It happened again. I allowed a measuring spoon to fall into the garbage disposal and it got bent out of shape. When my husband said, “Sweetie, again?” I got bent out of shape. Not my intention, for sure, but as they say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
This time, though, I immediately went to God in prayer. In my spirit, I groaned, why am I so easily offended? I want to flow in Your love, and an easily offended spirit isn’t there.
“It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured.” (1 Corinthians 13:5 AMP)
We know that “the love chapter” in 1st Corinthians tells us that love is not easily offended. The Greek word for “offended” is παροξύνω (pronounced paroxynō), and means easily provoked to anger, irritated, or offended.
So how does the Tanach (Old Testament) treat this idea?
Proverbs 17:9 is translated “He who covers an offense promotes love; But he who repeats a matter separates best friends.” However, the word used here is not “offense,” but “transgression.”
Proverbs 19:11 says this: “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger. It is his glory to overlook an offense.” Again, the word translated “offense” is “transgression.”
Only twice in the Tanach does the word מִכְשׁוֹל appear, meaning “offense.” The most well-known passage is in Isaiah 8:14, where the Messiah is called a “rock of offense.”
The same idea, “rock of offense” (σκάνδαλον), in the New Covenant is pronounced “skandalon” and is where we get the English word “scandal.” And what is this scandal? It is that Jews and Gentiles have equality in that they must both approach the Messiah in faith. Works won’t work, so to speak.
To the Jews, who for thousands of years thought that they would be accepted by God based on their own righteousness via their righteous deeds, being put on a par with “unrighteous Gentiles” insofar as their acceptability to God was indeed an offense!
So, to conclude, we should recognize that giving offense or receiving offense is a matter of great seriousness as it is seen as transgression. We can only by God’s grace walk in the kind of love that does not give or receive offense.
And together, we are all on the same footing. Let us not stumble over the truth.
“The LORD bless you and keep you: The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you: The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26 RSV)
To understand this very special blessing, for which God Himself chose the wording, we must look at the language it was written in. We must take on the mindset of the Ancient Hebrew people and see the meaning of the words from their viewpoint. And when we do, you will see that English doesn’t come even close to the magnificence of this amazing grace.
So from an Hebraic perspective, it would be better translated:
YHVH will kneel before you,* giving you gifts, and He will guard you, hedging you about with His protection. YHVH will illuminate you with the entirety of His being, bringing order where disorder was, and He will be your comfort and provide for all your needs.YHVH will lift up His wholeness of being upon you and He will set in place everything to make you whole and complete. * figuratively speaking
In our weekly Havdalah meeting, our Messianic congregation receives the Aaronic blessing as given by one of our pastors or our cantor/rabbi. This is allowed because Yeshua has made us a kingdom of priests and kings to His Father (Revelation 1:6). Therefore, not only can we receive the blessing, but as priests we can speak it over others as well.
“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.” Genesis 1:26
In what way are we made in God’s image, after His likeness?
The word in Hebrew for image is צֶלֶם (tse-lem). It is from an unused root meaning “to shade.” Figuratively, it means a representative figure. We are to represent Him on this Earth. In the Ancient Near East in Moses’ time (remember he wrote the Torah which contains this verse), an image was believed to bear the essence of the thing it represented. We are to bear God’s essence! If you live in Texas, as I do, you are meant to carry His essence in Texas. If you live in Singapore, you are meant to carry it in Singapore.
God is not repeating Himself when He says “after our likeness.” That’s a different word: דְּמוּת (de-muth). It means—in some way—a similitude. Another word for similitude or likeness is equivalence. Obviously, we are not equal to God in every respect, but if you look at the very next words, you can see how we are equivalent: we have dominion. By giving us dominion over the earth, we have become like God. He has total dominion, but we have limited dominion.
We resemble God in the way that the moon resembles the sun. The moon is a light in the sky because the sun is shining. We have dominion, but it is a reflected dominion, the way the moon is a reflected light. Without the sun, the moon would be just a dead rock whirling around in space. Without God, our dominion would have no foundation to draw upon.
“Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: “This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.” Numbers 30:1-2
Today I asked my husband for a word to explore in Hebrew. His answer was, “integrity.” If I were to choose a word to sum up his character, integrity would fit the bill. So this one is for him.
According to Wikipedia, integrity is the basing of one’s actions on an internally consistent framework of principles.
Our Hebrew word is תוֹם. It is pronounced tome. In the Jewish mindset, integrity is linked to wholeness and perfection.
Rabbi Noah Weinberg posits the following: Imagine you’re successful, rich and famous. You’re on vacation with friends when suddenly terrorists burst into your room, hold a gun to your head and say: “Tell us where your friends are and we’ll release you safely. Otherwise we’ll kill you.”
What do you do?
In Jewish thought, there are three fundamental principles upon which the world stands. They are truth (emet in Hebrew), justice (tzedek) and peace (shalom).
The Talmud tells us: “The signature of the Holy one, blessed be He, is truth.” So together, the three great principles of Judaism come together to form integrity.
But what happens when we fail our integrity? We make a vow (or promise or commitment) to something or someone, but we don’t carry through. Real life interferes, and we fall short of what we had planned. God is very serious about vows, as the book of Numbers shows us.
Remember the story of the Isra’elites right after they’ve defeated Ai and destroyed the city? Some men from a neighboring tribe deceive Joshua and the elders by feigning having come from a foreign country and asking them to enter into a covenant so that the army of Isra’el won’t kill them. Of course, it turns out that although God had told Joshua not to make a covenant with the people who lived in the land, He nevertheless considers their vow made in His name to be valid. The “foreigners” end up as slaves to the Isra’elites (which for them is assuredly better than the death of their nation).
God expects total integrity in our walk. But He also knows our human frailty and forgives. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Ancient thought about sheol (hell) was quite different from Western (Christian) thought, yet Yeshua was a Jew. What did He think?
sheol, underworld, grave, hell, pit
Sheol-the OT designation for the abode of the dead
place of no return
without praise of God
wicked sent there for punishment
righteous not abandoned to it
of the place of exile (fig)
of extreme degradation in sin
The word sheol, or שְׁאוֹל, in ancient thought meant the world where bad people, or all people, or maybe only some people went after they died. There were so many different thoughts on what happened when you died that you could write a whole book on that subject alone. It has been described as a deep, dark region, as a pit, and as “the Land of Forgetfulness.” Human beings after death, they thought, went to a netherworld called Sheol, cut off from God and man, but still “alive” in some shadowy existence. However, there is no judgment, whether reward or punishment there.
Pessimism was the rule of the day when it came to life after death. Most Jews were “here-and-now” focused and all people came to the same end.
After the destruction of the First Temple, however, the prophets began to speak with more hope about the future.
When the Second Temple was destroyed in 70AD, a theological crisis occurred. It was one thing to claim as the rabbis did—when the Lord’s sanctuary was destroyed and His people were scattered—mi–p’neihataeinu, “because of our sins” but it was very difficult to give reasons that good, pious, individual Jews should suffer also.
Rabbi Ya’akov said: This world is compared to an ante-chamber that leads to OlamHa–Ba, (the World-to-Come).” In fact, some rabbis taught that the righteous suffered in this world so that their reward in the next world would be that much greater.
So what did Yeshua teach about sheol?
In the Sermon on the Mount where Yeshua’s message was about love, He emphasized that those who were not more righteous than the Pharisees would never enter heaven (Matthew 5:20). He warned that unrepentant sinners would face the fires of sheol. At the end of His Sermon, the kingdom of God and the horrors of sheol are contrasted. Sheol is described as a place of destruction, where the broad road leads. Even professing to know the Messiah, if one continues in sin, won’t save you from sheol. Everyone who does not find the “narrow way” will end up in sheol. He compares the lives of the wicked to those who build their houses upon sand.
So, in essence, we know three things about sheol from the teaching of the first century Jews and from the Messiah Himself:
1. Sheol is the place for deserved punishment, comprises real suffering, and is eternal.
2. Sheol is the place of destruction, likened to death, second death, ruin, and loss.
3. Sheol is the place of banishment, where unbelievers actually realize what they are missing—their purpose in life and in life eternal: to love and glorify God.