7 November 2010 (Rishon/Pesach)|
Day #236, 5934 AM
Rosh Chodesh IX 5934
The Spiritual Basis of Food Storage
Chag Rosh Chodesh! With all the calamities currently occuring around the world right now there is suddenly urgent talk by believers of storing food, gold, silver, medicine, fuel, and anything else that might be needed to survive in the event of the supply of goods suddenly drying up owing to a collapse of the economy, natural catastrophe, dictatorship or any number of possible scenarios. With President Obama about to make a state visit to India accompanied by no less than 34 warships, it is plain whom he is trusting in for his safety.
"[Yah'shua] said to them, 'Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.' Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: 'The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.'' But Elohim (God) said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward Elohim (God)'" (Luke 12:15-21, NKJV).
In our scripture this morning Yah'shua tells the parable of a wealthy man who plans an early retirement and intends to live a life of idle luxury in his latter years. He is trusting on his material gains to see him through the rest of his life, not realising that it will all be quite useless to him because Yahweh is soon to cut short his life, making his whole life's work one of complete vanity and futility. The parable is to warn us against covetousness and against putting our trust in material things.
I know some believers who claim that we should not store up food and other necessities against a day of shortage who claim that this is not showing proper faith or reliance on Elohim (God). They equate having a food storage, or any kind of storage, as an act of faithless idolatry - of putting trust in material possessions. However, as this parable makes plain, there is a difference between covetousness and simply providing for the basic necessities. I have never advocated that we should store up wealth with a view to just idly sitting back and living a life of opulence and ease.
I believe we should work at our jobs and/or work for the Kingdom until our dying breath, work according to our ability and resources, and continue to live simply even in days of abundance. I do not believe, then, that making provisions for bad times is any more idolatrous or covetous than Joseph storing up grain for seven years following a revelation that there would be seven years of faminine. Indeed, was it not Yahweh who gave this revelation to Pharaoh both as a means to secure His servant's release from prison, elevate him to the second most powerful position in the land of Egypt and to provide the basic necessities of the population of both Egypt and his father's family then living in Canaan? There is no way that Joseph's food storage program was in any way a sin - rather, it was a proper response to Yahweh's revelation and will. It demonstrated the virtues wisdom, common sense, and responsibility. So I have to say, emphatically, to the critics of preparedness, that the revelation Yahweh has given me now for many years to get food and other storage materials stocked up at home is in no way a sin. Indeed, the person neglecting to do it is indulging in folly and will suffer for it.
People will make excuses, of course, and the most popular one is they can't afford it. That is rubbish. My own family has been forced to live from one pay cheque/check to the next because I am on a pension but every time we go shopping we set aside at least a single item, even if it is just a cheap can of baked beans. By being very careful we have build up a stock. So, no, poverty is no excuse unless you are literally starving, of course. It's really a question of what you're willing to sacrifice now so that you don't sacrifice yourself to starvation later.
Having said that, though, I have to add an important caveat, and it's this: there is a right spiritual attitude with which to store food and other essential items and there is a wrong way. The right way is to store while continuing to totally depend on Yahweh during both the preparation days and the days of shortage and there is a wrong way which results in the one thus storing trusting in his provisions instead of Yahweh. It is that I wish to speak to you today about. Because it will be quite useless to have a brilliant storage program and not rely on Yahweh - the one who relies on his storage for the days of lack but does not live as Yahweh would have him is no different from the rich man in Yah'shua's parable who devoted his life to getting wealthy but would be denied the enjoyment of his labour by sudden death. His storage program was utterly futile and in vain.
If you have a big storage program but have not been listening to Yahweh or seeking the Kingdom first then you may find yourself in a situation where you lose everything, perhaps from government confiscation, robbers, natural catastrophe (like flooding, an earthquake, etc.), an epidemic that forces you to abandon your store, or goodness knows what else including your premature death. In other words, your food storage is useless to you unless you have been doing it for the right motives and under Yahweh's guidance.
If Yahweh commands us to have a food storage to prepare for lean times as He commanded Pharaoh through Joseph the Patriarch, then we can be pretty sure that He commands us to do the same with spiritual elements in the invisible realm. Is there any evidence from Scripture that we are to have a spiritual food storage program? Very definitely!
In other words, we are to store things up in heaven while we are on earth so that we may enjoy them after this earth life is over. Now there's a novel food storage program! But what kind of food did Yah'shua have in mind here? These are the good deeds we do, not so that we can be saved and so earn for ourselves a ticket to heaven (for this is the false kind of salvation of every other religion except the true one), but so that those who are saved through trusting in Yah'shua may enjoy the fruits of their obedience both on earth and in heaven:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt.6:19-21, NKJV).
In other words, there is a law of sacrifice and multiplication for the saved. Those who sacrifice lawful things for Yah'shua will be rewarded many times over - a hundredfold, Yah'shua says - in the world to come. Yes, there are many rewards to be obtained in heaven that are a function of what we do down here after we have been saved. Needless to say the good deeds of the unsaved do not count. It is very important to remember that.
"Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life" (Matt.19:2, NKJV).
So this is one kind of spiritual storage - laying aside things for heaven by sacrificing on earth. But there is another kind of spiritual food storage that we are to engage in while on earth which will serve us later too:
Here we are taught that in order to be ready the Messianic Bride, represented by ten types of person divided into two categories (see Revelation on the Parable of the Ten Virgins), and to be accepted into the Marriage Feast of the Lamb (represented by the Feast of Tabernacles) and therefore the First Resurrection (as opposed to the Second which takes place at the end of the Millennium) the Bride must have an adequate supply of oil with which to burn and therefore be able to see. This oil represents the Light of Christ which is a gift from Yahweh to those who are saved who obey the Torah and multiply good works to the glory of their master (e.g. Mt.25:31ff). It is the inner mark of the true disciple by which Christ will recognise His Bride when He comes to collect Her. Those who did not have this oil He did not recognise, saying: "I do not know you" or 'I do not recognise you as being Mine'.
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins (believers, the bride) who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom (Yah'shua). Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Master, Master, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming" (Matt.25:1-13, NKJV).
It becomes clear from looking at invisible spiritual storage that we are always to have a stock of light and therefore it is a logical extension to suppose that the prudent person will always have a stock of food in his larder. Many years ago when I was without work and had no income or support I survived on the month's food supply which I kept when I first got married. Though afterwards I was sick of soya beans I did at least survive! I think one of the reasons that in the modern West people do not keep a food supply is because we expect our government to take care of us. The socialist nanny state has grown up particularly in Western European countries where people expect to be catered for from cradle to grave. However, not only is the nanny state being eroded by economic realities (the governments simply can't afford their welfare programs) but it will be unable to sustain its social services if the economy collapses. And when the economic collapse comes, as is inevitable, then people in the Western world will need to relearn the self-reliance of their ancestors as well as the poor Third World which stores food and other essentials by instinct. We will need to learn from the natural world, from creatures like squirrels, who know how to store food for times of food scarcity (such as winter).
Needless to say, one who makes the decision to store food must be careful to only store kosher food. If the talmid or disciple is careful he will not be forced to eat unkosher food like pig if, for example, nothing else is available, and so defile himself. In parallel, someone who finds himself in darkness because his inner oil has run out and needs to see, will first beg those who have saved oil to share it (which, notice, they do not because you cannot share righteousness with others...it has to come from yourself) and then, when they cannot obtain it, turn to artificial light so that they can see. However, this gives them false demonic 'sight' since the only light apart from the True Light (Jn.1:9; 1 Jn.2:8) is the counterfeit light of the devil (2 Cor.11:14):
Turning to another religion, or to no religion at all, with its false light, will not enable you to find your way to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb (you can't go to thge merchants of salvation either - by that time the door will have closed) - rather, it will condemn you to something worse than the second resurrection.
"If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matt.6:23, NKJV).
Being spiritually prepared and having oil in your lamps means to have been living the emet or truth consistenly over time and not half-heartedly or sporadically. Not only must we store that which is holy (set-apart), pure or kosher but we must also be careful that we carefully follow the details of Yahweh's mitzvot or commandments. For example, if we store meat, we must be careful to obey the commandment not to eat chelev or fat. Under the Old Covenant, the fat of offerings was to be separated and burned. Under the New Covenant, while we are still not to eat it (which includes not cooking in it), fat can yet be used for making useful things like soap, candles and salve for burning (to make light) for for cleansing the skin. Yahweh knows how unhealthy fat is and therefroe lovingly protects us by instructing us not to eat it. Indeed, it is likened to wicked men:
What is the spiritual application of removing fat from kosher meat before eating it? Note that the Hebrew word for 'fat' is chelev, and contains the word lev which means 'heart'. The Psalmist says that his enemies have "forged a lie", that is, made false accusations against him from a string of little things which, having no connection amongst themselves, but are artificially woven together to make him to appear wicked. This is the way most slander against people is constructed into lashon hara or evil reports that are not based in emet or truth. This is the work of proud people who will not repent whose hearts are as "fat as grease", meaning they conceal what their true hearts are by a layer of falsehood. So here fat comes to represent falsehood. What this means both physically and spiritually to us in our discussion today is that we are to be careful how we store food (making sure it does not get contaminated) and we are to guard our levim against chelevim: we do not want our souls contaminated by lies. Thus we are to store carefully. What use is a huge food storage program if the food is left lying around for mice to consume or damp to rot? Likewise, we must guard the Light of Christ within us that it does not become dimmed by falsehood, pride or wickedness in general.
"The proud have forged a lie against me, but I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease, but I delight in Your Torah (Law)" (Ps.119:69-70, NKJV).
For some months I have been urging people to keep a store of gold and silver (buy silver preferentially at this time) in preparation for the day - which is definitely coming, and probably quite soon - when current electronic, paper (banknotes, bonds, securities) and low grade metal money (coins) become virtually worthless (e.g. 10 cents to the dollar) prior to the creation of new regional or global paper currencies (like the Amero). Gold and silver are, of course, important biblical symbols for the soul which must be purified before it can stand before Elohim and therefore qualify for the First Resurrection (e.g. Mal.3:2-3 - see The Nine Character Tests). Literal silver and gold are also a medium of exchange to allow us to purchase food when we need it and when we don't have anything to barter with but mostly it comes into its own when the crisis is over and the new currency must be obtained in order to function normally in society again. Of course when the actual Great Tribulation begins believers won't be allowed to trade at all and it will be then that a 3½ to 7 year foodstorage program will become essential for the end-time cities of refuge to survive until Messiah returns. However, storage on this scale will require cooperative effort both to make it work as well as to ensure that there is supernatural protection against the murderous forces of the Antichrist (see Isaiah 4).
To prepare both physically and spiritually for the days of want we need to learn to have all our security in our Master, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), and not in things. As we prepare practically and spiritually, we must do so trusting in Yah'shua, doing exactly what He says and no more and no less. We must remember the lesson of the foolish rich man who build a large barn for a vast food storage. Our confidence must always be in Yahweh and not our food storage but at the same time we must not be so presumptuous as to expect Yahweh to provide our food out of thin air when we had every opportunity to make provision for ourselves. Yahweh will not do for us what we can do for ourselves. To demand otherwise is presumptuous to say the least.
Throughout the New Testament Yah'shua uses stories of farmers who reap and harvest and store as illustrations of spiritual principles and truths. The Old Testament teaches the same:
The proud and arrogant man who thinks that God is his private servant, who makes no physical food storage preparations when he has been told to by the prophets, and then begs when he has nothing, will get nothing. (Mind you many of these people are false prophets and falsely prophesy both to others and to themselves - talk about folly). As we prepare we need to come to know Yah'shua as our Saviour for the hard times to come for even with storage we will still need him, particularly if the time of lack is a long one, and if there are hungry people prepared to rob and kill to get food, and so forth. We need to know that Yah'shua will provide during the hard times and know that He will take care of us when difficulties arise, as they invariably do. But if we have done as He told us, then we need not fear. And long before we start storing up provisions on earth we need to make sure we are habitually storing up everlasting treasure in heaven. Then we will make our temporal preparations with a right, unfatty heart and know His continuing bounty and grace in our lives in the safety of our fortress-homes.
"The lazy man will not plow because of winter; he will beg during harvest and have nothing" (Prov.20:4, NKJV).
May you have a blessed Rosh Chodesh as you make preparations inwardly and outwardly is my prayer in Yah'shua's Name. Amen.