Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sabbath to Sun-Day

Do you know why the day of Worship for the followers of Yeshua (Jesus) was changed from the Sabbath to Sunday? We are going to spend a few days looking at the change and why it occurred. There are three main verses in the New Testament that are used to justify the change:
1. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2: "Now about the collection for the set-apart people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made."
2. Acts 20: 7-11: "On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. 'Don’t be alarmed,' he said. “He’s alive!” Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left."
3. Revelation 1:10: "On YHVH's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet...."

Regarding the verse in Corinthians, is the verse about the procedure for taking an offering, or about the removal of the Fourth Commandment? Exogesis is "Reading out of the scriptures". Isogesis is "Reading into the scriptures". If you come to the verse in Corinthians with your mind made up that the Fourth Commandment has been changed, you are likely to read into the verse what you want it to say. On the other hand, if you read out of the verse, a different result can be concluded. Paul is giving directions about taking an offering, and nothing more.

Regarding the verses in Acts set forth above, also consider chapter 2:46: "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts...." This verse informs us that the Jerusalem community of believers continued to meet in the Temple. Afterwards, they would go and break bread together. Now, reread verses 7-11. Do the verses actually suggest that the Fourth Commandment has been changed? Or, is the passage about the power of G-d acting through Paul to bring about a physical healing?

Regarding the passage in Revelations, do you read anything that instructs us that the Fourth Commandment has been changed. Regarding YHVH's Day consider Isaiah 13:6,9" 'Wail, for the day of YHVH is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. See, the day of YHVH is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it." Is the "Lord's Day" a substitute for the Sabbath? Perhaps the "Lord's Day" has more to do with the coming of YHVH than a change of the day of worship. Either way, the text does not "read out" a change of the Sabbath. The only way you can reach that interpretation is to read into the passage.

The Sabbath has not been changed. We will examine the reasons for the change over the next few posts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Feast of Trumpets and the Christian

RoshHaShanah is also called the Feast of Trumpets. Leviticus 23:24 says: "In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a set-apart convocation." This is the first fall festival. It occurs on the first day of the Hebrew New Year. It is believed to be the birthday of Adam, Cain, Abel, the day Abraham bound Isaac on Mount Moriah, the day Noah was born, and the day Noah's ark hit dry land. It is the day Sarah conceived Isaac, the day Rachel conceived Joseph. It is the day Elohim heard Hannah's prayer for a son and the day he was born a year later. It is the day that Satan stood before YHVH to accuse Job. It is also the day Pharoah set Joseph free from an Egyptian prison.

The blowing of trumpets is very important. The sound of the shofar is a spiritual wake up call to listen to YHVH, repent of known sin, and dedicate yourself to set-apart living. In the modern day holiness movement, this would be called entire consecration followed by Elohim's Divine act of entire sanctification. While the holiness movement errs in its theology of removal of the "old man" of sin, it is correct in the requirement to live a life dedicated to YHVH. What does it mean to dedicate yourself to living a set-apart life for YHVH? First, it means to commit to study the Torah. Second, it means to obey the Torah. The Torah is YHVH's instruction book to those in the covenant in how we should live our lives day to day. RoshHaShanah points us to the Torah. Perhaps this is part of the reason the Christian church for the most part ignores the Feast of Trumpets. Third, it means to pray to YHVH. This means to bless the name of YHVH. Sometimes YHVH is referred to as Hashem, which means "the Name." Bless His Name today by blessing Hashem.

We are in the time known as the Ten Days of Awe. Take this time to repent of known sin, pray, and do acts of charity for those in need. As you do so, you are getting ready for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This will occur ten (10) days from Rosh HaShanah. This is the time to get serious about following YHVH. When the modern Christian church neglects the Biblical feasts, it is missing a time to draw near to Hashem. We are to draw close to Him when He commands us to do so and that time is now.

Should the Christian keep the Feast of Trumpets? Ask yourself, "Did Yeshua keep the Feast of Trumpets?" "Does the Feast of Trumpets honor Hashem?" If it does, "Who has an interest in not honoring Hashem? What does your community teach? Was it on the side of Hashem or on the side of one that seeks to dishonor Hashem?"

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rosh Hashanah and Following Yeshua

Did you know that today is Rosh Hashanah? It is the Jewish New Year. The name "Rosh Hashanah" is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday. The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25. In ten days, Yom Kippur, i.e the Day of Atonement, will occur. What do you think Yeshua would be during this time? Where would He be? Would He be lighting candles in the evening? Would He be blowing the shofar? I suggest, He most certainly would. If you are His disciple, that means that you are copying or imitating His behavior. If you were in church yesterday, did the ministers mention the Jewish holiday? If they did not, how can they claim to be a disciple of One who is keeping the Biblical holidays? If they did mention the holiday, but not put actions with their words, how can they claim to be disciples of the One who does keep the holidays?

Have you heard of the Ten Days of Awe? The ten days start with Rosh Hashanah and end with Yom Kippur and are commonly known as the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim) or the Days of Repentance. This is a time for serious introspection, a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur.

One of the ongoing themes of the Days of Awe is the belief that G-d has "books" that he writes our names in, writing down who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life, for the next year. These books are written in on Rosh Hashanah, but our actions during the Days of Awe can alter G-d's decree. The actions that change the decree are "teshuvah, tefilah and tzedakah," repentance, prayer, good deeds (usually, charity). These "books" are sealed on Yom Kippur. This concept of writing in books is the source of the common greeting during this time is "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year." Have you heard this before? If not, you might want to consider expanding your knowledge of the religion of Yeshua. During these ten days, we should be most on guard concerning our thoughts, words, and actions.

Yeshua is Jewish. He followed the Torah. We that claim to be His disciples should make it a point to follow Him as He follows the Torah. If not, who are you a disciple of? Hint: It is not Yeshua. It is the one that has turned people away from the true faith in YHVH and His Son Yeshua.

Note: Thanks to for information on Rosh Hashahah and the Days of Awe.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

True Devotions Part 4

We are going to continue today to focus on being still before YHVH as part of developing our personal devotion time. Psalm 46:10 says: “Be still, and know that I am Elohim. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Do you get still before YHVH on a consistent basis? Or, do you allow the cares of this life, no matter how legitimate, to interfere with quiet? One of the most important things you can do for yourself, your family and your friends is to establish a time of being still before YHVH. A time to block out everything except Him. This may seem difficult at first, but with practice you will discover that this is the best part of your day.

Charles Spurgeon said of Psalm 46:10: "A duty described, to be still before God, and under the dispensations of his providence; which implies that we must be still as to words; not speaking against the sovereign dispensations of Providence, or complaining of them; not darkening counsel by words without knowledge, or justifying ourselves and speaking great swelling words of vanity. We must be still as to actions and outward behaviour, so as not to oppose God in his dispensations; and as to the inward frame of our hearts, cultivating a calm and quiet submission of soul to the sovereign pleasure of God, whatever it may be."

This time of stillness will be a time that Elohim may speak to your inner person. There may be times of guidance and reflection. You may feel a warmth or inner peace as you surrender your self completely to Him. Do not be afraid to be alone with Elohim; you have nothing to fear. If He corrects you; instantly obey. If He directs you to do something; instantly obey. As Mary told the helpers at the wedding feast at Cana, whatever He (Yeshua) says unto you, do it. Allow stillness and silence to become a regular part of your devotional life. It will change you (for the better).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

True Devotions Part 3

As we continue to explore devotion, consider the importance of silence before YHVH. Psalm 46:10 says: "Be still, and know that I am G-d: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." There is something incredible about being alone in your devotions with G-d and just being still. I prefer to do so early in the morning while it is still dark. I do not turn on the lights, but instead I sit still in the darkness. My mind then focuses on a small passage of Scripture and I allow myself to just think about the goodness of G-d. We are just too busy sometimes to slow down and be quiet, but we need to do so.

Adam Clarke explains the stillness as: "Cease from your provocations of the Divine justice; cease from murmuring against the dispensations of his providence; cease from your labour for a season, that ye may deeply reflect on the severity and goodness of God-severity to those who are brought down and destroyed; goodness to you who are raised up and exalted:-cease from sin and rebellion against your God; let that disgrace you no more, that we may no more be brought into distress and desolation."

Silence requires you not to complain or ask for anything; instead, it is a time of quiet reflection before G-d. You will have to make time for silence. You may have to get up earlier, or go to bed later to find the peace and quiet necessary to be silent and still before YHVH. You may have to travel away from your home to a park or lake to see the beauty of G-d's creations. Whatever you have to do or wherever you have to go, find a place to be still before YHVH. Allow Him to speak to you; allow yourself to love Him and praise Him from a heart that has surrendered its all to Him. Silence is very important to devotion and it is very important to your devotions.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

True Devotions Part 2

Today we look at some practical aspects of devotion. Every follower of Yeshua must have a time of personal reflection and time with YHVH. Involvement with a community and family devotions are very important; however, these should never replace private time with Elohim. It is essential to your growth as a disciple of Yeshua. Yeshua spent much time alone with His Father and we as His disciples must imitate Him and do the same.

One of the methods that I have found successful is to find a quiet place away from distractions. Get comfortable, either by sitting in a chair or standing, and begin to meditate on a small passage of Scripture. For example, recently I focused on the phrase "Elohim is faithful" from 1 Corinthians 10:13. Over and over I thought about Elohim's faithfulness. I thought about how faithful He had been to me over the years even when I was disobedient to Him. I thought about His faithfulness to those I had read about in the Bible. I spoke and thought the words: "Elohim is faithful." After 15 minutes of doing nothing more than think about His promise of faithfulness, I was now ready to petition Him for "our daily bread." Just as Elohim provided manna, i.e. daily bread, for the children of Israel in the wilderness, He would also provide our daily bread today. Why; because He is the same faithful Elohim.

The Bible is full of short phrases that can serve as the basis of a daily meditation. You will never run of choices out because the Bible contains Elohim's complete written revelation to man. This aspect of devotion is called meditation. It is very important and will guide you into the other areas that we will discuss over the next few days. For today, select a verse or a portion of a verse, get alone and get quiet and ponder your selection. Don't rush; enjoy this time of being alone with Elohim. He is waiting.

Monday, September 10, 2012

True Devotions Part 1

A few years ago, I was called to the house of a man dying of cancer. He was in the final stages and would most likely not survive 90 days. His wife was with him. As I was traveling to see him, I prayed for Elohim's guidance and that I would speak His words not mine. You can imagine the thoughts in my head; would he give the remainder of his life to Yeshua? Would he and his wife be transformed by the power of YHVH? I saw a valuable truth that day. People generally die as they lived. Everyone has a "god;" it just depends on what you choose to worship. The dying man's only concern was a debt from 17 years ago that had been repaid only he had forgotten it. At one point the wife took YHVH's name in vain and he cussed (not about the debt but just in the normal course of the conversation). I spoke firmly about the language and stated that if it occurred again I would depart immediately. Their "god" was money. He actually had a large paper cup by his bed within arm's reach filled with $100 bills. Here was a man about to slip into eternity with no concern for his soul. His devotion was to money and not the true YHVH. The Bible is true when it says: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve Elohim and mammon." Matthew 6:24 This man had served money his life and that was his "god."

Where is your heart's devotion? What has your heart? Is it YHVH or something else? The point I want to make today, is that whatever you spend your life serving is mostly likely what you will die serving. If you are a child of Elohim, then you need to spend your life serving your Savior. That service begins with devotion. Pray for passion for the Word, for prayer and for a closeness with Him. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8 "Draw nigh to Elohim, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded."

Today examine your heart. Find out where your passion is; when you find that passion, you will find your "God." Don't wait until you are on your death bed, because most likely by then your heart is settled and will not change. Live your life for YHVH! Live your life for Yeshua! Have a passion for Yeshua! When you do, your heart will have true devotion for G-d.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Blessing Part 9

Are you struggling to be blessed? Do you not feel worthy enough to have the blessing of G-d on your life? Well guess what? You aren't worthy enough and you in your own righteousness will never be good enough to earn the blessing of G-d. That is the exact point; you must quit trying to earn G-d's blessing. You are simply to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that you are blessed in Him.

Romans 10:9-10 instructs the reader to believe in your heart the resurrection and confess with your mouth that Yeshua is Adonai and if you do so, you will be "saved." The word saved here is the Greek word sozo and means deliverance, protection, health, and well-being (sounds like the blessing doesn't it). The stem of the word means "to be roomy." G-d wants to take you to a roomy place (this means a place that is full of abundance and deliverance). Great you say, how do I get there? You get there by loving His Commandments (His Word) and obeying them to the fullest.

What are His Commandments? We are to love Him and our neighbor. Sounds simple doesn't it; the road to activate the blessing is the walkway of love. Today, tell Yahweh that you love Him with all of your heart (make the confession even if you don't "feel it") and show G-d's love to one of His children today. You will find the blessing beginning to over take you. He guarantees it not me.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Blessing Part 8

Are you still not convinced that you are blessed? Or do you acknowledge that in some ways you see the blessing, but you would like a greater manifestation of the blessing in your life? Do not despair as this week we are going to focus on confessing the Word with corresponding actions that will produce an even greater outpouring of the blessing in your life.

We must understand that the blessing is activated and retained by obedience. As you are obedient to G-d (and His Word) you will receive the fruits of the blessing (success, prosperity and fecundity). Think about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As long as they obeyed the Commandment of G-d, they had the joy of the blessing: daily communion with G-d, a beautiful home, daily provision and a loving relationship with each other. They were very successful and prosperous in the Biblical sense. Then, Satan enters and sin is committed and they lose the effects of the blessing on their lives.

The great news is that G-d did not fold up the blessing and put it away. Through Yeshua the blessing is now available to you and your family. Today, commit to be obedient to Him in every way you know how. Study the Torah and it will teach you how to live. Torah will show you the path of obedience. As you do, I guarantee you will be blessed beyond your imagination (don't take my word for it, take His)!