I Thessalonians 4;1 Therefore, brothers, just as you learned from us how you had to live in order to please God, and just as you are living this way now, we ask you- indeed, united with the Lord Yeshua, we urge you- to keep doing so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Yeshua. 3 What God wants is that you be holy, that you keep away from sexual immorality, 4 that each of you know how to manage his sexual impulses in a holy and honorable manner, 5 without giving in to lustful desires, like the pagans who don’t know God.
–I Thess. 4; Verse2 says that the “instructions” -Paraggellia=a mandate; charge, COMMAND that Paul (who was accompanied by Silas and Timothy) gives the believers he has ministered to in Thessalonica come “on the authority of” or from the Greek “THROUGH”-Dia= for, from, in, by occasion of, by reason of, WITH Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
The command: God’s desire for believers to be Kadosh- Holy- Set apart, to keep away from sexual immorality which biblically was always hand in hand with idolatry (ex. Pagan nations and peoples would often make idols in human form, naked to illicit a sexual response, many pagan practices included sexual acts such as temple prostitution, etc.)
Deeper: the text shows us that sexual impulses and desires are not inhumane or unnatural…they will happen, the challenge and charge is that people of God keep them managed and under control, that they do not allow these feelings to overcome them or give in to them. If one does this there is no difference between said person and a Godless pagan who has no “bar” to live up to, no charge to be different, Kadosh.
Matthew 7;7 “Keep asking (AITEO), and it will be given to you; keep seeking (ZETEO), and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone keeps asking receives; he who keeps seeking finds; and to him who keeps knocking the door will be opened. 9 Is there anyone here who, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone? 10 or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 So if you, even though you are bad, know how to give your children gifts that are good, how much more will your Father in heaven keep giving good things to those who keep asking him! 12 Always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that sums up the teaching of the Torah and the Prophets.
13 Go in through (DIA) the narrow (STENOS) gate; for the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the road broad, and many travel it; 14 but it is a narrow gate and hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
–The word Dia- through, by, with….by reason of, found in I Thessalonians is the same word used in Matthew 7;13. Just as the message and command came by Yeshua, so too the WAY of passage, the route by which we will enter into eternal life is DIA his commands. Dia or Through the narrow gate.
How to by holy: The words of Yeshua are amazing, we will need help, we will have questions, we will have continual challenges within our flesh and he instructs us to ASK-Aiteo= to ask, beg, call for, crave, require, DESIRE. If holiness before our groom becomes our DESIRE, He will answer. He instructs us to SEEK-Zeteo= to seek; specially to worship (God);be about, endeavor, enquire (for); DESIRE. If seeking Him in worship, honor and praise in ALL aspects of our lives…becomes our DESIRE, we will find Him, i.e. He will come to us. The narrow- Stenos= narrow (from obstacles standing close about) gate means there will be trials and tests and challenges all around but entering into them with the desire to serve Yeshua means we enter through him and we will prevail by him. Kadosh, holy, set apart, different…noticeable in a world that can not say no to anything corrupted or vile, this is what you will be when you enter into the narrow gate and where it leads is to life.( Ezekiel 20;13 explains that in keeping ALL the commandments of God we LIVE. )
Matthew 10;19 “But when they bring you to trial, do not worry about what to say or how to say it; when the time comes, you will be given what you should say. 20 For it will not be just you speaking, but the Spirit of your heavenly Father speaking through you. 21 A brother will betray his brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. 22 Everyone will hate you because (DIA) of me, but whoever holds out (HUPOMENO) till the end will be preserved (SOZO) from harm. 23 When you are persecuted in one town, run away to another. Yes, indeed; I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
–In Matthew 10;22, the Lord warns us that we will be set apart and the sign of this separation will be that we will be hated, persecuted…we will not be loved by the world of the people who serve it and the lifeless things in it. However he tells us that our response need not be mustered up from some long evaluated and investigated over rehearsed come back, if it comes through (dia) Him, it will come by way of the Holy Spirit and we will not even need to ruminate over a thing. Is this period of trial easy? Comfortable? Quick? The text tells us it will be a period through which we will need to endure-Hupomeno= remain; to undergo; to bear; to abide; to have fortitude; to persevere; TO STAY UNDER. To stay under the shelter and protection of the Lord and His life giving commands and instructions and we will be preserved-Sozo= to save; deliver; protect; WHOLE.
I Thessalonians 4; 6 No one should wrong his brother in this matter or take advantage of him, because the Lord punishes all who do such things- as we have explained to you before at length. 7 For God did not call us to live an unclean life but a holy one. 8 Therefore, whoever rejects (ATHETEO) this teaching is rejecting (ATHETEO) not a man but God, indeed, the One who gives you the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), which is his.
–Atheteo=to set aside; to disesteem; neutralize or violate; cast off; despise; REJECT.
–Ma’ac=to spurn; abhor; cast off; despise; loathe; refuse; reject; to DISAPPEAR.
Paul brings the message of living a life through God, setting for yourself a standard for holiness as prescribed in the given word through the counsel of the Holy Spirit. This message is not new it is the message of Yeshua. Yeshua’s message, it is the message from the beginning from the Father, it didn’t change.
Keep the commandments and you will see your life living in the world of sin become more and more Kadosh- set apart, from it. The food you eat, the clothes you wear, the words you use, the activities you refrain from, the appointments you KEEP…you will carve for yourself a place where you strive to keep the commands and fill them, uphold them and proclaim them, this place is marked out specifically for you…the beloved and holy people of the Lord.
Luke 11; 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me, also whoever rejects (ATHETEO) you rejects (ATHETEO) me, and whoever rejects me rejects the One who sent me.”
Leviticus 26;11 I will place My Sanctuary among you; and My Spirit will not reject (MA’AC) you. 12 I will walk among you, I will be God unto you and you will be a people unto Me. 13 I am HASHEM, your God, Who took you out of the land of Egypt from being their slaves; I broke the staves of your yoke and I led you erect. 14 But if you will not listen to Me and will not perform all of these commandments; 15 if you consider My decrees loathsome, and if your being rejects (MA’AC) My ordinances, so as not to perform all My commandments, so that you may annul My covenant-16 then I will do the same to you; I will assign upon you panic, swelling lesions, and burning fever, which cause your eye to long and souls to suffer; you will sow your seeds in vain, for your enemies will eat it.
–If we have cast off the “burden” of even trying to observe the Torah due to mistranslations and presuppositions, if we despise the idea of separating from pagan rich traditions and holiday’s, if we loathe the concept that God made certain things we physically intake unacceptable according to Him…we reject the precious and divine manifestation of His design for holiness as given in the entire counsel of His living word. We reject the Word, we reject Yeshua, we reject life.
Ezekiel 20;13 But the House of Israel rebelled against Me in the Wilderness: They did not follow My decrees and they spurned (MA’AC) My laws, through which, if a man fulfills them, he will live through them; and they desecrated My Sabbaths exceedingly. So I had thought to pour out My wrath upon them in the Wilderness, to make an end to them. 14 But I acted for the sake of My Name, that it should not be desecrated in the eyes of the nations before whose eyes I had taken them out. 15 I also raised My hand [in oath] against them in the Wilderness, not to bring them to the land that I had given them- [a land that] flows with milk and honey, a splendor for all the lands. 16 [All this] because they spurned (MA’AC) My laws and did not follow My decrees and they desecrated My Sabbaths, because their heart kept going after their idols. 17 But my eye pitied them, rather than destroying them, so I did not put an end to them in the Wilderness. 18 I said to their children in the Wilderness, ‘Do not follow the practices of your fathers and do not observe their laws, and do not defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am HASHEM your God; follow My decrees and observe My laws and fulfill them. 20 Sanctify My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, for you to know that I am HASHEM, your God.
—One last thing to consider, THROUGH whom did the Torah come? Through whom were the commandments given? It is he who reveled himself in flame to Moshe, spoke from the fire on Sinai, and as Yeshua, the man…expressed image of the invisible God. He Is, He Was, He shall remain. “I AM.”( John 8; 58) God’s Torah, is Yeshua’s Torah. Paul’s message likewise is nothing new, he was a Torah teacher. Every concept of modesty and morality, every challenge to control sexual impulses and make our lives holy…came from the Living Word which is too unchanging.
Exodus 3;11 Moshe said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 He replied, “I will surely be with you. Your sign that I have sent you will be that when you lead the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” 11 Moshe said to God, “Look, when I appear before the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you.’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?” 14 God said to Moshe, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],” and added, “Here is what you should say to the people of Israel: ‘Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.”
John 8;54 Yeshua answered, “If I praise myself, my praise counts for nothing. The One who is praising me is my Father, the very one about who you keep saying, ‘He is our God.’ 55 Now you have not known him, but I do know him; indeed, if I were to say that I don’t know him, I would be a liar like you! But I do know him, and I obey his word. 56 Avraham, your father , was glad that he would see my day; then he saw it and was overjoyed.” 57 “Why you are not yet fifty years old,” the Judeans replied, “and you have seen Avraham?” 58 Yeshua said to them, “Yes, indeed! Before Avraham came into being, I AM!”
Revelation 1;8 “I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z’ (the ‘aleph’ and the ‘tav’/ the ‘alpha’ and the ‘omega’), says ADONAI, God of heaven’s armies, the One who is, who was and who is coming.”
–Where to start, how to begin? : Leviticus 18;4 Carry out My laws, and safeguard My decrees to follow them; I am HASHEM, your God. 5 You shall observe My decrees and My laws, which man shall carry out and by which he shall live- I am HASHEM.
It is no coincidence that this text is just before a long list of “you shall not’s” (Lev. 18;6-23) regarding sexual impulses and desires (incest, fornication, sodomy, bestiality, etc.). We are to consider that the thoughts we have and actions we take as far as what is meant by God to be the most sacred and intimate expression of His perfect design for creation (sex within marriage- Hebrews 13;4 Marriage is honorable in every respect; and in particular, sex within marriage is pure. But God will indeed punish fornicators and idolaters)….are directly related to becoming separated from Him. This separation is hand and hand with the repeated admonition in the Word against idolatry. Transgression or rejection of the Commandments of the Lord is as if we are committing idolatry (which is spiritual adultery). Conversely to become specialized in controlling ourselves and being holy, i.e. keeping His commands and living through them we are bound to Him as in marriage. The most desirable thing to realize, the greatest longing we should have is live up to the plans He has for each of us…He plans to use us mind, body and soul for His purposes which will bring us to a level of Kadosh we could never have imagined, through Him alone!
Romans 6;12 Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal bodies, so that it makes you obey its desires; 13 and do not offer any part of yourselves to sin as an instrument for wickedness. On the contrary, offer yourselves to God as people alive from the dead, and your various parts to God as instruments for righteousness.
My King, we find nothing legalistic in the blessings we so readily seek, we reject none of the promises which come from living as covenant members…let us strive then to see Your designs, Your laws and ordinances not as something to loathe or as some burden to reject, but as a clear gift from above. You did not have to set them before us, life or without them…death. Their substance is our savior and I pray that we all can see that every word is true and good, gifted from the grace which we accept in thanks and live lives changed because of! I thank You Father for your word and ask that as we fail and falter You be right there speedily to help us get right back on track. That You, by the power of Your Holy Spirit , which aides us constantly, show us how to enter through the narrow gate, and live lives through Yeshua. In his name I ask this, for Your glory my King! Amein.