Category Archives: Application

In this section of the Discipleship Articles we’ll explore how to apply the Scriptures as Yahweh intended.

What is the Condition of Your Heart?

The condition of one’s heart is exposed when one encounters the Truth and
must choose between the the Truth and the lie. Further, one’s heart is
exposed when one has no desire to know what is Truth and what is the lie.

The Apostle Shaul/Paul wrote, “Examine yourself to see if you are of the faith.”

Shaul also wrote that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Elohim.” Faith is believing what Yahweh Elohim said. What Yah said is the Truth. Yahshua said, of the only Word in existence, the Word of the Father, that “Your Word is Truth,” in Yohanan/John 17:17. Dawid wrote that the Word of Elohim, the Truth is Torah, in Psalm 119:151-152.

Yahshua is the Word made flesh, who was in the beginning, who was with Elohim, who was Elohim. He is the Word that came to each of the Prophets, He is the Spirit of Truth. He came to destroy the works of the devil, the liar from the beginning. He came to set you and me free from the lie and the grip of the liar.

Shaul says, in 2nd Thessalonians 2, Verses 7-12:

“For the secret of lawlessness is already at work – only until he who now restrains comes out of the midst. And then the lawless one shall be revealed, whom the Master shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth and bring to naught with the manifestation of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and with all deceit of unrighteousness in those perishing, because they did not receive the love of the truth, in order for them to be saved. And for this reason Elohim sends them a working of delusion, for them to believe the falsehood, b  in order that all should be judged who did not believe the truth, but have delighted in the unrighteousness.”

What is this deluding influence? It is none other than the lie that is masquerading as the Truth of Elohim. It is the Satanically inspired pagan/humanistic additions to and subtractions from the Truth of Elohim’s Word, beginning in Genesis and concluding in Revelation. It began with Truth, man believed the lie, and died, being barred from the Tree of Life. Yahshua came to destroy the works of the liar, Satan, and in the end He, the Living Truth/Torah is fully revealed and those who believe the Truth will eat from the Tree of Life.

Allow the witness in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 22, Verses  to this warning to sink in. Yohanan, called John writes, “And see, I am coming speedily, and My reward is with Me, to give to each according to his work.  I am the ‘Aleph’ and the ‘Taw’, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Blessed are those  doing His commands, so that the authority shall be theirs unto the tree of life, and to enter through the gates into the city. But outside are the dogs and those who enchant with drugs, and those who whore, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and all who love and do falsehood.”

Debarim/Deuteronomy 28-30 is the witness in the Torah of blessing for those who obey the Commandments of Yahweh, along with the curse for disobedience. The contrast is clear; the lie is not in accord with the Truth. The Truth is defined as the Commandments of Elohim.

The Apostolic Scriptures, of what is called the “New Testament,” agrees with the Set Apart Scriptures, from Bereshith/Genesis, through Revelation. They are what the Apostolic Scriptures are founded upon.

Believing and obeying the Truth brings blessing, while believing and living the lie brings a curse. It is sin, which is transgression of the Torah Commandments. The wages of sin is death. Eternal life is in the Tree of Life, accessed by keeping Elohim’s Commandments.

How will we respond to this Truth? Each of us has to choose. Our hearts are
exposed. What will your choice be?

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Ya’aqob – James Chapter Two-The Law of Liberty

Ya’aqob/James Chapter Two is often cited by traditional, evangelical Christianity as proof text that we can’t keep the Torah and should not try to. After all, none of us is without sin, so, by implication, toss out the standard for sin and carry on. That is what man says. But what does Yahweh Elohim say? What does the Scripture really say?

The context of Ya’aqob Chapter Two is discussing our attitude to the brethren. It isn’t about whether we should keep the Law of Elohim or not. It’s about how we keep the Law, the Torah of Elohim, and our heart attitude towards it, and towards one another. The letter deals with partiality in judgment. It does not set aside the standard for judgment. In fact it upholds the Standard of Torah.

Ya’aqob talks about the Law of Liberty. It has been said that this is a new Law, not being the Torah that Elohim gave Mosheh/Moses. Being called the “Royal Law” it is thought to transcend and replace Torah. But a careful reading, in context with Torah, shows that this cannot be.

In Verse 8 Ya’aqob, in speaking of the Royal Law, quotes Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:18. Most people who read Ya’aqob don’t know that he is quoting from the Torah of Yahweh, as given to Moshe. This is not a new law that supersedes the Torah. It is Torah. The context is rightly judging your brother. Scripture does not teach us that we are not to judge, as some have suggested it does. We are told to judge rightly, according to Torah. But even in that we must not be arrogant, or use a different standard for one brother over another, based on position, social standing, or wealth.

So, what is Ya’aqob saying in the following portion of his letter?

“If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as
transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He who said, ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,’ also said, ‘DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.”

The “Royal Law,” is Torah, the Law of the King of Kings. To fulfill the Torah, according to Torah (Scripture) is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Scripture teaches us that “Elohim is Love.” To rightly apply His Torah it must be with an attitude of love. There can be no partiality, nor can there be arrogance in believing that I have attained and my brother is lesser than me because he is not at the same level of growth in walking in Torah as I believe I have achieved. Likewise, a brother who has been walking longer than me, or has had Truth revealed to him that I as yet haven’t seen, should not behave that way to me. The focus has to be on our heart’s desire to walk in His Torah, based on a commitment to repentant change when we see what His Word says and requires of us.

Ya’aqob speaks a truth that we would all be humbled by, and subsequently blessed by, if we take heed. He is simply telling us the same thing as Yohanan/John said, in 1st Yohanan. We all sin! We still have to deal with our flesh, that part of us that does not want to submit to the Torah of Yahweh. Recognizing this Truth means that I fall short. We all do. We cannot ever apply Torah from the perspective that we have attained a perfection in performance of it. But we must understand that it is our heart that is the focus of Torah. This is keeping Torah. It is how our heart and mind regards Torah. Do we want to obey, and are we yielding to His Spirit, and His Truth/Torah, that He might cause us to be obedient. This is the true work of favor, called “grace” by traditionalism. It is not that favor is the path to ignore and set aside Torah.

The one who is born again, and has entered into the New Covenant purchased by the blood of Yahshua, will have the Torah written on their heart, placed in their mind, and will be caused to walk in His Commandments, if they submit to it, and to Him.

Here’s the question we each must answer: Do we want to obey Torah? If our answer is “Yes” we will acknowledge our sin and be willing to confess, repent, and be cleansed by the blood of Yahshua, each and every time we are convicted of trespass. In this application we are judged by the “Law of Liberty,” called the Law of life in Messiah Yahshua, by Shaul. It is contrasted to the Law of sin and death. Each is a reflection and a reality of our relationship with the Living Torah, Yahshua. Same Law, yet we have a different relationship with that Law/Torah. It is in Yahshua.

Liberty was purchased by Yahshua on the stake for you and me. He set us free from sin, which is defined as “transgression of the Torah.” He did not set us free from Torah, otherwise the standard for sin is no more and we can do, each man or woman, as seems right in his or her own eyes. We know that perspective is condemned in Scripture. He set us free from sin/lawlessness, just as He delivered Israel from Egypt to serve Him as He prescribed. He set us from sin/lawlessness, in order that, in Him, we might be found lawful, if we choose to walk in His Truth.

Being set free from sin means each of us have a choice. By the work of grace, changing our hearts, we have entered into the New Covenant in His blood. He has written His Torah on our hearts, put it in our minds, and will cause us to walk in His Commandments, if we will humble ourselves under His mighty hand, and submit to His Torah. We can now choose to walk in Truth. Prior to accepting Messiah, and His atoning sacrifice, we had no choice in the matter. We were in bondage to sin. But, being set free, we can recognize our sin for what it is, “transgression of Torah.” We can repent because we now are the recipients of mercy. Remember what He said in Shemoth/Exodus Chapter Twenty? He said that His mercy is there for those who love Him and guard/keep His Commandments. Yahshua said, “If you love Me, keep My
Commandments.” He is Yahweh Elohim! His mercy triumphs over judgement for those who love Him and guard/keep His Commandments. We guard what is valuable to us. Torah is of high value to Elohim! It is who He is! Is it valuable to us?

Likewise we are to show mercy to one another in Torah community. That doesn’t mean we overlook transgression, but that we have an attitude of love and of helping one another in our walk. We need to provoke one another to good works, and encourage each other. This requires submission to Yahshua and submission to workmanship, and submission to one another, in Him. In this we have fellowship with one another, as we walk in the Light of Torah, as He is in the Light, according to what Yohanan wrote in his first letter. I have to be willing to hear exhortation from my brother, just as he must be willing to hear it from me, as each of us speak Truth, according to what is written and established, and as His Spirit directs. The goal is that the entire body grow together into a spiritual house of worship; the Body of Messiah.

The Law of Liberty means we have a choice. Yohanan said that, when we sin, and we will, we have an advocate who has been given in mercy to those who love Him, submit to His Torah, and allow His workmanship in and through us, both to will and do for His good pleasure. His good pleasure is that we, like loving, obedient children, submit to His Commandments given in Torah, and submit to chastisement when we sin. Ibrim/Hebrews Chapter Twelve says that this yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness, if we submit to the discipline of our Heavenly Father. This is the “Law of Liberty.” A way has been made for us. We are free from sin, if we choose to accept the atoning sacrifice of Yahshua. Then we can truly walk in the “Law of Liberty.”

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Love & The Commands

Matthithyahu/Matthew 22:37
How Are We To Love Yahweh According To HIS Word?

Upon speaking with professing believers, and discussing the necessity of Biblical obedience, all too often we hear, “Yahshua said (in Mattithyahu/Matthew 22:37) that we are just to love Yahweh Elohim and our neighbor.” That has nothing to do with us having to keep HIS commands.

However, upon further investigation, we find that the Scriptures does not support this premise. In fact, the Scriptures say quite the opposite! Lets look at the Scriptures that were in existence when YAHSHUA gave HIS answer to the question asked by “a lawyer” and see what those Scriptures actually have to say;

Lets begin with what was given to Moshe, called “Moses” and written by “the finger of Yahweh”, known as “The Ten Commands”;

Shemoth/Exodus 20:4-6
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, Yahweh your Elohim, am a jealous El, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving-commitment to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands.”

Debarim/Deuteronomy 5:10 At the second giving of The Commands, says the same thing.
“…but showing loving-commitment to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands.”

Debarim/Deuteronomy 7:9
“Therefore know that Yahweh your Elohim, He is Elohim, the trustworthy El guarding covenant and loving-commitment for a thousand generations with those who love Him and those who guard His commands;”

Debarim/Deuteronomy 11:1
“Therefore you shall love Yahweh your Elohim, and keep His charge, even His laws, and His right-rulings, and His commands always.”

Debarim/Deuteronomy 11:13
‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commands which I command you today, to love Yahweh your Elohim and serve Him with all your heart and with all your being…” (Notice; very similar wording used in Mat 22:37)

Debarim/Deuteronomy 11:22-23
“For if you diligently guard all these commands which I command you to do—to love the Yahweh your Elohim, to walk in all His ways, and to cling to Him—then Yahweh shall drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and stronger nations than you.”

Debarim/Deuteronomy 19:9
“and if you keep all these commands and do them, which I command you today, to love Yahweh your Elohim and to walk in His ways all the days,”

Debarim/Deuteronomy 30:16
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16in that I am commanding you today to love Yahweh your Elohim, to walk in His ways, and to guard His commands, and His laws, and His right-rulings…”

Yehoshua/Joshua 22:5
“But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded you, to love Yahweh your Elohim, to walk in all His ways, to guard His commands, to cling to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your being.” (Notice: similar wording to Mat 22:37)

Nehemyah/Nehemiah 1:5
“And I said: “I pray, Yahweh Elohim of the heavens, O great and awesome Elohim, You who keep Your covenant and loving-commitment with those who love YOU and with those guarding YOUR commands…”

Daniel 9:4
“And I prayed to Yahweh Elohim, and made confession, and said, “O great and awesome El, guarding the covenant and mercy with those who love You, and with those guarding Your commands…”

So, when YAHSHUA stated in Mattithyahu/Matthew 22:37-39:

Yahshua said to him, “‘You shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Is HE changing the Law that Yahweh had set previously? Or is HE simply re-emphasizing it, knowing what “the lawyer” who asked the question, would be well aware of? That loving Yahweh that is always spoken of in The Scriptures, is synonymous with keeping HIS Commandments?

We must also keep in mind who YAHSHUA is according to what John the apostle says, in Yohanan/John 1:
Verse 1:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim.
If YAHSHUA is The Word, and The Word IS ELOHIM, then YAHSHUA is ELOHIM!”

Verse 14:
“And the Word became flesh and pitched His tent among us, and we saw His esteem, esteem as of the only begotten of the Father, complete of favor and truth.”

Yohanan/John is obviously stating that this YAHSHUA IS THE Word of Yahweh, who has come in human form. Now, ask yourself; “What Word is Yohanan referring to, as coming in human form?” The answer: The only Word of Yahweh written and recognized as The Word of Yahweh at the time of Yohanan’s writing; The Hebrew Scriptures which included The Torah (5 books of Moshe/Moses), The Writings and the Prophets, or what is referred to today as The Old Testament.

So, YAHSHUA in coming as The Word (Yahweh), Who does NOT change, (Mal’aki/Malachi 3:6) cannot negate, do away with, set aside or break ANY of The Word that HE epitomizes, or else HE would prove HIMSELF a false teacher/prophet, according to that very word in:


Debarim/Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (and elsewhere in The Scriptures)
“If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder shall come true, of which he has spoken to you, saying, ‘Let us go after mighty ones—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ do not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for Yahweh your Elohim is trying you to know whether you love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being. Walk after Yahweh your Elohim and fear Him, and guard His commands and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and cling to Him. And that prophet or that dreamer of dreams is put to death, because he has apostasy against Yahweh your Elohim – who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim (Egypt) and ransomed you from the house of bondage, to make you stray from the way in which Yahweh your Elohim commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”

So, when YAHSHUA states in Yohanan’s gospel:
Yohanan 14:15
““If you love Me, keep My commands”

Yohanan 14:21
“He who has My commands and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

Yohanan 15:10
If you keep My commands, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and abide in His love.”

We know that HE, Yahshua, is not introducing a new set of commandments or negating those given in The Set Apart Scriptures in what is called the “Old Testament.” But in fact, HE is confirming them!

Yohanan also confirms The Commandments in his epistles.

1 Yohanan 5:2-3
“By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and guard His commands. For this is the love of Elohim, that we guard His commands. And His commands are not heavy.”

2 Yohanan 6
“This is love, that we walk according to His commands. This is the command, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.”

So, I hope by now that you are beginning to realize that what is being taught by so many today, regarding The Commands of Yahweh not being relevant to today’s followers of MESSIAH, is simply NOT in accordance with The Word of Yahweh Elohim! I hope that you are beginning to realize that to love Yahweh Elohim “with all of your heart, being and mind” IS to walk according to The Commands of Yahweh Elohim!

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When Did Grace Begin?

When did “Grace” begin?

Because many have mistakenly thought that Yohanan/John 1:17 says that “grace began with Jesus” (His Name is really Yahshua) or “at the cross”, I offer the following list of verses from the Old Testament Scriptures, using the word “grace” (as found in the NKJV). May we be challenged in our thinking regarding HIS “grace” throughout the ages…

Genesis 6:8 – “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

H2580 ïç• cheòn khane

From H2603; graciousness, that is, subjectively (kindness, favor) or
objectively (beauty):—favour, grace (-ious), pleasant, precious, [well-] favoured.

Same word used in:

Shemoth/Exodus 33:12-17 – “Then Moshe/Moses said to the Yahweh, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ 13Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” 14And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” 17So the Yahweh said to Moshe, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

Shemoth/Exodus 34:9 – “Then he said, “If now I have found grace in Your sight, Yahweh, let Yahweh, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.”

Mishle/Proverbs 3:34 – “Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble.

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 31:2 – “Thus says the Yahweh: “The people who survived the sword Found grace in the wilderness— Israel, when I went to give him rest.”

Zekaryah/Zechariah 4:6 – 7 –“So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of Yahweh to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Yahweh of hosts. 7 ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!’ And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’’”

Ezra 9:8 – “And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Yahweh our Elohim, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His set apart place, that our Elohim may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage.”

Here, a different word is used:

H8467 äpˆç”z techinnaòh tekh-in-naw’

From H2603; graciousness; causatively entreaty:—favour, grace,
supplication.

Then in the New Testament (Apostolic Scriptures), the 119 uses of the word “grace” is from the Greek word “charis.”

G5485 ÷Üñéò charis khar’-ece

From G5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or
concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the
heart, and its reflection in the life;
including gratitude):—acceptable, benefit,
favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy).

Now, asking ourselves; What is this “divine influence upon the heart”? We would have to realize that it is the work of The Spirit of Elohim as promised in

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.”

and Yehezqel/Ezekiel 36:27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”

This was officially realized as recorded in Ma’asei/Acts 2, in reference to the outpouring of the Set Apart Spirit on the Feast of Weeks/Shavuot!

Contrary to popular belief today, which asserts that grace is in opposition to the Law/Torah, the ministry of the Spirit is in direct application of The Law of Yahweh! But not according to man and being written on stone, but according to Yahweh and being written on the heart, confirming the work of the Spirit, as seen reflected through the life!

This helps us understand the verse that we began with;

Yohanan/John 1:17For the law was given through Moshe/Moses, but grace and truth came through Yahshua Messiah. (Is this verse saying what today’s Christianity says? That grace began with the New Testament and cancels out the Law of Moshe? Or is it saying that the ministry of the Spirit, accomplishing what Moshe could not accomplish, is actually that “divine influence upon the heart” by the Spirit in conjunction with the Word of Yah, that existed at that time; which would be The Law of Yahweh, epitomized by Yahshua as “the Word of Yahweh Elohim?” I believe that it is the latter!

How about Eph’siyim/Ephesians 2:8-10? For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is9not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. the gift of God,

Is Shaul/Paul saying that “grace” is in opposition to the Law of Yahweh that existed at the time of his writing? How can he be?

What is Shaul’s basis for “faith” here? It has to be the same basis as established from Bereshith/Genesis. That is “believing what Yah has said” as in opposition to what man has said. We see that clearly in Bereshith/Genesis 26:5 “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”

That’s another one of those verses that today’s Christianity does not understand because of being told that the Law was given at Sinai…rather than it finally being written down at Sinai…

Back to Eph 2:8-10… Isn’t Paul saying that the work of grace, as being applied by the Spirit, is a gift and not something that can be attained by works of the flesh? And that the work of grace is in conjunction with the Word of Yah, which when believed is called biblical faith?

Isn’t Paul/Shaul saying that Yahweh’s goal from the foundation of the world, is that HIS people would believe what HE has said?, that HIS people would believe and obey HIS Word? And that HIS people would be empowered by HIS Spirit to obey HIM, to keep HIS charge, HIS Commandments, HIS Statutes, and HIS Laws? (i.e. producing “good works”)

So, if we consider the concepts of “grace” and “faith” according to their definitions and usage in the Scriptures, and not according to the traditional applications of popular thought today, we must come to the conclusion that grace is NOT in opposition to Yahweh Elohim’s Law and neither is biblical faith! As a matter of fact, the folks that stir the ire of the Dragon in the Hazon/Revelation (below) are folks that have harmonized those two concepts beautifully!

Hazon/Revelation 6:10 says “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of Elohim and for the testimony which they held.”

What was their “testimony?”

Hazon/Revelation 12:17And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Yahshua Messiah.

Hazon/Revelation 14:12Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of Yahweh and the faith of Yahshua.”

Again, today’s Christianity tries to establish that having faith in the one they call Jesus means to have nothing to do with the Commandments of God! They say that for you and I to “walk as Yahshua walked” (as stated in 1 Yohanan/John 2:5), because they have decided that “grace” has nothing to do with HIS Law, would be us walking in legalism! The truth is; Walking in opposition to HIS Law is walking in IL-Legalism, or what the Scripture calls “lawlessness.”

Obviously, one of us wrong. After you have studied the above Scriptures, it is up to you which perspective to believe… Yahweh and HIS Word? Or man and his…?

May Yahweh guide you by HIS Spirit to walk according to HIS Word…

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Independence-Freedom or Rebellion?

Independence – Freedom or Rebellion?

As I’m sitting here writing this blog entry the sound of fireworks echoes off Big Turkey Lake, just about 200 yards from my house. It’s the Independence Day weekend and nearly every community across America celebrates the independence of the United States with fireworks and celebration. What about independence? Is it a desirable thing? What do we desire to be independent from? What does the word “independence” even mean? I ask these questions primarily in the relationship of the professing church with her husband.

Independence is an interesting word. According to Webster’s Dictionary, online, independence is defined as “the quality or state of being independent.” The word “independent” comes from the Greek word “auto-nomos.” Now here’s a very familiar Greek word used here. Remember the Greek word used in the Scriptures, translated “lawlessness?” It is the Greek word “anti-nomos.” Nomos is the Greek word for “law.” The context of the text dictates whether it is used in reference to the Law, or Torah of Yahweh, or of the “works of the law,” that contains man’s additions and subtractions to Torah. That’s another subject for another time, but the important thing is to look at independence in light of the Christian, and even the Messianic Judaic practice and doctrine. Does it fit? Is it right?

Please look with me a little closer at the Webster’s definition of the word “independence” from the Greek word, “auto-nomos.” According to Webster’s definition it means, “not subject to control by others… self-governing….rule oneself…not affiliated with a larger controlling unit…not looking for others for guidance.” Just to dig in a little deeper let’s look at the phrase in the definition “self-governing.”

Self-governing is what this nation professes to be and how it started, right; the will of the people determining the law of the land – the majority rule? Well that’s not how it appears it was meant to be. At least we were told we were a republic, a nation of laws – a constitution that places parameters around the lawmakers in congress and the senate, guiding the decisions of the judges and the president. Of course we see how that isn’t working so well for us. Why? Autonomy! Self-governance!

The Greek word, “autonomous” means “independent from the law,” or “having the right or power of self-government.” The United States of America was born out of a revolt against the authority of England. In short the people of the American colonies of England rebelled against their government, defeated England and formed its own government, by the people for the people. I’m not here to debate whether that was a right thing or a wrong thing. I’m just looking at if for what it really is. The USA became autonomous from England through rebellion against England’s authority. Now what does that mean to mankind in his professed relationship with his Creator? Since then she has rebelled against her own laws. It appears that rebellion is deep seated in mankind. Scripture even says that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and said in Torah to not allow a witch to live! Rebellion of HIS creation is a serious matter with the Creator.

What we call the Book of  Galatians is, in actuality, a letter written by the Apostle Shaul/Paul to the Galatians. It is pivotal in the establishment of doctrine, especially in the professing church. It is commonly called the church’s “Magna Carta,” and more commonly, “The Christian’s Declaration of Independence.” Let’s take a look at these ascribed titles and perceived doctrine concerning The Book of Galatians, in light of the definition of the word “independence.”

I ask you, please, just use some common sense, logic, and more importantly, the Scriptural context, and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you concerning this issue. Think about it; The Christian’s Declaration of Independence from what? The church says that the reborn Christian is now free from the Law, or Torah of Yahweh. The Christian, in his or her mind, is now “independent” of the Torah! Consider that Yahshua, or Jesus, as he is mistakenly known in the professing evangelical church, is called the Living Word in Yohanen/John Chapter One. And as we’ve said so many times, the only Word they had at that time was Torah, the Prophets, the writings of Psalms and Proverbs, and the historical books of Kings, Chronicles, Joshua, Ezra, and so forth. So the church is declaring their independence from the Word of Yahweh contained in these Scriptures, and in effect declaring their independence from Yahshua, the Living Word! How does that work? By being “independent” the church has said she is “autonomous” and now has the authority and the ability of self-governance, apart from the guidance of the Word of Elohim/God, both written and Living, in the person of Yeshua!

The Roman Catholic Church readily admits that they believe they have this autonomy, in connection with their change of the Sabbath day from the seventh day (Sabbath) to the first day, the venerable day of the sun, commemorating the sun God Mithra. That is self-governance, apart from the confines of Scripture and the authority of our Creator who is the Word and spoke the Word, AND commanded that we obey HIS Word! But Shaul/Paul says in Galatians Three that the Scripture has confined all under sin! Yohanen/John says in 1st Yohanen/John Three that sin is lawlessness – anti-nomos! This is rebellion! Self governance, autonomy, is born out of rebellion against the Creator. The rebellion of the created against their Creator – who do you think will win in the end?

The declaration of independence from the Torah, or Law of Yahweh, breaking loose the bonds and the confines of Scripture is rebellion. But this autonomous living is really a falsehood. Men believe they have autonomy, and are living as such, but in reality are not free from the Torah; the Law of Yahweh. Even if men refuse to bow down on this side of eternity, declaring that Yahshua, The Living Word is Master, they will ultimately do it when they face HIM in eternity. But then the bowing to HIS sovereignty is too late to afford entrance into HIS kingdom. In Mattithyahu/Matthew Seven Yahshua (mistakenly called Jesus) said that those who practice lawlessness (anti-nomos) will not be allowed into HIS kingdom. HE said that HE will tell them to depart from HIM, that HE never knew them, addressing them as “you who practice lawlessness.” These who are anti-nomian have declared themselves autonomous – able to govern themselves outside the authority of the Creator and HIS Torah – Law.

I believe it is time for a serious re-think on the part of the church, and indeed those in Messianic Judaism. The problem Shaul/Paul addresses in Galatians is the same anti-nomian, autonomous declaration of the Scribe, Pharisees, and lawless Levitical priests, born out of the Law of Judaism. The Law of Judaism is Torah mixed with the autonomous rabbinic additions and subtractions to Torah. They were saying that the Galatians needed to be circumcised, become a Jew, and through them have access to the kingdom through Abraham. But the Word of Yahweh (in fact Yahshua – see 1st Kepha/Peter 1) says that it is by faith in the Seed – Messiah, not the seeds, or descendants of Abraham, who have access to HIS kingdom. Faith is defined by Paul as coming by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Yahweh – Torah those proclaiming Torah. Through believing and doing HIS Word – faith, we access grace, changing our heart of stone into one of flesh. This new heart, given us through the work of grace, has Torah written upon it, and through the work of grace, HE causes us to walk in HIS statutes and keep HIS commandments. We are free from lawlessness and now are willing slaves to HIS righteousness. We are not independent of HIM and HIS Word. We are not autonomous!

Autonomous self-governance produces man’s doctrine or additions and subtractions to HIS Word, whether it is rabbinic self proclaimed authority, or so-called church fathers, we must be like the Bereans and subject their doctrine, and our every thought and action to the Torah of Yahweh, for we are not autonomous from the rule of HIS Torah. If we believe we are, then we are not HIS, for we have removed ourselves from HIS kingdom and into one that is merely a figment of man’s futile imaginations. These vain imaginations have produced feast days that are not keeping with HIS commanded Feasts that teach us about HIM and HIS plan of redemption. In our self governance we have cast off the very authority that gives us the foundation for the Redeemer HIMSELF! We have left ourselves, the lowly pot, to fend for ourselves in our arrogance, forgetting that the Potter will destroy those pots that are displeasing to HIM. But if those pots, which are now displeasing to HIM, repent and begin to please HIM by faith, believing and obeying HIS commandments, by grace through faith, HE will restore them to a place in HIS kingdom. We must repent while we have opportunity because the great and terrible Day of Yahweh is coming upon the sons of disobedience.

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The Fault is With Us

Finding Fault with Us 

Scripture is Final Authority

One of the positions held by some in the Messianic community has its counterpart in some traditional Christian circles; that Yahshua is not Elohim. The only valid discussion of this topic is that Scripture must be the final authority in all matters.

It is good when we can agree with the fact that Scripture is the final authority. Of course the catholic faith believes the pontiff; the Catholic Church has the authority to change the Scripture. But to those who say the Scripture is the final authority in all matters, let us take the thought a little deeper. The question is; do each of us believe that, contextually throughout, it is the unchanging final authority. The problem I see that we as men have is this; we see portions of text and we can’t see how it all fits so we determine there was a change, or in some people’s minds, a contradiction. My basis for exegesis rejects both those thoughts. I believe it is the fault of our human understanding that gets in the way. This is my preface to the discussion.

The Fault is With Us

Hebrews 8 is very telling in this argument. The discussion in the Book of Hebrews has to do with the understanding of men, apart from the Scripture mixed with faith, that the Spirit might reveal Truth. The writer of Hebrews is speaking to Hebrews that profess faith in Yeshua as Messiah but were still stuck on the Aaronic/Levitical priesthood as the object of their faith. They, in their human reasoning, were not looking past the priesthood given at Sinai as a picture of the reality and seeing the Messiah in it. I believe the eternal Priesthood of Messiah Yahshua has always been the authority but men took authority for themselves. The Levitical/Aaronic priesthood was to offer sacrifices and serve in the tabernacle and so by doing those things according to the pattern they would be teaching Torah that would lead the people, and themselves, to Messiah. Faith in Messiah was available then as it is now.

So how does Hebrews 8 speak to this issue? In this; the writer, in contrasting the priesthood of Levi and Aaron with the Priesthood of Messiah says in Verse 8, “Because finding fault with them…” There was a fault at issue here, but not what is commonly taught – a fault with the Torah. Torah is perfect, holy, good, and just. Scripture tells us that and I’m sure, based on our agreement that Scripture is the final authority that we agree on that point. The fault at issue in Hebrews 8 is the priesthood of men and the people’s devotion to that priesthood as opposed to seeing and devoting one’s self to the Great High Priest of Messiah and becoming priests to HIM.

The problem always has been us! That’s why Yahshua is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world – provision made for the lawlessness of men to be reconciled to the Holy Elohim. The fault was with “them.” The fault is with us! The fault was not “it.” HE – Torah is the light that shone to expose the fault in “them.” Thy Word is a light. John 3 says that the light exposes the darkness. And we know from John that HE is that light. So the light is good – the Word, specifically the Torah – The Living Torah. The fault is with frail and lawless humanity who believes that he knows better that Torah. The Torah is the Law and it exposes the lawless. Those who, by grace through faith, become born again are re-born to no longer be lawless or in opposition to Torah – becoming bondservants to righteousness – the Torah.

Who Is Yahshua to You?

Having prefaced what I believe is contextually the basis for our discussion it important to ask yourself these questions: Who is Yahshua to you? If HE is not part of the Elohim, equally Elohim with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, then who is HE? The writer of Hebrews puts forth the case that HE is greater than the priesthood of man and that HE is greater than the angels. Other than angels (both fallen and those still in the service of Yahweh) and men, the only other entity is Elohim. What other category would Messiah fall into, if not men, angels or Elohim? The Scripture rules out men and angels so what’s left?

I’m making an effort to not write a book here – to make this really long, but a look at Hebrews is important. Chapter One says that HE, Messiah, has been appointed heir of all things. HE is the Son of Yahweh, and being the only begotten Son HE has the attributes of Yahweh. Yahweh is Elohim, therefore HIS Son, having the attributes of HIS Father, is equally Elohim, being heir of ALL things. HE “by inheritance” obtained a more excellent name than they (angels). Verse Five tells us that HE was begotten by the Father. Verse Six commands the “angels of Yahweh to worship HIM (the Son). Since worship is only to be given to Elohim – Yahweh, then Yahshua must be the fullness of Elohim. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in HIM dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in HIM, who is the head of all principality and power.” The “Godhead” is speaking of the “divinity” and the Hebraic counterpart can only be Elohim – Yahweh. And since this says “In HIM,” and we know that it is talking about Yeshua, contextually from Colossians 2:8, then the fullness of the Elohim dwells in HIM bodily, and HE, Yeshua – Elohim is the head of ALL principality and power. That would have to make HIM Elohim, and as the writer of Hebrews says, HE is not an angel nor just a man made perfect. HE, Yahshua – Elohim is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the World. HE is not a created being like angels or men. When speaking of Elohim it seems we speak in circles. And in fact we do. Because the Father is Elohim along with the Son and the Holy Spirit, then when we use the Name Yahweh, and Yahshua, and Messiah and Ruach (Set Apart Spirit) in connection with Elohim and that Adonai our Elohim is One, it can make a man’s head spin. That’s because the comprehension of this ONE being present in the three different expressions of Who HE is- is more than our human minds can fathom. It is enough to know that in HIM dwells the fullness of Elohim.

Hebrews 1:8 says “But to the Son HE says, “Your throne O Elohim, is forever and ever.” And in Verse 10, “You, Master (Father still speaking to Son), in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of YOUR hands. They will perish, but YOU remain; and they will grow old like a garment; like a cloak YOU will fold them up, and they will be changed, But YOU are the same, and YOUR years will not fail.”

The language is clear, to me, that Yahshua, being the Son of Elohim is Elohim- The True Living Elohim. The human mind in and of itself cannot understand the Elohim ( Godhead.) So we try to couch HIM in terms that we can understand and it never works. It is like trying to cram a 100 pounds of sand in a 5 pound sack. It won’t fit. This, I admit, is an imperfect illustration. But consider the Scripture that speaks of trying to put new wine into an old wineskin or sewing a new piece on an old piece of fabric – it’s the same thing. You see my human mind cannot understand the Elohim. But the understanding of HIM that we need is through Yahshua who is the pattern. But beyond the pattern HE is the reality. This is contextually, I believe, what Scripture says.

Man’s Faulty Understanding Versus the Truth Written and Revealed by The Holy Spirit

In a recent discussion the beliefs on this subject by two “scholars” were used as evidence that Yahshua is not Elohim. According to William Barclay, (a man I don’t know and don’t know for sure what he believes) “When the world began, the Word was already there. The Word was with God, and the nature of the Word was the same as the nature of God. The Word was there in the beginning with God. It (HE) was through the agency of the Word that everything else came into being. Without the Word not one single thing came into being.” I part company with calling the Word “it.” But the rest of it speaks a powerful Truth that supports the position that I believe is Scripturally accurate. The Word is Yahshua, the Voice of Yahweh, who is Yahweh, who Created everything that has been created and HE is greater than all of creation, being the Creator. Since all is framed on the Word – the Voice of Yahweh, then it is sustained by the same Word – unchanging and reliable from before the foundation of the world – HIS character and nature. Paul says in 1st Corinthians, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which Yahshua Messiah.” The lack of a definite article, posited by proclaimed Greek scholars William Barclay and James Moffat, makes the Greek word “theos” of the third phrase of the passage in John 1 to be an adjective. I can’t agree with their conclusion based on the context of Scripture. Regardless of what man says Yahweh says HE is Elohim. I take HIS Word above the word of men. The whole of Scripture says HE is Elohim. The absence of a “definite article” in a couple of sentences in Scripture cannot abrogate the context of Scripture.

When Messiah walked with the two disciples on the Emmaus Road HE declared who HE was to them by Torah and the Prophetic writings.

Let’s examine Isaiah 8:6-7, a prophecy concerning Messiah.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon HIS shoulder. And HIS name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of HIS government and peace there will be no end. Upon the throne of David and over HIS kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of Yahweh will perform this.” Isaiah under inspiration of the Holy Spirit said these things.

Peter, in 1st Peter 1:11 says that the prophets (Isaiah included) had the Spirit of Messiah in them. Isaiah having Messiah in HIM – being born again, as Paul said, “Messiah in us, the hope of glory,” speaks of Messiah’s first coming and saying that HE is Mighty God. Messiah didn’t refute HIS divinity and so then how can man? Remember the fault is with us who look for a loophole. And when we divorce the continuity of Scripture, the eternal nature of the unchanging Word and make it subject to our flawed, faulty human understanding, and take portions out of that context we find ourselves not understanding. It is the flesh versus the Spirit battle that is waging continually. The Spirit gives understanding where the flesh in its arrogance opposes the Spirit who wants to write Torah on our hearts, put it in our minds and cause us to walk in HIS commandments. Romans 8, once again is applicable. The flesh CANNOT be subject to Torah. Torah is not of the flesh, and is not abrogated. It is the nature of Elohim and therefore the nature of those who are born again of the Spirit. Born again ones now have a choice that they didn’t have in the pre-born again state; the ability to submit to Torah in the Spirit. The Spirit, like Yahshua, is equally Elohim. Continue reading

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Man’s Law vs. God’s Law

Man’s Law Versus God’s Law

The Commandments and Doctrines of Men

  • The commandments and doctrines of men are of no effect against the indulgence of the flesh.
  • Practicing God’s commandments, by faith, results in life.
  • The commandments of God are positively effectual when practiced by faith.

Colossians 2:20-23 says that the commandments and doctrines of men are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

We see story after story in the mainstream press of the painful results of men overtaken by the indulgence of the flesh. The flesh has an insatiable appetite for all things sensual. The word sensual simply means those things that titillate the senses. Face it. Our bodies are nothing but sensually focused. But the body is simply the means to gratify the sensual appetite. The sensuality that must be satiated is in the inner man. It is the center of man –the inner man – that our English Bibles translate into the
“heart” of man.

Yeshua – Jesus said what comes out of a man defiles that man; it is what proceeds from the heart of man. So the important factor is the consistency of the heart of a man. What is the consistency of the inner man? That is determined by a man or woman’s choice.

To make that choice, in the positive, one must be a believer in the God of the Bible. HE is the ONE who has shown us the wickedness of heart by revealing to us HIS standard of
righteousness through HIS Word. Every man or woman will come to the understanding that their practices are lawless – transgressing the Law of God. Even if they never see a
Bible or one is read to them, the Almighty Creator will reveal each person’s sin, and need for HIS salvation to them, just as HE did to Abraham.

The Book of Galatians tells us that the Scripture preached the gospel to Abraham. At the time of Abraham there was no written Word. They had no Bible. We place God in a box when we limit HIS ability to our sensual capabilities of sight and sound. The Scripture –Yeshua, the LIVING WORD preached the gospel to Abraham. Abraham believed HIM, obeyed, and it was accounted to HIM as righteousness. We are made righteous by
believing what God has said. True belief, however, results in doing what we believe. One can say they believe that eating a balanced diet will make their life better, but if they do
not eat balanced their belief is merely intellectual assent. It is not true belief. True belief acts on belief.

Please understand. I am not singling out any one man, who has fallen, as a subject of ridicule, as if he is the only man that has ever fallen through unbelief. As well, I am not pontificating from a position of sinless perfection myself. I simply want to put the
emphasis where it belongs: The commandments and doctrines of men have no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

The professing church has, for all her existence, fallen back on her own power to maintain herself. She professes to be following Messiah, while looking to HIM as the Author and Finisher of her faith, but all the while relying on the “fences” she erects, and in her own determination of what is acceptable to God.

A Biblical understanding of the concept of church, being the body of Messiah, will show it to be in existence since the Beginning. The concept of church is the same as synagogue. Each word embodies the concept of a gathering of people, especially those who profess faith in the God of the Bible. Since the Garden there has been a church and man has known what is acceptable to God. HE has never left man to “figure it out” for himself.
HE has told us. But, beginning in the Garden, man improvised, attempting to put his own stamp on God’s instructions and that resulted in a fall from grace that has passed sin and death down throughout the generations of mankind.

Falling from grace is absolutely not what man, who understands the fearful aspects of falling into the hands of the Living God, desires. But an accurate Biblical understanding of grace is vital to the follower of the Biblical Messiah. Grace, according to the Strong’s Greek Lexicon, is the Greek word “charis” which means “the divine influence on the heart, with the reflection in the life.” Grace is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is God (divine) to change our hearts and continually working to transform us into the very image of God’s own Son. We know that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Living Word (from Genesis to Revelation) and we know that HE said the Spirit would not speak on HIS own but only
remind the converted believer of what Yeshua said. We also know that Yeshua only spoke the Words of HIS Father. The Spirit “writing God’s Law on our hearts and putting HIS Law in our mind is the realization of the New Covenant, promised in Ezekiel 36 and Jeremiah 31. The Spirit speaking the Words of Yeshua, who spoke the Words of the Father, and causing us to walk in HIS statutes and commandments, is grace at work, implementing the New Covenant in the life of a true convert to Messiah Yeshua. So, falling from grace, is not submitting to the work of the Spirit of the Living Word, writing God’s Law on the heart and putting it in the mind, and instead following after the
commandments and doctrines of men that are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. By implication the commandments and doctrines of the Father are of great value
against the same indulgences.

The commandments and doctrines of no value against the indulgences of the flesh are the established non-biblical traditions and understandings of the Word of God. Eve began it
(maybe Adam did but we only read Eve’s words) when she added, “…nor shall you touch it” to the commandment of the LORD. That set her up, and us, to fall from grace. God,
throughout the annals of time, has warned HIS people against this “replacement” theology. By adding a little of man’s wisdom here and there, including the replacement of the commandments of God with improved upon commandments of men, we are
practicing syncretism that God has explicitly forbidden. Aaron did it when the golden calf was fashioned to worship a god that was no god at all, and then declaring the practice a feast unto the LORD. The professing body of the LORD God has continued to do that for all time, in spite of the fact that the LORD sent many prophets (man killed them) and HIS Son to warn men to return to the Truth. Consider the practices of the professing church
that have their roots and rituals established in paganism. Consider how the professing church calls these pagan practices a “feast unto the LORD.”

We, just as Adam and Eve, have made ourselves easy prey to the enemy, Satan, by our continued practice of syncretism. Syncretism in the modern professing church is no different than it was at any other time in history. We erect our own fences, initially out of good intentions, and those fences take away from actual faith in the LORD and a submission to the Lord and HIS work of grace. Once that has been done it is easy to begin to look at other things that are in opposition to righteousness of God as established in Scripture. We begin to consider these traditions of men as foundational. However the problem is that the foundation is built upon shifting sand instead of the Rock of the Truth of God’s Word. Everything becomes subjective to man instead of being subjective to God’s Word. The result is a mindset that makes it impossible to “hear” the voice of the
Spirit, who only speaks Words that are purely the commandments of God. We are so steeped in our traditions that we can’t, or don’t want to hear the Truth. The lie has become comfortable. But when the trial comes the lie is of no value against the temptation. Yeshua said we shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set us free, when believed and acted upon. Yeshua – Jesus said “Sanctify them by Your Truth, Your Word
is Truth,” in HIS prayer for us to our Father.

The result of non-biblical traditions, practiced by professing believers, is that the commandments of God become of no effect in our lives. Yeshua was very pointed in HIS warning to the Scribes and Pharisees. HE said, “You have made the commandment of God of no effect by your traditions.” Of no effect, means that the intended affect of practicing the commandments of God, by faith, is nullified by non-biblical traditions. This leaves a man or woman easy prey with no defense against the wiles of the devil. Yeshua, in dealing with Satan’s temptation, used Deuteronomy to do combat with the
enemy. The Word, believed and acted upon, had an effect on the enemy. The Word of God left HIM powerless. Yeshua not only believed the Word, HE was the Word, and HE practiced the Word. It is the same for us. If we practice the commandments and doctrines of the Almighty and eschew the commandments and doctrines of men we will leave the enemy powerless in his schemes to derail us. To use the Word of God effectively against
the schemes of the devil we must study the Word of God, in its entirety, in context, and allow the Spirit of God to write it on our hearts and cause us to walk in HIS precepts. Victory is only accomplished through faith in Messiah, the LIVING WORD.

The fall of other men, who have been looked upon as pillars of the faith, is a warning to all who profess to be followers of the Messiah. We must examine ourselves to see if we are of the faith, as Scripture commands us to do. The faith must be in the Biblical Messiah who is the Scripture. There will be no contradiction or shadow of turning. We examine ourselves in light of HIS Word and by this we know that we are being led by the Spirit, who is God, or by our flesh – the ways of man. We are warned by the Scripture: The ways of man seem right to him but they end in death. Sin brings death. Sin is rejecting the commandments of God – Lawlessness, according to the Word. The professing body, all over the world, is awaking to this Truth. HE is calling us all to come out of our Egypt. Will we respond?

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The Enmity

Ephesians 2:8-22 (The Enmity)

Ephesians chapter two, as well as many other portions of Paul’s letters, has been misinterpreted and misunderstood almost from its beginning. Although I believe the LORD has given a small bit of revelation to me about these Scriptures, I in know way want to leave the impression that I’ve “learned it all” and “have all the
answers”. The LORD opening my eyes to this portion of Scripture was a huge milestone in my walk with Him and it came during a Bible college course that was teaching a dispensational perspective of this very text. So, as you read bear with me, and go to the Father to see if He doesn’t confirm this in your heart.

8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Paul begins this section by establishing a solid foundation for Biblical salvation. True salvation from God is BY grace. The Father extends His grace to us. This grace is simply the ability to choose to walk in faith according to His covenant. The second part of this formula is the faith just mentioned. There are many in the
church today that would shout GRACE, GRACE! But they miss the true definition of grace as well as its symbiotic relationship to faith. Grace is faith in action. God gives us His grace that we might trust Him to work His covenant out through our lives. We are, after all, His Body. And so we see Paul using the term THROUGH.
It’s BY grace and THROUGH faith. The two are inseparable! The next thought seems so natural; it is a gift of God. God made a promise that He would write His Word on our hearts and then cause us to walk in it. This leads us to the next point…it’s not of works, and if it was; we would boast. God is the Initiator and Finisher. He’s the one working in us. The purpose of His working is “for good works”. There are some who would say that God sent His Own Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we could simply call ourselves “Christians”. Not so! We were re-created in Christ Jesus so that we might walk in the Word of God which brings glory to our Creator.

Establishing the context is paramount for a proper understanding of the following verses. Primarily, we must remember that Paul is speaking to the church in Ephesus. History tells us that the believers in Ephesus were predominantly Gentiles. This single fact enables us to correctly understand the context.

11Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—

“Therefore”…based upon what Paul has taught us so far regarding the salvation that is a gift from God, BY grace and THROUGH faith. Gentiles were, and are, identified by the fact that the males are not circumcised and not natural descendants of Abraham. The Jews of Paul’s time were the Circumcised.

12that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Paul gives us a great key to understanding this portion of Scripture when he shares with us the timeframe in which these Gentiles existed. He says, “At that time”. What time? … the time that they were uncircumcised and identified as such by the Jews. The Gentiles knowing nothing of God’s covenant or plan of salvation were aliens from the covenant that God made with Israel. They knew nothing of the promises and blessings of the
LORD. This IS a hopeless place to be!

13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ
.

“But now in Christ Jesus”…possibly the greatest words in the Bible! This is in contradiction to the hopelessness and alienation that the Gentiles were in the midst of. Take note that Paul identifies these Ephesian Gentiles as being “in Christ Jesus” and not “in Israel”. In Yeshua the distance that was between the Gentiles and the Father has been removed. This came at a great price though. The very blood of the Messiah filled and removed this chasm.

You may already be weary of this article and be ready to put it down…please don’t. We’re about to jump into the real heart of it.

14For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,

Paul has already been speaking of two parties, the Jews and the Gentiles. In Messiah, these two entities have been made one. In Messiah, there is no Jew or Greek. 1 Corinthian 12:13…13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. Paul also says that the “middle wall of separation” has been broken down. What? What is this middle wall of
separation? Specifically, there was an actual wall that separated the Jews and Gentiles worship. There is no place in the Scriptures that we can find God commanding His people to erect such a wall. In fact we see the opposite. As we’ll read, the wall was only a physical representation of a “wall” of rules and regulations that the Jews had created to keep the Gentiles from the Father. At the time of the writing of this letter a well established practice was the ritual of joining oneself to God. The Jews defined this as being circumcised, being baptized, and thus BECOMING an Israelite. There focus and hope was in their heritage rather than the saving work of the coming Messiah. We need to take a slight detour to establish this Biblically. Let’s look at a few portions of Scripture that will show us the existence of this wall of separation. We’ll be picking on the “foot-in-mouth” disciple…Peter.

Acts 10…1There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms enerously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” 4And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 5Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.” 7And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. 8So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

It’s a known fact that Peter, as well as the rest of Jews, viewed the Gentiles as unclean, unfit, and completely unable to have a relationship with God in their current state. Peter probably saw the Gentiles in the same light that he saw a swine on the side of the road…vile creatures destined for destruction. This is where the creation of the middle wall of separation and the rite of a proselyte came from. The Jews believed that the ONLY hope for
a Gentile was to BECOME a Jew! They could not be saved as Gentiles. So, with this in mind, how do you think Peter will respond to the messengers from the Gentile Cornelius? Let’s keep reading…

9The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, escending to him and let down to the earth. 12In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” 15And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

A quick read of this portion of Scripture and you may say, “Oh yes, this is when God rebuked Peter for trying to keep the food Laws and abolished them completely.” But a more careful examination and you’ll see that God is actually challenging the middle wall of separation that Peter was accustomed to. This portion of Scripture
begins with the LORD speaking to a Gentile. I believe that our Abba knew that Peter would need a serious “kick-in-the-pants” to receive the message that Cornelius’s servants were bringing. And so the vision… Throughout this vision Peter, in a sense, rebukes the LORD. The LORD continues to reveal His heart to Peter.
And we get a real understanding of what the vision was all about when we continue reading and hear Peter’s own interpretation of the vision.

17Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. 18And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. 19While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. 20Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” 21Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?” 22And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” 23Then he invited them in and lodged them.

Notice the underlined verse. Peter invited these Gentiles into his home. SOMETHING has happened to Peter!!! Let’s keep reading…

On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 24And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” 27And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. 28Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Where is it found in the Torah that it is unlawful for a Jewish man to keep company with or to one of another nation? Search long and hard, you won’t find it! So, we must conclude that Peter is speaking of another law…the only other law that Peter could be referencing is the Mishna and Talmud. Notice the word that Peter uses…”but”…but what? But God, in contradiction to the law just mentioned, has shown me that I should not call any MAN common or unclean. Wait a minute you might say…I always thought that God “freed” us from the burden of the dietary laws in the text. Not so, Peter clearly understood the purpose of the vision. He says
clearly that God had shown him that he was no longer to call any MAN common or unclean. If the dietary laws had been abolished through Peter’s experience, don’t you think that’s what he would have said? But instead, Peter begins to understand the true heart of the Father…and that’s to include ALL who will approach Him by
faith with open arms. Let’s keep reading…

29Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?”

Again, notice that Peter came without objection. You see, without the revelation through the vision, Peter would have objected to the invitation based upon the standard of the Mishna and Talmud.

30So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. 32Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ 33So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.” 34Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.

Again, Peter gives us further clarification of his vision and his newly changed heart. Peter learned that God shows no partiality and receives those who fear him and work righteousness.

36The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—37that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, hom they killed by hanging on a tree. 40Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” 44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 47“Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the
Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

The Father affirms the words of Peter by placing the Holy Spirit upon the Gentiles. Notices, those of the circumcision were astonished. Why were they astonished? Because previously they didn’t believe that the Gentile could experience the covenant without FIRST becoming a citizen of the nation of Israel. This is the very wall of separation that Paul is speaking of in Ephesians 2.

To further establish the existence of the wall of separation, we must consider a few more portions of Scripture.

Acts 11:1-18… 1Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”

The apostles and brethren bring a railing accusation against Peter based upon the Mishna and Talmud. Peter has some explaining to do if he hopes to get out of this one.

4But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. 6When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the arth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 7And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’ 9But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ 10Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven. 11At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea. 12Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, 14who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’ 15And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” 18When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

After reading this there is no way that we can look at Acts 10 as the proof text for the abolishment of the dietary laws. No, we must take it for what it says. God used a vision to communicate His heart for ALL people to His chosen people Israel. Somewhere along the line they had ignored critical portions of Scripture that spoke of the Father’s heart for ALL nations. Let’s consider some of those Scriptures briefly.

Exodus 12:49…49One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you. Isaiah 42:1-7…1“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. 2He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. 3A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. 4He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.” 5Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: 6“I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, 7To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.

How did they miss this? I suppose the Father will tell us one day. Let’s continue laying the Biblical foundation for the wall of separation. Just like you and I, it took Peter more than once to lay down his sin.

Galatians 2:11-16…11Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they 6came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? 15We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Why is Paul so upset? What did Peter do to incur such rebuke? A close look at this Scripture and we’ll see that Paul is rebuking Peter for leaving the impression that the Mishna and Talmud still had something to do with the salvation of the Gentiles. Again, the Mishna and Talmud both say that a Jew cannot eat with a Gentile. Peter was calling these Galatian believers common and unclean which was in direct disobedience to what God had shown him in the vision on the rooftop.

Why consider so many Scriptures? Why make such a big deal about this? Simple, we cannot properly understand Ephesians 2 without first accepting that the wall of separation was a reality during this time. So, now that we have a Biblical understanding of the wall of separation, let’s go back to Ephesians 2. Refer back to the first 14 verses if necessary. But, Paul had just told us that in Messiah those who were far away have been brought near.

15having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances,

Once again, this portion of Scripture is used to further an antinomian mindset. But after our considering the context it’s easier to understand what this enmity was. This enmity was the wall of separation…the disdain, the judgment, and exclusivity that the Jews burdened the Gentiles with. Notice that Paul even clarifies what law he’s talking about with the term “contained in ordinances”.

so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.

On each side of the wall of separation there was a people group who were rarely at peace. But, in Messiah, these two have been made one…it takes two to fight…so thus the peace that came from the union with Messiah.

18For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

This was GREAT news to the Galatian believer! Through faith in Messiah they too had access to their Abba. Despite what generations of Jews had been telling them, they had access too!

19Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

This holy temple that our Father is building is being made with Jewish stones and Gentile stones. And yet, when they come in contact with the rest of the building, there former identity is consumed by the Chief Cornerstone, Yeshua! In these last days Abba is building a house for His great name! This house has not been, nor will ever be, built by the hands of men. No, the Spirit is writing the covenant of the Father upon the hearts of those who
have chosen to believe and the Father is Masterfully building, building, building…building a place for His Holy Name!

John 10:14-16…14I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one lock and one shepherd.

Galatians 3:26-29…26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Romans 10:11-13…11For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

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How to Intepret the Bible

How to Interpret the Bible

How many times have you heard someone say regarding the Bible, “Everyone has their own interpretation” or “That’s your interpretation, not mine.” Little do they realize that such comments are in direct conflict with what the Bible says about itself:

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit 2 Peter 1;20,21

What most people do not realize is that over the past 2500 years, specialists in the “science of meanings” have developed eight basic rules of grammatical interpretation, which provided a standard set of rules for consistent interpretation of literature. They apply equally to legislative and theological language. They apply equally to legislative and theological language. They are the basis of all critical analysis and are used by interpretive
scholarship. When properly used, they ensure that the reader will always derive meaning intended by the original writer.

THE EIGHT RULES FOR GRAMMATICAL INTERPRETATION

  1. The Rule Of Definition: Words have definite meanings which are to be taken in their literal or idiomatic force, and the grammatical setting. Meaning is not determined by each individual interpreter. The interpreter should conscientiously abide by the plain meaning of the words.
  2. The Rule Of Usage: Words and phrases have usages which are affected by culture, traditional, national, social considerations. Authors write to a specific audience in the usual custom and vernacular of that audience. Interpreters are not to insert their own notions upon the literature, but rather to seek understanding of the usage that existed when the literature was written.
  3. The Rule Of Context: The meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph must be derived from the context. Many words and phrases derive their meaning and force from the connection in which it stands. Therefore there must be a careful consideration of that which comes before and after.
  4. The Rule Of Historical Background: The historical back ground, including the manner and customs of the day enables the interpreter to understand what circumstances and events influenced the thinking of the author. The writing was for real people, in real situations, in the real world.The interpreter must pay close attention to these facts as they cast light on the understanding of the literature.
  5. The Rule Of Logic: Interpretation is merely logical reasoning. Literature should be interpreted by a rigid application of the laws of language and grammatical analysis.
  6. The Rule Of Precedent: Precedent is something previously done or said that serves as a guide for future rule or example. Words and phrases which have a known usage should be interpreted in that historical and grammatical context.
  7. The Rule Of Unity: Documents are written as a whole. Interpretation of any of its parts, must be done with consideration to consistency with the whole.
  8. The Rule Of Inference: Inference is a fact reasonably implied from another fact. It is a logical consequence, a conclusion drawn from a given fact or premise, a conclusion drawn from evidence. Interpretive conclusions, regarding things not specifically stated, are allowable if they are logically consistent with the other rules of interpretation.

5 THINGS OF WHICH TO BEWARE

  1. Beware of… Fanciful, complex, unique interpretations which were not available to the hearers/readers of the day.
  2. Beware of… Eisegesis: An interpretation that expresses the interpreter’s own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text.
  3. Beware of… Basing an entire doctrine or concept on one passage.
  4. Beware of… Not interpreting a text literally, as much as possible. The only exception is when the meaning is obviously allegorical, metaphorical or figurative.
  5. Beware of… Any new insight or interpretation that is not consistent with the rest of scripture.

Some time ago I learned a simple poem which has served me well as a simple guide for Bible interpretation:

IF THE LITERAL SENSE,MAKES GOOD SENSE,
SEEK NO OTHER SENSE,
LEST YOU END UP WITH NON-SENSE!

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