28. Apr, 2017

Holocaust Memorial

At this time we here in New Zealand are remembering our fallen in the many wars and the sacrifice that many of the living paid with their health and family life, for the freedom we have. We read in the news Turkey has just voted to do away with democracy and return to the Muslim voting system, one person has one vote once. We served in the armed forces to set people free from the hordes who tried to destroy freedom and now people are giving their freedom away. I have stood in the cemetery in Beersheva, Israel and read the names. People of all ages and obviously backgrounds and of many nations all with one goal and that was to free Israel of their conquerors, the Turks some four hundred years before.

The day before our ANZAC remembrance day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) is the Holocaust Memorial in Israel. This is the day Israel remembers the millions who died at the hands of the Nazis simply for being Jewish. When the sirens sound throughout Israel, the whole country comes to a stop, people even get out of their cars to stand for their lost people. As someone once said – “War is hell” but so can what we call peace be sometimes and there are many instances of this in the world today. When the Jewish people cry out ‘never again’ we should stand with them in this cry. [Amos 9:15]

Isaiah 40:1; comfort oh comfort my people, cried the Lord so the question remains are we obeying the Word of God or working against it? [Psalm 42:10] When Yeshua said “What you did not do for one of my Brothers” [Matthew 25:45] He was talking to us about His Jewish brethren. As the time shortens for the return of the Bridegroom for His Bride, [Revelation 19:7] we need to look to our hearts to see if we are living by the Word of God [Deuteronomy 8:3] or a set of man made rules. [Mark 7:9] Do we love His people as we are commanded to or have we invented new ones to exclude them? [Romans 11:11-16] God’s Word never changes, [Isaiah 40:8] not ever as it will last forever [1 Peter 1:23-25] and that is where our security lies, in the truth of His Word, which works within us. [1 Thessalonians 2:13]

It is time to turn to the Word and leave the world to the world. [1 John 2:15] It is time to say replacement theology needs to be replaced with the truth. The Messiah is returning, are we ready receive Him or are we unprepared because we love the way of the world? Or do we love the teachings we are receiving that sound good to our ears but are not backed up by scripture? [2 Timothy 4:3] We have to remember the father of lies roams the world looking for victims [John 8:44] and they are easily found when we exchange the truth for a lie. [Romans 1:25] A lie is easy to follow as it has no substance but on the other hand the truth is more difficult to follow. To follow a lie requires little commitment as a lie is always changing. Whereas the truth remains the truth and we have to set our feet firmly on its path. [Psalm 25:10] Many things will come against this truth to try and knock us off the path but if we stand firm the lie will be exposed but the truth can never be removed.

That is why we know the Word is truth. If the Disciples had invented a lie it would, over the years be changed, but the truth of Yeshua has never changed no matter what theologians or some church leaders have tried to do with the Word. In the 1980’s the idea that we the people can decide for ourselves what part of the Word is truth was introduced. Today this has been refined to the point of once saved always saved no matter what we do. This goes right against scripture [Matthew 7:15-23] when it says be holy as I am holy. [Leviticus 11:44] How can we be holy if we continue to sin before a Holy God? It seems today that being holy can mean whatever we want it to be, from pastors criticizing slow drivers on the road to ‘we don’t have to follow that teaching in the Word any more [1 Peter 2:8] as God and the Word are forever evolving, so what was said when the Bible was written does not apply to us in this modern world.’

All this goes directly against a Holy God whose promises are forever [Luke 1:55] and had His Son Yeshua die a horrible death for the sins of the world. [John 3:16] If the Word is evolving, why didn’t the Lord just wait for the word to catch up to the needs of society? If He had just waited He would not have had to die on the cross, would He?  No it is not the Word that needs to change to meet the needs of the people but the people need to change to meet the needs of our God and saviour. And that means following the Word and not the world. [Psalm 119:89]

Yeshua told the leaders of the time they were making their own rules at the expense of God’s scriptures. [Mark 7:9] Today I have heard many sermons based on the this part of scripture, and all say how wrong the leaders were, and then we make up our own rules as we go along and say it is OK to sin because we are forgiven. We need to stop and think are we in God’s will or working against it? [Acts 5:29] I suppose a good test for this is our attitude towards the Jewish people. We need to ask: are the Jewish people removed from God’s promises? Has the Church replaced God chosen people? Are we following all of God’s Word or selecting just the parts we like? There are many other questions I am sure the Lord will ask us on Judgment day of how we related to His Word.  [2 Corinthians 5:10] To answer all these questions and many more, there is only one place to go and that is the Word of God.

God said I will never forget them, and there are too many scriptures to quote where God reaffirms His love for the Jewish people including Romans 11. There is nowhere in the Bible where it says the church has taken the place of the Jewish people, in fact it says quite the opposite. [Ephesians 2:11-13] God did say He would scatter them but always said He would return them to the land of Israel. [Ezekiel 20:34] We have just celebrated, if that is the right word for such an event, the service to all our military personnel who have served in the last hundred years of our history. Many gave their lives in the freeing of the Jewish people, first in the battles to free them from the Turks in 1917, and again to free them during the Second World War. Let us not allow the sacrifice made at these times by very brave men and women be for nothing. Nor let the much greater sacrifice of our Lord be for nothing.

The Jewish Rabbis state that bringing one person to God will change the world. A bold statement on the surface, however if we bring one person then another and another until the whole world bows their knee to the Lord, then surely this is a true statement. God is in the business of changing hearts and minds and bringing people into a relationship with Him. [Ezekiel 36:26] This is what will change the world not rules and regulations, but the changing of hearts, one person at a time. Yeshua died for the world but this statement then changes to the individual by saying: “Who so ever would believe in Me will be saved. [John 3:16] This is a personal statement to all. Yeshua is calling  ‘I stand at the door and knock who so ever opens the door I will come in and sit with them.” [Revelation 3:20] Again a personal invitation and one we all need to respond to if we are going to change and change for the better the world we live in. A world where God comes first and we live to please Him in all we do and say.  A world where we take God’s Word as truth, the truth we are to live by because we are not saved by the strength of an army [Hosea 1:7] but by the promises and acceptance of what God has done for us.

 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous commands. I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord, according to your word. Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your ways. Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your teachings. The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts. Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end. [Revelation 119:105-113]