I hope you’ve had a chance to read my previous blogs - the 3 part series entitled “Defending Paul” and the follow up post entitled “Becoming Learned and Stable”. If not, you can access them by clicking on the highlighted titles below.
Defending Paul Part 1 - The Dilemma
Defending Paul Part 2 - In his own words
Defending Paul Part 3 - The conclusion of the matter
Becoming Learned and Stable
We learned from Kepha (Peter) that we must be “learned and stable” or else we are at risk of misunderstanding Shaul’s (Paul’s) letters and twisting all of Scripture, which will lead to our own destruction.
Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for a renewed heavens and a renewed earth, wherein dwells righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the long-suffering of YAHUAH is salvation; even as our beloved brother Pa’al (Paul) also according to the wisdom given unto him has written unto you; as also in all his cepheriym (books, letters, writings), speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable pervert, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the Torahless (lawless), fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our ADONAI and Savior YAHUSHA HA’MACHIACH and of YAHUAH the Father. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Kepha (Peter) 3:13-18
Clearly, we do not want to be “unlearned and unstable,” twisting His Word to our own destruction! (Read “Becoming Learned and Stable” to dig into the meanings, implications, and application of the words and concepts related to Kepha’s above warning.)
We uncovered the root of what it means to “become” anything, and that is the Hebrew root word “hiya” meaning process. In other words, the word “become” itself implies a process. So now, let’s dig a little deeper into this process (“hiya”) of BECOMING learned and stable.
It’s a Process
It bears repeating that the Hebrew word for “become” is “hiya” and it means a process. So we don’t become learned overnight, in a moment, or at the end of a prayer. Here is where I think a slippery doctrine has slid into many minds.
If you grew up in Christianity, as I did, we were taught to pray the “sinner’s prayer” for salvation. It’s often spoken by a pastor and one or many who wish to “give their heart to Jesus” will repeat line by line as led. In many circles this “salvation experience” is a “one and done” prayer, marking a moment in time when we were “saved.” But is that really scriptural?
Is salvation a one time event or is it a process? Let’s look at Scripture instead of a particular denomination’s “statement of faith,” shall we? According to Scripture, the work done by our Savior, Yahushua ha’Mashiah (the Messiah), was a sacrifice made once, for all.
By the which will we are sanctified (made qadosh) through the offering of the body of YAHUSHA HA’MASHIACH once for all…this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of YAHUAH. Hebrews 10:10, 12
The word translated as “sanctified” is the Hebrew word “qadosh” which means set-apart, or chosen. The word in greek is “hagiazo” which also means to be made set-apart.
Just like bread dough is set aside to rise, it’s not done yet. It is simply set-apart for a purpose and that is to become a loaf of bread. (Stay hungry, as we will come back to this illustration of baking bread in our next section.)
Many translations will translate “hagiazo” and “qadosh” as “made holy” or “saved”, implying that the work is done. But that’s not what the original words “qadosh” and “hagiazo” really mean.
Both of those words imply a process, and yes, a process does have a beginning. So there is often a moment in time (not for all, but for many) that a decision was made to follow Yahushua and to learn the Ways of the Father. But even something that begins at a certain point in time must carry on to completion, through time, through a process, arriving at an end result - the salvation of our souls. The finished loaf of bread if you will.
This topic of salvation, what it is, how it happens, and how it is finished, is a topic of great importance and deserves more space than what I’m giving to it here. In fact, I will “set apart” (pun absolutely intended) a complete blog just on this subject as it is sure to be pricking some minds and hearts right now. I encourage you to really dig into the scriptures that apply to salvation and not fall back on denominational doctrines you may have been taught. If it doesn’t bear witness in His Word, it should be discarded as a doctrine of man and not the true Gospel (Good News.)
For this blog my focus is on the concept of process. So, let us continue that process.
It’s All About the Process
Many things in life require a process to bring them into their fullness.
Let’s take making sourdough bread as an example as this is a process I’ve recently learned to DO and I DO it for every Shabbat!
Notice an important gem of truth purposefully placed in that above sentence - a process is something you DO. So if learning is a process (“hiya”) then learning is also something we DO, not just information that we put in our head.
It’s so important that we continually have our minds transformed and renewed by the washing of the water of the Word. As you read the scriptures below, notice all the words used that expressly imply process.
…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy (qodesh), acceptable unto YAHUAH, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind… Romans 12:1&2
…MASHIACH also loved the called out assembly, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify (qadosh) and cleanse it with the washing of the water of the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious called out assembly, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be (end up being) holy (qodesh) and without blemish.
Our American culture, and much of the world, operates in the system founded by a Greco-Roman mindset. This way of thinking is in stark opposition to the biblical Hebraic way of thinking.
Biblical thinking always involves action, doing. A Greek/Roman (American) mindset involves inputting information into our brains with no necessary connection to the action attached to it. That way of thinking is what most of us were born into and are used to.
Recall that there is no word in Hebrew that means simply believing a true thing is true. So when we see the translated word “believe” in our English bibles, we must think Hebraically, putting aside our Greek way of seeing things.
The words translated as “believe” or “faith” in our English bibles imply action when seen in their intended Hebraic light. Ya’acob (James) explains this in his writing.
Even so, belief, if it has not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, You have belief, and I have works: show me your belief without your works, and I will show you my belief by my works. You believe that there is one YAH; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble. James 2:17&18
From these verses we also see that simply believing a true thing is true doesn’t separate us (remember, qadosh means to be set-apart) from the type of “belief” that demons have!
So, getting that foundation stone in place, that belief or faith implies and relies on action to be true, let us build on the concept of “hiya” or process.
Here We Go!
OK! Back to our sourdough bread example:)
Making sourdough bread requires a process in order for it to work and become an edible finished product.
FIRST you must have sourdough starter, which is just fermented flour and water used to leaven your dough and create that “sour” flavor. You can get this from a friend who already has starter or you can make your own from the air around you. Hopefully you’re making the connections already? (hmmm…starter sounds like the beginning of “salvation”?).
I’m assuming you already have your “starter”, but if not, START by getting your Starter from the One Who started everything! This is a relationship with the Creator, found by calling on the Name of YHWH (the Father) through faith in His Son, Yahushua the Messiah. The atoning blood of the Son restores us to a Covenant relationship with the Father when we repent which means to turn from the ways of sin and death, and turn to the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6)
For everyone who calls on the Name of YAHUAH will be saved.
Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13, Acts 2:21
NEXT, you must FEED your starter in order for it to grow so you can use it to start your dough. It only needs flour and water, but it can’t survive without being fed. If you want to use it, you must feed it regularly.
Making the dough is really simple. You only need to add warm water, flour, and salt to your bubbly starter (well-fed starter.) But FIRST you must have well-fed starter. THEN you add those ingredients.
AFTER THAT (are you seeing all these “process” words?) you mix it all together into a shaggy lump, let it rest for about 30 minutes, then hand knead in more flour a little at a time until the dough forms a smooth rounded lump that is soft to the touch - not too wet, and not too dry. It needs to be just right. (hmmm…that sort of makes me think of righteousness…Another time, another blog!)
THEN that lump sits for 8-10 hours and rises. It must be still. (WOW! I didn’t even realize how many wonderful scriptural truths were buried in a loaf of sourdough bread!)
After the resting period is COMPLETE (it’s not done yet, it’s just completed part of it’s purposeful process), the lump is once again hand kneaded to make sure the texture is right and the lump is well formed.
It THEN rests on the counter for about 5 minutes and rises one more time for about an hour before being put into a glass cooking bowl or round pot where it is baked at 385 degrees (in my oven at least) for 20 minutes with the lid on, then 20 minutes with the lid off.
I could go on about how to safely remove it from the oven without getting burned, how to cool it, and most importantly how to slice it and cover it with butter before eating! But the point is probably quite clear that making a simple loaf of bread requires a beginning, a progression, and a process, all coming to a final completion.
Hopefully this example has provided a great picture of how our process of learning, growing in our relationship with our Creator, and working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), has a beginning, a middle, and an end - the salvation of our souls.
Receiving the end of your belief, even the salvation of your souls.
1 Kepha (Peter) 1:9
First Things First
There’s a reason this idiom is so often spoken - first things first. As with any process, the first thing is pivotal. It’s not that the rest of the process isn’t as important. But without first things, a proper foundation, we don’t have anything.
If we neglect the first things (having sourdough starter and feeding it) we will not attain to the end result (a loaf of finished bread) - the salvation of our souls.
So are there any scriptures that tell us what the first things of our faith are? Glad you asked! :) Let me provide a few Scriptural examples (2 or 3 witnesses) to clearly point us to what Yahushua and His disciples did and taught as the first things.
Let’s start with Yahushua Himself.
In Luke 16:19-31 Our Messiah teaches His disciples from a story - maybe a parable, maybe an actual account. He doesn’t say. Let’s learn from it:
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named El’azar, which was laid at his gate, full of sore, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Avraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in She’ol he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and sees Avaham afar off, and El’azar in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Avraham, have mercy on me, and send El’azar, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Avraham said, Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise El’azar evil things: but now he is comforted, and you are tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Avraham said unto him, They have Mosheh and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Avraham: but if one went to them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Mosheh and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
This account is full of deep truths worth digging out! But we will turn our eyes to the final statements. The rich man begs Avraham to send El’azar back from the dead to tell his family about the afterlife in hopes that they will repent from their evil ways and be spared the torment he is going through.
Avraham tells the rich man that his family can find the truth in Mosheh and the prophets - which is a statement referring to the Tanakh* or what is commonly, although not accurately, called “the Old Testament.” Here is where this account turns very prophetic. Glossary, Definitions and Essentials
While on the story level Avraham indicates El’azar as the “one rose from the dead,” it is a clear picture of Messiah - The One who rose from the dead. He states that IF people (the rich man’s family in this account) won’t hear Mosheh and the prophets (the tanakh, “Old Testament”) they will not be able to hear and be persuaded by “one rose from the dead” - Yahushua Messiah!
In other words, if we “throw out” the Torah and the prophets, the “law”, then we cannot repent, which means to turn back, at the testimony of Yahushua. For if Yahushua is calling us to repent, to turn back, He must be calling us BACK TO something, which IS the Torah (Mosheh) and the prophets - The Way. Just like we see in the final book of the written Word, these things go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.
…the remnant…which guard the commandments of YAHUAH, and have the testimony of YAHUSHA HA’MASHIACH. Revelation 12:17
Here is the patience of the qodeshiym (the set-apart ones): here are they that guard the commandments of YAHUAH, and the belief of YAHUSHA. Revelation 14:12
And I saw like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those overcoming the beast and his image and his mark and the number of his name, standing on the seas of glass, holding harps of Elohim. And they sing the song of Mosheh the servant of YHWH, and the song of the Lamb… Revelation 15:2-3
On the Road to Emmaus
Let’s look at another example of Yahushua’s own words as He meets with two men walking on the road to Emmaus after His death, on the day of His resurrection. They were walking and reasoning about all that had taken place when Yahushua shows up, unrecognized by them. He inquires about what they are discussing.
The men are surprised that He doesn’t know what’s been going on and so explain to Him all that has taken place - the hope they had that Yahushua was Mashiah, His death at the hands of the chief priests and rulers, and the account by the other talmidiym (disciples) that He had risen from the dead.
Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not MASHIACH to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Mosheh and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:25-27
Do you see the process? BEGINNING at Mosheh and all the prophets. That was “all the Scriptures” at that time as the brit chadashah (the “new testament”) had not yet been written or compiled.
I hope you’re seeing that the beginning of the salvation process starts with a foundation in the Torah - Mosheh and the prophets. Just like these two men, we really cannot understand the truth of Yahushua’s testimony without a true understanding of the Torah. And that is what Yahushua preached, lived, taught, and was - the Living Word from the BEGINNING. So the Torah, the Word of Elohiym, is literally first things first.
In the beginning was the Word*, and the Word was with ELOHIYM, and the Word was ELOHIYM. The same was in the beginning with ELOHIYM. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not (did not overtake it). John 1: 1-5
(*A read through of Psalm 119 is sure to solidify the understanding that the “Word” is the Torah, often referred to with certain almost interchangeable words like: Way, Witnesses, Orders, Laws, Commands, Right-Rulings, and Statutes.)
Mary and Martha
Let us look at just one more example. Since we looked at 2 men, now let us look at 2 women to put this beginning of the process firmly in place.
Now it came to pass, as they (Yahushua and His talmidiym) went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Miryam, which also sat at YAHUSHA’s feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, ADONAI, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And YAHUSHA answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Miryam has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10: 28-42
Mary FIRST sat at Yahushua’s feet (filling up on the daily bread, the Word from the mouth of Yahushua). Martha tried to serve FIRST. It doesn’t work that way. Yahushua said that Mary had chosen the better way - fill up, then serve. Martha was distracted from the better way, that good part, that Mary chose, and so her process was out of order.
Let us recall that a process moves from a certain beginning point, along ordered steps, to a desired end result. That is “hiya” - becoming learned.
Serving is wonderful. But we must have something to serve. Mary chose to fill up FIRST at the feet of Mashiah. And Yahushua said that was the good part, the better way, the right order in the process.
Let me hear your kindness in the morning, for in You I have put my trust; let me know the way in which I should walk, for I have lifted up my being to You. Psalm 143:8
Where Are You?
Once we recognize that there is a process, we can usually ascertain where we are on our journey, the road we are traveling back to the heart of the Father.
Do we have our starter? (Are we “saved” as conventionally put, but better yet, have we chosen THIS DAY Whom we will serve?) Joshua 24:14-15
Are we feeding our starter? (Are we in His Word DAILY? Give us THIS DAY our daily bread) Matthew 6:11
Are we being STIRRED UP with water and salt? (The washing of the water of the Word, Immersion, and becoming the SALT of the world - providing flavor and cleansing to the nations?) Ephesians 5:26-27, Mark 16:16, Matthew 5:13-16
Are we sitting, waiting on Him, listening to Him in the “rising” part of the process? (Sometimes DOING the work of BEING still is the hardest part!) Psalm 46:10
Are we in the oven, the “fires of affliction?” (We all must be purified, going through the purification of the fires to be made pure and spotless, a Bride fit for Our Messiah!) Isaiah 48:10
Are we ready to eat?! (FEED MY SHEEP! Blessed is the man whom His Master finds DOING SO when He returns!) Matthew 24:42-51, John 21:15-17
Butter it Up and Enjoy!
There’s a lot to digest in this article! (Are you tired of my puns yet?) :)
Here’s the simple list of ingredients (I promise, I’m almost done with the analogy!)
Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of YAHUSHA HA’MASHIACH. Philippians 1:6
One last word, literally - REPEAT.
We don’t just eat once. Sourdough starter continues to grow and multiply as long as it’s fed. In fact, it grows so much that if you don’t share it with others, you have to throw some of it away each time you feed it! Wow. That’s a whole other loaf of bread, isn’t it?! :)