Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I have moved my blog to Please modify the link in your page if you have linked my blog. All new posts will appear at the address above. Thank-you to everybody.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah

This morning I had an opportunity to sit down with a coworker friend of mine and help him understand the story of the firey furnace in Daniel 3. Together, we found some amazing truth about who God is in this story and about how God desires and works to refine us into the likeness of Jesus.

In this story we have three men living captive in Babylon during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. These were Hebrew men who knew Yahweh intimately. There names in Hebrew were Hananiah which means 'Yahweh is gracious', Mishael which means 'Who is like Yahweh', and Azariah which means 'Yahweh has helped'. Each of these three names and their meanings hold significance throughout the story. Nebuchadnezzar changed their names to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three bold Hebrew men defied Nebuchadnezzar by refusing to bow down before his image. Their devotion was to Yahweh and He alone. Bowing to his image would be to turn their backs on Yahweh. Let's look closer at another detail. The fiery furnace. Through the Jewish Encyclopedia, I learned that the furnace was used for the potters kiln for firing earthen vessels, baking bread and for smelting metals and ore.

The meaning of the word furnace in Hebrew is "aysh" meaning fire, supernatural fire (appearance of theophany), altar fire etc. The word theophany simply means an appearance of God. So, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego) were thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to bow to Nebuchadnezzar. We saw earlier that the furnace was used for firing earthen vessels. Are these three Hebrew men earthen vessels? If so, earthen vessels of what or who? The answer to the first question is yes, they are earthen vessels. They are earthen vessels of the Spirit of Yahweh. 1 Peter says that the prophets of old had the Spirit of Christ within them. The fire is an appearance of God. They are thrown in the presence of God. The account says, however, that there was a fourth man in the furnace with them. An angel of sorts. Who could it be? It has to be Jesus. The appearance of God in the flesh is Jesus.

What is the heart of the story? As earthen vessels, we are refined daily through various trials and persecutions (James 1:2-4). Are we thrown daily into the fiery furnace? Are we available and obedient to God to the point that He can "fire" us to look more like his Son? 1 Peter says we are refined like pure gold. Gold is refined because it contains impurities. Our lives contain impurities which cannot stand before a holy God. It is only after our lives have been purged of the dross that we can walk on the "highway of holiness" (Isaiah 35). 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known."

Friday, March 30, 2007

Why Passover?

This was the question posed to me by my supervisor at work on Thursday evening after I requested taking Monday (Passover) off. I had a few reasons to offer him. First of all, the Passover and all of God's moedim (feast days) are part of my relationship with him. The feast days are what David in Psalm 23 called the "paths of righteousness." They show me how to get to the wedding day. The day the bride is married to the bridegroom. Secondly, the Passover is when I give glory to God for rescuing me from my sin. Moses, when he rescued the Israelites from Egypt under God's hand is a type and picture, a prophecy, of the coming of Christ and our deliverance from sin. The church knows this to be the Easter season. I will make one point clear about Easter. The word "easter" is only found once in all of today's bible translations. Can you guess which translation uses the word "easter?" If you guess the King James Version you would be correct. Every other translation uses "Passover" when refering to the time Jesus broke bread with his disciples and said, "This is my body that is broken for you." Thirdly, the Passover is a shadow of Jesus. This may sound strange to some but allow me to finish my point. When I step into the Passover celebration, I step into the shadow of Jesus. Yes, Passover is prophetic of Christ and Christ has come and has died however Passover has not lost the deep, richness of Spirit life because the prophecy the feast contains has come to pass. It is still as meaningful today as it was the night Israel painted their doorposts blood red so that the Spirit of God would not kill their firstborn.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Long Time Coming

Hello my friends. I don't know what happened to my desire to blog. It disappeared for a while. I can't believe that I haven't posted since September. This is the start of a conscious effort to start posting once a week like I was before. I know at least one person has missed me. I missed blogging and writing my thoughts on scripture and what it means for me and for you. Please accept my sincere apologies for the long hiatus. Yesterday, I had a wonderful Sabbath with my friends. We studied Exodos 10:1-13:16. It was a feast. I was full after we finished. There is so much in scripture to learn and study. When one complete book describes one awesome God it is a hard book to put down. I hope that within the next couple of days I will post something for all of you to enjoy. Have a great evening and I'll talk to you again soon. Bye for now. God Bless.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Can I Lose my Salvation?

I'm sure that any christian that has professed Jesus Christ as their personal savior has asked themselves this question. It is a hot topic of debate amongst denominations all across the world. Some believe that salvation can be lost by continual disobedience and sin done in ignorance of Christ's death on the cross. Others believe that salvation once recieved cannot be lost no matter what you do. Can a case be made for or against eternal security from Torah?

I have begun to realize from studying scripture that salvation is a one time, free gift for all mankind. We don't have to do anything to earn this salvation. It is given by faith. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. The covenant God made with Abraham was unconditional. It was by faith. I have posted previously on this blog about the covenants ("Covenant Complications") and how one covenant does not cancel out the other. Let us consider the Mosaic Covenant for a moment. The Mosaic Covenant made with the Israelites and Moses is conditional. If you read Leviticus you will see the language used is "if" "then". IF you do this, then I will do this. In addition, the covenants established by God with his people were everlasting. The covenant God made with Abraham was everlasting. Why? It was made by faith. Obedience brings the blessings. If we obey the Lord in all of his ways then blessing will come to us. The opposite is true also. If we disobey God, there will be curses. Please remember that God is still as faithful to the blessing as He is to the cursing. He never changed between two testaments.

I believe the reason this topic is so debated within evangelical christian circles is because we don't really understand the difference between redemption and righteousness. Have I been redeemed? What does it mean to be redeemed? It means to be bought with a price, ransomed, somebody else paid my punishment for me. Righteousness is what we do with that redemption. How do I live after I've been redeemed? Remember the Mosaic covenant is conditional; "if you do this then I fill in the blank. The Mosaic covenant is what shows us how to live rightly within our redemption. If we obey the Lord we are blessed. If we disobey the Lord we are cursed. Remember also the Torah was not given for salvation, it was given for teaching and instruction. It is there so we know how to walk in our redemption. Am I giving a license to sin? No, I'm not. Humans make choices. We choose to obey or disobey. If we disobey, forgiveness awaits us at the cross.

Salvation is a one time gift given once for all people. Salvation is not conditional. Salvation is an unconditional gift freely given and freely recieved. We make salvation conditional by saying that if we sin too much over a specific period of time we lose this free gift. Why would God revoke a free gift? Is that the God we know? "The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love."

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Lord's Appointed Times: Part 1

The photo to the left is a pie chart of the appointed times of Yahweh. The very first appointed time is the Sabbath day. You can read more on the Sabbath by reading the post called "The Sabbath and God's People." The first feast of the year is celebrated during the Spring season. The Spring season is marked in green on the pie chart. The Spring season begins with Passover or Pesach in Hebrew. This celebration commemorates the Lord's deliverance of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and is also prophetic of our deliverance from sin through Christ. The second feast of Yahweh is Unleavened Bread. Unleavened bread is significant because we leave behind all of the contamination and "fermentation" (meaning of 'leaven' in Hebrew) of the world and focusing on keeping ourselves faithful and obedient to the Lord. Then we have First Fruits. This feast celebrates the harvest that comes when we enter into the Lord's promised blessing. Our first fruit is Christ. He is the first and the last sacrifice for sin. We are the first fruit of that sacrifice. We are the harvest of Christ. After firstfruits, we count 49 days from the sabbath. The fiftieth day is the Shavuot or the Feast of Pentecost. If you would like to read the story of Shavuot or Pentecost, check out these scriptures: Genesis 11, Exodus 32, Numbers 5, and Acts 2. I will go into the amazing story of Pentecost from the beginning to the end in another post. The feast of Pentecost celebrates new life in the Spirit of Torah (teaching and instruction). When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we have the power and strength to obey all of the Lord's teachings and instructions.

Some of you maybe thinking, what about all the sacrifices and offerings. You don't need to go out and buy a lamb or a bull, all you need to do is honor the Lord by encouraging a brother or sister, and sharing the blessings God has given in your life (i.e., food, drink etc). I will close part 1 with this; at the end of every command concerning a feast the Lord says, "This is to be an everlasting ordinance for you and the generations to come." Are we one of those generations? Christ celebrated with his disciples, and Paul celebrated these feasts thirty years after Christ died. If we are, these feasts are for us today.

To be continued...