Thursday, November 4, 2010
5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover.
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.
7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
8 But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
Back to our list, we find after the Sabbath the first feast in the list is Passover or Pesach meaning exemption, it comes from the root word “to hop or skip.” Passover, let me just tell you right now…this feast…well all of them…are just bottomless pits of teaching. There’s so many things that YHVH wants to teach us here.
Let me begin in reverse from last time, and mention how a traditional season of Passover might occur. If you were to get online you would find many sites that can give instruction on tradition. Most will say that on the 14th of Nissan there is the “hunt for hametz” hametz being leaven. This takes place at night. The following day going into the 15th of Nissan you would have your Seder (the traditional Passover meal), where you would have lamb, four or five cups of wine, various traditional dishes, singing, dancing, and the whole ‘seder’ would last hours. I’ve done these until recently.
Nothing wrong with the elements of that, but keep the order in mind. Firstly, note that the Levitical list begins with these are the feasts, holy convocations, that you shall proclaim. Which is the first convocation on that list? It’s not Passover; it’s the First Day of Unleavened Bread. Passover is what day? The 14th, not just anytime on the 14th but at the beginning of the day “Even.” Remember biblical days are “Evening and the morning…”
Unleavened Bread begins on the 15th day lasts for seven days and there is a holy convocation on the first day (the 15th) and the seventh day (22nd). This is why you might look at a calendar and say “Wait, Passover is eight days long.” It’s not, Passover is in the evening on one day and then a separate but associated feast begins the day after. In tradition, Passover has largely been rolled into the feast of Unleavened Bread. Why do you suppose that might be? Let’s dig a little deeper.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
2Th 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
You bet there is rest coming, from what? All who trouble us. When? When Yeshua is revealed from Heaven!
Heb 4:1 We may fear, then, lest a promise being left of entering into His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short,
2 for we also are having good news proclaimed, even as they, but the word heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard,
3 for we do enter into the rest--we who did believe, as He said, `So I sware in My anger, If they shall enter into My rest--;' and yet the works were done from the foundation of the world,
I use the YLT here because I think it’s easier to understand in this passage. He says we may fear lest we fall short of entering his rest. Why? Because they heard the word and failed because they heard without faith. Because those that do believe, enter; but not the unbelievers (see 3:18)…they didn’t enter even though the work was already done.
Heb 4:4 for He spake in a certain place concerning the seventh day thus: `And God did rest in the seventh day from all His works;'
5 and in this place again, `If they shall enter into My rest--;'
6 since then, it remaineth for certain to enter into it, and those who did first hear good news entered not in because of unbelief--
It’s already done because it is written God rested from his work on the seventh day…does that mean he finished all his work back then? How did he, when Yeshua said the Father works even to the present (John 5:17). The writer adds “if” they shall enter because those who “did first hear the good news entered not…” The work is complete if we continue in belief. In other words, the promise is safe and secure. The promised land is waiting for us...all we have to do is continue in belief. God apparently keeps working because we do not all continue in belief. In other words, the Sabbath of rest could come if only we all believe.
Heb 4:7 again He doth limit a certain day, `To-day,' (in David saying, after so long a time,) as it hath been said, `To-day, if His voice ye may hear, ye may not harden your hearts,'
8 for if Joshua had given them rest, He would not concerning another day have spoken after these things;
9 there doth remain, then, a sabbatic rest to the people of God,
10 for he who did enter into his rest, he also rested from his works, as God from His own.
David in Psalm 95 says “today” generations after Joshua brought them into the promised land says do not harden your hearts as your fathers did, why? Because he sware not to let them enter into rest because of their unbelief. David apparently sees this as an ongoing danger and apparently the writer of Hebrews agrees saying. “There doth remain, then, a sabbatic rest to the people of God…” Why? Because if we had entered that rest we would stop working just as God would and did.
The Sabbath is a prophecy of the span of man…or at least his first span. That as God rested after six, we rest on the seventh testifying that he did. And that is the sign that YHVH sanctifies us and thus like him when our six days are complete, like him we will rest.
When is this Sabbath, when is this completion that ends our work?
Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
There is our Sabbath. We rest when evil is put down and Messiah reigns and we under him. And it gets even better! A new week!
Satan gets loosed for a little time, but God judges him. Notice there is no talk of our battling in a second Armageddon; God annihilates them himself. And then what?
Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
What else do we know about this new Earth?
2Pe 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
After our coming Shabbat, we start on a new week on a resurrected Earth! So that’s what Sabbath is about. Do we see how singular it is? All of the feasts are, but the Sabbath especially because within the first seven days God had laid out the future of humanity’s first week!
Not all of this is well understood, after all there are many of the physical children of Israel who have not embraced Messiah, so there are many traditions based on interpretations of how to keep Shabbat sanctified. And that is what they all amount to, setting the Shabbat as holy from all other days.
We just set out to remember the Shabbat and encounter YHVH on that day. And I tell you what, when you do it makes a difference. Because you have the world going on and it doesn’t stop, it doesn’t even know what’s going on. “Shabbat? What’s that?” So when you take this time to repose, to do no work and say this day is not the same, its as if you’re stepping out of the world for a moment. In fact, it’s not just what you’re not doing (work, business) but when you really start to pursue God in this time, you feel that peace and when you don’t get it…say you let some function which really isn’t about God encroach on the time you’ve set aside, you feel it. It’s like “Where’d the Sabbath go?” You actually look forward to it.
And why is that? Because the Sabbath is a gift (Exo 16:29), the only sanctified day; the only blessed day; the only day that is a sign between you and YHVH that he sanctifies you just as he made the Earth by his word in six days and rested on the Seventh.
Mar 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
The Sabbath was not given to us because the Sabbath needed us, but because we needed the Sabbath.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
We’ve said that the Sabbath is the first gospel and a sign that it is YHVH who sanctifies us and he is our God. In that, we should realize that the Sabbath is also therefore prophecy. I mean the gospel isn’t just about what is happening, but what will happen? Right?
Isa 46:8 Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Now it may seem at first that God is saying “I tell you what the beginning is and what the end is,” but the next part of 10 makes it clear “from ancient times the things that are not yet done,…” In fact, Young’s Literal Translation renders it:
Isa 46:10 Declaring from the beginning the latter end, And from of old that which hath not been done, Saying, `My counsel doth stand, And all My delight I do.'
According to Isaiah, God has been telling us from the beginning what the end will be. What happened in the beginning?
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Yeshua created the world because the Father instructed him too (John 5:19) in fact Gen 2:2 says God ended his “deputyship” or “employment.”
Joh 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
We see God is drawing a line between the creation week and Sabbath as a prophecy about Yeshua. Just a side note, but a rabbi has said that “all prophecies are about the days of Messiah.” So what does this Sabbath prophecy mean?
Psa 90:3 Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.
4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
5 Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.
6 In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.
Notice this is a “A Prayer of Moses the man of God.” He talks about the unchangingness of YHVH “from everlasting to everlasting…” and calls men to repent, why? Because a thousand years is as yesterday. We flourish for a time and then are cut down.
2Pe 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
He’s calling to rememberence what was spoken of by the prophets. Psalm 90 is quoted by Peter.
2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Notice the context in both the Psalm and Peter is the latter days, or rather specifically the coming judgment. Moses’ prayer is God’s call to repent because a millennia is like a day to God. Peter’s exhortation when dealing with scoffers is to tell Yeshua’s disciples that “…be not ignorant of this one thing…” one day and a thousand years are like the same thing. Now what does Peter say the scoffers are at fault in their thinking “..all things continue…” What are they willingly ignorant of that causes this? That by the Word the Heavens and Earth were and by the same word they are preserved.
They are ignorant of creation, saying that all things are as they were. Ironically, this is exactly the lie of so-called theistic evolution. If God has always used death and suffering to ‘evolve’ his creatures then since death and suffering continue, then truly all things continue as from the beginning. But if on the other hand, God created a complete and unsuffering world, and that world fell and God showed some of his necessary justice by purging the world with the flood, then things have NOT continued as they were…
But notice then they have to be ignorant of the way in which God created, both that it was by his spoken word rather than cosmic accident and the status into which he created it (unsuffering, undying). Thus, they do not evidence that the same God created in six days and rested on the seventh. They bear false witness against, the Creator.
[Note: Just out of coincidence, but the epistle of 1st Peter is largely to gentiles believers, firstly because Peter identified himself as the Apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 15:7) and 1 Peter 1:1 tells us that this is a letter to the “strangers” in several cities including Galatia. 2 Peter is too the same, see v3:1. These would be people who had not been imbedded since young age about the Sabbath.]
We should be seeing than, that God made the Sabbath as a sign between us and him that we witness that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. We see also that ties this idea of one day as a thousand years to the coming judgment and the need to repent. Peter ties the same two concepts together, a thousand years is a day and judgment is coming, but he says the people who don’t believe Yeshua is returning are ignorant of what? The very thing the Sabbath is there to signify. So it seems, Peter would also sees a connection between a view of God’s patience and mercy tied to creation and therefore Sabbath.
So what do we see in our world? The world is coming up on the completion of six thousand years of history. The Hebrew calendar puts us at 5,770 since creation and most agree they’ve lost possibly 200 years. Biblical Christian theologians also say Adam probably was living around 4,000 BC which if this is 2,000 AD puts us again around 6,000 years. If you start counting at year 1, then when you’ve reached year 1,001 then you have completed one Millenia. So theoretically, year 6001 would be 6,000 years since creation. So if a thousand years is as a day…6000 years is 6 days.
Do you see why, Peter might connect creation; 1,000 years to a day; and the latter days? What is the Sabbath? A sign that YHVH is sanctifying us, why is it the sign? Because in Six days God created Heaven and Earth…then rested. If God is sanctifying his people, and that is the sign because of creation…how long do you think it would take him to sanctify us and then rest? Maybe 6,000 years?
If this is true, what should we be looking towards? 1,000 year rest and then a new week. Do we see that?
Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
I’m not going to get into what the Seventy weeks or Daniel’s timeline means right now; I wouldn’t even claim to fully understand it, but what I’d point out is what happens at the completeion of those seventy weeks? Finish transgression; end of sins; reconcile for inquity; bring in everlasting righteousness; seal up vision and prophecy; anoint the most Holy.
Ask yourself what is rest and what is labor?
Isa 51:4 Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.
5 My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.
6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.
Isa 51:11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
12 I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;
13 And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?
The context is again the end of days and God is talking about his righteousness being near; his judgment. Salvation comes by the judgment of evil. The redeemed return with singing and gladness and joy…sorrow and mourning flee. What does he say? “Why are you afraid of man which passes as grass…(remember Moses’ prayer?)…and forget that YHVH is who? The one that stretched for the Heavens and laid the foundations of the Earth.” It says he comforts or “makes to breathe deeply.”
“Where is the fury of the oppressor?”
If you read the Psalms even cursory, you will see that it is sin, iniquity and the world’s way of doing things that are the burden in this life. Doing righteousness is a delight, and strength of bone.
Psa 32:1-2, 40:8, 40:12, 119:76-77,84, 85, 165-167
There are many more, but I mention these to say that true rest must be as Daniel prophecied an end of sin and the bringing in of everlasting righteousness. So looking at our 6 days: 1 Sabbath correllation, do we see this period of rest coming?
Moving on, we now have a basic context in which to understand these feasts. They are appointments to encounter God, appointments that he determined from the beginning of time. Where should we begin with these feasts?
Lev 23:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover.
I read verse 5 to make a point. In verse 2, YHVH tells us that the subject are his feasts; what is the first thing he mentions? Sabbath or Shabbat. Then he goes on to say “These are the feasts which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” At which point he talks about Passover which is the ‘first’ appointed yearly day.
See the pattern? God says “I want to talk to you about the feasts…keep the Sabbath…pause…these are the feasts…” In other words the first feast we learn about is the Sabbath and yet at the same time God separates it from all the other feast days. It is as if God himself is saying “before we talk about the feasts, pay attention to my Sabbath.”
Consider this, in a Gregorian year there are 52 weeks, (in the biblical year there’s somewhere between 51 and 55 depending on if it’s a ‘short year’). In that 51-55 week there is only one Passover, one Unleavened Bread, One Ha’Bikkurim, even one day of Atonement…but there are 51-55 Sabbaths. In fact more often than not, there will be a Sabbath between those so-called ‘high holydays’ like Passover. For example, Passover is followed immediately by the first day of Unleavened Breads, but there must be a Sabbath between then and HaBikkurim (the wave of the sheaf of first fruits). A Sabbath must fall between the first and last day of Unleavened Bread. Also during the eight days of Tabernacles.
For these reasons, the Rabbis actually hold (not that they are always right), but they hold that Sabbath actually is more important than these other holy days including Yom Kippur/day of Atonement. If for example, one of these days falls on a Sabbath (which they often do), the synagogue leader would do whatever ceremonies are associated in their congregation with Sabbath before they would do those associated with another holy day).
If this seems like it would be an interruption, perhaps that’s because the word Shabbat means “intermission.” What is this intermission about? Why does it exist? In verse 3, we are told do work six days, the seventh is rest and a holy encounter; don’t work it belongs to YHVH in “all your dwellings.” Dwellings here is very broad and basically means anywhere you sit down. I say that to point to that God seems to be saying he will encounter you where you are. He summons to meet with you where ever you are. Just a repeat that the encounter is with God, not with other saints.
Exo 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Earlier than Leviticus, God enumerates his ten commandments or “Ten Words.” There’s several different ways to look at the ten commandments: Do they flow from most important to ‘less’ critical? Do they flow from between us and God to us and each other? Are they parallels: ie killing the image of God is the same as setting up a graven image of God; or adultery on a human level is the same as taking the name of YHVH in vain?
All of which may be true, consider how that might be applied? Well, if in order of importance; then God is saying remembering the Sabbath is more important than honoring your father and mother. If it has to do with God, how so? The answer to both could be found later. Fast forward:
Exo 31:16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
The last thing God tells Moses to tell his people before sending Moses down with the original Tablets is “keep the Sabbath.” And why? Because it is a sign (oth again) between YHVH and Israel for ever. In fact he said it earlier in verse 13, “it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.”
Eze 20:12 Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.
Eze 20:20 And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.
Of all the days in scripture, this is the only one that is called a sign; not Passover, or Yom Kippur, but the Sabbath is. In this case Sign (oth) seems to be best understood as evidence. In all cases it would be the same, a signal is evidence that something has happened or will happen. I say evidence here because it a sign that we can know A) YHVH sanctifies and B) YHVH is our God.
So is that more important than honoring Father’s and Mothers? Yes, because if YHVH is not sanctifying then what hope do we have of honoring Father and Mother? And if YHVH is not our God, then what does it matter if we honor? Not only that, it also fulfills the parallel interpretation: Remembering the Sabbath is equivalent to not being a false witness. How?
This Sign tells us that YHVH sanctifies us, it is a sign that he sanctifies. But why is it a sign? Because…
Exo 31:17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
God in six days made Heaven and Earth and rested, and was refreshed. What does that mean? Before Israel was even around, God followed the pattern of this sign in that he worked for six days on an enormous work and then rested; so by our working six days and resting on the Seventh day we are testifying agreement that he did create in six days and rest on the Seventh. That is the simple, or short answer. We do to be like him and we testify truly that he did in fact make the Heavens and Earth in six days.
We evidence by remembering the Shabbat that YHVH is our God and he sanctifies us. It’s like his thumb print or signature. Alisa and I discussed this the other day. The phrase “YHVH doth sanctify you…” What is the alternative to YHVH sanctifying us? Someone else sanctifying us.
The Sabbath is therefore the gospel. Notice it is not a sign that we are sanctifying ourselves, nor that any other god is sanctifying us. The Sabbath then is an acknowledgment that we need to be cleaned; we need to be helped; and by remembering it we are witnessing that it is YHVH doing the work in us.
Hold on to this idea of a sign, the idea that this is the thumbprint that our sanctification is God’s work in us. That is what the Sabbath is a sign of, but why does He associate this with creation?
Gen 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
This is a very special passage. Two things, the first, if you search through your bible you will find there is only one non-living thing that YHVH blesses. He blessed herbs, animals, man, groups of men, but He never blesses dirt, rocks, air, water…He blesses men in their work of the Earth, he blesses them in things but never blesses things.
There is one exception, the Sabbath. “God blessed the seventh day…” Just a question, but is the this the one exception or is the Sabbath in God’s mind alive?
Second thing; God pronounced many things good in the first six days of creation. But there is only one thing that God ‘sanctified.’ Again, the Sabbath; in fact there are many people sanctified by God, and YHVH sanctified by holy men, as well as men sanctifying holy things…but the Sabbath appears to be the only day that YHVH sanctified himself.
The Feasts of YHVH are a number of days and groups of days that YHVH delineated through Moses. You could say the definitive list is in Leviticus 23.
Lev 23:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
Here YHVH says “the feasts which ye shall proclaim to be holy…these are my feasts.” The idea is quara (to call) is like to point out, but it’s like to accost and identify or to encounter. It’s like the day is coming along and we are taught to grab it by the shirt and say “This is a holy encounter!” I say that because the word convocation is “miqra” from the same word in noun form. What he’s saying is to latch on to these encounters. Why? Because these are YHVH’s feasts. In fact notice the construction “the feast which ye shall proclaim…are my feasts.”
That should be enough, I mean if I had a pen and said this is YHVH’s pen, how much would you give to hold it or even be near it? The days to proclaim as holy encounter’s are YHVH’s days. The word feasts here is Mo’ed (singular) Mo’edim (plural). I can’t remember all of these words in one sitting, and I’m not expecting anyone else too, but I think it’s good to get a sense of the word. So forget the word, just remember the idea.
Mo’ed means an appointment but not like one you make with your doctor. It comes from to fix upon, it’s like a summons to trial. God isn’t saying put this on your calendar right next to Boxer Day (in Canada). It’s this is the day! Seize it! Why? What is this talk of encounter?
I used to think this was a command to meet with people. The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to not forsake the assembling together of saints, but that isn’t what this is talking about. The first feast God talks about here is the Sabbath, but what did people do on the Sabbath?
Exo 16:29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
It seems at the most basic, if there was a command it was not “to go”, but to stay. Now, here the context has to do with gathering manna; so he forbids going to gather, but the only thing we are told to do on that day is to proclaim ‘holy convocation’ and to rest. The commands associated with Sabbath all have to do with abiding, or being within your gates. There is no command to go.
Granted again it does say a convocation, but if God wanted a large corporate meeting with the people, wouldn’t he have said where? And if he had, wouldn’t he have said how many? Suppose one is traveling, how many people do you need to be with on the Sabbath to obey? How long, what are the elements of it? It seems God is less concerned with the manner of the convocation, except that it does not interfere with rest.
Luk 4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
This passage is actually the most detailed we have on what a first century Sabbath service may have looked like and actually most of it as described is still followed today, the reading of the Haftorah (the prophets etc), etc. But notice that it says Yeshua’s “custom” was to go to the Synagogue. If this was meant to be a command as it often said "according to the commandment", Yeshua would have known and obeyed. But apparently, Yeshua while keeping Shabbat understood the convocation to mean something different.
Mat 12:1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
Mat 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
Yeshua and his disciples are apparently on their way to the synagogue and Yeshua allows them to rub ears of wheat for food and sees this as being in keeping with Shabbat.
Mat 12:10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
Mat 12:11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
It is lawful to do well he says, so then apparently if your ox falls into a pit and you miss synagogue to help it out of the pit or to heal, then God holds that to be doing well and lawful. So then we see that this ‘convocation’ does not interfere with rest, healing, or need.
Who then is this meeting with primarily? Who is the encounter with? While it is important to meet with the saints, the feasts are not for meeting with man, but with God. In fact, in the KJV, you will often find the phrase “tabernacle of the congregation…” as a place for offering to and seeking YHVH but the word rendered congregation 147 times is actually Mo’ed again. It is not the tent of congregating, it is the tent of appointment or meeting.
While God often summoned the congregation in the wilderness, and kings sometimes summoned the people to the temple, the purpose was never to meet with people but with God, meeting with people happens when you're already meeting with God. YHVH thought these Mo’edim were pretty important, so important that he cleared our schedules for them long before Moses day.
Gen 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
From the fourth day of this Earth, YHVH had these days in mind. The lights in the Heaven; sun, moon, stars are to divide day from night, and to be for signs (‘oth’ meaning a signal or beacon probably descending from the word ‘ooth’ meaning appearing or ‘to come’). And for seasons: Mo’edim. So on day four, before there is a man to see them God scatters glowing shards across the universe for the express purpose of being signals and appointments, or as we now call them ‘feasts.’
That is something we forget about God. Nothing occurs to God. Man didn’t sin and God sat bolt upright on his throne going “oh, boy, he’s in a real pickle! How am I going to fix this!?!” He knew his plan of redemption before there was a man to fall. Likewise, he didn’t “come up” with the feasts in the time of Moses, these were already “fixed” before creation was ‘finished.’
When we realize this, and as we’ll see later, this is evidence of the eternality of God’s plan. What occurs in every instant happens with the knowledge and determination of God to bring about his plan of redemption and abundance. God does not have ‘afterthoughts.’
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Job 5:6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;
5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
Here’s where the book of Job gets tricky, in my estimation, because so much of what is being said is—again in my estimation—true. Affliction is ‘aven’ which is fifteen times more likely to be rendered iniquity. However, it is not the most popular word for iniquity, that would be ‘avon.’ I don’t know if those two are related because Strong’s hints at no connection. I point this out because ‘aven’ means to pant with the idea of effort that is usually in vain. Imagine a small child exhausting himself trying to move a boulder several times larger, that is ‘aven.’ Meanwhile ‘avon’ means perversity coming from to be amiss or to make a crook, imagine a straight edge that’s bent that is ‘avon.’
In both instances the result is waste, or nothingness. The child spends all the effort and gets nothing in return. If you need a straight edge to draw a perfect line for a map, a bent one gives you nothing to work with. If you think about it, in both cases this shows inquity for what it is, waste and frustration. Consider if, Eliphaz had been right in his condemnation of Job. His children were killed because of his sin, what does that make of all his efforts in raising them? In herding his cattle? In managing his finances? Waste and frustration.
When we sin knowingly (iniquity is seemingly always a conscious sin), we waste our futures. We imagine that turning left when the map said go straight, will lead us more quickly or more scenically to our intended destination, but in the end we have arrived at somewhere we didn’t intend to be. Iniquity is the effort it took to get us to the wrong place.
Yet, even if we don’t commit iniquity, our world is under a curse, so we still have trouble though it does not ‘spring out of the ground.’ Perhaps someone else’s iniquity or even their ignorant sins (or our own) might make our lives harder. When I used to eat pig, I would get sick more often with no reason that I could see. In the military, I constantly had to go through some extra step because someone else had done something wrong before me. Someone else’s wrong effort might have made it so I have to use right effort to restore things. Isn’t that redemption? To exert a force to restore something from a corrupted situation?
Job 5:8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:
9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:
10 Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields:
In this, Eliphaz does speak well in suggesting seeking God, though prefaced with himself again. Then a common theme in Job (or for that matter the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclessiastes or the prophets)—the marvelous unsearchable nature of God. This can be seen by anyone who cares to observe the creation. My wife and I make frequent observations about the impossibility of life by chance and evolution as it is taught in schools (I am not against mutation and diversity within a species). Consider the venomous snake: which evolved first the ability to make a substance that is only toxic when injected so that it doesn’t harm the snake itself? Or the hollow, otherwise useless fangs that retract themselves to avoid puncturing the snake? Or what about the breast: which evolved first the ability to make milk or the nipple for it to be extracted? Or perhaps the child with the inborn tendency to suck?
Creation is the work of a Creator that considered so much more and deeper than all we can imagine. Just think when God made the universe and flung his stars into space, he already had one (or two) in mind that would come and stand over
Interestingly, here the word unsearchable is “ayin” meaning, no or nothing. In other words God does Great Things and God does No Things or immeasurable things (just like ‘nothing’ which cannot be measured). Both existence and nonexistence is of God.
This can feel like a catchall. Something happens and you wonder, why. The answer “God works in mysterious ways.” True that is, but what kind of mystery? Is it, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Or is it “I wonder what’s around the next bend?” Or “I wonder what this will look like when it’s finished? The difference: is this something hopeless that cannot be known, or is it something we do not know, but we are meant to know?
Why does God hide things? Is it so that he can say “I know something you don’t know”?
Pro 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
Glory here and other forms of it appear 150 times out of the 214 renderings of the word glory. The word literally means weight, what we would say now is the “gravity” of a person or thing (yet is always rendered as glory, honor or the like). The presence of weight or gravity shapes the terrain around it, it pulls things towards it. The gravity of God is to conceal, but the gravity of kings is to search.
If God truly wanted us to not know a thing, he could thwart every effort to discover. He could be a distant God, or like an idol, that never speaks or acts. Logically though, if he communes with us than he wants to be known by us, and this is the God we see:
Exo 29:44 And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office.
45 And I will dwell among the children of
Hos 2:7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.
Hos 2:14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
Hos 2:16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.
Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Why dwell with? Why allure
So how does this apply to Job? As a good husband, do you try to keep your wife in the dark? Do you purpose to keep her from knowing why you do what you do? Do you intentionally frustrate her? You might for a time because of some marital need, but the end goal is not darkness but light, unity not duality.
Yet didn’t the apostolic writings also speak of God’s unsearchability?
Rom 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
Eph 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
In both of these cases, the words are similar. They do not mean unsearchable, but not searched out or not tracked out. Will we ever find the fullness of God’s mercy? Probably not, but can you know the fullness of another man either? No, and if you could wouldn’t that be boring? There is always some new way or new degree that you can learn about a man or about YHVH.
The point is not that we can know God in a past verb tense, the point is that we can know God in a present tense. God is unchanging, but dynamic. Consider the universe as a picture of God. We believe in the conservation of Matter and Energy, that neither can be destroyed or created—at least from within the confines of creation. So in a sense the universe does not change, it still has so many atoms and so much energy (though of course at a quantum level they’re really the same). If you were able to search the whole universe down to the atomic level in an instant, the moment after you had surveyed it all the universe would be different than the moment after. You couldn’t say “Well, I know where everything is now!” You could only say you “knew” at the moment where everything was, already stars, planets, atoms, photons, maybe even boson’s would be somewhere else.
Likewise, YHVH changes not (Mal 3:6), but at the same time he is always doing new things (Isa 43:19, Jer 31:22, Gal 6:15, 2 Cor 5:17,1 Joh 2:8, Rev 21:5). God is not a wall, that you cannot see beyond. God is a road that leads ever on and on, always around new bends and hills that where ever you go is new and wherever you stop is still home.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Finally back to Job.
Job 4:18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:
Job 4:19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?
Were angels charged with folly? Certainly, Jude 1:6 speaks of this.
Jud 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
However, Jude 1:9 speaks of other angels that did rightly.
Jud 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
When Elisha was surrounded by the enemy, was he not also surrounded by a greater company of God’s angels? Did not Yeshua facing arrest attest that he had at his disposal some twelve legions of angels available if he but asked the Father? The first half is a bold lie (though many believe it), and the second part is a half truth (some were charged, but more were not).
Job 4:20 They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it.
21 Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.
These are the final nails in the coffin. God does not care about the perishing?
Eze 18:22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
Mat 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Deu 32:42 I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.
2Ki 9:6 And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel.
2Ki 9:7 And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel.
Psa 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
Rev 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
God cares even about the perishing of the wicked, he even cares about the falling of a sparrow to the ground, and he certainly cares about his saints enough to promise their avenging upon the heathen. There can be no truth in the idea that a man perishes without being regarded. It’s interesting when you think about it, there’s a repeating theme. The devil’s argument is that man won’t love God unless he gives them good. Then he tells a man who fears God, that he is wicked, and that he doesn’t deserve to ask God why. First he attacks the creation to the Creator, then the creation to himself.
But what is the nature of the attack? After all there was truth in there; man is not more pure than his maker. However, notice who’s the subject in 18? It is God who puts no trust in his servants, who charges them and man with folly…according to the accusation. So in the accusation it is God who does not regard, certainly men regard the deaths of other men? Now he attacks the Creator to the creation. The essence of the enemy’s argument is that there is no relationship, it is entirely quid quo pro. Man praises only because God gives. God gives only if you please him, and even in that we are utter failures and disgusting in God’s sight. That is the message of Satan, you are disgusting to God.
Job 5:1 Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?
2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.
3 I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation.
Continuing his assumption of guilt, Eliphaz questions who will listen/heed Job since “I, Eliphaz, see and mark [here rendered curse] his habitation.” I paraphrase, but the sense of this man’s arrogance becomes evident. Remembering chapter 4, it is filled with references to himself. Not that it’s wrong to draw on personal experience or example, but put this in the context of a man who has already condemned his ‘friend.’ What evidence has he brought other than Job’s trouble? He is acting neither just nor wisely in judging, so if he is not judging for God, then for whom? You could say its ignorance, but it is the reckless ignorance. Or to reference again his vision that was not of God, he is acting presumptuously.
The point is, he is not using his experience to further justice and wisdom, he is using it to promote himself (what else can it be?). To paraphrase these three verses, “Whose is going to listen to you? Trouble [here rendered wrath] kills the perverse and jealousy kills the deluded. At least, I can tell where the perverse lives.”
Job 5:4 His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them.
5 Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance.
Talk about kicking you when you’re down, how did Job’s children die? Crushed in their brother’s house knocked flat by the wind. What happened to the oxen and the camels? Robbers. Now if you believe these men’s vague charges, then you might say “Well, his diagnosis is spot on, Job must have been a sinner.” We have the advantage of watching from over Eliphaz’s shoulder, but for our own warning we must see the temptation here.
It’s easy to see trouble and ask “What did they do wrong to deserve this?” We’ve touched on that earlier in “Judgment.” But, before the wicked’s children were crushed in the gate, didn’t they have to have children? Before the harvest can be eaten or the cattle stolen, don’t they have to be seeded and planted? It wouldn’t be much if you had on apple on a tree that was stolen if that one apple could neither satisfy your hunger or sell to fill your pantry…in other words if you judging them as wicked because of the calamity that befalls them then what do you say before calamity befalls them? If Job was wicked, why weren’t these friends here weeks ago saying “Job, you are blowing it and this lifestyle will not last”? Because their method only works in hindsight.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
But this is incomplete, after all, how do we who have faith get faith to be exercised in the first place? Yes, from God, but by what means? When we have first believed, even then the faith was already present to be used. How does faith come?
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Calling comes through believing, believing comes through hearing, hearing comes through the word of God. This is something very basic that is overlooked: a person cannot be reliable unless they make themselves liable. Suppose I say “I will return your hammer tomorrow if you lend it to me today.” If you trust me (give me strength to do good) then you will lend me the hammer. Suppose, you accidentally left your hammer at my house and I return it. I may have acted faithfully, but in your ignorance/neglect you did not actually place faith in me. One might argue that it was in fact God that placed the faith and I was rewarding his faith, which would be true by our discussion.
But the point is that unless a promise is extended, no faith can take place. Faith comes by hearing because only at the point of hearing is faith possible. You cannot believe before you are promised. So how does God impart faith? By speaking his promises to you, by inviting you to rely upon him!
This in part explains two strange passages of hope in scripture.
1Pe 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
1Pe 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
Counting these as one passage, we see that Messiah preached to imprisoned spirits and specifically to the dead. Why so that they might be judged but LIVE according to God! Preaching produces hearing, produces faith so that even that dead have the opportunity to believe. I say this is hopeful because to me it answers the question “What about people who have never heard the gospel?” It seems intuitive to say that if God loves the world more than I do, then he is more willing than any of us to say who can be saved. Do we honestly think, God sits on his throne biting his nails because he is powerless to save people who die in ignorance? God is not bound as many preach. God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy and even death cannot thwart him. If we have had doubts Peter should lay them to rest.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
By believing based on what we can do rather than what we will do, we can see how God is able to have faith in Job or Moses despite sin because his faith is not in expectation, but in supporting them to do the best that he knows they are capable of. This leads into the next question, what made Job’s best better than another’s best? If we are all capable of the same then couldn’t God have chosen anyone knowing they had the potential best as good as Job? If it were so then God’s glowing report of Job could have had anyone in it. In a sense this might be true (perhaps anyone can attain the same level as Job), but in the general sense of comparison “have you considered my servant Job…” it does not. If the comparison concerns only potential, and all potential were the same then anyone would be available for the same example and yet for many the result would be much different. Is God’s faith misplaced? What good is potential unrealized?
All things work to God’s good pleasure says Ephesians 1:11.
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
There is therefore no possibility that God has misplaced his faith. And the outcome of the working is good for which he will be praised.
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Good at least for them that love God. Therefore what remains if his faith is not misplaced and will result in good (though not necessarily the good of all those who have faith, more will be explained)? What if we modify our assumption? What if not everyone has the same potential/same trustworthiness?
The questions that follows are, “Well, why does one have different potential from another? Where do we get our potential from?” Potential, by its very nature is not something that we do, but something that we have. For example, imagine your wallet has $5 in it. You have the potential then to buy a $5 cheeseburger (potential). If you choose to buy a candy bar along the way, you no longer have the original potential. Or if you forgo buying the cheeseburger, and wait until payday then you may then have the potential to buy both the cheeseburger and the candy bar. The change in potential comes from outside, but we might says “it is because of decisions you made.” However, the potential and change depend firstly on the outside. For example, if there is no cheeseburger to buy whether you save or not you will not have that potential, or if your boss does not pay, you will not have that potential. Thusly, potential can be changed and it depends on personal choices however those choices rely on external factors that man does not determine.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Why are we to test to find that perfect will? Because we shouldn’t think more highly of ourselves but think soberly since God has given every man a measure of faith. This makes sense because if I thought that I had somehow acted in faith on my own when another had not, I would think less of them because look what I have done. But on the contrary, where did my faith come from? God! God gave me a measure of faith! Maybe there’s so much more that I cannot grasp because I lack faith, maybe there’s someone ‘below’ me that if he had more faith he would surge past me?
This however, may be a stumbling block to some. God gives faith? To some this will smack of ‘predestination.’ How can we choose to be saved if God gives faith? Well, firstly you assume that God giving faith is the same as man exercising faith. They are not or else how can a man given faith also be a man able to sin? Does he run out of faith, if so then who is responsible for keeping the tank full? We end up blaming God for our sin. But people tend to manage their theology backwards, they figure out the end of the discussion (which they are usually wrong about) decide they don’t like that end and then conclude that what they are presently reading does not mean what it seems to mean because of the end it must lead to. There’s nothing but division down that road; how can you reason with someone when you insist scripture belongs to your private interpretation?
Instead, let us simply say that we don’t understand the end, but at the present in black and white we have that God gives man faith. How else could it be do you suppose? Do you just magically have the ability to rely on the unseen? Did you create faith out of nothing? I believe Hebrews 12:2 would have issue with us if we claim to be the authors and finishers of our own faiths.
Rom 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Gifts differ by the share of faith we have been given, since there are different gifts there are different portions of faith. Is it possible to be given no faith at all?
2Th 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
Not all men have faith? Didn’t Paul say that a portion is to everyman? Yes, but you must recall the context of 12:3 “For I say…to every man that is among you...” The addressed in Romans are “all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints… your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (1:6-8). All who are called to be saints are given a portion of faith, but not all are called.
Mat 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
1Co 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
God has not given everyone faith, and those that he has given do not all have the same amount of faith. Logically then, we must conclude that our potential for trustworthiness is different…or more precisely the amount of trust that we are each worthy of is different. Still, this idea offends people (I have been included in those people in times past). How can God hold people accountable by a glass ceiling?
We assume a static form of things.
2Co 10:15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,
16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand.
Faith can grow. Much of modern doctrine has been devoted to this idea of static or digital qualities. We imagine that God is a flicker of switches turning unsaved to saved, no faith to faith, unloving to loving, sin to righteousness. And none of those things are necessarily untrue, it is God working in us that causes all those things, but the point is vision. Ours is limited to the next stage. We imagine, if I can just finish the race of faith then I’ll be done. The perfect example is Heaven. Most people when I’ve asked about Heaven conjures images of a place unchanging, where we’ll have complete knowledge, be at peak blissful joy all the time—contradictorily imaging they will be sitting there alternating between endless sermons and endless church worship which can only be explained by their imagination that we will then have no will of our own. God’s goal is to make us all ‘happy’ robots.
This is not God’s view. To put it perfectly, when we get to Revelation which we call “The End of the Story,” God says “Behold, I make all things new.” We see ends, God sees new beginnings. This is the long way to say, that just because God gives something like faith does not mean that that’s the end. We shouldn’t imagine that “Well God gave me this much faith, so I can only go this far.” We should use all what he’s given us with the expectation that God will give more. Is a child given the freedom of an adult and then held responsible in the same way?
And it should be no other way. When I was growing up, I remember that my mom would offer me an orange. She would offer me half, and I would say that I wanted the whole thing, but she knew that I would not eat a whole one and that the excess would be wasted. Why would we expect that God would give us more faith than we can use? When Israel had come into the land, God said that he would drive out the enemy before Israel, but that he would not do it too quickly (Exo 23:29) because in the vacuum between the borders and the population, the land would become desolate and overpopulated with beasts.
Mat 25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
The amount of the given is based on ability. The presumed ability is that they can choose to be profitable with what’s given, in other words these servants are worthy of trust because they are ABLE to act according to trust. What happens in the end? He says “I will make thee ruler over many things” (Matt 25:21) to those who have gained. To the one who did nothing with the ability he had?
Mat 25:29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
God gives us as much as we can use, but he will not give us more until we have used it. There is no glass ceiling, if we ask how God can judge us when he gives only so much faith to each person, the answer is because we have not used all the faith he has put in us.
Luk 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
When instructed in the way of forgiveness, the Apostles realize (or imagine) the hugeness of this instruction and ask Yeshua to give them more faith. How does he reply? By saying that even the smallest amount can accomplish the unbelievable. But the Apostles haven’t made any trees to uproot themselves…it seems then that Yeshua is saying “You don’t even use what you have.” Later in verses 9-10, he talks about how a servant is not thanked for doing what he ought to do.
In other words, this forgiveness and avoidance of offence is what we ought to do…the implication? God has already given us for what we ought to do—we don’t need more faith.