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6 December 2010 (Shanee/Matzah)
Day #265, 5934 AM
Rosh Chodesh X 5934
Learning the True Fear of Yahweh

    Chag haRosh Chodesh! Since this is the tenth New Moon of the current sacred year of Yahweh, and since 10 is the Completeness of Order that reminds us of the Ten Commandments written by the finger of Yahweh Himself as an immutable law in all eternity for the children of Elohim, I thought I would take this opportunity to answer a question related to this subject sent to me by a brother in Germany about a difficult passage in the Book of Hebrews over which many have stumbled. I am using the Orthodox Jewish Bible version to get over the clear sense of the Hebrew original, this being a document written by a Hebrew (probably Paul) for Hebrews:

      "For when we intentionally commit chet b'yad ramah (willful sin with a high hand of defiance - Num.15:30) after having received the full daat (knowledge) of ha'Emet (the Truth), there remains no longer a korban (sacrifice) for chattoteinu (sins), but only a terrible expectation of a Din (Sentence) and Mishpat (Divine Judgment) and of a blazing Esh Tsarecha Tokhlem (the fire that consumes the enemies of Yahweh - Is.26:11). Anyone who was doiche (rejecting or setting aside) the Torah (Law) of Rebbe Moshe (Teacher Moses), upon the davar (word) of Shni Edim O Al Pi Shlosha Edim (testimony of two of three witnesses - Num.19:15), dies without rachamim (mercy). By how much worse onesh (penalty) do you think the one will be considered worthy who trampled on the Ben haElohim (Son of God = Yah'shua the Messiah/Jesus Christ) and also treated as mechallel qodesh (profane) the Dahm haB'rit (Blood of the Covenant) which set him apart mekudash (as holy) and also committed Chillul Yahweh gidduf (blasphemy) against the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) of Yahweh's chesed (mercy, grace, loyal loving-kindness)? For we have daat (knowledge) of the One who said, Li Nakam Vshilem (Vengeance is Mine and I will Repay - Num.32:35) and again Yadin Yahweh Ammo (Yahweh will judge His people - Num.32:36). It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Elohim Chayyim (Living God)" (Heb.10:26-31, OJB)

    Before commenting on this very interesting passage I want to backtrack a little so as to get the proper context of this passage, near the beginning of the chapter:

      "When he said above, 'Zevach (sacrifice) and Minchah (offering) and Olah (burnt offerings) and Chata'ah (offerings for sin) have You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them' - these are offered according to the Torah - Then he said, 'I have come La'asot Retzonechah (to do Your will) He takes away haRishonah (the way of the zevakhim [sacrificial meals] of the kehunah [priesthood] of Levi) in order to establish haSheniyah (the way of the zevach [sacrifice] of the kehunah [priesthood] of Rebbe, Melech haMashiach (Teacher, King Messiah {Yah'shua/Jesus}). And it is by the ratzon Yahweh (acceptable time of Yahweh, time of favour of Yahweh) that we have been set apart for kedushah (holiness) through the korban Nefesh (sacrifice of the body/soul/being) (Is.53:10; cp. Asham Korban [guilt, tresspass offering]) of Rebbe, Melech haMoshiach Yah'shua (Teacher, King Messiah Yah'shua/Jesus), once and for all" (Heb.10:8-10, OJB).

    The reason I want to start with this passage is to correct the terrible distortions of most antinomian, Greek-based translations. It is very plain, as you dig into the original Hebrew sense, that Yahweh has not abolished or taken away the Torah but the original or first Levtitical system of sacrifices and priesthood in order to set up the second New Covenant Melchizedek system. This second system still operates within the framework of the original Torah otherwise there would be complete lawlessness, which is the domain of Satan. The shadow of animal sacrifices has been replaced by the reality or fullness of the sacrifice of the Son of Elohim, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) "once and for all". There are Messianics who maintain that what has been abolished is only the animal sacrifice for sin offering, and some who say that even that can be continued as a 'memorial'. However, Hebrews makes it perfectly clear that the Old Covenant of blood and other sacrifices, along with the Levitical or Aaronic system that administered them, are permanently over. The blood of Messiah is all-sufficient. On this point we have to agree fully with the evangelicals. Because there are Messianics (like the Mormons) who believe there is a New Covenant version of the Levitical Priesthood and Levitical sacrifices, they obviously look forward to the restoration of another physical temple too, the one which is soon to be built by Orthodox (anti-Christian) Jews which will become a fully-functioning Antichrist or Antimessiah temple in which the Antichrist will enthrone himself as God. Both Christian (Evangelical) Zionists and many Messianic heretics are therefore greatly deceived. Yah'shua's blood sacrifice is fully sufficient for mankind. All that is now required of us is a broken heart and a contrite spirit leading to a full surrender of our will to Yah'shua's so that we lead a life of full obedience to the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit).

    Let us now return to the passage under study today. The context of this passage, and indeed the whole Book of Hebrews, is Judahites who have converted to Messiah Yah'shua being told not to return to their old system of worship under the Old Covenant (a problem many contemporary Messianic Jews have). As we have seen, the writer is not saying that we should suddenly become Torahless or lawless, but rather we should not return to the old system of animal sacrifices and the Levitical Priesthood that administered it. Apart from a few Orthodox Jews sacrificing chickens at Yom Kippur, there is no system of Levitical animal sacrifices in operation amongst Jews today even though they are getting ready to start them all over again. Needless to say, these sacrifices will incur no blessings for them but simply cement in blood their continued rejection of the Messiah and their reliance on good works, just like the Muslims and other religions, to secure a place for themselves in heaven.

    However, the real target of this passage is not unbelieving Jews or Judahites, then or now, but on those who have come to Messiah from Judaism and then return to it, abandoning Yah'shua as their korban Nefesh. How then, does it apply to us today who are not in that situation? Well, for one thing, this passage admonishes us to keep on fearing Yahweh, and more so than the Hebrews of the Old Covenant ever did. Why? Because the consequences of aposatcy are not merely the loss of your physical life but the loss of your soul too. Where this passage is especially useful and important in contemporary discipleship is in its reminder that 'fearing Yahweh' is not just 'reverence'. The passage totally negates all modern evangelical ideas about exalting the love of Yahweh as the highest motivation for right behaviour and proper Torah-obedience without incorporating genuine fear of His judgment. When we indulge in this feminising of the 'fear of Yahweh' by reducing it to mere reverence because of love we simultaneously blunt the intended scriptural impact which the prospect of judgment ought to make on unrepentant sinners. And whilst the love of Yahweh must absolutely be one of the chief reasons for fearing him, that is only one aspect - the 'feminine' side of fear, which we can with some justification call the 'reverence' side. The other aspect - the 'masculine' side of fear (which is all but emasculated in the modern feminised evangelical churches and messianic assemblies of the West) is just as important if not the main aspect:

      "By emunah (faith - trusting Yahweh) Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness (Tzedek Yahweh) which is according to faith" (Heb.11:7, NKJV - see Gen.15:6; Hab.2:4).

    A clear disctinction is made here between 'fear' and "holy" or "godly fear". They are not the same. It was not just reverence that drove Noah to build the ark but fear of the consequences for humanity - including his family - if he did not, for he knew it would otherwise be eradicated because of Yah's wrath against sin. I said that this kind of fear should be pre-eminent, and it should, and must, for as it is written:

      "The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov 9:10a, NKJV).

    The "trembling" in which we are supposed to "work out [our] salvation" (Phil2:12, NKJV) is born of a combination of fear of judgment, love and reverence. You cannot understand Yahweh, or obtain real knowledge about Him, by omitting one or the other:

      "And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Prov.9:10b, NKJV).

    This is why I dislike such books as Hannah Hurnard's, Hinds' Feet on High Places, not because it is not a brilliant exposition of the love of Yahweh (and therefore well worth the read) but precisely because it lacks this masculine component. And I believe it is because it lacks the latter that Hurnard apostacised and became an advocate of New Age and occult ideas about love which are totally Torahless. Messianics definitely need to read her book whereas evangelicals need to get some godly, masculine fear so that a proper balance is achieved when it comes to understanding and knowing the fear of Yahweh, and therefore knowing Him for real and therefore having an authentic relationship with him.

    Chapters like Hebrews 10 do not rest well with the feminised churches seeking excuses to be lawless, and understandably so. The passage under study has much to say about those who deliberately sin in the full knowledge of what they are doing, in Hebrew known as chet b'yad ramah which means to 'willfully sin with a high hand of defiance'. Those who have been born again, who know Messiah, who know what the Scriptures say but who excuse themselves by twisting the Scriptures to make them antinomian, are whom this passage is principally for. If under the Old Covenant system of sacrifices there was no covering or atonement for such sins, then - we are being asked to understand - it will be considerably worse under the New Covenant because such behaviour amounts to an outright denial of Christ! Mark that well: refusing to obey the commandments is endangering your salvation - this is the point of the passage. It is not addressing those who are trying and sometimes failing but those who adamantly and defiantly refuse to obey them! They are in effect denying the Messiah's sacrifice and nailing Him back on the cross like the rebellious Judeans whose refused to accept Him as Messiah in the days of Pontius Pilate.

    Many sincere believers often wrongly think this passage is directed at them when they fall into sin when they are doing their best to repent and get right with Yahweh. It isn't. This passage is against those who are defiant against the Emet, who refuse to do as they are told by the Creator, such as those who think that the feeling of 'love' in their heart, with all their praise and worship, or humanitarian works, will somehow compensate. This kind of hypocrisy Yahweh exposed in the Old Covenant when the people fully participated in the mandated sacrificial system but sinned in secret afterwards. The parallel in the New Covenant is to continue to claim 'faith in Christ' without the responsibility and accountability to obey the commandments and so properly fear Elohim.

    Evangelical Christianity and Messianism are both out of balance. Aside from the false pagan traditions both respectively adhere to, they emphasise one or the other aspect of "holy fear". This is why we call ourselves 'Messianic Evangelicals' because we insist that the Bible teaches both aspects of the Truth, and that a deficiency in one or the other leads to false belief and destruction. That is why the churches are dying in the West and why the Messianics by and large really aren't making a big difference. Both need to repent of their false traditions and recognise that the other has truths which they need.

    We invite you to get to know more about our vision and mission. We are at a critical time both for the Messianic Community/Church and the world. Believers don't yet realise that we are undergoing great and stupendous changes in the world and that if they are not built firmly on the Rock of Faith in Messiah and Obedience to the Commandments that they will be swept away. There must therefore be an authentic fear of Yahweh-Elohim which is both fear of judgment for sin as well as an overflowing love for what Messiah has done for us - male and female principles of emet (truth) in proper balance. There must be an end to evangelicals accusing messianics of being 'legalists' (as an excuse to be lawless) and an end to messianics calling evangelicals 'unsaved' (because, for example, they don't necessarily use Divine names). Evangelicals and Messianics are the left leg and arm, and right leg and arm, of the Body of Messiah, respectively. Without each other the Body will be crippled. We are here to fuse them together in the proper, complete order. You are invited to be a part of that exciting vision and work!

    Further Reading

    [1] The Teeth of the Dragon - The Problem of Feelings and Fear


    Comments from Readers

    "I think with this, if someone does not have a true revelation of Yahweh's justice (and with this, the godly fear and understanding of what their sin deserves), they cannot truly have a revelation of YHWH's love in giving Yah'shua to save us because it's with the godly fear of YHWH's righteous justice poured out in Judgement, and then understanding the underserved grace He showed in giving Yah'shua to receive that in our place, that there is true revelation of YHWH's love. There cannot be a true revelation of His love without a godly fear and so I think it may be right to say that what should drive, motivate us, is the Love of Elohim, but with knowing that the true revelation of His love can never be disconnected from godly fear. I think the problem with many evangelicals though is where they have a wrong or lawless belief or understanding of what love is" (DP, South Africa, 6 December 2010).

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    This page was created on 6 December 2010
    Last updated on 23 August 2011

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