Posted in Biblical Calendar, Torah, Wandering Mind

Learning from the Mo’edim – Pesach 2018

This year we are finally getting a bit more understanding of how Pesach (Passover or The Passover) is actually separated from the Chag Ha’Matozt (Feast of Unleavened Bread) are truly separated, and realizing some of the debates about it. A lot of things I have never paid attention to previously.

Yeshua, the “Last Supper”, and Pesach / Passover Meal

Wow I had just always gone along with things I had heard abut this from christian traditional teaching. The Last Supper was the Passover Meal, and it looked like what Jewish people do today with a Seder, Haggadah, and all sorts of things. The whole dipping bread into the bowl of Charoset with Judas stuff…

I had no idea there was a different understanding of it, and I didnt realize how it could be a bit important to make the distinction…

If Yeshua was indeed “our passover lamb” (and I like the counter argument here however I see it from both angles), or in some way connected to it obviously from the timing and the claims in scripture, he wouldnt have been eating the actual meal at “The Passover”. Steve Berkson does a great job presenting his argument about why he thinks scripture says this. I also love this post on the reality that the Passover was never a sin offering.

Things like this tend to devolve into endless debates, and even can get intense. Im not trying to do that, and Im comfortable with the tension. The above is just a quick sample of ideas, and all have some interesting perspectives. The main things I have come away with over the last few years are following.

There are lots more points people get into, but I simply had never thought about it, and had never questioned how or why I pictured it this way. It was simply what I had been taught, and hadnt unlearned yet. Im also not sure how deeply it matters, but I find that the preconceived notions I have shape my perception and practice and inform my view and response to who and how I think God works. If it is wrong, or erroneous, it is profitable to change it!

  • Passover was not a sin offering or sacrifice as far as I could tell. Perhaps there is some deeper, non-obvious level to it, but it seems clear it is not related to later Torah commands about sacrifices. It was a sign of obedience and faith in response to the Word of Yah for deliverance from judgement coming to the whole land.
  • The modern seder event seems to have been instituted far later than the time of Yeshua. Nehemia Gordon discusses this with a Jewish scholar and while a bit technical, is really interesting to me. It is respectful, and not trying to debase or antagonize anyone. This would suggest that the meal itself was far simpler and what is being described in the Gospel accounts is actually a profound meal, but not some Jewish Seder like us moderns would superimpose on the account.
  • Yeshua seems to clearly have been executed at Passover. Like perhaps literally at the time thousands upon thousands of lambs were being slaughtered at the Temple. However, while I believe Yeshua fulfilled many, of not all of the Temple sacrifices in many different phases and forms, this is not connected tot he idea of sin or forgiveness. If he was executed at the actual Passover slaughtering, he clearly couldn’t be also eating it at the same time.
  • The Passover isnt even a feast, it is an event that is profound, but it is all mashed together in reference, but actually not the same thing. Again, Nehemia Gordon has great perspective on this and I recommend reading all his linked articles about the nuances.
  • The command to remember this, and to eat it after the actual Pesach event, was not to avoid repeated acts of destruction of the firstborn. It was to reconnect with the reality of the deliverance from the Judgement. It was a pilgrimage for the men, and any women who wanted to come, up to Jerusalem which is connected to, but totally separate from, the Feast of Unleavened Bread which culminates  with a First Fruits offering. This seems to me to be the winding up of the Spring harvest, the chance to thank he Creator and reconnect with the reality of how the promise of Yahweh was fulfilled regardless of all the other circumstances. It was both an overnight deliverance, and a multi-generational process that brought everyone up to that point in time, and this was a week to stop, get centered at the start of a new year, do business with God, and see family before returning home. Culturally, this really would have been a massive event.

This year we had dear friends come over, and their 3 bigger kids, and our 3 each shared something abut 1 of the plagues. Each of the parents also did. For some it was a simple picture, another had a presentation on a laptop, another said how bad it was when they had lice, and someone turned water into dark red liquid. The main idea here was to read the story, and connect just a bit more with the idea of how much judgement had occurred, how devastating it would have been, and how crazy it would be to be a Hebrew, watch all this happen, ask your neighbors for gold and silver, and then leave so quick you barely had time to make food.

One piece that I enjoyed and found challenging was the reality of my daily behavior and experience leading up to the Pesach and Holiday. Under Torah, there are several ways to become ritually unclean. If I were to do that, I wouldnt be able to do certain parts of participation. Yet these are commanded. I have no daily sense of this, and it frankly doesnt apply in the same way as I dont need to go to the Temple. But just thinking about it, and making an effort to conduct myself in ways that would ensure this was a way to connect with this on a deeper level.

Perhaps we are doing it all wrong. I forgot to make bitter herbs, and used some arugula. We have lamb left over, and we are going to burn it. I hate to waste it, but we are trying to connect with the commands themselves, and obey, even if we arent able to do all the other pieces (no temple, no pilgrimage, clean/unclean etc….). My understanding of leavening (chametz and seor) are getting far more simple as Ill discuss in a subsequent article. Maybe Im NOT being aggressive enough. Maybe Im being way too aggressive about this and making it into an idol.

All I can do is stumble through this, and continue to ask for guidance and faithfulness. So many things are changing even as I read over this website. I keep growing and morphing and at the end just hope I have not caused someone to stumble, yet perhaps supported them in their meandering.

Posted in Torah, Wandering Mind

Is Ha Satan (the Adversary) a key partner with Torah


  1. No one can be condemned (death penalty) for any crime without 2 or more witnesses
  2. You cannot be prosecuted by your own confession alone, there must be other witnesses to confirm it.
  3. Without conviction of your crime, you cannot be forgiven, and your repentance doesn’t have a basis
  4. You require at least 1 more witness, preferably 2.
  5. Where there is no law, there is no sin. Torah is witness #2
  6. Where is the 3rd? Ha Satan, the prosecutor, the adversary makes the perfect case


When you feel convicted of your sin (the missing of the mark), and you look to repent, your confession provides the 3rd witness. The first was Torah. The 2nd was the Adversary. You provide the 3rd. Without the Torah and the Adversary, you will not be convicted. Without being convicted, there is no punishment. Without Punishment, there is no justice. You are stuck in no mans land.

Deuteronomy 19:15

15 “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.

New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


To make more sense of things, take an example: Somebody walks into a police station and says that they need to give a statement on a robbery. They go on to explain that they just robbed someone at gunpoint and stole their purse. However, the person does not identify the person they robbed or tell the police where the gun is. The person does not have a purse in their possession, either. The police cannot follow up on this crime because they have no evidence to go off of. Therefore, this person cannot be convicted of robbery.

Posted in Torah, Wandering Mind

Learning from the Mo’edim – Pesach 2017

I didnt realize I had skipped the last set of holidays. I dont write this stuff down much, I get distracted with work, life, other projects…

Last night we listened to the Exodus story. Having read or heard this gobs of times it is easy to check out. At the same time, both the kids and I find numerous things we are connecting in it from other parts of scripture. We are such humans, stumbling through it all.

One thing that caught my eye had nothing to do with the traditional story of the plagues and the deliverance. It was about Zipporah.

[Exo 2:21 NKJV] 21 Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses.

This phrase or concept is so common in scripture, and something easily misunderstood. It appears here that Jethro made the judgement call and required Zipporah to marry Moses. Like an “arranged marriage”. There are a few things to consider:

  1. This isnt Israel. This is essentially Pre-Israel in that while Israel exists, and they are in covenant, they are in slavery in Egypt, and have not yet established their own culture and people.
  2. This is in Midian (Saudi Arabia today) and Moses is not a Midianite. In fact Moshe is more Egyptian than anything else, and the people are Midianites.
  3. Moses is alone. He isn’t with his family. He doesn’t have a father or kin to negotiate a marriage.
  4. Jethro is a priest in Midian, which had to have some status, if not significant status. He also had multiple daughters, possibly he was wealthy.

The main takeaway for me was even though this contest of “giving a daughter in marriage” is familiar, the setting isn’t. In most societies in the ANE, you don’t marry outside your people, let alone you extended family. And a stranger who comes with nothing, possibly on the run, isn’t your dream for your daughter.

Another piece of this is the phrase “give”.


This is the root of the term gave. It can mean a lot of varied and nuanced things. This particular word used in the passage is considered imperfect, which normally means uncompleted. But that can also have some application to an event in the past. Here is an explanation used at the BLB site

1a) It is used to describe a single (as opposed to a repeated) action in the past; it differs from the perfect in being more vivid and pictorial. The perfect expresses the “fact”, the imperfect adds color and movement by suggesting the “process” preliminary to its completion.

I dont know Hebrew well enough to tease out anything, but I find it odd it is imperfect, but completed.

Anyhow, the phrase and concept is that someone gave something to someone else. And we see this is scripture all the time with marriage. However what gets overlooked often is the idea of consent, especially for the woman. The phsae gets read over and it sounds like the woman is property which is traded and exchanged for compensation.

I would believe (because even now it is true, that this DOES occur) this is true within a wide range of degrees. And some of it is/was simply horrid.

But in stories such as Rebecca and Issac, Rebecca consented. She could have said no. Given her situation, her scheming family, and the wealthy dude showing up on behalf of some far away family member, she was probably smart in getting out of town. But it was her choice.

I have heard other commentators and people who study scripture and history make the case that it is IMPLIED that the woman always had consent. Certainly she could be pressured, or influenced. But there is no shred of idea presented tot he Israelite people, by their God, that woman are property, that they are to be exchanged for value, or that they have no say in the matter. Culturally there might be rules or norms, but nothing from Yah’s position seems to indicate otherwise.

Entering Marriage and Convenant is Voluntary

Not just marriage, but all covenant. Can you think of or bring any sample where a covenant is involuntary? Perhaps the Noahide Covenant could be. The world dint say “Yes Yahweh, I would like to be in a covenant where you wont destroy us again”. But in reality that isnt even the idea. Yah was making a promise not to do something.

I can think of no piece of information we have about Yah where anyone is forced into any situation like this. Invited, Encouraged, Facilitated, Paid For, Sustained… yep. But by every indication what Yah looks for is voluntary, trusting, heart-based engagement built on trust and confidence about Yah.

Revisit the idea of “gave”. It is also possible in this setting, Moses ASKED Jethro to marry Zipporah, and Jethro “gave his consent”.  It could mean as many combinations of permission, consent, and request between all 3 people as any other combination. And Jethro KNEW Moses wasnt “from ’round here” and could easily leave. Moses also had nothing, he was a runaway. Jewish tradition says he did all sorts of other things on his way to Midian, and was a great warrior and rich guy. Maybe. God didnt tell us that. We do see a guy without much confidence, broken, and not good in front of people.

We see later that Zipporah was “put away” by Moses. We dont know when or how or why. Maybe Moses didnt want her to get caught in all the trauma that was going to go down. Maybe she left at the “you are a bridegroom of blood to me” incident. We know Jethro brought her later after the Exodus and seems to have tried to reconcile them, or reunite them. We dont even know if it worked!

I guess my point is, it is so easy to read a phrase, assume an interpretation, and move on. Many women take serious objection to the idea of being treated this way. I dont blame them. They can read scripture and think that God creates cultures that treat women like property. That is a common understanding of the value of women in scripture. I think it is mistaken, mostly because a simple phrase assumes an awful lot of other things that could have happened, and we as modern readers fill in the blanks. We might even do that based on things we hear about or see that might be misplaced, or even grotesque and assume that is part of the backstory.

But the rest of the scripture doesnt support the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob that way. The humans on the planet might have practices and behaviors contrary to the nature of Yahweh! Shocking but true. As well, the lack of understanding of the culture and context of the author makes it hard. I just dont see how Yah wants to, encourages, or sets up systems where women are have no ability to consent or engage in covenant voluntarily. It doesn’t fit with the character or scripture.

Funny how I caught on to some weird idea not immediate to the holiday, but it happened.

Posted in Torah, Wandering Mind

Righteousness by Faith is the oldest (good) news

While I was writing this, I ended up separating a portion of this into another post, Dizzy Faith. I dont know why or how, but the Wandering Mind thing hit me….

Faith was designed into the Garden

Just as a parent parses out knowledge and information to a child, YHVH leads us by Wisdom, within the context of Relationship and Revelation. At least that is my take on it. The context for this is shown in an account from the Garden in Eden:

[Gen 3:8 NKJV] 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Ive had a theory and interpretation of this for years, and it is more ind epth than I cn get into. But the basic idea in this application is that at a certain point of the day, perhaps regularly, YHVH walked around the garden wherein YHVH had placed Mankind. Both Adam and Havah were there. And YHVH called out to them.

This to me implies a lot of things, mostly relationship. There is a familiarity between mankind and YHVH. There is a connection, dialog. YHVH obviously know what is going on, so YHWH is in fact teaching mankind. I would even say shepherding, guiding towards a goal. Parenting comes to mind.

It is in this context that I began to think about faith. And many things in our life, parenting, teaching, correcting, leading etc… all work within the framework of the intedned party to have faith. Not just belief, but actual conviction working through action.

Parenting Children

Children often desire immediate remedy to whatever state they find themselves in. Especially when they perceive themselves to have a need or a lack. Many times they want information, or knowledge. It gives them a sense of stability, or even mastery of something that is currently keeping them in a sense of instability.

In some cases it is excitement:

Parent: “Guess where we are going tomorrow? It is going to be so fun!”

Child: “Where? Tell me!”

Parent: “Just trust me, you are going to LOVE IT!”

Child then pesters Parent incessantly.

In some cases, it is trust oriented

Child: “I need X (food, opportunity, object, help, support etc..)”

Parent: “Ill help you with that soon”

Child: “I need X NOW!!!”

Parent: “It is ok, don’t worry, Ill help you. You are actually fine, even though you don’t feel like it. Trust me, you are ok and Ill take care of it”

The temptation is to have immediate satisfaction of desire. The sign of immaturity is the inability to defer gratification. It is perfectly appropriate for a 2 or 3 year old to be “immature”. There are graduated steps of maturity and ability. We expect people to progress through stages and appropriate more ability to defer immediate gratification and resolution to unknowns.

There are many facets of this idea. From fear to excitement, to something new, or something boring. But Im beginning to see that a huge goal of parenting is to guide a child into an ability to trust us, and learn and develop themselves within that process so that they are successful in navigating the unknowns and emerging as authentic representations of their true selves. As they gain mastery and comprehension over themselves, and their interactions with others and the creation, they are able to DO what they BELIEVE.

Faith is Trust Matured

Faith is the ability to trust while the experience of the desire/need is not yet experienced. By faith Abraham was considered righteous.

Abraham was directed to offer his only son over to death. This was not unknown in Abrahams experience. People did this to their gods. YHVH had not given torah/instructions about forbidding child sacrifice. But at the point of this directive, Abraham believed that even if he did what Yahweh directed, the promise Yahweh had made about children and descendants would be accomplished by Yahwehs own power. All Abraham had to do was obey and let Yahweh deliver on Yahweh’s own promises. There was a level of confidence Abraham had that places his actions (not some ethereal mental concept) as the model for  everyone.

The Real Kinder(Garden)

Was YHVH always training creation in righteousness that comes from faith? Was the garden in Eden the perfect environment to walk mankind through a series of experiences, perhaps on a daily basis, to progressively teach them the nature and character of YHWH? If so, then was the alternative taking control ourselves of knowledge, information, or some other kind of resolution to a felt need, interest, stimulus or similar instinct? Is there an “appetite” (nephesh?) within mankind that can go beyond what is provided and seek out satisfaction some other way?

Was the eating from the knowledge tree the result of coveting information and understanding of how things work, and being able to avoid walking in daily dependence on relational based revelation? Was Havah encouraged to take control herself over the God ordained and God paced process of development and training in righteousness and have access to knowledge without having to be dependent on Yah?

It appears that way to me….

Climbing over the wall instead of using the gate

By eating of the Knowledge Tree, Havah and Adam circumvented the matrix which allowed YHVH to deliver knowledge via relationship (daily “walking” in the cool of the day?). They were introduced to an alternative (strange, foreign, secret, gnostic?) path. There was something awakened in them (before its time), and once awake, began to rule. They coveted knowledge, and wanted it for themselves. The crafty, shining, most naked one of all, the serpent (nechash) informed mankind that there was far more than what Yah was delivering. In fact, Yah was intentionally holding out on them. It wasn’t that Yah didn’t know certain things, it was that Yah knew FULL WELL and was refusing to share it. The serpent seemed to have first hand knowledge about this. The implication is, and we learn more about this later in scripture, that Yah had withheld these things from the serpent as well!

I know that classic christian thought is that this serpent was “Satan”, a personal and malevolent being, most probably a “fallen angel”. I have heard jewish perspectives that this was simply a snake, and this was just a snake being a snake. They talked with people, and it wasnt sin for a snake to desire these things, but it was wrong for mankind.

I tend to think it was a unique spiritual being, who was the embodiment of what the term “Satan” is, an adversary. There are many “satans”, from actual personal beings to worldwide evil anti Yah mindsets and agendas. Apparently in Israel, prosecuting attorneys are actually called “Satans”.

Regardless of the context one might have for the “satan”, it is the action of mankind that resulted in its own problem. It may have been encouraged, or catalyzed, but it was the action, not the thought, that was the downfall.

It was the DOING of the eating or the fruit from the Knowledge Tree that was wrong. Whatever the motives. But the motives themselves are easily understood as lack of Faith (conviction, belief, assurance, trust) in the words Yah gave.

The Results

Adam had to return back to where Adam came from (the dirt outside the Garden). The pattern then repeats itself with the Hebrew children. They had to wander the desert (the dirt) and learn how to walk in dependence on Yahwehs provision. Every time they desired to take things into their own hands, the consequences were essentially death. Either by their enemies, Elohim’s judgements, or by the loss of valuable property in sacrifices.

The result of the covetous action of eating from the knowledge tree resulted in death. And now with more knowledge than YAH parsed out at any given time, mankind had awareness of possibilities and options that bring fear, anxiety or apprehension. The desire to appease the initial response can become so great that humans take actions about options or possibilities without WISDOM directing the flow, quality, and truth of the scenario. By acting outside of, or parallel to, YHWH they act outside of covenant relationship. They use their strength, mind, might, in reality their SELF to LOVE THEMSELVES.

As well, people see opportunities for their desires without understanding the broader impact to anyone or anything else. By taking action on these desires without the guidance of WISDOM, they end up with results at someone or something else’s expense. They essentially forgo LOVING THEIR NEIGHBOR.

This all stems from their lack of Loving YHVH with all their might, soul, strength, mind etc… Loving Yahweh is defined as obeying Yahweh’s commands. It isnt thinking right, it is DOING them. In fact, study the idea of Guarding (Shamar). We are told to guard the commands of Yah. Mankind was told to guard the garden. Learning from Yah, and then guarding what Yah said.

Faith in the Garden

If the thesis is in the right direction, then YHVH was sustaining mankind while teaching them the way things work, how to trust, how to be righteous. As they learned, they were to guard what was told them. Watch over it. tend to it, keep it, treasure etc… Not just the command itself, but the actual outworking of it. For instance, Im not supposed to shamar a Torah Scroll. Im supposed to shamar the instructions of it. it is not a conceptual idea, but a reality.

By circumventing this trust and response to Yahweh, death came. More on that later. A lack of Life is the result of not DOING the instructions.

Posted in Creation, Torah, Wandering Mind

The Tree of Life was always good eating

There is no indication that Adam (mankind) was not eating of the Life Tree. Perhaps daily during the “cool of the day”? Both Adam and Havah were permitted to eat of ANY tree in the garden except for the Knowledge Tree. If there was 2 main trees in the middle of the garden (does it say that?), one you could eat and one you couldn’t, how is it possible that they didn’t eat of it? If YHVH drew attention to them both over and above any others (at least that is what we read in scripture) I would certainly go check them out.

Yah says “in the day you eat of the Knowledge Tree you will die”, but they don’t actually die. I have heard people teach all around this. Is there another method of death? In a fantastic podcast, Mirimam Brand discusses how the Masoretes attempted to reconcile things and added some punctuation in this passage. The snake uses a classic “forked tongue” in saying “Undying one you will die“. The word “death“, (muwth) is simply repeated here, but in context clearly the serpent is attempting to get Havah (and therefore mankind) to eat this.

Is there also a concept that “Existing you are not Alive”?

Created for Death?

There are numerous animals and processes created in creation that have either a direct or indirect role in dealing with death, dead things, or in some way recycling. Predators, as well as scavengers exists and we believe Yahweh created everything. Perhaps predators are/were a distortion of the original creation, but the massive amount of microbiological, insects, small animals, birds and other living creatures cannot be accidental. Everything from a micro level to a macro in creation has a clear and inherent structure for recycling and conversion of matter and energy.

Is it possible death itself is designed into creation? That death in original context is the ending of the purely physical, whereas the death talked about in the Garden is talking about the disconnection from Yah?

Living Soul vs Existing Soul

We see in the creation story that Elohim breathed into Adamah the “neshamah“, and then “Adam” (which is all mankind) became a LIVING SOUL. All the previous animals appear to already have a soul (nephesh). But Adam experienced a totally different and unique (to the creation account so far) element. Now mankind (Adamah) was alive, whereas before, the status was different.

So if this “neshamah” is the difference, and Adam was already existing prior to the infusion of “the neshamah”, existence is not the same thing as “being alive”. Animals were existing, some possibly human like in form and function. But once Yah breathed the neshamah into a specific one, the bible begins the story and a separation occurs.

Regardless of the path creation took, the Life Tree could possibly be the element that would sustain that “Living Soul” breath. The breath was a spark, the fruit was the sustaining resource. One was the start, the other was the maintenance. One was involuntary, the other was the voluntary responsibility of mankind.

Would we then would say death is the removal or absence of the “neshamah”? Is it a return to the appetite driven, instinctual existence that animals have? When you combine that existence with the toolset and unique characteristics of humankind, you have a dominant species that will consume everything else including each other.

Life Tree

It is only after eating the Knowledge Tree fruit, that Elohim decides that Adam and Havah cannot be allowed to eat from the Life Tree. In fact, the Creator puts guards (watchers?) at the gates to the garden to ensure mankind is unable to access the Life Tree. Why? Yah says this stops Adam from coming into the garden and eating from it and existing in a state of being “like us” permanently. This doesn’t mean mankind would simply eat of it one time. There is no indication of this previously. Perhaps it was the accessibility to the Life Tree that would maintain mankind, and they would be stuck in some kind of negative consequence.

And this might actually be the death Yahweh is speaking about.

Is there simply a regenerative or restorative context to the Life Tree? Was eating Life fruit it a regular event, or a periodic event in response to specific actions?

If there is a regenerative process of the Life Tree it would totally make sense that death itself would result from not having access to the Life Tree. If mankind was allowed to eat from the Life Tree, was it the Life Tree that was keeping mankind alive forever?

  • If the context for eating Life Fruit was daily, then this lends itself to the idea of “Daily Bread”, Manna, and other concepts later developed within scripture as a Wheel within a Wheel.
  • If the context is Yah leading Adam (all mankind here) to the Tree of Life when they have “missed the mark”, it sets the stage for the idea of repentance.

If the neshamah and the Life Tree are connected, then another idea could be that progressively the living part of mankind is eroding. The ability to be regenerated is removed, and entropy increases. Disorder increases. Sin increases. The consequences of sin increase. Mankind stops being a living soul, and reverts back to simply existing, driven by instinct and desire, and unaware of the transcendent God relationship.

We do see this as the story unfolds. All the way to the account of Noah, mankind progressively lives shorter and shorter, and awful things become the norm. Yah states that it is no longer going to work, and mankind (and all living land animals and birds) will be wiped out.

Access Restored

Later in the prophecies we see that the leaves of the Life Tree provide healing for the Nations… the peoples, MANKIND. Access to the Life Tree is conditional to being allowed access into the restored reality spoken about in the Prophets. In the Apostolic writings we see the Life Tree in the middle of the “New Jerusalem”, and access is via 1 of 12 gates around the city.

Is it possible that the guardians of the gates are removed, and the access to the Life Tree is once again the sustaining force, even for the resurrected bodies talked about in the Prophets?

Tree of Life in Messiah

Messiah Yeshua talks about eating “from” or “of” Him. It is a symbol, but in context, the Tree of Life becomes many different expressions and symbols all resolving into Yah’s provision for healing, salvation from death, and restoration to YHVH.

Posted in Wandering Mind

Dizzy Faith

For most people like me who were involved in christianity, there was a massive emphasis on faith. Debates about it, denominations and movements about it. Definitions of it and how to use it. On and On… In fact, it is proposed that faith is the difference between Jesus and the Torah, or Old and New, or jewish and christian. It goes so far that christians actually are led to believe by doctrine that they alone are the actual possessors of this “saving faith”.

For others, mainly people who even study the scriptures themselves, righteousness by faith was clearly predating the “New Testament”. It comes as a revelation to many that Paul himself quotes Genesis and says “Abraham believed God, and it was accredited to him as righteousness”. Different translations word it slightly differently, but the gist is Abraham believed God, and was considered righteous by that belief.

Basic christian concepts equate being declared righteous as the same thing Yah does in “saving” people. Righteousness is “imputed” to them fulfilling some kind of requirements for their status to change.

Faith is not ethereal

Faith in the context of Abraham is really evidenced by his actions rather than some internal thought or commitment. Actions demonstrate belief. Another classic verse used is “The righteous shall live by faith”. Sometimes it is “the just”, or justified. Regardless of the actual context of this verse, the piece of it quoted here is used even in the apostolic scriptures by Paul/Shaul as evidence that within the good news of the Kingdom itself, righteousness is revealed as being by faith. In the Apostolic writings, James slams this home with the famous “Faith without works is dead” statement. The evidence of faith is action. Abraham demonstrated his confidence in Yah by DOING.

Faith and works are inseparable. The works of a person, or their actions, reveal where they are at.

James also states a very interesting concept, yet does this in a very weird way. To me, this drives home the idea of what we do as the reality of righteouness vs simply something we say or believe

James 2:19 (NKJV) 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble!

Think through this a bit….

  • You believe there is one God: Either this is simply basic monotheism, or something more. I suspect it is a reference tot he fundamental tenet of Israel which is the Shema, the greatest commandment. It is the declaration that YHVH is ONE, and that you should Love YHVH with all your heart, soul, mind etc…
  • You do well: This is a good thing. In fact Yeshua confirms this is the GREATEST COMMANDMENT.
  • Even the demons believe this… The things Yeshua casts out of people. The supernatural beings who live in essentially rebellion to the Kingdom of YHVH. By doing well, following the GREATEST COMMANDMENT, you are at the same level as demons.
  • And Tremble: This is the only time (in the greek version of the NT) the word is used. The word seems to mean being scared like when your hair stand on end.
    • Looking up the Greek word in the Septuagint tells us what translators used the Greek word for a Hebrew word (click here). The Septuagint uses the word twice, Jer 2:12, and Daniel 7:15 which is an Aramaic word.
    • The Hebrew word means to be very afraid, and also a whirlwind. I would say this is like when you are scared and possibly disoriented or even dizzy.

Why does this make them afraid to the point of their proverbial hair standing up on end? Because they are unable to do anything abut it. They “believe it” in their “mind”. They even know it to be true. And their lack of repentance, their inability to respond with the appropriate action renders them unable to resolve the problem. YHVH is ONE. Mighty, certainly. But there is NO OTHER MIGHTY ONE. Any variant of ONE you try to use (quantity, quality, unity etc…) results in a sinking, foreboding feeling to a demon. I believe that is because they simply will not, or cannot respond in repentance to this reality. They cannot put action to their belief. In this case, they cannot back up their faith with anything meaningful enough to reconcile the issue.


The next series of verses, and the supporting context of the whole concept follows

[Jas 2:20-23 NKJV] 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.

So essentially, my take is:

You state that you believe in the fundamental and greatest commandment of the scriptures, the Shema. And this is great. It puts you on the same level as the demons. They agree with you on this, and are scared out of their wits about it because they cannot produce any works consistent with this.

Should you be concerned?

Posted in Wandering Mind

The Worship Mall

A classic section of scripture I’ve read time and again, and heard referenced many more. There are interesting things about this passage like:

  • Yeshua is not some meek and mild, passive individual. He flipped over tables, chased out livestock, and no one could stop him.
  • Yeshua was keeping the Festivals, and in this case it is Passover. He traveled on foot to get there in time. This is a specific day, and in my understanding he had about 2 week notice to make this happen.
  • He went to the Temple. Clearly he wasn’t just a Jew, but an observant, Temple centered one.

But I caught something, and it ties into other things I’ve been learning by reading Torah. As I read Torah, I learn that there is a real heart to it. There are lots of  passages that keep describing not just specific behaviors, but themes.

Read through this first.

John 2:13-17 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”c

So yes, Yeshua was mad. Apparently Yeshua didn’t like the fact this was happening. Why is that?

Some people I know claim it wasn’t the buying and selling, it was the location. That may be. Yeshua specifically associates it with the verse about a “House of Prayer”, quoting  Isaiah. The intention for the Temple itself was to be a place for all nations to gather and engage in intimacy with Yahweh.  I’ve never been to the Temple Mount, but I hear it is quite large, and it was by many accounts even bigger 2000 years ago. This must have either been a massive operation, or perhaps there is an even bigger issue underneath . . .

It’s the HEART

Possibly this issue is something even deeper. There are some concepts that occurred to me, and it involves how profound the Feast of Passover is, and how the Torah instructs us to interact with one another.

Passover is Big

The Passover is perhaps the single biggest event in the faith practiced by Yeshua. This is true even of a religion like Judaism (My take is Yeshua was Jewish by ethnicity, but not by practice of a religion). Passover is an event, followed immediately by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They are not technically the same thing, but they are associated with each other as if they were the same thing.

The Passover is simply the single most defining event in Israel’s history. They were essentially birthed by the Exodus from Egypt.

It is also the first Feast of the New Year. The New Year begins in the month of Aviv. While some people believe this is in the 7th month, there isnt any support for this. It is a creation of a Babylonian context, and Babylon is never associated with anything positive in scripture. In fact it is associated with everything negative.

Every Adult male is required to come up to Jerusalem and celebrate the Feast. They are to present a Lamb, or develop a connection with other families and share the Lamb. By some accounts of this era is that there were hundreds of thousands of lambs being sacrificed in the afternoon of this specific day. If true,this would mean multiple dozens of thousands of men coming into Jerusalem from all over the area. This is a massive amount of people, who are travelling, and where there is this many people far from home, there is money to be made.

Loving your Neighbor

Yehovah makes constant reference to the approach you are to have in dealing with your neighbor. Whether they are rich or poor, you are to treat them fairly.  You are to seek out their best. If they are poor you are to lend them money, and do everything you can to help them stay living in the land in any way possible. In Leviticus 19 it specifically states to love your neighbor as yourself. It describes a generosity of heart. An interest for each other. A way to help support others and facilitate them to obey commands, enjoy the blessings of the God of Israel, and thrive.

I see this in all the commands. Even the hard and painful ones about sending people away or even executing them. As hard and traumatic as it would be, YHVH explains that the reason for something this intense is to protect everyone else from falling into the same issues and losing out on the blessings.

Getting Practical From the Heart

So if I were an average Joe travelling up from dozens to hundreds of miles away through deserts full of bandits, possible complications, and various trials. I might be bringing my sons, and even wife and daughters if they want to come along (they aren’t required). It is a lot of logistics. And I need a lamb. I need a beautiful one too, not just some cheap excuse to fulfill my obligations. YHWH doesn’t want just basic, ritualistic actions, but a heart motivated action that is coming form JOY.

But I’m excited to be in the big city, at the most significant time of the calendar. It is one of the Moedim, an appointed time where the God of creation meets with us. And I’m commanded to do this, for at least 8 days. There is at least 1 weekly Sabbath, and there are potentially 2 others within this week. I can’t work, as I’m not at home. I’m not able to bring my own lamb, and I have limited ability to bring infrastructure.

So the way I see it, is that if I live in Jerusalem it is my job to welcome in these people who are not just my countrymen, but fellow brothers and sisters in our faith. And in fact, they are going to be m literal neighbors for at least 8 days if not longer. I need to proactively love these people. But how?

The most practical thing I could do is to meet any of these wonderful pilgrims, and try to help them any way I can! Can I find some lambs and help them supply their needs? Can I make it as easy and cheap as possible so they can enjoy and celebrate as much as possible? Is there a way that I can help them and support them and celebrate with them? And can I do it without worrying about what Im going to “wear or eat”? As Yeshua teaches in other places, we are to give to whomever asks, to give more. And to care for my neighbor in every way.

Setting up a shopping mall is the wrong idea. Not just practically either. The Temple itself is NO PLACE for any business transactions between people. It is a place, THE PLACE for transactions between God and Man. It is offensive.

But it also goes against the very heart that seems to underlay the commands themselves. Taking advantage of people who are earnestly trying to come and obey the Torah is patently WRONG. Taking opportunity to make profit off of someone else while they are weary, hard pressed, and displaced is wrong. It isn’t the heart of being a God directed neighbor. Taking opportunity wouldn’t be wrong at other times, but doing it during what is arguable the most important time of the year is worse.

What is the Real Beef?

I think it is all of it.

  • The heart of the matter is to keep the Temple HOLY, set apart for God and Man.
  • The paradigm of a Jerusalemite is to welcome my fellow people as neighbors.
  • Part of being a neighbor is to ensure that anyone who desires is able to participate. The deeper heart is to see my neighbor able to do this as easy as possible.
  • Part of loving my neighbor as myself is also to protect the integrity of the process. Encouraging others to maintain integrity. Protecting them from giving in the opportunistic greed and taking advantage of the pilgrims, the Temple mount, or the holiday.
  • Charging interest, high interest, or other types of behavior like this is an indicator my heart is worried or fearful. People can argue wether any interest is acceptable. The main point is during a holiday, if not THE Holiday.

The negatives make it so that the whole point is missed. It doesn’t communicate the Heart of Yahweh, nor does it facilitate the heart response Yah is looking for in Yah’s people.

Im sure there is a lot of different things Im not seeing, but this really grabbed my attention. It is the heart as much as anything to me so far.