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

 

 

 

God’s Calendar and the Feast of Trumpets!

Did you know that God has a calendar?  Did you know that He is still following it?  It really saddens me, though, that most of Christianity has thrown out His calendar, and in doing so, they miss out on some of the beauty and richness and grace of God and His word.

What is this calendar?  Well, it isn’t a secret.  It is written about quite a bit in both the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ testaments.  The calendar is marked by special occasions throughout the year.   They are often called the “Jewish Feasts” but that isn’t what God calls them.  He calls them His “appointed times” (this is the clear meaning of the Hebrew word used in the “old testament” when the ‘feasts’ are referred to.)

I know that many in Christianity will say that the feasts no longer apply as Jesus fulfilled them, but even the “new testament” proves that statement false.  Yeshua (Jesus) himself said,

“For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass away until all is accomplished.”  Matthew 5:18 (ESV)

“Do this in in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 (ESV) – in context of celebrating the Passover.

There are many more verses showing Yeshua (Jesus) and the apostles (even Paul) celebrating the feasts.  However, this article isn’t about that.  It’s about the next feast in the yearly cycle, the ‘Feast of Trumpets’!

God’s year begins with Passover in early spring.  Then there are a couple more, then a couple months pause.  The feasts start up again near fall time, with the first in a short series being the ‘feast of trumpets’!  For this feast we are told, among a couple other things, to blow trumpets (or shout)!

Now, considering the fact that Yeshua (Jesus) did something appropriate on each of the earlier feasts (died on Passover; gave the holy spirit on Pentecost; – are two examples), it easily follows that this is the next feast where something should happen.  I wonder, if Paul wasn’t thinking of this when he wrote,

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.”  1 Thessalonians 4:16 (ESV)

The feasts are the markers of God’s calendar, and give God’s timeline for things He has done and is yet to do!

And I must say that I am really looking forward to this coming Sunday night to Monday night (Sept. 9 to 10, 2018), which is the feast of Trumpets!  I get to take the day off work and celebrate!   In Judaism, the day is celebrated as the “Jewish New Year” and, being Jewish, I’ll celebrate that also, but that is just tradition.

I look forward to meeting God at his next ‘appointed time’, the ‘feast of trumpets,’ and hearing the shofar (ram’s horn).  And I look forward to hearing that heavenly shofar calling, announcing the end of all things!

Shalom!   – Yosef

Does God Take Anyone Back?

The reason I ask is because of Third Day. They are still among my favorite bands, yet as I listen and sing along with one of their songs I had to ask “is this true?”

The lyrics are line this:

how many times have I gone astray. The number is the same as the stars in the sky. Every time you’ve taken me back, I pray that you’ll do it tonight.

So, does God “take us back?”

As I think of redemption, and family, and the ways God relates himself to us, I don’t believe he does.

Think of the prodigal son. Was he taken back? Or did he simply recognize and return to whom he was. The father doesn’t say to his brother “we must take him back” but states “he has returned”.

That analogy, as with many other references and also the realization that when we are His we take his name, made me think of our redemption in terms of family. As family we are not “taken back,” for we cannot be removed. I think we recognize who we are and return. Maybe even from the dead. (Luke 15:32). Which kind of helps me understand baptism.

I will surely keep this question in my head as I read through the scripture and am open to have my mind changed on this subject, but as for now I think we go astray and return. He doesn’t take us back, but rejoices over our recognition of who we are.

Isaiah 55:6 (ESV) “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Shalom,

  • Bruce

 

How to Boil a Kid in its Mother’s Milk

Don’t get excited, ‘kid’ here means a baby goat.  And yes, people in ancient times would boil a kid in its mother’s milk.  Some scholars say that this was done by some ancients in the middle east in their worship of their gods.  Yehovah (the LORD) told the Israelites several times to not copy the nations’ practices in worship to Him.

“You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.” Deuteronomy 14:21 (ESV)

This command gave rise to Judaisms’ complex set of rules about dealing with meat and milk products.  They started with this command, and in their wish to not even accidentally break, or even appear to break, this command, fences upon fences were built around this command until it looks like what it does today, where dairy and meat products should (ideally) be stored in separate refrigerators and served on separate dishes, hours apart.  Silly you say?

Well, at the other end of the spectrum we have Christianity taking a simple command such as “don’t eat blood” and building theology upon theology upon it stating that any “Old Testament” laws are not to be followed as “we are not under law, but under grace.”

“Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do.  You shall not add to it or take from it.”  Deuteronomy 12:32 (ESV)

God is clear that He doesn’t want us to add to or take from His words.  Judaism loves to add to it (and I doubt any Christians out there will disagree with this, though Jews would), and Christianity loves to take away from His word (and I doubt any Jews would disagree with this, though Christians would vehemently disagree).

How do Christians take from His word?  Well, lets start with the command for not eating blood.  That is actually also found in the “New Testament” in a letter written to all Gentile churches (Acts 15:22-29).  The letter also mentions that you shouldn’t eat meat from a strangled animal.  (Ever hear either of these talked about during a sermon?)

[I’m not ‘bashing’ Christianity here, but there is a need to point out some facts.  I praise and thank God for my Christian brothers and sisters.]

Historically, Christianity started divesting itself of anything “Jewish”, including the “Law of God”.  This started as early as in the 2nd century AD.   Over the decades, this ‘divestment of all things Jewish’ went deeper and became thoroughly entrenched in Christian theology.  So much so that much of Christianity understands the apostle Paul’s comment about Christians “not being under law, but under grace” to mean that all “Old Testament” laws have been done away with (or fulfilled – the result is the same).

That is certainly ‘subtracting from’ God’s word in a big way.

Before wondering what, if any, of God’s “Law” is still to be followed today, first start following what Yeshua (Jesus) and the apostles said, including the “don’t eat blood” injunction.  And understand that the “Law of God” is not bad – even Paul states this.  But remember that Yeshua (Jesus) stated that “his burden is light and his yoke is easy.”  That saying is a Hebraism in reference to the “Law”  and following God.

Also, obedience to God is not to be misconstrued with being “under the law.”  Paul even refers to the anti-Christ as “the lawless one”.  2 Thessalonians 2:8-9.

“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”  Matthew 7:23 (ESV)

Yeshua (Jesus) said those words to apparent Christians.

So, be aware of adding to or taking away from God’s word, and don’t try a recipe for boiling a kid in its mother’s milk!

Shalom,

– Yosef