Friday, April 8, 2016

Tazria: Light or leprosy

It is interesting to notice how the Lord prepares us for the portion which we are about to read.  There have been countless times I have been face to face with a situation or in a conversation that got the wheels moving and next thing I know it happens to be the very subject discussed in the parsha.

Last Shabbat, the rabbi of our synagogue made his rounds to saying hello before starting the service.  We were the last ones he talked with before the music started.  We talked about the current week's parsha, and I was discussing with him what I wrote last week in a blog about the fire sacrifices and the word ishah (female of ish, wife) being used, to then give Paul what he was talking about when he said the bride is to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Elohim as our reasonable service.  It was right in the parsha.  This got him to explain to us how we are fire and YHWH is an all-consuming fire.  We are made to be little ambassadors, little fires, of our Creator.  He went further in what happens when male and female, ish and ishah don't control their fires and they consume each other and the result is divorce with the only ashes left over.  We connected the dots in conversation with him about YHWH, the all-consuming fire, being in the burning bush but not consuming it.  It the example of the frail body of the human and the fire of YHWH within him.  The containment is to God's glory.  Of this was then brought up the subject of spontaneous combustion, which he mentioned was simply someone breaking out of their flesh.  Then right as the music started, as he walked away, he mentioned, "You know Adam was able to transfigure in the garden...." No I didnt, but the conversation would have to continue to another time.

Or I should say the conversation prepared me for this week's Torah parsha, which we just began the day after.  The conversation was about the skin and the flesh, man and his wife, and here we are reading about disease of the skin and flesh.  How does this relate to a man and wife?  So glad you asked!

Those specific man and wife, male and female, wheels got turning with a phone call from my imprisoned brother earlier this week.  He asked, "Why does chapter 13 go back and forth with he and she?"  Huh?  I didn't know what he was talking about.  He told me the pronouns are not consistent in the chapter.  One second it using a pronoun that means he and the next it is using she.  I had to read this for myself.  

I was tickled to see that he was correct.  He is referring to the Hebrew #1931, the male of which is הוּא, and the female version being הִיא.  The male is written with a vav and the female with a yod.  I do understand that in the Torah the male version is often not gender-specific, and the version with the yod makes more distinction of female outside of the Torah.  However, the Torah is using this change within the text and I, just like my brohter, have to wonder.

Considering that leprosy is a matter for the priest to determine, and that sacrifices were done after cleansing, then we know that leprosy was a matter of sin.  It was the breaking out of sin in one's flesh.  With my mind on the conversation of last Shabbat, like combustion is the breaking out of the fire in one's flesh, so leprosy was the breaking out of sin in one's flesh.  

O that conversation of last week, ish and ishah...perhaps my mind would not have gone back in to Genesis when reading this week's portion if we hadn't so freshly discussed ish and ishah with the rabbi.  I went back to when sin first entered in and was clearly seen on flesh, as Adam and Eve knew they were naked.  They saw their sin in their flesh.  Talk about connection.  I went to the consequences of it and what the Creator said about it.  It is interesting to note that when talking to Eve in that passage, He called her "ishah" (Genesis 3:16), wherein He says that ishah will desire her ish (He uses ish here and not Adam) and her ish will rule over her.  Mind you, before we go claiming this is the will of God, we need to remember these words are the curse of sin.  

This language is also repeated very soon afterward in their offspring.  It is to Cain in Genesis 4:7 that YHWH says to Cain that sin's desire is to him but he should rule over it.  Same language, just remove "ish" and "ishah" and put in "sin" and "Cain".  What in the world is He saying?  He is saying that sin is a man's wife, or this man (Cain's) wife.  Truly, it is as Paul tries to explain to us in Romans 6 that a man has 2 masters to choose from, sin or God.  He will either marry sin or he will marry God.  The man of the flesh will marry sin and the spiritual man will marry God.  So when we fast forward to Leviticus 13 and we see the language of "he" and "she" as it pertains to a man whose sin has made its way forth into his flesh, we see a picture here of male and female, and therefore a conclusion that the leprous man is one who is not actively in marital relations with God, but rather married to sin.

All this said by skin.  Skin says so much, doesn't it?  Skin showed sin in Genesis and it shows sin in this week's parsha.  What I also came across this week was a Facebook post about how after the first sin God clothed Adam and Eve in garments of skin (pronounced or, Hebrew #5785, Genesis 3:21), whereas their original skin was not so.  This final thought is the final words the rabbi said to us as the service started last week..."You know Adam was able to transfigure in the garden..."  The Hebrew word used for the nakedness of their flesh is #5903, arom, quite similar and of the same root as the word used to describe the serpent as subtle, which is #6175, arum.  This is no surprise.  Since they partook of the serpent's deeds, they are now like the serpent.  A man walks like the serpent he will be likened unto him; a man walks like YHWH, and he will be likened unto Him.  So man is now arom, serpent-like.  Both #5903 (describing man's nakedness after sin) and #6175 (describing the serpent) have the same root -- #6191.  These are all completely different words from that word used to describe the skins the Creator used to cover Adam and Eve after sin -- the garment of skins is ayin, vav, resh, whereas the nudity of skin is ayin, resh, mem -- but there is a similarity in them, and that is that they begin with the ayin, which means eye.  They saw (eye) that they were naked -- notice this is exactly what Scripture says of them, that they eyes (ayin) were open, of which even the serpent claimed opened eyes and therefore they in the that likeness.  Another similarity is that both roots (garments of skin, and the nude flesh from sin) have resh, which means head.  Sin is the head, which makes man the slave of it.  This goes deep, and you will have to take this down the Hebrew trail on your own time, but I need to stick to the point. 

As was said earlier, it is believed that their skin wasn't originally so.  Of course it wasn't because clearly we can see that their skin (ayin, resh, mem) was a result of being the likeness of the serpent.  So what was it before?  We can only really speculate, by connecting dots with the rest of the Scriptures.  However, it is said the midrash that their skin was originally "or"...yet, a different or and not like the or used to describe the garments of flesh YHWH used to clothe them after sin.  This "or" is not ayin, vav, resh, but rather aleph, vav, resh -- aleph representing the Father, of whose likeness they were originally created.  To add to this, this sort of "or" (aleph, vav, resh) means light.  So their skin was light.  Hence, they were able to transfigure.  I guess this is why Moses' skin was shining brightly after being in the presence of YHWH and why he was present during the transfiguration of Yeshua.

Have you ever studied so much and saw so much revealed in the Scriptures that you almost had to ask God to back off a bit?  Like you would explode if you received any more insight.  It is said that on that glorious day when we will see Him face to face we will have had new bodies.  This old one would combust.  This flesh could not contain the fire within it, once this fire is joined to its originator.  I get it.  Or at least I'm starting to.

Shabbat Shalom,

Natasha

*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.  Therefore, please cite properly.    

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Sh'mini -- Biblical Divisions

The past couple of years I've really liked to linger on the strange fire of Nadab and Abihu.  Perhaps it is because of the many different considerations on what it means to have strange fire.  I've held onto the belief that it was because the fire [for the incense] did not come from the coals of the burnt offering, as was commanded, but the source of the fire came elsewhere, thereby making it strange.  When I look up the Hebrew, the word for fire is "esh" (remember this from my post earlier this week, regarding the sacrifices?); and the word for strange is pronounced as zoor, which does mean strange but also in line with committing adultery.  There are many things regarding worship that can be considered spiritually adultery.

I heard it best explained to me a few years back in an example between a man and his wife.  Let us say that the wife had former lovers before she married her husband.  Now when she married her husband she did indeed celebrate his birthday and celebrate their anniversary; howbeit, not on the exact days.  Let us say that she decided to celebrate her husband's birthday on her former lover's birthday and her anniversary with her husband on the day that she started dating her former lover.  Now, what do you think her husband's reaction would be?  Can we honestly say that a woman like that is in love with her husband and that she has forsaken her former lovers, or is she committing adultery in her heart?

 This really brings a honest perspective on what it means to celebrate Yeshua's birthday and the moedim on days that commemorated other gods that were put in YHWH's place.  It is spiritual adultery. 
Now Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu each took his own censer, put fire in it, laid incense over it, and offered unauthorized fire before Adonai -- which He had not commanded them.  So fire came out from the presence of Adonai and consumed them.  So they died before Adonai.  Then Moses said to Aaron, "This is what Adonai spoke, saying:  To those who are near Me I will show myself holy.  Upon the faces of all the people I will be glorified."  Then Aaron kept silent.  -- Leviticus 10:1-3 TLV
They offered strange fire and THE fire (YHWH) consumed them.  In some way, this somewhat connects to those who use the sword die by the sword.  It's not about using the sword (as the sword is the Word), it is about using the wrong sword and for the wrong reason.  Those who shed blood will perish by blood shed, and we know this earth will be threshed with bloodshed for all the blood that was shed upon it.  Death by fire after bringing strange fire...it just added to a principle the Word is trying to tell us.

I'm convinced more than ever that this strange fire is directly related to burnt offering.  Above I said that perhaps it was strange because the fire came from other sources rather than from the coals of the burnt offering.  This is why I say I'm more convinced -- rereading verse 3, Moses reminded that Adonai says, "To those who are near Me I will show myself glorified."  If you read my blog earlier this week, you'll remember that I pointed out the word used for the offering (that is, the burnt offering), starting in Leviticus 1:2, is a word whose root is Strong's 7126, "to draw near."  This tells us the purpose for the offering is to draw near.  Now back to this week's text, the word used in verse 3 of this passage of Nadab and Abihu has the same root.  Hence, the text says, "To those who are near Me...."  In a nutshell?  To those who are near YHWH, there is no spiritual adultery, there is no mixing of the nations' and pagan's worship, but as He said, "...I will show myself holy [set apart]."  Adonai is not set apart if He is likened to the rest of them, worshiped like them, and in their ways.  It is always a good time to test our nearness to YHWH, which can be tested by our set-apartness of Him in our worship.
"You are to make a distinction between the holy [set apart] and the common and between the unclean and the clean."  -- Leviticus 10:10 
I was just telling my husband this past week about my trip to South Beach of Miami, FL some years back.  I was there visiting my cousin and had not been told of what to expect on the beach.  What I saw was so much nakedness of women.  South Beach is topless.  I thought it was such exploitation of women because it took what was beautiful and made it common.  I looked upon those women and there was nothing of a treasure of them, because the nakedness was so common...and what is common is not set-apart, and what is not set-apart is not (as YHWH describes) "a peculiar treasure."

Oftentimes set-apartness comes in time with reading and understanding of the Scriptures.  It is, sadly, not immediately observed...not because that is the way Adonai set it up, but because of the lack of "church" responsibility.  The way Adonai set it up, you teach a child in the faith and in Torah, and that child does not depart from the teaching of Torah.  The way it happened is not so, but mixing has come with teaching lies to our children and letting our children deal with the lies when they become adults.  They filter through which lies of their Gentile church fathers (and even pagan holy days for fun and entertainment and manipulation) that they want to hold onto and start churches with as foundation, and which they will depart with.  We leave our children with more work than YHWH intended, all by forsaking Torah as parents.

Nevertheless, oftentimes when those children become adults and, because of the lack of upbringing in Torah from the parents, those adults will hear the Word in perhaps an ear-tickling church.  We get into many arguments amongst one another on the topic of where we have convocation and if that location is Biblical or if it is the school of demons, and if it is okay because, hey, at least they are getting the Word (even using the passage of Paul's words on at least the Gospel is getting preached).  We might even say the Lord can speak through anyone, even a donkey!  From the parsha we have an answer, found right in the middle of the kosher eating.  I mean, getting fed the Word from a "church" is considered nourishment, correct?  Our nourishment, then, must be kosher.
"If part of a carcass falls on any seed for sowing that has yet to be sown, it is clean.  But if water is put on the seed, and part of a carcass falls on it, it is unclean to you."  -- Leviticus 11:37-38 
We can break down the statement to the carcass being a dead man, the seed being the Word, and the water being the feeding to germination/growth, to make a Biblically accurate principle and answer.  This seed has yet to be sown, meaning that we are talking about people who need the Word.  The source can be a carcass, a dead man, giving them the Word and it is still "kosher," but that carcass cannot grow them in the Word.  They are not to get their nourishment from such sources.  It is unclean eating.  I went to a church recently where God told me to leave and said, "The food is unclean."  I guess I know why such a statement was said to me, considering the place had sorely tainted the Word.  One could not be watered there and be clean, because of its unclean attachments and leaven of the teaching.  So is it okay that someone goes into Osteen's Lakewood church (that was not the church I'm referring to, by the way) and hears the Word?  Perhaps, but it is certainly unclean if they continue to allow themselves to be watered there.  Choose wisely where you have have convocation as you observe the Sabbaths.

Shabbat Shalom,

Natasha

*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.  Therefore, please cite properly.    

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Levitical Sacrifice -- Is It for Today?

It was a few months ago when my idea of the sacrifices had been radically changed.  One day, in discussion of the sacrifices and offerings, my husband said, "There is no sacrifice for intentional sins."  Of course I had to test that and look into Leviticus.  What I found was that for sacrifices regarding sins, these pertained to sins done in ignorance, unintentional sins, sins of bearing false witness, hidden uncleanness that is made known.  

Talk about understanding not having an allowance to sin so that grace may abound!  To the person in fellowship and Covenant with YHWH, it seems that sins committed are not really purposeful, and if they are (like in bearing false witness) there is some restitution that is to be considered to make amends.  Otherwise, though we fall daily, it is not our intention as lovers of Elohim to dishonor our covenant with Him.  

Though what of the burnt offering?  Many would consider that the burnt offering paid for the sins that are not otherwise specifically stated that I paraphrased above.  Yet, I have been challenged in considering that to be true, all the more when I looked into the Hebrew.  

First, we have to realize that the burnt offering didn't exactly pay for sin.  We get this from the Hebrew. --  
"If his sacrifice is a burnt offering from the herd, he is to present a male without blemish.  He is to offer it at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, so that he may be accepted before Adonai."  -- Leviticus 1:3 TLV
This offering is to be male.  When I looked up the Hebrew word used here (there are many that could be used to signify male), I was satisfied to see that the word used is "zakar."  In my Hebrew primer, I've first learned that zakar's immediate meaning is to remember.  Male and remember are the same Hebrew characters in this case, because male's job is to zakar/remember, as opposed to a woman's job as ezer kenegdo.  Now this possibly will answer some questions as to why sacrifices make a comeback in the Ezekiel temple.  They are a remembrance of what was done.  I can now also understand why some people say that the mitzvah regarding tzitziot only applies to men, as males are given the job to remember and that is the purpose of the fringes.

When we consider Adam as male and his job, we also realize that zakar's alternate meaning is to act in place.  Adam was to rule/dominate as God's ambassador on earth.  In this thought, the sacrifice is acting in place of Yeshua, until Yeshua came.  In the future (prophecy at the end of Ezekiel), it will be looking back in remembrance of Yeshua.  All of this we get from the sacrifice being zakar.

What we also see of the sacrifice is written even before verse 3:
Now Adonai called to Moses and spoke to him out of the Tent of Meeting, saying:  "Speak to Bnei-Yisrael, and tell them:  When anyone of you brings an offering to Adonai, you may present your offering of livestock, from the herd or from the flock."  -- Leviticus 1:2-3 
I found this very interesting.  The Hebrew text shows יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן .  That middle word means is telling us "from," but the words surrounding that middle word are of the same root -- Strong's #7126, to draw near.  With a double word statement, there is an emphasis here on that word.  Now you may say this is because the sacrifice is to brought near.  Yet, it is the sacrifice that you bring so that you may draw near.  If you want to really draw near, then this is how it is to be done.  Being stated first in Leviticus, it is like the head of the following offerings, as the peace and meal offerings are simply for fellowship as well.  The sacrifice is to draw near so that there may be fellowship with Adonai, and it is in this fellowship with Him that, working chronologically in how He mentions the sacrifices, that you are made aware of sins that you possibly didn't know existed, uncleanness you didn't realize you had, false witness you've born, especially that of YHWH Himself.  In order, the sacrifices state this process:  draw near, fellowship, cleansing and remittance of unknown uncleanness, hidden sins, and false witness.  Yet what of intentional sins?  A good tree does not bear bad fruit.  The heart is deceitful and commits lies about who we are and where we are found in Elohim.  If intentional sins are the fruit, it is time to test if we be found in the faith or if we are indeed faithless. 

There is one final thing I saw of this burnt offering, this offering made by fire. -- 
"Then Aaron's sons, the kohamin, shall arrange the pieces, the head, and the fat upon the wood that is on the fire which is atop the altar.  But its innards and its legs he is to wash with water.  The kohen should burn it all up as smoke on the altar, for a burnt offering made by fire -- a soothing aroma to Adonai."  -- Leviticus 1:8-9 
There is a switch here regarding the fire.  The first sentence that talks of the head and the fat uses the root word "esh," simply meaning fire.  However, when talking of the legs and body parts, the word used here is "ishah," a female version of this root.  Ishah also means wife.  It is the wife of Messiah who is His ishah, and of whom it is also said that she is His body [parts], extremities, like that which is burnt here and considered ishah.  It is the wife of Messiah who also is commissioned by Paul to present herself as the living sacrifice in Romans 12:1.  Paul, well-studied in Torah, could see that the sacrifice is placed down in 2 segments -- the head and the fat first, and then the legs and rest of body.  The head is said to be "esh," though the body parts are "ishah."  

The Head has offered Himself first as sacrifice before the rest of the body, as it is written even in Leviticus and seen in Yeshua's sacrifice.  In order to draw near for fellowship, His Body and Bride then offers herself in response.  Relationship.  Marriage.  Covenant.

Shalom,

Natasha

*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.  Therefore, please cite properly.    

Friday, March 11, 2016

Pekudei: Covered in Glory and Grace

I am very eager to share with you an experience I had between Sunday night and when I woke up Monday morning.  In a dream there descended upon me a thick cloud.  With it I became acquainted with the earth's travailing.  I felt it in stages.  What also came was the acknowledgment of the evils of this world.  It was like I saw these things without physically seeing them.  They did not come alone but came with the understanding that God was angry.  I saw why He was angry.  It was as if this travailing, seeing the evils of the world, and the understanding of why God was angry, were all being downloaded into me with this cloud.  I thought I would suffocate, but I did not.  I could not contain all that there was to show, and so I said that it was too much.  The cloud lifted.  I did not die, but I cannot say that it didn't feel as if I could have died.  I left that experience in awe and fear of YHWH, and that He is holy.  I tested this cloud against Scripture and was reminded of times when others had a visitation of Yeshua (pre and post-incarnate) and fell as dead.  I remembered Daniel's experience and John's in Revelation.  I also remember the glory of YHWH coming to Isaiah and he thought he would die.  Later that Monday I got to reading the parsha and realized that this was the last of Exodus, when the glory cloud descended upon the finished tabernacle.  I was very pleased to see that YHWH's descent in the dream was preparing me for what I would read in the parsha. 

I want to talk about the glory cloud, but first I want to go over one more item that stuck out to me last week about the tabernacle furnishings, but I did not get to.  It is the laver.  I have looked at the church lately and wondered how much of it is still Roman.  I'm not talking about the politics and the clergy set-up, I'm talking about the physical set-up.  One day I just looked at churches and saw that it looks as if the inspiration is an amphitheater.  There's a crowd that gathers around a platform or stage, that holds the band and performers (including the pastor).  It reminds me of the gladiator days.  It's entertainment.  How much of it aligns with the tabernacle and temple set-up?  More so it aligns with Roman entertainment.  

I bet you would be pleased to know that the tabernacle does have something that refers to a platform or stage, and it is the laver.  It is located between the altar of burnt offering and the Holy Place (Exodus 40:30).  It is the Hebrew kiyor, and one of the definitions of this word says "a pulpit or platform."  Yet, hold on.  Before you are rest assured that your church's platform aligns with the Word's set-up, we have to study a bit more into the laver.  Exodus 38:8 tells us the laver is made of bronze from the mirrors of the serving women.  Mirrors.  So as they bend over to wash themselves they not only get a reflection through the water but through the mirrors.  A person on the pulpit/platform, ministering in music or word, must first reflect that back to themselves.  These are positions not to be taken lightly.  I have seen many, and have challenged myself likewise, that run at a chance to go up a platform for a performance or teaching for a camera, but scarcely go up with a mirror, a message that speaks to themselves, a worship that reflects the truth in their own hearts.  I cannot speak for the preaching aspect, but have spent time on a platform for worship in choir and in dance/banner/flag.  I once was under a director who told us that to be where we are (leading in worship) is to simply worship...and invite the audience to join you.  Good advice.  It is not a performance.

After all these items were built and set-up in their proper, YHWH-instructed, order, the glory cloud descended upon the tabernacle.  If we are missing a glory cloud, perhaps it is time to see if our set-up matches His instructions for set-up.  Yet if we claim to see a glory cloud, we ought to test the spirit of it.  I awoke on Monday testing the cloud of my dream and if it matched with others' experience in the Bible.  I had also then shared it with my husband, the heaviness upon me that I could suffocate from the information and from the presence, he reminded me of the Hebrew definition of the glory cloud.  Kavod (3519) does refer to good, riches, splendor, but it comes from kabad (3513 -- they have the same characters, vowels are not existent in ancient scrolls, b and v are the same character here) which means "to be heavy and weighty."   We see this is exactly the case at the end of the parsha when Moses could not even enter because of the glory cloud's presence, we can also see it in the haftarah (I Kings 8) when the kohanim could not even stand because of the presence of the glory cloud, and I'm also privileged to say I experienced it when I felt such a heaviness I thought I would suffocate from such presence.  I say all of this because when we are living in a time when we claim God's presence means laughter, rolling, twitching, and convulsing, we have to wonder if we have fallen for some perverse spirit instead.  That stuff just does not line up with Scripture, and honestly I'm still looking for the euphoria experience in Scripture, the experience where people walk away with the hairs on the back of their necks standing up and saying, "Oh that felt so good," because I see that a lot in our day, under the claim of a glory cloud descent. More than anything in Scripture, I'm seeing awe as the result of such experiences of the Ruach's descent.  Well, there was ministering -- as in the giving of the Ten Words and Shavuot in the beginning of Acts -- but again what were they ministering?

I had initially decided to touch on the glory and challenge the reader to test their beliefs of the presence of God's glory lining up with Scripture, but after reading the Brit Chadashah portion (John 1) there happens to be another "g" word I'm going to toss out for challenge.  It is the subject of grace.  
Many preachers are coming against this greasy grace theology.  I'm wondering how perverted the "doctrine of grace," has come from the time it was given such a title as "doctrine of grace."  I challenge the reader to define grace Biblically.  Our initial reply would probably be, "Unmerited favor," but I ask you to consider if that definition matches any principle or case in Scripture wherein grace was bestowed.  You may say that grace was a NT concept and so therefore we have to apply it as it pertains to the canceling of sin's debts due to what Yeshua did on the cross, a favor then unmeriated.  Yet, I am challenging you in this because I spent some time in the Greek this morning in John 1, where we see that grace and truth came with Yeshua.  Then it continues to beg me to revisit grace as the passage throws the word out there so much.  

When I look up charis it tells me it is NOT a NT concept, but that it is related directly to the Hebrew 2580 kana.  This must the stuff that Noah had (Genesis 6:8), Moses had (Exodus 33:12), David had, and many others.  When I look up charis (Greek from the NT) it tells me more than anything that grace is the recipient's response to what Yeshua did.  Hence, it says it all over the place, that grace here can be linked to gratitude and thankfulness.  Response, response.  Yet, I have to merge it with the Hebrew because it is a Hebraic principle.  When I study kana it is talking not only of favor, but of an adornment, of elegance.  Grace is an adornment!  So then it is a response, as the adornments are a result of being a bride.  

I want to discuss the elegance part of the definition.  It is easy for us to see grace as elegance when we picture a ballerina.  After all, we call her graceful (elegant) -- grace being the root of the adjective.  What do we mean when we say she is graceful?  Does it mean that she is favored without merit?  In terms of dance, it means that she is strong and controlled.  She is so strong and controlled in her movements that she takes what is otherwise very difficult to do and she can perform it (response) as if it were second nature...better than second nature, she does it as if it is now her new first nature.  The grace of God is that by the Holy Spirit we are controlled and we have the strength to do what we could not otherwise do, and do it as if it were second, or new, nature, this second/new nature (walking Torah as a new creature) being as fruit in response to what Yeshua did for us on the cross. 

Since Torah is God's own character, then walking Torah is pleasing to God -- a response to what He did, and a beautiful, heavenly adornment.   John 1:16 tells of "grace for grace" in Yeshua.  Having further studied the matter, "grace for grace" is like being changed from "glory to glory" ... and we happened to read of both this week. :-)

Shabbat Shalom,

Natasha

*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.  Therefore, please cite properly.    

Friday, March 4, 2016

Vayak'hel: Getting to Work

Set-apartness.  It has been on my mind these past couple of weeks.  It is always a pleasure to see the parsha ministering to you where you are.  If my mind hadn't been on set-apartness because of a real-life struggle, then perhaps I would not have read the text as plainly as I saw it this week.

The children of Israel have received a second chance from God.  What is beautiful about the turn-out of last week's parsha is that in God writing the same covenant upon new tablets, He was giving the prophecy of the later prophecy of the New Covenant.  He said that He would write His Laws upon new hearts, hearts of flesh, no longer on stone.  Same Law, new tablet.  

We used to think that stories like Ezekiel and Hosea, called to perform actions in their lives to serve as a picture to others, was a rare thing.  More often than not, it appears to actually be the norm.  It is a joke that Moses was the first to break the Law as he threw down the tablets, but actually his actions just gave Israel a picture of what they did.  When we left off with the parsha last week, God was saying take up new tablets and He would cut the same covenant.  Same Covenant, renewal to it.  The New Covenant prophecy.  

This all may seem so basic to many readers, but Reader, it is sad to see how many are struggling with the foundation of their belief in Yeshua, what He did, and why He had to do it, which greatly influences their attitude towards Torah.  It is a struggle to those who have forsaken the Torah, because it is hidden in the Torah and in the prophets 1) the prophecy of the New (Renewed) Covenant, and 2) Why it was needed.  Yeshua reiterates this in the cause of remarriage, speaking to Covenant people about remarriage -- that is, they have initially married in God's eyes.  He is not speaking of those who married outside of Covenant, in rebellion to Covenant, like homosexual or unequally yoked marriages.  God is not obligated to accept what we call marriage, but marriage while in Covenant to God has rules.  The rule that Yeshua reiterated from Torah was that if a man who puts away his wife remarries, except in the case of adultery (some say fornication -- the Greek refers to sexual sin against a spouse), he commits adultery.  In such cases, adultery would free the man of his marriage because the Covenant has been broken and because her penalty is death anyway and death would free him anyway.  To let her live and be divorced rather than stoned is mercy.  However, to the walking-dead adulterous spouse, she is not free, but is under the curse of her adultery in divorce until death frees her -- the death of her spouse she victimized in her adultery.  These are Hebraic foundations of marriage, and Yeshua being the spouse died to free the adulterous wife from her curse of divorce.  In this freedom, she may remarry.  The happily ever after is that she remarries Him.  Renewal to Covenant, new tablet made possible by the Holy Spirit, just as the Lord gave in prophecy in Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36.

Understanding second chances and renewals of covenant, we are at a parsha that is fresh off this renewal in the wilderness.  After YHWH passes by and gives His attributes and cuts His covenant, what does He say?  Some say He said, "Get to work," as we see the tabernacle is now being constructed.  Let's look again.
Then Moses assembled all the congregation of Bnei-Yisrael together and said to them, "These are the words which Adonai commanded you to do.  Work is to be done for six days, but the seventh day is a holy day for you, a Shabbat of complete rest to Adonai.  Whoever does any work then will die."  -- Exodus 35:1-2 TLV
First, I want to stress the last sentence.  YHWH says the man who does work on the Sabbath will die.  It is very easy for us to fall into the belief that this doesn't stand.  I will forewarn that to say such things is like the person who thinks that eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil does not end in death because death was not immediate.  This is almost appearing to be the same principle.  You may not see death immediately, but it is sure.  To be clear, we as a country have abandoned God as King because we have abandoned His Laws for our kingdom and instead regulated our own, and so His justice of stoning people who commit certain sins cannot stand today, but is still His justice, Beloved.  Remember that.

The first thing God said in this renewal/second chance, which I am mirroring to our first commission in the Renewed Covenant is to 1) rest, and 2) be set apart.  Before any work gets done, you must first be set apart.  We see it right here, fresh off the renewal to the Law, YHWH commands you keep the Shabbat.  The Shabbat is a rest and the Shabbat is a symbol of being set-apart as the day itself is to be set apart.  You must recognize the importance of being set apart.  We have too many that are doing work for YHWH's kingdom without any set-apartness, slapping hands with false organizations that worship false gods, etc.  I will testify of myself that early last year I joined in on an event for 40 Days for Life, which is a Catholic-based campaign, full of praying to Mary/Semiramis, rosaries, erected images of Guadalupe, etc.  Though I did not partake of those prayers, I stood with them and therefore partook of that group.  In this, I did not set God apart in my "work" in this abortion holocaust.  Today I stand out there with my husband and children alone if that is what it amounts to.  I am not without peace to be alone -- it is the call I see of many in the Bible, who did far greater work than we have done.  Only then, after YHWH established the set-apartness, could work begin.  Specifically, it is the work that matched what was already in heaven (the tabernacle was an example of a heavenly reality, Hebrews 8:5).  Honestly, that is the only work that will matter -- the work that matches a heavenly reality.  I remember that as I go about "kingdom business" and ministry -- if this won't be done in glory, wouldn't be sang in glory, wouldn't be commemorated in glory, wouldn't be celebrated in glory, then I need to learn to set it down so that I may be set apart and be found matching with a heavenly reality.

That is what I saw in the tabernacle.  Early this morning I sat side by side with Exodus 25 & 26, and this week's parsha and I compared the instructions YHWH gave about the tabernacle with what was actually built.  It matched.  Of course it did, but it was like wholeness to see it.  I'm still smiling as I type it.  Don't you want to match God's instructions, His character, His Law for our peace and well-being?  

A treasure I saw in the Hebrew I'm eager to share with you... When I studied into the the items used to build the tabernacle, I was struck with the boards that made up the walls.  Board here is Hebrew 7175, which means to split off, likened to a plank, and also...the deck of a ship.  Each had 2 supports, which is the Hebrew yad, meaning hand.  Unity.  A little over a year ago I had a dream of a ship I was on, along with many other people.  Deception would follow on this ship, a false prophet, and 2 beasts I would recognize and call out; but before I saw all of that, I remember putting my hands on the boarded walls of the ship.  It was warm, it had a pulse.  This ship was a body.  The tabernacle is a ship.  It's boarded walls are the people who are holding on one to another with their hands (yad) to make unity.  However, based upon what Yeshua said to those who accused Him of operating under Beelzebub  -- "If Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?"  -- I gather that even satan has unity in his kingdom, for right now anyway.  So then Beloved Reader, doing something for the sake of unity means nothing for the kingdom of God, and might even mean joining with the wrong spirit and working for the wrong kingdom, if it isn't first done in set-apartness.

Shabbat Shalom,

 Natasha

*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.  Therefore, please cite properly.    

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ki Tisa: The Right Spirit and Right Image

Then Adonai spoke to Moses saying, "See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, understanding and knowledge in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make ingenious designs, to forge with gold, silver and bronze, as well as cutting stones for setting and carving wood, to work in all manner of craftsmanship.  Also look, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.  Within the hearts of all who are wise-hearted I have placed skill, so that they may make everything that I have commanded you..."  -- Exodus 31:1-6 TLV
Fresh off of last week's parsha reading in service, leaving the parking lot, my mind was on the importance of the right spirit, the importance of having the Ruach Elohim in our doings.  It was as if the Ruach was preparing me to read and receive the above passage I would end up studying in the days following.  From the text we can gather that the Spirit will result in skill and wisdom for a part that He has called us to.  Ruach's placement always comes with the skill and wisdom for the task, but does the appearance of skill and wisdom always mean it was the Ruach's placement?  I pondered this because there are people in the Bible, some called "men of reknown", "mighty men" before the face of God, talented men full of great wisdom to gather many peoples to themselves and their theories, skilled to build certain architectural structures for their ideologies of mixing with other gods, yet were they Ruach-filled men?  

So then not only was my mind focused on the right spirit this week, but a second was my focus, and that was the right image -- which oftentimes we confuse with the right origin, as the image of something is deeply tied to its introduction, like a book and its cover, or a first impression.  The image that came from the skill given to the men above was the tabernacle, which in itself is an image of a heavenly reality, therefore if we are to test it, the verdict would be that they are Ruach-filled.  Yet in the parsha we read of a skill that brought about another sort of image:
So Aaron said to them, "Break off the golden rings that are in the ears of your wives, your sons and your daughters, and bring them to me."  So all the people broke off the golden rings that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron.  He received them from their hand, and made a molten calf, fashioned with a chiseling tool.  Then they said, "This is your god, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt!"  -- Exodus 32:2-4
Have you ever watched the jewelry repairmen through the window at Jared?  I was just there this past weekend and observed 3 of them with the torch and papers of gold, sizing and repairing rings.  I thought it was nothing short of skill.  You cannot deny that there took some great skill to mold a calf from gold earrings.  Just wow.  Yet, it was in the image that spirit created, the molten calf, that we know it was not the Ruach's guidance, placement, nor would He accept it.  God did not accept that golden calf, even though they used the name "God" upon it.  Too many times we take golden calves and slap the name of God on them and think we obligate God to accept it.  In considering that they formed that calf while they were awaiting the Torah, it was Mark Biltz who said that worship without Torah equals a golden calf.  Yes, the golden calf is in worship.  Surrounding the golden calf is a worship session!  In fact, remember what Moses said as he heard what the people were doing around the golden calf:  "I hear the sound of singing," (Exodus 32:18).  Beloved, there are too many golden calves in our music today, and we slap the name of God on it and think that we can claim it for God.  If we are to learn from the Torah, let us learn from this!

The right spirit and the right image.  The image of God that you create in worship is a true test on if we have a golden calf we are calling "God" or if we are in reverence to the set-apart God of Israel.  Is the image holiness?  One thing I respect greatly about Israeli music and Messianic worship, is the Jews' reverence towards God, to think themselves so unprivileged to even utter His Name.  The set-apartness they have towards Him should inspire our worship.  However, sensuality floods our worship sessions in today's church and we wonder why there is a problem of pornography behind closed doors.

Image and origins?...  I get example elsewhere:
"The carved images of their gods you are to burn with fire.  You are not to covet the silver or the gold on them or take it for yourself -- or you could be snared by it, for it is an abomination to Adonai your God."  -- Deuteronomy 7:25 
I honestly think that in some level we see almost this same golden calf, and golden idols, sitting in the churches today, though not with calves and other idols, but with days, ways/rites, and worship.  Some would say all days belong to God and so we claim certain days back for Him because of this.  Some would also say that gold comes from the ground and so we would claim the gold from an idol back to God.  I have even heard some say God likes trees and they are His creation, so they would put a tree in their home in December under this claim, that the origin of a tree is God.  In this mentality, one is a split second away from loving God's own enemy and adversaries and praying for the fallen angels because of their origin was to serve God.  This is why I said above that by origins what we really mean is first impressions and/or the images that are lasting.  God did not want the gold because of its image, even though it came from the ground and dirt that He Himself created...and that is not an assumption.  He said it right above, He doesn't want it and He doesn't want you to want it, and the rejection of it is tied to the image it bore.  

It really is that black and white.  Often, we are the ones confusing the matter.  I see Moses making a line and you either stand on this side or the other.  In the haftarah there was an altar to the El of Israel and then one to Ba'al.  One or the other.  

El of Israel is set-apart.  Often we say this and brush off our responsibilities to His set-apartness.  As I think of the incident of Moses that caused him to not go into the land, the Lord said to him, "You did not sanctify (set apart) my name."  We have a responsibility to sanctify His Name, to set Him apart, because we have a duty to bring an image of Him to the world.  Putting His Name on golden calves and days of asherah is actually the complete opposite of setting apart His Name, and the image of God we send out cannot be such things as calves, genies, sensuality, disorder, chaos, and lawlessness.

Shalom,

Natasha

*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.  Therefore, please cite properly.    

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tetzuvah, the Making of a Priest

I knew this portion would be a long one, so I figured I would write a prep blog yesterday for what I really wanted to get into, which was actual details.  We are dealing with Aaron and his sons in this parsha.  There needs to be a priest in order to make atonement and intercession for Israel, which includes sacrifice on behalf of Israel, someone to bear the iniquities of Israel, to present the people as holy before the Lord that He may accept them...and Aaron, you are it.  

Yesterday I discussed how, according to the Ezekiel haftarah passage (43:10-27) we see that even in the House, God is all about balanced scales, measure for measure.  Israel is to measure out their sins accurately, and this is followed by accurate measure of the Dwelling Place, and after this, we see that there is acceptance with the Lord.  It is beautiful and easier to grasp than to explain -- it is as if the sins that are against them are met and balanced by, first, their shame which would bring about repentance, but also by the House!  For as much as they were (and no longer are) to the left in their sins, the house is constructed to the right, so that there is a beautiful balance here.  The House fits them perfectly for what they are lacking, and the House also happens to be acceptable to the Lord.  They must know this!  What I mean is that it is important to see this, as God pays close attention to them knowing the measurements of both their sins and the House at related to one another.

So with this equal measure in my head, I began to see the priestly garments differently.  The parsha (Exodus 27:20 - 30:10) spends a great deal describing the priestly garments to us.  There are articles that needs to be made:  a breastplate, ephod, robe, tunic, miter, and girdle.  I want to start exactly in order of how it is given to us in Exodus.

Before anything, YHWH gives the set materials He wants for garments -- gold, blue, purple, crimson, and white linen.  You will notice that the articles of clothing are all made of these materials.  Most of them are made with all of these materials, with the exception of the tunic and mitre, which are just white linen.  First I wanted to dive into the source of these materials.  Did you ever wonder how such colors were found in the wilderness?  The blue comes from a shellfish, the cerulean mussel.  Its color is actually more of a true violet, where the blue becomes almost a purple tinge.  So then the purple must be something else.  The purple is more or a purplish crimson from a snail.  It is what was well-known as the Tyrian purple dye.  The crimson came from the cochineal insect of the holm oak.  Do you see a pattern here of the colors?  The colors come from unclean animals and insects, and yet Aaron is wearing them.  

However, these weren't the only materials that made the base of his garments.  Gold and linen also made up his garments.  Gold is gold, the pure ore.  The linen came from flax.  Here we have 2 materials that are considered pure and clean, and 3 that are not from clean sources.  Remember the balance earlier, measure for measure.  In almost everything he is wearing (the exception is the tunic and mitre) Aaron is wearing a ratio of 2:3 on clean and unclean.  Ahhh, but wait, there needs to be a balanced scale, equal ratio, measure for measure.  That's where the heart comes into place.  God can give you a position, give you the garments for it, the mantle for it, but if you're heart is not right and prepared, then you might as well go back home.  YHWH is not asking Aaron to be a just a robot wearing a balance, but he is saying clearly that he (Aaron) is the one needed to bring the balance with a clean and prepared heart.  So now we have 3 materials of unclean source (the blue, purple, and crimson) countered by 3 materials of clean source (gold, linen, and a heart with Torah and set-apartness written upon it) -- the third of the clean sources being Aaron's own heart.  Remember that Aaron is not only holiness to the Lord, the example of the Lord, but he also bears the iniquity of Israel.  His garments tell the story of both.

The exception I found was the tunic and the mitre, which were bleached linen (the robe was all blue, but the hem had all colors).  The tunic touched the skin, according to majority of picture examples, and the mitre touched the scalp.  These white things touched the core, and it is as if God is again reiterating that the difference is the inner man, the heart of Aaron.  He himself, his heart, his core, being a high priest, is what makes the difference between a balanced scale for acceptance before the Lord, or unequal measures.  You cannot bear the burdens, nor a position, without that which is underneath it all being pure.  

Lastly, I found a few things interesting about other items he bore.  First, the pomegranates and bells along the hem, consecutively.  The pomegranates were blue, purple, and crimson, and the bells were gold.  Pomegranates (#7416) comes from #7426, which means to exalt or be erected, like a tree.  Bell (#6472) comes from #6471, which means to strike once again.  It is as if God is giving us a picture of being exalted and then being humbled, being exalted, and being humbled, over and over again.  It is validating of my above thoughts to see that it is the pomegranates (exalted) that are the colors of unclean sources, whereas the gold is given to the bells/that which is stricken.  Being made gold certainly comes with affliction and humility, whereas being exalted in oneself is moral uncleanness.

Finally, we go to the urim and thummin.  In Hebrew, "im" is one way to make a word plural.  So then the root for these words are "ur" and "tum".  "Ur/or" means light; "tum" means integrity and completeness.  Aaron is asked to bear lights and integrity, completeness upon his chest.  I find it interesting that they would turn to the Urim and Thummin for answers and revelation, especially in regards to sin.  Remember the Ezekiel passage about accurate measurements of sin and of the House.  It's like in order to make the House suitable for YHWH and for Israel, the sins had to be known.  It's likened to building a custom-built house to fit your needs and the needs of your family...perfectly...and you will not know that need if you do not know your sin.  You cannot have integrity without first seeing areas that you are unclean and slacking, so that you may go about a change.  You need God to bring about light (ur) to the situation so that you can take an accurate measurement of your sin in order to find the accurate answer for it.  This is completeness (tum).  Not measuring accurately is not completeness.  It is blindness and prevents seeking a true remedy.  In the haftarah, YHWH commanded Ezekiel to measure accurately the sins of Israel and then afterwards measure accurately the House, to see the house fit the need, brining about completeness for the need.  In the parsha, Aaron comes to YHWH with accurate measurement of Israel upon his chest, and a picture of seeking the remedy.  We know He is the only Savior and remedy, and by this and in this process of real measurement and real remedy, there is completeness.  

Shalom,
   
Natasha

*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.  Therefore, please cite properly.