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***Wow – great stuff from Segulah’s post!  I need to reveal that my replies are not solely my own work – good brothers came beside me to lend assistance***

Hey Brother,

I find the same word meanings that you have in Hebrews 8:13.  I have some thoughts listed below that I would like you to consider in order for your understanding of how someone reading this verse, with the correct meanings, could remain convinced that our Fathers love language – the demonstration of our love for Him – remains with the keeping of His commandments. (Proverbs 3:1, 4:4, 7:2; John 14:15, 15:10 and Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Peter said in so many words (2 Peter 3:15-16) that Paul is hard to understand…and this is coming from a guy who was living at the same time, lived within the culture, used the language and was familiar with the issues that the assemblies were experiencing. How much harder would it be for me to comprehend? The following passages (below) help me understand Paul’s letters as I keep what I read, within the boundaries of foundational scripture.  When I read something that appears to be contradictory – then I have to look further and be careful to remember that G-d does not change according to: 1 Samuel 15:29 (He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.) NIV and Malachi 3:6 (For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.) ESV:

1)  Paul (or anyone else) cannot add nor take away from G-d’s word.  Deuteronomy 4:1-2 (And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.) ESV

2)  Paul (or anyone else) cannot turn the people away from G-d’s commandments.  Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your G-d and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your G-d commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.) ESV

4)  Paul kept the Torah.  Acts 24:14-15 (But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the G-d of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in G-d, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.) ESV and Acts 25:8 (Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.) ESV

Now, when I read Hebrews 8:13, there definitely appears to be a contradiction to the passages above and many others that describe Paul’s actions (assuming that Paul wrote Hebrews) during his ministry if he is indeed proposing the idea that the Sinai covenant is obsolete.  In my studies in the past, I have looked at the letter to the Hebrews and remember that this letter is regarding the “The world to come”.  He states this in Hebrews 2:5 (Now it was not to angels that G-d subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.)   The new covenant is not at this time in its fullness.  We know this by reviewing closely what is described in Ezekiel 36:24-38 below regarding the new covenant and what is the current situation in the world and how they do not mirror each other:

(“I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your G-d. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord G-D; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.
Thus says the Lord G-D: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the Garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited. Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the LORD; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it. Thus says the Lord G-D: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock.  Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people.  Then they will know that I am the LORD.”) ESV

Here are some thoughts regarding covenants that I would like you to consider:

1)       Is the Torah a covenant?  The Torah was not the first covenant (Sinai Covenant).  The first covenant was the agreement by the children of Israel to do what G-d said. (See Exodus 19:5-6)
2)       What was at fault with the first covenant?  The commandments or the people who broke the commandments?  (Since the Torah is G-d’s eternal word – it could not be changed).  G-d changes the people by writing the Torah on their hearts (Ezekiel :26-27 above and Jeremiah 31:33) The new covenant is not a cancellation of the Torah or even a cancellation of the Sinai covenant…the people are changed and made able to fulfill the covenant….keeping His commandments.
3)       There are three things we learn from the story of the Gibeonites 2 Samuel 21:1-9:  Covenants are binding; Covenants are intergenerational; breaking a covenant has dire consequences and a broken covenant requires atonement.  G-d’s covenants are eternal and He built on them and improves on them.
4)       The new covenant is not a covenant with Christians or even Gentiles. Jeremiah 31:31 (Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah) ESV
5)       We as Christians only relate by covenant with G-d through being grafted into Israel (not through conversion)  Ephesians 2:12-13 (remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.) ESV.

When I speak of keeping the commandments, it is not for the purpose of salvation…it is all about sanctification.  It is not a burden but rather a lighter yoke as a disciple of the Messiah through the help of the Holy Spirit.  Some will make statements such as “You are putting yourself back under the law”.  Paul uses the Greek word nomos to describe many different laws.  Let me please state for clarity that I am no longer under The Law of Sin and Death because of salvation through Messiah.

Thanks and talk soon, Your brother

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by tzadikguy

“If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is like your own soul will entice you secretly, saying, “Let us go and worship the gods of others” – that you did not know, you or your forefathers, from the gods of the peoples that are all around you, those near to you or those far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth – you shall not accede to him and not hearken to him; your eye shall not take pity on him, you shall not be compassionate nor conceal him. Rather, you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be the first against him to kill him, and the hand of the entire people afterwards.” Deuteronomy 13:7-10

G-d is a Holy G-d. He is the one and only. Serving other gods is a sin worthy of death. HaShem commands us to literally kill the person that commits such a heinous sin. Although, there is something interesting about this passage. Notice in the list of potential seducers there is no mention of a father and/or mother. The reason is the mitzvah [command] “honor your father and mother” takes precedence in this situation. A father and mother are to be honored and respected forever. According to this verse a child is never allowed to kill or even strike his/her mother or father even if the parents force the child to serve other gods. HaShem states in Exodus 21:

15“Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.”

17“Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.”

In verse 17, the word “curses” in the Septuagint is reviles which Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines as “to subject to verbal abuse”. Dishonor and disrespect occur through our attitudes, our actions, and even our words. We are called to always bring honor to our parents even when it is difficult; even when our parents force us to serve other gods. Why is this so? I believe the relationship between parents and children is an earthly reflection of the relationship between us and G-d. The Bible describes G-d as “Father” in several instances. “So now, HaShem, You are our Father. We are the clay and You are our Potter, and we are all Your handiwork.” Isaiah 64:8 Just as G-d created man, a husband and wife create a child. In a Biblical marriage, G-d is a crucial part of the relationship, and when we dishonor our father and mother, we are dishonoring G-d.

In the extreme case where a person’s parents actually force them to worship foreign gods an appeal can be made in a respectful and honorable way. A great guide to presenting wise appeals is found in Dr. Gothard’s The Basic Youth Conflicts Seminar: Seminar Workbook.

  1. Check out attitudes
  2. Clear our consciences
  3. Discern basic intentions
  4. Design a creative alternative
  5. Appeal to our authority
  6. Give G-d time to change their minds

If the parents still enforce idol worship after the appeal then the child is obligated to honor his/her parents’ demand. HaShem spoke and said, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the L-RD your G-d is giving you.”1 When we honor and respect our parents HaShem promises a long life. This is one of the few mitzvot [commandments] that is accompanied by a promise. We should not do what is right in our own eyes and dishonor our parents through disobedience. Who are we to say to G-d, “I don’t think that is right so I am not going to do that.”? Our mortal minds cannot understand HaShem’s plan or purpose. Therefore we must be obedient to His Torah. Similarly, we do not understand why our parents would force us to disobey HaShem but we must honor and respect them as our authority. Parents will be accountable one day for all actions, but it is not our place to dishonor or curse our parents.

__________________
1Exodus 20:12

by Kefa

I’m sure we’ve all gotten some sort of request by our employer for some weekend work sometime in our lives (ok, I actually haven’t :P) A quick favor turns into an agitated plea, which turns into an irritated requisite, which turns into an ultimatum; your job or your religion.

There are three sides to a response:

  • Honor G-d, honor the Torah, and honor the Sabbath; never work on a Saturday, whatever the cost.
  • Avoid any Saturday work until it puts your family’s well-being in jeopardy (job-threatening).
  • And, of course, you could just work on Shabbat…

If you’re an option 3 person, you can stop reading here.

A lot of men are torn between their responsibilities as a husband/father/provider and their obligation to the G-d of Israel. G-d commands us in Exodus 20,

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your G-d. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Pretty straight forward, don’t you think? You may argue that G-d values life over the Sabbath. It’s for this reason that we find no problem lying to save a life. The Preservation of Life trumps any other mitzvah in the Torah. But can providing money for your family be considered the Preservation of Life?

Is the necessity of  financial security, a roof under which to sleep, and food to eat an influence caused by the world? Perhaps we need to re-examine our convictions.

I would turn your attention to Joseph, son of Jacob, who was faced with pleasure and security on one side and his convictions and conscience on the other. Sleeping with Potiphar’s wife would have saved him from a bad reputation, losing his job, and ultimately ending up in jail (not to distract from the point, but if had slept with her he also wouldn’t have had to flash the other servants). But of course, he chose to disregard what the world considered valuable and he glorified G-d’s Name and His Torah.

Adultery may seem a far cry from the Sabbath, but is the situation much different? “Break commandment (one of those special ten, no less!) for reward.” What is the difference from your employer saying, “You will lose your job if you don’t lie to this prospect about the value of the item,” or, “You’re fired unless you steal our competition’s business plan,” or, “You can say goodbye to your job if you don’t come with the boys down to the strip club”? What makes the Sabbath a lesser commandment that you would make an excuse to break it? Have you no shame?!

“How can we serve G-d if we starve to death? How can we be a light to the world if our children are unclothed, unhoused, or unfed?”

Is it really our place to question the Will of G-d?! From where do we draw the authority to assume that G-d will not provide for the ones who love him, as demonstrated by their adherence to his commands?

If you are truly convicted of your beliefs, you will be willing to suffer for what you choose to do or choose not to do; you will accept the consequences and trust G-d for the omnipotent father that he is.


The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Proverbs 21:1

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