Yahweh’s Commandments or Man’s Traditions?
Which choice will you make? Which choice leads to everlasting life?
I made a wonderful discovery having to do with leavened and unleavened bread! No, don’t even think that I have "new light" on this, except to say that it is new light to me. You may have already come to understand what I’m going to share with you, but I hadn’t realized it until now as I studied to write a message. Examine the following Scripture:
Therefore let us keep the feast [referring to Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, even though Scripture simply says “Passover”], not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, 1 Corinthians 5:8.
OK. Nothing new, right? Listen to this: In the phrase “unleavened bread,” the word “bread” is not found in the Greek text. We know that. Azumos is the Greek word that means, “unleavened.” We know that, too. Also, we know that azumos means “uncorrupted,” figuratively. [The word azumos, at NO place in the Scripture is used to describe a piece of unleavened bread. NO one actually eats azumos! In fact, azumos is used exclusively to mean either “the Feast of Unleavened Bread” or the concept of “uncorruptedness.” AND, therefore, zumos must mean “corrupted.” Therefore, this verse can EASILY be so rendered (and I think, SHOULD BE).
Makes More Sense
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old corruption, neither with the corruption of malice and wickedness; but with uncorrupted sincerity and truth, 1 Corinthians 5:8.
This makes a LOT more sense.
But, this is not the discovery I was speaking of; and before I move on to that discovery, I must clarify another word in this verse; the word, “old,” as in “old corruption.” Paul (Shaul) is NOT talking about the Law of Yahweh when he uses the phrase, “old corruption,” which is rendered “old leaven” in most translations. I’m bringing this idea up to refute the false teachings and traditions of those who have abandoned the Law of Yahweh, killing it by thinking that Yahweh’s Law was killed, being nailed to the torture stake.
Paul is talking, rather, about the “old corruption” of those Pharisees who corrupted (who LEAVENED) the Law of Yahweh through THEIR laws, statutes, judgments and traditions. Remember, Paul used to abide in those traditions until Yahshua physically blinded him to demonstrate that He, Yahshua, was the Son of Yahweh. I am certain that Paul understood what Yahshua meant when He asked the Pharisees:
Why do you transgress the commandment of Elohim because of your tradition? (Matthew 15:3).
The notion, or rather the TRADITION, that Paul was against the “old” Law of Yahweh is absurd; it is wrong; it is an abomination; and it is the epitome of corruption.
Listen To the Word
Pastors! Priests! Ministers! And, Preachers! If you are reading this message, please consider the consequences of abandoning the One Who created you. Consider the consequences of teaching false doctrine. Consider the bitter weeping of the One Who suffered tribulation of the flesh for your sins, so that you might live eternally with Him and the Father. Consider those whom you are leading to the "broad way that leadeth to destruction." Their blood will be on your hands. Their agony will be a result of your desire for money to feed your family at the cost of their lives. Consider these words, and repent. Read the Word of Yahweh, not with the leaven of tradition, but with the uncorruptedness of the Word Itself, the Words of Yahweh, Himself.
Back To “Unleavened”
Now, back to my “discovery.” I wanted to understand what “unleavened” meant in Hebrew. The word for “unleavened” is matstsah, and it is defined as “greedily devouring for sweetness.” Properly, “unleavened” means “sweetness.” And, concretely, it means sweet; that is, “not soured or bittered with yeast.” Further, the concordant primitive root of the word is matsats, meaning “to suck,” implying “milk.” Now, would an infant drink soured milk? Whoa! This is a whole new paradigm for me. This is my discovery. Two thousand years or so after Paul’s words were written, we have leavened bread that is “sweet.” But, back THEN, leavened bread was made from ... SOURED dough. Today, we don’t relish eating unleavened bread because we consider it to be dry and “tasteless.” That’s not to say that the
Sisters here haven’t found ways to make unleavened bread taste good; but after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, don’t we eagerly rush off to the store to buy some of that good ol’ leavened bread? Well, we now have cultured yeast that adds a sweet flavor to our breads. Back then, they left their “starter dough” (or the “new lump”) out in the open for wild yeast to settle into the dough and begin reproducing, emitting gas into the mixture. So, if we can understand the nature of leavened, sour bread in Paul’s day, it is easy to understand how he could describe “malice” and “wickedness” as being sour bread; that is, “leavened bread,” and similarly how he could describe unleavened, SWEET bread, as “sincerity” and “truth.” How clear is THAT?
Leaven — Sin?
Finally, I have this to say to those who might suggest that “leaven does not represent sin, but represents the Holy Spirit in the two loaves offered at the Feast of Weeks.” I suggest for your consideration that your “raised loaf” of understanding is similarly, SOUR.
Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master in an unworthy manner [hmmm, “unworthy manner;” could that be partaking of the leavened, soured bread of malice and wickedness? In 1 Corinthians 11:22, Paul says, “Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the Assembly of Yahweh (in Yahshua) and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this?” Certainly not!]. Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Master. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body [or in other manuscripts, the body of the Master], eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Master, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world, 1 Corinthians 11:27-32.
Be Sincere and Truthful
Brothers and Sisters, let us be ever diligent, sincere and truthful in our praise and worship of Yahweh Almighty and walk in the ways of His Son, Yahshua. Speaking of which, let us now consider the book of Joshua.
Now therefore, fear Yahweh, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve Yahweh! And if it seems evil to you to serve Yahweh, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh. So the people answered and said: "Far be it from us that we should forsake Yahweh to serve other gods; for Yahweh our Elohim is He Who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, Who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. And Yahweh drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve Yahweh, for He is our Elohim." But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve Yahweh, for He is a holy Elohim. He is a jealous Elohim; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If you forsake Yahweh and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you,after He has done you good." And the people said to Joshua, "No, but we will serve Yahweh!" So Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen Yahweh for yourselves, to serve Him." And they said, "We are witnesses!” “Now therefore," he said, "put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to Yahweh Elohim of Israel." And the people said to Joshua, "Yahweh our Elohim we will serve, and His voice we will obey!" So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of Elohim. And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of Yahweh. And Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of Yahweh which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your Elohim." So Joshua let the people depart, each to his own inheritance, Joshua 24:14-28.
Origin of “Sincerity and Truth”
Now, where do you suppose Paul got the phrase, “sincerity and truth”? It seems more than coincidental that the Word of Yahweh, spoken by Joshua of Nun, and the Word of Yahweh, demonstrated IN Yahshua His Son, should speak to Paul so clearly about “sincerity and truth.” Yahshua the Messiah made a deep impression upon Paul, blinding him so he could SEE how important it was to understand the truth and then to “sincerely” apply it to one’s life. Paul learned, the hard way, to abandon the teachings and traditions of man; and, instead, hold fast to the Word of Yahweh. That is, the LAW of Yahweh. Paul hadn't recognized Yahshua, because of his blindness of tradition. Later, he taught the truth of Yahshua the Messiah to the Bereans and all to whom he spoke, from the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings of the Tanach. Today, we have the New Covenant to verify the Law, the Prophesies and the Wisdom books of the “Old Covenant.” Those who have not abandoned the Law can see the New Testament in the Old, and the Old Testament in the New.
However, Satan has laid his hand on those who would alter the words of Yahshua and His apostles and corrupt them into something resembling the worship of false deities, national customs and the teachings and philosophies of man.
Brethren, we have the responsibility of the blessing of truth to go out into the world and teach and preach the good news of the Kingdom of Yahweh, the return of the Messiah, the will of Yahweh, and the Law of Yahweh by which we shall live. I was called to the truth by Yahweh’s Spirit which said to me, “Honor My Sabbath.” Yahweh, by virtue of His will and with nothing that I contributed, changed my mind. I honor Him today by honoring that day that He set apart from the world, that I might more fully understand His will and serve Him the rest of my life. May I suffer the humiliation of righteousness, and may I lose my life of this fleshly generation; and, may I be forgiven for my unwillingness to endure hunger and lust for the things of this world.
IF you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on My holy day, IF you call the Sabbath a delight and Yahweh's holy day honorable, and IF you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, THEN you will find your joy in Yahweh, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. The mouth of Yahweh has spoken, Isaiah 58:13-14.
A Time of Joy
You will FIND your joy in Yahweh. Some claim that it is important to be “joyous” on Sabbath. I’m not sure that the word “joyous” means “happy,” “giddy,” or “having fun.” I don’t know; there are times when my greatest joy brings tears; tears of gratitude and thankfulness; and tears of fear and hope for the ones I love. All of these tears point to my love for Yahweh and His Son Yahshua for what I have received and the blessing of understanding that I have been given. I can’t imagine a joy greater than this: Praise Yahweh for the Sabbath Day.
But beware. There are those who teach contrary to the Scripture. One example comes from a site called “Catholic.com.” It states, “Scripture such as Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2, Colossians 2:16-17, and Revelation 1:10-11a indicate that, even during New Testament times, the Sabbath is no longer binding and that Christians are to worship on the Lord’s day, Sunday, instead.
Examination Is Required
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight, Acts 20:7.
We’ve heard this before. Yes, Paul was intending to leave the next day; the day AFTER Sabbath. After the sun went down on Sabbath, it was now the first day of the week, and they “broke bread,” meaning they shared a meal. Paul continued to preach to those gathered there until late at night. He left on Sunday morning. "Man, he left before church services! How rude!" Not! The first day of the week, which we refer to as "Sunday," is the first day of the work week. That's when he left, not on Monday.
1 Corinthians 16:1-2
Now about the collection for Yahweh's people: Do what I told the Galatian assemblies to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 NIV.
The word “assembly” does not mean “church building.” It is the Greek word, ecclesia, meaning a gathering of "the called-out ones." The first day of the week would be the first opportunity for the assembly to deal with money matters, as no money is to be dealt with on Sabbath. Also, there is only one day every year that is a Holy Convocation on the first day of the week, Pentecost. And, the word “collections” does not refer to collection plates that they passed up and down the pews as the congregation sits, listening to a pastor preach a sermon. It is the "third tithe," as described in Deuteronomy 26:12-14 NKJV,
When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year - the year of tithing - and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, then you shall say before Yahweh your Elohim: “I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.”
There are three Scriptural tithes, for one's increase in their labor, for the cost of travel to the three annual Feasts, and for the poor (which is offered every three years).
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Messiah, Colossians 2:16-17 NIV.
I’ve heard it preached that, “We shouldn’t be concerned with these shadows because there is no substance in a shadow; what we want is the real thing.” This verse is often interpreted to mean, “You shouldn’t worry if you celebrate a religious festival of your choosing. After all, we are now free.”
However, we know that these "shadows" are actually rehearsals, or prophecies of events concerning Yahweh's plan of salvation. The Appointed Times of Yahweh are BEACONS to those who are the children of Yahweh. We eagerly celebrate that which is of Yahweh. es: And, the last of these references:
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega [this would be "the Aleph and the Tau," in the Hebraic sense], the first and the last, Revelation 1:10-11a KJV.
OK. Let us examine the phrase, "the Lord's day," which is grammatically equal to "the day of the Lord."
For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon everyone who is proud and lofty, and upon everyone who is lifted up; and he shall be brought low, Isaiah 2:12.
Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the LORD is coming, for it is at hand: a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, Joel 2:1-2 KJV.
But concerning the times and the seasons [the Appointed Times of Yahweh], brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4 KJV.
The correct translation of these three phrases is not the day of the LORD, but “The Day of Yahweh,” and, as anyone can understand who is willing to hear it, “the LORD's Day” is not a Sunday, nor is it the weekly Sabbath, the 7th day which Yahweh set aside for Himself. The Day of Yahweh is the Apocalypse (the Revelation), a day of destruction, as revealed to John.
Covering Up Truth Using Man’s Traditions
There are many other instances of man's traditions that attempt to cover up the Law of Yahweh. For example, first by Matthew:
Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Yahshua, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of Yahweh because of your tradition? For Yahweh commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to Yahweh" then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of Yahweh of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, andhonor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear and understand: not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." Then His disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch." Then Peter answered and said to Him, "Explain this parable to us." So Yahshua said, "Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man," Matt. 15:1-20.
Mark writes very similarly, but with some additional verses.
When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. So He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?" And He said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man," Mark 7:17-23.
Now, talk about traditions replacing the word of Yahweh! “Thus purifying all foods” in the NKJV! Or, in the NIV, “In saying this, Yahshua declared all foods 'clean'." Or, in the NLT, “By saying this, He showed that every kind of food is acceptable. How ironic is this? In the words of Yahshua about the abomination of creating one’s own tradition, this added phrase is nothing but an attempt to ADD TRADITION to the word of Yahweh in order to justify and accommodate those who wish to continue in their pagan lifestyles. It is phenomenally absurd and incongruous! Who could imagine Yahshua or any of the apostles even thinking about eating unclean foods! It is impossible; for one thing, Yahshua would be breaking the Law of Yahweh. No! This is irrational and just plain wrong.
A note in the NKJV for verse 19 states, “the NU-Text [which stands for “the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (N) and the United Bible Societies’ third edition (U)], ends the quotation with the word, ‘eliminated,’ setting off the final clause as Mark's parenthetical comment that ‘Yahshua has declared all foods clean’.” The NASU notes that the phrase “Yahshua has declared all foods clean” “literally means ‘goes out into the latrine’.” It does not mean that “all food is now clean.” The KJV and the Darby Bible in verse 19 use the words, “It goes out into the draught, purging all meats.” The Greek word for “draught” is aphedron and means “a place of sitting apart,” you know, a private place ... a privy! Although "purging" can mean purifying, it can't be the meaning here, for whoever heard of a bowel movement purifying anything! No! "Purging," here, means "to expel." And, the word, "meats," is the Elizabethan word for "food." Mark 7:19 should read, “It goes out into the privy, expelling all foods.” Therefore, these verses have NOTHING to do with clean versus unclean foods; it is about Yahshua chastising the Pharisees about their teaching as doctrines the commandments of men!
So then, just as you received Yahshua the Messiah as [your] Sovereign, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on the Messiah. For in the Messiah all the fullness of the Creator lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in the Messiah, Who is the head over every power and authority. In Him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by the Messiah, having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of Elohim, Who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, Elohim made you alive with the Messiah. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us, Colossians 2:6-14.
The Written Code or Handwriting is the Greek word, cheirographon; a hand-written legal document or bond; not written by Yahweh, but by the hand of man. Ordinances or Regulations is the Greek word dogma; a civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical decree or ordinance. In our society, this “civil ordinance written against us” is called ... a “warrant for our arrest.” We’ve managed to acquire charges against us for breaking the law. What Yahshua has done for us is to take our punishment for us. And, what was the punishment that we were to endure? Death! Eternal death. In standing in for us on our day of execution, no charges made before our immersion remain against us. He is the Judge of all matters, and, as such, He forgave us of all our sins by granting us mercy. He did not forgive our sinfulness! Make no mistake, we can still sin; and we can quench the Spirit and lose our salvation,
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, Heb. 10:26.
His hope in doing so was to kill our interest in this world, and to open us up to righteousness and the granting of mercy to our fellow mankind.
Some have said, “I’m saved, and once saved, always saved.” Can a person who rejects his baptism by rejoining the world of sin really expect to enter into the Kingdom of Yahweh? Let us not trample the Spirit of Grace given to us through Yahshua. He substituted or transferred our sentence to Him. He stood in front of us to receive our just punishment. He did not abolish the Law of Yahweh! Think about it! If He had abolished the Law of Yahweh, then He would have simultaneously done away with sin itself, making all human beings perfect in the Father’s sight, and making His sacrifice and death a trivial thing.
He took our arrest warrant away, nailing it to the tree. He took away the sins we had committed up to the point at which we honored His sacrifice by dying with Him, by being immersed in His name. Baptism is the witness to accepting His payment for our sins.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the torture stake. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a Feast [a Holy Convocation of Yahweh], a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come [meaning that were prophesied to come in the future]; the reality, however, is found in the Messiah. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from Whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as Elohim causes it to grow, Colossians 2:15-19 NIV.
Interesting! Ligaments and sinews. Does this not bring to mind the valley of the bones of Israel? Yahweh is restoring "the whole House of Israel."
Since you died with the Messiah to the basic [lower] principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence, Colossians 2:20-23 NIV.
Let’s take a closer look at verses 20 through 23. These are verses that are used by those who would destroy the word of Yahweh and institute false traditions, for they interpret these verses to imply that Paul is chastising Believers to ignore the Word of Yahweh. He is NOT. He is chastising the teachings of man, just as he wrote in verse 22. He is chastising the Pharisaical laws that prevent Believers from obeying the Law of Yahweh. And, just like the Pharisees, today we have those who would teach contrary to the Law of Yahweh, to maintain their presumed power, status and glory.
Rescue us, O Yahweh! And, bring those who are searching for Your truth out from the doctrines of men to Your Assembly, that we might know You more fully, that we might faithfully do Your will and receive that which You have promised to Your Children.
-Elder John Fisher
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