My Scripture Studies
Removing the Blinders

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What Is It About the Jots and Tittles?

"If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me."
The disciple called John credits Yeshua with these words.

The Bible tells us creation was spoken by the words of God. This is the first account of the Torah. Yet, many today teach and preach that the Torah is the law and it has been done away with... hung on the cross. Abolished and set aside and no longer applicable.

Praise God it has not been done away with,
otherwise creation would cease to exist according to Jesus.

It would plainly seem then that those that believe that, should heed this solemn warning:
"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 jot or tittle shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.

Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, 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. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses {that} of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-20
One simple truth is that Heaven and Earth are still here.

Creation has not passed away. Heaven and Earth are the proof, the two witnesses of truth that Jesus taught and kept the instruction of God to show us how to do the same thing!
"This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" — Mark 9:7
There's not one verse, one chapter, one book in the Bible that ever says - He kept the law 'so you don't have to.' Yet, that concept exists from the blinders of some misguided pulpits.

Jesus whose Hebrew name is Yeshua, is delivering a message straight from Heaven that 'the law' or rather the Torah, the teaching and instruction of God, has a never-ending role in the redemptive plan of God for mankind AND it has a great purpose for your life and the role you have.

Jesus even tells us this purpose includes the Kingdom of God. This covenant of this message started at Mount Sinai as shown in Exodus 24:3-11 and God is still looking for those that will respond with one voice: “Everything the LORD has said we will listen to do.”

Many people debate this, they even argue over the fact that Jesus (Yeshua) spoke Hebrew. The debate is over. There is no jot or tittle in Greek. They are only a Hebrew reality.

So just what is a jot and a tittle? In Hebrew, the jot is the letter yod. The yod is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet and the tittle are the smallest markings, the crown points on top of many Hebrew letters that are essential for distinguishing Hebrew letters because several look the same, except for the tittles. Understanding this can open the Bible to deeper understanding and ultimately show you that Hebrew was the language of Yeshua.

Salvation is by grace and the Hebrew Bible points us to Messiah and His way of Kingdom living. We can never turn our backs and “abolish” the Torah if our personal goal is to be a part of His Kingdom and sharing the need for the redemptive work of God as our Savior.

Messiah Yeshua came and gave a greater meaning to Torah. He revealed its ultimate purpose is to show us how we can live like Him, but honoring Torah does not redeem or save anyone, only Yeshua saves, it's His namesake.

Jesus (Yeshua) also taught that the reward for doing and teaching others His ways of Godly living leads to a “great" position in the Kingdom of God. And most certainly since He keeps the Torah perfectly, He is the greatest in the Kingdom. Just take a closer look at Matthew 5:19 to see the truth direct from our Savior Messiah.

Incredibly, Yeshua also teaches us to emphasize the spiritual reality of the commandments because Messiah taught His disciples and He teaches us that true righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees. (See Matthew 5:20)

Whoa... wait a minute, what's up with that statement from Jesus??

The message here from Rabbi Yeshua is that the commandments of God, are Yeshua's commandments because He is God in the flesh, and HIs way of living can only be kept properly when the Word of God is understood and lived out as a love offering and blessing, not a religious obligation.

This "love offering" should be the goal of every true disciple of Yeshua: “Everything the LORD has said we will listen to do.”

After all, as the children of God, we "GET TO" do what God our Father asks us of to because we love Him. What an honor it is to keep His heavenly teaching and instruction!

Yeshua wants us to enter into His Kingdom lifestyle and follow Him in the commandments from the vantage point of the grace, mercy and blessing He gives us, not seeking merit from obligatory duty.

Like Abraham, we can be recognized as a friend of God by a walk in faith so that The Father considers us a true friend. And as a friend of God, we can walk in His instruction as a blessing, an offering of love not a way to earn salvation and eternal life. When we do, we can walk in the word of God in as joy and not look at Torah as a heavy stone to labor with or carry as a burden.

The true Torah of God is freedom because His instruction, His Torah defines sin and it shows us how much we must all rely on God and not ourselves because we can't keep His word without Him showing us the way and helping us daily by The Spirit of God. Alone, we can never be found righteous in the Torah, yet it is filled with wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, to point us toward a pure and holy life "near" the mercy seat for everyone who trusts and believes in Messiah, justified by faith.

Salvation cannot come from keeping the law because it cannot be kept perfectly. All have sinned, we are human and God knows that about each of us!

The letter writer Paul teaches about this:
“Therefore the law (Torah) has become our tutor to lead us to Messiah, that we may be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says his purpose is to boldly proclaim the 'mystery' of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19). This mystery is revealed in the jots and tittles of the Torah and all we need to do is open our eyes to see it.

The jot and tittle connection is the Torah inscribed by God's servant Moses and the faith of God's friend Abraham.

The covenant given to Abraham provides the foundation to reveal God's plan to established a people and a blessing of the Promised Land as an endowment, a wedding gift to God’s people.

When the families of Israel and the strangers and sojourners that left the slavery of Egypt with them reached Mount Sinai, Almighty God betrothed His people in covenant as He spoke the ten words, the wedding vows of His Kingdom with the instructions of how to walk in marriage covenant with Him and others. The ten words, the ten commandments were written in stone tablets by our Creator and Moses inscribed the Kingdom constitution on a scroll.

Yet, as Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the precious gift of God's covenant for His people, he and Joshua walked down and found 3,000 in prostitution before a false image, an idol, the golden calf. Just 40 days earlier they had all agreed to walk in covenant with God as their King, but like Adam and Eve, they quickly and willfully broke their promise of covenant with Almighty God.

That covenant began with the blood of the five sacrifices that bound Abraham to God's covenant and it was re-affirmed by the blood of lambs sprinkled with hyssop on their doorposts in Egypt (Exodus 12:22) and then again when Moses threw blood on the people (Exodus 24:8) after they all agreed to the terms. Because God chose life blood to legally bind Abraham's covenant, the Passover covenant and the "marriage" covenant that the LORD made with the Ten Commandments, blood would again be required for the restoration of these covenants.

In God's mystery, without blood, there can be no redemption of covenant. Therefore, the son of God - Yeshua offered His own blood to renew and restore these covenants.

So in the end, we can respond with our heart inscription of faith and walk. There is no human ability to perfectly walk in all of the commandments of God at all times, we need the blood of Messiah to cover, to atone for our transgressions then, now and tomorrow.

The goal of the Torah is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us just as the pillar of fire led Israel and the sojourners with them through the wilderness.

If we want to want in covenant, we can choose to follow what He asks us to do when He asks us to in loving obedience that demonstrate the promise of His eternal blessing.

It is this Spirit-filled heart of obedience that Yeshua is seeking to magnify His teaching on the jots and tittles of the Hebrew scrolls of the Torah when He speaks of “surpassing” the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). This message in Matthew from our anointed teacher is amazing and it's one we can easily miss unless we know that as God’s children, we can and will be richly blessed by our walk by His "teaching and instruction" (Torah).

It's our honor as His children to choose to walk in God's teaching yet it is NOT a means to salvation because the Torah is NOT a religious list of do's or don'ts as a means to earn salvation, but rather the Torah is the opportunity God gives all who choose to walk in God's ways and express our love in reverent worship because our hearts are overwhelmed to give back our offering of love for "The One" who will redeem us.

The Ten Commandments are Almighty God’s marriage covenant for life and relationship with Him. His two tablets of stone are the table of contents of the Torah.

Can you imagine that on one tablet are the principles of how we are to honor God and on the other how we are to honor our neighbors sojourning with us in His world? This is why Matthew gives us the story of a lawyer. Do you suppose that was a man that studied Roman law? Nah, I doubt it, he was most likely a Yeshiva teacher, a Pharisee Rabbi, a teacher of the Torah. He asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment in the law as a witness of Torah described in Matthew 22:35-40.

The response from Yeshua referenced the very heart of the message of the two tablets inscribed at Sinai as the two witness commands that sum up the whole of the Torah as the way of life.

Yeshua said that to love God is the first and greatest commandment. He spoke of the 'Shema" of the sermon of Moses shown in Deuteronomy 6:4-5. It is first and greatest in that it represents the heartbeat of every Torah word. But also remember He also said, “If you love me, keep my Commandments” John 14:15 and He said: "I and [my] Father are one" John 10:30.

Yeshua went on to answer the man: "And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang ALL the law and the prophets.”"

The two tablets were given at the smoking, fiery pinnacle of Sinai and they remain as our covenant in how we are to honor God and walk in the ways shown by the teaching of Messiah Yeshua.

By God's mystery design, His desire is to have us rely on Him as we diminish ourselves, and so many aspects of the Torah are impossible for anyone to keep without His presence. Due to the integration of the land promise given to Abraham, many of God's instructions in the scroll of Moses are in a two-thousand year time out, a half time if you will between appearances of Messiah, but the ten commandments remain, not only etched in stone but in our hearts.

Those that wait for His presence include the Tabernacle worship services which the Prophets say will be reinstated in the millennial reign of King Yeshua.

The two days are ending soon, but halftime never ends a game and 2,000 years does not do away with or annul God's covenant instruction. Somehow in a great mystery this is a part of God's game plan. Just as there is a long wait between the four Spring Feasts that show us His first coming and the three Fall Feasts that will engage at His second coming, God’s will for the restoration of Heaven on Earth is right on schedule.

A huge part, if not most of the Torah instruction, provides service protocols for the Levites alone as they tend to the keeping of the Tabernacle and the altar services in the physical presence of the fire of God Almighty. He does not stand before us now on Earth, that's plain and simple to understand.

Yet, that in no way takes away from the blood and resurrection life of Yeshua as our Savior and mediator between God and mankind.

We tend to freak out a bit or shut down when we consider that altar offerings will be seen again in the millennium Kingdom of our Lord, but consider that they will fulfill the same function they did long ago before the Pillar of Fire of the God of Israel.

They will continue to give us a graphic and physical representation of the ultimate sacrifice offering by Yeshua and the atonement that only He provides by His blood covenant.

The gift of the Levites and their services clearly pointed all of mankind 'forward to' the coming of Messiah and His Passover miracle of atonement death and resurrection redemption. So too, Ezekiel shows us that the millennial Temple will direct our hearts 'back to' what He has accomplished for the redemption of all that follow Him.

We must know now that the word Torah means teaching, so we can see that the gift of the Levites is a teaching for us as a part of the natural and adopted family of Israel. Part of the teaching is that we must guard if we are innocently seeking Torah as the letter of the law and we must protect ourselves from any satisfaction which we think might come from walking in the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees.

Instead, we must remember Yeshua’s words that teach us that those with such righteousness will 'not enter' the Kingdom of Heaven. The 12 gates will be closed. Only those who "surpass" the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees are viewed as truly righteous and enter in Messiah's city where He reigns as King. That righteousness can only be the work of the heart for Messiah as our atonement, not work of the hand.

Only our love for God and each other enables us to understand the commandments as a blessing so we be empowered to walk as Yeshua intended and show the world we love the Father.

John 14:31 shows that Jesus summed this up for His disciples at the Passover as the 12 gathered: "I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father."

"I do as the Father has commanded me, so that
the world may know that I love the Father."

Jesus also says...

“Not every one who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father, who is in heaven.”

As I have written before, the relentless grief and admonishment that Yeshua gave the whitewashed men He called graves was because some of the Rabbis had lost sight of the spirited heart of Torah and they became entangled in the wire of their words, so much so that their traditions became greater than the Torah in their own hearts. For them, the 'to do' and 'not to do' list became a weighty burden. They were fenced in under their own traditions because they added to God's word.

The Torah never describes a dividing wall between Israel and the nations. The people God calls to Himself as children of Israel are to be distinct and set apart by Torah, but as Yeshua taught His disciples earlier in chapter 5 of Matthew, this is so that they can be seen as a lamp, a light to the world. After all, if you blend in with the crowd no one will notice the menorah unless the lights are magnified as a bright fire because the seven menorah flames represent the manifest presence and Spirit of God. Isaiah 11:2 tells us of them:

"And the (1) spirit of YHVH shall rest upon him, the spirit of (2) wisdom and (3) understanding, the spirit of (4) counsel and (5) might, the spirit of (6) knowledge and of the (7) fear of YHVH."

The book of Revelation show us these four times so they are VERY important to us in this time. I pray they are a revelation to you:

Revelation 1:4 "John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne."

Revelation 3:1 "And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead."

Revelation 4:5 "And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God."

Revelation 5:6 "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."

I pray we will each be a bright light to each other and to the lost as show others how to walk in the light of Messiah, the living Torah. we are to be a priest to the nations teaching others of redemption to do the same. That's what Paul taught:

"But of him are ye in Messiah Yeshua, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" 1Corinthians 1:30

He learned this from Isaiah's words:

Isaiah 42:21 “The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will MAGNIFY the Torah, and make it honourable.”

What does this all mean?

It means that if you want to share this message you need to be like Messiah and know the Scriptures. Just look at Matthew 4:4-10. Look at chapters 11,21 and 26 too. His response was like that in Joshua 8:31, 1Kings 2:3 and Psalms 40:7:
"It is written"
It means we need to know "Who is the One Called Jesus". Really know Him and His teaching. It means that it is now time for all of us to repent and return as Believers, united in unison with God's covenant word. It means we must repent, return to hear and do His word if we are to walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that you can ready your lamp for your coming assignment as you are called by His Spirit to be set apart for His service.

God is a sovereign God. He is a loving, unchanging God and He has provided a way to offer you His salvation though grace. You can accept His gift of life. Consider carefully what your own life consists of, look at it and repent of your sin, ask His forgiveness and accept His gift of love through Messiah Yeshua - Jesus Christ. Do it now and open His instruction manual for living life His way!

Today is the time. If you know you need to get your life right with God, don’t wait for tomorrow, get it right with Him now!
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17
And if you have done this, ask God in faith to send His baptism of the Holy Spirit on you so that your life will spiritually shine as a witness to others with the love and light of Messiah as dark days ahead stare our nation in the face. Take a stand.

May God Bless as you seek your oil to light a fire pleasing to Him!