I remember reading these verses and wondering where the basis for this commission was in the Hebrew Scriptures? Yes, Israel is called to be a light to the nations but where are they told to go among the nations and actively turn people to the God of Israel?
When life presents challenges, our first instinct should be to cry out to God for help. One should not be tempted to say, “I got myself into this mess; I’ll get myself out.” When we cry out to God, we confess that he alone has the power to change outcomes.
The Psalms are a powerful source of guidance. They make it possible to pray in alignment with God’s will even when words fail us. By virtue of the messianic nature of the Psalms, which are in the voice of Messiah, and which the Messiah surely prayed, we participate with Yeshua in his own prayer.
Over time, poets, prophets, and scholars have composed powerful and inspiring odes, psalms, hymns, and petitions that are treasured by the Jewish community, but the art of simple conversation has never been lost. Constant awareness of God’s presence can make one’s whole life feel like a conversation with our Father in heaven.
Prayer, from a Jewish perspective, is wrestling with God. It sounds audacious to think we might win. It does not seem appropriate to barge into the heavenly throne room, throw tantrums, and make demands before the King of the universe. But we have no other choice. Prayer is our lifeline.
Just as the sacrifices were powerful and effective in bringing the Presence of the infinite God to our finite earth, so too, prayer draws the Spirit of God into our hearts. When we draw near in prayer we capture the attention of the infinite, all-powerful Being who created us, chose us, and loves us.
When we enter the World to Come we will be like the angels who behold the infinite light of God. We will be like the Messiah who beholds the glory of the Father. That’s why repentance and choosing to do right is something that only has real meaning now.
Prayer and sacrifice go hand in hand. The sacrificial service in the Temple somehow caused the Presence of God to connect with a physical place on earth. Prayer has the same effect, except instead of drawing the Spirit of God into a courtyard or building, he takes residence inside our hearts.
The special prayer that our Master taught his disciples can be found in both Matthew 6 and Luke 11. The wording of each varies slightly, but both contain the mysterious Greek word epiousion, the word conventionally translated “daily” as in “daily bread.” So what is “daily bread” really?
The full verse from Zechariah 14:9 reads: “And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.” This represents the fullness of the Sh’ma message. God is king and he is the one God not only of Israel but of all of the nations on the earth.
Jews all around the world turn to face Jerusalem for prayer. This custom has a strong biblical basis and goes back to ancient times. God transcends the universe and the whole earth is full of his glory. And yet Jerusalem is special. It is a place where one can hear the heartbeat of God.
When the Messiah returns, he will establish the kingdom of heaven on earth, which will span the entire world; Jerusalem will be the capital, where Yeshua will establish his throne. By turning toward Jerusalem it places our prayers in the context of the Messianic Kingdom and expresses our hope in the soon-coming Messiah.
There is a Jerusalem below and a Jerusalem above. This shows that our Jerusalem on earth is a physical representative of a tremendous spiritual reality. Like other Jews, first-century followers of Messiah faced Jerusalem when they prayed. It represented for them the hope of redemption and the return of Yeshua.
In the days of the Bible, olive oil was a precious commodity. It was used for fueling lamps; it was used in cooking and even personal grooming. Olive oil had multiple uses, and anointing with olive oil had many different applications. Does anointing the sick with oil have an intrinsic, spiritual benefit?
When terror arises it is easy to entertain the sentiment, “If only Abraham had been obedient and not jumped the gun, we wouldn’t be in this mess today!” Nevertheless, we must remember Ishmael’s blessing and pray for his redemption.
In the latest update from First Fruits of Zion's outreach in China, Boaz Michael teaches against replacement theology in a Hong Kong area church while addressing the Paris attacks and the kingdom of heaven’s vision of peace.
Yom Kippur is a day of complete fasting and intense prayer. It is the holiest day of the year, when we are purified from our sins. Many traditional Jewish prayer books for the Day of Atonement contain a surprising passage that describes the suffering, forgiveness, and new creation found in the Messiah.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are holidays for which intense liturgical prayers have been written and carry a very different range of emotion. These days (and the days in between) are known as the High Holy Days. In Hebrew, they are called Yamim Nora'im, "Days of Awe."
We are currently in a season of repentance. We, the collective whole of God’s people both Jew and Gentile, young and old, rich and poor, free and enslaved, are praying prayers of repentance from the Siddur that reflect our humble posture as we approach our just King during this time of corporate repentance.
When I first began to practice and learn about Messianic Judaism, I found Jewish prayer to be fascinating. The expressions and phrases in the blessings and liturgies seemed to transport me to another world. The Hebrew language seemed to sing to me. Through Jewish prayer I felt a connection.