Category Archives: Moses

An Awakened Spirit can Avoid a Dead Body

An Awakened Spirit can Avoid a Dead Body

It all started when I got to wondering about the word “profane” as used in the OId Testament. I had a feeling it meant to dishonor. While this is true, as with most Hebrew words there is a range of interpretation. Not only that, but there are two different Hebrew words that get translated as profane: zur and halal. Zur is the most frequently used word—76 times in the Old Testament, while halal is used only 21 times. Zur in the King James bible is almost exclusively translated as “strange.” But in many modern translations zur is translated as profane. Halal on the other hand is almost exclusively translated as profane.

So, you’re probably asking, “what’s your point?” Well, it’s this, my New King James Bible search of “profane” took me to the “profane” fire offered by Nadab and Abihu. How could their incense offering be profane? The offering was described by the Hebrew word zur—strange. Maybe then it was not the offering, but something more spiritually profound to which the Lord reacted.

Let’s revisit the event and see what might have been at play.
Nadab and Abihu, were the two eldest sons of Aaron, Moses’ brother.
Their tragic story is told primarily in the tenth chapter of Leviticus. The chapter opens describing the young men making an offering to the Lord which had not been commanded by God and which resulted in their death.

In acting as they did, Nadab and Abihu assumed a familiarity with God that was totally at odds with the solemnity of the occasion. They upstaged not only Moses, but also their father, Aaron, the High Priest. Their offering was a spontaneous act which they performed at the conclusion of at least seven days of very intense spiritual significance—the dedication of the priesthood.

Aaron and his four sons were each in their respective priestly garments. They were before the altar in the newly constructed Tabernacle. The sons’ father, the High Priest, had just blessed the thousands gathered to observe the event. The fire of the Lord had spectacularly roared forth and consumed the prescribed offering on the altar.

In their youth and in the exuberance of the event they apparently gave no thought as to how presumptuous and offensive their actions would be to God—how they were drawing attention to themselves and away from their father and from Moses. Their actions diminished the sacred impact of the pageantry of the event—Nadab and Abihu were editing the script—all this High Priest decorum wasn’t necessary, two kids with their own censers could define how you approached and worshipped God.

Their actions profaned, made God common, before the people. The judgment of Nadab and Abihu by God was deserved, swift and just. God did not want another repeat of the Israelites’ faithlessness evidenced at His descent on Mt Sinai the year before. It was there, gathered at the base of Mt Sinai, witnessing the awesome power of God, that the nation vacillated. In the intensity of that experience the Israelites opted to exchange an offered intimacy of relationship with God for one of intercession—as one voice they said, “Moses, you listen to God for us.” Now, in this climactic moment of pageantry in the dedication of the priesthood, God had to quickly, decisively restore His position of holiness, His preeminence and His plan for His chosen.

Although the text does not use both Hebrew words, I make the following distinction. The young men offered a strange, zur, offering, however, it was their inappropriate actions in the circumstance that profaned, made common, were halal to God. Nadab and Abihu attempted to define God in their image—to create a god that He is not—an idol god. Their individual spirit did not perceive God’s spirit—resulting in their dead bodies. God is a jealous God.

There is a tendency today to make God a buddy, a big, huggable bear. Let us not forget that although He loves each of us with a passion and is intimately approachable, He must be respected, esteemed, honored and worshipped. It is best to let Him decide how He wants to present Himself to us in any given situation. I may want the big teddy bear, but in His wisdom, I may need the correction of a father.

When my spirit is awake to His Spirit I will always make better choices, resulting in life for my body.

How to Judge a Prophet

How to Judge a Prophet?

Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, John the Baptist and John the Revelator to name a few, are all bible prophets. Many of their prophecies are yet to be fulfilled. Then there are those today, men and women, who are referred to as prophets. 

Their admirers have no trouble with the prophet title. Their detractors are very often vehement in the expression of their detraction of the individual and the title. They seek to expose any cracks in the work of the prophet. Triumphantly announcing a particular prophecy did not happen as prophesied and therefore the prophet is a fraud and subject to the Torah prescribed death penalty. 

Forgetting for the moment that not keeping the Sabbath also incurs the death penalty, what might have been the reason for inserting the Torah instruction concerning the “false” prophet? It seems the only time God gets really fired up about this prophet question is just before the Israelites enter the promised land—big pagan territory. Every one of the -ites they will meet has gods, altars, priests, rituals—lots of opportunity to be confronted by “prophets” of a god. Truly a need here to sound the alarm. In the narrative, up until now, the Israelites really don’t have a good track record against foreign gods—remember the golden calf, the Midianite gals?

So, Yahovah gives them two warnings, almost in the same breath, as they are standing at the Jordan’s shore:

Deuteronomy 13:1-5
“If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass (think of Pharaoh’s magicians), of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘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 God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; 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 spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away (nice way of saying it) the evil from your midst. (Parenthesis are mine) 

Deuteronomy 18:17-22
“And the Lord said to me (Moses): What they (the gathered Israelites) have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. But the prophet who PRESUMES to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it PRESEMPTUOUSLY; you shall not be afraid of him. (Parenthesis and bold added)

I think the operative word here, particularly in the verses in Chapter 18  is presumes. Let’s take a look at the Hebrew word Moses used that gets translated into English as presumes. 

PRESUMES:  Strong’s h2102. זוּד zûḏ; or (by permutation) זִיד ziyd; a primitive root; to seethe; figuratively, to be insolent: — be proud, deal proudly, presume, (come) presumptuously, sod.
AV (10) – deal proudly 4, presumptuously 3, presume 1, proud 1, sod 1;
Englishman’s  Concordance
to boil, boil up, seethe, act proudly, act presumptuously, act rebelliously, be presumptuous, be arrogant, be rebelliously proud(Qal)to act presumptuouslyto deal arrogantly (with ‘al’)to defy proudly (with ‘el’)

Now, Ill put on my New Testament hat as that’s the expanded Torah standard taught by Yeshua. As Yeshua would say, “It all comes down to the condition of the heart!” Is the prophet speaking from a heart of insolence, pride or anger? We might be on shakier ground than the prophet if we try to compete with God in assessing that heart condition. And, in my opinion, God is looking at the condition of the prophet’s heart more than the words he speaks.

God calls the believers to be a kingdom of priests and prophets. There is also the office of prophet. Unless a person operating in that prophet office speaks arrogantly or is speaking in utter disregard of what God is saying, the lack of perfect hearing is not a sin—for which I’m thankful. 

If a person is speaking for God and not against him there seems to be much more scripture calling followers of Yeshua to encourage, uphold and support one another rather than to be so quick in pointing out fault. We followers are really to be in the world, not of it (or like it). 

If you are a believer and don’t like the way another believer dresses, their accent, their hair style and really even their message, I would caution circumspection in your criticism. You really should communicate your concerns with them directly and not through social media. Praying for them is not a bad option either, but trying to get a crowd to agree with your vilification is not in my opinion WWJD!

DISCLOSURE
All of the stock market “prophets” make a disclosure at the end of their prophesy as to the investment they have, don’t have or intend to have in the security they’ve just touted. 
This is my disclosure:
Over my 44 years as a believer I have invested heavily in harsh judging, criticizing and gossiping about other believers, regardless of their calling. I have never really studied what the word said, until now, especially about prophets. I could always be counted on to pick up a stone. After repenting, I will now be investing heavily in avoiding that critical, judgmental, self-righteous spirit. This will be my long term investment strategy. 

My Thoughts on Yom Teruah

My thoughts on Yom Teruah
Yom Teruah (Trumpets or Rosh HaShanah) is the fourth of seven annual appointments (feasts) which the Lord has set to intentionally meet with His people. During the Gregorian (Western) calendar year of 2016 the feast is celebrated beginning at sundown October 2. This is the first day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. Each annual celebration renews in me a desire to more fully understand and embrace this feast.

First I will make a brief observation that this is my Messianic sense of the feast. I say “my” Messianic sense to be sure it is understood as being my experience and not necessarily a belief of others who profess a Messianic understanding.

Next, just to be clear, as a self-proclaimed Messianic, I am saying I believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is God come in the flesh, the promised Messiah. His shed blood, death and resurrection are God’s provision (grace) which enables me to keep God’s Word-Torah. This standard of conduct was recorded by Moses and amplified by Yeshua and the Apostles. My keeping of Torah frees me from the curse which would otherwise result from my imperfect ability to keep the commands.

The instructions to keep this fall feast are sparse—we are told to keep it annually as a memorial observed as a Sabbath (Lev 23:24 and Num 29:1). In Judaism it is kept as a New Year observance. It also ushers in the Ten Days of Awe in preparation for the next feast, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

The word “memorial” used in the scripture connotes something that has happened which you want to remember. It may call for a resolution to remember so that it will not happen again. My brief word study of scripture brought up the first mention of trumpet as being at Mt. Sinai (Ex19, especially verse 13 and following). This was the mighty sustained, ear-piercing, rock-splitting shofar blast, trumpet blast, to announce God descending onto the mountain to speak to those gathered at its base. It is His first tangible appearance since He indirectly manifested through His miracles in Egypt. This Egypt scenario had resulted in the Israelites being freed and brought to this location before the mountain. The outcome of God’s visit from the mountain is recorded in Exodus 20:19—the people speaking: “You (Moses) speak with us (those assembled), and we will hear; but let not God speak with us lest we die.” Thus began 1500 years of indirect communication through priests, prophets and others (donkeys, for example) before the appearance of God come in the flesh—Yeshua!

I believe that year after year I and my generations have been called by the shofar blast on Yom Teruah to personally embrace and reaffirm the indwelling presence of Creator God—a memorial, if you will, to remind me not to reject Father’s desire to live big in me.

This celebration becomes then an annual heart check for stoniness—yet at the same time a day of unbounded joy because my God wants, desires and has provided for this personal, indwelling relationship through Messiah Yeshua.

What a blend of introspection, repentance, joy and celebration—let the shofar sound!

Seek First the Kingdom

Seek First the Kingdom

Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said Ex18:24

Rabbi David Forman makes an interesting proposition out of the dialogue between Moses and his father-in-law Jethro. Jethro counsels Moses on appointing judges to relieve his burden. He throws in the caveat “and God so commands you.” There’s a strong possibility Moses didn’t seek God’s counsel. Moses himself writes that he did all Jethro had said about appointing the judges. He records nothing about seeking God first. Is it possible this significant oversight in seeking God when coupled with Moses’ yielding to his soulish response to strike the rock rather than speaking to it (Nu 20:11) was what kept him out of the promised land? If Rabbi Forman is correct in his interpretation, and I believe he is, a very important point is being made. When you have been called by God for a task He equips you and strengthens you to perform it. Either Moses was not called by God to do all the judging or else it seems Moses did not trust God for the ways and means to perform the task of judging.

God can and does send us a messenger, but it is our responsibility to go to God to be sure it is His message that is being delivered. Moses fell on his face before God when confronted by other challenges, but it would seem Moses seriously missed petitioning the Lord in this very important scenario. Is it possible he was in presumption in the first place in undertaking the responsibility of judging? Possibly it was his brother Aaron who should have been given the task. The priests in time would become the last resort in the appeal process.

How many times have I undertaken a project that at the time seemed so right. Then, with the passing of time the grand idea became a seemingly impossible burden. How easy it is then to “hear counsel” for a solution to get me out of my mess. “Lord, please help me to learn to submit every ‘good idea’ to you before I leap into it. And if I do leap first, let me be quick to repent and seek Your plan for extrication.” I’d hate to miss the promised land because I failed to first fall on my face before Yahweh!
Makes you wonder what was on Yeshua’s mind when He is recorded by both Matthew and Luke as admonishing to seek first the kingdom. (Mat 6:33 Luke 112:31)