Does the Devil Really Come to Steal, Kill and Destroy?

Answer this to yourself right now—don’t think too hard about it, just give the first answer that pops into your head: True, or false? The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.

If you said, “true,” it’s probably because you know by heart what the Master says in John 10:10, and what you’ve heard (or taught) a thousand times from the pulpit, “the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.” Unfortunately, there’s just one tiny, little problem…

That’s not what it says. At all.

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Remain in the Root: The Right Reason to Support Israel

I say, then, did Israel stumble so that they might fall? Let it not be! …For I speak to you—to the Goyim [Gentiles]—inasmuch as I am indeed an emissary of Goyim: …if Israel’s rejection is a reconciliation of the world, what will their reception be if not life out of the dead? And if the first-fruit from the dough is holy, then the whole batch is also; and if the root is holy, then the branches are also. But if certain ones of the branches were broken off, and you [Goyim], being of a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and became a fellow-sharer of the root and of the richness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not carry the root, but the root carries you!  (Romans 11:11-18)

The internal conflict between Jewish and Gentile believers in the Body of Messiah is an ancient one. Almost from the beginning, Jews and Gentiles were mistreating one another within their new, ethnically-diverse, spiritual communities. This was exactly the issue Paul was dealing with in his letter to the believing community in Rome—to correct the arrogance and judgmentalism that had infected and separated the believers along ethnic lines.  Read more

Restoring the Context of Torah

Excerpted from the Messianic Torah Devotional by Kevin Geoffrey.

“Rather, we have known that the Torah is good, provided one uses it lawfully….” 1Timothy 1:8

One of the major criticisms levied against the Messianic Jewish movement is that it allegedly causes believers to go back “under the Law.” Unfortunately, while much of our purported Torah observance is barely more than a superficial emulation of rabbinic Judaism, the accusation is not far from reality in some circumstances. Indeed, as the more militant among our ranks swing to the extreme with their versions of Torah observance, it becomes the very legalism they vehemently swear to oppose. The practices and propaganda of many independents, fringe elements, and those in pseudo-Messianic movements have also been cause for alarm within the larger Body of Messiah. Therefore, restoring the Torah to its proper context ought to be of paramount concern for the Messianic Jewish movement.  Read more

The Promise Kept: Irrefutable Proof of God

When it comes to proving the existence of God and the truthfulness of His Word, it’s easy to come up short. As believers in Yeshua, we often present subjective or debatable evidence, such as personal experience, miracles, and fulfillment of Bible prophecy. But demonstrations of power and foreknowledge aren’t necessarily measures of truthfulness. Rather, we trust what someone says when we believe he is true to his word… when we believe he will keep all his promises. So why should we trust that God’s Word is true, that He exists, and that He is who He says He is? Because He has faithfully kept one objective, verifiable, and undebatable promise: Adonai has continued to preserve the Remnant of Israel from antiquity; He endures as the eternal guardian of the Jewish People. Read more

Getting to the Heart of the Israel Crisis

At the center of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East is a fundamental, socio-religious ideology that says Jews should not exist—anytime or anywhere—much less as occupants of the land presently known as the modern State of Israel. As a result, the Israeli State faces a constant and seemingly imminent threat to her national sovereignty and safety: Palestinian rockets and mortar shells launched almost daily toward Israeli territory; powerful Arab leaders with potential nuclear capabilities calling for the annihilation of the “Zionist regime;” escalating, internal conflicts within neighboring countries threatening to destabilize the entire region; the nations of the world continually demonizing every attempt made by the State of Israel to defend against her aggressors. Confronted by such contempt and antagonism, the government nevertheless tries to negotiate land for peace, with an Israeli/Palestinian two-state solution looming as inevitable. Yet the real and growing danger hanging over the State of Israel endures. Read more

Lost In Translation

The authority and power of the Scriptures rests solely on our belief that they are literally the written word of God. So what happens when we translate those God-inspired words from the languages in which they were originally written? Indeed, though many of us read the Bible effortlessly in our native English, English is certainly not the native tongue of Scripture. Though we may revere our English bibles as the infallible word of God, the fact is that Hebrew (or sometimes Aramaic, and Greek in the “New Testament”) is the original language of Scripture, and when we neglect it, we risk imposing our own flawed points of view on God’s word.

Though in large part, translators do a fine job retaining the essence of Scripture, there are times when English simply does not do a passage justice. Either through mistranslation due to bias or ignorance, or merely by the limitations of the receiving language, important details can become obscured, replaced by ideas from the reader’s experience or particular frame of reference. Read more

To Feast, or Not to Feast…

Q: Hi Kevin, I ran across an article recently that was saying that we shouldn’t be celebrating the Festivals because we’re only supposed to do that in the Land in the place of His Name (Jerusalem, e.g. Deuteronomy 16:5-6). The author was saying it’s wrong to do this! Wow! What’s that about?

A: I’d like to see the article to find out exactly what his take is, but here’s mine: I wouldn’t say that it’s “wrong”—only that it’s impossible! Torah was given to Israel so that Israel could be Israel—and that includes possessing the Promised Land. There are no provisions for keeping Torah in Dispersion. On the contrary, Numbers 9:9-12, for example, gives instructions for someone who is on a journey at the time of Passover. It doesn’t say anything about keeping the Feast where he is (the implication being, outside the Land), but that he better be back in time to celebrate it a month later! Read more

Identifying with an Invisible God

“So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.’” Acts 17:22-23 (NAS)

Most religions have their fair share of religious objects, icons and artifacts—and Judaism is no exception. Though some may consider the tabernacle elements such as the ark, the menorah, and the altar to be sacred symbols to all Israel, the ceremonial use of these articles was restricted to the priesthood, which more than likely limited their emblematic stature among the populace. Rather, it is the religious objects of later Judaism—both Scripture-based and contrived—that have become standardized icons to the Jewish people: the star of David, kippah, tallit, chanukiyah (the Chanukah “menorah”), torah scrolls, phylacteries and fringes. Read more

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"Israel" Ain’t Just a Land Near Egypt…

Black hats davening at the western wall. Jerusalem’s skyline, marred by the Dome of the Rock. Falafel and couscous from Ben Yehuda Street. Suicide bombings… the sea of Gallilee… the birthplace of Jesus.

The very thought of “Israel” can transport us to a foreign and mystical land. We are enamored with its beauty and power; captivated by its historical and spiritual meaning; fixated upon our minds’ fantastic images of an exotic and distant world. We send it money and humanitarian aid, we lobby for its support by our policymakers, and we pray for its peace, petition for its prosperity, and intercede for its salvation. And yet…

… there is no such place as a land called “Israel.” It is a figment of our imagination. Read more