13 November 2010 (Shibi'i/Sukkot)|
Day #242, 5934 AM
The Ax is Laid to the Root
The End for Many HAS Already Come!
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el! We begin our study today with the great reformer King Yoshiyahu or Josiah of Judah. What I think is the most remarkable about this man is that Yahweh used him while he was so young. Crowned king when 8, he sought Yahweh of his own initiative when he was 16 and four years (aged 20) later put his convictions into practice and cleansed the lands of Judah and Israel of idols. His name, meaning 'Yah supports', certainly came true in his life, and he certainly needed it because he imitated no righteous example of his father Amon who was a wicked man. What was it that was the turning point in this young man's life, that would make him such a powerful instrument of righteousness? It was the discovery of "the book of the law" or Torah by Jilkiah, the Cohen Gadol or High Priest 2 Chr.34:14-15; 2 Ki.22:8). In the hands of this 18 year old young man it set his soul on fire, prepared as he had been by the beginning of his quest for emet or truth two years before.
"Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem (until he was 39). And he did what was right in the sight of Yahweh, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign (when he was 16), while he was still young, he began to seek the Elohim (God) of his father David; and in the twelfth year (when he was 20) he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images. They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars which were above them he cut down; and the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images he broke in pieces, and made dust of them and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And so he did in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, as far as Naphtali and all around, with axes. When he had broken down the altars and the wooden images, had beaten the carved images into powder, and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem" (2 Chron.34:1-7, NKJV).
The repentance of this young king was marked by distinctive stages, as it does the repentance of all humble, tender-hearted souls. First, he renounced the corrupt polytheistic pagan religion of his father and grandfather. This would have first begun in his own heart, and then extended to his immediate court or household before extending to the whole nation. Repentance always starts with the family head and then extends to the family. Only then, with his family reformed, did the king extend his reformation to the whole country.
Now this could never have happened without Yahweh preparing the ground beforehand. At this time Judah was in bondage to the nearby Assyrian Empire. She payed protection money. So how could a young and inexperienced 16 year-old king have got away with defying the Assyrian gods and Assyrian overlordship? Not by might nor by his own strength, to be sure. There was no way such a tiny state could have risen in rebellion against so great a contemporary power. But Yahweh, knowing that this boy-king would repent and lead his country to repentance, prepared the way ahead. He did this by causing the last great Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal, to die (about 632 B.C). With the Assyrian nation weakened, Josiah was given a clear path to carry out his reforms. And I think it no accident - for there are no 'accidents' in Yahweh's world - that Jeremiah was called to be a prophet a year later (Jer.1:2). Everything is connected, many people are involved, cirumstances have to be engineered to ensure that Yahweh's plans can be executed smoothly. That is why we must all wait on Yahweh and not try to rush ahead.
The discovery of a copy of the Torah in the temple was the final impetus, the final push Josiah needed to complete his calling. Never underestimate the power of the Word of Elohim! Never neglect it. Never suppose that your prayers and ear to Yahweh are enough - you neglect the Scriptures at your spiritual peril. That is why, as I have said so many times, we have three witnesses to the Creator - nature, the Holy Scriptures and the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). The Torah provided Josiah with the detailed map that he needed, just as we need it in our personal, family and congregational reformations. Become Bereans today!
The work of Josiah is an example of what a renewed covenant is - a reaffirmation of an existing covenant. (This is not, as I have stated elsewhere, and contrary to the claims of many Messianics, the New Covenant which, though it contains an element of 'renewedness', is primarily new). Another thing needs to be mentioned here to illustrate how Yahweh prepared the way for this great Reformation - for not only did He remove the Assyrian King and therefore a potential political-military impediment to any reformation, but years before Josiah took his great spiritual leap forward, Yahweh ensured that the temple had been undergoing continuous repairs and that sufficient money had been accumulating over the years to complete these repairs (2 Ki.22:3-7). The restoration of the temple and the reformation of the nation would go hand-in-hand.
We need to remember this in today's New Covenant. What is the temple now? It is our bodies. Our bodies also need healing and regeneration if we are to become successful instruments of reform in the hands of the Most High. When Yahweh calls for repentance, he calls for a complete reconstruction of your whole soul or bring - not just your heart, not just your mind, but your psyche and your bodies too! So eat sensibly, rest sensibly, exercise sensibly as part both of your reformation and yor witness, particularly in this modern culture which so worships the body. For when Yahweh addresses man, it is always as a whole, and not just a part of him, even if such a reformation must begin in the mind and heart - in the spirit of man.
People don't realise that Josiah's reforms were far more thorough-going and extensive that Hezekiah's before him (2 Ki.23:13). Not only did Josiah destroy all the high places (bamot) in Judah and Benjamin, but his reforming zeal took him outside his royal boundaries north to the territories of the Kingdom of Israel, as far north as Naphtali in Galilee. He extinguished every vestige of heathenism (2 Ki.23:19-20; 2 Chr.34:6-7) and fulfilled the prophecy concerning the high place at Bethel where Jeroboam ben Nebat had first introduced his pagan innovations (2 Ki.23:15-18; cp. 1 Ki.13:2) and led the nation into apostacy. And his subsequent celebration of Passover out-rivalled that of Hezekiah, and was without parallel since the days of Samuel the prophet (2 Chr.35:18). So I ask you to prepare for a 'Passover of Passovers' next spring!
The story of Josiah is what Yahweh gave me to share with you today. After receiving this word, I renewed my covenants with Yahweh this morning and made pledges to finish this work He has given me. However, this is not the only message I have for you today, for this story has practical application for us as a people and as a work of the Most High. The story that I wish to share, which is looking into the future, does have some interesting twists, but first let me get personal. And at the risk of annoying some of you for being repetitious, I have to say once again to everyone following these devotionals that everything has changed in the last six weeks. And I don't think people have realised just how huge the changes are at all levels of creation. Some, I know, do not believe it, because they do not understand that Yahweh often works by incremental changes and not always by sudden bursts. Yet there most certainly have been some 'bursts'.
We know, for example, that the earth's and moon's orbits have changed and I expect the culprit (though I have yet to have this confirmed) is the comet Hartley 2 which may have impacted our moon. It is not often that major shifts in the spiritual dimension are accompanied by physical changes of this magnitude but I believe this was one of them. I call that a big 'burst'. It has been responsible for all the geological instability we have been witnessing and as I speak volcanoes are still going off in Indonesia, bizzare weather conditions persist, sinkholes keep appearing around the world, and UFO activity is on the rise. You have to be willfully blind not to see these physical things.
We have been experiencing parallel developments and changes in my own home. Ever since we arrived in Sweden we were comfortably and cosily nestled in the middle of a forest which physically concealed us from the locals and which over the years provided us with so much pleasure, especially since we got dogs. Forests are great fun to exercise pets and explore. I suspect, because of all this foliage, that a majority of the locals don't even know we exist. And then, for the last three days, logging machines have been sawing the forest down, changing both our view of the world around us as well as our neighbour's view of us. It has been quite a shock for us, actually, because it's like our whole physical world has been changed. At night we see the lights of houses all around us which previously had been totally invisible in the inky darkness. And by day we see a new horizon. There is more light and more blue sky. Everytime we wake up, a new world literally greets our eyes.
I had never realised how high up we were until yesterday morning when I looked out of our back door and for the first time could see the distant hills and blue fjord. It felt like being a city on a hill and the scripture came to mind:
And indeed we have been hidden for a long time as Yahweh has prepared us for our main mission. The cutting down of the forest concealing us seemed to be symbolic of a revealing to the world of what we have primarily been commissioned to bring.
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden" (Matt.5:14, NKJV).
I have taken two walks through our former forest and it has been sad seeing all the felled logs. Once standing tall and majestic, sheltering all the creatures under its mantle, it was suddenly gone. It's like our whole little world has been changed in the twinkling of an eye.
I never ceased to be amazed at how fast a tree can be felled and stripped by a modern machine. A mechanical arm grabs the trees and a blade just below it severs it from its stump it in seconds. Then the arm picks up the felled trees and strips all the branches off. The whole operation takes only a minute or two.
As I was thinking on my meditations of what had once been a forest, Yahweh reminded me of the word He has given me two evenings ago:
I wasn't sure why Yahweh had given me this word until I saw the felled forest yesterday and today. And then I remembered a promise Yahweh gave me several years ago which has stood on the front of our webpage as a reminder ever since, even when our enemies have mocked and scorned these words as they continue to apparently thrive:
"And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, who, if he passes through, both treads down and tears in pieces, and none can deliver. Your hand shall be lifted against your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off" (Mic 5:8-9, NKJV).
And as I think back on those felled trees I am reminded of these twin promises. Those who have persecuted this work, if they do not repent, will perish, and warning signs have already been given them. And again, this has nothing to do with any righteousness we may think we possess, for we do not, but simply because this is His work and not ours, and it will not be stopped:
"Your enemies will perish and those who love you will be like the sun when it rises in its strength".
It is precisely when the enemy goes all out for the final kill that Yahweh fells them! You will see it. We have already seen two brought to the brink and life-saving choices made as they have been brought to the end of themselves. On the political scene we know that the globalists are going all-out for total world control. And their spiritual wing is after Yahweh's people too while Yahweh cuts down those who are not walking in His will:
"For when they were not yet born nor had they done anything tov (good) or rah (evil), in order that the etzah (wisdom) of the tochnit Yahweh (purposeful and willed plan of Yahweh - Rom.8:28) should stand in terms of bechirah (divine election, selection, choosing), not from Ma'asim (Works) but from the One who makes the kri'ah (divine summons, call)..." (Rom.9:11-12a, OJB).
"And John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptised by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, 'Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that Elohim (God) is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire" (Matt 3:4-10, NKJV).
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire" (Matt 7:15-19, NKJV).
Most of the logging that is done in this area is for building - the trees are converted into planks of wood for furniture and housing. But I learned during the summer that the cull of trees surrounding our house would be for the express purpose of creating firewood. These are trees scheduled for burning! As such, then, they have an important symbolic meaning for they specifically represent our enemies. In other words, the cutting down of this forest surrounding us and the headquarters of this ministry has a multiple symbolic meaning.
Everywhere in the forest are stumps surrounded by branches that are still green but will soon brown. All are covered in snow. I said that the Úlite are after Yahweh's true talmidim or disciples and that Yahweh was after false ministers but Yahweh is also after pagans and atheists (including the Úlite) who continue to defy Him and to persecute His people. I have a word especially for the latter who think they can get away with whatever they want, because of the power they currently wield (don't forget what happened to the King of Assyria), interpreting lapsed time as evidence that God does not exist or that He is impotent when in fact it that time has been given to them as an act of grace to give them opportunity to repent:
What can I say to the fool who is trusting in his own strength, drunk in his own fleshy power, instead of the Almighty Elohim? You will disappear - permanently. In the meantime, will you persist or repent, for the end of warring has come for some who are reading this, even as it is written:
"I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a native green tree. Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more; indeed I sought him, but he could not be found" (Ps.37:35-36, NKJV).
Let us not also forget what happened to the arrogant Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar who credited all the glory of his city to himself (Dan.4:10-26). He was felled. Pride falls and is made to eat the grass of beasts. However, this man repented and was restored - the stump was preserved and from it came new growth. Not so those who refuse to repent! Not so those who are burned down!
"It shall come to pass in the day Yahweh gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve, that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: 'How the oppressor has ceased, the golden city ceased! Yahweh has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers; he who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he who ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted and no one hinders. The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing. Indeed the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, 'Since you were cut down, no woodsman has come up against us.' Hell from beneath is excited about you, to meet you at your coming; it stirs up the dead for you, all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. They all shall speak and say to you: 'Have you also become as weak as we? Have you become like us? Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your stringed instruments; the maggot is spread under you, and worms cover you'" (Isa.14:3-11, NKJV).
Those who refuse to repent, having set their hand against the Kingdom of Yahweh, will be driven from one fire to the next, until finally they are consumed and perish. If this is happening to you, on whatever scale, it is time to sober up and get right with Yahweh.
"Then the word of Yahweh came to me, saying: 'Son of man, how is the wood of the vine better than any other wood, the vine branch which is among the trees of the forest? Is wood taken from it to make any object? Or can men make a peg from it to hang any vessel on? Instead, it is thrown into the fire for fuel; the fire devours both ends of it, and its middle is burned. Is it useful for any work? Indeed, when it was whole, no object could be made from it. How much less will it be useful for any work when the fire has devoured it, and it is burned? Therefore thus says Yahweh-Elohim: 'Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will set My face against them. They will go out from one fire, but another fire shall devour them. Then you shall know that I am Yahweh, when I set My face against them. Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,' says Yahweh-Elohim" (Ezek.15, NKJV).
I said earlier that there was a twist to the story of Josiah and that I need to address now before we end. For years we have been waiting for a spiritual reformation here in Scandinavia and throughout the world, We have always known, contrary to the false tenets of false 'Kingdom Now' theology, that it would only be temporary for the majority caught up in it - that only a tiny minority would truly repent and find the Kingdom. Only a few would come home. What I have to say now is therefre very important for the future for those who may be tempted to believe that a vast reformation is about to take place on a planet-wise basis. It won't - only the counterfeit kingdom will experience this.
What, then, will happen? The same as in Josiah's day. Joshiah's reformation was almost entirely external and never effected any real change in the hearts of his people. Their repentance was only because of fear of what would happen to them if they continued to offend Yahweh, not because - like Josiah - they had a genuine heart conversion and were filled with love for their Creator. The prophecies of Jeremiah from this period (Jer.2-6) make this very clear. And as soon as Josiah died, what happened? The people returned en masse to their idolatry and apostacised all over again!
So what are we expecting? We are expecting, as we always have, that there will be a final gathering of the remnant but what Yahweh has made clear to me today is that there will be changes in some countries - a swing back to at the very least just administration for a season - but that these changes will be short-lived, and obtain for only as long as Yahweh's prophets are out in the world and until they are gathered into the Twelve Cities of Refuge, so that the Man of Sin may have his 7 years and judgment fall upon those who yet refuse to repent.
The death of Josiah in battle at Megiddo (609 B.C, where the Final Battle takes place) was as tragic as it was unnecessary. Necho II, king of Egypt, was advancing through the Holy Land to bring help to the Assyrians making a last stand at Harran, where Abraham's family came from. Even though Necho assured Josiah that he meant no harm against the Judahite King, Josiah regarded the Egyptian army crossing his territory as a threat to his kingdom, which by this time probably extended to the Esdraelon Plain, the only path an invading army heading north could realistically take. Foolishly, Josiah opposed Necho (2 Ki.23:29-20; 2 Chr.35:20-24), and Judah's godliest king met his end in battle (2 Ki.23:25).
I fear that in this time of reformation in Scandinavia, which I believe we will see, some of Yahweh's leaders will misinterpret the good will of some of the heathen powers and oppose them when they should simply let them pass and get on with their own affairs. I say this now as a warning, even though I suspect my words my be forgotten when this happens. The political landscape will perhaps make this hard to discern and so anointed men and women of Yahweh will be needed to prophesy and so spare unnecessary casualities. Our domain is secure so long as we stick to it and demand no more than Yahweh intends us to have. Let those who have ears, hear and understand.
Today is the beginning of a new reformation. Many Messianics speak of 'Restoration' but first their hearts must be reformed or they too will perish. Many evangelicals speak of reformation too but first they must cease their lawlessness and submit themselves to the commandments! For me and my family, big choices have to be made and changes effected. We are in the midst of that right now, constantly reminded by the new landscape around out home that the old is passing away and that the new is being ushhered in. Let us draw inspiration and courage from the young 16 year-old Judahite King, Josiah, and be bold as he was bold, sincere and earnest as he was sincere and earnest, obedient to Scripture as he was obedient to Scripture, not deviating to the left or the right - we must be strict in our love and passion for emet and people doing everyting in true tavnith or pattern! There must be order in the Kingdom. And that I mean to persue even more rigorously. I hope you will too.
May you have a prosperous and blessed Sabbath! Amen.
Comments from Readers
"Great word, may we all set our hearts to please our Heavenly Father" (LR, USA, 13 November 2010)