"'If you live by my regulations, observe my mitzvot and obey them; ..
Hashem promises that if the people of Israel will keep His commandments, they will enjoy material prosperity and dwell secure in their homeland; but He also delivers a harsh "rebuke" warning of the exile. persecution and other evils that will befall them if they abandon their covenant with Him.Nevertheless,
"Even when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away ; nor will I ever abhor them, to destroy them and to break My covenant with them; for I am the L-rd their God"
The promises of rewards for obedience to Hashem's commandments are awesome. They are beautiful. They are truly literally 'out of this world'!
Reading the promises of rewards gives us an idea of what it will be like when Messiah reigns on earth at the fulfillment of the Messianic Age. It provides with a 'peep' into what is in store for us; a look into the future world we are looking forward to. As we study these promises, we recognize the 'city not made by man' that Abraham left his earthly home for, the city he welcomed from a distance (Heb 11:10, 13)). We envision the 'greater riches' Moses left his position as mere earthly prince of Egypt to become a slave for (Heb 11:24-26); we get a glimpse inside the world all the prophets spoke about and for which the martyrs of the faith gave their lives.
It is important to realize this. When we don't and live in the sole expectation of rewards on earth for our present-day obedience and good deeds, we feed ourselves false hopes and expectations that in the end disappoint us as we falsely conclude that Hashem doesn't f fulfill his own promises and doesn't even care about us.
Jewish sages teach to not expect rewards on earth for our obedience. They say that our obedience is our normal reasonable service to God. Like Paul they ask, 'Why should we be rewarded for simply doing what we are supposed to do?' (Rom 12:1)
This world of today is filled with lies, deceit, violence, ugliness and disease. It is a place that is becoming less and less secure for those who would follow Yeshua in obedience to Torah. What we are fighting for today is the truth, the integrity, the peace and the beauty of the world of tomorrow, as well as the idea that by following the teachings of the Master and of the apostles, we can even have a piece of it today in our hearts.
Sunday 31st of may will be the 40th day in the counting of the Omer, the day when Yeshua ascended to his Father. By the accounts of Luke, these were some of is His Words on that day:
But you will receive power when the Ruach HaKodesh comes upon you; you will be my witnesses both in Yerushalayim and in all Y'hudah and Shomron, indeed to the ends of the earth!" (Acts 1:8)
By the account of Mark, He also said,
"As you go throughout the world, proclaim the Good News to all creation. Whoever trusts and is immersed will be saved; whoever does not trust will be condemned." (Mark 16:15-17)
The disciples of Yeshua of the fist century C.E. believed they would see the return of their Master in their lifetime or that of their children. That is why the apostolic texts are expressed in present tense
As a result, much of Paul's writings are in the context of preparing the congregations of Messiah for evil days ahead. Like Joshua trained the Children of Israel in the desert into combat before conquering the Land, Paul, James, Peter, John, were preparing the congregations for Endtime in their days.
In this light, if we are to know how to prepare for an eventual time of distress or even getting our children ready, .the teachings in the epistle should be of prime importance to us
Let's now take a look at the epistles:
Paul gave to the Thessalonians congregation a readiness class in the form of a 'checklist' for these ominous days. Oddly enough, unlike some of the things we hear today and have heard since the advent of the atom bomb, this 'checklist' did not have anything to do with self-preservation or survival. Paul's idea of preparation was:
For although we do live in the world, we do not wage war in a worldly way; because the weapons we use to wage war are not worldly. On the contrary, they have God's power for demolishing strongholds. We demolish arguments and every arrogance that raises itself up against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey the Messiah. And when you have become completely obedient, then we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)
Notice that he says "when you have become completely obedient"; in other words, the training is directed toward the people of the congregation, not toward the outsiders.
After all, it is the sons of the household who receive the discipline; not the neighbors' kids But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (Heb 12:8 KJV)
In his teaching to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of our strongholds of argumentative stubbornness, pride, arrogance, and disobedience. What's more, these strongholds were not concerning divergent doctrines. Paul was primarily teaching the congregations concerning their relationship with the world, their inter-personal relationship, as well as their relationship with Hashem. Here is some of what Paul said to prepare the congregations for that Day (my comments in bold):
He starts speaking of the Endtime 1 Thes 4:16:
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God's shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord. So encourage each other with these words.
- THE DISCIPLES NEEDED ENCOURAGEMENT.
- THE 'GOOD NEWS' MEANT 'BAD NEWS' IN THOSE DAYS. IT WAS A DEATH SENTENCE.
- YOU COULDN'T HAVE AN 'EVERYTHING WILL BE OK' GOSPEL
- TO TAKE ON YESHUA WAS SOCIAL, POLITICAL, AND ECONOMICAL SUICIDE.
- SO THE QUESTION IS, WHY DID THEY EVEN DO IT?
(1 Thessalonians 5:-1 and ....)
But you have no need to have anything written to you, brothers, about the times and dates when this will happen;
- YOU KNOW ABOUT THE FALL FEASTS; YOU'RE AWARE OF THE TEACHING
because you yourselves well know that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
- YOU KNOW HOW IT WILL HAPPEN; WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THIS BEFORE ...
When people are saying, "Everything is so peaceful and secure," then destruction will suddenly come upon them, the way labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there is no way they will escape.
- THIS WAS THE TIME OF THE PAX ROMANA. A ROMAN MILITARY ENFORCED PEACE;A FAKE PEACE ...
But you, brothers, are not in the dark, so that the Day should take you by surprise like a thief;
- YOU GUYS KNOW ABOUT ALL THIS
for you are all people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We don't belong to the night or to darkness,
- LIGHT=KNOWLEDGE: YOU ARE OF THE PEOPLE WHO KNOW; WHO ARE AWARE; NOT OF THOSE WHO HAVE NO CLUE OF WHAT'S GOING ON...
so let's not be asleep, like the rest are;
- SO BECAUSE YOU ARE OF THOSE WHO KNOW ... (NOW WE ARE GETTING THE ADVICE...)
on the contrary, let us stay alert and sober.
- HE IS TEACHING US THAT IN VIEW OF OUR PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OF THESE THINGS, WE OUGHT TO LIVE A DISCIPLINED LIFESTYLE
People who sleep, sleep at night; and people who get drunk, get drunk at night.
- AT NIGHT PEOPLE SLEEP; GET DRUNK; NUMB THEIR SENSES; WASTE TIME AND MONEY IN SILLY GAMES ...
But since we belong to the day, let us stay sober,
- BECAUSE WE KNOW, BECAUSE WE HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE, WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL.
PAUL HERE IS MAKING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 2 TYPES OF SOLDIERS.
THE ONE TYPE WHO FEELS SECURE AND IS NOT PAYING ATTENTION, GETS DRUNK AND PLAYS WASTEFUL GAMES WITH HIS BUDS, AND THE OTHER TYPE WHO HAS RECEIVED 'INTELLIGENCE;'
THIS 'INTELLIGENCE' IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TORAH-THE FEASTS---THE WORD.
NOW PAUL EXPRESSES WHAT BEING READY LOOKS LIKE.
IS IT ABOUT SELF-PRESERVATION?
IS IT ABOUT HAVING THE RIGHT CALENDAR, THE EXACT PRONUNCIATION OF THE SACRED NAME, THE RIGHT DOCTRINE? LET'S SEE...
putting on trust and love as a breastplate and the hope of being delivered as a helmet.
- LOVE AND TRUST (BETWEEN BRETHREN) IS OUR BREASTPLATE OF PROTECTION.
- WHEN SOLDIERS GO FIGHT, THEY DO SO WITH THE ASSURANCE THAT THEIR BUDDY GOT THEIR BACK NO MATTER WHAT AND THAT NO MAN IS LEFT BEHIND.
- WITHOUT THAT TRUST THEY CAN'T GO.
- THAT KIND OF LOVE AND TRUST TRANSCENDS SKIN COLOR, RACE, DOCTRINE, RELIGION, AND LIFESTYLE.
- THE HELMET IS THE ASSURANCE THAT AS WE OBEY, HASHEM DELIVERS US. For God has not intended that we should experience his fury, but that we should gain deliverance through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah,who died on our behalf so that whether we are alive or dead, we may live along with him.
- THAT KNOWLEDGE IS OUR HELMET.
- OUR MILITARY UNIFORM CONSISTS OF OUR TRUST BETWEEN BRETHREN AND THE ASSURANCE THAT THOUGH OUR COVERING BY MESSIAH HASHEM HAS NOT INTENDED US TO EXPERIENCE HIS FURY, THE SEVEN WRATH OF GOD VIALS DESCRIBED IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION.
Therefore, (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
HERE IS WHAT WE OUGHT TO DO ABOUT ALL THAT. NOW COMES OUR CHECKLIST
encourage each other,
- FORM POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS
- FORM EDIFYING AND HELPING RELATIONSHIPS
REMEMBER, THESE ARE THE THINGS WHAT PAUL IS TELLING THE PEOPLE TO DO IN ODER TO BE ENDTIME READY
THERE IS MORE...
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who are working hard among you, those who are guiding you in the Lord and confronting you in order to help you change.
- WE SHOULD SHOW GREAT HONOR TO OUR CONGREGATION LEADERS WHO DEVOTE THEIR TIME AND RESOURCES FOR THE CONGREGATIONS. THEY DO THE HARD WORK OF CONFRONTING US TO HELP US CHANGE. IT IS THEIR JOB TO DO SO.
- IT IS THE JOB OF THESE LEADERS TO CONFRONT US TO HELP US CHANGE. IT'S HARD THANKLESS WORK TO DO THAT. BUT WE DON'T LIKE TO BE CONFRONTED. WHEN THIS HAPPENS, WE TRY TO FIND FAULT WITH THE LEADER AND CHANGE CONGREGATION.
- BUT PAUL SAYS THAT WE OUGHT TO ...
... Treat them with the highest regard and love because of the work they are doing.
- HERE IS ANOTHER COMMAND TO OUR ENDTIME PREP:
Live at peace among yourselves;
- THAT SEEMS VERY DIFFICULT...
- YESHUA SAID THAT THE CHILDREN OF THIS WORLD ARE WISER THAN THE CHILDREN OF LIGHT. (Luk 16:18)
- HE SAID THAT AFTER TELLING A PARABLE HAVING TO DO WITH BUSINESS DEALINGS. BUSINESS PEOPLE HAVE MORE SENSE. THEY UNDERSTOOD THAT THE ONLY WAY TO COMPETE IS TO FIND COMMON POINTS WITH ANOTHER COMPANY, MERGE INTO ONE BIGGER GROUP THAT CAN SWALLOW UP THE OTHERS BY THE SHEER STRENGTH OF ITS SYNERGY.
- IN THE RELIGIOUS WORLD, INSTEAD OF TRYING TO FIND COMMON POINTS, WE TRY TO FIND POINTS OF DISCORD.
- AND THAT COMES IN TOTAL DISOBEDIENCE TO PAUL EXHORTATION, TO THE TORAH IN:
- Lev_19:18 Don't take vengeance on or bear a grudge against any of your people; rather, love your neighbor as yourself; I am Adonai.
- Lev_19:34 Rather, treat the foreigner staying with you like the native-born among you - you are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Adonai your God.
AS WELL AS TO SOLOMON WHO SAID:
There are six things Adonai hates, seven which he detests: a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet swift in running to do evil, a false witness who lies with every breath, and him who sows strife among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
LET'S CONTINUE WITH PAUL'S MESSAGE TO THE THESSALONIANS:
...but we urge you, brothers, to confront those who are lazy,your aim being to help them change, to encourage the timid, to assist the weak, and to be patient with everyone.
- NO FREE LOAFERS ALLOWED.
See that no one repays evil for evil;
- WE PROBABLY ALL NEED TO WORK ON THAT ONE ...
on the contrary, always try to do good to each other,
- ON THAT ONE TOO!
indeed, to everyone.
- DID HE SAY "TO EVERYONE?"
- CAN WE DO THAT?
REMEMBER, THESE WERE NOT EVERYDAY LIFESTYLE ADVICE PIECES;
THESE WERE THE DISCIPLINES OF THE SOLDIER GETTING FOR WAR. HERE IS MORE:
- HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED THAT JEWISH PRAYERS ARE ALL IN THE FIRST PERSON OF THE PLURAL NOT THE FIRST PERSON OF THE SINGULAR?
- THAT IS BECAUSE WE ARE SUPPOSED TO SEE OURSELVES NOT AS INDIVIDUALS BUT AS A COD, A PIECE OF A LARGER COMMUNITY.
- THAT EXPLAINS WHY YESHUA DID A TEVILAH AND FASTED AT YOM KIPPUR EVEN THOUGH HE HIMSELF WAS WITHOUT SIN. HE CONSIDERED HIMSELF AS PART OF GREATER ISRAEL.
- WE OUGHT TO PRAY IN THANKSGIVING
WE DON'T HAVE TIME FOR PETTY DISPUTES AND ARGUMENTS.
WE HAVE A WAR ON OUR HAND AND IT'S NOT A WAR AGAINST EACH OTHER.
Don't quench the Spirit, don't despise inspired messages.
- WE QUENCH HASHEM'S SPIRIT IN US WHEN OUR HEART IS SOILED WITH GRUDGES AND NEGATIVE FEELINGS.
- THESE FEELINGS COME BETWEEN US AND OUR COMMUNICATION WITH HASHEM.
But do test everything -- hold onto what is good,
- PROPHETIC MESSAGES HAVE TO BE TESTED BY THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT IN GALATIANS 3
but keep away from every form of evil.
- EVERY FORM OF EVIL; EVIL AS IN DEFIANCE AND DISOBEDIENCE TO TORAH AND THE SPIRIT OF LOVE AS DESCRIBED IN 1 COR 13.
THE LETTER IS SIGNED OFF WITH:
May the God of shalom make you completely holy --
may your entire spirit, soul and body be kept blameless
for the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.
UNLIKE THE PROMISES OF BOUNTY, SECURITY, AND PROTECTION IN THIS WEEK'S LEVITICUS TEXT, THESE ARE MESSIANIC ERA LIFESTYLES THAT WE ARE ABLE TO ACHIEVE NOW. WOULD WE FIRST IN OUR LIVES ...
demolish arguments and every arrogance that raises itself up against the knowledge of God; ... take every thought captive and make it obey the Messiah. ...
become completely obedient,....
(2 Corinthians 10:3-6)