I have waited more than 11 years to finally be able to unwrap a gift of truth that I want to present to you. In 2002, while visiting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Israel, a light pierced the darkness of tradition and caused me to take down our tree and cancel the Johnson family Christmas celebration. Before you consider me just another Grinch looking to spoil your family festivities, hear me out.
This has not been an easy journey for me. I grew up in Minnesota—you know, the frozen tundra where Santa Claus recruits many of his helpers. I obtained my undergraduate degree in social work, the area of study that depends on the Christmas season to turn up the heat on the “haves” in order to serve the needs of the “have nots.” I earned a graduate degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago, where Christmas is taught as one of the cornerstones of Christian practice and belief. I am also an ordained United Methodist pastor (until further notice) who counted on the green in the Christmas Sunday offering every year to keep the church out of the red. In other words, as a born-and-bred Bible-believing pastor, I would have been out buying last-minute gifts with my credit card or preparing my Sunday sermon hoping to preach myself out of debt for the next year! Instead, I am sharing this light of truth with you.
I have had to weather the winter storm of backlash from family and friends who accused me of going too far. I have also had to wade through the maze of mad messianic folks who tend to throw everything against the wall just to see what sticks before I could find something contextual to present to those I hope to reach. I am searching for the remnant of people who want to learn to love what our heavenly Father loves . . . and hate what He hates.
I have postponed production of the regular episodes of our new television series, Now Is the Time: Revealing Secrets, Restoring Truth, just to get this special presentation ready for you. It is my hope and prayer that during this season, when we are fed a feast of Christmas tradition, you will be open to a tidbit of timely truth. Here is the REAL reason behind the American Christmas season.
Have you ever wondered what Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 13:1 when he wrote, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels…?” I have. Is it even possible to speak in the tongues of angels? My thought is that the angelic “tongue” whatever it might sound like, would leave no room for confusion on the part of the listener.
Imagine if the angel in Matthew 1:21 who gave Joseph the name of the child in Mary’s womb spoke English. He would have said, “You shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." If Joseph understood English, he would have had to wonder what the name Jesus had to do with the word "save" because of the word of causation "for". If the angel spoke in the Greek language he would have said, You shall call his name… “Iesoun autos gar sowsei” and if Joseph understood Greek he would be scratching his head wondering why the name Iesoun was connected with sowsei. Here is what is really interesting, for those folks out there who are convinced that Aramaic was the only language of the First Century Jews. The angel would have said, You shall call his name…Yeshua and connected that name with the word Nachiohi which means "he will cause to live". At that point, Joseph would probably think to himself that the name Yeshua must have a deeper and hidden meaning unavailable to the common folks.
Now imagine if the angel spoke in the Hebrew tongue? Joseph would have heard, You shall call his name “Yeshua ci hu yoshia” and there would be no doubt how the name Yeshua connected to the word yoshia. In fact, the name Yeshua and the word yoshia is what is called a Hebrew word-pun which happens on nearly every page of the Hebrew Bible! The word yoshia means “he will save”. You probably already know, just like Joseph did, that the name Yeshua means “Yehovah saves”. Can you imagine the theological discussions Joseph and Mary had during those nine months before the birth of Yeshua?
It has been suggested by many scholars that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. If that is true, it would be the only language that would explain the connection between the name given by the angel and the mission that name carries. Can you hear it?…Yeshua yoshia. Makes perfect sense, until you translate from the original Hebrew into Aramaic, Greek, Latin or even English.
For those who are interested in learning to read the words of the angel in Hebrew, we have an exciting announcement. BFA International has been given permission to make available for a limited time a full-color 18" x 24" poster reproduction of chapter 1:18-25 of the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew that witnesses to the “tongue of the angel” who announced the naming of the one many people call Jesus. Church Father Eusebius quotes Papias...
"Matthew therefore in the Hebrew dialect ordered together the oracles, and each one interpreted them as he was able."
Israeli Hebrew scholar Nehemia Gordon explains the significance of this important Hebrew manuscript:George Howard discovered the Hebrew version of the Gospel of Matthew in the 1980s. Howard considered the British Library manuscript to be the most accurate surviving manuscript of Hebrew Matthew. He based his 1987 publication of Hebrew Matthew on the British Library manuscript. Now a section of this manuscript is made available for the first time.
Numerous books have been published claiming the existence of ancient Hebrew or Aramaic documents. A famous example is The Jesus Papers by Michael Baigent, who claimed he saw Aramaic scrolls written by Jesus himself and addressed to the Jewish Sanhedrin. If the "Jesus Papers" really exist, they are arguably the most important discovery of all time. Baigent claims he saw these scrolls years ago in a vault but now they are hidden away. There are numerous claims of documents that are "secret" or "hidden". Did these documents ever exist? No one knows. You need to take one man's word for it. This is why it is important to see a document for yourself, so you don't say, "That scholar told me there is a Hebrew version of Matthew." With this full color reproduction of the British Library manuscript of Hebrew Matthew, you can see it for yourself and show it to others.
“Matthew… composed a gospel of Christ, at first published in Judea in Hebrew… The Hebrew itself has been preserved until the present day in the library at Caesarea… I have also had the opportunity of having the volume described to me by the Nazarenes of Beroea… who use it.” Jerome, 392
From now until the end of December we have brought together resources on this important topic of study including a special gift from BFA International to you! We are calling this bundle of information, inspiration and revelation, Yeshua’s name and prayer pack! For those interested in having these resources to share with family and friends, this pack is for you! Visit the BFAInternational.com store to reserve your Yeshua’s name and prayer pack today! In the meantime, go ahead and speak in the tongues of angels; but with much love!
It seems that no matter what holiday is celebrated there is the public relations version and the historically accurate reality. Such is the case with the Pilgrims first Thanksgiving meal with the Native Americans. It’s a great public relations picture about a joint meal and an unlucky turkey, but far from reality. Just ask the relatives of the Native Americans sitting on the ground.
A detail of the 1914 Jennie Brownscombe painting "The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth."
In the same way, the Hanukkah celebration has morphed from an epic battle for freedom and dedication into a story about only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days. Dare I say it? Myth not reality. Just read the book of 1 Maccabees.
Regardless of reality, the menorah is the logo of Hanukkah as the turkey is the icon of Thanksgiving. However, today is not a day to pull off the warm covers of our comfort celebrations in the midst of these cold dark days of late November. Rather, I want to focus on an amazing opportunity for God’s people to add a little spice to our Thanksgiving and Hanukkah table conversations. The last time Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlapped was in 1888 and the next time they will sync up is about 77,000 years from now. Do the calculations. With this in mind, let’s take advantage of this once in a lifetime joint celebration I call Thanukkah!
Before you charge me with making an unholy alliance between Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, even the Jewish sages made the same connection over 2,000 years ago.
A miracle was performed with the oil when they kindled the lights of the menorah. In the following year, the Sages established these eight days of Hanukkah as permanent holidays with the recital of Hallel and Thanksgiving. (Shabbos 21b, Babylonian Talmud)
Okay so the sages added some tradition to the actual historic event. Even so, the word Hanukkah is from the Biblical Hebrew phrase חֲנֻכַּת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ Hanukat Ha-Mizbeach which means- The dedication of the altar. This phrase is found in (Numbers 7:10,11, 84 and 88 and 2 Chronicles 7:9) The same phrase is also found in the historical book of I Maccabeus 4:56 and 59, which records the first 8 day Hanukkah celebration. Sorry folks, no miracle menorah lamp oil included. However, what did happen is a bigger miracle than 8 days of oil and should give God’s people a reason to celebrate for the next 77,000 years!
Here are ten great reasons for God’s people to be thankful for the historical Hanukkah.
[SCROLL DOWN FOR WRITTEN LIST]
After you have your Thanukkah meal, get a piece of Apple Pie Spice Rugelach, sit down and watch The Open Door Hanukkah Weekend Special! The entire four presentation Stand against the Ban series with Keith Johnson and Nehemia Gordon is available free with no registration required. Just grab your family and friends (and some leftovers) and click and play the series on your computer throughout the entire weekend.
Remember this is the last weekend to see the entire Open Door Series before it is moved to the Premium Content Library. Let the celebration continue!
Here is the written list of the top 10 reasons to be thankful for the historical Hanukkah.
The Hanukkah event provides an opportunity for common-ground dialogue between Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters.
The historical setting of Hanukkah helps to better understand the context of parts of the Old and New Testament.
A studyof the religious and political context of events leading up to Hanukkah is essential to understanding the First Century. In fact, Jesus/Yeshua acknowledged Hanukkah/The Feast of Dedication (John 10:22).
The example of the Jews who stood-up against their Greek persecutors serves as a model for those who must stand-up against present and future persecutors.
The events of Hanukkah are given in prophetic detail in the book of Daniel as a future time of persecution and redemption.
Studying the victory of the remnant of Jews over the Greeks during the time of Hanukkah gives us confidence that anything is possible with God.
The Maccabees (Translated as the hammers) provide a foreshadow of the coming Messiah.
Hanukkah helps us understand the connection between faith and action!
The prohibition by the Greeks on the Jewish people against living God’s Torah, keeping God’s appointed times and proclaiming God’s holy name is a present-day challenge for God’s people today!
The rededication of the altar חֲנֻכַּת הַמִּזְבֵּחַHanukat Ha-Mizbeach serves as an invitation for God’s people to rededicate our lives to our Heavenly Father.
I will never forget that amazing day in the Spring of 2002. Come with me. As Nehemia Gordon and I waited to tour the tunnels under Jerusalem, I asked him a question that had intrigued me for a long time: How do you say God’s name? I had asked this question of many Jewish people before Nehemia, but with no success. They either said it was too holy to pronounce, too profound for me to understand, or too powerful for me to handle; therefore, I was prohibited from proclaiming His name. When I asked my new friend Nehemia, who happened to be both Jewish and a Hebrew Bible scholar, about the pronunciation of the name he responded by asking me a question: “Do you know any Hebrew?”
During the year prior to my trip to Israel, I had reacquainted myself with my Hebrew language studies from seminary. I was excited to respond to his question with a “Yes.” After writing the four Hebrew lettersיהוהon a piece of paper, Nehemia went on to give me a short refresher lesson on Hebrew vowels. After his discourse, I asked him to pronounce the name. With no hesitation he said something like,
Question: Can a radical Methodist preacher and a renegade Jewish scholar teach you anything from the word of God? Before you answer; I must warn you that this question has caused a bit of a controversy. Okay, a lot of controversy! Allow me to explain.
In 2011, Israeli Bible scholar Nehemia Gordon and I were invited to a weekend conference at a church in Smithfield, North Carolina, to give a joint presentation on our book: A Prayer to Our Father: Hebrew Origins of the Lord’s Prayer. The pastor invited us to stay and preach on Sunday morning. What happened in Smithfield caused a revival in both of us. It also caught the attention of the religious police and the spiritual border patrol, who insisted that we “cease and desist” from these joint preaching events. Well, that didn’t work; rather, it spurred us on to turn up the heat and keep preaching wherever we were invited. And then it happened! Continue reading “We’re Baaack! Sort of…” »
When I received the invitation from Dr. James Tabor Head of Religious Studies at the University of Carolina, Charlotte to attend a presentation about “The Oldest Biblical Text Ever Discovered,” I have to admit that I didn’t connect the dots. I was so busy finishing the Road to Reformation television series that I simply didn’t take time to read the details of the email. Sound familiar?
One of two silver scrolls on display at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem
On the day of the event I received a message from an Israeli Facebook friend asking me if I planned to go hear Gabriel Barkay in Charlotte. Then it hit me! This is the famous Israeli archeologist who discovered the silver scrolls containing the oldest written evidence of God’s name. I changed my schedule and made a beeline to the University of North Carolina and settled in for an evening full of surprises.
It was amazing to listen to this famed archeologist talk about his many archeological discoveries, knowing that I had actually seen some of these important places with my own two eyes. It was humbling to listen to him tell the story about how he had come into possession of these two silver witnesses that took three years to figure out how to unroll and to know that I had included his story in the pages of my book His Hallowed Name Revealed Again. It was surprising to hear that in the last 10 years or so the scrolls, as a result of new technology, have revealed a number of parallel biblical texts alluded to within the paraphrased version of the priestly benediction! What? How did I miss this powerful piece of information? Here is an article that gives more detail on the new discovery of the parallel passages. Continue reading “Surprise! Surprise!” »
The name Jesus is often the answer to a myriad of questions that Sunday school teachers ask children to elicit familiar responses and then give gobs of candy as a reward. You know how it goes: “Who was born in a manger? Jesus! Who turned water into wine? Jesus! Who walked on water? Jesus! Who healed the blind man? Jesus! Who raised Lazarus from the dead? Jesus! Who loves you? Jesus!” Unfortunately if those same children were asked these two questions, “Who is Jesus named after?” and “What does the name Jesus mean?” their little faces would draw a blank and the candy would stop flowing.
Before I go further, I realize that Jesus is a name that is near and dear to the hearts of many people of faith of all ages. I want you to know that it is okay if by the end of this chapter you are still completely comfortable calling him by this English name. My goal is for you to at least know the origins, meaning, and pronunciation of his name. My concern is that many Christians cannot answer the two questions I would ask if I were the Sunday school teacher, “Who is Jesus named after?” and “What does the name Jesus mean?” Continue reading “What About The Name Jesus?” »
This is a HUGE archeological discovery that further confirms the biblical account! After you read this article by USA Today, or Biblical Archeology Society, watch the video Nehemia Gordon and I recorded in early 2011 about David and Goliath filmed on location at this very spot!
Archaeologists have made a discovery of Biblical proportions: They say newly excavated ruins near Jerusalem are "the best example to date of the uncovered fortress city of King David."
Extensive digging has unveiled a pair of structures, one of which may have been a palace belonging to the king; the other is believed to have been a storeroom that would have been used for holding taxes, which would have taken the form of agricultural products, they say.
"This is indisputable proof of the existence of a central authority in Judah during the time of King David," the researchers say, per Fox News.
The site of the Biblical battle between David and Goliath is now called Khirbet Qeiyifa. It was likely decimated in 980 BC during a battle with the Philistines, the Jerusalem Post reports.
For those who are interested, the entire His Hallowed Name 12 episode television teaching series is available behind the Tetragrammaton door!
In the past few weeks, I have been called to stand-up and speak out about what some might consider taboo topics, including, holding politicians accountable, discussing the gay marriage agenda and most recently, exposing racism in our justice system and society. Though I did not set out to cause such a stir; I am glad it has happened, even though my intentions have been called into question by some people. Unfortunately or fortunately, a sleeping giant in the community of believers has been awakened by touching an inflamed nerve exposed by recent events in America.
As difficult as it has been to witness some of their attempts to mask the pain by denying the obvious, I am optimistic that true healing can come once the prognosis is accepted and the diagnosis is applied. Even if it means that the nerve must be touched at an even deeper level in order to repair the damage. The American community of believers must become the remnant people of God in form and function! Even if we must first go through the uncomfortable process of being awakened from our sound sleep and being told that there is a problem.
I have asked our team to expedite the process of production and promotion of our new series, The Road to Reformation: A Message for the Church, so that we can recruit a remnant of believers who will begin to pray immediately for this project to have an effect on our communities, country and world. Here it is!
Watch our new series, The Road to Reformation: A Message for the Church, weekly for Free by going here: Road to Reformation
Please consider traveling the road with us by supporting this project through your financial gifts. Visit our give page for more information!
At a time when our country celebrates its declaration of independence from England, there are far too many Americans who also celebrate—and flaunt—their own declaration of independence from God and His Word. Therefore, on this 4th of July holiday weekend it is my hope that many will join me in declaring our unqualified dependence on God and the purpose, power, and practicality of His holy Word.
In our society we don’t have to look very hard to find all sorts of people and institutions waving their flags of independence from God: the government, the media, schools, businesses, and yes, my friends, even the church! This is why I am determined to do everything I can to rally the remnant of God’s people back to faithful obedience to God's Will, God's Word, and God's Way.
The Creator of the universe once declared to an ancient king of the nation of Judah: “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the entire earth, to strengthen those whose heart is true to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9, NRSV). In these unsettled times when people everywhere are declaring “who cares?” about God and His Word, the Almighty is searching for anyone whose heart is true to Him. Don’t follow the “who cares?” crowd! God told the same ancient king: “The Lord is with you, while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you” (2 Chronicles 15:2). Let us help you connect with God in complete dependence on His love and faithfulness. The stakes couldn’t be higher!
It is with a compelling sense of conviction, compassion, and urgency that I announce our new teaching series titled “The Road to Reformation: A Message for the Church.” I invite you to join me beginning Sunday July 28 for this 10-week series in which I will expound eight vital steps for making genuine reformation a reality in the lives of God’s faithful!
Watch my video response and challenge to those who say they care.
With the support of those who do care, we will air this new teaching series on the Church Channel (available on DIRECTV, DISH, Sky Angel, and other networks). We will also make each episode available for an entire week here at BFAinternational.com behind the Torah door for free. The entire series will also be archived in our Premium Content Library for future viewing!
We welcome your tax-deductible gifts of any amount to help with the cost of production and air time. Just click within the easy-to-use donation box on the right side of this page, which now allows for PayPal, and credit or debit cards. Oh, and by the way, THANK YOU!
Please join me at our online Academy every weekend from Friday evening at sundown through Sunday midnight for a special 12-week study on God’s personal name. We will take a journey to discover and understand the importance of our Heavenly Father’s unique name as it is preserved in the ancient Hebrew manuscripts.
All you will need is your Bible, your computer, and your BFAinternational.com password and you will have FREE access to this ground-breaking, 12-episode series titled His Hallowed Name. The videos will be available throughout the weekend for you to study at your convenience. Afterward, the programs will remain available in the premium content library for those who are interested in revisiting the material. I also invite you to visit Biblical Foundations Academy, International on Facebook to interact with me each week as we mine the treasures of information, inspiration, and revelation surrounding this vital topic of God’s name!
We are also premiering an exclusive interview and music video performed by Andrew Hodkinson from South Africa. After studying the book His Hallowed Name Revealed Again he began incorporating the name of our Heavenly Father into his original music. He was even inspired to compose a song in honor of our encounter with Zulu warriors in South Africa who were singing the name of God! As a member of the Academy you will be able to download this powerful music and share it with family and friends!
Remember to invite your friends to join us in the Biblical Foundations Academy study of our Heavenly Father’s name!
To all of you who took the time to watch one or more episodes of Time Will Tell I simply want to say thank you! I really had no idea what the response would be to the “one-man, one-camera mission” that I undertook just over a year ago. The response has been amazing. We just received the official ratings for the program and our team is ecstatic. Each week an average of 50,000 televisions were tuned in to Time Will Tell, with an estimated 2.6 viewers per television. In other words, more than 100,000 people watched the weekly episodes. Imagine that! I’m not sure how Neilsen calculates the figure of 2.6 viewers per television, but they assure me it’s accurate.
Encouraged by such a strong response we have decided to take a step of faith by contracting to air the entire 10-part series on the Church Channel again. At the same time we are providing access to all 10 episodes via our online premium content library. Oh, and by the way, we also are offering the entire series on DVD for a limited time. This means you can watch the series on your own time and pause, rewind, and play it again to catch the many hidden nuggets of information, inspiration, and revelation planted throughout the programs. Okay, I confess; even my wife, Andrea, didn’t catch a lot of what I said and insisted that we play it again! (Cut me some slack, dear, half the time I was either on the move or on the run!) So sit back, relax, and watch season one of Time Will Tell again while I go to work on season two!
Our “say no to Scola” campaign may have been more effective than we first imagined. Our short video post exposing former Pope Benedict’s plan to ensure the election of his hand-picked successor, Angelo Scola, as the next pope reached tens of thousands of people! In fact the Italian bishops were so convinced that Scola would be Pope they sent a congratulations press release to the media “expressing joy and thanks to God for the election of Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan”. It was our hope that something would cause the College of Cardinals to change the script that had been in place for the last eight years by saying no to Benedict’s choice for the next pope. Continue reading “Mission Accomplished?” »
In March 2012 I traveled to Rome, Italy to conduct research on sacred time vs. God's time under the working title "Rediscovering God"s Clock". What I discovered while encountering people, places and things both outside and inside the Vatican caused me to expand my research beyond the topic of time to something much more controversial. Rather than spend excessive time on conspiracy theories or unfair accusations, I have decided to focus on giving interested people as much information as possible so that they can arrive at their own conclusions. Continue reading “The Identity of the Pope’s Pick REVEALED” »
I am so encouraged to be able to write this letter of update and thanks to you, but first I need to apologize for the delay. I had to wait until after December 21, just in case the Mayan calendar was right and the world ended (wrong!). If you have been tracking with the Time Will Tell project, you know that the Mayan calendar is not hanging up in the throne room of God. However, His clock is ticking and we are going to teach the world how to tell time according to His clock and calendar! Continue reading “2012 Year End Update” »
The Time Will Tell television series that takes viewers on a journey to three continents and many ancient and modern sites to explore God’s time from the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and biblical perspectives. Now is the time to accept the challenge to rediscover God's clock. The Time Will Tell series will help you do just that! To help support the Time Will Tell series click here.