Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What My Tongue Has Won Me

This is the week before Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Like most people who observe the Bibical Feasts of YHVH, I have begun deep cleaning the house in an effort to remove any leaven that is in the house.  As I clean the house, I try to pray, asking Father to reveal to me any unconfessed sin (leaven) in my heart.  This is our third year of keeping the Feasts, and so far Father has not failed to answer my prayer.  This year, however, has been the hardest for me.  

Since my family and I have started observing the Feasts of YHVH, I have noticed an increase in spiritual warfare leading up to the Feasts.  As I was praying earlier today, once again crying out in remorse over what the Father had revealed to me, I told Him that I can't blame this one on Satan!  

I remember the second year of deep cleaning the house in preparation for Unleavened Bread, I found something with leaven in it that was at the bottom of our deep freezer.  I had overlooked it the year before, which means that during the week of Unleavened Bread, I still had not completely rid the house of all the leaven!  I was mortified!  However, it proved to be a learning experience for me: No matter how thoroughly I think I have examined my heart, there can always be something there that I have overlooked. 

 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
         Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
         And lead me in the everlasting way.
Psalm 139:23-24

So far this year the Father has reminded me of the ramifications of an unbridled tongue.  It has been brought to my attention that something I said out of anger years ago made a very negative impact on someone whom I dearly love.  Unfortunately this isn't the first time my tongue has been the source of pain.  

When I was child, my tongue won me multiple spankings. 
In elementary school, my tongue won me a beating from a boy in class. 
In middle school, my tongue won me my first visit to the principal's office. 
In high school, my tongue won me even more visits to the principal's office. 
As a young adult, my tongue won me a show-down with my mother, which led to each of us slapping the other. 
As an adult, my tongue won me the opportunity to see hurt expressed on the faces of those to whom I lashed out. 

Overall, I would say my tongue has won me major losses. 

Rash speaking is like piercings of a sword, 
But the tongue of the wise is healing.
Proverbs 12:18

 And the tongue is a fire, the world of unrighteousness. 
Among our members the tongue is set, 
the one defiling the entire body, 
and setting on fire the wheel of life, 
and it is set on fire by Gehenna.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
But no man is able to tame the tongue. 
It is unruly, evil, filled with deadly poison.
James 3:6-8

So now I am faced with the daunting task of seeking forgiveness.  Thankfully, the person I hurt has already extended their forgiveness.  Thankfully I know that Father has forgiven me because He promises in His Word: If we confess our sins, He is trustworthy and righteous to forgive us the sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9). No, the hard part is forgiving myself.  The hard part is finally learning the lesson of the power of the tongue and how to bridle it!  

For the most part I have finished cleaning out the leaven in the house this year.  So far Father has been faithful to point out the sin in my heart that I have overlooked all this time.  Hopefully, that is all there is.  But who knows? Father knows.  If there is more sin in my heart, will He reveal it to me this year? Part of me hopes not, because I am not sure that I can bear it, not when I am still bearing the pain of hurting someone I love. Yet, maybe it would be good to own up to everything at once.  Again, I don't know. Father knows. 


 Create in me a clean heart, O Elohim, 

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence, 
And do not take Your Set-apart Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your deliverance, 
And uphold me, Noble Spirit!
Psalm 51:10-12


I have said,“Let me guard my ways Against sinning with my tongue; Let me guard my mouth with a muzzle...”  
Psalm 39:1 

 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Whatchu Talkin' 'Bout, Socrates?!

Today I found myself alone at home. Surrounded by the quiet, and not currently pressed with anything that can't wait until tomorrow, I decided to once again look into some historical documents related to the different viewpoints of Easter vs Passover (here is a link to the first post I wrote on the subject).  

My research led me to The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates, Book 5, XXII  where I read the following:
 
"We have also gratifying intelligence to communicate to you relative to unity of judgement on the subject of the most holy feast of Easter: for this point also has been happily settled through your prayers; so that all the brethren in the East who have heretofore kept this festival when the Jews did, will henceforth conform to the Romans and to us, and to all who from the earliest time have observed our period of celebrating Easter." 
"Conforming to the Romans and to us".   
Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Socrates?! 
 








But what did YHVH have to say? Well, He didn't tell us to conform to any nation! He commanded us NOT to conform to other nations! (Leviticus 18:3, 24; Leviticus 20:23; Deuteronomy 9:4; Jeremiah 10:2) He didn't command us to keep Easter as the Romans did!  In fact, in Exodus 12:14 YHVH commanded: 

Exodus 12:14 (ISR): "And this day [Passover] shall become to you a remembrance. And you shall observe it as a festival to יהוה throughout your generations – observe it as a festival, an everlasting law."

Exodus 12:14 (NLT) "This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the LORD. This is a law for all time."
Exodus 12:14 (NASB) "Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance."

I continued to read the works of Socrates. In Chapter XXII - The Author's Views Respecting the Observation of Easter, I read the following: 

"It appears to me that nether the ancients nor moderns who have affected to follow the Jews, have had any rational foundation for contending so obstinately about it. For they have altogether lost sight of the fact, that when our religion superseded the Jewish economy, the obligation to observe Mosaic law and the Ceremonial types ceased. That it is incompatible with Christian faith to practice Jewish rites, is manifest from the apostle's expressly forbidding it; and not only rejecting circumcision, but also deprecating contention about festival days." 
This position is fundamentally false when compared to Scripture! Yeshua was a Jew - born into the Tribe of Judah (the tribe from which Jews descend)!  He did NOT come to end Mosaic law (also referred to as Torah, the first five books of the Bible).  In fact, He made it perfectly clear that that was not His intention: 
 
 Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete. For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done. Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens.
Yeshua used the Torah exclusively to teach people about Himself: 
 And beginning at Mosheh and all the Prophets, He was explaining to them in all the Scriptures the matters concerning Himself. 
Stop right there!
Yeshua used the writings of Moses, and the Prophets - all the Scriptures! Yeshua did not tell people to wait until His disciples and apostles had time to write their gospel accounts and/or letters to the assemblies so that they would know what to do!  He used the Torah!   
If Yeshua used the Torah to teach people (and ultimately us today) about Himself, then we should  take the time to read and study the Torah for ourselves. One of the very crucial things stated in the Torah is found in Deuteronomy (I have heard that Yeshua quoted from Deuteronomy more than any other book of the Torah!):

Do not add to the Word which I command you, and do not take away from it, so as to guard the commands of יהוה your Elohim which I am commanding you.
 All the words I am commanding you, guard to do it – do not add to it nor take away from it.
I want to refer back to the last quote I shared where it is stated that the apostle's forbade observing Mosaic law and/or keeping the feasts.  I want to compare that statement to the following passages: 

And Sha’ul [Paul] , having stayed several days more, having taken leave of the brothers, was sailing for Syria, and Priscilla and Aqulas were with him, having shaved his hair at Kenḥrea, for he had taken a vow. And he came to Ephesos, and left them there, but he himself went into the congregation and reasoned with the Yehuḏim [Jews]. And when they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he declined, but took leave of them, saying, “I have to keep this coming festival in Yerushalayim [Jerusalem] by all means, but I shall come back to you, Elohim desiring so.” And he sailed from Ephesos. And having come to Caesarea, going up and greeting the assembly, he went down to Antioch.
There are three festivals that require the men to go to Jerusalem (see Deuteronomy 16:16): 
  • Passover/Unleavened Bread 
  • Shavuot (aka Pentecost)
  • Sukkot (aka Tabernacles)
So Paul was speaking of one of these three feasts, and it sounds to me like he was adamant on KEEPING the feast! He wasn't forbidding himself or anyone else from keeping it!  
"I have to keep this coming festival in Yerushalayim by all means"
 
Paul again exhorts believers to keep a feast of YHVH - the Feast of Unleavened Bread: 
 Therefore cleanse out the old leaven, so that you are a new lump, as you are unleavened. For also Messiah our Passover was offered for us. So then let us observe the festival, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of evil and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I think it is clear that the apostle Paul continued to keep the feasts of YHVH as was commanded in the Torah!!

Here is another quote from the writings of Socrates that I wanted to share and address: 

"The Savior and his apostles have enjoined us by no law to this feast, nor in the New Testament are we threatened with any penalty, punishment, or curse for the neglect of it, as the Mosaic law does the Jews. It is merely for the sake of historical accuracy, and for the reproach of the Jews, because they polluted themselves with blood on their very feasts, that it is recorded in the Gospels that our Savior suffered 'in the days of Unleavened bread.' The apostles had no thought of appointing festival days, but of promoting a life of blamelessness and piety. And it seems to me that the feast of Easter has been introduced into the Church from some old usage, just as many other customs have been established." 

Oh my goodness!! That really got me riled up!! 

First of all, Yeshua clearly stated over and over again that He did only what He heard the Father say, and what He saw the Father doing! He also made it abundantly clear that obedience to the Father was an outward expression of our love for Him! 

He who rejects Me, and does not receive My Words, has one who judges him: the Word that I have spoken shall judge him in the last day. Because I spoke not from Myself, but the Father who sent Me has given Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, as the Father has said to Me, so I speak.
 
 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak from Myself. But the Father who stays in Me does His works.
He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.

Yeshua answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he shall guard My Word. And My Father shall love him, and We shall come to him and make Our stay with him.
He who does not love Me does not guard My Words. And the Word which you hear is not Mine but of the Father Who sent Me.
These Words I have spoken to you while still with you.
But the Helper, the Set-apart Spirit, whom the Father shall send in My Name, He shall teach you all, and remind you of all that I said to you."

I'm sorry, but I don't understand how in the world anyone could say that Yeshua ever said or did anything contrary to the Father's commandments stated in the Torah!  I don't see how anyone could say that the disciples or the apostles did that either!  

Many people, including the one quoted from the writings of Socrates, use a few verses out of Paul's letters to the Galatians and/or Colossians to say that he was teaching against the Sabbath(s), feasts, circumcision, etc.  However, if you take notice to whom those letters were written - Galatians and Colossians - people coming from a pagan background, you will likely realize that he is encouraging them to not let their old ways creep back in, or not to let their pagan buddies give them a hard time for keeping the commandments of YHVH!  Paul was by no means instructing these people to break the Torah! If he were, then he needed to be considered a false teacher and/or prophet according to Deuteronomy 13, which means that he should not be listened to!    

Second of all, the Jews did not "pollute themselves with blood on their feasts"! If the writer was talking about the required sacrifices for Passover, then they were being obedient to YHVH's commandments! If the writer was talking about the fact that Yeshua was crucified on Passover (which is probably what he was addressing), then he apparently forgot where Yeshua Himself said, 
 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. But the hireling, and not being a shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees. And the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them. Now the hireling flees because he is a hireling and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd. And I know Mine, and Mine know Me, even as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold – I have to bring them as well, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one flock, one shepherd. Because of this the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life, in order to receive it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to receive it again. This command I have received from My Father.
That is why Yeshua came! To give His life to pay our penalty for breaking YHVH's Torah! 
OK, I am trying to calm down. But I hope that you share my frustration! 
So much of Scripture has been twisted and manipulated throughout history. It is time that we stop and ask ourselves:
  • why do we believe what we believe, and does it truly line up with what Scripture says? 
  • why are we doing things the way we are doing them, and do they truly line up with what Scripture says?  
  • is what we hear, believe, and do based on truth? see Psalm 119:142
I know that everyone is not necessarily interested in history.  I know that most everyone does not have the time to research things.  But honestly, all we need is the Word of God!  All we need to do is let Scripture define Scripture. I exhort you to take your time reading your Bible.  Compare different translations to make sure you are getting the full picture. Many of the newer translations have made drastic changes and either add to or take away from the Word!! Remember Deuteronomy 4:32!! 
Start all over again - from the beginning! Start in Genesis and ask the Holy Spirit to give you understanding as you read through the Bible beginning to end. YHVH has even told us from the beginning how it all ends! 
  
Remember the former events of old, for I am Ěl, and there is no one else – Elohim, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from of old that which has not yet been done, saying, ‘My counsel does stand, and all My delight I do.
If you do have the time to research historical writings, etc., I encourage you to do so. It has been very eye-opening for me! I have come to realize that for most of my spiritual life I have relied too much on the teachings and doctrines of men rather than on the whole counsel of Scripture.  

If you decide to keep your Bible reading focus on the New Testament (I have heard someone call it the "True Testament" because there isn't anything "new" in it!), then I hope you start noticing more and more how Yeshua is always pointing to the Father and His commandments (Torah), and how the disciples and apostles were faithful in imitating Messiah Yeshua.  

Another thing I hope is that I did not come across as condescending or rude.  I desire only to speak the truth in love! 

I hope that this post has been beneficial and thought-provoking! 
 Be a Berean! (Acts 17:11

Shalom! 
P.S. 
I know that Socrates may have been quoting someone else in his writings, but I thought it humorous to use his name in place of "Willis". ;)       

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Who Is This Messenger?


 
This week's Torah portion has been exceptionally interesting to me, especially Exodus 23:20-23 (ISR):  

See, I am sending a Messenger before you to guard you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have preparedBe on guard before Him and obey His voice. Do not rebel against Him, for He is not going to pardon your transgression, for My Name is in Him.  But if you diligently obey His voice and shall do all that I speak, then I shall be an enemy to your enemies and a distress to those who distress you. For My Messenger shall go before you and shall bring you in to the Amorites and the Ḥittites and the Perizzites and the Kena‛anites and the Ḥiwwites and the Yeḇusites, and I shall cut them off. (emphasis mine)


I kept wondering, is this Messenger Yeshua?

Here are some verses that make me think the Messenger might be Yeshua: 
  • John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in Elohim, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many staying places. And if not, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I shall come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you might be too.
  • John 14:15 If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.
  • John 14:21 He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.
  • John 15:10 If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love, even as I have guarded My Father’s commands and stay in His love.
  • John 15:14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
  • Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, see, a bright cloud overshadowed them. And see, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, the Beloved, in whom I did delight. Hear Him!”
  • Deuteronomy 18:15-18  YHVH your Elohim shall raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brothers. Listen to Him, according to all you asked of יהוה your Elohim in Ḥorĕḇ in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of יהוה my Elohim, nor let me see this great fire any more, lest I die.’  And יהוה said to me, ‘What they have spoken is good. I shall raise up for them a Prophet like you out of the midst of their brothers. And I shall put My Words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be, the man who does not listen to My Words which He speaks in My Name, I require it of him.
  • John 5:43-47 I have come in My Father’s Name and you do not receive Me, if another comes in his own name, him you would receive. How are you able to believe, when you are receiving esteem from one another, and the esteem that is from the only Elohim you do not seek? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Mosheh, in whom you have set your expectation. For if you believed Mosheh, you would have believed Me, since he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings,how shall you believe My words?
  • John 10:25-30 Yeshua answered them, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s Name, they bear witness concerning Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them everlasting life, and they shall by no means ever perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one."  (emphasis in all verses mine) 

I could only come up with one reason why the Messenger in the Exodus 23 passage might not be Yeshua: In most other verses where the Messenger mentioned is often considered to be Yeshua, the phrase "Messenger of YHVH" (or more commonly "Angel of the LORD") is used.  In Exodus 23:20, it is simply "a Messenger" that is mentioned.  However, in Exodus 23:23, "My Messenger" is used.  SO, could that mean it is the "Messenger of YHVH"?

IF this Messenger in Exodus 23 IS referring to Yeshua, THEN, in my opinion, that brings much more clarity as well as consistency when reading Yeshua's words

  • "If you love Me, you shall guard My commands."(John 14:15)  
  • "He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him."  (John 14:21) 
  • "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My Words, has one who judges him: the Word that I have spoken shall judge him in the last day. Because I spoke not from Myself, but the Father who sent Me has given Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, as the Father has said to Me, so I speak.”  (John 12:48-50)
 As I was considering the Exodus verses, I initially thought, "Well, it says that the Messenger 'will NOT pardon your transgression', and we are pardoned when we confess and repent of our sins (I John 1:9) because Yeshua paid our penalty for transgressing the Father's Torah. So maybe the Messenger is NOT Yeshua." But then after looking for more confirmation in the Bible, the verses in Deuteronomy 18:15-18 (see above) and in John 12 (see above) seemed to address that very issue.  This is also addressed in Hebrews 10:
  
Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we sin purposely after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a slaughter offering for sins, but some fearsome anticipation of judgment, and a fierce fire which is about to consume the opponents. Anyone who has disregarded the Torah of Mosheh dies without compassion on the witness of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think shall he deserve who has trampled the Son of Elohim underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was set apart as common, and insulted the Spirit of favour? For we know Him who has said, “Vengeance is Mine, I shall repay, says יהוה.” And again, “יהוה shall judge His people.” It is fearsome to fall into the hands of the living Elohim.


Deliberate sin is NOT pardoned! 


I don't know about you, but I find it exciting to think that Yeshua could be the Messenger referred to in Exodus 23:20-23!  This also brings more clarity (to me) when I consider that according to Hebrews 4:1-2, the Gospel (aka Good News) was preached to the Israelites

 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

Let me see if I can bring all of this together:  In Exodus 23, YHVH told the Israelites that He would send a Messenger before them and lead them to a place He prepared for them.  This Messenger was to be heard and obeyed, because this Messenger was going to speak what YHVH commanded.  Obedience was a must, because the Messenger would not pardon disobedience (aka intentional sin).  This Messenger came in the Name (authority) of YHVH.
 
Yeshua said that He would be going before His followers to prepare a place for them.  Yeshua stated over and over that those who love Him would hear and obey His commandments, which were the same commandments given by the Father. Yeshua also stated that whoever did not receive His words would be judged by His Word (which was given to Moses).  In addition, Yeshua came in the Name (authority) of the Father.  

So, who is this Messenger?  
  


 


 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Turn the World Upside Down

I recently read a news article that is disturbing, and is reflective of an un-biblical mindset that has plagued the Church for years.  The article is about a Baptist "church" that recently hired a lesbian couple to be co-pastors of their congregation!
 
I believe this is happening more and more because the Church does not truly understand the definition of sin: 
 

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
  1 John 3:4(KJV)
 
Most Christians today (but obviously not all, thus the situation the article addresses) consider homosexuality a sin.  Many people will even point out that homosexuality is an "abomination" in the eyes of God.  However, when I did a word search on "abomination" in the Bible, I was surprised by what I found. Homosexuality is not the only thing the Father considers abominable: 
And this is NOT an exhaustive list!

 When we excuse one abomination, but condemn another, then we don't truly believe that sin IS sin - and that it is an affront to the Most Set-Apart God.
 
I remember reading in Acts 17:6 where it described the Followers of Messiah as those who "turned the world upside down". Today, the world is turning the Church upside down and inside out!
 
 
 
 
 
 Followers of Messiah MUST be consistent and set-apart in their walk in order to make a difference.

We must believe how the Father defines sin, and stop trying to redefine it to make ourselves feel better.  Again - "Whosoever commits sin, transgresses the law - sin is lawlessness." 1 John 3:4 

Yeshua warned us in Matthew 7:
 
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter into the reign of the heavens, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the heavens.
Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’
And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!

Prayerfully read Psalm 119.  Study the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), the Psalms,and the Prophets - for these teach us about Messiah! (see Luke 24:27). 

I pray that we will return to the Way the Father has laid out in His Torah - the Way Yeshua Himself lived. Yeshua IS the Way!  I pray that we will start living truly set-apart, so much so that we, like the Apostles, will turn the world upside down!

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Holy Zeal or A Life of Compromise?

In my last post, "Taking a Stand for Holiness and Righteousness", I wrote about the account of the Maccabees reclaiming Jerusalem and YHVH's Temple.  I shared a horrific account that is recorded in the Book of Maccabees 2 where a mother of seven was faced with either standing for the righteousness of YHVH, or compromising her faith and encouraging her sons to do so as well.  I also mentioned a man by the name of Mattathias, who began a revolt against the wicked Antiochus Ephanes, who captured Jerusalem and profaned the Temple of the Most High. But I did not go into detail about the compromising Jews of the time.

According to 1 Maccabees 2, Mattathias was mourning over the desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple. He and his sons tore their clothes and put on sackcloth.  The king's officials came to town and demanded that the people offer pagan sacrifices.  Mattathias was considered a leader of the town, and so the king's officials told him that he should lead by example and do as the king desired.  Mattathias replied:

 "I don't care if every Gentile in this empire has obeyed the king and yielded to the command to abandon the religion of his ancestors. My children, my relatives, and I will continue to keep the covenant that God made with our ancestors. With God's help we will never abandon his Law or disobey his commands. We will not obey the king's decree, and we will not change our way of worship in the least." 1 Maccabees 2:19-22

But as he finished speaking, another man (a Jew) approached and decided that he would compromise and follow the king's order to offer pagan sacrifices.  This ignited a holy zeal inside of Mattathias, and he killed the man right there on the altar!  He then went throughout town shouting: 

"Everyone who is faithful to God's covenant and obeys his Law, follow me! With this, he and his sons fled to the mountains, leaving behind all they owned." 1 Maccabees 2:27-28

Thus began the revolt that led to the eventual reclaiming of Jerusalem and the Temple.  

Mattathias' zeal for holiness is one example of many that have been recorded throughout history.  One of the first can be read in Exodus 32.  The Israelites were waiting for Moses to return from the mountain, but they became impatient and pressured Aaron to fashion a golden calf to replace Moses as their mediator.  Aaron compromised and did what the crowd demanded. 

And Aharon saw and built a slaughter-place before it [the golden calf]. And Aharon called out and said, "Tomorrow is a festival to YHVH.
Exodus 32:5 (ISR, emphasis mine)

Aaron and the Israelites decided when and how to worship YHVH. They also implemented pagan elements into their worship.  This was NOT what YHVH commanded and so YHVH instructed Moses to have the Levites strike down those who had participated in the profanity.  The Levites obeyed with a holy zeal:

 And Mosheh stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Who is for יהוה? Come to me.” And all the sons of Lĕwi gathered themselves to him. And he said to them, “Thus said יהוה Elohim of Yisra’ĕl: ‘Each one put his sword on his side, pass over to and fro from gate to gate in the camp, and each one slay his brother, and each one his friend, and each one his relative.’ ” And the sons of Lĕwi did according to the word of Mosheh. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.
Exodus 32:26-28 (ISR)


Another example of holy zeal can be found in Numbers 25.  A Levite by the name of Phinehas rose up against a man and woman who were also profaning holiness of YHVH at the Tent of Meeting. 

While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.” So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death those of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.” Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman’s stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.
The Lord said to Moses, “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”
Numbers 25:1-13 (NIV, emphasis mine)

YHVH approved of Phinehas' actions, and made a "covenant of peace" with him!

 The Father is set-apart and He expects His people to be set-apart as well!  

For I am יהוה your Elohim, and you shall set yourselves apart. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart. And do not defile yourselves with any creeping creature that creeps on the earth. For I am יהוה who is bringing you up out of the land of Mitsrayim, to be your Elohim. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart.
Leviticus 11:44 -45 (ISR)

For years the Church has used the term "holy" instead of simply saying "set apart", and I think this has been a huge mistake.  The word "holy" sounds so vague and gives the impression that it is unattainable. But YHVH has not and will not command His people to do something that is impossible for them to do!  He has even given His people the Torah - His Instructions - so that we can know what to do and HOW to do it!  Being set-apart IS possible! 

I have strength to do all, through Messiah who empowers me.
Philippians 4:13 (ISR)

One of the atrocities that Antiocus Ephanes enforced during the time of the Maccabees was sacrificing a pig in the Temple of YHVH.  We can read about that and even agree that it was horrible, yet many today do not give a second thought about defiling their bodies by eating pork - even though this goes against Yah's commandment (see Lev 11 and Deut 14). Our bodies are called the Temple of the Holy Spirit and of Elohim (God)!
  
Or do you not know that your body is the Dwelling Place (Temple) of the Set-apart Spirit who is in you, which you have from Elohim, and you are not your own?
1 Corinthians 6:19 (ISR) 

 And what agreement has Messiah with Beliya‛al? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what union has the Dwelling Place of Elohim with idols? For you are a Dwelling Place of the living Elohim, as Elohim has said, “I shall dwell in them and walk among them, and I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.” Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you. And I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says יהוה the Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:15-18 (ISR, emphasis mine)
  
We say that YHVH and His Word "never changes" (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8), but do we really believe that? 

When we as YHVH's children define for ourselves what is or is not set-apart, we are profaning His set-apartness! Where is the holy zeal for the things of Yah?!  Sadly, just as some of the Jews in Mattathias' day, Believers today have compromised, preferring lives of comfort over holiness, preferring to fit in with the crowd instead of being a "peculiar people" set-apart for the Most High! 

YHVH sets the standard for holiness - we don't. 

YHVH defines sin - we don't.  

 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
1 John 3:4 (NIV, emphasis mine)

The only thing we do rightfully decide for ourselves is whether or not to walk His Way.  

His Way leads to life.  

Man's way leads to death. 

 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 14:12 (ISR)
  
 See, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil, in that I am commanding you today to love יהוה your Elohim, to walk in His ways, and to guard His commands, and His laws, and His right-rulings. And you shall live and increase, and יהוה your Elohim shall bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away, and you do not obey, and shall be drawn away, and shall bow down to other mighty ones and serve them, I have declared to you today that you shall certainly perish, you shall not prolong your days in the land which you are passing over the Yardĕn to enter and possess. I have called the heavens and the earth as witnesses today against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore you shall choose life, so that you live, both you and your seed, to love יהוה your Elohim, to obey His voice, and to cling to Him – for He is your life and the length of your days – to dwell in the land which יהוה swore to your fathers, to Aḇraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Ya‛aqoḇ, to give them.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (ISR, emphasis mine)

 And there shall be a highway, and a way, and it shall be called “The Way of Set-apartness.” The unclean does not pass over it, but it is for those who walk the way, and no fools wander on it. 
Isaiah 35:8 (ISR)

Personally, I have had to admit that I was wrong.  I have had to repent from doing things my way, even  aspects of "worship" - just like Aaron and the Israelites!  Oh, how merciful Yah has been to me!

I no longer want to live a life of compromise.  I want to have a holy zeal for things that please my Heavenly Father.

What about you?