Tag Archives: blessing

Which Law?

Not everyone who says to meThis article is the final of three articles in a series entitled “Living Kingdom”.  We will examine the importance of choosing to abide by YHVH’s commands as we consider the choices of individuals in Scripture.  The Good News (Gospel) is about YHVH’s kingdom.  Salvation is necessary for Kingdom Living, but it is a part of the process, not the goal.  We face the same challenges as the Israelites:  recognizing and obeying our King. 

Yeshua said, “If you love Me, obey My commandments” (John 14:15).  Misinformation abounds among present-day followers of Yeshua concerning what Yeshua meant by “commandments”.  It is time to clear away the cobwebs of lies and confusion that impede us from all that YHVH intends for us.

Sha’ul (Paul) discusses more than one type of law even though many Bible translations speak of all types as just “law”.  Sha’ul is talking mainly to Gentiles who were involved in pagan worship and were heavily influenced by the law of hasatan (Satan).  Sha’ul pointed out that they had been released from the law of sin and death and were now free to pursue the law of YHVH which leads to freedom and life.  It is helpful for us to use a translation that clearly distinguishes the different types of law, so all Scripture quoted in this article will be taken from New Living Translation (NLT).

In Deuteronomy 30:19-20, YHVH clearly points out that we have two choices.  “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!   You can make this choice by loving [YHVH] your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.…”  The Israelites had lived in a pagan culture (Egypt) for over 400 years.  The choices given here were between YHVH’s law or hasatan’s law.  We all live in a world that has been influenced by the values of hasatan’s law which are sometimes called “worldly ways” or “living in the flesh”.

In the first chapter of Romans (1:18-32), we find mention of the two types of law.  First there is the law and order of YHVH expressed through His creation: They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God (v 18-20).  YHVH’s ways are evident throughout creation, but He has also given us His law in written form (Scripture) and has written it on our hearts.  The opposite of YHVH’s law, satanic law, is graphically described in verses 28-32:  Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.…  They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.  If hasatan had his way, this is the only law any of us would know.  Therefore, he has worked throughout history to obscure and misconstrue YHVH’s law.

There has been confusion about the law since the time of the apostles.  First, some Jewish leaders were adding pre-requisites before receiving salvation.  We are rescued (salvation) from the dominion of hasatan through faith and even that faith is a gift from YHVH (Eph. 2:8).   Second, Constantine, in an effort to unite his empire, combined the sacred with the pagan and forbade keeping Torah under pain of death, thus distorting the Sabbaths and replacing the appointed times of YHVH.  Later, in the time of Martin Luther, grace was misconstrued as being the opposite of keeping law.

One dangerous heresy that has resulted today is the widespread belief that Yeshua’s followers are no longer under any type of law.  Grace reconciles us to YHVH and keeps us in relationship with YHVH when we transgress while unlearning hasatan’s ways and learning YHVH’s ways.  Grace is not a replacement for obedience to YHVH’s laws but rather the application of the atonement and covering of Yeshua when we repent of our sin.

Another myth today is that the laws of YHVH are too difficult to keep and therefore YHVH has done away with them.  There are 613 laws in the Torah and no one person is accountable for all of them.  Some are for priests only, others just for men, some for women only, and so on.  There are actually 1,050 commands in the New Testament!

Adam and Eve were influenced by hasatan and sinned against YHVH, subjecting themselves to hasatan.  Until hasatan distracted and confused them, they were capable of keeping YHVH’s law.  Now, we who are born under the dominion and influence of hasatan, struggle to keep YHVH’s law on our own.  Therefore, through Yeshua’s covering and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit we can maintain our relationship with YHVH while we are being perfected.  For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Phil 2:13).

Yeshua rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees for their false teachings and actions.  Under the guise of keeping Torah, the Pharisees were more often keeping their own man-made laws (Matt 23:15-30).  hhhahasMan-made law is the distortion of YHVH’s law thanks to humans who have disobeyed by adding to or subtracting from YHVH’s law (Deut 4:2).  Man-made law is actually satanic law in another guise.

Salvation is not a one-time event, but a process.  Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear (Phil 2:12).  YHVH has not changed, neither has His law nor His expectations of us.

Esau’s Blessing

choice between life and deathMost of us are familiar with the narrative of Jacob and Esau who were twins. Esau was the firstborn, but as he emerged from the womb, Jacob was holding onto his heel. Esau was very casual about his birthright (traded for a bowl of lentils) and rebellious when it came to following YHVH’s commands (marrying a pagan woman). We recall how Jacob tricked his father into giving him Esau’s blessing as the firstborn son. These stories can be found in Genesis 25-27.

When we read the story of Jacob and Esau, we tend to dwell on the rivalry between the brothers, Jacob’s deception, and family dysfunctions with Isaac favoring Esau and Rebecca favoring Jacob. We focus our attention on Jacob and shove Esau into the background. Do we realize that Esau’s story is our story? Do we comprehend what YHVH (through Isaac) was saying to Esau (and to us)? Let us examine Esau’s blessing closely, for in it lays a gem of hope, the greatest hope for us all.

The blessing consists of three sentences and is translated incorrectly in many English versions. The English Standard Version (ESV) and the New Living Translation (NLT) have a more correct translation. The first sentence, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above.” So far this doesn’t sound like much of a blessing and indeed it isn’t. Esau will not enjoy the abundance and blessings that YHVH provides for us in the earth. Even what he has, he will not enjoy. This is not something new for Esau, because he never really enjoyed or appreciated what he had. He could not see the true value in his blessings.

Although Esau was the firstborn and was entitled to receive a double inheritance, he traded it for instant gratification in a bowl of lentils. His carnal nature, his flesh, dominated his decision making. So it is with us when we are still in sin and in the kingdom of darkness. Even what we have on this earth, we cannot fully enjoy and appreciate while we are blinded by the enemy.

The next sentence of the blessing states, “You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother.” Esau would serve Jacob, his younger brother. What does this mean for us? We live in a world of violence and deception. We end up serving those who are crafty enough to foil us. Our concern is to gain what we can, often by any means, and protect it at all costs.

So where is the hope in all this? It is contained in the last sentence, “But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.” How was Esau to break free? How are we to break free? We must make the same decision that YHVH presented to Esau. We must choose to stop serving hasatan and the humans who follow the ways of the kingdom of darkness.

When we decide to break free, we can be restored to our birthright which is relationship with YHVH . We have this option because of the love and sacrifice of Yeshua, our Messiah. We throw off the yoke of Satan and accept the yoke of Yeshua. It is an easy yoke. We serve others, not because we are forced to, but out of love and gratitude to YHVH. Our older Brother serves us and we serve Him. Our brothers and sisters serve us just as we serve them. We no longer haggle over the abundance of the earth, but share and enjoy all that YHVH provides, which is far more than enough for us all.

Scripture tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If you aren’t Yeshua, you fit into this category with all other humans. Whether we know it or not, we are serving Satan when we don’t serve YHVH. Just before I prayed for salvation for myself, I distinctly recall inwardly chafing at the idea of turning my life over to Yeshua and serving Him. The idea of being a servant seemed foreign to me. I thought I was my own person, making my own decisions. Only sometime later would it become crystal clear to me just how much I had been in bondage to Satan all my life. My greatest joy is to serve Yeshua now that I realize all that I have gained by serving Him.

If you have not yet made the decision to break free from the yoke of Satan, do not wait any longer. Perhaps you don’t feel that you are in any type of bondage. You are your own person and you live your life the way you see fit. This was precisely what Esau did when he married a pagan woman. He did not consider YHVH’s commands or his parents’ teachings. This was precisely what I did and my life was a mess before I threw off Satan’s yoke.

Tell Yeshua that you no longer want to work for Satan, but you want to work for YHVH. Tell Him that you are ready to trade your cumbersome yoke of bondage for the easy yoke of Yeshua. Embrace Yeshua’s precious gift of salvation and let Him embrace you with His overwhelming love.