6TH OF THE 6TH MONTH 2015/2016
Shabbat Shalom all,
Tehillah/Psalm 93:5 “Your witnesses have been very trustworthy. Set-apartness befits Your house, O יהוה, forever.”
After having praised יהוה for His Kingship and His Might, the psalmist closes with great praise for יהוה’s established order and governance, as He declares the trustworthiness of the witnesses of יהוה that makes clear what is fitting for His House – and that is set-apartness! In Hebrew the last words of this Tehillah could be taken to mean, “יהוה (is) forever and ever,”, similar to verse 2 which states that יהוה is “from everlasting”. This Psalm makes clear from the beginning to the end that יהוה reigns, He is from everlasting and He is forever! He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and His standard does not change! Set-apartness always has and always will be that which befits His House! יהוה who lives in His House among His people has spoken His unchanging Word, which clearly teaches us that those who desire to dwell in His House know that set-apartness is an unchanging requirement, hence His very clear and loud call for His Bride to come out from that which is not set-apart and be separate! Another verse that struck me greatly this past week was that which is found in Yeḥezqěl when יהוה was showing him, in visions, The House and its measurements, which begins from Chapter 40 to the end of Yeḥezqěl. In Chapter 43 Yeḥezqěl is told to explain the House to the house of Yisra’ĕl, and make known its entire design, laws and forms, so that they when they are ashamed of their crookednesses, they shall measure the measurements! He was told to write everything down, so that they observe its entire design and laws, and shall DO THEM! The verse that gripped me in Chapter 43, after being told these things that he was to do, was in:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 43:12 “This is the Torah of the House: Upon the mountaintop, all the boundary of it, all around, is most set-apart. See, this is the Torah of the House.”
Twice in this verse we see the clear phrase, “This is the Torah of the House”, and this is what I would like to discuss tonight, in a message called, “THE TORAH OF THE HOUSE = SET-APARTNESS!”
What is so very clear in this verse is the declaration of what The Torah of the House is and is given between the repetition of this phrase, placing emphasis on recognising what the Torah of the House is, so that the hearer does not neglect to know what is the Torah of the House. The Hebrew word translated as ‘see’, that is used before the repeated phrase, “this is the Torah of the House”, is הִנֵּה hinneh – Strong’s H2009 which means, ‘Lo! Behold! Look! See!’, which is the prolonged form of הֵן hen – Strong’s H2005, and is an interjection that demands attention and is mainly used to emphasise the information that follows. Having declared ‘this is the Torah of the House’ and then expressed what it is, the interjection of הִנֵּה hinneh – Strong’s H2009 is used to get one’s attention by making it clear that ‘THIS IS the Torah of House’. While it may sound like I am repeating myself, it is done so with good intention, in order to get your attention, as we embrace what the Torah of the House is!!!
With the design and form of the House of the Millennial reign being made clear, along with the Torah of the House, we are able to learn the vital lessons needed for us today, as we recognise that we are being built up as a spiritual House:
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:5 “you also, as living stones, are being built up, a spiritual house, a set-apart priesthood, to offer up spiritual slaughter offerings acceptable to Elohim through יהושע Messiah.”
יהוה personally interpreted these visions for Yeḥezqěl, thus emphasising even more how importance these visions were. These visions contained the fulfilment of promises of the restoration of the House of Elohim in which He would come and dwell among His people forever and be the place of His throne, as His return would be permanent!
As we consider this sure hope that we have in our Master and Elohim, we recognise that this carries great significance for us here today, as we sojourn as faithful ambassadors of His coming reign, having His Spirit dwelling in us as the pledge of our inheritance! We are the House of Elohim! Sha’ul, when writing to Timotiyos, expressed that the reason for his writings was that Timotiyos should know how to behave in the House of Elohim:
Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 3:14-15 “I am writing you this, expecting to come to you shortly, 15 but if I delay, that you might know how you should behave in the House of Elohim, which is the assembly of the living Elohim – a strong support and foundation of the truth.”
In these visions given to Yeḥezqěl he was told that upon the mountain and all the boundary of it all around is most set-apart! The House of Elohim is most set-apart!!!
The Hebrew term for most set-apart is קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים – ‘qoḏesh qoḏeshiym’ and is a phrase that is used for the Most Set-Apart Place in the Tabernacle as well as the offerings that were most set-apart to יהוה.
This qoḏesh qoḏeshiym can be described as “THE SET-APARTNESS OF THE SET-APART”!!! And what we take note of in the visions given to Yeḥezqěl is that it is not only the Most Set-Apart Place that is most set-apart now but the entire house and all its boundaries is most set-apart!!! This is a wonderful picture for us in our ability in recognising how we, as a set-apart royal priesthood are to live set-apart lives that are ‘most set-apart’, as all our boundaries are most set-apart! Our whole life is to be most set-apart to יהוה, and not just part of it. We cannot be part-time partakers of set-apartness but must give our all and be most set-apart!
This is the Torah of the House – complete set-apartness!!! The law of the house is set-apartness, and while I am repeatedly mentioning this, I am doing so in order to emphasise the reality of this important fact! What we must remember is that there is no true set-apartness without a ‘separateness’ from the world! While we are to be faithful sojourners in this world we recognise that we are to live set-apart lives, lives that are not of this world yet live in it, and the only way to do that is to follow the Torah of the House and be most set-apart!!!
We are not to hide because we are not of this world, but rather we are to shine the light of the Truth, in proper set-apartness that does not fade!
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 11:45 “For I am יהוה who is bringing you up out of the land of Mitsrayim, to be your Elohim. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart.”
We are to be set-apart in guarding to eat what is permitted and distinguish between the clean and the unclean.
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:2 “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ĕl, and say to them, ‘Be set-apart, for I יהוה your Elohim am set-apart.”
The verses that follow this command give us further insight in regards to our set-apartness, as each one should fear his mother and father, guard the Sabbaths and not turn to idols nor make any moulded image!
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 20:7-8 “And you shall set yourselves apart, and shall be set-apart, for I am יהוה your Elohim, 8 and you shall guard My laws and do them. I am יהוה, who sets you apart.”
We do not do what the world does, and these words came after the severe warning against those who offer their offspring to Moleḵ, or one who turns to mediums and spiritists!
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 1:13-16 “Therefore, having girded up the loins of your mind, being sober, set your expectation perfectly upon the favour that is to be brought to you at the revelation of יהושע Messiah, 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance, 15 instead, as the One who called you is set-apart, so you also should become set-apart in all behaviour, 16 because it has been written, “Be set-apart, for I am set-apart.””
What we must never neglect to know is that the Torah of the House is set-apartness, with no half measures that are mixed with compromise being accepted as being set-apart! While we may acknowledge and understand this, what we all must do on a daily basis is look into the mirror of the Word and assess our lives, making sure that we do not walk away and forget what we look like, doing our utmost to reflect the proper pattern, design and form that the Word of יהוה teaches us to look like and what He expects us to be!
WHAT DOES THE MIRROR REFLECT?
As we each examine ourselves by looking intently into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, we are able to walk in the blessing of Elohim, as long as we guard to do what the Torah teaches us:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:25 “But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets, but a doer of work, this one shall be blessed in his doing of the Torah.”
One of the biggest questions we ought to be asking ourselves, as we assess our own lives and work out our own deliverance with fear and trembling, is whether we are properly observing that which is being taught in the Word, and therefore need to be able to honestly asses our lives as we ask ourselves if we are observing the law of the House, which is to be most set-apart in all we do! “Do I live set-apart as I should?”
Many ways to further our own assessment before the mirror of the Word is to ask questions that will invoke an honest response, such as:
- Are my ways different to the world and those who are of the world that are around me each and every day?
- Are my thoughts and actions different to the world and the way those of the world think and act?
- Do I find that I feel totally at home when in the company of unbelievers or am I vexed by their sin and lawlessness?
- Am I just one of the crowd or am I a functional part of the remnant Bride who sets Herself apart and shines her set-apartness amidst a wicked generation, or is my light put out by compromise to appease the company I am in?
These are only a few of many assessment type questions that any set-apart believer should ask themselves from time to time, in order to check if they are in fact living set-apart according to the Word. What must also be carefully checked is whether your estimation of your set-apartness is in line with the Torah of the House, or have you found yourself justifying your own assumed set-apartness to suite your own needs and desires, by discarding a thorough inspection and turn a ‘blind eye’ to what may be deemed small and insignificant matters? No matter is small in our Master’s eyes, especially when we read in Mattithyahu/Matthew 12 that for every idle word men speak, they shall give an account on the day of judgement! The MAIN QUESTION we must ask ourselves is: “Am I set-apart?”
“Am I living unto Elohim with my entire being, loving Him with all my heart, soul and strength, or do I find myself allowing subtle compromises to the Truth to settle in and stain my called for set-apartness?” Any deviation from complete set-apartness is simply breaking the Torah of the House!
Ask yourself this, “Am I truly using all my talents, time, thoughts, words and my entire substance of who I am, to the esteem of my Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah?” and “What am I living for?”
“Am I living for the next big financial breakthrough or promotion, or am I living unto יהוה my Elohim?”
“Am I making a pretence to live for Elohim, or am I, after all assessments, see that I am actually living to self?”
“Do I put others ahead of myself?”
Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:3-4 “doing none at all through selfishness or self-conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each one should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Please bear with me as I present all these assessing questions that can at times feel as though they are pressing a little deeper than we may care to entertain, as I am simply presenting the need for us to be openly able to assess our lives before the mirror of the Word in order to ensure that we are never taking anything for granted but are rather being sober in our estimation of the Truth and its proper application in our daily lives.
“Am I at times no different to Ḥananyah and Shappirah who pretended to give their all yet kept back part of the price?” Thinking of these two that are written of in Ma’asei/Acts 5, we recognise a picture lesson on cost and one’s ability to truly count the cost and give your all. At this point of our vital assessment let me ask you this, “What price, if any, do you find hard to pay?”. Have you carefully considered the need to count the cost of forsaking all, taking up your stake and following our Master and Elohim, and in essence considered the cost of obeying the Torah of the House, which is set-apartness, or in terms of what we are speaking about tonight, have you counted the cost and recognised the full price of being Most Set-Apart? Or do fleshly ambitions and worldly relationships hinder your ability to recognise the full price?
יהושע Messiah came to fully proclaim the Torah and the prophets and in revealing to us the practical application of how we are to walk and live as He did, He proclaimed and revealed, through His life, death and resurrection, what is means to be Most Set-Apart! He clearly expressed a deeper and higher understanding of the Spirit of the Torah that teaches us what it means to be most set-apart.
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:6 “The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.”
Have you ever assessed your life by simply asking yourself this, “Am I by my declaration of staying in Him, walking, even as he walked?”
The Torah of the House is NOT too high a standard for us to live by, for Messiah Himself is the Good Shepherd and Teacher of Righteousness that came to show us how to walk in complete set-apartness before Him! And by coming in the flesh and subjecting Himself to His Torah, He set before us His perfect example and pattern for His House, which we are, in order to follow and obey the Torah of the House, which is to be most set-apart!
Once again, while this may sound repetitive, and it is, we must take heed to hear the Torah of the House with hearing ears and in doing so recognise that our Master is a jealous Elohim who commands our set-apartness! He does not suggest it – He commands it! If I find, in any way, that I am not walking in complete obedience to His Word then I am simply being disorderly and breaking the Torah of the House!
At this point in our assessment and understanding of the Torah of the House, it is important to recognise the bearings of the House. That is to say the manner in which one conducts oneself and the typical characteristics that display the Torah of the House being guarded in one’s life. Joy and contentment in all circumstances, unity, loving-commitment, responsibility and accountability to the rest of the House are a few things that bear the marks of the Torah of the House being properly guarded! When each part of the House/Body is doing its share by maintaining the Truth in love and causing growth in the body then the Torah of the House is being observed and pursued by all!
Ya’aqoḇ asks the simple question:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 4:1 “Where do fightings and strivings come from among you? Do they not come from your pleasures that battle in your members?”
Fightings and strivings do not come from a House that is being most set-apart, therefore when there are strivings and fightings among the House then the Torah of the House is being neglected by some, hence the vital need for all parts of the House to guard the Torah of the House and live set-apart lives, and be careful to take heed of Sha’ul’s words in:
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 5:9-13 “I wrote to you in my letter not to keep company with those who whore. 10 And I certainly did not mean with those of this world who whore, or with the greedy of gain, or swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone called ‘a brother,’ if he is one who whores, or greedy of gain, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler – not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But Elohim judges those who are outside. And put away the wicked one from among you!”
In essence what Sha’ul is clearly teaching here is this: KEEP THE HOUSE MOST SET-APART!!!
Divisions and fightings are often the result of some who have unconquered lusts and desires for self with no regard for one’s ‘fleshly actions’ and the consequences thereof toward others!
When the Torah of the House is maintained by all, unity will be clearly visible, and the blessing of pleasant dwelling together will be the result:
Tehillah/Psalm 133:1-3 “See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity – 2 like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aharon, running down on the collar of his robes – 3 like the dew of Ḥermon, that comes down on the mountains of Tsiyon. For there יהוה commanded the blessing, life forever!”
From His mountain He commands the blessing of life forever, and this is what being most set-apart shall be rewarded with! Without set-apartness no man shall see Elohim, as we see written in:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:14 “Pursue peace with all, and pursue apartness without which no one shall see the Master.”
The term ‘set-apartness’ in Hebrew is from the word קֹדֶשqoḏesh – Strong’s H6944 – and it means ‘apartness, consecrated, dedicated, that which is dedicated and separated unto יהוה’. The word is really self-explanatory and carries with it great weight in its identification of truly setting something or someone apart from another with a clear distinction of being marked as separate and apart from the rest.
Set-apartness/apartness in the Greek is ἁγιασμός hagiasmos – Strong’s G38 – ‘consecration, sanctifying’, and the noun is the word ἅγιος hagios – Strong’s G40. To ‘consecrate’ means ‘to make or declare to be set-apart and be devoted to a purpose with the deepest irrevocable dedication’.
Due to the ‘perfect’ and ‘complete’ work of our Messiah and King, we are able to be perfect and set-apart before Elohim, for that is what we are called to – to set-apartness, and having been grafted into the Covenants of Promise by the Blood of Messiah that cleanses and washes us, we are now called to be a called out people who are ‘perfecting’ set-apartness in the fear of Elohim! How then are we to ‘perfect’ our set-apartness in the fear of Elohim? By walking in THE PERFECT TORAH!!!
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 7:1 “Having, then, these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and spirit, perfecting set-apartness in the fear of Elohim.”
We are to pursue and perfect set-apartness!
The Greek word for ‘pursue’ is the verb διώκω diōkō – Strong’s G1377 which means, ‘to put to flight, pursue, persecute’, and also carries the meaning to follow after or to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing or earnestly endeavour to acquire and can also mean to suffer persecution! Suffer persecution:
Timotiyos Bět /2 Timothy 3:12 “And indeed, all those wishing to live reverently in Messiah יהושע, shall be persecuted.”
Pursuing set-apartness will bring on persecution – and knowing this reality the question is, “Will I obey the Torah of the House and be most set-apart?” One could, in many ways, state that the opposite of pursuing apartness would be to forsake apartness, and we are commanded to not forsake the Torah, which includes not forsaking the Torah of the House! To not forsake implies a proper pursuit of that which is not be perfected! The Greek word used for ‘perfecting’ is ἐπιτελέω epiteleō – Strong’s G2005 which means, ‘to complete, accomplish, finished, perfected, performing’, and therefore we recognise that we are in a race that we must complete, realising that it is Messiah in us that causes us to pursue and perfect set-apartness, as we stay in Him and walk, even as He did!
Many might claim that they have not neglected the Torah of the House while they ‘sit on the fence’, so to speak, and legalistically tick off their boxes of assumed obedience and minimum responsibility required for set-apartness, yet lack the fruit of being MOST SET-APART, and becomes clearly evident of this fact when they find themselves in the midst of those who are being zealous in their pursuit of being most set-apart!
We need to embrace the heart of Dawiḏ:
Tehillah/Psalm 119:29-33 “Remove from me the way of falsehood, and favour me with Your Torah. 30 I have chosen the way of truth; Your right-rulings I have held level. 31 I have clung to Your witnesses; O יהוה, do not put me to shame! 32 I run the way of Your commands, for You enlarge my heart. 33 Teach me, O יהוה, the way of Your laws, and I observe it to the end.”
How fit are you in your pursuit of apartness? Are you running the way of the commands of Elohim? Are you running with exceeding joy and fervency to the esteem of יהוה, or have you, at times, found that you have parked yourself in a position that no longer pursues apartness because of a lack of breath as the result of the worries of this age, the deceitfulness of wealth and desires for other non-set-apart matters that have come and choked out the very word of life from your being, leaving you short of breath?
When one gives way to the pursuit of apartness and slacks off due to compromise and becomes lazy and idle in duty, neglecting the proper gathering and fellowship, and neglecting the proper daily meditating and study of the Word, then what happens?
Well, what may come first is the heartburn of compromise that eats away at one’s inner most being that will lead to envy and strife that can cause divisions in the House, after which contentions may arise and false doctrines be entertained and believed, due to the slackened pursuit of set-apartness, while assuming to maintain a self-constructed image of apartness that does not line up perfectly with the plumb line of the Torah!
What may happen as a result of this is that the infected ones who have neglected the Torah of the House and have strayed from the pursuit of apartness will find the following creeping into their lives: lethargy, inactivity, conformity to worldliness and if not corrected will lead to a losing of their first love for Elohim and the House/Body of Messiah, causing them to turn away from true love for Elohim, which is to obey His commands! Here the Torah of the House is clear – set-apartness! When one drifts from pursuing apartness the House often experiences diminished gatherings as the desire to be joined in unity, by some, grows colder and colder to the point where they assume that they can walk a set-apart life on their own, thus deceiving themselves into thinking they do not need help, instruction or fellowship with others.
To do this is a breaking of the Torah of the House! Taking set-apartness for granted through the lack of a proper pursuit can cause one to end up being alone and discarded, hence the need to ensure that the zeal for the pursuit of apartness never fails or fades!
As we consider this Torah of the House, let us all take heed to secure our fervent obedience to the Torah of the House and be most set-apart in all matters!
Hoshěa/Hosea 6:3 “So let us know, let us pursue to know יהוה. His going forth is as certain as the morning. And He comes to us like the rain, like the latter rain watering the earth.”
Romiyim/Romans 14:19 “So, then, let us pursue the matters of peace and the matters for building up one another.”
Set-Apartness befits His House and the Torah of the House is set-apartness! How set-apart are you?
Let us hear, guard and do the Torah of the House as we pursue and perfect set-apartness together as a body that is being built up as living stones in our Master!
The Hebrew word תּוֹרָה torah – Strong’s H8451 means, ‘utterance’, ‘teaching’, ‘instruction’ or ‘revelation’ from Elohim’. Other definitions include: ‘information that is imparted to a student; direction; body of prophetic teaching; instruction on Messianic Age; body of priestly direction’, and comes from the primitive root verb יָרָה yarah – Strong’s H3384 meaning, ‘to shoot, throw, instruct, direct, teach’, which therefore can give us the understanding of ‘Torah’ to mean the following:
TO AIM OR POINT IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION and MOVE IN THAT DIRECTION
The Torah gives us our ‘direction’ and bearings as we sojourn here, looking forward to the sure and promised hope of the return of our King and Teacher of Righteousness!
May this brief teaching stir you to fervently assess your walk and be committed to being most set-apart unto our Master and Elohim, and let’s guard the Torah of the House always as we pursue apartness and run in the way of the commands of Elohim!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!