The Testimony

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:7–10, ESV)

Recently I have been listening to an audio book by Dr. John Walton called “The Lost World of Genesis One”, where the basic premise of the book so far is that in the ancient world their cosmology was functionally based rather than materially based. As I was thinking over this and how it also fits in with the idea that Hebrew tends to lean towards being a language of actions and function, how does that play out in the verses that I have been studying?

In the previous blog we looked at how the instructions of the Lord can turn our inner being back towards God, and that the more we turn towards God, the more it can benefit our lives. What does it really mean to turn back to God? Our actions of meditating on those instructions, hiding them in our inner being, and most importantly putting those instructions into practice so that we begin to walk a life of obedience, transforms our inner being and turns us back towards God and the desire He has for us to be His image bearers. In other words, we return towards the function that God originally created us for.

Today, I examine the “testimony of the Lord”. What does this word mean, or maybe I should ask what is the function that this verse leads us towards?

Testimony is another interesting word. It is the Hebrew word “Edut” and is used about 50 times in the Hebrew Bible. The Theological Wordbook says this about the word…

This word is always used in reference to the testimony of God. It is most frequently connected with the tabernacle (Ex 38:21; Num 1:50, 53), resulting in the expression “tabernacle of the testimony,” and with the ark (Ex 25:22; 26:33, 34; 30:6, 26), resulting in the phrase “ark of the testimony.” In fact in several instances this word stands alone to indicate the ark (Ex 16:34; 27:21; 30:36; Lev 16:13). Moses was instructed to put the testimony in (“before,” Ex 16:34; 27:21) the ark (Ex 25:21) and he did so (Ex 40:20; cf. Heb 9:4). Here the meaning is made quite clear. It designates the two tables of stone upon which the Ten Words (commandments) were written (Ex 24:12; 31:18; 32:15; 34:29). These two tables represented God’s covenant with Israel (Ex 34:27, 28) and as such are called the “tables of the covenant” (Deut 9:9; 11:15). [1]

Testimony points us towards God’s covenant, a written agreement between two parties in which they agree to the actions that should be taken to maintain a good relationship between those parties. As pointed out above, the actions that we are to do consist of the 10 words that God spoke at Mt. Sinai. It says that this covenant, the Testimony, that it is sure. The root Hebrew word here is “aman”, which conveys a very important meaning, a basic idea of firmness or certainty, the foundation of our doctrine of faith. The Theological Wordbook of the OT (TWOT) has this as part of the definition of this word…

The various derivatives reflect the same concept of certainty and dependability. The derivative ʾāmēn “verily” is carried over into the New Testament in the word amēn which is our English word “amen.” Jesus used the word frequently (Mt 5:18, 26, etc.) to stress the certainty of a matter. The Hebrew and Greek forms come at the end of prayers and hymns of praise (Ps 41:13 [H 14]); 106:48; II Tim 4:18; Rev 22:20, etc.). This indicates that the term so used in our prayers ought to express certainty and assurance in the Lord to whom we pray.[2]

God’s Testimony, His covenant, expresses certainty and assurance for our lives as we enter into relationship with our Lord.

What does the Psalmist say is the effect of that assurance in our lives? “Making wise (hakam) the simple (peti)”. The Hebrew word “hakam” means generally to be wise, or better, to act wisely. The idea is that our manner of thinking, our skills, moral sensitivity, and our experiences are shaped and driven by our relationship with our Lord and the lives He desires us to live.

This ties in perfectly with the idea of “the simple”. Again, the definition from the TWOT…

The basic verb idea is “be open, spacious, wide,” and might relate to the immature or simple one who is open to all kinds of enticement, not having developed a discriminating judgment as to what is right or wrong.[3]

In other words, we are simply open to what God has to say about how we live in relationship to Him, we are not the judge of what is right or wrong, we simply trust that he has our best interests in mind and we faithfully follow in obedience.

Just like in the Garden, we are left with a simple choice, one of wisdom, and one of folly. This same choice that God had put before His people both in the Hebrew Bible…

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.” (Deuteronomy 30:15–18, ESV)

Then also in the writings of the Apostles….

He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.(John 3:31–36, ESV)

[1] Schultz, C. (1999). 1576 עוּד. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 649). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Scott, J. B. (1999). 116 אָמַן. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 52). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., Jr., & Waltke, B. K. (Eds.). (1999). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 742). Chicago: Moody Press.

WALTON, J. H. (2009). The lost world of Genesis One: ancient cosmology and the origins debate. Downers Grove, Ill, IVP Academic.

Law, Testimony, Precepts, Oh my

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;” (Psalm 19:7–8, ESV)

Why should I desire to study God’s Word? Should it feel like a burden? What benefit does it have on my life? Can I reach a place like that of Psalm 1 where the man who is blessed is the one who delights in the law of the Lord and on it he meditates day and night? Why do so many struggle with Bible Study?

Is it possible we just don’t see the benefit? Maybe we need to reflect more on the benefits that God has spoken to us about His word through His servants. So today I am starting a series of writings on various Psalms and passages in Scripture that reflect on the benefits of God’s Word in our lives.

The second half of Psalm 19 (ESV) begins with “The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul”. I really love to examine scripture with a variety of versions, the Holmen Christian Standard Bible translates the verse this way…

The instruction of the Lord is perfect, renewing one’s life.” (Psalm 19:7a, HCSB)

Why did these translators choose to word it this way? The English word Law in this passage is really to me a poor translation choice since in our cultures today Law has a very negative feel to it. I really prefer the translation as instruction, since it actually captures more closely the meaning of the word Torah.

When Psalm 19 was penned, God had instructed His people that the responsibility of educating our children was the responsibility of the family. What little ancient evidence we have suggests this was done by the practice of repetition and a firm foundation of discipline. If we were to reflect back to Psalm 1, there, the idea of meditation is one of mumbling the Word of God to one’s self over and over quietly, but out loud. This is actually a very effective tool and can be done just about anywhere.

As we reflect and consume God’s word, and act on the instruction that God has given us, Psalm 19 then says that it has the effect of “reviving the soul”, or “renewing one’s life”. The underlying Hebrew word here is mesibat (transliteration) and has a root in the word sub. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says this about sub…

The Bible is rich in idioms describing man’s responsibility in the process of repentance. Such phrases would include the following: “incline your heart unto the Lord your God” (Josh 24:23): “circumcise yourselves to the Lord” (Jer 4:4); “wash your heart from wickedness” (Jer 4:14); “break up your fallow ground” (Hos 10:12) and so forth. All these expressions of man’s penitential activity, however, are subsumed and summarized by this one verb šûb. For better than any other verb it combines in itself the two requisites of repentance: to turn from evil and to turn to the good.[1]

If you were to do an extensive word study on this word you would find a variety of glosses that give us a sense of restoration, turning, returning, to restore, to turn back, and to return. The word for soul in our passage is nepes with the p having a ph sound. The concrete meaning of this word is to breath, it points us at the heart of man, the inner being, which is why “The Scriptures” version of the Bible translates the word as “the being”[2]

So, to put it all in simple terms, the study of the Bible turns our inner being back towards God. That alone should cause us to desire to study Scripture more, but, as we turn more and more towards our Lord, there are more benefits to be found…

In the next article I will continue with examining the word testimony and what it means to “make wise the simple”.

[1] Hamilton, V. P. (1999). 2340 שׁוּב. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 909). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Institute for Scripture Research. (2000). The Scriptures. South Africa: Institute for Scripture Research (Pty) Ltd.

HCSB – The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

ESV – The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Bible Study?

Lately I have been hearing this term used in a somewhat derogatory fashion. Seems that people are starting to see Bible Study as a difficult and unhelpful tool in their walk with the Lord. Seems that more and more we are focusing more on the relational aspect of the body and very little on the relationship that is the head of that body. Sermons are becoming more and more stories and psychology methods than the true Spirit lead preaching of the word of God. Many sermons that I hear today are becoming more and more topical and filled with a lot of fluff.  So I wonder…are we seeing the reality of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 play out in our cultures? (At least I see this in american culture)

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3–4, ESV)

I ask the question in my mind…What is the purpose of the church, or better the ekklesia (called out ones)? Do we still see the body in the way that Paul did when he wrote to the Ephesian church?

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:11–16, ESV)

This is the same writer who penned to Timothy these words…

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14–17, ESV)

Wow, the word of God is profitable for just about everything in our lives, yet we have become so filled with bible cliches and whimsical quoting of scripture in a way that does not build up the body but beats on a person our point of view of the passage. Can we not get back to a place where we have a passion for GOD’s WORD so that we can identify with David when he writes…

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law(Torah) of the Lord, and on his law(Torah) he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1–2, ESV)

Look how beneficial it can be to our lives….

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:7–11, ESV)

More desired than Gold? I once knew a person that was a treasure hunter and the passion that he put into seeking out hidden treasures and gold was almost obsessive. Seems to me that our passion for the WORD of GOD should be equally obsessive. Yet what we tend to be obsessive about is usually not His WORD. We can binge watch Netflix, play video games from dusk till dawn, Instagram and twitter until our fingers are numb, but we wrestle to just spend 5 minutes with the Scriptures and then we pat ourselves on the back because we feel like we have accomplished something and done our daily bible study or reading for the day.

So where can we start, maybe we can start with a prayerful desire to know God and learn of the beauty of HIS Words to us. Spend a few weeks or more just pondering Psalm 119. Seek not to think of it as Bible Study but as a time to learn more about our God and the amazing words He has given to us to instruct us on how to live in His presence and in HIS Kingdom and with His people. Kindle in our hearts a healthy fear of the Lord but wrapped in the Love of His presence.

Maybe as we seek His presence and wade deeply into HIS WORDS, the Spirit can quicken in us the same feeling that the disciples had on the road to Emmaus when they said….

“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”” (Luke 24:32, ESV)

In my own life, I have personally reflected on some of the words that Jesus prayed in John 17…

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent……..Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” (John 17:3, ESV) and (John 17:17–19, ESV)

How do get to know the “one true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” By a deep Spirit lead desire of HIS WORDS, because it is here that we see who He is and what He desires of our lives. It is in those Words that we are edified and equipped.

My prayer, is that we can feel deeply the words that were penned in Psalm 119…

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes;

I will not forget your word. (Psalm 119:9–16, ESV)

 

 

 

Good Works

One of my favorite verses in scripture is found in Ephesians 2:8-9

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Most people stop after they quote this part of the passage, but the part of the verse I love even more is what follows in verse 10…

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

This verse bursts forth from that amazing passage about the grace that has saved us through faith. It has a grand purpose, a purpose that is housed here and now in the present. Yes, we do look forward to being in the presence of the one who has redeemed us, but for now, he has a purpose for us.

The Greek word for workmanship in this passage is poiema, which generally means something created or made. It is also the title of the album by Michael Card. I love the song on this album called the Poem of your life, I would not be surprised if he was not thinking of this passage when he penned these words…

Life is a song we must sing with our days 
A poem with meaning more than words can say
A painting with colors no rainbow can tell
A lyric that rhymes either heaven or hell
We are living letters that doubt desecrates
We’re the notes of the song of the chorus of faith
God shapes every second of our little lives
And minds every minute as the universe waits by

CHORUS:
The pain and the longing
The joy and the moments of light
Are the rhythm and rhyme
The free verse of the poem of life

So look in the mirror and pray for the grace
To tear off the mask, see the art of your face
Open your ear lids to hear the sweet song
Of each moment that passes and pray to prolong
Your time in the ball of the dance of your days
Your canvas of colors of moments ablaze
With all that is holy
With the joy and the strife
With the rhythm and rhyme of the poem of your life
With the rhythm and rhyme of the poem of your life

Michael Card:Poiema (1994) The Poem of Your Life

What a beautiful thought, that we are saved by grace and our lives become a beautiful poem in the hands of our creator. A creator who created us in his Messiah, Yeshua for good works.

What are those good works? Well, it says that they were prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. What came before? I believe that the principle is outlined for us in Deut 30:11-18

For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.” (Deuteronomy 30:11-18, ESV)

This whole passage is talking about what is written in the book of the Torah, essentially the first 5 books of the Bible given to Moses on Mt. Sinai and passed down to us today through the people of God. The principle that is set forth is that if we walk according to God’s ways then we will live, and multiply and be blessed, but, if we do not then our hearts turn away.

So, just as God redeemed Israel out of Egypt from the bondage of slavery, and act of His grace, then he gives Israel instruction on how to live as a result of that Grace. So to God has set us free from the bondage of our sinfulness that we can look to His example in our Messiah Yeshua who showed us how to live by example the good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Maybe they understood this in the 1500’s when the Scot’s confession was penned which included this confession in chapter 14…

We affirm good works to be those alone which are done in faith and at the command of God who, in His law, has set forth the things that please Him.”

Faith gets us there, through a beautiful act of the father, but we are not to sit still in that faith. No, that faith should drive us to do the things that please our Father. Things which God has already planned, His will for our lives, all of which are already housed in the principles he has set forth in His word. Yeshua even sets forth this principle when he teaches His disciples the Lord’s prayer…

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10, ESV)

What is God’s desire in all of this? Maybe, it’s to bring us back to the original plan before we sinned in the Garden, maybe it was part of the plan all along, for in that wonderful section of Deuteronomy God also said this…

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. And the Lord your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments that I command you today. The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 30:6-10, ESV)

So, how then now shall we live?

Dis-Unity

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:11, ESV)

Where is the evidence that we are ONE body in Christ? In main stream Christianity we have over 40,000 denominations that have some sort of disagreement on doctrine. Then in the last many years we have had a large growth in what is termed Messianic groups, which when you go skimming through the material they are producing also seem to differ wildly on what they believe. Many groups like to focus on pointing out why they are right on some point while some other group is wrong and therefore they must not be following Yeshua. I don’t want to point to one group or another and say they are wrong, since I feel I can gain positive ideas from many of these groups. The problem is the dis-unity many groups continue to feed.

Let’s take the concept of the Trinity as an example. I have seen so many different articles bash the early church and even churches today because they were trying to understand and know God, and came up with the term the Trinity. The critics will say that the church believes in 3 separate persons, which if you look at the actual definition is simply not true. I heard one group say the trinity is wrong, you need to think of it like one tree with 3 branches. The problem with that idea is that branches are still individual but part of the tree. That is what the trinity says. It says that God represents himself as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, yet they are one God. If you look at Yeshua’s high priestly prayer you notice that he asks the Father that we be ONE as they are ONE. Yet, I am an individual, but I am part of the body of Christ as are my brothers and sisters which makes us one with the body.  Yeshua is praying to the father, he is a person that the apostles can talk to and touch, yet they could not touch the Father, so at that moment, Yeshua and the Father appear as if they are separated individuals, yet they are ONE. Earlier in the Gospel of John Yeshua says this:

These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:25–26, ESV)

The Father sends the Spirit in the Name of Yeshua, and it says that HE will teach you all things. So the Spirit is SENT by the Father in the NAME of the Son and has the ability to Teach? If I was wrestling with this, I might come to the conclusion that the Spirit (a manifestation of God) seems to act like an individual.In the end it seems that each group is describing the same coin in just a different way. Does that mean that they are both wrong or right, no, it just means that we in our flesh do not understand fully how to explain the many ways God has revealed him self to us. There are so many issues and positions like this, and most of the time we end up arguing over who is right.

So why do I bring all this up. Because or Lord and our God desire us to be in UNITY, one with one another just as He and the Father are one. But, what I see today is groups of unhappy people, who have been wounded, or feel that the people they are in fellowship with are not walking the way they should, so they find some problem they can latch hold of, take a righteous stand on it, then criticize the problems and then go form their own group that agrees with their position. To make themselves feel better they then attack all the things wrong with the other group. HOW IS THIS BEING ONE as the Father and Son are one.

Does that mean that I agree with what is being taught in many churches, NO. But, I do know that every church I have been too has believers that are seeking, but are not being grown in their faith, there is usually a CORE of believers that truly desire a deep relationship with Yeshua and the Father. Then there are those who are there to get their passport stamped and join a club and do the club things but never really desire to walk with the Lord. There are also people at many different points in their walk with the Lord and therefore do not fully understand things that someone who has been walking a longer time might. The unfortunate side of this is that many sermons are tailored to the least common denominator leaving many believers struggling to mature in their faith.

This is also why we still need to be good Bereans and search the scriptures to make sure what is being taught is true, but being a good Berean also means being a good student and understanding how to study and dig into the word. We also need to make greater efforts to disciple and teach younger believers how to walk a life of obedience.

None of the groups out there have all the right answers, even God has told us that every inclination of our hearts is evil. That includes me and you. So before we criticize, lets figure out how to lift each other up, encourage, equip, and edify the body. If someone does not agree with you, have productive discussions on the subject and pray for one another. Then maybe we can be ONE like the Father and Son Are One.

In the beginning

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1:1–5, ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1–5, ESV)

The book of Genesis and the book of John start our with the most amazing statement…”In the beginning” What is even more amazing is that Yeshua (Jesus) is right there as well.

Is it not interesting that verse 3 in Genesis God says “Let there be light” and yet we do not see the creation of the sun, moon, or stars until the fourth day. The book of John gives us even more insight into Genesis. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.compared to the verse in Genesis…“God separated the light from the darkness.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” (John 1:9–10, ESV)

So many arguments are stirred up regarding the science of creation that sometimes we forget that this is not about science, it is about Yeshua. The word for light in Genesis 1 is from the root owr which means to be or to make luminous. Is it possible that the phrase “Let there be light” is the first revealing of Jesus our Messiah? Lets look at a few other verses that are just amazing when you really ponder them.

The Lord is my light (owr) and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1, ESV)

The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.” (Isaiah 60:19–20, ESV)

And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face.” (Ezekiel 43:2–3, ESV)

He (Yeshua) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3, ESV)

…“for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”” (Luke 2:30–32, ESV)

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” (John 8:12, ESV)

Not only is Yeshua revealed as the light of the world, but it also says he is the light of life!  In scripture darkness is also a symbol of death and separation. So when John says “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4, ESV) He is showing us that Yeshua IS LIFE. He is the one who overcomes the darkness (death). Which is what happens on the cross!

Back in Genesis then, is not the separation of light and darkness a separation also of life and death? Is this possibly just a very subtle foreshadowing of the choices we would have before us in our walk of obedience before our God…“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days…….(Deuteronomy 30:19–20, ESV)

Then once we have choose life, what are we to do with it?  We are obey his voice, and that voice says this about the light….““You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14–16, ESV)

The light of Yeshua, the radiance of the glory of God is reflected in us as we walk in obedience to Him, and that is not to be hidden or concealed but is to be shined before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father in Heaven….“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)

So what are the good works that God prepared beforehand? His instructions on how we should live…The Word of God! His Torah!

Lord, help me to live a life that is aligned with your Words and instructions, and may I humbly walk with my Lord and reflect HIS light to the world around me. AMEN.

 

 

 

 

Good for Food

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:8–9, ESV)

Our fallen nature seems to always be seeking a reason why God gave us a particular set of commands in the Torah. One such area is is regarding food. In Genesis 2:8-9 the Torah tells us that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was good for food, but just a few verses later he says this to the man:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:15–17, ESV)

There is no explanation, no reason, no argument, just what the consequence will be if it is not obeyed. Is it possible that maybe God just wants to see if we will just walk in obedience by faith alone without reason?

When we get to Leviticus we see this instruction given:

“Every swarming thing that swarms on the ground is detestable; it shall not be eaten. Whatever goes on its belly, and whatever goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet, any swarming thing that swarms on the ground, you shall not eat, for they are detestable. You shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that swarms, and you shall not defile yourselves with them, and become unclean through them. For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” This is the law about beast and bird and every living creature that moves through the waters and every creature that swarms on the ground, to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean and between the living creature that may be eaten and the living creature that may not be eaten.” (Leviticus 11:41–47, ESV)

Here in Leviticus we are given a reason for why God tells us not to eat certain animals, He wants us to consecrate ourselves and be Holy because He is Holy.

Then man steps in and says why? We come up with all kinds of reasons and speculation as we ague with God. We may say he was protecting us from disease, or some other problem related to eating those animals.

Maybe God just wants to see if we will walk in obedience to him by faith. And if we do, did not our Lord say something about that as well to His people:

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 28:1–2, ESV)

So, in obedience to the Lord (as His already saved people) he desires to bless us.So what happens if we are not obedient?

“But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you…….“The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.”(Deuteronomy 28:15–21, ESV)

Seems that as God’s people, when we disobey the Lord (which He says is forsaking Him) we will then experience curses. Curses and not some magical incantation or God zapping us. They are simply resistance in what we try to do and accomplish. It is confusion and frustration in what we undertake to do, until the day we die, or until the day we REPENT!

So, we come to the apostolic writings and try something new. We translate certain passages with a bit of bias towards our theological position, or we take passages out of context or infer meaning onto a passage to make it fit the way we want it to. Let’s take a look at just a couple examples:

And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)” (Mark 7:18–19, ESV)

The assumption here is that Jesus declared all foods clean. But, is that really what the passage says? It is also a passage that needs to be kept in the context of the entire dialog of Mark chapter 7.

Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” (Mark 7:1–5, ESV)

The question that Jesus is answering is a question on not washing hands based on TRADITION. The problem that the Pharisees had was if your hands had touched something unclean and you did not wash them, then when you ate and touched the food with your unclean hand, then the food which you ate would make you unclean. This was not what was in the Torah, but was a FENCE that the Pharisees had put up.

Now, that is not the end though. Seems that some of our translations have tried to help us with our theology. Let’s take a look at the first passage from the KJV and Young s Literal translation:

and he saith to them, ‘So also ye are without understanding! Do ye not perceive that nothing from without entering into the man is able to defile him? because it doth not enter into his heart, but into the belly, and into the drain it doth go out, purifying all the meats.’” (Mark 7:18–19, YLT)

And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?” (Mark 7:18–19, KJV 1900)

This passage simply does not say “(Thus he declared all foods clean.)”  Jesus is just showing that food touched by our hands does not make us unclean.

Another verse that is used to say we can eat any food we want is in Peters dream in the book of Acts. I am not going to have a long discussion or argument about it, but if we truly believe that scripture interprets scripture then why do we infer our own interpretation into Peters dream when Peter himself tells us what the dream was about:

Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.” ………And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. (Acts 10:17–28, ESV)

The text has many opportunities to tell us that not only has God declared Gentiles clean, but food as well.  For Peter seems to remain perplexed until the arrival of Cornelius and the understanding that the TRADITION that Jews not associate with or visit anyone from another nation was not of God’s will and that he should not consider them unclean or common.

In the Apostolic scriptures, God through His writers still asks us to be Holy, and still asks us to be obedient. The question we must ask is are we willing to walk in obedience by faith and faith alone? Or do we need God to explain to us why?

Lord, Help me to put away pride and self deception and give me a heart that desires to follow you in faithful obedience to all you teach and show me. Amen.