Judge Yourself

For if we were judging ourselves thoroughly, we wouldn’t be coming under judgment. But when we are judged, we are being disciplined by the Lord so that we might not be condemned along with the world. 1 Co 11:31&32.

If we are to judge ourselves, by what standard are we to discern the body  (V.29)? Paul provides the answer to this question in Colossians 2:

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Col 2:16,17.

Many translations fail to get the gist of what Paul is saying here, and modify verse 17 drastically. There seems to be the notion that “the body of Christ” at the end of the verse seems to just hang. The authorized KJV adds the word “is”, while other translations completely change the text to “the reality is Christ (Messiah). Verse 17 cannot be separated from verse 16 as many translations do, because the point is by what means are we to be judged. It is not by what you do or don’t eat, or any other religious observance, which are a shadow of things that are now established in the body of Messiah.

Allow me to give you an example. I have heard on many occasions a believer say; ”I am in the church every time the doors are open!” That’s great, but here’s what the Lord says about religious observance:

“Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You tithe mint and dill and cumin, yet you have neglected the weightier matters of Torah—justice and mercy and faithfulness. It is necessary to do these things without neglecting the others. Matthew 23:23.

There are weightier matters with which we must concern ourselves, and these are established within the functioning body of Messiah. At the judgment, no one is going to hear; “Ah yes, my good and faithful servant. You were in the church every time the doors were open. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”

Consider these words of the Messiah:

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’. Matthew 7:22,23.

We may perform many wonderful works, but did we know our Master’s voice. Did we perform His Will, or our own in His Name. This must be given serious consideration. Perhaps you had done many wonderful works, but then decided to take up with another brother’s wife.

When I tell the righteous that he will surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered. But in his iniquity that he has committed, he will die.     Ezekiel 33:13.

The Lord has ordained the good works that we are to abide in through faithfulness.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves—it is the gift of God.  It is not based on deeds, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship created in Messiah Yeshua for good deeds, which God prepared beforehand so we might walk in them.   Ephesians 2:8-10. Think on these things.

Bless His Holy Name

Bless the Lord O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name. Psalm 103:1.

In Exodus, the Lord gives Moses a new name to identify Himself to the elders of Israel. He is told to inform them that YHVH, the God of your Fathers has sent you. Then He adds, this is my name forever and my remembrance unto all generations. Exodus 3:16.

The name of remembrance is used to call on the Lord, especially for deliverance from enemies. Furthermore, to show that this name is a new revelation, the Lord tells Moses:

And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name YHVH was I not known to them. Exodus 6:3.

Yet this Holy Name of God manages to be inserted by scribes into narratives found in the book of Genesis 141 times. Since that time, there has existed much controversy over the use of this name. Rabbis teach that use of the Name should be avoided completely for fear of using the name in vain. Out of consideration for this concern, most English translations render YHVH simply as The Lord.

This point of contention was dealt with by the Lord Jesus Christ in a most innovative way. When Jesus spoke of God, He routinely referred to Him as “The Father”. He taught His disciples to pray: “Our Father”. Jesus Christ also identified himself as the Son of God, and was accused of blasphemy and was ultimately crucified on this charge. The apostle Paul encourages us to be just as intimate with the Father, teaching us:

 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15.

While Paul teaches us to be set free from a spirit of slavery and address God as Daddy, it is fear itself that has lead many to avoid the name of remembrance given to Moses. As mentioned, the name is avoided in most English translations by using The Lord.

The English translation used by many Messianic Jews is called the Tree of Life Version of the Old and New Testaments. This translation has gone full circle and replaced The Lord with Adonai. Adonai is derived from the word Adon, which is lord in a common form. For example, Sarai addressed Abram as “my Lord”, Rebekah addresses Abraham’s head servant the same way when he comes seeking a wife for Isaac.

Adonai is in fact sanctified, being used only in reference to The Lord, but it is not the Holy Name of remembrance given to Moses in Exodus 3. You will need a concordance to know when Adonai is actually used in the original text and when it is substituting for YHVH.  In the Tree of Life Version (TLV), Psalm 103:1 becomes:

Bless Adonai, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless His holy Name.

For anyone who has been taught the English language, this statement implies that the holy Name of God is Adonai. Unfortunately, that is not the case, as the substitution has been made for YHVH. Through a series of mental gymnastics, the holy Name of God has been replaced by a Hebrew word that is derived from the common word Adon, for my Lord. This is drinking the wine of astonishment! Psalm 60:3.

Adonai spoke to Aaron saying:  “Do not drink wine or fermented drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you go into the Tent of Meeting, so that you do not die. This is to be a statute forever throughout your generations.  You are to make a distinction between the holy and the common and between the unclean and the clean. Lev. 10:9&10.

They will teach My people the difference between the holy and the common and explain to them the difference between the unclean and the clean. Ezekiel 44:23.

Now here is where translation becomes a bit ludicrous. Here is Psalm 135:1 in the TLV:

Halleluyah! Praise the Name of Adonai.
Give praise, O servants of Adonai

First of all, Adonai does not appear in this verse. More importantly the Hebrew halal Yah is found and translated Halleluyah. This expression is used frequently in the Psalms and is often simply translated Praise the Lord. Yah is a contracted form of YHVH and used 41 times in the Old Testament. Typically it is also translated “the Lord” beginning with Exodus 15:

The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation:

Tree of Life substitutes:

Adonai is my strength and song,
and He has become my salvation.

So Adonai replaces Yah in most verses, with the exception of when it is preceded by halal. I suppose Halleladonai would be pretty awkward, and Halleluyah is one of the most familiar expressions in all of Christianity. Of course, so is Praise the Lord!

The question being asked then, is it appropriate for the original text to be mistranslated  to satisfy a tradition of men. What would Yeshua say?

Then Yeshua said, “Woe to you Torah lawyers as well, for you weigh the people down with burdens hard to carry… Luke 11:46.

The apostle Paul teaches that Messiah came to take down the wall of separation between Jew and gentile. Woe to anyone that tries to maintain that wall for the sake of a tradition. We have a better name, a name above all names. His name is Yeshua and He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Son of God.

The one who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he will never leave it. And on him I will write the name of My God and the name of the city of My God—the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God—and My own new Name.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities.”  Revelations 3:12, 13.

All Things New

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  Rev. 21:5.

Recently I have taken up the command to Write, for inspiration is found in the words that are true and faithful. The Greek word kainos, for new,  is used 44 times; which isn’t surprising since we are partakers of the New Covenant.

For this is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:28.

Spending time with my fellow blogging brethren has caused me the think often on this parable of Jesus:

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better. Luke 5:37-39.

 

Now that I am older, I look back at my youthful zeal and in comparison I think, old is better. That being said, I have really come to enjoy the fresh insights shared by younger Christians as they grow and receive revelations from the Spirit. Clearly both are of great worth. The Church cannot neglect the wisdom of the elders, but they also must continue in the right way and not fall into trusting only in their own experiences.

The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. Pr. 16:31.

I have also found that many bloggers like to include lengthy passages from the teachings from saints of the past. Many people seem to find a continuity by reading the sermons and writings of well respected men and women of God. This too can be a blessing, while avoiding becoming dogmatic and creating opinionated conflicts. His Grace is Sufficient.

who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Co 3:6.

May we always seek to build up the church, by being led by the Spirit at all times. The presence of the Lord is our WiFi connection for the Truth. We may need to offer correction, even rebuke, for instruction in righteousness. Let their be first a strong bond of Grace and Love in our fellowship that this can be received. For us the Ten Commandments have been condensed into One.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34.

We are being prepared by the Holy Spirit to stand as the bride of Christ without spot or wrinkle. We seek a new heaven and new earth where righteousness abides  (2 Peter 3:13). We should take advantage of every opportunity for fellowship to pursue a mature faith. Let us rid ourselves of all things carnal!

Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. 2 Co 5:17.

 

Thoughts on Covenant

The first principle of a covenant relationship with God is that all things must be done according to His purpose.

who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 2 Tim 1:9.

God is able to work out every detail after the counsel of His own will.

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.           Ephesians 1:11.

Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. Acts 11:23.

What is meant by this expression “purpose of heart”?

This word translated purpose is also used in the New Testament for the show-bread that was laid out before the Lord in the Temple Sanctuary. Thus our hearts are laid open before Him;

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  Hebrews 4:13.

Even as the Holy Spirit spoke through Zacharias:

That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. Luke 1:74,75.

And again from Ephesians:

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Ephesians 1:4.

And now as faithful children of God, let us abide in Him.

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 1 John 2:28.

 

 

Faithful to God’s House

Hebrews 3:1-6 compares the Lord Jesus Christ as the High Priest of our profession to the faithfulness of Moses in shepherding Israel through the wilderness. Quoting the Lord in Numbers 12 Moses is said to have been “faithful in all My House”.

And Moses was truly faithful in all His house as a servant for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house, whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Hebrews 3:5 & 6.

Statements with the word “if” are not the most popular among many believers but Jesus himself said that the ones who endure unto the end shall be saved. Matthew 24:13. The admonition is then repeated:  for we are made partakers of Christ if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Hebrews 3:14. While it is said; today if you will hear his voice harden not your hearts as in the provocation. Hebrews 3:15 is now quoting from Psalm 95 and again comparing the body of Christ to the “church in the wilderness.”

When Hebrews 3:5 says that Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, a unique Greek word is used, and translating as “a servant” clouds the importance of this statement. The word doulos is used over 100 times in the New Testament to convey the idea of being a bond-servant or purchased slave of Christ. This one time the word therapon is used which means an attendant. This is the word from which is derived therapeia and the English word therapy. As the therapon to the church in the wilderness Moses attended to the needs of the people, particularly to maintaining a right relationship with the Spirit of the Lord.

To have a zeal for the church and body of Christ, we are being called like Moses to be faithful in all his house. The significance of this statement is only understood from the visitation of the Lord in Numbers 12. The Lord tells Aaron and Miriam “hear now, my words: if there be a prophet among you, I make myself known unto him in a vision and speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so who is faithful in all my house. With him I speak directly.” Hebrews goes on to say that we all can come boldly before throne of grace. We have the same access, the same opportunity to come into the Lord’s presence. After spending time in the sanctuary of the Lord we can speak without presumptuous error and offence. We can be faithful in all his house. Consider now the application of this word study to a correct understanding of this teaching of Christ Jesus.

Who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his lord will make ruler over his household to give them meat in due season? Mt 24:45; Luke 12:42. We find the word servant translating the familiar Greek word doulos, but then we find an extremely poor and misleading use of the word ruler.  To properly understand Jesus when he teaches on stewardship we must always remember his statement “the words that I speak to you are spirit and life” and “the flesh profits nothing”. The concern here is not flesh, Jesus said “I have meat to eat that you know not of, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me.” John 4:32-34. Jesus is seeking elect stewards like Moses who can be faithful in all his house, to see to the spiritual health of the congregation. To be a therapon to provide therapeia (healing) for the body of Christ. Also see the two other uses of the word therapeia in Luke 9:11 and Revelations 22:2, where the word is translated healing. Does the Lord want us to heal people or rule people?

We can serve the congregation like Moses only in the spirit of meekness. Paul wrote that if anyone is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore them in the spirit of meekness…bearing one another’s burdens fulfilling the Law of Christ. Galatians 6 . I entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ. 2 Co 10. This creates a hedge against judgment, for mercy exults over judgment. James 2:13.

Seek the Lord all you meek of the earth which have wrought His judgment. Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be you shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger. Zephaniah 2:3.

The servant of the Lord must not strive but be gentle unto all, apt to teach, patient in meekness to instruct those that oppose themselves so that God perhaps will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. 2 Tim 2:24-26.

These teachings of Paul are essentially a mission statement for the church.

  1. Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called.
  2. Serve with all lowliness and meekness with longsuffering.
  3. Forbear one another in love.
  4. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:1-3. This chapter is a constitutional document for the law of Christ. In chapter 3 Paul invoked the law of togetherness for the church:

  1. Christ has given us life together.
  2. He has raised us up together.
  3. He has made us to sit together in heavenly places.

This is why David wrote concerning Christ: Oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together. Psalms 34:3. The letter to the Ephesians also provides an opportunity to investigate another of Paul’s dissertations on the mysteries of God revealed in the body of Christ. God has made known to us the mystery of his will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself. That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ. Ephesians.1:10.

This continues thematically in chapter 3 of the letter. We might come to understand through the mystery of Christ that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs (with the Jews) and of the same body and partakers of the promise…the fellowship of the mystery which had been hidden in God from the beginning of the world…according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him. (Highlights).

Interesting that when Paul speaks of God’s eternal purpose, the same word is used for show bread in the Gospels. when Jesus speaks of David and his men eating hallowed bread against the law. God’s purpose is our life, lived before Him. In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.  Luke 1:75. 

Even as Barnabas exhorted the church at Antioch:

Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart (hearts laid open before Him like the show bread in the Temple) they would cleave unto the Lord.  Acts 11:23.

Remembering Zeal for the House of God

The Gospel of John has a unique account of Jesus overturning tables of the money changers in the temple. After all the animals had been driven away and the money poured out, Jesus says “Take these things away, do not make My Father’s House a place for merchants.” Then His disciples remembered that it was written “zeal for Your House consumes me.” John 2:17.

The more knowledgeable you become in the Word of God, the more the Holy Spirit is able to speak to you in every situation. Jesus had created a very perilous environment for Himself and the disciples, and most people under these circumstances would be thinking “let’s get out of here, now!” The disciples must have been captivated to see the Word of God being played out before their eyes. This was not the first time they were witnessing prophecy fulfilled, and their hearts would soon be broken to watch what they refused to accept. Even though Jesus warned them three times, their minds refused to accept that the Christ would soon be crucified. The remembrance of Jesus’s words would have a devastating effect. Put yourself in the shoes of Peter when he was confronted by the crowd and accused of being a follower of Christ. He began to curse and deny knowing the man, until the rooster crowed.

And Peter remembered the word of Jesus which said unto him “before the rooster crows you shall deny me three times”. And he went out and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:75.

Oh that we could remember the Word of the Lord before we speak! This is why we must pray like David; “keep your servant from presumptuous words, let them not have dominion over me. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight O Lord my strength and my Redeemer. Psalms 19:14. For even the meek Moses failed to enter the Promised Land, because he failed to sanctify the Lord before the people and spoke presumptuously at the waters of strife, or Meribah.    Psalms 106:32 & 33 and Numbers 20:10-13.

The Remembrance the disciples experience at this incident at the temple is found in Psalm 69, which is one of several Messianic visions of David. Beginning in verse 5 he says: God you know my foolishness and my sins are not hid from you. Let not them that wait on you O Lord be ashamed for my sake; let not those that seek you be confounded for my sake God of Israel. The anointing of Christ must place a burden of responsibility on the stewards of the Gospel to not offend someone to the detriment of their soul. James wrote: “if a man offends not in word, the same is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2.  We must discipline our tongue before we can ever discipline our flesh.

Psalm 69 continues to verse 9; for the zeal of your house consumes me, and the reproaches of them that reproached you are fallen upon me. The second half of this verse is quoted by Paul in Romans 15:3.  He says: “let every one of us please our neighbors for the good of edification. For even Christ did not please Himself but as it is written…” This is his overriding theme that began in the previous chapter. Romans 14 is devoted to the exhortation that concern for our brethren must direct our actions. A zeal for God’s House can now only be expressed through our concern for each other.

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore but judge this rather that no one put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in a brother’s way.   Romans 14:13.

The other three Gospels give a different rendering of this event. In Matthew 21:13, Isaiah 56:7 is quoted. “It is written: My house shall be called the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” Then a significant event immediately follows the merchants being driven from the Temple.

And the blind and the lame came to Him and he healed them. Matthew 21:14.

The blind and the lame entered the Temple for the first time because the Lord made the way for them. Their exclusion from the Temple was brought about by a curse spoken by David in anger, and is found in 2 Samuel 5. David and his men went to take Jerusalem from the Jebusites and are taunted by them saying “unless you can defeat the blind and the lame you will not come up here.” They considered the stronghold of Zion to be impregnable, but Joab led the men up the sewer and defeated the Jebusites and slew “the blind and the lame whom David’s soul hates.” Therefore it became a statute at the words of David that the blind and the lame shall not come into The House. Again,  words spoken presumptuously by an anointed man of God became a curse that Jesus removed with His compassion. 

Zeal for the house of God is expressed through compassion and loving kindness.