“In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth”
Now that, in most synagogues and congregations around the world, the Torah reading cycle ended, and that the fall Feasts are behind us, we take a deep breath and open the scriptures on the first verse once again and meditate on those words, “In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).”
Why is this so important? Why start over again and read what we already know? The answer may surprise you. It is very simple. Because we forget! You may thing think that this is not possible yet Elohim warns us saying,
“Take care that you do not forget Adonai your God by not keeping His mitzvot, ordinances and statutes that I am commanding you today. Otherwise, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply, and silver and gold multiplies for you and all that is yours multiplies, then your heart will be haughty and you will forget Adonai your God. He brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness—fiery serpents and scorpions, and thirsty ground where there was no water. He brought forth water for you from the flinty rock. He fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, in order to afflict you and test you, to do you good in the end. You may say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand has made me this wealth.’ Rather you are to remember Adonai your God, for it is He who gives you power to make wealth, in order to establish His covenant that He swore to your fathers—as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:11-18)
Therefore, New Beginnings, as it is this new cycle of readings of Torah, takes a deeper meaning reminding us to stay on The Ways of Elohim. In this new journey through the scriptures be in full expectancy that Elohim Avinu will bless you and show you more of His ways towards His heart!
“Now then, I pray, if I have found grace in Your eyes, show me Your ways, so that I may know You, so that I might find favor in Your sight. Consider also that this nation is Your people.”“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest,” He answered. But then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with me, don’t let us go up from here! For how would it be known that I or your people have found favor in Your sight? Isn’t it because You go with us, that distinguishes us from all the people on the face of the earth?” Adonai answered Moses, “I will also do what you have said, for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.”” (Exodus 33:13-17)
“Show me Your ways.” Have you ever wonder what was in the mind of the biblical people? Here is Moses clearly stating his desire, to learn more about Elohim. This seems to give us a glance of the types and shadows in the scriptures about the bride and groom and what must take place as part of their eternal union. Moses, representing the bride, wants to get closer to Elohim and desires for Elohim to find favor in His eyes.
In our understanding today, marriage is primarily linked to first physical attraction and its consummation. But Moses here gives us the inside to how it was truly designed by Elohim. Moses is more interested in getting to know Elohim. Favor in His eyes, is a request most of us have forgotten to seek from Adonai. This is not talking about a superficial relationship. This is a very deep personal relationship that Elohim initiated first.
Then Moses goes further and asks that Adonai not forget that Israel are His people. This is once more demonstrating that Moses was not being selfish in his relationship with Adonai. He desired for everyone to be at the same level of intimacy as he was before Elohim.
Then once again Adonai promises to be with His people and give them rest. Totally in love, Moses asks Elohim to not leave his side and to always be known as part of Him for the whole word to see.
The example of living for Elohim and be known by everyone as His people is a fundamental step in our relationship with our Father. As Yeshua said,
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt should lose its flavor, how shall it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
To simply know of Elohim and about Elohim, to believe in Him and about Him is not the relationship our Father desires. We are also to be known by the whole world that we belong to Him as much outwardly and it is inwardly. When two people come together in love they do not hide it to the world. They tell everyone about it and announce to the world when the wedding will be and invite guests to celebrate. So, what about us today? Do we show outwardly that we belong to our Father? Do we ask Him to not only bless us but His people too? During this time of Sukkot as we celebrate let Elohim shine in you and through you and pray for more intimacy. His desires must become our desires.
For many years I went to several organized prayer meetings that the local congregations regularly have in their schedule as part of their main ministry. These groups are usually led by leaders that live a life of prayer and have in their heart to come together with others that are compelled by God to seek Him with all their heart. However, I was constantly amazed at how most people reacted to the invitation to pray. The most common answer or objection is, “I do not know how to pray”. As if there was such great difficulty to take a moment to sit and just talk to our Father who is always willing to listen to us and communicate to us of His great love. “Adonai is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)
There is no particular formula, physical posture, steps or requirements that must be met in order to pray. Simply stop whatever you are doing and talk to Adonai. We do come before Him humble in heart but we also come to Him with great joy and sometimes great sorrow. But more importantly, we come to Him!
“In the days of His life on earth, Yeshua offered up both prayers and pleas, with loud crying and tears, to the One able to save Him from death; and He was heard because of His reverence.” (Hebrews 5:7)
The amazing aspect of prayer is that it is the simplest yet most powerful way to walk with Adonai. We constantly hear many preach about obedience and following the Ways of Hashem. But little is preached about just talking to our Father in order to have the relationship He longs for since the beginning of time.
The power of prayer is not that we will gain some kind of supernatural power and perform signs and wonders. The true power is the strengthen relationship that grows between us and our Father. During His life on the earth, Yeshua constantly retired to isolated locations to pray. “Yet He would often slip away into the wilderness and pray” (Luke 5:16)”
It did not matter what was going on, He would leave and talked to Hashem sometimes for the whole night. “… He went up on the hillside by Himself to pray. And when evening came, He was there alone (Matthew 14:23).” “And it was during these days that Yeshua went out to the mountain to pray, and He spent all night in prayer to God (Luke 6:12).”
Notably, during His time physically among us, He never talked about any condition or requirement that needed to be met in order to simply talk to YHWH. “Very early, while it was still night, Yeshua got up, left, and went away to a place in the wilderness; and there He was praying (Mark 1:35).”
Following Torah is very important. However, without talking to Hashem and having a close and personal relationship with Him, our walk will be simply deeds and results but empty in the true love and shalom that comes to us from the heart of YHWH.
“Come and listen, all you who fear God.
I will tell what He has done for my soul.
I cried out to Him with my mouth,
and exaltation was on my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But surely God has heard.
He has listened to my voice in prayer.
Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer,
“Good and upright is ADONAI. Therefore He directs sinners in the way. He guides the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way. All ADONAI’s ways are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.” (Psalm 25:8-10)
In the scriptures, much has been written about humbleness, and for a very good reason. Part of the condition of the fall as sin entered this world is a prideful heart. The problem comes when our pride drives us above all including our Father. This blindness comes over us to the point of seeing the world revolving around us. Even though we know the truth, that we are mortal and frail before Elohim.
In the teshuva (repentance) process, we must recognize Elohim and His ways, and how our sinfulness clouds our judgement to the point of becoming blind to the fact that we are to be humble before our Creator. You’ve heard it said before, “God is good, all the time”, and this is true. But to really understand how good He truly is the psalmist, king David in this case, adds a disclaimer on this Psalm 25. Adonai’s lovingkindness and truth are to, “those who keep His covenant and His testimonies” (Psalm 25:10).
In today’s “church”, the teachings of Torah (a word that has been widely translated as “The Law” when a better understanding is directions and/or instructions) has been diluted to the point that most look at Torah as just the story of Elohim and His people with many rules that do not apply to us, therefore, it is not relevant today. This false teaching that has the potential to lead us to destruction. Understand first that there is Covenant between our Father and His people and this is detailed in Torah. Written within those five books is His ketuvah (marriage contract or agreement) that will be fulfilled when Messiah Yeshua returns for His bride to then consummate the marriage. The scriptures say:
“Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude—like the roar of rushing waters or like the rumbling of powerful thunder—saying,
For Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot reigns!
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give the glory to Him!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and His bride has made herself ready,
She was given fine linen to wear, bright and clean!
For the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the kedoshim (holy ones).” (Revelation 19:7-8)
This ketuvah is written of the great love Adonai has for His people. He wrote it with the desire to be one with us and us in Him. This is what Yeshua prayed just before he was taken to be judged by the Sanhedrin. Yeshua said, “I pray not on behalf of these only, but also for those who believe in Me through their message, that they all may be one. Just as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You, so also may they be one in Us, so the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21).
Yeshua’s prayer is the process we are now on becoming One with Him. To understand and become holy as He is holy, we accept Him and all His teachings, and the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit) does the works which ultimately are in full accordance to what it is written in Torah. Understand also that on our own power we cannot fulfill Torah. That is why Elohim used the prophet Jeremiah to let us know what He was about to do.
“But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days”
—it is a declaration of Adonai—
“I will put My Torah within them. Yes, I will write it on their heart. I will be their God and they will be My people. No longer will each teach his neighbor or each his brother, saying: ‘Know Adonai,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest.” it is a declaration of Adonai. “For I will forgive their iniquity, their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:32-33)
This is the part of Elohim’s covenant that it is fulfilled in Yeshua. Notice that the reason for this prophesy though Jeremiah was to let us know that Adonai’s love for us is so great that He was about to make sure and possible that we would be able to comply with His Torah.
By now must of us have heard about the solar eclipse taking place on August 21st. In fact, people from around the world are flocking to many of the viewing areas in the United States that are in the direct path of total eclipse. This event it is indeed a beautiful display of the wonders our Father created. However, there are many, most non-believers, that are looking at this event as a time of special mysticism, superstition, and magic (signs and wonders).
However, this solar eclipse marks the beginning countdown of 40 days of teshuvah (repentance), which culminates with a very important Mo’edim (Appointed day of Adonai), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Throughout the land of Israel, the sound of the shofar will be heard daily (except on Shabbat) as the high holiday approaches to remind us of our spiritual condition and to be ready to surrender ourselves before Elohim. As followers of Yeshua, however, this time is set aside to fast and pray as our communion with Him who died for our sins, Yeshua the Messiah, helps grow closer to Him.
Last week we discussed teshuvah gemorah (complete repentance) as part of our weekly Torah which were the words Yeshua first spoke during the beginning of His earthly ministry. This week Torah is Re’eh (see), based on Deuteronomy 11:46 – 16:17 that begins with the words, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a course: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of YHWH your Elohim, and a curse, if you do not obey the commandments of YHWH your Elohim,… (Deuteronomy 11:26-28)”
This particular year a great sign, in the form of an eclipse, will be catalyst to helps us become aware of the blessings Adonai has bestowed upon us, and it will also mark the beginning preparation for the upcoming Mo’edims that begins with Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets) that serves as the announcement for the approaching Yom Kippur, and culminating with Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).
But, what does this really means to all of us? It is very simple. Hashem is drawing us near to Himself as described throughout the scriptures. Ever since the fall a man that ushered in sin into the world, our Father has been in a mission to reconcile us back to Himself. Thus Yeshua, the perfect and only sacrifice, atonement for all sin was fulfilled, and now our Father want us to be aware of our walk with Him. This requires us to honestly examine our hearts and pray that Elohim reveals to us what our condition may be.
This heavenly announcement is the time for all of us that desire to follow Yeshua and obey the commandments of YHWH to set aside an intentional time to seek Him with of our heart, soul and strength. The scriptures constantly warn us of the times to come and how important it is to be completely surrendered to Adonai. We are to make sure that it is our Father whom we follow and not the many idols found in our world today. We can see how rapidly the world is going astray even inside in the places of worship where the word of YHWH is diluted in order to scratch the itchy ears of those that want to obey the bear minimum to put a checkmark on their religious list.
But our Father never gives up on us. He does these wondrous signs in nature to remind us of His great love and mercy, and to bring us closer to Himself to celebrate together the Mo’edims, the special times commanded by YHWH that we must observe.
Lastly, do not confuse this with legalism. These laws, or better said, these instructions and directions are to lead us towards Elohim’s heart and not for us to be measured as doers to win the heart of YHWH. We cannot, in our power alone, become holy in order to present ourselves in front of our Holy Father. Before Yeshua’s atonement, the high priest, a direct descendent of Aaron brother of Moshe, he would enter the Holy of Holies in the temple and atone for the sins of Israel to be erased (forgiven). But Yeshua came as our High Priest and He alone atoned for all of our sins, past, present and future. Through Him we are able to stand before our Father, and that is the good news this Mo’edim represent. That we no longer atone through a human high priest because Yeshua now stands in the gap sin has created between us and Elohim.
In conclusion, this coming August 21st, as the skies go dark for a moment in time, remember the darkness in our hearts and all around us, and lift up a prayer for yourself, community, country, and the whole world, that Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King) would draw all of us closer to Himself and fill us with His Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit) to be empowered to truly love YHWH and our neighbor as we love ourselves. Shalom!
“… Yeshua began to proclaim, “Turn away from your sins, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)
It is interesting to observe that during a time of much distress in Israel, with the Roman occupation, John the Immerser was just arrested, and the constant fight for statue by the religious elite and the poverty that plagued the land, Yeshua started His public ministry with a call to repentance (teshuvah). He knew that a bigger army was not going to come to topple the Romans or that King Herod would have changed his mind about killing John the Immerser. What about the pride of the so-called followers of The Way? Or the lack of concern for the poor and those in need?
Does this reminds you of anything? Isn’t this what we still see today even in our own neighborhoods, communities and so on?
Yeshua went at the heart of the problem, a changed heart for God first and then our regular life. We see this condition of isolating to our lives leaving God to be our second choice throughout the history of Israel. But Adonai always called us back:
“If you will return, O Israel, return to Me,” declares ADONAI. “If you will put your detestable things out of My sight. Then you will not waver. You will swear, ‘As ADONAI lives!’ in truth, in justice and in righteousness. The nations will bless themselves in Him and in Him they will glory.” (Jeremiah 4:1-2)
Now, here is the problem with our current view of repentance. We define this word as “to turn around”. And although that is in part true, there is much more Adonai is meaning when He calls us out to repent. The words written by Jeremiah spell it out completely. It is not just turn around but to leave the detestable things we do before Adonai and then abide to Him with body, soul, and spirit. Meaning, that simply to ask for forgiveness and perhaps abandon the sin is not sufficient. Our Father is asking us to always put Him first in our lives. To live a life that is devoted and surrendered to Him who created us. To follow His directions and instructions even when we do not understand the reason.
In the Torah, He spells out letter by letter how He wants us to be as a person, human, son/daughter, not to do something to win His approval but to be in a holy condition, as He is holy, that allows Him to fully embrace us as He did with Adam and Eve in the garden. When we fully focus our lives on Elohim, as He draws us near first, we can truly be of The Way.
Now, there is an urgency to return to Elohim. Yeshua said,” But an hour is coming—it is here now—when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people as His worshipers. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). This is where real life truly exists!
Returning to the Father is a matter of life and death. Again, Yeshua told us, “Amen, amen I tell you, an hour is coming and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of Ben-Elohim. Those who hear will live! (John 5:25)
But do not worry if you do not know how to return or how to even focus your eyes on Elohim. This is why He gave us His Ketuvah (prenuptial written covenant), this is the Torah. Yeshua will soon come for His bride having fulfill His part of the Ketuvah. His bride must also abide to the covenant that the Father has made available by writing it in our hearts by the way of the works of Yeshua and Him sending us the Ruach Hakodesh. Therefore, teshuva gemurah (completely repent) to The Way of Adonai because the kingdom of Elohim is at hand.
At Restoring the Way are committed to disciple the people of Avinu Elohim (God the Father), united in one body, mind and purpose while being equipped to proclaim the love and ways of God to all the nations.
“For I am Adonai your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—Adonai-Tzva’ot is His Name. I have put My words in your mouth, and covered you with the shadow of My hand— I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, ‘You are My people’ (Isaiah 51:15-16).” “… a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).”
A united body through love, hope, freedom, and peace that is focused in glorifying El Elyon (God most High) in all that we do.
“Elohim (God) will establish you as a holy people for Himself, just as He swore to you—if you keep the mitzvoth (laws, directions, teachings, ways) of Adonai Elohim (Lord our God) and walk in His ways (Deuteronomy 28:9).”
“Restoring the Way to Elohim by His love, hope, and freedom through Yeshua HaMassiach”