Category Archives: Is the Old Testament Relevant Today?

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

Sing for Joy to the Lord!

I know I do not take time to praise Him joyfully often enough. What a great reminder today in Psalm 95.

Psalm 95

Praise to the LORD, and Warning against Unbelief.

     1O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.

      2Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

      3For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods,

      4In whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.

      5The sea is His, for it was He who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.

      6Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

      7For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice,

      8Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,

      9“When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.

      10“For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.

      11“Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”

Spend some time humbly before our Lord in prayer, focused on His greatness and thanking Him for His blessings. Ask the Spirit to show you if you are not fully surrendered to God and to help you do so today. Do not put it off, but come before Him now and submit to His rule. Ask for help to change your life to His glory and your joy.

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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.

 

The Triumphal Entry Into Jersulam

As Jesus returned to Jerusalem in Matthew 21:1-11, we can clearly see that He once again points back to the Old Testament and fulfillment of prophecy as significant. Jesus was going to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, once again reinforcing the observance of the commands of God laid out to His people through Moses. Jesus 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.

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.”

Jesus 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 Jesus 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 God 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 Jesus’ sacrifice for all of us… paying the price for our sins. In both the Passover and death and resurrection of Christ, God’s people must choose to accept God’s grace and do so publically. In Passover, by following God’s instructions including putting lamb’s blood on the door post. In accepting Jesus, we must repent of our sins, submit to God, 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 Jesus as Lord will proclaim Him publically.

Jesus points back directly to Old Testament prophecy and fulfills it. Jesus honors God’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 Old Testament as no longer relevant. Jesus showed us the opposite! Jesus honored God’s instructions in the Old Testament scriptures. So should we.

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

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 or 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.

Do Not Think That I Came To Abolish The Law

Many say the Law is no longer relevant now that Jesus has come in the flesh and died for us and risen. They declare some elements of God’s instruction invalid and others still valid. They keep “do not steal” but discard “honor the Sabbath”. They rationalize that it is not required “to get into heaven”, so it is optional.

Our salvation is indeed by grace, through faith, and not by works. That has always been true, old or new testament. Noone has ever been good enough. Those before Christ looked ahead and sacrifices of animals were foreshadowing of Messiah. Those of us after Christ in the flesh look back on His sacrifice as the means of reconciliation to God… of forgiveness. In all cases, our repentance is required, not just lip service to the Lord. We are to submit to Him and turn toward His ways. He has provided much instruction for us and none of it is obsolete.

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.

Keep in mind that when 2 Timothy was written, there was no new testament and thus it referred to the old testament. Further, Jesus had died and risen already. This clearly attests to the value of the old testament even to those of us following Christ after His death and resurrection.

Further, we do not obey the Lord and His instructions to “earn our way into heaven”. What a selfish way of looking at His instructions and what a terrible way to minimize that Christ’s sacrifice was enough for all. We obey the Lord’s instruction because we love Him. It is evidence of our faith.

John 14:15

     15“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

John 14:233-24

23Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

Jesus did not make new commandments and instructions different than before and He never spoke out against the scriptures. From start to finish He was raised in the Law and went to Passover and even provided specific instructions that the Law was not going away until the end of the age, not even in a small way. Further, He told His disciples to teach everyone all that He taught them. He did not say, “now that I died and rose again, do this differently… all these things change”. Jesus confirmed it even after He rose from the dead.

Luke 2:39-40

Return to Nazareth

     39When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. 40The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

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.

Matthew 19-20

19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Let us not discard the Law quickly. There are some parts that have been fulfilled such as Jesus sacrifice now nullifying the need for animal sacrifices which used to foreshadow His sacrifice. However, we have been taught to quickly to dismiss far too much of God’s word. Start with the premise that all is good for instruction and study and pray for the Spirit to provide you insight. Do not rely on common church teaching, but on the word of God itself.

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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.

The Trumpets and The Gospel

Trumpets, typically shofars or rams horns rather than what we think of as trumpets today, have particular significance to God’s people. The Lord is interested in all parts of our lives and how we interact with each other and with Him. In numbers 10 we see another good example where even He even got specifically engaged in how to help His people communicate with one another across such a large group. Trumpets were a large part of it. In a way the trumpets focus the people on God’s direction for them and help them work together rather than each group or sub group making their own decisions. Interestingly, it is not a committee hearing to discuss if they agree in many cases, but rather instruction from God to the people. One way communication to instruct them as to how they should go, not a dialog on their opinion of what they should do next. Jehovah was their leader and Moses and Aaron their intermediary or prophets.

We can liken the trumpets to the call of scripture today. It is unique and unchanging. It calls to us with God’s direction and we are too pay attention and seek to understand and obey… not to debate if we agree or disagree with God. We are not to negotiate with God. We can of course talk to Him in prayer and ask questions but ultimately our heart needs to be focused on obeying Him rather than our own desires. The scripture, as the trumpets, does not only bring one message. Sometimes it may call us to convince, humble, console, exhort, reprove, or teach. The sounding of the trumpet of the gospel is God’s ordinance, and demands the attention of all to whom it is sent.

Numbers 10:1-10

The Silver Trumpets

     1The LORD spoke further to Moses, saying, 2“Make yourself two trumpets of silver, of hammered work you shall make them; and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for having the camps set out. 3“When both are blown, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 4“Yet if only one is blown, then the leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall assemble before you. 5“But when you blow an alarm, the camps that are pitched on the east side shall set out. 6“When you blow an alarm the second time, the camps that are pitched on the south side shall set out; an alarm is to be blown for them to set out. 7“When convening the assembly, however, you shall blow without sounding an alarm. 8“The priestly sons of Aaron, moreover, shall blow the trumpets; and this shall be for you a perpetual statute throughout your generations. 9“When you go to war in your land against the adversary who attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and be saved from your enemies. 10“Also in the day of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, and on the first days of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be as a reminder of you before your God. I am the LORD your God.”

My family has a small shofar and we enjoy it. It is part of a rich symbolism throughout the scriptures and points us back to God. Quite frankly I also find it a refreshing “tradition in the making” for my family where we are joyfully focusing on the Lord and willing to be set apart or different from the world to do so.

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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.

God Grant Us Humility and Courage

Galatians is often misunderstood by Christians to say that the Law of God is obsolete. What God provided to His people to guide them as a light unto their path has somehow now become a burden and they are slaves to it. I believe this is not so at all. Paul was clearly making a point that obeying the law as a path to salvation is wrong, but He was not saying that obeying the law is wrong. I encourage those interested and willing to invest some time to watch the video teaching on Galatians at TestEverything.net.

Let us take heed to recognize that we are not to revile the law as burdensome and enslaving and also not to put the law on such a high place as to replace our proper understanding of salvation through Christ and Christ alone. We need no longer be slave to sin and death. We need not be slave to the things of the world. In Christ we have sonship. He offers us salvation from sin and self, from wickedness. Where the law points us on the way to Christ and also shows us how to love God and love one another, the death of Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit bring us power to overcome the slavery to sin, self, and wickedness. We need not strive on our own power to live the way God instructs us but with His power as our Helper.

Galatians 4

Sonship in Christ

     1Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, 2but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

      8However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. 9But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? 10You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.

      12I beg of you, brethren, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong; 13but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; 14and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself. 15Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them. 18But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you. 19My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you— 20but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Bond and Free

     21Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. 23But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. 24This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. 25Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.

27For it is written,
“REJOICE, BARREN WOMAN WHO DOES NOT BEAR;
BREAK FORTH AND SHOUT, YOU WHO ARE NOT IN LABOR;
FOR MORE NUMEROUS ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE DESOLATE
THAN OF THE ONE WHO HAS A HUSBAND.”

28And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also.

30But what does the Scripture say?
“CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON,
FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE AN HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN.”

31So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.

I suppose we can make ourselves slaves even to the law if we consider that we must execute all it contains flawlessly as our means of salvation, but that is a wrong view of the law and a trap often referred to as legalism. Let us each pray for the Spirit to enlighten us on the truth of scripture. Ask Him to help us test everything we have been taught against the full truth of scripture. Ask for the humility and courage needed to accept that our current understanding (and that of most Christians around us) may be wrong and the courage to redirect our lives accordingly as He continues to reveal the truth to us.

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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.