Bride or Child

[Author: Bruce]

In the last blog I posted, I posed the question of whether God takes anyone back.  I truly appreciated the comments and feedback in your responses. I really love to have my mind changed by the scriptures, and as we discuss differing opinions and interpretations, our horizons are broadened and if we are listening the Spirit guides us into deeper truth that brings us closer to God and shapes us more into the image of his son. 

The comments seemed to focus on sovereign choice vs free will. While this debate has kept churches divided for centuries and has been the topic of many volumes of literature, it was not my heart question.  In my wondering I was not as concerned with how we come to God in Messiah, but rather who we are when we get there. This leads to my next question. 

As we come to God, do we come as a bride (wife) or a son?  

I believe this has great bearing on how we respond to redemption. If I understand my relationship with God as one of a wife, then when I return to sin, I am an adulterous woman. In my continued cycle of sin and repentance I wonder how many times God will take me back. I wonder where the line is of final divorce. God would be totally justified to send me away forever for my adulteries. 

On the other hand if we come into relationship to God as a son,  I no longer have to worry about the certificate of divorce. As a son, when I wander off in some wayward fashion, I  simply need to remember who I am and return.  Like Yeshua’s story of the “prodigal,” we simply return to the Father and he recognizes our repentance and celebrates. As a son I recognize my need for the instructions and discipline of my father. I know I am intended to mess up and not get it right, yet God still loves me and I continue to grow. 

Thinking along this line brought me peace and assurance in my salvation, but then I thought, “who is the Bride of Christ?” And “isn’t Israel the one in Ezekiel 16:6-8 that LORD God marries?”  The relationship of marriage is throughout the Scripture as an image of God and his people and also as Yeshua and his people. 

Praying through these things I believe God revealed to me the difference in the way God relates to his people and to a person. Together we become something we are not by ourselves.  It is where two or more are gathered together that Yeshua is  in our midst. Paul went to great lengths to describe the body we become as we share our gifts and live out our callings in community.  Scripture continues to reveal to me these differences as I try and differentiate between what I am in messiah and what we are in messiah. 

I am a child of God, a brother to Yeshua. 

We are the bride of Christ. Awaiting his return. 

Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. I really look forward to hearing what you think and why.  Change my mind with the word of Hashem. 

Shalom      – Bruce

How many pigs were on Noah’s ark? Genesis 6 – 8

So how many pigs were there?  If you said “two”, then you were….  right!  There were two.  One male.  One female.  Now to the next question.

How many sheep were on the ark?  There were two of every animal, right?  Wrong.

Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate…” Genesis 7:2 (ESV)

Okay, ignoring that there is a bit of uncertainty in the Hebrew as to whether the number is 7 pairs or 7 total, the point is that there was a category of animal known as ‘clean’!  Long before Yehovah (the LORD) gave the ‘Law’ through Moses, there was a distinction between ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ animals.  And, it seems, that Noah knew the distinction even before this as God does not need to explain it to him (in my opinion).

You may say, “So what?  Just a bit further on God says, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you.” Genesis 9:3 (ESV).  Doesn’t this show that we can eat anything?”  Many people take it to mean just that, but I wonder.

First off, God also said that “As I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” Genesis 9:3 (ESV)  And yet there are many poisonous plants that should not be eaten (or not eaten raw).  There has always been exceptions to what can be eaten.  In the garden of Eden, the exception was the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Today, just about any animal can be eaten (and are eaten).   But does that mean that we, as followers of Yehovah (the LORD) through Yeshua (Jesus), are to eat anything?

To me, the issue between clean and unclean animals is just another test.  Will we, or will we not, follow what God wants?   Will we (well, Adam and Eve) or will we not eat from the forbidden tree (in the garden of Eden) even though it is good to eat?  The question is the same today, will we or will we not eat only those things God has called clean?

So, instead of just accepting the doctrine that says ‘Christians can eat whatever they want; Jesus nullified the dietary laws,’ check it out for yourself.  If you have questions, send them in (see the ‘questions‘ page) and I (or a guest author) will address them soon.

To me, following God’s dietary law is an opportunity to honor Him everyday, and serve Him with all parts of my body.

Shalom!   – Yosef

The ‘Questions‘ page is new.  Check it out!

 

10 Commandments Series – 5: “Honor Your Father and Mother” Exodus 20:12

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 (ESV)

This we are commanded to do.  It also makes a lot of sense.  But do we follow it?

The first thing to realize is that the command isn’t targeted at children.  Sure, they are included, but it is targeted at adults!  And if I were to rate our society as a whole (Christians included), I’d have to say that we fail miserably.  There is little respect for age anymore in our western culture.  The older one is, the more one is seen as a ‘burden’ on society and the family.  This backwards view of how to treat people as they get older can be shown to be one of the root causes of many of the ills in our society (but I’m not going to do so here.)  And these problems start with how we treat our own parents.

We are commanded to ‘honor’ our parents.  Interesting that the command isn’t to ‘love’ them.  Yeshua (Jesus) made two good illustrations of what it means to honor your parents.

In Matthew 15:4-8, Yeshua (Jesus) shows that honoring includes financial support.

In John 19:26-27, Yeshua (Jesus) made sure that his mother, Mary, would be taken care of after he was gone.

And there is something interesting to learn from the Hebrew word used for ‘honor.’

“We are not commanded to love our parents, or even to like them.  The Hebrew” word used is ‘kabed’.  “The word ‘kabed’ is an imperative verb, and it is related to the noun kaved, or heavy.  There should be some heft to the way we feel about our parents.”  “The Grammar of God” by Aviya Kushner, pg. 134.

Here are a couple more verses that are relevant:

“You shall rise up before the gray-headed and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the LORD.” Leveticus 19:32 (ESV)

“…and they [the parents] shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.” Deuteronomy 21:20 (ESV)

To sum up, we should have our parents’ wellbeing in our mind, and be doing what we can for them.  We should be listening to their advice, and honoring them and all older folk around us!  (Did you notice that the verse in Deuteronomy 21 is talking about a grown son?  One wouldn’t be accusing a child of being a drunkard.)

We should take honoring our parents as a serious duty in our lives.

Our lives, and the culture, will be better for it.

  • Yosef

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What’s the Big Deal about the Sabbath?

God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation.”  Genesis 2:3 (HCSB)

“Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever.  It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days Yehovah (the LORD) made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:16-17 (ESV)

“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to Yehovah (the LORD) in all your dwelling places.” Leviticus 23:3 (ESV)

Be careful to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy as Yehovah (the LORD) your God has commanded you.” Deuteronomy 5:12 (HCSB)

And the foreigners who join themselves to the Yehovah (the LORD), to minister to him, to love the name of Yehovah (the LORD), and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant—” Isaiah 56:6 (ESV)

And throughout the “new” testament we see Yeshua (Jesus) and the apostles observing the Sabbath in one way or the other.  It’s obviously important.

The Sabbath started as the ‘seventh day’, from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.  There isn’t much contention there.  But Christianity (most of it) now says that it is on Sunday.  Why?  Well, here is a bit of history.

The Roman Emperor Constantine decreed Sunday to be the day of rest (though only in cities) around 321 A.D.  He did so for various reasons, none of which had to do with him loving Yehovah (the LORD).  This is easily verified in the history books.  Granted some Christians had already been observing Sunday as the Sabbath to avoid being called Jewish, but this was not universal.  And it wasn’t until long after Constantine’s decree that Christianity gave the reason for the change as having to do with Yeshua’s (Jesus’) resurrection.

So much for the history lesson.  Now back to the Sabbath.

I didn’t begin to appreciate just how important the Sabbath was until I started observing it.  Now I see it as a wonderful time where I don’t work, and where I can take as much time as I want to be with our Father.  In Deuteronomy 5:15 God tells us, as a reason for celebrating the Sabbath, to remember that we were slaves and are now free.

In observing the Sabbath, I proclaim that I am no longer a slave to the world and its ways, and I can rest!  (What other creature on this planet can do that!)

Begin to honor Him and observe the Sabbath on the day He gave us.  You won’t regret it.

As a last note I will say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with worshiping God on Sunday.  Just don’t make that into the Sabbath!

– Yosef

Was Eating the Apple the “Original Sin”?

Many (I used to be able to say ‘most’ here) people have heard of the story of Adam and Eve and their eating of the apple.

“And Yehovah (the LORD) God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.”  Genesis 2:16-17 (ESV)

And shortly thereafter we see,

The serpent said to the woman, ” “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”  And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” “

Then Eve reaches out and touches and touches the fruit (traditionally an apple), doesn’t die, eats of it and then gives some to Adam (who was standing right there).

Was the first sin was eating the apple?  Look a bit closer.  God said, “don’t eat from that tree.”  Eve quoted God as saying, “don’t eat or touch the tree.”

Wait!  When did God say, “don’t touch the tree?”  He didn’t!  Someone added to God’s words!

“Does that really matter?” you may ask.  After all, not touching the tree certainly fills the command of “not eating from the tree.”

I put forward that it does matter.  In fact, adding to God’s word was the original sin!

It doesn’t matter who added to it.  The Bible doesn’t say, though I tend to think that Adam added to it (as it seems to me that men are much more likely to add rules and regulations then women are).

“You shall not add to the word that I command you, not take from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yehovah (the LORD) your God that I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2 (ESV)

When we add to or subtract from God’s word, we change it, making it all the easier for Satan to challenge the command. 

And Adam and Eve looked, touched, and ate.

In their eyes, the looking and touching was already in violation of the command, so eating was just one small step further.

And we still do the same today!  I can think of several blatant examples of where the Church has changed God’s word and violated His command.  Here is just one example.

God said, “Don’t eat pork.”

The church, when asked if God really meant what He said, responded, “Jesus said we could.”

The problem is that Yeshua (Jesus) never said any such thing, nor did God ever imply that His command would change.   It has gone so far that command of God has been changed into the command of men, stating, “You shall eat pork to show that you are ‘free’ in God through Jesus.”

Does it matter?  When Adam and Eve ate the apple, they died (though physically not immediately).  So to, when the church ate pork, nothing seemed to happen.  Yet something did.

The church no longer understands the difference between clean and unclean, nor that even any such difference exists!  Nor does it understand what it means to be holy.  Both of these things are tied, among other things, to us choosing to follow God’s dietary laws.  (See Leviticus 11:44-47).  And learning both these concepts is involved in our walk with God.

It is a  magnificent picture of God’s grace that there has been no apparent repercussions thus far.  And perhaps they may never be.  But I still choose to follow His words.  And isn’t it interesting that the original sin revolved around changing God’s dietary law, and that His dietary law is still an issue today!

Shalom,   – Yosef