by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"…well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' You leave the commandment of YHVH and hold to the tradition of men. And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of YHVH in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.' But you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, Whatever you would have gained from me is korban' (that is, given to YHVH) - then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the Word of YHVH by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do." Mark 7:6-13
If Yeshua's words are the benchmark (click on highlighted words to view content)) by which everything is measured (including other scripture), then do the words, "…teaching as doctrines the commandments of men…and many such things you do" have any relevance to us today? Most Christians run by this verse since, being taught that the Tenakh (OT) is no longer applicable; it seems the Son is only speaking to a small group of Pharisees clinging to the religion of Judaism. But, how far apart are most who call themselves "Christian" today from the words of Isaiah that Yeshua is quoting? After all, those Pharisees really believed that engaging in their traditions meant they were honoring the Father with all their heart - and, yet, Yeshua upholds Isaiah's statement concerning them. How many realize the basic doctrines of the Christian religion can only be traced back no earlier than 200 years AFTER the Resurrection? How many are aware those doctrines came from a handful of non-ethnic Hebrews with an agenda to distance themselves from anything Hebraic that preceded them in order to curry favor with the Roman empire and escape the persecution their Hebrew brethren were incurring? Would not that fact place the traditional doctrines set forth as the religion "Christianity" into this same category as the "commandments of men" - traditions handed down for centuries which have been stripped of the validation the words of Yeshua gave to His Father, the Elohim of Israel, in spite of what the words say? In his book, The Origins of Anti-Semitism, John Gager (Princeton University) provides evidence that has important implications for an understanding of the early years of Christianity that most following that religion today simply are not aware of.
Yeshua makes crystal clear in Matthew 5:17-19 that He did not come to abolish the Torah and anyone who does so or teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Father's Kingdom. Christianity has nullified Yeshua's Words by twisting them into a teaching that says to "fulfill" something means everything west of the book of Matthew has been done away with and replaced by a new order - but the Greek word pleroo (translated "fulfill") contains no hint of such in its definition. It means to "fill to the brim" so that nothing else can be added. When you fill your cup "to the brim", you don't summarily throw the cup away - for then you would have no way to be refreshed by what it contains. In Hebrews 7:12 the Greek word metatithemi used for "change" is the same word used a little further on in Hebrews 11:5 for "translated". This passage is not saying that YHVH "replaced" Enoch; rather, it is stating that he was "changed" into a better Enoch - but still possessing the same character and attributes that made him pleasing to the Father to begin with. So it is with the Priesthood and with the Temple. In keeping with the transformative Nature of the Holy One of Israel, the Temple and the Priesthood described in Hebrews 7 have not been "replaced", but elevated into something better while still possessing the attributes exemplified with the former that made it acceptable to the Father to begin with. This is how our righteousnessexceeds the righteousness of the Pharisee.
The last three articles have dealt with how the Temple of YHVH has now been elevated in Spirit to be within those who keep the Words of YHVH exampled in the Life of Yeshua. The challenge in finding Truth lies in hearing the Voice of YHVH and being obedient to what He tells us today while using scripture as the standard to measure what we hear in Spirit as being Truth or not. The instructions in the Tanakh are given to us - not as a bunch of rules and regulations to keep us in line under someone's control. When Yeshua spoke about lusting in the heart, He was showing that the Words of the Father are not done away with or replaced - but that those Words have been translated or elevated into a higher realm, closer to the Nature of Spirit. Yeshua said to lust in the heart is the same as having already committed adultery. At the heart of adultery is a preoccupation with my own selfishness that places my impulse above any consideration of how that impulse affects my brother - an impulse which is in opposition to the selfLESS Nature of Spirit. If I do not lust in my heart, there will be no act of adultery committed because I will be obedient to the Nature of Spirit contained in the Fathers Words. I am not doing away with the Words of the Father; rather, I am fulfilling them by elevating them into existence in this earthly realm. The same is true that if we hate our brother by separating ourselves from him - we commit murder. It is only in disregard to the Truth of the Nature of Spirit that we follow our own nature - and that always has been a choice. To see the Truth in what all of these words convey requires a paradigm shift in our thinking. The challenge lies in hearing and obeying the Nature of His Spirit to discern how each of these words are to be approached, applied and celebrated in the Truth of His Spirit that we now have the opportunity to have reside within us today. This requires more effort toward pressing in than to just simply "go along" with the traditional rituals of men (which crosses all boundaries of religion, by the way) - but the reward is so much more fulfilling because we come to KNOW the Spirit of Truth.
This is what Yeshua was trying to convey to us with the Law of 100%. As an example of what it means to fulfill His Words in Spirit, when asking the Father about whether to wear tzit-tzitot (the strings often seen hanging from the waist), He asked me, "What are they for?" At the time, I did not know. So, I did some research and found they were put in place to cause one to remember to do His Words - something to be observed by all generations. He then reminded me that I have something the Hebrews at Sinai had been promised and were acquainted with but had not yet fully received when those Words were given - the restoration of the Kingdom of Echad, the shared image, that only comes with the embrace of the Spirit of Yeshua (Galatians 4:6) evidenced by the infilling of ruach hakodesh (the spirit of holiness). Yeshua said the Spirit of YHVH has been given to bring to our remembrance His Words.
|...the fringe of His garment|
|As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy ." 1Peter 1:14-16|
Peter tells us that we are to be a certain kind of children - children of obedience. The word for "obedience" used here is the Greek word hupakoes, a compound word that literally means through hearing. Obedience is a response to spoken or written instruction. This phrase, "children of obedience," is a Hebrew idiom. It does not mean children of God who are obedient to the rules and regulation of tradition. It means children whose mother IS obedience. The Hebraic worldview is not the Western (Christian) perspective with a new vocabulary. It is a totally different construction of the way the world works and the meanings of everything in the world. To be obedient to the Words of YHVH means to understand that He is not a Greek conceptualization (see My Big Fat Greek Mindset, part one and part two). To be obedient to YHVH is to understand He IS the standard and that standard is seen in what YHVH does, not a list of moral attributes applied to Him. YHVH IS Light. Light and darkness cannot abide in the same space at the same time - it is a physical impossibility. When we understand this standard, it is then possible to understand that because darkness is consumed by Light, when even a small amount of darkness is brought into the Presence of Light that separation process can become severe and violent. We can then begin to understand why such violent extremes were visited on the Israelites in the wilderness when darkness was brought into the camp where the Present Presence was residing.
In the passage at the beginning of this article, did you notice how Yeshua upheld the part of Torah which says that a child who curses his father or mother shall be put to death? He chastened the Pharisees for nullifying the words by their tradition - but, He did not say those words were not Truth. How do those words apply to those of us attempting to embrace the Nature of Spirit today? Rather than embracing those words as the standard applied by YHVH, most simply gloss over the ordinance, explaining it away because of the moral and legal ramifications that act implies in today's culture or ignoring it altogether as not relevant - even though it is a rare child that has not cursed or reviled his parents in today's world. Even in Yeshua's day, the Roman Empire prohibited Hebrews from carrying out capital punishment - so, why did Yeshua endorse that statute? The first step is to embrace those words with the intent of obeying them wherever they may lead. The next step is to find out what the words mean when measured against the Nature of Spirit - Who is the Source of Life and anything that is separated from Life is death. Elevating those words into Spirit means understanding why they were given, "…so that it may go well with you, and you may live long in the Land" (Ephesians 6:1-4). If we lay our lives down for our children by not allowing our own desires for success or the other cares the world would use to captivate our focus, thereby crowding out the attention our children need paid to them; if we do not allow the world to raise them due to our neglect - we will have respectful children who honor their parents. This does not mean they won't make mistakes, it does not mean they will be flawless - it simply means they will love and honor you, they will not curse you. Every child is born with an innate sense of love toward their parents - the Father put it in their hearts. It is in the cultivation of that love by exampling to them our Love in the same manner Yeshua first exampled His Love to us that they are saved. As parents, we elevate their lives into Light that they not be consumed as darkness.
Approximately 35% of the 613 ordinances contained within the Torah have to do with adherence to Levitical regulations concerning the Temple and ritual sacrifices which are not able to be kept today because - there is no physical Temple. Most Truth seekers have no problem in grasping the concept that the Temple now resides within the hearts of those who embrace Yeshua as the risen Messiah of YaHoVeH - those who comprise His Body. His Sacrifice as the Kinsman Redeemer restored to the house of Israel the intimacy of echad (Hebrew for One), the shared image which comprises the Kingdom of YHVH. The House and Throne of YHVH is now within, written on the hearts of those who embrace His Words (Luke 17:20-21) - and Yeshua's Words are not His, but those taught Him by His Father (John 7:16). The Temple has not been "done away with" but has been translated from the physical realm without to the realm of Spirit within - from the Levitical priesthood to the priesthood of Melchizedek (explained fully in A Nation of Priests).
|...written on the heart|
How are the feasts contained in the 613 ordinances to be kept? Are they to be observed by the legalistic tenets of the religion of Judaism? Or, should they be elevated to the higher level of Spirit Yeshua spoke of? I keep all the feasts - just not in the ritualistic manner to which most are accustomed. I worship the Father in Spirit and Truth - not substituting one for the other (John 4:23-24). I don't live for a week out under the stars because YHVH has become my Sukkot where I constantly abide; He is my Shav'uot, daily filling me with His Spirit; He has become my Pesach (atonement): He is my Kippur (repentance); etc. So, while acknowledging these events by my elevation of them in Spirit in this generation as with His Temple and not abolishing them, I have found the ritualistic manner in which most celebrate them to not be necessary.
Part One: Without to Within
Part Two: the Tithe
Part Three: Seasoning
Part Four: the Elevation
"For I delight in the law of YHVH,
in my inner being
the apostle Paul in Romans 7:22
Please feel free to email me at email@example.com. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.