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Welcome to the Gates of Eden Blog ~ New posts weekly at 8PM following Shabbat

October 27, 2019

“And I [God] will put enmity between thee [the serpent] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it [or ‘he’] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). “When Yeshua therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30). Genesis 3:15 is generally regarded as the first Messianic prophecy, the first direct statement to predict a Messiah, a Redeemer who would someday come and undo the damage that the serpent did in Paradise. Genesis 3:15 is just one single verse, but it reveals quite a few details about the coming Messiah.

June 9, 2019

A few years ago I was asked to teach a seminar on “Hebrew Holidays and Their Import For Christians” at Bradley University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The students were all 50 or older, so I knew they would remember the Marx Brothers comedy team. I asked them if they could name all the Marx Brothers. They immediately rattled off the names: Groucho, Chico, Harpo. But there was a fourth Marx Brother that people tend to forget, and none of my students could remember his name. (No, it wasn’t Karl.) It was Zeppo, I told them. Oh, yeah, Zeppo Marx!

   Then I showed them a column from the 5/1/10 Jewish Forward called “Shavuot: The Zeppo Marx of Jewish Holidays.” J.J. Goldberg, the author, starts his column by saying:

   “Of all the major Jewish holidays, the least familiar to the general, synagogue-avoiding Jewish public is the festival of Shavuot… In fact, its obscurity is so striking that discussions of the holiday commonly start by noting its obscurity, as I did. As a result, it...

May 26, 2019

I became a born-again Christian in 1972. In the 1970s a popular Christian slogan was "Jesus is Lord!" This slogan was shouted and printed on T-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons, and other paraphernalia. Christians talked about letting Jesus be Lord of your finances, Lord of your marriage, Lord of your job situation--in short, Lord in every area of your life. I believed in letting Jesus be Lord back then. Now that I'm in the Messianic movement, I still believe in letting Jesus be Lord, even if I now call Him by His Hebrew name, Yeshua. I think that most other Messianics would say that they, too, believe in letting Yeshua be Lord. For Messianic believers, though, the Lordship of Yeshua affects their calendars in a way that it does not affect the calendars of mainstream

May 12, 2019

As I write this, Passover, the festival of freedom, has passed. Now we are counting the seven Sabbaths to Shavuot (Pentecost), the anniversary of the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. The rabbis say that Passover isn't completely over until Pentecost. Why? Because freedom without law is anarchy. After God redeemed the children of Israel by the blood of the Passover lambs and freed them from Egypt, He did not tell them they were now free to do whatever they pleased. No, He brought them to Mount Sinai and told them "I am Yahweh thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage" (Ex. 20:2). Then He gave commandments, starting with the "Top Ten," to instruct His redeemed people how to live in freedom. Deuteronomy 6:23 says that Yahweh brought them out from Egypt so that He might bring them into the Promised Land. God's call to leave one place is always followed by God's call to go to another place. God

April 28, 2019

MATZAH, transliterated into English as matzah, matzoh, or matzo, is unleavened bread. The history of matzah goes back to early Biblical times. In Genesis we read of Lot baking matzah in Sodom for the two angelic visitors who came to his home. Unleavened bread is mentioned several other places in the Bible. Because matzah does not need to rise, it can be cooked in a very short time. As was the case with Lot, it was often baked and served fresh to unexpected guests. Matzah is most often associated with the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, which begins immediately after Passover.

April 21, 2019

In the spring of 2000, I had a solo exhibition of my artwork at Peoria’s Contemporary Art Center. My exhibition consisted of around thirty paintings based on the Exodus and Passover. One of my pieces in this show was a seder plate that I painted on a 16-inch diameter wooden platter (featured right). Even though we are not obligated to follow all the prescriptions of Jewish tradition, I included the six traditional items on my seder plate, for two reasons. One, because extra-Biblical traditions are not wrong when they are not anti-Biblical. They can actually be good if they help us more clearly understand spiritual principles and help us enter into worship with a greater appreciation for the Lord. Two, because without the traditional extra-Biblical items on a seder plate, it

October 7, 2018

“And I [God] will put enmity between thee [the serpent] and the woman, and [Click and drag to move] ​​ between thy seed and her seed: it [or ‘he’] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). “When Yeshua therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30). Genesis 3:15 is generally regarded as the first Messianic prophecy, the first direct statement to predict a Messiah, a Redeemer who would someday come and undo the damage that the serpent did in Paradise. Genesis 3:15 is just one single verse, but it reveals quite a few details about the coming Messiah. First, it tells us that the Messiah will be an individual, not a group of people, because the singular, not the plural form, is used.

May 20, 2018

A few years ago I was asked to teach a seminar on “Hebrew Holidays and Their Import For Christians” at Bradley University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The students were all 50 or older, so I knew they would remember the Marx Brothers comedy team. I asked them if they could name all the Marx Brothers. They immediately rattled off the names: Groucho, Chico, Harpo. But there was a fourth Marx Brother that people tend to forget, and none of my students could remember his name. (No, it wasn’t Karl.) It was Zeppo, I told them. Oh, yeah, Zeppo Marx!

April 29, 2018

How an individual uses his time is indeed of utmost importance. But in addition to the "how," there is another aspect of our stewardship over time. That aspect is not the "how" but the "when" of time. The Scriptures speak not only of how we are to use our time as individuals, but also of when we are to assemble in holy convocation with our local congregation to meet with Yahweh at His appointed times.

April 15, 2018

As I write this, Passover, the festival of freedom, has passed. Now we are counting the seven Sabbaths to Shavuot (Pentecost), the anniversary of the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. The rabbis say that Passover isn't completely over until Pentecost. Why? Because freedom without law is anarchy. After God redeemed the children of Israel by the blood of the Passover lambs and freed them from Egypt, He did not tell them they were now free to do whatever they pleased. No, He brought them to Mount Sinai and told them "I am Yahweh thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage" (Ex. 20:2). Then He gave commandments, starting with the "Top Ten," to instruct His redeemed people how to live in freedom.

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