The next significant mention is in the Gospels, and Yeshua is now separating the “fences” from the Torah. They are not guilty, nothing was wrong.Mat 12:1 NASB – At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. Mat 12:2 NASB – But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.” Mat 12:3 NASB – But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, Mat 12:4 NASB – how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? Mat 12:5 NASB – “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? Mat 12:6 NASB – “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. Mat 12:7 NASB – “But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. Mat 12:8 NASB – “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” At this point, there is a regular experience of Yeshua doing ministry on Sabbath. There is perhaps some practical reason as most people gathered together on this day.
Gen 1:31 ESV – And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
What God made was very good. It isn’t a passive assessment from the Creator, it is an engaged, intimate assessment. Each step has been received by God and affirmed as good, not just passing. Each piece has been received and in some cases, blessed and directed.
All of this work, all of this creation occurred in 6 cycles called “days”. There is much debate about how long a day is, how a day could literally be without a sun for the first couple of cycles etc… but all that we are sure of is the Creator has initiated this creation, supervised it, and is pleased with it. And this occurred in 6 cycles of time, setting a pattern and a rhythm to creation itself.
Ive used the name Yahweh or Yah in these accounts and I truly shouldn’t have. Because at this point of revelation, God is a being, yet not named. God is a title, and God is the creator, yet nothing more is known about God. We infer a few things, such as mankind is in God’s image, and mankind is male and female. God created everything that is created, including all the rules and laws governing that creation. And Gods blessing is given to at least 3 distinct parts of creation, birds, fish, and mankind.
Gen 1:29 ESV – And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.
Gen 1:30 ESV – And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
This single verse is so direct and simple its almost to direct. The original creation of Yahweh was totally 100% plant based. Including every animal except apparently fish. Fish have the breath of life in it I would think, but oddly they aren’t mentioned directly.
If we assume at least all land and air based life is herbivorous, then the normative experience of life would be staggeringly different than today just from this one simple idea.
There would be no death at the hands of anything else.
There is no predation in any form. From any creature. The interaction between species and creation would be uninhibited. Later in scripture we see that Animals would fear mankind, which would be something new.
There is no dominance of pathogenic life. What we understand as pathogenic now is simply out of balance relationships of macrobiotic life at the very leas.t Potentially, there were no real pathogens at all.
There is an implication that the growing things are for food (only with seeds in it), and there is plenty provided by Yahweh. Mankind is to have dominion over the animals, but we don’t see what relationship mankind has to vegetation except to eat it.
While some modern day animals are omnivorous or carnivorous, this can only be interpreted in context of something being out of order with original creation. It isn’t what Yahweh created originally, and it isn’t what was intended. Later we will see a subsequent degradation of life, both in experience and duration which appears to connected to different factors, including this one.
Calls to Obedience
There is a Psalm for Sabbath
Psa 92:1 NASB – A Psalm, a Song for the Sabbath day. It is good to give thanks to the LORD And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
The next instance is the Prophets begin to preach the turning back to Yahweh. This message associates justice, righteousness, keeping Sabbath, and refraining from doing evil as Yahwehs commands.
Isa 56:1 NASB – Thus says the LORD, “Preserve justice and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed.
Isa 56:2 NASB – “How blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who takes hold of it; Who keeps from profaning the sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
God is angry about people not delighting in Sabbath, and being greedy as well as un-benevolent and taking advantage of the poor.
Amo 8:4 NASB – Hear this, you who trample the needy, to do away with the humble of the land,
Amo 8:5 NASB – saying, “When will the new moon be over, So that we may sell grain, And the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales,
Amo 8:6 NASB – So as to buy the helpless for money And the needy for a pair of sandals, And that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?”
Gen 1:28 ESV – And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Now God doesn’t just proclaim this as good, he gives mankind a blessing and a mission. The blessing isn’t defined and is its own sentence. It would seem it must be tied to the command, but nothing directly says this.
Blessing: Regardless of anything else, Yahweh blessed mankind. He blessed 2 things clearly in this creation account. Yah blessed sea creatures and birds and blessed them (Gen 1:22), and humankind. We don’t see it for land animals, and in reality birds live on the ground for the most part. Its hard ot tell if something is overlooked here or not.
Regardless, Humans have a direct blessing from Yahweh, before anything occurs. Before behavior, before commands, before anything.
Commandment: To be fruitful, multiply, and maintain order over all the animals created. This is a responsibility as anything else. Many people understand this as an endorsement of position, but I think it misses the point. This directive can just as easily communicate not just a behavior, but an obligation. Yahweh blessed humanity, and then directed them to keep things in order.
Another interesting angle, what if there is already evil in the world, and Humanity was placed there as the agent of restoration? What if this commandment/directive, along with the blessing, makes way for humanity to overcome. What if this commandment inaugurates the right of humanity to enforce things, and the blessing backs it up. As we will see later, the adversary in the form of a serpent is relegated to crawl on the earth. That category so far isn’t blessed, and Mankind is to have dominion over it.
This could lead to at least 3 different ideas:
- The physical created order already existed, and had been destroyed or reformed into this new expression.
- The heavenly realms which are not material were already experiencing the demonic/satanic rebellion, and the physical creation was created with at least 1 element being redemptive.
- God foresees the rebellion and prepares a blessing and directive that will justify and support redemptive action.
In any scenario, mankind is uniquely positioned by Yahweh to put creation (at least the Earth) in order, and subdue it, and reign over it in Yahweh s likeness.Mankind is the only created being in Gods likeness, and given the directive to operate in a similar context to God.
As I sit in the midst of a personal reformation, I find that the things Ive stated before so belligerently in the past arent necessarily untrue, just processed and spoken most often from a place of anger or critique or even judgment.
So often, people who dont claim any religion, and even those who do. will use the term “religion” in a pejorative manner. The context Im most familiar with, evangelical christianity, loves to say “it’s not about religion but relationship”, as if the statement itself actually proves itself. The common claim I have heard stated often “More people have been killed in the name of religion…” while not actually true (unless you consider atheism as a religion, then you would be right) “feels right”, and has some meat to it considering things like the crusades and the world population at the time compared to the amount of people killed, as well as all sorts of other things.
But what is the definition of religion? I dont know if I accept this article as it defines everything, but I sure connect with this statement:
The real issue is WHY I think this definition has merit, and why the end result is that religion itself, the very existence of it and its operations, result in the same thing, which is death.
I assert that religion is human.
You can argue semantics, simply saying religion is just a word that means “faith”, like “Christian Religion” = “Christian Faith”, and somehow faith is different than the term religion. Or as I stated before it “isnt religion, it is relationship”.
But I say that religion is a human thing, that relates humanity to an order of existence, and in most cases this order of existence is divine being(s). And the key here is it is HUMANITY relating to this order of existence. It is a human centric paradigm.
I can only speak to the “christian” paradigm, as Im very familiar with it. The more I sit and consider the supposed basis for this faith (the Bible is what most would confess), the more I come to see that christianity is religion. And it is totally human in origin.
Im not saying that “christians” are bad. But what I am trying to say with sincere affection, but even more commitment, is that the christian religion is a farce. It is a culture, it is a system of humanity trying to relate to a God, which for the most part, the culture made up.
I understand how shocking and offensive this must be. However, if there is any truth in my conclusion, which in my mind is accurate, then it requires I repent. Because according to the scriptures the under-gird the faith, it is Yahweh reaching to people, and then putting in place a literal set of guidelines to follow. The classic interpretation of Judaism (yet another man made religion) is that it is full of rules and laws, impossible to keep. Iw ould agree. But the standard isnt some man made religion, it is Yahwehs proactive actions and reconciliation to humanity that needs to be observed. And its very important we dont take that, and then process our own response through a lens of yet more man made attempts to relate to the divine.
This is the crux of the matter. In my response to divine initiative, I put a little spin one way or the other on something. I try to make it a measuring stick, or make it “safer”, or make it “friendly” or try to find my place in it. The same motivation inside of rebellious angels is inside me, looking for a way to add my take on it, or get some kind of angle on it.
That is religion. And its awful. Truly awful.
No matter how sentimental your connection to a specific group, activity, or paradigm, no matter how nostalgic your association with a time in your life (especially when you experienced Yahweh really moving on your life), when you find that you added something to it, or took something away from it, you are tainting the whole thing. There is no amount of your own creation you can bring to the relating to Yahweh that is legit. That is labeled many thins, from “strange fire” to “abomination”. Too many are quick to use those labels with something that makes them uncomfortable. A greater problem might yet be that we never look at the things that make them comfortable and apply the term.
The only answer is to do what John the Baptists said, repent and turn TO God. Neither lineage, background, past experience, insight into scripture etc… is enough. The main leveler to get in the Kingdom that is rushing at you at the speed of light, it repentance from sin, dead works, lawlessness. All religion will keep you outside the gates of the Kingdom, and even though you have the words “Lord Lord” you have no place in it.
Requirements and Fences
The next mention is at the restoration back to the land, and to the commitment to keep Torah.
Neh 10:31 NASB – As for the peoples of the land who bring wares or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or a holy day; and we will forego the crops the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.
Then Nehemia witnesses people breaking the Sabbath, and begins a practice that begins an unfortunate habit of building “fences” that takes on a lift of its own. This was a righteous action, but the reality is that the provisions to safeguard the commands dont make peoples hearts change. The emergence of rabbinic Judaism began to take this idea and run rampant with making fences.
Neh 13:15 NASB – In those days I saw in Judah some who were treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sacks of grain and loading them on donkeys, as well as wine, grapes, figs and all kinds of loads, and they brought them into Jerusalem on the sabbath day. So I admonished them on the day they sold food.
Neh 13:16 NASB – Also men of Tyre were living there who imported fish and all kinds of merchandise, and sold them to the sons of Judah on the sabbath, even in Jerusalem.
Neh 13:17 NASB – Then I reprimanded the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing you are doing, by profaning the sabbath day?
Neh 13:18 NASB – “Did not your fathers do the same, so that our God brought on us and on this city all this trouble? Yet you are adding to the wrath on Israel by profaning the sabbath.”
Neh 13:20 NASB – Once or twice the traders and merchants of every kind of merchandise spent the night outside Jerusalem.
Neh 13:21 NASB – Then I warned them and said to them, “Why do you spend the night in front of the wall? If you do so again, I will use force against you.” From that time on they did not come on the sabbath.
Neh 13:22 NASB – And I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come as gatekeepers to sanctify the sabbath day. For this also remember me, O my God, and have compassion on me according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness.