Parashah Kedoshim 2019 (Holiness) Leviticus 19 – 20

The Hebrew word “Kadosh” means “Holy.”  If you were to ask people what it means to be holy, most everyone will say something along the lines of to “be like a saint”, to be “serious”, or to be “pious and religious.” The one thing you most likely will not hear is “to be separated,” yet that is really what being holy means- to be separated from the common.

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Holiness is a state of being which is identified by the way we act towards each other and the way we obey God’s instructions. Too often, this means the instructions given by people in the name of the Lord, which we call doctrine or traditional worship. Most of the time these aren’t exactly what God told us to do. Christian holidays and worship practices, for instance, or Talmudic (also referred to as rabbinic) Halacha (the Way to Walk) are good examples of this. The traditional teachings of any Judeo-Christian religion usually have their foundation somewhere in God’s instructions, but they add to or (sometimes) over-rule the instructions God gave us, which are found in the Torah.

This parashah gives us, in clear and easily understandable terms, God’s instructions telling us how we are to be holy. They boil down to respect for people, honesty, honoring the Shabbat and following the instructions regarding sacrifices, and (finally) prohibitions against following the religious and social practices of the surrounding people at that time. Those prohibitions include sexual perversities and inter-familial sexual relations, as well.

God tells us (more than once) to be holy as he is holy. Even at the very beginning of this parashah, Leviticus 19:2 he has Moses tell the entire congregation that they are to be holy, for he is the LORD, their God and he is holy.  The problem we have with this is that we cannot be holy as the Lord is holy because, well…he is SO holy. He is perfectly holy, and we are woefully inadequate, so how can God expect us to be as holy as he is?

The answer is he doesn’t expect that of us- he expects that because he is our God, and because he is holy, we should be holy, as well. We are not to be as holy as he is, but holy meaning separated from the unholy. That means not doing what the unholy do, such as to treat each other with disrespect and take advantage of people. We are not to use unequal weights (cheat each other), we are not to use divination or sacrifice our children. We are not to have sexual relations with close family members, or with others of the same gender.  We are to honor the elderly, honor the Shabbat, be considerate of the less fortunate and treat strangers with respect and equality under the law.

To be holy doesn’t mean to walk around like some monk or religious fanatic; it doesn’t mean to talk in spiritual ways (so that no one can understand what you are saying), and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t joke around, dance, drink or have fun with others. It means you are to live in a way that is separated from the unholy- that is all.

Holy people do not gamble their rent money away; holy people do not drink themselves into a stupor; they don’t act mean and unforgiving. Holy people do not cheat others, gossip or allow anyone else to pick on the weak and helpless. Holy people help others, even if the others hate and disrespect them.

To be holy as God is holy means to act in the way God (or Yeshua, for that matter) would act if they were in the same place at the same time you are.

It means to be separated from the rest of the world, not so much physically but spiritually and demonstratively. We who are holy are to show the unholy how they are to be; we are to be an example of what God wants from everyone. That is a two-edged sword because when we say we are holy as God is holy, then if we screw up and act unholy it reflects poorly on God. I am guilty of this, and more often than I care to say, but I have to confess that I often do not act as one who is holy should act. When that happens, I ask forgiveness from God because I have damaged his reputation. I really hate it when I do that, too. Fortunately, I am able to say that I am making fewer mistakes as I continue to work towards being holy. It is a life-long activity.

Be thou holy by remembering God’s instructions and trying to live up to them. We hear people say “It is all about the Lord!” but when it comes down to it, they are really concerned with what God will do for them and not what he wants them to do for him. It isn’t about us, it IS about him, and the way to show that is to be what he wants us to be, which is separated from the unholiness in the world.  Not in a physical way, meaning to shun and stay away from non-Believers, but in our spirit and in our actions so we can be examples to the non-Believers.

God instructed us how to worship and how to live with others, and when Yeshua was on the earth he showed us exactly what that looks like. The world doesn’t see the spiritual, it sees the physical, so no matter how holy you may be in your spirit if you don’t demonstrate that in the physical world, then you won’t be holy the way God wants you to be holy.

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Tonight begins the Shabbat so Shabbat Shalom, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

Talk in a Worldly Way About Unworldly Things

Before I was saved, one of the things that always turned me off, right away, to those “Born-Again” people was that they talked so “spiritually” about everything.

When you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you can’t relate to it, or to people who talk using spiritual terminology.

We need to take a lesson from Shaul (Paul), and talk to people in a way that they can relate to us if we want to be able to open their ears and minds to the truth of God’s plan of salvation.

Why No One Understood Yeshua

Yeshua (Jesus) taught from the Torah, which was very familiar to the Jews in the First Century, so why is it, then, that we are constantly told no one understood His messages? Even the Apostles, His closest friends and followers, had to ask for an explanation.

Perhaps it was because He was teaching the “advanced” course, and they were all still just learning the basics?

Who Really Kills the Sacrifice?

I was talking with someone about the sacrificial system yesterday, and the person I was talking with asked me why God wants to kill animals in order to forgive sin. I explained that sin can only be washed clean with blood and that blood has to come from an animal that was acceptable for sacrifice, without blemish (perfectly formed and innocent of sin.)

Hebrews 9:22  In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Afterwards, I began to think about this a little more. In the Torah God tell us to kill an innocent animal as a sacrifice to absolve our sin, but is it then God who is having the animal killed? If the removal of sin can only be accomplished by the death of an innocent animal, then isn’t it really the sinner who is the cause of the animal’s death?

God tells us that blood is the way we cleanse ourselves of sin, but does it have to follow that it is God’s fault the animal has to die? Does God really want to have the animal killed?

That doesn’t seem to be so when you consider all the biblical admonitions to be kind and compassionate to animals:

Proverbs 12:10– A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

Deuteronomy 25:4You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.

Luke 14:5– And He said to them, “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?

Judaism places great stress on proper treatment of animals. Unnecessary cruelty to animals is strictly forbidden, and in many cases, animals are accorded the same sensitivity as human beings. Jacob, Moses, and David were all shepherds, people who cared for animals.  The Talmud specifically states that Moses was chosen for his mission because of his skill in caring for animals:  “The Holy One, Blessed Be He, said ‘Since you are merciful to the flock of a human being, you shall be the shepherd of My flock, Israel.'” Likewise Rebekah was chosen as a wife for Isaac because of her kindness to animals; when Abraham’s servant asked for water for himself, she volunteered to water his camels as well.

The Torah and the Talmud have many other specifications regarding the importance of caring for animals, and there are punishments for failure to do so. This leaves us to again question, with all this concern for proper and compassionate love of animals, why does God require that we kill them to remove the sin that we performed?

I don’t know; but I have an idea… wouldn’t you agree that we all seem to have a natural desire to care for and love animals? I believe that God did more than just tell us to care for the animals, I believe He gave us an innate desire to love them! To prove this, let me ask you if you own or have ever owned a pet?  Do you know people who have? I will bet that the vast majority either have had their own pet or know many people who have pets. We are created in the image of God, and I think part of that includes the love of all His creations. That is why I believe sacrifice of an innocent is necessary- it is designed to strike us to our very marrow with the horror of sin!

In other words, God isn’t really the one killing an animal- when we sin we are the reason an innocent animal has to be slaughtered! 

Our sin is the cause of the animal’s death- if we hadn’t sinned, the animal would have lived.

The lesson in this regulation for us is that sin isn’t something that affects just us, but it affects all around us. Your sin is like having a big pile of garbage in your back yard: even though the garbage is only in your yard, the stench of it permeates the entire neighborhood. Our sin isn’t just on us, but it affects those around us, especially our loved ones.

God loves all the creatures He created and doesn’t want to see any of them killed needlessly. Killing an animal to cleanse us of a sin we committed is a needless killing: yes, we need the blood to be forgiven of  our sin, but it is still a needless death because the animal did nothing to deserve being killed.

So, if someone should ever ask you why God wants to have animals killed, I would suggest you answer the same way I will from now on: it isn’t that God wants to have animals killed, it is because we are sinners that animals have to suffer. God doesn’t require the death of animals, sin does!

Let’s not be confused about something: the forgiveness we receive is spiritual, and will not stop us from suffering the consequences of the sin we committed while we are still in this world.

Finally, let’s take this one step further: because it is our fault animals had to die to remove our sins, then when Yeshua (Jesus) died to remove our sins, who really killed Him? Was it the Romans? The Jews? God, Himself, who could have saved Yeshua from death? The answer to the question, “Who really killed Yeshua?” is- I DID! YOU DID! WE ALL DID! Yeshua died because sin existed in all of us and we needed an innocent life to be sacrificed so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the eternal (spiritual) consequences of our sins. Yeshua, the Messiah, was the only innocent that could do that: then, now, and continually until all things have come to pass and we are living in the Olam Haba (World to Come) together.

Sin is more horrible than we want to realize. It causes innocent lives to be lost, and it is, in my opinion, a cowardly act because when we sin we know that some poor innocent will suffer on our behalf, just so that we can escape the fate we really deserve.

To sin is to commit murder- remember that the next time you feel tempted to do something you know you shouldn’t.

Are You a Flashlight in the Daytime or a Candle in the Evening?

What the heck kind of question is that?

Well, let’s see: what do a candle and a flashlight have in common? Right- they both put out light. And aren’t we told that we should be a light unto the world? (Matthew 5:14-16)

“Yes, Steve, that’s right, so if both are a light, why worry about the difference? Whether I am a flashlight or a candle, aren’t I still being “a light” to people?” 

Yes, you’re still a light. But which is more effective?

That’s the point- if I shine a flashlight on something that is in the sunlight, how effective is the light I add? Obviously, it won’t make a very big difference, if any.

But a candle in the dark of evening can be seen by the unaided human eye from over a mile away! And the closer the candle, the more effective the candle light becomes.

Here’s what I want to say….many of us are doing our best at being good representatives of God, trying to be separated (i.e., holy) from the world while living in it (John 17:16), but we aren’t really going where we are needed to be a more effective light. It’s easy to talk with other Believers, and it’s easy (and safe) to hang out with all the people we know are righteous and trustworthy. But when we do that we are no better than a flashlight in the bright midday sun. 

We need (and I am preaching to myself here) to get out into the darkness- to talk with people who do not believe as we do, to demonstrate the way the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) affects us and helps us be more like God, and to go where we are needed most. 

Now, don’t get me wrong- I am not saying to go to the nearest biker bar and preach the Word, or to walk the streets at night in the worst parts of town and hand out tracts. That’s not being a light, that’s being suicidal!

What I do mean is that we need to have the courage to talk about God and our beliefs to people we meet everyday. Don’t become one of those “Bible Thumpers” who can’t hold a normal conversation, but do try to fit something God-related into the discussion every now and then.  

For instance, when I know I can relate a biblical saying or story to the conversation, I just say something to the effect of, “You know, there was this book I read that said this…” or “I once heard a story about ….” and not even imply it’s from the bible. Then, when I am done, if I see so much as a spark of interest, I will ask if they know where that came from. Now they are leading me into the discussion, and I have their permission to talk about God, even though they didn’t necessarily mean to let me.

And when that happens, go slow.  Don’t jump down their throats about God and Hell and all that stuff, just follow their lead and ask, “Have you ever heard that story? Where did you hear it? Oh, you heard it when you were a kid in Sunday School? Why did you stop going? Do you still go to church/synagogue? ” Again, don’t non-stop grill them, just let them take the lead, and dance them around to what you want to get to, which is how much God has helped you in your everyday life.

 Missionary work is hard, selling is hard, and if you don’t like the idea that as a missionary you are selling, then you need to have an attitude adjustment. Read Og Mandino’s book, “The Greatest Salesman In the World” and it will make your missionary work much more effective.

Today’s message is really a simple message, it’s not too hard to understand, and it takes guts to act on it. We need to make sure that every moment of every day we are candles in the darkness, because being a flashlight in the sunshine is easy, but useless. 

Here is a wonderful paradox: in the real world fruit can’t grow without sunshine, but spiritually you can only produce fruit in the darkness. 

Think about it. 

WWJD? Probably Not What You Are Doing.

Ooh- what a nasty title, Steve! How dare you say I am not doing what Jesus did! You don’t even know me.

That’s right- I don’t know how you worship, but (as the title says) from my experience watching and hearing about “Christian” service, you are probably not doing what Jesus (Yeshua) did when He worshiped God.

That’s the emphasis here- is your worship life the same as Yeshua’s?

*  Do you read the Torah parashah every Saturday?

*  Do you pray morning, afternoon and evening?

*  Do you pray to Saints?

*  Do you kneel to a wooden cross?

*  Do you celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday?

And here’s the BIG question: Do you worship God or do you worship Yeshua?

If you are saying “No” to the first two, and “Yes” to the others, and if you worship Jesus (what I am mean by this is are you praying to God in Yeshua’s name, or are you praying directly to Yeshua for the answers you want?), then you are NOT doing what Jesus did, at least with regards to worship.

Yeshua never prayed to Himself, and never, ever said we should pray to Him. What He said (look it up if you don’t believe me) was to pray IN HIS NAME, not pray to Him. That means we worship God, the Father, and pray to God, the Father, and no one else. We do not ask saints to intercede- why would you even want to? They are not God’s son, they are not the Messiah, it is not their job to intercede. They are, if anything, soldiers for God. They are the martyrs under the altar, they are waiting for the Acharit HaYamim (End Days), they are praying to God for their own retribution and for justice. They are not intercessors, and they are not who you should pray to if you want to do as Jesus did.

Did you enjoy your Christmas ham? Ever think that what you ate and shared with others as a celebration of the birth of the Messiah would be an abomination to Him?  He would never even have it in His house, let alone on His table. How would you feel if someone wanted to honor you and did so by inviting your enemies to have a good time and to eat and drink foods that you found disgusting? Would you feel honored?

You want to do as Jesus did? Than stop listening to people telling you what to do, and read the Bible. Read the whole Bible, starting at Genesis. That’s where you will learn how Yeshua did things.

You want to be able to answer the question: “Do you do as Jesus did?” with a resounding “YES!!”, then start with your worship life. If you worship correctly, you will know how to live correctly. That means to read the Bible, not just hear what others tell you it says. You also have to ask the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to guide your understanding.

You need to live as Yeshua lived. Try, even if it is just an experiment, or as a religious fast, if you will, to eat according to what you are told to eat in Leviticus 11. Just that one thing.

I am not trying to be a “Judaizer”, or proselytize you into becoming Messianic. I only want to help you see that there is a major, identifiable, and gigantic difference between the way Christians live and worship (traditionally) and how Yeshua lived and worshiped.

I am Messianic, and my worship is made up of an opening prayer, followed by music, singing and dancing (most of which was likely part of Yeshua’s worship, but I can’t accept that He would be singing for an hour before getting into the real meat- the Torah), then we read the portion of the Torah that is specified and the sermon/drash/messages on that parashah. Here is where we separate from what Yeshua would have done, since in His time there was no New Covenant to enhance and define the Torah reading. The Haftorah we read is just as often from the New Covenant as it is the traditional one for the Torah parashah. Also, we may not read the Parashah and delve into a different topic. That is the major difference, but I feel confident in saying that what we are discussing would be acceptable by Yeshua. After all, the Gospels (Besorah, or Good News) are the life of Yeshua and His teachings, and the rest are spirit-led revelations and witness to the teachings of Yeshua.

That is where I am different, where I do not do what Jesus did in His worship life. Frankly, I love studying and paying attention to the teachings of Yeshua as part of my worship life. I pray to God, as Yeshua did; I ask for things from God, and ask them referencing the name of Yeshua and (respectfully) reminding God that Yeshua, His son, said that He would honor what we asked for if we did so in Yeshua’s name; I read the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelations, and I celebrate the Sabbath the way Yeshua did- Friday night to Saturday night. I have a diet in accordance with Leviticus 11, I celebrate the festivals of the Lord as defined and commanded of us in Leviticus 23. And I call myself a Jewish man- I am NOT a Christian-Jew, Hebrew-Christian, or any other non-defined, wavering sort of hybrid religion. What I really am is a Believer- I believe in God, I believe Yeshua is the Messiah, and I believe that I should worship and live as Yeshua did, to the best of my abilities, faithfully trying to obey God’s commandments. All His commandments, because they are all valid and current.

There is nothing “new” in the New Covenant, and God has no religion. Only rules and laws and commandments.

I do not live a sinless life, and in that way I most certainly do not do as Yeshua did. But, thanks to Yeshua, and the grace of God that allows me to have the indwelling Ruach, I am getting better.

WWJD? If you want to do as Jesus did, if you want to know how He lived, ate, and worshiped, then DAYD- Do As Yeshua Did. You don’t have to convert to Judaism; actually, you would need to be Messianic because traditional, or as I like to call it, “mainstream” Judaism doesn’t do exactly what Yeshua did,either. But just try it for awhile.

Really? Will it kill you to give up pork and shellfish for a week? That’s all it really comes down to to maintain the proper Kosher laws, according to the Bible. Or read the Torah portion on Saturday mornings as well as whatever normal biblical reading you do. The traditional Jewish prayers during the day are the morning prayer (shacharit), afternoon prayer (minchah) and evening prayer (arvith or maariv.) You don’t need to recite them verbatim, or do them exactly at sunrise, noon and sunset. You don’t need to spend from $250 up to maybe $400 for a set of Tefillin. Just try to pray these three times during the day, maybe 5 or 10 minutes each time, for a week.  You do need to pray only to God, the Father. Ask in Yeshua’s name, but pray to God, just as Yeshua did. Trust me, He is there, at the right hand of God, interceding for you. Just go to the source of everything and Yeshua will be involved. 

If you are serious about wanting to know Yeshua, about wanting to follow in His footsteps, and about wanting to do as He did, take this challenge. It’s not too hard, and it only has to be for a week- Shabbat to Shabbat (uh, that would be Friday night to Friday night) and see how you feel. Honestly, if it doesn’t make you feel any closer to Yeshua than you had been, I suggest you might want to consider how close you were before you tried. I say that because I really believe that anyone who does this will feel closer to God, closer to Yeshua, and more “complete” as a Believer than they felt before. It doesn’t have to be forever, it doesn’t have to change your life (although it might), it just has to be for a week.

Do it as a Nazarite vow; do it as a sign of devotion, do it as a special fast; do it as a spiritual adventure.

Please…just do it. Nu? Try it;  maybe you’ll like it!

Are you defragging your spiritual hard drive?

I am that guy you call when you don’t know why your computer isn’t doing what you expect it to do. One of my personal peeves is that people work with their computers all day, and it’s almost impossible to find a job, other than manual labor, that doesn’t require you to have a modicum of skills when operating a computer. Yet, all I hear all day long is, “I just don’t know anything about computers.”

You know to check the oil, water and tire pressure in your car, you know to oil the iron cooking pan, to change the filters in your air conditioning system (you should know these things, you know!), but people don’t know how to care for their computers! Think about it: you can take a bus to work if you don’t care for your car and if your pots and pans are rusty and filthy you can order food in, but if your computer isn’t working you can’t do your job. And what happens to people who don’t do their jobs? Do you think it’s important to know enough to (at least) maintain the computer in fairly good working order?

One of the things that is important to keeping the computer running well (not so much with Windows 7 and newer operating systems) is defragging the hard drive. All this is, essentially, is removing all the space between the bits of data (all zero’s and one’s) so that all the little bits line up neatly. This saves space and makes searching for the data faster.

So, nu? What’s any of this got to do with my spiritual life?

We hear so much stuff every day; there is so much information in the world, and so much of it is so easily absorbed through web sites, ebooks, radio, cable TV news that is 24/7. Yet, out of all this information, there is so very little of it which you can trust. We get all types of fertilizer coming into our brains, and to sort it all out is nearly impossible. We hear televangelists telling us to touch the screen so they can heal us, our own Rabbi’s, Pastors, Ministers and Priests telling us what we should believe because this is what our religion teaches us, and then we have the everyday people, telling us that these laws were for health reasons, those don’t count because the world is changed (although they forget that God doesn’t change), and the worst part is the Discovery Channel. Although Discovery, History and TLC are some of my favorite channels, I never watch anything they do regarding the Bible or religious history. That’s because they are TV, the air waves are controlled by the Enemy (he is called the Prince of the Air, remember?) and their point, always, is to make God seems like a fantasy, explaining away His wonderful works and interventions and making science the real cause for celebrity.

All of these bits and bytes of data going into our brains, every day. And we can’t really stop it, unless we wear blindfolds and stuff our ears with wax. That would give us some peace, but it makes getting anything done really, really hard to do.

That’s why we need to defrag our spiritual hard drive. We need to clean out and delete the stuff that is wasteful, not-edifying and confusing. Then, after a good clean up of the temp files and deleted items folder, we need to re-arrange the data that we want to keep. We do this by getting back to basics (hmmmm…nice title for a book- check out the one I wrote) and re-establishing our relationship with God by simply sitting, in a quiet place, turning off all the data-streaming drek in the area, and letting God come in and clean up our spiritual hard drive. Let the Ruach take over- you can pray, think of heaven, concentrate on your favorite scripture, meditate on His word (King David did that often) or (one of my favorites) create a list of all the things you are grateful to God for giving you. Start with your birth and work your way forward.

We need to keep it simple (the KISS Rule) when we worship. No fancy-schmancy prayers; get real, people- we don’t live in the 17th Century so don’t pray like you are reading from the Kings James Bible. How can you be pouring your heart out to the Lord when you need to concentrate on getting all the fancy words right? God sees the heart, He knows what we want and (thank God) He gives us what we need, so just let Him do what He does best. Let His shalom fill your soul.

Be careful, also, what you download. The best way to keep a computer running well is to “feed” it correctly- no viruses, no malware, be careful what you buy, and watch where you “surf.” Always have a good anti-virus running that keeps up to date. This translates, spiritually, into reading the Bible every day. The best antivirus, in this case ‘anti-Satan software’, is the Word of God.  Read it every day to keep your spiritual hard-drive clean. Be careful of what you download means when you are watching the TV specials or reading extra-Biblical books and magazines about where the Ark is, who Jesus really was, and all the other apparently useful shows to help us understand the truth about God and the Bible, be very cautious and wary. Never take what they say as valid or truthful, and check it out against the Bible. If there is archaeological proof, or at least evidence, of a biblical event, that is fine, but listen carefully. I have rarely gotten more than 10 minutes into one of these shows before I start to hear the message between the lines of script. That message is (almost) always that there is some physiological reason for the event, that science can explain it and their “experts” are almost always agnostic in their approach. The one or two “religious” people that will give glory to God are made to seem like fools. By the end of the show miracles and Glory to God are reduced to seismic events and explainable anomalies.

Science thinks that because it can explain something and understand how it happens that means God didn’t have anything to do with it. That’s something we have to overcome- the thinking that says if it can be explained it isn’t a miracle or a divine intervention. God created everything, including science. So why can’t He use what He created to intervene? How many cancer patients die after undergoing every known treatment type? Yet, others go into remission and the cancer never returns. They’re both humans, they’re both treated the same way, yet it works in one and not in the other. And no one can explain that, but no one sees the cure as a miracle. It’s science, it’s modern medicine, it’s explainable so it can’t be divine. Oy!

There is so much garbage, so many bits and bytes of data that we take in, without even knowing it is happening, and we need to defrag ourselves daily. Meditate, read the Word (best bet for success) and pray to God. Pray simply, pray honestly, and don’t try to be different than who you are when you pray. Just pray from your heart, do it without interruption, and get all those little zeros and ones in your spirit back in alignment.

Computers are binomial- it all boils down to a zero or a one. God is also binomial: it’s His way or the hell-way. Don’t let your spiritual hard drive become corrupted with the viruses and malware of the world; keep it defragged through prayer and keep it clean with a daily install and upgrade of God’s word. It’s the best anti-Satan software in the universe.

Forgiveness is For Later

The Bible says that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. That’s comforting to know, but what does it mean, really?

It doesn’t mean that you are going to be free of the consequence of your sin. At least, not until you are dead.

Oh, my! That’s not quite as comforting. Can’t we change that? Sorry, no. Forgiveness of sins is something that God does for us, and through the sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua we are all able to ask for, and receive, forgiveness of sins. But the actual, temporal consequences of our sins are something we can’t avoid. When we sin, it is always, and foremost, against God. The next level is against someone else. When God forgives us, it is the sin against Him for which we are forgiven, and that forgiveness will be realized most when we meet Him at Judgement Day.

In the meantime, we have to deal with what we did, here and now. Look at David, who sinned against God (he knew the proper order, as you can see in Psalm 51), against Bathsheba, and against Urriah.  The result of his sin was the birth of a baby boy, and the consequence of his sin was the death of the innocent baby.

Sin is bad, and the worst part (I think) is that the one who seems to suffer the most from my sin is the one I sin against. Sometimes it’s just an innocent. Well, wait a minute! That kinda makes sense, doesn’t it? Not that this is a good thing, but doesn’t the Manual require the blood, i.e. the very life, of an innocent to atone for sin?  Isn’t that absolutely clear? You would think that knowing this we would be more careful, right? On the other hand, sinfulness implies that the person doing the sinning doesn’t really care, doesn’t it?

I sin, and I don’t want to. I know I am a sinner, the Bible tells me everyone sins, we are all born with a sinful nature (whether the Christian thought of original sin or the Talmudic thought of the Yetzer Hara), and we have no hope for overcoming this ourselves. God knew that from the beginning, which is why we can see His promise of a Messiah all the way back to Abraham. The Old Covenant tells us what happened right up to before Messiah comes, and the New Covenant tells us of the Messiah and what will happen when it all comes to an end. That’s one of the many things I love about the Bible,: it takes us from the very beginning to the very end, from what has happened to what will happen, and all the time we see what it is like, even today, in how things and people were then.

Hmmmm….that sounds like “was, is, and shall be”. That should sound familiar to you: it is how we describe God. He was, He is, and He always shall be.  Yochanan (John) tells us (at the beginning of his Gospel) there was the Word, and the Word became flesh. In the D’var Adonai (Word of God) we see this description of the Almighty, and the Word tells us of what was, which we can relate to what is now, and it also describes what will be.

Nice correlation, don’t you think?

Anyway, back to sin.

This is an easy lesson for us to learn. The consequence of our sin is twofold: there is the immediate, earthly consequence and the future, spiritual consequence. We are saved from the spiritual punishment sin deserves by Messiah, but there is no escape from the physical, here and now, consequence. The person(s) sinned against will suffer, and (hopefully) the sinner will also suffer. I don’t mean that as a vengeful statement, but as a hopeful one- if the sinner feels the pain of the sin he or she committed, then there is a hope for the future. Maybe they will do T’Shuvah and save themselves. For the sinner that doesn’t care, the future will only get darker.

I don’t think that anyone who sins against God and doesn’t care is really going to feel the pain of their sin, whereas I know, for a fact, that others will feel it. We need to first and foremost ask forgiveness from God, then we need to ask it from those we have sinned against.

With the approach of Rosh Hashanah, I am reminded of a tradition performed at this festival. We are to go to those we may have sinned against and ask for forgiveness. It is an old Jewish tradition, and for those who don’t think that Yeshua did Jewish things, read Matthew 5:24. Yeshua tells the people to do exactly what this tradition says to do. It’s as I always say (besides “God has no religion”): there is nothing “new” in the New Covenant.

Those of you who think that you may have sinned against someone, either in word or thought or deed, go ask for forgiveness. First from God, then from the person. If your heart is truly repentant, God will grant you forgiveness when you ask in the name of Yeshua Ha Mashiach. However, you don’t know what will happen when you go to the human being you sinned against. That person may not forgive you; in fact, you may get a real tongue-lashing. Accept it, and move on. You did right in God’s eyes by asking for forgiveness, and you will do much, much better in His eyes when you forgive those who sinned against you. It doesn’t matter whether they ask you or not. You are commanded, as we all are, to forgive. Check it out in Matthew 6:14-15. There are other places, too, throughout the Tanakh and B’rit Chadashah: check it out for yourself.

Since we are commanded to forgive, if we don’t forgive, we are actually sinning, aren’t we? Isn’t a sin defined as doing something God said not to do?  If so, then is not doing something God said we should do the same thing? A sin? I think so…what do you think?

Heck, why argue? Just forgive; if for no other reason, it is the only way to make the pain go away. Anywho, this is getting into a totally different topic.

Sin stinks. It reeks to High Heaven. Fortunately, God provided a way for us to avoid the Eternal consequences of our sins. Praise Him and thank you, Yeshuah!

In the meantime, be careful. Guard your tongue, control your feelings, always pray to Adonai that He guide you with the Ruach HaKodesh. And if you haven’t accepted your own sinfulness and come before Yeshua asking for Him to intercede with God, you better hurry up. The times, they are a’changin’, and not for the better.  Think about it: since the End Days are in the future, that means every day brings us closer, not further, from the time we will all face God at His judgement throne.  If Yeshua isn’t your defence attorney(everyone wants a Jewish lawyer) , you is in big trouble!