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Repent, Follow, and Obey Yahushuah


    After His baptism by John ("Yochanan") the Baptist ("Immerser") and after He successfully withstood Satan's tests (Matthew 3:13-4:11), the preaching (teaching) ministry of Yahushuah began with these words. "Repent! For, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17)

This very same message was being preached in the wilderness of Judea until Herod jailed Yochanon, a prophet of Elohim. In those days Yochanon the Immerser, came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 3:1-2)

This message is more than a few words. It is a command of YAHUAH, the first of over 100 commandments given through Yahushuah. This article examines "Repent!", and our Mashiach's next two commandments as written in the Gospel (good news) of Matthew ("MattithYahu") of the New Testament (Brit Cha'Dasha). May the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha'Qodesh) help guide Bet Yeshurun Assembly (BYA) in understanding Yah's Will and in obeying Yah's Word. The command to repent is very important. Consider this second witness in Mark's Gospel. Now after Yochanon was put in prison, Yahushuah came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of Elohim saying, "The time is fulfilled. The Kingdom of Elohim is at hand. Repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:14-15)

According to Strong's Concordance, "repent" is translated from the Greek "metanoeho" (G3340) which means "to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider {morally to feel compunction / (shame)}." The Bible's King James Version (KJV) translates metanoeho 20 other times as repent. Thayer's Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament similarly defines metanoeho as "to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins."

Is there a similar Hebrew word for repent? The Hebrew language tends to give information in a way that people can relate to on a sensual basis (e.g. its words have meanings that can be felt, heard, tasted, seen or smelled). Let's read the first verse that uses repent in the KJV. It came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that Elohim led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For, Elohim said, "Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war and they return to Egypt." (Exodus 13:17)

I was expecting to feel something different based upon Strong's Greek definition. How about another verse? "Elohim is not a man that He should lie, neither the Son of Man, that He should repent. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or, has He spoken and shall he not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19)

Strong's notes that the Hebrew word "naham" (H5162) is repent in both verses. It's a primitive root word that means "properly to sigh i.e. breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry." Well, that's a bit like the Greek meaning, but that word doesn't mean to think differently. For example, I can be sorry about something, but my sorrow may come from being caught. I can be ashamed, but not necessarily will I think differently. Worse, I can repeat my act even after all my sighing and begging for forgiveness. There must be more to this concept of repentance.

Then, I note another Hebrew word; "shuv" (H7725). According to Strong, the KJV also translates it as "repent". A primitive root word, it means "to turn back (hence away), retreat". Now that indicates the change in thinking as conveyed in the Greek language. Let's see how scripture uses shuv.

It appears in Solomon's Prayer. "If they sin against you, (for there is no man who sins not,) and you be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land where they were carried captives, repent and make supplication unto you in the land of those who carried them captives, saying, "We have sinned and have done perversely. We have committed wickedness!" And so, return to you with all their heart and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, who led them away captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city which you chose, and the house which I built for your name. Then, hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven, your dwelling place, and maintain their cause. Forgive your people, who sinned against you, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against you. Give them compassion before those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them. For, they are your people and your inheritance, which you brought forth out of Mitzrayim (Egypt), from the midst of the furnace of iron." (1 Kings 8:46-51)

Now that depicts a deep meaning to repent. It shows compunction (a sharp feeling of uneasiness brought on by a sense of guilt; remorse). So does this verse. Therefore say to the house of Israel, "Thus says Sovereign YAHUAH! Repent! Turn yourselves from your idols! Turn away your faces from all your abominations!" (Ezekiel 14:6) Yet, says the house of Israel, "The way of Adonai (the Lord, the Master) is not equal." "O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? Are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says Sovereign YAHUAH. "Repent! Turn yourselves from all your transgressions so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions whereby you have transgressed. Make you a new heart and a new spirit. For, why will you die, O house of Israel? For, I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies," says Sovereign YAHUAH. Wherefore, Turn yourselves and live." (Ezekiel 18:29-32)

Picture the prophet Ezekiel passionately voicing YAHUAH's commands (which Yahushuah and Yochanan later echoed). Note a subtle difference in the meanings of shuv and metanoeho. Both describe moving in a new personal direction (from natural, physical desires toward Yah's higher spiritual calling). Hebraically, repentance (a change in attitude or behavioral shift) may occur without shame and may come for many reasons, even force. I remember mom forcing my apologies for antagonizing my sisters. That wasn't true repentance in any sense. That was humbling me to force a change in my behavior. Similarly, Yah told Israel to obey Torah (His instructions). They did so. Yet it's unlikely their behavioral change came with much shame for what they did under 430 years of slavery. Still, they repented (retreated from Egypt's ways and turned toward Yah's Way).

On the other hand, Yahushuah's "Repent!" raises the bar, the level of Yah's standard of excellence (righteousness). To embrace the fullness of His love, to learn His Will and to understand His Word, Yah calls upon BYA to grieve over our past poor choices; to be ashamed of neglecting to do the right things at the appropriate times; and to be saddened over the wrongs that were perpetrated willfully, or unknowingly, upon us. Past failures in meeting Yah's standards for whatever reason stained our character, and we must totally cleanse our body, mind and soul. With total embarrassment, I ask how I can clean that slate. I can't! But Yahushuah's sacrificial death does. He enables me to move forward, free of past burdensome sins. Thanks Yah! Hallelu Yah!

There's another Greek word that speaks to "shuv." It is "epistrepho" (G1994), which means "to revert (literally, figuratively or mortally), revert, turn (about, again), return." Hence, you read shuv translated as "convert'" and "converted" in the KJV. "Then I will teach transgressors your Ways. Sinners shall be converted unto you." (Psalm 51:13) "Make the heart of this people fat. Make their ears heavy. Shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, convert and be healed." (Isaiah 6:10) "Repent ye therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of Adonai." (Acts 3:19)

Yah shows to repent we must leave behind false teachings, practices and the traditions of man-made religions. "I (YAHUAH) have surely heard Ephraim (BYA) bemoaning himself thus. 'You chastised me and I was chastised. As a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke, you turn me and I shall be turned. For, you are YAHUAH, my Elohim! Surely after that I was turned. I repented! And, after that I was instructed. I smote my thigh. I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.'" (Jeremiah 31:18-19)

Yahushuah's command #2 follows immediately after #1. Yahushuah, walking by the Sea of Galil (Galilee), saw two brothers, Shim'on (Simon) called Kepha (Peter) and Andri (Andrew), casting a net into the sea. They were fishers. He said to them, "Follow me! "I shall make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:18-19)

That word "follow" is "deute" (G1205). It's an imperative command of "come hither!" Here's a second witness from Mark's Gospel of that same meeting. Now as He walked by the Sea of Galil, He saw Shim'on and Andri, his brother, casting a net into the sea. For, they were fishers. And Yahushuah said to them, "Come ye after me and I will make you to become fishers of men." (Mark 1:16-17)

Other fishermen chose to follow. When Shim'on Kepha saw it, he fell down at Yahushuah's knees, saying, "Depart from me! For, I am a sinful man, O Adonai." For, he was astonished, and all who were with him, at the draught of fish which they had taken. So also were Ya'aqov (James) and Yochanan, the sons of Zavdai (Zebedee), who were partners with Shim'on. Yahushuah said to Shim'on, "Fear not! From henceforth you shall catch men. When they brought their ships to land, they forsook all and followed him. (Luke 5:8-11)

At His Last Supper, Yahushuah's instructs His disciples (students like us) to accept His Renewed Covenant, to deny our own wishes and desires, and to follow Him. Then said Yahushuah to His disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24)

Both verses translate the word "akoloutheo" (G190) as "follow." Strong's says this Greek compound word includes "keleuthos" which means "a road, properly to be in the same way with, i.e. to accompany (specifically as a disciple), follow." This word conveys a picture of travelling along the same road, or path. In other words, the two or more people are headed in the same direction, or destination. They share a common goal.

Let's read the first time "follow" appears in the KJV as the Hebrew word "yalak" (H3212) which means "to walk, come." The servant said to him, "Peradventure, if the woman is not willing to follow me to this land, must I bring your son again to the land from where you came?" Abraham said to him, "Beware that you do not bring my son there again. YAHUAH Elohim of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me, and who swore to me, saying, 'Unto your seed I will give this land.' He shall send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife to my son from there. If the woman is not willing to follow you, then you shall be clear from this my oath. Only bring not my son there again." (Genesis 24:5-8)

The servant's mission was to find a wife for Abraham's son, Yitzchak (Isaac). He asked what to do if a woman was unwilling to follow him back to marry Yitzchak. Abraham knew a wife's willingness to yalak (walk along the same journey) as Isaac needed to be a free-will choice. The picture of a free-will decision is depicted in that primitive Hebrew word "yalak."

Consider another example. This prophet implores Israel to "Yalak, YAH!" Elijah came to all the people and said, "How long halt ye between two opinions? If YAHUAH is Elohim, follow Him! But, if Baal, then follow him!" And the people answered him not a word. (1 Kings 18:21)

Here's a beautiful picture of yalak (a type of wedding procession). The king's daughter is all glorious within. Her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought to the king in raiment of needlework. The virgins, her companions who follow, shall be brought to you. With gladness and rejoicing they shall be brought. They shall enter into the king's palace. (Psalm 45:13-15)

Walking with our Savior won't be easy. Following Yahushuah might very well involve doing what we don't physically wish to do. It may lead us to more questions than answers. "Verily, verily, I say to you, when you were young; you girded yourself and walked where you wished. But when you are old; you shall stretch forth your hands, another shall gird you and carry you where you wish not." This spoke He, signifying by what death He should glorify Elohim. And when He spoke this, He said to him, "Follow me!" Then Kepha, turning about, saw the disciple whom Yahushuah loved following; who also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, "Adonai, who is he who betrays you?" Kepha seeing him say to Yahushuah, "Adonai, and what shall this man do?" Yahushuah said to him, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? You follow me." (John 21:18-22)

The awesome reward of Yahushuah's faithful followers for persisting in that walk waits in Elohim's Kingdom. I looked and lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads. I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder. I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps. They sung as it were a new song before the throne, before the four beasts and the elders. No man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, who were redeemed from the earth. These are they who were not defiled with women. For, they are virgins. These are who follow the Lamb where so ever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits to Elohim and to the Lamb. In their mouth was found no guile. For, they are without fault before the throne of Elohim. (Rev.elation14:1-5)

Israel was commanded to follow Yah's prophet into their Promised Land. "I (YAHUAH) will raise them up a Prophet (this speaks of Yahushuah) from among their brethren, like unto you (Mosheh), and I will put my words in His mouth. He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him. It shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which He shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." (Deuteronomy 18:18-19)

BYA follows this Yahushuah. He is no respecter of persons, male or female. Yalak is for everyone. "Look to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For, I am Elohim and there is none else. I have sworn by myself. The word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in YAHUAH I have righteousness and strength. Even to Him shall men come and all who are incensed against Him shall be ashamed. In YAHUAH shall all the seed of Israel be justified and shall glory." (Isaiah 45:22-25)

No excuse will be good enough for disobeying this command. Another of His disciples said to Him, "Adonai, suffer me first to go and bury my father." But Yahushuah said to him, "Follow me! Let the dead bury their dead." (Matthew 8:21-22)

The concept of follow, follows, followed, followers and following appears nearly 300 times in scripture. That's many examples to learn its meaning and to understand what it takes to yalak Yahushuah. As an Israelite who spoke Hebrew to other Israelites, He undoubtedly said yalak many more times than are recorded in Scripture. To do what He did; to walk the same path, to travel the same road; to live the same Way, to seek the same goal, means Yahushuah is our role model. "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be. If any man serves me, he, my Father, will honor.' (John 12:26)

Seek this servant's warm greeting from Yah. His lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." (Matthew 25:23)

To follow Yahushuah means keeping Torah. He kept the instructions of YAHUAH as given through Moses. He obeyed our Father's teachings. As He did, so should we. "For, even hereunto you were called. Because Mashiach also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed." (1 Peter 2:21-24)

To follow Yahushuah means keeping the Sabbath. As He did, so should we. He (Yahushuah) was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. (Luke 13:10)

To yalak Yah means observing His appointed times (e.g. the Feasts of Tabernacles, Pentecost, Unleavened Bread and Passover). As He did, so should we. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the Feast. (Luke 2:41-42) In the last day, that great day of the Feast, Yahushuah stood and cried, saying, "If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink." (John 7:37) YAHUAH's Passover was at hand, and Yahushuah went up to Jerusalem. (John 2:13)

To follow Yahushuah means learning the difference between "clean and unclean" foods (Leviticus 11). As He ate a proper diet, so should we. For example, honey-glazed ham, barbeque baby back ribs, lobster bisque and clam chowders are unclean (unhealthy) choices for us. Keep our temples (bodies) clean by eating only those foods that Yah taught us to eat.

To yalak Yah is the Way to the truth that leads to Life. Yahushuah said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you should have known my Father also. From henceforth you know Him and have seen Him." (John 14:6-7)

Consider how deeply Yah desires that we yalak (walk after) His Way. "How shall I give you up, Ephrayim (BYA)? How shall I deliver you, Israel (BYA)? How shall I make you as Admah (desolate)? How shall I set you as Zeboim (incinerated)? My heart is turned within me. My repenting is kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of my anger. I will not return to destroy Ephrayim. For, I am Elohim and not man; the Holy One in the midst of you: and I will not enter into the city. They shall walk after (follow) YAHUAH. He shall roar like a lion. When he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west (America). They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt and as a dove out of the land of Assyria. And I will place them in their houses," says YAHUAH. (Hosea 11:8-11)

Listen to His command and follow our Good Shepherd's voice. He who enters in by the door is the shepherd (Yahushuah) of the sheep (BYA). To Him the porter (YAHUAH) opens and the sheep hear His voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When He puts forth His own sheep, He goes before them. The sheep follow Him. For, they know His voice. A stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him. For, they know not the voice of strangers." (John 10:1-5)

Seek to understand Adonai's command to yalak Yah! Behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" And He said to him, "Why do you call me good? There is none good but one, that is, Elohim. But, if you will enter into life, keep the commandments. He said to Him, "Which?" Yahushuah said, "You shall do no murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and your mother. And, you shall love your neighbor as yourself." The young man said to Him, "All these things have I kept from my youth. What do I yet lack?" Yahushuah said to him, "If you will be perfect, go and sell what you have. Give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven. Come and follow me." (Matthew 19:16-21)

Yahushuah's command #3 comes immediately after #2. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, (torah) or the prophets (those who speak Yah's Word). I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say to you, until heaven and earth shall pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from Torah, until all be fulfilled. Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For, I say to you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20)

Many think that the "Law" ("Torah" which is the teachings of Elohim) is null and void ("done away with"). They tell others to not follow the commands that Yah gave Israel through Mosheh, and those which He spoke through other prophets. Such a teaching directly contradicts what Yahushuah said.

Strong's says the word for "destroy" is translated from "kataluo" (G2647). It means "to loosen down, to dissolve". Thayer's adds "to disunite" onto this definition. Thus, to clarify what Yahushuah said, "He didn't come to loosen down, dissolve or disunite anything that's written in Torah or from the prophets, not even the smallest letter ("jot"), or slightest punctuation mark ("tittle")." Take care, and note well that His warning to anyone who breaks even the least of Yah's commandments, or who teaches others that it's all right to break them, to disregard them, or obey watered-down commands.

Consider His word "do." In Greek, it's "poieo" (G4160) and means "to act rightly, do well, to carry out, to execute, to celebrate, keep, to make ready and so at the same time to institute, e.g. the celebration of the Passover, to perform: to a promise." It's closely akin to the word "obey" which is the Greek "hypakouo" (G5219). It means "to listen, submit to, to harken to a command, be obedient to, one who on the knock at the door comes to listen who it is, (the duty of a porter)." When BYA listens to Yahushuah, it does so by obeying His commands. Being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation to all them who obey Him; called of Elohim a high priest after the order of Melchisedec." (Hebrews 5:9)

In Hebrew, "shama" (H8085) means "to hear, listen to and obey." Many know of these words, "Shema, O' Israel!" For Yah's people, this means heed His commands, listen to and obey what YAHUAH says through Yahushuah. Torah is Yah's eternal truths, teachings and instructions. To hear and obey them brings blessings; to disregard them brings a curse. "A blessing, if you obey the commandments of YAHUAH your Elohim, which I command you this day. And a curse, if you will not obey the commandments of YAHUAH your Elohim, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods (mighty ones, e.g. political and religious leaders) who you have not known." (Deut.11:27-28)

Awesome blessings! "If you walk in my statutes, keep my commandments and do them. Then I will give you rain in due season. The land shall yield her increase. The trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall reach unto the vintage. The vintage shall reach unto the sowing time. You shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land safely. I will give peace in the land. You shall lie down and none shall make you afraid. I will rid evil beasts out of the land. Neither, shall the sword go through your land. You shall chase your enemies and they shall fall before you by the sword." (Leviticus 26:3-7)

Distressing curses! "If you will not hearken to me and will not do all these commandments; if you despise my statutes, if your soul abhors my judgments so that you will not do all my commandments, but you break my covenant; I will do this to you; I will appoint over you terror, consumption and the burning ague that consumes the eyes and causes sorrow of heart. You shall sow your seed in vain as your enemies shall eat it. My face I will set against you. You shall be slain before your enemies. They who hate you shall reign over you. You shall flee when none pursue you. If you will not yet for all this hearken to me, I will punish you seven times more for your sins." (Leviticus 26:14-18)

May the love of Yahushuah move BYA as Ruach ha'Qodesh writes Yah's Renewed Covenant commands upon our hearts (which Israel received on stones under the Mosaic Covenant). "If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him. But you know Him. For, He dwells with you and shall be in you. (John 14:15-17)

There's another important word in command #3. It is "teach." In Greek, "dedasko" (G1321) means "to impart instruction, instill doctrine, to explain or expound a thing and to teach one something." Our teaching begins with family and friends and spreads to others from the Way we live our life (in Yah's Light). Go forth!

May we truly repent; follow and obey Yahushuah. Shalom, Elder Curt