And now if you will indeed hear my voice, and keep my covenant, ye shall be to me a peculiar people above all nations: for the whole earth is mine. Exodus 19:5 LXX Septuagint
The concept of covenant is a rather interesting notion. Unlike a contract, covenants are very personal. From a biblical perspective, a covenant is a relationship between two people who make binding promises to one another with the objective of realizing a common goal. The party of the first part is Yahuah. The parties of the second part are believers in Messiah – the peculiar1 people spoken of in Exodus 19:5.
The Ten Commandments are the standard by which we can measure whether we are truly living righteously. When we walk in obedience to these commands we can (by faith) reach the common goal of resurrection and eternal life in the Father’s Kingdom. Those committed to keeping Yah’s covenant and obeying these commandments are therefore considered to be His peculiar people.
The Character of Peculiar People
The word “peculiar” in Greek is periousios (G4041).It means that which is one’s own, belonging to one’s possessions, or a people selected by God from the other nations for His own possession. The Hebrew word for peculiar is segullah (H5459). It can mean a treasure, something special, a jewel, or valued possession.
Peculiar people have certain characteristics:
They deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.
They live sober, righteous, and godly lives.
They are filled with joy and love for Yahuah, Yeshua, and their neighbors.
They walk by faith.
Their blessed hope is in the first resurrection.
Teaching us that by denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.
Titus 2:12-14 KJV
The Ten Commandments provide the fuel for denying ungodliness and set the standard for sober, righteous living. Unfortunately, many believers are being told by pastors that they are under a new covenant and the Ten Commandments no longer apply.
It is ironic however that even the secular judicial system uses the last five commandments as the basis for criminal convictions every day. A person choosing to break “the law of the land” ends up facing a judge – a stranger – who will decide their fate. The bottom line is every living, breathing person is subject to some kind of law.
The Ten Commandments provide the structure we need to live godly lives. Following this set of standards for sober, righteous living will help save us from a criminal conviction and keep us in covenant with Yah Most High.
The Destiny of Peculiar People
Peculiar people have a spiritual destiny rooted in faith and obedience.
They anticipate the coming Kingdom of Yah and His Son here on earth.
They will someday be ordained into Yeshua’s royal priesthood.
They have been beneficiaries of the mercy of Yah.
They take comfort in the fact that they are chosen people.
And ye shall be to me a royal priesthood, and a holy nation: These words shalt thou speak to the children of Israel.
Exodus 19:5-6 LXX Septuagint
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light: which at times were not a people but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10 KJV
The word “mercy” is used twice in verse ten. It is the Greek word “eleeo” (G1653). It can mean“to have mercy on, to help one afflicted or seeking aid, to help the afflicted, to bring help to the wretched, or to experience mercy.”
Peculiar People Obey the Ten Commandments
The first three of the Ten Commandments teach us to honor our Creator.
He is El Shaddai (Almighty God) the most powerful of all. We should have no other gods or false deities before Him.
Yahuah is the only True Eternal Living Elohim and man should not make nor bow down and worship any man-made idols or false deities.
We should not take Yahuah’s name in vain. Peculiar people give Him glory, honor, praise, and respect at all times.
The best place to start practicing peculiar behavior is to learn how to love the Almighty, His Son, and others. Hurting people may also need to forgive and learn to love themselves.
A fruitful life full of love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace is certainly doable for those who remember what Yeshua said in Mark 9:23 —
If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.
Peculiar people honor the fourth commandment which governs the seventh day of the week.
Remember the Sabbath dayto keep it holy.
Yahuah kept the Sabbath2 when He finished His six days of creation. Angels in Heaven guard (keep) the Sabbath along with our Heavenly Father and Yeshua, our High Priest.
And on the seventh day, God had finished His work of creation, so He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy because it was the day when He rested from all His work of creation.
Genesis 2:2-3 NLT
And all the angels of the presence, and the angels of sanctification, these two great classes- He has bidden us to guard the Sabbath with Him in heaven and on earth. And He said unto us: Behold, I will separate to myself a people from among all peoples, and these shall guard the Sabbath, and I will sanctify them unto Myself as My people and will bless them; as I have sanctified the Sabbath day and do sanctify it unto Myself, even so, will I bless them, and they shall be My people and I will be their God.
Jubilees 2:18-19 R.H. Charles Translation
And thus He created therein a sign in accordance with which they should guard the Sabbath with us on the seventh day, to eat and to drink, and to bless Him who has created all things as He has blessed and sanctified unto Himself a peculiar people above all peoples and that they should guard the Sabbath together with us. And He caused His commands to ascend as a sweet savor acceptable before Him all the days.
Jubilees 2:22-23 Cepher
Complete rest is found by building a faithful relationship with the Father and His Son by following the Ten Commandments and other Torah instructions found throughout the scriptures. These include the fifth commandment which says to honor your father and your mother.
Yeshua (Jesus) says:
“If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.
John 15:10 NASB
The good news for those living under the bondage of a sinful life is they can call out to Yahuah through His Son Yeshua our High Priest, and receive much-needed help. This perfect free aid package is the covenant found in Exodus 19:5-24:8. It is available to everyone seeking truth and mercy from our Heavenly Father and His Son. Peculiar people understand and trust these promises.
1 Most new translations use “special” in place of peculiar.
As believers in Messiah we must take the notion of spiritual preparation seriously. Time spent with Yah is how we prep for Kingdom warfare.
I must admit however, that during the winter months, after the fall feasts have ended, I often find myself challenged. The glory of the Sukkot feast days of October has long faded away, giving rise to a progression of so-called holidays. These winter season pagan celebrations are commonly known as Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day. They are some of the high watermarks of the worldly Gregorian calendar.
Torah-observant believers like us realize how difficult it can be to be around those who reject the Father’s appointed times gatherings. Biblical calendar keepers know how stressful these encounters can be.
Additionally, being cooped up inside for months poses other challenges. During these winter months of lifelessness, bitter cold, little exercise, and lack of sunshine, we may fall prey to depression. As daunting as these obstacles may seem, we know that nature’s resurrection is on the horizon.
The biblical new year’s start in the spring season is so fitting because it is filled with evidence of new life. Our renewed joy in Messiah Yahusha has cycled back again. With unbridled anticipation, we look forward to celebrating the spring feasts: Passover (Pesach), Unleavened Bread (Matzah), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Firstfruits..
Spiritual Preparation Is Our Battle Armor
It may be tempting to use the winter doldrums as an excuse to ride out the clock. However, as believers we must resist the urge. I encourage Torah followers to use this time to hone their skills and dive deeper into the scriptures. We must use this time to prepare for battle.
Let us not forget that we are constantly in a war, as it is written, “Because we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against authorities, against the world-rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual matters of wickedness in the heavenlies.
Ephesians 6:12 TS2009
The world is the battlefield that we must conquer through the help of the Ruach HaKodesh — the Holy Spirit. The way we prepare spiritually to fight this battle is through prayer and obedience. This takes time and dedication.
2 Samuel 11:1 tells us that it was at the turn of the year (spring/vernal equinox) when sovereigns went out to battle. The long winter months provide a great opportunity to regroup our thoughts and rededicate ourselves to the study of Yah’s word. Doing so prepares us spiritually for the new battles which will inevitably come.
Brothers and sisters, let us take this message to heart as we put on the armor of Yahuah (Ephesians 6:8-10) and spiritually prepare for the challenges ahead. Be encouraged and emboldened by the strength and protection we have in our Elohim Yahuah.
I leave you with a few verses of encouragement:
Blessed be Yahuah. Day by day He bears our burden, the El of our deliverance! Selah.
Psalms 68:19 TS2009
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
1 Corinthians 1:3-4 HCSB
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not fight according to the flesh. For the weapons we fight with are not fleshly but mighty in Elohim for overthrowing strongholds, overthrowing reasonings and every high matter that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, taking captive every thought to make it obedient to the Messiah, and being ready to punish all disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 TS 2009
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall prove wrong. This is the inheritance of the servants of יהוה, and their righteousness from Me,” declares יהוה.
Whenever you bring up the Bible’s prohibition against eating unclean food, get ready for a fight. It is not an easy conversation to have with most Christians. And if you live in Texas or Louisiana, what I am about to say could be considered fighting words. But this subject needs to be addressed, as it deals with how our Creator wants us to treat our bodies — the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Do you not know that you yourselves are Yah’s temple, and that Yah’s Spirit dwells in you?
I Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from Yahuah? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify Yahuah with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19,20
What agreement can exist between the temple of Yah and idols? For we are the temple of the living Yah. As Yah has said: “I will dwell with them and walk among them, and I will be their Elohim, and they will be My people.”
2 Corinthians 6:16
If our goal is to become more like our Father Yahuah and His son Yeshua, we must strive to model their behavior. This is a lifelong transformation process that can only happen by the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:1,2) We have to think differently about Torah — or, the Law.
Unfortunately, many of us have sat through countless sermons where we were told that “the law” had been done away with on the cross. We were taught that Old Testament commandments concerning food had no relevance in our modern age with its advancements in medicine and nutrition. The impression was given that we could eat anything we wanted because of…you know…grace.
Grace without the law is anarchy. The law without grace is tyranny.
Many fail to realize that the entire canon of Scripture instructs us in how our Creator wants us to live. These instructions apply to every generation, beginning with Adam. The wall of division between Old and New Testament was put there by men. And yes, there have been changes in the administration of the covenant since Genesis. However, these changes are not to be confused with changes in Torah.
There are different ministries, but the same Yahuah. There are diversities of operations, but it is the same Elohiym which works all in all.
And it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry and to build up the body of Messiah, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Yeshua.
Administrative changes or adjustments have been made in Torah instructions. However, these changes should not to be taken to mean that either the Father or Yeshua abolished the requirements of the law altogether. (Matthew 5:17)
Now if the ministry of death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at the face of Moses because of its fleeting glory, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry of righteousness! Indeed, what was once glorious has no glory now in comparison to the glory that surpasses it. For if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which endures!
The directions and instructions given to us in the Torah (Law) are the guidelines we are to follow in order to live righteously in relationship with Elohim — a lifestyle that will ultimately lead to eternal life. As this precious relationship grows and matures, our thoughts, actions and deeds will align with His. This is the epitome of righteous living.
What is Food?
Nowhere in the New Testament (Brit Ha’dasha) do we see an administrative change in the rules regarding clean and unclean food. In a broader sense, dietary restrictions aren’t strictly about food. The rules that govern what we should or should not eat has everything to do with Yah’s concern for our health and well-being. Our Creator knows that certain plants and animals, when ingested, can either kill us or ruin our health. This is why we are given instructions on what types of animals we should avoid ingesting.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of what foods are off limits to us, we must first understand what food is and what it is designed to do for us. Let’s begin with a secular definition of food. The American Heritage Dictionary1 defines food as:
Material, usually of plant or animal origin, that contains or consists of essential body nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals, and is ingested and assimilated by an organism to produce energy, stimulate growth, and maintain life.
There are two Hebrew words for food mentioned in the Old Testament writings. One is ma’akâl (H3978). It can mean food, fruit, or meat. Maakal is taken from akâl (H398) which means to eat, devour, burn up or feed. It is first mentioned in Genesis 2:9:
And out of the ground made Yahuah Elohim to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;
The other word for food is ‘ôkel (H400) which is the word Joseph’s brothers used when explaining why they came to Egypt. Okel can mean meat, food, eating, victuals or prey. It also carries the understanding that through sustenance one becomes whole and satisfied.
The Most High wants our bodies to be filled with meats and vegetables and grains that will cause us to be whole, satisfied, and disease-free.
Detestable and Unclean
The notion of clean and unclean animals did not originate in the Mosaic law given at Sinai. Yah’s commandments, statues and laws have been in effect since the first couple resided in the Edenic paradise. When Noah was provisioning the Ark, he made room for both clean and unclean beasts and birds.
The clean and unclean animals, the birds, and everything that crawls along the ground came to Noah to enter the ark, two by two, male and female, as Yahuah commanded Noah.
The clean animals were to be used in the sacrificial system of worship and for food. The unclean animals were “vacuum cleaners” designed to keep our earthly home clean. More on this later.
As part of his Torah instructions we are cautioned not to eat any detestable (abominable) or unclean thing so that we can live long and enjoy healthy lives.
You are therefore to distinguish between clean and unclean animals and birds. Do not become contaminated by any animal or bird, or by anything that crawls on the ground; I have set these apart as unclean for you.
Food laws were (and are) two-fold in their purpose. They apply equally to the civil and the ecclesiastical. In antiquity, the purpose behind making a distinction between clean and unclean meats was to discourage the Israelites from becoming influenced by foreign cultures regarding their dietary and religious practices.
The Hebrews were taught to abhor certain foods eaten by other cultures so as to be a distinctive, peculiar people set apart for Yah.
Unclean Food Fights
As was mentioned before, there is a popular misconception that the New Covenant effectively abolished Yahuah’s laws and commandments. Many people assume that clean vs. unclean food restrictions were limited to ancient Jewish cultural practices. However, ministerial changes enacted following the transition from a Levitical priesthood to the ministry of Yeshua did not void Torah’s clean and unclean food distinctions.
Both Paul and Peter stressed the need for all believers to practice righteous behavior as outlined in the Torah. By doing so we demonstrate to the world our set-apartness and put obedience on display. For those of you who remain unconvinced, we will look at New Testament Scripture verses that prove that Old Testament food instructions are still in effect.
Peter’s Vision in Acts 10
He became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven open and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth, as well as birds of the air. Then a voice said to him: “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” “No, Lord!” Peter answered. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
Although many believers assume that Peter’s vision meant that Old Testament dietary restrictions had been lifted, they are mistaken. Peter’s vision had nothing to do with food. The conversation he had with “the voice” was concerning how “unclean” gentile nations would now be eligible for a place in Yah’s coming Kingdom based on the redemptive work of our Messiah. Their conversion would be based on repentance and faith in Yeshua.
Read down to verse 28 of the chapter for context. When Peter met up with Cornelius in Caesarea, he told the people gathered in the Centurion’s home that the vision concerned the Gentiles — the nations.
He said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with a foreigner or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.
When Peter professed to never having eaten anything common or unclean, he was still obeying Torah dietary restrictions 2 ten years after the crucifixion of Yeshua.
A Pauline Controversy in Romans 14
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on his opinions. For one person has faith to eat all things, while another, who is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not belittle the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted him.
Therefore let us stop judging one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. I am convinced and fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. If your brother is distressed by what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother, for whom Christ died. Do not allow what you consider good, then, to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
In Paul’s day meat was often sacrificed on pagan altars and dedicated to pagan gods. This meat would subsequently turn up in local meat markets for sale. These verses fail to support the argument that Paul was teaching that the law governing clean and unclean animals had been rescinded. The issue here had everything to do with a person’s conscience.
The debate was centered around a believer’s freedom in Messiah; their liberty operating within the framework of Torah. New believers from pagan nations were told by Paul that they had choices. If they did not want to risk eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols they could fast, or eat only vegetables. If their conscience was was not bothered by eating sacrificed meat, they could eat the meat. That’s why Paul, said “let each be fully convinced in his own mind”3 because “whatever is not of faith is sin.” 4
Paul was not giving permission to eat pork or any other unclean meat. Romans 14 deals with the notion of Christian liberty — behaving according to what your conscience allowed.
The Colossian Food Police
Therefore let no one judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a feast, a New Moon, or a Sabbath.
This passage has nothing to do with eating clean or unclean meats. The Greek word for food used here is brosis, which describes the “act of eating.” This is evidenced in the following literal translations of this verse:
Let no one, then, judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a celebration, or of a new moon, or of Sabbaths,
Colossians 2:17Literal Standard Version
Let no one, then, judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths,
Colossians 2:17Young’s Literal Translation
Let no man therefore create a disturbance among you about eating and drinking, or about the division of the feast days, the beginning of the months and the day of the sabbath:
Colossians 2:17Lamsa Bible
Paul was not addressing believers who were eating unclean animals, nor is he criticizing teachers who advocated in favor of Old Testament dietary practices. The argument over clean or unclean food doesn’t even come up in this passage. Paul was confronting some strains of asceticism — the avoidance of anything enjoyable. These false teachers believed that by denying the body, people could achieve a greater degree of spirituality. Paul summarized this belief as “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle.”
If you have died with Christ to the spiritual forces of the world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its regulations: “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”? These will all perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such restrictions indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-prescribed worship, their false humility, and their harsh treatment of the body; but they are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
The Timothy Dilemma
They will prohibit marriage and require abstinence from certain foods that God has created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creation of God is good, and nothing that is received with thanksgiving should be rejected, because it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
1 Timothy 4:3-5
Were these teachers warning believers not to keep antiquated laws concerning clean and unclean food? Paul’s beef with these teachers was that they were telling people to obey commands not found in the Scriptures. The Father encourages marriage and tells us which foods are good for us. The real issue here were beliefs rooted in Greek philosophy which taught that the body was evil and only the soul mattered. Their rules made them appear “hyper spiritual.” In reality these were the doctrines of demons. Again, asceticism rears its ugly head.
Paul was telling Timothy — and us — to trust the Scriptures and not questionable teachers with ulterior motives. It is by studying the word in context that we will be able to identify which meats are set apart by Yah for our enjoyment.
Bible Translations, Interpretations, and Commentaries
Before we go any further, I have to give a shout out to Sean Griffin of Kingdom in Context ministry. Sean’s caveat is “context creates comprehension.” He asserts, and rightly so, that if you cherry-pick certain Scripture verses to support your preferred dogma or doctrine then you will deceive yourself. When studying the Scriptures we must always consider the context. (Exegesis vs. Eisegesis)
Unfortunately (or futunately) we are living in a time where there are so many English bible translations that it is impossible to give an exact count. Couple this with the fact that these translations come in different “flavors”5 then it becomes a real challenge for those of us who sincerely desire a deeper understanding of what the Father is trying to tell us in His Word.
Consider these verses in chapter 7 of Mark’s gospel:
Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, and they saw some of His disciples eating with hands that were defiled—that is, unwashed. Now in holding to the tradition of the elders, the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat until they wash their hands ceremonially. And on returning from the market, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions for them to observe, including the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and couches for dining. So the Pharisees and scribes questioned Jesus: “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders? Instead, they eat with defiled hands.”
Mark 7: 1-5
The key to this exchange is found by examining the context! The Pharisees wanted to know why Yeshua’s disciples did not honor their hand washing ritual. This confrontation was not about clean vs. unclean meat consumption. The Pharisees were insulted because their traditions were being ignored.6
Later in the chapter, Yeshua explained to the crowd that witnessed the exchange what it meant to be truly defiled.
“Are you still so dull?” He asked. “Do you not understand? Nothing that enters a man from the outside can defile him, because it does not enter his heart, but it goes into the stomach and then is eliminated.”
Mark 7: 18,19
Your Bible translation probably ends the verse with a statement in parenthesis. This means the publisher or translator took liberties to “help” you understand what is being said. In the case of Mark 7:18 and19, are they helping you understand, or are they pushing the narrative that the rules governing clean and unclean food was done away with? (Violating Torah by eating unclean animals would have been unthinkable to Yeshua and his disciples.7 )
Here is a sampling of the discrepancies found among available modern, classic, and literal translations.
For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) NIV
Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? KJV
Because it does not enter into his heart, but into the belly, and into the drain it goes out, purifying all the meats. LSV
…since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) ESV
…because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods. NKJV
…because it doth not enter into his heart, but into the belly, and into the drain it doth go out, purifying all the meats. YLT
…since it does not enter his heart, but [only] his stomach, and [from there it] is eliminated?” (By this, He declared all foods ceremonially clean.) Amplified
Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all kinds of food. Webster’s Bible Translation
Because it does not enter into his heart, but into the belly and goes out into the latrine. Purifying all the food. LET
…because it does not enter his heart, but it goes into the stomach and then is eliminated.” (Thus all foods are clean.) BSB
…because it goeth not into his heart, but into his belly, and goeth out into the draught? This he said , making all meats clean. ASV
For it goes not into the heart, but into the belly, and goes forth into the privy, purging all food. SLT
This confrontation was not about clean vs. unclean meat consumption. It was about man made traditions that teach people to disregard the commandments of Yah.
Yeshua was saying that our bodies are designed to process and excrete small dirt or dust particles that might enter the body via unwashed hands. He was telling them that it was more important to have clean thoughts. Bible translators, by adding parenthetical commentary, were misrepresenting Yeshua’s words in order to sell the doctrine that dietary laws no longer had to be obeyed.
Eat At Your Own Risk
Baby back ribs, shrimp scampi, gumbo, fried calamari and escargot. What’s not to like? Is the Father being mean by telling us that these are foods we should avoid? Watch the video and decide for yourself.
Set Apart People
Now if perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on this basis the people received the law), why was there still need for another priest to appear—one in the order of Melchizedek and not in the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.
Hebrews 7: 11,12
The administrative modification made following the change from the Temple system (involving the Levitical priesthood) to the ministry of Yeshua meant that certain rules were no longer applicable. The law governing those who would serve in this new type of priesthood was changed, but not rendered invalid.
You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:5
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9
Yeshua’s ministry does not invalidate Torah. With Yeshua as our High Priest of the New Covenant, we are assured of “better promises” that include eternal life in the coming Kingdom — not “better law.” We can look forward to new glorified bodies in which the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) will operate to the fullest, guaranteeing that we will never sin again. In the meantime, we are to practice righteous living by respecting and obeying Yah’s instructions on how to live holy lives in this mortal flesh.
Remember, it was the pagan nations with unclean practices that Yah’s people were constantly being admonished to avoid. Part of the calling of Yeshua’s disciples was to steer people away from the profane, idolatrous, and abominable.
Those who consecrate and purify themselves to enter the groves—to follow one in the center of those who eat the flesh of swine and vermin and rats—will perish together,” declares the LORD.
And Yahuah said to him,Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
Nevertheless, the foundation of Elohiym stands sure, having this seal, Yahuah knows them that are his. And let everyone that names the name of Mashiach [the Anointed Messiah] depart from iniquity.
2 Timothy 2:19The Cepher
Righteous People Behaving Righteously
In Deuteronomy,8 Moses warned the people that they would suffer if they chose to disobey the commandments of the Most High. If they behaved righteously, by obeying Torah, their lives would be blessed. The same holds true for us today. (We become like the god we serve.)
In the case of food, we are what we eat. The greatest nutritionist you could ever consult would be our Heavenly Father. He literally wrote the book on nutrition. It’s called the Bible.
The Father knew way back then that eating pork, shellfish, and other unclean meats would make us more susceptible to stomach ulcers, digestive tract infections, and cancer. The danger lies in the unseen bacteria and toxic micro-organisms that these unclean animals and insects carry. It doesn’t matter what eccentric foodie bloggers think. When we disobey clearly defined dietary laws we will eventually pay the price.
The bottom line is will we be obedient or give into the demands of our flesh?
I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life, so that you and your descendants may live, and that you may love Yahuah your Elohim, obey Him, and hold fast to Him. For He is your life, and He will prolong your life in the land that Yahuah swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Deuteronomy 30: 19,20
As you share this information with family, friends and others, it is important not to be argumentative. We must respect each individual’s freedom of choice. We should never try to push Yah’s Torah on adults who have the right to make their own decisions. Shalom.
Act wisely toward outsiders, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Colossians 4: 5,6
1 The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition
In his letter to believers in Colosse, the Apostle Paul implored believers there to walk in wisdom and redeem time.
Walk in wisdom toward those outside, redeeming the time.
What was Paul telling them, and why did he use the word redeem when referring to time?
One of the cornerstones of Kingdom living is understanding how to be good stewards of our time — our most precious commodity. Once it is gone, you can never get it back.
Most life coaches will tell you that the best way to harness the time we have on this earth is to develop routines or daily rituals. They say these habits will save time, and simplify your life. However, while saving time through daily rituals may be a worthwhile goal, believers in Messiah should also be primarily focused on redeeming time.
How You Redeem Time
If you take a closer look at the words time and redeem in the Hebrew and Greek you will discover something very interesting. The first time the word redeem appears in Scripture is in Exodus 6:6.
Therefore say to the children of Israel: I am Yahuah; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.
Redeem in the Hebrew is גאל (Strongs #H1350) which relates to the ancient near east concept of kinship; that is to be the next of kin, and as such, to buy back a relative’s property, marry his widow, etcetera. The Greek word is exagorazo (Strong’s G1805). It means to buy up or ransom or rescue from loss. It comes from the word agorzo (#G58/G59) which means to gather in the marketplace to purchase. It implies the purchase of something. It has little to do with measuring the flow of time.
When you put it all together, the verse could be telling us that there is a window of time to do something. It implies that the opportunity will not always be here. In an agricultural context the meaning becomes clear. There is an appointed time that the farmer has to harvest the crops before the entire field goes bad. What Paul is saying is that we live in evil, dark times. We have limited opportunities to do the good works Yahuah has called us to do. If we allow ourselves to get caught up in the busyness and troubles of each day, we will miss many opportunities to harvest souls for the Kingdom.
This is why establishing daily routines or rituals are important. These habits serve the purpose of putting us on auto pilot, so the routine things of living don’t devour our time.
When you choose to wake up at a set time each morning to study the Scriptures, it is part of the process of redeeming time. Maybe your ritual includes morning prayer or journaling while sipping a cup of coffee. Part of your daily routine can be devoted to exercising and planning healthy meals for your family.
When our days are organized, it frees us up for the important work of loving our neighbor and reaching out to the lost so they can experience the redemption Messiah paid for us on the tree.
Redeeming Time Will Cost You
The process of making the most of each day does not come easy. It requires introspection, prayer, wisdom and planning. When you have set goals for each day and routinely follow a plan, your life becomes less chaotic. Therefore, when you encounter crisis situations, they will be easier to navigate because of the good habits you have already cultivated. You will be able to see the opportunities for ministry Yahuah has set before you. It will be easier to discern the voice of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spiirt) telling you to “go there” or “speak to that person.”
Are you willing to pay the price to redeem the time so that others can be set free?
George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece “1984” paints a chilling portrait of prolonged fear and anxiety that many of us can relate to in 2022. The opening words of Orwell’s book sets the stage: “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
The proverbial clock struck thirteen for many around the world with the onset of the coronavirus plandemic. It was our first experience with mask mandates, travel restrictions, lockdowns, and financial uncertainty. It seemed like the spirit of fear was unleashed without warning. Confusion and despondency had hitched a ride on a train bound for hopelessness.
The Origin of Fear
The Scriptures inform us that everyone has been held in bondage to fear at one time or another. When we are afraid, we do crazy things, like run away from our Creator and cook up our own solutions to the problems we face. This is nothing new. It started in Eden almost immediately after Adam and Chavah (Eve) transgressed divine law. Remarkably, this event is the first time fear is mentioned in the Bible.
And Yahuah Elohiym called unto A’dam, and said unto him, Where are you? And he said, I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Before they sinned, the notion of fear was foreign to the first couple. All of their needs were met and they were spiritually in-sync with their Creator — able to hear His voice. They were one (echad) with the Father and reaped the benefits of that spiritual union with the blessings of peace of mind, provision, and happiness. That all changed when they were seduced into believing that the Father’s promises weren’t enough. The appeal to their carnal nature by the serpent was too potent for them to overcome.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For Elohiym knows that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as elohiym, knowing good and evil.
Sin has a way of stripping us of our armor and removing the hedge of protection given to all believers in Yeshua who are walking in covenant obedience. We are exposed when we rely on the “arm of the flesh” to rescue us. Our solutions to life’s problems become an idol of our own making. Uncertainty of what will happen to us in the future has a way of turning us all into cowards.
The Spirit of Fear
The spirit of fear is usually triggered by imagined threats to our future or well-being. If you’re a parent you worry about the welfare of your children. Singles and Senior citizens wonder how they’re going to make it alone if something really bad happens. And when we live in a prolonged state of constant fear, it not only incapacitates us but puts our emotional and physical health at risk.
Prolonged fear weakens our immune system and creates a hormonal imbalance that brings on the very health issues we worry about. Cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal issues, impaired thinking, clinical depression, and fatigue are just a few of the problems created by long term anxiety.
But Yah has not given his sons and daughters a spirit of fear. He expects us to trust Him when life goes south.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7 Berean Study Bible
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Romans 8:15 Berean Study Bible
Believers in Yeshua have been given the Spirit of power, love, and self discipline. Our Father expects us to tap into that power when confronted with seemingly insurmountable obstacles in life. But we have to exercise these spiritual gifts like King David. When he confronted Goliath, his confidence had been built up over time by his successes in killing the lion and the bear that had threatened the sheep of his flock. Like in the past, David knew that the Most High would be there with him when he faced the giant from Gath in the valley of Elah.
Conquering Fear Through Faith and Trust
The only proven way to conquer the spirit of fear is to believe what our Heavenly Father says about it.
Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed: for Yahuah Elohayka is with you whithersoever you go.
Joshua 1:9 Eth Cepher
It’s really that simple. Either we believe that Yah will see us through any catastrophe — real or imagined — or we don’t. The Word is either true or it’s not. You have to decide whether to put faith in your fears or in the promises given every believer that we will not be forsaken in our time of testing.
In every example of faith given in the letter to the Hebrews, action was also present.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in godly fear built an ark to save his family. By faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Hebrews 11:7 Berean Study Bible
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, without knowing where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8 Berean Study Bible
By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after his birth, because they saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were unafraid of the king’s edict.
Hebrews 11:23 Berean Study Bible
Remember, faith is active, not passive. Faith requires action in the form of obedience. For example, you want to get out of debt. You pray and expect to receive a plan from the Holy Spirit on how to get it done. You take action by drawing up a budget and devising a plan to pay off your debt. Your faith (belief) in the promise of Yah to give you wisdom, coupled with the “works” of budgeting, discipline, and perseverance will result in becoming debt free one day!
Now, you can also choose to spend your money buying lottery tickets, hoping for a quick fix outcome. But the latter example is a “pie in the sky” means of relying on “luck” and is fleshly.
Trust in Yah’s Promises
Yah will do for us what masks, gloves, storable food, and vaccines can never do. He alone is our protection. When we abide in Him no evil or plague will overtake us. Yah says when we call on Him he will answer and be with us during times of trouble. When we look to Him during times of pressure and crisis our reward will be His salvation and long life.
We should never bow to the spirit of fear, no matter what form it takes. When we do, we are participating in a type of false worship; putting ourselves at the feet of timidity and cowardice. We are setting up unclean spirits as idols (authority) to be worshiped. If we listen to the voices in our heads that tell us we’re not going to make it, or that Yah doesn’t care, what will we do when the real pressure comes under the rule of the anti-messiah?
When we understand that fear is akin to worship and is a tool used by the enemy of our souls to exert control, we can break free from it and be released from the expectation of impending doom. When we seek wisdom (in faith), then the solution to any problem or situation we face will be made known to us.
Meditate in the fear of the Most High, and think upon His commandments continually: Then will He instruct thine heart, and He will make thee wise (in that) which thou desire.
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles strive after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.
Matthew 6: 31-33 Berean Study Bible
Of course there are times when fear works to our advantage by preserving life. This is the fight or flight response. But living in a state of constant fear and worry weakens our immune system and can damage our heart, accelerate aging, and lead to premature death. Fear interrupts the brain’s ability to regulate emotions, which can have a negative impact on decision-making. Other consequences of prolonged anxiety are post traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, and fatigue. There is also evidence to support the notion that it is possible to inherit trauma. In spiritual terms this equates to generational sin passed down to us from our ancestors.
Brothers and sisters I am not saying do not prepare for emergencies. It is always a good idea to do those things you know to do in order to protect your family from natural or man-made disasters. To the best of your ability put away emergency funds, food, water and other things you will need. But don’t put your faith in them. Only the Most high can protect us and shield us from events that are prophesied to occur in these last days.
God always gives his best to those who leave the choice with him.
For those of you worried about your children’s future, consider that Noah lived during times of incredible spiritual darkness. Knowing that men and beasts were going to be destroyed by a coming flood, he chose to have children anyway — 3 boys — when he was 500 years old.1 He, like Abraham to come, put his faith in the One who had the power to save. King David said…
I once was young and now am old, yet never have I seen the righteous abandoned or their children begging for bread.
Psalm 37: 25 Berean Study Bible
So, be wise. Prepare your souls for the coming of our High Priest and King Yeshua2 by living righteously. Study and practice what you read in the Scriptures. It will keep you from living in fear.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear.
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