29 May 2010 (Shibi'i/Sukkot)|
Day #75, 5934 AM
Faithful to the Call
Persisting in Truth No Matter What
I can picture Noah, the great servant of Yahweh, preaching to his generation. He preached year after year while providing for his family and building the ark. The only living souls who believed His message were one wife, three sons and three daughters-in-law. Nobody outside his family repented and even then many inside his family didn't repent either even though according to the Book of Jasher (Josh.10:13; 2 Sam.1:18), he and Methuselah preached continuously for 120 years - the time Yahweh allotted them! If the people would not repent after this period, Yahweh said He would destroy the earth. Yah'shua said:
He went on to say:
"For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:24-27, NKJV).
The Scriptures make it plain that the at the end of the last days, prior to the Second Coming, the situation will be exactly like that in the days of Noah. Will there be real faith on the earth - the kind of faith that galvanised people into action, and not the kind of faith that mentally agrees but does nothing?
"Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes [back], will He really find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8, NKJV)
When you are facing a life-and-death situation - like an imminent flood - truth means everything. If Noah had been wrong, all of his life would have been in vain. But he wasn't. Yahweh said He was going to do something which the world viewed as impossible - send a worldwide flood, wipe everything out, and start again. And liberal theologians today still don't believe it happened and try to explain it away by claiming that what actually happened was a local flood - a breaking of the banks of the Euphrates causing widespread flooding that looked as though it was universal to those who lived there. They try to justify this position by citing examples of Hebrew hyperbole or exaggeration, as when the Bible says there was a famine in "all the world" when what was meant was the 'known' or 'adjacent world' (Acts 11:28), that is, the nations of the Roman world. However, there is no mistaking the extent of the flood in the Genesis flood story. It is crystal clear that the whole planet was inundated.
As it was supposed to be because it served later as a prophetic picture of the salvation of souls in Yah'shua the Messiah (1 Pet.3:18-22). As the world was immersed or fully baptised in water, so a repentant soul submitting to the rule of Christ in his life must also be fully immersed in water to indicate a complete severance from, and death to, his old life, which indeed takes place when he has genuinely been born again. There is no sprinkling into the Kingdom of Elohim - it is by complete dipping or immersion.
That is why so few come. Many believers are content to have the Gospel as an appendage in their lives but not as a complete way of life. Such have never really got onto the ark of salvation. Even the animals on Noah's ark, both clean and unclean, were better off than they are. They were at least fully on board!
If we do not know what we are proclaiming - if what we say is not the whole truth - we are wasting out time and yours. Noah knew exactly what he was doing. He was so appalled by the conditions in the world that according to the Book of Jasher he refused initially to get married. Yahweh called him "perfect in his generation" (Jasher 5:13). Not until he was 498 did Yahweh command him to marry, so he married Naamah. With Naamah he had two sons, Japtheth and Shem. According to tradition (for neither the Genesis or Jasher accounts tell us) Noah had his third son Ham by another plural wife who did not make it to the ark, reminding us of Lot's wife.
If you have never read the Book of Jasher I recommend that you do. You can easily find it online. In it we learn more of the struggles that Noah had. It was not easy for him. Preaching for over a century without converts is hard enough. Watching everyone drown when they refused to repent, including family members (such as Ham's mother) must have been traumatic enough, and then enduring the ark ride! In the Book of Jasher we learn something of his desperation as he cries:
We can only imagine what he experienced - giant whirpools, ferocious storms, hurricane-like winds - he probably experienced the lot. Remember that this cry was given by a man who in faith had preached for decades and built a fabulous ark whilst the heathen mocked him only to have Yahweh's word vindicated. On exactly the day Yahweh had said the 'impossible' would happen, the 'impossible' happened! His faith was vindicated. He had experienced a miracle perhaps even greater than what would be witnessed by the children of Israel fleeing Egypt centuries later across the Yam Suf (Red Sea). He knew that Yahweh lived! He heard Him, spoke with Him, received revelation from Him, built a water-tight boat from heavenly instructions, and prophesied accurately of the world's demise. Yet here he was on the billows of the deep crying in desperation again. He knew the truth yet he suffered fear and doubt, as any man would in such a terrifying situation, alone with his family on all the planet. And Yahweh heard him, as He always does those who are His servants, after their faith has been stretched a little more to see what they are made of.
"O Yahweh, help us, for we have no strength to bear this evil that has encompassed us, for the waves of the waters have surrounded us, mischievous torrents have terrified us, the snares of death have come before us, answer us. O Yahweh. answer us, light up Thy countenance toward us and be gracious to us, redeem and deliver us" (Jasher 6:31).
My wife had an interesting dream this morning. In it we were ministering to lots of people. More and more kept coming for healing. But when they discovered that we believed certain principles and truths that were disjunctive with their traditional upbringing - things which horrified them, especially at the thought that they too might have to live as we did if Yahweh called them - they began to balk, gossip, complain and turn away. They wanted to cherry-pick the truths that they liked but not accept the whole package-deal. You see, when we come to Messiah we have to take all or nothing. Therefore Yah'shua taught:
Every commandment matters. Yah'shua says so. Noah taught it all, and the world of his day hated him for it. I dare say he did not leave one single commandmwent out. How could he? How could a diligent minister, who loves Yahweh, and is completely devoted to Emet or Truth, not do so? Are we then surprised that so few responded to his message?. This was a time of great wickedness, just as it is today.
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law (Torah) or the Prophets (Nevi'im). I did not come to destroy but to fulfill (bring to completion). For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law (Torah) till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.5:17-19, NKJV).
I have been in the ministry now for nearly 30 years. I have always taught the truth as soon as I have come to know it. At first people were excited. There was great interest mostly, I suspect, because it was 'new' and/or challenged the status quo. People either love and adore the status quo or have a perverse love and an insatiable appetite in destroying it because it in some way has hurt them. They are out to punish it. It is easy to tear town but very, very hard to build something up. We had ex-Mormons, ex-Jehovah's Witnesses, ex-Lutherans, ex-charismatics, ex-Worldwide Church of God, ex-Anglicans, ex-Baptists, ex-Catholics, and many others who delighted in finding fault in their religious traditions but when presented with the building blocks to build the actual Kingdom, they balked at this or that which did not accord well with their fleshy expectations. At our height we had somewhere in the order of 4,000 baptised members - maybe more - but when the going got tough, and when we proclaimed unpopular truths, and we were openly persecuted, they fled, and found excuses to disavow us. One or two are still doing so, bitter because we will not be good humanists and ackowledge their choice to abandon Yahweh. Today we have less than a dozen baptised members, mostly those from our families though a few from outside. Should we be surprised? Should we give up? Proclaim ourselves failures? What should our attitude be? Should we compromise on this or that truth in order to be more acceptable to the watered-dowen masses of 'believers', so that we can have a more far-reaching influence? That has been a temptation but I know in my soul that is impossible. Better to convert no-one than compromise the truth.
Our attitude means everything. One stormy night in Birmingham, England, the famous evangelist Hudson Taylor was due to speak at a meeting at the Seven Street schoolroom. His hostess assured him that nobody would attend on such a stormy night but Taylor insisted on going anyway. "I must go even if there is no one but the doorkeeper." As it happens, less than a dozen people showed up but the meeting was marked by unusual spiritual power. Half of those present either become missionaries or gave their children as missionaries - and the rest were faithful supporters of the China Inland Mission for years to come. Hudson Taylor was going to be faithful to speak even if it was only to one person. Today, Yahweh may be calling you to speak to that one person.
Years ago, as many of you know, I had a similar experience in Norway. A friend of the ministry mentioned the name of someone in a casual conversation. I knew I had to see him. At first she would not divulge his name but I knew I absolutely was expected by Yahweh to visit with him. My persistence paid off. I told my missionary companion that we needed to go and see the man that same evening. A terrible storm was brewing up outside and by the time we had eaten supper a gale had blown up. The radio and TV advised people to remain at home because cars were being blown off the road and causing accidents. My friend strongly recommended against going - it would be in his car, after all, and he stood more to lose than me! I said it was Yahweh's will. At length he relented and we set off. Several times he wanted to turn back because the car was being buffetted so badly, but I insisted we had a divine appointment and had to obey. And so we fought our way along the roads until we reached our destination. By then the rain was bucketing down and the wind so strong that it was periodically turning our umbrella inside out.
The man's suspicious wife answered the door and at first would not admit us, the storm notwithstanding. They had recently quit the Jehovah's Witnesses and were investigating the Mormon Church and so were not at all interested in yet another presentation of the Gospel. But I insisted that we wait for her husband to come home as we had driven a long way at some considerable risk. Still not at all happy, she let us in and we sat silently in their living room awaiting the return of her husband.
He was even more sceptical than his wife, the conversation very definitely reserved and unproductive. At length the question of contemporary revelation and prophecy came up and he asked if we could interpret a dream he had had which was plaguing him. I said, yes, and I could tell him what it meant. I shocked myself for I did not know what the dream was at all! Yet the Ruach had told me to say that. When he related the dream the Ruach gave me the meaning instantly. It was about this work, of a tiny band of people waiting in a small hut on a mountain top overlooking a windswept and stormy Norwegian fjord on the west coast. A gigantic mountain came out of the sky (the Kingdom of Yahweh) and crashed into the fjord but remained hidden all except for a tiny peak like the top of an iceberg. I told him that this meant that this work we were called to do was enormous but only the tiniest part of it would be visible to the world for now. Having given him the interpretation, the questions just rolled off his tongue and along with them instant answers given by the Ruach to me. He was amazed, overjoyed, and frightened. He said he had spent years investigating the Jehovah's Witnesses, months the Mormons, and now he was completely overwhelmed by the Ruach and convinced of our mission within an hour! My companion was as amazed as he was. We had done what Yahweh ordered, took a risk, and gained a wonderful harvest - all in the space of a few hours. (You can read the whole story in Norwegian or get a translation online).
Isn't that how it goes with Yahweh?! Many people over the years have either urged me to quit the work I am doing (which these days is mostly teaching) or tried to persuade me that I was in serious doctrinal error and that was why I was not meeting with 'success' as they viewed it. I confess that at sundry times I have come near to being swayed by such people but each time I have seriously taken the matter to Yahweh in prayer He has always told me to continue in my present course. I am not building just for today but also for tomorrow and the generation that is coming - the last generation - which is going to need the unadulterated truth both to survive and to propser! Our regularly committed people today are no greater in number than Noah's crew. The 'flood' in our age, scheduled to be a flood of fire this time, hasn't started yet and we do have thousands of people who are sympathetic with what we are doing. They do, however, stumble on this or that doctrine. I do sympathise with them. It isn't easy. I too have struggled for years over 'hard sayings'. But one thing I am confident of - we will survive the fires, be cleansed by them, and have something worthwhile to give to the survivors, something that could never have been given as an inheritance for them had we in any way compromised the truth.
D.L.Moody once said:
You and I can do no more than that. All Yahweh requires is that we be faithful and not be distracted or made fearful by the darts of the enemy through both hostile as well as well-meaning but misguided people. You see, I can absolutely guarantee that He wants to use us in ways we could never, or would never, have imagined. But in order for Him to be able to do that, we need to be faithful in the little things first, however insignificant or unimportant they may seem to be to you. Is there anything He has asked you to do that you turn your nose up at, scorn or disdain? Are you resisting Him in any way? What has He asked you to do that you have not done? What excuses are you making? If you are resisting, why do you expect Him to do bigger things with you when you refuse to let Him use you for the little ones? All big things start small. Oak trees begin as acorns, all blue whales as a single zygotic cell. Great knowledge begins with a little knowledge, great faith with little faith, purity in lots of things begins with purity in little things, acceptance by many begins with acceptance by a few. And all require persistence, faith and hard work. Nothing worthwhile was ever achieved without sacrifice - without a price being paid, because that is the only way deep roots can be formed, and without deep roots there is no endurance during the tough times.
"God has called us to shine, just as much as Daniel was sent into Babylon to shine. Let no one say that he cannot shine because he has not so much influence as some others may have. What God wants you to do is use the influence you have. Daniel probably didn't have much influence down in Babylon at first, but God soon gave him more because he was faithful and used what he had."
What are your hangups in this work to which we have been called? The Sabbath day? The festivals? A female Holy Spirit? Soul-sleeping? Our rejecting Zionism and the modern state of Israel? The names of Deity? The Trinity or Godhead as a Family? Patriarchal rulership? No rapture? No 'once saved, always saved' doctrine? Illuminati conspiracy? Polygamy? Modern revelation? Persecution? Terrible rumours from gossipers? People struggle with all kinds of things when they come to this ministry. They come, they struggle, they go, they come back, they struggle some more, go again, and keep coming back. And many are amazed to discover that we are still here. They expect us to collapse at some point. We continue because this is not our work but Yahweh's. He made it, He sustains it, and He will see it through in the final shape that He wants because we are open and teachable. We are willing to repent of error but not of truth.
We should not care for the approval of the world but only the approval of Yahweh and of faithful husbands. Double-mindedness does not end, nor the tugging to and fro between one position and another, until we put all our eggs into one basket - the basked of the Kingdom of Yahweh. I intend to remain at my post until relieved or told to do something else. I pray that you will do the same. Amen.
"His master said to [his faithful servant], '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 master'" (Matt.25:23, NKJV).