When we left off in our previous lesson we were talking about the Blessings and Curses throughout the Tanakh. We were in the Book of Yeshayahu, chapter 1, and verse 12, the trampling of the courts and how these prophecies seem to be coming true in our day. In vv 15-17, Yeshayahu warns us to do what is right and in vv. 18-19, he gives a promise that if we do what is right, that Yahweh will cleanse us white as snow. vv. 20-31, warn us of the alternative; judgment for not obeying.
It is my opinion that; as Yahweh raised up Babel and Assyria against His rebellious people 2600 years ago, I believe in my heart that Elohim can, and is, raising up against us, the Islamic terror that we are seeing all over the world, they have declared these attacks as a ‘holy jihad’ yet our government refuses to recognize this war as a religious war instead calling it a war on terror. This enemy has spent decades infiltrating every country around the world who does not believe in their god Allah, who is not Elohim, in preparation for what is taking place right now, this has been their ‘MO’ for thousands of years and they live among us today. I believe that if we were living by the word of Yahweh in this present time He would not have allowed the horrible events that we have already seen and experienced firsthand. Not only the attacks from terrorists but also the devastating hurricanes; Katrina and Rita that I honestly believe were the results of our having a part in the division of land in Israel.
In v 23, still in Chapter 1; many of our leaders are involved in corruption and bribery, looking to benefit themselves personally or for their own causes or political agenda at the expense of the taxpayer. In vv 24-31, Yahweh, Elohim declares; He will take charge and avenge those who have gone their own way, and in chapter 2, Yeshayahu sees the last days, this again is two-fold looking forward from Yeshayahu’s day to the incarnation of Yahusha ben Yahweh coming to earth, living among us and showing us how He expects us to live, and reveals that it is possible to live righteous lives, not perfect as He was perfect, but that we can and should strive to live as He lived. It also looks forward to the future, when Yahusha returns to take His rightful place on the throne and reign as; Sovereign of sovereigns and Master of masters, for a millennium. Yeshayahu describes the ‘Day of Yahweh’, and the state of the land and people, v 6 “You have abandoned your people, the house of Ya’aqob. They are full of superstitions from the east; they practice divinations like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans.” Revelation reads; “For by sorcery will all the nations be deceived”. Today the entertainment world is one of Satan’s largest and most effective platforms for delivering his lies. Television has been used as a way to desensitize and indoctrinate the public into acceptance of wickedness and modern paganism. Movies are and have been based on the supernatural for a long time, the books that most appeal to our children these days are supported and published by an organization known as WICCA, and the Harry Potter series of books is one that this group endorses. The books seem harmless enough on the surface, but it is based on sorcery, and there are groups out there making a new religion out these books, encouraging our youth to learn ‘The Arts’. Our family hour programming on TV is not fit for adults, let alone our children; shows like Charmed, Sabrina the Teen Age Witch, Medium, Ghost Whisperers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and more and more all the time, every new season brings another appeal for a different group of people all with the deceiving message of ‘good vs. evil’, to make the shows more acceptable, but the Scriptures are very clear that we are not to indulge in any of it, even as mere entertainment (Deut 18:9-13). Real life shows like Psychic Detectives, the John Edwards show and another ‘medium’, I can’t remember his name but they both do shows communicating and delivering messages from dead loved ones and family members from ‘the other side’. We are being deceived into believing that these shows are good and acceptable, but they are not!!
To go thru and try to cover all the Prophets and their calls to repent, oracles, laments, and prophecies of judgment, and restoration would take a book of itself. We may just do that in some future classes, there is much to be learned from these awesome men of courage and conviction. There is lots of fascinating reading and some of them were real characters.
Of particular interest to this lesson on ‘Blessings and Curses’ however, is one book written by the Prophet Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah), he had spent about 30 years preaching and calling Yahudah to repent and prophesying about the coming exile of the Yahudim Nation to Babel. But no one listened; they ignored him and frequently ran him out of the towns where he had been preaching. When Yerushalayim was taken and the people captured, they then realized they should have taken his advice. Then Yirmeyahu lamented about the destruction of Yerushalayim and wrote the Book of Ekah (Lamentations). The book is a series of five lamentations that speak of his bitter sorrow over the apparent end of Yisra’el.
1. be sad about something: to express sorrow about something
2. express disappointed regret: to express regret, annoyance, or disappointment
It seems cruel to say, but never the less true that they brought this all on themselves. They had ignored all that was written about how to prevent what had just happened. Read 1:8-18. Is this not just exactly what Yahweh had said He would do if they refused to obey the Laws that He had given Mosheh? The Torah that the people had sworn an oath to obey and were supposed to publicly read each year at different times of the year at the festivals, so that they would not forget? This is what his 2nd lament was about; in chapter 2 he describes what caused the devastation.
Chapter 3, the 3rd lament, something happens and right at a 3rd of the way into the poem he calls to mind as it says in v 21; “yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: v 22; “Because of Yahweh’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.” Yirmeyahu goes on to confess Yahudah’s sins and prays that Elohim restore his people which as we know he does 70 years later.
Even this lesson however is lost after some time and
Now before we get too far out of the Tanakh, I’d like to take a step back again to the days of the end of mourning for Mosheh, as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. Yehoshua was leading the Yisra’elites across the Yarden River and Elohim, miraculously stopped the flow of water thus allowing them to cross on dry ground, just as He had done for that generation’s fathers at the Red Sea, giving Yehoshua the authority equal to Mosheh in the eyes of the people.
YAHWEH’S WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS
There was a time some years ago when I was still in the church and I was teaching this Sunday school class. Know that when this was written I was still using the pagan names for our Elohim, I am changing them here.
After class I was down near the kitchen getting some coffee and I was asked my thoughts on why Elohim would allow or command the Yisra’elites, when they entered the Land of Kena’an to take possession of it, to destroy everything, man woman and child? How could our Elohim call for the death of these innocent children?
Having had time to give this some thought and do some reading and studying, I believe I can now give a more thorough answer than I was able to at that moment. I’m not sure if anyone here this morning was even there at that time, but I found the question interesting and thought I should be able to answer if it ever came up again, and it also occurred to me that it really did apply to our lesson so I decided to include it. So, why would our Elohim of Love call for the destruction of these children? Does it seem cruel to you? And does that cause any falter in your Faith? I think these are important points and these questions I think come in many forms from people both inside and outside the ‘faith’. How can a loving Elohim allow people to go through the kind of suffering we sometimes see? How often do we here that question asked?
1. We must remember that Yahweh’s ways are not our ways. Yeshayahu 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, My ways, declares Yahweh.” We, as humans only have this present life, here on earth, in this physical body as our focal point. We only have this one view in our sight. On the other hand Yahweh sees all life, in every realm, at all times, all at the same time. We do not have any knowledge of what is beyond this earthly realm except the few descriptions of heaven we are given in the Scriptures. When these descriptions were given to us thousands of years ago, that same lack of understanding existed, I believe that Yohanan (John) and Yehezqel (Ezekiel) as well as others were limited by their humanness in describing what they visualized as heaven and the New Yerushalayim. I believe that the beauty and magnificence of Heaven is beyond our comprehension or ability to describe. Yehezqel devoted the last 8 chapters describing his vision of the restoration of the Qodesh Hekal, the Qodesh City, and the Qodesh Land at the Master’s Day. I believe that human words don’t and can’t do justice to what it will really be like. I believe the same for John’s description of the New Heaven and New Earth in the book of Revelation.
2. Our ways are not Yahweh’s ways. Our views of innocence are not the same as Elohim’s. We can only begin to understand the original sin that we are all born with. All humans are born with this original sin not just the Jew and the Christian. Chauah (Eve) was the Mother of us all, her sin of defying Yahweh’s command not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil and Adam following along, caused the world to suffer for all time. That first act of defiance to Elohim opened the door to the sin nature we are all born with and that same first act of defiance brought death to the world.
If Elohim views Chauah’s sin serious enough that every child born from that day forward is born with that sin, then how must he view the child born to parents who defy Yahweh in every aspect of their lives? Our innocence was lost when Chauah sinned that one time, in one single disobedient act.
The Kena’anites and other people, who occupied the land, before it was given to the Yisra’elites, worshipped other gods, false gods, gods made up by the sinful nature of man. Their practices of sacrificing their children, and performing sexual acts as part of their worship to these gods, in every aspect they were just plain wicked. This wickedness was a defect in their nature just as two parents who are blind would likely give birth to a blind child. The warnings that Elohim gave us in the Torah (Law) of Mosheh told us that this kind of wickedness would be punished to the tenth generation. Which is more cruel, to take an innocent child to heaven before he/she sins the great sins that will bring eternal death as their parents did, or to let the child live and become like their pagan families and infect the Yisra’elites in their pagan ways?
Yahweh wanted the Kena’anites destroyed because they’d had every opportunity to change their ways. The Word of Yahweh was known throughout the world even before the Israelites. Abram was not Yisra’elite, yet he is the father of our Faith. Adam, Hanoch (Enoch) and Noach all walked in Yahweh’s ways, yet they had not been given the Torah of Mosheh. Deb. 28:18, says; “Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, (kine are cows or cattle) and the flocks of thy sheep”. The first part of that verse, “Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body” Yahweh’s Torah applied to all people everywhere, the children of the vile pagan people who lived in Kena’an were cursed because of the way the generations before them defied Elohim.
However Yahweh’s wrath was not against all who lived in Kena’an, as we find in Deb. 20:10-18; those who lived in cities far away from the large cities of the nations, (where the pagan worship took place), they were given the chance to make peace with the Yisra’elites. Their lives were spared if they did make peace, if not only the men were put to the sword. Their women and children were taken along with their cattle and food supplies as spoils of war.
I believe these cities were not part of the wicked pagan culture, they probably did not have temples to the pagan gods. This I believe is what distinguished them from the other cities that Elohim held in contempt. They were not involved in the vile rituals that brought Yahweh’s wrath. Therefore their women would not corrupt the men of Yisra’el and their children did not have the curse against them.
3. We can, if we think about it, view this command of Elohim as an act of favour (mercy). I say this because as I stated; many of these children were being sacrificed to the pagan gods by their own parents and people. These children therefore, were so defiled by this sacrifice that they could never be presented before the Master. This sacrifice was to throw these children into the fire as burnt offerings, and with an awareness of how utterly wicked these people were in their other forms of worship, there is no telling what other things they may have done to these children before the fire. So in that sense they were being saved in innocence, even though being killed physically. And in that same sense, death actually could be a form of mercy, as Elohim sees life.
As we look back to what actually transpired, we see that the Yisra’elites did not do as Elohim had commanded them in respect to destroying the pagan worshipping people. We see beginning in Yehoshua chapter 17 the tribes of Menashsheh and Ephrayim did not drive out the Kena’anites. They disobeyed Yahweh and allowed them to live and remain in the land, they cohabitated with them, took them to be their wives and concubines and they began to live as the pagans did, worshipping the pagan gods. This is exactly the reason that the Yisra’elites fell out of fellowship with Yahweh and all this led to their demise, the destruction of the Hekal and Yerushalayim and the Exile, the loss of their self-rule under the guidance of Yahweh and eventually led them to being scattered around the world for nearly 2000 yrs. The cause of many of the problems they are experiencing this very day is a direct result of them (or their ancestors) not obeying the Torah of Elohim to totally destroy and drive out the Kena’anites and others from the land 3400 years ago. I also believe that the world that we live in today would be vastly different if the Yisra’elites of that day had obeyed Torah. Just as I believe that the world we live in today would vastly change if we would ‘Return to Yahweh’ and begin to obey the Word of Yahweh. We would at least have a lot more company when we get to Heaven if we did, Hallel u Yah?
This lesson has dealt with the blessings, for following His Commands and Torah and curses for not following Torah and Commands, and I would like to continue talking about these Laws and Commands. We have now, a new ‘blessing’ as we enter these latter days and into our own time through the perfect sacrifice of our Loving Father, I say the sacrifice of the Father because He does make a sacrifice, as He gave His Son as the final blood offering, the soul cleansing blood of Yahusha. This new ‘Blessing’ is in addition to those Torah blessings that are still available to us, if we follow Yahusha.
Repentance and Obedience
I believe in this modern day we have lost sight of the true Word of Yahweh in this area. We have become people of tolerance, and in my opinion tolerance is just another word for ‘compromise’. We compromise the moral values that Yahusha and all of those righteous men and women since Elohim created the heavens and earth and Adam and Chauah, have been trying to instill in us. Yahusha died on the stake, was buried and rose again for us, that we may have a part of him dwell within us, manifested as His Qodesh Spirit that we may know His ways with a new nature, the spirit nature that we are born with when we are born in the name of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaQodesh.
Today’s ‘bible’ teachers and churches are misinterpreting the Scriptures. Putting the emphasis on this tolerance and ‘forgiveness’ in everything whether there is repentance or not. I hear so often “you don’t know me, you can’t judge me”, if we do what the Scripture tells us to do and rebuke our brothers when we see them doing wrong, the first thing they’ll say is; “don’t judge me”. Or when we are talking amongst ourselves and discussing the things we see that don’t follow what we understand the Word of Yahweh to say, someone may say; “don’t be judgmental”, that is not judgment, to judge would be to say; I think you should go to hell for what you are doing. That’s not what we are saying at all. If we do not point out those things we see others do that are sinful, we share their guilt and will suffer just as those who are actually sinning. It is this ‘judgment’ argument that has brought churches to accept into full fellowship those living an ‘alternative lifestyle’ and even in a few cases allowed and sanctified these sinners into the ranks of church ‘hierarchy’. I refer to the case of the homo-sexual Bishop who was Ordinated in the Episcopal Church.
Many of the modern 'bible' Colleges and Seminaries and their Theologians are teaching that the Scriptures do not need to be taken literally, the miracles and wondrous things that Yahusha did and the miracles of the Tanakh were just fictional stories that portrayed the lessons that we are supposed to take from them. They teach that ‘Jesus’ (Yahusha’s) birth was not as the ‘bible’ says; an immaculate conception, they don’t actually say the bible lies but that it is more parable than fact.
I am sorry to say that many churches today have accepted these ideas and it is now part of the ecumenical creed of the National Council of Churches. Those churches who are affiliated with this group are the churches that have embraced and condoned the homo-sexual lifestyle and profess ‘tolerance’.
That statement is now somewhat out-dated. Many Christian churches today now embrace the homo-sexual lifestyle and condone this “abomination” according to Yahweh, who said that He NEVER changes, not yesterday, today or tomorrow.