EVENING SUNSET ASSEMBLYORDER OF SERVICE1. Meditation: O Holy Night & Nativity Video
2. Worship song: Hark the Herald Angels Sing
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, amalak (angel) of Yahweh stood before them, and the glory of Yahweh shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the malak (angel) said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great simcha (joy) which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Messiah the Master (Christ the Lord). And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the malak (angel) a multitude of the heavenly host praising Elohim (God) and saying:
‘Glory to Elohim (God) in the highest,
And on earth shalom (peace), goodwill toward men!’
“So it was, when the malakim (angels) had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which Yahweh has made known to us.’ And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising Elohim (God) for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them”
- (Luke 2:1-20, NKJV).
IntroductionChag sameach Rosh Chodesah kol beit Yisra’el and Mishpachah and a Blessed New Year to everyone! This is the first day of the biblical month of Aviv (not the pagan Babylonian ‘Nisan’) or ‘Month of Blossoms‘ in the Promised Land, the first month of the year, and today we leave the old behind and we start afresh. Though it is still freezing cold outside here in Sweden (we were down to -14°C again last night a) the bright sunshine is a reminder to us that spring is on the way, at least for us in extreme northern climes. I know spring has begun for many of our readers and of course for those in tropical climates it’s much the same us usual. And as for our brethren and sisters in the southern hemisphere, I realise everything may seem a little upside down for you season-wise as in South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Australia and New Zealand you are getting ready for autumn (fall)!
Celebrating the Birth of MessiahToday we are breaking with our tradition of having a morning assembly, though last year we did have two services, and are gathering after sunset. That is because my family is celebrating the Birth of Messiah today. To be perfectly clear, this is not a divine moed or appointment of the Messianic Community (Church), as we are nowhere commanded to celebrate the birth of Yah’shua (Jesus), but is rather something my family does and maybe one or two others.
Why We Don’t Observe the Nativity at PassoverOne of the brethren asked me the other day why we don’t celebrate this in fourteen days’ time, for as many of you know, we believe that Yah’shua (Jesus) was born at Pesach (Passover). The reason for that is twofold:
- 1. We don’t want to use a day which has been specifically set-apart by Yahweh to honour the death of Yah’shua (Jesus), the Passover Lamb, by combining it with something which is not commanded; and
- 2. Although the symbolism of the birth and death occurring at the same time in the year is certainly poignant and symbolically signficant, representing an interesting divine tavnith or pattern (about which I have spoken before but don’t have time to go into today), the birth does not fit into the message represented by the sequence of the seven annual festivals.
Not Born in the AutumnAs many of you also know, at least one ministry under the leadership of the well-known American Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn actually believe and teach that Aviv1 was the actual day of Yah’shua’s (Jesus’) birth and even though Messianic Evangelicals believe He was born at Pesach (Passover), we absolutely do not believe He was conceived at the false feast of Hanukkah and born at Sukkot (Tabernacles), or one of the other autumnal moedim (appoitments), for reasons I’ll not go into today.
Why We Celebrate the Nativity at Aviv 1So in my family observing the Nativity today we are not proclaiming that this was the exact day two millennia ago that Messiah was born. What we are doing is acknowledging that it was a spring birth – in the lambing season – and we are combining the two spiritual motifs together. As this is the beginning of a New Year, so this is a wonderful opportunity for a spiritual ‘spring-clean’ by re-affirming the day when we were given a New Beginning through Yah’shua (Jesus) our Sovereign. Yah’shua’s (Jesus’) birth into this world represented the imminent hope of everyone – past, present, and future – of new chayim (life) following the atonement and resurrection-to-come. This is therefore a day to be thankful. It is the Day of Blossoms, of hope rekindled.
So Many Things UndoneIt is usual at Rosh Chodesh for the nevi’im (prophets) to give a davar (word) to the people so that is what I must first do this evening though normally I would have done this in the morning. With worsening health and looming bankruptcy, not to mention the limitations imposed by advancing age, and with so many things still undone, relationships to be repaired, family still ungathered, raising children to maturity, and the necessity of discipling and prepping the Last generation for their enormous task ahead, I will admit this has been a really tough period for me personally with not a few dark times that the Enemy has sought to exploit with relish. And I know some of you are likewise struggling. My emunah (faith) has been stretched and at times it has been really hard to keep going. And I think my greatest fear has been to be called home with my work unfinished, which it most definitely still is. Having devoted over 30 years to the ministry and not seeing it arrive at anywhere near the destination I had hoped for, this perhaps has been one of my greatest challenges. And I don’t doubt that some of our older members have wondered too.
The Rosh Chodesh MessageUntil yesterday, Yahweh had not spoken to me on this subject. Actually, it was at the end of supper last night when as a family we have a short devotional and prayer around the dining room table. We use a booklet produced by another ministry so nothing is prepared by me. It’s title was, What Simon Said, and the Scripture extract read, “Because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Lk.5:5, NIV). The Scripture literally struck me between the eyes because it was a direct response to what I had been asking about for so long. Let me read the whole passage to you from John’s Gospel:
“Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We are going with you also.’ They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Yah’shua (Jesus) stood on the shore; yet the talmidim (disciples) did not know that it was Yah’shua (Jesus). Then Yah’shua (Jesus) said to them, ‘Children, have you any food?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’ And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish“ (John 21:3-6, NKJV).
So that, brethren and sisters, was Yahweh’s Rosh Chodesh message to me and to all of us in this ministry. Cryatal clear. We’re going to cast our nets out again – where Yahweh tells us, on the metarphorical “right side of the boat” – and we are going to see Brother Herman Rustad’s prophetic dream of 17 November 1998 come to pass because the Davar Elohim (Word of God) never returns to Him void (Is.55:11)! Let me read this to you in his own words:
“I am standing on the beach of a lake with several others behind me. Without anything telling me to, or any apparent reason, I suddenly shout to people on the other side of the lake: “Lots of fish, come and help us!” Even if I can’t see anything, there is great rejoicing on the other beach. People run to prepare themselves. I shout, “Hurry!” They start running into the water which is very shallow between me and the other beach. It is about twelve inches deep. I was afraid this would drive the fish in the wrong direction.
“Suddenly I shout to them, explaining: “There is a net in the water which is keeping the fish in the cove”. At the same time a net, without help from anybody, rises up by itself several meters above the water. The net is standing in thin air and is keeping the fish in the cove between me and my unknown friends across the water. The net is held up and steered by invisible hands.
“Next to the net there are several boats. I cannot tell who are in them because I can only make them out as dark shadows. Then, while I see the net standing in the shallow water, I notice that the people from the other beach are running in the right direction — towards the most shallow part of the water, and at the same time I can see several shoals of many hundreds of fish, heading in to the cove. The water is crystal clear, but the bottom is dark and muddy. (This kind of evenly coloured greyish brown, muddy ground is typical of lakes that are shallow a long way out — when you step on it your feet sink into the mud).
“By a little bonfire on my beach, there are some transparent glasy/silver-pure, apparently living fish that are surrounded by a heavenly light from above, which is focused only on the fishes and the bonfire. Strangely enough, the fishes seem to thrive perfectly. (I cannot describe these fishes in any other way than as heavenly). Standing there on the beach by the bonfire, they look like small statues made from transparent glass with silvery patterns. These fishes are actually talking to each other, and are apparently the fishes first caught in from this enormous catch and are telling me how wonderful this catch is.
“Where the fish, the net, the boats, the bonfire and the fishes on the beach are coming from, I don’t know — it seems like if everything is coming from nowhere out of the darkness. The hills and the wood around me, and even the beach I am standing on, is in complete darkness, as in the middle of the night, with a black sky, but the shallow cove where all of this is taking place is nevertheless bright as in the middle of the day. It is obviously a sudden event and it is happening fast! The dream ends as I see the fish closed off in the shallow cove, but still in the water. — Praise the master Yah’shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Amen.”
The Necessity of Darkness for Evangelism to ThriveI have often wondered why Brother Herman received this so long ago and why this has not been fulfilled yet but consider, the context of this harvest was a time of great darkness. We thought the darkness was dark 20 years ago but consider the darkness now! Sometimes people are not ready until there is a great contrast, with the evil of the world making the emet (truth) the more visible. The imminent Judgment provide that sharp contrast.
The Patience and Faith of AbrahamSometimes we must wait a long time for Yahweh’s plans to unfold, and sometimes in apparent inactivity. A brother was sharing his frustration with me the other day because no one wanted to hear his message! I totally understand. But, chaverim, if we cannot have the emunah (faith) and patience of Abraham, who had to wait until old age before Yahweh fulfilled His promise to him to have a son who would be the Messianic Seed, then we have no business calling ourselves believers, for as Paul reminded the Galatians:
“Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham” (Gal.3:7, NIV).
So Many Have Wandered or Run AwayI don’t know how many impatient and faithless souls have abandoned this work over the years because things didn’t happen when or in the way they wanted. The Kingdom is not for doubters and quitters. And how many centuries did the descendants of Abraham have to wait until the Messiah was born at Bethlehem? And even then, they were nearly all of them expecting the wrong kind of ‘messiah’. They wanted a military man like the Judges of old, not a Saviour hanging on a cross.
Learning to Wait Patiently Like Simeon and Anna.So here we are, waiting, praying, hoping, like Anna the agèd prophetess of the tribe of Asher, and Simeon who prophesied over the infant messiah, to see the salvation of Israel before they died. Anna’s husband had already passed on. She was 84! Yet there she was, worshipping in the temple every day and every night, fasting and praying, ever watchful. And then one day there He was, in the arms of Mary, in the Temple where they had been waiting for so, so long, probably wondering if they would live long enough. You all know the simcha (joy) that was their’s when suddenly the Saviour was there in front of them. Thereafter Anna bore witness to everyone who would listen (Lk.2:22-39). That is the same attitude we must have to, worshipping Yahweh 25/7 in our temple, our flesh, fasting and praying, until He chooses to reveal Himself or appoint us to our tasks. But who will wait so prayerfully and patiently? Most will not because they are infected by the spirit of instant gratification, the spirit of the age. Waiting is probably one of the hardest disciplines of the Gospel life, harder in some ways, than persecution. Blessed are those who endure both without losing their tiqveh (hope), emunah (faith), shalom (peace), ahavah(love) and simcha (joy) in Messiah.
The Messianic Movement’s LossI think one of the great tragedies of the messianic movement is the loss of any formal observance of the nativity of Messiah. It’s so pivotal to the Besorah (Gospel) because it is the story of incarnation, the story of how Elohim (God) became a human being, the one-and-only ‘man-God’, the uniquely, only-begotten Son of the Father and the Ruach (Spirit) (Jn.1:14,18; 3:16,18; Heb.11:17; 1 Jn.4:9).
Messianic Heresies and the IncarnationAnd it saddens me that there are so many heretical messianic groups who deny the incarnation and therefore the deity of Messiah. They are not true believers and their leaders are taking their followers down to hell with them. It isn’t long before they start denying Paul was a true apostle with many of them taking the fateful step of rejecting the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) altogether and either becoming unsaved Talmudic Jews or atheists. Woe unto them! You cannot be saved and deny that Yah’shua (Jesus) is Elohim (God)! So this story is so terribly important in so many ways and a reason I feel passionately about restoring and incorporating it into our New Year observance at Aviv 1. The story must be told and retold every year! In that respect orthodox believers have been faithful even if they have destroyed so much by incorporating pagan elements and observing the nativity on a wicked man’s birthday – ther antichrist Nimrod!
The 1914 Christmas TruceI want to end today by sharing with you a true story that has been made into a movie. It happened in 1914 on the Western Front at the beginning of the First World War. This was, as I have said so many times, a pointless, fratricidal war that should never have happened. Its consequences were fatal for European civilisation and the world because so many lost their faith after the carnage was over. The Second World War, which followed only 21 years later, drove the nail into the coffin of Christian Europe, both wars having been deliberately planned by the élites to destroy Christianity in the West. They have largely succeeded – today we have been left with the disaster that is cultural Marxism and post-modernism instead – but they have not finished which is why they are determined to have – and will have – a Third World War in our day. They want Elohim (God) gone from the planet because they are evil satanists. And they will get their ‘New World Order’ for seven terrible years until Messiah returns and destroys them completely.
Frabz Gruber and Joseph MohrThe movie clip you are going to see contains images which you will readily identify with the pagan Christmas like tinsel and Christmas trees. Try to ignore them. The important thing is what was in the hearts of the people involved in this incident which brought the insane war to a halt for one day to the fury of the higher ranks of the officer classes some of whom were no doubt Illuminati or otherwise blinded by what was happening. What you will see here is what the nativity is all about – peace, and good will to all men and women. The background music is Franz Gruber’s famous carol, Stille Nacht or Holy Night was we know it in English, written in 1818 to the lyrics of Joseph Mohr from Oberndorf near Salzburg in Austria. Franz Gruber (see right) was also Austrian, a primary school teacher and church organist from Arnsdorf in Upper Austria. He composed the melody three years after the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte and the bloody wars that he forced on Europe. It is one of the most beautiful pieves of music ever written, second only in my book to O Holy Night, composed by the Fenchman Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem Minuit, chrétiens (Midnight, Christians) written by a wine merchant and poet, Placide Cappeau (1808–1877) which we listened to in the introduction. I rate these as the two most beautiful pieces ever written. You’ll see the poignancy of this as we watch this clip.
Peace Between the NationsTo me, that says it all. Only Yah’shua (Jesus) can bring healing and peace between the nations. The only hope for the nations is submitting to Yah’shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). His birth says it all. It is the quintessential picture of the spirit and heart of true Christianity and Messianism – the innocense and purity of a small child who grows to become a Saviour of mankind and a conqueror of death on a cross. Satan is the opposite – filthy, defiled, dark and the author of deatha and destruction. That incident in the trenches of 1914 paints the contrast in vivid detail. The war should have – could have – ended there. That is why we hate war and oppose it and all those who wage it save in defence of their families and homes against an evil aggressor. And there were no evil aggressors in the First World War. That was mere propaganda.
Ordinary People Do Not Want WarAnd that’s the point. Ordinary Germans, Frenchmen, British, Austrians, Hungarians, Russians, Romanians, Bulgarians, Greeks and all the other combattants did not want this war. They soon saw how evil and pointless it was, just like the Second World War. Out of such chaos and ruin revolutions are born offering a false route to salvation. Communism was born out of the First World War in Russia and out of the Second has arisen its sponsor, Satanism. That’s where we are today.
ConclusionAnd that’s why the world needs Yah’shua (Jesus) – desperately – because all other ‘saviours’ are false. We start our New Year in spring – in the lambing season – with the baby Yah’shua (Jesus) to remember our own beginnings, and the meaning of the Besorah (Gospel). This is where we stand or fall. May the nativity be your inspiration for the year ahead is my prayer in Yah’shua’s (Jesus) Name. Amen.
6. Concluding Song: Joy to the World
7. Closing Prayer
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