My thoughts on the whole issue with Nick Griffin, the BNP and it’s wider significance

The political landscape has deliberately been undermined by successive governments who abuse their power and allow the public to be treated with contempt, abusing our rights, and allowing the rich to get richer while we effectively pay for it.

We have a “democracy” but the things the government does, like going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, bailing out banks, and indeed for some of the most important decisions the government takes, we actually have no direct influence over whatsoever. We have a choice about who gets to make the decisions “on our behalf”, but we don’t have a choice about what decision is made. Even when the decisions are unpopular with the public, nothing is done about it, that then becomes the fault of the political establishment for being arrogant and out of touch, and our fault for accepting injustice without enough opposition.

If the BNP feels that the voices of the “indigenous white people” are being ignored, that isn’t racism, its simply blinkered self interest, maybe something we are all guilty of, but politicians are particularly so. We are ALL being ignored by the political establishment, the problem is that our democratic system is systematically and consistently failing US the people who make it work, depend on it and pay for it.

Parties like the BNP can only exist when the democratic system is failing to the point where objectivity, reason and trust have been severely undermined. The anger felt by the public is fed upon by the likes of Griffin who are only really adding wind to confusion and providing a knee-jerk reaction that a significant number of people can identify with.

It cannot be possible that the educated men and women who govern our society can have lost reason to the extent whereby, for example, some MP’s who cheated the expenses system have to pay back a few thousand pounds whereas others who cheated the system to a far greater extent (e.g. by avoiding Capital Gains Tax) are not punished. Isn’t the moral being taught there, that the more you abuse the system, the more likely you are to escape punishment? Look at the bankers too, that’s another fine example. A working class man can be sent to prison for fraud, but politicians especially and bankers seem to be above the law.

It is not correct that the media should portray Gordon Brown was the greatest Chancellor ever when he sold of the countries gold reserves for virtually nothing and totally decimated the pension system. So why do the media do this?

How can Griffin say that London has been “ethnically cleansed”? What kind of understanding or appreciation of history does a statement like that show? Weren’t people killed because of their ethnicity in places like Bosnia and Darfur? Who has died in London mostly because of their ethnicity, white people or minorities? The only reason people like Griffin can get away with statements like that which show a contempt for human life, is because we have already listened to the judgements of people like Tony Blair who are prepared to lie and distort the truth for political ends, even if that means people will lose their lives.

Politicians have to realise that although you can win a particular argument by distorting the truth, there are many more valuable things are lost, such as integrity, the value of honesty and objectivity.

It should be clear that if the only way some people in this country feel that they can adequately express their political views is through someone like Griffin, then there has to be something wrong with the political system itself. We are semi-enfranchised, we have a vote but what is its true significance? Do we have direct influence about the issues that really matter? We think democracy is working for us, but it seems clear that the view of the majority of the people in this country is often suppressed, and because the mainstream parties are not listening or offering anything intellectually viable, people are following unreasoned instincts and drifting to people like Griffin and the BNP.

The media gets hysterical about racism, but the problem is much deeper than the reactionary and inflammatory statements that people like Griffin have as their stock in trade and the media latches onto for it’s sound-bites. “Racism” is deeply entrenched in society in ideological constructs and economic structures, these are much more difficult to perceive, and the media rarely gives enough time to examine the concepts behind why racism exists, so in reality the problems that underpin the very reasons why racism can exist have never truly been tackled. Today’s politically correct establishment are only creating a greater problem for future generations.

In all this confusion and heated debate, what should arguably be the real focus of our anger escapes examination and punishment – i.e. the political system and the political establishment as a whole. We are being deliberately manipulated! We are entering an era of “barbarian politics”, devoid of intellectual integrity, justice and objectivity.

IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH

IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH

YAHSHUA (Jesus) SAID:

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

(Based on John 8:31 & 32)

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

(John 17:14 – 17)

INTRODUCTION

This tract was born out of a need to establish a sincere view of God’s word, based solely on the bible. I found that I had to do this as I became confused when I became a believer because of changed attitudes from friends and other people [1] ; and also because I heard preachers preach a type of truth that did not agree with the word of God as I understood it [2]. I changed my day of rest and worship from Sunday to Saturday (the seventh day of the week*), and began to study the law of God in order to follow a form of obedience and teaching that holds more truth. I then realised that some members of my family were against this, and at the time of writing this tract we live in a mode of disagreement [3] concerning many aspects of God’s word. Again at the time of writing, I still have not found the church I am looking for, not even perfectly in my heart – though I strive through Yahshua Messiah to realise it. This tract details some of the inner conflicts I have, and also examines some difficult issues within “Christianity”. I have done this because; firstly, I felt that I needed to sort out these conflicts and issues for myself; and secondly, because I also believe that these conflicts and issues need to be looked at by believers as a whole.

THE SABBATH ON A SATURDAY?

For God said; “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” [4]  Therefore I keep the Sabbath on Saturday as God has instructed, that I may enter the Lord’s rest, and remember that God created the earth by his power, despite what the evolutionists and other peddlers of error may say [5]. Consider, why is this commandment part of the 10 commandments with others like, “You shall not murder”, and “You shall not steal”? If we are prepared to keep the other 9 commandments, why not this one, especially as Gentiles were able to keep the Sabbath under the Old Covenant as Isaiah 56 demonstrates? In addition, Acts chapters 16-18 show that both Jews and Gentiles met together on a Sabbath to hear the Word of God. So as that was the case then, why should it be any different now?

MORE THAN THE SABBATH

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah wrote; “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.” [6]  It is not just the Sabbath that is important but all the law, the prophets, *AND* the testimony of Yahshua. In Revelation we read; “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring–those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Yahshua”. “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Yahshua.” [7]

THE TRADITIONS OF MEN, OR THE COMMANDS OF GOD?

Yahshua rebuked the Pharisees and teachers of the law saying; “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ” `These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! [8] There are many rules and traditions that are man made, for example, ‘the Lords day is Sunday’ as a day of rest and worship. This is a command that never came from the mouth of God (consider also Christmas, Easter and Christening). Indeed, there are many ‘Lords’ but there is only one God, and we need to be aware of Satan’s subtlety, for people who distort this and other elements of the law are doing Satan‘s work [9]. If we worship God and we love Messiah Yahshua, does it not make sense for us to follow his words? How can we accept the teachings of men as having more authority than the teachings that came directly from God whom we worship?

AN ANCHOR IN THE TRUTH

Yahshua said: – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [10]  Yahshua also said; “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. [11]

AN ANALOGY ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

“A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honour due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty (i.e. God). “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.” [12]  If you read the Gospel, you will notice “our High Priest” and the Son of God, Yahshua, always did his father’s will. Yahshua tells us that those who do his fathers will are his ‘family’ [13]. God is our Father, for he created us all and we have a duty to obey him because he knows what is best for us, and we may run into difficulties if we do not [14]. Yahshua said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” [15] In context with this analogy, this means that if we judge for ourselves what truth is instead of humbly accepting the will of God our Father, as revealed to us in his word. Then, we are judging God’s ability to supply us with the truth. However, the bible tells us that God is ‘the God of truth’   [16], and these two principles cannot be held in anything but an ambivalent and unstable mind [17]. Consider therefore, that we may expect the same measure of obedience and cordiality from our families, friends, and from society in general [18], as we express toward God and his word. Still yet, God may choose to show us kindness and mercy through the means of his grace.

REFORM OR OBEY?

How then, with our God being ‘the God of truth’ can his church be ‘reformed‘. Was the God who created the heavens and earth in all their beauty [19] ungenerous in his provision of the law to govern our relationships between one another and himself, and his creation? Did God act with restraint by using the prophets to reinforce his messages, and did he hold back when he sent his Son Yahshua to die for us? Of course not! What more could God have done [20]? Isn’t it our hearts that have to be ‘reformed’ as Yahshua and his apostles proclaimed to us? Yahshua said, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.” [21] The truth is, we should not obey the doctrines of any man or woman to any lesser or greater extent than they agree with the teaching and example of Yahshua; not the Pope, Luther, Calvin, Whitfield, or even the apostle Paul – for “No servant is greater than his master” [22].

The history of the nation of Israel as recorded in the bible serves as an example for the church [23]. In times of trouble or otherwise, men such as Nehemiah, Ezra; and the Kings; Joash, Josiah, and Jehoshaphat emerged as leaders that promoted *obedience* rather than *change* [24]. Instead of creating divisions within the church by seeking to implement and defend new ideals, or neglecting parts of God’s word because of contemporary practice, they turned the peoples minds to God and the law [25]. This is amplified in the missions of John the Baptist [26] and Yahshua.

WARNINGS CONCERNING GRACE

I can add little more to what has already written, I hope the reader will find it plain to understand. The biblical definition of sin is this, “Whoever commits a sin, also breaks the law, for sin is the breaking (transgression) of the law.” [27] “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Messiah, he does not belong to Messiah. But if Messiah is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Yahshua from the dead is living in you, he who raised Messiah from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” [28] Again Paul writes; “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Messiah even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.” [29]

Again Paul writes “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” [30] “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” [31] “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” [32]

Does the fact that we live under grace give us the justification for ignoring the law, or even asserting that we should not obey it? I think not, biblical teaching does not teach that we should break the law. Paul writes “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” [33] Grace is not only an atonement and covering for our sins, but a preventative against sin. This is clearly what the passage in Romans 8 is saying, as I quoted earlier (see footnote 28). The power of Messiah, and our union with Him in the body of Messiah gives us power to overcome sin and death, this is the law of sin and death Paul is referring to – because sin leads to death as surely as sunset is in due course followed by darkness. How does sin and death relate to someone who is born of Messiah? For Paul writes ”If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Messiah, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Messiah was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Messiah Yahshua.” [34]

CONCLUSION:

“Love for God is to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Yahshua is the Son of God.” [35] Yahshua’s task on earth was completed to perfection, by his teaching and in the example of his lifestyle, he left us lacking nothing to fit us for our lives on earth, and in heaven. We need only feed on the bread of life that he has freely given us, and accept that his truth is the whole truth, and the only truth.

FOOTNOTES:

1 See 1 Peter 4:12-19.

2 See Isaiah 59:12-15.

* See ‘Sabbath’, Brewers Concise Phrase & Fable pg 898. Properly the seventh day of the week, enjoined on the ancient Hebrews by the fourth commandment as a day of rest and worship. The Christian ‘Sunday’, “the Lord’s day”, the first day of the week, is often inaccurately referred to as “the Sabbath”. Check your own dictionary definitions of the words ‘Saturday’ & ‘Sunday’. Note Ephesians 5:6&7.

3 See 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, & Philippians 2:1&2. How can there be true unity when we follow different teachings?

4 Exodus 20:8-11. Note Hebrews 4:1-11, Matthew 12:1-14, & Isaiah 66:22&23 – is not the Sabbath an eternal observance?

5 See 2 Peter 3:1-13, & 2 Timothy 3:5.

6 Isaiah 8:20. (prophecies about Messiah, Isaiah 9:1-7, & 53:1-12).

7 Revelation 12:17, & 14:12 respectively. Note John 3:1-21.

8 Mark 7:6-9, note Deuteronomy 4:2, Matthew 7:21, & John 6:32.

9 See Ephesians 5:6&7, Proverbs 27:6, 2 Peter 3:14-16, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11, Daniel 11:32, 36&37, Revelation 17:12-14, Mark 8:34-38, Proverbs 16:16, Proverbs 28:4, Proverbs 28:9, Matthew 19:17, Isaiah 29:13-16, & Proverbs 11:5.

10 Matthew 5:17-20. Note Mark 12:28-34, Isaiah 66:2-4 & 1:10-31.

11 Matthew 7:24-27.

12 Based on Malachi 1:6, also see Hebrews chapters 8 – 10.

13 See Mark 3:31-35, & John 14:28-30, also see Hebrews 2:5-18.

14 See Exodus 20:12, Romans 10:1-4, & Proverbs 28:14.

15 Matthew 7:1&2.

16 See Psalm 31:5, Psalm 19:7-11.

17 See 2 Peter 2:1 – 3:18, note 2:12 & 3:16.

18 See Proverbs 19:23, & Psalm 62:5-8.

19 See Psalm 19:1-6, & Romans 1:18-20.

20 See Isaiah chapter 5, note verse 4, note Matthew 21:33-44.

21 John 5:43, also see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

22 John 15:20, & note Matthew 10:24&25.

23 See 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.

24 See Psalm 119:1-8, note v. 4; also see 2 John 1:1-13, note v. 9.

25 See Isaiah 3:12 & James 1:22-25; also see Jude 1:19.

26 See Malachi 4:6 & Matthew 11:13&14; also John 17:20-26.

27 Based on 1 John 3:4, also see James 2:10&11.

28 Romans 8:5-11.

29 Ephesians 2:1-5. Also see Romans 3:21-24.

30 Romans 6:1&2. Also see Psalm 19:12&13.

31 Hebrews 10:26-31, also see the book of Jude, & Proverbs 26:11.

32 Hebrews 4:13.

33 Romans 3:31.

35 Romans 6:5-11.

THE BASICS OF FAITH IN GOD (FROM A MESSIANIC BELIEVER’S PERSPECTIVE)

GET TO GRIPS WITH THE BASICS OF FAITH IN GOD (FROM A MESSIANIC BELIEVER’S PERSPECTIVE)

NOTES: Although my beliefs are broadly related to Christianity, I do not consider myself to be a Christian (just as a believer). The reason is two-fold.

Firstly, the bible was written in Hebrew and Aramaic. These are the languages of the peoples who existed in the area the bible covers as the bible was being written, and the bible was written from the perspective of their world view. Today’s translations of the bible are from Latin and Greek manuscripts which are based on the original Hebrew and Aramaic texts. In the process of translation the meanings of some Hebrew words are lost, and other Hebrew words are replaced totally with Greek and Latin words which are a best effort at explaining concepts from Hebrew culture (transliterations). For instance, Jesus is a Greek name, the Hebrew equivalent is Yahshua (or Yehsua/Yehushua) – this is what “Mary” (Miryam) actually called her son – the meaning of the name in Hebrew is that the Lord will save (See Matthew 1:21). Also, the word Messiah means “the annointed one”, and this too has been replaced by a Greek word – “Christ” meaning an annointed pagan priest. Paganism is the opposite end of the field of belief from belief in God as described in the bible, so to call the Savior of the world as described by the bible “Jesus Christ” presents some problems. The real name of “Jesus Christ” is in fact “Yahshua Messiah”. I am only explaining briefly here ideas that are more fully explained in this excellent book “The Letter Writer (Paul’s Background and Torah Perspective)” ISBN 1-892124-16-5.

Secondly, the Christian church does not live by the scriptures it has translated, please see my other notes “Has The Ground Vanished From Beneath Your Feet?” and “In Search Of The Truth” for more information on this. This is mostly to do with what is taught in the Christian Church rather than the conduct of Christians, although what is taught will have an effect on them. Some teachings found in scripture are ignored by the Christian Church, even some words Yahshua himself preached. Some scriptures are misinterpreted, and some scriptures are “read into” whereby additional meanings that are not written explicitly in the text are added to it. Tradition also plays a big part in Christian belief, and traditions although they make us feel comfortable, and give us a sense of community are not always in line whith what God requires from us. In short “Lawlessness” creates a good climate for the coming of the “Anti-Christ” or Anti-Messiah” – a future world leader or power that will cause great suffering on the earth. It could be true that some people who believe they are doing right and worhsipping God will be surprised one day to find they have been following a wrong course, Yahshua said himself:

[21]“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. [22]On that Day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name?’ [23] Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’ (Mt 7:21-23).

HOW TO FIND YOUR WAY AROUND THE BIBLE

References like ‘Ecclesiastes 12:13’ appear to help you find the scriptures quoted in your bible. You are encouraged to do this so that you can read the original context of the scripture. In the example, ‘Ecclesiastes’ is the ‘book’ of the bible (there are 66), (a list of ‘books’ can be found on the contents page at the start of your bible). The ‘12’ represents ‘chapter 12’. The ‘:13’ represents ‘verse 13’. Elsewhere you will see similar references like ‘:9-12’, this is an instruction to read from verse 9 to and including verse 12. In most bibles, the chapter numbers are in large bold type, and the verse numbers are in small type.

The majority of names and references in this article are based on the Greek translations to aid with people being able to understand the names, places and scripture references. There is a Hebrew bible available, I have one written by David Stern – “The Complete Jewish Bible” ISBN 965-359-015-4.

I am not a preacher or an authority on Messianic Belief, I just thought it would be an idea to share with you what I have learned so far in case you are interested.

OK BACK TO WHAT THIS ARTICLE IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT!

INTRODUCTION

Where do we start with this? Do you believe there is a God? Is there only one God, or many ‘gods’? How did the world and the universe come to be, by an accident (the big bang) and evolution, or by God (creation) as described in Genesis? What happens to us when we die? Nothing? Or, is there a heaven and is there a hell?

Believers assumes three important things.

1 God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh (creation).
2 There is only one true God.
3 When we die there is only one of two places we can go, to heaven or to hell.

Considering questions like these actually makes a lot of people feel quite uncomfortable. Indeed more difficult questions arise like:

If there is only one God what happens to people who believe in other God’s and choose to follow other religions?

How did God create the world in six days!? And if God created the world in six days doesn’t this mean that the theories of evolution being taught in our schools are meaningless?

If there is a heaven and a hell, why do we end up in either of those two places?

It seems every question opens up the possibility of creating groups of people who are either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, or those who will benefit or those who suffer harm. I will try to answer all these questions at some point in this essay. I am trying to communicate my understanding in as simple terms as possible, so if there are any points you do not understand, e-mail me and we can try to sort through it.

CREATION OR EVOLUTION?

Well there are many studies that attempt to ‘prove’ that this world has been in existence for millions of years, and actually came together as part of a cosmic ‘accident’. This theory assumes that we evolved from other creatures, initially out of some kind of soup like organic compound which struggled to survive. Scientists use Radio Carbon Dating, which is the process by which Scientists determine the age of the earth and the various fossil remains they have found. However there is a problem with this method, take Niagra Falls in the USA for example. The rock formations should show that rock is older the further downward you test, however in parts of Niagra Falls this isn’t the case. When Radio Carbon Dating is used, in some areas the rock further down in certain sections tests as being newer than the rock above it, and that creates a problem which hasn’t been explained by scientists.

Science says the world is an accident! We came from nowhere were born from virtually nothing, and we are going nowhere after our deaths either. Imagine telling that to a child. How do you think he or she would react? What effect does this kind of philosophy have on mankind?

Well in my opinion one just has to look around at this world and the way people treat it, themselves and one another to realise. We treat our environment badly, destroying rainforests, polluting the seas, embracing the danger of nuclear power, and creating masses of waste. Concerning what we do to ourselves, there is abuse of food, drink, tobacco, drugs, and self harm. How do we treat others, well we have hatred, murder, theft, and rape.

There are reports availble by The Millennium Ecosystem Assesment, and additional information is available from Millennium Development Goals, and the World Resources Institute which point to the truth in things I am saying. Over 1300 of the worlds top scientsts incuding members of U.N. organisations and governments been involved in the development of the Millennium Ecosystem Assesment report. There seems to be a consensus among many scientists that we are degrading the world in a way that will affect future generations.

OK this all represents humanity in its worst extremes, and I wouldn’t claim that there is no good in mankind, for there is both in the religious and non-religious spheres. However, I feel the extent to which these problems are clearly visible in our society is a logical consequence of our general acceptance of the idea that we are here by chance (among other things). Therefore, on this premise there is no God to determine how we should live, and it doesn’t really matter what you do because when you die there is nothing. Perhaps many feel live fast and die young is the way to go!

I am not saying that all the ills of the world are cause directly by our general acceptance of evolution theories, but rather saying that on a very deep level, all our attitudes and relationships are affected by how we view this world and our place in it.

On the contrary side the bible teaches that God created the world for man, and that man’s task is to be the guardian or caretaker of the world.

“… [26] Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
[27]So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
[28] God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
[29] Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. [30] And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. …” (Genesis 1:26-30).

The account of biblical creation, and the “creator-God” can be found in Genesis chapters 1 – 3.

Straight away we can see we are special, created by God for a purpose – to rule over his creation which he created for us. With this privilege comes ‘responsibility’ to look after this ‘gift’ of the world that we have been made custodians of. A realisation of our responsibilities is perhaps the antidote to many of the problems in today’s world where people (organisations and even nations) are showing in very graphic ways that they either do not want the responsibility, or can not manage it properly.

When I go out to the park, or am travelling through the countryside, I can’t but help see the beauty of the world (as tainted as it is) that evolutionist’s claim is an accident. When I see birds flying, I find it hard to imagine that such graceful motions are the result anything other than God’s design.

Evolution says that species develop over time, but God says all things were created at one time. The environment shows that we are loosing many species of animals and plants, but what species are being created? To me if evolution were right, new forms of life would come into being as the environment changes and these new life-forms would show signs of adapting to the environment. Yet all we have is more of the pests that are already life-forms, and viruses (an overall loss). This to me suggests a world in decay rather than one that is evolving.

Why is the world in decay? Because man is not living up to his responsibility to take care of the world that God has made for him. Man thinks that the world is an accident, man is selfish and cares mostly about what is going to happen in his time, and he does not regard what will happen in the future with enough concern to make the changes needed in order to provide a better future now.

Why doesn’t God stop this degradation of the world? I think because God wants people to have hope in the world to come, to realise this earth as long as it has been here, is only temporary.

THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD

Following on from the last section, from the Believers point of view, there is only one God, the God that created the world.

“… [6] “This is what the LORD says–
Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God. …” (Isaiah 44:6)

Wait a minute, someone might ask – why do we you worship a God associated with one nation if he is the God that created the whole earth? Well put simply, God chose Israel to be his chosen people through which he would demonstrate his power (in delivering them from Egypt and Pharaoh), his discipline and justice (through the laws he gave them and the judgements he passed upon them), and ultimately God would demonstrate his plan of salvation for all mankind. We can look at Israel’s history as a type of “case study”, and see patterns in their behaviours that match with the behaviours of other nations. We can also begin to see the things that please and displease God, and how he reacts to them. When we get to the New Testament which begins with the Gospels concerning Yahshua Messiah, we can see how God’s love is reaching out to mankind, and how he wants us to live in peace with each other, and with reverence to him.

“… [10] “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
[11] I, even I, am the LORD,
and apart from me there is no saviour.
[12] I have revealed and saved and proclaimed–
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. …” (Isaiah 43:10-12)

This is not to deny that others believe that there are other god’s, however those god’s according to the bible are idols or ‘demons’, beings that are in league with Satan (the Devil). This applies to Idols, statues etc that are man made as well as spirits. How can an Idol be a God if a man actually had to make it, for surely the truth is that God made us? And as for spirits, many of these are contacted through communication of the dead or are fallen angels. The Believers God is the God of the living, and not the dead.

“… [4] […] We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. [5] For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), [6] yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Yahshua Messiah, through whom all things came and through whom we live. …” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6)

“… [19] When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? …” (Isaiah 8:19).

In many idolatrous religions, children were sacrificed to idols and spirits, this forms one of the many reasons why God opposes such practice (note Deuteronomy 18:9-13).

Yahshua describes Satan as the prince of demons, and strangely as the prince of this world (Matt 12:24-29, John 14:30, Luke 10:18, Isaiah 14:12:1-15, John 16:11, Revelation 13:1-17).

It is true that demons and Satan have power, reading books like Job (chapters 1 & 2), Mark (3:7-11 & 5:1-18), Luke (4:33-36) and Acts (8:4-25) show instances of the graphic nature of Satan’s hold on people and the forces of nature (Think of the 2004 Tsunami and Revelation 12:12). Yet God’s power seeks to work positively against Satan’s power which seeks to destroy what God has created for us to enjoy.

The bible teaches that Satan’s dominion or power over the people of the earth will be destroyed. In Isaiah 14 Satan, termed Lucifer in the King James Version of the bible is perhaps also represented as the King of Babylon. Babylon is a figurative power for opposition to God’s sole rule of the world. Revelation chapters 17-22 show how Satan’s kingdom is overcome, in order to restore to the world to a state something like (in fact better than) what it was in the beginning before man sinned in the Garden of Eden.

A basic truth to glean from all this is that it is ‘sin’ that separates us from God, and one another; and it is sin – caused by demonic forces that is destroying this world. The destruction of the earth that sin causes (Isaiah 24) is the reason why God wants to recreate the world (Isaiah 66:22-24). He wants to purge out those who sin and cause this destruction, and give eternal life on the new earth to those who believe in Yahshua and live according to his rules.

WHAT IS SIN?

So far I have covered how Believers view the world was created, that there is one God, and that the world is going to be re-created. I hinted at the reason for this, which is ‘sin’. This may not mean very much to you and so in order to understand the concepts of sin and what it does please read on.

Adam and Eve were in the perfect environment in the Garden of Eden (Genesis chapters 2 & 3), and God gave them one command, that being not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:17). Satan deceived them, and made them disobey God (Genesis 3:1-24). This ‘disobedience’ is basically what ‘sin’ is. The effects that sin had on Adam and Eve were shame, fear, and it caused them to be separated from God to an extent also (Gen 3:24).

The stories that follow in Genesis include more tales of wrongdoing and how God further punishes the inhabitants of the world with the flood (Genesis chapters 6-9). Why does God do this? The answer is, because God wants to rid the world of the people who corrupt it.

It can be seen that sometimes God tells people that they have sinned, even though they have not broken a rule he set, for example when Cain killed Abel (Genesis 4), God had not given the command “do not murder” (note Genesis 4:6&7). However, I believe that as we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) there are certain things that we should know are wrong. Look at Cain’s response to God’s questioning of him in Genesis 4:9, Cain clearly lied to God because of his fear and guilt.

Things don’t improve a great deal after the flood, the sorry story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis chapters 18 & 19, perhaps gives a glimpse of what the whole world will be like in the times of lawlessness that are to come (see 2 Peter chapters 2&3, and Jude), and perhaps are here with us even now.

To counter this corruption in the world God later gave us laws, they are often referred to in their simplest form as the 10 Commandments, these are:

[1] And God spoke all these words:

[2] [2] “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
[3] “You shall have no other gods before me.
[4] “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. [5] You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, [6] but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
[7] “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
[8] “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. [9] Six days you shall labour and do all your work, [10] but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. [11] For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
[12] “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
[13] “You shall not murder.
[14] “You shall not commit adultery.
[15]”You shall not steal.
[16]”You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
[17] “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.” (Exodus 20:1-17).

Here is the most concise definition of what sin is:

[4] Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4)

This is basically saying that when we break the law we sin. ‘Sin is lawlessness’ means that once we have broken one law we have in effect broken them all. It’s like sticking a pin into a balloon, the integrity of the balloon is destroyed and it is unfit for its original purpose. In the same way when we break a law we destroy the integrity of the whole body of law, so that its purpose for us is destroyed. Thus James writes:

[10] For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. [11] For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. (James 2:10&11).

The bible tells us that we have all sinned, read the commandments above, I haven’t kept them all have you? If you are feeling rather perfect there are 600+ others if you want to check those out also!

With this in mind doesn’t that make our case before God hopeless, seeing as we have all sinned? Well fortunately for us, no. Even under the Old Testament Covenant (the early part of the bible) there was a priestly system designed by God and operated by people called ‘Levites’. Under this system people brought what gifts or sacrifices they needed to bring to a priest in order to have their sins atoned for (or forgiven). These were often animal sacrifices (not children as with pagan religions), sometimes grain etc.

Things are a little different under the New Testament covenant, as there is only one sacrifice for sin – Yahshua (see Matthew chapters 25-28 explains the narrative story). Hebrews chapters 7-10 talks in detail about this from spiritual point of view.

[21] But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. [22] This righteousness from God comes through faith in Yahshua Messiah to all who believe. There is no difference, [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Messiah Yahshua. (Romans 3:21-24) What does this mean? Well, that because we all have broken the law, we can never make up for the loss of what we have broken (try patching 613 holes in a balloon and see if it is capable of the job for which it was originally created). God is willing to ‘overlook’ this loss which our sins have caused if we believe in his Son, Yahshua. Why? Because of God’s love for mankind, and his willingness for us to be reconciled to him.

[5] But he (Yahshua) was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
[6] We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5&6)

The whole of Isaiah 53 is about how Yahshua’s death was God’s way of providing atonement or forgiveness for our sins, satisfying the demands of the statues God had already set in place. If we have the faith to believe this is true, then our sins are forgiven. Yahshua came into the world to save sinners, in Hebrew the name Yahshua means to save people from their sins:

[3] Then Yahshua told them this parable: [4] “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? [5] And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders [6] and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ [7] I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:3-7)

[10] For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

[32] I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32).

Why did Yahshua come into this world, leaving a perfect place for him in to save sinners through his death, and enduring such persecution while he lived?

[16] “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. [18] Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. [19] This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. [20] Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. [21] But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:16-21)

This shows us that God’s love is reaching out to mankind through Yahshua. If we accept him, we have eternal life, if we reject him by the same token we have eternal death. This is why many people Believers preach ‘The Gospel’ message. We are trying to reach out to people to show them that this world is only temporary, defiled by sin, as we are also. Yahshua wants us to be with him, so that we can share in the blessing of a new life. The message is preached with such urgency because Believers don’t want to see people die in hell, and neither does Yahshua. Unfortunately much of the time people do not want to hear the message, or simply do not believe it. The latter chapters of Revelation show how Babylon (symbolic of all opposition and rejection of God), is destroyed and those who constitute that kingdom go to hell. The Revelation also shows, how those who believe in God, through his Son Yahshua enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

HEAVEN AND HELL

Heaven is the world created anew in perfection as it was before man sinned with differences that will make it better, for it is to be an eternal kingdom, those who enter heaven live forever. Yahshua promised us eternal life (in heaven) if we believe in him:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Revelation chapters 21/22 tell us a little about heaven, but it is interesting to note this:

[20] Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Yahshua replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, [21] nor will people say, `Here it is,’ or `There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20/21)

But what of the alternative, what if we reject the message of salvation and eternal life in heaven? Well again in Revelation 20:11-15 we see that those whose names are not written in “the book of life” they were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is perhaps symbolic of what we know to be ‘hell’, and the ‘book of life’ is a record of those who will enter heaven. Revelation 14:9-12 is of note hear as it suggests that hell is eternal (worshipping the beast and his image basically means you have rejected God’s kingdom by following the Anti-Messiah). Yahshua confirms hell as a place of eternal punishment in Matthew 25:31-46.

YAHSHUA

How do we gain eternal life through Yahshua if he died!? To understand this you have to read Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20/21, because Yahshua didn’t just die, he actually rose from the dead!! It seems like such a sad story when you consider that someone had to die and bear the punishment for the wrongdoings of all mankind, but when you consider that he rose from the grave because death was not strong enough to contain him, that changes the view somewhat.

[14] “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– [15] just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep. [16] I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. [17] The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. [18] No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 14:10-18)

There are eye witnesses to the fact that after Yahshua had been buried, the tomb that he was in became empty, and Yahshua walked around in full human physical form. Some people might imagine this in some kind of spooky supernatural horror-movie type way, but Yahshua rose from the dead in a completely different manner to this. Yahshua rose from the dead because death could not hold him (see Romans 6:9).

Death came about because of Adams sin. God told Adam that on the day you sin you will die (Genesis 2:17), we take this metaphorically, because when God created Adam he was immortal, he could have lived for ever if he had not been disobedient to God. The point to draw from this is that it is sin, disobedience toward God that caused death to become part of human nature, we are all naturally the seed, or descendents of Adam, therefore we are all destined to die, sin and death are the characteristics we inherited from Adam after he sinned.

We are created in God’s image (the internals – Gen 1:26/27) as we are naturally the descendents of Adam we have sin and death also sown into our nature, meaning we have a part of us which is prone to disobey God. Messiah said that to enter heaven we must be “born again” (John 3:5). Basically, being born again refers to baptism, where we are said to be born of the Holy Spirit, and renewed by inwardly so that we begin to overcome our natural desire to disobey God (see Romans 8:4).

The bible teaches that Yahshua is perfect, and without sin, therefore death could not hold him, death can only hold those who are under the power of sin. Yahshua is God, who has a “divine nature”, when we become a part of his church, and follow his teachings and commandments, we are said to be a part of his “body” (i.e. the church – see Ephesians 5:29-32 & Revelation 19:7&8). The power of God is revealed through the church, the members of the church share in the blessings of this, and because Yahshua can not die and we are a part of his body, we will inherit eternal life.

This is not to say that we will never die, but that there is a resurrection of the dead where those who have believed in Yahshua will be raised with imperishable bodies into eternal life (see 1 Corinthians 15), death will not hold us forever – just as it could not hold Yahshua. The bible also makes a distinction between a bodily or physical death (the first death), and spiritual death (the second death). Those who believe in Messiah will not suffer the second death (but will inherit eternal life), whereas those who have not believed will suffer the consequences of eternal death.

RESPOND TO THE BIBLE MESSAGE?

Yahshua message to all is “repent and be baptised”, we need to repent of our sins, what we have failed to keep of God’s law, and the things aside from that, where we know we have done wrong. Sin affects the way we live, when we are in Messiah we are a new creation and we have hope.

John chapter 3 is a very important part of the bible, it links with Matthew chapter 3:11-17, Mark 1:1-13, Luke 3:1-23, John 1:19-34. It describes an ordinance or rite that Believers must pass through in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, that is baptism. Many believe that if you were christened as a child, then you do not need to be baptised. However, I take a different view in relation to the scriptures already cited above that show the context under which baptism was carried out. The people sought out John to be baptised, they repented of their sins and were willing to be baptised. Arguably when a child is baptised he or she is without sin (no repentance), and does not make the choice to be baptised and profess faith in Yahshua Messiah.

Baptism centres around a conscious personal decision to turn away from our sins ‘repentance’, and acknowledgement that Yahshua Messiah is the Son of God, as we are baptised in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Arguably a child can not make these decisions.

The important thing to remember is the forgiveness of sins, the freedom and new life that we have in Messiah, where we can live as God intended us to, with the spirit of God (the holy spirit) living within us and helping us to change daily, coping with all that life passes our way.

This is the end of the basics section, there is enough here to fit you with the knowledge of the kingdom of God. I will just leave you with these two scriptures to consider:

[4] But when the kindness and love of God our Savoir appeared, [5] he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, [6] whom he poured out on us generously through Yahshua Messiah our Savoir, [7] so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7).

[1] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. [2] In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. [3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. [4] You know the way to the place where I am going.”
[5] Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
[6] Yahshua answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. [7] If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:1-7)

May this explanation of God’s word add richly to your life and encourage your faith in Yahshua the Son of God.

HAS THE GROUND VANISHED FROM BENEATH YOUR FEET?

HAS THE GROUND VANISHED FROM BENEATH YOUR FEET?

An Analysis of Yahshua’s Teaching on the Law

YAHSHUA SAID:
“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. (Luke 16:16 & 17).

Look at the things Yahshua did; he made the lame walk (John 5:1-8), the blind see (Luke 18:35-43), he healed those with diseases (Matthew 8:1-4), drove out demons (Mark 5:1-17), walked on water (Matthew 14:25-33), fed 5000+ people with five loaves and two fish (John 6:1-13), he forgave people their sins (Luke 5:17-26), and he symbolically destroyed the temple system and re-built it in three days through his death and resurrection.

Yet despite all the miraculous things Yahshua did, he did not abolish any laws as many people claim he did through his death on the Cross. If that was his intention I am sure he would have done it. I take Luke 16:17 to mean that nothing will pass away from the law until heaven and earth no longer exist. So for those who feel that certain commandments have passed away, and at the extreme end of that branch of thought who believe the whole law has passed away; I wonder, given what the text in question says, if they believe the earth has disappeared from beneath our feet and we are floating in outer-space?

In Matthew 5:17-20 Yahshua’ teaching is qualified, so that we can understand how to apply it to ourselves today. V17. If Yahshua did not come to abolish the law, then by simple logic that must mean that the law remains. What then does the word fulfil mean in this context? I have had some suggest that because apparently the Greek word in the original manuscript is an ‘aorist’ that fulfil can not mean something that is ongoing process. This interpretation seems to ignore the context in which the word appears.

My understanding of the word fulfil, is that Yahshua fulfilled certain OT prophecies (e.g. Isaiah 9:6&7), and is in the process of fulfilling others (e.g. Isaiah 42:1-7). If you read the prophets (Isaiah through to Malachi) you will notice how some prophecies have not yet been fulfilled (e.g. Isaiah 66:22-24). Some commentaries I have read suggest that the meaning of the word fulfil is to ‘fill up’, ‘bring full meaning to’, to ‘embody’ and ‘amplify’ the law, thus in Yahshua a true characterisation of one who keeps the law is seen. I feel these interpretations of the word ‘fulfil’ sit well with my interpretation of this verse and the overall text.

Given the fact that the law remains in its entirety, some people might want to assert that we must do things like, stone people guilty of breaking commandments where stoning is stipulated as a punishment, and that we must adhere to the temple practices including sacrifices. I think that Yahshua showed us a contrary way of life, let me take each case in turn and explain.

On judgement Yahshua says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1&2).

If we who are all sinners with our clouded judgements, take it upon ourselves to condemn people to death through stoning, the same could happen to us ‘with the measure you use, will be measured to you’. So if we in our hypocrisy stone another, so may others in their hypocrisy stone us. I don’t think this is the type of justice God was aiming for through the law. The point is mankind had fallen so low from the ideals of God’s law that God choose to take the power to judge in this manner away from us and give it to Messiah. To contextualize this I would suggest looking at the incident in John 8:1-11, where the woman caught in adultery is brought to Yahshua. This proves to me the following scriptures in that it shows them in practice:

From that time on Yahshua began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17).

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16&17).

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32).

Indeed, these verses are at the very core of Gospel teaching, exhortations for us to turn away from our sins (repent) and embrace the forgiveness and grace of Messiah, and also to be baptised as a symbol of our spiritual rebirth and commitment to a new way of life (John Chapter 3 & Acts Chapter 2). We have the option to repent of our sins, and this was not always available under the covenant of the law administered by the Levites when the earthly temple stood. Under the new covenant we have a better system, for Yahshua, our sacrifice, priest, and king is without any fault, and in this context, without any partiality or lack of wisdom to determine who is guilty, for his judgement reaches into the heart of a man (note Proverbs 20:27 and John 2:24&25).

The fulfilment of this law of judgement is in Paul’s writing to believers, ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.’ (2 Corinthians 5:10).

I would also add as a final thought on this point that, perhaps judgement has several aspects to it; firstly pointing at sins with the necessary evidence, and secondly punishment for sin. I don’t think that Yahshua teaches we should not point out and rebuke people in sin (note Leviticus 19:17, Luke 17:3, Matthew 18:15-17, 2 Corinthians 13:1, and Deuteronomy 19:15). However, I think Yahshua’ teaching and other NT teaching stresses we need to do this with respect (Galatians 6:1-4), and not hypocritically, i.e. the woman who lusts in her heart is in no position to rebuke the woman guilty of adultery, and the man who has hatred in his heart is in no position to rebuke a murderer.

Concerning the temple, Yahshua made this claim:

[19] […] “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
[20] The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” [21] But the temple he had spoken of was his body. [22] After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Yahshua had spoken. (John 2:19-22).

Because the temple system as administered by the Levites was still in operation until Yahshua death, Yahshua recognised the authority of the priests, this can be seen if you read Mark 1:43&44. The text quoted above specifically states that Yahshua will raise the temple in three days. Please note that the only object that is implied can be destroyed is the temple and not the law. Now, one may wonder why this was Yahshua’ intention. I believe it is because of much the same reasons why God took judgement out of men’s hands and ordained Messiah to oversee. If you read all of John chapter 2, you will see how there were things going on in the temple which were inappropriate. Again, mankind had sunk so far below God’s ideals that man loses his privilege to administer God’s commandments and God appoints Yahshua to take control of the system they were abusing.

In fact even the temple that the Levites were administering the covenant from was probably not ordained by God as a place of worship, because it was build by Herod (note Hebrews 8:5). Note that temples were to be built by the people God commanded and according to his instructions and plans (2 Chronicles 3-7, & Ezra 1). The book of Hebrews describes much about the Levites and the temple system and compares that system with the new system, established through Messiah’s sacrifice and priesthood. If you need more information on this subject, Hebrews chapters 4, verse 14 to 10 makes good reading.

Circumcision is also another point of contention. I think it is best to view it like any other command (see below), in that many break the commandments and few keep all, yet as long as we do not break and teach others there is hope. Moreover, God himself says that a person can be circumcised in the flesh but not in the heart, the implication is that it is better to be circumcised in the heart (note Jeremiah 9:25&26, 1 Corinthians 7:19, Romans 2:25-27).

Moving on in analysing Matthew 5:17-20. V18. ‘I tell you the truth’ Yahshua word is so much more authoritative than the words of mere men. This is why people said he taught in a manner unlike the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, for he taught as one with authority (Matthew 7:28&29). The authority that Yahshua claimed was not without warrant either, he was given a divine commission to speak and act as he did, the prophets foretold it (Isaiah 9:6&7), John the Baptist introduced the time of his coming (Matthew 3), and God confirmed these things in at the ‘transfiguration’ (Matt 17:1-12).

The next phrase talks of the stability and sacrosanct nature of the law, and what I wrote concerning Luke 16:16&17 need not be repeated. The phrase ‘will by any means disappear’ seems to indicate that there can be nothing that will effect any such changes until the criteria set actually occur. This to me refutes the idea that Yahshua abolished the law through his death on the cross. However, let us consider the further implications of what people who assert that the law passed away through Yahshua death on the cross must also think. The phrase ‘heaven and earth’ is not only used in Luke 16:16 and Matthew 5:18, but also Mark 13:31, where Yahshua proclaims:

[31] Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Mark 13:31).

Now if the law that the phrase ‘heaven and earth’ refers to in the Luke 16:16 and Matthew 5:18, is according to some abolished. This makes Yahshua’ words out to be an untruth. Mark 13:31 focuses on Yahshua’ teaching. Yahshua is saying similar things about the law as he does about his teaching, in fact his teaching will never pass away. So if the people who want assert that parts of, or all of the law passed away through Yahshua death on the cross are really willing to claim this, they are actually nullifying what Yahshua said in Mark 13:31 as they believe some of his words have already been cancelled. When we begin to claim that the words of Yahshua are void in any instance, I am sure that this yeast spreads through the whole batch of dough.

Also the phrase ‘until everything is accomplished’ is added. I take this to mean the accomplishment or fulfilment of all the OT & NT prophecies. This will become reality at the judgement where all who have ever lived will be separated between those who go to heaven, and those who go to hell. The latter chapters of Revelation (17 onward) detail these events.

There are some prophecies which can only be fulfilled in heaven, such as Isaiah 66:22-24, so in some ways even when heaven and earth pass away the law will still stand, and certain prophecies can only be fulfilled then also. However, this is only my interpretation and my understanding is not infinite, so the future may prove me wrong as well as the most likely outcome, in that I believe I shall be partially right.

V19. Here Yahshua begins to bring to life the words in a way that we can practically appreciate. The first half of v19, ‘Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven’, is quite clear in its meaning. Even if it is the least important of the commands and you break and teach it to others, this will merit you a low place in heaven. Many stumble on this text and do not link the word ‘break’ with word ‘teach’. In this way they distort the teaching, for Yahshua knows that we will sin, and in the Lord’s Prayer Yahshua tells us to ask for forgiveness for our sins (note Luke 11:4, Hebrews 4:15, 1 John 2:1&2).

However, the warning is not aimed primarily, if at all at those who break the law _without_ teaching others to do so, but rather at those who break the law _and_ teach others to do so. The former shows weakness, perhaps in some cases ignorance or wilfulness, the latter shows ignorance, wilfulness or the desire to subvert the truth in others. I don’t think there are many of us, if any, who do not break some commandments. It seems to me that it is those who break the commandments and teach others to do the same that this warning is specifically aimed at. I also do not feel that it would be stretching things too far to say that this warning would also apply to those who nullify the whole law by saying that it has been abolished.

The second half of verse 18 is an exhortation, or encouragement, ‘but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven’. In the same manner if we only practice the commandments and do not teach, perhaps the guarantee of being great in the kingdom of heaven will not apply. If we act in this manner we hide our light under a bowl (note Matthew 5:14-16). The guarantee of greatness in the kingdom of God is secured by practicing and preaching the commandments.

Moreover there is a pitfall to be avoided here, and that is of preaching and not practicing what we preach. This makes us like the Pharisees, for as Yahshua said, ‘they do not practice what they preach’ (note Matthew 23:1-4). Arguably, preaching what we do not practice means we do not understand, appreciate or care what we are preaching about.

At this point you may say, this person is preaching that the whole law is still in effect, but he doesn’t keep the whole law. Well you are very right in this respect. My point is that my aim is merely to establish the meaning of Yahshua’s teaching rather than to assert that I keep the whole law. So if I have a correct reading of the text, that probably puts me and the reader of this text in a similar position, as we both have to make efforts to see that our actions fall within the safe guidelines of Messiah’s words.

V20. This is a qualification of the second half of verse 19. I have already revealed that Yahshua said the Pharisees do not practice what they preach. If you read Matthew Chapter 23 you will see a number of condemnations that Yahshua launches at them. Therefore if we look at how the Pharisees lived their lives and set this as the base or low mark. Then we must aim higher then they did/do in being obedient to God and following the example of Yahshua, noting that this is done through the spirit of Messiah as Romans chapters 6-8 details, and not our own effort, for Paul the New Covenant does not promote “justification by works”. I believe that if our faith in Messiah leads us to be obedient to his law, that we are assured of our place heaven (Mathew 7:13&14).

Another commentary I read mentioned a point well worthy of note, which made me at one time consider my motives for trying to keep the law. That is that it is not the amount of the law we keep, but the sincerity with which we keep the law. It is possible, for example, to not commit adultery, yet inwardly to have lust, and in the same way it is possible not to commit murder, yet inwardly to hate. If you read on past Matt 5:20, Yahshua goes into depth about the real meaning of the law which he is the true symbol of. His teaching is not only aiming at the outward actions of men, but at the source from which those outward actions spring. In conclusion, I would say that this is shown to be applicable in both negative and positive senses, meaning, we must keep the positive commands (e.g. giving, Matthew 6:1-4) for the right reasons, as well as not breaking the negative ones (e.g. murder, Matt 5:21-26) with the right frame of mind and heart). Given these important points I have brought to light, I would hope that any readers would find 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (The man of lawlessness) even more enlightening reading, let us not be deceived by those who promote lawlessness by their wrong beliefs and the teaching which springs from them.