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Rabbi Schneider - God Is Here

Rabbi Schneider - God Is Here
TOPICS: Christmas

As you can see, beloved ones, I'm not at my studio. I am in Jerusalem. And over here we're looking over the city of Bethlehem. We're going to be talking today about the birth of Messiah and how when Yeshua was born it was a fulfillment of ancient messianic prophecy that was given to Micah hundreds of years before. And then over behind me is where Herod had a castle. And it's really interesting that these locations are close to each other because we read in the scripture that Herod, who built the castle, was also the one that wanted to see Yeshua put to death when he heard that the Messiah had been born. And so, Father God, we look to you today, Abba, and just thank you that here we are 2,000 years after the birth of Christ, literally standing in the same geographical location, that it all happened, bringing into view both Herod and Yeshua and Father, how the story unfolded from there that you incorporated us into your Son. And we're enjoying that life today, Yeshua that you brought to us beginning literally in this place.

Well, beloved ones, when I think of this season, the first thing that comes to mind to me is not the celebration quote of Christmas, because as a Messianic Jew, growing up, I didn't really celebrate Christmas. We celebrated Hanukkah. And the truth is Yeshua wasn't born on December 25th. Everybody knows that. But it's a time that we celebrate His birth. And when we celebrate the birth of Messiah, what we're actually doing is we're celebrating God's gift to you and I, we're celebrating God's love, and we're celebrating the fulfillment of ancient messianic prophecy. You see, one of the most important reasons that we should endeavor to understand the Jewish roots of our Christian faith is because it gives it legs. It routes it and it grounds it. In other words, the first book in the New Testament, Matthew, and the first verse in the book of Matthew grounds Jesus into fulfilling ancient messianic prophecy.

So as you've heard me say many times before, Matthew opens his gospel by saying, "This is the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham". So the first thing that Matthew does in presenting Messiah to us and presenting his story to us is he brings us back to the Torah and he shows us how Yeshua is the fulfillment of that which the Hebrew prophets spoke of. And so it was that important in the historical writings to ground Yeshua in the writings of the Hebrew prophets. And so today we're going to begin the broadcast by looking at the ancient prophecy contained in the Hebrew prophet Micah. We're going to the fifth chapter and we're going now to the second verse. And I love this because it's so solid and it's so clear. Micah says this. "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little..."

And as you look behind me, you'll see there's a lot of building that's gone on behind me in Bethlehem today, but it wasn't like that when Yeshua was born. It was a little village. And so Micah writes, "But as as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity". So there's two things that are clearly spelled out, beloved ones, in this short verse of scripture. Number one, where the Messiah would be born. He'd be born in some little, obscure place called Bethlehem that no one would think that anything good could come out of it. That's the first thing that we learn from Micah's prophecy here. "Too little to be among the clans of Judah...." No one would take any notice of it, even as was the case as a side note of David.

Remember when the Lord was going to anoint the king of Israel and the Prophet was sent to Jesse's home, David's father, Jesse called his sons and everybody thought that it would be Jesse's oldest son, the big one, the tall one. But it wasn't any of those. Who was going to be the next king of Israel? The one that everyone overlooked-David the little shepherd boy that no one even had considered could be the next king. And so it's the same thing here. Messiah comes into the world from a place that's so little and insignificant that no one logically and in the natural would think the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. But that's what Micah says, that from Bethlehem... This place that was too little to be reckoned as anything. "...One would come forth," get this now, "to be ruler in Israel". And the Lord says here, "His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity". So we have contained here the jam of revelation that teach us that Messiah will be literally God, that Messiah will be from eternity.

Now, this might not really strike you as that poignant in this instant. But I want to give you a little history. During the time of Yeshua and today, today, especially, Jewish people are not expecting that the Messiah will be God. In fact, Jewish people teach that there is a potential Messiah in every generation. This is just rabbinic thought. This is the way Jewish people think today, that in every generation there is living a potential Messiah, and He'll be revealed if that generation of Jewish people is righteous enough. So the contemporary mindset today of Rabbinic Judaism is not that the Messiah is from eternity, it's not that the Messiah is actually going to be God clothed and humanity, it's that the Messiah is just a man. Furthermore, today's Rabbinic Judaism does not believe that Messiah will atone for the sins of the world by shedding perfectly innocent blood. Rather, they believe that Messiah will lead Jewish people back to Torah observance.

So they don't believe Messiah is God in the flesh, who sheds his blood for the sins of mankind, and who is able to atone for all the sins of humanity because He is God in the flesh perfectly innocent and blameless. Instead, rabbinic Judaism teaches that Messiah is a man that will lead Jewish people back to Torah observance, which will in turn bring peace on earth for all humanity. It is interesting, however, that within Rabbinic Judaism, they see in Scripture two portrayals of who the Messiah will be. On the one hand, they see a potential Messiah Ben David, Messiah Ben of David, because we have prophetic writings in the scriptures that the Messiah will come as a ruler and as a king.

So this Messiah looks like Messiah Ben Dahveed, Messiah the son of David. But then we have another potential picture of the Messiah contained in writings like Isaiah 53, where a Messiah comes as a suffering servant. And so what Rabbinic Judaism teaches is that it depends on the generation in which the Messiah is living. If the generation in which Messiah is living is a really righteous generation, then Messiah will be revealed as Messiah Be David as a king. But if Messiah is revealed during a time where Israel is not righteous, then He'll come as a suffering Messiah, Messiah son of Joseph, Messiah Ben Yosef. And so the point is, is that as we understand the birth of Messiah, we don't want to just do it through a cultural Christianized lens that began with the Roman church. We want to understand Messiah from His original concept. He came as a Jew.

Remember Yeshua said in the Gospel of John chapter 4, "Salvation is from the Jews". At the end of the book of Revelation, Yeshua says, "I'm the offspring of David". So I'm helping you to understand what the Church calls Christmas, which really did not happen on December 25th because all historians know that that was not the date of His birth. In fact, most theologians think it was more likely that it was birth during the Feast of Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles, although nobody knows for sure. But if we're going to celebrate the birth of Messiah, which we should, right, because the wise man gave us an example, they celebrated the birth of Messiah. So I think it's a fantastic thing to celebrate the birth of Messiah. But I want to do it through Hebraic lens. I want to do it in such a way that I'm celebrating that God is faithful, that He sent us a Messiah, who's actually got in the flesh, according to Micah 5:2, and that He came in the way that the Lord prescribed in the Hebrew prophecies that He'd be born in, beloved, the city behind me called Bethlehem.

Let's turn our attention now for a moment and think about what is the reason that the Lord sent the Messiah and when did this plan of God begin. You see, beloved, the Lord sent Messiah because He ordained it, now listen, even before the creation of the world. The Bible says that in the mind of God, the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. So in eternity God had a plan for humanity. So I want us to consider this for a second. As we're celebrating the birth of Mashiach, as we're celebrating the birth of the Christ, the Anointed One, of Yeshua, of Jesus, why did God send Him? Yes, God sent Him because He loved us, right? John 3:16, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son". But I want you to understand that there's even a greater plan of God in the sending forth of Messiah than forgiveness. God's eternal plan starts with forgiveness because we can't have a relationship with God until we are forgiven.

And that's why His name was Yeshua. That's why the angel said to Mary and Joseph, "You shall call His name Yeshua". Right? That's what the angel said. The angel said, "You shall call His name Yeshua". And He spoke to Miriam, that's her Hebrew name, and the angel said, "You should call his name Yeshua, for He shall save His people from their sins". And did you know that the name Yeshua, which is Yeshua's real name, "Jesus" is the English version of it, but the Hebrew that the angel spoke is Yeshua, what that means is "God saves". Yah, for God, that's an abbreviated form of God's covenant name Yahweh from the four Hebrew letters Yod Hei Vav Hei. Yah. The psalmist said, "I'll praise yah". Yah, God and Shua, saves. So you shall call his name Yeshua, meaning God saves because He shall save His people from their sins.

And the angel also revealed, we find in the first chapter of Matthew, we read that we Matthew 2, we read that we should call His name, we should also refer to Him as Emmanuel, meaning God is with us. And so we call Him Yeshua He saves, because He saves us from our sins, and Emmanuel, Matthew chapter 1, because now through Yeshua and His Atonement, God has made a way for Him, beloved ones, to be with us. And so I want you to think about this as we're gathered together now in the spirit through this broadcast as our hearts are being lifted to the Lord through the word right now. God is here. And this that I'm proclaiming, it goes beyond simply a message. It goes beyond just our cognitive understanding. God is here. That's what the celebration of the birth of Christ is about. Emmanuel is come.

God is here. He's with you wherever you're at right now. Whether you're in your car listening by radio, whether you're in your living room watching on television, whether you're watching on your smartphone or your technology, or whatever you're using right now, He's here. He's with you as you lay in your bed at night. He knows everything about us. He feels for you and I. You see when God clothed Himself in humanity through the birth of Yeshua, what He did, beloved one, is He made Himself one with you and I so that He feels our infirmity, He feels our disease, and He feels when we're happy, and He delights in us and a banner over us of His love. God is literally joined, get this now, He is now through His Son, through Emmanuel He's joined to you and I so that He's holding your hands so whatever you feel, He feels, whatever you think, touches Him.

There is no distance right now between you and God because Yeshua is standing in the gap. He's fully man and He's fully God. And as the one that's fully man and fully God, that's what the incarnation is about, when Yeshua was born in Bethlehem, approximately 2,000 years ago, what He did is He bridged the gap. Fully God and fully man, so He fused man and God together so that now God is one with you, He's walking with you. And He wants us right now to open up our hearts to believe this. If only we could fully open up to the reality of how close to us, Hashem God is, how He wants us to know that He's one with us.

So, Father, I'm praying right now for all of us, myself included, that You would continue to open our hearts, that You would continue to expand our ability to open up to understand and to feel how much You love us, that you're closer to us than our own breath, Father, that You feel everything that we feel, that you're touched by every one of our pains, that every thought that we think you're one with in the sense that you experience with that. Father, God opened us up to recognize how safe and loved and embraced we are in You today.

Think about this. Whatever you think, God's there. He's standing at the door of our heart desiring that you and I would grow in our trust and in our confidence in His love so that we could expand in His love and more and more let Him into the deepest corridors of our heart. He wants to share life with us. But it's up to us to open up by faith and allow Him to do that. That's why Yeshua said, "I'm standing at the door of your heart and knocking. If you'll open up, we're gonna stop together, we're going to experience life together".

And so, beloved, as we celebrate this special season of the birth of Messiah, I hope that I've somehow brought to you an exclamation mark of how close God is to us. He wants to take our breath away as we realize the immediacy of His love. And as we move forward, He wants you in and I to open up to take His hand so that as we walk forward in this life journey we partner with Him in a deeper and deeper way. On behalf of Yeshua Messiah today, I say to you, God loves you. And as you look to Him, beloved, know that He will be with you even until your last breath on the planet.

When we consider the birth of Messiah Yeshua into the earth, I'm reminded of the wise men that came and brought Him gifts. And I know that many of you during this time of year just want to show your love and appreciation for your Savior and Messiah and present an offering to Him. If the Holy Spirit is touching you right now and you feel the peace of God to present your offering unto the Lord through Discovering The Jewish Jesus, I just want to say thank you. And I want you to know that your offerings are truly being used to spread the gospel and the good news of the kingdom of God all around the globe. Even here while I'm in Israel, people are coming up to me from around the world, different places all around the earth and they're receiving God's word through Discovering The Jewish Jesus. So once again, beloved, as we come to this time of year, if you feel the heart of the wise men and want to present a special offering to the Lord through Discovering The Jewish Jesus, I just say thank you to you. God bless you and the very best to this coming year.

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