Posts Tagged ‘holiness’

Parashah 30: K’doshim (Holy people)

Leviticus 19:1-20:27
(In a regular year, read with Parashah 29; in a leap year read separately.)

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Speak to the entire community of Isra’el; tell them, “You people are to be holy because I, Adonai your God, am holy”’” (Leviticus 19:3).

The title of this parashah is K’doshim or ‘holy people.’ In Hebrew, the word for ‘holy’ is kadosh. More familiar Greek terminology would be ‘saints’ and ‘sanctified.’ Both the Hebrew and Greek words mean ‘set-apart’ or ‘consecrated’ to Adonai. This parashah begins with Adonai telling His people to ‘be holy because He is holy.’

Hebrew Word Pictures
Holy or kadosh – קדש – kof, dalet, shin
– what is behind the pathway consumes

This parashah is a menagerie of commands, many of which add details to the Ten Commandments. The ordinances give more specifics to the Levitical priesthood, the ‘shadow’ of Yeshua’s royal priesthood. The commandments and ordinances set Adonai’s holy people apart from all others. The Torah should never be considered a burden, but a delight because it sanctifies Adonai’s people (1 John 3:4, John 17:17).  

“I will find my delight in your regulations. I will not forget your word … Also your instructions are my delight; they are my counselors … I will delight myself in your mitzvot, which I have loved” (Psalm 119:16, 24, 47)

Two Greatest Commandments

“Observe my regulations” (Leviticus 19:19).

The Ten Commandments are ‘numbered’ with the Hebrew letters alef through yod. This section will be divided into the ‘big ten’ separated under the headings ‘Love God’ and ‘Love Your Neighbor.’ The ordinances from the parashah will be listed under each of the commandments so it will be easier to see what Yeshua meant when he said, “All the Torah and the prophets hang on these two commands” (Matthew 22:40).

Love Adonai Your God
“He [Yeshua] answered,
“You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your strength and with all your understanding;
and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).

 א Alef – An Ox means ‘first’ and ‘strong.’
“I Am Adonai your God.”
Ordinance: “Offer it [a peace offering] in a way that will make you accepted” suggests there is a way that a peace offering offering isn’t accepted (verses 5-7). The peace offering brought fellowship between the offerer and Adonai. It was a free-will offering given from the heart. An example of a peace offering is when Hannah dedicates Samuel to Elohim
(1 Samuel 1:21-28).

ב Bet – A House means ‘house’ or ‘family.’
“Have no other gods before me.”
Ordinance: “Do not turn to idols, and do not cast metal gods for yourselves; I am Adonai your God”(Leviticus 19:4). When we bow to an idol physically or give spiritual consent to another god, we commit spiritual adultery and turn from loving Adonai with all our hearts. Casting a metal or ceramic god is not acceptable to Elohim.

Ordinance: “Do not eat anything with blood. Do not practice divination or fortune telling” (Leviticus 19:26). These two ordinances about divination and fortune telling occur together because both of the practices involve drinking blood.

Ordinance: “Do not turn to spirit-mediums or sorcerers; don’t seek them out, to be defiled by them; I am Adonai your God” (Leviticus 19: 31). Adonai reminds His people not to consult mediums or sorcerers. Spirit-mediums invoke spirits from the dead or demons.  In the account of the medium (witch) of Endor, the medium called forth Samuel’s spirit from the grave at King Saul’s request.  These actions cost King Saul his life (1 Samuel 28).

In Greek, pharmakia is the word for ‘sorcery.’ Sorcerers used drugs to take people into an altered state of mind.  Today, the modern sorcerer is a pharmacist at a pharmacy who sells ‘legal drugs.’  These drugs change our body’s chemical imbalances to worse imbalances.  More people who take legalized anti-depressants kill themselves than people who do not.  Some drugs, like marijuana, that were once illegal, but have become legal, are causing mental health problems for those who use it. The increase in sorcery is a sign of the end times and last days.

Ordinance: “The person who turns to spirit-mediums and sorcerers to go fornicating after them – I will set myself against him and cut him off from his people. Therefore consecrate yourselves–you people must be holy, Because I am Adonai your God” (Leviticus 20:6-7). This ordinance adds fornicating with mediums and sorcerers. Fornicating with mediums and sorcerers is the sin of spiritual adultery with the consequence of being ‘cut off’ from the people. As this parashah began: We are to be ‘holy as Adonai is holy.’

Ordinance: “A man or woman who is a spirit-medium or sorcerer must be put to death; they are to stone them to death; their blood will be on them” (Leviticus 20:27). According to Elohim, every matter must be established by two or three witnesses not just at the whim of someone who deems another guilty (Deuteronomy 19:15). This is what happened at the Salem witch trials. Though trying to follow Torah, false accusations ultimately led to the deaths of innocent people. Spirit-mediums and sorcerers were to be put to death, but could not be done arbitrarily and without proper witness.

Ordinance: “Don’t cut gashes in your flesh when someone dies or tattoo yourselves; I am Adonai” (Leviticus 19:28). This verse is often disputed because of the modern fixation with ‘body art.’  There are cultures that gash their flesh as a ritual when someone dies. This ordinance refers to ‘cutting’ which has also become a phenomenon with young people who are hurting inside and want to make the pain physical. Tattoos fall under the same category as ‘cutting’ because it involves cutting the skin or flesh and contaminating the blood.  Remember: Elohim says the life of a creature or person is in its blood.

For those who justify getting tattoos, it is important to remember that Yeshua never sinned.  This means that he never broke any of his Father’s commandments, including this one.  He would never have had a tattoo nor would have encouraged tattoos or he would have sinned. ‘Body art’ deeply grieves Elohim because of the disrespect for the human body, the place where Elohim put His ‘breath of life,’ but even more grievous is tattooing His Word or His Name on human flesh.

When I have asked people about their tattoos, they invariably talk about the memory of someone who died.  Such a memorial is strictly forbidden by Adonai in this commandment. As with so many of Elohim’s commands, choices are not based on the plumb line of His Word, but on the cultural practices surrounding us. Adonai commanded His people not to imitate the actions of the nations and, if we are truly His people, we will be set-apart from the ways of the world.  If we love the things of the world, love for Elohim is not in us (1 John 2:15).

Ordinance: “Do not debase your daughter by making her a prostitute, so that the land will not fall into prostitution and become full of shame” (Leviticus 19:29). Temple prostitution was a ‘way of the nations.’ There are still religions today, like Hinduism, where young girls are prostitutes at Hindu temples.  Amy Carmichael was a missionary to India who tried to save young girls from this type of defilement. Selling daughters into prostitution (along with human trafficking) shames the whether it’s Isra’el, America, China or South America.  Elohim created young women as the glory of man and He desires them to be protected, not to be sold for their bodies.

Ordinance: “If someone from the people of Isra’el or one of the foreigners living in Isra’el sacrifices one of his children to Molech, he must be put to death: the people of the land are to stone him to death” (Leviticus 20:2). Sacrificing a child to Molech defiles Adonai’s sanctuary and profanes His name. The consequence for child sacrifice is death. This ordinance can also be found under gimel.

Ordinance: “Don’t round your hair at the temples or mar the edges of your beard” (Leviticus 19:27). From this ordinance comes the tradition of peyos or ‘side-curls’ worn by Hasidic Jewish men. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Adonai warned them many times not to do the things the nations they conquered did. This is another example of idolatry and worship of another god. They had already seen how the Egyptians cut their hair to honor the sun-god Ra with a round spot shaved off or keeping the sides so short there was the appearance of a halo around their head. Numerous commentaries say a similar practice was done by Arabs and worshipers of the Greek god Dionysus.

ג Gimel – Camel means ‘lift up’ or ‘pride.’
“You are not to use lightly the name of Adonai your God.”
Ordinance: “Do not swear by my name falsely, which would be profaning the name of your God; I am Adonai” (Leviticus 19:12).  When I was growing up, I was taught this command meant not saying, “Oh my God” or “Jesus Christ.” Though these phrases appear to be profaning name of Elohim, it isn’t the reason for the command. ‘Taking His name in vain’ means to claim to be a child of Elohim or follower of Yeshua and live contrary to His commandments.  This is vanity and profanes His name among those with whom you interact.

ד Dalet – A Door means ‘pathway.’
“Remember the Shabbat to set it apart for God.”
Ordinance: “You are to keep my Shabbats; I am Adonai your God” (Leviticus 19:3). This refers to the seventh-day Sabbath specifically as well as the other ‘appointed times’ given by Adonai.

“Keep my Sabbaths, and revere my sanctuary; I am Adonai” (Leviticus 19:30). Reverence for Elohim’s sanctuary is a command. One church I used to attend met in a gymnasium.  As soon as the service was over, the chairs were removed and basketball games started.  I tried to explain to several different leaders how that was not reverencing the sanctuary, but they did not understand.  To them it was a basketball court where they worshiped, not a set-apart place or sanctuary.

Love Your Neighbor
“He answered, ‘You are to… [love] your neighbor as yourself’”
(Luke 10:27).

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’
“Honor your father and mother so that you have long life.”
Ordinance: “Everyone of you is to revere his father and mother …” (Leviticus 19:3).
Ordinance: “A person who curses his father or mother must be put to death, having cursed his father or mother, his blood is on him” (Leviticus 20:9). This verse is often quoted to prove that Adonai is a madman or His laws are foolish because no one stones their son or daughter for cursing their parents. This command was enacted arbitrarily. Through the ruling body set up by Moshe, innocence or guilt was determined by two or three witnesses.

Ordinance: “Stand up in the presence of a person with gray hair, show respect for the old; you are to fear your God; I am Adonai”(Leviticus 19:32). This ordinance has long been forgotten in western society along with a man relinquishing his seat to a woman on a train or bus.  Eldership was held in high regard within the Israelite community because the ‘aged’ held the wisdom of life.  Today many ‘elders’ in the church are young men with virtually no life experience and true elders are pushed to the ‘back of the bus’ because their wisdom is considered irrelevant in the modern world.  This particular command adds ‘you are to fear your Elohim.’  Like the widow and the fatherless, Elohim has special regard for the elder, the one who has walked with Him a long time.  To stand in their presence is to stand in the fear of Adonai.

ז Zayin – A Weapon means ‘divide’ or ‘cut.’
“Do not commit adultery.”
Ordinance: ”If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife …” (Leviticus 20:10-21). This whole section in Leviticus describes the multitude of sexual sins including incest, fornication, homosexuality, and beastiality. The sins are described as disgraceful, perverse, abominable, and depraved. Each incident has a consequence of blood or death, even death by fire. Sexual immorality is not tolerated by Adonai among His people.

ח Chet – A Fence means ‘protect.’
“Do not steal.”
Ordinance:“Do not steal from … (Leviticus 19:11).

Ordinance: “Do not oppress or rob your neighbor; specifically, you are not to keep back the wages of a hired worker all night until morning” (Leviticus 19:13).  

ט Tet – Snake means ‘twist.’
“Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
Ordinance: “[Do not] defraud or lie to each other” (Leviticus 19:11).

Ordinance: “Do not go around spreading slander among your people, but also don’t stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake; I am Adonai” (Leviticus 19:16).

Slander is speaking lies about an individual to other people.  It is one of the most grievous sins that my husband and I have experienced at the hands of those we considered family in Messiah. From personal experience, I would have liked for those who listened to the slanderous remarks ‘not to have stood idly by,’ but to have stood up for us rather than allow the slander to affect even more people.  Consequently, the slander separated many close friends as a ‘perverse person’ does (Proverbs 16:28).

As Yourself
“He [Yeshua] answered … ‘[love] your neighbor as yourself’” (Luke 10:27).

Ordinance: “Rather, treat the foreigner staying with you like the native-born among you — you are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Adonai your God” (Leviticus 19:34).

Ordinance: “When you harvest the ripe crops produced in your land, don’t harvest all the way to the corners of your field, and don’t gather the ears of grain left by the harvesters. Likewise, don’t gather the grapes left on the vine or fallen on the ground after the harvest; leave them for the poor and the foreigner; I am Adonai your God” (verses 9-10).  The gleanings of the field along with grapes missed on the vine or fallen to the ground were food for the poor and foreigner.

Ordinance: “If a foreigner stays with you in your land, do not do him wrong.  Rather, treat the foreigner staying with you like the native-born among you – you are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.  I am Adonai your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34).

Those who were not Israelite by birth were to be treated as equals when they lived in the Land.  In Isra’el, there are Arab Israelis who follow the Muslim religion.  As Israelis, they are treated equally with the same privileges and freedoms as citizens. They have voting rights, serve in the Knesset (government), work as doctors, lawyers, and bankers. They are not allowed, however, to serve in the military as they are foreigners.

There is spiritual equality within Elohim’s Kingdom and He desires that equality to be evidenced in the Land He gave to His people in how they treat foreigners. Those who are not DNA Jewish and join the Commonwealth of Isra’el through faith in Messiah are also foreigners.
 
Ordinance: “Do not speak a curse against a deaf person or place an obstacle in the way of a blind person; rather, fear your God; I am Adonai” (Leviticus 19:14).   On the surface this ordinance seems obvious.   Who would curse a deaf person or put an obstacle in the way of a blind person? Is it not the same thing when we judge someone who does not have ‘ears to hear’ or ‘eyes to see’ the Truth of Elohim’s word?   Do we not put an obstacle in their way of learning Torah when we respond without mercy and compassion for their deafness or blindness?  Yeshua healed on the Sabbath not only as a testimony to his authority, but also because he didn’t want the blind and deaf to stumble when it came to seeing and hearing his voice.

When John (the Immerser) questioned whether or not Yeshua was the promised one, Yeshua replied, “Go back and report to Yochanan what you hear and see:  The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me’” (Matthew 11:4-6).

Ordinance: “Do not be unjust in judging – show neither partiality to the poor nor deference to the mighty, but with justice judge your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:15). Elohim commands us to judge our neighbor rightly as there is a ‘just’ way of judging and an ‘unjust’ way.  When we judge someone based on life condition, like poverty, we misjudge it as a consequence of their heart condition.  When honoring a rich man, we follow the assumption that because he is rich, his heart is right before Elohim. When it comes to justice, we are to judge all men equally.  When it comes to the heart, only Adonai knows its condition and how we judge a person’s heart will come back upon us (Matthew 7:1-3)

When Samuel was called to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be king of Isra’el, he thought that each son he met should be the one chosen by Elohim because of his outward appearance.   However, it was Jesse’s youngest son, David, a shepherd boy, who Elohim chose because He knew David’s heart.  He was a worshiping, teachable man who would seek the will of Elohim (1 Samuel 16:7).

“After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do’” (Acts 13:22).

Those who willfully choose to disobey Adonai with their life choices quote this verse out of context expecting Adonai to ‘look at their heart.’  In truth, this verse should create ‘fear of Adonai’ because He does look at our heart. The prophet Jeremiah says, “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and mortally sick. Who can fathom it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) King Solomon says that we are what we think in our hearts (Proverbs 23:7). What comes out in our lives, obedience or rebellion, love or hate, slander or kind words, begins in our heart.

Ordinance: “Do not hate your brother in your heart, but rebuke your neighbor frankly, so that you won’t carry sin because of him” (Leviticus 19:17). To rebuke means to ‘express sharp disapproval or criticism of someone because of their behavior or actions.’ This is one of the most difficult commands to obey because of spiritual and personal pride for both the rebuker and the rebukee.   I can recall two times in my life when I felt the need to rebuke someone for their behavior.   The first time it was a child and her reception of the rebuke was complete repentance and humility.  I was actually amazed at the maturity of this seven-year-old girl.   It was a testimony to her parents training as well as her heart before the Lord.  Today, she’s in her twenties and an amazing young woman with a teachable and humble heart.

Another time I rebuked an adult and lost the friendship.   I do not believe I was wrong in the rebuke, but it was not received with the intended motive and destroyed a friendship causing incredible grief in my life. According to this command, if we don’t rebuke a neighbor for a sin, we will eventually hate them and carry that sin and theirs within us. To achieve wholeness, sin has to be acknowledged as sin by or it will divide.

Ordinance: “Don’t take vengeance on or bear a grudge against any of your people, rather love your neighbor as yourself; I am Adonai” (Leviticus 19:17). It is up to Adonai to avenge us when we are wronged.  About 20 years ago, a pastor called me a heretic for covering my head and, for reasons only known to him, told me to never enter his church again.  He judged me wrongly both in heart and in Scriptural practice. I had no recourse except to allow Adonai’s ‘vengeance.’  Several months after the incident, Elohim told me to go stand outside the church building and read Elijah’s prayer from 1 Kings 36-37. I went to the church building, stood outside, and read the prayer aloud.   Six months later, I was informed that this man was no longer pastor of the church and had left ‘in a hurry.’  Twenty years after the incident, I was invited to that same church by a different pastor.   As I walked up the steps and into the door with my husband, I knew Adonai had avenged the wrong that had been done to me.  Not only was I going into that building, my husband and I had been invited to lead a Passover seder.

Ordinance: “Don’t be dishonest when measuring length, weight or capacity.  Rather, use an honest balance-scale, honest weights, an honest bushel dry-measure and an honest gallon liquid-measure; I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:35-36).

A friend who lived in Isra’el said there were always dishonest scales, especially at the street markets.  Elohim desires honesty when dealing with others especially when it comes to weighing out matters.  He knows that a dishonest scale means a dishonest heart.

“If you say, “But we knew nothing about this, ‘does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?’” (Proverbs 24:12)

Ordinance: “Don’t let your livestock mate with those of another kind, don’t sow your field with two different kinds of grain, and don’t wear a garment of cloth made with two different kinds of threads” (Leviticus 19:19).

These three regulations seem unrelated, but they are not.  On the surface, mating a cow with a sheep is just not done.  Nor is mating a goat with a ram.  When a horse and donkey mate, their offspring is sterile. It cannot reproduce; it cannot be fruitful and multiply.

Living in a farming community with fields everywhere, I have yet to see anyone plant corn and wheat together.  They are always in separate fields.  However there are mixed grains called hybrids. Some are a genetically modified organism that our bodies cannot digest and accept as food.  A hybrid grain does not reproduce like a natural grain.  Once upon a time, you could take an apple from a tree and use its seeds to make another tree.  Hybrids and their seeds are sterile; they cannot be fruitful and multiply.

Garments made with two different kinds of thread would result in wool from a sheep and linen from a plant being sewn together which is not done.  Nor do we sew cotton from a plant and silk from a worm together.  Yet, we do mix natural fibers like wool and cotton with man-made fibers like polyester and rayon.   Mixing natural threads creates an impure garment.  Mixing what Elohim has created with something man-made destroys the purity of His creation. The priesthood was to wear fine linen as does the Bride of Messiah.  Mixing fine linen with cotton, wool or silk changes the integrity of the linen. It takes on the aspects of the other fabrics, no longer being a pure fabric.

“When you enter the land and plant various kinds of fruit trees, you are to regard its fruit as forbidden – for three years it will be forbidden to you and not eaten.  In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, for praising Adonai.  But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, so that it will produce even more for you; I am Adonai your God” (Leviticus 19:23).

A fruit tree generally doesn’t produce fruit the first year it’s planted, but in subsequent years, it will begin to bud and bear fruit. Picking fruit from a tree before it is completely established will decrease its fruit production. We had a tree on our property that we didn’t plant so we didn’t know what kind of tree it was. For several years, it just remained a small tree with no buds, flowers or fruit. We bought an apple tree and planted it nearby. About 5 years after planting the second tree which barely lived and never bore fruit, my daughter came running into the house with apples. When she told me where she picked them, I went out to see the tree. The original tree was packed with apples. Apparently, the apple tree needed a friend. Ironically, my daughter found the apples on Rosh Hashanah so that year, and subsequent years, we enjoyed apples and honey for the holiday.

“Observe all my regulations and rulings and do them; I am Adonai”(Leviticus 19:37).

“Observe my regulations and obey them; I am Adonai, who sets you apart to be holy” (Leviticus 20:8).

Yeshua, the Word of Holiness

“Set them apart for holiness by means of the truth — your word is truth” (John 17:17).

Yeshua prays to his Father to set-apart his talmidim (disciples) for holiness as well as those who would put their faith in him through their testimony. The way Yeshua states to become ‘holy’ or ‘sanctified’ is through the Truth or the Word of Elohim. Holiness is not imparted at the new birth, but comes through the process of learning the commandments and putting them into practice. With each step of faith obedience, a person becomes more set-apart, sanctified, and holy. Yeshua further asks his Father that everyone be united so that the world will believe his Father sent him to save the world. It is only when we are in unity through the Truth of Elohim that the ‘one new man’ will emerge and the world will be convicted of sin and repent.

“With the Messiah, in whom there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor freeman, neither male nor female; for in union with the Messiah Yeshua, you are all one” (Galatians 3:27-28).

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility” (Ephesians 2:14-16).

In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, Yeshua quotes the prophet Isaiah about man-made traditions versus loving Adonai with all our hearts: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. Their worship of me is useless, because they teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines” (Isaiah 29:13).

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this Torah portion, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, Study Helps, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

Parashah 18: Mishpatim (Rulings)

Exodus 21:1-24:18

“These are the rulings you are to present to them …” (Exodus 21:1).

The Ten Commandments did not complete the instructions of Adonai. He continued to reveal His Torah with His mishpatim or rulings. Mishpat  is a Hebrew noun which means ‘judgment or rights.’ Mishpat deals with the act of sitting as a judge and rendering a verdict so that judicial issues are properly executed.

These rulings give more specifics for how Adonai’s people were to judge cases involving slavery, murder, personal attacks with people or animals, stealing, witchcraft, foreigners, and other gods.  These judgments detail how we are to “love God and our neighbor as ourselves.”

Hebrew Word Pictures
Rulings (Law) or mishpatim – משפטים – mem, shin, peh, tet, yod, mem
– chaos consumed by the mouth, twisting the mighty finished work

Hebrew slaves
The Hebrew word for ‘slave’ comes from the verb avod and means ‘to work.’ The noun ‘slave’ is avodah suggesting ‘hard labor.’ When avod is used for those who work for another in Isra’el, it means ‘to serve.’   With a slight change in a vowel point, avod becomes eved and means ‘servant.’  Servanthood was considered a mark of humility.

Slavery in Isra’el was not like slavery as the world defines. In Isra’el a servant was bought for money, but was not ‘enslaved’ like the Hebrews in Egypt.

A Hebrew servant worked 6 years for his master, but in the seventh year, he was given his freedom. If he began work as a single man, he was to leave single.  If he began work as a married man, his family would leave with him.  If the slave married and had children while working the 6 years, the wife and children remained the master’s possession unless the servant desired to stay with his wife and children.  The master would then take the servant to the doorpost of his home and pierce his ear with an awl. The servant would remain a servant for the rest of his life.

A daughter sold into slavery was not allowed to be set free.  If she marries her master and he decides she no longer pleases him, her freedom may be purchased, though not by a foreigner, as she has already been defiled.  If the master has her marry his son, she is to be treated like a daughter. If the son marries another woman, the first wife is to be given food, clothing, and marital rights.  If the master fails to provide these three necessities, she is to be given her freedom.

Sometimes it was necessary to hire oneself out as a servant in order to live. Once hired, the servant became the property of the master. Though the rules for marriage and leaving behind a wife and children seem harsh, it may have been the best option for a male servant who had to return to a life of poverty.

There are examples of servanthood in Scripture. Jacob worked 7 years for Leah and seven more for Rachel.  Though he was not sold into servanthood, his father-in-law treated him as a servant for 14 years.  This is why Jacob wanted to create his own flocks and leave with his family.  If Laban had his way, Jacob would have remained serving him forever.

Another example of servanthood is Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian servant, who had a child with Abraham. When Abraham no longer wanted Hagar and his son in his camp, he sent them away with provisions.

“The word came to Jeremiah from Adonai after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom for the slaves. Everyone was to free their Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Hebrew in bondage.  So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free.  But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again” (Jeremiah 34:8-11).

Attacks and murder
No sentence of death was arbitrary. Each case was heard by a judge, with a minimum of two witnesses, before there could be a guilty verdict. It was important that the witnesses were not false nor took bribes because a sentence would be executed and a guilty verdict had serious consequences.

If one person attacks another and a death occurs, the murderer must be put to death.  If the killing was not premeditated, but accidental, then Adonai provided a place for the murderer to flee.  However, if someone kills another after deliberate planning, they are to be put to death.

This is the same command given to Noach in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds human blood by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.”  There is a great controversy over capital punishment because humanity has forgotten they are made in the image of Adonai and each human life has value.

Kidnappers are to be put to death.  It doesn’t matter if the victim has been sold or is still held by the kidnapper; the kidnapper is to die. Children who attack their parents are to be put to death, and whoever curses his father or mother must also die.

If two people fight and one person is injured, being confined to bed, and then recovers and is able to walk around (even with a cane), the attacker will be free of liability. He must still compensate the victim time loss and take responsibility for his care until recovery is complete. The Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 is an example of this mishpat. It was not the priest or the Levite who obeyed instruction, but a Samaritan, a foreigner, who took care of the man beaten by robbers.

If two men are fighting and a pregnant woman is injured so that her unborn child dies, the man must be fined.  He must pay the amount set by the woman’s husband and confirmed by the judge.  The amount is determined by a judge so the husband doesn’t set an amount too low –– the unborn child has great value in the eyes of Adonai. If any harm happens to the woman after the baby dies, then it is commanded life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise” (Exodus 21:23-24). The ‘eye for eye’ judgment was restitution for an unborn baby and the woman who had lost her baby, not a command for more cruelty.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I [Yeshua] tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:38-42).

Yeshua does not the mishpatim; he expounds on them.  Restitution and compensation does not suddenly become obsolete because of Yeshua’s words. He includes forgiveness and mercy, the character of his Father to the rulings.   “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth” was another way to express compensation for a wrong committed that needed justice, but needed to be followed by forgiveness. Yeshua teaches that there is more than just the outward expression of these mishpatim, there is a heart condition that needs to be resolved so that anger and bitterness would not grow among the people.

A master is to be punished for any slave who is beaten with a stick so that he or she dies. If the slave lives for a couple of days, the master is not punished since the slave is his property. If a master hits his slave’s eye and destroys it, he must let the slave go free in compensation for the eye.  If a tooth of a slave’s mouth is knocked out, the slave is to be set free as compensation for the tooth.

According to Adonai, human life is more valuable than an animal. If an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox is to be stoned.  The owner of the ox has no further liability after the animal has been put to death. If the ox has the habit of goring people and the owner was warned, but did not confine it so that it kept killing, then the ox and the owner are to be killed.  If a ransom is offered for the owner, the death penalty will be commuted.  If the ox gores a son or daughter, the same rules are to be followed.  If the ox gores a slave, the owner is to give the master 12 ounces of silver, and the ox is to be killed.

If one person’s ox hurts someone else’s ox so that it dies, the live ox is to be sold and the revenue divided between the two owners. The dead animal is also to be divided. If the ox was known to be in the habit of goring, the owner is to pay ox for ox, and the dead animal is his responsibility.  The compensation is five times for an ox and four times for a sheep.

If an uncovered cistern or well causes the death of an animal, the owner of the well must compensate the owner of the animal, but the dead animal is his.

Selah
The word ‘gore’ means ‘blood that has been shed as a result of violence.’ If someone is gored and they don’t die, the animal is to be put to death. Change the word ‘ox’ in the rulings to a ‘dog.’

Justice
One of the Ten Commandments is to not bear false testimony against a neighbor. More specifically, do not repeat false rumors (or even true ones). This is known as lashon hara or ‘a wicked tongue.’

Do not join hands with the wicked by offering perjured testimony. Do not follow the crowd when it does what is wrong. Do not allow the popular view to sway you into offering testimony for any cause if the effect is to pervert justice (Exodus 23:2).

Keep away from fraud, and do not cause the death of the innocent and righteous; for Adonai will not justify the wicked. You are not to receive a bribe for it blinds the sight and subverts the righteous. Do not favor a person’s lawsuit just because he is poor and do not deny anyone justice who is poor.

Restitution
A thief must make restitution.  If he has nothing, then he is to be sold to make restitution for the loss from the theft.  If what he stole is found in his possession, he is to pay double whether it is an ox, donkey, or sheep. If a thief is caught breaking into a person’s home and is beaten to death, it is not murder unless it happens after sunrise. 

If a person trusts a neighbor with personal property and it is stolen, then the thief must pay double.  If the thief is not found, then the neighbor must state before Adonai that he did not steal the property.   If there is a dispute over ownership of property, whether it’s an ox, donkey, sheep, clothing or any missing property, where one person says, “This is mine,” both parties are to come before Adonai; the one He condemns must pay the other double.

If an animal gets loose and grazes in someone else’s field, the owner is to make restitution from the best produce of his own field or vineyard.

If someone is looking after a neighbor’s property, a donkey, ox, sheep or any animal, and it dies, is injured or disappears, then the neighbor’s oath before Adonai that he has not stolen the property will settle the matter. The owner is to accept the oath without any restitution.  However, if the property was stolen from the neighbor, he must make restitution to the owner.   If there is evidence the animal was torn to pieces, then no restitution is required.

If someone borrows an animal from their neighbor and it gets injured or dies with the owner not present, he must make restitution.  If the owner was present, he does not need to make restitution.  If the owner hired it out, the loss is covered by the hiring fee.

If you see your enemy’s ox or donkey straying, you must return it to him.  If you see an animal that belongs to someone who hates you lying down helpless under its load, do not pass him by, but help him free it.

Our family has had some of these issues with our neighbor’s cows. They break our fences, graze in our front yard leaving huge divots, and break sprinkler heads because of their weight. Though we have tried to work peacefully with our neighbor, he has no desire to fix our damaged property. Though the district justice says we can file a small claim in court and receive restitution, we know our neighbor will never comply. Over the years, we have let him know when his cows were on the road or on the railroad tracks. He is always grateful, but never willing to pay restitution for damages done on our property.

If a fire is started and spreads to thorns so that stacked grain, standing grain or a field is destroyed, the person who started the fire must make restitution.  This is the reason for an investigation into the cause of a wildfire. The person who starts it must make restitution for damage and loss of property.

Loans
Adonai’s people are not to charge interest when a poor person borrows money.  If a neighbor’s coat is taken as a down payment (collateral), it is to be returned to him at sundown because it is his only garment.

Immoral Behavior
A virgin, not engaged to be married, who is seduced by a man must pay a bride price and take the girl as his wife.  If her father refuses the man, he must pay a sum equivalent to the bride price for virgins.

Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death. This is known as beastiality and is becoming more common in our world. In Europe, there are beast sex parlors. Not only is this unhealthy for humans, it is cruel to the animals.

Sorcery uses the occult practices to control forces in the spiritual realm. Adonai commands that witches along with sorceresses be put to death.

Food
Because the Israelites are to be Adonai’s treasured possession, they are not to eat meat torn by wild animals in the countryside. It is only good for feeding dogs.

“Do not boil a young animal in its mother’s milk” (Exodus 23:19).

This command has been used to develop kashrut and the man-made kosher regulation that milk and meat are not to be eaten together. Abraham served meat with curds to the three angels, one of them being Adonai, proving this is not the foundation for the command.

Maimonides suggested that this type of ‘cooking’ was used in pagan worship. Archaeological findings in 1929 supported his theory. “In the Canaanite ritual, the milk in which the kid was cooked symbolized the milk that newly born gods were given when suckled by the pagan goddesses Athirst and Rahmay. The cooking of a goat in milk was forbidden in the Bible because it symbolizes the suckling [by the pagan goddesses} of the newborn gods!”

Sabbath
Six days were for work, but the seventh day was for rest so that animals, servants, and the visiting foreigner might be refreshed. The Sabbath was not only for the Israelites to rest, but also for the guests in their home. Even animals were to be given a day of rest; they did not work on the Sabbath.

Six years seeds were to be sown, but the seventh year, the land was to rest and lie fallow. The same was to be done with the olive grove and vineyards. Plant and harvest for six years, but give trees and vineyards rest in the seventh year. This is called sh’mittah or the Sabbath year. This command was given so the land could be refreshed. The poor were given the corners of the fields and the gleanings of the fields for six years; on the seventh year, they could harvest whatever continued to grow.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Shemita (Release) – שמיטה – shin, mem, yod, tet, hey
– consume chaos finished work twisting revealed

Other gods
Anyone who sacrificed to any god other than Adonai was to be completely destroyed.  The Israelites were not to invoke the names of other gods or even speak their names. This is the epitome of idolatry –– sacrificing to other gods. The Israelites were not to worship the gods of the Emorites, Hittites, Perrizites, Canaanites, Hivites or Jebusites nor follow their practices.  They were to demolish all idols and standing stones. They were not to make covenants with their enemies or their gods so that Isra’el would remain faithful to Adonai.


Because Isra’el had been foreigners in Egypt, they were not to oppress a foreigner; they understood how it felt to be oppressed (Exodus 23:9). Widows and orphans (the fatherless) held a special place in Adonai’s heart. If they were abused and He heard their cry, His anger would burn against the Israelites, and He would kill them with the sword making their own wives widows and their children fatherless.

Pilgrimages to Jerusalem

There were three ‘appointed times’ when the men of Isra’el were to appear before Adonai: Pesach in first month of the year followed by Shavuot 50 days later. The third gathering was to be at Sukkot in the seventh month.

During the festival of Matzah, unleavened bread was to be eaten for seven days. On Shavuot, the firstfruits of barley were to be brought to the House of Adonai. At the end of the year, at the ingathering, the final harvest was to be presented to Adonai.

The Messenger of Adonai

Adonai sent an angel to guard His people and to bring them to the place He had prepared.  They were to listen to what the angel said and not rebel against him. He would not forgive any wrongdoings since Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh’s name resides in him. If they listen to what the angel says and do everything he tells them, then Adonai will be an enemy to their enemies.

The Hebrew word for ‘angel’ is malak and means ‘messenger.’ This is the same ‘angel’ who acted as the Destroyer in Egypt. This is the same ‘angel’ that moved from the front of the children of Isra’el to their rear in order to protect them from the Egyptian army. This ‘angel’ is not a separate entity from Adonai, but does His will, in this case, teaching His commands to the Israelites in the wilderness. This ‘angel’ also has the authority to forgive. According to Malachi 3:1, this ‘angel’ is the ‘“messenger of the covenant.” The Israelites must listen to what the ‘angel’ says and do everything he says because he has the name Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh making the angel Adonai.

Yeshua is the Word that was with Elohim in the beginning at creation, and he is Elohim (John 1:1-2). He is the voice of Elohim and teacher of Torah to the Israelites. He has the authority to forgive sins and do the works of Elohim (Matthew 9:5-6, John 10:25,30). The ‘angel’ they see and the words they hear are the essence of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh in Yeshua.

Deliverance to Holiness

There are blessings for obeying the mishpatim and curses for disobedience (Deuteronomy 28).  Until Adonai gave Isra’el His commandments and rulings, they had only taken the first step in the salvation process –– justification. They had put their faith in the blood of the lamb. They had been delivered from the idols of Egypt. They were immersed as they walked on dry land through the Red Sea.

Isra’el did nothing of themselves to be redeemed from Egypt nor did they earn it by being good people. Grace and mercy is the character of Adonai in the old testament as well as the new. Faith in the blood the lamb, victory over death, forgiveness of sins, and immersion in water are found in both testaments.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Grace (Kindness and Favor) or chen – חן – chet, nun
– protects life

Mercy (Compassion) or rachum – רחום – resh, chet, vav, mem
– highest authority protects and binds chaos

Sanctify (Consecrated, Holy) or kadosh – קדש – kof, dalet, shin
– what is behind the consuming pathway

Faith (Agreement) or emunah – אמונח – alef, mem, vav, nun, hey
– first strength binds chaos and protects life

‘Holiness’ or becoming set-apart to Elohim is the second step of the salvation process –– sanctification. The Israelites were led to Mount Sinai to meet with Adonai. They washed their clothes and prepared themselves to stand in His presence. At the foot of Mount Sinai, the children of Isra’el, along with the Egyptians who exited Egypt with them, were united and transformed into the nation of Isra’el through the instructions of Adonai .

With their obedience to Adonai’s Torah, they would be different from every other nation. They were to keep His Sabbath, His ‘appointed times,’ and follow His dietary regulations. They were to treat their personal property, slaves and animals with dignity. If they served other gods and assimilated into the cultures around them, they would no longer be recognized as His chosen people and would lose His blessing. If they obeyed Torah, Adonai would bless their food and water.  If they listened to His instructions, He would take away their sicknesses.

Yeshua turned water into wine and multiplied fives loaves and two fish in order to feed a multitude. Yeshua healed those who were sick, lame, and leprous. What if Yeshua had rebelled against his Father’s commands? Would the water have changed into wine? Would the loaves and fishes have been multiplied to feed 5000? Yeshua says that if we trust in him, we will not only do the works he did, but even greater ones. Are we doing the same miraculous things, or because we have been taught to disobey Adonai’s mitzvot are we impotent?

The blessing for Israelite women who obey Adonai’s instructions is birthing children. They will not miscarry or be barren. For the promise of descendants to Abraham to be fulfilled, women have to have babies. Through Adonai’s mercy, not all babies born in Egypt were murdered and lived to form a huge nation. Women are still women regardless of nationality and the regulations for niddah and childbirth still have value.

The promise for Israelite children who honor their parents is long life. Long life meant eternal in the Garden of Eden. After sin entered the world, the human life span was reduced to less than 1000 years.   After Noach, the life span was reduced even more. Psalm 90 says a man’s days are 70 to 80 years.  To enjoy the fullness of those years, children must honor their parents; the children of Adonai must obey their His Torah in order to receive long life.

“And everyone who has this hope in him continues purifying himself, since God is pure. Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah — indeed, sin is violation of Torah. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him. So no one who remains united with him continues sinning; everyone who does continue sinning has neither seen him nor known him. Children, don’t let anyone deceive you — it is the person that keeps on doing what is right who is righteous, just as God is righteous. The person who keeps on sinning is from the Adversary, because from the very beginning the Adversary has kept on sinning. It was for this very reason that the Son of God appeared, to destroy these doings of the Adversary. No one who has God as his Father keeps on sinning, because the seed planted by God remains in him. That is, he cannot continue sinning, because he has God as his Father. Here is how one can distinguish clearly between God’s children and those of the Adversary: everyone who does not continue doing what is right is not from God” (1 John 3:3-10).

Hornets

“I will send terror of me ahead of you, throwing into confusion all the people to whom you come; and I will make all your enemies turn their backs on you. I will send hornets ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites” (Exodus 23:27-28).

‘Hornet’ in Hebrew is tzirah and means ‘stinging.’  The Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites will be driven out from the Promised Land by a stinging bug creating ‘terror.’ This ‘terror’ will throw the nations into confusion. In Isra’el, there are four species of hornets bearing a resemblance to the common wasp, but larger in size.  It is an extremely fierce and ravenous insect especially in a hot climate.  Its sting is dangerous and they attack human beings in a very furious manner. A swarm of hornets drives cattle and horses to madness and has even caused the death of the animals.

Spelled almost like hornet is tzarat meaning ‘to smite.‘   The town of Zorah in Joshua 19:41 may mean ‘town of hornets.’  In Isaiah 7:18, the fly and the bee are symbolic to the armies of Egypt and Assyria.  It could be interpreted that the hornet is symbolic of Adonai fighting for Isra’el as He did when He caused confusion within the Egyptian army (Exodus 24:14).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Hornet (Stinging) or tzirah – צרעה – tzade, resh, ayin, hey
– pull toward to the highest authority, understand and behold

National Boundaries
The nations will be driven out of the Promised Land by Adonai through terror. He will do it slowly so the land won’t become desolate or abundant with wild animals. He will drive out the nations until the Isra’el is large enough to take possession of the Land. The boundaries of the Land of Promise are much larger than the modern state of Isra’el. The true boundaries stretch from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to the desert all the way to the Euphrates River. As the Israelites enter the Promised Land, they are to displace the nations so as not to sin against Adonai by worshiping their gods or making a covenant with them.

The Book of the Covenant

Moshe wrote down all the words of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.  He built and altar at the base of the mountain and set up 12 large stones to represent the 12 Tribes of Isra’el.  Young men collected burnt offerings and peace offerings from the people. Moshe took half the blood and put it in basins; the other half he splashed against the altar. He took the book of the covenant and read it aloud so that all the people could hear. But, before they even heard the words of the covenant, the Israelites responded, “Everything that Adonai has spoken, we will do and obey” (Exodus 24:7).

 “Moshe took the blood of the animals, sprinkled it on the people and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which Adonai has made with you in accordance with all these words” (Exodus 24:8).

This is the third covenant Elohim makes. The first covenant was with Noach, the second with Abraham, the third is with the nation of Isra’el. It includes Adonai’s instructions and was instituted with the sprinkling of blood –– “the blood of the covenant.” For the nation of Isra’el, this is their covenant because they had never been in a covenant relationship with Adonai before. The covenant with Isra’el doesn’t negate the first two covenants, but builds on them.

Moshe, Aaron, Nadav, Avihu and Isra’el’s leaders go up on the mountain to meet with the Elohim of Isra’el. Like the 70 palm trees at Elim, there are 70 men who meet with Elohim. Seventy is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter ayin meaning ‘to see.’ On the mountain, the 70 leaders are given a glimpse of the heavenly realm where Adonai sits on His Throne. While Moshe approaches the presence of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the others prostrate themselves at a distance.

Under Adonai’s feet is a pavement like sapphire, clear as the sky.  The Hebrew word lebenah means ‘bricks’ or ‘pavement’ and only occurs this one time in Scripture. ‘Sapphire’ is Greek for lapis lazuli, a deep blue semi-precious stone known for its intense color.  The prophet Ezekiel describes the Throne of Adonai as being lapis lazuli (Ezekiel 1:26-28). One of the fringes of the tzizit is blue like the sea and the sky representing the ‘pavement’ and the Throne of Adonai (Numbers 15:38). Adonai does not reach out His hand against these men, instead they ‘see’ Him while they eat and drink, symbolizing a fellowship meal between the priestly leaders and Elohim.

The glory of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh hovered over Mount Sinai in a cloud for six days. To the Israelites, it looked like a raging fire on the top of the mountain.  On the seventh day Adonai called to Moshe from the cloud and he left his brother and the 70 leaders and entered the cloud where he remained 40 days and nights.  With the glory appearing like a raging fire on the top of the mountain, the Israelites feared that Moshe had been consumed by it. When Moshe did not return from the cloud, Aaron and the 70 men left the mountain for the camp. After Moshe had been gone for 40 days and 40 nights, the Israelites were sure he had died.

During his time in the cloud, Adonai gave Moshe the stone tablets on which He wrote Torah. He gave Moshe all of His commandments so he could teach the Israelites how worship Him and live holy lives honor Him.

Yeshua and the Mitzvot

Yeshua spent 40 days and 40 nights on a wilderness mountain. During his time of testing, he quoted from Torah to silence the Adversary. He tempted Yeshua to worship him, create bread for his hunger, and test the angels of his Father. Yeshua understood “man doesn’t live on bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of his Father” (Matthew 4:1-11).

“One of them who was a Torah expert asked a sh’eilah to trap him: ‘Rabbi, which of the mitzvot in the Torah is the most important?’ He told him, ‘You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ This is the greatest and most important mitzvah. And a second is similar to it, ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot” (Matthew 22:34-40).

Sh’eilah is the Hebrew word for ‘question.’ When used in this context, it means asking questions about Torah and halacha, expecting someone with authority to answer. Halacha means ‘to go’ and was the legally accepted way to live out a Torah command.

“So, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on [the Rock]. The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the winds blew and beat against that house, but it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on [the Rock]. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand” Matthew 7:24-26).

“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Messiah [Yeshua] does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9).

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this Torah portion, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1 – Come Out From Among Them

Bored again!  I sat in my Sunday school class bored as always.  As had become the norm in my life for several years, I lost any interest in the discussions that went on around me in that class or any other we attended.     No one ever talked about anything substantial and so much was repetitive or pointless.  I was already saved by grace, but it seemed like that is all anyone talked about.  Salvation.  Grace.  Salvation. Grace.   I was hungry for more, but there was never more so my mind would wander and I would look ‘interested’ by reading my Bible.

For several years, my husband and I had been searching out the Jewish roots of our faith.  We had been learning about the Sabbath and the Festivals of the LORD and were trying to incorporate them into our Christian lives.  We shared what we could with others in our church only to be looked at strangely or told we were ‘falling away’ from the grace of God and His salvation.  Without knowing anyone else who was seeking these things, we felt alone.   We continued with our Sunday activities because we were warned about ‘forsaking the fellowship,’  but there was always something missing –– FELLOWSHIP.  This particular boring day changed the course of our walk forever.

“Therefore, come out from them and be separate,’  says the Lord.  ‘Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’  And, ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.  Therefore since we have these promises dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1).

I could barely contain myself.  I wanted to whisper in my husband’s ear. I wanted to shout to the class what I had just read and what it meant to be a son or daughter of the Father.   This was the most exciting moment in Sunday school history for me!  I looked around the room and knew none of them would have the same eyes to see or ears to hear.  I re-read the verses and wondered about some of the things that I did not understand.

What did it mean ‘to contaminate body and spirit?’  What did it mean to purify ‘ourselves’? What did ‘perfecting holiness out of reverence for God’ look like?  What was ‘clean?’  What was ‘unclean?’  I turned to the little Concordance in the back of my Bible and looked for ‘unclean’.  I began reading in Leviticus 11 about animals that were considered food and animals that were not.  My eyes kept opening.   I saw that there were things like lying, lust, and anger that contaminated the spirit, but now I saw that there were things like ‘unclean’ foods and behaviors that contaminated the body.

Later that day, I shared my new-found understanding with a soon-to-be seminary student.  Needless to say,  his response was less than encouraging.  He came at me from every angle under the sun to refute any ideas I might have regarding my own responsibility in a relationship with the Lord.   According to him, the relationship was one-sided.  Jesus had done everything on the cross that needed to be done, and that which he hadn’t done, the cross removed from our lives.  We just have to believe, that’s all.  That’s it. He continued his rebuke saying that if  I would choose to eat the foods that God called ‘clean,’ I would put myself back ‘under the law’ and would need to be ‘circumcised.’  My head spun.

I opened my Bible again to 2 Corinthians. The words stared back at me.

“Therefore come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord.” The words suddenly took on a new meaning.  The LORD was speaking directly to my husband and I.    It was time to obey and come out from ‘them.’  It was time to ‘purify ourselves’ from everything that did not bring forth holiness and reverence for God whether or not we completely understood.    It was time to stop forsaking fellowship with our heavenly Father out of fear of earthly men and their arguments.  It was time to submit to God and learn His thoughts and His ways and receive His promises.

That was in 1994.  We have never looked back.

©2010 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

What is the Fullness of Salvation?

The first time I heard the terms justification, sanctification and glorification used together to describe the fullness of salvation,  I knew a foundation stone in my faith walk had been missing.  After listening to years of teachers focusing on ‘being saved’ or becoming a ‘born again Christian,’ I always wondered, “then what?”  When I asked pastors this question, I received the same answer, “Jesus is all we need.”  With regard to being freely justified by faith, this statement is absolutely true.  Jesus’ sacrificial death is the only way a sinner can be declared righteous in the sight of God.

When I asked those same pastors, ‘What do we have that is different and sets us apart from the rest of the world?” I received the same answer.  “All we need is Jesus.”  For some reason, that response didn’t seem to fill the ‘missing piece’ in my walk.

If sanctification was taught, it was assimilated into justification.  Rather than being the next step of a believer’s walk as outlined in Scripture, sanctification fell under the ‘saved by grace’ doctrine and sinful lifestyles became ‘justified by man.’  Just because someone claims to know Jesus doesn’t suddenly change their lifestyle.  Look around the Body of Christ and many still walk a defeated life filled with sin.  So how do we become sanctified? What does sanctification in a believer’s life look like?

Glorification was never taught except with the rapture doctrine: “Jesus saved me and soon I will be caught up with him in the clouds and be in heaven. This can happen at any moment, so be ready.”   Why should I ‘be ready’ if I only need Jesus. How should I prepare to ‘be ready?’ What happens between the the time I get ‘saved’ and am taken up into the clouds? For most believers, the time between being saved and meeting the Lord in the clouds includes the rest of  our lives.

Freely Justified

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Messiah Yeshua…. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith …” (Romans 3:23, 27-28).

The word justify means ‘to show or provide adequate reason for something.’  For example, in a court of law, poor person may ‘justify’ their reason for stealing a loaf of bread; a murderer may try to ‘justify’ his reason for killing his wife. To the individual, their personal reason justifies their action.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam tried to justify his sin by blaming Eve.  Eve tried to justify her being deceived by blaming the serpent.  Many times believers try to justify sin by claiming certain Scriptures are ‘not for today,’ or ‘we’re not convicted of that yet,’ or worse, ‘that was for the Jews.’   Adam and Eve tried to cover their sin through fig leaves, but no one is justified by what they do or don’t do. 

“God made him who had no sin to a sin offering for us …” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Elohim, the yod-hey-vav-hey, became flesh and blood in the person of Yeshua/Jesus who paid the death wage of sin for us. We are justified only by God’s grace through the sacrificial blood offering of the Lamb of God, Yeshua. Putting our faith in his blood is the only justification we have before God.  There is no other way and, no other religion in world history offers freedom from the guilt of sin by faith the blood of one righteous person.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Messiah Yeshua” (Romans 5:1).

Becoming Sanctified

“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the Truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

According to Thessalonians, we are saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and belief in the Truth.   The second step of the salvation process is through the work of God’s Spirit in our lives and how we obey the the Truth of His Word. We move from the ‘born again baby’ stage of a spiritual life and grow into maturity.

“Sanctify them by the truth; your Word is Truth” (John 17:17).

The word sanctify comes from the Greek word hagios and  means ‘separation.’    The word ‘saint’ derives from ‘sanctify’.  In Hebrew ‘sanctify’ is kadosh or ‘holy’ and means “to set apart for sacred use, consecrate, make holy, and purify.”  Even though at the moment of ‘justification,’ we are immediately ‘set apart’ for God, sanctification is a process that takes time.

According to Yeshua, the Word of Truth sanctifies us and sets us apart from the world as God’s people or His saints.  By studying the Truth, we learn what God desires us to do or not to do.  As we read His Word and obey it, we become more set apart from the world or ‘holy.’   This holiness should be a comparison to Yeshua and his life walk and not a comparison to those around us.  Each person is in a different place of sanctification; some walk more slowly than others.  What is important is that we’re each on a sanctifying walk grounded in the Truth of God’s Word.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Messiah Yeshua” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Through His Spirit, God sanctifies us so we are ready when Yeshua returns. We can either allow His Spirit to work out the process or not. The Parable of the Ten Virgins shows that some allow the Spirit and the Light of the Word to prepare them; others do not. The process of sanctification works throughout our entire being changing our our spirit, soul and body.  As we grow and move forward in our life of sanctification, we should look less like the world and more like a child of God.

“Who [You]  have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Messiah Yeshua … (1 Peter 1:2).

What does it mean to be obedient to Messiah Yeshua? How do we receive the sanctifying “work of the Spirit?”

Yeshua and the Commands

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth” (John 14:15).

If we love Yeshua, simply, we will obey his commands. Our love for Yeshua should bring forth obedience to his commandments. According to Colossians 1:15, Yeshua is the visible image of God. This means that Yeshua is the physical evidence of our spiritual God. As such, every command written in Torah, the Prophets, the Writings and the Letters from the Apostles are for us to obey.  If we choose to dismiss or make irrelevant any commands of God, the commands of Yeshua, we will not receive the Spirit of Truth about those things.  Those commands that we embrace by faith and obey, the Spirit will guide us into all Truth.

This is one of the powerful truths about obeying the commands of God – His reason for the command will not be not understood until it’s obeyed.  For example, it’s only after remembering to keep the Sabbath day holy (sanctified) as God created and commanded it that He sends His Spirit of Truth and the understanding of the why of the ‘day’ begins.   If we choose not to obey a command of God (one we have deemed irrelevant or ‘not for us’), then Yeshua doesn’t ask his Father to send His Spirit and we do not receive the understanding for the command and we do not move forward in our sainthood.

“Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.  But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them.  This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must live as Yeshua did” (1 John 2:4-6).

Our ‘set apart’ lifestyle is proof of God’s Spirit living in us, convicting us of sin and transforming us into His saints. We can’t say we are one of God’s children and live in rationalized disobedience to Him.

“Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that the lives in us:  We know it by the Spirit he gave us” (1 John 3:24).

The best way to obey Yeshua is to live as he did.  He never broke one command of his Father. In fact, he taught that those who teach others to obey the commands will be great in the Kingdom and those who teach others to break the least of the commands will be least in the Kingdom (Matthew 5:17).   When we imitate him in our lives, we will not only obey the commandments, but will become set apart as he was for his Father.

What Adoption Means

An adopted child may have had a lifestyle contrary to their new family.  They may not resemble the family physically or have any understanding of their new way of life.  However, they have received a new name, a new home, and new parents.  They must now conform to the image of the family taking on the family rules.  If they love their new father and mother, they will obey the family rules and will begin to look like a member of the family.  There will be peace between siblings and the parents.  If they do not love their new parents, they remain a family member due to ‘adoption,’ but as they go out into the world, they will not be recognized as part of the family. If they do not honor their ‘adopted’ parents’ house rules, they will create grief and pain for the entire household.

When we are born again, we are adopted into God’s family and become as natural children.  We are to look like members of His household and learn His family (Kingdom) rules so the world can see that we have a new life and lifestyle. This is the essence of sanctification and is a lifelong process.

“Look, I am coming soon. My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done” (Revelation 22:12).

Yeshua promises eternal rewards for what we do in our walk of sanctification.  How much did we ‘count the cost’ and walk in the ways of our Father? How much did we allow the sanctifying work of the Spirit and the Word of Truth to work in our hearts and minds? How much determines our reward from Yeshua when he returns, including being least and greatest in his Kingdom. 

The Hope of Glory

“And those he predestined, he also called those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:30).

The definition of ‘glorification’ is ‘to give glory, honor, or high praise, to exalt.’  Glorification is the culmination of salvation when those who have been justified and sanctified are resurrected with a new immortal body. When that day of glory comes, we will assemble before Elohim to praise, honor and magnify Him for all eternity.   This is the hope of glory; this should be each ‘saved’ believers vision for eternity and the coming Kingdom on earth.

“So all of us, with faces unveiled, see as in a mirror the glory of the Lord; and we are being changed into his very image, from one degree of glory to the next, by Adonai the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

In eternity, there will be degrees of glory based on the works of sanctification in the physical realm.  There will be those who glorify Elohim in robes washed in the blood of the Lamb.  They will hold palm branches and shout, “Salvation belongs to our God” (Revelation 7:9).  Others will receive “fine linen, bright and clean to wear” which is evidence of the righteous acts of the sanctified ones” (Revelation 19:8).  An inheritance will also be given to those who lived according to the will of God in His Word. It will be an inheritance in proportion to the glory of Messiah within each of us.

“Also in union with him we were given an inheritance, we who were picked in advance according to the purpose of the One who effects everything in keeping with the decision of his will, so that we who earlier had put our hope in the Messiah would bring him praise commensurate with his glory” (Ephesians 1:11-12). 

The glorification of the saints, of us, will ultimately result in the glorification of Elohim. His sovereignty through His mercy and justice will be experienced in an unparalleled way. The gathering of the glorified Body of Messiah will be an event unlike anything ever witnessed in all of eternity with Elohim’s creation. Praise and worship will be like nothing that has happened before in all of eternity past, present or future.

“On the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people [saints] and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.   This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you” (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

Furthermore, you who heard the message of the truth, the Good News offering you deliverance, and put your trust in the Messiah were sealed by him with the promised Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit], who guarantees our inheritance until we come into possession of it and thus bring him praise commensurate with his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14). 

Being freely justified by faith in blood of Messiah is an ‘amazing grace’ first step toward complete salvation. It brings us into Messiah’s Kingdom, it sets us onto a path of life for eternity. Becoming sanctified through the Spirit of God and His Truth gives us life abundantly now and sets us apart from the world as God’s children growing into maturity and Messiah’s Bride. With the return of Yeshua and his calling forth of his people, our hope of glory will be fulfilled in the eternal Kingdom. We will know the fullness of salvation and what it fully means to be saved and born again into the Kingdom of God.

©2010 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.