Blog Scripture Readings for 11-23 through 11-29-14

Aside

THIS WEEK’S SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR STUDY AND DISCUSSION:

Parashat Vayetzei — Genesis 28:10 – 32:3(2)*
Haftarah — Hosea 12:13(12) – 14:10(9)*
Prophets — Judges 18:1 – 21:25; 1 Samuel 1:1 – 3:21
Writings — Psalms 48:1 – 55:23
Testimony — Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 1:1 – 4:19

Most of this week’s blog discussion points will be on these passages. If you have general comments or questions on the weekly Scripture readings not addressed in a blog post, here’s a place for you to post those. Just use the “leave a reply” link below.

The full “Read Through The Scriptures In A Year” schedule, broken down by each day, can be found on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links.” There are 4 sections of scripture to read each day. One each from the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and from the Testimony of Yeshua. Each week, the Torah and haftarah readings will follow the traditional one-year reading cycle.

* Verse numbers in parenthesis refer to the verse number in Christian Bibles when it differs from the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 11/23 through 11/29/14.

 

Where is retirement mentioned in the Bible?

Show me in the Bible where the word retirement or the concept is even mentioned? You can’t. But I can show you where the Almighty commands us to work six days each week and to rest on the seventh day (the Sabbath or Shabbat, Exod 20:8–11). I can also show you where, because of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, the Creator told us the free lunch ended and we had to get to work (Gen 3:17–19).

Only in our overindulgent, materialistic and wealthy western society is retirement an option.

For many who are lacking in a spiritual faith and who have no concept of biblical truth, retirement has become their “heaven on earth.” Retirement is the humanists’ heaven.

Admittedly, as one becomes elderly, the body doesn’t function as it once did. But that doesn’t mean one has to resort to a life of non-productive inactivity. In ancient Israel, when the Levites reached the age of fifty, they presumably took on more of an advisory role in helping to train the next generation of Levites (Num 8:25). This rule didn’t, however, apply to those in the priesthood who served until death. The kings and prophets and prophets of Israel served until their death as well. Moses didn’t retire. Neither did Joshua, David or the the apostles. They all died with their boots on.

I’d rather burn out than rust out!

Moreover, elders (wise and older people) were to serve as leaders of the congregational assembly in the New Testament era. They were  busy during their so-called retirement years.

These things being the case, why is it that so many Bible followers and even supposedly Torah-obedient individuals don’t work six days a week, and stop working at what our humanistic society calls “retirement age”? Why do so many woman support their husbands, who proudly laud their new status as “house husbands”? Why are there so many men on welfare feigning a disability, so they can collect a check from the government, when, for many of them, there is something they could do to help support their families, but instead, they proudly live off the labors of others? In reality they’re lazy thieves! This is hardly a godly virtue.

Even those who have worked hard and have the financial resources to “retire” at a certain age, is it biblical to resort to a life of laziness and self-indulgent ease? Hardly! They should be using their resources including their time, knowledge and wisdom to help others — especially the younger generation. Kudos to those who are doing so. Shame on those who aren’t!

Sadly, we have become a society of lazy bums all too often living off of others. Is this something to be proud of? If this is our lifestyle, do we really think we will hear YHVH’s words on the day of judgment, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”?

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Are you really a Sabbath keeper?

In your mind, what is a Sabbath keeper? Most people would say that it’s one who rests on the seventh day (or Saturday) as YHVH in the Bible commands his servants to do, and as Yeshua and the apostles all did.

This answer is correct, but only half correct.

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As you know, the first biblical example of Sabbath observance is in Genesis 2 when Elohim rested on the Sabbath or seventh day. The next reference is in the ten commandments in Exodus 20. But what else do these two scriptures have in common? In Genesis 2, Elohim rested after having worked for six days. In Exodus 20, the other half of the Sabbath command is to work for six days (Gen 20:6). A lot of people miss that command. Working for six days is just as much a command as resting on the seventh day!

For those of us living an affluent western lifestyle, many don’t have to work for six days. They may only have to work three or four days, if that. Some are retired. Some are living on government disabilities or on welfare and are hardly working, if at all. Some men have become “house husbands” as their wives slave away at jobs supporting them.

But in YHVH’s command  to work for six days, he doesn’t list any exceptions (of course, this obviously wouldn’t include the very elderly and those who are severely physically crippled or handicapped or to young children). This being the case, why do I see so many men who are not working, who are sitting around loafing, playing games, goofing off and wasting their time? Many claim to be followers of Yeshua. Some even claim to be Sabbath keepers. Some even have their wives supporting them financially, while they loaf around. I see it all the time. When you talk to them, they’ll say, I’m retired (at age 55 or 64???), or I’m disabled (see the disabled tag hanging on my car mirror?). Some are legitimately “disabled” (whatever that’s suppose to mean). Others claim to be incapacitated from doing one type of task, but maybe they could rehabilitate and reeducate and learn to do another kind of work instead? There’s a novel idea.

What about those who use retirement as an excuse to be a lazy loafer? Where is retirement mentioned in the Bible? Did Moses retire? Joshua, David, the prophets and apostles? Or did they keep working until they died? They all died “with their boots on!”

When I say “work”, I’m not necessarily talking about an eight hour a day paying job. One can still be working in unconventional ways. This can involve volunteering, ministering, serving others in some way, or teaching others what you know of those six days. You may or may not get paid for it, but it’s still work if your actively attempting to leave the world a better place than you found it.

I would rather be one who burns out than one who rusts out.

Yeshua told us to occupy until he comes (Luke 19:13). The word occupy means “to be occupied in anything, or to carry on a business.” Too many people are occupying the coach. Sorry guys, but this doesn’t count!

Are you burying in the earth the talents and resources YHVH has given you, or are you using them to help advance his kingdom? Hopefully the latter.

Will you hear the words of your Creator on the day of judgment, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy YHVH.” Or will say to him, “Don’t you know Lord, I was disabled, retired or I had one those disabled thingies hanging on my car mirror, which exempted me from following your command to work six days. Sorry Lord.”

So are you really a Sabbath keeper?

 

A cross or a stake?

Matthew 27:32, Cross. (Gr. stauros.) As in English, a Greek word can have more than one definition. If we take only one definition for a word that may in fact have several definitions, we’re risking not furthering the cause of the discovery of truth as much as furthering own biases.

Cross at St. Augustine

This is the case with the Greek word stauros  typically translated as cross in the NT. According to the Theological Dictionary of the NT, vol 7, p. 572, stauros can have several definitions.

It’s primary definition is “an upright stake” like a fence stake. But the ancients used it as a torture instrument as well, and as such, it took on several additional definitions or forms including the following: “The cross was a vertical, pointed stake, or it consisted of an upright with a cross-beam above it, or it consisted of two intersecting beams of equal length” (ibid).

Other places in the Bible prove that Yeshua suffered and died on a t-shaped stake, but that’s another discussion for another time .

 

One foot in the will of Elohim and one foot out…

Genesis 26:1–29, There was a famine in the land. At the well of Lachai-roi (or “the well of the Living One seeing me,” Gen 24:62), Isaac was fruitful. There he met his wife while in communion with YHVH (24:62–64).

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Isaac also dwelt there for 20 years where he entreated YHVH because of Rebekah’s barrenness (25:21), and YHVH answered Isaac’s prayer and Rebekah gave birth to twins (25:22ff). But because of famine in the land, Isaac felt compelled to leave Canaan to seek relief in Egypt following the earlier footsteps of his father, Abraham.

Is it wise to rely on “Egypt” (a metaphor for the world) for our sustenance instead of trusting YHVH and believing that where he has planted us and blessed us is where we should stay?

While en route to Egypt YHVH, gracefully redirected Isaac away from Egypt instructing him rather to sojourn in Gerar (temporarily) where he would continue to bless him and his posterity (26:2–4). Isaac obeyed YHVH — more or less. Isaac ended up in Gerar located on the border between Canaan and Egypt and dwelt there a long time (not temporarily as YHVH had instructed him, 26:6, 8). Instead of fully obeying YHVH, it was as if Isaac was hedging his bet between faith and fear, between Canaan, the land of promise, and Egypt, the land of comfort for the flesh man.

How often do we halt between two opinions and compromise between YHVH’s will and our own in matters where he has given us clear direction?

This place of spiritual indecision and weakness put Isaac in a compromising situation (26:7). He felt compelled to lie about his wife, thus repeating the sin of his father (Gen 20:1–2).

Compromised obedience puts us in compromising situations where in order to “save our skin” we often have to compromise our values. Though Isaac was out of YHVH’s will, YHVH was still faithful to keep his promises he had made to Isaac earlier (Gen 26:3–4). Isaac was blessed one hundred fold in his wealth (Gen 26:12–14).

Despite YHVH’s blessings, Isaac’s labors were not without difficulty and opposition from an enemy who was intent upon stealing his water wells, which were rightfully his (Gen 26:12–15). In the arid regions of the Holy Land, wells are essential for survival and prosperity.

Wells are a spiritual metaphor for salvation, life, abundance and truth — things the enemy is intent on taking from us (in this light, consider Isa 12:3; 55:1–3; Ps 36:9; John 4:7–14; 7:37–39; 10:10).

 

We’re killing ourselves…

Garbage in garbage out. We get out of something what we put into it. Why should we expect good results out of bad actions? It’s illogical to do so.

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Yet quite often I have to pray for healing over sick people who are putting garbage into their bodies in the junk food and chemical pharmaceuticals they consume, and the carcinogenic poisons they smear onto their bodies in the cosmetics, soaps and creams they use. Now they are unhealthy and their bodies are riddled with diseases and they wonder why, and they want YHVH to heal them, even though they refuse to change their lifestyles.

Quite frankly, I struggle praying for such people. My healing faith for them is small.

Why should Yah heal them when they profane the body he has given them and refuse to repent their deleterious ways? Answer that question!

In our modern, self-indulgent culture, I see this going on all the time. It grieves me greatly, yet many people are so lacking in self discipline and they stiffen their necks at the thought of changing their errant ways, and you can’t tell them otherwise. How sad!

We’re killing ourselves and we wonder why…

 

The End Times Prophetic Subtext of Matthew Chapters 16 to 25

The Surrounding Context of the Matthew 24–25 Olivet Prophecy

The Bible is full of spiritual blueprints; Yeshua’s prophecy in Matthew 24 and 25, commonly called the Olivet Prophecy is an example of another one..

Having a working knowledge of all these “blueprints” will help us to discover who we are as a people in the eyes of YHVH, where we have come from, where we are presently, and where we are going—that is, what the future holds for us, and what our spiritual destiny or divine inheritance is. Only then will we understand the end-time prophetic events leading up to the second coming of Yeshua, and we will learn what our role will be to play in them.

To understand Matthew 24 and 25, it is important first to note the chronological positioning of this prophecy in the context of the passages before and after this pivotal chapter. The chapters that precede Matthew 24 prophetically speak of precursory events leading up to the second coming of Yeshua, while those that follow Matthew 24 prophetically delineate events that occur after his return.

Matthew 24 sits like a diamond in the midst of a brilliant gold setting. It speaks of the order of end time events pertaining to the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah, our beloved King, Redeemer and Savior. Listed below is a chronology of events as Matthew lays them out, more or less, in the order in which they will occur prophetically. Many of these passages will be elucidated upon later in this book. It is important that we present the Continue reading