A new (but really very old) translation of the Gospel of John will soon be published. This translation of Yochanan’s narrative from the very earliest extant copies is seriously significant and refreshingly different from the accepted, but tainted, versions.
The title of this new translation is ‘Restoring the Fallen Sukkah of David‘ and it really is about restoration!
I have already commented here a little in the past on some of the fascinating aspects of this translation.
See for example:
Please see my Foreword to the book here to get a sense of its relevance:
Passover is a celebration of the liberation of the Jewish people from tyranny and slavery in Egypt. So Passover is often described as the holiday of freedom.
Every year when we celebrate Passover we can see ourselves as metaphorically leaving ‘Egypt’, that is leaving slavery in all its forms, from tyrannical governments to our own personal slavery to our fleshly lusts and desires that are not in harmony with our Creator.
But in liberal democracies freedom is often misunderstood as the ability to do whatever you like with no oppressive authority telling you what to do. This is not how the Bible defines freedom though – Passover celebrates the freedom to properly worship and honour the Almighty and such freedom comes with many obligations and responsibilities.
Further, Passover is also a commemoration of the incredible interaction of the Almighty with humanity in a most visible and tangible way.
It led to the giving of the Torah on Mt Sinai, which is arguably the greatest event in mankind’s history to date as it gave us a moral code to live by and was one of the strongest and most enduring evidences of the very existence and character of the Creator of the Universe. The whole of the Bible, both the Tanakh and the New Testament are built on the foundational reality and truths of the Mt Sinai event. Without the Exodus and Mt Sinai, we would not likely have been sent our Messiah Yeshua ben Yosef. His whole existence and purpose flows out of the events and interactions that the Chosen People had with the Almighty.
I have celebrated Passover with many people over the years, from a number of Jewish gatherings to many family get-togethers.
But this year was different.
It was, without doubt our most powerful and important Passover celebration to date.
For my wife and I especially, this Passover gave us the opportunity to really celebrate an amazing few months where we have escaped from tyranny, faced many hurdles, doubts and fears but have seen the Almighty work out a most incredible miracle at the 11th hour!
This incredible miracle has seen us enter our ‘land of milk and honey’; our ‘Garden of Eden’. But even our garden has its serpent. We just saw a brown snake passing through between the houses today as I write this.
I wish to share a little of the story here in the hope that it might inspire many more and help others gain the strength to trust HaShem and to stand strong on His Word; His moral and ethical instructions, regardless of our fears and doubts.
The story really started early in 2020 with the news out of Wuhan, China about what sounded like a frightful new terror. From what followed by the end of 2021 it was clear our tyrannical government would look for more and more ways to generate fear and division in order to control us even more. Despite the evidence to the contrary, they called schools places of ‘high-risk’ for transmitting the virus and the ‘writing was on the wall’ (to use the Biblical saying). So by December, we were praying that the so-called Christian school I worked at would see fit to reject the enforcement of the government’s illegal vaccine mandate, but we began to prepare for the worst. I had already written an article in October about the unethical and immoral nature of the various mandates, from the masks, and lockdowns to the vaccine mandates.
With the likely expectation of being terminated from the job I loved, and not being able to afford the mortgage any more, December saw us looking across the State for a new home which we could afford once ours was sold and the mortgage paid out.
We looked and travelled far and wide. We saw many properties that were a ‘dog’s breakfast’, as one Real Estate salesman described them. By February after two months of looking and having now been terminated, we were getting a little desperate. At least our property had a great deal of interest and we were able to sell it for a great price, but it was looking like we might need to live in a caravan for a while.
On one of our trips up north (the cheapest properties within 500 km of Brisbane appeared to be either out near Warwick or inland from Bundaberg and Marybourough), we saw a place in Maroondan near Gin Gin that was 25 acres next to a river and was so reminiscent of our home in Kooralbyn that we had had to leave over 20 years ago. We put in an offer but eventually failed to offer a bid that was high enough for the owners.
Next we put in an offer on a 5 acre property just out the back of Childers and this fell through as well.
We had set a budget based on our funds left after the sale of our Daisy Hill property and then late one night, one of my daughters sent through a listing of an 8 acre property that was also in Marrondan that was $50k over budget but that looked so incredibly good. I couldn’t resist showing my wife, but said don’t look for too long as we can’t afford it! She just keep looking at each photo and saying ‘WOW!’.
So I spent the night in turmoil thinking can we? What if I use the little Super I have that I have saved over the last 3 years? So I called the Real Estate agents, asked some questions and decided to go for it. But due to the floods at the time we couldn’t even get to physically see the place!
After upping our offer a little, Sara, the amazing owner of the property, selected our bid even though it was not the highest. It was like we had won the lottery!
There were a lot of ‘co-incidences’ that I can’t detail here, but they all seemed to scream that this was meant to be.
What was meant for evil had been turned to great good!
Our Father in Heaven had smiled so lovingly on us and blessed us at the 11th hour with the most amazing property that has absolutely everything and more that we could have imagined. Baruch HaShem!
He took us out of slavery, through the Red Sea of fear and doubt, and rescued us at the last moment and gave us our very own paradise.
My wife and I have seen His Hands at work though all this. We have had our fears and doubts and at times it has seemed so much easier to go with the flow and accept the tyranny. So we certainly don’t judge those who have given in to the tyranny or who perhaps are not well enough informed to even recognize the evil being forced on them. But having stepped out in faith, He has abundantly rewarded us! His Name be praised for ever and ever. His mercy and grace endures forever!
Many may think they really have no choice, that there is nothing they can do to stand up against these unethical and immoral impositions being forced on them.
Many things in life seem impossible and unachievable when first sighted, yet we know from life’s experiences that if you work at something, repeatedly and over time, you can normally achieve great things. A baby learning to walk fails many times but just keeps trying until the skill and strength to stand and walk grows enough.
It is much the same with learning to stand on the ethical principles and Moral Instructions (Torah) that God presents to us. We need to practice them over time; in the little things; in the closet as well as in the public square, and then when the real challenge arrives, we may find we have the strength to stand and trust HaShem to deliver us.
The story is told of a great Rabbi many years ago in Russia who had a gun put to his head by a Russian soldier. Reputedly he laughed and the soldier asked why he had no fear of the gun and its power to end his life. His reply was that the soldier holding the gun had One World and Many Gods; but he has One God and Two Worlds. If the soldier pulled the trigger, he would simply go from this world to the next! What strength of faith and trust in HaShem! Be this Rabbi!
There is so much more I could share about how the Almighty has directed our path to paradise but I will close for now. If you really want to know more please feel free to get in touch.
Some 12 months ago I reflected on the Torah Portion Vayechi (see here).
I started off with the comment that Yosef (Joseph) states to his brothers who had rejected and betrayed him, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”
In my post I discussed how the Almighty worked through a very trying time for Yosef and ultimately placed him in an exalted position where he was able to help his brothers who had much earlier rejected and punished him.
But where are we now 12 months later in terms of the world-wide challenges facing us as a result of the Corona virus.
Many are now being, in a very real sense, ‘sent to prison’, as Yosef was. Who are these people?
In my opinion it is a great many of the most educated among us, but not only are these ‘outsiders’, these newly designated ‘unclean’, well educated but more importantly they are the ones who clearly have well-developed critical thinking skills and reasonable logical thinking skills as well.
Here in Queensland, these ‘outsiders’ include some 6000 teachers and 7000 nurses (according to the leading unions for these professions).
These outsiders need to hear the prophetic and extremely powerful words of Yosef:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”.
These teachers, nurses, police, hospitality workers and others in allegedly ‘high-risk’ workplaces are being fired from their vital roles and facing the prospects of having to sell their homes and leave family and friends behind in pursuit of new ways of putting a roof over their heads and food on their tables.
There clearly is a lot of pain and serious financial hardship as we see a growing discrimination and segregation in our society that so easily and ignorantly accepts medical apartheid (erringly similar to what happened to the Jewish People in Germany in the 30’s).
But despite the battles lost so far, and the set-backs being experienced at this time, we know who the ultimate winner is.
The Almighty will prevail!
He will somehow make it work for good.
As I stated 12 months ago, we really need to draw close to Yehovah and trust Him and know that He is at work through all this and He will find a Way where there seems to be no way.
We need to hold onto to Him as we continue to stand for truth and justice and against the increasing tyranny (both intentional and blind) of most of those in leadership over us.
“I am doing something new; it’s springing up — can’t you see it? I am making a road in the desert, rivers in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
At this time, as the darkness and madness grows daily, we may not be able to see how we will be like Yosef and able to help the world when it wakes up and escapes into the Light, but we are called to #holdtheline and trust Him.
I have always felt that when a husband and wife have a disagreement an invisible emotional wall can begin to build between them. If the disagreement or argument is not ‘nipped in the bud’, this ‘wall’ can grow and grow and seem more impenetrable by the hour and by the day.
And it seems to me that someone, at some stage, needs to break down this wall that can seem so wide and deep and unbreakable. It takes someone to crack, to lose their anger or hurt and blaming attitude, and instead humble themselves in an attempt to break through with no guarantee that they will succeed. And sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the wall remains for hours or days and so their sense of humility and apologetic servitude needs to remain clearly seen.
And perhaps, if such walls have been built too often and too strong in the past, this time the wall may not crumble and fall and the relationship may be irreparably damaged. I mourn to see this ending of marriages. How much more must it grieve the Almighty.
As each person blames the other for the problems in the relationship, there needs to come a time when one of them makes the choice to accept their own weaknesses; and take responsibility for their own role in this discord. The alternative may be that they instead allow their arrogance to contribute to the slow breakdown of the relationship.
As long as both the husband or wife are in the blaming mode, they will find no common ground. Once they move from blaming to accepting responsibility, there is a hope of a move forward.
This is, in essence, what the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is about.
We may have drifted away from God over the past year. We have not taken pleasure in His world in the way we know we should. We have not moved ourselves into deeper levels of Godliness. We have not taken Him seriously enough.
But worse, perhaps we have been blaming Yehovah Himself for the things that are not working well in our lives.
Perhaps we blame Him for our pain; for our lack of closeness to Him or even for His appearing to be hidden from us. Perhaps we see a world of ignorance, division, evil and suffering and we wonder where He is in all of this, and so in a sense we blame Him.
But it is we who are the real problem in the relationship, not Yehovah!
Yom Kippur is about stopping the blaming and instead taking responsibility.
Yom Kippur gives us another opportunity to stand before Him, fisted hand against heart and say, “God: it’s not your fault.” I take responsibility. I am not who I should be, so life is not what it could be. I am the problem in the relationship, not You.
I will begin the process of reconciliation.
When the emotional wall is torn down and a husband and wife reconcile, there is great relief and joy that the closeness and intimacy has been restored and that they are ‘one’ again.
Yom Kippur can be a day when any wall that has been built between us and our Father in Heaven can be torn down and rejoicing can take place! This relationship, unlike the marital one, is always retrievable. We are always to blame. Yehovah is always ready to embrace us.
Yom Kippur involves three essential steps to successful repentance (teshuvah):
taking responsibility for our actions,
identifying the root cause of our wrongdoings, and
realizing that, far from despising us for our transgressions, God wants us to come back to Him.
This is an opportunity to realign our lives with our goals, to rebuild ourselves, and to renew our relationship with our Creator. At its root, Yom Kippur is a day of true joy.
God wants to be merciful. He wants us to repent and come back to Him.
Your yetzer hara (evil inclination) may try to dissuade you and implant a voice of despair. “Look at you! You’ve strayed so far. You’re irredeemable. How can you even dream of returning? God can’t possibly want you back!”
But the whole narrative of the Bible is that the Almighty wants a relationship with us. He never gives up on us, no matter how far we’ve strayed. It’s never too late to begin again, to break down that wall and regain an intimacy with our Creator and Redeemer.
Repent (turn back) from your failures.
Reconcile – make peace with your Father through confessing your mistakes.
And then rejoice in the restoration of your relationship with Him!
At this time as tyranny grows throughout the Western World under the direction and control of our political leaders and techno-fascists and as the MSM is complicit in hiding the truth from the great majority, it is clear that we are sorely in need of some real leadership.
But such leadership needs to devolve from Yehovah, it needs to be founded on Torah, on His Instructions and His Truth or it cannot lead us out from under this tyranny.
In this weeks Torah Portion, Pinchas, as Moses faces his impeding death and having already seen his brother and sister depart, he asks of Yehovah:
“… May the Lord, God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” (Num. 27:15-17)
Moses recognized how important good leadership was. After-all the Exile itself called for exceptional leadership. And today as we are increasingly losing our freedoms; of speech, of movement, of health choices, etc., we are also in a very real sense returning to Egypt, to slavery imposed from world leaders who clearly lack moral and ethical character based on strong Biblical foundations.
But how to we develop these leaders, these shepherds if it is not already too late?
There is I think a hint in Isaiah 2 when Isaiah speaks of the last days and states:
Isaiah 2:3 “For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of Yehovah from Jerusalem.”
We see immediately following in the very next verse:
Isaiah 2:4 “… and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”.
We could easily interpret this connection as teaching that by learning and living Torah, which includes teaching it (see the full text of the Shema for example), we can have a part to play in bringing true redemption and peace to the world.
And by ‘we’, I think the Bible is very clear that this can be anyone. It does not just mean the rich and powerful, the Kings and political leaders of our day, but anyone who heeds the call of Micah 6:8.
Yehovah Himself called for everyone to be lovers of His Way, His Torah:
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: Be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy'” (Lev. 19:2).
And it is also clear from 1 Samuel 2 that Yehovah can bless anyone who truly seeks Him:
“The Lord sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honour.” (I Sam. 2:7-8)
But also there is a warning that any who seek to lead us, to be our shepherds need to retain the focus of Micah 6:8 and daily seek to heed Torah:
“He who keeps the fig tree shall eat its fruit” (Prov. 27:18).
There is an implication here that a failure to keep Torah can lead to a failure to remain right with Yehovah and eat the fruit of eternal life. I discuss this in depth in my “Amazing Grace” article – see http://circumcisedheart.info/Amazing%20Grace.pdf
The great Rabbi Maimonides wrote that:
“… With three crowns was Israel crowned – with the crown of Torah, the crown of Priesthood, and the crown of Kingship. The crown of Priesthood was bestowed on Aaron and his descendants. The crown of Kingship was conferred on David and his successors. But the crown of Torah is for all Israel. Whoever wishes, let them come and take it. Do not suppose that the other two crowns are greater than that of Torah…. The crown of Torah is greater than the other two crowns.”– Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Talmud Torah 3:1.
And as the great Rabbi Sacks stated in reflecting on this ruling by the RAMBAM: “In the world defined and created by Torah, everyone is a potential leader. We can all earn the right to wear the crown.”
So if you are wearing this crown, can you also seek to lead your world, your community, your family as the vice grip of tyranny grows daily?
May Yeshua, who is the Torah Dressed in Flesh, that is, who best epitomised how to live in right relationship with Yehovah, be your guide!
The Aleppo Codex (see photo below) and apparently at least 90 Hebrew manuscripts have the vowels for the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) as per the introduction to the Chumash – Stone Edition
You may note in the image from the Stone Edition of the Chumash below, (preface page xiv), that the Orthodox Jews are instructed by the author to NEVER pronounce His name as it should be pronounced!
You might ask why?
There are a great many issues with Orthodox (or Akiva) Judaism (as opposed to the true faith of Yeshua Judaism), but here I believe is a perhaps well-intentioned but mistaken and mis-guided attempt to avoid blaspheming the Name of the Almighty (some argue that this use of Adonai or HaShem, etc instead of Yehovah started as early as the return from Babylon).
As explained in the ‘duolingo’ article (link below) these vowels are ‘shva’ (pronounced ‘e’), Cholam (pronounced ‘o’) and Kamatz (pronounced ‘a’), giving the pronunciation of the Almighty’s name as ‘Yehovah’.
While there are many who dispute this, having listened to Nehemia Gordon and after doing some research of my own, I am fairly persuaded.
In the linked article: “Because of Arab influence on Hebrew, some pronounce the vav letter as a W and call it a waw.” That’s why you see the word Yahweh instead of Yahveh and the transliteration YHWH instead of YHVH.
Nehemiah Gordon’s recent research (2016-2017) proves that “It’s a Vav,” as one of his blog posts is aptly titled.
He shares evidence from the scrolls of Jeremiah, 1 Kings and Nehemiah that vet (always a V sound) and vav are equivalent because the word for “back” (gav) is written alternatively with either letter. Check out in the Hebrew Aleppo Codex Ezekiel 23:35 (“back”/gav spelled with vav) vs Ezekiel 43:13 (“back”/gav with soft bet/vet) and 1 Kings 14:9 (“back” gav spelled with vet). Nehemiah 9:26 (“back”/gav with vav).
He also debunks the idea that Arab or Ashkenazi/Yiddish influence led to the vav being pronounced as a W universally. He lists six Jewish communities (without European influence) who nevertheless pronounced the vav as a V: Kurdish Jews, Syrian Jews, Egyptian Jews, Persian Jews, Moroccan Jews, Algerian Jews. This is in contradiction to five communities who pronounce it as a W due to Arab influence: the Yemenite Jews, Baghdadi Jews, Libyan Jews, Tunisian Jews, Atlas Mountain Jews.”
I think His Name is important – at least according to the Tanakh:
Zechariah 13:9 “… They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say: They are My people, and they will say: “Yehovah is our God.”
Ezekiel 39:7 “So I will make My holy name known among My people Israel and will no longer allow it to be profaned. Then the nations will know that I am Yehovah, the Holy One in Israel.”
Of course, knowing Him and being obedient to Him is much more important than knowing how to properly pronounce His personal name.
If we truly know Yeshua as Mashiach ben Yosef, we will also be obedient to his Father and ours.
The hope of the all who are aware of their heart’s longing for eternity (‘… He has put eternity into man’s heart …’ – Ecc 3:11) – see my discussion on the place and importance of the Resurrection here – http://circumcisedheart.info/DoesGodExist.pdf
This is just a very basic primer as no one can really do justice to this man, this extremely unique man so specially chosen by Yehovah to be the central figure of human history, yet with a humility and focus on His Father and ours, that all his actions and all his words pointed to and preached Yehovah – http://circumcisedheart.info/Christian%20site/Yeshua%20preached%20God.pdf
But more than this, he is quite possibly the most mis-understood and maligned person in all history as well! To give some clue of how radically different to common expectations I would argue Yeshua was and is, it is my contention that the person with the greatest appreciation of who and what Yeshua was in living memory is an orthodox Jewish Professor from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the late Professor David Flusser, and NOT the leading scholars of Christianity who claim him.
Flusser even argues that in many ways Christianity ‘betrays Jesus’!
“… I know that it is not so easy for Gentiles to accept the thorough Jewishness of Jesus. Because then it would mean that they had received a foreign god and not their own ancient pagan gods. So they have to assimilate Jesus to the Greek gods.” …
This is the most exciting if all questions! The time to come with Yeshua returns as Messiah ben David and the era of the Olam HaBah (The Coming Age) or the Kingdom of God arrives is something worth stopping the elevator for and spending considerable time studying and contemplating.
I have written and presented many times on what the future holds. I do not think we focus anywhere enough on it.
When Yeshua is installed as our Messiah King, we will have a world where truth, justice and peace abound. A world that will fully express the love, joy and beauty of the Almighty and of His humanity made in His Image.
The standard translations of The Gospel of John chapter 14 verse 6 have raised concerns with me for many years, as this statement is, in many ways, so contradictory to virtually everything else that Yeshua said and especially to everything he did. This passage is also used to justify an exclusiveness for many Christians, and even with some, perhaps far too many, an elitist attitude.
Firstly though, I have no doubt that Yeshua walked The Way, was a Man of Truth and that through him we are offered Life Eternal.
But Yeshua always pointed to the Father, to Yehovah. He very rarely placed the focus on himself. He told us how to be part of his family, to be his brothers and sisters, and that was by living as he did, and living and acting in the will of God and following the Almighty’s Instructions (i.e. Torah). See for example his statement in Mark 3:35.
Add to this that this phrase screams out Psalms 119, which begins with ”How happy are those whose way of life is blameless, who live by the Torah of Yehovah!”.
For example: Psalms 119:1 “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the Torah of Yehovah.” Psalms 119:142 “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your Torah is truth.” Psalm 119:151 “You are near, Lord, and all your commands are truth.” Psalms 119: 37 “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; with your ways, give me life.” Psalms 119:40 “See how I long for your precepts; in your righteousness, give me life!”
Also: Psalms 32:8 “I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with my eye on you, I will give counsel.” Exodus 18:20 ”And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.”
When reading this verse I always heard echoes of Psalm 119 and the foundational principle that the way of life and truth is Torah.
So, I have lived with the cognitive dissonance of this passage (and a couple of others) for many years.
Now, at last the Bible translator Uriel ben Mordechai has given us a much more faithful and Torah-centric translation of this verse from P66 (circa 150 CE), the earliest extant Greek manuscript for this verse.
“Yeshua replied, “I represent that pathway along with the legitimacy. And on that path of life, none WILL appear adjacent to Ha’Ahv except for me.”. – Yochanan 14:6
And his amplified version (the words in the square brackets are not in original but added for clarity):
“Yeshua replied, “I represent [i.e., live-out, personify or animate] that pathway [of the Writings] along with the legitimacy [or genuineness, validity or integrity of the Torah]. And on that path of life, none WILL [or can] appear adjacent to [or to the right of, or before] Ha’Ahv [ i.e., the Father] except for me.”
He also makes the critical point that the Greek εἰμί (ee’mee) used here normally means “I stand for, am a figure of, or represent …”. That is, Yeshua represents The Way (of Torah) but he is not stating here that he is himself the one and only “Way”. Rather, the context of the exclusiveness of the ‘except for me’ is that Yeshua is telling his disciples that where he is going, they cannot come, and only he can go to sit to the right of HaShem.
That is, no-one else is going to Heaven, only Yeshua! Heaven is not our ultimate home, the Olam HaBah, the Coming Age, the Kingdom of God on Earth is!
There is a sense in which an exclusiveness is relevant and that is with respect to Yeshua’s role as the High Priest on Yom Kippur (in the Coming Age), when only Yeshua is permitted to approach Yehovah.
To quote Uriel ben Mordechai is discussing his translation here: “Yeshua is not talking about his future role as Kohein, who alone will be permitted to approach Ha’Shem on behalf of AHM Israel in the Olam Ha’Bah during the Yom Kippurservice. In any case, if we will refuse to approach Ha’Shem apart from the Kohein Gadol, Ha’Shem will not receive us.”
An awesome message that is not in contradiction with the Tanakh and Torah. A message for all people. A practical message of hope coming from the greatest preacher and prophet of hope who ever lived!
So in conclusion, what is Yochanan really telling us in this first portion of 14:6?
That Yeshua declared that he has walked the pathway of Torah and demonstrated its truth, its legitimacy as the correct (and really only) path to walk to have a relationship with Yehovah and ultimately live on in the Coming Age and in the New Creation.
This translation may not have the poetic beauty that the King James translators gave the verse, but it has much more, because it has the power of truth!
Consider a wrong heart attitude, for example someone who is a thief at heart. A thief is not just someone who has stolen something, but anyone who, if given the opportunity, may indeed steal something. The heart needs to be open to God, to be circumcised, to be so in tune with the Spirit of God, that it naturally does what is right at all times.
What is meant by a circumcised heart?
I like Moshe Avraham Kempinski’s answer: “Why does G-d use the term a ‘circumcised heart’? It is because circumcision involves removing a covering. We believe that every human being was born with the heart of G-d. When G-d breathed His breath into Adam, every single human being had the heart of G-d placed within him. But what have we done?
Since our youth we have covered this heart with our own ego, our won needs, and our selfish desires. We have covered or hearts and separated ourselves from true equilibrium. This is why G-d asks us to uncover our heart - to uncover the heart of G-d that is already beating inside. In this way we re-kindle what is most natural to us. … having a relationship with G-d is essentially returning to what is most natural.
The Hebrew word for repentance, ‘teshuvah’ means ‘to return’. This is a return to the original state of affairs, being in harmony with what was always meant to be. It is not something new to be attained, nor is it some higher state of consciousness. It is returning to what is already ingrained within every single soul and in every single heart. It is about re-establishing the divine connection set in place at creation.“ --- Moshe Avraham Kempinski - from “The Teacher and The Preacher - a dialogue” p37
Yeshua prayed that we would be one in spirit with him as he is with the Father. This is a spirit of unity of purpose, of love and loving relationship.
I have come back to reflect on this issue after being asked again about my understanding of the Ephesians 2:15 ‘dividing wall’ passage. In addressing it again I looked at Uriel Ben Mordechai’s recent translation and was challenged even more by his interpretation, especially by his argument that the removal of the wall did not occur with Yeshua’s crucifixion and resurrection but will only occur in the Olam HaBah (the Coming Age and the Kingdom of God).
My new discussion on this passage (which was part of my ‘Siblings of the King’ article) is now here:
If you have read these articles, regardless of the conclusions you may personally have come to, there arises quite naturally a few questions:
Is your heart uncovered before Yehovah?
Have you returned to Him?
Have you begun, or continued, to walk The Way of Psalm 119, the way of Micah 6:8, with faith in the Almighty, that is with the ‘faith of Yeshua’1?
Ps 119:1-7 1 How happy are those whose way of life is blameless, who live by the Torah of Yehovah! 2 How happy are those who observe his instruction, who seek him wholeheartedly! 3 They do nothing wrong but live by his ways. 4 You laid down your precepts for us to observe with care. 5 May my ways be steady in observing your instructions. 6 Then I will not be put to shame, since I will have fixed my sight on all your commandments. 7 I thank you with a sincere heart as I learn your righteous rulings. …
The Chabad site has this short excerpt of Jeremiah on the Haftorah for the Torah Portion Tzav:
This week’s haftorah touches on the subject of sacrifices, the main topic of the week’s Torah portion.
G‑d tells the prophet Jeremiah to rebuke the Jewish people, saying that His primary intention in taking their forefathers out of Egypt wasn’t the sacrificial offerings, rather in order that they observe the commandments. But despite the fact that G‑d repeatedly dispatched prophets to admonish the people, “They did not obey nor did they incline their ear, but walked according to [their] own counsels and in the view of their evil heart, and they went backwards and not forwards.” G‑d further informs Jeremiah that the people will also not hearken to these words that he will speak to them now.
The haftorah concludes with G‑d’s admonition:
“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, nor the strong man boast of his strength, nor the rich man boast of his riches. But let him that boasts exult in this, that he understands and knows me, for I am Yehovah practicing grace, justice and righteousness on the earth; for in these things I delight, says Yehovah” – Jeremiah 9:22-23
‘… grace, justice and righteousness …’ – we hear here the call of Micah in Micah 6:8 and the call of Yeshua in Matthew 23:23b.
These really are the core or ‘weightier’ elements of Torah:
“Woe to you, experts in Torah and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the Torah —justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others.” – Matt 23:23
Grace (mercy), justice and faithfulness (righteousness). These three – we, like Yeshua and like Yehovah are to exercise grace – to show kindness, to love kindness, and in doing so to overflow with love. Like Yeshua and Yehovah we are to exercise judgement and discernment, to exhibit fairness in all our actions. And also like Yeshua, we are to have faithfulness or trust in Yehovah, such faith being displayed in our acting within the bounds of Torah, in being obedient to Torah, and through this trust acting righteously.
Everything else can be built on this core and in exercising these foundational truths, we can help repair a broken world and raise up truth-seekers.
I have briefly addressed Micah in a number of articles and one of the insights that I think is most salient is that we are called to love being kind. Not just being kind, but to love acting this way!
In part I wrote:
“… But note that if we use the translation ‘loving-kindness’ in particular to help us see the full picture here, we have the injunction that we are called to ‘love loving-kindness’.
We are to love showing and giving grace; to love acting with mercy, to LOVE being kind. We are not to just BE kind, but to LOVE being kind!
Kindness, mercy, grace should be so much a part of our heart that we can’t help practicing this attribute of the Almighty whose image we are made in! You may ask ‘How do we get this way if we are not already in this place?’ I think part of the answer is to act as if our heart already loves being kind and gracious and full of compassion, and therefore we must do acts of loving kindness. It’s almost like ‘fake it to you make it’.
The more we act this way, the more the neural pathways in our brains will be stimulated to create a new pathway of truth and a new mindset, and a new heart, where we increasingly become ‘lovers of loving-kindness’.
Can you also hear an echo of Micah and Jeremiah in the words of Ya’acov (James): “So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the Torah of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:12-13.
At the very least any sense of humility and working out our salvation in fear and trembling as extolled by the Apostle Paul should lead us to conclude that the showing of mercy, of grace to others could well prove to be of benefit to ourselves when the great Day arrives.
Grace though is such an important cornerstone that we should always be prepared to revisit it’s meaning and ramifications.
In the Talmud, there is a very famous statement that: ‘The world rests upon three things: Upon Torah study, upon Divine service (i.e., prayer and sacrifices), and upon the practice of chesed (grace). – Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 1:2
It appears that the third of these pillars is derived from Psalm 89:2, so that we can say “And upon the practice of chesed (grace)” – as it is written, “The world will be built through kindness (grace)”. That is, it is man’s practice of grace in his dealings with his fellow man that truly creates and sustains the world. It is man’s practice of grace that most perfectly embodies his being made in the ‘image of God’.
It was the ‘overflowing love’ (grace) of the Almighty that created and continues to sustain the world, and it is the ‘overflowing love’ (grace) of mankind that day by day and moment by moment creates and sustains a world worth living in!
Every day we can all play a part as we seek more and more to love being kind and showing overflowing love, and as we seek to walk in absolute trust (faithfulness) of Yehovah’s Instructions for us.