Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Law as the Basis of 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, July 30, 2012

Yeshua Will Leave You Alone

We have seen 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 he or she does 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?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Repost: Being Deceived About the Sabbath

I thought it appropriate to repost the below article that I wrote in 2010. I remain as firmly committed today as I was in 2010 to the truth contained therein.

Being Deceived About the Sabbath

In 2001, Dr. John MacArthur Jr., the pastor of Grace Community Church, was asked are the Sabbath laws binding on Christians today. He responded as follows: “We believe the Old Testament regulations governing Sabbath observances are ceremonial, not moral, aspects of the law. As such, they are no longer in force, but have passed away along with the sacrificial system, the Levitical priesthood, and all other aspects of Moses' law that prefigured Christ.” According to a 2008 edition of Pulpit Magazine, Dr. MacArthur reasoned in part that the New Testament never commands Christians to observe the Sabbath. This appears to be the standard evangelical answer concerning Sabbath observance by “New Testament” believers. This article advocates the position that a non-biased translation of Hebrews 4:9 commands Sabbath observance for the people of God.

The following are four different translations for Hebrews 4:9:
1. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (KJV)
2. So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God…. (AMP)
3. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God…. (ESV)
4. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. (NASB)

The 17TH Century English nonconformist theologian Matthew Poole provided a typical protestant interpretation of the verses above: "Here the Spirit concludes from his former proofs, that there is a more excellent rest revealed to faith in the gospel, which is remaining, future, and to come, and will surely and most certainly do so; though it be behind, yet it will be enjoyed. A sabbatism, which is a state and season of a most glorious rest, (see Heb 4:10), shall be enjoyed by sincere believers, the true Israel of God, of whom he is the Proprietor, and who are for their eternal state so excellently holy, and of so Divine a nature, that he is not ashamed to be called their God." (Emphasis supplied)


There has been an effort to remove the present duty of Sabbath observance for a futuristic “Sabbath” celebration. I submit that the translators are misleading the readers. This is another example of the purposeful attempt to disconnect followers of Yeshua with his Hebraic roots. An examination of the Greek text supports this view. The Greek word for “remains” is the verb apoleipo and it indicates that the sabbatismos is "left behind.” It still remains. Apoleipo is in the present tense indicative mood. The present indicative asserts a statement of fact which is occurring while the speaker is making the statement. Conservative scholarship dates the book of Hebrews from the mid to late 60’s. The writer is expressing a statement of fact about keeping the Sabbath approximately thirty years after the resurrection of Yeshua. This is not about the future; it is about now. It is unfortunate that even Dr. Zodhiates falls victim to replacement theology in his lengthy discussion of sabbatismos. He explains in part: “Therefore, the intimation is that the Sabbath was instituted as a symbol of that eternal rest at the completion of God's work.” He clearly is referencing a future rest. A lot of linguistic gymnastics has to occur to move this statement in Hebrews into an event in the future. The Greek word for "rest" is sabbatism├│s and it means to keep the Sabbath. The use of the word "rest" was added by replacement theologians in an effort to change the commandment to keep the Sabbath into a futuristic event.

The correct translation should be:
"There is left behind a keeping of the Sabbath by God's people."

The Sabbath is the sign of God’s people being separated to Him. It is written in Exodus 31:13, 16: "Say to the people of Israel , 'You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant. (RSV) An accurate translation of Hebrews 4:9 reveals the failure of the modern church to obey God's command to keep the Sabbath. It is not a futuristic fulfillment; it is a command. We should now concentrate on what it means to keep the Sabbath as God’s people in the 21st Century. If we are the people of God, we should keep the Sabbath.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Wisdom of Yeshua: Dealing With Prejudice

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, Yeshua 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!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Help in the Storms of Life: From a Hebraic View

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 YHWH 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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Mustard Seed

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!

Friday, July 20, 2012

G-d's Knowledge of the Future: The Colorado Shootings

Our hearts do hurt for the lost and injured lives resulting from the shooting in Colorado last night. No doubt, many will be searching to understand "why" this occurred. We want to know why because if we know that, we can hopefully prevent this type of tragedy from happening again. We seek to understand tragedy so we can make sense of it. One of my concerns is when we state that "God" is still in charge; that He knew in advance of the tragedy, yet He allowed it to occur, we give ammunition to those who deny the existence of G-d. I read the following post from a Christian organization referencing the shooting: "Please know that even though evil is in this world & people act it out, God is in control & He does not slumber nor is He surprised. This is why it is imperative that we get His message out - none of us know how long anyone will be on this earth but eternal life is certain. Live for Christ and share Him with others." What do you think about the bold words? Is G-d in control? Did He know in advance and do nothing to stop the shooting? Why would He allow this to occur if He knew about it in advance?

Arguments like this are used by nonbelievers to prove that G-d does not exist. Too often in an effort to protect G-d's omnipotence and omniscience, the Christian has to develop excuses for G-d. We hear that even though G-d knew it would occur, He has to allow for man's free will. These attributes of G-d were developed through Greek philosophy. They are not Biblical. What good does it do for us to ascribe to G-d all power and knowledge and then have to make excuses for Him? I suggest that a proper view of G-d will bring greater light on tragedies like what occurred last night.

Does G-d know the future? I suggest that He knows all that can be known. However, to say that He knows all and fails to act is to create a G-d that allows children to be molested, killed, and abused. A G-d that knows all and fails to act allows women to be abused without taking steps to help. I suggest that G-d does not sit on a high bubble seeing the future, the present, and the past at the same time. Instead, perhaps G-d sees the future as it unfolds much like a carpet is being unrolled. Consider the following illustration. I am wearing a yellow and green shirt today. Did G-d know yesterday that I would wear this shirt today? If He did, then I lost the free will to change my mind and wear a red one. If we believe in free will, then I must have the ability to change my mind.

Perhaps we should look at the shooting tragedy as the act of a sick human being. It is not G-d's fault. He was aware of the possibilities that lead to the event, but since they were only possibilities until actual choices were made, He was not culpable for those choices. Remember the words of YHVH to Abraham as he offered Yitshaq for sacrifice: "And He said, 'Do not lay your hand on the boy, nor touch him. For now I know that you fear Elohim, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.'" (Gen. 22:12) When did He know? He knew when it was apparent that Abraham would slay his son at G-d's command.

Our G-d can bring the most comfort to hurting hearts when we do not have to first explain His failure to act. Perhaps He hurts the most when we say He knew of the event, and failed to act. Our prayer is that the hurting hearts today will find true refuge in a G-d that loves them, and is not to blame.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Being a Work in 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?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yeshua versus Jesus

This post will briefly compare Yeshua the Hebrew rabbi, and Jesus who is worshipped by Christians:

Yeshua

1. Kept the Sabbath;
2. Confirmed the Torah;
3. Kept the Biblical Feasts and Festivals;
4. Obeyed the Kosher (Dietary) rules; and
5. Wore a tallit.

Jesus

1. Followers worship on Sunday;
2. Believes that the law has passed away and is no longer binding;
3. Replaced the Biblical Feasts and Festivals with Lent, Easter, and Christmas;
4. Disregards the Kosher (Dietary) rules; and
5. Does not wear a tallit.

Questions:

1. Which person is Biblical?
2. If Yeshua is more Biblical than Jesus, who created Jesus?
3. Which one do you follow?

Selah

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Misunderstanding Yeshua (Jesus)

Dr. Amy-Jill Levine writes the following in her book The Misunderstood Jew: "Today Jesus's words are too familiar, too domesticated, too stripped of their initial edginess and urgency. Only when heard through first-century Jewish ears can their original edginess and urgency be recovered. Consequently, to understand the man from Nazareth, it is necessary to understand Judaism. More, it is necessary to see Jesus as firmly within Judaism rather than as standing apart from it, and it is essential that the picture of Judaism not be distorted through the filter of centuries of Christian sterotypes...." I believe that Dr. Levine is one hundred percent correct. You cannot understand Yeshua apart from His being a Jew. He spoke in Hebrew idioms. His audience was primarily Jews; His ministry was in the Middle East; and He thought in Hebrew. To separate Yeshua from Judaism is to misunderstand who He is and what His message was.

Tomorrow is Sun-Day. A day that was named for the worship of sun deities. The Catholic Encyclopedia states the following concerning Sunday: "Sunday (Day of the Sun), as the name of the first day of the week, is derived from Egyptian astrology. The seven planets, known to us as Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon, each had an hour of the day assigned to them, and the planet which was regent during the first hour of any day of the week gave its name to that day." No righteous Jew would set Sun-Day as his day of public worship. Yeshua would not dismiss the Sabbath because He was a righteous Jew. He would not worship on a different day than the one established by YHVH. Yet, how many followers of Jesus (and yes, I'm using Jesus on purpose as a separate person from Yeshua)will meet tomorrow? Most, if not all, would be my guess.

To meet tomorrow for public worship is to misunderstand Yeshua. To meet tomorrow is to separate yourself from Judaism,and when you separate yourself from Judaism you are separating yourself from Yeshua. The early followers of the Way continued to remember and keep the Sabbath. The early followers saw no reason to create a new religion. They were still Jews, but they followed Yeshua as their rabbi. It was His teachings that they followed. If you are meeting tomorrow as your day of public worship, whose teaching are you following? If you think it is Yeshua's teachings, you have misunderstood Him.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Where Do You Stand?

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 G_d or less from Him. This is very Hebraic; it is about what you do, not just 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 G_d. 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)?"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Jewish View of the Messiah

What I am about to write you will probably be difficult to accept. The vast majority of what Christian churches believe is the product of what took place in the 4TH Century. The early church, i.e 30AD to 70AD continued with annual sacrifices for their sins. They continued to celebrate Yom Kippur. It was years later that the idea of one sacrifice for sins by Yeshua became the norm. That being said, the question was: "What was their understanding of the purpose of the Messiah?" Belief in the eventual coming of the mashiach is a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism. It is part of the Amidah prayer. Jews pray for all of the elements of the coming of the Messiah: ingathering of the exiles; restoration of the religious courts of justice; an end of wickedness, sin and heresy; reward to the righteous; rebuilding of Jerusalem; restoration of the line of King David; and restoration of Temple service.

Modern scholars suggest that the Messanic concept was introduced later in the history of Judaism, specifically during the age of the prophets. The messianic concept is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the Torah. The term "mashiach" literally means "the anointed one," and refers to the ancient practice of anointing kings with oil when they took the throne. The mashiach is the one who will be anointed as king in the End of Days. The word "mashiach" does not mean "savior." The notion of an innocent, divine or semi-divine being who will sacrifice himself to save us from the consequences of our own sins is a purely Christian concept that has no basis in Jewish thought. This is a Catholic creation. Some Gentiles believe that the term "mashiach" is related to the Hebrew term "moshiah" (savior) because they sound similar, but the similarity is not as strong as it appears to one unfamiliar with Hebrew. The Hebrew word "mashiach" comes from the root Mem-Shin-Chet. It means to paint, smear, or annoint. The word "moshiah" comes from the root Yod-Shin-Ayin, which means to help or save. The only letter these roots have in common is Shin, the most common letter in the Hebrew language. The "m" sound at the beginning of the word moshiah (savior) is a common prefix used to turn a verb into a noun. For example, the verb tzavah (to command) becomes mitzvah (commandment). Saying that "mashiach" is related to "moshiah" is a bit like saying that ring is related to surfing because they both end in "ing."So , it is clear that the Hebrew concept of the Messiah had little to do with salvation from sin. It had to do with someone taking control and ruling. Consider Jeremiah 31:33-34; Isaiah 11:1-16. These speak of the times of the Messiah. Have they occurred yet? Now, you can see why the Jews have a difficult time with "Jesus." Yeshua's sacrifice did open a door; a door for the Gentiles to enter in. The subject is most complex and I have just scratched the surface. I hope I have given you something to ponder.




Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Church Evangelism

Something to Consider:

Below is a portion of an E-Mail that I sent to my previous church board and several faithful attendees:

I want you to think about something today. Remember Joshua and the story of Achan? Achan disobeyed Elohim's command and as a result, many died. Elohim cursed the community because of the sin of one. If Elohim has not changed His method of operation, think about our churches. We invite everyone to come as you are, sin and all. Get involved, be a part, and find your destiny. We are hopeful that in the process, they will have a life changing encounter with Yeshua. But until then, their sin is part of your church. Maybe this is a reason why the church is powerless; Elohim will not bless the group for the sins of those present. Maybe the way the church is supposed to work, is that the believers are to go out and evangelize, i.e. make disciples. Maybe the church is just for the disciples and not the unsaved. Maybe we have gotten off track by using the church as the means of evangelism. Maybe we are bringing sin into the church and Elohim has left. Disagree if you wish, but ask yourself, “when is the last time we really saw the power of Elohim move in our midst?” Just think about it.”

Watch What You Hear

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, July 9, 2012

Hearing Yeshua

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, July 8, 2012

Come to the Pork BBQ! Jesus Will Be There! Part 3

After I wrote the post on Jesus and the church BBQ, I received the following message from a dear friend: "I was reading your blog and had some questions for you regarding what you said about eating pork. First, I'm not arguing for or against your position I'm just asking questions. Do you believe that old testament laws are divided into categories such as sacrificial laws, moral laws, dietary laws etc..? My next question is do you practice all of these laws in your everyday life..i.e not cutting the hair on the sides of your head, having your wife sleep in another bed when she is unclean, wearing clothes made of only one fiber and so on?"

My response: "Thanks for asking ****. It will be hard to give you a detailed answer in a message format, but I will try. Perhaps we can talk some time by phone. One of my purposes is not to tell people what to eat. Instead, I am simply pointing out that there is a difference between the life Jesus lived and the lifestyles of the church that claims to follow Him. I'm not saying that that is wrong; only that a tension exists between what Jesus did and what the church does. First century discipleship required that if you were a disciple then you strictly did what your master did. The church claims to follow Jesus but has changed some of the rules. Regarding the distinctions in the types of laws, I don't think you will find that in the Bible. They were created by Gentile theologians to explain away the Jewish law. I can go into greater detail at a later time. I try to obey the Torah, not because I have to to be saved but because I want to because my Savior did. Our family has Friday night Shabbat services every week. I do my best not to do any work on the Sabbath. I don't eat pork, shell fish, or camels either.When my wife is unclean I do not touch her. Frankly, I had not thought about my hair. The things I do, I do to demonstrate my love for YHVH. My salvation is by grace through faith. This is about obedience. It is a journey and we are all walking it out the best we can. I hope this short message gives you some greater insight into my thinking and my actions."

I wanted to respond to the inquiry about the cutting of hair and the prohibition of wearing wool and linen. First, the prohibition of not cutting the hair on the sides of your head is found in Leviticus 19:27. Leviticus 19:27 says: "Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard." Is this a prohibition that applies today to followers of YHVH? In Bible days, it was a practice of the heathen to leave only a crown of hair on the top of the head to honor their deity. For example, the pagans would show honor to their deity Orotal by cutting the hair away from the temples in a circular form. If you can imagine what is called a "bowl cut" you have the general idea. Think of a bowl being placed on the head and all hair not covered by the bowl being shaved off. The Torah is commanding the believers of that time and culture not to imitate the practices of the heathen. They are not to cut their hair to give the same appearance as the unbelievers. In our society, we do not face the same issue. I am unaware of any group that does this today so that I do not have the issue covered by Leviticus 19:27. I am not prohibited from having my sideburns cut. However, I should apply the principle of avoiding those practices that imitate heathen or pagan lifestles.

Second, am I prohibited from wearing clothes that contain wool and linen? Deuteronomy 22:11 says: "Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together." This concerns the Hebrew prohibition of shatnez. Two Biblical verses prohibit wearing shatnez:
1."You shall not let your cattle mate with a different kind; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed; you shall not put on cloth from a mixture of shatnez (Leviticus 19:19)." 2. "You shall not sow your vineyard with a second kind of seed. . . You shall not plow with an ox and an ass together. You shall not wear shatnez--wool and linen together (Deuteronomy 22:9-11)."

Some explain the prohibition because they believed that the priestly clothes contained the mixture of wool and lien and were therefore sacred. If it was sacred, it should not be worn by those not serving in the priesthood. Others explained the prohibition as follows: "One midrash traces the prohibition against shatnez to the story of Cain and Abel. In the Torah, Abel brings God an offering of sheep, and Cain brings some sort of plant offering. For reasons not explained in the biblical text, God accepts Abel's offering, but rejects Cain's. Angry about this show of preference, Cain murders his brother. The midrash specifies that Cain brought God flax seeds, and Abel brought wooly sheep. After Cain killed Abel, God decreed that 'the offering of the sinner should not be mixed with the offering of the innocent (Midrash Tanhuma B'reishit 9:9).'"

Others interpret the verse as a command to avoid clothes through unethical standards: "The 'Commentary on the Principles of Reform Judaism,' passed by the Central Conference of American Rabbis in 2004, however, reinterprets shatnez as a call for ethical production processes: 'To study the mitzvah (command) of shatnez. . . can lead us to examine labels for firms practicing oshek [oppression] through sweatshop labor or payments of a sub-minimum wage.'"

There appears to be no general agreement on the meaning of the verse. It has been suggested that idolatrous priests wore clothes containing wool and lien because they thought it to be magical. For me, I don't like to wear wool so the command is easy to obey. It would seem the best approach is to obey without understanding and that is the Hebrew way.

Friday, July 6, 2012

All Will Be Revealed

We have 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.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Come to the Pork BBQ! Jesus Will Be There! Part 2

There have been a number of responses to the post "Come to the Pork BBQ! Jesus Will Be There!" I thought I would provide some of my thought process that went into the post. My thinking was as follows:
1. After the resurrection, Yeshua is with His disciples for 40 days and He speaks to them concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
2. Whatever He taught the disciples did not convince Peter to break the dietary rules as he states in Acts 10:14 that he had not eaten anything unclean. It had been more than a decade since Pentecost and Peter is still keeping Kosher. So either we can assume that Yeshua did not teach the disciples to disregard the dietary rules or Yeshua did change the dietary rules and Peter misunderstood His teachings. Certainly the former seems more likely. You would think that if YHVH intended to end the Kosher rules, this would have been a great time to have done so. To those that point to Peter's vision in Acts 10, that vision is not about food it is about people.
3. There is no Bibilcal evidence that Yeshua broke the dietary commandments.
4. Since I profess to be a disciple, i.e. a follower of Yeshua, I should do what He did. If He did not eat pork, then I should not. The church may teach otherwise, but I am a disciple of Yeshua and not a disciple of the church.
5. The point is that if Yeshua attended the pork BBQ, would He eat the pork? If He would not, how could I stand next to Him and do so and honestly claim to be following Him.

I have written several articles that seek to point out the difference between what Yeshua did and how He lived versus what the modern church has taught about Him. My desire is that they serve as a challenge to think about what we are doing and adjust our actions to be more like Yeshua. My points are simple and twofold:
1. Yeshua was a Torah observant Jew; and
2. The church, which is the body of Christ, isn't.

No "Closet" Disciples

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?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Being Good Ground

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.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Come to the Pork BBQ! Jesus Will Be There!

I received the following invite on Facebook regarding a church July 4Th celebration: "Join us for an evening of celebrating our Freedom here in America with authentic Carolina BBQ, a host of Christian Bands/Live music, Games for the children, door prizes, and so much more! This is an opportunity for you to plan an enjoyable 4th of July Celebration and at the same time be a part of History in the making! The new ***************** is being built and all proceeds go to the building fund for a project that is well underway by the miraculous provision of God and His people! We invite you and your family to join us for food, fun and festivities! BBQ Pork, Hot Dogs, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Rolls & Dessert Iced tea and lemonade." The invite is no doubt sincere. However, the more I thought about it, the more compelled I was to write concerning a subject that I have previously written about. The subject is food. In Leviticus 11, the Scriptures instruct us in what may and may not be eaten. Verse 7 says: "and the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew cud, it is unclean to you." (NASB) The pig is unclean and may not be consumed by the people of YHVH.

Is this really important? I ask, "Is being holy or set apart important?" At the conclusion of the instruction regarding permissible foods, verse 44-45 says: "For I am YHVH your Elohim. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. For I am YHVH who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your Elohim; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’” It would seem clear from an honest reading of the scriptures, that what you eat can make you unclean, i.e. unholy. The Hebrew word for "unclean" in verse 7 is tame. It means either ritual or moral uncleaness. Both types of uncleanness is serious to YHVH. The Hebrew word for "holy" in verse 44 is qadhosh. It means both sacred ceremonially or morally. The idea is to be separate from the unclean. We as a community who follow YHVH and His Son Yeshua are to be separate from those who don't follow Him. One way of separation is to make meals a sacred occasion. We eat what YHVH has said we may eat. Eating is not about my choices; eating is about following YHVH and His Son Yeshua. The community you are a member of is very important. Is your community clean or unclean?

The church invite means well. I will not be going. Candidly, I don't think Yeshua will be going either, unless He brings His lunch.