Wednesday, October 7, 2015

B'Reshit -- The Earth is a Mem

When we, as a family, reopened the Bible to start back over at Genesis a couple of days ago I had prayed that we would turn aside everything that we have been told and would read and trust what we have read with our own eyes. Earlier this year our family had researched into the flat-earth disc theory – which, by the way, was believed by the ancient Hebrew culture. This theory is well-appreciated in my family for many reasons, but one is that it begs the researcher to engage your own senses (namely, what you can see with your own eyes) rather than taking someone else's words as truth. For example, in the flat-earth argument, one would have to wonder how you know the world is indeed a globe? We must all confess that we believe so based upon the words of another, not based upon what we have actually seen with our own eyes. As a result of knowing that we can wholly believe what someone says without requiring logic nor eyewitness, we submit to the fact that we are easily brainwashed. We are very much a culture where in all things, including in churches, we believe something we were told rather than something that we have observed with our own senses that God gave us to distinguish between reality and false claims. So setting aside all things that we were told of the earth, we come to verse 2 and gather some things we have read and therefore will accept about the earth.
And the earth was chaos and waste, darkness was on the surface of the deep, and the Ruach Elohim was hovering upon the face of the water. – Genesis 1:2 TLV
Based upon what we can read with our own eyes at this point, we can say that the earth has darkness and that it also has water. Due to this, the earth is reminding me of a womb.

It was in my pregnancy with Elisha that I remember reading the weekly updates on prenatal development and somewhere around the 20th week of pregnancy the update said that a baby's eyes will open. I thought about how she had eyes well before the time she could open them, yet they were not developed enough to be open. Then I thought about how even after they are open, they are not ready to observe light, but she would still be seeing in darkness for some time before she is able to take in the light that will hit her eyes after childbirth – whether the natural light in the earth, or even the bright lights of a delivery room. I reflected upon us, spiritually. I realized that though we all have eyes it doesn't mean that they are opened. I also realized that even though some of us have open eyes, there is still a time of maturing our eyes so then right now we are seeing things as a light through a womb until we are birthed. I wonder if this is what Paul meant in I Corinthians 13:12.

The earth reminds me of a womb, and it has since my last child was in my womb. Not only does the second verse of the Bible bring me to confirm this, but then I think of all the Scripture passages that refer to the end times as a travailing through labor. The travailing will end with the birth of God's people, mature enough to behold the Light and see Him with their own eyes, face to face.

I really like the TLV's choice of words to say that the earth was chaos, which only further supports the concept of the earth as a womb. In Hebrew, the womb is represented by the letter mem. Mem comes in 2 forms: open and closed (soffit). Open mem means open waters, which means chaos. Closed mem means closed waters, no chaos. It is likened unto a woman whose waters break. As her womb is closed, there is peace within. However, when her womb opens, which is followed with the breaking of the waters, there is the bodily chaos of travailing.

If the earth is God's mem, then what is our purpose of being here? All of a sudden life has significant meaning and the gift given to women to bear children is an honorary witness. That is why Elisha's middle name is Edah. Her time in utero became a witness to me.

Yeshua tells Nicodemus that a man must be born of water and of the Spirit to have eternal life. It is well understood that the water is referring to the natural birth. A man must be born into this earth and born of the Spirit while on this earth. Friend, the purpose of life on this earth is greatly paralleled to the purpose of prenatal time for the growing of the baby.  Furthermore, in order for one to be birthed spiritually, he must first be birthed naturally.  Can you see the hate of the adversary and his seed toward God to rob Him of His inheritance?
Then God said, “Let the land sprout grass, green plants yielding seed, fruit trees making fruit, each according to its species with seed in it, upon the land.” And it happened. – Genesis 1:11 TLV
Then God created the large sea creatures and every living creature that crawls, with which the water swarms, according to their species, as well as every winged flying creature, according to their species. And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them by saying, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the water in the seas. Let the flying creatures multiply on the land.” – Genesis 1:21-22 TLV
God made the wild animals according to their species, the livestock according to their species, and everything that crawls on the ground, each according to its species. And God saw that it was good. – Genesis 1:25 TLV
The earth reminds me of a mem because it was made pregnant. First you have the trees that were made with their seeds. Next you have the land, sea, and water creatures made according to their species, which is to be made to reproduce their likeness. The first command God gave to life was to the creatures in vv. 21-22, and that is to reproduce.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness! Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the flying creatures of the sky, over the livestock, over the whole earth, and over every crawling creatures that crawls on the land.” God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created him, male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the land and conquer it...” – Genesis 1:26-28a TLV
So then God makes the man to rule over all these pregnant things. He divides His image into male and female so that they must come together to bring forth the image of God – man alone isn't sufficient to bear witness, and neither is woman. Man has some characteristics of God separate from the characteristics of God that woman bears. However, it is together as male and female only that one of the greatest witnesses of God's character comes forth...and that is the ability to bring forth life. We see how mankind has perverted such a great witness of God's character by homosexuality and abortion.

Birth control, and abortion, came as a way for the sexually immoral to not have the natural results of conception come from their actions. It has long since penetrated into the married community, to where even though they are married and not engaging in sexually immoral sin, we still refuse to bear witness of God by denying bearing life in the womb and accepting birth control until the right job comes around, etc. The answer to abortion and failure to image-bear is simple. It is a command of God to abstain from sexual immorality and it is also a command (for the marrieds) to be fruitful and multiply.

In Exodus 34:6 the Lord is describing Himself to Moses. The first word He uses to describe Himself is most often translated as compassionate, or merciful. The Hebrew word is rachum, which is taken from racham. A recent amazing discovery I came across is that racham is best described as a pregnant woman's womb that contains a cherished fetus. God Himself uses the natural affections of a pregnant woman (or what should be her natural affections) to describe Himself to His people. There remains such an image of His character entrusted into the hands of pregnant women. To abort such a witness of Him is to not only go against the very purpose of your time in God's mem, but to most adversely reject Him.

With the fight against abortion we must remember that pregnancy is a strong image-bearer. We know it is an image-bearer of the Biblical Appointed Times, but it is also an image bearer of God's earth and of God Himself. Joining the fight doesn't need much convincing. Since we are in a reciprocal relationship with the Lord, I ask Him to help me protect His image since He so zealously protects mine.



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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Nitzavim -- Standing and Crossing

I am pondering the word Hebrew this week and meditating on what it means to cross over.  

Speaking of Hebrew, the writer of Hebrews does often use the story of post-exodus Israel to relate to spiritual truths.  Once again, take the story of the children of Israel, having crossed over the Red Sea, rebuilding, and then having crossed over the Jordan, and let us learn a bit more about the word Hebrew.  We can see that crossing over is more than just leaving, but also arriving somewhere.  
"Each of you is to cross over into the covenant of Adonai your God that He is cutting with you today, and into His oath."  -- Deuteronomy 29:11 TLV
Arriving somewhere, though, often takes preparation.  The world over, we train for things we are about to engage in or enter.  The Scripture is talking about crossing over into a covenant before that final cross over Jordan, and in fact that cross over into Jordan is a part of the cross over into the Covenant.  As you know, people not in covenant and already there were kicked out.  The preparation itself is a crossing over.  The time in preparation was, in action, faithfulness to being crossed over and eventually that faithfulness and endurance lead to the final cross over Jordan. 

The heart of the cross over is the oath mentioned in the verse.  The oath, as said earlier in the chapter, is to Shamar -- to guard and keep -- the Covenant.  This word is first given to Adam in relation to the garden.  Rather than guard, he allowed Satan to come in and put a seed a doubt against the word and command.  Too many times since then, believers have allowed the same thing to repeat itself:  God gives commands and also commands that we guard and keep (which is to observe) them and we allow Satan to whisper that we don't have to.  Mass, modern Christianity today is centered upon the same incident that happened in the garden, yet still claim the blessings of the Lord and the final cross over.  He addressed this issue in verses later:
"Now when someone hears the words of this oath and in his heart considers himself blessed, thinking, 'Shalom will be mine, even though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart' -- thus sweeping away the moist with the dry -- Adonai will be unwilling to forgive him.  For then the anger of Adonai and His jealousy will smoke against that person.  So all the oath that is written in this scroll will settle on him, and Adonai will blot out his name from under the heavens."  -- Deuteronomy 29:18-19 TLV
The adversary, being adverse to the Law, would like to whisper that we cannot do it, it is too difficult, Jesus did it so we don't have to.  It is definitely difficult to love God and love your neighbor (the commandments are instructions on how to do this), if you are like the devil in being adverse to these and only for yourself.  
"For this mitzvah that I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it far off.  It is not in the heavens, that you should say, 'Who will go up for us to the heavens and get it for us, and have us hear it so we may do it?'  Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, 'Who will cross over for us to the other side of the sea and get it for us, and have us hear it so we may do it?'  No, the word is very near to you -- in your mouth and in your heart, to do it."  -- Deuteronomy 30:11-14 TLV
The cross over into the oath takes place in the heart.  The crossed over heart will do it.  
"What I am commanding you today is to love Adonai your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His mitzvot, statutes, and ordinances.  Then you will live and multiply, and Adonai your God will bless you in the land you are going in to possess."  -- Deuteronomy 30:16 TLV
Once again, let us use a story in the Torah to teach us a spiritual truth.  I mentioned Adam and guarding the garden earlier, paralleled to us guarding the Torah.  Why wouldn't Adam want to guard the garden?  God walked with him in there.  It contained all the good produce he could ever desire.  It was fruitful.  It was peaceful.  When any one person thinks of the garden, they think it a bountiful place, full of blessings and shalom.  To this place, Adam was to shamar.  To the Covenant (Torah most inclusive) we are to shamar; and of the Torah, it is described in the same detail as the garden:  within its walls God walks with us (or rather, we walk with Him), it contains good fruit, blessings, and shalom. 



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Friday, September 4, 2015

Ki Tavo: The Heart of the Matter

Torah, Torah, Torah.  I am amazed at the snares of many Christians when this word is mentioned.  Though as believers, we often say God's Word governs us and in earnest it is the Law.  The Scriptures that we use against homosexuality and abortion derive from Torah, yet some Christians quoting that Torah will cringe at the word torah.

I used to be one of them, and had to do inventory on why, though I said I love God's Word, I cringed at the constant mention of Torah.  I'm sure you could once relate to that attitude (though I hope not anymore) -- "I don't have to do this," or  "Where is the love in all of this?"  In time we understand that love is defined Torah.  It is the instructional on how to love.  Paul, in Romans, tells us to uphold the "Law of Love" that NT believers claim to be under, is actually the keeping of the Law (Torah).  Then of course, it sinks in that Messiah says if we love Him we will keep His commandments, and John's words of "This is the love of God, that we keep the commandments."

To have a heart that says God's commandments have changed (which is to say God's character has changed, and ultimately that God has changed) is to go far into the realm of blasphemy just for the sake of feeling free and content in thinking you don't have to do whatever it is in God's Law that you are still against.   
Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, "Keep the whole mitzvah that I am commanding you today."  Deuteronomy 27:1
What is it about rules that makes people think they have lost their freedom?  Truly, that seed of thinking came from Satan in the beginning, because we understand that Law is order is peace is equality is justice, and in turn is therefore love toward all.  Lawlessness is selfishness is crime is chaos is death.  Which one is true freedom?
"'So now, look!  I have brought the first of the fruits of the soil that You have given me, Adonai.'  Then you are to set it down before Adonai your God and worship before Adonai your God.  You will rejoice in all the good that Adonai your God has given to you and to your house -- you, the Levite, and the outsider in your midst."  -- Deuteronomy 26:10-11 TLV
God freed Israel from the house of bondage.  Is it too much to want them to rejoice in this?  He, like any one of us, wants the family that is happy to be in His presence and rejoices to be in relationship with Him, not the "I don't have to do this..." mentality.  If you were to adopt a teenager and that teenager comes up to you and says, "Look, this is what is going to happen.  You are going to allow me this, and from you I still expect this.  I will obey these rules of yours but there are certain ones that I just don't think are applicable or are for me, so you will have to excuse me on these..."  What nonsense.  Who is the parent here?  This child is acting very unappreciative and is ignorant to the fact that you did him a service in taking him in.  You, as the parent, are not on a power trip to feel this way, but seeing that you are going to care for his wellbeing and pay the cost of taking him into your house, he is your responsibility and you must set rules accordingly.  It isn't about I don't have to, but I get to.  Compare the first teenager with another that you adopt who now says I get to have security, protection, companionship, headship, direction, provision, when I once did not have these.  I use the example of parent-child, because from raising children we know that a "I don't have to" heart is a rebellious heart.
"Now when you cross over the Jordan, you are to set up these stones about which I am commanding you today on Mount Ebal, and coat them with plaster.  There also you will build an altar to Adonai your God, an altar of stones -- you are not to use an iron tool on them.  You are to build the altar of Adonai your God of whole stones, and you are to offer up burnt offerings on it to Adonai your God.  You are to sacrifice fellowship offerings and eat there, and you will rejoice before Adonai your God.  You are to write on the stones all the words of this Torah very clearly."  -- Deuteronomy 27:4-8 TLV
If you recall from the parsha, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim are across from each other.  From Mount Gerizim some of the tribes were to say the blessings, and from Mount Ebal some of the tribes are to say the curses.  They are clearly said and all say, "Amen" after each one, to acknowledge and be in agreement.

I saw a powerpoint image of these two mountains side by side, that looked like shoulders.  From the valley, if a man has his face turned towards Jerusalem he is looking at Mount Gerizim (blessings).  If he turns his face away from Jerusalem he is looking at Mount Ebal (curses).  Mount Ebal is also where God commanded the stones to be set up with the Torah written clearly on it.  So then, as you are walking away in rebellion from God's Kingship, not only do you see a reminder of the Torah so that you clearly know that what you are doing is wrong, but with the Torah written on stone you also see a reminder of your heart:  stone.

The New Covenant, as prophesied in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, is not that God would do away with the Torah (remember, the problem between God's Law and us is us, not His Law), but rather that He would do away with the stony heart that it is written upon, pay our debt of violating Torah, and that by the power of His Holy Spirit we are able to walk that Law we once did not.  The heart of the problem is the problem with the heart.  Test yourself, if you can rejoice in the whole Torah of our God.



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Friday, August 21, 2015

Shoftim -- "Judges"

 I sat down yesterday to write this article and as soon as my computer turned on, my phone rang.  It was another 800 number.  I wouldn't answer those things, since they are mostly collect calls from my incarcerated brother, but I do so hoping that it is a free (for me) call, from phone time that he had to work to obtain himself.  I guess I just do not understand why families must pay for the faults of their loved ones, literally.  We pay their commissary, their phone time, etc.  It seems so unfair, but the reality is that is precisely what happens when we are in wrongdoing -- our loved ones are paying the cost...all the way to Messiah paying the cost for those He loves and also love Him.

I will say the phone call was Divine intervention on behalf of my thoughts on the parsha, which I have been sitting on all week.  This parsha is about judges and justice.  If God is both our judge and our justification, then He must be the one who defines justice.  

"Only God can judge,"  "Don't judge lest you be judged," "Laws are left to interpretation..."  These are some of the tidbits we hear from those who surprisingly think they can interpret the laws and justices of God without even being familiar with 1) the Author, and 2) His Torah!  It's absurd.  Yet, besides that, these are words that are uttered from the depths of a wicked heart that is already excusing plain words.  

I judge that such phrases come from wickedness because they normally are said in veto to someone opposing the very actions that are to be judged in the Bible.  The beginning of the parsha tells us that we are indeed to judge, and it does not for one second contradict Messiah's words that say not to judge.  If one were only to read the remainder of that passage, it says that we are to judge in the same measure of which we are willing to be judged.  A friend of mine posted on Facebook some time back that he apologizes if he is harsh on people, it is just that he holds himself to such a standard and it is hard for him to not hold others to it as well.  I personally don't see the need for the apology.  Didn't that passage say that is what we should do?  Hold each other to the standard by which we hold ourselves?  Isn't this standard the Law in its revealed moral attributes of God?  

I weigh my heart and actions against the Torah, and I should do the same for you.  In fact, this is what the parsha speaks -- it is not saying that one person can do this while the other is judged differently if they do not.  It is saying you all do this and if any one of you do not, then this is the consequence.  It is balanced and righteous judgment.  The whole Torah is designed to give a people peace which you cannot have without justice.  Hence, loving your neighbor as yourself includes holding you both to the same standard (the Torah), and not doing to him what would be hateful to do unto you.

As of right now, both of my brothers are behind bars.  Skyler was sent to prison a couple of weeks ago.  I cannot really speak for him, but I can say I was a bit disturbed at his initial desire when he got arrested.  He wanted to take his case to trial because he didn't believe there would be enough evidence. He later decided on a guilty plea and swiftly took his plea bargain of two years.  Donavan is looking at 2.5 years, and is trying to gain an alternative sentencing for drug-related crimes.  I spoke to him my same thoughts I had when Skyler initially was trying to go to trial:  There are two types of people out there, those that hate the crime and those that had the judgment (which is ultimately hating the judge).  Those that hate the judgment/hate the judge, first of all, cannot stand by God when He executes judgment in that great and coming Day.  (The question then remains, if they cannot stand by Him, though they claim to be His children, are they really His?).  More so, those that hate the judgment will never change their behaviors, simply because they think the fault is in the judgment and not themselves.  Those that hate the crimes...these are the ones that don't run from the consequences but run from the cause.  I had to talk some of this into Donavan, because if I did encourage him to find loopholes then as a hypocrite I could liken myself to a Christian who excuses why we don't have to keep God's Law.  In fact, I had to tell him I love the justice of the law even if he is against it (to parallel, God's Torah is not against us, we are the ones against it) -- it is easier to not excuse loved ones for their wrongdoings when I think if a stranger violated me in the same manner.  Remember, just, equal, and righteous judgment.  

There are too many people "falling away" from the faith because they expected to be saved from the consequences of their wrongdoing, and when they are still reaping what they sowed they become bitter towards Yeshua who they thought took their consequences to the cross.  Yeshua indeed paid an eternal debt that would have otherwise been paid in hell, yet these falling away do so when they are paying earthly consequences for past actions, whether it be bad reputation, prison time, or other affliction and shaking as direct result of someone's past.  They cannot fathom that He would pay their eternal consequences when they see that He didn't even pay (that is, excuse the consequence) of something earthen.  The misunderstanding comes from that very thinking, when the Bible tells us that Yeshua saves His people from their sins.

People who are saved from the actions, the crime, the sins, are people that will ever praise Him, and people who think that (I'm comparing) two years is nothing in comparison of what they really do deserve.  People who are only concerned with being saved from the consequence, sadly, I must compare to my own brothers:  repeat offenders.  The cycle will only stop when we learn to love justice, God's Torah, at the expense of hating the crime.



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Friday, July 31, 2015

Va'Etchanan -- Taking a Covenant

The Hebrew word Va'Etchanan actually doesn't mean covenant, it mean 'and I implore'.  As we gather from reading only a little further this is referring to the time when Moses begs the Lord to enter Canaan.    However, what really stood out to me in this passage was the mention of cutting a covenant.  
Watch yourselves, so that you do not forget the covenant of Adonai your God, which He cut with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything that Adonai your God has forbidden you.  -- Deuteronomy 4:23 TLV
Adonai our God cut a covenant with us in Horeb.  -- Deuteronomy 5:2 TLV
I chose this version because of the use of the word cut.  This is the Hebrew karath.  It was very interesting to look up the meanings of this word and how the most important covenant we make is inseparable with this word.

When Moses stated the term "cut Covenant" we find a repeat of the Ten Words listed.  Such Words cut through two tablets of stone as God passed through, giving the conditions of the Covenant.  This is not the covenant that many New Testament churches want to grasp today.  However, can you separate Christ from this Covenant, or from any other?  He did still adhere to this Covenant and it is by His keeping of it that so many in their logic claim exemption to keep it themselves.  If He did not keep it, is He an eligible Savior?  Do you still claim the 'Noahic Covenant' when you see a rainbow?  Aren't the blessings through Christ the principles you see in the Abrahamic Covenant?  As we uncover the Hebrew word karath I also hope you will further study to see how covenants where God is one of the parties involved are inseparable one to another.

The word itself means to covenant, very specifically by cutting of flesh and passing through the pieces.  I'm reflecting the context of the passages above, when God's Covenant came by cutting of tablets in two and passing through them as the Words were written.  I am also more immediately taken back to God's covenant with Abraham in Genesis fifteen.  I noticed how it records God telling Abraham to bring Him certain animals as He prepares to make a covenant with him.  I also noticed that it does not say that God told Abraham to cut the animals, but that Abraham did it anyway.  Before the Torah was written with the laws of sacrifice, it was understood that there had to be tearing and there had to be blood for this type of covenant.  The Lord then passed through the parts as He made a covenant with Abraham.

It means to be chewed.  This must be reason why Luke 22:13-28 is the New Testament reading this week.  In this passage, we see how Yeshua cuts the bread by breaking it and, after offering it, offers the wine as His blood in this renewed covenant.  Do you see how the Seder's bread and the wine (yes, symbolic of His body and blood) is so closely related to the cutting of the animals and the blood shed by them?  However, we must partake, and by this we must then do as Yeshua said about His body:  take it and eat.  Chew.

Of course, we must remember that the Luke passage is about the Passover.  Yet, look at the similarities of the Passover and the covenant with Abraham:  Both involve cutting of animals and blood shed (you must cut the lamb to get the blood), and both involve a passing.  God passes through the animals in both.  

This brings me to one more meaning -- it means to be freed.  Now, I understand the Passover is about God's passing over His people, but justification and satisfaction must first come, and hence God must have first passed through His Lamb.  We are free, we are passed over, because of the sacrificed Lamb.

Now, going back to Abraham.  I noticed by command that Abraham brought the animals and sacrificed them himself.  I also read enough to know that lambs don't show up on Passover already sacrificed, but rather the people had to physically gather a lamb and bring it forward to sacrifice it at their hands.  We knew a family in Costa Rica who was raising their own food.  They told us of the time they slaughtered their first goat.  Not only was the goat aged enough but it had also turned aggressive -- so aggressive that they wholly approached it expecting a fight.  To their surprise, he submitted.  They said it was as if he not only knew it was coming, but he knew it was his job to be food and he was ready.  I say this because Yeshua did say that nobody took His life from Him but He laid it down.  However, man did physically bring the Lamb to the slaughter and did physically slaughter Him.  Yeshua, like that goat, knew his purpose and was ready.  It should ever humble us that without our hands physically bringing Him to sacrifice and as the sacrifice, we wouldn't have a part in Covenant.

Yet, we should also be aware that in this Covenant has conditions -- not conditional love, but conditional covenant.  They are not the same thing, to an extent.  Anyone who has had to step away from another who was abusing their relationship understands that all too well.  I say "to an extent" because the commands in the covenant are indeed acts of love, but there are several words in both the Hebrew and Greek that we pile together to mean the one word love.  The commands are given by God, who alone is love, and who alone has authority to give this definition of what it means to love.  However, love as far as goodwill is is very clear that God extends this to all mankind.  He has the right to state covenant conditions because He presents it and He paid for it Himself with His sacrifice and blood shed.

The sacrifice of the Lamb...  What a special event wherein God demonstrated His love toward us.  How do we demonstrate our love in return?  It is in the Covenant.



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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1 - 3:22)

I am always eager to jump into Deuteronomy and discuss it.  It is not just a book of a recap and reminders, but it is a book of seconds.  It is a second giving of the same instructions given to the second generation of the exodus, and a second chance to do what was supposed to be done some 38 years prior.  Did you ever notice that God chooses the seconds?  Messiah is called the Second Adam; He chose Jacob, the second-born; also the first and bigger blessing given to Joseph's sons was to the second born; the second generation post-exodus Israel inherited the land...  With all the seconds, it appears the Lord is trying to tell us something.  God offers good news and much hope, a bright future, for those of us that are in need of second chances and/or come in second best.

The thing about seconds, and second chances, is that we should learn from the first and repent accordingly to make the most of the second chance, and to see it to a fulfillment.  Consider this text:
"Then all of you came near to me and said:  'Let's send men ahead of us to explore the land for us and bring us back word about the way we should go up and the cities we will enter.'  The idea seemed good to me, so I took twelve men from among you -- one man for each tribe.  They turned and went up into the hill country, and they came to the Wadi Eshcol and spied it out.  ...  'Where are we going?  Our brothers have discouraged our hearts, saying, "The people are greater and taller than we!  The cities are great and fortified up to the heavens!  Besides, we have even seen the children of Anakim there!"'"  -- Deuteronomy 1:22-24, 28 TLV
So they must learn from their parents what not to do.  What did their parents do wrong here?  Was it not the unbelief they had in God to deliver the inhabitants of Canaan into their hand?  I want to take it a further step back and bring to mind that it was not commanded of them to spy out the land, but instead they decided they wanted it.  This is very important because this is the first sign of unbelief.  Why did they need to see the land and which way they were going to enter?  Why not just listen to the direction of the Lord and enter where He tells them to enter?

I find that I have related to this all too much.  In even a current battle I am facing, the Lord has graciously given me the vision of the end result.  The thing is, I want to know by which way I (and the situation) will get there.  All too often God tells us the end, to give us an expected hope, but the 'by way of' (the same thing the first generation is seeking in their request to spy out the land) is something He often does not reveal, but is a call to faith and trust in itself.  Why can't we know the 'by way of'?  

When I first started my walk with the Lord, I used to practically beg Him to literally show up and let me see Him or an angel with my own eyes.  I wanted Him to speak to me like I've heard Him doing to those in the Old Testament.  Yet, very early along in my study of the book of Daniel, I took into consideration Daniel's response to the messenger showing up and speaking to him.  Not only was the appearance something that blew his mind, but the information given, the 'by way of' to the end result Daniel displays that he couldn't even handle such information.  To the whole experience, his strength left him, he collapsed.  The news of angelic warfare with the messenger and the prince of Persia, and Michael helping -- just wow!  He was terrified.  

Being terrified comes in many different dimensions.  Yet, one thing we can gather from Daniel's experience and this parsha is that some foreknowledge is terrifying.  Most especially what we can gather from this parsha is that foreknowledge can paralyze...and not just to the point of Daniel collapsing in the presence of the messenger, but the cowardly and frightful behavior that is a disservice to God's hand to claim victory in any situation we may find ourselves fighting.

So in the light of second chances, we would do well to learn from our first mistakes.  Even then, we can also learn from the testimony that others bear.  Consider the first part of chapter 2... Did you catch that Moses was very intent to mention the journey of Israel as it pertained to the land that belonged to Ammon and Esau?  One thing I caught was that he mentions how both of these acquired their land by driving out inhabitants.  Ammon even drove out relatives of the Anakim (the giants in Canaan).  Surely, if God would drive out giants for Ammon, He would drive out giants for His peculiar treasure Israel!  I guess in this case, the problem truly was as they spoke in this parsha, that they thought God hated them not that they were His treasure.  The problem arose from failure to believe who they were in God as recipients of His good will, and therefore failure to believe in God.

We must humbly accept that in saying God is love, we are to first say that God has goodwill toward mankind.  He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  He is a God of second chances, yet with repentance.  

Even for the believer today, let us learn from the mistakes of those in the first covenant -- how they hardened their hearts toward His Law while keeping to their own traditions which tied to breaking their covenant by spiritual adultery.  In the Lord's death He made free those in this curse of the law of sin and death and curse of adultery.  He made a second chance to be in covenant; and having that chance, let us repent from the first mistake of both unbelief (like the first generation) and of hardening our hearts to His Law as we later see.  This second generation moved forward not only with belief as they crossed the Jordan, but they moved forward with the instructions of Torah.  Let us be found like them, moving forward in the belief and trust of the Lord Yeshua, who is the Life, and with the instructions on how to live that life. 



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Thursday, July 16, 2015


This week we have two readings in one -- matot (tribes) and masei (journeys).  The journey of the children of Israel is nearing an end until they are birthed a nation with their own place in earth.  It was a forty year journey, wherein God said He carried them (Deuteronomy 1:31).  This reminds me of a journey that we all go through, the journey of conception and being carried until childbirth.  The physical is designed to reflect the spiritual, tell the story of the things of faith you wouldn't otherwise quite understand.  Life is about more than convenience of having children, the weighing of benefits and timing, but life (especially this time period of conception to childbirth) is to tell us of the Giver of it and what is says of us in relation to Him.

It takes approximately forty weeks from conception to childbirth.  The child is a child from conception.  I look at those pins of baby feet at ten weeks gestation, and the detail of the little one in such a short amount of time is nothing short of pure amazement.  Again, a child at conception -- it is just that like all things, human beings need time to grow as well.  When we near the end of pregnancy so many of us are impatient to just be done with it, like it has taken forever to get to this point.  In reality, at the end of the day, I am more in awe that a little life can grow so much in such a short amount of time, that a person who is completely dependent on their mother for life, can be a stand alone living being with their own space in the world in just forty short weeks.

When I think of Israel's journey, I think of pregnancy and childbirth.  I think of how they are children of God from the time He brought them out of Egypt, just like a child is a child from conception -- they just needed time to grow, like each human being from conception.  I think of how, just like we are all dependent on our mothers for those forty weeks, Israel was 100% dependent on God for those forty years.  Truly, they could not even have water to drink without Him!  Not only this, but they literally would have died if they were apart from Him during this time, as a child in gestation cannot survive without its mother or without intense intervention in lieu of a mother.  They would have been overtaken in death by the environment, the enemies, the situations, and their immaturity.  I think of the end being a crossing of the Jordan River, at which point they were no longer carried and nursed by El Shaddai in such a way likened unto an umbilical cord, but rather manna stopped coming and they had to labor for their food and make food themselves from what God provided in the land.  It reminds me of something I was once told so long ago with my first child, that after birth babies labor for their food in breastfeeding.  If you ever pumped, you would understand it doesn't come out so easily, and definitely not like the ease and constant outpouring of nutrition through an umbilical cord.  I think of the Jordan River like a breaking of the waters to their birth as people brought forth out of a womb, with their own place in the world.

I think of another set of forty, the forty days and nights it rained on the earth until it was filled with water and the result of this (once the waters receded) was a birth of a new beginning.  This forty reminds me of water that builds in a womb until its fill, then it will recede before the birth and soon comes a new beginning of life.  This forty, and the forty years in the wilderness birthed life.  

Then there happens to be forties that didn't end as intended.  There exists the forty days the spies had in the land that was supposed to result in the physical birthed nation of Israel as they entered, but did not.  We also have the forty years in the book of Acts (forty years after Messiah's parting) that resulted in destruction of the temple rather than a birth.  The forty is meant for growth, and meant to end in birth.  Due to the hardness of hearts, there are times in the Bible that it doesn't, and likewise due to hardness of hearts there are times pregnancy isn't used for growth and doesn't end in birth.

Early last year I came across an article while I was pregnant with my youngest.  It was in great timing, since I was already connecting pregnancy to Biblical matters.  This article takes the general truths a step further in to the precision of development in relation to the Biblical holy days.  
Zola Levitt discovered an amazing correlation between Jewish Holy Days and the gestation of a human baby, from conception to birth.  While preparing for writing a book for new parents, Zola contacted a gynecologist for some help in understanding gestation.  During the session, the gynecologist showed him a series of pictures, pointed to the first one (an egg and a sperm) and said, "On the fourteenth day of the first month, the egg appears."  The statement struck a cord in his Jewish mind because that was the date of Passover.  He remembered the roasted egg on his family table every Passover.  Now, for the first time, he knew what it meant!  Not wanting to lead the gynecologist off from the subject at hand, he didn't say anything, but continued to listen.
The gynecologist continued:  "The egg must be fertilized within 24 hours, or it will pass on."  This reminded Zola of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the seed or grain that "fell into the ground and died" in order to produce a harvest, the first fruits of which was presented to God.  Next, the gynecologist said, "Within two to six days, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the womb and begins to grow."  And, sure enough, the Jewish evangelist thought, "The Feast of First Fruits is observed anywhere from two to six days after Passover!"
Next, he was shown a photo of an embryo showing arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, a head, eyes, etc.  The caption said, "Fifty days."  The gynecologist continued, "Around the fiftieth day, the embryo takes on a form of a human being.  Until then, we don't know if we have a duck or a tadpole."  Zola thought, "That's Pentecost!"
The next picture showed the embryo at seven months.  The gynecologist said, "On the first day of the seventh month, the baby's hearing is developed.  For the first time, it can hear and distinguish sounds outside of the womb."  Zola knew that was the date for the Jewish Feast of Trumpets [when we will hear that sound of the shofar that is coming from outside of this world].
The gynecologist continued, "On the tenth day of the seventh month, the hemoglobin of the blood changes from that of the mother, to a self-sustaining baby."  Zola thought, "That's the Day of Atonement, when the blood was taken into the Holy of holies!"
Next, the gynecologist said, "On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the lungs become fully developed.  If born before then, the baby would have a hard time breathing."  Zola thought, "That's the festival of Tabernacles, a time of celebrating the Temple, home of the Shekinah glory or Spirit [breath] of God."  In the New Testament, the Greek term pneuma, normally translated as "breath," is applied to the "Holy Spirit."
Birth takes place on the tenth day of the ninth month.  Eight days after birth, in Jewish families, a son is circumcised.  Zola noted that the eight days of Hanukkah are celebrated right on schedule, nine months and ten days after Passover.  
No human being could have understood the gestation period 3,500 years ago.  The establishment of the Jewish Holy Days was given to Moses by YHWH, Himself.  Its correlation with the human gestation period is not only remarkable; it proves "Intelligent Design."  It proves the existence of an intelligence beyond this world.  It proves that there is a Creator God that guides the affairs of man.  -- J.R. Church
I do hope it is safe to say that anyone who would read this is for life.  Yet, I hope to see you take a firm stand against the evils of abortion.  If God, perfect in every way, can carry a rebellious people for the forty, is it really too much for a mere human to endure forty weeks for an innocent life?  If Moses can intercede for the rebels, so that due to God's mercy there would still be a birth of a nation at the end, then let us be found interceding for innocent lives to end in childbirth.



*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.