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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Fifty-Third (Like A Child)

Has anyone ever told you, "you're such a child"? Usually, that's meant to be derogatory, but maybe next time you should take it as a compliment and say thank you! Obviously, I'm only joshing, but as we'll see this week, when it comes to scripture, being led by the Holy Spirit, and entering the Kingdom, being a child is exactly what we're supposed to do.

I will tell you from experience, the most learning and closest I've felt to Yeshua and YHWH has been a direct result of becoming like a child and throwing out everything I thought I knew. Really, everything I was told on how things supposedly worked. From understanding scripture, to the history of the universe, to entering the Kingdom of Heaven, unless we put more faith in what the Holy Spirit is showing and teaching us than what man is, we're always going to live in darkness and be at risk of falling for deception.

Did you know that in England Sunday schools were created to provide education to working children? The schooling occurred weekly on Sundays to accommodate the fact that most of the children were working in factories or on the family's farm during the week, and it included reading, writing, math and knowledge of scripture. In colonial America, with the settlers being primarily Protestant and recognizing that literacy was a necessity in order to read and understand scripture they started schools even earlier than in England. In fact, the first law related to schooling was called the "Old Deluder Satan Act," which started with: "It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the scriptures...".

To the credit of the Puritans who wrote and enacted that law, the truth of that statement can be seen as much today as it was then, and especially during medieval times when having scripture was illegal. Only now it's in a slightly different form. Yes, there are countries where Christianity is illegal, but even where legal Satan has sought to obscure not only the truth about His creation but also what His Word actually means. To succeed in this agenda, he is using the very institution that was originally created to overcome his efforts to keep YHWH's word, the Truth, from the children of YHWH.

Being like children, that's where it starts. Yeshua told His disciples this in a conversation recorded in three gospels (Matthew 18:1-5, Mark 9:33-41, Luke 9:46-50). However, as we've learned over the last 152 posts, we need to be aware of and understand context. Yeshua was responding to a question from His disciples, but even this question has context.

This whole interaction occurred after Peter paid a tax for him and Yeshua. He was confronted by some tax collectors asking if his Teacher pays the tax (Matthew 17:24-27). Obviously, these individuals could create some trouble, because not only does Peter, without knowing what Yeshua's intentions were for paying the tax, reply in the affirmative to the collectors, Yeshua Himself agreed to pay the tax, "so [the collectors] may not [be] offend[ed]."

I read an explanation for Yeshua's actions that stated the lesson we should take away from this is to make sure we don't take actions that offend others. The "others" being referred to was intending to mean Christians, but regardless we should not live our lives being worried of, or changing because of, whether or not others will be offended. After all, Yeshua Himself did not worry, on most occasions, whether others would be offended. He dined with tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:11), healed on Shabbat (Matthew 12:10-14), and even forgave sins (Matthew 9:3-7), all of which was offensive to those indoctrinated into that legalistic culture. No, I think this payment of the tax by Yeshua was a combination of 1) not wanting to make Peter a liar, and 2) choosing the appropriate time and place to raise issues.

This tax, and the way it was paid, was quite interesting though. This was a tax instituted when the temple was the tabernacle (Exodus 30:11-14), and it was instituted as atonement for the lives of the Israelites (Exodus 30:15-16). It was atonement for their nephesh. To pay it, Peter caught a fish with a coin that had the value of two individuals' tax, which is significant in and of itself. As we know, when Yeshua gathered His disciples He told them they would be fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). I believe this was Yeshua trying to show Peter that he was to gather these fish (men) that pay the temple tax such that they would then be called children of YHWH and as a result would not be required to pay it (Matthew 17:26). Ultimately, that's exactly what Peter did. The most significant event of which involved 3000 Jews coming to Christ (Acts 2:37-41).

Back to being children though, if we look in Matthew the context is a contrast of the greatest on earth (kings that require tax from the people) and the greatest in Heaven (those that are most humble). In Mark and Luke however, the context is an argument amongst the disciples on who was the greatest. Another interesting aspect is in Mark and Luke Yeshua only talks about welcoming the children whereas in Matthew He states that you have to change and become like little children. Perhaps this is a result of Mark and Luke being primarily for Gentiles and Matthew for Jews, or perhaps because the combination of the gospels results in an overall message to all His disciples of not only becoming like a child, but also when you grow to be an "adult" in the kingdom that you welcome those children just coming into the fold.

Having the humility of a child is more than just knowing you're not the best. It's knowing that you don't know anything and allowing yourself to be taught by the only true and greatest Teacher, the One that knows truth, and is Truth (John 14:6). Man, with the help of Satan, has developed and spread lies of theories on how the universe came to be, when a person is actually a life to be protected, and even how scripture is to be interpreted. Christians, even those considered highly regarded as theologians, have used these theories, called "science," to interpret scripture like Genesis 1-2 rather than letting the scripture itself be the source for interpretation. This is called eisegesis vice exegesis, and is a big no-no for scripture. You see the same thing when it comes to "end times prophets" as they try to equate things like the imagery of Revelation to modern day Apache helicopters, ballistic missile submarines and whatnot.

As you read scripture, rather than letting what you have been taught about the world decide what the words mean let the Holy Spirit show you. It's quite exciting and amazing when it happens! You find patterns and connections you never knew were there, and it develops the picture of truth rather than being confused or being limited to the surface level of the text. Also, as you see what is happening in the world let scripture tell you what is really going on rather than the news or even scientists. Yes, it can provide clarity there as well! When you do that, you will be less likely to be deceived when the next fearmongering campaign hits that's intended to control you and you'll be able to discern who is actually trying to help you and who is trying to control or even harm you.

Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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