Archive for 2011

December 2, 2011 – A Child and a Concordance

Matthew 19:14 “Yeshua said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.”

About 10 years ago, against my better judgment,  I sent my two youngest children off to a Vacation Bible School.  The week’s events were based on the life of Christ which I figured would be benign and harmless.

When I went to pick my children up after the first morning, my eight-year-old son was acting strangely.  I asked him what was bothering him and he said that they had decorated Christmas trees.  He was very upset about the event, refused to take part,  and even went to his sister’s classroom to remove her.

I, too, was very upset.  Let’s get to the basics here.  If someone wants to teach about the life of Christ and start with his birth, that is fine with me.  However, a better way to teach about the event would be using the Bible account.  There were shepherds watching sheep and angels singing praise songs at the event.  No one decorated a tree with gold and silver and, there is no reference to those things at the birth of Jesus in my Bible.

My son continued in a state of confusion for a few more hours.  I didn’t quite understand why, but as we began talking about what happened, he was indecisive about returning the next day.  When I realized the stand my son had taken, I  told both of my children they could go or not, it made no difference to me because I figured the worst was over.  My son, however, could not make a decision.

I decided to give him a little help.  I pulled out my NIV Exhaustive Concordance and sat him down next to me on the sofa.   I explained to him that every word in our Bibles was in this book.  I even showed him all the references to ‘the’, ‘a’, and ‘but’.  Then, I told him we were going to look up ‘Christmas’ and find all the referencnes to it in our Bible.  He opened the huge book and turned the pages slowly looking for C.  He followed with his finger down the page until he looked at me and said, “It’s not in here.”

Since we celebrated the Sabbath for his whole life, he had never gone to church on Sunday. I knew if he continued to go the VBS for the week,  he would be asked to attend church on Sunday for some presentation or other as it was the church’s way of getting people there.  I suggested we look up Sunday.  Again, he looked for the reference and when he couldn’t find it, he looked at me and said again, “It’s not in here.”

My final suggestion was Easter.  As he found the entry in the concordance, it said, “a mistranslation of the word Pesach’.  Because he had celebrated Passover for his entire life, he immediately knew that Pesach meant Passover.  He looked at me and asked, “Passover is in the Bible?”  I didn’t have to encourage him to check it out.  He  turned the pages until he found Passover.  I showed him the number next to the word meant how many times it was found in the NIV Bible.

“What else is in here?” he asked.  “Is Feast of Trumpets or Hanukkah?”  He began looking up all of the Feasts of the Lord.  He commented on how many times each of them appeared in the Bible.  When he was done he closed the concordance and sat for just a few moments.  Then he stated, “I’ve made my decision about going back to that school tomorrow.”

“What is it?” I asked.

“I don’t want to go anymore because nothing they do is in the Bible!”

I share this story because over the past few years I have begun hearing people try to defend one version or another of the Bible to the exclusion of all others.   I have even heard people come against one Concordance or another.  It is important that we use the tools in front of us to teach and train whoever needs teaching and training.  It is the Spirit of God that guides us into all Truth; not a specific version of Scripture whether in Hebrew, Aramaic, English, Polish, Chinese or Portuguese or Zulu!  To know the Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek may give a deeper meaning to a Scripture, but it is not the end-all of Scripture translation.

Years ago I heard a story about a woman in a prison who had one page of the Bible.  It was all she ever had or read.  From that one page, she had a vibrant and powerful relationship with the Lord.  It probably wasn’t in Hebrew or King James English, but in her own language, whatever that was.  It didn’t matter whether the translation was by word or phrase or from the Greek.  What mattered is she had the Word of God, one page, and it was precious to her and touched and changed her heart.

The faith that my eight-year-old son exercised was not about the original language of the Scripture, for he could only read English, but about what was contained within those Scriptures.   It wasn’t about whether the concordance was the ‘right one’ or  had some ‘problems’, but that what was contained therein gave him an understanding of what was Truth and what was not.  He simply believed what he read and the Spirit of wisdom did the rest.

©2011 jsixrock

 

November 29, 2011 – Wedding Invitations

Recently I was at a wedding.  The man officiating the ceremony said, “You are all here because you are invited guests and only invited guests come to a wedding ceremony.”  For some reason, my thoughts immediately went to the soon-to-be wedding ceremony for the Messiah and His Bride.  Yes, I thought, only guests who are invited will be at the marriage of the Lamb.

As I thought about this a little later, I remembered a parable that Yeshua taught about a wedding banquet that was being prepared by a father for his son  (Mat. 22, Lk. 14).   All of the ‘invited guests’ were too busy with other things – they were just married, they had bought livestock, they just couldn’t be bothered because the timing was off.    So the host of the banquet sent out invitations to what we would consider ‘random people.’  Those ‘random people’ became the honored guests and were able to enjoy and be blessed with the festivities of the wedding banquet.  There was one wedding guest who did not have on the proper wedding clothes and though he received an invitation, he was removed from the party because many are invited, but few are chosen.

The wedding feast of the Lamb will be a literal feast or Appointed Time of the LORD.  It will most likely be a Passover  as Yeshua said he would not celebrate it again until it was given its full meaning in the Kingdom.  With all the types and shadows of a Jewish betrothal ceremony, the Passover in the Kingdom would be given its full meaning and purpose – an actual wedding feast.  It could also be the Feast of Tabernacles when the nations are gathered together in Jerusalem and the Armies of Heaven (the Bride)  rule and reign with the Messiah King for 1000 years.    It could even be the eternal Sabbath as that is a day ‘set apart by Yahweh’ and the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven ‘like a bride.‘   The weekly Sabbath has been considered by some as the ‘bride day of the week’.  Which of the annual festivals will be the marriage supper of the Lamb remains to be seen, but the invitations have been sent out by the Father with many of the RSVP excuses being, “that’s a Jewish festival so I’m not going” or “I don’t have to go to that, that’s legalistic” or “that’s not for today because Jesus fulfilled all of those things.”

The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come’, with an open invitation to all, but only a few will actually choose to be at the wedding of the Lamb at the time the Father has already set.    Only a few will see that the wedding of the Lamb is between a Jewish King and His Bride who wants His name, His people, His lifestyle, His culture.   Only a few will understand the blessing of an appointed time and prepare to join in celebrating the wedding of  an eternity.   Only a few will understand that the fulfillment of all things, especially the banquets of God, still has fruit to bear in Yeshua.    Fewer still, a remnant of saints, will choose to work out their sanctification with righteous acts and receive the fine linen gown given only to the Bride who wants honored guests to celebrate her marriage to the Lamb and join in the Feast of all Feasts.

©2011 jsixrock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Defense of Biblical Dance for Men and Women

מחול : In Defense Of Biblical Dance In Praise & Worship to YHVH…

 by Bill Carlson

Sometimes you’ll hear people say that Praise and Worship in corporate/mixed-dance is not allowed between men and women in Judaism, and that it never has been allowed, and that it is universally forbidden. Or you’ll hear others say that dancing in a circle is pagan and that it was never done by Israel. This article disproves those false notions, and gives a source for you to be able to defend against these attacks.

First of all: The context is not dancing or holding hands at a bar; rather the context is choreographed dance, unto YHVH, in Praise and Worship, with a team of men, women, children, and families that are dedicated in ministry to serve YAH in offering up their lives as a sacrifice of Praise unto Him.

Most Messianic Congregations do allow for men and women dancing together, such as in the Hora,  but some will appeal to the supposed ‘final word’ of Orthodox halakha saying that it is forbidden to do so. However, there were many Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Oriental Orthodox communities that did so up until more recent times.  Some still have dance during celebrations and events with both men and women together.

I’ve heard tons of people in the 20+ years that have witnessed Messianic Dance in Praise and Worship unto YAH, being done by men and women and even whole families, say how much it ministered to them, and especially that the men would be humble enough to join in and also dance unto YAH. Holiness is one of the standards taught in most dance ministries, and that is what I’ve seen demonstrated by our local dance team, of both men and women, for many many years now. It is a ministry to YAH, and a blessing of being in one accord in corporate worship – even for whole families.

With some congregation and churche attitudes today, I shudder to think what would have happened to the woman who dared to wipe Yeshua/(Jesus’) feet with her hair and kiss His feet.  Also in view of some attitudes I see today,  I ponder how,  for 200 or so years,  in this country, small church communities in the U.S., who by their actions obviously understood that we are now supposed to be brothers and sisters in Messiah could possibly have come together on occasion for a pot-luck dinner after a hard week’s work and actually dared to hold a square-dance and not have their out of wedlock birthrate going through the roof like it is today!

It is important to note that in the Tabernacle, and in the 1st Temple (and in the 2nd Temple pre-Herod), there was no court of the Gentiles nor court of the women. There was only: The Outer Court, The Inner Court, and The Holy of Holies.  Messiah Yeshua/(Jesus) in His Word declares that we are now a Royal Priesthood, a nation of priests/priestess’, and the middle wall of partition is broken down. While many of the modern Orthodox in Judaism try to bring that partition back up with a rope down the center isle (and it seems that some Messianics would like to follow that same tradition), let’s look at earlier Orthodox Judaic beliefs and practices more closely.

A brief overview  to Orthodox & Judaic practices 

both old and modern, in regards to corporate/mixed-dancing

Oriental Jewry – [NOTE: The Sephardi-Oriental/Yemenite Judaic communities are considered the closest to Biblical practices in their culture, language–since they were the most isolated in their region, and separated from Ashkenazi European influence.] “There are many communities, such as the Moroccans, Georgians, Libyans, and Ethiopians, in which spontaneous group folk dancing is important, yet the Jews of Yemen and Kurdistan Jewry are among the most prominent traditional cultures attributing dynamic importance to dance in the daily and festive life of the community. Dance among the Jews born in Yemen comprises stylistic diversity characteristic of urban and rural settlements as well as including women and men. Dancing usually takes place during ceremonies and celebrations…”*[Jewish Dance from the Bible to Hasidism by Dvora Lapson (director of the Dance Education Department of the Board of Jewish Education in New York, and was an instructor in Jewish dance education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion) and  Amnon Shiloah (Professor of Musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

{From Encyclopedia Judaica 22 Volume Set 2nd edition by Skolink, Fred (editor), 2006.}

http://www.jewish-theatre.com/visitor/article_display.aspx?articleID=2694

Kurdistan Jewry“…The history of the community began well before the destruction of the First Temple and continued for many generations. Ancient tradition has it that Jews were settled in Kurdistan 2,800 years ago, part of the Ten Tribes dispersed by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser. Kurdish Jews identify themselves as amongst those described in the Prophets: “…the king of Assyria captured Samaria. He deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah, at the [River] Habor, at the River Gozan…” (2 Kings 17:6), places which are in fact within the Kurdistan region…. During celebrations and parties there was no separation between men and women; holding hands, they danced folkloric dances together….”

*[ http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/kurdish-women]

European Jewry – On Hassadic customs of separation replacing the older mix-dancing practices: “…For Jews living in a Germanic, Slavic, or Hungarian ethnic environment, dancing became the focus of ethical strictures, unceasingly repeated by the rabbis…contra dance and couple dance formations, in some of which the partners of opposite sexes held one another by the hand or waist. In contra dances, the couple figures were distributed among a changing series of partners and at times combined line and couple formations….In Eastern Europe, the peasantry adopted these dances at various periods after the seventeenth century…. As Hasidism assumed its mature form in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, it ritualized and sacralized many aspects of Jewish life…Southern European non-Hasidic communities sometimes preserved the pre-Hasidic popular custom of dancing without handkerchiefs….”

*[ http://www.yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Dance/An_Overview]

Austro-Hungarian Transylvania Jewry“…a Neolog wedding allowed for mixed-sex dancing. Gypsy musicians were hired for Jewish weddings, and played a few Jewish songs (usually “Belz” alongside various Yiddish theater songs and a few Sabbath zmiros) while providing csardas music for dancing….”

*[http://www.dinayekapelye.com/jmromania.htm]

U.S. & Great Britan / Orthodox mixed dancing 1960-1961: “…by 1960, in Great Britain, like in the United States, the majority of Orthodox Jews saw nothing religiously wrong with mixed dancing at social events, even in the synagogue…the rabbis either saw nothing really wrong with it, or justified it as a lesser of evils or they saw nothing at all….finally – the Jewish Chronicle did the sensible thing and asked various British rabbis their view and found that “Ministers Divided on Mixed Dancing (January 13, 1961). They asked 11 United Synagogue rabbis (called Ministers). Eight said there was nothing wrong with mixed dancing, two declined to comment and only one said it was wrong….”

*[ http://onthemainline.blogspot.com/2011/06/great-mixed-dancing-controversy-of-1960.html ]

“Rabbi Senter acknowledged that “in the past” many Orthodox congregations had allowed social dancing at synagogue events….”

*[Is Dancing Kosher? Jews Struggle to Define Orthodoxy – {http://www.nytimes.com/1990/11/28/nyregion/is-dancing-kosher-jews-struggle-to-define-orthodoxy.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm }

*Negiah (Hebrew: נגיעה‎),[1] literally “touch,” is the concept in Halakha that forbids or restricts physical contact with a member of the opposite sex…”The laws of Negiah are typically followed by Orthodox Jews, with varying levels of observance….Adherents of Conservative and Reform Judaism do not usually follow these laws.” *[http://www.ask.com/wiki/Negiah?qsrc=3044 ]

*Regarding “Tznius” / Negiah (rulings based on interpretations of mainly one section at the close of one Tractate of Talmud), these only appears to be a “universal codified halakha in Judaism” in its present modern day form, because it was expanded and re-interpreted into a stricter application from the 19th century on by the Hassidic ultra-Orthodox community, starting in Europe (although it wasn’t adopted in South Europe for a long time by the Rabbinic Communities who disagreed with the Hassidim stricter interpretations.) These Frum/Hassidic rulings did not fully take place in the U.S. and England until 1960/61; and they never took effect in the ancient Rabbinic Judaic communities in the Oriental/Mid-East that were isolated from the European influence of this Hassidic movement. – Historical evidence shows that mixed-dancing for celebrations and events were permitted and considered proper including in Synagogues in Orthodox communities in various countries including Europe and elsewhere, until the later Hassidic rulings finally became widespread in more modern times.

Historical understandings in Orthodox Judaism permitting corporate/mixed dancing, until the 19th century Hassidic strict re-interpretations of Tznius in Talmudic literature:

“…Decisors from among the Ahronim (later authorities) disagree regarding touching and are not of one mind even regarding embracing and kissing that are not in “an endearing manner.” ShaKh (R. Shabbetai ben Meir ha-Kohen, Lithuania, 1621–1662) maintained that “even Maimonides only prohibited when one embraces and kisses in a manner of sexual endearment, for we have found in the Talmud in several places that the Amoraim would embrace and kiss their daughters and their sisters” (Siftei Kohen, Yoreh De’ah 157:10). R. Moses Feinstein, a leading American posek, permitted using public transport in New York, even though “it is difficult to prevent touching and bumping against women,” for the reason that “this is not a lustful and endearing manner,” and therefore does not entail “even a Rabbinical prohibition” (Iggerot Moshe, Even ha-Ezer, vol. 2, para. 14). Contemporary poskim who seek to intensify gender separation tend to excessively stress the severity of this prohibition, to include it in the category of prohibitions connected with menstrual impurity, and thereby magnify the severity of the ban on mixed dancing. Dancing was conducted in various Jewish communities in medieval Europe. A noteworthy phenomenon was the institutionalization of dancing in Ashkenazic communities; special public buildings were erected for this purpose. The earliest testimony to the construction of such a building is from the late thirteenth century (1290), in the community of Augsburg (see Friedhaber 1984: 94). Many communities possessed dance houses, and some localities even engaged in mixed dancing, under the supervision and partial limitation of communal regulations; this activity was under the guidance and with the approval of the communal rabbis and sages…. In the first half of the twentieth century, the religious Zionist youth groups and the religious kibbutzim movement engaged in mixed horah dancing… Beginning in the early nineteenth century, this degree of flexibility generally waned in ultra-Orthodox circles… this trend intensified, beginning in the middle of the twentieth century, and resulted in many additional stringencies….The religious Zionist society in Erez Israel, before and after the establishment of the state, until the 1960s…This attitude was clearly influenced by a principle from the time of R. Eliezer ben Joel of Bonn, that, on the grounds of “regilut,” mixed activity by boys and girls or men and women would not necessarily result in sexual stimuli. The ideals of female equality and the participation by women in all spheres of life also aided in justifying the a priori reality of a mixed society….”*[http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/modesty-and-sexuality-in-halakhic-literature]

NOTE: If one reads all the above citation, along with the earlier ones I gave prior to this one above and various other historical articles regarding this subject one can look up on the internet,  one can see that ‘touching’ was not strictly forbidden.  We can see evidence of this  from the earlier records of Orthodox communities across the world.   Indeed even in the Talmudic commentaries on the portion itself there are differing interpretation as to the times that touching would be considered inappropriate. Corporate/mixed-dancing in a religious context, as in Synagogues during celebrations and events, was sanctioned by the Rabbi’s and Sages, was frequent, and was not considered a sinful event…Until the Hassidim came to power much later on.

In addition to the comments above, there is one more Rabbinic quotation I’ll give that shows even more clearly that the Hassidic 19thcentury demands of imposing their restrictions against all touching of women, as being universal and forbidden in Judaism, is incorrect.

The Pharisees, contrary to what the Talmudic Agada would like you to believe, did NOT originate in Elijah’s, or even in Ezra’s time, but as the P’rush sect during the Maccabeen period. This can be looked up in Ency. Judaica.   They comprised a very tiny percentage of the Israeli population, less than 1%.  They were only fully in power in the Sanhedrin from the time of Hillel the 1st or from 50 years or so before Yeshua Messiah’s birth until 70 A.D.  This accounts for about only 120 years of Israel’s 2200 or so years of existence beginning with Abraham’s circumcision until the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 A.D.   By the 1st century, many (all) of the Pharisees had adopted the practice of not touching, nor even hardly speaking to women in public. This was also done because they held the view that women were considered inferior. There are plenty of commentaries that show that was their view of women. When the Tznius laws were expanded and re-interpreted in order to be practiced in a stricter sense by the Hassidim in the 19thcentury, it was done so by demanding to include Rabbinic additions to the Niddah laws of Torah to justify their stricter application. Today it is taken so far that in many branches of the Ultra-Orthodox no touching is permitted whatsoever aside from one’s wife, and some even not being allowed to touch/approach ones wife for ½ of the month on either side of a wife being “Niddah”.    This is NOT universal nor forbidden in Judaism.  For seven centuries we have documentation in many countries, some even going back at least to the 1200’s, of corporate-mixed-dancing being permitted in Orthodox communities, allowed even in Synagogues, during events and celebrations overseen by the Rabbis and Sages prior to the 19th century Hassidic rulings (as well as continuing today in those ancient Judaic communities that were isolated from European Hassidic influence, and even in the U.S. & England, and Israel).   The Hassidim finally won out in the rulings of 1960/61.

Besides the contentions in the commentaries on Talmud itself (such as by Maimonides only prohibited a hug and even a kiss if done in a sexual manner/motivation) we also have conflicting statements in Talmud itself to the “Tznius” portion in the end of that tractate. One important Talmudic quote, that shows the modern Hassidim’s contentions are false and misleading, is quoted in full following.

This is by Rabbi Aha, who was quoted more often in the Jerusalem Talmud (which was finished some 200 years before the Babylonian Talmud) than he is in the Babylonian Talmud.   “In Ketubot 17a we see: ‘Rabbi Aha took the bride on his shoulder and danced. The Rabbis asked him: “May we do the same?” He answered: “If the bride be on your shoulder like a beam, you may; otherwise not.”’ (i.e.: if apart from sexual motivation, yes, otherwise not.)  Hardly universal forbidding of all touching! And this is from one of the very Rabbi’s quoted in Talmud itself!

Dancing in a Circle

Another argument one will sometimes hear, is that ‘circular’ or dancing in a circle, is a pagan practice and that it was not done by Israel in Praise Dance unto YHVH; the following shows that notion is not the case.

The main words used in Hebrew for dance that show circular-dancing:

“The Hebrew word chagag (hah-gahg Strong’s #2287) means (kindred to the root chuwg [hoog]) to go round in a circle, hence– (1) to dance ~ root word chuwg (#2328): -TO DESCRIBE A CIRCLE, TO DRAW A CIRCLE, as with a compass.

Two other related words also yield the same basic theme: Strong’s # 2329 is spelled and pronounced the same as #2328, chuwg (hoog): “a circle, sphere, used of the arch or vault of the sky,”  Finally there is the Hebrew word chagah (hah-gah Strong’s #2283). According to Strong it means:  from an unused root mean.(ing) to revolve.  Machol (mah-coal Strong’s #4234) is also used several times in scripture. It means: “a (round) dance” which comes from another root word (#2342) chul (hool).

Hebrew forms of the word showing circle/round-dance used in relationship to Dance in Praise and Worship to YHVH are used in several places, as in: Psalms 149:3 [machol: 4234  in commentaries: a ‘round-dance’] Let THEM praise <01984> (8762) his name <08034> in the (ROUND/CIRCLE)-dance <04234>: let them sing praises <02167> (8762) unto him with the timbrel <08596> and harp <03658>.  Scholarship who notes this,  agrees that this was the form of dance the Hebrew word describes here that the THEM/plural/group were commanded to do.  “WHIRLING” Hebrew word for dance, is 2342/Khool – a separate word and is used in Judges 21:21.

Machol (round/circle dance) is also used of dancing in: Psalms 150:4, and again in a PLURAL/group dance in Jeremiah 31:13; and again in Lam.5:15., to name just a few, as well as other places that a round/circle, or even a whirling around in a circle is indicated by different Hebrew words.

Choreographed dance is also mentioned in the Talmud as taking place in the 2nd Temple on Sukkot as well, in the two courts, through here I’m not appealing to Talmud to prove the point.   The words that indicate whirling/twirling around (also in a circular/round motion), do not necessarily mean un-choreographed or wild at all; but where David danced, it is implied in the Hebrew word 3769 kaw-raw, which does indicate a wild dance. The notion some people have, that YHVH ONLY intended in His Commands for us to Praise Him in Dance, that is: un-Choreographed, and/or wild and disorganized, is ridiculous! The various Hebrew words that are employed and scholarship shows otherwise.

All of these studies on the Hebrew words for dance and related subjects can be found in many sources and scholars writings, here are just a few locations:

www.bethhillel.com/pages.asp?pageid=85963

www.oneagleswingsinc.org/

The_Biblical_Basis_of_Dance_in_Worship.html

www.hamishkandavid.org/id55.html

 

Following are brief comments in critique of the document/article:

“Praise Dance, Worship Dance –  by Jim Feeny”.

This article needs to be addressed, as the author’s article is based on incorrect and misleading premises and conclusions, and has faults in proofs used to arrive at his conclusions on what Scripture has to say concerning dance.  Starting from his very first sentence, his opening premise itself is highly misleading: “…A significant biblical fact is that the following terms — praise dance, praise dancing, worship dance, worship dancing, praise and worship dance, and praise dance ministry — are commonly used by those endorsing this form of worship, yet none of these terms occurs even one time in the bible….”

While perhaps not employed as proper-nouns in Scripture, these terms are virtually all used as action-verbs in Scripture; though he’s giving readers the impression these concepts are absent entirely from Scripture (later in his article he attempts to show that while most translators translate ‘dance’ in certain places, it might not mean ‘dance’ there, but even those statements of his are invalid – more on this later).  So even by his opening statement he’s showing his agenda is to denigrate Worship Dance in general, which is noted by his conclusion/(premise) in his closing statements (which is contrary to Scripture’s commands) in his article: ‘(due to actions that are pagan or immodest, ancient & modern)’–>“…That reason alone should bring great inhibition to dancing in church…”.

Pagan groups’ actions in ancient times, or modern immodest and wrong behavior on the part of some, are NOT reasons to “BRING INHIBITION TO DANCING IN CHURCH” ! To even suggest we inhibit right dancing in worship is completely contrary to YAH’s commands in Scripture instructing His people to PRAISE/WORSHIP IN DANCE !

Addressing the pagan practices in ancient times: Pagan-dancing to a foreign god, is as disassociated from dancing unto YHVH in Praise and Worship, as is: Pagans sacrificing a goat on an altar vs. the Cohen of YHVH sacrificing the goat on Yom Kippur! Though they may appear to be similar somewhat in practices,  they are not at all related and are an eternity apart. To try and compare pagan practices, as being on any kind of a yard-stick or parity, to any form of ministry unto YHVH which is outlined in Scripture, is a dangerous backwards proof-texting as one can (falsely) sow dispersions and denigrate all the commanded forms of Praise and Worship by such an (false) appeal by noting that the pagans did the same things in their pagan-worship practices.  Pagans sang, prayed, danced, sacrificed, etc…; yet to attempt to use their (pagans) practices, to relate to Worship unto YAH, is insulting at best, and a completely backward premise.

In spiritual circumspection one examines the counterfeit from the True; NOT illustrating and critiquing the True/Holy from the profane!  Trying in this way to equate the two is itself profane. One could use such false circular reasoning to even say the post-19th century Hassidic views on dance are wrong; for example: ‘The pagans method of dance was often done by male only dancers, such as the male priests of baal dancing to a pagan god on Mt. Carmel; therefore we can conclude (falsely) that the Hassidic practice of males only dancing to YHVH is a pagan practice and displeasing to YAH.’

Is this type of exegesis of Scripture valid? OF COURSE NOT!  Yet that is the type of circular reasoning that is used all the time by those who have an agenda to prove something against dance or that other things they’re against is wrong.  One such example that is: ‘Witches and cults dance in ‘circles’, we don’t see Israel dancing in circles, so dancing in circles is pagan and an abomination to YHVH’!  Besides the fact that this is an example of backwards-circular reasoning, there are several words used for ‘dance’ in Scripture unto YHVH, and several of those mean in Hebrew ‘circular/round dance’!

Exegesis/Isogesis from something not stated in Scripture is an argument from silence which all to often results in false conclusions. Such as: ‘The reason one doesn’t see mixed-dancing in Scripture unto YHVH is it was never allowed.’  This same type of argument is used by those who are anti-Torah to say the Shabbat is done away with saying, ‘All the ten-commandments are restated in the N.T., but the command to keep the Shabbat day is not restated, so we know the Shabbat was done away with.’  Again, this is an example of backward-circular reasoning.

Following that train of thought, while there are several verses that say to Praise YAH in dance, there are very few examples given that specify who was dancing on those few occasions that were shown (Miryam, David, etc…). To say that men and women never danced in corporate Praise and Worship during Israel’s 1000’s of years of history, because we only have a very few examples of women and men dancing separately, is again reading a definitive statement into the text of something that isn’t there.   Then if one is backing up that notion by citing the couple of examples of pagans dancing in mixed-company, this still doesn’t prove the notion that corporate-dancing unto YHVH is wrong or was never done.   (Again, for the reasons of pagan sacrifice, song, and prayer not being used as examples to invalidate the valid: Sacrifice, Song, Prayer  as I outlined above).

Since it isn’t clearly stated otherwise, one could just as easily make the case that the very few occasions where we have of only women dancing is because it was out of the norm or because it was a special event that just happened to be performed only by women that day.   There’s nothing more that was to be read into it.  One might as easily take it this way as being the fact as the other if one is going to start speculating on exegesis based on arguments of silence to make definitive statements.

Then to further back up the argument from silence by stating things like: ‘Such was never done in Judaism, as touching women is forbidden in Judaism, and always has been’  is not correct either. If one reads current Orthodox commentaries one will get the impression that has always been the case; but that is because what you are reading is the modern/post-19th-century Orthodox Hassidic rulings that applied a much stricter view of Talmudic commentary written from 200 to 500 years after the destruction of the Temple.  Appealing to Talmud is itself kind of pointless as in Talmud there is always the minority and majority view on any subject that most often totally contradicts itself. Without research (which I did give in my prior citations in this article above) it is not easy to see at first glance that the Orthodox practice for centuries prior to the 19th century (and in some cases past the middle of the 20th c.) did NOT condemn corporate/mixed-dance at celebrations and events,  including in Synagogues overseen by the Rabbi’s and Sages.   Nor is it obvious that the strict (supposed) universal ban on touching, was not even universally agreed upon in the very Talmudic commentary itself from which they quote (which again: was written centuries after the destruction of the Temple) to make their point!    In fact,  the Rabbi they consider the greatest of all times, Maimonides,  even disagrees with a main and key point of that section of Talmudic commentary, stating that a hug and even a kiss, if done in a non-sexual manner is fine – something modern Hassidic Orthodoxy would completely disagree with and would obviously contradict their “never allowed, etc…” false-premise.   So of course in the Hassidic Orthodox commentary you’ll rarely, if ever, see these contentions brought up as they completely invalidate their post 19th century rulings and stance as being ‘universal’.

One more point, the author says where it is translated ‘dance’ by most translators in places, it might not be dance as it isn’t translated as such by….  –  and he appeals to LAMSA’s Aramaic Tanakh. But there is a problem with that:  a) Lamsa is considered a heretic by conservative scholarship due to certain of his beliefs; and b) The Tanakh (with the exception of Daniel and a chapter elsewhere) is written and was given in HEBREW, NOT Aramaic!   It is a mistake to use an inferior source, to contradict a primary and valid source where the valid source is clear.  It means next to nothing to say an Aramaic word, as translated by a single translator who is himself questionable, might have a different meaning than the original Hebrew word WHEN WE HAVE THE ORIGINAL HEBREW WORD!   That having been said, here is a verse even he admits translators have said does speak of corporate-dance unto YHVH:  “…there is some dispute whether Jeremiah prophesied that men would dance with women  at the return of Israel from bondage. Let me quote it again: “Then maidens will dance* and be glad, young men and old as well” (Jeremiah 31:13).  Some read that as the maidens, the young men and the old men all dancing together….”   But then he goes on to use modern Orthodox references and Lamsa to discount that (again, using inferior proof-texting as I’ve outlined above).

NOTE: The word for dance here in Jer.31:13 is also one of the Hebrew words indicating round (or circle) dance: machowl #4234 מחול ]

The arguments by this author (J. Feeny), that I’ve outlined in the critique of his document above, show they are: biased, based on an agenda with an invalid premise and conclusions, that he is building dogma on arguments of silence, and he is using faulty incomplete and inferior proof-texting material.

Conclusion

And David danced before YHVH/the-LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.   Let them praise His Name in the dance: let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp.   Praise Him with the timbrel and dance: praise Him with stringed instruments and organs.  Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together:  for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.   Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness….

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.  (2Samuel 6:14; Psalms 149:3; Psalms 150:4; Jeremiah 31:13; Psalms 30:11; Luke 15:20-32). מחול

©Bill Carlson, 2011 and Inner Court Dancers

The Inerrant, Infallible Word of God

“Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you” (Deuteronomy 4:2).

“And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll” (Revelation 22:19).

Recently I read all of the Statements of Faith from each the churches I have attended in my life to see how they defined the Bible.  Every one, and I attended many different denominations, included one or several of the words inerrant, infallible, inspired or authoritative in their statement.   One statement even went so far as to say that if something isn’t in Scripture it cannot be part of the faith. My question became, “Why, if the Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and inspired, does the church observe doctrines that aren’t in Scripture and discourage those that are?”

Infallible:  incapable of making mistakes or being wrong

Inerrant: incapable of being wrong

Inspired: of extraordinary quality, as if arising from some external creativity

Authoritative:  best of its kind, unable to be improved upon

According to the definitions of these words, each Statement of Faith  claims that the Scriptures are incapable of having mistakes, being wrong or being  improved upon.   This means that the Bible is always right and not subject to being changed because somewhere, at some time, someone made an inspirational mistake.

Let us also remember that Yeshua and his Father are one and not two different voices in Scripture. Yeshua is the Word of God revealed in the flesh of a man.  Their words cannot be divided into denominational doctrines or the idea that “God said this in the OT  while Jesus said that in the New. They are One voice speaking together (John 1:1-2, 14, John 10:30).

Advent Lutheran Church

“Our congregation accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life.”

I grew up attending this liturgical-based church which at the time was the Lutheran Church in America (LCA).  It is now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).    This is where I learned about God and received my first Bible.  I was a faithful attendee and never missed any service or activity with my family.   I did not; however, learn about having a personal relationship with Jesus in this church.   I did learn how to have a relationship with church.  Though I was given a Bible in third grade, I never took it with me nor was I encouraged to open it.   This is not to say that I didn’t read my Bible as a child, I did.  I just never read it in church.

Church of the Brethren

“The central emphasis of the Brethren is not a creed, but a commitment to follow Jesus in simple obedience, to be faithful disciples in the modern world. We hold the New Testament as our guidebook for living, affirming with it the need for lifelong study of the Scriptures.”

A Brethren church is Anabaptist in doctrine, similar to the Amish and Mennonite faiths.  I attended this church only for a few short months as my parents took a ‘break’ from our regular church due to divisional issues about how to spend money.    This was the only church in my youth where I actually opened my Bible.  My Sunday school teacher gave me a verse to read to my fifth grade class.  It was this Old Testament Scripture that has led to my lifelong study of the Word: “The grass dries up, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).

LIFE Fellowship

“The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.”

This is the church I attended soon after I was born again.  It was evangelical in scope, met in a movie theater, and the pastor had serious concerns about psychology being taught in the church.  Here, I learned the difference between a humanistic world view and a Biblical one.     It was at this church that I first raised my hands in worship and called myself a ‘born again Christian.’   This pastor also made a stand against living together and marriage between a believer and unbeliever.  This convicted me as I lived with my future husband and he was, at that time, not a believer. 

Little Church in the Pines

When I attended Little Church in the Pines, the pastor was from a Mennonite Anabaptist background.  Here is a link to their entire position on the Bible since it is quite involved: http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/just4you/jfy277.html

This is the church where I was married and my husband and I attended for about two years.  I don’t remember reading the Bible, but it had wonderful fellowship and I made lifelong friendships within the community of believers.  It was in this church that I was first introduced to Hebraic dancing and my heart for the Jewish people began to blossom.  This church [building] has now become an historic monument to the mining days in Salina in the foothills outside of Boulder, Colorado. It is considered a spiritual center where anyone can meet and follow whatever spiritual direction they choose.   It no longer has a statement of faith.

Rocky Mountain Christian Fellowship

“We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God, inerrant in the original writings” (Psalm 19:7, 2 Timothy 3:16,  2 Peter 1:21).

My husband and I went to this church with our two young children for five years.  We had excellent New Testament teaching that gave us an solid apostolic foundation.  We were taught that we needed to obey the commands of God, but then were given vague concepts to what that obedience looked like.   When I once asked the pastor how we are to look different from the world, he responded, “All we need is Jesus.”  Apart from knowing there was more than ‘Jesus’ in my Bible, Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” I knew there was a Father that I needed to know more intimately.

When my husband and I began to seriously study the Scriptures for ourselves in order to ‘build on Jesus’, we quickly learned such building was discouraged from anything that remotely looked different from New Testament theology.  Any form of worship apart from what was considered acceptable ‘non-denominational’ was also discouraged.  A small dance group that had begun and brought some much-needed intimate fellowship was highly discouraged until it disbanded. 

It was during these years that my husband and I attended a concert at Roeh Israel in Denver. In the twinkling of an eye, the moment we entered the sanctuary, our spiritual lives and walks changed forever.   Many questions I had about the Bible and my faith since childhood were answered as I watched Jews and gentiles worshipping the Messiah together.  We continued visiting Roeh Israel when possible and the Messianic Jewish pastors connected the dots between Old Testament prophecy, the Messiah of Israel, and the Jewish people in an authentic New Testament way.

Church of the Nazarene

“We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by which we understand the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, inerrant revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith” (Luke 24:44-47; John 10:35; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:20-21). 

We attended this church for three months.  During this time I had a molar pregnancy and the pastor’s wife was very encouraging to me in the hospital.   I do not remember any Scripture I was taught in this church as I was sick most of the time.   I do know they were not afraid of all 66 books because I was invited to teach Hebraic dancing to the children at their Vacation Bible School.

Dayspring Christian Fellowship

We attended this elder-directed church for a couple of years while it searched for a pastor.  During these two years, I made the communion bread.  While kneading it every week, I prayed that they would find a Messianic Jew to fill the position.  A Jewish man was eventually chosen from several possibilities and soon after, they began to celebrate Passover.  Dayspring is no longer a church, but a type of school that includes counseling services.  I’m sure they believed in the inerrant, infallible, inspired  Word of God when we attended; however, one of the elders made it very clear to me and my husband that God doesn’t care about the 10 Commandments while another one challenged our ‘legalistic’ views of Sabbath and the Biblical Holy Days.  The Messianic Jewish man is now pastoring Cornerstone of Boulder (aka Rosh Pinah b’Boulder), a congregation that is Messianic in vision. 

Calvary Chapel

“We believe that the Bible is God’s authoritative and inspired work. It is without error in all its teachings. As Christians we must submit to its divine authority, both as individuals and as a corporate body.”

When the LORD told us our ‘mission’ was complete at Dayspring, we spent a short time in this church where the people were very loving, however they struggled with good Biblical leadership.  An ‘all you need is love’ Beatles doctrine combined with some camouflaged catholicism allowed sin to run rampant.  At times there were blatant teachings that went against Scripture and were rationalized with the worldview of ‘tolerance.’  Rather than being transformed by the Word, the Word was transformed to allow sinful immoral lifestyles to flourish,  even among the leadership.   

Way, Truth, Life, Fellowship

We attended this church for nine months.  This was the closest example of a Biblical gathering that we had ever encountered.   The pastor had willingly at the cost of membership put aside many church traditions for teaching Biblical Truth – i.e. no more Christmas and Easter, but the Feasts of the LORD.   This church did not have a Statement of Faith per se, but used Acts 2:42 as their foundation, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread.”   

The Old Testament was taught along with the New to reveal numerous types and shadows of Messiah, past, present and future. There was a healthy view of obedience to the ‘law’ and the dietary commands were followed during meal time. After table fellowship, the pastor led a question and answer time that offered many opportunities for me to ask lifelong questions and receive sound Biblical answers.  He was the first pastor who, along with his wife,   encouraged me to wear my head covering all the time.

Assemblies of God

“The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.”

We attended this church for only a few months.  Speaking in tongues was more important than verbally speaking the written Word of God.  Eventually the pastor sent me a letter about some discipleship I was doing with another woman.  He called me a ‘heretic’ and asked that I never step foot in his church again.  The ‘heresy’ was something that actually came from the New Testament; he just didn’t like that the woman was being Scripturally challenged and changed. 

Foursquare Church

“We believe the Bible is God-inspired” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

We attended this church for a very short time.  After the pastor met with us so we could explain our view of Sabbath, he began calling Sunday the Sabbath in the services.  God will not be mocked.  We could not accept this duplicity so we made our final and last cut from the institutional church.  We have never attended another ‘Bible believing church’ for it became apparent that their Statements of Faith contradicted how they lived out those beliefs. 

What we have come to learn is that revival comes first to the hearts of those who read the commands of God, repent from disobedience and begin to obey by faith.  It seemed that every church leader, when questioned, desired to quench the Spirit that was leading us deeper into the Truth so that we could know and love our Father more intimately.

God-Breathed Inspiration

“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action).  So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work” (1 Timothy 3:16-17 Amplified Bible). 

I believe wholeheartedly that the Bible is inerrant and there are no mistakes written in the Scriptures.  After all my first memory verse came from Isaiah 40:8 that the word of God stands forever.  I also believe that, because the Bible was inspired by God, it doesn’t or can’t change for if it does, then that means God changes as well.  This opens the door for the way of salvation through faith in Messiah Yeshua to change and then I am no different from the lost and dying in the world.

“God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind” (Numbers 23:19).

“I YHVH do not change” (Malachi 3:6).

“Messiah Yeshua is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

The Fourth Commandment and Statements of Faith

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. … the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:8, 11).

Every Statement of Faith above claimed that the Bible is without mistakes because it was inspired by an unchanging God.  The Ten Commandments are part of the inerrant, unchanged Word of God, so why is it that none of these churches keep the Fourth Commandment : ‘Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy?’

Apart from being called ‘legalists’ when we asked this question (Is it legalism to obey a commandment given by the Creator Himself to remember Him and His Creation?),  answers varied from “it was changed,” to “Sunday is a memorial to the resurrection,” to “Sabbath can be any day I want it to be.”  Each of these responses suggest that “God changes,” “the Word changes,” or “the Bible is fallible as I interpret it.”  One pastor recently told a friend that ‘No one changed the Sabbath and the Ten Commandments are still in effect.”  If that is true, then why doesn’t this pastor teach about the Sabbath?  By neglecting the seventh-day Sabbath, what leaders are really saying is that God is not the inspiration of the Scriptures, we are.  Or, God doesn’t or can’t remember what He said from one prophetic generation to the next.  Or, God changes.

Several of the Statements of Faith stated that the Bible is the final authority on life and faith.  One claimed the Bible is a guidebook for life.  Another makes the assertion that anything that is not contained in the Scriptures is not part of the articles of faith.  All of these Statements of Faith would imply that Sabbath, because it is in Scripture, should be the guide for a weekly lifecycle.

Yet every church that I attended met on Sunday mornings –  even the one that taught the deep types and shadows for the Feasts of the LORD.  ALL of them.  Let me state at this point, worship on Sunday is not wrong.  We are to worship every day of every hour of every week, but Sunday worship does not replace the Sabbath day given to us by God.

Not one Statement of Faith ever mentioned the seventh-day Sabbath because they wrongly divide the Word of Truth.  Their two-edged sword cuts their Bibles in half and teach that the seventh-day is the Jewish Sabbath and the first day is the Christian one.   Of course there was that one elder who believed that God doesn’t even care about the Sabbath because it’s part of the done-away with Ten Commandments.

Every one of these Statements of Faith has chosen to embrace manmade doctrines over the inspired, infallible Word of God contradicting their own Statement of Faith.  Even the Statments that said we must submit to Scriptural authority made excuses for why that authority no longer has a hold on their lives.  They used a grace doctrine of  freedom from the law which is nothing more than a lawless doctrine that encourages everyone do what is right in their own eyes. Remember the time of the Judges?

Somewhere along the line, most obviously church history, conviction for sin, correction of error, discipline in obedience, training in holy living by conforming to God’s will has been put aside and called ‘legalism.’   Believers are no longer proficient in the Word, equipped for good works, and they are not receiving the gospel message in its entirety.

Institution or Kingdom

As I look back over my church experiences, the only consistent consistency is the hypocrisy of saying one thing and doing another. Love God, but don’t ask Jesus into your heart for a personal relationship.   Here’s a Bible, but don’t open it.   If you do read the Bible, only read the New Testament.   Read the Word, but only so you can sword stab some unbeliever with the name of Jesus.   Our cornerstone of faith is Jesus Christ, but ignore his Jewishness.   Build your faith on the  apostles and prophets, but don’t include anything in the laws given to the greatest prophet, Moses.   Preach the Word in season and out, but most really isn’t for our time or culture.  All Scripture is God-breathed except the Old Testament Scriptures Jesus taught.  The Old Testament is for the Jews and contains burdensome rules; we’re under the grace of the New Testament.  Even though all of the first believers in the resurrected Jesus were Jews and it was Jews who wrote the New Testament,  make sure you don’t do anything like them  because they rejected Jesus.

Only through divine intervention have I learned about the God of the Bible and His desires for my life and faith because it didn’t come through any denomination or church leadership. Because I wanted the never-changing Word of God to correct my errors, I was willing to accept the authority of Scripture even though it contradicted manmade authorities and cherished church doctrines. I learned through the power of God’s Spirit that simple obedience to the Word of God would guide me into Truth even while I endured persecutions and accusations of being a Judaizer, a heretic, a legalist, and a Pharisee.   I never questioned the  Word of God because it not only stands forever, as I learned as a child, but challenged what I believed to be true.  It was only the Spirit of God that gave me understanding of the Word of God which changed the direction of my spiritual walk transforming me into a vibrant born again believer of the Kingdom of God ruled by the King of Kings and his infallible, inerrant, inspired, and authoritative Word. 

©2011 Tent Stake Ministries (Chapter from Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.)

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