Month 7:15, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5939:192 AM|
SUKKOT 1/7, 2Exodus 1/40
Gregorian Calendar: Wednesday 8 October 2014
Making Ready the Bride
Chag Sameach Sukkot and Shabbat Shalom kol beit Yisra'el in the Name of Yah'shua our Messiah (Jesus Christ) - may His grace and favour be upon you all! I would like to welcome representatives and friends this first day of Sukkot and for the Annual General Conference of the New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh (NCAY) from the UK, USA, Sweden, Germany and Nigeria. I am sure you will all join with me in sending greetings abroad to our brethren and sisters assembling in East Africa and elsewhere around the world and to those from Ireland, South Africa, Canada, Ghana, Rwanda, Norway and Kenya who could not be with us but would liked to have been.
The Struggles to Get to Conference
There have been some harrowing stories I could tell about the battles people have fought in order to get here that have reminded me of the many difficulties people in the past have had to come to this place - the Enemy does not like what we do and respresent here. There has been much spiritual warfare. So the fact that you are even here may, in some cases, be a small miracle - one brother missed his flight by half a minute along with his non-refundable ticket but managed to find another way to get here involving 11 trains. Another got his visa just in time under miraculous circumstances (what normally takes 3-4 months took just two weeks) but but was too late for the last flight out of his country. Another was sudddenly taken ill and had to go to hospital. From our side, we have had a nightmare with the guest house and even getting this conference underway. So we thank Yahweh that we are all here this morning and ask Him to sustain us over the next eight days and those who could not make it.
Preparing Conference Sermons in Advance
This year my family, with good intentions, counselled me to prepare the Sukkot (Tabernacles) sermons well in advance so that I would have more time with the guests than I usually do. Unfortunately, the Ruach (Spirit) does not work like that and though I had a sermon prepared for today, written some weeks ago, Yahweh told me to scrap it and simply wait on Him. This has happened many times to me in the past, so many times, in fact, that I have lost count. You see, we aren't here to provide a 'program' but to convey the living Davar Elohim (Word of God) fresh out of the shamayim (heavens). If that is only given the night before, or not until an hour or two before the actual assembly itself (which is a common occurance here), then we must fall in with that as it is Yahweh's prerogative. I have learned that we must do things Yahweh's way, however 'inconvenient' to our love of order and structure. We must live by the Ruach (Spirit) or not at all. It's a tough discipline especially for those of us who like orderliness. That is not, of course, to say that we should stop making preparations or having things organised well, for as it is written:
"Let all things be done decently and in order" (1 Cor 14:40, NKJV).
Organisation and orderliness have their assigned place provided Yahweh has given the green light to go ahead with a program. Just as preaching is not in the ultimate control of the preacher - he is not allowed to simply talk about his pet subjects but has to be Yahweh's willing and obedient mouthpiece, sharing Yahweh's message in Yahweh's way and in Yahweh's timing. This is not his or anyone else's 'show'. We utterly repudiate the entertainment-style Christianity of the West and those whom they had sadly influenced for evil. So this is the reason that 80 per cent of our original program was scrapped just a few days ago and the new one put in place. Those of you planning to join this work, or who have recently joined this work, will soon get used to this. We have to be on the cutting-edge of revelation at all times - we do not have the luxury of doing what we want to, ever, if we trily claim to belong to Him.
The Creation Witness Theme
The theme of this Conference has been changed to The Creation Witness and over the course of the next week we are going to be looking at the Creation inwardly and outwardly in great depth with the two important witnesses Yahweh has given us: the physical creation itself and the Menorah or seven-armed candlearbre revealed to Moses and commanded for incorporation in Temple worship. We have said a lot about the Menorah over the years and received much revelation concerning divine tavnith or pattern but there is so much more we still need to look at. We are going to be looking primarily at the research of Dr. Hollisa Alewine and by the end of this study I hope you will be able to take away valuable hermeneutic keys that will enable you in particular to better understand, and unlock the mysteries in, the Messianic Scriptures.
The Format of the Program
It's important that you don't skip any of the sessions for continuity's sake as this will be a day-by-day progressive unfolding as we talk about one of the most beautiful revelations Yahweh has given us and others others like Dr. Alewine. So this will be a twin witness that I hope will give you some idea of what it is we are witnessing of and the foundation stones of this ministry. By the time we come to the last day of worship at Shemini Atseret (Last Great Day) I pray that you will have deeper insights into Yahweh's purpose and how He has coded the Scriptures to reveal that purpose to us. You will be able to make better sense of the Book of Revelation in particular which has been a sealed book for so long because exegetes have not used the correct Tanakh (Old Testament) keys. Each day, except on the sabbaths, we will have two short video presentations - one in the mordning and one in the afternoon - followed by a discussion and then I will show open the meeting to Question & Answer sessions to enable investigators and new members in particular to ask us any questions you may have about the mission and teachings of the New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh (NCAY). Because of the format of this conference it will not be possible to publish any of these seminars on-line as we usually do - this is both for copyright reasons (not all the materials are ours) as well as because our discussions will be impromptu. Hopefully in the future we will be able to tape such conference sessions.
Last of the Harvest Festivals
Today we commence the third and last of Yahweh's three annual harvest festivals which, like the first, lasts for seven days. This is the mitzvah (commandment):
Notice how the sacred tavnith (pattern) is repeated to ensure proper obedience to the mitzvot (commandment). You will appreciate the meaning of the details over the next six days of seminars.
"Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) for seven days to Yahweh. On the first day there shall be a qodesh (holy, set-apart) convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh. On the eighth day you shall have a qodesh (holy, set-apart) convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it. These are the feasts of Yahweh which you shall proclaim to be qodesh (holy, set-apart) convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day -- besides the Sabbaths of Yahweh, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to Yahweh.
"'Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of Yahweh for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest. And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your Elohim (God) for seven days. You shall keep it as a chag (feast) to Yahweh for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths (tabernacles) for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths (tabernacles), that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths (tabernacles) when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am Yahweh your Elohim (God)'" (Lev.23:33-43, NKJV).
Having the Right Ruach
Sukkot (Tabernacles, Booths) is one of the last of the three Pilgrim Festivals at which we are commanded to assemble together at the appointed places and to use our Festival Tithes (a third of a tenth) to enable us to travel as well as contribute our share for food and accommodation. This tithing segment is dedicated to Yahweh and is expressly commanded to be used for this purpose and only for this purpose, whether it is for ourselves and our families or in support of poorer families or in support of those hosting such assemblies. We are celebrating the Grape Harvest that follows on from the Barley and Wheat harvests of Yom haBikkurim (Day of Firstfruits) and Shavu'ot (Weeks, 'Pentecost'), respectively. It is our prayer that though in terms of numbers this is a small conference indeed - seeing as Yahweh has culled the delegates by about half rather as Gideon did his warriors whose hearts were right before Elohim (God) - that it may be rich in the fellowship of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) as we seek in earnest for the Shavu'ot Anointing belonging to the Remnant in this the first year of the Second and Final 40 year-long Exodus, and covenant to take it with back us to our respective homes, congregations and nations.
A Prophetic Dream: The Two Births and the Baby Deliverances
What is Yahweh's Davar (Word) for us today? This question has occupied my mind for some days now but He is not giving the answer I have sought in the way He has done before. To answer that question - as I have a very clear and strong sense now as to what He wants of us - can best perhaps be answered by answering the questions, 'Who are we?' and 'Where are we going?' But I am not going to answer either of those questions in any of the ways I might previously have answered them over the last 30 years of our existence - this is in fact the 30th anniversary of the original call Yahweh made to me in Oxford, England. To answer these two questions, then, I am going to share a prophetic dream received by my wife five days ago (on 3 October) which certainly explains who we are now and what we are to be in the immediate future. These are her own words:
Our Rôle as Spiritual Midwives
"I dreamt last night that we were delivering babies and we were doing it in a church. The church building was big, but needed a lot of work and repair, but the people were happy to work on things as they went along. They were a very friendly people and very eager to help us and many wanted to be there when the baby was born, some we allowed, however we had to turn some away simply because a certain amount of privacy was needed, plus we would have been tripping over each other, but their eagerness was wonderful. The pastor was ready and willing to help and do whatever he could. Our time there was very nice and we birthed many babies, each one eagerly awaited and received by the entire congregation."
That was the first part of the dream. In essence our calling has been, for many years, to assist the Ruach (Spirit) naturally birth new and old emet (truth) by teaching the Davar Elohim (Word of God) both in its simple, plain or p'shat sense, as well as the deeper mysteries, which are echad or one. This we have done both within our own fellowship and to those who have come and gone over the years. The friendly people who come are those who are hungry for emet (truth), are welcoming and cooperative. This kind of ministry is not, though, for large audiences, which is why privacy is needed to build confidence and trust. So you might say we are, in very large measure, spiritual midwives: some teach, some preach, and others assist during the labour pains of awakening to teshuvah (repentance) and the actual birth into reality and chayim (life).
Second Part of the Prophetic Dream
The second part of the prophetic dream describes both who we are not and how we are received by those people and churches who are not true seekers though appear to be at the beginning, whose motives are not pure:
The Tree of Death
"The second church we went to was a huge, fancy church, with the latest in everything from furnishings to technology. We went in and were greeted by people hurrying about preparing a stage, setting up the sound system and so forth. I approached the pastor to tell him we were ready to start and asked if he would be joining us, assuming he would, just as the other pastor had, but he laughed and said no, he would not be joining us and that he stayed as far away as possible from such things. We thought it curious but said nothing. He introduced us to a woman and said she would be helping us. He went on and on about her credentials saying she had a Masters [degree] in some type of science, I can't recall now, but he assured us that she was highly educated and capable of helping us. I was a bit surprised because although she indeed was well educated, she knew nothing about delivering babies.
"After we delivered a baby we went back to the pastor to see if there was anymore for us to do. He asked us to follow him and he led us to another room and in this room was a huge tree with branches thick and wide. It was full of lights, and was actually quite lovely. As I was admiring the tree I noticed there were a lot wires in the tree, lots and lots up at the top. I assumed these were electrical wires for all the lights. Then I was shocked to see that the tree was full of snakes and these snakes were biting at the wires, I was worried that they would bite through the wires and destroy the lights, but then I saw that the wires themselves were moving ..... they were not wires at all but something that was alive. The pastor told us that he would no longer need us, and that that baby was the last we would ever deliver because they now had this tree to help them do it all. We left and went home...
The Tree in this dream is the carnal, prideful, deceitful Tree of Death or the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen.2:9,17) as also represented by the woman with the masters degree. These are the mega-churches whose business is not the emet (truth) but the putting on a spectacle or a show for money, acclaim and power, the religious branch of the entertainment industry or extensions of the academic institutions of the atheists and humanists, who do not want deliverance from sin or rebirthing into new spiritual chayim (life), who imitate the ways of the world.
Work and Repair
Contrast this with the first church which needed a lot of work and repair. That is because Yahweh's people are constantly being renewed as the false is exposed and discarded, to be replaced by the new, represented by the babies. The babies are 'delivered' because deliverance from error, as well as the demonic which rides the back of error. We are in a continual process, never static, so are in constant change. In many ways, this is what the journey to Sukkot (Tabernacles) from Shavu'ot (Weeks) is, a process of multiple rebirths into emet (truth), reflective of the seven days of continual teshuvah (repentance) that is Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavaned Bread) whose span denotes the whole of life. And though Sukkot (Tabernacles) itself is all about the great culmination or consummation for the faithful, it is also reached not by one single step but by many.
Nature of the Shavu'ot Anointing
The Sukkot (Tabernacles) anointing is a series of spiritual awakenings, sometimes in small steps, sometimes in large, each tailor-made to the individual talmid (disciple), because each individual component of the Bride of Messiah - us - is utterly unique and requires specialist care from our Heavenly Father. All are unique but all share a common sevenfold set of spiritual endowments mediated by each of the seven Ruachot haQodesh (Holy Spirits). And though Dr. Alewine does not talk about the Ruachot (Spirit) in this way, because she does not believe they are seven separate Persons but only one, we will learn much from her of the characteristics of the Seven and how they illuminate both the processes of spiritual change mandated upon all the overcomers as well as how they yield to those who will honour and not consume upon their lusts for personal gain the seven keys of revelation in Scripture that enable us to make better sense of everything. Certainly I hope that by the end of Conference we will be better able to articulate these. On the final sabbath of Shemini Atseret (last Great Day) we will have a 'grand review', as it were and try to draw everything that we have learned together.
The Deadly Fruit of a Deadly Tree
The fruit of the Tree of Death of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is what all Christians and Messianics are partaking of. They are usually highly denominationalised, competitive, aggressive and rigid in dogma and creed, unamenable to more light and emet (truth) from Yahweh and who in consequence who have itching ears for false prophecy, tongues and other charismata, who dabble in New Age ideas and follow seducing spirits massaging their vanity, who, in the case of Messianics, want endless numbers of new Scriptures, pursue Jewish fables, and embrace every doctrinal fad. Consistently they do not pursue any kind of spiritual discipline that lead to overcoming the fleshy nature - and it is this dark fruit that is bringing them all together into the multi-religious and multi-cultural religious side of the Beast System. It is crawling with snakes who are concealed in the branches of this system of the spiritual Prostitute. The tree is decked, like a Christmas tree, with lots of cheap pretty lights with which to alure the carnal soul into its deadly Babylonian mystery. This is what we are not only not but what we stand squarely vehemently against and because we do that it always provokes opposition and persecution. We, like them, want 'change' but of the repentant sort that leads to rebirth which is by no means 'quick and easy'. We want quality rather than quanity, character not glitter, ruach not nefesh (soulish activity). We don't believe any doctrine or dogma is of any use unless it tangibly and actually births us into a deeper awareness and communion with Yahweh whilst maintains the absolute emet (truth) and integrity of the written Davar (Word).
Seeking the Fullness
Sukkot (Tabernacles) is about the fullness, and we want the fullness, and nothing but the fullness. We don't want cheap imitations that leave the soul hungry and dying. We don't want anything watered-down but fresh, whole and complete. We accept limitations and oppositions to our lives as a necessary part of this spiritual growth process. We accept that we must walk by emunah (faith) rather than by sight (2 Cor.5:7), we accept the necesssity of learning perseverance (2 Pet.1:6; Rev.2:3; Rom.5:3) and that such must be learned in the school of hard knocks, but we do not believe that that emunah (faith) is ignorant or that we should ever be content with anything else less that the great consummate and joyful glory which is Sukkot (Tabernacles) and the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. yes, we enjoy our discipleship! It makes us happy and fulfilled. But this is only possible if we choose to walk in all the mitzvot (commandments) according to the Covenant of Shavu'ot (Weeks, 'Pentecost') and not just the ones the churches or the messianic synagogues or our carnal senses pick and choose between. All are necessary for the fullness. It's only possible if we believe that all things are possible to them that believe.
Sukkot and the Sh'mittah
This Sukkot Yahweh wants us all to go to the next level. Those of you who are here gathered are called to do so, if you so choose - to a new level of emunah (faith), to a new level of trusting and of tiqveh (hope). Indeed, I want you to come with me to a new height by putting Sukkot (Tabernacles) into the higher spiritual dimension of Sh'mittah and the yet higher dimension of Yovel. Let me explain.
"Yahweh spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai; He said, 'Tell the people of Israel, 'When you enter the land I am giving you, the land itself is to observe a Sabbath rest for Yahweh''" (Lev.25:1-2, CJB).
When they were in the land set-apart to Yahweh, the children of Israel were commanded to observe what in Hebrew is called Sh'mittah, that is to say, shavtah la'aretz or 'Sabbath-ceasing for the land'. That meant every seventh year no sowing, no pruning, no reaping, no gathering or selling of agricultural produce for profit (Lev.25:2-7; Ex.23:10-11; Dt.15:1-3). It meant trusting in a mighty way that a double portion would be provided in the sixth year of the Sh'mittah cycle to cover the seventh year of no sowing, pruning, reaping, gathering or selling produce for profit. Like the Nazirite vow, only let us not apply it to the land rather than to the man under that vow, the 'aftergrowth' of harvest was to be left like the unkempt hair of the Nazirite (Num.6:5). Everbody is suddenly equalised because no matter who you are or what you own, everyone is entitled to help themselves equally to what grows untended. Debtors are released from their debts.
The Double Portion Inheritance
Yahweh wants us to enter into a sabbath rest, starting today, and to totally stop worrying or being anxious about the present and the future. He wants to give us a double portion of the Ruach (Spirit), as of Elijah to Elishah, who were a type of the fifth and sixth years, respectively, so that we can ride the Sh'mittah or Sabbatical year next year, free of all the labour that has, because of our emunah (faith), brough to pass such a bounteous harvest. Next year - the coming new biblical year - he wants us to fully come out of the world system and to be sustained by Him on every level of our being, from the spiritual, to the mental, to the emotional and finally to the physical - on what is provided without sowing, pruning, reaping, gathering or selling what we produce, inside or out, for profit - for we are not to profit but to rest in the double portion inheritance of the Ruach (Spirit) for the purpose for which it was given and not for what we personally desire in ministry or for any other purpose we may have conceived.
Parable of the Sower: The Land as the Heart
In the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) Yah'shua (Jesus) tells the parable of the sower (Mt.13) and in it we are given to understand that the soil or land is the human heart into which the seed, which is the Davar Elohim (Word of God), is sown. The condition of our hearts determines how we receive the Davar (Word) and whether it survives in our soul or not. Now what applies on one level of creation must, because that is how the Creator has designed it, also apply on others. The heart too, which in Hebrew parlance also includes the mind, must therefore have its own sh'mittah. It too must have its sabbath rest where there is no 'sowing', 'pruning', 'reaping', 'gathering' or 'selling' - that is to say, it is to cease being so busy, so active, so straining, so bound to sowing, pruning, reaping, gathering or selling produce for profit - it too must be allowed to recoup or recover. This is to be a year of rest not only for the land but also for the land within - the heart and mind. These too must have their sabbath rest after six years of back-breaking work. We have laboured so hard, to the point of virtual collapse, but now the Sh'mittah is imminent.
Releasing of Debts
There must also be a releasing of 'debts' - that means, forgiving others' debts to us because of wrong-doing done to us. We have to fully release them or we will be overwhelmed in exactly the same way that a debtor is overwhelmed by his debt to the point of bankruptcy, loss of everything and indentured servitude to pay off the debt. But Yahweh doesn't want us to enslave our debtors on the Sabbatical Year - He wants us to release them as a condition of recovery and renewed prosperity. We have to finally and fully let go of everything weighing us down for a personal lack of forgiveness toward others who have done us wrong or harm, as Yah'shua (Jesus) did on the cross (Lk.23:34). And you all know what happens to the one who refuses to forgive (Jn.20:23). In a word, the Sh'mittah is the full expression of Yah's GRACE, His undeserved loving kindness, His unmerited favour. This is the festival that reveals whether we have been in possession, and used, this grace or not, because this is the heart of His nature. We have to show the same to others, however undeserving they are of our forgiveness, because we are undeserving of Yahweh's too. It all boils down to this. It begins and ends with grace, from Pesach (Passover) to Sukkot (Tabernacles) and everything in between.
Penultimate and Ultimate
Now if you think that is a lot, I have to tell you that it is only the penultimate or last-but-one level of Yahweh's demand that we extend grace to others as He extends it to us. My generation is the penulatimate generation, but the one after mine is the ultimate or final one, and must be ready to enter into the last level. That last level is the Yovel. What is that?
In the 50th year of Yovel or Jubilee in Yahweh's ordained cycle of divine moedim (appointments) for Israel, and by extension to Messianic Israel too, d'ror or liberty is to be proclaimed after it has been sanctified. Every man is obliged to return to his own land and clan, and all slaves are to be set free, including those who chose to have their ears bored with awls because they refused their freedom in order to remain with their masters. They are obliged to be free whether they like it or not - and that, of course, includes those who refuse to grow up and mature spiritually. That option is no longer available in the Yovel. Also, the land cannot be sold in perpetuity any more than the heart can be sold into sin in perpetuity because it is Yahweh's, and Yahweh's to decide what to do with, no matter what foolish transactions are made by us in our sinning and unwise vows. Fields revert to their ancestral owners at the Yovel (Jubilee) - it's a kind of home-coming or home-bringing, just as all souls must return to Yahweh once they have served their terms in hell, albeit with diminished or even practically no rewards at all save continued existence free from the just punishment for wickedness. And fields, as you know in Scripture, represent the world in which we live, the world which is mortality. Mortality itself has to be yielded back to immortality, and thus to the resurrection life, for that is the fruit of Sukkot for those who have accepted Yah'shua's (Jesus) Bikkurim or Firstfruits work.
Now I know this is a lot to take in, as it was for me when I received this message around midnight. The Bride, which assembles at Sukkot (Tabernacles), is experiencing her own Yovel, Jubilee or Home-coming, because she always belonged to her Master and Husband, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), and He, as you know, is irresistable when all Enemies have been expelled. You who are gathered here, by grace rather than by merit, because you made the choice to love the emet (truth) more than your own lives and carnal pride, are blessed if you will continue in this. To equip you, if you so choose, if you trust and obey, you will receive the anointing you need to enable you to be birthed further. Our mission in Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon is to be spiritual midwives. That's what we are here for - for those who are of humble heart but of passionate conviction that the derech (way), the emet (truth) and the chayim (life) (Jn.14:6) is the most desirable prize that there is - we are here to help you. The Sh'mittah year approaches and we can either walk into it as friends of the Master or against it as His rebellious sons and daughters, to be chastised by it until we are properly humbled. For those of you who did not come when you could there may be additional issues to deal with, additional trials to face, but you are by no means excluded if you will get on your faces before Yahweh, make true teshuvah (repentance) and walk the talk in earnest.
This is but Day #1 of Sukkot and this message a preface to what must follow if you will come with me, in Yah'shua (Jesus), in emunah (faith, trusting). We are here to celebrate, to enjoy Yah'shua (Jesus) our Bridegroom and one another. This is not a time for gloomy face, it is a time to reel those anchors in that we have been dragging behind us because of foolish choices, or unwillingness to make teshuvah (repent), or the continued belief in lies that we are no good or useless. All arrogance and pity-partying must go into the trash-can - you'll get no admiration or sympathy for it here because these things are death and stagnation. Let us have a dress rehearsal for that great last day to come, as it is written:
We here at Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon are in the ready-making business. Again, we want to welcome everyone and pray that you will have a time of spiritual feasting and fellowship that will make for much simcha (joy)! Amen.
"Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready" (Rev.19:7, NKJV).
Continued in Part 2