Tag Archives: Moses

A voice cries out: context

In many countries a new year heaving started in September or October, with the advent, they take time to think about the Nazarene man who was given by his heavenly Father. God can not be tempted nor die, but his son who had a beginning, more than 2000 years ago, was born, was tempted more than once, was tortured to death and was taken out of the dead by his heavenly Father, the Only One Divine God.
The gospel of Marcus let us see the importance for mankind of that figure born in Bethlehem, without his willingness to do not his will, but the will of his heavenly Father, we could not have salvation and the Grace of God coming in this way, he took care of.

We may not overlook the beginning of Mark’s Gospel where we can discover, not the manger scene, but the meaning of a gospel as proclamation, and the importance of the titles “Christ” and “Son of God.”
As the writer of the article says:

“Mark reminds us that gospel originally meant “good news.” “

Too often Christians forget to look at the older books, the Old Testament. By doing that they also miss out very important knowledge and do not come to see clear who Jesus really is and what he really did.

As a Jew Jeshua (Jesus Christ) did not want to bring a new religion. and his disciples did not begin with a “new book”. Though the evangelist John might have looked at it as starting a new Book. At least he wanted to start a “new Chapter”. He looked at the world of Christ as a new world or Renewed world, given by God, made possible by Christ Jesus his ransom.
John started his book as Moses did, by the Voice of God. God speaking made everything in existing. Now the world could hear God’s Voice again. In the Garden of Eden God had already spoken and given His promise that a solution for Adam’s sin would come. As such that speaking from God, in the beginning of the world was also the Word of God which came unto mankind some 2 millennia ago,

Jesus was the fulfilment of that Word from God. As such the evangelist in his gospel (John 1:1) begins with an unmodified “theos” without the article, writing:

“In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (NWT)

Denoting Jesus was a special person, like Moses and Pharaoh, who are also called gods (=high placed person). Jeshua, though a simple workman’s son, was so important because he was the only human person who managed to keep the commandments of God and to do only the will of the Most High Elohim. He, as son of man and son of God, knew very well how we human beings felt but also how we should all come closer again to the Creator of heaven and earth, the God of Abraham. Jesus clearly showed the world who is God was and why we also should come to honour only this One and Only True God. He also showed the world his God was a God of Love, prepared to give the world a “New Start” a fresh “New Beginning”. With Christ Jesus the world was given a 2° Adam. This second only begotten son by God brought us a “New Message”, the one that salvation was at hand. He showed us to the Way to the Kingdom of God. We either can keep our ears and eyes closed, or hear the message and see what we can do, to become partakers of that Kingdom of God. It only demands of us making the right choices.
Advent is the time to think about those matters, matters of importance, priority and matters of eternal life.

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Please do read also:

  1. Only one God
  2. God is one
  3. God of gods
  4. Plain necessary food of the gospel
  5. God’s promises
  6. Jesus begotten Son of God #8 Found Divinely Created not Incarnated
  7. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  8. The Beginning of the life of Jesus Christ
  9. Jesus Messiah
  10. Who was Jesus?
  11. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  12. Kingdom of God what would it be like
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  • The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices:” (mydelightandmycounsellors.wordpress.com)
    John, after seeing a throne surrounded by a green rainbow, with God’s glory shining forth as a jasper and sardine stone, now sees the presence of God manifest by lightnings, thunderings and voices.   This scene is very similar to the display of God’s greatness that was seen by the Israelites in Old Testament times…
  • The Messiah (mylordmyfriend.com)
    The Hebrew word means “anointed” a rescuer, sent from God to save His people.

    The Greek word for ‘anointed’ is ‘christos’, from which we get Christ.

    People only need saving when they are in peril, and many times in the history of the Old testament, God people were constantly under attach and oppression. between the New and Old testaments, God’s people were under occupation of foreign powers. Their cries for a Messiah to come, became more and more often.
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    Jesus was recognized by many as the Messiah. Jesus tried to play down those expectations and was reluctant to apply the term to Himself. This was because He was not the figure they wanted Him to be. Jesus had no intention of being connected with violence and insurrection. Jesus preaching was a revolutionary message, and He was setting up a New Kingdom, but it was not the way the people were expecting.

    It was through Christ Jesus crucifixion and resurrection, that His followers understood that He was the Messiah.

  • What Is The Gospel? (dailytwocents.com)
    The meaning of the word “Gospel” simply means Good News. A good news for a very bad situation and predicament.

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    It is often confused with the entire Bible. No, the Bible contains the good news, it is not the good news.

    It is sometimes mixed up with the commandments of God. No, the Gospel is Good News. It’s not a good command.

    It is often associated with the gospel records of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Nope. Not everything written by these four writers is the Gospel. They contain the Gospel, but not everything they wrote about is the Gospel.

  • Christ in You, the Hope of Glory (theeyesoffaith.wordpress.com)
    Throughout the Word of God, the Bible refers to Jesus Christ with several different comparative names or descriptive titles to help us know and understand Him better.

    The Bible tells us that He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Redeemer, and the Savior.

    Jesus is the Messiah because He is the anointed and consecrated prince whom God promised through Daniel’s prophecy that He would send.

    He is the Christ because He is the anointed fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy in the New Testament.

    Jesus is the Redeemer because He is the kinsman who purchases back the lost possessions in the Old Testament and He is the fulfillment of the kinsman in the New Testament.

  • Reading the Old Testament with Martin Luther (cwoznicki.com)
    Why should we read the Old Testament? It seems pretty obvious to us today, but  in 16th century Germany there was a tendency to look down upon the value of the Old Testament. (No doubt Luther’s Law/Grace dichotomy had something to do with this…) Nevertheless Luther advocates for a figural sort of reading of the Old Testament, in other wrods he asks us to read the Old Testament in light of the New

friarmusings

jbaptistmafaMark 1:1-8   1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ (the Son of God). 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. 3 A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’” 4 John (the) Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. 6 John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. 7 And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to…

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Filed under Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs

Elul Observances

For the Jewish community it is the last month of the year. We also are at the turning point having the Summer Holiday being the end of the time to repose and to go into a new school- or academic year and into a new church year.

By the Chosen People of God prior to the Exile the months were designated partly by names and partly by numbers.

Elul (Hebrew: אֱלוּל, StandardElulTiberianʾĔlûl) is the twelfth month of the Jewish civil year and the sixth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a summer month of 29 days. Elul usually occurs in August–September on the Gregorian calendar. {Wikipedia}

Shofar (by Alphonse Lévy) Caption says: "...

Shofar (by Alphonse Lévy) Caption says: “To a good year” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The name of the month (spelled Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed) is said to be an acronym of “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li,” “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine,” a quote from Song of Songs 6:3, where the Beloved is the Most High divine Creator of heaven and earth and the “I” is the Jewish people. In Aramaic (the vernacular of the Jewish people at the time that the month names were adopted), the word “Elul” meaning “search,” which is appropriate, because at the end of a period (weak/season/ year) it is not bad to take some time free to think about what happened in the past. At the turn over of the season or year it is time to search our hearts and to seriously have an introspection and stocktaking — a time to review one’s deeds and spiritual progress over the past year and prepare for the upcoming Yamim Nora’im or “Days of Awe” of Rosh Hashanah and Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

According to tradition, the month of Elul is the time that Moses spent on Mount Sinai, forty days and forty nights, neither eating bread, nor drinking water, preparing the second set of tablets after the incident of the golden calf (Exodus 32; 34:27-28). He had ascended on Rosh Chodesh Elul, the 1st of Elul of the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE).

Moses was seen by Jehovah as a righteous person, finding beauty in God His eyes. It was to him that God wanted to make all His function cross over upon his face and willing to show beauty, having compassion to whom God will have compassion. Though God cannot be seen, people can feel His presence. Moses, with Christ Jesus, was the only human being ever coming to know God this way. Jehovah taught him the secret of His “Thirteen Attributes of Mercy” (Exodus 33:18-34:8).

Exo 33:17-23 NHEBJE  Jehovah said to Moses, “I will do this thing also that you have spoken; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”  (18)  He said, “Please show me your glory.”  (19)  He said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of Jehovah before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”  (20)  He said, “You cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live.”  (21)  Jehovah also said, “Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand on the rock.  (22)  It will happen, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by;  (23)  then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

Exo 34:1-8 NHEBJE  Jehovah said to Moses, “Chisel two stone tablets like the first: and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.  (2)  Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.  (3)  No one shall come up with you; neither let anyone be seen throughout all the mountain; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mountain.”  (4)  He chiseled two tablets of stone like the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up to Mount Sinai, as Jehovah had commanded him, and took in his hand two stone tablets.  (5)  Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah.  (6)  Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, “Jehovah, Jehovah, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth,  (7)  keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and disobedience and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children’s children, on the third and on the fourth generation.”  (8)  Moses hurried and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.

Moses remained on the mountain for 40 days, until the 10th of Tishrei (Yom Kippur), during which time He obtained God’s whole-hearted forgiveness and reconciliation with the people of Israel following their betrayal of the covenant between them with their worship of the Golden Calf. This was the third of Moses’ three 40-day periods on Mount Sinai in connection with the Giving of the Torah. Ever since, the month of Elul serves as the “month of Divine mercy and forgiveness.”

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in Moses’ hand, on the 10th of Tishri, at the end of Yom Kippur, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him, as a sign that his repentance was complete.
Other sources say that Elul is the beginning of a period of 40 days that Moses prayed for God to forgive the people after the Golden Calf incident, after which the commandment to prepare the second set of tablets was given.

As the month of Divine Mercy and Forgiveness it is a most opportune time for teshuvah, the “return” to God, where we try to come even closer than in other times. This coming closer has to be done by getting in a closer relationship with God by spending enough time in conversation with Him, by prayer. for the Jews it is also a time where they show love for each other. That increased Ahavat Yisrael (love for a fellow Jew) has to happen in the quest for self-improvement and coming closer to God.

Schneur Zalman of Liadi

Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chassidic master Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi likens the month of Elul to a time when “the king is in the field” and, in contrast to when he is in the royal palace,

“everyone who so desires is permitted to meet him, and he receives them all with a cheerful countenance and shows a smiling face to them all.”

Is that not a lovely thought that we are given the opportunity to meet that King over the king of kings? From the Hebrew writings we may understand that Jehovah God is willing to listen to everybody who is willing to search for Him.

As we pass through life, we are invariably coarsened and sullied by our errors and misjudgements, or simply by the travails of physical life; but our innermost self, the soul which is created in the “image of God” and should be a “veritable part of God” should be ready to come in front of God. Last year the Christadelphians and Bible Students in Belgium focused on our communication with God. This coming season we are going to look at our being, which has the nephesh or nefesh (flesh) and (psyche), a soul which can only exist because God allows it to exist.

The Jews may bind the small black leather cubes containing parchment scrolls inscribed with the Shema and other biblical passages, around the arm (“hand Tefillin“) and head (“Head Tefillin“) of adult men during weekday morning prayers. But we should not have such touchable symbols to wrap around us to have the connection with the Word of God. The Mitzvah (precepts and commandments as commanded by God) binds us spiritually with our hearts and deeds with the Holy Spirit. Our mind (psyche) or soul which we give into the Hands of God, in these days of ‘turn over’ or ‘turning point’, should now get some interest from us to cleanse and purify it, so that we can come to a daily reunification within ourselves and with God.

The term mitzvah has also come to express an act of human kindness. In these days of passage, going from baby into toddler, toddler going from kindergarten to the lower and later to the junior and higher school. As adult going into a new academic year. It is God Who allows us to climb higher on the ladder, getting more knowledge and wisdom.

Specific Elul customs include the daily sounding of the shofar (ram’s horn) as a call to repentance. The Baal Shem Tov instituted the custom of reciting three additional chapters of Psalms each day, from the 1st of Elul until Yom Kippur (on Yom Kippur the remaining 36 chapters are recited, thereby completing the entire book of Psalms). (Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24)

In this world there is a lot of distraction, so much noise we often do not hear the right sounds. There is so much that keeps us busy in the time of year we often do not find enough time to have pleasure time for the own family and even less time to spend time together with brothers and sisters of the same faith. How much time do you find to spend with others thinking about the Word of God and discussing what can be found and understood from Bible reading?

Let us take time to repent and to think about what we have done last year and how we are going to enter the new church year. We look forward to enter a new church-year full of enthusiasm, looking for ways to get to know the human soul better and to bring more people to better insight in the Holy Scriptures, in the hope that they may find God and shall be willing to get baptised and to join one of our communities.

Are we willing to let our soul be formed by the almighty God and to be looking forward to the Teshuvah, the God-given ability to access and reconnect to that untouched self, re-establishing our lives upon its foundation, and even redefine a negative past in its purifying light?

We may not overlook the most important aspect of Elul which is to make a plan for your life. Because when the “Big Day”, the Last Day of this time-system comes it shall be too late to make preparations. Everything has to happen before that day, like the marriage arrangements have to be taken before the day of marriage. It is Now that we do have to prepare ourselves to be ready to come before the Judge of the Endtimes. You may be sure that it will be so much easier when you prepare yourself for that day with others; Together the work shall be so much lighter and it will be much easier for each of the meeting to find the right way. Now is the time to prepare yourself for making a good start going into the right direction and finding like-minded people who are willing to unite in the name of Christ, willing to do, like him, the Will of God and not of ourselves or of the world.

Let us hear the trumpet of God and follow His Guidance into a new stadium, preparing ourselves to enter that promised New World, the Kingdom of God, as children of God.

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Find also to read:

  1. Our openness to being approachable
  2. A new school-, academic and church year
  3. The sin of partiality
  4. Let us not fret or worry about next season
  5. Atonement And Fellowship 1/8
  6. Following a Compassionate Lord
  7. Wishing to do the will of God
  8. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  9. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  10. The soul
  11. Is there an Immortal soul
  12. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  13. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  14. What I Hope For Is What You Hope For
  15. Forgiveness is a blessing for the one who forgives
  16. The thought of losing rekindles the joy of having
  17. Courage is fear that has said its prayers

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  • #BlogElul A time to reflect (otir.wordpress.com)
    The month of Elul is starting tonight.
    Which meansRoshHashanah is in one month.As we prepare for the holiday of Passover in the spring, with spring cleaning among other things, we do prepare for the High Holy Days with a thorough soul cleaning!
  • Elul/Vav (workofheartandsoul.wordpress.com)
    Many Jews also visit the graves of loved ones throughout the month in order to remember and honor those people in our past who inspire us to live more fully in the future. {They leave a pebble or stone on top of the grave!}
  • ABC’s of Elul (jewishpress.com)
    If youhad an important court date scheduled – one that woulddetermine your financial future, or even your very life – you’d be sure to prepare for weeks beforehand.On Rosh Hashanah, each individual is judged on the merit of his deeds. Whether he will live out the year or not. Whether he will have financial success or ruin. Whether he will be healthy or ill. All of these are determined on Rosh Hashanah.Elul – the month preceding Rosh Hashanah – begins a period of intensive introspection, of clarifying life’s goals, and of coming closer to God. It is a time for realizing purpose in life – rather than perfunctorily going through the motions of living by amassing money and seeking gratification. It is a time when we step back and look at ourselves critically and honestly, as Jews have from time immemorial, with the intention of improving.
  • No Spiritual Home – Elul 5775 (lightwavejourney.wordpress.com)
    As a professional Jew, I havepreviously had communities that were easier for meto be a part of spiritually, but I have rarely felt uncomfortable in a community I have worked.  Only one time, I heard a rabbi give a sermon onYomKippurin which he said that Tisha B’Av should be disregarded.  It was the one and only time I almost walked out of High Holy Day services with my family.Judaism is a part of my essence.  I love how it fits into my life, pushes me to think, and creates a cocoon where I can live.I am a God-Wrestler.  I question, I pray, I hope, I vision and I wrestle.  And on the days that I don’t quite know how God fits into my practice of Judaism, I let go and trust the universe.  And throughout it all, I try to live a life of Godliness.  Every place I walk is a sanctuary, so why in this moment should I feel like I have no spiritual home.  The mountains and the desert are seriously my sanctuary.  I love the earth; I love so many special spaces that exude God-like energy.  I used to have a yoga studio that felt like God’s sanctuary.  Today, there is no space that is calling me for the Rosh HaShanah, yet I have to take my kids to services for the High Holy Days.
  • Getting Clean During Elul (beittshuvah.wordpress.com)
    This month is when we traditionally do our inventories of the past year. We set up a balance sheet, listing the things we have done well and the areas where we “missed” the mark.
    +The Big Lie–Elul #8
    While there is a great deal to be sad about: loss, death, disappointment, our own errors, the hurts of others, etc; we have to keep this sadness in proper measure. When sadness is out of proper measure, we descend into despair. Rabbi Nachman calls this type of sadness the worst sin. Sadness/despair allows us to be hopeless and become victims. This sadness and despair allows us to tolerate the darkness that we and others bring into the world. It gives reason to our inactivity, our passivity and our engaging in negativity. This is the sadness that says “nothing will change” “why bother” “I don’t matter”, etc. It allows us to stay stuck and believe that we are powerless and doomed!
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    The Lies I Tell Myself-Elul #7
    in our age of “not taking responsibility, we can acknowledge the feelings another person has of our betrayal while not confessing to our betrayal.
  • #BlogElul 1: Prepare (velveteenrabbi.blogs.com)
    The full moon of Av (on the Jewish calendar), the full moon of Ramadan (on the Muslim calendar), has been steadily shrinking. As surely as waves roll out and then roll back in again, now it’s time for the moon to start growing. Today is new moon, Rosh Chodesh Elul. One month until the Days of Awe.
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    it’s always possible to start paying attention, to become mindful, to dive in, wherever we are. Maybe you haven’t been counting the seven weeks between Tisha b’Av and Rosh Hashanah — nu, no big deal; start now, four weeks before the new year! You can always begin to prepare. It’s always open to you. Start now, as the moon begins to wax, and when it wanes — as it will inevitably do — feel your heart and soul quicken with the approaching Days of Awe.
  • When the King is in the Field (acmsrabbiblog.wordpress.com)
    God has divided time into the holy and mundane.  Sabbath and the feasts are considered holy times, while the rest of the week is mundane where we engage in the normal activities of work and life.  Elul is seen as a time when the holy and mundane merge.  Every day of Elul is a little like Shabbat in the sense that because the “King is in the field”, we are to be more sensitive to the things that we do that keep us from putting God first in our lives. It is a time to restore the sense of awe toward the Holy One. We are to spend extra time in prayer, especially for personal repentance, reflection and renewal, and study of the Word.
  • Ninth of Av (amapofcalifornia.wordpress.com)
    The fast day always fell during summer vacation, so I had to watch for it on the calendar in order to avoid missing the date.  I was aware that it was a day of obligation and that I was expected to fast.
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    The destruction of the Second Temple and the razing of Jerusalem irrevocably changed the face of Jewish life, ushering in the exile (known in Hebrew as the galut) to the Diaspora that continues to this day.  Where we once were unified in the Holy Land given to us by God, our misdeeds resulted in nothing but sorrow and tragedy as we were scattered al arbah kanfot ha’aretz, to the four corners of the earth.
  • The Month Of Elul (A Time To Reflect On Yeshua Our Betrothed Beloved One) (paradoxparables.wordpress.com)
    During the Days of Awe is a good time to do Ritual Mikvah’s of repentance and dedication, of cleansing, in living streams of water, albeit a river or a shower if you can’t avail yourself to a river of moving fresh water. Repent that the times of refreshing may come, Acts 3:19.

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    Do you need a Shofar blast to awaken your spirits and inspire you to begin searching your soul to prepare yourself to come into G-ds presence? If so splash your face with some water, turn on some good worship music and seek His face.
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    Repenting of ones sins, seeking inspiration to live righteously is a just way to live. It would be good to remember those who have inspired us to come this far and continue to move forward.
  • Elul, All, Nothing, or Something (mymorningmeditations.com)
    There is a misconception that many people have about Judaism, what I call “the all or nothing” syndrome. With 613 mitzvot in the Torah, things can seem a bit overwhelming.

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Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Spiritual affairs

God’s wisdom for the believer brings peace

On the 22nd of April the Christadelphians in Belgium met in their tiny congregation. They do not have a mega-church. They do not have their own special church building. They would love to see more people in their congregation, but they know that we are living in a time where not many are interested in God.

In the darkness and the void of the world

CIMG2092Today we may find many people who would love to Get out of the dark corners of this world, and who would love to find solutions to live easier. Many do not come to see that solutions where already provided long ago. They should not stay with their depression, pain and suffering. Already long ago there was a man who was willing to take all the trouble of the world onto him. He was willing to bear all the pain of mankind and to face the death and take it with him to destroy it for ever. It looks impossible and many centuries people who could see the Works of the Divine Creator even doubted about the possibilities put in front of them. They had put lambs-blood on the doorposts, had seen that their children were saved, saw high walls of water and a road where they could pass but the soldiers of the Pharaoh were swallowed by the water, and still they doubted many times. How about us who have no such wonders in our days of our life?

Having to see what should be the centre of life

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The previous days we have looked how God assembled Him a people and how He took care of them in difficult times. God does not change, so also today He shall be there with those who are interested in Him. He shall guide them and help them when necessary.

As we meet with the people of God assembled to hear Moses as they prepare to move into the land we see simply and clearly what should have been the centre of their lives.

Forty years before this time, the previous generation had been given the law at Mount Sinai, Moses reminded them that they had actually heard the voice of God and were filled with such fear that they required Moses to act between them and God. At this time they were reminded that it was by the power of God that they had escaped from Egypt, and that He had given them a law and commandments that were quite different from those of the Egyptians. It was a law that would set them apart from all the nations surrounding them, it was a law that would give them peace in the land that they had been promised and which they would shortly enter, it was a law based on ten short commandments.

Commandments of the Maker of the Universe

Moses with the Ten Commandments

Moses with the Ten Commandments (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But even these commandments could be powerfully summarised, as Jesus did when questioned, into two commandments. When we behave ourselves good loving all those around us with all are heart we would be good on our way, because all people who walk around on this earth are allowed to be here by the Divine Creator. Without His allowance they would not be here living. So we should respect them as creatures of the Most High and we should respect his choice and love Him for all the things He provides for them and us.

Matthew 22:36-39 The Scriptures 1998+  (36)  “Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah?”  (37)  And יהושע {Jeshua} said to him, “ ‘You shall love יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’  (38)  “This is the first and great command.  (39)  “And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’

Getting out of bondage

In the reading of last Tuesday service we listened to the Words of God as presented in the Holy Scriptures in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 5.

Moses with the Ten Commandments

Moses with the Ten Commandments

In that chapter we could read how Moses called to all Israel to hear the statutes and the ordinances which God had given him. They were given so that they might learn them, and observe to do them.  It was in Horeb that YHWH יהוה {Jehovah} our Elohim and Highest of all made a covenant with those Israelites.  It was Moses who stood between God and them at that time, to show them the words of Jehovah, for they were afraid because of the fire.

Deuteronomy 5:5-6 The Scriptures 1998+  (5)  “I stood between יהוה {Jehovah} and you at that time, to declare to you the Word of יהוה {Jehovah} – for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up the mountain – saying:(6) ‘I am יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of bondage.

Serving only One

From the Holy One Who brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage they got to know that He that brought salvation to them wanted them to have no other gods before Him.  They were asked not to make any engraved image for themselves, or any likeness of what is in heaven above, or what is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, to bow down to them, nor to serve them; for He , YHWH, the Creator of heaven and earth should be their God.

Deuteronomy 5:8-11 The Scriptures 1998+  (8)  ‘You do not make for yourself a carved image, any likeness of which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth,  (9)  you do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim, am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,  (10)  but showing kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands.  (11)  ‘You do not bring{1} the Name of יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim to naught, for יהוה {Jehovah} does not leave him unpunished who brings His Name to naught. {Footnote: 1Or lift up, or take.}

Not to make an engraved image for yourself, nor any likeness of anything that is in heaven above

c. 1435

Carved images in front people bow. – c. 1435 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Through the ages many, also those who called themselves Christian, have forgotten that rule, not to make any pictures of any god to worship in front. In many churches today we can see pictures and statues and even priests walking around in procession with shrines and books, to which people bow down and make crosses. What do they think the jealous God of the Old Testament would feel like, seeing those things which are an abomination in His eyes? God assured His people that He would look down to the earth and see how people love or hate Him. According their position against the Most High He would treat them. He would visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate Him and would show loving kindness to thousands of those who love Him and keep His commandments.We should not take the name of YHWH יהוה {Jehovah} in vain, for He will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Therefore also those who do not believe in God, should not find any reason to use God His Name. We too have to remember that god His people were a servant in the land of Egypt, and יהוה {Jehovah} our God brought them out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm. They had as an assembly on the mountain heard out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice. We to can hear that Voice of God when we are willing to find God. Like He let His Voice come out of the the midst of the darkness, we to shall be able to hear Him is ourselves when we open our heart to Him.From the Old Book of books we should come to know all the wonders God has done for those who want to follow Him. In lots of the mega churches we can find around the world not much time is spent in the Unread bestseller where the Words of God are presented to all those who want to read. But many may prefer to Look to the East and the West for Truth and try to find answers in books written by people like them. They overlook the glory and the greatness which God has shown unto the world. Not many today want to hear the Voice of God. God made the promise that in case people would fear Him and would keep His commandments always, it might be well with them, and with their children forever!

Deuteronomy 5:28-33 The Scriptures 1998+  (28)  “And יהוה {Jehovah} heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and יהוה {Jehovah} said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken.  (29)  ‘Oh, that they had such a heart in them, to fear Me and to guard all My commands always, so that it might be well with them and with their children forever!  (30)  ‘Go, say to them, “Return to your tents.”  (31)  ‘But you, stand here by Me, and let Me speak to you all the commands, and the laws, and the right-rulings which you are to teach them. And they shall do them in the land which I am giving them to possess.’  (32)  “And you shall guard to do as יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim has commanded you – do not turn aside, to the right or to the left.  (33)  “Walk in all the way which יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim has commanded you, so that you live and it be well with you. And you shall prolong your days in the land which you possess.

Churchgoers and priests or ministers

Bible as a compass for life

Bible as a compass for life

A few in this world may go to church-buildings, and in some countries may go to mega churches, but are they doing the Will of God? How much do they like to have an Inerrant Word of God something to say in their life? Several people may Challenge saying ” Whose word and go into discussions about the (non) value of the Holy Scriptures, or what we would call The Inspired Word, in our society. Most of the people do not believe in the Eternal Word that tells everything. The priests of those mega churches should go tell the people to return to their houses and to go into their small room to meet the Most High. They should tell about the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which God has given to the world. They should keep them and should teach them, that they may do them in the land which God has provided for them to reside until the second coming of the Messiah.

Those priests and men in charge of houses of worship should give the good example. But we hear many bad things about their behaviour. Though they should have to know that the men of God shall observe to do therefore as Jehovah their God has commanded them, not turning aside to the right hand or to the left.  When we shall walk in all the way which the Elohim Hashem Jehovah our God has commanded us, that we may live, and that it may be well with us, and that we may prolong our days in the land which we shall be given, we should not worry to much.

Not to worry to prolong your days

As recorded for us in Deuteronomy

יהוה {Jehovah} our Elohim has shown us His esteem and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. Today we have seen that Elohim speaks with man – and he lives! (Deuteronomy 5:24 The Scriptures 1998+ )

Also to us the glory of the Most High God is shown to us. We too can hear His Voice and having such wonderful experience, like the faithful ones dedicated themselves to follow the words written for us in (v33)

Deuteronomy 5:33 The Scriptures 1998+  (33)  “Walk in all the way which יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim has commanded you, so that you live and it be well with you. And you shall prolong your days in the land which you possess.

Do you hear God telling us “that you may live, and that it may be well with you”?

Following these commands given by their God, should have given them long life, peace and prosperity, in the land that was just over the River Jordan, the land that should have been a very special land, with God as their King. These words form the foundation of our lives of faith today.

Ecclesiastes

As the writer of this book Ecclesiastes looks around the lives of the people among whom he lives he sees the same challenge. He looks at the cycle of life and the wisdom of the world; he dedicates himself to search out the best of the world’s knowledge and comes to the conclusion

“in much wisdom is much grief, and increase in knowledge, simply increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1v18).

This would all be very depressing if it were not for the conclusion of the book, which emphasises our theme,

“fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12v13).

The wisdom of God brings peace to the faithful. Today many may laugh at those who say they love God. Not many people dare to say that in public. We may find a little more people who want to let others know they follow Jesus. Though it is not always sure which Jesus they are really following.  Lots of people do not want to accept what Jesus really has done. They say it is impossible for any man to do what Jesus has done. Therefore they made Jesus in their god, forgetting that there is only One True God Who is One. They also made images of him, exalting him and bowing down before the pictures and statues of the person, they claim to be God. But how then do they follow the first commandment of that One True Creator God. Christ Jesus asked his followers

Gospel of  John 17 and 18

The final verse of John 16 makes clear to us that the peace that we can enjoy in the life we have chosen to follow is “in Christ”. Jesus in his short time on earth and a very short time for his public life, has said many important words and had done many wonders or miracles. But also his words we should take at heart. From them we can learn a lot and when we shall follow them up we can already receive a lot of peace in this world.

John 16:33 The Scriptures 1998+  (33)  “These words I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you have pressure, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”

The world has always gone against Jehovah God; Nothing has changed yet. The satan or adversary of God is still at work.

All those things Jesus spoke some two thousand years ago, should be useful for us to follow, and should be able to bring us peace. It is true it shall not bring straight ahead peace in our environment. In the world we too shall have tribulation, but we may be of good cheer; Jesus has overcome the world. It may not be without troubles or difficulties but we know clearly Jesus brought the Words of God to this world and explained the those words of wisdom from God, and therefore this is the way we aim to live.

Followers of Master Jesus, Being one

The amazing prayer of Jesus in John chapter 17 speaks directly to us 2000 years later, for this includes all who are his followers, not just there with him on that dreadful night, but all those down the centuries who read these words and want to be “one as we are” (v11) and “as one” in Jesus, and God his Father (v21). This is almost too wonderful for us to understand, we who are so ordinary, being included with the disciples and faithful ones between the time of the prayer and now. Jesus our Master is making it very clear in the words that he had spoken to them, and that have been written for us, that they are the words of eternal life and we have been called to that special treasure.

When we realise that the Master was within a few hours of his arrest, that mockery of trial and his dreadful death, it makes us feel very inadequate in the weakness of the lives that we live. Do not let us be discouraged however, for our God is merciful and forgiving to those of His children who come to Him in prayer truly sorry for the wrong that we do and feeling that wonderful forgiveness that only God can give through His Son.

Jesus the High Priest

And so Jesus and the eleven left the city, crossed over the brook Cedron, and went to that familiar place, the garden which Judas would know was a likely place for him to be with his disciples. So he and the guard came and after a little resistance from Peter, Jesus was arrested and his followers fled, probably to Bethany, with the exception of Peter and the other disciple “known to the high priest”; a brave move to put themselves into the centre of the opposition to the ministry of Jesus. As the trial went on we know that Peter was tested as he denied that he knew Jesus or was one of his followers, and following that we know that he wept, truly sorry for the weakness he had shown. But again we take comfort that he was forgiven and spent the rest of his life dedicated to the service of Jesus who he loved, and who loved him.

The trial went on with the Roman governor Pilate, who had no understanding at all of the accusations of the Jewish leaders, nor of the attitude of Jesus himself who made no attempt to defend himself. He was accused of being a king; treason against Rome, but he made it quite clear in the response that he did make; a teaching that we fully understand, that his kingdom was not of this world. The wisdom of God has declared that there will be a kingdom, but not at that time. In the mercy of God the time has been delayed and many more of us have come to know, understand, and believe that the kingdom of God will come to the Earth with Jesus at its head in the time God chooses.

Through the life and sacrifice of the Son of God better servants

With all these thoughts in our minds, as we began with a God given law in Sinai: the command to love God and our neighbour: the search by the wise man for wisdom, and only finding it in the wisdom of God: and the wonderful example of Jesus our Master, even in the last hours of his ministry when faced with the knowledge of his awful trial and death. In that lovely prayer he concerned himself with his followers who were with him and those throughout the ages that have followed.

Our hearts are full of thanks for all that has been made possible for us through the life and sacrifice of the Son of God. As he commanded let us remember in the bread and the wine, the love of God and His Son, that we might be better servants in the days that remain.

Times of the 21st century

File:Ifk goteborg osk.jpg

Film, television and sport-figures bring the contemporary idols and new gods. – IFK Göteborg, a swedish footballteam, celebrating a goal in a match against swedish team Örebro SK

We are living in a world in denial, where we can see lots of things happening like in the Roman times, bread and games. As in Roman times there is no fear of God before the eyes of many people living in this capitalist world. As in the Roman times the focus was on personal gain and entertainment, today people have more love for their money than they have for a partner or any other living person, let it be for some spirit they can not see nor hear. Lots having forgotten the promises which were brought by many prophets, like Abraham, Isaiah and Jesus are blinded by the wealth of this world and give much more attention to television celebrities and film-gods.

The spiritual does not say much to most people. They do not notice any more the beauty of the world. Nature does not interest them much. But they should be more aware of nature, because they are part of it, and what they do to it shall be of influence to themselves. So how they treat their environment shall be of very importance to the next generations.

Nature and its creatures

CIMG2037When those human beings in this capitalist world would give more interest to other creatures in this world (insects, plants, mammals, men and women) they would find that they could live more in unison with the plants and animals, and would have more rapport with other human beings. Submitting themselves one to another, in the fear of God, for many sounds as something ridiculous, something very absurd, but we should know that by respecting the other in this world, we shall be able to find a better place for each of them.

Faith, love and fear

Today many find it much more interesting to get more power by making others afraid of other people. The problem there is that so many have forgotten that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind, to use to help each other, even when it would be our enemy. (2 Corinthians 7:1 ; Ephesians 5:21; 2 Timothy 1:7)

Those who love the Most High should remember the faith of Noah who, being warned by God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Hebrews 11:7 )

Living in this world and Reading the Bible

It is not to late to change our attitude. It is not to late to take better notice how we can safeguard nature. It is also never too late to start reading the Bible, the infallible word of God. It is never too late to come to see what is written in it and what for treasures may be hidden in it. It is also never too late to get to see the power this Book of books may have to bring change.

In the Garden of Eden, the Creator of heaven and earth has given man the right to rule the world and to make the best of it as they can. Today we know they did not make much of it. We also do know we have to continue living in this world-system as long as Jesus Christ well come back. As long as he did not return we shall need to live in this world, which does not mean we shall have to be off this world.

We are selves do have to make choices. We do have to make up our mind what we do want to believe and whom we would like to follow. Those who made already the choice and choose to follow Jesus and his God, do know the importance of deciding “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes”. As for us Christians, there’s no question — we can’t keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard, and should let others know what we do think. (Acts 4:19; Acts 4:20)

Not following the majority of this world

When we watch the world going its own way, we should be careful not to follow the majority of this world. It is so easy to enjoy the worldly traditions, and to say such feasts do not harm. But is it really so, that by searching for eggs in the garden and connecting them with the resurrection of Christ, we do give the right honour and to Jesus and to his heavenly Father God?

We should take our everyday, ordinary life — our sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Not blaming others for what is gone wrong in our own life, but trying to adjust our life in the ways of God. Not preferring to be popular and loving their way of living, but embracing what God wants for us and what He does for us, knowing that that is the only best thing we can do for Him, but also for ourselves and our beloved ones. (Romans 12:1)

When we face the world we should know that we do have our own responsibilities. It are we ourselves who are responsible for how our own children act or behave, as well for how those we brought up, our pupils, behave or act in the world we placed them. Or do we not realize that we had to learn from the Holy Scriptures and had to behave accordingly, giving a good example to those around us. We should have been working at our body and soul to make it such that our body could be as a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit. Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. (1 Corinthians 6:19)

Looking at the beacon Christ

It is not because our world may be going the wrong way that we should go wit it and land up in the darkness. We when pushed by others in the dark should see the light Christ Jesus brought in this world; We should go to that beacon and be not afraid to fall in the hands of the smugglers. We may be shipwrecked sailors, but Jesus stilled the waves and God blew the wind in the right direction. The world may consider us failures, but you do not have to feel a castaway. It is more important what you look like in the eyes of God than in the eyes or minds of people.

Because many of us have not kept to the human instincts of normal behaviour many in this world behave like it should not. Having not allowed Gods Word to come over others by our way of living, acting and teaching, we excluded the Creator of all things in the works we wanted to do. God owns the whole works, but to let God shine in our works we do have to allow Him to enter us. So we do have to take care that people can see God in and through our body.  Our firm decision should be to work from this focused centre:

“One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat”.

Christians and atheists

Us not loving those who are around us, because they do not believe the same things as we do, is not having Christ Jesus his love. He loved believers, non-believers and sinners. Christ’s love has to move us to such extremes, that we should be better doing than all those atheists and other believers doing good in this world. Thinking that a non-believer can not do any good work is wrong-thinking. We should know historical facts and also see that ages before Christ was born, also in places were there was not spoken of God, there were people who tried to do good for each other. Therefore we better put our arrogance at the doorstep and look at Christ, who was open for everybody. His love should have the first and last word in everything we do. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own. (1 Corinthians 6:20;2 Corinthians 5:14 ; 2 Corinthians 5:15)

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Please do find concerned readings:

  1. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  2. Breathing to teach
  3. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  4. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #1 Creator and His Prophets
  5. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #2 Instructions and Laws
  6. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #3 A voice to be taken Seriously
  7. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #4 Words in Scripture
  8. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #5 To meditate and Transform
  9. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  10. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #3 Rejoicing in the insistence
  11. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  12. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #7 Prayer #5 Listening Ear
  13. God’s Blog recorded in a Book
  14. Creator and Blogger God 1 Emptiness and mouvement
  15. Creator and Blogger God 2 Image and likeness
  16. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  17. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  18. Creator and Blogger God 5 Things to tell
  19. Creator and Blogger God 8 A Blog of a Book 2 Holy One making Scriptures Holy
  20. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  21. Statutes given unto us
  22. God’s word…is a comfort to the one who yields to God’s will
  23. Commit your self to the trustworthy creator
  24. Man’s plans prevailed by God’s purpose
  25. Thoughts on Passover
  26. Commemorating the escape from slavery
  27. Deliverance and establishement of a theocracy
  28. Moving around looking for a homeland
  29. Passover and Liberation Theology
  30. The Evolution Of Passover–Past To Present
  31. Israel God’s people
  32. On the first day for matzah
  33. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  34. Shabbat Pesach service reading 2/2
  35. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  36. Written to recognise the Promised One
  37. The redemption of man by Christ Jesus
  38. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  39. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  40. Servant of his Father
  41. Servant for the truth of God
  42. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
  43. Blinkered minds
  44. Satan the evil within
  45. This is an amazing thing
  46. Depression, Anxiety, Pressure and megachurches
  47. When discouraged facing opposition
  48. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  49. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  50. Words to push and pull
  51. Certainty in a troubled world
  52. Fear and protection
  53. Fear of God reason to return to Holy Scriptures
  54. A world in denial
  55. Trust God
  56. Songs of Moses and the servants of God
  57. True riches
  58. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word

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  • Why I Don’t Celebrate Easter (and still love God… and still believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah) (christinachronicles.com)
    Once upon a time, Easter was adamantly NOT observed by Believers.
    In fact, Easter was observed looooong before Messiah even came to Earth…
    and it wasn’t by Believers.
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    We have been lovingly instructed by our Creator to observe the Appointed Times of the Scriptures that He put forth– which are filled with rich, beautiful meaning and foreshadows… and they are celebrations and observances that set His people apart from the rest of the world… that we may be a Light to the nations.
    These remembrances and rehearsals were instituted and blessed by YHVH (the LORD) Himself and are for ALL of Israel (Israel = His set-apart people that Believe and are in Covenant with Him).
    Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, and say to them, ‘The appointed times of יהוה (YHVH), which you are to proclaim as set-apart gatherings, My appointed times, are these:” – Leviticus 23:2
    (See also: Lev. 23; Ex. 12:14,17,24; 13:6; Deut. 16; etc…)
  • The Law of God vs. The Law of Moses (faithgracetorah.net)
    it is very clear here that it was YHWH who gave us the Law of Moses.
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    Moses was the chosen vessel for Yah to bring forth his instructions; this is truly a beautiful Remez of Messiah’s role as the right arm of Yah!
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    As the prophet like Moses, Y’shua came to fully teach the law of YHWH. We see the pattern of Moses repeated in Y’shua! Y’shua was anointed to come and as the right arm of Yah fully taught and practiced the Law perfectly!
  • His name… (mylife4yah.wordpress.com)
    I went through life comfortable calling Yahweh the titles that replace His name in the Bible. I found out that His name is Yahweh through the dictionary in the back of my Bible. Once I knew His name I decided to use it and I have been blessed ever since. The choice is yours but I feel closer to Him when I use His name. Here are some scriptures that prove His name is
    important:
  • Week 15: Friday – The Great I am (bolmdevotional.wordpress.com)
    In Shakespeare’s Hamlet he asked, “What’s in a name?” as if a person’s given name is wholly unimportant. A name can be significant in knowing about someone’s history and identity. Have you ever asked your parents how they came up with your name? Did you ever search your name on the Web and see what it means?

    Even the names that we see in the scripture were not given by accident rather it had meaning and purpose. When God gives a name to a person it usually signifies character, ability or mission. For instance, John Piper notes, “Adam names his wife Eve, because she is mother of all the living (Genesis 3:20). God changes Abram’s name to Abraham to show that he had made him the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah (Genesis 17:15). He changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 32:28).
    And when the Son of God came into the world, his name was not left to chance: “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

  • God about His name “יהוה” (christadelphians.wordpress.com)
    In the Holy Scriptures we are able to find what God says about His Name: And Elohim spoke to Mosheh and said to him, “I am יהוה. “And I appeared to Aḇraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Yaʽaqoḇ, as Ěl Shaddai. And by My Name, יהוה, was I not known to them?
  • Repost: Yom Kippur Studies (littleguyintheeye.wordpress.com)
    For those keeping Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement here are some studies on the subject for those interested
  • Water from the Rock (faithgracetorah.net)
    As believers in Messiah Y’shua we understand there there are no idle words in scripture, which is why it is so fundamentally important to grasp the deeper levels of understanding that we can see utilizing the PaRDeS method of study.
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    We know that everything in the Scriptures were written with a plan. More specifically we know that this plan was the plan of Salvation and Redemption through the Messiah.
  • Why I Keep the Seventh Day Sabbath (christinachronicles.com)
    I keep the seventh day Sabbath.
    It has nothing to do with denomination –
    it has everything to do with Who I worship and what He desires.
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    Our Father, our Creator, set the pattern, the example, the principle for us.
    A time to cease from work, a time to review, acknowledge, celebrate the beauty of the creation that He pronounced “good”. It belongs to Him from the very beginning.
  • Megachurch pastor Ulf Ekman: ‘We need what the Lord has given to the Catholic Church to live fully as Christians’ (catholicherald.co.uk)
    On Sunday March 9, Ulf Ekman stood nervously before the congregation of the Word of Life church in Uppsala. Dressed in a suit and pale blue tie, the Swedish pastor looked out at the faces of those whose delights and hardships he had shared since he founded the megachurch in 1983.

    “This is one of those days when I have something special to say,” he began. Several minutes into the address, which has been watched more than 8,000 times on YouTube, he got to the crux: “[My wife] Birgitta and I have in recent days sensed the Lord’s leading, urging us to join the Catholic Church. This may seem a very radical step. But we have great peace and great joy in this decision.

  • Megachurches Use Elaborate Sets and Easy Parking to Amplify God’s Voice (feeds.wired.com)
    Photographer Joe Johnson’s series Megachurches takes us down the aisles, inside the sanctuaries, and behind the scenes of jumbo-sized places of worship. Taken while the churches are not in daily use, Johnson’s photographs focus on both the mammoth interior space and the churches’ details — stage design, audio-visual systems, lighting, and convention hall seating — that make the facilities tick.

    It is estimated the number of megachurches in North America has risen from only 50 in 1980 to over 1,800 today. Johnson’s interest in them began when he visited his mother in North Carolina and accompanied her to a mega service. He wanted to experience contemporary evangelical life.

    “It was an admittedly voyeuristic impulse to watch what happens live,” says Johnson. “I was stunned by how sensorial the spectacle had been. There was a highly produced aural and visual sophistication being brought to the act of worship.”

    Megachurches have recently been in the news. Last month, in Southern California, the congregation of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries celebrated its final service within the Crystal Cathedral, the infamous Philip Johnson-designed megachurch. Crystal Cathedral Ministries, which pioneered the megachurch phenomenon, was forced to move out of its super-modern home after financial woe, some scandal, and a 2011 bankruptcy filing. The purchase of the Cathedral by the Catholic diocese of Orange for $57 million means worship will continue in the glass-facade superstructure. Different denomination, same God.

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Thoughts on Passover

The traditional Passover Seder Haggadah is not just for Jews—it will move spiritual progressives both secular and religious.

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Thoughts on Passover by Shari Motro

How does one leave home in peace?

Read metaphorically, the Exodus story—which Jews will retell during the upcoming Passover holiday—offers some clues to answering this most universal of questions.

Moses is born a Hebrew slave, but he is raised in Pharaoh’s palace. The setup is an exaggerated version of something familiar to many—to anyone who has wondered whether some cosmic accident landed her with the wrong family; anyone who has felt uncomfortable about the privileges she accrued by virtue of her birth; anyone who at some point experienced her parents as oppressive or narrow. Egypt, in Hebrew, means “narrow place.”

Moses’ initial reaction is the classic teenage rebellion—it’s rash, it’s risky, and it gets him into deep trouble. After witnessing an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave, Moses kills the Egyptian, buries him in the sand, and runs. He tries to disappear, to start over. In Midian, Moses marries a local and has a son who he names Gershom, Stranger (“For I was a stranger in a strange land,” he says).

But running away doesn’t work. At some point, those of us who leave unfinished business behind are called to return. For Moses, the call starts as a fire, a fire that burns but doesn’t consume. The burning bush is a fire that can be neither put out nor ignored.

Miniature ofrom Folio 8r of the Syriac Bible o...

Miniature ofrom Folio 8r of the Syriac Bible of Paris shows Moses before Pharaoh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moses goes home to face the conflict he ran from. His task is to negotiate, to mediate between the slaves and Pharaoh, both of whom symbolize aspects of every human soul. He will eventually leave again, but in a different way. Leaving home in peace requires acknowledging the naysaying voice within. Moses can’t leave Egypt for good until his ability to dream his own future overwhelms his fear, until he stands before Pharaoh and speaks his truth.

Yes, I killed the Egyptian.

Yes, I’ve turned my back on you. Look, I’m not you. I’m a different person.

Yes, I want to leave.

Will you let me go?

Pharaoh says no, as parents do. Sometimes parents say no even when they know that eventually they will relent, that everybody will be better off when they do. Nevertheless, some inexplicable force compels them to dig in their heels, to wield their power while they still have it.

Of course, Pharaoh is an extreme example. This is the point of archetypal myths: they use extremes to illustrate lessons that apply to us all. Pharaoh symbolizes attachment—the eminently human tendency to resist change. The plagues are the suffering that results from attachment. Each plague is a message from Pharaoh’s higher self, like a body that keeps getting sick until you listen to it.

For Moses, the message of the plagues may be this: Your blossoming into your most radiant self is not the true cause of suffering—Pharaoh’s suffering, your own suffering, anybody’s. The cause of suffering is resistance.

After the tenth and most devastating plague—the death of the firstborn—Pharaoh finally relents, and the Israelites leave “in haste.” They leave so quickly they can’t wait for their bread to rise; this is why we eat unleavened bread on Passover. What’s the message here?

When the force holding you back finally relents—go. GO. Don’t be scared; don’t feel guilty; don’t hang around saying long goodbyes. It’s time.

And if Pharaoh follows at your heels and drowns in the pursuit, don’t rejoice. According to one interpretation, this is what God said to the angels who sang as the Egyptian chariots were swallowed by the sea:

“Don’t rejoice, for they are my creatures too.”

And yet, the texts are also filled with the opposite, with joy.

Anyone who has succeeded in breaking free knows this tension well. Our glee is tinged with something else, with the sinking recognition that our naysayers’ grief is our grief. And… surviving requires not allowing ourselves to drown in their tears. Surviving is rejoicing despite their pain.

Somehow, on the other side of it all, there is a place where all is forgiven, where the narrowness of our birth canal—every trauma, every grief—becomes a source of love and gratitude, where zero-sum gives way to abundance, where Pharaoh and Moses are one.

I’ve seen only glimpses of this place. For me, this is the Promised Land.

– by Shari Motro

Shari Motro is a professor of law at the University of Richmond.

From the Sikkum Special Seder Messages for Passover

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Preceding posts:

Commemorating the escape from slavery

The Evolution Of Passover–Past To Present

Passover and Liberation Theology

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Additional reading:

  1. Deliverance and establishement of a theocracy
  2. Moving around looking for a homeland
  3. 14 Nisan a day to remember #5 The Day to celebrate
  4. The Song of The Lamb #7 Revelation 15
  5. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  6. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  7. Meaning of life 
  8. Suffering
  9. Offer in our suffering
  10. God helper and deliverer
  11. God’s instruction about joy and suffering
  12. God’s promises to us in our suffering
  13. Suffering – through the apparent silence of God
  14. Suffering continues
  15. Suffering leading to joy
  16. Surprised by time in joys & sufferings
  17. 1 -15 Nisan
  18. Day of remembrance coming near
  19. Another way looking at a language #4 Ancient times
  20. Self inflicted misery #5 A prophet without a hedge around him
  21. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  22. Seven days of Passover
  23. On the first day for matzah
  24. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  25. Children ate the OT passover so why not NT bread and wine?
  26. High Holidays not only for Israel
  27. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  28. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  29. 14-15 Nisan and Easter

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  • The Ancient Egyptians Worshiped Sheep (acquiescere9.wordpress.com) > The Ancient Egyptians Worshiped SheepUltimately, the Torah tells us, God commanded the Israelites to take a lamb or a kid for each household. They were to hold it for four days, from the tenth until the fourteenth of the first month, and slaughter it on the fourteenth. This was done in Egypt, despite the Egyptians’ religious beliefs. To this day Jews commemorate this event, calling the Sabbath preceding Passover Shabbat Hagadol
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    Torah Parshat Va’eira Exodus 6:2-9:3
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    Parshah Yitro Exodus 18:1-20:23
  • This Passover 2012, Remember (Again!) – It’s Not Your Religion That Matters, But Your Humanity (nobodysview.wordpress.com)
    A drop of wine is spilled with each recitation in memory of those who suffered in Egypt…not the Jews, but the Egyptians.I guess it’s a solemn reminder that when blood of any kind is spilled, we all lose a little something.  Then, it is important to remember that when there are those in bondage around the world, we ourselves (no matter our religion) are in some way in bondage.
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    It’s 5773, but the Message of Passover 2013 Is Still as Strong as Ever
    There were wanderings, new beginnings, divisions, and some heartache, but in the end, the destination was reached.
  • Preparing for Passover: Six Ways to Prepare (coffeeshoprabbi.com)
    Traditionally, Jews spend the month after Purim preparing for Passover. A lot of the holiday is in the preparation: the seder and the week that follows are the fruit of what we’ve put in the month before. I thought it might be helpful to look at the various ways we prepare for Passover.  If this is your first year observing Passover, don’t try to do everything at once. Choose one or two, and get all that you can out of them.
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    Passover is the festival of telling the story about “deliverance from Egypt.” If you are truly to experience deliverance, it helps to notice from what you need deliverance. Spend some time, between now and Passover, thinking about your own personal Egypt(s). The name for Egypt in Hebrew is “Mitzrayim,” which also means “a narrow place, a tight spot.” Questions to ask myself: Where in my life am I stuck? To what am I a slave? In what parts of my life am I Pharaoh? Do I depend on the slavery of others? What would freedom look like, in any of these cases? What would freedom cost? What is freedom worth?
  • Who Would You Rather Listen To? (spinningrabbi.com)
    One of those valuable lessons of this remembering, is this – G-d freed the Jews so that they were no longer physical slaves, yet they were still slaves.  Now they were their own Pharaoh and the slavery was of the self-imposed spiritual and emotional variety.  Once physically free, it was up to them to free themselves spiritually and emotionally.This lesson applies to all people who are blessed to live in freedom today.  This means that the only one who can free you now, is you.  It’s up to you to free yourself from your personal Egypt.
  • Christian Bale as Moses in ‘Exodus’: First Look (PHOTO) (news.moviefone.com)
    Empire has our first look at Ridley Scott’s “Exodus,” and judging by the impressive construction going on behind Christian Bale‘s Moses, this Biblical tale should be epic indeed.The film follows the story of Moses, abandoned as a baby and adopted by Egyptian royalty, only to hear the voice of God as he grows older and ultimately lead the Israelite slaves into the promised land. In this image, Moses witnesses the suffering of his people at the hands of the Pharaoh.
  • Pharaoh’s Overthrow (brakeman1.com)
    There were six hundred thousand men, besides women and children.  God caused a pillar of cloud to go before them in the daytime, to show them the way they were to take, and at night He led them by a pillar of fire.After the children of Israel had left Egypt, Pharaoh, though his kingdom had been nearly destroyed for his disobedience to God, was angry with himself for having let them go.  So he gathered together a great army, and pursued them to where they were encamped, in the wilderness by the Red Sea.
  • The Ancient Egyptians Worshiped Sheep (menashedovid1.wordpress.com)> The Ancient Egyptians Worshiped Sheep
    the Torah tells us, God commanded the Israelites to take a lamb or a kid for each household. They were to hold it for four days, from the tenth until the fourteenth of the first month, and slaughter it on the fourteenth. This was done in Egypt, despite the Egyptians’ religious beliefs. To this day Jews commemorate this event, calling the Sabbath preceding Passover Shabbat Hagadol…
  • Passover Primer (boiseweekly.com)
    If you’ve walked through a Treasure Valley Albertson’s recently, you’ve probably noticed a table piled high with unfamiliar items–boxes of Streit’s Potato Pancakes, giant packages of Yehuda Passover Matzos, bottles of Kedem Sparkling Concord Grape Juice and murky jars of Mrs. Adler’s Gefilte Fish filled with bobbing, grayish lumps.
  • Now Faith Is (faithrises.com)
    Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
  • Max, Hannah and some frogs: Kids’ books bring new friends (jta.org)
    Frolicking frogs and magical matzah balls are featured in this season’s crop of new Passover books for children that are sure to engage, inform, entertain and inspire.David Adler, author of the hugely popular early reader “Cam Jansen” series, offers “The Story of Passover.” Adler is highly acclaimed for his straightforward narrative style in non-fiction books, including dozens on Jewish holidays.David A. Adler in "The Story of Passover" provides little-known answers to some intriguing questions. (Courtesy Holiday House)He says he likes to appeal to readers of any Jewish background, whether from traditional, observant Jewish families or those who are interested in learning about Passover.

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