Sermons Series 3:104, 28 July 2007
The Search for Identity
'I, but not I'
"These [Exodus] events happened as symbols to warn us not to set our desires on evil things, as [the Israelites] did. Do not be idolaters, like some of them; as Scripture has it, 'the people sat down to feast and stood up to play' (Ex.32:6). Let us not commit fornication, as some of them did - and twenty-three thousand died in one day. Let us not put the power of Yahweh to the test, as some of them did - and were destroyed by serpents. Do not grumble against Elohim, as some of then did - and were destroyed by the Destroyer. All of these things that happened to them were symbolic, and were recorded for our benefit as a warning. For upon us the fulfilment of the ages has come. If you feel sure that you are standing firm, beware! You may fall. So far you have faced no trial beyond what man can bear. Elohim keeps faith, and He will not allow you to be tested above your powers, but when the test comes He will at the same time provide a way out, by enabling you to sustain it. So, then, dear friends, shun idolatry. I speak to you as men of sense" (1 Cor.10:6-15, NEB).
Brethren and sisters, I welcome you in Yah'shua's Name to this Sabbath gathering and pray, as I always do, that the Shegal haShabbat may be upon us all. In particular I want to address those of you who have been through, or are still going through, trial and tribulation and are seeking answers. But in addition to them, I want to speak to those of you who may have stopped seeking for answers and who, like our ancestors, decided instead to "sit down and feast and rise up to play".
Now I don't care what your situation is. You may have had a bad experience in Christianity and with other Christians. If you have, you are in the 'mainstream' because not only are you going to meet bad Christians but the chances are that you have been one yourself at some time or another. There are few who don't have lapses of faith because of bad experiences. I speak to you as one who has had one recently and is struggling to move forward even as I speak to you. I thank Yahweh, though, that no matter who you are or what you have done, if there is repentance, and a willingness to be obedient and follow Yahweh's will, no matter what the protestations of the flesh may be, that we can and shall be prospered again. Even in the bad times, we remain Yahweh's beloved sons and daughters, just as our own children continue to be viewed by us as such no matter what they do wrong. And it's amazing what Yahweh will permit the Adversary to put us through in order to mould us into the kind of men and women He wants us to be.
You know, I had this idea that if I carefully moulded my family and congregation that I could create an impregnable fortress against evil. What I didn't reckon on was my own sin nature, or the sin natures of my loved ones. We shock ourselves and others shock us. There seems to be a serpent in every Eden, in every soul. No one is immune from temptation and no one is promised a problem-free life. We have to struggle until this life is over. And as my wife has repeatedly reminded me - life is not a dress-rehearsal. This is the only life we get so we'd better get it right. Satan, and his agents, on the other hand, are determined to spoil it in every way they can and persuade us to give up.
In the passage I have read to you today, Paul reminds us of one of the solutions that the carnal man tries to effect when trial and tribulation afflict him. The Israelites have been on this long wilderness journey, they have experienced the most stupendous miracles in the history of mankind, but their leader and prophet has, apparently, 'disappeared'. Moses has ascended the Holy Mountain and not returned. Impatient, like Sarah of old when a promised son did not arrive according to her planned timetable, the people seek quick solutions. He has only been away a month but for them it seems as though he has been away for ever. Something within the people has decided: 'Enough is enough. We cannot continue in suspense like this any longer. Moses must surely be dead. We must make alternative arrangements. Obviously things have not worked out as we supposed.' At least this is how some of the leaders were thinking and were evidently persuading the people to do the same. Things had not turned out as they supposed so, they reasoned, it was now necessary for them to take matters into their own hands so that 'life could go on'. It is important for us to realise just where such a train of impatient thinking invariably leads to.
"And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden rings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden rings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received it at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it a molten calf: and they said, These are thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw (this), he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow shall be a feast to Yahweh. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play" (Ex.32:1-6, ASV).
Other versions translate 'play' as 'revelry'. In short, this sequence of events lead to a pagan party that descended into sexual immorality and became an orgy. And it began with impatience and doubt. In spite of all that Yahweh had done for them - the impressive displays of power and provision - the moment Moses disappeared for a while, things went wrong. They grew impatient. They started doubting. And their immediate response was: "Make us gods!" - that is, "Make us elohim - mighty ones - rulers and authorities in the visible realm." Obviously Moses' Elohim - Yahweh - had, in their own futile minds, 'messed up' - so they were in search of new elohim. So they persuade the Cohen Gadol - the High priest of Israel - to make them an idol.
You see, the moment you doubt in the true Elohim - the moment you start doubting the Elohim of the Bible just because of some hardship - you start turning to demonic substitutes - and especially to things which are more tangible and visible - more fleshy, more physical. They wanted something they could see. When we grow impatient with Yahweh, what is it we tend to do? Turn to human counsellors! To visible, audible oracles. And as I have been telling you, they are not always the best. Aaron, the High Priest, was weak. He had the audacity to make an abominable thing - a golden calf - taking that of value from the people - their gold - and making idolatrous objects for a new religion that borrowed the vocabulary of the truth revealed to them from heaven through Moses with which to garnish the old Egyptian paganism.
Now to make a new religion you need people. Moreover, you need those peoples' 'wealth'. He took their golden rings which they had obtained from the Egyptians, which had been given to them, as payment to leave Egypt. The Egyptians wanted those Israelites gone so they could live in 'peace' - their own artificial peace, undisturbed by truth. Now everything was topsy-turvy. Now they were using the wealth given them to provide for them on the way to the Promised Land, and with it they were building an abomination of the Egyptians - a representation of a demon - with that same wealth and heading back to Egypt! And Aaron - who here represents the weakness of our defiled conscience - has the audacity to call the new kind of worship he has instituted "holy" and says, 'This shall be a feast to Yahweh'! He has, by his own authority, created a demonic moed! But should we be so shocked? No, for this is what we do when we stop having faith and turn back to the world because we believe that Yahweh's way is too hard. So we conclude: 'This can't be Yahweh's way after all!' So what do we do? We invent our own religion, just as Aaron did, just as the Egyptians whom he imitated under pressure from the carnally minded people he was supposed to be their spiritual leader over, had done before him.
Aaron yielded to the pressure of the people, just as our conscience yields or gives way to the pressure of the flesh. Instead of following the Ruach, we turn to something that is very familiar - our carnal self, whom we have been fighting to overcome all these years as a disciple. We know what the flesh is. We know what it does. We know it is a liar and a deceiver and yet, in moments of insanity, we turn to it for comfort and safety. And when we do, disaster is not far behind us, even if the going seems good for a while.
Aaron, the High Priest of Israel, proclaims a pagan feast in the Name of Yahweh. Now he was not abandoning Yahweh - or so he thought - he just thought that he could combine the flesh with the Ruach, just like the early Messianic Community did when it became the 'Church' and syncretised the Gospel with paganism to make it more attractive to the pagans. This is what Aaron sought to do - follow a path of appeasement. Doesn't history tell us that appeasement doesn't work? Look what happened in the 1930's! Look what's happening now as the West appeases militant Islam and strident sexual perverts. Doesn't Scripture say that friendship with the world is hostility to Yahweh? Please, let's not forget this in the moment of our testing!
"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward Elohim? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of Elohim. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit He caused to live in us envies intensely? But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'Elohim opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble'" (James 4:4-6, NIV)
My heart grieves deeply within me when I see people who were once strong in Yahweh and in the Truth return to the very things they have so forcefully spoken against in the sure knowledge that what they originally said was the truth. This temptation is very, very real - we all face it and especially when the going gets tough. That's why Paul reminded us:
"So far you have faced no trial beyond what man can bear. Elohim keeps faith, and He will not allow you to be tested above your powers, but when the test comes He will at the same time provide a way out, by enabling you to sustain it".
Now I don't care if you have messed up, for Yahweh only knows I have, and am still repenting of it. But it is not the end of the world if you have messed up provided you do not delay in your repentance. The longer you wait, the harder it gets, because the demonic gets a stronger foothold day by day for Yahweh will not be mocked. To those of us who have been given much, much is expected. That is why first of all I am speaking to ministers, and then to fathers and husbands over wives and children, then to mothers over children, for we have a higher responsibility to be true - inevitably, since others look up to, and depend on, us for leadership.
When we are walking in the truth, when we sit down to feast, we come to worship. Yahweh has given us seven annual assemblies to feast and/or worship Him, and one every week on the Sabbath. What He has not called us to do is to feast and party. The world's partying is just a cheap counterfeit of the joy which comes from acting in the truth and living Yahweh's lifestyle.
A week ago I arose early for my scripture study and prayer and was praying to my Heavenly Father as to my next course of action in the face of my current trials and tribulations. And He reminded me of something important by opening up a vision to me.
I saw a road, and in the middle of the road was this enormous, thick white pole whose top I could not see, because it extended into heaven. I knew instantly that this was the pole of ALL TRUTH into which we have been called, which has become our motto in recent months. Yah'shua told His disciples:
"When the Spirit (Ruach) of truth (emet) has come, She will lead you in[to] all truth (emet), for She will not speak from the mind of the nefesh (soul, flesh) but all that She hears, that will She speak, and She will make known to you future things. And She will glorify Me (Yah'shua), because from Mine She will take and will proclaim you. That which My Father has is Mine. Because of this I have told you that from Mine She will take and will proclaim to you" (Jn.16:13-14, HRV).
He reminded me that our starting point must be "all truth". All of it. He then went on to say to me that out of this would come the abundant life. He said:
"If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:9-11, NKJV).
I believe this and that is why I am responding in what I am sharing with you, and have been now for many weeks:
"I believe; because of this I spoke" (2 Cor.4:13, HRV)
"I trusted even when I spoke" (Ps.116:10, HRV).
And that is why I do not lose heart.
Shortly after his confirming revelation, Yahweh opened another vision to me, and in it I saw a huge man standing in front of me. My reflexive reaction was to simply push this giant out of the way because I knew he was not good news. As I did this, another vision opened to me and I saw that I had been carrying this huge sack full of rocks. I found myself emptying this sack over the side of a precipice and could feel the load lightening as the rocks tumbled out. I had been carrying something that only Yah'shua could carry. Don't we do that sometimes? Life has many burdens which He wishes to carry if we will let Him.
We feel guilty about things that Yah'shua has forgiven us for, and as a result continue to carry this dead weight. We aren't supposed to. That is why He died for us on the Cross. This does not mean, however, that we should dismiss all guilt. Guilt was given to us to make us aware of sin and our need to repent of it. One of the biggest cop-outs that believers do when they turn away from Yahweh is to dismiss all responsibility.
I recently saw one mature women in vision who had decided to do just this. Rather than deal with sinful behaviour, she decided to deny it was sin altogether by turning her heart off and in that way not face her responsibilities. In three visions over several says Yahweh showed her to me as a young teenager dressed like a boy in shorts. By choosing not to be responsible for her actions, she had artificially retreated to the past. I have to say candidly to anyone contemplating this that it is utterly impossible and only leads to bondage. We can't go back in time. We were made to live in the present. Only the present is real - what is around us and what is inside.
Throughout its long apostasy, Judah continually yearned back to the days of David and Solomon, wanting to re-create that glory. They were doing so even in the days of Yah'shua under Roman occupation. Instead, Yahweh sent them John the Baptist commanding them to repent, and then the Messiah who urged them to do the same thing and accept Him as their Deliverer and Master. They wanted a temporal kingdom from Him like Solomon's - with all its creature comforts - but instead He offered them a yoke of freedom.
It's amazing, isn't it, how we always seek for the wrong things and then presume to tell Yahweh how to behave towards us. That's what the Israelites did. 'Look', they said, 'we need something visible to worship. Moses has gone, probably eaten by wild animals'. That's, of course, what the devil wanted them to believe, the same devil who put the evil thought into the hearts of Joseph's brothers to simulate his death by dipping his coat of many colours in animal blood when they had sold him into slavery. They broke their father's heart - he was in mourning for YEARS because of their selfishness, deception and wickedness, all because of their petty jealousy. That's what happens when you run from your responsibility - PEOPLE GET HURT.
So what was the result of Israel's selfishness and idolatry? 23,000 people died for blasphemy and profaning the Name of the Most High. Their 'party in the desert' was their death sentence. They were killed by snakes - and snakes represent lies and deception. They were destroyed by the Destroyer, because when you mock the Most High, you give Satan legal grounds over you.
Yahweh has not purposed to make us live defeated lives. But before He can help us, He has to funnel us down a road we may not want to go so that all the spiritual weeds can be stripped away - all our tricks, dishonesty, illusions, worldly lusts - everything that stands in the way of the perfect life He has ordained for us. Christianity is not a religion for wimps! Every one of you who has the mark of Messiah on your brow has been called to be a real man or a real woman.
So why go following the pathetic examples of the world? Why take their counsel? Why walk with them? Why imitate their defeated lives? What on earth do they have to offer you?? What is their destination? Please be careful! The devil is so deceptive! Don't become a prodigal and leave home for the pig swill. Remember, the pig swill is the last thing you see at the beginning of that journey of 'new possibilities'. The prodigal's first encounter away from home was with what? The partying life! He had, as he supposed, a 'great time' and acquired, as he supposed, many 'friends'. But the end-of-the-line was still pig food, the diet he would inherit for his rash behaviour - there were no friends there with him. Once they had got everything they wanted from him - once they had raped his generosity, they dumped him. So conquer yourself - overcome the world in Messiah - "overcome the evil one" (1 Jn.2:13). We read in Psalm 110:
"Yahweh says to my Adon (Master): 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.' Yahweh will extend your mighty sceptre from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth. Yahweh has sworn and will not change His mind: 'You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.' Yahweh is at your right hand; He will crush kings on the day of His wrath. He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. He will drink from a brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head" (Ps.110, NIV).
You do of course realise, don't you, that this is a Messianic Prophecy of David? That it is Yah'shua who is being spoken of here? This is not some effeminate Catholic 'christ' that is being spoken of here but a mighty conqueror.
This Messiah we love and serve has two sides to His nature: the one is the gentle Lamb of Elohim, and the other is the conquering Lion of Judah - the Lords of the First and Second Advents, respectively. This is what it means to be in the Melchizedek Order. This is what defines, identifies and characterises a New Covenant Priest of El Elyon. Yahweh has promised: "Your enemies will perish and those who love you will be like the sun when it rises in its strength" (cp. Judg.5:31).
To understand what it is to be a Melchizedek Cohen or Priest is to understand this twin nature of the Messiah whom we are called to imitate. Most believers seem to think that we are to be one or the other. But what determines what we are to be, and when, is circumstance and Yahweh's will. And though He came as the meek and mild Lamb the first time round, there were moments when the Lion in Him was strongly revealed as He upturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple, sharply rebuked the religious hypocrites of His day, and, yes, even when He cursed an unproductive fig tree which had deceived its viewers into thinking that it bore fruit when it didn't. The returning Messiah is coming to "crush the kings on the Day of His wrath" and to "heap up the dead and crush the rulers of the whole earth". If you're in any doubt as to how Yah'shua is returning, read the Book of Revelation. In 13 places it says He is returning in fury. Have you ever wondered why one of the pictures of the Millennium is of a Lamb lying down with a Lion and a child? There is total harmony between the three - between the twofold nature of our Messiah and with the disciple who comes to Him as a little child (Mk.10:15).
Now please don't go and conclude that the wrath or fury of Yahweh is some sort of fitful passion that is so commonly associated with human anger. It isn't. It is the deliberate resolute displeasure which the contradiction of His holiness or set-apartness demands. We're not talking about 'supernatural bad temper' such was displayed in the myths of the pagan gods. And don't for one moment associate the fury of Yahweh with human vindictiveness because it isn't that either. Yahweh's fury is not vindictiveness but holy indignation - there is no malice in it. It is not malignant hatred but RIGHTEOUS DETESTATION. Finally, we must never reduce the wrath of Yahweh to any kind of will to punish. He does not delight in punishing. Wrath is a positive outgoing of dissatisfaction as surely as that which is pleasing to Yahweh involves complacency. I add this to emphasise that Yahweh does possess what we call 'emotion' because the wrath of Yahweh finds its parallel in the human heart, as exemplified in the perfect way of Yah'shua Himself (e.g. Mk.3:5; 10:14). In a sentence, Yahweh is extremely passionate, but it is under fully control, it is intelligent and it is full of love, even when it is negative.
Since sin is never impersonal, and since it exists and is committed by persons, the wrath of Yahweh consists in the displeasure to which we are subjected; we are the objects. The sense of guilt and torment of conscience are the reflections in our consciousness of the displeasure of Yahweh and it is up to us to react in one of two ways to that guilt and torment: to (a) repent, be forgiven, and receive the cleansing of the Ruach haQodesh, or (b) to refuse to repent, harden our heart, and transfer allegiance to false gods, whatever we may call them. If we do harden our hearts, what wisdom we may have possessed turns into the kind of insane ignorance that Solomon eventually embraced when he turned to the gods of his foreign wives. And see the woeful results of this second, terrible choice made by people in general:
"They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of Elohim because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more" (Eph.4:18-19, NIV).
These are the telltale signs of one who was formerly in the truth and who abandons it by choosing to harden their hearts. They not only become ignorant to the truth - as though they had never known it - but they lose their sensitivity towards others, they become sensual, impure and are never satisfied because they are driven by demonic lusts. I am reminded of a woman who always wants what is 'best' and is never satisfied with what she has, discarding any relationship that does not meet up to her high expectations as soon as she has got all out of it that she can. Therefore the Ruach haQodesh warns most emphatically:
"Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried Me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest'" (Heb.3:7-11, NIV).
Do you believe that? You'd better! (He repeats the same in Heb.4:7). You'd be foolish to end your life the way those stubborn Israelites did. Did Moses, the one in whom they trusted, ever mess up? Oh yes. He killed an Egyptian. He took credit for a miracle done by Yahweh and was not allowed to enter the promised land. He had his faults. He took too much on himself and had to be counselled by his father-in-law Jethro to share out the responsibility of judging. Nevertheless he was a humble and meek man, and offered his life in place of his rebellious spiritual sons and daughters in their apostasy.
When you harden your heart to the truth, you create inner division of the soul and start losing your identity. Throughout life we will face opposing spiritual forces on the outside and the inside. Throughout the history of Israel there were three major enemies whom Yahweh used to humble her when she sinned: Egypt, Assyria and Babylon. To these were later added the Persians, Greeks and Romans. We will always have enemies in the world. Whenever Israel or Judah tried to forge alliances with any of these enemies, disaster struck. Part of her problem in having these enemies in the first place was because she did not overcome the enemies within which are always the worst.
The two greatest sets of enemies are the enemies 'within' our own beings (demons) and enemies at home (especially with spouses). We can't be effective witnesses of Messiah nor live happy, prosperous lives until we have dealt with our own Fifth Column. Israel had plenty of these - Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, Amalekites and Ammonites to name but a few to whom they were often related by blood. Our own family members - relatives - can be our greatest obstacles. Failure to deal with them leads to internal division - to Israel being divided into Judah and Ephraim with two separate capitals in Jerusalem and Samaria, which represent the double-mindedness of the soul which has not resolved internal issues. One common one in marriage is when one or other spouse does not fully leave their parents' home in their hearts so there are two authorities and two allegiances. At some point, if we aren't going to fall apart into internal civil war, we have to be single-minded and choose one or the other.
One of the excuses I made during my 'two month vacation' to my family was that I was an 'Asian' in my way of being because I had been raised in Asia which I said they couldn't possibly relate to as Westerners. Now don't get me wrong here - I do have many Asian attitudes and values and I certainly have nothing against Asians. Quite the contrary, in fact - I strongly identify with them. I was born and raised in Asia. I am a great admirer of the Japanese, Chinese, Koreans and other Asians. I have learned much from them which I seek to imitate. And Yahweh has specifically old me that one of the four centres of my ministry in the future will be precisely amongst these special people who are so much a part of my experience and identity And yet the truth is that their hearts are no different from ours and they are beset by exactly the same kinds of sins as we are. They're people - Yahweh's people.
Five days ago Yahweh showed me a vision of a little Asian boy which I suppose was one of the 'images' I had used to hide behind. The moment it shape-shifted I knew what I was dealing with - a demonic impersonation - and sure enough, as I prayed over it, there was a demon there which I kicked out in Yah'shuas's Name. I had used the 'Asian card' to make myself inaccessible by default. We have to stop hiding behind images and be who we are and then let Yahweh create us into what He wants to make us become. Likewise we can't hide our sins behind national identities like 'American' or 'European' - Yahweh is no respecter of persons or nations. He says the nations are deceived (Rev.20:3). Indeed, one of the most important questions we need to ask ourselves upon becoming Messianic believers is this: what is my identity? Who am I? To whom do I belong? What nation do I belong to? I have spoken much of the importance of 'belonging' over the years because of the importance of identity but I would like to say a little more about it today.
Part of the problem the Israelites had in the wilderness was they couldn't make up their minds who they were: Israelite? Egyptian? Israelite Egyptians? Egyptian Israelites? Many indigenous Egyptians and others came with the Israelites out of Egypt - they became a new nation. For centuries they had been exiles in a foreign land as slaves, just as the Judahites would be in Babylon and it took a whole generation to get Egyptian thinking and habits out of their system. Indeed, they had never been a nation before. They had been a tiny tribe and multiplied into a vast people who were threatening to outnumber the natives in their guest country. There first experience at nationhood was as Egyptians - a minority rapidly becoming a majority. If they had not been enslaved it is quite possible that they would have become the majority and become 'Egypt'. The original Egyptian natives would have become a minority! One might say that the slavery was providential in this respect otherwise they might have happily taken the country over at some point as the Semitic Hyksos had done before them. However, Yahweh did not want an Israelite-Egyptian subculture - He wanted - and still wants - a completely new nation with a culture defined by Him. One of the purposes of the wilderness wandering was to burn the Egyptian out of them and replant an entirely new culture and national identity in them - a culture that would be defined by the Torah.
As one who has lived all around the world I have often wondered who I was but it was not until 1999 when I became Messianic that I began to get a much clearer picture. Up until that time I had been brainwashed with the notion that Yahweh is multicultural and that it is possible to merge Christianity with whatever culture you happen to have been born and raised in. Living in a world that views multi-culturism as positive, such a view still strongly prevails so that we can speak of American Christianity, Japanese Christianity, African Christianity, and so on. But as you start taking a closer look at what these labels mean, you soon start discovering that they contains ideas, attitudes and habits that are not so much different 'flavours' of Christianity but actual religious and philosophical syncretism.
In many cases, what has emerged from the native culture coincides with Torah thought - thus, for example, the Asian emphasis on family just happens to agree very closely with Yahweh's revelation and the narcissistic one that obtains in the West does not, so that when I am in Asia and amongst Asians I feel very comfortable because I recognise the divine imprint.
Similarly, when I am in Asia, I can sometimes feel very uncomfortable. A friend of mine was a missionary in Japan many years ago and he shared many of his experiences. The veneration of ancestors, which is common there, is an extension of the high respect Japanese have for the family but they take it to an idolatrous extreme to the point that what you end up with is a dangerous interface with the occult. The West, which basically has a Christian background, has no such tradition of worshipping the dead, and so when it comes to the departed, I feel more comfortable with the West precisely because its attitudes harmonise more closely with Torah.
Messianics in particular face a very serious snare when it comes to their national identity. Like Catholics, who owe a prior allegiance to a religio-temporal state called the Vatican over their own countries, so many Messianics consider that they owe a higher allegiance to the Israeli Republic than to the nation they live in. Messianics thus often turn to the Republic of Israel and to Judaism for their identity. This isn't always as smooth as they would like for they often find themselves split in both identity and allegiance and what happens is - when they finally decide which basket to put all their eggs into - they exchange one worldly culture for another simply because the Israeli one uses biblical language and speaks Hebrew. The result is that a good many Messianics have become Israelis without realising what that means.
The other day I was thinking about these things when Yahweh opened a most interesting vision to me. I suppose it was of some future event because I saw myself preaching to a congregation I was visiting in one of the American Southern States like Louisiana or Mississippi. I was standing behind the pulpit holding up a small Confederate flag and telling the congregation that they belonged to a nation - the Confederacy - which, though politically defunct, nevertheless was a social ideal that represented many fine values of which they should be proud. I then lifted up an American Federal flag alongside and told them that they were a part of another nation too which also had many fine values - they had, in a way, dual citizenship mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I told them that there were wrong values and ideals in both of these 'nations' which as believers they had to reject, including racism and centralised federal power. I then lifted a British flag and reminded them that they had originally come from my country and shared many of our values which has been reflected in modern times by close partnerships in the international scene. And then I held up a Christian flag and reminded them that we all come from Yah'shua and that we are Christian or Messianic Israelites.
As I watched this scene and heard myself preaching, I saw myself addressing Afro-Americans too. In one hand I held a US flag and in the other a flag with the pan-African colours of red, yellow and green. I was telling them they too belonged to two nations and represented, as Christians, the best of both of these. And as I looked around the world, I could see similar scenes - Jamaicans with British and Jamaican flags, Indians with British and Indian flags, and above all of these combinations was the flag of Messianic Israel. We all had multiple identities - I was holding up Singaporean, Malaysian, British, Norwegian, Swedish, German, American and all sorts of flags as I saw how various national traits that are to be found in Torah has formed a part of my own psyche. I was able to identify with part of so many national cultures whilst being revolted by other parts.
You see, Yahweh calls us to be discriminating. He doesn't want blind nationalism - He hates it! Does He want us to love the countries we were born in and are from? Absolutely. I am a Briton living in Sweden. I love my own country but I also respect and honour the nation which has given me a home for a decade. There are lots of things I don't like about Sweden but there are equally as many things I don't like about Britain. I also love things about Sweden which are unique to it. It's complicated because Yahweh wants us to be discerning and discriminating. It would be the easiest thing in the world to just throw myself headlong into one culture and just accept and worship it. And I have done this in the past, with disastrous consequences. Now I find myself a Messianic Israelite on top of all this. Does this make me an Israeli (spiritually and culturally if not politically) and a Zionist too?
I am not an Israeli and have no intention of ever becoming one. I detest Zionism and have no intention of supporting it - it is racist, élitist, anti-Christian and serves demonic agendas. I never intend to immigrate to the Republic of Israel because the Bible nowhere tells me to. I am an Israelite, and specifically, one who accepts Yah'shua the Messiah, but I have little in common with the tiny nation in the Middle East except for those Torah virtues which it espouses - and there are not that many, I have to say. So I am not an Israeli, pro-Israeli or pro-Zionist. I believe Yahweh has a purpose for that little country, and especially for those of its citizens who convert to Yah'shua, but I do not believe it is Biblical Israel. If it's Biblical anything, its the continuation of Biblical Edom with its main rivals in the land - the Palestinians - the spiritual inheritors of the Philistine tradition and the racial inheritors (to a large extent) of the Ishmaelites. Indeed, the Palestinians probably have more of the blood of Abraham in them that the Israeli Jews do, not that that counts for anything in the New Covenant.
The nation I aspire to politically be a part of does not exist yet - I remain in exile. When gentiles converted to Yah'shua and became Israelites by adoption, there still was an Israelite state, but they were prevented from taking citizenship in it because its rulers had been expelled by Yahweh from the Commonwealth of Israel for rejecting their King, Yah'shua:
"Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called 'uncircumcised' by those who call themselves 'the circumcision' (that done in the body by the hands of men) - remember that at that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without Elohim in the world. But now in Messiah Yah'shua you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Messiah" (Eph.2:11-13, NIV).
Gentile converts found themselves in the situation of being Israelites by adoption but unable to settle in the land still calling itself Judea because the non-Messianic Israelite leaders who lived there were no longer Israelites in the eyes of Yahweh and rejected them. A similar situation obtains today. The ruling Jews would never accept us as citizens of their republic, nor would we want to be, unless we were born there.
So what am I? I am an Israelite without a physical homeland. My citizenship is currently not of this world but in heaven (Phil.3:20). Nevertheless, that citizenship does manifest outwardly down here on earth:
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with Elohim's people and members of Elohim's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Messiah Yah'shua himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in Yahweh. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which Elohim lives by His Ruach" (Eph.2:19-22, NIV).
Here we have another clue as to our identity in the physical world: for whilst I do not have a country with national borders, I am defined by my relationship to the foundation on which my feet stand - and that foundation is the apostles and prophets, with Yah'shua the chief cornerstone. Wherever there are true apostles and prophets on earth, there is my home. They are a part of the 'Council of Yah's elohim'. That Council is my government to which I defer whether it is in heaven or on earth. It'll be down here in the Millennium (Yahweh willing), but for now it is dispersed in two different dimensions - in heaven and on earth. Complicated? In a way, yes, it is, until you learn to see, feel, talk and breathe spiritually. It is when our foundation is on earthly things that we seek for identity in such things as the nations of the world. That's OK up to a point, but how much emphasis should we put on such things?
For Paul being a Benjaminite was important. Being an Israelite was important (Rom.11:1). I, like all of you who believe Yah'shua and obey Torah, am an Israelite and have a tribal identity which is Ephraimite. But Paul was also a Roman citizen and I am a British one. I carry a British passport. Some of you may carry more than one passport to make things more complex. So until heaven comes to earth, along with its Ruler, I remain a dual citizen. But I am also resident in Sweden so I am legally obliged to pay taxes to the Swedish government and obey its laws. That makes me 'Swedish' too to some degree. Some of my children are obeying Norwegian law and paying Norwegian taxes. Indeed, I am paying tax in four countries!
My best friend at school in England was half Welsh and half Chinese. My friends in Malaysia were mostly Chinese, Malay, Tamil, Sikh, British, Australian, Dutch, and Swedish. This immersion in many cultures, religions and countries has taught me a valuable lesson that has never left me as I have wandered the earth from nation to nation. I have shared something with them which cuts across all religious and cultural divisions and which nevertheless is intimately a part of my Christian experience too and has contributed to an aspect of identity which transcends everything apart from their humanity. And since Elohim became a human like me, I have made connections to all of them through Him, even before I met Him and got to know Him personally. My experience is echoed by Henri Nouwen's thoughts in his book, With Open Hands, in which he writes:
"Compassion grows with the inner recognition that your neighbour shares your humanity with you. This partnership cuts through all walls which might have kept you separate. Across all barriers of land and language, wealth and poverty, knowledge and ignorance, we are one, created from the same dust, subject to the same laws, and destined for the same end.
"With this compassion you can say, 'In the face of the oppressed I recognise my own face and in the hands of the oppressor I recognise my own hands. Their flesh is my flesh; their blood is my blood; their pain is my pain; their smile is my smile. Their ability to torture is in me, too; their capacity to forgive I find also in myself.
"'There is nothing in me that does not belong to them, too. There is nothing in them that does not belong to me, too.
"'In my heart, I know their yearning for love and down to my entrails, I can feel their cruelty. In another's eyes, I see my plea for forgiveness and in a hardened frown, I see my refusal. When someone murders, I know that I too could have murdered, and when someone gives birth, I know that I am capable of birth as well. In the depths of my being, I meet my fellow humans with whom I share love and hate, life and death'." 1
One of the hallmarks of Christianity is that it connects us to all humanity and enables us to identify and interact with it to one degree or another by virtue of the fact that Yah'shua connected Himself to everyone and died on the Cross for them. This does not, of course, make them believers, nor does it make my identity with the same as with a fellow believer. But it does force me to view them with the same eyes of compassion and love as Yah'shua does. I can, and should, connect to their lives through Yah'shua because it is only through having compassion for them that I can actually reach them and begin to know and understand them as He does. This does not mean forming soulish or psychic soul-ties with them because, as I have taught you over the years, this is not spiritually healthy and can bring us into spiritual bondage to them and the lies they espouse. Equally, though, I cannot view them as subhuman or 'enemies' as some other religions view those who do not accept their particular beliefs do - some look upon them with murderous intent. The only way we can reach them is by having an abundance of life that comes from Yah'shua - if we try to reach and bond with them through our psychic powers - the energy of our fleshiness - we will become not only a part of them but also the dark powers that steer them, and by that means become lost ourselves. We have been sent to administer salvation to the lost, not join them and get lost ourselves.
We face enormous risks in our social intercourse and interactions with people if we are not properly surrendered to Yah'shua. Michael Wells, author of the book, Side-tracked in the Wilderness rightly observes that "what you are at your worst moment is your true [spiritual] condition". And the proof that it is us, he says, is that we try to cover this unpleasant manifestation of our true, unredeemed self - that part which is not surrendered to Yah'shua - with what he calls a "success-suit". It's the image we wish people to see that we would really like to be us. It isn't real, though. It's a false identity. It's no different than me carrying a German passport and pretending to be a German. I may learn what it is like to be a German, learn the habits, customs and even language, but however hard I try, that will never make me a German.
When I was a teacher at school there was a British pupil of mine who envied the American way of life to such an extent that he started talking with a cultivated American accent. I suspect it was, in part, to curry favour with his American friends. I told him to be real - to respect and compliment all that he loved about America and Americans but to be who he was - English. He was very embarrassed by this but all his American friends totally agreed with me. They knew he was being fake.
I knew an English girl who went to college in Idaho for a year and returned with an American accent. It was a little hard adjusting to this as I had been familiar with her local Oxfordshire dialect for years but in her case it was something she had simply picked up naturally, like many of the American students had picked up British accents whilst studying at the International School at which I had worked. I am told I have picked up some Norwegian accent here and there over the 20 years I have been in Scandinavia and I inflect my words in a very untypical British way sometimes. But I am not conscious of it. It's not an act. It's just something I have grown comfortable with and do unconsciously. And indeed the 'English' I speak at home is a hodgepodge of all kinds of languages and dialects and syntax.
When you truly let Yah'shua into your heart and take over the 'self' He begins to gradually redefine you and give you a new identity and personality. This does not mean that the real 'you' ceases to exist - there are things which identify you as unique which will always remain so - but He will, and does, alter your behaviour. You begin to behave in a way which is at first similar and then increasingly more identical with other believers so that you start recognising one another as somehow 'belonging' to something that is intangible. I am not here speaking of believers or even unbelievers who convert to Messianism and who start saying "Shalom!" and other Hebrew terms, wearing tassels, and doing other things which identify them externally as belonging to a certain way of life or lifestyle. This happens with both regenerated as well as unregenerate Messianics, as well as with non-Messianic Jews. Unfortunately, a lot of Messianics lay a disproportionate emphasis on these things so that when they are with non-Messianic Christians they can find no identity with them at all and often end up calling them names and accusing them of coming from the devil, a telltale sign of an emerging cultic spirit. If this happens, they are in serious spiritual trouble. It means they may have put on the external attributes of a Messianic believer without undergoing any real change of heart. They're to all intents and purposes unbelievers in Messianic clothing, just as many non-Messianic Christians are.
Over the last month I have made some good friends with non-Messianic Christians. There is this shared love of, and connection to, Yah'shua or Jesus which is unmistakable. I recognise the Ruach as identified and described in the New Testament. I know that there are certain 'lines' I cannot cross though, because they choose to remain in their false traditions, and that is as far as the fellowship goes, but I am much more connected to these people than I am to Messianics who live only - or for the most part - an external religion with Hebrew verbiage and paraphernalia. What identifies a believer first and foremost is not his obedience to the commandments (which is what should immediately follow next) but a childlike faith in the finished work of the Cross (or 'torture-stake' as most Messianics and Jehovah's Witnesses inelegantly call it). That childlike faith in the finished work of the Cross establishes a connection to LIFE - the Life of the Messiah - which can be obtained in no other way. It is this connection which gives us our PRIMARY and MOST IMPORTANT identity. It is what connects us to the Father and enables the Ruach haQodesh to work in us.
Consider again the worst moment in your behaviour. It could be something that has happened today, this week, this month, or this year. Consider the moment you have been the most ashamed of - something bad you have done, thought or said in recent times. I think of Peter betraying Yah'shua three times, of Paul rejecting John Mark or wanting to castrate those of the circumcision party, or of John wanting to call down fire on the unresponsive Samaritans. It doesn't matter that a demon lay behind, say, an emotional outburst of anger or uncharitable act. It doesn't matter that it wasn't the 'real you' - Paul complained that he did and said the opposite of what he wanted to say or do at times. It doesn't matter that you behaved that way because of some lie you believed - the fact that you said it or did it reflects your identity or condition because you are choosing to share the 'real you' with a demon, in the same way you share other people's ungodly identities by allowing yourself to soul-tie with them. It may not all be of your own origin but you have nevertheless made the choice at some point to incorporate it into your identity, and for that you are responsible. It's what you choose to be even though part of it is alien - either demonic or someone else which you confuse with 'you'. Whatever that worst moment was, it was you acting in co-operation with something not of Yahweh.
Those 'worst moments' live to haunt us and remind us what we are capable of doing. We are never so secure that we can rest on our laurels. When Yahweh's friends like David can fall into adultery and murder, and Yahweh's kings of wisdom like Solomon can become fools, we know that we can never rest securely in our own abilities. Daniel gives this end-time prophetic warning:
"In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power" (Dan.8:23-25, NIV).
Whether our foes are demons within or wicked men animated by demons, they will not be overcome by "human power". Our own wisdom or strength will never be enough. Our experience will never be enough. Our reputation will not be enough because the moment we lean on the flesh, the enemy "will destroy the mighty men and the holy people" of Yahweh. If we rest in any identity other than Yah'shua's, we will fall.
If we want to know what humanity is supposed to be like, and can be like - if we want an identity that is age-enduring and productive of continual righteousness - then we must seek these things in Yah'shua alone. In his book, Part of a Journey, Philip Toynbee explains the only realistic course available for the one struggling after truth when he wrote:
"I call myself a Christian because I discern in the New Testament a man whose life, death and central teaching penetrates more deeply into the mysterious reality of our condition that anyone or anything else has ever done. In the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles, I find a total view of what man is, or what he could be and ought to be, which evokes a response in me such as no other writings have ever done".
Christians - souls who have a Messiah-identity - are described as doing these things in the New Testament - they:
- follow Yah'shua (Matthew 4:19)
- receive Yah'shua (John 1:12);
- believe in or trust Yah'shua (John 3:16)
- stay joined to Yah'shua (John 15:5);
- know Yah'shua (John 17:3);
- love Yah'shua (Ephesians 6:24);
- obey Yah'shua (Hebrews 5:9);
- glory in or take pride in Yah'shua (Philippians 3:3).
- have Yah'shua (1 John 5:12).
This relationship between Yah'shua and believers is compared to a marriage relationship between a husband and wife because a wife also assumes her husband's identity in addition to her own. For her there can only ever be one husband or her identity will be divided, and it is for this reason that Yahweh, the Divine Husband, tells Israel His allegorical wife:
"You shall have no other gods (elohim, mighty ones, rulers) before me" (Ex.20:3, NIV).
"There is no God (Elohim) apart from Me ... there is none but Me" (Isa.45:21, NIV).
The means by which we obtain our identity from Yahweh are therefore paralleled in the way a wife gets her identity from her husband. Any other way leads to polytheism and polyandry, and both are demonic, because they testify against wholeness and echad - they lead to multiple identities, double-mindedness, confusion and anarchy. That is why as believers we are required to bind the shema to our minds:
"Hear O Israel (the allegorical uniplural bride), Yahweh your Elohim, Yahweh is echad (one - Father, Son and sevenfold Ruach haQodesh)" (Dt.6:4).
A husband could just as easily say to his wife:
"Hear O Eve (his literal bride), Adam your head, Adam is echad (in the Godhead)".
Adam is echad because his head is Yahweh through Yah'shua and the Ruach haQodesh so a wife obtains the fullness of her identity through the Godhead and Adam - a tenfold echad headship (Father, Son, 7-fold Ruach haQodesh and her husband). Even the husband has an echad headship all of his own consisting of Father, Son, sevenfold Ruach and the Council of Yah's elohim from which he obtains the fullness of his identity. The identity of the true, submitted believer is great and wonderful indeed! But it begins by our imitating the perfect humanity of Yah'shua through the power of His Divinity.
There is only one way to obtain a true identity unmuddled by wrong relationships and demonic powers and that is Yahweh's way. The world will disagree and lie to you. It will tell you that your identity is your ego and that you should pursue that -'realise your self'. If it is, it is a very incomplete and paltry one. In Yah'shua, we become what we were made to be and not what we think we're supposed to be:
"[The Ruach] will bring glory to Me (Yah'shua) by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said the Ruach will take from what is Mine and make it known to you" (John 16:14-15, NIV).
Through our union with Messiah we acquire all that belongs to the Father which the Father has given to the Son. This 'knowing' in Hebrew is yada, which means 'intimate union' as between husband and wife, meaning that the spiritual relationship bequeaths the kinds of sweet blessings that come through a husband and wife in echad union with each other. All the spiritual resources that belong to Yah'shua come to belong to us by this means and shape our identity:
"To all who received [Yah'shua], to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of Elohim - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or husband's will, but born of Elohim" (John 1:12-13, NIV).
In becoming children born of Yahweh-Elohim, Yah'shua shares all that He has with us. In uniting with His identity we obtain:
It is only in obtaining these things that we discover who we really are because so long as we are in anything else - and that means the flesh - what we are is combined with the fallen nature of the serpent, the Adamic nature, which is dead. Without Yah'shua's identity our identity is that of death and condemnation. The spark of life that keeps us going for our 70 odd years on life may seem to be the 'real thing' until either disaster or old age catches you up and you discover not only how mortal you are but how spiritually lost and without identity you are in the company of the father of lies. Don't leave it to the last minute or you'll bitterly regret wasting your life on a futile pursuit after psychic 'self-realisation'.
- Yah'shua's spiritual resources (John 16:15)
- Yah'shua's friendship (John 15:15)
- Yah'shua's love (John 15:9)
- Yah'shua's joy (John 15:11)
- Yah'shua's glory (John 17:22)
- Yah'shua's risen life (Colossians 3:1-4)
- Yah'shua's inheritance (Romans 8:17)
- Yah'shua's future reign (Revelation 3:21)
Today I took my family out for a short walk in the forest to collect some white quartz stone which reminded me of the white stone in the Book of Revelation:
"To him who overcomes, I will ... give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it" (Rev.2:17, NIV).
Thomas Howard, a Professor at Gordon College, Massachusetts, says:
"Your identity, perhaps, is a great treasure, precious beyond your wildest imaginings, kept for you by the great Custodian of souls to be given to you at the Last Day when all things are made whole. Some such picture as the above would seem to be indicated in the biblical emphasis".
We do not as yet have our full identity because we are still works in progress. It is only as we commit to Yah'shua and experience His life growing in us that we discover who we really are until we finally come to the day when we inherit that white stone and finally understand the glory that He has prepared for us. But if we yearn after a fleshy and demonic identity, and seek for a nationality that is not of heaven, our inheritance will be a barren, lifeless rock with no glorious name written on it at all. The Egyptian inheritance - if that is what we choose - is one of slavery and of mud bricks. Blaise Pascal said:
"Not only do we only know Elohim through Yah'shua the Messiah, but we only know ourselves through Yah'shua the Messiah; we only know life and death through Yah'shua the Messiah. Apart from Yah'shua the Messiah we cannot know the meaning of our life or our death, of Elohim or of ourselves."
What is this 'union' with Yah'shua exactly? Is it some cosmic absorption such as the Hindus and Buddhists teach? No, because in that, the 'I' is completely swallowed up and disappears so that there is nothing of our personhood left, because their god supposedly transcends personality. This is not at all either Christian union with Yahweh or the Christian union of a wife with a husband. This union with our cosmic or human husband does not result in a disappearance of self - it results, as one Christian philosopher brilliant observed, in 'I, but not I' because in such a union there is the 'I AM' who is Yahweh-Elohim, the 'I' who is me, and there is the 'I, but not I' who is both Him and the new me. Paul expressed it in this way:
"I have been crucified with Messiah and I no longer live, but Messiah lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of Elohim, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal.2:20, NIV).
What he means is that the old 'independent I' , in rebellion against Yahweh-Elohim and out of fellowship with Him, no longer exists. That 'I' does not regard itself as a separate identity - it has effectively been annihilated because it was in union with Satan - in a perverse union. That old 'I' received its death sentence when it choose to be identified with Yah'shua's death on the Cross. But 'I' has not disappeared: indeed, the moment the 'old I' died with Him on the cross, the 'new I' was instantaneously born through identification with the risen Messiah. This, then, is the 'real I' but now with godlike qualities, not because I have become Elohim or a god (because I haven't) but because I have inherited these godlike qualities through union with Him. I can never become an independent god. That's the lie Satan taught which has infected every false religion (like occultism and Mormonism), and it's the lie Satan taught Eve in Eden. Any kind of 'independence' doctrine is satanic. It has to be. Our mystical echad union with Yah'shua, then, is in reality better described as 'communion' rather than 'union' because the 'I' doesn't so much disappear as get redefined. As a result, Paul is more concerned with ethics than he is with ecstasy, that is, a transformed life rather than an emotional experience, because it's the latter which all counterfeit religion emphasises. It's a loving relationship and friendship which leads to doing the will of the Father.
Ask yourself what people mean by 'love' and they will usually tell you it's the joyous emotional experience of meeting Yah'shua or other people. But that is only a half-truth, and a very dangerous one at that. To be sure there are beautiful emotional experiences in union with both Yah'shua and with our spouses but this is not - I repeat - NOT the central message of the Gospel. Miss this and you will end up compromising with New Age deception. Consider what Yah'shua said:
"If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15, NIV).
Let me explain this in plain English. The evidence of love is not in what you feel but in what you do relative to Torah. If we say we love Yah'shua but don't do what Scripture tells us to do, what does that tell us about our relationship to Yahweh? If Yahweh says we should honour the Sabbath, and we refuse to do so, and go and do our own thing, what does this tell us about our relationship to Him? It tells us that we do not love Him even if we have all these wonderful lovey-dovey feelings in our heart. Likewise, a wife who feels this deep love in her heart for her husband but refuses to obey him demonstrates that she does not love him because true communal love is defined by Yahweh in terms of our response to His will. A single man in love with a single woman who then kills another man who has captured her heart demonstrates that he does not love her because his 'love' is 'I' and not 'I, but not I'. Do you understand the difference? We may call it 'love' but it isn't the love that Yah'shua speaks of but is fallen, human love that emanates from the flesh. This 'I-love' is satanic - it's the 'love' that Satan has, and it's not actually love at all because it is wholly egocentric.
True love, whilst having an emotional component at times, consists in doing the will of Yahweh. There are times when I do not feel like doing something which He wants me to do, but when I do it, I know I have responded to love even if I do not always feel the emotions usually equated with love. That should be obvious if you think about it. People committing adultery can feel all the emotional surges and passion of 'love' that those living in the commandments feel but it is NOT love. In fact, it is the spirit of murder! It's raw, naked hate. That is why feelings are NOT the guideline in measuring love. Do you think Yah'shua felt ecstatic emotional 'love' while He was hanging on the Cross? No! He was in agony yet what He was doing was the most loving act in the whole of this universe. It lay above His emotions - it lay in doing the will of His Heavenly Father. And if there was a 'love-emotion' involved, then it was the ancticipation of the joy and freedom that we would be experiencing as we were set free from sin by trusting in the work of His Cross.
The confusion as to who we are - what our identity is - only ends when we are walking in Yahweh's will in full submission. Then when we do experience ecstatic, emotional passion (which, incidentally, is highly desirable), we can know that it is true love and not the counterfeit that destroys. In marriage, we demonstrate that true love by sticking together no matter what just as Yah'shua stayed with us for the full course between Gethsemane and Golgotha. Did He abandon us? No! Should we abandon our spouses when things go wrong? No! We can abandon Him, and our spouses can abandon us, but either way he remains true and we should too. If you're looking for love without pain, love without suffering, love without sacrifice, you'll end up with the satanic counterfeit - always. You'll end up with the egotistical New Age religion that murderously hates all that is Yah'shua and true Christianity, all that is Torah and Law, all that is submission and obedience:
"Although [Yah'shua] was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him" (Heb.5:8-9, NIV).
As I have said before, I don't honestly enjoy the 'ministry of suffering' but there is something greater than me - the latter part of the 'I, but not I' - the compels me to go on, because there is something greater than 'I' that desires with all my heart the greater good. Do you remember the definition of of the noble man I gave last week? "Purity of effort deirected at the greater good". It's bigger than us - the 'I, but not I'.
Now I don't always succeed. Sometimes bitterness and anger rise up in me from the 'I' that is not fully dead - from the 'I' that refuses to be 'I, but not I'. There my fight continues, there my battle to overcome must be pursued. There we must all fight - those who aspire to the "Assembly of the Firstborn" (Heb.12:23, HRV) - to the "gathering and congregation of the bachorim" (RSTNE) - who desire the first resurrection and life in the millennial earth. When I remember these things I am no longer confused. When I listen to other voices which have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof (2 Tim.3:5), then I get lost. Therefore my choice is to:
"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on Yahweh out of a pure heart" (2 Tim.2:22, NIV).
If this is your desire - if this is the identity you seek - then I invite you to join with me in this work - in the precious fellowship of this heavenly enterprise - until we have overcome and won the prize. Amen.
1. Our Identity in Christ
|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 28 July 2007
Last updated on 28 July 2007
Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved