Purity Starts Inside: A Lesson Through the Ages

by John and Ruth Greene

2nd Temple on the Mount MoryahIn the time that the Messiah walked the earth, the Sanhedrin was the center of Jewish religious authority. In previous centuries, hundreds of religious traditions had been created and added to the Mosaic Law. In this moment of time, the Pharisees and teachers of the ‘Law’ were once again scrutinizing the activities of Yahshua [Jesus]. (“Leaven of the Pharisees; Leaven of the World“)

“Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” – Matthew 15:2

ritual cleansingThese spiritual leaders openly criticized the Messiah and His disciples for being ceremonially unclean, a big concern for Jews in that day. In the general opinion of the Sanhedrin, Yahshua [Jesus] and His disciples consorted with gentiles and other ritually unclean peoples, which defiled them before YHWH. However, this tradition of the Jews was not a part of Moses Law, but rather, an invention of Hebrew culture of the past. Since Yahshua [Jesus] and His disciples were not conforming to rabbinic tradition and they were Jews, the leadership present raised this indictment against them. Yahshua [Jesus] promptly confronted them for their hypocrisy:

“But He answering, said to them, “Why do you also transgress the command of Elohim because of your tradition? For Elohim has commanded, saying, ‘Respect your father and your mother,’ and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me has been dedicated, is certainly released from respecting his father or mother.’ So you have nullified the command of Elohim by your tradition. Hypocrites! Isaiah [Yeshayahu] rightly prophesied about you, saying,

“This people draw near to Me with their mouth, and respect Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as teachings the commands of men.’

And calling the crowd near, He said to them, ‘Hear and understand: Not that which goes into the mouth defiles the man, but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles the man.’” – Matthew 15:3-11, ISR98 (see also Isaiah 29:13-14)

This confrontation of Yahshua [Jesus] offended the Pharisees, who were very concerned about ritual cleanliness, the core of Jewish belief in that day. Ritual cleanliness was important because these leaders believed that this brought them closer to YHWH. (Matthew 15:12; “The Need to Keep Spiritually Clean“; “YHWH’s Revolution“)

gilded traditionIn the same way, a disciple of the Most High cannot assume that traditions that have been practiced for years, or even centuries, are righteousness by Elohim’s standards. His principles never change. His law didn’t need amendments by man. These leaders had a serious issue of hypocrisy that Yahshua [Jesus] highlighted. The Law of Moses required the Hebrews to honor their parents, which included the idea of caring for them wherever they needed it. This honor wasn’t simply through lip-service or pretense. In vogue was a scheme that sought to avoid parental respect. Instead of materially supporting their parents in old age, they sent that support to the temple marked as ‘corban,’ (qorban, Gr., korban, korbanas) designated to the Temple treasury or for use in the Temple. Anyone that made this vow was required to make this offering to the Temple instead of parents. Giving larger regular offerings to the Temple bestowed prestige to the benefactor for a more ‘worthy’ cause. Parents were neglected and the offering was disgraced in the eyes of Elohim; but not in the eyes of these leaders. (“The Magi of This Age“)

jesus den robbersAdditionally, some of these wily men may not have sent these funds or property to the Temple at all. Some leaders marked all their resources as ‘corban’ since they were of higher authority. Because they claimed to be devoted wholly to YHWH, their property and money were declared to be ‘corban,’ not to be used for secular purposes. (Josephus, War of the Jews 2.9.4; #175) Religion was highjacked by the state, as it has been in this day through the ‘rule of law.’ During the ministry of Yahshua [Jesus], Pontius Pilate evicted the Sanhedrin from their judgment chambers. The Jewish governing body was forced to move from the Hall of Hewn Stone in the Azarah (main courtyard) into ‘chanuyot’ along the edge of the Temple Mount within the Royal Portico. This became a center of public and commercial activity, further enriching a leadership that had become a ‘den of robbers.’ (Mark 12:1-10; Matthew 21:13; Luke 19:46; Talmud Rosh ha-Shanah 31a; Jeremiah 7:3-11) In these ways, Jews rejected the law of YHWH with what they saw as a permissible loophole, an excuse to hold on to their wealth and a lifestyle of mammon. The fact that Yahshua [Jesus] called this to their attention is an indication that these leaders were actively engaged in the practice, showing the Pharisees their hypocrisy directly. (“Knowing Where You Stand on YHWH’s Threshing Floor“; “Consenting to Fables of Men“)

“But He [Yahshua, Jesus] answering, said, ‘Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted shall be uprooted. Leave them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both shall fall into a ditch.’ And Peter [Kĕpha] answering, said to Him, ‘Explain this parable to us.’ And Yahshua said, ‘Are you also still without understanding?

Do you not understand that whatever enters into the mouth goes into the stomach, and is cast out in the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and these defile the man. For out of the heart come forth wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, whorings, thefts, false witnessings, slanders. These defile the man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.’” – Matthew 15:13-20

proud phariseeYahshua [Jesus] told His disciples to leave the Pharisees alone because they were blind to Elohim’s truth. Anyone that would listen to the teachings of the Pharisees risked spiritual blindness as well. In all ages, rationalizing deviance from obeying YHWH is how professed believers often attempt to sidestep His authority, an idolatrous act of rebellion springing from a hardened heart. The Almighty sees your heart even though men don’t. (Acts 10:12; 2 Corinthians 11:14-15; Philippians 3:3; Galatians 3:7; Matthew 3:8-9; John 8:39, 44; “Blind Leading the Blind“)

The Pharisees thought they knew a lot about YHWH, but they didn’t really care to know Him. In this respect, it is not enough to study religion or to read the Bible. You must truly respond to YHWH and His provision. Not all religious leaders clearly see the truth of Elohim [YHWH]. Make sure that those you listen to and learn from are those with effective spiritual eyesight, teaching the principles of scripture instead of the traditions and rules of men. (“Abiding in Trust“; “Abiding With Your Heavenly Father“)

Most people make an effort to keep their outward appearances attractive, but what about their heart? (Matthew 23:27) More important than the outside is the way you are inside where others can’t see. This matters greatly to YHWH. What are you like inside? When people become disciples of the Messiah in their hearts, they begin to make changes. (Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 4:1-4; Romans 2:25-29; Psalm 51:5; Exodus 34:7; Ezekiel 18:20; Matthew 7:21-23, 24:1-51; Luke 18:8; 1 John 1:9, 2:2, 27; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 2:13; Romans 10:10 – Colossians 3:1,10; Ephesians 4:24; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:6)

the BibleWith those changes come the acceptance of the Holy Spirit, which continues makes them different on the inside, a new person in Messiah. The Holy Spirit will continue the process of change as the ‘old man’ is removed. The Holy Spirit is required to insure success in YHWH’s eyes. He is your Teacher, your Counselor above any earthly teacher. He wants disciples to seek healthy thoughts and motives with a pure heart, not simply looking after healthy food, exercise and selfish interests with the view of the world. (Luke 10:27, 12:1; Mark 11:24-25; Acts 15:9; 20:28-31; John 15:7, 17:17; Ephesians 5:3, 11; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, 5:5-7, 10:16-22, 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

“For YHWH so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16, RNKJV
Heavenly Father,
Thank you for sending the Messiah, your only begotten Son to be my Savior. I believe in Him and have made this belief the center of my life. Because of this, by faith I have everlasting life! Thank you! I repent of my sins and of my past, freely admitting that I have fallen short of Your glory. I look fully forward to you in my life and commit my life to You. Thank You YHWH, my Heavenly Father for setting me free in the name of your Son Yahshua [Jesus]. Amen.
genuine-articleYou will never enjoy true freedom through the Messiah and power of the Holy Spirit unless you read and absorb the Bible in prayer and trust. You will never know this freedom until you experience it for yourself. Get to know your Heavenly Father, His Son and allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. The Holy Spirit is your teacher, your Holy Counselor that lives in you to help you learn about the truth of YHWH and His spiritual gifts.
Satan does not want you to have the excellence of YHWH in your life. People pray for protection and want to be taken care of, but often do little in growing close to Him. The world, your husband, your wife, your family, your government do not build your trust in YHWH or free you from spiritual bondage. Your church or your pastor cannot save you. Education, power and money will not free you, but only the Word of your Heavenly Father. Salvation is a daily walk, an act of love for yourself and for those around you, not a one-time event that centers only on you. Make the Word of YHWH your own, your very life!
YHWH is Yahweh, the covenant name of your Heavenly Father.
The names Yahshua and Yahushua are original language names for Jesus,
He is often referred simply as the Messiah or Master.
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