Sermons Series 3:76, 27 January 2007
Resisting the Devil
Part 1: Worldliness
"I urge you, brothers, in view of Elohim's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Elohim - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Elohim's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will" (Rom.12:1-2, NIV).
Grace and shalom in Yah'shua our Messiah to you all and may the Shegal haShabbat rest on you all as we move into our teaching session and into a new theme. I am assuming today that you, like me, have your hearts full of the desire to see the Kingdom of Yahweh come to the earth at some point in the future when Yah'shua returns, and I am assuming you desire to see that Kingdom manifest in a real and tangible way in your homes and families right now. And though we are all, to some extent, numbed by the incessant flow of bad news in the media, and see the world degenerating before our eyes a little more each day, we all of us want at the very least a place of refuge where the world is excluded and where we can enjoy - here and now - the blessings of the Sukkot anointing of the Millennial world to come.
And yet we live in the world and are forced to interact with it. We are forced to be in it because of our jobs, the need to trade, education, and - of course - because of the mandate to evangelise. Everybody has heard the Christian adage: "Be in the world but not of it" and everybody knows how difficult it can be in marking a clear border between 'in' and 'of'. Moreover, every generation is different. When I was a boy, it was definitely a lot safer to be 'in' the world than it is today. Sexual predators were few and far between. The chances of being mugged and robbed in broad daylight in the middle of a village, town or city were practically zero. When I was a boy around 10 or 11 I would go into town alone and feel safe. You could trust teachers at school and even though there were, and always will be, perverts around, there were greater deterrents in those days and people respected the law. A policeman was held in high regard when I was a boy - he was seen as being a moral cut above the rest of society and he was expected to conduct himself in that way. People had a greater sense of duty and were less insistent on 'rights'. Today the world is a very different place. It is becoming harder and harder to trust anyone.
The Bible speaks of the 'world' in two senses - a positive sense and a negative sense. Positively, the world refers to the Creation, to the glorious things that Yahweh has made. Yah'shua had this kind of 'world' in mind when He said:
"For Elohim so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For Elohim did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him" (John 3:16-17, NIV).
Yah'shua was sent to redeem the Creation from sin, including human beings. Yahweh loves what He has created - He loves the world - and sent His Son to redeem it. This 'world' we are to love too - not its corrupted version, but the original design and intent. In that way He loves all people too.
There is, however, a second sense of the 'world' which is used in our opening passage where Paul said: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind". In other words, while we are to love the Creation and Yahweh's original intent for it, we are not to conform to the pattern of the world system because this world system is patterned after the intent and designs of Satan who is known as "the prince of this world" (Jn.12:31; 14:20; 16:11).
The questions I therefore want to ask you all today are these. First, what constitutes the 'world system? And second, how are we to avoid being patterned by it? And flowing out of the second: How are we to be patterned in the right way?
Part of the problem is in how we 'see' the things around us. People don't 'see' things in the same way. Why is that? And how can we be doing what is right and necessary if we are understanding things differently? The other day I was cataloguing books and magazines to sell to raise some money for our current economic needs when I came across something Yahweh had said to me and which I included in a periodical which we published way back in 1991. He said: "We see things not as THEY are but as WE are."
Now I am not here talking about a physical object so much as more abstract things like morality, ethics, truth, the purpose of life, and so on. Put another way, we 'see' things through our own interpretative lenses, through the lenses of our own limited experiences and knowledge of the things of Yahweh, and of life in general. And it is for this reason that Yahweh has appointed older and wiser men and women in the assemblies over those who are young and immature in the faith to protect them as they mature in spiritual matters. Paul said:
"It was [Yah'shua] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare Elohim's people for works of service, so that the body of Messiah may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of Elohim and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Messiah" (Eph.4:11-13, NIV).
An apostle is a special messenger of Yahweh, a prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher all rolled into one. They are the most experienced and spiritual of the flock and for that reason preside over the whole of Messianic Israel. The evangelists are pastors and teachers too, and pastors are also teachers. The Kingdom of Yahweh is like a pyramid with different officers at different levels of spiritual knowledge and experience to bless and guide the people, bringing them stage by stage through the seven overcomings into "the whole measure of the fullness of Messiah". Obviously Yahweh thought these important to prevent the sheep from wandering and being devoured by the wolves which is why He established them in the first place to protect them from the world system and its demonic patterning.
It is, sadly, a tendency of human nature to minimise danger and exaggerate safety when it comes to the world. That is why Paul said:
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful" (Col.4:2, NIV).
During one of our evening services last week I told the local assembly about design structures in engineering. During home schooling we had had a lesson on the design and construction of aircraft hangars. The children had noticed that one of the strongest structures incorporated the triangle. In the meeting I pointed out that spiritually Yahweh uses triangles too. Father-mother-child and faith-hope-love were two of many triangular illustrations we found. In this one Paul uses prayer-watchfulness-thankfulness. Being watchful and alert are critical in this world - pastors being watchful over their flock, parents over their children, and so on. We underestimate the craftiness of the enemy all too easily, the more so the less spiritually mature we are, which is why Yahweh gives us spiritual and temporal government. Yahweh is an Elohim of love first of all, but love is always rooted in truth, and truth is rooted in law, order and rule. Our Father in Heaven is not the author of confusion - ever - and if there is ever confusion in our lives, it is not from Him but from the lawless one who promotes lawlessness in order to destabilise and lead souls into captivity. It is the responsibility of these heads of family, of congregations, and of Messianic Israel as a whole to ever be prayerful, watchful and thankful. We are on duty 24/7. We must see things as Yahweh sees them and not as the world sees them, and to do that, we must be overcomers. The design and purpose of Yahweh is that we should cease seeing the world and all in it through the lens of self but through the lens of total surrender to Him.
Now those of you who have raised children know that at different stages of their development they like to 'test the boundaries' by stepping beyond the rules and into rebellion. This is not something 'natural' in the sense of being 'normal' even though everyone does it. The fact that everyone does it doesn't make it right or excusable. The fact that everyone has this tendency to rebel does not minimise the seriousness of sin that it constitutes. The only reason that everyone does it - or is tempted to do it - is precisely because everyone has inherited the Adamic nature. We have inherited generationally the disposition to sin. This disposition is known by various metaphors including 'the flesh'. The 'flesh' is an enemy of man and of Yahweh. The 'flesh' is an enemy of all that is good, holy and righteous, and unless it is resisted and conquered, it - meaning the satanic mind - will conquer us. The fact that everyone does something that is wrong doesn't make it more 'acceptable' ... except in the minds of worldly people who do not regard such things as a 'problem' but 'natural'. Of such people Paul says:
"The natural man does not receive the things of the Ruach Elohim, for they are foolishness to him" (1 Cor.2:14, NKJV).
In other words, what they consider 'normal', Yahweh considers abnormal; and the evidence of that inverted view of life is that they do not believe what Yahweh says and scoff at the spiritual. They claim that the spiritual is what is abnormal and label it accordingly as 'cultic', 'fanatical', fundamentalist' or whatever. The fleshy, Adamic, natural, carnal nature mocks the spiritual or laughs at it as mere foolishness. The true believer has to completely invert these false values:
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Ruach who is from Elohim, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by Elohim. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Ruach haQodesh teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Ruach Elohim, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But He who is spiritual judges all things, yet He Himself is rightly judged by no one. For 'who has known the mind of Yahweh that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Messiah" (1 Cor.2:12-16, NKJV).
It is amazing - yet not so amazing - how carnal, sinful man stands in judgement of Scripture. He dismisses what he doesn't like, reacts in supposed superior moral horror at Yahweh's ways, and accuses Yahweh of being immoral. If we're honest we have all done this at some point in our self-righteousness, vanity and pride. We judge ourselves as knowing better than Yahweh and having a higher standard than Him. And when we do this we proclaim ourselves to be above Yahweh and commit the sin of idolatry. We declare ourselves to be gods. In fact, we react in the same way as the world does in its own disbelief and rebellion. The apostle John wrote:
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of Elohim lives forever" (1 John 2:15-17, NIV).
If I were a betting man (which I am not) I would wager at high odds that few Christians really understand the full import of these words. Please note that the apostle isn't saying that that some or even most of the world system alienates you from Yahweh but all of it. "Do not love the world (system) or anything in the world (system)".
Now I can just see in my mind's eye how a lot of carnal Christian would react to that. The truth is they still love the world in part - they are still attracted to the fleshpots of Egypt. They still don't 'see' that it is harmful because they are seeing the world not as it is but as they still are - namely, worldly. Years ago Yahweh told us:
"Cease all your worldly entertainments and pursuits and rededicate yourselves unto Me, says Yahweh, or you shall have no place in the [House of the] Firstborn (i.e. First resurrection) but must dwindle away into obscurity, even as I have said. Let your hearts be made glad for the Master of the Vineyard is calling you, saying: 'Come, for the fruit is prepared'" (Olive Branch, 49:20-21).
We are an entertainment-orientated society. The world lives for entertainment because the world is copying the antichrist system set up by Antiochus Epiphanes. Remember him? The one who tried to force Yahweh's people to adopt pagan hedonistic ways? The one who exalted the pursuit of pleasure as the highest form of happiness? All activities which would diminish spirituality and spoil or relationship with the Master Yah'shua the Messiah, no matter what they are - lawful or unlawful - which interfere with our prayer and scripture study life, family and congregational commitments, or lead us to compromise the mitzvot or commandments in any way, belong to the world system. And any involvement in that, at any level, makes us an enemy of Yahweh, the Kingdom and of eternal life. Any involvement constitutes a rejection of zoë life, the first resurrection, and of the Sukkot anointing. That is why the apostle James declared pretty forcefully:
"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward Elohim? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of Elohim. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the ruach he caused to live in us envies intensely? But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'Yahweh opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Submit yourselves, then, to Elohim. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to Elohim and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before Yahweh, and He will lift you up" (James 4:4-10, NIV).
These are sober words and the fleshy nature hates them, quite apart from the demonic who loathe any exposure of their diabolical system so carefully planted in the world over thousands of years.
If the truth be known, we want the blessings without the labour, and the fruits without the planting and tending, because such laziness is of the carnal man. Furthermore, as James tells us, there is no passive solution to worldliness and fleshiness. You have to wash your hands, purify your hearts, grieve, mourn and wail - not artificially - this can't be an act. It can't be a pretence. It can't be a theatrical performance. It has to be real. And to be real it means you have got to be willing to let Yahweh immerse you into His reality and expose all illusion in your life. Only then can you find true happiness and shalom.
It would not be fair of me, having said these things, not to map out the way out of the jungle, so I am going to spend some time now teaching you the biblical way out of the morass of worldliness by giving you some practical counsel. They key to overcoming the world and worldliness is to be found in one word from the saying of the apostle James, and that word is RESIST. And the word 'resist' translates a Greek word which you may have heard in medicine, anthistemi from which we get the biochemical, 'anti-histamine'. 'Resist' is not, however, the only shade of meaning in this Greek word, and a better translation might be 'to resist and be hostile to'. This is not a mere shrugging of the shoulders or a wriggling about. This is the one thing a Christian can be actively and passionately angry about. Paul said to Timothy, recollecting one of the rebellions in the Sinai desert:
"Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth - men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected" (2 Tim.3:8, NIV).
The word 'opposed' here also means 'resisted' and 'were hostile to' - these men fomented rebellion, like Korah. In other words, what the apostle James is telling us is that in order to overcome the world and worldliness we must oppose it, and the demonic spirit behind it, with the same kind of hostility as Yahweh's enemies opposed the prophet Moses in the wilderness! Indeed, the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament, translates this Hebrew passage with a word that means 'to resist perpetually' rather than occasionally! In other words, resisting the world and the devil must be something that occurs 24/7 and until that happens we are testifying that we are protecting worldly things in us still. In short, we are still agreeing with the flesh and making ourselves enemies of Yahweh. And when we do that, what does He do? He opposes us until we cease our double-mindedness and choose Him for real - completely and totally, surrendering every part. If you are not willing to do that then in truth you have no part of this work and should seek out a fellowship which is assaying to be a part of the second resurrection in its heart.
True Christians must recognise the power of resistance and use it.. And they must understand early on that this power of resistance was not designed only for defence. A lot of people resist when they are under direct demonic attack but quit resisting when things calm down. That's not what Yahweh and His apostles teach. We are to resist 24/7 as an offensive weapon. When the believer continually resists evil, without thought of the consequences or what other people will disapprovingly say, without regard for the carnal backlash of sinners and unbelievers, then this spiritual attitude will become fixed and double-mindedness will end. Then it may be said that he or she has entered a spiritual lifestyle or daily hostile resistance to evil and worldliness, and to everything and anything that is an enemy of our beloved Heavenly Father, Yahweh. Until this happens - until the decision has been made, and willpower exercised to overcome and expel the darkness of the flesh in our hearts, by bringing our hearts to full surrender to Yah'shua by asking Him to crucify this satanic nature, we will never overcome and remain as children of rebellion trapped in a spirit like that of witchcraft (1 Sam.15:23).
Brethren and sisters, this is not some small thing - it's deadly serious - which is why James told his readers to stop being so casual about their worldliness but to "change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom" not because he was some sort of puritanical 'killjoy' but because their joy was an illusion based on carnal gratification. He wanted the Messianic Community to have true and everlasting joy, as all true apostles do. But to do that, he had to prick a few bubbles, explode a few myths, uncover some false assumptionms about life, and risk an angry backlash, and quite likely have his name blackened by the carnal, sensual and devilish who rejected his message.
Please do not leap to wrong conclusions here. Please do not interpret this to mean that you should numb your hearts and stop being lovingly passionate, because I am not saying that. Don't become an aesthetic and go and lock yourselves away in some closet. That's not what I am saying at all. I want you to live, and to live the zoë life to the full. I want you to be happy and joyful but in Yahweh's reality, not Satan's or the flesh's. Trust Scripture. Trust the Word. Trust all that Yahweh has revealed to you and don't deny or compromise it. Ignore the world when it accuses you of being 'weird', 'cultic' or any of the other loaded terms they like to fling around to make you feel guilty or abnormal. Look instead at their own misery. Look at their lifestyles and compare them with what Yah'shua has given you. Don't be intimidated by them but rather resist the darkness that drives them. Don't nod and agree with everything they say when you know it isn't true. Stand up for the truth! And don't go and misinterpret me here either. I am not saying you should be hostile to them anymore than Yah'shua was supposedly 'hostile' to Peter when He said to His zealous but sometimes thoughtless apostle:
"Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of Elohim, but the things of men" (Matt.16:23, NIV).
That was a stinging rebuke to the chief apostle of that time and it must have hurt him but Yah'shua was not dismissing, rejecting or throwing out Peter the man. He said: "Get behind me, Satan". Peter had a satanic mind when he spoke what he spoke because his thoughts were not of Yahweh. They were the thoughts of unredeemed men, of the flesh. He believed in lies. They sounded pretty innocent, didn't they? Do you remember what Peter actually said?
"From that time on Yah'shua began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 'Never, Lord!' he said. 'This shall never happen to you!'" (Matt.6:21-22, NIV).
Now a worldly-minded man would argue that he was defending Yah'shua's best interests in trying to protect Him. That would be a perfectly 'natural' thing to do. But these matters are spiritual. We are called to be spiritual, not natural, because we have been called to a spiritual agenda. Yah'shua did not need protecting, no more than husbands or pastors need to be 'protected' against doing what is right in their obedience to the Word and the Ruach by their wives or congregations. You see, the 'natural' or 'unspiritual' can often seem right and even noble, but all things must be measured in terms of reality. The challenge that is being made to you is this: with what ruler do you measure people, yourself and life circumstances? How do you see these things? And if your 'seeing' is carnal and so obviously out of Yahweh's will when the Ruach haQodesh testifies the truth to you, what is your reaction? Indignation? Offence? Hurt feelings? Peter's feelings were very hurt indeed! To hear the Master he loved with his whole heart seemingly call him Satan must have shaken him up big time! It must have been shocking for this zealous lover of the Gospel to realise that he had such a carnal mind, with thoughts that seemed 'reasonable' to him. Yes, the carnal blinds. And yes, we have to be ever watchful, resist laziness and passivity, and go to war.
We are at war 24/7. All may appear peaceful around you but like it or not, as long as we are on this piece of turf called earth, we are at perpetual war. Dr. Roy Hicks puts it this way:
"Tell a friend not to resist as you push against him. The slightest weight of your hand will cause him to sway. Then tell him to resist, first by leaning against the pressure you exert, and next by exerting enough pressure to push you away.
"This is a physical picture of the battle going on in the spiritual realm. You win a battle in the spiritual arena the same as in the physical: by resisting" (The Power of Positive Resistance, Harrison House, 1962, p.2).
Now society has conditioned us to simply accept everything the government does. Here in Sweden it is very definitely that way. People have been conditioned to pretty much let the government do whatever they want so that they find themselves effectively being in the position of being owned by the state and are losing more and more of their free agency.
Sadly, this has also conditioned people to accept that we are owned by anyone who seems to be persuasive or stronger than us. You'll doubtless have met people who agree with whatever they are told even if they are told contradictory things. They do this because they don't want to 'rock the boat' or 'make waves'. They do this because they want to be accepted and liked by everyone. Well, brethren and sisters, that's totally and utterly impossible. And Yah'shua said most emphatically that in this world you'll either be loved or hated. The apostle John warned:
"Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you" (1 John 3:13, NIV).
And the reason the world hates us is because we hate worldliness. Listen to the words Yah'shua uses in the way He expects us to react to a particular sin called Nicolaitianism:
"You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate" (Rev.2:6, NIV).
Now this word 'Nicolaitian' literally translates a Greek word meaning 'overcomers of the people'. The believers, instead of being overcomers, were being overcome themselves! Reminds me of gullible charismatics falling down and rolling on the floor what their 'ministers' shout out, 'Be drunk!' (to give an extreme example). They weren't fighting. And no wonder. These Nicolaitians were false apostles who were turning the love and allegiance of the believers to themselves rather than to the Messiah! Yah'shua hates both the deeds and doctrines (Rev.2:15) of Nicolaitianism, and so should we. He actively opposed it perpetually and passionately because it was demonic. That means you will make a lot of enemies because people, by and large, want you to worship them rather than Yahweh. They want to be the centre of attention. They don't want to die to self.
In this world you can't sit passively and expect to live a victorious life in Yah'shua. In this world you either overcome or are overcome. If you let others and their world view overcome you, you belong to them and to the invisible power that inspired it. And frankly, they won't love or admire you for it either. They will despise you. But if you resist - if you passionately hate - all that is of the world, and demonstrate the victory of Yah'shua in your life, you will get a lot of enemies but they will respect you because they will not be able to deny that 'something' impressive is empowering you which they don't have - something they would secretly like but not at the price of discipleship demanded by Yahweh.
Today this ministry has many enemies but those who have seen us up close know we have something, and they can't deny it. The wiser who won't repent stand aside but the foolish continue attacking it and are themselves resisted by Yahweh. Many will perish if they do not desist. They will try and explain it away but still the reality still confronts them. And either they must confront that reality, which is Yahweh-Elohim, or they must allow dark forces to overcome them and spin an illusion around them - an illusion which they believe is 'rational' but which in truth is full of contradictions.
The apostle James makes a specific and unambiguous promise to all 'resisters' of the world and of worldliness. He says: "Stand up to the devil and he will turn and run" (NEB). Do you hear that? That fallen archangel will flee, he'll turn and run, he'll seek safety in flight - or as the Expositor's Greek Testament beautifully puts it: "he will be vanquished and will flee from you disgraced". So what must we do? Steadfastly resist the devil.
Now for some brutal realities. If you are to resist and become an overcomer, you will suffer. No way you can avoid it. If you're looking for a 'comfortable Gospel', forget it, it doesn't exist. Satan will offer you a counterfeit instead. Yes, the Ruach haQodesh comforts us, but She comforts us in our afflictions if these afflictions are not self-induced because of willful sin but are the result of suffering caused by persecution when you stand up to the truth. Suffering was not designed by Yahweh - it is an intrusion in His Creation caused by sin. The original Eden was made good and free from pain (Gen.1:31). When sin entered, suffering also entered in the form of conflict, pain, corruption, drudgery and death (Gen.3:15-19). In the world to come - in the new heaven and the new earth at the end of the Millennium - all of these things will be forever abolished (Rev.21:4; Is.45:17ff). The work of Yah'shua is to deliver us from suffering, corruption and death (Rom.8:21; 1 Cor.15:26) as well as from sin (Mt.1:21) if we will accept and surrender the throne of our hearts to Him. Until we do that, though, Satan has legal rights to afflict us, with Yahweh's permission (Amos 3:6; Is.40:7; Mt.26:39; Ac.2:23).
As believers, we naturally get more attention from Satan than unbelievers, which is why we are under the necessity of constantly resisting him. The closer we draw to Yahweh, the greater the attacks from the prince of darkness through his human servants on earth. This in turn stretches our faith and forces us into important choices: to trust Yahweh even more or to compromise in a quest for short-term relief - and short-term it is as I told you last week, for the final result is always worse than when we first compromised. This stretching of our faith, though unpleasant at first, does have a divine purpose which we need to understand. And part of that purpose is to teach us that embracing the reality of Yahweh's presence and goodness is more important - and is the decisive factor - in overcoming, more so than the actual elimination of suffering itself. We have to learn the beauty of holiness in adversity before we will really appreciate it in peace. That is why we are blessed when we suffer, for those who have suffered and have 'seen' reality - the way things really are - are less likely to succumb to the forces of evil when, as at the end of the Millennium, Satan and his demons are disgorged from hell one last brief time. Rather than fearing suffering, we should accept it in faith as not only a hidden blessing but also as a real asset for the future.
One of the things that Yahweh loves is beauty. He wants us to beautify the world around us along the pattern of the Garden of Eden. However, there is a subtle trap that we must watch out for here because Babylon loves beauty also. You only have to look at all the glossy magazines to see that is so. And whilst we should not disdain beauty - some Christians think they should be deliberately ugly so as not to set carnal traps for weak believers - we should nevertheless be concentrating on the beauty that really matters - the beauty of set-apartness or holiness:
"Give to Yahweh the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship Yahweh in the beauty of holiness!" (1 Chron.16:29, NKJV; cp. Ps.29:2).
"Jehoshaphat stood and said, 'Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Yahweh your Elohim, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.' And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to Yahweh, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: 'Praise Yahweh, for His mercy endures forever'" (2 Chron.20:20-21, NKJV).
"Oh, worship Yahweh in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth" (Ps.96:9, NKJV).
When you worship in the beauty of holiness your whole being trembles! I have seen it! And I know that at least two of you in this assembly here have experienced this many, many times. When you feel the touch of His divine power, your whole body trembles because of this holiness. When you are trembling you are walking in His Light in a very special, deep and intimate way. This is real beauty, and this is what the true sons and daughters of Yahweh yearn for and love, and Babylon knows nothing of these things. Therefore seek Yahweh until you are in His presence and are trembling in the beauty of the Ruach haQodesh - in the beauty of righteousness, the beauty of purity, the beauty of right-walking, the beauty of an open and Ruach-filled heart. The only reason this world is evil and full of darkness is because it does not love this heavenly beauty. Inside it is rotten to its filthy core.
I have mentioned the Nicolaitian heresy in Ephesus but the Laodician assembly had a much worse dose of this problem of worldliness. The believers there had compromised with the truth and embraced self-centredness or worldliness. As a result what were they like?
"I (Yah'shua) know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see" (Rev.3:15-18, NIV).
Worldliness blinds. It spins, with the help of dark forces, the illusion of well-being but at the terrible price of a numbed heart. But the soul becomes lukewarm because it is of the spirit that accepts everything and everyone.
I used to belong briefly to a church called today the Community of Christ at a time when it was openly starting to liberalise. Because the leadership was tired of being marginalised and regarded as 'strange' to other Christians, they wanted to be accepted by other churches. So to make themselves popular - and I can tell you, they were warmly embraced - they started discarding the Gospel distinctives one by one. And whilst they were wrong on a lot of things, they had at least been conservative in a number of essentials. They discarded the Virgin Birth, the deity of Yah'shua, the physical resurrection - most of the distinctives of the Apostles' Creed which we firmly adhere to - all in order to be 'liked' and, as they supposed, to have a meaningful 'impact'. The leaders did all of this covertly and secretly, lying to their people, much in the same way as the new leadership of the Worldwide Church of God did to their own people though they have not gone quite so far as the Community of Christ - yet. Both these churches had false doctrine which needed reforming but both were effectively sunk by men following a Laodician agenda. They wanted to be popular and they lied and cheated their people in order to do it.
Well, tough. If you want to be popular and be liked by everyone, don't bother following Yah'shua. Don't come to this ministry. You'll be even more miserable than you are now. But if you have met Yah'shua - or want to meet Him - and get transformed and spiritually rebirthed by Him, and love His ways and don't care what the world thinks, and want to share in Yah'shua's sufferings with us (2 Cor.1:5ff; Mk.10:39; Rom.8:17), then, Welcome! But be under no illusions - to be a true follower, to be a son or daughter of the first resurrection, you must regard yourself as pledged to a career or vocation of suffering (Phil.1:29; 1 Pet.4:1-2) since the members of the Messianic Bride - the Body of Messiah - must be conformed to the Head in this respect (Phil.3:10; Rom.8:29) as well as in respect of His glory. And the fruits of this active faith - this totally adhering and cleaving to Him - are glorious! Whatever form of suffering He permits in your life should be regarded as a cross which may be taken up in following Yah'shua in the way of His cross (Mt.16:24; Rom.8:28-29). But remember this: such suffering is indeed the inevitable way that leads to resurrection - the highest resurrection - and glory (Rom.8:18; Heb.12:1-2; Mt.5:10; 2 Cor.4:17ff) because it is by tribulation that men and women enter the Kingdom of Yahweh (Ac.14:22; Jn.16:21). What a contrast to the Laodician 'pop church' and 'pop gospel' that is deceiving Christendom today! Don't be deceived by the blindness and lawlessness all around! Wake up! The way is not broad, nor is the gate wide, that leads to eternal life, as they teach. It is not, as one charismatic preacher proudly boasted in Oslo a few years, a 'motorway' with believers driving in the Mercedes Benz cars down it! You go on foot and you enter the gate with nothing more than your spiritual covering. No worldly baggage allowed.
Next week I want to talk more about this but before I close I would like you to imagine what it would be like if, on the back of your head, there was a small TV screen, and on the screen and through the speakers pictures and words appeared revealing your every thought and feeling which everyone could read and hear 24/7. Anyone could walk up to you, whether you were aware of them or not, and see what was going on inside your mind and heart. How would you feel about that?
Imagine you're sitting in an Assembly meeting. You're looking at a man and wife sitting in the chairs or pew in front of you and this couple are looking at a really beautiful young woman in fashionable clothing walking down the aisle to one of the seats on front of them. What do you imagine you'd see and hear on the TV screen of your average Christian? What do you think the husband would be seeing and thinking in this scenario? How would the woman be scrutinising how well the other was dressed? What thoughts would be going through their heads? What feelings of lust or resentment?
I think that if we could read each others minds and hearts like this it wouldn't take long to traumatise the entire congregation. People would be more than embarrassed, more than ashamed. The chances are people would do everything to either hide away so as not to be seen or find a way to disconnect the TV screen. One could write a book speculating how a society would turn out if everyone was transparent like that.- whether it would end up as a comedy or a horror story - or both - is hard to say.
Now the reason I mention this is because everyone is subject to ungodly thoughts and feelings at different times. And I am not saying this to make excuses so you can settle down and not worry. What I am saying is that every person who claims to love Yahweh and wants to claim the blessings of the first resurrection has at some time failed to resist Satan by entertaining jealous, envious, lustful, hateful, greedy or critical thoughts about others. And no matter who we are, we all need to take a big dose of anthistemi or anti-histamines by learning how to resist the enemy.
Yahweh makes it clear that we need to resist Satan in our thoughts and hearts. Temptation is not sin but when temptation is not resisted, it becomes sin. And that sin kills off our spiritual life and destroys our relationship with Yah'shua and with each other. We only begin to do the things that our mind dwells on. And whilst a mental picture does not focus sharply at first, given enough time, it will. A thought planted by a demon must be received and meditated on for a length of time before it sprouts and starts sowing evil seeds in the soul. Satan attacks us most strongly and successfully in our thought lives. We must learn to resist him in our minds before we can ever hope to resist him in our hearts and bodies. And we must learn to resist instantaneously and not brood.
I'd like you to think about these things during the next week and then return here next Sabbath with hopefully some thoughts to contribute to a discussion afterwards. In the meantime I will develop this theme with some more information that I think will help you next Sabbath. May Yahweh bless you to start resisting 24/7. Amen.
Click here for Part 2
|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 20 March 2007
Last updated on 20 March 2007
Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved