Good works of the law “versus” our relationship with Yeshua

Luke 10:28, Do this. Is Yeshua saying here that Torah-obedience (i.e. one’s good works) can guarantee eternal life? A cursory understanding of Yeshua’s words in this passage may cause one to arrive at this conclusion. 

However, previous to this, Yeshua speaks about loving Elohim with the totality of one’s being. Loving Elohim not only involves Torah-obedience, but entering into a right, spiritual relationship with YHVH through Messiah Yeshua, the Living Torah-Word of Elohim as per the Torah itself and the words of Yeshua (e.g. Deut 18:15ff; John 14:16). 

Interestingly, in Mark 12:32, Yeshua has a similar exchange with a scribe. When the scribe quotes the shema as the greatest of all commandments, Yeshua tells him, not that he has eternal life, but that he’s not far from the kingdom (v. 34). At the same time in Luke 18:18–22, Yeshua tells the rich young ruler that it’s impossible to have eternal life by keeping the Torah without also following Yeshua. 

All of these similar teachings of Yeshua when compared reveal to us that Torah-obedience outside of a relationship with Yeshua is insufficient to securing eternal life in Elohim’s kingdom.

Paul summed up his spiritual relationship with Torah and Yeshua when he declared that he was “under law toward Messiah), that I might win those who are without law” (1 Cor 9:21).

John sums up our relationship with Elohim and the Torah-law this way,

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:4–6)

 

Humble yourself willingly before Elohim has to force you to do so !

Exodus 10:3, How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? The sovereign Creator ultimately demands that everyone submits to his will and purposes. Those who refuse to do so imperil themselves. The Scriptures record that YHVH also held other political leaders in addition to Pharaoh accountable for exalting themselves against him and for refusing to humble themselves before him. These include Nebuchanezzar (Dan 4:19ff), Belshazzar (Dan 5:22), Zedekiah (2 Chron 36:12), Lucifer (Isa 14:13ff) and Herod (Acts 12:21–23). 

Furthermore, those who put their trust in false gods will come under the judgment of the one supreme and true Elohim or Mighty One of the Bible. Elohim uses men’s false gods or idols as a judgment against sinners to help them to see the futility of their idolatrous delusions and to bring them to repentance (e.g. Isa 66:4–5; Prov 10:24).

As Elohim judged the false gods of Egypt one by one and brought that arrogant nation down, he will do the same in the end days with Babylon the Great and the gods or idols of this world. We see a striking parallel between the plagues YHVH brought upon Egypt and those he will bring upon the rebellious inhabitants of earth just prior to Yeshua’s second coming. For example, the seventh plague of the seventh vial is an ultimate expression of the fierceness of Elohim’s wrath upon a rebellious and still blaspheming world (Rev 16:17–21). Seventy five pound hailstones will fall from heaven and the earth will quake beneath. There will be no hiding place from Elohim’s wrath. Additional end-time plages that replicate those of Egypt include grievous sores to come upon men (Rev 16:2), the seawater and fresh water turning to blood (Rev 16:3–4), and darkness upon the earth (Rev 16:10). After this, Babylon the Great will fall (Rev 18:2), even as ancient Egypt fell under the mighty blows of YHVH’s judgment.

Psalm chapter two summarizes the rebellious arrogance of men, and their conspiracy against the Creator to keep control of their earthly kingdoms. Elohim will laugh at them from heaven and will send his Son to judge them and to break their kingdoms in pieces with a rod of iron. Kiss Messiah the Son now and worship him if you expect to escape these judgments (v. 12)!

What gods or idols do we have in our lives that we are holding on to? Each of the plagues against Egypt was a direct strike against one of the many gods of Egypt (Exod 12:12; Num 33:4). Elohim will destroy all pretenders and imposters who dare to challenge his sovereignty. (See notes at Exod 7:14.) The god of self will is the most powerful false god each human will ever face!

 

Blog Scripture Readings for 1-26 Through 2-1-2020

Aside

Parashat Bo — Exodus 10:1 – 13:16
Haftarah — Jeremiah 46:13-28
Prophets — 2 Samuel 24; 1 Kings 1:1 – 5:18
Writings — Psalms 104:1 – 107:43
Testimony — Luke 11:14 – 13:35

Our new annual Scripture Reading Schedule for 2019-2020 with daily readings is available to download and print. If you are still working through 2018-2019’s Scripture Reading Schedule, the link will still be available on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links”. If you are using a mobile device or tablet, the link may be below, meaning you’ll need to scroll down instead.

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 or the “share your thoughts” box 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.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 1/26 through 2/1/2020.

 

Your healing is promised…but when?

Conceptual image with the word Heal on wooden blocks or cubes protected by the hands of a man sheltering them from above.

Psalm 103:3, Heals all your diseases. The Word of YHVH Elohim including the promises made therein is true regardless of our lack of understanding thereof with regard it applies to our specific life circumstances. In the case of YHVH’s promise to heal us of all our diseases, the one missing element in this promise is the time factor. 

The fact is that Elohim doesn’t tell us when he will heal us, just that he will. We may be healed instantly the moment we ask for it, or our healing occur sometime during this physical life, or we may obtain our physical healing when we receive our glorified bodies at the resurrection of the righteous dead. Either way, the Word of Elohim including the promises therein will have been true whenever we receive our healing. 

Regardless of the timing of our healing, the righteous saint will have trust in Elohim no matter what that the Creator knows the best timing to bless us with our healing, and our attitude must be that of Job, “Though he slay me, I know that my Redeemer lives.” 

More important than our physical healing, YHVH wants to form within us the character of Yeshua the Messiah—“to conform [us] to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29), which is why we must believe with total faith that indeed “all things work together for good to those who love Elohim to those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). This is also why we must be thankful to him in all things (1 Thess 5:18).

 

What is the significance of the abib barley as it relates to YOU?

Exodus 9:31, The barley was in the head. Barley was cultivated as a grain crop in ancient Egypt, as well as in Israel, and grows wild like a weed throughout the region to this day. Several passages in the Scriptures witness to the fact that the barley was the indicator of which month was to be the first month of the year for the Israelites, so that they could determine when the biblical feasts were to be observed.

Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto YHVH your Elohim: for in the month of Abib YHVH your Elohim brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. (Deut 16:1, emphasis added)

Please notice, the definite article the proceeding the phrase “month of Abib.” The state of the barley determined the name of a specific month in the spring on YHVH’s biblical calendar. Months in the biblical Hebrew calendar have always been determined by the first visible sliver of the new moon from antiquity. This specific month is to be the beginning the biblical new year (Exod 12:2). The state of the barley simply determines which month is to be the first month of the biblical year. The month of the Abib is not so much the name of a monthas it is a description of the month. Below are listed the other three places in the Scriptures where this phrase is found.

This day came you out in the month Abib. (Exod 13:4)

You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread: (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it you came out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty). (Exod 23:15)

The feast of unleavened bread shall you keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. (Exod 34:18, emphasis added on all)

What does the word abib in the phrase “the month of the Abib (or Aviv)” mean? The Hebrew word abib is found only six times in the Bible and is transliterated into the English (in the KJV) as “abib,” meaning “in the ear,” or “green ears of grain.” The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, defines the word abib or aviv as follows:

This noun refers to barley that is already ripe, but still soft, the grains of which are eaten either rubbed or roasted. The ASV and RSV agree (but see Lev 2:14). The seventh plague brought ruinous hail upon Egypt’s barley crop at least two weeks before it was fully ripened and ready for harvest (Exod 9:31). Abib was also the early name (later, Nisan) of the first month of the Jewish calendar (the month of Passover). In that month the barley came to ear, but the usual time of harvest was the second month (Iyyar). According to Lev 2:14 the grain offering was to consist of the firstfruits of abib.

So the barley being in its abib state eliminates the guesswork of determining which new moon begins the new year. The Scriptures are clear. It is the new moon that immediately follows the abib barley that determines the beginning of the year. This is important to know, since knowing the start of the new year determines the dates for the biblical moedim or appoint times—namely the biblical holidays and feasts.

After the abib barley is found and the first visible sliver of the new moon is sighted marking the first day of the first month of YHVH’s biblical calendar, 14 days later is Passover (Pesach) with the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) immediately following on the fifteenth day of the first month. Then on the day after the weekly Sabbath that occurred during the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, a sheaf of now-ripened barley was cut and waved heavenward by the high priest to be accepted by YHVH as the first of the first fruits offering of the upcoming barley harvest. I have written extensively on this subject in another teaching article relating to the spring feast days, which can be found on our website. Suffice it to say that the barley that was lifted heavenward and waved was a prophetic picture of Yeshua the Messiah’s ascension to heaven after his resurrection where he was accepted by the Father as the perfect sin offering covering the sins of mankind. Fifty days later to the day is the Feast of Pentecost (Heb. Shavuot) picturing the ripening of the larger wheat harvest, which was a prophetic picture of all Israel and the peoples of the nations coming to faith in Yeshua from the first century until the present time. As you can see, an understanding of the abib barley is essential not only in setting the biblical calendar for the year, but for knowing when to keep the biblical feasts, and for gaining a fuller understanding of the salvific implications of the death, burial and resurrection of our Master and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah from a Hebraic perspective.

For more information on the biblical calendar and the waving of the barley first fruits see http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/cal_demyst.pdf; http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/new_moons.pdf; http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/firstfruits.pdf.

 

Are you “naked” before Elohim?

Psalm 102:17, Destitute. Lit. naked; fig. poor or destitute. If we expect the Almighty Creator of the universe to hear our prayers, we must come before him naked and poor, devoid of all pride, facades and pretense. He sees us as we really are anyway, so why pretend that we’re otherwise? 

We’re really fooling no one but ourselves when we put on prideful pretenses. Adam and Eve were literally naked before Elohim and walked with him in perfect fellowship, until they sinned. After sinning, they clothed themselves to hide their nakedness. 

When the first humans sinned, Elohim asked them, “Where are you?” In other words, they were hiding their true selves behind a covering of fig leaves because of their guilt and shame due to sin. Thus Elohim was really asking them, where are your true selves without the masks and cloaks? 

Previous to their sinning, they were naked and unashamed. Afterwards, they were clothed and ashamed and separated from YHVH. 

There’s a lesson here. YHVH wants us to be truthful, open, honest with ourselves and with him as if totally naked. Only then will he hear our prayers, otherwise we’re praying deceitful, empty and meaningless prayers, which is the Hebrew definition of the word vain as in vanity. The prideful and vain cannot stand before Elohim, for human pride is an abomination to him, which he hates the most of all human sins (Prov 6:16–17).

 

Trials and persecution? Yes. Divine judgement? No.

Exodus 8:22; 9:4, 26, Set apart the land of Goshen. YHVH separated the children of Israel from the Egyptians in that he spared them from the last seven plagues. What does this teach us about the judgments of Elohim? The Israelites were made to go through the first three plagues only. Do YHVH’s people ever experience trials and tribulations? Yes. (Read Deut 8:2–5; 2 Tim 3:12; Heb 11, the entire chapter; Rev 7:9–14.) Do the saints need spiritual refinement in order to help them become the chaste bride of Yeshua who is without the spot and wrinkle of sin? Yes. (Read Eph 5:27; 1 Cor 3:9–17.) The saints may go through tribulation, but they will not have to experience Elohim’s wrathful judgments unto death upon a wicked world (1 Thess 1:10; 5:9 cp. Rev 6:17; 7:2–3). Other examples of the saints going through tribulation, but then being delivered before Elohim poured out his final wrath upon the wicked include Lot in Sodom, and Noah at the flood.

Exodus 8:23, I will make a difference. As YHVH intensifies his judgments on a nation to get that nation’s attention, he, at the same time, will highlight his true servants by affording them special protection from the judgments. He delivered both Noah and Lot from his severe judgments upon the surrounding heathen rebels. This will occur in the end times when YHVH will allow some of his servants to escape his judgments (Ezek 9:4; Luke 21:36; Rev 7:4; 9:4). He will lead them through the flood and fire (Isa 43:2).