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?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Taking a Stand for Holiness and Righteousness

Many times throughout history groups of people have been faced with heart wrenching events that tried their stamina and tested their faith.  America was founded by men and women who fought with all their being to establish a home and country where they could live free from tyrannical oversight.  A great pilgrimage took place primarily for a people who desired to worship God according to their understanding of the Bible, and not according to a monarch's interpretation. However, while worthy of remembrance and reflection, it is not the history of America that I want to revisit.

The Hebrew month of Kislev, which corresponds with the Gregorian month of December, ushers in a time of remembering another, more ancient battle for freedom.  It is the month when many people observe the celebration known as Chanukah (also spelled Hanukkah).  This holiday is observed in order to remember one of the most heart breaking and mind numbing accounts of profanity, blasphemy, and cruelty that I have ever read about! The historical account is best described in the Book of Maccabees, but the Jewish historian, Josephus, also has a written account of what took place in Jerusalem under the tyrannical reign of Antiochus Epiphanes.

After the death of Alexander the Great, four rulers took over his reign, one of which was Antiochus Ephiphanes.  Antiochus was an evil man, to say the least.  He arrogantly entered YHVH's Temple, stealing all the precious, holy items. He also profaned the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar!  However, this was not enough to satisfy Antiochus.  He demanded that all Jews reject the Torah (Law) of YHVH, meaning that they were not to keep the Sabbath, the Feasts of YHVH, nor were they to circumcise their males or abstain from eating pork.  Unfortunately, many people caved under the pressure and rejected the Torah of the Most of High, and embraced a Greek lifestyle.  It was more important to them to live a comfortable life than to take a stand for holiness and righteousness!

One of the more heart wrenching accounts to read concerns a mother of seven sons. She was forced to witness each one of them being tortured and ultimately killed for their refusal to profane their bodies with eating pork, thus breaking one of YHVH's commandments:

2 Maccabees 7 

On another occasion a Jewish mother and her seven sons were arrested. The king was having them beaten to force them to eat pork. Then one of the young men said,
What do you hope to gain by doing this? We would rather die than abandon the traditions of our ancestors.
This made the king so furious that he gave orders for huge pans and kettles to be heated red hot, and it was done immediately. Then he told his men to cut off the tongue of the one who had spoken and to scalp him and chop off his hands and feet, while his mother and six brothers looked on. After the young man had been reduced to a helpless mass of breathing flesh, the king gave orders for him to be carried over and thrown into one of the pans. As a cloud of smoke streamed up from the pan, the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die bravely, saying,
The Lord God is looking on and understands our suffering. Moses made this clear when he wrote a song condemning those who had abandoned the Lord. He said,
The Lord will have mercy on those who serve him.

After the first brother had died in this way, the soldiers started amusing themselves with the second one by tearing the hair and skin from his head. Then they asked him,
    Now will you eat this pork, or do you want us to chop off your hands and feet one by one?

He replied in his native language,
    I will never eat it! So the soldiers tortured him, just as they had the first one, but with his dying breath he cried out to the king,
    You butcher! You may kill us, but the King of the universe will raise us from the dead and give us eternal life, because we have obeyed his laws.
10 The soldiers began entertaining themselves with the third brother. When he was ordered to stick out his tongue, he quickly did so. Then he bravely held out his hands 11 and courageously said,
God gave these to me. But his laws mean more to me than my hands, and I know God will give them back to me again. 12 The king and those with him were amazed at his courage and at his willingness to suffer.
13 After he had died, the soldiers tortured the fourth one in the same cruel way, 14 but his final words were,
I am glad to die at your hands, because we have the assurance that God will raise us from death. But there will be no resurrection to life for you, Antiochus!
15 When the soldiers took the fifth boy and began torturing him, 16 he looked the king squarely in the eye and said,
You have the power to do whatever you want with us, even though you also are mortal. But do not think that God has abandoned our people. 17 Just wait. God will use his great power to torture you and your descendants.

18 Then the soldiers took the sixth boy, and just before he died he said,
    Make no mistake. We are suffering what we deserve, because we have sinned against our God. That's why all these terrible things are happening to us. 19 But don't think for a minute that you will avoid being punished for fighting against God.
20 The mother was the most amazing one of them all, and she deserves a special place in our memory. Although she saw her seven sons die in a single day, she endured it with great courage because she trusted in the Lord. 21 She combined womanly emotion with manly courage and spoke words of encouragement to each of her sons in their native language.
22 I do not know how your life began in my womb, she would say,
I was not the one who gave you life and breath and put together each part of your body. 23 It was God who did it, God who created the universe, the human race, and all that exists. He is merciful and he will give you back life and breath again, because you love his laws more than you love yourself.

24 Antiochus was sure that the mother was making fun of him, so he did his best to convince her youngest son to abandon the traditions of his ancestors. He promised not only to make the boy rich and famous, but to place him in a position of authority and to give him the title
    Friend of the King. 25 But the boy paid no attention to him, so Antiochus tried to persuade the boy's mother to talk him into saving his life, 26 and after much persuasion she agreed to do so. 27 Leaning over her son, she fooled the cruel tyrant by saying in her native language,
    My son, have pity on me. Remember that I carried you in my womb for nine months and nursed you for three years. I have taken care of you and looked after all your needs up to the present day. 28 So I urge you, my child, to look at the sky and the earth. Consider everything you see there, and realize that God made it all from nothing, just as he made the human race. 29 Don't be afraid of this butcher. Give up your life willingly and prove yourself worthy of your brothers, so that by God's mercy I may receive you back with them at the resurrection.

30 Before she could finish speaking, the boy said,
    King Antiochus, what are you waiting for? I refuse to obey your orders. I only obey the commands in the Law which Moses gave to our ancestors. 31 You have thought up all kinds of cruel things to do to our people, but you won't escape the punishment that God has in store for you. 32-33 It is true that our living Lord is angry with us and is making us suffer because of our sins, in order to correct and discipline us. But this will last only a short while, for we are still his servants, and he will forgive us. 34 But you are the cruelest and most disgusting thing that ever lived. So don't fool yourself with illusions of greatness while you punish God's people. 35 There is no way for you to escape punishment at the hands of the almighty and all-seeing God. 36 My brothers suffered briefly because of our faithfulness to God's covenant, but now they have entered eternal life.[a] But you will fall under God's judgment and be punished as you deserve for your arrogance. 37 I now give up my body and my life for the laws of our ancestors, just as my brothers did. But I also beg God to show mercy to his people quickly and to torture you until you are forced to acknowledge that he alone is God. 38 May my brothers and I be the last to suffer the anger of Almighty God, which he has justly brought upon our entire nation.
39 These words of ridicule made Antiochus so furious that he had the boy tortured even more cruelly than his brothers. 40 And so the boy died, with absolute trust in the Lord, never unfaithful for a minute.
41 Last of all, the mother was put to death.
42 But I have said enough about the Jews being tortured and being forced to eat the intestines of sacrificial animals.

It was this tyrannical, deviant behavior, and the *compromising of many Jews* (see note below), that fueled the righteous indignation of the Maccabees - a small group of Jewish men who rose up under the leadership of a man name Mattathias. Mattathias died and his son, Judas Maccabeus became the leader of the revolt. They fought back to regain Jerusalem and her holy Temple.  After many years of fighting, Jerusalem and the Temple of YHVH were reclaimed and rededicated. An eight day celebration was instituted to commemorate this victory. 

Chanukah is the Hebrew word meaning "dedication", thus this time each year the Feast of Dedication is observed.  Hanukah is also known as the Festival of Lights, and many people celebrate it by lighting candles on a nine branch Hanukkiah (not to be confused with the seven branched Menorah, which was commanded to be in the Temple). Hanukah is mentioned in the Book of John:

 Now Hanukkah was taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking around in the Temple inside the open porch of Solomon.

After reading the historical accounts of the "Jewish Revolt",  I have contemplated the level of faith and faithfulness it took for those men (and women) memorialized for taking a stand.  Scripture states in multiple places that true followers will "stand firm to the end". In fact, Revelation 21:8 states that the cowardly will be thrown into the lake of fire! 

 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (ESV)
I don't know if my family and I will ever be faced with such unthinkable atrocities or not.  My prayer is that we won't, but if we are, my prayer is that we will have the faith to take a stand for holiness and righteousness! 

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13 (NIV)

 For more (and probably better) information about Chanukah, I encourage you to check out the following:



  *This bit was added after I first published the post, and I plan on elaborating on this in a future post.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Great Awakening - Signs of Revival

Most of the Body of Messiah has been praying for revival.  I know that I personally have for more years than and I count.  I began by praying for a personal revival, because I believe that Scripture points to that.

One of the most frequently used Scriptures quoted for revival is 
2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV):

 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

This verse gives us a formula, if you will, of what needs to happen in order for a people, even a land, to experience revival: 

  1. Humble yourself
  2. Pray
  3. Seek Yehovah's face
  4. Turn from your wicked ways  
I have seen steps 1-3 take place frequently, however, step 4 is more challenging.  Why is that?  I think it is more challenging because we don't all understand what the Father has defined as "wicked".  Our definition of "sin", is typically very vague and subjective.  I was always taught that "sin" means to "miss the mark", but no one really ever explained what the mark was! I know that I was doing things that in my opinion were acceptable, even pleasing to the Father, yet in His mercy, He eventually helped me to see that those things were not acceptable nor pleasing to Him!  But because of my doing steps 1-3 so frequently, step 4 became more accessible for me to take. The Holy Spirit helped me to see that the true definition of sin is "lawlessness": 

 Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness
I john 3:4 (ISR)

Well, whose law?  Yehovah's, of course! Thankfully, He helped me to connect the dots. I don't kid myself into thinking that I have fully obtained anything - I am still a work in progress! 

In the last couple of years, I have started noticing more signs of revival - others who are connecting the dots.  It is so encouraging to hear about believers waking up and taking notice that something just isn't right within the churches.  That is exactly what prompted me to cry out and weep for more

So, I want to share links to a few accounts of this revival taking place. For the most part, I think that the Body of Messiah will be surprised to see how the Great Awakening we are all praying for is unfolding.  Yehovah's ways are higher than ours, and His thoughts are above our thoughts, so He always works outside the box we keep trying to put Him in! (see Isaiah 55)

I hope that you will take the time to watch, read, and/or listen to the following testimonies of what I believe is the Great Awakening.

This awakening is so great, that our brother, Judah (the Jewish people), is starting to take notice!  This is fulfilling prophecy!!

And finally, a new documentary was recently released.  Now, to view this, you will need to purchase a copy for yourself.  You can buy it either in a download version or DVD.  It is well worth the price!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

What Should We Remember on 9/11?

As I was praying this morning, I asked the Father that as we remember the attack that happened against the two towers (as well as the others), to please help US, the Church, to remember the attack against HIS Two Tablets.

Church, until we recognize that WE are guilty of breaking Yehovah's Law, His Torah, and that WE need to repent, our prayers are futile. Proverbs 28:9 "He that turns away his ear from hearing the Torah, even his prayer shall be abomination." 

It's time to stop pretending that there are only NINE commandments. It's time to stop pretending that because Yeshua paid our PENALTY for breaking Yehovah's commandments that we no longer need to worry about keeping them - think about that for a minute!

Remember what Yeshua Himself said in Matthew 5:17-19:
"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."

I don't pretend to have it all figured out as far as how to live out all of Torah, but I am willing to learn and do what I understand. The Father says all throughout the Word - TURN BACK TO ME! Trust Me! Do what I've said to do and you will receive blessings! Don't do what I've said to do and you will receive curses! Was 9/11 a blessing or a curse?!

Yeshua says over and over that if we love Him, we WILL keep His commandments!

Believing in Yeshua isn't enough. Even the demons believe! (James 2:19) We must TRUST in Yeshua's having died & rose again for us, repent of breaking His Torah, submit to Him as our Lord, and THEN we must live as He lived - by keeping the Father's commandments!

Revelation 12:17 

"So the dragon was furious with the woman and left to wage war against the rest of her offspring--those who keep Yehovah's commands AND have the testimony of Yeshua."

Revelation 22:14 

"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."

Revelation 2:5 

"Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent."

Revelation 2:16-17 

"Therefore repent! Otherwise I will come to you shortly and wage war against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

Acts 17:30 

"The times of ignorance Yehovah overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent."

Friday, September 9, 2016

How the Torah Has Changed Me

I am going on my second year of living more according to the Torah (I share my journey to Torah here). I look back and see that I have changed a great deal in a short amount of time.  

When I was a little girl I knew that when I grew up I wanted to marry and have children, and be a stay-at-home mom.  Of course I also had pipe dreams, but deep down, I really just wanted to be a wife and mother.  Thankfully, my Heavenly Father apparently wanted that for me as well!

I'm not going to make my life sound like a "Leave It to Beaver" episode, because like everybody, I have experienced challenges along the way.  I have had to learn to get over myself and to put other people's needs before my own. I'm not going to lie, I still struggle with this! I have never, and I mean NEVER enjoyed cooking, laundry is a never ending chore, and cleaning the house can also be mundane.  However, now those things (with the exception of cooking) have become much more bearable for me.  I will even go so far as to say that for the most part I now find joy in those every day tasks (again, with the exception of cooking). 


Well, the reason I think I've had such a change of heart is because my family and I started keeping the Sabbath set-apart.  Now I find myself looking forward to Friday - prep day - because it means the Sabbath is near!  I know that come sundown on Friday the Sabbath begins (see Genesis 1), and I will have that time set apart to worship the Father, and come Saturday, I will have that day to rest - just as the Father commanded! Yes! He commanded that we rest (see Exodus 20)! (why did I ever have a problem with that?)

Prep day is not a chore for me.  In a way I feel like I did when I would get ready for a date.  I wanted everything to perfect! Now, when I change the bed sheets I think about how nice it will be to climb into bed with those clean, fresh smelling sheets knowing that the following morning I can freely stay in them for a little longer than I normally would the other days of the week!  And when I am cleaning the house, I think of how nice it will be all the next day to not worry about any of those "trivial" things.  I will have the whole day to rest and to spend more time with the Father, as well as with my family and friends during our Torah study.

Speaking of spending time with friends - that is another way that the Torah has changed me.

I am an introvert, so being around a lot of people is not typically my thing.  However, since my family and I started following the Torah more closely, we see where the Father has instructed us to assemble together with other believers quite frequently.  We meet with others to bring in the Sabbath on Friday evenings.  We do this by having a meal together and afterward we worship the Father together, and we usually end the evening with more fellowship and dessert! I already mentioned that we get together with friends on Saturday for Torah study.  After the study we usually eat a meal together and continue our fellowship.

The other times that we assemble with others is during the Feast times (see Leviticus 23).

Feast of Unleavened Bread
First Fruits
Shavuot (aka Pentecost)

Feast of Trumpets
Day of Atonement
Feast of Tabernacles (this is an eight day celebration!)

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I was a complete hermit before, but now being around others doesn't bother me like it used to.  I actually look forward to these times because I know it is what the Father wants me to do.  I know that it pleases the Father when His children follow His Instructions, and I know that it pleases Him to see His children dwelling together in unity (Psalm 133).

I also want to add that I am a much better student of the Word than I was before.  I am more diligent in looking deeper into the Word for myself instead of just taking someone else's word for it (see Acts 17:11).  The Holy Spirit is giving me more insight and a better understanding to some passages that I once found difficult to understand.  The parables of Yeshua (Jesus) and the letters of Apostle Sha'ul (Paul) especially are more clear to me now!  I don't claim to have complete understanding about everything, but many things make much more sense than before.  Hallelujah!

Another way it has changed me (and you might have picked up on it), is that it has given me a strong desire to know the Hebrew language.  I really want to know how to read and understand the language in which the Torah was written.  So I try to use what I know (such as Yeshua, Yehovah [YHVH], Sha'ul, Shavuot, etc) so that it becomes more familiar to me.
So far the Torah has helped me to view my calling as a wife, mother, and homemaker more of a joy than before, and it has helped me to enjoy the fellowship of the Father and His children even more as well!  And in addition, I have a better understanding of His Word! Those are pretty big things - at least to me.

If you are interested in learning more about the Torah, I encourage you to search it out.  Just remember to begin anything and everything with prayer!! Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth.  There are many false teachings and false teachers out there, so always use discernment!!

Shalom! You'll need to sign up for this to access teachings, but it is free.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Shavuot - A Gift

Hebrew letters read Shavuot

Tomorrow, June 12, 2016, will mark my second year of observing Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, that is written about in the Torah.

And from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you shall count for yourselves: seven completed Sabbaths.
‘Until the morrow after the seventh Sabbath you count fifty days, then you shall bring a new grain offering to יהוה.
‘Bring from your dwellings for a wave offering two loaves of bread, of two-tenths of an ĕphah of fine flour they are, baked with leaven, first-fruits to יהוה.
‘And besides the bread, you shall bring seven lambs a year old, perfect ones, and one young bull and two rams. They are a burnt offering to יהוה, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet fragrance to יהוה.
‘And you shall offer one male goat as a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old, as a peace offering.
‘And the priest shall wave them, besides the bread of the first-fruits, as a wave offering before יהוה, besides the two lambs. They are set-apart to יהוה for the priest.
‘And on this same day you shall proclaim a set-apart gathering for yourselves, you do no servile work on it – a law forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
‘And when you reap the harvest of your land do not completely reap the corners of your field when you reap, and do not gather any gleaning from your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the stranger. I am יהוה your Elohim.’ ”

  Count seven weeks for yourself. Begin to count seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain.
“And you shall perform the Festival of Weeks to יהוה your Elohim, according to the voluntary offering from your hand, which you give as יהוה your Elohim blesses you.

“And you shall rejoice before יהוה your Elohim, you and your son and your daughter, and your male servant and your female servant, and the Lĕwite who is within your gates, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are in your midst, at the place where יהוה your Elohim chooses to make His Name dwell.

“And you shall remember that you were a slave in Mitsrayim [Egypt], and you shall guard and do these laws.

Shavuot, better known as Pentecost by mainstream Christianity, is the anniversary of when Yeshua sent the Promise of the Father - the Holy Spirit- to His Followers.  It is apparent that Yeshua desired His Followers to continue keeping Shavuot even after His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, and we can read about that in the New Testament writings: 

 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.

 And He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all have to be filled that were written in the Torah of Mosheh and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”
Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

and said to them, “Thus it has been written, and so it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise again from the dead the third day,

and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all nations, beginning at Yerushalayim.

“And you are witnesses of these matters.

And see, I am sending the Promise of My Father upon you, but you are to remain in the city of Yerushalayim until you are clothed with power from on high.”

And He led them out as far as Bĕyth Anyah, and lifting up His hands He blessed them.

And it came to be, while He was blessing them, that He was parted from them and was taken up into the heaven.

And they, having bowed down to Him, returned to Yerushalayim with great joy,

and were continually in the Set-apart Place praising and blessing Elohim. Amĕn.
[bold mine] 

 And meeting with them, He commanded them not to leave Yerushalayim, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which you have heard from Me –because Yoḥanan truly immersed in water, but you shall be immersed in the Set-apart Spirit not many days from now.”So when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Master, would You at this time restore the reign to Yisra’ĕl?”And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Set-apart Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Yerushalayim, and in all Yehuḏah and Shomeron, and to the end of the earth.”
 Acts 1:4-8 (ISR)
[bold mine]

 And when the Day of the Festival of Weeks had come, they were all with one mind in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from the heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and settled on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Set-apart Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them to speak.
Now in Yerushalayim there were dwelling Yehuḏim, dedicated men from every nation under the heaven.
And when this sound came to be, the crowd came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
 [bold mine]

On my 1st Shavuot, I awoke to a great wind blowing through the trees of the camp!

 We see that the Followers of Messiah received the Promised One, the Holy Spirit, because they were obedient to the command of Yeshua.  Yeshua made it clear that He only said and did what the Father commanded: 

 And if anyone hears My Words but does not watch over them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
“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.”
[bold mine]

Of Myself I am unable to do any matter. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own desire, but the desire of the Father who sent Me.

 יהושע [Yeshua] said these words, and lifted up His eyes to the heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come. Esteem Your Son, so that Your Son also might esteem You,
as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give everlasting life to all whom You have given Him.And this is everlasting life, that they should know You, the only true Elohim, and יהושע Messiah whom You have sent. I have esteemed You on the earth, having accomplished the work You have given Me that I should do. And now, esteem Me with Yourself, Father, with the esteem which I had with You before the world was. I have revealed Your Name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have guarded Your Word. Now they have come to know that all You gave to Me, is from You. Because the Words which You gave to Me, I have given to them. And they have received them, and have truly known that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me."
John 17:1-8 (ISR)
[bold mine]
This was prophesied by YHVH in Deuteronomy: 

 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.
[bold mine]

 So, when Yeshua commanded His Followers to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit, He was essentially reminding them to keep Shavuot!  

Another fascinating aspect of Shavuot is that it is traditionally thought to also be the anniversary of when YHVH gave the Torah to Moses and all the Israelites!  So when we observe Shavuot today, we are celebrating the giving of the Word (Torah) of YHVH, which in Psalm 119:142 is defined as TRUTH: "Your righteousness is righteousness forever, And Your Torah is truth." AND we are celebrating the giving of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1-2 again)! 

Yeshua said this about true worshipers: 

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father also does seek such to worship Him. Elohim is Spirit, and those who worship Him need to worship in spirit and truth.

There are so many fascinating aspects of Shavuot, but I don't feel that I can adequately communicate them myself just yet.  I highly encourage you to examine the Scriptures for yourself to see what is written about Shavuot and the other Feasts of YHVH.  All I can say is that since I have started trying to live my life more Biblically,  

I have had more joy, more peace, more contentment, and have been more certain of my relationship with the Father than ever before! 

Do I have everything figured out? No. But the joy of learning and implementing what I do understand has been more exhilarating than anything else I've ever experienced.  The only thing that comes close in comparison is when I gave birth to my children.  I had no clue how to be a parent, but I knew that what I held in my arms was more precious than my own life!  I knew that I wanted to guard them with everything in my being.  And that is how I feel about the Gift of Life YHVH has given to me through Yeshua - His Living Torah!  

I love Him and I want to guard His Torah! 

   Teach me, O יהוה, the way of Your laws, And I observe it to the end.Make me understand, that I might observe Your Torah, And guard it with all my heart.
Psalm 119:33-34 (ISR)

For some great teachings on Shavuot I recommend the following: 

and these: 

I just wanted to add a little disclaimer of sorts.  I use as a spring board for learning the above teachings on Shavuot, and with any other posts/subjects that I share here.  I don't necessarily agree with everything that any one teacher has to say.  

Be a Berean! Shalom!