Month 7:20, Week 3:5 (Chamashee/Teruah), Year:Day 5939:198 AM|
2Exodus 2/40, 4th Sh'mittah - Year 49/50,
USA Judgment - Day #T-7, Global Judgment - Day #T-94
Gregorian Calendar Saturday 3 October 2015
Sukkot VI 2015
To Fellowship or to Socialise?
Continued from Part 5
Chag sameach Sukkot mishpachah and welcome to the sixth day of the Feast of Tabernacles!
Fellowshipping vs. Socialising
Today's message is one of those messages that I have had to struggle hard over to bring forth. It really began after my wife shared a dream she had this morning which led me to ask the question, 'What is the difference between followshipping and socialising?' The difference between the two is not whether or not you believe in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). The difference between the two is not whether or not you observe the Torah. The difference between the two will, I think, surprise you, and it is the difference between the heavenly and the earthly. It is the difference between the spirit of Sukkot (Tabernacles) and the spirit of the world.
The Shelem Peace or Fellowship Offering
If you look up the word 'fellowship' in the Bible you will get some surprises. For one thing, the word doesn't exist in the Tanakh (Old Testament)! It's an exclusively B'rit Chadashah or New Covenant concept unless you start using modern translations like the New International Version (NIV) where it is used most liberally to translate the Hebrew word shelem which is a voluntarily offered peace offering under the terms of the Old Covenant. As you can hear from its sound, shelem, it is related to the more familiar 'shalom'. So the NIV speaks of "fellowship offerings" which actually is a very misleading translation indeed. Even worse, the NIV readers version calls it a "friendship offering" (Ex.20:24, NIRV). Yet shelem has little to do with either 'friendship' or 'fellowship'. Shelem is that which makes shalom or peace between an offended Elohim (God) because of sin, or what one modern version interestingly calls "offerings of well-being" (NRSV), although this too falls short of the full meaning of shelem.
The Difference Between Two Worlds
As I looked more deeply into this question I became more and more aware of the difference between socialising and fellowship and this is what I learned: Yahweh never socialises with men - He never 'hangs out' - and those who have shalom or peace between one another through the shelem or peace offering don't 'socialise' either. THEY FELOWSHIP. They make deep connections in the Ruach (Spirit) through Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) which is a fruit of sacrifice because they desire a state of well-being that is only possible through reconcilliation with Yahweh through the blood sacrifice of Messiah. They have crucified the flesh with its sinful disposition (Gal.5:24) and crossed a line dividing one world from another. They have literally swapped dimensions or worlds - they have passed between one pole of a torus and the other. It is the difference between heaven and hell. It is the difference between the fullness of Sukkot (Tabernacles) and the spiritual destitution of the world.
No Socialites in Heaven
Anyone can socialise or make small talk. They can even talk about the God and Gospel without fellowshipping. I met theology professors in Oxford who talked about the religion but it was all in their heads. Fellowshipping is communing in the ruach (spirit) through, and in, Messiah. Socialising is communicting through the psyche without the need for Him. They are two entirelty different worlds. A socialite would feel totally out of place in heaven because he would discover that he had no depth and no shalom (peace). He would soon realise that his disposition was to communicate in order to get something rather than to give it. So in a way I can understand why the New International Version describes the shelem or peace offering as a "fellowship offering" because once you have that deep communion that comes from personal surrender and sacrifice, and having offenses against Elohim (God) removed, fellowship, well-being and wholeness truly does result.
Socialisation, the pet-word of secular liberals, is a counterfeit of fellowship in the sense that it is enjoyed by those who are truly surrendered in their will and have made a total committment of their lives. And that is why it may rightly be connected to Sukkot (Tabernacles) and its imagery which is of marriage. Marriage, in order to work, requires life-long committment - through thick or thin and the fruit of it is a relationship that can be liked to fellowship becfause of its depth and intensity. You're willing to lay down your life for someone you are in biblical fellowship with. You are less likely to want to loay your life down for someone you are merely socialising or small-talking or speaking superficially with. When you lay your life down for someone, you are not out to get something because it is the ultimate giving.
Yahweh Hates the Motions
Socialising is often going through the motions of fellowshipping and when it is done by believers, Yahweh positively hates it. This is is His view on the matter:
A Question of Whose Agenda
"Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice shelem (peace, well-being, fellowship) offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let mishpat (justice, judgment) roll on like a river,
tzedakah (righteousness) like a never-failing stream!"
(Amos 5:22-24, NIV).
Even our praises - our worship music - are an abomination when our lives are not properly seasoned with justice and rigthteousness! Just because a choir or a congregation is singing the words of Zion and of Messiah enthusiastically and passionately does not make them acceptable if there is an absence of justice and righteousness. In other words, if your life is not qodesh, holy, sanctified or set-apart so that it is no longer your own, your 'peace offerings' - which are proclaiming that you have been reconciled to Him through repentance and the blood of the Lamb leading to Torah-obedience - are an abomination because they are hypocritical. Yahweh would rather have holiness than your words, music, tithes and offerings because none of these have any meaning whatsoever without your being clean before Him. If we don't actually belong to Him - if the Messianic Bride doesn't actually belong to her Husband, the Messianic Bridegroom, as a wife to her husband - then what possible fellowship do any of us have at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev.19:7) at Sukkot (Tabernacles)? If we haven't given up everything and made ourselves totally Yahweh's in absolutely everything, then we're not His, we're not His servants and we have not come up to Sukkot (Tabernacles). At Sukkot there is only one agenda - His - not ours. And when our agenda is fully His, then we have fellowship.
Churches of Entertainment
It is possible to find any number of unconsecrated believers to have fellowship with. You can easily fill your churches up with them by offering them a program of entertainment. They'll love it. They'll lap it up, more so if there's a good meal that goes a long with it. One church I used to attend in Oxford provided the most amazing lunches. There was no shortage of visitors. They had come for the food and for the talk. But how many of these actually wanted to commit in baptism? Not many. And those that did - those that came for the wrong motives - were just hangers-on, not really contributing much of anything. If something else turned up that they fancied more, we wouldn't see them.
The Fall of Adam and Eve
There is a word in Hebrew that Yah'shua (Jesus) uses of His friends or true talmidim (disciples) and it is a chaver (plural, chaverim), 'friend' or 'sharer'. And it is not an accident that the word chavercomes from the same root as Chavah or Havah, the Hebrew name for Eve. Eve was hee husbands helpmeet, friend and sharer. Sharers partake of one another, investing in one another. Her complete investment was in Adam as ours is in Yahweh through Yah'shua (Jesus). She had chavurah or fellowship with her husband. Eve shattered that sharing relationship, first with Yahweh, and then with her husband when she socialised with Satan and entered into a deadly fellowship with him by partaking of, and merging with, his sin-nature resident in the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam's great sin was in choosing that new dark chavurah (fellowship) his wife now had with the Serpent so as not to lose her, and to do that he had to relinquish the chavurah (fellowship) he had with Yahweh. He indiscriminately chose the fellowship of his fallen wife over chavurah with his Creator. He committed idolatry.
The Dark Fellowship of Demons
There is a deep and deadly chavurah (fellowship) with the devil and we establish it through trusting in unrighteousness and by acting in disobedience. Paul talks about this kind of fellowship:
Goodness, Righteousness and Truth Bind Fellowship
"I do not want you to have fellowship (chavurah) with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Master and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Master's table and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke them, Master to jealousy?" (1 Cor.10:20-22, NKJV).
"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship (chavurah) has righteousness with lawlessness (Torahlessness)? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Messiah with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of Elohim (God) with idols? For you are the temple of the living Elohim (God)" (2 Cor.6:14-16, NKJV).
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Master. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Ruach/Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and emet/truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Master. And have no fellowship (chavurah) with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them" (Eph.5:8-11, NKJV).
Please notice that chavurah (fellowship) is linked to the Ruach (Spirit), to all goodness, to all righteousness and to all emet (truth). You can't separate them. If you do, you cease to have chavurah (fellowship) and you end up with mere socialising, with empty chatter. Chavurah (fellowship) is like a true marriage relationship - it is the very heart and essence of Sukkot (Tabernacles).
Fellowship for Witness
You can socialise and still be 'afar off' like strangers or aliens but you cannot fellowship without being intimately connected. The fellowship of the qodeshim (saints, holy ones, set-apart ones) is extremely deep and the apostles refer to it again and again as the hallmark of their saved-ness . Those who fellowship hate being apart and make effort to be together whenever Yahweh releases them for for this purpose on the sabbath and at other times. The bond was so close between those early believers that they met together practically every day, not to socialise but for the one consuming passion that they had: evangelism and preparation for evangelism. They valued that sweet, precious communion of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) for the companionship offered by the world was but dross to them. It was purely voluntary unlike Satan's forced collectivisation. They went to each other's homes, sharing meals and all they had:
Fellowship and the Living Temple
"Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising Elohim (God) and enjoying the favour of all the people. And Yahweh added to their number daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:46-47, NIV).
What is chavurah (fellowship)? What happens when you have it?
The Melchizedek Order in the Family
"Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the qodeshim (saints) and members of the household of Elohim (God), having been built on the foundation of the shlichim (apostles) and nevi'im (prophets), Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a qadosh (holy, set-apart) temple in Yahweh, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of Elohim (God) in the Ruach (Spirit)" (Eph.2:19-22, NKJV).
I don't want anyone to miss the phrase, "household of Elohim (God)" or Bayit Elohim. A bayit or house or household is a family. Yahweh is familial and the Besorah (Gospel) is familial. Every house has its head, structures and authorities. In those days a household would contain servants too. In the New Covenant Melchizedek Order, in which we are now supposed to be living, a Household would also include many families. The Household of Abraham , whose children we are by emunah (faith) in the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), consisted of numerous families and servants. And the Bayit Elohim or House of God is no different. Everyone has his place, duties and responsibilities and is answerable to his head.
The Chavurat Bekorot or Kehillat haBechorim
A New Covenant kehilah or congregation is a collection of families under the headship of a shepherd or pastor with his family. We have yet to talk about the patriarchal system and how it figures in the restoration of Messianic Israel and we shall do that another time. Chavurah or fellowship is properly defined in the context of voluntary associations of families because that is how the heavenlies are organised. We're not supposed to be isolated individuals or families because that is not how the the Body of Messiah or Messianic Israel is built. This is the "Chavurat Bekorot", Kehillat haBechorim or "Church (Fellowship, Congregation) of the Firstborn" to which we are called and in which alone we can ever come to a full understanding, and receive the full blessing, of what it means to have "fellowship" and be echad (one):
"For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a shofar (trumpet) and the voice of devarim (words), so that those who heard it begged that the davar (word) should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was commanded: 'And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.' And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, 'I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.') But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living Elohim (God), the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of malakim (angels), to the general assembly (gathering) and chavurat bekorot/kehillat haBechorim (church of the firstborn or 'congregation of the bachorim' - RSTNE) who are registered in heaven, to Elohim (God) the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Yah'shua (Jesus) the Mediator of the b'rit chadashah (new covenant), and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel" (Heb.12:18-24, NKJV).
This is big, my friends, and no more to be trifled with than when those first Israelites congregation around the set-apart mountain! This is huge - fellowship is not mere idle prattle or gluttenous eating - it is TOTAL COMMITMENT in DEEP AHAVAH (LOVE) in COMMITTED FRIENDSHIP AND BROTHERHOOD and nobody comes up to this Mountain who is not fully consecrated and on fire with the Besorah (Good News) and has not learned to live together in community.
The Many Faces of Chavurah
In the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) chavurah (fellowship) is linked to a cluster of different things that cannot be separated from one another and we must not miss them if we are serious about Sukkot. Chavurah (fellowship) is 100% "of Messiah" (1 Cor.1:9; 12:27; 2 Cor.4:11; Philo.3:10), of the Ruach (Spirit) (Phil.2:1) and never of the flesh, devoid of any trace of evil (1 Cor.10:20; 2 Cor.6:14; Eph.5:11), rooted in pure doctrine and teaching (Ac.2:42), is based on sonship (1 Cor.1:9), totally excludes devils (1 Cor.10:20), belongs to the righteous (2 Cor.6:14), involves mutual ministry (2 Cor.8:4ff.), is a covenant of trustworthiness (Gal.2:9), a deep spiritual mystery (Eph.3:9), excludes the works of darkness (Eph.5:11), is inseparable from emunah (faith) in the Besorah (Gospel) (Phil.1:5), is linked to voluntary sufferig (Phil.3:10), brings union with the Father (1 Jn.1:3) joins souls together (1 Jn.1:7) and so much more. Chavurah (fellowship) is HUGE because it is even more than a life-long committment like marriage - it's eternal. And it is absolutely time now for the Remnant to learn how to do that.
An Entirely Different Species of Intimacy to the World
Fellowship is not socialising. It is an entirely different animal, an entriely different species. It belong to a totally different universe to that which may be found in even 'deep' fellowships of death such as those who share experiences on the battle field. There are many things in the world like it but they remain of a totally different substance to the fellowship of the firstborn - the chavurat bekorot or kehillah haBechorim.
The Fire of the Remnant Bride
I pray that this will inspire you to do some deep searching and encourage you to take the necessary risks that deep fellowship in Messiah requires. All kinds of people are thrust together in the Remnant Bride but they are united by a shared spiritual regeneration and anointing and a passion for all emet (truth) and all Torah. It does not consist of those who vacilate or can't make up their mind. There has to be a fire in them that cannot be quenched.
May Yahweh bless the remainder of your day as we prepared for the final day of Sukkot tomorrow and Shemini Atseret that follows it. Amen.
Comments from Readers
 "Today for sharing this, it's very much appreciated and I am blessed by it. Chag Sukkot Sameach to you and yours! Shalum Alykhym!!" (TB, USA, 3 October 2015)
 Acts 2:42; 2 Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 2:9; Philippians 1:5; 1 John 1:3
 The original household of Abraham consisted of over 300 souls
Continued in Part 7