12 July 2010 (Shanee/Matzah)|
Day #119, 5934 AM
Rosh Chodesh V 5934
A Final Reckoning for the Unrepentant
Modern Molech worship by world leaders in the Bohemian Grove, USA
Brethren and sisters, we are assembled here in obedience to the commandment to observe Rosh Chodesh each month and to seek a prophetic word from Yah's mouth. Our passage today relates the tragedy that was the northern Kingdom of Ephraim-Israel consisting of ten of the twelve tribes. On this very day, the head of the fifth month, a very long time ago, Yahweh cast our ancestors out of His presence. A few centuries later He did exactly the same to the southern Kingdom of Judah on the very same day of the year, throwing them out of His presence after they rejected the Messiah. To this very day neither Israel nor Judah have returned to the Holy Land in spite of the establishment of a counterfeit Jewish state in 1948.
"In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned nine years. He did evil in the eyes of Yahweh, but not like the kings of Israel who preceded him.
"Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up to attack Hoshea, who had been Shalmaneser's vassal and had paid him tribute. But the king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was a traitor, for he had sent envoys to So king of Egypt, and he no longer paid tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore Shalmaneser seized him and put him in prison. The king of Assyria invaded the entire land, marched against Samaria and laid siege to it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.
"All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against Yahweh their Elohim, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations Yahweh had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. The Israelites secretly did things against Yahweh their Elohim that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns. They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom Yahweh had driven out before them had done. They did wicked things that provoked Yahweh to anger. They worshiped idols, though Yahweh had said, 'You shall not do this.' Yahweh warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: 'Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Torah (Law) that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.'
"But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who did not trust in Yahweh their Elohim. They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although Yahweh had ordered them, 'Do not do as they do,' and they did the things Yahweh had forbidden them to do.
"They forsook all the commands of Yahweh their Elohim and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of Yahweh, provoking Him to anger.
"So Yahweh was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, and even Judah did not keep the commands of Yahweh their Elohim. They followed the practices Israel had introduced. Therefore Yahweh rejected all the people of Israel; He afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until He thrust them from His presence.
"When he tore Israel away from the house of David, they made Jeroboam son of Nebat their king. Jeroboam enticed Israel away from following Yahweh and caused them to commit a great sin. The Israelites persisted in all the sins of Jeroboam and did not turn away from them until Yahweh removed them from His presence, as He had warned through all his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there" (2 Kings 17:1-23, NIV).
The judgment of Israel was supposed to serve as an example to Judah that they might learn firsthand the consequences of life without Yahweh. And the judgment of Judah was supposed to repeat the same lesson to us today.
On this the beginning of the fifth month we remember the fate of our ancestors Israel and Judah. We remember them because we don't want to go their way again and we remember them because those who either profess the Name of Christ or to be Israelites or to follow the Elohim (God) of Israel are soon to be judged again. What were the reasons that Yahweh gave for their fall and their being cast from His presence?
In our passage under study, Israel is reminded why he was saved from Pharaoh in the first place: he was saved to be under Yahweh's rule rather than Pharaoh's and not to be under his own rule! He was saved from slavery to be devoted to Yahweh, not to himself! In other words, all salvation required the believer to live a new and changed life. But what did they in fact do?
What does it mean to "fear" other gods? It means they respected those false deities and became subject to them. They became their slaves just as they had been slaves of Pharaoh! The Israelites weren't just 'looking' at other elohim (gods) but giving them the very power, respect, and attributes they had once given to the true Elohim of Israel, Yahweh!
- 1. They feared other gods (v.7);
- 2. They walked in the customs of the nations whom Yahweh had driven out; and
- 3. They walked in the customs of the kings of Israel which they introduced.
'Walking in the customs of the nations' means they copied the lifestyles of the pagan nations that Yahweh had thrown out of the Holy Land. These customs were so dispicable, so degrading, so abominable, that Yahweh had ordered the original depraved population to be driven out. He used Israel as His tool for jugding them and now Israel was putting himself under the same condemnation of those ancients! And their leaders introduced their own customs, becoming as degraded as the heathen their fathers had driven out, replacing the lifestyle of the One True Elohim with the ways and practices of false gods. First Israel became guilty for succumbing to the beliefs of non-believers and then for knowingly following false leaders. Yahweh mentions six specific sins
The Israelites not only openly worshipped other gods but did it secretly too, perhaps trying to fool family and friends that they were really true followers of Yahweh after all. They erected pagan pillars not unlike the obelisks of Egypt which almost every Western captial possess today. The Washington Monument is one example. These obelisks, needles or pillars were, in fact phallic symbols connected with perverse sexual practices. Thus they sinned in both heart-attitude as well as in very deed. The one thing that all six practices had in common was that they substituted for Yahweh. In a word, Israel became a whore.
- 1. They did things secretly which were not right against Yahweh (v.9);
- 2. They built "high places" (v.9;
- 3. They erected sacred pillars and Asherim (v.10);
- 4. The burned incense on all the high places (v.11);
- 5. They did evil things provoking Yahweh (v.11); and
- 6. They served idols (v.12).
In spite of attempts to make Israel repent and turn back, our passage today says that he would not listen and they became even more resistant to the truth (vv.14-15). They exhibited all the characteristics or traits of disobedience and exalted self over Elohim. They rebelled against being subject to any elohim but themselves. As a result they rejected three things which we need to be aware of in evaluating our own faithfulness to Yahweh:
These were the three principal avenues through which Yahweh had communicated His will to them. They were in effect rejecting all Scripture, rejecting Yahweh on all levels of existence (vv.14-15). And when that happens, the end comes swiftly and suddenly. They became vain, allowing pride to place self above Yahweh. Instead of being different, a witness to all nations, they became no different than the customs of nations they were called to witness against, becoming as offensive to Yahweh as those nations themselves! They served Baal instead, one of Satan's many names (vv.16-17).
- 1. They rejected Yahweh's statutes (the laws given to Moses);
- 2. They rejected Yahweh's Covenant (the promises given through Abraham); and
- 3. They rejected His warnings (given through His prophets).
Once they had given themselves over to Baal, they became, in effect, devil-worshippers, passing to the ultimate level of wickedness. This is what our passage says they did:
When a people start sacrificing their children then they have passed beyond the point of no deliverance - Yahweh had no choice but to throw them out of His presence. He is very patient, giving His people plenty of time to repent, but when they stubbornly refuse and sell themselves to evil, then the relationship is at an end and He must divorce His people. The nearest equivalent in marriage would be a wife committing adultery in public while her husband is looking on, or vice versa.
- 1. They ritually burned their children alive to Molech;
- 2. They practiced divination and enchantments (witchcraft, occultism); and
- 3. They sold themselves to do evil (v.17).
Israel's public adultery before His face, and the pain that caused Him, provoked Yahweh's anger to the limit, forcing Him to remove Israel from His sight. What is this a picture of? It is a picture of the Final Judgment for unrepented sin. Thus the fifth Rosh Chodesh of the year is designed to jolt us into repentant action before the final Yom Kippur comes around in the autumn/fall to judge us in a like manner.
Two things need to be said about the difference between the conduct of Israel and Judah:
Israel and Judah will return one day, though, but not before the Messiah returns the second time. All who accept Yah'shua as the Messiah and covenant to obey His Torah and live it with pure hearts are New Covenant Israel and are grafted into the set-apart nation of Yahweh. Our forefathers have, though, committed grievous offences, whether of Ephraim or Judah, and there is much repenting that must be done not only individually but as the covenant nation. Most believers don't understand the latter. They think that it is just a matter of individuals repenting and accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour, and vital though this step is, there must also be national consciousness and national repentance...not of today's nation states (though that too is required by heaven) but by the Family of Messianic Israel herself - all twelve tribes! That will occur as the tribal identity is acquired through the Final Gathering. And even though that final gathering has not yet begun, we must begin to think as gatherers and the gathered. We must acquire a national awareness again because this is the heart of the Shavu'ot or Pentecost Covenant. This has to be done if we are serious about meeting Yah'shua (Jesus) in the sky and returning with Him to the Holy Land.
- 1. Israel sinned pretty much from day #1 because their first leader, Jeroboam, sinned from day #1. There never were any righteous Israelite kings between Solomon's death and the final captivity by the Assyrians, though some went south to live in Judah where the true worship continued. By contrast, there was the occasional righteous King of Judah (like Hezekiah and Josiah) and initiated reforms and brough the country into brief repentance;
- 2. Judah's great sin was that while she continued the outward observance of the true faith she hypocrically worshipped other deities in her heart and outwardly too. She indulged in religious syncretism, placing Yahweh alongside demon-gods, which earned her exactly the same punishment as Israel. For all her sins, Israel did not play a double-game: he was 'honestly' wicked. Both nations were sent into exile, Judah was permitted to return briefly to enable the Messianic prophecies to be fulfilled, and was then expelled a second time - by the Romans, never - like Israel - to return.
We have, I think, seven important lessons to learn from the destruction of our ancestor Israel and they are these:
Brethren and sisters, when we replace Yahweh with other things, we tend to do so one layer at a time, crossing more and more lines of wickedness as we do. It rarely ever happens in one go. First we reject one item, then another, then another, until we have rejected a whole area of His Torah. The more we reject items and areas of truth, the more we replace them with more and more idols or 'replacement gods'. We never throw out a truth and remain in a vacuum, because nature abhors a vacuum and man cannot live in one - he must have something that he adores, reveres or worships. The more we progress into darkness, crossing line after line of evil, the more we cease simply being disobedient and end up completely rejecting Yahweh. This is far more than the Ephesian saints putting Yah'shua on the backburner and drifting from Him whilst continuing to be obedient to Torah...drifting, if you like...this is deliberate rebellion. Todays idols are not (unless you are a Hindu or animist) wood or stone statues of false deities, but anything in our life that we set higher than Yahweh, even lawful things.
- 1. Yahweh provides His Covenant and promises through Abraham, whose sons we become through trusting in Yah'shua (Gal.3:7). And although historically there has been far more disobedience than obedience in Abraham's sons, Yahweh does provide the opportunity to repent and return to Him, no matter how wicked we may have been;
- 2. Yahweh not only rescues Israel from Egypt but also provides the Torah or Law through Moses which is both the allegorical marriage covenant with Him at Shavu'ot (or ketubah if you like) as well as the lifestyle of the redeemed. Additionally He provides a country in which the redeemed are to live. Yahweh repeatedly disciplines the disobedient, putting obstacles in their way until they yield, but always provides opportunity to repent and be restored to His favour;
- 3. In the destruction of the rebellious nations of Canaan, Yahweh provides an example of what happens when one embraces ways other than those provided by Him in Torah - look at the state of the world today and you will clearly understand the truth of this;
- 4. Yahweh provides judge after judge to lead Israel to repentance;
- 5. Yahweh provides kings and leaders, many of which are examples or models of repentance;
- 6. Yahweh provides prophets to lead people to repentance; and
- 7. Only after multiple rejections of Yahweh's promises, covenants, laws and warnings - generation after generation - from all these sources that final judgment is rendered on a people who have clearly rejected Him and refuse to return to Him.
Like righteous King Josiah of Judah we must not simply reject but destroy anything and everything unlawful that cuts off our communion with Yahweh, and demote anything and everything lawful by assigning them to their proper place. The influences of the unlawful things we cannot control in our own strength anyway and there it is we need a Redeemer, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), to do that for us once we have acknowledged our sin, repented of it, and covenanted not to do it again. The lawful things we simply have to make decisions about but again we will need Yah'shua's help in getting them in the place they are supposed to be in our hierarchy of priorities. Now Josiah did not merely remove the false idols - he not only carried them out of Yah's Temple (our own bodies or lifestyles), he not only smashed them into pieces so that they could not be reused, but he even completely removed the dust and ashes they had become. That is how thorough our repentance has to be. There cannot be a single particle of our idolatry left because Yahweh will be satisfied because if we leave any part behind it will likely resurrect in some new form, or even the old form again.
Today - the fifth Rosh Chodesh of the year - marks a Judgment Day. And whilst it prefigures the Final Judgment too, its primary purpose is to execute judgment on individuals and nations who have crossed the 'last line' and allowed their iniquity to come to a full ripening. Accordingly I believe today to be a very important day because this Rosh Chodesh is a final reckoning for many. Therefore this is not a day that you are actually required to 'do' anything because this is the day that Yahweh 'does' to you and me...if we have crossed that last line. Clearly the whole world is heading toward that line. Governments multiply their iniquities every year, drawing the people they govern further and further away from Yahweh. I am glad I am not in government.
I think today we need to especially pray for those heading toward the final line of the last judgment and that means anyone who is not heading toward Yahweh! May you discern the Ruach of this day and obey it is my prayer in Yah'shyua's Name. Amen.