Month 12:22, Week 3:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5936:337 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Wednesday 14 March 2012
Avoiding the Magus Touch
Pray, Aim High, & Stay Focussed
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el!
There once was a man who had nothing for his family to eat. He had an old shotgun and three bullets. So he decided that he would go out and kill something for dinner.
As he went down the road, he saw a rabbit. He shot at the rabbit and missed it. Then he saw a squirrel and fired a shot at the squirrel and missed it. As he went further, he saw a wild turkey in the tree and he had only one bullet, but a voice came to him and said: "Pray first, aim high, and stay focused."
However, at the same time, he saw deer which was a better kill. He brought the gun down and aimed at the deer. But, then he saw a rattle snake between his legs about to bite him, so he naturally brought the gun down further to shoot the rattle snake.
Still, the voice said again to him: "I said, Pray, aim high and stay focused." So, the man decided to listen to the voice. He prayed, then aimed the gun high up in the tree and shot the wild turkey. The bullet bounced off the turkey and killed the deer. The handle fell off the gun and hit the snake in the head and killed it. And, when the gun had gone off, it knocked him into a pond. When he stood to look around, he had fish in all his pockets, a dead deer and a turkey to eat.
Brethren and sisters, I welcome you to this sabbath gathering and to our first sunrise sabbath at that. I shared today's amusing story with you to remind everyone that the snake or Satan was dead because the hungry man listed to Yahweh. That series of complicated events, over which only Yahweh had the perfect vision and control, is a good picture of the complex, accelerating events in our world today. A lot of people are suffering loss not because they don't love Yahweh or don't trust Yah'shua (Jesus) enough but simply because they're either not listening properly or not obeying Him when He asks them to do something that makes no apparent sense.
One of our weaknesses is that we expect Yahweh to behave according to our own finite logic. We really can't see beyond our noses or know what's coming around the corner. The older, wiser ones may have some inkling but really there isn't anyone who has enough knowledge and prophetic insight into situations to know how to adequately prepare or act. Looking back I can see that some pretty wild things happened that I would never have been able to negociate safely without Yahweh. I have at times had to exercise an emunah (faith) that has stretched me to the very limit. If I would tell you some of the things I have experienced you would think me insane. However, if you want to know what Yahweh expects of you, you have only to look to the numerous examples peppered thoughout the Bible. Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, not knowing that Yahweh never intended him to carry through with the sacrifice but believing that if He did, that He would raise his son to life again, just as he would in the distant future in raising His own Son, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), at the first New Covenant Yom haBikkurim.
In these perilous times you have to walk by emunah (faith) and not the computational skills of your brain. Western Christianity is in the process of irreversible decline. There are those who think it can be rescued or saved, saying that the real problem is sexual immorality in the clergy, embezzlement of church funds, homosexual priests preying on altar boys and evil deeds in general. You can sit down and make a long list of complaints against the Christian Church if you wanted to and it would probably be accurate, but you'd still be missing the main issue. These kinds of problems are common to all ages but the real problem in Christianity is not what is happening today but what happened in the first three centuries of the Besorah (Gospel). Indeed, I think we can trace the woes of Christendom to one man and one event which multiplied into many man and many events. I speak of one called Simon Magus.
The severity of Peter's condemnation of Simon the Sourcerer is difficult to convey adequately. "Your money will go with you to destruction" (HRV) is how one Messianic translation puts it but I think the Moffatt version conveys the fury of the apostle letter than any other:
"But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, 'This man is the great power of Elohim (God)'. And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of Elohim (God) and the name of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), both men and women were baptised. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptised he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
"Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of Elohim (God), they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). For as yet [the Ruach/Spirit] had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptised in the name of the Master Yah'shua (Jesus). Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) was given, he offered them money, saying, 'Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit).' But Peter said to him, 'Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of Elohim (God) could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your lev (heart) is not right in the sight of Elohim (God). Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray Elohim (God) if perhaps the thought of your lev (heart) may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.' Then Simon answered and said, 'Pray to the Master for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me'" (Acts 8:9-24, NKJV).
What had Simon done that was so terrible as to provoke Peter to such intense anger? Is there more than meets the eye here? You may recall a similar incident when Peter himself had tried to prevent the Master from going up to Jerusalem to meet his death, and how Yah'shua (Jesus) had severely rebuked him saying, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of Elohim (God), but the things of men" (Mt.16:23; Mk.8:33) We understand clearly Yah'shua's (Jesus') anger because His apostle wished to prevent Him from doing the very thing He was born for - to die for the sins of mankind. Had Peter obtained his foolish desire, the whole universe would have been in ruins - literally. So naturally Yah'shua (Jesus) was guarding something HUGE and could ill afford even a particle of opposition coming between Him and the Divine Purpose of the Ages.
"Death to you and your money, for dreaming you could buy the gift of Elohim (God)! You come in for no share or lot in this religion. Your heart is all-wrong in the sight of Elohim (God). So repent of this wickedness of yours, and ask Elohim (God) whether you can be forgiven for your heart's purpose. For I see you are a bitter poison and a pack of evil" (vv.20-24, Moffatt).
Something similar is happening with Simon Magus. Just as Yah'shua (Jesus) was seeing far beyond Peter's narrow-minded carnal vision into the destiny of the whole Cosmos, so Peter was seeing beyond one carnal man's desire to purchase the gift and power of the Ruach haQodesh /Holy Spirit), as serious as this was in missing the whole core of the Besorah (Gospel) which is one of total submission to a Rosh (Head). What was this "bitter poison" and "pack of evil"? Did Peter seriously believe that others would likewise try to buy the Gift of the Ruach (Spirit)? Perhaps, but as Yah'shua (Jesus) was looking into the long-term consequences for the Creation should Peter have got his way, so Peter was looking into the long-term consequences for the Messianic Community (Church) should people like Simon Magus ever get into that Community to pervert it. So many become 'Christians' with wronf levim (hearts) and wrong motives because within they believe in another Besorah (Gospel).
Rick Allen  suggests that what Simon Magus represented was a false hybrid Besorah (Gospel) consisting of Apostolic Christianity and the Roman Mithra cult which had enough superficial resemblences to Christianity as to make it an easy matter to conbine the two religions together. It is my belief that this was the original spark that bastardised the Besorah (Gospel), turning it into a mutation of Gnosticism that would evolve into Roman Catholicism and its Eastern Orthodox and Protestant offshoots. Here are just two or three examples of what got changed:
|The Original Besorah
||The Gnostic Gospel|
|Yah'shua said: "If you love me, keep my mitzvot (commandments)" (Jn.14:15)
||Gnostic Christianity says: "The Fourth Commandment is no longer important so long as you just rest one day in seven - you can choose between the Catholic Sunday and the Jewish Saturday (or the Muslim Friday), but not the the 7th Day of the Soli-lunar Calendar"|
|Yah'shua said: "Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Torah (law) till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these mitzvot (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" (Mt.5:18-19)
||Gnostic Christianity says: "Christ did away with His Laws and Commandments by nailing them to the Cross. You therefore don't have to observe the New Moon, Sabbaths, annual festivals, Kosher dietary laws, financial stewardship laws, or anything else in the Old Testament that isn't specifically repeated in the New. Now we observe Christmas, Easter, Lent and a whole list of man-made days"|
|Yah'shua said: "He who endures to the end shall be saved" (Mt.10:22)
||Gnostic Christianity teaches: "Once saved, always saved" or "submit to our priests and sacraments"|
Many of the earliest Christian apologists like Irenaeus, Justin Martyr and Tertullian viewed Simon Magus with such utter contempt that they gave him the name "firstborn of Satan". Or as Rick Allen puts it:
When you substitute the spiritual for the material, or emet (truth) for lies, or the tavnith (pattern) of heaven with the tavnith of hell, you cause decay and destruction in the souls of men. The reason Western Christianity will never be revived in the way the New Testament fellowship was, is not primarily because of the immorality, lukewarmness, rebelliousness and carnality of Christians but because the whole system was corrupted so long ago, in spite of serious and noble attempts at reformation. Those who truly love Yahweh with all their levim (hearts) will want to know the emet and to get out of, and away from, all corruption, and help as many others find the way out themselves, gather them and bring them into the fullness of Yahweh's Ohr (Light).
"In today's vernacular, I guess we would just call him, the godfather of all seditions and heresies that ever confronted the early [Messianic Commmunity of Yahweh]" 
The false Besorah (Gospel) will not sustain the Body of Christ in the terrible times that are just beginning - it will overwhelm it because its roots will not bear up the tree. We who preach these things are not doing so to recruit you to another 'church' or 'synagogue' or 'organisation' but into living Emet (Truth). And though there is good to be found in Christianity and Messianism - and sometimes a lot of it - we need to perhaps remember the words of William Shakespeare if we are to find this Emet (Truth) and live by it:
Whatever good there may have been in Simon Magus - and there is good in everyone - knowledge of it has not been left to us in history. If he had fully repented, as King David did of his own evil to Uriah, Simon might have inherited a respectible testimony. We can only read between the lines and conclude that not only was his repentance not full but that he and his followers left the deadly legacy that is Christianity - a mixture of emet (truth) and lies - that others like myself have had to sift through and separate out.
"The evil men do lives on after them, the good is oft[en] interred with their bones".
As evil rises in the last days and stampedes to its final climax, so too the true Body of Messiah is arising, lifted up by the wings of Emet (Truth) as it leaves the lifeless bones of error behind and comes to its fullness. We are still on the journey, soaring ever higher. Please join us and give glory to Yahweh. Listen to Yahweh, aim high - have high aspirations and goals - and trust Him to bring everything you need to you. Amen.
 Rick Allen, Simon Magus: The Father of Gnostic Christianity