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The Season of Thanksgiving – Part 2

Author Stephen Pidgeon - Friday, November 28, 2014


The substance of things hoped for

As we consider this season of thanksgiving, let us continue on our faith journey and consider the substance of things hoped for.  Here, we have an interesting roster of things to consider.  What are the things for which we raise our hopes?

I remember a saying that was taught to me many years ago: expect nothing and you will not be disappointed.  Yet we hope for things, do we not?

Winston Churchill once declared that Russia “was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”  His definition continues to have a certain validity, even in our age of the increase of knowledge (Dani’el 12:4).  Yet, having traveled to Russia on several occasions, and having been a lover of Russian art, ballet, and music since my teen years, I tend to think not of Russia herself, but in terms of the Russian people.  To me, the Russians have lived over the centuries under a condition of completely crushed hopes, and so the struggle of the Russians is a condition of interpersonal conflict, where there is a drive to suppress the urge to hope for a better life in order to manage the high probability of such a hope being utterly demolished.  And there, even with the knowledge that such hopes will be completely dashed with the rise of the next monarch to power, a small itch of hope nonetheless sneaks in, only to be unceremoniously crushed again. Those who survive this spiral will then live to do it yet again.  The average Russian life over the centuries can be described as hope crushed, do it again!

So, then, are there things about which we can hope, that are not subject to the destructive forces of the cynics around us (and you know who I am talking about – the person who can’t wait to rain on the parade of someone else, who revels in destroying the dreams and hopes of others, and for no other reason than to inflict emotional pain)?

In communist countries, and other countries where all of the property is claimed to be owned by the central government, people do not smile or laugh in public, for to do so is to make the claim in public that you have something about which you are happy or joyous.  Such a presentation in these kinds of nations is an invitation to trouble, because someone will come to where you live to see what it is that is making you so happy.  To the pagan, the thing bringing joy will most assuredly be something material.

Yet, as we continue our exploration into the meaning of the word faith, let us consider again the controversial words of Sha’ul:

Galatiym (Galatians) 5:1-4

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith HAMASHIACH has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Sha’ul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, HAMASHIACH shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole Torah. 4 HAMASHIACH is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are seeking justification by the Torah; ye are fallen from grace.

Before continuing any further, let us take a look at the key word in this passage above, which in my view is the word justification.  The Greek word that is used here is δικαιοω dikaioo (Strong's Greek Dictionary 1344, which means in the first instance to render innocent. This word is taken from the root δικαιος dikaios (Strong’s Greek Dictionary 1342), which means equitable in character or act, and by implication, innocent, or holy.  While the word justification is a proper interpretation, it is better understood as to be found innocent:

HAMASHIACH is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are seeking to be found innocent or to be holy by the Torah; ye are fallen from grace.

We have previously distinguished holiness from righteousness, righteousness being in its essence lawfulness, the keeping of the whole of the Torah. Consider the words of MASHIACH:

Marcus (Mark) 10:17-25

And when he was gone into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him: Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And YAHUSHA said to him: Why do you call me good? There is none good but one, that is, ELOHIYM. 19 You know the commandments:

Do not break wedlock,

Do not kill,

Do not steal,

Do not bear false witness,

Do not defraud,

Honor your father and mother.

20 And he answered and said to him: Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then YAHUSHA beholding him, loved him, and said to him: One thing you lack: go your way, sell whatsoever you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 23 And YAHUSHA looked round about, and said to his talmidiym: How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of ELOHIYM! 24 And the talmidiym were astonished at his words. But YAHUSHA answered again, and said to them: Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of ELOHIYM! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of ELOHIYM.

Now consider the addition taken from fragments gathered by Eusibeus known as the gospel according to the Hebrews:

[The other of the rich men said to him: ADONAI, what good thing shall I do and live? He said unto him: Man, perform the Torah and the prophets.  He answered him: I have performed them.  He said unto him: Go, sell all that you have and divide it to the poor and come, follow me.  But the rich man began to scratch his head, and it did not please him.  And YAHUSHA said to him: How do you say: I have performed the Torah and the prophets, seeing that it is written in the Torah: You shall love your neighbor as yourself, and behold many of your brethren, sons of Avraham, are clad with dung, dying for hunger, and your house is full of much goods, and there goes out from you nothing at all unto them. And he turned and said to Shimon, his Talmidi, sitting by him: Shimon, son of Yonah, it is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than a rich man into the kingdom of the heavens.]

So, we see righteousness in its ultimate definition; yet, this is different than holiness.  In the Hebrew, the word righteousness is tsedeqah, while the word holiness is qadoshTsedeqah means in its first instance lawfulness – acting rightly with the instruction of YAH.  Qadosh, on the other hand is being set apart in sacredness. Let us consider more of the words of Sha’ul:

Galatiym (Galatians) 5:5-9

For we through the RUACH wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love. 7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the Truth? 8 This persuasion comes not of him that calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Therefore, the substance of things hoped for by the Am Qodeshiym (the set apart people, or sacred people) is that which is driven by the RUACH – not apart from the brit chadashah – the breathing of the Torah into the heart, mind and soul by the RUACH HAQODESH. Yermiyahu 31:31; Ivriym 8:8.

So Sha’ul declares that we wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Consider our studies so far: righteousness is lawfulness to the instruction (Torah) of YAH, and faithfulness is our moral fidelity to His ethos.  He then goes on to declare that our faith in YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH is in works by love.  MASHIACH discusses the nature of this love with particularity:

Marcus (Mark) 12:29-31

Hear, O Yisra’el; YAHUAH ELOHAYNU is one YAHUAH: 30 And you shall love YAHUAH ELOHAYCHA with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

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