Topical Commentary

BUSINESS CONFERENCE © mbbirdy | iStockPhoto.comInformed by Scripture, history, and the languages of the Bible, we share our thoughts on various matters of faith and offer unique perspectives that are sure to be a source of enlightenment and encouragement.  Always grounded in Scripture, we aren't wed to any denominational traditions, so we can find and share the good news!

 

altar_fire_300Hebrews 10:4 tells us it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.  Yet those words were inspired by the very same G-d who commanded the sin offering to be made in the book of Leviticus.

1 John 1:7 tells us that the blood of Yeshua cleanses us from all sin. If the blood of Yeshua cleanses us from all sin then what was the purpose of the sin offerings of the Torah?

1 Corinthians 5:7 states that Messiah is our Passover and in John 1:29 John declares "behold the Lamb of G-d who takes away the sin of the world!"  If Messiah is our Passover then what was the need for the annual Passover lambs that had been killed for the previous 1500 years?

Contrary to popular Christian myth, the Jews were never saved from their sins or given temporary forgiveness as a result of animal sacrifices.  Hebrews 10:11 tells us the animal sacrifices can never take away sin.  There was not a dispensation for the Jews with animal sacrifice and a dispensation for Christians with Messiah as their sacrifice.  Salvation is found in Messiah alone (John 14:6, Acts 2:22-39) and only He came to take away sin (1 John 3:5).

So why the sacrifices?

 

moses on mount sinai 300The stories of G-d's interactions with Moses and the people of Israel fill the book of Exodus.  One passage, in particular, is overflowing with G-d's revelation of Himself.  It's the passage where G-d commands Moses to create two new stone tablets.

The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the LORD.  Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."  Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship. (Exodus 34:5-8)

 

After G-d verbally gave the commandments to the Israelites and they agreed to do all He commanded, Moses went up on the mountain to be with G-d.  While he was away, the Israelites fell into the sin of the golden calf.  Moses then returns, sees their sin, and breaks the stone tablets of the covenant in his anger.

G-d reveals His compassion and mercy in the fact that He did not immediately obliterate all those who sinned in the matter of the calf.  In fact, He calls Moses back up on the mountain to create a new set of tablets.  It is in this context we find what are known as the thirteen midot: the Thirteen Attributes of G-d, also known as the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy. The Talmud describes these in detail in Tosephot Rosh HaShanah 17b.

Let's take a brief look at G-d's attributes that He reveals in this moment.

Ron Ammundsen, of Fog Whistle.ca, has put together an extensive examination of the historical account given in the book of Acts in an attempt to answer the question "When did the disciples of Jesus stop keeping the Old Testament Law?".  Ron has picked an excellent source from Scripture as the Acts of the Apostles covers the first thirty years of the early formative period of first-century Messianic believers.

You may be surprised at the answer.

Ron has graciously allowed Psalm11918.org to reproduce his work here for our readers.  This work and other studies that Ron has written are available at http://www.fogwhistle.ca/acts/ .         -Brady

 

QUESTION MARK - © Vadimfogel | Dreamstime.comWhile Jesus was on earth, he and his disciples practiced the religion that God gave to the Israelites through Moses.  The guidelines they followed were found primarily in the Torah*, which is the first five books of the Old Testament -- the writings of Moses.  The Torah contains a variety of information including history, the Ten Commandments, and instructions pertaining to finance, government, family, health, farming, dress, feasts, and worship.

It was at some time after the death of Jesus that Christians stopped observing the Old Testament laws.  Exactly when that change occurred is not clear in the Bible.  Many people believe the change was made by Jesus himself immediately after the resurrection.  However, there is compelling evidence in the book of Acts that the change did not occur until much later.

This article examines all the evidence in the book of Acts that indicates whether or not the apostles and early Christians were still following the Old Testament laws.  The context of the story is important.  It would be a good idea to read the whole book of Acts to understand the passages covered in this study.

RICHARD THE LIONHEART SHIELD

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence... (1 Peter 3:15)

In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16)

 

Apologetics is the practice of providing a defense or answers to challenges. The word "apologetics" comes from the Greek word used in this passage of 1 Peter: apologia.

We have found the following passages of Scripture to be helpful when defending the faith from well-meaning Christian friends, door-to-door cult missionaries, and even our own self doubts. Here are some basic apologetic passages from Scripture.

If you have a question regarding the faith or have some recommendations regarding verses to include here, please contact us!

 

We are often asked the Mosaic of the 12 Tribes of Israel. From a synagogue wall in Jerusalem. - Wikimedia Commonsquestion "who is Israel?"  It is a broad topic fraught with controversy and (Lord willing) will be the subject of a future article.  In the meantime, a less controversial question that is smaller in scope is "who are the twelve tribes of Israel?".  Let's examine both Scripture and history to learn the answer.

The Tribes of Israel are the groups born of the sons of the man once named "Jacob" who the Most High renamed "Israel" (Genesis 35:10).  Who are they?  In the order of their birth, they are Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.

Since Jacob/Israel adopted Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, as his own (Genesis 48:5) technically there are thirteen tribes. In the accounting of the Land of Israel, Levi is not mentioned since they have no inheritance in the Land (Numbers 18:20). The Lord apportions the Land to the remaining twelve.

The color, symbol, and banner information are found in an ancient bible study (called the Midrash Rabbah: Hebrew for "Great Study") related to the book of Numbers, called Numbers Rabbah.

Let's briefly look at all thirteen tribes beginning with the eldest son, Reuben:

Torah Portion

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or view this week's triennial cycle reading.

Today is

Yom Chamishi, 5 Sivan, 5780 - Erev Shavuot

Thursday, May 28, 2020

 

Learn more about this date in history.