Bling-bling and the Moedim

The Torah portion this week describes the holy altars.  Truth is that which will pass through the fire and endure into eternity.  "Your Word is Truth." The Word of Truth is the Good News.  Violating that Word is Bad News, for those deeds and words are eternally false.  The Israelites wore adi, or ornaments.  Ornaments are adornments for a bride, and in the case of Israel, the Bride of Messiah, for Adonai laments that Israel broke His commandments even though He was a Husband to them.[1]  

When they violated the commandments concerning worshiping idols and Sabbaths, the Israelites violated their marriage agreement:

             And when the people heard this bad news, they mourned, and no one put on his                                  ornaments.  For the LORD had said to Moses, 'Say to the children of Israel, "'You are
             a stiff-necked people. I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume    you.
             Now therefore, take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do to you.'" So
             the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by Mount Horeb.[2]

The people mourned and stripped off their ornaments when they heard bad news.  Bad news is the opposite of the good news, which is the Gospel.  The Gospel was preached prior to Yeshua's human appearance. Israel understood some elements of the good news. Part of the good news is that Adonai triumphs over His enemies through the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah Yeshua, the Passover and the tamid[3] Lamb, in order to set up a peaceful eternal kingdom.

The Israelites understand that some part of that Gospel has been subverted through their setting up a false chag (feast), worshiping the golden calf, setting up an altered altar, and pinning Adonai's good Name on their false holiday and idol.  In recognition that they had turned good news into bad news, the Israelites stripped themselves of ornaments, their bling-bling.  They had received their bling-bling when they walked in the good news and Adonai delivered them from Egypt through the blood of the Lamb.  Their obedience resulted in their looting the Egyptians' silver and gold.

The Hebrew word for ornament or jewel is adi, which is from the Hebrew root, adah, meaning to pass on, advance, or go on.  It is from this root that is derived the word ad, which means eternity, until, up to, or a witnessEdut is evidence, testimony, or a precept from the Scriptures, the Torah or Word. Edah is a community, congregation, or assembly. Israel had violated the Word of Truth.  Her Good Gold works of obedience were ornaments of eternity, the ornaments of the Body of Messiah that testified to the message of Jerusalem, the throne of Adonai on earth and the center of His feasts and Sabbaths:

              And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
              made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.[4]

When Israel obeys the commandments, she IS the city of Jerusalem, an eternal Bride ornamented with deeds of eternal truth.  Her menorah is the Lamb, the Angel of the Presence within her.  When Israel disobeys, she loses her ornaments of eternity and truth.  It's not about the bling-bling, but the moedim.

 Reaffirming the Messianic Messages of the Moedim

Following the sin of an altered feast, Adonai reaffirms the message of His feasts and His Shabbat.  He reminds them to observe Shabbat, Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot.  They had received the Ten Words at Shavuot, and the detailed instructions concerning Shavuot include a commandment to bring two loaves of leavened bread, recalling the two tablets of the commandments they broke.

Leaven is a contranym in Scripture.  In one context, Pesach, it represents the pride of the nefesh, the soul.  It is malice, envy, etc.  On the other hand, at Shavuot, the leaven represents positive attributes of the believer.  As Yeshua taught in his parable, the Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven that demonstrates increase.  The two leavened loaves of Shavuot can represent the work done between the unleavened bread of Pesach and the fulfillment of seven sevens at Shavuot.  Whereas the nefesh (soul-appetites, emotions, desires, intellect) was denied at Pesach and given only unleavened bread, the nefesh was expected to have grown (like the Kingdom) to be a pure expression of the Ruach with the power of the nefesh.  

The disciplined nefesh leavens, not with pride and sin, but with holiness under the authority of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).  The power of the Ruach grows in the person, not the power of sin.  The "puffing" of the nefesh is with the power of the Ruach to obey the Truth of the Ten Words, not to obey the beast of desire.

Denial of the nefesh is ascetism, but the goal of purifying and submitting the nefesh is so that it can experience pleasure just as it was created to do.  Shavuot is a time of affirming that ultimate yielding of the nefesh to all permissible and true pleasures.  The pleasures are found in the Tree of Life.  Real pleasure can be found apart from the Torah, but it is not true pleasure.

For every true pleasure found in the Torah, the adversary offers a real one that appeases the nefesh and body only, leavening them with sin, which is anything not within the boundary of His will.  Once the nefesh is submitted to the Ruach, the pleasures obtained from the Tree of Life are both real and true.  They are pleasing to the man who eats from the Tree of Life as well as his Creator, for it is His will.  The person's nefesh and body enjoy the leaven of the Kingdom, which is true and based on "It is written..." and it brings their Lord pleasure.  This is one message of the talking altar.  What, the altar can talk?  Sure!  In Revelation 16:7 and 9:13, there are voices from the altar.

For souls (nafshim) UNDER the altar, the altar's judgment is favorable, for their days of Unleavened Bread hav e yi eld a leavened loaf of the purified soul prepared for Shavuot, the commemoration of the giving of the Torah at the first of the wheat harvest.  Those souls are resurrected from the fire with Messiah.  For those whose works cannot pass through the fire of the Word, the judgment is wrath.  Their leaven of pride was not removed, therefore their leaven is sin.  They cannot receive the Torah because they did not receive the fiery law of the Torah:

And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. (Deut 33:2)

Life Lesson

So what can we apply to our lives today from Ki Tisa?  How do we elevate the Word in our lives, spirit, soul, and body?  In a recent lesson, I read the Jewish aggadic tradition concerning Rabbi Shimeon and his son Rabbi Eleazer, a story set in the time of Roman rule.  Because of their uncompromising position concerning the supremacy of Adonai's Word, they had to flee from the Romans.  They took shelter for twelve years in a cave, devoting that time to studying Torah.  After twelve years they emerged, full of holy fire from studying the fiery law.  They despaired over the ungodliness they observed.  Everyone seemed to have been seduced by the things of the world, neglecting the pursuit of eternal things.  These two "witnesses" burned everything they saw with judgment fire!

The Holy One sent them back to the cave for another twelve months.  Again they emerged, but this time, they encountered an old man carrying a bunch of myrtle branches.  They asked him why he carried the fragrant branches, and he told them that they were for celebrating Shabbat.  This settled the heart of Rabbi Shimeon, and anything that Rabbi Eleazar burned in judgment, Rabbi Shimeon healed.

What is the lesson that the rabbis taught with this story?  The Torah is fiery judgment, no doubt. Nevertheless, it is a healing Word.  We cannot destroy everything around us in judgment; that is the job of the Holy One in His time and His plan.  The sight of the old man preparing for Shabbat gave hope.  As with Elijah, who assumed he was the only one left who had not bent a knee to a false god, the Holy One showed him that it was only his human perception, not the true witness. 

The Holy One is able to preserve within the world those who are His; he does not expect them to destroy His Creation with the Torah.  Our job is to learn to live in world without being influenced by idolatry.  Our job is to heal, starting with the beauty of the Torah, such as the mindful preparation for Shabbat rest in Messiah.  

Let Messiah judge.  Let us prepare the way the way with Good News, not Bad News. 

Many who come into Torah observance display some predictable patterns that are similar to the account of the two witnesses.  See if you can't find the pattern of Creation Days One Through Four:

Step 1  First light.  Accept the whole Torah as Light and Seed, the Good News of Yeshua, his testimony and commandments.

Step 2  Exasperation and disgust with the world.  Like the account of R' Shimeon and Eleazer, the temptation is to destroy the world with the fire of the Torah.  In this stage, conspiracy theories become attractive, for they are a warm dish served new every morning on the internet, feeding this stage of separation from the depravity of the world.  There is a feeling of isolation in this stage. Don't worry; this is normal.   

Step 3  Crisis point.  Some will realize like the elder Shimeon (after 12 additional months of confinement) that judging the worldliness of the world is merely destruction.  Isaiah 8 can begin to soak into the spirit and soul, embedding a realization that we cannot change the historical events of prophecy, but we can change ourselves.  Repentance can withhold a prophesied judgment.  

Step 4  Balance.  Those who realize that there is a present reality that must be balanced with spiritual truths begin to bring the fire of the Torah into the world; they learn to use the things of the world for spiritual purposes without negating the physical world.  They refocus on the healing aspect of the Torah, and they can actually see beyond the feeling of isolation to the beauty of others preparing for the time that is all Shabbat.  They balance the realization of judgment with the healing power of Good News.  Those who find balance learn to elevate the Creation with the fire of Heaven, not to destroy it with fire.  They leave that to the Holy One.  To Rabbi Shimeon, the encouragement to heal what Rabbi Eleazer burned was the simple sight of seeing an old man prepare for the Shabbat by carrying some fragrant branches.  Without gathering, there is no seed or new life.  

Alternate Step 4  Others will "stick" in Step 2.  The conversations center around conspiracy theories, excessive "prepping," and isolationism.  They talk much of holiness, but there is little BEING holy. They have difficulty finding like kind and like mind because they cannot move past the separation to the gathering.  Separation without gathering leaves them fruitless.  

For thus the LORD spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, 'You are not to say, 'It is a conspiracy!'  In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy,  and you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.  It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy.  And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread.  Then He shall become a sanctuary... (Isaiah 8:11-14)

Prepare for Shabbat.  Prepare the way for Messiah with healing Words of  the Torah.  Be like your father Abraham and argue against the destruction by highlighting the righteous in the world.  The Holy One will destroy with fire whom He will destroy, but He has put us in the world to plead for repentance and to be a witness to the mercy found within the pages of the Torah.   

[1] Jeremiah 31:32

[2] Exodus 33:4 NKJV

[3] tamid means perpetual, such as a perpetual sacrifice, meaning daily

[4] Revelation 21:2

Online Class and ABQ Shavuot Night Yeshiva

Enrollment in the Monday night Creation Gospel Workbook One class is closed, but I may offer a Torah portion study class beginning in the fall.  If you've ever been frustrated by the lack of answers to the study questions in the workbooks, this may be the class for you!

We are also looking into having a 3-night yeshiva class in Albuquerque, NM. The topics will be more in-depth than those at the average conference.  There is also a possibility for enrollment both in the physical class as well as a limited number of online participants.  We'll send more information when we know the specific dates, location, and number of seats available and online logins available. 


Lemalah Children's Centre

The first occupants of the Kenyan Children's Centre have begun the school year.  Two staff members need to be hired in order to free Pastor Ndungu to continue traveling to proclaim the Torah in Kenya and surrounding countries.  We would like to be able to set a minimum amount of monthly support from The Creation Gospel so that the orphanage can set a budget.  There is also a young man who needs to start university, and it will cost around $800 per semester. 

If you'd like to commit to a monthly amount of support for the Centre's payroll, school uniforms, shoes, food, and health care, we welcome your assistance.  If you'd like to sponsor all or part of the young man's college tuition, please notify us and we can put you in touch with Pastor Ndungu. 

To donate via PayPal, CLICK HERE and specify "Kenya" or send a personal check to:

The Creation Gospel
PO Box 846
East Bernstadt, KY   40729

From our home to yours,

Shabbat shalom!

The Creation Gospel
PO BOX 846
East Bernstadt, Kentucky 40729