As autumn approaches, there is a delightful crispness in the air that whispers secrets of miracles to come. It’s a time when God’s Word comes to life through an extraordinary season of Jewish holidays, festivals, and traditions. Referred to as The Days of Awe (don’t you love that description?) this ten-day period begins with the celebration of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) followed by Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one of the holiest days of the year. The traditions associated with the Days of Awe go back to the sixth century B.C.E., and yet they remain central in our lives today.
Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” With that in mind, only when we come to understand and embrace where our faith, customs, and traditions originated, can we walk in the full glory of God’s promises and blessings for the future.
Our goal in this—and every issue of Kaleidoscope is to shine the light of truth on God’s promises. To provide tools that will enrich your life and spark a desire to dig deeper into the Bible and learn more about Jesus/Yeshua in His authentic Jewish context.
We typically see Yeshua as a western man who preached in home churches, not as a Jewish believer who went to Temple and observed Jewish holidays, feasts, and age-old traditions. Sadly, this disconnect has kept us distanced from developing a close relationship with the Lord. When we care about someone, we do our best to get to know them, right? We make an intentional effort to learn all we can about them, from where they were born to how they were raised. What makes them laugh or cry? What is their purpose in life—their calling? What can we do (or not do) to strengthen the relationship so that it will grow and withstand the tests of time? We want to know as much as possible about those we love. Amazing things happen when this desire for intimacy is nurtured in our relationship with the Lord—a relationship that will shape all other relationships in our life.
And the best way to develop this relationship is to get to know Yeshua in His original Hebrew—Jewish context. Through reading and studying God’s Word.
For many of us, reading the Bible within the historical context in which it was written isn’t something we tend to do (at least not naturally). Sure, we might know generalities surrounding the origin of the text, yet there is so much more to what this divine Book contains. When we take into account the framework in which the text was written, something miraculous happens. Instead of just reading Scripture to help us gain strength, find hope, and grow closer to God (which are all valuable motives,) we find ourselves connecting to Jesus/Yeshua and His teachings in an extraordinary way.
In our last issue of Kaleidoscope, my “Focus” letter looked at perspective as it pertained to interpreting the Bible and walking in faith. And our Precious Gems article addressed the topic of The Birth of Christian Denominations. In this month’s Precious Gems article, I hope to shed light on one of the most critical reasons we don’t always dig deeper into God’s Word or question the viability of age-old (and often antiquated) interpretations of the text—and that is, quite simply, there is a force far greater than us that wants to keep us in the dark. A power whose sole purpose is to distort, deceive, and misrepresent the truth in any way possible—and that force is Satan—the king of counterfeit, in many circles known as the angel of darkness.
The differences between light and dark can be described literally, figuratively, and yes, even spiritually. Darkness and light can be idioms for good and evil, generous and selfish, happy and sad, and so on. In this issue of Kaleidoscope, we are looking at the juxtaposition of dark and light as it pertains to truth versus lies, specifically, how Satan’s lies have distorted God’s truth. Our modern culture is rife with counterfeit truths that over time, have woven themselves into the fabric of our faith. As such, it’s difficult to distinguish these lies from truth without delving deeper into the historical, cultural, and biblical influences that shaped our faith.
It’s hard to believe that many of our traditions and customs are steeped in pagan rituals, Greek mythology, and yes, in Satan’s intentional plan to disguise lies as truth. In this month’s Precious Gems article, we’re going to look at several specific periods of time that had a profound effect on Christianity—particularly as they relate to our understanding of the Holy Trinity. I’m going to expose Satan’s lies—his counterfeit truth—from the Garden of Eden to Jesus’ life, and from St. Paul’s quest to bring Jesus’ story to the masses, to the Roman Emperor Constantine’s edict that declared Christianity (Catholicism) as the one-world religion. It’s impossible to distill into one article the timeline of Jewish history from the Age of the Patriarchs to the present day. After all, we’re talking about over 4,000 years. However, my prayer is that in reading Satan’s Counterfeit – The Unholy Trinity, you will come to a greater understanding of how we have arrived where we are today.
With every issue of Kaleidoscope, we also feature three distinguished columnists, each with a unique perspective on faith. These gifted individuals share insight and inspiration that I pray will speak to your heart and resonate in your spirit. A respected teacher, preacher, and Hebrew Scholar, Dr. Bron Barkley shares deep theological insight and biblical truth in his Word-Up column. In his Colors of Sound column, renowned singer Jonathan Settel brings his perspective as a Messianic Jewish believer to inspiring stories of faith. And as a bestselling inspirational author, Allison Bottke’s Bridges and Boundaries column addresses the topic of spiritual growth as it pertains to setting healthy boundaries in challenging relationships.
Additionally, you’ll want to check out this month’s Featured Ministry, Book, Hebrew Idiom, and Recipe, as well as information on upcoming Classes and Events.
Thank you once again for being a valuable part of our growing family of readers. On behalf of our entire Kaleidoscope team, I wish you a joyful new year that is full of light and overflowing in blessings. Shanah Tovah (Happy New Year).