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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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Intro:
Several months ago I had the opportunity to have lunch with a dear friend of mine who I have known for over 12 years. Although our relationship started out as a family friendship it eventually led to our family attending their church – he is a pastor.

We were called out of the church about 3 ½ years ago to start an incredibly exciting journey which will not end – and actually seems like it only just began. I had recently been trying to share with him the truths that G-d had revealed to us over this short time by extending an invitation to attend a study in our home but he declined.

He did, however, accept an invitation to lunch to celebrate his birthday – as is our custom. I had intended to discuss, at least to some degree, our recent experiences and encourage him to look further and find the truth that has been covered from “our” eyes for nearly two thousand years. “G-d is calling His people back to Torah”….this most excellent news was answered with grave concern spread across his face. My friend’s concern was primarily regarding my relationship with Jesus Christ and I assured him that this was not a salvation issue but a sanctification issue.

He agreed to continue a discussion over email exchange as best that our schedules would allow…and so begins what I would like to share with you: “Thoughts from lunch”. This will be a short series of exchanges (there is a total of 2 emails from him and 2 responses from me) between the two of us that I have found challenging. I will post his emails for your review and practice on how you may have responded. Every few days I will post the next exchange.

Below (the first email) is my friend responding to my explanation of how we are to live out our faith.

Email Subject: Thoughts from lunch (#1)

“Hey Brother, Thank you for the lunch. I am glad we had a chance to share our hearts with one another. We are family in Jesus Christ. I was concerned, however, about some of your statements about the new covenant and what it means to live under the new covenant. My concerns come from the Book of Hebrews, especially Hebrews 8:6-13, Hebrews 9:10, and Hebrews 10:9-10. Hebrews 8:13 uses the word obsolete in the NKJV. In Strong’s Concordance it is number 3822 in the dictionary in the back. The word means to make or become worn out, to declare obsolete. That is a strong statement about the old covenant. We can talk more after you study it out. Thanks again for the lunch.”

by Kefa

“You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the Lord”

Leviticus 19:28

There has been a lot of debate in the Mishnah about the application of the latter half of the aforementioned verse. After a lengthy discussion, Maimonides concluded that, ‘regardless of the intent, the act of tattooing is prohibited.’ (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Idolatry 12:11)

Recently, I have noticed an influx of sites promoting tattoos in a Jewish context or culture; tattoos of Hebrew letters, tattoos of verses from the Tanach in Hebrew, etc. At first blush, this seems incredibly ironic, if not oxymoronic; what’s next, Hindus working at Coach? After a little digging, we find that the general idea behind this is to use tattoos as an expression of your dedication and zeal for your Jewish roots; an outward representation of the pride you take in your ancestry.

What is the justification? How are you able to slip past the clarity of the text? I’ve heard that tattoos were used in pagan culture and/or idol worship. Since you’re certainly not getting a tattoo to worship a pagan god and are more likely getting it to embrace your heritage as the People of G-d, you may be able to find security in this justification. G-d was simply separating us from the pagan worship of the nations, right? Therefore, since you have a pure mindset, you are excused from this command.

No! May it never be! Remember Solomon, who thought he understood what G-d meant in Deuteronomy 17:17 (He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself) and subsequently was turned from G-d by his many wives. Shall we belittle G-d, in His omniscience, by daring to comprehend the reasoning behind His commands? Shall we elevate ourselves over the One who laid the foundation of the earth?

In conclusion, do not feel compelled to break one of HaShem’s commands to express your zeal; instead, consider channeling that energy into demonstrating your love for Him by keeping His mitzvot.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

1 John 5:3


by tzadikguy

Each year people across the globe count down to New Year’s Day usually 10 seconds before midnight. Whether it is Rosh HaShanah, the Chinese New Year, or the Roman Calendar New Year it is customary to prepare one’s self for the approaching year. Some traditionally throw boisterous, confetti-filled parties and/or light fireworks to “ring in the New Year”. Nevertheless counting down to something exciting is not a new concept. The purposes are to increase anticipation, ensure preparations are in order, and have a continuous reminder of an impending event. Well some people have missed a very important command {mitzvah} in the Torah to countdown the days of the Omer from Passover {Pesach} to Pentecost {Shavu’ot}.
The command {mitzvah} is found in Leviticus 23:15-16 and it says:

15You shall count for yourselves – from the morrow of the rest day, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving – seven weeks, they shall be complete. 16Until the morrow of the seventh week you shall count, fifty days; and you shall offer a new meal-offering to HaShem.”

What exactly is an Omer? According to Rabbi Shraga Simmons from aish.com the Omer is explained as such:

“In the days of the Holy Temple, the Jewish people would bring a barley offering on the second day of Passover (Leviticus 23:10). This was called the ‘Omer’ (literally, ‘sheaf’) and in practical terms would permit the consumption of recently-harvested grains.”

Pentecost {Shavu’ot} is the day that Israel was given the Torah on Mount Sinai! Of all the significant events throughout scripture I would place the giving of the Torah high on the list as worthy of a countdown. It is His Word and His essence manifested through the beautifully written words on stone and parchment. The Torah was His gift to us so that we may walk in righteousness, bring honor to His name, and love Him. During Passover {Pesach} we celebrate Israel’s redemption from slavery in Egypt but it was not complete until HaShem endowed Israel with His Torah 50 days later. What a beautiful event to celebrate and remember and we do this through the Counting of the Omer {Sefirat Ha’Omer} as HaShem said.

In addition, since we know that obedience is what demonstrates our love for HaShem let us fulfill this command {mitzvah} together and “ring in Pentecost {Shavu’ot}”. You can receive daily Tweets with the day of the Omer by following us on Twitter at twitter.com/menoftorah.




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