Doers Of The Law Will Be Justified

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Does Romans really teach the law has been abolished? The answer is, emphatically no.

The problem that Christians have with Paul in Romans 6 and 7 is that Paul is talking about two laws, the law of God and the law of sin (Romans 7:25). In Romans 8:2, these two laws are referred to as the law of the Spirit and the law of sin and death. Christians can’t see these two laws clearly because they lack a solid foundation of Torah from a Hebraic perspective and because they have accepted incorrect teaching that has been passed down to them for many generations.

Let’s begin this discussion with Romans 2:9:  “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek.”  Is the opposite of this true?  It should be, but it sure hasn’t been my experience.  The law of YHVH defines what is good, righteous, and holy. It defines evil by telling us what to avoid.  If we don’t embrace the law of YHVH, we can expect tribulation and distress on a regular basis, especially as the end comes upon us. Of course, we can also expect this when we are surrounded by others who commit evil too.  It’s just how life can be.

Paul is really not presenting a new concept.  He’s presenting what Moses said in Deuteronomy 11:26-28. Basically, you will be blessed if you obey the commandments of YHVH your God, or you will be cursed if you disobey the commandments of YHVH your God.

When we think about our lives, we know that we have often given in to the sinful desires of the flesh.  Just as Messiah died and was raised from the dead, we are to put to death the deeds and desires of the flesh and walk in newness of life by the power of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

We are not to be slaves of sin but slaves of righteousness.  According to John 8:34, “if you commit sin, you are a slave of sin.”  Since we all sin from time to time, I think he is speaking more in terms of habitual sin.  In Romans 6:6, Paul said that our old man was crucified with Messiah so that the body of sin might be done away with; in other words, we should no longer be slaves of sin.  Sin came into the world through Adam; this resulted in death being spread to all men.  In a similar fashion, Messiah reversed that result through one act of righteousness. Previously, Adam’s sin led to the condemnation of many, but Messiah’s righteousness led to justification of many.

So what is justification? Justification is the action of declaring someone righteous in God’s sight.  It is a separate act from what the law does, and it takes place as a result of a few separate things (Romans 3:21-31).

First, there is an act of righteousness that comes through faith.  For Abraham, it was a faith that God would keep His promise that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heaven (Genesis 15:4-6).  That one act of belief was considered righteousness for Abraham. It was an act of faith that looked into the future, which he could not see with his own eyes.  For us, our act of faith is believing that God raised Yeshua from the dead (Romans 4:23-25). This is an act of faith that looks into the past, which we cannot see with our own eyes.

Second, there is an act of righteousness that comes by God’s grace as a gift.  This gift or act of righteousness is God’s free to us, but it was a costly gift from the Father.  It was the cost of redemption put forth by God; it was the blood of Yeshua given as a propitiation for our sin.

When we believe that God raised Yeshua from the dead, we are believing/trusting that we have been redeemed from the curse of the law of sin and death with the blood of Yeshua, which was given as a propitiation for our sin. Folks, this is not the end of the story as most Christians believe it to be.

These two acts of righteousness were performed by two different parties to draw us into an ancient covenant with one another.  I’m speaking of the covenant on Mount Sinai where YHVH gave the terms of the covenant to Moses to pass on to the mixed multitude that came out of Egypt.

We can see this displayed in the following chiasm:

Faith of Abraham: that YHVH would keep His promise of many descendants and give him land as an inheritance. Abraham killed and cut the offerings given for the covenant where God, as a smoking oven and burning torch walked between the cut parts (Genesis 15:4-21). 

God sending Moses to lead the people out of slavery and through the waters of the Red Sea to the other side.

A seh (animal from the sheep or the goats) was offered as Passover sacrifice for the Threshold Covenant.

**Covenant on Mount Sinai

Yeshua was offered as the Passover Lamb for the New Threshold Covenant. The terms of this covenant are the same as the original; these terms are to be written on our hearts.

God send Yeshua to lead people out of slavery to sin. They are to receive the baptism of repentance. They are to cross over/be raised from death to life.

Faith of believers: that God raised Yeshua from the dead so they could walk in newness of life. Believers must receive the free gift of God’s grace with which He redeemed us; this gift of grace was God offering His son, Yeshua as a propitiation for our sin by the hands of wicked men. Believers now stand in grace because they have been bought with a price.

In Romans 3:31, Paul himself said that the law is not abolished because of man’s faith in Yeshua. Indeed, Paul upheld the law of YHVH.  Not only that, Paul previously said, “all who have sinned under the law of YHVH will be judged by the law of YHVH (Romans 2:1).”

Now let me present two apparently conflicting statements Paul made:

  • “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified (Romans 2:13).”
  • “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).”

Which is it? Is Paul trying to confuse us?  Can both verses be correct? Yes, they can!  The problem is that these verses are often quoted out of context.  Paul has made statements with ellipses.  We must use the context of the text to insert words into the ellipses for it to all make sense.

In Romans 2, Paul is comparing and contrasting lawless, wicked people with lawful, righteous people. It’s a basic repeat of the warning Moses gave to the people long ago.  If you obey YHVH’s commands, you will have blessing and life.

We can restate Romans 2:13 by filling in Paul’s ellipses as: “For it is not the hearers of the law of YHVH who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law of YHVH who will be justified.”

In Romans 3, Paul is talking about those who are all under sin. They are disobedient to the law of YHVH. According to Moses, if you disobey YHVH’s laws, you’ll have cursing and death. This is also known as the law of sin, or the law of sin and death (because sin leads to death).

We can restate Romans 3:20 by filling in Paul’s ellipses as: “For by works of the law of sin no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law of YHVH comes knowledge of sin.”

We are not supposed to allow sin, as define by the law of YHVH, to reign in our lives.  We are not under the law of sin, but the law of grace.

Paul reminded his readers, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)”

Based on what Moses told the second generation that came out of Egypt, Romans 6:23 now makes sense when we clarify the word “sin” this way: “For the wages of sin (lawlessness) is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So what is the purpose of the law of YHVH? There are two purposes.  First, it was a tutor to teach us what is righteous and what is not (Galatians 3:24-25). In other words, it defines righteousness.  It was also to bring us to Messiah so we could be the seed of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:25 seems to indicate we are no longer under this tutor.  Is that correct?  I think this verse specifically applies more to Paul’s original readers in Galatia than to us. The reason I say that is because the Jews and many converted Gentiles were raised on the Torah. They knew it well.  For us, the opposite is often true. We either do not know it at all, or we don’t know it as well as we should. We can look at this concept in a reverse-chiastic fashion.

Torah brings people to Messiah.

**People are redeemed by the blood of Messiah and justified by faith in Messiah.

Those justified by faith in Messiah are brought to Torah so they can learn how to live righteously (walk in holiness).

Acts 15:19-21 supports this idea.  Originally, many Gentiles were turning to Messiah that had no knowledge of Torah.  The Jerusalem Council submitted a letter with a judgment to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.  These are the core teachings of Torah found in Leviticus. These things were the major things plaguing the Gentiles.  They could learn the rest of the Torah from what was being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.

Previously, we mentioned two acts of righteousness. The first was believing that God rose Yeshua from the dead. The second was God’s act of redeeming man with the blood of His son. A third act of righteousness would be man’s trusting in the act of God redeeming people from the curse of the law.  Acts of righteousness are not supposed to stop here.  There are many other acts of righteousness we are expected to do.  We can’t know what all of those are unless we study the Torah and begin doing them.

Why should we be concerned with Torah?  Didn’t Yeshua fulfill the law?  Actually, He did NOT fulfill ALL of it yet.  There is much prophecy to be fulfilled when He returns.  Does that shock you?  It shouldn’t.  Everything won’t be fulfilled until heaven and earth pass away.  Those who teach that the law has already been fulfilled or that it is not necessary to do it will be LEAST in the kingdom of God.  See Matthew 5:17-19 if you aren’t sure.

So why should we concerned with Torah? It’s because the final purpose of the law of YHVH is our holiness.  This is the fruit we are supposed to bear to God.  We are not to bear the fruit of wickedness.

Look at the following verses:

Romans 6:19:  “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”

Romans 6:21-23: “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? [My answer: Wickedness] For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Again, this is nothing new. Moses gave them same choice many years ago.

With this in mind, let’s look at Romans 7:4-6 with his ellipses filled in:  “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law (of sin and death) through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another — to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law (of sin and death) were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law (of sin and death), having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”

Now, we look at Torah, we can agree with Paul and say, “Therefore the law (of YHVH) is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good (Romans 7:12).”

So, if you thought the written law was abolished, you probably don’t even know what it teaches.  You need to be tutored in the written law of YHVH so you know what righteousness really is.  As you learn it, go and do it.

If you’ve taught others that the law of YHVH was abolished, repent; start teaching otherwise.

Do not allow yourself to set your mind on the flesh; that leads to death.  Set your mind on the Spirit; this leads to life and peace. Remember, a mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot.  Submit to God’s law and live. This is what being led by the Spirit is all about (Romans 8:6-7, 13).

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Is There No Such Thing As Messiah?

Over the last few years I’ve heard of people who have come out of traditional Christian churches; sought their Hebraic roots; and zoomed in on Judaism only to deny there ever was a Messiah.  This is so sad.  I believe these are people who discovered they’d been lied to about various things in the Christian church and decided to take matters into their own hands to find the truth.  They managed to learn barely enough Hebrew to use a concordance but didn’t have sufficient Hebrew language, Scripture knowledge, or ordinary reasoning skills to critically analyze everything that fell into their hands.  They’ve rejected one set of lies and swallowed the biggest lie of all—that there never even was a Messiah.  This is a great delusion.

The lie begins with the Hebrew word mashiach (H4899; G5547 christos); it means anointed.  The qal or simplest form of the Hebrew verb mashach (H4886; G5548 chrio) means to rub, anoint with oil, or consecrate.  The niphal form is passive and means to be anointed.  Another related word is the noun mishchah (H4888; G5545 chrismatos); it is an anointing oil or consecrated portion. One kind of anointing oil was referred to as the holy oil (shemen hakodesh).  People, as well as certain things were anointed to consecrate or sanctify them for various purposes.

There were a lot of anointed people (mashiach = sg.) in the Bible; they were usually priests and kings; some of these men were also prophets. Occasionally, a person was specifically anointed as a prophet.[i] Just because there were other anointed people in the Bible doesn’t mean there is no special Mashiach. There has to be one because the Jews were looking for that person in Yeshua’s day and they are still looking for him today. We will soon consider the verses that this prophecy is based on.

The Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is like the anointing oil. When the Spirit comes upon someone, he may prophesy, or be set apart (consecrated); the Spirit may give that person special skills or authority for a specific purpose.[ii] We see this concept not only in the Tanach but also in the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament).[iii]

Normally, a prince would not be anointed with oil until he was about to be anointed as king.  David, the 8th son of Jesse was not a prince at the time of his anointing.  In fact, he was anointed years before he began to rule.[iv] He was not only anointed with oil, but he was also anointed at the same time by the Holy Spirit in preparation for his kingship.[v] Before he was anointed, he unknowingly trained to shepherd his people; but not long after being anointed with oil and the Spirit, he began training to be a military leader.  When the time was right, he became king.

There’s not much specifically mentioned in the Tanach about “The Messiah” by using the Hebrew term HaMashiach; but, in Daniel 9:25-27 he is called “Anointed Prince” (mashiach nagiyd).  Kings were anointed with oil before ascending the throne. Since this verse emphasizes this prince was anointed, there must be something unique about this prince. I believe this prince would be anointed, most likely with the Holy Spirit.

Daniel 9:25-27 gives the timing of the Anointed Prince’s arrival and says he will be cut off, but not for himself. His arrival time has long past. Yeshua arrived at the expected time. Wise men from the east were looking for his star at the expected time; and once they found him, they eventually presented gifts to give him the honor due a king.  These wise men must have been aware of Daniel’s prophecy.  Many years later, Yeshua was anointed with the Ruach HaKodesh, and eventually killed for the people before he became king.[vi] Fortunately, Yeshua rose from the dead and he is expected to be King of kings at the appointed time.

Daniel’s Anointed Prince must be the son or descendant of a king. Based on 2 Samuel 7:12-16, he must be a descendant of David; because, David’s throne has been established forever (leolam). Hence, this Messiah Prince is referred to as the Son of David. This specific Messiah is the one that other prophets foretold things about without actually using the term mashiach.

Instead of using the term mashiach, he was given other titles based on Scripture that describe his character or what he will do. Rabbis have even debated his name.  He is known as:

  • The Suffering Servant (son of Joseph) who was to be smitten by God, and afflicted; wounded for our transgressions; bruised for our iniquities; and the chastisement for our peace was upon him. In other words, based on typology, he was destined to be a grain offering, guilt offering, sin offering, and peace offering.[vii]
  • The Branch (YHVH our Righteousness; he’s a king and a priest)[viii]
  • Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.[ix]
  • Immanu El (God with us)[x]

The prophecy in Daniel 9 of the Anointed Prince was made during the Babylonian captivity and long after the death of Hezekiah.  Some people believed the Messiah lived in Hezekiah’s day and could have been his son.  This idea is based on the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 9:6-8:  “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. 7 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 the Lord of hosts will perform this.”  

I don’t think Hezekiah’s son or anyone else has completely fulfilled this prophecy.  Many, including myself are confident that Yeshua was the child who was born, the Son that was given.  This is alluded to in the genealogy found in Luke 3:31 where we see the name Nathan, the son of David.  This genealogy is different from Matthew’s.  Liberties were taken with genealogies by the Jews for different purposes.  This genealogy emphasizes Nathan, the son of David instead of Solomon.  The name Nathan comes from the Hebrew verb natan which means to give; I think this genealogy indicates that Yeshua was “the son that was given.”  For our purposes it gives us the connection we are looking for in “the Prince of Peace” of Isaiah 9:6.  I believe “the Prince of Peace” is “the Anointed Prince” in Daniel 9:25-26.  Based on other Messianic prophecies, I believe the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6-8 will be completely fulfilled by Yeshua at some point in the future.

The Anointed Prince is not just a descendant of David; he also has to be a descendant of Solomon.[xi]  Solomon’s son Rehoboam took the throne after Solomon’s death.  The kingdoms divided during his reign. Rehoboam was king of Judah, and Jeroboam who had been a servant of Solomon was the king of Israel.[xii]  The Davidic dynasty continued in Judah through Rehoboam.  YHVH created this split; He intended to afflict the descendants of David, but not forever.

Tracing the descendants of Rehoboam until the time of the Babylonian captivity leads to Jehoiachin.[xiii]    Jehoiachin became the king of Judah when he was 8 years old.  Three months later, he was carried off to Babylon.  Then the king of Babylon made Zedekiah king of Judah.  Previously, Zedekiah’s name was Mattaniah; he was Jehoichin’s uncle.  His name was changed to Zedekiah by King Nebuchadnezzer. With Jehoiachin gone, his brother Jeconiah (son of Jehoiakim/Eliakim) should have been king instead of Zedekiah.  Perhaps he was not old enough to rule without a co-regent; I don’t know. By the way, Jeconiah had a son named Zedekiah so let’s not get confused by that.

In Jeremiah 22:24-30 there is “the curse of Jeconiah” (also known as Coniah).  Jeremiah 22:30 says, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.”  Woe, this is not good.  How is YHVH going to stop afflicting the descendants of David forever?  How is YHVH going to bypass this curse?  As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, adoption is the logical answer.[xiv]

Suddenly Jeremiah 23 shifts gears and says woe to the evil shepherds who are responsible for the scattering of God’s people.  Not all of the leaders of Judah had been good. Coniah was described as a despised, broken idol; he was a vessel in which there was no pleasure. Now, if YHVH doesn’t intend to afflict the descendants of David forever as mentioned in 1Kings 11:39, He’s got to do something about the curse placed on Coniah. Jeremiah 23 immediately tells us YHVH’s plan to correct the problem of the evil shepherds of Judah. YHVH intends to gather the remnant of his people and raise up a Branch of Righteousness to David. He is going to be an awesome king who will reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness. He can’t do this without being ANOINTED (MASHIACH).  He will be “The Messiah” (HaMashiach), the best of all of God’s anointed ones. He will be known as “YHVH our Righteousness.” In his days, Judah will be saved (niphal form of the verb yasha spelled yod-shin-ayin) and Israel will dwell safely.  The Anointed Prince who had been cut off, yet risen from the dead will be this Anointed King.  His name is Yeshua (means “he will save;” similar root = yod-shin-vav-ayin).

This Anointed King, the Branch of Righteousness (or YHVH Our Righteousness) could not have been any of the kings of the past: David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Ahaziah, Athaliah (mother of Ahaziah), Joash, Amaziah, Azariah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, Eliakim (Jehoiakim), Jehoiachin, Zedekiah (Mattaniah) or rightfully Jeconiah (Coniah). This was to be an anointed king of the FUTURE because this prophecy came AFTER the curse of Jeconiah.

First Chronicles 3:17-24 lists the genealogy of Jeconiah.  Verse 17 is the one we need to be most concerned with because the rest of it follows the descendants of Pedaiah.  We should be careful to note that Pedaiah had a son named Zerubbabel but this is not Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel.  Jeconiah’s son Assir had a son named Shealtiel, who had a son named Zerubbabel.[xv] This Zerubbabel helped build the house of God in Jerusalem.  He became the governor of Judah; he NEVER became a king. Therefore, he was not HaMashiach.  Zerubbabel was later chosen by YHVH of hosts to be like a signet ring.  This is the Zerubbabel mentioned in Matthew 1:12 which is part of the genealogy of Yeshua.

Matthew 1 gives us the genealogy of Yeshua HaMashiach.  He’s taken the liberty to lay it out in 3 sets of 14 generations for his own purposes.  As a result, he leaves out certain names in the genealogy.  This is apparent in Matthew 1:11-16 where it says, “Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.” He left out Jehoahaz, Eliakim (Jehoiakim), and Jehoiachin between Josiah and Jehoiachin.  The text leaves these names out to show three 14-generation periods related to Israel’s history: Abraham to David (period prior to the kings); David to the Babylonian captivity (period of the kings); and the captivity in Babylon to Yeshua (period after the kings).

Yeshua would have begun his ministry about 6 months after John the Baptist began his. His ministry began with His baptism and ANOINTING by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). His powerful ministry was marked by teaching his interpretation of Torah; healing the sick; cleansing metzorim (lepers); casting out demons; feeding thousands with bread; and more. Ultimately, he gave the people the sign of Jonah. He was in the heart of the earth for three full days and nights before his resurrection on the Day of Firstfruits.[xvi] He was seen showing infallible proofs of his resurrection over a period of forty days before his ascension. He was even seen by 500 brethren at once even though only two to three witnesses should have been sufficient. Many people who claim to have seen him after his resurrection were willing to be martyred for telling that truth. Who would die for a lie? The fulfillment of the 7th day (millennial reign of The Messiah) is expected to begin following that; this will be followed by the 8th day (age of the new heaven and earth). On earth he was a prophet, now he is High Priest, and soon he will be King of kings and Lord of lords. All three roles are that of a MASHIACH. No other mashiach has or will be anointed for all three of these roles. Yeshua is the ultimate Mashiach.

[i] See 1 Kings 19:16.

[ii] See Exodus 31:3, Numbers 11:17, 25; 27:18-20, Judges 3:10; 6:34; 14:6; 1 Samuel 10:6; Isaiah 11:2; 61:1-2; and Micah 3:8.

[iii] See Acts 4:27, 10:38; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; and Hebrews 1:9 which quotes Psalm 45:6-7.

[iv] 1 Samuel 15:1; 16:12-13; 1 Kings 1:34; 19:15-16

[v] 1 Samuel 16:13

[vi] John 1:32-34 and John 11:49-52

[vii] Isaiah 52:4-5

[viii] Zechariah 6:12-13

[ix] Isaiah 9:6

[x] Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23

[xi]  2 Samuel 7:13; 1 Kings 8:20

[xii] 1Kings 11:35-39

[xiii] Solomon’s descendants are listed in 1 Chronicles 3:10-24.

[xiv] Joseph, a descendent of David adopts Yeshua as his own son.  I have also confirmed this by Bible code.

[xv]  This Zerubbabel is mentioned in in Ezra 5:2; Nehemiah 12:1; Haggai 1:1, 12, 14; and Haggai 2:2, 23.

[xvi]  Nisan 15-17th; He was buried before the sun went down (as Nisan14th became the 15th) rose on the Day of Firstfruits after the sun went down on Saturday (as Nisan 17th became the 18th).

Yeshua’s Atonement

There is a danger of having no regard for Yeshua’s identity or for His atonement. The danger is eventually being cast into the lake of fire. Very few really want to go there.

To capture both of the concepts of regarding Yeshua’s identity and His atonement, let’s look at Colossians 1:13-23 while taking a few tangents along the way.

Colossians 1:13 says, “He (the Father) has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Yeshua), 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

What exactly is the power of darkness that the Father has delivered us from? Ephesians 2:2 indicates it’s this world; more specifically, it the prince of the power of the air which is a spirit that works in the children of disobedience. Acts 26:18 refers to it as the power of Satan. When we serve the power of the world, we have no regard for Yeshua; but, we can change our minds. As we start to have regard for (respectfully fear) who Yeshua is and what He has done for us, and begin to obey His commandments (repent), we are ushered into Yeshua’s kingdom.

This deliverance from bondage to sin was not possible without redemption; a price had to be paid for our iniquities. The Greek word for redemption is apolutrosis; it means liberation that was obtained by a paid ransom. In this case, the ransom was paid with Yeshua’s blood.

Yeshua was also a propitiation; that’s something that is used to make someone less angry with us when we’ve offended them. First John 2:2 says that the Messiah was the propitiation (hilasmos) for our sins and for the whole world. First John 4:10 says that God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins because of His love for us. We need to be extremely grateful He was willing to do this for us. We need to love Him since He first loved us and we need to demonstrate that by obeying His commandments.

The Father has accepted Yeshua’s offering as a ransom for our redemption and as a propitiation for our sins. Once atonement (reconciliation) was made by Yeshua, God responded by forgiving our sins. We still need to make reparations when applicable because that’s our part of the atonement process. The Greek word for forgiveness is aphesis; it means to release or pardon.  That’s what we need to do when we forgive others; this is part of the reconciliation process.

Some people may wonder why Yeshua’s death was even necessary. We must understand Isaiah 59:2. It says, But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” Sin separates us from God; this is not a New Testament concept. Originally, this verse referred to God’s people in Isaiah’s day but it applies to us as well because according to Romans 3:23, no one is without sin. Our sins don’t go away just because we start obeying God’s commandments. We need to have those sins removed or at least covered in order for reconciliation to take place. The latter was what the Levitical offerings were for; they also pointed to Yeshua who would be the Passover Lamb that would continually take away (present participle) the sin of the world (John 1:29). It is probably true to say that the reason the Levitical offerings will be made during the millennial reign of Messiah is to look back in gratefulness for the atonement Messiah made for us.

During Messiah’s millennial reign, Satan will be a prisoner in the abyss; his final destruction will come much later. Unfortunately, the Levitical offerings did not stop the power of the devil which is still at work in this world today. Hebrews 2:14-18 explains: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He (Yeshua) Himself likewise shared in the same [by taking on human flesh], that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren [by taking on human flesh], that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” When propitiation was made, God’s anger was appeased. Yeshua’s death makes it possible for Satan to eventually be destroyed. We are still waiting for all of Yeshua’s enemies, including death, to be put under His feet. A spiritual battle is still being waged in the spiritual and physical realms; meanwhile, Yeshua is in heaven officiating as our High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

No ordinary man could pay the ransom for our redemption and be the propitiation for our iniquities; all mankind is sinful and is not qualified to do these things. Only Yeshua’s blood was suitable for atonement because He was without sin or blemish (Hebrews 4:15). He had to be without sin because all animal sacrifices had to be without blemish; offerings with blemishes were an abomination to God (Deuteronomy 17:1).

Isaiah 53:6-9 prophesied: “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord [Yehovah] has laid on Him [Yeshua] the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked — But with the rich at His death.” This verse shows us that it was God’s plan for Yeshua to be a substitutionary sacrifice long before Yeshua was born. When the time came, He did not defend Himself. He was scourged, spit on, and mocked. A crown of thorns was forced down on his head. He was nailed to a tree; once He died, His body was thrust through with a spear so that blood and water poured to the ground at the base of the tree. He died with robbers, but was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.

Yeshua was slain from the foundation of the world in the heavenly realm. I believe atonement was accomplished there for all mankind.  Although His blood was not applied to the actual earthly altar when He died on the cross, the Levitical patterns He fulfilled in the earthly realm still have significance. We need time and insight to understand all of these things better.

Yeshua fulfilled the typology of the Levitical offerings which atone and/or cleanse those who trust in Him:

  • Passover Lamb
  • Sin Offering
  • Guilt Offering
  • Burnt Offering
  • Peace Offering
  • Grain Offering
  • Red Heifer
  • Birds of the Purification Ritual
  • Offerings of the Day of Atonements

Many people will say that Yehovah did not really delight in the sacrificial system that He had established. Their thinking is based on Isaiah 1:11. It says, “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats.” Their thinking is warped because they fail to see the context found in Isaiah 1:1-20. The sacrifices, incense, and sacred assemblies/feasts of God’s people troubled Him because of the peoples’ iniquities. Yehovah wanted to hide His eyes from them and not listen to them. He told them to cleanse themselves spiritually; He wanted them to stop doing evil; rebuke the oppressor; learn to do good; defend the fatherless; plead for the widow; and seek justice. These represent the weightier matters of Torah.

The Levitical offerings were part of God’s plan, but they had to be accompanied by repentance; and reparations were expected to accompany the guilt offerings. Today, we must repent (turn back to and obey God’s commandments), offer appropriate reparations for our trespasses, and trust in the atonement that Yeshua’s offering provided.

Some people may wonder if there is any other evidence in the Tanach that suggests the Messiah would provide atonement for His people. I believe so! Daniel 9:24 is known as the prophecy of the 70 weeks (shavuiym). It is a prophecy of the coming of Messiah the Prince. One of the things He was supposed to do was make reconciliation for iniquity; blood atonement is the only way to do that. Yeshua offered expiation (made atonement) by offering His lifeblood for us; His blood was shed on the Preparation Day of the Passover in a couple of ways:

  • John 19:1-2 – when Yeshua was scourged, and when a crown of thorns was put on His head.
  • John 19:34 – when blood and water flowed from Yeshua’s body when a soldier pierced His side with a spear.

Typologically speaking, the offering of Isaac by Abraham also pictured the substitutionary sacrifice of Yeshua. In addition, Elijah’s battle of the bulls on Mount Carmel was also a veiled indication of Yeshua’s death. Yeshua was represented by the bull which was killed by the priests of Baal, but whose flesh was not consumed. The bull which was killed, cut up by Elijah, and consumed by Yehovah’s fire, was a picture of the Beast of Revelation being killed and cast into the lake of fire. This dual action is typical of the typological significance of the various Levitical offerings.  The account of Phineas in Numbers 25 is also a shadow of the results of Yeshua’s stonement: the new covenant (covenant of peace), Yeshua’s everlasting priesthood, and being thrust through by spear in order to stop the power of death.

I can’t stress enough that blood atonement was the primary way to appease the Father because this was the method that Yehovah set forth from the beginning. Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” This is evident as early as in the Garden of Eden when God killed an animal and used the skins as a covering for Adam and Eve. After that, we see evidence in Scripture of using offerings before approaching God long before the book of Leviticus was written.

Yehovah accepted blood as an atonement for sin because of His grace (chesed). Proverbs 16:6 says, “In mercy (chesed) and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.” Once atonement/appeasement is made (kaphar), we must not use it as a license to continue to sin. We must have regard for Yeshua and do our best to be obedient to God’s commandments.

Now that we’ve looked at atonement, let’s go back to our passage in Colossians 1 to take a closer look at who Yeshua is. Verse 15 says, “He (Yeshua) is the image of the invisible God (the Father), the firstborn over all creation.” Here we see the pre-existence of Yeshua; He existed before His human birth.

Verse 16 says, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him (see also Philip. 2:13). 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Yeshua pre-existed creation; He had the authority to create everything including powers with various kinds of authority. Everything was created for His pleasure.

How would you feel if what you created did not bring you the pleasure you intended? To bring it closer to home, how do you feel when your rebellious teenagers are disrespectful and have no regard for you? You probably desire them to be more like they were when they were younger; they were probably more obedient then, and had love and respect for you.  Imagine how Yeshua feels about us.

Verse 18: And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (proteuo = the first place). Considering what Yeshua has done for us, He deserves the preeminence! Love and respect should come with that!

Verse 19: “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood (atonement) of His cross.” Yeshua’s fleshly body was like a full body suit that the Father could inhabit and use to interact with creation. It was a way He could reach out and say, “Come now, and let us reason together…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow…if you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword (Isaiah 1:18-20).” Don’t you want to say this to your rebellious teenagers so they might choose to be reconciled to you? This is how God feels. He’s gone the extra mile to make reconciliation happen by providing atonement for sin.

Verse 21-23: “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled (atoned) 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight — 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”  Yeshua’s goal is for us to be reconciled with the Father so He can present us as an offering without blemish to the Father. The circumstances we face in our life are another means by which God is perfecting us; this is separate from salvation.

As we walk the path set before us, we need to yield to the will of the Father; be faithful; stand firm in the Word of God; and never commit apostasy. We need to always have regard for Yeshua, for who He was, is, and will be. We must not continue to sin in an effort to make grace abound; it’s not going to happen. Instead, we need to walk in newness of life so we can be made perfect.

Will you do that?

My blessing for you: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11)

Why We Struggle

Do you ever wonder why your life goes the way it does? Have you lost your job? Have you lost a friend or loved one? Did you just find out you have cancer? Do you ever wonder why Satan seems to have your kids firmly in his grasp? Bad things that happen are not always because of sin and evil desires.

One time Yeshua saw a man who was blind since birth. Yeshua’s disciples assumed the reason he was blind was because someone had sinned, either this man or his parents. In John 9:3, Yeshua answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” As it turns out, Yeshua healed this man on the Sabbath, this of course caused a stir among the religious leaders. Later, this man found out who Yeshua was; he believed and worshiped Him. This was the perfect response to the works of God.

There was no indication of generational sin here that caused this problem.

Sometimes, when your life goes awry or when Satan seems to have your kids firmly in his grasp, it’s so the works of God can be revealed in those situations at some point in time.

Diseases like cancer may or may not have a spiritual origin; it may be a result of poor diet or exposure to carcinogens. It may be a time to make serious life changes. A job loss could be giving you the opportunity for something better or to teach you to trust the Father. The loss of a friend or loved one may simply be because it was their time; it’s also a time for you to reflect on what is most precious in life and to cherish the times you shared together. I know that doesn’t take away the hurt; grief is often a painful a process that people must work through.

wolfSpiritual warfare is not always the cause of the troubles we face in life but sometimes it is. We are sheep who are trying to keep our families in a safe sheepfold. Often a thief is trying to find a hole in the wall because he can’t come through the door. John 10:10 tells us this thief/wolf is determined to steal, kill, or destroy us and/or our families. His voice calls out to us in one way or another to tempt us to sin or to pledge our allegiance to Satan in exchange for love, power, riches, or fame. We also have our own desires to sin that we give into. Life’s circumstances often cause us to be depressed. Some of us contemplate, attempt, or are successful at committing suicide because we listen to a lying voice from the kingdom of darkness.

Some people may experience demonic visitations. This is not the norm, but it does happen. If this is happening to our children, we may find ourselves unsuccessful at keeping them away from our children permanently. We might have difficulty finding the doorway that allowed this to happen; there may not even be one!! Satan might realize your child will become a great threat to him someday. His goal may be to destroy your child before that time comes; this was the idea behind killing the baby boys around Moses’ and Yeshua’s birth. This may be accomplished through a variety of forms of temptations and destructive sins.

Children don’t always listen when they are told not to talk to these kinds of “strangers.” Children need to be taught and reminded to:

  • test the voices they hear;
  • command unclean spirits to leave in the name of Yeshua;
  • flee from them if possible;
  • get help if necessary;
  • keep you constantly informed of what they are dealing with.

Sometimes, life is a constant spiritual battle that we don’t dare share for fear of being ostracized as a lunatic or isolated further for one reason or another. Hard-core spiritual warfare is scary; it’s not for the weak. It can make you strong; but, it can also drain you. This is right where Satan wants us to be—alone, afraid, and defeated.

Somewhere along the way, we may not have learned how to properly hear the voice of the Good Shepherd who is the way, the truth, and the life. Yeshua is the voice of truth we need to be listening to. If we have trained ourselves to hear His voice, it is sometimes easier to know what to do. At times, we may cry out for help because the battle of life has been too intense for too long. The question of why things are often so difficult remains. We long for that abundant life Yeshua spoke of in John 10:10.

We need to understand that sometimes our lives are part of a much bigger picture. Life is not always just about us. When Yeshua heard that Lazarus had become sick, Yeshua said that it was not a sickness unto death, “but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Yeshua delayed in going to heal Lazarus. By the time Yeshua arrived in Bethany, Lazarus was dead and buried but Yeshua was glorified by raising Lazarus from the dead. I’m sure many put their faith in him as a result of the news of that miracle spreading from place to place.

Our struggles may not be because of sin; what’s happening in our lives may be an opportunity to bring glory to God. Isaiah 43:7 says, “Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” We were created for Yehovah’s glory. We don’t know if that glory will come through life or through death; but, it is why we were created.

When faced with life’s challenges, we must not be afraid. We need to accept the worst that may come, but pray for the best to come. If it is a true spiritual battle, we need to clothe ourselves in spiritual armor and fight. We need to ask the righteous (those who are Torah observant) to join us in warfare prayer because their prayers accomplish much. No matter what happens, we must trust Yehovah, and constantly give glory to Him.

The Great Commission

Passover is a time to remember how Yeshua became our Passover Lamb. It fills me with great joy to know that Yeshua rose as firstfruits from the dead and to realize this was the fulfillment of the Day of Firstfruits (Yom HaBikkuriym)! It’s now time to Count the Omer for the next 50 days!

barley_w483_h725Acts 1:3 tells us that during a forty day period after His resurrection, Yeshua presented Himself alive to the apostles He had chosen and spoke to them about the kingdom of God. In Matthew 28:19-20, while Yeshua was with the apostles in Galilee, He told them to go and: “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” These verses are often called the Great Commission.

During the time Yeshua’s 12 disciples walked with Him, Yeshua taught them the Scriptures just as other rabbis taught Torah to their disciples. The only difference was that Yeshua taught based on His own authority instead of quoting the teachings of other rabbis. Yeshua wanted the 12 to pass on His teachings and commands to others.

At some point, the disciples left Galilee and returned to Jerusalem. In Acts 1:4-8, Yeshua told them not to depart from Jerusalem until they were baptized with the Holy Spirit, which would give them the power they needed to be Yeshua’s witnesses throughout the earth. They were filled with the Spirit on the 50th day – on the Day of Pentecost (Yom Shavuot). When that happened, Yeshua kept the promise He made to His disciples in John 14:17-18. Yeshua did not leave them as orphans; He came to dwell with and in them in the form of the Holy Spirit. Not only would the Spirit empower them to do great things, the Spirit would cause them to remember what Yeshua had explained to them.

Previous to Yeshua’s death, in Matthew 24, Yeshua spoke with His disciples about the sign of His coming and the end of the age. He spoke of wars and rumors of wars, famines, diseases, and earthquakes; we are experiencing this more than any time in the past. Those who believe in the Messiah are literally losing their heads because of their faith and because of the hatred of their enemies. Torah-lessness is rampant and it is hard to believe that we will be able to endure to the end and be rescued from barbarianism. Meanwhile, efforts are being made to preach the gospel of the kingdom to every nation, language, and people group.

Despite these efforts, we are not quite yet to the very end of days. There are more events that must take place that are explained in the book of Revelation and in several other portions of Scripture. We need to understand that there will be false messiahs and prophets that will show really powerful signs in order to lead people away from the true Messiah. We must be knowledgeable and equipped to test everything so we won’t be led astray in these last days.

Because of the tetrad of blood moons timed during the feasts of 2014-2015, our minds are occasionally focused on the last days. People are pondering the significance of the blood moons while knowing that at some point the sun will become dark; the moon won’t shine; the stars will fall from heaven; and the heavens will be shaken. At some point, the Son of Man will finally come with power and glory on the clouds with His angels to gather His elect together.

Before that time comes, we need to get back to the task of Matthew 28:19-20 that Yeshua gave His disciples:

  • A – Instruct (matheteuo) all nations;
    • B – Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
  • A’ – Teach them to observe what Yeshua commanded His disciples.

These two verses form a simple chiasm or concentric structure.

Let’s start with A and A’. We have a few problems here; we’ve sat under mixed teaching for so long that not everyone is properly equipped to teach or discern truth. Some of what we have been taught is correct but some of it isn’t. We need to test everything we’ve ever been taught and untangle ourselves from this unholy mixture so we can correctly observe Torah (which is what Yeshua taught) and properly instruct the nations.

You know, the people of Yeshua’s time had a similar problem. Oral traditions had been added to written Torah and were a burden too great to bear. If that wasn’t bad enough, the spiritual leaders of the day were not leading by a correct example; they would say one thing, yet do another (Matthew 23:2-4). Yeshua had to properly teach Torah (His easy yoke) to His disciples so they could go and properly instruct the nations. Fortunately, there were some people like the Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily to see if what they were being taught was true. Everyone needs to be like them.

As we shed the lies we once accepted, learn what truth is, and put it all into practice, we need to pass that truth on to others by whatever means we have available. This is not easy because:

  • People’s ears don’t want to hear the truth;
  • They have been deceived and blinded by what sounds good and reasonable;
  • They often like their traditions and often don’t want to let go of them.

We need to pray for the eyes of the blind and ears of the deaf to be opened so they can see, hear, and receive truth; and be willing to obey it.

Now let’s look at part B of our chiasm: baptizing people “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” In the Christian churches, these are the words used when pastors baptize people. When did using this phrase start? Is that really Scriptural? Have you ever even thought about that?

How did the disciples do this in the book of Acts? What name did they baptize with?

  • Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  • Acts 8:16: “For as yet He [the Spirit] had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
  • Acts 19:5: “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

As we carry out the Great Commission, we must not forget that we are in the last days. We need to make sure we are abiding in Yeshua the way He abided in the Father. That means we need to learn how to obey Torah as it was originally intended. It’s not a bunch of principles to obey as we see fit either; Torah is often very specific and we need to accept that! We need to obey it like Yeshua did in His time and apply it to our present day culture as best we can. Don’t think Torah was abolished because of the cross or because of faith. In Romans 3:31, Paul said Torah was not abolished (made void) because of faith; he established Torah.

Once we are back on track, we need to revisit the Great Commission. We need to know what the apostles did and how they did it. It should come as no surprise to us that they traveled and wrote letters! Today, some may be called to travel to other nations but others may be called to use technology such as email, the internet, and social media to reach people beyond their physical locations.

Now that we have a viable means of obeying this commandment, let’s take a closer look at the book of Acts to see that the apostles did several things “in the name of Jesus” [Yeshua]:

  • They healed people (Acts 3:6)
  • They taught people even though they were forbidden to do so (Acts 4:18-19)
  • Paul preached boldly (Acts 9:29)
  • Paul commanded a spirit to come out of a girl who had been fortune-telling (Acts 16:18).
  • Paul gave instructions to deliver one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:4-5)

The also commanded that things be done in the name of Yeshua:

  • They commanded their readers to give thanks to the Father (Eph. 5:20))
  • They commanded their readers to withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the ordinances (paradosis) they had received (2 Thessalonians 3:6).
  • They told those who were sick to go to the elders of the assembly in order to be anointed and prayed over (James 5:14).
  • They encouraged everyone to believe in the name of the Son of God [Yeshua] for eternal life (1 John 5:13).

Bearing these things in mind, let us ask the Father in the name of Yeshua to give us the power and authority we need to do what the apostles did. Let’s make sure that we are reaping a good healthy harvest and not a harvest of diseased tares. Let’s make sure that this harvest is properly conforming itself to the Way, Truth, and Life who is the Firstfruits from the dead. As we do these things, we need to keep watching the signs that we see around us so that we will know how much closer we are getting to Yeshua’s return.

Who Is Yeshua?

The question has been raised, “Who is Yeshua?”

  1. Is He only a human like Adam and separate from God the Father?
  2. Is He God; is He a physical manifestation of the Father?
  3. Is He deity, but not a god?

For me, these are hard questions.  The reason I say that is because I see support for at least the first two in Scripture.  I can’t conceptualize the third.  The trouble is deciding which option is correct.

Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” It sounds like he was the first thing ever created.  This would be a vote for separateness.

The Messiah is the Word of YHVH, the image of YHVH who often came to speak to Moses and others in the past. This same Word was God according to John 1:1. This appears to be a vote for oneness.

The Word was not the only image of God in the Tanach. A image of YHVH appeared to several people on different occasions when He needed to communicate with them and to lead them in the way they should go.  As time went on, He spoke to prophets in dreams and visions.  These prophets became God’s spokesmen to the people.

One of those prophets was Isaiah. In Isaiah 9:6, he prophesied: “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.”  It is believed that this prophecy was fulfilled by someone in Isaiah’s time; however, the apostolic writers applied it to Yeshua the Messiah, the anointed one.

Many years after this prophecy was given, Yeshua was conceived in a surrogate named Mary when the Holy Spirit came upon her. Yeshua was not made from the dust of the earth like Adam was. He was not half human and half God as some may assume. The Spirit wrote the genetic code for Yeshua who grew in Mary’s womb.  John 1:14 tells us he was the Word that became flesh; based on John 1:1, He was God manifested in human flesh.  This is why Yeshua was called by the titles: the Son of God and the Son of Man.  As I mentioned previously, this seems to be a vote for oneness.

Matthew 1:20-23 says, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”   22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Yeshua’s birth was fulfillment of Scripture because He was God dwelling with His people.  Here’s another vote for oneness.

During the next nine months, Mary and Joseph surely pondered the things they had been told by the angel. They were going to be the parents of the Savior of God’s people! They probably felt the same way Manoah and his wife felt when the Angel of YHVH told them they were going to have a baby. Manoah and his wife got instructions from this manifestation of God (the Angel of YHVH) to raise Samson as a Nazirite from birth. They knew they had seen a manifestation of God and lived (Judges 13:2-22).

We aren’t told if the angel, Gabriel gave Mary any specific instructions on how to raise Yeshua. I’m sure if there were, it would have been in the Scriptural account. Most likely Mary and Joseph decided to raise him the way most Torah observant parents raised their children at that time.  They began by circumcising him and presenting Him to YHVH.

When Yeshua was eight days old, he was blessed by Simeon in the temple. Luke 2:34-35 says, “Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” What did they think of this? It may not have been what they expected; but, at this point, they didn’t know how this prophecy would play out in the future.

From this point on, Yeshua’s earthly parents were vaguely aware of what He would become but they raised Him as if He were any normal child. Perhaps they figured that what they had been told would not take place until Yeshua was an adult. They couldn’t worry about that; they had to focus on the daily task of feeding and caring for him; teaching him their religious beliefs and customs; and teaching him how to do things that were age appropriate.

I’m sure they taught Yeshua to pray. Some people think it’s nonsense for Yeshua to need to pray to the Father if He is God.  I don’t know about you, but I talk to myself [my own spirit] silently quite frequently to process my thoughts.  It just makes sense to me that Yeshua would talk to the Father who dwells inside Himself. So is this a vote for oneness or separateness?

Was Yeshua aware of His identity when He was growing up? Yes. Luke 2:49-50 tells us about the time Yeshua stayed behind in Jerusalem after His family went there for the feast. When His parents found Him, His mother asked why Yeshua had done this. He expressed surprise that they didn’t know that He had to be about His Father’s business.  He was referring to YHVH, the Heavenly Father’s business and not to Joseph’s. In other words, He knew He was the Son of God (the physical image of the Father’s Spirit).  Even Adam was made in YHVH’s image, so how do we view this parallel?  For now, we can say Yeshua was already concerned about His Father’s business.  Even at the age of 12, all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and answers.

Many years later, Yeshua was walking with His disciples to the towns of Caesarea Philippi. By this time, they had heard Yeshua teach; seen Him heal a multitude of people; forgive people; cast out a legion of demons out of a couple of men; raise a couple of people from the dead; and much more. Ordinary humans don’t do these kinds of things.  Certainly, this was accomplished by the power of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).  At some point, Yeshua asked His disciples who they thought He was. We don’t know what everyone else thought at the time, but Peter said he was the Messiah of God.

Meanwhile, the ruling elite were not pleased with Yeshua; they were plotting his death. They had had several interactions with Yeshua that were not positive. They saw Him as a threat to their positions of power and authority over the people. John 8 describes one such incident when they claimed Abraham was their father; they also claimed God was their father. Yeshua denied that; He also said their father was the devil. I bet that infuriated them. Eventually, their conversation continued to the point that in verse 58, Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” He was saying that He existed before Abraham; we already saw that in Colossians 1:15.  Ordinary humans don’t normally pre-exist their ancestors. So do we view this human as physically one with the Father?

One of the definitions of blasphemy is “the act of claiming the attributes of deity.”[i] In other words, Yeshua seemed to claim to be YHVH. That was the final straw for the men in that confrontation with Yeshua. They intended to stone Yeshua for blasphemy but Yeshua hid Himself and escaped. After more time progressed, Yeshua would be convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death for it.  Is there another way to interpret this?

On another occasion, Yeshua asked the Pharisees, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: 44 ‘The Lord [YHVH] said to my Lord [Adoniy], “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”‘? 45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.” Here, in Matthew 22:42-46, Yeshua quoted Psalm 110:1. In order for the Son of David to be David’s Lord, this son must pre-exist him. Again, there’s no question that Yeshua pre-existed these people based on Colossians 1:15.  Normally, pre-existence is not humanly possible.  We still have the problem of why He’s seated next to the Father.  This appears to be a vote for separateness.

Yeshua is not just called the “son of God.” The Jews refer to the Messiah as the “son of David” and the “son of Joseph.”  Yeshua also referred to Himself as the “son of Man.”  These are all titles for Yeshua.

The Son of David is a title that conveys David’s character as a man of war.  The Jews called Him the Son of David because that’s what the people expected the Messiah to be.  The Son of Joseph is a title that conveys Joseph, son of Israel’s (Jacob’s) character as the Suffering Servant.  This is what the Messiah was when He came in the flesh almost 2000 years ago.  When He returns, He will be coming as the Son of David.

Later, Yeshua began to prepare His disciples for His death which was to come. He promised he was going to prepare a place for them. Yeshua was renewing the marriage covenant because grooms go to prepare a place for their brides after the marriage agreement is made. I don’t think they understood that until later. Yeshua continued by telling His disciples that they knew where He was going and the way to get there. Thomas piped in and said they didn’t know where He was going; this shows the lack of understanding I previously mentioned. Yeshua said that He was the way, truth, and life. To get to the Father who is Spirit, you have to go through Yeshua whose name means “Yah saves.”

Continuing, Yeshua said, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” This must have taken Philip by surprise because he said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” John 14:9 continues, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:10-11 says, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me [in My physical body] does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” This appears to be a vote for oneness.

I think we can also see a parallel of separateness and oneness with the creation of woman.  When God created man, they were male and female (Genesis 1:27).  Later, God took a portion of Adam, his rib, and made it into Eve (Genesis 2:21-24).  They were two people, yet when they had sexual relations, they were one again.  When they embraced, their arms brought them into union with each other.  When Eve was pregnant, a portion of Adam was also within her.  I’m not saying this is how it definitely is, but my human mind needs some help here.

Mark 14:61-64 tells us what was discussed after Yeshua was arrested. The high priest asked Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” When Yeshua answered in the affirmative, there was no need for further witnesses; He was convicted of blasphemy. Based on this and our definition for blasphemy, it seems He equated Himself with God.

Yeshua was crucified but none of His bones were broken. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear causing blood and water to pour out (John 19:34). So many people cried out for Yeshua to be crucified; it’s hard to say how many people actually mourned for Him. There is a prophecy of mourning that is still to be fulfilled. Zechariah 12:10 says, “And I (YHVH) will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” Some English Bibles translate this verse, “on Him who they pierced” but the Hebrew says “on Me [elai], the one (et = definite direct object marker) whom (asher) they pierced (daqaru).” In this verse, YHVH is equating Himself with Yeshua by saying that His people will mourn when they look on Him (YHVH) who they had pierced.  This appears to be a vote for oneness.

At Yeshua’s death, He committed His Spirit to the Father; His Spirit joined with the Father’s omnipresent Spirit once again.  Each time Yeshua manifests Himself in the flesh, He has a portion of the Father’s omnipresent Spirit within Him.  A careful reading of John 14:15-21 shows that a portion of this unified omnipresent Spirit dwells inside believers.  When Yeshua manifests Himself to you, it may not be in physical form.  You may sense His Spirit and on rare occasions may smell the odor of incense. For now, Yeshua is with the Spirit of YHVH until an appointed time in the future.  To say Yeshua is at the Father’s right hand could be a simple anthropomorphism because YHVH is an omnipresent spirit (Matthew 22:44; Psalm 110:1).  In addition, the “right hand” has to do with power.

Much time has passed since Yeshua was crucified. We are waiting for God to return on the Day of YHVH. YHVH tseva’ot (YHVH of armies) will come on a white horse with His armies to wage war on the beast and his armies. Matthew 16:27 says it is the Son of Man (Yeshua) that will come with His angels in the glory of the Father.  This will take place on the great day of God Almighty (El Shaddai). The names Revelation uses for YHVH Tseva’ot is “Faithful and True;”  “The Word;” and the “King of kings and Lord of Lords.” John 1:1 teaches that the “Word” is Yeshua which means “Yah saves.”

According to Revelation 1:8, Yeshua is:

  • the Alpha and the Omega, the First and Last, the Beginning and the End;
  • the One who is, and who was, and who is to come (which is what YHVH means), the Almighty (El Shaddai).

El Shaddai is the name by which Abraham knew God. He is I AM WHO I AM (ehyeh asher ehyeh) who is YHVH. The Alpha and Omega (in Greek) or Aleph and Tav (in Hebrew) is the same manifestation of God that walked in the garden with Adam and Eve so long ago. In the End, YHVH Himself will be the Seed born of a woman, named Yeshua that will crush the serpent’s head. Oh, yeah!

In closing, here are a few of the most common descriptions for God with passages that show that Yeshua was the either the same or the image of the Everlasting Father, YHVH (click on chart for better view):

Please take time to read these verses and see that Yeshua is the image of YHVH in the flesh (2 Corinthians 4:4).  This is the great mystery of godliness.  The question is whether or not Yeshua was the image of YHVH like Adam was, or if Yeshua was the image of YHVH in another way.

Another verse to consider is the prophecy of the Branch of Righteousness.  He is man from the line of David who will be called YHVH Our Righteousness.  This man shares the name of YHVH.  Does that means He’s YHVH?

First Timothy 3:16 says, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.”  When some people see this verse, they point out that the word for God is hos (who) instead of theos.  The rest of the verse clearly points to Yeshua.  Yeshua did not manifest anyone else other than God in the flesh.  God is the only logical conclusion to who “who” is.

Remember, Deuteronomy 6:4-5 commands us: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Saying Yeshua is:

  • only a man called the “son of God” allows YHVH to be Elohim and acknowledges the Shema; BUT, that denies John 1:1 and the numerous other Scriptures presented in this post.
  • a god totally independent and separate (in mind, will, spirit, and body) from YHVH denies the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) because beings produce “like kind.”  In other words, gods having sexual union with other gods produce other separate gods; and gods that have sexual union with humans that each contribute to creating a new being, create demi-gods. Two gods that are completely separate and not within each other denies the Shema.
  • the physical manifestation of YHVH or the image of YHVH as I have explained acknowledges Yeshua’s divinity and does not deny the Shema.

For now, do not let two different names bother you.  Accept that all who call upon the name of Yeshua will be saved; but remember Zechariah 14:5-9:

“Thus the Lord my God [YHVH my Elohim] will come, And all the saints with You. 6 It shall come to pass in that day That there will be no light; The lights will diminish. 7 It shall be one day Which is known to the Lord — Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen That it will be light. 8 And in that day it shall be That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur. 9 And the Lord [YHVH] shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be — “The Lord [YHVH] is one,” And His name one.”

[i] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blasphemy

 

 

Forgive and Reconcile With Others

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your worship of YHVH seems to be hindered? Have you ever considered the following verses from Matthew 5:23-24 might be the reason for it?

Matthew 5:23-24 says, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 “leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

We’re not bringing literal offerings to YHVH on an altar today. We are attempting to be living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to YHVH. We are trying to worship the Father in spirit and in truth so the same principle of these verses applies to us today.

We need to be in right relationship with others before we can approach God. Whether or not we sense our worship of YHVH is being hindered or not, sometimes we need to evaluate ourselves. We don’t have to wait until the 10 Days of Awe to do this. We usually know when we have something against another person, and/or whether or not we sense someone else has something against us. If either is in the affirmative, we need to deal with it.

If we have something against another person, we need to remember Matthew 18:15-22. First we must go to him and talk with him privately. Tell him what he did to you. He may not even realize he’s sinned against you; he may have never intended to do so. Face it, sometimes we’re so caught up in ourselves that we don’t always realize how we treat others.

I’ll be the first to admit, I hate confrontation because I don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings and because I don’t know how the other person will respond. Sometimes I do know how the other person will respond and I don’t want to go there. I think everyone relates to this. When you have to do it:

  • Make sure that you clearly explain the problem so the offender knows exactly what he did wrong.
  • Don’t assume he already knows what the problem is or that he is capable of interpreting your pouting, innuendos, or body language.
  • Don’t throw a tantrum and exchange disgust for one another.
  • Ask if you’ve made yourself clear.
  • Agree and confirm how the matter will be resolved.
  • If it was a misunderstanding, make sure the response or explanation he gave you was satisfactory or if you rejected it.
  • If you don’t believe the explanation, see if someone else can confirm it.
  • Discuss how the problem can be fixed and/or avoided in the future.
  • If it involves a problem in which restitution can be made according to the Scriptures, say so.
  • Treat each offense individually.
  • Be patient with one another, especially if you are dealing with a character/personality flaw.

If the person won’t listen to you or make restitution, go and find two or three witnesses. Have a meeting with the offender and the witnesses to resolve the problem. Make it clear to the group what the sin was and include supporting evidence if there is any so you can get justice.

Yes, make sure you are dealing with a real sin or trespass and not just some petty personality conflict, habit, or mannerism you don’t like.

Make sure there is no room for a false interpretation of the matter. If he can’t financially afford restitution in full, devise a workable plan for restitution to take place over time. If the person is not physically able to do as you want, you may just have to understand that, accept it, and move on.

If the person won’t listen to you and your witnesses, take the matter before the assembly. Again, you must be bringing a sin or trespass before the assembly.

If the person won’t listen to the assembly, do not continue your friendship with him; he is no longer worthy of your love and attention. If he experiences this, he may have a change of heart, repent, and make any necessary restitution. If so, reconcile with him. Then again, accept he may never do so.

Don’t do these steps out of order or skip any step in the process.

Verse 21 and 22 say, “Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  This is why we need to deal with each offense individually.

Some people say that what Yeshua meant here was an infinite number but I think it refers to a complete finite number; however, I don’t keep count of how many times people offend and hurt me. I’m too busy processing my grief and forgiving them. I’ve accepted the fact that people have hurt me in one way or another my whole life and that it will not stop until I die. Let’s face it, people can be very cruel. We have to forgive them or else we can become bitter and ineffective in our lives. The Greek word for forgive is aphiemi; it means to let go, give up a debt, to keep no longer. We can’t let offenses burden us. We need to release them.

There are two goals for us to bear in mind. The first is reconciliation with others and the second is being forgiven by our heavenly Father for our own sins and trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15 tells us, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

We need to have compassion and mercy on each other; we must forgive each other from our hearts and refuse to retain sins. Consider how depressed the offender might feel if he is rejected by the whole assembly if he refuses to cooperate or make things right. If he wises up, repents, and makes restitution, forgive and comfort him so he won’t be overwhelmed with too much sorrow.

Now, what can you do if you are the one who has offended another person? If you know for sure what you’ve done, go make it right. Sometimes, we don’t always know if we’ve offended someone. Instinct tells us that something may be amiss in our relationships. If they don’t come to us, we can go to that person and ask if there is something wrong. If they say no, accept that as the truth unless their behavior continues to say otherwise. Try to get them to open up and say what’s wrong. If a conflict ensues, work through it. If they refuse to reconcile, I say get two or three witnesses and keep trying.

If they open up, you may be served a list of offenses. They could be true. If so, repent and offer restitution. If there are misunderstandings, work through them. Perhaps someone misunderstood or misinterpreted what you said. Maybe they misread your body language. Maybe they are displeased with your behavior that is a result of your cultural background, and now they think poorly of you. Maybe their response is a bunch of lies that you are unable to refute. This could cause you enormous sorrow and deep depression. You still need to try and work out the problem the best you can.

Be aware that on rare occasions you could be the one who has tried repeatedly to meet with someone to work out a problem to no avail. Suddenly, the tables could be turned on you; that person may bring their own witnesses, make false accusations against you, and claim you refuse to resolve the matter so that you can eventually be cut off from them and the assembly. Things like that can and do happen.  Things can always go awry when we least expect it. This could turn out to be your worst nightmare so be proactive to resolve problems before things get really bad.  When something like this happens, we need to have faith that God’s justice will prevail on earth as in heaven.

Reconciliation is not always easy. Someone once reminded me that giving up on the possibility of reconciliation is not an option. Based on what I can tell from the Scriptures, he was right. Despite many failed attempts at reconciliation, you may have to eventually tell the other person who you offended that you will always be ready and waiting to reconcile with him even if he chooses to go his own way at the moment.

Face it. Relationships can be difficult at times. People come from different cultural backgrounds even though they live in the same geographical region of the world. Some things that are acceptable and expected in some cultures are not the same in others. This is true even among people who walk according to Torah.

Whether or not we’ve sinned against someone, other fuel can be added to the fire of anger against us. You see, we each carry our own burdens and we are expected to share the loads of others. Sometimes people get disgusted with our burdens and our struggle to carry those burdens ourselves. These burdens may be the result of our own sins/trespasses or are the effects of the sins/trespasses of other people in our lives. These burdens can eventually be a source of conflict in our relationships with others. The reason why may be obvious, other times, it may elude us. Perhaps there is the idea of our problems being the result of sin that they believe may be in our past or current life. We can’t know for sure. Whatever the case may be, people can easily get offended, especially those in the Torah observant community.

If our brothers and sisters in Messiah may not be as equipped to encourage us as we’d like, we might need to accept that and move on. Meanwhile, make sure that you are not committing trespasses against others. Love and pray for one another. Encourage each other as best you can. Try to be there for each other. Be dependent on God for your self-worth, not on man.

Remember Leviticus 19:18: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

Above all, as you relate to other people, remember the weightier matters of Torah are justice, mercy, and faith.  Don’t overlook these as you obey the commands of YHVH.