The love and heart of Torah (YHWH/Yeshua)
The origin of man:
Gen 1:26-28 KJV
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
God's (YHWH'S) love for man…
John 3:16-21 KJV
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Here in John 3:16-21, we have Yeshua (Jesus) talking to Nicodemus, the one who came by night (in secret) to see Yeshua… we know from the text that Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews, a Pharisee, and one who's desire drew him to find out more about this man “Yeshua” (whom Nicodemus called “Rabbi,” or teacher), because he considered Him a miracle worker, who he said was able to do the miracles because God was “with him.” Nicodemus, of course, was saying YHWH, the God of Israel, was responsible for Yeshua's ability to perform miracles… in spite of what his “contemporary religious associates” tried to do to discredit Yeshua and His teachings and work.
You need to keep in mind, a “ruler of the Jews,” and a Pharisee was more than casually informed in the teachings of Moses [the “Law” or better translated as “Torah,” or instructions how to walk with the God of Israel… YHWH]… however, because of the selfish religious/political zeal of the “churchmen” of Yeshua's day, Nicodemus would not dare be seen in the company of one whom the Pharisees and Sadducees sought to destroy. Please keep this thought in mind as you consider how modern “churchmen” (religious institutional powers and doctrinal “experts” dispute Torah's authority and use allegory to dilute and recast Bible orthodoxy to suit their own agendas… all starting with the early church fathers and the Roman Church). Nicodemus will later be one of the men who take Yeshua's body from the execution stake (“cross”) and place it in Joseph of Arimathaea's unused tomb… and prepare it for burial (Jhn 19:38-42)… the Scripture tells us they “besought Pilate secretly for the body of Yeshua, because they feared the Jews.”
So, this famous Bible passage John 3:16-21 (especially verses 16 & 17), literally explain the heart of the God of Israel (YHWH/Yahweh)… this passage is the essence of what YHWH determined to be His plan of redemption/salvation for mankind… before Adam walked the earth; Yeshua (Jesus) is YHWH incarnate (the Word that became flesh, John 1:1-14, or better stated as the “Torah” that became a man/Yeshua… the only begotten Son of God). YHWH loved mankind so much that it was His heart to make Himself manifest, in the form of a man… and even allow sinful and despicable man to crucify Him and deface His Holy Sacrifice (cursed is one who is hung on a tree, Gal 3:13).
It is noteworthy to know that the Scripture says, “God has [magnified] set his Word (Torah) above all Thy Name.” (Ps 138:2)
In Gen 1:1, is a profound declaration: “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” If YHWH can do this, He can do anything… over the many years of my teaching the Scripture, I often start a new class saying, if you do not believe Gen 1:1… you may not like my class. In Gen 1:1, YHWH takes possession of everything… period. So, He can do as He pleases with any or all of it. It is from this vantage point that YHWH, the God of Israel, declared His love expressed in John 3:16-17. It is a very simple and straight froward declaration that God loves mankind and fully intends to redeem us by His own blood.
Now, this amazing act of YHWH'S love and its expression and fulfillment, was carried out by Him giving mankind privilege to a personal relationship with the Creator of Heaven and Earth… it is a matter of man accepting YHWH'S terms (by faith) and acting faithfully according to YHWH'S terms… which is to believe Torah, and receiving Yeshua (Jhn 3:16) as Lord and Savior (Rom 10:9-10)… end of argument; but beginning of how to learn to faithfully serve and worship YHWH (in Spirit and Truth)… so that our fellowship with YHWH is suitable to His Holiness and expectations, as His abundant mercy and grace guide us into a sanctuary of the wisdom and understanding that His Holy Spirit tutors us to know by guiding us in Torah principles (which same principles was the way Yeshua and His first Century Disciples walked and lived).
Now, imagine with me, if you will… how do we “fellowship” in a personal relationship with anyone? We typically interact and communicate with generally compatible and like-minded people who have similar interest. We also avoid disagreeable, abrasive and contrary people and those known to be enemies and adversarial. God gives us a “how to” lesson using His “friend” and servant Abraham, who is the “father” of our faith… the Bible tells us Abraham “believed” God, and YHWH accounted it unto him for righteousness. (James 2:23) When we study Abraham and his relationship with God, we see how we should learn to “fellowship” with God as well.
It is very important to note that in the beginning YHWH created man in “His” likeness and “image.” The only way one can fully grasp the “likeness” of YHWH is to study what He says about his purpose for man, and what He says of Himself; and the way to do that is to simply study and accept the Torah… as Abraham did, and it is important that I make a comment that will always apply: YHWH God makes the rules, we only get to make choices. You can be in God's “likeness” if you make choices that agree with Torah… remember the Torah in the Hebrew is understood to mean “instruction,” or the way to walk with God… I would also like to remind us that the Scripture says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)… and one other thing, our choices need to be from “willing hearts….,” just as YHWH'S willing heart to give Himself at Calvary to redeem us… because he fully loves us.
Now, Paul the Apostle, in Romans 1:16-2:13, explains how God used “universal language” of the natural world and its realities to reveal natural things that are patterns for our learning and understanding. Paul even says because of this, mankind is without excuse to not understand. So our learning comes both from the principles revealed in Torah and in the natural world and its panorama display of God's handiwork. Therefore, YHWH has used the convention of faith as the means by which man can fellowship with Him and that all mankind, Jew and Gentile alike, have equal access and privilege to come to God in one and only one way… faith; and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Torah)… Rom 10:17. When Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, there was no New Testament and the Word that Paul intended for the believers at Rome (mostly gentiles) to “hear” was the Torah. As a Torah Scholar and high office Pharisee, Paul understood the importance of hearing meaning “Shama” in the Hebrew language… which in Strong's concordance #8085, means to attentively hear, hearken to, obey, publish, understand… etc.
Paul also goes on to tell the believers at Galatia the story of Abraham and how if they (we) be “in Christ,” they (we) are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the Promise. The Promise YHWH gave to Abraham's “seed” was the inheritance of Abraham. (Gal 3:29) This would later include understanding the coming Messiah (Yeshua) and how all nations would be blessed by this coming promise. This marvelous story is the heart of YHWH and His love for mankind being choreographed in the eternal realm of YHWH'S glory before Adam was on the earth. What is not to like? Why would anyone not want to fellowship with such a loving and gracious King… who continually extends His open arms to us for our coming to Him as “children of the most High God?” YHWH gave a name to these “special people,” who love Him and want to fellowship with Him… they are the Israel of God. The are from every kindred and tongue, they are people, not churches or religions, and they all have one thing in common… they love YHWH and His Torah and they want Yeshua to be their master and they want to be like Him… His life, loving and living out through them into the lives of others, who are helplessly floundering in a lost and dying humanity that otherwise is without hope.
The Bible tells us the true meaning of “love,” and that is, “if you love me, keep (guard) my commandments.” (Jhn 14:15 & 21). Truth is the most powerful thing in the Universe… God's Word Torah is truth: and according to the Psalmist, it “endures to the ends of the earth,” “it endures forever,” that “thy Law/Torah is truth.” Truth is relentless… mentioned at least 235 times in the Bible. And, in the end it is the lack of “love for God's truth,” that will bring damnation upon all those “who have not a love for the truth.” (2Thes 2:7-12). So then, if we truthfully love YHWH and want to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth… we need to, “in His likeness,” do things His way. I am convinced that our proper fellowship with God is our study of His Torah and careful examination of the teaching and lifestyle of Yeshua… that we need to be like Him… thereby, we are truly new creations made in HIS LIKENESS! Now, knowing these things is only part of the issue; for “faith without works is dead.” We need to put our lives into loving action in being what YHWH originally purposed for Israel to be: a light to the nations. His Holy Spirit in us empowers us to love like he loved and live like Yeshua lived… having the heart of YHWH in us… He said He would take away our heart of stone and give us hearts of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
Now, there is one who will obstruct your loving and living according to the expectations YHWH purposed for you… HaSatan (the devil), has been opposed to the love of God from the beginning, where he corrupted the first couple in the Garden… questioning YHWH'S Word and then disputing it. He works at deceptions and distractions, lies and half-truths unceasingly… our minds are the battlefield; that is why Paul admonished us to be renewed in the Spirit of our minds (thinking/contemplating and believing God's Word with conviction)… and telling us to cast down imaginations and every high thing that opposes the will/knowledge of God… that will and knowledge of God is the Torah. (2Cor 10:5).
This world we live in, according to the observations of one wise Rabbi, is a “cosmic illusion.” I believe that is a good description of the darkness we are engulfed with from evil powers that continually try to separate us from fellowship with YHWH… Babylon means “confusion.” Mixture or syncretism is the devil's way of trying to corrupt the Torah message… in other words, it is the enemy's plan to saturate our conscience (and sub-conscience) with alternative substitutes that obstruct our clear understanding of YHWH'S purpose and expectations of His People… the Israel of God, whom God intends to be a light to the nations… essentially, Israel is to be the reflection of the Redemption plan of YHWH, designed to bring humanity to salvation. Without a people who express and display obedience to their Creator, how can their identity differ from the devil's followers? YHWH has one message to His faithful: “come out of Babylon and stay out!”
So, then, I think it is the fellowship we have with God, hearing His Word, that supplies strengthening power in our lives… whereby the Holy Spirit's manifesting faith in us, can occur from our ingesting the Torah in daily communion by study and prayer… our investing our time in fellowship with YHWH is the key… it is our life source and the “river of living waters,” from which the love of God flows. Loving YHWH with all our heart, mind and strength; and loving our neighbor as ourselves (Yeshua's words to the Scribe in Mark Chpt. 12) is not possible in our own fleshly minds… this God kind of “agape love,” is a love of our choice (just as YHWH chose to love us), and is a product of the renewed mind that is truly in fellowship with the God of Israel… just as the father of our faith, Abraham, did walk with God and was known as the friend of God. For believers, to live the life of faith, love and obedience, walking in daily fellowship with YHWH, the foundation of victory over darkness is established. Perhaps the most dangerous pitfall is being religious and trapped in fellowship with people instead of “first love” fellowship with YHWH… this is not to imply that fellowship with the brethren of like faith is not important, it is to say our “first love,” must be to YHWH before all else. Sadly, in our modern times, so many “churches” are social entertainment centers and not God fearing, Torah teaching institutional entities. The God of Israel, YHWH, lovingly gave us His only begotten Son, Yeshua, to teach us Torah principled living, not substitute cheap grace to throw out the foundation of Torah. The love for the Torah truth that YHWH wrote in stone on Mt. Sinai, and gave to Moses to deliver to Israel, is forever settled in Heaven… Ps 119:89.
Let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, submit ourselves to Yeshua's likeness, love YHWH with all our hearts, mind and strength… doing the good works of faithfulness to His ways, and love our fellow man as we love ourselves… we can truly accomplish this by fellowship with YHWH daily, praying for His Holy Spirit to teach us and lead us through the understanding of the Torah principles and then “doing” the works of faith… that being faithful to what (Who) we profess we have faith in; otherwise our faith is dead. May these words revive the understanding in us, that we faithful be established by faith in WHO WE ARE… we have inherited the Promise through Yeshua: It is recorded, that in a time of great national peril, against all odds, after the King heard a Prophet declare YHWH'S protection for Jerusalem to prevail the enemies' onslaught, Jehoshaphat declared to the people, “believe YHWH and be established, believe His Prophets and prosper.” (2 Chro 20:20)
Eph 1:2-14 KJV
2 Grace [be] to you, and peace, from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Paul, the “letter writer,” and author of the above letter to the believers at Ephesus, was also a Torah scholar (and former practicing Pharisee, as noted earlier), let us look at the words of a daily prayer, that in my opinion, Paul most likely prayed daily all the days of his life:
Deut 6:4-6 KJV
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
Let us also consider Jacob's prayer in Gen 32:9-12:
9 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. 11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, [and] the mother with the children. 12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
Note the underlined text above: How does YHWH “show one truth?” It is noteworthy to consider the Hebrew word translated as “truth” in this verse; it is Strong's #571, 'emeth'
emeth, eh'-meth; contracted from H539; stability; (figuratively) certainty, truth, trustworthiness:—assured(-ly), establishment, faithful, right, sure, true (-ly, -th), verity.
The verb H539, from which 'emeth' is contracted from; is translated 20 times as “faithful.”
I think it can help us understand Jacob's words when we see he knows YHWH to be faithful. We must always remember that YHWH'S faithfulness is always working in His “truth” (Torah). It is also important to know that YHWH'S truth teaches us His faithfulness is conditional; for example, in Chapter 28 of Deuteronomy YHWH tells us we will be “blessed” for obedience and “cursed” for unfaithfulness/disobedience… in other words, it is “if and then,” when truth is in play. YHWH is a mighty King, faithful to HIS Word/Torah… part of that faithfulness and truth is judgment, which is the other side of the two faced coin… with “mercy and righteousness” on the opposite side. Derek Prince once said, concerning this issue, “if you deface/remove one side of the coin, it is no longer legal tender.” Surely YHWH is both a forgiving and righteousness Judge, and a Judge to be feared for certain Judgment (according to His Torah, which the Psalmist said He has set above His Name). Thankfully, 1John 1:9, assures us that, because of Yeshua's Calvary sacrifice, if we “confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from unrighteousness.” In loving kindiness, to caution us as much as is possible, I must also point out: The writer of Hebrews (Heb 10:26-29) warns us that if we carelessly trample the blood of the sacrifice under our feet, because we sin willfully after having knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for us. I simply could not write this article without explaining the “truth” of both sides of the coin… we must choose the side we will employ in our relationship with YHWH, and realize that our choice saves us or condemns us, in the end, on the day of Judgment.
In conclusion, we can be confident of YHWH'S unfathomable and everlasting love for Israel. This leads us to follow Yeshua (YHWH'S plan and only way to Redemption), be secured in Him by loving Him faithfully with all our mind/heart, soul, and strength… to become “sons of God,” who walk not after the flesh (the ways of this world), but after the Spirit (YHWH'S Torah/Word is Spirit)… thereby, we are “grafted on” to the Tree of Life (Yeshua), who said, “I am the vine, you are branches… apart from me you can do nothing.” His love for us is our life source, which flows freely from the “vine.” Our love for Him secures our place at the great feast of the “wedding feast of the Lamb,” where we have a “place-card,” with our name inscribed on it (“those called to the banquet”)… Rev Chapter 19:9.
And, one final comment, if we love our neighbors as ourselves, and allow Yeshua's life to flow out from us… Just maybe (most likely) we will see other guests at the Lamb's wedding feast who would not have otherwise been there if we had not made ourselves available to do the service of the King….
Amen, and Amen...