Posts Tagged ‘servant’

“Devarim”– teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa teaches the first parsha from the Book of Devarim/Deuteronomy this week, parsha “Devarim”.

The Erev Shabbat overview teaching starts with why these really are THE WORDS that still so much matter to all of us that want to be part of “kol Israel,” and called by His Name.

SSM Devarim 2017

The Sabbath Day teaching begins by noting that Deuteronomy is just plain DIFFERENT from all the other Books in the Torah. And so is this teaching. Admittedly, it’s a bit like drinking from a fire hose, but ‘the Words’ that begin here explain why ‘the World’ so hates them!

Warning: Again, Mark pulls no punches. If we need to explain WHY it’s so important to “come out of” the Whore Church, we must speak the truth “boldly,” as we ought to!

Devarim – Heaven and Earth – and the Biggest Lie of ALL”

Torah portion “Chayei Sarah” teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Join Mark Call for two teachings on this week’s Torah portion, “Chayei Sarah” (Genesis chapters 23 through 25:18).

During the Erev Shabbat teaching, (Friday evening) Mark covers the story which begins with the death of Sarah, but might also be called a short course, ‘Torah on Contracts 101’.

SSM Chayei Sarah 2014

The longer teaching from Shabbat again delves more specifically into how our understanding – or lack thereof – of what the Bible teaches about everything from contracts to servanthood reflects directly on the sorry state of “law” and “justice”. Perhaps plagues is a better word…

TT Cooh ‘Torah on Contracts 101 – and the state of ‘law’ today

Back Into Bondage

Friday, February 8th, 2013

The months leading up to the time of Pesach, or Passover, are traditionally a time for the study of the Exodus.  YHVH selected Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Mitzraim (Egypt), following a series of plagues and numerous miracles, most famously the parting of the Sea of Reeds.  It is a story of bondage, and of deliverance.  It is a story that has FAR more to do with the world today than many people would be willing to believe.

The early part of the story includes the ten plagues visited upon those who held Israel in bondage, and — among other things — amounts to a judgment against the many false ‘gods’ (“mighty ones” or elohim) of that land.  This author is not alone in suggesting that when the ‘end times’ great regathering plays out, it, too, will include plagues directed at more modern idols, arguably including at a minimum dishonest ‘money’ (the false god in whom we trust INSTEAD of Him) and perhaps some of the idols pushed by Hollywood.  But it is the question of slavery itself, or bondage to “another master” that is so important to understand today.  And it is the striking contrast to the story of that first Exodus that so illustrates the principles.

Many people have noted that the process of redeeming the people who were freed from Egyptian slavery can be divided primarily into two major phases:  the physical escape from bondage, and the arguably more, and certainly longer, process of overcoming the “slave mentality”.  After getting the children of Israel out of Egypt, in other words, it was necessary to complete the process by getting Egypt out of them.

It is the “slave mentality” that is crucial to subjecting  a people into bondage, and is most pernicious — as Scripture makes so clear — to “come out of”.

The key distinction to be made in that story, and indeed in all of Scripture, seems to rest on the character of the Creator YHVH Himself.  He is a Keeper of Covenant, an Almighty Who honors His Covenants, keeps His promises, and ultimately has SHOWN Himself to be trustworthy.  Pharoah, on the other hand, is the archetype of the alternative:  a mere man with an inflated opinion of himself, who THINKS he is a ‘god,’ does not know or care to know YHVH (Ex. 5:2) — and will not heed correction.  For a time he “hardens his [own] heart” to Moses’ demands to “let My people go,” but eventually it is too late, the die is cast, and YHVH hardens it for him as he goes to his own destruction down the road he has chosen.  YHVH uses him as the primary example of a false god, evil slave master, and failed king — so that our choice will be clear.  At the same time — continually, and repeatedly — that He shows Israel Who He Is (“ani YHVH!” –  “I am that I AM“) He [   ] the alternative.  “I will get Me honor upon Pharaoh”  (Ex. 14:4) and even the Egyptians shall know that “I AM YHVH.”  Pharaoh and all who served him were destroyed by the same waters through which the children of Israel were delivered into freedom, and (Ex. 14:31) they feared YHVH, and believed Him.

The common refrain of Scripture is CHOOSE:  Who we will serve.  Life and blessing, as opposed to death and cursing.  And WHICH Master!  The One Who keeps His Covenant, or the ‘prince of this world’, and those who serve him, whether they are called Pharaoh, Caesar, Emperor, Czar, king,  Premier, Chief Executive, Dictator, Fuhrer, or Commander.  Ultimately, as the Messiah tells us (Matthew 6:24 et al) we cannot and must not serve both.

The story of the Exodus is the story of YHVH, “by His mighty hand,” bringing His people OUT of bondage to Pharaoh, first by removing them from that place of bondage, and then delivering them from the attitude of bondage, as they learned to serve Him, and obey His Instruction, including His “statutes, judgments, and commandments.”  The story of the world, today, however, is a stark contrast, as people who once claimed to be His are deceived BACK into bondage.

We have truly “inherited lies from our fathers.”  If, as the ‘church’ has preached for centuries, the “law is done away with” — then why should we be surprised when governments of man ignore the “Supreme Law of the Land,” and treat what were once called “God-given Rights” as mere privileges, subject to revocation at the whim of the new master?  When ever-increasing “terror threats” justify treating once-free people like convicted criminals, they are no longer free.  When “due process” is no longer due, “citizens” are conditioned to servitude.  When police and federal ‘officers’  become “enforcers” rather than public servants, the conditioning to servitude continues.  When ‘the law’ becomes a tool for subjugation rather than the foundation for justice, that process is nearly complete.

When disarmed, helpless people are huddled together in what could better be described as “indoctrination centers” than educational institutions, why are we surprised that pharma-psychotic killers seek them out as killing fields full of easy prey?  And that the expected “solution” is always “more of the same” thing which helped foment the problem?  The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was ousted from the scene long ago, replaced by the god(s) of this world.   What are the slaves told to expect?  More prescribed drugs, more “Laws” that violate the Real Law, more control, and more power and glory to Pharaoh.

Thus says YHVH: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm [strength]; whose heart departs from YHVH.   (Jeremiah/YermeYahu 17:5)

Just as Pharaoh’s magicians claimed to be able to mimic the initial plagues of YHVH, and managed to bring forth even MORE frogs (as if that was somehow an answer to the problem!) — so today do the magicians and banksters and politicians manage to bring forth more plagues of drugs, and violence, and dishonest money.  And the burdens of the once-free slaves increase.  Rather than being delivered FROM a slave mentality, the world and those in and of it are being conditioned more and more INTO a slave mentality.  In the formerly United States, for example, sacrosanct God-given Rights like freedom of assembly, speech, privacy, and self-protection are being methodically regulated, registered, taxed, and prohibited.  Even the Right to own private property is being systematically eliminated – ironically by “infringing” first on the ONE type of private property (“arms”, or military and defense weapons)  which was EXPLICITLY protected by the Bill of Rights!  If the Law protecting property singled out for protection can be so completely ignored, just what is left that CANNOT be denied to such people?  Slaves cannot claim to own property.

Perhaps worse still, not only are “Rights” once said to come from a God that is no longer welcome in Government, its schools, and its courts being ignored (even while politicians swear an OATH before Him) but the only ‘rights’ that DO seem to matter are things YHVH Himself calls abomination:  “Our journey is not complete until our gay [sic – homosexual] brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” said the ostensible king of the Amerikan Democracy, as he took the Creator of the Universe to task for not understanding “love”.  It would appear that the only “rights” which will soon remain include things YHVH calls “abomination” — the ‘right’ of a man to be licensed by Pharaoh to “lie with a man as with a woman”, and the ‘right’ of a woman to commit murder of a baby at least up until the moment of birth.  (The irony of that lie was revealed in a recent address by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who claimed recently that a woman must have the ability to abort a baby, “because it’s her body, her choice,” although in that same state she is NOT allowed to say “No!” to a demand for a “stop and frisk” warrant-less search, or to a grope or X-ray at a subway station or airport, or to a rapist with a handgun.  Some “choice”.  Who’s body was it again, Gov?)

Slaves don’t have Rights from God, they have privileges, granted on the whim of their earthly master.  As people turn away from God, and seek instead the “protection” of ‘elohim’ like Presidents and Pharaohs, they are being led back INTO bondage, back INTO a slave mentality.  As has been seen so clearly are repeatedly of late, “evil” is being called good, exactly as prophesied, and “because lawlessness (‘torah-less-ness’) shall abound, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12)

YHVH led the children of Israel out of Egypt via “the long way” home, because He knew that they would encounter trials, and testing, and would look for the easy way out — which is to return to bondage.  For most of the world today, the “easy road” leads directly to slavery, in the form of that “other master.”  Politicians, and police, and even preachers claim to believe “in” the law, whether it is God’s, or man, but then don’t DO what it says, much less what He says!  “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”  (Luke 6:46)

Sadly, that applies to the people who might like to be “called by His Name” as well.  They claim to believe “IN God” – but then don’t actually BELIEVE Him!  That is NOT GOOD ENOUGH, because, “even the demons believe!”  (Yakov/James 2:19)

By now, it is becoming impossible to deny that difficult times lie ahead, for the whole world.  Economic collapse is clearly in progress, and the abominations of dishonest fiat money, like the Almighty Dollar, the “world reserve currency,” are being destroyed.  The erstwhile slave masters of that world seek to consolidate their control over the masses before those people realize the degree to which they have already been enslaved, and before they can choose en masse to “come out of her,” and perhaps avoid the plagues which lie dead ahead.  The propaganda, the indoctrination, the deception, and ultimately the coercion to submit — again! — to Pharaoh and to the world system will continue accelerate.  Slavery follows, and those who have been properly conditioned will come to understand why they must submit to his ‘mark’ if they want to be able to buy or sell, or even keep property they once thought they owned.

For those who seek to serve YHVH, and obey “Him alone,” the choice has never been clearer, more stark, and — by design — more difficult.  The “easy road” leads back into bondage, while the longer road that He has for us will truly take us home.  We can choose to truly believe Him, and thus obey Him, and trust Him, or trust in the lies, because those whom He has made free will be “free indeed.”   It is not enough to believe IN Him.  If we believe that He IS Who He says He is, we must DO what our real Master says as well.

Bo!

Monday, January 21st, 2013

I have perhaps been remiss at posting links to the many audio teachings, news shows, and podcasts that I do each week, largely because I tend to assume that by now most regular listeners and readers will be familiar with where they can be found and downloaded.

(The ‘Audio:  Radio Shows’ page link at the upper right corner of the webpage gives those details.)

LINKS

 

The most recent Torah portion (or “parsha”) for this week should be of special interest, however.  Both Jeff Gilbert and I consider “Bo”  (from Exodus chapters 10 through 13) to be one of the most critical in Scripture to understanding the rest.  And in this week’s recording, we both focused on very different, but very much related, aspects of the lesson Scripture has for us — not only in terms of what lies “way ahead”, but what is unfolding now.

Take a listen here:

Bo teaching   —  19 January, 2013

 

A genuine choice – to “come out of her”

Monday, September 24th, 2012

 

The “Torah Made Flesh” told us on more than one occasion – and in more than one way – that we could not serve “two masters”.  Shaul (Paul) took up the same theme, and added a bit more directly Torah-based midrash, when he observed that “you are his servant whom you submit yourself to obey” (Romans 6:16)

Given the current hype surrounding the “most important election EVER,”  (aren’t they ALWAYS?) this may be a good time to review the issue of the “choice” again being presented to ‘registered voters’ as to which servant of the prince of this world they would rather have “rule over them”.   All over the world, people have been deluded into thinking that “democracy”  (a form of government which was NEVER consistent with, for example, the Constitution for the united States, and which the Founders uniformly rejected and railed against) is something OTHER than “mob rule” or “mob-ocracy”.  In the absence of legal protections against the inevitable (like the long-forgotten Bill of Rights), such a “demon-ocracy” generally degrades quickly into a state where 51%  of people exercise dictatorial control over the lives, liberty, and property of the other 49%.

I have written many times about the fact that, while Scripture cites several examples of things which look a bit like “popular votes” which nevertheless, shall we say, didn’t work out so well…the converse is not true:  usually the masses seem to make the wrong choice, and reject Him.  The story of I Samuel in chapter 8 may be among the best examples, where the people of Israel told the prophet to “give us a king like all the other nations”.   Scripture tells us (I Sam. 8:7) that YHVH even told the prophet to listen to them, “for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.”

In spite of additional warnings (which, by the way, sound a heck of a LOT like what Amerikans, and indeed the denizens of most slave states in the world, can see out their own windows) the people persisted.  And the king they got was Saul.

The “End of the Book” (Rev. 18:4) tells us as well that there will come a time when we are to “come out of her”  so as to NOT participate with the sins of “the Whore,” and so that we do not, as a result, partake of the coming, and now-increasingly obvious, “plagues”.   Other admonitions, like “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,” and even “touch not the unclean thing” make a similar point.

People are being fed a lie:  that to refuse to participate in a corrupt, unlawful, and unBiblical process somehow means one should not only have no right to complain (after all, the Freedom of Speech has ALREADY been revoked.  Just look at the so-called “free speech zones” set up well AWAY from the most recent RNC sham.  Not only was the only remaining alternative candidate muzzled and not permitted to speak, or even have his name placed in nomination — in SPITE of the “rules” — but elected delegates were unseated and coerced via the not-subtle threat of arrest and a nearby gulag especially set up for the purpose!)  The opposite is in fact true.  It is those who AGREE to abide by the outcome of a process they choose to participate in who must bear the consequences of their folly.  One could in fact say, as the Bible does, that people who should have known better, “have their reward.”

While the Book of Job is perhaps one of the most difficult in all of Scripture for most people raised as Christians to understand, because it seems to demonstrate that YHVH, who created EVERYTHING, thus permitted “evil” as well as “good” — it also has some of the most poignant lessons for us today.  “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me.”  (Job 3:25)  In order for the choice to love and obey Him to be a real one, the alternative, too, must be a real choice.  Unless the choice to walk in rebellion to Him is genuine, a “choice” to follow Him is as meaningless and hollow as the “choice” facing Soviet citizens under Stalin, or post-Constitutional Amerikans.

Our “savior”  DID not, and will not, come from Washington, DC…or Shanghai…or Moscow, Brussels, London, or the Hague…in spite of what politicians, pundits, and the world’s ‘priests of another god’ would like us to believe.

The Declaration of Independence asserts that lawful government rests on the “consent of the governed”.   When the Founders served lawful notice to the world, and appealed to God as the “Supreme Judge of the world” that they would not submit to a “tyrant” who sought to reduce them to despotism — they literally withdrew their consent from that “other master” who was acting contrary to the Creator.

Wherever we live in the world, we face a similar choice today.  As the fiat economies based on the abomination of “dishonest weights and measures” collapse, and hunger, pestilence, and even famine, spread, the Rule of Law will continue to deteriorate.  The “jackboots” of a worldwide police state, already painfully obvious, will continue to advance as the move to a “mark” without which no one will be allowed to “buy or sell” accelerates.

Given a ‘choice’ in opposition to Him, and His Written Word, we must learn to say, “No!”  A choice between evils is no choice at all:
“You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.”  (Exodus 23:2)

The real choice was the one expressed by Joshua (24:15):
And if it seems evil to you to serve YHVH, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…
But as for me and my house, we will serve YHVH.”

Should we fail to understand the choice before us, however, the warning from Samuel is just as poignant today as it was when He first proclaimed it:

“And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and YHVH will not hear you in that day!”

The time to ‘come out of her’ is while we still have a real choice to make!

Is Paul a TARE?

Friday, March 9th, 2012
People who are beginning to understand what it means to “come out of her” — particularly when it comes to the lies we have “inherited from our fathers” in paganized Xtianity — tend to have mixed, often contradictory, and sometimes even downright volatile reactions when it comes to Shaul, or Paul, the author of so many letters in the Bible.Some churches seem to believe that the only still-valid True Scripture begins with the Book of Romans. (Well, with perhaps PART of the stories of “Acts”, provided that one doesn’t read too much into the problematic parts that deal with hearing Moses read in the synagogues).  And if that means most of the “old” testament has been “done away with”, so much the better; as if Paul overrides the Word of his own self-described Savior and Master.  Others have careened into the opposite ditch, and contend that he was teaching a whole new religion, whether for good or for ill.  But among some of those who have begun to realize just how pervasive the lies we have inherited have become, there is yet another formulation of that Grand Deception:  “Paul was a TARE!” You know, planted to spoil the crop.

I contend that Shaul was simply a consummate Torah scholar, who — following his revelation on the “road to Damascus” — realized that there was a BIG difference between what was “Written”, in the Torah, Writings, and Prophets (in other words, all that was then known as “Scripture”) and what HE HIMSELF had been taught from the “traditions of the elders”.  He realized that man’s traditions, even when they are CALLED “law”, are not the same as the Torah of YHVH.

Not long ago, I had an email exchange with a friend whose concerns may sound familiar to others who have wrestled with the question of whether Paul was a “tare”, who rewrote Scripture, or has just been “twisted”:

Dear Mark,

You recent articles suggest to me that most “Christians” have been brought up in a “Church” which teaches an insidious lie:
“the Law has been done away with.”

I wholeheartedly agree:  Pew warmers are following Paul instead of Jesus, because “cheap grace” is being taught.

Unfortunately, most Xtians will not believe it, because Paul admonished his followers not to believe “another gospel” if it differs from what Paul was preaching.

Paul and his words remain as tares, so intertwined with the real gospels by chosen disciples and what Christians have been taught for so long, that pulling out the ‘tares’ would remove most of the NT, and shatter lukewarm, misguided mainstream Xtianity and faith in God.

Paul was NOT a chosen disciple and his message of FREE GRACE is in direct opposition to what Jesus actually said!

Paul’s biggest deception was his teaching that because Jesus ‘finished’ everything on the cross, we (as believers) can safely disregard not only the Law that governs Jews, but also, that we can disregard the celebration of festivals, Jewish traditions and customs, as practiced and taught by the Pharisees, FOR Jews.

On the other hand, maybe that would be the BEST thing that has happened in the last 2,000 years or so — exposing the false gospel of Paul in the NT… separating the ‘wheat from the chaff’.

A number of articles from a ministry purporting to teach “Jesus’ words only” were attached.  Since space does not permit a complete response to all of those, I’ll just try to summarize a few points that those confronted with similar questions might find valuable.  And since I usually start with the warning of II Kefa (Peter) 3:15-16 about how Paul could be “twisted”, I won’t repeat that again here (yet, anyway!)

Remember that when we deal with individuals, as individuals, we have an advantage over those of us who write articles, or teach on the radio, or speak in local fellowships.  We can be ready, “in season and out“, to respond to the specific, individual concerns of those who ask about our faith.


Hi… (I responded
)

I actually DID believe that myself for quite some time…that Paul was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, to use another metaphor.  And I really don’t have a huge problem with that thesis; it’s easier for most ‘evangelicals’ to understand than the alternative…which is to study Torah to the extent that Shaul did, “for themselves,” and realize that he in fact IS teaching consistently what YHVH (and the Word Made Flesh) instructed.  BUT, he is TOTALLY at odds with the so-called “Law” taught by the Pharisees.  (This is what really distinguishes the “Law for Jews” from the INSTRUCTION of YHVH for ALL of us!)

Remember that Yahushua roundly condemned them as the “Hypocrites!” they were in places like Matityahu/Matt 23.

Later Popes did the same thing, but with their own, different, substitutions..on everything from YHVH’s “appointed times”, and Sabbaths, to food, to marriage.

And it’s not really about defending Paul; he was a teacher, perhaps even a particularly good one, but arguably a bit too “deep” for most people…particularly those who, centuries later, didn’t have a CLUE about the DIFFERENCES he was pointing out.

(Think about this, I added later:  Within only about four centuries after the Most Important Sacrifice in all Human History, the Pesach (Passover) had been not only perverted but actually RENAMED after a Greco-Roman “goddess”.  If Satan had convinced people that the “old Law” was legalistic, done away with, and burdensome; that, INSTEAD, they should celebrate pagan “holidays” named after false ‘gods’ like Ishtar/Easter by eating things God said were ‘not food’, like pig…are we getting pretty close to “calling good, evil, and vice-versa?  And if they can twist the Words of Yahushua Himself, what chance does a poor sap like “Paul” have?  😉

This is my criticism for those who understand part of the problem, but miss the bigger point — and blame “Paul” for the mistranslation and distortion of his teachings, rather than the “blind guides” and “sons of vipers” who twist him (“as they do the rest of Scripture”) to their own destruction.  (There!  Finally, II Kefa [Peter] 3:15-16.)

There is MUCH more than can be said.  But, a series of examples may be the easiest summary of the issues.

Example #1:

Shaul NEVER said that TORAH (the word he really used – not ‘nomos’) is done away with; just that we can’t earn something that YHVH the Father gave us.  Because he was the ‘consummate Torah scholar’, he probably focused too much on subtle details for some; after all, those who don’t understand the “old” Writings as well as he did will miss many of his continual references.  How can one follow his logic, built on the FOUNDATION of YHVH’s Torah, and then claim that the foundation itself doesn’t apply?

But Yahushua put it far more simply:
“IF you love Me, keep My commandments.”  Which?  ALL of ’em, of course! He didn’t change “one yod or tittle“.

Ultimately, that’s why I sometimes distinguish between Shaul and Paul, and between Yahushua and “Jesus”: to make that distinction as clear as possible.   If “Jesus” had really “done away with the Law”  (or “nailed it to his cross”; check the actual wording!) He would have been a liar, and a “false messiah” – just as He pointed out, and warned us about.

In both cases, fallen teachers and false prophets have set up “straw men” who teach something very different from what BOTH Shaul and his Master actually point out “is Written“!

Example #2:  “Did Paul abolish the Sabbath?”

Paul said anyone in Christ’s movement did not have to follow the Sabbath any longer.  He wrote in Colossians 2:16-17:Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

This, I contend, is one of the most often-twisted, and important, distinctions that Shaul makes!

Even the Roman Catholic Church admits that there is NO place in Scripture where YHVH’s Sabbath is changed to “Sunday”.  They are PROUD to have done it on their own claimed authority!  (See John Cardinal Gibbons, Archdiocese of Baltimore; prominent, among many.)  So, I will submit up front that this verse has not only been taken out of context, but literally turned upside-down.  Good is being called ‘evil’.

But before I return to the verse, let me ask a question.  TO WHOM WAS SHAUL WRITING the letter?   Of course, it was the new believers at Colossae.  But the key is the history and context.  They were former PAGANS (perhaps from the ‘lost ten tribes,’ perhaps not — but ultimately they were being “grafted in”) who are still living in a very pagan world, and subject to pressure from their families, friends, and business associates.  They wanted to TURN (‘tshuvah’ in the Hebrew, translated as “repent”, but it literally means “TURN around”; you’re goin’ the wrong way!) away from pagan ‘gods’, from pagan “holy days”, and from pagan ‘meat’ and ‘food’!   They were being persecuted for keeping the Sabbaths of YHVH, and rejecting the “holy days” of the pagan world they lived in!

ANY “torah-observant” follower of Yahushua would know immediately what Shaul was talking about.  But the ‘church’ which DENIES the very Foundation of Scripture, the Written ‘instruction’ of YHVH Himself, and His “Torah Made Flesh” has a problem!  For 1700 years, they have obfuscated the difference between His Word and THEIR “law”…because they have “added to” and “subtracted from” it, just as the Pharisees and “hypocrites” throughout history have done.  And they have for centuries done EXACTLY what Shaul warned about — persecuted, even killed, those who reject their PAGAN “holy days” and false “sabbaths” and instead keep the Appointed Times of YHVH!  (A reading of the sordid truth of this aspect of ‘church’ history may well shock and horrify you.)  Now, take a look again:

“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths…”

In proper context, this one is almost funny today!  Those of us who have “come out of” a paganized church can relate to exactly what Shaul was saying!   “WHY won’t you eat pork?  Or shellfish?”

“What is WRONG with you?  You don’t celebrate EASTER!”

(You mean, why do we do as YHVH commanded – and object to a pagan spring fertility goddess sunrise ritual, incorporating elements of child sacrifice and fertility symbols?  Why do we keep His Pesach [Passover] — which He repeatedly said to keep “forever” — instead of a different day and date?  And why would anyone who worships Him, and “Him alone” object to the re-naming of the most important event in human history after a pagan goddess?)     …”have some Easter ham…”

And think about the example of the seven day week!  Almost every culture in the world uses it – almost like it was “from the Beginning”!  Many other languages, like Spanish (“Sabado”), still retain the meaning of the Sabbath (seventh) day in their names.

And there is more support for this point, from the same letter.
“Be careful that you do not let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, and after the elements of the world, and not after our Beloved King.”    (Col. 2:8;  Original Scriptures Edition 1.  Verses 20-22 bring home the same point.)

Paul was NOT ‘abolishing the Sabbath’! He was offering comfort to those who faced persecution from their pagan communities when THEY wanted to return to following YHVH and His Torah!

Yahushua even said “the world will hate you for My sake.”  Sometimes, the world hates Paul, too.  He had a tough job: trying to teach those who did not yet KNOW Torah what the “Word Made Flesh” Himself had said, and done.

And as more people come to an understanding of that Truth, and the fact that YermeYahu (Jeremiah) was right…we HAVE inherited lies!…some may well even be angry about it.  Like Shaul, if we are to be “good and faithful servants” of the Most High, we need to be able to lead His “lost sheep” back to Him.

 

In the Name of…

Tuesday, 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!”

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** 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.

Choice of Law

Monday, April 11th, 2011

One of the most important concepts in Scripture is that of choice. We are free to choose to either love our Creator, or reject Him. To obey Him or rebel against Him. And there are consequences, of course, for all of the decisions we make.

These, too, are outlined in the Torah. Deuteronomy/Bemidbar 30 says, “…I have laid before you this day life and blessing, or death and cursing. Therefore choose life, that you and your descendants might live.” Yes, one could say that such a choice is in fact a test, but it is an “open Book” test! Both His requirements, and their consequences, are clearly laid out for us.

Those who have begun to return to an honest study of Scripture as Written (as opposed to what we have “heard it said” it might mean) — those who, like the Bereans, study for themselves — are increasingly realizing that it is not enough just to pay lip service to Him, to claim “I love Him,” but then not to do what He says. After all, Yahuchanon (John) 14:15 says so clearly, “If you love Me, keep My commands.” What those who “preach another Jesus” evidently do not understand is that our choice to follow Him and obey Him must include that related choice to “do what He says” as well, since (Luke 6:46, I John 2:4, Matthew) we are neither liars, nor ignorant of Him.

What is so important to understand is that this choice works both ways. We cannot claim that we “know Him”, or “love Him”, or much less that we FOLLOW Him if we will not keep His commands, His “teaching and instruction”. In legal terminology, is called making a “choice of law,” and it is an interesting example of one of those rare cases where the definition that even a lawyer would understand is utterly consistent with Scripture. It is exactly what our Savior teaches over and over again, via so many examples, in so many different ways. When we choose a Master, we must also accept the rules for His house. And when rebel, by choosing instead a DIFFERENT set of rules, we should know that He may exile us from the house — as Scripture also makes so clear!

I suspect most readers here can think of a dozen examples from Scripture of the same concept — from Yahoshua’s (Joshua’s) famous statement, to Eliyahu (Elijah) and the admonition to serve either YHVH or Baal, to Yahushua the Messiah’s teachings that we cannot serve two Masters. But what is perhaps surprising to most people living in “post-Constitutional” Amerika is that the choice there is just as stark, but it is “hidden in plain sight”, like it is in almost all of “the world” today. We can, and indeed, HAVE for the most part, “traded our birthright for a cup of pottage.”

Do you wonder why certain protections, once written into the Bill of Rights as inviolable prohibitions on the central government (things like the Right to ‘keep and bear arms’, or freedom of worship, or assembly, or speech; never MIND illegal searches if you try to travel!) simply no longer seem to apply to “Caesar’s property”?

Do you wonder why the “common law” specified in the Constitution has been replaced for most “persons” by the “Uniform Commercial Code”?

Do you wonder why the Constitution literally prohibits paper “money”, and specifies that “no thing but gold and silver” coin may be made into “tender”, but the world’s reserve currency is now a dishonest ‘fiat’ currency that YHVH Himself calls an “abomination”?

Every word in quotations in those questions above is a specific legal term, and they are associated with a “choice of Law.” Every word has a specific meaning in “law”, as defined by legal dictionaries like Black‘s or Bouvier’s, and they may be quite different from what “non-lawyers THINK they mean, or common dictionaries like Webster’s proclaim! There is a reason that we are warned against the deception of the Adversary, and the fact that he twists the meaning of words to his own ends.

When we choose Who we serve – we make a “choice of law”. His…or something else. And the converse is true as well! To reject His Truth, and walk in rebellion to Him, is to chose “torah-less-ness”, or lawlessness”.

YHVH promises blessings to those who keep His commandments, while Caesar offers “benefits” to his servants. Do not be fooled by any apparent resemblance. And is the “law done away with,” as so many of those state-licensed ‘churches’ try to claim? Our True Savior says otherwise, since “heaven and earth” still seem to exist, and not so much as one “yod or tiddle” will pass otherwise.

What confuses many is the fact that we truly DO have such a choice, and it is stark. If the “Law of the Land” in America is – or was – the Constitution, based in turn on the principles of Scripture, then what happened to it? The simple answer is that our fruit reveals our “choice of law”, as do the explicit contracts, agreements, and vows that we make. Choose this day Whom you will serve. Choose carefully.

All “slavery” is not equal!

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Most of us who have been around the “Hebrew Roots movement” for very long , or who may refer to ourselves as some variant of “Torah-observant believers”,  have heard a sordid collection of arguments all too often trotted out to demonstrate our folly.  Those who long to show us that all such “Old” stuff in the Bible has been “done away with” – or “nailed to the cross” — have several favorite examples of Scriptures to “wrest” out of context in order to claim that such a “God” was not only wrong, but Politically Incorrect.  Among the clear favorites of the scoffers is what they call His approval of “slavery”.

After all, in our enlightened, egalitarian, “modern” world, society has now clearly “evolved” FAR beyond whatever some ancient Writings claim that an allegedly “angry”, “jealous”, and — horror of horrors — “patriarchal” YHVH may have once said.  And, of course, if He was wrong about such important things as supporting slavery, and the presumed “inferiority” of women by daring to create us “male and female”, with bodies suited to fulfill the roles He designed us for as well…why would ANYONE believe Him?  The logical conclusion is to wonder just how much of His “Law” is left which DOES still apply?

So, it is important that we be able to debunk — roundly, unequivocally, and directly from Scripture — any and all such claims.

And since marriage and sexuality is easily one of the most important, and most-discussed, relationships in all of Scripture (and I won’t claim to be able to distill all of His teachings on the topics into a single short article!) we’ll start with the “easy” one – slavery.  And I’ll start with an observation, as well…that those who most vehemently seem to REJECT His “teaching and instruction” somehow seem to be the most hopelessly ‘enslaved’ – and to be equally ignorant of their own condition!  Perhaps that is why the advice to “let those who falsely believe they are free rattle their chains” so resonates in post-Biblical Amerika.  After all, if we understand that those whom He makes free are “free indeed” (Yahuchanon 8:36), then what, conversely, about those who deny Him entirely?

Take a look at Exodus 21.  Isn’t it just a bit remarkable that immediately after delivering His people from brutal bondage in Mitzraim (“Egypt”, under Pharoah) and then giving them the Ten Words or Commandments  (which outline just how these folks are to live and relate to Him and one another in that new freedom) that virtually the next topic He selects concerns what it means to be a “slave”?

Observe a couple of very interesting things about  the section.  When a “master” gives his servant a wife, and the servant eventually leaves, the wife and any subsequent children belong to the master! (v. 21:3-4)  Don’t think for a minute that Caesar (and his servants in “Child Protective Services”) fail to understand that meaning, even if those who take that master’s “marriage license” fail to understand it!

Scripture also contains many other verses which outline treatment of “servants”, and specify various “do’s” and “dont’s”.  Those ordinances show clearly how YHVH’s instruction concerning servants (who were often indentured because of trespass, negligence, or debt) very much differs from the cruel slavery of the pagan cultures which surrounded them.

But the next verses in Exodus 21 are perhaps even more telling, given that so many people now often unwittingly serve “another master” —  which Yahushua cautioned against.  A servant may say, “I love my master, my wife, my children“, and thus “I will NOT go out free,”  so a process is detailed by which that master “shall bore his ear through with an awl” into the doorpost of the house, “and he shall serve him forever.”  (I suspect that many men who today want to wear an earring probably don’t understand the symbolism of that particular age-old “tradition”!)

Before I gave much thought or study to the instruction of the Torah, I assumed that verses five and six simply referred to a “master” was not unkind, and thus treated his ‘slaves’ well. But a good friend, who happens to be a well-known Orthodox rabbi, once told me of an ancient midrash on the subject, which I found fascinating:  No, such a man is NOT a “good master” at all, but a FAILURE! Why?

Because he had FAILED to teach that individual how to live as a free man!

The whole point of teaching a man how to be a servant was to prepare him not for slavery, but to know how to live according to Torah; how to be a head of his own house, a leader, and a contributor to his community.

I see it now in a broader sense still.  Why does our Savior say that we must learn to serve before we can learn to be “kings and priests” for Him?  There is in fact a TREMENDOUS difference between “slavery” and what it means to be a “bondservant to the Most High” — as most of the apostles understood clearly!  (Check out not only Shaul’s claims from the first line of the letters to Titus and the Romans, but the introductions from II Kefa [Peter], Yakov [James], Yahudah [Jude], and Yahuchanan in Revelation!)   Whether the metaphor is to learn how to be a good Bride to Him, or a subject of the One True King, or a bondservant of the Most High, the message is still that we must LEARN what it means to walk in obedience…or else live as slaves.  Whether modern slaves understand Shaul/Paul’s teachings or not, that is ultimately what it means to be in “bondage to sin”, or rebellion to Him.

The real irony, and the only most “difficult” part of the teaching, if you will, is that to be “free indeed” we must first become servants.  Because the only way we can really learn how to walk in true freedom is by surrendering, voluntarily, in obedience to Him.

The key issue is choice, but a deception exists even on that score.  The real choice is not merely between “freedom” and “slavery”, but between “bondservice” to Him, and “slavery” to the world.  That choice is determined by WHICH master we will choose to serve:  either YHVH, or the ‘prince of this world’.  And while being only “self-serving” may seem like an alternative, it ultimately defaults to the latter.

America’s Founders, and those who came before them, understood the concept well.  William Penn said that those “who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants”.  Yahushua [Joshua] defines the issue in verse 24:15 of the Book bearing his name, when he says, “Choose this day Whom you will serve“, and informs us of the choice for “me and my house“.  The Savior emphasized that very point when He responded to Satan’s offer of power over all this world by quoting that, ‘You shall worship YHVH your Elohim, and Him only you shall serve.'” (Luke 4, Matthew 4)

There really is ONLY one true Master Whom we should serve – and the choice is ours to make.  We should be able to explain to those who do not understand why our choice of obedience to Him and His “teaching and instruction”  (torah, of course, in the Hebrew) is not “legalism”, or much less bondage, but simply demonstrates that we understand what He (and the apostoles as well!) were teaching us to proclaim:  that “I love my Master,” and desire to “serve Him forever”.

That is what John 14:15 is all about as well:

 

“If you love Me, keep My commands.”