Part 3 of the Seventh Commandment
CATEGORIES: News

Joseph F. Dumond

Joe Started Sightedmoon in 2005 to assist him in spreading his understanding of the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years according to Torah.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Published: Dec 13, 2012 - (5856)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

News Letter 5848-042
1st day of the 10th month?5848 years after the creation of Adam
The 10th Month in the Third year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences
This is also the end of the Thirty-Eighth week of this the Third Tithe Year for the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow?Deuteronomy 26:12
We are now just 4 years & 2 months from the Sabbatical year in 2016

 

December 15, 2012

 

Shabbat Shalom Brethren,

The News today has broken our hearts. The News today of the slaying of 20 children in Connecticut. Along with 6 adults. You can say all you want about why. All that comes to my mind is the great sorrow in the homes of those who have lost their young children.

IN Ezekiel 9 we are warned of this event. Where is your heart at such a time as this?

4 And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

Is that you today? Or are you so hard hearted that the second angel is looking for you to kill you?

5 And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: 6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women:but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.

Although much worst things lie in store for the ten tribes of Israel. We cannot in our self-righteousness point fingers. We must also mourn with those who are hurting tonight. Do not become so callus that your heart turns to stone. We pray for the parents of each of the children murdered today while at school.

Ezekiel also says something else we should be mindful of.

Ezekiel 7:23-25 “Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence. Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses. … Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none.” the Bible prophesies that so many bloody, violent crimes will occur that they will be like links in a chain—one right after another.The New Moon has been seen.

 


New Moon Report

Karaite Korner Newsletter #575
New Moon Report
December 2012
Tenth Biblical Month

On December 14, 2012 the new moon was sighted from Israel:
*from Kefar Eldad by Yoel Halevi at 4:54pm;
*from Poriya Illit by Randy Boer, Arena Boer, and Jacob Boer at 5:05pm.

Rosh Chodesh Sameach!
Happy New Moon!

Nehemia Gordon

Brethren I have got to say something. It has been building all week as I watch the news.

Forest Gump said it best. Stupid is as stupid does.

As I read the headlines I see that the USA is about to give the Egyptians 200 Abrams A1 Tanks and 20 F-16 fighter jets.

Instability in Egypt, where a newly-elected Islamic government teeters over an angry population, isn’t enough to stop the U.S. from sending more than 20 F-16 fighter jets, as part of a $1 billion foreign aid package.

“Should an overreaction [by Egypt] spiral into a broader conflict between Egypt and Israel, such a scenario would put U.S. officials in an embarrassing position of having supplied massive amounts of military hardware … to both belligerents,” said Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “Given Washington’s fiscal woes, American taxpayers should no longer be Egypt’s major arms supplier.”

The U.S. government ordered and paid for the fighter jets for Egypt’s military as part of foreign aid for Egypt back in 2010, when Hosni Mubarak ruled. The fighter jets were supposed to be delivered in 2013, and delivery will go ahead as scheduled even though Hosni Mubarak has been removed from power and replaced by Mohamed Morsi, who led the Muslim Brotherhood before becoming Egypt’s president.

Morsi was democratically elected, but last month attempted to seize dictatorial powers for himself. After widespread protests and violence in Egypt’s capital of Cairo, Morsi backed off from his power grab. But he is pushing through a controversial new constitution for Egypt that would more strictly enforce Islamic Shariah law, and only recently said he reserves the right to have the military arrest protesters without charges.

“The Morsi-led Muslim Brotherhood government has not proven to be a partner for democracy as they had promised, given the recent attempted power grab,” a senior Republican congressional aide told FoxNews.com.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-Fla.), who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, recently criticized U.S. military aid to Egypt:
“The Obama administration wants to simply throw money at an Egyptian government that the president cannot even clearly state is an ally of the United States,” Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said.

The $213 million order, which is paid for by U.S. taxpayers and is part of Egypt’s foreign aid package from America, had to be approved by lawmakers in Washington.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/12/10/us-sending-20-more-f-16s-to-egypt-despite-turmoil-in-cairo/#ixzz2EzCzmTDs

The USA has an ally in Israel. The USA forced Mubarak to step down so that the elections could take place and then Egypt elected a Muslim Brotherhood President. The same Muslim brotherhood that Mubarak had jailed and kept suppressed for the 30 some odd years he was President and an ally of the USA. Hmmmm.

OK so the deal was made before Mubarak was removed. Yet the USA insists on giving this top of the line aircraft and Abrams tanks to the Muslim Brotherhood; The same brotherhood that hates the USA and Israel; The same brotherhood that wants to kill the USA and Israel; The same Brotherhood that is trying to force Shari Law on the whole of Egypt which is why Morsi wanted to seize power last week and become Pharaoh. Hmmmm.

The USA is borrowing trillions of dollars from China to just pay the interest. The USA is about to go off the fiscal cliff if they do not kick the can down the road again for another year, this December 31, 2012. The USA is broke and yet it is going to just give 1 Billion in aid to Egypt which includes 200 tanks and 20 Fighter Jets. Hmmmmmmm.

The Muslim Brotherhood sent Morsi over to Iran to become friends and allies against Israel. When Hamas was shooting rockets at Israel Morsi sent his ambassador to Gaza to show support. When Israel struck back then Morsi yanked his Ambassador from Israel and condemned the aggression of Israel. Iran sends the parts to Sudan to build the rockets that are then shipped through Egypt to Gaza and Morsi winks at this. Rockets were launched into Israel from the Egyptian Sinai and nothing was done about it. President Obama says he is not sure that Egypt is an ally of the USA and is still going to send these 200 tanks and 20 jets. Ayman al-Zawahiri joined the Muslim Brotherhood at the age of 14 in Egypt and is now the head of AL Qaeda since the execution of Osama ben Laden. Hmmmmmmmm.

All Around Egypt are hostile countries; No there are not. So why is the Broke USA giving a billion in aid in the form of top of the line F-16 Jets and Abram Tanks to a nation that is hell bent on the destruction of the USA and of Israel?

Stupid is as stupid does.

 


Part 3 of The Seventh Commandment

“You do not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:12

Beloved, you may be wondering why so much time and space is being given to this commandment. In Part 1 we covered the meaning of the commandment and what adultery is. In Part 2 we looked at the problem of, once we have found ourselves in the position of having broken the commandment, what to then do about it. By this, we looked at some of the examples Yehovah Himself provided for us through His people and His interaction with them when they repented… and when they did not repent. We also shared in part 2 some ways to start early with our children to teach them, and prevent some of these painful disasters of sexual impurity occurring in their lives. We pray you have benefitted from these teachings and discussions and you are confessing, repenting, and restoring your priceless relationship with the Creator of All.

This portion will focus on healing – the scriptural way. It is no question about whether or not there are thousands of opinions out there, from drug therapy, counseling, self help books, twelve step programs, etc… but don’t we all know, that our God and His Word gives us the prescription for healing? There is not a sin known to mankind that is not found in “The Bible” The Bible is the life manual for these “machines” we call “us”. You want to know how to fix the machine? Go to the manual. Many do not want to do this, even though they know deep in their hearts it is the only place to get answers. Many do not want to go to scripture, because it shows us our sin, convicts us, causes us to have to face ourselves, and demands… yes demands – change.

Some are angry at God, some lack faith, some refuse to believe at all, still others do not want to look inside the pages because they require humility and doing things we don’t naturally want to do. Some of us are so hurt due to issues of sexual impurity, whether by our own actions or the actions of others; we simply feel (and believe) that there is no healing for us. There is a sense of unworthiness and filthiness inside that keeps us out of His Presence and drawing “near” to Him. Don’t you know His heart is breaking for you? The Bible is FULL of events of sexual impurity of all kinds… Your Father and Creator put them in there… for you! Do you believe? Do you?

This article will cover some adult topics in some portions and so parents, you may want to skim over it before sharing with your small children.

“You do not commit adultery.”

We discussed the meaning of adultery – so why talk about all these “other” things? Adultery is the result of unbridled self-control of a sexual nature folks. That is why we are talking about all these “other” sexual sins. A man, woman, or young adult who practices self control and set apartness is guarded against this sin in many ways. But things happen in life, sometimes by surprise to catch us off guard, sometimes through the introduction of it by someone else who lacks self control, and then there are movies, television, magazines, books, videos — you name it and it is knocking on the door of the gates to our souls all around us asking to come in. Then, even if we are living a life of self-discipline, control, and set apartness… this does not mean our cousin, father, mother, neighbor, or stranger down the street is. We are in this together as the Body of Messiah. When one member of our Body is hurting or offended by a trespass – it effects ALL of it. Whether you are the offender or the offendee… what is going on with YOU effects ALL of us, and His Image we project to the world.

One example how this is true, and there are many is the following:
Think about the young girl who was molested by someone at a young age. She grows up with that huge secret weighing her down and does not know how to handle it. So she may or may not remain in church/fellowship/assembly, but is secretly angry, confused, and she does not get healing and good instruction. She begins to act out. Perhaps this occurs in the way she dresses, or maybe she begins taking drugs or drinking alcohol to cover up her pain or attempt to forget what has happened to her. Perhaps she hangs on in pretending and acting in society and church just enough to get by and continue covering her pain and burdens. She gets married and is still in the church trying to hang on, but in secret, she is full of anger, self loathing, unforgiveness. She meets you and your husband or wife in the church. Your husband is so kind and looks like such a wonderful man, and by the way, he is very handsome too. He attracts this young woman who has all these secret problems within her that she has never been able to get taken care of in Yehovah. Guess what? Adultery is just waiting to happen.

Did adultery happen when your husband and this woman came to know one another that day in church? No. This problem was set up long ago in the life of that young woman who was molested and has not had healing. Adultery is like this. Adultery is the END of unbridled and unsuspecting problems. Adultery just doesn’t happen. Think about this to yourself or talk about it with your children and spouse. Adultery nearly NEVER just happens. It is only the outward evidence of inner unresolved problems of the soul and spirit. Adultery is the result of never practicing self control. That is why we are going to talk about these things. Because we love the Body of Messiah and are desperate to see it informed, instructed, helped, healed, and restored.

Something else the must be said here. The world in the way in which it has worked its perversions into the lives of younger and younger and younger people through absent parents, broken homes, and perversions at every turn from computer, television, magazines, videos, video games and it goes on and on and on plays and incredibly significant role in this problem. The flesh has one goal – to please itself. Children are defenseless against this. For those of you who have suffered at the hands of being introduced to sexual experiences or images at too young an age know and can testify… it is nearly impossible to go back to innocence. Once the exposure happens, it is done. The mind continues to replay and replay and replay events and images. There is almost no way to get them out. Prevention is the best answer. Having said that, it just does not seem to be the world in which we live today, therefore we are going to spend time on healing.

 

About Pornography

Pornography is always wrong. Pornography is morally wrong and very destructive to the spirit, and if left unchecked will sear the conscience. Pornography leads to death. Pornography is wrong whether you are married, dating, or single. Make no mistake, you are not getting away with nothing. Make no mistake, open you Pandora’s box and are viewing pornography, you can never close the lid. This viewing of pornography is a trespass against yourself, Yehovah, and all your relationships present, future, parents, siblings, and society. You might as well be visiting the gates of hell every time you look at that video, that magazine, that picture, or get on the computer to search for it. Do you realize, that no one forces the pornography upon you? You are searching it out. This is the same as having a death wish.

Do you know the purpose of a judge in scripture? A judge sits at the city gates, and makes judgments for the city. This is what you do with your eyes and ears. Allowing degradation of your city will end in destruction of yourself, over time it will sear the spirit within you, and rot you from the inside out. You are the only judge at your own gates – you. You have got to remove this disease that desires to steal, kill, and destroy you.

A wise and righteous judge sits at the city gates, and sees when wickedness is coming towards it. He guards the city with wisdom, knowledge, and experience. His purpose and duty is to guard the city and keep wickedness out and keep it safe. As you read about the gates in the Bible, know what you are reading. The gates are your eyes and ears, the city is your body and mind… the decision of what gets in, happens at the gates.

Gates: In the Ancient Near East city gates were neither merely entrances, nor only used for military protection. As a potentially weak point in the defenses, the gates of Israelite walled cities typically had three chambers giving four sets of “doors” and defended spaces between. The gates of Hazor and Gezer from the time of Solomon show the triple construction. Triple construction. That is how important the gates are. Over time, these chambers were roofed and places for public debate. It is likely that these chambers served as “offices” for city administration. Among the few Hebrew administrative documents archaeologists have unearthed from the Old Testament period are the Lachish Letters most of which were found in a room in the gate complex.
In the space outside the gate, market stalls would have been erected, as they are today. The “gate” was therefore the marketplace where traders and peasants met with city folk to sell and exchange goods. Marketplace – this is the area of the world right outside your gates – your eyes and ears.
Inside the gateway too, a space was left without buildings, this served as a communal area for meetings and public justice. Just inside the gate at Dan (the word Dan literally means judgment) was a raised dais that had provision for a canopy to be erected. This would have served for the judge’s throne.
So, when the Bible talks of the “gate” it may mean: the “market”, the “law court” (either formally in criminal cases or less formally as the place where family business or disputes were settled), the public forum where community business was discussed and gossip exchanged or the administrative center – the “Town Hall”.

When you foresee alone time coming near, do you begin planning to put your precious soul on the “market”? Do you search out magazines and movies that display nudity? You do not qualify to be a judge – not of you or Yehovah’s Kingdom. Do you bring that garbage into your gates and then require, by default, your family to deal in the garbage you bring in with you by what you do in secret? You are an enemy to peace and purity in your home and are bringing judgment upon everyone involved with you. Read about what can happen with one unclean person in the camp. Read about Achan and how his one sin caused others to die. That is what you are doing to yourself and loved ones. That is what you are doing to the Body of Messiah.
In Amos the Hebrew word for gates (sha’ar) occurs three times 5:10, 12, 15. In verse 15 the gate is explicitly the place of justice. In the other verses this is likely (and some translators render it by “courts”) though more general public gatherings could possibly be in view.
If you are in the clutches of the destructive addiction of pornography in any form, you are in bondage and a slave to sin. You have no self control, self discipline, no wisdom and are disqualified from taking part in anything Holy or Set Apart. This includes your spouse and children. You already know the times of your own weakness, you know your plans, and you know your ways. Break the habit. Choose to do something different. Don’t be alone, get rid of the computer or stay off it if need be. Don’t allow yourself spending money while out on your own or better yet – don’t go out on your own. Obtain a friend and confidant who can hold you accountable. We covered last time the matter of confession. Keeping something secret ensures you will be kept in bondage. You must either change your schedule yourself, or you must confess to a friend. If you have not done one of these things, you have not repented and are in full rebellion. You are desecrating the temple and the priest.

Hold every thought captive

2 Corinthians 10:5?Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

All of that was tough language it is true. Now, you are no more a horrible person that the one who bears false witness or refuses to forgive a brother.

Incest and Molestation

Have you been on the receiving end of someone else’s sexual impurity? If you have been or know someone who has, this situation and event is and can be devastating to a life. Because incest and/or molestation most commonly involves children, there is not a way this offense can be reasonably dealt with until the child is older or at least old enough to understand what has happened to them – spiritually. One of the many reasons so much harm is done is for this reason. This horrible offense against Yehovah and the child happens when they are young, and they do not understand what is happening to them or how to deal with it. Every single foundation of security is shattered when an adult does this to a child. The offense is carried by them for years… until they reach an age of understanding and wisdom… and many times to a point of breaking… before they learn how to heal.

To the person reading this article who knows about this sin and the effects of it intimately – some words of truth that you must believe. You must believe these words whether you feel like it or not. Belief trumps emotions. Most of the time, emotions follow obedience… it is not the other way around. Emotions and feelings have a tendency to lag behind the mind and heart. There is a reason for this which is the perfect example of the Temple – which is you. Yehovah created us in His Image, He also gave us the image of the Tabernacle, and tried to show us the proper order. The proper order is from His Spirit, to our spirit, then our spirit to our soul and from our soul to our body. The mind is the Holy of Holies in our body; the Temple. Are you aware that in many Scriptures it is evident, that the writers interchanged the words: mind, heart, and spirit? The mind/spirit is the inner sanctuary where your High Priest ministers and anoints, which is Yeshua Messiah. Let Him determine your emotions and guide your soul.

The soul is the seat of the emotions. Heal the spirit/mind/heart and the emotions will follow. This is Yehovah’s design.

Most of us are familiar with the Hebrew word for spirit, which is Ruach. In the Old Testament or Tanak, it is used for Spirit or spirit 232 times, wind 92 times, breath 27 times, side 6 times, mind 5 times, blast 4 times, vain 2 times, air 1 time, anger 1 time, cool 1 time, courage 1 time. It is used as “mind” five times.

Here are some examples to prove the point to you.

Genesis 26:35 where we read of how Isaac and Rebekah felt about Esau marrying Canaanite women “Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.”

The word for mind in that verse, is actually “ruach” – spirit

“A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” Proverbs 29:11
Again, the word for mind is “ruach”

“But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:” Daniel 5:20
And yet again, the word for mind is “ruach” or spirit. Many other times, the heart is used as the mind and spirit also.

The Holy of Holies is our mind (the spirit) where we think, make decisions, create ideas, have thoughts and understanding. This is scripturally the seat (or place) of the heart. In the tabernacle, the Holy of Holies, or the Most Set- apart Place, is where the Spirit of Elohim literally dwelled. He was a cloud by day and a fire by night. His instruction and judgments came from there, the Holy of Holies.

It is the same with our minds (heart or spirit). The place where everything about who we are and what we do comes from our spirit-man, the heart and mind. It is also referred to in Scripture as “the inward parts.” It is layered deep down under all the other layers that we call “us”

Job 38:36 – “Who has put wisdom in the inward parts? Or who has given understanding to the heart?”

Psalm 51: 6 – “See, You have desired truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You make me know wisdom.”

Proverbs 20:27 – “The spirit of a man is the lamp of YHWH, searching all his inmost parts.”

Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart (mind/thought/spirit), for they shall see Elohim.”

Matthew 6:1 – “For where your treasure is, there will your heart (mind/thought/spirit) be also.”

Proverbs 23:7 – “For as he thinketh (thoughts/mind/spirit), so is he.”

We are sharing this because it is very important for you to know and understand, that how you “feel” about being molested and trespassed against does not rule you. It is how you “think” about it that is to drive you in your life. What is the truth that your spirit man/person knows about what happened to you? Where can you find the answer and where is this truth that you can cling to and heal from? Well, I ask you – where can you find your High Priest who is sitting upon His Throne… in your Holy of Holies… in your mind and heart? He says you are innocent. He says you were “fearfully and wonderfully made”
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14

He says, I knew you before you were born But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. Isaiah 43:1

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Isaiah 43:7

This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. Isaiah 43:21

Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. Isaiah 44:2

Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. Isaiah 44:21

Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; Isaiah 44:24

He says I know the plans for you
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

Do you believe Him? Who are you listening to in your Holy of Holies? Who is in there?
If you wait on “feeling” like doing something about your having been trespassed against by another person, you will likely perish before you make it around to doing anything about your hurt and pain. You are attempting to rely on the soul to instruct the spirit, and this order is out of order.

There is nowhere in scripture that expresses to us AT ALL, that any judgment is made on a person upon who someone else violates sexually. Did you get that? There is no judgment and no condemnation. So you must figure out what is causing the extreme problems within you, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally.

We also know that Yehshua too, was trespassed against both in body and soul by others. He was also innocent.
He was trampled under foot, spit on, flogged, accused of having a demon, not believed or trusted – and He is the Creator of the Universe.

Isaiah 53
2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

As a child in your position and life, and what happened to you also happened to Yeshua. You are in very good company. Your King is setting you up to receive GREAT rewards. Can you see this?

Luke 23
34And Yeshua said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And
they divided His garments and cast lots. 35And the people were standing, looking on, and the rulers also were sneering with them, saying, “He saved others, let Him save Himself if He is the Messiah, the chosen of Elohim.”

He was mocked unto death.

If you are someone who has molested a child, no one should need to tell you how horrific what you did was. We pray you have repented and abjectly stopped what you were doing. No one knows the reasons of what caused you to do what you did, and even that does not matter now. It is a useless and vain exercise to figure out all the “whys and reasons” that seemed to cause you to do what you did. Point blank… right now… only STOPPING is important. The whys will come AFTER repentance and He, Yehovah, will lead you into understanding and wisdom as to who you are, how you came to be where you are or were, and then exactly what is needed to not continue in the same sexual impurity you have been

Matthew 18
18 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

The soul is the seat of emotions… and it is the soul that sins and the soul that inherits eternal life or death. The altar of sacrifice represents the door or gate to this part of your body.. the Temple. A person who has molested a child is operating on pure fleshly desires. You have an untamed beast within you and you need to take that beast and lay it upon the altar! Sacrifice it and be done with it. Put the sin away from you. You are not the sin, separate yourself from it. **take every thought captive

For the person who has raped, or molested a child, or committed incest… Read these words of your Messiah and know, that when you are healed and restored, you will find great treasure in Him. Read and understand:

Luke 7:41-50
41“A certain creditor had two debtors. The one owed five hundred pieces of silver, and
the other fifty. 42“And when they were unable to repay, he forgave them both. Which of them, then, shall love him more?” 43And Shim’on answering, said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44And turning to the woman He said to Shim’on, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house – you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wetted My feet
with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.
45“You gave Me no kiss, but she has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I
came in. 46“You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.
47“Therefore I say to you, her many sins have been forgiven, because she loved
much. But to whom little is forgiven, he loves little.” 48And He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” 49And those who were sitting at the table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50And He said to the woman, “Your belief has saved you. Go in peace.”

I say to you – No one will love Yehovah like the man or woman with many great sins. Do you desire to walk in this Light and in Love like that? You can…. You still can, no matter what you have done.

An adulterating spouse

Recently I saw a couple of movies in the category of Faith and Spirituality. It was interesting how greatly they fit in to the Seventh Commandment in regards to the theme of the movies. The first one was about the Prophet of Yehovah named Hosea. Most of us have read the prophet Hosea and know what it was that Yehovah asked him to do. “Go, take for yourself a woman of whoring and children of whoring, for the land has utterly whored away from Yehovah.” Hosea 1:2

Most read this book and understand it is about the Northern Kingdom of Israel and how they went after other gods, and that is true… but never do they understand the book is about them. They miss applying the instruction to their own lives. I did, many many years. Still others read the book of Hosea and see that it truly does apply to them and feel conviction and a need for repentance and returning to true worship of only Yehovah. Or how about this: a conviction over your sexual sins and impurity, a need for repentance to Yehovah, yourself, and/or your spouse.

But this movie caused me to realize something else in the book of Hosea. What did Hosea have to go through to fulfill Yehovah’s Words and instructions? Do we ever think about this? Let the spouses of “unfaithful” people listen up. Hoshea married a woman who was a chronic adulteress by all accounts. It does not appear she was faithful to Hosea – ever. We are told in 2:7 “And she shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, she shall seek them…” in verse 5 she says, “I go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.”

I mean, this woman Gomer appears to be “in his face” with her ways of adultery, sexual misconduct, and her lack of appreciation for him. And yet, what does Hosea do? He continues to love her and even buys her back with money!

 

Hosea chapter 3

Then said to me, “Go again, love a woman loved by a friend, and an adulteress, according to the love of for the children of Yisra’el, though they are turning to other mighty ones and love their raisin cakes.” 2So I bought her for myself for fifteen pieces of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. 3And I said to her, “You are to remain with me many days, you are not to whore, nor become any man’s, and so I shall also be towards you.” 4For many days the children of Yisra’el are to remain without sovereign and without prince, and without slaughtering, and without pillar, and without shoulder garment or house idols. 5Afterward the children of Yisra’el shall return, and seek their Elohim, and Dawid their sovereign, and fear and His goodness, in the latter days.

Can you imagine it? Your spouse has cheated on you. Perhaps has had an affair or many of them. Perhaps there is an addiction to pornography and just a wicked hold over them of sexual problems. They are continually hurting you, deceiving you, stealing from you, and trampling you underfoot, even blaming you for all the problems you are having in your marriage. Yet – you love them anyway. Or do you? Do you love them through it, or do you live a life of “offense”, judge them and yourself, then divorce them and tear up the family and add sin to sin? Praise Yehovah He does not do this to us, right? Yet He does tell us a bit or two about what He does expect of us and we will cover this later in this article. Yehovah required this type of love of Hoshea for his adulterous wife. This is the love Yehovah required of Hosea. It is also the love He gives to us. Do we reflect this type of love for one another… when they hurt us in this fashion?

Why can we not give this type of love and forgiveness to each other – much less our spouses to whom we make a vow before Yehovah and other men. Amazing love. Amazing forgiveness.
There is a truth that needs to be shared here, and it is not easy to face. The sin of unforgiveness is as wrong as the sin of infidelity. Neither party is being the image of Yehovah. We have an accuser and this accuser is referred to as Satan. We have a deliverer and He is Yehovah. Which one are you behaving as with your spouse? There is no denying that infidelity causes great pain and heartbreak. The trespass of adultery as what we have learned and read in scripture is a failure to control oneself, lack of self-discipline. Yehovah will discipline the offender. It is not up to us as the hurting and broken spouse to discipline. We are called to love the sinner, forgive them, and stand in the breach and the gap. Easy? No. But He did it for us and we must do it for others.

Mark 11
25. “And whenever you stand praying, if you hold whatever against anyone, forgive, so that your Father in the heavens shall also forgive you your trespasses.
But if you do not forgive, neither shall your Father in the heavens forgive your trespasses.”

For those suffering “in general” who have been trampled upon by someone lacking self -control in the area of lust of the flesh or if you are the one who has committed the offense, let us discuss some matters. These steps of drawing near to Him are the same for everyone and this truly should tell us of the nature of sin. Whether you have stolen innocence from a child or struggle with your secret sin of pornography or committed rape or sodomy – all of these are spiritual chaos in your life. Cleansing and order needs to be restored. To do this requires faith. Let me explain and you can see for yourself.

There is a process of ritual cleansing called a mikvah. This is a Hebrew word and is the ritual of submerging oneself into running water for cleansing. The Christian church instituted this as baptism, but it was so much more than this. Consider the High Priest and the Day of Atonement that came around once per year for making Atonement for the entire Nation of Israel. The High Priest was required to enter into the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood upon the Mercy Seat to cover the sins of the Nation. The High Priest had to cleanse himself before this event, and took days and weeks to make sure that not only his body was cleansed but also his mind, heart, soul to the extent that was humanly possible. He would be entering in to meet Yehovah face to face. Part of his cleansing ritual was the mikvah, the immersion into water, the looking into the brazen laver to examine and evaluate himself in the reflection of the water. This was very very serious brethren.

Now, I ask you a question… if the ritual cleansing was good for the High Priest… would you consider it is good for you? Certainly it is a matter of Faith, always has been. The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us in chapter 9: 6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

Did the water in the times of the High Priest have special powers, and our water today doesn’t? Of course not. The cleansing was by obedience and faith. This has always been true. Think of all the healings our Messiah did during His ministry on the earth. Did Yeshua heal the sick, lame, blind, those with skin disorders and blood disorders? Did He? You may want to read those passages again and try to find out what exactly DID heal the sick. Yeshua says it over and over and over again, “Your FAITH hath made you whole.”

Can standing or submerging in water cleanse you and make you spiritually clean? It is a matter of Faith beloved. Yehovah gave it to you to do, to obey, to believe, and be made clean. It was trusted by the High Priest… whose life depended upon it as they made atonement for an entire nation.

Cleanse your Holy of Holies, your mind and heart. This happens through knowing the Word of God, and obeying it. This part will have to come first. Beloved, you cannot “will” yourself into healing and restoration. You are going to have to “do” something to be healed. After you have spent some time in obedience to His Word, you will become ready to forgive – yourself and others.

 

“To err is human, to forgive is divine” – Alexander Pope

What does it mean to forgive?

Let’s look at atonement as a stepping stone.

Atonement (Ancient Hebrew Research Center)

The Hebrew word kaphar means “to cover over” such as a lid and is the word for the lid of the ark of the covenant (though many translations translate this as mercy seat for no etymological reason). This word is translated as pitch which was spread over the ark in order to make it water tight (Genesis 6:14) This same word is also translated as a atonement. The word atonement is an abstract but in order to understand the true Hebrew meaning of a word we must look to the concrete meaning. If an offense has been made the one that has been offended can act as though the offense is covered over and unseen. We express this idea through the word of forgiveness. Atonement is an outward action that covers over the error.

Translation:+Cover Definition:+To afford protection or security; to hide from sight or knowledge; to cover over as with a lid.

More about the word

The Hebrew word kaphar means “to cover over,” but is often translated as atonement. The word atonement is an abstract word and in order to understand the true Hebrew meaning of a word we must look to the concrete meaning. If an offense has been made, the one that has been offended can act as though the offense is covered over and unseen. We express this idea through the word of forgiveness. Atonement is an outward action that covers over the error.

We cannot do this brothers and sisters, until we get the emotions/soul tamed and we listen only the His Spirit within us, ministering to us and instructing us. The question to ask ourselves when and if we have been offended, is not “how do I feel about this?” but instead should be, “Father, give me Your instruction on how I should think and therefore feel and then do.”

Forgive
By: Jeff A. Benner

Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thy hand. For I will make him a great nation. (Genesis 21:18)
The Hebrew word behind “lift up” is ??? (nasa, Strong’s #5375) and means to take hold of something and lift it up, either to move or remove it. This very same Hebrew word is also used in the following verse.

Consider mine affliction and my travail; And forgive all my sins. (ASV, Psalm 25:18)
From a Hebraic perspective, the forgiveness of sins is the same as lifting it off and removing it just as we see in Micah 7:19.
He will again have compassion upon us; he will tread our iniquities under foot; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (ASV)

The Hebrew word ??? (salahh, Strong’s #5545) is also translated as forgive and is used in the following verse where the forgiveness of iniquity is being paralleled with the healing (or lifting up) of diseases.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases. (RSV, Psalm 103:2,3)

By investigating other words that are related to ??? (salahh) we can see that this word has a very similar meaning to ??? (nasa).
??? (salad, Strong’s #5539) means “to leap up.”
??? (sala, Strong’s #5553) is a “cliff” (a wall that is lifted up).
??? (salaq, Strong’s #5559) means “to ascend.”

To forgive carries with it a sense of bearing the sins of others. They did the sinning, and we bear them for them… maybe with them. This is what Yeshua did for us. We could picture our loved one, or even our enemy, carrying a heavy boulder. When we see this, we walk over to them and either “get under the boulder” and help them, or we take that boulder off of them and heave it so far it is out of sight and is no more.

Matt 18
21Then Kepha came to Him and said, “Master, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23“Because of this the reign of the heavens is like a certain man, a sovereign who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24“And when he had begun to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents, 25but as he was unable to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and pay-
ment to be made. 6“Then the servant fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I shall pay you all.’ 27“And the master of that servant was
moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. 28“And that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred pieces of money. And he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29“Then his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I shall pay you all.’ 0“But he would not, and went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.
31“And when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were deeply
grieved, and came and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32“Then his master called him and said to him, ‘Wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt seeing you begged me. 33‘Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, as I also had compassion on you?’
34“And his master was wroth, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35“So also My heavenly Father shall do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

We are this wicked servant when we cannot and will not forgive others. And when we do not forgive others or especially those who have hurt us, then our own sins will not be forgiven. We all need to think on this. You cannot continue on hating the person who hurt you. You may enjoy doing that but it is only like a cancer inside of you and it is eating you up.

What is a peacemaker?
Peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers, because they shall be called sons of Elohim.” Matthew 5:9
Is this someone who goes around and makes continual compromises in life and plays politics with people just to keep the peace? Is this someone who will not stand up to the wicked or defend the poor for the sake of keeping peace?
A peacemaker makes peace between God and man. There is most certainly no way to be a peacemaker when we are accusing the brethren, our spouse, our friend, or our neighbor. Most particularly in our prayer life.
Below you will find the links to two 20 minute talks given by Dr. David Jeremiah on Turning Point radio. They are entitled: Prayer and Personal

Relationships Part1 & Part 2. Please give them a listen and truly think on what he shares on healing and forgiveness.

http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/turning-point/listen/prayer-and-personal-relationships-part-1-307052.html
http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/turning-point/listen/prayer-and-personal-relationships-part-2-307053.html

This is a difficult message, because of the hurt, sadness, destruction, and sickness that is brought to the forefront. We all have transgressions, failures, and regrets that we deal with in ourselves and in others. But there is hope. If there is still breath there is still hope. All it takes to change and move into a new direction is a realization of these matters that have been discussed here, an admittance of the fact we are not on a path we should and can be on, a broken and sorrowful heart, a confession and then a true change. Our God has loved us with an everlasting love. We are His children, all of us who are poor in spirit and struggling. He gave all that He has JUST for us. He tells us Himself how He feels about us in His Words, His parables, and His Spirit. Who among you, He asks, would give your child a stone if he asked for a piece of bread? Then you, being wicked, would not withhold this from your child… neither will our Father in Heaven hold whatever from us that we ask in need. We need forgiveness, we need a broken heart, and we need healing.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12).??

The world puts degrees of “badness” upon different sins, but Yehovah doesn’t. Some of them may be more destructive or out in the open, but they are all the same in His eyes. The person who has trespassed a child is the same sinner as the pastor who deceives his flock is the same as the man who calls his brother a fool. Yeshua has promised He will make us a ‘new creature’ if we will believe and follow Him. This newness happens from the inside out and can take time.

We must begin to obey His commandments. We must learn His Torah, His instructions in order to do them. This is the way to create a new life and way for yourself and your families. It is for this reason that we keep the Sabbath, read the Torah, keep the Feasts, and are covering the Ten Commandments. The Torah will not only show us our sin, but keep us from future sins and lead us into all righteousness.

Matthew 6
9“This, then, is the way you should pray:
‘Our Father who is in the heavens, let Your Name be set-apart, 10let Your reign come, let Your desire be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11‘Give us today our daily bread. 12‘And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13‘And do not lead us into trial,x but deliver us from the wicked one – because Yours is the reign and the power and the esteem, forever. Amen.’

The Bible teaches that we can be sure Yeshua has forgiven us if we have obeyed the conditions of forgiveness. We are forgiven as we forgive those who have hurt us. Understand this point very carefully. If you do not forgive, neither will you be forgiven.

Hebrews 5:9 – Yeshua is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him. (See also Acts 10:35; Luke 6:46; 1 John 2:3-6.)

1 Peter 1:22 – We purify our souls in obeying the truth.

Romans 6:17,18 – We are made free from sin when we obey from the heart the doctrine delivered.

If we recognize Yeshua, then we must obey the conditions of forgiveness just as the gospel reveals them, without any human changes (Acts 17:11; Galatians 1:8,9; 2 John 9).

Please know beloved, that repentance requires a change in actions. If you have not heard this truth before, hear it now and obtain wisdom: confession and repentance without a return to His Instructions, His Torah will lead you into despair. This is where many believers are today because of the false things that have been taught by ignorance. If you are struggling with a sin, especially that of sexual sin, you are forgiven if you repent from going back to this lifestyle; but new ways need to be grasped and acted upon. You must keep the Sabbaths. They will keep you when you keep them. You must partake of the daily bread, it will feed you and transform your mind. You must forgive others, so that you can also be freed.

So, let us go to a place of quiet and in prayer. Let us confess to Him our sin – adultery, sexual impurity, and failure to forgive others and ourselves. Let us ask for Him to show us the treasures of His Torah so that we may live. Admit we need His forgiveness for our transgressions; ask for His Ways to govern our lives and for the faithfulness to obey His commandments.

One final point. Some of you have screwed up and think that there is no point trying any more. If you repent you do have hope. But then if you screw up again…..you can still be forgiven.

Rahab was a harlot; Ruth was a Moabite who worshiped idols. Moab is the result of an incestuous relationship. Tamar pretended to be an adulterous and had relations with Judah. David committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed her husband. All of these people are the ancestors of Yehshua the Messiah. Once you repent and stick to it, you have no idea how Yehovah will and can use you in His plans. But it all starts with you stopping the wrong things you were doing and determining to be obedient to Yehovah from this point onwards.


Triennial Torah Cycle

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading which can be found at?https://sightedmoon.com/sightedmoon_2015/files/TriennialCycleBeginningAviv.pdf

15/12/2012      Num 32      Esther 3-10      1 Cor. 13-14

 

Tribes to Settle East of the Jordan (Numbers 32) July 2

The tribes of Reuben and Gad had a lot of cattle. The land of the Amorites had just been conquered (Numbers 21). And, with much good pastureland for grazing, these tribes decided that it would be a good place to settle down and make a home. So they let their desire for settlement be known to Moses. But Moses, all too familiar with Israel’s past rebellions, was angered—and rightfully so. After all, there were still battles to be fought in the Promised Land, across the Jordan. Moses was concerned that their actions would discourage the other tribes if they bailed out now. And refusal to enter the Promised Land was the very sin for which God had punished Israel with its decades of wandering. Moses brings up the past, in effect asking, “Do you want to go through 40 more years in the wilderness?… Your fathers who spied out the Promised Land came back and discouraged everyone, causing about three million people to die in the wilderness. Do you want to do the same thing?” (compare verses 8, 13). “You are doing the same thing your fathers did, and you too will bring the wrath of God on us,” Moses basically told them (compare verse 14).

The Reubenites and Gadites reassured Moses that they would fight alongside the other tribes to subdue the land of Canaan. But they requested that they be allowed to construct settlements for their children and cattle on the east side of the Jordan River, explaining that the men of fighting age would then leave them there while they went to help secure the land across the Jordan for all the rest of Israel. They would only return when the Israelite conquest of Canaan was complete and everyone had received his inheritance (verses 18-22). Moses agreed that this would be acceptable as long as they didn’t back out of the agreement (verse 23). He wasn’t going with them, so he had to pass the decision on to Eleazar and Joshua, who would lead Israel across the Jordan (verse 28).

It isn’t until the end of the chapter that we learn that half of the tribe of Manasseh would also have its inheritance east of the Jordan. Yet there were still some Amorites whom the Manassites had to dispossess at this point (verse 39). In the end, as we will later see, about 40,000 men of war from the two and a half eastern tribes do accompany Joshua into the Promised Land (Joshua 4:12, 13).

Ester 3-10

Haman’s Genocidal Plot (Esther 3)

In chapter 3 we are first introduced to the villain of the story—Haman. A few years have gone by since the events of our previous reading. The date of Haman’s promotion is not given but his casting of lots soon afterward to determine when to destroy the Jews occurred in the first month of the 12th year of Xerxes (verse 7)—that is, in the spring of 474 B.C.

Haman is referred to as the son of Hammedatha the Agagite (verse 1). Some link the term Agagite with a district of the empire. “An inscription of Sargon mentions Agag as a district in Persia” (Expositor’s Bible Dictionary, footnote on verse 1). Many others see Agagite as meaning a descendant of King Agag of the Amalekites in the days of Saul (see 1 Samuel 15). Josephus refers to Haman as being “by birth an Amalekite” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, chap. 6, sec. 5). And Jewish tradition agrees. The Amalekites, a branch of the Edomites, were ancient enemies of the Israelites (see Exodus 17:8). God had ordered Saul to wipe them out but he did not comply, sparing Agag whom the prophet Samuel then put to death.

The name Agag, seeming to denote “prime ruler,” could have been a title borne by all Amalekite kings. As was explained in the Bible Reading Program comments on Obadiah, it is likely that the Edomites ranged widely over the ancient Middle East. It even appears that some of the Amalekites eventually settled in Central Asia, so it could well be that the Persian province of Agag was made up of Amalekites.

Haman’s identity as an Amalekite would explain Mordecai’s refusal as a Jew to bow to him (see Esther 3:2-4). It was not wrong to bow to human leaders (compare Genesis 23:7; 27:29; 1 Samuel 24:8; 2 Samuel 14:4; 1 Kings 1:16). Some, though, believe that what Xerxes expected with regard to people bowing to Haman was tantamount to worship. That could be, but the fact of Haman being an ancestral enemy—belonging to a people that God Himself had ordered utterly destroyed—would be reason enough. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states, “The most probable reason was, as a Targum suggests, Mordecai’s pride; no self-respecting Benjaminite would bow before a descendant of the ancient Amalekite enemy of the Jews” (note on Esther 3:2-4).

Haman’s reaction of hatefully desiring to exterminate the entire Jewish race (verses 5-6) also seems best explained by his Amalekite heritage. Josephus says that Haman determined to abolish the whole nation “for he was naturally an enemy to the Jews, because the nation of the Amalekites, of which he was, had been destroyed by them” (sec. 5). This would make the issue one of revenge—not just personal revenge against Mordecai but national revenge for the loss suffered so long before by Haman’s own people. Indeed, the ancient animosity and envy over Israel’s blessings goes all the way back to the conflict between Jacob (ancestor of the Israelites) and Esau (from whom the Edomites and Amalekites were descended). In the Middle East, as is still the case today, old antagonisms die hard.

In verse 7, “the non-Hebraic word pur (probably the Akkad[ian] word puru {‘die’ or ‘lot’}, which is explained by the Hebrew goral {‘lot’} anticipates the institution of Purim (i.e., ‘lots’) in chapter 9” (Expositor’s, note on 3:7). The Jews had at times cast lots to determine God’s will—as even the apostles would later do to replace Judas Iscariot (see Acts 1:23-26). But Haman’s use of lots, besides his evil intent, was occultist and pagan. “The fact that the lot was cast at the beginning of the year to determine the best time to destroy the Jewish people fits with the culture of the day. The Babylonian religion maintained that the gods gathered at the beginning of each year to establish the destiny of human beings” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verse 7).

Verse 8 gives us Haman’s accusation against the Jews, though he does not name them up front—and perhaps he never did name them. Shmuley Boteach, a Jewish rabbi, wrote the following in a recent WorldNetDaily column: “For 2,000 years, Jews have asked themselves the question an increasing number of Americans are now asking: Why do they hate us? Is it possible that the underlying causes of anti-Semitism are similar to the underlying causes of anti-Americanism?

When I lived in Oxford, I heard all kinds of academic theories proffered as to the cause of anti-Semitism, but few seemed as straightforward as the reason given by the first documented, genocidal anti-Semite—the biblical Hitler—Haman. In asking King Ahasuerus for the authority to slaughter all the Jews in the ancient Persian empire, he says: ‘There exists a people, dispersed and scattered among the nations, in all the provinces of your kingdom. And yet their values are entirely different from everyone else’s.’ Jewish singularity, Jewish peculiarity, a refusal to blend in and be like everybody else is what foments hatred in Haman’s breast. Why do you Jews hold yourselves aloof? Why don’t you just become like everybody else?

Do you think you’re better than us? Add to this the Jewish penchant for promoting social justice and a steadfast commitment to espousing morality and you have the perfect formula for hating the foreigner who not only rejects your way of life while living in your country, but makes you feel inferior, to boot. The Talmud says that Mount Sinai (literally, ‘mountain of hatred’) was given its name because after the Jews [i.e., Israelites] received the Torah and committed themselves to lives of ethical virtue, the enmity of the world’s inhabitants—who now stood out as immoral—descended heatedly upon them” (March 12, 2004, online at http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=37551).

Of course, virulent hatred and persecution has been directed toward true Christians for very similar reasons. Jesus said: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19). Jesus referred to Himself and His followers as the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5; Matthew 5:14). And in John 3:19-20 He explained: “This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” God’s people are indeed peculiar and different—and their message and way of life exposes the shortcomings and outright wickedness of the society around them.

On verse 9 of Esther 3, Expositor’s comments: “In order to obtain the king’s permission to destroy the Jews, Haman appealed to the monarch’s greed, offering to put ten thousand talents of silver of his own private fortune into the royal treasury to pay the men who would carry out the pogrom…. It is impossible to determine the value of the silver in current monetary equivalents. It was a fabulous sum that is estimated to weigh approximately 375 tons. It has also been estimated to represent the equivalent of two-thirds of the annual income of the Persian Empire…. Perhaps Haman planned to acquire such a large sum by confiscating the Jews’ property.”

Verse 11 might seem to say that the king was giving the money to Haman—or at the very least refusing to take Haman’s money. Yet Esther 4:7 makes it clear that Haman promised to pay the money into the king’s treasury and Esther later described her people as being “sold” (7:4). It could be, as many suggest, that the king was pretending to refuse the money in the common method of Middle East bargaining (as in Genesis 23:7-18). However, scholar Carey Moore in the Anchor Bible translates the king’s response to Haman as “‘Well, it’s your money,’ i.e., ‘If you want to spend it that way, it’s all right with me'” (Expositor’s, footnote on Esther 3:11).

The giving of the king’s signet ring to Haman in verse 10 seems to have effectively made him a prime minister or chief of staff. That it constituted more than a mere formality needed for issuing the immediate proclamation is evident from the fact that Haman bore the ring until his death (see 8:2). Indeed, Haman at one point remarks about his position that the king “advanced him above the officials and servants of the king” (5:11).

The destruction of the Jews was to be accomplished in March of 473 B.C. (compare 3:13). “Critics say Haman would not have promulgated a vindictive decree for the extermination of the Jews and then waited eleven months to carry it out, as it would have given them time to escape or to prepare for defense. [One commentator] says Haman resorted to casting the lot to determine a propitious day for carrying out his slaughter and had such confidence in the power of magical decisions that premature publication would not change the Jews’ fate. [Another] says that the Jews’ flight would not have been unwelcome to Haman as he would still accomplish his purpose of confiscating their property” (Expositor’s, introductory notes on Esther).

As the decree of mass genocide is sent out, the king and Haman contemptibly “sat down to drink” (verse 15)—perhaps toasting the action—heartless to the horrendous nature of the coming atrocity. Yet in the king’s case, he may have been somewhat misled as to the wording of the decree, having placed complete trust in Haman. He may not even have realized that the Jews were the ones condemned or, if he did, that all of them were to be destroyed—especially given his later honoring of Mordecai. We do see in verse 15 that at least the people at the capital of Susa or Shushan did not relish what was happening. They were utterly bewildered at this order. It was certainly not typical of Persian rule, which was normally characterized by cultural pluralism and mild treatment of conquered peoples. Indeed, we may be sure that there were evil spiritual forces working behind the scene in an attempt to eradicate the Jewish people through whom the redemption of all mankind would eventually come. But God’s great plan will not be thwarted.

“For Such a Time as This” (Esther 4)

On hearing all that had happened, Mordecai engaged in public mourning—as did the Jews in all provinces where the new decree arrived (4:1-3). Indeed, we see in verse 3 that the mourning was accompanied by fasting—a spiritual tool linked with prayer in Scripture (see 1 Samuel 1:7-10; 2 Samuel 12:16-17; Ezra 8:23 Nehemiah 9:1; Isaiah 58:2-5; Jeremiah 14:12; Daniel 9:3; Joel 1:14; Zechariah 7:3-5; Acts 13:3). Even though God is not directly mentioned, the clear implication is that the Jews in the Persian Empire, threatened with imminent extermination, urgently cried out to Him as they fasted.

Encouragingly, we see signs of God’s overseeing care in the very fact of what Mordecai had learned of the situation—information that would prove important to opposing the aim of the decree. “If Mordecai had not been appointed as a high official at the king’s gate, it is unlikely that he would have known about Haman’s bribe to the king. He was providentially placed by God in an exalted position in a foreign government, as were Joseph (see Gen. 41), Daniel (see Dan. 2:48), and Nehemiah (see Neh. 1:11)” (Nelson Study Bible, note on Esther 4:7).

Mordecai informed Esther of her need to plead the case of her people before the king. Yet her Jewish identity was still a secret. Given the circumstances, it no doubt seemed that revealing it at that time would have been extremely dangerous. Moreover, Esther was at first fearful to act for another serious reason. She instructed her attendant “to return to her cousin to remind him that no one could approach the king in the inner court without a royal summons. The penalty for such a transgression was death. On occasion the king had been known to extend his golden scepter to an uninvited person as a gesture of mercy. Herodotus (3.118) mentions the Persian custom that anyone who approached the king uninvited would be put to death unless pardoned by the king. Herodotus also said, however, that a person could send a letter to the king asking for an audience.

Why this procedure did not occur to Esther can only be surmised. Since she had not been summoned by the king for a month, Esther did not know whether he would forgive her if she approached him without a royal summons. She may have concluded that she had lost the king’s favor. It appears that initially Esther was more concerned about her own welfare than about her people” (Expositor’s, note on verses 9-11). But that was about to change.

Mordecai responds in verses 13-14 with the central message of the entire book. His confidence that deliverance for the Jews would come from another place even if Esther refused to act is more than simple optimism. It embraced the whole of Jewish national history. There was no question as to why the Jews still existed as a people. They had been delivered, time and time again, by the God of their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). Over the centuries, God had made many promises that could not be fulfilled if the race was wiped out. Mordecai knew that God would save His people even now. The statement that Esther refusing to act would lead to her and her father’s house perishing was probably a warning of divine judgment, reminiscent of Christ’s later remark, concerning the end time, that “whoever seeks to save his life will lose it” (Luke 17:33). And then the remarkable statement at the end of Esther 4:14: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” The obvious suggestion is that it was no mere coincidence that the young Jewish woman Hadassah had become queen of the Persian Empire at this very time in history. It was the work of God. Of course, the all-powerful God clearly did not need her. But He had placed her in her current position to use her if she were willing. And if she were not willing, then He would reject her and work out the deliverance of His people another way.

Mordecai’s message succeeded. Esther would go to the king about the matter even if it meant her death. But first she called for a three-day fast of all the Jews in Shushan. Again, the focus is clearly religious. What was the purpose for this fast if not for spiritual preparedness and direction and help from God? Yet again, God is not directly mentioned in the account in any way—which is most remarkable. As mentioned in the Bible Reading Program’s introductory comments on Esther, even if it were written as a Persian state chronicle, we might expect the account to say something to the effect of “the Jews besought their God for help.” But it does not. It may well be that the point is to teach us to see the work of God not in explicit references but in His general providential guidance of events for our welfare. As The Bible Reader’s Companion notes on its introduction to the book, “God, although hidden from our view, works through circumstances and human choices to accomplish His own ends. Esther teaches us to see the hidden God revealed in the ebb and flow of personal and world events and to praise Him for His continual care.”

And no matter what happens, like Esther all of us have the personal responsibility to do whatever is in our power to serve God and His people—even if it means sacrificing our own comfort or, should it be necessary, even our own lives. If we are in a position to speak out for the welfare of others in dire need, then that is what we must do. If human laws forbid us from obeying God, we must decide to obey Him anyway. Our task is ever and always to do the will of God—whatever it is. When hard times come and it’s difficult to make the right choice, remember this scriptural example and ask yourself, “Who knows whether you have come to your particular situation for such a time as this?”

Esther’s First Banquet (Esther 5)

When Esther goes in to see the king, he is receptive to her—she would not die. Xerxes knows that she must have some important reason for daring to approach him, and he reassures her of his favor, promising her up to half his kingdom—”probably an example of Oriental [i.e. Middle Eastern] courtesy that was not intended to be taken too literally (cf. Mark 6:23)” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, note on Esther 5:3).

Esther’s response is not to immediately plead for her people. Instead, she invites the king and Haman to a banquet she has prepared for that day. Given the presumptuousness of her entrance, she may not have deemed it a good moment to compound the problem by possibly upsetting the volatile king in revealing that she, his wife and queen, had for all this time not disclosed her national identity to him. It could also be that she did not want to reveal this matter before all the royal officials who were probably present. But why invite Haman to the banquet? “Many suggestions have been made. To make Xerxes jealous. Perhaps so that Haman’s reaction, when Esther accuses him, might reveal his guilt. Perhaps Esther acted in the best traditions of her people, to confront Haman face-to-face rather than speak behind his back” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on verse 4).

Xerxes realizes that Esther did not risk her life for a mere banquet. And he probably understood that she prepared the banquet so as to avoid discussing the real reason before all of his officials. At the meal, then, the king asks her for her actual petition. But she delays, asking the two back for a second banquet the next day—which, remarkably, the king does not question. “One may ask why Esther waited instead of disclosing what was on her mind. [Whatever her reason,] the delay providentially allowed time for the king’s sleepless night and the events that followed (ch. 6)” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 6-8).

Haman’s brief exultation is cut short by Mordecai’s disrespect (verse 9). His vanity caused him such hatred for Mordecai that he could not enjoy how well things seemed to be going for him (verses 10-13). Of course, in this case things were not going so well as he thought. “Haman’s boasting only accentuated his later humiliation and fall from favor (cf. Prov 16:18)” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, note on Esther 5:11-12).

The “hanging” proposed for Mordecai was, as the Word in Life Bible points out in a note on Esther 2:23, “probably not hanging as we know it. The gallows of ancient Persia was not a scaffold but a pole or stake upon which the victim was impaled. Execution by such impalement was a common practice of the Assyrians, who killed war captives by forcing their living bodies down onto pointed stakes. The Persians continued this grim means of execution. Thus references to hanging in Esther (5.14; 6.4; 9.14) probably refer to impalement, or possibly crucifixion.”

 

The Turning Point (Esther 6)

With chapter 6 we come to “the turning point in the book. Within this chapter we observe a series of events that unmistakably point to God’s sovereign hand [ultimately] controlling all events. Only because of his sleepless night did the king learn of Mordecai’s past bravery on his behalf…. The king might have been aware to some extent of Mordecai’s deed when it originally occurred. In 2:23 the author says that the events were written down ‘in the presence of the king.’ Now the Lord led the king to this very text” (Nelson, notes on verses 1-3). The oversight in not having already rewarded Mordecai “must have disturbed Xerxes, as it was a reflection on him for not rewarding one of his benefactors. Herodotus indicated that it was a point of honor with Persian kings to reward promptly and generously those who had benefited them” (Expositor’s, note on verses 2-3).

In verses 4-5 we again see God’s hand at work. Xerxes wants to set things right with regard to Mordecai and asks if some court official is around who can attend to the matter. It was at this very moment that Haman arrived to recommend to the king that Mordecai be hanged. Perhaps it was early morning by this point.

There is great irony and humor in what follows. Haman in his prideful arrogance cannot imagine who the king could wish to honor more than him, so he proposes what he believes will be the pinnacle of public adulation showered on himself. Yet the one to be honored turns out to be none other than the hated enemy he has come to have hanged. Worse, he himself would have to stoop to leading Mordecai’s horse around and publicly extolling this person against whom he burned with rage. “Haman had no choice but to carry out the king’s orders. No writer, however gifted, could adequately describe the chagrin and mortification Haman must have experienced as he robed Mordecai and led him through the streets” (note on verse 11).

It is interesting that the king refers to Mordecai as “Mordecai the Jew” (verse 10)—having not long before issued an edict to eradicate the Jewish people. As mentioned previously, it may be that the king did not realize exactly whom Haman’s decree was meant for. It does seem that he would have come to know it by now, but perhaps not. It could be that he thought only some of the Jews were to be killed. In any case, that the king would so greatly honor a Jew did not bode well for Haman’s plan—a fact his own wife and friends recognized (verse 13). No doubt they also saw that it was no mere coincidence that Haman had been forced to honor someone he had meant to hang. They perhaps saw this as a case of supernatural forces acting against him—as indeed they should have. Furthermore, as Expositor’s notes regarding verse 13, “Most commentators think the author was injecting into the mouths of Haman’s friends the Jewish belief in the ultimate victory of the Jews over the Amalekites.” Indeed, it may even point to the fact that all God’s people will ultimately prevail over all their enemies—a fact prefigured in the outcome of this story.

Haman’s Fall (Esther 7)

At Esther’s second banquet, the king again asks her what this is really all about, promising to grant her request (verses 1-2). This time she makes her impassioned plea—for her own life and that of her people (verses 3-4). From the king’s response in verse 5, it may be that she did not yet reveal the identity of her people. For had she done so, and if he were aware that the Jews were slated for destruction—which seems likely on some level despite his honoring of Mordecai—he wouldn’t have wondered who was paying for their eradication, having himself been complicit in Haman’s decree.

Then, in verse 6, she lets the hammer drop—the enemy is Haman. It is this statement that actually reveals Esther as a Jew. The king is stunned and furious. He storms outside—dazed, full of emotional turmoil and trying to think. He may well have been unhappy with Esther herself for hiding her nationality from him for all this time. And had not Haman made a good case against those deserving execution? Was he not a valued, trusted adviser? Yet perhaps Haman was the evil, wicked person the queen claimed after all. And look at what he had allowed this man to talk him into. The wise and mighty Xerxes had let someone pull the wool over his eyes, making a fool of him. It was just too much to take in all at once.

The terror-stricken Haman runs over to Esther, pleading for his life. When the king returns, he finds “Haman…draped over the queen’s couch in a compromising position. Presumably, he was grasping at her with a desire to implore her favor. The king, on discovering this outrageous situation, wondered aloud if Haman intended to ravage the queen. The Persians had strict rules about contact with the harem by any male other than the king. The eunuchs were the only persons who had access to the rooms of these women. Haman was in danger merely by being near her. This sight enraged the king” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verse 8). Perhaps the king saw Haman as attempting through such an assault to force her to retract her accusation against him. In any case, it was all over for Haman the Agagite.

As the king spoke, the account says that “they” covered Haman’s face (verse 8)—evidently referring to the eunuchs mentioned in the next verse. We are not told whether they had been present the whole time or came in because of the commotion. “The king’s angry words were a sentence of death. Although there is no evidence that it was a Persian custom to cover the face of a condemned criminal before he was led away to execution, that was probably its meaning here” (Expositor’s, note on verse 8).

In verse 9, Harbonah, mentioned near the beginning of the book as one of the eunuchs sent to summon Queen Vashti (1:10), speaks up about Haman’s just-built scaffolding meant for Mordecai, a man the king had honored the previous day for saving his life. The poetic justice demanded was all too clear. Haman was sentenced to the same grim fate he had planned for Mordecai (7:9-10).

 

A New Edict (Esther 8)

The same day as the events of the previous chapter, the king gave Haman’s estate to Esther (8:1). “Persian law gave the state the power to confiscate the property of those who had been condemned as criminals (cf. Herodotus 3.128-29…)” (note on verse 1). Esther revealed her relation to Mordecai, who was then brought in and given the king’s signet ring, making him the prime minister in place of Haman. Mordecai’s position is later explained to be “second to King Ahasuerus” (10:3). Having just honored Mordecai for saving his life, the king probably saw this man as one he could trust. And Mordecai being the adoptive father of the queen was another reason to accord him high status. In a further example of poetic justice, Esther commits Haman’s estate to Mordecai, making him very wealthy. Recall that Haman had sought to confiscate the property of the Jewish people (see 3:13).

Yet there was still a major problem, which Esther brought to the king—the decree to destroy the Jews was still in effect. As other scriptures show, Persian law could not be altered (see Daniel 6:8, 12, 15). But depending on the wording of a decree, a second decree might be able to effectively invalidate it. This is what the king instructed Esther and Mordecai to draw up in Esther 8:7-8. In verse 9 we see that it was the third month, still leaving almost nine months until the time set for the Jews’ destruction in the first decree—thus allowing ample time to prepare for an attack at that time.

Verses 11-12 have led many to reject Esther as an uninspired book. The view is that Esther and Mordecai were evil in calling for such vengeance as to utterly wipe out their enemies, including women and children, when God had not ordered such a thing. Yet that is based on a misreading of these verses. If we carefully compare these verses with Haman’s original decree, we can see that the original decree is actually quoted in them—so that the women and children are not those of the enemies but of the Jews. Note the wording of the original decree referred to in Esther 3:13: “And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions.”

The counter-order in chapter 8 is to defend against anyone who would try to carry out the wording of the first decree. Notice in 8:11-12 that the Jews were to “protect their lives—to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, [them being the Jews, including] both [as the original decree stated, the Jews’] little children and women, and [who would assault the Jews] to plunder their possessions, on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.” That this is not talking about the Jews killing the women and children of their enemies and plundering their property in revenge should be clear from the fact that when the Jews carried out the decree, they killed only men (see 9:6, 12, 15) and they did not take any plunder (see 9:10, 15-16). The point of the new decree, then, was simply for the Jews to defend themselves against those enemies who would seek to cause them harm. However, this probably did include striking preemptively against those who had already shown themselves hostile to the Jews.

When the new decree came, the mourning of the Jews was replaced with great rejoicing (8:16). No doubt news also spread of all that had transpired. This was a cause of great fear of the Jews among the people of the empire (verse 17)—no doubt due to a perceived supernatural favor that must have rested on them. Surprisingly, this sparked mass “conversions” (see same verse). The phrase “became Jews” is interesting—as it shows the name Jew as applied not in an ethnic sense but as denoting one who was part of the Jewish religious community. Motivated by fear of the Jewish people, it seems likely that most of these conversions were not genuine. Many may have merely claimed to be Jews without making any changes in their lives at all. Nevertheless, this all served to increase the acceptance of the Jews in the empire—and it enlarged their numbers to help dissuade would-be attackers. The real point here, though, is to see just how far the tables had turned. The change was so drastic that it was now deemed dangerous to not be a Jew.

 

Victory and the Celebration of Purim (Esther 9-10)

The day decreed for the attack on the Jews, and subsequently for the Jews to strike out against their enemies in self-defense—even preemptively if deemed necessary—finally arrives (9:1). The 13th day of the 12th month, Adar, corresponds to March of 473 B.C. This day had been determined by Haman’s superstitious casting of lots, but it seems likely that God had interfered in the process—causing the date to be sufficiently late enough for the Jews to both determine who their enemies were and to make preparations against them. On this fateful day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to prevail, the opposite happened.

Besides the general fear that had come on the people of the empire because of the Jews’ apparent divine favor and help, we are told that the officials of the land helped the Jews on this occasion because of their particular fear of Mordecai’s growing influence in the empire (verses 2-4). They may have been trying to garner political favor with the new prime minister, and at the very least were trying to secure themselves against any possible reprisal.

In verses 7-14 we see a return to the conflict with Haman in the killing of his 10 sons. “The patterns of reprisal and vengeance were so deeply ingrained in the cultures of the ancient Middle East that the survival of even one of these sons might mean trouble for the next generation of Jewish people. By listing each of the vanquished sons of their mortal enemy, the Jewish people celebrated the fact that the victory was complete” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 7-10). It could also be that these sons had taken or threatened action against the Jews at some point. Moreover, we may perhaps see in this a continuation of the carrying out of the ancient divine edict of destroying the Amalekites. King Ahasuerus granted Esther’s request that the bodies of Haman’s sons be publicly displayed on the gallows (verses 11-14). This was to serve as a deterrent against anyone contemplating harm against the Jews.

Having overcome their enemies on Haman’s determined day, the Jews set aside the next day, the 14th of Adar, as a holiday for celebration. The Jews at Shushan, however, were granted permission to continue fighting through the 14th. So they set aside the 15th as the day to celebrate (verses 13-19). Mordecai sent a letter directing the Jews to observe both days annually from then on and this became an accepted custom (verses 20-25, 27). The days were referred to as Purim, named after the word pur, meaning “lot” (verse 26; see verse 24; 3:7). Purim is the plural.

At some point Esther sent out a second letter with Mordecai confirming the tradition of observing Purim (9:29-32). Though God had not established this feast in the law, it was appropriate for the Jews to commemorate God’s intervention on their behalf in this annual celebration. Purim is similar in this respect to Hanukkah, which was instituted three centuries later to commemorate God’s help and deliverance in the days of the Maccabees. Jesus Christ apparently went to Jerusalem for the observance of Hanukkah (see John 10:22-23). And as a Jew it is likely that He also observed Purim, especially as its institution is recorded in Scripture. Yet as Purim and Hanukkah are national celebrations not commanded in the law, it is not required that Christians observe them. Indeed, non-Jewish Christians would not be expected to, just as non-Americans are not expected to observe the American holidays of Thanksgiving and Independence Day.

What about the “fasting” in verse 31? “No date is assigned for this fast. Jews traditionally observe the 13th of Adar, Haman’s propitious day (see 3:7, 13), as a fast (“the fast of Esther”) before the celebration of Purim. These three days of victory celebration on the 13th-15th days of Adar rhetorically balance the three days of Esther’s fasting prior to interceding with the king (4:16)” (NIV Study Bible, note on verse 31).

In the three verses that make up the short chapter of Esther 10, we see a final mention of Ahasuerus (Xerxes) and Mordecai. Xerxes reigned eight years beyond the events of chapter 9—dying by assassination in 465 B.C. We know nothing of what became of Esther and Mordecai. But they left an amazing legacy, having cooperated with Almighty God in His grand design to save His people.

 

1 Corinthians 13

The necessity and advantage of the grace of love. (1-3) Its excellency represented by its properties and effects; (4-7) and by its abiding, and its superiority. (8-13)

The excellent way had in view in the close of the former chapter, is not what is meant by charity in our common use of the word, almsgiving, but love in its fullest meaning; true love to God and man. Without this, the most glorious gifts are of no account to us, of no esteem in the sight of God. A clear head and a deep understanding, are of no value without a benevolent and charitable heart. There may be an open and lavish hand, where there is not a liberal and charitable heart. Doing good to others will do none to us, if it be not done from love to God, and good-will to men. If we give away all we have, while we withhold the heart from God, it will not profit. Nor even the most painful sufferings. How are those deluded who look for acceptance and reward for their good works, which are as scanty and defective as they are corrupt and selfish!

Some of the effects of charity are stated, that we may know whether we have this grace; and that if we have not, we may not rest till we have it. This love is a clear proof of regeneration, and is a touchstone of our professed faith in Christ. In this beautiful description of the nature and effects of love, it is meant to show the Corinthians that their conduct had, in many respects, been a contrast to it. Charity is an utter enemy to selfishness; it does not desire or seek its own praise, or honour, or profit, or pleasure. Not that charity destroys all regard to ourselves, or that the charitable man should neglect himself and all his interests. But charity never seeks its own to the hurt of others, or to neglect others. It ever prefers the welfare of others to its private advantage. How good-natured and amiable is Christian charity! How excellent would Christianity appear to the world, if those who profess it were more under this Divine principle, and paid due regard to the command on which its blessed Author laid the chief stress! Let us ask whether this Divine love dwells in our hearts. Has this principle guided us into becoming behaviour to all men? Are we willing to lay aside selfish objects and aims? Here is a call to watchfulness, diligence, and prayer.

Charity is much to be preferred to the gifts on which the Corinthians prided themselves. From its longer continuance. It is a grace, lasting as eternity. The present state is a state of childhood, the future that of manhood. Such is the difference between earth and heaven. What narrow views, what confused notions of things, have children when compared with grown men! Thus shall we think of our most valued gifts of this world, when we come to heaven. All things are dark and confused now, compared with what they will be hereafter. They can only be seen as by the reflection in a mirror, or in the description of a riddle; but hereafter our knowledge will be free from all obscurity and error. It is the light of heaven only, that will remove all clouds and darkness that hide the face of God from us. To sum up the excellences of charity, it is preferred not only to gifts, but to other graces, to faith and hope. Faith fixes on the Divine revelation, and assents thereto, relying on the Divine Redeemer. Hope fastens on future happiness, and waits for that; but in heaven, faith will be swallowed up in actual sight, and hope in enjoyment. There is no room to believe and hope, when we see and enjoy. But there, love will be made perfect. There we shall perfectly love God. And there we shall perfectly love one another. Blessed state! how much surpassing the best below! God is love, 1 John 4:8,16. Where God is to be seen as he is, and face to face, there charity is in its greatest height; there only will it be perfected.

 

1 Corninthians 14

Prophecy preferred to the gift of tongues. (1-5) The unprofitableness of speaking in unknown languages. (6-14) Exhortations to worship that can be understood. (15-25) Disorders from vain display of gifts; (26-33) and from women speaking in the church. (34-40)

Prophesying, that is, explaining Scripture, is compared with speaking with tongues. This drew attention, more than the plain interpretation of Scripture; it gratified pride more, but promoted the purposes of Christian charity less; it would not equally do good to the souls of men. What cannot be understood, never can edify. No advantage can be reaped from the most excellent discourses, if delivered in language such as the hearers cannot speak or understand. Every ability or possession is valuable in proportion to its usefulness. Even fervent, spiritual affection must be governed by the exercise of the understanding, else men will disgrace the truths they profess to promote.

Even an apostle could not edify, unless he spoke so as to be understood by his hearers. To speak words that have no meaning to those who hear them, is but speaking into the air. That cannot answer the end of speaking, which has no meaning; in this case, speaker and hearers are barbarians to each other. All religious services should be so performed in Christian assemblies, that all may join in, and profit by them. Language plain and easy to be understood, is the most proper for public worship, and other religious exercises. Every true follower of Christ will rather desire to do good to others, than to get a name for learning or fine speaking.

There can be no assent to prayers that are not understood. A truly Christian minister will seek much more to do spiritual good to men’s souls, than to get the greatest applause to himself. This is proving himself the servant of Christ. Children are apt to be struck with novelty; but do not act like them. Christians should be like children, void of guile and malice; yet they should not be unskilful as to the word of righteousness, but only as to the arts of mischief. It is a proof that a people are forsaken of God, when he gives them up to the rule of those who teach them to worship in another language. They can never be benefitted by such teaching. Yet thus the preachers did who delivered their instructions in an unknown tongue. Would it not make Christianity ridiculous to a heathen, to hear the ministers pray or preach in a language which neither he nor the assembly understood? But if those who minister, plainly interpret Scripture, or preach the great truths and rules of the gospel, a heathen or unlearned person might become a convert to Christianity. His conscience might be touched, the secrets of his heart might be revealed to him, and so he might be brought to confess his guilt, and to own that God was present in the assembly. Scripture truth, plainly and duly taught, has a wonderful power to awaken the conscience and touch the heart.

Religious exercises in public assemblies should have this view; Let all be done to edifying. As to the speaking in an unknown tongue, if another were present who could interpret, two miraculous gifts might be exercised at once, and thereby the church be edified, and the faith of the hearers confirmed at the same time. As to prophesying, two or three only should speak at one meeting, and this one after the other, not all at once. The man who is inspired by the Spirit of God will observe order and decency in delivering his revelations. God never teaches men to neglect their duties, or to act in any way unbecoming their age or station.

When the apostle exhorts Christian women to seek information on religious subjects from their husbands at home, it shows that believing families ought to assemble for promoting spiritual knowledge. The Spirit of Christ can never contradict itself; and if their revelations are against those of the apostle, they do not come from the same Spirit. The way to keep peace, truth, and order in the church, is to seek that which is good for it, to bear with that which is not hurtful to its welfare, and to keep up good behaviour, order, and decency.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.