Inspiring articles and informative material covering Messianic Judaism, Israel, lifestyle, theology, resource reviews, and much more…

Toby Janicki

Toby Janicki served as a teacher and writer for First Fruits of Zion. He has authored several books including God-Fearers and the comprehensive commentary on the Didache titled: The Way of Life.

Calendar Apr 28, 2023

A Window in Time

We have not truly left the slavery of Egypt until we have received God’s instructions and his Holy Spirit dwells within us enabling us to perform his will. In that sense the Counting of the Omer is a count that should count for something. This is not a passive count but an active count.

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Omer Day 9: Is Seeing Believing?

True faith that lasts is not sustained on experiencing signs and wonders but on working out our faith “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). That’s what this period of counting the Omer is all about and this is the lesson that the Master taught to Thomas.


Calendar Mar 22, 2023

Rosh Chodesh Nisan: A Time of Renewal

Rosh Chodesh is a time of renewal. Just as the moon is made new again so there is a spiritual power present at that time for us to begin again and transform our lives. But Rosh Chodesh Nisan is even more special.


Purim Mar 2, 2023

Birds of a Feather: Haman, Amalek, and Shabbat Zachor

The Amalekites struck down not the warriors and soldiers but the weak, sick, and elderly who were traveling at the back of the pack. These were not the tactics of an army that sought to win a battle or a war but the merciless strategy of an enemy that desired to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth.


Purim Feb 26, 2023

The Purim Fish

Why the shekel in the fish’s mouth? Yeshua could have just produced a coin from behind Peter’s ear like magicians do today, or perhaps he could have just told him to look in a place one might normally expect to find a lost coin such as under a bed or between the stones of the floor. I believe that the key to understanding this passage is the story of Purim.


Torah Feb 14, 2023

Bag It and Tag It

This coming Shabbat is Shabbat Shekalim. On this Sabbath a special maftir reading of Exodus 30:11-16 occurs to remind us that in the days of the Temple, the annual half-shekel Temple tax was collected during the month of Adar. It is around this time that the story of the shekel in the fish’s mouth from Matthew 17:24-17 took place


Sabbath Jan 19, 2023

Shabbat: Practical Advice for Messianic Gentiles

Jew and Gentile both need to set aside a holy day for rest and sanctification. We need a time to reconnect, both with our family and with God himself. Sabbath is the day we prepare for ahead of time, so all that we have left to do is to enjoy and delight in this precious gift.


Jewish Customs Jan 2, 2023

Asarah B'Tevet: The Fast of the Tenth Month

The siege was headed up by the notorious Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and eventually led to the total destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Therefore a fast takes place every year in the tenth month (Tevet) on the tenth day.


Hanukkah Dec 20, 2022

Hanukkah and the Light of Creation

According to the Rokeach, when we light the hanukkiah each day of Hanukkah we are lighting the light of the Messiah and it is a foreshadow of the return of this great light in the kingdom of heaven. It also adds a bit of a universal flavor to the holiday by connecting it with the creation of man and the light of creation.


Sukkot Oct 11, 2022

Holy Guests: Sukkot and the Transfiguration

One of the most important aspects of Sukkot is inviting guests into one’s sukkah (booth). All throughout the week celebrants travel from sukkah to sukkah, enjoying hospitality and extending hospitality from their sukkot (booths). A peculiar custom that developed was not just inviting physical guests to one’s sukkah, but spiritual guests as well.


Rosh Hashanah Sep 23, 2022

Festivals in Genesis: Rosh HaShanah

Although the festivals were later committed and entrusted to the Jewish nation, they contain universal truths and applications for all mankind to celebrate. God set up these holy appointments with his people from the beginning of creation. It’s no wonder then that we find the festivals alluded to in the book of Genesis.


Calendar Jul 28, 2022

From Despair to Hope: The Month of Av

Even at the beginning of exile and the destruction of the Temple, God promises that one day the Messiah will come and redeem Israel. The story is not so much about predicting when the Messiah will be born but to point out that even in total darkness there is light in the distance.


Purim Mar 11, 2022

Shabbat Zachor

Shabbat Zachor is one of the four special Sabbaths that occur before or during the month of Adar or Adar II in leap years. On Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath before Purim, we read Deuteronomy 25:17-19, which mentions the commandment to remember and exterminate the evil of Amalek and his memory.


Calendar Mar 3, 2022

Something Fishy About Adar

Adar is the month in which we observe the joyous festival of Purim and the symbol for the month of Adar is the fish. What do fish have to do with Adar and Purim? In Jewish mysticism the fish represents a concealed reality.


Jeremiah 10 and the Christmas Tree

If we want to argue against observing non-biblical Christian and secular holidays, we have to be careful to leave the emotion and junk scholarship out of the discussion, otherwise our criticisms lack credibility. To directly link the Christmas tree with Jeremiah 10 is anachronistic and a violation of context.


Sukkot Oct 16, 2021

Sukkot, Gentiles, and the Messianic Kingdom

Sukkot is a foretaste of the Messianic Kingdom, when there will be peace on earth, Israel’s enemies will be defeated, and Jew and Gentile will dwell together serving the one true God. Sukkot is a prophetic shadow of the coming kingdom of heaven.


Sukkot Sep 27, 2021

Please, HaShem, Save Now!

Hoshana Rabbah is the seventh day of the festival of Sukkot. It is written that “…on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”’”


Yom Kippur Sep 14, 2021

Yom Kippur and the Way of Death

Only through the study and contemplation of evil traits can we completely rid these qualities from our lives. If we don’t know how to recognize wrongdoing, we will not be able to purge it.


Yahrzeit Jul 25, 2021

Assumptions about the Assumption

It’s time to redeem Miriam the mother of our Master and give her the honor and respect that she deserves and is in fact given in the Gospels themselves. The best way to do that in Messianic Judaism is to look at how holy figures are honored in Jewish tradition.


Jewish Customs Jul 20, 2021

The Master’s Minhag: The Manners and Customs of Yeshua

Minhag is defined as a particular and specific custom. Great rabbis had their own unique set of customs, and students of these sages would carry out these customs exactly the same way their beloved rabbis did. As imitators of the Master, we should learn about our Master’s customs.


Passover Mar 16, 2021

Passover and Non-Jews: A Universal Exodus

There is ample evidence that, for the earliest Gentile believers, the celebration of Passover was an important holiday celebrated by all believers in Messiah—both Jewish and Gentile. Paul wrote the book of 1 Corinthians to a predominately Gentile audience who attended both synagogue and weekly gatherings of believers.


Yahrzeit Dec 23, 2020

Remembering Simon Peter

Simon Peter holds a special place in the hearts of many believers. We find camaraderie and consolation in a man who could sail from the highest points of discipleship to the lows of denying his Master. His struggles are our struggles; his challenges are our challenges, and, with the help of Heaven, his triumphs are our triumphs.


Calendar Sep 21, 2020

The Fast of Gedaliah

The Fast of Gedaliah is another wonderful opportunity for both Messianic Jews and Gentiles to connect with the Master’s words, mourn, and pray for the current state of the world, and it serves as a physical reminder that we need to be eagerly anticipating and working toward Yeshua’s second coming.


Yahrzeit Jul 20, 2020

Remembering Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles

The date the the death of the Apostle Paul has been preserved in the Syriac Church tradition. The source is called “The Book of the Bee.” It was compiled in the twelfth century by Solomon, the Bishop of Bassora and preserves a lot of very Semitic-sounding material, which may indeed go back to the early Jewish believers.


Mitzvot Apr 22, 2020

Earth Day and Genesis

When we piece all this together, we can truly agree with the Psalmist: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). Should we not seek to preserve and care for such a precious revelation?


Passover Apr 5, 2020

Passover and COVID-19: Serenity and Solitude

The book of Ecclesiastes states: “Everything has an appointed season, and there is a time for every matter under the heaven” (3:1). That means for whatever reason, HaShem, in his infinite wisdom, has allowed this season to come upon us.


Purim Mar 9, 2020

The Jews and All Who Joined Them: A Purim Celebration for All Nations

Whether or not the original writer of Esther had this intention, based on Isaiah 56, I believe this passage prophetically alludes to Gentiles who have been grafted into the olive tree of Israel. Purim is a Jewish holiday but it is also for Gentiles who have found Messiah and cast their lot with the Jewish people.


Prayer Feb 17, 2020

The Great Commission: Revelation through Prayer

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?


Torah Jan 30, 2020

Parashat Bo: Tefillin and the Four Houses of Israel

The “house of Israel” refers to the regular Israelite, the “house of Aaron” refers to the priests, the “house of Levi” refers to the Levites, and those “who fear the LORD” refers to those from the nations who have joined themselves to the God of Israel, the God-fearers, the strangers who dwell among you (gerim).


Calendar Jan 28, 2020

The Rain Came Down

Moses passed away on Adar 7, so Jewish tradition teaches that he spent the month of Shevat to give his last instructions and warnings to the people. He also is said to have translated the Torah into seventy languages during Shevat.


Torah Jan 9, 2020

VaYechi: Rav Kook on the Blessing of Fish

The phrase “Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth” can be better translated as “Let them increase like fish in the land.” If this is correct, this seems like a strange blessing. Yes, fish multiply and grow abundant but so do many other species. And why say “in the land” when fish live in the water?


Didache Jan 1, 2020

The Didache and Chasidus: The Long but Short Way

What the Didache and Chasidus both teach us about the two ways is that it takes hard work to reach our full spiritual potential. The choice is ever before us and as disciples of Yeshua we must choose the more difficult path, for it is only on it that we will reach the destination of the kingdom.


Torah Nov 22, 2019

Abraham, Father of the Nations

These seemingly insignificant details about Abraham marrying Keturah point to God’s larger picture of redemption. The purpose of calling Abraham and bringing the Jewish people through his lineage was not just for the salvation of Israel but also for all people from every nation.


Mitzvot Nov 11, 2019

Rav Shlomo, Abraham, and the Pagans

We must remember that Abraham does not know that these men are angels and has no idea that they are coming to announce the birth of a son. All this happened just a few days after he had fulfilled the mitzvah of circumcision and most certainly he was in pain. Yet Abraham welcomes them.


Passover Nov 10, 2019

Abraham’s Passover

This week’s Torah portion, Vayera (“and he appeared”), is packed full of some of the most exciting narratives in Genesis. Hidden in these narratives is something that I feel is of great significance. There is evidence of a Passover-type celebration that pre-dates the Exodus and Mount Sinai.


Abraham’s Covenant, Circumcision, and Non-Jews

Obviously this mitzvah is still in place for Jewish males today. Yeshua was circumcised on the eighth day and we even see the Apostle Paul circumcising the Jewish disciple Timothy. But what about Gentile believers? Do they have to be circumcised?


Torah Oct 29, 2019

Noach the Tzaddik

According to apostolic tradition we should view Noah as a tzaddik who was able to stand strong for God despite the wicked ways of the world around him. Noah was not just righteous in his generation but righteous in spite of his generation.


Didache Oct 23, 2019

B’reisheet: The God Who Created You

What if the Chasidic masters had a chance to read and interpret the Didache? Might they see a connection between this Chasidic two ways and the phrase “the God who made you”? While it’s certainly way beyond what the writers of the Didache had in mind, Chasidus often breathes new life into old texts even if it goes beyond the plain intended meaning.


Torah Oct 23, 2019

Torah and the Environment

Tikkun olam is the idea that we are preparing the world for the Messianic Era. Although it is the Almighty who will finally complete the healing process, we can prepare the world for the Messianic Age by doing our best with God’s help to begin the work of restoration now.


Sukkot Oct 13, 2019

Sukkot in Genesis

It is interesting that in Jewish tradition Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret are related to the Messianic Era and the World to Come. How fitting would it be if Joseph, a type and shadow of our Master, revealed himself to his brothers during this time?


From Generation to Generation

This is what I want Camp Tzadi to be for our campers. A place where discipleship to the Master and a dedication to a Torah life becomes not just something they do because they grew up in it but instead because it’s real and something they own themselves.


Didache Sep 23, 2019

The Little Apocalypse

While at first glance this chapter appears to be merely predicting future events surrounding Yeshua’s second coming, the material highlights the urgency that disciples must continue daily walking in the Way of Life and avoiding the Way of Death. The little apocalypse makes several allusions to previous material in the Didache.


Theology Sep 18, 2019

Debate in Birmingham

It was a historic night to have both of these theological heavyweights presenting together on the same topic. Just the fact that N.T. Wright would agree to have a discussion on this topic with a rabbi from Messianic Judaism so just how far the church has come in their acceptance of the movement in the last fifty years or so.


Didache Sep 16, 2019

Appointing Leadership

The brevity and language with which the Didache delivers instructions about designating leaders in the community indicates that it is not introducing something new but rather alluding to an already existing structure. Judaism of the first century had a well-established system of overseers and administrators. The believing communities simply replicated an existing model.


Didache Sep 9, 2019

The Day of the Lord

In addition to meeting at the conclusion of the Sabbath in memory of the resurrection of the Master, it is possible that the community expected his return at this time. Jewish tradition states that Messiah will not come on the Sabbath because there is much work to do upon his arrival. Therefore, the first possible time for his appearance would be at Melaveh Malkah.


Didache Sep 4, 2019

Tithing Halachah for Gentile Believers

So why did the Didache direct its readers to give their gifts to prophets and teachers rather than to Levitical priests? We must remember that the Didache was written to Gentile believers in Messiah who lived in the Diaspora.


Didache Aug 26, 2019

Those Pesky Messiah-Peddlers

It is true today that everyone in a community needs to do their share. The community should be on guard not to overburden its members by continually providing for the needs of a few individuals who are fully capable of doing so themselves.


Hit-bo-what? The Master and Rebbe Nachman

Praying alone with our Father and talking to him from our heart can do nothing but strengthen our walk with him. In the daily hustle and bustle of life we need time alone with HaShem. What better method of attaching ourselves to God is there than the one that Yeshua has shown us in his life of prayer?


Didache Aug 19, 2019

Apostolic Gemara on the Words of the Master

These sayings of the Master laid down a principle that required disciples to receive agents of Yeshua who came in his name, offer them hospitality and sustenance, and heed their instruction. While hospitality and respect for teachers, prophets, and emissaries were important parts of discipleship, they could not be practiced without discretion and regulation. Hospitality exercised without discernment could quickly be abused


Didache Aug 12, 2019

Praying for the Ingathering

We must not confuse the Didache’s fervent petitions for the imminent inauguration of the Messianic Age as endorsing the idea of an escapism eschatology. The Didache firmly lays out the Way of Life with a call to all followers of Messiah to walk in the Torah daily.


Job, Gentiles, and the Ninth of the Month of Av

Many non-Jewish disciples of Yeshua with whom I come into contact express a lack of interest and disconnect with these fast days and the traditions that surround them. They dismiss them as “traditions of men” that are “not biblical, just Jewish” as if somehow just because they are Jewish they are not for us or, worse yet, are not important.


Didache Aug 5, 2019

Sacred Dining: Pre-Meal Blessings for Community Gatherings

Although the blessings in the Didache are extensive, they do not contain any of the themes that we would expect to be present in a Eucharist ceremony. Namely, the text does not mention the suffering, death, or resurrection of Yeshua; sin, sacrifice, atonement, or forgiveness; the final Passover meal; or Yeshua’s blood, Yeshua’s body, the new covenant, or the phrase “in remembrance of me.”


Didache Jul 29, 2019

Pray as the Lord Commanded

The Master’s rulings on prayer are much the same as they are for fasting. We are not to make an ostentatious show of our prayer life. Furthermore, the hypocrites that Yeshua criticized as those who “heap up empty words” were Gentiles, not Jews. It is hypocrisy and showmanship that the Didache urges us to avoid, not traditional Jewish prayer, worship, or liturgy.


Didache Jul 22, 2019

Instructions Concerning Immersion

The instructions are completely devoid of theological or mystical teachings about being born again or the death of Messiah. They read more like a section out of the Mishnah than from one of Paul’s epistles.


Calendar Jul 15, 2019

The Fast of Tammuz

Three weeks before the fast of Tisha b’Av is the Fast of Tammuz. This is traditionally associated with the “fast of the fourth month” in Zechariah 8:19 and takes place on the seventeenth of the fourth month. It is said that this day is the anniversary of Moses breaking the first set of tablets at Mount Sinai upon seeing the Golden Calf.


Didache Jul 14, 2019

Do Not Be Led Astray

The Didache begins chapter 6 with a warning against false teachers who lead people away from God and the Way of Life. This is a continuation of the exhortation at the end of 5.2: “Children, may you be rescued from all of these!” All that has been taught so far is to be carefully guarded, and new Gentile disciples are to watch out for those who would lead them astray from the Way of Life.


Didache Jul 9, 2019

The Way of Death

In chapter 5 the Didache, as it continues the Two Ways section, turns from illustrating the Way of Life to expounding the Way of Death. What is striking is the stark contrast between the amount of space it gives to the Way of Death and that given to the Way of Life.


Didache Jul 1, 2019

A Different Kind of Hypocrite

By commanding us to hate “hypocrisy,” the Didache warns us not to perform good deeds for the sake of receiving praise from men. Rather, we should observe the commandments because they are God’s will and, through their performance, we bring godliness into this world and honor to his name.


Didache Jun 24, 2019

The Characteristics of Humility

According to Judaism, one of the biggest aspects of humility is learning from others and constantly refining oneself. The Didache gives us a six-step program to help us progress on the path of humility and mold our image more into the likeness of Messiah.


Didache Jun 17, 2019

The Selfless Yoke

To love God with all our heart requires curbing our desires, which include arrogance and maliciousness. To love God with all our life requires that we die to ourselves and live to serve God only. A hypocrite lives to serve himself and receive praise. In turn, a hypocrite does not love God with all his life.


Didache Jun 11, 2019

The Two Ways

All disciples of Messiah have a choice: the way of life or the way of death. A biblical worldview supports the fact that life is about choices. The path we choose each day will ultimately determine our destiny. Not only is life full of choices, but it is also a progressive journey that never stops.


Yahrzeit Apr 18, 2019

Passover and the Death of James the Just

The most important detail we receive is that James’ death took place right before Passover. Although neither Jewish nor Church literature preserves an actual date for James’ death, it seems from Josephus’ and Eusebius’ information we may conclude that James was martyred in 62 CE during the week before Passover.


Lest You Eat of His Sacrifice

The sages interpreted “abominable thing” in this verse as referring to that which had been tainted by idolatry. This included things that were offered up to an idol or connected with idolatry. In turn, it was forbidden to benefit in any way from things connected to idolatry, which would include consuming idol food.


Jewish Holidays Jul 26, 2018

Tu B'Av: Mourning into Dancing

While we as disciples of the Master can access a taste of the future kingdom now, we await the fullness when Yeshua returns and ends the exile. It is at that time that the great metaphorical marriage will take place between Yeshua and his bride Israel. It is in that day that our mourning will be turned into dancing.


Didache Apr 29, 2018

The Idolatry of the Vessel: The Didache and Misplaced Worship

For us who live in the modern world, it’s often easy to skip over prohibitions on idolatry like this because we think these kinds of things don't exist anymore. To be sure, idol worship is still around, but it is indeed not as in style as it was in the days of the apostles.


Didache Apr 13, 2018

Five Levels of Love: The Didache and Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself

At any rate, this should encourage us as followers of the Master to keep striving to higher levels of love and not be complacent with the lower rungs. If we will be known by our love may it be of the highest quality.


Yahrzeit Mar 9, 2018

The Laughing Rabbi: Remembering Menachem Froman

Rabbi Froman was an Orthodox rabbi who was the spiritual head of the Tekoa settlement on the West Bank in Israel. He served his time in the IDF and was one of the paratroopers who took part in the recapture of the Western Wall in 1967.


In the News Feb 28, 2018

Born Again Again: Remembering the Reverend Billy Graham

I know I stand with countless others as being forever grateful for the impact that Reverend Graham’s work had on my life. While I am saddened by his passing, no one could argue that he did not fulfill his life’s work for Yeshua to the fullest.


12-21 Winter Shabbaton: Explaining Messianic Judaism

From the incredible teachings to the delicious food to the crazy activities to the rousing prayer times, it was an unforgettable experience that I am confident to say made a deep impact on the hearts of all who attended.


Hanukkah Dec 19, 2017

Every Living Thing Will Acknowledge You

All nations will thank God “for all these things,” which includes the miracle of Hanukkah. In turn, the prayer itself becomes a prophetic prelude to Gentiles from all over the world joining in with the Jewish people and embracing the celebration of Hanukkah.


Reviews Nov 30, 2017

The Way of Life: A Scholarly Book Review

Unbeknownst to me one Didache scholar, Daniel Nessim, had written a full review of The Way of Life. Nessim is a Messianic Jew who is currently working on his doctoral thesis on the Didache. I have read some of his papers before, but I eagerly await to see his full work.


Didache Nov 23, 2017

A Buddhist Didache? The Way of Life in Chinese

The Didache was widely used and circulated during the early years of the church. So much so that it was even used in a document to introduce Chinese people to Yeshua in the seventh century.


Gospels Nov 16, 2017

A Place on the Shelf

There to my surprise was a used copy of the DHE on a shelf in the Judaica section. Not only that, it was on a shelf marked “Jewish Holy Books.” My wife Shannon and my son Aharon and I all took a double-take. It was remarkable. There it was sitting under the Zohar and next to the Tanach. I couldn’t believe it.


Didache Nov 12, 2017

The Fruit of the Ground: The Rabbis and the Didache on Gentile Tithing Obligations

Why did the Didache direct its readers to give their gifts to prophets and teachers rather than to Levitical priests? We should remember that the Didache was written to Gentile believers in Messiah who lived in the Diaspora. The laws of trumah in the Torah apply only within the land of Israel.


In the News Nov 3, 2017

New Messianic Jewish Music from Bob Dylan

Ever since being introduced to Bob Dylan many moons ago at summer camp I have been enthralled with his music. Whether it’s his acoustic folk ballads or his electric rockers, I love his style, sound, and lyrics. I’m also convinced the Jewish born Dylan is still a follower of Messiah.


Torah Sep 19, 2017

The Nations’ Inheritance

HaShem has also given the nations of the world an inheritance. According to the sages, “when he divided mankind” refers to the dispersion of mankind after the tower of Babel. It was then that God divided the world into the seventy nations. Then what is their inheritance?


Torah Sep 12, 2017

The Witness of the Nations

Deuteronomy 29 tells us that when Israel turns away from HaShem and his Torah, God will bring judgment upon the Jewish people and their land. Then the nations of the world will remind the people of Israel of their sins and the reason this punishment has come upon them.


Camp Tzadi: No Longer Different

My goal from the very beginning was to create a safe place where Messianic Jewish and Gentile teens could experience their faith and make it their own. From the first Shacharit service to the last campfire, it was abundantly clear to me that Camp Tzadi was just that.


Camp Tzadi: A Messianic Summer Camp

Messianic Judaism is still a small and marginalized religion. Many of these kids have grown up more-or-less isolated from other Messianic kids, and they have struggled to find ways to fit in. Here at Camp Tzadi, they discover a peer group with the same religious background and same convictions.


A Small Miracle and Bram’s Symbol of Messianic Judaism

The attendant asked me which parent would get the Star of David. He then asked, “Was she Messianic?” When I replied, “Yes,” he informed me that there was a symbol for Messianic Judaism. It was a Star of David with a cross inside. I could not believe it!


Jewish History Jul 29, 2017

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

It appears that right now God is saying "no" to the rebuilding of the Temple. The sages have said, "Any generation in which the Temple is not rebuilt is considered as if it had destroyed it." Why has the Temple not been rebuilt? Perhaps it is because of us.


Finding a Messianic Luminary’s Grave on the Mount of Olives

Moshe’s story is quite an inspiration as he lived in Israel and became a follower of Yeshua right about the time the State of Israel was formed. He paid dearly for his faith in Yeshua. He refused to convert to Christianity nor did he remain silent with his Jewish brothers and sisters about the Master.


Didache Jul 6, 2017

Out of Zion: Teaching on the Didache at the Bram Center

The way I can tell what people thought of the material was when the Q and A began. The attendees asked very sophisticated questions. The kind of questions where I could tell they had been paying attention, internalizing what I was saying, and imagining the implications that the Didache’s teachings would have upon the community.


Torah Jun 28, 2017

The Red Heifer: Purity through a Gentile

The method of purity was brought forth not from within Israel but from the outside, from the unclean, so to speak. In this way, although the mitzvah of the red heifer traditionally does not apply to Gentiles, HaShem allowed them to participate with Israel in this most important mitzvah.


Choose Life: The 2017 National Shavu’ot Conference

Sitting in my office I can’t help but have a smile on my face as I recall this year’s conference. In a lot of ways it is like a family reunion that just keeps getting better and better each year. I am blessed and humbled to be a part of an organization like First Fruits of Zion, and I pray that HaShem gives us many more years of these conferences.


Didache Jun 6, 2017

Three Kinds of People

In the Didache and the teachings of the Master, our love for God is displayed in our love for our fellow. Indeed, the sages interpret “with all your soul” as a willingness to give up our lives (m.Brachot 9:5). In the Didache, “love your neighbor as yourself” becomes “love your neighbor more than yourself.”


Theology May 18, 2017

Strangers and Sojourners

It makes sense that Abraham uses this language while he is still awaiting the promise from HaShem to be fulfilled for his descendants to inherit the land but why does David still use this terminology when the Jewish people are firmly within the land?


Prophecy May 4, 2017

Egypt My People

He chose Israel not just to be an island unto themselves but that Israel would be a blessing to all peoples spreading the light and knowledge of God to the other nations of the earth. After this is the end goal of the kingdom of heaven, the Messianic Era, when all mankind will know God and worship him alone.


Passover Apr 12, 2017

Dry Bones: Hear the Word of the LORD!

We have been resurrected in Yeshua from the death of sin and brought into the fullness of life in HaShem. As disciples of Messiah we have individually experienced the prophecy of the valley of dry bones. Passover and the exodus from Egypt symbolize this for us. Just as the Israelites left the slavery and death of Egypt, so we have left the slavery and death of sin.


Passover Mar 28, 2017

Passover and Gentiles: A Universal Exodus

In the days of the apostles there were many God-fearing Gentiles who celebrated Passover along with the Jewish people. Even rabbinic literature made room for non-Jews at a seder. In the Second Temple Era, Gentiles were not permitted to eat the actual Pesach sacrifice, but they were allowed to participate in the rest of the meal.


Thought, Speech, and Action: Connecting to the Commandments

According to the approach offered here, every Jew can connect with all of the 613 mitzvot on at least two of the three levels, that of thought and speech. When they study a mitzvah that is not incumbent upon them and discuss its implications, they are connecting to the commandment.


Sabbath Feb 9, 2017

A Sabbath Rest Remains—A Universal Shabbat

The Sabbath commandment was given directly to the children of Israel. This means that here in Exodus we have evidence of Gentiles joining themselves to Israel and voluntarily observing the Sabbath in solidarity with the Jewish people and in honor of the God of Israel.


Let’s Take This Thing Worldwide!

We are excited to announce the launch of the 12-21 website. With this website and our focused presence on 12-21 social media, we hope to be reaching and connecting with kids worldwide. If we don’t reach the next generation, this movement dies with us.


By the Hair of My Chinny Chin Chin: Facial Hair in the Bible

One gentleman took a look at me and my colleagues and asked “Are any of you guys related? You sure look similar.” We all looked at one another and said, “No, it’s just the beards and the hats.” Am I just trying to be cool or is there a reason I have a beard?


Yahrzeit Jan 26, 2017

The Man to Whom Messiah Revealed His Name

Kaduri’s disciples came across a note written by Kaduri in which was encrypted the name of the Messiah. This note contained instructions saying that it was not to be opened until a year after Kaduri’s passing. After a year passed, Kaduri’s disciples opened the note and discovered the name the Messiah revealed to Kaduri: Yehoshua (the Hebrew form of the Aramaic Yeshua).


12-21 Hanukkah Shabbaton: The Beginning of Something Beautiful

It’s not easy being a disciple of Yeshua in the world today, let alone a Messianic Jewish or Gentile teen or young adult. It can be a lonely and difficult road. It is important to surround yourself with like-minded friends who will help you stay on the narrow path and uplift your identity. That may have been the most powerful aspect of the whole event.


Yahrzeit Nov 22, 2016

C.S. Lewis and the Jews

On this day, November 22nd in 1963, Lewis passed on into the world of truth. May his writings continue to inspire us all and may the humility he expressed as a Gentile believer toward the Jewish people be an example to us in the Messianic movement today.


Gospels Nov 15, 2016

The God of the Living: The Master on the Resurrection

The Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection, while the Pharisees did. One of the reasons that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection is that it is difficult to see it in the literal exegesis of the Hebrew Scriptures. The Pharisees on the other hand, were skilled in the area of midrash, which often probed beyond the literal meaning within the Scriptures.


Theology Nov 9, 2016

Answering Anti-Missionaries

If you took Troki’s arguments and applied them to rabbinic literature, then the Talmud, the Midrash, and virtually all rabbinic interpretations would fail by the same criteria. It is not fair for the midrashic content of the Gospels to be criticized by the people who use the same midrashic methods.


Torah Nov 1, 2016

The Blessings of Shem

As believers in Messiah Yeshua I like to think that we are dwelling in the tents of Shem. We have chosen not to be slaves of Israel but to become partners with them in working toward the kingdom of heaven. Indeed we can also say “Blessed is the God of Shem!”


Sabbath Oct 28, 2016

Sabbath Fish: A Foretaste of the Kingdom

As disciples of the Master I think we have some additionally reasons to partake in fish on Shabbat. For one, many of the Master’s disciples were fishermen and many of the gospel stories involving food make mention of fish. The point is that we are tasting something physical to remind us of something spiritual.


In the News Oct 19, 2016

Bob Dylan: A Messianic Jew

For Dylan it was not an either/or scenario between Judaism and Christianity. He was comfortable with a world that drew from both. I saw a man who struggled with his identity much as we do today — stuck in between Christianity and Judaism.


Sukkot Oct 14, 2016

Sukkot and the Early Believers

For the earliest believers, both Jewish and Gentile, the rhythm of the biblical festivals complete with the celebration of Sukkot, was a natural part of their faith. In fact, when we get attuned to the symbolism of the holiday, we realize that so many passages in the New Testament simply assume that all followers of Messiah are observing Sukkot.


Rosh Hashanah Sep 29, 2016

A Day of Judgment for All Nations

It is not just Israel who is judged during this time but all the nations. Even as the Jewish people are repenting and praying that they will be sealed for life in the coming New Year, so is God also judging the nations.


Jewish Holidays Sep 28, 2016

The High Holidays in the Early Church

With Rosh HaShanah and the beginning of the High Holidays only a few days away, I thought I would post a blog reviewing some of my material on this from my book, God-Fearers. It should be no shock to anyone that the early believers both Jew and Gentile celebrated the festivals of Israel even after coming to Messiah.


Prayer Aug 19, 2016

The Universal Sh'ma

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.


Reviews Jul 19, 2016

A Lawyer’s Case

Jim Jacob presents evidence for the existence of God, as well as the historical validity of the Bible, and the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua, among many other topics. As he would do in a courtroom, Jacob anticipates and systematically refutes many of the rebuttal arguments often offered by skeptics because he was once one himself.


In the News Jun 19, 2016

Resolution 5: Southern Baptists Stand with Israel

We are seeing more and more disciples of the Master turn against Israel and find reasons to side with their enemies. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is the largest protestant denomination in the United States. At their meeting they passed a resolution for the continued support of the State of Israel.


Calendar Jun 1, 2016

Yom HaAliyah: The Celebration of Ascension Day

Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy still celebrate the day as one of the great feasts of the Christian year. So what about Messianic Judaism? Should we be celebrating Ascension Day? I think the answer is a resounding “yes!” It represents an event in the life of the Master that is at least as important as his death and resurrection.


Teaching Events May 10, 2016

Back to College — Reconnecting with Millennials

This year at our national conference we will not only have our usual teaching track for adults, but an additional track for young adults. It is our prayer that this will be the first of many similar events and that we can, with God’s help, energize young people for this important work of the kingdom.


FFOZ on Christian Television

What would happen if a Christian television broadcaster caught the vision for the kingdom and Messianic Jewish teaching? God’s Learning Channel is broadcasting the First Fruits of Zion television show, “A Promise of What Is to Come,” along with other Messianic content, to televisions throughout the United States through various cable networks.


Life in Israel Mar 30, 2016

Tears and Tear Gas

It was finally time to pay a visit to the tomb of the matriarch Rachel. I had been longing to visit her tomb for years. It’s kind of tricky to get to, or at least used to be, because it’s near Bethlehem, which is in a territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority.


Teaching Events Feb 28, 2016

A Trip Down South

I have decided that, God willing, I would like my next house to have a big front porch where I can have a couple of rocking chairs to sit in. I have a feeling that we established a relationship with the community in Baton Rouge that will continue for years to come and I look forward to seeing all the fruit it will produce.


Israel History Feb 4, 2016

The Dubrovin Farm

Every time I visit Israel, I see something I’ve never seen before. While there are sites such as the Kotel, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Master’s cave in the Galilee that I feel must be a pilgrimage each time I travel to Israel, there is just too much to see to not visit some places for the first time.


The Bram Center Jan 13, 2016

The Bram Center: The Lectures Begin

Toby Janicki’s recent trip to Israel with his family featured the debut guest-lecture event of the Bram Center in Jerusalem. The young demographic of Israeli Yeshua-disciples attending the lecture offers hope for the future of Messianic Judaism in Israel and around the world.


Prophecy Nov 3, 2015

The Four Craftsmen: Agents of Redemption

When salvation and the knowledge of God is spread to all the nations of the earth, the final redemption is close. These righteous Gentiles will join in with Messiah and Elijah to help “cast down the horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter it” (Zechariah 1:21) and in turn help usher in the final redemption.


Yom Kippur Sep 21, 2015

Fasting with Intention

Yom Kippur (or "The Day of Atonement") is synonymous with fasting. For many people in both Jewish and Messianic communities, Yom Kippur is quite possibly the only day of the year on which they fast. Even secular Jews who are not religious will sometimes fast on Yom Kippur.


Spiritual Lessons from the Didache: The Two Ways

All disciples of Messiah have a choice: the way of life or the way of death. A biblical worldview supports the fact that life is about choices. The path we choose each day will ultimately determine our destiny. Yet not only is life full of choices, it is also a progressive journey that never stops.


Reviews Sep 7, 2015

The World of the Ger

Unlike many books for the Noachide that rely heavily on an in-depth overview of the seven Noachide laws, The World of the Ger focuses on “parables, stories, and historical narratives that form the character and worldview of a people”. The result is a work is both encouraging and inspiring.


Archaeology Mar 17, 2014

Rediscovered! 2000 Year Old Tefillin

It seems like every week there is a report from Israel of an exciting new archeological find. Many exciting sites and artifacts have been discovered since the Jewish people returned to their homeland in 1948. Each new discovery helps shed light on the Scriptures and confirm their truth. Last week was no different when The...


Jewish Customs Jan 27, 2014

Can Women Wear Tzitzit and Tefillin?

The Hebrew in Numbers 15 where this commandment appears is in the masculine form. Additionally, in Deuteronomy 22, where the mitzvah of tzitzit appears again, the commandment appears in close conjunction with the mitzvah “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment


Jewish Customs Jan 13, 2014

Why Don't More Orthodox Jews Wear Techelet?

There is an ongoing debate as to what the source of the techelet blue in the Bible really was. This new discovery has caused some to say that this adds significant credibility to the argument that the techelet blue dye of the Bible was from the Murex trunculus.


Archaeology Jan 6, 2014

Techelet: A New Discovery!

In Numbers 15 the Torah commands the Israelite males to place fringes (tzitzit) on the four corners of their garments. The purpose of these fringes was so that the Israelite would look upon them and remember the commandments of the Torah and do them.


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