When was the last time YOU “washed” someone’s feet?

John 13:8, You will never wash. Peter rejected Yeshua’s washing his feet not because of human obstinateness, but because of his honor for Yeshua. Washing the feet of one’s guests was an act of hospitality on the part of a host and was usually performed by a servant, not the host. Peter considered it to be demeaning for the Master to be performing the task of a servant, yet this is exactly what Yeshua was attempting to demonstrate. As the Messiah, he came to lay down his life in loving service for his disciples and not to be served (Matt 20:28; John 10:15; 15:13). Yeshua then made the point that his disciples should following his example in serving one another (vv. 12–17). 

John 13:14–15, You also ought to wash. Yeshua is giving a simple and clear command here for the saints to wash one another’s feet. How many Christian churches who claim to be followers and imitators of Yeshua actually wash each others’ feet? If Christian leaders in most churches are teaching their people to obey this command, now many other of Yeshua’s other commandments are they not teaching and obeying?

John 13:35, By this all will know. Love was to be the identifying mark of a disciple of Yeshua. The Bible defines love in several ways. We love Yeshua by keeping his (Torah) commands (John 14:15; 1 John 5:1–3). Yeshua defines the Torah as loving Elohim with all of our heart, soul mind and strength and loving our neighbor as ourself (Mark 12:28–31). Paul says that all the laws of Elohim can be summed up in love (Rom 13:8–10). Yeshua said that the greatest expression of love is to lay one’s life down for another as Yeshua did for us (1 John 3:16; 4:11). Without love, all the good—even religious works—we may do YHVH counts as nothing (1 Cor 13).

It’s important to note that most disciples of Yeshua (including Christians) believe this principle, but, sadly, when it comes down to reality, many fail to live out the identifying principles of love. How easy it is to view our religious works as the main identifying marks of our relationship with Yeshua. We may pride ourselves in the fact that we keep the Sabbath or the biblical holidays, practice full water baptism, speak in tongues, believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, practice the gifts of the Spirit, identify ourselves with the teachings of notable religious leaders, are Torah-obedient, eat or don’t eat certain types of foods, or other external practices and identifying marks. In truth, Yeshua looks less at these than the heart condition of the disciple. Does one have a heart of love, and is he obeying his Master and his neighbor as himself out of love to the best of his ability according to the light of the truth he has been given? This is the most important issue.

It’s interesting to note what Yeshua didn’t say in this verse. He didn’t say that all men will know that you’re my disciples because you have the right Bible version, pronounce the name of Elohim (i.e. YHVH) using the correct ancient pronunciation, observe the biblical Sabbath and feasts, follow every jot and tittle of the Torah perfectly, or dress a certain way. Yet, sadly, these prescriptions and strictures often become those things by which people identify themselves, and that end up keeping people separated from each other into exclusivistic tribal clan-like groups who will have nothing to do with anyone outside their group. Acting in this manner is not the heart of Elohim! In reality, in we’re not careful, our obedience issues can become points of pride—something YHVH hates (Prov 6:6–19). 

Once again, Yeshua, in this succinct teaching, pulls the rug out from the religious hypocrites and the deceived who focus on the legalistic and religious externals of what the Bible teaches, but miss the heart and spirit that Yeshua indicates should be the spiritual force driving our obedience—what he calls the weightier matters of the Torah-law, which are justice, mercy and faith (Matt 23:23).

 

NathanTalks #7—To Young People: What’s Better Than Money, Success & Fun?

Society around us is telling us that all there is to life is to get a good education, pursue YOUR dreams, go into the corporate world, get your paid vacation and health care, climb the ladder of success, have fun, party, make lots of money and then retire at 50 of 55 and spend the rest of your life playing. Society is telling us that God is irrelevant, the Bible is a passé tale, family, marriage, and traditional values are for uneducated morons and that nothing else matters except to fulfill YOUR desires and wants. If what society is telling us is true, then why are more young people than ever lonely, empty, and committing suicide? Obviously something is wrong with this picture. In this talk, we discuss this issue and bring the wisdom of the ages to bear on this crucial topic.

 

The Courtyard Curtains and YOU

Exodus 27:9–19, Court of the tabernacle.The tabernacle’s outer court was approximately 150 feet long by 75 feet wide (or 11,250 square feet, which is about one-fourth of an acre) in size.

The curtains of the outer court (Exod 27:9–19) were made of fine white linen and was seven-and-a-half feet tall. The linen curtains speak of robes of righteousness the bride of Yeshua will wear on her wedding day (Rev 19:8).

Sixty pillars supported the outer curtain. They were set in heavy bronze (or brass) bases topped by silver capitals. These pillars represent redeemed humanity wearing robes of righteousness. Wood symbolizes humanity, while bronze symbolizes judgment against man because of sin, and silver represents redemption or Elohim’s ransom price for man’s sin.

The Outer Curtain in More Details. 

The outer curtain was approximately 150 feet long by 75 feet wide and seven and-a-half feet tall. The curtain was just tall enough so that a tall man could not look over the top and see inside. The curtain was made of fine-twined white linen which stood in stark contrast to the surrounding gray-brown drab desert surroundings. White linen represents robes of righteousness. The priests wore white linen robes (Exod 28:39–43) and the bride of Yeshua is expected to wear such garments (Rev 19:8). YHVH’s people are called a nation or kingdom of priests (Exod 19:6; 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). Men’s righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa 64:6) and our sins have separated us from Elohim (Isa 59:2), but YHVH has made provision for man’s sins to be washed away and for man to become white as wool or snow (Isa 1:18).

This curtain formed a barrier between man and Elohim, between the profane or polluted and the sacred and pure. The height of the curtain was just a little taller than a tall man to teach unsaved man that the way of salvation is not impossible for him to achieve, yet it is just beyond his reach, as well, without coming through the prescribed way—through the door of the curtain. The curtain was supported by 60 (6 x 10) pillars. Six is the number of man while ten represents ordinal perfection. The pillars were set in bronze bases and capped with silver capitals. Bronze represents Elohim’s judgment against man’s sin and silver represents redemption or sinners being redeemed from deserved judgment (Ezek 18:4; Rom 3:23; 6:23). Examples of bronze representing sin and judgment include the brass serpent on the pole in Numbers 21. This was a picture of Yeshua taking upon himself the judgment for man’s sins (John 3:14-17). The silver capitals represent the ransom price YHVH laid upon each of the children of Israel age 20 and upwards (Exod 30:11-16). The small amount of silver each Israelite paid for a ransom for their sins was but the minimum amount due on each person’s huge and impossible-to -pay sin debt charged on each man’s spiritual credit card. Thankfully, Yeshua redeemed each sinner not with gold or silver, but with his precious blood (1 Pet 1:18-19).

The ropes holding up the posts and pillars were made of goat hair. This is another picture of the redemptive sacrifice of Yeshua and of the price of man’s sin paid by his shed blood.

The outer curtain was white and luminescent from the light of the glory cloud; approximately seven-and-one-half feet tall so that an ordinary man could not peer over the top; the only access in was through the gate. This glowing curtain separated the bleak and drab wilderness outside from the paradise inside; darkness from light, profane from the set-apart (kadosh), death from life, confusion from order. The gate wasa four-colored woven tapestry representing the Person and work of Yeshua: purple for royalty or kingship, white for righteousness, blue for divinity or heaven and red for blood; Yeshua is the door of the tabernacle or sheepfold—he is the way to the Father, the way, life and truth; the gate was wide, but not tall­—just above the height of a tall man; it was the only way into the tabernacle.

 

The Significance of Table Fellowship

Luke 24:30, He sat at the table. (See also vv. 41–43; John 21:12–13). In Bible times, when a covenant of friendship had been broken, as had occurred when the disciples forsook Yeshua prior to his apprehension, the broken relationship would be restored by eating together. After his resurrection, Yeshua had at least three meals with his disciples in order to renew loving covenantal relationship with them (Manners and Customs, pp. 78–79). 

In Hebraic thought, one’s table is a sort of sacred altar where familial and spiritual communion occurs. You don’t just break bread with anyone—only your close friends. Additionally, when a prayer of thanksgiving is made over a meal, YHVH’s Presence is invoked making the meal a sort of spiritual act where heaven and earth commune together. This is one reason why the Passover seder meal is of such serious significance. Only those of one’s spiritual family are to gather together at the seder where together they meet with Elohim. Furthermore, this is why Paul states in 1 Cor 5:9–11,

I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. (emphasis added)

 

The Transformative Power of Forgiveness

Luke 23:34, Father, forgive them.Yeshua said this for his and our benefit, and not because it made any difference in the lives of those who crucified him. It was for his benefit, so that the sin of bitterness and unforgiveness wouldn’t take root in him. It is for our benefit, so that we’d have his example to follow when dealing with our enemies. 

There is a deep and transformative truth in the power of forgiveness. When we forgive our offender (it doesn’t matter whether they know about it or not), it prepares the way for the relationship to be restored. The miracle and beauty of the forgiveness process is that now we get to help those who have sinned against us in the healing of their own sin. 

Like so many of Elohim’s truths and Yeshua’s practices, this is counter intuitive to the natural way man thinks. When sinned against, man’s natural, knee-jerk response is to hold on proudly to bitterness and offense in hopes the other person will recognize their error and humbly repent of their sin to us, the offended party. This is delusional thinking on the part of the one sinned against, since it seldom works this way. 

Because of human pride, both the sinner and the one sinned against—if each follows their own natural and self-defensive inclination—will usually dig in and fortifies the position of their own self-rightness. The sinner is certain he is justified in his actions against the one he sinned against, while the offended party feels it is his right to walk in offense until the sinner admits his sin and repents. As such, each party remains frozen and polarized in his position and the break in the relationship is never resolved. Division and strife becomes the etched-in-stone norm. This is all based on human pride, which heads the list of the seven deadly sins that YHVH hates the most and views as an abomination (Prov 6:16) resulting in division between brethren (Prov 6:19). 

It is the devil who is our adversary, is the one who destructively divides (John 10:10) and accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10), and the one who comes to kill, steal and destroy loves this. When we hold on to bitterness and unforgiveness against someone, we become their adversary and accuser. This results in strife and division between people.

This prideful division between people is not resolved until one of the parties chooses to follow the instructions and example of Yeshua to become a blessed peacemaker (Matt 5:9) and humbles himself and forgives his neighbor, so that the healing process can occur. On the cross, Yeshua initiated this process of relationship restoration in preparation for his role in heaven as our Great High Priest to act on our behalf before his Father to reconcile sinful man through himself to Elohim.

 

Seek Elohim and Be Blessed!

Psalm 112:1, Blessed is the man. YHVH promises blessing upon those who fear him and delight in his commandments. This is such a simple concept to understand that it’s shocking that more people can’t grasp it! When you acknowledge the Almighty Creator of all things, who is the Just Judge of the universe and the Supreme Lawgiver and you seek him, serve him with reverence and live by his rules, it all stands to reason that you’ll reap some benefits. The blessings resulting therefrom are incalculable; the psalmist lists a few of them in the following verses.

Verse 2—His descendants will be mighty upon the earth. The  Hebrew word for mighty is gibbor meaning “powerful; by implication warrior, or champion, chief, giant, mighty, strong (man), valiant.” When we think of the concept of mighty, we mustn’t fall into the trap of defining mighty as the world defines it, which usually involves money, power and fame. One can be gibbor in YHVH’s sight and not possess those attributes that society requires for one to be considered “great” or “mighty.”

Verse 3—He will possess wealth and riches. Wealth is the Hebrew word hon meaning “enough.” Therefore, the Bible defines wealth as having enough. How does one define enough? How many people on earth don’t have enough? What are our needs versus or wants? If our needs are met, then we have enough. If we have more than that, then we have an over abundance and are truly wealthy.

Verse 3—His righteousness endures forever. What does this mean? This can be taken to mean several things. First, his righteousness endures through is posterity because he has raise his children in the fear of Elohim, and they in turn pass these values on to their children and so on. Second, as salt and light, he has also influenced the world around him make it a more positively and a better place. Like a pebble dropped into a lake, the ripples of his actions will reach out and touch many lives for years to come. Third, the righteous man has the hope of eternal life, therefore, both he and he will live forever before Elohim because he fears Elohim in righteousness. What is righteousness? It is adherence to the commandments of Elohim (Ps 119:172) and delighting in said commandments (Ps  112:1).

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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!