Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Daily Word: Real Faith

After healing the demonic in the land of the Gadarenes, Yeshua gets back in the boat and heads to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. This is the Jewish side. Upon arrival, He is stopped by Jairus, a leader in the local synagogue who has a daughter who is very ill to the point of death. Yeshua and Jairus begin to travel to his home so Yeshua can heal her. On the way, a woman with an issue of blood is desperate. She is so desperate, that even in an unclean state, she presses through the crowd to reach Yeshua. She speaks the word to herself that if she can just touch Yeshua, she will be healed. This is faith in action, i.e. Hebraic faith. She reaches Yeshua and grabs the tassel on His tallit. Yeshua is dressed as a Jewish rabbi and she reaches for the part that represents the Law of God. In each corner there was a thread of blue that signified the Law. It is the the Law of God that is the basis of her faith. She reaches the place of victory and is healed by the representation of the Law, i.e. the tallit.

Yeshua says in verse 30: "Immediately Yeshua, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, 'Who touched My garments?'" Notice that Yeshua was not aware of specifically who touched Him. Second, notice that healing power flowed from Him through the tallit to the diseased woman. Third, notice that Yeshua gives credit for the healing to the woman's faith: And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction." What was her faith? Her faith was found in her actions. Faith is a verb and not just a list of beliefs about God. Yeshua teaches the importance of real faith; faith based on actions.

Today, what type of faith do you have? If we look just at your actions, what would they tell us about your real belief system? Challenge yourself to have real Biblical faith; a faith that can be seen and brings real hope.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Daily Word: Sending Yeshua Away

Yesterday, we saw that Yeshua healed the man from unclean spirits in the country of the Gadarenes. The spirits are sent into the pigs, who run off into the sea and drown. The people from the town come to see what happened and upon the discovery of the financial loss from the destruction of the swine and the seeing of the man in his right mind, they become afraid and ask Yeshua to leave. Today's teaching from Yeshua is not based on His words, but on His actions. When He asked to leave, He does so. There was no rebuke or long sermon, He simply yields to the will of the people and departs. Today's teaching is that if you want, Yeshua will leave you alone. The people cared more about money than the truth, or that a wonderful miracle of deliverance had occurred. Yeshua left them as they wished.

Today, people are still telling Yeshua to leave their homes, businesses, and families. There is a theology that God imposes His will on people to force them to follow Him. Yeshua does not teach this doctrine at Gadarenes. He teaches that you have the free moral ability to reject Him or follow Him. Too often, we want to shift the burden of our obedience to God. "If He will help me, I will be obedient." No, you are to obey and it is not Yeshua's fault if you don't. The Hebraic view is that you don't know or believe something unless it impacts your actions. We know someone is a follower of Yeshua when that person actually follows Yeshua, i.e. when we do what He did.

The question today is whether you are rejecting Yeshua and His teachings from any part of your life? Do you divide your life into compartments, e.g. work, home, friends, and only invite God into those parts you desire while shutting Him out of the others? It will not work that way; Yeshua comes into all or He comes into none. So, what is your decision? Does He leave or does He stay?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Daily Word: Protection

In Mark 5, Yeshua is in the region of the Gadarenes. This is the Gentile side of the Sea of Galilee. When He arrives, a man possessed by many unclean spirits comes and worships Him. This man was known to be uncontrollable. He was not capable of being subdued. The unclean spirits went by the name Legion because they were so many. The man asks Yeshua: "What have I to do with you, Y'shua the Son of The Most High Elohim?" The unclean spirits begged Yeshua to be sent into the nearby swine. Verse 13 reads: "And he permitted them, and those unclean spirits departed and attacked the pigs. And that herd ran to a steep place and fell into the sea, and about two thousand were drowned in the water." The man with the unclean spirit was completely delivered and set free. The delivered man seeks to remain with Yeshua as he enters the boat to go back to the Jewish side of the Sea of Galilee. Yeshua says to the man: "Go to your house to your people and relate to them what Master YHWH did for you and how he had mercy on you."

It is very easy to miss Yeshua's teachings if you read this passage independent of the culture of the day. Yeshua does not permit the man to accompany Him back to the Jewish side of the Sea of Galilee. Why not? The reason is that the uncircumcised Gadarene would not have been accepted by the Jewish congregation. The delivered man would have met with strong resistance and been rejected because he was a Gentile. It was an act of mercy by Yeshua to spare him that rejection. That is why Yeshua sends him to "his people," where his testimony will be received. Yeshua understands people's biases and prejudices and works around them to bring YHWH the most good. Some of the Jews might have even questioned whether YHWH had performed the miracle on the Gentile.

Today, behold the wisdom and mercy of Yeshua. He delivered a Gentile, and protected his feelings from rejection. To those who were legalistic Jews, Yeshua even showed mercy on them by not giving them the opportunity to reject the work of YHWH. Don't you just marvel at the wisdom of our Messiah? He truly is the Son of God!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Daily Word: In the Midst of the Storm

In Mark 4:35, Yeshua says, "Let us cross over to the other side." For those in the first century, this would have been understood as meaning to the Gentile side of the Sea of Galilee. The Scriptures inform us that a great storm began. Wind and waves were falling on the boat. An interesting theological debate is whether Yeshua knew in advance that the storm would occur and thus, directed His disciples into a perilous circumstances, or whether Yeshua' humanity did not permit Him to know the future. Either way, the disciples find themselves in a dangerous place. Yeshua is sleeping on a blanket in the stern of the boat, seemingly oblivious to the plight of His followers. They wake Him and ask, "Master, don't you care? We are perishing!" Yeshua gets up and rebukes the wind and sea and simply says, "Cease! Be silent." The wind and sea obey the words of Yeshua. Then, almost in disbelief, Yeshua says, "Why are you fearful in this manner? And why is there no faith in you?" By this time, Yeshua had performed many miracles and provided signs revealing His authority on earth. The Hebrew mindset sought for signs demonstrating the power of God. Yeshua had provided those signs, so He did not believe the disciples' fear was justified.

What does Yeshua teach in these verses: (1) Sometimes you may be led into trouble; (2) in the midst of trouble, your faith should remain constant in the power of God to bring you through the difficulty; (3) Yeshua has power over nature; (4) Yeshua does care about His disciples; (5) Yeshua does not want you to be fearful in the midst of the storms of life; (6) Faith resides within you as is expressed in your actions; and (7) Yeshua wants you to have faith in Him and not in the storm.

Today's verses should bring us comfort in the midst of life's difficulties. Regardless of what you are facing, if you call upon Yeshua, He may arise and come to your defense. He has authority over the trials of life. You may have been led into the difficulty you are facing, but do not despair, He can speak the word of deliverance and set you free.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Daily Word: Your Ancestry

In Mark 4: 30-31, Yeshua says: "What is the Kingdom of Elohim like? And with what parable can we compare it? It is a grain of mustard which when it is planted in the earth, is the smallest of all the seeds that are upon the earth. And when it is planted, it grows and it becomes greater than all the herbs, and produces great branches so that it is able in its shade to nest the bird." This passage is evidence that the inspiration of Scripture does not require scientific accuracy. The mustard seed is not the smallest seed, but it may have been the smallest seed in the region of the listeners. Yeshua liked to use the culture of the day to establish His points. So, to the audience, the mustard seed would have been the smallest of all seeds. We must remember that the Scriptures are a book of the relationship between God and man, and not a science book. Science did not exist when the Scriptures were written. Science developed hundreds of years later.

Yeshua is teaching that the Kingdom of Elohim starts small and grows very large. Think about this: if you are a follower of Yeshua today, you can trace your faith back to one of the early disciples. One of the believers in that crowd is the root of your faith. Truly, Yeshua's teaching has proven its truth. His message started small in the region of Palestine. It spread to Europe and beyond. Wherever you live, God has brought the message to your part of the planet. The Kingdom of Elohim is now worldwide. Our faith is the largest on earth and it began with a small group of Hebrew believers!

Today, consider your true ancestry. Your faith in Yeshua relates back to almost 2000 years. You follow Him today because someone in 30AD started spreading the word that ultimately reached you. Now that's a heritage!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Daily Word: Progress

Yeshua continues His teaching in Mark 4:26-29: And He was saying, "The kingdom of Elohim is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and goes to sleep at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts up and grows while he is not aware. "The soil produces crops by itself; first the plant, then the ear, then the mature grain in the full ear. "But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." First, notice that it is the responsibility of the person in the Kingdom to sow or cast seeds. We know from the Parable of the Sower, that the seed is the word of Elohim. This is all being taught as a single session and the people listening would have known what Yeshua meant by the word "seed." He had just told them. Yeshua expects us to sow seeds as we live our lives day to day. This is the coming of the Kingdom of Elohim, the sowing of the word of Elohim in the hearts (i.e. ground) of those in contact with us.

Second, notice that the ground does the work of producing the harvest from the seed. Yeshua is teaching that it is the heart of man that receives the seed of the word of Elohim that will act upon the seed to produce the results. Further, notice that Yeshua is teaching that the harvest will come in stages, i.e. the plant, the ear, and finally the grain in the full ear. Yeshua is teaching the people that the Kingdom of Elohim produces the harvest in stages. People develop in stages and do not become instantly perfect as some teach. It seems clear that Yeshua is teaching a puncticular coming of the Kingdom with an ongoing manifestation in the lives of its subjects.

Today, are there those around you that have not come up to your level of perfection yet? Do you recognize that everyone is a work in progress? Perhaps, it is time to allow the word of Elohim to work in others lives without our critical judgment? So, what do you think? No, what are you going to do now?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Daily Word: Your Actions

Subsequent to His teaching on watching, Yeshua says in Mark 4:25: "For to him who has, it shall be given. And for him who has not, also that is to be taken from him." It should be noted that the words "given" and "taken" are both in the future tense, passive voice, and indicative mood. The future tense corresponds to the English future, and indicates the contemplated or certain occurrence of an event which has not yet occurred. The passive voice represents the subject as being the recipient of the action, e.g., in the sentence, "The boy was hit by the ball," the boy receives the action. The indicative mood is a simple statement of fact. If an action really occurs or has occurred or will occur, it will be rendered in the indicative mood. Yeshua is teaching as a matter of fact, that your actions will result in your receiving more from God or less from Him. This is very Hebraic; it is about what you do, not what you think.

The word "has" is the Greek word echo and it means to have in the hand, in the sense of wearing, to have possession of the mind, to hold fast, keep, to have or comprise or involve, to regard or consider or hold as. It is in the subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood is the mood of possibility and potentiality. The action described may or may not occur, depending upon circumstances. Yeshua is teaching that you have choices and those choices will dictate what you passively receive from God. If you hear and obey, more will be given. If you don't hear and obey, what you have will be taken away from you.

How do you respond to this teaching by Yeshua? Do you find it difficult or unfair? Notice that Yeshua's teaching does not "grade on a curve." The issue is hearing that impacts actions. You are either obedient or disobedient. There is no middle ground. The question for us is, "Where do we stand (based on what we do, not just what we say)?"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Daily Word: Watching

After teaching about hearing, Yeshua says in Mark 4:24: "Watch what you hear. With that measure that you measure. It will be measured to you and it is increased to you, those who hear." The word "measure" is the Greek word metron and it means an instrument for measuring, and a vessel for receiving and determining the quantity of things, whether dry or liquid. Yeshua is teaching the following: (1) Be very careful about the things you hear that have an impact on how you live; (2) You will be measuring something, the choice of what you measure is yours; (3) You will receive treatment from others based on how you treat others; and (4) What you receive back will be increased. It is not an even exchange like a quid pro quo; there is a multiplication factor involved. This should cause us to stop and think about how we treat others because it will come back to us.

Yeshua tells the listener to "watch" what you hear. The word "watch" is the Greek word biepo and it means to see, discern, of the bodily eye with the bodily eye: to be possessed of sight, have the power of seeing perceive by the use of the eyes: to see, look descry to turn the eyes to anything: to look at, look upon, gaze at to perceive by the senses, to feel to discover by use, or to know by experience. The teaching of Yeshua is clear that we must make an effort to watch. Watching is not a passive activity. "Watch" is in the imperative mood. The imperative mood and expresses a command to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding. Yeshua is commanding us to watch. He knows that what we watch, we hear; what we hear, really hear, will impact our lives. Yeshua's teaching can eliminate chaos in our life. He knows what is best.

Today, consider what you watch. Is it mindless TV shows, or worse? Would Yeshua be pleased with what falls before your eyes? Would He sit with you? Examine yourself; in the end, it can reduce or increase chaos depending on what you hear.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Daily Word: Did You Hear?

After Yeshua teaches that all will become manifest, He says: "If any man has ears to hear, let him hear." While the Book of Mark may have been written in Greek, Yeshua would have been thinking in Hebrew. The word for "hear" is shamea and it means to listen, to hear and obey, to understand, and to summon. Hebrew connects hearing and action. You have not heard something unless it impacts your actions. The Hebraic approach is not about just having correct thinking, but about correct thinking being manifested in right action. The Hebrew word picture for sha-ma is to see the name. The word for name is shem and it means to destroy chaos. When we put this all together, Yeshua is teaching that if we will hear His words, apply them to our lives, we will destroy chaos in our lives. This is not a magic formula to be used like a charm; instead, it is a guiding principle instructing us how to live.

When we review the last several days study, we see the following: (1) there are four types of ground that will receive the word of God; (2) you can choose the type of ground you want to be through a decision to live a life of repentance and brokenness before Elohim; (3) if you choose to be good ground, you will bring forth good fruit; (4) we are not to put the light of truth we have received under a basket, but instead, we are to allow it to be seen; (5) what we have done with the truth will be revealed at a later time; and (6) if we have heard Yeshua's teaching, it will manifest itself in our actions.

Today, just one question: "Have you heard Yeshua's teachings?" If so, others will see it. They may not like it and probably they will not. But remember, they are choosing what type of ground to be. That is not your responsibility; you are called to be a light to the truth.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Daily Word: All Shall Be Known

Yesterday, we considered Yeshua's teaching about not hiding our light. Today, we look at Mark 4:22: For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. The Greek word for "manifested" is phaneroo and it means to bring to light, to be visible, or open to sight. What will be brought to light? The answer is that everything will be exposed. The word "nothing" is the Greek word ou and it expresses a full and direct negation, independently and absolutely. Yeshua is teaching that it is an absolute certainty that everything you do will be brought to light and exposed.

How does Yeshua's teaching compare to modern Christian theology? Many teach that everything you do is "under the blood" and is blotted out. Is that Yeshua's teaching here? No, He is instructing His listeners that nothing shall be hid. All will be brought to the light of exposure. That is not the same as to say that you will have to pay for the sin; however, it does dispense with the notion that everything you do will be removed from the light of observation. This should cause us to stop and consider our actions, especially those done in secret.

I remember years ago traveling 3000 miles away from my wife and family. I was near a large metropolitan area that was noted for its lack of morals. I was asked when I returned by someone, "You did go to _________, didn't you?" My response was that there was nothing there for me. My wife and children were 3000 miles away at home and the only thing in that city for me was trouble. Yes, I could have gone into that place of immorality and my wife and children would never have known. However, on the day when all is revealed, then everyone would have known. When the truth of today's teaching by Yeshua becomes embedded in your heart, it should affect every aspect of your life. Remember, all will become manifest.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Daily Word: A Light Revealed

As soon as Yeshua explains the Parable of the Sower, He says in Mark 4:21: And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand? Yeshua is sharing a very simple fact. A candle is to be placed on a candlestick, not hidden. The candle or lamp is a symbol; it represents a type of truth. It stands for the light of the truth. Light and truth are to be the character, the very nature and behavior of the disciple of Yeshua. The disciple is to live the truth. He is to set the candle, the truth in the most conspicuous place in his life. Yeshua is teaching that He will not have "closet" disciples. His followers will be known and recognized in the community.

What was the word that they had received at this point? Remember, Yeshua has just taught that the word that falls on good ground will bring forth fruit. The audience had the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and the message of repentance. It is these "words" that were to be seen in the lives of Yeshua's followers. Yeshua is teaching that it is a type of fruit to obey Torah and live a life of repentance. When we do so, we will be a light to the world. In the first century, Yeshua was no doubt referring to the listeners being Torah observant as a light to the Gentiles. Pagans worshiped on Sun-day, while the Jews did so on the Sabbath. The Pagans ate what they wanted, while the Jews ate Kosher. The Jews obeyed the Torah as God's instruction manual, while the Pagans did whatever made them feel good. Yeshua was calling His disciples to be different; they were to be a light and they were not to cover it up.

Today, examine what type of light you are. First, ask what truth is the basis of your life? Second, ask yourself, "Does my light shine or do I hide it?" Finally, ask yourself, "Does my truth line up with Yeshua's teachings?" If it doesn't, don't you think it is time to change?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Daily Word: The Heart

We have been looking at Yeshua's teaching found in the Parable of the Sower. We learned that the type of ground determines the word's effectiveness. The ground is the "heart." The word in Hebrew is leb and it means life, vital principle, seat of feelings, affections, emotions, mode of thinking and acting. Again, we can see why repentance is essential to being good ground. If we are repenting, i.e. destroying our old houses or way of living, we are ready to receive the seed or word of God that brings the Kingdom of Elohim. Our heart must be ready to receive and the process goes back to Yeshua's first message, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Elohim has come."

The Hebrew word picture for heart is what controls the inside. The inside of a person will ultimately control what the person does. Again, we see the necessity of living a life of repentance. Do you weed the flower garden just once? No, it is something that needs to be done on a regular basis to insure that no weeds, stones, or thorns began to grow back. Have you ever seen a field that was not maintained? What does it look like? It has overgrown grass, trash, weeds, and rocks. Someone needs to prepare the field and maintain the field. That is what Yeshua is teaching us about our hearts in the Parable of the Sower. Everyone needs to be a gardener in their own life by taking care of their heart. We want to make sure that when we hear the word, it produces a good harvest in our lives for the benefit of others.

Today, do you have any stones or thorns that need to be uprooted from your garden? Is your field ready to receive a word from Elohim? If not, prepare your heart through repentance. Make every decision as if the entire world knew what you were going to do.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Daily Word: Thorny Ground

We are studying the teachings of Yeshua as found in the Parable of the Sower. Mark 4:7 reads: "Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain." Yeshua is describing someone who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of riches choke it resulting in no fruit being brought forth. The word "choked" is the Greek word sympnigo and it means to suffocate by compression. Figuratively, it means to overcome. Yeshua is describing the effect of the lust of the world overcoming and suppressing the truth of the word in someones life. If you allow it, the world will choke the word of God right out of your life.

Yeshua's teaching through this verse can be summarized as follows: (1) Some people hear the word and begin to act on it; (2) The cares of the world, which include the lure of riches, can suppress or suffocate the word out of the one who has received it; and (3) When the word is choked from you, you will be able to recognize it because there will be no fruit in your life. Remember the harvest is for others also and not just for yourself. Everyone can partake from the harvest in the field. Yeshua is warning us to make sure that our ground stays good. It can start good and end bad. Repentance is essential to maintaining good ground.

Today, examine your harvest. Is it what you want? How would you describe what you see as your harvest? remember, in Hebrew thought it is about action and not just correct thought. Perhaps today is a good day to look for a plow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Daily Word: Good Ground

In Mark chapter 4, verses 3-9, 13-20, Yeshua both tells and explains the Parable of the Sower. In this parable, He tells of a person that went about sowing seeds and they fall on four types of ground: the wayside, stony, thorny, and good. All humans fall into one of the four types of ground. The wayside are those where Satan comes and steals the seed immediately. The stony ground is those that receive the seed, but when trouble comes, they abandon, or give up what they have received. The thorny ground represents those that hear the word, but the desires of the world are too strong and the truth is choked from them. Of course, Yeshua explains that the seed is the word. All three types have an encounter with the word, but it yields no lasting results. Only the fourth ground produces a yield; the good ground represents those that hear the word, receive it, and act on it.

Remember Yeshua's first teaching becomes central to what Yeshua is teaching in this parable. His first message was, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Elohim has come." Repentance is central to being in the Kingdom. In this parable, don't dismiss who the audience is; they are all in an agricultural community. They understand that ground can be changed. Stones and thorns can be removed. Ground can be broken up to become good ground. The breaking up of the ground will keep Satan away from your land. You can become good ground; this is Yeshua's message in the parable. If you choose to be bad ground you can, or you can choose to become good ground through a life of repentance. What type of ground do you what to be? This is an underlying principle of this parable.

You are a type of ground. The issue is, what type will you be when it comes to receiving the words of Yeshua? Will you embrace His teachings and become a disciple, or will you cling to a man made religion that makes you feel good with no lasting results? The choice is yours.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Daily Word: The Power of Unity

Right after Yeshua explains the power of unity, his blood family comes and calls for Him. Verses 31-35 read: And His mother and His brothers came; and standing outside they sent to Him and called Him. And a crowd was sitting about Yeshua; and they said to Him, "Your mother and Your brothers are outside, asking for You." And Yeshua asked, "Who are My mother and My brothers?" And looking around on those who sat about Him, He said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! Whoever does the will of God is My brother, and sister, and mother." Was Yeshua discounting His family? Absolutely not! Family was extremely important to the first century Jewish culture. Plus, there is substantial support for the view that Yeshua's family was a vital part of His ministry. Scholars make a strong case that three of the original twelve disciples were from Yeshua's blood line. James, His brother, lead the Jerusalem church from Yeshua's resurrection in 30AD until James was killed in 62AD. Then another blood relative of Yeshua took over the Jerusalem work until his death. Then another blood relative was appointed to lead the work. It is same to say that at some point, Yeshua's family was very supportive of His ministry at least during its later stages. So what was Yeshua teaching with His question?

Remember chapter 1:15; Yeshua taught that the Kingdom of Elohim was at hand for those that would repent (tear down their house and receive the new Kingdom). Yeshua's point is that His family is the Kingdom of Elohim, which is made up of those that repent and believe the gospel. It is not restricted to His natural family. It is open to all. The other point that Yeshua makes is that His spiritual family is not composed of those that think right, but those that do right. Whoever does the will of God is Yeshua's brother, and sister, and mother. This is the Hebrew way. It is not about creeds and doctrines; it is about what we believe as evidenced by what we do, not what we pledge to believe. Yeshua's message is that Elohim's Kingdom is composed of those that do His will as expressed in the commandments of God. God has told us how to live and if we are going to be a part of the Kingdom, we must obey.

Are you part of the Kingdom of Elohim? What do your actions say about what you really believe? Are you the brother or sister of Yeshua? Look into the mirror and answer.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Daily Word: Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

We are continuing to look at the words of Yeshua in His discussion with the scribes concerning casting out unclean spirits. The scribes accused Yeshua of being possessed by Beelzebul. He explains that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Then, in verses 28-30: Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Ruach haKodesh (Hebrew for "Set Apart Spirit") never has forgiveness, but is guilty before the eternal judgment."--for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit." Yeshua is teaching that there is something as the un-forgivable sin. The inquiry now is, what did Yeshua mean? To unlock the meaning, we need to remember Who is talking and to whom is He speaking.

Yeshua was a first century Jewish rabbi. Both He and His audience would have been monotheistic Jews (this means that they believed in only one God). The doctrine of the trinity would not develop until three or four centuries later. So eliminate the interpretation that Yeshua is saying that you can sin against the Father or Son and be forgiven, but to sin against the Holy Spirit brings everlasting death. Instead, read the words as they are meant to be read. Yeshua is saying that if one accuses Him of being possessed of an unclean spirit, then there is no forgiveness for him or her. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is to reject Yeshua as being possessed by Satan. Remember, this is the context we find the teaching. Yeshua is addressing those that have said He is possessed by Beelzebul, cannot be forgiven. It is one thing to reject Yeshua; it is quite another to accuse Him of being possessed by Satan.

I have known several over the years that feared that they had committed the un-forgivable sin. The enemy of their souls would batter them mentally. Once explaining to the fearful one what this verse actually meant, they found peace. The bottom line is, that if you feel the guidance of Ruach haKodesh in your life or even the conviction of sin, you may rest easy as He has not left you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Daily Word: The Power of Unity

Mark 3: 22-27 reads: And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And Yeshua called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. The scribes said Yeshua was possessed by Beelzebul. Beelzebul was a derogatory name for that Adversary. Further, it was the name of a Philistine god and in Hebrew means, "lord of a fly." In post-biblical Hebrew, the root z-b-l means "dung." The Pharisees were no doubt seeking to insult and discredit Yeshua by saying He was possessed of a disgusting spirit. How does Yeshua respond?

He speaks a parable. A divided kingdom will not stand. Division brings weakness. If Yeshua is of Satan, then Satan's kingdom will fall. Now we can understand why division and disunity in the church is so destructive. Yeshua is teaching on the power of unity. While Jewish exorcists existed, casting out a blind, deaf, and dumb demon was a major miracle that only the Messiah could perform. By His actions, Yeshua is teaching that He has absolute authority over unclean spirits. By His actions, He is establishing Himself as the Messiah. He has demonstrated His absolute authority because Yeshua is in perfect unity with the Father. During His ministry, Yeshua will demonstrate the power of unity.

Today, have you forgotten about the power of one? When we are in unity with Yeshua and He is in unity with the Father, absolute authority over unclean spirits is available to us. Yeshua wants no division in His body. Yet, do we not see division at every turn? Perhaps this is a reason that the body is so weak and ineffective. Is there someone you need to make peace with today?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Daily Word: Healing on the Sabbath

As we begin Mark 3, we see Yeshua in a place of controversy again involving the Sabbath. Verses 1-6 read: He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on Shabbat, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on Shabbat, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him. The Pharisees had developed 39 specific prohibitions based on the work performed in the building of the Temple. For example, you could not grind or crush building materials. One of the reasons that the Pharisees condemned healing on Shabbat was that you could not make medicine that would bring healing because that would involve grinding herbs to make medicine. However, Yeshua doesn't make medicine. He doesn't violate any of the 39 prohibitions. He merely speaks the Word of healing. He says, "Stretch forth your hand."

According to the Pharisees, the following rules applied to healing on Shabbat:
1. Healing to save a life was a duty;
2. Caring for the seriously ill was allowed; and
3. Treating minor ailments was prohibited..
Since a withered hand was not life threatening nor serious, it would have been prohibited by the Pharisees. However, since Yeshua followed the teachings of the House of Hillel which emphasized concern for others and demonstrating love, healing on Shabbat was not prohibited. Yeshua did not violate Torah by healing on Shabbat. In fact, it could be argued that Yeshua did not violate the Pharisees rules concerning Shabbat since talking was not prohibited.

Shabbat means rest. That rest belongs to us and not us to the rest. When we begin to see Shabbat not as rules to be obeyed but as a joy to be encountered, it becomes a real treasure. Just think, that treasure comes to us every week. Do you receive it?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Daily Word: Conflicting Rules

Mark 2:23-28 reads: And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on Shabbat, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on Shabbat?” And He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; how he entered the house of Elohim in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?” Yeshua said to them, “Shabbat was made for man, and not man for Shabbat. “So the Son of Man is Lord even of Shabbat.” Some scholars have suggested that Yeshua had three "conversions." This does not mean that He was saved three times; instead, it refers to changes that occurred in the direction of His ministry. The first conversion influences Yeshua's teaching concerning Shabbat. The conversion arguably took place when Yeshua left the fundamentally conservative village of Nazareth and moved His base of operations to Capernaum. Capernaum was much more moderate in its theological views and favored the more lenient House of Hillel. Rabbi Hillel stressed love for our fellow men and was not as strict as the House of Shammai. The House of Shammai stressed observance of rules without regard to their impact on others. The difference in the two approaches can be seen in how they addressed the issue of whether one should tell an ugly bride that she is beautiful. Shammai said it was wrong to lie, and Hillel said that all brides are beautiful on their wedding day. Generally, Yeshua followed the teachings of the House of Hillel.

Hillel was a great lover of peace who urged his followers to "be of the disciples of Aaron [who was famed as a peacemaker according to rabbinic lore]; loving thy fellow creatures and drawing them near to Torah." "Judge not thy neighbor till thou art in his place, " he pleaded. "If I am not for myself, who will be for me, yet if I am only for myself, then what am I?" he taught. He also preached the social tenet, "Do not separate thyself from the community." As we can see, Hillel was very concerned about how people treated each other. With his teachings forming a basis for Yeshua's theology, His answer to the Pharisees makes complete sense. The disciples were very hungry so they violated a Sabbath rule to preserve their lives. Only a strict legalist would elevate a law over the needs of a person. Yeshua refuses to do that because of His love for His disciples.

A Greek thinker must make all rules consistent with each other. However, a Hebraic approach realizes that rules can conflict. In other words, one rule can disagree with and be superior to another. In this case, the need to preserve life through eating trumped the law of keeping the Sabbath.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Daily Word: Old Garments and New Wine Skins

Today, we look at a passage that is often misunderstood because it is taken out of context. Mark 2: 21-22 reads: And no man places a new patch onto an old garment and sews it, or else the new patch be taken away from the old and the tear becomes larger. And no man puts new wine into old wineskins or else the wine burst the wineskins, and the wineskins are destroyed and the wine is poured out. Rather, they put new wine into new wineskins. We must remember that Yeshua is a Jewish rabbi talking to Jewish listeners. The old garment is Judaism; the new patch is the coming Kingdom of Elohim through Yeshua. The point to be noticed is that Yeshua does not want the old garment destroyed. The first part of His teaching is that the old garment, i.e. Judaism, must not be destroyed. He is saying that the new patch is not to replace the garment. Think about it; have you ever seen a patch that covered a coat? No, the patch would be part of the garment. The new patch, i.e. the coming Kingdom will take place within Judaism.

However, the second part of the teaching explains that the new wine, i.e. the coming Kingdom of Elohim, cannot be put within the old wineskins of Judaism as it existed in the first century. Judaism in the first century were composed primarily four groups: Sadducees, Pharisees, Zealots, and the Essenes. The Sadducees controlled the Temple and were the rich and the elite. They were in partnership with Roman oppression to enable them to continue to control the Temple and the profit that came with it. The Pharisees had allowed the traditions of men to dominate the teachings of Torah to create an unfair burden on the people. The Zealots wanted a military commander to win a war with Rome and remove them from Palestine. The Essenes were a separatist movement that had withdrawn from the other three groups and believed that only they had the truth. The old wineskin of Judaism was not the vehicle for the new Kingdom. The new Kingdom would have the Torah of Elohim written on the heart of man and not tablets of stone. This is the promise of Jeremiah 31, the Renewed Covenant.

Yeshua was teaching His disciples that repentance was the path to receive the new Kingdom. His intent was not to destroy Judaism; instead, He sought to bring a Kingdom to a people that had torn down their house to receive the new one. That was the new wineskin. Which do you reside in?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Daily Word: The Joy of Yeshua's Presence

In response to the inquiry by some Pharisees concerning the failure of Yeshua's disciples to fast, Yeshua said: "As long as the bridegroom is among them, the sons of the wedding feast are able not to fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them. In that day they will fast. Mark 2:19-20 Yeshua was teaching that His presence brings joy,i.e. a joyous life. This is a reason Yeshua did not teach His disciples to fast as a religious ritual. There was no need to fast when the presence and joy of Yeshua fills a life. He used a clear picture to teach what His mission was.

What was that mission? Yeshua was inaugurating the Renewed Covenant. It is most regrettable that many older Bibles translate the Greek word diatheke as "testament." It gives a wrong impression that Yeshua has left us something pursuant to a Last Will and Testament. That approach underlies an "easy believe-ism" so popular today in the church. The word should be translated as "covenant." Covenant brings a different message; a message that includes responsibilities on both sides. If we are going to be in the Renewed Covenant, we must adhere to the terms. Those terms are found in the Torah as explained by Yeshua. What Yeshua was doing was like a wedding. He said, "I am launching a new marriage of people to Elohim. I am the Bridegroom (the Son of Elohim Himself) who is to wed people to Elohim, and My chosen disciples are the friends of the Bridegroom. A wedding is a joyful, not a sad occasion that requires fasting. My presence brings joy, not sadness to those who will follow me." Yeshua's presence brings joy and that is not the time to fast.

Don't misread Yeshua's teaching today to exclude the need to fast. He has been taken away in the flesh. Therefore, we are to fast. The Pharisees fasted two days a week. How do we measure up to them? The problem is not that we don't fast enough; the problem is that we rarely think about it until something goes really wrong in our lives and we try to bargain with Elohim. Today, consider fasting as an act of worship. Skip a meal and pray instead.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Daily Word: Sinners

After Yeshua called Lewi, He had a meal with the tax collectors and sinners in his house. This is culturally very significant. To share a drink of water with someone meant that you would be friends for a year (think about Yeshua and the woman and the well), but to share a meal with someone meant that you would be friends for life. By His act of eating with the "sinners," Yeshua was pledging to be their friend for life. Now you can see why some of the religious people took note. In fact, some of the Pharisees and scribes complained to Yeshua's disciples. Mark 2:17 reads: But when Y'shua heard, he said to them, "The healthy have no need for a physician, rather those who are very ill. I have not come to call the righteous, rather the sinners." The Greek word for "very ill," is kakos and it means both physical illness and moral depravity. As we have seen, Yeshua intertwined forgiveness and healing. Here, He again affirms His desire to deal with both issues.

Yeshua is calling sinners. Who are they? One Hebrew word for sin is aham and it means to fail in duty and to transgress. Man failed to carry out God's Torah and went past the, "Off Limits" sign. When man chose to disregard God's instructions for living and developed his own (like Eve in the Garden of Eden), he became a sinner. Yeshua is calling those that recognize their sin; those that acknowledge their failure to live according to the Torah of God. Remember that to repent requires you to tear down your house and receive the Kingdom of Elohim. Those that believe that they are well see no need to tear down their house. They think it is fine the way it is. Now we can understand who Yeshua is calling; He is calling those that agree that their old house needs to go.

Today, are you one that knows that the old house has to be destroyed? If so, you are a sinner and Yeshua is calling all sinners to exchange their old kingdom for the new one. The Kingdom of Elohim brings heaven to earth one person at a time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Daily Word: Called

Mark 2:14 reads: And while passing by, he saw Lewi, the son of Khalpai, who was sitting at the custom house, and said to him, "Come follow me!" And he arose and went and followed him. In this passage, we see the call by Yeshua to Matthew to be His disciple. What did the call to discipleship mean in the first century. It meant four things: (1) the disciple was to memorize the words of his teacher; (2) the disciple was to learn the traditions of his teacher; (3) the disciple was to imitate his teacher; and (4) the disciple was to raise up more disciples. Notice Yeshua didn't ask Lewi to "get saved" or "be filled with the Holy Spirit." He called him to follow in His footsteps and to become a learner of His ways. Compare this method with those of the modern evangelical church and you will easily see the difference.

It would have been very exciting for Lewi to be called by Yeshua. In the first century, children started learning at the age of 5 from the Book of Leviticus. By the pre-teen years those that showed some talent for learning would be selected to continue their studies of Torah. By the teen years, those who showed real potential would be selected by a rabbi to become a disciple and go deeper in their studies. Those that did not show promise would be taught trades and skills to be able to support their families. The point is that all of Yeshua's disciples did not make the grade; they were not selected to be a disciple of the established religious leaders. In other words, they were failures academically. Now, consider how they would have felt when a Jewish rabbi comes walking by and call them. It would be like having a second chance. That pattern has continued since the first century. Yeshua still calls men and women, boys and girls, and offers a second chance at being a success. Lewi would have been thrilled to be His disciple.

Today, have you heard the call? This is not a call to say a prayer or make a commitment to a creed or doctrine. This is a call to a lifetime of learning; a lifetime of submission to Yeshua's teachings. Are you ready to "follow?"

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Daily Word: Arise!

Mark 2:8-12a read: But Y'shua knew in his spirit these things that they were thinking in themselves. And he said to them, "Why do you think these things in your hearts? Which is easier to say to the paralytic that, 'Your sins are forgiven you' or to say, 'Get up! Take your pallet and walk?' But that you might know that it is Lawful for the Son of man to forgive sins on earth," he said to the paralytic, "I say to you, arise and take your pallet and go your house." And at once he arose.... From this passage, Yeshua asserts His power and authority to forgive sins on earth. There are no animal sacrifices or "pray after me" prayers. He finds a repentant heart and announces forgiveness.

Second, from this passage we learn that Yeshua connects forgiveness with physical healing. Some believe that healing is not for today. If it isn't, is forgiveness for today? They are interconnected. The Hebrew approach does not divide the person into three separate categories of spirit, soul, and body. There is an inner person and a body, but they are connected. You can't say that your inner person is right with God and at the same time have a body that is in willful disobedience in sin. Yeshua comes to bring wholeness to both the inner person and the body. The words of Yeshua to the paralytic to "arise" is in the aorist imperative middle. This means that Yeshua is commanding a singular as opposed to continuous action. The middle tense means that the paralytic will be affected by his own action or is acting on himself. Yeshua has spoken a word of healing, but the paralytic must appropriate that healing for himself by acting on Yeshua's words. Deliverance, wholeness, redemption, and healing have been provided for us, but we must act on the word.

Is there something today that you need to act on? Has the word been spoken to you, yet you fail to move? Today, Yeshua still says "arise" to those that will hear and obey.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Daily Word: Forgiveness From a Hebrew Perspective

Yesterday, we considered repentance and forgiveness from Yeshua's actions in Mark 2:1-5. Today, we continue with the concept of forgiveness according to rabbinic thought because Yeshua was a Jewish rabbi. When some Pharisees took offense by reasoning in their hearts that Yeshua's forgiving the paralytic's sins was blasphemous, Yeshua was able to read their hearts, i.e. their inner person which includes thoughts, will, and emotion. Verses 8-9 read: But Y'shua knew in his spirit these things that they were thinking in themselves. And he said to them, "Why do you think these things in your hearts? Which is easier to say to the paralytic that, 'Your sins are forgiven you' or to say, 'Get up! Take your pallet and walk?'" Yeshua was making a positive claim to be able to read minds and forgive sins.

In Hebrew, forgiveness is kaphar and it means to cover, to expiate (i.e. satisfy) for an offense, or to appease. These definitions probably seem more suitable to defining atonement; however, in Hebrew, they mean forgiveness. Yeshua is pronouncing without an animal sacrifice, that the paralytic is forgiven. Gentiles have been taught that the Old Testament taught forgiveness through animal sacrifice only. Apparently, Yeshua didn't know that. The truth is that animal sacrifices assisted human beings to have the right approach to sin and repentance. However, without the proper heart condition of sorrow, there was no forgiveness no matter how many animals were sacrificed. The word picture for kaphar is to cover the mouth of a man. Just as a man with his mouth covered can make no noise, neither can sins that have been forgiven have any voice in our lives. This is a beautiful reminder of God's forgiveness in the Hebrew Scriptures.

As we continue to study the actual teachings of Yeshua, we may find ourselves changing our view of certain long held Christian doctrines. The point is that if you are going to be a disciple of Yeshua, should you not follow His teachings as opposed to those that developed centuries later about Him?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Daily Word: Seeing Faith

Mark chapter 2 begins with Yeshua teaching in a crowded home. In fact, it is so packed that some friends can't get their paralytic friend to Yeshua. They devise a plan to climb on the roof and lift part of the covering and lower their friend down. Verse 4 reads: And when Y'shua saw their faith he said to that paralytic, "My son, you are forgiven your sins." First, notice that faith was something capable of being seen. Hebraic thinking focuses on action. Greek thinking focuses on faith as a noun, i.e. what you believe about a person, place, or thing. The Christian faith focuses on having the correct creed or doctrinal statement. The emphasis is on correct thinking as opposed to correct action. Y'shua, being a Jewish rabbi, thinks like a Hebrew. Faith is seen and not just heard according to Y'shua. The faith of the friends in believing that Y'shua could heal was seen in their actions to get the paralytic to Him.

Second, notice that Y'shua believed that He had the power to forgive sins. Do you see from the text any request for forgiveness? What about repentance? Where was the blood sacrifice required for the forgiveness of sin? Y'shua on His own simply forgives the man. This could indeed cause problems for orthodox Christianity. Y'shua is teaching, by His actions, that He doesn't need any of our "requirements" that have developed during the church age to obtain forgiveness. Is Y'shua's method consistent with the granting of forgiveness under the law? To the Hebrew, Teshuvá is the key concept in the rabbinic view of sin, repentance, and forgiveness. Repentance requires five elements: recognition of one's sins as sins (hakarát ha-chét'), remorse (charatá), desisting from sin (azivát ha-chét'), restitution where possible (peira'ón), and confession (vidúi). The five elements are seen in David's cry found in Psalm 51. How did Y'shua know the heart of the paralytic? We know that in verse 8, Y'shua was able to read the hearts of the Pharisees. Therefore, it would be fair to assume that He could also read the heart of the paralytic. Forgiveness, like the Kingdom, is obtained through repentance. Y'shua must have seen a repentant heart. Y'shua's teachings are very consistent.

Today, ask yourself, "Does my view of repentance align itself with Hebraic thought?" Should it? Do I take repentance seriously? Is my life characterized by repentance? These are tough questions, but necessary ones to live in the Kingdom.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Daily Word: God's Will to Heal

Today we examine Mark 1: 40-44: And a leper came to him and fell upon his feet and was beseeching him and said to him, "If you desire, you are able to make me clean." And he, Y'shua, had compassion on him and stretched out his hand and said, "I desire, be clean." And at that moment, his leprosy departed from him and he was made clean. And he rebuked him and he went out. And he said to him, "See to it that you tell no man, rather go show yourself to the priests and offer an offering for your purification as Moshe commanded for their testimony." In this passage, we see a definite statement concerning the answer to the question, "Is it God's will to heal?" Y'shua's response to the inquiry is a straight forward, "I will." In law, if a contract provision is clear and unambiguous, it is interpreted according to its plain meaning. To refute that interpretation, it is required to find an equally clear statement for the opposite position. Applying those principles to the issue of healing, if one was going to argue that Yeshua's will might not always be to heal, we would need an equally clear statement that He does so will. There is no such statement.

In addition, this passage affirms Yeshua's upholding of the Torah. After healing the leper, Yeshua commands him to go to the priest and obey the law of Moses. There was a prescribed method of verifying the removal of leprosy before the person could re-enter the community. Yeshua doesn't create a new method; instead, He affirms the procedure as set forth in the Hebrew Scriptures. Further, Yeshua affirms the offering of sacrifices as commanded in Leviticus. If Yeshua did not remove the offering for healing, then who did? There is much for us to consider here. Yeshua is a Torah observant Jew. He is not a blond haired, blue eyed Caucasian. We need to remember who Yeshua is, if we are going to follow Him.

Today, remember Yeshua's words. It is His will to heal and it is His will to obey the Torah. Ask yourself, who removed the Torah requirements? Then, an equally important question is, "Why were the Torah requirements removed?"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Daily Word: The Message

Mark 1:38 reads: He said to them, "Walk into the villages and into the cities that are nearby, for I will also preach there. I have come for this reason." Yeshua's message was that the Kingdom of Elohim had arrived. Some translations use the phrase, "at hand," which is an idiom for within reach. From this passage, we learn that Yeshua is going to go into the surrounding areas and bring this message of repentance as a requirement to being a part of the new Kingdom. Verse 39 says: And he would preach in all their assemblies in all of Galeela and cast out demons. The assemblies were the Jewish synagogues. This geographical area was more moderate in their theological beliefs than Nazareth, which was more fundamentalist and conservative. The area including Capernaum was more favorable to the School of Hillel, which emphasized love of our fellow man than strict observance of the Torah. This message was more compatible to Yeshua's teachings and perhaps this is a reason He set His base of operations in Capernaum.

If we compare Yeshua's early message with that would develop later, we see immediate tension. Yeshua stressed repentance and the casting out of demons. Consider the words of the Apostle's Creed which is the basis of Christianity today:
1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
5. The third day he rose again from the dead:
6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:
9. I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
10. The forgiveness of sins:
1l. The resurrection of the body:
12. And the life everlasting. Amen.
Admittedly, paragraphs 4,5,6, and 7 had not occurred yet; however, notice that the creed stresses what we think about God as opposed to what we do. Yeshua stressed repentance which is based on what we do. As Christianity developed its creeds and doctrinal statements, the emphasis shifted to what we thought about God and "Jesus" as opposed to what we did.

Today, what is most important to your religion? Is it what you think about God or what you do about what you believe? In Hebraic thought, you don't know something unless it impacts your actions. So, what do you know about YHWH and His Son Yeshua?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Daily Word: Dealing With Demons

Note: Today, we are continuing our study on the actual teachings of Yeshua or Yahushua in the New Testament. We are in the Book of Mark. The translation will be the Aramaic English Testament. We are going to emphasize what He taught versus what was taught about Him later. Be prepared for a paradigm shift.

The Book of Mark chapter 1 verses 23-26 reads: And there was a man in their assembly in whom was an unclean spirit, and he cried out, and said, What have we to do with you Y'shua the Nasraya? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, you are the Set Apart One of Elohim. And Y'shua rebuked him and said, "Shut your mouth and come out from him!" And the unclean spirit threw him down and cried out in a loud voice and came out of him. First, notice that Y'shua recognized the existence of the unseen spirit world. Today, many have become too educated and have forgotten the reality of demons. Demons are real and they torment human beings. Spirits can influence people and create physical manifestations as are evident in this passage. Second, notice Y'shua's lack of fear in dealing with the unclean spirits. His response was to rebuke the spirit. The word "rebuke" in Greek is epitimao and it means to punish, rebuke, or charge. Y'shua took immediate authority over the unclean spirit. Third, notice Y'shua's method of removing the spirit from the afflicted one. He simply told it to shut up and come out. Fourth, notice the power of Y'shua's words. Y'shua spoke and the results were immediate. From this passage, we learn Y'shua's understanding of the spirit world and how to deal with it.

How does Y'shua's method compare to some approaches we see today? There was no big work up, no spitting, no continual screaming, no discussion with the demon, and no gradual removal. It was instantaneous. There was no process of recovery; there was complete deliverance to the afflicted at the spoken word of Y'shua. The Greek text expresses the total domination over the unclean spirit by Y'shua. The words, "Shut your mouth," is the Greek word phimoo and it means to muzzle, as an ox. It is in the aorist imperative passive. This means that Y'shua did a specific work of muzzling the unclean spirit which the spirit passively received. Picture a farmer placing a muzzle on a farm animal and you have the picture. The unclean spirit had no choice but to receive the command to shut up and obey it. We see that Y'shua taught a complete domination over demons through the spoken word.

Today, if you are a follower of Y'shua, then He has given this same authority to you. If you encounter the forces of darkness, you need not be afraid or confused. You simply speak what Y'shua spoke and have faith in His words. Unclean spirits will have to passively receive the spoken word over them and obey. We are to set the captives free and speak words of deliverance in the name of Y'shua. It is time to take authority.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Daily Word: Becoming Fishers of Men

Note: Today, we are continuing our study on the actual teachings of Yeshua or Yahushua in the New Testament. We are in the Book of Mark. The translation will be the Aramaic English Testament. We are going to emphasize what He taught versus what was taught about Him later. Be prepared for a paradigm shift.

Mark 1:17 says: And Y'shua said to them, "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of the sons of men." We must remember that Yeshua (or as the translation quoted writes "Y'shua") spoke either Hebrew of Aramic. They are very similar languages, like first cousins. Yet, Mark comes to us in the form of a Greek text. There will be times we look to Hebrew and other times we will draw from the Greek language. We want to know what Yeshua actually taught. The passage today comes right after Yeshua has taught the importance of repentance. There is no following of Him unless it is preceded by repentance. Repentance is the beginning of following Yeshua. He says "come." The Greek word is deute and it is an adverb. An adverb qualifies the meaning of a verb. The ones that are following are the ones that have come through the door of repentance. We repent, but do we make ourselves fishers of men?

The word "make" in the text is the Greek word poieo and it is in the future tense. This means that Yeshua is describing something that He will do in the future. Some translations say, "make you become fishers of men." The word become is ginomai and it is in the aorist infinitive passive. This means that we that are being made fishers of men will passively receive the work of Yeshua in our lives so that we can do what He has called us to do. Our duty is to repent and Yeshua's promise is to make us fishers of men. It is not through our hard work and struggles; we are to passively receive His workmanship in our lives. This is done because we live a life of constant repentance, i.e constantly destroying our house (remember yesterday). If we are faithful in our responsibilities, then Yeshua will be faithful to make us what He wants us to be. And, He wants us to fish for men for the Kingdom of Elohim.

Today, are you passively receiving His workmanship in your life? Remember, while we receive passively, we must actively work in repenting. Keep destroying your old ways. Make your paths His paths. Truly follow Yeshua. (If you do, will this affect what you eat, when your worship, or your obedience to the Torah?) Perhaps, it is in the following of Yeshua that He makes us fishers of men.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Daily Word: Yeshua's First Message

Note: Today, we are beginning an extended study on the actual teachings of Yeshua or Yahushua in the New Testament. We are going to start in the Book of Mark. The translation will be the Aramaic English Testament. We are going to emphasize what He taught versus what was taught about Him later. Be prepared for a paradigm shift.

The first words spoken by Yeshua in the Book of Mark are found in chapter 1 verse 15: And he said, "The time is complete and the Kingdom of Elohim has arrived. Repent and believe the Good News." The word "Elohim" means "Mighty One." The arrival of the Kingdom and the concept of repentance were intertwined. The word "repent" comes from the Hebrew word shoov. It means to destroy the house and leave nothing behind. The word comes from the word for to be taken captive. Repentance always involves a changing of kingdoms, i.e. where you reside. Yeshua is telling His audience that if they are going to be a part of the arriving Kingdom, they are going to have to destroy their present life and embrace the new Kingdom. Elohim's Kingdom means the active working of His influence in the lives of its members. If you want to be a part of this Kingdom, you have to destroy the old one. The word "repent" in the Greek text is in the present tense imperative mood. This means that it is a command to repeated or continuous action. Yeshua is not asking you to repeat a prayer and be saved. He is calling you to a life of repentance.

Notice that this is Yeshua's first message. he doesn't come promising health or prosperity. There is no doctrinal statement about Himself that He requires adherence to; instead, He comes with a message of destruction. Your old life must be destroyed in order to receive Elohim's Kingdom. Consider what is promoted today as the message of the Messiah. "Come, let me introduce you to my friend." "Jesus wants to take all your hurts and pains and give you a real purpose for living." While the preceding may be true, the point is that is not what Yeshua taught first. He taught repentance.

Today, ask yourself, "Have I destroyed the old way of living?" "Have I left it all behind for the Kingdom of Elohim?" Yeshua is still calling people to repent. It was His first message in Mark. Have you heard it?