Hebrew priest blowing the Shofar hornThe Shofar Newsletter

THE SHOFAR Newsletter of Bet Yeshurun Messianic Assembly


Good News for the Assembly of Bet Yeshurun

No. 1410 / December 27, 2022

2022 Schedule of Gatherings

12/28       Praise & Worship Services                                                                   3:00 pm
12/31       Praise & Worship Services                                                                   1:30 pm
1/4           Praise & Worship Services                                                                   3:00 pm
1/7           Praise & Worship Services                                                                   1:30 pm
1/11         Praise & Worship Services                                                                   3:00 pm
1/17         Chodesh (Celebrating the 11th month of the Divine Year) *             1:00 pm
1/18         Praise & Worship Services                                                                   3:00 pm
1/21         Praise & Worship Services                                                                   1:30 pm
1/25         Praise & Worship Services                                                                   3:00 pm
1/28         Praise & Worship Services                                                                   1:30 pm

  • * High Holy Day (Like Sabbaths, a day of no work)

2022 Schedule for Reading the Bible in One-Year

Brit Cha’Dasha; MattithYahu (Gift of Yah) Gospel of Matthew                                             
 12/26 - Chapters 24 – 25        12/27 - Chapter 26                 12/28- Chapters 27 – 28 

Brit Cha’Dasha; Marqos (Defence) Gospel of Mark                                                             
12/29 - Chapters 1 – 3            12/30 - Chapters 4 – 5            12/31 - Chapters 6 – 7
1/1 - Chapters 8 – 9                1/2 - Chapters 10 – 11             1/3 - Chapters 12 – 13
1/4 – Chapter 14                     1/5 - Chapters 15 – 16

Brit Cha’Dasha; Luqas (Illuminating) Gospel of Luke                                                          
1/6 - Chapter 1                         1/7 - Chapters 2 – 3               1/8 - Chapters 4 – 5
1/9 - Chapters 6 – 7                 1/10 - Chapters 8 – 9             1/11 - Chapters 10 – 11
1/12 - Chapters 12 – 13           1/13 - Chapters 14 – 16         1/14 - Chapters 17 – 18
1/15 - Chapters 19 – 20           1/16 - Chapters 21 – 22         1/17 - Chapters 23 – 24

Brit Cha’Dasha; Yochanan (Yah has Favoured) Gospel of John                                           
1/18 - Chapters 1 – 2              1/19 - Chapters 3 – 4               1/20 - Chapters 5 – 6
1/21 - Chapters 7 – 8              1/22 - Chapters 9 – 10             1/23 - Chapters 11 – 12
1/24 - Chapters 13 – 15          1/25 - Chapters 16 – 18           1/26 - Chapters 19 – 21

Brit Cha’Dasha; Ma’Asheh (Actions) Acts of Apostles                                                          

1/27 - Chapters 1 – 3              1/28 - Chapters 4 – 6              1/29 - Chapters 7 – 8


Tabernacle Invitation

Interested in joining Bet Yeshurun Assembly? Please contact Pastor ObadiYah by email, telephone, mail, or in person at a gathering of Yahushuah’s Body.


A Call For Repentance

(Revelation 2:12-17) “To the angel of the Church in Pergamos write, 'These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword. 'I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My Name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus, you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

While written to a “Church” (“Ekklēsia”) over 2000 years ago, that message is relevant to modern-day disciples. This 3rd article of a series for Bet Yeshurun (BYA) on the writings to 7 ancient Churches posts the Messiah's call for repentance. Take heed! For those with ears to “hear what the Spirit says,” His warning then is timely now!(Revelation 1:11) “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last! 'What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches that are in Asia: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

Let's check what Smith's Bible Dictionary says of “Pergamos” (means “height or elevation”): This city in Mysia was a residence for Greek princes and ranked as the finest in Asia as to splendor. With many temples and magnificent furnishings, its vast library held 200,000 volumes [2nd only to the library in Alexandria at the time].

One of Pergamos' temples was for the Greek god of healing, Aesculapius. His statue had a serpent coiled around a shepherd's rod. Today, the American Medical Association (AMA) uses his emblem as its logo. Selah! Reflect on that! Now think about why Pergamos was a fitting home for that “serpent” and appropriate spot for the earth's deceiver after being outed from heaven: (Revelation 12:9) So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth and his angels were cast out with him.

The Encyclopedia Britannica has more regarding Pergamos a.k.a. Pergamum: This city was located 16 miles from the Aegean Sea and 45 miles to the northeast of Smyrna. Situated on a lofty, isolated hill to the north of the Caicus River valley, it was the home for the Attalid dynasty in the Age of Hellenism, [323 to 30 BCE]. Their fortress and palace was on the peak of a hill, while the town occupied lower slopes. Sick visitors to the city would often sleep In Asclepius' temple in the hope of being cured while they dreamed. Eumenes II [monarch from 197 to 160 BC] built splendid sculptures and a white marble altar for Zeus [called the father of all Greek gods].

That altar explains the reference to Pergamos as “where Satan's throne is.”As a seat of earthly power, it's an ideal place for a devil to park his lofty attitude and to spew his prideful tongue with fountains of deception and lies. Isn't it also a fitting city for a world renowned library of human wisdom? (Isaiah 14:12-14) "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of Elohim. I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the Most High!

As the most northern of Asia's Churches (“farthest sides of the north”), Pergamos spiritually represents a location furthest from Yah's Light. Indeed, it's a fitting home base for Satan's deceptive doctrines that he seeks to exalt above the Word of Elohim (Light), above Elohim's angels (“stars”), and above Elohim's Churches (“lamps”): (Revelation 1:19-20) "Write the things which you have seen, the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. The mystery of the seven stars, which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lamp stands: the seven stars are angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands which you saw are the seven churches.'

While the Pergamos Church existed amid Satan's domain and much eye-pleasing humanistic attractions, those ancient Believers were noted for faithfully persevering in a pagan setting. For example, they didn't subscribe to the health care system in Asclepius' temple. They also steadfastly held onto Yahushuah'sName” even under intense satanic persecution such as the murder of a faithful “martyr” (“witness”), by the name of “Antipas” (“like the Father”). Indeed, the Pergamos Church is a role model for Believers suffering scorn from friends and family regarding their beliefs in the Messiah's teachings. Although the resulting mental anguish may hurt more than a persecution unto death, don't give it up. It's actually a good sign to catch some flak for sacrificing human ways for the Father's Way of Life. Stand strong! Trust Elohim that this physical life passes away, but His spiritual Life is for eternity.(Romans 8:6-7) “For to be carnally minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against Elohim; for it is not subject to the Law (Torah) of Elohim, nor indeed can be.

Even so, the Pergamos' Church still had its faults. An earlier article (Shofar #1408) examined “the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.” This article will now consider “the doctrine of Balaam.” A good place to start is the story of an ancient for-profit prophet Balaam (“not of the people”). He instructed Balak (“devastator”) on how to set “stumbling blocks” for the young nation of Israel he hated. (See Numbers 22-24) Also noteimmorality is one of several metaphors for spiritual idolatry: (Col. 3:5) “Put to death your members that are on earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Today's Believers also face “stumbling blocks” (“skandalon“ or occasions to fall”). So, it's imperative that we recognize the enemy's attacks come via the air waves (internet, radio, & television), plus the written medias. Be aware of how a mighty evil power of the air moves in our heights: (Ephesians 2:1-3) “You, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

While Satan physically slaughtered Pergamos' Church, today his attack on the Messiah's Body is more mental via Balaam-like dogmas. For example, the religions that teach the New Covenant replaces Old Covenant commandments, mislead young-in-faith Believers into ignoring Holy Days, like Tabernacles, and  to replace them with holidays, like Christmas. Thus, during winter's dark days, evergreens are being adorned with lights, silver tinsel and gold ornaments. This prophet reveals the pagan roots and symbolism behind that human tradition: (Jeremiah 10:3-5) “For the customs of the peoples are futile; For one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; They fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak. They must be carried because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good."

That prophecy reveals even in ancient times people were stumbling into an idolatrous doctrine of Balaam by decorating pine trees. Sadly, this practice is continuing to further separate Yah's children from Elohim: (Ezekiel 14:1-5) “The Word of YAHUAH came to me saying, 'Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak and say to them, “Thus says Sovereign YAHUAH, Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I YAHUAH will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols, that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols.”

Beware of the modern-day guides who still set stumbling blocks! (2 Peter 2:1-2) “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying the Adonai who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. Many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the Way of Truth will be blasphemed.” (2 Peter 2:12-15) “But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of things they do not understand and will utterly perish in their own corruption, and receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that can not cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices and are accursed children. They have forsaken the right Way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam, the son of Beor.”

In our opening passage we read of Messiah's “sword” with 2 sharp edges. It speaks of the Word (Edge 1: for salvation; Edge 2: for judgment) With Yahushuah now seated at YAHUAH's throne, He righteously judges and ministers judgment to the world in uprightness: (Ephesians 6:17) “The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of Elohim.” (Hebrews 4:12) “For the Word of Elohim is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

If Balaam's doctrines led basically good members of the Pergamos Church to err, what can modern churches do? If led astray, the Word answers “Repent!” His Father affirms: (Ezekiel 14:6-11) “Repent, turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations. For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, . . . stray no longer from Me, nor be profaned anymore with transgressions, but they may be My people, and I may be their Elohim," says Sovereign YAHUAH.

Repent,” translated from the Greek “metanoeō, means “to think differently, to reconsider; morally, feel compunction.” (Strong's Concordance) Similarly, Thayer's Lexicon says it means “to change one's mind for better; heartily, to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins.” Thus, Yahushuah called His 1st century followers to  feel shame over the false religious practices that had crept into their Church and to adjust their thinking on what constitutes true worship of Elohim. Likewise, today's Disciples are called to convict our minds into doing things Yah's Way, not the world's ways. (Acts 17:30) "Truly, these times of ignorance Elohim overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.

This apostle exhorts Yah's Disciples to be awake for a powerful adversary that blocks Elohim's Light with doctrines of darkness. May we be among those who are called to reevaluate the holiday traditions of men and to commit to worshiping the Father in the Way He desires, and not as so many others do in this holiday season. (1 Peter 5:6-10) “Humble yourself under Elohim's mighty hand that He may exalt you in due time. Cast your care on Him for He cares. Be sober! Be vigilant! Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the Elohim of all grace, who called us to eternal glory by Messiah Yahushuah, after you have suffered a while.”

As Elohim's patience draws near an end, may we recognize Yah's reign on earth. (Matthew 4:17) "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”



Announcements

See Schedule above.

Thoughts for Meditation

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Abraham Lincoln