Sermons Series 3:83, 3 March 2007
False Paradigms and Looking Ahead
Brethren and sisters, Shabbat Shalom and welcome to a discussion on Purim which, as you know, is a Jewish festival, along with Hanukkah, that Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon no longer celebrates. Purim, which starts this evening, commemorates an event which occurred long after Yahweh revealed His Torah. Its observance was commanded by human fiat and not by divine authority. Its history is of some interest and worth a little exploration so that we can put it into spiritual context.
Were it not for the Book of Esther which has found its way into the Tanakh canon we probably wouldn't be giving it a second glance. It certainly isn't needed in Yahweh's Plan of Salvation. It's a great romance and an exciting adventure from which morals can be learned, but it says little or nothing theologically. What makes it of interest in my mind is its mystery, because we know so little about it. We don't even know who wrote it, it claims no inspiration, and reminds me a little of the Maccabee books which were written with a political agenda in mind. It never mentions the Name of Yahweh once, nor Elohim. It doesn't mention worship, prayer or sacrifice either, though Esther's fast does of course suggest prayer. It is conspicuous by its absence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, one of the most important early collections of the Old Testament. Why wasn't it included? The Qumran community was a very puritannical Jewish sect and their omission of this book does send a signal worthy of our attention.
Six additonal chapters with an extra 107 verses appear interspersed in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament, but do not appear in our own Protestant canon, the extra chapters containing prayers to Elohim and mentioning Him by Name. Why were these chapters relegated to the Apocrypha? Why does the Greek version differ so substantially from the Hebrew? In the Hebrew version, Haman is called an Agagite (Amalekite), but in the Greek, he is a Macedonian, two totally different races. Both can't be right. Yet making Haman a Macedonian for political reasons makes sence when you consider the time that these extra verses were written. Remember, Alexander the Great, the Helleniser of the Middle East, was a Macedonian. Only the Roman Catholic Council of Trent regarded both portions as inspired and canonised them though modern Catholic scholars regard the Greek portion as a later addition. The Greek Orthodox Church also uses the Septuagint portions.
Some scholars believe that the Greek portion was added in the second century B.C. by a pious Egyptian Jew who wanted the book to have a more spiritual undercurrent, and so added the prayers, and created the story line that the Jews were saved from destruction because of their piety. This is an example of what scholars call pseudepigraphic expansion and was very common in the Pharisaic period. It's a bit like a pastor giving a running commentary as he discusses Scripture. It's for this reason that many, including Martin Luther, have doubted the book's canonicity, though it should be remembered that Luther doubted several biblical books, including the Epistle of James, because it contradicted is own antinomian beliefs. Even Jewish tradition does not regard Esther as an original account. The Great Synagogue, consisting of 120 rabbinical scholars, canonised the Hebrew Book of Esther as Scripture but only after a redaction had been made of an orginal work written allegedly by Mordecai himself (cp. Esther 9:20,32). Why did this Council create a redaction? Why did they not leave the original writing of Mordecai unedited? There are too many unanswered questions. Bear in mind, also, that this Jewish council was an assembly of scholars and not of prophets or those claiming divine revelation, though later Talmudic writers tried to claim that prophets were present. They lived in the post-prophetic period, two centuries after Yahweh had closed the heavens and not called any more prophets forth. They convened midway through a period of apostacy and prophetic silence that was not broken until John the Baptist emerged to prepare the way of Yah'shua. There had been two centuries of silence since Malachi spoke, the Judahites had been in exile, had been corrupted by the Babylonians, and had brought back to Judea many alien spiritual seeds. They had been leavened by the culture in which they had been exiles. And we see in Purim much the same kind of bloodshed that characterised the Hasmoneans, along with the justification for a violent response which Yah'shua so strongly resisted. That Yahweh works for His people in all situations, even in times of national apostacy, is not denied. What I am saying, I suppose, is that compared to the rest of the Tanakah, the Book of Esther is of inferior spiritual content. Emerging as it has from this milieu, the festival of Purim should be seen in the same light.
Purim and Hanukkah are very different in spirit and content to the seven festivals that Yahweh commanded. Deliverance commemorated in the seven festivals was by the supernatural activity of Yahweh. The ten plagues, parting of the Sea of Reeds, manna from heaven, quail, water coming out of rocks, miraculous healing of snake bites, clothes and shoes not wearing out, and so on. These were all very visible and abvious signs of supernatural activity. Not that Yahweh doesn't work in more less obvious ways, of course. Just that these are two totally different categories and He only ever commanded us to commemorate the first type. Yah'shua the miracle-worker came in the same spirit as the first, healing the sick, raising the dead, stilling storms, walking on water, multiplying bread and fish, and finally rising from the dead. The deliverances of Purim and Hanukkah were not of this first kind but were by the sword. They did not, moreover, lead to the kind of faith and obedience that Yahweh expects in Torah. The spiritual fruits of Purim and Hanukkah observance led first to Greek control and then Roman. Today's modern Zionists are following in the same tradition. Terrorism by Irgun and other PLO- and Hamas-like groups against the British, Arabs and fellow Jews, followed by a military 'war of independence' has not created a paradise in the Middle East. The Zionist State, antichrist as it is, is threatened by the same kind of terrorism by militant Muslims as it used on the British, Arabs and its own people. The Elohim of Israel is not with them - their behaviour is uncannily similar to that of the later post-exilic Judeans and Hasmoneans whom they imitate. The modern Zionists have never been able to persuade Yahweh to respond to them in the same way that He did under Moses and Yah'shua because different elohim are involved. The birth of biblical Israel and the modern Republic of Israel were by entirely different means: the first by the almighty hand of Yahweh and the second by political intrigue and bloodshed. Purim and Hanukkah very definitely belong to todays radical Jews but not to us.
We also need to remember that the Great Synagogue which canonised the Book of Ester also systematised much of the ritual that would come to characterise modern Judaism. Some Jewish sources even say that it was the Great Synagogue itself that instituted the festival we call Purim. As one reads the stories believed by Judaism about this Council, one is reminded of some of the myths that later coloured the events of the Catholic Councils - a document allegedly 'signed' in the Temple by Yahweh personally (on heave-offerings and tithes) and a document signed by a dead Roman Catholic Bishop, respectively. Indeed, this period of four centuries before the coming of John the Baptist and Yah'shua reminds me of the centuries of early Catholic hegemony after the true New Testament faith had died out and was replaced by the sun-worshipping religion of Constantine. I am frankly suspicious of most 'spiritual' developments that happened after the Babylonian captivity.
As you are probably discerning, I am a little sceptical of this book. I accept its historicity in faith though I am alarmed about the 'extra' disjunctive chapters, pseudepigraphic expansion notwithstanding. I dislike the way Purim is celebrated today by Judaism and Messianic Judaism because it reminds me of the false spirit behind Hanukkah which we exposed last year. It's 'secularity' has produced many detractors who have judged the book to be of no religious value. However, to be fair, it can be argued that the author has deliberately refrained from mentioning Yahweh or any religious activity as a literary device to heighten the fact that it is Yahweh who controls and directs all the seemingly insignificant coincidences that lead to the final deliverance of the Judahites. It could be argued that Yahweh's sovereign rule is assumed at every point. Yet if this is a deliberate literary device, it is quite unlike any other used in the rest of the Tanakh. So why the difference? And given who the redactors were and the time period it was edited and canonised, it does leave considerable room for concern. However, it is in our canon and we are obliged to accept it, even if it has come to be used to justify modern Zionist excesses. For us, at any rate, it is only of historical interest.
One of the odd characteristics about the Book of Esther is all the duplication of material. There are ten banquets altogether which seems to be its hallmark. There are three pairs of banquets that mark the beginning, middle and end of the story - two banquets given by Xerxes, two by Esther and the double celebration of Purim. There are two lists of the king's servants, two reports about Esther concealing her identity, two gatherings of women, two houses for the women, two fasts, two consultations with Haman with wife and friends, two unscheduled appearances of Esther before the king, two investitures of Mordecai, two coverings of Haman's face, two references to Haman's sons, two appearances of Harbona, two royal edicts, two references to the subsiding of the king's anger, two to the irrevocability of Persion law, two days for the Judahites to take their revenge and two letters instituting the commemoration of Purim . Why the 'doubleness'?
Last year we made a study of Queen Esther herself as a Benjamite heroine. In many ways she is a messianic figure making the ultimate sacrifice, in this case, of her virginity and marriage life which has to be surrendered to a pagan king in order to rescue her people. Though she was presumably allowed to practice her own religion, along with the other wives of Xerxes who presumably practiced theirs, she, and her guardian Mordecai in particular, were in violation of Torah which forbade the giving away of Israelite daughters to pagans, let alone agreeing with such a thing even under duress. So heinous a crime against Yahweh was this that Ezra demanded the returning exiles to divorce their pagan wives taken in Babylonian captivity. The Book of Esther therefore presents a double standard. Could not Yahweh have rescued the people by other means? Or is this story, as I have been suggesting, set in a matrix of apostacy leaving only second-rate and second-best choices - choices requiring compromise? If the people had been faithful, would the Judahites even have found themselves in such a situation? And was this not the question we were asking last Hanukkah when, because of apostacy, the Judahite nation found themselves under the rule of an antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes, leaving them only two choices: complete repentance or revolution by the sword? When a people cut off their primary spiritual avenues to Yahweh because of unbelief and rebellion, and refuse to return to them specifically, then definitely inferior paths of rescue remain the only ones open to them.
What is this book? And why does it have such strong parallels to pagan myths? The names of the characters all bear striking resemblance to pagan deities: Esther to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar; Mordecai to the Babylonian god Marduk; Haman to the Elamite deity, Humman; Vashti to the Elamite goddess Mashti. Two sets of gods and goddesses representing two different cultures: Babylonian and Elamite. Elam, you will remember, was a province of Persia. The Judahites were first taken into captivity by the Baylonians and then received new masters in the form of the Persians when Elam conquered Babylon. In the time of Esther, they were under Elam. Esther's husband was a typical Persian king, easily swayed by their favourites, and in this case Haman represents Jews as traitors (Esther 3:8), demonstrating his lack of sound judgment. The Persian monarchs, moreover, were supposed to choose their wives from one of the seven noble families (cp. Est.1:14). Fastidious about obeying his own edicts even after he regretted them, Xerxes was not too concerned about obeying the rule to marry from one of the seven noble families - he had no scruples about taking any woman that he chose. Neither, it seems, did the Judahites. We read in the Book of Ezra:
"'The people of Israel, including the priests and the Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices, like those of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Amorites. They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness.' When I (Ezra) heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice" (Ezra 9:1-4, NIV).
What did Ezra tell the people to do? Send their non-covenant wives and children away! So why is Esther here marrying this unscrupulous pagan king, who disregards some of his own rules and fanatically holds to the ones that threaten the existence of the Judahites in exile in his Kingdom? Instead of executing justice himself, he turns the law into the Judahites' hands, just as Pilate did to the Jews at Yah'shua's trial, and encourages them to revenge and bloodshed, when Yahweh has specifically said that vengeance is His alone. They did not hesitate to take revenge, did they?
It can be argued that this is a case of a higher law (the salvation of the whole nation) taking precedence over a lower one (letting Yahweh take vengeance). And that may be true - up to a point. More relevent is the fact that if a people are being true, then such moral dilemmas need never present themselves. We saw last Hanukkah how the Hasmonean 'solution' to Hellenism - the sword - affected the minds of the people in such a negative way, turning their hearts to carnal solutions, that they did not recognise their Messiah and ended up killing Him! What actually was the 'solution' to Judah's problems in Persia? Well think about it. Think about what marriage is. Our human marriages are used in Scripture over and over again to allegorise the relationship between Yahweh and Israel, and Yah'shua and Messianic Israel. What the story of Esther is saying is that it is OK to spiritually marry yourself to a pagan deity - to a demon - in order to rescue yourself from a situation caused by your own apostacy! It reminds me of that true story of a Christian couple whose husband was in terrible debt owing to sin. The situation was so bad that they were about to lose everything. So Satan sends along this multi-millionnaire who says to his beautiful wife that if she will spend one night with him in bed that he will give them a million dollars. She was willing to do this to save her husband. They were torn but true love won. He said no. He lost everything and they had to start all over again but they remained sexually pure and morally faultless. For crying out loud, is not Yahweh able to rescue without our 'sacrificing' the truth? Esther could have refused and saved herself. Could not Yahweh have taken care of Haman by other means? Instead, we have all these banquet intrigues - very clever, masterful, but worldly. They are like Rebekah's conspiracy to cheat Esau by deceiving Isaac. She tricked her own husband! She taught her son Jacob to be a trickster - a deceiver. No, no, there is a better way! This is temptation big time! The Rebekah and Esther methods are not the way of the firstborn - they are the ways of compromise. To be sure, because He is full of grace, Yahweh works with our lesser choices, and takes us through the painful journey of realistion as we face our sins. He gives us what we want, lets us do things our own way, just as He granted Israel a king in the person of Saul when He had specifically said NO to kings.
I cannot in all good conscience present Esther as a model of righteousness to my daughters. Did she have admirable qualities? Most definitely. I stand by what I said last year. But she and her people had chosen a lesser path by choosing to remain in Babylon when Yahweh had already opened the door for their return to Jerusalem! They should have gone back with the others, to the national territory. Why did they remain behind in Babylon? Well, we can only speculate, but my guess was the wealth and opulent lifestyle as compared to the ruins of a remote province that had gone into decline. They wanted an easier path of comfort. And when you choose that easier path, you open yourselves up to major temptation and expose yourself to danger. We need to be where Yahweh wants us, not where our carnal senses feel the best off. Abraham had to leave such opulence in Chaldea precisely because it was not a favourable environment for spirituality. His children would have been ruined there, just as Lot's were in the city of Sodom. Lot got protection but, oh, at what a cost! Look what happened to him and the survivors. He founded a corrupt and decadent people who became Israel's enemies. Compromise does not work. Compromise is a curse.
The story of Esther to me is one of great courage and self-sacrifice which need not have been. Yahweh has a better way for us. Purim celebrates a lesser path, one we are not called to. I don't think it is a coincidence, moreover, that its setting has resemblances to a pagan power contest between the gods - between the deities of Babylon and Persia. It is, of course, inconceivable that the Judahites created a tale in polytheistic imagery, as a kind of cultic ceremony, unless Yahweh inspired it to be written that way as an object lesson in compromise. He inspired Caiaphas to prophesy the death of Yah'shua for the salvation of the nation though Caiaphas got the wrong end of the stick and misunderstood. Could it be that Yahweh inspired this event especially for those whom He knew would opt for a lesser path - a path of compromise?
In my view, we should look at the story of Esther - or more properly, Hadassah - as a testimony of divine intervention for those who won't be fully obedient - for those who refuse to be in the place they are supposed to be in and of the price of disobedience. We can not under any circumstances accept any compromise with Yahweh's laws on marriage, and if anyone should ever find themseles in such a situation, they need to evaluate how to they came to be in that position in the first place, and repent. Of course, the solution is not an Old Covenant one but a New Covenant one - believing spouses must sanctify unbelieving ones. Any father who would give his daughter away to a pagan should be covered in shame.
In the story of Esther, I see Solomonic political solutions instead of spiritual ones. Solomon, against the commandments, married pagan wives to cement political alliances, and ended up worshipping their gods. To her credit, and as far as we know, Esther did not compromise her religion in the matter of whom she worshipped. She was loyal to her people and we suppose to her Elohim too. There is no reason to doubt that she was true in that respect. Also, she was not in a position to 'argue' with her head - she was in Babylon because that is where those who had had the opportunity to return to Judea, but who did not, had placed her. She was not there by choice. One could argue that she was the sacrificial victim in all of this. Certainly the greater, if not the entire, responsibility fell upon Mordecai who probably should have been in Judea, not Babylonia.
Should the Book of Esther be in our Bibles? Well, I can answer that two ways. First, by universal consensus of all Protestants and most Messianics, including ourselves, it is there, and we aren't going to argue about that. If we go challenging the canon, like some Messianics have done, we create unnecessary disunity in the Body of Messiah. As it stands, it is not harmful. Second, if we remove books because of mistakes that people have made, then we should remove everything after Judges, because Yahweh did not sanction kingly rule but wanted a confederation ruled by judges. Monarchy was instituted by Yahweh's permissive will because that was the 'next best thing' and better than anarchy. The Judahites who remained in Persia, clinging to their religion, but refusing to return home, did the 'next best thing' and had to face tough choices based on that decision, just as the Israelies did under Saul and all subsequent evil kings. Yahweh still helps those who trust Him but if they chooswe the Low Road then only Low Road solutions are available to them. We, on the other hand, are committed to the High Road (see my sermon #41, Shavu'ot: Will You Take the High Road? 4 June 2006).
One thing the Bible does is to record the mistakes - often disasterous - that Yahweh's people have made in the past as a warning to us not to imitate them. That is why we write about our own too. We can use the Book of Esther and the story of Purim either to justify nationalism, chauvanism and violence, or to use it as an object lesson in the consequences of following the Low Road and how Yahweh works within those restrictions to bless us through His undeserved loving kindness. Whether the Great Synagogue was right to canonise the book or not is academic - we are not going to challenge its canonicity, but we most definitely are going to comment on it. The Song of Solomon has similarly been challenged though it is our belief that this is unquestionably inspired and that Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph, who defended it as the 'holy of holies' in the face of both contemporary rabbinical prudery and their lack of understanding of the divine allegory, was not mistaken. Luther, amazingly, agreed and called it 'das Hohelied' meaning 'the High Song' or as many call it, the 'Song of Songs'.
When issues of canonicity are raised we tread on treacherous ground. As a fellowship we have been there many times before over the years, always cautiously, never with a view to removing canonical works but frequently to point out that it is men who made and closed the canon, not Yahweh. We have reminded people that no book or part of the Bible prophesies a collection of sacred literature either called 'the Bible' or by any other name. All it does is say that Yahweh's Word never returns to Him void. The foundation of the Bible, upon which all Scripture is built, is the Torah or Pentateuch, the first five books written by Moses. All the prophets and writings, including the New Testament or B'rit Chadashah Scriptures, arise out of it and cannot exist without it. Esther, like every other subsequent book, must be measured by it. Every error, every heresy, every departure from the truth has occurred when the Torah has been disavowed or ignorned, beginning with Genesis and with Abraham:
"The Scripture foresaw that Elohim would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham" (Gal.3:8, NIV).
And what was that 'gospel' or 'good news'?
"'All the nations shall be blessed in you.' So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer" (Gal.3:8-10, NASB).
We are blessed with Abraham in the same way that Abraham was blessed, and become his sons and daughters:
"Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham" (Gal.3:7, NIV).
Everything we do and believe is compared to Abraham - everything goes back full circle to the beginning of the Bible - to Torah and especially to Genesis. We are the children of the Messiah Yah'shua and of our Heavenly Father Yahweh but we are still the children of Abraham. If we love Yah'shua we will love Abraham's gospel because it is the same one we adhere to, and that means we will love Torah. The rock from which Moses procured water for the thirsty children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai is the same Rock we are built on, because it was that Rock who revealed Torah! Paul testified:
"For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Messiah [Yah'shua]" (1 Cor.10:1-4, NIV).
Knowing who you are and where you come from is very important. We are a part of a continuous story. Christianity is not some 'new religion' as many suppose but the ongoing journey of Israel to her final goal and consummate desire. Talmudism is, however, a new religion, along with the various apostate forms of Christianity that have syncretised with paganism. They may look Christian and sound Christian but unless the faith is the same that Abraham had, it isn't Christian, because Abraham lived the same gospel as we do, and the children of Israel under Moses eat the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink as we do. Yet comparing modern Christianity and some forms of Messianism with them you would be hard pressed to see the similarity.
We delight in celebrating Yahweh's festivals and moedim because they point us to Messiah and to deliverance the whole time. Purim, like Hanukkah, is a form of deliverance but not at all like the deliverance given Israel in the wilderness or the deliverance given by Yah'shua. Deliverance under Moses entailed getting out of Egypt and deliverance under Yah'shua entails getting out of the Babylonian world system. Deliverance from death and annihilation at the hands of pagans has always included getting out of the environment that created the conditions requiring deliverance. The Judahites of Persia did not get out - they stayed on!
We do not have a 'Holy Land' to go to currently but we can, and must, go to the places Yahweh wants us to be in. That's our responsibility to find out where but He has informed us that there is a destination to which we must all go before the Tribulation starts if we want complete deliverance and safety for ourselves and our families and we have to be prepared to go there when Yahweh gives the word. Moreover, we have to build them.
If we follow the Esther model, we won't make it. The Esther model is for those who have been disobedient and are trying to get rescued from a life-threatening situation having chosen to be in the wrong place. I imagine that a lot of Christians - in fact, the vast majority - are going to find themselves in that situation when the antichrist system starts rounding them up and deporting them to concentration camps for mass extermination. Only this time there won't be a baffoon-like Xerxes whose heart will be turnable. This time the evil will be systematically evil and will require no Haman as a counsellor because Haman will be the ruling power and there will be nothing to stop him. That is why Yah'shua said:
"Flee from the wrath to come!" (Luke 3:7, KJV).
I realise that many believers - not to mention unbelievers - believe that this kind of talk is purposefully alarmist to frighten people into the Kingdom. Well, for one thing, you can't be frightened into the Kingdom - the only thing that will admit you is if you come with the heart of an innocent child. Your heart has to be right or there will be no rebirth that equips us both for overcoming as well as for resistance against evil. For another, these people have short memories. Mass murder or gencide has been going on around us on an almost continual basis. It happened in 'civilised' Europe last century in Germany, Russia and (most recently) in the Balkans. It happened last century in China, Armenia , Cambodia and Rwanda. I wrote a book documenting some of these which will go up on our website when I get the time. It's still going on in Sudan. And it will happen in America and other 'civilized' Western countries. It will happen here in peaceful Sweden. From the 1920's to the 1950's this model of democracy and enlightenment operated the State Institute for Race Biology, inspired by Nazi Germany, as part of its socialistic model to completely homogenise society by force. During that time 60,000 racially 'inferior' Swedes were forcibly sterilised. However, as it turns out, the Swedes were not alone. Though not on nearly the same scale, it turns out that Finland, Norway, Denmark, Austria and Belgium were doing the same thing .
The beast in man lies in the carnal nature. It is in everyone. It was revealed in all its horror in Nanking, China in 1937 . For those of you who would like an internet link to a movie on this attrocity, ask me after the meeting or see the endnotes in the printed version of this sermon. All it takes is for the fence of Torah and Yahweh's morality to be removed, as has been systematically happening in the West since the 1960's, for the beast to be let out. Every week I read the British newspapers and am appalled at what is happening. I only read a report the other day which stated that in care centres for the old, about 200,000 old people are sexually molested, beaten and otherwise abused each year in Britain. We see only what is just beneath the surface. In another article I read a couple were arrested for abusing their little girl - they were kicking her head around the room like a football! Moral restraint is barely containable. In the United Kingdom they released thousands of dangerous criminals recently because there was not enough prison space.
People can choose to be naïve and incredulous if they like - they can choose to believe all the propaganda fed to us in the media if they want - but the reality is our civilisation is on the verge of total collapse. Evil men are waiting in the wings to declare states of emergency and martial law after they have engineered war and economic collapse, promising law and order if the people will give them a free hand, or in other words, dictatorial powers. Legislation is already being introduced in the United States and other countries paving the way for total fascist control and surrendered of national sovereignty to a World Government. When they have that power, then the rounding up will begin on a large scale. Then it will be too late for those who have not prepared themselves and gathered. There won't be any countries to flee to from persecution. No 'Esther solutions' will be possible for them which is why this warning is being repeatedly given out.
This is the first of many major testing times for those of us who have been called to this work. We have been through smaller siftings before but never on this scale. And we are becoming the stronger for it. Many have demonstrated by their choices that they prefer the mark of the beast because they have turned back to the world system. When the crunch comes, and the choice is made, it will be final.
Both Hanukkah and Purim remind us of both the problems and the possibilities that face us when we make wrong choices and choose the wrong spirit to effect what we believe are godly solutions. The Last Adventure will only be 'fun' for those in the cities of refuge. There they will have complete divine protection and live in peace unmolested. For the rest it will be a nighmare of a scale never known before in the history of the world as the planet becomes one giant devil-worshipping coven for seven horrendous years. The enemy will be confident of his technology and believe that no one will be able to hold out. For instance, a new satellite was put into space recently that can see under the earth to a depth of about 13 feet. And doubtless they will improve that so that nothing under ground will be hidden from their gaze. Those who are trusting in their bomb shelters like the various militias but not Yahweh will not be able to hide. (They are, in any case, already infiltrated). The only power that will be able to protect end-time Israel will be the same power that delivered Israel out of Egypt; and that power will only be be given to a people fully submitted and obedient to Yahweh whose hearts have been born again and who walk righteously before Him. Theirs must be more than mere intellectual assent - there must be total commitment and loyalty. There will be no 'special favour' status for anyone by virtue of 'religion', birth or marriage. Everyone will have to make their choice for Yah'shua.
I know, and many of you know, that this is not a popular message. We know that it will be held in derision as the product of crazed and fanatical minds just as the antediluvian world did before the flood in response to Noah's message to repent. When the flood came, definitions of what people were suddenly changed. Noah suddenly ceased to be a madman but a deliverer. The cries of the drowning washed away all false labels and categorisations. The same lunacy and false categorisation goes on today and only time will demonstrate who was right. However, it will be too late to change your mind when the earth's baptism of fire comes. Then people must accept the consequences of their own choices. They will be juistified by their faith or condemned for a lack of it.
There are many decent and intelligent people out there, believers and non-believers, who have ventured beyond the barriers of political correctness and who have investigated the state of our world for themselves. In spite of the ocean of misinformation out there - and goodness knows, the internet is crammed with it - they know that there is more than meets the eye, and they are honest enough to want to know more. Yahweh's elect will find their own way home, even if they are deceived for a time. They will seek and they will find. Yah'shua warned:
"For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect - if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time" (Matt.24:21-25, NIV).
The year is now 2007. Time is marching fast. The enemy is already advancing plans for major upheavels in the world and he is using super-advanced technology to achieve it. I made a special effort a couple of weeks ago to fully update myself on recent scientific developments and was astonished at just what had been achieved over the last four or five years. Things which would have been considered as belonging to the permanent realm of science fiction ten years ago are now reality. Technological development has marched ahead at breathtaking speed and makes the science I was taught at university seem like child's play. The periodic table I was taught is out of date as new monoatomic elements enter the arena that defy the 'laws' of chemistry and physics. Nanocomputers, more powerful than the desktop computers you use at home, exist that are so small that several can be fitted onto a pinhead. They're small enough to be injected into your body - without your even knowing about them - and be sent on either health-improving or subversive missions. Science as we know it is being changed forever. It was a fascinating study but it posed more questions than it answered especially in the area of morals. Who is going to be responsible for the use of this technology? What does this all mean for freedom? Given the spiritual condition of the world, I'm afraid the prognosis is not good.
Many of our Messianic brethren will be observing Purim this evening for one or two days, depending on what tradition they are following. Most will be observing it simply because that is what the Jews have been doing for centuries without really investigating its origins and heart. And their Messianic Rabbis will just be parroting them. They are, for the most part, content to let the rabbis do the thinking and defer to them.
Yah'shua warns us most strongly against deferring to the "tradition of the elders" (Mt.15:2; Mk.7:3,5) and declares that tradition all too easily nullifies the Word of Elohim (Mk.7:13; Mt.15:3). As one wise man said: "Constant repetition does not create truth". Indeed, the truth may be, and frequently is, seldom spoken of or heard. It has a tendency to be a voice crying in the wilderness (Mt.3:3) where few venture because of the discomfort of going out there and the lack of shade when they get there, not to mention the absence of a comfortable lifestyle. It is, however, in the wilderness where wisdom is learned and where falsehood is burned out - sacred history seems to attest that there is no other place where Elohim's men and women are made. No one was yet purified or made holy in a city or surrounded by gold. It is our business - the short-term pay for which is rotten, incidentally - to make people uncomfortable and irritated enough to shift themselves before the enemy juggernaut runs over them. The thanks - and the reward - come later. For that reason we can only ever be a forward-looking people - rooted in the reality of the present, yes, but always having the distant goal in sight. That means - everyone must become a prophet or prophetess.
Our eyes now are for the coming Pesach. That is Yahweh's next annual appointment. And whikst we are still in the depths of winter here, I am filled with hope of the promise of new beginnings. My prayer is that it will be so for all of us, that we shall continue to patiently bear up under our rpesent trials, and trust in the Elohim who has never let us down. If you do tell the Esther story to your children tomorrow, remind them, won't you, that there is a better way, and that we are called to it? Be of good courage! Amen.
 NIV Study Bible, Esther, Hodder & Stoughton, 1984, pp.704-5
 Dr. Adolf Ratzka, Eradication of 'Deviants' - the Dark Side of the Swedish Model
 Dr. Rhawn Joseph, The Rape of Nanking
|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