The sins and false gods of a nation catch up with it!

Exodus 7:14, The ten plagues. The ten plagues were Elohim’s judgment against the gods and idols of Egypt (Exod 12:12; 33:4; Num 33:4). Here are the list of plagues and possible suggestions as to which gods of Egypt YHVH was judging. Modern man worships these same false gods, and YHVH will bring his judgements against them in the last days. 

  • The first plague was the water turning to blood. This may have been a judgment against abortion (the Egyptians threw their babies into the Nile for sacrificial purposes) and against materialism (since fewer children mean fewer expenses for a family, and the Nile River was the source of Egypt’s prosperity).
  • The second plague was frogs. This may have been a judgment against pride (frogs puff themselves before they croak) and environmentalism or animal worship. In America, for example, after 9/11, how many bumperstickers did we see that had the words “pride” on them, and “God bless America” as if YHVH is duty-bound to bless America? How can YHVH bless a nation that refuses to repent and turn from its arroant and wicked ways?
  • The third plague was lice. This may have been a judgment against pride and narcissism (self worship), since the Egyptians were highly focused on their personal appearance and hygiene, their appearance and in shaving of body hair.
  • The fourth plague was flies, which may have been a judgment against devil worship, occultism and witchcraft (i.e. the whole religious system of Egypt). A biblical name for Satan was Beelzebub, or lord of the flies (Matt 12:25–27; Luke 11:15–19).
  • The fifth plague was the death of the livestock. This may have been a judgment against transportation and commerce.
  • The sixth plague was boils, which may have been a judgment against the Egyptians obsession with their bodies and faith in medical science.
  • The seventh plague was hail, which may have been a judgment against their agriculture industry and earth worship.
  • The eighth plague was locusts. This may have been a judgment against Egypt’s food production. The Nile River and its delta was one of the bread baskets of the ancient world and a source of great wealth to Egypt.
  • The ninth plague was darkness. This may have been a judgment against Egypt’s intelligentsia and religious system, which was spiritually devoid of the light of truth.
  • The tenth plague was the death of the firstborn, which was a judgment against Egypt’s future and posterity.

The destruction of Pharaoh and his armies in the Red Seawas a judgment against Egypt’s political and military might. 

Is YHVH Elohim bringing America and other “Christian” nations under judgment for the sins they have committed against him, even as he brought judgment against the gods of Egypt? What are the similarities between the gods of ancient Egypt and those of western and (formerly) Christian cultures? In America, for example, in recent years, there has been a marked increase in adverse weather conditions (e.g. droughts), natural disasters (e.g. wild fires, mass deaths of different kinds of animals, earthquakes in unlikely places), terrorism, bank and financial failures, personal and corporate bankruptcies, economic inflation, cost of living increasing, high foreclosure rates on homes, private and government financial debt, government scandals and corruption and, mass invasion by illegal and criminal, persecution of Christians, an invasion of demonic religions (e.g. Islam) just to name a few of the possible judgments against a nation that has turned its back on Elohim and the Bible.

 

Luke 9—Nuggets of Wisdom from Yeshua’s Life

Luke 9:1–2, Gave them power. (See also Luke 10:19.) Spiritual power and authority over demons and sickness is manifested in no greater way than when exercised in conjunction with the preaching of the gospel. It is here on the ragged edge between the kingdoms of light and darkness that YHVH wishes especially to demonstrate his power through his servants in an effort to draw outsiders into his spiritual kingdom. Healing from sickness and deliverance from demonic powers is a great enticement for those on the outside to become part of YHVH’s kingdom, where they will experience freedom resulting in joy, peace and hope and eventually eternal life.

Luke 9:28, Eight days. Eight is the biblical number of new beginnings and the symbol for infinity. When Yeshua comes back in power and glory to establish his kingdom universally on this earth of which the transfiguration was a prophetic foreshadow, it will be a new beginning lasting for eternity.

Luke 9:41, Faithless and perverse. Faithlessness and perversity go hand-in-hand with the ability to cast out demons and to heal the sick. To the degree that one is faithful to and has faith in YHVH and his Word and is in sync with it is the degree to which one will be able to exercise power over demon spirits and sickness.

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The Seven Steps of Redemption

Exodus 6:1–9, YHVH redeems Israel.

The stage is set for Israel’s redemption in Exodus 5:22–23. Yet Moses’ first venture to Pharaoh was a disaster. The plight of the children of Israel had deteriorated instead of improved. Discouraged, Moses almost takes on an accusative tone toward YHVH (Exod 5:22–23). Graciously, YHVH doesn’t rebuke Moses, but as a loving Father encourages him to refocus on his word and the veracity and surety of his promises (Exod 6:2–5).

YHVH encouraged Moses upward and onward despite his discouraging first attempt at gaining the release of the ­children of Israel. Is it possible that YHVH allowed immediate success to elude Moses at his first encounter with Pharaoh to bring Moses “to the end of himself” with regard to any tendency he might have had to rely primarily on himself and on his own wisdom to accomplish Elohim’s plans? After all, Moses, as either Pharaoh’s adopted grandson or his nephew (depending on whether this was the Pharaoh of Moses’ childhood or his son), had an “in” with the monarch that could have been exploited for the benefit of securing the release of Israel. As YHVH wanted Moses to rely on him alone for Israel’s deliverance, even so YHVH wants us to rely on him alone to accomplish his purposes in our lives and not primarily on any human abilities that we may possess. We have to be totally emptied of ourselves before we’re ready for the Master’s use. This doesn’t mean he won’t use our natural abilities or what he have gained through life’s experiences, but we must learn to submit all that we have and are to his sovereign will. In this way, YHVH, not man, gets the glory when success occurs (Jer 9:22–23).

Additionally, YHVH reaffirmed his covenant promises to Moses using his covenant name, YHVH, three times (Exod 6:678). Here are some other examples of how Scripture usesYHVH’s covenant name along with modifying adjectives to describe his promise and ability to meet all our human needs:

  • YHVH Elohim (Gen 2:4–7)
  • YHVH El Elohim: YHVH El of gods (Josh 22:22)
  • YHVH Elohaykha: YHVH Your Elohim (Exod 20:2)
  • YHVH Elohay Avotaynu: YHVH Elohim of our fathers (Ezra 7:27)
  • YHVH Elohay HaShamaiyim: YHVH, Elohim of heaven (Gen 24:7)
  • YHVH Elohay Yisrael: YHVH Elohim of Israel (Josh 24:2)
  • YHVH Elohaynu: YHVH Our Elohim (Ps 99:5)
  • YHVH Elohi: YHVH My Elohim (Zech 14:5)
  • YHVH Asaynu: YHVH Our Maker (Ps 95:6)
  • YHVH Echad U-Shmo Echad: YHVH Is One and His Name Is One (Zech 14:9)
  • YHVH M’Kadishkhem: YHVH Who Sanctifies You (Exod 31:13)
  • YHVH Nisi: YHVH Is My Banner (Exod 17:15)
  • YHVH Ro-ee: YHVH Is My Shepherd (Ps 23:1)
  • YHVH Rophekha: YHVH Who Heals You (Exod 15:26)
  • YHVH Shamah: YHVH Is There (Ezek 48:35)
  • YHVH Tzidkenu: YHVH Is Our Righteousness (Jer 23:6)
  • YHVH Tzuree: YHVH My Rock (or Strength) (Ps 144:1)
  • YHVH Tzvaot: YHVH of Hosts/Armies (Isa 6:3)
  • YHVH Yireh: YHVH Will Provide (Gen 22:14)

Next, YHVH reveals to Moses the seven steps of Israel’s redemption, which are actually promises of what YHVH will do for Israel.

Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, “I am YHVH, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem [Heb. ga’almeaning “to buy back, ransom for money”] you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments, and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you an Elohim, and you shall know that I am YHVH your Elohim, which brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am YHVH.” (Exod 6:6–8, emphasis added)

Here we find listed the seven steps of redemption YHVH lays out for Israel. YHVH uses his covenant name three times during the seven promises: at the beginning, middle and end. He wraps his covenant promises in his covenant name for emphasis.

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Blog Scripture Readings for 1-19 Through 1-25-2020

Aside

Parashat Va’eira — Exodus 6:2 – 9:35
Haftarah — Ezekiel 28:25 – 29:21
Prophets — 2 Samuel 17:1 – 23:39
Writings — Psalms 96:1 – 103:22
Testimony — Luke 8:26 – 11:13

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 1/19 through 1/25/2020.

 

16 Reasons to Outlaw Pornography!

The Evils and Dangers of Pornography

  • Pornography is unredeeming filth. There is nothing positive about it ever, especially for young children.
  • Pornography is highly addictive, since it stimulates the pleasure center of brain like a drug. The desire for more pornography, like cocaine, for example, never gets satisfied. It leaves the brain craving for more and more, for an increasingly higher “high.” Therefore, pornography leads one into a never-ending downward spiral of addictions; it’s a deep, dark hole with no bottom.
  • Pornography destroys children, men and women and then marriages and families, which are the bedrock of society. When this foundation is destroyed, the whole society collapses.
  • Pornography can lead to all sorts of sexual perversions and deviant behaviors such as pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, homosexuality, masochism, incest, sadism and to sexual crimes such as rape, sex abuse and other criminality.
  • Pornography promotes lust, which is a sin. According to biblical definition, lust is the strong desire for something that’s illicit or illegal or, in other words, for someone or something that isn’t yours to have or doesn’t belong to you.
  • Pornography engenders lying, deceit, lust, abuse, violence, envy, compulsiveness, adultery, fornication, selfishness, self-hate, guilt and shame.
  • Pornography undermines the dignity of both men and women. It downgrades the value of sex by turning women and men into sex objects and the sex act because merely about sensual and selfish gratification. Pornography profanes the holy and divine purpose of the physical union between a man and his wife for the purpose of intimacy and to propagate the human race for the purpose of producing potential sons and daughter for the heavenly kingdom of Elohim (God).
  • The birth rate in western nations is going  down. This is due to many factors, but pornography is one of them.
  • Pornography can cause sexual confusion, gender confusion, sexual dysfunction, sexual frustration, false sexual expectations.
  • Due to chemical reactions that occur in the human brain while viewing pornography, these images are powerfully stamped into a person’s brain forever. They are difficult if not impossible to erase. 
  • Pornography is a form of prostitution.
  • Pornography feeds the sex trafficking industry. This is a form of slavery.
  • Pornography destroys children. Thanks to the smart phone, many young children are exposed to this evil. It adversely affects their impressionable and developing brain. Evil thoughts and ideas are put into their brains. Morals are eroded and often children will act out what they see, and such things will adversely affect them and those around them for the rest of their lives and for generations to come.
  • Pornography often promotes dissatisfaction and sexual dysfunction in marriage, since it raises one’s sexual expectations in marriage to unrealistic levels.
  • When young boys are exposed to pornography, it hampers if not destroys their ability to relate to girls, since they compare themselves to the male porn stars they see and feel that somehow they’ll fall short in looks and acts. Moreover, they’re scared of girls, who don’t look as good as the fake female porn stars they see on film. Likewise, young girls who are exposed to pornography compare themselves to the made up female porn stars they see, and feel that they don’t compare favorably in looks, so this affects their ability to relate to boys.
  • When boys view pornographic image on a computer screen and react sexually to that, their brain is conditioned to react to these fake, idealized virtual reality image. Their first sexual encounter with a women, in effect, is through a screen. Then when they’re with a real person, and when that person doesn’t live up to the idealized images and expectations of the screen, they’re unable to perform sexually.

For those of you struggling with addiction to pornography, offer up to YHVH Elohim your sincere and deep heartfelt repentance of this sin, and then ask Yeshua the Messiah to take away from you the desire for it, and he will. Then make a covenant with your heart and eyes that you will no longer view it. Them make sure that this stuff doesn’t come over your screens by activating all the security controls and filters possible. (I use electronics multiple times every day, and pornography doesn’t come across my screen, thus eliminating the possibility for temptation.) Then be accountable to someone else who will check in with you periodically and pray with you to insure that you stay clean and pure.

May YHVH Elohim strengthen and bless you as you walk down his path of holiness and righteousness!

 

On Religious Labels

Luke 7:36–37, The Pharisees…a woman…who was a sinner. The name Pharisee itself tells much about this sect or denomination within the first-century religious Jewish landscape. It derives from the Hebrew word perushim meaning “separatist,” and was born out of the fact that Pharisees didn’t associate with Am Ha-Eretz or the common people (Yeshua: a Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church, p. 86, by Ron Mosely), who in their view who were impure by the standards of the Levitical law (The Jewish Background of the New Testament, p. 203, by J. Julius Scott Jr.), and their high standards of holiness (Mosely, p 86). 

Acting like an elite religious fraternity (The Sketches of Jewish Life, p. 208, by Alfred Edersheim), the Pharisees were known for their strict observance of the Torah or the law of Moses, as well numerous additional laws or “traditions of the elders” that were added to the Torah along the way (From the Maccabeees to the Mishnah, p. 149, by Shaye J. D. Cohen; Scott, pp, 206–207; Edersheim, p. 217). 

Though this sect probably numbered only 6,000 at the time of Yeshua (Cohen, p. 146), they wielded a great deal of power and influence in Jewish society, since they were they viewed as the most accurate interpreters of the Torah (Scott, p. 203; Mosely, p. 92), and they were the leaders and teachers of the masses in the local synagogues (Cohen, pp. 147, 148). 

For the Pharisee, personal holiness was a badge of honor. To remain a member of this elite sect, one was required to maintain a high standard of holiness relating to tithing, piety, cleanliness and ritual purity, or one would face demotion within the social status of this community, or worse yet, face excommunication and shunning (Mosely, p. 86).

It can be safe to say that the Pharisaic religious system promoted an elitist and holier-than-thou religious demeanor among many of its members who hyper-focused on legalism and religious form and trappings. The result was “a system of pure externalism, which often contravened the spirit of those very ordinances, the letter of which was slavishly worshipped” resulting in hypocrisy (Edersheim, p. 217).

For these reasons, this is maybe why the woman in Luke 7:37 was labeled as a sinner. It wasn’t that she was a sinner any more than anyone else, but that she was not part of any recognized religious sect that labeled her as being righteous as a opposed to being a sinner. Because she was probably outside of the accepted religious system of her day, she was automatically given the label of a sinner. In our day, this would be like a church-going Christian viewing a non-church going person as a heathen. 

The problem is this. Can we know for certain the condition of a person’s heart and their relationship with the Almighty simply because of their external religious involvements? This is what Yeshua is addressing in this passage—the condition of the heart. To Yeshua, the woman who was labeled as a sinner was much more righteous, in a certain sense, than those of the most preeminent religious club of the day. Look at her humble and repentant demeanor at the feet of Yeshua!

Yeshua was known for shining the precise laser-light of truth on a situation and then turning that situation on its head. The end result was that those who thought they were in first place spiritually, were now in last place, and those who were in last place were first. This gives added meaning to Yeshua’s words, “In the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of his glory…many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Matt 19:28–30). 

When confronting the religious leaders of his day, Yeshua was skilled at upending spiritual apple carts, slaughtering sacred cows, demolishing the wisdom of the world and revealing it for the lie that it was. We are now Yeshua’s representatives on earth carrying out his same work and should be doing the same. This is because truth doesn’t change over the ages and YHVH is still on his throne regardless of conventional wisdom, popular opinion to the contrary or the labels or categories to which some humans ascribe others who are not of their stripe or party. 

 

No Fear! YOU have authority over demons

Exodus 4:3, Serpent. Serpents and staffs were powerful symbols and metaphors for spiritual realities. What lessons can we learn from Moses’ power encounter with Pharaoh’s magicians?

A serpent is often a biblical metaphor for Satan or demonic powers (e.g. Gen 3:1; Luke 10:19 cp. 9:1 and Mark 16:18; Rev 12:9; 20:2). Pharaoh as ruler over Egypt (a metaphor for this world) was a type of Satan who is the ruler of this world. A rod or a staff can be a biblical metaphor for power, authority, rulership or judgment (Gen 38:18; Exod 4:17, 20; Ps 2:9; Rev 19:15). 

In this verse, it seems evident that YHVH was giving Moses authority over the powers of Satan and his forces. When Moses cast down his rod, it became a serpent, and Moses was immediately able to assume control over the serpent at will for the purposes of advancing YHVH’s spiritual kingdom. This seems to have been YHVH’s way of showing Moses that he was giving him supernatural authority over Pharaoh (Satan) in fulfilling his divine commission to liberate the children of Israel. 

The staff changing into a serpent reminds us of the authority Yeshua gave his disciples to cast out demons and to heal diseases (Luke 9:1; 10:19; Mark 16:15–18). 

Furthermore, YHVH instructed Moses to construct a bronze serpent and place it on a pole, which when the Israelites looked on it, they were healed of the bites of the fiery serpents (Num 21:8). The serpent represents sin, since it is Satan the serpent who introduced sin to man in the Garden of Eden, which brought upon man the curse of death. Yeshua took that curse on himself when he was lifted up on the cross of judgment as Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness (John 3:14). Yeshua defeated Satan the serpent at the cross (Col 2:15; Gen 3:15; Rom 16:20), even as Moses’ serpent defeated the serpents of the satanic Pharaoh’s magicians. Likewise, we as the servants of Yeshua the Messiah have the same authority over demonic powers (Luke 9:1; 10:19; Mark 16:15–18).