The holiday season is upon us. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or enjoy family gatherings just because it’s a festive time of year, there is an important issue that I wish to address in this final Personal Bible Study Letter of the year!
All Believers (“Believers” is short for “believers in Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah”) — and American Believers especially — are under attack! Satan’s minions are busy attempting to drive this nation into the same failed secular ideas that have destroyed other nations. Not only that, but we are in danger of losing our religious liberties upon which our country was founded. I will not drive us down the road of politics, but have I painted a dark enough picture to get your attention?
In spite of that dismal backdrop, Believers everywhere have never had a greater opportunity to shine the Light of the Gospel to a dark and dying world. The door of opportunity for the bold Christian witness is open now but may close in our lifetime. Every Believer has a glorious future waiting, so you and I should carry out the call of our Lord: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
In the busyness of the holiday season, I pray that you will think about two major events: 1) Messiah’s first coming and 2) His second coming — the first Christmas and the future Christmas. It may seem odd for a Jewish ministry to use the term “Christmas,” but even non-believing Jews recognize that universal term. Let’s look together at how those two “Christmas” events take away the dim outlook that you read at the beginning of this letter.
MESSIAH’S FIRST COMING — THE FIRST CHRISTMAS
When Yeshua came the first time, He was concealed in a human birth … to Mary in Bethlehem. John 1:14 tells us, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” Yeshua (the Word) came, as the Christmas song goes, in the silence of the night. God in His mercy brought grace to the world through His Son on that first Christmas — no matter what time of year it actually occurred. The point is: It actually occurred! When storekeepers in Jerusalem closed shop and retired for the evening, they did not know what was happening in Bethlehem. In fact, neither did that little town of Bethlehem. The Messiah that the Jews were expecting to deliver them from Roman rule was soon to be delivered Himself — as an infant wrapped in the garments of flesh and swaddling linen. This was definitely not the expected warrior wrapped in battle armor!
The sovereign God of the universe had been orchestrating this event since Genesis 3:15, when He told Satan: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Many theologians call this verse the “first preaching of the Gospel.” The verse provides a brief commentary on the battle that would ensue on the Cross between all that is good and all that is evil. Satan struck the first blow in the Garden of Eden, and God retaliated when He sent His Son on that first Christmas night.
The commentary continued when Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 7:14:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (‘God with us’).”
Isaiah described “the sign’s” identity: “a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). Recall that David was the son of Jesse, and David’s royal line continued to Jesus/Immanuel/Yeshua — the Messiah.
These Scriptures were ignored by the scribes of Yeshua’s day. When the Wise Men came and asked, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2), the scribes answered that no Deliverer had been born in Bethlehem! The Jewish establishment of the day was not expecting a newborn baby — a Savior wrapped in humanity — but rather a king wielding a sword of victory over their oppressors.
MESSIAH’S SECOND COMING — THE FUTURE CHRISTMAS
When our Lord came the first time, He had only one purpose, and that was to redeem mankind from sin. That little babe in Bethlehem came to die for you and me! Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 53:3:
He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
We look with anticipation to our future Christmas, when He will come and have the final say in all issues relating to politics, religion, social injustices, bigotry, and anti-Semitism. You name it, and He will settle the issue. Yeshua will come to sit upon the throne of David and shall rule for all eternity!
Think with me for a moment: When He came to dwell on Earth the first time, He arrived riding on an animal that was one of the lowliest of all: a donkey, a beast of burden. He came as the only One who could be the complete sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. He lifted the burden of sin forever! His destiny was to fulfill the will of the One who had sent Him: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
When He comes again, He will be riding a white stallion. His purpose when He comes again to dwell on Earth will be to settle all things once and for all, as John tells us in Revelation 19:11:
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He who sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
But the next event to occur — before the Second Coming, when He will again set His feet on the ground — is the Rapture of the Church, revealed in 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And thus shall we always be with the Lord.
No more prophecy needs to be fulfilled before the Rapture takes place. The trumpet could sound at any moment. Yeshua’s return is imminent! As Zola would say when we gathered in the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, “He did not come yesterday, so He could very well come today!”
After seven years of judgment in the Tribulation, His Second Coming — Christmas Future — will bring the age to a close. Yeshua will establish His Kingdom and, as mentioned above, will occupy the throne of David to rule all the earth from Jerusalem. Every time I read or write about Christ’s Second Coming, I get as excited as I did as a child waiting for Christmas morning.
So, what do you want for Christmas? I want what John described in Revelation 21:1–4:
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’
As a Believer, I can hardly wait for that Future Christmas gift!
Standing firm with Israel and ZLM,Tony Derrick
P.S. Revelation 22:20 closes the Bible with these words, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” I must agree. Come, Lord Jesus!
A Note from David and Kirsten Hart
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you! Regardless of which holiday you celebrate, both of them recognize the wonderful Light of the World. Our Messiah came into this dark world to reveal God’s heart and to give us hope for both the present and future.
This holiday season will be extra fun for the Harts! Our youngest grandchild, Bella Rose, will be 22 months old. Gigi and Papa (as she calls us) are excited to spend some quality fun time with our Hart family’s “Little.” Investing time (and money) in our children and grandchildren brings us joy. We also get satisfaction from investing in ministries that really make a difference in this world. Zola Levitt Ministries is one — spreading the Good News of Yeshua’s salvation around the globe. What makes this ministry unique? Our passion for Israel and the Jewish people.
Zola’s heart for proclaiming the Gospel through Jewish eyes lives on! Doors for expanding our organization’s reach have us excited for 2020 to begin. But as a ministry that runs solely on viewer and reader contributions, we simply can’t achieve any of this outreach without you. Our own parents live on fixed budgets, so we understand the financial situation of many viewers and thank you for your faithfulness. If your heart is with Israel and you believe in ZLM’s mission, please prayerfully consider an above-and-beyond, end-of-the-year gift toward our efforts.
Zola Tours to the Holy Land
Our camera crew just finished taping a refreshed series for Zola Levitt Ministries’ weekly television program. As you probably already realize, this ministry is known for taping our teaching segments on location, which typically means Israel. But In The Footsteps of the Rabbi from Tarsus follows the ministry of Paul throughout the Mediterranean, so the crew recorded Dr. Jeffrey Seif teaching at authentic sites in Greece and Ancient Ephesus.
Guess what? Zola Tours can take you and your family to visit those very locations! How exciting to watch In The Footsteps of the Rabbi from Tarsus when it airs this spring, and then follow those footsteps yourself! After viewing the series, you can add to your personal knowledge of what happened in these Bible locations.
When you travel with your family, you give a living legacy to your children and grandkids. They’d never be the same! Please contact our tour director Sandra, who will guide you through the registration process. Call her during business hours at 214-696-9760, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit levitt.com/tours.
|Deluxe (Israel only)||Mar 16–26||$5,288|
|Grand Petra (Israel & Petra)||Mar 16–29||$6,488|
|Deluxe (Israel only)||Oct 19–29||Fall dates are tentative.|
|Grand Petra (Israel & Petra)||Oct 19–Nov 01|
|Grand Athens (Greece & Israel)||Oct 13–29||Prices to be determined.|
|Ultra Grand (Greece & Israel & Petra)||Oct 13–Nov 01|
On Zola Levitt Presents this month
I love the smell of a new book! Are you familiar with that scent, or maybe the fragrance put out by a new box of crayons? They always meant that I was going to learn something new or get creative. That’s exactly what we have in store for you in 2020 (minus the scents!). The new? Programs and series! The creative? Our producer, Ken Berg has plans for brand-new, dramatic re-enactments! I’m not going to give it all away, because some surprises are worth waiting for. Watch our weekly program live, set your DVR to record it, or catch us on levitt.tv; but I promise, you’ll want to see every single program in 2020!
In December, you can watch a reprise of the series Return to Eden that tells the story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The Lord bridged the relationship gap, which had resulted from mankind’s sin in the Garden of Eden. He did so by creating a special relationship with a people and a land that eventually led to the Messiah. David and Kirsten Hart present this series that features teaching and analysis from Dr. Jeffrey Seif, interviews with experts, insights from Sarah Liberman, and music written by Zola Levitt.
- Paradise Restored
- Adam and Eve started in paradise in the Garden of Eden, and Believers spend eternity in an Edenic paradise. The Divine presence will be restored, and Satan will be crushed. People need to decide now where they will spend eternity.
- Bonus interviews — Parts 1 & 2
- Interviews with Doron Keider from Cry for Zion; Dr. Seth Postell, Academic Dean of Israel College of the Bible in Netanya; Guy Erlich, owner/director of Balm of Gilead Farm; David Parsons, vice-president of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem; singer Pat Boone; and Yehuda Glick, member of the Israeli Knesset.
- ZLP: Our Past
- We review the series presented in 2019 — The Warrior King, Divine Deliverance, Psalms of Ascent, and Return to Eden. The Harts interview Mark Levitt, and Dr. Jeffrey Seif shows a video retrospective: 40 years of Zola Levitt Presents.
Hug your family a lot this season, enjoy all the festivities, and may God bless you beyond your dreams!
Sha’alu shalom Yerushalayim! —
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! — Psalm 122:6
David & Kirsten
P.S. Beginning 2020 with a solid budget would be a much appreciated Christmas/Hanukkah present! Thank you for partnering with us.
Zola Levitt Ministries is ECFA approved
I agree that the greatest Future Christmas gift will be for Messiah to return — and soon!
Here is my gift for December to help launch Zola Levitt Ministries to new heights in the New Year, teaching about our Jewish roots.
Various theories of the Lord’s return and the Kingdom examined in detail. The return of the Lord and the establishment of His Kingdom on Earth. Exact scriptural information contrasting the Second Coming and the Rapture of the Church.
How do the Scriptures touch on the relationship of Jews and gentiles at the end of the age? Messianic Jewish pastor Eitan Shishkoff focuses on friendship as the answer.
In this “after-Christmas musical,” Zola narrates the moving story of Simeon, the aged-but-faithful servant who waited to see the Messiah face-to-face.
This is the complete soundtrack of our video presentation of the same title. Word sheet included.