My Scripture Studies
It's not about Religion

Monday, August 18, 2008

God Does Not Change

My Scripture study journey and my life really changed 7 years ago when my beautiful wife and I took our daughter and son on a family adventure virtually retracing the vacation trip my parents had taken our family on 40 years earlier.

Everything was planned out to return to the destinations of my childhood memories or so it seemed everything was planned as we set out.

Just as we crossed the Texas New Mexico border, a brutal sand storm hit us. The violent wind was so strong and loud that we were afraid it would knock our rented 35-foot motor home over on its side as it easily pushed us off the pavement of Highway 285. At first I thought that I should try to turn the motor home headlong into the wind, but there was no room to maneuver. We were basically in the middle of nowhere with no another soul on the road, all we could do was pray, and then just as quickly as the windstorm hit us, it subsided.

The next morning, we hiked down nearly 1,000 feet down into Carlsbad Caverns and walked through the Kings Palace before we headed off to Meteor Crater, then on to the Walnut Canyon Indian cliff dwellings that date back a thousand years in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The next stop on the agenda was the majestic Grand Canyon, then the Hoover Dam. That’s where the perfectly planned trip took an unexpected turn after we crossed the blue water of the Colorado River. We pulled up to a tour helicopter pad near Las Vegas and on a whim, my daughter and I decided to get in line to buy our tickets. That flight ran into big trouble and ended up with a hard landing, but thank God, we were not onboard.

Somehow, as we crossed the desert, one of the rear tires on the RV was punctured and just as we were about to get onboard my wife yelled out, “you have a flat tire.” A short while later, when we saw that chopper on KYNV, we knew that flat tire was no accident at all, it was a blessing.

Two days later, with the big tire replaced, I drove that motorhome to Zion, well almost, we were headed to Zion National Park Utah. It’s there that the trip became one continuous prayer of thanks for that blessing but it raised a question. As we headed that motorhome toward the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone Park my constant prayer was simply, 'Lord what do you want me to do for you'?

I kept praying for an answer and a week later as we made our way out of the East side of Yellowstone driving along the Bighorn River headed toward the Royal Gorge bridge outside Canon, Colorado it came out of nowhere. The answer to my prayer was bold and it seemed audible, ‘read my word, it’s not old.’ I pulled the RV over to the side of the road asking my wife if she heard it.

That long drive home gave me a lot of time to consider that God disrupted my plan in order to protect life. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was following us around and revealed His presence out in the middle of nowhere. He has probably done the same for you, but were you paying attention?

That change of plan in our journey reminded me that some 3,500 years earlier in a monumental, earth-changing wilderness journey, Moses provided an amazing, yet little understood prophecy that came to light on our trip.

It is summed up in the middle of the sermon found in Deuteronomy 30: 1–10 and described as a sequence of events marked by what the world saw beginning in 1948 by the return to the land of Israel. Phase two requires a circumcision of the heart to obey the voice of THE LORD and that is followed by the final redemption to come when THE LORD will again rejoice over you for good, as he rejoiced over your fathers.

Until 2001, I knew very little of the application of this prophetic sermon in the front of the book. Instead, I basically believed everything I had heard from other sermons rooted in the 'church' father teaching that the Mosaic law was done away with by a dispensation of cheap grace. Yet grace is not cheap, it comes at great price.

The 'church' father's that led Christians astray include Marcion. Some 70 years after the destruction of The Temple and Jerusalem he turned the tables of truth proclaiming that Jesus changed the truth. He has misled millions if not billions saying that Matthew 5:17 means Jesus came to finish and do away with the Torah, distorting understanding and teaching anti-semitic lies in the spirit of Balaam that the law was useless and “done away with.” He taught that God rejected the Old Testament.

At the same time, Ignatius, the Bishop of Antioch taught that the Sabbath was done away with. Twenty years later, Justin Martyr arrived on the scene and taught that the 'church' the “appropriation of the title Israel” was the sole property of the 'church.' Martyr invented replacement theology and cursed the Jewish people he preached that the Jewish people crucified Christ. In a bizarre twist of lies, he ignored the fact that many thousands were the original followers of the Messiah and they were all Jewish.

These men were followed by others that destroyed the message of the Bible. They include Origen, Constantine, Eusebius Epiphanius and Chrysostom.

I had often encountered some major problems and questions in the Bible that did not reconcile with the messages these men proposed that became infused in 'church' teaching that I'd heard over and again that the law was done away with. Little did I know, through all those years that the word “law” is actually “Torah” which means teaching. The Bible is a book composed of Hebrew scrolls all written by faithful Jewish men that no matter the cost of life or limb listened and obeyed the teaching of God, not turning away to the sayings of men.

When I reread this great prophecy penned by Moses and continued reading what I had mistakenly called the Old Testament, I like others I have met, suddenly realized it was not old at all and certainly never hung on a cross, it's living.

You will find the words Old Testament on this blog website but the only real reason is to give a point of reference to help Christians like me, but we need to quit using those words. The reality the words are a spin off from a rejection of the Jewish people.

The Torah is living and when I began to understand that, I learned the true meaning of repentance and restoration or teshuvah.

In Hebrew, “shuv” means to return, to go back restore. That year, the process of my “teshuvah began and when I read over the words of Malachi 3:6: “For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed” I was dumbfounded and ashamed at my lifetime of ignorance.

God does not change… That statement is a great resource for anyone who has been raised declaring the Bible had changed from old to new, or learning dispensational perspectives and replacement theology opposing the scroll of Malachi.

Who was I to call Malachi a false prophet, after all his Hebrew name means “my messenger” and he plainly recorded the voice of Almighty God and His words say: “For I, the LORD, do not change.”

These words demand repentance and rejection of my personal wolf in sheep’s clothing belief that the church has replaced Israel and that God's teaching had been done away with. It was time to let that go.

Here's why...

Malachi also gives an unchanging promise by the words of the Lord: ““From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’”

This question is one that must be answered because this return that Moses describes relays the promise of the final redemption, the restitution of all things when God’s glory presence will return and restore the planet:

“Return to Me, and I will return to you” is a great promise followed by the means: “And you have turned back and considered, Between the righteous and the wicked, Between the servant of God and him who is not His servant.”

During the first redemption, the Tabernacle's blueprint, like creation was designed by God but this built by men showing that we have a partnership with God. The tent provided a link between Heaven and Earth much like it was in Eden for God’s presence was not somewhere else, far away and unseen. In the second redemption, Messiah will rule with an scepter and God will dwell among his people - on Earth.

Joel is a witness to the decision before us all:
"Yet even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Joel 2:12-13
As I read this a few years ago, now knowing the words of God are living, unchanging words, I realized I had not turned back with all my heart toward righteousness, which is the Lord, I’d walked away from Him.

I had always sensed something was not quite right. The nagging feeling in my heart was that there had to be more but I did not know what that was.

As I began to earnestly study and read the word of God from the beginning, I began to resolve many traditions, beliefs and religious views that I held near and dear but could not never find in the Scriptures. My perspective was innocent, but it was wrong. It was biased toward antisemitism and my perspective was wrong. The teaching of God, the Torah is what we "get to" follow because we love God, it is not a prescription to earn a measure of salvation or righteousness. That is impossible.

My goal is to encourage you to open, study and use your Bible because for some, the Bible is thought to be outdated religion, but it is not. It speaks God’s enduring truth.

Speaking of outdated, I was shocked about my next personal “discovery” about that Feast in the wilderness at the first redemption mentioned in Exodus 5:1. Soon, I learned that the redemption plan of God is embedded in the forever Feasts of the Lord and as I read on and studied in amazement realizing that God’s plan was to bless "all the families of the earth" and restore the breach between heaven and earth that occurred in the beginning and just like Eden, the Sabbath plays a really big part.

Simply put God's covenant plan is to use the family of Abraham to bless all nations of the planet and restore it just as God promised Abraham in covenant when he called him to come out of the pagan culture of Ur of the Chaldees:

"I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Our Creator will use the Sabbath and prayer in Jerusalem as a big part of the restoration. The amazing thing is that The Lord God tells the prophet Isaiah that prayer is linked to the Sabbath and the covenant:
“And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD,
and to be his servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
and holds fast my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”
The Lord GOD,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
“I will gather yet others to him
besides those already gathered.”
Isaiah 56:6-8
By the words of Jacob spoken to Joseph's two boys Ephraim and Manasseh, I've learned how God uses adoption in His plan. That's the same message God conveys to Isaiah as the blessing promised Abraham links "others" i.e. all nations to be gathered to the holy mountain and God's house of prayer. Today, it's only a wall of prayer, but that will change when burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted again on God's altar.

It will be the greatest Saturday BBQ picnic celebration ever!

Once I realized that the Sabbath is eternally intertwined in what God does and how He thinks, I even discovered that our Creator gives everyone that is willing to listen, a few simple instructions for a healthy diet and lifestyle. I had always wondered why the separation of clean and unclean had been done away with.

Then, it dawned on me, the separation has not changed.

When that happened its as if I took a step up Jacob's ladder because I had a better view that our Creator’s unchanging teaching and instruction is set apart to protect and preserve our life on this planet. He knows what's best, after all He created it. If we want to walk near Him, we need walk like Him because the God of Israel lives among his people in a special way, His ways ur higher than our ways. To understand and get a proper view, we have to take a fews steps up the ladder toward Heaven.

I soon learned about the greatest command.

Yeshua (Jesus) expounded on this in Matthew 22:35-38 when in Jewish tradition, He taught that "the Shema" is the highest duty, and when you dig into the depth of the Shema message found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, we can realize that it too teaches us that God never did away with the Torah and Jesus never ever taught otherwise. Everything He did upheld the Torah as the way of life described in the book of life:
““Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Binding them on your hand means do them, binding them on your forehead means to study and meditate on them, putting them on the gate to your home means to live them and make them a part of your existence to protect your family and give you blessing. Jesus teaches the heart of the matter, that if you put God first in your live and love Him with all your might, the outpouring of that is to follow the instruction of Leviticus 19:18 which says: " shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord."

Bottom-line, I learned that I was the one that needed to change and return to God's Word and Messiah's Bible and teach my children to do the same. I realized that the Spirit of God can't teach us if unbind the Bible, that is take away from His word or add in our own edits with doctrines and theologies that corrupt the constitution ofGod's Kingdom on Earth.

To learn God’s ways, we must study all of the Bible with an open mind and heart and pray to allow the Spirit of the Lord through our prayers to hlep unwind our theologies and traditions so that we can bind with the light of His unchanging truth with what we do and think! That the heart of the Shema.

King David sought the same thing by his prayer and he describes it this way:
"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy Torah." Psalm 119:18
Ezekiel was honored with this message and recorded it for us from God's word to him:
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:26-27
Proverbs speaks plainly and bolding about this new heart and it provides anyone that has an ear to hear the key to understanding God’s message to mankind in the TaNak, aka the Bible:
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:1-5
In order to understand and find its hidden treasure, we have to return and seek understanding in the Bible. That is the goal of my Scripture studies. The thing about the Kingdom is this: we share in the responsibility to bring it forth. It is our assignment.

If you will consider that God does not change, then His word will call out to a reexamination of your faith, a refreshing, a restoration. That’s what began for me in 2001 and each day of restoration since. My journey through the Bible is what this website will address.

It's the original message of the "deceiver" to fall for the idea that God does not mean what He says or that He has changed His mind. Don't listen to that old lie of the adversary any longer, it’s been a death sentence since the beginning. But, "the truth" we have been given from this Proverb is as certain for us today as it was the day it was written:
"Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." Proverbs 30:6
I was found to be a liar, ignoring and walking away from the instruction and teaching of Almighty God the Father. I was "falling away.” Many others have fallen, but it is now time to get up, to repent of the lies that began in the garden and return to His living word, the book of life. The Torah is all about fellowship and relationships that rely on God and it encourages us to show those around us to do the same.

Honoring our Father’s instruction allows us demonstrate our love for the God of Israel and what He has done in the first redemption, what He is doing right now and what He will do in the second. Despite all the confusion, that is what precisely what Yeshua, the Jew from Nazareth taught. If you doubt this, then I encourage you to read these words from Matthew chapter five.
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:16-19
By the way, that Greek word translated as "fulfill" is "plēroō" and it means to make full, to cause to abound. It does not mean do away with as you may have heard others say, it means the opposite. But we have to change our arrogant way of Gentile thinking, our prejudice to understand. Oh, by the way, that word "Law" it is Torah, God's teaching and instruction. So consider a change in Gentile thinking...

Do not think that Yeshua came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets; He did not come to abolish but to cause it to abound.

Jeremiah speaks directly to the change in my own Gentile thinking:
"O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and [things] wherein [there is] no profit." Jeremiah 16:19
Bottomline, we have to face our past. Truth does not change, Jerusalem, Israel and the Jewish people are front and center!

God is the God of Israel and He does not change. His covenants and promises do not fade. Sounds simple enough, but when you hear this truth and walk in it, you can begin to understand God's word for what it is and live in it.

Yes, you can live in the Scriptures! There is phenomenon of individuals, families or small groups of Christians gathering together all over the world to honor the Sabbath and study the Torah while engaging with the Feast Days as well as seeking ways to bless and support Israel.

They are those who had once rejected The Scriptures of Torah and the restoration is amazing. Most people I have meet or talk to, have felt this calling of the Spirit over the last 10 years or so as they began to see the unchanging clarity of the Scriptures as God began to lay a love for Israel and the Jewish people on their hearts.

This heart no doubt has been spiritually imparted as an amazing blessing as God is doing something and a remnant want to be a part of turning away from inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.

Many Scripture passages teach about this:
"By Myself I have sworn; Truth has gone from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow to Me, every tongue will swear allegiance." Isaiah 45:23

“He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.” 1 Samuel 15:29

“In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” Psalm 102:25-27
God’s word is truth and it is the word that remains the same. Thank God for the faithful Jewish people that were entrusted with the oracles of God.

So, today many that like me that one refused to read, study and follow the teaching and instruction of God found in the Torah, His BOOK OF LIFE are turning back to the roots of their faith whose home land is Israel. Perhaps in innocence, we followed the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel.

My stumbling block was ignoring God's word as if it were an old book to be kept on a bookshelf as a decoration of faith. I usually opened it when one is available on the front pew but only to follow along listening to snippets here and there that supported the precepts, doctrines and religious words of men that suggest there was a God of the old and now there is a God of the new.

I once believed the men that taught the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob discarded His Sabbath and His Passover morphing it into an Easter egg hunt and baked ham that did away with His Appointed Holy Days, but now I know that’s not the message from the Shepherd.

Many still teach God changed His mind and shifted gears but a remnant are beginning to understand the words of Ezekiel 22:26
"Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them."
When we listen to the howl of a wolf in sheep's clothing as I had done, we are bound to miss the mark and fall without ever knowing what God has to say and end up relying on others to teach a tradition, doctrine or theology that God provides replacement, not restoration.

There is no replacement, that is as sure as the glow of the sun, the orbit of the moon, the shining of the stars and the roar of the ocean. Jeremiah is the witness:
"Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar -- the LORD of hosts is his name: "If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the LORD, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever."" Jeremiah 31:35-36
I once thought I was too busy chasing money or that I had better things to do than hear these words of our Creator God, so I sat in a pew listening only to the voice and traditions of others once every weekend that did not teach the difference between unclean and the clean and disregarded God's Sabbath.

It often seemed that God never heard my selfish prayers and no wonder:
“He who turns away his ear from hearing the Torah, even his prayer is an abomination.” Proverbs 28:9
But thank God, things are changing. Slowing perhaps, but dramatically as promised by the Prophets that preached a message of hope, that God would faithfully use Israel to bring his blessing to the world. They foresaw that God would fulfill His promise through a future king, the Messiah.

Is this change of heart for justification? No. Is it for salvation? No. It is about faith and a demonstration by works of love. This is the clear message from the Newer Testament by the words of James:
"If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." James 2:15-18
In order to honor God's Glory, many like me are learning that if we love the Lord and others, we want to walk His walk, talk His talk and do the word of God just like Abraham:
"Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"--and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." James 2:21-24
We are in a restoration of this action faith of the historical Yeshua, an awakening time from the voice of Elijah to remove "leavened" teaching and tradition from our lives that is not based on God's bold voice throughout Scripture.

It is time to return to walk in God's truth and like James says and be "doers" of His word and He promises something amazing: “I will return to you.”

The thing many now see is that that the return is rooted in Jerusalem, the home of the most amazing people, the Jewish people, our brothers and sisters that through the greatest trials of history have stood fast, because:

God Does Not Change. Get ready for your restoration!

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