For the time has come for the judgment to begin. It begins with the household of God; and if it starts with us, what will the outcome be for those who are disobeying God’s Good News? —“If the righteous is barely delivered, where will the ungodly and sinful end up?”
Even when you think you have found it, never abandon your quest for truth, because truth will continue to reveal itself throughout your entire life. It is never-ending.
“Next, a word for the rich: weep and wail over the hardships coming upon you! Your riches have rotted, and your clothes have become moth-eaten; your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat up your flesh like fire! This is the acharit-hayamim [last days], and you have been storing up wealth! Listen! The wages you have fraudulently withheld from the workers who mowed your fields are calling out against you, and the outcries of those who harvested have reached the ears of Adonai-Tzva’ot. You have led a life of luxury and self-indulgence here on earth — in a time of slaughter, you have gone on eating to your heart’s content. You have condemned, you have murdered the innocent; they have not withstood you.”
Let us take heed to what Isaiah had to say about why the Lord brought judgement on his people, whom he loved, and examine how these warnings might apply to us today, a people who’s heart is far fom God.
“When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
no matter how much you pray,
I won’t be listening;
because your hands are covered with blood.
“Wash yourselves clean!
Get your evil deeds out of my sight!
Stop doing evil, learn to do good!
Seek justice, relieve the oppressed,
defend orphans, plead for the widow.
How the faithful city has become a whore!
Once she was filled with justice,
righteousness lodged in her;
but now murderers!
Your silver is no longer pure,
your wine is watered down.
Your leaders are rebels, friends of thieves.
They all love bribes and run after gifts.
They give no justice to orphans,
the widow’s complaint doesn’t catch their attention.
My people — children oppress them,
and women are ruling over them.
My people! Your guides lead you astray
and obliterate the paths you should follow.
Adonai rises to accuse,
he stands to judge the peoples.
Adonai presents the indictment
against the leaders and officers of his people:
“It is you who devour the vineyard;
in your houses is plunder taken from the poor.
What do you mean by crushing my people
and grinding down the faces of the poor?”
says Adonai Elohim-Tzva’ot.
Woe to those who add house to house
and join field to field,
until there’s no room for anyone else,
and you live in splendor alone on your land.
Adonai-Tzva’ot said in my ears,
“Many houses will be brought to ruin,
large, magnificent ones left empty;
for a ten-acre vineyard will produce
only five gallons of wine,
and seed from five bushels of grain
will yield but half a bushel.”
Woe to those who begin by pulling
at transgression with a thread,
but end by dragging sin along
as if with a cart rope.
They say, “We want God to speed up his work,
to hurry it along, so we can see it!
We want the Holy One of Isra’el’s plan
to come true right now, so we can be sure of it!”
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who change darkness into light
and light into darkness,
who change bitter into sweet
and sweet into bitter!
Woe to those seeing themselves as wise,
esteeming themselves as clever.
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
men whose power goes to mixing strong drinks,
who acquit the guilty for bribes
but deny justice to the righteous!
Therefore, as fire licks up the stubble,
and the chaff is consumed in the flame;
so their root will rot,
and their flowers scatter like dust;
because they have rejected the Torah
they have despised the word
of the Holy One of Isra’el.
Woe to those who enact unjust decrees
and draft oppressive legislation
to deprive the impoverished of justice
and rob my people’s poor of their rights,
looting widows and preying on orphans!
What will you do on the day of punishment,
when calamity comes from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?
Where will you leave your wealth,
so as not to squat among the prisoners
or fall among the slain?
I try to avoid being political in my posts, but we may want to pay attention when we vote for our leaders. Our two party system is leading us straight down a path of destruction. Remember we are the ones who are responsible for voting these oppressive leaders into power, and only we have the power to wrest controle out of thier hands. Choose wisely.
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the shofar, so that the people are not warned; and then the sword comes and takes any one of them, that one is indeed taken away in his guilt, but I will hold the watchman responsible for his death.’
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
“Keep speaking and acting like people who will be judged by a Torah which gives freedom. For judgment will be without mercy toward one who doesn’t show mercy; but mercy wins out over judgment.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but has no actions to prove it? Is such “faith” able to save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food, and someone says to him, “Shalom! Keep warm and eat hearty!” without giving him what he needs, what good does it do? Thus, faith by itself, unaccompanied by actions, is dead.
But someone will say that you have faith and I have actions. Show me this faith of yours without the actions, and I will show you my faith by my actions! You believe that “God is one”? Good for you! The demons believe it too — the thought makes them shudder with fear!”
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
If the only beauty people see in me is the beauty of Christ, then all the better.
“I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.” [Ezek. 20:19-20]
For many years I have been beating myself up for the fact that I have yet to quit smoking. One day I was particularly down on myself. As I was praying and confessing this weakness before God He directed me towards His Ten Commandments and asked me which of these things I was not doing. After careful perusal I realized that the main thing I was not doing was observing his appointed sabbath day. I felt Him impress on me that I was more concerned about observing the precepts and traditions of men than I was with following his ten simple laws of love.
Well this began my year long journey of trying to understand, through God’s word, how to best observe God’s appointed Holy Day. This process turned out to be harder than one might think. Church tradition has been deeply ingrained in me since my youth and was a continual stumbling block for me in this area. The fourth commandment says,“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God…”[Exo.20:8-10]. I had a really hard time getting my head around the fact that God’s word clearly states that His appointed sabbath day is Saturday, not Sunday. I had to ask myself, “Could this apply only to the Jewish people and not to me?”. Somehow I didn’t think so.
First of all, I feel strongly led in my heart to follow God”s ten commandments. I believe it was the law of ordinances that was nailed to the cross [Col. 2:14], not God’s laws of love. The Decalogue was written in stone, which implies permanence, the other written in a book, which is temporal. Also in my studies I observed that God set this law into motion at creation when,“…God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all his work which God created and made.” [Gen. 2:3]. This was eons before the Jewish nation was even formed. Finally, confirmation came as I read again with new eyes the story of manna in the wilderness [Read all of Exo.16]. “Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the LORD said to Moses, How long refuse you to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the LORD has given you the sabbath, therefore He gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide you every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.” [Exo.16:26-30]. In reading this, It became clear to me that God’s laws of love contained in the decalogue were established well before His finger ever etched the tablets of stone which He presented to His people. Also that God is clearly offended if we fail to take advantage of this day of rest He has given us.
So my next step was to figure out how to reverently observe God’s sabbath without becoming too legalistic. This is when He brought to my attention Isaiah 58:13-14, which states,” If you turn away your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: Then shall you delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.”. So I decided to give up trivial entertainment and news [not as hard as you would think], refused to concern myself with bills and earthly cares [harder than you would think], and made it a point to spend this day praying, worshiping, and meditating on God’s word. Also Christ’s words on how it is alright to do “good works” on the sabbath has helped me to remember to go with the flow and not worry if our time together gets interrupted by life’s demands.
I have found that the response I get from other Christians when I mention why I’ll be busy on Saturday, is anything but encouraging. Some argue that the seventh day sabbath applies only to the Jews, others that the Ten Commandments have been nailed to the cross [yet they are quick to pass judgment on the other nine, and then some!], but most often I just get blank stares. Which leads to the question of why do I bother going through the trouble if nobody else is doing it.
For one, it is a sign between us and God that reminds us that it is He that makes us holy. God’s word says,“… my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.” [Exo. 31:13]. It is also a sign for all the world to see, that reflects the rest that we have in Christ [Matt. 11:28-30]. Another reason is that it is a huge blessing and a “delight” to enter into God’s presence on the day that He blessed as holy and set apart for just that purpose. If God Himself chose this particular day for me to spend time with Him, then I shall enter in fully expecting Him to meet me there. It’s like date night with Jesus, after all, I am the Bride of Christ. The final and main reason I observe the sabbath on Saturday is simply because God word says to. Jesus’ time on earth was to be an example to us of how we should live righteously before God the Father. Jesus and his early disciples all carefully observed God’s appointed sabbath, even in all their travels. It wasn’t until about 300 years later that worship was changed to Sunday. We can trace this event to Constantine in 321 A.D. and the council of Laodicea held in 364 A.D. by the ecclesiastical authority of the Roman Catholic church.
In conclusion, Christ said,“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” [John 14-15], and that is as good a reason as any, for me.