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Music

How Holy do You Want to Be?

Music is very important to me. I know a lot of people will tell you that, and for me it is true. (Not to say that it is not true for others.) I’ve been playing piano since I could talk, so I jokingly consider it my second language. I have learned many instruments, and I love to sing. I sing almost all day long.

We need to be careful what we listen to.

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Why Torah?

I shared James’ post, Christianization of Acts 15, on Facebook, and a friend commented and it turned into a small exchange. First, he asked about the purpose of the Law, and why observe it if it’s a shadow of Jesus? After my response, he asked about whether or not I am Jewish, and if not what is my reason for following Torah. He also asked about going to a priest for certain functions, and such. I don’t want to quote his entire comment, but below is my response. It was something that I had been pondering anyway, so his question hit me at a time when I was prepared. Thanks Papa!

I am a gentile, and proud of it! Thank you for your questions. The question of why I observe Torah is something I am often asking myself, to make sure I’m on the right track. Why would a gentile who has salvation through Yeshua need Torah, or even WANT Torah?

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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.

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Antisemitism

Are you antisemitic?  Of course you’re not, right? You love Jewish people. Of course you do.

But really, ask yourself. Are there aspects of your interpretation of scripture that are antisemitic? We like to say that the Jews just didn’t understand their own scriptures, that their system was defunct. We joke about foolish Israelites. And of course, Jesus did away with the Law. It was really bad.

Take a hard look at the teachings called Christianity. Where do they come from? Almost all Christianity today was birthed from Catholicism or Orthodoxy, which has its birthplace in the Roman empire in the first few centuries AD. The first century of Jesus-followers were almost entirely Jewish, but from the beginning of the second century onward the faith was dominantly gentile.

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Jesus, Love, and Torah Part III

In part I of this installment, I established that yes, love is indeed the most important of the commandments. In part II, I expanded on that. What is love? How do you love YHWH? Love is not simply a feeling, but it is an action. And YHWH clearly states over and over that if you love Him, you will follow His commands. Thus, loving YHWH = following His commands.

So what am I talking about today? Last week I said, ” 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!” So how can I back this up? Let’s look at Matthew 5, a favorite passage of any HR believer.

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete. For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done. Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall by no means enter into the reign of the heavens.” Matt. 5:17-20 ISR

This is part of Yeshua’s famous Sermon on the Mount. I’m not going to go into detail on this part. FFOZ has just released a good lesson on this passage, which I’ve linked below. What I want to talk about today is the rest of Matthew 5.

“You heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and whoever murders shall be liable to judgment. But I say to you that whoever is wroth with his brother without a cause shall be liable to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raka!’ shall be liable to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to fire of Gehenna… 21-22

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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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1 John 2:1-7

1 (My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, 2 and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.

3 Now by this we know that we have come to know God: if we keep his commandments. 4 The one who says “I have come to know God” and yet does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in such a person. 5 But whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in him. 6 The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked.

7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have already heard. 8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 The one who says he is in the light but still hates his fellow Christian is still in the darkness. 10 The one who loves his fellow Christian resides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his fellow Christian is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (NET)