Yeshua Vs. the Pharisees…the Saints Vs. the Religious Leaders of our Day

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 may be 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 a master 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 thing he did. This is because truth doesn’t change over the ages and YHVH is still on his throne regardless of conventional wisdom and popular opinion to the contrary.

 

Natan’s 2018 Shavuot Talking Points—The Deeper Meaning of Shavuot

What is the purpose of religion?

What’s should be the higher purpose of religion? It should answer the deeper questions of life.

  • What’s the meaning and purpose of life?
  • Who am I?
  • Where did I come from?
  • Who made me?
  • Why am I here?
  • Whoever made me, what do they expect of me?
  • Where am I going? What’s my ultimate destiny? Is there life after death?

Let’s narrow the picture down.

Why are we here today?

So why are we here celebrating Shavuot today?

  • To fulfill the requirements of religious ritualism?
  • To get your religious fix?
  • Out of human pride—to do your religious thing so that you feel better than the poor religious slobs still celebrate Christmas and Easter who don’t keep YHVH’s biblical feasts?
  • To hear some exciting exotic, arcane, ear tickling message that leaves your head bursting with something new and exciting? Not! That does nothing to bring you to repentance, change your life and bring you closer to Yeshua.
  • Out of obedience to and worship of Yeshua you Lord and Master?
  • Or because you love Yeshua with all your heart and want to obey him by keeping his commandments not because you’re expecting anything out of it personally but because he is worthy of worship and obedience? Period?!
  • Or to be spiritually transformed, so that you can be about your Father’s business to help transform society around you for the kingdom of Elohim?

Some of these reasons are good, and some of them are not so good.

For those keeping Shavuot out of obedience, which is a good thing, remember that obeying Elohim’s Torah laws is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. 

Romans 10:4,

For Christ is the end [end result, goal or aim] of the Torah-law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Torah obedience is merely a vehicle to bring you something higher. Too many people make obedience including keeping the feasts the goal and not the process to achieve the goal. 

When you get in a car to go somewhere, you believe that you’ve arrived at your destination just because you’re sitting in your car. Same with Torah Continue reading

 

New Video: How to Live in a Spiritual God Bubble Above It All

Tired of God in a manmade box, religiosity, church walls that keep you from flying high, religious head-knowledge that leaves you high and dry, meaningless rituals, religious middle men con artists who your money and as they enslave you spiritually? Sick of the world and its evil negativity? Want to fly above it all? Here are some tips to help you to create your own personal God bubble, place of peaceful refuge that will help you to soar above it all and give you a personal and direct relationship with the Creator of the Universe.

 

The Rise of Secular Humanism—The Devil’s Religion

The Devil’s Original Lie and the Religion of the New World Order

We are presently watching unfolding before us an epic and cosmic struggle between the forces of evil and good. The world system or cosmos of the devil is pitted against the unalterable and immutable plans, purposes and Word of the sovereign Creator of the universe, YHVH Elohim.

At the center of this battle is man. He was created in the image of Elohim and destined to become a son of Elohim. The Adversary, on the other hand, wants to make man into his image—a son of perdition. Man has to choose whom he will follow. To sit on the sidelines, ignore the battle and not to choose is, by default, to choose the side of the devil. Man must carefully choose his course of action, for the consequences are eternal. Inaction—not to choose—is to ignore the battle and by default to choose the side of the devil.

That battle will reach its nexus at the end of the age, just prior to the return of the Messiah. Will man fall for the lies of the counterfeit Messiah, or remain faithful to the Truth and Word of the real Messiah? To resist the deceiver and not fall for his lies one must know the face of his enemy: his tactics, game plan and the nature of his deception. The lies he will use in the end times to woo the multitudes to his side are not new. The tactics and game plan are the same, for it has never changed from the beginning. What are the lies he will use to seduce man to his side of this struggle? When did the deceiver first ply his trade? The answers are in the Book of Life.

The Big Lie and Its Origin—The Scriptures Speak of a “Lie”

There are those who turn from the revealed truth of Elohim and turn to believing a lie as Romans 1:24–25 states:

Wherefore Elohim also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of Elohim into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen

The Man of Sin/Lawlessness will cause many to turn from YHVH’s truth and believe a lie as 2 Thessalonians 2:7–12 states:

For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only he who now restrains will do so, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom YHVH shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause Elohim shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Outside of the New Jerusalem will be those wicked ones who believe a lie as the Book of Revelation states:

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatsoever works abomination, or makes a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev 21:27)

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. (Rev 22:14–15)

The primary meaning of these passages is referring to those who have exchanged the truth of YHVH for a lie. But what lie? Who did Yeshua say was the father of lies (John 8:44)? The devil is, of course. So, ultimately all lies that humans believe had to have originate from those lies the devil through the serpent told the first humans in the Garden of Eden.

What Was This “Big Lie”?

Fundamentally, all big lies against the truth of YHVH actually originate from several big lies with which the serpent seduced Adam and Eve at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen 3:1–5). The serpent told the following lies: Continue reading

 

The Spirit of Laban and Balaam Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth Today!

Flee from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil!

Flee from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil!

Genesis 31:43, Laban and Balaam. It is quite possible that the false prophet Balaam, who heard from YHVH and had a sense of righteousness, though was still steeped in paganism, was a descendant of Laban.

Both Laban and Balaam were from Aram (part of greater Babylon) and only 280 years separated them. One of the Aramaic Targums (Targum Jonathan) equates Balaam with Laban, while other scholars view Balaam as Laban’s grandson.

Both were involved in a mixed-religious system—some truth and some error, some good and some evil. This is the nature of religious Babylon (meaning “mixture” or “confusion”). A mixture of what? Of good and evil.

Remember the tree by that name in the Garden of Eden? Who was the one who enticed man to indulge in that fruit in rebellion to YHVH’s commands?

Even today, Satan the serpent is at the helm of spiritual Babylon trying to lure people into his system of good and evil. Like the tree of knowledge, the religious Babylon of today, out of which YHVH is calling his people (Rev 18:4), is just that—a mixture of truth and pagan lies. How else, for example, do we account for the name of the Christian festival called Easter or Ishtar named after the Babylonian sex goddess of fertility? Or how else do we account for the Christmas tree phallus symbol that also originated from Babylonian sex worship? Or how about the Easter egg (an ancient Babylonian fertility or sex symbol) or the egg on the Jewish Passover Seder plate? All these are symbols of pagan sex worship.

As YHVH called Jacob away from Babylon back to Beth-el (the House of El), and as YHVH turned Jacob’s heart back to the ways of his fathers, is not the same YHVH likewise now calling his people to come out of religious Babylon (Rev 18:4), to separate themselves from that which is unclean or not kosher (2 Cor 6:17)?

Yes, YHVH is pleading for the modern descendants of Jacob (redeemed Israelites or the Israel of Elohim, Gal 6:16) to not succumb to the forked-tongued Labans and Balaams of today who would pull them back into their religious systems that are a mixture of truth and error. Rather, Elohim is urging his people to remember the good, ancient and blessed paths of the Torah of Moses his servant and to listen to the spirit of Elijah as the children’s hearts re turned back to the Hebraic fathers of their faith (Jer 6:16, 19; Mal 4:4–6).

 

Religious Pretense Vs. a True Heart for Elohim

Jeremiah 7:21–8:3, 9:22 (23)–23 (24), “The Sacrifice of the Wicked Is an Abomination” (Prov 15:8).

This message of Jeremiah reveals that the purpose of sacrifice and of all outward acts of worship should be to deepen the inward sense of religion and to stimulate one to a holy or set-apart life. Jeremiah, speaking for YHVH, decries the uselessness of religious activity when accompanied with unholiness and unrighteousness. Furthermore, he denounces the mere mechanical performance of acts of worship; of the superstition that the temple ritual could be a guarantee of security from the judgments of Elohim, while the Israelites were divorced from obedience to YHVH’s Torah. Only whole-hearted repentance could avert a national disaster brought on by YHVH’s judgments (Soncino Pentateuch, p. 439).

What is the true meaning of religion and what was the true purpose of the temple in Israel? Its purpose was to transform people into living temples that would be set-apart or holy unto YHVH Elohim. If they acted one way while in the temple and another way while outside the temple, then the temple activities had only become a mockery of YHVH, a farce and a repugnance to the very one they had supposedly come to worship. Humans may kid themselves by their religiosity, but they cannot deceive the Holy One of Israel who Continue reading

 

YHVH to Redeem His People From False Religious Systems and Idolatry

Isaiah 43–44

Isaiah 43:21ff, Religious service is the flower or result of a life of devotion and service to YHVH and our fellow man. It is not the religious service itself that matters to YHVH, but the condition of one’s heart and the life of righteousness that precedes resulting in the religious service that counts. Israel had lost sight of this, and their religious service had become empty, ritualistic and meaningless to YHVH. Additionally, the offering presented to YHVH had to cost the offerer dearly. Though Yeshua fulfilled the sacrificial system by his death at Golgotha by becoming the ultimate sacrifice (and it cost him dearly), if we are in Yeshua we must follow in his footsteps. How is this? (Read Ps 51:15–16; 34:18; Isa 66:1–3; Rom 6:3–13; Gal 2:20 and Heb 13:15–16.) Remember, it is not what we do, or how we do it that matters to YHVH as much as why we do it. Why do you do what you do in your spiritual exercises? If it is for any other reason than to draw near to our Father in heaven, to love him, and to become like him, then your motives may be questionable.

Isaiah 43:23–24, The purpose of the offerings was to bring the offerer nearer to Elohim. Israel had lost that perspective and therefore YHVH states, “Not for me have you brought the lamb of your elevation offering ….” What were the wrong motives on Israel’s part with which YHVH took exception? What are your motives for obeying YHVH? In the Christian world, the need for “fire insurance” against the fires of “hell” is a major though sadly Continue reading