Not Who We Were Expecting

“Rejoice greatly O daughter of Zion, Shout O daughter of Jerusalem, Behold , the King cometh unto thee,  He is triumphant , and victorious, Lowly, and riding upon an ass, Even upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Zechariah 9:9

This is a prophecy that foretold when Jesus would be coming into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The people laid down palm branches along the road. People in the crowd ask, “Who is this?” Others would respond, “This is the Prophet Yeshua, from Nazaret in the Galilee.” They were shouting “Hoshia-na to Ben-David! Baruach ha ba b’shem Adonai! Hoshia-na in the highest!” This word, hoshia-na, is a shout of praise but actually means “save” or “help.” Isn’t it interesting that on Palm Sunday they’re yelling “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” and 5 days later yelling, “Crucify him, crucify him”?

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. Clear ye in the wilderness the way of the Lord, Make straight in the desert a  highway for our God.” Psalm 118 

The first century Jews were expecting a Conquering King; one who would overthrow the Roman government and would restore all of Israel. But that is not who Jesus was at this time. For Jesus came as the Son of Man, meaning Son of humanity. Jesus came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Many Jews were looking for the promised Messiah to come out of David’s lineage and be just like King David, for David was both warrior and king. Some others were looking for the Promised Messiah to come from the Tribe of Levi, for they were a priestly tribe that served God in the temple.

But who is our promised Messiah? Well, he is Melchizedek. What does his name mean? His name means King of Shalom, meaning King of Peace. He’s the King of Righteousness.  He is Cohen Gadol (or High Priest), God Most High. He is sinless and exalted above the Heavens. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, he is Jesus our promised Messiah. He came to serve, not to be served. He was on a mission from God to bring man back to himself.

For He who knew no sin became sin that through Him we might become the righteousness of God. Through one sacrifice, once and for all, He accomplished this on the cross.

So who do you say he is? I say he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He is the suffering servant Isaiah prophesied about in Isaiah 49.

Let us give thanks to the Lord for providing us with Jesus the Suffering Servant. For it is by His stripes that we are healed. For without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

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Messianic Jewish Holy Days

There are several holy days, feasts and festivals we celebrate throughout the year. Christians should observe these holidays not only because it is commanded in the Bible, but Jesus himself kept them. We can see Jesus Messiah throughout all of these holy days.

 

Shabbat – Sabbath

The Sabbath is a weekly day of rest that was instituted by God himself. Too many people get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget to take a day to recharge. I know for myself when life gets too busy, I find it hard to sit down and rest like I know I need to. Yet God Himself rested on the seventh day, and so should I.

Pesach – Passover

Passover is celebrated with a dinner, called a seder. It is a time to remember that the Hebrews were slaves unto Pharaoh, but it was by the hand of God that they were delivered. God commanded them to take a perfect lamb and sacrifice it and apply its blood to the top and sideposts of the door. It was then roasted and eaten. When the angel of death passed over, they were spared. Today we remember this deliverance, and recognize that God provided Jesus as the Lamb to forgive and remove our sins.

Hag HaMatzot – Unleavened Bread

The Children of Israel were released from slavery in Egypt, but they left in great haste. They left so quickly that the dough for their bread did not get a chance to rise. Tradition says that the hot desert sun baked the bread while they were travelling. To celebrate this, we are to eat nothing made with leaven, or yeast, for seven days. They were even to go through their houses and remove everything that had leaven in it. In the Bible, leaven is to be considered sin. We see this as an analogy to remove sin from our lives.

Yom HaBikkurum – Firstfruits

Firstfruits is the first day of the spring harvest. The Hebrews would go into the field, and lift their harvest of grain up, praising God for his provision. It is said that this is the day that Christ rose from the dead. In the same way that they lifted up their harvest unto God, Jesus was lifted up for the whole world to see.

Shavout – Weeks/Pentecost

The Feast of Weeks is a later harvest, 50 days after Passover. This is also the time when God sent the Holy Spirit, and people were speaking in tongues and had flames over their heads. Three thousand people believed and were baptized.

Yom Teruah – Rosh Hashanah

This is the Jewish New Year. It commemorates the creation of the world, and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, which is a 10-day period of introspection and repentance. Honey-dipped apples and other sweet foods are eaten to “usher in a sweet new year.” During the 10 Days of Awe, we are to acknowledge our sin, turn back to God, and demonstrate acts of kindness towards others.

Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur is a day of affliciton. The Hebrews were to fast from eating and anything that brings them pleasure to humble themselves. If you have an issue with your brother, this is the day to make it right by the end of the night. The Jews do these good works to ensure their names are written in God’s Book of Life for another year. For Christians, we realize that our names are written in the Book through the blood of Jesus.

Sukkot – Tabernacles/Booths

During their wandering in the wilderness, the Hebrews dwelled in temporary houses or booths. No wear came to their clothes or shoes the entire 40 years in the desert. They were provided with food and water every day. Today, we build a 3-sided building which we are supposed to live in for a week to remember how the Children of Israel lived. Christians remember that Jesus “tabernacled” among us, leaving his home in Heaven to live as a man.

Hanukkah – Lights

During the time in Jewish history where the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by Antiochus, the Macabees tried to restore the temple. They found enough oil to light the menorah for one day, but it miraculously lasted 8 days. The Hanukkah menorah has a center candle that sits higher than the others, called the servant candle, which is used to light the eight other candles. Jesus came to earth as a servant, and He is the light of the world.

Purim – Lots

Purim comes from the story of Esther, the redeemer of her people from Haman’s plot to wipe them out. It is customary to send gifts of food to your friends, and for children to dress up in costume. Many churches have a Purim play, where they act out the story from the book of Esther.

What is a Seder Plate?

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The seder plate holds all of the elements included in the Passover. There is usually six different sections for each of the elements:

Karpas – Greens

This is the section for the parsley which will be dipped in salt water. The salted parsley represents the tears of the Children of Israel who were slaves in Egypt.

Beitzah – Egg

This is a roasted egg, which is a symbol of the daily sacrifices that took place in the temple which no longer stands. There are no animal sacrifices that can be performed to this day that can make any of us righteous before a Holy God. Jesus is our atoning sacrifice.

Maror – Bitter Herb

This is ground horseradish, and just enough is eaten to bring a tear to the eye. The Hebrews could not appreciate true redemption until they first realized the bitterness of being slaves under Pharaoh. We were once slaves to sin, but now we experience true redemption through the blood of Christ.

Charoset – Apple Mixture

A mixture of chopped apples, nuts, grape juice, honey and cinnamon. This is symbolic of the mortar used to build the bricks in Egypt. Even in times of trouble and bitterness, we can draw closer to Jesus Messiah and experience the sweetness of His salvation.

Chazaret – Romaine Lettuce

This is not eaten, but is another symbol of the bitterness of slavery.

Zeroa – Shankbone

The seder plate includes a bare roasted shankbone of a lamb. In Exodus 12, the firstborn of every household were spared from the tenth plague by applying the blood of the lamb on the door frame of their home. Today, if we apply the blood of Jesus to our hearts, we are assured that we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb who takes away our sins and gives us new life.

Why Should Christians Celebrate Passover?

When I first met my husband and found out his family has a Messianic ministry, I knew that the Old Testament and Jewish history of Christianity were important but I didn’t realize just how much so until we celebrated our first Passover.

Being raised in a Christian church myself, the pastor preached from both Old and New Testaments, we supported missionaries in Israel, he even used some Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic in his sermons, but we never celebrated any of the Jewish festivals or feasts.

During that first Passover that we celebrated as a married couple, I was reading through the Haggadah with Vinny as I came across an interesting part.  After the 2nd cup and after dinner, the haggadah tells us to take the matzah and the cup of wine, to break and eat. Sound familiar? I immediately remembered the part in Matthew 26 where it says “Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'”

All this time I thought that “The Lord’s Supper” was just Jesus taking a random piece of bread and cup of wine and declaring them to be his body and blood.  I never realized that it was actually part of Passover! This was the middle matzah that had been broken and hidden away, called the afikomen. The afikomen was hidden away, but then found again. This symbolizes how Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. The third cup in the seder is the Cup of Redemption. Jesus said this is His blood which was shed for us. His blood is the only means of redemption we have.

Can you imagine the disciples’ reactions when Jesus declared that this was Him? I know my mind was blown when God first revealed this to me. There is just so much symbolizm in Passover that you have to attend one to see for yourself. It will certainly help you see how God’s plan of redemption is a thread thoughout every single book of the Bible.

Passover 2016

Open Door Ministries and Nesconset Christian Church is proud to announce our first event of 2016!

Please join us at Butera’s of Sayville on Wednesday, April 27th at 6pm for a Messianic presentation of the Passover Seder. This night will include dinner, traditional readings from the Messianic haggadah, live music, and a special message by Vincent DiBrico.

SPACE IS LIMITED! All reservations must be made no later than April 1st. The cost of this event is $35 per person, which includes everything. Please make your checks payable to Nesconset Christian Church. 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE. Or you can email or call us to hold your spot until payment is received. You can mail your check to the address below.

We look forward to another amazing night of fellowship with both new and familiar faces!

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CONTACT INFORMATION:

Vincent DiBrico

info@opendoorministriesli.org

631-748-0912

631-285-3901

373 FIr Grove Road

Ronkonkoma NY 11779

Baby Dedication

When our son, Matthew, turned one month old, we brought him to our church to be dedicated unto the Lord. Following is the message that Vinny shared before our pastor officiated a small ceremony.

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Matthew’s Pidyon Haben

Baby Dedication

Exodus chapter 12 is the story of Passover where we are told to never forget that the Lord brought forth the Children of Israel out of bondage by a mighty hand.

In the next chapter, the Lord speaks unto Moses and says Sanctify unto me all the first born whatsoever open the womb among the children of Israel, both of man or beast , it is mine And in verse 13 we read: all the first born of man among thy sons shall thou redeem.

In the Old Testament, the Levites were priests unto the Lord, and Aaron was given power over them as the kohen gadol, or high priest.  The Levites had to serve God from birth and were the only ones who could not be redeemed from service.

In Numbers chapter 3:11-12 The Lord has taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every first born that open the womb of the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine. For all the first born are mine on the day i smote all the  first born in the land of Egypt. Hallowed unto me all the first born in Israel both man and beast , mine they shall be . I am the the Lord.

A firstborn son of any tribe other than the Levites needs to be redeemed from service to God by paying five shekles of silver to the high priest.

In the New Testament we see that Mary and Joseph went and took Jesus eight days after he was born for his Brit Malah, or circumcision. When Jesus was 31 days old he was brought into the temple for his Pidyon Haben, also known as the Redeeming of the first born. We read in Luke chapter 2 &Every firstborn male that opens the womb shal be called holy to Adonai. So they offered a sacrifice according to what it said in the Torah.

It was at his Pidyon Haben that Simeon held Jesus in his hands, and as the holy spirit was talking to Simeon, he realized he was holding our Salvation in his hands.  

God provided for us a more perfect sacrifice through offering up his own son, using his blood upon the Holy Altar. For it is by his shedding of blood that we are forgiven. Leviticus 17:11 tells us for without the shedding of blood there is not remisssion of sins.

Mary and Joseph had paid 5 shekels to have Jesus redeemed, and in return Jesus paid with his own blood for us to be redeemed from our sins.

In the ceremony today, Jewish fathers place the child on a silver platter, dressed in jewels to represent royalty.  Garlic is placed around the child supposedly to ward off evil spirits. The child is presented to the rabbi and the father responds to ritual questions stating that this is the mother’s firstborn son and that he has come to redeem him as commanded in the Torah.  The rabbi asks which the father would rather have, the child or the five silver coins.

Seeing how neither Caryn or myself have come from the tribe of Levi we can perform this Pidyon Haben ceremony.  If Both Caryn and I were raised Jewish, this custom would relieve Matthew of his obligation to serve in the temple. But seeing how we are in a Messianic Ministry , and serve Jesus Messiah with all of our hearts, and follow in his ways and not our own, we shall pray for baby Matthew, along with all our kids, that they grow up to serve the Lord and be in service unto him.

In closing i would like to share this from 1st Peter 2: 9 says this But you are a chosen people a Royal priesthood, a Holy nation a people of God’s  own possesion , so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his Marvelous light. So we believers who have recieved Jesus into our lives are now a part of God’s family. We are Royalty.

What is the lulav and etrog?

lulav

The Lulav and Etrog are important elements of the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as Sukkot.

We read in Leviticus 23:40, “On the first day you are to take choice fruit of trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and rejoice before Adonai your God for seven days.” (TLV)

When you put these 4 plants together you then make 1 lulav. Now there is a citrus fruit that is also used, a citron which looks like a bumpy lemon with a protrusion on each end. Six branches are bound together, and the lulav is tied to it making one unit. You can say it makes one Lulav set.

We are to take the 4 plants and use them to rejoice before Adonai our God. We wave it east, south,west, north, up, and down, showing that we understand that God is everywhere. We shout “Hoshanah Rabbah–Please save us!” We then beat the willow branches into the ground at least 5 times shaking loose some if not all of the remaing leaves. It is said that this reason is actually agricultural. For the rainy season begins in the fall. The willow leaves falling from the branches is a symbol of our hope for rainfall.