“There is no deception like the one that convinces people that freely sinning is freedom and living obedient to the Father’s Word is bondage”
While I do not know who wrote this statement, it surely rings true, and this belief can easily be placed in a top list of deceptions. In fact, I was one of the many who held that belief until I made a deliberate choice to study YHWH’s Word for myself and allow Him to direct my life.
This notion leads me to imagine the game show $100,000 Pyramid. Two people are in the winner’s circle, and one is giving clues to the person with their back to the answer board. I can hear the clue giver saying…
“You do not need to follow YHWH’s law (instructions) for living”
“His commands are too hard and burdensome”
“The law was nailed to the cross”
“Jesus followed the law and lived a perfect sinless life so that we don’t have to.”
“The Father knew we couldn’t follow the law, so He sent His Son to do it for us, then take it away.”
Based on those clues, what do you think the categorical answer would be? Here is the key, IF the one receiving these clues was “learned and stable” in His Word, they would have no difficulty shouting out the correct answer…
“Things that Satan would say!”
Ding Ding Ding! Winner!
Sadly, this is exactly what most Christian leaders also proclaim and what majority of Christians believe and live their lives by. To reveal that these beliefs are something Satan would say can be very shocking for those who have subscribed to those same “clues” for most of their life. But they are just that, they are clues to lead us to the source and most cannot recognize the source unless they truly know the Father and His Word.
Our Father never states that His instructions are too hard and a burden to those who follow them. Nor does He ever give any indication that He created His instructions for living, to one day be removed and done away with by the actions of His Son.
Scriptures are clear that His instructions (Torah) are in fact, forever. Our Messiah makes this clear point in the book of Matthew…
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete (pleroo – to fully preach/verify). For truly, I say to you, till the heavens and the earth pass away, one yod or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done.” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 5:17,18
David, who is described as man after YHWH’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14) describes the Torah as follows…
“You are near, O YHWH, and all Your Commands are truth. Of old I have known Your Witnesses, that You have founded them forever.” Psalms 119:151,152
The book of Revelation also confirms this certainty when it describes those who are allowed entrance into His coming Kingdom…
“Blessed are those doing His Commands, so that the authority shall be theirs unto the true of life, and to enter through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14
These remnant of people are described earlier in the same book as follows…
“Here is the endurance of the set-apart ones, here are those guarding the Commands of YHWH and the belief of Yahushua.” Revelation 14:12
I’ve written many blogs and a few books on this very subject because it is so critical in distinguishing who’s who. The only way we can find those answers is to study His Word. It is vital that we discern the religious doctrines that surround us (1 Thessalonians 5:21). These false doctrines are an attempt to drown out His voice. Only those who seek with all their heart will discover His truth, His desire, His plan (Jeremiah/Yirmeyahu 29:13).
Some might proclaim that they hear His voice through His Spirit which guides them. While that can be true, if we do not study His design for mankind and what He requires then we can be deceived by another spirit. If the voice we hear does not line up with His Word, it is not His voice but another. And we can only know that voice is congruent with His Word if we know His Word. Remember our battle is not with flesh and blood, this is a spiritual battle for our souls (Ephesians 6:12).
Liberty or Bondage?
“The best trick of the adversary is to make happiness your goal instead of holiness.”
I found this meme also floating around a bit on social media and had to save it to my phone. It is quite profound when we realize the deception of the adversary. Here are the essential questions: Why would many believe that happiness and holiness are opposites? Why would it need to be one or the other?
Being that YHWH is described throughout Scripture as loving, compassionate, and kind (Titus 3:4-6; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 36:7; Psalm 69:16; Isaiah 63:7; Isaiah 54:8; Psalm 117:2; Psalm 63:3), wouldn’t holiness lead to happiness?
To elaborate, the word translated as “holiness” in most English translations, comes from the Hebrew word qodesh. Qodesh means being set-apart in action and deed. To follow YHWH’s instructions for living (not the world’s) thus choosing the path that leads to life - life eternal with Him.
Truth is, those who repent (believe in Yahushua as their Savior and Messiah, turn from the ways of the world and walk YHWH’s righteous path) are the ones who have become free! They are free from the curse of death which is a result of living in sin. They can then live a life of liberty!
Interestingly one of the disciples who was Yahushua’s brother and learned personally from our Messiah describes YHWH’s instructions (Torah) very clearly as freedom.
“But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets, but a doer of work, this one shall be blessed in his doing.” James (Ya’aqob) 1:25
“So speak and so do as those who are to be judged by a Torah of freedom.” James (Ya’aqob) 2:12
Notice he calls it a “Torah of freedom” and not a Torah of bondage. And again, this was the Messiah’s brother and student, and this letter was written to the assembly after Yahushua’s resurrection and ascension.
So, thankfully for Yahushua and His atoning sacrifice we are given freedom from the bondage and punishment of sin. I think most Christians get that part, however, that is only the beginning. While we are given a clean slate, it’s up to us to keep that slate clean and not dirty it up with unrighteousness. Through the desire to please Him, studying His Word and allowing His Spirit to guide us, we are fully capable of walking on the path of light. We are now free from sin, not free to sin.
“Now YHWH is the Spirit (Ruach), and where the Spirit of YHWH is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
“And I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. And I shall take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I shall give you a heart of flesh, and put My Spirit (Ruach) within you. And I shall cause you to walk in My Laws and guard My Right-Rulings and shall do them.” Ezekiel (Yehezqel) 36:26,27
YHWH is very clear through the prophet Ezekiel. His Spirit is our Helper and is placed within us to guide or “cause” us to walk in His Laws – to obey. The English word “cause” is taken from the Hebrew asah which is to do or to accomplish.
The false doctrine of believing we cannot do, nor can we accomplish is in direct opposition to YHWH’s very words!
Yahushua makes this clear when He expresses His Commands as a yoke – His guidance (Commands) are gentle and light.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your beings.” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 11:29
That is exactly what a yoke is for. It is to guide the wearer in the right direction. Yahushua had just described the heavy burdens laid upon the people by the man-made laws and regulations of the Pharisees. He was exposing their lies and encouraging His listeners to follow Him. So, if we follow Him, we show that we love Him. And if we love Him then we will obey Him. And if we obey Him, we can live a life of true freedom and liberty.
“If you love Me, keep My Commandments.” John (Yohanan 14:15)
Not Free to…
“Because such is the desire of Elohim, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, as free, yet not using your freedom as a cloak for evil, but as servants of Elohim.” 1 Peter (Kepha) 2:15,16
Peter (Kepha) makes our freedom quite clear. We cannot use our freedom as a cloak to commit evil or sinful acts. Again, we are given freedom from the curse of death, we have a clean slate. This clean slate through the blood of Yahushua should stay clean.
“Having put aside, then, all evil, and all deceit, and hypocrisies, and envyings, and all evil words, as newborn infants, desire the unadulterated milk of the Word, in order that you grow by it.” 1 Peter (Kepha) 2:1,2
“Everyone who is transgressing and not staying in the teaching of Messiah does not possess Elohim. The one who stays in the teaching of Messiah possess both the Father and the Son.” 2 John (Yohanan) 1:9
So, what did the Messiah teach? He taught Torah and He lived Torah. In fact, He was described as the Torah in the flesh (John/Yohanan1:1-14).
When I was 33 years old, I started my journey in truly knowing Him. Meaning, I set aside all the handed down doctrine taught from the church pulpit and decided to seek Him for myself. This search was prompted by my desire to know Him more intimately and to please Him. To hear one day “Well done my good and faithful servant.” While I like to refer to our Spiritual walk as a journey, it is also described by Paul as a race.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race indeed all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to obtain it. And everyone who competes controls himself in every way. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we for an incorruptible crown.” 1 Corinthians 9:24,25
“…let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race put before us.” Hebrews 12:1
He reiterates this journey with working out our salvation – notice he is not saying “once saved always saved”…
“…work out your own deliverance with fear and trembling, for it is Elohim who is working in you both to desire and to work for well-pleasing. Do all without grumblings and disputings, in order that you be blameless and faultless, children of Elohim without blemish in the midst of a crooked and corrupt generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding on to the Word of life…” Philippians 2:12-16
Paul has a lot of good advice in his letters, but his letters can also be confusing and taken out of context for those who are not “learned and stable” in Torah, as Peter warns in 2 Peter 3:14-16. In fact, those specific misunderstood statements from Paul have been embraced and have become the very foundation for most in Christianity.
Many Christians who sincerely proclaim their belief and love for the Father and His Son have sadly been misguided by a combination of believing their leaders and the lack of personal study. I was one of them until I decided to step out of the doctrinal paradigm and test everything. I had a strong feeling that I was never going to truly know Him until I did.
Amazingly, once I became a “doer of His Word” I was completely judged. As Paul teaches, I have been “working out my own deliverance” for many years and in doing so I’m labelled as legalistic and am told that I’m claiming to be “holier than thou.”
I am often accused of judging and condemning others when it seems I’m the one being judged and condemned. I choose to no longer follow the ways of the world and in return, I often receive condemnation and disapproval. However, this reaction by some only leads me to believe I’m on the right path.
“If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, yet I chose you out of the world, for that reason the world hates you.” John (Yohanan) 15:18,19
Do you really want to know what it feels like to be qodesh - to be set-apart from this world? Start honoring the Sabbath day every week as Commanded in His Word. Also see how people react when you disengage from worldly holidays like Christmas and Easter. These are just a couple examples of walking on the lighted path (Torah) and walking out our deliverance.
I recently published my latest book The Transitional Period which goes into more depth on the very subject of being qodesh (set-apart). What does it entail? How can we live in obedience to Him while still living in this world? What does living a life of freedom in Torah look like? What does true liberty feel like?
While some feel I’m “missing out” on life because I do not participate in pagan holidays or that I choose to unplug from the busy world and set the seventh day apart from the rest, it is rather quite the opposite. It is those who have yet to live their life according to His guidance that are “missing out.”
It wasn’t until I dove in with my whole heart and mind into His Word (which I like to call our “owner’s manual”) that I could finally understand my purpose for living. And through that purpose I have found true freedom in Him.
Imagine buying a new vehicle with all the bells and whistles but not knowing its functionality. Wouldn’t you want to know how it fully operates and what it is capable of, thus allowing it to fulfill its proper use and ultimate functionality?
This is why vehicles come with an owner’s manual. The manual is written by the one who created it and the creator of that vehicle knows its full potential and the purpose of its creation.
We are YHWH’s creation, and He assigned a specific man (Moses) to put in writing our owner’s manual. YHWH's instructions for living will lead us to blessings in this life and the next.
“But He said, ‘Blessed rather are those hearing the Word of YHWH and keeping it!” Luke 11:28
“Blessed are the perfect in the Way. Who walk in the Torah of YHWH! Blessed are those who observe His Witnesses, who seek Him with all the heart! Even they shall do no unrighteousness; they shall walk in His Ways.” Psalm (Tehillim) 119:1-3
“And it shall be, if you diligently obey the voice of YHWH your Elohim, to guard to do all His Commands which I command you today, that YHWH your Elohim shall make you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of YHWH your Elohim.” Deuteronomy (Debarim) 28:1,2
This does not mean that our life will always be peachy when we are on His righteous path as life is full of ups and downs. We will experience trials and still need to deal with the hardships that life can bring. However, knowing YHWH is there for us when we mourn or stress or need to deal with emotional burdens – He is our Comforter and our Deliverer.
Blessings and Curses
The picture used for the title of this blog was taken in Israel. It is of me overlooking the two mountains Mt Ebal and Mt Gerizim with the ancient city of Shechem in between.
These two mountains were used to declare the blessings and curses to the children of Yisra’el. These two outcomes were a result of either obedience or disobedience as recorded in the book of Deuteronomy. In other words, they were given a choice. Choose to follow the owner’s manual for living and receive blessings or choose to disregard His guidance which would then result in curses (Deuteronomy/Debarim 28 & 29).
Let’s revisit the vehicle metaphor. Imagine if we chose to disregard the instructions for the proper care and maintenance of our vehicle. What if we chose to put soda in the fuel tank rather than gasoline? What about if we never changed the oil or let the tires go flat? What if we chose to drive it with the emergency brake on? All these actions would eventually lead to a broken-down vehicle. One that would be of no use and would end up in the dump.
While all those actions sound silly and ridiculous, imagine how YHWH our Creator feels when we choose to do the same in our lives. To disregard His instructions and determine that we know best. For example, to consume things that are not food and were not created for our bodies to be fueled by. Or to ignore the Sabbath day that is prescribed and set apart as a sign of Who we belong to and giving our bodies the much-needed rest. What about re-packaging holidays as fun and “good” in our eyes as an excuse to participate when YHWH clearly warns us not to do as the nations do. How about discounting His Appointed Times written in His Word, specific appointments and rehearsals when we are to meet with Him?
If we refuse to accept and embrace the guidance and instructions from the one who created us, will we eventually end up in the “dump?”
Can we mess up sometimes and fall short? Well, we all have sinned and fallen short and that is what His mercy is all about. His mercy is for those who are walking out their deliverance through His righteous instructions for living. Intentional sin is avoidable (Hebrews 10:26-29) while unintentional sin is not knowing we are sinning until we have. That is the beauty of His grace. We are His children, and we are “growing by His Word” (1 Peter/Kepha 2:1,2). I like to rest in the fact that He has grace while we grow.
So, we need to ask ourselves, are we growing? Are we zealous to follow His guidance? Do we desire His Word and His ways? Do we long to hear “Well done, My good and faithful servant”?
When He instructs in His Word “Don’t do that”, do we take heed and listen? If He commands us to be set-apart, do we act with fervor and dedication?
He understands we are first infants and eventually learn to walk. And through learning to walk we can stumble. He is a loving Father who is slow to anger, not wanting anyone to perish. However, we need to call upon Him while He is still near and while there is still time.
“YHWH is not slow in regard to the promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward us, not wanting that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of YHWH shall come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with intense heat, and the earth and the works that are in it shall be burned up. Seeing all these are to be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be in qodesh (set-apart) behaviour and reverence, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of Elohim, through which the heavens shall be destroyed, being lit on fire, and the elements melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we wait for a renewed heaven and a renewed earth in which righteousness dwells. So then, beloved ones, looking forward to this, do your utmost to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.” 2 Peter (Kepha) 3:9-14
“Seek YHWH while He is to be found, call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him return to YHWH, who has compassion on him, and to our Elohim, for He pardons much.” Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 55:6,7
So, while this false notion of His Laws causing bondage has infiltrated the religion of Christianity, His Word reveals the exact opposite. He clearly loves His children and wants them to experience freedom and liberty.
In a future Jubilee (which by the way means liberty) we will rule and reign with our bridegroom, Yahushua. Until this promise is fulfilled, we can count on freedom and liberty in Him through the belief in our Messiah and the guarding of the Commands of YHWH (Revelation 14:12).
While these opposing two principles (bondage vs liberty) are presented before a believer - the question is, who are you going to believe and who are going to obey? Remember, it is all about choice.