We think that we are living in a modern society where archaic practices based on superstition and pagan practices would have all but disappeared. But if you open your eyes you will see that this is not the case. Recently while walking in Jerusalem in the Jewish quarter of the Old City, I passed a group of teenage girls. They were speaking Hebrew and obviously Israeli. The thing that caught my eye was the body piercings on three of the four girls. There were several small metal objects; I guess jewelry, in their noses, ears, lips, and other parts of their bodies. This behavior is popular throughout the world as small shops which specialize in these practices are popping up everywhere.
What is important to note is that body piercing leaves scars on the body. In other words, the body is actually cut by these practices. This week’s Torah portion clearly commands that it is forbidden to cut himself,
“You are children to the L-rd your G-d- you shall not cut yourselves…” Deut. 14:1
There is also an increasing occurrence of people, especially teenage girls actually cutting there bodies with a knife. These are simply signs that we are moving closer to the last days when the spiritual forces of evil will increase. It is significant to note that in the Old Testament there are not many accounts of demons, but in the New Covenant there are numerous accounts. Why is this so? The answer is that in the days of Messiah’s First Coming the demonic activity was easier to see. Why, because the Light of the World (Yeshua) had come. I believe that because we are moving closer to His Second Coming we are seeing an increasing amount of demonic activity. The book of Revelation tells us clearly that will happen. It also says that Satan knows his time is short so he will intensify his activity (see Rev. 12:12).
What is this cutting really about? You might recall that in the days of Elijah the prophet, while there was the challenge between the false prophets of Baal and Elijah, Baal’s prophets cut themselves in order hear from their “god”. Even though their means were incorrect in order to experience “god” they were most sincere. People who pierce their body and cut themselves are also crying out to G-d, obviously in a wrong manner; but never the less the need is real. The next verse in Deuteronomy 14 says that,
“For you are a holy people to HaShem, your G-d…” Deut.14:2
HaShem wants His people to be different from the rest of the world. That is, our behavior should not be influenced by the world, but rather our behavior should influence the world. Sadly, I observe today that we, the believing community live, think, and behave much more like the world, than embracing the character and lifestyle that our Savior Yeshua had and lived. Even though most of us do not go around cutting ourselves or piercing our bodies, much of the things we do scar our souls. Why not reflect on your behavior this Shabbat and see if your actions and thoughts truly reflect the holiness that our Messiah demonstrated. Remember His desire is to live out His life through us. We are His body.
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