Category Archives: Steven E. Daskal

Passover and the Church

By:

Steven Daskal

Christian Messianic Analysis and Apologetics

What’s Passover, and Why Matzoh?

Ex 6:2-8 — 2 God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.  I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.

6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’”  (NIV)

God brought Israel out of Egypt, as recounted in the Book of Exodus, the 2nd book of the Old Testament, which was written by Moses under God’s inspiration.  God sent Moses, His prophet, and Aaron, Moses’ brother, to confront Pharaoh and demand that the Jews be released to worship Him.  Pharaoh refused, despite Moses’ demonstrating miraculous signs.  God then directed Moses to call down ten plagues upon Egypt, the last of which was the Angel of Death collecting the first born of every living thing in Egypt.  Only those — Jews and any others in Egypt who were willing to follow God’s decrees — who followed a special procedure to make a “covering” — a kipporoth — over their homes would be spared.

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Significance of the Sabbath

By:

Steve Daskal & Joe Butta

 Ex 20:8-11

8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

God commanded that the Hebrew people keep the Sabbath, the seventh day of each week, as a day of holy rest and prayer.  This may seem matter-of-fact today, but the Hebrews may have been the first people to establish a regular Sabbath.  This is different than work cycles that were common in the ancient world.  This was not meant to be a day to leave your crops or your artisan’s shop and go into the market to buy and sell.  This was a day of prayer, rest, and time with family.

We tend to take Sabbath for granted, perhaps because there are 52 of them in most years, and thus we get a bit jaded, or forgetful, or perhaps even we think we’re too busy to remember the Sabbath.  But it is the ONLY one of God’s holy days the observance of which — remembering it and keeping it holy — makes the Ten Commandments.  As for Jewish people today about 80% are largely secularized if not totally non-observant of the Law of Moses. This is also true for most Christians.

How did God direct the Sabbath to be kept?  His direction began to be established while the Hebrews were in the desert, just after having crossed the Red Sea, and even before they reached Mount Sinai where Moses was to be given the Law.  In the first part of Exodus 16, we read that the LORD, that is Yahveh, I AM, gave the Israelites manna to gather daily and eat daily, except on the sixth day when he allotted a double portion.  Normally, manna would turn bad if kept more than a day, but “sixth day” manna would last for two days.  This was to enable the Sabbath to be kept.  Note that this was God’s provision — one had to trust Him literally day by day for one’s very food in the desolate wilderness of Sinai.  The manna was miraculously able to also provide against thirst despite the dryness of the environment.  It also tasted like wafers with honey… not bad stuff to live on!  Aaron retained some manna by God’s order, and this became the “showbread” associated with the Tabernacle and the (First) Temple.  But we digress…  the key here is that God commanded that the Israelites not even gather food on the Sabbath, but gather enough the day before to last two days.  To this day, Orthodox Jews do not shop on the Sabbath (which begins Friday at sunset and ends Saturday at dusk), nor do they cook — they eat and drink only that which was prepared prior to the Sabbath.

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Khanukah – The Feast of (Re-)Dedication

By

Steve Daskal & Joe Butta

Christian Messianic Analysis & Apologetics

Maybe you’ve heard of Khanukah.  Khanukah is commonly known as “the festival of lights,” but what it REALLY means is “The Dedication.” Khanukah is a holiday Jewish people celebrate every year. Here is a little more about this fun holiday.

Jewish people all around the world have celebrated Khanukah for over 2100 years. Unlike Yom Kippur, the “Shlosh Regalim,” or Purim, Khanukah is not a holiday Jews are commanded to celebrate in the Old Testament. In fact Khanukah itself isn’t even mentioned in the Old Testament, though the events leading up to it were prophesied by Daniel (11:19-45). The holiday was only mentioned once in the New Testament (John 10:22).  Khanukah celebrates a miraculous event that happened over 200 years after the last book of the Old Testament was written and about 160 years before Jesus was born.  In a very real sense, if Khanukah had never happened, Christmas would have been impossible. But most Jewish people don’t realize that Jesus is the Messiah, the Prince of the House of David, of the Root of Jesse, promised to them by God throughout the Old Testament.

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Why Having a Relationship with Jesus Matters

By

Joe Butta and Steve Daskal

Christian Messianic Analysis & Apologetics

Since childhood I was raised in a traditional faith.  I received instruction from parents, priests and nuns.  Being young there was no way to understand faith, God and truth other than how I was raised and taught. This usually required preparing for and then performing certain religious rituals like going to confession, attending Mass and taking communion, in order to avoid a mortal sin. Guilt and doubt always hung in the back of my mind. I feared I was never quite good enough — I could never be like the priests, nuns and saints. This meant spending significant time in purgatory was a real possibility. Although I cussed, slept with women when I was not married, watched dirty movies from time to time, got into occasional fights and got drunk, I never thought I was hell- bound, because I participated in my religion.

After one failed marriage I remarried outside of my denomination.  My parish priest could not even attend the ceremony because he told me he could get into trouble. Although my denomination did not consider this a marriage I certainly felt married to the woman I married! Thanks to my secular education, I thought that most everyone would get to heaven because although no one is perfect most of us are not that bad. My wife and I continued to attend church, continued to consider ourselves “good Christians,” but felt something was missing.  We were too busy to give much thought to what was missing.

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Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: Is This Any Way to Celebrate New Year?

By Steve Daskal

Christian Messianic Analysis and Apologetics

How do you celebrate the New Year?  Do you celebrate it on January 1st, Euro-American style?  Do you celebrate Lunar New Year when it falls around February, or do you celebrate both?

Jewish people generally recognize New Years twice.  This might get confusing.  First of all, most Jewish people in the West celebrate New Years on January 1st like Gentiles, even though on the Hebrew calendar, that’s just another day.  Then, most Jews recognize Rosh Hashanah, literally “Head of the Year,” as being the first day of the month of Tishrei, which usually falls in September or October of the modern Western or Gregorian calendar.  It is the 7th month of the year, like the Gregorian September.  The date wanders around because the Jews still use a lunar calendar as they did in Moses’ time (like many East Asian cultures and like the Muslims).  The 1st month of the Hebrew year is Nisan, the month dominated by Pesakh/Passover, the 1st month of the growing year in the Holy Land and the 1st month of the Biblical religious calendar.  You might say that is a third “new year!”

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ROME AND THE JEWISH RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP…SIN IS THE PROBLEM

By:

Joe Butta and Steve Daskal

Christian Messianic Analysis and Apologetics

Even after the unexpected conquest by the Romans and their establishment of the brutal Herodian monarchy, arguably the greatest distress was yet to come.  In the PAST, God warned His people through a prophet or sent a great judge or king to lead them out of the danger.  We do not have a direct Biblical account of the early years of the Roman occupation. What we know about that difficult period is based upon secular histories, archaeological evidence, and parenthetical comments in the Brit Hadashah [New Testament].  However, we still need to ask if God sent a prophet, judge, or leader to the Jews to lead them out of this dangerous time between 37 B.C. [when Herod was established as a tributary king under Rome] and the destruction of the second Jewish Temple and the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

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ESTABLISHMENT OF THE HASMONEAN DYNASTY…SIN IS THE PROBLEM

By:

Joe Butta &  Steve Daskal

Christian Messianic Analysis and Apologetics

From 333-323 B.C. Alexander’s Hellenistic [Greco-Macedonian] empire rose to defeat Persia [Daniel 8:1]. Alexander died young and four of his generals assumed leadership and divided his empire.  One of these founded what became known as the Seleucid dynasty. In 170 B.C. one of Seleucids, Antiochus Epiphanes IV, conquered Jerusalem and desecrated the Temple [Dan 8:11]. He wanted to impose Hellenistic paganism [including worship of himself] and eradicate Judaism as a challenge to his absolute authority. Antiochus gained support from many Jews, especially in the lowlands, but resistance gradually grew, especially in the more remote villages in the Judean hills.  From 166-160 B.C. a Levitical priest named Matathias and his son, Judah, known as Makkabee [Hammer] rose up to defeat Antiochus and save Judaism.  In doing so, Judah Makkabee established the Hasmonean dynasty.

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THE EXILES AND PROMISE OF PROPHETS…SIN IS THE PROBLEM

By:

Joe Butta & Steve Daskal

Christian Messianic Analysis and Apologetics

The Prophets Daniel, Ezekiel and Obadiah were all sent to the exiles in Babylon but a Persian King Cyrus was sent to defeat the Babylonians and permit the Jewish exiles to return to the Promised Land. During these years the Jewish exiles did learn from the past.  They stopped worshiping foreign gods.  God used several of the Persian Shah-en-Shah’s [King of kings], starting with Cyrus, paused under Xerxes I [Ahasuerus], renewed under Darius and Artaxerxes I, to provide protection to the Jewish people and encouragement for them to return to the Promised Land, rebuild Jerusalem, and re-build and restore worship to God Almighty in His Temple.  This was a fulfillment of God’s promises through the prophets that the exile would extend roughly seventy years, and that during that time, the Jewish people were to submit to their new rulers [first the oppressive Babylonians, and then the more tolerant Persians and Medes], serving them loyally, sowing crops and building homes.  During that time they would learn to set aside their idolatries and recommit themselves to the LORD Almighty, the God of the Patriarchs, the God who spoke to them through the smoking cloud over Sinai.

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Strategically Sharing Christ

By

Steve Daskal & Joe Butta

Christian Messianic Analysis and Apologetics

The following broad strategy for reconnecting active Christian evangelism with Christian charity within and beyond the church came to Steve Daskal while in prayer on a very different subject. We’ll share it to provide a seed for future thought by other believers on the subject. Thank you for your consideration.

 

Premises:

  1. Over a century of Marxism-inspired, humanist-materialist [a.k.a. Progressive] indoctrination through academia, media, and State-run schools have resulted in a broad acceptance of class- and/or race- based envy and resentment, using an euphemism as “social justice.” This is especially true in the secular world, but sadly even to some degree within the church. Efforts by the better off to care for the less well off are viewed primarily as guilt-driven recognition of “what is due,” rather than a demonstration of care or love — especially if the sharing is primarily material without a direct personal connection. Such charity is viewed as insufficient, implies the assistance is given as assistance rather than compensation for past injustices, and is treated as an inadequate supplement to State-mandated enforced giving.

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Has Anyone Seen the Face of God?

Christian Messianic Analysis and Apologetics

By: Steve Daskal and Joe Butta

No mortal human being has ever seen the Face of God — that is, God the Father.  Moses never saw God’s actual “face” — no man has except the God-Man, Yeshua/Jesus.

The emphasis in Exodus 33:11 is not on the “face-to-face” aspect, but on the last phrase, “as a man speaks to a friend,” [as translated in the NKJV, NIV84, & NASB].  One can speak to a friend “face-to-face” in the sense of speaking to them in person, relationally, but not look each other in the face [think of two people working on a project side-by-side, which in a sense is what God was doing by including Moses in His redemptive work and in creating the foundation for the nation of Israel].  This is what the QUEST Study Bible notes say — verse 11 is emphasizing that Moses, like Abraham before him and David who came after him, had a personal relationship with God.  Charles Ryrie and John MacArthur note that Moses never saw God’s actual “face” — no man has except the God-Man, Yeshua/Jesus.

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