In the Name of…

December 6th, 2011


How many times have we heard expressions in various Christian churches about the claim to do any number of things “in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ”?  Do we really understand what that phrase means? Yahushua made it clear that He came “in the Name of” His Father, YHVH, and frequently said things like, “the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.” (Yahuchanon/John 10:25)

Even more dramatically, what may well be the most blunt warning in Scripture hinges on an understanding of that concept.  Yahushua reminded people that it was DOING the will of YHVH that mattered, rather than simply claiming His Name, and then added,  “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’

And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! ‘ ” [disregard His Torah]    (Matt. 7:21-23)

Is it possible to claim to “come in His name”, and yet not know what that means?  Is it possible that there might be more to it than knowing how to pronounce the ‘tetragrammaton’ —  YHVH — or recognizing that His earthly mother never actually called the Savior “Jesus”?

To understand the meaning of the phrase, we must understand the Biblical Hebrew culture.  And perhaps the best example of the concept is found in the story of the search for a bride for Yitzak ( or Isaac) in Bereshiet/Genesis chapter 24.

The story of the servant of Abraham who is sent to bring home a bride for his son is the longest personal narrative in the entire Torah.  The level of detail, in contrast to most other stories, is striking…and there must be a reason.  And yet, in spite of that level of detail, the servant himself is never once identified by name.**   It seems that the fact that he WAS such a ‘good and faithful servant’, who did what his master sent him to do, is the thing that really matters.

Abraham asked his servant to swear that he would contract with and bring home a suitable bride from his own kin; that he would faithfully execute the task he was charged with fulfilling.  He then sent his servant out on a large caravan of camels, laden with goods which would serve both as gifts for the bride and her family, and surety to demonstrate that he did, in fact, have the authority to contract on behalf of his master; that he really did, “come in his name”:
“…for all his master’s goods were in his hand.”   (Bereshiet/Genesis 24:10)

His master’s wealth, and his son’s future, was literally placed in the servant’s hands.  He was entrusted with a tremendous amount of responsibility, and empowered to first find, and then contract “in his name” for one of the most fundamental of all human relationships.  To put the matter in terms familiar to a modern lawyer, Abraham’s servant was given his “power of attorney”.  And such a servant, if he acts lawfully, must exercise what is called “due diligence”.

And Scripture shows that ‘the man’ did in fact do his duty faithfully, and was miraculously blessed by YHVH in the process!

Abraham’s man WAS a  “good and faithful servant” precisely BECAUSE he performed the task he was assigned in the same way he knew that his master would have.  Each of the true prophets of Yah faithfully spoke the Words that He commanded them, because they did so “in His Name”, and by His Authority.  Yahushua came in His Father’s Name, and did exactly what He came to do — even to the point of saying, “nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”  (Luke 22:42)

Our Savior says, “if you love Me, keep My commands.”  (Yahuchanon/John 14:15)   And His “parable of the talents” makes the point that we must learn to be faithful using what He has given us, to DO what He asks of us.  It is not enough to “claim” His Name, if we don’t follow His instruction (torah)!  If we claim to act on His behalf, it must be in accord with His will, and by keeping His commandments.

There can be no greater reward for any of us that to someday hear the glorious words, “well done, good and faithful servant!”


** While other references in Scripture suggest strongly that the name of the servant in the story is probably Eliezer, he is always called “Abrahams’ servant”, or simply “the man” during this narrative.  That, too, seems to be an important aspect of the lesson:  it was what he DID that mattered.

Insidious Creeping Paganism

November 4th, 2011

Most people who have begun to understand what Revelation 18:4 means — where we are admonished to “come out of her, My people“, so that we do not participate in the sins of a corrupt “Babylonian” system or suffer from her coming plagues — recognize that a return to keeping Sabbath and His “appointed times” is one of the first steps.  Separating ourselves from obvious abominations like Halloween and the pagan trappings of Xmas (Jer. 10, etc) soon become similarly part of the process, even if that is not necessarily easy at first.

But there is another element of the Babylonian ‘mindset’ that is equally pervasive, and arguably equally destructive — even if it may appear to be harder to understand.  This is no doubt because it is also deeply rooted not only in pagan goddess worship, but protected by the mantle of “political correctness”.  It is the modern fallacy that men and women must somehow be made “equal” — even though His instructions for us clearly have countless distinctions — and that marriage has now “changed” so that it no longer follows the patriarchal model of Scripture.

In fact, the PC-mindset is often so deeply ingrained that even a word like ‘patriarchy’ seems to inspire many to anger, and makes it difficult for some seekers of His Truth even to be willing to read further.  But that is the point of this article!  And while neither the domineering autocrat or the “sole breadwinner” (see Proverbs 31!) who “brings home the bacon” are patriarchal models particularly supported by Scripture, these seem to be the typical pictures invoked by those who rebel against what is actually Written.  Television, in other words, often does not paint a realistic picture of what YHVH describes a marriage should be.

Whether this particular Big Lie is called ‘egalitarianism’, or even ‘radical feminism’, it is rooted in the hubris of the Whore of Babylon who will not repent of her idolatry (Rev. 18:5-7).  It is about why the ten tribes of Israel were sent into exile for idolatry (spiritual adultery).  It is about the worship of a ‘goddess’ who will not submit to the Authority of the Creator of the Universe, and instead says “I will see no sorrow.”  It is about Authority, and rebellion, and — eventually — repentance (tshuvah) and submission.   And it is a demonic doctrine which attempts to undermine the most important concepts in Scripture – from covering and Covenant to Redemption.

But the fact is that men and women are different, and have different functions in His plan for us.  “Male and female He created them” is a succinct statement of the fact that our Creator made us that way — for His own very good reasons.   And His instruction (torah) for us spells out different responsibilities and commandments for men and women as a result.  The Hebrew word “tamim” (complete, but unfortunately often rendered as “perfect”)  has a different connotation in His Word than most English-speakers recognize.  A better way to understand the word might be “fit for the PURPOSE for WHICH HE MADE US”.   We are different:  not “equal”, and certainly not better, or worse, or any such twisting of His intent.   Properly understood, that is a clear blessing*.

While entire good books** could be (and have been) written on the topic, a short article like this one can serve primarily as an introduction, and an admonition to be like the Bereans, and “search out the Truth for yourself“.  And, as is so often the case, the place to begin is “In the Beginning“, or Bereshiet (Genesis).

The essential elements of the story which concern authority and responsibility follow in chapter two.  They may be summarized, admittedly too briefly, as follows:

HaAdam (literally, ‘the man’) was first formed.  (“Temporal authority”)
Adam was tasked to give names to all the animals.  (“Naming authority”).  Later, Adam gave Chava (‘Eve’) her name as well.

(In the process, no “etzer kenegdo“, or suitable “helper” was found for him.  While in hindsight we might now consider the point obvious, it is clear that YHVH had His reasons for the activity!)

Chava (Eve) was created FOR ‘the man’ (HaAdam).
Chava was created FROM the man.
YHVH brought Chava TO the man.

Adam was given the commandment NOT to eat of the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” before the creation of his wife (“isha”).  Scripture is silent about whether she “added to” the single simple commandment (by including the “neither shall you touch it” clause) or her husband did.  But, either way, it helped give the serpent (“nacash”) more than enough room to twist the truth with the famous “Two First Lies” in history.

Perhaps the most important clue in the story is contained in Gen. 3:7, however.  Read it carefully!  Chava ate first; whether it was seconds, minutes, or hours, later that her covering failed is also not part of the detail we are given.  But what IS clear is that ONLY when he finally ate, were the “eyes of BOTH of them opened“!

And — arguably the most important point of all — it is Adam who was held responsible by YHVH.  (See Rom. 5:12, I Tim. 2:13-14, etc, and note that the principle is outlined in Numbers 30:15 as well.)  This in fact MUST be the case, and it is the reason why the understanding of authority and literally the reason for the ENTIRE REST OF THE BOOK follows as a direct result!

Tom Shipley’s book*** summarizes the importance of the understanding this way:

“If Adam was not the lawful authority over Eve before the fall, then Adam’s sin could not logically be imputed to Eve or his other descendants.  If Adam’s authority over Eve is denied, then the imputation of Adam’s sin to his other descendants is denied as well.”

And then what would be the point of the sacrifice of our Messiah?

The whole story of the remainder of Scripture is about reconciliation with Him via His provision for us!

Shipley concludes, ” If the doctrine of Adam’s headship over Eve is denied, then we are left logically without a Gospel!”

The insidious doctrine of egalitarianism, with its denial of Scriptural authority and headship, goes far beyond even the carnage we see in so many “semi-Biblical” marriages today, which have a form of Torah-obedience, but ‘deny the power thereof’.  There is a blessing for obedience to our Creator, and much to be gained from continued study of His Word.  But, much like Halloween, some pagan doctrines and practices which might seem innocent enough are literally attacks on the most fundamental principle of His torah.

Do not be fooled!  Since we know (Isaiah 46:8, etc) that YHVH literally declared the end from the Beginning,  those who look forward to the eventual “Wedding Feast of the Lamb” as prospective brides must understand how the pieces fit together, and under Whose Authority they desire to be.


“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love YHVH, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28

**  Such as Man and Woman in Biblical Law, by Thomas Shipley
    ISBN Number: 978-0-557-52900-1

***  Ibid., p. 5

Sukkot is here!

October 12th, 2011

My apologies for the paucity of posts over the last few weeks…the time of the Fall Feasts is not only my favorite time of the year, but among the busiest!

Today’s discussion on the “Torah Teachers Round Table”, about Sukkot, may help to provide some insight into what has been, and WILL be, going on, however:


TTRT for 12  October, 2011 – Sukkot

Hebrew Nation Radio – TTRT page with audio player

The Biggest Lie in Xtianity

October 11th, 2011

Most people who have ever been to a sun-day church have unfortunately heard something like this taught, at one time or another:

“NO ONE can possibly EVER keep the Law” (so don’t even try)!  After all, “it’s TOO hard!”  And then there’s the ever-popular, “Jesus did away with the Law” anyway…when he “nailed it to the cross”.  The trouble is that every single one of those statements is a lie, even though they may be popular with a people who don’t care for the fact that He “changes NOT,” and is the same “yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

In other words, perhaps the very biggest Big Lie of what should probably be called “Xtianity” — in order to distinguish such religion from that taught in Scripture — is that the very Savior called the “Word Made Flesh” somehow did away with His own Written Word!

And while that is easy to prove, just from the witnesses of His own Disciples in the apostolic Writings, His Words make far more sense in CONTEXT, since the whole point of Scripture is to establish the “Rock”, the Foundation upon which everything else must rest.  For example,  after an introduction in which Yahushua explains what it means that He “comes in My Father’s Name”, He chastens those who claim to believe in the Scripture revealed through Moses, but really do not.  Yahuchanon (John) 5:46-47 then says “if you had believed Moses, you would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me.”   His next statement, however, truly reveals the fallacy of the Big Lie above:
“But if you do not believe his writings, how shall you believe my words?

Over and over again, the Savior talks about the importance of a firm foundation, building on His Rock as opposed to shifting sand.

When it comes to a single section of Scripture which encapsulates the rebuttal to the Big Lie, my own personal favorite is almost certainly Deuteronomy chapter 30.  In speaking to the children of Israel shortly before his own death, Moses clearly knew* what would happen to them, and how they would turn to “other gods”, to idolatry, and ultimately be exiled from the land and scattered.  As such, he laid out for them not only a clear warning, but a clear choice.  And in one eloquent, and perhaps even sarcastic, exposition, Moses demolishes every aspect of the bogus claim that following the Torah of YHVH is “too hard” for us.**

Debarim (Deuteronomy) 30:10-14
“For this commandment which I command you today [is] not [too] mysterious for you, nor [is] it far off.
It [is] not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’
Nor [is] it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ “

That pretty well sums it up.  No… (A) it’s NOT too hard for you, and (B) you don’t have any excuse for claiming otherwise!

“But the word [is] very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.

Over and over again, Scripture says that the essence of what it means to “love Him” is to follow His teachings and obey Him, with “all our heart”, and “all our soul”.  Remember, too, that the Hebrew word for “hear” (shema) is an ACTIVE word…it really means “hear and OBEY!”  Do!

And there is another equally compelling understanding about what has been “done away with”, and what, most certainly, has NOT!  That can be found in the TWO witnesses called in verse 19:

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…
…that you may love YHVH your Elohim, that you may obey His voice…”

What is interesting about those two witnesses in particular is that — unlike EVERY single other living person who heard those Words that day — they are STILL here for us now!  Each of us can look around and see them.  And they are the SAME two witnesses that your Savior invoked in His “sermon on the mount”, quoted in Matt. 5:17-19:

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets.  I did NOT come to destroy but to fulfill.  For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle will by any means pass from the Torah until ALL is fulfilled. ”

Yahushua Himself confirms that He did NOT come to “do away with” his own instruction (“torah”) and references the same two witnesses that Moses did to emphasize the point!

And finally, as we now enter into the period of the Fall Feasts, it is important to remember one more thing that these same verses help make so very clear.  Not only do “heaven and earth” still witness to the Truth that He ‘changes not’, and that we are to keep and obey “His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments” — but that “all” is certainly NOT yet fulfilled that He has promised!

While those who do not know Him may indeed find that their hearts fail for fear, other witnesses, like Shaul in I Thess. 5, tell us that we should NOT be “overtaken” by what is coming, because we can walk in His light.  IF we are obedient to Him, and learn to follow His voice, and His instruction.

This same verse, Debarim 30:19, also provides perhaps the most succinct summary outside of John/Yahuchanan 14:15 of the choices we face:
to serve YHVH or ‘the adversary’ – life or death – blessing or cursing:

…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life…”

It’s an open book test — and He has already given us the answer.  Choose life!


*  Deut. 31:27, etc.

** Do NOT be fooled by the    (sunday – shuffle;   the Constantinian Con)  the fact that salvation is a free gift, and cannot be “earned”, does NOT in the LEAST mean that our Father does not expect those who love Him to be obedient to Him!  After all, given all that He has done for US, what is our “reasonable service”?  And, fer cryin’ out loud — “why do call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and not DO the things which I say?”  (Luke 6:46)

Now see here!

August 31st, 2011

“Behold!  [See!  Take a look!] I set before you today a blessing and a curse:
the blessing, THAT you obey the commandments of the YHVH your Elohim which I command you today;
and the curse, IF you do not obey the commandments of the YHVH your Elohim, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.”
  – Devarim (Deuteronomy) 11:26-27

If there is a single parsha, or weekly Torah portion, which exemplifies the differences between the movement of “Torah Observant Believers” in the Messiah Yahushua, and much of the mainstream ‘church’ — the 1700+ years of “tradition” which teaches that God somehow changed His mind and did away with His own Written Word — it is the one which begins with that admonition.  (“Re-eh”; Deut. 11:26 through 16:17).  These approximately four chapters literally encapsulate the heart of much of what Scripture says we are to “hear and obey”; things the Sunday church attempts to teach are “old”, no longer matter, and have been “nailed to the cross”.

Who will we choose to believe?  What we have “heard it said” by men that it should say, or what our Creator Himself Wrote down for us?  After all, what does “let God be true and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4) mean otherwise?

The essential message of most of Scripture is that we have a choice:  between “good or evil”, blessings or curses, and obedience or rebellion.  It boils down to, “Who do we serve?”  These parts of the Book of Deuteronomy repeat the same message literally over and over again (no doubt because He knows we are stiff-necked, and the message is important enough to repeat!) that we are to love Him…and that this literally means to keep His “commandments, statutes, and judgments”.  (See, among many examples, Deut. 10:12-13, 11:1, 11:13, 11:22 – and so on!)  Not because we can “earn” His love, or His salvation, certainly, but because that is exactly how He tells us to show our love for Him!

But chapters 11 through 13 of Deuteronomy make a particularly important point.  Our Creator literally hates idolatry.  Not only does He repeatedly forbid it in any form, liken it specifically to adultery, and tell us clearly that this is why He drove the various Canaanites out of the land which He then gave to His people (and later sent them again into exile for the very same crimes) — but He lays out some of the most specific, and most graphic instructions concerning idolatry in these chapters in all of His Word.  The evil pagan practices by which those people served their gods are abomination to Him:  “You shall NOT do so unto YHVH your Elohim.”  (Deut. 12:4)  And we are not even to risk being “snared” (v12:30) by inquiring how they served those evil ‘gods’, much less doing likewise, and thinking it somehow pleases Him.

Deuteronomy chapter 13, however, is so “politically-incorrect” that many state-licensed clergy simply don’t even want to touch it.  The reason is obvious, because it contradicts so much of what so many of them teach, in contradiction to Scripture.  It is also, I have found, one of the most obvious ‘stumbling blocks’ when it comes to many Torah-literate, observant Jews, who reject what they have been told about a “Jesus”, who “did away with the Law of Moses”.  Over the years, I have come to know many such who were literally astounded to hear that the Messiah I know, and who was witnessed by those who walked with Him, did NO SUCH THING. Instead, He said that not the smallest part of His instruction (torah) would pass away so long as “heaven and earth” still exists (Matt. 5:17-19, etc) and that those who did not believe Moses’ Writings would not believe His Words either.  (Luke 6:46).  The difference is stark…and it is Deuteronomy 13 which tells us why.  Had He done so, He could NOT have been the One of Whom Moses foretold!  Some, as Shaul (Paul) noted, literally preach “another Jesus“, which we “have not preached“.  His warnings in Gal. 1:6-10 echo those of this chapter.

And, no, we are in well-deserved exile, NOT in the land, and certainly not in a physical kingdom which claims Him as King.  So NO – neither I, nor anyone I know of has ever suggested stoning false prophets.  But we should certainly know better than to listen to them, much less follow them!  Our Savior called the scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites”  (and worse!) for making forbidden “additions” to His commandments and claiming their traditions were “law”, and then He literally died in their place — and ours.  But the principles outlined there are clear, and certainly should make those who preach that it’s somehow OK to “add to” or “subtract from” how YHVH specified He was to be worshiped, substituting pagan practices based on “gods” like Mithras or Ishtar, very nervous.  Those of us who diligently seek Him must turn away from such!

“…you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for YHVH your Elohim is testing you to know whether you love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul.”  (Deut. 13:3)

Most importantly, however, Moses told us how to know that the Messiah Who would come after him was the Real Deal, as opposed to “another Jesus”.  Yahushua Himself, when He fulfilled those promises, as well as those of YesheYahu (“Isaiah”, whose Hebrew name literally telegraphs the Savior’s Name!) and the other faithful servants of YHVH who told us of His coming, gave similar warnings.  Many would come in His Name, claiming His authority…and they would be liars.  (MatitYahu/Matt. 24:4-5, 11-12, etc.)  They are literally “without torah”, in that they deny His instruction,  by changing His Word.

We are entering into a time of increasingly great Deception, perhaps the greatest the world has ever seen.   Wars and rumors of wars are nothing new, and even “earthquakes in diverse places” are but “the beginning of sorrows”.  To my mind one of the greatest ironies is that a ‘church’ which so often claims to act in ‘love’ but then teaches lawlessness, and which has “added to” and “subtracted from” His Word for the better part of two millenia, is a large part of that deception.  Some such have no doubt “left thy first love.”   No wonder He says that “the love of many will wax cold”.

If we are to be ready to give account for what we believe, and testify to others who ask us about WHY we know that our Savior IS exactly Who He IS, it is imporant to “study”, to show ourselves approved, and rightly divide the Word of Truth.  It is impossible to mix the pagan with the ‘qadosh’ or set-apart (‘holy’), or the clean with the unclean, and still please Him.

In these brief and yet blunt chapters, Moses lays out the differences between what it means to worship the True Creator of the Universe and an imposter.  We can choose blessing or cursing.  His commands aren’t even burdensome (He says so!)…
…so long as we avoid the continuing temptation to twist them according to the vain traditions of man.   Just like the Son shows His love by obedience to the Father, so should we.

What could be simpler?  Yahushua put it this way, in perhaps the most succinct summary of what it means to “love Him” in Scripture:
“If you love Me, keep my commands.”  (Yahuchanon/John 14:15)

Torah portion “Re-eh” from Shabbat Shalom Longmont

August 29th, 2011

Attached below is the Erev Shabbat (Friday evening) teaching from the services at Shabbat Shalom Longmont in Longmont, Colorado, on 26 August, 2011.


This is Mark Call discussing the parsha called (in the Hebrew) “Re-eh”, from Deuteronomy (Debarim) 11:26 through 16:17.    It really could be considered a “Torah 101” introduction to what it is that DISTINGUISHES a “first century” understanding of followers of the MessiahYahushua from what could be called ‘modern christianity’.


SSL Re-eh – teaching part 1

SSL Re-eh – teaching part 2

SSL Re-eh – teaching part 3

Ekev – teaching from TalkingTorah, and news

August 20th, 2011

The most recent Torah portion teaching from the TalkingTorah (Paltalk) fellowship is “Ekev”, from Deuteronomy chapters 7 through 11:


The Thursday, 18 August, 2011 edition of “Come out of her, My people”, is:

CooH, 8-18-11

And the Friday news shows:

Drive Time Friday

Mark Call News


Most recent audio updates – Torah portion ‘Vaetchanon’ and the news

August 15th, 2011

Looking at the news, I contend that it is hard to deny what is happening.   “Lawlessness” (or “torah-less-ness”) abounds, and the demise of the unconstitutional, full-fiat, dishonest weight/measure that the Bible repeatedly calls “abomination” obviously draws closer by the day.

Here are links to the two most recent news podcasts (aired live weekdays on Hebrew Nation Radio)…

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Monday, 15 August, 2011  (the 40th anniversary of a day that SHOULD live in infamy)


This is the regular link to the weekly “Talking Torah” teachings, by first Jeff Gilbert, then Mark Call, via WayToZion:



And finally, here is Friday’s “Drive Time Friday” show for August 12, again with Jeff and Mark:

DTF – 8/12/11


Marriage, Divorce, Vows, and Authority

August 5th, 2011

I have long contended that a proper understanding of marriage, and why it is that the western world – or the “greater Babylonian Metropolitan Area” at least – is such an incredible mess, is obvious from any even remotely honest examination of Scripture.  We literally call “good”, evil, and “evil”, good.  What He clearly calls “abomination“, government now “licenses”.   And what the Word allows, Caesar’s government, and its incorporated tax-exempt faith-based ‘church’, all too often forbids.

The Word of YHVH is simply not “politically correct”.

This, too, should not surprise us.  After all, our Savior warned us that the “world will hate you for My sake“.  The blessings, and the curses, described in Deuteronomy chapters 28 through 30 are impossible to deny – for those that have “eyes to see”.

But it is perhaps because marriage, as ordained and instructed by YHVH, is so utterly fundamental to an understanding of His intended relationship with US,  that it is a major battleground in the so-called “culture war”.    His instruction (‘torah’) about marriage is attacked by the Adversary, and truly hated by modern post-Biblical Babylon.  How DARE the Designer Himself actually come right out and say clearly that “male and female He created them” — and that we are “perfect” or “complete” (from the root ‘tamim/tamam’ in the Hebrew) for the purposes that He made us!  We must not confuse what it means to be equally “blessed and beloved of Yah” with the popular notion that men and women are somehow “equal”.

Most who have heard me talk or teach about ‘law’, or the Constitution for the once-united States, or Exodus 21 and what it means for a master to give his slave a wife, know that I eschewed licensing of marriage — even long before the ‘state of New York’ put yet another exclamation point on the argument this month.   Perhaps even more vital, however, and even MORE politically-INcorrect, to an understanding of marriage, I contend, is the nature of vows, and authority, outlined for a house which puts Him as its head in Numbers chapter 30.  Those who are, or ever intend to be, husbands, or wives, should read and study it carefully.  It is not only about ‘vows’, but about authority, in accord with His Word and will.

Summarized, and admittedly over-simplified, it boils down to, “Men – do all that you SAY you will do”.  And “women, if you are under the authority of a father, or later a husband, who ‘covers’ you in accord with that provision – be thankful.”  For while you, too, are accountable to do as you vow to do, there is a layer of protection for you in the covering of that head of your house:  If you make a rash vow, and he nullifies it when he hears it, HE “bears your guilt”.  (And all of this helps explain as well why the Savior advises us all to be VERY careful about vows, and let our “yes be yes”, and our “no be no”.)

This aspect of the Torah may in fact be one of the few examples I can think of where a well-known tradition of men – at least “once upon a time” – actually teaches the principle in Scripture correctly.*  Not only that, but it demonstrates as well how, properly understood, EVERY aspect of His “teaching and instruction” fits together like a glove.   Proper authority, and usurpation; marriage, covenant, and divorce; adultery, idolatry, and the process for “putting away” — all are consistent with His Word as Written, when we understand His ‘torah’!

Do you remember the phrase which was often traditionally used in marriage ceremonies, just before the time when a father walks his daughter down the aisle and to the groom at the altar?

“Who gives this woman to be wed?”

This tradition traces directly to Numbers 30 and the explicit authority of a man over the vows of his wives and daughters. Since a man may void, or cast down, the vows of his daughter while she is under his authority, it makes sense that a transfer of such authority would be expressly  observed.  The wife-to-be has accepted the offer of marriage from her eventual ‘covering’, and so does her father.

This tradition shows that a father is surrendering his God-given authority over his daughter, and her vows, to her new husband.  This is, I suggest, part of the reason why Scripture is so specific, in so many places, about marriage, sexuality, and that covenant union.

Now I ask the next question:

What then is a certificate of divorce?  As outlined by God in Deuteronomy 24:1-3, it is an explicit, necessary part of the proper and complete process for lawfully sending a wife out of his house – so that she is no longer under the former husband’s covering – and may thus remarry.

Is it not yet another explicit transfer of authority? A woman who has been lawfully and completely “put away” is now responsible for HER OWN vows, and has no husband in headship over her. With such a certificate, as a believer, she is eligible for remarriage; without it, she is not – and is guilty of adultery for joining with any other man while her husband yet lives.**

Likewise, if that husband puts her away unlawfully, then HE, as her covering, is guilty of the adultery that he has ’caused her’ to commit (as Matthew 5:32, properly translated, makes clear).  But otherwise, his giving to her of a ‘certificate of divorce’ is a written, second witness that she is eligible to be remarried.  (She, of course, is a witness as well.)

Consider who has thus taken authority, and responsibility, for making the vow void.   “Who gives this woman to be wed?”

If she was ever married, her certificate of divorce is lawful written proof that her former husband did!  Indeed, as Numbers 30:15 confirms, he “bears her guilt” for that vow as well.

It is important that each of us understand why Scripture says that “death and life” are in the “power of the tongue”.  We must learn to guard what we say, and do according to all that we say we will.  To make vows is serious, to break them even more so.  But Who we “submit ourselves to obey” – and thus serve – is just as important.  We must know and respect His delegation of proper authority, in accord with His instruction.

*  Most, of course, will recognize that the line I quoted has since been corrupted by ‘egalitarianism’!

**  Note one other important thing, as both Numbers 30:15, Matthew 5:32, and many others make clear.  If a husband puts away his wife treacherously, then HE bears her guilt.  He “causes her” to commit adultery!


Latest “Come out of her, My people” Show and Torah session

July 31st, 2011

This week’s “Come out of her” Show dealt with the subject of vows, marriage, and what that has to do with our choices concerning what passes for “Law” in post-Constitutional Amerika:

Come out of her, My people for 28 July, 2011

(There is an iPod version and media player here as well.)

Talking Torah – Torah portion – Massei