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!

 

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

 

 

 

Look out for One Another

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)

These are fairly well known words from the apostle Paul.  But what does this look like in reality, especially in the western culture’s motto of ‘me first’?

I’ll illustrate with an example.  My last post mentioned that I had to move.  I was so busy with all the moving that I wasn’t paying much attention to the upcoming “appointed times” of Yehovah (God’s feasts).  I knew they were approaching and looked forward to them, but I forgot some of the preparation, specifically some for the time of Tabernacles (which, according to the Jewish Calendar, is going on this very week).

One of the commands of Yah (short for of Yehovah – the LORD), is that we wave some particular tree branches before Him during this holiday.  One can, in most places, go out and find the required items.  I like to purchase them as a set, called a “lulav” in Judaism.  However, the evening before Tabernacles started I realized I had forgotten.

The next day a brother stopped by as he and his family where on their way to the synagogue.  He had a spare lulav that he wanted to give me.  He couldn’t stay as they were on their way to synagogue (I can’t get out much, so I wasn’t going), but he took the time and effort to bring me the lulav.  I must admit I don’t remember telling him that I forgot to get mine (not even sure I did).  All I can say is that this was a huge blessing that touched me deeply.  He put my interests before his at that time.

That is what God wants of us, and what Paul meant with the words he penned in Philippians.  It may cost a bit of time.  It may cost us a bit of money.  But when we notice a brother or sister that needs or can use something, and we can fill that need – do so!  I didn’t ‘need’ the lulav but that was an act of love I’ll probably never forget.

So, whether the act be large or small, expensive or free, meaningful or not in your eyes, bless a brother or sister with a ‘random act of kindness‘ to put Paul’s words in today’s lingo.  Not to be seen by others, but by your Father in heaven, and possibly by the recipient of the act.

Shalom,

  • Yosef

 

 

God’s Calendar: Tabernacles

Well, the Day of Atonement is gone.  I enjoyed the day – a day of complete rest without any of the usual activity, seeking God.  He did show me a couple things that have been sneaking into my life over the last year that need to be dealt with – that is one of the purposes of the day – so I am glad He showed me what He did.  If you observed the day, then I hope God met you also.

Next comes the ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ or ‘Feast of Booths’.   It is a seven day feast!  And, in the words of scripture, the first day, and on the eighth day are to be days of “solemn rest.”

“…that you generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.  I am Yehovah (the LORD) your God.”  Leviticus 23:43 (ESV)

The days are to be joyous celebrations.  There are two commands associated with the days.  One is to build and live in ‘booths’ (though that is specifically for “native Israelites”, anyone can join in the fun!), and the other is to ‘wave’ some stuff before the Yehovah.

“And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before Yehovah (the LORD) your God seven days.”  Leviticus 23:40 (ESV)

In Jewish tradition, the “4 species” to wave are an etrog, palm branches, myrtle, and willow.  Those are great if you can get them.  Often used substitutes are a lemon, corn stalk leaves, olive leaves, and willow.

The point is that you have a chance to be in the center of God’s perfect will by grabbing these items, and waving them around before Yehovah (and dancing if you like – I do).  It’s fun in a group or even alone!

An interesting point about the feast of Tabernacles is that it is the one feast explicitly mentioned that will be observed in the millennium.

“Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, Yehovah (the LORD) of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths…” Zecharaia 14:16-17 (ESV)

So get a early start and enjoy the feast now!  It starts, according to the Jewish calendar, at sunset on Sunday, the 23rd of Sept., 2018, and ends at nightfall on Sunday the 30th.  The final day (Saturday night to Sunday night, the 29th and the 30th) is known as “Hoshannah Rabbah” (sort of translated to “the Great Salvation” or “the Great Praise”).  Click this link to see an opinion on this day.

This leaves Sunday, the 30th to Monday night as the ‘eighth day’ and another ‘solemn day of rest’.  In Judaism, the day after this is celebrated quite vigorously as this is the day that the yearly cycle of reading through the Torah (1st 5 books of the Bible) ends and starts new.  Dancing and singing are part and parcel of the celebration!

Hope you join in the fun!

  • Yosef