Month 7:17, Week 3:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year:Day 5937:195 AM|
SUKKOT III, Dedication of Solomon's Temple 3/8
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 21 October 2013
Sukkot III 2013
The Truth and the Torah
Continued from Part 2
"The heavens declare the kavot (glory) of Elohim (God); and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a sukkah (tabernacle) for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat. The Torah (Law, Teaching) of Yahweh is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of Yahweh is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of Yahweh are right, rejoicing the heart; the mitzvah (commandment) of Yahweh is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of Yahweh are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb" (Ps.19:1-10, NKJV).
Chag sameach Sukkot kol beit Yisra'el and welcome to this our third of eight morning assemblies. This has been a very intense and exciting Sukkot Conference so far and it is my prayer that the Ruach (Spirit) remains strong. We have had to bid farewell to two of our brethren from Germany and Norway who have sadly had to return to their homelands but today we welcome a sister who is here representing her fellowship in Kumasi in Ghana - their pastor was sadly unable to be with us.
A Sukkah of Stars Around the Sun
In today's main passage of scripture we are presented an interesting picture of the cosmos which is viewed as a giant sukkah, tabernacle, booth or tent 'covering' or 'surrounding' the sun in space. And the sun, the star which our planets rotate around, is a prophetic symbol of our Heavenly Father, Yahweh, who, speaking through the prophet Malachi, puts it this way:
Understanding Biblical Symbols
"'For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,' says Yahweh of hosts, 'that will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My shem (name) the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves'" (Mal.4:1-2, NKJV).
In order to properly understand the Scriptures, which in many cases have multiple meanings on different levels, it's important that we understand its symbolism. In the passage we have just read from Malachi, the sun represents Elohim (God). Other important symbols are the stars, which are the malakim or angels; mountains, which are kingdoms or nations; trees, which are people - and the olive tree in particular, which is the Messiah (the olive oil within it is the Ruach/Spirit), and the cedar tree, which is Satan; fish, which are talmidim (disciples) or followers of the Messiah; water, which represents peoples in general; and so forth. Many of the baffling and hard-to-understand passages of the Bible are unlocked by knowing what the prophetic symbols mean, but in order to do this, we have to think like a Hebrew - not a European, American, African or Asian. All scripture must be understood within its cultural and historical context.
Importance of the Festivals
When we mention to Christians that we observe the biblical festivals the reaction is often a blank stare because little of these is taught in the churches. There may, perhaps, be a passing reference to Yah'shua (Jesus) as the Paschal or Passover Lamb and certainly the story of the Exodus is well known. We learn the story of Moses from when we are little. But few Christians pause to seriously consider, let alone study, the meaning of the festivals of Yahweh, each of which is a pointer to the Messiah, as we have been discussing for the past two days. Each and every festival tells us something about Yah'shua (Jesus), who He is, why He was born, when He was born, what He came to do here, and the way His talmidim (disciples) are supposed to live. The festivals are like a map of the Plan of Salvation, containing everything we need to know, but hidden to those who have not been born-again of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). In them we learn of simple emunah truth about faith (trusting), of baptism by immersion, or sin and repentance, of the gift of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), about the resurrection, and about life everlasting. And as we on the first two days of this assembly, the festivals are given as enactments or dry runs of these vital truths so that we will remember them and plant them deep within our souls. Sukkot (Tabernacles), which we celebrate over eight days, is all about the coming Kingdom of Messiah on earth and of the eternities.
The Heavens Declare Yahweh's Glory
The festivals are one of many witnesses to the Messiah. The heavens themeselves - the sun, moon and stars - are also a witness. They declare, as the psalmist tells us, "the kavot (glory) of Elohim (God)". The same psalmist further proclaims that "the heavens declare His righteousness, for Elohim (God) Himself is Judge" (Ps.50:6, NKJV) and "the heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples see His kavot (glory)" (Ps.97:6, NKJV). Notice that He didn't say 'some' people see the glory of Yahweh, or even just 'believers' - but rather "all the peoples" because in gazing at the heavens, if you are honest, you are forced to acknowledge the Creator. Only those who are dishonest with themselves invent myths and fairy takes about the heavens creating itself out of nothing as today's secular atheistic evolutionists do. As a scientist myself, I have to agree with the Baptist philosopher Norman Geisler who said that it takes more emunah (faith) to be an atheist and to believe in evolution that it does to believe in Elohim (God) as the Creator of everything there is.
Only One Life
Yahweh uses our lives to present us with emet (truth) every now and then even if we are not seeking for it. Most people are too lazy to pursue it. It was Winston Churchill who said that "men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened". We may stumble over the same emet (truth) again a bit later on and perhaps hurt ourselves a little in the stumbling. Yahweh permits that in order to get our attention because He knows, even if we do not respond at first, that this life is short and we don't get a second chance. Paul said: "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Heb.9:27, NKJV) so that no one would excuse their laziness by saying they would get not just one, but maybe thousands of other chances in new lives. There is no room for reincarnation in the Bible. You can mess things up many times in this life but so long as you keep getting up and trying again you'll be fine so long as you realise that there is only this life in which to get things right. If we don't respond to Emet (Truth) when we are confronted with it, we are taking a terrible gamble. And what could be more important than accepting the challenge of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) to follow Him?
The Way, the Truth and the Life
"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt.16:24, NKJV).
Life consists in the main of the pursuit of emet (truth). Yah'shua (Jesus) said that He was the embodiment not only of emet (truth) in the general sense but of all emet (truth). "I am the derech (way), the emet (truth), and the chayim (life)" (John 14:6, NKJV), He said. Life is a path we must walk, it is the pursuit of emet (truth), and the result is the possession not of mere physical life but what the Hebrews call chayim, which means life within that does not end. Sandwiched between walking a pro-active live and the eternal life that comes from Yah'shua (Jesus) is emet (truth). And, of course, ahavah (love) flows spontaneously out of this mix for "Elohim (God) is ahavah (love)" (1 Jn.4:8,16), and Yah'shua (Jesus) is Elohim (God). So the Messiah, being Elohim (God), is the way, path or lifestyle we must operate in while we are down here, it must be firmly founded in all emet (truth), and He is the very life force of the universe - visible and invisible - that guarantees our living forever if we remain in Him. And since He is Elohim (God), He is also ahavah (love).
Truth is Unpopular
Most people do not like the emet (truth). Most people don't like to think because, in part, they have been so dumbed down by the state school system, and even more people prefer to follow their feelings if those feelings conflict with emet (truth). Something you learn early on in your life as a talmid (disciple) of Yah'shua (Jesus) is that feelings do not usually equate with emet (truth) because emet (truth) is not dependent on our feelings or preferences. Something is true whether we like it or not. Our secular, atheistic society and culture does not believe in any sort of absolute emet (truth) and so we are told that every man and woman has his or her own 'truth'. Well, that is not true in the physical realm - just try defying the law of gravity - and it certainly isn't true in the spiritual realm either. Not all religious paths lead to Elohim (God), in fact none but one derech (way) does, and it is grounded in absolute emet (truth). And the evidence that it does is that it generates eternal life and eternal ahavh (love).
The Illogic of Atheist Thinking
I expect you have all, at various times, had discussions with atheists and been frustrated by them. They claim to be logical thinkers when in truth their heads are very muddled indeed. Typically they will say, "there is no truth", "you can't know truth" and "truth is relative", in other words, based on your own feelings and experience (that's called 'existentialism') but such people never consider how fallacious their statements are. And yet science is the quest for truth, order and meaning in the material universe. If there is no truth, then how can you even say "there is no truth" because you are making an appeal to truth in saying that. Indeed, every one of those three statements - "there is no truth", "you can't know truth" and "truth is relative" implies that there is some sort of absolute truth to validate them, which is a complete contradiction in terms. If there is no truth then there are no rules or laws (since everything must be relative) in which case having any kind of a discussion is meaningless, because nothing you say can be true. Those who believe in relativism are defeated by their own logic. So when evolutionary and atheistic scientists like Oxford professor Richard Dawkins says that in the same way homosexuals have adopted the descriptive 'gay', so atheists should adopt the descriptive 'bright', I have to wonder how he can possibly justify that. Because how can you justify a claim to believing in the truth when you don't actually believe it exists? That's not really very 'bright' at all.
Price for the Absence of Truth
The Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) demands that we accept that there is an absolute emet (truth) and that He is the embodiment of it. The emphasis on emet (truth) is so strong that He says its absence leads to bondage and slavery of your mind, your heart and indeed your whole life. We cannot live and prosper without it. We can pretend for a while but it will not get us very far for very long - in the end the emet (truth) has a way of tripping us up again and again until we acknowledge it, however reluctantly. Yah'shua (Jesus) said in His day:
The Father of Lies
"If you abide in My davar (word), you are My talmidim (disciples) indeed. And you shall know the emet (truth), and the emet (truth) shall make you free" (John 8:31-32, NKJV).
Life is a series of divinely orchestrated truth confrontations and we are given the free choice to accept or reject it. There are, however, consequences for rejecting it and these are never nice because there is a second supernatural force in the universe that has fathered, and owns, truth's opposite - lies. And that force is a person, known as Heylel (he proper name), haSatan or Satan (meaning the Adversary) or Lucifer (a Latin word meaning 'light-bearer', because once he was a beacon for Yahweh's Emet (Truth) before he rebelled. Yah'shua (Jesus) said of the Jewish leaders of His day:
Sukkot as the Fullness of the Kingdom
"You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the emet (truth), because there is no emet (truth) in him [any longer]. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the emet (truth), you do not believe Me" (John 8:43-45, NKJV).
The festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles) represents the end of the journey of the faithful believer. The spirit of Sukkot (Tabernacles) is 'all Emet (Truth)' because it represents the fullness of the Kingdom of our Messiah, and there is not a particle of darkness in it. Those who come up to the literal fulfilment of this festival have struggled in life to overcome lies and the destructive effects of sin in their lives. They have fought to overcome the fleshy nature and have become victorious. They have come to understand, through the Davar Elohim or Word of God, and the divine tavnith (pattern) of the festivals, that not all believers in Yah'shua (Jesus) come up to the Last Sukkot when Yah'shua (Jesus) returns because not all believers love the whole emet (truth) but only those parts of the emet (truth) which they like or feel good about. Scripture speaks of two resurrections (Rev.20:5-6) and at least three degrees of kavod or glory (1 Cor.15:40-42). Not all believers inherit the same rewards or the same degree of light as numerous parables of Yah'shua (Jesus) attest.
The OSAS Myth, Lawlessness and Justice
We can not rest on the false assumption, which many of you were brought up with, that 'once saved, always saved'. It is possible to walk away from your salvation and lose your inheritance altogether. And though Yahweh is patient and long-suffering with us, His patience and long-suffering has limits. There is a time, eventually, of Judgment, and we none of us escape it. He is full of grace but He is also an Elohim (God) of order and justice. If He wasn't, we would never trust Him, anymore than we would trust a parent who rewards a son or daughter the same no matter what they do. Neither would we trust a government that did not enforce laws fairly, as most of our governments, sadly, are not now doing. Trust in government is at an all-time low because it is crooked. Only lawless governments are bad governments just as Satan and his minions are described as lawless. Paul wrote:
The Birth of Christ: When?
"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the emet (truth), that they might be saved" (2 Thess.2:9-10, NKJV).
One who is "lawless" in Scripture is one who is without Yahweh's Law or Torah, because he has rejected it, in whole or in part. Even those Christians who claim (wrongly) that Yahweh's Law or Torah has been 'done away with' or 'nailed to the cross' display the same lack of logic as the atheists who claim there is no absolute emet (truth), because if you go to any church or assembly you will find it has a list of rules its members are expected to conform to. Some of these rules are from the Torah (like not murdering, not committing adultery, and not stealing) and others are man-made (like having to accept one or more of the orthodox Catholic creeds, or having to worship on Sundays because it is supposedly 'the Lord's day', or celebrating Christmas, and so on). I remember years ago I stopped celebrating Christmas when I discovered it wasn't biblical that my church would not accept that - I was regarded as 'beyond the pale'. And yet the truth is, not only does the Bible not command us to celebrate the birth of Messiah but it is possible to deduce from it that He wasn't born in the Roman December but in the spring! In fact, it is our belief that He was born on the very same day that He atoned for our sins, at Pesach or Passover.
The Truth Can Hurt
Sometimes the emet (truth) hurts becaue none of us likes to be wrong. We find a certain amount of security in what we believe to be right. So when what we think is emet (truth) turns out not to be, it can be very disturbing indeed.
Our feelings often react negatively to the emet (truth)! We want to run away from it or simply ignore it. Yes, we have all sorts of psychological devices for shutting down so that we don't have to deal with what we don't like.
Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy
Unfortunately, that's all a part of maturing and growing up. When I think of the disappointment and sense of betrayal many children experience when they discover that Santa Claus isn't real, or that there is no tooth fairy, and that their parents have been deceiving them year after year, you can appreciate why as adults we can have an in-built scepticism because we have been lied to in the past. Yahweh recognises this problem which is why He tells us not to accept any claimed emet (truth) anything uncritically but to seriously examine it. Paul admonished the Thessalonians to: "test all things; hold fast what is good" (1 Thess.5:21, NKJV) and Yahweh Himself invites us to discuss with Him anything in an open and free manner, the example parents and ministers should follow too:
Rejecting Truth Always Has Consequences
"'Come now, and let us reason together,' says Yahweh, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword'" (Isa.1:18-20, NKJV).
Once again, Yahweh does not force us into the emet (truth) - He reasons and pleads with us - but at the same time we are reminded that there are consequences - sometimes painful, and sometimes fatal - if we reject that emet (truth) because there is an enemy in the world who seeks legal spiritual grounds for our destruction.
Our Hearts, Deceitful Above All Else
Our greatest enemy is our own heart. Yahweh said through the prophet Jeremiah:
Feelings as Truth-Guides
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, Yahweh, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings" (Jer.17:9-10, NKJV).
Doesn't that tell us to be very careful of our feelings and how unreliable they can be as truth guides? Yahweh searches the heart and tests the mind, examining our feelings and thoughts - our thinking processes - to make sure they don't go off the derech (way) that leads to eternal life. We cannot be lax about either. Our thoughts and feelings must be progressively aligned to the emet (truth) of Yahweh's Davar (Word) if we are to function in the right way and find true shalom (peace), ahavah (love) and simcha (joy).
An Example of Error from Computing
After I qualified from Oxford with a couple of degrees in Biochemistry I moved on to learn business computing and trained to be a systems analyst. Those of you who know anything about computers know that a single error in programming is a enough to throw a program completely off and render it useless. If you create a program for a large company to, for example, process its ordering system, a single error of code in C++ (or whatever language you use), can cause serious errors that not only ruin the system but potentially lose customers and business. Though not nearly as serious, I remember one programming error in a local municipality in England. A lady received a bill for £0 and was told that if she didn't pay within 14 days she would be charged interest and, finally, taken to court. Of course, she laughted at it and ignored the bill. Two weeks later she got a reminder to pay up her £0 or else and again she threw the bill into the bin. Finally, two weeks after that, she was summonsed to court and then she began to panic! Now, of course, the matter was finally resolved but not before she has been put through a lot of unnecessary stress. The fault was with the municipality's programmer and systems analyst who forgot to put in a line of coding telling the customer to ignore the bill if it was £0!
A Small Error Can Have Enormous Consequences
A simple mistake like that can make a municipality look like a fool and the systems analyst can lose his job because of his carelessness. But is that really any different from the spiritual life? Our neglect can cause us serious problems. The five foolish virigins (Mt.25:1-13) made the mistake of not ensuring they had enough oil of the Ruach (Spirit) because they were lazy and careless with the mitzvot (commandments). When the hour came for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev.19:9) at the final Sukkot (Tabernacles), they weren't around because they were too busy trying to find somewhere to buy oil, that is to say, to start obeying the mitzvot (commandments), for the Ruach (Spirit), or oil, had departed from them. leaving their torches (lamps)  empty. Yahweh said:
Grace is Eventually Exhausted
"My Ruach (Spirit) shall not strive with man forever" (Gen.6:3, NKJV).
In other words, the Ruach (Spirit) does depart when man insists on remaining in disobedience, as the five foolish virgins did. These were saved believers, brethren and sisters - they were not unbelievers!
A Single DNA Mutation Can Kill
Just as a single error in a line of computer programming can crash a program - it only takes one single letter, number or character symbol to be wrong - so it is exactly the same way with our biological program, DNA - one single mutation in a single base pair can potentially be fatal. The same is true in the spiritual life. Doctrinal accuracy is important because one lie can potentially be enough to sabotage a soul's salvation or at the very least qualify him only for the least important place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
Yah'shua's Attitude Toward the Torah
"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" (Matt.5:19, NKJV).
The mitzvot (commandments) of which the Saviour speaks is the Torah. Earlier on in the same passage He says:
What Does 'Fulfill' Mean?
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah (Law) or the Nevi'im (Prophets). I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Matt.5:17, NKJV).
That word "fulfill" is a rather important one and it does not mean to 'destroy', 'remove' or nail to the cross' in this context. It means to bring to completion or, literally, to 'fill up to the top', as you might fill up a jug of water two-thirds full to the top with more water. The only things Yah'shua (Jesus) destroyed was the penalty of the Torah (Law), the guilt that attends sinning (once we have repented and have been forgiven), and the the power of death to have a final claim on us after we, as believers, pass out of mortality.
Torah as Teaching or Doctrine
When you read the word "Law" in the B'rit Chadashah Scriptures (New Testament) it translates the Hebrew word 'Torah' (and the Greek 'nomos') which means 'teaching' or 'doctrine' which contains the Law of Yahweh. Now obviously Yah'shua (Jesus) did not come to abolish or destroy His Father's doctrine or teaching! He came to complete it. He fulfilled the animal sacrifices in His death and resurrection and these truly have been 'abolished' for we have no need of them, nor the Levitical or Aaronic Priesthood which administered them. They have been 'removed' or 'taken out of the way' but not the whole of the Torah - not the whole of the teachings, doctrines and laws of Yahweh. The Ten Commandments, which are a summary of the whole Torah, are everywhere upheld in the B'rit Chadashah Scriptures (New Testament) by Yah'shua (Jesus) and the apostles.
One Word Wrongly Translated
Because the meaning of one word - 'torah' - and its Greek equivalent nomos have been misunderstood, a whole and vast doctrinal system has emerged that has resulted in the Once Saved, Always Saved lie and has resulted in a false belief that has demonised all forms of law-keeping as though it were somehow sinful, forgetting that it is Satan who is the lawless one. The excuse is made that we cannot be saved by keeping the Torah, and that is correct. But nowhere anywhere in the Bible are we told to obey the mitzvot (commandments) in order to be saved but because we are already saved and because we love Him! Thus Yah'shua (Jesus) told His talmidim (disciples):
Yah'shua Taught His Father's Torah
"If you love Me, keep My mitzvot (commandments)" (John 14:15, NKJV).
He explains what "His mitzvot (commandments)" are when He says that "I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things" (John 8:28, NKJV). In other words, He taught His Father's Torah. Did He add more Torah? Definitely - even as He says He was directed to by the Father - such as:
Making New Covenant Torah by Adding to the Old
"A new mitzvah (commandment) I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My talmidim (disciples), if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35, NKJV).
Here is an example of adding to the Torah which had existed up until His ministry - He was adding to what the Father had revealed in the Tanakh (Old Testament), filling it up or completing it - 'fulfilling' it but not abolishing or destroying it. Yes, He 'fulfilled' other things in the classical sense of the English word 'fulfill' too - many prophecies, such as: "So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'And He was numbered with the transgressors'" (Mark 15:28-29, NKJV) but that is not what we are talking about here. But where Yah'shua (Jesus) says: "I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Matt.5:17, NKJV) the Greek word is plêrôsai which means to complete or fill up to the top and not to bring to an end! The foundations of Protestantism stand or fall on this one word because a whole theology has evolved around this error that the Torah or Law has been done away with. IT HAS NOT. Rather, the Old Covenant Torah has been brought to completion by Yah'shua (Jesus) who has added His own mitzvot (commandments) to the old (minus the whole Levitical system) making it FULL or COMPLETE. In other words, we now live by grace and obey Yah'shua's (Jesus') New Covenant Torah as a fruit of our salvation by trusting in Him alone. Torah-obedience is the fruit of the one who has been "saved by His (Yah'shua's/Jesus') life" (Rom.5:10, NKJV) and by "the death of [Yah'shua/Jesus on] the cross" (Phil.2:8, NKJV).
The Walled Garden and Torah
Indeed, the Torah is our protective fence against the Enemy, Yah'shua (Jesus) being the "landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it (the vineyard)" (Matt 21:33, NKJV) which is the Kingdom. Likewise Paradise, Heaven or the world of spirits of the righteous before the resurrection, comes from the Persian word pairidaëza meaning a 'walled garden', the walled garden being again the Torah. This word 'paradise' translates the Hebrew gan eden or the Garden of Eden which was also an enclosed area separated from the rest of the world. Likewise, the Temple Compound of Elohim (God) is surrounded by a wall that contains a court and the actual temple with the same symbolic meaning in mind.
Torah-Obedience as a Fruit of Salvation and Obedience
A huge amount of fear exists in the Protestant world build around the lie that the Torah is somehow bad (as if Yahweh could ever make something 'bad') and that to obey it is to somehow be 'legalistic' and somehow scorn the work of the Messiah on the cross. Legalistic religion is indeed bad because legalism is attempting to be saved by your good works. All false religion is based on this lie. But the Scriptures nowhere command us to obey the Torah in order to be saved but because we are already saved. Successfully living the Torah in the power of the Ruach (Spirit) rather than the flesh is one of the many fruits of trusting in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). It is actually evidence that we are fully saved (like the wise virgins) and obedient rather than partially saved (like the foolish virgins) and disobedient. All of this is clearly taught in the festivals of Messianic Israel.
The True End-Time Believer Clearly Described
Finally, the Book of the End Times - the Book of Revelation - in two different places, identifies what a true believer looks like. Let's conclude by looking at them:
The Two-Part Believer
"Here is the patience of the qodeshim (saints, holy ones, set-apart ones); here are those who keep the mitzvot (commandments) of Elohim (God) and the emunah (faith) of Yah'shua (Jesus)" (Rev.14:12, NKJV)
"And the dragon (Satan) was enraged with the woman (Israel), and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the mitzvot (commandments) of Elohim (God) and have the testimony of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)" (Rev.12:17, NKJV).
Notice that they all say the same thing - that true believers:
This is why they also sing two songs as one song - the "song of Moses (Torah-obedience), the servant of Elohim (God), and the song of the Lamb (faith in Messiah)" (Rev.15:3, NKJV). It's a duet, as it were, or a song in two parts sung together.
- 1. Keep the mitzvot (commandments) of Elohim (God), i.e. the Torah; and
- 2. They keep the emunah (faith) of Yah'shua (Jesus).
The Double Witness of True Faith: The Messianic Evangelical
We are therefore able to clearly identify them by these two witnesses - their trusting in Messiah for their salvation and their obedience the mitzvot (commandments) of the Father. They are Torah-obedient evangelicals, that is to say, messianic evangelicals.
Critical Obedience for Tree of Life Access and Residence in the New Jerusalem
But there is one more passage in this same Book of Revelation that goes even further, showing how critical Torah-obedience actually is to a full salvation:
Torah-Obedience is not Optional, It is Mandatory
"Blessed are those [believers] who do His mitzvot (commandments), that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city" (Rev.22:14, NKJV).
The city spoken of here is the New Jerusalem which comes to the earth with Yah'shua (Jesus) at His return (Rev.3:12; 21:2). Do you see what it is that actually qualifies us to partake of no less than the Tree of Life, and right to enter into the New Jersualem to dwell with the Master? It is to do His mitzvot (commandments), that is, to obey the Torah which Yah'shua (Jesus) filled up with His new mitzvot (commandments) to make it full!
It's a Simple Choice
It cannot be put any plainer. Either you accept it or you deny the Davar Elohim (Word of God). It may totally destroy your doctrinal system butv dare you cling on to a lie when the Scripture is to plain? You cannot twist it to mean something else. It stands as an eternal witness against lawlessness and disobedience. Do you still deny that we are required to obey the Torah in the New Covenant? Then you may not partake of the Tree of Life and you may not dwell with Messiah in the New Jerusalem nor partake of the First Resurrection. You must be prepared to be counted as least in the Kingdom of Heaven, for that is what you are choosing when you reject the mitzvot (commandments).
Yahweh's desire is that you be full too - full of the Ruach (Spirit) and eternal life, not among the least in the Kingdom but the greatest. Do not be proud or self-delusional. Repent, cast away your man-made traditions and demonstrate your love of Messiah by obeying His Torah! Amen.
Continued in Part 4
 Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek, I Don't Have Enought Faith to be an Atheist (Crossway, Wheaton, Illinois: 2004)
 These were not actually small lamps but large torches made of oil-soaked rags