Sermons Series 3:49, 5 August 2006
The Third Wave
Part 3: Finding the Right Covenant
Click here for Part 2
"Let your bearing towards one another arise out of your life in Messiah Yah'shua. For the divine nature was His from he first; yet He did not think to snatch at equality with Elohim but made Himself nothing, assuming the nature of a slave. Bearing the human likeness, revealed in human shape, He humbled Himself, and in obedience accepted even death - death on a cross. Therefore Elohim raised Him to the heights and bestowed on Him the Name above all names, that at the Name of Yah'shua ever knee should bow - in heaven, on earth, and in the depths - and every tongue confess, 'Yah'shua the Messiah is Master', to the glory of Elohim the Father" (Phil.2:5-11, NEB).
I am sure everyone will agree with me when I say it has been an 'incredible summer'. There have been heat waves around the world. In fact it's been so hot in the United Kingdom that there's an energy crisis there - the Government doesn't know how it can supply British households with enough electricity to meet the sudden demand for air conditioning. London has literally been roasting. But not only Britain - friends in the United States and Israeli Republic have been saying the same thing, whilst 'down under' in South Africa it has been uncharacteristically cold this winter there (for as you know it is winter in the southern hemisphere). Yes, it has been an incredible summer and I suspect it will continue to be incredible in the two or three weeks of it that are left before we must once again enter autumn (fall) and start thinking about winter needs. This summer has also seen one of those periodic cycles of persecution that Yahweh's people must expect to be on the receiving end of, and it would be true to say that this has been one of the most determined and co-ordinated attacks against us so far. Nevertheless, as Yahweh promised, we have been strengthened and are going through a much needed spiritual purging. We are, as I write this, in the Third Wave which I suspect will go on a little longer than the two that have already passed. It is already shaking many to their foundations so that they can see what their spiritual feet are actually planted on.
I did not know until yesterday what it was I should be preaching to you on today and that is because the message Yahweh wishes me to convey to you is not easy to put into words. Nobody here - and that includes myself - knows precisely what awaits us on the other side of the Third Wave. We know some things, though. We know that it will see those operating against us defeated - again. We know that the spiritual landscape will be completely different for those who successfully pass through. And we know that those who do not pass through it will, more or less, return to the spiritual landscape they inhabited before they came to us and forget all that they ever learned while the Ruach dwelt with them here.
We know from the stories of the Judges in the Bible how those who abandoned their Covenant with Yahweh gradually slipped into pagan ways until, to all intents and purposes, they were completely pagans themselves though they retained the trappings of their Yahwist faith. Then invasions from pagan neighbours took place, the people were sorely oppressed, and finally cried out for redemption having received their stripes. Yahweh send them a human deliverer, saviour, or messiah, such as Gideon, and when the people rallied around these anointed servants of the Most High, Israel defeated the invader and secured peace and prosperity again ... for a while. And then cycle of apostasy, oppression, repentance and deliverance occurred again and again as you know until finally, centuries later, Yahweh had enough of their constant rebellion and divorced the nation of Israel completely, annulling the Covenant given to it through Moses. Then Yahweh sent His only begotten Son, Yah'shua, to establish a new covenant and a new marriage with Israel. The terms were simple: if you accept Yah'shua as the Messianic King, you become Israel, the Bride, again. If you don't, irrespective of your racial descent from Jacob, you cease to be Israelite. You remain Jacobites - the descendants of Jacob the deceiver - but you are no longer Israelites, descendants of the Overcomer and the one who Rules with Elohim.
We have in our midst today what I consider to be a very dangerous spiritual development which has more or less totally hijacked the Messianic Movement. It claims allegiance to a Covenant that Yahweh has pronounced dead and has tried to revive it under a new flag. Many in that movement either secretly or openly dislike the teachings of the apostle Paul because they rightly discern, though are rarely willing to admit it, that Paul considered the Old Covenant to be a millstone around the necks of believers that would drown them if they tried to remain in it in any way. They have not only planted the flag of Messiah in this Old Covenant but tried to dress it up to look like the New one that the Messiah established, whilst retaining something resembling its long expired spirit, yet not the original Ruach that sustained it which has been withdrawn and placed in the New Covenant instead. In place of that spirit, they have tried, through their passionate devotion to tradition, to imbibe it with the psychic power of their enthusiasm for Torah and in the process admitted alien and ultimately hostile spirits. And these spirits either violently condemn all that Yahweh did through the Protestant Reformation, labelling it as 'satanic', or pay lip-service to it whilst secretly despising it in order to convert Ephraim to their dead religion. And it is dead for only one reason: Yahweh divorced Himself from the old marriage union established through Moses and declared it to be permanently dead.
Our passage of Scripture today is a quotation from Paul's letter to the Philippians. In it he makes is crystal clear that our life does not arise out of Torah but from a life in Messiah Yah'shua. Yah'shua is the starting point. Not only that, but when you start in the Messiah you are in the whole Godhead! Dr. James Moffat translates this passage: "Treat one another with the same spirit (ruach) as you experience in Messiah Yah'shua". Our life is not in the dead letter of Torah but in the experience of the living ruach of the Messiah. Our spiritual life derives from the Messiah, not a list of regulations and rules, important though many still are. Our life is in a person and not merely theoretically - it is an experience, an interaction - an intimate personal contact such as a husband and wife experience when they are in love. That is the basis of the New Covenant. It is the true life of Messianic Israel.
The seed that was sown in the Holy Land by Yahweh through Moses and his successor Joshua became a tree whose leaves would be for the healing of all nations. And as the New Testament shows, Yahweh laid hands on Sha'ul of Tarsus and made him His emissary to all the nations, far beyond the borders of Eretz Yisrael. Please note - and note this well.- that Paul never told his gentile converts to immigrate to Israel! Never! Not once, even though they had become Israelites by adoption and ingrafting. Which begs an important question: why? Why, if we are to believe the Eretz Israel-focus of the Messianics today, many of whom are counselling people to immigrate to the Israeli Republic in order to fulfil prophecy and help usher the return of the Messiah, did Paul not do the same? Why did he tell them to stay put in Philippi, Ephesus, Corinth, Pergamum, Laodicia, Thessalonica, Rome and all the other places where Christian congregations were planted? The reason is because the New Covenant, unlike the Old, is to move out from Jerusalem and into the whole world, to bless the whole world, and there await the return of the Messiah. Yes, the Scriptures plainly teach - as the Two-House Messianics rightly point out - that Judah and Ephraim are to regather. But they have not been told to regather to a secular, antichrist Edomite-Khazar Republic in the Middle East where even now a bloody war is being stubbornly fought between Esau and Ishmael in Lebanon and Philistia. There is only one politico-geographical place that Ephraim and Judah can ever return to, and that is the Kingdom of Yahweh where Yah'shua is Regent. And right now Yah'shua is not Regent in the Holy Land, neither will He be until He returns. The making of the Holy Land as one of the gravitational centres of the Christian or Messianic faith where there is only apostasy, Illuminati government and a potential holocaust, is to bring the spirit of antichrist into the Messianic movement, which has happened, and is happening, in its several branches, and which will ultimately destroy it.
Christianity was born and cradled in the milieu of Eretz Yisrael, but not a pure one. The Israel Yah'shua was born in, and where the Gospel first spread from, was apostate. It was lead by apostates filled with the same antichrist spirit as rules in the Israeli Republic today. Then, as now, Messianic believers were in a minority and persecuted by their own government. The two are identical. The two were both Edomite counterfeits. The first was judged and destroyed, the people scattered throughout the whole world in punishment for rejecting both the New Covenant and the King of the New Covenant. And now, today, they are doing exactly the same thing. The people that ruled Palestine in Yah'shua's day are the forefathers of those who rule the Israeli Republic today. The people who returned from Babylonian exile to the Holy Land all those centuries ago have done exactly the same thing in the 20th century, and in 1948 restored the same apostate entity led by the same semi-paganised Jews who have returned from a modern Babylonian exile. And they are persecuting Messianic believers today as they did back then.
So now we have to ask ourselves some important questions. And the first one is this: why did Yahweh allow the Judahites to return from exile to Eretz Yisrael - the Land of Israel? Was it because they had reformed and become purified? Is there any evidence that the people learned their lesson? To begin with let us remember that they returned not as an independent people with their own kingdom and king but as vassals of other empires. The only time they acquired national independence was through the sword during the Hasmonean revolt and there are no examples of miraculous rescues by Yahweh as in days of old. None! Little miracles, yes, on a one-to-one basis. Little reformations, yes, but nothing that led to what one might call total reformation of the people's souls. It's a fact that large numbers of the people remained in Babylon because they preferred the life there. And those who did return brought with them many Babylonian notions with which they had been leavened as a nation. They returned corrupted and tainted. One can cite the semi-legend of Hanukkah, which has been greatly embellished by the Talmudists, as a miracle. Now assuming it ever happened - there is no canonical scripture to confirm it - the miraculous burning of the Menorah oil for many days after it should have run out tends to bolster Talmudic traditions rather than the central witness of Torah. It can be compared in scale and impact to the kinds of side-show 'miracles' we see in the modern charismatic movement where gold dust appears on people's hands, miracles which I have no hesitation in marking down as devilish and irrelevant to the Christian witness. Yahweh does not engage in cheap theatrics. And whilst I am not remotely suggesting that the miracle of the rededication of the temple is to be compared with the demonic, it is my assertion that it is the kind of minor miracle that attends believers when they are spiritually atrophied and have stirred a little from their slumber. For it must be remembered that the legacy of the Hasmoneans was not a spirit that would welcome the Messiah but one which actually nailed Him to a cross.
When Yah'shua laid His hands on Sha'ul of Tarsus - whom we also know as Paul - he did not set him on the Temple Mount and give him glory and honour, but broke his life and claimed him utterly. Thus claimed and thus surrendered, Yah'shua filled this man's being with an irresistible passion for the Messiah, which thereafter was the locus of everything he said and taught.
There are no eulogies to Torah in Paul's writing because Yah'shua, not Torah, is centre-stage. Torah is now merely an outward expression of Messianic Life, and the ruler for identifying sin when it is needed, but it is never claimed with the same obsession, nor does it absorb his life, as modern Messianic claim and are absorbed in it today. Am I against Torah? By no means! And Paul said the same thing. But I am saying that Torah has diminished in importance and glory, just like John the Baptist did, in the conscience of true believers, because when you're living Torah you don't even notice it. When you are living Messianic Torah your eyes are on Yah'shua, and Yah'shua alone.
As you read the Acts of the Apostles, do you find the gentile converts going to schul or yeshiva? Did these early converts do what Messianics by and large are doing today? What was their focus? Were they studying and dissecting Torah with an electron microscope and scalpel, and seeking for guidance from the Talmud, Zohar, and Mishnah? Were they studying kabalah? Did they even brandish words such as p'shat, remez, drash, midrash and sod? Were they sifting through Bible codes looking for prophetic messages? No! Why should they? Paul used to do this sort of things, or similar things, and testified that is was all useless compared to a knowledge of a life in Messiah! He was one of the most educated men of his times, an intellectual of great prowess who surely would have been thrilled to sit in some Messianic assemly or conference today and discourse on the minutae of Torah?? Does anyone believe he did that? Not I! The entire corpus of his writings screams the very opposite! It was those Jews who rejected the Messiah who spent centuries dissecting the Torah and collating hundreds of books of commentaries whilst in Diaspora who did this, and it is these same people, who have picked up the banner of Messiah, who are doing the same thing today and calling it a 'Renewed Covenant'. Brethren and sisters, I repeat again most emphatically, that the New Covenant of Messianic Israel is absolutely not a 'Renewed' Old Covenant of Moses! Not in a thousand years!
Before Paul became a Christian, two major influences had played on his life. He was simultaneously a Jew and a Roman citizen in a wider world, and I hazard to guess that this was no accident in the divine scheme of things. Now Messianics are desperate to portray Paul as someone who has few, if any, connections with the Greek world outside the borders of Eretz Yisrael. They acknowledge, because they have to, that he was born in Tarsus a Roman citizen (Ac.16:37; 21:39; 22:25ff) and would far rather emphasise that he was a zealous Pharisee (Rom.11:1; Phil.3:5; Ac.23:6). Jerome cites a tradition that Paul's forebears were from Galilee but no one knows whether they migrated there for commercial reasons or were colonised by a Syrian ruler. That they were citizens suggests that they had been there for some time. We read:
"I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers' law (Torah), and was zealous toward Elohim as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women ..." (Acts 22:3-4, NKJV)
The Bible tells us only that Paul was (a) born in Tarsus, (b) brought up in "this city" (Jerusalem), and (c) educated at the feet of Rabbi Gamaliel. As a "young man" (Act.7:58; Gal.1:13ff; 1 Cor.15:9) he was given official authority to direct the persecution of Christians and as a member of a synagogue or Sannhedrin council "cast my vote against them" (Ac.26:10, RSV). In the light of Paul's education and early prominence we may presume that his family was of some means and of prominent status; his nephew's access to the Jerusalem leaders agrees with this impression (Ac.23:16,20).
We know from the archaeological work that has been done that Tarsus was no unimportant city. It was a centre of learning and scholars have generally assumed that Paul became acquainted with various Greek philosophies and religious cults during his youth there. However, Luke most plainly records that Paul was brought up in Jerusalem so we can safely assume that as a boy his family immigrated back to Judea. That Paul knew a lot about Greek culture and religious cults is not disputed but this is more likely to have been learned later on in life, unless - as is possible - his family had a lot of contact with the Greek world through their commercial activities before Paul became a convert. This I think most likely for such a family. Messianics are very keen to stress non-involvement with the Greek world in order to distance Paul from Greek and Roman influences altogether. However interesting historically and culturally this may be, it is to miss the main point. Whilst a zealot and bigot thanks to his upbringing, he must have had enough experience of the Gentile world, with contrasts firmly embedded in his psyche, for Yahweh to be able to use him as His 'apostle to the gentiles'.
If there is one legacy from his Jewish upbringing that Paul never regretted, it was his intense gratitude to Yahweh. Despised among the nations the Jews might be, it never occurred to the apostle, not even when confronting the most cultured and critical Greek audiences, to make any secret of his origin. Israelite lineage was never a thing he ever felt a need to be apologetic about but a matter for thanksgiving because of the advantage it gave to him spiritually. But he never boasted about it, as many Messianics who believe they are Judahites do today, because he understood that when a man has really - and I mean really seen Yah'shua and been touched by His Ruach, there is nothing more to boast about except Yah'shua, and Yah'shua alone (Rom.3:27). Because once you have truly been penetrated by the Ruach haQodesh, all that attitude of racial and cultural pride is finished. All that is left - all that can ever be left - is the cross - the atoning work of Messiah by which he has been saved (Gal.6:14). And when Messianic Jews of his day did start boasting of their religion, their Torah, their history and their culture, he playfully reminded these proud people that he could 'boast' the same:
"Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I. Are they servants of Messiah? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again" (2 Cor 11:22-24, NIV).
See how he teased these puffed up Messianic Jews? And it was not the only occasion. More than once they went bragging about their racial heritage and more than once the apostle had to pull them down a few rungs (Phil.3:5ff), even reminding them that he had excelled them at their own game before he came to Messiah (Ac.26:4ff). And what do we see today? A resurrection of the same breed of arrogant people who ironically probably aren't genuine descendants of Abraham at all. We do not need this modern Judaising heresy again! Do we need Torah? Absolutely. Do we need the moedim or appointments of Yahweh? Absolutely. But what we do not need is what Paul spent half his life striving againt, stumbling blocks to new believers, what John unapologetically calls the "Synagogue of Satan" (Rev.2:9; 3:9). The Body of Christ does not need this heresy at a time when lawless Christians are coming to love and accept Torah for the first time.
Paul's experience in Damascus, away from the territorial spirit of the Babylonised, antichrist Talmudists, brought many great discoveries to his soul as a result of the revolutionising experience he had had with Yah'shua on the road to the Syrian capital. And one of the greatest discoveries was of a human brotherhood in Messiah which the old lines of Jew and Gentile, Greek and barbarian, bond and free, had been completely and utterly obliterated, and the old barriers had forever vanished. Yet stamped on his mind, and right to the end, there remained the thought of Yahweh's surpassing goodness and grace to the descendants of Abraham - and it baffled and bewildered and hurt him more than he could tell, as a Benjamite, that Israel, who had been "entrusted with the very words of Elohim" (Rom.3:2, NIV), starting with an initial advantage so huge and so decisive, should have stood back watching others, who had no such privilege, pressing forward into a fullness of life and glory of service, without foreknowledge of Torah, that she herself refused to enter. "Why" - he kept asking himself - "why has this happened? Why this startling disloyalty to the Elohim whose blessing of Israel had been so unstinted, so royally extravagant?" Facing this tragic problem, Paul heaps up the splendours his nation had inherited, the unique privileges which ought surely to have made Judaism the first to recognise and hail its Messiah:
"They are Israelites, theirs is the Sonship, the Glory, the covenants, the Divine legislation, the Worship, and the promises; the patriarchs are theirs, and theirs too as far as natural descent goes) is the Messiah" (Rom.9:4ff, Moffat).
All of this is the Jew's prerogative, his mandate straight from Yahweh, in which Paul claims a share (Rom.11:1). But how much his birth and lineage meant to him may be gathered best of all from the way in which, even in his people's stubbornness and blindness and downright apostasy, he clings to them with the yearning and fervour of his soul, refusing, like Yahweh with Ephraim, to let them go.
"For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Messiah for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel" (Rom.9:3-4, NIV).
Yes, these are the words of a passionate man, white-hot with love and wild with regret, words surely as moving as anything in the literature of the world, we seem to watch the centuries falling away, and Paul the born Benjamite takes his stand with that other great priestly and vicarious soul, the lonely Levite who stood before Yahweh on Sinai in the morning of Israel's days, and cried:
"But now, please forgive their sin -- but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written" (Ex.32:32, NIV).
The great, human, godlike cry, wrung from Paul's heart in Romans, is the real index of what his ancestral faith stood for in his experience. To be a "Hebrew of the Hebrews" - that was a priceless and enduring privilege. But with privilege comes responsibility, and with the end of an age there of necessity comes a change in leadership too. For Paul lives at the crossroad of change - change from Old to New Covenant, change from the leadership of Judah to the leadership of Joseph:
"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (Messiah) comes. And to Him shall be the obedience of the people" (Gen.49:10, NKJV).
The apostasy of Judah was nearly ripened, as we have seen, and within a century the Judeans would be scattered across the world, just as Ephraim had been centuries before at the hand of Assyria. The sceptre of authority, rulership and law-giving ended when Shiloh - Yah'shua - came for the first time. Paul sensed the agony of this apostasy and rejection - he knew that the sceptre was going to Joseph, and it was into the Diaspora of Joseph that he, as a descendant of Benjamin, the brother of Joseph, had been sent! Here he was, amongst scattered Israelites, Greeks, Romans and others, taking the Gospel to the people who had apostatised centuries before but who were now awakening and receiving what their brother Judah was rejecting. The sceptre has passed from the hands of Judah permanently - he does not have the rulership in Israel any longer, and any move by people to reclaim it is usurpation and apostasy, however brilliant they may be - or claim to be - in the minutae of Torah because now it is about the passion of Messiah, not how brilliant a yeshiva one comes from. Gamaliel was brilliant, but was he saved? Paul lived in a time of transition - the transition from the leadership of Judah to Joseph. And whilst jurisdictionally this happened either the day Yah'shua was born, of when He started His ministry, in reality the struggle by Judah to retain the sceptre and deny it to Joseph has never really ceased, and indeed has been resurrected again in the Messianic movement. Of Joseph we read:
"Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall. The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty Elohim of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), by the Elohim of your father who will help you, and by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers" (Gen.49:22-26, NKJV).
Two millennia later, the brothers have still not recognised the primacy of Joseph, and won't recognise it until Joseph is revealed in power. That day is almost upon us as Joseph once again rises from the ashes of obscurity, from slavery, slander and imprisonment, and assumes his lawful place as head bearing the sceptre. "The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him". (Notice that this is not a prophecy about Judah or the Jews). He has born his humiliations and sufferings and trusted in Yahweh his Elohim. And Benjamin, you will remember, was given an extra portion by his elder brother when he was brought to Egypt with the other ten brothers who had plotted to kill his elder brother but had contented themselves instead selling him into slavery. Here is Paul the Benjamite, living in the tent of Judah, mourning over the failure of this leading tribe to receive their Messiah. He must have sensed the oncoming humiliation of dispersion, with centuries of wandering ahead, was at hand.
There can be no doubt that Paul was intelligently awake. Yet unlike the Jews and pagans of his day he did not preach self-control but Messiah-control. He did not philosophise, like the Stoic Epictetus philosophised: "Is it possible here and now to be faultless? Impossible! But this is possible - to have ever been straining every energy towards the avoidance of sin" (Epict. iv.12). Now whilst this is a fine and noble sentiment and the word of a real fighter and characteristic of a real Stoic at his best, it's an entirely different world to the one Paul preached. Consider these words of the apostle:
"But thanks be to Elohim, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Messiah and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to Elohim the aroma of Messiah among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life" (2 Cor.2:14-16, NIV).
Epictetus is straining not to sin, but Paul is riding a wave of triumph in the strength and power of a life in Yah'shua! Stoicism, worked out to its logical conclusion, like all false religion, was a religion of despair. Tens of thousands of Stoics in Paul's day were seeking release, self-conquest and victory over the world, and bursting every blood vessel to do so. They were entirely on the wrong track. Theirs was a religion of frustration as is all religion that tries to effect salvation through personal effort, including religions that bear Judaic and Christian labels and which pass off as the religion of the Messiah and Paul. The inevitable conclusion of such legalistic religions is summed up in the words of the pagan Vergil: "What is God, after all, but just Fate" (Aeneid i. 262). So what can man do, in such a false religious world view, caught in the toils of a harsh determinism, but bow his head and submit? Nor can he look forward with any lift of the heart to what may come hereafter, for immortality too has slipped away. And Epictetus could only bid a father kissing his child remember that it was a mortal thing he loved, and whisper while he kissed, "Tomorrow thou wilt die". You will notice that those pursuing false religious routes to salvation inevitably end up with such dark conclusions. And the inevitable end result is either Satanism or atheism.
What, then, is the difference between Christianity and all the rest? What amazed the pagans of the first two centuries was the refusal of the Messianic Community to syncretise with all the other religions. Because this refusal always let to great persecutions. When Isis and Cybele came to Rome, they were welcomed with open arms. But when Yah'shua of Nazareth came, Rome girded herself to fight him to the death. Because the Messianic Community would under no circumstances 'play the game of syncretisation' that the Messianic Community, like its Master, was crucified, dead and buried. And it was because of the same refusal that the Messianic Community - again like its Master Yah'shua - survived death, and broke from the tomb, and went to work in the world. Tertullian wrote:
"Every man who sees this great [Christian] endurance is filled with questioning. He is on fire to look at it, and find its cause; and when he has found it, immediately he follows it himself" (ad Scapulam, 5).
And the unknown author of the Epistle to Diognetus represents the outside world as wondering "what this new society, this new interest, is which has come into human experience, now and not before" (Ep. Ad Diognetum, 1). It just didn't melt with the pagan mystery religions. It couldn't, because it came from an entirely different source. You can't compare the Hellenistic world with its State mysteries of Eleusius, where a passion-play dramatising the recovery of Persephone from the underworld which was supposed to give assurance or immortality, with the resurrection of Yah'shua the Messiah, because the Eleusian mysteries never conferred upon its disciples that bursting power, love, hope and passion which is in Messiah! The only appeal the pagans could make was by surrounding themselves with the atmosphere of mystery, spicing it with exotic flavour, and by promising their initiates with dazzling, spectacular experiences. But it was most of all the gift of immortality which they promised that kept the people faithful. Christianity - true Christianity - as opposed to the propositional, theological brain-centred Christianity (along with its Judaic counterpart) - offered something immediate, real, empowering and liberating - something in the here and now, something clearly both different and real - not some hypnotic suggestion, but something anyone could find and experience simply by trusting and surrendering.
What 'new thing', then, did Yah'shua bring? And what 'new thing' is He bringing to a world that has returned to paganism and discovering that paganism does not deliver the promises it offers? Paul, the ex-Talmudic Jew, carried with him the glory of Messiah throbbing in every part of his being and filling every thought in his head, had no need of second-hand inspiration drawn from the pagan deities. He needed no 'cultural input' to 'mould a new world view' because his whole world view was delivered to him in an instant what the resurrected Yah'shua burst upon his life and transformed everything about him, leading him to exclaim jubilantly:
"I have been crucified with Messiah and I no longer live, but Messiah lives in me" (Gal.2:20, NIV).
Paul had within himself the secret of all creative power, because the power of the Creator was in him. Paul did not appeal to theory, to myth, to mystery rites, or to any of the trappings of paganism. And he did not appeal to Torah to explain this new life in him - he merely used Torah to point to the source of this life and its incarnation in the world. The Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah starts in Yah'shua and ends in Messiah - the blueprint of living, the Torah, is but a vessel to shape it, define it, and administer it in language - the Torah is not the life itself. People may think we are insane but that is not an uncommon thing - many people who have subsequently been proved right about the assertions of truth they made were subsequently vindicated and proven sane. As Paul would himself say to the Corinthians:
"If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of Elohim; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Messiah's love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Cor.5:13-15, NIV).
I am standing here talking to you today bearing my testimony of the resurrected Messiah because of one event that took place in my life nearly 30 years ago. It wasn't a hunch, a gamble, a hope, an experiment, a hiding place, an act of desperation, loneliness or irrationality. I wasn't told to pray by anyone to meet Yah'shua - I just wanted to know Him. I was curious and desperate for truth. What happened was that Yah'shua entered my heart and transformed me inside out - in an instant - on 30 March 1977. He came by invitation because I believed what I read about Him in the Gospels. This energisation of my being took place when I opened my heart to Him and let Him in. From that day onwards He has been energising me, changing me, purifying me, encouraging me, and seeing me through the many challenges of life. I have had people try to buy me out of my faith (which would have made me a millionnaire), defame me (which would have made me unpopular) and even kill me for it (which would have made me dead). So why do I continue? 'Surely only a wild-eyed, brainwashed fanatic would persist in he face of such opposition?' That is what the unbeliever wants to believe. I am accused of being brainless but I am as well trained in logic and thinking as a scientist as well as any other university-trained person. My faith is rational but my experience of the Creator transcends all that. I can say, with Paul, that all my education I count as nothing in comparison to the living Messiah whom I met in my study alone in 1977. And there are millions like me.
You too can meet and know the living Messiah. You do not need a university degree to meet him or a guru to lead you to Him. You just have to read about Him in your Bible and open your heart, inviting Him in. All I and millions like me can do it point and say: "Trust Him". And once you've found Him, and met Him, and been empowered by Him, then all I can do it point you to the passage we read at the beginning of this address which says: "Let your bearing towards one another arise out of your life in Messiah Yah'shua". For once you have met Him you need to relate to others in His Family who know Him; and the only way you can do that is by letting the life of Yah'shua within you draw you, bind you, and form you into the Messianic Bride. This new life does not come out of Scripture - Scripture is just the instruction manual telling you where to go, how to do it, and what the fruits are of someone who has done these things. Once you have the new life in Messiah the Torah will be written in your heart and you will be attracted to it and desire to live it spontaneously. You may find obstacles in the way, lies that you have been taught about Elohim and spirituality, which need to be removed. These the written Torah will expose to you in conjunction with your prayer life in Messiah. Step by step, as the falsehood is removed, so the new life within you will transform you more and more so that you resemble your Saviour more and more.
What's this new life like? I will end my sermon today with a true story to illustrate what this new life can do. When Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, he appointed a commission to bring to trial those who had been guilty of atrocities during the time of apartheid. Any white officer who voluntarily faced his accusers and confessed his guilt would not be punished.
One day an elderly woman was brought face-to-face with the officer who had brutally murdered her only son and her beloved husband. Asked what she wanted from him, she said: "Although I have no family, I still have a lot of love to give." She requested that he visit her regularly so she could mother him. Then she said: "I would like to embrace him so he can know that my forgiveness is real." As the elderly woman made her way to the witness stand, the officer became so overwhelmed with shame and remorse that he fainted. The pain that woman inflicted was not sinful revenge but the purifying fire of a Yahweh's love that can lead to repentance and reconciliation. (from Philip Yancey, Tumors of Another World).
How could this woman forgive the murderer of her son and husband? There is only one power that could enable her to do that, the power of the love of the One who died and forgave her, along with all humanity, for her sins and ours. Human love cannot accomplish that, but if Messiah lives in you, then the love that forgave you enables you to forgive others.
Now I don't know about you but I'm so glad that I don't have to live a futile, meaningless life in my own strength. In Yah'shua I have all I could ever need. He has had to break me, and is still breaking me, so that more of that love can live in Him. He wishes to fill you with everything He's got. Please do let Him in. Amen.
Click here for Part 4
|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 18 March 2007
Last updated on 18 March 2007
Copyright ©2006 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved