LIVING THE MARRIED LIFE
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 34
Favour and peace to you all from Elohim our Father and יהושע the Messiah! HalleluYah – it is good to be together!
Today is really a special day for us as a fellowship and as a family of the Most High Elohim. As we walk and discover the wonder of His mercy and grace, we truly begin to understand the true freedom and peace we have with Him and so it is with great enthusiasm that I want to share with you today some crucial turning points in the life of ATFOTC. To better help you understand this I would like you to turn with me to read from 2 Chronicles 34: My message today is called, “Living the Married Life”, and I want us to learn today how we are to live as a faithful Bride, amen! Let us read together…
(יהוה (Yahweh) is the name of Elohim (Mighty One) and יהושע (Yahushua) is the name of His Son which means ‘יהוה saves’)
יהוה started to talk very clearly to me through this passage bringing great comfort in understanding the process of change and continually being purified in our worship unto Him. To put this story in a nutshell, we have here the story of a young boy, Yoshiyahu (Josiah), who was 8 years old and he became king!!! What is so encouraging is that in verse 2, this young boy was very mature – he did what was right in the eyes of יהוה and walked in the ways of his father Dawiḏ, not his father Amon, and he did not turn aside(from walking in obedience), either to the right or to the left! In other words he walked straight – and I want you to remember this as we go on – he walked the straight walk! Progressively, as he grew and began to seek the Elohim of his father Dawiḏ, he began to make changes – in other words we see here a clear picture of hungering and thirsting after righteousness; he hungered and thirsted after the Elohim of Righteousness!
He began to purge the land of idol worship, altars and images and everything that had anything to do with Baal worship or sun worship were torn down, cut, smashed, broken – all through Yisra’ĕl – these were some pretty radical reforms if you begin to understand the major impact this pagan worship all had on the nation that was to be set apart as a Bride. By the 18th year of his reign, 26 years old, he began to purify the land and temple. During this restoration process, Ḥilqiyahu the priest found the Book of the Law and it was read to Yoshiyahu (Josiah); and after hearing it he tore his clothes in repentance and then went and gathered the nation, from least to greatest, to hear the Book of the Covenant and he renewed the covenant (of marriage) in the presence of יהוה, and he made everyone pledge themselves to this which they did and in turn went and removed idols, possibly out of there own homes etc. and all began to serve יהוה, and they lived long and did not fail to follow יהוה all the days of Yoshiyahu’s (Josiah’s) reign – this is pretty awesome stuff – to see such immense radical change that would have been very hard and uncomfortable to many – yet brought great freedom and joy in serving the true Living Elohim wholeheartedly with no idolatry being mixed in with their worship!
Why am I sharing this? Well it is a great encouragement to me in the fact that it reveals that we serve an Awesome and Gracious Elohim! When we give our lives over to Him and accept יהושע as our Saviour, we then begin to follow in His steps – now I know at first we don’t or may not know all about Him, however as we walk in Him and grow in knowledge we begin to make changes. Last week I spoke about change that brings growth and is not always pleasant and often results in grumbling and complaining, however when we go through necessary changes with the right attitude – one of praise and not of complaining – then the growth is truly great and very much rewarding. This is where we as a fellowship are at present. We have, I firmly believe, been walking in a straight line and in the process have been stripping away or putting off those things that hinder the straight walk, and so as we discover His Torah or ‘Law’ as we commonly know it as, we can with joy remove all forms of idols worship and engage totally in a life committed to walking wholeheartedly in Him.
One of the controversial issues possibly to date that we find in walking out our walk ‘in Him’ is the matter of ‘Law’ and ‘Grace’ being pitted against each other, almost to the point that they are opposites and one has replaced the other (Replacement theology). Today I want to share with you how this sadly is a misinterpretation of this common understanding we have come to understand as being taught falsely in the ‘Christian walk’ and see that in fact ‘Law’ and ‘Grace’ work together.
To begin this, we see in this chapter 34 that we have just read that when Yoshiyahu (Josiah) heard the Book of the Law, he was really ‘cut to the heart’ and truly set out to walk in the fullness of it. We know that the Word of Elohim is sharper than a double edged sword – it cuts to the heart, aměn! Now the word Law in verse 14 and other verses here is the Hebrew word “Torah”. Many of you have probably heard this word before and link it simply to a ‘Jewish’ person who is sadly still in bondage and has in fact no bearing on us who are ‘saved’; and in effect simply contain great ‘stories’ of the past. Torah consists of the first 5 Books of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, written by Mosheh, and is even referred to as the Law of Mosheh. The Torah, as we will see, is more accurately defined as the ‘instructions’ of Elohim for His set apart people, containing instructions for those who desire to live righteous, set apart lives in accordance with the will of Elohim.
Having said that, please turn with me to Yoḥanan (John) 1:17 for it says:
Yoḥanan/John 1:17 “For the Torah was given through Mosheh; the favour and truth came through יהושע Messiah”
Earlier translations, such as the KJV and the New KJV have the word ‘but’ in between Mosheh and favour (grace) – law given through Moses, but grace and truth through יהושע (incorrectly transliterated as ‘Jesus’). This sadly misinterpreted into English gives us the impression of two opposites that one has replaced the other and I am glad that the newer translations have corrected this, as there is no word in the Greek for ‘but’ and certainly has no place here. So in essence it is saying that Torah came through Mosheh, and it is this word Torah that I would like for us to examine today, in order to get a greater and clearer understanding of The Scriptures, amen!
Firstly when many people often hear the word ‘following the Law or Torah’, they so easily jump immediately to a perception that you are legalistic, that you are in bondage and you are doing a ‘bad thing’. After all we are taught that “The Law” was given to man to show him that he is not able to keep it and in need of Grace. How sad this perception is, as we will see has no Scriptural bounds to back this theory up! It is a wrong perception and misunderstanding that we do not need Torah, and I want to show you why. The English word ‘Law’ typically stirs up emotions and thoughts of police, judges, fines, punishment and even prison! And with this in mind it is very clear to see where translators have greatly influenced then how we read, how we understand and how we interpret Scriptures. Some people often refer to Torah as the Old Testament, again another sad and misleading title for a group of writings that can aid in the perception of ‘old’ and no longer in effect. The Old Testament as we have come to know it is in fact properly known as the ‘Tanak’, which includes Torah, the Prophets (Nebi’im) and the writings (Kethubim). The term ‘Old Testament’ is a man-made title which is so far removed from the truth it is ridiculous! The Word of יהוה is ‘eternal’, meaning that it is not affected by time and stands outside of time, and therefore that being said the Word can never be old – it is as ‘new’ and fresh and alive for us today as it was back then!
Are you still with me? It gets very technical I know, yet it is necessary in understanding the Truth, as we are on a great journey of discovery this morning!!!
The word Torah in Hebrew means: ‘utterance’, ‘teaching’, ‘instruction’ or ‘revelation’ from Elohim. Other definitions include: information that is imparted to a student; direction; body of prophetic teaching; instruction on Messianic Age; body of priestly direction. The Hebrew word Torah comes from the Hebrew word ‘Horah’ which means ‘to direct’ or ‘to teach’ and is derived from the stem word ‘yara’ which means ‘to shoot’ or ‘to throw’.
Therefore what we can clearly see here is that there are two aspects to the word Torah:
1) Aiming or pointing in the right direction and
2) Movement in that direction.
In other words it means that you aim or point in the right direction and you move in that direction. You can see that this meaning is way different as to how we understand the ‘burden’ that is typically associated with the word ‘Law’. It is also interesting and wonderful for me how the word Torah clearly reveals the Messiah, let me show you how. The original language spoken by Hebrews is now referred to as Ancient Hebrew or Paleo-Hebrew, and though the Hebrew Language went through a number of changes, we are able to discern the original symbols or pictures that were used which actually resembled their meaning. Each symbol or picture carried a meaning or meanings and when symbols were collectively put together they would spell a word that carried a meaning or clear description.
The word Torah is a combination of four symbols: (Remember Hebrew is read right to left):
(Ancient Hebrew) and ר ה ת ו (Modern Hebrew)
= ת (t tav) a “cross” which means ‘to seal or covenant’ or ‘mark’ or ‘sign’ (Please remember these words for when we close!)
= ו (w vav) a “nail” or a “peg” which means ‘to add or secure or hook’
= ר (r resh) a head which means “a person, the head or the highest” or “first” or “top” or “beginning”
= ה (h hay) a man with arms raised which means “to reveal” or “behold” or “what comes from”
Combining these symbols gives us a profound definition of the word ‘Torah’ as:
‘What comes from the man nailed to the ‘cross’ or upright pole’ and ‘Behold the man who secures the covenant’ and ‘To a cross is nailed the highest, it is revealed in Torah’
Wow – how awesome is this!!! Now – does this sound like a heavy law??? Not at all – this description or definition does not make me think of fines or of a judge or of punishment or even of prison! יהושע tells us that His yoke is easy – His yoke is Torah!
Now then understanding that sin (cha-ta - א ט ח) means ‘to miss the mark or target’ – then it is so very clear that Torah becomes very vital to us if we do not want to miss the purpose and fulfilment of our life or ‘miss the mark’. Remember, Torah is aiming in the right direction and moving in that direction – Sha’ul (Paul) describes this as fixing our eyes on יהושע – the author and perfector of our faith. We aim our sights at יהושע, lock them in and run with perseverance that which has been marked out. Sin is missing the mark – running off the mark as you take your eyes off of יהושע!!! Torah is the way to aim and go in Him!
Understanding Torah then could be more accurately defined as:
“The instructions of Elohim for His set apart people as was given through Mosheh and revealed by the life, death and resurrection of the Messiah, יהושע”
The Torah came through Mosheh on Stone Tablets and then through the flesh in Messiah יהושע! No more on stone, now on flesh!!! The Word became flesh!
The Torah contains instructions, guidance and direction for those who desire to live righteous, set apart lives in accordance with the will of Elohim, which יהושע show us by walking in Him. Whoever claims to live in Him, must walk as יהושע did (Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:6) – How did יהושע walk? He walked according to Torah! While these instructions were written on scrolls by Mosheh, they ultimately are written by the Almighty on the hearts of Believers, aměn! Having said all this, it is very clear then that the word ‘instruction’ has a much different connotation to the word ‘law’.
It is with this in mind that I would like to give an illustration of this word Torah in terms of our relationship with יהוה יהושע:
As we know יהוה brought His people out of bondage (Mitsrayim/Egypt) by ‘Grace’ so that they could be a city and His House where He will live with them. He ultimately did this by sending His beloved Son, יהושע, to build a house – the body of Messiah – for His Name where He could dwell. His desire is one of a bridegroom and His Bride living together in His House. This marriage, I would like to tell you today, took place at Mount Sinai where He gave His Commandments or ‘Words’ to them, known as the ‘Ketuba’ – Wedding Contract.
In order to understand the significance of this event, one has to understand the picture of a Hebrew marriage to fully embrace our ‘betrothal’ to our Saviour, for a Hebrew marriage is one of the most prophetic pictures revealing יהוה’s plans to His people. In essence the marriage consists of two parts:
1) First there is a Covenant drawn up between the Groom and the Bride, and this is called the ‘betrothal’.
Understanding then that when a groom would seek out a wife, he would ‘save’ her from being alone and ‘call her out’, then he would offer her a cup of wine and if she accepted then she would take the cup and drink of it and then a bride price was discussed and a contract drawn up. How wonderful this is of Elohim who ‘saved’ His Bride out of bondage through ‘Blood’ (the cup) offering marriage, calling her out. They accepted this cup by putting the blood on the doorposts of their homes and so he delivered them and brought them to Mount Sinai where the ‘contract’ was drawn up!
2) The second stage is when He comes to fetch His Bride to live with Him forever, after He has prepared a house or room for them at His father’s house. Look at what יהושע says:
Yoḥanan/John 14:2 “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”
So then, you enter the ‘first stage’ of ‘marriage’ as soon as the ‘betrothal’ contract is made between the two parties. The written contract is called the ‘Ketubah” pronounced ‘ke-tu-va’, and during the betrothal period you are legally married, yet do not physically dwell with your mate! Your mate has gone to prepare a room for the two of you. Betrothal is so legally binding that you cannot get out of it without a divorce. Marriage as we know it today is also associated with a contract or covenant between a man and a woman and in it; it has conditions to protect the relationship and to spell out how this relationship will be expresses successfully. Today we know this as our ‘Marriage vows’ and in the time of Moses, it was the ‘Ten Words’ or as we know it the ‘Ten Commandments’.
The contract was set up and Yisra’ĕl committed to it at Mount Sinai where they agreed to the Ten Conditions of their oath to יהוה. They were now ‘legally married’. The second stage will come when יהושע comes and rule as King in the New Yerushalayim with His Bride. Understanding this, we see then how Yisra’ĕl committed ‘adultery’ by lusting and following after other ‘gods’ and in effect received divorce being sent into captivity for their disobedience to the marriage agreement.
This marriage Covenant was restored when יהושע came to the earth, as a Prophet like Mosheh (Acts 7:37) and He re-established the Marriage Contract in His Blood with His Bride and cleansed her from the perversion of the Pharisees. This often called ‘The New Covenant’ often gives one the impression that it is brand new, as we have the English word ‘new’ causing us to think that the ‘old’ is done away with! This word ‘new’ here in regards to the Covenant in the Greek means ‘refreshed’ or ‘restored’. יהושע came to restore what was broken – how awesome is His love for us!!!
He then gave us the Engagement Ring or Seal (Sign) that we are promised to Him and that we belong to Him and that we are in fact married to Him, on the ‘Feast of Weeks’ or ‘Shavuot’ or ‘Pentecost’ as we know it, where they celebrated the receiving of Torah – His Marriage Contract.! Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 1:22 tells us that He set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Ruach (Spirit) in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come!
The second stage of the marriage then will happen at His Second Coming where He will come and fetch His Bride – that is us – to live with Him forever in the House He prepared for us – The New Yerushalayim!
Now as we can see from History – Yisra’ĕl whored after other lovers (idols) and as a result He scattered them into the nations (divorced) and will take her back if she is willing to repent. Repentance is associated with the re-establishment of His Marriage Contract in the Blood of יהושע and everyone who takes part in His Blood Covenant can be part of the Bride of יהוה!!!
In the symbolic sense then the ‘Wilderness’ is where the Bride lives out her new ‘saved’ or ‘married’ life. She can have a successful wedding, but a failed marriage!!! The wedding is where you have made the choice to follow יהושע and decide to live your life with Him and agree to the conditions of the marriage contract. Marriage is living out that promise you have made in an environment where you will be challenged.
Let us not make one thing very clear at this point, as this is very critical in the understanding of Torah: you are not saved by ‘The Law’ or ‘Torah’, but you are saved by Grace (favour); and after the “choice to be saved” (The wedding) comes instructions and living out what we call ‘good works’ that will bring you closer and not ‘bad works’ that drive you apart.
Mattithyahu/Matthew 5: 16-17 “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” Sadly the ‘church’ have taught people to ‘not think’ at all!!! He came to interpret the Instructions of יהוה, fulfil here means interpret or reveal!!! He came to make perfect or ‘fill up’ – to give meaning to and show the heart of Torah – in order that we may walk in it!
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 2:10 “For we are Elohim’s workmanship, created in Messiah יהושע to do good works, which Elohim prepared in advance for us to do.”
Married life with יהושע is defined as ‘good works’ that will glorify the Father and will ‘make you shine’ in this dark world. The ‘good works’ are certainly by no means a part of the ‘coming out of Egypt – Salvation’ issue – not saved by works! But it is part of ‘living in the Wilderness’ on your way to the Promised Land – this is our ‘betrothal period’. These ‘good works’ are rewarded at the end when יהושע comes again, where He will reward each according to what they have done with His instructions.
Ḥazon/Revelation 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”
These ‘instructions’ are known as ‘Torah’ and are given to the Bride to increase her intimacy in relationship with Him. Torah is not a set of laws that you MUST live by; rather it is a gift that helps us live a higher quality life in peace and intimacy with Him. As the Bride of יהושע, we accept and follow ‘Torah’ as His gifts to us, used to beautify us and prepare us to be perfect when He comes again.
You can, like so many people, call it legalism – which sadly is a very poor and failed translation – for I know that following His instructions is an expression of my relationship with Him, as I open up His gifts of perfection and purification in my life. This will help me to know Him and have a better relationship with Him. It is an expression of my love towards Him, to show that I fall short but am willing to die to the old and put on the new, reinforcing my relationship and making it stronger! יהושע tells us that if we love Him, we will obey what He commands – it is love that sums up ‘Torah’ and the Prophets. It is love expressed through obedience and it ultimately is for our own good – for He works everything out for our good, for those who are called according to His purposes – what is His purpose – to make us His Bride!!!
I hope you can truly see and understand the enormous love of our Maker and Saviour. So why all the fuss about keeping Torah? Well Torah is the very written Words of Elohim – it is the Truth. The writings came through Mosheh, in other words the Truth came written through Mosheh and Grace and Truth came through the life, death and resurrection of יהושע.
Elohim’s Word is clear that His ‘Torah’ or ‘instructions’ are not too difficult for us and let me show you this:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 30:11-14 “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”
The N.T. confirms this fact - that the commandments of Elohim are not too difficult:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 5:3 “This is love for Elohim: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome”
These Scriptures are very clear that to simply believe that we cannot keep the law is not true. There was, however, a law that was oppressive and too difficult to bear – and that was the laws and traditions of the religious leaders, which Kepha (Peter) clearly spoke about at the Council at Yerushalayim in Acts 15:10 which met to discuss the influx of Gentile converts. He said: “Why do you test Elohim by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”
This Scripture is often taken out of context to assume that the Torah is a heavy yoke that was not be put on, a yoke which even their father couldn’t bear. Let me remind you that as we have seen – His Yoke is easy – His Torah is easy! They heavy yoke Kepha (Peter) was addressing was the laws of man – their fathers could not bear the laws of man in slavery in Egypt. יהושע came to set captives free, break the chains of injustice and release prisoners from darkness, amen!
This yoke of the religious leaders was man made laws and restrictions that made it hard to live out a pure relationship with יהוה. At the time of יהושע there were many different religious sects in Jerusalem, the Pharisees and the Sadducees being the two prominent ones. Now many laws had been added to the Torah, which was commonly known as the oral law, and was believed by some that Mosheh passed down oral laws as well as the written and these oral laws became know as the Talmud. There was no oral laws given by Mosheh – Scripture is very clear that Moses was commanded by Elohim to write everything down.
Shemoth/Exodus 24:3 “When Mosheh went and told the people all יהוה’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything יהוה has said we will do.” 4 Mosheh then wrote down everything יהוה had said.”
The laws and traditions which constitute the ‘oral torah’ are specifically known as the takanot and ma’asim. The word takanot means ‘enactments’ and refers to the laws enacted by the Pharisees. Ma’asim literally means “works or deeds” and refers to the precedents of the Rabbi’s that provide the source for Pharisaic rulings along with subsequent rulings based on those precedents. (The Hebrew Yeshua vs the Greek Jesus, Nehemiah Gordon, Hilkiah Press 2005)
The oral Torah has now been written down and is located primarily in the Talmud which includes the Mishna and the Gemara – there are also writings known as the Midrash. This oral Torah is full of opinions, man made laws, customs and traditions which in many cases are an attempt to place a fence around the Torah. To ensure that people don’t get too close too close to the Commandments to violate them – they put a fence in between man and the Torah. This keeps people far away from Torah insuring they don’t disobey the Torah, but it often times obscures the real Torah and hides it behind the commandments of men. Placing a fence around the Torah is not supported by Scriptures. The development of these man made laws provided the Pharisees with power over men. When any religious system or denomination is able to develop rules that dictate the lives and actions of its participants – those who make the rules thereby become empowered. The Torah specifically commands not to add or take away from יהוה’s commands (Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 4:3), we are to ‘keep’ them.
The Pharisees believed they had the authority to interpret the Torah and to instruct people how to obey the Torah. יהושע came to challenge that man made authority and this was the underlying controversy concerning most, if not all, of their confrontations. Let me give you an example:
On one occasion, using His spit or saliva, יהושע made clay and put it in a man’s eyes to heal him, which was in direct contradiction to the man made laws regarding what could be done on the Sabbath. According to tradition, it was a direct violation to make anything on the Sabbath and get this – it was prohibited to put saliva or ‘spit’ in a person’s eye to heal them on the Sabbath!!! How ridiculous is that?
Talmud – Mas. Sabbath io8b – “[To put] wine into one’s eye is forbidden; [to put it] on the eye, is permitted. Whilst the other said: [To put] tasteless saliva, even on the eye, is forbidden.”
It was also considered to be forbidden to heal on the Sabbath. So in effect, in this one instance or in this one miracle, יהושע violated 3 of the man made laws but He did not violate any of the Torah Commandments!!!
These man made laws which were then written down over many centuries and constitute the Talmudic Law; we have seen this very same process at work, over the centuries within the church! Many denominations, all with varying rules and regulations which at times when neglected are disciplined more severely than the neglect of the instruction of Elohim! There is a church in USA that has a law that you are not permitted to eat peanuts in the church! Another church in the Congo teaches as law that one is not permitted to shower or bath naked as God is watching you and will see your nakedness!!! We may laugh at these however I do not think that we are far off from having some ridiculous ‘rules’ in many of our denominations today! We need to come back to Elohim’s Word and come out of man made traditions that sadly bind our freedom in following יהושע in accordance with His instruction, as a faithful Bride.
The reason I am sharing these things with you today is to say that, as Yoshiyahu (Josiah) made changes in response to the instructions of Elohim, so too are we today. Coming back to understanding His Word in its truest and purest form is the desire of every Believer and in so doing our worship becomes purer enabling our worship to be in Spirit and in Truth.
One of these critical changes has to do with Sabbath, the 4th Commandment. Now, before you all get freaked out, in order to understand the importance of Sabbath we need to understand what Scripture says and where man has influenced Scripture in adding new laws in order to ‘fence’ or replace Elohim’s instructions that are to be kept as lasting ordinances or all generations. יהושע Himself said that not one stroke of the pen will disappear from the Torah until heaven and earth pass away! Guess what guys – Heaven and earth are still here, unless I am missing something!!! For many of us we have grown up with the teaching and very reasoned understanding I might add that Sunday was the Christian Sabbath and we worship on Sunday to celebrate the Resurrection of יהושע, which became known as the Lord’s Day – again another wrong interpretation – The Day of YHWH speaks of the Day of His return.
Now before we carry on I just want to say very clearly that we are to worship Him daily, amen – so it is not so much as when you are assembling together that is the real concern (for even Sha’ul (Paul) went and preached on a 6th day (Thursday) night to an assembly of believers), it is the mindset that Sunday is ‘The’ Sabbath Day for us to come together – a mind-set that critically needs to change.
According to Scripture we are to test everything according to the Word, not according to man’s words but Elohim’s Word; and so I tell you all today to go and test all that I am saying, just as the Berean church did when everyday they tested what Sha’ul (Paul) was preaching. This will take effort I know, effort that we have been accustomed to not being used to exerting – it is easier just to accept what someone who is supposedly in a position of authority tells me! Test everything!
So then it has become very clear to us that we need to make a vital change toward purifying our worship and so we are going to be changing our corporate weekly worship, or rather ‘sacred assembly’ as it is to be proclaimed according to Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23 which records the 7 Feasts of יהוה, from a Sunday morning to a Friday Evening at 19:00 (erev Shabbat) starting from this coming Friday, yes this Friday already – why so soon – well when you know the Truth it sets you free from bondage to man’s laws and you walk in it with great joy. And before everyone gets all freaked out, I want you to hear me out. We are not worshipping another ‘god’, we are worshipping the very same Elohim we have been and we continue to confess יהושע as Saviour. יהוה is our Elohim, He is El Elyon Elohim Most High, He is The Almighty, aměn! We are simply and radically purifying our worship and so just as a Bride would keep the instructions of the Covenant with the Bride groom out of a deeper love, so too we are deepening our love to our Groom.
Once again, please hear me in this – I am here to encourage you today in יהוה; to have a refreshed and a restored love for Him desiring intimacy in the purest form. So why the Sabbath – what is so important about it? Well as you know from creation, Elohim made the heavens and the earth and all creation in six days and on the 7th day HE rested from His work. He then commanded His people, His Bride, to keep the Sabbath. We have learnt recently together after enjoying the Passover meal together that the Sabbath is one of the 7 Feasts of יהוה – His appointed feasts which were to be proclaimed as sacred assemblies. Ok so why can’t I keep Sunday as my Sabbath? Firstly it is not your Sabbath and secondly nowhere in Scriptures are we commanded to change the Sabbath Day! Strap on your seat belts as this is where it gets very interesting!!!
In fact I would like to read some quotes regarding Sabbath and Scripture:
John Wesley: “But, the Moral Law contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the Prophets, he (Christ) did not take away. It was not the design of His coming to revoke any part of it. This is a law which can never be broken… Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind, and in all ages; as not depending on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to change, but on the nature of God and on the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each other.”(The works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., John Emory, ed (New York: Eaton & Mains), Sermon 25, vol.1,p.221)
D.L. Moody: “The Sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force ever since. This fourth commandment begins with the word ‘remember’, showing that the Sabbath already existed when God wrote the law on the tablets of stone at Sinai. How can men claim that this one commandment has been done away with when they admit that the other nine are still binding?”(Weighed and Wanting (Fleming H. Revell Co.: New York), pp. 47-48)
T.C. Blake, D.D., Theology Condensed, pp. 474:
“The Sabbath is a part of the Decalogue-the Ten Commandments. This alone forever settles the question as to the perpetuity of the institution. Until, therefore, it can be shown that the whole Moral Law has been repealed, the Sabbath will stand… The teaching of Christ confirms the perpetuity of the Sabbath.”
So if this is the case – Sunday never is Sabbath in Scriptures – then where did we get this from?
Well there was a decline in keeping instructions of Messiah and the Apostles as hundreds of years passed. It was during the year 325 C.E. that the Roman Catholic Church was birthed at the council of Nicea, convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine, who was an ardent worshipper of the sun-god Mithras, and he bore the title ‘Pontifus Maximus’ – The High Priest of Paganism – despite his politically motivated conversion to Christianity. This council was hand picked by Constantine, and excluded all Hebrew Believers!!! This council was responsible for outlawing synagogues and the Torah and on March 7th 321 A.D. Constantine issued a proclamation stating: “All judges and city people and the craftsmen shall rest upon the Venerable Day of the Sun.”
The “official” change from Sabbath to Sunday occurred at the council of Laodicea which took place between 341 and 382 C.E. and according to Canon 29: “Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be Judaizers, let them be shut out from Christ.”
The transfer from Sabbath to Sunday seemed inevitable due to the ever increasing pagan influences which poured into the Assembly over the centuries and was eventually consummated thanks to Eusebius and his many followers known as Eusabians. Bishop Eusebius (270-338 C.E.), who worked with Constantine, admits the Church’s decision to change from Sabbath to Sunday and said that “all things whatsoever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these have transferred to the Lord’s Day.” (Come Out of Her My People, Koster, C.J., Institute for Scriptural Research, page 14)
This Lord’s Day which we have always interpreted as Sunday, has always been a sacred day to sun god worshippers, thus the name Sun Day. In 341 A.D. Believers were forbidden to celebrate Passover at the council of Antioch and were instead instructed to celebrate Easter, a day rooted in pagan worship named after the fertility goddess Easter or Ishtar also known as Astarte or Asclepius. As we have discussed before Easter has its roots from a religion birthed by the mother and wife of Nimrod. Nimrod was a wicked and evil ruler described in BerěshithGenesis as ‘a mighty warrior before the Lord’. He had supernatural strength and ruled by fear. The correct translation of the text reveals that ‘he was strong and mighty and in the face of יהוה’. In other words – he was in יהוה’s face – now think about that – when you get in someone’s face you are not there friend! You are hostile – he was defying the power of Elohim! He became the first self appointed king. He set up many of the ancient major centres such as Babylon and Nineveh. His mother was Semiramis and becaie his wife. Nimrod was killed and way cut up and his body parts were distributed throughout the world to declare that ‘Nimrod is dead.’ His motherwife went and collected all his body parts, all except one – his phallus! And she declared that Nimrod was ‘god’ who had gone to heaven and will not return until his phallus is found. She then began the practice of erecting obelisks in memory of Nimrod. She gave herself the name Ishtar, Queen of heaven and became pregnant, claiming that she was divinely impregnated by Nimrod who she now gave the official title of Baal, which means ‘lord’ in Hebrew. She had a son named Tammuz, who was killed in a freak accident by a wild pig when he was 40 years old. She told everyone that he had gone to be with his father Baal and so we see a counterfeit of the Truth. In mourning her loss she instituted a time of mourning of 40 days, 1 for every year of his life, and during this time people were not allowed to eat meat or do anything of pleasure and were to mourn Tammuz. This yearly time of mourning became known as ‘Weeping for Tammuz’, one of the abominations that יהוה showed Ezekiel taking place in His Temple where the women were ‘weeping for Tammuz’. At the end of the 40 days it culminated into a ceremony at the spring equinox, which was called ‘Ishtar’ or ‘Easter’. Each year they would impregnate virgins and the following year the 3 month old babies from last years ceremony would be sacrificed on the altar where eggs, a symbol of fertility, would be dipped into the blood of these killed babies. It is clear to see how the ‘church’ adopted many pagan practices in worship to ‘sun’ deities – the 40 period leading up to ‘Easter is known in the Catholic Church as ‘Lent’. We also so very clearly see the similarity in symbolism of the ‘mother-son’ relationship and how ‘Mary worship’ is a modern from of ancient pagan sun worship and at Easter time people ‘paint eggs’ etc. Understanding the nature of ancient pagan practices, we can understand the fact that Sunday is considered to be ‘the Lord’s day”. Since as I have said ‘baal’ means ‘lord’ and so the fact that Sun Day was the traditional day of the week that sun god worshippers revered their ‘lord’ it is quite fitting. This demonstrates the problem using titles instead of names in our worship. Sun worshippers refer to Baal, Mithra, Rha, Jupiter, Helios, Attis, Tammuz, Osiris and many more when they say ‘lord’ while Christians use the same title referring to our Saviour. Both use the same title and worship on the same day which poses quite a dilemma for Christians, especially when the Creator of the Universe calls the seventh day Sabbath set apart.
Listen to this statement:
John Theodore Mueller: “They err in their teaching that Sunday has taken the place of the Old Testament Sabbath and therefore must be kept as the seventh day had to be kept by the children of Israel… These churches err in their teaching, for Scripture has in no way ordained the first day of the week in place of the Sabbath. There is simply no law in the New Testament to that effect.” (Sabbath or Sunday, pp. 15,16)
Catholic leaders make no bones about the fact that Scriptural Sabbath is the seventh day and it was the Catholic Church which altered the Sabbath within her religious system. James Cardinal Gibbons, a prominent Catholic Authority affirmed this by stating: “The Catholic Church… by virtue of her divine mission changed the day from Saturday to Sunday. You may read the Bible form Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorising the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.”(The faith of our fathers – James Cardinall Gibbons 88th ed., pp. 89) In other words – they say in essence –‘Scripture says … - and we don’t follow it!’
And on November 11 1895 Chancellor H.F. Thomas stated: “Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act… and the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power.” And from the Catholic record London, Ontario, Canada on September 1st 1923 states “Sunday is our mark of authority!.. The Church is, above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact.”
Only if you believe that the Catholic Church has the power to change the Scriptures should you recognise and observe Sunday as the Lord’s Day!
It is clear it was changed – They declare that this change is there mark of authority, or sign! Now what does יהוה say about His Sabbath?
Yeḥezqĕl/Ezekiel 20:20 “Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am יהוה your Elohim.”
יהוה’s Sabbath in holy – keeping it is a sign between Him and us. The question is – whose sign, or whose mark do you want to be recognised by?
This sounds pretty harsh but the reality is we, as Believers today, need to purify our worship, living the Marriage Covenant with great freedom and joy. Sabbath starts Friday sunset and ends Saturday sunset. Elohim’s calendar day has evening first – go and check Genesis creation account –there was evening and there was morning – the … day!
Purifying our worship is certainly not Judaizing ourselves – we are not becoming Jews – we are already His Bride, we are believers in יהושע – we are not changing who we are or who we worship – we are with great freedom purifying our devotion and obedience! Sabbath according to Scripture is not burdensome at all – the focus is holiness and to do no regular work – you are to rest and not to have anyone work or you! According to Yeshayahu/Isaiah 58:13-14 we honour Him on the Sabbath by not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words for then your shall delight yourself in יהוה. The point of Sabbath is not to limit a person or make them miserable by imposing restrictions on their movement or activities. To the contrary, it involves focusing our sights on Him and allowing Him to make necessary changes so that He can lift us up to a higher place where we find His bounty and blessings. Approaching it with this mind set should not propose a problem on how we spend this day set apart.
I am truly excited as to how we are growing forward in intimacy and obedience to our Bridegroom, let us in our hearts and minds choose to walk in Him with our all. I want to assure all of you that this change was not an easy one to make, it has been birthed in much prayer, study and seeking Elohim and being in a way like Yoshiyahu (Josiah) in weeping before יהוה!!!
Freedom is not living without law – living without law is anarchy!!!
The following will be our revised times of fellowship:
Friday – 19:00 – 21:00
Saturday – Band Worship/ Practice – 10:00 – 11:00
Torah study and prayer and fellowship followed by lunch – 11:00 …
No More Thursday Night Cell – this fellowship will continue on Sabbath after time of prayer and worship on Saturday!
Wednesday – Family Fellowship
Let us go and truly live the “Married Life” being a faithful Bride who is making herself ready, aměn!