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The Gospel and Holiness

Holiness is so so so important. Actually, it is going to be the topic of a bible study I’m leading in my dorm this semester. I will probably chronicle much of what happens in my study, as well as thoughts along the way as I research and plan what to share.

I thought I’d share something that just happened on Facebook. I shared an article from Relevant Magazine entitled, “Is the Sinner’s Prayer Biblical?” And basically, the point of the article is that the gospel is so much more than redemption and salvation. A friend commented:

I was reading the bible last Sunday, after the first passover in Canaan, when a man took the devoted things from the plunder. God was no longer with the tribes of Israel so they were losing horribly. The man confessed and gave the things back because it’s the right thing to do. So god had the man and his entire family, all of his possessions, and his animals, stoned horrible, then burnt alive, then stoned again for good measure. Supposedly that pile of stones which buried the family in this brutal murder remains to this day, as evidence to the crimes committed by the people of Israel. It was horrible, and goes to show what prayers for forgiveness are worth to a vengeful god.

I wasn’t sure how to respond at first, and I first commented something about a repentant heart. Which is true. But later, I rushed back, deleted the comment, and added this instead:

You cite an excellent example. Thinking that the story you cite is about forgiveness is the same error as thinking that the gospel is only about forgiveness and redemption. It is so much bigger than that. It’s about God making us holy, and living a life of holiness, and pursuing God. The story of the Israelites coming into Canaan is part of the story of God setting Israel apart as a holy nation, a people dedicated to serving Him, and living with Him. The story is an excellent example of how our individual behavior does not only affect ourselves, but the lives of the people around us. The man’s sin in taking plunder wasn’t just about him, but it affected the holiness of Israel. Israel must be completely holy in order to dwell with God, and that man put that holiness in jeopardy. That is why it was such horrible crime, and why he had to be punished the way he was.
God wants to set us apart, to make us holy, so that we can dwell with Him, and anything that gets in the way must be removed.

The gospel is not just about getting to Heaven at the end of it all. The gospel is about ultimate redemption so that we may be holy, so that we may dwell with Yahweh, and to pursue a relationship with Him. Now we can encounter an unclean world, and sin as we tend to do, and still have a relationship with Him. We can encounter a deeper level of holiness than ever before. The set-apart one of Israel, whose spirit was so holy that if you did not go through the proper ritual you would be died, can now reside within our flesh. And now we can live life with our Father, for our Father. Our lives can be so much more than just trying to survive, but worshipping God in everything we do and giving all the glory to Him. And of course, there’s still even more to it.

The gospel is way cool.

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Misogyny or Responsibility?

Is Torah misogynistic? Many critics of the Old Testament try to claim that it is misogynistic, particularly in the role of women in the Hebrew community, like submission to husbands.

Well, I had a revelation about the role of women in marriage, that not coincidentally came to me when I started wearing a head-covering. Yesterday I mentioned Pete’s article on manipulatives, a Biblical principle that the modern church is sorely lacking. To summarize again, a manipulative is a physical object that reminds us of the abstract.

Continue reading

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Jesus, Love, and Torah Part II

So last time, I introduced the topic of Love and Torah. Basically, Love is the most important commandment. Above all else. Even if you follow Torah perfectly, if you don’t have love, it’s pointless. But what about Love with Torah? Well, what is Love? Let’s go back to Mark 12.

Now one of the experts in the law came and heard them debating. When he saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:28-30 NET

Last time I said I was just going to focus on the literal words that Yeshua said. But today I am going to dig deeper into context. When you see someone quoting the Old Testament, they are quoting the whole passage it comes from. So, where does this quote come from? Yeshua is quoting Deuteronomy 6, the Shema. Just before this famous passage, Moses has restated the ten commands with more details about not following idols. And so, in context, this is the whole passage.

“And this is the command, the laws and right-rulings which יהוה your Elohim has commanded, to teach you to do in the land which you are passing over to possess, so that you fear יהוה your Elohim, to guard all His laws and His commands which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days be prolonged. And you shall hear, O Yisra’ĕl, and shall guard to do, that it might be well with you, and that you increase greatly as יהוה Elohim of your fathers has spoken to you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
“Hear, O Yisra’ĕl: יהוה our Elohim, יהוה is one! And you shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your might. And these Words which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart, and you shall impress them upon your children, and shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up, and shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deut. 6:1-9 ISR

And then Moses instructs the Israelites not to worship idols, and that YHWH and YHWH only will be their God. The command to Love YHWH your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, is in the context of His commands. So…loving Yahweh means to keep His commands.

What? Come on Genevieve. You’re just twisting that, trying to put us under law. We’re under grace! That can’t be so.

Alright, let’s look at somewhere else in Deuteronomy.

And you shall love יהוה your Elohim and guard His Charge: even His laws, and His right-rulings, and His commands, always. Deut. 11:1 ISR

Could the Word of Elohim be anymore straight forward? Guarding God’s laws is in the context of loving Him. So, loving Yahweh means to keep His commands.

“See, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil, in that I am commanding you today to love יהוה your Elohim, to walk in His ways, and to guard His commands, and His laws, and His right-rulings. And you shall live and increase, and יהוה your Elohim shall bless you in the land which you go to possess.” Deut. 30:15-16 ISR

Again, to Love YHWH is to walk in His ways and to guard His commands. And YHWH shall bless you if you follow His commands!

But Genevieve, the Old Testament doesn’t apply to us anymore. We can’t be held by that.
And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands. The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked. Beloved, I write no fresh command to you, but an old command which you have had from the beginning. The old command is the Word which you heard from the beginning. 1 John 2:3-7 ISR
Okay…but John also talks about a new command. You’re taking this out of context.

Yeah, but he also doesn’t say that the old one is obsolete. He’s not talking about new and old as in new and finished. New adds on to the old. If you build a new floor onto your house, do you take out the foundation or the first floor? NO. That’s dangerous.

It is just as dangerous to live in the new commands and ignore the old commands. 

I have much much more to say on the importance and meaning of Torah, but I will go into that in future entries.

Getting back to where we started, Yeshua. Yeshua says the most important commandment is to Love God, and the second is to Love your neighbor. But how do you Love God? By walking in His ways, and to guard His commands, His laws, and His right-rulings.  Any Jew listening to Jesus speak would know that loving God means following His commands. They are taught that all their lives. They know, they know, they know. 

So why would Jesus tell you that the most important command is Love, knowing that to Love God is to obey Him, and then approve of your blatantly breaking the law? And Deuteronomy 13 says that a prophet who adds to or takes away from the law is a false prophet. So what exactly is Jesus doing here?

He’s taking us deeper! Not into a more legalistic adherence to Torah, but into a deeper intimacy with God in our observance of Torah. HalleluYah!

More on this topic, next time.

Shalom!

Genevieve

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Ki Tavo

As a Gentile, when you go to a Jewish Shabbat service for the first time, you learn a lot.

1. Don’t use Christianese. I generally try to avoid Cristianese, but there are ways of speaking that I didn’t even realize I do. For example, I may have said (can’t remember, I was too nervous), “I have a heart for Israel.” After I said it, I realized how condescending that sounds. Who am I that I have something to bring to Israel? Christians tend to talk as if we have something to give to the world, and although we do, saying that just turns off your audience. We are sent to serve, and being servants demands humility, not pride. Thankfully, I only said it that way once and quickly reformed what I said. But there were other little speech mistakes that I made that were in the same vein.

2. Don’t act as if you know their religion well, because you don’t. The only Jew I’ve ever had intense theological discussions with was my (just recently) ex-boyfriend, and he isn’t super religious. The Jews I met today are Orthodox, so their idea of their religion is much different than mine, even if I’ve learned a *little* bit recently. Thankfully, I didn’t start telling them that I disagree with some of their traditions, but the way I talked about my view of Torah may have clashed some with theirs.

For example, I mentioned how I would like to hold Shabbat dinners with my Christian friends, and the woman I was talking to told me about how Orthodox Jews believe that Gentiles aren’t obligated to the Law, but only to the Noachide laws. This was different than I’d learned recently, so it really made me think. Am I obligated to Torah at the same level of the Jews? It is a responsibility, she reminded me. In fact, Orthodox Jews discourage forcing Torah upon Gentiles.

3. Although they are American, it is a different culture. A panel separates boys from girls? There are special procedures for taking the Torah out of the Ark and reading the Torah? There has to be ten men? What’s up with the uniforms? (It felt like uniforms to me.) It was so completely unfamiliar. And, my mistakes with Christianese came in again, because I assumed that I could talk about my relationship to Torah like I would to someone raised Christian or someone who grew up around Christians. I mentioned to someone that my sister is coming home from her missions trip today (Yay!), and he didn’t know what a missions trip was until someone used a Hebrew term. I referred to the Moedim as feasts, and he asked, “You mean the festivals?” (I then said “Yeah, the Moedim” and they were amazed I knew the word in Hebrew. :3) They may live in America, but they are a separate people.

4. Although as a Gentile grafted in I try to understand the ancient Israelites, the Jews are very aware that they are physical Israel. This week’s parsha covers the curses of Devarim 28, and for the Jews it is real and scary. When I first read it, I thought it was intense and I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, but it wasn’t directly relevant to me. But for Jews it is all too real, and it is not something they like to dwell on. They read the portion swiftly and in a low tone to get it over with!

It was a humbling experience, and it prompted a lot of questions. How much of the Torah does YHWH really want me to follow? How much of the Rabbinical traditions are YHWH-blessed and how much aren’t? What is my place in relationship to the modern Jews? Are the Jews really “damned” without Yahushua? Can anyone really understand Torah in the intended way?

Up until now I’ve gathered a lot of head knowledge, but I think today I finally gained some heart knowledge. I got a taste of what it’s like to be a Jew. It must be strange from their point of view, that Christianity has stolen their book, slapped on another book plus a messiah, and thinks it knows better. How many Christians don’t think that Jews are backwards and stubborn? From their angle, we must be perverted and egotistical.

YHWH is so much bigger than I can even begin to comprehend. And He’s got a handle on the situation. He knows exactly how it’s going to end. He knows who’s got it right, and who’s got it wrong. And He knows the hearts of those who love Him and are honestly seeking Him, and He knows the hearts of those how argue about His word for their own conquests. And in the end, He is a merciful El. I don’t need to be worried about how to make it work, because He’s got a plan. He knows tomorrow although I may not.

Arise, shine, for you light has come! And the esteem of YHWH has risen upon you. For look, darkness covers the earth, and this darkness the peoples. But YHWH arises over you, and His esteem is seen upon you. And the nations shall come to your light, and sovereigns to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your  eyes all around and see: all of them have gathered, they have come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are supported on the side.

Shalom,

Genevieve

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Some Clarification, and HELP PLEASE

Hey there. I just wanted to clarify my opinions about something I mentioned in my post Calendar from the other day.

I mentioned the Two Houses message, but I wasn’t clear about which message I was speaking about. Honestly, I think I wrote the post too quickly and wasn’t sure what I was talking about myself. From my point of view, I thought I was talking about the reconciliation of the two physical houses of Israel and Judah.

I do not agree, however,  with the theology that Ephraim, or the House of Israel, is represented by Gentile believers and that the reunion is between us Gentiles and Judah. That doesn’t sit right with me. If someone can give me a good, scripturally heavy, scripturally sound explanation, I will think about it. To me, it takes away the importance of physical Israel coming back to the land of Israel and reuniting with Judah.

From what I understand, Gentiles are still physical Gentiles, and we join Spiritual Israel through the favour (grace) of the Father. And by following the commands of YHWH, and trusting and leaning on Him, we become sons of the promise. We are not physical Ephraim, but grafted into Spiritual Israel.

So please, if you have any good resources to recommend about Two House theology, please share. I’ve read the notes for the Lost Sheep lesson at 119 Ministries, and they don’t appear to take part in the Ephraimite Movement, unless I misread it.

Also, I’ve been kind of confused about the Hebrew Roots perspective on the traditional Christian Salvation message, that Jesus died for our sins, and born again in Him we have new life. Currently I’m trying to get a grasp on the Torah before I revisit the Gospels, but people have started to ask me my position on the traditional Gospel and Jesus, and I feel like my answer is shaky. Even thinking about how to write it here I feel like I’m missing parts.

So please please, this is a HELP ME post. I’ve got so many questions, and I know that’s the right place to start. I hope a wiser reader stumbles across this entry and helps me out. Thank you!

I move back to school today, and I’ll be interacting with all my other Christian friends again. Part of me wants to be able to give them the perfect answer, but I guess it’s also okay to say “I’m not sure, still investigating.” Oy vey, I need to learn some patience. Thank you Abba for your mercy.

 

  • Worry (tooyoungtowait.wordpress.com)
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Calendar

So I was on Michael Rood’s website, and stumbled upon his calendar. I noticed that the dates listed for the feasts are different than what I was finding on chabad.org, a Rabbinical Jewish website. Huh, why is that? So I googled it, and found

http://www.thegod720.com/Biblical-Hebrew-Calendar.pdf

I am still new to all of this, so this PDF is very helpful in explaining the history of the currently used Rabbinical calendar and the new re-instated Scriptural calendar.

It’s very easy to simply follow what Rabbinical Jews do, because in my mind I assume they are more Scripturally accurate. Now, I don’t accept everything they do. There are certain ways I think they place more importance on the words of the Torah, rather than the meaning. And then of course they place more importance in Oral Torah than the written YHWH-given Mosaic Torah. But I had not yet looked into the calendar, and just assumed the Rabbinical one was correct.

I feel that every day YHWH brings me into a deeper level of truth. And when He reveals these matters to me, the truth underneath it all feels obvious. I don’t know how else to say it, but I don’t have to fight whatever the new truth is. Often times writers encourage the reader to go to the scriptures and check for themselves, which we absolutely should do. But when I read something that is very clearly p’shat, I can’t even make myself disagree. I feel its depth and its truth.

So, when I read this PDF about the calendar, it all made sense to me and I had no reason to even try to defend the Rabbinical calendar. You can read it yourself to find out all about the barley and the month of Aviv, but there are a few other points in the article that stuck out to me.

First is about the controversy among those in the Hebrew Roots movement concerning Rabbinical calendar versus Torah calendar. To me, quite frankly, following the Torah calendar is the obvious answer. But the issue goes deeper than the calendar, because it goes back to who has the authority.

It is the Talmud that has established the Rabbinic calendar as the calendar for all Israel, including those in the Diaspora. On the other hand, the authority behind the Biblical calendar is the written Torah. The tension that is tearing at the unity of the Hebraic Roots/Messianic Movement is simply the tension that exists when the written Torah and the oral Torah do not agree.

Why does there even need to be tension between following the Rabbis, and following Torah? The article eventually goes on to describe the main “branches” of the Hebraic movement. 1) Jews believing in Jesus without abandoning Rabbinical Judaism. 2) Jews converting to mainstream Christianity. 3) The Two House teaching, reconciling the divided houses of Israel. and 4) Simply encouraging followers of Yahshua to lead a Torah observant lifestyle. Of course these ideas are not mutually exclusive, as the writer says, but they do contribute to the motivations of following the Rabbinical or the Torah calendar.

Personally, the first two branches of the movement may have been good starting places, but they are not where truth lies. I am excited about reconciling the Two Houses, the true scriptural meaning of “Ministry of Reconciliation.” And of course, believers of the Two Houses teaching would also encourage believers of Yahshua to lead a Torah observant lifestyle. They are not mutually exclusive.

But it seems ridiculous to be adherent to the commands of Torah and not teach or believe in the Two Houses teaching. If you are truly a seeker of righteousness and student of the Torah, the importance of the redemption of the Two Houses becomes clear. However, I don’t yet have a deep enough knowledge on the subject to expound upon it further. Scripture is so deep there is only so much you can learn in six months!

As I mentioned recently, I have many questions about my upcoming school year, particularly in applying Torah among Christian campus ministries. I was planning on participating in the festivals with the Jewish organization on campus, but now I realize that may not be an option. How do you celebrate a festival…alone? I’ve used the believer maps on a few different websites, and there are no Hebrew Roots believers any nearer than an hour. Should I follow the Spirit of the Torah and celebrate with the Rabbinical Jews? Or do I stick to the Torah and celebrate on the correct days?

It’s a question that can only be answered in prayer, but I’m wondering what your thoughts are. Thanks for reading!

Shalom,

Genevieve

0

Overflow

I have so many thoughts and I am so excited that I’m feeling bubbly. Or maybe I’m just hungry. Or maybe my tummy is upset. Anyway.

Yahweh is good. So so good. Yesterday was awesome. I’ll try to keep it short.

I house-sat yesterday as I always do on the fourth day of the week. And I watched TV, something I don’t normally do. And Yahweh gave me two, TWO, different programs that totally struck me where I needed it.

1. A commercial/program about Jewish Voice Ministries International, a ministry that provides medical outreach to the lost tribes of Israel, mainly those located in Africa and India. Yahweh has a passion for bringing the lost tribes back to Israel, so I have a passion for bringing the lost tribes back to Israel. I had been wondering if there was such a ministry, and Yahweh put it on my plate (or TV). I didn’t even have to search! HalleluYah!

2. The Zechariah Conference from IHOPKC, and Mike Bickle was speaking out of chapter 4 about Zerubabbel rebuilding the temple. He led prayer for those with a Zerubabbel calling to build houses of prayer. In other words, ME! It was so awesome to soak in that anointing, and to be reminded of my destiny.

Yahweh gave me a test to pray for my clerk at the bank. It was awesome! Complete favour for the entire encounter. Wowed. Completely wowed. And THEN-

I went with a friend to a Holy Spirit class, hosted by the same ministry that hosted the worship I attended last week. It was amazing, truly of the Spirit, but the car ride there was just as powerful as the class itself.

My friend had recently received a long prophetic word, but it is full of jargon and he had a hard time understanding it. So without a second thought I grabbed the cd, stuck it in, and started explaining it to him bit by bit. The cool part is, Yahweh had told him to ask me to interpret it, but he didn’t want to be selfish so he didn’t ask. The Set-Apart Spirit put it on my heart anyway. And by the way, his destiny is awesome. Yahweh has him covered.

The class itself was of course wonderful. We learned about Kingdom, which, to put simply, is Yahweh’s rule and reign over the earth and the anointing of the Messiah inside of us, and thus the principles and lifestyle that comes with being a part of the kingdom. The Kingdom is not bound by our dimensions. Time and place do not matter. Kingdom is now, Kingdom has power and authority. We are to act from heavenly places. (Maybe I’ll do a fuller Kingdom entry another day.)

After the class there was a NightWatch, which is when nightly prayer and worship. (Psalm 134) Yahweh has a passion for the NightWatch, so I have a passion for the NightWatch. My friend didn’t mind staying late, so I stayed until 12:40AM. It was incredible. Lots of dancing. Someone there spoke to me about how dancing actually breaks and shifts the atmosphere. Not the first time someone has prophesied to me about the warfare of dancing. HalleluYah!

There is much much more that happened in the past 24 hours. Lots of prophetic, so much Spirit, so much Love. But I’m already past my limit. But Yahweh does new, wonderful, things every day.

He’s awakening the hope in me
By calling forth my destiny
He’s breathing life into my soul
I will thirst for Him, and him alone
He has come like the rain
That showers on the barren plain
So my heart and tongue confess
Messiah, the hope of man