Hebrew priest blowing the Shofar horn Messianic Learning Feature Articles

Biblical Studies on subjects of interest to Messianic believers:

Repent, Follow, and Obey!

#1, Repent! (Matthew 4:17) In a word, this commands us to change our mind for better, think differently, reconsider and amend our way of living by turning toward Elohim's Way. Repent means show compunction (a sharp feeling of uneasiness brought on by a sense of guilt or remorse). BYA obeys this command by leaving the false teachings, practices and traditions of man-made religions to hear YAH's Voice, to learn His Way and to understand His Will for our Life. Our process of repentance isn't a one-time event. It's a life-long journey that turns us step-by-step from our ways toward YAH and His merciful Plan of Salvation. #2, Follow Yahushuah! (Matt. 4:19) In scripture, follow conveys a picture of traveling along the same road or path, going in the same direction, heading toward the same destination, sharing a common goal. If we faithfully follow our Messiah in the physical realm, we will ultimately become like Him, a spiritual son or daughter of Elohim. Scripture confirms that Yahushuah kept Sabbaths, YAH's Feast Days and all of Torah's commands. BYA likewise seeks to follow in His footsteps, obeying our Heavenly Father's Will and Way as written in the Word. #3, "Don't think I came to destroy Torah or the Nevi'im!"(Matt. 5:17-20) "I came to fulfill." In scripture, to fulfill means fill fully, cause to abound, make complete in every particular, render perfect, carry into effect, bring to pass, execute all prophecies, and cause Elohim's will (as known in Torah) to be obeyed as it should be. Many think YAH's edicts in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) don't apply today. They instead follow the man-made doctrine and regulations that often directly conflict with Elohim's commands. YAHUAH's commands are not old-fashioned and out-of-date. Yahushuah didn't come to water-down, dissolve, or disorganize our Heavenly Father's Way of Life. Indeed, He came to expose the false teachings in man's dogmas, to explain Elohim's Wisdom and to fulfill His role in YAH's Plan of Salvation for humanity. Our Messiah came not to dispose of His Father's Will; He came to destroy Satan's works. (1 John 3:8) "For this purpose the Son of Elohim was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." (Shofar Newsletter Volume 604)

Repent, Follow, and Obey!


Faithfulness

(Matthew 5:27-28) If you're married, don't lust after another. (Adultery) In scripture, to lust means set your heart upon, long for, covet, have a desire for. YAHUAH prohibits adultery, which is any sexual infidelity of husbands or wives.(Exodus. 20:14) This command protects the minds, bodies and souls of family relationships. Sexual faithfulness preserves the unity of the marriage bond between spouses. An act of adultery can occur through a person's thoughts and/or deeds, in other words, an unfaithful attitude (lusting) is the same as the physical act of adultery, even if the deed is not actually committed. Faithfulness as a spouse trains us to remain faithful in our spiritual relationship with Elohim. In scripture, being unfaithful to a spouse is likened to being spiritually unfaithful to YAH. His command on adultery teaches us to remain one (Hebrew, "echad") with Elohim, to be faithful and not adulterate, that is, add to Elohim. (Shofar Newsletter Volume 607)

Faithfulness


Spiritual Unity

(Matthew 5:29-30) If any part of the Body offend thee, do away with it. This command isn't to be taken literally about our physical body, but rather refers to Yahushuah's spiritual, many-member Body (Church-Ekklesia). The instruction to poke out a sinful eye, or rip off a wayward limb, doesn't mean to remove the physical body parts that cause us to sin. Rather, it speaks of exorcising an offensive apostle (the Ekklesia's eyes). Likewise, it speaks of removing sinful Healers (the Ekklesia's hands/arms). Withholding the keys to Yah's Kingdom is designed to preserve spiritual unity among Elohim's people. (Shofar Newsletter Volume 608)

Spiritual Unity


Resist Not Evil

(Matthew 5:38-39) Don't resist evil! If slapped on your right cheek, turn your left as well. If sued and your coat is taken, give your cloak as well. In the time of Yahushuah, a slap on the right cheek was extremely insulting. It was usually done with a "back-hand" as most people are right-handed. This command ensures vengeance is moderated (the punishment does not exceed the extent of the injury). Yet Yahushuah forbids even proportionate retaliation. In scripture, evil is a hurtful condition, an annoyance, hardship, pressed labor, a cause of pain and trouble, disease and ethically wicked, bad." If we are slapped in the face (this can take the form of a verbal insult, like a "back-handed complement", or an unjust verdict in court), accept the hurt and stand tall if further pain comes your way. Matthew 5:40-41 says, "If someone compels you to go a mile, go two" Do over and beyond what is asked of you. This commands us to provide more than that demanded. Forcing us to perform manual labor is a form of involuntary slavery and a grave injustice. Nonetheless, retaliation is not an option according to Yah's higher road of love and service. (Romans 12:9) "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil. Cleave to that which is good." Matthew 5:42) Give to anyone who asks, nor shall you refuse to loan (don't ask for it back; Luke 6:30). A difficult command! Give to one who asks? Don't refuse an opportunity to lend? When we lend, don't ask for our loan back?Merciful Elohim, please bless us with your attributes so that we are able to obey your Will. (1 John 3:17-18) "But whoso has this world's good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwells the love of Elohim in him? My little children, let us not love in word, nor in tongue; but in deed and in truth." (Shofar Newsletter Volume 612)

Resist Not Evil


Share Your Gifts From Yah

(Matthew 6:1-4) Take heed that you do not your alms before men. This command is about sharing our gifts from Yah with others. In scripture, alms means compassion, mercy, pity, charity, tender love. Giving physical materials (your wealth) to the poor is a form of alms giving. Charity need not be monetary. We can also give time and energy in serving others. Give compassion without great fanfare. Do not flaunt (showcase) it. Do not brag (blow your own horn). Don't publicize for notice (let your left know what your right hand does). Furthermore, extend kindness to all people. Our love is not just for relatives, friends and neighbors. Share your gifts of YAH for His praise, glory and honor. YAHUAH sees all acts of alms giving and richly rewards those following Yahushuah's Way. (Shofar Newsletter Volume 616)

Share Your Gifts From Yah


Pleasing To Yah In Prayer

(Matthew 6:5) Don't pray like hypocrites to be seen by men in synagogues or on street corners. In scripture, synagogue means an assembly of people gathered together for prayers and hearing the scriptures, like those held every Sabbath and feast day. Thus, Yahushuah's command is about praying in synagogues, churches, assemblies and congregations of all denominations. Public places of worship, even a street corner, can entice people to pray as hypocrites. The Scribes and Pharisees were the hypocrites of ancient times. Hypocrisy can also creep into modern-day assemblies, if religious leaders focus on self-interests instead of loving Elohim and His people. Avoid praying with the purpose of having others notice. (Shofar Newsletter Volume 617)

Pleasing To Yah In Prayer


Adonai, Teach Us To Pray

(Matthew 6:6) "When you pray, enter a closet, shut the door and pray in secret to your Father who rewards you openly." In scripture, "closet" means "privacy, a spot to retire, a secret chamber, storehouse." This command is about praying privately, only loud enough to hear within our own minds. If we pray to be seen by men, our reward comes from men. Private prayer pleases Elohim. Our prayers to Elohim aren't for recognition from others. It's far better to pray in solitude with YAH. Our concealed YAHUAH Elohim hears in His hidden place and answers our pleas openly for His praise, glory and honor. Matthew 6:7 says, "When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as heathens who think they are heard for speaking much." In scripture, "repetitions" means "to repeat the same things over and over, to use many idle words, to babble, prate." Rabbis in the time of Yahushuah taught that repetitive prayers were effective. BYA is commanded to pray differently from the babbling formats which are alien to the worship of the true Elohim. Don't confuse vain, repetitious prayers with asking for the same request repeatedly, persistently as in the widow parable. (Luke 18:1-8) Finally, Matthew 6:8-15 says, "Pray in the manner of 'Our Father which art in Heaven'…" After instructing us on how not to pray, Yahushuah gives a model for prayer. Our daily communications with Elohim are: to declare that YAHUAH Elohim is mankind's chief and essential parent; that His name is held with proper reverence; that we pray for Him to reign supreme on earth; that we pray for His law to be unchallenged on earth as in heaven; that we pray for His daily teaching (Bread of Life); that He forgive our debts (sins) as we forgive the sins of others; and that we be led not into temptation but are delivered from evil. Our model prayer ends by confessing that Elohim is King of all; that He is all-powerful, fully capable of granting petitions; and that He is the one worthy of recognition for delivering our intercessions. (Shofar Newsletter Volume 618)

Teach Us To Pray


Adonai, Teach Us About Fasting

(Matthew 6:16) "Moreover when ye fast, be not as hypocrites with a sad countenance. For, they disfigure their face to appear unto men to fast. Verily, they have their reward." In scripture, fast means abstain from food and drink (entirely or partially)." This command on fasting is similar to that on praying. While hypocrites fast so others notice, we fast in a way that others don't even know that we abstain from food and drink. Fasting is a form of repentance. By physically afflicting our body, we demonstrate a deep, heart-felt, spiritual sorrow before YAH. #22 Matthew 6:17 continues, "When you fast anoint your head and wash your face." In scripture, an anointed face is a visible sign of joy as with the oil of gladness. To neglect the washing of your face is a visible sign of mourning, as ancient Israelites did when a loved one died. Fasts are private matters for repentance before YAH. He, who sees privately, shall reward you openly. #23 Matthew 6:18) "Don't appear unto man to fast. Do it in secrecy." In ancient Israel, wearing sackcloth, sprinkling ashes on forehead, not washing hands and an unanointed head were external signs of a fasting person. BYA is to fast privately. Our Heavenly Father looks favorably upon a fast that is sorrowful and repentant. Such an act of contrition is very appropriate as we await Yahushuah's return to earth: (Mark 2:20) "But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them and then shall they fast in those days." (Shofar Newsletter Volume 619)

Teach Us About Fasting


Adonai, Teach Us About True Treasure

(Matthew 6:19) "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth." Treasure is a place where precious things (like wealth) are deposited. In scripture, our heart is the center and seat of spiritual life, and our soul or mind, is the fountain and seat of thought, intelligence, passion, desire, appetite, purpose, endeavor and character. Our heart motivates and drives the reasons for doing what we do. Our desires, thoughts, hopes and passions can get us sidetracked onto wealth, power and prestige. These aren't true treasures. Instead, seek what isn't earthly. Strive for what ultimately satisfies, Yah's infinite love. (James 5:2-3) "Your riches are corrupt and your garments moth eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered. The rust of them shall be a witness against you and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days." #25 Matthew 6:20 continues, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." This speaks of doing good works in the here and now so that we store up treasure in the hereafter. In scripture, pursuing mammon (worldly treasure) may lead to wealth, yet tempt us to think we don't need Elohim. Earthly riches are transitory. These quickly fade, while heavenly treasure is forever. Stop chasing man's wealth and seek spiritual fruits (YAH's character and attributes). (1Timothy 6:17-19) "Charge them who are rich in this world that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living Elohim, who gives us richly all things to enjoy, that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." (Shofar Newsletter Volume 620)

Teach Us About True Treasure


Be Not Anxious

(Matthew 6:25-32) "Take no thought for your life; what you shall eat or drink, nor what you shall put on." This command is about living without anxiety (troubled with cares, looking out for and seeking to promote one's interests). Feelings of apprehension, worry and being overly concerned about the future can lead to feelings of powerless, inability to cope with events, physical tension, sweating, trembling, etc. Learn to trust Yah for life's basic necessities (food, water, clothing, shelter). Quit worrying needlessly. (Matthew 6:27) "Which of you by anxious care can add one cubit to his stature?" Matthew 6:33 continues, "Seek first Elohim's kingdom and His righteousness." Don't worry and fret over physical needs. Our first priority is to pursue Yah's Kingdom. Living as He commands gives great purpose and meaning to our life. Focusing on wrong values, wants and hopes cause us to miss the personal enrichment available through Yahushuah. Instead, focus on spiritual matters, like the Bread of Life (food), the Counsel of Elohim (water) and YAH's righteous standards (covering). "And all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:34 adds, "Take no thought for tomorrow." This commands BYA to focus on the matters of today. Do not be anxious about tomorrow's problems. These will be there whether we worry over them, or not. Learn to trust in Elohim for our needs and His grace to address all our anxieties. "For, the morrow will be solicitous ("troubled, full of anxiety or apprehension") for the things of itself. Sufficient to the day is its own evil." (Shofar Newsletter Volume 621)

Be Not Anxious


Answered Prayer

Matthew 7:7-11 advises, "Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall open unto you." This command is about prayer. In scripture, ask means beg, crave, earnestly desire, wish, persistently request. To receive means accept and be amazed with what we obtain from YAH. To "seek" means desire, endeavor and knock as a way to draw attention. Each act demonstrates your worship of Elohim. The picture we are given is of total trust and wholehearted belief (faith) that He will provide. When we pray in the name and authority of Yahushuah, or join with others in unified prayer, fasting, good works, and obedience to Yah's Will, rest assured, we knock loudly at Yah's door, making our desires heard. (Shofar Newsletter Volume 623)

Answered Prayer


Beware Of False Prophets

Matthew 7:15-19 says, "Beware of false prophets, who come in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves." A false prophet is one who mutters falsehoods under the name of divine prophecy. These counterfeits, fakes and shams pretend to be divinely inspired. Their lying prophecy may come in pleasing words with miraculous signs. Yet look at them closely. You will see that they produce no fruit of the Holy Spirit, and grow as tares amongst the wheat. Learn to spot these flim-flam artists, by testing their spirit: (1 John 4:1-2) "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of Elohim. Because many false prophets are gone out in the world. Hereby, know the Spirit of Elohim. Every spirit that confesses that Yahushuah ha'Mashiach is come in the flesh is of Elohim." (Shofar Newsletter Volume 625)

False Prophets


Choose Mercy Over Sacrifice

We closely examine an important question posed by the Pharisees to Yahushuah, as well as His answer. The question came to Yahushuah via His disciples. Also notice that His answer was to them, not the to the Pharisees themselves. Thus, His message is for us as students of His Word. So let us look further into Scripture to better understand the command, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." The quote refers to what YAHUAH spoke through the prophet "Hoshea" (a Hebrew name that means "Salvation of YAH"). (Hosea 6:6) "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of Elohim more than burnt offerings." We also examine the various types of sacrifices and the Hebrew meaning of them. (Shofar Newsletter Volume 702)

Mercy Over Sacrifice


The Very Special Name Of Yahuah

Did you ever reflect upon the phrase "hallowed be your name" of the important model prayer in the Gospel of Luke chapter eleven? The word "hallowed" in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is translated from "hagiazo" (G37). According to Strong's Concordance that Greek word means "consecrated, sacred, sanctified, holy, venerated." A primitive (ancient) Hebrew verb, "qadash" (H6942) has the same sense and appears 172 times in scripture. Consider this example: (Leviticus 22:32) "Neither shall you profane my holy name. But I will be hallowed (qadash) among the children of Israel." That scripture not only affirms that we are to hallow our Heavenly Father's holy name, but we also are not to "profane" it, in other words, "despoil, commit sacrilege, befoul, scorn, mock, blaspheme, swear, curse, cuss" (Roget's Thesaurus). Since we clearly are to respect His name, it behooves us to know that name. Here is evidence that the Holy Divine Name is Yahuah. (Shofar Newsletter Volume 703)

Very Special Name Of Yahuah