Today is one of those I feel is very important-- principals that I seek to live by, things that I think we see in Scriptures that we need to make sure we are living by.
We are going to look at today what I feel is so, so important, something for us to consider, and that is: What truly is our focus?
If we had a camera (every camera has a focus lens) and if the camera was focused on one particular object, then that is, of course, the object that is going to get all the attention.
We don't usually focus on the things that are blurry. We can't see them clearly. And so, as believers in Yahushua Ha Mashiach, as believers in the Messiah, where is our focus supposed to be? Through what kind of camera lens do we need to be looking at, say, the Scriptures... or life... or anything?
Anything that enters our ears, our minds, our hearts that we see through the eyes, all the data that is being downloaded into our minds, everything comes through this lens, and there are certain things that we could choose to focus on that would be harmful to us if that is where our focus is.
This week we heard about the systematic murder of twelve people in a movie theater. If I chose to focus on the events there, I might find myself to be depressed, fearful, angry, sad and bitter toward the one who did the act. And if that is what I spent my week reading about and focusing on, I would be very unsettled in my spirit.
But we can look at all of these things through Yahweh's lenses, through His perspective, through any event that occurs to us, through anything that happens to us, through any circumstances that we find ourselves in. It can go through a filter.
That filter-- what is that filter? What is the way in which we interpret the things that are going on in the world today? How do we look at them?
We have a tendency sometimes to go down a rabbit trail, so to speak, where we are chasing things that really are not the things that the Father would have us be chasing. You know, the injustices of this world.
You don't have to look very far to find injustices and to find people committing heinous sins or to find Hollywood or media glorifying sin.
All the world, through the news media-- everyone is sort of rushing around from one place to the next, the things that they are focused on, whether it is a holiday that everybody is into or this event that happened in Iraq or this event that happened in Afghanistan or this event happening in the United States.
Whatever is making the headlines is what the world is focused on. What are we focused on? Can we step back and look at the big picture? Everyone is focused on the "right now," what is happening in this age "right now."
When we were born into this world our mind was blank. Our brain was blank. Everything was kind of reflexes. Maybe Yahweh pre-programmed some reflexes that we have.
But as we grow, we learn about the world we live in. We learn about certain behaviors have negative consequences. Others have positive consequences.
We learn we didn't create ourselves (hopefully), that Yahweh is our Elohim. He created us. He has a purpose in creating us. There is a reason for our existence.
We learn through the Scriptures that man has chosen not to walk in the image of Elohim. We can be restored to the image of Elohim through Yahushua.
So everything that is happening in the world today-- all the noise of things that go on, all the things that might get us side-tracked-- what is the big picture? What is the main focus of our life? In the end, what does Yahweh truly desire from us?
Is it going to matter how much money you made yesterday? No! It doesn't matter how much money you made yesterday in the big picture.
Is it going to matter what happens to this government or to that government or who is President next year in the big picture? Is it going to affect you, looking at the big picture?
Is it going to matter what kinds of cars are going to be invented next year, what models are going to be out? Is it going to matter how we solve the energy problems and all these things that seem so, so important to the people of this age?
The economy. When we stand before Yahweh in judgment, is it really going to matter what the economy is like? The banks being on the brink of failure a few years ago, everything that goes on-- what is really going to matter?
That is an important question because we don't want to get caught up in distractions, things that don't have eternal significance. What IS our focus?
So, I want to talk about some of these things, some observations of things I have seen. Different people. Different believers. Even people that don't look like believers. They get caught up and they stumble over.
And one of these things that I see-- people of even our faith who are called Messianic, perhaps, some people put a lot of emphasis on different things in the Scriptures. And one of the things that some people put emphasis on that I feel causes a distraction is our lineage, our racial background.
Various groups out there like to spend most of the time talking about how, "Hey, we are the lost tribes of Israel." Some people say, "Well, if you're Caucasian, if you don't have a whole lot of melanin in your skin, then that means you are Israel."
And there are other people who say if you have a lot of melanin in your skin, that means you're Israel. And they talk about it.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying ignore who we are through Adam, or whatever. I'm not saying we have to ignore that or disregard the people who are identified as Jews, or whatever, but I think we can get caught up in something.
A lot of things going on, even in our circles today, is the talk of "Two House." You know, there is the "One House" and the "Two House" this and the "Two House" that; and the two tribes are going to get united (Ezekiel chapter 37 or 36?). We are all going to get together and be One House and all this stuff. Well, HalleluYah!
People assume that if you have less melanin in you skin that means you're Ephraim. We don't know, really, for sure.
I mean, for all we know, some great, great, great, great, great, great grandpa was... maybe there was some adultery in our lineage and some other father came in that we don't even know about, that there were some inappropriate things happening and no one was ever told. I mean, you just never really know for sure.
So, we see that race was a major, major, major issue in the first century, and it kept the Jews from reaching out to the Gentiles. It kept the Gentiles from accepting things that were Jewish.
And their belief in the first century among the Jewish people, and to some extent we see it to this day: "Well, we're the sons of Abraham. They're the Gentile dogs. We can't touch them. They are unclean. We are above them. We are the head. They're the tail."
And the focus on race can present a number of problems that even some of the early Apostles got caught up in. I shared last week through one of the questions that came in about Acts chapter 10. Some followers of Judaism just could not grasp the idea that Yahweh would pour out His Holy Spirit on a group of uncircumcised Gentiles.
Acts 10:45 - And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
They were astonished! How could the Holy Spirit be given to a Gentile? Uncircumcised Gentile?
Acts 10:46 - For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify Elohim. Then Peter answered,
Acts 10:47 - "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we [have]?"
48 - And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Master. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Now here is an example. They just could not hardly believe because the focus was what? On their race. Their lineage. How could they, not being of the tribes of Israel, possibly be recipients of the Holy Spirit?
Now, I think we have some similar issues today. Maybe some of you haven't seen it. If you haven't seen it, I am very glad you haven't seen it. But there are certain Messianic groups out there who, if you were to walk in, they want to know right off the bat: Are you Jew or are you Gentile in the flesh?
And if they find that you are a Gentile, you will basically be treated like a second-class citizen. They will accept you, but you can't sit on the board of elders. Some of them will even tell you, "Well, no, don't worry about the Law. Don't worry about the Torah. Just keep the Noachide laws. You are Gentile."
And so, their focus is still on race, where as scripturally, we are all the seed of Abraham through the Messiah Yahushua. We are all the seed of Abraham. So, you will hear this.
Other groups-- you will be told that if you are a white American of European descent that you are one of the twelve tribes of Israel. And if you are outside of one of those, then you are somehow a second-class citizen or, maybe, they might even think you are a mongrel, not really even a human being.
Some of them have gone to that extreme, particularly if you have lots of melanin in your skin or if you have some other lineage other than European.
I'm not trying to paint all groups as being racist, but some people who would say they are of Christian identity, they actually keep Torah. They believe in keeping the Law. Some of them even use the name Yahweh.
And some of them will belong to groups, if they could get away with it, like the KKK or something else, because really, they are racists. They are white supremacists.
And so, I see this happening on the Jewish side. I see this happening here among Europeans. And there are people called Black Hebrew Israelites who sometimes put undo emphasis on their heritage.
And there are people who believe that it is impossible for you to even be called into the faith of the Messiah unless you are one of the twelve tribes. Now, if you happen to be called something else, then, "Well, somewhere in your lineage there was a son of Israel who was your grandpa, or somewhere." That is all just complete nonsense.
So, the focus every week in these kinds of environments is studies about prophecy and Israel is doing this and Ephraim is doing that. I am not saying that there isn't an Ephraim. I'm not saying there isn't. I'm not saying there aren't these twelve tribes.
But everyone is trying to unite the two houses. Let the Jews accept the Messiah. Let the Christians accept Torah. And they assume because you are a white Christian you are, therefore, one of the twelve tribes. I say, "Forget all that stuff!" I mean, not completely, but in terms of where our focus is that just is not it. It's just not.
There are organizations trying to unite the two houses. I had one Jewish believer a number of years ago. He wanted me to join his little club, his little organization, in saying that it is his organization that is uniting the twelve tribes.
I just don't think an organization of man is going to be the one Yahweh gives credit to. Yahweh will do what he wants to do, and we don't have to force anything. I am just giving you a modern day example of what I feel is a real inappropriate focus on lineage and race.
It is interesting. Don't get me wrong. Yeah, genealogy is kind of interesting and what not, but we fall into this tendency that if we believe we are one of the twelve tribes of Israel, we fall into this tendency ("yes!") to get excited about our heritage ("HalleluYah!") which maybe we are Israel, maybe we are not.
But it could be a good thing. It could be not a good thing. We have to be careful about putting too much focus and emphasis on our physical lineage or we get into this "my Dad is better than your Dad" mentality (like children) and start losing sight of what is really important.
And my perception is, sometimes it can be this distraction because listen, no matter who your Daddy is (whether you are a son of Israel, whether you are a son of Ham, a son of Shem or a son of Japheth, I don't care which one of the three sons of Noah your lineage traces back to), really, in the grand scheme of things, one thing is true.
You are going to have to walk the Yahushua walk. I don't care who your Daddy is. You need to walk the Yahushua walk. And sometimes these things are detracting and subtracting from that.
We all have to die to self. We still have to seek righteousness. We still have to embrace Yahweh's mercy. We still have to realize that Yahweh can raise up children for Abraham from a pile of rocks, no matter who our Daddy is. That is not going to be the important thing.
The important thing is going to be whether or not we have lived the way Yahushua lived. If we are sons of Abraham, okay. Then live like a son of Abraham. Walk like a son of Abraham. Walk like Yahushua walked.
When Yahushua was talking to the Jews in His day, they refused to admit that they could possibly be in bondage, simply because they were the children of Abraham. And they believed in Yahushua. He said to them:
John 8:31 - Then Yahushua said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32 - "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Do you get that? "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed." That is how we know we are His disciples. And then we will be set free.
John 8:33 - They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How [can] you say, `You will be made free'?"
These are the ones who believed in Him. They couldn't get it because they are the sons of Abraham.
John 8:34 - Yahushua answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.
So, the issue is not who your Daddy is. It is whom you are enslaved to.
John 8:35 - "And a slave does not abide in the house forever, [but] a son abides forever.
36 - "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
See, they were a slave of sin.
John 8:37 - "I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.
Wow! He told it like it was, didn't He?
John 8:38 - "I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father."
See, He was talking spiritual father, here.
John 8:39 - They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Yahushua said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham.
Now they are talking about their physical (father).
John 8:40 - "But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from Elohim. Abraham did not do this.
So, He was looking at how our actions determine our lineage. They were looking at the physical lineage.
John 8:41 - "You do the deeds of your father." Then they said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father -- Elohim."
Okay, now He is getting a little spiritual with them.
John 8:42 - Yahushua said to them, "If Elohim were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from Elohim; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.
43 - "Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.
See, they had a different father.
John 8:44 - "You are of [your] father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [resources], for he is a liar and the father of it.
45 - "But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.
So, He is looking at the character qualities here. These men actually had murderous intent. These men did not stand in the truth, and they were purveyors and conveyors of lies. Therefore, their true father was not Abraham. Their true father was not Elohim. Their true father was the devil. So much for putting confidence in the flesh.
The focus in Yahushua's mind was not their physical ancestry. The focus is on whose works were these men imitating-- the works of Abraham or the works of the enemy.
So we have to be careful we don't put too much emphasis on our lineage because whether we are an Israelite in the flesh or not, that doesn't have a whole lot to do with whether you are going to be a recipient of Yahweh's mercy.
Yahweh's mercy is given to those who turn away from sin and receive Yahushua in their life for their atonement and cleansing. In the end, what's really going to matter is what is going on in the hearts, the hearts that Yahweh sees.
And so, in reality, I don't know that too many of us can really prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are an Israelite. We may be from Europe. We may be from this area or that area. You can't really know for sure one hundred percent your lineage. Maybe DNA. I have heard you can do it that way.
But listen, the attention and the focus, we can't put too much emphasis on it because Yahweh's mercy is not based upon (as far as individuals) who our Daddy is. It is based on our response to His offer of Salvation. And so, no matter what, whether an Israelite or not an Israelite, we can become an Israelite. We become adopted sons and daughters.
And so, there is a danger here about focusing on our genealogy and strivings about the Law, and so on. We know about that, right?
And so, Yahweh says not to do those things, not to focus on the genealogies and all those things. We have to be careful. Our goal is to maintain good works. That is our goal.
Another concern I have has to do with what we study out in Yahweh's Word. I mean, Yahweh's Word is an awesome, awesome document. It is an amazing document. It has layers upon layers of depth of things on many different topics, and the knowledge of Him is inexhaustible.
You could not possibly exhaust the width and height and depth, and all these things, the knowledge of Elohim.
Sometimes I hear (and I'm not going to name any names-- I don't need to) certain Bible teachers and every week it's some new thing about, "Oh, look. This is where Messiah was in the Old Testament over here." Or... "This is where this means in the Hebrew and how this all lines up and this all makes sense."
A lot of these things are what I would call "could be sermons." "Could be sermons" consist of: the author has an idea of something that he saw in the Scriptures, and he presents a theory about something in the Scriptures. And it "could be." In fact, if it were, it would be really neat.
It would be really kind of nice to know and kind of bolster our faith a little bit. But it might not be. You can't specifically find what the person is saying in the Scriptures. But through conglomeration of different things and coming together and "mix and match" and "put all this together"-- Hey, that makes a lot of sense. Could be.
Well, what happens is, we start to lower our criteria that we are using to determine what truth really is. If we lower the criteria, if it sounds really cool and really neat and really amazing, then we assume: "Well, that could be. Probably is. In fact, I will bank on it."
And so, we start accepting these kinds of things as fact, which could be wrong, because we have lowered our criteria for what truth is. We begin to accept other things that are not so innocent, but actually are dangerous.
I know of a person (and no one on the broadcast would know who they are) who studied. I mean studied daily, hour after hour after hour. And they would come to me with things, and they would say, "Oh, what about this? What about that?" I would say, "Well, maybe. Could be. Can't really prove it. Might be." They accepted it as fact.
Well, that person doesn't believe in Yahushua any more. This was eight or nine years ago that this happened. They rejected Messiah.
Just to give you an idea of some of the dangers that we can get into because our criteria for accepting something as truth is no longer: What does the Word say? It is whether it sounds really right.
So, we have to be careful about getting caught up in these "could be" sermons that sound fascinating, that sound significant, that sound, you know, like it all lines up, but we can't really specifically find that in the Word. And really, the sermon is written to exalt the teacher and his ability to find things rather than exalting the Word of Elohim.
When I read in Paul's letters, when I read in Kepha's letters, when I read the Scriptures, Book of Acts, what I find is whenever there was anything significant that happened, it never said anything other than: "And the Word of Elohim was magnified." "The Word of Elohim grew and multiplied."
The focus, my brothers and my sisters, is on the Word of Elohim. That is the focus.
Another area of focus that can be dangerous, and don't get me wrong when I say this, but another area of danger for us is doctrine. In fact, here is what happens. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying doctrine is bad. In fact, doctrine is necessary.
But there are some, and it could be us if we are not careful, who get imbalanced or focused too much on one particular doctrine in the Bible, and the doctrine itself may not even be from the Bible.
For instance: Calvinism. There are people who are strict, staunch Calvinists, and that is all they want to talk about. The first time you talk to them, they are talking about Calvinism. The second time you talk to them, they are talking about Calvinism. The third time you talk to them, they are talking about Calvinism.
All they want to talk about is Calvinism.
Calvinism is from John Calvin-- this idea that you don't really have a choice. It is really Yahweh who chooses you and everything is predetermined. So, all these things I don't really agree with.
Other people-- you hardly even know their name and they are already talking to you about the Trinity or about Oneness. Other people-- you hardly even know their name and they want to know if you have the gift of tongues. Or arguments over baptismal formulas. Or arguments over prophecies. That is all they want to talk about.
They are focused on these peripheral issues. And every week is some new thing you have to learn about.
Or conspiracy theories-- some latest thing happening in the world today and what is going on behind the scenes. "This is happening and that is happening. Look at what's going to happen next. You need to be ready for it."
And most of the time they are wrong.
You have these cutting-edge websites about things going on. I heard that when Bill Clinton was President, he would never give up his presidency. He would take over. I heard that when George W. Bush was President, he would never give up his presidency. He would take over. And now I have heard the same thing about Barak Obama.
Now, look. They say that martial law is going to be established. And it has never happened. All these prophecies of doom have not happened. Maybe one day they will hit one, but it is no better than the psychics in the National Enquirer. I mean, they might hit one every once in awhile.
Listen. Maybe some of it is true. Maybe it is not true. But I will tell you this. We can't walk in fear. The real emphasis is not on Yahweh and His promises and the goodness of Yahweh and our bright future we have. It's on the gloom and the doom of the present age. And all it is going to do is promote fear in the hearts of men.
I say let's walk in the Spirit and be wise as serpents, harmless as doves, but let's not walk in fear of man, fear of what's going on in the world today. A lot of these things can end up bringing us to a place where we are not even thinking about what Yahweh is doing in our life.
We are so focused on what the enemy has planned next and what his thing up his sleeve is. And we are trying to get around it and through it, or whatever, and we are not really listening to the Spirit of Yahweh.
I'm not saying it is wrong to seek out a proper understanding or to figure out what might be happening next in the prophetic timetable, but we can't let that be our sole focus. In fact, it can be spiritually dangerous.
Another area of diversion is an imbalanced focus on historical proofs or sciences or academia or things like that. There are a lot of people who will read something in Scripture and unless there is some sort of historical evidence behind it, they have difficulty in really accepting it. They want the cultural context of whatever is going on.
You know, our cultural context-- how do you find that out? You have to look outside the Bible. And if we are looking outside the Bible, it is subject to error.
I really believe most of our cultural information can actually be found within the pages of Scripture itself. Now sometimes we can find direct facts in inscriptions and things. But even those things can be highly interpretive.
So we have to be careful that we are accepting Yahweh's Word for what it says and that we don't require anything other than that.
Things outside of Scripture sometimes can be helpful. Sometimes it can confirm something that we already see in Scripture, but sometimes there are things in historical whatnot that can be interpreted to contradict Scripture. And so, which one is true? If we don't have a solid faith in Yahweh's Word, we might have a tendency to stray from that.
Here is another area of imbalanced focus. Some people say, "Well, I don't need to pay attention to the Scriptures. Everything that I get is from my daily downloads from "the spirit."
"If it is not through my daily downloads from 'the spirit' during my time of prayer then, therefore, that verse over there in the Scriptures must be spurious or somebody added that or a false pen of the scribes. So, I am going to follow 'the spirit' and not these words on paper."
But, you know what? When everybody does that, you could be getting all kinds of false spirits teaching you things and end up going down a seriously dangerous road. A seriously dangerous road.
There have been people in the chat room who have been led astray by these kinds of people. They turn them away from the Scriptures, cause them to undermine Scripture, and off they go listening to that man and his daily downloads from "the spirit."
Listen. If it is not according to the Torah and the Prophets and the Writings and the Brit Chadashah (which is called the New Testament Writings, the words of the Messiah), then there is no light in it. There is no light in it.
Another area of dangerous focus is there are people out there who want the Hebraic mindset. That's good. We want to have this Hebraic mindset when we study Scripture and so on. I'm all for researching Hebrew roots.
But I have serious questions about whether we are going to really learn what we need to learn about the Hebraic mindset by studying history and writings of Rabbis and Talmud or Messianic Rabbi wannabes.
I have serious questions as to whether we are going to learn what we need to learn about the Hebraic mindset from those kinds of men because they were wrong in the first century. Men with the Hebraic mindset in the first century, I don't even think they had the Hebraic mindset.
They had a Rabbinic mindset, which can be quite different-- a "followers of tradition" mindset. A mindset of "tradition is more important than Scripture." And with that mindset (what the Rabbis say, what the sages say), it is dangerous because those sages rejected the Savior of men.
Yahushua says beware of the leaven. That is the doctrine of the Pharisees and Scribes.
So, if we want to have a Hebraic mindset, I suggest this: Learn Hebrew. If you learn Hebrew-- guess what? That will help you have a Hebraic mindset. Or if you really want the Hebraic mindset, go out and get yourself a farm. Start shepherding a flock of sheep or some goats. Raise some barley. Grow some barley and some wheat. Get a vineyard going.
If you know Hebrew and you do those things, that will probably help you understand the mindset of the people who Yahweh was speaking to in Jeremiah. Now, I don't believe we need to have that in order to understand the Scriptures. It can enhance our understanding. It can add color to the black and white that we have in our English language.
But their lives were centered around agriculture. So, if you really want that, then start being a farmer. You will have more of a mindset of the kind of people that Yahweh was speaking to.
And if you are looking for historical background, great! But a lot of things that people look for in a historical background, you can actually find it in the Scriptures. The Scriptures is a huge history book. And a lot of detail about cultural things is found there.
And we don't necessarily have to rely on a foreign historian to tell us or some encyclopedia, or whatever. For instance, we don't have to read a history book to find out how much animosity there was between Jew and Gentile in the first century. Sometimes people want to revert to a historical document to explain what's in Scripture.
We don't really, necessarily, need that because all the while a full explanation, a full historical background, everything, interpretation, everything, can be discerned by reading the context of the Scriptures you hold in your hand.
Again, I am not against seeking out historical evidence. What we are talking today is about focus. So, if we are going to focus on something, let's focus on the Word of Elohim.
Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of Elohim [is] living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 - And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things [are] naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we [must give] account.
If you want a spiritual walk, if you want to be led by the Spirit, pay attention to the Word of Elohim as revealed in the Scriptures. Yahushua said:
John 6:63 - "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and [they] are life.
So, Yahushua taught us His words are spirit. So, if we want to be led by the Spirit, we need to listen to His words. And we are too caught up, some of us, in the words of men: newspaper articles, historical academia, archaeology, theories about things going on in Scriptures that nobody can prove. I mean, man's dung, basically.
So, not everything Yahweh says has to be backed up by historical stuff. We can look at what He says. We can believe it.
Now, another area of focus that's dangerous, and you might think I'm really crazy on this one, but-- Bible teachers. Yes, you can get too caught up in Bible teachers.
There are a large number of people who focus on listening to the latest and greatest Bible teacher, and most of their spiritual food they are getting comes from listening to a Bible teacher.
Well, that's spiritual laziness. Really. It really is. Rather than doing research into the Scriptures yourself and actually letting the Spirit of Yahweh lead you, instead, listening to a plethora of various teachings on any given subject and then making a decision on which ones seem right. What if it is none of the above?
You know, there is a danger in this method of Bible study. Listen, I believe anyone who opens up the Word can be taught by Him-- anyone, by the Spirit of Yahweh-- and can be guided into all truth by doing your own reading, your own hearing, your own studying of Yahweh's Word. You don't have to tune into EliYah.com Broadcast to do that.
Now, Yahweh has set in His Assembly some teachers, and that is fine. You listen to a teacher. But Yahweh wants each of us to connect with Him personally. He wants a relationship with us that is void of other things, other men, other people, whatever, standing in the way.
And we have to be careful that most of our study is not comprised of listening to one teacher after another because we can be led astray. How can we really know whether or not that teacher is saying the right things unless we have already done our own research or our own study, our own diligent examination?
And so, our focus is not on the teacher or how powerful he can present things or what things that he knows, or whatever. Our focus is on our own relationship with Yahweh, our own research and study of the truth, the study of His Word.
I'm not saying it is wrong to listen to a Bible teacher. Obviously, here I am, right? But remember, listening to me, listening to anybody, should not be your sole method of study because man is capable of making mistakes.
I'm subject to mistakes. I might say something wrong. If you just listen to me all the time and you don't do your own research, your own study in the Word, you could be led into some mistake I am making, Yahweh forbid. But that is why we get the stricter judgment, because we may teach someone something that is not right, and I don't want to do that.
But I try to be careful and stick to the Word. We all do. But we can't focus too much on and get all our food from Bible teachers or Reverends or Pastors or whatever, because to do that is spiritually dangerous.
And a lot of times it is that tendency that keeps some who are in Christianity (going to church every Sunday) from accepting Sabbath keeping or calling on Yahweh because their focus is not on their personal walk with Yahweh, but on what their Pastor told them last week. And so, we don't want to fall into that trap again, do we?
We want to make sure our own relationship with Yahweh is not through man and what man tells us. Our relationship with Yahweh is us and Him. No man standing in the way.
I don't care how much a guy tells you how much he has studied, how much knowledge he has, how much wisdom he has, how much Hebrew he knows, how much history stuff he knows, how knowledgeable he is-- he is capable of making an error.
And if you are getting all your input from one man or two men or five men or a group of men, and you are not doing your own personal, daily "open the Bible-read it-pray-give me understanding," then you need to connect with Him and start doing that.
Another area of focus that concerns me. You know, the original followers all had one mind. They were in one accord. They were all together. They had a unity with each other and with Yahweh that had to have been just awesome. But we don't quite have that right now.
In the last two thousand years all kinds of "man's stuff" has come in (right?) and false doctrines. The Reformation Movement led by Martin Luther and other reformers, they were trying to get back to Scripture. They were saying rather than follow Catholic Church doctrine, they wanted to follow what they called "sola scriptura."
In other words, let Scripture be our guide, not church traditions, and the focus was supposed to be on the Scripture. But over time, those who focused on the Scripture became the focal point of other people.
The Lutherans. Let's say Luther had his little group of people that respected him and wanted to follow his teachings, and then someone else comes along and says, "Well, wait a minute. The Bible doesn't say that. The Bible says this."
"That's not what Luther taught." And because the respect is for Luther, rather than for the Word, they would rather follow Luther and trust him.
But those who follow the Word say, "Well, you know what? He is right about that," and they join with him. And they have their own little group. Before long they have certain men rise up and become respected among them and everybody wants to follow that man. And then someone in there goes, "Well, wait a minute. The Bible says..."
"Well, that's not what our teacher taught." And before you know it you have mushrooms, these denominations, ad nauseam.
And so, you have today this huge, gigantic choice of different denominations, groups, organizations, that has been built over the years. And they all kind of have their thing set up so that everything will be the same. Nothing will change. They have their pastors, elders, bishops, whatever. Everyone is going to keep things the same.
So, denominations build. Statement of doctrine is posted that you have to agree to, and then you can be baptized. It keeps people in a prison to where they can't grow beyond what that particular Bible teacher may have taught.
And so, here we are. We have discovered today, a lot of us, about Torah, about Sabbath and the importance of these things. So, we have to be careful we don't get caught up in that same thing.
I know, brothers, sisters-- we all, myself, I, have more to learn. And don't limit yourself. Let's not stop and build an organization. For this reason I have never wanted to start an organization because I don't want to be limited by you or by anyone or by myself. I want to be limited only by the Spirit of Yahweh and the Scriptures.
So, if there is some new truth that comes up that I didn't know before, I don't want to have this, "Well, what are all these people that are part of my organization going to think when I start believing this?" They will probably leave and then the organization will fall apart and there won't be one anymore.
As far as I am concerned, forget all that. It is not time to start a denomination. We are not at the same level of truth the apostles were at in the first century. Yahweh is doing a work right now, but not by a denomination, but by His Spirit.
He is calling thousands of Jews to come to the understanding that Yahushua is the Messiah, and many of them are responding. Thousands of Gentiles are starting to recognize the importance of Torah, the Sabbath, the Feast Days, the Commandments, the Holy Names. It is not because a denomination did it. It is because the Spirit of Yahweh is doing it.
So, you can't point to one group and say, "Well, they did it." Yahweh can use denominations. Don't get me wrong. But not any one denomination is bringing it to pass. It is the work of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon us.
There is a danger of being in what I would call a prison house and in what Yahweh would call, I see here, as a prison house. We are talking about the Messiah. The Scriptures predict:
Isaiah 42:21 - YAHWEH is well pleased for His righteousness' sake; He will exalt the law and make [it] honorable.
22 - But this [is] a people robbed and plundered; All of them are snared in holes, And they are hidden in prison houses; They are for prey, and no one delivers; For plunder, and no one says, "Restore!"
Well, these denominations are places of robbery through tithes and offerings and plundering. And they are prison houses because if you were to believe differently, based on something you found in the Scriptures that was different than that denominational mindset, they are going to keep you in that.
"If you want to be a part of this denomination, you have to believe like us."
And so, when you learn that Yahweh's Law should be honorable and that the Messiah came to exalt the Law and make it honorable, not abolish it, don't let the prison house keep you from accepting that-- that Torah. In fact, don't let a prison house keep you from accepting any truth that is in His Word.
So let's listen to the voice that cries out "RESTORE!" when we hear it because it is these prison houses that were set up in the synagogues of the first century Judaism that were keeping people from accepting the Messiah lest they be put out of the synagogue, right? And so, let's not put our faith in man and into denominations.
You know, when a person who is like the main leader, the one man or leader, of a denomination or of a group, when he falls (some kind of sin he falls into), the whole thing just falls apart.
When a Bible teacher gets involved in a scandal, or whatever, the people end up stumbling over that inappropriate focus on man. The one example we all need to look to is Yahushua Ha Mashiach.
First century Judaism, they had their denominations (the Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees), and people would align themselves with one or the other. And they were starting to do this in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 because people were saying, "Well, I am of Apollos." "I am of Paul." "I am of this." Paul rebuked them strongly on that.
We don't need politicking in the Body of Messiah. We don't need that. What we need is Yahweh's Spirit leading us. We don't have to force anything. What happens when you are in a denomination, you have to go along with "our creed" or you are out. We don't need that.
So, I brought these things up. That is one of the dangers, and to me all of these are modern day dangers. I mean, there are similar dangers we find in the Scriptures. These are modern day dangers (traps, pits, snares, whatever you want to call them) that keep us from focusing on what is really, really important.
Listen, in the end, on that final Day of Judgment when all is said and done, when we all face the Judgment Seat of the Messiah, when we all face Him and all the confusion and all the noise of all the Bible teachers are silenced, and the hammers and nails of denominations and organizations being built is heard no more.
And the sound of debates and doctrines and arguments over what race is more saved than the other have all quieted down, and the House of Academia and everything going on with this is no more, and there are no more presidents and no more news outlets and no more wars and all these things are gone.
And the noise and confusion and madness is over, it is going to be you and Him. That's it. And in the midst of all the noise of these things, did you, did I, truly seek to know Him? Did we truly seek to love Him or are we focused on these other things?
Do we read His Word because we love Him, because we want to see His will prevail in our life and the lives of others? Is that our focus? What does Yahweh say He really requires out of us? What does He really want of us? He has shown you.
Micah 6:8 - He has shown you, O man, what [is] good; And what does YAHWEH require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your Elohim?
What does Yahweh require of you? To build denominations? No. Do justly; love mercy; and walk humbly with your Elohim. That is a very simple message. Is that really all Yahweh requires? Yes. That's it.
That's too simple. What about learning Hebrew? What about all these other things? Well, what about them?
Do justly: To do justly means to keep His commandments. To love mercy: To love mercy means to receive the Messiah and be merciful toward those who sin against you. And to walk humbly: Yahweh doesn't want any pride.
So when you are walking justly, remain humble. When you have received the mercy of the Messiah, stay humble. Those three things sum up everything in the Scriptures.
Simple message: Walk in righteousness. Seek after the mercies of Elohim, and grant the mercies of Elohim to your fellow man. And keep far from pride.
Deuteronomy 10:12 - "And now, Israel, what does YAHWEH your Elohim require of you, but to fear YAHWEH your Elohim, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve YAHWEH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul,
13 - "[and] to keep the commandments of YAHWEH and His statutes which I command you today for your good?
So, what does Yahweh really want? What does Yahweh really want of us? He wants us. He wants you. He wants all of your heart. He wants all of your soul, all of your strength. He loves you and wants all of you.
He wants you to walk in His Image. He is merciful. He is just. And you need to be humble before Him. You know, Yahweh is even humble. It says it humbles Him to look upon man. That is how awesome He is.
He wants to delight Himself in you. He wants to smile at you. He wants to rejoice at the creation He has made of which we are the crowning act of achievement. He is looking for a seed. He is looking for children that will delight in Him that He can delight in.
Can we come together as His Children and be that special people for Him? I don't mean denominationalism. I don't mean esoteric ways. I'm talking about not crying out, "We are the only ones." I mean special in a sense that each of us are giving ourselves completely to His service, so that whatever we do in word, in deed, we do in the name of Yahushua.
Can you say that about your life? Can we all say that about our lives? Everything we do, it is all in Yahushua's name.
If there is some activity we are participating in, something we are focusing on that we wonder... "Is it inappropriate?" ask yourself: Are you doing that in Yahushua's name? Is that what He would be doing?
His leadership in our life is the wisest possible leadership that there is. And so, we want His rule to be in our life. Can we be His Body of Believers, avoid the clicks and being divided into little segregated groups?
Can the young people enjoy being around the old? Can the old enjoy being around the young? Can we avoid clumping together groups of better fitting denominational background and just accept each other and learn from each other no matter what our differences are?
Let's seek out unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. And if we would focus on being unified with Yahweh personally, if you focused on your unity with Yahweh and His Word, you know what? Our unity with each other would just come.
Because if we are all headed that same way, then we are all going to be unified with each other as we yield ourselves to Yahweh and His ways. You don't have to make it happen. You don't have to force it. You don't have to enforce it. You don't have to worry about it.
Anger and fighting sometimes happen because people are not in unity. But if we all seek out Yahweh's will for us personally (for our life, our unity with Him), we will be led, each one of us, into His ways. Then we will have unity. Because there is no unity unless you are in unity with Yahweh.
There is no peace unless you are at peace with your Elohim. There won't be true unity, though, unless we let the fruits of Yahweh's Spirit-- love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control-- flow through us because that is how He is toward our lack of unity with Him. He is that way.
So, our lack of unity with each other needs to be handled just as He would handle it. And that is how He does handle it if we allow His Spirit to flow through us.
Now the reason why they are the fruits of the Spirit is because they are the character traits of Yahweh. He is the Elohim of love. He is love.
Romans 5:7 - For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
8 - But Elohim demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Messiah died for us.
Wow! And that is how we need to be with each other: Demonstrate the love of Elohim toward those who are not demonstrating the love of Elohim. So, we can allow His Spirit of peace, of joy... You know the joy of Yahweh is our strength?
Nehemiah 8:8 - So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of Elohim; and they gave the sense, and helped [them] to understand the reading.
9 - And Nehemiah, who [was] the governor, Ezra the priest [and] scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day [is] holy to YAHWEH your Elohim; do not mourn nor weep." For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.
Nehemiah 8:10 - Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for [this] day [is] holy to our YAHWEH. Do not sorrow, for the joy of YAHWEH is your strength."
Love, joy, peace, long suffering. Yahweh is long suffering. Here is another verse about joy.
Psalms 16:11 - You will show me the path of life; In Your presence [is] fullness of joy; At Your right hand [are] pleasures forevermore.
Yahweh is long suffering.
Exodus 34:6 - And YAHWEH passed before him and proclaimed, "YAHWEH, YAHWEH Elohim, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
Another fruit of the Spirit-- the goodness of Yahweh.
Psalms 63:3 - Because Your lovingkindness [is] better than life, My lips shall praise You.
4 - Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
Psalms 18:35 - You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.
That is what made David great, the gentleness of Yahweh. What an awesome, awesome word.
Can we let Yahweh's Spirit dwell in us in such a way that we bear these fruits? If we do, we are going to have a foundation laid for unity with each other. We don't have to compartmentalize. We can be loving, just, merciful, humble people whose hearts are knit together as One Body, just like He wants it to be.
And it is our tendency to compartmentalize ourselves and divide ourselves into little sub-groups and sub-categories based on what we believe that keeps us from dialogue with each other that we might truly be unified.
We all have differences. We all have different backgrounds. We have different experiences, different people from different walks of life, from all over the world. Here we are. All these people, and a lot of you are listening right now. I don't know how many. Several hundred are listening right now, I suppose.
We all have different struggles, different beliefs, different emphases on what's important and what is not important. We can still dwell in unity.
And we are going to host a Feast this year, brothers, where I am singularly focused, and the brothers that are organizing this with me are singularly focused, on that-- that we will come together, even in our differences, and express the unity of the Spirit.
You might find a brother over there at your Festival who you thought of so highly. Then they did something that shocked and offended you or you were surprised by. You know, our gentleness with each other will build us all up.
We can know and understand. It is not where we are right now in terms of knowledge that's important. It is the direction that we want to go and our hearts willingness to walk in that direction. That is what really matters.
Everyone of us needs Yahweh's mercy, and the Spirit of Yahweh within us will compel us to walk in mercy and with humility with each other, Yahweh help us.
So, getting back to our real focus-- the opening comments I made here in this study. We are here on this earth to walk in the image of Elohim and to glorify Him. To please Him is our aim. And with that in mind, Yahushua says:
Matthew 5:6 - Blessed [are] those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
It is our focus to hunger and to thirst for righteousness. It does not say, "Blessed are those who have certain lineages." It does not say, "Blessed are those who follow these certain Bible teachers." It does not say, "Blessed are those who built this denomination over here." It does not say, "Blessed are those who went to the library."
The point of everything is to seek after righteousness. You know, there are two ways to seek after righteousness. Number one: We see the unrighteousness in ourselves, and we want ourselves to be righteous. So we submit ourselves to the righteousness of Yahweh by accepting Yahushua who will make us righteous.
That is one way we seek and hunger and thirst for righteousness. The second way is that we want to walk it out. We want to live like Messiah did. We want to walk in the image of Elohim like Messiah did. And so, we want to walk in uprightness, in truth, in love, in mercy, in righteousness. And it was the men who did that.
Genesis 7:1 - Then YAHWEH said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen [that] you [are] righteous before Me in this generation.
Genesis 15:5 - Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."
6 - And he believed in YAHWEH, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
That righteousness wasn't some empty thing void of works. Yahweh says:
Genesis 18:19 - "For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of YAHWEH, to do righteousness and justice, that YAHWEH may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him."
And of him is also said about Abraham (He is talking to Isaac here):
Genesis 26:4 - "And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
5 - "because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
To obey Yahweh's commandments, statutes and laws-- that is love. That is love. That is righteousness. Yahushua said, when He was asked:
Matthew 22:36 - "Teacher, which [is] the great commandment in the law?"
37 - Yahushua said to him, "`You shall love YAHWEH your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
38 - "This is [the] first and great commandment.
Matthew 22:39 - "And [the] second [is] like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
40 - "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
So, we want to be among those who keep those two commandments, right? You can't sever the Law and the Prophets from those two commandments. You can't. You have to follow the Law and the Prophets if you want to walk in love because the Law and the Prophets tell us how to love.
The Law and the Prophets, the commandments, are there to instruct us on what love truly is. And in the end, we will be among those, Yahweh willing, if we are followers of these commandments, who will be great. Yahushua says:
Matthew 5:18 - "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
"Till all is accomplished." Yahushua has much more that He wants to fulfill. He has to return. He has to set up a Kingdom on the earth.
Matthew 5:19 - "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches [them], he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
So, it is those who do and teach the commandments. Walk in righteousness and turn others toward righteousness.
Sometimes I think the focus is not right. The focus is on knowledge. In the end, it is not going to be the knowledge. It is going to be whether you love.
1Corinthians 8:1 - Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.
And so, while we do seek the wisdom of Yahweh, it is not so that we may more effectively understand except that it would be that we might more effectively love.
You know, there is a certain amount of glory in knowing something that somebody else doesn't know. Pride gets involved. The competitive nature that we have tends to focus on who knows what and how much.
But just knowing something doesn't mean a thing unless we use that knowledge to more effectively love Yahweh and unless we use that knowledge to more effectively love our fellow man.
So we need to be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Deceiving yourselves!
James 1:22 - But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
It is very deceptive, hearing this Word thing. We think, "Ah, now we know! That's it! We have it now!" "Boy, I heard that sermon today. I learned a lot. I tell you what, I guess that is what I needed. I have the key right there. Now I will be able to do it."
Unless you have done it, don't deceive yourselves into thinking you have arrived once you have heard it.
Don't boast when you put on your armor. Boast when you have taken off the armor and you hand it to the Messiah and say, "Thank you."
James 1:23 - For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
24 - for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
25 - But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues [in it], and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
We have a tendency to be relieved when we learn something new as if that was the whole key. The focus is not on knowledge, though. The focus is not on knowing. The focus is on loving. That is the focus.
When Yahushua says this, He said:
Revelation 22:14 - Blessed [are] those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
Those who do His commandments are those who are loving. I don't mean just loving your fellow man. Most religions teach you that. We are talking about loving our Creator Yahweh. He is the most deserving of our love and devotion. Yahweh wants our love for Him to be very intense because His love for us is very intense.
1John 4:19 - We love Him because He first loved us.
Because His love for us is very intense, when His Spirit is dwelling in us, our love for each other will be very intense, also. That is why the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, kindness, and so on.
That is why when we see someone who is in prison we visit them. We hear someone who is sick. We pray for them and seek to see them healed. That when we see someone hungry, we feed them.
Actions themselves. Let's be careful, because suppose there was a man. He spoke the Word of Elohim with power and authority. His words that he spoke, his sermons that he spoke, convicted the hearts of many. And suppose he could actually prophesy. He was a prophet. He understood all these mysteries and he had knowledge.
And when he prayed, mountains were moved. And let's suppose he didn't even own anything. Everything he owned he gave to the poor. He owned nothing. No house. No car. Nothing. And finally, there was a class of people that hated him, and they burned him alive.
Would that man be found in the Kingdom? Would that man be found in glory? Not necessarily.
1Corinthians 13:1 - Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
2 - And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 - And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
The fruit of the Spirit.
1Corinthians 13:4 - Love suffers long [and] is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
Pay attention to that, Facebook users.
1Corinthians 13:5 - does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
6 - does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
1Corinthians 13:7 - bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 - Love never fails. But whether [there are] prophecies, they will fail; whether [there are] tongues, they will cease; whether [there is] knowledge, it will vanish away.
For some of you, this chapter might be very, very perplexing. If so, why don't you do it? Why don't you study it out?
Yahweh is love. The entirety of Yahweh's Word is centered around His love for us, how we are to love Him, how we are to love one another. And if we are missing that, we are missing the whole picture. It is not about specific deeds accomplished. It is about loving.
Some have accused me of being legalistic. I realize that if our motives are off, we are not anything. Some might accuse you of being legalistic, because although you call on His name and observe the Sabbath day, you may appear to be doing what seems Scriptural and the right things, but if you don't have love, it is nothing.
You may have great knowledge of Scripture. You may bring thousands to the Savior's feet, but if you have not love, it is all self-centered. It was nothing.
Although we may seem to give our whole life to Yahweh, even becoming martyrs for His name, that is no guarantee that you love. The whole of Yahweh's Word has to be read with love being the backdrop because the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart.
1Timothy 1:5 - Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, [from] a good conscience, and [from] sincere faith,
6 - from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,
7 - desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
They missed it because the purpose of the commandment is love. If you are arguing with somebody and putting them down because they do not understand you, what you are trying to share about the Law, you have missed it.
Desiring to be teachers of the Law, they don't understand what you are talking about because you don't have the love part. It's not wrong to thirst for knowledge if the end is love.
If you are looking for a mindset, and you're talking about the Hebraic mindset, the goal is not so much to think like a Hebrew, unless what we believe and see (thinking like a Hebrew) will help us to more effectively love.
It's not wrong to thirst for knowledge if our motivation is that we love Yahweh so much we just want to know more about Him. We want to know more of what pleases Him. We want to be strengthened in the things that we are trying to be for Him, that we are trying to fulfill as Messiah fulfilled.
Too often the focus is on the wrong things. The focus is really on ourselves, building our own empires, our own churches, our own congregations, our own communes or reputations, our own things.
When we stand before Yahweh, He is not going to be impressed with any of that stuff. He just wants to know: Did you walk in love? Did you do justly? Did you love mercy? Did you walk humbly before me, or was it all really just for yourself-- pride?
1Corinthians 3:11 - For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Yahushua Messiah.
12 - Now if anyone builds on this foundation [with] gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
13 - each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.
Yahushua is our foundation because He is the one who restores us to an image of love. If we have not walked in that image of love, then we are not walking in the image of Elohim.
So many today are missing this message. So man today when they think of "The Law," they think of Yahweh's commandments: "I COMMAND!" They don't think in terms of love. They think in terms of some kind of authority figure trying to control them.
In fact, many, when they hear the word "Law," they don't hear the word "love." They think they are actually opposites: "Law" and "love" are opposites. They think the Law is bad because the Law condemns you. The reason why it condemns you is because you have not been good.
The Law is good. The Law is about love. The Law is holy and just, but we haven't been.
Romans 7:12 - Therefore the law [is] holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
The problem is not the Law. The problem is with us. The Law tells us what it means to love and what it means to be just and good. The problem is with us. We have not been holy, just and good. We have not chosen to love. We have not chosen to be just. For that reason the Law, which tells us how to love, condemns us.
You know, even Yahweh's choice to condemn and put people into the lake of fire is actually a loving thing. Isn't Elohim love? Does He ever do anything that is contrary to that? Have you ever thought of that before? Yahweh's choice to put unrepentant men into the lake of fire is actually an act of love.
Let me ask you this: If Yahweh wanted to set up a Kingdom where only love was permitted, wouldn't that be a wonderful place? Absolutely! So, would it be loving of Him if He forced us to live with people who refused to love? No, it wouldn't.
It would not be loving of Him to do that. It would thwart His purpose, which is to give us rest from those who refuse to walk in love.
And so, when Yahweh gives commandments and when He gives "The Law," the teaching, it is only that we may more effectively understand what it truly means to love. And in these commandments He is defining for us what love is.
If He only gave the two commandments ("Tell you what, guys. Love each other. Love Me. We will all be just fine. One big happy family!") there would be some out there saying, "Well, adultery is love. You can break the Sabbath. That's love, too. You have to do what you have to do, you know?" But He defined it for us, what love toward Him really is.
That is why Yahushua said:
John 14:15 - "If you love Me, keep My commandments.
1John 5:3 - For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
Why? Because they are just telling us how to love. What is so hard about that? Don't let anyone tell you different. Man thinks His commandments are a burden, so he tries to find ways to avoid it. But Yahweh's commandments are not burdensome, especially when you consider everything Yahweh has done for us.
He created this beautiful world for us to live in. He has given us every good thing we have. He gives us life and hope, and in spite of man's choice to ignore Him and choose his own way, He still loves us and even offers His own Son to die for us. Is it too much for Him to ask that He gets love in return? No, it's not.
So the conclusion, brothers, is simply this:
Ecclesiastes 12:13 - Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear Elohim and keep His commandments, For this is man's all.
14 - For Elohim will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
Were you feigning love while in secret you were hateful? Doing an act of hatred? Hateful motives? "Every secret thing."
Daniel 12:2 - And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.
3 - Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.
4 - "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."
Here we are, brothers, sisters, the time of the end. Knowledge has increased. Many are running "to and fro." But the focus: Turn many to righteousness, being sure we have awakened, wisdom shining like the brightness of the firmament to everlasting life.
It is time, brothers, to let our focus be on loving Yahweh as defined by Him, with all of our hearts, and loving one another. Not our own definition of love. Yahweh's definition of love.
And with that as our focus, with that as our area that we are aiming for, we will interpret all of Yahweh's Word the way it should be interpreted and with the mindset that we are supposed to have when we read it.
And so, with that as our focus, and our love for Yahweh and love for one another as our motive, it can be said in that final day, we can be among those to whom Yahushua will gloriously say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Master."
May it be so among us, brothers and sisters. Let's set aside the things that will never matter in the final day. Let's refocus on the things that truly do matter. And that is in the way of truth and in the way of love.
May Yahweh bless you, and may Yahweh truly have mercy on us all.