Posts Tagged With: righteousness

The Devouring Lion


© Olgalis

This is the second part of my previous post, Crate Trained Believers. In that post I explored the fact that as followers of Yeshua, we too should reflect the attributes of a lion and a lamb. I mentioned how that often our self-image is out of kilter, which skews not only our true identity, but also the image of YHWH. If we could really grasp the reality of who we are, our lives and impact on the world would be changed for the better. In this post, I want to look at the image we display when we fail to imitate THE Lion and Lamb (Messiah).

In Crate Trained Believers, the focus was more on our skewed view of what it is to be a lamb. Many of us think of ourselves as weak, powerless, and vulnerable. These are NOT the traits of a real lamb of Elohim. The problem seems to come from a false view of humility, which is what we looked at in the previous post.

Our Messiah is returning for a Bride of like kind. She will be both gentle (like a lamb) and fierce (like a lion) — not one OR the other. In order to be a spotless Bride, we must know how to be both. If we carefully follow the example of our Messiah, we can do just that. I have witnessed many that are gentle like a lamb — to a fault. They are the proverbial doormats and the host or hostesses of the best pity parties. Their poor self-image renders them ineffective and pathetic. Who would ever what to join the ranks of the Kingdom if this is the nature of its subjects?

On the other hand, I have also witnessed many that have become nothing more than a devouring lion. Mercy, grace, and compassion are exchanged for severity, strictness, and judgment. These prideful ones have forgotten how to be a lamb. Balance is the key to most issues of life and this is no exception.

Over the past decade, I have watched the Father gently awaken His people to His Torah. (I was one of them!) When our eyes begin to open, there is a rainbow of emotions that flood our lenses. Unspeakable joy, elation at answered questions, and a renewed hunger to seek after the Kingdom are some of the positive ones. But there are also some negative emotions like deep regret, guilt, shame, and immense anger. All of these besides “anger” come forth from learning truth. Truth sets us free, but it also sheds light on areas we didn’t even know were dark. Therefore, repentance takes on new meaning with a depth often unrealized. Ah, the awakening to Torah with Messiah is a hard place to stand in the beginning. Weeding through truth and lies is not for the weak hearted.

Those that come out on the other side usually take one of two forms. They are either humbled by the mercy of the King — determined to show this mercy to the masses, or they become the truth “police” resolute on scaring the masses into submission (their idea of righteousness). Many of us have played both sides — because we are on “journey”, not a destination. If we could just understand this much and know that we are ever changing — each at the pace the Father wills — and stop demanding everyone be “exactly” where we are, the body would be greatly strengthened.

Hear Me Roar

Sadly, many that have “awakened” to the Torah of YHWH have become a roaring lion without the restraint and gentleness of the lamb. I see and definitely hear them growling at any and everybody, but they are not tempered with mercy, grace, or compassion (lamb traits). While their zeal is commendable, they have forgotten their first love and the mercy that the Lamb extended to them. They forego righteous judgment for self-righteous judgment. They become the very thing they claim to hate: sanctimonious bigots.

They can’t meet with so-in-so because they don’t agree on this teaching, doctrine, etc. They isolate themselves from family that remains in the church (and smugly call them pagans); they burn bridges and create enemies at every turn all in the name of righteousness. If they would simply turn around and look at the destruction they have caused along the way, they would see that instead of planting — they are uprooting. They have no legacy of fruit and increase, only decay and death. All they can say is, “But I’m right! I read it on the internet or studied it for myself.”

They are the image of the roaring lion seeking someone to devour—– not the Lion of the tribe of Judah!

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1Pet. 5:8)

There is a fine line here. The verses just before this have this to say:

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1Pet. 5:6-7)

We must understand and practice humility. A humble person puts another BEFORE himself — even if that person is less mature, imperfect, ignorant, and far from deserving it. This requires immense strength, compassion, and real sacrificial love. If your motive is to be “right” or even “holy”[1], you are the weaker vessel operating in pride.

OUCH! I sadly have been this roaring lion when confronted with various issues and people in the past. I never want to make these mistakes again. Jacob is a lioness, but within that lioness is a gentle lamb, like Yeshua. We must be both, because He is both. There is a time for the lamb and time for the lion.

How do we discern the difference between the Lion of Judah and the Devouring Lion? The name tells us everything we need to know. Judah means “praise”; devour means “to ravenously eat or destroy”. Does your life have a legacy of praise — or better yet —- do the people you influence have a legacy of praise? Or do you and they have a spirit that constantly divides brothers, condemns the ignorant, and gobbles up the faith of the immature? In other words, does your faith cause the weak to praise YHWH? Or does your faith sentence the weak to the pit?

As I surf the web, blogosphere, and social media, I “hear” many roaring lions that claim to keep Torah and follow Messiah. But they have no traits of a lamb whatsoever. This brings me to that one emotion I didn’t deal with several paragraphs back. ANGER. When we realize the depth of the lies we were taught in Christianity, it makes us angry. In fact, it makes many furious. We may not want anything to do with the so called “church” ever again. We figure we have been called to come out of Babylon and if my friends, family, and other acquaintances don’t want to come with me —- then hasta la vista, baby!

Now… step back and really look at this very real and often repeated scenario. Is this the heart of the Lion of Judah? Is His judgment ever NOT tempered with mercy, compassion, long-suffering, and love? If He still lends mercy and compassion to the masses, shouldn’t we? Can we leave our vengeful anger to Him? Can we instead be profoundly grateful for the long-suffering mercy He extended to us and offer that same compassion to those yet in ignorance or even rebellion?

Who are you following: the devouring lion or the Lion AND the Lamb?

[1] Separation or holiness is necessary, but if separation fails to lead to gathering, it is a love a death, not life. The fruit will be rotten, and so will relationships. Dr. Hollisa Alewine’s Creation Gospel explores this fully;

Categories: Messianic Issues, Musings, News Flash | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments



What is Biblical Faith?    

Now FAITH is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1 KJV)

According to the Book of Hebrews, faith has substance and evidence. It is not an abstract or intangible concept. The apostle Sh’aul (Paul)[1] had a lifetime of experience in 1st century Judaism. He used the Tanakh or Old Testament as his foundation in doctrine and theology. In other words, his understanding of “faith” had been clearly established in the Tanakh. It was not redefined in the Brit Chadashah or New Testament. This is why he then goes on in this passage to explain this “faith” to us starting with Bereshit or Genesis.

If we read Hebrews 11, we notice that each of the great men and women of faith have TWO things in common.

  1. They had faith.
  2. They acted upon that faith.

So, what was their “faith”? Many would assume their faith was their belief or trust in God, and this would be partially true. But if we allow the Scriptures to define this term, we will get a much fuller understanding of biblical faith and hopefully it will change our walk with the Master and the brethren and enrich our lives.

The Hebrew word most often translated as faith is emunah. Jeff Benner’s Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible[2] defines emunah as:

The Hebrew root aman means firm, something that is supported or secure. This word is used in Isaiah 22:23 for a nail that is fastened to a “secure” place. Derived from this root is the word emun meaning a craftsman. A craftsman is one who is firm and secure in his talent. Also derived from aman is the word emunah meaning firmness, something or someone that is firm in their actions. When the Hebrew word emunah is translated as faith misconceptions of its meaning occur. Faith is usually perceived as a knowing while the Hebrew emunah is a firm action. To have faith in God is not knowing that God exists or knowing that he will act, rather it is that the one with emunah will act with firmness toward God’s will.  AHLB# 1290-C (d1)

This is the same root for the word A-men; it means to affirm something or stand firm. It is also the root of the word emet, which is truth. Therefore biblical faith is firm and secure. Its actual foundation is truth. In other words, it is remaining steady and holding firm to that which is true. This truth to which we are to cling is not a mental assent to a set of propositions about God or the bible. Instead, it is clinging firmly to the faithfulness of God and His promises found in His Word, which is truth[3].

The difference may seem subtle, but it has far reaching implications. You see, our faith is not just a set of mental beliefs about God and/or the Bible. Faith is not encompassed by confessing or believing a particular creed or doctrine. Faith is much more than a proposition. It is a commitment to a promise: like those enumerated in Hebrews 11, we will live according to God’s commandments, trusting in God’s promises. In other words, biblical faith is faithfulness .

Real (biblical) faith produces action. This is why James could say:

Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.  (18)  But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”  (19)  You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.  (20)  But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?  (21)  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?  (22)  You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected… (Jam. 2:17-22  NASB)

James wasn’t proclaiming a works type salvation. He was speaking to those that had already been redeemed by the blood of Mashiach (Messiah). He also wasn’t declaring that works maintained one’s salvation. What James was very succinctly asserting is that, if a person has REAL faith, it will produce action or works. A mere mental assent or knowledge about God is not enough —– for even demons have that kind of faith. He then proceeds to give us examples of real biblical faith.

Hellenization[4] had already taken root by the time of the first century. In other words, the people of God had a few centuries in which their Hebraic culture had mixed and mingled with Greek culture, language, and thought. These two cultures were/are polar opposites. Many Brit Chadashah or New Testament writers had to combat this mixed mindset on a day to day basis.

James was making a distinction between the esteemed gnosis (knowledge) mindset that was proliferated within the Greek culture with the “doing” or action oriented culture of the Hebrews. The Hebrew is concerned with practice, the Greek with knowledge. Right conduct is the ultimate concern of the Hebrew, whereas right thinking is that of the Greek. To the Hebrew, a person acts out what they really believe. Unbelief, then is failing to act righteously. These concepts are all interconnected in a Hebraic mindset, whereas they are compartmentalized in Greek thought.

Many of the great theological debates that have raged throughout the centuries would finally find rest if God’s people embraced the Hebrew culture and mindset. After all, this is the people, language, culture, and setting He sovereignly chose to work through.

In light of all this, we see that faith is something we practice, not just agree with. Faith is exercised. It is something we use. It is something given to us by the Creator. It is a gift. Paul explains it this way in Ephesians:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  (9)  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  (10)  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Eph. 2:8-10  NASB)

Notice first, that it is by God’s grace, His loving-kindness – His mercy, that we are saved through faith. It is through our faith — our active trust in God — that we are saved. The fact that we have this faith is because of God’s grace. It is a gift from the Creator. We cannot do something to earn this gift. However, as verse 10 clearly points out, this gift bestowed upon us —- through our faith—- will produce good works. This is how the saved will walk or live. If we proclaim that God has “saved” us, fruit (works) will be forthcoming. This is the nature of biblical faith.

Now FAITH is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1 KJV)

Can you now see how faith has substance and evidence? Trusting in the promises and Word of God is what we hope for and the things we cannot see with the natural eye. Our actions (faith) are the substance and evidence. It is the things we say and do — because we trust. They are tangible. We use our 5 senses as we exercise our faith. We walk it out in our daily lives. Faith is our response to God.


[1] Or your choice for the writer of Hebrews.

[3] Ps. 119:42-44, 160, Jn. 17:17, 1 Jn. 3:18

[4] Hellenization (or Hellenisation) is the historical spread of ancient Greek culture or Hellenistic civilization, and, to a lesser extent, language, over foreign peoples conquered by Greece or in its sphere of influence, particularly during the Hellenistic period following the campaigns of Alexander the Great of Macedon. The result of Hellenization was that elements of Greek origin combined in various forms and degrees with local elements.

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