Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Toldot: "Generations"/"Family History"

The parsha always comes right on time.  I am merely 2 years into following this (Judaic) "Bible-in-a-year" layout, and I mean I can say it is inspired.  How is it that so many believers can agree that the same few chapters in the same week, with differing circumstances each person finds themselves in, speaks precise direction, edification, and comfort they seek?

This week is entitled after family history and generations.  It starts with the generations of Abraham through Yitshaq/Isaac.  As you know, the generation he contributed was Ya'akob/Jacob and Esaw -- 2 totally different types of people.  I have been reflecting on this truth with my own family history.  There are so many dimensions to this:  So many of us find 2 totally different types of people in our family; so many of us find 2 totally different types of people within just one person in our family; and our family history versus what we make of ourselves, plus the soul/spirit battle, has me saying that all of us can almost always find 2 totally different types of people within our own selves.  

Before I get into family history from the Torah, let's touch a bit on the Lord's family history as told by Him in the Malachi readings for this week.  I've scarcely met anybody who wouldn't want to be in His family -- the issue these days is so many that want to be in His family do not understand what kind of family He calls for.  Some of these below are an example of the mass that He is offered:
"A son esteems his father, and a servant his master.  And if I am the Father, where is My esteem?  And if I am a Master, where is My fear?"  said YHWH of hosts to you priests who despise My Name.  -- Malachi 1:6a
I don't know a single parent who doesn't demand esteem from their children, obedience and service from their servant, yet how many who actually call Him "Father" give Him the same they demand?  Is it as if we have elevated ourselves above the Almighty to ensure we are treated better than what we are willing to treat Him?
"But you asked, 'In what way have we despised your Name?'  You are presenting defiled food on My altar.  But you asked, 'In what way have we defiled You?'  Because you say, 'The table of YHWH is despicable.'  -- Malachi 1:6b-7
First of all, we must understand Hebrew idioms.  In Romans 11:9, there is a quote from David (he spoke in Psalm 69:22) that says, "Let their table become for a snare, and for a trap, and for a stumbling-block..."  The meaning of the idiom is exposed in the context of the Romans and Psalm passages -- the "table" is traditions.  The heritage (Torah) of the Lord, His ways (which are His traditions, again Torah) have been despised in His own "family's" eyes.  This wasn't just an issue with Israel, who He's saying here did not follow His Torah for their own "table"/traditions, but too many New Testament believers have likewise forsaken His Torah for their own traditions, claiming the forefathers sanctified them.  Take heed lest you worship the forefathers instead.
"And when you present the blind as a slaughtering, is it not evil?  And when you present the lame and the sick, is it not evil?  Bring it then to your governor!  Would he be pleased with you?  Would he accept you favourably?" said YWHW of hosts.  -- Malachi 1:8
From what we read in the Torah, you had to first take care of your stuff before you came to God's house.  You had to set your sin in order and cleanse yourself.  It is embarrassing in this New Age that so many people come to God in all their sin, their club-wear, their fornicating partner strapped to their arm, etc.  God says, "Bring that to your governor!" I didn't meet Rick Scott when I lived in Florida, but I did write him a few letters.  I will tell you then when I went my governor (in letter), I gave him my best grammar and research.  I had prepared myself, as any one person would.  You see celebrities at these premieres, and people outside of the rope probably looking their best because they don't want to be passed by, and don't have that same mentality towards Holy God.  I mean, we prepare ourselves to meet the football team and can't do the same for the Creator!  Get out of here with that!
"And you said, 'Oh, what weariness!' and you sneered at it," said YHWH of hosts.  -- Malachi 1:13a
This is talking about His table and His food, the portion (inheritance, Torah) for His family.  It is so dead on it's scary.  Try telling the "family" that is looking at Jesus like He is a Greek god that you have sat at the Lord's table (Torah) and eaten of its food, and see if "Oh, what weariness!" won't be the reaction you hear.  The rebukes here are not of God's own festivals and holy days, ways of worship (sacrifice) that He Himself set, but the violation of the standard of them.  It is people trying to do church their way, instead of His.  The rebuke is not in the offering, but in the offering of the blind instead of the spotless.  The rebuke isn't in festivals, it is in changing them in layout and nowadays changing them also in day.

So how the rebuke applies to the reader of today is quite the same, actually.  There are those who want a Savior but no Lord, and those that want a Lord to conform to their Greek minds rather than conforming theirs to His Hebraic one.  To these, (lawlessness, Torah-lessness), the Bible does not tell us He knew, but in fact says that He tells these to depart from Him for He never knew them.  Family?  More like strangers.

This parsha came in the right time because these past few days I have been reflecting on my own family history, and the strangers within.  Within me lies my biological family history and then my spiritual family history.  These two come together and it's Ya'aqob and Esaw in one womb. 

The Lord said 2 different people would be born of Ribqah/Rebekah.  Of course this immediate interpretation is that two separate human beings were within her, but these are also 2 totally different types of people.  Certainly, within her womb she held the carnal man and the spiritual man at the same time.

Esaw (meaning hairy) was named so because he was born hairy.  He was later called Edom (meaning red), which we first hear in this portion (Genesis 25:30) when he sells his birthright for some red stew.  It rightly fit though since he was also born "red."  Studying this word, you see that it is the same root as Adam, who was named after the clay of the earth, which was red.  This is Adam, the carnal man.

Ya'qob simply means heel grabber, because he grabbed his brother's heel upon exiting the womb.  It immediately makes me think of the prophecy of the Messiah crushing the serpent's head while the serpent bruises His heel.  Here's a man in his infancy holding onto the heel.  Symbolically, I think there's a connection and it may be a stretch to say he represents those who hold onto not just the power of Messiah, but the pain of the brotherhood with Him.  He is a man who dwelt in tents (Genesis 25:27) -- which is a phrase, when connected in all its uses, means the same in each.  It is a phrase given to the spiritual man.  

We all have a family history.  For many of us, there is the life of the world in our family's past that got implanted in us and it daily meets our call in the Spirit to be transformed and live otherwise.  Even if raised by God-fearing parents, we still are the generations of Adam, which means we have a not-so impressive family history.  By God's wisdom, the redeemed can say it happened for our good that we have our past.  Some things that are going on right now had me play a deep revisit into my family history.  I am seeing what has passed down to me in traits and ways, and I am also seeing the pain, dysfunction, and mistakes.  I have accepted it, and even embrace it.  Without it, I would not have known a Savior, a Comforter, Healer, Physician, Father, Bridegroom, and I wouldn't have so badly knew that I need Him as Lord.  I have a choice of seeing a priceless relationship with the Lord being built when I revisit my family history, and how I have been called to be in the family whose builder and maker is the Lord.  Within my family is certainly my family, but that also includes the Lord.  Within me there is a war -- like the twins that warred within Ribqah.  I am still carnal man, which will not cease until this body is put away; but within me is also the spiritual man, renewed and risen above the carnal by the power of the Spirit within.

 N...

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cheyei Sarah: "Life of Sarah"

The reading entitled after the life of Sarah actually starts with the end of Sarah.  This reading covers chapters 23-25 of Genesis in the Torah; I Kings 1:1-31 in the Haftorah; and Matthew 2:1-23, 8:19-22, 27:3-10, Luke 9:57-62, and I Corinthians 15:50-57 in the Brit Chadashah.

Chapter 23 starts off with Abraham, who we last heard was in Be'ersheba, coming to mourn for his wife who died in the city that became Hebron.  I find it intriguing that after Abraham went to offer Isaac, he removed himself to Be'ersheba where we last heard Hagar dwelt, while Sarah remained.  What in the world caused this separation, where this aged couple dwelt apart from one another?  I've heard it suggested that Sarah was not too thrilled with the offering of Isaac.  I am not sure if that is true, but know that parents do find ways to place their children between them -- especially if that child was a miracle child, the only child.  In my house, Brant's and my time to spend with one another is taken up by the children, but one thing that we have realized about each other is that we are the only physical thing God allows each of us to keep until death.  Parents would do well to treat each other as if they are the only thing they get to keep.  Yet you find a couple here in Scripture who didn't even spend dying days together.  How sad.  These children will grow and become someone else's, but my beloved is mine and I am his.

If we have followed the age of Sarah and Abraham when they begat Isaac, then we know chapter 22 (when Abraham offered Isaac) places Isaac at 37, making Sarah one hundred and twenty seven.  Chapter 23 says that is the age she was when she died.  She died that year.  Abraham spends that whole chapter mourning for her, preparing to bury her, and burying her.  Chapter 24 puts Isaac at 40 years old, gaining a wife he took into his mother's tent.  It has been well-suggested that Abraham then mourned for his wife for 3 years.  Nevertheless, he said it right when he sought for a burial site to bury his dead from his presence.  The dead are dead.  We move on.  

Chapter 24 is the heart of the parsha, wherein Abraham, saying he is old (implying too old to do it himself) makes his servant take an oath to go to the land of his people and take a wife for Isaac there.  At this time, though Canaan is promised to Abraham, the perverted people are not yet removed from thence.  Isaac must procreate because there is a promise that needs to be fulfilled.  God states His will and His way will come to pass, but it does call for human responsibility in requiring action from us.  God is going to make a mighty nation, but that calls for the action of Isaac to marry and procreate.
"What if the woman refuses to follow me to this land?  Do I then take your son back to the land from which you came?"  And Abraham said to him, "Beware lest you take my son back there!"  -- Genesis 24:5-6
 First of all, think about this for a second.  He is asking a woman to trust a stranger and follow him away from her family to a strange land to marry an even stranger person (someone she has never met nor talked to).  How many would just do that?  Seriously.  The ways of this world are completely backwards from the Lord's.  I married my husband after 3.5 months.  I'm pretty sure that there were people who thought I was marrying a stranger.  This story of Rebekah inspired me so much in my own wedding that in the invitations I included the verse from this story when Rebekah is asked if she will go and she says she will.
"YHWH, Elohim of the shamayim, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my relatives, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, 'To your seed I give this land,' He sends His messenger before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there."  -- Genesis 24:7
I love how he simply puts it -- yes the situation appears to be impossible, but it is God's problem.  If it is God's doing, no one can doubt it and no one can say anything against it.  Which is why Rebekah's brother and father couldn't give a good or bad response to the servant's bidding of Rebekah, because the situation seemed impossible but God make it possible.  Who will contend with the Lord and speak against His will?  This is why I personally like impossible situations -- when they turn out, there is no doubting the work of the Lord.  I tell you what, when Isaac and Rebekah got into arguments, which I'm sure they did considering they had twin rival sons and they each favored the other, they could not ever doubt if they were the right spouse for each other by how God so strategically placed them together.  That is the foundation all marriages need -- knowing it was built by the Lord.
And the servant took ten of his master's camels and left, for all his master's goods were in his hand.  And he arose and went to Aram Naharayim, to the city of Nahor.  -- Genesis 24:10
Well look at this!  The Lord brings him right to his master's brother's city.  I am so amazed at the perfect plan of God to place the right people in your life at the right time and place you in the right places at the right time.  I have a dear friend I met on an online Christian group that someone invited me into, while I was living in Germany and she living in Florida.  We friended each other outside of the group soon thereafter, when we came to see how similar our lives had been -- she was older and it seemed all that happened in my life, happened in hers, so then she gave me relative advice in my struggles.  Years later I found myself living in the opposite side of Florida from her, and on my way to my cousin's in Miami, she offered her place as a mid-point rest from Pensacola to Miami.  We chuckled in our light-heartedness at the Lord's doing -- two of the same paths, in two different generations, who met each other while while living in two separate countries, sitting at the same dinner table!  

Verses 11-21 is how Rebekah came to be the chosen bride.  The servant asks God to speedily make the bride known.  When I started getting to know my husband, I boldly asked God to speedily make it known if this was His choosing.  I didn't and still don't think that God wants us wasting valuable time, nor spending exclusive time with [what would be] someone else's spouse!  He answered the servant quickly, and He answered me quickly.  There was a sign wherein the servant would know the bride -- if the woman who draws water, who he asks for water, gives him water and waters the 10 camels as well, this is the woman.  These women had to walk to the spring for their water, draw it and walk, and walk back.  It says after she drew it, he asked her.  Be honest -- most who go walking for their water, having drawn it, and on their way back, would not give some random stranger their water.  This servant had other men with him.  Wouldn't your first thought be, "Why won't any of these men get the water?" Especially in the feminism revolt of the day, most women would think, "How dare these men treat me like I am some slave to fetch them water!"  Think about the camels!  They can go up to 3 months without water.  Can you imagine how thirsty they could be and how many times she had to draw water to their fill?  There is no doubt -- of a certainty this man knows this is the woman.
And it came to be, when the camels had finished drinking, that the man took a golden nose ring weighing half a sheqel, and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten sheqels of gold...  -- Genesis 24:22
The jewelry is very important here.  I once watched a show on an Indian wedding, the bride wore this nose ring with a chain tied to some part of her wardrobe.  She looked like she was chained, owned property.  The bracelets thrown on each wrist -- what other does this remind you of than shackles in a bondage?  This is very unlike the world's view on marriage today, but marriage in the Bible is a bond.  This is because marriage to the Lord is so, and the physical marriage is to exemplify this, even in the bondage.  Romans 6-7 make it perfectly clear that you are either a slave to God or a slave to sin, depending on which you marry.  For the Lord who served you and still serves you, this should not be an offensive statement to those who truly are married to Him.  There is nothing but rightness for those who serve one another in marriage, remembering its bonds.
And Ribqah had a brother whose name was Laban, and Laban ran out to the man, to the fountain.  And it came to be when he saw the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister's wrists, and when he heard the words of his sister Ribqah, saying, "Thus the man spoke with me," that he went to the man and saw him standing by the camels at the fountain.  -- Genesis 24:29-30
Even Laban knows that marriage is a bond, as he sees his sister now in jewelry of bonds wondering where is the man who has claimed her for marriage. 
"And now, if you are going to show kindness and truth to my master, let me know, and if not, let me know, so that I turn to the right or to the left."  And Laban answered -- Bethu'el too -- and said, "The matter comes from YHWH, we are not able to speak to you either evil or good."  -- Genesis 24:49-50
In other words, God has spoken.  Who is any one of us to speak against it (complain)?  Who are we to think that we need to confirm God's words?  We can neither speak good nor bad about the counsel of the Lord, but simply humble ourselves to His bidding.
And he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night.  When they arose in the morning he said, "Let me go to my master."  But her brother and her mother said, "Let the young woman stay with us a few days, at least ten, then you go."  And he said to them, "Do not delay me, since YHWH has prospered my way.  Let me go so that I go to my master."  And they said, "Let us call the young woman and ask her."  So they called Ribqah and said to her, "Are you going with this man?"  And she said, "I shall go." -- Genesis 24:54-58
If God has shown and provided the way, who will linger and loiter?  This is again very much against today's society of marriage that chooses to first act like you are married so that we can know each other and then decide to get married.  Clearly it is not about having enough money to get married, as acting like you are married includes a new home for cohabitation, and all the expenses that includes.  These instead wait to get to know each other.  Look at these two -- they didn't know each other, but they knew the Lord and the Lord made His decision and provided the way.  If God provided the funds to get married, provided the person to marry, then get married.  If any one of those don't fit, then don't be like the devil the thief and steal what belongs to someone else.

"Do not delay me," was followed by Rebekah's decision to go and not turn back, for even just ten days.  This week's parsha was all about moving forward for me, and not looking back.  Years ago when my brother was a heroin-addict, right before he found out he was going to be a father, I had a dream he was in a house wherein a tiger dwelt.  A little girl was bonded (leashed) to it, on the patio outside of the sliding glass door.  The tiger was after her, and my brother was too high to do anything.  The glass wasn't providing enough protection and the tiger was about to come through it to the girl.  I grabbed her and ran away from the house.  I was prepared to leave my brother to the tiger he chose to dwell with.  With my face forward, holding the girl as the tiger chased, I called my brother with one shout of his name, and he came out of the other side of the house instantly sober.  The tiger didn't seem to want me, but wanted the girl I held onto and my brother who now ran beside me.  So then I handed my brother the girl, while I would wrestle the tiger, and told him to run and not look back.  The last I saw before I awoke was that he ran, holding that little girl, and didn't look back.  Months later he found out that baby would be a girl and when she came to be, he instantly became sober and my innocent niece is free from the bonds of drugs in her life.  

Abraham buried his wife and moved on with his life.  He remarries in chapter twenty five.  God took Abraham out of his father's house and warned not to bring his son back from whence God took them.  Rebekah, having said she would go, chose not to look back at her family, but move forward.  If God takes you out of Egypt, you are never to return to that place (Deuteronomy 17:16).  There are too many trying to go back, even for the sake of family.  Don't take my word or typologies -- the Messiah Himself said to the man who wanted to follow Him but turn back to say good bye to his family first (our reading in Luke 9:57-62), "No one, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the reign of Elohim."  

 N...

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Vayera: "He Appeared"

The more I think I know, the more I realize I don't know.  That is the way it is, isn't it?  It isn't merely just the more I come to know the more I realize I hadn't known, but there is this humbling factor that comes into play that it isn't our knowledge of God that saves us but it is simply and majestically God who saves us.

Don't get me wrong -- Biblically speaking, knowledge of God should be the desire of all, and surely we can understand that God doesn't want to dwell with people who have no interest in getting to know Him.  I have a friend who opened her house to a couple, the male of them showing no interest in conversation or even courtesy.  It bothered her enough to mention it to me, and we can all understand.  It makes us downright uncomfortable in our own home if someone were to come in it, let alone stay for a while, let alone that while be eternity, and they have no interest in us...may not even like us, be against some of the things that are our very character, against the rules of our house, etc.  Yet some people are under the assumption they will make it to the Lord's house under these pretenses.  Most of us would refuse entry of that person into our home.  It is our home, the place we should most be able to be ourselvse with those who love us dwelling within, and for some reason some don't understand how God could be this way with His house in eternity.

There are a few things in this parsha that leave me acknowledging that first sentence, and some of these things tie into the very character of God.  I am ever the student, even when being the teacher.  This week, these were the things we contemplated:
"I am going down now to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me, and if not, I know."  -- Genesis 18:21
YHWH lets Abraham know He is about to destroy Sedom and Amorah, a matter He thought of concealing to Abraham.  I could only gather that He thought to conceal it because (as we read in the end of the chapter) for some reason God is deeply tied to intercessory prayer of His righteous.  The fact that we can even have relationship with Him is because of the intercessory prayer of our Master Yehoshua.  In Ezekiel 22:30 He says He searched for a man to stand the gap between Him and the land that He would not destroy it, but He found no such man.  I hope I am not being too forward in saying that I believe His own righteousness wanted dearly to destroy that land and conceal it from Abraham, who had the ability to stand the gap; but His tendermercies and Covenant allowed for Abraham to stand the gap and Lot be blessed with his own life through him.  Ultimately, God delights in His own mercy.  If He finds nothing else to delight in, He will find it in His own mercy.  Daily, daily, daily that is my hope.  It is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

God's delight in mercy and intercessory prayer is well-known, but the part of that passage that leaves me with more to study is in the verse above, when He says He is going to go down to see if things are as the outcry that came to Him.  This reminds me of the beginning of the book, first when God walked in the midst of the garden calling Adam as if He didn't know Adam sinned, and the second is when He came to Cain and said that Abel's blood was crying out from the ground.  What a mystery that this earth and the things in it, especially the human blood wherein there is borrowed life, cries out to Him! The mystery as well is how He mentions physically showing up to see...when He's already there, right?  God is Spirit -- He is indeed already there.  Yet, in mentioning physical appearance, it almost implies that He isn't there.  He can be somewhere and yet not be somewhere.  I am still piecing it together with other likened cases, like the accounts of Adam and Cain, as mentioned.
But he urged them strongly, and they turned in to him and came into his house.  And he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.  -- Genesis 19:3
The 2 messengers have arrived in Sedom, wanting to spend the night in the open square and here is Lot urging them to come into his house instead.  I hadn't noticed this any other time I read Genesis, but look at what they ate.  It was unleavened bread.  Doesn't it remind you of the exodus of Israel from Egypt?  They too ate unleavened bread from the first Passover the night before they left Egypt.  Here is a precursor to that, Lot having his unleavened bread before the exodus of Sedom.
Then they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, and they wearied themselves to find the door.  -- Genesis 19:11
Isn't that the truth!  There is a whole lot of irrational stupidity in this world, and sometimes you wonder why it is so hard to go with the rational truth, but what can we say -- they of this world are blind and cannot find the door.  One thing that I am still learning is that He makes them this way -- Isaiah 6:10; Matthew 13:15; John 12:40; Acts 28:27 -- and yet He is right.  I've seen people become calloused over God not removing the calloused hearts of the heathen.  It is important that in saying "God wouldn't do that" (intentionally allow a creation of someone who would never be free of spiritual blindess nor would ever find the Door), that we aren't setting ourselves up to deny or judge the very character of God.  Once again, we don't share our houses with people that deny, suppress, or judge us.  A child thinks he knows better than his parent, and expresses it in the parent's own house, and what do you think the parent's reaction will be?
And Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, "Get up, get out of this place, for YHWH is going to destroy this city!"  But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be as one joking.  -- Genesis 19:14
First of all, didn't Lot tell the men of the city that his daughters hadn't known a man when he offered them, and now they are married?  Secondly, this is the same stuff we are seeing today.  People say with their mouth that the end it coming, but their actions tell us it is a joke to them.
 And when morning dawned, the messengers urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city."  And while he loitered, the men took hold of his hand...  -- Genesis 19:15-16a
Even Lot appears to think this is a joking matter.  How many would loiter if they see the volcano explode and rain sulphur and fire?  There would be a scramble to get out of this city, and yet when God rains sulphur and fire from heaven there's some loitering involved.  That is what is wrong in today's world -- there is no fear of God and no belief in the real God who is very holy and therefore brings judgment accordingly.
"Hurry, escape there.  For I am unable to do any deed until you arrive there."  So the name of the city was called Tso'ar.  -- Genesis 19:22
When compassion of the Lord falls upon us, we are spared from His wrath and judgment.  He doesn't change, and so this is the same every time.  Israel was spared the plagues, and so will be His elect in the end days.  However let us also keep in mind that though these were spared, they were not pulled out of the world, nor did they have to be pulled out of the world in order for God to spare them.

In this part of the story, He is telling Lot to escape to the mountains and Lot is saying he can't make it up there and is asking to remain in Tso'ar.  He pleads that surely it is a small matter.  It appears the Lord had intended to destroy that city as well (v. 21).  Though the Lord grants this, there are too many people these days that want God's compassion and deliverance their way.  There are some who want to hold onto something that He wants to destroy, saying to themselves that it is only a small matter that they have it.  After these things, Lot does end up going into the mountains where his daughters commit incest with him to form the Moabites and Ammonites.  Though Ruth came of Moab, the incest to start Moab was evil.  Perhaps it was something they saw in Sedom or in Tso'ar, God wanting to destroy it as well.  This is why this earth cannot be saved.  It will be destroyed.  You save a part of it, and evil will find a way to continue.
So she said to Abraham, "Drive out this female servant and her son, for the son of this female servant shall not inherit with my son, with Yitshaq." ... But Elohim said to Abraham, "Let it not be evil in your eyes because of the boy and because of your female servant.  Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice, for in Yitshaq your seed is called."  -- Genesis 21:10, 12
In Ezra (chapter 10) we read about Israel having angered the Lord in taking strange wives and having  children born through them.  They made a covenant with God to put away the wives and those children, implying that by this the wrath of God had turned away from them.  First, we need to understand that not only are homosexual marriages not marriages in God's eyes, but there are still heterosexual marriages that aren't as well.  I've heard one too many pastors counseling a repentant sinner who rebelled in fornicating with someone of the world to continue sinning by marrying that person.  This isn't a ticket for all uequally yoked to get a divorce -- read Paul in I Corinthians 7, which corresponds with those like Ruth who chose to stay and did not threaten the believer's continuance in faith.  Here, God is allowing for the putting away of a strange lover and the child raised in the stranger's ways.  Sometimes, God's holiness actually demands this (Ezra).  Some of us cannot understand this, nor know God to be this way.

I know that I know Him, but I also know that I don't want to say God wouldn't do something that He would do or has already done.  I wouldn't want to share a house with a spouse who is constantly telling me I am not who I really am, making up a fantasy of a wife who doesn't really exist.  That's not the way to live, and definitely not the way to live eternally.  It is therefore better that I say I want to know Him and I presume to say that is what eternity is for -- for those who really want to know Him.  After all, how long would it take you to truly know an eternal Being?

 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.    

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...

*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, 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...

*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.    

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.

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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.


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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.