Month 7:20, Week 3:6 (Sheshi/Kippur), Year:Day 5936:198 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 6 October 2012
VII. The Day Before the New World
Continued from Part 6
Shalom and Chag Sameach Sukkot kol beit Yisra'el! Welcome to this evening assembly in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name.
Moving Country and Changing Identity
I wonder how many of you have moved country? This morning I was meditating on not only the number of times the children of Israel 'changed countries' but also wondering how it must have felt starting off as Chaldean, then becoming Canaanite, then Egyptian, then - finally - their own people and nation, then becoming Assyrian, then Babylonian, then Persian, then Greek, then Roman, and then practically every nation under Elohim's (God's) sun. It is not an easy thing changing country, culture, language, customs, behaviour and an entire lifestyle. If you have every experienced 'culture shock' you'll know exactly what I mean. I've done it three times - from being Malaysian, to being English, to being Norwegian and finally being Swedish. Of course, you never really totally become the culture you move to - some manage to adopt it wholesale but usually only after a generation. Most of us live in a kind of no-man's land, in an inbetween or transitional form. And when you have done it several times, it can become hard knowing who or what you really are.
Today is the seventh and last day of the festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles). When we finally - Yah willing - come up to the Final Sukkot (Tabernacles) at the end of this age, it will literally be 'the day before' an entirely new world. Tomorrow is Shemini Atseret or The Last Great Day, the new dawning for Messianic Israel, the faithful. First there are seven days of celebration - an extended sabbath of sorts - as the allegorical Bride looks longingly at her Bridegroom for whom she has been waiting for so long, and enjoys a honeymoon. And then, when the week-long honeymoom is over, so an entirely new life begins. The Bride totally submerges her own identity in that of her Husband and steps into His world and an entirely new world. And just as the seven days look back at the previous festivals, so they simultaneously look forward to the millennial sabbath or rest and to the 'last great day' at the end of that, when we face Eternity.
The Bride and the Old Life
You don't become a Bride of Messiah unless you completely leave your old life behind you. This is not a secular 'marriage' where you 'combine destinites', split the difference as it were, and forge something new from the two halves. The Derech or Way of the Messiah didn't suddenly become an entirely new recombinant Derech (Way) when He takes His Bride as His own. Do you think that the Divine Plan of the Ages adjusts a little each time a new believer is added to the Body and Bride of Messiah? No! Each believer and each bride totally surrenders to the Way of the Master - the original goal, plan, direction, or whatever you want to call it which remains intact and unchanged no matter how many men and women join that Bride. And that is the true essence of marriage, allegorical and heavenly as well as earthly! That's why we can't invent our own Besorah or Gospel - that's why we can't just 'add' Messiah or Torah to our existing lifestyle when we convert and effect some sort of synthesis. That's not how it works at all! We either belong to Him totally or not at all. That's the issue at stake.
The Millennia Various People Anticipate
So what exactly are we expecting this 'New Country' to be in the Millennium, on the first day thereof, on the Final Shemini Atseret? I dare say if you ask various Christians and Messianics - or even Jewish people who basically believe in the Tanakh (Old Testament) - who anticipate a Millennium on earth, that you'll get a variety of answers. The Jews are anticipating a restoration of the Solomonic Kingdom as the ideal because of empire, wealth and political influence - they want essentially what Judas Iscariot and the Zealot terrorists of his day wanted. There's actually a horrific website online which describes in detail how their 'country' will work if ever they get global power...it reads like the worst of the Soviet Gulags or Nazi concentration camps. Quite apart from the fact that Solomon became a tyrant and a pagan who scorned Yahweh and His Torah by delving into paganism which he thought wouldn't harm him or the country, there is no way that we can turn time back 3,000 years and rebuild again what has forever gone. That's what the Muslims want to do too - build a global Muslim society based on the feudalistic culture of 7th century Arabia. You can't undo awareness, consciousness and spiritual development - you can try to suppress it or murder those who enjoy it but you cannot return to an ancient mindset unless either you can persuade people of their own free will to unlearn, or brainwash them, or kill them...which many are seeking to do.
A new country is coming at the end of the age, at the end of the final Sukkot (Tabernacles). It will be squarely based on the Torah of the Tanakh (Old Testament) set in the framework of, and brought to completion by, the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) in Messiah. It will not, as many Messianics believe, be a restoration of the Old Covenant or an imaginary synthesis of the Old with the New called the 'Renewed Covenant' but it will be a wholly New one. Neither will it be the lawless, anarchistic antinomian variety with its man-made laws insisted upon by orthodox Christianity. It will not be an idealised Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox or Protestant Country. It won't be anything that you see today or anything that has existed before even though it will contained elements of these. It's rulers won't be Roman popes, Greek patriarchs, or evangelists like Billy Graham or Benny Hinn. And it certainly won't be ruled by Messianic rabbis either. If anyone is thinking along any of these lines, they are going to be in for a rude awakening.
And I should mention in passing that it isn't going to be any New Age or Hippie-type Christian society either.
The Essentialness of Correct Eschatology
So what are you expecting or looking forward to? I ask that because if you're heading in a wrong direction the Millennial Country is going to make you feel like an alien and a stranger...assuming you ever get to see it. Obviously, then, eschatology or the 'doctrine of the last things' becomes important. If you're a preterist who thinks the Millennium came a long time ago you're going to be lost. If you're a Seventh-Day Adventist who thinks the earth will be a desolate wasteland populated only by demons and that you will be in heaven, you're going to be lost. If you're a Mormon believing that you can only be saved by your priesthood with its occultic-type temple ceremonies borrowed from Freemasonery and that everything is going to centre on Jackson County, Missouri, you're going to be lost. If you're a Jehovah's Witness and believe that the 144,000 Úlite of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society will be ruling in heaven while the rest of the faithful will be on earth studying their Watchtower magazines, you'll be lost. If you're a Catholic and believe, like the Preterists, that the Millennium is already here, you'll be lost. Or if you're like the majority of Protestants who believe there will be no Millennial Country on earth at all, you'll be lost too.
Raptured to Heaven?
So what are you looking forward to? Millions believe they are going to be raptured away and never come back to earth. They're already dusting off their harps in their minds.
The Wise and Foolisg Virgins
We need to know where our allegorical Husband is going to be and what we'll be doing. I'm assuming, of course, everyone now understands that the Bride is Torah-obedient (that is, obedient to the law of her husband) so we're going to assume today that the Torah lifestyle is the one you have chosen and are living as an expression of your love for the Heavenly Bridegroom - because it's the only one He actually accepts. You see, the Five Wise Virgins are the Torah-observant believers and go to the marriage feast whereas the Five Foolish ones are not and are excluded. If you think the Bride is lawless then what I am about to say will be meaningless and you will be preparing for a non-existent country.
Forsaking Moab Like Ruth
What is Messiah's country and what is our attitude to it supposed to be? Like Ruth we are all Moabites though our particular 'Moab' could be America, Canada, Britain, Sweden, Russia, Nigeria, South Africa, India, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, China or any other country. The soul that has the true Messianic, firstborn, bridal lev (heart) says with Ruth:
Identifying Yahweh's Country
"Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people (country) shall be my people (country), and your Elohim (God), my Elohim (God)" (Ruth 1:16, NKJV).
If there is anyone who believes that their secular country, be it the Israeli Republic, United States, Britain, Germany, India, Kenya, or anywhere else, is 'God's own country', they are believing worse than a delusion - they are believing a lie. Will there be other countries in the Millennium? Most definitely - the Scriptures speak of various nations, but none of these are the Country. Anything outside the Country, the Nation, or the People are not a direct part of Yahweh's Country, but are appendages or adjuncts.
And what is Yahweh's Country? It is Messianic Israel, organised in 12 Tribes, and located in the Promised Land, living in total submission to King Yah'shua (Jesus) and owing allegience to only His Kingdom! If I ever make it, I will not be an Englishman there! England may be around, along with the USA, Sweden, the Philippines and other nations but they will none of them be the country and they will not be the Bride of Messiah. They will belong to the second resurrection, and it will be the vast majority of their descendants who will be tempted by the devil, and rise up in rebellion against the King and the Kingdom at the end of the Millennium. They will be the ones who encircle the New Jerusalem and attempt to wipe it out before Yahweh intervenes and wipes them out and inaugurates the post-millennial world.
All or Nothing Loyalty
No one who is not willing to forsake their worldly country in order to come up to the heavenly one as Ruth did, unencumbered by nationalistic sentiments, will actually enter it because their loyalties will be divided as they seek to serve two masters. It's all or nothing if you are serious about becoming the Bride. Yahweh said through Jeremiah:
The Yom Kippur of Sukkot
"Again there shall be heard in this place -- of which you say, 'It is desolate, without man and without beast' -- in the cities of Judah, in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast, the voice of simcha (joy) and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: 'Praise Yahweh of hosts, for Yahweh is tov (good), for His mercy endures forever'" - and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the House of Yahweh" (Jer 33:10-11, NKJV).
Today, apart from being the last day of Sukkot (Tabernacles), is also the sixth day of the week, Yom Sheshi, corresponding to Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement (Judgment). This judgment concerns those who think they are the Bride but are not because they were lawless and were adulterous in their hearts, trying to follow two masters and refusing to rather fully surrender to the Bridegroom Master. The idea that not all Christians are the Bride is probably regarded as a heresy by most Protestants and yet the notion that all you have to do is accept Messiah and be born again without becoming Torah-obedient is truly a cancer in the Body. Though I don't accept his every theological proposition, I do recommend those of you who are in doubt read Eddie Chumney's thorough book on the subject  as he has the general gist right. Though Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself said that the greatest in the Kingdom or Divine Country would be keeping the mitzvot (commandments) of Torah (Mt.5:19) the vast majority still refuses to take Him at His word. Only those who are after Yahweh's own lev (heart), like David, whom Yahweh acknowledged as His friend, and who will adore the Torah as David did, will be in that glorious Kingdom (Ac.13:22).
The Spiritual Preppers
This rather unexpected, perhaps, for some, aspect of the last day of Sukkot (Tabernacles) needs to be clearly taught in the assemblies so that people are not preparing to enter imaginary kingdoms and so discover, to their cost and despair, that they are like the five foolish virgins who did not prepare. You might even say that the Bride of Messiah are 'spiritual preppers'.
Last Day Looking Back
This is the last day of the seven days of Sukkot (Tabernacles) that we do any looking back or recapitulating. Once Shemini Atseret comes along, the old life is permanently over. So we must look forwards when at sunrise tomorrow. As Ruth forgot that she was a Moabite and became an Israelite, abandoning all the idols of her heathen culture, so we too must learn to do the same. As a Bride we must leave the familiarity of the second resurrection way of life, with its admixture of human tradition and divine lifestyle, and focus entirely on becoming the first resurrection New Bride in her New Country: the New Jerusalem in thought, feeling and deed.
Sukkot (Tabernacles) is all about the final triumph of Yahweh's Kingdom over Satan's. The Enemy never stood a chance even though to us, experiencing his onslaught and apparent periods where he has reigned almost supreme, may have given the illusion that he might succeed. The Millennium is, moreover, an extension of the reign of Messiah in every Torah-obedient believer's lev (heart) - an extension into the outside world too, transforming not only those of us who trust but the whole of nature too.
We will gather tomorrow for a High Sabbath at Shemini Atseret tomorrow to hear what final Davar (Word) Yahweh may have for us. May Yahweh bless you all and speak to your levim (hearts) as I seek His Davar (Word) for this assembly and those who identify themselves with us in ruach. Amen!
 Eddie Chumney, Who is the Bride of Christ? (Serenity Books, Hagerstown, Maryland: 2001)
Continued in Part 8