Rabbi Schneider - Find God in the Struggle
We need to understand that Messiah's birth into the world is a very Jewish thing, because it was prophesied in the Hebrew scriptures. This is why the wisemen or magi rejoiced exceedingly, we read, when they found Messiah through following the star. You see the birth of Messiah is rooted in the Hebrew scriptures. So what I'd like to do today, is to go back to the Hebrew Bible. We're gonna look at the writings of the prophet Isaiah. We're gonna look at a few of his words concerning the birth of Messiah, then we're gonna look at their counterpart in the New Testament, in the book of Matthew and the book of Revelation. Then we're gonna bring application today, by receiving in a greater way into our lives the revelation that because Messiah, Yeshua has come and is here God is with us in this present moment.
So Father God today in Yeshua's name we ask you that by the power of Your Holy Spirit You would cause us to know that You are here and how near You are to each and every one of Your children. Father we love You and we rejoice with the magi today, with the wisemen, that You have come in the person of Your Son, Messiah, Yeshua.
Well you know in Israel there's a greeting that they exchange, those that believe in Messiah and celebrate His birth. They say, "Chag Molad Sameach," which is a special greeting that is translated into our English vocabulary as Merry Christmas. Now most of us know that Jesus wasn't born on December 25th, that's kind of a no brainer for theologians and scholars. We know that. But it still makes sense to mark a day to celebrate the birth of Messiah into the world. It's not mandatory. It's not something that is a law, but to celebrate what God has done, to mark what God has done, Beloved that's always a good thing. I mean think about it. We celebrate the birth of our children, right? We celebrate the birth of our mom, or dad, or husband, or wife. Why would we not want to especially praise God for the birth of His son.
I want to go now to the book of Isaiah chapter seven and read a foundational scripture, for which we see that the celebration of Messiah's birth, once again, is rooted in the Hebrew scriptures. Isaiah said this. Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin will be with child, and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel". Now the word Immanuel is Hebrew for God is with us. So thinking about this, God is with us, that God gave the Jewish people a sign and the sign was a virgin would conceive. There's been some debate over the years as to whether this word almah was actually a virgin or not, but how would it be a sign that was supernatural if it was an ordinary birth. It had to be a virgin birth. In fact when we look at the birth of Isaac, going back to the beginning of Jewish history. We go with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and we know that God made a promise to Abraham. And God said to Abraham, "Abraham through your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed".
So Abram, Abraham was waiting most of his life for the fulfillment of this prophecy. But we know his wife Sarah, Sarai couldn't conceive. She wasn't getting pregnant. Eventually we know the story, Abraham tried to take matters into his own hands and had relations with his maid Hagar. But God said, "No Abraham it's gonna be through your own wife". So the story continues, Sarai is now a hundred years old and God says, "This year, next year at this time she's gonna have a child". And we read the story and Sarah laughed. She just found it you know, is that even possible? But is anything too difficult for the Lord? But I want you to think about this in relationship to the scripture in Isaiah that we just read and it's fulfillment that's recorded in Matthew. Listen, "That the virgin would conceive," Isiah said in Isaiah 7:14.
So if we go back to Abraham once again and we think about Sarah giving birth to Isaac, that was a supernatural birth, because remember Sarai or Sarah was a hundred years old when she gave birth to Isaac. She was past the age of child bearing. So what this demonstrates here is Sarah's conceiving at a hundred years old and giving birth at a hundred years old to Isaac. This was a foreshadow of the virgin birth. And if you think about it you would think that the birth of Messiah Jesus would be even more spectacular than the birth of Isaac that came through his mom when she was a hundred, because after all Yeshua is the most unique and spectacular person on the planet. And so God takes this concept of having a very unique birth that we see rooted at the very beginning of Jewish history through Sarah giving birth at a hundred, God brings that up to the very climatic level of having a virgin give birth when He brings His own son Messiah Jesus into the world.
And so once again we're looking at the Jewish roots of celebrating the birth of Messiah into the world during this very special time of year. And so let's read the scripture again. Isaiah 7:14, then I'm gonna read the counterpart in the book of Matthew chapter one verse twenty three. I love you beloved ones. Most importantly God love you. Hear the word of God. "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign". And remember if this birth wasn't virgin it wouldn't have been a sign. It had to be something spectacular and supernatural for it to be a sign. The reason I'm making an issue out of this is because orthodox rabbis dispute that this word in the original Hebrew meant virgin. It could be translated young maiden or virgin, but it wouldn't make sense to just translate as a young maiden, because a young maiden giving birth would be nothing supernatural. It wouldn't be a sign. And so once again, "The virgin would conceive. Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel".
Matthew 1:23, Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14 as being fulfilled at the birth of Messiah Jesus. "Behold the virgin shall be with child, and she shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel; which translated, means God with us". This is why we read in the book of Matthew chapter two verse ten that the wisemen or magi from the East, when they saw the star and followed the star to the birth of this Son, it says they rejoiced exceedingly. Why? Because they had read in the Hebrew scriptures while they were in Babylon in the East that someone very special was gonna be born and this one that was to be born would bring God's presence to His people and would culminate in a Messianic government upon the earth. So we see this concept of celebrating, or rejoicing at the birth of Messiah. This to is rooted in the holy scriptures.
Now who were the wisemen, or who were the magi? We don't have a lot of information, but most scholars agree that they were from the East, which was in the area of Babylon and there was many Jews that had been exiled into Babylon and so the Jewish scriptures were accessible there. So we believe that these wisemen were people that were studying the signs in the heavens, supernatural signs in the heavens, that had access to the Hebrew scriptures and God spoke them supernaturally through this star. Now we read in the book of Acts for example, chapter two and Joel two, that God does supernatural things in the heavens above and in the stars to sometimes announce what He's doing. And this is gonna happen at the end of the age too. There's gonna be signs in the skies that are gonna announce the Lord Jesus' coming. And so this is not something that is brand new here. This is something that is not unique. Jesus said there will be signs in the sky concerning His second coming, just as there were beloved one, a signs or a sign for His first coming.
Now let's continue on. I want to develop this concept of Immanuel. Once again this Hebrew word Immanuel means God with us. And I want us to really focus on this concept right now. Listen, God with us. This is so important, because so often times beloved one, we look for a God, but we look for Him somewhere out there. We're wanting to see Him somehow demonstrate His nearness to us in our circumstances. We want Him to answer a specific prayer. We want to see Him move in our life, whether it's to get a job, or to find a mate, or whatever it might be. And all that is awesome. Thank God for all the things that He does when He invades our circumstances and manifests His glory. But I want you to hear, there's something greater and the greater is the revelation and the ability to perceive that God, listen church, is right now with us. Immanuel, God with us.
Hear me church, in this present moment, right now, this very second, as you take your breath right now. Hear me, God is in you and with you. And what you and I need to do is work on developing our sensitivity to God's presence with us. You see a lot of times, because life is a struggle, we try to escape the present moment into something else. But what we need to understand is the way to find God, the way to lay a hold of Him is not to try to escape the present moment for some type of easier existence. But what we need to do is to develop the sensitivity to realize that God is with us right where we're at, in the struggle, in this present moment. We don't want to run from the present moment to something else to find God. But we want to develop the sense that He's with us in the challenge, listen now, in this present moment. Stop trying to escape and recognize that God is here. He's with you and I right now.
Let's go to another scripture. I want to read from the book of Isaiah chapter nine, verse six and seven, as we continue to develop this concept. "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on his shoulders: and his name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of his government or of his peace. On the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it, to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forever more. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this".
So we're thinking about number one, Immanuel, Messiah, Jesus has been born into the world and when He came into the world He brought the presence of God into the earth for everyone that would come to Him to receive and to experience. But we also learned from the book of Isaiah is that the reign of Messiah, the reign of God's Son is going to increase. It's gonna increase the scriptures tell us until it covers beloved one, the entire earth. You see the kingdom of God is here right now, but it's not fully here yet. The kingdom of God has broken into the world, but it's not reigning over the entire world in the fullness of the manifestation of God's glory. This is why Jesus told us to pray. Pray in this way. Say, "Our Father that art in heaven holy is Your name," listen, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven".
So what we're doing church, is we're praying for the full assuring end of the kingdom of God into the earth and this is what will happen soon at Messiah Jesus' second coming. The kingdom of God is here, but not fully yet. Messiah Jesus has been born Immanuel, God is with us and now we're contending for the fullness of the kingdom to arrive here on earth. This happens at the millennial reign and n the new heavens and the new earth. Listen as we read the fulfillment of this in the book of Revelation. Hear the word of God as I begin with Revelation twenty one, verse three through five. "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold'", get it now, "'the tabernacle of God,'" this is God's full presence. "Behold the tabernacle of God is among men and He will dwell among them and they shall be His people and God himself," get it now church, "will be among them".
This is the full ushering in of the kingdom of God. This is what's coming. This is what our destiny is. He continues, John, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and there will no longer be any death. There will no longer be any mourning, or crime, or pain. The first things have passed away and he who sits on the throne says, 'Behold I am making all things new.' And he said to me, 'Write, for these words are faithful and true'". It reminds me of Isaiah's words in the scripture we just read. "The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this". This is exactly what John's saying. He said, "Write, these words are faithful and true".
Revelation 22:1-7, I want you just to consider this as we contemplate the birth of Messiah. Contemplate with me now. Revelation 22:1-7, "Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal coming from the throne of God and the lamb. In the middle of the street on either side of the river was the tree of life bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding it's fruit every month and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations". Remember Isaiah was talking about the increase of his government would continue to spread and it would know no bounds. This is what we're reading here, that in this millennial reign, in the new heavens and the new earth God is gonna heal the nations. This tree that is on the side of the river of life will yield the truth every month and the leaves of the tree, listen now, were for the healing of the nations.
We look on the planet today and we see nations that are under tyrannic dictatorships, where we have people of power that reign through tyranny and fear and people are living under that, slaves to it. But in the kingdom of God the healing of the nations will take place. Let's continue on. "There will no longer be any curse and the throne of God and the Lamb will be in it. And His bond servants will serve Him. They will see His face and His name will be on their foreheads. There will no longer be any night and they will not have need of the light of a lamp, or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them and they will reign forever and ever. And he said to me, 'These words are faithful and true'". Beloved, the kingdom of God is here. Why? Because Immanuel is with us.
That's why we thank Father God during this time of year in a special way, for the birth of His Son. Obviously it's right to thank God for the birth of the Son of God into the world every day, but during this time of year as many people who are taking time out of their busy schedules to celebrate the birth of Messiah Yeshua into the world, I just want to encourage you today, let's if we're doing that, let's put it back in it's original context. Let's recognize that the birth of Messiah into the world is actually first rooted in the Hebrew Bible, in the book of Isaiah. The book of Daniel tells us of the Messiah's reign, how Messiah will come into the world. The birth of Messiah Jesus is a Jewish thing. This is why in fact Jews for Jesus, an organization that many of you are familiar with, has one of it's greatest evangelistic, fruitful seasons during this time of year, because people are thinking about it. People sense often times a special warmth in the, during this time of year. Many people have an extra set, a desire to show good will during this time of year, but at the end of the day it's all about Yeshua, right? He's the reason for the season.
As we close today, I just want us to pray together for a fuller revelation of this reality that we have challenged our self with today, that God's with us. I want you to hear me, listen, God is with you, listen, in the present moment. Offer up the present moment, listen now, as a sacrament to God. Begin to treat every present moment as holy. Don't run from the present moment to try to get to a place where you're more comfortable, because God is not in the future. God is the God of the now. Immanuel, God is with us, in the now. So I want to encourage you to begin to focus as a matter of your discipline to recognize that in the good times and in the hard times, listen, God is with you, listen and you can find God with you in the struggle. Don't try to run from where you're at to find God. Recognize that God is with you where you're at and you can find Him in a very deep, real and meaningful way right now in the struggle.
So Father God we bless You today and we worship you today. We thank You Father God for coming into the world as Immanuel to be with us. Father deliver us from running. Deliver us from running in fear and stress to try to find you some other place. Help us to realize that Father You're here, Immanuel, that You're with us right now. Help us Father God to learn how to experience You every present moment. Help us to embrace even the hard times, recognizing that You're doing something Father in our lives even through the hard times. Father we worship You and as we look forward to this next year we want to thank You, that we know You're gonna be with us. And as we keep our eyes on You we're gonna go from strength to strength, from glory to glory and from shalom to shalom.
God bless you beloved ones, this is Rabbi Schneider saying to you, "Merry Christmas".