We just finished the fall feast season. The three feasts of the fall season, Yom T’ruah (Feast of Tabernacles) and Yom Kippurim (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot are all behind us now. We are now entering a quiet period as far as feasts are concerned, a time for us to practice what we have learned.
The day of Atonement is the most solemn of the appointed times and the time between Yom T’ruah and Yom Kippurim is often referred to as the Days of Awe. These days are, traditionally, days of intense introspection, repentance and preparation.
It is one thing to repent of our sin and unrighteousness, but quite another to live righteously after that. It is challenging to live in the world among others, and not learn or be influenced by their, not so righteous, ways. This concerns both believers and unbelievers. Then, on the other hand, we may be that stumbling block to others. That is not something we like to hear, but we may be doing things without being aware of it. The reason for this post is to help us identify things we should avoid, either in ourselves or others in order to live more righteously. Living righteously should be our focus. Use this to evaluate yourself and ask YHVH to reveal the areas you need to work on to you.
Sometimes the only correct way would be to flee from a situation…
1 Thessalonians 5:22
22 abstain from every form of evil.
We are taught to avoid every appearance of evil!
The first to flee from is trolling…
Do not feed the trolls!1
This may seem like a funny or strange caption to you, especially if you don’t know what a troll is.
What is a troll?
The word “troll” is Internet slang for a person who will just start an argument for the sake of provoking others into an emotional response. They may have some controversial belief and will start a “conversation” about this topic not wanting to learn, but to challenge others. This will oftentimes just lead to fighting. You may have encountered such a person in action before, on an online group or otherwise.
How are we to respond to this “trolling?” Paul gives us advice:
2 Timothy 2:23–26
23 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. 24 YHVH’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps Elohim may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
We are to refuse these speculations! Ignore them if possible then they might go away. This “trolls” feed on people’s emotional responses. If you are involved in a conversation with such a person, be kind, able to teach, patient when wronged and correct them in gentleness. However, best is to ignore these kinds of controversies; do not get pulled into this in the first place.
We are also to weigh our words to make sure we are not trolling. Ask yourself why you want to say what you are about to say, is it to learn, teach in love or is it to provoke?
Paul refers to these as foolish and ignorant speculations. What exactly does this mean?
Here is the same quote from the Complete Jewish Bible
2 Timothy 2:23–26
23 But stay away from stupid and ignorant controversies—you know that they lead to fights, 24 and a slave of YHVH shouldn’t fight. On the contrary, he should be kind to everyone, a good teacher, and not resentful when mistreated. 25 Also he should be gentle as he corrects his opponents. For Elohim may perhaps grant them the opportunity to turn from their sins, acquire full knowledge of the truth, 26 come to their senses and escape the trap of the Adversary, after having been captured alive by him to do his will.
What could be defined as stupid and ignorant controversies?
The Greek word “moros” was translated as foolish
3704 μωρός (mōros), ά (a), όν (on): adj.; ≡ Str 3474; TDNT 4.832—1. LN 32.55 foolish, unwise (Mt 5:22; 7:26; 23:17; 25:2, 3, 8; 1Co 3:18; 4:10+; Mt 23:19 v.r.); 2. LN 32.58 nonsense, thoughts devoid of understanding (1Co 1:25, 27; 2Ti 2:23; Tit 3:9+), 2
The Greek word “apaideutos” is translated as ignorant
And “ekzetesis” as speculations or controversies
1700 ἐκζήτησις (ekzētēsis), εως (eōs), ἡ (hē): n.fem.; ≡ Str 2214; TDNT 2.893—1. LN 31.33 speculation, worthless imaginings (1Ti 1:4+), for another interp, see next; 2. LN 33.442 idle dispute, argument involving worthless speculation (1Ti 1:4+),2
So we are to stay away from unwise, uneducated arguments involving worthless speculation. Can you think of a good example of these? I can think of plenty.
Flee from foolishness!
The second thing to flee from is foolishness. A foolish man differs from a “troll” in that a “troll” just starts a fight and then sits back and watch, throwing some more wood on the fire as required. So how do we identify foolishness? The book of proverbs gives us some more insight.
9 When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.
This person will, either, laugh at you or become very angry and rage at you. He will lose his temper.
11 A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.
He is hasty in words.
20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
So, our second thing to flee from is foolishness or a foolish person. Someone who ridicules us, or rage. We can also apply what Paul said in 2 Tim 23:26: “we must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition” This once again cuts both ways; we are not to be that foolish person…
Flee from doctrine that does not line up with the Apostolic writings and the Tanakh!
1 Timothy 6:3–5
3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Master Y’shua Messiah, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
What is Paul saying here? He is saying that if anyone advocates a doctrine that is not in line with Y’shua’s words AND with the Torah, prophets and writings (the doctrine conforming to godliness), we are not to accept it, for it is not the truth. This person teaching this is conceited and does not understand. This is a way for us to test what is taught by others: does it line up with the Torah and the Apostolic writings (the Words and teachings of Y’shua)or not? If not, flee!
Flee from arguments about the Word!
This is probably not unfamiliar to any of us?
Arguments about words and their meanings
This is one of the things the community of believers are famous for. Arguments about words and their meanings.
2 Timothy 2:14–15
14 Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of Elohim not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to Elohim as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
How do we wrangle about words?
3362 λογομαχέω (logomacheō): vb.; ≡ Str 3054; TDNT 4.143—LN 33.454 argue about words, quarrel, dispute about meaning or use of words (2Ti 2:14+)2
We wrangle about words when we quarrel or dispute about the meaning or use of words. We can certainly share our point of view, but stop there. We are not to argue about it if the other party doesn’t agree.
We are also taught not to dispute about the law. This is related to arguments about words, but it takes it a step further, in this case the disputes are about the law or the interpretation thereof.
Controversies about the law
We are taught, in the Epistle to Titus, to avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law.
9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.
The Word of YHVH and the interpretation thereof is not something we are to fight about. Paul wrote that we are to reject a factious man after a first and second warning .A factious man is a divisive or contentious person, also called a heretic.
148 αἱρετικός (hairetikos), ή (ē), όν (on): adj.; ≡ Str 141; TDNT 1.184—LN 39.17 divisive, factious (ASV, NASB, RSV), contentious (REB), a heretic (KJV, NEB, NAB), (Tit 3:10+)2
We are not to strife and dispute about the Word. That much is clear, however, what is meant by controversies and genealogies? The Greek word “ekzetesis” is translated as controversies and means worthless imaginings, idle dispute, argument involving worthless speculation.Conspiracy theories fall into this category. We are to avoid these. It is a waste of time and the fruit thereof is fear!
What about genealogies?
1157 γενεαλογία (genealogia), ας (as), ἡ (hē): n.fem.; ≡ Str 1076; TDNT 1.663—LN 10.26 genealogy, a human pedigree, family lineage (1Ti 1:4; Tit 3:9+)2
Does this mean that we may not research our heritage? I don’t think so. It means we are not to use our genealogy or that of others as a topic for strife. There are people who, for example, believe that the Jews of today are not really descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and then conclude that they are not YHVH’s chosen people, but is this something we can judge? Are we the ones who decide who are part of YHVH’s people and who are not? THIS IS PATENTLY WRONG! What these people are teaching is a form of replacement theology.
Is YHVH really interested in bloodlines or in hearts? There are many scriptures that prove that any person who believes, are descendants of Abraham and therefor, of the same status as any natively born Israelite. So why the strife about this? It is meaningless. You can read more about who Israel is in the article ” Who is Israel and why you would want to be a part of it.”
Flee from those who teach another gospel!
We are taught to flee from those teaching another gospel…
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of Elohim? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Messiah.
What is another gospel?
The answer depends on whether one believes there is such a thing as a true Gospel, God’s genuine Good News, summed up in vv. 1 and 3b–5, answering the deepest questions of human existence. If in fact Yeshua called Sha’ul by his grace to proclaim God’s Good News, then this is the true Good News that saves. Any other “gospel” is not good news at all but misleading bad news, capable of drawing off to perdition people who began on the road to salvation. This unique truthfulness of God’s Good News is a presupposition of the entire letter to the Galatians. Moreover, the idea that there is absolute truth which matters absolutely is the constant presumption of both the Tanakh and the New Testament. Any other view relegates the Bible to the category of “great literature” or “valuable historical evidence” or “wise sayings of great men.” It is all of these, but, more than that, it is God’s unique word to humanity, containing the only completely reliable guide toward everlasting life and away from everlasting death.
It becomes clear in what follows that the particular bad news to which the Galatians have been exposed is legalism. Legalism I define as the false principle that God grants acceptance to people, considers them righteous and worthy of being in his presence, on the ground of their obedience to a set of rules, apart from putting their trust in God, relying on him, loving him, and accepting his love for them.3
So, if someone teaches that we have to only follow the Torah in order to be saved, that is a false gospel. The true gospel is that we have salvation in Y’shua. Paul confirms this later in 2 Corinthians where he refers to the true gospel as simplicity and purity of devotion to Messiah.
2 Corinthians 11:3–4
3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Messiah. 4 For if one comes and preaches another Y’shua whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.
Anybody teaching contrary to this, is teaching a false gospel. A very current and prevalent example is the work of anti-missionaries.
What is an anti-missionary?
An anti-missionary is a person teaching another gospel. They teach against the good news of Y’shua the Messiah. They are sometimes referred to as counter missionaries.
Many believers are following and teaching the teachings of the anti-missionaries. These anti-missionaries are Jews whose sole purpose is to diminish Y’shua as either just an ordinary man or a false prophet. They also believe that the Apostolic writings were made up by mere men, even calling it garbage.
Anti-missionaries befriend believers in Y’shua and constantly feed them lies, a little at a time. They like to point to so-called “contradictions” between the Tanakh and the Apostolic Scriptures. They are self-proclaimed experts on the Scriptures and its interpretation. Being native Hebrew speakers, they often ridicule anybody that does not share their “superior knowledge.” They plant seeds of confusion which grows and blooms, bringing about doubt.
Being friends with these anti-missionaries is a slippery slope and we have seen many believers sliding down it, ending up denying Y’shua.
Do you have some of these “friends?” We have written an article about this, if you would like to learn more you can read “Choose your friends and teachers wisely, it could cost you your salvation”
Flee from gossip and gossipmongers!
Don’t you just hate it when someone gossips about you? It hurts so much when you find out! It shutters your trust in that person and for some odd reason it always comes out. Even if you think you have said it in secret, it will come out.
20 Furthermore, in your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known.
Gossips are often very clever people; they have deceiving lips. They will say what they say in such a way to cause a certain perception about a person. It is related to slander in that it causes defamation of the character of the person spoken about. It is called evil speech; also referred to as Lashon hara in Hebrew.
Lashon hara is compared to murder, for if you were, for example, to gossip about Jane to Sarah, you bring Jane in disrepute with Sarah. Sarah would avoid Jane in future or think nothing of her. You have “murdered” Jane in a figurative way, because as far as Sarah might be concerned, Jane is now someone to avoid.
Remember, if someone whispers to you about another person, they probably also whisper to other people about you. Gossipmongers are not to be trusted! We are to have no part in gossip and that includes listening to it. Gossip always involves at least three people: the gossip, the one spoken about and the listener. All are equal in quilt!
There are many references in Scripture instructing us about the effects of gossip and how we are to deal with it. We have written a detailed article about the effect of our words ” Weigh your words”
28 A deceitful person stirs up strife, and a slanderer can separate even close friends.
19 He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip.
11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
We are to flee from gossip and gossipmongers and instead speak live about people !
Flee from false prophets!
Last, but certainly not least! False prophets are among us, it was prophesied to be so by Y’shua.
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
We shall know them by their fruits, that which they produce. That which can be seen by others. Do they display a lack of love or maybe lawlessness?
If you would like to learn how to identify a false prophet you can read “Seven signs of a false prophet” and “False prophet seven more signs.” In these articles, we show you what we can learn from Scripture about false prophets.
These are just seven things that we have to flee from. There are many more, these are just very actual at the moment. Would you like to add to this? Please send us a comment…
Two words of advice
We want to end this article with two words of advice, the first is from Y’shua and the second from the Apostle Paul.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of Elohim.
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
In conclusion, we would like to admonish you to search yourself as we will be searching ourselves in this time, but also hereafter. Please listen to counsel, it is not our counsel, but from YHVH’s word.
14 A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words, And the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him. 15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
- Swanson, J. (1997).Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary : a companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed., Ga 1:6). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.
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