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Beware of the Adversary

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Matthew 16:22-23“And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘God be merciful to you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but man’s.’”

The course of human history is wrought with men and women—some very well intentioned—who have stepped in God’s way. In this case, Peter is a prime example of how quickly we can “lose” our composure and become an adversary before God. In these situations, men and women often seek to “rescue” God from his own evil plan. This is what we see in Peter, and well intentioned or not, he was wrong. Jesus spoke sharply to rebuke him, addressing him as satan, and calling him a stumbling block. These are powerful words, but the spirit that was in Peter at this moment was the spirit of the adversary. 

At the beginning of His ministry, the devil tempts Jesus in the wilderness, and embedded in these temptations is the very spirit we see in Peter. On three occasions the devil attempts to persuade Jesus to abandon the path that was set before him for the less demanding way. In other words, he baits Jesus into ditching God’s will for humanity, and he does so cloaking his deception in light. First, He moves to convince Jesus that He does not really have to subject Himself to starvation because He wields the power to remedy His own hunger and is able to easily turn stones into bread. On his second attempt, he seeks to convince Jesus to throw himself down from the heights and God would be obligated to swoop in and act. He reinforces his deception by quoting the very words of God (Psalm 91), falsely attempting to reassure Jesus that these are God’s own words and not his own. Finally, the Adversary promises Jesus the kingdom—an easy life—if He would simply bow down and worship him, thus tempting Jesus to bypass the cruel suffering that God was subjecting Him to. In each of these temptations, we see the enemy attempting to either thwart the plan of God or paint God as the adversary. As we can see, there is no limit to what he will do. This is why it is said of him that he deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9). When the enemy uses counterfeit truth, then he is able to infuse men and women with the conviction that their cause is noble, righteous, and ordained by God. In reality, though, they are acting like adversaries. This is why truth is the enemy’s most powerful weapon, because he twists it in the attempt to make the Author of Truth look foolish, cruel, inadequate, self-seeking, and incompetent. 

We see this happen in the very beginning when the serpent tells Eve that God is forbidding the fruit on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because He is withholding enlightenment and godliness from His creation. In other words, the devil is swooping in to save Adam and Eve from the dictatorship and tyranny of God, pointing out that they “will not surely die.” On the contrary, they will become more alive, acquiring divine sight and knowledge. Why would God not want them to attain this? Perhaps they misunderstood Him. The seed of doubt concerning God’s character, intentions, and instruction is planted, and the two are quickly knocked off course, blaming each other, blaming the serpent, and ultimately blaming God. Satan attempts this same tactic in the wilderness, and he tries again through Peter. Peter, believing that he is doing right, rebukes Jesus for speaking such “evil”. Little did he know that the “evil” he was trying to protect Jesus from was the very centerpiece of God’s redemption of mankind. This is why Jesus’ rebuke was sharp and needed to be–Peter was standing in God’s way. 

Thus, we see that the greatest weapon the enemy uses against mankind is not direct sin. Men are inclined to sin; our nature drives us toward sin. Little effort is needed by the enemy to drive us into greed, sexual immorality, slander, malice, and the like. Why spend his energies on these when there is little return on his investment? His greatest weapon, his weapon of mass destruction, is his ability to use truth and “good will” to turn us into little adversaries—questioning, judging, and doubting the very word and authority of our Creator. If the enemy can twist our view of God by discretely polluting His plan, His character, and His credibility, then we risk becoming as Peter was: satan. He pulls us in to do the work for him. This should wake us up to the deceptive power of the enemy. After all, if it can happen to Peter, then we are all vulnerable. In this state, we stand in God’s way, question His motives, rebuke His actions, and unwittingly drive to overthrow Him. Often times we fervently join this fight under the banner of truth and righteousness, convinced that we are actually doing God and ourselves a favor. When the enemy has poisoned our minds in this fashion, he wins because it is in this state that we believe in the deception so much that we become disoriented and we make war against the light by throwing ourselves in God’s way.

My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts

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imageIsaiah 55:8-9
“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
           As we begin this journey that God has called us forth to, as we make the commitment to ingest the scriptures from beginning to end, we must do so with the words of the prophet in the forefront of our minds. In fact, we must imprint this truth on the forefront of our minds. Failure to do so will most certainly lead to misunderstanding, frustration, and accusation. For generations, men and women have both embraced God and viciously attacked God, all based on their willingness to accept or reject this one premise: His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. The Word of God contains stories of beauty, but there are also many realities that are difficult to swallow and grasp. The temptation of man—since our birth in the garden—has led us to the same end: to make the word of God more palatable and enticing, understandable and simplistic. Instead of wrestling with the difficult spiritual and ethical truths, instead of seeking divine knowledge and understanding, we have taken it upon ourselves to become the chief editors of God’s Word. In other words, instead of taking God at His Word, we have taken the liberty to tell our fellow human beings—and God Himself for that matter—what He is thinking, how He feels, how He must act, what His own intentions are, and how He must behave in His dealings with mankind. For indeed, God’s ways are are higher than our ways, and instead of striving to grasp them, we’ve pulled them down so that He essentially acts and thinks as we would want Him to in any given situation.
The scriptures have been a thorn to man because they certainly do not conform to our expectations. In fact, they often transcend our understanding, and they speak in contradiction to our own ways. If we can learn to submit to the pure, unadulterated Word of God, then it, by no means, will make them easier to grasp, but piece by piece, we will begin to see beauty in the incongruity. God’s web of truth and majesty will slowly unfold before our eyes.
In several of his writings, Paul emphasizes these truths:
1 Corinthians 1:20
“Where then is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to gentiles foolishness. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
1 Corinthians 2:6
“Yet we do speak a wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”
The wisdom of God is not synonymous with the wisdom of man. Through our own wisdom, through our own understanding, we will never come to fully see, know, or understand God. God designed it this way, why?
1 Corinthians 1:27-28
“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, THAT NO MAN SHOULD BOAST BEFORE GOD.”
Reading and grappling with the story, from beginning to end, I am being deconstructed, we are being deconstructed. Before God can unveil His truths He must unravel ours. Unless we allow Him to do so, and unless He chooses to do so, then we will never grasp the truths of the good tidings from Genesis 1:1 through the book of Revelation. They will always remain to us a collection of disconnected fables, proverbs, prayers, and myths.

Hallowed be Your Name

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by Andy Goodnow

Matthew 6:9-13 

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Your name….” 

When we pray, we call upon, we bless, and we ask in, His Hallowed Name. Our requests, pleas, and praises find their center at His name. If His name is at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of our prayers, and if it is His name that we put our trust in, then it is important for us to understand what the passage means when Jesus states “Hallowed be Your Name”.

Psalm 20:7

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”

So, what does it mean that God’s name is “Hallowed”? Why Hallowed? Over all other words that could have been spoken in it’s place, hallowed is what Jesus says. To understand the depth of His statement, we must first understand what “Hallowed” itself means. To hold someone as “Hallowed” is to greatly revere and respect them. To begin to understand how we hallow God’s name, we must first understand how to revere and respect “ Our Father who art in heaven”.

Let’s take a journey back in time (over 3500 years to be more precise) to a mountain covered in a dense cloud, to a man sanctified, cleansed and humbled standing in reverence and respect before his Creator. On this mount we’re given two stone tablets with the foundation of God’s holy law engraved upon them. When we look upon these tablets etched by the mighty chisel of the Creator, we find the instructions on how to honor Him. Within these commandments, we find the third commandment to be of great use in helping us to better understand the importance of the name of God.

Exodus 20:7 

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”

Deuteronomy 5:11

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”

We have heard this commandment preached from the pulpits of our homes and churches to children and congregations alike. We may even balk and cringe at the sound of His name proceeding a curse of any kind. But are we seeing the true meaning of this commandment? As we look to the Word we see the true instruction take on a little different form taught by the prophets, disciples, and even God Himself, then from parents and pastors. We have interpreted vain to simply mean that we are not to use his name in a profane way, but are we grasping the depth of the message that the Lord Himself is trying to teach us? To shed light on the meaning of this thought we need to venture deeper into His Word and plunge further into the pages of His Holy letter to us. We see a warning when we look in the Word to Romans, where Paul gives further insight into this commandment when he  writes: “You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,’ just as it is written” (Romans 2:23-24) 

Now how does this passage give more detail of the third commandment? Let’s look at the definition of “blasphemy”. When we look up the definition of “blaspheme” we find to blaspheme is to “speak irreverently about God or sacred things” It’s synonyms are to “swear, curse, to take the Lord’s name in vain”. Now knowing this, we see that Paul is making a connection between the Law of God and the name of God. But what is the connection? To get to that answer, let’s see what else God’s Word has to say.

There is no greater thing than the name of God, right? Once again a look at the Word of God reveals what His stance on the subject is: “I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name, For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name (Psalm 138:2). His Word, His Law, His commands, His instruction, magnified above His name….We find a similar correlation in the prophet Ezekiel. In Ezekiel the word of the Lord came to the prophet with a word for Israel and this is what the Lord said: “Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed Me, in that they have  committed a trespass against Me” (Ezekiel 20:7). So what was the trespass of Israel who blasphemed God to the point that He withdrew His hand of protection and provision from them (Ezekiel 20:22)? What form of rebellion did they commit that drew Him to divide the nation and scatter them between the lands (Ezekiel 20:23)? Because they had not obeyed my laws but had rejected my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths, and their eyes lusted after their father’s idols” (Ezekiel 20:24). After reading this passage it is clear that blasphemy (aka. taking the Lord’s name in vain) is much more than what we say. It is in what we do (or fail to do). With this knowledge the commandment becomes an even greater warning, “the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7b).            

So, why is it that in church pulpits today people worship, praise, pray, and preach the name of God but teach a completely opposite message of the Word (the Law and commands of God)? Church leaders teach that the laws and commands of God were done away with when Jesus came to this earth. If this is the case then are we to teach that the “name” of God is done away with in Jesus as well? Clearly this isn’t the case, but it is what is implied if we make the statement that the Law is done away with, especially with the knowledge of what God Himself says about His Law and name. As believers we desire to truly praise the Name of God, and from the previous text we understand that this is accomplished by loving His word (law, commands, and instructions). In fact, by honoring and obeying His word we hallow it.

1 John 5:2-3

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”

Deuteronomy 10:12-13: 

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

Psalm 103:17-18

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

When we truly “Hallow” The Name of God we humble ourselves and give our lives, hearts, minds, and beings to the pursuit of revering and respecting His Holy Word! When we understand this, we can read the following passages with such enlightenment and joy. (try switching the word “name” for the word “word (law, commands, instructions) and see if they bring a new insight to the power of His “Hallowed Name”

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Micah 4:5 All the nations may walk in the name of their gods, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.

Psalm 61:8 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day.

Psalm 135:13 Your name, LORD, endures forever, your renown, LORD, through all generations.

Psalm 72:17 May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. Then all nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.

Who is the Bride of Christ?

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Here is a little excerpt from an exceptional rabbi, Mordakhai Joseph, on the bride of Christ.

Who is the Bride of Christ?

For more in-depth teachings on this topic and additional Torah topics, please visit his site: teachingthelaw.org

Welcome to Torah Discovery

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Welcome to Torah Discovery!

Torah Discovery is dedicated to seeking and understanding the mind, nature, and character of God through His entire Torah for the purpose of being transformed into his image and likeness, “until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13)

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