Friday, July 31, 2020


HEBREW GOSPEL PEARLS #5 — Don’t Miss this Important Teaching!

I have been passing on to you the links to each episode of Hebrew Gospel Pearls as they are produced, and they are all excellent; but the latest episode is definitely the best yet. Watch the video or listen to it as a podcast, but do not miss it!

Hebrew Gospel Pearls #5 is a study of Matthew chapter 2, verses 16-23. World renown Scripture scholar Nehemia Gordon and Pastor Keith Johnson discuss the symbolism of the lamb in Jewish sources, and the parallels between Pharaoh and Herod, among other important topics.

As Christians we often speak of Jesus, (Hebrew: Yeshua) as the Lamb of God, but because we have been tragically separated from the Jewish roots of our Messianic faith for so long our understanding of the lamb symbolism is very limited, giving us an incomplete and shallow understanding of this important Biblical motif.

The lamb symbolism was well known in Judaism and did not originate with John the Baptist (John the Immerser) pointing to Yeshua and saying, “Behold the Lamb of God.” The lamb symbolism goes back to Moses our Teacher and the Exodus from Egypt. Yeshua is the Prophet like Moses whose coming was promised (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19). With the beginning of Yeshua’s ministry the lamb symbolism appears again. Understanding this lamb symbolism connecting Moses and Yeshua is not just interesting, it is vital for the proper understanding of Scripture.

Karaite Jewish scholar Nehemia Gordon comes from a line of Orthodox rabbis and is the son of an Orthodox rabbi. He holds a Masters Degree in Biblical Studies and a Bachelors Degree in Archaeology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has worked as a translator on the Dead Sea Scrolls and a researcher deciphering ancient Hebrew manuscripts. Gordon is currently working on cutting edge research utilizing Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible, including the New Testament. 

Episode #5 of Hebrew Gospel Pearls connects Moses and Yeshua, the parallels between Pharaoh and Herod, and much more. Don’t miss it! 

Here is the link:


Tomorrow, Saturday August 1st, at 9:30 AM (CDT) we will begin a new series of radio broadcasts on The Faith Once Delivered called The Ten Commandments in the New Testament.

Most Christians today cannot recite the Decalogue. Surveys show that few can name more than four of the ten. Many people, even among professed believers treat the Decalogue as the Ten Suggestions, while others acknowledge only 9, or 2 of the commandments, while antinomian (“Against the Law”) Christians claim that the Law of God has been abolished by Jesus. 

The Decalogue was at the centre of the Old Covenant, and that same Decalogue is at the centre of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-22); Hebrews 8:7-10). Yeshua, Jesus, said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19). The apostle Paul writes, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). 

In a recent series of The Faith Once Delivered we learned that each of the Ten Commandments were known long before Israel arrived at Mount Sinai after leaving Egyptian bondage, and had in fact been known by God’s people since the time of Adam and Eve. The giving of the Decalogue on tablets of stone was done because they were to be at the centre of the Covenant that God would make there with Israel. In this new series that begins Saturday morning we will see that the Decalogue remains central to the New Covenant, and that each of the Ten Commandments is repeatedly  referenced in the New Covenant Scriptures, the New Testament.

The Faith Once Delivered radio broadcast can be heard in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa on AM and FM radio, or anywhere in the world over the Internet. The Faith Once Delivered is heard every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM Central Daylight Time on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha, and 106.7 FM in Lincoln, and can be heard throughout eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. 

Not in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa? No problem! You can listen live over the Internet from anywhere in the world. Just go to the KCRO Radio website on Saturday morning at 9:30 AM CDT and click Listen Live:


And you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it. Two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake. (Leviticus 24:5)

I am attaching for you a link to an interesting article from Breaking Israel News in the State of Israel. Jewish preparations for the building of the Third Temple are continuing, including the resumption of the baking of the Showbread.

The photograph in the attached article shows two modern Levites tending a model rack of Showbreads. What is really interesting about the photograph is the white robes that the Levites are wearing. They are virtually identical to the white albs that we make use of in our English Spiritual Tradition, demonstrating just how ancient our spiritual heritage really is. 

The white surplices that we often wear instead of the alb came into use in the midlevel period and is merely an alb with surplus or extra material so a warm coat could be worn under it in the cold church buildings of northern Europe in the winter. The other vestments that we sometimes wear over the alb are not ancient at all, but are merely medieval or even later, but the plain white alb has its roots in ancient Israel.

Called Lechem Hapanim in Hebrew (literally, bread of the faces), the ancient art of preparing the showbread for use in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem has not been practiced for close to 2000 years. 

During the Second Temple period, the showbreads were baked by the Garmu family of Levi’im (Levites). Each Friday, the Garmu family baked a new set of 12 loaves. Each of the loaves represented one of the 12 Tribes. They were placed on the Temple’s golden shulchan (table) in two stacks of six and they remained on the shulchan all week.

Today, the Showbread Institute, established in 2018 and based in Israel’s Shomron (Samaria), exists to “to serve as an umbrella organization for the research, publication and educational activities… and to [reacquaint] the People of Israel with the Temple Service in preparation for the rebuilding of the Third Temple, speedily in our days,” the website explains.

I encourage you to read this fascinating article. Here is the link:

HOLY CROSS — A Teaching Community

At Holy Cross parish we put an emphasis on teaching the Holy Scriptures. The apostle Paul writes, 

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:15-16). 

The profane and vain babblings are “pious” legends, traditions of men, Hellenistic philosophy, and various beliefs and practices that contradict the Word of God; and Paul warned that they would increase as time went on and would result in more ungodliness. To the Christian community in Corinth the apostle Paul writes, “that you may learn in us [Paul and Apollos] not to think beyond what is written [in the Holy Scriptures], that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.”

At Holy Cross parish everything we do revolves around proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, teaching the faith which was once delivered in the first century (Jude 3), and preparing a people for the coming of the Lord. What we mean by Orthodox  is that we are a a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching community seeking to worship God in spirit and in truth, and to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Even our Services are little more than the Bible arranged for worship. Morning Prayer (Shacharit or Matins) is made up of Psalms, Scriptural Canticles, two Scripture lessons, a sermon explaining and applying the Scriptures, and prayer. Morning Prayer has its roots in the ancient synagogue Services of Second Temple Judaism. Come and see!

THE ROCK, THE ROAD, and THE RABBI — My Journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began

Are you reading my latest book recommendation? I hope so! The book is: The Rock, The Road, And The Rabbi — My Journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where it All Began, by Kathie Lee Gifford. This is one of those books that can have a profound effect on your life. 

You are probably familiar with Kathie Lee Gifford. She is a four-time Emmy Award winner, is best known for her eleven years cohosting the popular fourth hour of the Today show alongside Hoda Kotb. She has authored numerous books, including her most recent children’s book, The Gift That I Can Give, and four New York Times bestselling books, including The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi. She is the wife of the late Frank Gifford who starred on the gridiron and off the field as a popular sports broadcaster.

What you may not know is that Kathie Lee Gifford is a Jewish Christian (Messianic Jew) and a lifetime student of the Scriptures. She has been traveling to Israel since she was 17 years old, and even missed her high school graduation so she could attend the first Jerusalem Conference on Biblical Prophecy in 1971. Through her book, The Rock, The Road, and The Rabbi you can Journey with Kathie Lee Gifford into the Holy Land—and into the Deep Roots of the Christian Faith.

Kathie Lee Gifford is the author of the book, but the teachings she records in it are from the Rev. Ray Vander Laan and (Messianic) Rabbi Jason Sobel.

Pastor Ray Vander Laan is a teacher of Biblical Studies in Holland, Michigan. He has his Master’s degree from Westminster  Theological Seminary, and has also studied at Yeshiva University in New York City (a leading Orthodox Jewish seminary) and Jerusalem University with a focus on Jewish studies. 

Rabbi Jason Sobel was raised in a Jewish home in New Jersey.  After years of seeking and studying, he encountered the Lord and became a Jewish follower of Jesus (Yeshua). Suddenly, all the traditions Rabbi Jason grew up with took on new depth and meaning as God connected ancient wisdom with the teachings of the Messiah.

Rabbi Jason received his Rabbinic ordination from the UMJC (Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations) in 2005 and has a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies and a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies.

If you have not already purchased The Rock, The Road, and The Rabbi I hope that you will order it today and begin reading it as soon as it arrives. It is just over 200 pages, and is written in non-technical language. It is an easy and very enjoyable read. This is a book that everyone can enjoy and benefit from. Amazon has it on sale in hardcover for only $7.88! The regular price is $26.99. Why not buy extra copies as gifts for family and friends? One couple at Holy Cross liked it so much that they donated two copies to our parish library!

You can order it from Amazon here:


At 10:00 AM this morning Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour, Mayor Jean Stothert of Omaha, and a number of State and local health experts, including Nebraska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Athone, held a press briefing.

Dr. Adi Pour said she had intended to issue a mask mandate, but within the last 72 hours she was contacted by the Nebraska Attorney General who disputed her authority to do so. The legal department of the City of Omaha said that the issuing of such a health mandate would be on solid legal ground, but the realization that the issue could be tied up in the courts for years making enforcement impossible led Dr. Pour not to issue the mandate at this time.

All of the the medical experts at the briefing expressed their frustration with the legal challenge. Dr. Mark Rupp, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center said he was “very disappointed.”

Instead of issuing a mask mandate at this time, Dr. Adi Pour, Mayor Jean Stothert, and the assembled medical experts literally pleaded for everyone to wear a mask in public buildings, and whenever there is a group gathered. It is not a mask or social distancing, but a mask and social distancing that is needed.

Dr. Gary Athone, Chief Medical Officer for the State of Nebraska advised everyone to follow the “three Ws”:

1. Wear a Mask — and he strongly emphasized the importance of mask wearing.

2. Watch Your Distance — At least six feet of social distancing. Indoors it should be a mask and social distancing, not a mask or social distancing.

3. Wash Your Hands frequently.

We learned from the briefing that droplets and aerosol from breath and talking can travel six feet.  Wearing something loose like a bandana over the mouth and nose can reduce the travel to three feet. BUT, wearing a two-ply mask can reduce the travel of droplets and aerosol to inches! In addition, we now know that wearing a mask doesn’t just help protect others, but a mask can reduce the danger of the wearer being infected as well. No, a mask does not guarantee protection from infection any more than wearing a seat belt is a guarantee that you will not die in an automobile accident, but it does provide real protection. 

Let’s protect our health, and that of our families and others whom we are in contact with. Wear a mask religiously (I even wore one this week while recording Saturday’s radio broadcast, and will continue to do so. The producer said that the mask had very little effect on my voice.). Carefully maintain at least six feet of social distancing. And wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Also, make good use of hand sanitizers.

Over the past twelve days there has been a large uptick in Covid-19 deaths nationally. Some 10,000 people died in eleven days, and then yesterday the number surged to more than 1,500 deaths. There have now been 152,070 Covid-19 deaths in five months according to today’s Drudge Report. Please be vigilant. Follow the health guidelines. Protect yourself and others. We will all get through this together. Pray hard. Keep safe. Stay healthy. We’ll see you on Sunday!  


Everyone is invited to join us on Sunday morning at 9:00 AM for Morning Prayer (Matins/shacharit). Visitors are always welcome. Haven’t attended Services in a while? Come and join us on Sunday. You will be glad you did!

It is important that we all work together in following the CDC guidelines to keep everyone safe while at Services during the pandemic.

We will need to maintain at least six (6) feet of social distancing between households; and everyone should wear a face mask. Services will be said rather than sung because we would need more social distancing for singing.

We have closed a number of pews so every pew open for use will be separated by a closed pew or an isle. The back pew is open and may be used. We will need to do our very best to maintain social distancing so worshippers will need to spread out. Each pew is approximately ten feet long, so it may be possible for people to sit on opposite ends while maintaining social distancing. 

There will be no fellowship and refreshments after Services at this time.

While I have always encouraged the faithful to arrive early for Services in the past, I ask you not to do so under the present circumstances. Please plan to arrive just in time for Services. This will aid in social distancing and limit personal interaction. You will also want to leave immediately at the conclusion of Services.

If you are not feeling well or may have been exposed to Covid-19 please stay home. No one should enter the building who has a fever, cough, is sneezing, has body aches, may have been exposed to the Coronavirus, or is just not feeling well. We all need to be cautious and protect one another. Thank you!


Please accept my personal invitation to worship with us this Sunday at 9:00 AM. You will be blessed by the worship as God inhabits the praise of His people and in the proclamation of His Word. Our Services last about an hour.

We are a faithful and friendly congregation, and we have a place for you. Hope to see you on Sunday morning!


7545 Main Street

Ralston, Nebraska 68127

(402) 573-6558