Aw, main!

10464125_682749531791226_1709531832873378623_nFaith: What is it, biblically?

The word used in the Brit Khadasha for ‘faith’ is אֱמוּנָה, “Emunah”; this is from the root word אמן “ahman”, where we get our word “Amein” [ay-men, for you southerners].

The Navi, Khabakuk, tells us what Avraham, Yitz’khak, and Ya’akov, and all the Patriarchs of the “Faith of Mashiakh” understood:

צַדִּיק, בֶּאֱמוּנָתוֹ יִחְיֶה

“A “Tzadik” in his faith will live on”; often rendered, “The just shall live by faith”.

This is what was said of Avraham when he made covenant with Abba:

הֶאֱמִן “And Avraham ‘he’emin’ trusted [verb form] in יהוה , and He considered that “tzedaka” for him.” Gen 15:6

In Khabakuk, the word is “emunah”.

In the Brit Khadasha, when Yeshua says, “For Elohim [G-d] so loved the world that He gave His One Beloved Son, so that whoever trusts in Him should not perish, but have eternal life,” the word for ‘trust’, often xlated as ‘believe,’ is ‘הַמַּאֲמִין’ ‘ha’ma’amin’, or “the ones who trust”, rooted in our word אֱמוּנָה , אָמֵן.

This word is not just ‘cognitive awareness’, in the sense of “I believe”; it is an affirmation of something that is absolute; firm, reliable, trustworthy.

When we say “amein”, it is supposed mean that we support whatever is being said, because we absolutely trust it to be true, or that it will come about in spite of not seeing it. There are many who erroneously say that “amen” is not in the bible. Some even assert it is a pagan word; that is ludicrous. Wrong. It is in the scriptures many times, and is in that precise context; it shows that Israel “agreed” with Elohim that the Torah is good. It is used 12 times in Deut 27 alone; and each time, it was Israel agreeing that the pronounced curse from Elohim was just. After Ezra read the Torah to Israel for the first time in 70 years, He blessed Elohim, and all Israel said, “Amein”. The psalmists used this word to affirm the blessing of יהוה as well, 7 times.

So, this word in which ‘faith’ or ‘absolute trust’ is rooted is ‘affirmation of something that is firm/trustworthy.’ It means to put our trust in something with which we agree.

So, how do we become ‘righteous’ by our ‘trust’?

First, understand that being ‘righteous’ means being absolutely cleared of all guilt: ‘justified’, before the judge of the ages.

Trust in what?

Look at Khabakuk’s prayer, that caused him to receive the promise from יהוה that the Tzadik [Righteous one] shall live on in his Emunah.

“Why do You show me iniquity, and behold mischief? And why are spoiling and violence before me, so that there is strife, and contention arises? Therefore the TORAH is slacked, and justice never goes forth; for the wicked beset the tzadik [righteous]; therefore justice goes forth perverted…..they are terrible and dreadful, THEIR ‘justice’ proceeds out of themselves.”

[sound like today?]

Clearly, our “Emunah” is to be toward Messiah, understanding that Messiah Yeshua is the embodiment of the Word of Elohim, which is the Torah. He ‘affirmed’ it many, many times over. [Matt 5:17-19, John 14:15,21, 15:10].

It is indeed through our TRUST, our FIRM AGREEMENT with G-d, that Yeshua is indeed His Risen Son:

“G-d makes a Tzadik [a justified one] of everyone who puts his EMUNAH in this man [Yeshua, declared to be the Son of G-d, risen from the dead], even in regard to all the things concerning which you could not be made a Tzadik by the Torah of Moshe.” Acts 13:39

Shaul is preaching here, and he shows that he understood the same thing as Khabakuk and Avraham, quoting Khabakuk’s verse three times directly in his letters [Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11, Heb 10:38].

In preaching this message, he shows us he is drawing from Khabakuk, warning the Jewish hearers not to ignore his words the way they did the prophets, quoting the verses in Khabakuk that follow this very simple statement:

“Watch out, then, so that this word found in the Prophets may not happen to you: ‘You mockers! Look, and marvel, and die! For in your own time, I am doing a work that you simply will not believe, even if someone explains it to you!’ ” Acts 13:40, quoting Khabakuk 1:5

Emunah is the only thing we can ‘offer’ Elohim in order to be ‘made right’ in His eyes, and it is specific Emunah. It is trust that only Yeshua is the last offering, the final and completely satisfying offering made by a man [Yeshua] before G-d as atonement for sins, on our behalf made. All the offerings in the Beit HaMikdash only temporarily sated the soul, giving the faithful trust that one day יהוה would save Yisrael in a Messiah. That day came. And many in Israel rejected Him. One day, soon, however, ALL Israel will be ‘saved’; they WILL trust. Rom 11:26. They will then weep over the One whom they pierced. [Zech 12:10].

But, until then, Jew or Gentile, those who ‘trust in’ Yeshua, HaMa’amin, are made each a Tzadik, one who is ‘justified’, and able to perform the work of Torah by simply ‘agreeing’ with Elohim.

It is very interesting that the three letters in the root of this word give us a word picture from the Hebrew symbols of the letters:
אָמֵן

Alef is “G-d”, Mayim is “Water”, Nun is “Seed”.
Elohim [G-d] waters the seed [of trust].

Is that why Yeshua said : “With what can we compare Malkhut HaElohim? What illustration should we use to describe it? It is like a mustard SEED, which, when planted, is the smallest of all the seeds in the field; but after it has been planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all the plants, with such big branches that the birds flying about can build nests in its shade.”

And: The Shlikhim said to Adoneinu [Our Master, Yeshua], “Increase our Emunah.” He said to them, “If you had Emunah as tiny as a mustard seed….”

That is IT. That is all you need: TRUST. That is the ONE thing you must ‘do’ to be made ‘just’, or innocent of all sin before Elohim: Trust that His Word concerning Messiah Yeshua is True. Then, begin to DO it, and HE will PROVE it to someone else through you.

Ascending to the Menorah to meet Messiah!

The Menorah is the best symbol of Messiah Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, the King of the Jews….

פֶּרֶק

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Messianic nut-job strikes again! If you don’t like Hebrew, don’t read this!

I LOVE the symbol of the Menorah, and what it represents.  The meme above does not show that before he said, ‘in your ascending,’ He said “Say to Aharon,” This is the High Priest of Yisra’el.

I read this while working on my own copy of Torah [we are commanded to write it!, it is a VERY spiritual process, I highly recommend it.] But I ‘saw’ something in it this time that blew my mind.

It starts out in the second person, talking to Aharon, and it switches to the third person… ‘he shall light the seven lamps.’  Hmmmmm

First, I notice this is an ASCENT. The Menorah sits just before the vail, on the north side of it, where one can see all seven lamps horizontally before him. The ‘Ner Tamid,’ or ‘eternal lamp,’ the one in the…

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Who is THAT?

Yeshua.
He is my Salvation.
He has perfected me in the inner man, the ‘new being’, and before the court of Heaven, and given me access to the very throne of the Creator, to the heart of the Creator, His Father, with whom He is unified, because He originated from Him, and existed with Him before the foundation of the world.
He is Jewish. Not was. Is. He is the King of the Jews.  He is the offspring of Melekh David, and at the same time the progeny of G-d His Father. He is where humanity and divine become one. He is my living connection to the creator.
He came here, leaving behind the glory of Elohim, abandoning who He was before the creation, and becoming a tiny baby, growing into a man, and going through all the hardships of being a human, all the difficulties and trials. Yet He never erred, not against G-d, and not against mankind.
Yet the majority of our Jewish people hated Him, rejected Him, and then killed Him, hanging Him on a tree.
But, they had no power over Him, without His first consenting with His Father, and giving in to them at His command, because it was necessary, for me.
I was born into this world in imperfection, in rebellion against The Word of Elohim. He died so that I could then be born into His Kingdom of LIFE. He died for ME, before I was ever born, knowing ahead of time that I would go against Him, at times, even AFTER I learned that He died for me! He died for me knowing I would never be perfect, even AFTER He gave me His perfection, so that I could be clean before the Creator. He died for me knowing that I would wrong Him at times, after having experienced the power of His Ru’akh [Breath/Life/Spirit].
Here is a man who never did any wrong, who gave the power of the Creator to the lowest of the Jews, the discarded, the disobedient, the rejected, and then surrendered Himself to the religious leaders of Israel, who made religion into politics, and also to the political leaders of Rome.
They falsely accused Him.
They mocked Him.
They spit in His face.
They struck Him.
They did all of this in the dark of night, under the shroud of darkness, in violation of the very law they said HE was breaking.  Any generation, and any people, would have done the very same thing.
They stripped Him down to the shame of nakedness. They wove a degrading, mocking crown made of huge thorns, put it on His head, tearing his scalp and hair out, pushing it down on Him in utter hatred. And they beat His back with a whip; a whip that was filled with the manmade teeth of metal and bone, tearing Him open, causing Him to bleed, and exposing some of His organs. They devoured His life. All while accusing Him of what He did not do. Of their own sin. Of our sin. Yet He asked His Father to forgive them.
They did it on behalf of the Enemy of God, yet saying and thinking they did it for God. They thought they loved God, but they loved themselves, and their own way.
And He endured it, for me. And for whoever is reading this.
And He rose from the dead, after suffering horrendous pain, having been nearly shredded, bleeding and suffocating to death on a tree. His dead body, long dead, for three full days and nights, came out of the stench and darkness of death, to be resurrected in ETERNAL LIFE, His human frame now clothed in immortality. And now He stands at the right hand of the Creator, His Father, who has given HIM His Ru’akh, to give power of life eternal, power over sin itself, to those who love and trust in this story, this, ‘good news.’
His blood was pure. His Father was God Himself. His blood did not have the stain of Adam’s sin and rebellion in it, like the rest of us.
ONLY HIS BLOOD could cleanse sinful man. Only His body could suffer in man’s place, the punishment that each human deserves. Only HE, the SON of God, could bear the punishment we ALL deserve.
Yet His Jewish people, for the most part, will not be honest with themselves, and admit that they break His laws, and that they have no means to remit their own sins. As stubborn as He was in dying for them, they are stubborn in rejecting Him. And they are not alone. Most of the world has heard His story, that Messiah came to die for those who sin. Yet they persist, some insisting there is no such thing as sin. Some insisting blood is not necessary to obtain forgiveness.  Some insisting they do not care. Some saying in their foolishness that there is no God, and we created ourselves, ‘evolving’ out of nothing. They are fools.
And some know His story. And they love Him. And they want to obey Him. But they do not read His Word for what it is: A SINGLE expression of the heart of the Creator and His Son, the unified God. That is the fault of the religion of men. They do not realize that His Voice is His Torah, and the books that come out of it, the rest of the Bible. They listen to man.
I do His Word. I am not perfect in this life, but I am perfect before Him, because of that PERFECTLY PURE BLOOD that He shed, and offered before His Father in the Temple of Heaven, for me.  For you.  And I have no need to do anything more to gain His favor. I cannot be made any more righteous before Him by ANYTHING I do on this earth, whether religious or otherwise. It is my trust in HIS BLOOD and His DEATH for my sake that makes me perfect, such that I can pray and benefit from the compassion of His mercy, and serve Him in truth. I ‘do’ for Him, because He did for me, before I existed. Yet, He has tasked me to obey HIM. So that others can ‘see’ the ‘order’ of HIS Kingdom. The RIGHT way. I cannot enhance my righteousness, which I have received from Him in the first place.
All His children have erred. But I will not let that stop me from pursuing HIS TRUTH, and DOING what HE SAID. And ONLY what HE said. And His Ru’akh, [Breath/Life] guides me in fellowship with HIS servants who do the same. He has made those who trust in Him, The King of Israel, to be the true Jews, no matter what DNA they carry, they are the true tribe of Praise.  May we ALL LEARN to focus on HIM, and learn TOGETHER what His WORD says to do, ONLY for the sake of unifying, in order to GLORIFY GOD and HIS SON, whose love has been LAVISHED on an ungrateful, perverse, and stubborn people: MANKIND.  HE IS:  יהוה Yeshua HaMashiakh.

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Love Hurts

Yeshua’s model on love, correction, and discipline:

In about 90 AD, Yokhanan had a crazy experience on Yom Kippur [The Day of יהוה  , NOT ‘sunday’].

He was told to write 7 letters, one to each Kahal [assembly].

The first one started with “I know your works, how hard you have labored, how you have persevered, and you cannot bear wicked people…”

The second one started, “I know how you are suffering and how poor you are, and the insults of those who call themselves Jews and are not…”

The third: “I know where you are living, where HaSatan’s throne is, yet you are holding on to My Name”…

The fourth: “I know your works, your love, trust, service, and perseverance…”

The fifth: “I know your works, that you have a reputation for being alive, but in fact you are DEAD”

The sixth: “I know your works: See, I have put in front of you an open door, and no one can shut it. I know that you have but little power, yet you have obeyed my message and have not disowned me…”

The seventh: “I know your works, that you are neither hot nor cold; O, how I wish you were one or the other!”

I began contemplating some different aspects of these statements a few days ago. First, while these are seven letters to seven different earthly congregations, they are also a single message to the One Kahal of Messiah Yeshua.

He begins by lauding the Kahal that assembled in Ephesus, He started with honoring them, because honor was due them. They had works. They were ‘doing’, and they did not abide the wicked, or those who break Torah. He lauded them for that. Yet, He told them to return to their first love: studying Torah! If we read Acts, we find that they were the city where Shaul rented a public meeting place for two years, to teach them the Torah, The Word of יהוה  ! [Acts 19:9]. He tells them, “REMEMBER how you fell, TURN FROM SIN, and DO what you DID at first!” You must remember, the wrongly dubbed ‘new testament’ had not been written! ‘Turn’ is “repent”, and in biblical parlance it means ‘turn to Torah’, since Torah tells us what sin is, we turn to it to know how to turn from sin.

Can we ‘hear’ Yeshua’s ‘tone’ in these letters? No. But, can we infer certain things about it? Yes. He is compassionate here, then scolding, then encouraging: “You have this in your favor: You HATE the Nicolaitans’ works, AS DO I !” WHAT? Yeshua hates something?

HATE. It has such negative connotations in our baby-fied society that thinks love is nothing but ‘soft’. Yeshua’s great LOVE for truth demanded severe HATE for error. But, notice, He hates their WORKS! NOT the people! And He praises the Kahal for hating those WORKS. What ‘works’; in their case, ‘controlling the people’ and bilking them for money, explained to another congregation later.

Then, He encourages them again, and makes a promise of blessing: “To the one who is victorious I will give the right to eat of the tree of Life which is in Gan Eden of Elohim.”

So, we have Yeshua giving honor FIRST. Then, we have Him chiding them for their error. Then He encourages and reinforces what they do right, and makes a promise of blessing, conditioned on their becoming ‘overcomers’.

The next congregation does not get praised first, because they were suffering. The first thing Yeshua does is show compassion for their suffering. Ephesus, the first one, was not enduring suffering. This one was.  Sometimes we suffer. And He shows them compassion in their suffering. He strengthens them by telling them DO NOT FEAR, and WARNS them that their suffering is not over!

Yeshua does not ‘candy coat’ anything. If it’s bad news, He gives it! But, with the bad news comes a message of hope and encouragement: “remain faithful, even unto death, and I will give you a crown of LIFE.”

It is so tiring to hear people sugar-coat the gospel, and whine and cry about how everyone should just get along. People sin! It is a hard life! Sometimes, the people of God suffer; sometimes they suffer more than anyone else. If one comes to Yeshua thinking life is nothing but cake and ice-cream, they came to Him with a grave misunderstanding, and selfishly motivated. Those who have this understanding are typically those who reject Him eventually, following deceiving spirits that promise “real love” where nothing goes wrong and where one can do no wrong. That is WRONG thinking. SIN is still SIN.  And life still happens to believers.

Life is REAL, and we are NOT promised a trouble-free life in this world! We are in fact promised trouble, by Messiah Himself: “IN THIS WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE.” Isn’t it compassionate of Him to have told us that! And now we know He sees our struggles. BUCK UP! ENDURE! “Khazak V’Ematz!” Because in the next world, THERE there will be no sorrow; we will get there IF WE are faithful! To Messiah and His Torah. He certainly is faithful to us!

This pattern of recognition/honor, correction, and honor with reinforcement is seen through the next messages to the congregations.

It is the third Congregation where the Nicolaitan error is again addressed, and more fully expounded. Yeshua calls it the error of Bilam. What was that error? Profiteering off of the people of G-d by controlling them, and keeping them from the Word of יהוה ! “Nicolaitan” means ‘controlling the people’. This was the beginning of the infiltration of the pagan idea of “clergy vs. laity” in the congregations. When the congregations were established, there were always multiple ‘overseers’ appointed, not just one man. Multiple pastors, multiple ‘deacons’, etc. And NONE of them were paid positions! The only people serving the people who received money from the people were those on missions who had left their homes and possessions and means of income! Shaul himself worked with two other Jews, making tallits, so that he could support HIMSELF. [Acts 18:3]

Is it not interesting that He starts five of these letters with “I know your works”? And two times those works were NOT HONORABLE. Remember, He is addressing believers!

“Avodah”: That’s a very Jewish term, my friends. It points to the Torah, which tells us we must ‘serve Elohim.’ There is so much more to ‘service’ than just “good deeds” [helping the poor, sick, afflicted, and helpless]; there is ‘service of worship’, assembling with the brethren on the prescribed times of assembly. prayers, etc. The Torah instructs us in ALL of these things. Our ‘works’ have to be His Works! Not men’s!

In His message to the fifth congregation, and the seventh, we also learn of Yeshua that He will NOT give praise/honor to those who have not earned it! Look at the message to the fifth congregation: He starts chiding them immediately! “You ‘look’ alive, but you are DEAD!”

Where is lovey-dovey ‘Jesus’ all of a sudden?

Today’s teachers think that we have to drum up ‘praise’ for the unruly child who has done no good; or for the congregant who does not serve the Body, but only ‘wants’ from the body, begging for ‘love and compassion’ without being willing to actually do the HARD WORK of LOVE! Love means accepting offenses and moving past them! It means looking into oneself and being willing to accept ones own error. Love is so much more than a feeling.

If one is not SERVING in His Congregation, they deserve NO HONOR~! Nothing is more disgusting than disingenuous “positive reinforcement”. In fact, it does nothing but perpetuate BAD BEHAVIOR. Yeshua warned these two congregations to straighten up and fly right! “Remember what you received and heard, and obey it, and TURN FROM YOUR SIN! For if you don’t wake up, I will come like a thief; and you don’t know at what moment I will come upon you!” And, “Because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth!….As for me, I REBUKE and discipline EVERYONE I LOVE; so EXERT yourselves, and TURN from your sins!”

We dare not forget that He was speaking to believers in these messages.

Love, “Ahava”, is a wonderful commodity, not an emotion. Love is an ACTION that offers good OR bad emotion! The ‘negative’ emotion of CONTRITION, provoked by tough love, is a powerful thing, and is absolutely NECESSARY in those who trust in Messiah. “FEEL” BAD, if you are not obeying Him! Because if He does not discipline us, we are NOT His children.

Love is SO MUCH MORE than being ‘sweet’. That is only one side of it! And it’s the side we all want. But that is immature, to think that’s all there is to it. It is sickening, what the world thinks love is! Sometimes, love is DEATH! “GREATER LOVE has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Yeshua set the example on how to love. And sometimes, that means being a little tough on people. There is much at stake.