Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lech Lecha: "Go Forth Yourself"

Father Abraham had many sons and many sons had father Abraham and I am one of them and so are you, so let's just praise the Lord.  Right hand... 
Do you remember this song?  When I was first introduced to Protestant religion, I was a youth visiting my Dad in Virginia where his family and he attended a southern Baptist church.  It was summer and VBS was the highlight therein, wherein I learned many songs if not at VBS then in junior church.  This song invited me to the Abrahamic Covenant, a place where believers (Jew and Gentile alike) met covenant with God.  It claimed that all believers had the same father of faith and he was Abraham.  

Now religion played a war on me throughout the years thereafter but I finally got into a straight path in the Way, though I hadn't really thought of the Abrahamic Covenant much.  It was until a few years afterwards while I was reading through the book of Romans and about halfway through I noticed much of the things that Paul was referencing came in direct line with the Abrahamic Covenant and the promises therein.  I saw the Abrahamic Covenant like a hidden thread throughout, and the promises were given to Messiah and His seeds.  It was then that I came to see that all covenants we see in the Bible are really one and the one covenant really starts to be revealed through what we know as the Abrahamic.  Though there are covenants previous to the Abrahamic (Adamic and Noahic), and each one uncovering a bit more of the one true covenant, it really takes a revelatory turning point with Abraham.  This is the beginning of a calling out of a certain people.  Through Romans and the church's claims to promise, I came to see, as it says in Romans itself about being grafted in, that those that claim the promises of the [Abrahamic] Covenant must be found in the [Abrahamic] Covenant, and they join themselves to the people called out (grafted in, see chapter 11).  I later came to understand that when Gentiles came into covenant with God it did not start with what we know as the New Covenant, it started with Abraham.  I came to this point slowly by first realizing that Caleb's identity (Caleb who alone with Joshua came to lead Israel into the land of promise) revealed that Gentiles entered covenant at least as far back as Caleb's time and then backtracked to this Covenant we read about this week, and that Gentiles didn't bring to pass a different Covenant because of their identity but that their identity was conformed to God's "Hebrew" way.  

Before I lose the reader on the value and deity of Christ, I will say He is most certainly needed because, having fallen out of Covenant, He alone can restore us to it.  Paul somewhat speaks of this Torah mystery in Romans, but I'll simply state it as this:  If you are unfaithful to your spouse you are in the curse of adultery.  Your spouse can remarry as the victim, but you are cursed to the bond of your marriage, though put away and divorced.  The only way you are free to remarry is if/when your spouse dies.  He came for the lost sheep of Israel, those put away.  So then as their Husband and the one to whom we have all committed adultery against (having worshipped other than Him), He must die to release us, and release us to remarry Him.  Therefore, the Covenant is not new, but renewed.  This, on top of God aforetime saying He requires blood for life, and the punishment and payment of offenses being equal to the victim, so that God can only pay back God with God -- the wisdom of God in the salvation plan has many items that need to be addressed and all are covered by Him.  He is our Y'shua, our salvation.  I bring up the perspective through adultery according to Torah because we it quickly removes this whole Old Covenant vs New Covenant concept.  Back to the Abrahamic Covenant...
And YHWH said to Abram, "Go yourself out of your land, from your relatives and from your father's house, to a land which I show you.  And I shall make you a great nation, and bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing!  And I shall bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you.  And in you all the clans of the earth shall be blessed."  So Abram left, as YHWH had commanded him, and Lot went with him.  And Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.  And Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they gathered, and the beings whom they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Kena'an.  And they came to the land of Kena'an.  -- Genesis 12:1-5
So we can see that when God gave Abraham the covenant, it wasn't just with his actual blood, but he took with him non-relatives that became a part of his household.

The Covenant itself has 3 points, which we just read and which truly are given to Messiah and claimed (if even just spiritually for those dispensational believers) by those who believe in Him.  What I want to discuss is requirements of the Covenant.  The first demand of this Covenant is that Abraham is to go to a land that the Lord would show him.  It was not revealed to him at that moment where he would go.  Such faith.  Clearly, the first demand to enter Covenant with God is that we would walk by faith.  This is true universally and in all time, not just a New Testament concept, whereas the Old Testament required law-abidance.  To target this once and for all, we can see via Hebrews 11 all those faith-walkers mentioned are Old Testament saints, and that those who love him will keep His law -- just as those who love their spouses will keep the law of their marriages.
After these events the word of YHWH came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your reward is exceedingly great."  -- Genesis 15:1
Another requirement of this Covenant is the presence of the Lord, God revealed in your life.  That verse is most otherwise translated not as God simply saying Abram has a reward but that Abram's reward is God.  I once heard someone say that it doesn't matter if you claim to be saved if you do not have a real testimony of God's deliverance and presence in your life.  To confirm, the Bible does give accounts of times when people professed with their mouths the Lord God and yet His presence was not among them due to apostasy.  
"And no longer is your name called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, because I shall make you a father of many nations. ... And Elohim said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, do you not call name Sarai, for Sarah is her name."  -- Genesis 17:5, 15
Speaking of God's presence and Abraham being the revelatory point of the one Covenant, notice the name change.  Both of these names had the Hebrew hey added to them, which refers to revelation and Divine presence.  The presence of the Lord is to be in your life.  As a fruit inspector, this is what we all look for in each other, and what the world is looking for as their motivation to faith.
"This is My covenant which you guard between Me and you, and your seed after you:  Every male child among you is to be circumcised.  And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.  And a son of eight days is circumcised by you, every male in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with silver from any foreigner who is not of your seed."  -- Genesis 17:10-12
This Covenant requires a physical sign of a spiritual truth.  Surely if the world and the things therein speak of His glory and His kingdom (Matthew 13), then your whole life should be a physical example of a spiritual truth -- your relationship with your parents, relationship with your children, relationship with your spouse, your decisions in your doings and non-doings (Deuteronomy 6:6-9), your trials.  The heart circumcised brings the soul into Covenant (Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Romans 2:29) and God, being consistent, wants a physical sign of the spiritual truth and in this matter it comes via physical circumcision.   

What we also see in the above passage is a confirmation of non-relatives of Abraham entering the Covenant (Gentiles entering).  Yes it says those that are bought and therefore brought into Abraham's house, and we may argue if we are like these servants and slaves that were bought by a man like Abraham.  To be listed as a purchased slave of Abraham and his Jewish descendants might offend many, even the Church.  However, if these Covenant promises are ultimately given to Messiah then you have to believe that you are one of those foreigners bought by Him to enter the Covenant, and you are a slave of His if not a slave to your own sin.  If you do not believe you have been bought, nor are willing to be His servant added unto His house, then it makes sense you wouldn't follow the Covenant because you are not a part of it.

Not only does the physical circumcision of natural and purchased sons tell of a spiritual truth, but even the numbers in the above passage also tell of a spiritual truth.  I mentioned last week, in regards to the 120 years in Genesis 6:3, that I believe in the literal giving of 120 years to man until the Flood, and that this also means a literal 120 Jubilees given to man, which equals 6,000 years.  I reminded the reader of Scripture's saying of the Lord's time and tarrying as one day as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day, so then 6,000 years is as 6 days.  I then reminded the reader of the 6 days in one week, the 7th being the set-apart to the Lord, so that after our 6 days (6 millenniums, 120 Jubilees) we commence the 7th millennium (7th "day" which is set-apart to the Lord) as the Lord's Day and literal millennial reign.  So this week I will share my thoughts on the number 8, which falls after last week's thoughts on the number 7 and the 7th millennium.  Eight means "new beginnings."  After 7 is 8 and after the 7th millennium (the millennial reign) we have the old done away with and the new heaven and new earth, and that surely is a new beginning.  The point on this is, there is a reason why God said circumcise the sons on the eighth day.  Not only is this thought to be the time when blood-clotting makes circumcision a safer practice, but it symbolizes a new beginning.  We know that when we come to Messiah the old has done away with, behold, all things are become new.
And it came to be when Abram was ninety-nine years old, that YHWH appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am El Shaddai -- walk before Me and be perfect."  -- Genesis 17:1
So we have come to the final requirement I will mention.  It is to walk perfect.  I understand that many will say this is the difference between the Old Testament and the New, but I will remind you that our Lord Messiah Himself said the same thing in Matthew 5:48 -- which leaves us asking what does it mean to walk perfect?  Through the Strong's we see this is the Hebrew tamiym, that it means to be undefiled and without blemish.
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.  -- Psalm 119:1 KJV
And the same verse in The Scriptures:
Blessed are the perfect in the way, Who walk in the Torah of YHWH!
So then Messiah tells us, Matthew 5:48, to be undefiled (that is, to walk in Torah, His Word) even as our heavenly Father does.

Another verse about being perfected and undefiled:
But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected in him.  By this we know that we are in Him.  -- I John 2:5
Reminder, the Word that existed at this point was Torah.  From the beginning, God has commanded man to "guard."  You see this command living through to one of the last books of the Bible, in our I John verse above, through the last chapter of Revelation, and it started with Adam in Genesis two.  It is a faithful command through all time, and it is a command that is most given in the Abrahamic Covenant -- the command to walk perfect, which is to guard to keep and obey the Word.
And Elohim said to Abraham, "As for you, guard My covenant, you and your seed after you throughout their generations."  -- Genesis 17:1
I started with the first requirement, which is faith; and I end with the final, obedience -- which is keeping God's Word (law, "Torah") because as the book of James tells us, "faith without works is dead."


N...

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Noach/Noah

He rescued Lot, a righteous man deeply troubled by the shameless immorality of the wicked.  (For that righteous man, while living among them, was tormented in his righteous soul day after day by lawless deeds he saw and heard.)  -- 2 Peter 2:7-8 TLV
I read this yesterday as I concluded this week's study with the Brit Chadashah reading.  I was so relieved.  I briefly wrote about a passage last week and in truth the passage was a very real struggle of mine I have been coming to Brant about.  The passage was when Adam and Eve ate of the tree and their eyes were open to know good and evil.  I shared Brant's suggested meaning, likening the prefall mind to a sheltered child who never watched TV nor saw the evils of the world and the fallen mind to the mind of today -- the mind that knows of what evils exist and is often brought to envision these by the news, and by those who are bringing awareness for activism and charity.  Don't get me wrong, I am not against awareness.  I am actually for it, but let us be truthful with ourselves and realize that it doesn't only bring about ministries and aides, but it shows us what men are capable of and that knowledge is torturous.

I hope I don't have Elijah-syndrome with this.  I don't think that I do, especially when I read a passage that says a man before me (Lot) was troubled with the immorality his eyes saw and his soul was tortured with the deeds he saw and heard.  Both my soul and my mind (being visionary) are tortured with the evil of this world that I see, don't even see but merely read, and hear.  My struggle is that, considering the torture of it, my mind is blemished.  No, I know I don't Elijah-syndrome, I am simply fallen man that as open eyes to the knowledge of evil whose soul has been made righteous and by which I am both blessed with the open eyes to see the good (namely, the Lord who alone is good) in this world and tortured to see the evil (even if I don't literally see it, but being brought to the knowledge of it imprints the image in my mind).  Actually, if I wasn't tormented, like I now complain, then I'd be worried my soul was not made righteous but that in it dwells the desire of the same evil.
Therefore the Lord certainly knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and how to keep the unrighteous being punished until the Day of Judgment--especially those who follow after the flesh in its unclean desires and who despises the Lord's authority.  -- 2 Peter 2:9-10 TLV
The Lord will keep such ones, like Lot and Noah, from trials.  What is a trial?   It is a time of testing, waiting, growing, killing, amongst other things.  We can look at the men referenced in this reading to get a better idea of a trial and with Lot we know that a trial can be likened to judgment because some trials definitely lead to them.  Actually with both, trials led to judgment.  Let's take a look at the days of Noah as it pertains to trials, which is our Torah reading this week.

In Genesis 6:1-8 we read that man's thoughts and heart's intentions were only wicked continually and God decided to wipe out the earth, sparing Noah and his family.  He was going to do this in 120 years, as some interpret that passage; and though trials have a number, that number is not 120, but forty.  We get this from this story, the story of Israel in the wilderness, the Acts period before the temple destruction, etc., which all equated to the number forty and were all times of trial.  In the Hebrew, numbers have meanings as do letters (which also have numbers).  This is important for us to understand in study and in interpreting signs, especially in things like dreams.  I am amazed at what God says through them when I get the meaning of things from the Hebrew mindset and His likenings in the Word.

So forty is the time given for trial, and here is where that number plays in this reading:
And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.  -- Genesis 7:12 
So here we uncover the purpose of trial, because 40 here is for purging.  The purpose of our trials, and for all trials we read of in the Bible (the judgment in Lot's dwelling, Israel in the wilderness, the Acts period) is for ...purging.  Sometimes the purging is within, sometimes the purging is the land (city, country, earth).

By the way, my assumption is that 120 is the days given to man, because that is literally what God said when He spoke the number.  I am one who does interpret that God gave man life on the earth for a literal 120 years before the Flood and that He gives man 120 Jubilee years on this earth, which is 6,000 years.  If God created the earth in 6 days and set-apart the seventh for Himself and if one day is as a thousand years (Psalm 90:4), then man has 6 millenniums and the 7th is set-apart for the Lord as the Day of the Lord in His 1 day/1 millennial earthly reign.

 I want to look at one more thing in the Torah reading, a word that is spoken over and over:  water.  Speaking of dream interpretations, water makes it in mine quite often.  I know we can all relate.  In interpretation, I use God's Word as the interpreter.  With water, I most often use the the water sources at the end of Ezekiel to determine.  In that passage, water is found in different ways, and the Word tells you the meaning of each body of water.  The meaning of water depends on the water source.  You have the stream (the Word), the river (the Spirit), the seas/oceans (the nations).  We also read about water in this week's Torah portion:
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of the heavens were opened.  And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.  -- Genesis 7:11-12
And the waters were mighty and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters.  -- Genesis 7:18
The waters became mighty, fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.  -- Genesis 7:20
And the waters were mighty on the earth, one hundred and fifty days.  -- Genesis 7:24
One of the biggest revelations to me on the meaning of water is through the Hebrew letter mem.  It comes in open and closed form.  It is often referenced to a womb, closed belonging to a virgin/womb that hasn't experienced childbirth.  As with any childbirth experience, when it opens water gushes forward (ruptured membranes).  Therefore the closed mem is closed waters.  Open mem is opened waters.  Now reconsider the verses above in Genesis 7:11-12 notice how the waters were closed in the heavens and then the heavens opened and they gushed forward.  It sort of reminds us of the meaning behind the mem doesn't it?  Mem also refers to chaos, because gushing waters are chaos, whereas contained waters are not.  Looking back we can see that the gushing waters of the Flood were chaos to the earth -- things shifted, life ended.  We can also see that the Flood that came from the open heavens was as one large ocean in the world.  Remember that the ocean is given for the nations, and the nations are nothing short of chaos.

Before we returned to the States I had a series of water dreams.  They were all turbulent oceanic waters (chaos) and quite frightening, but one thing I am thankful for is that my family and I were atop the waters in a boat and ship.  I believe the Lord was reassuring me on my family's position in Him during these times, especially coming back to this disorderly/chaotic nation.  God is well able, friends, in these days liken unto Noah's, to rise us above the chaos, above the waters, sustained in His ark.
And Elohim remembered Noah, and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark.  And Elohim made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.  -- Genesis 8:1
What is wind other than ruach/spirit?  With that thought, go back to Genesis 1:2 -- "And the earth came to be formless and empty. and darkness was on the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of Elohim was moving on the face of the waters..." The passages are quite alike.  The Spirit moves over the waters and what happens?  Life happens.  The end is likened unto the days of Noah and its goal is likened unto the beginning.  In that case, I am comforted in knowing that no matter the evil and chaos and the death it brings, God will remember me, move over me, and raise me into newness of life when the purging is complete...free of the chaos of these days.    

 N...

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bereshit: "In the beginning"

Oh boy, Genesis is my favorite book and this is my favorite portion of the book...until I read my next favorite.  It is so full of prophecy and history -- full of everything -- I can hardly believe this portion contains so many chapters (six) to study for one week.  There are so many different subjects of eternal truth to study in these passages, but one key study phrase to keep in mind is actually a Bible verse (Isaiah 46:10):  the end is declared from the beginning.  

The book is the beginning, the foundation.  Everything that is revealed here about God's character in eternity and as He related to mankind is and will be consistent with His dealings with man thereafter.  We will create a whole new god to worship if we refuse to study the character of God in the New Testament alongside His ways in the Old...since He is One, eternal, and unchanging.  This is why this is so important to dive right into this beginning book, the beginning chapters of this book, and study the literal, analogical, implied, and hidden truths therein.

Here are just a few things of this Torah portion that my family and I are deeply considering:
And the earth came to be formless and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of Elohim was moving on the face of the waters.  -- Genesis 1:2
Is darkness a created thing or is it the absence of light?  I can mirror this question with another:  Is the lake of fire and brimstone full of chaos and evil because of the absence of God (who alone is order and good) or is it created that way for the purpose of debt paying?  The answer with the first is that it is both.  God flat out says that He created the darkness (Isaiah 45:7), and light wouldn't be light if there wasn't darkness.  To mirror that last statement:  This is why you cannot appreciate the price of salvation (let alone even claim it) without knowing, truly knowing, what you are saved from, because good news wouldn't be so if there weren't bad news to make it so.

Another debated thing you hear in mainstream Christianity since the time of the Reformers is the steps of salvation.  I'm not going to get into doctrines that were named after men, but let us settle the matter of life with the second verse (above) of this book:  Life begins with the Ruach/Spirit (which also means breath).  You will find this consistent from hereon, especially noting the valley of dried bones in the book of Ezekiel.  His Spirit moves and there is life. 
And Elohim created the man in His image, in the image of Elohim He created him -- male and female He created them.  -- Genesis 1:27
Most single people I know dearly wish to be married, and though my opinion doesn't count is it Biblically acceptable to say that is okay to want marriage?  If I read Paul's statement correctly in I Corinthians 7, the standard is to be married, the rarity is that you are not.  He talks of men having different gifts, and the ability to remain single being one of them.  I believe it is a standard because of the verse above and because He Himself says it is not good for man to be alone, on top of other verses that speak of two being better than one.

The image of God is upon man, but not just man.  If it was only upon male than it would be good for male to be alone, but instead God says it is not good.  Remembering that God is good, so then whatsoever He creates to be the image of Him should be good as well, correct?  Well, it is absolutely good when both man and woman, each having their own different imprints of God's character upon them, come together to give the full picture of God's character all the while exemplifying the Biblical earthly marriage and eternal marriage.  If a single gender alone had the full character of God imprinted upon him, what motivation would he have to join to another and be the example of the eternal marriage, or what would prevent him from being born his own god?  Let us remember this and defend the differences between the sexes, the importance of marriage, especially in this time of evil that persuades a single gender (uni-gender) upon us and one gender found in a marriage.
"For Elohim knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be like Elohim, knowing good and evil."  And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, and she took of its fruit and ate.  And she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.  -- Genesis 3:5-6
Many studies focus on why this tree was there in the first place.  This time around, our family has been focusing on what is it about knowledge of good and evil that meant their destruction?  Yes, the disobedience alone led to their destruction, but God clearly did say that eating of the tree is destruction in itself.  Sometimes I hate scrolling on Facebook, because all the awareness articles people share come with a pictures of that story, and some are downright evil.  Someone may share a pro-life article that had a video attached to the article and the post's thumbnail will be a picture of an aborted baby.  Another article I saw posted was that of ISIS' torture on Christian babies -- the thumbnail was that of babies on the floor with the criminals' feet by them as if they were kicking the children.  Mind you, I did not open any of these articles, the thumbnails alone show the evil they expose.  Brant assimilates the knowledge of good and evil, namely the knowledge of evil, with what those thumbnails do to one's mind (or at least do to my mind) -- the evil is played in your head and now your eyes have "opened" to see it.  You don't have to be the actor of the evil in order to envision evil, and envisioning it clearly isn't a crime as many movements are surviving because of the envisioning that gains your consideration and sympathy, but it certainly does taint a mind.  Imagine having a mind that has never seen such things.  It's like a sheltered child who doesn't know the ways of the world -- oh blessed shelter.
And YHWH Elohim said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all livestock and more than every beast of the field.  On your belly you are to go, and eat dust all the days of your life.  ...  To the woman He said, "I greatly increase your sorrow and your conception -- bring forth children in pain.  And you desire is for your husband, and he does rule over you."  ...  [to the man] "By the sweat of your face you are to eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken.  For dust you are, and to dust you return."  -- Genesis 3:14, 16, 19
These are the curses given to all three.  Did you notice that none of them repented?  I'll get into the woman's curse later, but for now I wanted to share that I noticed a correlation between the curse given to the serpent and that given to the man.  Elohim calls man dust, and beforehand He tells the serpent he will eat dust.  The serpent has since kept himself quite busy chasing after man, feasting upon him as God has here said he would.
And YHWH Elohim made the coats of skin for the man and his wife and dressed them.  -- Genesis 3:21
Was Cain the first to shed blood on the earth?  The truth is, God is the first.  Isn't it a beautiful thought that not only did God command blood shed of animals for atonement, but shed blood Himself as the first atonement, and eventually the final?  You can be sure of this -- God didn't place anything in His Torah that didn't fully coincide with His own character.  He is His Word.
And it came to be, in the course of time, that Qayin brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to YHWH.  And Hebel also brought of the first-born of his flock and of their fat.  And YHWH looked to Hebel and his offering, but He did not look to Qayin and his offering.  And Qayin was very wroth, and his face fell.  ...  "If you do well, is there not acceptance?  And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door.  And its desire is for you, but you should master it."  -- Genesis 4:3-5, 7
Does God not accept fruit from the ground as an acceptable offering?  Clearly, He does as He not only accepted but commanded the first fruits of barley and wheat.  Yet, it says that He did not accept Cain's. This makes you wonder what kind of fruit Cain offered?  Whatever it is, it was not a well.  If it was a well offering, God would have accepted it as He says.  If the meaning is that the fruit was not well, then I can almost liken it to God's argument in Malachi about how He was being offered the sick and blemished animals while the people kept the well and spotless ones for themselves.  That is if it does mean this.

Notice how it says that Abel offered the first-born of his flock and its fat.  This sounds like a Torah command before the Torah was even written.  Remember that Adam had the Word written in His heart, and true to the Word, he diligently taught it to his children.  This side of the Covenant, He says the Word is upon our hearts once again.  How many of us are following as faithfully as those followers before the Torah?

Going back to the woman's curse.  A part of her curse is that her desire would be towards her husband and he would master her.  Read God's words to Cain again.  He says the same thing to Cain should he continue not doing well.  Sin's desire would be to Cain and Cain should master it.  Essentially, the man is married to sin and so it is with all that are not married to God.  You may not like it, and certainly not like it being said so bluntly, but you are a slave nonetheless -- either God's or sin's (Romans 6).  You are either bonded and married to God or you are bonded and married to sin.
"And now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.  If you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you.  You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth."  -- Genesis 4:11-12
Many liken these brothers as 2 separate paths -- the spiritual man and the worldly man.  Just last year I wrote an article on that same perspective.  However, this time around we have been looking at Abel as the type of Messiah and Cain as the type of Israel.  Cain killed his brother just as Israel killed theirs (Messiah).  Israel was given cities of refuge lest bloodshed defile the land and the land spue them out, and eventually it did for innocent bloodshed (in their idolatry) and for failure to uphold the Shemittah, along with other offenses.  Here, the land vomits Cain out of it for innocent bloodshed as well.  Israel then became a wanderer in the nations.  Here, Cain is to become a wanderer in the earth.  God's rules are always the same, no matter the time -- do we see that?
And YHWH said to him, "Well, if anyone kills Qayin, vengeance is taken on him sevenfold."  And YHWH set up a sign for Qayin, lest anyone finding him kills him.  -- Genesis 4:15
We learned in the case of Israel that even though God is chastising His children, it doesn't give us the right to do so.  Though He sent Judah out, He punished the nations for their part in Judah's chastisement.  God is punishing Qayin but the world can't step in and have their part in it.  This is another comparison to Israel.
And Adah bore Yabal.  He was the father of those who dwell in tents.  -- Genesis 4:20
Don't you find it divine that this was pointed out in Scripture?  This is so important because of what "dwelling in tents" means to the Lord.  In fact God says Jacob was a perfect man, dwelling in tents.  This is quick to demolish the serpent seed in Cain, because we see that through the line of Cain there are those who are in relationship with the Lord.
And to Sheth, to him also a son was born.  And he called his name Enosh.  Then it was begun to call on the Name of YHWH.  -- Genesis 4:26
To "call upon the Name of the Lord" is not a book-of-Romans doctrine.  It began here in Genesis.  The term is used to show a result of salvation -- hence, whosoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.  Before we say that all you have to do is simply say a prayer (which is to call on Him) to be saved, one should see other areas wherein this phrase is used and conclude what it means to be saved and how to be so, starting with the first time it is stated right here.  What is God trying to say by pointing this out about Enosh?  Among other things, He is telling us that salvation came through the line of Sheth.  This is very important to understand as we go through the Torah and its teachings, because from that point on many messiahs come to pass (outside of the hints and ways/lineage of His salvation), but God gives us the Torah as a foundation for discerning the real Messiah, the only One that can truly save us.

 N...

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

V'Zot HaBrachah: This is the Blessing

Well, I am a bit late.  We have now cycled back to Genesis starting today, but the end of the Torah was just so important and my week was so busy that I figured better late than never.  The end sees us going back to the beginning, and this way of reading alone is so significant and symbolic of a much deeper understanding.  A life of integrity, where all parts speak of the Lord, is the life we are after; and so it is absolutely perfect that even in the way we read the story we are telling a far more important story. 

That understanding is that the end is the beginning.  Hebraic thought and theology is cyclic and not linear.  Your whole theology will change (at least mine did) when you begin to read the Bible's goal of "renewed" and "restored", and the sinner's commission to "repent" and "return" as it is written:  literally.  The literal meaning of these words is that we are to repent and return (which means to go back), and a message of our dire need to be renewed [to covenant] and restored.  One might ask, "Return and be renewed to what?"  --To the beginning.  Simply, the end is the beginning.  It only makes sense this way because it wasn't as if God messed up with His creation and He had to make anew, but in fact what He created was good.  Nay, it was very good.  We need to be, and will be, restored back to that good.

If you adopt this Hebraic way of thinking, remembering the King and Messiah of Abraham is Hebrew Himself, then you can read the end of Revelation and see things in the end that were in the beginning:  God dwelling with His people, the tree of life, etc.  Now try reading the whole book of Revelation with this thought process, rather than a Grecian one, and you are going to see the book of Genesis all over it, along with the rest of the Torah (namely, the feasts, numbers, and purposed items in celebration).  

So you see in order for me to properly start at the beginning I felt it was incumbent upon me to dwell a bit on the end.  What is the end of the Torah but the beginning of Joshua/Yehoshua's lead?  And what does coming to the end of the Torah mean to believers of the Messiah?  It means coming to Messiah.  Now, of course, just as Joshua's lead didn't mean doing away with the Law of God (He was commanded to keep it, read Joshua 1), so Messiah's reign does not mean doing away with it as well -- as we have been modernly taught.  In fact, Messiah's reign is about restoring the Law of God (which is His own Law since He is God), as we read in the prophets -- the Law will go forth from Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1-5; Micah 4:2).  Could it be possible that we have been fooled into thinking the end of the Torah to come to Messiah is to be done with the Torah, as if the Messiah is not one with His own Word, as if there are two Gods:  the judging one of the Old Testament and the one who saves us from His Father's Word in the New Testament -- as if we have been therefore fooled into having a polytheistic belief without even realizing it?  What a deception by a very intelligent being if so.

Moving on, let's dive into the end.  The Torah portion (Deuteronomy 33-34) started with a blessing Moses spoke over Israel and ended with his death into Joshua's role as leader.  If you read the blessings, you will see he blesses them in accordance to what has already been seen and how it will apply to the future (prophetic).  This isn't some name it and claim it, but he has observed how God has indeed already blessed, acknowledged it, and lined his words up with the obvious of God's will and used wisdom to see how those blessings would be brought into the future.  Below is what he says after the individual blessings, which clearly tells us this is the motivation for saying what he said to the tribes:
"O Yeshurun, there is no one like El, riding the heavens to help you, and on the clouds, in His excellency.  The Elohim of old is a refuge, and beneath are everlasting arms.  And He drives out the enemy from before you and says, 'Destroy!'  Thus Yisra'el dwells in safety, the fountain of Ya'aqob alone, in a land of grain and new wine.  His heavens also drop down dew.  Blessed are you, O Yisra'el!  Who is like you, a people saved by YHWH, the shield of your help, and He who is the sword of your excellency!  And your enemies are subdued for you, and you tread down their high places."  -- Deuteronomy 33:26-29
What a blessing to see that you have been blessed.  I think oftentimes the hindrance to our blessings is not a lack of blessings, but blind eyes that cannot see them.  One of the blessings we have is the Torah itself, which obedience to brings forth lots of blessings.  This is not because of a works-based salvation, but because order and peace (which is established by law that is designed to show kindness and express love) is a blessing itself.  Our eyes are so blind in seeing the fence that our flesh is against, that it cannot see the blessing.  It is a blessing to have a day of rest, a blessing to not be bonded to coveting, a blessing to not have murder existing in your towns, a blessing to have a man say something and mean it, a blessing to have your run-away ox be returned to you, a blessing to gather with fellow believers in a celebration a few times a year.  All these things are written in the Torah and are they not blessings?  The Torah is indeed a blessing.  It is not a blessing to those adverse to it, like the Adversary and those he has successfully inspired to likewise be adverse to God's Torah.
Mosheh commanded us a Torah, an inheritance of the assembly of Ya'aqob.  -- Deuteronomy 33:4
The Torah is the declaration of God's moral attributes, because God is peace, love, kindness, order, and God loves Himself and loves those He dwells with likewise -- as is the Torah's highest command (love God and love your neighbor).  To receive the Torah as an inheritance (as is stated in verse above) is to be given the character of God.  Children receive many inherited traits from their parents.  Some are in the genes and some are from spending 18 years with the parent.  My son's type-A OCD personality is from me, and it appears to be genetic.  So then, when we are His children, some of our newfound traits come from being changed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18) in the transformation of the Holy Spirit and some come from spending time with Him (being sanctified by His Word, John 17:17) as we adapt His likeness.  The Torah is the inheritance of His people, and to be adverse to the Torah is the inheritance of the Adversary.

Before I tie in blessings of the end and the beginning, I want to first share something.  A few months ago I attended a women's meeting wherein the speaker told us of how she lived a life of curses and oppression for some time.  She shared with us that she wrote and spoke blessings over herself.  She shared one of those blessings, which was fully Scripture, and she blew me away with her blessing.  She challenged us to write and speak a blessing over ourselves, by consideration of observing how we already have been blessed.  Meaning, speak what has already been done.  It's sort of how I viewed the summary of Moses' blessing -- an acknowledgment of how we have already been blessed and how this can be carried into the future.  I challenge the reader to do the same.  I will share mine with you:
Natasha, The Lord God of heaven and earth has bestowed upon you the blessing of life. He has breathed into you His own breath, and made you a living soul. He has breathed into you His Ruach HaKodesh and made you a soul that will abide for eternity as you abide in Him. He has, by this, awakened you and invited you and jealously perpetually draws you to the oneness of Him and to being echad with Him. He has blessed you as a citizen of His kingdom. As your Elohim, He makes you to rise above chaos. He has blessed you as daughter, by His Son Yehoshua Messiah, restoring you to be fruitful and multiply, as it was in the Garden. He has written His Word upon your heart, that you may not sin against Him and that you may dwell in the land of the living all the days of your life. He has opened your eyes that you may see, your ears that you may hear, and your heart that you may understand that all things are created by Him, through Him, and for Him. He has sent His Word to you, written and living, and has determined that it would not return back to Him void. It will return with you. He has blessed you to seek Him and to see Him by faith in the Scriptures. He has used your misfortune in the lack of a father to be a Father to you. He has and will always be your Father. He alone has shown you the love of a parent, teaching you and carrying you as a Father does a son. You have been delivered from sin's sting and the devil's taunting that would attempt to take your former role as victim to be become a victimizer. He has commissioned that your trials would be triumphs and that by the sword of division in His Son, you would no longer be victim but be a victor. If ever He allows the enemy to be used in your life, it is only to proclaim His victory in you, through the power of His restoration, to draw you to Him, to refine you as fine gold, all to the glory of His mighty and powerful Name. He has given you understanding in these things because He would not have you perish for lack of knowledge. He has instructed you in His Torah and commissions you all the days of your life to be an extension of Him, as a son is to a father, as is His divine design. He has done this by His Son, imputing the character of His Son to be imprinted upon you, as if you were one. In this sense, He has given you the blessing of bride – called you to be One with His Son, twain one flesh as His Word describes of marriages. As Husband He has paid your debt, your dowry, and has been your Lord to guide you. He has been faithful to you as a Husband and bids you to be faithful to Him. By His own power and jealousy over you, He fills you with the knowledge through His Torah and through His own character, of what it means to be a faithful bride. He has raised you up a beautiful bride, presenting you spotless and without wrinkle. He sets you apart, consecrating you unto Himself. He protects you and provides for you, and you will never beg for bread. As He remembered David, He will remember you, and will claim the generations that will come forth from you. You are adorned with all the jewels of a bride most beloved, the jewels of the fruit of the Spirit and of the gifts of the Spirit. He blesses you with these gifts because of His constant and undying for you and how much He wishes you to love Him in return. He has forgiven your transgressions, and has never forsaken you even when you ignorantly forsook Him. He has determined to give you exceedingly abundantly more than you could ever ask or think. He has made you wealthy in the things eternal, and has set your heart aright to seek these things. He has blessed you with Himself, in all the ways an Eternal God can give Himself to another. He has placed His Name YHWH upon you by taking you as daughter, by taking you as Bride, by calling you into His family through His triune nature, through the events He designed in your life, through His Word, and through the unfailing love that you know He has ultimately blessed you with. This love is heaven to you, because He is your heaven, and this love will lift you to that heaven when you dwell with Him for all eternity. He brings you to Himself.
Ultimately, I want God's blessing.  I want the blessing He wants to give me, because I don't know what is best for myself.  I am not my own God to figure that out.  When I think about God's blessing, I think of Numbers 6, the Aaronic benediction, when God says He wants to put His Name on His people and bless them like this.  I want to be restored to being free from the curse of sin, having God's Name upon me.  Somehow I think this is the end of blessings, the final and ultimate blessing.  I say this because of what is written in the end, about the end:
And no longer shall there be any curse, and the throne of Elohim and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.  And they shall see His face, and His Name shall be upon their foreheads.  -- Revelation 22:3-4
This is saying God will dwell with His people, very literally, and that His Name will be upon them.  In that passage, it also says He will be our light, there will be no more sorrow or pain (the curse of sin).  Now compare this with the blessing to His inheritance in their start as a people:
"Speak to Aharon and his sons, saying, 'This is how you bless the children of Yisra'el.  Say to them:  "YHWH bless you and guard you; YHWH make His face shine upon you, and show favour to you; YHWH lift up His face upon you, and give you peace"'  Thus they shall put My Name on the children of Yisra'el, and I Myself shall bless them."  -- Numbers 6:23-27
Both are the same.  This is the end blessing.  This is restoration and renewal.


N...

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Kol Nidrei/Yom Kippur

 This week in our readings we turn back to Leviticus 16, as this week falls in line with a Biblical appointment in the Biblical calendar.  This Friday sundown starts Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and it kicks off with the Kol Nidrei, a nullifying of the previous year's vows.

Yom Kippur is not done away with, since it is clearly part of the eternal Word, but is a Fall Feast; and like the other Fall Feasts, is awaiting fulfillment and will see it at the second coming of the Lord and Messiah.  First the trumpets (Yom Teruah) then the atonement (Yom Kippur), and then the dwelling (Sukkot), just as God set it in order here in His Torah.

So we turn back to Leviticus 16 this week to study the protocols with Yom Kippur.  It will help us understand God's order and how the future fulfillment will come to pass.  God does not change -- this should promote the Hebraic cyclic thinking, rather than linear thinking; so that what will be has already happened (Ecclesiastes 1:9, 3:15; Isaiah 46:10).  Promotion of new thought, as we Greek-thinkers think of "new", will result in a new [and, quite likely, a false Greek] god.  God is not a Greek God, but is a Hebrew one, and so we must study Him and His times in this manner.

Yom Kippur isn't about turning our pages back to the book of Leviticus, but it is about turning back ourselves.  Taken from one of the Brit Chadashah readings this week:
Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a renewed creature -- the old matters have passed away, see, all matters have become renewed!  And all matters are from Elohim, who has restored us to favour with Himself through Yehoshua Messiah, and has given us the service of restoration to favour...  -- II Corinthians 5:17-18
You will notice that some versions will use the word "new" rather than "renewed" in verse seventeen. The Greek thoughts leans more towards "new," yet taken in context (reading to verse 18) we find that by declaring a restoration, "new" to God is "renewed."  Restoration isn't new, but a renewal.  This is easy to understand because God created a perfect being and had perfect relationship with that being and because God doesn't change.  There wasn't a fault in what God created, wherein He would find Himself having to make a whole new thing; but rather man became faulty and must be restored to God's original perfect design.  Restoration for that man means repentance, and repentance isn't just changing, it is turning back to that order and design.  This is the difference between a truly new thing and a restored/renewed one.  New ways make way for new teachings, and we wonder why we have so many denominations.  Renewed ways make reverence an unchanging, perfect, and eternal Hebrew God.  

The Haftarah reading talks about a renewal (repentance, turning back) as well, as it pertains to Yom Kippur:
"If you do turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My set-apart day, and shall call the Sabbath 'a delight,' the set-apart day of YHWH 'esteemed,' and shall esteem it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in YHWH.  And I shall cause you to ride on the heights of the earth, and feed you with the inheritance of Ya'aqob your father.  For the mouth of YHWH has spoken!" -- Isaiah 58:13-14
Not very many people that claim themselves to be His children delight in the Shabbat, esteem it, or set it apart in the ways that God says you should.  This is talking about turning back to a certain Sabbath, being renewed to the correct keeping of it.  This is important for us to realize because context is everything.  In the beginning of the chapter He lets us know how He feels about us not keeping this Shabbat, esteeming it, and setting it apart.  Contrary to modern belief, verses 6-9 are not an excuse to forsake fasting in general.  When we read the whole chapter, especially the passage listed above, we see words such as "afflict your beings," "the Sabbath," that are familiar because they pertain to Yom Kippur.  Yom Kippur is when God says we are to afflict our beings, fast, and keep the day as a Sabbath.  Incorrect observance of Yom Kippur is failure to observe Yom Kippur.  Correct keeping of it is repentance (renewal), and correct keeping of it would do the things that are listed in verses 6-7, because repentance (renewal) does nullify the vows (like the Kol Nidrei) of a sinner by breaking off those yokes and loving [God and others] as is stated in those verses, which is also the core of the Torah's teachings.

We often quote "delight yourself in YHWH and He shall give you the desires of your heart," and will think upon ourselves many ways to delight ourselves in YHWH, when the Haftarah passage above says proper keeping of this Sabbath is to delight yourself in YHWH.  Why is this? -- because it is the atonement, the saving from the bonds of yourself and your sins.  We should delight in God's salvation.  It is very important to Him that we do delight in His salvation, because it is the glory of God.  The debt paid by Messiah is where all the attributes of God meet in one event.  It is where you can find His wrath and His love; His justice, judgment, and justification; His longsuffering and kindness -- all of Him.  It is the fullness of God's glory in all its extravagance.  Read another portion of the Brit Chadashah reading:
[In Messiah] whom Elohim set forth as an atonement, through belief in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His tolerance Elohim had passed over the sins that had taken place before, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He is righteous and declares righteous the one who has belief in Yehoshua.  -- Romans 3:25-26
Returning back to Yom Kippur... Leviticus 16 gives the order of things in the atonement, a protocol.  Doesn't the flesh just rise up with that simple statement, let alone reverencing Torah?  Bad attitude towards Torah is proof that one needs restoration, reminding ourselves that Torah is God's order.  Torah is given for order and for life.  God is not a God of disorder, but orderly, and there are certain protocols to keep order, which is to keep life sustained.  You don't see the earth orbiting in which ever way it feels like, but according to a certain order that would sustain the life upon it.  You look at the Middle East and see all the chaos (disorder) and what does it result in but random and unjustified killings at a whim in animal-like behaviors.  Let that be proof enough that chaos/disorder does not promote life, and God is a God of life.  His protocol in chapter 16 comes immediately after Nadab and Abihu lose their lives for offering incense with strange fire; so then even offering and intercession (incense) without Torah does not result in life.  His Torah is designed to keep life going and keep it at peace via love and order.

There are few things herein that we can reap about the order in atonement:  1) We must be washed with real water of our uncleanliness (Leviticus 16:4).  Whether you believe that the New Testament teachings of water baptisms are either because of the remission or for the remission, you cannot deny John 3:5 and Acts 2:38 talk about real water.  2) After washing of sins is set-apartness (Leviticus 16:4).  The belief of salvation without the walk is just not Scripturally supported.  Linen is for holy things, wool for common use.  This is why we do not mix linen and wool (Deuteronomy 22:11).  As well, we read in other Brit Chadashah readings for this week (II Corinthians 5:15) that those that have His death as their payment of sins live a life not for themselves but set-apart to Him who died for them.  3) Deal with your own sins before you deal with others (Leviticus 16:5-6).  Aaron was to make offering for himself and his household before he did for Yisrael.  It reminds me of the passage that talks about removing the beam from your eye before you point out the speck in your brother's (Matthew 7:5).  4) Intercession comes only from the sacrifice of Messiah (Leviticus  16:12-13).  Scripture says that Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire with their incense, but the Torah is that the fire for the incense is to come from the coals used to burn the offering.  Of course you know the offering is Messiah.  Intercession (incense) is only through Him; any other offering for intercession is strange fire.  He is the only Way, Truth, and Life (John 14:6).  5) The temple needs cleansing (Leviticus 16:16-20).  This is the first time I read through the chapter and realized that the tabernacle itself, with the altar and the Holy Place, need atoning.  This reminds me of the New Testament verse that says judgement begins in the house of God (I Peter 4:17).  It also makes one think twice about what they are trying to bring into the house of God.  6) Sins must be confessed (Leviticus 16:21).  7)  Sins must be transferred in order to be cast away (Leviticus 16:22).  You cannot bear your sins and one day be cleared of them, because to bear your own sins is to pay eternally for them.  Punishment is not only related to the crime, but also to the victim.  Killing isn't always paid with life.  If a fly is my victim, my life is not given; but I take a human life and I will give my own for it.  If I sin against an eternal God I will pay eternity for it; and so in order to have the sin cast away fully, it must be transferred to One who can pay an eternal cost in paying with His life because His life is eternal.  7) After confession there must be a washing in order to move forward to the completion of the atonement (Leviticus 16:23-24).  I am not saying water is required for salvation; what I am saying is read the Bible's related verses and come to a conclusion yourself.
"And this shall be a statue for ever unto you:  that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you."  -- Leviticus 16:29
This is the final verse I will use, that ties into the Lord's fast from the Isaiah passage above.  The Isaiah passage speaks of returning to a specific Sabbath, in the true meaning of its fast and affliction.  God says that Yom Kippur is a Sabbath, wherein you afflict your souls to include a fast.  We do it for the breaking of yokes in ourselves, that we would return to His ways (Torah), back to order and love.  The results of such are stated in Isaiah 58:6-9.  Return to His ways, which are perfect; delight in His Shabbat, the salvation of YHWH.


N...

*Disclosure:  With the exception of Scripture and quotations, the information on this site is meant to be viewed solely on this site.  Any reference of its contribution is not to be parted with the reference of this site, nor without reference to its contributor.  The information is, kindly, made public, and expected to be cited properly.    

Friday, September 5, 2014

Ki Teitzei: "When you go out"

We continue the repetition of things already said.  The first generation of redeemed Israel is gone, their children are here in their stead, and Moses is honoring the Shema's command to diligent teach the Law to the children.  

The parsha starts out with a protocol of "when you go out" to fight against your enemies.  This is not speaking about protocol of when they go in[to the land] of inheritance, but rather when, after they have conquered the land of inheritance, they leave the land to fight enemies outside of their inheritance.  There is a difference here -- when they go into the inherited land they are to save none alive (Deuteronomy 20:16), but utterly destroy the inhabitants.  The command here is for enemies outside of the inherited land -- it gives them an option to keep women captives alive (even children and livestock in accordance to Deuteronomy 20:14-15).  This statement is continued into the beginning of the reading because it is in the event that one of the women captives captivates the desire of the Israeli man and he wishes her as his wife. 

Once again, this is different protocol than dealing with the inhabitants of the conquered inherited land.  The Israeli man cannot take one of Canaan's inhabitants as a wife, otherwise the land is not getting purged as God so desires.  The statement in the beginning of our parsha is about taking a woman captive outside of her land and bringing her into yours.  It is the difference between Israel entering Moab (city of Shittim) and the Moabitesses causing them to whore (Numbers 25:1), and Ruth, who was also a Moabitess, taken out of her land and brought into Israel.  One is an allowed marriage, and one is not a marriage in the eyes of God, and no man can make God sanctify it.  

Certain mixing is divine, because it is redemptive, and certain mixing is not.  We must be able to discern the difference, and how do we do this?  We have the Torah for such instruction.  Let us focus on some more mixing...
Do not sow your vineyard with different kinds of seed, lest the yield of the seed which you have sown and the fruit of your vineyard be defiled.  Do not plough with an ox and a donkey together.  Do not put on a garment of different kinds, of wool and linen together.  -- Deuteronomy 22:9-11
I am unsure to what the deeper spiritual meaning of the first two negations refer.  However, I have been taught that, for the final, wool was for common use and linen is not.  Linen is a holy garment.  Therefore, the deeper meaning is that the common and the set-apart are not to be mixed.  From thence we can study what 'common' means Biblically and see our limitations in our set-apart walk.  Remember, God is out for out good and it is absolutely prideful for us to think that we can be influential to one's good without their bad influencing us.  Even when restoring a brother to the faith we are told to take heed lest we fall (I Corinthians 10:12) -- how much more to the heathen who has never been a brother?  Remember as well, we have been told to guard two things in the Torah:  the Torah and its home (ourselves).  We must guard ourselves and beware of hidden pride that thinks we can mix for others' good without compromising ourselves.

God is also out for this type of mixing:  the type when our beliefs mix in our whole life.  This is called integrity.  We cannot say we honor the command to not mix with the unclean, but have no idea how to separate clean and unclean clothes, having them sit all in one big pile to take as we need.  I know it is very small in comparison, but the type of mixing God wants is integrity in one's life.  Their values mix in all areas of it.  The simple "do not mix wool and linen" should tell us this much.  Even the world gets this.  I have heard people say they will not accept a dinner invitation from someone whose car looks like rats live in it.  Integrity.
Make tassels on the four corners on the garment with which you cover yourself.  -- Deuteronomy 22:12
There seems to be a universal acceptance of strings ever before us reminding us of something important.  Human beings from all sorts of backgrounds tie strings on their fingers as a reminder to not forget this or that.  It is helpful because of how often we look at our hands.  We will see the string and remember the thing the string represents.  These strings of Torah are to remind us to not forget...Torah! The tassels here are to be on our robe.  Just as God robed Himself in our flesh as a step to being one with us, so we must robe ourselves in His Torah as our step to being one with Him.
For YHWH your Elohim walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you.  Therefore your camp shall be set-apart, so that He does not see unclean matter among you, and shall turn away from you.  -- Deuteronomy 23:14
This is one of the biggest problems we have in the church today.  It is the problem of mixing clean and unclean, the clean allowing unclean into the church.  So many excuses exist as to why the clean allow such things.  The point is that God says separate yourself or He will separate Himself.  Does He accept sinners?  Of course!  He accepts a humble sinner, not a proud one.  God knows a humble heart, and a humble heart does not enter His camp with their sin still actively being practiced for all to see and accept their uncleanness.  Remember the story of Pinchas (Phinehas)?  God was not happily accepting the Israeli and Midianite woman, but did happily accept Pinchas purging this fornicating and whoring sin from the presence of the camp.    
When a man has taken a new wife, let him not go out into the army nor let any matter be imposed upon him.  He shall be exempt one year for the sake of his home, to rejoice with his wife whom he has taken.  -- Deuteronomy 24:5
Here is another example of divine mixing:  it is when two become one.  I find it a beautiful thing that God honors the type of marriages He commands.  He Himself, along with Israel His bride, took a year off from war after the giving of Torah (His marriage covenant), before the army was set up and they set out to conquer.  Again, God honors the marriages He commands.  Yehoshua, a Hebrew, is looking for a Hebrew Bride.  He is not looking for a Greek philosopher wife nor new ager, because He is not a Greek husband nor Greek god.
You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light.  You shall not have in your house differing measure, a large and a small.  You shall have a perfect and a right weight, a perfect and right measure, so that they prolong your days on the soil which YHWH your Elohim is giving you.  -- Deuteronomy 25:13-15
This passage speaks of two things:  balance and integrity.  Everything is always working toward a balance, or it is no longer.  Imagine one of the jobs of the Creator, in keeping this universe in existence!  Now imagine how we are to be living epistles, in our oneness with Him, to His love for balance.  Not having differing weights and measures also speaks of integrity.  Our actions and reactions should not be based upon what is big and and what is small, but they should be the same for what is big and what is small.  There is no such thing as a white lie or a cute tantrum.  One child should not get away with something that another would not.  It is not okay for Mom and Dad to say certain words and subject their eyes and ears to witness certain sins, but not okay for the children.  Integrity and balance -- and by what means can we be integrated and by what measure do we consider a perfect weight and balance?  It is the Torah.  

The Torah is the foundation of believing the prophets, believing Yehoshua, and the comparison to where we believe ourselves as sanctified and changing to His image. 


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Friday, August 22, 2014

Re'eh: "See"

We open Moses' farewell speech this week with an imperative statement to see what is set before you, blessing or curse.  Choose one.  There is this quote I saw a while back on Facebook that read, "You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequence of your choice."  The thing is, the consequence is made known (here in the parsha, in the Torah pages before, and also read Romans 1:18).  It should not be such a surprise when these things come to pass, especially coming from a God all-knowing, a God who does not lie, a just and holy God, and a God all-powerful to see His counsel and balance come to pass.

It is pretty black and white.  If you aren't choosing God's yoke (Torah) and blessings, then you get the yoke of your flesh and the cursing.  There isn't an acceptable gray, because at that point you have already mixed the black in with the white.  There are some warnings here about mixing, especially as it pertains to worship.  
"...guard yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire about their mighty ones, saying, 'How did these nations serve their mighty ones?  And let me do so too.'  Do not do so to YHWH your Elohim, for every abomination which YHWH hates they have done to their mighty ones, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their mighty ones."  -- Deuteronomy 12:30-31
Many of the church practices of worship and holy days have originated from pagan worship.  I am not going to spend time going through what is already known.  The question I have heard of the church these days is if the days and the practices are redeemable, or can the practices, in their evolvement, be sanctified.  This is considering that, you know, even the trees used are grown by the Lord, and we can say the lights are to symbolize God who is Light, etc.  The passage just said do not inquire after their rituals.  If some 'saints' back in the early church days hadn't inquired of them, do you think there would even be a question of sanctification for such pagan-originated, western Church-practicing, holy days?  It expressly says do not do so to YHWH, the set-apart Elohim.  If we want worship and feast -- which we do because we were built to want such things -- then read the rest of the parsha!  We should especially read chapter 16, where a good few feasts of the Lord are given; and read Torah, where the ways to worship Him are given to us as instructions to keep Him set apart.
"...and the sign of the wonder shall come true, or which he has spoken to you, saying, 'Let us go after other mighty ones -- which you have not known -- and serve them,' do not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for YHWH your Elohim is trying you to know whether you love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being. ...  And that prophet or that dreamer of dreams is put to death, because he has spoken apostasy against YHWH your Elohim -- who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim and redeemed you from the house of bondage -- to make you stray from the way in which YHWH your Elohim commanded you to walk.  Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst."  -- Deuteronomy 13:2-3, 5
This is a real issue, not just an issue that is foretold here and ceased at the end of Judah's captivity, but one we deal with today.  It is an issue where people do not walk the ways of YHWH, but walk in the ways known, and established, for other gods.  It saddens me greatly to see an argument of a believer towards pagan-originated holy days, pleading the redemption of such, but who won't partake of the Lord's Passover, or any other clearly given instruction from the Lord regarding worship and feast.  It doesn't matter if such worship is disguised in butterflies and bunnies, rosy cheeks and jingle bells.  As the Scripture tells us, the devil himself disguises as an angel of light.  He knows only a few are actually enticed by horns and fire; the majority are enticed otherwise.
"You are the children of YHWH your Elohim.  Do not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead, for you are a set-apart people to YHWH your Elohim, and YHWH has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a treasured possession above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth."  -- Deuteronomy 14:1-2
I come from a non-practicing Roman Catholic background.  We showed up to mass only on Roman Catholic holy days, and faithfully to rosaries that we heard about in our Chamorro culture.  I just knocked my own background above with the holy days, and now I will knock the background of rosaries.  It was a common thing to hear in my ears someone praise a dead relative for the good weather, for finding their lost keys, etc.  I saw, and still see in some of my family, a remembrance for the dead more than a remembrance of the Lord.  Some will remember the dead's birthday more than they will remember the Lord's birthday of Sukkot -- some don't even know the Lord's birthday is Sukkot because of their mixing worship with paganism as said above.  Some will remember the dead's death more than the death of the Lord on Passover.  We are called to be His children, the children of the living God...not children of the dead.  We are not to worship the dead.
"At the end of every seven years you make a release of debts.  And this is the word of the release:  Every creditor is to release what he has loaned to his neighbour, he does not require it of his neighbour or his brother, because it is called the release of YHWH.  Of a foreigner you could require it, but your hand is to release whatever is owed by your brother."  -- Deuteronomy 15:1-3
This is a hard thing to do when you think of your loss, but a minor thing to do when you think of the spiritual revelation of this passage and how God is calling you to live a physical reflection of a spiritual truth.  One great Jubilee, the Lord's return will see the fullness of our debts, as His brethren, released through the application of His payment on Calvary.  The foreigner to Him will not see a release of their debt, and His blood payment is not applied to them.  So remember, just as you were freely given, freely give.  Forgive your brother and neighbor (him living within the same land as you, this means those likewise set-apart) his debts, as you have been forgiven.  This does not apply to the world, but a witness to the world that some of the world would no longer want to be of the world.
"And it shall be, when he says to you, 'I do not go away from you,' because he loves you and your house, because it is good for him with you, then you shall take an awl and thrust his ear to the door, and he shall be your servant forever.  Do the same to your female servants."  -- Deuteronomy 15:16-17
This is another thing therein the world has no part.  The world does not release its slaves.  Honestly, the first generation of redeemed Israel kept wanting to go back to their slavish lives.  Haven't you seen this with people of this day?  If the world would care less to hold onto them as slaves, they gladly keep going back.  Yet, these won't gladly be the slave of such a rewarding and merciful, altogether lovely, Lord.  What proof of the flesh's animosity towards the King of the universe!

If you read from verse 12 you will see that this is referring to the Hebrew brother who is sold to you (debts), who is to go free at the Jubilee as well.  However, it does say if that brother refuses to leave you, but knows it is better for him to remain in your house and as your servant, wishing to continue serving you by the time the Jubilee comes, then his servitude has become permanent.  If you recall the end of Leviticus, it spoke of dedicated things to the Lord.  You could redeem these things back to yourself for a price, up until the Jubilee.  If you hadn't by the Jubilee, then the dedication was permanent, forever the Lord's.  I spoke then of the 'once saved always saved' being true if it refers to salvation as the end (Jubilee) result.  It is then permanent, but until then the Word certainly says a man can renounce his dedicated thing -- obviously at a price he will spend eternity paying.  With this thought of Jubilee in mind, you can see why the servitude is permanent, as the Word says, if the servant remains through the Jubilee.

I love how it says you are to mark his ear, thrust an awl through it to the door.  It is symbolism that his ear is yours, it belongs to your house.  It reminds me of us as the Lord's servants in the Shema... if we know what's good for us and refuse to leave His house, and make our servitude an everlasting one, then we must understand that includes our ear to His door.  We must hear and obey.  As you can see, the passage quoted above is physical reflection of the spiritual, and it is a voluntary eternal servitude.  It is only for those who (as it is said) love Him and His house, and know it is good for them to dwell with Him.  This is different from those who want His blood but not to live in His house as Father.  To those that just want His blood, their servitude is grievous, if they serve at all.  But to those that love His house, the servitude is freedom...freedom from not only the consequences of the world's choices, but freedom from the world.  Only as the Lord's slave will you have blessing and life.


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*Disclosure:  With the exception of Scripture and quotations, the information on this site is meant to be viewed solely on this site.  Any reference of its contribution is not to be parted with the reference of this site, nor without reference to its contributor.  The information is, kindly, made public, and expected to be cited properly.