Month 5:10, Week 2:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year:Day 5936:128 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 28 July 2012
The Rechabite Example
It's Application to Us Today
The opening ceremony of the London Olympics is over and the world has had a party as it settles down to a bout of pagan entertainment forgetting that the world as we know it is collapsing around them in small though ever accelerating increments. And yesterday I myself entertained some adult members of my own family who have very definitely decided to make the world their norm and security whilst remaining on good terms.
Deep within me I have known for a very long time now that the events surrounding the prophet Jeremiah would somehow be paralleled in my own time and ministry. He experienced five Judahite kings in his life time, the last being a puppet proxy of the Babylonian sovereign Nebuchadrezzar whose profound lack of spirituality sealed the doom of his country. Weak and vacillating, he was viewed with contempt by his own officials who, unlike the exiled aristocracy, were men of humble station. However, the 'good' and 'bad' of Judah were words of relativity only (Jer.24:1ff). Both in Babylonia and at home false prophets sought to have Jeremiah executed because of his blunt proclamation of the emet (truth) (Jer.28:1ff.; 29:24ff.). And what was the main dispute between these false prophets and Yahweh's own, Jeremiah? The length of the captivity. Jeremiah had foretold an exile of 70 years whereas the false prophets had proclaimed only 2.
I am reminded somewhat of similar disagreements between true and false prophets of our own time. The false are confidently predicting that the mythical 'rapture' is imminent (as they have done now since 1948 based on their incorrect understanding of biblical markers pertaining to the restoration of Israel) or that Yah'shua (Jesus) is about to return any day now or that the Great Tribulation is about to start or has already started. With every natural or political disaster, these false prophets raise their heads again and again, make false statements, and then continue as before even when they have been proved wrong. But consistenly they rail against those who stand against them with the emet (truth). It was no different in Jeremiah's day.
In addition to contending with false prophets who made predictions based on the flesh that were pleasing to the carnally-minded king, Jeremiah also had problems with this weak king himself. Zedekiah was determined to rebell against his Babylonian overlord in an act of rash and foolish bravado. Jeremiah violently opposed this rebellion (Jer.37ff.) and sought to allay Nebudchadrezzar's suspicions by visiting Babylon in defence of his country (Jer.51:59). This work was ultimately in vain because Zedekiah openly compromised himself by seeking an alliance with Pharaoh Hophra.
We all want to defend our loved ones and buy them time, as Jeremiah tried for his country, but ultimately, if they refuse to repent, they must pay for their sins. Much as we want to save our own countries from judgment, the time of intercession has to cease and judgment be pronounced. For myself, as I have anxiously laboured to find reprieve for Europe and America, it has been made abundantly clear to me that not only is the time of testing practically at an end but that the despots who rule over us are, in truth, set there precisely so that Yahweh can scourge the disobedient and rebellious Tribes who are once again forsaking Him, leaving only a remnant as in Jeremiah's day.
In the 34th and 35th chapters of the Book of Jeremiah we are given a stark contrast between the King and a small remnant of die-hard faithfuls, the Rechabites. The Torah-disobedient Judahites were treating their servants with perfidy, refusing to release them after the maximum mandated 7-year period of indentured service. Under the leadership of Zedekiah they, like so many of our modern politicians peforming U-turns, had recovenanted to set their servants free, done so, and then re-enslaved them all over again.
While all this was going on, Yahweh was testing the faithfulness of the remnant in the persons of the Rechabites. I have often referred to them over the years as a model or ideal for our own troubled times too.
Are you, like the Rechabites, willing to stand against the mainstream of both the world and of compromised religion, and be obedient to your fathers who were in Yahweh? The Rechabites were distinguished from the rest of their compatriots inasmuch as they covenanted never to drink alcohol, never built homes for themselves but dwelt in tents, and never established vineyards or cultivated fields. In short, they were prepared to forego the luxuries of the world and remain independent of the world system for the sake of their Elohim (God) and ancestor. And because of this, Yahweh made a promise to them, namely, they would never "lack a man to stand before [Yaheweh] forever".
"The davar (word) which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying, 'Go to the house of the Rechabites, speak to them, and bring them into the house of Yahweh, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.'" Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, his brothers and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites, and I brought them into the house of Yahweh, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdaliah, a man of Elohim (God), which was by the chamber of the princes, above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door. Then I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites bowls full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, 'Drink wine.' But they said, 'We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, 'You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever. You shall not build a house, sow seed, plant a vineyard, nor have any of these; but all your days you shall dwell in tents, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners.' Thus we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; nor do we have vineyard, field, or seed. But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. But it came to pass, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, 'Come, let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans and for fear of the army of the Syrians.' So we dwell at Jerusalem.'
"Then came the davar (word) of Yahweh to Jeremiah, saying, 'Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the Elohim (God) of Israel: 'Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, 'Will you not receive instruction to obey My words?' says Yahweh. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; for to this day they drink none, and obey their father's mitzvah (commandment). But although I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, you did not obey Me. I have also sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, 'Turn now everyone from his evil way, amend your doings, and do not go after other elohim (gods) to serve them; then you will dwell in the land which I have given you and your fathers.' But you have not inclined your ear, nor obeyed Me. Surely the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the mitzvah (commandment) of their father, which he commanded them, but this people has not obeyed Me.'' Therefore thus says Yahweh-Elohim of hosts, the Elohim (God) of Israel: 'Behold, I will bring on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the doom that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them but they have not heard, and I have called to them but they have not answered.''
"And Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, 'Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the Elohim (God) of Israel: 'Because you have obeyed the mitzvah (commandment) of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts and done according to all that he commanded you, therefore thus says Yahweh of hosts, the Elohim (God) of Israel: 'Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me forever''" (Jer 35:1-19, NKJV).
And "forever" means exactly that: "forever". Those who are the latter-day Rechabites forsake alcohol in its entirety, as is required of the New Covenant Melchizedek Priesthood, and they do not entangle themselves in the Babylonian world system. They stay out of debt and live simply as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did before them. They do not pursue the honours of the world or its imagined security. Rather, they trust in Yahweh their Elohim (God).
Thanks to the cowardly vacillations of Zedekiah, Jeremiah was so badly treated by his enemies during the siege of Jerusalem that he despaired of his life. Arrested for the charge of deserting to the enemy, he was thrown into a dungeon (Jer.37:11-16) but was later removed to a prison in the guard-court close to the palace (Jer.37:17-21). He was then accused of treason and thrown into a disused well where he would have died but for the timely intervention of Ebed-melech. He was later transferred to the prison court (Jer.38:1-13) where the king secretly conferred with him (vv.14-28) in the vain hope that by associating with this man of Elohim (God) he could yet escape his fate.
Zedekiah did not, of course, escape - but Jeremiah did and went on to foretell not only the restoration of the nation (Jer.32:36-44; 33:1-26) but also the coming of the New Covenant in Messiah (Jer.31:31ff.).
The West has not yet woken up to, let alone accepted, it's imminent fall. Neither had Judah in Jeremiah's day. We are in the situation now where the rôles have been reversed, where the former antagonist, Russia, having thrown off communism, is more righteous than America and Europe who are steadily embracing it themselves. It upholds Christian family values and supports the nation state, both of which are important. Additionally, Yahweh is raising up China to be the new superpower and global overlord, as I have been preaching for years, to scourge the rebellious and idolatrous West.
So, no, there is no imminent 'rapture' (and never will be), the Tribulation is not about to start (though it will come) and Yah'shua (Jesus) is not about to return (though He will) even though someone placed a very expensive advertisement in the British newspaper, The Telegraph the other day, saying that He was. America, Europe and the US-backed Zionist Israeli Republic will not be delivered but fall and the new super-power block will likely consist of China, Russia, India, Brazil, Singapore, South Africa and some other nations wise enough to get out of the Dollar and €uro Zones before they collapse in a few months. And those of us who continue to say so will be villified until these things come to pass.
As I speak, there are those still trying to destroy this ministry and my person. It has been going on more or less continually in cycles over the years. The latest is in progress right now. I had a vision about these people yesterday and they were all gathered and packed tightly together in the middle of a barge. In the prow of the ship were some black humanoid-like creatures, which I suppose were demons, who I suppose were navigating this unwieldy and not very manoeverable vessel. As I watched it so it came aground on the shore and was unable to move, reminding me of past visions Yahweh has shown me of attempts to ruin my job, ministry and family life.
The world will go on its inevitable course and will not repent - it is vain to suppose otherwise. The 'Kingdom Now' system of theology is false for Yah'shua (Jesus) will not return to a Christian world but an utterly heathen one. The true believers will be confined to a small Rechabite-like remnant, willing to forsake all for the Master and do what is right. Like Jeremiah himself, we must be prepared to descend into the depths of grief for our peoples, forego comfort (Jer.8:18,21) and shed tears for our lost loved ones and nations (Jer.9:1; 13:17) after we have done everything we can to reach out to them. We must live with the feeling of failure and even wish we had never been born (Jer.15:10; 20:14-18) and doubtless complain bitterly against Yahweh for the apparent thanklessness of our task (Jer.20:7-10). I realise that this is hardly an attractive proposition but this is hardly an attractive age either. And we were born into it precisely because He has equipped us to serve in it. One thing is certain, though, is not only the rewards that await the faithful but that this is far better than the fate of the wicked, both alive and dead. The world outside of His salvation is going to be a terrible one.
Finally, our character is defined by the choices we make here and now - between the higher vs. lower self, courage vs. cowardice, certain triumph vs. apparent defeat, the desire to abandon our calling vs. the inability to evade it (Jer.5:14; 15:16,19-21; 6:11; 20:9,11; 13:29). In the end, the wise find their refuge in Yahweh and so find the the highest aspirations to communion with Him realised. For it is in this fellowship that we, like Jeremiah, can withstand the erosive effects of timidity, anguish, helplessness, hostility, loneliness, despair, misunderating and failure.
So while the world celebrates the Olympics I ask you to accept the mantle of Jeremiah and join me in speaking the emet (truth) to an unwilling world. Please contact me if you sense your calling to do so.