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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Greenberg

God’s Passion to Save YOUR Whole Family Tree

I can remember the first time that my husband Mark verbally agreed to ask Yeshua into his heart – at the invitation of our life-long rabbi and friend, Jonathan Bernis. I can remember the first time we tried to share the words of Isaiah 53 with his mother after his father died in his arms from his third massive heart attack. I can remember the first time my husband led a Jewish couple to Yeshua for himself as a young rabbi years later.

From the first time Mark invited God to forgive his sins, to the pain of his mother’s rejection of his faith, to the thrill of being used by God to save a couple raising Jewish children of their own, my husband kept right on praying and begging God to show up and show off in the life of the people he loved most. He is such a good and faithful father. He prays for me and our children every single day – even in the darkest hour of trials in our lives. His living faith in the God of Israel flows out of the tiniest threads of the largely dead Jewish roots of generation after generation of his family tree. When you look deep into the Jewish roots of his family, he is the lone faith survivor of a family tree struck down by the holocaust and generations of suffering.

The power of God to resurrect family trees – from the dawning revelation of God’s faithfulness to save the world from sin and death – is the saving grace of God in sending ‘the imprint of His being’ to earth to save us. Born innocent and unequal with God, evil inclination hovers at the door daily while the adversary hunts day and night for those he can devour. Thank God that when Yeshua sacrificed Himself to fulfill the blood libel for our rebellion against God, the debt for our past sins are miraculously paid and life can begin anew – like a fresh new branch from a tree that was struck by lightning and almost died.

When we find the fascination of Messiah’s arrival in our individual lives, our family tree is renewed. Much like an old underground root system that suddenly finds water, new life begins as living water finds a way up the trunk of that damaged family tree. Maybe the water finally gets near that old root system because a new neighbor moved in next door and built a new basement that redirected the current from three blocks away. You may never know how the water got to that tree, but somehow God had life still inside it and once that family tree finds the source of living water – IT WILL GROW AGAIN.

Inter-generational faith transfer is a fancy way of saying: Hear O Israel, ADONAI He is God.  Teach shall teach your children diligently, when you sit in the house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up…   (read the whole of Deuteronomy 6: 4-9).  Faith in the God of Israel starts when you apply the blood to the doorposts of your heart like the Hebrew slaves did in Egypt the night before they all left to follow Moses into the wilderness. Those heads of households had to slaughter a lamb at twilight, roast it with bitter herbs, put the blood on the doorposts AND pull their loved ones into the house with them!  Their actions – and the yearly telling of that story to our children has kept the people of God alive and surviving for 3500 years! 

The exodus from Egypt is not just a book of the Bible – it is the model of interfaith generational transfer! God commands us in the Bible to SHOW & TELL our families every year. That was the Last Supper of Yeshua and His disciples. That is the Son of God revealing the obedience He had to obey the commandments of the Torah – and the fulfillment of the promise of God to crush the head of evil inclination. That is the part of the mystery of finding faith on the earth. Trusting that God loved us so much that He came to find us – each soul – to set us free from the desire to rebel against our Creator.

Here is how it happened for my husband – the journey to believe that Jesus could actually BE the God of Israel incarnate. One day, soon after his father’s death, while Amanda was still a toddler, he came home from a Bible study just wound up with excitement. He told me, “It’s true, it’s really true, Yeshua is the Messiah! Now, I know it.”

At the time, I did not get what he was saying. Years later he explained it in a teaching and it is so profound I’m not sure how to explain it properly, so I will summarize. According to ‘Yoma,’ a rabbinical historical account of the years surrounding the years before and after Messiah’s arrival on earth, the yearly Jewish Temple sacrifices report this:

Before Yeshua’s birth, the scarlet chord around the horns of the altar always turned miraculously white after the Yom Kippur sacrifice was made each year. During the years of Yeshua’s brief lifetime, sometimes the scarlet cord turned white after the annual sacrifice and sometimes it did not. BUT, after the resurrection of Messiah, the scarlet chord around the horns of the altar never miraculously turned white again. Can you imagine the grief of the ruling Jewish leaders year-after-year, from then on until 70AD, when the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem and expelled the Jews from Jerusalem?

That one historical fact, from the records of his own ancestors, was the tiny thread of living water that has resurrected my husband’s family tree.

If Mark had not learned the pattern of how Yom Kippur represented the NATIONAL FORGIVENESS of his own people, how would he ever have connected his personal salvation to the health and well being of his entire family line!  Heart disease is a generational curse – yet my husband has been saved physically and spiritually through the Yeshua.  Yeshua is the lifeblood of what we believe – salvation from sin is the sap that sustains our whole family tree. 

According to the Bible, the life is in the blood, and God has already given it for the forgiveness of your sins. Blood saves life – physically and spiritually.

Interesting, right? God told Mark what he needed to hear to believe. Where can you look to find living water for your family tree? What sign will you post on your door to show and tell your children about the resurrection life that can keep your family tree alive from generation to generation? Every salvation story is a sign and a wonder, including yours.

Thankfully, I needed no such convincing. I was in a jail cell having just blown up my life after graduating college on my own. I cried out to God and told Him that if He got me out – I would follow Him forever. He did, and I did, and I still do. God helped us Mark and I start over TOGETHER from scratch – the rest of the story will make it out eventually. Pray that I will be brave enough to both ‘SHOW and TELL’ it!

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