Sunday, July 6, 2014

From the Heart the Mouth Speaks.... An Appeal to the Heart

…An Appeal to the Heart… [1] [2] [3]

John 13:33-35 (NASB95)
33     aLittle children, I am with you ba little while longer.
cYou will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews [referring to the Scribes and leaders, author’s clarification], now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’
34     “A anew commandment I give to you, bthat you love one another, ceven as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35     aBy this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [4]

(Jas 3:1-18 CJB)
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, since you know that we will be judged more severely. For we all stumble in many ways; if someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a mature man who can bridle his whole body. If we put a bit into a horse's mouth to make it obey us, we control its whole body as well. And think of a ship — although it is huge and is driven by strong winds, yet the pilot can steer it wherever he wants with just a small rudder. So too the tongue is a tiny part of the body, yet it boasts great things. See how a little fire sets a whole forest ablaze! Yes, the tongue is a fire, a world of wickedness. The tongue is so placed in our body that it defiles every part of it, setting ablaze the whole of our life; and it is set on fire by Gei-Hinnom itself. For people have tamed and continue to tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures; but the tongue no one can tame — it is an unstable and evil thing, full of death-dealing poison! With it we bless Adonai, the Father; and with it we curse people, who were made in the image of God. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing! Brothers, it isn't right for things to be this way. A spring doesn't send both fresh and bitter water from the same opening, does it? Can a fig tree yield olives, my brothers? or a grapevine, figs? Neither does salt water produce fresh. Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him demonstrate it by his good way of life, by actions done in the humility that grows out of wisdom. But if you harbor in your hearts bitter jealousy and selfish ambition, don't boast and attack the truth with lies! This wisdom is not the kind that comes down from above; on the contrary, it is worldly, unspiritual, demonic. For where there are jealousy and selfish ambition, there will be disharmony and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is, first of all, pure, then peaceful, kind, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. And peacemakers who sow seed in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. [5]

Believers are a strange lot.  On one hand, we stand in the presence of the most awesome being in the universe, Yahveh, blessed be He forever, the Master and Creator of all things.  On the other we devour our own, using the power of our tongue to kill, maim and destroy those who “don’t think like us”. Is it any wonder that the non-believers wag their heads and their own tongues against us?  Let me tell you a truth – the non-believer (which is a misnomer – there is no such thing as a non-believer; Scripture tells us EVERY knee shall bow and confess He is Lord, so I guess they are just “not-yet-believers”) knows what it is a true believer should be doing, how they should be living their lives better than most “believers” do.  Yet, while they (the “not-yet-believer”) are criticizing us, they are just being what they are – they are non-spiritual and carnal, so therefore they are being true to their nature.  But what of us? Why do we “eat our own”? Of what profit is it to us to devour one another, to drag all our disagreements and squabbles into the realm of the secular?  Why do we favor Lashon Ha’Rah (the evil tongue) over Lashon Kodesh (the sacred tongue)?  Why do we suppress our Yetzer Tov (the inclination to do good) and instead embrace our Yetzet Ha’Rah (the inclination to do evil)?  As this age winds down, as we approach the greatest cosmic event in all of history, the return of Messiah, why is the lack of love the most prominent, visible feature of the church today?  Where is the grace and the mercy?  Let us take a look and see what Scripture can tell us.
Ya’akov[6] tells us “the tongue is a fire, a world of wickedness…”  If you have ever been on the receiving end of a “tongue-lashing”, then you know that this is true.  But what of gossip, slander, libel?  What of anger, jealousy, hatred or prejudice?  What of the “little white lie”, the “almost the truth”, the sarcasm, the “biting wit”, ridicule, and all the other forms of “communication” we practice every day? Now, maybe, some of these we think have their place: satire for one, political musings, editorial opinions etc.  Some scholars think that even Sha’ul (Paul) employed them:

Galatians 5:6-13 (NASB95)
6     For in aChrist Jesus bneither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but cfaith working through love.
7     You were arunning well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
8     This persuasion did not come from aHim who calls you.
9     aA little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.
10     aI have confidence 1in you in the Lord that you bwill adopt no other view; but the one who is cdisturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11     But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still apersecuted? Then bthe stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.
12     I wish that athose who are troubling you would even 1bmutilate themselves.
13     For you were called to afreedom, brethren; bonly do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love cserve one another. [7]

At first glance, and for many Christian commentators, it seems as if Paul is saying here that he wishes those preaching circumcision would just go ahead and emasculate themselves, i.e., cut off their member all together; this would fit in with Paul’s use of satire, but I truly feel that such a rendering of the Greek and the sentiment expressed by Paul to be interpreted in this manner is incorrect. The Greek word translated as “mutilate” is the word αποκοψονται [to cut off];

- Original: ἀποκόπτω
- Transliteration: Apokopto
- Phonetic: ap-ok-op'-to
- Definition:
1. to cut off, amputate
- Origin: from G575 and G2875
- TDNT entry: 17:12,5
- Part(s) of speech: Verb
- Strong's: From G575 and G2875; to amputate; reflexively (by irony) to mutilate (the privy parts): - cut off. Compare G2699.
Total KJV Occurrences: 4
 off, 4
 Joh_18:10; Joh_18:26; Act_27:32; Gal_5:12 [8]

In the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament this is further explained:

“…In Gl. 5:12 Paul is obviously expressing a sharp rejection of emasculation: Ὄφελον καὶ ἀποκόψονται οἱ ἀναστατοῦντες ὑμᾶς. What is he really wishing for these men who disrupt the peace of the Galatian churches? Attempts have been made to show that ἀποκόπτομαι is here used in the figurative sense of “to separate themselves.” This is how the Reformers and Erasmus took it. Not even as a curse could Paul envisage the supreme brutality and impiety of the literal act.13 But if we concede that the apostle was not fastidious in his choice of linguistic media, and that at a time like this the strongest expressions in current speech seemed to be the best adapted to his purpose,14 we must also grant that the overwhelming force of his argument is lost if we weaken the sense of this dramatic term to segregari. Above all the καί is deprived of all meaning, since it obviously points to a climax as compared with what has gone before. But this climax depends on the contrast between περιτέμνεσθαι (v. 2ff.; cf. v. 11) and ἀποκόπτεσθαι, as Chrysostom already perceived and brought out when he expounded in terms of περικοπτέσθωσαν as the counterpart to περιτεμνέσθωσαν.15 ἀποκόπτειν is a radical surpassing of περιτέμνειν which changes the legalism into contradiction of the Law, since it incurs the verdict of Dt. 23:2. This is the very point that Paul wishes to make. His opponents are in conflict with the will of God. In the light of Dt. 23:2 there is also a subsidiary thought of self-excommunication…” [9]

John Gill, Baptist preacher (1697-1771) wrote this:

“…Galatians 5:12
I would they were even cut off which trouble you. These words are a solemn wish of the apostle's with respect to the false teachers, or an imprecation of the judgment of God upon them; that they might be cut off out of the land of the living by the immediate hand of God, that they might do no more mischief to the churches of Christ: this he said not out of hatred to their persons, but from a concern for the glory of God, and the good of his people. The word here used answers to the Hebrew word קפח, and which is often made use of by the Jews in solemn imprecations; we read (o) of a righteous man, מקפח את בניו, "that cut off his children": the gloss upon it is,

"he used to say, when he made any imprecation, אקפח את בני, "may I cut off my children";''
that is, may they die, may they be cut off by the hand of God, and I bury them;
"says R. Tarphon (p), may my children be "cut off", if these books of heretics come into my hands, that I will burn them;''
and says the same Rabbi (q) may I "cut off" my children, or may my children be cut off, if this sentence or constitution is cut off, or should perish. There is another use of this word, which may have a place here, for it sometimes signifies to confute a person, or refute his notion (r).

"It is a tradition of the Rabbius, that after the departure of R. Meir, R. Judah said to his disciples, let not the disciples of R. Meir come in hither, for they are contentious; and not to learn the law do they come, but לקפחני בהלכות, "to cut me off"; (i.e. as the gloss says, to show how sharp they are that none can stand against them;) to confute and overcome me, by their sentences, or constitutions.''

So the apostle here might wish that the mouths of these false teachers were stopped, their notions refuted, that they might give them no more trouble; to which agrees the Arabic version; "they that trouble you I wish they were dumb"; or that their mouths were stopped, as such vain talkers should be; see Tit_1:10 or the sense of the apostle is, that it was his will and desire that these men should be cut off from the communion of the church; with which views he mentions the proverbial expression in Gal_5:9 with which compare 1Co_5:6 or that they would cut themselves off, by withdrawing from them, going out from among them, and leaving them as these men sometimes did.
(o) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 85. 1. (p) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol, 116. 1. (q) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 17. 1. Misn. Oholot, c. 16. sect. 1. & Maimon, in Bartenora in ib. (r) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 52. 2. Nazir, fol. 49. 2…” [10]

I believe this is more the point that Rabbi Sha’ul is trying to make: that these men cut themselves off from the church rather than teach others to rely on anything outside of the saving act of Messiah on the cross. This does not mean that this interpretation is entirely accurate – it just means that it is more in line with the Jewish upbringing of Sha’ul in that the act of emasculation or castration was anathema to the Jewish way of thinking.  No, I believe this was more in line with Sha’ul demonstrating how serious a departure from faith that this teaching was.  In defense of those that later interpreters would call the “Judaisers”, it is in my humble opinion that these were men sincerely concerned about the salvation of the Gentile believers, for all their lives they had ben taught that you had to be Jewish to have part in the Olam Ha-Ba, “the world to come”.  To briefly explain the Jewish view of the after-life, it is best to hear it from a Jewish perspective:

“…Olam Ha-Ba: The World to Come…”
The spiritual afterlife is referred to in Hebrew as Olam Ha-Ba (oh-LAHM hah-BAH), the World to Come, although this term is also used to refer to the messianic age. The Olam Ha-Ba is another, higher state of being.
In the Mishnah, one rabbi says, "This world is like a lobby before the Olam Ha-Ba. Prepare yourself in the lobby so that you may enter the banquet hall." Similarly, the Talmud says, "This world is like the eve of Shabbat, and the Olam Ha-Ba is like Shabbat. He who prepares on the eve of Shabbat will have food to eat on Shabbat." We prepare ourselves for the Olam Ha-Ba through Torah study and good deeds.
The Talmud states that all Israel has a share in the Olam Ha-Ba. However, not all "shares" are equal. A particularly righteous person will have a greater share in the Olam Ha-Ba than the average person. In addition, a person can lose his share through wicked actions. There are many statements in the Talmud that a particular mitzvah will guarantee a person a place in the Olam Ha-Ba, or that a particular sin will lose a person's share in the Olam Ha-Ba, but these are generally regarded as hyperbole, excessive expressions of approval or disapproval.
Some people look at these teachings and deduce that Jews try to "earn our way into Heaven" by performing the mitzvot. This is a gross mischaracterization of our religion. It is important to remember that unlike some religions, Judaism is not focused on the question of how to get into heaven. Judaism is focused on life and how to live it. Non-Jews frequently ask me, "do you really think you're going to go to Hell if you don't do such-and-such?" It always catches me a bit off balance, because the question of where I am going after death simply doesn't enter into the equation when I think about the mitzvot. We perform the mitzvot because it is our privilege and our sacred obligation to do so. We perform them out of a sense of love and duty, not out of a desire to get something in return. In fact, one of the first bits of ethical advice in Pirkei Avot (a book of the Mishnah) is: "Be not like servants who serve their master for the sake of receiving a reward; instead, be like servants who serve their master not for the sake of receiving a reward, and let the awe of Heaven [meaning G-d, not the afterlife] be upon you."
Nevertheless, we definitely believe that your place in the Olam Ha-Ba is determined by a merit system based on your actions, not by who you are or what religion you profess. In addition, we definitely believe that humanity is capable of being considered righteous in G-d's eyes, or at least good enough to merit paradise after a suitable period of purification.
Do non-Jews have a place in Olam Ha-Ba? Although there are a few statements to the contrary in the Talmud, the predominant view of Judaism is that the righteous of all nations have a share in the Olam Ha-Ba. Statements to the contrary were not based on the notion that membership in Judaism was required to get into Olam Ha-Ba, but were grounded in the observation that non-Jews were not righteous people. If you consider the behavior of the surrounding peoples at the time that the Talmud was written, you can understand the rabbis' attitudes. By the time of Rambam, the belief was firmly entrenched that the righteous of all nations have a share in the Olam Ha-Ba…” [11]

You see, this thought process has survived for thousands of years – only Messiah Yeshua’s return will change it.  It is not hard to see how this same thought pattern might have been in evidence in the 1st century.

So what is my point here?  We set the world afire with our tongues.  In our sarcasm, in our irony, in our caustic satire, we may be getting a point across, but what damage do we do?  For almost two thousand years we have thought of the so-called “Judaisers” in a negative sense, yet they were believers also, just mistaken in their theological outlook.  We have eaten our own also.  Not only does Christianity devour their own, but the Messianic Movement does also.  In doing so, do we advance the Kingdom of God or do we hinder it?  Do we destroy the fledgling believer because he dares to ask questions outside of our comfort zone, or do we patiently study the word with them so as to educate not only them but ourselves as well?  The disciples once came to Yeshua and proclaimed:

Mark 9:38-40 (NET)
9:38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he was not following us.”
9:39 But Jesus said,
Do not stop him, because no one who does a miracle in my name will be able soon afterward to say anything bad about me. 9:40 For whoever is not against us is for us. [12]

While there is a qualifier here (“…no one who does a miracle in my name…”) the idea is that if they are for Him, they are not against Him.  This does not mean that their theology is solid – it means they are heading in the right direction.  If a ministry is not bringing shame upon the name of Messiah and Father Yahveh, then we can work together to solve the issues at hand.  Correction is necessary in the Body of Messiah; it is important that we are all striving to worship in spirit and in truth.  Unless the teachings of another are so egregious that what they teach is threatening the salvation of another, leading them after false gods, then we should be able to reach one another; that being said heed this warning: run from the ones that are no longer teachable or correctable as their consciences have been seared as if with a hot iron and their souls are devoid of Ruach [Spirit] of God.  None of us see so completely that we are no longer in need of correction. To say we are is to deny the Ruach His way with us.

1 Corinthians 10:1-12 (HCSB)
10     Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers a were all under the cloud, b all passed through the sea, c 2 and all were baptized d into Moses e in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food, f 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock g that followed them, and that rock was Christ. h 5 But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert. i
6 Now these things became examples for us, so that we will not desire j evil as they did. k l
7 Don’t become idolaters m as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to play. n o p
8 Let us not commit sexual immorality q as some of them did, r and in a single day 23,000 people fell dead. s
9 Let us not tempt Christ as some of them did, t and were destroyed by snakes. u
10 Nor should we complain v as some of them did, w x and were killed by the destroyer. y z
11 Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, a on whom the ends of the ages b have come. c
12 Therefore, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall! d [13]

Who among us murmurs? Who gossips? Who puts his/her mouth upon another to kill, maim or destroy?  We see this every day in the secular world – in politics, in talk shows, on television, in movies…  We see the power of the tongue used to destroy careers, to silence opponents, to drum up the winds of war.  We see it in our nation, divided by class warfare, divided into camps of “haves” and “have-nots” or balkanized by the many hyphenated groups that are out there. “Gay”- Americans; “Irish” – Americans; “Straight” – Americans; “Black-White-Brown-Yellow-Red-Pink-Orange-Green-ad nauseam to infinity”… We have singled ourselves out as “Right-Wing” or “Left-Wing”, as Pro-Choice (let us be honest – Pro-death) or as Pro-Life (every cause has an antithesis).  We are 1%-ers, or part of the 99%.  And each “group” puts its mouth upon another and the cycle of hate and fear and loathing is lifted up into the heavens to become a stench in the nostrils of God.  

That is why Ya’akov [James] said:
Jas 3:7-18 OJB [14]
(7)  For every species both of wild animals and birds, reptiles and marine creatures is tamed and has been tamed by humankind. (8)  But the Lashon [15] no one of Bnei Adam[16] is able to tame, an uncontrollable ra'ah (evil), full of deadly zuhamah (contamination).[17] [18] (9)  With this we say a bracha[19] to “Hashem, Adoneinu and Avoteynu”[20], and with this we put a kelalah (curse) on Bnei Adam, who have been created according to the demut Elohim[21]  [Gn 1:26,27). (10)  Out of the same PEH (mouth) comes forth bracha and also kelalah. My Achim b'Moshiach[22], these things ought not to be. [23] (11)  Surely not out of the same makor (fountain) pours forth mayim (water) both sweet and bitter?  (12)  Surely an etz te'enah (fig tree) cannot yield olives, my Achim b'Moshiach, or a grape vine figs? Neither can salt water yield sweet water.  (13)  Who has chochmah[24] and binah[25] among you? Let him show by his hitnahagut hatovah (good conduct) that the ma’asim (works, customs, deeds) of him are of the shiflut (lowliness) of chochmah. (14)  But if bitter kina (jealousy) you have and anochiyut (selfishness) in your levavot [26], do not boast and speak sheker [27]against HaEmes (The Truth). (15)  This is not the Chochmah coming down and descending from above, but is of the Olam Hazeh (of this world) and of shedim [28]. (16)  For where kina and anochiyut are, there is tohu vavohu (disorder, chaos) and every ra’ah.
(17)  But the chochmah from above is berishonah (in the first place) tehorah (pure), then ohevet shalom (peaceloving), then eidel (gentle) and considerate, then full of rachamim[29] and p’ri tov[30], and without maso panim[31] and tzevi’ut[32].
(18)  And the p’ri haTzedek [33]is shalom (peace) sown by the ones making shalom. (Prov 11:18; Isa 32:17; Hos 10:12] [34] [35] [36]

A world is on fire today because of the power and abuse of the tongue.  The Church is in flames today because of the power and abuse of the tongue.  We eat our dead; sometimes we are feasting on them before they have even expired.  Our unity is shattered because no one wants to be teachable, and no one especially wants to be corrected. When one of us falls, there seems to be very few willing to pick the fallen up, but many who are ready to add blows to the injured.  We attack and attack; our differences are petty, yet in the real world, those who hold to the testimony of Yeshua are slaughtered like cattle in the Muslim world – just Google it if you do not believe.  How many prayers are sent up for the persecuted Church today – are we diligent or are we lax - maybe it is because we are too busy asking for our best life now? 
Our homes are shattered, our institutions corrupt.  The cry of humanism and secularism rises above the cries of the pious.  Our borders are violated and the nation is awash in those it did not ask for, yet our hearts break at the tragedy that is unfolding at the southern border.  This was caused by the power and the abuse of the tongue of those that were elected to run this nation at our behest; we the people are silenced by the shrill cries of those whose vested interests demand silence.  The government looms large like the elephant in the room, taking up all the space and capital we the people produce; and the tongues of opposition are silent because there is no outlet for their voice. 
Mothers and fathers are looked down upon, the tongues of hate destroying the family that is the backbone of any nation. We are truly in a time where:
Romans 1:18-32 (NET)

1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people39 who suppress the truth by their40 unrighteousness,41 1:19 because what can be known about God is plain to them,42 because God has made it plain to them. 1:20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people43 are without excuse. 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts44 were darkened. 1:22 Although they claimed45 to be wise, they became fools
1:23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings46 or birds or four-footed animals47 or reptiles.
1:24 Therefore God gave them over48 in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor49 their bodies among themselves.50 1:25 They51 exchanged the truth of God for a lie52 and worshiped and served the creation53 rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
1:26 For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones,54 1:27 and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women55 and were inflamed in their passions56 for one another. Men57 committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God,58 God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done.59 1:29 They are filled60 with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with61 envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, 1:30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, 1:31 senseless, covenant-breakers,62 heartless, ruthless. 1:32 Although they fully know63 God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die,64 they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.65 [37]

The world applauds the sinner, and puts its mouth upon the saint.  When the mouth isn’t enough, it uses the sword or the power of corrupt governments to coerce  and intimidate.  Unfortunately, we as believers do the dirty work ourselves.  Just ask any pastor. 

Thus – an appeal to the heart.  Google® the term “Hebraic Roots” and you get about 3,350,000 hits, for and against.  Type in “against Christianity” you get 14,500,000 hits; “against denominations”, 5,250,000 hits.  Type in “Church against Church” and you get an astonishing 574,000,000 hits.  “Messianic Judaism” gets 440,000 hits while “against Messianic Judaism” gets around 584,000 hits.  Mention Jews or Israel and you get between 3,000,000 and 4,400,000 hits. So what does this mean? Where is the love? Where is the unity?  Where is the one mind, one heart, One Spirit, One God, One Lord, One Savior, one Body of Messiah?  Could it be that the tongue has fanned flames that cannot be put out?  It all starts with words – and words demand actions to back them.  It is the same with the progression of sin.

James 1:13-16 (Complete Jewish Bible)
13 No one being tempted should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and God himself tempts no one. 14 Rather, each person is being tempted whenever he is being dragged off and enticed by the bait of his own desire. 15 Then, having conceived, the desire gives birth to sin; and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. 16 Don’t delude yourselves, my dear brothers. [38]

The bait of our own desires begin in our minds, and end in our words which carry us to the deed.  Hate, anger, lust, greed, jealousy – these are but a part of the fruit of our lips.  What would happen if the abundance of our heart was love and not malice?

Matthew 12:30-37 (JNT)
30 “Those who are not with me are against me, and those who do not gather with me are scattering. 31 Because of this, I tell you that people will be forgiven any sin and blasphemy, but blaspheming the Ruach HaKodesh will not be forgiven. 32 One can say something against the Son of Man and be forgiven; but whoever keeps on speaking against the Ruach HaKodesh will never be forgiven, neither in the ‛olam hazeh nor in the ‛olam haba.[39]
33 “If you make a tree good, its fruit will be good; and if you make a tree bad, its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
34 You snakes! How can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what overflows from the heart. 35 The good person brings forth good things from his store of good, and the evil person brings forth evil things from his store of evil.
36 Moreover, I tell you this: on the Day of Judgment people will have to give account for every careless word they have spoken; 37 for by your own words you will be acquitted, and by your own words you will be condemned.” [40]

Luke 6:45-49 (WUESTNT)
For there is not a good tree that brings forth rotten fruit, nor on the other hand, does a rotten tree produce good fruit. In fact, each tree is known by its own unique fruit. Certainly, they do not from rough, prickly shrubs gather figs, nor from a thorny bush do they gather a ripe cluster of grapes.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good, and the pernicious man out of the perniciousness of his heart brings forth that which is pernicious; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth is accustomed to be speaking.
But why are you calling me, Lord, Lord, and are not doing the things which I am saying? Everyone who comes to me and is hearing my words and is putting them into practice, I will show you to whom he is like. He is like a man who is building a house, who dug and went deep and laid a foundation upon the solid rock. And a flood having come, the river dashed against that house, and it was not strong enough to shake it because it was built securely. But he who heard and did not do is like a man who built a house upon the ground without a foundation, against which the river dashed, and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great. After He ended all His words in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. [41]

From the heart the mouth speaks.

What comes out of your mouth today? Or out of mine?

That is why I am appealing to the heart today.  This is why I am speaking to you as Ya’akov would. Brethren, these things must not be so – we cannot continue to call ourselves followers of Messiah and put our mouths upon one another.  Disagreements may and will occur, but we must speak to one another in love.  We must speak about those we love in love. We place word curses every day on our children, our wives and our husbands.  We place the curse over our co-workers, over those elected officials.  We speak against allies, we speak against foes and ask God to bless us in the same breath.  Our words are eternal! Yeshua said so!

“…on the Day of Judgment people will have to give account for every careless word they have spoken…”

I cannot afford anymore careless words – can you?

Can any of us afford to use:
Lashon Remiyyah: a tongue of deceit
Lashon Seter: the backbiting tongue
Lashon Tahpukhot: a tongue of perversion, distortion
Lashon Hara: the evil tongue [42]

I cannot tell you what to harbor in your heart.  All I can do is shout a warning to us all.  Love has to take its rightful place first and foremost in our hearts, else we run the risk  of being on the wrong side of God. In Judaism, it is thought of in this way:

“…The Power of Speech…”
“Judaism is intensely aware of the power of speech and of the harm that can be done through speech. The rabbis note that the universe itself was created through speech. Of the 43 sins enumerated in theAl Cheit confession recited on Yom Kippur, 11 are sins committed through speech. The Talmud tells that the tongue is an instrument so dangerous that it must be kept hidden from view, behind two protective walls (the mouth and teeth) to prevent its misuse.
The harm done by speech is even worse than the harm done by stealing or by cheating someone financially: money lost can be repaid, but the harm done by speech can never be repaired. For this reason, some sources indicate that there is no forgiveness for lashon ha-ra (disparaging speech). This is probably hyperbole, but it illustrates the seriousness of improper speech. A Chasidic tale vividly illustrates the danger of improper speech: A man went about the community telling malicious lies about the rabbi. Later, he realized the wrong he had done, and began to feel remorse. He went to the rabbi and begged his forgiveness, saying he would do anything he could to make amends. The rabbi told the man, "Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers to the winds." The man thought this was a strange request, but it was a simple enough task, and he did it gladly. When he returned to tell the rabbi that he had done it, the rabbi said, "Now, go and gather the feathers. Because you can no more make amends for the damage your words have done than you can recollect the feathers."
Speech has been compared to an arrow: once the words are released, like an arrow, they cannot be recalled, the harm they do cannot be stopped, and the harm they do cannot always be predicted, for words like arrows often go astray.
There are two mitzvot in the Torah that specifically address improper speech: Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among thy people (Lev. 19:16), and ye shall not wrong one another (Lev. 25:17, which according to tradition refers to wronging a person with speech).
Tale-bearing is, essentially, any gossip. The Hebrew word for tale-bearer is "rakhil" (Reish-Kaf-Yod-Lamed), which is related to a word meaning trader or merchant. The idea is that a tale-bearer is like a merchant, but he deals in information instead of goods. In our modern "Information Age," the idea of information as a product has become more clear than ever before, yet it is present even here in the Torah.
It is a violation of this mitzvah to say anything about another person, even it is true, even if it is not negative, even if it is not secret, even if it hurts no one, even if the person himself would tell the same thing if asked! It is said that the telling of gossip leads to bloodshed, which is why the next words in the Torah are "you shall not stand aside while your fellow's blood is shed."
The story of Do'eig the Edomite (I Samuel Chs. 21-22) is often used to illustrate the harm that can be done by tale-bearing. Do'eig saw Achimelekh the Kohein give David bread and a sword, a completely innocent act intended to aid a leading member of Saul's court. Do'eig reported this to Saul. Do'eig's story was completely true, not negative, not secret, and Achimelekh would have told Saul exactly the same thing if asked (in fact, he did so later). Yet Saul misinterpreted this tale as proof that Achimelekh was supporting David in a rebellion, and proceeded to slaughter all but one of the kohanim at Nob.
The person who listens to gossip is even worse than the person who tells it, because no harm could be done by gossip if no one listened to it.
It has been said that lashon ha-ra (disparaging speech) kills three: the person who speaks it, the person who hears it, and the person about whom it is told. (Talmud Arachin 15b)…” [43]

I appeal to the heart. I make an appeal for love and a bridled tongue.  And I pray that Father helps me tame the untamable.

May the Lord richly bless you this day my beloved, Amein.

[1]Authors note: Use of information from Jewish-themed websites should not be construed as these sites endorsing or confirming any thesis introduced by the author of this epistle. I present the information from their respective sites for instructional purposes only and/or to aid in the readers understanding of the subjects discussed and in full respect of the sensitivity of the subject matter at hand.
[2] Author’s note:  Throughout this study I’ll be using the Net® Bible and  the Net® Notes: within the notes you’ll see symbols like this: ( א B Ψ 892* 2427 sys). These are abbreviations used by the NetBible© for identifying the principal manuscript evidence that they (authors and translators of the NetBible©)  used in translating the New Testament. Please go to and see their section labeled “NET Bible Principals of Translation” for a more complete explanation on these symbols and other items pertinent to the way the NET Bible uses them.
[3] Author’s Note: In these studies I have used the notes that come along with the passages I cite from the sources that I cite: these need a bit of a disclaimer though. As in all things, not everything that is footnoted is something that I necessarily agree with, especially if it contradicts what I believe pertains to any matters of the Torah or the commandments of God. I give you the notes as they are written by the authors of the material I cite from, so that you can see the information contained within them. It truly is not my place to edit or correct them; if they state anything that is in opposition to what I teach, then so be it. I will address these issues if requested, but for the sake of brevity (as if any of these posts of mine are brief ) I insert them and let them stand as they are. If I don’t agree with them, why do I include them you might ask? I don’t believe in censuring anyone’s opinions or scholarship; as I would not want mine censured, so I will not do to that to another. As Rabbi Hillel once stated, “What is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Torah. Go and learn it.” Torah leads me to respect others, even if I disagree; it leads me to present both sides of the coin, even if it could mean I’d lose part of the argument. That is not to say I should not challenge something I believe contradicts the truth of God’s word; that I will do in the main body of my epistles; that is where my gentle dissent belongs. Most (but not all) of the differences will come when I quote from the NET® Bible (but not exclusively); it has a decidedly Western/Greek mindset to it, but as a wise man once said “How do you eat chicken? Swallow the meat and spit out the bones..” I do though want to present the NET® notes because there is a wealth of information and research contained within them that I hope you find helpful.
a  1 John 2:1
b  John 7:33
c  John 7:34
a  John 15:12, 17; 1 John 2:7f; 3:11, 23; 2 John 5
Lev 19:18; Matt 5:44; Gal 5:14; 1 Thess 4:9; Heb 13:1; 1 Pet 1:22; 1 John 4:7
c  Eph 5:2; 1 John 4:10f
a  1 John 3:14; 4:20
[4]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995
[5] Stern, David H. The Complete Jewish Bible. ©Jewish New Testament Publications, 1998.  Electronic Edition, e-Sword v. 10.2.1. Copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers
[6] Ya`akov: Ya•`a•kov (Jacob, James)—The English name "James" comes from Hebrew Ya`akov through Greek Iakôbos and Late Latin Jacomus. (1) Ya`akov avinu (Jacob, our father), i.e., the Patriarch Jacob. Mat_1:2+. (2) His descendants, the House of Ya`akov, meaning the Jewish people. Luk_1:33; Rom_11:26. (3) The father of Yosef #3. Mat_1:15-16. (4) A talmid of Yeshua called Ya'akov Ben-Zavdai (James, son of Zebedee), brother of Yochanan #2. Mat_4:21+. (5) A talmid of Yeshua called Ya`akov Ben-Halfai (James, son of Alpheus). Mat_10:3+. (6) A brother of Yeshua the Messiah who became leader of the Messianic community in Yerushalayim and is understood to be the author of the book of Ya`akov. Mat_13:55+. (7) A son of Miryam #4, called "the younger Ya`akov." Mat_27:56; Mar_15:40. (8) Father of Yeshua's talmid Y'hudah ben-Ya`akov (Judas, son of James). Luk_6:16+. (From the Complete Jewish Bible Pronunciation Glossary – Electronic Edition, e-Sword v. 10.2.1. Copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers.
a  Gal 3:26
b  1 Cor 7:19; Gal 6:15
c  Col 1:4f; 1 Thess 1:3; James 2:18, 20, 22
a  Gal 2:2
a  Rom 8:28; Gal 1:6
a  1 Cor 5:6
a  2 Cor 2:3
1  Lit toward
b  Gal 5:7; Phil 3:15
c  Gal 1:7; 5:12
a  Gal 4:29; 6:12
b  Rom 9:33; 1 Cor 1:23
a  Gal 2:4; 5:10
1  Or cut themselves off
b  Deut 23:1
a  Gal 5:1
1 Cor 8:9; 1 Pet 2:16
1 Cor 9:19; Eph 5:21
[7]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995
[8] F. Brown, S. Driver, C. Briggs; J. Strong; J.H. Thayer. Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, Thayer’s Greek Definitions, and the Strong’s King James Concordance. Vol. Electronic Edition, copyright 2000–2013 e-Sword by Rick Meyers, n.d.
[Notes below are from passage found in Theological dictionary of the New Testament.]
13 A. Bischoff, 169 f.
14 Nägeli, 78 f.
15 Cf. the similar antithesis in Phil. 3:2: κατατομήπεριτομή.
[9]Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964-c1976. Vols. 5-9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (3:854-855). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
[10] John Gill’s Complete Exposition of the Entire Bible, Electronic Edition, e-Sword v. 10.2.1. Copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers
[11] From the article Olam Ha-Ba: The Afterlife found @
[12]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
a  10:1 Ps 44:1; Ac 7:11
b  10:1 Ex 13:21
10:1 Ex 14:29
d  10:2 Ac 22:16
e  10:2 Ps 77:20; Mt 8:4; Heb 3:2
f  10:3 Ex 16:31
g  10:4 Ex 17:6; Nm 20:7-13
h  10:4 Jn 4:14; 6:30-35
i  10:5 Jd 5
j  10:6 Mt 27:23; Jms 4:2
k  10:6 Nm 11:4, 33-34; Pss 78:18; 106:14
l  10:6 Lit they desired
m  10:7 Eph 5:5
n  10:7 Ex 32:6
o  10:7 Or to dance
p  10:7 Ex 32:6
q  10:8 1Co 6:18; Rv 2:14, 20; 17:2; 18:3, 9
r  10:8 Lit them committed sexual immorality
s  10:8 Nm 25:1-18; Ps 106:29
t  10:9 Lit them tempted
u  10:9 Nm 21:6
v  10:10 Jn 6:41; Jd 16
w  10:10 Nm 16:41-50
x  10:10 Lit them complained
y  10:10 Ex 12:23; 2Sm 24:16; 1Ch 21:15; Ps 78:49
z  10:10 Or the destroying angel
a  10:11 Ps 102:18
b  10:11 Mk 13:7
c  10:11 Mk 10:30
d  10:12 Pr 24:16; Heb 6:8
[13]  The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2003. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
[14] Notes for the following come from Stern, David H. Jewish New Testament Commentary: A Companion Volume to the Jewish New Testament. Messianic Jewish Publisher; Electronic edition (October 1992), n.d.
[15] Tongue
[16] all mankind, Sons of Adam, those of low estate
[17] Jas 3:8:  The tongue... is an ... evil thing. Lashon hara' (literally, "tongue of the evil") in Judaism refers to gossip, backbiting, rumormongering, slander and other misuses of speech. The Talmud condemns it severely: "If one speaks lashon hara' it is as though he denied God.... The sin of lashon hara' is weighed equally with the sins of idolatry, sexual immorality and murder." (Arakhin 15b)
The three sins named are those for which, according to the Talmud (Sanhedrin 74a, quoted in Act_15:20), a Jew is supposed to give up his life rather than commit. Zelig Pliskin (a non-Messianic Jew) has written an interesting book on the laws of lashon hara' called Guard Your Tongue, based on the writings of Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, known as the Chafetz Chaim ("desirer of life," from Psa_34:13-14 (Psa_34:12-13), "Which of you is a desirer of life, and wants long life to enjoy what is good? Then keep your tongue [lashon] from evil [ra'], and your lips from uttering lies." The Chafetz Chaim died in 1934 at the age of 95.) He points out that even true statements may be lashon hara' if relating them can cause damage. A sample of his amusing yet practical advice:  "Beware of loshon hora when speaking on the telephone. If the person with whom you are conversing insists on relating loshon hora, you should rebuke him. If this is not possible, find an excuse to hang up-'Excuse me, something has just come up' (the loshon hora)-and discontinue the conversation." (pp. 31-32)  Out of the heart proceed all kinds of evils (Mar_7:20-23), and the first place they go is to the tongue (Jas_3:6).
[18] Full of death-dealing poison. Compare Psa_140:4 (Psa_140:3), quoted at Rom_3:13.
[19] Blessing
[20] Hashem, Adoneinu and Avoteynu: The Name (Yahveh) our Lord God and Father
[21] demut Elohim:  image of God
[22] Achim b'Moshiach: brothers in Moshiach
[23] Jas 3:10-12: Compare Jas_4:1, Jas_4:5-6, Jas_4:8; Mat_7:15-20; Rom_7:23; 1Pe_2:11.
[24] wisdom
[25] understanding, comprehension
[26] heart
[27] a falsehood, a lie, a fraud, deceit, baselessly, deceitful, false, deception, liar, falsely, falsity, lies, pretense, an insincere religious spirit, vain, false thing, wrongfully
[28] Demons
[29] mercy, compassion
[30] Good fruits (better, good, well i. e. delivered, well prosperity)
[31] favoritism
[32] hypocrisy
[33] Literally “harvest of righteousness”; Tzedek is a righteous plea of a just cause, righteousness vindication, self achieved righteousness, by definition a self-righteousness.
[34] (JNTC) Jas 3:18: Compare Isa_32:17, Heb_12:11.
[35] (JNTC) Jas 3:13-18: Compare Jas_1:5-8, Jas_1:13-18. There are two kinds of wisdom. That which is worldly, unspiritual and demonic produces jealousy (or "bitter zeal") and selfish ambition, followed by disharmony and every foul practice (see, for example, the lists at Rom_1:28-31, Gal_5:19-21). But the wisdom from above is "from the Father," with whom "there is neither variation nor darkness" (Jas_1:17); it is extolled at Pro_8:22 ff.
[36] The reading is from The Orthodox Jewish Bible - an English-language paraphrase of other English-language Bible translations which applies Yiddish and Hasidic cultural expressions to create a "Messianic Bible." See: Phillip E. Goble. The Orthodox Jewish Bible: Tanakh and Orthodox Jewish Brit Chadasha. 4th edition. Afi Intl Pub, 2010.
·         [The following notes are taken from the NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from, n.d. Numbering system is unique to NET® Notes..  For more information see footnote #2 and 3.]
39 tn The genitive ἀνθρώπων could be taken as an attributed genitive, in which case the phase should be translated “against all ungodly and unrighteous people” (cf. “the truth of God” in v. 25 which is also probably an attributed genitive). C. E. B. Cranfield takes the section 1:18–32 to refer to all people (not just Gentiles), while 2:1–3:20 points out that the Jew is no exception (Romans [ICC], 1:104–6; 1:137–38).
40 tn “Their” is implied in the Greek, but is supplied because of English style.
41 tn Or “by means of unrighteousness.” Grk “in (by) unrighteousness.”
42 tn Grk “is manifest to/in them.”
43 tn Grk “they”; the referent (people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
44 tn Grk “heart.”
45 tn The participle φάσκοντες (phaskontes) is used concessively here.
46 tn Grk “exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God in likeness of an image of corruptible man.” Here there is a wordplay on the Greek terms ἄφθαρτος (aphthartos, “immortal, imperishable, incorruptible”) and φθαρτός (phthartos, “mortal, corruptible, subject to decay”).
47 sn Possibly an allusion to Ps 106:19–20.
48 sn Possibly an allusion to Ps 81:12.
49 tn The genitive articular infinitive τοῦ ἀτιμάζεσθαι (tou atimazesthai, “to dishonor”) has been taken as (1) an infinitive of purpose; (2) an infinitive of result; or (3) an epexegetical (i.e., explanatory) infinitive, expanding the previous clause.
50 tn Grk “among them.”
51 tn Grk “who.” The relative pronoun was converted to a personal pronoun and, because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
52 tn Grk “the lie.”
53 tn Or “creature, created things.”
54 tn Grk “for their females exchanged the natural function for that which is contrary to nature.” The term χρῆσις (chrēsis) has the force of “sexual relations” here (L&N 23.65).
55 tn Grk “likewise so also the males abandoning the natural function of the female.”
56 tn Grk “burned with intense desire” (L&N 25.16).
57 tn Grk “another, men committing…and receiving,” continuing the description of their deeds. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
58 tn Grk “and just as they did not approve to have God in knowledge.”
59 tn Grk “the things that are improper.”
60 tn Grk “being filled” or “having been filled,” referring to those described in v. 28. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
61 tn Grk “malice, full of,” continuing the description. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
62 tn Or “promise-breakers.”
63 tn Grk “who, knowing…, not only do them but also approve…” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
64 tn Grk “are worthy of death.”
65 sn “Vice lists” like vv. 28–32 can be found elsewhere in the NT in Matt 15:19; Gal 5:19–21; 1 Tim 1:9–10; and 1 Pet 4:3. An example from the intertestamental period can be found in Wis 14:25–26.
·         End “NET®” notes
[37]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
[38] Stern, D. H. (1998). Complete Jewish Bible: an English version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) (1st ed., Jas 1:13–16). Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications.
[39] 'olam hazeh... 'olam haba, "this world... the world to come." These concepts are part of rabbinic Judaism. The latter can mean either the Millennial Age (Revelation 19-20; see 1Th_4:15-17) or the Eternal Age following Judgment Day (Revelation 21-22).
[40]  Stern, D. H. (1989). Jewish New Testament : A translation of the New Testament that expresses its Jewishness (1st ed.). Jerusalem, Israel; Clarksville, Md., USA: Jewish New Testament Publications.

[41]  Wuest, K. S. (1997, c1961). The New Testament : An expanded translation. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
[42] Phillip E. Goble. The Orthodox Jewish Bible: Tanakh and Orthodox Jewish Brit Chadasha. 4th edition. Afi Intl Pub, 2010; word usage taken from the glossary. Again, this translation is a mixture of Yiddish and Hasidic cultural expressions, and may not always reflect those found in Orthodox Judaism.

[43] From the article “Speech and Lashon Ha-Ra ”,, Judaism 101.

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