Ecclesiastes 11 and 12—The Bottom Line

Ecclesiastes 11

Ecclesiastes 11:1–2, 6, Cast your bread. Go through life being a giver, for it will come back to you. Some people call it karma (a Hindu expression reflecting the pagan idea of reincarnation). In the Bible, on the other hand, it can be referred to as the law of reaping and sowing or the law of reciprocity: you reap what you sow. 

Ecclesiastes 11:3, If…there it shall be. Many things that happen in life are what they are, and you cannot change them, so accept them and just deal with it.

Ecclesiastes 11:4, He who observes the wind. If one spends one’s life waiting around for ideal conditions before doing anything, then one will never accomplish anything.

Ecclesiastes 11:5, You do not know. If it is impossible for us to wrap our brains around aspects of Elohim’s physical creation and how he interacts with humans on a spiritual level, then how can we understand his ways and methods? (Why even try to understand things that are above our limited capacity to do so? It is futile. Just praise, worship and obey YHVH Elohim!) For example, modern science has discovered much about the world around us, but wherever scientists’ searches take them, they eventually hit up against a wall of impenetrable mystery beyond which lays the unexplainable and ultimately the spiritual realm or dimension and the divine. Why not be a wise person and skip the middle man and go there directly by seeking, praising, worshipping and obeying YHVH Elohim?

Ecclesiastes 11:7–10, O young man. This is a final call to young people, upon whose shoulders the future rests, to wake up from the often foolish youthful ways and to face reality and the light of truth while they are still young and before it is too late. The old and wise Preacher instructs the youth to enjoy life, but that while doing so, not forget that a day of reckoning is coming. Even though ultimately everything in life is vanity or empty, meaningless nothingness, there is nevertheless something else beyond it all that is there for those who are wise and will open their eyes to the reality of this truth.

Ecclesiastes 12

Ecclesiastes 12:1, Creator[s]. Heb. boreka, plural. (For more examples of the plurality of the Creator, see also Job 35:10; Isa 54:5; Ps 149:2 according to Bible commentators Keil and Delitzsch, Adam Clarke, Matthew Henry, Jamison Faucett and Brown, and John Gill.)

Ecclesiastes 12:1, Remember. Remember means “do not forget.” With youth comes the zest for life, idealism, much energy, many distractions and the notion that one will live forever, that is, that old age is so far down the road that who needs to think about end of life issues? The wise Preacher says, “No! Stop now while you are young and remember your Creator.” Remember is the Hebrew word zakar meaning “to think about, meditate upon, pay attention, recollect, commemorate, invoke and confess.” This word indicates deep thoughtfulness and critical thinking. How many young people (and even older folks) stop even for a moment from the busyness of life to deeply ponder the long term consequences of their actions before the difficult days of old age come? When one is young is the time to make the necessary adjustments in one’s life, so that one will end up in a good place at the end of life when it is too late to do so. And the missing ingredient to insuring this, according to the Preacher, is to “remember your Creator in the days of your youth.” This is such a simple instruction, yet so hard for most young people to implement. Very few heed this advice, and if so, only marginally. Sadly, most young people end up only giving their Creator the left over crumbs of their time, energy and attention.

Ecclesiastes 12:2–8, The rigors of old age. In this section, the Preacher describes in the most graphic and poetic terms the perils and difficulties of old age. He especially focuses on health issues and the deterioration of the body along with life’s desires and passions. All begins to die until there is little left to live for and mere existence becomes a painful and burdensome task.

Ecclesiastes 12:6, Remember your Creator. Even though this phrase is not in the original Hebrew text, it is implied, which is why the translators inserted it here. So once again, the wise Preacher, after describing the perils and plight of old age, challenges the youth to factor their Creator into the equation of life while they are young before it is too late—before death stops the time clock of life and the judges’s gavel falls and the final judgment on one’s life is rendered. As Scripture reveals elsewhere, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…” (Heb 9:27), and “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10).

Ecclesiastes 12:7, The spirit will return to Elohim. Previously, the Preacher almost provokes if not taunts the reader into thinking about end of life issues by asking the question, “Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?” (Eccl 3:21). Now at the end of his dissertation, he affirmatively declares that the spirit of man returns to Elohim who gave it. This is an important fact to consider in that there is a part of each of us that returns to Elohim at the time of death. Even though each man possesses as an aspect of his makeup a immortal substance called spirit (along with his soul and body; see 1 Thess 5:23; see also Heb 4:12; Luke 23:46; Ps 90:10), this in no way implies that the spirit of man is conscious after the body’s death. Scripture is silent on this subject. Yet one thing is clear. Physical death is not the end of the human. There is more, yet the Preacher fails to elucidate on this point. 

Ecclesiastes 12:8, Vanity of vanities. As we have noted before, this phrase is found only twice in Ecclesiastes: once at the beginning of the book (Eccl 1:2) and here again at the end. Also, as discussed previously vanity is the Hebrew word hebel meaning “vapor, breath, wind” or figuratively, as the author of this book often uses it, “worthless, senseless, empty, futile or vacuous.” The root of the word hebel is the verb “to act emptily.” Thus, as we have seen after examining Ecclesiastes, the vast majority of human activities can be summed up as nothing more than being emptiness, meaningless and senseless. As the Preacher starts the book, so he ends the book with this terse and seemingly hopeless summation of life…yet he does not actually leave the reader in this hopeless place.

Ecclesiastes 12:13–14, Hear the conclusion.Look heavenward!” the Preacher seems to declare. Through the gloomy mist and fog of life’s conundrums, the author continually encourages his readers to look up toward the heavens for the answers to the nagging questions about the meaning and purpose of life. He then concludes by saying,

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear Elohim and keep His [Torah] commandments, for this is man’s all. For Elohim will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, Whether good or evil. (Eccl 12:13–14)

Couple these verses with the revelation that the human spirit returns to Elohim when we die (v. 7), and that each of us will be judged for what we have done while in our bodes and rewarded accordingly (2 Cor 5:10), and if a person heeds the advice of the Preacher, it will end up well for him eternally.

Therefore, the overall message Ecclesiastes may seem gloomy and hopeless, there is a silver lining, so to speak, in this dark cloud called life for those who remember their Creator and look up and fear him by obeying his Word.

 

Hebrews 6 and 7 Notes

Hebrews 6

Hebrews 6:1, Elementary principles of Messiah. What follows are the six principal doctrines of the redeemed believer, yet they are all subsets of faith in Messiah Yeshua, which is foundations upon which it all rests.

Repentance from dead works.True biblical repentance involves turning from sin or a lifestyle of Torahless behavior, since sin is the violation of the Torah-law of Elohim (1 John 3:4), and lining all aspects of our lives up with the Torah-Word of Elohim.

Hebrews 6:2, Doctrine of baptisms. (See notes at Matt 28:19.)

Laying on of hands. Ordination is something that YHVH instituted in the Torah when he charged Moses to impose hands upon the Levites, and instructed all Israel to do the same (Num 29:10). We also have the example of Moses anointing with oil Aaron (Exod 29:10). Of course, kings of Israel were also anointed with oil to consecrate them for their official duties by the laying on hands.

Laying on of hands/ordination was earth’s confirmation of a heavenly calling. Elohim had already called someone into ministry and men were simply confirming what Elohim had already determined. Ordination doesn’t confirm the calling, but the other way around.

In the Testimony of Yeshua, by lot, the 11 apostles chose Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1). This was heaven’s choice, yet no mention of ordination is recorded. After that, we have the choosing of the seven in Acts 6:1. These were men who were already full of the Spirit and wisdom, so the apostles simply confirmed the work of the Spirit in them by laying hands on them (verse 6).

The same is true in the other examples of ordination in the Apostolic Scriptures. Men would be mentored by a leader/apostle, and after a period of time (“lay hands on no one suddenly” 2 Tim 5:22)—much like the five years of mentoring that occurred with a priest in training in the Torah (from age 25 to 30), and after meeting the qualifications of eldership (see 1 Tim 3:1–12 and Tit 1:5-9) they were appointed. Of course, those who were the mentors had oversight over those they mentored. It was less of a authoritatively-hierarchical system and more of patriarchal system with the older men lovingly overseeing those they had raised up—and only exercising strict authority when needed, which occurred only rarely.

Of course, there was no such thing as licensing or even denominations which issue licenses in the Apostolic Scriptures. To me, that seems more like a man-made thing for the purposes of maintaining power, control and keeping the money flowing upward. 

In the entire Bible, there are no examples of or precedence for women being ordained. Paul says in 1 Timothy 5:22 “to lay hands suddenly on no man.” He is gender specific. Women did, however, minister in conjunction with their husbands—their spiritual heads, which is something Paul is very clear about in Ephesians 5:21–24. Even though in the body of Yeshua there is neither male nor female so that all are equal before Yeshua, when it comes to governance in the congregation, the Bible upholds male leadership. Now that doesn’t mean that women can’t hold high positions of authority, but always in conjunctions with their husbands. We have the example of the apostolic team of Andronicus (husband) and Junia (wife) whom Paul called apostles (Rom 16:7), Aquila and Priscilla who were co-laborers. Sometimes Priscilla’s name is mentioned first. Obviously, this husband and wife team were such a tight unit that it didn’t matter whose name was mentioned first. Of course, we have examples in the Scriptures of women prophets. Deborah, though she was a judge in Israel, seems to have been married to Barak the military general. If so, we have an apostolic-prophetic team operating together to lead the Israelite nation. Huldah was a prophetess who seemed to operate without male headship, though she hung out with other prophets in a “school” or neighborhood where the prophets lived. So there was must have been some accountability between her and the other prophets, although she was the most gifted of YHVH since hers is the only name mentioned. Then we have the daughters of Philip the evangelist who were prophetesses—again, presumably under the spiritual leadership of their father (Acts 21:8-9).

Hebrews 6:6, If they fall away, to renew. 

Is the “Once Saved Always Saved Doctrine” Biblical?

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Welcome to the Epistle to the Hebrews

Background and Outline of the Epistle to the Hebrews

Photo is from Natan Lawrence’s 1790 KJV Bible

A debate exists among scholars as to when the Epistle to the Hebrews was written. Some believe it was written just before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, while others maintain that it was written just after 70 AD. This author favors the former position since the author of Hebrews speaks of the sacrificial system in the present tense as if it were still functioning (Heb 10:1113:1011).

At the same time, the author of Hebrews seems to be addressing the concerns of early believers that without the temple standing and the sacrificial system functioning, there is no longer remission for sins. He assiduously points out how the patterns and prophecies of the Tanakh are pointing to the greater priesthood of Messiah Yeshua in the heavenly tabernacle. As such, the author seems to have in view the destruction of the temple, yet while the temple is still standing. After all, Yeshua predicted the temple’s demise and that its destruction would be so complete that not one stone would be left standing on another (Matt 24:2Luke 21:20–21).

Perhaps, the author was writing Hebrews in the four-year time period (between A.D. 67 to A.D. 70) when the Romans besieged Jerusalem, then pulled away for one year, then rebesieged and finally destroyed the city in A.D. 70. The events of A.D. 67 to 69 may have caused the writer to feel that Jerusalem’s fall was imminent in fulfillment of Yeshua’s earlier prophecies.

Main Themes

In his Epistle to the Hebrews, the author emphatically asserts that:

  • Yeshua is over all. 
  • Yeshua is leading his people to the ultimate higher spiritual reality.
  • The Tanakh (Old Testament) validates the gospel message.
  • The Epistle to the Hebrews is about transformation, shifting, growing from a lower level to a higher level spiritually. It is about one coming closer to the reality of heaven in their spiritual walk; about one approaching and growing closer to Elohim.
  • Though Hebrews doesn’t deal directly with this issue, we have to ask the following question: While in this flesh on the earth, do we abandon the letter of the Torah-law’s types and shadows and live in a spiritual dimension only? We know from Hebrews that through Yeshua’s death and resurrection, we have moved from the higher spiritual level with regard to the tabernacle system, and the Levitical priesthood and sacrificial systems. But does this apply to the rest of the Torah as well (e.g. the Sabbath, feasts, dietary laws, etc.)? Christianity by in large teaches that it does. But this is not what the writer of Hebrews is saying. The transformation of the priesthood and sacrificial systems to the higher level of reality in Yeshua doesn’t invalidate the rest of the Torah. Believers are still required to keep the rest of the letter of the Torah law as best they can. As physical beings living in this earthly dimension, we still have to follow the Torah-Word of Elohim as it applies to our physical walk (e.g. don’t murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, worship idols, etc.). But at the same time, we are to walk, as much as possible, in the heavenly dimension by following spirit of the Torah, being led of the Spirit in our walk and by focusing our attention on Yeshua, our heavenly High Priest. As such, redeemed believers are caught having to walk between the physical and the spiritual dimensions. We are in the process of being transformed from the physical to spiritual. Until this total transformation takes place, we must meld the physical or letter of the law and the spiritual realms, and we must keep progressing toward the ultimate goal of the higher Torah, which is total spiritual existence and oneness as Elohim’s children in his eternal kingdom as characterized by the New Jerusalem. 

Outline of Hebrews

Overview: Yeshua is priest, prophet and king

In the Tanakh, the priest, prophet and king were the three principal leaders in ancient Israel. No one except Moses was all three. David was a king and prophet, but not a priest. Samuel was a priest and a prophet, but not a king. Scripture tells that Moses was all three. Yeshua was the only other Person who was all three. Deuteronomy 18 tells us that Moses was a prophetic shadow picture of a greater Moses who would come. The writer of Hebrews validates this and shows that Yeshua was that greater Moses.

Hebrews 11:1 explains this process by defining faith. We live in the physical world, but we hope through faith for the spiritual world to come. Our spiritual forefathers went through this process successfully, though they paid a great price physically, anticipating in faith their heavenly reward. This is the story of Hebrews 11—the faith chapter.

Yeshua is the vehicle that leads us onward and upwards to the higher spiritual dimension. He is the ladder to and gate or door of heaven. He proclaims this in John 1:51 and John 10:7. Jacob dreamed of this ladder or highway to heaven, which was a picture of the Written and Living Torah (literally, a Torah scroll). (See teliosCol 1:28Eph 4:13Phil 3:13)

Hebrews and other places in the Testimony of Yeshua (NT) talk about coming to this higher goal (e.g. Matt 5:17Rom 10:4Heb 9:91110:14Heb 6:1Heb 7:199:910:11412:23).

The Tanakh prophesies that the Messiah to come would be a priest, prophet and king.

It is important to note that Hebrews focuses on Yeshua’s role as that greater heavenly high priest that the Tanakh prophesied would come.

The Superiority of Messiah Yeshua Over OT Personages (1:1–4:13)

  • Yeshua as Creator, Sovereign and Sustainer of the universe is superior to all things including the prophets — 1:1–3 (Ps 110:1)
  • Yeshua is superior to the angels —1:4–2:18 (Ps 97:7)
  • Yeshua is superior Moses —3:1–19 (Deut 18:15–19)
  • Yeshua is superior to Joshua — 4:1–13

The Superiority of Messiah Yeshua’s Priesthood Over OT Priesthood (4:4–5:10)

  • Yeshua is superior to Aaron — 4:14–5:10 (Ps 110:4Mal 3:1–3Isa 53:12 —Yeshua, the Suffering Servant, to take the role of high priest as an intercessor for transgressors before Elohim)
  • Yeshua’s priesthood is after the order of Melchizedek — 7:1–8:5 (Ps 110:4)

Yeshua Mediator of a Better Covenant Than the First Covenant (8:6–10:18)

  • The Renewed Covenant: a better covenant — 8:6–13 (Jer 31:31–33)
  • The First Covenant’s sanctuary and sacrifices — 9:1–10 
  • Compared with the Renewed Covenant — 9:11–10:18

The Purpose of the Epistle to the Hebrews—Lift YOUR Eyes Upward to Our Heavenly High Priest

Let the Truth of YHVH’s Word ring clearly like a bell in the hearts and minds of Truth-seekers everywhere!

What follows you have probably never heard before. Hopefully the truth of it will ring loudly like a bell in your heart and mind!

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Natan’s Commentary Notes on Titus

Titus 1

Titus 1:10–16, The perils of false leaders in the church.By the time Paul wrote this letter to Titus, only a few short decades after the death and resurrection of Yeshua, the church was already in a state of spiritual disarray. False leaders had already arisen subverting and deceiving the saints, while lying and giving in to “Jewish fables” or to unbiblical doctrines or “commandments of men” for “dishonest gain,” “defiled” in “mind and conscience” feigning to know Elohim but the fruit of the lives were “abominable, disobedient” and they failed to meet the qualification of the true servant-leaders of Elohim. Paul called on Titus to “rebuke sharply” these “evil beasts” (v. 12). How much worse is it today, 2000 years later, within the Christian church?

Titus 1:12–13, Cretans are. In today’s politically correct speech climate, this statement would be considered racist, even if it were a totally accurate statement. The word Crete may mean “fleshly.”

Titus 1:14, Turning from the truth. As we have stated many times previously, in contrast to doctrines and traditions of men by which the Word of Elohim is made of non-effect, Scripture defines Truth as YHVH’s Torarh-Word and Yeshua the Messiah who was the Word of Elohim incarnate. Any doctrine or teaching of men that falls short of this in any way is, to one degree or another, deficient in Truth and is thus suspect.

Jewish fables. Many people in the mainstream church are content to dismiss the Torah merely as a Jewish fable having little or no relevance to Christians. Yet, at the same time, the same preachers will passionately promote Christmas trees, Santa Claus and Easter bunnies. So what’s wrong with this picture? 

Moreover, many Bible teachers in the mainstream church teach that this verse refers to the Torah. They use it in attempting to prove that the commandments of the Torah are no longer valid for believers. Is this correct? You mean, since the Torah has been “done away with” it is now acceptable to steal, murder, commit adultery, lie and worship idols among other things? 

In reality, Paul can’t be referring to the Torah here without contradicting himself elsewhere. In numerous places, he strongly upholds and defends obedience to the Torah (Rom 3:31; 7:7, 12, 14; 13:8–10; 1 Cor 7:19; 9:21; Gal 3:10; 6:2; 2 Tim 6:14; Tit 2:14) and even claims to follow it himself (Acts 21:24; 24:1425:8; 28:17; 1 Cor 9:21). He must be talking about the Jewish traditions of men, which Yeshua said in Matthew 15:3–9 and Mark 7:7–9 make of non-effect the word of Elohim. 

In fact, this is exactly what Paul is referring to here in this verse when he says “Jewish fables and commandments of men.” This is not a reference to the Torah the commandments which, in truth, came from YHVH Elohim and not from men. In the same verse, Paul contrasts these commandments of men with “the truth” from which men have turned away. 

So what is this truth that Paul references here? Since Bible defines its own terms, we must look to it for the definition of the word truth. Elohim is the source of truth (Deut 32:4 cp. Pss 86:11; 89:14; 117:2), he is truth (Ps 25:10; 31:5; 33:4), and his Torah is truth (Ps 119:142, 151). 

Truth is the opposite of a fable. One example of a Jewish fable and a commandment of men would be the idea that one can’t be saved unless they’re first circumcised (Acts 15:15:1, 5), which was the subject of the Acts 15 council. Paul vehemently fought this Jewish fable, and the whole Book of Galatians, for example, largely deals with this issue. If Paul had meant the Torah when mentioning “Jewish fables” then this makes Paul into a schizophrenic liar (since he promotes and lauds the Torah and claims to follow it elsewhere), while elsewhere he views the Torah as irrelevant and not necessary to be obeyed. Were Paul against the Torah, this would put Paul at odds with Yeshua who upheld the Torah (Matt 5:17–19) and with himself when he said to imitate Yeshua the Torah-keeper as he himself did (1 Cor 11:1). 

From this brief discussion, it should be obvious to a logical minded person that Paul doesn’t have the Torah in view when he mentions fables in this verse.

Titus 1:15, Mind and conscience. Mind is the Greek word noos meaning “the intellect, that is, mind (divine or human; in thought, feeling, or will.” Conscience is the Greek word suneidesis meaning “co-perception, that is, moral consciousness.” Though the conscience or spirit of man is the candle of YHVH (Prov 20:28; Ps 18:28) and is what the Spirit of Elohim activates at the time of one’s spiritual regeneration, the spirit of man can be defiled (stained, polluted or contaminated) obviously by the corrupting influences of the world, the flesh and the devil. Since the spirit of man can be influenced or informed negatively it needs to be made perfect (complete). (See notes at Heb 12:23.)

Titus 1:16, In works deny him. A spiritual leader is known by his works or fruits, not his words. If the works of his life fall short of the biblical standard of righteousness, then his words, no matter how alluring and good sounding they may be, are meaningless.

Titus 2

Titus 2:1, Sound. Literally “healthy or uncorrupt or true.”

Titus 2:3, Not given to much wine. It doesn’t say “not given to wine,” but “not given to much wine” contrary to what some in the Christian church teach. The fact is that the saint shouldn’t give themselves over to any other influence, wine or otherwise, except that of Yeshua the Messiah and his Word and the Spirit of Elohim.

Titus 2:4–5, Young women…homemakers. This statement that young woman should be homemakers is not only not politically correct today, but is ridiculed and derided by today’s society. However, the fruit of woman not staying home and rasing their children is well-evidenced in the broken families and dysfunctional children that women not being homemakers has engendered.

Titus 2:10–11, Adorn [Gr. kosmeō] the doctrine of Elohim. Kosmeō means “to put in proper order, that is, decorate (literally or figuratively) or to adorn, garnish, trim.” Those around us observe our actions and all that we do either brings glory to YHVH Elohim and his Word, or it doesn’t. Our lives may be the only Bible that some people read, the only light of heaven that shines into their lives, and the only human mirror through which they see the reflection of Elohim and his Word; therefore, live an obedient, faithful, righteous, godly and sober life in this present age (v. 11).

Titus 2:11–13, The grace [Gr. karis] of Elohim. This scripture lists the two aspects of grace or karis: redemption from sin or free unmerited pardon AND the free gift of divine enablement to now go forward and to live in Torah-based righteousness.

Titus 2:13–14, Looking for. There is perhaps no better verse in Scripture that so succinctly expresses the quintessential hope of the saint as this one.

Titus 2:14, Special people. This is a biblical idiom or Hebraism that in Hebrew is am segullah meaning “treasured possession, or the special treasure of a king.” Am segullah is how YHVH refers to his people, the Israelites, first in Exodus 19:5 (see also Deut 14:2; 7:6; 26:18; Ps 135:4; Mal 3:17; 1 Pet 2:9).

Lawless [Gr. anomia] deed. That is, Torahless deed.

Titus 3

Titus 3:5, Works of righteousness. Scripture doesn’t leave us guessing as to what it means by “works of righteousness.” See Ps 119:172; Matt 5:19 and Rev 19:6–9.

Titus 3:8, 14, Good works [Gr. ergon]. Ergon refers to “toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act: – deed, doing, labour, work.” The mainstream Christian idea that good works are somehow antithetical to the Christian walk is erroneous and has led many people astray spiritually. The Scripture is clear that no ne is saved by their good works, but once saved, the evidence or fruit of their salvation and of the Spirit of Elohim being at work in their lives will be good works. Moreover, the saint will be rewarded accordingly in the world to come on the basis of his good works in this life.

 

Ecclesiastes 5 and 6—Natan’s Commentary Notes

Ecclesiastes 5

Ecclesiastes 5:1, Walk prudently [keep thy foot, KJV]. Once again, the Preacher teases the reader by inserting another “God principle” into his monologue on the ultimate meaninglessness of life. It is as if he is toying with us by, on the one hand, repeatedly demonstrating to his reader the vanity of life, yet, on the other hand, giving his reader a glimpse into another reality, another dimension that is outside of this time-space continuum—this prison spaceship called life on earth. He is telling us in bits and pieces that there is a bigger picture, a better way, but one has to factor Elohim into the equation for that picture to come into view. As long as one does not, then there is no hope, purpose or meaning to life. If one does, however, then a whole new picture begins to emerge out of the obscurity of the dark fog of this physical existence.

So how does one walk prudently, or keep one’s foot, so that one does not stumble over the conundrums of trying to squeeze meaning out of one’s physical, seemingly pointless life? 

Go to the house of Elohim. When we think of the “house of God” what immediately comes to mind? Probably the ancient temple of Elohim in Jerusalem. But that temple is long gone. So what is the house of Elohim now? A church? A cathedral? Some manmade chapel somewhere where one is surrounding by religious icons and an artist’s conception of God that somehow stirs the emotions of man into a state of worship and awe? Or is it something much deeper and simpler than that? What if one does not have a church building to go to? Then what? Is it impossible to find Elohim because some man or men somewhere have not constructed a physical building and placed a label on it called “a church”? 

The fact is that if one digs deeply into the meaning and purpose of the biblical concept of “the house of Elohim” one will find that the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon were representations of the composite human being comprised of a physical body housing a soul (the mind, will and emotions) and a spirit (the deep, inner part of man that is immaterial and connects us to Elohim who is a Spirit). In the Testimony of Yeshua, we learn that the saint is now the temple of the Spirit of Elohim or “the house of God.” As the ancient Israelite temple was “the house of Elohim” on this earth housing the glory of Elohim’s presence within its inner most chamber (the holy of holies), even so the presence of Elohim now resides in the innermost part of man—his personal spirit.

Draw near to hear. So when the Preacher tells us to go into the house of Elohim and “to draw near to hear,” he is telling us to go carefully, prudently and not to rush in. Stop, quiet down one’s continuos roiling thoughts and emotions, and listen. Listen to the Spirit of Elohim speaking to us through our personal spirit. 

Ecclesiastes 5:2, Do not be rash. Once again, the Preacher continues to give us more clues on how to find Elohim­—how to escape the endless hamster wheel called life which ends in death, which is vanity or ultimately meaningless emptiness. Slow down! Think before you speak. Say less. Stay humble and small before Elohim. These are keys to finding Elohim. These instructions seem overly simplistic, yet how elusive they really are in this modern world—especially for those who live and work in urban settings.

Ecclesiastes 5:3, Dreams. Anyone can dream big ideas and con people into thinking that they are on track to achieving great things. In reality, many words and a multitude of dreamy ideas mean little or nothing.

Ecclesiastes 5:4–5, Do not make a vow. Elohim is not impressed by talkers; he wants doers. It is better not to open one’s mouth, to give one’s word and to make commitments, than to spout off grandiose promises and ideas that will never come to fruition.

Ecclesiastes 5:6–7, Do not let your mouth. The proper control and use of one’s mouth is a key to finding Elohim, for it is the mouth’s misuse that engenders much grief and conflict that makes this somewhat life on this earth even more difficult, stressful, full of conflict and ultimately meaningless. Moreover, as stated elsewhere, in the multitude of words there is no lack of sin, which only takes us further away from Elohim and our only escape from this wearisome and tedious physical existence. A foolish and godless person gives little thought to the words that come from his mouth, which only leads him little-by-little deeper into the pit of despair of this physical life. 

Fear Elohim. The Preacher continues to give us clues in the form of a trail of delectable bread crumbs that will lead us upward and out of the vanity of vanities of this physical existence. In the Psalms and Proverbs we learn that the fear of Elohim is the beginning of both knowledge and wisdom. Fear is a safety mechanism that preserves life. The fear of death keeps one from stepping off a tall ledge or from ingesting a poisonous substance. Likewise, the fear of Elohim will keep us on the straight and narrow path morally and spiritually, so that we are less likely to sin and bring the miserable consequences thereof upon ourselves in this life and the next life.

Ecclesiastes 5:8–9, The oppression of the poor. Do not be overly worked up over the oppression of the poor and social injustice. , for these are part of the human condition. It always has been and always will be, and there is little or nothing one can do about it, so why stress yourself out over it and make your already vain life more meaningless? After all, it is to the advantage of government officials to address oppression and injustice , or else they will lose their lofty and lucrative positions of power from which they rule their people. Disgruntled people eventually rise up and overthrow their rulers.

Ecclesiastes 5:10–17, He who loves silver. In this section of his discourse, the Preacher continues to demonstrate the ultimated empty meaninglessness of making the acquisition of wealth and material possessions one’s chief goal. While such a person pursues riches, he is actually impoverishing himself in many ways. On the other hand, the one who humbly labors in his profession will sleep well at night, for he has worked hard and honestly and can feel good about it (v. 12).

Ecclesiastes 5:18–20, Here is what I have seen. At this point in his discourse, the Preacher gives a summary of what he has learned and preliminary conclusion to finding some measure of happiness in life without factoring in Elohim. Work hard and enjoy the fruits of your labor including good food and drink. These are gifts from Elohim to all humans to blunt the ultimately reality of the meaninglessness of this life. So rejoice in these things and be grateful. Even thought the Preacher does not spell this exactly, perhaps one can read between the lines and surmise that a few thoughtful and grateful individuals will stop for a moment form their labors, and in gratitude look upward to heaven and discover Elohim. In so doing, they have taken a first step to finding an escape from the endless and seemingly pointless cycles of life on this earth.

Ecclesiastes 6

Ecclesiastes 6:1–12, More hopeless despair over the seeming pointlessness of life. The next twelve verses are a continuation of the main theme of Ecclesiastes: the pointlessness of life without Elohim.

Ecclesiastes 6:9, Better is the sight of the eyes. One in the hand is worth two in the bush. Enjoy and be thankful for what you have now instead of always wanting more and never being satisfied.

 

Which Bible Translation Do I Use?

Continually, people ask me what Bible translation I personally use when preaching and when writing. I wish there were a good answer to this question, but there isn’t. I’ve been asked this question many times over the years. The short answer is all of them and none of them. Let me explain what I mean.

The Word of Elohim is something I take very seriously. It is something to be trembled before with a contrite heart (Isa 66:2). Sadly, there are numerous designer Messianic Bibles out there being peddled by money-grubbing charlatans or self-proclaimed experts who have just enough knowledge of the original languages to be dangerous, but not enough to competently translate a Bible. These individuals are duping those who know less than they do, and preying unsuspecting and naive people who are hungry for truth. They are proving the old adage that says “an ‘expert’ is simply someone who knows more than the next guy.” Most of these “translators” have little or no academic training or linguistic expertise in ancient biblical languages, yet this doesn’t stop them producing a constant stream of “new and improved” Bible translations. I actually have some academic background in foreign and biblical languages and have done translating work in both French and Koine Greek at the academic level, so I speak with some understanding on the subject. Yet, I am not an expert, and am not qualified to translate anything.

There is not a single Bible translation on the market today that I can unreservedly recommend. Some of the more popular ones have been translated by questionable individuals who have little or no linguistic training, yet they (dishonestly) refuse to disclose publicly what their qualifications are for translating the Bible. I find this to be a huge red flag to me. If you have linguistic qualifications, why not state them? If you don’t, it’s probably because you have none. I suspect that most of these self-proclaimed Bible translators simply sat down with a copyright free English version (e.g. the KJV) and along with the help of a concordance and a few other lexical aids, made a translation, which they now peddle for big bucks. This is dishonest and unrighteous. 

Which Bible version do I personally use? I still use the KJV and NKJV, since at least they were translated by competent linguists. Because I’ve been studying Greek and Hebrew for more than 45 years, I know where all the translation biases are, and I know the Hebrew and Greek words behind many of the English words in our Bibles. As I’m reading the Bible (when preaching) or quoting (when writing), I start with the base of the NKJV, and as I am going along, I “clean” up the English. For example, I insert Hebrew words for the names of deity (i.e., God becomes Elohim, LORD become Yehovah, Jesus becomes Yeshuah, Christ becomes Messiah, Holy Spirit become Ruach HaKodesh, and so on). In cases where there are Hebrew or Greek words that the translators have translated into English using misleading words, based on the lexical meanings of the words I make changes. For example, in Romans 10:4, I change “end” to “final aim, goal.” This is totally consistent not only with the meaning of the Greek word telos but also consistent with biblical truth. Another example would be Matthew 5:17 where fulfill (Gr. pleroo) means “to fill up, to make full, to complete, to fill to the top.” In any place in both the Tanakh (Old Testament) or the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament) where the word law occurs in referring to “the law of Moses”, I replace it with the Hebrew word Torah meaning “instructions, teachings and precepts [in righteousness of YHVH Elohim].” I could give many other examples, but hopefully the reader gets the point. I don’t carelessly or haphazardly substitute words, but do so full well recognizing the meanings of the words in the original languages, and how the biblical authors use them in the full context of the whole Bible. Again, I tremble before YHVH and his Word, I cringe at the thought of being labeled a false teacher, or bringing  curses upon myself for adding or subtracting from the Word of Elohim.

 

Natan Responds to Brainwashed, Stiff-necked Christians

This is the Bible version that most Christians follow. It is NOT the Holy Bible, but the Holey Bible, Swiss Cheese Version, that is, one with holes in it for all the pages they rip out of the Word of Elohim and claim are not for them!

Some years ago, I made a sermon video on the importance of NOT profaning the seventh day Sabbath. You can find it on the Hoshana Rabbah YouTube channel and at https://www.youtube.com/HoshanaRabbah and at the end of this article. Here are some comments from two “Christians” who claim to be Bible believers and then make every excuse why they do not believe what it says to do. This is not only sad, but rather sickening. Yet such a mindset with regard to the clear Word of Elohim is not only commonplace among members of mainstream churchianity, but has been institutionalized theologically. For these folks, the clear Truth of the Bible is a lie and the lie of manmade traditions and doctrines has become the truth. Both Yeshua and Isaiah said it well:

“For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.…making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (Mark 7:8, 9, 13)

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isa 5:20)


Please note: The names have been changed for obvious reasons and for effect.

Pat Smugly: The sabbath was never about a “day” but pointing to a “greater rest” found in the finished work of Jesus. (Hebrews 4:9ff) Colossians 2 and Romans 14 are clear that the observance of Sabbath’s and old covenant feast days is null and void now because we have entered into lasting rest in Christ. (Galatians 3:16-29)

Natan Lawrence: Incorrect. You reveal an incomplete understanding of the full counsel of YHVH’s Word from Genesis to Revelation. Instead, you have bought into the propaganda of the mainstream church instead of studying this subject out for yourself. I challenge you to study this subject out with an open heart, open mind in front of an open Bible instead of getting your information from second hand sources, or by cherry-picking a few verses out of the Bible out of context. The Bible presents the truth of the Sabbath at several levels all of which are true at the same time. For example, the Creator sanctified the seventh day Sabbath (and no other day), made it a command to do (one which he never rescinded), and is a practice that Yeshua and the apostles obeyed (and we are to follow their example). Moreover, the Sabbath points to our resting in Yeshua’s “finished work”, but in no way frees us to violate it any more than we are free to violate the other commands of Elohim (e.g. thou shalt not murder, lie, covet, commit adultery, etc., etc.). The Sabbath also prophetically points to the seventh millennia (i.e. the Millennium) when the earth and it’s inhabitants will be a rest from the evil and anti-commandment influences of the devil under the rulership of King Yeshua. The Sabbath is a commanded invitation (called a divine appointment or moed in Hebrew) from a loving Creator to meet with him and his people on this day, and for his people to hang out with each other as well in an atmosphere of love, peace, learning, fellowship, praise and worship free of the weekly rigors and stresses we typically have to deal with the other six work days of the week. What could possible be so wrong with this? Why is there so much antagonism and hatred for the Sabbath by so many people who claim to be followers of Yeshua who said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Instead of just talking about loving him by throwing our emotions at him and then doing the opposite of what he did or tells us to do, how about doing what he did and what he told us to do for a change? Stop believing the lies you have been taught by your denomination and start obeying Yeshua and his word. Amein!

Pat Smugly: Hoshana Rabbah You may call it propaganda, but you shared no scripture whereas I shared three for consideration. Galatians 3 being the most explicit. Oh, and Romans 3:21-28 is abundantly clear and Romans 7:1-6. But no worries, John 16:13 has a way of coming true and God’s Spirit will lead and guide into all truth if we are teachable. (Hebrews 12:18-24).

Natan Lawrence: This is the comments section. Not the Bible teaching section of my YouTube channel. If you want Scriptures, simply begin watching the nearly 300 videos that I have placed on this channel. Most of them are mine. You'll get thousands of Bible verses addressing nearly every subject in the Bbile. With all due respect, anyone can cherry pick out the Bible verse or two and like a drive-by shorter, fire them out of their theological gun at someone to "prove their point." Most Christians have a two or three pet verses that they use like silver bullets that supposedly answer every question. When I do a Bible teaching, I typically read every verse in the Bible on that subject before opening my mouth. There isn't room in the comments section for this sort of thing. So don't ask me to do it. If you are truly a truth seeker and you want my answer to your question, go watch my video series on the book of Galatians and then get back to me. Also watch my numerous videos on the Sabbath and go to my website and read my articles on the subject. This is just the beginning. BTW, I do all the original research on all of my articles, write them and publish them. I know this material well and know all the arguments pro and con on nearly every subject. These will be taken into consideration in my teachings, thus answering most if not all of your questions. Happy truth seeking! Blessings!

Luke Warm: I don’t “hate” the Sabbath, but I keep it on Sundays and so are my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are regenerate and bearing good fruit by the Holy Spirit. So my question is, if I don’t repent of worshipping on Sundays, I am in sin and if I were to die, I’d be cut off from eternal life to be damned forever?

Natan Lawrence: Do you want to follow the Word of God/Elohim or the traditions of men that are contrary to the Word of God/Elohim? Give me one verse from the Bible/the Word of God/Elohim where he commands men to rests on the first day of the week and calls it the Sabbath. You have to settle in your heart whether you are obeying the Word of Elohim or twisting it to fit your own manmade interpretations. I am not your judge, and cannot answer questions about your eternal fate. The Word of Elohim is our judge. Elohim will determine the eternal fate of each of us. I am, however, very concerned for someone when they have been presented with biblical Truth and refuse to obey it. At this point, they can no longer plead ignorance, for they have been shown the light of Truth, and are now responsible for the actions and the court of heaven will hold them accountable accordingly. At the tree of knowledge, the snake in the tree questioned the clear word of Elohim to the first humans and basically told them they didn’t really have to obey the Creator’s commandments. Sounds to me like you’re basically repeating the same lie of the devil and have convinced yourself that disobeying Elohim’s commands is okay and it the truth. The problem is that it’s YOUR truth, but not the Truth, or Elohim’s Truth. Look, I’m not judging you, but the Word of Elohim will as to how closely you’re following biblical Truth now that you have been presented with the truth. If you loved the Truth of Elohim, then you’d be honoring the seventh day Sabbath and obeying his commands to rest on that day. Sadly, you’ve convinced yourself otherwise because you’re listening to the liars in the pulpit who are listening to the snake in the tree when it comes to the Sabbath. Now that I’ve held the mirror up to your face so that you can see clearly what you’re doing, what are you going to do about it? Continue in your rebellion against the clear Word of Elohim, or repent of your sin which is the violation of Elohim’s commandments (1 John 3:4)? The choice is yours.

Luke Warm: Hoshana Rabbah I do follow the word of God. Been researching and studying for the past decade and came to many objections on these messianic teachings. Biblically as well. I don’t believe I am in sin, because I do keep the Sabbath with my family. Everything I do ain’t perfect, but my trust, hope and faith lies in Jesus Christ. Been a believer not as long as you, but there is evidence of saving faith in my life through God’s sovereign work in my heart and circumstances. I do study biblically and like you, am seeking to please God through His word. I understood everything you’ve said and presented very much. I’ve in times past, encountered so many like you. I’ve also watched so many of your videos, which honestly are very great material. But like you said, every “movement” has contributed in times past to reveal truths. Some good and some bad, eat the meat and spit out the bones. We are all fallen and imperfect this side of heaven. So whatever truths you share, I am willing to take some and throw out the rest that aren’t biblical. Just like you do with everything you learn about; sources and people. There are so many faithful teachers and preachers out there expounding the word of God biblically and tirelessly. Sin and judgement, the nature of God and His attributes. Especially dying for the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is at the center of everything we live for. It’s His Gospel and atoning work on the cross that has compelled me to believe what I believe. Jesus Christ being the son of God, was slaughtered by His Father which pleased Him, for the remission of sins. Vindicated Himself by rising from the grave and who is now at the right hand of the Father. Through faith in Him, the offspring of Abraham, whom we have become part of God’s family. We now live in that kingdom to the glory of God forever.

Natan Lawrence: Thank you for giving me the perfect verbiage explaining why the mainstream Christians church is spiritually impotent and failing to make its mark on our society for the kingdom of Elohim. It has elevated the mind of man over the clear Word of Elohim and exchanging biblical Truth for manmade traditions and calling it Truth. This is called secular humanism. I will be able to use your comments in an article I am writing on another site as a warning to those who are prone to twist the Word of Elohim to make it fit their lawless and rebellious heart attitudes. As the Bible says,
 The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jer 17:9)

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. (Rom 8:6–7)