High Holy Day Greetings in Yeshua!
The Hebrew month of Elul, the month preceding the fall feasts of the Lord, ends on September 20, 2017. This month is characterized by soul-searching, repentance, and attempts to draw closer to God by preparing the heart to love and obey Him. As we have personally drawn closer to the Lord, we have heard Him speaking to our hearts about TRUTH, something inseparable from God Himself.
The word for truth in Hebrew is אמת emet, pronounced eh-MET. When the Lord revealed Himself to Moses on Mount Sinai, He proclaimed the name of the LORD as He passed by him: “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth (emet)…” (Exodus 34:6). God is abundant in truth. It is a major part of His nature. Many psalms speak of God and His truth. “For Your mercy reaches into the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds” (Psalm 57:10). “…His truth shall be your shield and buckler” (Psalm 91:4). “... the truth of the LORD endures forever…” (Psalm 167:2). “Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps truth forever…” (Psalm 146:6).
The Opposite of Truth
Lying is the opposite of telling the truth. A lying tongue is one of the six things that the LORD hates, according to Proverbs 6:17. Again, in Proverbs 12:22 we find: “Lying lips are an abomination
to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” The psalmist cries out in Psalm 120:2, “Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.”
Deceit and lies are denounced in the Brit Hadasha as well. But even more, the SOURCE of deceit and lying is exposed: Hasatan (ha-sah-TAHN), a Hebrew word meaning “the accuser.” In English, He is called Satan or “the devil.” The Messiah Yeshua unmasked him to those who were seeking to kill Him, “…a Man who has told you the truth…” (John 8:40). Yeshua said to them, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me” (John 8:44-45).
Satan is the father of lies. God, on the other hand, cannot lie (Titus 1:2). It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18). Man, unfortunately, is prone to believe the lies of the enemy and to follow him in the ungodly practice of lying. God’s Word, the Torah, demands truth: “And you shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another” (Leviticus 19:11). Once the Bible as our standard of conduct is renounced and removed, lying becomes acceptable. A politically-correct term was invented during our last presidential election when a candidate was caught in a lie. They proclaimed that they just “misspoke”!
If we add the erosion of biblical values to the slyness of the devil, we end up with a plethora of deceiving spirits that have been unleashed in our day. These lying spirits would even deceive, if אמת Yom Teruah (Rosh HaShana) begins the evening of September 20, 2017 possible, the very elect. (See Matthew 24:24.) We must cling to the truth (God and His Word) as never before because of the reality spoken of in first Timothy 4:1-2, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.”
Our Commitment to Truth
All those who love the God of Israel, and especially the talmidim (followers) of the Messiah, Yeshua, must cling to the truth of God and His Word. We are exhorted to do this throughout the Holy
Scriptures. The Psalms are replete with exhortations to embrace and stand in truth, emet. “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:5). “…Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me” (Psalm 40:11). “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts…” (Psalm 51:6).
The Book of Proverbs exhorts us concerning the truth as well: “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3). “For my mouth will speak truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips” (Proverbs 8:7).
One of our favorite thoughts about truth in the New Covenant is 1 Corinthians 13:6, “Love rejoices in the truth.” Throughout the letters of the Apostle Paul, we find powerful exhortations concerning truth. Space allows us to share just a few. “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8). “…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all ways into Messiah, who is the Head” (Ephesians 4:15 TLV Version). “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25). We are also reminded in Ephesians 6:14 that part of our spiritual armor is the “belt of truth.”
Truth in the U.S.A. Today
The Prophet Isaiah could have been speaking about our country when he spoke the following words: “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and
equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice” (Isaiah 59:14-15).
The truth: Truth has indeed “fallen in the street.” The media in the USA has, for the most part, turned from “reporting the news” to “making the news.” Journalists used to stick with the facts, and try to remain objective. That is not the case today. They give their opinions as if they were facts. A name has been invented for this: “fake news.” The truth is not as important as telling a story. People don’t know who or what to believe.
More truth: Mainstream American news is possibly ALL fake news because the major news outlets—ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN—are all consistently biased towards the left. Only 7% of
American journalists identify themselves as Republican. The other 93% who are Democrats claim that they can be objective, but their bias is skewing their reporting.
As members of the Presidential Prayer Team, we received a letter in June with the heading, “Who is Telling the Truth?” The letter began, “We find ourselves in a crisis of truth in America.” President Trump is consistently challenging the media to report the truth instead of the lies of “fake news.” The letter continued, “It can be infuriating. But it shouldn’t be surprising. It’s ongoing evidence of the spiritual battle waging for the hearts and souls of the country’s citizens, a battle that will continue until Christ returns.”
God’s people know where to find the truth in the face of much deception: the Word of God—the only source of real truth.
The Truth About Israel
There is more “fake news” about Israel than about any other country in the world. Israelis have been branded oppressive land thieves, murderers, and the major obstacle to peace in the Middle
East through cleverly crafted propaganda that feeds on prejudice and hate. The United Nations has been a major source of unfair attacks against Israel. There has been a definite anti-Israel bias with a concerted attempt to delegitimize Israel. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, was horrified when the Security Council passed resolution 2334 on December 23, 2016, stating that Israel’s settlements have no legal validity and constitute flagrant violation of international law. (The U.S. stood by and allowed it to happen.)
Ambassador Haley said, “Israel is singled out more than Iran, Syria, and North Korea. The truth is there is only one true democracy in the Middle East. There is only one country in the region that grants equal justice under the law. There is only one country that fully respects the rights of women and religious minorities.” She continued, “As long as I’m America’s representative at the UN, I am going to stand for human rights, and I am going to stand for the truth. And that means I am going to stand for Israel.” Please pray for Ambassador Haley. This is a bold, unpopular but godly stand.
More truth: The “settlements” referred to in UN resolution 2334 include Judea and Samaria, also know as the West Bank. They are considered by the international community to be Palestinian territory held by Israel under military occupation. This area was given by the God of the Bible to Abraham, “On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: ‘To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates‘” (Genesis 15:18). God renewed this promise to Isaac and again to Jacob and his descendants forever. The land has changed hands many times since God’s promise, but when God makes a promise, it is forever.
Most of the “disputed land” was actually owned by wealthy Arabs who lived in other lands. The Arab tenants who occupied the land voluntarily left their land at the urging of the five nations who
attacked Israel in the 1948 War of Independence. They had been promised a quick victory and all the Jewish property as spoils of war. That’s what everyone expected to happen… BUT, GOD!
More truth: Israeli hospitals routinely treat wounded and dying Arab soldiers and children. One Israeli hospital has been treating Muslim children in need of emergency heart surgery free of charge for over 20 years! Recently, a nurse at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital (where we had our second baby shower in 2016) breast-fed a Palestinian baby after the baby’s mother fell into a coma following a tragic car accident that took the life of the baby’s father. That, mishpochah, is the true Israel!mishpochah, is the true Israel!
The Truth About Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, is observed this year beginning the evening of September 29 (Kol Nidre, “All Vows”) and September 30 until sundown. “And the LORD spoke to
Moses, saying, ‘Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God‘” (Leviticus 23:26-28). Yom means “day” in Hebrew, and kippur comes from a root that means “to atone” or “to cover.”
The phrase “afflict your souls” has been interpreted by traditional rabbis as meaning “fasting,” as well as abstaining from other physical pleasures. Coming at the end of the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe), traditional Jews hope for forgiveness of sins following their time of repentance and self-denial.
The truth: The Torah says in Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” No blood sacrifice. No atonement. This was always God’s way when there was a temple in Jerusalem and a priesthood including a High Priest (Cohen Gadol) who entered the Holy of Holies once a year on Yom Kippur to make atonement for all Israel. Annual blood sacrifices ceased when the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.
The truth: “But when Messiah appeared as Cohen Gadol of the good things that have now come, passing through the greater and more perfect Tent not made with hands…He entered into the Holies once for all—not by the blood of goats and calves but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11-12 TLV Version).
The Ultimate Truth: Yeshua
It was prophesied in the Tanach that the Messiah would bring forth truth. (See Isaiah 42:3.) From the beginning of Yeshua’s ministry, He was identified with the truth. The Gospel of John reiterates multiple times that Yeshua and truth are one and the same. Just a sampling: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). “Torah was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah” (John 1:17 TLV Version). When Pilate questioned Yeshua concerning His kingship, Messiah answered that He had been born to be a king, and continued saying, “…I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37).
Yeshua’s proclamation concerning His identity is perhaps the most important verse about truth in the Bible: “…I am the Way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Yeshua is THE TRUTH. The truth is a Person. His Word is the Word of Truth (John 17:17-19; James 1:18). His Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16-17; John 15:26; John 16:13).
Yeshua only spoke the truth. He said the word “verily” 103 times in the Brit Hadasha, always followed by “I say…” Also translated as “I tell you the truth” or “Amen,” the Messiah was emphasizing the TRUTH of what He was about to say. He is “the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness” of Revelation 3:14, and the One on the white horse called “Faithful and True” (Revelation 19:11).
As we follow Yeshua, His Word, and His Spirit, John 8:32 will become a reality in our lives: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
“But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
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