Submission and Authority Part I

Ezer Kenegdo and Submission (1 Peter 3:1)

How do we reconcile the role of the ezer kenegdo as a helper 
that opposes with 1 Peter 3:1?

“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.”

man_vs_womanOne of the points of proper Biblical hermeneutics is called “The Synthesis Principle”. This method explains that the best interpreter of scripture is scripture itself. A passage must be examined in relation to its immediate context (the verses surrounding it), its wider context (the book it’s found in), and its complete context (the whole Bible). The Bible does not contradict itself. In other words, good Bible interpretation relates any one passage to the total content of scripture. This careful process ensures that one has the “whole story.” This lessens the possibility of someone taking a verse or verses out of context to make them fit into a biased paradigm or a preconceived doctrinal framework.

Does submission mean never questioning and always agreeing or going along with another person or authority? Or does submission mean having a heart that is willing to yield to another person out of love and respect? Which type of submission does the Bible teach?

The context for the verses in chapter 3 begins back in chapter 2. This is why Peter begins with the Greek adverb homoios, which means, “likewise/similarly/so”. He’s making a comparison. The second part of chapter 2 deals with general submissiveness to an authority. The character of those that follow the true G-d of Israel should be marked by good behavior or “well-doing” (1 Pet. 2:15). Peter’s discourse on this begins with the directive to “submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake…” (1 Peter 2:13) In other words, we (men and women) are to be obedient to the authorities that govern us.

If we are to submit to every ordinance of those that govern us, what do we do when those ordinances oppose the Word of YHWH? Is Peter saying to submit anyway— no matter what? If we answer in the affirmative, there are many scriptural examples that must be ignored or redefined with some pretty fantastic theological gymnastics, and one of those examples is from Peter himself!

 

“But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

 

Peter was not double minded. He was discerning, Spirit-filled, and used plenty of common sense in his application of the Torah as he taught others. A heart that is set on serving and loving YHWH will go the distance to be a good witness, a loving neighbor, and even a good citizen. But, that doesn’t make a servant of the Most High a doormat for wicked tyrants. Nor does it mean that one must submit to evil decrees, governors, headships, or kings. While a child of YHWH shouldn’t be known for being rebellious, sometimes rebellion is necessary in order to be obedient! That may sound like an oxymoron, but we have plenty of examples of this.

Consider the midwives that rebelled against Pharaoh’s decree to kill the male Hebrew babies. Or Moses’ parents that hid him as a child. Or Abigail going behind her husband’s back to meet David. Or Daniel praying to/petitioning YHWH even though it broke the law of the Medes and Persians. Or the Maccabees rebelling against the Seleucid rulers. Or the disciples ignoring the Sanhedrin’s authority and mandate to not preach in the name of Yeshua.

Obviously, there is a HUGE difference between outright rebellion (witchcraft) and opposing the laws of men that are contrary to the Word of YHWH. I believe the Scriptures are clear on this. We are to submit to those in authority over us because YHWH is the one that placed them in these positions in the first place. Just because we disagree or dislike the way that government operates or rules isn’t rebellion. If these authorities do not force one to abandon the Law of G-d, then one should submit to their authority. However, YHWH is not a sadist. He in no way expects us to obey laws or decrees that are contrary to His Word, knowing it will bring curses or severe consequences. If the government demands you kill your child or desecrate His Temple, you ought to obey YHWH rather than men. Otherwise, you are in outright rebellion to YHWH.

 

Peter relates these thoughts to “wives, be submissive to your husbands”. Wives are to do so in order that an unbelieving or disobedient husband may become convicted by their chaste conduct/behavior/conversation. People that use this verse as a blanket statement for women to submit no matter what, fail to point out the context. Peter is referring to an unbelieving/disobedient husband. Sadly, many equate submission to never questioning or disagreeing with the man. But, this isn’t what Peter says.

Disagreeing with or questioning an authority, ruler, king, or even YHWH is NOT rebellion, nor does it negate submission. You might not understand, agree, or like a certain Torah commandment, but you can submit and obey out of reverence for YHWH. You are even free to question Him and ask, “why?” He may or may not answer, but at least we can rest in the fact that He is perfect and infallible. We can trust Him completely.

Humans however, are fallible, even those in authority. A man (or other authority) that will not be questioned or counseled has a major issue with pride (which is rooted in ungodly fear.) They are not YHWH. They need accountability. A man that believes he is the mediator between his wife and YHWH has grossly misunderstood Biblical authority and submission.

To assume that a man’s actions, words, or decisions cannot be questioned by a woman (especially one’s other half/wife – the one that should know him best) is mind-boggling. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. YHWH placed checks and balances to ensure all people, men and women, have culpability.

Not performing an ordinance, request, or law of an authority that violates YHWH’s laws is NOT rebellion. In fact, it is actually submitting to an even higher authority — YHWH. This is true for husbands and wives too. If a husband directs his wife to violate a commandment of YHWH, whom should she obey? Obviously, I’m not condoning an attitude of strife, bitterness, or hatred towards a wayward spouse. There are wrong ways and right ways to deal with the most important human relationship on earth. We can be so right that we are wrong. The way we speak to others — especially our spouses— DOES matter greatly. Nevertheless, we need to obey YHWH and not man. We must prayerfully consider how to approach one another in humility and love.

With YHWH’s help, we can oppose our spouse when they are wrong. In fact, we SHOULD oppose our spouses when they are wrong. This is a big part of what marriage is about. We learn and grow together as ONE flesh. Iron sharpens iron. If both spouses are believers and serving YHWH, then this is the ideal. Biblical submission between humans is not a weaker party serving a higher or stronger party. Submitting to one another is an act of service and is expected by both men and women. We are here to SERVE one another as Messiah served us.

But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. Sitting down, He called the twelve and *said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:34-35)

YHWH gave both men and women the capacity to think and reason. The motives of our hearts will determine how we view, interpret, and act upon the many scriptural examples of biblical submission and servanthood. If we have a relationship where there is complete trust and no fear, but real respect and love, then a verse like this won’t throw us for a loop or cause us to wonder about our “proper role.”

A man and wife will seek to please and serve one another in earnest. There is no “power” struggle because respect and love reside at the heart of the marriage, which casts out fear (pride). When issues do arise, they are dealt with peaceably. When one is called out for disobedience to the Word or for a poor decision, there is no fear that someone will get hurt. The guilty party knows that the correction comes from a place of great love and it is received as divine instruction. When a person feels loved (as a woman) or respected (as a man), submission is natural. No one must tell you to “submit to one another”. (Eph. 5:21)

But, what about Ephesians 5:22-33?

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (Eph. 5:22)

This plucked verse seems to be about women being submissive to their husbands. At least that’s why this passage is usually quoted. Rarely is it used to teach Paul’s main idea. Paul claims that the entire point of his discourse is to show us a mystery. In other words, he is using the natural institution of marriage to teach us something spiritual about Messiah and His assembly:

This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:32)

 

wedding-ringsMarriage is used as a parable for Messiah and His Body (Assembly). The most intimate relationship on earth between a man and woman is meant to teach us about our relationship with the Messiah. No marriage is perfect and therefore cannot properly reflect this reality. Yet, we can imagine it. We can also strive for this great intimacy not only with Messiah but also within our own marriage covenants. The “how to do this” is the real question and is the reason for so many marriage self-help books, counselors, and retreats.

 

The answer is found in love and respect. We just don’t know how to “DO” love and respect very well.

 

Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. (Eph. 5:33)

Paul reiterates this in Colossians:

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. (Col. 3:18-19)

People get hurt in marriage relationships when they don’t feel loved or respected. Thus, the human tendency is to build walls around the heart to protect these wounds. Symptoms of this malady include indifference, contentiousness, nagging, silence, argumentativeness, apathy, jealously, suspicion, depression, oppression, aggression, and even abuse. The list goes on and on. The more one experiences these emotions and actions from their spouse, the thicker the walls around one’s heart becomes.

Sometimes past hurts from familial or other personal relationships are brought into the marriage covenant, which can incite the emotions and actions above, creating a vicious cycle. Nearly all relationships suffer from this condition and will continue to be a problem until deliverance has taken place. We live in a fallen and broken world that is in desperate need of the Messiah of Israel. Each of us has areas that needs improvement or that needs to be completely rebuilt upon the Rock (YHWH).

If marriage is supposed to mirror our relationship with the King of the Universe, then your bond with your spouse is designed to build up and bind up these wounds, so that you can walk as ONE overcoming flesh. But this cannot happen without TWO participants that are willing to get completely naked with one another emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. This is real Biblical marriage serving YHWH as ONE flesh. It requires the complete vulnerability of both the man and the woman.

But, this side of the World to Come, we each have a common enemy: the nephesh/flesh. Since the fall in Gan Eden, our flesh would much rather run and hide than deal with nakedness, shame, and vulnerability. Nephesh hates exposure. It despises looking at “the man (woman) in the mirror.” It’s so much easier to look outward than inward. The fig leaves of denial, blaming, shaming, and oppressing others are preferred to the death of the animal (human) flesh that YHWH provides for those that SUBMIT to Him.

A man should love a woman as Messiah does, but he isn’t perfect. He will fail. A woman should respect and reverence her husband like the Assembly does Messiah, but a woman is also human. She will fail. We must have mercy, patience, and long-suffering attitudes with one another or our marriages are doomed. Redeemed marriages require us to RISK our pride and our hearts (become vulnerable) with Adonai and each other.

Becoming ONE flesh isn’t easy. It requires constant work and service from both partners.  Your spouse wasn’t given to you so you can “fix” them (fix their brokenness/weaknesses). Disciples of Messiah give their weaknesses and shortcomings to the Messiah. While others can help and encourage a broken person, ultimately YHWH is the only one that can offer a maligned soul true freedom. This is why it is so very vital that we carefully choose our marriage partners. It is also why a proper marriage Ketuvah (contract/vows) needs to be in place and agreed upon before the covenant is made.

dreamstime_m_46499792Without clear covenant parameters, expectations, and boundaries, spouses hopelessly stumble from one folly to the next. Blame is placed and misplaced in an endless cycle of misery and bondage. Hurting people hurt people and relationships as close as man and wife cut the deepest. Violations are intentionally and unintentionally imposed on one another mentally, emotionally, financially, physically, and spiritually. All of these things TAKE from another. It is the opposite of GIVING oneself to the service of our spouse. It is the opposite of sacrificial love and respect. It is contrary to Biblical submission.

 

Poor Biblical hermeneutics and translations of the Bible escalate the destruction of marriages. For example, the roles of men and women are contorted to fit inside the framework of fallen and sinful humans. Divorce is deemed a sin, when it is a solution to the sin of breaking the Ketuvah.[1] Authority and submission in marriage mirror the instincts of the herds, packs, and prides of the beasts of the field rather than the male and female created to be the image of Elohim in the earth. Abuse and domination are often justified with a veneer of false holiness or superiority. You get the idea. Marriage is hard; and sadly, religious spirits and the doctrines of men only make it harder.

The truth is that we can’t change another person. The ONLY person you have control over is yourself. The only person that you CAN change is yourself. No man has the power to change a woman; no woman has the power to change a man. Now, a man can physically overpower a woman. She might physically fear him after this and conform to something he demands, but her heart has not changed — at least not for the better (tov). Deliverance doesn’t originate from abuse; rather abuse creates a need for deliverance.

Thus, when Paul urges a woman to submit to her husband, he is not insinuating that she become his slave. She is not “lessor” than the man. She is not his child and shouldn’t be treated as such. A woman wasn’t made in the image of Elohim to hang on a man’s every word and whim and never question his actions, motives, or decisions. The Hebrew of Genesis literally places her face to face with the man like a mirror. Together they reflect the image of Elohim (or they should).

Woman came from the side of a man as an equal co-ruler of YHWH’s creation. She is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. This is WHY the man is admonished to LOVE her like his own BODY. Because that’s what she is. They are one. He protects her one way and she protects him another way. It’s a relationship of reciprocity and mutuality.

The man is also commanded to love his wife as Messiah loves the Assembly— to be willing to die for her. This is sacrificial love at its finest and I don’t know any woman that wouldn’t greatly respect a man willing to die for her. This kind of love cannot be faked, and engenders a reverence like no other. You don’t have to be perfect to love or respect the way Paul is suggesting.

 

So, what is real submissiveness?

 

Messiah doesn’t rule over us with an iron fist. He never abused women (or men). He wasn’t a narcissist. He didn’t have a “power-trip”. He never forced anyone to follow Him. He LISTENED to others. He answered questions. He exercised EXTREME mercy. He healed the broken and the sick. He was gentle with sinners. Rather than punish the disobedient —- He DIED for them, taking their death penalty upon Himself.

Men are to emulate Messiah, but they are NOT the Messiah. The parable or metaphor Paul used can only be taken so far. Women are NOT to worship their husbands, or replace their relationship with the Messiah with their husband. Husbands were never meant to be the mediator between their wives and YHWH. Man is not the god of woman, no more than woman is the god of man. Either extreme is idolatry, not Biblical submission.

The conclusion is that a woman is to submit to a man as far he emulates Messiah. So long as the man walks and follows in the steps of Yeshua, then the woman follows also. But the minute the man follows his own flesh, a lying spirit, or veers to the left or to the right, a woman is not required to blindly follow or submit to the man. Or else they both will fall into the ditch. But, this type of submission is a reciprocal mandate. We are to submit to one another. (Eph. 5:21)

Sadly, I ‘ve witnessed well-meaning women blindly follow their husbands. Believing they were being Biblically “submissive”, these women failed to hold their husbands accountable to grave sin, knew their decisions were costly, and they tumbled down a path of destruction together. The sad part is that these poor women believed that by following their husbands they were doing YHWH’s will. In their mind, they had no right or authority to say anything about the behavior and decisions of their man, so they remained silent and the entire family paid in spades. The shackles of man’s traditions and doctrines can be very heavy and the price can be immense. But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty! (2 Cor. 3:17)

I’m so very thankful that Queen Esther didn’t remain silent.[2] Or Deborah. Or Abigail. Or the daughters of Zelophehad. Or Ruth. Or Yael. Or Hannah. Or Mary Magdalene. Or Priscilla. Or Lydia. Or Huldah. Just to name a few.

I hope our understanding of real biblical submissiveness and authority continues to grow. The more I study the Bible, the more I am amazed by just HOW much YHWH values women. This theme runs in the background behind nearly every story. And, why wouldn’t this be the case? Isn’t the whole Book about Him and His Bride?

 

For more information, see The Biblical Role of Women

 

 


[1] Divorce is a viable solution to the “hardness of men’s hearts” according to the Torah. (Dt. 24) Yeshua didn’t change this law in Matthew 5 if you read the text in Greek. Please look up and learn the difference between “putting away” and a “writ of divorce”. They are two separate, but related actions. Yeshua didn’t change any of YHWH’s laws, even about divorce, for that is the work of an antichrist.

People love to proclaim that adultery is the only “Biblical” reason for divorce, but the Torah says the penalty for adultery was death (stoning), not divorce. Moreover, God doesn’t hate divorce; He is a divorcee Himself! (Jer. 3:8, Mal. 2:16) Rather, what YHWH hates, per the Hebrew of Malachi 2:16, is when a man “puts away” his wife without giving a writ of divorce. This selfish act left the woman in limbo with no support and without the option to remarry. Torah requires BOTH “putting away” and a “Writ of Divorcement”, and then the woman is free to marry another. (Dt. 24) Until mankind is completely redeemed, men and women will continue to have hard hearts and sin. Hence, divorce will be allowed until that day comes because YHWH is merciful.

Please read fellow BEKY Book author, Dr. Robin Gould’s, book on Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible. Let the Word set you free!

[2] Queen Esther acted the very day that she heard of her husband’s rash VOW to destroy her people. This was a blatant role reversal from the Torah’s discourse on vows in Deuteronomy 30. To remain silent was akin to agreeing to a rash vow and taking the guilt upon oneself (vs. 14-15). Mordechai used the language of Deuteronomy 30 to persuade Esther (even though she was a woman) to step up and speak to her husband.

Est 4:14  For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Categories: Messianic Issues, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

New Page

pagesI have recently created a page (menu heading) for the New Moon (Rosh Chodesh). Links to my book, audio and video teachings, documents, and links to related material will be gathered there. The audio to my most recent teaching on the new moon has already been posted, check out Rosh Chodesh Helps.

In 2017, I hope to start adding audio and video files to Grace in Torah. As always, your prayers are appreciated.

Categories: Moedim, News Flash, Women | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Unity of the Scroll

close-up-of-torah-scrollJust before Rosh HaShanah, I had the pleasure of being up close and personal with a Torah scroll. My mentor, Dr. Hollisa Alewine, author of the Creation Gospel, was preparing to sing the Akedia (Binding of Isaac) for their Rosh Hashanah service. I was like a fly on the wall watching her careful handling of the leaves (pages of the scroll) and the Words. The Scroll was rolled out to reveal Bereshit (Genesis) 22 in the Torah.

Although I’ve seen Torah scrolls open before, this time was different. As a matter of fact, many things really resonated down to my bones at this particular season of teshuvah. I gazed upon the leaf with its beautifully penned black letters. The deer skin hide upon which they were written 300 or so years ago had turned into a rich amber patina. What struck me so hard was the flow of the Hebrew letters. I was instantly reminded of the River of Life.

I knew that the vowel points would be absent, but the lack of spacing between the words caused my eyes to see (in the spirit) the unity and oneness of the Word of God. Each section of the Torah appears as one ginormous vowel-less Word! To put it another way, each letter is one building block in a stream of continuous Truth. There is no separation. No division. Nothing is disjointed. Everything is connected and cohesive. Removing even a single letter would diminish the beauty, oneness, and unity of YHWH’s Word.

However, to make these consonant letters come to life requires breath or Spirit. One must open their mouth and like a shofar become the vowels that ignite the fiery Words of our Elohim. The ebb and flow of the cantillation flows like rushing waters from the flesh of the Living. The scroll is made from the flesh of a beast created on day six, but it is the spirit of a man/woman made in the image of Elohim that gives it life. Are we a vessel that gives the letter life? Or is our focus only on the dead things of the flesh?

Though touching the letters can harm the scroll’s integrity, I was able to touch the baby soft under side of the scroll. A beast only shows or gives access to its most vulnerable parts when it is submissive to a Higher Power, the Alpha. When we submit our lower or beastly nature (flesh) to the Word of the Almighty God, we become like the deerskin scroll. Through the death of our flesh, we become a living testimony to the Life and Light and Power of a Greater Resurrected Life.

The Words of Life are inscribed on the flesh (of a beast). You are either a man (woman) created in the image of Adonai or you are ruled by the lower nature, the image of a beast. This is true in the beginning in Genesis 1 on day 6 and at the end in the Book of Revelation. Abba desires that His Word be upon a heart of clean flesh. Long after these flesh and blood bodies have worn out and passed away, the Word written on hearts of flesh LIVES.

When Abba teaches a lesson, He usually gives more than one example. When the Hidden Day (Feast of Trumpets) finally arrived, I witnessed this same message through the Living Stones of the people at the Olive Branch. During the service this same scroll was carried around the assembly in a processional and then lifted up high before the people. The Body was One with her King. The King was the focus and the unity was profound. We were of one accord, all connected like the letters on the scroll. All flesh was submissive showing its soft under belly to the Master of the Universe.[1] Words of Life were being etched upon clean flesh.

abrahamWhen Dr. Alewine began to sing the Akeida, the Shekinah (Divine Presence) was heavy and awe inspiring. I could barely stand on my feet. Abraham was willing to take the thing He loved most in this world and give it to Adonai. We also must be willing to submit ourselves to one another and to our King. Flesh must be sacrificed before one can enter the Presence. This is how unity is accomplished and where the glory of Adonai dwells. (Ps. 84)

During these Days of Awe, my prayer is that we learn to walk out the unity of the scroll. We are the Living Letters of Life that flow out from the throne of the King of the Universe. When we open our mouths of flesh, may they be filled with truth, mercy, and righteousness. May we be vessels of reconciliation, love, and light.

L’Shanah Tovah!

  As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. (Ps. 42:1)


[1] The unified Word written on flesh is not just about submitting to the King. It also requires submitting to and loving one another. These are the two great commandments. We will continue to see divisions and separations when the beast (person ruled by the flesh) reigns in our hearts and in our midst. May Abba send us a minister like Nathan to tell us that, “we are that man/woman.” If we have given ourselves over to the beast/flesh, may we repent.

 

Categories: Creation Gospel, Moedim | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Brotherly Love Part II

For best context, read Part I.

By Kendall Watson

“You shall bring the very first of the first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.” (Ex. 34:26)

“You shall not eat anything which dies of itself, You may give it to the alien who is in your town so that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner, for you are a holy people to the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk. You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out o father field every year.” (Deut.14:21-22)

 

Boiling a Kid in its Mother’s Milk

goat-mothers-milkThe prohibition of boiling a kid in its mother’s milk is mentioned a total of three times in Torah.[3] Have you ever noticed what it’s associated with? In each case, this command is juxtaposed with the first fruits or tithes. What can we glean (spiritually) from this? Since fruit can mean “the result of or results”, physical children are man’s literal fruit. The (ideal) result of a man and woman coming together as one flesh is reproduction. This is expressed as the “fruit of the womb” or the “fruit of the loins”.

The first year that I homeschooled my two children, we studied Botany. (I love to garden.) In the course, we learned that every flower that produces an encapsulated seed is a fruit. Therefore, most things that we eat are actually a type of fruit, even nuts! Seeds reside inside of fruit. This is true in the natural and the spiritual realm. Messiah emphasized this here:

“Now this is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the Word of God.” (Luke 8:11)

Whether you are a “spiritual parent” mentoring the Body or a literal parent, the picture is the same. Words are seeds planted in individuals who are the fruit of Elohim. The question we must answer is this: “Is the fruit we are producing the result of Messiah’s works or is it the result of our own flesh/works?” There is a huge difference between the two. We are designed to rest in Messiah’s works. Just as He only did the works He saw His Father doing, we are to only do the works we see Him doing.

Perhaps another analogy is helpful. Let’s consider working the ground. In order to get a harvest (or first fruits), we must cultivate the soil, sow seed into the ground, and water and weed the plot to ensure that the plants eventually produce fruit for nourishment. This is very hard work. It takes strength, persistence, and patience to reap a harvest. The seed must be nurtured and cared for in order to mature.

Bringing our first fruits to the House of the LORD demonstrates that the first of our strength and all of our hard work is ultimately HaShems. He is the one that enables one to work the soil. The least we can do to show our gratitude is to give him the first fruits of our toil. When we sow with our own works we fail to realize who “really” did the work, which is Messiah.

This same analogy can be made with people. Are we nurturing the congregation with mother’s milk (Torah) or are we killing our kids (first fruits) by boiling them in the very thing that should bring them to maturity and lead them to life?

Let that sink in for a moment. This idea is not far fetched. Paul said, that the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Torah without the nurturing Holy Spirit kills. It will boil the “kids” alive or bring death. (2 Cor. 3:6)

Being a Creation Gospel trainer/student, numbers and their themes, such as creation days and feast days, stand out in the text. Therefore, I can’t help to point out the number three here. Three alludes to the feast of first fruits. Ultimately, Messiah IS our first fruits. He is the strength of our labor; everything else is vanity. What happened on day three of creation? Seeds and fruit trees were created! In Hebrew, the word for tree is etz. Etz is the Hebrew root for counsel, etzah. Wise counsel heals and corrects with words that bear the good fruits of justice, mercy, and faithfulness. It doesn’t injure the sheep or tear them to pieces with vicious words (unwise counsel) in order to be right or more correct. Godly counsel gathers and protects the plants and trees that are near bloom. Hopefully, we appreciate i071_th_wolf_sheep_clothesthe difference.

“Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit”. (Matt.7:15-17)

In Isaiah it says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.” The word evil, according to Strong’s, is ra (7451). It can mean “evil” or “adversity”. Let’s take a closer look at the word adversity. Adversity means difficulties. The root of this word is adverse and can mean, “not helping”. I don’t know about all of you, but in my mind, I always thought that evil meant “all those other people out there that aren’t believers“. The Hebraic view has expanded my understanding and challenges my old definition. Are we being helpful? What is the fruit of our lips? Is there any good fruit at all? Maybe evil is closer to home than we thought…

“But Jesus turned and said to Peter, Get behind Me Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me, For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men”. (Matt 16:23)

Satan is Strong’s 4567. It means adversary, not necessarily some ethereal evil being. An adversary is someone that opposes or accuses others. We can actually be a satan! What?! The next time you are compelled to tell someone how wrong they are about keeping a commandment a certain way or feel led to push your spouse around because they don’t keep Shabbat, choose your words carefully. To be honest, I have been there. I was so angry at one point with someone close to me that I could have smacked him right in the face! (Really, I could have. If you’re honest, you’ve been there as well.) Later, I realized that my anger was rooted in fear. I was afraid that judgment would fall on us because certain commandments weren’t being kept. Do you think my volatile reaction worked (bore good fruit)? NO! It pushed my dear friend further away.

We do this very thing when we think thoughts such as:

We are not sure if so and so should be at our feast“.

We probably shouldn’t go to that assembly because they have some women teachers…

I need to control my spouse, kids, and other people because they just don’t know what I know…

Even though the Father didn’t tell me to give money to that family I’m going to anyway, because I can’t stand to see them suffer.”

The poor church is going to have judgment poured all over them“.

Those Jews are just so legalistic, too bad they don’t see Messiah“.

Fear is the fuel behind every evil and adversity in the world. It causes people to separate, point fingers, control, and manipulate all because YHVH’s love is not perfected in them. This is not the love of Messiah.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love.” (1John 4:18)

My dear sister in Messiah once visited an assembly with me. The speaker for that day got up and spoke on the Torah portion. Somehow, his message rabbit trailed into a lecture on what (he thought) was wrong with the Church. After leaving the service, she did not tell me what she thought about “our walk”. Years later, she divulged her thoughts and feelings on the experience. Tears run down my face every time I think about that conversation.

As she cried, she told me that she essentially felt like a whipped puppy with no hope. Tearfully, she asked me, “Kendall, are we not one in Messiah? And if we are, why do I feel like you all get offended at the mention of the word church?” She also stated that she was glad that she went because it showed her that what we were doing was not right. What this precious person witnessed in our midst was NOT the Light of Messiah. Instead of finding a place of refuge to learn and grow she found hate and strife among brothers. Any curiosity that may have been flickered was snuffed out by an attempt to “help” people “see” the “letter” of the commandments. The sad part is that I really don’t believe that the speaker she heard meant to cause destruction or bring words of death, yet that is what she perceived. The end result of this message (fruit) wasn’t nurturing milk for life and growth. Instead, it brought adversity, not help.

“Hatred stirs up discord, but love covers all sins.” (Proverbs 10:12) 

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:12-14)

“Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have wee not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”. (Matt.7:21-23)

I don’t know about you but I want to know the Lord. Even in the contentions among brothers, Adonai still has great mercy and suffers long for His People. Praise our Elohim for His loving kindness! It’s time that we put aside strife among brothers and sisters. Do you need to ask forgiveness from someone? Then what is holding you back? Do you need to forgive? Then let it go. Do you have bone to pick with Judah about their oral laws? Then I would humbly urge you to not judge so quickly. I have seen the Spirit of Messiah in more Rabbis than I have in the Hebrew Roots movement. Are you worried that by letting outsiders into our feasts, you are sinning? Then, look to King Hezekiah for instruction.[3] According to scripture, he knew that the priests were not clean. Yet, he invited the dispersed to Jerusalem with a heart of joy despite the fact that they had been following the ways of Jeroboam (2Chronicles 30:1-20).

The Father is in His fields. He is searching the hearts and minds of His people. He LOVES the children He has created. His judgment is not bad but good. He wants to bring us life, joy, and peace. Has your flesh roused up to think it’s in charge of you and others? Then use your Fathers discipline to humble it and your mothers Torah to instruct it. Are you afraid that if you let go of control that everyone will fall? Listen to the words of Yeshua:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” Matt. 10:29

“So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows” (Matt.10:31)

I have found that my family draws closer to Yeshua when I let Him shine through me with my actions verses using my words. Our memory verse in homeschool this week happens to be:

“My beloved brothers, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:19-20)

May all of you have a wonderful month of Elul! And may the Spirit of Messiah rest on each and every one of you!

 


 

[1] Ex. 23:19; 34:26, Dt. 14:21

[2] Thecreationgospel.com

[3] Rabbi Fohrman also has a great teaching on Hezekiah.

Categories: Moedim, Musings | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Brotherly Love Part I

The next couple of articles will be a two part series by guest poster Kendall Watson. Kendall is not only my sister in Messiah, she is also my sister in the flesh. 🙂 Her heart in this vital message echoes my own. I pray it blesses you during this season of Elul. May we never forget the Spirit of the Commandments, which is Love. – K. Gallagher 

 

img_0360By Kendall Watson

During the month of Elul, it is said that the “Father is in His fields”. He is searching His people and seeking intimacy with His Bride. He longs to be with His children. If only His children would draw close enough to “shema” His voice. That is, if only they would listen and obey. What is His message, you ask? I believe the Father is telling His children to love not only Him but love one another as well. Love is a concrete thought. In Hebrew, love is not just an emotion but also something you do. In other words, someone can say that they love you all day long, but if their actions are not behind those four letters, then the word love means nothing.

In a healthy family, it is natural to love one’s parents. However, the love for one’s siblings is not only different, it is also more difficult. They are the competition for the parent’s affections. Consider what parent’s do for children. When they fall down, parents pick them up. When they cry, a parent’s loving embrace provides comfort and safety. Parents root and cheer for their progeny’s efforts at sporting events. They celebrate every accomplishment of the child as if they were the ones receiving the award. And if there is only one cookie left in the cookie jar, guess who gets to enjoy every bite? Not the adult, of course. Mothers and fathers sacrifice large and small everyday for their children…because they LOVE.

Children don’t generally reciprocate this type of love to their parents. While they certainly love, that love is expressed differently. Parents love, nurture, and discipline with wisdom. In a way, mothers and fathers pour out their very lives to give their children the best opportunities in this world. Over time (in a ideal home setting), the child intuitively learns this truth. This is why the child expects the last cookie, and why the parent usually gives it to them. Even in the most brutal homes, there is evidence from psychiatric studies that the children long for mom’s and dad’s love and approval. In our example, the cookie is simply the child seeking these things.

On the other hand, brothers and sisters don’t love one another quite as sacrificially, do they? Consider your childhood (if you had siblings.) Brothers and sisters aren’t usually very nice or giving. When we fell down, they were usually the one who had pushed us. When we cried, it was usually a brother that had hit us. Over and over again, jealousy takes over siblings in a rivalry. This enmity has its own mantra, “Mom and dad loves me more than you“.

Siblings incite one another with their words. “Oh, you won an award? Well, guess what? Mine is bigger!” Sister ate the last cookie in the cookie jar with a smirk on her face. She smugly thinks to herself, “I’m faster, smarter, and well, just plain better than you kid“.

img_0366Needless to say, contentions among siblings are too numerous to count. Praise the Father for the children that grow out of the immature bickering, and learn to love one another unselfishly. There is much to learn from these family dynamics. Sadly, many never overcome the battles of youth. Instead, they choose (or are forced) to not communicate with family members due to past hurts, jealousy, or other issues.

What spiritual significance can we learn from these life lessons? Loving YHWH is easier than loving our very imperfect and often immature siblings. I submit to you that Moses, Yeshua, and the disciples speak of these very things in the Word. When Yeshua was asked what the greatest commandment was, He answered:

You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it; You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt.22:37-40, Mark 12:29-31,Luke 10:27-28)

This teaching was not new. Those with trained ears heard the words of Moses coming from Messiah’s lips.

” Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deut. 6:4-6)

“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord”. (Lev. 19:18)

To love the Lord, is to keep His commandments. For it says,

If you love Me, keep My commandments” John 14:15

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me, And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him”. (John 14::21) 

How many times have you quoted these scriptures to a challenger of your beliefs? Maybe you’ve even quoted them to someone that is curious about why you don’t eat pork. Is it wrong to quote scripture? As Paul would say, “Certainly not!” What I am submitting to you is to consider the Spirit behind the commandments. The question I was confronted with not so long ago was, “Who in me, is keeping the commandments?” And the second internal question was, “Is this pleasing to my Elohim?” I hate to admit that I did not get an “A” on this test. My response to the first question was: Me. My answer to the second question was: Yes! Of course! I honestly couldn’t see anything wrong with my answers. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, at least by the letter.

Torah portion “Ekev” caused me to reevaluate my answers to this “test”. Ekev means heel. The heel is the lowest part of the body. It can be likened to the “nefesh” or “flesh”. For example, Jacob grasped the “heel” of Esau, who is the epitome of the beast or flesh. Jacob overcame the “heel” or flesh and was later named Israel. Hence, in portion Ekev, this is what stood out to me:

“Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth. ‘you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm His covenant that He swore to your fathers, as it is this day”. (Deut. 8:17-19) 

“Do not say in your heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land, whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out before you” (Deut. 9:4) 

“Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people” (Deut. 9:6) 

The Father has delivered us from bondage, brought us to the wilderness to test us and show us love, and now He is giving us land flowing with milk and honey with houses that are already built and vineyards that have already been planted. But, be careful! Don’t forget who delivered you and brought you into this good land. The temptation is to think that it’s all about ME. To put it another way, one may think that they have this “keeping the commandments” thing all figured out.

It’s a deep, slippery pit when we haughtily begin to think, I’m the one following the commandments, so I have to be doing something right.” Or: “Maybe everyone should keep Shabbat and keep kosher just like me. If only everyone could see what I see. Sigh… Then we all could get along. Until then, I’ll separate myself from all these sinners.”

Yikes! Thoughts like this are very dangerous. The Father is the reason ANY of us keep the commandments. It is YHVH that gives us the strength and power to do anything. It is by His mercy that we even see one of these precious “Words” or “Utterances”. When we act out the commandments in our own strength, we are nothing more than a dry, parched branch needing to be burned. Yeshua reiterated this here:

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who remains in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:5-6)

Fruit in the Greek concordance is karpos (2590), and can mean “the result of” or “result”. When we read the scripture from this point of view, what Yeshua actually states is, “He who remains in Me, and I in him bears much results. If you do not remain in Me, you are a branch that is withered and needs to be burned”. In the Greek, burned is kayo. [1] While this word is often translated as “burned”, it also means “light”,[2] which is reminiscent of these verses:

“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your vision is clear, your whole body also is full of light. But when it is poor, your body is full of darkness. Be careful, then, that the light within you is not darkness”. Luke11:34-35 

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) 

We as a people, for the most part, focus on the literal application of the above scriptures. We tend to associate these things with those we deem on the “outside”. Few in Messianic circles argue that we each need Yeshua’s atoning sacrifice to inherit Life, which inspires obedience to the commandments. But our zeal often overshadows a vital component to our walk. The temptation is to forget the works of Messiah and focus on our own. When the emphasis shifts from Messiah’s loving salvation to our own works, the resurrection Spirit is left out and all that remains is a bag of fleshy letters. This “other” spirit has the tendency to put burdens on others in the Body because they begin to believe that they “know what’s best”. Unknowingly, the person working in the flesh is taking the life giving Torah and twisting it to bring death to the Body of Messiah.

Could this be one of the spiritual applications of “boiling a young goat in its mothers milk?”

“You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God. You are not to boil a young goat in the milk of its mother.” (Ex. 23:19) 

In Part II, we will continue with the notion that boiling a kid in its mother’s milk is rooted in first fruits that are not of Messiah, loving our brother, or the weightier matters of the Torah.


[1] Strong’s G2545

[2] It’s translated as “light” in Matthew: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. (Mt. 5:14-15)

Categories: Moedim, Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

Neviim Tovim/TheHaftarah Circle Gillian Gould Lazarus

Hebrew prophets and other themes from Tanakh

radicalrighteousroots

Biblical foundation resources for the family

Torah Rocker

Writings and studies of Torah

Hardcore Mesorah

Torah and Tefillah for those who aren't faint of heart

BE COURAGEOUS BLOG

NEVER LET GO OF GOD'S HAND

Ancient Footsteps

The end is known from the beginning...

modern day samaritan woman

welcome to all sojourners

Chalom Shalom

Unveiling the Voice of Creation...

ReDo~ReNew

Enjoying New Life in myself, others, and the things I find along the way...

Obadiah's Cave

A place of safety

Blue Jeans and Chocolate

~ My So-Called Glamorous Life

Awakened 2 Torah

It's time to leave Egypt and follow Yahweh!

The Well Trodden Road

following the Way back home

Move Your "..BUT God .."

CLIMBING TO THE HEIGHTS OF GOD'S LOVE

Ohana Home Education

"Ohana means family. Family means no-one gets left behind, or forgotten."

Sewn Olivette

Elevating Daily Life

Helena

The Protocol of Truth

Missing Pieces

Discover the missing pieces in your walk with Yeshua / Jesus

Wilderness Report

by Cathy Helms

Wholeness 4 Love

Life is for Living & LOVE is a choice!

natsab

Here I stand.

Rus Alan

Kingdom Minded living with issues related to discipleship, the Holy Spirit, and power.

Tannachton Farm

Faith, Family, Farm

GRACE in TORAH

Leaving Egypt is only the beginning of our journey...

The Lamb's Servant

Discerning Truth from Tradition | Serving YHVH | Getting Back to Torah

Sharing God's Love

My passion is writing to share God's love with everyone who believes in HIm.

Daughters of Torah

Revealing our identity to the nations

SnarkyCrunch

Tree-hugging, Hippy-go-lucky, Dread-head, Jewish Mamma

Sanctuary Gardener

A Yankee grows in the South ~ Homesteading, gardening, & harvest recipes

little tent on the prairie

Restoring life through simple living

Craig's Wellness

eat healthy ... exercise smart ... keep striving

Coffee Shop Rabbi

Basic Judaism spoken here.

madebymamaleh

Creating a modern Jewish home one project at a time

Life for Beginners

From City Borg to the Cornish Prairie in One Easy Midlife Crisis

On Jewish Matters

About issues that are important to Jewish people in the 21st Century

Messianic Sabbath

A daily break in your day to celebrate our salvation in Yeshua (Jesus) and our abundant life through the Torah

Theme Showcase

Find the perfect theme for your blog.

janediffenderfer.com

Teach Me Thy Way

The Elect of Yahweh

Studies from the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the Apostolic Writings (New Testament)

The Barking Fox

Examining Scripture from a Hebraic perspective.

Pages from the Journey of a Stranger in Babylon

The walk of a sojourner, by faith not by sight, as in this world but not of it

A Wild Harvest

"Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come." Proverbs 31:25

Cold Waters to a Thirsty Soul

Bringing Good News From A Distant Land!

%d bloggers like this: