|...as a child|
Part One: the Scriptural Gospel
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not a jot, not a tittle, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven', but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of heaven'." Matthew 5:17-19
"...truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:2-4
What is interesting to note in both of these passages is that these words are all spoken to those who considered themselves to be disciples - believers in Yeshua. So, what is it about little children that Yeshua said of such was the Kingdom? Is it because they have no reason or intelligence to question? Or, is it that they come to learn without preconceptions? Their learning is of observance and by hearing the one who is teaching. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by or through the Voice of the One Who IS the Word (click on highlighted words to view content). All scripture is breathed out by YHVH and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness - but scripture is not "the Word". Scripture is given to validate that what we think we hear actually is the Spirit of Truth - or not. And so it must be with those who would embrace Him today to come to Him like a child with a clean slate for Him to write upon our hearts His directives - not our own presuppositions
What is the gospel message - scripturally? Words mean things and if the Life of Yeshua is the benchmark (the spoken oracles of YHVH) by which all things are measured, including other scripture - then what do the words on the pages of the Book reveal to us about the gospel? They say that Yeshua went about proclaiming the "gospel of the Kingdom". Not one time does scripture ever say that He preached the "gospel of salvation" as Christianity teaches - neither from Yeshua nor from the disciples. So, then, just what is this Kingdom that Yeshua spoke of? To properly understand the words of scripture, we must constantly remember that ALL the books of scripture were written by Hebrews out of a Hebrew mindset influenced by a Hebrew culture that produced a uniquely Hebrew perspective being conveyed primarily to a Hebrew audience which understood the nuances of the Hebrew language. There were no "Christians" around when these words were penned - that religion was yet to be formed until some 250 to 300 years later. To understand what these words mean necessitates viewing them from the Hebrew perspective they were written in - not our current English culture. The term Gentile believer is oxymoronic. Those who believed Yeshua to be the Messiah of Israel participated in a sect of Judaism called haDerek Notzarim, "The Way of the Nazarene", gathering in synagogues as the only place to learn of the Holy One of Israel. The "good news" of this gospel to those Hebrews is that the Kingdom YHVH established with the first son, Adam, which had been abrogated by his disobedience to the Father, has now been restored by the obedience to the Father of the second son, Yeshua - Israel's Kinsman Redeemer. (Numbers 27:11). There is not one place recorded in the Book where this gospel of the Kingdom Yeshua was proclaiming was questioned by the Hebrews He was speaking to. Why is that? Because His audience already understood they were a nation established under the umbrella of YaHoVeH in whose Presence is Salvation - the Holy One of Israel. Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, was renamed Israel by YHVH to denote a new reality within His Family. Yeshua came as that Messiah for the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (not "lost tribes") and to "reign over the house of Jacob" in the restored Kingdom of YHVH - not to establish a new religion and not to replace Israel with another people as the proponents of a New Pauline Religion that Christianity promotes.
While the term, Kingdom of YHVH, tells us whose it is; the Kingdom of heaven tells us where it resides - there is only one Kingdom. The Hebrew word for kingdom is mamlakah and means dominion, reign, sovereignty over a realm. Yeshua says in Luke 17:20-21 that this Kingdom does not come by "observation" but that it is "within" those members of YHVH's Kingdom and again in John 18:36 that His Kingdom is "not of this world". The mistake made then and most who call themselves believers still make today is in looking for a physical setting for the Kingdom of heaven, not comprehending that the Kingdom not a "place" but a state of being. The manifestation of YHVH's Kingdom here on the earth cannot be realized until the principles of His Kingdom are first established within the hearts of those that possess the Kingdom. (Daniel 7:22).
The apostle Sha'ul (Paul) defined the Kingdom of God in Romans 14:17 as the peace and joy found in righteousness. Righteousness is a way, a manner of living life. We know this because the same Sha'ul also teaches us by listing what the "unrighteous" are in 1Corinthians 6:9-10 - and that list (as well as the one given in Galatians 5:19-21) is comprised completely of deeds of behavior. Righteousness is synonymous with behavior. And just where, pray tell, are each and every one of these behaviors listed defined as sin? From Exodus to Deuteronomy! The Torah! Sha'ul is teaching Torah! Yeshua said the judgment that has come into the world is because men refused to bring their deeds of behavior into the Light of YHVH's Presence for reproof to see if those deeds are wrought in YHVH - or not. The Greek word translated as the English "condemnation" in John 3:19 is krisis. The meaning of krisis is a separating, sundering, a separation. To hate evil is not some emotional reaction but a behavioral movement from darkness into the Kingdom of Light. To hate your brother is to despise, to disparage, to separate yourself from him and move into darkness. (Luke 6:22, see The Separation).
"Now therefore, IF you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant,
you shall be my|
treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Speak these words to the people of Israel." Exodus 19:5-6
YHVH's purpose, from the beginning, was to have a Kingdom of Priests that would be a Light to the Nations so the rest of the world might see and desire to come into the Presence of the Goodness of this One True God of Israel. Throughout scripture He is defined and defines Himself as the God of Israel - not the God of mankind. (see the One Covenant series for a detailed explanation). The purpose of the establishment of YHVH's Kingdom was to have a culture of righteousness that would be observably set apart from the rest of the world - the definition of holiness. We have traditionally been taught to think of justice as a court of law, but the justice of the Kingdom has more in common with the Father's Nature of selflessness, to look upon the things of others as more important than my own, than with rules and regulations. To live in, to abide in this Kingdom requires an adherence to His code of conduct - His Constitution. The guidelines He gives us for living in the Ten Commandments are the principles by which His Justice is established in our hearts - the realm of the Kingdom. (Micah 6:8). Yeshua said to some followers "do what they say (the words of Moshe/Torah, i.e., what is written) but not as they do (the Pharisees)". He called them "blind chairs". (mis-translated "guides") because there was a seat of Moshe (Moses), which was the authority given to Moshe from YHVH, that the Pharisees claimed to occupy. But, they had their own doctrines (oral law) that they said superseded the written Torah - His Constitution. Hence, the conflict facing Nicodemus, a Pharisee - either abiding by the traditions handed down to him and that he taught, or embracing the Living Torah, Yeshua, for Who He says He Is. This is the same conflict facing us today. There is only one thing scripture tells us Yeshua ever pointed to that could nullify the word of YHVH in our lives - that would be the traditions not found in scripture but handed down to us by men. Today, many have allowed the culture of the Christian tradition of men to supercede what is written on the pages of the Book and, by so doing, nullify the Word of YHVH in their lives without even realizing it.
What Yeshua was saying to Nicodemus was that Hebrews should KNOW the Source of Life because it is through the people of Israel that Breath of Life has been bequeathed (John 4:22). The traditions the Pharisaical religious leaders embraced and taught to others separated them from the Spirit of that Life, thus necessitating a re-alignment for an Israelite to "return" into the proper orientation and awareness of Who He is in Truth. This was also the message of John the Immerser. Yeshua went on to say in this passage that without first becoming a member of this family of the Father's (Israel), which requires an embrace of this higher standard of Life set apart from the rest of the world (the Commandments), a person cannot SEE the Kingdom of YHVH (v3). A person must first embrace YHVH's family, Israel, through the keeping of His Words in order to even SEE there is a difference from the world. Only after making that point does He go on to say then does the opportunity present itself that through water (repentance) and spirit (revelation through ruach ha kodesh (the spirit of holiness) one ENTERS the Kingdom of YHVH (v5). It is from this understanding that Sha'ul could make the statement that "not all Jews are Jews", speaking of those who are in the family but have not embraced the manner of Life exampled by Yeshua (Romans 2:28-29). To be born again is not a confession of belief or an ideology - it is a manner of life. You say you believe in Yeshua? Scripture says the demons also believe - and tremble. Believing, in and of itself, is not what sets those of the Kingdom apart from the rest of the world. Yeshua continued in this same chapter of John 3 to say that the judgment men incur as a result of following those traditions is a separation from the Light. They suffer judgment because Light has come into the world and they refused to bring their deeds into the Light of Who He says He is. These principles of His Kingdom are not "moral guidelines". They are the definition of Light. God is Light; therefore, if this is His Kingdom, it is a Kingdom of Light. It is a universal phenomenon that Light and darkness cannot exist in the same space at the same time. We have been given the choice to determine our station in eternity - whether we will live in the Light of righteousness, of Truth; or whether we will live in the darkness of lies, what our own will and the will of men purpose are the rules for living. The definition of darkness is the absence of Light. IF we choose to fashion the deeds of our lives after the righteousness of Life Yeshua exampled, we know the Father lives in us as Light and we have Peace. Altering the words of the code of conduct to fit our purposes, to excuse our behavior, causes movement away from the Kingdom of Light. This is the judgment, that Light has come into the world that men love darkness more than they loved the Light.
|"Whoever keeps his commandments abides in YHVH and YHVH in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by His Spirit He has given us." 1John 3:24|
Real Peace, shalom, does not settle in our heart until we decide to abandon our deeds of whoremongering and drunkenness that result from giving ourselves to the other gods of the traditions of men and embrace the Scepter of Righteousness exampled in the Life of Yeshua. It is not until we determine that we are not going to give over to darkness anymore - even if it kills us - that the Power found in His Virtue (from the Greek word dynamis which means "inherent power") causes us to overcome. This is what scripture means to give no place to the enemy. If we do not allow darkness in our life - we have access to the Presence of Light, Life and His Peace that passes all understanding. The Ten Commandments are given to us to define what is the darkness that separates us from residing in the Peace of YHVH's Light (Isaiah 43:11).
The good news of this gospel that Yeshua preached is that the Kingdom has now been restored to its rightful heirs and as a result, through the pure blood of Yeshua, the Spirit of YHVH has been shed abroad for all who adopt the culture of His Kingdom to come and partake of the Goodness of the Holy One of Israel. We, who were once afar off can now come and be adopted into this family, Israel, who is sanctified by the Father of Light; but first, we must become as a child and approach Him without preconceptions about Who He Is, accepting Him for Who HE SAYS He is - not who we want Him to be.
Part One: the Scriptural Gospel
Part Two: A Nation of Priests
Part Three: the Sheepfold
Part Four: Gatekeepers
|"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of YHVH for salvation to everyone who believes, TO THE JEW FIRST and also to the Greek." Romans 1:16|
Please feel free to email them to me at email@example.com. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to share with you what the Spirit is uncovering.