An Update on What God is Doing in Us
PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT BLOG
I'VE POSTED SO FAR THIS YEAR
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To clear this up a bit more... Being willing to let God bring ME to a place of complete surrender to the point that I desire to live according to the "whole Counsel of God" is NOT Judaizing. This is a personal walk with Him and we must each follow according to the Grace we have allowed Him to bring to us. Some will be empowered (graced) to endure much more than others. But, our willingness is the key to how much grace we encounter and embrace.
Judaizing means to convert people to Judaism. I DO NOT believe people need to convert to Judaism to be a follower of Messiah. THAT was the real issue being addressed at the Jerusalem Council in Acts. Even the Gentiles were given a set of starter rules while they learned the whole Counsel of Scripture. Why do we assume it was all that would ever be expected of them? Did you just receive Jesus and stop changing after you met a few criteria within Scripture, or is it a lifetime journey? I have found, that when I often say "do I have to" about anything in Scripture, it is usually because "I don't want to". It has very little to do with what is actually in Scripture and far more to do with what I am willing to receive from Scripture.
Truly being a follower of Messiah means your heart has been circumcised and it is your good pleasure to follow all the commands which apply to you, from an intimate heart that desires to please Him. Salvation unto good works, not good works unto salvation, or salvation by good works. Further, I believe it means making the culture I follow mold to fit His culture, there is but 1 culture God Himself started. Lastly, it means coming to a place where I don't refuse any of His commands; whether it's moving to China, staying there until He releases me (even though my body was wracked with pain from the pollution for nearly 3 years of our stay there), or not eating certain things because they are the equivalent of a living garbage disposal. I will be a fool for Him in any way He chooses - period. We don't HAVE to do it in the same way as the Messianic Rabbi portrayed in the picture, there are plenty of ways we can let Him make us stand out and "be separate" from the world. But, if you feel compelled to follow the rabbi's example - I'LL HAVE YOUR BACK 100% GUARANTEED!! This man is like a modern day Nazarite as far as I am concerned. His devotion, is totally to God and he doesn't care what people think of it. What an admirable quality.
NONE of this means what most misinterpret it to mean. It means that just as Jesus came to demonstrate the spirit of the Law and how to live according to Torah being written upon our hearts, we are to also live as if Torah has been written upon our hearts and with a joyful heart, seek to fulfill the Torah in the same way. THAT is the fulfillment of the Torah/Law. In this way, Torah will not pass away until there is a New Heaven and New Earth because we will be living Torahs just like He was. This doesn't mean the ritualistic observation of Torah. That had to be done until Messiah came and fulfilled it by Writing it on our Hearts - which was the intention ALL ALONG! Now it is an inward work which should shine through in our behavior and lifestyle. We should be the fulfillment of a peculiar people, holy nation, called out (ekklesia), sanctified (set apart), and Holy - JUST AS HE IS - HE is Torah Incarnate (John 1).
For me, serving Him is not about what I HAVE to do, it's about what do I GET to do to express my devotion. Just like those who led the way, I willingly allow Him to make me a peculiar person so others might have reason to ask "Why do you do that?".
This may all sound harsh, but I take my intimacy with Him deadly serious. I don't demand that anyone else does the same, but IF they are interested in actually learning the why's behind my what's then I am happy to accommodate.
Other things He is showing us...
Is He the SAME Yesterday, Today, and Forever?
Is He One with the Father?
Was He With the Father in the Beginning, and at Mt. Horeb when God Gave Torah to Israel?
Are We Grafted in according to Romans 11?
Is He REALLY the WORD Incarnate as John 1 tells us?
If the answer to these is yes or even maybe, then His Commands in the "New Testament" cannot cancel out the "Commands of the 'Old Testament'". Even He said that not one jot or tittle (smallest of Hebrew markings) will pass from the Torah until there is a "New Heaven" and a "New Earth"; so then how does Torah fit today? In the way I described at the beginning.
This is going somewhere, so bear with me.
Matthew certainly seems to have documented the sentiments of Jesus on the matter. But then WHY does Paul seem so against the "Law"?
When taken in to proper context, Paul is most definitely NOT against the "Law". He was against the "laws" the religious leaders had added to Scriptural Torah. Personally, I think it is more accurate to say Paul was battling the takkanot, just as Jesus had. Not all of the "laws" Jesus battled were were in the Talmud, so I doubt all that Paul battled were either. One thing I am sure of, is that NONE of the "laws" Jesus battled with the religious leaders over were found in Torah. He never once contradicted Torah, He only demonstrated how we are to live in accordance with Torah once it was "written upon" our "hearts".
John the Revelator seems to back up Matthew, Paul, and Jesus. Clearly we are to both "Obey God's Commandments" and have "Faith in Jesus". It can't be put more clearly than this. But, we cannot become legalistic and religious about it, THAT is what hardened the hearts of Israel and caused Abba to point out that while they serve Him with their lips, their hearts were "far from" Him. This is found in both the "Old" and "New" Covenants - Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 15:8, & Mark 7:6.
Some will say that Peter was shown differently, and that in Acts 10 we see God's "Commands" for humanity change. Remember when the sheet fell and unclean animals were paraded before him? Peter heard a voice saying, "Peter take and eat". First of all, Peter is the one who said "Not so, Lord". Luke, the writer of Acts, never confirms the voice was the LORD GOD. Though, it seems the vision was at the very least allowed by God, and probably was God, this may also be a small clue which has been overlooked. Assuming the vision was from God, and it was God's voice, the fact that Peter is troubled by it shows something else is also going on.
Secondly, this happened 3 hours earlier than the angelic visitation to Cornelius. The chain of events is critical here. A confirmation of Peter's change of heart, or the seeds having been sown into good soil in his heart needed to occur BEFORE Cornelius sent his servants to find Peter. After all, Peter is a man and while God knew his heart would indeed change, God was acting according to His own rule to not violate "free choice/will". Another evidence He doesn't change how He interacts with us. It was our interaction with Him that changed when Torah was written upon our hearts. This alone should be evidence enough that God was not speaking about "food" changes in Torah. But let's look closer. Verse 10 shows Peter going through a real internal conflict over this vision. He was obviously concerned that perhaps an inconsistency, with the God he'd known to never change, might be happening. It caused a real crisis within him. If we jump down to verses 19 & 20 we find:
"While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them."
Notice this time Luke clearly specifies the "Spirit" spoke to Peter. This is an important point. It is connecting us to the actual interpretation of the vision. Then once Peter arrived at the house of Cornelius he interprets the vision for us:
"And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean." (Emphasis Mine)
One of the biggest legitimate concerns with whether or not the "Dietary Laws" (better termed Dietary Instructions or Commands) is that people do not clearly see them in "New Testament" Scripture and often they will use Mark 7:9 as a basis, since in the Bible they choose to read there is a statement which seems to make this clear. But, is the legitimacy of their concern with Scripture, or the version/translation of Scripture they are choosing to read?
Let's look at this in the Greek using an Interlinear Bible, shall we?
In the first, we see the Greek taken from the Textus Receptus and used for the King James Version. The Textus Receptus was developed using approximately 4,500 Greek Manuscripts and fragments, which all agreed with one another a little over 90% of the time.
This next one is taken from the "Wescott and Hort Greek New Testament". This version of Greek was developed using approximately 55 manuscripts and fragments which agreed with one another approximately 50% of the time. Please not the statement in parentheses. THIS is the definitive statement which many use to determine that the "Dietary Instructions" of Torah are now invalid. Please notice it is not in the Greek above. While the documents of the Wescott and Hort are presumed older than those used for the Textus Receptus, please keep in mind they were predominantly found in Egypt among the collections of Papyri. The preponderance of the Egyptian Papyri are notably Gnostic in origin.
(I will cover the actual meaning of this Scripture another time)
One other vein of thought which causes me to be abundantly skeptical of the translations which us the Wescott and Hort N.T. is that many of them are academically dishonest. They do not put this statement in parentheses which makes it appear as though it is a statement which every manuscript agrees upon. Those publishers which are honest put it in parentheses in order to show it may just be a scribal note from earlier copies which were modified and the side note from a scribe was inserted within the text of Scripture. On a lighter note, let's see if perhaps we can understand the need people have for "Correcting Scripture". LOL
THIS LAST LITTLE BIT IS CONTROVERSIAL, BUT,
I ASK YOU TO "ENDURE TO THE END..."
I'd like to take a look at something from each of the "Old Covenant" and the "New Covenant". As you may know, I personally feel this would be better translated as "Renewed Covenant" and below is why.
Isaiah 66 is lumping those who are violators together as those who will experience fire and sword from God. He is clearly creating categories. He gets very specific about only one group - those who eat unclean things.
Revelation 21 does the very same thing, but lumps these violators into categories even more - John is even less specific. Not so we have more room to interpret what we 'believe' it means, but because we should already know since Isaiah told us millennia before. Abba did not change His mind about these things, we just don't take the time to look for where He repeats Himself.
Even in a modern Court of Law, with its sophisticated procedures which determine the reliability of witnesses, these would be considered corroborating testimonies because so much of what they say is either identical or extremely close to the same wording. The more detailed testimony would be used to fill in the blanks (or put another way - to flesh out) the shorter of the two. Further, because they were penned in different languages by two individuals from the same culture, the older of the two would be used to "interpret" the similarities of the newer. Lastly, the cultural context would be taken into consideration. Questions such as "did the people of the latter culture observe the same cultural norms of those of the cultural era of the earlier testimony?".
This process would inevitably verify BOTH say the same thing and therefore each making the other legitimate.
Here is a study note which may help. In Isaiah the word "abomination" could also be translated "filthy". The Latin uses a word which is commonly translated as "corrupt". By virtue of it's proximity of the mention of "swine flesh" or "flesh of the sow" it is not unreasonable to associate them together. Not to mention "abomination" is sandwiched between pork and mice, both unclean animals and not food.
Isaiah is clearly talking about eating unclean animals of all kinds, but was particularly against pork and mice/rodents. John is less specific, perhaps he saw all unclean animals as equally "filthy".
Regardless, John the Revelator was clearly echoing the sentiments of Isaiah, and BOTH are echoing the words spoken to them by God Himself. Does God change? I really believe Scripture indicates, in every way possible, He doesn't. Let's not forget Isaiah and John are prophesying about the End Times, not the times they lived in. This was to a people group they would neither one ever know or even hear about. It was to those who would be living during the fulfilment of End Times events. They were also speaking to all those who would be be alive between their time and the end.
PLEASE hear our hearts in this Blog. We are learning that Scripture truly is forever and not just because Jesus in the WORD Incarnate. We are to be just like Him. For many years I wanted to see Miracles, Signs, and Wonders in ministry. One day, it was like a Lighthouse and Fog Horn were aimed right at my spirit and I heard "If you want to do what Jesus did, you have to do what Jesus did". It was then that the pieces began falling into place for me to see His true ministry and how I could follow. We love each of those who read these Blogs, and our heart's deepest longing is to know that one day every person we somehow reach will be "great in the Kingdom of Heaven".
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