Month 7:18, Week 3:3 (Shleshi/Bikkurim), Year:Day 5940:194 AM|
2Exodus 3/40, Yovel - Year 50/50
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 18 October 2016
Sukkot 2016 IV
The Nature of the Bridal Contract
Continued from Part 3
Chag sameach Sukkot kol beit Yisra'el and Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon and welcome to the fourth day of the Festival of Tabernacles which corresponds in the spiritual recapitulation to Shavu'ot (Weeks, 'Pentecost') and the Ruach haRevee or the fourth Ruach (Spirit).
The Twofold Nature of Shavu'ot
Shavu'ot (Weeks) is defined by essentially two things:
The Essential Quality of the Summer Moed
- 1. The giving of Torah in the days of Moses, the lifestyle of all true believers; and
- 2. The baptism of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) in the days of the apostles, the supernatural ability to joyfully and triumphantly live Torah by emunah (faith) in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) in His resurrection power.
So like the three spring festivals which we have been recapitulating in the first three days of Sukkot (Tabernacles), the summer moed (appointment) of Shavu'ot (Weeks) is integral to the simcha (joy) of Sukkot and the resurrection world of the glorified Bride which is a world of Torah-in-Messiah par excellence.
From Anglican to Atheist
Those of you who know my story may perhaps recall that although I was raised a nominal Anglican I did not really start seriously investigating Christianity until I went up to university at Oxford. By that time I was a Darwinian atheist - or at least that's what I thought I was since I had rejected my Anglicanism by the time I was in my late teens and was not interested in religion and pursued science (biology) as my #1 passion even though I was repeatedly baffled by the claims of evolutionary doctrine as the claims didn't make a lot of mental sense (particularly in the realm of genetics) but which I accepted pretty much on faith as most do.
The Worldwide Church of God
After my first year in college I had had that dream in which I recalled my first out-of-body and levitational experiences and was on the metaphorical war-path pursuing esoterica. I had gone through a brief occult and slightly longer Buddhist phase and met Yah'shua (Jesus) at a Buddhist meeting and started on my search back in the Christianity in which I had been raised. However, nothing back then would have induced me back to the undoubted good that was in Anglicanism (because I was existentially biased against it and it has not been until my later years when I have discovered some amazing treasures in that tradition). Though the atheist or superstitious would have called it 'chance' (which, of course, I don't now believe in), after that dream, I was led to the Worldwide Church of God (WCG).
Discovering the Reliability of the Bible
I don't think there's a lot to be had from the WCG other than the fact that they once observed the festivals which I was at that time not the least bit interested in and it would certainly have been the wrong time to present them to me. What I needed was convincing - intellectually (because that's where I was at the time) - that the Bible was reliable and not a collection of fables and myths which was what my prejudice had me believe. Though doubtless I could have got the same emet (truth) from another group, it was the WCG that I met in Oxford when they advertised some lectures on prophecy. With well-reasoned arguments, they convinced me that Biblical prophecy was reliable and kindled in my soul a hunger for the Scriptures.
The Genius of the Journey
I suspect the reason Yahweh chose me to encounter the WCG was precisely that He did not want me entangled in it, I had already had an out-of-body experience so when they told me that man has no personal spirit and that his character or personality is is wholly in his brain I knew I could not stay with them. This same revelation also ensured I did not remain with the Jehovah's Witnesses when I moved on to them for Bible studies for they believe, like the Seventh-Dat Adventists and many Messianics, a similar doctrine about the soul. This is the genius of Yahweh - He knows what we need but He also knows what we don't need, and the moment I found something false with a group, based on my own research or personal revelation, I resumed the search elsewhere.
Wrong Life, Wrong Lifestyle
You might wonder, since the divine moedim (appointments) are a part of the end-time Restoration, why He kept me away from those back then. The fact that WCG observed the festivals of Israel didn't even register with me because I was primarily in search of the Person of Christ or Messiah. And for a rebirth. The Besorah (Gospel) begins and ends with Him, and even though everything inbetween isn't merely 'commentary', it's definitely secondary. Those who begin with the 'secondary' things, like Jews immersed in Torah coming to Messiah, have to go back to roots to get everything in balance. And you can not start with Torah! The chayim (life), which comes in and through Messiah, must come before the lifestyle, because if you have the wrong 'life', the style will be cramped and handicapping. This is true not only of those coming to salvation from Judaism but from any kind of background, religious or secular, which is by definition a 'lifetyle' which must be substantially modified. And ironically, it is the tavnith of the festivals, which we are recapitulating this week, which reveals these things.
The Complexity and Miraculousness of It All
So how does Yahweh 'fix' that problem? I don't suppose we'll ever figure that one out because everyone comes from a different 'place' even if some 'places' generally-speaking are more similar than others. It's a wonder, actually, that we, who are so complex, with a story equally as complex, ever get it together at all! That, I have concluded, is only possible supernaturally.
Off the Beaten Track into Mormonism
After being born-again at the Pesach (Passover) stage of my spiritual journey, I made an error and got tricked into Mormonism for three years. And though Yahweh knew beforehand I would make this choice and used it productively later, it was not the one He wanted, because Mormonism is not led by the true Christ or Messiah. My journey into that religion is an illutstration of getting what the festivals represent out of order.
Out of Mormonism
Having deeply analysed this over many years, two things principally attracted me to this group. Firstly, my fascination with the idea of continuous revelation and the Mormon claims of having it, including new Scripture which seemed like pretty good evidence of that at the time. What I didn't know was that most of the revelation was false and was (from the demonic perspective) a honey-trap. Steering that cult is one of the worst forms of Priestcraft there is. You aren't encouraged to think for yourself but to unconditionally obey. My gift of seership was also immature and susceptible to wrong-steering - I had a steep learning curve to climb. Ironically it was my seership gift that also got me out because when the revelations Yahweh gave me didn't agree with that church's purported revelations (for example, I was told early on that Brigham Young was a false prophet), I was soon in trouble and (mercifully) thrown out when I refused to retract them. I have since learned that young nevi'im (prophets) and seers need a lot of guidance from those more experienced, which is why historically there has always been a School of the Nevi'im (Prophets) where those thus gifted can test one another. But these giftings have to be restored somehow.
The second thing that trapped me was my own intense personal need for authentic family life, and for all the reasons you can fault that religion with, it is arguable one of the best social clubs in existence. I felt at home where there was proper structure, discipline and love, not to mention morality. This combination was a big honey-trap for me. And as I am sure you know, 'love-bombing' is one of the techniques of the cults in drawing people out of our near universally dysfunctionality society. True ahavah (love) always defends the freedom to choose, giving you the space you need to mature. I soon discovered how 'loving' Mormionism was when I was excommunicated, the same ex-Jehovah's Witnesses and others (like Roman Catholics) know only too well when they are thrown out - or leave voluntarily - churches or organisations who claim to be God's sole representatives and dispensers of salvation.
The Festivals Teach Personal Relationship First
You see, what the festivals teach you is that the Person of Messiah is what saves you, not an organisation or group of fallible human beings. That is the message of the three spring festivals - Pesach (Passover), Chag haMatzah (Unleavened Bread) and Yom haBikkurim (Firstfruits) - it's all between you and Yahweh. So by the time you come to the 'group part', you should have a strong, deep personal foundation in Elohim (God) Himself and have acquired a proper identity. How long this takes will depend on the individual and whether there is dysfunctionality in this life or not (there usually is). And this is not to say you can't, or shouldn't, be involved with a group while you are establishing that deep one-to-one relationship because the reality is that this is a life-long process and all the 'phases' of the spiritual current of the Festivals overlap and are concurrent to one degree or another. The important thing is to know your priorities.
The New Birth is Essential to Discernment
When I was thrown out of Mormonism I already had Christ because I had been born-again before my old school friend invited me to meet with the LDS missionaries. Most who leave Mormonism do not have that foundation and so get lost when they leave that organisation. It was in Yahweh's mercy that I met His Son before I tripped and ended up in that church. It's what got me out of it, enabled me to discern it, and to resume my journey afterwards.
Religious Spirits and Psychiatry
Unfortunately, you can't just 'leave' a cult like Mormonism and 'move on'. You have to leave it inwardly too and that requires a good deal of both relearning and getting deliverance from 'religious spirits' which cling on and imprison. Those who exit a cult, never having met the Messiah, invariably turn to secular psychiatry which not only fails to deal with the spiritual issues (because it can't) but does little more than to adjust its patients to whatever the current, ever-changing consensual dysfunctional 'normality' happens to be. And psychiatry, as we know, with all its abuses and many psycopathic 'operatives', more often than not causes more problems than it solves. Undoing the lies of the cult of psychiatry is often as challenging as undoing the lies of the religious cults it purports to be able to help with.
Whole in Messiah
One of the most important truths of the festivals if how they underscore the centrality of a personal relationship with Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus) who is our Master (Lord), Deliverer (Saviour), Healer, Psychiatrist, Counsellor, Friend and all. He is everything. Those who really know Him are amongst the most balanced and whole people you will ever meet. Those who have things back-to-front, who put dogma before relationship, tend usually not to know the true Messiah but a counterfeit spirit or an exalted image of one's own idealised self.
We Need Fellowship
That's why a long introduction to this fourth day of Sukkot (Tabernacles) and its counterpart of Shavu'ot (Weeks, 'Pentecost') has been necessary. It is, however, an equally dangerous mistake to cut out the 'group' part of the festivals as it is to go there first! A solo-Christian or -Messianic will soon either lose perspective of reality and/or spiritually die without fellowship and a concrete outlet for service and Kingdom-building.
The Bride's Lifestyle and Covenant
Shavu'ot (Weeks) defines the Bride's lifestyle and tells us what the Bridegroom not only likes but expects. That's why the Shavu'ot Covenant IS the Betrothal Covenant to Messiah! The true Bride loves her Husband's Torah and desires to please Him by abiding it. The Torah is the Messianic Bride's Ketubah or Betrothal Covenant. It's what she agrees to do and who she agrees to become in order to become her Master's Bride. And she does so with passion. That's why the messianic Bride - the children of the First Resurrection - is so much smaller in number than the great mass of the rest of the saved who do not agree to those terms and who insist, as good spiritual feminists demanding coheadship in the relationship (or worse, actual matriarchal rulership), on doing things 'their way'. To say the she gets really uppety and angry when she is told she cannot be the Bride with such an attituide and that she is in rebellion will help you understand why deliberately lawless Christians are not viewed with favour by Yah'shua (Jesus)! They may be saved because of their initial and continuing trusting and His great mercy but they cannot be the Bride without proper repentance and submission.
True and False Spirit Baptism
The glorified Sukkot Bride that will sit at the Supper Table of the Lamb at the last day is who she is because she has agreed to, and abided by, the Shavu'ot Ketubah or Betrothal Contract and has received in consequence the authentic Baptism of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) or Baptist of Fire. What, then, do you suppose will happen to those who deliberately refuse the Shavu'ot Ketubah and who insist that its terms have been 'nailed to the Cross' and don't apply to them? What 'spirit baptism' are they likely to receive? A COUNTERFEIT!
Watch Out for Judgmentalism
But before people get too excited or judgmental, let me point out some salient truths. Just because someone rejects something in word doesn't mean they don't, in practice, actually go out and do it...at least in part, remembering that Yahweh is merciful to us in our ignorance. If you study it out you will discover that serious Evangelical Christians who, whilst with their mouths reject Torah, are nevertheless living some of it, and some more than others.
Grace and Mercy to the Ignorant
One Messianic minister actually made a study of different Protestant denominations and discovered that genuine born-again and Bible-committed Evangelical Christians are actually living from about 40 to 60 per cent of the Torah already, and especially the moral and ethical aspects of Torah and are thereby actually living out about half the required Bride's Shavu'ot Ketubah without ever having actually 'signed' it but who then do not live it as they should. An added complication is that they have been taught false tradition concerning the moedim and follow a false calendar so they are 'off course'. Again, Yahweh shows mercy and grace to the ignorant.
Yahweh Leads and Judges
The upshot of all of this is that both those who are evangelicals and messianics need a lot of grace (unmerited favour) from our Heavenly Father! That said, we must be slow to judge, teach the emet (truth) and let Yahweh do the leading and judging in the wider Body of Messiah. For you may recall that Yah'shua (Jesus) views with sympathy and favour the one who refuses to obey and then goes and obeys compared to the one who says he will obey and then does not. There are many messianics who sign the Shavu'ot Ketubah (it's called becoming a Son or Daughter of Covenant - the Bar- or Bat-Mitzvah) but who fail to live it out because they have not been born-again and are not in relationship with Messiah.
A Complex Tapestry
The tapestry of each individual's life is more complex than you may realise, not forgetting that we only see the back side of the tapestry with all the apparent chaos but only Yahweh sees the front and the actual condition of each believer. So be slow to judge and quick to assist!
What the Sukkot Bride is Life
By now I hope you are getting an idea of who this Sukkot Bride is and what she is like. She follows a strict rule but she is also very patient and long-suffering, slow to condemn and quick to encourage. She praises and gives help along the Derech Chayim (Way of Life). This Bride Yah'shua (Jesus) adores! The self-righteous, legalistic, impatient and sanctimonious pretender He does not have time for, save to encourage her to repent and receive the true Baptism of Fire. And suffice to say that this Bride has a simcha (joy) that the lawless, self-righteous bride does not know or understand because, though saved, she still remains in many sins, and is truly miserable and despised. Does that describe any believers you know, or even yourself? If so, proceed with love, care and (where necessary) radical reformation.
Let us rejoice in the Shavu'ot Ketubah or Betrothal Contract and if you have not signed it yet but are baptised, then if you are of age, I urge you to enter into your Betrothal Covenant with Messiah, in front of witnesses (preferably your local congregation), and become a Son or Daughter of the Mitzvot (Commandments), seeking to be faithfully obedient in all that pleases the Father and the Bridegroom, those things which bring Him honour and glory through your proactive emunah (faith). May the grace of our Father and Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) go with you and be with you and bring you more simcha (joy)! Amen.
Continued in Part 5