These notes for a Sukkot sermon were never delivered but are reproduced here from the Diary of Lev-Tsiyon, 10 October 2003, England.
I do not think I would have too much trouble executing a child-molester. I have little problem with the principle of capital punishment. Yahweh is viewed as harsh in His Torah statutes concerning murder, adultery and the like. When Yah'shua said that those who harm little children should have a heavy stone tied around their necks and be drowned by being thrown into the sea, we get a glimpse of Divine Rage at one of the most hideous crimes. Sexual abuse, torture and other abominations committed against children are the greatest affront to the image of Yahweh that there is. Let's look at the word carefully:
Now let us not forget that coupled to forgiveness, but preceeding it, is rebuke. We are not to pussy-foot with sin. It must be unhesitatingly and severely exposed. Now you might think to yourself: what is the point of forgiving a person seven times a day if they keep on sinning against you? Isn't it rather pointless? Doesn't that demonstrate that his repentance isn't sincere? Doesn't that make a mockery of repentence?
"It is inevitable that stumbling blocks (things that cause people to sin) should come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a mill stone is put around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day comes back to you, saying, ' I repent', you shall forgive him. And the disciples said to the Master, 'Give us more belief (faith)'" (Lk.17:1-5, ISRV).
Well, to begin with, that is apparently not our concern. Let us remember that our own forgiveness by Yahweh is completely tied to our forgiveness of others. That is sobering. How many times have we repeatedly committed the same sins against Him? I am sure we could all find one sin we do against Yahweh which we have repeated thousands of times and have asked forgiveness almost as many times. Simply fearing the judgment of Yahweh would to be enough to convince us to forgive - repeatedly as necessary - the sins of others against us.
None of this means, however, we should put our head in the lion's mouth. This is not a licence to be stupid. If you keep on going to a particular place and get abused there repeatedly, and find yourself having to repeatedly forgive your abuser, are you not equally guilty (in most or many circumstances) of laying temptation before your abuser? It's like giving an alcoholic a bottle of whiskey every time you visit him, which gets him drunk and leads him to be violent, leading [afterwards] to [his] repentance and forgiveness. Do you think Yahweh wants you to give him the alcohol in the first place? That's an obvious example. But implied is that you, the victim, are setting this whole chain-reaction off by being careless and thoughtless.
It reminds me of the time many years ago when I was counselling a practicing homosexual. He felt guilty enough about breaking the commandments but it never seemed to have crossed his mind that he was defiling other men too and needed to ask for their forgiveness too. A more complex example.
A simpler one - leaving your child to be taken care of by strangers who then molest that child and ruin its life. Carelessness at a terrible, terrible cost. Children are a sacred stewardship - we should watch them as we might the Crown Jewels. They should never be out of our sight except with known, trusted friends. Not only for the sake of the children but for the sake of the molesters for whom such a crime means a punishment too terrible to contemplate. Yah'shua is in fact saying it would have been better for the molester never to have been born.
That is why I watch my children like a hawk and why all Christian mothers should do the same. This is no small matter.
Now as far as I know I have never been physically molested. But I know that I was psychologically molested and this has crippled part of me all my life. Only recently is it being sorted out. As humans we are far more fragile than a sensitive watch or a poppey flower and far more explosive than a nuclear reactor.
Many people spiritually castrate themselves so as not to harm others...those that care about others and would rather sacrifice themselves. This is good (for obvious reasons) and also bad (less obvious perhaps), but is not something that can go on forever. Pipes under pressure burst. Perfectly 'decent' people can sometimes flip and become devils incarnate. Do not be deceived by apparent peace. One often hears of mass killers whose most intimate friends cannot understand what has happened.
What all this means is that we cannot afford to pussy-foot sin. Dams burst when the water levels exceed normal heights. Only today I was talking to Lady J about some of the local doctors we know who started out nice and liked but who suddenly 'switched' and became unpleasant and severely disliked. Their personalities suddenly changed. The pretense suddenly came down. All that careful psychological self-management just collapsed. They were two-faced all along.
I will never forget my accute disappointment on learning that my favourite comedian was a bastard in real life. I was so ashamed ever to have liked him. It happened again with with Stephen Fry whose book, Paperweight, I had started to read...brilliant but dirty.
In our professed walk as disciples of the Master Yah'shua (Jesus) we have to be careful how we give our love to those who ae not of the kingdom. Though we are to love all, we are not to be equally intimate with them. There must be a distance or gap over which that love can travel. That is what is meant by the word "holy" - to be 'set apart' or 'separated'. It does not mean that our feet touch the same soil.
I think this is something a lot of [antinomian] Christians don't understand. They don't see the difference between being "in" the world and "of" it (e.g. Jn.15:18-19). Where are the boundaries? What are the lines we aren't supposed to cross? How can we be "in" the world and yet simultaneously "flee" from Babylon? Many think that being "in" the world is the same as being "in" Babylon. They could not be more wrong.
To be "in" the world means not living on some etherial plane but remaining in contact with reality. To be "of" it means uniting with it. When you do that, you are in Babylon, not fleeing from it, at least spiritually. The "unite with" is both to "join with" and "participate in" - in short, it means to interface with Babylon in mind, heart, body or spirit.
To be "set apart" is not to have 'reduced contact' - it means what it says - to have no contact. This does not necessarily means that you can no longer 'see' it. Part of being connected to reality is to be 'alert' and 'aware' without participating.
We are told in scripture to disfellowship - break contact with - those who deliberately sin. If this is true of rebellious believers, how much more true of unbelievers? [Messianic] Israel is a nation. It is not a province or a part of another nation. Many Christians argue, quite wrongly, that the "wall of partition" has gone and that we should freely mingle with the unsaved as we do with the saved. Not true. The wall of partition spoken of by Paul was racial, not spiritual (Ephesians 2:14). The blood of Christ brings Gentile and Hebrew together by the adoption of the Gentile as a Hebrew. This has been accomplished by abolishing circumcision as a requirement of Torah because this is a New Covenant made not with hands (circumcision - v.11) but with the Ruach (Spirit - circumcision of the heart). That which joins a people - the new Israelite people - is not cutting away the foreskins of [Hebrew] males but by purifying the hearts of males and females of all races. This brings citizenship in Israel (v.12). Before this Torah was hostile to the Gentiles - now it embraces them:
Note that enmity (hostility) has been done away with, not the commandments of Yahweh! Now compare the distortion of our Protestant Bibles which read:
"But now in Messiah Yah'shua you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah. For He is our peace (shalom), who has made both [Hebrews and Gentiles] one (echad), and having broken down the partition of the barrier, having abolished in His flesh the enmity (hostility) - the Torah of commands in dogma - so as to create in Himself one renewed man from the two, thus making peace, and to completely restore to favour both of them unto Elohim (God) in one body through the cross, having destroyed the enmity by it" (Eph.2:13-16, ISRV).
What a lie! This is the great sin of Protestantism. How can Christ abolish the Law on the cross and say that not one jot or tittle of it will ever be done away!? Without this matter resolved and clarified no proper distinction can be made between being "in" and "of" the world. We are "of" the world if we disregard Torah - simple as that - because the world is lawless: "sin is lawless" (1 Jn.3:4, NIV).
"...by abolishing in his flesh the law (Torah) with its commandments and regulations" (v.14, NIV).
Let's underline this:
What does John mean?
"Everyone having this expectation (of being like Yahweh when he is revealed - v.2) in Him cleanses himself, as He (Yahweh) is clean. Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness (Torahlessness). And you know that He (Yah'shua) was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Everyone staying in Him does not sin. Everyone sinning has neither seen Him nor known Him" (1 Jn.3:3-6, ISRV).
You cannot just say: "I believe in Yah'shua (Jesus), therefore I am cleansed", because the one who has the hope of being like Him when he returns - and so be allegorically wed to Him as His Bride - cleanses himself. How does he do that? By obeying Torah and applying the blood of Yah'shua for the sin of lawlessness in every point. We "know" Yah'shua only as we guard His commandments - obey His Torah.
"The one who says, 'I know Him', and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 Jn.1:5, ISRV).
"Beloved ones, do not imitate the evil, but the good. The one who is doing good is of Elohim, but he who is doing evil has not seen Elohim" (2 Jn.11, ISRV).
But it's a struggle. Our salvation has to be "work[ed] out...in fear and trembling" (Phil.2:12). That's why we have the Festivals to remind us of the process. If we could do without them we wouldn't be required to observe them as part of Torah! Theoretically we could do without them...if we had no carnal nature. They give system to repentance and deliverance...their completion, that is.
We see more clearly, now, the whole. With error displaced, contradiction disappears. We have to cleanse ourselves by reacting to the free gift of deliverance offered through the blood. That is active faith. How do we react? By receiving, by obeying, by acknowledging the reality about ourselves and the world around us, and then taking concrete steps to isolate ourselves from all falsehood. It means going through the fire.
How, then, are we to "see the difference between the righteous and the wrong, between one who serves Elohim and one who does not serve Him" (Mal.3:18, ISRV)? That question is answered in the last chapter of the book of the Prophet Malachi:
Are you comfortable with that? I hope so. It is not hard to accept or recognise. Healing and joy are very plain fruits. But are you ready for the next part, which is exacly parallelled in the Book of Revelation?
"For look, the day shall come, burning like a furnace, and all the proud, and every wrongdoer shall be stubble. And the day that shall come shall burn them up', says Yahweh of hosts, 'which leaves them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My Name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings. And you shall go out and leap for joy like valves from the stall" (Mal.4:1-2, ISRV).
Now the crunch:
"And you shall trample the wrongdoers, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet (they will have been burned up by Yahweh) on the day that I do this" (Mal.4:3, ISRV).
Remember the Torah. And yet the majority would like to abolish it and become lawless. And they have - and possess a lawless church falling for every trap of Satan. We know it because we see it every day. And we see it in ourselves when we fail to obey.
"Remember the Torah of Moses, My Servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Yisra'el (Israel) - laws and right-rulings (judgments)" (Mal.4:4, ISRV).