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Teaching Letter

A Fresh Look At The Priestly Blessing

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 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace”’” (Num. 6:23–26).

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Israel Through Four Lenses

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In Romans 9–11, Paul, Jewish apostle to the Gentiles, treats his mostly non-Jewish audience to the most fully developed theological passage in all of Scripture. And what is he talking about? Israel and the Jewish people, of course! Perhaps there is some importance the Gentile reader of today should ascribe to so weighty a work. Yet, it persists that this very passage is one of the most ignored and misunderstood parts of the Bible. Perhaps this is because there is a mystery going on—the mystery of amazing Israel.

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The Fear of the Lord

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“Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.” Psalm 34:9–10

The Fear of the Lord is a complex concept that occupies a unique prevalence in both the Old and New Testaments. Christian commentators and Jewish sages have spoken of this idea perhaps more than any other, clearly identifying it as a fundamental component of a true relationship with the Almighty One. Charles Spurgeon spoke of it as the centrality of the Christian experience. The Talmud (rabbinic commentary on Jewish tradition and the Hebrew scriptures) says, “a man who possesses learning without Fear of the lord is like the man who has been entrusted with the keys of an inner court but not with the keys of the outer court; how is he to enter?” If we are to love the Lord as He deserves to be loved and sanctify His name through our lives, a careful look at what the Bible and the sages say about the Fear of the Lord is certainly in order.

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The Clothing of the Righteous

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In our present-day world, clothing pretty much defines us. It certainly did in the Elizabethan Era in England. Laws governed what kind of fabric and what colour a person could wear. A person’s dress immediately identified their status in society, who was royalty and nobility and who was not, and the consequences were severe if caught wearing something inappropriate.

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The Search For Peace

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I have never met an Israeli who didn’t desire peace. Whether on the right or the left (politically), all have a deep desire for peace. While they may not agree on how to get there, I am convinced that a vast majority of Israelis would willingly lay down arms, if they felt that genuine peace was a reality. I have lived in Israel for nearly 20 years and have never experienced real peace here. There have been times of relative quiet, but never a cessation of violence.

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The Days of Noah

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Have you ever considered that the violence, immorality, and uncertainty that surround us today are really nothing new? They have been the unfortunate companions of humanity throughout history. The Bible tells the recurring story of God’s judgment on such behaviour as mankind repeatedly slipped into depravity. There are, however, certain generations that have the dubious distinction of being singled out by the writers of Scripture as the worst of the worst. Noah’s was such a generation.

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Joseph A First-century Jewish Man Part 2

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As Christians, we believe the Bible has every answer for every situation we might encounter in our lives. It is a comprehensive handbook for living in relationship with God. But the writers of the Bible, Jewish men who lived millennia ago, often wrote in what we might call biblical shorthand. Much is left unsaid because it was common knowledge in the day in which the writers lived.

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Joseph A First-century Jewish Man Part 1

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Many of the characters mentioned in the Bible are shrouded in mystery. Although we recognise that God has placed them there to fulfil specific purposes, we often know little about who they really were. Joseph, the step-father of Yeshua (Jesus) is certainly one of those individuals. A search for information about him reveals little, and the most common phrases encountered are: “little is known” or “little can be known” about him. Truthfully, however, much can be known…if we know where to look to find the information. In this two-part teaching, we will dig into the Scriptures, history and Jewish tradition, examining his life on every level. In part 1, we will look at him as a first-century man and husband. In Part 2, we will discuss his role as a father. Through it all, Joseph will emerge from the shadows as a very real and vibrant man, and an example for us all.

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Seeking God

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David was one of the great seekers of God. I would like to say that he sought the Lord more than all others, but no one can judge a man’s heart, so we don’t know. However, of all writers of the Scriptures, he may have expressed a seeker’s heart better than all others. He was a passionate pursuer of God, and His words vividly illustrate that, painting pictures that help us understand a hunger for God that many believers may not even know is possible to experience.

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Cleaving to God

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On a first reading of Leviticus 21, it seems that all it’s about is a list of restrictions placed on the priests by God in order for them to serve Him in the tabernacle. The High Priest had the most restrictions. From this, we learn that the closer to that most intimate place with God, the Holy of Holies, the more holy one had to be. As believers in Yeshua (Jesus), we yearn to be in an intimate place with God…and we are. Yeshua is our righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21), and we can enter boldly into the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). God’s love is eternal, we are forgiven, and nothing can snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28). However, what about our love for Him? Unfortunately, our love has the ability to grow cold (Matt. 24:12), and we find that often we are not as close to Him as we should be or would like to be.

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