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Standing for the Truth

CHAPTER 39

 

Mattayah throws a big feast and invites his friends and fellow Publicans to announce that he is now a follower of Yeshua and is resigning his duties as a Publican. He gives a moving testimony of his conversion. Outside his house, the Pharisees, as well as some of Yochanan’s disciples, question Yeshua as to why he is feasting on a day that should be set aside for fasting according to “the law.” Yeshua explains the true value of fasting and when it is appropriate to fast.

 

 1 The following day while Mattayah was at his large house, preparing to begin journeying with Yeshua in his travels, Yeshua, Miriam, and the disciples came to him, as Yeshua had promised they would meet him again at midday.

 2 In anticipation of his coming, Mattayah prepared a feast and invited his friends and fellow Publicans, so when Yeshua arrived, there was already a crowd of people present and many were already eating and drinking.

 3 The disciples of Yeshua were somewhat reluctant to go into the house of Mattayah, for Publicans were considered unclean in their culture and to even enter the house would be to become unclean.

 4 Cephas broached the subject with Yeshua, saying, “I feel uncomfortable to enter this house. Look at the people who go there. They are not of the light but of darkness. They eat and drink, and certainly much worse as well, and continually do evil to their fellow men by exercising unrighteous dominion. How can this be a place for us? Surely you do not wish Miriam to be seen in the company of such people.”

 5 “You speak truth, Cephas,” Yeshua answered. “But if those who are in the dark never are shown the light, how then will they ever know it? By entering into Mattayah’s house, we are not condoning corrupt and evil choices that have been made by those within. And we are having an opportunity to show them by our example a better way. An opportunity we would not likely incur in our accustomed travels.

 6 Yet you must never forget that all men and women were created as sons and daughters of God, and there is redemption and forgiveness for all who would repent of their evil and turn to the light.

 7 Thus has it been for Mattayah, and thus it can be for others as well, but only if those who have the light first reveal it unto those who do not.

 8 Once the light has been shown, those who walk in darkness no longer can say, ‘Knew of no other way.’

 9 Never hesitate to show the Celestine Light of Elohim, even to the most corrupted, for there always remains an ember of Heaven in the heart of every man and woman, and if encouraged and shown the way, it can be fanned into a flame of virtue and righteousness.

 10 But woe to those who see the light and still mock it and turn their backs upon it. They will have no excuse when the Judgment of Resonance is upon them.

 11 When they cry out in agony in the life to come, it will be from within the prison they built for themselves.

 12 Those who choose to follow darkness, even when a torch is held high lighting a better path, choose not in ignorance, but in knowledge, and therefore close the door to their prison with their own hand.”

 13 Cephas nodded in understanding as Yeshua, Miriam, and the disciples entered into the house of Mattayah and were quickly amongst a throng of Publicans, overlords, and harlots.

 14 Yeshua went straightaway to Mattayah and said unto him, “It is good that you have called those who have known you to be here today, that they might see a man they have never seen. Show them by your words and your deeds the man of light that you have become.”

 15 Mattayah answered him, saying, “But how will I know this new man? I just met him yesterday and still have much to learn of his ways.”

 16 Yeshua smiled at his answer and told him, “The man you are seeking to know has been with you for every breath of life, merely hidden away by the worldly man that had prevailed.

 17 Listen now to the still, small voice of the Celestine Mother, who has ever whispered to your heart that you would know right from wrong.

 18 Listen to the voice you have always heard. Only now, heed the gentle promptings of your heart and the sure knowledge of your head, for they will ever guide you to say and do that which is right.”

 19 And it came to pass that Mattayah did as Yeshua bade, and he listened to the still, small voice of Celestine Light inside his heart and head.

 20 And he called out to his friends and associates, and they all turned to hear him and he said unto them, “This is a farewell feast, and I thank you all for coming. In the coming days, my family and I shall be moving to Capernaum to live in the communities of the Celestines, which have been established on the north end of the lake.”

 21 Upon hearing these words, many of the people who were present laughed heartily, for they thought he was jesting. And one of the Publicans said unto him, “We have heard of that community and trust me, Mattayah, they would not let you through the gate, nor would you want to go, for they do not eat meat; you can do nothing of pleasure there; they follow a crazy prophet named Yeshua; and it is rumored they are zealots who have a special hatred for Publicans.”

 22 Mattayah laughed with them and said, “You are right, Helias, the Mattayah you knew would never desire to go to the place you have described. But the Mattayah you knew disappeared yesterday. More than that, the Mattayah you knew died yesterday by his own hand and desire.

 23 The person you see standing before you now may look the same on the outside, but on the inside, he has become a different man.”

 24 Then pointing to Yeshua, who was leaning with his back against a column, with Miriam standing beside him, he said, “And that crazy Yeshua you spoke of? There he stands. Behold the light of the world!”

 25 Helias looked to Yeshua at whom Mattayah pointed and laughed again, saying, “That fellow? Surely you are jesting. He is dressed in the simple clothes of a worker of the land. You expect me to believe that you, who have so much, are going to walk away from all of this and follow after this man who obviously has so little?”

 26 Mattayah held up his hand and, in a most serious voice, said unto him, “Stop, Helias. Cease to speak in disrespect to Yeshua. There is more to a man than the clothes he wears. And there is a depth to this man that will pierce you to your soul.

 27 I have said that he is the light of the world, and I know this as certainly as I know the Sun will rise tomorrow, though it was just yesterday that I met him.

 28 For the essence of Yeshua flows out from him and fills the heart of any who in sincerity seeks a greater light, even as I sought and I found.

 29 Life is more than eating and drinking and making merry, and then tomorrow we die. For in death we do not die, and in life we have not truly lived.

 30 Though many have hated me because I am a Publican, you know that I am also an honest man.

 31 There is much I still must learn myself about the ways of light, but there is also much I have always known, but had forgotten, that now has again come upon me.

 32 Therefore, know that I speak the truth when I admonish you to listen and hear the words of Yeshua of Nazareth and his disciples who are among us. Open your hearts and your thoughts to a light greater than you have lived, and you may find like I have, that a warmth fills your heart more sweet than any you have ever known, and a peace comes upon you which no travail of the world will ever overcome.

 33 You whom I have called my friends, hear now the greatest admonition of friendship I can give, do not in ignorance close your hearts to Yeshua, but hear his words and the words of his disciples, and see if they do not touch your heart with a beam of light that calls out to the nobility of greatness that still beats within you.”

 34 And it came to pass that many in the crowd who were at the feast were touched by the words of Mattayah and the change they had seen come upon him in just a day.

 35 And the disciples of Yeshua mingled among them and engaged them in conversation. And to those who would listen in sincerity, they taught the foundations of the Celestine Light of Yeshua. And the feast of Mattayah lasted into the night as the conversations continued in earnestness and few wanted to leave.

 36 And it came to pass that three of the disciples of Yochanan came to the house of Mattayah, and they encountered four Pharisees standing without, looking in, and making critical comments among themselves as to the things they witnessed and imagined were going on inside the house.

 37 The disciples of Yochanan came up to the Pharisees who were discussing fasting, for the day upon which those in the house of Mattayah were feasting was a day that had been set aside among the Pharisees and the Hebrews for fasting. And the disciples of Yochanan also were fasting on this day.

 38 Standing together, the disciples of Yochanan engaged the Pharisees in conversation, concerning fasting, and Hosea, one of the disciples, said, “I do not understand how Yeshua, whom Yochanan loved, can so blatantly disregard that today is a day to fast.”

 39 “That is the least of it!” cried one of the Pharisees. “He is not only feasting on a day he should be fasting, but he is cavorting with all manner of sinners. By his very actions, he is repudiating his own claim to be a man of God.”

 40 Hosea was not so quick to judge. He said, “We should go and ask him about this, for Yochanan would not have loved him had he not been worthy. Therefore, let us go and find an explanation for such outrageous behavior.”

 41 The Pharisees demurred, saying, “We will not cross the threshold of a house so unclean lest we be tarnished. Perhaps, he could be enticed to come out here that we might question him.”

 42 In the house of Mattayah, Miriam pulled lightly on the robe of Yeshua to get his attention and whispered, “I have heard the words that the Pharisees and the disciples of Yochanan speak without understanding in the street beyond the house. Without hearing a voice, I have heard them. Let us go out to them now, that you may speak with them, for they are afraid to enter into the house of Mattayah, but I know the followers of Yochanan are good and upright men.”

 43 Yeshua smiled and put his arm around Miriam, and speaking softly into her ear, he said unto her, “It is with joy that I see you use your gifts, from rising to grasp the stone in the air to hearing the voices beyond your ears. Remember to help the others to discover and use their gifts as well.”

 44 Then Yeshua beckoned to Cephas and Amram to come with them, and the four of them went out to the street and walked up to the group of seven men talking amongst themselves.

 45 Seeing them coming, the circle of men parted, forming a half circle that they might all face Yeshua. Spreading his arms at waist level, with palms facing toward them, he said unto them, “He whom you seek is before you.”

 46 They looked about themselves nervously, for his appearance and words were unexpected. Then Hosea said unto him, “Today is a day of fasting among all who are devout. How is it that we fast and the Pharisees fast, but you and your disciples not only do not fast, but insult the sanctity of this day by feasting?”

 47 Yeshua answered him, saying, “Those who fast each week on Mondays because it is said to be the day that Moses went up to the mountain and then again on Thursdays because that is said to be the day he came down from the mountain and then again nearly every tenth day for some other purpose to supposedly please God, know not the God whose favor they seek.

 48 Elohim is a God of people and of love, not of continually repeated ritualistic laws, the obeying of which becomes more important than the lives of the children of God.

 49 According to the Scroll of Fasts, a widow who recently lost her husband may not mourn on a day of fasting. What God worthy to be honored as such would be so callous as to tell a widow she could not mourn her lost husband, but instead that fasting again, and again, and again, was more important?

 50 Men have told you that this is what you must do to please God, but instead of listening to traditions and the laws of men and priests, listen to your heart, because it is in your heart that the true words of God are spoken and where you will find the Celestine Light of Elohim that surpasses all the laws of men.”

 51 One of the Pharisees stepped forward, saying, “You speak only of fasting as if that is all that we do, but it is merely one of the three holies required to prove true devotion. These are not our laws, but laws that have been handed down from God through the prophets from generation to generation. If you are saying things that are contrary, it is you who is going against the will of God.

 52 Fasting alone is for naught. It must be combined with prayer and the giving of alms to show God true devotion. By fasting regularly, we not only remember the great teachings of Moses, but we also show God that we are willing to punish ourselves in mortification for our sins.

 53 By our prayers we show that we know our forgiveness and reward can only come from God.

 54 By giving alms, we show that we earn coin only for God, not for ourselves, and show our compassion for the poor, even as we pray that Elohim will have compassion upon us.”

 55 “You hypocrites!” Yeshua said unto them with a raised voice. “You fast and pray and give alms twice each week and almost every tenth day to show Elohim your contriteness for your sins, but if you had truly repented of your sins, you would do them no more!

 56 Woe unto those who think they can sin and do penance with a fast and a prayer and a handful of alms, then sin again the following days, only to once again find forgiveness by a repeated fast and prayer and gift of alms.

 57 Think you that the favor of Elohim can be bought with a fast and a prayer and a handful of alms?

 58 You Pharisees, in your false piety, give trespass offering every day for sins of which you are ignorant. Think you that Elohim cares so much about your imperfections that things so trivial that you cannot even remember them are going to draw the wrath of God?

 59 Elohim forgives the sinner who repents of their sins and sins no more, but does not forgive the sinner who sins and thinks by simply following the rituals of the law that they can be cleansed.

 60 You are not perfect, and Elohim looks with a forgiving eye upon those who in their weakness do small sins, but each day strives to be better.

 61 But for those who commit grievous sins, who steal, and fornicate, and commit adultery, and murder, and exercise unrighteous dominion over others, their forgiveness comes only with a true repentance and a forsaking of the sin.

 62 If you truly repented, you would sin no more; therefore, if you fast to cleanse your sins, why then would it need to be done twice a week?

 63 Verily, fasting is important at the time of repentance to help you to find the place of humility and sorrow that brings about a true repentance.

 64 But the man who fasts twice a week either obeys the law like a sheep and knows not the God he proclaims or is a hypocrite who never repents and therefore always feels a need to fast, having never abandoned his sins.

 65 Other than in pursuit of true repentance, a fast should only be used on rare and special times in a man’s life when he seeks to spiritually rise to a higher understanding of Elohim and the Celestine ways of God.

 66 Or for health, once a month to cleanse the body and mind of accumulated sludge, a fast is useful, but should not be required. Let each help themselves as they will.

 67 For these reasons, neither I nor my disciples, nor the Children of Light, fast on this day or on any of the days prescribed by the law.

 68 We fast when it has true meaning and brings about a true transformation of the body and soul, not merely because it is one of many ritualistic days set aside to fast.”

 69 The Pharisees were angry at the words of Yeshua, but they knew not how to reply to him, and they stormed off, muttering to themselves. But the disciples of Yochanan remained, for they had been touched by his words. And Hosea asked, “Good teacher, how is it that Yochanan taught us to fast often, but you do not?”

 70 Yeshua answered him, saying, “That you were disciples of Yochanan speaks already of your devotion to God. It was given to you to learn more of the mysteries of Elohim because of your worthiness, and for this cause fasting can be of benefit. Therefore, Yochanan encouraged you to fast often to aid you in your quests.

 71 But search your memories and you will discover that in his encouragement, he never admonished you to fast as the Pharisees fast or to fast on a frequently repeated schedule, for then the very purpose of fasting is lost in repetition.

 72 Yochanan is my brother of spirit more than any other man. I speak the very words he would speak, so you know that I speak true. Therefore, you know that Yochanan would never teach that frequently repeated ritual would draw one closer to God.

 73 Only with a heart that beats as one with the Celestine spirit of Elohim may man become more than man and become a Child of Light.”

 

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