Messianic Issues

Moonthly Cycle

For the past five years, I’ve been very intentional about celebrating the new moon. One result was publishing my first book, The Biblical New Moon: A Guide for Celebrating in 2016. Another unexpected outcome was discovering patterns within the monthly cycle. I’ll get to that in moment, but first, I’ll give you a comparison.

Most of my readers have been following the weekly Torah portions through multiple years. Those first several years garner more questions than answers as one’s heart adjusts to the Creator’s paradigm. But, as the years pass by, the Words of the Torah become more and more familiar, a comfort to the soul rather than a contention. Those questions from the early years have long been satisfied by the Words of Life.

Each year, the Spirit highlights certain words, phrases, or sections in the portions as He leads one through the wilderness. It’s always the perfect instruction in due time. I often say that as I follow the Torah portions, they also follow me. It’s like the water giving Rock that followed the children of Israel in the desert. I can see the themes from the portions playing out in my life, testing and encouraging me each week. I can’t imagine walking through life without their guidance, as they are my daily bread, just as sure as Yeshua is the embodiment of the same.

I have had a similar experience on the larger cycle of the months. Much like the Torah portions, they each have a personality (so to speak) that thematically links to real life. And, just as the Ruach HaKodesh highlights certain words, phrases, and sections new every year in the weekly Torah portion, He does the same for the months. The first few years I didn’t notice these patterns because all the information was fresh and new. I had more questions than answers as I attuned myself to this greater cycle through practice.

In the fourth year of being intentional, something shifted, just as it did when I first committed to the Torah cycle. If you’ve read my book (linked above), then you know that I included a great deal of Jewish tradition.[1]For example, I used their assignments of the twelve tribes of Israel for each month, and I included the twelve constellations (mazel) that fall in the ecliptic with the sun and moon each month.[2]There are generally four Torah portions within the months, giving even more layers that make up the personality or theme for the month. Moreover, many months have Biblical and/or traditional feast or fast days. All of these things and more are quite fascinating to meditate upon, and will lead to more understanding.

I think of it as zooming out from the weekly cycle to get a fresh perspective. On an even larger scale, one could zoom out to the yearly festivals, then to the seven-year cycle (Shemittah), and even further to the Yovel (Jubilee) cycle. Wheels within wheels all powered by the Spirit of God. All these cycles are constantly moving around you, your family, your assembly, and the greater Body. And, all these cycles have an order. They are NOT random or arbitrary, they are part of what Adonai has revealed to His people. But, we must choose to either move with them, swim against their current (which gets you nowhere), or ignore them altogether. (Ignorance is not bliss in this case; the cycles are there and working in our lives regardless of whether we choose to follow Him or not.)

Dt. 29:29 (NASB) “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

I had the privilege of reading Barry Miller’s book, Know the Time Change Your World: The Reappearance of the Seven- and Fifty-Year Biblical Cycles, during these intentional years of celebrating the new moon. His book is very helpful at explaining how the rhythms of these cycles affect not only our spiritual lives, but also our tangible lives in the market, workplace, and finances. After all, Adonai is concerned about the whole person, mind, body, and soul.

If you’ve been keeping the yearly feasts of Adonai for some time, you’ve probably noticed that things (good and bad) cycle around and around in the seasons. This is because judgment begins in the House of God. Feast days (including the weekly Sabbaths and new moons) are not just times of celebration. They are tests! We will be examined at the appointed times. As such, there are certain themes related to specific times. Perhaps you’ve already noticed this phenomenon on social media.

Every year, after the fall feasts, the identity of the Messiah is questioned, challenged, debated, and reimagined. Whether He is divine or not, Messiah or not, becomes explosive social media fare, destroying our witness regardless of how we view Him. Meanwhile, winter, Chanukah, and Purim are approaching. People in general begin to grow weary about their own identity. They question their purpose and struggle with foundational issues in life and in Bible study. Those that minister to others, really notice these patterns. It’s not chance.

Consider that after Sukkot, it is the “turn of the year.” It’s a type of new beginning. What’s at every beginning? A foundation must be built– whether physical or spiritual. If one has a shaky foundation, there is usually a great identity crisis. If one’s foundation was damaged in the previous year, they too, will struggle with a rebuild. What many consider “basic” or “foundational” issues will be challenged in this season. The Hebrew month’s that span this time frame are Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, and Adar.

Also consider the traditional winter festivals of Chanukah and Purim. They are all about the Jewish people fighting for their right to exist! Foreigners seek to wipe them off the map or conform them into an image of their making. The basic, foundational rights bestowed upon Israel by the Creator are being challenged. Is it a surprise that Messiah is challenged around this season? Or, that individuals search and struggle with who they are? I don’t believe so, because it’s part of the cycle. Sin and rebellion will exacerbate these issues.

That’s one example, I have many. I’ve been journaling about the monthly cycle for a while. I’ve written about my own struggles, and those that others have revealed to me at these seasons. I’ve also tried to pay attention to social media debates (in the Torah keeping world) and the months and seasons in which they occur. I have a dear friend that has given me more insight, and I hope to continue to collaborate with her. We hope to produce something more formal in the future.

Why would something like this be valuable? Testing and trials will not vanish, of course. They are part of our refinement. However, it would be encouraging to know that you are not alone, and that Adonai has good purposes and intentions towards us. It will also be a great resource for prayer! Many claim to be a watchman. A watchman can see what’s coming, sound the alarm, and prepare the army. If you are aware that certain issues in the natural or spiritual will be challenged or tested, then you know how to pray. You know how to stand. Your faith is built up to overcome. I believe the cycles of the Creator reveal these things to His people, so they can do just that: observe all His instruction. And, do so with a different heart, like Caleb, trusting that though there be giants, fortified cities, and Amalekites, we can overcome!

Num. 13:30 (NASB) Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”

For now, I have a request for my readers. That is actually the point of this post! I wonder who would be willing to journal alongside me? I’d really like as much feedback as possible. I don’t need you to write a book, just notes about each month. What did you battle with? How did this compare to the weekly Torah portions that month? To the traditions from the Sages? To the feasts or fasts? What “blew-up” on social media? What did people need prayer for? What other patterns did you notice? To streamline what I’m looking for, I’ve devised the following chart. Feel free to print it out to use as journal pages or use it to create your own template.

Moonthly Cycle Chart

 


[1]If you are anti-Jewish, anti-tradition, or fear things that are mystical, you need read no further. I believe in balance and using good Bible hermeneutics. However, I also believe the Sages and Jewish sources are valuable and have great wisdom.

[2]This NOT astrology. It has nothing to do with divination or deciding one’s fortune. That’s the perversion. Pagans didn’t put the stars in the heavens, HaShem did. The luminaries declare the glory of Elohim, which is the Good News. (Ps. 19) They also govern His moedim, His calendar, His appointments, and give Light to the earth as a testament to His authority over all the earth. (Gen. 1:14-19)

Categories: Messianic Issues, Moedim, new moon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Jezebel No One Talks About

There are countless teachings that suggest that Jezebel is a controlling spirit, and can manifest in a man or woman. Like ancient Jezebel, there is an “Ahab” type of person that enables this spirit to thrive in a congregation as she wreaks havoc among the members, destroying foundations and relationships. My intention isn’t to uproot this insight, but to sharpen the focus using Yeshua’s message to the fourth church/congregation in Revelation, Thyatira.[1]

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. (Rev. 2:18-19)

Yeshua stands as the One in the midst of the menorah,[2] and like this figurative picture of golden light, His eyes are a flame of fire and His feet like brilliant burnished bronze. He is the Light in the Temple of YHWH and the world.[3] The fourth branch is the very center of the menorah and the source pipe for the remaining 6 branches. It is the shamash or Servant candle. He addresses the fourth church as the central fourth branch of the menorah. All authority has been given to Him.[4]

Thyatira had been growing in deeds or works. They are commended for their love, faith, and perseverance. But there is an issue that our heavenly governor wants them to deal with, the woman Jezebel.

‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. ‘I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. ‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. (Rev 2:20-23)

Whether Jezebel was a real woman that this early church dealt with or whether she is a figurative picture is not the point of this post. I happen to believe both are likely true, but the message is the same either way. The Book of Revelation portrays two women, much like the Book of Proverbs. One is essentially a harlot and the other is a righteous (virtuous woman). These women simultaneously figure the wicked anti-Christ spirit and the Holy Spirit, and a wicked congregation (Body/House/Temple) and the righteous congregation (Body/House/Temple).

I will use Jezebel and the harlot interchangeably in this post as they have the same characteristics and depict the same theme. Ancient Jezebel was NOT a follower of the God of Israel. Thus, any teaching she is delivering to Messiah’s Body cannot be based in Torah. It is worldly and foreign, and likely rooted in the worship of false gods.

Jezebel calls herself a prophetess. She claims to have the spirit of prophecy, but Revelation says that the testimony of Yeshua is the real spirit of prophecy. (Rev. 19:10) Jezebel’s smooth words teach and lead “My bond-servants” astray. The people she is affecting (or infecting) are not just pew warmers. They are bondservants! These folks have a true relationship with Yeshua. And yet, they have become enticed by this message of the harlot. How can this happen?

How can a true follower of the Messiah be convinced to “commit acts of immorality” and “eat things sacrificed to idols?” It seems ludicrous, but I submit to you that it’s happening right under our noses, even in Torah communities. Jezebel isn’t as much about control as she is about perversion.

Everything the harlot appeals to is carnal, fleshly. We are all human and live in carnal bodies. We have flesh to contend with every day. Failing to put our pound of flesh on the holy altar to be consumed by the holy fire will result in some nagging nephesh issues. (I have my own daily battle!) What does flesh love most? Pleasure. Even eating a cupcake can be highly pleasurable (and no, cupcakes are not evil, just don’t eat five or one with every meal).

There are two primary pleasure centers that are exceptionally intimate. Food and sex. Jezebel is teaching an anti-Torah message on both fronts and has gained ground even among Yeshua’s bondservants.

  1. Acts of Immorality (fornication)
  2. Eating Food Sacrificed to Idols

What are acts of immorality? How does the Torah define this? The Greek word porneuo is often translated as immorality or fornication;[5] this is where the English word pornography originates.

Modern culture does not have the authority or right to define the parameters for lawful and unlawful sexual partners, nor can society define which creatures should be on one’s plate. Only the Word of YHWH can make such distinctions.

Leviticus 11, 18, 19, and 20 are a great place to start. In these chapters, we learn how unlawful sexual partners and eating certain creatures are described as detestable, wickedness, abominations, profane, etc. It is within this context that YHWH says, “you shall be holy, for I am holy.”[6]

Jezebel teaches Yeshua’s bondservants that partaking in the intimate acts of eating such things and having depraved sexual encounters aren’t really against God. “Did God really say?” She appeals to one’s pleasure centers and seduces true disciples from the simplicity of Adonai’s Word.

Perhaps she divides the Word into “dispensations” or “covenants”, making none of Leviticus applicable to Yeshua’s followers. Suddenly, adultery, homosexuality, incest, unlawful marital unions, pedophilia, gender confusion, and bestiality are no longer abominations, but the new progressive ideals of evolved Christians. Can any of these activities be found in the assemblies?

How does food dovetail into Jezebel’s message of sexual immorality? What does it mean to “eat things sacrificed to idols?” The vast majority of those that follow Yeshua assume that just because they aren’t literally offering and eating sacrifices to a foreign god that they aren’t participating in this depravity. Eating is as intimate as having sex. In Jewish writings, the altar is often called the Shulchan, or Table of Hashem. In the natural, consuming food sustains one’s health and keeps one alive. Eating spiritually then, provides one with the same benefits. It satiates, sustains, and gives (spiritual) life.

Food is not just physical, but also spiritual. “Man shall not live by bread alone.”[7] This is why we are told to “eat” Messiah’s Body and drink His blood. The symbol is partaking of God’s Table, His sacrifice, because it is LIFE. If YHWH has a “table”, then the enemy has a counterfeit. In fact, we are told that Jezebel indeed has her own shulchan:

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is this you, you troubler of Israel?” He said, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, because you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and you have followed the Baals. “Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” (1 Kings 18:17-19)

Again, in this passage, the number four (450 and 400) is linked with Jezebel. Four is associated with government, authority, and fullness. Elijah was challenging the authority of Baal and Asherah. While Jezebel and her false prophets frightened Elijah, he knew that he served the only true God of heaven and earth. The Jezebels and false prophets of today are also striking fear in the hearts of this Elijah generation. Messiah later tells Thyatira to “hold fast” to what we have. This is His Word and our testimony of Him. This is how one overcomes Jezebel.

Consequently, those that continue to “eat” at Jezebel’s table will suffer unless they repent. The result is sickness and death. Jezebel’s “food” is poison.

‘I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. ‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. (Rev. 2:21-23)

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that certain creatures were never deemed by YHWH to be food in the first place. Pigs, rabbits, frogs, shellfish, and the like (Lev. 11) were never offered on the Holy Altar. Offering them would defile the altar. If our bodies are a form of the Temple of Adonai, should these creatures cross our “holy” lips?

‘You are therefore to make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; and you shall not make yourselves detestable by animal or by bird or by anything that creeps on the ground, which I have separated for you as unclean. ‘Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine. (Lev. 20:25-26)

Peter reiterates this:

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)

Followers of Yeshua should make a distinction between their former lusts, desires, and appetites and the loving instructions of YHWH (the Torah). Though we will still contend with fleshly desires, we must allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide our daily walk. Who you have sex with and what you consume with your mouth is deeply intertwined with the god that you serve. If we claim to be bondservants of Yeshua, then we must NOT tolerate Jezebel’s licentious doctrine. We mustn’t turn a blind eye to this type of immoral depravity. And, we certainly shouldn’t look for ways to twist the Word of YHWH to suite the desires of carnal flesh!

Yeshua relates these moral failings to knowing “the deep things of satan.” It’s important to remember that satan means adversary. Uncontrolled desires of the flesh are indeed a great enemy.

‘But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you. ‘Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. ‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ (Rev. 2:24-29)

As the fourth church in Revelation, Thyatira stands in an authoritative position, one of governing (based on day four of creation). Considering this, Jezebel is the antithesis to the righteous or virtuous woman (bride). She is a false sun, moon, and stars. Her light is really darkness.[8] Jezebel doesn’t “give”, she takes as a thief would.

Her intimacy appeals to the carnal nature and pleasure. She is far more concerned about what feels good and right than true righteousness. Truth is relative to one’s personal appetites and desires which is contrary to the Word of YHWH.

Today, there is no lack of those that want to “be true to themselves”, “speak their truth”, “live their truth”, and “be free to be me.” After all, they were “born this way.” They want the whole world to bow down and tolerate the desires of their carnal flesh, feelings, and emotions. They want us to swallow this offering to an idol of their own making. Their lascivious rants have already infected millions in the Church.

Like Jezebel of old, those that speak against her agenda are viciously attacked and demonized. Thyatira was tolerant of Jezebel’s venomous message. I have to wonder: Are we? Has the Torah community become the proverbial Ahab that empowers Jezebel to operate? Are we being seduced by the words of a harlot? Are we turning a blind eye to sexual sin and adultery? If so, may we REPENT!

 


 

[1] This article is written within The Creation Gospel’s model of interpretation. Many of my conclusions are based upon the insight gleaned by studying the creation foundation for numbers, the 7 Spirits Adonai, and the 7 wicked spirits that counterfeit the former. (Is. 11:2, Pr. 6:16-19, Luke 11:35)

[2] Rev. 1:12-13

[3] John 9:5; 12:46, 1 John 1:5, Rev. 21:23-24

[4] Col. 2:9-10

[5] Strong’s G4203 πορνεύω porneuō From G4204; to act the harlot, that is, (literally) indulge unlawful lust (of either sex), or (figuratively) practise idolatry: – commit (fornication).

[6] Lev. 11:45; 20:25-26

[7] Dt. 8:3, Mt. 4:4

[8] Luke 11:35

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Messianic Issues | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Renewed Radio — Marriage

This past week, Dr. Deb Wiley and I interviewed pastor and author John Diffenderfer about his book, The Marriage Commandments on our Hebrew Nation Radio (HNR) program, Renewed. Although I posted the interview on Grace in Torah’s Facebook page, I wanted all my readers to have an opportunity to hear John’s message.

John’s book uses the Ten Commandments as the model for marriage vows. At first glance, this might not seem exceptional, but after reading the book and hearing John discuss his premise, I had MANY “aha” moments. The Ten Words are, after all, the Ketuvah (marriage vows) between Israel and Elohim. Since God Himself uses the analogy of human marriage to explain His relationship with His people, why wouldn’t these same vows be the perfect foundation for a happy and healthy marriage? Listen here.

Here is an example of one of the Ten Commandments and how John’s book gave me a fresh perspective:

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. (Ex. 20:12)

How might this commandment be used as a lesson in marriage? Obviously, it’s talking about one’s parents. But what if I applied this same principle toward my spouse? How does one truly honor their husband or wife? If we thought of this commandment as a rule in matrimony, then honoring the other person results in prolonged days — perhaps a prolonged marriage?! One way we can put this into proper perspective is to think of YHWH (God) as the other person. How would I honor Him? I would certainly never speak poorly of Him around others. And, I wouldn’t shame Him or make fun of Him in public. If I wouldn’t do such a thing in respect to Elohim, then I shouldn’t treat my spouse any differently. The accountability level for each partner rises significantly higher after reading this book.

Honor dovetails into the commandment to not take YHWH’s Name in vain… This is just one meditation nugget among many. The Marriage Commandments is a foundational book. It would be great for couples to work through together or even in a couples study group in your congregation. Betrothed couples could especially benefit from its wisdom. It’s small and succinct, yet really provokes one to look deeper. Thinking and actions change for the better.

Marital roles are of particular interest to me as many of my posts are a biblical exploration of such. I encourage each of you to listen to the interview and buy the book. The podcast is free until Wednesday May 17th, 2017 and then it will be archived for subscribers of HNR. (Which is, only $5 a month for morning shows!)

Tune-in to Hebrew Nation Radio on Wednesday mornings (11am-1pm EST) to hear some powerful testimonies from everyday people and interviews with authors and teachers in Hebraic Roots. If you have a testimony you’d like to share contact me at gracentorah at gmail.com

Categories: Messianic Issues, Women | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Submission and Authority Part I

This particular series began as answers to emails, so if they read a little odd, that’s why. (: 

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 need 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?

Submission & Authority Part II

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 Numbers 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?”

For Part II, click here.

Categories: Messianic Issues, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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