If you haven’t read Part One of this series, I urge you to do so before reading this part. We’re taking the long way around to answering the question that made itself the title of this series, and to fully understand the context and where I’m coming from, I encourage you to start from the beginning.
As for those who have read Part One, let’s continue with the next point I’d like to hit:
What is Evil?
There is so very much evil spoken of in the Bible, and one blog post could never cover it all. Sins run rampant and humanity has cooked up near countless recipes to sin against our Creator. That being said, there are types of evil, and types of sins, and those types come with their own respective consequences, although all lead to death in the end. So while there are far too many evils to go over, I do want to talk about a specific kind of evil that is directly linked to part one of this series.
I hope you’ll remember in part one when I quoted Exodus 19:
“All the people answered together and said, ‘All that YHVH has spoken we will do.’”
— Exodus 19:8
We know that there was an agreement from the Israelites to do specific things as part of the terms and conditions of YHVH’s covenant with them, and if those terms are broken, a person’s branch — grafted or grown — would be cut off from the blessings and promises of God (one might compare it to the wheat and the tares). However, I didn’t go into what those terms included specifically.
I’m sure you’ll also remember when I brought up Romans 11. I admit that I only glossed over parts of it, and I would like to go through those parts more in-depth in this post, as they’re crucial to the covenant.
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
— Romans 11:17-22
It begs the question: what is specified under not “continuing in His kindness”? What are the actual sins that will get you cut off from the other branches? (While there are many listed below, please note how simple they are to follow. Note also that there is no expiration date on them.)
Circumcision, as it is a sign of the covenant, is mandatory for all the men of Israel. Those who refuse circumcision in turn refuse their Creator’s covenant and gift.
“So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
— Genesis 17:13-15
To not follow in any way of idolatry is perhaps the most important thing we must do, and frankly one of the hardest as well, as there are many forms of it that have seeped into our cultures in ways we don’t immediately recognize. We must be careful to not become “ensnared,” following their road to being cut off like the nations.
“When YHVH your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’”
— Deuteronomy 12:29-30
The memorial celebration of Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, should be kept with due diligence and careful consideration.
“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to YHVH; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel… For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land.”
— Exodus 12:14-15, 19
The blessing of the sabbath day is another day that is important to follow closely, as it’s another sign of covenant. To work on the sabbath even elicits an immediate death penalty.
“You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, YHVH, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to YHVH. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days YHVH made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”
— Exodus 31:13-17
And the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, is the final day that you should pay special attention to for this reason.
“And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before YHVH your God. For whoever is not afflicted on that very day shall be cut off from his people. And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people.“
— Leviticus 23:28-30
The offerings to YHVH are important. They are given to Him and cannot be blemished, just as Yeshua our Messiah was an unblemished lamb offered for our sins. We cannot bring anything having to do with “uncleanliness” (i.e. death, sin, blemishes, etc.) and give it to YHVH as a gift; it would be a blatant slap to His face, not to mention an arguable act of idolatry.
“Flesh that touches any unclean thing shall not be eaten. It shall be burned up with fire. All who are clean may eat flesh, but the person who eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of YHVH’s peace offerings while an uncleanness is on him, that person shall be cut off from his people. And if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether human uncleanness or an unclean beast or any unclean detestable creature, and then eats some flesh from the sacrifice of YHVH’s peace offerings, that person shall be cut off from his people.”
— Leviticus 7:19-21
“When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to YHVH, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted. It shall be eaten the same day you offer it or on the day after, and anything left over until the third day shall be burned up with fire. If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is tainted; it will not be accepted, and everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned what is holy to YHVH, and that person shall be cut off from his people.
We likewise must honor His decision as to where He wants us to worship Him. It’s even for our own safety and loyalty’s sake.
If any one of the house of Israel kills an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or kills it outside the camp, and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it as a gift to YHVH in front of the tabernacle of YHVH, bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from among his people. This is to the end that the people of Israel may bring their sacrifices that they sacrifice in the open field, that they may bring them to YHVH, to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings to YHVH… So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.
— Leviticus 17:3-5, 7
Continuing on with the topic of being in the presence of our Maker, we must be fully and totally clean.
“Say to them, ‘If any one of all your offspring throughout your generations approaches the holy things that the people of Israel dedicate to YHVH, while he has an uncleanness*, that person shall be cut off from my presence: I am YHVH.'”
— Leviticus 22:3
*Leviticus 22:4-8 goes into depth as to what that includes.
“Whoever touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days. He shall cleanse himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be clean. But if he does not cleanse himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not become clean. Whoever touches a dead person, the body of anyone who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the tabernacle of YHVH, and that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown on him, he shall be unclean. His uncleanness is still on him.”
— Numbers 19:11-12
And the priestly anointing oil for the priests of YHVH should never be recreated or used by the average Joe, because that is undermining YHVH and saying anyone is good enough to be His priest, as well as making His special perfume a normal occurrence. It could be argued that it’s idolatry.
“You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests. And you shall say to the people of Israel, ‘This shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations… Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people.’”… And the incense that you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves. It shall be for you holy to YHVH. Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people.”
— Exodus 30:30-31, 33, 38
We’re not to eat blood, as it carries the life of whatever it’s from, and life belongs to YHVH. To eat it is another arguable act of idolatry, once again undermining YHVH as if saying “life belongs to me.”
“If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood. Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.“
— Leviticus 17:10-14
We must also keep ourselves pure and clean in every physical and sexual way. (I won’t be making the specific sins’ text bold, as it would need to all be bold. This whole section is loaded.)
“None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness.* I am YHVH… You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her… You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion. Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean. and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you… For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people.”
— Leviticus 18:6, 19-26, 29
*Leviticus 18:7-18 goes into depth as to who that includes.
We are told that to kill our children is a death penalty, cutting us off from His people and His promises, and if others know about it and do not kill the perpetrator, anyone involved should die and will likewise be cut off.
“You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am YHVH.”
— Leviticus 18:21
“Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones.I myself will set my face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given one of his children to Molech, to make my sanctuary unclean and to profane my holy name. And if the people of the land do at all close their eyes to that man when he gives one of his children to Molech, and do not put him to death,then I will set my face against that man and against his clan and will cut them off from among their people, him and all who follow him in whoring after Molech.”
— Leviticus 20:2-5
(As a short side note, those passages, aside from ones such as “You shall not murder” and the like, are some used to rightly condemn abortion, as Molech is a symbol of false gods, and science/humanism can easily be compared in such context.)
If we get ourselves into magic, speaking with the dead, etc. that is also a cut-off offense. In my experience, this is one of the more common and relevant ones for us today. Things like ouija boards, tarot cards, wizards, witches, ogres, mages, fairies, wands, spells, potions, seances, elves, hunting down or speaking with demons and ghosts, trolls, enchantments, sorcery, etc. They are all so common and prevalent in today’s culture, from Tinker Bell and “the magic of Disney” (you can read about Disney specifically in this great post), to The Lord of the Rings, Merlin, Harry Potter, to ghost hunts in “haunted” locations and much of the horror genre. Sorcery and necromancy runs rampant in our movies, books, games, and so much more, and there’s nothing cute or pretty about it! Here’s what’s said about this cut-off issue:
“If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people. Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am YHVH your God.”
— Leviticus 20:6-7
There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to YHVH. And because of these abominations YHVH your God is driving them out before you.
— Deuteronomy 18:10-12
Ultimately, sinning intentionally will cut you off unless you offer the designated offering. Because we do not have a temple and the priesthood to be able to offer these offerings*, true repentance and turning away from the sin is the best we can offer in our current day. There is also debate that Yeshua is this offering for us forever.
*To offer an offering yourself, the way you want to and in the place you want to, is a non-debatable act of blatant idolatry. It is to make yourself a god, as if you know better than YHVH, not to mention worshipping Him in the ways of the nations who were cut off from Him.
“If one person sins unintentionally, he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement before YHVH for the person who makes a mistake, when he sins unintentionally, to make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven. You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the people of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them. But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles YHVH, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of YHVH and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him.”
— Numbers 15:27-31
To finish up the cut off offenses and this blog post in turn, we have Galatians 5 that mentions that to practice and do these cut-off sins, you will not inherit the kingdom of God:
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
— Galatians 5:19-21
What is God’s kingdom but His people Israel, for you cannot have a kingdom without a people. And what are the laws and rules of this kingdom but the Law of Moses (known as the Torah in its Hebrew form), written down so that Israel may forever know what is expected of them to remain within God’s kingdom Israel. To believe in God is more than religion: it’s to make a promise, it’s to live a distinct lifestyle, and it’s to join a nation and government of kings and priests, led by YHVH, our King of kings.
This Book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
— Joshua 1:8
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for YHVH shall inherit the land.
— Psalm 37:9