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Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes

Two notes. Two notes in a symphony ended one era and began another. The first two notes of Beethoven’s third symphony marked the end of the Classical period of music and began another—the Romantic; a highly formalized art form gave way to one rooted in emotional expression.

That’s how revolutions begin: a student dreams of changing history; a composer is hammering at his piano in a hidden room; a single gunshot ignites a battlefield. In 1880, when Edison got the first contract to electrify homes in New York City, he hadn’t yet solved the problem of the light bulb—and then he also had to invent the whole system of generating and delivering electricity to homes and streets. Two years later, in September 1882, they turned his system on at 3 in the afternoon. Within a few hours, the city watched as darkness fell and never came, pushed back with a steady, unblinking light unlike any that had come before.

Today, it’s hard to recognize when such a transformational event takes place anymore…

Entebbe: Thirty Five Years Later

“My life and death belong to me,” Yoni Netanyahu once told his younger brother, Benyamin, during an argument. Their unit was assigned to an operation and Yoni argued that he should take part—despite strict orders prohibiting brothers from joining in the same dangerous mission. Yoni lost that fight; it didn’t happen often.

As a rule, Lt. Col. Jonathan (Yoni) Netanyahu did not yield authority easily. Although we don't know how he might have deferred to a brother who became Israeli Prime Minister—twice. Not that Yoni lacked authority or power. He rose to command Sayeret Matkal, the elite corps of the Israeli army. And his death, which he contemplated with the same cool frankness that he used to measure any other enemy, gave his life a resonance that has been a touchstone for a generation.

Netanyahu might have remained unknown to the world. The crisis that vaulted him to fame was not unusual for its time. On June 27, 1976, an Air France jetliner on its way to Israel had been commande…

When Did the Church Stop Being Jewish?

When and how did the church lose its original identity as a Jewish religious sect? This is a question that attracts more and more attention from Christians, but the answers are often wrong or misleading. The essential question is this: what happened to the Jewish followers of Jesus and their congregations? They wrote almost all the books of the New Testament (except for Luke/Acts); they planted all the first congregations. Where did they go and why did they disappear?

Recently, a pastor who is a friend of mine sent me this quote. One of his elders had used it during a Bible study in order to explain why the Jewish followers of Jesus faded out of Church history:

“Although persecuted by the Jews (I Thess. ii, 14) the Christians in Palestine long remained a group within Judaism. But the break became inevitable. A sentence in Suetonius' Life of Claudius could mean that as early as 50 AD rioting between Jews and Christians had broken out in Rome. In Judea the Jewish Christians kept …

The Stuxnet Virus—A Hidden Battle for the Future of Israel

(The information below is largely based on an article that appeared beginning on page one of the Sunday New York Times, Jan. 16, 2011.)

Background

In the 1970’s, the Dutch were working on a new machine to enrich uranium. A Pakistani metallurgist working on the project, Dr. A.Q. Khan, stole the design and returned home to build his country’s first generation of uranium centrifuges which led to their development of an atomic bomb. Afterwards, Khan sold similar technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Iran’s development of a nuclear program has been in the works for at least a decade, but came under new pressures with the rise of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elected president in June 2005. He has, of course, repeatedly voiced his determination to destroy Israel and even suggested he’s a divine instrument for that purpose. No threat is more intimidating to Israel than Iran’s attempt to build a nuclear arsenal under the direction of this ruthless, single-minded fanatic.

Repeated attempts to rest…

Yeshua and the Torah: Lord of the Sabbath

Want to know how to become wealthy? Don’t win the lottery. A surprising number of lottery winners squander their wealth away. Here are a few of their stories.

Michael Carroll, an unemployed 26-year-old Brit lost a £9.7 million jackpot he won in 2002 (about $15 million) and hopes to get his old job back as a garbageman. At first, Carroll lavished gifts on friends and family, but soon started spending on himself. "The party has ended," he recently told the UK Daily Mail, "That's the way I like it. I find it easier to live off £42 dole than a million."

After winning $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988, William 'Bud' Post might have had it made. He died in 2006 living on a $450 monthly disability check. "His problems," said The Washington Post, "included...a brother who tried to hire someone to kill him and his sixth wife and a conviction after Post fired a shotgun on a debt collector."

Evelyn Adams of New Jersey won the s…

Is There An Unforgiveable Sin?

One of the manliest men I’ve ever known was the late Joe Flanagan, the father of a dear friend. Handsome, competent and a successful businessman, he had been a bomber pilot in WW2.

But Joe had a particular pain which grew deeper as he grew older: during a night bombing run, he had placed his bombs as he was ordered and after returning to base learned that a terrible mistake had been made. He and his squadron had killed Allied soldiers. The events left him humbled and heartbroken.

There's a term used when troops kills their own. It's called "friendly fire," a tragic, but common horror of war. Sadly, it often matches the way that believers treat each other. Or worse, it may be how we treat ourselves.

Some people are nursing deep, hidden feelings of guilt or condemnation. What began with the response of a healthy conscience has deteriorated into self-accusation--"friendly fire." And many people who don't know what the Bible teaches about sin and guilt h…

Rev. Dr. Edward D. Brotsky (1918-2010): A Tribute

An era has ended. Edward Daniel Brotsky, a leading Messianic Jewish teacher, pastor, mentor and visionary is in the presence his Lord.

Ed Brotsky always seemed like a man out of his time. When I first met him over thirty-three years ago, he already looked out of date to my young eyes: a staid gentleman from a more conventional era. No one called him a pioneer or visionary. We didn’t know how much he had sacrificed to lay the foundations of the new Messianic Jewish movement.

A vigorous seeker after truth from a young age, Ed was born in Montreal and raised by Orthodox Jewish immigrant parents from the Ukraine. The family then moved to Windsor where his father worked on the Ambassador Bridge until an injury sent them them to Toronto for his rehabilitation.

Barely out of his teens, Ed’s search for answers to life’s larger questions finally led him to a week-long lecture series at a theatre in the north end of Toronto. The meetings featured Dr. Holzer, a Jewish believer from Seattle wh…