Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD.” (Leviticus 16:34)

Five days after the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles begins. It is seven days long. The first day is a special Sabbath. The Hebrew name of the festival is sukkot (סוכות, pronounced “sue coat”), a word that means “shelters, stables or huts.” The same word is often translated into English as “tabernacles” or “booths.” The name is derived from the commandment for all Jews to dwell in temporary shelters for the seven days of the festival as a reminder of the post-exodus years when Israel lived in huts and booths, following God in the wilderness:

You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths. (Leviticus 23:42)

The temporary shelter is referred to as a sukkah (סוכה), which is the singular form of the plural word sukkot. A traditional sukkah must have at least two and a half walls made from virtually any material. The walls don’t have to be solid. They could be plywood, canvas, latticework or just about anything. One wall can be part of a permanent structure. For example, the wall of a garage would work. The rest of the booth has to be temporary and disassembled after the festival.

The sukkah booth can be any size, so long as it is large enough for the family to eat and sleep in. The roof of the sukkah is supposed to be covered with some sort of foliage or vegetation that grows from the ground: tree branches, cornstalks, bamboo reeds, sticks or even lumber. The roof material has to provide adequate shade yet be sparse enough so rain can get in and stars can be seen through it. The sukkah should leave a person vulnerable to the elements.

The process of building and living in a sukkah is a great adventure for children. It’s like building a fort and camping out in the backyard. People commonly decorate their sukkot. It’s fun for the kids, often more fun than decorating a Christmas tree. Families hang harvest decorations and handmade artwork from the walls.

During the course of the seven days of sukkot, it is appropriate to eat one’s meals in the sukkah, and if the climate permits, to sleep at night inside the sukkah. Hosting guests in the sukkah for special holiday meals is a big part of the festival. It’s a great time of fellowship.

The sukkot is a time of joy and celebration, a time to celebrate the harvest and revel in God’s goodness. The festival of sukkot comes at harvest time. The joyous mood of sukkot is a dramatic shift from the solemn and austere tone of the high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The celebration of sukkot is so joyous that Jewish liturgy often refers to it as “the season of our rejoicing.” The commandment to move outside of one’s comfortable zone and live in a booth is meant to remind us that God is our provider, sustainer and protector. On the cycle of sanctification, sukkot is an annual opportunity to revel in God’s goodness and take delight in our redemption.

Go online: www.ffoz.org/contact

First Fruits of Zion, PO Box 649, Marshfield, MO 65706-0649 USA

Telephone 417 468 2741, Toll-free 800 775 4807, Fax 417 468 2745

The temporary shelter is referred to as a sukkah (סוכה), which is the singular form of the plural word sukkot. A traditional sukkah must have at least two and a half walls made from virtually any material. The walls don’t have to be solid. They could be plywood, canvas, latticework or just about anything. One wall can be part of a permanent structure. For example, the wall of a garage would work. The rest of the booth has to be temporary and disassembled after the festival.

The sukkah booth can be any size, so long as it is large enough for the family to eat and sleep in. The roof of the sukkah is supposed to be covered with some sort of foliage or vegetation that grows from the ground: tree branches, cornstalks, bamboo reeds, sticks or even lumber. The roof material has to provide adequate shade yet be sparse enough so rain can get in and stars can be seen through it. The sukkah should leave a person vulnerable to the elements.

The process of building and living in a sukkah is a great adventure for children. It’s like building a fort and camping out in the backyard. People commonly decorate their sukkot. It’s fun for the kids, often more fun than decorating a Christmas tree. Families hang harvest decorations and handmade artwork from the walls.

During the course of the seven days of sukkot, it is appropriate to eat one’s meals in the sukkah, and if the climate permits, to sleep at night inside the sukkah. Hosting guests in the sukkah for special holiday meals is a big part of the festival. It’s a great time of fellowship.

The sukkot is a time of joy and celebration, a time to celebrate the harvest and revel in God’s goodness. The festival of sukkot comes at harvest time. The joyous mood of sukkot is a dramatic shift from the solemn and austere tone of the high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The celebration of sukkot is so joyous that Jewish liturgy often refers to it as “the season of our rejoicing.” The commandment to move outside of one’s comfortable zone and live in a booth is meant to remind us that God is our provider, sustainer and protector. On the cycle of sanctification, sukkot is an annual opportunity to revel in God’s goodness and take delight in our redemption.

Shalom! Chag sameach! See ya next time!

How to Please G-d …

After the Holy Spirit has called you to Himself – and you realize you are in need of a Saviour and did teshuvah – turned around back to G-d, asked forgiveness for your sin and agreed to try to stop sinning – then you can be assured of your salvation! It’s FREE to all! But ….. then comes your part. Yes, salvation is free (He paid for it with His life!) but that’s not the end of it. You still have your part to take care of. There are five things you must do. They won’t save you – nobody can work to gain salvation, but we must do what He asks of us. You can’t just “say the sinner’s prayer” and then go on living your life the same old way. A Believer is a new creature in Mashiach (Christ)! Here’s how to please G-d:

* SURRENDER yourself into His love and care. Give yourself over completely to His will. He said once, “Why call Me Lord if you don’t do what I say?” From now on everything you do will be filtered through the Holy Spirit so that everything you do is pleasing to Him. You’ll know, in time, in your heart what is acceptable to Him and what is not.

If in doubt – don’t!

* TALK to G-d. It’s called prayer… Daniel did this three times a day. Morning, noon and night. Deut. 6:4-9, called the Shema, (hear, with the intent of obeying) mentions “when you lie down and when you rise up”. That’s twice at least. This makes it a Biblical commandment. Actually, the Word says, “pray without ceasing”. Obviously one can’t be praying 24/7, but you can remain close to an attitude of prayer all during your waking hours. One morning as I was trying to wake up, I was shocked to hear myself say, “Good morning, Lord. How’s it goin’ up there?” I felt I was being disrespectful and was instantly sorry. But I was serious and I was talking to my Father and really wanted to know how He was doing. He is our Abba (daddy) and He wants us to love Him and feel natural when we speak to Him. You don’t have to begin your prayers with high-falutin’, over stated words that we would never use at any other time.  Neither should we be over familiar and start out by saying, “Hey G- – ” Oh, that makes me shudder when I hear some do that. Talk to Him often, like you mean it and don’t come with a ‘grocery list’ of wants. Most of the words in a Jewish prayer are directed to Him with thanks and gratitude while many times the words in a Christian prayer are a ‘grocery list’ of “do this for me” and give me that”! Which does He most like to hear? Be sure to give Him His proper place in your heart and your prayers will be just fine.

* READ the Scriptures. That’s how He talks to you.  Read His Word daily and then meditate on what you have read. How can He talk to you if you don’t listen? Have a set schedule and keep to it.  Read whole books at a time. Which ever system you use – and there are many – stick to it. Write favorite verses down on paper and stick them around your house where you can see them often and commit them to memory. One day we may have no Bibles and you will need to have His Word in your heart. He did say, “Hide my Word in your heart that you might not sin against Me.”

* GIVE – Tithe your earnings. Every dollar that you earn has ten dimes. One of those dimes belongs to G-d. Start at an early age and never, ever fail to give that tithe to the Lord. Don’t say you can’t afford to tithe. You can’t afford NOT to. You are indeed robbing G-d if you hold it back from him. The Bible even goes so far as to say if you don’t pay your tithe as soon as you get it, you must add 20%! Above the ten percent tithe is the offering. You can never out give G-d. Everything you have is His anyway. Aren’t you glad He lets us keep 90%?

*SERVE Him. Ask Him what you can do for Him every morning before your feet hit the floor. Give Him your day and ask Him to show you how you can further the Kingdom of G-d. You know that driver that cut you off the other day? Maybe he/she was having a very bad day and didn’t even realize what they did. How can you serve the Lord by having a bad attitude toward that person and maybe even yelling at them and thinking bad thoughts? Be kind, be gracious. He is to us! How can we do less to others? That’s all part of serving Him. You don’t have to go to Africa to be a missionary …. We also serve Him by gathering together to worship Him. He commands it. Music is a big part of that. Sing to Him.

*SHARE the gospel. Ask Him to lead you to some one who needs your help, your love, your time and/or your encouragement. You may get a phone call, maybe even a ‘wrong number’ and He will turn the conversation to Him and you can be of help in some way. When people come to your door, don’t let them leave without at least a “G-d bless you”. They may open up to you and state some need they have or something that is troubling them. It’s easy to smile and say, G-d bless you!” – even at the check-out counter…. Somebody somewhere needs Him – and you. If He “opens the door” – walk through it. You don’t have to be preachy – in fact, you shouldn’t be. Be natural, be Godly and if He sends someone that needs to hear about Him and is ready to listen – go for it!

So that’s it!   Talk, Listen, Give, Serve and Share. It’s as easy as remembering the five fingers of your hand!

Going Home

Five little boys from four to six years old played happily in the spacious front yard of a ranch style house in the suburbs of Mill Creek. It was summer and the sun was warm and loving; the sky above  surprisingly blue for Seattle, known for its gray, misty days.  The boys ran and tumbled and played leap frog, lost in the land of Make Believe. They didn’t hear the car barreling down the street toward them. It suddenly came to a screeching halt and, startled, they looked up from their play. One little fella, dark eyes widening, cheeks swelling into a giant grin, broke from the others and dashed toward the car without so much as a backward glance. The boys went on with their games, oblivious to the loss of their playmate. Carrying its new precious cargo, the car rounded the corner and was quickly out of sight.
So how do I know all this and why should it matter?

The little boys, Greg, Jonny, Danny, Josh and Russ, were my grandsons and they were playing in my front yard. I saw the whole thing from my window. Josh was out there playing but also waiting for his Dad to come pick him up. He knew it was almost time to go home. Josh is now married to a lovely girl, is living out of State, working at a good job, thanks to the education he got while serving in the Navy, and is 27 years old.  Why was he the only one who looked up and then ran to the car? Because he knew his father. As much as he enjoyed playing with his cousins, his father had come and it was time to go home.

The day will come, and probably very soon, when all the peoples of the earth are busily engaged in the activities of their choice – some working, some sleeping, some enjoying their leisure time, when out of the blue a sound will be heard. The sound of many waters. The sound of a shofar (trumpet). A few will hear but most won’t even look up.  But those who are in the know – those who are waiting – those who are listening – will know their Father has come for them. They know they have a Home to go to.  One that has been especially prepared for them. If you’re not watching – if you’re not waiting for Him – you’re not going!

What do you need to do to get ready?  From whom do you need to ask forgiveness?  If you don’t forgive, you won’t be forgiven.  Have you made your peace with G-d? Have you asked Him for forgiveness?  He is ready, willing and able to do just that. He longs to hear your songs of worship. He longs to hear your voice raised in prayer and praise.  He wants to share His heart and home with you forever.  The Saviour came once and died because he would rather die than live without you.

He’s coming!  Are you ready to “jump in the car and disappear around the corner”?  It matters!

This doctrine is taught by many Protestant churches. It is called the Rapture or  “caught up” doctrine.
Some teach a pre-tribulation Rapture, some mid-trib or post-trib. Some don’t believe in a Rapture at all.  Some think Y’shua (Jesus) will come back to earth for the Thousand Year reign and then draw His people to Himself.  How ever you chose to think it will play out – I hope you are ready.

What if you are wrong?

See you next time,
Shalom, Sharaka

Passover – First one without him!

In honor of Kenneth L. Carlson
11/19/28  -  9/8/08

Chag Sameach – Happy Passover!

Happy Resurrection Day

You’ll be home soon, too.
You may not have noticed it
but you are closer to home than ever before.
Each moment is a step taken. Each breath is a page turned.
Each day is a mile marked, a mountain climbed.
You are closer to home than you have ever been.

Before you know it your appointed arrival will come;
You’ll descend the ramp and enter the City.
You’ll see faces that are waiting for you.
You’ll hear your name spoken by those who love you.
And maybe, just maybe – in the back, behind the crowds -
The One who would rather die than live without you
will remove His pierced hands from His heavenly robe
… and applaud.

Max Lucado, “The Applause of Heaven”

Will you be ready?

See you next time,

Shalom, Sharaka

Chanukah – The Festival of Lights!

In the “Silent Years”, the 400 years between the old and new covenants, many events occurred which are not recorded in the Holy Book.  Alexander, the Great, came on the scene as the mighty Greek/Syrian conqueror of all the known world. He took everything he wanted and it’s recorded that he cried when he learned there were no lands left to conquer. He died of a broken heart before the age of 33. His empire was divided among four generals, Seleucus and Ptolemy becoming the strongest. The latter went south to headquarter in Egypt and Seleucus took the Syrian or eastern half. These two factions battled continually for supremacy and with tiny unprotected Israel in between, you can imagine the effect the wars had on the country.

About 170 BC, that many years before Y’shua was born, Antiochus IV, a Greek king, attacked Israel killing thousands. He banned all religious activity, especially keeping the Sabbath, the study of Torah and circumcision, the sign of God’s Covenant People. He defiled the Temple on Kislev 25, 168 or 167 BC, (on the Jewish calendar) by bringing in a large sow, slaughtering it upon the altar and pouring broth from it on the Holy Word of God. Antiochus was so vile that he added the name “Epiphanes” to his own – to mean `the visible god’. Anyone found with a new born circumcised baby boy was killed along with the whole family. Many other too-horrible-to-tell events occurred.

The Jews tried to do the best they could to continue to placate the Greeks and yet serve the One God. They invented a little game to play as they taught their children the Hebrew alef-bet. When soldiers came along they said they were just playing a game. It is still played today with a spinning four sided top called a Dreidel – which means “to spin”.

In the little village of Modi’in, just about three miles from Yerushalayim, an old priest named Matityahu lived with his five sons.  He truly loved God with all his heart and did his best to please Him. One day a band of soldiers came and ordered a pig to be sacrificed to Zeus, saying they would kill all who would not obey.  Matityahu refused and killed the first Jew that tried to offer the pig. Then he and his sons killed all the soldiers. It was time to stand for God and country. Many followed the old priest and his sons into the hills where they waged warfare on the Greek rulers. They were so relentless against their enemies that they were nicknamed “the Hammers”, or in the Hebrew “the Maccabees”.  When the old priest died, his son, Yehuda, took over as leader.  After a three year war they actually succeeded in driving out their enemies and taking back the land. This great day was Kislev 25 – again, 165 or 164 BC!  Kislev was a Babylonian name. The Hebrews did not name their months – or the days of the week. Kislev was/is the ninth month.

The Temple was defiled – some of it beyond repair. The old altar was torn down and replaced with new stones. New  vessels were made and all the area was cleansed.  Years before when the Tabernacle was built, God had ordered that the menorah, a seven branched candlestick be fashioned of gold and kept continually burning.  Pure sanctified olive oil was used as the fuel.  At last they were ready to rededicate the Temple for worship to God. All they needed was ritually pure oil!  Legend says only one bottle was to be found with the seal of the high priest still on it.  The people were assembled in victory waiting for the eternal light to blaze forth. It was decided to divide the oil into all the bowls and light them anyway – knowing they could only burn for one night. It would take eight long days to press more olive oil and prepare it for burning. The people did what they could and God took it from there – as He always does! It is said a great miracle occurred! The oil continued to burn for the full eight days. The Sages of that generation decreed that these eight days after the 25th of Kislev should be days of great rejoicing.  God Himself did not order this celebration, but it was done in His honor.   Special menorahs having nine lamps were made and made and everyone was to light their own chanukah menorah (called chanukiah) at sunset on Kislev 25 and for the next seven evenings.  In some families only one is used for everyone. They are placed in the front window for all the world to see.  We should always let every one see and hear of God’s miracles.

The first night the one on the far right is lighted by the shamash or servant candle and both are allowed to burn down (about a half hour). Each night one more candle is lighted until on the eighth night all nine are ablaze.  Special chanukah candles can be purchased in  rainbow colors for the occasion. Blessing are said first each night, thanking God for His mighty miracles.  This is a time to thank the Holy One of Israel  for  ALL  the miracles that He has done for us through the years and in our lives today. Yet to come is another Chanukah when the Temple will again be cleansed from the last Antiochus – the antiChrist – for he will rule for a time there before King Y’shua.

“Chanukah” means dedication.  It is a time to rededicate our lives to Him. This day is also believed to be the day Y’shua was conceived. He is The Light! It is a time to remember that we are to be His light today in a very wicked world.

(By the way, the “Ch” in Hebrew is pronounced
“KHah” with a little clearing of the throat sound…
it is sometimes spelled `Hanukkah’.)

Yochanon, (John) the beloved disciple, tells us in John 10:22 about Y’shua coming to the Temple in winter  (Kislev 25) to celebrate the Feast of Chanukah.  If it was good enough for Y’shua – it’s good enough for me!  If you drive past our house just after dark (and we’re home) any night during Chanukah, you’ll see our chanukiah lights burning in our window. Better yet, come on in and we’ll play dreidel!  We’ll have some potato latkes (fried in oil – to remember the miracle oil…)  some sufganiyot  (Israeli donuts) and praise God together for His great love.

Shalom  Shalom!
December 26, 2005  -   Kislev 25, 5766

Breshit 1 – Genesis 1

Starting ‘the New Year” (on the Jewish calendar) with the first book of the Torah (Bible). Here are a few thoughts from the first chapter of Breshit (say Bray-sheet):  (from the NKJV)

1. “In the beginning God created…”
It is G-d, always G-d. He is the beginning, the center, and the ending of everything.

2. “The earth was without form and void…”   (void =  not occupied, vacant, not inhabited, deserted) The earth was a big ball of mud. G-d doesn’t create ‘junk’, leading me to believe the condition of the earth at that time was the result of a disaster – perhaps a destroyed earlier creation? G-d was doing a ‘make-over’.  Many scholars subscribe to the “gap theory” – an extended period of time between the first and second verses, therefore giving credibility to the ‘millions of years’ talk.

Day One:
3. “…God said, “Let there be ‘light’, and there was light.”   What was that light? Did you ever wonder about that?  God hadn’t yet created the sun or the moon – so what light? G-d IS light, so His light was already present. What light appeared when He spoke it into existence? “The evening and the morning were the first day.”  Notice the first day started in the evening or at sundown. Man later changed the new day to begin at midnight!  We always know so much better than G-d, right?   Not!

Day Two:
6. “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” (firmament =  the expanse of space that seems to be over the earth like a dome – or the heavens) I understand there are three ‘heavens’. The first ‘heaven’ – expanse above the earth filled with air. The second heaven, which is where the sun, moon, stars and planets are and the third heaven which is
G-d’s home. I believe we are talking about the first heaven here. G-d says He divided the firmament (first heaven) with a water barrier. At that time there was a band of waters above the earth. I also believe that the water acted as a ‘greenhouse’ effect upon the earth. There were no seasons, no polar ice, and we had protection from the sun’s harmful rays. At the time of the flood, that overhead band of water was released onto the earth, which tipped slightly, and everything changed into how we know the earth to be today.

Day Three:

9. “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together in one place, and let dry land appear… let the earth bring forth grass, the herb…….. and the fruit tree……..”  This is the day G-d caused the land to produce vegetation. But remember – there was no sun to make things grow. Makes me realize G-d really did His creative works in six real 24 hour days.

Day Four:
14.  “Let there be lights in the …… heavens ……. and let them be for signs and seasons…….. and to give light on the earth. …….He made the stars also.”  The heavenly bodies are for light and we understand that.  But for “signs and for seasons”?  What signs? What seasons? We need to search this out and try to understand what He meant. The Book of Revelation speaks of “the moon turning into blood” Some have said that means the moon will be inhabited and there will be bloody wars up there, some say horrific modern pollution will cause the atmospheric conditions to show the moon to look red. We have seen red moons and they usually seem to be ’a bad sign’.  Requires more study, Huh?

Day Five:
20. “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth …….”  So G-d created all the fish and sea creatures and all the birds that fly. Think ahead to the Flood in the time of Noah. Who died? All humans but eight, all animals and birds save two of the unclean ones and seven of the clean ones. Evidently this destruction did not apply to anything that lived in the sea. Noah took no sea creatures into the ark. There are so many myriads of sea creatures and more are being discovered every year.  Nothing was lost of them in the flood while only a few animals and birds escaped. Take dogs for instance. How many breeds of dogs are there in existence today? From Chihuahuas to Saint Bernards. They weren’t all on the ark! No, there was only one pair and from these two all other breeds “evolved”. This is the only kind of evolution I believe in. A dog is a dog – great or small, snub nose or long nose, short hair or long, 3 pounds or 200 pounds. They are all dogs and they all came from just the first two after the Flood. All animals are identifiable in their species, dogs, cats or whatever.  There has never been a fossil found that is half dog and half cat, etc. Each is fully preserved in it’s own species.

Day Six:
24. “Let the earth bring forth …… cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to it’s kind.”
26. Then God said, ‘Let Us make Man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over ……. all the earth……..’
27. “………male and female He created them.”
28. “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”   G-d called upon all creation to reproduce itself. He gave mankind the job of caring for His creation. ‘Having dominion over’ does not mean rule with an iron hand or be tyrannical in our actions. G-d is love and He deals with His creation in a tender, loving way. He expects us to do what is necessary to keep the earth and it’s creatures in good form. Yes, we are superior to all other creatures but that does not give us the right to be unfair or unkind. We are to be careful with our environment and use it in the best way possible but it does not mean we are to ‘worship’ it. I believe the environmentalists have gone too far. Moderation and common sense go a long ways! Let’s pattern ourselves after the Ruler of the universe and treat our world and what’s in it the way He would.

29. And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.
30. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”;  In the beginning, all creatures were vegetarians. There was no death – nothing was killed for food – either by man or animal. Man was not given permission to eat flesh until after the flood. Man was told in the New Testament to not abstain from the eating of meat as some taught. I believe one day we will all be vegetarians again!

31. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.  There you have the six days of creation. Have you ever memorized them?
It’s time to do that now.

1. LIGHT
2. FIRST HEAVEN
3. LAND, VEGETATION
4. SECOND HEAVEN WITH SUN, MOON AND STARS
5. SEA CREATURES, BIRDS
6. BEASTS, BUGS AND HUMANS

See you next time,

Shalom,  Sharaka

Kenneth L. Carlson – Laid to Rest

Kenneth L. Carlson – Laid to Rest

The rosy fingers of dawn climbed the eastern sky over Iacolucci’s old place next door, most likely reflecting in the pond of Martha’s Creek. “This is the day which the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” I lay reflecting in the glory of G-d and in His Son, Y’shua HaMashiach – Jesus, the Messiah. Friday, September 12, 2008. The day I would lay my beloved’s body to rest. Sleep had been a welcome respite the past four nights and as much as I relished it, I knew I would have to rise and begin preparation.

Karin came first and tended to the kitchen supplies we would need for the reception. Blue and white plates, cups, spoons and forks and the napkins I had been saving for this day. I had made stacks of them. First a yellow and then a blue – thick dinner napkins in the colors of the Swedish flag, proper for the occasion.

She took the two big cakes my friend Thelma brought from Costco.
Carrot, Ken’s favorite, and chocolate. I was happy with them.

Kathy and Roger and Tiara arrived to attend to my needs. She found the sandals I wanted to wear. They were Ken’s. He never liked them – a North Dakota Swedish farmer doesn’t wear sandals. At least not this one. But Y’shua (Jesus) did and I wanted to. The soft brown suede matched the rust and black dress I wore.

I sat at the computer, making the list. Always, there is a list. Danny, my ben yamin, (my right hand man and number three grandson) was asked to take the specified three pictures to the Friendship Room at Northlake Christian Church where we would be gathering after the service. First the huge one of us kissing at our 40th anniversary that hangs in our room. Then, Ken’s favorite – the one of him, two friends and a group of Israeli soldiers we met in the desert outside Be’ersheba, Israel in November of 1991. They stood in front of their
trucks, waiting to go in for lunch. Someone took it from our tour bus and we had a poster sized copy made to frame. Ken was so proud of that picture. Then I asked Dann to take the picture of Ken sitting at the table praying over a tiny loaf of challah (Israeli braided bread for the Sabbath) and his glasses resting on his Bible.

A cup of coffee sits near by. I love that picture. It’s our rendition of the famous picture of the old grandfather bowing in prayer over his lunch. You’ve seen it. I know you have. I also took Ken’s Bible that I gave him in 1973.

The people of Northlake are a special breed. They have been so kind to us over the years. Jon has attended there over 20 some years. They are so good to him, always caring for his special needs. They brought dinner night after night when Ken had his last surgery when I was too busy to make meals for us. They offered us their facilities free of charge for this day. Northlake is directly across the street from Floral Hills Cemetery. How nice is that?

Danny was to be in charge of the roses. Rich, deep red blooms that Ken loved.

And I asked Danny to add one fern frond from our front yard. He found a beautiful crystal vase to put them in and took them to the cemetery. They sat at the casket, the only flowers there. Jewish tradition doesn’t include flowers.

Kevin, first born but always last to arrive, came at 9:30. He drove me in our red Mercury sable and made sure the wheelchair was in the trunk. I would be arriving in my chariot just in time for the 10 o’clock service. Jon’s (our youngest son) friend, Melvin Tiegs, brought him straight to the cemetery.

As we parked in our designated spot, our friend, Mike Sonnenberg of the Cedar Park Funeral Home, opened my door and introduced Sergeant Amy Balback of the National Guard Honor Guard. She told me she was honored to be there and thanked me for Ken’s service in the military. As Kevin rolled me past the young soldier standing at attention holding his cornet, I thanked him for being there. Most of the people were already seated in the 12 provided chairs or standing behind them. Our children “sat in age” with Kevin next to me. Mike came and stated that we were slightly behind schedule. I could only smile and inform him that
we operated on Jewish standard time – at least 15 minutes past the official time!

Pastor Carl Smith stepped forward and blew his shofar. He does it so well. He explained that the shofar was used, and still is, to call to assemble and for many other reasons. He welcomed our family and made a few opening remarks. He told us about the casket, which was unseen, being covered by a huge American flag.

The casket was hand made of unfinished pine by the Batesville Casket Company of Indiana, said to be the finest in the world. It was made to Jewish specification – no metal anywhere. All dowels and glue. Everything has to be biodegradable. There were four mogan davids (the Star of David) one at each corner. They were also hand carved of pine and stained a rich brown. Mike found a six inch wooden cross at the Christian Bookstore and placed it on the top of the casket as a gift to us. It was all so impressive to me. None of us has ever seen such a casket. It looked as if Y’shua, Himself could have made it in His carpenter shop. So fitting Ken.

Carl finished his remarks, recalling that he and Ken had been serving on the same island in Japan during the Korean War, unbeknownst to each other. They didn’t meet until many years later. Carl and his wife, Henrianna are dear and special friends and the first pastor we called to Avodah Yeshiva Fellowship,
our Messianic Congregation which Ken and I helped co-found in 1998. Three other founders were there – Ruth, Thelma and Donna.

Carl introduced Jim Arneson, our famous local music man. He was part of the Crossroads Quartet for many years and still heads the Crossroads New Revival, a wonderful Southern Gospel group that blesses so many. We met Jim and his five siblings in 1959. His father, Ted Arneson, pastured the little white church on the hill a mile from our house. Bethel Assembly of God. We were members there (and in the bigger building later built in Lynnwood) for many years and I was Church Secretary for over twenty. Ted, now with the Lord, and his wife, Lola, remain among our dearest friends.

Jim led us in “Blessed Assurance”, a great old song of the faith, and the “Old Rugged Cross”. He then sang a medley of songs, including “Life is Like a Mountain Railroad”. Most people probably haven’t heard it. The chorus states:

“Blessed Savior, Thou wilt guide us till we reach that blissful shore where the angels wait to join us in Thy praise forevermore.” Since Ken was a railroad man for 41 years, I guess that was the right song. Jim also sang, at Karin’s request, “I Can Only Imagine” and “Day by Day”, an old Swedish favorite. I wanted “Leavin’ on My Mind”, but that didn’t happen. That’s the song I was singing to Kenny just before he passed. He loved to hear Steve Brock from TBN sing it.

Here are some of the words:

LEAVIN’ ON MY MIND
This old house I’m living in it sure needs some repair;
The windows and the shutters are letting in the cold, cold air.
I say to myself, I’m gonna fix them if I can find the time;
But all I’ve been getting lately is leavin’ on my mind.

Lately all I’ve got is leavin’ on my mind;
It seems that’s all I think about most of the time;
And soon and very soon I’ll leave these troubles far behind;
Lately I’ve got leavin’, leavin’ on my mind.

Carl read the obituary from the Everett Herald:

Kenneth L. Carlson

11/19/1928 – 9/8/2008

Kenny’s gone now. He’s gone ahead to kind of check out the Place – like he’s

done for me for 52 and a half years. I miss him so much. I’ve really missed him

for over two years. That’s how long he’s had this serious heart condition.

Ken has lived in three worlds. The first was a watery one. Warm, cozy, but

pretty small. Got to be quite crowded toward the end, actually. It was a little

lonely but he had all his needs met, didn’t have to do a thing. If you would

have asked him if he would like to leave there and go to a place where he could

see better, move around from place to place, and be part of a loving group he

might have said, “I suppose – sounds good, but no thanks. I’d rather stay right

here.” He didn’t have that choice. A day came when he felt crushing pain that

got worse and worse until he exploded into the brilliant light of a North

Dakota farm house. He had to learn a different lifestyle. It was hard, but he

learned to cope. He came to Seattle in 1945, got a job, fell in love, married

(June 21, 1957) raised a family, and made a good life for himself. Then one day

a fellow came along and asked him if he wanted to go to a better place. One

where there was no more pain or sorrow. A place where he could meet his Creator

and live in His presence forever. The answer was the same. “Sounds wonderful,

but I’m not ready yet. Someday.” Again, he had no choice – the day came, as it

will for all of us.

Thankfully, he had made the decision early on where he wanted to spend eternity

and as a Believer in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and in His Son, Y’

shua, (Jesus)Ken was ready to make the journey. He’s there now with his

parents, Oscar and Ellen Carlson, his two unborn children, his eldest grandson,

Greg, and so many other friends and family members.

He leaves his grieving but happy-for-him wife of fifty one years, Fern Julian

Carlson; his sons, Kevin and Jon; his daughters, Karin Gudmundson (Rory); and

Kathy Barton (Roger); twelve Grandchildren; three Great Grandchildren; and a

large family of Carlsons, who by G-d’s grace will be joining him one day -

including his elder brother, LeRoy, (Emmie); his youngest sister, Ardis

Shelton; his sister-in-law, Pat Carlson (Ervin, deceased) and brother-in-law,

Eugene Heimbuch (Arlene, deceased).

Ken served his country in the Army during the Korean Conflict, worked for

Northern Pacific Railway (Burlington Northern) for 41 years. He lived in the

same house he and I designed near Martha Lake since 1958. He was a quiet man

who spent his time loving his family and being faithful to his G-d. He was a

member of the Assemblies of God Church for over 30 years, and was co-founder of

Avodah Yeshiva Fellowship, a Messianic Congregation of Christians who believe

in following the Jewish pattern of worship and trying to live the way Y’shua

(Jesus) did when He was here.

We’d like to thank Dr. James Pautz of Swedish Heart and Vascular Institute and

their staff, and Dr. Henry Hochberg as well as the Evergreen Hospice Team for

their kind and loving help.

Ken never wanted a big memorial service, just a family graveside service since

he never wanted to call attention to himself. If you would like to contact his

family, we’re got the same number we’ve had for almost 50 years. It’s in the

phone book. Or e-mail us at: KennethLawrenceCarlson@gmail.com We’d love to hear

from you. Shalom!

After the obituary was read, Carl introduced the young man with the cornet. He

stood some distance away at the entrance to the Camelia Garden where our family

plot is. He played the most beautiful rendition of TAPS that I have ever heard.

I can only describe it as sweet and majestic. Then he and the lady Sergeant,

the Military Honor Guard, came forward and removed the flag from the casket.

With military precision, they gently, slowly and methodically folded the flag

into a triangle of 13 folds, each one representing a message. Sgt. Balback

knelt before me and presented me with the flag, saying it was an honor to be

there and a part of Ken’s service. She bethanked me for his years of military

service. Then she saluted the flag and me and was gone.

Jeff Steadman, current pastor of Avodah, sang the Mourner’s Kaddish in Hebrew.

I will do it in English every day for the next year. It is a beautiful tribute,

giving glory and praise to the Lord and it’s for the living.

Carl dismissed all but the family. The workers came to lower the casket, which

they did a few feet. Then Danny came forward with his list. First, he called

Kevin, our eldest son, who came, took a rose and laid it on the coffin. Then

Karin, our eldest daughter, came and placed one rose for her, one for her son,

Greg, who is rejoicing in heaven with his grandfather, and one for Amy, her

daughter who was home very ill. Kathy placed hers and Danny did one for Jon,

who is disabled. Then the grandchildren came. Danny, Kyle, Josh, Russ,

Christina, Joshua, Renee and Tiara. Jonathan is attending the University of

Southern California and Jason is in the hospital with mersa so roses were

placed for them. Danny placed a rose for me and of course the fern frond. It

was a very touching moment. One none of us will forget.

There was a silver bucket with a small silver shovel at the end of the casket

containing earth. Carl picked up a shovelful and sprinkled it on the casket. It

symbolizes “from dust thou art, to dust thou shalt return.” Then he brought a

shovelful to me. I took it and touched the dirt and he sprinkled it over the

casket, too. Danny, Kyle and Josh Gudmundson took a turn. It is a sign of

respect and love for the deceased. I believe it is also symbolic of the

children of Israel crossing the desert on their exodus to Egypt when they

placed rocks on graves to protect them from being disturbed by animals or

anything. Many cultures observe this and I find it a touching way to say the

final good-bye. The men lowered the casket. Carl blew the shofar one final time

and we left the grounds.

Reception:

There were finger foods, fruit salad, sandwiches, a vegetable tray, cookies,

coffee and lemonade along with the two cakes over at the church. The ladies of

Northlake had tableclothed big round tables and set up eight chairs at each.

The tablecloths were an olive green and each had a large square napkin with a

dark blue background showing large fruit in fresh colors. Striking.

Tiara, our youngest granddaughter, age 6, wore a beautiful black dress and her

favorite tiara. She carried a basket of tiny Butterfingers candy bars. She

circled the room stopping at each table to ask the guests if they would like

one of her Grampa’s favorite candy bars. Of course, everyone did!

We enjoyed each other’s company for quite a while and then went our separate

ways to process the day and the meaning of it, each in our own way.

I believe Ken was honored in the simple quiet fashion he so desired. G-d was

uplifted, exalted and blessed as we praised His name and thanked Him for Ken’s

life and the fruit of his efforts. Yes, this was a day that the Lord had made

and we could rejoice and be glad! One day, not too far in the future, I will

see my Kenny again – never to say “good-bye”!

KEN CARLSON MEMORIAL SERVICE

12 September 2008 – Floral Hills, Lynnwood, WA

Order of Service

Shofar Blown for Assembly

Opening Prayer

Welcoming Remarks

Shema – Carl Smith leading attendees

Introduction of Jim Arneson

Comments and Music – Jim Arneson

Comments (W/Mourner’s Prayer) – Carl

Sung in Hebrew by Jeff Steadman

TAPS & Folding & Presenting Flag

Dismissal

Lowering of Casket

Final Shofar

Reception at Northlake Christian Church

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