Category Archives: Wrestling with Scripture & Upbringing

New Moon – a look at when the month begins

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This is not my study.  I want to credit first, our Father, Yehovah, for His leading, and second the author, Frank Klin, who wrote the following on a FB thread.  This was a new look at an old discussion.. at least, it was a new to me look and it’s beautiful, and really goes to the heart of our Father, not the semantics which so often get argued over at length, but the whole of Scripture, which portrays the Heart of Our God.  I was blessed, and hope you will be also!  🙂

Phases of the Moon

“Dear brothers and sisters. I share the following for your consideration on this topic. I believe the Scripture identifies precisely how to identify when the New Moon begins. The foundational verses are found in the first book of the Torah, and the same theme continues all the way through to the end of Revelation. I preface the study with these verses:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” – (James 1:17 KJV)

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” – (1 John 1:5 KJV) 

Now consider what you just learned about our Father as you read these familiar verses:

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” – (Genesis 1:3-5 KJV)

Because Jesus is the Son of the Father of lights He began the first day of creation on the earth that was without form and void by speaking the words “Let there be light.” He then divided the light from darkness calling the light Day. So this new day was identified by the fact that “there was light.” 
For God to truly be light, “and in Him is no darkness at all,” the Son of God did something special on the fourth day of creation:

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,” – (Genesis 1:14-17 KJV)

The Son of the Father of lights spoke two great lights into existence as a division between day and night, the sun being the greater light to rule the day, the moon being the lesser light to rule the night. These lights were to be for signs, for seasons, (moeds, appointed times), for days, and years. All this was done so there could be lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth.

On the fourth day of creation, the very first day of existence for this New Moon ask yourself did the moon begin dark, or did it begin as light? The verses we just read identify the moon as a lesser light to rule the earth at night. It is only during its cycle of days that this light becomes dark. When the moon is dark what lights the night? Our Scripture says “He made the stars also,” and they give light to the night when the moon is dark. 

Can the moon still be considered to rule the night if it is not shining? Yes, but during its dark phase it gives no benefit. It does not light the night. When a light that was once shining has been turned off when will the light be new or renewed? If the Son of God tells us a new moon is the first day of a new month, can we glean from the verses in Genesis when the moon’s cycle begins again? I propose Scripture is telling us the moon becomes new when it once again begins to light the night just like on the very first day it was created. New Moon = New Night Light. This is in keeping with the identity of our God as the Father of lights, in whom there is “no darkness at all.” 

Do a search through Scripture of the words associated with darkness and light, and see if our Father leads you to the same conclusion. My understanding of when to identify the New Moon is further enhanced as I read the following words of Paul, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” – (Philippians 2:14-15 KJV)

When we have darkness in us can we shine as lights to the world? When the moon is dark can it shine as a light to the night? What happens when we come out of darkness into the light? We become a new creature. When the moon comes out of darkness into light it becomes a new moon, once again able to bring light to the earth.

“Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.” – (Ecclesiastes 2:13 KJV) 

“…if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” – (1 John 1:7 KJV)

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” – (2 Corinthians 4:6 KJV)

“O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.” – (Isaiah 2:5 KJV)

“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:” – (Exodus 13:21 KJV)

“And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.” – (Exodus 14:20 KJV)

“For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.” – (Psalm 18:28 KJV)

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” – (Psalm 27:1 KJV)

“For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” – (Psalm 36:9 KJV)

“The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun.” – (Psalm 74:16 KJV)

“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.” – (Psalm 112:4 KJV)

“All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.” – (Ezekiel 32:8 KJV)

“Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” – (1 John 2:8 KJV)

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” – (Isaiah 60:1-2 KJV)

“The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” – (Isaiah 60:19-20 KJV)
~ Frank Klin

Again, Thank you, Frank for this Study!!  May Yehovah Bless you!!

Women with Children, and in Labor

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Today two things came across my radar…
First up was my study this morning from Jeremiah 31.
and Second was learning, via third party, that a dear friend had shared his news of expecting a child with one of his friends. This friend’s response was to send back, via text the word’s of Yeshua, “But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!”

In the religious culture in which I was raised, Eschatological Theology (end time theology) was a COMMON refrain and  this type of  “don’t have children cause the end of time is almost upon us” refrain is fairly common also.
I’m thankful for the education I received, and that so much of Scripture is familiar to me, especially those hard to understand books of Daniel & Revelation.

However, I’m learning that maybe the theology was off a bit.  For instance – the warnings of Yeshua in Mark 13  & Matthew, quoted above, are in a larger context of the “Abomination of Desolation” which was clearly understood at that time as the desecration of  Jerusalem and the Temple by Pagan rites and rituals, or a setting up as god to be worshipped, by an anti-messiah within the temple. The Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel, found it’s first fulfillment in the desecration of the Temple and the slaughter of many Jews by Antiochus Epiphanes recorded in Maccabees of the Apocrypha.  Antiochus set up a pagan god in the Temple, offered a pig on the altar, thereby completely making it unlcean. He forbade the use of Yehovah’s name, Forbade Sabbath Observance, Feast Observance, and hung from the city walls, all mothers with their slain circumcised boys.  Many Jews escaped Jerusalem, where all of this destruction and mayhem started, and, in fact, that’s why Joseph & Mary whose families were originally from Bethlehem were living in Nazareth, or Nat-zaret amongst the Gentiles well north of Jerusalem.  Their families had FLED Jerusalem a few generations earlier.

In like manner, the Jews fled the Romans when Titus laid seige on the city of Jerusalem, and Herod’s Temple was destroyed by Titus in 70 AD. I’m guessing that any of Yeshua’s disciples would have seen the Roman invasion and destruction of the Temple as fulfillment of Yeshua’s words.

Now, most prophecies in Scripture have more than one fulfillment.  So, I think it’s reasonable to believe that the Abomination of Desolation will again come.  However, what that will look like this time around is up to some debate, especially given the lack of a Temple in Jerusalem.   I’ve never gotten a real firm grasp on WHAT my childhood denomination defined it as.  I think the closest was a World Wide Government Mandated Religion, specifically laws pertaining to the worship of God on Sunday and the mandate to work on Sabbath.

However, I’m not certain that’s completely accurate.  The first two fulfillments were geographically specific to the Temple & Jerusalem. I will be honest to say I think, given Yeshua’s words in Mark 13 – “then let them who live in Judea flee to the mountains,” that the last fulfillment will also be geographically specific,  an Anti-Christ setting up rule from Jerusalem, and dictating certain behaviors – likely enforcing laws very similar to Antiochus’ mandates.
When that happens and those true followers of Messiah see it happening, they would be wise to flee Judea and head for the hills, and it’s in this context that Yeshua says, “But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!”

Frankly, even if here, in America, True Followers of Yeshua, by necessity have to flee their homes to safety within the mountains, to avoid religious persecution, I wouldn’t want to be with child; tho many mothers have been thru extreme or unusual conditions with children in tow!!

mother-child-botswana_3661_990x742

However, I found today, this incredible verse of something that ALSO happens in the “end of time”.  I’d venture to say it happens AFTER the Anti-Christ.

As Christians, we have always called ourselves “spiritual Israel” but we’ve not as often applied the prophecies REGARDING Israel to ourselves.  Keep in mind that in the Prophetic books of Scripture; Judah & Israel are two distinct people groups – one making up the Southern Kingdom who went into captivity for 70 years and returned to the land of Judea, and the other making the Northern Kingdom who where scattered amongst the nations following capture by the Assyrians. Most people we know today as Israelis are actually from JUDAH the Southern Kingdom and are Jews (from the tribe of Judah) by blood.
I truly believe we , who follow the Messiah, are Israel.  As in, the 10 northern tribes of Israel, scattered among the nations after Yehovah gave us a writ of Divorcement because we kept following after our other lovers. (See Jim Staley’s Identity Crisis for more on that – follow link provided).  We are made up of those who are the seed of Abraham by blood and, or, simply BY FAITH, HEIRS to the promise,  according to Paul’s words in Galations 3:29.
The prophecies to Israel pertain to us, they are OUR prophecies!! THEY HAVE NOT YET BEEN FULFILLED!!!
In the books of the Prophets four terms are used interchangeably to mean the same group of people –  Israel, Jacob, Joseph & Ephraim.  That can be seen in the following verses, which give me GREAT hope that tho mothers with children, or who are in labor will have a VERY hard time of it when they have to flee Judea for the hills; They will also be protected, sheltered and Loved Tenderly in the final gathering of the Messiah’s Bride!!!

So, Mommas and Daddies Take heart, children are a heritage from Yehovah  – Yehovah is Father to Israel!!!   😀

Jeremiah 31:6-10

 For here is what Yehovah says:
“Sing with joy for Ya‘akov! (Jacob)
shout for the chief of the nations!
Proclaim your praise, and say:
Yehovah! You have saved your people,
the remnant of Isra’el!’
(8) Look! I am bringing them from the land in the north,
gathering them from the far ends of the earth;
among them are the blind and lame,
women with children, women in labor,
all together, a vast throng
returning here.
(9) They will come weeping and praying
as I bring them back.
I will lead them by streams of water
on smooth paths, so that they won’t stumble.
For I am a Father to Isra’el,
and Efrayim (Ephraim) is my firstborn son.”

(10) Nations, hear the word of Yehovah!
Proclaim it in the coastlands far away. Say:
“He who scattered Isra’el is gathering him,
guarding him like a shepherd his flock.”
10 (11) For Yehovah has ransomed Ya‘akov,
redeemed him from hands too strong for him.”

So, so beautifully reassuring!!

Childbirth after a journey

Childbirth after a journey

Bride of Yeshua Gathered & led gently...

Bride of Yeshua Gathered & led gently…

(Can I just say that good art depicting what these verses portray is WOEFULLY Lacking! … must remedy this issue sometime soon.. )
You can find my concept drawing of what Good Art for this verse MIGHT look like here:
https://shakamboqer.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/jeremiah-3189-illustrated/

Marriage & the division of Church and State

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I have a friend who offers a Friday Evening Question on his FB page.
The following was tonight’s:
Here’s my Friday Night Question. The issue of homosexual marriage has been in the news a lot lately. Just today Oregon voted to remove all reference to husband and wife or male and female from their marriage certificates. I believe most Christians believe homosexual marriage is wrong. But here’s my question. Is it within the perview of government (state or federal) to insist that everyone in America conforms to the Christian view of marriage? Why or why not? What are the implications? Let the conversation begin.

Here is my response, posted here, as much so that I have it “saved” somewhere… and available to public viewing just in case you wanted to know 😀

No, it is not in the purview of the Government (Fed or State level) to insist that everyone lives by the Christian view of marriage. 
However, This is an argument we as Christians lost about 150 years ago. Prior to that time, Marriage in America had been limited pretty much as a sacrament of the Churches, altho, clearly, in the West, it was much more often what we would refer to today as Common Law, with or without witnesses… Do a google search of “Marriage License original intent” to learn more, but I’ll summarize.
Post Civil War – During the Reconstruction period there were laws in most of the states which forbade inter-racial or miscegenation marriages. See, “negroes” were thought to be inferior to whites, and of course, the verse about being unequally yoked was, at the time directly seen as referring to racial differences, not spiritual differences. And so, many Christians backed such laws. We gave the STATE the right to make laws regarding marriage. Prior, the norm had been that both parties agreed, the parents agreed, and a notice of intent be posted publicly… Our founding Fathers did not have a Marriage license. However, by the early 1900’s, states decided that there was money to be made in allowing such “unlawful” interracial marriages. And so, they granted a license, ( license – according to Black’s Law Dictionary is a “permission to do that which is unlawful”) to said interracial couples wishing to marry…. Eventually the States realized this was a good source of revenue, and began requiring a marriage license for all marriages, not just those which had been legally deemed unlawful (as interracial marriages were until as late as 1967 in some states) . The worst part of all of this is, in some states, the marriage license actually lists three parties in the contract – the wife, the husband and THE STATE!! 

Ok, so my point is, Christians asked the Government to step in on the matter of Marriage during reconstruction.
The state did. When it did, we lost Marriage as a right .. by allowing the state to exercise control over marriage, it is implied that we merely have privilege, not the right, to marry. In addition, Marriage should be between Us & God, witnessed by friends and loved ones. It should never have been in the hands of the state. But it now is. And now that it is, the state, I believe must treat all people equally under the law. Encouraging the State to enforce beliefs is a dangerous slope, one that marriage has been sliding down for over 100 years. 

If the church had maintained it’s hold on “blessing marriages” – “By the power invested in me as a minister of the Gospel, by God;  you are married, what God hath joined together let no man separate” during the reconstruction, the state would have come up with contracts to deal with the legal side of things – such as end of life decisions, inheritance, etc. They could also have granted their own “blessing” on a marriage entered into by the non-religious. These would have been legally binding but would not have been “permission to do what is unlawful”. And the “Church” at large would still have a prominent voice in the world in regard to marriage. But now, both the Church and it’s Ministers come under the authority, not of God, but of the State. “By the power vested in me by the State of _____ and God, I now pronounce you Husband and Wife.” 
… 
Maybe not what you had in mind Friend, but when this conversation comes up, I always chuckle sadly, cause it’s a battle we lost a very long time ago….”

The response was “Thank You, I didn’t know that.”

To which I further replied…
“You are welcome. Do a little looking into it. Wikipedia’s entry on Marriage License covers a great deal, altho mostly summary. OH state law is one that includes 3 parties on the marriage license, and that can be seen in online documentation from various law offices (there’s a link on the Wiki page). This particular rabbit trail goes even deeper, because on the books of many states, it says that the “product” of the marriage (ie children) are now of State concern… And we all know that type of thinking, while helping to ensure the safety of children in BAD situations also leads to “rights of the child” type mandates at the UN level, in which the authority of the parent is dismissed. Again, another really slippery slope, which all has a foundation from Asking the State to incorporate laws regarding marriage.

As you might imagine, if I were a minister ordained by God, and therefore separate from the State, I’d be hard pressed to marry someone according to authority given by the State… AND should I ever remarry, I’m not likely to seek a marriage license to engage in a God given right, which the State sees, by definition of the license they require, as unlawful.

Party Feast Ponderings… New Moon of the 4th month

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A few conversations over this last week, as well as something my mom said recently is what is spurring this post…

I’ve learned that especially within Adventist circles, when someone becomes a “feast keeper” or a “sacred namer” they get put in a box of people’s experience, or assumptions or fears.  Those boxes are placed in a larger box which says, “SDA offshoot” or “SDA dissenter”.
I think the biggest experience/assumption/fear would be that “feast keepers” become legalistic (and given SDA propensity for legalism, I could see how that would become a major issue). The next arguement would be that they often go so far off that they deny Jesus as the Christ or Yeshua as the Messiah. (And, that does happen, which is why we need to be able to argue from OT who/what Jesus is, and why Yeshua himself, on the road to Emmaus started with Moses in explaining his ministry)

The other side of it, is I’ve heard, “well, you need to follow your convictions”… And I won’t say that I’m not convicted about observing YHVH’s appointments (mo’ed) on His Calendar  as being the right thing for me to do, cause I am.

However, There is another side to this arguement.

I’m attending a SDA campmeeting held at a summer camp/church retreat in WV.  Last night, the youth and camp staff gathered outside the cafeteria, with a cake and a pinata, and a blindfold, to wish one of the Camp Staff Members happy birthday.  They played a practical joke on him and doused him with water as he took his first swing at the pinata.   Everyone had a good time, enjoyed the party and celebrated their friend who was a year older…

In just a few weeks, families around the US will gather at the lake, or pool, with the grill fired up, to spend time with family, and end the day with a huge display of fireworks to celebrate their National Independence.

In December, families will gather to eat a big meal, fellowship and open gifts. They may sing some songs, and go carroling, or they may catch a parade on TV.

My question would be – those kids with the pinata – were they being legalistic in getting their hispanic friend a pinata for his birthday? Where they deeply convicted that they needed to celebrate his birthday? Did anyone look at this group of partiers and feel uncomfortable or frightened by their behavior??

What about the Independance day Celebration, or the Christmas gathering.  When you join your family for either of those events, will you be doing so “legalistically”? Will you be doing it out of a deep conviction???

 

OR

 

Is it just really nice to celebrate a friend’s birthday, to spend time with them and make them feel special.
Is it fun to have a picnic, and inspiring to “think about the men who died and gave their life for me” and say, “God Bless the USA”
Is it spiritually a blessing to remember we have a Savior who came as a babe in a manger, on a Silent Night?
Is it a joy to see your family’s faces as they open their gifts, knowing that you love them?

My question is – So then why does it have to be any different for the Feasts of YHVH, those special days, that HE called special, He called His appointments with us, and then, as He laid out what was to happen, the details look like a great big party  – full of family, friends, celebration, inspiration, spiritual blessing, joy & love?

I hope, if nothing else, as I write and as I share about the Feasts, that I can effectively communicate just how much of a blessing they are to me – on so many levels!  That they are no more “legalistic” for me than celebrating my son’s birthday or going to the fireworks show… That They are full of all I mentioned above, and more! They aren’t just another list of rules that we have to get “just right” in order to be saved. They are holidays, just like birthdays, Independence day and Christmas.  They are designed to be full of life, love, fun, fellowship, hanging out, etc.

Yes, I observe them based on my convictions. BUT I also observe them because humans are created to enjoy life and to love a good party.  My chosen holidays happen to come straight out of Scripture, BUT that doesn’t make me inherently “legalistic”. I sure do enjoy a good party tho! 😀

And, tonight the boys and I had a party.  The new moon was expected.  I had popcorn, apples and fruit roll-ups, my shofars, and some music.  As I told Aiden what we were getting ready to do, he asked if he could invite his friends, so a gaggle of children came tromping up the steps and when they reached the top, followed Aiden’s instructions to look for the new moon, which they each saw.  They then took turns trying their lips on the shofar.
Psalm 81:3   Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.

They spent the rest of the time running around, playing chase, munching on food, and generally happily excited for the excuse for a party. 😀 Their parents also tried the shofars, and we talked a bit, and then we all headed for bed.

It was a good night. It was a lot of fun for the children, and the parents seemed genuinely appreciative.

And, you know, the cool thing is, in that joy and eating and fellowship and tooting of horns and laughter of rambunctious children, we were rehearsing eternity. Did you know we can do that – Have a dress rehearsal for eternity?! Look what we will do in the earth made new! 😀

For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.

 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. Isa 66:22,23

 

Grace – Law, Faith – Works, Salvation – Life abundant… (my history series)

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Yeah…

Legalism
Righteousness by faith
Faith without works is Dead
If you love me, keep my commandments.
Law is nailed to the cross.
Here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments and have the faith of Yeshua.
New covenant grace.
Salvational matters.
Life Abundant.

A new covenant will I give. I will write my law upon their hearts, and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people.

“The Ten Commandments are still to be followed, the  Mosaic law (everything else in Torah) was nailed to the cross, so we can pretty much ignore it, except for the clean and unclean meats – that’s just good health principles” (the synopsis of what I learned as a child)

So many opposing messages. What is a child, a young adult, a middle aged adult supposed to do with it all??

By the time I was born into a Southern, mountain town and Adventist congregation, the focus of the Adventist church at large (judging by some of the doctrinal statements) was on behavior, and even more so in Southern Appalachia.  Yes, there was lip service to doing things “in Christ”, following Him, by faith we are saved… but the typical message, across the US, distilled down to the bottom was “right behavior equals salvation.”  Various “off-shoots” claimed further perfection and favor gained by living even more “holy” than the mainstream church.  Eternal death or salvation by cheese or vegan lifestyle…. It was toxic, and so enslaved at least one member I know to the point of opening doors for the demonic… I’m sure there were more who were overcome by the toxicity and left, or died inside, or were truly demonically possessed thanks to the stronghold of earning salvation by my works – ie – not accepting the work of Christ’s salvational power in our lives, in the process.

There were many, are many, in my generation, as well as my parent’s generation, and those after me, who just walked away from everything, including God.  There are some of us who are undecided on whether to walk out of the SDA church, or stay with the hopes to make a difference.  There are some who have stayed and just stayed. There are many who have stayed and challenged status quo, challenged the comfort zones, called for a second look at Scripture, called for integrity.  Ty Gibson, Herb Montgomery, Tim Jennings stand out in my mind as well known teachers in the denomination, preaching a beautiful message of the Character of God, and what that means regarding our salvation, and, there are other less known, like both of my parents, who in their own ways have challenged status quo in the last 15 years.

When my dad first started learning about the doctrine of Righteousness by Faith, which was preached by a few prominent pastors of the SDA church in 1888, he was sharing with my Grandfather, who said that’s what he always believed. (tho his children’s perception of what he believed was different than what he stated.)  I guess the church went in cycles, cause in 1888 the church rejected the idea, to the point that they sent one of the founders to Australia, cause they didn’t want to listen to her.   However, by the time my Grandpa was being raised, in the late 1920’s, and 1930’s some were teaching that our righteousness, in Christ, come by faith in Him, not by works… But by the 1950’s or so, the tide was turned back towards legalism, in part I understand from Ron & Nancy Rockey, to a large German influence that came after the wars, which by culture is very works oriented.

So, yeah, that’s what I was raised into… Thankfully, my father did learn about the doctrine of Righteousness by Faith when I was 10 or so, as preached by AT Jones & Waggoner back in the late 1800’s, which gave my experience a voice of reason…

I can remember, as a 7 year old, in school, being told we all sin, and we must be forgiven of our sins in order to get into heaven, and if we die before we are forgiven, we will be lost, so we have to confess our sins daily. I was a good child, and filled with the Spirit, so found my self agonizing for hours each night, trying to find SOMETHING to confess.  Yes, sometimes I made mistakes, but there wasn’t a lot of true “sin” going on in my life yet. Still, I was covered by a weight of shame that surely I had done some sin! I sensed in my spirit that something was amiss here… but it wasn’t till I read John Eldredge’s “Waking the Dead” that I realized just WHAT was amiss… Credit given to the Holy Spirit, who, when he fills us, makes our hearts good, so that our hearts are not the sinful ugly stones they once were, but are HEARTS of Flesh!!! Hearts reflecting the glory of Yehovah in ever increasing degrees of glory!!!!!  My heart is good thru the work of Christ!!! I don’t have to agonize over my sin, He lives in me, and as I walk with Him daily, He will convict if something is amiss, otherwise, I can rest in Him, knowing that He is able to keep me from stumbling and to present me before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy (Jude 1:24), and Knowing He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6) !!! WooHOOO!!!! HalleluYah!!!!

After joining the RH forum, I came across a doctrine that I found interesting, and evidently a bit of a sacred cow in some circles. The theology basically goes that the Law, all of it, was done away with, nailed to the Cross, the entire Torah, 10 commandments included; henceforth, why do we really need the Old Testament?  We are all under grace.
Now, to be fair, there are varying degrees of thought on this – some will say that if you are in relationship with God, you won’t want to sin.  Some will say the OT is good, but not on par with the NT. Some will say it is written from the  perspective of the writers, not necessarily the actual Words of God, but their perspective on life and what God might have been saying.   Then there are a few beautiful voices which said, The Old Covenant and the New Covenant are essentially the same, the same idea is presented – God wanted to be in relationship with His people.  And, The law is summed up in love. Love must be the guide.

I wrestled with understanding this idea of the Law being completely abolished and of no interest nor need for us for a long time.  It just doesn’t line up with Scripture, the idea that the law is summed up in love, however, does.
Yeshua says, “if you love me, keep my commandments.” Jn 14:15
John has this huge treatise about knowing and loving God, which starts with, “We know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” 1 John 2:3 and begins his summary in chapter 5 saying, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”

As a side note, we lose it in English, but in the Hebrew, there is an “aleph” & a “tov” (aka an “a” & a “z”) hiding out in Exodus 19:5, next to the word covenant, and in Exodus 20:1, next to the word God.  Basically, God & His covenant with his people were identified as the “A & Z” or Beginning and End, or as we see repeatedly in Revelation, the Alpha & the Omega.

John, in Revelation 1, sees One as the Son of Man, who identifies himself as the Alpha & the Omega, or he would have said, in Hebrew, the Aleph & the Tov.  The Son of Man, our Savior was identifying himself as the one who also spoke the 10 commandments + the rest of the covenant found in Exodus 20-23 at Mt Sinai.

And, in Revelation 22, the last chapter of the Bible, connects the two clearly:

12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16I, Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

Last but not least, there are Yeshua’s own words in Matthew 5:

17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

(Another side note – in the Hebrew manuscripts of Matthew, Jot & Tittle are written as “Vowel” & “Consonant”. )

Now maybe it’s just me, but from what I can tell, heaven and earth are both here. Neither have passed. And, if I’m not mistaken, we still have half of the promises of the Messiah yet to be fulfilled.  Yes, he finished the work of redemption in choosing selfless love to the point of death, but He’s not come a second time…  So, I’m really, really hesitant to teach men to break His commandments, or to teach that they no longer are applicable for us today…

"A new covenant will I give you"

But what is it then??  What is the Law to us???

I have no doubt that salvation comes only thru Faith in Yeshua as our Messiah!

That’s pretty clear –
John 3:16    For YHVH so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life!!

Yeshua calls himself the door to the sheepfold, the only appropriate way to enter in by.  (John 10)
In John 14, he says, I’m the way, the truth & the life, No one comes to the Father but by me.

We also know that the work in us, is done by Him, as I stated earlier! So, it’s not in our effort, our power, our keeping of the “law” that we are  saved to eternal life, OR  made whole, complete, without fault (Jude 1:24) It’s Him!!

I have a working theory on what the “law” is for us … It’s still in process.

It all started with hearing this verse, and going, whoa… well, if that’s so then this… (I like mathematical equations when they fit in real life :D)

John 5:46, 47  “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.  But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
Coupled with this text,  where on the road to Emmaus, Yeshua, walking with two of his disciples, AFTER his death and resurrection –  “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Luke 24:26

If that’s so; if Moses – aka Torah, spoke of Christ, then maybe we should look for Him there?!  Maybe we should be like the Bereans who were commended for studying the Scriptures (Old Testament), diligently, to see if what Paul was preaching (New Testament) was true. [Side note:  By the way, on the subject of Paul – the question begs to be asked – did he truly teach that the Torah was to be ignored or done away with? Really?  Acts 21:19-25 tells us that Paul was accused of that rumor… AND, that he was in the Temple, going thru the rituals of cleansing to prove that the rumors were FALSE, when he was taken prisoner and left Jerusalem for the last time by way of armed guard.  He did teach that circumcision or any other ritual would NOT save – which is true! He was very Grace oriented – our salvation comes as grace, by faith.  YHVH does the work in us, we don’t, etc.   However, he suggests, in Acts 15, that the Gentiles be given what at the time was standard in converting individuals to Judaism, the “top four”  Torah instructions to start them out with, saying, the Torah is preached in the Synagogue – in other words, they’ll get the rest of it. /side note]

So, I’ve been on a journey, and in the midst of that journey, I’m reminded of these words of our Messiah:

10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Life! and more Abundant!!  Abundant Life!

abundant-life

What does that look like??

How about this:
Worship YEHOVAH your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.  “I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. (Ex 23)

It may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey. God will give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant (Deut 6)
YHVH your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. 13 He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. 14You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor will any of your livestock be without young. 15 YEHOVAH will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all who hate you. (Duet 7)
Then YHVH your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors. (Duet 30)

Sounds like pretty abundant life to me!!! What is interesting is that before or after every single one of those promises is a verse that says something like this: “If you obey YHVH your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to YHVH your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deut 30:10

One other thing I wanted to say about the promises.

They are all conditional – “if you obey my commands” but I’m also working thru a theory that they aren’t completely arbitrary, but most often, natural consequences.

The difference of me saying to my child – If you obey me today we’ll have a happy day, and will have time to play together at the end of the day (the natural consequence of the child’s obedience) VS If you obey me today, I’ll give you a huge party tomorrow (an arbitrary blessing and incentive but not the natural cause to effect).

In the same way that disobedience generally leads to natural consequences – my family is experiencing the pain of heart due to the natural consequences of disobedience. Or, If you put a plastic bag over your head, you will experience the natural consequences of disregarding the “law of respiration” which says that you have to breathe in order to live.

What I know for sure is this:  Salvation comes by faith and the acceptance of Yeshua as our Savior only.

My theory is that Abundant life comes in following the Leading of the Spirit, who brings the new covenant to pass, where He Writes His Laws on our hearts, and then brings us along in giving us a new heart which desires Him, and following Him in obedience to the Spirit in Us – not as a way of earning salvation, nor pleasing God, but out of our love for Him, and our desire to take a look at the owner’s manual and follow the instructions given for the best, happiest life possible.
ownersmanual-960x500 If we got a “new” or even “new to us” car, and the owner’s manual said to only put diesel fuel into the car, we would likely follow that suggestion, that “law” of the car.  If we didn’t, we could count on having to replace the engine…
In much the same way, I’ve come to see the Torah as an owner’s manual. Very helpful “laws” which are based on how we, and the earth around us, is created to BEST function.

The dietary laws are most familiar to me – First record of Food in Torah, is in Eden & shortly thereafter – fruits, nuts, grains, vegies – people living for hundreds of years.  Current Medical Science shows that a plant only, or even plant rich diet is the healthiest.  Post flood, Noah is allowed the clean animals to eat, and those are outlined later in Leviticus.  Life span is shortened down to about 120 years, but still the people  are healthy… Medical Science also backs this up – the clean meats are the healthiest for us (despite current trends in the love of bacon).

However, there are other laws within Torah that are being proven, thru Science, to be the healthiest ways of life.
I’ve previously discussed the cleanliness laws re Niddah (menstrual flow).
There’s this great study done about the healing properties intrinsic in Linen, and how those properties are completely nullified, when in the presence of wool. (hence the admonition to not mix wool & linen together)
Those are just a few examples. There are many more…

And then, then – lets’ talk about His Feasts!

Man!  They are so much fun!  I learn something new with each Celebration.  I regularly get chills seeing the awesomeness of God, His timing, His clues to us in the feasts about what would happen in the future.  It enlarges and grows my faith by leaps and bounds, seeing how He perfectly fulfilled His Prophecies within the Feasts in Yeshua’s first coming, and knowing that He will do the same in Yeshua’s second coming!!!

The Torah even outlines how we will pay for them, which I discussed in my post on tithe, but will just bring these verses to give you an idea of the type of celebrating He’s looking for:
Deut 14: 22People of Israel, every year you must set aside ten percent of your grain harvest.23Also set aside ten percent of your wine and olive oil, and the first-born of every cow, sheep, and goat. Take these to the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped, and eat them there. This will teach you to always respect the LORD your God.

24But suppose you can’t carry that ten percent of your harvest to the place where the LORD chooses to be worshiped. If you live too far away, or if the LORD gives you a big harvest, 25then sell this part and take the money there instead. 26When you and your family arrive, spend the money on food for a big celebration. Buy cattle, sheep, goats, wine, beer, and if there are any other kinds of food that you want (KJV says “Lust after”), buy those too. 27And since people of the Levi tribe won’t own any land for growing crops, remember to ask the Levites to celebrate with you.

And the amount of time spent celebrating is extravagant!

Yehovah’s calendar includes 3 whole weeks plus a day Celebrations (Passover/Unleavened Bread/First Fruits, Feast of Tabernacles & Feast of Dedication/Hannukah), in addition to 3 – 2 day feasts (feasts traditionally celebrated for 2 days, or may require at least 2 days off for travel – Purim, Pentacost & Trumpets), and a one day fast – that’s the yearly feasts.  Then, we have the New Moon celebrations – once a month, and Sabbath, a once a week celebration!!!  That’s 94 Feast & Celebration days + 1 fast day out of the year!!! Just to put that into perspective – the US Federal government has 10 holidays.  Add to that a two week vacation and you get 24 days. Let’s say you are a Sabbath Keeper – then you are getting close, with 76 days. But, YHVH’s calendar still has almost 20 days extra to celebrate!!!!

holiday-on-beach

But, when most of us take George Washington’s birthday off, do we really spend time worshiping the Creator? Do most of the Federal Holidays teach us about the shadow pictures of good things to come? Do they show us the plan of Salvation? How about vacation time – what’s one’s usual focus? My experience with vacation has been Rest, Relax, Self-indulgence, Spoil the kids. AND there’s nothing wrong with taking time for yourself, relaxing, eating foods you wouldn’t ordinarily eat, spoiling the kids with lots of fun family time.  BUT, what if vacation meant that AND learning about our Savior? Dancing, eating great food, rejoicing, fellowship with friends AND practicing elements of the plan of Salvation in a living drama?   The Feasts are so rich with both fun and meaning!!

yeshua-passover-lamb

To summarize – The way I see it right now is:

We are saved thru the belief that Yeshua is our Messiah. Our salvation is a gift that we neither earn or can maintain thru our own actions.  He does the work in us.
As He does the work in us, he brings us to Abundant Life, which when all distilled, looks remarkably like paying attention to the owner’s manual of the Torah.  We don’t find those grievous any more than we find our car owner’s manual grievous.  If we happen to forget to change the oil, we may experience the consequences of that down the road, but we still have a car, we are still “saved”.

Salvation by faith

Life abundant and to the FULL! by HIS grace of recreating us,
as we observe His Commandments (and more than just the first 10).

The New Covenant