“The Following Realization Has Changed My Life and My Faith!”

Fueling our Knowledge of HaShem Pic
“The Following Realization Has Changed My Life and My Faith!”

By: Charlie Powers (2014)

 

About 8 years ago I was married. I ended up filing for divorce. After the divorce was finalized, a certain assembly disfellowshipped me, and asked me not to attend their gatherings any more; because I “violated new testament law.” At the time, I could feel, I just knew that this was wrong. I knew and know Torah, better than most. How could the ‘messiah’ contradict his Father’s Word? Did he change his Father’s Word?

I then set out to determine how this topic about divorce could get so twisted up. How could we go from an easy to understand set of laws governing divorce, set forth by YHWH, to the way I was treated after having to divorce my then-wife? What I have found in the last 8 plus years, most of it recently, has revolutionized my faith, even my whole world view!

The first major realization was that the Brit Chadasha/ new testament was not inspired scripture, and was never intended to be viewed as so. The internal evidence compared with the Torah and Tanakh as a whole, showed this quite easily. Once I realized that a believer’s faith was not to come from the ‘new testament’, then I started to look at the TRUE beginning, the TRUE origin, differently. THAT has been an eye opening view!

With that said, I present these scriptures, with the intent to help my other brothers, sisters and friends to understand the difference they will see and hear in me. The following realization has changed my life and my faith for the better!

Deu 24:16 “Fathers are not put to death for their children, and children are not put to death for their fathers, each is to die for his own sin.

 

*

 

Eze 18:2 “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Yisra’ĕl, saying, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are blunted’?

 

Eze 18:3 “As I live,” declares the Master YHWH, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Yisra’ĕl.

 

Eze 18:4 “See, all beings are Mine, the being of the father as well as the being of the son is Mine. The being that is sinning shall die.

 

Eze 18:5 “But if a man is righteous and shall do right-ruling and righteousness,

 

Eze 18:6 if he has not eaten on the mountains, nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Yisra’ĕl, nor defiled his neighbor’s wife, nor comes near a woman during her uncleanness,

 

Eze 18:7 if he does not oppress anyone, does return to the debtor his pledge, does not commit robbery, does give his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment,

 

Eze 18:8 if he does not lend on interest or take increase, turns back his hand from unrighteousness, executes right-ruling in truth between man and man,

 

Eze 18:9 if he walks in My laws, and he has guarded My right-rulings in truth – he is righteous, he shall certainly live!” declares the Master YHWH.

 

Eze 18:10 “But if he has brought forth a son who is a robber or a shedder of blood, who does any of these –

 

Eze 18:11 whereas he himself did not do any of these – that also he has eaten on the mountains or defiled his neighbor’s wife,

 

Eze 18:12 if he has oppressed the poor and needy, has committed robbery, he does not return a pledge, has lifted his eyes to the idols, or did abomination,

 

Eze 18:13 if he has lent on interest or taken increase – shall he live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, he shall certainly die, his blood is upon him.

 

Eze 18:14 “But see, if he has brought forth a son who sees all the sins which his father has done, but he fears and does not do likewise,

 

Eze 18:15 has not eaten on the mountains, and has not lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Yisra’ĕl, has not defiled his neighbor’s wife,

 

Eze 18:16 has not oppressed anyone, nor withheld a pledge, nor committed robbery, has given his bread to the hungry and covered the naked with a garment,

 

Eze 18:17 turns back his hand from wronging the poor, and he has not taken interest or increase, has executed My right-rulings and walked in My laws – he shall not die for the crookedness of his father, he shall certainly live!

 

Eze 18:18 “His father, because he used oppression, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, see, he shall die for his crookedness.

 

Eze 18:19 “And you said, ‘Why should the son not bear the crookedness of the father?’ But the son has done right-ruling and righteousness, he has guarded all My laws and he does them, he shall certainly live.

 

Eze 18:20 “The being who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the crookedness of the father, nor the father bear the crookedness of the son. The righteousness of the righteous is upon himself, and the wrongness of the wrong is upon himself.

 

Eze 18:21 “But the wrong, if he turns from all his sins which he has done, and he shall guard all My laws, and shall do right-ruling and righteousness, he shall certainly live, he shall not die.
Eze 18:22 “All the transgressions which he has done shall not be remembered against him – in his righteousness that he has done, he shall live.

 

Eze 18:23 “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wrong?” declares the Master YHWH. “Is it not that he should turn from his ways, and live?

 

Eze 18:24 “But when a righteous one turns away from his righteousness and does unrighteousness, according to all the abominations that the wrong one has done, shall he live? All his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered. For his trespass which he has committed, and for his sin which he has committed, for them he shall die.

 

Eze 18:25 “And you said, ‘The way of YHWH is not right.’ Hear now, O house of Yisra’ĕl, is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right?

 

Eze 18:26 “When a righteous one turns away from his righteousness, and does unrighteousness, and he dies in it, it is because of his unrighteousness which he has done that he dies.

 

Eze 18:27 “And when the wrong turns away from the wrong which he has done, and he does right-ruling and righteousness, he keeps himself alive.

 

Eze 18:28 “Because he sees and turns away from all the transgressions which he has done, he shall certainly live, he shall not die.

 

Eze 18:29 “And the house of Yisra’ĕl have said, ‘The way of YHWH is not right.’ Are My ways not right, O house of Yisra’ĕl? Is it not your ways that are not right?

 

Eze 18:30 “Therefore I judge you, O house of Yisra’ĕl, every one according to his ways,” declares the Master YHWH. “Repent, and turn back from all your transgressions, and let not crookedness be a stumbling-block to you.

 

Eze 18:31 “Cast away from you all the transgressions, by which you have transgressed, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Yisra’ĕl? Eze 18:32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” declares the Master YHWH. “So turn back and live!”

 

Jer 31:29 “In those days they shall no longer say, ‘The fathers ate sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are blunted.’

 

Jer 31:30 “But each one shall die for his own crookedness – whoever eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be blunted.

 

Jer 31:31 “See, the days are coming,” declares YHWH, “when I shall make a new covenant with the house of Yisra’ĕl and with the house of Yehuḏah

 

Jer 31:32 not like the covenant I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Mitsrayim, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,” declares YHWH.

 

Jer 31:33 “For this is the covenant I shall make with the house of Yisra’ĕl after those days, declares YHWH: I shall put My Torah in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.

 

Jer 31:34 “And no longer shall they teach, each one his neighbor, and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know YHWH,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares YHWH. “For I shall forgive their crookedness, and remember their sin no more.”

 

Isa 44:6 “Thus said YHWH , Sovereign of Yisra’ĕl, and his Redeemer, YHWH of hosts, ‘I am the First and I am the Last, besides Me there is no Elohim.

 

Isa 44:7 ‘And who is like Me? Let him call and declare it, and lay it before Me, since I appointed the everlasting people. And the events that are coming and those that do come, let them declare these to them.

 

Isa 44:24 Thus said YHWH , your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb, “I am YHWH , doing all, stretching out the heavens all alone, spreading out the earth, with none beside Me,

 

Isa 44:25 frustrating the signs of the babblers, and driving diviners mad, turning wise men backward, and making their knowledge foolish,

 

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Isa 45:5 ‘I am YHWH , and there is none else – there is no Elohim besides Me. I gird you, though you have not known Me,

 

Isa 45:6 so that they know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none but Me. I am YHWH , and there is none else,

 

Isa 45:7 forming light and creating darkness, making peace and creating evil. I, YHWH , do all these.’

 

Isa 45:8 “Rain down, O heavens, from above, and let clouds pour down righteousness. Let the earth open, let them bring forth deliverance, and let righteousness spring up together. I, YHWH , have created it.

 

Isa 45:18 For thus said YHWH , Creator of the heavens, He is Elohim, Former of earth and its Maker, He established it, He did not create it to be empty, He formed it to be inhabited: “I am YHWH , and there is none else.

 

*

 

Isa 45:22 “Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am Ěl, and there is none else.

 

*

 

Isa 48:12 “Listen to Me, O Yaʽaqoḇ, and Yisra’ĕl, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last.

 

Isa 48:13 “Also, My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand has stretched out the heavens. I call to them, let them stand together.

 

*

 

Isa 52:6 “Therefore My people shall know My Name, in that day, for I am the One who is speaking. See, it is I.”

 

*

 

Isa 45:21 “Declare and bring near, let them even take counsel together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has declared it from that time? Is it not I, YHWH ? And there is no mighty one besides Me, a righteous Ěl and a Saviour, there is none besides Me.

 

Isa 45:22 “Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am Ěl, and there is none else.

 

Isa 45:23 “I have sworn by Myself, a word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, so that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue swear.

 

*

 

I just found this scripture, which totally brings into question the idea, ‘shedding of blood is the only way to receive the forgiveness of sin’. This scripture shows that this is not an accurate view point.

 

*

 

Leviticus 5:11-13 But if he is not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he who sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering… Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, a memorial part of it, and burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire to the Lord; it is a sin offering. And the priest shall make an atonement for him in regard to his sin that he has sinned in one of these, and it shall be forgiven him; and the remnant shall be the priest’s, as a meal offering.

 

1 samuel 15:22 Then Shemu’ĕl said, “Does YHWH delight in burnt offerings and slaughterings, as in obeying the voice of YHWH? Look, to obey is better than an offering, to heed is better than the fat of rams.

 

*

 

Jer 7:21 Thus said YHWH of hosts, the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl, “Add your burnt offerings to your slaughterings and eat meat.

 

Jer 7:22 “For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Mitsrayim, about matters of burnt offerings or slaughterings.

 

Jer 7:23 “But this word I did command them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I shall be your Elohim, and you be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, so that it be well with you.’

 

Then look at this scripture-

 

Leviticus 26: 40-46 = 40 And they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their treachery which they committed against Me, and also that they have walked contrary unto Me.

 

41 I also will walk contrary unto them, and bring them into the land of their enemies; if then perchance their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they then be paid the punishment of their iniquity;

 

42 then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.

 

43 For the land shall lie forsaken without them, and shall be paid her sabbaths, while she lies desolate without them; and they shall be paid the punishment of their iniquity; because, even because they rejected Mine ordinances, and their soul abhorred My statutes.

 

44 And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them; for I am YHWH their G-d.

 

45 But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their G-d: I am YHWH.

 

46 These are the statutes and ordinances and laws, which YHWH made between Him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.

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Are We To Do The Feast and Festival?

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Center for Tanakh based Studies

By: William Jackson

As we read through Exodus and Leviticus it appears that the Feast and Festivals* are eternal.  This would imply that we are to perform these statutes even now, in our current day   Nonetheless, what is perplexing are later statements from God that go “I hate, I reject your festivals, and I will not smell [the sacrifices of] your assemblies” (Amos 5:21) and “Your New Moons and your appointed seasons My soul hates, they are a burden to Me…” (Isaiah 1:14). What gives?  Are the Feast and Festivals forever or did God halt them?  Well we know one thing, God doesn’t change his mind (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Micah 7:20).  So how can both perception by right?

Olam ≠ Forever

forever-young

Much of the misgivings boils down to a single Hebrew word “olam”.  When talking about the Feast and Festivals, it is the one word English translators substitute for forever.

*Verses that “olam” is translated as forever:

  1. Pesach/Passover: Exodus 12:14
  2. Chag HaMatzot /Unleavened Bread: Exodus 12:17
  3. First fruits: Leviticus 23:9-14
  4. The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost): Leviticus 23:21
  5. Rosh Hashanah/Feast of Trumpets (doesn’t have this statute)
  6. Yom Kippur/The Day of Atonement: Leviticus 16:34, 23:31
  7. Sukkot/Feast of Booths (Tabernacles or Ingathering): Leviticus 23:41

In reality, there is no actual word in the Hebrew language for forever.  Olam itself simply means “ancient”, “long duration,” or “until the end of a period of time.”1.  For example, olam is used to mean very old in Deuteronomy 32:7, Isaiah 63:9,11; Amos 9:11; Micah 5:1; 7:14; and Malachi 3:4. Conversely, it is used in Deuteronomy 33:15 to mean great distance.  So. why such a diverse meaning for just one word? Probably because it implies a great distance whether in space or time, but it does not mean forever. Still English translators change the Hebrew word olam to words like forever, ever or even the phrase “generation to generation”. We need to remember that even Jewish sources have determined that the word “olam” did not mean eternity, but rather a limited period of time2.  A couple of examples of these are Moreh Nevuchim 2:28 (The Guide for the Perplexed) by Moses Maimonides (Rambam), and Sefer ha-Ikkarim (“Book of Principles”), 3:16, by rabbi Joseph Albo 15th century.

Covenant of the Promise Land:

The_Death_of_Moses_(crop)

A good example of the use of the word olam is Genesis 17:8 and Joshua 14:9. Here God states that Canaan would be an olam, or everlasting possession of Israel.  This was an ordinance given by God.  Yet, the Tanakh and History shows us between famines and exiles3 the Jews have spent more time outside of Israel than in it.  Importantly, as we know, God’s chosen people have returned to Israel and in the end, Israel will belong to the them.  Another point to ponder is that although God gave Israel to His people, those Israelites that were disobedient to God were not allow to participate in this covenant (Numbers 14:28-30, 32:11, Deuteronomy 1:35, 2:14-15). Two points to take away from this argument are that one can fall out of favor in this “forever” promise, and that although in the end the promise will be fulfilled it can temporarily be halted. So, olam does not mean a continues possession of the land when it comes to Israel.

Continuation of the Levitical Priesthood:  

The_Sin_of_Nadab_and_Abihu

Still, another good example regarding olam, would be the Levitical Priesthood. In Exodus 29:9, 40:15, Numbers 25:13 and 1 Samuel 2:30 God states that the priesthood would belong to Aaron and his sons “forever” (olam).  Yet, a year later Nadab and Abihu (Aaron’s sons) in Leviticus 10:1-2 were neglect in their duties and lost their priestly status. Also, about four centuries later, God removes Eli and his sons as priest for their disobedience (1 Samuel 3:11-14). So we can determine from this, as with the land, forever can be challenged by those that are disobedient to the covenant.  Adding to this, on a national level, this forever promise was tested by Israel. This happened during the Babylonian captivity (597 – 538 BCE)4.  As a byproduct of Israel’s disobedience, the Levitical priesthood did not perform its duties for at least 70 years (Jeremiah 25:2, 29:10 and Daniel 9:2).  After the exile, we see that Nehemiah restored all the priest to their original duties (Nehemiah 13:11).  Nonetheless, God said through His last prophet Malachi that the Levitical priest have corrupted the covenant with Him (Malachi 2:1-9). Later on in Malachi, the prophet states that in the future, God will purify and reestablish the Levitical priesthood (Malachi 3:3).  This is further supported by Ezekiel. In his Second Temple Vision (Ezekiel 40-48), Ezekiel talks about the restoration of the Levitical priesthood and the Temple.  This is still to come.  As we know, currently, the Levitical priesthood is not performing it’s duties. So again we see the “forever” concept challenged by disobedience and halted for periods of times.

Sacrifices Crucial:

jerusalem-destruction

As we discussed, the concept of olam being forever can be halted if challenged with insubordination.  The Temple falls into this category.  Through Israel’s disobedience it was destroyed5.  Isaiah warned Israel bout their behavior in around 740 BCE.  He stated that God no longer honored their Temple sacrifices (Isaiah 1:11-12, 66:3). As we see below the Feast and Festivals are tied into the Temple sacrifices.  So God did not honor them either (Isaiah 1:13-14).  This was again echoed over two centuries later before the Babylonian captivity by Jeremiah in Lamentations 2:6. The Temples destruction led consequently to the Levitical Priesthood and sacrifices being paused.  As Torah tells us, sacrifices are crucial to the Feasts and Festivals:

  1. Pesach/Passover: “you are to provide a burnt offering to the God of two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in the first year they shall be unblemished for you” (Leviticus 23:8, Numbers 28:19).
  2. Chag HaMatzot /Unleavened Bread: “…they (Israel) shall not appear before Me empty handed.” (Exodus 23:15).
  3. First fruits, “…you shall offer up an unblemished lamb in its [first] year as a burnt offering to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:12) …” You shall not eat bread or [flour made from] parched grain or fresh grain, until this very day, until you bring your God’s sacrifice…” (Leviticus 23:14).
  4. Feast of Weeks (Pentecost): In Leviticus 23, during this feast you are to offer up a loaves of bread (v. 17), several animals for burnt offerings (v. 18-19) and wine (v. 19) to God through a priest at the Temple.
  5. Rosh Hashanah/The Feast of Trumpets: “ you shall offer up a fire offering to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:25).
  6. Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement: “… you shall offer up a fire offering to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:27).
  7. Sukkot/Feast of Booths (Tabernacles or Ingathering): For a seven-day period, you are to bring a fire offering to the Lord and on the eighth day you present a fire offering to the Lord (Leviticus 23:36).

Without a Temple we do not have sacrifices.  This means that no one can truly do the Feast and Festivals to standard.  Regardless of how you grade it you will never be 100% successful in doing them until the Temple is reestablished.

Conclusion:

As God said the Feast and Festivals offend Him (Amos 5:21 and Isaiah 1:14) because of Israel’s disobedience.  So, He halted them by taking away a critical piece, the ability to do sacrifices, the Temple. Thus our ability to perform these Feast and Festivals has been halted.  Yet, although we cannot perform them, hope is not lost.  All the world will perform them in a future day (Isaiah 66:23 and Psalm 86:9). Ezekiel also confirms this through a re-establishment of the Feast and Festivals in the end days, when the Temple is restored (Ezekiel 45:21 – 46:15). Even Zechariah 14:16 speaks of a future time when all people will participate in the Feast and Festivals.

kohanim-temple-jerusalem-passover-sacrifice

References:

  1. “Strong’s Hebrew: 5769. עוֹלָם (olam) — Long Duration, Antiquity, Futurity.” Strong’s Hebrew: 5769. עוֹלָם (olam) — Long Duration, Antiquity, Futurity. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 July 2016.

 

  1. Balashon – Hebrew Language Detective: Olam.” Balashon – Hebrew Language Detective: Olam. N.p., 2 Sept. 2010. Web. 23 July 2016

 

  1. Spiro, Ken, Rabbi. “History Crash Course #68: Timeline: From Abraham to the State of Israel.” Aishcom. N.p., 16 Mar. 2002. Web. 18 July 2016.

 

  1. Hooker, Richard. “The Jewish Temples: The Babylonian Exile.” The Babylonian Exile. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2016.

 

“The Destruction of the First Holy Temple.” – Tisha B’Av and the 3 Weeks. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2016.

Rise and Shine! (on the Dark Side)

Rise and Shine
Rise and Shine! (on the Dark Side)
Part One
By Terrie C

This is part one of two on this subject. I apologize if that is inconvenient, and part two will include a link to part one, but my heart’s desire is to prompt you to ponder the material a bit. A quick solution often cheats us out of the pondering, which is an important step in understanding.. Let’s ponder together, shall we?

“Two natures beat within my breast
The one is foul, the one is blessed
The one I love, the one I hate.
The one I feed will dominate.”

-Anonymous

My love affair with words began in 1980 when I was in the tenth grade, inspired by a teacher who loved words, too. It was then that I first read the above quote. It was one that bored right  into my soul, instantly memorized for the rest of my life. It was profound, I instinctively knew (wisdom) but I lacked the life experience (understanding) to know exactly how profound it was.

Skip ahead about 35 years, and I had the concept of the quote challenged by Christianity. I wasn’t battling myself, but the  “original sin” I was born with. A mark against me already…. before I was old enough to act.  So it stood to reason, didn’t it (?), that since I had “accepted” a certain “savior” that my original sin had been wiped out. Gone…poof…white as snow.  Yet there I was alone at night, acutely aware that my darker half remained. She’s fat and mouthy, with her thoughts set on herself.  I sought advice from those “older in faith” than I was. They explained to me that I was experiencing thoughts and feelings given me by that “old devil” named Satan (Capital S). They told me that a war was raging between my God and that devil for my soul. My sin, Christianity explained, was conquered by an acceptable sacrifice. Not only my original sin and the sins I committed that very day, but any future sin I would ever commit. “Resist the devil” they told me, “and he will flee.” Oh, the time I spent rebuking that devil! Worrying that he was powerful enough to deceive me. A formidable adversary that could “steal” my soul away from YHVH. I can “shake my head” now, but then it was a serious issue for me.

I briffed right over all the Scriptures that said God had no equal (even though it’s the Tanakh’s common theme) and lived in fear of this devil. I was on constant guard, because this devil was wandering about, looking for folks like me to devour. Or so I thought.  I didn’t realize then that my greatest adversary lived right inside of me. She was (is) part of me! In denying her existence and looking externally for my enemy, I had no opportunity to confront her, or to grow in my own self-discipline, discernment or self-knowledge. I am not saying I have no adversary in the external world, or even in the invisible realm. I do. But the only adversary who can turn me away from The Almighty lives in me. She is a piece of me.  We’ll have to jump ahead ten years for that day to come when I finally looked at this piece of myself in the mirror.

When I tore the “back half” of my Bible out, (stopped using the “NT”) it was easy to see that “free will” by its very definition means that we are as capable of committing evil as we are to commit a good deed. The components of each reside right inside each of us. Perhaps it is when we deny these darker components that we are, in fact,  “feeding” them. Instead,  we should be calling this part of ourselves “to the carpet” to confront its  components. Our components.

In identifying and acknowledging this part of ourselves, we can utilize it, instead of feeding it. We can  “Rise and Shine” on our dark side! On my next post, I will share some of the ways I have found to use my darker side to feed my light, instead of casting shadows on it. Until then, I have some “homework” for you, if you’re interested in confronting the darker pieces within yourself and owning them, instead of them owning you. Have an honest talk with yourself about the darkness that lurks in your own heart. It is the other half of your free will; a piece of who you are. Take your time. Take note of when this part rears its head, or even opens your mouth.  You don’t have to share your findings with anyone, and God already knows about them, so pull out all the stops and excuses. If you’re one to journal, you might even make a two-sided list of your qualities like I did. I wrote “Light” on one half of the page and “Darkness” on the other and listed each component of myself accordingly. I’m excited to tell you about what I learned from my list, but I’ll wait for part two of this post. It’s more important for you to see what you can see from your own list, whether it’s written or not!

“See” you next time. Until then, Rise and Shine!

 

16 Months Past the Cross – Be Still and Know

Looking Through a New Lens16 Months Past the Cross – Be Still and Know
By Terrie C

I received a wonderful compliment this week. It terrified me. It humbled me. It made me run to my Creator to confess my flaws. And it made me think, which is always a good thing! Once upon a time, before I walked away from the cross, I had a “ministry” page on FB. Hundreds of people followed it, and on any given day I could have told you exactly how many “likes” it had. I never ran out of material to share because I was sure I had all the answers. Aside from my duties here in the non-cyber world, I was sure the page was my “calling”. “The great commission”, and all that. The name for the page came to me late one night in a dream. I “heard” the words “write this down” and so I did. For almost two years the words “Lost Sheep Oasis” were scrawled in my prayer journal. When I decided to begin daily postings on the page, the name seemed like a perfect fit. In retrospect, perhaps it was.

 

During the time I had the page open, it was an oasis for me. A place for learning, for digging deeper, and for sharing what I learned. Then came the day I realized I was sharing from more than just the Scripture. I was sharing from the Christian Messiah perspective. From their writings, as well as from Tanakh. Even though I posted about Torah, Holy Days and Sabbath, I was still “teaching” salvation through a means other than repentance and obedience. I was devastated to know I may have led others astray! I struggled so much over what to do with the page. It felt like part of who I was to me; after all, I had poured hours of my heart and studies into it. Doesn’t that sound nice? It’s the truth, but it’s not the whole truth. Another part of me didn’t want to let go of something that had made me feel “successful” in my spiritual walk.  That, dear reader, was pride (refer back to my comment about knowing exactly how many “likes” the page had). Pride. The page was “suspended” for a few months after I walked away from the cross. I wasn’t sure what to post. Certainly, I was not in a position to proclaim anyone else’s “wrongness” and certainly I didn’t want anyone to think I was misleading in my postings by simply eliminating Yeshua (Jesus) from them. I struggled with my decision and with my pride, but did shut the page completely down with a post explaining I had come to a fork in my spiritual journey. My time in the “oasis” was through, I knew. Nothing about me was the same. Walking away from the cross was a paradigm change that can’t be explained, only experienced.

 

I haven’t veered as far from the subject of this post, that compliment, as you may think. Bear with me.

 

If you have a God-given talent, you will understand when I say that the writer in me yearned to write. This story-teller had stories to tell, the Torah student had notes to share. Words swirled in my brain until I thought my head would explode. But I was enveloped in another prideful event. Fear. For five years, I had spouted wrongness. People responded with tremendous encouragement and agreement. To my wrongness. With all the new concepts I was learning once the “new” testament doctrines were out of the picture, I didn’t feel qualified to share any of it! Fear. “What if I’m wrong about this thought or that one?” played in my mind like a mantra. Such a short time ago I thought I knew it all, and ~BOOM!~ just like that, I wasn’t sure I knew anything at all, except that my God is ONE. Pride and fear.

 

With the right kind of encouragement from the right kind of friends, I began slowing pecking away at my keyboard once more. Sharing my experience, and exercising the new concepts I am learning on this side of the cross. I even opened a brand new page, a place that I pray will highlight God’s glory and goodness, and not my own “knowledge”. A place I hope will inspire and encourage others to let His Word be a lamp unto their feet. I can’t tell you how many “likes” this page has because I don’t check. I don’t care. Now, once I’ve written my heart, which I share so you can know you’re not alone in this journey, I release my effort to God, and trust Him to do with it what He will. My full name isn’t even attached because it’s The Almighty’s Name that matters, and not my own. I’ve repented from my pridefulness in my writing ability, which isn’t “mine” at all. I will continue to do so, should the need arise. Repentance is a lifelong venture! Maturing is for a lifetime, as well! No longer do I think I have it all figured out, but I sure intend to stay under the shelter of the wings of the ONE who does! With my eye, mind and soul set on seeking wisdom and understanding.

 

And so my heart is full of thanks to the dear friend who complimented me this week, but I would be remiss to let him think any of this maturing process is easy for me. I am eloquent in writing about my experience, because YHVH bestowed an eloquent way with words upon me. The experience itself has been anything but eloquent. In “real life” I flop like a fish on dry ground as my own light and darkness struggle within me. Eliminating the “middle man” who “paid my debt” leaves me spiritually naked and accountable. I’m not comfortable here at all, but I’m in exactly where I should be:

 

  • Acutely aware of my need for my God.
  • Acutely aware of my own shortcomings, and need for repentance..
  • Acutely aware of how far I still have to go.
  • Acutely aware of the weight on my end of a covenant relationship with my Creator.
  • Acutely aware of my responsibility when interacting with others.

 

Who else but the ONE we serve could take the accounts of my blundering through this thing we call life and use them to inspire someone else? I can barely wrap my mind around it! But He does it. Divine connections, timely words, moments of revelations about ourselves in someone else’s story… it’s all from Him! I stand in awe!

 

Truly it is all of you who inspire me! It’s so good to know I’m not sojourning through this world alone, and that there are others with me on this stretch of the path. My first page was truly a “Lost Sheep Oasis” for me, but time in an oasis is always temporary, isn’t it? My new page is called “Be Still and Know”, which perfectly describes where I am right now. Not teaching doctrines I do not fully understand. Not pointing fingers, or worrying about where anyone else is on their path. Simply being still and knowing that God looks so different through this new lens! So much bigger than He did before!  Drop in and say “Hi” if you feel so inclined. (https://www.facebook.com/Be-Still-and-Know-1636416253262994/)

“See” you next week!

 

The Final Battle and Final Exodus?

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Center for Tanakh Based Studies

By: William Jackson

There will be a final showdown in the “end times”.  This significant event will punctuate the ending of the world as we know it, and will usher in the Messianic Era. The Messianic Era is a time in which the Messiah will arrive champion the concept of total peace. So what is the need for this final Battle, who is the enemy and where are we at in relation to it? To determine this, we must first understand the chronology of events leading to the Messiah.

1st Israel will be reclaimed by the Jewish People; Zechariah 8:4-8

2nd The nations will be against Israel; Zechariah 12:2-5, 14:2

3rd /5th God’s people will return to Israel; Jeremiah 23:3, 31:8, 32:37-41, Ezekiel 11:16-20, 34:11-16, 36:16-28, 37:21-28

4th A final war with Israel; Ezekiel 38:1-39:24, Zechariah 14:12, Psalm 83

6th The Nations will be Judged by God; Ezekiel 38:22, Zechariah 14:3, Joel 4:2

7th The Messiah will appear; Jeremiah 23:3-6, Ezekiel 34:11-24

8th All people will only recognize the one true God; Isaiah 2:3-4, 17, 11:10, Micah 4:2-3, Zechariah 8:22, 14:9.

The first part of this prophecy started in 14 May 1948, when David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, declared “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel”.  Since that date part two of this prophecy, “nations will be against Israel” has been building momentum.  We have seen several wars against Israel since its conception.  Even now, daily hostilities can be witnessed on both a personal and political plain against this small nation in the Middle east.  Israel’s rebirth has been very rocky, but this was foreshadowed.

One can also argue that part 3, “God’s people returning home” has been happening over the years.  But, the prophecies seem to depict a whole sale exodus not just a slight trickle of returning Jews.  Others might say that this returning home of God’s people is describing Israel’s return from Babylonian captivity about 2,500 years ago.  We need to remember that not all of Israel returned from the Babylonian captivity or even the Assyrian captivity over a century before that.  Only 5% of the Jews returned home from Babylon, and none returned home from Assyria.  We can easily say part three is still to come, most of Israel is still absent.

Moving onto part 4 “War”, as we read Ezekiel 39 through 40 we see this nation of Gog with its allies coming up against Israel. So who is Gog?  Gog is modern day Turkey.  Also mentioned in this passage is Meshech (Ezekiel 38:2), Tubal (Ezekiel 38:2), Gomer (Ezekiel 38:9), and Togarmah (Ezekiel 38:9) which are territories in modern day Turkey1.  In verse Ezekiel 38:5 Turkey will be joined by Iran (Persia), Ethiopia (The original Hebrew word is Cush which describes the land south of Egypt. Cush represents present day Sudan), and Libya2. Adding to the enemy’s ranks will be Sheba and Dedan (Ezekiel 38:13), which are the Arabs of the peninsula, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. As if this isn’t enough, verse Ezekiel 38:6 adds that there will be others.  Who could that be?  Well Psalms 83 also talks about this same conflict.  It clarifies combined armies from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and perhaps representation from Iraq3.

As Ezekiel predicts, this massive Army will be defeat (Ezekiel 39:1-24).  The final battle will be in the Valley of the Travelers/ or Passengers.  This is located in Dhiban, Jordan, about 50 miles South East of Jerusalem4.

Yes, Ezekiel 38 and 39 the prophet portrays for us a future war painted in the terminology of his 5th century BCE.  But, in this end times timeline did God’s people return home before this war or after?  Ezekiel 38:8 and 12 clearly states that this war would start after God’s people have been gathered in Israel, but after the war with Gog in Ezekiel 39:25-28 it talks about God’s people returning home.  It is possible that God’s people starting returning home may have started before this war and continued until after it. One thing is for sure, the war with Gog is a prelude to the Messianic era5.

So why is this war necessary, why not just have the Messiah enter into the word and start our time of Peace? The same questioned can be asked of the exodus from Egypt, why didn’t Pharaoh just allow the Israelites to go?  Interestingly, in both cases God inspires these pagan nations to come up against His people.  The answer is in Torah, it is to show God’s glory, so that His name may be proclaimed in all the earth. (Exodus 9:16).  This is again echoed in Ezekiel 38:18, 22, 39:7, 21 and Psalm 83:19 (18).  The events at this final battle will also serve two additional purposes.  The first, as it did to Egypt, it will judge and punish these nations for what they did to Israel.  Secondly, it will humble all the nations bringing them into subservience thus facilitating the ushering in of peace and the Messiah.

References:

  1. Richardson, Joel. “Where Is Magog, Meshech and Tubal?” Prophezine. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 July 2016.
  1. White, Craig C. “Ezekiel 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with Them.” High Time to Awake. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 July 2016
  1. Holeman, Daniel B. “ESCHATOLOGY TODAY.” : The Prophetic Road to Revelation (Part IV):The War of Gog of Magog. N.p., 12 Dec. 2014. Web. 09 July 2016.
  1. Dhiban, Jordan to Jerusalem, Israel, Goodge Maps, n.d. Web. 09 July 2016.
  1. Kohler, Kaufmann. “JewishEncyclopedia.com.” ESCHATOLOGY -. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 July 2016.

59 Weeks Past the Cross – The “Messy” of Messianics

Looking Through a New Lens
59 Weeks Past the Cross – The “Messy” of Messianics
By Terrie C

I was a Messianic Christian long before I ever heard the term. If you’ve been following for a while, you already know I didn’t lay eyes on Scripture until I was 40, eleven years ago. I started a systematic reading of the Bible. I started in Matthew, like all the “good” Christians told me to. As thirsty as I was for God, it didn’t take me long to work my way into Genesis. From there, the words “forever” and “throughout your generations” popped out at me in a huge way. Surely, I thought, an unchanging God does not change His mind about such precisely defined words! I hounded every pastor I met with my questions about “forever and throughout your generations’ and got a plethora of answers. One pastor really astounded me with the answer “The Catholic Church changed it”. Then he moved on to the next subject quickly, like it was perfectly understandable and acceptable that anyone changed God’s statutes about anything! I moved forward, but this area was far from settled in myself. I also questioned pastors about Jesus admitting to adding a commandment. From John 13: A new commandment I give to you…. Clearly, God commanded that His words cannot be added to or subtracted from!

~You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it”~ Deuteronomy 4

 

Y’all know what the pastors said about that, right? That Jesus was God in man form, and that He could add or subtract if He wanted. They left me scratching my head, and struggling to take certain things “on faith” and not on whether or not they contradicted what God said in the beginning of the Bible. As I looked for answers on my own, I found the “Messianic Movement” and the “Hebrew Roots” people online. Finally! Someone who saw that The Sabbath fell under the “forever and throughout your generations” category! And the “Law” and the Holy Days! We threw some tzitzit on Jesus and proclaimed him a very Jewish-sounding Yeshua”, a man who kept the Law, the Sabbath and the Feasts.

 

While in the Messianic Movement, new questions arose. I was part of a group of people who were heralding solidarity with the land of Israel and the Jewish people and those who stood with them. We changed our diets and said we ate “kosher”, which, BTW, we did not. “Kosher” entails so much more than skipping a BLT! But I digress. Messianics like I was claimed to place Torah above everything else. We celebrated the Holy Days blowing our righteous shofars. We donned tzitzit and spent our time showing the Christians how wrong their doctrine was. We went about in our best Zechariah 8:23 fashion:

~Thus saith the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days it shall come to pass that ten men out of all the languages of the nations shall take hold, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, “We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”~

 

We said that everything the Jews (and those who stood with them) did was spot on except for one tiny detail. They didn’t know squat, we thought, about God’s plan for our eternal salvation. Yep, the ones who only follow the “Old” Testament got everything right EXCEPT for how we are “saved”. Typing this looks silly to me now, it doesn’t even make sense, does it? That all of the Old Testament would be true except for the parts where God says He is ONE and will not share His glory with another. All the parts except that the ones that say our  only way to forgiveness is repentance. All of the parts except where it says it will be by His Name that every knee bows. The so-called new testament outright contradicts that, saying we will bow to Yeshua’s name. All the parts except where it says that if anyone tried to introduce us to a god who wasn’t at Sinai the day the Law was given that we should part ways with them. All of the parts except the ones that say we are accountable for our own deeds and our misdeeds. Something wasn’t right, I knew that I knew that I knew it couldn’t be both ways! Messy, isn’t it?

 

Since leaving the movement, my  “religion” isn’t messy anymore. The Tanakh (Old Testament) stands without the “new” perfectly. The complete plan for a soul who walks with God can be found therein. Nothing’s missing, no need to cram in a person who has a human mother and God for a father. By definition, that’s a demi-god.

 

Messianics, you are so close! Keep seeking. Ask God if He would break His own Law and impregnate another man’s betrothed. Ask Him if He would have us pretending we are drinking blood, another sin in His eyes. Ask Him if we should be singing “It’s all about you, Jesus”, or when human sacrifice became an acceptable sin offering to Him (something else His own Law calls sin). If anyone except the Jews (and those who stand therewith) would be the ones the nations will turn to for learning about God, that verse in Zechariah would read differently or wouldn’t exist at all. I am not advocating conversion to Judaism, and Jews don’t either. That is a personal decision between you and God. I’m just taking the Scriptures at face value, and they tell us right where to look to learn about Him. To those He deemed a light for the nations. I am only saying the things God has said about Himself and about the days to come.

 

If it isn’t in the Tanakh, then it isn’t. It’s that simple…nothing messy about it!

 

“See”  you soon! May the peace of God rest on you 🙂

 

Salvation for those that Don’t Know

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Center for Tanakh Based Studies

By: William Jackson

Does God have mercy on those that try but just don’t know?  Many people peruse a relationship with the Creator but through faulty doctrines and a lack of understanding fall short of the goals outlined in Torah.  Sadly, many of us, at one time or another, fell into this camp.  Maybe this explains our strong feelings of betrayal when we broke through those chains of religion.  Still, what about those still left behind (excuse the pun).

The Philistines:     

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There is no better example than 1 Samuel 5:1. Here the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites. In 1 Samuel 5:2-9 we see that the possession of the Ark caused the Philistine idols to be destroyed and the Philistines to be cursed. Fearful, the Philistines beseeched their rulers to return the Ark to the Israelites (1 Samuel 5:11). The Philistine Priests concocted a ritual method of returning the Ark that was certainly short of the Levitical Laws (1 Samuel 6:2-18).  It is possible that God had mercy on the Philistines because although they did not know the standard, they were successful in returning the Ark. There are three important points to ponder in this excerpt from the Tanakh (Old Testament).

Three Major Bullets:    

  1. The Philistines gave reverence to God

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The Philistines feared the one and only God over their own gods (1 Samuel 4:5-8).  Fearing God certainly means acknowledging Him. Remember fear is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 2:5, 9:10, 111,10, Job 28:28).  In Genesis 42:18 Joseph said to his brothers ““Do what I say, and stay alive, for I fear God…”.

  1. The Philistines strived to understand God.

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The Philistines tried to resolve things but they did not have Torah.  To the best of their knowledge, their Priest attempted to respectfully return the Ark. They didn’t just put a token effort into understanding Adonai, they approached the task with determination. Micah 6:8 tells us that God says for all of us “O man, what is good, and what the Lord demands of you; but to do justice, to love loving-kindness, and to walk discreetly with your God.”

  1. Those that knew God were held at a higher standard

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The Philistine Priest placed the Ark on a new cart pulled by cows.  This method of transporting this Holey article was in direct violation of Torah (Exodus 25:12-14; Numbers 7:9), something Israel would be punished for 70 years later (2 Samuel 6:3-6).  Regardless, the return of the Ark was a success.  Conversely, the receiving Israelites were punished for not treating the Ark in a way commensurate to Torah (2 Samuel 6:19).  God appears to hold those that know His word at a higher level.

The People of Nineveh:

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Three centuries later this same blueprint with these three bullet points would fall onto another group, the people of Ninveh.  Here God tells Jonah that He cares for Nineveh even though the people did “…not know their right hand from their left…”. The Book of Jonah does speak to how God has mercy on people who do not know.  Importantly, just like Psalm 34:18, 51:19 and Isaiah 66:2 tells us, all people’s salvation comes from true repentance.

Held to a Higher Standard:

Some might feel that it is a little unfair for those of us that are closer to Torah to be held at a higher standard. Yet, God did tell Israel that they are a nation of priests (Exodus 19:6).  For God’s people the Tanakh repeatedly tells us since they are teachers of His Word, they are held at a higher standard. The Prophets ensure that teachers are held to a higher standard and will suffer the consequences of not being in His Word (Jeremiah 8:8-13, Daniel 11:33-35).  God put in many of us a passionate for His Word, if He intended to use us as a beacon, He would want His message to be pure.

Conclusion:

Yes, God had mercy on other people without Torah.  But, Torah is essential for the long haul. For example, the demise of the Philistines was forecasted by Jeremiah in his book, chapter 47.  Also Ninveh, which might have escaped destruction in 760 BCE, would face its ruin 63 years later as reported in Nahum 1.  You see, although God might have mercy on those that adhere to our first two bullet points (fearing God and perusing a relationship with Him), we need to embrace Torah for longevity. When people first start to desire a relationship with the Creator, they start in a stage of immaturity.  This may last for many years.  Although it is the first step towards understanding, we need to desire to grow from this level.  One knows that they are growing when the no longer become satisfied with the teachings of others but would sooner bask in a direct relationship with His Holey Word. Just ponder what king David told us “I have more understanding than all my teachers, because I meditate on your instruction” – Psalm 119:99.

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