Sermons Series 3:86, 17 March 2007
Deo Volente - If Elohim is Willing
Life and Death
The poet Hugh Chesterman wrote these sobering words in his poem, Outside:
"King Winter sat in his Hall one day,
And he said to himself, said he,
"I must admit I've had some fun,
I've chilled the Earth and cooled the Sun,
And not flower or tree
But wishes that my reign were done,
And as long as Time and Tide shall run,
I'll go making everyone
As cold as can be."
The long Scandinavian winter is ending and spring is in the air. The sun has been shining brilliantly. Indeed, in three days' time we will be marking the biblical New Year on the first day of Nisan, and an old year will pass by.
I don't know about you, but I have never, on balance, regretted leaving a winter behind. Some people are enchanted by winter and I must admit that it does have a harsh beauty to it ... when you're indoors. What child does not enjoy playing in the snow? The snowmen and tunnelling activities through snow mountains left behind by the tractors have disappeared and now it's becoming harder to find a patch of snow to ski or toboggan on. Personally I do not regret the passing of the cold weather both because I don't enjoy being cold and because I enjoy the fuel bills even less. In fact I am facing a massive, and currently unpayable, one right now. On the other hand, winter is a time to rest after the hard labours of the productive months, until you get bored with the resting and the confinement inside the house which the winter forces on you. Then you want to be outside again, in the sun, and interacting with nature.
One of the things that we love as humans is constancy and predictability. We know - because we have lived through so many of them - that winter will end. We know because we understand our physics and astronomy. And though there is variation within the seasons - last winter was terrible, this one was, praise Yahweh, much milder - we know that the seasons will come. It might not be such a warm summer this year but at least there will be flowers and we will be able to get out and do more. One thing that I know I will be pretty soon is sitting outside in the garden, well wrapped up, relaxing with a book while the sun beats on my back and neck and I breathe in the cool fresh spring air. I do like the Scandinavian spring in the same way I love the South African winter - pleasantly warm by day and cool by night.
Certainties - we all want certainties. Yet the brutal truth is that this life is full of uncertainties. We read about accidents in the air, on the road and by sea. Every day people are killed on our roads. Every day people drop dead on the streets with heart attacks. Every day houses go up in flames and sometimes the occupants with them. Yet here in Sweden we are a lot more secure than a lot of people in many other countries in the world. We don't yet have to worry about some crazed terroist letting off a bomb when we go shopping. No doubt it will come but for now we have been spared. Yet there's always the risk of murder on our streets. There are risks everywhere.
When it comes to insecurity, we have two possible responses: we can pretend it doesn't exist or we can face it. And to be sure, there are lots of ways we can pretend it doesn't exist - we can simply block out all news of illness or accident. We can do that by either refusing to look at newspapers or the TV or we can make an assumption that such misfortune strikes other people down, but not us. Of course, we know in theory that if accidents occur they can involve us, yet the truth is we usually work on the assumption that they won't.
Those of us who refuse to bury our heads in the sand still have to face a wide variety of possibilities and choices, from making wills, perhaps taking out medical insurance, or moving to some state, province or country where it's reputedly safer. Yet it's amazing how many people die intestate - not having left a will. They have simply not been able to face the thought of their own end. They have chosen to live in denial that they will one day die, postponing and postponing their death to a later time. That's another unfortunate habit we have - we tend to postpone doing what we know is right. We have a tendency to think that tomorrow will do when it needs doing today and then wonder why we never do it.
If you think this is a difficult thing to do, the second one is a lot harder, because it means accepting that what we have long dreamt of and planned for may never happen. Yah'shua illustrates this problem in one of His parables:
"The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, 'You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.' But Elohim said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward Elohim" (Luke 12:16-21, NIV).
Haven't we all worked hard and dreamed of what we're going to do with our earnings in our leisure time? There was a time when my family and I used to plan an annual holiday like almost everyone else does in the Western world. It required a lot of saving and some years we missed a vaccation, but mostly we would travel somewhere in Scandinavia and get a week or two by the seaside or something like that. My last family vaccation, if I can call it that, was in 1991. It's just not been financially possible since then. Instead we have learned to make the best of what we can, where we can. Besides, the majority of the world never goes on vaccation once. Some people never leave their home village all their lives. What is this programming that tells us we must do this or that in order to be satisfied and rested?
These are vaccations. But what of retirement? Some people never get to enjoy their retirement or use their hard earned pensions. They drop dead before that or end up as inmates of old people's institutions, effectively locked away and forgotten. Every week or two my family visits an old people's home to talk to the old folk there - do you know, most of them hardly ever get visits from their families? They're totally forgotten. Abandoned. Do you suppose they ever dreamed that this would be their reward for a life of hard labour? I wonder sometimes who is the 'luckier' - the ones who die within a year of retirement because they're burned out, or the ones who are locked away in state institutions for the old?
Whether you believe in Elohim or not, you have got to face the fact that one day you will die. You also have to face the fact - if you have not already discovered it - that most of our plans never materialise. Finally, you have to face the fact that there are so many uncertainties in life that you can never predict what is going to happen.
I think the Bible story of Ruth and Naomi illustrates this well. Famine drove them out of their homeland and then, while they were abroad, their husbands died on them! Their world was turned upside down. Look at the story of Joseph - he could not have dreamed in his wildest imagination that his jealous brothers would try to kill him, or sell him into slavery - or that he would be falsely accused of adultery and thrown into prison for years and years. Just look back at your own life and tell me whether things turned out as you expected they would.
What tends to happen is that most people go through a process of 'inner detachment' when they start thinking about these things. They start thinking along the lines: 'If I'm spared that long, then ...' They make up various alternative plans - A, B, C and D - and then yield themselves to fate, having as much fun as they can on a day-to-day basis. If you're a believer then, as I used to read on Christadeliphian posters announcing their meetings: 'Bible Study, 23 May at 7 p.m., God willing'. How sensible. When we make our plans, and if we are wise, we will end all our ambitions and hopes with the qualifier, Deo Volente, which translated from Latin means, 'Elohim willing'.
Whether we care to admit it or not - and most won't - we are subject to the will of Yahweh in everything. We think we have more control over our lives than we in fact do. He decided when we were born, where we were born, to which parents and in which families we were born. He decided our circumstances beforehand. And He has also decided the date of our death and the way we are going to die. Inbetween these two we face so many choices that it appears to us that we actually do have a measure of control over our destiny. Yet we do not control the other people who are making similar choices - we do not control the drunk driver's choice to risk his own and others' lives on the road, we don't control whether we're going to be hit by a tsunami or a tornado, and we don't control whether our area is going to be hit by a lethal outbreak of influenza. When we open our eyes to see the whole picture - or as much of it as it is possible to see - we soon discover that the real choices we have in life are comparitively few. And when we boil everything down to the fundamentals, we discover - like Job did - that the real choice, and the only one that actually means anything, is whether we are willing to bow to Yahweh's will or pursue our own.
Facing the insecurities of life is really a roundabout way of facing our own death. So instead we joke about it, which is OK up to a point, yet we betray our fear when we do so. Surprisingly, modern man is unwilling to face the fear of death though nearly everyone admits to fearing the process of dying. And even though we know medicine can considerably ease our pains and sufferings in old age, the thought of dying still fills us with trepidation. Woody Allen, trying to laugh the problem away, said: 'I'm not frightened of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens, that's all.' John Mortimer, writing about the death of his blind father, had another more sobering perspective:
"The huge and unwieldy garden surrounding the small house seemed unnaturally silent and I could hear nothing but the sound of my father's assisted breathing. At the last moment he wanted to get out of bed and cried out angrily because we wouldn't let him have a bath. When my mother protested he said, 'I'm always angry when I'm dying'. I don't know if it was something he had prepared for a long time, but those were the last words I heard him say. I held the mask over his face until he no longer had need of it" (John Mortimer, Clinging to the Wreckage, Penguin 1982, p.185).
"'I'm always angry when I am dying'" is, as Anglican Bishop Harries of Oxford has commented, "a lovely example of the way we both face and don't face our fear; the way we both accept and don't accept our death. Terror and anger are transmuted into a humour that accepts them; but not totally" (Prayer and the Pursuit of Happiness, p.111).
There are a lot of ways that religious people face up to death and deal with it, most of them far from happy and nearly all of them spiritually inadequate. I am sure you have heard the advice, 'Live today as though it were the last day of your life'. I've recommended that myself in the past, repeating the mantra of other preachers. But I think if we did that earnestly, we would soon burn ourselves up and shorten our lifespan! What is needed is the message that in Yahweh - and in Yahweh alone - is our true security. Not any old 'God' and certainly not one we have made up, for there is no security in illusion or fantasy. We can pretend so long, but once the bubble of pretence has been popped, there only remains for us the prospect of an unholy terror. People die in all sorts of ways - in horror, anger, fear, broken-hearted, humourously, and joyfully. How you die - assuming it's not instant and unexpected - will in large measure depend on whether you are (a) connected to reality or not, and (b) whether you are in a deep personal relationship with Elohim or not. Some people can't wait to leave this earth - others cling on to life with all the energy they can muster. How we die depends on lots of different things.
There is a beautiful scene in the movie, The Last Samurai, in which one of the heroes is dying. As his last seconds of mortality come to an end, he sees a cherry tree in blossom. 'Perfection! This is the way it should be,' he whispers, smiling as finally he sinks into eternal sleep. I have always loved the traditional oriental mind when it comes to such things. Even in death, they are seeking for beauty and intimacy with something greater than themselves. Theirs is undoubtedly the right attitude. But there is an even better way, as only those who, like the dying Stephen, can know:
"When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Ruach haQodesh, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of Elohim, and Yah'shua standing at the right hand of Elohim. 'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of Elohim.' At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, 'Master Yah'shua, receive my spirit.' Then he fell on his knees and cried out, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' When he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:54-60, NIV).
Stephen died in a state of bliss. In his last minutes He was shown a vision of the place he would soon pass over to. Many believers have had similar experiences. They are at peace because they have the security of Elohim. They know Him and He comforts them with the presence of His Ruach. Thus David could say:
"You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you" (Ps.91:5-7, NIV).
That is not to say that believers don't get struck down by arrows or pestilence. They do. But David had a promise, and Yahweh's promises are true. Yahweh knew the choices David would make in His life and had determined beforehand the manner and day of his servant's death. Therefore He could tell David these things. But what of others who keep postponing making a choice for Yahweh? Yahweh knows them too but they take the risk of having to wait until the last moment and until then living in fear and uncertainty. The penitent thief on the cross next to Yah'shua is a case in question. Today it might be a last second repentance before the wheel of a car crushes the life out of you. But do you really want to postpone it that long? People stubbornly cling on to the flesh and most of them never do make the choice - they die impenitent. And far from ending at their death, a terrible journey - far worse than the journey of life on earth - awaits them - a thousand years at least of having to work through their own stupidity in agony of spirit.
I know this is a morbid subject, but every now and then it is important that we get get jolted into the contrast of two realities which may be closer to one another than at first one might think. The editor of the Bank of England staff magazine once write, ironically shortly before he and his wife got killed in a helicopter accident:
"The death of a relation, one dearly loved, focuses the thoughts on the inescapable movement forward to life. Such a sorrow forces home the realization that our existence allows no escape from change, from the unexpected, from the whole range of life's possibilities, from comedy to deepest tragedy. Experience dispels what one might call the Blandings Castle illusion, that perpetual Shropshire summer is humanly attainable. For even as the mallet swings and the croquet ball glides through the hoop into a patch of evening sunlight, in the midst of such domestic peace, time opens up the crevasse at our feet. We none of us know, however secure behind the love of those around us, or bolstered by power and possessions, what even the next moment may mean to us. To imagine otherwise is to be, at the very least, unprepared".
One thing that we must all prepare for, if we are wise, is accepting loss. You don't win everything. Learning to lose gracefully is as important as winning gracefully. There are things we all lose and can't avoid losing: we lose youth, mobility, independence. Even, by the world's standards, the most successful man or woman loses these. Now nobody want to lose these things and I think we all, at some point, start dreading their loss as the years tick by. You don't tend to pay any attention until you're about 30. Some may postpone thinking about these things until they are 40, and maybe - if they have had really good health - until they are 50. But after 60 - unless you've discovered the elexir of life - you are really forced to do these things.
I remember a time when I could churn out an article the length of a sermon each day whilst holding a job, commuting and pastoring an assembly. I used to write in every spare second I got. I was able to write several pages on the train with a rather primitive laptop that used an early version of MS-DOS and an antiquated word processor. You had to type in the codes for every change in font size, highlight, etc.. It was tedious. Now in retirement I'm lucky if I can squeeze out one a week. And with a diminishing concentration spam, I find I have to read through what I have written several times before I am satisfied. Before, the first draft is what went into print or online and I never read it through again, not even to spell-check it. Age has caught me up. And doing the same kind of work on a webpage takes me three times as long as before. At first it was frustrating but I have learned to work within my limitations.
I don't think any of us has a clue how we will die. The apostle Peter was told by Yah'shua:
"I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go" (John 21:18, NIV).
And whilst Yah'shua was speaking here of the way the apostle would die (v.19), the way this is stated, it could apply to any of us. One day you'll not be able to dress yourself, possibly not even feed youself, and you may be compelled to spend your last days in a place where you do not want to be. In the old people's home that we visit locally I don't think there's a single person there who is happy. My father swore he would never go to such a place and said that he would prefer to die younger than live on interminably in such an institution. He was true to his word. I think I am rather inclined to agree with him.
Who knows how we will die. It may be happily in the home of a loving Christian family, alone in an old person's home, or perhaps violently like Peter. Some die of so-called 'accidents'. The manner of death is not so important as the state of our soul when you depart this world as Yah'shua reminded His disciples:
"Now there were some present at that time who told Yah'shua about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Yah'shua answered, 'Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them - do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish" (Luke 13:1-5, NIV).
The manner of someone's death is not a reliable indicator as to his future state in the next world. Someone who dies 'peacefully' may be on his way to hell whereas someone who dies a horrible death may be heaven-bound. What's important is the state of your soul. Yah'shua, who died the most horrible death imaginable, went to His grave in a state of total trust in His Heavenly Father, fully accepting His way, and in spiritual serenity even though His body was wracked with pain because of the physical torture, and his heart crushed under the weight of men's sins. Like that dying Samurai who experienced a moment of ecstatsy as he caught a glimpse of cherry blossom, even though he was in terrible pain, Yah'shua was anticipating glory not just for Himself but for all those who would trust in Him. Something wonderful was waiting for Him on the other side of the veil of mortality.
But consider this. Consider that he created the world that He knew He would have to die on beforehand. Being Elohim, He knew what it would entail. He carried that knowledge around with him for Millennia until He incarnated as a man and had to experience it in weakness and limitation. To many, death is an outrage - it angers people. For Yah'shua, it was heart-breaking even before His turn to die came. His heart broke at the news of Lazarus' death (Jn.11:35). Moreover, He created a world knowing that it would fall and that trillions of creatures would have to die in it, the majority of them painfully. Yahweh-Elohim knew all of this before matter even came to be. He created us knowing that we would one day have to face the inevitability of death, He did so for a particular purpose, and to a glorious end. Death was certain even before we were born. This can only mean that Elohim designed existence with both life and death in mind. Death was not some unforseen accident that entered the scene unexpectedly which would force Him to initiate a rescue plan to return the world to its former deathless state. Bishop Harris rightly says that "the only faith which will carry conviction is one in which life and death are integrated in one overall perspective" (ibid., p.120). And it's not as though it's just us who have to go through it - Elohim passed through life and death too. Austin Farrer, the great British theologian and philosopher, put what I am trying to express beautifully in a sermon given to some Christian undergraduates at Oxford University who were about to go and witness to the unsaved. He said:
"First we live then we die ... In the eyes of Elohim our dying is not simply negative, it is an immensely important and salutary thing; by living we become ourselves, by dying we become Elohim's, if, that is, we know how to die; if we so die, then everything we have become in our living is handed back to Elohim who gave us life, for Him to refashion and use according to His pleasrure.
"Elohim desires that we should grow, live, expand, enrich our minds and our imaginations, become splendid creatures. He also desires that we should die, should be crucified on the cross of Messiah Yah'shua, should surrender all we have and are to Him; and He desires that we should die that death spiritually before we die it physically.
"We, now, what after all are we to say about our dear, delightful, unconverted friends? We must say that so far as their lives are wholesome or truly human, they are splendid manifestations of the power to live; but that they have not yet learned to die, they have not made even the first step along the that more difficult path which Yah'shua the Messiah opened up for us" (Austin Farrer, Said or Sung, Faith Press, 1960, p.13).
Now if you can grasp what Farrer is saying here, you can grasp the quintessential message of Christianity which ultimately has nothing to do with Torah-obedience or good works but with dying to self just as Yah'shua died for us. Because if you can understand the true relationship of death to life, you will stop fearing death and rather embrace it - spiritually and physically - as a vital part of coming to eternal life. So here comes the question - the question which, left unanswered, has turned a lot of unbelievers away from the Gospel message. And the question is this: Why should we surrender all we have and are to Yahweh? Now I can give you some pat theological answers. I can quote scripture. And they'd all be true. And yet, your heart wants to interface with this truth - your heart can't be satisfied by words alone. I'm going to let Bishop Harries answer this for me:
"... Why should we surrender all we have and are to [Yah'shua]? First, because Elohim is the highest we know, the source and stardard of all that we hold to be good, true and beautiful. Haunted and drawn by this absolute perfection we acknowledge it and offer to it the best we have. Secondly, because moment by moment we depend for our very being on this reality. We spring from His creative hand and without that hand there would be nothing. Our dependence on a source of being beyond ourselves is a fundamental constituent of reality. Dependence, not as immaturity but as admission of reality, is the only attitude which enables us to relate correctly to the universe. We receive our life as gift, sheer gift; and whatever there is beyond death is, likewise, sheer gift. Thirdly, because the threat of death comes to us blazooned with the promise 'not less but more'. Elohim takes away only to bless more abundantly" (ibid, pp. 121-122).
What are we to conclude from these observations? Very simply, that death is not to be viewed as something negative or destructive. Neither is self-limitation, whether voluntary or forced upon us by old age. Whilst from one point of view we can experience things as loss, from another we can view them as gain. Paul understood this when he said:
"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Messiah will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Messiah and to die is gain" (Phil.1:20-22, NIV).
Paul knew, didn't he? But the question is, do you and I know what he means? Who here is attracted by death as he was? Paul went on to say:
"If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Messiah, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Messiah Yah'shua will overflow on account of me" (Phil.1:22-26, NIV).
Please note that Paul's choice to live on in the body is not selfish because he is chosing death either way. He chooses not to live for himself but to die to himself so that He can live to serve others, and in so serving others, serve his Master.
People are terrified by the thought of physical death because if they are unsaved and don't know Yah'shua they have no clue what awaits them. And the idea of ceasing to exist terrifies a lot of people too. Some try to be philosophical about it and simply prepare themselves for extinction. What a surprise they are in for! Indeed, how terrible to prepare for nothingness when what awaits you is everything-ness ... only you rejected it in preparing wrong.
But it is not chiefly physical death I am speaking of here. That is Phase #2 of dying. Far more important is the requirement for entry into the Kingdom of Yahweh where everythingness is then given you as a free gift when you pass through Phase #1 - spiritually dying. What interested Paul more, and indeed interests every true witness and messenger of the Gospel, is a right perspective on life which involves dying to self:
"Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Cor.4:16-18, NIV).
And a few verses earlier, where he explains how the apostles were afflicted but not crushed, he said:
"We always carry around in our body the death of Yah'shua, so that the life of Yah'shua may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Yah'shua' sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you" (2 Cor.4:10-12, NIV).
This is not a popular theme in modern churches and yet it is the central message. People today are being taught to live for self but not die to self! The person who cannot love beyond self is already dead. What the selfish person has to do is die to self so that he can live for others. That's what true life is about. Any other kind of life is death. We preach a message of life and death that is the polar opposite of hedonism and paganism. Because the end of self-love is death, whereas the end of self-death is life.
Please, moreover, do not live a fatalist sort of life in which you simply yield yourself to something as amorphous and vacuuous as 'fate' or 'destiny'. We have an unfortunate expression in our English language which runs: 'Everything happens for the best'. That's not true. Were Yahweh the only invisible power in the universe then it might be. Rather, Paul, quoting Isaiah, says:
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what Elohim has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor.2:9, NIV; cp. Is.52:15; 64:3-4).
That isn't quite the same, is it? It should be obvious that everything that happens is not for the best. Yet when Yahweh-Elohim is allowed to work on us, and in us, something better than what we once judged as 'best' is being brought out of us, something we can never predict and cannot begin to imagine until after it has started to happen. The 'best' is self-limiting, for what man knows what is 'best'? The closer we move to Yahweh in self-death, the more that horizon opens up endlessly, until we realise that what we once thought was 'best' was, in fact, mediocre.
We have to get out of this atheistic, materialistic mindframe which says that life is just a process of physical growth followed by physical decline. The other day my wife was moaning because she started dying after she passed her mid-twenties, as though the best was at an end. I had to chuckle. No, the best is yet to come, and is coming every day, because the best is invisible. In fact, as we walk with Yah'shua, we spiritually grow in proportion to our physical decline. Would I like the vigour of youth back again? Certainly! Would I like it at the price of losing all my spiritual growth? Never! However, I have the promise of a physical resurrection in which my spiritual growth will be eternallly married to eternal youthfulness without disease, pain or death. I'll stick with my present ticket whatever the physical trials and tribulations may be that lie ahead for me because I have found something infinitely more valuable than mere health and energy. I may have moments of douible-mindedness on this issue, if I am totally honest, but for the most part I will head onwards to the goal.
There is, however, no automatic link between aging and spirituality. It's a myth to assume that aging somehow makes you magically wise. Experience is certainly useful but it won't save you or even give you wisdom. Only death to self-will in Messiah will. What age tends to do is reveal us more starkly in our essential character, meaning that it becomes increasingly harder to conceal our true personality. We are forced to display to the world what we really are. Old age compells us to be what we are for real. And that is why some old people are so consistently mean and obnoxious - maintaining the old façade just costs them too much energy, energy they no longer have. So we see them as they really are. And that applies to you too, my friends - you too, if you make it to old age, will be revealed for what you are - you'll either glow with the countenance of Yah'shua or you'll be stone dead spiritually, a mere shadow of a person - an empty shell, because you chose to live for yourself.
I remember going to an old person's home in England years ago and seeing a lady in her 80's dressed up in expensive clothes and jewellry all alone in a corner talking to imaginary people about how wonderful and successful she was. No one in that home wanted to listen to her anymore. Everyone avoided her. She was so very much alone all wrapped up in herself. There was no dignity or glory in that soul. It was tragic and pathetic at the same time. She was utterly and totally spiritually dead. Such people soon lose their sanity. Old age, you see, reveals us in either our humility or our bitterness. And if you want a foretaste of what someone is going to be like in old age, catch them when they are seriously ill and physically weak. That'll give you a prophetic glimpse. "There are few things in life so distasteful as the vanity of old people or the still prickly egotism of the aged," wrote Richard Harries (ibid., p.127). The poet T.S.Eliot understood this too when he wrote:
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another; or to others, or to Elohim.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless"
In the fourth chapter of his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul comforted those who mourned the death of their loved ones, and told them that excessive grief was the result of being uninformed. It is good and right that we should weep for our losses - Yah'shua did. He wept over Lazarus and He wept over the city of Jerusalem. But it is wrong to weep like those who won't be consoled because unlike them we do have hope. Instead we must, as Albert Lee reminds us, rely on the three certainties of death.
The first thing we can be certain about as believers is that the essential being - the real you and me - doesn't die:
"We believe that Yah'shua died and rose again and so we believe that Elohim will bring with Yah'shua those who have fallen asleep (died) in Him" (1 Thess.4:14, NIV).
Those who have 'passed on' have simply retired from this problematic world and they metaphorically and poetically 'sleep with Yah'shua' because our mortal eyes don't see them anymore. They haven't ceased to exist and strictly speaking they haven't 'died' either - they have simply passed from one plane of existance to another.
The second thing we as believers can be absolutely sure about is that Yah'shua will come for everyone who trusts in Him. It doesn't matter whether you're alive on the earth when He comes back, or whether you have been dead for centuries, Yah'shua will return for His own:
"For the Master himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of Elohim, and the dead in Messiah will rise first" (1 Thess.4:16, NIV).
The third thing we as believers can be absolutely certain of too is that our reunion with Him, and with each other, will be joyful:
"After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Master in the air. And so we will be with the Master forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words" (1 Thess.4:17-18, NIV).
Now that threefold comfort is something unbelievers do not - and cannot - enjoy. They have no assurance, and so naturally live in great fear and denial. And when death does hit a loved one, bitterness is not untypical.
One of my employees in Oxford lost a son who was run down by a car while playing in the street. He was inconsolable and remained a shadow of his former self. A secretary at a place I worked in lost a son too and I remember her as a very bitter woman indeed. No one liked her because she was always angrily striking back at the world. Two school friends of mine were struck down dead before their time too - both in road accidents. The parents of one just went into denial and the parents of the other live to this day in bitterness. None were believers. All were atheists or agnostics. And no matter how much I tried to reach out to them and offer them the hope of Yah'shua, they refused, both before their tragedies and afterwards. If anything, they resented me even more for challening their view of death. They lacked a vision of the purpose of life. I have lost two children through my wife miscarrying but I have hope - for not only do I have the promise of Scripture but I have had so many experiences in the ministry that have convinced me beyond reasonable doubt that we do survive what we call 'death'. I still need faith but I also now know what I have seen. And the longer I live, the more sure I become.
I hope I am not coming across as nonchalant because I am not. Death is a very painful thing. The loss is very real. Some of you hearing and reading me have seen a lot worse than than I have. I have never witenssed war or murder. I have heard some of your stories. We all feel the pain of the loss of physical closeness but when you have hope that all will be restored, and that next time it will be even better, you gain the desire to live on for those who you can still be close to. Do I have fears about death? I would be a liar if I said I didn't. And I can joke about like Woody Allen did. Physical death is a terrible thing and illustrates so graphically the evil of sin, because it was sin that introduced death into the world in the first place. But physical death isn't the only thing that can rip the heart up. Broken relationships and divorce aree qually crucifying in their effects and in some ways can be even worse. Satan knows how to make us suffer when we give him permission to. And he relishes it. The good news, though, is that we have hope, and he doesn't. All he has to look forward to are a few more years of rampaging, followed by a thousand years of imprisonment and punishment, followed by a few more years of rampaging, followed, I suspect, by complete annihilation. There will be a Satan- and demon-free universe one day, praise Elohim!
For those of you facing the prospect of old age, or are curious what it will be like farther down the road of your life, or who have perhaps already entered it, let me end by offering you some more hope. I want to read to you an account written by H.A.Williams as he describes a painting because he captures so well what it is I want to convey to you:
"The same glimpse of resurrection can be seen in the portrait of an old lady by a contemporary painter of genius. The old woman's face is deeply lined as though it has been ploughed up again and again by agony upon agony. It is the face of somebody whom life has tortured without mercy. The furrows speak of wounds and deeper wounds, of sufferings and cares piled up one on top of the other. It is the face of somebody who has found life an experience of continuous betrayal. The old woman looks as if no sorrow has passed her by, as though she could never be surprised again by any kind or degree of pain. Yet in his portrayal of this agonizingly tragic face, the artist has given an over-all impression of triumph. In its very lines and furrows the face gives off an invincible strength. The old woman possesses a wisdom and serenity which nothing can take from her. She is in possession of true and indestructible riches. She has looked on the travail of her soul and is satisfied. She is at peace - the peace which can belong only to those who are fully and deeply alive. What the artist has shown is victory over suffering by its acceptance - not the passive acceptance of hopeless resignation, but the active acceptance of one who has been willing to receive her suffering and absorb it and thus to make it contribute powerfully to what she is. The portrait shows someone who has become fully a person by means of those very hammer.blows of experience which might have broken her up completely. Yet the face shows little conscious knowledge of her achievement. Her triumph is too real for her to be aware of it much. She is far beyond the stage of seeking artificial boosts in any narcissistic self-congratulation" (H.A.Williams, The True Resurrection, Michael Beazley, 1972, & Fount Paperbacks, 1969, p.178).
Brethren and sisters, we all want security but I solemnly testify to you today in Yah'shua's Name that you will never find it if you hide in yourselves and refuse the hand of Yahweh-Elohim. And yes, friends, it will hurt, because it will make you confront the reality around you, and and force you to interact with it, but it will at least make you fully human, it will give you a living heart, and it will give you far, far better things that anything any worldly philosophy or hedonistic lifestyle could ever give you. Yes, there will be many apparent contradictions, imponderables, and unanswered questions, but there will be many more things that make sense, many more things that are subject to meditation and understanding, and many, many more answered questions. There is no 'easy way' - yes, there is a low road too, but it does not deliver the goods of the high road.
The real challenge in surrendering to Yahweh is not so much the surrendering of the self but of the surrendering of the evil which resides in the self. The two are bedfellows. If you want to be more loving, if you want to be more loveable, if you want to be more alive, more pure, and stronger, then you have no choice but to embrace all that comes with reality, and that includes suffering. Any solution to life's problems that seeks to avoid suffering merely creates more problems. Detachment is not the solution. If you want to see the end of that road, go and find some unmarried guru sitting in a pile of dirt meditating day and night on himself and his own ficticious 'godhood'. That is where the selfish life takes you one way or another, even if you're wearing fancy clothes and living in an expensive house with all the lovers you could ever dream of. When old ages catches you up, and the mask drops, it's the picture of that lonely guru that you'll be left with.
The death of Cassanova, the infamous Italian adulterer and fornicator, was pathetic. He was utterly and totally alone. The intruments of his seductive power were stripped away from him by old age and disease. He was, finally, seen to be the revolting and repulsive-looking parasite that he was. Satan too will be stripped - that fake light-covering won't be there anymore. He'll be stripped naked for the whole world to see. Cassanova did not repent - instead, he tried to seduce his nurse. He got part of what he wanted from her in the end - by playing his 'pity card' - the last request of a dying man. And with that he passed into the flames of hell, stripped not only of his body and youth, but also of every devious cloak and deceiving light of mind and heart.
You don't have to be a Cassnova, a profligate celebrity, or a mass-murderer to go to hell. All you have to do is keep yourself for yourself and play the game of the world. Well, whether you believe me or not, you don't own yourself. You're not your own property. The body you live in isn't yours. Neither is your mind and heart, nor even the breath you breathe:
"You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust" (Ps.104:29, NKJV).
Every part of your soul - body, mind, heart, psyche, spirit - every particle of it - has it's Owner's label on it. And that label reads: 'Property of Yahweh-Elohim'. And until you return that property to its rightful owner, you're lost property. And without being returned the Owner, you can serve no useful purpose in life or eternity. Do you think you are some 'important force' in life without Yahweh's rulership in your life? Whatever you have done, unless it is consecrated to Him, will be lost. And even if you devote your life to some incredibly huge construction in a bid to be remembered - like building an Egyptian pyramid - there's still no guarantee you'll be remembered. Besides, where is the builder of the pyramids of Gizeh? Do you think he could care less that you're admiring it? He's not here with us, watching our facial expressions of amazements and the 'wows' coming from our mouths - he's not here to enjoy our admiration. He's dead. And unless he was a believer, he's lost and alone. Don't deceive yourself. To be remembered as the way the world remembers is not to share in that process. Besides, all that you see in this world will all one day be destroyed and replaced. If you're not sure what's eternal, and want will be worth remembering and having, let me remind you of this passage of Scrtipture:
"But the day of the Master will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of Elohim and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (2 Peter 3:10-13, NIV).
In a nutshell, what is not alive in your heart, and in Yah'shua - and therefore in Yahweh's heart - has no permanence, because it is dead. In other words, only that which can exist in the Garden of Yahweh is forever. And as Richard Harries prayed:
"You are the irresistable and vivifying force, O Lord, and because Yours is the energy, because, of the two of us, you are infinitely the stronger, it is on You that falls the part of consuming me in the union that should weld us together. Vouchsafe, therefore, something more precious still than the grace for which all the faithful pray. It is not enough that I should die while communicating. Teach me to treat my death as an act of communion" (ibid., p.129).
Whether you are dealing with issues of old age and death, or whether you, as a professed believer, are facing the demand of Yah'shua to die to yourself and surrender to Him in order to inherit eternal life and real zest for living, it is my prayer that you will yield, surrender to, and trust the Creator. I promise you He will see you right if you do. Amen.
- Richard Harries, Prayer and the Pursuit of Happiness (Collins, Glasgow, UK, 1985).
- Albert Lee, Three Certainties in Our Daily Bread (RBC Ministries, November 7, 2006)
|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