Taking it seriously ……..

by Peter Sammons

Some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” And He said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign, but a sign will not be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as ‘Jonah was in the belly of the monster three days and three nights’ so also the Son of Man will be in the heart of the Earth three days and three nights. Ninevite men will rise in judgment with this generation and they will condemn it, since they repented because of the preaching by Jonah and behold One greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the Earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold One greater than Solomon is here.”

(Matthew 12: 38 – 42)

When Jesus was in the middle of His ministry, by which time His name was a household name and He was famous for His miraculous powers and righteous teaching, there was a demand issued by the Scribes and Pharisees (although note carefully that the text above says some of the Scribes and Pharisees) for a “sign” to “prove” His credentials. Plainly at this time in Jesus’ ministry many were openly asking the question, is this the promised Messiah? The tragedy of the Pharisees’ demand was, of course, that Jesus had previously given many signs, even (it would appear) shortly before this impertinent demand was issued, and much to the amazement of onlookers, when Jesus healed a blind-mute who also “had a demon”. (Matthew 12: 22-32). What was the reaction of the religious authorities to this wonderful healing? They attributed it to the devil; effectively saying that Jesus had healed by Satan’s power and that Jesus was in league with the devil. These religious authorities had seen holiness and righteousness at work, yet had rejected it in the most caustic terms. Was this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:22–30 and Matthew 12:22–32) and if so a committing of the unpardonable sin?

In response to the Pharisaical demand, Yeshua gave a simple answer. The ONLY sign that a sinful generation would receive, would be the sign of Jonah. It does seem to this writer that the biblical account of Jonah in the Bible is given short-shrift by most exegetes. To this doubting modern age the “story” of a man in the belly of a fish seems fanciful and most exegetes and preachers seem to think that Bible readers are supposed to ‘discern’ some spiritual lesson from the text. The ‘lesson’ associated with Jonah is generally said to be something along the lines that “God loves sinners and wasn’t Jonah naughty in refusing to honour God’s demand to preach repentance”? It is almost as if we are being told to consider the “story” of Jonah to be apocryphal or metaphorical, and one that we are supposed to see beyond. Yet in the light of our book looking at the three days and three nights question, and of Yeshua’s specific response in Matthew chapter 12, can we seriously say this is the way in which Yeshua viewed the account of Jonah? Remember, the Pharisees had asked a thoroughly impertinent and disbelieving question and Jesus said that ONLY one sign would be given, and that would be the sign of Jonah. There is a clear need for us, then, to understand what is the real meaning of Jonah, and also to determine whether Jesus allegorized the “story”.

Yes, it's that time again! For the fifth year in a row we are launching a CROWDFUNDER to help publish Steve's latest book. WIthout your help, Hebraic ChurchLivin' the LifeInto the Lion's Den and Shalom could never have been published! For those of you who helped with these books, you will know the impact they have made (and can still potentially make) to the Church. Shalom, in particular, has had immense critical praise.

In 2016 I plan to publish two books and four booklets, the biggest total for any year so far. Unfortunately this co-incides with the ending of my freelance work that had hitherto financed all of my ministry activities (including this website and the book publishing). In the light of the 17 books that have been published since 2003 I am asking my readers, who I am told have mostly been greatly blessed by my books, to help finance this enterprise by pre-ordering the books.

STOP PRESS - Still another 3 crowdfunders needed (16/2/19)

My last five books, including INTO THE LION'S DEN have been financed this way and there is no way these books could have been published without the help from those people who have helped me again and again :-)

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Why is the Davidic covenant so neglected … and so important?

What are the most important texts in the Bible? As all the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we should not seek to elevate one above another. However, there are pivotal points in the narrative of the Bible that we need to be familiar with, if we are to understand the sweep of Biblical and world history.

In France, which is experiencing another surge of anti-Jewish attacks, the lower house of parliament has approved a draft resolution that calls hatred of Israel a form of antisemitism.

In Britain, after the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, made an unprecedented intervention into the general election campaign warning that “a new poison” of antisemitism “sanctioned from the top” had “taken root in the Labour Party,” support for Labour actually increased. In four out of five opinion polls taken over the following few days, the party’s rating rose by between two and five points.

Last week, two people were murdered and three others wounded in an Islamic terrorist attack in London. And over the past two weeks, there were four attacks on Jews in the streets of London.

These things are all linked.

The Chief Rabbi was right to say what he said because Jews have a duty to tell unpalatable truths and sound a cultural warning.

Yet it is a dismal fact that drawing attention to antisemitism these days tends to produce even more of it. Triggering the widespread resentment and guilt complex over the Jews’ perceived status as history’s supreme victims, it provokes yet more hostility.

(By Melanie Phillips) Many people are understandably baffled by the recent UN vote condemning President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Since such a vote has zero practical effect, they ask, what was the point of it?

Well indeed. As the American ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in her barnstorming response, America will still be moving its embassy to Jerusalem regardless of the UN’s opinion.

The resolution didn’t need to have any practical import. It was merely part of the UN’s theatre of hatred, the malevolent campaign it has waged for decades against Israel and Israel alone as a result of the preponderance of tyrannies, dictatorships, kleptocracies and genocidal antisemitic regimes that make up what’s called called the UN’s “non-aligned block” and which are united in their desire that Israel should be wiped off the map.

So egregious is this hypocrisy in singling out Israel, the sole democracy and upholder of human rights in the region while ignoring the brutal and murderous record of those tyrannies, dictatorships, kleptocracies and genocidal antisemitic regimes, that even a CNN correspondent has been moved to call this out. Jake Tapper tweeted: “Among the 128 countries that voted in favor of the UN resolution condemning the US decision to move the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem were “some countries with some rather questionable records of their own”.

You don’t say. The shocking thing is that so many democratic nations voted alongside these tyrannies: nations such as Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, most disappointingly India and, most sickening (to me, anyway), the UK. ...

By Melanie Phillips

A great deal has been written about the hysterical reaction to President Donald Trump. But what would these over-the-top protesters do if Trump proved to be a success? Would they admit they had been wrong?

A few days ago, I put this to someone in London. He looked at me in absolute horror. The question had simply never occurred to him. “He can’t possibly be a success,” he said in astonishment. “I agree he may become popular, which would be a nightmare for me. But no way is he not going to fail.”

You get a similar reaction amongst many deeply opposed to Brexit. Asked what they’ll do if it turns out to be a success they flatly reply that it’s simply impossible.

Well, these are truly remarkable powers of prophecy. All the more so since all predictions over Brexit and Trump have so far been proved wrong. 

The call to bridal preparation. That’s you and me, folks. Will we be ready?

On 29th August this year I received a very special e-mail.   I was out in Jerusalem at the time.  The e-mail contained the question, “Will you marry me?” Immediately I clicked ‘reply’ and wrote the words, “Yes, I will!” I believe that the Lord is putting out His call to us, His sons and daughters,“Will you be ready to marry me?  Will you prepare yourself for when I come?” What is our reply going to be?.   

Are we being fed … or entertained?

“I so love the way he speaks, don't you!” As soon as I hear a recording of Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones' preaching, I am drawn to it as a moth to a bright lamp. The Doctor holds me fascinated as he proclaims God's Word in ringing tones that are unmistakable. His vocabulary range, his enunciation, that Welsh intonation … although long dead, he speaks through the years with an authority that appeals to me enormously! I love it!

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