Fear has been a driving force for a very long time thanks to talking heads fear mongering in the twenty-four hour news cycle, along with over the top authoritarian officials. Fear is not necessarily a bad emotion to possess, but what should cause us fear?
It amazes me how we fear things so much that we will shut ourselves into our houses, not associate with certain people, and hang on every word spewing from places like twenty-four hour news channels and government news briefs, yet when it comes to basic life giving instruction from the Creator of the universe, one will block their ears, mock and say such things as “I’m free from the burden of the law of God”. The instruction of God is not a burden, but life giving manna from heaven.
Psa 119:165 Great peace is for those who love your law, and they do not have a cause for stumbling.
Psa 119:166 I hope for your salvation, O Yahweh, and do your commands.
Psa 119:167 My soul heeds your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly.
Let’s look at some items that we should fear, and that your favourite talking head, or unfortunately, even your pastor will not warn you about.
Lev 26:14 “‘But if you do not listen to me and you do not carry out all these commands,
Lev 26:15 and if you reject my statutes and if your inner self abhors my regulations, to not carry out all my commands by your breaking my covenant,
Lev 26:16 I in turn will do this to you: then I will summon onto you horror, the wasting disease, and the fever that wastes eyes and that drains away life; and you shall sow your seed in vain, and your enemies shall eat it.
Lev 26:17 And I will set my face against you, and you shall be defeated before your enemies; and your haters shall rule over you, and you shall flee away, but there shall not be anybody who is pursuing you.
Lev 26:18 “‘And if in spite of these things you do not listen to me, then I will continue to discipline you seven times for your sins.
I was unaware how much Christians actually reject and abhor the commands and statutes of Yahuah during the forty seven years I spent in the church. Of course, it never really came up as a subject of discussion. I would have reacted negatively towards them too, because we are “free in Jesus”, or “ free in Jeeesus”, Pentecostal style. I actually did get upset at my parents for suggesting that maybe we shouldn’t be eating pork. They were ahead of me on these things, but I did not know, nor would I have understood at that time.
Let’s look at eating unclean meats as an example. As people cling to various devices to protect them from air born viruses, why are they not concerned with the viruses they are putting in their bodies from unclean meat? What about blood? I watched a chef make blood sausage on television one night and was amazed that people do this with pigs.
Lev 11:1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying to them,
Lev 11:2 “Speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘These are the animals that you may eat from all the animals that are on the land:
Lev 11:3 Any among the animals that has a divided hoof and has a split cleft in the hoof, such you may eat.
Lev 11:4 However, these you may not eat from those that chew the cud and from those that have a divided hoof: the camel, because it is a chewer of cud but it does not have a hoof that is divided—it is unclean for you;
Lev 11:5 and the coney, because it is a chewer of cud but it does not have a hoof that is divided—it is unclean for you;
Lev 11:6 and the hare, because it is a chewer of cud but it does not have a hoof that is divided—it is unclean for you;
Lev 11:7 and the pig, because it has a divided hoof and has a split cleft in the hoof but it does not chew cud—it is unclean for you.
Lev 11:8 You must not eat from their meat, and you must not touch their dead body—they are unclean for you.
Are these instructions burdensome, or just good instructions about what to eat? What about eating blood? For the New Testament only crowd, the Apostles told the new converts from the nations that one of the first things they should do is stop eating blood. This is an instruction from the Torah.
Act 15:19 Therefore I conclude we should not cause difficulty for those from among the Gentiles who turn to God,
Act 15:20 but we should write a letter to them to abstain from the pollution of idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled and from blood.
Act 15:21 For Moses has those who proclaim him in every city from ancient generations, because he is read aloud in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
Idols, sexual immorality and blood are top on the list for believers in Messiah coming out of the surrounding religions according to the Apostles. They ate unclean meat sacrificed to demons and had temple prostitutes. These religions were steeped in fertility rites that the modern church has also adopted. According to the apostles, the rest of the Torah will be learned, “because he [Moses] is read aloud in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” This means these are things we should fear! It also shows there was an expectation that new converts would be meeting on the Sabbath to learn about the faith.
1Co 10:14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
1Co 10:15 I am speaking as to sensible people; you judge what I am saying.
1Co 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
1Co 10:17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all share from the one bread.
1Co 10:18 Consider Israel according to the flesh: are not the ones who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar?
1Co 10:19 Therefore, what am I saying? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?
1Co 10:20 No, but that the things which they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to become sharers with demons.
When we participate in festivals of other gods, such as the celebration around the winter solstice with all the greenery and candles, we “become sharers with demons”. This is exactly what Paul is speaking about as are the Apostles in Acts 15. These things have consequences that cannot be protected by personal protective equipment (PPE) or measures. The really effective PPE is worn on the inside by having a circumcised heart desiring to be obedient to the Creator.
Luk 12:4 “And I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after these things do not have anything more to do.
Luk 12:5 But I will show you whom you should fear: fear the one who has authority, after the killing, to throw you into hell! Yes, I tell you, fear this one!
What does it mean to “fear this one”? The fear of God is actually an idiom for keeping the commandments.
Deu 4:10 Remember the day that you stood before Yahweh your God at Horeb when Yahweh said to me, ‘Summon for me the people so that I can tell them my words, that they may learn to fear me all of the days they are alive on the earth and so that they may teach their children.’
Deu 4:11 And so you came near, and you stood under the mountain, and the mountain was burning with fire up to the heart of the heaven, dark with a very thick cloud.
Deu 4:12 And Yahweh spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard a sound of words, but you did not see a form—only a voice.
Deu 4:13 And he declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he charged you to observe, and he wrote them on the two tablets of stone.
Your favorite news anchor will never tell anyone to fear Yahuah; however, this is a good use of fear. What does fearing God look like? It is keeping His commandments. There are no viruses that have the ability of causing a person to burn and there are no government mandated inoculations against the fire of an angry God.
Mal 4:1 “For look! The day is about to come, burning like an oven, and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble. The coming day will consume them,” says Yahweh of hosts. “It will not leave behind for them root or branch.
Mal 4:2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise, with healing in its wings, and you will go out and leap like fattened calves.
Mal 4:3 You will trample down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I am going to act,” says Yahweh of hosts.
Mal 4:4 “Remember the instruction of my servant Moses, which I commanded him at Horeb to all Israel, the rules and regulations.
Why is eating pork something Yahuah told us not to do? I don’t think it matters, actually. Faith is just doing it because of the character of Yahuah. If we don’t have faith in His word we will say, “What does He know? I know better, or my pastor said I don’t have to listen to Yahuah”. One can always misquote Paul’s words or Peter’s vision to justify ignoring Yahuah.
In the end, when Messiah returns, we may find out what the big deal is concerning these things he told us not to do. These verses in Isaiah concern me, and should concern everyone eating hot dogs (the swine and mouse combo) at a church barbecue when Yeshua comes back.
Isa 66:16 For Yahweh enters into judgment on all flesh with fire and his sword, and those slain by Yahweh shall be many.
Isa 66:17 Those who sanctify themselves and those who cleanse themselves to go into the gardens after the one in the middle, eating the flesh of swine and detestable things and rodents together shall come to an end!” declares Yahweh.
Isa 66:18 “And I—their works and thoughts!—am about to come to gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see my glory.
Yeshua came to bring us back into covenant with the Father. He didn’t change the stipulations of the covenant. The Apostles knew what a privilege it was for the whole world to have the opportunity to commune with God through Israel, by the redeeming work of Messiah. A good use of fear would be reading these sayings by our Messiah:
Mat 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many miracles in your name?’
Mat 7:23 And then I will say to them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Fear can be a debilitating emotion to overcome when it is used in the wrong application. When the world around us heaps up unnecessary fear and plays with our emotions, it can cause us to act in ways we will regret later. Healthy fear is the fear of Yahuah, who gives us the air we breath. Fear Him by doing what he told us to do! It will be an utterly dreadful day to hear, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”.
The featured image is by Alexandra Gord on Unsplash.
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