Sermons Series 3:81, 24 February 2007
Resist the Devil
Part 5: Resist the Enemy of Joy and Live Life
Click here for Part 4
"Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of Yahweh is ... a matter of ... righteousness, peace and joy in the Ruach haQodesh, because anyone who serves Messiah in this way is pleasing to Elohim and approved by men" (Rom.14:16-18, NIV).
In 1967 history was made in South Africa when Dr. Christian Barnard successfully transplanted the heart of a road accident victim into a 59 year old man. And although the patient died a little over two weeks later it was a landmark operation in the field of medical science. Although the surgery was successful, the doctors faced what then appeared to be an insurmountable obstacle: the built-in defence mechanisms of the body placed there by Yahweh to resist and expel all foreign bodies. We call it the immune system which makes antibodies to repel all chemicals and living tissue not naturally apart of the body. Subsequent operations were more successful, with one of Barnard's patients living for over 18 months. But it was a battle against the immune system all the way with drugs being employed to stop the body from rejecting the transplant. Today open-heart surgery is routine.
One such recipient of open-heart surgery once told Dr. Roy Hicks of an experience he had had. He expressed his gratitude for his new lease of life, fully aware that there were others waiting to have this lifesaving surgery. As you know, surgery can only be performed if there is a suitable heart-donor and there is often a shortage of organs.
As Dr. Bernard discovered, a body can receive a perfectly healthy heart which performs as expected until the body sends its killer antibodies to destroy it as a foreign invader. The recipient body rejects the very thing that is keeping it alive. As Dr. Hicks got to talking with this young man, and asked him if there had been any medical breakthroughs to help the body accept the new organ, he was told, yes, new drugs had been developed to deal with this problem. 'The drug,' said the young man, 'was a suppressant which would keep the heart happy'. A suppressant is a chemical which lowers the rate of muscular and nervous activity.
'Are you telling me that the physical body will not reject this happy heart?' Dr Hicks asked. And the young man affirmed that this was correct. This led Dr. Hicks to thinking about the invisible heart - the spiritual heart within - and how it is that the unredeemed fleshy nature constantly seeks to reject the new, happy born-again heart supplied by Yah'shua through actively trusting in His Name and obeying His commandments. From this he concluded that the main reason new Christians often backslide is because the unredeemed physical body sets out to reject the new, happy, Rishon-filled born-again heart.
A new Christian who is happy in serving the Master Yah'shua won't leave the Messianic Community. But if Satan or circumstances cause the new convert to become discouraged and lose his joy, he stops doing the things necessary to keep his new faith living and growing. He stops at the Sea of Reeds, panics, and wants to go back to an illusory safety of Egypt when he could have received the Ruach haShleshi to meet that emergency, enabled him to become fully immersed in the Gospel Life and move on. But sometimes new believers lose their joy because they have not solved a problem they faced before being born-again. There can be deliverance issues. Sometimes they lose it when they mingle with unhappy Christians who gossip. The way we lose our joy is not so important as the fact that we choose to allow ourselves to be robbed of it. This means that the responsibility for joy is us, not others. If we are waiting around for others to make us happy, we are missing the point entirely because Yahweh tells us the source of joy:
"With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" (Isa.12:3, NIV).
Many go to congregational worship to 'get' joy by immersing themselves in the environment of joyful people. And whilst this may well serve as a necessary primer for new or immature believers, ultimately we can't just feed on others' joy. We have the responsibility to go directly to source. We all have certain duties to perform. We have to get our feet to take us where the brethren and sisters are gathered for worship. You may not feel like that every Sabbath - maybe you had a bad day before where issues weren't resolved, maybe you had a bad night's sleep. Either way, you have to exercise the will to choose to be obedient to Torah which expects Yahweh's people to gather when that is possible. And when we get there we have to, if necessary, force our voices to sing when we don't want to, force our hands and arms up in praise when they feel heavy, and read the Bible when we don't feel like concentrating. The decision to draw living water from the well of salvation has to be our choice and we have to tell our feet to transport our bodies there. But once we have done that, and hauled the first bucket up, and tasted our first cup of water, what will happen? Simchah! Joy! Because the living waters are the source of joy. In your early days others may have drawn the water for you but from a certain point onwards you can't expect to be suckled any longer. The joy that exists in Ruach-filled assemblies is there because everyone has been drawing it up from the wells of salvation. It isn't there because the Pastor is doing it. The worship-leader may, as it were, light the tinder but he can't be expected to carry everyone on his shoulders.
Torah gives us many duties. To attend all Sabbaths and set-apart convocations, worship, pay our tithe, witness of Yah'shua and the Kingdom, pray, read Scripture, eat kosher, teach our families diligently, and so forth. These have to be done with or without joy. We can't say: 'I feel down today. I'm not attending Sabbath.' If we feel that, something is preventing us, and we have to resist it. We have to fight and say: 'Scripture promises me joy. Therefore I am going to the wells of Salvation, to Yah'shua, to get it.' Then our duties don't become a heavy obligation but a pleasure. If our joy has been lost, then you can be quite sure that the Enemy is plundering you and robbing you of your salvation. Then your choice is simple: either you can be indifferent or say: 'No!' and claim your salvation back - claim your heart, claim your joy. Own it again so you can reconsecrate it back to Yah'shua.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones" (Prov.17:22, NIV).
Dr. Hicks says:
"Leviticus 17:11 tells us that 'the life of the flesh is in the blood'. The blood flowing through our physical bodies is the source of our health. It fights off viruses and infections. Healthy blood comes from healthy bones, happy bones. When the bones are unhappy, they dry up" (Op.cit., p.97).
So how, practically, can one draw these living waters and be filled with joy? Yahweh makes specific promises through Isaiah the prophet:
"Yahweh will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. 'If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and Yahweh's holy day honourable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in Yahweh, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.' The mouth of Yahweh has spoken" (Isa.58:11-14, NIV).
The joy Yahweh is talking about here is not a psychic thrill. It is not soulish - the kind that comes from a good meal, for example. The joy that He speaks of here is His own simchah, His own Life substance which He offers to all. He makes a lot of promises in this passage, doesn't He? All needs will be met, you'll be strengthened, you'll be like a luxurious garden and like a never-ending stream of water. You'll not be sitting around idly with this simchah but you will be rebuilding the ruins of your life from previous mistakes, you will be raising up new spiritual foundations. And because this is something you'll continually be doing, and helping others do the same, you will be given two titles: a repairer of broken walls and a restorer of streets with dwellings. The houses are people's lives - lives devastated by sin. You will repair broken walls. We are to restore streets - whole collections of houses - of people - because a street is a living entity like a house too. We are to get ourselves fixed, then our families and then our local Messianic communities, and thence we are to go wherever Yahweh directs us.
Last week I told the children the story of Sarah and the sock monkey and you will remember that she learned the worth of even imperfect things. We also must learn spiritual skills even though the tasks ahead of us seem daunting and our very best efforts lead us short of perfection. Part of maturing involves accepting that we make a lot of mistakes in the beginning, and remembering that love turns a blind eye to these imperfections, for love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet.4:8; Prov.10:12). Yahweh's solution to these imperfections was love sufficient to sacrifice His Son's life to make up for our defects and to make perfection in Him possible.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13, NIV).
We live in a momentous time for this ministry. You may recall in the Gospels a time when a delegation of Greeks approached the apostle Philip asking if they could have a meeting with Yah'shua. The Master replied in a most unexpected way:
"Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. 'Sir,' they said, 'we would like to see Yah'shua.' Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Yah'shua. Yah'shua replied, 'The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves Me" (John 12:20-26, NIV).
Why did Yah'shua reply to Philip in this way? Why didn't He say: 'OK, bring them along, and we can talk.' It was almost as though Yah'shua didn't even hear what Philip was saying. Pastor Bill Versteeg of the Reformed Church has an interesting perspective on this and writes:
"What is your philosophy of life? When push comes to shove, what is it that really makes you tick? If those around you were to summarise what you did with your life in one or two graphic metaphorical sentences, what would they say? If I were to grab this microphone, come to you for a 2 minute news spot and ask you 'What is your philosophy of life?' - how would you answer......?
"The Greeks came to see Yah'shua with that very question. The Jews thought they were Greeks, after all, if you're not Jewish, you don't count. And so these Greeks did not come directly to Yah'shua, rather they came to the disciple who clearly had at least a Greek name - Philip, in the hope of getting to see Yah'shua. After all, Philip was from Bethsaida, on a major transportation and commercial route, he would have some experience interacting with Greeks. We know from history that the Greeks were deeply interested in Philosophy, they loved the public debate, the mental challenge, the way just thinking can shape behaviour, the way just thinking can change communities, even entire societies. To them, the most powerful tool for bringing change was ideas. History has proven them partially right.
"They came to Yah'shua and they probably wanted to know - 'What is your philosophy of life?' Are you a materialist? Do you think like the Great Empedocles that all of reality is made up of fire, air, earth and water? Or are you a relentless searcher for the 'Best Truth' like Socrates? What is the Substance of reality, and if there is just one substance of reality, how do you explain the variety we see - is it by Aristotle's accidents? Or is reality actually ideas and everything we see an opinion, a variation on a theme? Do we recognise horses because they all to one degree or another reflect our ideal of horse-ness - like Plato taught? To the Greek, these were deep questions worthy of tossing and turning in bed at night, trying to figure out what in life is more important, ideas or just the stuff life is made of. This was the Greek quest for wisdom, something which Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 1:22. Now Yah'shua had done some fairly incredible things. He was a rabbi, the Greeks regarded them as Jewish philosophers, he had told a man to come out of the grave and Lazarus did come out! Now that has profound implications on the whole philosophical concept of substance and accidents. They wanted to interview Yah'shua to discover what in his opinion was the best philosophy, the truest interpretation of reality" (Bill Versteeg, Crisis Questions: An Inductive Sermon ).
How many of us, I wonder, come to Yahweh with a whole string of questions of this kind and either get no answer at all or an answer that appears to be totally unrelated to our question? The Greeks wanted to know Yah'shua's philosophy so that they could intellectually debate it, but what was Yah'shua's answer? "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified". This was what mattered. This is what counted. Yah'shua's 'philosophy' was to die so that others might have life. Yah'shua's 'philosophy' was to die, like that seed, so that others might have joy. The whole of Yah'shua's doctrine is summarised in this incredible response to Philip: to live, you must die; to be fruitful, you must die. If you love and try to protect your life, you'll lose it; but if you hate living for your own selfish ends, you'll get eternal life. That was Yah'shua's 'philosophy': self-realisation leads to self-annihilation because man can never 'realise' himself. He can only realise what he already is - cast adrift and purposeless without total surrender to Yahweh.
Moreover, as Pastor Versteeg notes, this was Yah'shua's 'crisis hour'. Events had converged over thousands of years to this one point in time - to this particular hour. This was not the time for philosophising - this was the time to choose life by dying to self, or choosing death by living for self. Within a few days of uttering these words, Yah'shua proved His 'philosophy' of life by living it out to its full on a cross, by taking it to its logical and inevitable conclusion. How did He manage to do this? "For the joy set before him" (Heb.12:2). He lived and died for the joy that He knew His death and resurrection would bring. And that is why we, as Christians, live out the Christian life if we have properly understood it - to see the joy in the faces and hearts of those we love because of our loving and serving them, and even more seeing their transformation as we point them to Yah'shua. As disciples of Yah'shua, we live so that others may 'realise' their heritage. In other words, as Pastor Versteeg puts it: "Yah'shua's kingdom philosophy was seen in his behaviours". It was not seen in the eloquence of His words because of the object of His teaching was not to impress people with His oratory, or even to convert people intellectually to a doctrine, but to lead them to change their behaviours through a divine heart-encounter. Doctrine without responsible behaviour that comes from the joy of meeting the resurrected Yah'shua is just words - it is lifeless and of no worth. How can one get the strength to live life otherwise? The prophet Nehemiah said:
"The joy of Yahweh is your strength" (Neh.8:10, NIV).
Last week I watched some videos of Muslims who had met the resurrected Yah'shua and was enthralled. The greatest testimony that these men and women gave was the overwhelming joy and peace that radiated from their faces. They had emerged from the sterility of false religion into vibrant life. They were not interested in theology or philosophy though theology and often philosophy was what had started their search for truth. Their one consuming witness was the living experience of heart-transformation - of spiritual liberty, of overflowing happiness. Theirs was the pure unadulterated testimony of the Ruach haRishon and of spiritual rebirth.
It should come as no surprise to learn that our health is often a function of our spiritual state. Yahweh is a healer of diseases (Ps.103:2-3) and promises healing to those who obey Torah (Ex.15:26). As the incarnate Elohim, Yah'shua heals us by his stripes through our faith in Him (Is.53:4-5). Indeed, salvation and healing go hand-in-hand (Jer.17:14) because salvation is deliverance, and deliverance is the conquest and removal of dark principalities and powers in the soul. Soothing speech is also healing whereas harsh words can lead to physical illness:
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones" (Prov.16:24, NIV).
It is a curious anomaly of historical Christian faith that somewhere along the line the churches decided to hand over the province of healing to doctors. Not that doctors are unimportant or that we should not use them - this ministry has always counselled believers to avail themselves of medical science - but so much of the disease we have need not be. One of the hallmarks of Yah'shua's ministry, and which He used as evidence of His Messiahship, was that He healed the sick wherever He went (Mt.8:16-17). The apostles followed suit. Disease and sickness are not a part of Yahweh's will. There was none before Satan introduced sin into the world. There are viral and bacterial diseases around us all the time. Few escape them. Many types of illness can be warded off by active resistance against the spiritual powers that cause them. The Bible speaks of many - here is one:
"And behold, there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit (demon); and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all" (Luke 13:11, NAS).
We have been falsely taught by the churches to expect illness instead of resisting it in spiritual warfare! You've heard of the 'name it, and claim it' Christians and probably assume it's just an extreme charismatic sect that teaches such false doctrine. Yet believers and unbelievers alike belong to this 'sect' when they go around claiming sickness! Do you find that incredible? 'Who on earth would claim or seek to be ill?' you might protest. But every time you say: 'I'm coming down with a cold' or 'It's January time now, we'll all get 'flu as usual this winter', guess what happens? You come down with a cold and get 'flu! You're naming the disease and claiming it for yourself! 'Oh, I am feeling a bit down, I expect I'll be ill tomorrow,' you might say. Well, chances are you will be with such a defeatist attitude. Did you know the Bible even mentions the 'name it and claim it' people who invite sickness upon themselves?
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Prov.18:21, NKJV).
As I mentioned in an earlier sermon, some people like being ill because in that way they can get sympathy. Why negate with your mouth what Yah'shua has purchased with His stripes?
Now resistance comes with a strong and determined attitude. You have to set your will against receiving symptoms and sickness. Resist with a firm loud voice and order Satan to leave you alone in the Name of Yah'shua. Memorise scripture pertaining to healing before you get sick. If you get sick suddenly, get a strong believer to lay his hands on you and trust in the Scripture which says:
"They will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well" (Mark 16:18, NIV).
If you do get sick, turn to Yahweh first before you consult a medical doctor - follow the divine order:
"Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the assembly to pray over him and anoint him with (olive) oil in the name of the Master [Yah'shua]" (James 5:14, NIV).
And if you're alone and can't get access to elders or believers to pray over you physically, phone, e-mail or IM a believer and ask him to agree with you for healing whilst having Scripture in mind:
"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in My Name (Yah'shua), there am I with them" (Matt.18:19-20, NIV).
Yah'shua does not want us to lead defeatist lives when it comes to illness. He wants us to exercise faith. He said:
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (abundantly)" (John 10:10, NIV).
So let's believe that. Abundant life is not automatic. You can only receive it through faith as you resist the works of the Enemy and cling to Yah'shua's work on the cross. Do you believe that the end of the Shavu'ot age will be the same in terms of miracles and healings as at the beginning? I do. The Pentecostals believe it and they experience all kinds of healing miracles. So should we. We need to take that aspect of Pentecostal faith, embed it into Torah living and trust Yahweh's promises to those who obey Him. We have much to learn from them as we have much to learn from every type of believer. Let's not scorn them or become theologically proud and conceited just because they are antinomian and have fallen for the tongues deception: where there is faith in, and love for, Him, Yahweh works. I know many Pentecostals who have experienced great miracles. Indeed the Pentecostal man who sold me my car was supernaturally delivered from drug addiction through such prayer:
"He (Yahweh) is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb.11:6, NKJV).
Resistance. If we don't resist Satan, he will come, and come, and come - assault wave after assault wave - until he breaks us down. The good news is that we don't have to expend the same amount of time and energy as he does because we have the greatest Resource in the Universe - Yah'shua. He's done all the overcoming already. He says: 'Provided you're prepared to take the first steps and actively and passionately resist in faith, calling upon My Name, I'll do all the rest'. He knows that we fight a supernatural enemy and that this enemy can only be met and defeated supernaturally. That was what the Cross was all about. But Satan isn't our only enemy in the form of spirit beings waging war from the outside trying to get in. We have an enemy within called the fleshy or carnal nature. It is, as I have been telling you, like a restless wild animal that wants to break out. It too resists everything spiritual. It has to be conquered. It has to be overcome. It has to die in Yah'shua. Until it has, the struggle will be endless trench warfare of advances and retreats like those terrible battles of the First World War in France in which so many millions needlessly died. The whole devilish philosophy of occultism is built on maintaining this futile struggle, of good balancing evil, of the one needing the other. We don't need Satan at all! Maintaining the power of the flesh in a state of double-mindedness serves only the demonic agenda, draining valuable time and energy from what really matters: building the Kingdom of Yahweh and our family lives.
The First World War, ironically called the 'war to end all wars', has valuable lessons to teach us. Firstly, as I have said, to end the futile dualism and double-mindedness of swinging to and fro between spirit and flesh. Secondly, understanding that Yahweh wants your body to become a temple for the Ruach haQodesh, not something to be punished or mutilated. Yahweh doesn't want rigorous asceticism - He wants passion in holiness. He doesn't want people retreating from the battle and heading for monasteries or nunneries. He doesn't want you to be a monk or a nun! In this war passivity doesn't work. Just stepping back and killing off the emotions creates only illusion because it detaches you from reality. The refusal to suffer or experience pain leads only to spiritual bondage because it is through the heart that Yahweh speaks and manifests Himself. By cutting off the ability to feel love in order not to feel pain sends you down a path to a Buddhistic fantasy of otherworldly detachment - to the lie of Nirvana 'bliss' - the ecstasy of total non-responsibility and non-involvement, because Nirvana spells the death of all relationships. Nirvana wraps you tightly around yourself in a state of total disconnectedness. Amazingly, millions of religious people admire this - they think it is holy and godlike. Oh it's 'holy' all right, but it's not the kind of set-apartness that Yahweh calls us to. It's set-apartness from without being set-apart to anything except one's own inner cocoon of total isolation. That's what Satan wants because he is the god of self - of total selfishness and non-involvement.
Needless to say, our Elohim is an Elohim of total involvement and engagement - total involvement and engagement in Him which He likens to a marriage relationship. That is why marriage is so important ... and challenging. Marriage is the deepest and most intimate human relationship there is because it reflects the most intimate and deep relationship there is in the Cosmos - our relationship to Elohim. To be involved means you need the whole you: eyes, ears, nose, mouth, arms, hands, legs, feet. In marriage every part of your body is used in that mystical union with your spouse, and every part of your mind and heart too. The more barriers that come down, the closer and more intimate the relationship gets, like a tree sending yet another root deep into the earth both to get nourishment and a firmer grip. Intimacy brings strength and fulfilment but it also brings risks. It brings the risk of mistakes, of sin, of hurting and of being hurt. But do you know, that's why Yah'shua went through the hurt of the Cross? He went through all that suffering - not just physical, but emotional, mental, spiritual - everything - precisely so that we would dare to open up and be hurt knowing that if we are hurt that there is an instant solution and healing if we'll accept it. He's saying: 'Look, the only way to be alive and happy is to risk being hurt, because that's the only way you can give and receive love. I opened myself to Cosmic Hurt, to Universal Pain - physical, emotional, mental, spiritual - so that you can have the confidence to dare, knowing that I have the instant remedy if you do make mistakes. And you will make mistakes. Humans hurt each other, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. But you don't have to fix it yourself if things do go wrong: I am there to do it for you, if you'll just let it go in Me.'
The reason - or one of the reasons - I think, that people go for the Nirvana 'solution' is because of the fear of bad karma. Oriental religion teaches that you must pay for your own sins but that to do so you need multiple reincarnations, millions of times if necessary. The trick of this false religion is this: you won't have to go through this enless wheel of torture and suffering if only you'll kill your heart off by meditating your feelings all away - your passions, your love and need for intimacy and closeness, by convincing yourself that you are actually 'God'. Yet that's not at all 'us' - that's not what the crying heart wants. It doesn't want to commit suicide. It wants life and it wants it abundantly. Satan wants to kill the heart off by either making it totally numb and passive or full of anger and hate.
Oriental-type meditation, emptying yourself, is the diametric opposite of the Gospel. The Gospel of Yah'shua is all about filling and being complete. When the Bible speaks of meditation, it is not about emptying yourself of thoughts but about engaging thoughts and feelings in the Word of Elohim, the Scriptures. It's about focusing on Him. That is why the Shema is metaphorically fixed to the brow of our heads, over the so-called 'third eye':
"Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our Elohim, Yahweh is echad (one). Love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates" (Deut.6:4-9, NIV).
The key word here is "all" - the key to happiness is active, passionate engagement in giving all our love to the Heavenly Father with all our heart, all our being and all our strength. Notice the word "strength" here. There is nothing passive here. The Hebrew word we render as 'strength' or 'might' is me'od which means 'vehemently' - with intensity of feeling and conviction. And what are we? We are Israel, the allegorical Bride - we are supposed to vehemently love and adore him with our whole passionate being. Nothing half-hearted or intermittent - this is to be continual, it is to be a flood of intense longing and giving - exactly the same kind of passion a wife should have for her husband at all times! And what of Yahweh toward us? What is His heart engagement towards us? And what should a husband's heart engagement be towards his earthly wife? Scripture tells us:
"Do not worship any other god (elohim), for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous Elohim" (Ex.34:14, NIV).
He is the only power, principality and authority we are to worship. What does it mean to 'worship'? The Hebrew word is shachah meaning to prostrate or fall down, to make obeisance, to reverence.
Last Yom Rishon (Sunday) our family watched the heart-stirring movie El Cid starring Charlton Heston as Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar and Sophia Loren as Jimena de Gormaz. If you have never seen it I strongly recommend it - it teaches important virtues. It's about a man of passion, nobility of heart, humility and greatness. Above all, it is a lesson in submission - of a nobleman to a less than noble king who treats his subject badly at first but whose heart is finally led to repentance as his own weakness and lack of righteous passion is put to shame. "You have conquered yourself," El Cid finally tells him, because of the inspiration of his subject's total loyalty and selfishness in spite of his own imperfections. Temptation was placed before El Cid many times but he actively resisted and remained true. Though the story has been highly romanticised in the film, and contains a few spiritual errors, it is jam-packed with valuable moral lessons for children and adults alike. It is one of the prized movies in my collection.
Great things only happen when life is engaged with passion. There is, of course, a negative passion that must be carefully watched and checked. Because Scripture speaks harshly of his downside passion, many Christians have been deceived into believing that all passion is wrong. This has led to asceticism which has in turn led to all kinds of perversions in Christianity.
Yahweh is jealous with a holy jealousy. When you speak of 'jealousy' to people, they invariably think of the negative form - for them jealousy is the emotion one feels, often with murderous intent, that comes from the fear of being displaced by a rival and which leads to resentment and not infrequently the desire to discredit or destroy. But Yahweh's jealousy - and the jealousy of a true husband - has a different emotional and spiritual content. This jealousy, as I have told you before, is one of righteous possession or ownership that leads to watchfulness and protectiveness and which in turn expects absolute loyalty. That is the meaning of the Shema - Yahweh is jealous of us, watching over us, protective, and rightly expecting complete loyalty. Such should a true husband always be. Needless to say, this is not some passive state - it is highly energised, it is passionate.
But what if out loyalty is not deserved? Watch the El Cid movie and I think you will understand. King Alfonso did not deserve the loyalty of El Cid but he got it, was changed by it, and repented because of it, and at last became a true man. By doing what is right for Yahweh's sake we can become the instruments of great change and righteousness. The greatest tool we have in converting others to Yah'shua is not our command of Scripture but the radiance of holiness in our lives. It is the 'aliveness' in us that awakens curiosity and interest. As one Muslim remarked in meeting with the Christian who became instrumental in his conversion: 'It was as though he talked to God and knew Him as a personal friend'. And there was no way that could be faked. It was real. It made Yahweh immediate for him.
If you are waiting for a perfect pastor or a perfect boss before you will give him your loyalty, you will wait for ever. If you are waiting for a perfect husband or father before you will give him your loyalty, you will wait for ever. And you will be missing the point entirely. Because Yahweh is asking you to be loyal for a spiritual reason. This is what He says about pastors:
"Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are [in authority] over you in the Master and who admonish you (pastors). Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other" (1 Thess.5:12-13, NIV - emphasis and amplifications added).
We are to give our loyalty to pastors and husbands not because they are perfect (because they aren't) but "because of their work", in other words, because of the calling Yahweh has given them. They are there because Yahweh has given them authority, and the sign that He has given them authority is the equipping they have. They are spiritual fathers, covering their flocks and families. When those set under covering move out from it, they get into spiritual trouble. El Cid knew that King Alfonso's authority was given to him by Yahweh. He was offered the crown of Valencia after he had conquered it but refused, knowing that he would be going against Yahweh's divinely appointed head, however weak and corrupt that head was. His faithfulness resulted in Spain having a strong king. His faithfulness had enormous consequences for the security of his nation. Had he accepted the crown of self-sovereignty, Spain would have been engulfed in civil war. When we defy authorities established by Yahweh, excusing ourselves before their fallibility, what are we doing? We are denying that Yahweh has placed them in that position for the good of all. When Quakers once refused to pay income tax to the British Government because of that Government's nuclear weapon's policy, they were assuming authority for themselves which Yahweh had not given them. They may have been right and the Government wrong, but they stepped beyond their authority.
We are to have the 'highest regard' for those placed in positions of authority - not 'high regard' but 'highest regard'. By imitating the righteousness of El Cid, we can be the instruments of change but there will be a cost. There is always a cost for righteousness in an unrighteous world, and the cost is suffering. That is why Paul admonishes:
"Join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of Elohim, who has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace" (2 Tim.1:8-9, NIV).
The purpose of Yahweh in our suffering is redemptive, just as the purpose of Yah'shua's suffering was redemptive. Even though King Alfonso had imprisoned El Cid's wife and daughters and tried to blackmail him, El Cid still remained loyal! And what was the result? Redemption! The King's heart was turned, bloodshed was prevented, and millions were blessed - because one man - a noble man - was prepared to suffer for righteousness' sake. That is why believing wives are counselled to be loyal to their unbelieving husbands so that they can convert them through the invisible power of love working through them. And the same counsel is given to believing husbands with unbelieving wives. There is righteous purpose in these requirements, requirements we cannot possibly refuse in the light of Yah'shua suffering for us. We are to endure because of others, imitating our Master, precisely because He not only endured for us but also because He paid the price for our sinfulness, something we need never have to do.
This is my last sermon in this series on resisting the enemy of our souls. I again want to express my indebtedness to Pentecostal minister, Dr. Roy Ricks, for some of his many inspirational thoughts on this subject. I can truly say that I have been blessed by the ministries of men and women from all denominations each of whom Yahweh has endowed in special ways. It affirms in my mind the essential unity of all truly born-again believers in at least the basics, where our Christian journey starts: surrender to the love of Yah'shua our Messiah.
A final word before I vacate this pulpit for those of you still in major struggles. Don't stop. Don't give up. But some warnings. As Neal A. Maxwell said,
"If we entertain temptations, soon they will be entertaining us".
In the Screwtape Letters, C.S.Lewis wrote:
"The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."
It is easy to 'resist' when you see someone threatening you with a metaphorical knife at your throat because you instinctively gather your forces together to resist. The only way to resist gradual incursion by Satan is to be in a perpetual state of resistance through praise, Scripture Study and regular prayer day by day. If you have found yourself gradually slipping, consider if you have neglected any of these, and if you have, repent, and get back on course. Start being an habitual overcomer again. And remember what Paul said:
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And Elohim is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Cor.10:13, NIV).
Beware of falling for the temptation of passivity, of indifference, or spiritual carelessness. These are just as deadly, and more deceptive in their consequences, than outright rebellion. Don't fall for the occultic lie of 'balances' - don't a look for the 'middle ground', because when it comes to overcoming and living a victorious life in Yah'shua, there isn't one. The 'middle ground' is 'not choosing' and it's the same ground as choosing the Enemy's precisely because it's on an incline and you'll slide straight into hell if you stay on it:
"Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Yah'shua the Messiah; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy'" (1 Peter 1:13-16, NKJV).
Get set-apart again. Get into action. Amen.
- Dr. Roy Hicks, The Power of Positive Resistance (Harrison House, 1964)
|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