Sermons Series 3:41, 4 June 2006
Will You Take the High Road?
Brethren and sisters, I welcome you here in Yah'shua's Name and to this assembly in which we are commemorating Shavu'ot, Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks. Fifty days have passed since we celebrated Yom haBikkurim or Firstfruits and to mark our arrival here today I am going to sing you the chorus of a traditional Scottish love song which is the theme of this celebration:
"Oh ye'll take the high road and I'll take the low road,
and I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love will never meet again
on the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lommond"
Now you are probably wondering why I am sharing this rather tragic love song with you this morning, a song which speaks fatefully of two loves never meeting up again - of one taking the high road across the mountains and the other the low road in the valley. In this lyric the one in the valley or glen gets to Scotland before the one trekking over the mountains. But not so in the spiritual landcape. We remember the time, do we not, when Abraham separated from Lot, and Abraham let Lot decide where they would go once it became clear that there wasn't space for both of them in the land where they were hearding their sheep. We read in the Genesis account:
"Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of Yahweh, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before Yahweh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom" (Gen.13:10-13, NIV).
Lot looked into the valley and saw what he thought was paradise. Everything was prepared. It was cultivated, there were cities, it was comfortable, and had all that the heart of fleshy man might desire. But as the text reminds us, and as if we didn't already know:
"Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against Yahweh" (Gen.13:13, NIV).
We all know what the final outcome of Lot's 'low road' was, and we all know that he did not get to 'Scotland' before Abraham, even though he was a good man who loved Yahweh. We all know that Abraham, the faithful servant of El Elyon, chose the 'high road' - the difficult path, away from the cities - and that Yahweh prospered Him; and we all know that Lot chose the 'low road' - the easy path, and lost everything - his business, his wife, his sons-in-law, and nearly his two daughters too to a sexually perverted mob filled with violence. Only Abraham's intervention - the one who took the high, difficult road - prevented Lot from being consumed along with everything in the conflagration that would descend upon the two cities of the plain. And even though he escaped by the skin of his teeth, not all ended happily ever after. His daughters, fearful that they would be left widows and childless, did a terrible thing in getting their father drunk and then making him commit incest with them whilst he was out of the control of his senses. The fruits of this 'low road' were two bastard peoples who were to become the bitter enemies of Abraham's descendants - the Ammonites and the Moabites who lived alongside the three Israelite tribes of East Manasseh, Gad and Reuben on the east bank of the Jordan (Gen.19:30-38 cp. Dt.2:9,19; Ps.83:8).
No, brethren and sisters, the 'low road' or the 'easy road' does not lead to happiness and it really isn't an alternative at all, even though Satan may present it as a glittering alternative. Today's celebration is about the High Road that Yahweh mapped out for the children of Israel, if they would accept it, with its hardships. It is about the calling to obey Torah - it is about the journey of Abraham and all the promises that Yahweh gave to Him and his descendants.
We have arrived, brethren and sisters, at Yahweh's fourth sacred moed or appointment, the feast of Shavu'ot. The Torah tells us:
"Celebrate the Feast of Weeks (Shavu'ot) with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year. Three times a year all your men are to appear before Yahweh-Elohim, the Elohim of Israel. I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Yahweh your Elohim" (Ex.34:22-24, NIV).
"Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks (Shavu'ot) to Yahweh your Elohim by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings Yahweh your Elohim has given you. And rejoice before Yahweh your Elohim at the place He will choose as a dwelling for His Name -- you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, the Levites in your towns, and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows living among you. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees" (Dt.16:9-10, NIV).
Now there is an extraordinary promise that is made here about those who choose to observe Yahweh's moedim and in particular Shavu'ot. I wonder if you noticed it? He said: "I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Yahweh your Elohim". These three festivals are Pesach (Passover), Shavu'ot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Booths). If the men of Israel go up to the gathering places three times a year - in this context, it was Jerusalem, but in our day it is the twelve cities of refuge, or their prototypes - if we do this, He will enlarge our territory and people won't covet our land. What, brethren and sisters, is the spiritual land or territory? What is it that is invisible that the pagans will not will not dare to take? It is your hearts. They will not dare come up against your heart, your spirit, your body, your soul, your person because they will be divinely protected and the fear of Yahweh-Elohim will come upon them. This promise must not be forgotten. Faithfulness to the true meaning of these three festivals in particular guarantees safety for ever. What this does not mean, however, is that if you travel to Sweden, America, India, or anywhere else that you will have this divine approbation, because the substance of the moedim is not just where your feet take you physically but where your heart is also. It is good and right that you physically assemble but that in itself is meaningless, and will not give you the coveted blessings, unless you are properly gathered inside.
When Shavu'ot was originally given, it was an agricultural festival designed for use in the land of Israel. Much of its outward meaning, then, has little relevance for us today who are not gathered in the Holy Land for which it was designed, though it will be celebrated again with many of the outward forms when Messiah returns. It's principal usage inside and outside the Promised Land in its New Covenant context is therefore spiritual. And so we must ask ourselves: what is Pentecost for today? And how are we to celebrate it? What actually does Yahweh want to do for us on this sacred day? To answer that we must go back to what Yahweh has revealed to us in respect of the other three spring festivals that we have already celebrated. And one of the first things I pointed out to you, you will remember, is that celebrating the festivals with a wrong heart is useless, because the foundation of each of the seven festivals is the seven Ruach haQodesh's.
The first festival, Pesach (Passover), is under the anointing of the Ruach haRishon whose principal action is the separation of light from darkness. It is here our spiritual life begins and its covenant condition is that we are humble, repent, trust and promise to obey Yahweh. The details come later at Shavu'ot. Pesach is the first of seven stages or processes leading to the creation of the covenant nation of Israel inwardly and outwardly. In the New Covenant it corresponds to the new birth, when a soul accepts, in faith, Yah'shua the Messiah as his Lord and Saviour. His heart is opened and penetrated by the Ruach haRishon who floods it with life, light and joy - in a word, She gives what most evangelical Christians call 'salvation'. This rebirth gives us a legal covering so that when Yahweh sees us, He sees not our wretched inward sinful condition of sin, but the righteousness of Messiah who died for us on Calvary. We are declared jurisdictionally saved. And sadly, this is where may Christians stop. They declare that 'once saved, always saved', and it doesn't matter henceforth what they do. They spiritually remain in Egypt.and never set off for the Promised Land, and then wonder why the initial joy of salvation ebbs away as darkness encroaches and eventually takes over what the Ruach haRishon first gave them. It does take much intelligence to realise what would have happened to the Israelites if they had remained behind, does it? They would have remained slaves - perhaps 'happy slaves' for a while, in the same way as the Hindu gurus claim that their devotees become 'happy enlightened hungry people' when they do nothing to alleviate the poverty and physical suffering around them. Pesach gave the people new life as Yah'shua gives us new life now but it was already pointing towwards the next festival and the next act of deliverance: Chag haMatzah or Unleavened Bread.
Chag haMatzah goes on for days and days, doesn't it? It is not a one day-long festival like Shavu'ot is today. Having acquired our legal covering from Yah'shua, Yahweh is telling us that we have to go onto the next stage - which can be a long, laborious and challenging stage - in which we get down to the nitty-gritty of getting the leaven of sin out of our lives. And it involves footwork just as the Israelites had to get off their rear ends and head towards the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea). They had to leave the world system. Getting the darkness and demons out of your system, after the born-again experience, takes time. It takes a march into the wilderness. It takes a determination to pursue purity but not in a half-hearted way. The exodus from Egypt was not a series of vaccations in preplanned oases in which the people stopped to sip soda and eat ice cream. They were told to be ready to leave at a moment's notice and to get the heck out of the land as soon as they could. Their bread was made hastily, hence we eat unleavaned bread during Chag haMatzah. This exodus or departure - or to be more precise - this 'Stage #1" exodus - is under the anointing of the Ruach haShanee, the second of the seven Ruachs or Holy Spirits. She drives the soul seeking Yahweh to stop sinning to and to start "working out" their salvation or deliverance in "fear and trembling" (Phil.2:12). This is not a vaccation time. This is not a holiday to the south of France or to some tropical beach on a Pacific island. It's a hot, sweaty and uncomfortable journey.
In the middle of Chag haMatzah or Unleavened Bread we celebrate a third festival called Yom haBikkurim or the Day of Firstfruits to remind us that Yah'shua is the firstfruits of the resurrection and that we need the anointing and faith that will enable us to cross the Sea of Reeds - the anointing of the Ruach haShleshi, the third of the Ruachs. You need the faith that comes from the resurrection power of Yah'shua to cross the Sea of Reeds which is a type of baptism and of total committment to the Kingdom. You still don't know what that 'total committment' entails yet as you have not yet come to Shavu'ot where it is revealed, but you're making it anyway, in faith. This was the day that the children of Israel were "baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor.10:2, NIV) and it was after this event that the people started eating "the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that Rock was Messiah" (v.3). The Malak or Angel of Yahweh's Presence that led them was Yah'shua Himself just as Yah'shua leads us today. They now had a common identity, a common goal, and such outward things that had previously separated them - Egyptian rank, habits, customs, traditions, ambitions, and race (for there were many non-Israelites among them) - all these things disappeared as they became one or echad in purpose. Everything now drove them to the Holy Land and to Yahweh their Elohim. They were united by a single purpose as brethren.
Now as I said, Yom haBikkurim comes in the middle of Chag haMatzah which ends a few days later, and that is because after the crossing of the Sea of Reeds and their spiritual baptism into Moses as their spiritual father, they still had to journey to Mount Sinai (Stage #2 exodus) where they were to receive the Torah. And during that journey they mumured and grumbled and complained, didn't they? They thought they would march out of Egypt and enter the Holy Land practically the next day and set up shop. But they were soon to discover that getting rid of the leaven of sin doesn't happen all at once and that Yahweh does not admit His people into the Holy of Holies or into a special covenant territory until there is been radical and fundamental change within. Sin burries itself layer upon layer in our souls. When we think we have fixed one issue, another pops up, and then another and then another, and it's during this frustrating process of deliverance that we discover the depth not only of our depravity but also of the committment that Yahweh expects of us to Him. We discover why we actually want to be in the camp of Israel. We discover whether our desire for leaving Egypt and to trust Yahweh was simply to get away from slavery and to 'do our own thing' independently of Yahweh, or whether our goal truly was 'the evening sacrifice', as I discussed recently when we studied the life of Elijah. We discover whether our goals are selfish ambition, in which we think we can manipulate and use Yahweh to those devilish ends, or whether our true goal is total surrender and service to Him. And when we complain and murmur and cast murderous eyes towards the spiritual father we are supposed to follow because he won't accommodate our false spirituality, we are faced with a choice: to go back to Egypt or repent. You know what the people said to Moses, you know how they bitterly complained, but in case you have forgotten, let me remind you what they said:
"Would to Elohim we had died by the hand of Yahweh in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger" (Ex.16:3, KJV).
The carnal nature does not like to be starved of its nourishment of sin. It hankers for it when it is denied it. And when you come to Yahweh you have to leave those flesh pots of sin behind. You can't take them with you. You will also remember that a spirit or murder even rose its head - some of the Israelites wanted to kill Moses and the other leaders and lead a group back to Egypt and to slavery! Now that spirit of murder is Satan. You all know that. It's the snake in Eden, the fox among the chickens, the demon in the camp of Israel. Many people get this far and discover they have been travelling on the basis of a lie. They weren't seeking Yahweh at all but had their own selfish agenda. They wanted to leave Egypt to become their own private Egyptians, their own personal pagans, to wheel and deal in slavery like the Ishmaelites and Midianites who took Joseph into slavery into Egypt did, all of whom were relatives of Abraham. Those demonised people in the camp of Israel have three stark choices: (1) to return to Egypt and to slavery and ultimately perish; (2) to try and take over the leadership through rebellion and be executed; or (3) to repent and live. You have heard of the rebellion of Korah the Levite. You know what happened to him and his followers who challenged Moses' authority and fatherhood over them. Moses' reply was: "In the morning Yahweh will show who belongs to Him and who is holy" (Num.16:5, NIV) because Korah had the audacity to claim inspiration and revelation and to be set-apart or holy to Yahweh! The devil led him, he claimed it was the voice of Yahweh and he sought to draw his own following. Please note this too. Korah was not just an 'Israelite' but one who had a high and holy calling. Moses response to this challenge was to the point:
"Now listen, you Levites! Isn't it enough for you that the Elohim of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near Himself to do the work at Yahweh's tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near Himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. It is against Yahweh that you and all your followers have banded together" (Num.16:8-11, NIV).
Korah was called to be a servant in the tabernacle. He was a Levite. But he became presumptuous. He wanted more. His authority went to his head and he thought that he could hop over Yahweh's anointed and claim privileges that were not his. Oh, how many times have we seen men do this and perish for their arrogance! Too many times! People let rank and authority go to their heads, as Lucifer did, and think they can take more. Then they start fancying themselves as 'great ones' who can lord it over others. And not only men. Have we not seen it among the women too? Those who thought they could elect themselves queens over others and rule them? When that happens, brethren and sisters, what results is that Satan drives you to self-worship and drives you to get those who are your lords and misstresses to worship you! And that is called idolatry. Remember Hagar? Miriam tried that once, you will remember, and Yahweh taught her an object lesson in giving her leprosy, making her a complete outcast of Israel for a week to teach her a thing or two (Num.12). She was put outside the camp of Israel, just as Yahweh removes rebels out of the Garden today, until she had repented and was brought home again. When we do things in the right order Yahweh blesses us and prospers us. The children of Israel were baptised into Moses, not Korah or Miriam. It's well worth remembering that. This desert march is not easy but it is worth it. Please don't do what Korah and Miriam did, and certainly not Korah who was the greater sinner of the two.
Three months after leaving Egypt, the Israelites finally arrived at the foot of Mount Sinai, as Elijah had done but from the opposite direction when he fled from Queen Jezebel in the north. It was then that Yahweh told Moses to tell the people to receive Torah:
"In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt -- on the very day -- they came to the Desert of Sinai. After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to Elohim, and Yahweh called to him from the mountain and said, 'This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey Me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for Me a kingdom of cohanim (priests) and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites'.So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words Yahweh had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, 'We will do everything Yahweh has said.' So Moses brought their answer back to Yahweh" (Ex.19:1-8, NIV).
I want you to please notice carefully that the people have entered into a covenant of obedience and that this is no difference in the New Covenant either. The same "patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey Elohim's commandments and remain faithful to Yah'shua" (Rev.14:12, NIV) is required. So the children of Israel promise to do what Yahweh tells Moses because they have already been baptised into Moses in the Sea of Reeds and have made one new level of committment under the Ruach haShleshi. They are, however, given free choice. They are not compelled to enter this covenant but once they agree to it, there will be no wriggling out of it. To obey a covenant with Yahweh brings showers of blessings, but to break it brings cursings. To obey it brings outpourings of the sevenfold Ruach haQodesh, but to disobey it brings demonisation. One of the reasons we have gathered here today, therefore, is for those who have been baptised to confirm their baptism by recovenanting anew to obey Torah if they want to - not the Torah given to Moses but new Covenant Torah originally given through the Cohen Gadol or High Priest Melchizedek and reformed by the eternal Cohen Gadol or High Priest Yah'shua. Today you have the opportunity to recovenant to obey Yahweh's commandments through Yah'shua and receive a fresh anointing of the Ruach haRevee, the fourth Ruach, whose day this is.
"We will do everything Yahweh has said," the people said, which, may I remind you, in the Hebrew is, Na'aseh V'Nishmah which literally means, "We agree to do even before we have listened". That means agreeing in advance to Yahweh's demands even before you know what they are. And though much of the Torah existed in an oral form before Moses, and was presumably known by the Israelites, they did not know all of it or the extent to which the Mosaic covenant would make demands on their lives. The same is true for us today. We do not always know in advance what His will is for us but in entering the Shavu'ot covenants we agree to obey them unconditionally. It is the same principle with husbands and wives. Scripture says wives are to obey husbands "in all things" without being given an advance list. The only limitation is Torah and a good conscience on the part of the husband. This means that as the husband must fit in with Yahweh's plans for his life, so the wife must fit in with her husband's, and if neither are willing to do that, they should not enter into Shavu'ot or marriage covenants at all. Therefore I strongly recommend that those coming to Yah'shua find out just what the Bible teaches before committing themselves to these deeper covenants so that they know what Yahweh's Law actually is. Same for prospective wives - they had better spend time getting to know what their prospective husband stands for by getting to know him really well as a person in a Gospel context - to see him in action in the assembly and the ministry, and he, her too.
The covenant of Shavu'ot is no small thing. It should not be entered into lightly. Moses told the Israelites to spend two days purifying themselves, to wash their clothes, abstain from sexual intercourse, and on the third day ready themselves to receive Torah. Torah is not just some spiritual shopping list - it is holy. It is Yahweh's heart. It wasn't hurriedly thrown together - it isn't a random collection of miscellaneous laws borrowed from the surrounding nations, as liberals accuse, even though some of them resembled them precisely because an oral form of Torah had been in circulation centuries before Moses and had been incorporated into the laws of most nations, albeit changed, much as many Christian laws survive in our own secular, liberal neo-pagan Western democracies today.
From the early morning, dense clouds covered the peak of Sinai, and thunder and lightening were seen and heard. So sacred was this place that no one was allowed anywhere near it and anyone who did was to be killed with stones or shot with arrows, and the body left there, much as the Ark of the Covenant would not be allowed to be touched by human hands. The sound of the shofar was heard making a loud and terrifying sound at the top of the mountain which became envelloped in smoke and fire. Something quite extraordinarily 'big' was happening akin to the miracles of the Ten Plagues and the parting of the Sea of Reeds.
"On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with Elohim, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because Yahweh descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of Elohim answered him" (Ex.19:16-19, NIV).
You will recall, I am sure, that when Elijah travelled down to Sinai that there were various dramatic events in the form of wind, earthquake and so forth. But when the prophet eventually heard Yahweh it was through the still, small voice within. These people, though - these semi-paganised Israelites fresh out of Egypt - were not capable of hearing Yahweh like that. They were not spiritually refined, not attuned to hearing Him inside, so Yahweh had to use a more outward approach as He had done to the apostate Israelites on the top of Mount Carmel. This day it would be bolts of lightening, fire, thunder, mightly loud shofars and the like because this was the only way the people would listen. Which begs a question: how do you hear Yahweh's voice? Or indeed, do you even hear Him at all? And if you have heard Him before, but have lost the ability, why do you suppose that is? You will recall that Moses lost his ability to hear Yahweh when he panicked at Queen Jezebel's threat and had to run all the way back to Sinai to hear Him again, but not in ther way he had necessarily expected. And there will be times when because of sin or for other reasons known only to Yahweh, that He chooses to speak to you in other ways through visions, other people, the open doors of opportunity, and so on. You cannot anticipate Yahweh and you certainly cannot control Him. I doubt that neither Moses not the people had an advanced clue how Yahweh would reveal Himself on Sinai. Yet He did, and dramatically.
Moses went up to the top of the mountain, summonsed by Yahweh, and disapperared from the peoples' sight. It must have seemed to most of them that he would be consumed and never return. And when the prophet reached the summit, Yahweh spoke the Ten Commandments in a thunderous voice (Ex.19:20-25; 20:1-21). This would then be a summary of all the other commandments Yahweh would subsequently reveal through His prophet, which Yah'shua summarised even further into the Two Great Commandments to love Yahweh pre-eminiently with one's whole heart, and then to love one's neighbour as oneself. May I remind everyone that summaries do not 'replace' what is being summarised - the summaries are but memorisation aids to ensure we have the right focus and foundation.We can neither be like the Seventh Day Adventists who won't accept any of the rest of the Torah except the Ten Commandments nor the Catholics, Orthodox, or Protestants who, by the fiat of popes, patriarchs, bishops and pastors, decide which of the Ten Commandments should be lived and which should not. How, indeed, can you summarise 10 Commandments into Two when you have chopped out some of them? Obviously, if you drop Sabbaath observance, or chastity, which in part explain what the Two Great Commandments are, then the 'revised Two Commandments' will be speaking of a totally different love of Yahweh, mankind and self that Yahweh intended. We change the commandments at our peril.
There are some Messianics and most non-Mesaianic Jews who believe that Shavu'ot is the conclusion of the Passover season and they call it an azteret or 'conlcusion'. They claim that the counting of the omer for 50 days (from which we get the word Pentecost) serves as a chain between the two. However, even though Shavu'ot is the conclusion of the spring festivals, it is not the conclusion of the journey, and I would not wish people to sit back on their laurels and slack off. The 'conclusion' is not until Sukkot when the Israelites have taken possession of the Holy Land and when a soul is fully delivered out of the world and sin. In an allusion to Greek atheletics, Paul strongly counsels us not to ease up until the race has been run and the crown of overcoming is resting on our heads (1 Cor.9:24). He says:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Yah'shua, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of Elohim. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: 'My son, do not make light of Yahweh's discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because Yahweh disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.' Endure hardship as discipline; Yahweh is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but Yahweh disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Heb.12:1-11, NIV).
Even after Shavu'ot we are still on our journey out of Egypt. Today, as you know, the Sinai peninsular is politically a part of Egypt, and was so anciently too. It may be a remote and barren province, but it is still Egypt. We cannot stop until we are in the Promised Land and have fully left the world system and its evil ways.
Yahweh is waiting to meet you face-to-face at Shavu'ot. The Israelites refused and chose to have an intermediary, Moses. Today Yah'shua is our intermediary - we can go straight to Yahweh thought Him. If you have received Yah'shua as your Lord and Saviour, then He is in your heart right now - in your very own Garden. He is waiting to meet with you and fortify you for the next part of your journey as you covenant to obey all His New Covenant Torah.
There are unfortunately millions of believers - the vast bulk of Christendom - who never get this far because they reject Torah. You know most of their excuses. Then there are the bulk of Messianic Jews who either don't accept the deity of Yah'shua, or make Torah itself as a god in its own right, who either skip the first stages of the Exodus and try to live Torah in Egypt or who live it legalistically. Whether Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant or Messianic, if you adopt either of these positions, you're in big trouble. You can't take short-cuts into the Kingdom - you can't skip Yah'shua, you can't skip the New Birth, you can't skip discipleship, holiness, covenant and obedience, and expect to make it. As we will see later in the wandering through the desert after the rebellion, there were always plenty of stragglers who did not keep up with the main body of faith, and these were picked off and killed by marauders like the Amalekites. Neither watered-down Christianity nor legalistic Messianism will save you. And contrary to what some people delude themselves into believeing, there never were two Gospels - a tougher one for the 'Jews' and an easier one for the 'Gentiles'. Most Messianic Jews teach this and it is a pernicious heresy. There is only one Gospel. Those seeking the illusiory 'gentile soft option' often cite the Council of Jerusalem at which James, the brother of Yah'shua, presided, and point to the rules decided for new converts, namely, that they should "abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality" (Acts 15:29, NKJV).
Ironically, most Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants don't even observe these! What they fail to realise or teach is that for Gentiles entering the Gospel from a non-Torah background, not everything can be learned or done all at once. All the Council of Jerusalem was saying was: don't eat food offered to pagan deities, don't eat food with blood in it, don't eat meat that hasn't been killed in the proper way (in this case, strangulation) and observe Torah's code on sexual immorality, until you have grown in your obedience and faith. In actual fact, the early gentile disciples faced the problem not of Torah (which is no problem) but of Talmudic Judaism which had added thousands of new laws which Yahweh never gave. Judaism had become legalistic dead religion and some Jewish converts were trying to impose it on gentile converts. They tried to impose the Covenant of Moses which Scripture says has been superceded, along with the rite of circumcision (Ac.15:24). Nearly all the Messianics I know are not only observing Torah but the covenant of Moses along with mandatory circumcision too when in the New Covenant we are supposed to be observing the covenant before that, as Paul said to the Galatians:
"What I mean is this: The law (covenant), introduced 430 years later [Covenant of Moses], does not set aside the covenant previously established by Elohim and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but Elohim in His grace gave it to Abraham through a promise" (Gal.3:17-18, NIV).
The 'law' (actually, 'covenant') introduced 430 years later was, of course, the Covenant of Moses and though all the original oral Torah was re-incorporated into the Covenant of Moses, a lot extra was added because of the "hardness of [their] hearts" (Mt.19:8), which same hardness the Pharisees and enforcers of the Talmud had (Mk.3:5), which have nothing to do with the Torah of the Patriarchs or the New Covenant Torah we observe today.
We are bound by Torah - the Torah of the Patriarchs and of Yah'shua - and without it we don't even get to Mount Sinai, let alone the Promised Land. Those who claim there is a simpler, watered-down version, are accusing Yahweh of partiality and making one law for the 'Jews' and another for the 'Gentiles', though most Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants say there is only one for the 'Gentiles' defined by their popes, bishops and pastors. Well, I have bad news for them: both Messianics and the rest are wrong. There's only one Gospel, one truth, one baptism, one Lord, one life (Jn.14:6; Eph.4:5). And Yahweh has stated plainly that only those who have the testimony of Yah'shua and obey all the commandments are true to Him and have His love (Rev.12:17; 14:12; Jn.15:10; 14:15; etc.). There is only one road, and it's the High Road. All others - including the proverbial 'low road' - are an illusion because they are man-made. The low road leads to sorrow, suffering and disappointment, and whilst there is trial and tribulation on both roads, only one is consecrated to your blessing - the High Road.
Shavu'ot is an invitation to you to walk the High Road and to endure your trials and tribulations in the Ruach heShleshi rather than in your own psyche or flesh. One gives you power, shalom and victory, while the other gives you nothing but the sand of the desert for your daily nourishment. If you have come this far and discovered that your whole foundation is wrong - if you tried skipping any of the other steps to full salvation - then don't despair: trace your steps backwards and do what is required of you by Yahweh at those steps you skipped. Meet Yah'shua at Pesach first - present Him a broken heart and a contrite spirit and let Him enter into your heart with the Ruach haRishon to be the Lord of your life and fill you with hope and joy. Then march out of Egypt under the wings of the Ruach haShanee to the sea of covenant and pledge yourself to your Elohim, your Saviour, and those who are your heads, as the Israelites did, get the anointing of the Ruach haShleshi, and persist in your journey until you have come back to Mount Sinai, ready to obey Torah, by covenant and by sacrifice, and obtain your anointing of the Ruach haRevee. It is never too late. However, if you have come in by a false gate, you can't go on. You must go back along the way you came and do it right. Yah'shua said:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:7-10, KJV).
Many try to come to the kingdom as thieves, to steal, kill and destroy. They must either repent or perish. If they will do the right thing, then the promise of life is given to them:
"I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine" (John 10:11-14, KJV).
The one who loves, cares; and the one who cares, gives his life for the ones he cares about, and thinks nothing of self. To such did Yah'shua give His life. May you, therefore, this day, come in through the right door which is Yah'shua, in the manner He has ordained, covenant with Him anew to obey Him in all things, as you did at Yom haBikkurim in baptism, but this time to specifically obey all His New Covenant Torah. If you do, then Ruach haRevee will fill you and bless you and prosper you all the days of your life.
May you have a blessed Shavu'ot! Amen.
|Glossary of MLT Hebraic, Greek and English Terms |
For other terms and full details please see the Micropedia
AGlossary Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved
Adon(ai) = Master, a pagan fertility god, Adonis; used by many Messianics but not MLT
(a)eon(ian) = 7 dispensation- or age-long time periods, not forever (see le-olam-va-ed)
Alef-Tav = Alpha-Omega, A-Z, first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet = Yah'shua
Amen = truly, let it be so, written Amein by some Messianics
Apocrypha = Hebraic Scriptures not a part of the Protestant canon (e.g. Baruch)
Anti-Messiah = Hebraic term for the end-time Antichrist or anyone opposed to the Messiah
antinomian = lawless Christian who disregards all or part of Torah/commandments
Ashkenazi Jew = East European Jew descended from the Turkic-Japhethite Khazars
Assembly = church, congregation, ekklesia, community, fellowship, koinonia, gathering
Azazel = the Yom Kippur scapegoat
Baal, Ba'al = any other master than Yahweh, usually demonic in MLT terminology
Bachor(im) = firstborn son(s)
Bar/Bat Mitzvah = Son/Daughter of Commandment, covenant to obey Torah at age 12
being = soul, the whole person (spirit and body), e.g. "my whole being"
Beit, bet, beth = house, e.g. Beit Yisrael (House of Israel), Beth Lechem (House of Bread)
Beit haMikdash = Yahweh's Temple in Yerushalayim
B'rit Chadashah = the New Covenant; B'rit Chadashah Scriptures = New Testament
B'rit Milah = circumcision - abolished in the B'rit Chadashah, replaced by Mikvah
canon = authoritative Scripture (Heb. qaneh, Gk. kanŰn = measuring instrument)
Catechumen = a serious, covenanted investigator seeking Mikvah or Baptism in MLT
Chag haMatzah = Feast of Unleavened Bread, second of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Chavurat Bekorot = MLT's Priesthood Order, Holy Order and Assembly of the Firstborn
Cohen = priest; Cohen Gadol = High Priest (also spelled Kohen)
Council of Yah's elohim = the heavenly Assembly of the Firstborn or Chavurat Bekorot
demon = fallen malek or angel in rebellion against Yahweh (Heb. shad; see l-Shaddai)
derech = the Way, Path or Road - Yah'shua and the Gospel are the Way
Drash = moral or homiletic interpretation of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Echad = One, Union of two or more in one (as opposed to Yachid) - see Elohim
Echad Godhead Doctrine = Father Yahweh, Son Yah'shua and Sevenfold Ruach (Mother)
Êl, Eloah, Elah = God the Father, Yahweh
Êl-Elyon = Most High God, Yahweh
Êl-Shaddai = Master/Lord over all shads or demons
Elohim = God, the Godhead (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), lit. 'Mighty One(s)', 'Ruler(s)'
elohim = Israelite judges, rulers, angels or gods (false deities, idols, demons)
emunah = faith, actively trusting, clinging or adhering to (especially Yahweh or Yah'shua)
emet = truth, Yah'shua is the Emet
Ephraimite = descendant of the patriarch Ephraim and head of Messsianic Israel
Feasts of Yahweh = the 7 annual Moedim (Pesach, Chag haMatzah, Yom haBikkurim, Shavu'ot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot)
Gan-Eden = Garden of Eden, Paradise and state of the purified heart in Messiah
goy(im) = nation(s), Israelites or gentiles not born in or converted to the Covenant
hallelu-Yah = praise Yah(weh)!
Heylel = proper name of Satan or haSatan = the Adversary, the devil
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Hochmah = Wisdom, title of the 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
IDL = International Date Line, false man-made time division in Pacific Ocean
IDL Zone = Area between the true Divine Date Line (Lake Van/Eden) and the false one
Israeli = citizen of the modern Edomite-Khazar Republic of Israel (not Biblical Israel)
Israelite = citizen of biblical state of Israel or a modern follower of the Messiah
Jew = post-biblical term describing descendants of Edomite and Khazar converts to Judaism
Johannine = pertaining to the Apostle Yochanan (e.g. Gospel of John)
Josephite = descendant of the patriarch Joseph, the head of Messianic Israel
Judahite = a person in direct descent from the patriarch Judah, forefather of the Messiah
Judaism = a Talmudic-based religion rejecting Yah'shua the Messiah
Judean = a citizen of the Kingdom or Province of Judah until the 2nd Century diaspora
Kadosh la Yahweh = set-apart or dedicated to Yahweh, 'Holiness to the Lord', MLT motto
Karaites = Jews (from 700 AD) who reject the Talmud and accept only the Tanakh
kashrut = keeping kosher, food laws of Yahweh and correspinding lifestyle
Ketuvim = Writings or Hagiographa of the Tanakh
Khazar = a Turkic convert to Judaism ~700 AD forming the Ashkenazi Jewish community
kosher = clean foods authorised by Yahweh for human consumption
Lashon Hara = evil-speaking, gossip or slander
legalism = false route to salvation through works (self-salvation)
le-olam-va-ed = dispensation- or age-long, aeonian, not eternal, forever or for eternity
Lev = heart, as in Lev-Tsiyon = heart of Zion
Lev-Tsiyon = Heart of the Fortress [of Yahweh], Hebrew name of MLT's founder
Master = Lord, Sir, Adon(ai) - (one in authority, a ruler - a king, husband, prophet, judge)
Malak(im) = Angel(s), heavenly supernatural messenger(s)
manna = wafers of honey, bread from heaven (lit. 'what is this?')
matzah = unleavened bread, see Chag haMatzah
Menorah = 7-armed candlearbra = the 7 annual Moedim and 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
Messiah = Christ; Anti-Messiah = Antichrist
Messianic Community = Body of Christ, sum total of all true believers; all true fellowships
Messianic Israel = all who worship Yahweh, trust in Yah'shua, obey Torah and overcome
Messianic Jew = Messianic convert from Judaism still clinging to Talmudic traditions
Midrash = aggadic interpretation of scripture vi‚ Drash, a scriptural discussion
Mikvah = baptism by immersion of convert into Yah'shua or of wife into husband
Mishpachah = family: nuclear, congregational, tribal or the whole of Messianic Israel
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon = family of the heart of the fortress [of Yahweh]
Mishpat = right-ruling or judgement
mitzvah/mitzvot = commandment(s)
moed(im) = appointment(s) of Yahweh, 7 Annual Feasts, Sabbath and Rosh Chodesh
Nefilim, Nephilim = giant offspring of materialised demons and human women
Nevi'im = prophetic writings of the Old Testament or Tanakh
New Birth = spiritual conversion in the Ruach haRishon, being 'born again' with new heart
Nidah = a woman's menstruation period during which no intercourse is permitted
Olive Branch = collection of revelations, prophecies and visions published by MLT
Paraclete = Comforter, Advocate (NEB), Counsellor, Ruach haQodesh (Gk. paraklÍtos)
PaRDeS = method of textual interpretation (homiletics) - see P'shat, Remez, Drash, Sod
Patriarch = a father who is head of his family, clan or tribe (lit. 'father-ruler')
Pentateuch = first five books of the Tanakh (Genesis-Deuteronomy), also called Torah
peribolaion = headcovering worn by daughters/wives in submission to fathers/husbands
Pesach = Passover, first of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Peshitta = an Aramaic version of the Bible
Prototrinitarianism = early, simplified MLT formulation of the Echad Godhead Doctrine
Prush(im) = Pharisee(s)
Pseudepigrapha = Non-canonical Hebrew writings additional to the Apocrypha
P'shat = literal, contextual, philological, exoteric, outer meaning of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Qadosh Qadoshim = Holy of Holies, most sacred set-apart room of the Beit haMikdash
Qodesh, Kodesh = set-apart, holy (see Ruach haQodesh)
Rabbi = Teacher, term used by Messianic Jews and some Messianic Israelites = Pastor
Refuge, the 12 Cities of = divinely protected MLT fortresses during the 7-year Tribulation
Remez = hint or allegorical level of Hebraic understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Rosh Chodesh = monthly New Moon appointment of Yahweh
ruach = spirit of a person (lit.'breath')
Ruach Elohim = Spirit of God (the Spirit of the collective Godhead or Elohim)
Ruach haChamashee = 5th Ruach presides over Yom Teruah and Yom Chamashee
Ruach haQodesh = the Sevenfold Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost (lit. 'Set-Apart Breath')
Ruach haRevee = 4th Ruach presides over Shavu'ot, Yom Revee and Bar Mitzvah
Ruach haRishon = 1st Ruach presides over Pesach, Yom Rishon and the New Birth
Ruach haShanee = 2nd Ruach presides over Chag haMatzah and Yom Shanee
Ruach haSheshi = 6th Ruach presides over Yom Kippur and Yom Sheshi
Ruach haShleshi = 3rd Ruach presides over Yom haBikkurim, Yom Shleshi and Mikvah
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Satan = rebel archangel Heylel, father of lies, devil, chief demon (lit.'Adversary')
Sephardic Jew = West European Jew of mixed blood containing many Judahites
Septuagint = Greek translation of the Tanakh, LXX
Shegal haShabbat = 7th Ruach (Sabbath Queen) presides over Sukkot and Yom Shabbat
Shekinah = Divine Presence and Glory of Yahweh-Elohim
Set-apart = holy, sanctified, consecrated, dedicated, separated (to and by Yahweh)
Shabbat-Shabbaton = High Sabbath (e.g. Yom Kippur)
Shalom = heavenly peace, standard Hebraic greeting invoking Yahweh's peace
Shamash(im) = servant(s), deacon(s), attendant(s)
Shavu'ot = Pentecost or Weeks, fourth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Sheol = grave or pit, euphamism for Hades or hell - also see Tartarus
shofar = ram's horn, blown during Yahweh's Moedim
simcha = joy, keynote of Sukkot
Sod = mystical, anagogic, inner or esoteric understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Sukkot = Tabernacles or Booths, seventh of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Synagogue = Greek word used by Jews and Messianics (but not MLT) for a meeting house
talmid(a) = male/female disciple or student
Talmud = scriptures, teachings and commentaries belonging to non-Messianic Judaism
Tanakh = acronym for Old Testament Scriptures - Torah, Nevi'im & Ketuvim
Tartarus = place of imprisonment under the earth for rebellious angels and Nephilim
teshuvah = repentance, remorse and contrition leading back to Torah obedience
Torah = Yahweh's teachings or Law; New Covenant Torah includes Yah'shua's teachings
Tribulation, the Great = the final 7 years of the present aeon when Anti-Messiah rules
Trinity = Catholic Godhead formula - see Echad Godhead Doctrine and Prototrinitarianism
Tsiyon = Zion, a fortress, a name of Jerusalem and a prominent hill
Tzitzit/Tizitziyot = tassel(s) worn by men in remembrance of Torah
Universalism = salvation of all at the cosmic Yovel, with different rewards and punishments
Yachid = one, single person or item, as opposed to Echad (many in one, unity)
Yah'shua the Messiah = Jesus Christ (the Son)
Yahudah = Judah - see Judahite
Yahweh, Yah, YHWH = the true Name of our Heavenly Father, also carried by Yah'shua
Yahweh-Elohim = LORD God (the Father, Yahweh as Head of the Godhead or Elohim)
Yahweh haQatan = the sent Yahweh = Yah(weh)'shua, Malak of Yahweh's Presence
Yam Suf = Sea of Reeds, the true Israelite Exodus water crossing, not the Red Sea
Yarden = Jordan River (lit. 'meanderer')
Yerushalayim = Jerusalem
Yisrael = Israel (lit. 'ruling with l') = true believers under the New Covenant
Yom Chamashee = 5th day of the week (Thursday, Friday in IDL Zone)
Yom Din, Yom haDin = (the) Day of Judgement
Yom haBikkurim = Feast of Firstfruits, third of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Revee = 4th day of the week (Wednesday, Thursday in IDL Zone)
Yom Rishon = 1st day of the week (Sunday, Monday in IDL Zone)
Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement, sixth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Shabbat = 7th day of the week and Sabbath Rest (Saturday, Sunday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shanee = 2nd day of the week (Monday, Tuesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Sheshi = 6th day of the week (Friday, Saturday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shleshi = 3rd day of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Teruah = Day of Trumpets, fifth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yosef = Joseph - see Josephite
Yovel = Jubilee or Year of Jubilee
Zaqen(im) = elder(s) of an assembly or congregation, or senior members of a community
ZoŽ Life = Greek term for spiritual life in the Messiah
Commonly Used MLT Abbreviations
For additional abbreviations and explanations,
please see the Micropedia
Amp.V(er). = Amplified Version of the Bible
Aram. = Aramaic
AV = Authorised Version of the Bible - see KJV
BCAY = B'rit Chadashah Assembly of Yahweh - see NCCG
BoA = Books of Abraham (e.g. 1Abr., 2Abr., etc.)
cp, cf = compare with
CB(Q) = Chavurat Bekorot
CEV = Contemporary English Version of the Bible
ch. = chapter
CJB = Complete Jewish Bible
CLNT = Concordant Literal New Testament
CYe = Council of Yah's elohim
Eng. = English
ff. = and onwards/forwards
fn = footnote
Gk. = Greek
GNB = Good News Bible - see TEV
Heb. = Hebrew, Hebraic
HEM = Holy Echad Marriage, eternal marriage
HO = Holy Order - see Chavurat Bekorot
HOC = Holy Order Collection of revelations - see OB
HRV = Hebraic-Roots Version of the Bible
ibid. = ibidem (lit. 'in the same place'), referring to a book previously cited
ICJC = Independent Church of Jesus Christ, earlier name of NCCF
ISRV = Institute for Scripture Research Version of the Bible
JB = Jerusalem Bible
JBP/Phillips = J.B.Phillips translation of the New Testament
JNT = Jewish New Testament
KJV = King James Version of the Bible - see AV
LB = Living Bible
lit. = literally or literature
LXX = Septuagint, Greek translation of the OT
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon
Moff. = Moffatt translation of the Bible
MRC = Messianic Renewed Covenant Version of the NT
MS(S) = Manuscript(s)
NASB, NASV = New American Standard Bible/Version
NC&C = New Covenants & Commandments - see OB
NCCF = New Covenant Christian Fellowship, earlier name of NCCG
NCCG = New Covenant Church of God, earlier name of MLT - see BCAY
NCP = New Covenant Press, publishing arm of MLT
NCW = New Covenant Witness, MLT magazine
NEB = New English Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible
NKJV = New King James Version of the Bible
Nor. = Norwegian
NT = New Testament, B'rit Chadashah
NWT = New World Translation of the Bible, unreliable Jehovah's Witness version
OB = Olive Branch - see NC&C
op.cit. = opere citato (lit. in the work cited)
OT = Old Testament, Tanakh
p(p). = page(s)
pl. = plural - see s.
PWNC = Prophetic Words of the New Covenant, revelation cataloging system - see OB
QED = quod erat demonstrandum (lit. which was shown to be proved)
RCF = Restoration Christian Fellowship, earlier name of ICJC
RhQ = Ruach haQodesh, Holy Spirit
RSTNE = Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition of the Bible
RSV = Revised Standard Version of the Bible
RV = Revised Version of the Bible
s. = singular - see pl.
S&G = Smith & Goodspeed Version of the Bible
TEV = Today's English Version of the Bible - see GNB
Vulg. = Biblia Vulgata, Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible
WEB = World English Bible
This page was first created on 17 March 2007
Last updated on 17 March 2007
Copyright ©2006 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved