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The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, that’s the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
7 November, 2004
So are you ready to go to jail for Jesus? Well of course the reason I asked that question is because of our three part sermonet series "Jesus Was An Outlaw...And So Am I!" I mean when it comes to "going to jail for Jesus" I've sorta like been there, done that, and even written about it for the whole world to read! In fact if you personally claim Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, and you really really mean it, the chances are pretty good that you too could be "going to jail for Jesus" before the "snatching away of the Church" takes place. In other words, it ain’t a gonna be long before God “raptures” out His chosen few from this very wicked world…and you really, really, really don’t want to miss it!
Now at the time of my incarceration (29th of April, 2004) I was already working on a message that would have given out a few of the details of my "law breaking" adventures for Jesus. You see the beginning rough draft of our sermonet "Jesus Was An Outlaw" was in my computer in Texas at the time of my arrest. And seeing how the nice policemen didn't even give me an opportunity to get my computer and take it with me, I was somewhere on the East Coast without it once I got "Busted Out Of Jail By Jesus". However once I was set free, Father God just up and gave me another computer, and told me to start the message all over again. And that's exactly what we did in the sermonet Jesus Was An Outlaw…And So Am I! (9/19/04)
However, now that I have gotten my computer back I find that the “original” introduction of that particular sermonet was just too good to throw away. I mean, after all, the Father was the one Who gave it to me in the first place. But anyway, here’s what we had to say back then:
So what did you think about last week's sermonet (4/25/04) entitled The Roman Catholic Curse In The Passion Of The Christ!? Well, without a doubt, that one's sure to make a few "Ecumenical Protestants" just a wee bit angry. I mean, after all, the word "Ecumenical" is just a "secret code word" for "Roman Catholic". And seeing how the "Ecumenical Protestants" are both "in bed and fornicating with" that Great Whore – the Roman Catholic "Mother Church” – I’m sure they're going to be offended by us taking pot-shots at their beloved sweetheart.
But anyway, we've got some good news to report on concerning that "Pastor who scattered the flock" in last week's sermonet. It appears that he's humbly submitting himself to the Almighty now, and, as a result of it, the necessary spiritual changes are finally starting to take place in his life. Glory!!! Just pray that he keeps up his walk of obedience so that his promised journey through the Tribulation Period (as threatened by God Almighty) will not be necessary.
And now that we've said all that, let's head on into this week's message of "Thou Shalt Obey The Law...But Not That Law!" Because, as you should remember, it was some ten (10) months ago (12/30/03) that we published our very outspoken sermonet against the present-day "legalistic church" entitled A Christian Marriage Outside The Law! In fact it was in that message that the Lord and I boldly announced mine and Sandy's very unusual God-designed marriage...one that was definitely outside the law!!!
Now even though it's not my thing to be quoting this fellow named Plato (the philosopher who lived way back between 427-347 BC), for some reason the Lord's instructed me to include one of his "one liners" just for today:
"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws."
So after having read that, I wonder just what Plato's definition of "good people" might be? That's my question! But seeing how it's too late to personally ask him, I guess we'll just have to figure it out for ourselves. And of course, seeing how the Word of God is the Source for “all Truth”, the best place to find the answer to my question, or any question for that matter, is in the Holy Bible. In fact by turning to the 3rd and 10th chapter of Romans, we amazingly find the following definitions of those "good people" that Plato surely must have been talking about so long ago. And by the way, in God's Book the word "righteous" actually means "good"; in fact as "good as good can get":
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested...by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:” (Romans 3:21-22)
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10:4)
Now didn’t I tell you God’s Word has the answers to all of our questions? Plato said “good people do not need laws” and the Word of God confirmed it! Because for all those who truly "believe” in Jesus Christ (the Word/the Light) by putting their total “trust/faith” in Jesus Christ, and thereby completely “following” Jesus Christ in their walk, He (Jesus Christ) then becomes "the law" to that same Believer. And that takes us right back to the title of our message for today, Thou Shalt Obey The Law...But Not That Law! Got it?
Well, seeing how this is such a tough subject for most folks to deal with, what do you say I bring in my Messianic Jewish friend to help with this very complex teaching on the law? I mean after all, they (the Jews) are truly the experts when it comes to understanding the “laws of God”. In fact it was on the 7th of October, 2004, that John/Johannes/Yonnie e-mailed me the following “vision” that he received from the Lord…and it “just so happened” to be all about the law:
“I had a vision today that I do not understand. I was driving down I-10 when I saw a Palm Tree and hanging from it was a human heart. It was empty because it was beating but nothing was coming out, then I saw a skinny cow, over it like a cloud was an open Torah Scroll and this cow was eating the Shabbat. It has me flustered. I can not figure it out.”
That’s the picture Yonnie saw in his mind as he was driving down the interstate, but can anybody tell me what it actually means? Does anybody have the understanding of what the Almighty was trying to say to Yonnie in that vision? Well thanks be to God that He’s given us the interpretation of it! Because you see, as the Lord would have it, God intended that Yonnie’s vision be used in this message on “the law”. In fact seeing how Johannes teaches “word pictures” at his Cheruth In Zion ministry Web Site (www.cheruthinzion.org), what we’re about to do should help a few of you see a “true picture” of the difference between “the law” and “The Law”.
And in order to get things rolling, what do you say we start off by briefly describing what each of the five (5) main pictures in Yonnie’s vision represent:
As I sought Father God in prayer for the meaning of this one, He directed me to the book of Judges and it’s documented account of “Judge Deborah” holding court and administering God’s judgment to all those caught in the act of sin:
"And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment." (Judges 4:5 KJV)
You see Deborah was the prophetess who God chose to stand in the position of judge over His chosen people (the Jews). And it was this same “Court of Judge Deborah” that was located under the palm tree that bore her name. Judge Deborah had her “judgment seat” in the open air, under the shadow of a palm tree, which was likewise an emblem of the type of justice that she administered. Because you see the “palm tree” is a tree that grows best (thrives) when opposed by the natural elements of it’s environment (sun and wind). And likewise it was under the opposing pressure of those who commit sin - “law-breakers” - that Judge Deborah handed out God’s very stiff judgments on the sinner.
In fact to help us come up with a better understanding of what that word “judgment” actually means, let’s go to the Strong’s Concordance and check out the original Hebrew word from which it was translated:
Mishpat (mish-pawt') [H4941] - From H8199; properly a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or (particularly) divine law, individual or collectively), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly justice, including a particular right, or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style:
So you see, what this “palm tree” symbolizes (is a picture of) is God’s judgment against all those who oppose Him through their sin. Because symbolically this “palm tree” is “the law of God” in action, bringing about “justice” against all the “bad people”. And of course it’s this same “palm tree” that only grows “bigger and stronger” as these “bad people” continue in their sin, trying their dead-level best to get around God’s law. In fact this all goes back to what Plato said so many years ago:
"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws."
In other words the law does not make “bad people” good; it only punishes “bad people” for being “bad”!!!
Now this one should be pretty easy for most, but the bottom line is that the human heart pumps the life-giving blood through the human body that keeps the human being alive:
Human Heart - A hollow muscular structure, situated in the chest cavity (thorax), which is the primary organ for producing the blood's movement through the human body. From this one organ all blood-carrying arteries originate, and in it all blood-carrying veins terminate. By its alternate dilatation and contraction (rhythmic pumping action), the blood is received from the veins, and returned through the arteries, by which means the circulation of blood is carried throughout the body and thereby life is preserved in the human.
Probably one of the most familiar Scriptures dealing with “skinny cows” is found in the book of Genesus. And by the way, the word “kine” means “cow”:
“And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow. And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.” (Genesis 41:1-4 KJV)
You see in Pharaoh’s dream the “seven skinny (leanfleshed) cows” represented “seven years of famine” (food shortage) for the people living in Egypt and the surrounding area. So in effect the “skinny cows” are representative of people lacking proper nourishment…even to the point of starvation.
The Torah Scroll is a book of “God’s law” written on a long sheet of “paper” that’s rolled up on two wooden dowels (rods), one from each end:
Torah (to-raw') [H8451] - a Hebrew word meaning teaching, instruction, or especially Law. It primarily refers to the first section of the Tanakh, i.e. the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. These books are Genesis (Bereishit), Exodus (Shemot), Leviticus (Vayikra), Numbers (Bemidbar) and Deuteronomy (Devarim) . Collectively they are also known as the Pentateuch (Greek for "five containers", where containers presumably refers to the scroll cases in which books were being kept) or Hamisha Humshei Torah (Hebrew for "the five parts of the Torah", or just Humash "fifth" for short).
Scroll - A roll of paper or parchment containing writings; a book formed into a roll.
And just what, you might ask, does this very strange word mean? Well even though most of us aren’t familiar with the Hebrew word “Shabbat” (shab-bawth') we are very well acquainted with it’s translation of “Sabbath”:
“Remember the sabbath [shab-bawth'] day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8 KJV)
You see the reason most of us aren’t too familiar with the Hebrew word “Shabbat” is because of it’s very Jewish nature. However it shouldn’t be hard for any of us to understand the importance of Shabbat to the Jew, that is once we’ve read God’s Command to Moses in the book of Exodus:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths [shab-bawth'] ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath [shab-bawth'] therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath [shab-bawth'] of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath [shab-bawth'] day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath [shab-bawth'], to observe the sabbath [shab-bawth'] throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” (Exodus 31:12-17 KJV)
Well did you feel the fire from that one? Talk about a scorcher!!! Is there any wonder why so many Jews keep Shabbat? I mean the law of God, as found in the book of Exodus, plainly states that “Either thou shalt keep the Sabbath or thou shalt die!!!”, and it was directed straight at the Jewish people!
So just how do the Jews obey God’s law by keeping Shabbat? What is it they actually do in order to “keep the Sabbath”?
Well I won’t go into all the details of what actually takes place during the 24-hour period called the Sabbath, because if you really want to find out more you can read it for yourself at the “Everything Jewish” Web site (http://www.everythingjewish.com/Shabbat/shabbat_laws__customs.htm).
However, I will go so far as to say that the Shabbat celebration begins a few minutes before sundown Friday, and it starts out by lighting candles, praying, singing, ceremonial washing of hands, and partaking of wine (grape juice) and bread. That’s the way it all begins, but what follows is the Friday night meal with lots of really good food and fellowship. And even though the Shabbat celebration might seem a little strange to most, when you look at the “spiritual pictures” shown throughout the Shabbat program you’ll be able to see the “true picture” of what the Sabbath is really all about. Because you see Shabbat is that awesome day in time when God’s glorious creation – “mankind” – is finally “set-free” from the chains of “sin and death”! It’s on Shabbat that mankind’s horrendous struggle with “a sinful flesh” has finally ended, and a time of unimaginable, glorious, and peaceful rest has begun!
So now that we have a basic understanding of the five individual pictures God used in His vision to my Jewish friend – the palm tree, the heart, the Torah scroll, the skinny cow, and the Shabbat – we’re about ready to “see” what God was saying to him. Because by fitting these five small pictures together we’ll be able to see the one “BIG picture” that God has intended for all of us to see.
But before we continue on with Yonnie’s vision, and how it applies to this sermonet of “Thou Shalt Obey The Law…But Not That Law!”, let’s first come up with a real good definition of the word “Jew”. Just what does it take for someone to be classified as a Jew? I mean after all, the “Sabbath law” (Shabbat) of Exodus 20:8 and 31:12-17 was given by God Almighty to the “children of Israel” who likewise became the great “Jewish nation” of today. So based on that fact, wouldn’t it make sense to say that a “real Jew” is anyone related to the Jewish family of “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel)”?
Well just in case you didn’t know, the “children of Israel” descended from one man who truly loved God; Abraham, the father of a multitude. They were not only known by the name of “Jew”, but they were also called Hebrews, Israelites, seed of Abraham, seed of Jacob, seed of Israel, children of Jacob, and Jeshurun. These Jewish people were chosen and loved by God, and circumcised in their flesh as a token of their covenant relationship with God (a people separated from sin). In fact the Word of God describes them several different ways: as “a peculiar people”, “a peculiar treasure”, “a holy nation”, “a holy people”, “a kingdom of priests”, “a special people”, and last but not least “the Lord's portion”.
But getting down to the basics, these people (the Jews) were called the “children of Israel” because they were God’s “chosen people”. And continuing on with that same train of thought, there were two very good reasons that God considered these chosen people “very special”. First of all, God “set the children of Israel apart” (sanctified them) from the rest of the world to “receive His revealed Word” (revelation) and “preach it” to the rest of the world. And if you don’t think that was a good enough reason to call them “special”, then this next one should thoroughly convince you. Because you see, secondly, God “chose the children of Israel to bring Jesus the Messiah into the world”. In other words it was the Jews (the children of Israel) who not only “wrote” the Holy Bible, and “preached the Word of God”, but they also “gave birth” to The Christ Jesus!
So after having said all that, I think it would be fair to say that a “real Jew” is someone, anyone, that’s related to ”the father of the multitude” (Abraham). I mean that’s the way it would seem to me! But, then again, the apostle Paul throws a little different light on the subject by getting directly in the face of a few of Abraham’s descendants:
“Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." (Romans 2:17-29 KJV)
So did you catch that? Did you both hear and understand what Paul was saying to those descendants of Abraham (Jews) who claimed to be “Jewish”? Well he started off by saying that they knew God’s law “inside out”, and, because of it, they considered themselves to be God’s chosen people. However, there was just one little old problem with their “claiming the fame” of “being a Jew” through their “superior knowledge of God’s law”. You see even though they knew the law “backwards and forwards” they certainly weren’t using it to keep themselves “separated from sin”. I mean in all actuality they were going through the motions of “obeying the law” while maintaining a lifestyle of “sinning like the Devil”! And because of that very same reason, Paul let them have it by saying they were really and truly not a “true Jew”!
Now does all that kinda like sound familiar? I mean do you remember Plato’s “one liner” that the Lord had us include in this message? Well I think I’m beginning to see the connection that the Almighty had intended:
"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws."
In fact while we’re on a roll, let’s just keep this thing rolling right along by looking a little closer at the last two verses of that Scripture:
“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." (Romans 2:28-29 KJV)
Because you see by turning to the very Jewish Orthodox Brit Chadash (http://www.cheruthinzion.org/johannes/Rom.pg.2.html) we can get a few more of the facts that’ll help us define the “true Jew”:
“For the true Yehudi (Jew) is not the one [humanly] perceived as such, nor true bris milah that which is performed visibly in the flesh; the true Yehudi (Jew) is so in [Hashem's] hidden way, and true bris milah (circumcision) is of the lev (heart), in the [hitkhadshut (renewal) of the (Yn 3:3)] Ruach Ha-Quodesh (Holy Spirit), not in chumra (legalism, strict adherence to the letter of the law). The one so marked has hoda'ah (praise-- "Yehudah/Hodah/Praise" ...see BERESHIT (Genesis) 29:35) that comes not from Bnei Adam (Son of Adam) but from Hashem." (Romans 2:28-29 Brit Chadash)
Now did you catch that very important statement made about the law? The Brit Chadash used the word “legalism” to describe what a “true Jew” is not! In other words it said that a “true Jew” is not “a legalist”!!! And just in case you’re wondering, a legalist is someone, anyone, who believes that their salvation depends upon a strict obedience to religious “laws and rituals”. Because you see even though “the law” is the “revelation of God’s will” (as documented in the Old Testament), and even though the Almighty demands that we obey it, there is actually no one who can get into Heaven by trying to obey it!
So are you now starting to “see” this picture of Yonnie’s vision as God had intended? Are you starting to “see” the “big picture” of what the “true Jew” is not? I mean do you “see” the truth behind that “bloodless heart” hanging like “ripe fruit” from the palms of a tall stately palm tree while vainly pumping air that gives no life? And how about that scrawny, undernourished, emaciated cow hopelessly trying to gain strength by “eating” Shabbat under the cloud of a Torah scroll?
Well now that we’ve seen the horrible, deadly results of legalism, we’re about ready to discover the secret of making “the Jew” (a descendant of Abraham) a “true Jew” (a descendant of God). Because by reading from the book of John we find the following very powerful Words of Jesus concerning “The Law” that gives life…and not “the law” that produces death:
“Verily, verily, I [Jesus] say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” (John 6:47-56 KJV)
Hallelujah!!! Glory be to Jesus!!! Can you see it now? Can you “see” the picture of a “true Jew”? I mean without a doubt, through that particular Scripture from the book of John, I see a “new” heart, hanging like ripe fruit from a Grape Vine called “The Law”, pumping out Life-giving Blood that brings about life everlasting. But that ain’t even all! Because through that same Scripture I “see” a strong, healthy, full-bodied cow standing under a cloud called “The Law” and eating the Bread of Life. Glory!!!
So you see a “true Jew” is a descendant of Abraham who has put his or her total and complete trust in Jesus. A “true Jew” is “a Jew” who’s willing to put his or her faith in Jesus even if it means going against God’s law of the Old Testament. Jesus is “The Law” that will put an end to “the law” if we will only let Him:
“I [Jesus] am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5 KJV)
In closing, let me say that we are not through with this message by any stretch of the imagination. But until we pick it back up in our next sermonet of Life Through The Flesh And Blood Of Jesus! (11/28/04), please remember to obey “The Law” in all things. In other words become an “outlaw For Jesus” and just “Keep On Keeping the Faith In Jesus!”
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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