It is generating a bit of steam!
From the Masoretic text of the OT, and the Aramaic Peshitta Text of the NT:
It is generating a bit of steam!
From the Masoretic text of the OT, and the Aramaic Peshitta Text of the NT:
On what did Yeshua found His congregation?
Immediately the mind goes to His statement to Kefa, “I tell you also that you are a stone, and upon this stone I will build my Congregation; and the gates of She’ol shall not shut in on it.”
The harlot teaches that this ‘stone’/’rock’ is Kefa, the man. Context and plain interpretation teaches us that it is the confession that Yeshua is “the Mashi’akh, Ben Elohim Khayim,” Messiah, the Son of the living G-d, that is the cornerstone of His congregation.
The congregation of Messiah is founded on the CHARACTER of Messiah.
Yeshua’s first message to a Jewish crowd is recorded in Matti 5-7; this would be considered His ‘foundational’ teaching; this passage was the ‘eye-opener’ for me some 32 years ago. I had been brought to life in Messiah at 11 years old, had lived it for three years, and then ‘slept’ spiritually for eight years, going off not into egregious sin, but into a habit of not following Messiah daily. As such, I was having a difficult time in my young years; I had joined the Navy, and was on a Submarine when finally I called on the Creator. I was in my bunk, mourning the loss of a girlfriend, just a sweetheart, just before we left port, sorrowing also over the lack of communication from my family, and over a close friend going cold and silent on the boat. I picked up the bible my grandmother gave me when I was 14. I said a small prayer, asking Abba to show me what Yeshua would say to me if He were standing there. I ‘saw’ in my mind, whether imagined or not I do not know, Yeshua standing beside my top bunk; I opened that Bible to Matti 5 and began to read. And the ‘character’ of Yeshua LEAPED off the pages at me.
“poor in spirit”, “mournful”, “meek”, “hungry/thirsty for righteousness”, “merciful”, “pure in heart”, “maker of shalom”, “persecuted”, reproached because of who He is”….And Yeshua goes on and teaches The Torah, expressly saying that He came to ‘confirm’ the Torah, and He does that in the next 2 ½ chapters, elucidating the behaviors of those who build that character in themselves.
I saw all these character traits, and mourned the fact that this was not me. I set out that day to change that. I was at sea with 180+ men whose mouths were foul, and the first thing that happened is that mine was cleaned up, immediately, without effort at all on my part. The salt water turned sweet. The next thing that happened is that I hungered and thirsted for righteousness, and I devoured the whole NT in those next weeks. After that, I started reading the OT. In those days, I felt like He was doing a miracle for me every day: I was first persecuted for my new ‘behavior,’ and that persecution actually got me off the boat two years early, and I was ‘miraculously’ transferred to shore duty 2 years before I was supposed to be eligible, without having to reenlist like my peers who also transferred. The ‘favors’ that He did for me over the next few years were numerous and obvious. I wish I could recount them all here.
As I said, however, its been 32 years. I still see the passages in Matti 5-7 as a description of the CHARACTER of Messiah Yeshua. To confess Him means to confess that His Character is the goal at which we aim [Rom 10:4, Phil 3:14]. For 32 years I’ve desired to achieve those traits, and I still ‘press on’, in spite of my failures over the years.
He founded His congregation, ONE congregation, on that character. His Nature: who He is. And His followers began to exude that character, and to teach HIS way to the Jewish people, and then the nations, also demonstrating His Power. But, even though Yeshua Himself founded His congregation, others came along and perverted it, despoiled it. They built on His foundation with ‘wood, hay, and stubble’. They ‘re-founded’ it on harlotry, lies, deceit, selfish pride, and false accusations against the righteous, judgmental hearts, and murder.
I have seen the pain of Yeshua in regard to the perversion of His congregation. He showed it to me thirty years ago in a dream, and periodically through those years. And it is sad that mankind can seem to have such power over His congregation, and yet ‘think’ that they are anointed by Him, and still call themselves by His Name. At times, His congregation seems to ‘fail’. But, Yeshua said ‘the gates of She’ol shall NOT shut in on it.’ On what? On HIS congregation! The LIVING entity that exudes His character.
His congregation is a LIVING ENTITY, and is NOT confined within the walls of a building or within the paperwork of a manmade institution. His congregation is HIS BODY. And it does NOT move in harlotry, lies, false accusations, judgmental attitudes, and murder! It moves in poorness in spirit [detachment from mammon and trust in His provision], mournfulness, meekness/humility, hunger/thirst for tzedaka, mercy, pureness of heart, shalom….when these things are not present, or are overwhelmed by the others, His Body is separated from it, by its very nature. And for that, His congregation suffers persecutions and reproaches. By the self-righteous, usually. “ 20For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner ceases, and all they that watch for iniquity are cut off; 21that make a man an offender by words, and lay a snare for him that reproves in the gate, and turn aside a tzadik with a thing of nought.”
History tends to repeat itself. But, Messiah is indeed still preparing for Himself a SPOTLESS Bride. I have maintained for years now that she is the ‘remnant,’ and is a very, very small number of people. I only PRAY that I am consecrated as the remnant. I do NOT assume I am. And I mourn my failures deeply. But, I also STRIVE to love the brethren, and all people, and not to judge them, and to see if there is any unclean way in me. And continually to confess trust in the blood shed by Messiah, the Son of the Living God, offering that forgiveness to those who offend me, though they do not offer it up in return sometimes.
Another summation of the character of Yeshua is known by Jews as the “Thirteen Attributes of G-d.” I have tried to inspire others to be like that. Some very few have moved more toward His character, and some few have shown me those attributes. For that, and for those few, I am most grateful.
יהוה, יהוה , El, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in compassion and truth; guardian of compassion unto the thousandth generation; forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and pardoning…
The word ‘guardian’ has a special character in a Torah scroll, a descended ‘nun’ [noon], in the word ‘notzer’. This word does mean ‘guardian’ or ‘protector,’ but is also “branch/offshoot’, and is the root word for “Natzri”, or Nazarene. Yeshua is truly the GUARDIAN of compassion! HE will make CERTAIN that those who love Him WILL receive compassion!
Purim is coming up.
Many people who keep Torah do not observe Purim, even though it is in scripture. One reason for this is that some in our Jewish community can tend to treat it a bit like Halloween. But that’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That’s like not remembering the promise of Elohim because the LGBT community perverts the rainbow, a beautiful symbol of a promise turned to represent perversion of the design. Purim is indeed NOT a commanded feast, and we in the Messianic Peshitta fellowship do not treat it as such. But, it is a worthy celebration of the Salvation of Yisra’el, by whom Yeshua comes to us. Some think that the book is not inspired writing, and should not be part of the canon of scripture, but I disagree. For one, there are lessons in the book of Eisteir [Esther] that fit the whole narrative of scripture, and there are allusions to Messiah Yeshua and His ‘Bride’ that are very difficult to dismiss. There are other reasons to treat it as canon, but that is not my purpose today.
The book linked at the bottom of this post was written for the purpose of studying the book of Eisteir, and also for celebrating it. It contains some very helpful insights into the text, as well as suggestions for how to remember the events honorably in celebration. It can be a great time of fun and learning. The name of Hadasah, ‘myrtle’, was changed to Eisteir, “Ishtar”, much like the Pesakh was changed to the same name, distilled to “Easter” for most. Yet she ‘unveils’ herself and shows she is Jewish [ just like “easter” is not that, but is Pesakh, and is Jewish and the world doesn’t know it] Was Hadasah not a true Jewess, simply because she bore another name for a season? She trumps ‘Ishtar” by her faith! Her faith caused her to reveal her Jewishness! That’s a moment that everyone who truly follows Messiah will come to!
There are allusions to the Pesakh in the Purim story, and it precedes Pesakh by exactly a month. It’s almost like a primer to get the thoughts prepared for the Bedikat Khametz of Pesakh. This year, Purim falls on 03/09, and Pesakh on 04/08 or 09. Pesakh can be enriched by the study of this great deliverance of Yisra’el!
Lately I have seen the worst in people.
In thinking on some things after prayer this morning, I wondered about people’s ‘prayers’, when they ‘say’ they are praying ‘for’ someone.
Based on what I’ve heard and observed, I don’t think very many actually truly pray ‘for’ people when they say, “I’m praying for you.” That phrase has become almost cliché these days, especially in the age of facebook and email.
I am starting to see that most people actually pray ‘about’ someone, if they ever actually pray. They pray according to the flesh. If they pray at all. I think most people just toss the phrase out there to appear righteous and compassionate in a moment, and then either forget to pray, or they never had the actual intent to do so in the first place. I’ve asked Abba always to help me remember to pray, if I’ve said I would; usually these days I try to do it right away. If I don’t manage to do so, I’ve been ‘reminded’, thankfully, by something. The problem I have, is that if people do actually pray, many times it seems they observe what they perceive to be faults/issues in others, and ask their brand of deity to ‘fix’ that person. I’ve seen/heard of a lot of that lately.
It’s tricky. There may be actual observation or perception of ‘issues’ in their brother that they see, and so they think it is their duty to bring that before the Creator. They think they are doing a thing of mercy, I suppose, by being wise enough to see the sin/error/flaw/issue in someone’s life, and compassionate enough to make the Creator of the Universe aware of it. Umm. I think He was already aware of it! IF indeed the observation of one human being of another human’s heart is correct. I submit that MOST of the time the observation is incorrect, on some level, and always incomplete of understanding. It is written that a man himself is the only one who knows his own mind, and that G-d is the only one who knows a man’s heart. Yet so many jump to conclusions based either on one moment, a series of segmented moments, or on one morsel of gossip they heard, and set out to pray for that brother who is so at fault more than themselves. This behavior is exactly the opposite of the examples of the Nevi’im, the teachings of all biblical, sacred writ, and especially of the mind of Messiah Yeshua. NO ONE on this earth is so righteous that they know what another human needs from G-d by way of personality changes! It may be that Abba is using that person’s ‘issue’ to expose something in the one who is ‘praying for him’. No one is the master of another’s servant. NO ONE has that kind of insight into another human soul altogether, that they can deign to instruct G-d on how to fix their neighbor. Especially if they themselves have never asked, counseled, or had a thorough conversation with that person about their perception of his issue.
I have learned never to pray for/over my brother’s ‘sin that easily besets.’ I have learned never to instruct G-d on the issues of human flaws in my brothers. I do not think or dwell on those issues in my mind anyway, and certainly not in prayer life, as I am too busy trying to get the log out of my own eye. I strive NOT to talk about their ‘issue’ with others, either. I’m certain I have failed in that regard, but I’m also certain that when I have, He has corrected me and reminded me of my own nature, and brought forth genuine contrition in me. Not so of some, who most recently spoke Lashon Harah about me in my own home. And have done so like a tommy-gun since. The thing about ‘self-righteous’ people, is that they don’t see when they are being self-righteous, even if it is only for a moment, but especially when it is the pattern of their life. That is the very nature and definition of self-righteousness! Just because a person prays, especially if he says he’s praying “for you”, that does not mean he is righteous. Yeshua taught on this topic this way:
“And He [Yeshua] spoke this mashal against the men who relied upon themselves, that they were righteous, and despised every other man: “Two men went up to the Heikhal to pray, one a Parush, and the other a tax collector. And the Parush stood by himself, and prayed thus: ‘O Elohim, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men, extortionists, covetous, adulterers, and not like this tax collector. But I fast twice a week, and I give tenth-parts on everything I earn.’ But the tax collector stood afar off, and he would not even lift up his eyes to Heaven, but smote his breast, saying, ‘O Elohim, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ I say to you that this man went down to his house more righteous than the Parush. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled; and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Parush mentioned the sins of others. The tax collector did not mention anyone’s sin before G-d but his own. Somehow, G-d has kept me feeling like the tax-collector. I hope I never become a ‘parush’ [Pharisee]. Incidentally, a ‘parush’ is a divider.
The self-righteous person may not actually say “thank you that I am not like….”, but that is what his heart says, when he sets his soul on another’s sin issue before the Judge. That is an exaltation of self over his fellow. Sha’ul writes, “Let each regard his neighbor better than himself,” and “Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love, in HONOR preferring one another.” And Kefa writes, “Finally, live in harmony, share the suffering of those who suffer, be affectionate one to another, and be kind and gentle; not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but instead of these, render blessing; for to this end you have been called, that you may inherit a blessing.”
When we pray ‘for’ our brother by telling G-d of his personality issues and asking Him to help them ‘overcome’ them, all we are doing is focusing on the flesh. You reek of flesh, too! You have the EXACT same sin issue, in that your flesh deceives you and betrays you in sinful ways of which you may not even be aware! Sha’ul, who, late in his life, after he had saved thousands of souls, founded many congregations, performed hundreds, if not thousands of ACTUAL miracles, suffered in his flesh and bone body the stripes of criminals, the stoning of abominations, imprisonment, poisonings, shipwrecks, et cetera, declared, “Not as though I had already attained or were already perfect; but I am striving that I may reach that for which Yeshua HaMashi’akh appointed me. My brethren, I do not consider that I have reached the goal; but this one thing I do know, forgetting those things which are behind, I strive for those things which are before me; I press on toward the goal to receive the prize of victory of the highest calling of Elohim through Yeshua HaMashi’akh.” Just before this he had said, “I have no tzedaka of my own gained from the Torah, but the tzedaka which comes through HaEmunah of Mashi’akh; that is, the tzedaka which comes from Elohim.” And we are taught by Yeshua to give that kind of understanding to every brother, that our righteousness is not our own, and that His has been imparted to ALL who trust, even those who are not yet perfect.
People get lost in the search for ‘more righteousness’, especially many of those who think they are Torah keepers. In one sense, NO ONE IS! No matter how hard we try, we break it, especially when it comes to the ‘weightier matters of the Torah’. Yeshua said, “you have overlooked the more important matters of the Torah, such as justice, compassion, and absolute trust. These [tithing from the smallest crops] were necessary for you to have done, without having left the others [justice, compassion, and absolute trust] undone.” Justice without compassion is self-righteousness. Those who wear tzitziyot, a tallit, a kippah, and attend or even teach somewhere on Shabbat, who also commit adultery, lie, falsely accuse, and assassinate the character of a brother of Messiah, whether actively or passive-aggressively, have merely put a jewel in the nose of a pig.
So, how do we actually pray ‘for’ someone? By BLESSING. Kefa writes it, and it is quoted above. “…not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but instead of these, render blessing; for to this end you have been called, that you may inherit a blessing.”
After having heard all manner of lashon harah about myself from people who profess to follow Yeshua, I plunged myself into the scriptures, asking Abba to forgive me of my sins, and asking Him to speak to me and guide me through the perilous waters of strife. I posted on another site one of the ‘themes’ that has been speaking to me lately from the chapters I have been imbibing for the past month or so. I am learning even greater the ‘reality’ of entering into His Sukka by prayer, and being among the ‘throng,’ the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ above, and this is helping me to ‘forget’ what is behind:
“One thing have I asked of יהוה , that will I seek after: that I may dwell in Beit יהוה [His abode above] all the days of my life, to behold the kindness of יהוה , and to visit early in His Heikhal [sanctuary]. For He conceals me in His Sukka in the day of evil; He hides me in the covert of His Ohel [sacred tent, above]; He lifts me up upon a Rock.
You hide them [those who take refuge in יהוה ] in the secret place of Your presence from the plottings of man; You conceal them in a Sukka, from the strife of tongues. I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a numerous people.
If you then are risen with Mashi’akh, seek those things which are above, where Mashi’akh sits on the right hand of Elohim. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth, for you are dead, and your life is hidden with Mashi’akh in Elohim.”
Like Sha’ul, I am ‘forgetting what is behind,” and I am “striving for those things which are before me.” In spite of people who judge without compassion.
Shalom! V’Simkha L’kha!
Anyone who ‘knows’ me knows that I’ve endured something very painful of late. I will not even give a nod to it, beyond just acknowledging that it was very difficult for Tzilah and me. All the while, I could ‘feel’ our Creator ministering to me in His Word; reading a set of four Tehillim daily for His voice of comfort.
This morning, after a brother finally ‘saw’ and ‘understood’ me and my perspective in this, I wanted to offer the Creator thanks. While I ‘knew’ that Tehillah 116 [not one of the four I’ve been praying daily this past month] contained in it “Zevakh Todah”, a ‘sacrifice/offering of thanks’, I had NO idea before I read it how He would speak to me beyond just my giving thanks.
The first thing I noticed is that this is one of Miqedem’s melodies, at least vs. 1 and 2 and 19 are. This helped to make it more ‘worshipful’ for me right away. After seeing how relevant to my ‘times’, my ‘days’, the whole thing was, then His breath breathed on me in a way only one who has the Ru’akh of Messiah would understand:
שׁוּבִי נַפְשִׁי לִמְנוּחָיְכִי: כִּי יהוה גָּמַל עָלָיְכִי
“Shuvi nafshi lim’nukhaikhi, ki יהוה gamal alaikhi”
“Return, O my soul, unto my rest! For יהוה has dealt bountifully with me!” [the title verse]
How I have waited for that moment! And now that it has arrived, how I have REJOICED! It is indescribable! I wish I could give it away!
And then, the next verse that ‘spoke’ in power:
יָקָר בְּעֵינֵי יהוה הַמָּוְתָה לַחֲסִידָיו
“Yakar b’einei יהוה hamav’tah lakhasidaiv”
“O how PRECIOUS in the eyes of יהוה is the death of His devout ones”.
Why would that ‘speak’ and bring me joy? Just this morning, during prayer and reading, I meditated on Sha’ul stating “I die daily,” and: “for you are dead, and your life is hidden with Mashi’akh in Elohim”.
In Tehillah 116, I wondered if there is ‘more’ to verse 15 than just our Creator welcoming the passing of a devout one out of this life? Is it possible that the ‘death’ about which we read in this verse is also about our dying to self? Dying and rising in Messiah Yeshua? Every day? Is it possible that this is ‘yakar’, very, very dear to Him? I think it is. And I think that is really ‘how’ we compel our soul to return to ‘my rest’. HE is my rest!