Month 7:16, Week 3:1 (Rishon/Pesach), Year:Day 5936:193 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 1 October 2012
II. Torah & Spirit of Elijah in Harmony
Continued from Part 1
Shalom and Chag Sameach Sukkot kol beit Yisra'el and to those joining us for the voluntary assembly here this morning on Yom Rishon, welcome, as we move into the second day of Sukkot (Tabernacles) and continue from our teaching yesterday. And though I didn't mention it yesterday, today is also the second day of the anniverary of Solomon's dedication of the Jerusalem Temple, an important reminder of the awesomeness of the Sukkot anointing of which we spoke at some length yesterday.
Warning on the 'Oral Law'
For those of you coming from a Messianic Jewish background, and those of you with orthodox Christian backgrounds, I hope that our study yesterday also reminded you to beware of so-called 'oral law' of the rabbis which is used to overrule and supplant the clearly written Torah of Yahweh. We must be aware of the accusations of those ensnared by this Talmudic law which the Pharisees of old tried to invoke in Yah'shua's (Jesus') own day. We read:
It is usually assumed by most commentators that the "law" referred to by the Pharisees is the Torah. However, it was not. What enraged them was not the crowd's ignorance of Torah but their interpretation of it according to their man-made traditions. When the returning exiles sought to know what they should do at Sukkot it was not, of course, this 'oral law' that was consulted (for it was only then in its nativity) but to the Torah:
"Then the officers came to the chief cohenim (priests) and Prushim (Pharisees), who said to them, 'Why have you not brought Him (Yah'shua/Jesus)?' The officers answered, 'No man ever spoke like this Man!' Then the Prushim (Pharisees) answered them, 'Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Prushim (Pharisees) believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed'" (John 7:45-49, NKJV).
You will notice that what the people heard when Nehemiah and Ezra read out Yahweh's instructions was not any 'oral law' or tradition but the written Torah (Law, Teaching). And though there was no temple standing at that time, because of its earlier destruction by the Babylonians, they gathered various types of tree branches but performed no superstitious or occultic-type shaking ritual to try and influence the weather. There were (mercifully) no rabbinic enactments at that time, none of the lies about He "who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us" to do this or that, as we hear in Messianic and in non-Messianic congregations. Indeed, we can safely ignore all 140 rabbinical halachic laws concerning Sukkot. We're told only to rejoice in Yahweh for seven days. How you do that, within a Torah context, is entirely up to you.
"And they found written in the Torah (Law, Teaching), which Yahweh had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in sukkot (booths, tabernacles) during the feast of the seventh month, and that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, 'Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written'" (Neh.8:14-15, NKJV).
Second Day of Sukkot, First Day of the Week
Today is the first day of the week, Yom Rishon or Yom Echad, reminding us that we are passing through a seven-day sequence that is recapitulating all the other festivals in the same way as the seven days of Chag haMatazah anticipated them. Today is rightly, then, called the 'Pesach (Passover) phase of Sukkot (Tabernacles)'. What do I mean by that?
Sukkot, the Belly, and the First Day of Creation
You will remember that yesterday Yah'shua (Jesus) connected the belly, bowels, solar plexus and lev (heart), including the kidneys, womb, stomach, guts or 'mid part' of the body where the Sukkot Anointing is manifested as a poweful revelation of holiness which He likened to a river of mayim chayim or living waters. This He said at Shemini Atseret, the Last Great Day, the last day of this Sukkot (Tabernacles) celebration. Remembering that places and elements often depict or symbolise people or abstract concepts, let us recall the second verse of Genesis:
The Ruach Rishon and the Gihon
"The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God) was hovering over the face of the mayim (waters)" (Gen 1:2, NKJV).
This first Day of Creation - or should we not rather say, re-creation of the earth - was under the first of the "seven spirits of Elohim (God)" (Rev.1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6, NKJV), or the Ruach haRishon corresponding to Pesach (Passover), also known as the Ruach haEchad for the reason that Pesach (Passover) connects with this first day of the week in Sukkot as a new millennial creation is prepared for Shemini Atseret, the Last Great Day. In the typology of Genesis 1:2 and Yah'shua's (Jesus') words to the crowd at Sukkot (Tabernacles), a reference is being made to a gihon or 'belly' and to mayim chayim (living water). It is out of one's belly or gihon that flows the mayim chayim (living waters) of the Genesis creation for the pure and simple reason it was the Davar or Word of the Messiah that brought everything into existence in the first place:
Paul would explain this years later in his own way:
"In the beginning was the Davar (Word), and the Davar (Word) was with Elohim (God), and the Davar (Word) was Elohim (God). He was in the beginning with Elohim (God). All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:1-3, NKJV).
Avi Ben Mordechai comments:
"[Yah'shua/Jesus] is the image of the invisible Elohim (God), the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the rosh (head) of the body, the messianic community (church), who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence" (Col.1:15-18, NKJV).
From Betrothal to Full Marriage Fruition
"The message of Sukkot is not about an abundance of physical water, but about a thirst and love for divine teaching, given to us through the Ruach haQodesh, which then satisfies us when we keep the divine Law" .
This love and passion for divine teaching is kindled at Shavu'ot (Weeks, Pentecost) when we covenant to abide by the Torah terms of the Betrothal Covenant of Israel, coming to full fruition at Sukkot (Tabernacles) when it is suddenly released, gushing out like a river of mayim (water) from our bellies. It is Torah (Law, Teaching) that shapes the passion and energy of the talmid (disciple), conceived by the Ruach (Spirit) at Pesach (Passover), born again and immersed in these mayim chayim (living waters) at Yom haBikkurim (Firstfruits), and then disciplined and shaped by the Shavu'ot (Pentecost) endowment.
The Thirsting Talmid
The seventh Ruach (Spirit) associated with Sukkot (Tabernacles) draws from the very first Pesach (Passover) in our lives to the final countdown to Shemini Atseret (Last Great Day) in the Sukkot (Tabernacles) sequence. It's effect is to make us thirst for more and more of this glorious manifestation of Yahweh in our lives. The closer we draw to the fullness of Sukkot (Tabernacles) the more thirsty we become: and the more thirsty we become, the more Yahweh delights in satiating that thirst by giving us more and more of these mayim chayim (living waters) in the form of the pure Shavu'ot (Pentecost) Torah-Emet (Teaching-Truth) comingled with that pure Sukkot (Tabernacles) qodesh (holy, set-apart) divine ahavah (love) that blended together actually cleanse and satisfy us.
Reshaped from Within
What happens is that Torah-Emet (Doctrinal Truth) mingled with the selfless passion of divine ahavah (love), as they pass through our being, re-shape our life energy and our responses. We are literally re-programmed. But because we are such complex mechanisms - sensitive and fragile - this re-programming can only be done in a certain way under the aegis of the Ruach (Spirit). The energy of the life-force that must pass through our minds, levim (hearts) and bodies has to be carefully tailored by a supernatural agency - the Ruach (Spirit) - so as not to damage us and so as to maximise our potential and its benefits.
The Massage Chair
Have you ever sat on one of those electronic massage chairs? My wife did the other day when we went into a shop to get a new refridgerator that also happens to sell such machines. So while I was busy with the salesman, she tried one out. At first she was in ecstasy and then she pressed a knob and was suddenly in great pain. There had been inadequate callibration of the machine to her bodily sensitivity. In the spiritual realm - indeed, the whole realm of our being - intricate callibration has to be effected so as not to harm us as Yahweh works on us taking us step by step through one issue at a time until everything is harmonised and the result is pleasant and uplifting.
We often fail to realise that no two people are alike, that everyone is callibrated differently because we're all labouring with various issue mixtures. There is no 'fix-it-all' way which is why we have to operate in the Ruach (Spirit) when ministering to others and not asssume that others are carbon-copies of ourselves. They're not. And yet our fleshy reflex is to assume that we're all pretty much the same and to barge in the way we think we would loike to be handled. For sure, we're all the same 'model' human being, constructed in the same way, with the same basic components, but what we have become is the result of a very complicated series of choices unique to ourselves.
Spiritual Recallibration and the Jet Engine
This spiritual recallibration depends on our willingness to yield to the divine tavnith (pattern) of Yahweh's Torah (Law, Teaching, Doctrine). In the early days of jet propulsion, jet engines were strapped to the wings and fuselages designed for slower, less-powerful piston-engined machines. These aircraft bodies often just could not cope with the thrust of those first engines with wings being cracked or shattered as a result. That is why the living Besorah (Gospel) has to be administered to us piecemeal in carefully planned sequences based on the tavnith (pattern) of the festivals and moedim (appointments). There is no more such a thing as instant sanctification as there is the possibility of strapping a jet engine onto a World War I wooden biplane and hoping that aircraft won't be ripped to pieces. We have to be chaged gradually by a process of loving attraction that moves along a track of commandments and ordinances emanating from the Sukkot (Tabernacles) in Heaven - the ultimate reality of Yahweh's Kingdom Life. That is why a Sukkot anointing is not given to a child in the Besorah (Gospel) - there has to be a maturation process first based on consistent emunah (faith) over time. Can you imagine what would have happened if, say, the Shavu'ot (Pentecost) anointing whicvh the first believers had received had been given to the Israelites of Samson's day? Or to Samson himself? There would have been a total mismatch and the anointing would have been fruitless.
The Synergy of Torah, Prophecy and Ahavah
There is a peculiar synergy - which Satan hates and therefore tries to wreck in our minds and levim (hearts) - between the Mitzvot (Commandments) of Yahweh, the attracting force of ahavah (love) and the hope that comes from exercising emunah (faith) in the promises and prophecies that are the woof and warp that is the Spirit of Elijah. This Davar Emet or Word of Truth penetrates our levim (hearts) by the blowing of the Twin Silver Trumpets within, representing the echad (oneness) of the Torah (Teaching, Law) of Moses and the Ruach Eliyahu (Spirit of Elijah). These two types of Davar (Word) cannot be separated in the drawing of the soul toward and into the Ruach Sukkot (Spirit of Sukkot). Both are required to shape our bodily, psychic and mental energies and if one or the other is absent, we will be left lacking and feeling a sense of unfulfilment leading to spiritual frustration - a bit like trying to consume powdered milk without the added water to make a solution, or flour before it has been added to water and yeast to make it into bread. Not only that, we will sense our uncleanness or impurity. Every part of the Besorah (Gospel) matters.
Divisions Between Messianics and Evangelicals
One of the main causes of the division between Evangelicals and Messianics is the failure to accept both types of Davar (Word) and to minister them together by figuratively blowing themn as echad (one) in the Ruach (Spirit) through the Twin Silver Trumpets. If you focus on one (e.g. Torah) but neglect the other (spiritual regeneration of the lev/heart), or vice versa, then the result is a bit like a man with one short leg and one long one. What then happens is that the messianic with a short left leg attacks the evangelical with a short right one, both failing to realise they are spiritual cripples because they don't have everything together properly.
Sukkot and the Mount of Transfiguration
I am sure you have witenssed some of the futile, puerile arguments between such people with each putting on a 'holier-than-thou' face. You can't accept one of the two Devarim (Words) - the Torah or the Spirit of Elijah - and not expect to come out spiritually disfigured. The true spirit of Sukkot (Tabernacles) draws the soul to seek for both, bring them alongside each other, and to then blow pure ruach (spirit) through them as echad (one). Without the two side by side, in balance, there will always be confusion of mind and lev (heart). That is why Moses and Elijah appeared to Yah'shua (Jesus) on the Mount of Transfiguration, to show the talmidim (disciples) that both had to be present for that miraculous transfiguring act to take place. And you will recall that this event purposefully took place during Sukkot (Tabernacles) to emphasise this very connection we have been talking about:
We too are called to transfiguration, not because we are Deity (which we are not) but so that Deity (in the form of the Messiah) can manifest in us. And that is why we are reminded of these things monthly each Rosh Chodesh as we recallibrate by getting back into patriarchal tavnith (pattern).
"Now after six days Yah'shua (Jesus) took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, 'Master, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three sukkot (tabernacles, booths, tents): one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.' While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!' And when the talmidim (disciples) heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Yah'shua (Jesus) came and touched them and said, 'Arise, and do not be afraid.' When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Yah'shua (Jesus) only" (Matt.17:1-8, NKJV).
The Reason for Rules
Because this is hard to grasp at first because of the unkosher habits we get into on account of the influence of worldly people around us in real life as well as in entertainment, Yahweh gives us many practical illustrations. I am currently teaching my youngest daughter mathematics and she frequently asks what the point is in learning how to do this or that kind of calculation. She is only persuaded of their usefulness when she can see a practical application - like calculating whether certain pieces of furniture will fit into a room when all you have is the dimensions of both on a piece of paper. Similarly, we need to understand why Yahweh's Rules - the Torah - are so important too by coming to understand their practical necessity for our well-being and spiritual growth. Otherwise rules can appear imposing, restrictive and suffocating. There is nothing wrong in our asking intelligent questions. So if my daughter asks why we have to bother learning abstract things like simultaneous equations, I am reasonably expected to give concrete examples of why they are useful. There is both intelligence ane ahavah (love) in all of Yahweh's mitzvot (commandments)! We're not observing festivals like Sukkot for no reason at all - they are hugely important otherwise Yahweh wouldn't have wasted His time and ours insisting we observe them.
Illustrations from Marriage
Let me give you another illustration. It's a matter of common knowledge that marriage relationships in the West are breaking down at an alarming rate and that the marriage statistics in the secular community are not much different from those in the Christian churches. The obvious explanation for the similarity is that the churches have come under the influence of the secular society. Believers, increasingly in a minority, imitate the ways of the majority culture around them - for various reasons (like wanting to be accepted, carelessness, ignorance of Yahweh's Torah) - and bring these damaging philosophies and world views into their marriages. Every time you watch a movie or read a novel that implicitly accepts the way of the world as 'normal', you are being unconsciously programmed to think, feel and behave in the same way unless you are constantly on the alert and are declaring that these things in your own mind and lev (heart) are unacceptable to you. Otherwise you sit passively like a sponge absorbing and accepting it all. Obviously, the only real solution - if you are to avoid a constant struggle between the ways of the world and the Besorah (Gospel) - is to simply not spend so much time in worldly pursuits. Or better still, end them altogether in your life. That is, after all, what is meant by a talmid (disciple) - it is one who is separated from the world and separated to Yahweh. That is what it means to be qodesh, holy or set-apart. It is not to have one foot in the Kingdom and one in the world. That is not being set-apart. That is not being qodesh (holy).
The world, which wants you to be like itself, and animated by a spirit hostile to Yahweh's, will of course taunt and criticise you for not being like itself, especially when it is in the majority and believes it has certain 'democratic rights' precisely because it is in the majority. Passively absorbing the spirit of the world is to remove your spiritual armour. You might as well wallow in the mire like a pig or eat your own vomit like a dog because that is what you are doing spiritually when you just give in to the world whether in small increments or by huge leaps and bounds.
Qodesh (set-apart, holy) marriage only starts coming into being when you spend more time in the Davar (Word) and the word than you do in secular entertainment and useless worldly talk and only comes to fruition when you are fully separated to the divine tavnith (pattern). Husbands and wives serious about eternal marriage in Messiah need both the emet (truth) that Yahweh created them to reflect Yah'shua (Jesus) and the Messianic Bride in the tavnith (pattern) of ahavah (love) and headship that honour Yahweh, as well as the emet (truth) of a wife needing to submit to her husband in righteousness as the husband submits to Yahweh and His Torah as he covenanted to do at Bar Mitzvah when he took upon himself the responsibility of wearing tzitzit (tassels). The tzitzit (tassels) are to remind himself constantly of his obligation to yield to Yahweh's Derech (Way) in all things and his wife is reminded as part of her marriage covenants to yield to this Derech (Way) as it is tailored to her huisband's mission in life. She in her turn wears a symbol in the form of a headcovering to constantly remind her of this. Marriage too is a Twin Silver Trumpet and if the two are not lined up together, the trumpets will give out an unequal and disharmonious sound that will confuse children and bring fracturing to the family. The result of this disharmony will be a feeling of unfulfilment, a lack of satisfaction inside and a sense of uncleanness. Like Torah and the Spirit of Elijah, which are a reflection of this marriage principle, there is a need to understand this tavnith (pattern) before the Twin Silver Trumpets will start working for us in the spiritual.
The Trees of Life and Death
It would be very surprising is Satan didn't have a counterfeit, because he counterfeits everything. He wants to sabotage the spirit of Sukkot (Tabernacles) above all else, because Sukkot (Tabernacles) is man's realisation of the Kingdom of Heaven in his life and his complete divorce from Satan's Kingdom of Darkness. It represents a complete end to the temptation of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Tree of Death) leaving only the Tree of Chayim (Life) as man's sole desire.
All of this being undeniably true (because it's scriptural), this is why we must have a proper Torah foundation in our heads before we allow our levim (hearts) free reign because otherwise our levim (hearts) will simply head of into the antinomian wilds and get us into trouble. The world follows its anti-Torah lev (heart) and the result is the failure of the marriage instituition, the rise in divorce, promiscuity, adultery and fornication. How does Satan accomplish this destruction? By persuading people to depart from divine tavnith (pattern) and to set at naught the mitzvot (commandments) as burdensome and an enslavement of the supposedly 'free' human spirit.
Ephraim, Judah and Plural Marriage
Finally, we observe that there are certain tribal dispositions towards the two Devarim (Words) - the Torah (Law, Teaching) and the Spirit of Elijah. Historically, Judah has gravited toward Torah (Ps.108:8) and Ephraim toward the Spirit of Elijah, and each has perfected himself in these, respectively. The Twin Silver Trumpets therefore also represent the unification of these two tribal houses - Israel-Ephraim and Judah as part of the final restoration of all things in the last days. Ephraim and Judah and likewise depicted as allegorical Wives of Yahweh in the Tanakh (Old Testament) so the final picture we are presented of Sukkot is the Husband, Yahweh, blowing the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) through the Twin Silver Trumpets which are His two Wives, His bow and arrow (Zech.9:13), His lion and lion cub (Hos.5:14). As such, then, they are also a picture of plural marriage in its spiritual essence, the two wives complimenting one another and revealing the full lev (heart) of their Husband. This is the perfect scriptural picture of echad (oneness).
All of this once again testifies of the importance of seeking emet (truth) before ahavah (love) because emet (truth) alone is able to distinguish between true ahavah (love) and all the worldly counterfeits. In emet (truth) alone is there ultimate safety. Sukkot (Tabernacles) is the full ripening of this Emet-Ahavah (Truth-Love).
We will continue with this tomorrow and in the meantime may Yahweh continue to bless your days of Sukkot (Tabernacles), and even though today is not a sabbath, this is nevertheless still a week set-apart to Yahweh to celebrate His goodness to us and the hope of the new world to come. Let's keep our minds and levim (hearts) on that. Amen.
Continued in Part 3
 Avi ben Mordechai, Galatians: A Torah-Based Commentary in First-Century Hebraic Context (Millennium 7000 Communications Publication, Jerusalem: 2005), p.461