Thursday, March 5, 2015

Ki Tisa / When You Take

There was a time when I spoke to a man who would soon be performing a funeral service.  He was trying to move me in this oneness-thing in marriage, how difficult it must be for the wife of the dead to let go of the man with whom she spent her life.  I couldn't understand this man's words because at that time I saw death as the only release of a mistake I had made.  What a difference it is to have the right partner.  I think back to his words, and today I sympathize with the widow.  I have only been married to Brant for a year and a half, but I do not know how I would ever be without him.  There were times while he was away at work for just those 8-10 hours that I would just earnestly miss his presence.  We go with each other practically everywhere -- I accompany him when he golfs, went with him to his scheduled interviews, he goes with me grocery shopping, etc.  There is scarcely anything we do that we don't do together, just for the sake of being together.

More than having someone's presence is the unity of being one.  Being in the presence of does not make a marriage, unlike the unity of it.  It means more to us that our faith matches, our rules are the same, even that my pet peeves become his pet peeves, and that I cater to his desires as if they were mine -- not in a fake, 'you're forcing me to be here' sort of attitude, but the sincere, authentic adoption of his desires as if they were mine.  

This is the sort of unity that God is after.  So when we read His laws that do command us to act in certain ways and to be at certain places during certain times, we can understand that it is because this is Him and to be as He is, is to be one with Him.
"'Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD.  Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.  Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever.  It is a sign between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'"  -- Exodus 31:15-17 ESV
The Shabbat is one of those ways.  God says He rested, so be one with Him and rest.  There are many signs out there, because there are many things and people to belong to.  You are probably familiar with Revelation's description of the mark of the beast, upon the forehead or hand.  In the Shema (Deuteronomy 6) God says let His Law be upon your forehead and hand.  Take this sign, the sign of His Law, most inclusive of the Shabbat, and likewise join in unity with Him.  Like the above example of presence without unity, Christianity today shows us the belief that presence of God for marriage does not have to come with unity with God.  We know that is false.  Even in living our marriages we can tell you that is not a marriage.
When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it.  And Aaron made a proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD."  -- Exodus 32:5 ESV
They made a golden calf and then turned around and proclaimed a day of feast in the LORD's Name.  People do this today -- mix paganism with the LORD's Name.  Honestly, many even go as far as to call that "feast of the Lord" day after a pagan god!  Is this the sort of unity that God is after?  "You bring your gods and I bring myself and let us join ourselves together as one?"  He did not say that, but rather:
"Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst.  You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down down their Asherim (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice..."  -- Exodus 24:12-15 ESV
We are to tear down their asherim, not bring them in our houses.  He plainly tells us we would be invited to their feast days, though it was not meant for us to attend.  We have today allowed the church to redeem their feast days, and even justify it as God enjoys a feast.  Yes, God enjoys a feast and God accepts worship, but God is holy.  He is set-apart, and He knows your heart is after worship and feast. He did, after all, create you to worship Him.  If you want worship and feast, okay!  Here is the acceptable worship and feast for His set-apart Majesty:
"You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt..."  -- Exodus 24:18 ESV
The Lord continues with the rest of His feasts.  You would do this, but instead you should do this...  That is the way I read the shift from pagan worship to set-apart worship in this chapter.  Everyone has terms to their marriage.  Certain things are deal-breakers, and we can hardly think God is unreasonable if He doesn't wish His birthday to be forgotten and you gift Him on the birthday of your ex-lover instead; celebrate your anniversary with Him on a day not its true date, but rather on a day special to you and your ex-husband.  What husband would gladly accept a wife commemorating her ex's birthday?  What person would say this is okay because she is not celebrating the birthday with the ex, but with her current husband?

Marriage is unity.  It is, as God wrote it, "twain one flesh."  He, above all, keeps His own Word.  Therefore, God's marriage is...twain, one flesh.  The Old Testament teaches us that there are 2 opposing forces here:  us and God's Word/Law.  If there is to be marriage between God and us, something has got to change.  Many times we err when we say it is God's Word (covenant) that had to change.  The Old Testament meets the New with a restoration above all, with a debt paid and release of broken covenant curses, in Messiah Yeshua.
The LORD said to Moses, "Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke."  -- Exodus 34:1 ESV
The first tablets were broken, symbolic of how the children of Israel broke the Covenant.  Yet, God wrote the same Covenant...upon new vessels.  In Messiah, and by His Holy Spirit, WE ARE those new vessels.  From the Haftorah portion:
"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.  And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk my statutes and be careful to obey my rules."  -- Ezekiel 36:25-27 ESV
The verses prior to this passage speak of God's concern for His Name.  We read the start of it, when Aaron mixed His Name with a golden calf worship.  That continued and God's name was defiled.  It is like how the Bible teaches women to be meek and gentle, discreet and chaste for their husband's sake.  What a shame a woman brings upon a husband when she goes around philandering, loud-mouthed, tactless, graceless.  It is an embarrassment.  Mothers speak of how bad behaviors of their children in public is an embarrassment to their upbringing.  As well, a wife's behaviors can be either an embarrassment or praise to her husband.  Brant has a shameful mistake of his past (don't we all), and through the ridicule of something of old, God has really shown me that people will see him differently through me.  If I praise him, he will be praised.  A woman really is gifted.

Anyway, so God was saying His Name was brought to such defilement through public embarrassment by His own children and bride.  He says He will look after His Name, and perform these things in Ezekiel 36:25-27 (above) for His Name's sake.  How GREAT is the Lord shown to be when He can take His same Word and rewrite it upon new vessels, restoring His Covenant once broken upon a people who once broke it.  Of the 2 in the Covenant (us and God/His Word), one had to change, and Beloved, that is you.  The other, having no fault, remained the same.  Great is His mercy and His power.  Great is His salvation, His Yeshua.


N...

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tetzaveh/"You Shall Command" (Haftorah)

"It doesn't matter how sincere you are.  Sincerity only matters when you are in obedience.  Obedience is better than sacrifice."  -- Passion for Truth Ministries
I saw this shared by one of my Facebook friends, and I shared it from that person myself.  Just days later when I was going through this week's Haftorah reading portion, we found ourselves reading from I Samuel 15 -- the story where Saul keeps back the choicest livestock for sacrifice, and Samuel is quick to remind him that obedience is better than sacrifice.  I guess that is the lesson for the week.  At least in my house it surely was.  
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt.  Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have.  Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'"  -- I Samuel 15:2-3 ESV
Purim is coming upon us.  It is the time when Haman, an Amalekite, sought to have the Jews killed.  This was well after the command to destroy the Amalekite, given to Saul.  Can you imagine if obedience came to pass?   Then there wouldn't have been a Haman.  See, it is not just about what happened in the past, but what will happen in the future.  Yet, honestly, it is not our job to know the details.  That is God's job.  We are not God.  We don't need to be struck with the fear of what will happen, or might happen.  All we need to do is trust and obey Him.  That is our job.  Let Him work out the details and the plan, and let Him keep protecting us.  So often His commands are designed to protect us and our rejection of them reaps our destruction.  If we would simply obey.
But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them.  All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.  -- I Samuel 15:9 ESV
So many of us are doing the same thing here, determining what is good despite God's commandments.  God alone is good and only He can determine what is good.  What burden we put upon Him and ourselves when we determine that we can judge better than God.  How many things has God said to do away with, yet we keep them and say they are good?  We are talking of things (namely, ways of worship) all the way back in Deuteronomy He said to do away with.  The church is tainted with these things that are called "good."
The word of the LORD came to Samuel:  "I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments."  And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the LORD all night.  -- I Samuel 15:10-11 ESV
God did not set us up as royalty so that we can pick and choose which commands to keep.  I think we know enough about the Lord that partial keeping is simply not keeping.  A little rebellion is... rebellion.  I know you can relate to Samuel here.  Isn't is just a hard thing to witness loved ones who refuse God's ways?  You are angry and yet oh so sorrowful.  You, like Samuel, have probably spent a night weeping for that person because of the great love and good will you have toward that person.  It is hard to sit back and watch people's lack of obedience be their own sting and their own rejection.  I get a glimpse of that as a parent to growing children.  How much more to that of adults who really have the intelligence to simply know better.  
And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, "Blessed be you to the LORD.  I have performed the commandment of the LORD."  And Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?"  Saul said, "They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the LORD your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction."  -- I Samuel 15:13-15 ESV
It amazes me how people blatantly in their rebellion and sin can greet you with a blessing, like Saul thinks to do here with Samuel.  Be sure of this -- what is in the darkness manages to come to light, and sin has a way of revealing itself.  To those not in it, it can be as obvious as having the offenses ringing and bleating in your ears.  

Do you notice what Saul says?  They intended on sacrificing the good of the Amalekites, which is why they kept them.  They intended on sacrificing these things to God, at that.  From the goodness of people's hearts they bring the spoil of the enemy to worship the Lord.  He rejected it then, and, Beloved, I'm venturing to say He rejects it now.  Saul is sincere, of this you cannot deny.  Yet, his sincerity and the goodness of his heart mean nothing if he is not obedient.  First of all, the heart is not good, but is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), which is why we must not follow it but follow that which is good:  God and His Law.
"Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king."  -- I Samuel 15:23b ESV
Rejecting the Lord's eternal Word is just not something any of us should even consider doing.  We should pray we, nor any other who claims His Name, do not find our flesh rejecting His Law, and adapting perhaps other ways of worship in lieu of these that we consider "good."  He is a God of equal measures, sowing and reaping, so that to the one that rejects His Law, the same may find himself being told, "Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness."  It is definitely not the words you want to hear from His mouth.

Yet...are the words of His Law departing what He wants to hear from yours?

 N...

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Terumah/Heave Offering

It just seems that no matter how many times you study the tabernacle, there are still more things hidden within -- symbolism to secret meanings, numbers and purposes that are multi-dimensional.  We are talking about erecting and trying to understand a physical thing that has a very real heavenly mirror.  Of course it is much deeper than we can read into.

So it is the same with this body we call the temple.  The reasons and meanings behind not just anatomical and physiological functions, but then we also grow to uncover the reasons behind our thought processes, our needs, our desires, our behaviors.  There is a reason for all of these.  My daughter asked how long it took for the children of Israel to build the tabernacle.  I confess I didn't know the answer, yet I began to focus more on how long it takes to build us as the dwelling place of our Lord's own Ruach.

It got me to thinking about the craftsmen that came to build the tabernacle.  My daughter did not only ask how long it took for them to build it, but their abilities to do so.  Yes, we know the Spirit of God called men and enabled them.  However, let us not forget that these are people who build things like the pyramids while in their captivity.  What revelation -- God takes your days of affliction and makes them purposeful.  Do you think they would have been capable craftsmen of the tabernacle if they hadn't had the experience of building in their days of affliction in Egypt?  Perhaps not.  So then let us move on in our days of affliction knowing that these are training grounds and preparation.  There is nothing like the hardest captor and their affliction to teach you 1) love for God, 2) unity, 3) strength, and 4) endurance.  It is like the muscular building -- you don't build and get strong without resistance.  That's just another physical thing that reflects a spiritual truth, like all of the New Testament reading this week.  Let's take another look into the tabernacle build.
"They shall make an ark of acacia wood.  Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height."  -- Exodus 25:10 ESV
The ark is the first part of the tabernacle He instructs to be built.  The ark's mercy seat is where the Lord said He would dwell, with His covenant within the ark.  The first part of reconciliation and relationship to God begins with God.  Construction begins with His Word.  Just as His words came forth and gave instruction to build His tabernacle, so His Word (Torah) instructs, divides, builds, tests, trains, transforms (Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16) the believer who is the dwelling place of God.
"You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it."  -- Exodus 25:12 ESV
Back when I would have lunch dates with the man that became my husband, there was a particular time when I asked him why he wears tzitzit.  He said he adapted Brad Scott's statement, and said, "It is my wedding ring to God."  It wasn't until this past week reading our portion a bit more of a connection to me.  As I read of rings on the corners of the ark (yes I know they are for the poles, to carry the ark), I was also reminded on how He commanded these fringes on the corners of the garments.  So on our (or the men's) corners there are the fringes, and on His corners there are the rings.  Doesn't that just give you a sense of having to tether yourself to the Lord?  Cling to the Lord your God.  Tie yourself to Him. Claim His mercy and His testament.  Cling to the Word of the Lord, His Torah.  
"There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel."  -- Exodus 25:22 ESV
How do you think it would go for the children of Israel if their attitude was to not accept the instructions for the tabernacle that made it set-apart?  Or if they didn't even want to work on the tabernacle because the work may actually cancel out God's mercy, or make His redemption of them out of Egypt to be in vain?  Wouldn't that be a non-intelligent response?  They build the tabernacle not to do away with their redemption, but they were redeemed so that they could begin the process of being His people, which includes erecting a holy dwelling place for Him.

We could go on and argue whether or not we should receive the Torah (which is instruction into holiness, God setting and being the example, a revelation of His character), to let it be our governing agent on what is set-apart, an acceptable abode for the Lord, set of rules that instructs us in holiness and righteousness that we remain that abode and quench not the Holy Spirit nor blaspheme His work.  Some may argue it blasphemes His work to keep the Torah.  However, not keeping the Torah blasphemes the Holy Spirit's character with whom we claim oneness, and also blasphemes His power to enable a sinner (within whom He dwells) to rise above incapabilities and sin (which is simply not keeping Torah). 

So many rules we might say.  "No one can keep all those rules."  Let us remember that the rules came from God's own mouth, that God is a God of law and order (and you should like that He is -- lawlessness is chaos and darkness, inconsistency, disorder...everything opposed to God), and plainly our attitude is like that of a 2-year old having a temper tantrum:  "But I don't want to.  It's not fair.  I can't."  Can you hear the whining?  You either have the Holy Spirit of God in you, or you don't.  On this note, of the rules and what not, let us repeat that last verse:  "There will I meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel."  The God of this universe wants to meet with you and all we rather argue about is His instruction for appointments and meetings.  So many of us go above and beyond for our dinner guests coming over, and how many in return argue with God on His standards of being your eternal partner?  God is willing to meet and speak with us.  Whatever He wants of us (through His instruction and commandments) should be done as our heartfelt response to the fact that our Maker wants to be our Husband and wants to meet and speak with us.
"And you shall make fifty clasps of gold, and couple the curtains one to the other with the clasps, so that the tabernacle may be a single whole."  -- Exodus 26:6 ESV
"You shall make fifty clasps of bronze, and put the clasps into the loops, and couple the tent together that it may be a single whole."  -- Exodus 26:11 ESV
This is the last thing I will bring up about this parsha.  It is that of wholeness and oneness.  In the first quote above we are talking about the tabernacle's curtain walls.  This building happens to not be sitting in a foundation on the ground.  It is not founded to this earth, like us.  It is standing mainly because it is framed together as one unit.  You need unity to stand.  Like Yeshua said, a house divided against itself will not stand (Mark 3:25).  Just like the tabernacle's body needs unity, so the Body of Messiah needs unity.  However, more importantly, and the reason why we should gladly accept God's Torah and walk therein, is because Yeshua walked it.  The second quote talks about the actual tend having unity.  Like the covering of the tabernacle had unity, we must remember that God our head and covering is echad/ONE.  As His people, we must be as a single whole with Him.  We must be one with Him, and that is where His instructions come in handy.  They are the very revelation of His character and a guide promised to us throughout our generations.

If the Lord is our portion, then His Torah is our heritage.  Forever.

 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, February 5, 2015

Yitro/Jethro

This week's pasha is named after Moses' father-in-law, Jethro.  It's divine it is named after a father in law and within it contains the Father's Law -- or, Covenant, we should say.

What is it about covenants that makes a law?  Or, what of laws that bring forth relationships?  Does law bring forth relationships?  I venture to say that, based upon life and the Word, law and relationship work together and you cannot have one without the other.  Relationships strive for legality... that is, law.  What is the goal of relations through attraction if not to make it to marriage (a legal binding)?  This law is a need to bind ourselves together and a way to express our love one to another.  We dearly wish for our spouses to embrace the laws of marriage.  Are we likewise just as eager to embrace the same laws ourselves to our spouse, or to God?

All relationships are this way -- parent to child, spouse to spouse, friend to friend.  Each relationship has laws that uphold.  These laws we follow to maintain the relationship.  If you don't follow faithfulness, truthfulness, kindness, etc., you aren't going to have your husband, parent, or friend very long.  So then you cannot have relationship without law, nor relationship without love -- which is perfectly expressed in the laws of the relationship.

I saw a post from a friend of mine, saying how she loves her sons and her son-in-love.  Note, she did not say, "Son-in-law."  My desire is to go about learning and sharing how, in God's Law, love and the Law are one.  You will first recall our Beloved Messiah telling us (John 14:15, 23) that if we love Him we will keep the commandments (which is the Law).  Then again, John tells us this is the love of God, that we keep the commandments (I John 5:3).  Of this, we understand then that you cannot separate love and Law.  However, many will argue that this is referring to the commandments of Jesus and not the commandments in the Law of Moses.  To the defense of God's Word I am going to say first that the Hebrew Messiah IS the Torah/Law of Moses.  Second, you must reread your Torah, the Words written of the Law make it quite clear it was God's Word delivered to Moses.  It is not Moses' Law.  My third point is that if you do not believe that the Jesus of the NT is echad (one) with the God of the OT (to include the Word/Torah) then your belief goes back to gnosticism.  Y'eshua did not come to save us from His Father's Word (Torah).  The Scripture says He came to save us from the thing that opposes the Torah, our sins (Matthew 1:21).

I know that the New Testament reading differs amongst congregations this week.  I am going to roll with Mark 7-8 since it is what our congregation is reading.  The first few verses are about the Pharisees scolding the disciples for eating with unwashed hands, unclean per tradition of the elders.  The text plainly says this is a tradition of the elders.  First I must say that just as you can attest of many churches today, the traditions of their elders isn't always stuff that is in the Bible.  It doesn't mean they are bad traditions, but let us just make it clear that not all good traditions are Biblical.  This is the same with the Pharisee.  The tradition was that of elders.  Let us also understand that not all traditions of elders are good.  Not all traditions of elders are good, and even still not all good traditions are in the Bible. 
"You leave the commandments of God and hold to the tradition of men."  And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!"  -- Mark 7:8-9 ESV
Wow, okay.  So in upholding traditions, let us not be as the Pharisee who leaves the commandments of God for them, or rejecting them in order to establish our own.  There's nothing wrong with worship on Sunday you may claim, but have you left God's command of the Sabbath for it?  You may dispute with me that this isn't talking about the "Law of Moses", but let us read the very next verse.
"For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'Whoever reviles father and mother must surely die.'"  -- Mark 7:10 ESV
In rebuking them for leaving God's commands, He mentions one of the commands in the 10 commandments and another commandment within the "Law of Moses"... because, once again, the "Law of Moses" is God's Law.  Many of our justification on things we do that are not Biblical is because they were confirmed by the church fathers.  Some of these are just like the Pharisees' excuses on the tradition of elders.  Their elders often can be compared to our church fathers.  Surely we have inherited lies from them (our fathers).  To these that voided God's Law in their hearts but upheld traditions of elders, Messiah called them, "Hypocrites," (Mark 7:6).  You hear all the time of so and so who has a heart for Jesus they just haven't yet accepted God's Law.  Well the rest of verse 6 and into verse 7 (of Isaiah) contradicts that being a true.
"'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"  -- Mark 7:6-7 ESV
A person cannot be against God's Law, but keeping the doctrines of elders and fathers, and have a heart for the Lord.  That heart is actually far from the Lord.  Let us embrace the giving of this Law, the establishment of a marital Covenant that came of it.  THIS is God's love language, now and forever.  Let it be, in our hearts, Lord let it be:
And God spoke all these words, saying, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, our of the house of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before me.  You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.  You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.  Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.  On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.  Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.  Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.  You shall not murder.  You shall not commit adultery.  You shall not steal.  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.  You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or is ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's."  -- Exodus 20:1-17 ESV
When we read these words we see the Law was given on a special day on God's calendar.  If you read some of the details of what was happening, you will quickly realize it sounds like when the Spirit descended on Pentecost, an event that happened much later.  This is because it was Shavuot, later known as Pentecost.  The Law descended the same day that the Spirit later descended, because the Law and Spirit are one.  What is this "Letter of the Law," versus "Spirit of the Law" business that the flesh uses to say we need not bother ourselves with God's Torah?  Since the abolishers of the Law like to use Romans passages, let's look at a Romans passage:  "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold under sin." (Romans 7:14 KJV).  The Law and the Spirit of it are one.  It is spiritual, which is why you need the Spirit to walk accordingly.  God's Spirit did not come to abolish the law for a new set, like the Pharisee (Christian or Judaic), leaving us, as far as the Father is concerned... "lawless."  God does not change, and neither do you want Him to change.  If He can change His covenant then what hope do you have that He wouldn't change His covenant with you for your eternal life.  The immutability of God, including His Word/Torah, is our hope.  I plead with you to prayerfully reconsider, if you have forsaken God's Law.


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.    

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Beshalach: "When He Sent"

I do hope that you've been able to see the prophecy in history here.  I am overwhelmingly satisfied that dots are being connected on what to look forward to in the Day of the Lord.  How exiting is this week's reading?!  God is doing wonders for His people.  They are exiting their bondage.  At the same time He is getting glorified.  It is just good all around.  As Romans reminds us, the good of God's people is attached to His glory.  That passage in Romans and this story here that we read, is to remind us and encourage us as we see the wonders, because in the process of coming out free from bondage and God being glorified, we find ourselves in hairy situations.  Read below:
And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD."  And they did so.  -- Exodus 14:4 ESV
Notice this -- God is telling His people that they are having some hot pursuers, all to His glory.  How would you like the Lord telling you that He is going to put you in some hairy situations that He may be glorified?  Friend, God is glorified in the impossible, in saving and healing.  This means there must have been something you needed saving and/or healing from.  You will most often find that you come to "know" God when He is exercising His multi-faceted glorious roles, and where else would He be exercising such things than in hairy, backed up against the water, situations?  
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants changed toward the people, and they said, "What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?"  -- Exodus 14:5 ESV
Isn't this terrible?  They just lost a great mass of their future generation, and they are more concerned with enslaving Israel.  Take note, Beloved, this is what hate does.  Some people hate God so much, that they would sacrifice their own children, toss aside the remembrance of them, at a chance to overtake God's people.  This may be a sub-par example, but I used it nonetheless to my Star Wars-loving son.  Do you remember the end of Episode 3, where Anakin is so full of hate toward Obi-Wan that he loses his limbs at a chance to attack his own master?  Even losing his limbs, he is crawling in hate toward him, inching away until the fire of the lava stops him.  Hate will consume people -- they lose their children, which are their extension like limbs, at a chance to attack God.  I fear they will continue in their hate-driven blood-thirst until the fire consumes them.
They said to Moses, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?  What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?"  -- Exodus 14:11 ESV
Oftentimes I read that and internally answered how ridiculous of a response, so simple-minded.  I'm quickly reproved when I remember moments in the wilderness myself, when I lose heart and think God has it out for me.  "He's taking me to the woodshed," as they say.  I think of the teenage child who says, "My mother hates me because she won't let me go anywhere."  How that mother's heart breaks, the simple-minded child just doesn't see the purpose of mother's upbringing.  So quickly we betray God's good intentions toward us, and refuse to be conformed through the wilderness and fiery furnaces.  Listen, the Father does chasten for sure, just as He chastened in 38 years of the wilderness.  However, remember there were 2 years of wilderness that was purposeful for growth and relationship to Him.  You don't develop relationships with people through a genie-complex ("give me, give me"), you develop relationships with people when you spend time together and are put in situations that bring forth character traits.  The wilderness was solitary, of this we agree.  They got to spend time with God, and be put in positions that drew out characteristics of God they wouldn't otherwise see in positions they didn't absolutely see their need for Him.
And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.  -- Exodus 14:22 ESV
What wonder is this!  How pertinent it is for you today.  You can understand the deeper meaning of this passage when you study the Hebrew.  The Hebrew word for water is mayim.  It starts with the letter mem, which symbolizes water, womb, and chaos -- all three at once, and you will see why.  Mem has 2 forms, open and closed.  A closed womb = no chaos.  An open one = chaos.  Think of a woman's water breaking at the term of pregnancy.  Mem symbolizes water, and water itself also symbolizes the nations which are chaos.  The Hebrew speaks of many things in reality because it is God's language, and God did design the physical to reflect the spiritual.  When you think of mem and its meanings, you can revisit the passages of water in Scripture and see some mysteries God reveals.  This past year the Lord has given me many dreams of waters, and myself above them in an ark of some sort, or even safely within them.  God has a way of making you to walk amongst the nations (amongst the chaos), surrounded by these, literally within the nations, and not be touched.   Nobody needs to go fleeing under a rock now.  The water (the chaos) did not touch them, and by God's hand, neither will it touch you who are His.  I can't say the same for those who aren't.
And in the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptians into a panic, clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily.  And the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from before Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians."  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen."  So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared.  And as the Egyptians fled into it, the LORD threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea.  -- Exodus 14:24-27 ESV
Don't you play the part of an Egyptian and flee.  This is your Lord's hand.  He has kept you safe in His majestic presence thus far, and He can continue to do so if it pleases Him.  The nations flee because they have a reason to do so.  You stand and let your God fight for you.  Did you notice the chaos, that is the water, fell back upon the nations?  Their own chaos will be their ruin, and just as the water's course returned to normal by morning, so when this happens in the Day of the Lord the order is restored in the morning.

The next chapter is the song sang by the children of Israel.  It is a new song to them.  Miriam plays the tambourine and they dance in victory as they sing.  Just the same, Revelation tells us that we will too will sing a new song after the chaos has ended and order is restored in victory.  Oh what a glorious day.  Won't you sing and dance, as the children of Israel?  Exodus 15:11 (ESV) -- "Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?  Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?"  In His language -- "Mi Chamocha, ba'elim, Adonai?  Mi kamocha, nedar bakodesh, nora tehillot, osei feleh?"

Excuse the background.  Yes we are moving.  I guess it was divine that we read and recorded this as we are moving.  So the children of Israel were also moving when they sang and danced these lyrics.



N...

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bo: "Come"

Five days is just not enough time to study the 4 chapters in the Torah this week.  I still have yet to make satisfactory connections between these things in Exodus and what we can expect as we approach the Day of the LORD.  Then again, when will I ever be done being a student?  I simply ask you, if you are reading this, to learn with me.  

This past Saturday a dear sister in the Lord came up to me and asked me how my brother was doing.  One thing led to another in conversation, and soon she randomly mentioned a dream she had the night before.  It was about a strong wind, a tornado in its blackness, that was coming from the east.  Yet, at the same time she said you didn't know where it was coming or going.  It hit a water tower, and the released water came before it.  She thought it was speaking of an upcoming storm, and the water was the refreshing Word that would come before it.  Well, in truth, the Word has come before any storm.  We know of the storms that will come by the Word that was given, even the Word we study in Exodus.  

That next day my mother in law shared some words that she heard in passing.  Don't confuse the breath of God for a storm.  It reminded me of the dream that was told to me, because although there was a storm, she used words to describe it that were the same words Messiah used to describe the works of the Spirit's leading to Nicodemus (John 3:8).  Later that day we started our parsha reading, and read of the locusts:
"'For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land.  And they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field, and they shall fill your houses and the houses of all your servants and of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.'"  Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh. ... Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, so that they may come upon the land of Egypt and eat every plant in the land, all that the hail has left."  So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night.  When it was morning, the east wind had brought the locusts.  -- Exodus 10:4-6, 12-13 ESV
So you can see my eyes were wide open.  Someone tells me of a strong wind that comes from the east, it causes water to come before it.  I think the wind is of the Lord, though it is labeled as a storm.  My mother in law feeds me words that confirm my own thinking, without her knowing it; and then I read of an incident when a strong wind came from the east in God's doing.

This week the parsha name is translated into come.   A storm and even revival may be coming, but really what this more simply means is that the LORD is coming.  From the locusts in Exodus to the anticipated locusts of Joel and Revelation (that have yet to come, and may even be coming really soon), we need to remember that these were brought by the LORD Himself.  I tell my children if they want to know, look at what has already been done.  In this case of Exodus as it relates to the end times, look at the pattern.  The locusts were the last plague before we see God's vengeance (the taking of the firstborn because His firstborn Israel was taken; or the killing of the sons because the sons of Israel were killed in the beginning of Exodus...).  Beloved Reader, the LORD is returning and it will be the vine harvest (Fall feasts).  The vengeance of the LORD will come like the fruit that is pressed, staining the earth for the wine.  However, before we see this day, we realize the locusts will come.  It will be a time of darkness, a darkness that can be felt (Exodus 10:21).  Rest assured, it is but a moment.  God's Hebrew design is that evening starts a day; and so when we see the darkness we know the time is nigh.  It is even here.  Let's move onto the LORD's Passover during His vengeance, otherwise known as the last plague.
"In this manner you shall eat of it:  with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand.  And you shall eat it in haste.  It is the LORD's Passover."  -- Exodus 12:11 ESV
We ate at an elegant Italian restaurant with my in-laws when they came last year.  This wasn't the type of place that had previously frozen meals.  We had to remind the children that this was not that kind of restaurant where they could...act like children.  They should instead act like finely disciplined children.  Up until this year, I thought that is why God commanded Israel to eat girded up with a staff in hand.  I thought it was instead of standing at attention, they were eating at attention.  I read in the Orthodox Jewish Bible it was to signify travel.  They ate prepared to travel.  Well, duh, they are about to travel.  See, that is the thing.  When we partake of the LORD's Passover for the first time (entering the Covenant, see Last Seder/Supper), we had better be prepared to walk.  Walk the walk of our Messiah.  By this we know that we are found in Him, if we walk as He walked, as John so tells us (I John 2:6).
"For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses.  If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land.  You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread."  -- Exodus 12:19-20 ESV
 First of all, this is God's Word, just like it is the LORD's Passover.  If any of us don't like the Words, or the way He wants us to feast, that's not a matter of the messengers, it is problem that person has with the LORD.  That being said, I know of some dispensationalists that don't think of themselves as part of the commonwealth of Israel, and excuse themselves from the conditions and instructions given to Israel, even some of the promises.  Those have to justify to themselves that God has a different set of people who are not Israel, with different set of rules, or risk themselves believing a replacement theology, while at the same time claiming an unchanging God.  For the most, we do claim to be of the commonwealth of Israel, especially if we claim the promises given to Israel.  If you claim any Old Testament promise, you are desiring to be "of Israel."  So then, who is Israel?  The passage above makes it clear that Israel consists of native-born and sojourner who adopts not just the promises, but the conditions (like Caleb, who alone stood with Joshua).  This is to include the one of the Passover.

The flesh gets in the way and gives excuse on why the conditions don't have to be met (keeping Torah).  This flesh will say there are over 1,000 in the NT that must be kept but I cannot at all keep any of the 613 in the old.  What this flesh doesn't realize is that the ones in the NT are merely explanations of the 613, not new ones, and that most of the 613 pertain to the land and the temple.  Mind you, no one keeping the Torah (not even the orthodox) is out sacrificing, so then how could keeping the Law nullify Christ?  Out of all 613, there is roughly 1/3 that apply to everyone, everywhere.  John said the commandments were not burdensome (I John 5:3), and Moses said they were not difficult.  He said the Word is ever near, even in your heart that you may do them (Deuteronomy 30:14).  More amazing is that that is the very definition of the New Covenant (that the Word would be written on your heart -- Jeremiah 31:13, Ezekiel 36:26-27).  Sounds like the same Covenant, by Y'eshua we are restored into it.

I said all that because this happens to be one of those mitzvot that is not limited to the land and the temple.  The LORD said in all your dwellings you are to eat unleavened bread during this Feast.  This is also a 2-part command, like the Sabbath.  The Sabbatical law is not just to rest the 7th, but to work 6 and rest the 7th.  The unleavened bread law is not merely to not eat leavened bread, but it is to eat unleavened bread.
"Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin.  None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.  For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you."  -- Exodus 12:22-23 ESV
My children asked what would happen if they did exit the house before morning.  Would the Lord kill them?  The thing is, God sends the destroyer and He sets up boundaries that you would be protected.  Are we to blame God for disobedience?  Just like the 4 walls of a shut-in house is our Torah.  Torah is a set of instructions for peace and kindness one to another, and love.  This is why the NT disciples and Messiah, in shutting down the people who made it burdensome in their hearts for other doctrines (like we see now in Christian Pharisees), were quick to remind us that the Law is love of God and love of neighbor.  The Love didn't replace the Law; the Love is the Law.  If you step outside of the instructions for peace, kindness, safety, and love, are you to be taken aback that you reap chaos, violence, danger, hate, and destruction?  Who would dare try to rise above God and come up with a different way to bring about peace, kindness, safety, and love outside of His Law?
"And when your children say to you, 'What do you mean by this service?'  You shall say, 'It is the sacrifice of the LORD's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.'"  And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.  -- Exodus 12:26-27
The children are asking because they see the service being kept.  God commands them to keep this service, and in so doing it would be a continuous witness of what He did, what He does, and what He will again do.  Even Paul said to keep the Passover, just as the Messiah we claim to follow, kept.
A mixed multitude also went up with them, and very much livestock, both flocks and herds.  -- Exodus 12:38 ESV
This "mixed multitude" is clearly telling us that the people who came out and were called "Israel" were more than just Jacob's bloodline descendants.  Isn't that just so beautiful to know that the witness of God's wonders convinced even some Egyptians to abandon their ways and follow the God of Abraham?

This means that more than just Jacob's lineage exited Egypt and received God's Word at Sinai, so then more than just Jacob's lineage is given a set of instructions, a Law, to walk by.  Yes indeed.  The Words of the Lord, about the Words of the Lord, not just given below about the Passover, but we see throughout all His Torah:
"There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you."  -- Exodus 12:49 ESV
Paul speaks of a mystery of the stranger added into Covenant.  He got this mystery as the sod level of reading Torah -- the mystery was in Torah.  We are reading it now as native and fellow joining sojourner exit together, and we see it continue on in examples like Caleb (a stranger) and Joshua (native) come together as one.  The native and stranger, since the beginning of God making for Himself a people, since before the foundation of the world, has come together as one, making what we call "Israel."  So then if Israel claiming the promises, let us also walk not only as He told us, but as He did for example.  Keep the feast, a remembrance until He comes.  Bo, Y'eshua, Bo.

 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, January 16, 2015

Va'Era, through the New Testament

Well here I sit on a restful Erev Shabbat and I couldn't think of anything else I'd rather do outside of talk Scripture, so while I am being my baby's mattress, I'll talk Scripture with you, beloved Reader.  This morning we went over the Brit Chadashah portion of this week's readings, which is taken from Matthew 12:1-14, Romans 9:14-24, and 2 Corinthians 6:14 - 7:1. 
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath.  His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain to eat.  But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, "Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath."  He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were were with him:  how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which is was not lawful for him to eat nor for those whowere with him, but only for the priests?"  -- Matthew 12:1-4 ESV

I have heard it before taught that in this manner, Jesus was breaking the Sabbath and allowing us to do so.  Careful study of the Torah informs us that within the Law is mercy, specifically that which saves a life, which precedes the other commands.  Hence, David obtained the shewbread from a priest, seeing as the priest made this judgment:  mercifully giving to preserve the life of David is priority.  This is why you also can explain Rahab, a liar, being within the Hall of Faith.  In her false witness, she saved lives.

The Lord is not applying this breaking of the Law for Himself.  He uses the example of David not to back Himself up, but to parallel permitting His disciples to eat.  David and the disciples are being paralleled, not Messiah and David.  It was David who was hungry, and here it is the disciples who were hungry.  It is David who took what was not otherwise lawful for him to have in order to satiate his hunger, and it is the disciples, taking of a field not theirs, who took for their hunger.  He does give an answer for Himself, but this example of breaking the Law because He is Lord over it to do so... is not it.  That would make Him against Himself, and we know that He sinned not which also means He did not break the Law.  The answer He gives for Himself is in the sentence thereafter:
"Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless?"  -- Matthew 12:5 ESV

The answer He gives for His actions on the Sabbath, the parallel He chooses for Himself in what He is doing, is that of a priest.  This is simply because He IS the priest!  Rest was commanded and in the Law for the Sabbath, but the priest's job is not done.  Hence, just like the priest gave hungry David food that was not otherwise meant to be his, the Priest (Messiah) gave His hungry disciples food that was not otherwise theirs.  He is the Lord -- that is, Priest to perform His duties -- of the Sabbath (v. 8), and like the priest on the Sabbath, He continues in the duties of a priest in the verses following.  On to Romans...
For Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."  -- Romans 9:17

This is one of those passages that is either a hard pill to swallow, or simply just hard to understand.  The passage is referring back to what we are studying in Torah:  the freedom of Israel from Egypt, and God dealing with Pharaoh.  First part we need to understand is that this isn't a lack of human responsibility/human choice here.  We learn in reading the original tongue that God "hardening" Pharaoh's heart was not the same as Pharaoh hardening his own heart.  God hardening it meant that He strengthened it; hence, the wording in the above verse quotes God saying He raised up Pharaoh -- that is, to strengthen him.
So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills  You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault?  For who can resist his will?"  But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?  Will what is molded say its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?  -- Romans 9:18-21 ESV

Not that the Lord needs backing up, but those who ask how He could find fault are generally those that didn't want Him anyway.  The truth is we are born sinners, and God says that He looks to see if any man seeks after Him and seeks wisdom but finds none (Psalm 14:2-3).  Therefore, God doesn't intentionally have to make a vessel of wrath, you alone are a vessel of wrath.  If He touches your life at all, it is a mercy.  How can you find fault in a God you didn't want anyway?  If you wanted Him, does not the Scripture support that you could have Him?  How revealing, therefore, it is that man does not naturally want God.

It is important to know that we are created beings, and that being said, we belong to the Creator.  I heard a story one time I will use for example to try to show that God isn't one who would rather punish than save.  It was that of a woman who owned a famous painting.  She found herself robbed of her painting and called law enforcement.  After some time, the thief was found and punished with fines and incarceration.  The woman was left with this thought:  "That's all good he will suffer, but what about my painting?  I want my painting back."  God wants His painting back.  This is why God sees much more justice over a vessel of mercy than that of wrath -- for the vessel of wrath, he is punished -- but does that give God His painting back?  When a sinner repents, and is a vessel of mercy, God is satisfied in Christ, and God... gets His painting back.  Christ's cost satisfies, since only God can truly satisfy God, but the sinner's payment never will, which is why it is eternal.  With the wicked, God isn't fully paid nor does He get His painting back; but with the repentant, all is satisfied and the painting is restored.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  For what partnership has righteous with lawlessness?  -- II Corinthians 6:14 ESV
Sadly, we see a partnership of righteous with lawlessness when we claim righteousness in Christ to the effect of lawlessness or even partial lawlessness ("this applies but that doesn't...").  Jesus did not save us from His Father/His Word/Himself (or any of His other echad facets).  Jesus, as His true, given Name tells us, and as the LORD said in the prophets, saved us from our sins (Matthew 1:21).  Our sins.  That means that God remains, we change. 
"Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty."  -- II Corinthians 6:17-18 ESV
We are often told to come as we are but don't stay that way.  I am not even sure if Scripture supports even the first part of that.  I remember reading in the Torah about how God commanded cleanliness before you came to the tabernacle.  Again, set right your heart and matters with your brother before you come to Him (Matthew 5:24).  Here, He says to remove yourself from lawless and unclean, and then He will welcome you.  Take care of your business and repent before you come to Him.  He is the Holy LORD God!
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of Elohim.  -- II Corinthians 7:1 ESV
God's people are not just promised that above, but promised many things.  Just like the promise above, they likewise have conditions because relationships are a 2-way street.  The conditions:  the same, as said above.  Holiness.  Isn't that one way that God sums up the Law's cleanliness and condistions:  "Be ye holy for I am holy."  What is holy, that wasn't written in His Torah? 

 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.