Question: I have begun my studies into Daniel and have been using Howard Rand’s book: A study in Daniel as a reference point. When you can, please turn to chapter 9:4-19. Daniel’s prayer fits like a glove to today’s time, but I ask “where is the Daniel for our countries?”
Reply: Beginning with Daniel 9:4, Daniel “prayed unto the LORD” and confessed the people’s sins. What were those sins? Evidently there was a wide variety due to “departing from thy precepts” and ignoring “thy servants the prophets” that we today have laid out for us clearly in the Bible.
This has caused “confusion [or shame] of faces.” The Hebrew word translated “confusion” or “shame” is bosheth, meaning the feeling, condition, and cause of shame; by implication, an idol. Have we not made false idols of material possessions, movie and sports stars, and even politicians? Daniel 9:8 speaks of the sins of the ruler, and I want to quote that verse from the Bible in Basic English: “O Lord, shame is on us, on our kings and our rulers and our fathers, because of our sin against you.” It was reported that a major participant vying for the Republican leadership stated that he would not lose his supporters even if he went in the street and shot someone! We have a tremendous capacity to tolerate evil.
Daniel correctly identified the problem: “we have rebelled…transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us…” But the churches claim that the laws of God (or this or that section of them) are abolished, put away, and we are therefore free to do as we please.
Daniel closes his prayer by observing, “Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.” We have only ourselves as a people to blame.
The late great British-Israel leader, Richard Reader Harris (1847-1909) was an atheist for many years until coming to Christ. He said, “For ten years, I remained an honest doubter because no one pointed me to Jesus Christ as the One who saves ‘to the uttermost.’ I had wanted to know God, but the professing Christians I knew failed to introduce me to Him, because they did not know Him themselves.” He was brought to Christ by his wife Mary, but could not forget the scathing accusations of atheist Charles Bradlaugh from years past: “If Jesus had been divine,” Bradlaugh thundered, “his followers would long ago have claimed the power He offered them, obeyed His command, and evangelized the world.” It is time we accepted the challenge and obeyed the Great Commission!
Where are the Daniels? Sad to say, there are few left in the denominational churches. They have made a business of pampering and babysitting a generation of “Christians in name only” who are not taught the Word of God and His righteous precepts. The people of Daniel’s time ignored his warning so the nation collapsed and went into captivity. Will that be our fate? There is a dire need for our message today concerning personal and national salvation. Only a concerted effort of earnest praying and proclaiming of the Word of God will save us!
Question: My question is, are the feasts a statute or are they part of the law of ordinances? It appears that Christ as well as his Apostles kept the feasts so I’m unsure why we don’t. Could you please give me your opinion and the biblical reasons that have lead you to your point of view.
Reply: You have intuitively hinted at the problem we face when we arbitrarily divide up the Torah, or law of God, into separate “parts.” Some ministers, for example, say that the food laws of Leviticus chapter 11 are ordinances and abolished, while others call them statutes and still in effect. The same may be said for the Biblical holy days, or feasts and fasts. To add to the confusion, some ministers see three divisions to the law, others four or five. What is the real answer?
Our Savior told us in Matthew 5:17-18, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
I would love to have the ministers who have divided the law into “eternal” and “abolished” sections explain to us how that can be when our Savior clearly and unequivocally stated that no part, not even “one jot or one tittle” will pass from the law as long as heaven and earth exist. In stark and total contrast to Christ’s own teaching, I hear ministers regularly use the word “abolished” in reference to all or part of the law of God. Yet the fact is that the word “abolished” is never used concerning God’s law or any part of it; do a search in a Bible concordance and see! The Old Covenant is abrogated and was to “vanish away” (Heb. 8:13), but that is never said concerning the laws of God.
In fact, the words “statute,” “ordinance,” “commandment,” and “law” are all synonyms or aspects of the undivided torah. For example, Numbers 15:15 in the King James Version uses the word, “ordinance,” while the Amplified Version uses “statute,” the Douay-Rheims says “judgment,” the International Standard Version says “standard,” Brenton’s English Septuagint says “law,” the Easy-to-Read translation uses “rules,” Reformation scholar John Wycliffe’s translation of 1394 said “commandment and doom,” and other English translations use a variety of the foregoing as well. Here we see that there are at least eight different law-terms used interchangeably! To put this into perspective, the “25 mile-per-hour” speed limit in my neighborhood is a local “ordinance” that is on the “statute” books, and must surely be considered a “law” that we are “commanded” to obey. Disobeying the government’s “rules” may indeed also mean “doom!” Am I to ignore it if a police officer refers to it as an “ordinance?” Let us hope that we all have more sense than that!
By the way, the Hebrew Biblical text does not actually use the term “ten commandments.” Instead, the literal Hebrew calls them “the ten words” (Deut. 4:13; 10:4, Complete Jewish Bible). All of God’s laws may be referred to as commandments, statutes, ordinances, rules, standards, and Divine words.
In truth, there are no divisions to God’s law. The biblical Hebrews, just as Orthodox Jews today, considered the Torah to be an undivided whole. Similarly, the New Testament Greek word for law is “nomos,” and also refers to the Torah as a whole, not just some section of it. The New Testament states, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) The apostle is inferring that if you throw out one “point” or “part” of the law of God, you are guilty of overthrowing or abolishing it all. The Contemporary English Version clarifies this: “If you obey every law except one, you are still guilty of breaking them all.” In my experience, many ministers apply the label “ordinance” to any laws they don’t want to personally keep!
Does that mean that we are to slay animals for sacrifices as was done under the Old Covenant? Of course not, because that was “changed” (Heb. 7:11) under the New Covenant. Instead we claim the blood of Christ as our sacrifice. Our Savior’s sacrifice replaced or updated the old law statute, but did not “abolish” it. If the law of sacrifice was abolished, we could not claim Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. The Apostle Paul warned that if we refuse to believe in Jesus and continue in our sins, “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” (Heb. 10:26) It was surely not abolished, but changed under the New Covenant to be based upon Christ’s sacrifice alone.
“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:19)
To summarize, yes the Biblical feasts and fasts, along with the rest of God’s laws, are for us today with a New Covenant understanding that the Messiah they prefigured and pointed to has come as our Savior and Redeemer. You are absolutely correct that Christ and the apostles kept the Biblical Holy Days, and so should we. Our modern churches have strayed far from the Word of God today in this and in so many other ways! For a more complete explanation of the role of God’s law today, please refer to my study, “The Better Covenant,” on the CBIA website at www.israelite.ca.
Question: Dear Pastor Jory: What does it mean. “The meek shall inherit the earth”
Reply: The word, meek, is found in Matthew 5:5 as part of the important “Sermon on the Mount” and is translated from the Greek, praus. The Amplified Version adds the meaning, “mild, patient, long-suffering.” It is not surprising that there is confusion concerning the Biblical use of the word, meek, which we often mistakenly associate with terms such as “effeminate.” The Pulpit Commentary used by ministers exhibits their own uncertainty in saying, “The meaning attributed by our Lord to the word meek is not clear.”
We are really not left in the dark on this, however. The noted scholar Trench says that it “is not in a man’s outward behaviour only; nor yet in his relations to his fellow-men; as little in his mere natural disposition. Rather is it an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God (Matt. 11:29; James 1:21). It is that temper of spirit in which we accept his dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting… because it is only the humble heart which is also the meek; and which, as such, does not fight against God, and more or less struggle and contend with him.”
Peake’s Commentary tells us that meek is “the antithesis of arrogant; the idea of inheritance goes back to the Hebrew occupation of Canaan, and is used in Psalms 37 and in apocalyptic writings; here it is another aspect of the possession of the Kingdom (cf. Matt. 19:29, Matt. 25:34).” Under the New Covenant our inheritance is to be, not just the little parched land of Canaan, but the whole earth. However, we need patience and faith in God’s plan and purposes, rather than attempting to take matters into our own hands with violent measures that lack Divine warrant. We will succeed with the power of the Gospel and obedience to the Word of God.
Henry Alford’s Greek Testament says that Christ’s statement in Matthew 5:5 is “A citation from Psa. 37:11. The usual dividers and allotters of the earth being mighty and proud conquerors, and the Messiah being expected as such a conqueror, this announcement, that the meek should inherit the earth, struck at the root of the temporal expectations of power and wealth in the Messiah’s kingdom.” He further states that the word, meek, has both an active and a passive side. The Biblical word meek does not mean to sit idly by and do nothing; it indicates a heart of active and complete obedience to the will of our heavenly Father. Perhaps the Reformation scholar, Martin Luther, captured a glimpse of the deeper meaning of this word in translating it, “the teachable shall inherit the earth.”