Monday, April 11, 2011

Rabbi At Church

A very good friend of mine is a rabbi of a Messianic synagogue in nearby Lake Elsinore.  Rabbi Hilbrant has also become a Chief Rabbi, whereby he is spiritual mentor over 10 other rabbis and synagogues.  The other synagogues are located around the United States and abroad -- these others even include one in Kansas City, Missouri and two in Ethiopia (one of which has 1,800 members).

He shared his faith in Yeshua (Jesus) as the promised Messiah and his passion for the homeland of Israel.  The "sabres are rattling" (trooops are massing), and it seems war is imminent with neighboring countries.  These may indeed be perilous times for our world.

I specifically asked the rabbi to share a message on the "glory of Heaven."  His depth of understanding was expressed in Hebraic terms of both the Old and New Testaments.  He pointed out that our American culture has permeated our view of heaven, and we must rather look at it in Biblical terms and Jewish thought.  Heaven is not so much the "castle in the great by and by," but rather the very "heaviness" (which is what the word "glory" means) of being in the presence of a holy God that brings joy and peace and comfort for eternity.

We took him to lunch and enjoyed a very engaging conversation about Jewish lineage (of which he is convinced that we as "Greenwalts" are definitely from Jewish descent).  Rabbi Hilbrant was pointed in his words as to what decisions we face in confronting our Jewish heritage.  It was extremely thought-provoking for me as I look at my life even now.  On a previous occasion, he presented me with a prayer shawl and a yarmulke as a gesture of welcoming me back into the "fold of the Jews."  His words:  "Welcome home, my son."  Very moving and emotional.

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