Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el and to this assembly on the second sabbath of the eleventh month. It is my prayer that everyonre will leave at the end of this assembly strengthened and trusting our Messiah even more than before.
"And great crowds of Judeans heard that Yah'shua (Yeshua/Jesus) was there and came not because of Yah'shua (Yeshua/Jesus) alone, but to see El'azar (Lazarus) whom He had raised from among the dead. And the chief Cohenim (Priests) thought that they should also kill El'azar (Lazarus), because many of the Judeans, on account of Him, were trusting more and more in Yah'shua (Yeshua/Jesus)" (John 12:9-11, HRV).
As the world hurtles into ever great choas and deeper debt, as dictatorial governments try to seize yet more power and oppress more and more people, and as the Úlite warmongers try to trigger a world war by sabre-rattling at Iran, I know many of you are wondering what is coming next, and especially what to do. This past week I have had my head very much up in Egyptian skies as we have looked at how the ancient Egyptian culture that Israel fled under Moses continues to exercise its dark influence in our lives and at the importance of getting out of that as fast as possible. We need clarity of vision in these dangerous times more than anything else so that we can react, at an instant, as the Israelites did following that first Passover, to Yahweh's life-delivering instructions.
I have also been listening closely to the UFOologist 'sages' to see how they are interpreting events and what they are expecting out of their New Age paradigm and realising that in spite of all their boasting of possessing an 'expanded consciousness' that really they aren't much better off that most of the ordinary folk out there who don't believe the UFO phenomenon is real at all. The enemy has done a good job in blinding them as to the agenda of these beings and playing on their pride as superior beings 'in the know'. However, I do agree with them that a huge paradigm shift is soon to take place in society and that almost no-one is ready for it.
Only early yesterday morning as I lay in bed I had quite a disturbing experience in which I both saw in vision and felt within my being the ground moving under my feet. A vast mass of material - earth and rocks - was being lifted slowly from the rest of the ground I was standing on and was being re-orientated which I understood very clearly to mean that I need to prepare for a huge shift in awareness and doubless change in direction too. I have been sensing this for some time but became especially aware of the enormity of this change as a result of this experience. And whilst advance conceptual preparation is a great help, it's nothing compared to the big change when it actually occurs.
Additionally, friends and brethren in the Messianic and Evangelical communities have been in touch with me concerned about the interpretion of various things, being as their remains much confusion still, especially amongst Messianics. I have wanted to respond to them in depth but the Ruach (Spirit) has kept me focussed on other matters. And in particular, it has been hard focussing on the message that Yahweh has wanted me to deliver to you this sabbath when I have wanted to be working on other things. So I hope you will bear with me as I try to crystalise out this revelation in a way - or perhaps many ways - that can be clearly understood by most of you hearing or reading me today.
Today's passage from the Gospel of John - and another one I want to share with you in a minute - is, with few exceptions, almost universally mistranslated in English Bible versions, robbing it of a vital emet (truth). A fairly typical version reads:
Here the Greek translators have rendered an Aramaic idiom literally, saying that the Judeans "went away", not understanding that what this expression means is to "go on with" or "increase more and more". So instead of 'going away' while believing in Messiah (as one might buy a product in a shop and take it home), what the apostle is in fact telling us is that these Judeans were remaining and believing "more and more". It was this exponentially growing emunah (faith) in Yah'shua (Jesus), on account of His most recent and most dramatic miracle in raising Lazarus from the dead even after his body had started rotting, that so provoked the religious leaders to murderous hatred.
"Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Yah'shua's (Jesus') sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Yah'shua (Jesus)" (John 12:9-11, NKJV).
In a passage that is similarly mistranslated because of the same error of understanding, in which we are wrongly told that Yah'shua (Jesus) told His talmidim (disciples) to "go [away] and bear fruit" (John 15:16, NKJV), we should rather understand, that Yah'shua (Jesus) has "appointed [us] to bear fruit more and more" (Ibid., HRV). In other words, we are not simply commanded to bear fruit but to keep on bearing it "more and more" whilst remaining with or in Yah'shua (Jesus) - in ever increasing abundance. Is this not the sense behind the Parable of the Talents? Yahweh wants overflowing abundance from us while we stay with Him, because that is His energy and essence too. He's not a dispensing machine we go to in order to collect some fruits and then go away - it isn't us who are in the fruit-manufacturing business, but us in Messiah. When David said, "my cup runs over" (Ps.23:5, NKJV), this is what he meant as well, because Yahweh was ever at hand, doing good works through him.
Everything that Yahweh and His Ruach-filled talmidim (disciples) do, they do abundantly. From Adam and Eve being instructed to "be fruitful and multiply; bring[ing] forth abundantly in the earth and multiply[ing] in it" (Gen.9:7, NKJV), to the abundance of the mayim (waters) that flowed out of the rock in the desert after Moses struck it (Num.20:11), to the Israelites when they were faithful bringing "in abundance the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything" (2 Chron.31:5, NKJV), to Yahweh promising to "abundantly bless [Israel's] provision; [to] satisfy her poor with bread...[to] also clothe her cohenim (priests) with salvation, and her set-apart ones (saints) [who] shall shout aloud for simcha (joy)" (Ps.132:15-16, NKJV), to His promise that the wastelands of Israel "shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with simcha (joy) and singing" (Isa.35:2, NKJV), to His promise to the wicked that if they make teshuvah (repent) and forsake their evil ways that "He will abundantly pardon" (Isa.55:7, NKJV), to the promise of Yah'shua (Jesus) that those who come to Him and trust in Him will "have chayim (life), and ... have it more abundantly" (John 10:10, NKJV), that His grace thus outpoured will, like Paul, cause us to "labour more abundantly" (1 Cor.15:10, NKJV) and in consequence "more abundantly...love" (2 Cor.12:15, NKJV), to the salvation which we have received "through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), whom [Yahweh] poured out on us abundantly through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) our Saviour" (Titus 3:5-6, NKJV), and to much, much more, we understand that the langauge, life and experience of Yahweh's own is always abundance and multiplication.
It is impossible to be IN Yah'shua (Jesus) and not be bringing forth fruit "more and more...abundantly". There is nothing timid or placid about this chayim (life) in Messiah - it is like an uncontainable river bursting forth out of the mountains and hurtling down to the sea full of vitality and life.
The Aramaic word for "more and more" is 'EZAL. The fact that it is an anagram of the English word 'zeal' is, of course, a pure coincidence but a convenient way to remember what it means. Whatever gift Yahweh has given you, dedicate it to Him for the Kingdom and He will make it burst forth more and more abundantly. People marvel that I write so much but really all I am doing is putting into practice the promise that if I exercise my gift in and for Yahweh, He will make me bring forth "more and more". When you have the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) directing you, being productive is both irresistable as well as pure simcha (joy)! My prayer is only that as I multiply my gifts for Yahweh to serve others, that the emunah (faith) of others will grow "more and more" too...which is what it is all about.
Even through the world is frantically unravelling at the seams there is absolutely no reason why we cannot be "more and more" fruitful in everything we do. Adversity and difficulty are actually the best time to watch Yahweh multiply our gifts. I mentioned that the Aramaic for "more and more" is 'EZAL - does that ring any bells? Do you remember that the Hebrew for 'goat' is 'EZ and that it symbolises the person who has strength and hardiness - one who has a backbone? If you have forgotten, you might like to look over the two devotionals I prepared last month again, The Goat: Symbol for Good or Evil? and Your Opportunity to Become One. This is an opportunity to become strong and hardy - to get a real spiritual backbone in your life.
There is a sad emet (truth) that has to be realised about the "more and more" principle that I have to mention, and it's that it extends in both directions - for the one who trusts in Yah'shua (Jesus) and responds with obedience to His mitzvot (commandments), there is more and more ahavah (love), more and more grace, more and more fruit, more and more grace, and more and more abundance in everything that is tov (good). But for the one whose emunah (diminishes) and turns into disbelief and then rebellion, there is only a rushing into more and more darkness, blindness, unhappiness, insecurity, depression, anger and hopelessness. There may be a period of inactivity and stagnation between the good and bad roller-coasters, as goodness slows down and evil gradually accellerates, but it does not remain thus for long. In this middle no-man's-land between Yahweh and Satan, good intentions are often overcome by the fatigue of faithlessness and at length disappear altogether, rendering us unproductive as we make fatal choices to bury our talent in the ground.
We have to be on the constant look-out for brethren and sisters sliding into this greyness and admonish them to get back into the business of being productive in everything tov (good).It's a decision that we have to be persuaded to make by also choosing to trust in Yah'shua (Jesus) again. On occasion some shock therapy may be needed, as with Miriam (as we saw yesterday) who was struck with leprosy to remind her whose Kingdom she was serving and not to try and organise it in the false tavnith (pattern) of the Egyptians. Or maybe - hopefully - the foolishness of preaching such as my own will per chance persuade someone to turn around and come home.
I know you are likely tired. Truthfully, I am exhausted, but then I have been in a state of exhaustion for a couple decades! That has not, however, stopped me from writing and preaching or from starting new projects - hallelujah! The Ruach (Spirit) bears me up and strengthens me just as She can you too. All it requires a choice and the first step in emunah (faith) - Yahweh will supply the rest.
Let us, like blind Bartimaeus, throw off the cloaks representing our perceived spiritual disabilities and instead allow Yahweh - and not our lack of emunah (faith) - to define who we are. To this end, my prayer is that Yahweh give us "more and more" emunah (faith) so that we can get out of our self-made ruts of indecision and lack of adherence to Messiah and His Torah. Let us choose to trust every word of Yahweh instead of those invasive doubts laid by the enemy which are not our true selves. Then spiritual abundance will be ours, a fitting gift to the Father and Giver of all. Amen.