Journal of Heresies

My search for truth in a world of deceit.

Location: United States

I have what is probably an insatiable desire to search out the answers to what may be impossible questions.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Taking some hard hits

I state in the little introductory paragraph under my journal title that part of what I'll write about are the wonders and perils of this journey. This past week has been one of peril for me. I have been banned from a forum which I have frequented for a year because I said that I do not have a problem associating with people who doubt the validity of Paul's epistles, and that I didn't think those beliefs about Paul warranted the very condemning statements being made about them. I have been branded by the forum owner as being the enemy of Messiah and servant of Satan. Others have been banned as well; so the body of Messiah is once again being pulled out of joint while evil looks on and gloats. The situation is incredibly tragic. I am grieving. Please keep me and everyone this affects in prayer.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Speaking for God

When it comes to people claiming to speak for God, I often strongly doubt the authenticity of their words. Perhaps that makes me like the Israelites who rejected the prophets. Certainly those I am doubting would think so. Ironically, I feel that I myself have heard from YHVH more than a few times.

The earliest example I can think of happened when I was about five or six years old. I was getting ready for church one morning and felt that I should wear my very best clothes for this special time with God. I proceeded to put on my favorite shirt. I don't remember what I wore on my legs, but that shirt was in my opinion the best shirt I owned... it was so great in fact that I had begun to wear a couple holes into it. Dressed my best, I went downstairs proclaiming that I was ready to go. My mom saw me and said "You are not wearing THAT." I was crushed. She sent me back up to my room to return with something more to her approval.

In my room again, I kneeled in front of my dresser and opened the drawer. Looking into it, I could see nothing that was better than my favorite shirt. With tears brimming over, I prayed. "Whats wrong with this shirt? Its my best shirt. Why do I have to change it?"

Then an answer came to me. "Its not what you wear on the outside that matters, but what you wear in your heart."

Equipped with the word from a higher authority than my mother, I descended the stairs with confidence and now proclaimed: "God said its okay if I wear this shirt because its what you wear in your heart that matters, not what you wear on the outside."

My mother was not at all convinced. She sent me straight back to my room with a few added consequences if I didn't return 'properly' clothed. As I trudged back up, the tears were in full flow, only now I was angry. I was so angry that I nursed that anger throughout the entire church service (thats a long time for a 5 y.o. to be angry).

The message I received was good, and to this day I believe it was sent from YHVH. But, I got it all wrong, and it took me over ten years to realize it. In my arrogance, I didn't hear the message given to me. I didn't apply it to myself. Instead, I thought I had received heavenly permission to disobey my mother and wear what I wanted. Perhaps if I had remembered that God also said to honor your mother, I would have dressed in my best that day. Instead, my heart was clothed in anger. Not only did I miss the point, but I also added to the message when I passed it on. I gave my own interpretation, that I could wear what I wanted, as if my interpretation were God's own words.

YHVH had answered my question, "Why do I have to change it?" He meant that I should obey my mother because it didn't matter what I wore on the outside because He was concerned with my heart. The message was for me, not my mom.

So that day, long ago, I heard from YHVH and boldly spoke it out (along with my own interpretation), claiming that it was all a message from God. My audience had strong doubts that this word was heaven sent and rejected the message. I of course thought that she was rejecting the very words of God. But, the message was not for her, it was for me, and it turned out that I was the one who was really rejecting His words.

Perhaps those people I encounter today who claim to speak for YHVH really have heard from Him. Yet, is the message they recieved for others, or is it for themselves? Do they speak purely the message they received, or do they add to it or take from it? Speaking in YHVH's name is a great responsibility. What if we mess up the message and someone has believed our error? If we hear from Him, His words need to first be applied to our own lives, and then if meant for others, passed on to them with the utmost care. What we hear should also agree with what scripture says. Its an easy thing to claim your own words and thoughts are the message of the Almighty One.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Justice in the World

Today I read a news article titled "Prison Cell Death Deprives the World of Justice." The article was about Milosevic, the leader of the Serbians in the 1990's who is believed responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Yugoslavians. The last paragraph of the article explains the title: "It is a tragedy there will be no definitive ruling..."

Because Milosevic died before a ruling was made, the author of this article and others are saying that Milosevic cheated justice. He did not recieve his sentence, did not suffer punishment at the hands of people, did not satisfy the desire for retribution; he did not pay a 'just' penalty. However, even if sentenced to life in prison or imediate death or whatever maximum penalty allowed, justice (that of eye for eye) demands that he die hundreds of thousands of times over and over again. The best human justice would fall short of the requirement.

Does a death sentence bring justice? What of all the suffering people in the world? Will punishing the evildoers bring justice? Would not justice require that those who suffer, those who are victimized, those who trodden upon like stones in the path - would not justice require that they recieve compensation? Yet, many evildoers die in their riches and comfort, and most of the lowly are never raised up. The death of Milosevic before he could be determined guilty does not deprive the world of justice; by the reckoning of eye for eye, the world is already deprived of justice, and has been for thousands of years.

Does this mean that we shouldn't bother with justice? No, not at all. We should right wrongs at every possible moment; but, we are deceived if we think that we are capable of meting out justice, measure for measure.

I say that the world is and was deprived of justice, but there will be justice. The creator of the universe, the supreme judge of all supreme judges, has a measuring line that is not too short or too long; His plumbline is perfect, and His septer unbreakable. He will mete out justice from His throne: punishing evil, bestowing mercy on the repentant, and comforting the down trodden. The world today is without justice, because it rejects YHVH; but, there will come a day when perfect justice will cover the earth. Milosevic has not escaped justice, he has entered into it.

By the way, the article I mentioned can be found here.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sacrifices and Offerings?

Would it be wrong today for someone to present a sacrifice or offering before YHVH? Many people would say it IS wrong. These say that sacrifice was done away with when Yahshua (Jesus) was crucified as the "ultimate" sacrifice. The basis for this conclusion comes from Hebrews 10:10... By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Yet, in Acts 21:26, we see Paul and others involved in bringing a sacrificial offering (a sin offering and a peace offering as described in Numbers 6:14). Apparently, the apostles did not have a problem with offering sacrifices, even sin offerings.

So, what is Hebrews 10:10 talking about if the apostles still participated in sacrifices? Notice the word "sanctified." Sanctified means to make holy, to consecrate, or to set apart. All the firstborn of Israel were sanctified as YHVH's possession. The Levites were sanctified in place of the firstborn to perform the service of the tabernacle. Aaron and his sons were sanctified as priests. When people are sanctified, there is also a sacrifice made on their behalf. For example, Numbers 8:5-26 describes the consecration of the Levites. Once they were consecrated, they were always consecrated. So, like the Levites and the priests, we have been set apart to serve YHVH. Aaron and the Levites made regular sacrifices however because they continued to sin.

YHVH gave the sacrificial system as a means for people to acknowledge and apologize for their sins. The object being sacrificed could never take away sins because it was a symbol. Sacrifice is a symbol of a repentant heart (or thankful, or gracious, etc. depending on the type of sacrifice). It is an outward expression of an inward reality, just like baptism. The sins of a person were taken away the moment that person turned away from sinning, not the moment the sacrifice was made. (see Ezek 18:20-32) But, many people made sacrifices without a repentant heart; they sinned, sacrificed, and committed the same sins again and again and again. Their sacrifices were a burden to both them and YHVH. Without repentance, their sacrifices were worthless. YHVH's desire was and is for obedience. Yahshua lived an obedient life and died an obedient death. Our God desires that we give our own lives to Him in obedience, not the lives of sheep and goats.

So, would it be wrong today for someone to present a sacrifice or offering to YHVH? No, as long as the sacrifice is an outward expression of an inward reality. But, sacrifices made to bribe God to look away from our sins are an insult to Him, not a pleasing aroma, and such sacrifices were never acceptable. There are some today who do the same with the cross of Christ, thinking that they'll just lay claim to the cross (maybe dutifully putting in their time at church, maybe tossing some money into the 'offering' plate as added insurance) and sail into the Kingdom without a change of heart. YHVH wants our hearts first; when we love Him with all our hearts, minds and souls, then we will walk in obedience and He will be well pleased.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Media Recommendation

The other night, I saw some really neat short videos. They take an object and give a Biblically based message that somehow relates to the object. They are not associated with any church and stress the importants of faith, hope and love over the religious show that many people and churches display. The few that I have seen so far go into Hebrew words and culture, pointing out the mindset that Christ, the disciples and the other people written about in the Bible would have had. I'm looking forward to watching the rest (we have about 12). They are called "NOOMA" and you can order them at the website.