Category Archives: Hebrew Roots / Commands / Law

Freedom In Christ

Many in the USA celebrate freedom as a key part of the heritage of our July 4 national holiday. It commemorates independence for the USA from England and the policies of the government there for which the colonies were not represented. We can be reminded to value our freedom and not take it for granted. Fireworks and parties are commonplace. The birth of a free nation is celebrated. We do not celebrate this freedom by rebelling against the very nation that protects and provides our freedom. We do not declare that our freedom means we are no longer subject to any laws.

This day is a good opportunity for us to reflect deeper on one who is greater than us who also allows us the freedom to make our own choices. Our Creator made us in His image and allows us the freedom to follow Him or live in rebellion to Him, choosing instead to honor and follow the desires of our flesh and sin nature. All of us are inherently sinful. Babies at birth need not be taught to scream when they want something. Young children need to be taught to share, taking what they want comes naturally. We must learn to focus on the needs of others just as we must learn God’s ways in order to be set apart and different than the world.

Our Father, YHWH, provided us instructions to follow as any good father does for His children. Often the instructions are for the benefit of the children themselves, even if they don’t understand that fully. The instructions have been communicated through thousands of years and neatly compiled into the Bible we have so readily available to us today, so long as we choose to open it or click the link to it. We need only pray for enlightenment from the Spirit and read with a desire to learn and change our behaviors to follow God’s instructions. We should not read with a desire to justify all of our current actions and attitudes… that is redefining God in our image rather than redefining ourselves in His image.

We talk often in Christian community about freedom through Christ. It is amazing, but sadly many get confused by false teaching about this freedom. What are we set free from?

The short answer is that all too often people essentially say we are set free from all boundaries and can do anything and God will be pleased. This is false. This would be akin to saying we are free in the United States and then pretending that there are no laws or boundaries governing what is acceptable behavior and what will land you in prison. God has established guidelines and instructions for us to follow to help us, as a father does for his children. Are we to use our freedom to rebel against the one who gives it to us? No. Christ sets us free from the law of sin and death. He sets us free in that we can be reconciled to YHWH even when we do not live out his instructions perfectly to his standard. This means, simply that we can be forgiven for our sins, because Jesus already paid the price required by the law for our sins. We can be set free from condemnation and guilt, but we are to repent from the sinful ways and do things according to God’s instruction. We are to follow Christ.

Romans 8:1-4

1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Many teach that we are set free from the law, from God’s instructions, but this is absurd. Jesus followed God’s instructions throughout His earthly ministry and so did His disciples. In fact, he was judged righteous in that he lived perfectly according to the law. He never taught against following God’s law, only against following the man made traditions of the Pharisees and Sadducees that were overburdening people with meaningless traditions and distracting from or even contradicting God’s law. We must ask ourselves… “Is Jesus our example to follow? or our excuse to live how we want rather than how God tells us to?”

Throughout the scriptures, God’s law is highlighted as good, as worthy of love, of setting us free from the lure of sin by showing us what is right. It is a light unto our path to guide us. I have included a few excerpts from Psalm 119, but you should click the link and read the whole Psalm. Many others have similar content. The law of God is to be obeyed. Jesus did not come to set us free from it.

Psalm 119 (excerpts – I encourage you to read 119 completely)

97O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.

98Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine.

142Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
And Your law is truth.

143Trouble and anguish have come upon me,
Yet Your commandments are my delight.

162I rejoice at Your word,
As one who finds great spoil.

163I hate and despise falsehood,
But I love Your law.

164Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous ordinances.

165Those who love Your law have great peace,
And nothing causes them to stumble.

171Let my lips utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.

172Let my tongue sing of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.

Would it make sense that Jesus came to set us free from wisdom, delight, truth, and peace? Certainly not. This would be absurd. Jesus came to set us free from the law of sin and death. Yes, we all sin, and thus deserve death. However, Jesus sets us free from that guilt and condemnation and judgment because He already paid the price for us. What He calls for in return as part of this freedom is that we submit to God, repent of our sinful ways, and seek after God. True repentance transforms us to be different from the world and to become more and more like Jesus as we continue to grow in wisdom and maturity in our faith over the course of our lifetime.

Just as we see so obviously in the physical world, freedom brings responsibility and accountability for the choices we make. It is similar with our Father in heaven. Freedom comes with responsibility and accountability. There are spiritual consequences in our relationship with God and ultimate destination when we die from this life and go into eternity to heaven or hell. There are also physical and emotional impacts in our lives today based on how well we follow the instructions He has provided. After all, the loving Father and Creator knows how best to guide His creations. He gives us the answers, but we need to listen and obey… even when we don’t understand fully.

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.

When The Righteous Increase, The People Rejoice

Let us pray for an increase of righteous, godly people in our churches, communities, government, states, nation, and across the world. Let us seek righteousness in God’s word and through relationship with Him. Do not pursue the deceptions of worldly teaching on what is righteous and what is wicked for Satan revels in deception as those that claim God all the while rebel against His ways.

Proverbs 29

Warnings and Instructions

1A man who hardens his neck after much reproof
Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.

2When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
But when a wicked man rules, people groan.

3A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad,
But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth.

4The king gives stability to the land by justice,
But a man who takes bribes overthrows it.

5A man who flatters his neighbor
Is spreading a net for his steps.

6By transgression an evil man is ensnared,
But the righteous sings and rejoices.

7The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor,
The wicked does not understand such concern.

8Scorners set a city aflame,
But wise men turn away anger.

9When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man,
The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.

10Men of bloodshed hate the blameless,
But the upright are concerned for his life.

11A fool always loses his temper,
But a wise man holds it back.

12If a ruler pays attention to falsehood,
All his ministers become wicked.

13The poor man and the oppressor have this in common:
The LORD gives light to the eyes of both.

14If a king judges the poor with truth,
His throne will be established forever.

15The rod and reproof give wisdom,
But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

16When the wicked increase, transgression increases;
But the righteous will see their fall.

17Correct your son, and he will give you comfort;
He will also delight your soul.

18Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
But happy is he who keeps the law.

19A slave will not be instructed by words alone;
For though he understands, there will be no response.

20Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

21He who pampers his slave from childhood
Will in the end find him to be a son.

22An angry man stirs up strife,
And a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.

23A man’s pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

24He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life;
He hears the oath but tells nothing.

25The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.

26Many seek the ruler’s favor,
But justice for man comes from the LORD.

27An unjust man is abominable to the righteous,
And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.

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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.

Praise YHWH for Deliverance

Included within the book of 2 Samuel, we find a psalm of deliverance from David. Surely we all do well to reflect on and rely on deliverance by the LORD from what comes against us. We do well to praise Him and thank Him and not forget or take for granted what He has done on our behalf.

2 Samuel 22

David’s Psalm of Deliverance

      1And David spoke the words of this song to the LORD in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

2He said,
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;

      3My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge;
My savior, You save me from violence.

      4“I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.

      5“For the waves of death encompassed me;
The torrents of destruction overwhelmed me;

      6The cords of Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.

      7“In my distress I called upon the LORD,
Yes, I cried to my God;
And from His temple He heard my voice,
And my cry for help came into His ears.

      8“Then the earth shook and quaked,
The foundations of heaven were trembling
And were shaken, because He was angry.

      9“Smoke went up out of His nostrils,
Fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.

      10“He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With thick darkness under His feet.

      11“And He rode on a cherub and flew;
And He appeared on the wings of the wind.

      12“And He made darkness canopies around Him,
A mass of waters, thick clouds of the sky.

      13“From the brightness before Him
Coals of fire were kindled.

      14“The LORD thundered from heaven,
And the Most High uttered His voice.

      15“And He sent out arrows, and scattered them,
Lightning, and routed them.

      16“Then the channels of the sea appeared,
The foundations of the world were laid bare
By the rebuke of the LORD,
At the blast of the breath of His nostrils.

      17“He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.

      18“He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me, for they were too strong for me.

      19“They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the LORD was my support.

      20“He also brought me forth into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.

      21“The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.

      22“For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
And have not acted wickedly against my God.

      23“For all His ordinances were before me,
And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them.

      24“I was also blameless toward Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity.

      25“Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to my cleanness before His eyes.

      26“With the kind You show Yourself kind,
With the blameless You show Yourself blameless;

      27With the pure You show Yourself pure,
And with the perverted You show Yourself astute.

      28“And You save an afflicted people;
But Your eyes are on the haughty whom You abase.

      29“For You are my lamp, O LORD;
And the LORD illumines my darkness.

      30“For by You I can run upon a troop;
By my God I can leap over a wall.

      31“As for God, His way is blameless;
The word of the LORD is tested;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

      32“For who is God, besides the LORD?
And who is a rock, besides our God?

      33“God is my strong fortress;
And He sets the blameless in His way.

      34“He makes my feet like hinds’ feet,
And sets me on my high places.

      35“He trains my hands for battle,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

      36“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
And Your help makes me great.

      37“You enlarge my steps under me,
And my feet have not slipped.

      38“I pursued my enemies and destroyed them,
And I did not turn back until they were consumed.

      39“And I have devoured them and shattered them, so that they did not rise;
And they fell under my feet.

      40“For You have girded me with strength for battle;
You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.

      41“You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me,
And I destroyed those who hated me.

      42“They looked, but there was none to save;
Even to the LORD, but He did not answer them.

      43“Then I pulverized them as the dust of the earth;
I crushed and stamped them as the mire of the streets.

      44“You have also delivered me from the contentions of my people;
You have kept me as head of the nations;
A people whom I have not known serve me.

      45“Foreigners pretend obedience to me;
As soon as they hear, they obey me.

      46“Foreigners lose heart,
And come trembling out of their fortresses.

      47“The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,

      48The God who executes vengeance for me,
And brings down peoples under me,

      49Who also brings me out from my enemies;
You even lift me above those who rise up against me;
You rescue me from the violent man.

      50“Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the nations,
And I will sing praises to Your name.

      51He is a tower of deliverance to His king,
And shows lovingkindness to His anointed,
To David and his descendants forever.”

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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.

Those Who Seek the LORD Understand All Things

Those who seek the Lord understand all things. Take time to read, consider and pray about each verse in today’s chapter of Proverbs. No matter how far I am in my walk with the Lord and how many times I read, I always find something, or many things that apply in my life and can serve as a guide to light my way… if I am humble enough to admit I need guidance and that Jehovah provides it and if I am willing to study and apply it in my life.

Proverbs 28

Warnings and Instructions

1The wicked flee when no one is pursuing,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.

2By the transgression of a land many are its princes,
But by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures.

3A poor man who oppresses the lowly
Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.

4Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
But those who keep the law strive with them.

5Evil men do not understand justice,
But those who seek the LORD understand all things.

6Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than he who is crooked though he be rich.

7He who keeps the law is a discerning son,
But he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father.

8He who increases his wealth by interest and usury
Gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor.

9He who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination.

10He who leads the upright astray in an evil way
Will himself fall into his own pit,
But the blameless will inherit good.

11The rich man is wise in his own eyes,
But the poor who has understanding sees through him.

12When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,
But when the wicked rise, men hide themselves.

13He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

14How blessed is the man who fears always,
But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

15Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear
Is a wicked ruler over a poor people.

16A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding,
But he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.

17A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood
Will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him.

18He who walks blamelessly will be delivered,
But he who is crooked will fall all at once.

19He who tills his land will have plenty of food,
But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.

20A faithful man will abound with blessings,
But he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.

21To show partiality is not good,
Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.

22A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth
And does not know that want will come upon him.

23He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
Than he who flatters with the tongue.

24He who robs his father or his mother
And says, “It is not a transgression,”
Is the companion of a man who destroys.

25An arrogant man stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.

26He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered.

27He who gives to the poor will never want,
But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.

28When the wicked rise, men hide themselves;
But when they perish, the righteous increase.

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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.

Celebrating Pentecost and the Feast of Weeks

Many Christians have heard of Pentecost and remember it as the time to celebrate and remember when the Holy Spirit came to dwell in the early church believers after the death and resurrection of Christ. This truly is a holy day worth celebrating. Our Father sent a Helper to dwell among us… to teach us and lead us as His people. The Spirit dwells amongst believers today, though many have been taught to dismiss the Spirit as an active part of experiencing relationship with our Father in our daily lives. We don’t, as a culture, know how to relate to and experience the Spirit in our lives anymore.

Pentecost is a wonderful event that followers of Christ should want to remember given that we are promised the Holy Spirit dwells in all of us. What a great reminder that we have that Helper from our Creator to guide and teach us… to comfort and counsel us. We are not alone in trying to live our lives obedient and pleasing to the Lord as we face hardship in this world.

Acts 2

The Day of Pentecost

1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

5Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8“And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9“Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” 12And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”

Peter’s Sermon

14But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15“For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

17‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says,
‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND;
AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY,
AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS,
AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;

18EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN,
I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT
And they shall prophesy.

19‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE
AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW,
BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.

20‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS
AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD,
BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.

21‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’

22“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24“But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

25“For David says of Him,
‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE;
FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN.

26‘THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED;
MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE;

27BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES,
NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.

28‘YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE;
YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’

29“Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30“And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. 32“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33“Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.

34“For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:
‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD,
“SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,

35UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”’
36“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

The Ingathering

37Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39“For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

43Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Reading through Acts 2, we are reminded of the power of the Holy Spirit in us. What an inspiring event! Look at how Peter was transformed from the man who denied Christ three times as he followed to see what would become of Him on the way to crucifixion into now a powerful man of God addressing large crowds and bringing many to the Lord.

If we dig a bit deeper, note that the very beginning of this scripture identifies that the day of Pentecost was drawing near, and many had gathered for it… before the Holy Spirit showed up. This day already had significance. It is often referred to as the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot by Jewish people.

Pentecost is simply Greek for “50 days”. It was applied to this day because the Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot, was a festival to be observed seven weeks from the second day of the Passover. Since seven weeks times seven days per week is 49 days… the day after would be 50.

The Feast of Weeks is the second of three major Jewish festivals with the others being Passover and Feast of Tabernacles. This celebration corresponds to when the first fruits of the wheat harvest were offered to the Lord. Many also traditionally associate it with commemorating the giving of the law at Mount Sinai.

Leviticus 34:22-24

22“You shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks, that is, the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year. 23“Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel. 24“For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders, and no man shall covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:15-21

15‘You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. 16‘You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD. 17‘You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD. 18‘Along with the bread you shall present seven one year old male lambs without defect, and a bull of the herd and two rams; they are to be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD. 19‘You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20‘The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before the LORD; they are to be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21‘On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation. You shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.

Numbers 28:26-31

26‘Also on the day of the first fruits, when you present a new grain offering to the LORD in your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. 27‘You shall offer a burnt offering for a soothing aroma to the LORD: two young bulls, one ram, seven male lambs one year old; 28and their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for each bull, two-tenths for the one ram, 29a tenth for each of the seven lambs; 30also one male goat to make atonement for you. 31‘Besides the continual burnt offering and its grain offering, you shall present them with their drink offerings. They shall be without defect.

I am still personally coming up to speed on some of historical context and rich meaning behind the feasts of the Lord as He instructed in the Old Testament. There is much to be studied and appreciated there. Our Father makes a habit of tying together the Old and New Testament events. Often one is a foreshadowing of another, not one a replacement of the other. For example, Jesus was crucified at Passover. This was not coincidence. As Passover celebrates God’s people being set free from slavery in Egypt by the mighty power of God, so too Jesus death and resurrection on the cross should be celebrated as setting His people free from slavery to sin.

Consider also, then that the Holy Spirit being sent to the believers after the death of Christ on Pentecost. This is not coincidence. God intended the two to be linked. We must then explore the Old Testament to fully understand what God is telling us in the New. Consider that a homework assignment… a challenge for each of you who are hungry to seek the Lord. Put some time aside for additional study of Pentecost and how the Old Testament feast foreshadows the coming of the Holy Spirit to our lives.

As a start, I am beginning with my family to set aside the day of Pentecost as a Sabbath day of rest as God instructed. We will discuss the significance of both the Feast of Weeks and Pentecost. Both are worthy to be remembered and celebrated.

You can study more about the creators calendar using sites like Hebrew4Christians.com or Psalm119Ministries (select Time: Our Creators Calendar to see collection of videos available). You can learn about what the scripture says about these holy days, when they occur, why God told us to celebrate Shavuot, and traditions.

There is some debate amongst different sources as to the date of the Passover and thus Shavuot/Pentecost each year. Don’t let this discourage you from getting started celebrating and studying God’s holy days.

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Every Man’s Way is Right in His Own Eyes

Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the daily events in our world or locality. We can be overwhelmed thinking about all the things that can go wrong and are going wrong… about the wickedness and evil… about those who claim the name of Jesus Christ but do not submit to and follow Him with their lives.

I find it encouraging as I think about such things to remember that even kings and rulers are in the hand of YHWH and can be used by Him. He is ultimately in control and we can trust Him. Rather than allow ourselves to be paralyzed with fear of what may happen to us or our brothers and sisters in Christ, let us reflect on what God wants from us. God wants us to obey His commands, demonstrating righteousness and justice. He wants us to love Him with our whole heart and if we do… we will follow His commands and not consider them a burden, but rather a helpful guide to lead us through our life on this earth.

As you read through Proverbs today, do not hurry, but rather dwell for a moment on each verse, thinking about how it applies today and to your life. Every verse still has wisdom to help us if we study it and apply it.

Proverbs 21

On Life and Conduct

      1The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD;
He turns it wherever He wishes.

      2Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the LORD weighs the hearts.

      3To do righteousness and justice
Is desired by the LORD more than sacrifice.

      4Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
The lamp of the wicked, is sin.

      5The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage,
But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.

      6The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue
Is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death.

      7The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
Because they refuse to act with justice.

      8The way of a guilty man is crooked,
But as for the pure, his conduct is upright.

      9It is better to live in a corner of a roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

      10The soul of the wicked desires evil;
His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.

      11When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise;
But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.

      12The righteous one considers the house of the wicked,
Turning the wicked to ruin.

      13He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be answered.

      14A gift in secret subdues anger,
And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.

      15The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous,
But is terror to the workers of iniquity.

      16A man who wanders from the way of understanding
Will rest in the assembly of the dead.

      17He who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.

      18The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
And the treacherous is in the place of the upright.

      19It is better to live in a desert land
Than with a contentious and vexing woman.

      20There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man swallows it up.

      21He who pursues righteousness and loyalty
Finds life, righteousness and honor.

      22A wise man scales the city of the mighty
And brings down the stronghold in which they trust.

      23He who guards his mouth and his tongue,
Guards his soul from troubles.

      24“Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names,
Who acts with insolent pride.

      25The desire of the sluggard puts him to death,
For his hands refuse to work;

      26All day long he is craving,
While the righteous gives and does not hold back.

      27The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination,
How much more when he brings it with evil intent!

      28A false witness will perish,
But the man who listens to the truth will speak forever.

      29A wicked man displays a bold face,
But as for the upright, he makes his way sure.

      30There is no wisdom and no understanding
And no counsel against the LORD.

      31The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
But victory belongs 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.

Yeshua Is The Passover Lamb

As the final days of his earthly ministry were passing, Yeshua led His disciples to prepare to celebrate Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Think about that for a few moments. Yeshua, God himself living among us, chose to spend some of the closing moments of His brief earthly ministry in preparation of Passover. It was clearly important to him and for good reason.

The timing is not coincidental that Yeshua would be sacrificed for our sins at Passover time. It was intended that way by our Creator. Passover not only reminds us of deliverance from bondage in Egypt but also foreshadows our deliverance from the bondage of sin through the sacrifice of Yeshua on the cross. Yeshua was sacrificed as our Passover lamb… dying for our sins so we can be set free from sin and death.

Mark 14:12-21

The Last Passover

12On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” 13And He sent two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him; 14and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15“And he himself will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; prepare for us there.” 16The disciples went out and came to the city, and found it just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

17When it was evening He came with the twelve. 18As they were reclining at the table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me—one who is eating with Me.” 19They began to be grieved and to say to Him one by one, “Surely not I?” 20And He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who dips with Me in the bowl. 21“For the Son of Man is to go just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

These celebrations are not “Jewish” tradition. They are not just somehow a meaningless or obsolete instruction from our Creator either. Now we who believe in Yeshua as Messiah have more reason to celebrate it than ever before! Passover and Unleavened Bread are part of God’s tradition for celebrating and remembering our deliverance from sin through Christ! It is a wonderful way to teach our children about the Creator’s relationship with His people.

Exodus 13:6-10

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.

We should enjoy taking part in our Father’s appointed times rather than creating our own based on the traditions of men. It is not just that He tells us to… that got me started to look into it. Now I see how powerfully these celebrations tie into the core element of my faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and what a wonderful way it is to teach my children. As I reflected personally in this regard, it occurred to me. God has some pretty good ideas. (That is quite an understatement!)

I invite you to take some small steps even today to learn more about Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread and how it is not only a celebration of YHWH* freeing His people out of slavery in Egypt, but also a celebration of our being freed from bondage to sin through the death and resurrection of Yeshua!

*Note: YHWH is the four letter name of God in the Bible derived from the Hebrew. Because the Hebrew did not record vowel sounds, we no longer know how to pronounce it for sure. It is often pronounced Yehovah or Yahweh today. Interesting history if you want to study it.

For more information about Passover or the Hebrew Roots of our faith in Yeshua…

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? 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.