Honor and shame are concepts almost completely lost on western culture. We watch memes, gifs and video clips of foibles and disasters that befall others and consider it humorous to mock and laugh at their misfortune. We even encourage and rejoice in the sin and shame inducing behavior of others while entirely ignoring our own reproach for things Scripture considers abhorrent. Our culture ignores widows and orphans, glorifies divorce, practices all manner of sexual deviance, encourages abortion and we are generally irresponsible toward all but self.
In fact, like a man with no sense of smell, we have become a people entirely unaware of our own stench or that of those around us. Like pigs, we wallow in our filth and think it okay, maybe even funny. We glorify our stench.
As I have been studying Scripture regarding the two houses of Israel, God’s relationship with each house and His use of the relationship between man and woman to image Himself and His people, I have become increasingly aware of how very wretched we are on so many levels, and, how wrong is our theology.
One of the deep concepts that God refers to over and over is that of shame and reproach, so I had to begin to search out why God uses this concept and what we need to understand in both the spiritual and the physical dimension. Foundationally, there are several basic concepts that must be understood. If these are new to you, I recommend reading and processing the links to gain understanding and insight.
“Paul is hard to understand.” Like me, you probably hear this all of the time. I finally had to start rethinking Paul. Whatever position I arrived at, I knew that it had to agree with the Apostle Peter.
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,  as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.  You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
2 Peter 3:14-18
Peter clearly admits Paul is ‘hard to understand’, but also admits that his writings fit with ‘the other Scriptures.’ I decided that I must be missing something or not seeing Paul correctly. I had to rethink or re frame him.
Recently we had a comment here on the blog and a portion of that comment expresses exactly what has me concerned. And they are not alone in this difficulty.
“Since we know that Paul’s teachings/letters have done huge damage in getting people off track, as they are truly stumbling blocks, then why do so many messianic pastors try to ok his teaching against Torah and try to ok it? Yeshua warned us that the false tare words would remain till the end! And they sure have. Our Abba didn’t allow mixture then and He doesn’t allow it now. We had better be careful when we use Paul’s mixed teachings. I want nothing to do with stumbling blocks!.”
Part of my concern is that many in the Torah walk have minimized or even outright rejected Paul’s letters! This is a very dangerous thing to do! Supposedly, Paul upheld and taught the Torah. Is it possible we misunderstand Paul because we are looking through the wrong lens?
One thing that I think we often forget when we read Paul is one of the most basic rules of Bible study. CONTEXT IS KING. We often consider the surrounding context of Scripture, but we fail to understand the circumstantial or cultural context of his audience. So let’s consider the context of Paul and his writings.
What will be the form of government in the Millennial Kingdom? Will it be a democratic republic?
Most people who never ponder the form of government in the Millennial Kingdom merrily assume that it will be some sort of democratic republic with Messiah at the head. But, is that a safe assumption?
Most all nations in western culture, particularly ‘christian’ nations, are some form of democratic republic, often with a strong bent toward egalitarian feminism. We generally regard this as the result of ‘Enlightenment’, but do we find any support for the ideals upon which most governmental forms are founded anywhere in Scripture? (Yes, dyed in the wool Presbyterians may think Paul’s eldership is, but that is simply how to behave in the diaspora…)
In fact, while western culture may have drawn a now fading moral code from, primarily, the Torah, any honest student will readily admit that the form of government comes straight out of Greece and Roman systems contemporary to Second Temple Judea. And, if one is to trace it further back, they would be surprised to find that Greco-Roman democratic ideas came from Esau and Genesis 36, but I digress. A good study on that topic is The Esau Effect from The Messianic Message.
Food poisoning is not a pleasant experience. In fact, sometimes it can be quite serious leading to hospitalization or death. Nobody plans for it, rather it usually occurs because of some minute unnoticed contaminate in the food that negatively affects the body. Sources could be fecal, bacterial, parasitic, or even viral. We are familiar with names that strike fear, such as e. coli, salmonella, campylobacter, toxoplasmosis, rotavirus, etc.
But, what if the contaminate is visible? Would we remove it? Or, like a turd in the punch bowl, would we just dip around it assuming we can ignore or ‘dodge’ it?
Most who desire the coming of the Messiah, whether Jews, Christians or any shade in between (Messianic Judaism/Hebrew roots/Torah pursuant/etc) seem to prefer to dodge the obvious contaminant in the punch bowl. Let’s consider some challenging things.
Two or three evenings ago, my eldest son read some information to me regarding the growing global fertility crisis. He is working on his Masters level degree as a Nurse Practitioner and is immersed in all things health related, so his interest being peaked by a report on fertility rates crashing was no surprise.
We had an excellent discussion about the relationship between the fertility rate and the rate at which women embrace the God-ordained role of bearing children and caring for the home instead of pursuing education and careers. I further explained that reversing this and walking according to Scripture in the whole area of patriarchy, family structure and marriage is imperative for the restoration of kol Israel. (Did I mention this blog has a whole series on the subject?)
Kelly and I are back in the Land, aka
Israel, for the next three glorious weeks. We are blessed to have
the opportunity to lead the Ani Yosef Sukkot trip and to attend a
couple small conferences concerning the restoration of Israel.
After a late start this morning due to
little sleep while traveling we headed out for a several hour hike
out of the moshav and through a part of the Hakedoshim Forest. The
‘Forest of the Holy Ones.’
We walked and talked. Stopped a couple
places to pray and simply drink in the beauty.
As we talked, she mentioned, “I look
forward to the day when everything is green again.”
I said, “It is green! Everywhere.”
“I’m not color-blind,” she
“I understand what you are saying,
dear, but I already see it as
green.” Then it hit me. I pondered and as we kept walking, I said,
“I think often we are prophecy-blind like being color-blind. We
don’t see things by
faith as if they already are!”
A week ago, in our post titled Restoring Kol Israel: No more male or female?, we made a huge statement that many may have glossed over. Because it is so monumental, we need to go back and parse it with implications spelled out. Here is the quote:
To be clear, Yah is delivering these commands through Moses to the men of the households and it’s the man’s responsibility to teach them and discern correct application for his women.
As demonstrated earlier in the cited post, the Torah commands, over and over, as given by YHVH to Moshe, are specifically addressed to the men. While this understanding is not in conflict with most of Orthodox Judaism, it is a decided cut against the western egalitarianism and feminism that has overrun the church.
To review a couple things very quickly, our heart’s desire is to see kol Israel, all 12 (13) tribes restored. That cannot happen unless the most basic building block is restored. That building block is the man and, if he has one, his family. Call it what you will, manhood, masculinity, patriarchy, etc, the simple fact is that the structure of a nation cannot be assembled from broken or improperly functioning family building blocks. The basis of the entire structure that Yah designed and implemented is focused on the man leading his family. It began in Gan Eden with Adam and Chava.
Why are you alive? Fifty years after you die, what will have been the value of your life? How will people remember you? Will they remember you?
While ultimately, life is not so self centered as to be about my or your existence, few of us think deeply enough about our reason for being or living.
Recently, my wife and I, along with our eldest, attended a retreat focused on Biblical headship and patriarchy, our third such with this group. It was a refreshing gathering of believers from a number of different Christian/Hebraic backgrounds with the common passion for understanding marriage and headship from a decidedly Biblical perspective. Besides the interesting fact that is was fun to rub shoulders with Christians who don’t see or understand Torah as necessary while decidedly rejecting feminism and matriarchy based on the ‘old Testament Law,’ it was cathartic to hear from others who have experienced rejection from friends and family because they choose truth over tradition in this area. But, I digress.
Yesterday’s Torah portion, Korach (Numbers 16-18), offered an interesting thought regarding some recent posts on my blog. We have been and will continue discussing headship and God’s instituted authority structures. The name of yesterday’s portion was ‘Korach’ after the man who led a rebellion against the leadership of Moses and Aaron.
Korach means ‘bald.’ As in, ‘uncovered.’ Both of the last two week’s portions can be summed up as ‘God’s judgment against those who rebel against His appointed authority.’ The result is stepping out from under His covering.
Scary stuff! Will we be fully submitted to Him and His ways, or do we negotiate and rebel? Israel wanted to return to Egypt claiming it was the ‘Land flowing with milk and honey.’ Korach wanted to institute his own tabernacle and priesthood. The people were generally grumbling against Moses and Aaron, and by extension, the Angel of the Lord, leading them in the wilderness.
33 As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
Will we rebel or come to total submission? Only one option will reap the reward of the Kingdom.
If we set our course out of consideration for what others may think or concern for how this group or that group will accept us, then we are guaranteed to fail. If, however, we base our course on the unassailable truths of Scripture, then our Guardian will overwatch and protect with a shield known only to those who enter complete submission to the will of the Almighty and His Word. May we be so bold, so daring, as to cast off the moors of western culture and tradition in favor of returning to the tribal lifestyle of a Biblically Hebraic people. No other course will return us to the Land.