Friday, August 17, 2012

[Deuteronomy 27:26 NASB] ‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

This injunction sort of gave the teachers of law the Carte Blanche to pile up on their subjects not only what’s been originally written, but also their subjective interpretations of the Torah. In a course of time, rabbinical, and later on also the pharisaic interpretations have become as final and holy as the original Law of Moses.

This burdening of people peaked at the time of Jesus. Many proselytes (converts to Judaism) were heavily indoctrinated to keep even much tighter gridlock of the law than those born Jewish. But not much has changed since. Today any new convert to Judaism (Orthodox) pretty much passes through the same process and ends up stuck in the letter of the law.

This letter of the law has indeed changed over time. With each exile and return and with each rebuilding of the temple, under Babylonian, Persian or the Hellenistic rule, the laws have changed. The law has been divided into three categories, which were assigned to the temple service with all the sacrifices and priestly service. The second fell under the judicial law assigned to the court of law, judges, prosecutors and lawyers. Any legal disputes fell under that category. The third portion—like the keeping of Sabbath, dietary laws and celebration of feasts like Passover, Pentecost the New Year, the Day of Atonement and the Feats of Tabernacles and later on also Hanukkah—belonged to the people. So that was easy. Every country has holidays and everyone enjoys them. The only tough day was Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) for the Rabbis told the people to fast without water or food for 24 hours. Although Moses only spoke of the souls’ affliction (ענה – anah, to bring low or to be downcast or to stoop down) the humbling of the pride, it was interpreted as a forceful subjugation of pride through food and drink deprivation. The inability to humble oneself before the Lord is indeed severe, hence this extreme measure was established from before, at least, 800 B.C. as the soul’s humbling measure, with which I disagree, just as I do with all the kosher laws, which I have explained above.

The burdening of God’s people was never in God’s mind for He is kind and loving; otherwise why would He have raised up for us deliverers? God hates all forms of oppression. God raised Moses, Samuel, Samson and Gideon and finally Jesus Christ in order to abolish all forms of oppression, religious and otherwise. But man can’t stop acting on the war genes within him and oppresses others.  

Talmud has added much more to the Torah out of necessity, because laws of the country to which the Jews were exiled were not at all satisfactory. Often Jews ‘enjoyed’ autonomy and conducted their own affairs, which included, property and personal disputes as well as civil laws like marriage contracts, etc.
In the Letter to the Galatians the apostle Paul says that anyone doing the works of the law is under a curse as if God gave the law to curse us with. (That can only be a Kenite interpretation, which I shall explain later.) At least Paul’s words seem to convey it that way. But is it really what he meant? It is necessary to examine it closer and understand the central meaning of Paul’s words.

[Galatians 3:10 KJV] 10th For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Obviously Paul speaks about earning salvation/eternal life through the works of the law because Judaism preaches that a good person will attain to the world to come. In Judaism heaven is an abstract notion so the ‘world to come’ is used instead of heaven. When Paul crossed the line from Judaism to Christianity he also injected some philosophy of his own into it. And after seeing so many new converts—as a result of the tremendous outpour of God’s grace on the gentiles—he went on beyond any existing boundaries. Unlike his brethren, Paul left Judaism completely alone and shaped Christianity on his own. Should I say that he shouldn’t have? – Absolutely not for not even one religion is completely true. About 600 years later Muhammad went for his own formulation of religion.

Only those who subject themselves to any religion’s formulation of a dogma are doomed to works of the law; be they a prescribed ritual, repetitious confessions or ceremonies. The freedom of the Holy Spirit does not entail memorials, dates and any ritualistic practices for in Him time does not exist. Watch Jesus and you will see that He was not particularly religious. We have three accounts where Jesus at the age of twelve came to the temple with his parents. We have an account of Jesus’ visit to Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah). Passover was the last supper with His disciples, but it was shortly before Pesach. His thoughts and words pointed to the Kingdom of Heaven, which the spiritual Kingdom of God. Holidays and religious rituals only serve as reminders of that blessed reality.

In time people have twisted-to-suit all memorial events making out of them formal ritualistic and hence religious ceremonies, with which, over time, they fell in love. A sense of doing something right from myself and keeping something for God’s sake gives me a sense of righteousness. Those that have accepted this norm of religion are quite satisfied and we should not disturb them. However, those who have “too much life” in them and long for more of the fresh and new, would definitely be willing to discard the old wineskins and would ready themselves for the new wine. “My yoke is easy and My burden is light”—said Jesus.   

[Galatians 3:11-12 KJV] But that the law in the sight of God justifies no man, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith.

Trusting God and having one’s thoughts dipped in His realm is the way to go.

(V.12) And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them.

This is very interesting, for Paul endorses those who actually practice the law as being able to live by them. The inability, or rather the transgression of the law, awakes ARROR because one struggles with something one is well aware of as being transgression. Now, if that transgression also includes rabbinical interpretations, like those of Hillel and Shamai (contemporaries of Jesus) then the transgression becomes augmented. At that pointed one faces the future based on works and inabilities, ‘if I missed it now how many times would I miss it in the future.’ On this premise Paul voices his own frustration by saying, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 3:24 KJV)

Being justified in God’s eyes is something else. Doing the works of the law means more than being okay with God; for one actually stops hurting each other; for one is a peacemaker. This is more a horizontal relation—between people—rather than vertical one between man and God.

Laws serve as guardians so that we would enjoy peace as opposed to strife, disputes and warlike ways. God has practically nothing to do with our level-parallel ways for He knows that when we are too busy with envy, malice, strife and constant feuding we have no time to lift our eyes to heaven and think about our Maker. He becomes more and more distant. The living picture shrinks and only our self-righteous religious frame remains. Man has chosen religiousness and numerous rituals instead of morality and its natural simplicity. We have complicated our lives and as a result we seek peace and stability; so we have also multiplied for ourselves religious observances.   
Living by faith in God catapults us out of the senseless cycle of malice and even violence into God’s orbit. We snap out of the brut level relationships and from all forms of codependency as we look up to our Heavenly Father.

Faith also comes. It comes by hearing the word of God. Still it comes. Faith is a gift of God. Words like exoneration or absolution can also be used here for justification, but it is something that happens on God’s side rather than ours. A Governor can pardon a criminal, but the criminal continues being a criminal. Some criminals bluntly say that if you let them loose they would do the same crime over and over again. They pride themselves by saying that they can’t help themselves.

(V.13) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

The context of Deuteronomy 21 provides us with clarity as to anyone being found slain in the land. This law had to do with innocent blood in order to put away the guilt of the spilled innocent blood. The law would then rectify any wrongdoing and would exonerate the suspects in the sight of the LORD. The curse of an innocent slain hanging on a tree had to do with carelessness in regard to God’s law, which was given for an act of expiation thus keep the living place of the land’s inhabitants clean. Sacrifices and washings have much to do with this form of atonement. 

(V. 14) that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

When it comes to the blessings of Abraham the faith, which he had received from God, Abraham had to act on. For as we have already established, faith without an action or work is inactive, does not move and accomplishes nothing; in other words it is deemed as being dead. The living faith, which is God’s gift to us, must come into an especially prepared habitation where it can thrive, just as it was the case with the living soul of Adam (Genesis 1:26), which was put into a specially-prepared-for-it body. (Genesis 2:7) This compatibility must be there. Hence, God uses His spirit of life in us; through which He passes His energies and even affecting the miraculous. He can altogether bypass our bodies and mind; and independently use only the spirit of life, just as He did in Balaam’s donkey. Being used of God means little to God.

[Matthew 7:21-23] “Not everyone 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 will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

Not one single fruit of the Holy Spirit is being mentioned here, like being kind, compassionate or loving, but only the works of power, casting out demons or prophecies.

God’s Word must be synchronized with His logic, which makes it all one. In other words, we cannot isolate one chapter or verse from another for in all biblical writings we find the River of Life weaving its way around our deformed ways. The moment we repent and fully return to our God we return back to the straight and narrow way; by then no weaving around our twisted ways would be necessary. Would it?

"Curse" is a very strong and much abused word. Those who do not understand the Hebrew meaning of this word still wander in pagan ideas, which imply something ominously permanent. But is this word ARROR or ARRAR, which speaks of making someone bitter, (Hebrew word for a curse, which speaks of something bitter versus something sweet) is neither really final nor unchangeable? Everything can be reversed. Deep repentance breaks and removes all curses. Breaking a curse is like breaking a wooden stick, but then that stick must be burned up and then cease to be. The acceptance of a bitter life is hapless. The lack of knowledge in this regard makes one truly poor and deserving pity.

When Paul spoke to the pagan people their understanding of a curse was completely different from the Hebraic one. A curse was something permanent. A cursed life would constitute something irreparable; yet any uttered curse proceeds from the disposition of displeasure, which comes and goes. Like a garment one puts on and then takes off. God’s heart carries no curses; His heart is compassion and love. Therefore, I see clearly that Paul, in his discourse in Galatians 3 used the curse imagery to win converts to Christ. Paul is known to be quite eloquent and philosophical and that must be noted here also.

ARROR is the opposite of peace. Peace carries the elements of well-being, wealth joy, tranquility and rest, bitterness on the other hand stems from warlike unrest.

In Greek, curse (κατάρα katara, which means: imprecation or execration and their synonyms like hatred, imprecation, loathing, malediction, odium, profanity) means much more than just the Hebrew ARROR. Paul, as a well-versed-in-the-Hebrew-Bible Israelite took quite a trip when he spoke to a crowd of Greeks and in their own language. He went bombastic… I assume to save as many as possible.

God’s law was not given to curse us with, but rather to create fences around our evildoing for the sake of the innocent and the vulnerable. The law keeps an order just as any other law. Any infringement on someone else’s rights the law is there to rectify; so how can the law be a curse? Therefore, it was the pharisaic law, of which I spoke earlier. The unnecessarily burdening of people with obligations beyond their capacity to bear was wicked; and when one adds Deuteronomy 27:26 to it, then it results in the taking away of peace by imposing oppression. This is the bitterest affliction done to God’s people, but not by God, but by man. Anyone trying to keep that maze of additions and renditions of the supposedly lawful injunctions would be hardly pressed; and eventually would either give it all up or give in, or perish.

The curse of the law can be summed with only one chapter Deuteronomy 27:13-26.

“For the curse, (קללה QELALAH, to curse with, vilification, execration) these shall stand on Mount Ebal: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
“The Levites shall then answer and say to all the men of Israel with a loud voice,
‘Cursed (ARRAR) is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is he who dishonors his father or mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is he who moves his neighbor’s boundary mark.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is he who misleads a blind person on the road.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is he who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s skirt.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is he who lies with any animal.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is he who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or of his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is he who lies with his mother-in-law.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is he who strikes his neighbor in secret.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is he who accepts a bribe to strike down an innocent person.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

Obviously, apostle Paul did not single out just Deuteronomy 27, but made the entire Law of Moses, all five books, as unbearable—and anyone trying to keep it—as being under a curse yet verse 26th specifically singles out this law and not the entire law, which also includes the Ten Commandments.

"Cursed is he who moves his neighbor’s boundary mark." Is that not a good thing? Is it too hard to be honest? "Cursed is he who lies with his father’s wife…" Isn’t that a good thing? Lewdness and immorality brings only pain and distress to us. Or this: "Cursed is he who accepts a bribe to strike down an innocent person." Turn it around. How would you like when someone lies about you after taking a bribe? Imagine Jezebel who bribed some worthless fellows so that they might testify against Naboth just because her husband Ahab coveted his vineyard?

Let’s simplify. These twelve curses speak of the twelve tribes as well as day’s twelve hours. One will experience bitter affliction when he or she does not love his or her neighbor, such is not a peacemaker but a vicious and conniving scoundrel. One curses him or her self with such acts of immorality, which always stem from the overbearing selfishness.

In religion, when the monks reveled in gluttony, drunkenness and sexual carousing they broke all laws of decency and their own vows of chastity, which they had made upon admission to the order. In all forms of Christianity we still have vows, rules and regulations.

Moses found out quite late in life that love and peace are not the factors that make people act righteously. The ex-slaves knew no morality outside the love for their own families; and besides the Hebrew slaves there were also other people that joined Israel on their journey to the Promised Land. The temptation and opportunity was just too juicy to pass up. The Kenites were the first disillusioned ones and incited the rest to turn back to Egypt. Their appetites for gain were not satisfied and their taste-buts not gratified with the daily manna. The Promised Land was slipping away while Moses ‘mulled over God’s laws.’ In their view none of this made any sense for their only motivation was gain, position of power and influence and the satisfaction of just the natural senses. Because of them we have Deuteronomy 27 with the list of curses. Had it not been so, none of the talk of curses would have been necessary. No sacrifice would be necessary, no atonement, and no slaughter of animals for burnt peace offerings. There would be nothing to pay for and nothing to atone for. (God knew how people would turn out. The Redeemer was planned from before the foundation of the world. Time does not exist on God’s side.)

Thank God for the final release, which Jesus provided (especially for those of the Jewish extraction).
The second meaning is that Jesus became a curse for us; and here Paul brings up the hanging on a tree, which is taken out of the context. I see Paul’s rationale here, which is ‘if it works don’t try to fix it.’ It did work 2000 years ago, but today we need more than theology or good sounding words. God raised up the level of intelligence even in religion.

Jesus paid for all curses and therefore any bitter affliction can be lifted from anyone that turns to Him with the provided faith, which comes the moment Jesus the Savior is being preached by an anointed servant of God. If one is not anointed to preach the Good News of the Gospel then no matter how eloquent one may be the Holy Spirit will not come with the gift of faith. All disciples were chosen; hence anointed. A choice also denotes an anointing. Aaron was chosen and all his descendants have since been anointed. David was chosen then anointed and then God’s Spirit came upon him and remained on him all of his life.

[Romans 10:14-17] How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?

This being sent means: chosen and hence also anointed.

Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things! However, they did not all heed the good news for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”

These are the instruments of peace, making peace between men and with God.

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” 

Faith comes. We do not manufacture it; it is God’s gift to us. Holy Spirit brings it. He stands at the door of your heart and knocks. Once you open the door of your heart then that gift of faith will find lodging in you and then the process of righteousness and sanctification will begin.

Holy Spirit comes because of the anointing. We read in Acts 10:38. “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power…” it speaks of being saturated or soaked up with the Holy Spirit. (χρίω chrio, through the idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil, that is, (by implication) to consecrate to an office or religious service) in other words Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. That He was anointed that’s a fact for Christ (Greek) or Moshiah (Hebrew) means the Anointed One. Yeshua means salvation, hence Jesus Christ means: anointed to save. That is the only title ever given to anyone. The Almighty has never assigned such mission to anyone else, but only to His Son the Firstborn of all creation.[13] But because of this reality He had to be filled with; and work completely by the Holy Spirit. For just as Elohim (God) created the world through the Holy Spirit, for God’s Spirit is His creative force, so was Jesus creating through the same.  
[Isaiah 61:1-2] The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD...

[Luke 4:20] Jesus closed the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

We conclude that justification takes place by the acceptance of the God given faith, faith in the sacrifice, which is Jesus Christ. This justification means forgiveness of sins and of all unrighteousness in the sight of God. On the ground, the process of sanctification goes on until one is born of God and sins no more.[14] It’s not a religious journey, but gloriously spiritual and exuberant, filled with joy and peace. It is no longer justification by works of the law or self-made and feel-good works, but rather walking in the done work of Jesus at Calvary until we attain or reach the destination. We receive the Holy Spirit for that attainment. Our helper and comforter; He is with us all the way to the top of the mountain. It’s not a hard journey for just as the mountain climbers enjoy overcoming obstacles of heights and gravity so do we enjoy overcoming the obstacles of our flesh. Blessed are the overcomers for they are called sons of God, also the peacemakers. The law is then satisfied and fulfilled quite naturally with a minimal effort for it is not our work, but the work of the Holy Spirit. To Him we must pay much attention and maintain peaceful relationship with. Love the Holy Spirit, talk to Him and pay attention to Him for without Him we can do nothing.  

1 comment

  1. clear words, easy to understand, written by the prophet of GOD. Its His voice to make the crooked ways straight. Go in this knowledge



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