Category Archives: Is the Old Testament Relevant Today?

God Does Not Change

Today’s message is a simple one, but if we truly meditate on it, we will recognize the powerful implications and it may open us better examine our lives and whether or not we are living according to YHWH’s instruction.

God does not change. He is timeless… eternal. His character and his instruction for us is consistent throughout time.

Malachi 3:6

6“For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

James 1:17

17Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Hebrews 13:8

8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Though few say it so plainly, many Christians act as if the Bible really only starts with Matthew and ends in Revelation. It is not uncommon for even seminaries and churches to act this way. We must take care, however, as that approach assumes that somehow YHWH has changed and it discards two thirds of his instructions to us.

If YHWH does not change, than it serves us well to study and understand how he relates to his people and what instructions he has for his people throughout ALL of his holy scripture.

If we find ourselves having difficulty reconciling what is taught in the Old and the New testaments with one another, then we must consider that our understanding is wrong. God’s word builds on itself. The Old Testament is foundation for the New. It is truly one record rather than two. Yeshua often taught referencing back to the Old Testament, as did Paul. Without the foundation of understanding from the Old Testament, then our understanding of the New will be subject to more mistakes.

I will close with two scriptures that reference specifically the Old Testament, as the New had not yet been written.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

14You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Matthew 5:17-19

     17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

If God does not change, then we should truly spend time reflecting if the way we are living our lives today follows the example of what Christ taught and lived (as written in the Bible) or if instead it follows what man has said about how we are supposed to live so differently than Christ did, reasoning that much of his instruction changed after his death and resurrection. I pose that we should rededicate ourselves to understanding what is written in scripture and test everything we know against what is written. We should not simply continue in the way that is popular, broadly accepted, or taught by man.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Dividing Up The Promised Land – Ephraim

We are continuing in the book of Joshua in a series of chapters in which Joshua documents how the promised land was divided up between the tribes. It is clearly written as an historical account, and not a moral book or book of wisdom. We may be tempted to quickly overlook this passage and the following chapters as not relevant or “boring”. However, reflect on the fact that this was written as an historical document. It is a true record of what has transpired between YHWH and his people. This should be very encouraging as it gives credibility to the rest of the Bible as more than just a book of moral stories. The Bible is in fact true and an accurate historical document.

Joshua 16

Territory of Ephraim

     1Then the lot for the sons of Joseph went from the Jordan at Jericho to the waters of Jericho on the east into the wilderness, going up from Jericho through the hill country to Bethel. 2It went from Bethel to Luz, and continued to the border of the Archites at Ataroth. 3It went down westward to the territory of the Japhletites, as far as the territory of lower Beth-horon even to Gezer, and it ended at the sea.

      4The sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their inheritance. 5Now this was the territory of the sons of Ephraim according to their families: the border of their inheritance eastward was Ataroth-addar, as far as upper Beth-horon. 6Then the border went westward at Michmethath on the north, and the border turned about eastward to Taanath-shiloh and continued beyond it to the east of Janoah. 7It went down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, then reached Jericho and came out at the Jordan. 8From Tappuah the border continued westward to the brook of Kanah, and it ended at the sea. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Ephraim according to their families, 9together with the cities which were set apart for the sons of Ephraim in the midst of the inheritance of the sons of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages. 10But they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites live in the midst of Ephraim to this day, and they became forced laborers.

It seems subtle, but we also see in this record that the Israelites failed to drive out the Canaanites. Here we see they became forced laborers. It would be interesting to study what other roles those Canaanites played in history since they were not driven out as they should have been. Most obvious would seem that they remained a corrupting influence on the Israelites due to their pagan religion and lifestyle. A careful study of the Bible and history documented elsewhere likely would bear an interesting story for what role they played.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Dividing Up The Promised Land – Judah

There are passages in scripture where a common first reaction is to wonder what the value could possibly be in reading them and how they could possibly apply today. We should heed Paul’s guidance in 2 Timothy 3:16 and recall that he is specifically calling out the Torah, or Old Testament. The gospels most likely had not been written yet and 2 Timothy in the preceding verses refers to the scriptures that Timothy has known since he was a child.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

With that in mind, we will come to a section of Joshua in which the territory given to each tribe is laid out in detail. Joshua 15 starts with Judah. What can this possibly mean for us today? There are likely several levels, only a few of which I will touch on here. There seem to always be multiple layers or levels to the significance of scripture. The more time you spend studying it, the more treasure and significance you find.

Two things that strike me very powerfully in these following chapters of Joshua are the following:

  • There many are parts of the scriptures that are clearly written in the style of an historical record. This means that they include detailed records of events. This should encourage us that the Bible is true and accurate! Someone making up these stories would not take the time to add such fine detail.
  • Also, we should see that our Father is faithful. He promised the land to the Israelites a long time before and now we should see this as the fulfillment of his promise. This should also encourage us. Though his timing is different than ours, we can always count on our Father being loyal and faithful to his word.
  • Our Father cares about the details in the lives of his people. He was very involved in dividing up the land in very specific way in which he deemed fair and appropriate. He did not simply say … here is the land, go figure out how to divide it yourselves.  So also he cares about our lives today. Once again, this should be encouraging to those who seek to please him and dwell with him.

Joshua 15

Territory of Judah

     1Now the lot for the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their families reached the border of Edom, southward to the wilderness of Zin at the extreme south. 2Their south border was from the lower end of the Salt Sea, from the bay that turns to the south. 3Then it proceeded southward to the ascent of Akrabbim and continued to Zin, then went up by the south of Kadesh-barnea and continued to Hezron, and went up to Addar and turned about to Karka. 4It continued to Azmon and proceeded to the brook of Egypt, and the border ended at the sea. This shall be your south border. 5The east border was the Salt Sea, as far as the mouth of the Jordan. And the border of the north side was from the bay of the sea at the mouth of the Jordan. 6Then the border went up to Beth-hoglah, and continued on the north of Beth-arabah, and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben. 7The border went up to Debir from the valley of Achor, and turned northward toward Gilgal which is opposite the ascent of Adummim, which is on the south of the valley; and the border continued to the waters of En-shemesh and it ended at En-rogel. 8Then the border went up the valley of Ben-hinnom to the slope of the Jebusite on the south (that is, Jerusalem); and the border went up to the top of the mountain which is before the valley of Hinnom to the west, which is at the end of the valley of Rephaim toward the north. 9From the top of the mountain the border curved to the spring of the waters of Nephtoah and proceeded to the cities of Mount Ephron, then the border curved to Baalah (that is, Kiriath-jearim). 10The border turned about from Baalah westward to Mount Seir, and continued to the slope of Mount Jearim on the north (that is, Chesalon), and went down to Beth-shemesh and continued through Timnah. 11The border proceeded to the side of Ekron northward. Then the border curved to Shikkeron and continued to Mount Baalah and proceeded to Jabneel, and the border ended at the sea. 12The west border was at the Great Sea, even its coastline. This is the border around the sons of Judah according to their families.

      13Now he gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh a portion among the sons of Judah, according to the command of the LORD to Joshua, namely, Kiriath-arba, Arba being the father of Anak (that is, Hebron). 14Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak: Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, the children of Anak. 15Then he went up from there against the inhabitants of Debir; now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher. 16And Caleb said, “The one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter as a wife.” 17Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, captured it; so he gave him Achsah his daughter as a wife. 18It came about that when she came to him, she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. So she alighted from the donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” 19Then she said, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

      20This is the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their families.

      21Now the cities at the extremity of the tribe of the sons of Judah toward the border of Edom in the south were Kabzeel and Eder and Jagur, 22and Kinah and Dimonah and Adadah, 23and Kedesh and Hazor and Ithnan, 24Ziph and Telem and Bealoth, 25and Hazor-hadattah and Kerioth-hezron (that is, Hazor), 26Amam and Shema and Moladah, 27and Hazar-gaddah and Heshmon and Beth-pelet, 28and Hazar-shual and Beersheba and Biziothiah, 29Baalah and Iim and Ezem, 30and Eltolad and Chesil and Hormah, 31and Ziklag and Madmannah and Sansannah, 32and Lebaoth and Shilhim and Ain and Rimmon; in all, twenty-nine cities with their villages.

      33In the lowland: Eshtaol and Zorah and Ashnah, 34and Zanoah and En-gannim, Tappuah and Enam, 35Jarmuth and Adullam, Socoh and Azekah, 36and Shaaraim and Adithaim and Gederah and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages.

      37Zenan and Hadashah and Migdal-gad, 38and Dilean and Mizpeh and Joktheel, 39Lachish and Bozkath and Eglon, 40and Cabbon and Lahmas and Chitlish, 41and Gederoth, Beth-dagon and Naamah and Makkedah; sixteen cities with their villages.

      42Libnah and Ether and Ashan, 43and Iphtah and Ashnah and Nezib, 44and Keilah and Achzib and Mareshah; nine cities with their villages.

      45Ekron, with its towns and its villages; 46from Ekron even to the sea, all that were by the side of Ashdod, with their villages.

      47Ashdod, its towns and its villages; Gaza, its towns and its villages; as far as the brook of Egypt and the Great Sea, even its coastline.

      48In the hill country: Shamir and Jattir and Socoh, 49and Dannah and Kiriath-sannah (that is, Debir), 50and Anab and Eshtemoh and Anim, 51and Goshen and Holon and Giloh; eleven cities with their villages.

      52Arab and Dumah and Eshan, 53and Janum and Beth-tappuah and Aphekah, 54and Humtah and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), and Zior; nine cities with their villages.

      55Maon, Carmel and Ziph and Juttah, 56and Jezreel and Jokdeam and Zanoah, 57Kain, Gibeah and Timnah; ten cities with their villages.

      58Halhul, Beth-zur and Gedor, 59and Maarath and Beth-anoth and Eltekon; six cities with their villages.

      60Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), and Rabbah; two cities with their villages.

      61In the wilderness: Beth-arabah, Middin and Secacah, 62and Nibshan and the City of Salt and Engedi; six cities with their villages.

      63Now as for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah could not drive them out; so the Jebusites live with the sons of Judah at Jerusalem until this day.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem

As Yeshua returned to Jerusalem in Matthew 21:1-11, we can clearly see that he once again points back to the Tanakh (often referred to as the Old Testament) and fulfillment of prophecy as significant. Yeshua was going to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, once again reinforcing the observance of the commands of God laid out to His people through Moses. Yeshua was also clearly aware, as we read earlier in Matthew, that he was to die, be buried, and rise again. He was going there to suffer and die for all of our sins.

Matthew 21:1-11

1When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. 3“If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” 4This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

5“SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION,
‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU,
GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY,
EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.’”

6The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, 7and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. 8Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road.

9The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,

“Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!”

10When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Yeshua clearly has a supernatural awareness of things around him, else he would not know where the donkey colt was and be able to tell the disciples exactly what to expect when they follow his instructions. The disciples did very well to just obey exactly as Yeshua told them.  Everything worked out as planned. We should take care to do the same… obey God’s instructions as he gives them… without changing them to a way we think may be better or more consistent with our culture.

There is much significance for YHWH in the death and resurrection timing coinciding with Passover. It was intentional. The Passover lamb used as sacrifice to save the Israelites was a foreshadowing of Yeshua’s sacrifice for all of us… paying the price for our sins. In both the Passover and death and resurrection of Christ, YHWH’s people must choose to accept his grace and do so publicly. In Passover, by following YHWH’s instructions including putting lamb’s blood on the door post. In accepting Yeshua, we must repent of our sins, submit to YHWH, and ask him to be Lord and Savior. We must no longer live our way, but his way. That is what it means to submit. Those that truly accept Yeshua as Lord will proclaim Him publicly.

Yeshua points back directly to prophecy recorded in the Tanakh and fulfills it. He honors the Father’s instructions given to us through Moses and observes them every time. In this case he comes to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.  We should be careful not to quickly dismiss the Tanakh as no longer relevant. Yeshua showed us the opposite! He honored YHWH’s instructions in the Tanakh and so should we.

Note how many in the crowds came out to welcome Yeshua and celebrate him as prophet. How fickle the crowds are… a week later the crowds shout to free Barabbas and crucify Yeshua. Few stood by Yeshua during the arrest and crucifixion, perhaps none publicly as even Peter denied him three times. We must be careful to look to the Father for our guidance on what is right and never just follow the crowds. Often, YHWH’s people find themselves standing against the crowds if they are to stand for him.

My family and I have found it very enriching to reflect the entirety of God’s word in our celebrations by including Passover along with our celebration of resurrection of Christ. As we started this a few years ago, we find ourselves continuing to study and learn how interrelated these celebrations should be.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

In Christ, We Have Another Reason To Celebrate Passover

It is important to remember what YHWH has done for us. He is our Creator and Lord. He is all powerful, all knowing, and present at all times in all places. Still He takes time to know each one of us and He loves each one of us as a father.

Sometimes He dwells on a certain instruction to emphasize it so that we pay attention and do not miss it. Celebrating Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread is one of those.  As we read through Exodus 12, we experience God’s instruction about celebrating these as remembrance of God setting His people free from bondage in Egypt. Given how much the Christian church today distances itself from these appointed times of God , we may be tempted to think… “Ok, glad I am done with Exodus 12 and can get on with the story.” God however, is not done commanding and emphasizing to us that we should celebrate Passover and Feast of Unleavened bread in remembrance of His actions on behalf of His people. He comes back to it in Exodus 13 and again in Exodus 23. Spoiler alert… he comes back to it again and again… especially in Leviticus 23.

Exodus 13:1-16

Consecration of the Firstborn

      1Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me.”

      3Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the LORD brought you out from this place. And nothing leavened shall be eaten. 4“On this day in the month of Abib, you are about to go forth. 5“It shall be when the LORD brings you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall observe this rite in this month. 6“For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD. 7“Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders. 8“You shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9“And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt. 10“Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.

      11“Now when the LORD brings you to the land of the Canaanite, as He swore to you and to your fathers, and gives it to you, 12you shall devote to the LORD the first offspring of every womb, and the first offspring of every beast that you own; the males belong to the LORD. 13“But every first offspring of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. 14“And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ then you shall say to him, ‘With a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 15‘It came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore, I sacrifice to the LORD the males, the first offspring of every womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16“So it shall serve as a sign on your hand and as phylacteries on your forehead, for with a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.”

You may find yourself asking, “Why is this so important to God? The church has not taught me to celebrate it.” God tells us why it is important to Him.

 8“You shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9“And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt. 10“Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.

and again…

 14“And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ then you shall say to him, ‘With a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 15‘It came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore, I sacrifice to the LORD the males, the first offspring of every womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16“So it shall serve as a sign on your hand and as phylacteries on your forehead, for with a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.”

When our Father repeats something over and over again, we should recognize it is important. Our heavenly Father wants us to remember His love and power in setting His people free from bondage in Egypt. As followers of Messiah we can also recognize that in Messiah we now have yet another reason to celebrate Passover. Yeshua served as our Passover lamb, killed for our sin. The unleavened bread can remind us of getting sin out of our lives… making vivid a reminder that a little sin affects us a lot, like a little yeast affects the whole loaf of bread. We need to get all the sin out of our lives.

Passover is not just for Jewish people who don’t believe in Christ as Messiah. Passover has rich meaning and can help us draw nearer to the Lord. We could have a longer discussion on how to celebrate today, but for today I am really focused on encouraging you to read and study more, to embrace God’s holy days and learn more about them. God said we should, and he has great ideas. Once we make the decision to do it, then we take the next step and begin to study how… that is the journey my family and I are on today. We find great joy in seeking to better understand our relationship with YHWH through studying and celebrating his appointed times.

Do take care that we don’t have to celebrate Passover because it is “required” but rather so we can grow in our relationship with our Creator and delight in him. As the temple and the priests are not available, we can not celebrate in a fully Biblical manner, and that should not be our goal as Yeshua has already served as our Passover lamb, once and for all. Let us use this as an opportunity simply to glorify YHWH and what he has done for his people in setting them free from slavery in Egypt and more importantly in setting us free from slavery from sin through Yeshua.

Here are a few resources where you can learn more about the Moedim, the Creator’s calendar (often called the “Jewish” calendar), and given this time of year, Passover in particular.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Did Yeshua Tell His Disciples To Separate From The Teachings Of Moses?

Many Christians are taught that we should be separated from the teaching of Moses and the Hebrew roots of Christianity. There are new traditions made by men which have substituted for the instructions of YHWH, such as Sabbath on Sunday instead of Saturday and many, many others. Many Christians teach that the instructions of Moses are no longer relevant.

Did Yeshua tell His disciples to stop attending synagogue and stop following the instructions of Moses taught there? Did Yeshua tell His disciples to separate from the Hebrew roots of our faith and start a “new religion”? Let us explore scripture together.

Yeshua had just warned His disciples that the world would hate them and reject them, as it was rejecting Him (John 15). I am sure this was hard to hear. He knew it was. In fact, He had not told them previously because He was still with them, but now He was preparing them for His departure.

Yeshua warns His disciples that they will be considered outcasts form synagogue, but why?

John 16:1-4

Jesus’ Warning

     1“These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. 2“They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. 3“These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. 4“But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.

A few key points which we should try not to overlook, which often get overlooked in reading a larger portion of scripture in one sitting.

  • Yeshua warned they would be made outcasts from synagogue. That means they were not outcasts at this time, or why would He bother to warn them about it. Yeshua and His disciples attended synagogue, with the other Jewish people. They had not started a “new religion” or separated from Judaism. They remained fully connected to their Hebrew roots and simply recognized that Messiah had come.
  • Making the disciples outcasts of the synagogue was not YHWH’s plan to start a new religion or new traditions or to remove the new followers of Christ from their Hebrew roots. It was done by man because they did not know the Father. In fact, they thought they were acting in service to the Father. They were wrong.

Prayerfully reflect on these points. Once again in scripture, we can see that YHWH did not intend for followers of Yeshua to break away from the teachings of Moses or our Hebrew roots. Rather it is the failure of men drove that. While some of this separation started with the disciples being made outcasts and persecuted by the Jews, even a quick study of history will show that the Romans did even more to separate those who followed Yeshua from their Hebrew roots over a period of several hundred years.

I acknowledge that this is difficult for most Christians to objectively test and study. However, I would encourage you to challenge the concept that Christians are to be separate from their Hebrew roots, as if a brand new “religion” has been established. Rather, Yeshua fulfilled the prophecy embedded within Hebrew teaching from YHWH that Messiah would come. Just because many Jewish people reject Yeshua as Messiah, does not mean we who follow Him should reject our Hebrew roots that were consistent with all that He taught and demonstrated.

To learn more:

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Confirm The Words Of His Law By Obeying Them

Deuteronomy 27 reminds us to confirm He is our Lord and we are His people by living out His commands. It is not enough to simply say He is Lord. Rather, we should confirm He is Lord through our actions and attitudes, that should conform to His commands.

Deuteronomy 27

The Curses of Mount Ebal

      1Then Moses and the elders of Israel charged the people, saying, “Keep all the commandments which I command you today. 2“So it shall be on the day when you cross the Jordan to the land which the LORD your God gives you, that you shall set up for yourself large stones and coat them with lime3and write on them all the words of this law, when you cross over, so that you may enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. 4“So it shall be when you cross the Jordan, you shall set up on Mount Ebal, these stones, as I am commanding you today, and you shall coat them with lime. 5“Moreover, you shall build there an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones; you shall not wield an iron tool on them. 6“You shall build the altar of the LORD your God of uncut stones, and you shall offer on it burnt offerings to the LORD your God; 7and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and eat there, and rejoice before the LORD your God. 8“You shall write on the stones all the words of this law very distinctly.”

      9Then Moses and the Levitical priests spoke to all Israel, saying, “Be silent and listen, O Israel! This day you have become a people for the LORD your God. 10“You shall therefore obey the LORD your God, and do His commandments and His statutes which I command you today.”

      11Moses also charged the people on that day, saying, 12“When you cross the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 13“For the curse, these shall stand on Mount Ebal: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. 14“The Levites shall then answer and say to all the men of Israel with a loud voice,

      15‘Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’

      16‘Cursed is he who dishonors his father or mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

      17‘Cursed is he who moves his neighbor’s boundary mark.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

      18‘Cursed is he who misleads a blind person on the road.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

      19‘Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

      20‘Cursed is he who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s skirt.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

      21‘Cursed is he who lies with any animal.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

      22‘Cursed is he who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or of his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

      23‘Cursed is he who lies with his mother-in-law.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

      24‘Cursed is he who strikes his neighbor in secret.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

      25‘Cursed is he who accepts a bribe to strike down an innocent person.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

      26‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

Prayerfully reflect on whether you truly choose God’s commands over your own choices and those openly accepted / preferred by our culture? It is easy to say we do, but ask the Spirit to convict you of areas where your life more closely reflects the world’s opinion, or perhaps the beliefs of even a church but may not actually line up with the written word of the Lord. Test everything against scripture, not against what you have been taught by men. That includes the Old Testament as well as the New. Yeshua often referred to the prophets and the law in His teaching. It helps us understand the New Testament in proper context. It is the foundation of our faith and all that is in the New Testament. The two do not contradict one another, once properly understood.

If you read something you don’t understand and it may conflict with what your church teaches, do not just dismiss it and assume the church has explained it for you. Test it, study it, pray about it. Many churches teach incorrectly about large portions of God’s word. Test the church against God’s word, not the other way around. Then make sure you life changes as needed to reflect what God’s word says rather than what people say.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

All Scripture Is Inspired By YHWH

Deuteronomy 23 has a collection of instructions. Let’s review after you read the chapter. Read through, you may be surprised by how much is relevant today to our lives.

Deuteronomy 23

Persons Excluded from the Assembly

     1“No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the LORD. 2“No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the LORD. 3“No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the LORD, 4because they did not meet you with food and water on the way when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5“Nevertheless, the LORD your God was not willing to listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the LORD your God loves you. 6“You shall never seek their peace or their prosperity all your days.

      7“You shall not detest an Edomite, for he is your brother; you shall not detest an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. 8“The sons of the third generation who are born to them may enter the assembly of the LORD.

      9“When you go out as an army against your enemies, you shall keep yourself from every evil thing.

      10“If there is among you any man who is unclean because of a nocturnal emission, then he must go outside the camp; he may not reenter the camp. 11“But it shall be when evening approaches, he shall bathe himself with water, and at sundown he may reenter the camp.

      12“You shall also have a place outside the camp and go out there, 13and you shall have a spade among your tools, and it shall be when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and shall turn to cover up your excrement. 14“Since the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you.

      15“You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. 16“He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him.

      17“None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, nor shall any of the sons of Israel be a cult prostitute. 18“You shall not bring the hire of a harlot or the wages of a dog into the house of the LORD your God for any votive offering, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.

      19“You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest. 20“You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countrymen you shall not charge interest, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are about to enter to possess.

      21“When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the LORD your God will surely require it of you. 22“However, if you refrain from vowing, it would not be sin in you. 23“You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God, what you have promised.

      24“When you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, then you may eat grapes until you are fully satisfied, but you shall not put any in your basket.

      25“When you enter your neighbor’s standing grain, then you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not wield a sickle in your neighbor’s standing grain.

Doubtless, this is another passage which seems strange to us in our culture and time today. It may stir up some questions for those who wish to dig below the surface meaning. If we at first do not understand, remember who YHWH is and that He is holy and just. Start with that and we realize that if parts of this are troubling, we should study more to fully understand the context of the times when it was written. I am not an expert in these matters to be sure. My surface thoughts are as follows:

  • First, I ask myself what it means to be excluded from the assembly of the Lord. There are different views and I am not sure which is right. Does it mean excluded from the worship gathering? excluded from marriage? excluded from temple service? excluded from leadership? I am not sure which is right. Worthy of study for those who want to find out more.
  • Other nations would at times make eunuchs to serve in a palace or temple. Such a disfigurement is not pleasing to the Lord. I do not believe this was intended to punish victims but rather to prevent doing this to God’s people.
  •  It may seem harsh to exclude illegitimate children. However, this puts more emphasis on families following YHWH’s instructions and being holy. I believe the intent is to deter people from having illegitimate children, rather than intending to punish the children. It was not something to be normalized and accepted. Depending on the meaning of forbidden from the assembly of the Lord, this could also simply mean that they were not to be working in the temple, which is set apart and holy.
  • Amonites and Moabites were held accountable in memory of the sins of their people against Israel. We as a nation may face similar consequences for rebellion against the Lord. Though not all of us may rebel or reject Him, we may all face certain consequences together as one people.
  •  The people were then specifically told not to hate the Edomites and Egyptians. Interesting to note that YHWH never makes an equivalence of all people groups as equally righteous and valued. Those who rebel and fight against YHWH and His people are not to be accepted. Others, are specifically called out to not be hated. Our culture today must surely think this odd as many try to say that “all cultures and all nations” are to be respected and accepted as they are equally, with none better than the rest. YHWH seems to indicate differently.
  • There are certain behaviors that make us unclean. Rather than trying to excuse it and reject it, try to understand what and why and try to avoid them. If we become unclean, take time to seek to be cleansed. Spend that time with the Lord in prayer. Seek forgiveness.
  • YHWH takes the term “walking among us” seriously. He intends for us to keep our “camp” (or our home) clean with no indecent thing among us. Think about your home today. Are there indecent things among you? It may be idols. It may be pornography. It may be inappropriate clothing. It may simply even be television programs and music that is indecent. Cleanse your home and let nothing indecent be among you so that the Lord may walk among you.
  • Be kind to an escaped slave. Do not return them to their owner. Let them live among you. This is very gracious, in particular in a time when it was written when slavery was more common. I could also derive perhaps that we are to help those escaping difficult circumstances and not treat them badly. Rather help them to get free, even if it is from abuse or addiction. Note it does not say let entire nations and tribes of foreigners come into your midst (e.g. open borders). Rather it is focused on helping individuals, which could be assimilated and helped more effectively in smaller numbers.
  • Prostitution is wrong. YHWH does not even want money from such objectionable and offensive behavior. He wants no part of it. I hypothesize also that He does not want any part of many other objectionable behaviors even if they bring profit… perhaps drugs, human slavery, abortion, and many more.
  • As a follower of YHWH, we are not to loan to other believers for interest. If we loan it is to help them, not make money off them by increasing the cost burden to them by adding interest.
  • You are not required to make vows to YHWH, but if you do… take it seriously and do not delay in fulfilling it. Better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Further, you can ask YHWH to help you without making a vow.
  • We also see more guidance in reference to grain and grapes. We can share from our neighbors hospitality, but do not become greedy and become a burden by taking more than you should.

I for one am always surprised when I try to reflect on passages like this one. My first reaction is that none of it applies and I can “skip” it or read quickly. After prayer and a serious attempt to understand, even without lengthy, detailed study, I am amazed how relevant this guidance still remains for our lives.

May the grace and peace of our Lord, Yeshua, be with you.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Understanding Hebrew Roots – God’s Ways; Not Just “Jewish Traditions”

Study Hebrew Roots of Christianity

Understanding Hebrew roots – “God’s ways” not “Jewish traditions”

Far too many Christians are taught today in churches that the Old Testament is an interesting book of stories but not relevant anymore or that somehow the New Testament has completely replaced the Old Testament. This is simply not true. Seek to understand the Hebrew roots God Himself created as the foundation of our relationship with Him and how to place them in proper context in our lives today. Test what you have been taught by our culture and churches today against what scripture really says.

  • 119ministries.com (also testeverything.net) challenges and helps us test common teaching or practices today against God’s word. We are to test everything and hold onto only what is good
  • Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship, at BethImmanuel.org,  is a family-based Messianic Jewish community for people of all nations. Teaching and Bible study is at the center of what they do. They emphasize teaching and study from a Messianic Jewish perspective, revealing the Jewish Roots of Christianity, and encountering the Jewish Jesus.
  • First Fruits of Zion, at ffoz.org, specializes in the study and teaching of Scripture from its historical, linguistic, and cultural context. They present a Messianic Jewish reading of the Bible and early Jewish-Christianity.
  • Foundations in Torah, at FoundationsInTorah.com, focuses on connecting the gospels and epistles of the New Testament with their foundations in the Old Testament for better understanding of context.
  • Hebraic Roots Network, at HebraicRootsNetwork.com, is a consortium of like-minded ministries dedicated to bringing solid Biblical teaching to the world. They present the Scriptures from a Hebrew perspective allowing the viewer to gain deeper understanding through applied context.
  • Hebrew For Christians, at Hebrew4Christians.com, helps us study and deepen our faith by connecting with the Hebrew roots of God’s relationship with His people.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Review Your Journey With The Lord

Numbers 33 is perhaps an easy passage of scripture to quickly pass over on the thought that it is simply a recap of what we have already read. It does provide some historical evidence to the story to help demonstrate the reality that the Bible is not a “made up book” or a book of stories like Aesop’s Fables, but an actual historical account of YHWH’s relationship with His people. If simply making up a book of stories, who would bother to include detailed historical accounts such as this one?

More than that, I am struck by the feeling that YHWH is encouraging us to periodically look back at the journey we have traveled when we follow Him. Moses was reviewing a journey that was both physical / geographical and also spiritual as the people journeyed from slavery to freedom… from bondage to Egyptians to freedom to serve our Father and Creator.

For me, I can reflect on the journey the Lord has led me on over the past 20 years in particular. There were battles (not literal warfare), there were times of victory and defeat, there was a growing relationship between myself and my Father. There were changes in how I lived my life and what my priorities were. There were changes in how I spent my time and my money. There were changes in how my family lives our daily lives and how we celebrate holy days now according to YHWH’s instruction rather than traditions of men. There are changes in how we help and support others in the body of Christ more joyfully.

While we still have further to go with the Lord, it is good to reflect on how far we have come with Him and His patience and lovingkindness to lead us along the way as we learn and change with His help.

Numbers 33:1-49

Review of the Journey from Egypt to Jordan

     1These are the journeys of the sons of Israel, by which they came out from the land of Egypt by their armies, under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. 2Moses recorded their starting places according to their journeys by the command of the LORD, and these are their journeys according to their starting places. 3They journeyed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the next day after the Passover the sons of Israel started out boldly in the sight of all the Egyptians, 4while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn whom the LORD had struck down among them. The LORD had also executed judgments on their gods.

      5Then the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses and camped in Succoth. 6They journeyed from Succoth and camped in Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. 7They journeyed from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol. 8They journeyed from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness; and they went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham and camped at Marah. 9They journeyed from Marah and came to Elim; and in Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. 10They journeyed from Elim and camped by the Red Sea. 11They journeyed from the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin. 12They journeyed from the wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah. 13They journeyed from Dophkah and camped at Alush. 14They journeyed from Alush and camped at Rephidim; now it was there that the people had no water to drink. 15They journeyed from Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai. 16They journeyed from the wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth-hattaavah.

      17They journeyed from Kibroth-hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth. 18They journeyed from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah. 19They journeyed from Rithmah and camped at Rimmon-perez. 20They journeyed from Rimmon-perez and camped at Libnah. 21They journeyed from Libnah and camped at Rissah. 22They journeyed from Rissah and camped in Kehelathah. 23They journeyed from Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher. 24They journeyed from Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah. 25They journeyed from Haradah and camped at Makheloth. 26They journeyed from Makheloth and camped at Tahath. 27They journeyed from Tahath and camped at Terah. 28They journeyed from Terah and camped at Mithkah. 29They journeyed from Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah. 30They journeyed from Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth. 31They journeyed from Moseroth and camped at Bene-jaakan. 32They journeyed from Bene-jaakan and camped at Hor-haggidgad. 33They journeyed from Hor-haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah. 34They journeyed from Jotbathah and camped at Abronah. 35They journeyed from Abronah and camped at Ezion-geber. 36They journeyed from Ezion-geber and camped in the wilderness of Zin, that is, Kadesh. 37They journeyed from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, at the edge of the land of Edom.

      38Then Aaron the priest went up to Mount Hor at the command of the LORD, and died there in the fortieth year after the sons of Israel had come from the land of Egypt, on the first day in the fifth month. 39Aaron was one hundred twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.

      40Now the Canaanite, the king of Arad who lived in the Negev in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the sons of Israel.

      41Then they journeyed from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah. 42They journeyed from Zalmonah and camped at Punon. 43They journeyed from Punon and camped at Oboth. 44They journeyed from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, at the border of Moab. 45They journeyed from Iyim and camped at Dibon-gad. 46They journeyed from Dibon-gad and camped at Almon-diblathaim. 47They journeyed from Almon-diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. 48They journeyed from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho. 49They camped by the Jordan, from Beth-jeshimoth as far as Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab.

Take time to reflect on the your journey with YHWH. You may even want to write it down in a journal. Don’t rush it. Set aside time to prayerfully and reflectively go through it. Share it with someone you trust. Give thanks to Him for leading you and waiting on your progress. Ask Him what changes you need to continue to make and ask Him for His grace to help you make those changes. Continue the journey to grow closer to the Lord.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross