Precepts & Principles of the Torah – Exodus 22-23
02/16/13 (12/12) Video Broadcast
Topics include: Usury and Interest, Respecting those in authority, gossip/slander, loving enemies, why its wrong to sell Scripture teachings, and the meaning of the prohibition to utter the names of idols.
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What I am going to share today will step on some toes more than likely. And so, make sure you have your steel toe boots on for today’s broadcast because otherwise it may hurt.
Seriously, today’s broadcast we are going to cover a lot of ground. I want to get through Exodus 22, and part of 23. And then next week, Yahweh willing (unless He stops me in the middle of the message today), we will get into our studies of Passover and Yahweh’s calendar.
So, if you are ready, brothers and sisters, I am ready. And our study topic today, as we are going through principles and precepts in the Torah is: “Exodus Chapters 22 & 23 (Precepts and Principles of the Torah).”
We have covered a lot of 22 already. We are going to wrap up our chapter 22, and we are going to dig our way into 23 as we try to extract and understand and apply the principles and precepts found in Yahweh’s Law.
Now for those of you who are new to the term “Torah,” “Torah” does not mean “Talmud.” “Talmud” is different than “Torah.” Talmud is the traditions of men found in Judaism– rabbis saying this; rabbis saying that. I do not even call them “rabbis.” There is only one Rabbi, and that is Yahushua the Messiah.
But the Torah is Yahweh’s Word. It is the first five books of the Bible (also called “the Law”). We understand from 1 John 3 that sin is the transgression of the Law.
And we also see Paul, and the other disciples, many times would quote a scripture from the Torah, from the Prophets, from the Writings, and they would use that as a basis upon which they would say different things. And so, they were able to look into the Torah and look beyond just the surface.
It is not a list of “dos and don’ts.” It was never intended to be that. It was only intended to be the foundation from which we do the things that we do and that we understand really what the Law is all about. It is all about teaching us and instructing us how to love Yahweh, how to love each other.
Almost all religions teach you to love your neighbor, but Yahweh is explaining to us the correct way to love our neighbor. And Yahweh is explaining to us, also– which few religions, few faiths teach– and that is to love the Creator of all things, Yahweh.
And so, we want to get into this. And we are going to get started here right away in Exodus 22, verse 25.
Exodus 22:25 - “If you lend money to [any of] My people [who are] poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest.
This is a scripture that, actually, a lot of people in mainline Churches will say, “Yeah, we shouldn’t charge each other interest.” And they can only find this in the Torah, the Law of Yahweh. It does not repeat this command, that I am aware of, anywhere in the New Testament.
And so, you know, when you are talking about your “smorgasbord religion,” which you get to pick and choose what you want to do and what you do not want to do, some would pick this and some would not.
I think that since sin is the transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4) and by the Law is the knowledge of sin, here we have a command from Yahweh that we are not to charge our brethren interest on any loans.
This is very different than the economy which we live in today in the United Sates, which is an interest based economy. It is a usury based economy. I mean, everything is all around banks, and the banks are getting their cut of all this money that is floating around.
And in Scripture, it says:
Leviticus 25:35 - `If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.
36 – `Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your Elohim, that your brother may live with you.
37 – `You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit.
You have to give him whatever it was. You do not take profit off the food. And we are going to get into this verse 37, also.
If someone is poor in the Word of Yahweh and they do not understand something about the Scriptures, you don’t give him spiritual food at a profit, either. And we will get into that a little bit more.
But, anyway, Nehemiah 5, verse 1, is actually a situation where this took place. It says:
Nehemiah 5:1 - And there was a great outcry of the people and their wives against their Jewish brethren.
2 – For there were those who said, “We, our sons, and our daughters [are] many; therefore let us get grain, that we may eat and live.”
3 – There were also [some] who said, “We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine.”
See, here we are– people who are mortgaging.
Nehemiah 5:4 - There were also those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax [on] our lands and vineyards.
5 – “Yet now our flesh [is] as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and [some] of our daughters have been brought into slavery. [It is] not in our power [to redeem them], for other men have our lands and vineyards.”
There was no way they could.
Nehemiah 5:6 - And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words.
Nehemiah speaking here.
Nehemiah 5:7 - After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, “Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.” So I called a great assembly against them.
8 – And I said to them, “According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us?” Then they were silenced and found nothing [to say].
Nehemiah 5:9 - Then I said, “What you are doing [is] not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our Elohim because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?”
10 – “I also, [with] my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop this usury!
11 – “Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them.”
Nehemiah 5:12 - So they said, “We will restore [it], and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say.” Then I called the priests, and required an oath from them that they would do according to this promise.
13 – Then I shook out the fold of my garment and said, “So may Elohim shake out each man from his house, and from his property, who does not perform this promise. Even thus may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said, “Amen!” and praised YAHWEH. Then the people did according to this promise.
So this is a specific example there of people taking interest and taking land away from them. You can hardly even buy land in the United States without some mortgage company wanting to come along and get their cut. And it’s hard, it is difficult, to buy land when it is so expensive, partly because of that.
People can buy more and more expensive pieces of property because they can just mortgage it. And I know, believe me, I am not saying I am above anybody else. I have a mortgage on my home here. I don’t want to. I want to be free of it. But that is where we are at.
But usury is against Scripture, and taking interest.
Proverbs 28:8 - One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion Gathers it for him who will pity the poor.
Yahweh is going to judge those who are practicing this.
We see it in Psalm 15. It says, verse 1:
Who are the ones who are going to make it?
Psalms 15:2 - He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart;
3 – He [who] does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
4 – In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear YAHWEH; He [who] swears to his own hurt and does not change;
Psalms 15:5 - He [who] does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these [things] shall never be moved.
There it is. So a clear example in Scripture that we are not supposed to be doing this. This is not a righteous practice.
If you work for a bank or a mortgage company, you are putting your hand there in the pot, I would think. I mean, the whole basis upon which the bank makes any money at all is usury. That is where they are getting their money– through lending and charging, potentially, a poor person and, potentially, one of your brethren.
And I don’t think that brothers are just limited only to people that are like me who keep Sabbath and these Hebraic roots things. I think there are very, very sincere people in mainline churches that haven’t yet come across this information or haven’t yet been convicted of it.
And here we are. If we work for mortgage companies or this is your profession, or something like this, that is almost like being a bar tender. I mean, “Here you go.” Or having some other professional establishment that is related to this.
And so, it is just something to think about. I am not telling you what to do, but right up there with speaking the truth, and all these other things– walking uprightly, fearing Yahweh– is not putting your money out at usury.
Now, another thing. I have even gone to the extent… you know, I have a bank. I don’t have a savings account. I have a checking account, but I make sure that my checking account is not an interest-drawing checking account.
It does not collect any interest because I know that they are going to take that money from my account– this is how banks operate– and they lend it out to other people, and they are giving me a cut of the interest.
If I have my money in a CD or some kind of an interest-drawing savings account, the money is being used to loan out to somebody and I am getting a cut of that. And so, what if that somebody happens to be a brother? Then I am in violation of what Scripture commands here.
And it sounds very salvational the way He puts this. Who is going to abide in His tabernacle? It is considered to be something very serious in the eyes of Yahweh.
Now I am not saying you are going to hell because your money is in a savings account. But we see this is the will of Yahweh. Now what do we do? Are we going to put our hand in and collect interest, too, from our poor brothers?
And it is for the same reason I don’t feel comfortable owning stocks. It causes me to be part owner of a company that in all likelihood breaks Sabbath, and who knows what else they are doing with that.
It is one thing to purchase, you know, bread from a company or buy something from a company that doesn’t fear Elohim, but quite another to be an owner of that company and put your hand in with it and collect profits or if you have losses and being an owner of it. And so, I do not feel comfortable with that arrangement.
I don’t participate in any kind of retirement programs at all– I mean, any type of retirement program that would involve investing my money in stocks and interest. I don’t feel comfortable with that. And that is something you and your Elohim (our Elohim) can work out as far as individual convictions.
We see here quite clearly:
Deuteronomy 23:19 - “You shall not charge interest to your brother — interest on money [or] food [or] anything that is lent out at interest.
20 – “To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that YAHWEH your Elohim may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.
To a foreigner you may charge interest. Now that is interesting.
Now why is it that they could charge interest to a foreigner, or in our case, that would be an unbeliever? Well, Israel is bringing other nations into subjection to them. And Yahweh says He would actually bless them in this way.
He says in Deuteronomy 15:6:
Deuteronomy 15:6 - “For YAHWEH your Elohim will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.
And at the height of Israel’s glory (under David and Solomon), I was even reading this week that the nations that were around them were subservient to Israel. And that would provide an opportunity for Israel to share Yahweh’s Word to those nations and to bring them under subjection to Yahweh.
And so, borrowing and interest loans, and all these things, is a sign of a cursed nation. And the curses that will come upon a nation as a result of violating Yahweh’s Law:
Deuteronomy 28:43 - “The alien who [is] among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower.
44 – “He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.
45 – “Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of YAHWEH your Elohim, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you.
Very strong words here. He considers that to be a nation that is under a curse. And I think our nation owes 1.2 trillion dollars to China, an atheist nation. And so, it is as a result of the unrighteousness that is here. We speak like a lamb, but then we act like a lion in terms of the enemy who would seek to kill, steal and destroy.
And so, we have all this blood on our hands and all these things. And so, we need, as a nation, the United States of America, to repent of these things. Of course, they are not likely to. But, you know, Yahweh can turn any nation toward Him.
But what about borrowing? Is it a sin to be in debt to another person? We are not supposed to lend out to interest, but is it wrong for us to borrow? It says here:
Proverbs 22:7 - The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower [is] servant to the lender.
The term here, “servant,” is the Hebrew word “ebed,” which can imply slavery. And that is often the way you could describe it.
Do we want to be enslaved to banks? I mean, they are very greedy and very wicked in their doings. It is certainly unwise, and it is possibly a sin.
And why I say that is, in 1 Corinthians 7:21, he says:
1Corinthians 7:21 - Were you called [while] a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use [it].
Try to get free.
1Corinthians 7:22 - For he who is called in YAHWEH [while] a slave is YAHWEH’S freedman. Likewise he who is called [while] free is Messiah’s slave.
And then he says…
1Corinthians 7:23 - You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.
So we need to be sure that we are not placing ourselves under the condition of subservience. And that is exactly what happens when you borrow money, from what I am seeing here in this scripture, in Proverbs 22:7.
Another scripture is Romans 13:7. It says:
Romans 13:7 - Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes [are due], customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
8 – Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
So our goal is to be in a situation where the only thing we owe another person is just that we love them. When we do that, we are fulfilling the Law. How about that? So we are also called to fulfill the Law, aren’t we?
Well, many people would say, “Well, Yahushua, He fulfilled all that. Therefore, I don’t have to.”
Wait a minute! It says here that we are supposed to fulfill the Law. So those who ask the question, “Did Messiah fulfill that part or this part?” it is a question based on understanding what it really means to fulfill the Law.
The Law is all about love. That is what it is all about. So we should not be the borrowers. We should be among those who lend, and maybe even lend to our enemies.
Luke 6:35 - “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
36 – “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
So, did you ever do this? Yahushua says, “… hoping for nothing in return.”
“Oh, man, I really hope I don’t get any money back from this loan.” Why? Because your reward will be great from Yahweh.
It takes faith to grasp that. You lend the money out and you hope you don’t get it back. And when you do that, what are you? You are sons of the Most High. That is what you are.
Yahweh is in heaven, and He is saying, “Well, you are a son of Mine if you do that. I am going to be kind to the unthankful and the evil.” That is what He says. And when you do that, you are walking in His image. And so, you are among the sons of the Most High. And so, even to our enemies.
And we see this principle of loving our enemies, as far as lending things out and not being harsh, even in the Torah.
Deuteronomy 24:10 - “When you lend your brother anything, you shall not go into his house to get his pledge.
Don’t go in there and start nosing around his stuff. He says:
Deuteronomy 24:11 - “You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you lend shall bring the pledge out to you.
12 – “And if the man [is] poor, you shall not keep his pledge overnight.
That would be his garment.
Deuteronomy 24:13 - “You shall in any case return the pledge to him again when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his own garment and bless you; and it shall be righteousness to you before YAHWEH your Elohim.
So in the case of these pledges and things, if you have to take somebody’s garment and you know it is going to be cold outside that night, you need to give it back to him for him to sleep in. Don’t go into his house and start nosing around his things. You let him go in the house and bring it out.
And we see Yahweh here is trying to communicate an attitude He desires to have among His people. And the attitude He wants us to have is: “Don’t be stingy. Give your poor brother a hand when he needs it. And don’t be overbearing.” That is the principle I am getting here. I think most of us can see that, I hope.
And I like this next one here in Exodus 22:26.
Exodus 22:26 - “If you ever take your neighbor’s garment as a pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down.
27 – “For that [is] his only covering, it [is] his garment for his skin. What will he sleep in? And it will be that when he cries to Me, I will hear, for I [am] gracious.
I love that! “I am gracious.” (“I am going to listen to him. I am going to care about him.”)
When I first read that verse as a new believer, I don’t know, something about it just touched my heart. If a poor man only had a blanket or some outer garment to give as a pledge, Yahweh wanted to make sure that anyone who pledges would not go to the extent of preventing that person from having their basic needs met.
And so, we are called to be gracious to those who are without and be among those who lend to them.
In Psalm 112, verse 5, it says:
Psalms 112:5 - A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion.
6 – Surely he will never be shaken; The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
When one person lends to a poor person, it is as if they have given to Yahweh Himself.
Proverbs 19:17 - He who has pity on the poor lends to YAHWEH, And He will pay back what he has given.
So Yahweh will reward us. That is a promise.
And so, I find that to be interesting. When you are giving to the poor, you are giving to Yahweh. That is the principle here. And so, then Yahweh will pay you back, because you are giving to Him. And so, Yahweh pays you back.
And that is the principle even Yahushua spoke of in Matthew 25:37.
Matthew 25:37 - “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, `Master, when did we see You hungry and feed [You], or thirsty and give [You] drink?
38 – `When did we see You a stranger and take [You] in, or naked and clothe [You]?
39 – `Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
Matthew 25:40 - “And the King will answer and say to them, `Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did [it] to one of the least of these My brethren, you did [it] to Me.’
It is as if you had done it to Elohim Himself… as if you did it to Messiah. To Him there is no difference there. A beautiful thought.
And we shared this in previous broadcasts. But we see a clear connection, I hope, between our service to man– particularly to the ones who are down and out– as being a service to Yahweh Himself.
Because with our mouth we bless Elohim– but curse men, who are made in the similitude of Elohim? And so, when we bless men, we are blessing those made in the similitude of Elohim, and that is our service to Elohim Himself. And we do not charge interest and we are not stingy people.
And that is the summary of the attitude He was trying to communicate to Israel.
Moving on here to Exodus 22, verse 28…
Exodus 22:28 - “You shall not revile Elohim, nor curse a ruler of your people.
That is an interesting connection as well. We saw that for us to hurt the poor or fail to lend to the poor, we are failing to lend to Yahweh and we are failing to bless Yahweh. And here we see we are not to revile Elohim and we are not to curse a ruler of your people.
And so, there is a connection here between the two. One whom Yahweh has placed in authority, for us to revile that person, would be as if we were reviling Elohim Himself.
For a child to revile his parents and to disrespect his parents is to disrespect Yahweh Himself and to revile Yahweh Himself, because Yahweh placed that parent in the position of authority.
And I would say that would extend even to all forms of authority whether you are reviling and cursing a ruler that Yahweh has allowed to be set up in a nation. It says there is no authority except from Yahweh.
We don’t curse the ruler of our nation, the United States. We don’t curse the presidents and revile them and mock them like we see in these political cartoons and different things. It is slander. It is slandering our neighbor.
And the same goes for within the household. The husband and the father, according to Scripture, is the head of the household. And so, if someone– a wife, or a child, or anybody– was to slander that person, or to revile them, that would be as if it was done to Elohim.
Not because the person is Elohim, but because Elohim placed him in that position of authority.
I mean, tell me what would happen if you went to work and you started slamming your boss and went around and told everybody how rotten he was? What do you think would happen? You would get fired. Why? And the CEO would be offended, too, and whoever owns the company, the next hired up, because they are the ones who hired that person.
And so, it is a slight to them as well– all the way going up to the head of the company.
We understand that in the natural, but for some reason we get to the spiritual and people don’t get it anymore. But looking here, it says, “You shall not revile Elohim, nor curse a ruler of your people.”
You know, Paul the Apostle was guilty of this one time.
Acts 23:1 - Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men [and] brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before Elohim until this day.”
2 – And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth.
3 – Then Paul said to him, “Elohim will strike you, [you] whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”
Whoa! I mean, he was right. But he reviled the ruler.
Acts 23:4 - And those who stood by said, “Do you revile Elohim’s high priest?”
5 – Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, `You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'”
He had that scripture right on the top of his mind. So he did not realize that that man was a high priest. And so, he quoted this verse from Yahweh’s Word, from the Law, which indicates he is an observer of the Law. He had it right off the top of his head there. He realized His error, but it was done in ignorance.
Now Yahushua rightfully characterized the scribes and Pharisees that way, but they were not necessarily rulers. They were people that were self-appointed rabbis, and so on. And He never picked any particular person out and began reviling them. But as an overall group, He said to them:
Matthew 23:27 - “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead [men’s] bones and all uncleanness.
Just like Paul said.
Matthew 23:28 - “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
And so, He pointed out the group as a whole. He did not select individuals and start reviling them on a personal level. He wasn’t doing that to the High Priest either. But, you know, it is a biblical principle that you just do not do that. But He did not mince words either. He exposed the scribes and the Pharisees as the frauds that they were.
And those who are in positions like them– as teachers, and so on– should be called out, particularly even elders. Not in a reviling way, but in terms of a rebuke.
And we see this in 1 Timothy 5:19. It says:
1Timothy 5:19 - Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.
20 – Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.
So if there is an elder who is sinning, rebuke them right then and there, that the rest also may fear, because the elder is supposed to be an example to the flock. And so, it is not wrong to call them out now that they are in that position.
It doesn’t mean that you start name calling and reviling, or anything along those lines, but to reprove them. So that is actually a principle that is often not followed today, but it should be. It should be.
And after I share the lesson today from the Word, I open up the floor, and anybody can correct me. And do not hesitate if you think I am wrong about something. I would rather be corrected than be teaching something that is not true. And I am not an elder.
All right, continuing in Exodus 22, it says:
Exodus 22:29 - “You shall not delay [to offer] the first of your ripe produce and your juices. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me.
30 – “Likewise you shall do with your oxen [and] your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.
How do we apply this today? We don’t have a temple to take our animals to or anything of that nature. But let’s say that you had this animal that was giving birth. You could sell that particular animal and give the money to the poor or to a ministry. Anything along those lines could be done quite possibly.
When we had a garden, you know, the firstfruits of each particular vegetable, or whatever we get, we stand at the top of our hill and just throw it up in the air and offer it to Yahweh and let it lie fallow and not pick it up. Or you could give it to the poor person or whatever.
There are different ways of looking at it and different ways of applying it, but I tell you what, don’t eat the firstfruits of your garden. That is my suggestion… or with your sheep.
And this happened to me one time. I was actually raising sheep, and I just wasn’t thinking. This was the firstborn male, a ram, of this particular ewe. And there it was alive on the pasture and I hadn’t done anything with it. And it grew and grew and grew.
And then all of a sudden I had a lightning strike and it hit one of our trees and it killed several of the ewes and the lambs from my flock. And I thought, “I wonder if that is because I didn’t give Yahweh the first right away.”
And we got into this a little bit in previous broadcasts about the firstborn. Yahweh is very jealous. He wants that firstborn and the firstfruits as well.
So continuing here…
Exodus 22:31 - “And you shall be holy men to Me: you shall not eat meat torn [by beasts] in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.
All right. Well, there are two different kinds of dogs in the Bible. There are the ones that bark and then there is the foreigner. And we see this– and we will get into this– in some other verses. But He doesn’t want us eating meat that was torn by an animal or that died of itself.
We see in Leviticus 17:15:
Leviticus 17:15 - “And every person who eats what died [naturally] or what was torn [by beasts, whether he is] a native of your own country or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. Then he shall be clean.
16 – “But if he does not wash [them] or bathe his body, then he shall bear his guilt.”
If you accidently did not realize it and you ate some animal that died naturally or had been torn by beasts, this was the procedure. So whatever dies naturally or is torn by beasts, it says you shall not eat, to defile yourself with it.
Leviticus 22:8 - `Whatever dies [naturally] or is torn [by beasts] he shall not eat, to defile himself with it: I [am] YAHWEH.
So that is something to think about.
You know, you kind of wonder about our meat supply in the world today as to whether or not the meat supply is really done properly. I mean, there are some farmers who see their animal is about ready to die, so they send it off to the butcher and to the slaughter house.
And maybe it doesn’t die naturally, but it is full of disease and is about ready to. And I don’t know of what big difference there would be between the two. But anyway, just something to think about.
It says in Deuteronomy 14:21:
Deuteronomy 14:21 - “You shall not eat anything that dies [of itself]; you may give it to the alien who [is] within your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you [are] a holy people to YAHWEH your Elohim. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
That is interesting. An alien earlier was supposed to what? Just like the native born, wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. It says not to do that whether you are a native or not. So, what is the exception here?
It appears to me, the alien, in this case, would be a “ger,” in Hebrew (or a stranger who is sojourning through the land and is from a foreign nation– he is not permanently a resident of Israel) or a foreign nation.
And this is the only place in the Bible that I can find that has a different law for Israel and a different nation, a people who are not of Israel. And some might suggest that is a contradiction because of the earlier scripture where it says whether it is a native or not.
So how do we resolve this? It appears to me that if you were to sell this to a foreign nation or to some sojourner passing through the land who is staying the night within your town, what is going to happen? You are going to say, “Well, we can’t eat this, but we will sell it to you.”
Now what do you think the foreigner is going to say? “Uh, why can’t you eat it, and why would you want to sell it to me if you can’t eat it?” They are going to inevitably inquire about why Israel cannot eat of that.
And so, they are going to have the opportunity then to say, “Well, we worship Yahweh our Elohim. He wants us to be a holy people unto Him and not eat meat from animals that died of itself or was torn by beasts.”
And so, that would open the door of communication to where people of other nations would be asking all kinds of questions and would encourage dialogue between Israel and the Gentiles that some perhaps might turn their hearts to Yahweh, and if they did, then they would be among those who would not eat those kinds of things.
And so, I don’t know. That is the way I kind of resolve that in my mind. And to me, it makes sense. But people that are of foreign nations are defiled anyway. For them to eat something that is defiled is not going to defile them. They are not going to care. So when you give that to them, it is not like they are any more defiled than they already are.
But in this case, how would we apply this in a local sense? If I had an animal that died of itself, I probably wouldn’t sell it to anybody. But I think that if you wanted to, certainly you could sell it to a complete heathen. And you never know. That might open up the door of dialogue between you and the other person.
But I interpret Scripture this way because I am Israel. I am an Israelite in Messiah Yahushua. Galatians 3:29 says that if you are Messiah’s, you are Abraham’s seed. If I am Abraham’s seed, that means I am Israel and I am grafted in. And so, I look at Scripture in this way. I am of the nation of Israel.
I am in exile right now. I am in a foreign land, but my permanent home is Yahweh’s land that He has chosen to reign from– which is Tzion, which is Yerushalayim, which is the land called Yisrael today… and beyond that even.
So that is where my mindset is, and I don’t find anything in Scripture to contradict that. Rather I see everything in Scripture supporting that.
All right. Exodus 23 now…
Exodus 23:1 - “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.
Do not circulate a false report. I have seen thousands upon thousands of false reports on the Internet, people that are forwarding me information that are false reports.
And so, never forward anybody information– you know, these forwards that come through email– never forward them unless you know it is really true, unless you can prove it is really true. Otherwise, you are circulating a false report. It is a rumor. It is not true.
And I found that about eighty percent or more of the forwards I get are not even true. And so, it is just a high-tech way of spreading untrue rumors and legends and things around.
And also, have you ever heard a story about somebody, something negative, and then you found out later it wasn’t even true? And here you told somebody else– whether it was about a president or about a politician or about somebody that is known in the mass media or a friend or an enemy or whatever. We don’t do that.
And there is a story about a Jewish leader to whom there was a man in a particular town who had spread an evil report about this Jewish leader. And they found out it wasn’t true, and he felt really bad that he had spread this false report and was bearing a false witness about him.
And he found out it wasn’t true what he was saying, and he felt really bad because he had told a whole bunch of people. And he went to that Jewish leader, and said, “I am really sorry I did this. I apologize. I was very wrong for that. Is there any way I can make it up to you?”
And the Jewish leader says, “Go get a feather pillow and take it to the top of the hill and rip open the feather pillow and cause all the feathers to be carried off by the wind. And then bring it back to me.”
The guy thought, “Oh, okay. Well, whatever. If it makes it up to you.” He goes up to the top of the hill and he shakes out the feather pillow and all the feathers go flying off into the wind and into the trees, into the grass. And he brings it back, and says, “Well, I did what you asked me to do.”
And the Jewish leader says, “You asked me if there was any way you could make it up to me.” And he says, “Now go pick up all those feathers.” And the point being is once all the feathers are scattered to the wind, there is no way to repair the guy’s name. It has already gone from one person to another person to another person.
There is no way to go back and retrieve all the damage that was done. And that is the danger of circulating a false report.
Exodus 23:2 - “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert [justice].
Following a crowd to do evil. A lot of people say to me, “Well, EliYah, Tom, how could you be the right one and everyone else be wrong? How could two thousand years of Orthodox Christianity be wrong, and here you come along and you are correct? How does that make any sense?”
Well, the crowds don’t obey the Torah. Do I follow the crowds? Do I follow the masses? Do I go along with what the mainstream have done for the last two thousand years? I mean, when in Bible history do you see the majority of people doing the right thing? Almost never do you see that. Very rare.
And so, I cannot base my faith on what other people do. And even if those crowds are doing all in unison what they are doing in disobeying Yahweh’s Law, I am not going to follow that crowd to do the same– which, to me, disobeying Yahweh’s Law is what evil is defined as, because sin is the transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4).
So following a crowd to do evil is the habit of almost everyone in our culture today. If everybody else is doing it, it must be okay. But what is popular is not always right. What is right is not always popular, as they say.
And I have a study on the Archives page called “Stumbling Blocks.” It is down toward the bottom of the Archives page (the archives of the Video Broadcasts). And the third part of the Stumbling series has to do with the danger of following the crowds.
And, you know, man is almost our worst enemy in many cases. You might say, “Well, Satan is man’s worst enemy.” But he works in men to cause man to stumble. And everyone assumes because everyone in their culture is doing this one thing that makes it okay. And that is a very, very dangerous thing to think.
Continuing in verse 3, it says:
Exodus 23:3 - “You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute.
Another verse related to that:
Leviticus 19:15 - `You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.
And so, as much as we would want to care for the poor people, if the rich man comes and he has a legitimate claim against the poor person, we have to be righteous in our judgment. And the same is true in reverse. Do not favor the rich man over the poor man.
How much money they have is no consequence at all. That does not have anything to do with what is right or wrong.
And today we have court systems that are not supposed to show partiality, which are not supposed to be a respecter of persons, but our laws become so complicated that the judges expect you to hire a lawyer before they even take you seriously.
And if you try to represent yourself, you don’t get the same level of respect from the judges that you might otherwise. Or if you have a court hired attorney– I mean, everybody I know who has gone through that process knows that attorneys do the bare minimum.
And so, the problem with the lawyer-based system is that the judges and attorneys see each other so often that the judges are tempted to favor one attorney over the other.
And that can influence the outcome of even jury trials where judges get to determine whether or not certain evidence is admissible or not admissible and whether or not to sustain certain objections.
And so, we have the problem here today with the rich being able to afford a better lawyer than the poor. And this causes a situation where if the rich man did a crime, he is less likely to be convicted of it. And conversely, if the poor man doesn’t commit a crime, he is more likely to be convicted of it.
And so, it is in direct opposition here to the principle in Leviticus 19:15 – “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty.”
And so, that is the situation we are in today where the judges, if they are not just… I mean, they are certainly being tempted to honor the person of the mighty. And the way the system is set up favors the rich not getting convicted of their crimes over the poor, and it is wrong. Period. It is wrong.
Continuing in Exodus 23 and verse 4. It says:
Exodus 23:4 - “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again.
5 – “If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden, and you would refrain from helping it, you shall surely help him with it.
6 – “You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor in his dispute.
What is the principle here? Love your enemies. That is the principle. What Yahushua was teaching in terms of loving your enemies was not a new concept. It is right out of Exodus 23.
Even if it is your enemy’s, bring it back to him again. Bless him. “Hey, I found your ox.” “I found your donkey.” “I found your animal.” “I found your dog.” “I found your…” whatever we may have. “Here, look what I found. He was going over here. And so, here you are.”
And that will possibly heal the rift between you and the enemy. That is what Messiah wants. He wants us to love even our enemies and to bless them. And that is not a new idea He was coming up with. Even Proverbs says you will heap coals of fire on his head.
1Thessalonians 5:15 - See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
No one is to render evil for evil.
1Peter 3:8 - Finally, all [of you be] of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, [be] tenderhearted, [be] courteous;
9 – not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
There you are again. This is what you are called to do. This is your calling right here. That is your calling. That you may inherit a blessing.
Do you ever want to know what your calling is in your life? That is a calling on everybody’s life– to love in the face of hatred.
Romans 12:17 - Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
18 – If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Repay no one evil for evil. Nobody. No exception given. Yet, have you ever noticed marital relationships are sometimes like that? One justifies his own wrong because the other one is not doing their part.
A man won’t love his wife because his wife is not being submissive. And his wife won’t be submissive because her husband is not showing her love. It is an evil for evil relationship.
The one is saying, “Well, they are not doing good to me. I won’t do good to them. They are doing evil to me. I’ll do evil back.” That is an evil for evil relationship. But the manifestation of the Messiah needs to be present in all of our relationships, to render no one evil for evil.
Parents are sometimes unkind to their children because their children are rebellious or unkind to them. Children are not honoring their parents because parents are mistreating them.
But brothers and sisters in the faith even refrain from showing love and kindness to each other because the other person has not been that way toward them. But it is not until we get past that practice that the Messiah and the heavenly Father’s love is going to truly be manifested.
If we only love those who love us, we are no better than the heathen.
Matthew 5:46 - “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 – “And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more [than others]? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
48 – “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Those are strong words. We have to get over that. Let’s be sure we are not operating in that evil for evil mindset in any of our relationships.
Do an inventory. Ask yourself. Maybe even pray. Yahweh, help us see, in Yahushua’s name, if we are operating in this realm with any other person– whether it is a spouse, someone at work, your worst enemy. We don’t want to go there.
Continuing in Exodus 23…
Exodus 23:7 - “Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked.
You know, a lot of people a little over a month-and-a-half ago were observing Christmas on December 25th and celebrating “Oh, the Messiah is born” on December 25th.
That is false. He wasn’t born December 25th. That is a practice of the heathen that worshiped the sun, and that is when they think their sun gods were born. And so, to give Him the characteristics of an idol and to go around celebrating something that is not even true is not keeping yourself far from a false matter.
It is a false matter to say He was born December 25th and we need to celebrate His birthday. It is false. We are people of the truth. Nowhere in His Word does it ask us to do that. It says in John 17:17 that we are sanctified by the truth. And His word is truth.
And so, we want to stay far away from anything that is not true and not have any association with the things that are not of the truth.
And that is just one example. There are other examples of things that are not true that we do not want to associate with.
I am sure I am stepping on toes today. And here comes a big one. We are going to get through this.
Exodus 23:8 - “And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the discerning and perverts the words of the righteous.
If we are committing bribery here, then we are perverts according to the Bible. We are perverting the words of the righteous. It causes blindness. This is what bribery does. It creates perversion.
Bribery gets the motive of money involved when it comes to discerning what is right and what is wrong. And we know whenever money is involved, in a particular decision in this case, you are going to have the danger of a self-serving judge rather than one who honestly looks at a case and makes a determination as to what is right.
Now what I am going to say here I am going to catch some heat today, but I believe this principle applies in other ways besides a court of law. I think they apply in all matters of judging whether something is right or whether something is wrong.
If we have a money motive involved in that, then that is a place of danger– and hear me out before you hit the stop button on the broadcast– but, you know, a pastor or a minister who pays more attention to what the rich man wants him to teach.
Hear me out on this. I had this happen to me once. It kind of took me by surprise. Maybe ten or fifteen years ago somebody had made a contribution to the ministry of Eliyah.com, and after making that contribution I get this email from the person saying, “Can you do a study on this, that, and the other, or this topic or that?”
And when I first read it, I thought, “Well, sure. I can do a study on that topic.” I didn’t really feel led to share on it, but, you know, they did contribute to the ministry. Hmm. And right there I got a check in my spirit.
I sensed the spirit was telling me something to the effect of, “Since when should money be a motivator on what leads you to say anything? Since when is mammon supposed to be your guide?” Yahweh’s Spirit should be our guide, not somebody with a fistful of money.
And I have no doubt there are going to be pastors and there are going to be teachers out there who are sharing teachings and those teachings are motivated by money, by the advancement of their ministry. And that is one reason why I really have a problem with selling specific teachings.
Now hear me out on this. I don’t have a problem with a ministry receiving funds. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t even have a problem with a person who is in ministry with getting a personal income from that. I don’t have a problem with that because that is what the Levites were doing.
It can’t be wrong if Yahweh allowed the Levites to do it. So I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t do it myself. If you write a contribution to EliYah.com, I don’t touch it for myself. It doesn’t go to me at all.
And so, what I have a problem with is a minister selling teachings piecemeal. I have a real big problem with that. Because when a ministry starts to sell individual teachings, there is a potential source here for the teacher of Yahweh’s Word to be motivated by how many people are going to buy “this one.”
And that leads him to be fearful of telling people like it is– if they need to be told like it is– or addressing a particular sin in the body of Messiah, lest he doesn’t get the sales he wants.
And so, selling teachings piecemeal creates this marketplace atmosphere– that has a stench in my nose– this marketplace atmosphere where different ministries compete with each other for people’s cash, and ministries become, in effect, businesses. They are trying to make a buck and it all goes downhill from there.
And so, I don’t ever want to be afraid to push people out of their comfort zone if I feel like I need to, if the Word demands that I do.
I don’t desire to intentionally offend anybody, but Yahushua, you know, He pushed a lot of people out of their comfort zone. And since I know He is quite alive today, I am sure He is quite the same yesterday, today and forever.
The Levites were judges, and for them to be paid out of the general tithe fund, it is appropriate. It is fine. But never would you see a Levite getting paid for individual judgments. Are you following what I mean? That is bribery. Never were they to be paid for individual teachings.
That is really not all that different from bribery because you are going to be tempted to make judgments regarding Yahweh’s Word that would favor the views of the person who gave you the money and cause him to be afraid to tell the rich man, “Well, this is what is going on. You need to repent of this.”
And that is how a lot of congregations operate sometimes– not always. But the selling of individual teachings, these parachurch organizations, you know. The Levites didn’t practice that. Yahushua didn’t practice that. Neither did any of the disciples practice that– selling individual teachings.
Yahushua received financial contributions, and that is all well and good. But that is not violating anything. But for a person to say a particular thing or to teach a particular subject, I see a principle here that is being violated.
Now hear me out. I can find you an exact scripture to describe what I am talking about. I am going to read a story here in 2 Kings 5:14. It says:
2Kings 5:14 - So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of Elohim; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
Talking about Naaman the Syrian. Remember him? He had leprosy.
2Kings 5:15 - And he returned to the man of Elohim, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, “Indeed, now I know that [there is] no Elohim in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.”
16 – But he said, “[As] YAHWEH lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing.” And he urged him to take [it], but he refused.
But a little later in verse 20…
2Kings 5:20 - But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of Elohim, said, “Look, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but [as] YAHWEH lives, I will run after him and take something from him.”
21 – So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw [him] running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him, and said, “[Is] all well?”
2Kings 5:22 - And he said, “All [is] well. My master has sent me, saying, `Indeed, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the mountains of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of garments.'”
23 – So Naaman said, “Please, take two talents.” And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and handed [them] to two of his servants; and they carried [them] on ahead of him.
So we have two talents of silver in two bags and two changes of garments.
2Kings 5:24 - When he came to the citadel, he took [them] from their hand, and stored [them] away in the house; then he let the men go, and they departed.
25 – Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, “Where [did you go], Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant did not go anywhere.”
2Kings 5:26 - Then he said to him, “Did not my heart go [with you] when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? [Is it] time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants?
He was planning on taking the money and doing some things with it.
2Kings 5:27 - “Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever.” And he went out from his presence leprous, [as white] as snow.
“It is not time,” he says, “to do that.” Because it is not necessarily wrong for a prophet to receive gifts from those coming to him to inquire, but not in this context. “Oh, you healed me up. I will give you some money for that.” No, Yahweh did that. Yahweh healed him. Healing is not for sale. It is not for sale.
Now some examples here in 2 Kings 8:9. Talking about the prophet here, it says:
2Kings 8:9 - So Hazael went to meet him and took a present with him, of every good thing of Damascus, forty camel-loads; and he came and stood before him, and said, “Your son Ben-Hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, `Shall I recover from this disease?'”
There is an example of giving a gift to a prophet to ask him, “Will I recover from this disease or not?” And I don’t know. It doesn’t say he did not take it, so I presume he would have.
1Kings 14:2 - And Jeroboam said to his wife, “Please arise, and disguise yourself, that they may not recognize you as the wife of Jeroboam, and go to Shiloh. Indeed, Ahijah the prophet [is] there, who told me that [I would be] king over this people.
3 – “Also take with you ten loaves, [some] cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him; he will tell you what will become of the child.”
He had a child that was sick. This is an example of a prophet being given gifts. In this case, it was to determine what will become of the child.
Another example, 1 Samuel 9:6. This is Saul.
1Samuel 9:6 - And he said to him, “Look now, [there is] in this city a man of Elohim, and [he is] an honorable man; all that he says surely comes to pass. So let us go there; perhaps he can show us the way that we should go.”
He is looking for an animal.
1Samuel 9:7 - Then Saul said to his servant, “But look, [if] we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread in our vessels is all gone, and [there is] no present to bring to the man of Elohim. What do we have?”
8 – And the servant answered Saul again and said, “Look, I have here at hand one fourth of a shekel of silver. I will give [that] to the man of Elohim, to tell us our way.”
So in these instances of finding out whether someone is going to be healed or finding out where a lost animal is, there is no danger of him giving a corrupt judgment, because the minute he did, if he gave a corrupted judgment, obviously, if the prophet says something and another thing happened, he wouldn’t be a prophet anybody relied on anymore.
He wouldn’t be regarded as a prophet. But never, ever, ever do we see anyone giving a Bible teaching for pay. That is too close to the principle of accepting bribes, as this scripture, which I am about to share, will illustrate.
Micah 3:9 - Now hear this, You heads of the house of Jacob And rulers of the house of Israel, Who abhor justice And pervert all equity,
10 – Who build up Zion with bloodshed And Jerusalem with iniquity:
11 – Her heads judge for a bribe, Her priests teach for pay, And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on YAHWEH, and say, “Is not YAHWEH among us? No harm can come upon us.”
They are willing to judge as long as they get a bribe out of it. Her priests teach as long as they get paid for the teaching. Her prophets divine for money.
In this case, the word “divine” comes from “divination,” which is not real prophecy. It is trying to call upon the power of the devil to get your information. And so, this is clear condemnation of this principle of teaching for pay.
Their heads will judge as long as they get a bribe, and the priests will teach as long as they get some money out of it. And that is not right.
Divination is what the prophet Balaam was doing.
Numbers 22:7 - So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner’s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak.
And so, he got corrupted.
And we are told explicitly in the teachings of Messiah, when He sent out the seventy, He said:
Matthew 10:7 - “And as you go, preach, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
8 – “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
9 – “Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts,
Matthew 10:10 - “nor bag for [your] journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.
There He was. He was not against someone providing food for them. But their healing and their cleansing and their rising from the dead and teaching and preaching the Kingdom of Elohim was not to be done for a fee. It was freely given. And so, they freely would give. Yahushua gave it to them without charge.
Yes, a worker is worthy of his food. Yes, if you are going out and teaching the Kingdom of Elohim and you happen to stay with somebody else and they provided food for you, that is right. That is righteous. That is the right thing to do.
But they were not going out in a ministry to go collect a bunch of money. That wasn’t their purpose.
And so, I received from Yahweh all the understanding that I am getting from Yahweh’s Word. He doesn’t charge me for it, so why would I charge somebody else?
And, I hope, since I give to you freely that you will freely give to somebody else. And I am not trying to boast. I am just saying that I am trying to speak out against those who would have the audacity to think that they can make a buck off of teaching Yahweh’s Word.
It is not fair to the poor man because you are charging money for it. The poor man wants to hear the truth of Yahweh’s Word and they don’t have the money. That is wrong. That is showing partiality that only the rich man can hear the truth that you have to share.
It should never be among us that we would keep the poor man from hearing teachings on the right way to live because we have this marketplace atmosphere of different teachers competing for who can coerce the richer people into buying their wares.
It is like paying a judge to make a particular judgment that can corrupt the judge. Paying teachers for certain teachings can corrupt the teachers. And the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
1Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is a root of all [kinds of] evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
And they had this problem in the first century also.
Titus 1:10 - For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,
11 – whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.
That is not us.
Romans 16:17 - Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
18 – For those who are such do not serve our Master Yahushua Messiah, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.
We see other places in Scripture where Simon the sorcerer was trying to buy the Holy Spirit with a pile of money. You cannot buy it. You can’t buy the Spirit with money. And so, why are we selling teachings for money? It is all from the Spirit. It is all from the Word of Yahweh. Why would we sell teachings for money?
To do that, this is what I think Yahushua thinks about it:
John 2:14 - And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business.
15 – When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.
16 – And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
But, sadly, ministries are again turning the house of Elohim into a house of merchandise. And I have attended seminars where teachings are being sold. I have been to Messianic congregations where they are selling things on the Sabbath. I don’t think this is biblical.
I understand that is a pattern seen in mainline churches and parachurch ministries and that is how they raise money, but we really need to let the light of Yahweh’s Word shine on this practice and see whether or not that is really something that Yahushua and His disciples would be doing.
I think I can say without hesitation He would never do such a thing. The rich and the poor man alike could come to Him freely and be healed and hear the word of Yahweh. And if we are the body of Messiah on the earth today, we need to be doing that. He never charged five shekels to hear the Sermon on the Mount. And we shouldn’t either.
And so, if you make a tape or a CD and if you offer it at cost, I am not even really big on that. Let the ministry general fund cover the expense. Or if you are going to offer it at cost, say, “If you can’t afford it, let us know and we will send it to you for free.” But don’t make merchandise out of it because that is not what we are about.
2Corinthians 2:17 - For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of Elohim; but as of sincerity, but as from Elohim, we speak in the sight of Elohim in Messiah.
Even then they had a lot of people doing that, peddling the Word of Elohim. But as of sincerity, but as from Elohim– not from the motive of money– we speak in the sight of Elohim, not in the sight of man.
And so, if a ministry is built on this and they can’t survive without it, if it is really Yahweh’s ministry, won’t He inspire people to provide for the expenses? And if He does not, then maybe Yahweh is not the one building it to begin with. If it is of His house, He will provide for it. I am convinced.
If it ever happens where I sink financially and I can’t go on to do the broadcast anymore, that is just Yahweh’s sign to me that He is done with me sharing. That is okay. He can find somebody else to share. They don’t have to be me.
And so, there is nothing wrong with a minister receiving funds to help pay for expenses. But to sell teachings and judgments and things piecemeal, that is where I am talking about I don’t think Messiah would do that because of the marketplace atmosphere it would produce. And I am thankful He never did.
If He didn’t do it then, I don’t see why He is going to do it now. So, there. I have said my piece on that.
Continuing in Exodus 23… we will wrap it up here.
Exodus 23:9 - “Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
We covered that subject in depth already in a previous broadcast called “For the Love of Strangers.”
Exodus 23:10 - “Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce,
11 – “but the seventh [year] you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard [and] your olive grove.
For those of you who are farming and gardening, I don’t know if there is a specific year that is called a Sabbath year. Maybe there is. I don’t know what it is if there is. But at least, when you enter your land, when you start to farm it, if you farm it for six years, let it rest on the seventh. And when you do that, it actually restores the soil.
And our nation does not do that either. Instead, they do crop rotations. And that is not the biblical way of doing it. Now it is not wrong to rotate crops, but every seventh year you need to let it lie fallow. And then rely upon Yahweh for the rest.
All right. Verse 12…
Exodus 23:12 - “Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed.
I went over the Sabbath commandment in detail already, on the Archives page– the study of the Ten Commandments. You can find that there.
Exodus 23:13 - “And in all that I have said to you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth.
Now there are some people who have taken that to very serious extremes here. In our English language, we happen to have a language that is full of words and things that are pagan in origin. And so, we have that. That is our language.
And so, there are certain people who would tell you that it is wrong to say the word “holy,” it is wrong to say the word “glorious,” it is wrong to say the word “king,” and you shouldn’t say those words because those were at one time the name of some pagan god somewhere. And so, they take this Exodus 23 and interpret it that way.
Well, if we are to be sinning because we have done that, what about, as we see here in 1 Kings 18:21, Eliyah the prophet saying, “Well, if Baal is Elohim, follow him. If Yahweh is Elohim, follow Him.” Oh, he uttered the name of a pagan god out of his mouth.
When Yahushua says, “Oh, I don’t cast out demons by Beelzebub,” He said the word “Beelzebub.” Does that mean He violated the Law here? Oh, the name of another god came out of His mouth.
What is Yahweh trying to get us to understand here? Because we even see David in one place, in 1 Chronicles 14:11 (I don’t have it here with me on the screen, but look it up– 1 Chronicles 14:11), they went up to Baal Perazim and David defeated them there. And David said, “Elohim has broken through my enemies by my hand like I break through water.”
Therefore he named the name of that place Baal Perazim. “Perazim” means “to break through.” And “Baal” would be referring to Yahweh. And so, even Yahweh was called “Baal,” not just there, but in other places as well. And so, what is going on here? In one place it says not to say the names of other elohim.
Well, David wasn’t referring to Baal when he named the place. He wasn’t referring to the false god Baal. He was only talking about Yahweh when he named that place. And so, he was not talking about another god, right? And neither are we when we say “holy” or when we say “glorious.” We are not talking about those gods. We are talking about Yahweh.
And so, it is not inherently wrong to take a word that at one time may have been referring to an idol and use it to describe Yahweh because here we see David did it. If it is a word that carries a meaning that would properly describe the character of Yahweh– He is holy, He is our King, He is glorious– then it is describing it to Elohim.
And, you know, I have this “Scriptures” version– 1993 version of “The Scriptures.” And the author of the book, the one who translated it, believed it was wrong to say those words. And so, in this Bible here, he wrote six pages long (this is the original one– the 1998 version, the other ones, do not have it) six pages worth of the names of pagan gods.
And he researched all this, and he felt it was wrong to say these things. But then, sadly, we have one of the words here, that we are not supposed to say, is “the.” “The,” it says: A name for “The” sun deity, also known as “Theos.” And so, here is the name of a sun deity– “The.”
And we are not supposed to say that even though he just said it and it is all over this book (the word “the”). There is no way on earth you can speak English and not have some, even if it is not derived from that, vocalization of some pagan god somewhere.
I mean, what do you do when your neighbor down the street starts worshiping his god named “Creator”? Does that mean you cannot call Yahweh “Creator” anymore because your neighbor happened to worship this god named “Creator”?
Did the heathen control our tongue? Is that how we are supposed to live our lives? I just don’t think that is what it is talking about.
I know He did not want Israel to start talking about those other gods, what they were all about and what those gods were claimed to have done. And He didn’t want them to be tempted to worship those gods. And so, He wanted those gods to be blotted out and forgotten by Israel.
And here I have in my hand a Bible that resurrects the names of all these gods. And, I am sorry, but it just seems like the very thing Yahweh did not want Israel to be doing.
I mean, I am sure He is quite pleased that no one is worshiping these gods anymore– or hardly anybody. Maybe a few. But, you know, if a pagan term gets to the point where when people of the earth think of that particular idol when you say it, then there may be a point for that, because we read this in Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 23:26 - “How long will [this] be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed [they are] prophets of the deceit of their own heart,
27 – “who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal.
And so, at some point, Yahweh got so sick of being called Baal (or Ba’al), He said:
Hosea 2:16-17 (King James Version) – “And it shall be at that day, saith Yahweh, that thou shalt call me Ishi (which means “my husband”); and shalt call me no more Baali. 17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.”
So He is going to take the names of Baalim out of their mouth. He doesn’t want to hear that anymore. He got so sick of “Baal this” and “Baal that,” He didn’t want to hear it anymore. So He is going to take it out of their mouth.
And He didn’t like it when we replaced His name with something else. And that is what we have in most Bibles. Man has taken His name out and put “Lord” in there. And it just so happens “Baal” means “Lord.” That is what the word “Baal” means, is “Lord.” He did not want us to do that.
And so, the day is going to come, instead of Yahweh being “Kurios” in one language and “Lord” in another, and some other name in another, that Yahweh is going to say:
Zephaniah 3:9 - “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of YAHWEH, To serve Him with one accord.
He is going to turn to the people a pure language.
Zechariah 14:9 - And YAHWEH shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be — “YAHWEH [is] one,” And His name one.
So Zephaniah 3:9 and Zechariah 14:9 show that when Yahweh’s will is finally done on the earth as it is in heaven, this is what is going to happen. But we who are proclaimers of the Kingdom message, we need to be doing Yahweh’s will on the earth now and not wait for Yahweh to correct us.
And so, that, to me, is where we find danger– is association, what a name is associated with. Yahweh chose 7000 times in our Bibles to associate Himself with the name of Yahweh. We have no business changing that and replacing it with titles that do not have any resemblance to what the name of Yahweh actually means.
And so, I know we have covered a lot today and we are getting a little bit long, but there is a lot to be gleaned from Yahweh’s Word. A lot. And I haven’t even covered two-and-a-half chapters of Exodus, and it has taken me two weeks. We could probably spend ten months. Because Yahweh’s Word is deep and wide and awesome.
Ephesians 3:14 - For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Master Yahushua Messiah,
15 – from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 – that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
Ephesians 3:17 - that Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 – may be able to comprehend with all the saints what [is] the width and length and depth and height–
Being rooted and grounded in love, that is the only way you are able to comprehend.
Ephesians 3:19 - to know the love of Messiah which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of Elohim.
That is the goal of everything! The love of Messiah is superior to any knowledge that you may have.
You can have knowledge but not have love. But if you have love, you are understanding the purpose of knowledge. Love fills us with the fullness of Elohim, to fill us with His Spirit. And if we love, we are not going to circulate false reports.
If we are going to be rooted and grounded in love, we are going to be rooted and grounded in the Torah, which upon the two great commands– love Yahweh and love your neighbor– hang all the Law and the Prophets.
And so, if we love, we won’t circulate false reports. If we love, we won’t follow a crowd to do evil. If we love, we won’t show partiality when we judge. If we love, we will show kindness to our enemies and not hatred. If we love, we will not take bribes or let money be a motivator for our judgments or in what we share in Yahweh’s Word.
And if we love, we will not favor the rich man by charging money to hear our judgments of how the Word of Yahweh will be understood. And if we love, we will not oppress those who are not of our faith– the stranger. And if we love, we will let the land that Yahweh has created to rest every seven years.
If we love Yahweh, we will also Keep His Sabbath Day, a day He sanctified at creation, a memorial that He is our Creator, and we will keep that day holy because He asked us to, because we love Him.
And if we love, we will not have anything to do with replacing Yahweh’s name with vain titles. We will desire His will to be done on the earth as it is done in heaven. May Yahweh fill us with that understanding of what it means to love.
And as we walk in that love and the Messiah is revealed in our hearts and manifested by that indwelling of the root and ground of the Hebraic roots of our faith, Torah, that enables us to comprehend the width and depth and height and length, being rooted and grounded in love, in His laws of love…
…we, by these things, surpassing all knowledge, become acquainted with and filled with the love of the Messiah. And when we are acquainted with and filled with the love of the Messiah, then we have the fullness of Elohim dwelling in us.
And so, as we have these things in us, brothers and sisters, may Yahweh bless you, and may Yahweh have mercy on us all.