PENTECOST SERMON (preached in 2020)
“We Need More Moses”
We are here today, not only because it is the weekly Sabbath, but because it is a Feast Day Sabbath. Today we celebrate Pentecost, or in Hebrew Shavuot (meaning weeks).
This sounds strange to most people in the world, because most people in the world that follow Holy Scripture have already celebrated this day about 50 days ago in the spring time. We are here celebrating it in the summer. We have our reasons, they have theirs, and I’m not here to speak down on anyone who sets their heart to follow the Most High, even if they see a festival calculation a little different than me. I thought about re-teaching my sermons on the count to Pentecost, but I decided not to this year. Maybe next year, but those sermons are online for anyone to listen to.
My focus today will be on one aspect of this Feast, and that is: it is a memorial of the giving of the law to prophet Moses.
How Great Moses Was, and Is
In Exodus 31, after Moses had spent about 40 days with Yahweh, fasting from both food and water, Yahweh handed to him two stones. Exodus 31:18 says:
When He finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two tablets of the testimony, stone tablets inscribed by the finger of Elohim.
Prophet Moses had been up on the Mountain since Exodus 24. No other human was with him. He spent time all alone with Yahweh, and Yahweh was speaking to Him, like a man speaks with his friend. Moses was not spending his time eating, or even thinking about anything carnal. He communed with Yahweh.
In Numbers 12:6-9, Yahweh says this about Moses:
Listen to what I say: If there is a prophet among you from Yahweh, I make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. (7) Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My household. I speak with him directly, openly, and not in riddles; he sees the form of Yahweh. So why were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses? (9) Yahweh’s anger burned against them, and he left.
Moses wasn’t an ordinary man. Yahweh had a special relationship with him. He was a chosen vessel. To disrespect Moses was to disrespect Yahweh, and to believe in Yahweh included believing in Moses.
In Exodus 14, Moses led the children of Israel through the Red Sea. You know the account. After the Israelites went through on dry ground, and the Egyptians were drowned in the sea when they tried to cross that same dry ground, Exodus 14:31 says this:
When Israel saw the great power that Yahweh used against the Egyptians, the people feared Yahweh and believed in Him and in His servant Moses.
One word - believed - is ascribed to an action the people had towards both Yahweh and Moses. You could not believe in Yahweh without believing in Moses, because He was Yahweh’s man; Yahweh chose Him to be their deliverer. Yahweh sent Him down to Egypt to rescue His people from slavery. And as I mentioned a moment ago, Yahweh chose Moses to directly hand his law to, and give that law to the rest of the people of Israel. And he did so at the time of Pentecost, which is why this Feast is held as a memorial of the giving of the law.
The Law of Moses
This is why, once we get to the book of Joshua, the law of Yahweh begins to be called the law of Moses. Joshua 8:32 says that Joshua wrote down a copy of the law of Moses on stone. In Joshua 23:6 Joshua tells the people to be courageous, and to keep all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, not turning to the right or the left.
King David called it the law of Moses in 1 Kings 2:3, Daniel called it the law of Moses when he prayed there in Daniel 9:13, and the prophet Malachi (4:4), in the last prophetic book of the Older Testament instructs us to:
Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
Yeshua the Messiah also refers to the law being from Moses. We see this by comparing Matthew and Mark’s account of the hand-washing dispute between he and the Pharisees.
In Matthew 15:3-4 Yeshua says, “And why do you break God’s commandment because of your tradition? For God said: Honor your father and your mother...”
Yet Mark records Yeshua as saying this (in Mark 7:9-10), “You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain your tradition. For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother...”
So who said the commandment? God or Moses? The gospel authors record Yeshua as using God and Moses interchangeably, because Moses had such a close relationship with the Almighty, and the Almighty gave his law through the agency of Moses.
In Matthew 23, Yeshua taught his disciples to obey what Moses said. He says there in verses 2-3, “The scribes and Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses. Therefore do whatever they tell you and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach.” The chair of Moses comes from Exodus 18 where Moses would sit (think of sitting in a chair), and the people would come to him for judgment in regards to the law, and how to handle disputes among the community. In Exodus 18:16 Moses says, “I teach them the Almighty’s statutes and laws.” (As a side note, recognize that Exodus 18 is before the giving of the law in Exodus 20-40. Yahweh’s law existed before Mount Sinai.)
It’s possible that there was an actual seat that was in synagogues in the first century (when Yeshua lived) where elders would sit and explain the Torah to the congregation. Yeshua is telling us that when a scribe or Pharisee sits in Moses’ chair and explains Torah properly, the disciples of Yeshua are supposed to listen and do what they say to do. Why? Because they are explaining the law of Moses; the law Yahweh gave through His servant Moses.
The Law is Exalted
So this is a theme throughout Scripture. The law came through Moses, and the law is precious, priceless, more to be desired than gold, yea than much fine gold, sweeter than honey, and the honeycomb. Sometimes, the way I hear preachers talk, you’d think Psalms said, “Your law is like castor oil” instead of “Your law is sweeter than honey.” Or, “Your law is like plastic” instead of “Your law is like gold.”
In Scripture the law is exalted, and Moses is exalted. So today, we lift up both the law and prophet Moses. We are thankful for both the instructions Yahweh gave to us, and the prophet He used to give those instructions.
We say along with the Psalmist, in Psalm 106:23: “Yahweh would have destroyed them - if Moses His chosen one had not stood before Him in the breach to turn His wrath away from destroying them.”
Law of YAH vs. Law of Man
There are all kinds of laws in the world today. It seems like mayors and governors and presidents love making new laws, and enforcing new ordinances. But for the people of Yahweh, there is only one law; only one standard of righteousness. 10 basic commandments, with their respective statutes and judgments. We hold up that standard high today. We fly that flag of freedom today. Freedom from bondage and slavery. Freedom from tyranny. Freedom from sin. As Psalm 119:45 says, “I will walk at liberty for I seek Thy precepts.”
Never be ashamed of this law. Never be embarrassed by this law. Never be afraid to stand firm on what our Creator has said, and what Moses has written down. Men and women will come at you will all sorts of arguments. “That’s primitive. That’s archaic. That’s outdated. We know better now. We need advancement. We need improvement.” All those statements come from the minds of carnal men. Men who think they know more than the One who created them.
Psalm 19 says that the law of Yahweh is perfect. It needs no perfecting. It needs no additions or subtractions. It comes from the mind of the Eternal One, who knows us better than we know ourselves. It has stood the test of time. It is wise because it comes from the Wisest Being of all. It is just. It is fair. It is right. And when put into practice by individuals, families, societies, and nations, those entities run like a well-oiled machine.
Yahweh’s law brings peace to people. Psalm 119:165 even says, “Great peace have they who love Thy law.” It brings peace because it brings order. It brings peace because it brings justice. It brings peace because it punishes crime swiftly.
The Law Teaches Us
This law of Yahweh will make a man love his wife and make a woman love her husband. This law will make parents spend time with and raise their children, and talk about Yahweh’s ways to them when they sit in their house, or when they walk down the road. This law will make you set aside time for Yahweh, a whole day each week, and special times each month and year.
This law will make you give to the poor, and look out for the widows and the fatherless. This law will make you have compassion on the deaf or blind person. This law will make you respect the land Yahweh gives you, in giving the land rest. This law will make you respect even your animals, treating them with care and kindness.
The Problem is Us, not the Law
These are all things taught in this law, but many today say has been done away with and nailed to the cross of Messiah. They get that from Colossians 2:14, but it’s such a bad reading of that text. In context it is not the law that was nailed to the cross, but our sins against the law - our record of debt - that was nailed to the cross.
The law is not the problem. The law has never been the problem. You and I are the problem; our sinful ways have always been the problem. Yeshua’s death wiped our slate clean. He blotted out the record of debt that was against us.
We don’t need to change the law, we need to be changed. We are the ones who need new hearts and new minds. We are the ones who need to repent and walk in another direction. We are the ones who need cleaning. Yeshua said that from within, out of people’s hearts come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, greed, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. That comes from your own natural heart. That’s why Yahweh has to give you a new heart.
When King David sinned against the Almighty, the law was there, and it showed and told David the way to live, but he disobeyed. He then recognized that the problem was with him. He didn’t pray, “Create a new law O Yahweh.” He prayed, “Create in me a clean heart.”
We Need More Moses
We don’t need to forget Moses today. We need to remember Moses. We don’t need less Moses. We need more Moses. Yeshua never said one negative word about Moses or the law of Moses.
Yeshua of Nazareth is the prophet like Moses that Yahweh raised up from among the brethren, according to Acts 3:22-26. A prophet like Moses is used there because Moses was a good prophet; a chosen vessel, through which the holy law came. Away with all this nonsense that says we don’t need Moses anymore. That came from later Christianity, not the early Messianic assembly.
Final Exhortation (Success)
Just as Yahweh sent Moses down from the mountain with His law for the children of Israel (to be a light to the world), back in Exodus 31 and 32, He is sending us His law today in written form. He is giving us His law and telling us: I set before you today life and death, blessing and cursing. CHOOSE LIFE, so that you and your descendants may live.
Yahweh spoke through Joshua in Joshua 1:7-8 “Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.”
There’s the prosperity message. That doesn’t mean you won’t have to live life like the rest of humanity. Life has its bumps, bruises, and problems for all of us. But it does mean that your life will be much more peaceful, prosperous, and successful, if you follow Yahweh. If you observe the instructions given through His servant Moses.
Thank Him today for His law. We are here today because of His law. Never speak evil of it. Always keep it. Protect it as you would the pupil of your eye. Show Yahweh you love Him. Keep His commandments.
Abortion is a hot topic in our country at the moment, and should be a top priority topic at all times. I think the word abortion is an adequate word explaining the termination of a pregnancy, but the word does take the edge off what is happening. If what is inside of the woman is a human being, then to take the baby's life is not just "abortion," but indeed murder.
Development is Still Life
It is not different at 10 years, or 10 days or 10 weeks. The development of the human being inside the womb is just not as far along. Even David (my youngest son) at 10 years outside the womb is still developing. He'll get bigger, and taller, and change in appearance as he keeps growing. That doesn't make him less human at 10 years. A baby that is 10 days old or 10 weeks old isn't less human because he or she is less developed. They are growing just like David. They will grow into a more developed human, but they are still human inside the womb, just less developed.
Scriptures on Children Inside the Womb
According to Holy Scripture, when a woman becomes pregnant, what is inside of her is a living, breathing human being. It is not potential life, it is life. It is not anything less that a person.
In Genesis 25 the Bible says that Isaac (Abraham's son) prayed to Yahweh on behalf of his barren wife. Yahweh heard his prayer, and Rebekah conceived. The text says that "the children inside her struggled with each other." Yahweh told her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two people will come from you." Being inside a mother's womb does not mean you are not a person. Your location doesn't negate person-hood.
Exodus 21:22-23 says that when men get in a fight, and hit a pregnant woman so that her children are born prematurely, but there is no injury, the one who hit her must be fined as the woman's husband demands from him, and he must pay according to the judicial assessment. If there is injury, then you must give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, bruise for bruise, wound for wound.
What is inside of a woman is called a child, and is able to be injured. An unborn baby is a life. He or she develops a tiny nose and fingers and toes. They wiggle around inside that womb. When a woman goes to get her first ultrasound, and the tech shows that little baby up on the screen moving around, the mama gets excited and often cries tears of joy, because they know what is inside of them is their child.
Listen to Psalm 139:13-16: "For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise You, because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began."
Legal does not Equal Lawful
Those verses are not hard to understand. I believe every single person, Christian and non-Christian, theist and atheist, knows what takes place inside a mother's womb. Some have just deceived themselves into thinking that if it is legal it is okay. Brothers and sisters, everything that is legal is not lawful. There have been many unjust things pronounced legal in history. Slavery and abuse of black people was once legal in this country. That doesn't make it lawful. Abortion is legal now, in some states up to the day of birth. That doesn't make it lawful.
I honestly do not believe that anyone thinks what happens inside of a woman's womb isn't a human life. I think everyone, even the most staunch abortion proponent, knows that what is growing inside a woman is a baby human. My reason for thinking this is not hard to see, because when anyone tries to get pregnant, and gets excited when a pregnancy test shows up positive, what are they excited about? What does an atheist actress or singer who gets pregnant, and poses as pregnant for a magazine; what does she get excited about? A clump of cells? Something that is not life? Something that doesn't matter?
Does Choice Change Things?
The way the abortion argument is framed ends up with this way of thinking: "If you want the baby it's a baby. If you don't want what is 'growing inside of you,' it's not a baby." They leave it up to the choice of the woman. Does anyone really believe the choice of an adult woman decides whether what is growing inside of her is a baby or not? No one really believes that. People just suppress knowledge. They deny what they know deep down inside to be true.
Pro-Life Outside the Womb
"Well if you are against abortion then you need to be helping mothers with babies, and adopting unwanted children." Okay... I agree. How does that argument go in favor of abortion? No one person or one family can help everybody, but we can all help someone. In our communities we can help struggling families, or single mothers (financially, watching babies, welcoming them into church, etc.) Christians are actually the greatest percentage of people who adopt. Twice the number of Christians (in the US) choose to adopt, when compared to the number of all other people.
The answer to such a statement about being pro-life outside the womb, is to be pro-life outside the womb. The answer is not to start being anti-life inside the womb.
It's My Body!
"Well it's my body!" No, it is not. You are created. You belong to your Creator. Your Creator gave you your body. He formed your body. You may only do with your body what He allows you to do.
The argument that "it's your body, so you can do with it what you want" ultimately leads to an acceptance of suicide and euthanasia. Someone wants to take their own life? It's okay, and it's okay to assist someone else who wants to die in taking their own life. Is that the road we want to go down? Do we want to start playing Yahweh?
It's Dependent on Me!
"But what's inside of me is dependent on me! Therefore I decide whether it lives or not!" Is that how we normally treat things dependent upon us? My grandson Bowen is dependent upon his Mama to live, and he's almost 8 months (when I initially wrote this) outside of the womb. If she stopped taking care of him, and left him in an abandoned field he would die. Does the fact that he is dependent upon her now, mean his life doesn't matter?
Do we normally treat people or even animals that are dependent upon us with neglect or care? We care for them. When someone depends upon us, we give them extra care, going above and beyond to help them, and protect them. If what is inside of a woman depends upon the woman for life, that should be an argument in favor of doing everything possible to take care of that little, bitty human.
Problems with the Baby
What about finding out there is something wrong with the baby in a womb? Women in my own family have been told by doctors that something could be wrong or that something was wrong with their baby. I don't want to make light of this. It is devastating, at any stage of a child's life, for the mother (and father) to find out that their child may be sick, or disabled, or have special needs when they are born. It's devastating because we want our children to have the best life possible. We don't want our children to suffer in any way.
But let me ask you? Why would we NOT want to give a special needs child life? Sure, they may not be able to hear, or see, or talk. They may have to be pushed around in wheel chair. Some are not able to stand. But some of the most special moments I've ever seen, is when parents with special needs children care for their children.
I'll never forget the time I saw a daddy lift his two special needs daughters from a van into wheelchairs, and push them into the movie theater to enjoy a movie. You think that daddy doesn't want those girls? Special needs people are people, and they are special people. Oftentimes special needs people are vastly more appreciative of life than someone who is entirely healthy. They need a shot at life too. We shouldn't decide to take it away from them.
The Mother's Life?
What if the mother's life is in danger? This is an argument you hear a lot from the pro-abortion side, as though it is the main reason they want abortion to be legal.
Did you know that cases of the mother's life being in danger are less than 1% of abortions? This isn't the primary reason behind the legality of abortion in our nation or other nations on the earth.
That being said, there are some extreme cases where the difficult choice must be made between the life of the mother, and the life of the baby. I realize that there have been people that have had to make such a decision. And such a decision would be so awfully hard to make. If Tisha and I had been faced with that decision, it would have been done in the midst of sorrow, and weeping, and utter devastation. I don't know what we would have done, but regardless, I hurt for any mother (and father) that has had to go through that. I do not treat it trivially, and if anyone reading this has gone through such, I am terribly sorry for any loss you've had, whether mama or baby.
But this is not the primary concern for lawmakers that are pro-abortion. We recently had a pro-abortion bill passed in the state of New York, that allows for a mother to abort her baby up to the time of birth. And when it passed, there were cheers, and claps, and smiles. That's disgusting. Had such a bill been passed with sorrow and weeping, then I might believe that such lawmakers were genuinely concerned with the unborn life. But such is not the case.
As I close let me say something to the women who have had an abortion in the past, and now regret it. You've prayed over and over for forgiveness. You wished you had made a different decision. You long to hug your child in your arms now. You long to be able to teach your child to say mommy and daddy. You wished you could sing to your child, and hear them laugh. Dear mother, you are forgiven. The blood of Christ cleanses you from this sin. Yahweh sent Yeshua so that we could be forgiven of this sin, and many other sins against His law. That's the gospel. That's the good news. If we confess our sin, and repent of our sin, the blood of the Son of Yahweh cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:5-10).
I know it's hard, because in spite of me trying to reassure you of your forgiveness in Christ, there are some days you don't feel forgiven. I know this, because it happens to me to. I know I've been forgiven of my sins. But some days, I just don't feel forgiven. The weight of my past sins in my conscience haunt me. I don't feel like getting out of bed. I don't feel like going to work. I just feel like laying there crying, because I hurt my Creator, and my neighbor, and I want a do-over. It's just something I deal with, so I know how it feels, to feel unforgivable.
So... I preach the gospel to myself, just like I preach it to other people. We are far away from Yahweh, but through the blood of Messiah we are brought near. He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve. He has not repaid us according to our offenses. He's removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. He forgives us, because His perfect Lamb paid the penalty for our sins, was resurrected from death, and went to heaven as our high priest.
I'm not saying your hard days will ever end. I have stretches of time, sometimes months, that I'm good, but then a hard day comes. I'm not saying some kind of magic words will make it all stop. I'm just saying that when these days come, and you don't feel forgiven, know that salvation is not dependent upon how you feel, but upon what Yahweh the Savior has done for you in and through His Son Yeshua. Salvation is not a feeling; it is a reality in spite of bad feelings.
Mother... if you've confessed your sin, and repented of your sin, you are forgiven of your sin. I say that as a minister of the gospel. I love you, and most importantly Yahweh loves you.
There is a strong pull in our day to conform to some kind of cultural ideology; to get on board one kind of ship or another, and then bad-mouth anyone not on your ship.
The problem is this: all of the ships sailing around aren't good vessels. They may have a stripe of something good here and there, but they all lack, because they aren't built by the right manufacturer - and they sure ain't captained by the right people.
In order to judge right from wrong, you've got to have a standard, else you're just spouting your opinion. You can't just decide capital punishment is wrong or right by yourself. You can't just say we have to go to war with that nation or this nation, or that we need or don't need the government's help in schooling our children. People go round and round about matters as these, and you hear one opinion after another. One "solution" after another.
In order to make a decision about your marriage, or family, or job, or whatever... you've got to have some kind of blueprint to go by. Some say that blueprint is what you feel is best, but then comes along another person with a "what-they-feel-is-best" blueprint, that doesn't match yours.
Some people think the Democratic Party is the blueprint. Others think it's the GOP. Then you've got the Libertarians poking fun at both of them, while trying to build an industrial hemp plant.
The reason there is so much bickering is because most folks have somehow made the decision to NOT allow the Creator to make all the decisions. They've decided what He says might be alright sometimes, but when they run across something He says that they don't like, they run back to some other level (or un-level) measurement.
The other day my wife was showing me some amendments that people could vote on here in Georgia (our home state). As I read through each one of them, the only thing that crossed my mind is: what does the Creator say in His law? I've trained my mind to think like that. It's taken a while, but it helps to be a creature with a heart that's being written on by the Almighty Himself. He's helped me get to where I am today. I think like He thinks, because He has made me think like He thinks.
There was one amendment that was about alcohol sales on Sunday (before noon I think I was). I remember when you weren't able to buy alcohol on Sunday, and I get where that comes from here in the southern "Bible belt." But... the Creator doesn't say anything in His law about buying a 6-pack on Sunday. He doesn't forbid it, so that was an easy one for me to vote on. Plus I like to drink, so there's that. (In moderation of course... for all you people who think drinking means getting drunk.)
My point is that I have a standard, and that standard is the law of Yahweh, the Creator, and the author of the Torah, His instructions and guidance for humanity. I'm pro capital punishment, because He is. I'm anti-homosexual practice because He is. I'm pro helping widows and orphans and foreigners because He is. I really couldn't care less about what anyone else says. All other arguments are mute to me. You might as well talk to a telephone poll if you are trying to get me to okay something that He forbids, or to forbid something that He allows. I'm not listening. I'm closed minded.
It makes life easier to have such a standard. I'd argue that it's the only standard in the universe, but regardless... I have one. It's not me. It's not my feelings. It's not a political party. It's not a denomination. It's the holy law of the Creator of all things. He created us, so I let Him call the shots. I go by what He says.
What's your standard? What do you judge everything by? Why do you think the way you do? What makes something a sin to you? Why do you allow some practices and forbid others?
Everyone judges by something. I'd suggest making that something Yahweh's Law, else you'll always end up changing with the whims of the culture.
Back in 2003 I compiled a list of Biblical law that could be found in Exodus 20 to the end of Deuteronomy, but existed prior to the codification of the Torah upon Mount Sinai. I did this because I've met many bible-believers who think that the law only came about in Exodus 20 with the 10 commandments. It's been 12 years since I made this list so I could probably add to it now, but here is the list as I made it back in 2003. I just ran across it again today.
1. Sabbath = Genesis 2: 2-3/ Ex. 16
2. Offerings of flock = Genesis 4: 4
3. Offerings of fruit = Genesis 4:3
4. Clean and Unclean = Gen. 7:2/8:20
5. Offerings of worship = Gen. 8:20
6. Building altars = Gen. 12:8
7. No eating blood = Gen. 9:4
8. Capitol punishment (murder) = Gen. 9:5-6
9. Parental authority = Gen. 18:19
10. Against adultery = Gen. 39:9/34:7
11. Priesthood = Gen. 14:18
12. Tithing = Gen. 14:20/28:22
13. Circumcision = Gen. 17:9-10
14. Oath Taking = Gen. 21:23
15. Birthright = Gen. 25:33
16. Anointing with oil = Gen. 28:18
17. Obligation of vows = Gen. 28:20
18. Idolatry = Gen. 31:32,35
19. Uncleanness = Gen. 31:35
20. Raising seed = Gen. 38:8
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.