makes some important comparisons between Western thought and lifestyle (which dominates church attitudes) and Hebraic or Biblical thought and lifestyle which lie at the very heart of what we as Messianic Israelites stand for and try to live (see table below). As William Barret in his book, Irrational Man, points out: "Hebraism and Hellenism - between these two points of influence moves our world" and what usually happens is that Western culture finds a compromise between them, sometimes shifting in one direction and sometimes in another. We are currently very much into Hellenistic mode in the 21st century which is why the Messianic Community must break out to not only survive but to live. This is a choice between the Hebrew and the Greek way and until the soul has made its mind up, it will be interminably divided against itself.
|Life analysed in precise categories.
||Everything blurs into everything else.|
|A split between natural & supernatural
||Supernatural affects everything.|
||Contextual or "block" logic|
||Importance of being part of group|
|Equality of persons
||Value comes from place in hierarchies|
|Competition is good
||Competition is evil (co-operation better)|
|Worth of person based on money/material possessions/power
||Worth derived from family relationships|
|Biological life sacred
||Social life supremely important|
|Chance + cause & effect limit what can happen
||Yahweh causes everything in his universe|
|Man rules nature through understanding and applying laws of science
||Yahweh rules everything, so relationship with Him determines how things turn out.|
|Power over others achieved through business, politics and human organisations.
||Power over others is structured by social patterns ordained by Yahweh.|
|All that exists is the material
||The universe is filled with powerful spirit beings|
|Linear time divided into neat segments. Each event is new.
||Cyclical or spiralling time. Similar events constantly reoccur.|
|History is recording facts objectively and chronologically.
||History is an attempt to preserve significant truths in meaningful or memorable ways whether or not details are objective facts.|
|Oriented to the near future
||Oriented to lessons of history|
|Change is good = progress
||Change is bad = destruction of traditions|
|Universe evolved by chance
||Universe created by Yahweh|
|Universe dominated and controlled by science and technology
||Yahweh gave man stewardship over his earthly creation. Accountability to Yahweh.|
|Material goods = measure of personal achievement
||Material goods = measure of Yahweh's blessing|
|Time as points on straight line ("at this point in time
||Time determined by content ("In the day that Yahweh did
If we are to live the Acts 2 way - and we must if we claim to be Bible-believing Christians moving with, and in, the Ruach - then we have to make a fundamental choice between Hellenic or Greek culture and the Hebrew way of life. I and my family have made an irrevocable commitment to the Hebrew way because I know from personal experiences that most of the woes that Western Christendom has spawned have arisen from this 'Hellenic compromise'.
For us, then, there can be no turning back - many times I have been tempted to compromise to 'reach more people' or to have 'better fellowship' with other bodies of believers but each time I have entertained such thoughts, or allowed myself to be influenced by them from others, has always been disastrous. WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A CULTURAL WAR. The world had been side-tracked into another 'war' - the 'West vs. Islam' but this is a red herring - it's a good cop/bad cop choice and it's being played masterfully by the demonic powers who have control over the political and economic establishments. What a shock both Westerners and Muslims are going to have when they discover that they have been shamefully manipulated and controlled to serve the agenda of an élite minority which cares nothing for either of them.
Are you prepared to adjust your cultural expectations and goals to make them confirm to the model given in Acts 2:42-47? I ask this not as part of some theological exercise - even though you will have to re-examine your theology to harmonise it with the Word - but because there can be no genuine outpouring and containment of the Ruach unless the Hebraic vessel is in place. We have seen some wonderful revivals in the past but there was no Hebraic vessel to contain the Ruach thus poured out - thus the wonderful revivals in England, Wales, Scotland, the United States and elsewhere all fizzled out in the end. We must learn from them for they were genuine outpourings but this time we must have Messianic Israel in place to receive what Yahweh desires to send. We cannot, for the most part, look to the examples of the 20th century and its pretended 'revivals' because ever since the 1917 Azuza Street 'revival' in which Pentecostalism so-called was born we have seen nothing but one deception after another and ever increasing LAWLESSNESS. If Catholicism had a 'dark age' then the 20th century was certainly Protestantism's 'dark age' too. We have to wash our hands of its baneful influences and let Yahweh build afresh on all truth.
I would like you to please read Peter's sermon in Acts 3 this week sometime. I don't have time to go into all of it today as I am running out of time. I do, however, want to look at one facet of it to end with today and in do doing dismantle some more of the "lies upon thousands of years of lies" that Pastor Rich Faltisco was told by Yah'shua that Satan has created down here on earth. My text for this little exposé is Acts 3:23 if you would like to follow with me - I am reading from the Amplified Version here:
"Thus Moses said to his forefathers, Yahweh-Elohim will raise up for you a Prophet from among your brethren (Israelites) as [He raised up] me; Him shall you listen to and understand by hearing, and heed in all things whatever He tells you. And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to and understand by hearing and heed that Prophet shall be utterly exterminated from the people [of Israel]" (Ac.3:23, AmpV; cp. Dt.18:15-19; Lev.23:29).
I was a bit surprised when I read the Amplified Version's choice of wording for the Greek exolothreuo which the NIV translates 'utterly cut off'. It reminded me of those power-crazed Daleks in the Dr.Who science fiction series who went around exterminating everyone they didn't like. However, the Amplified Version is perfectly correct - this word does literally mean 'extirpate', 'exterminate' or 'destroy'. And if you read the Torah portions which Peter is quoting, you will see that the sense is truly 'death'.
Moses was, of course, addressing Israelites and saying that those Israelites who refuse to listen to the Messiah and heed what He says, will be cut off, extirpated, destroyed or exterminated. What this means practically-speaking in our day and age is that any descendant of Jacob who refuses to accept Yah'shua as Master, Deliverer and King of Israel ceases to be an Israelite as Jacob was even if he is in blood lineage with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob because the essence of what it is to be an Israelite is to do what father Jacob did in order to inherit his new name, Israel - he had to overcome his fleshy disposition as 'Jacob the deceiver' and become 'Israel the prince who rules with Elohim'.
Peter is reminding us that what makes a Messianic Israelite is faith in, adherence to, and obedience to the Messiah of Israel. The old Israel is gone. Moreover, there aren't 'two' Israels - one for unbelieving Jews and one for believing Israelites and Gentiles. That is a false and pernicious doctrine. Peter himself says so. All Scriptures says so. Those who reject this Prophet-Messiah are not Israelites, Ephraimites, Judahites or anyone else claiming blood lineage from Jacob. We'll be coming back to Peter's discourse in a moment to finish today's address but before we do that it is important that we understand what a 'gentile' is biblically and erase from our minds what the Talmudists have been telling us for the last two and half thousand years.
It has been my belief now for a considerable period of time that all true believers who are born again of the Ruach haQodesh, whether 'Judahite' or 'Gentile' are, in fact, Israelites by descent biologically. I also believe that Yahweh has purposefully disguised or hidden them in every nation and race so that we will not fall into the carnal trap of judging people by their external features or skin colour. I therefore believe that those true believers whom the Talmudists have labelled as 'Gentiles' are, in fact, Israelites, and mostly of the 'Lost' 10 Tribes. Most of us who have been thus labelled have come to the Messiah through the paganised 'churches' because that's all there has been. Those who have Israelite blood in them, from whatever nation or race they may come from, have one thing in common: they feel irresistibly pulled back to the Hebraic origins of the true faith. Unfortunately, Satan has not been slow to respond to this and has infiltrated Messianic Judaism and Israelitism with many false teachings and practices, in order to sow confusion and send these awakening Israelites scurrying back to the false 'security' of the paganised Christian churches. This is something to be deeply regretted and is one of the reasons this ministry has been called into being.
Just as the exodus from Egypt consisted of a "mixed multitude" of both true Israelites, Egyptians and other races, so in the end-time - our time - shall a "mixed multitude" come. It is written:
"O Yahweh, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, The Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, 'Surely our fathers have inherited lies, worthlessness and unprofitable things' ...Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know My hand and My might; And they shall know that My name is Yahweh" (Jer.16:19-20, NKJV).
These Gentiles, realising how they have been deceived by the false religions and philosophies of men, therefore seek the only place where all truth is to be found - Messianic Israel. We also read:
"Yahweh-Elohim declares -- he who gathers the exiles of Israel: 'I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered'" (Isa.56:8, NIV).
This latter-day gathering is not like the mass assembly and exodus in the time of the Moses. It is to be accomplished in a very different way - in the way we are doing it today. Jeremiah testifies of the method:
"'Return, faithless people,' declares Yahweh, 'for I am your husband. I will choose you -- one from a town and two from a clan -- and bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding" (Jer.3:14-16, NIV).
Please note this method of gathering well: "one from a town and two from a clan". Notice also that they will voluntarily subject themselves to shepherding. This tells how the gathering is to be done geographically and in terms of families and by whom - Yahweh's shepherds. And remember, we're talking here of the children of the First Resurrection, the Assembly of the Firstborn, the 144,000, those who believe Yah'shua and obey all His commandments, those who receive the Sukkot anointing - we're not talking about the "great multitude" who adhere to the Shavu'ot anointing but who refuse the Sukkot anointing. As far as the firstborn are concerned, there will be one from a town and two from a clan - and a clan, as you know is a group of families with a common surname or ancestor. And whilst whole families may come to Yah'shua and receive the Shavu'ot or Pentecost anointing, only odd ones here and there will come up to the Sukkot or Tabernacles anointing about which I have spoken to you a number of times. But there's something even more interesting about this gathering which totally blows out of the water the myth that the Republic of Israel has anything to do with the gathering or the restoration of Israel of which I am speaking. Jeremiah tells us:
"In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers" (Jer.3:18, KJV).
Are you hearing this? Judahites and Israelites (Ephraimites) WILL COME TOGETHER. And where are they coming from? Out of the land of the NORTH. That this occurs at the beginning of the Millennium is confirmed by the verse before which reads:
"At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Yahweh; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of Yahweh, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart" (Jer.3:17, KJV).
Any gathering taking place in the Promised Land today is therefore not a part of the events depicted in this revelation. As I have stated before, I have no doubt that Yahweh is moving true Judahites into the Republic of Israel for a purpose but whatever that purpose is, it has nothing to do with the events described in Jeremiah. The whole earth has to be plunged into war before Judah and Israel-Ephraim return, and that includes the Promised Land currently being fought over by Edomite Israelis and Philistine Palestinians. Let us therefore adhere to the plain Scriptural meaning of these events. We further read of this return:
"[Yahweh] will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Ephraim's jealousy will vanish, and Judah's enemies will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim. They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will lay hands on Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them. Yahweh will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind He will sweep His hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals. There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt" (Isa.11:12-16, NIV).
Do you want to know what the signs of Israel's and Judah's return will be? There you have them concisely stated in this passage of Scripture. The Red Sea will be dried up, a scorching wind will sweep over the Euphrates and divide it up into seven streams so that people can across in sandals. Has that happened yet? No. When it does, you will know that the final gathering to the Promised Land is under way and that both Judah - true Judah, that is - and the Ten Tribes - will be coming together and reconciled.
In the New Testament Yah'shua spoke to the House of Judah but he also said there would be another gathering together:
"I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep (Ephraim) I have which are not of this fold (Judah); them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd" (John 10:15-16, NKJV).
We commonly in Christian circles speak of these "other sheep" as the "Gentiles". But what did Yah'shua mean by "other sheep"? Did He mean non-Israelites? Are these the "Gentiles" to whom Paul was sent? Well, let's see what Yah'shua Himself said to His apostles:
"These twelve [apostles] Yah'shua sent out and commanded them, saying: 'Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give" (Matt.10:5-8, NKJV).
At this stage of the ministry, they were to stick within the boundaries of Israelite territory. Later they would enter Samaria and, after Yah'shua's resurrection, beyond the borders of the Promised Land to the rest of Asia and Europe under the flag of Paul. When a Canaanite woman asked for a blessing from the Master, He replied:
"I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt.15:24, NKJV).
The parable of the Prodigal Son is understood by many to represent Judah (the elder brother) and Israel (the prodigal son), who wanders wastefully through the nations but returns home in repentance at the end (Lk.15:11-32). The famous Parable of the Sower (Mk.3:4-20) may bear a similar interpretation: the "seed" of Yah'shua's message has spread throughout the entire world through church denominations with varying results, but the "good ground" upon which it falls and ultimately produces abundant fruit represents the Lost Tribes. They finally awaken to their true identity through a paganised, antinomian version of that very message. In other words, from a strictly historical point-of-view, the mission of Yah'shua to "the lost sheep of the House of Israel" is being paradoxically fulfilled through the watered-down version of Messianic Torah Faith which the antinomians (Evangelical Christians) spread around the world. The Bible itself which Protestant Christians have translated, suffered, and died for has functioned as the catalyst for awakening the Lost Tribes and bringing them both to Messiah and, in these times, to Torah.
It is clear that the complete Restoration of Israel can only be accomplished by the second coming of Yah'shua. We've seen that in the prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah - you should also study chapters 34 to 37 in Ezekiel. The work that we have been called to do is preparatory to that Day of Visitation (OB 263:11-12). In the meantime, Yahweh works though those to whom His face has not been hidden, to whom have been given Yah'shua, the Sukkot anointing, the Torah, the Covenant and the Promises. They are 'different' inasmuch as they are separate and yet, for now, in the world ministering to the world:
"I see a people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations" (Num.23:9, NIV)
How do you view yourself? Are you willing to "dwell alone" and to "not reckon [yourself] among the nations"? Or are you so steeped in the world that you don't want to be separated, set-apart or made holy from it? To know (yada) Yahweh you must become like a wife to her husband - separated and dedicated totally to Him and to no other man or Elohim. Christians naïvely suppose that upon professing faith that they automatically become the 'Bride of Christ'. But that is not true. A Bride must be prepared and separated so that she belongs wholly to her husband. The Bride of Messiah is not the unconsecrated and unseparated believers. If a bride attaches herself to the world she becomes a harlot but when she is separate, she is chaste, beloved and known:
"You (Israel) only have I chosen of all the families of the earth" (Amos 3:2, NIV).
I suspect the lax view that modern believers have in the relationship to Yah'shua is directly related to the West's lax views about chastity and morality in general. Lawless Christianity teaches that Yahweh in Yah'shua has somehow 'relaxed His standards'. It's a lie. Would you wish to relax your marriage standards two-thirds of the way through your relationship? Would you like your spouse to start flirting with members of the opposite sex (or these days, of the same sex too)? Would you be happy with that? Would you consider that indicative of a 'higher' form of marriage? Not if you believe in the Bible, you won't, and not if you believe that Yahweh is the same today, yesterday and forever. That is why we can read the Old Testament and know that Yahweh's standards have not been diminished - if anything, they have become higher. Like it or not, we are still called to be separate, and in our separateness we become the sanctified Bride, beloved and cherished as Israel was when she was true:
"[Yahweh] has revealed His word to Jacob, His laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation; they do not know His laws" (Ps.147:19-20, NIV).
Here is your cue to get to know Yahweh's laws just as a wife is expected to get to know the rule of her husband so that she, and you, and I can become a treasured possession:
"For Yahweh has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be his treasured possession" (Ps.135:4, NIV).
Though Yahweh frequently addresses the nation or community of Israel as a whole, He also speaks to a minority within Israel, a remnant, who know and follow Yahweh despite the failures of the nation as a whole. The idea of a "faithful remnant" in fact goes back to the very creation of Israel itself as a nation. Before Abraham we are told the names of some of the men who "walked with Elohim": Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem, Job and so on - while the rest of humankind departed into idolatry. This was also the case during the history of Israel in the Promised Land, including during the time of the Judahite exile in Babylon.
Yahweh has hidden His face from mankind for the most part, and even from His chosen nation Israel - pre-Messianic and Messianic - but He has always had His faithful ones, usually a scattered and unacknowledged minority, but FULLY KNOWN TO HIM. These are those who keep the true Faith and walk in the ancient paths. They truly know, fear and love Yahweh and walk in all His ways. In Elijah's time, when the entire nation of northern Israel had departed completely from the Torah during the reign of the wicked king Ahab, Elijah was told that there were "7,000" who had not "bowed the knee to Baal" (1 Ki.19:9-18). At the lowliest time in Judah's history, when the prophets are told not even to pray for the people, nonetheless Ezekiel is told to go through the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on those who "sigh and cry over all the abominations" done in the land (Ezek.9:4). Here, then, is a sign of the elect that has been true - rather than being attracted to the world - rather than wanting to make a mark in the world or find recognition in the world they "sigh and cry" over what they see. If your heart is immersed in the Ruach haQodesh you will mourn for the world and desire to lead out the remnant from it, even as it is written. If this desire has departed from you, then it means your heart has been made captive by the world and its prince. And if that is the case, repent!
Did you know that dozens of the psalms of David are addressed directly to these zadiqim or "righteous ones" of Israel? These men and women are characterised by a deep fear of Yahweh, a reverence for His awesome Name, and they have the Torah in their hearts and are always spoken of as suffering opposition, enduring trial and tribulation, while they wait on Yahweh. These are those who cry out for the Kingdom of Elohim, who want Yah'shua to come back soon, who sigh over the wickedness of society. These are they who "groan" in the Ruach (Rom.8:22-23,26; 2 Cor.5:2,4). This elect group are mentioned throughout the Torah in a number of key texts:
"Bind up the testimony and seal up the law (Torah) among My disciples. I will wait for Yahweh, who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in Him" (Isa.8:16-17, NIV).
"Hear Me, you who know what is right (zedeq), you people who have My Torah (law) in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool. But My righteousness will last forever, My salvation through all generations" (Is.51:7-8, NIV).
"Hear the word of Yahweh, you who tremble at His word: Your brothers who hate you, and exclude you because of My Name ... they will be put to shame" (Is.66:5, NIV).
"Then those who feared Yahweh talked with each other, and Yahweh listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared Yahweh and honoured His Name. 'They will be Mine,' says Yahweh-Elohim, 'in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him" (Mal.3:16-17, NIV).
"Seek Yahweh, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of Yahweh's anger" (Zeph.2:3, NIV).
Each of these texts relates to the last days. This remnant group of true followers of Yahweh make up the segulah, the 'treasured chosen ones', while Israel and Judah as a whole have rejected Yahweh and His Way. Although they are primarily Israelites the prophets make it clear that the way is open for Gentiles to join with them in their prophetic mission in the last days. The Scriptures emphasise that such Gentiles or "strangers" will come and join themselves to Yahweh, observing the Covenant particularly in the latter days:
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to Me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to Me; hear Me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David ... Seek Yahweh while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to Yahweh, and He will have mercy on him, and to our Elohim, for He will freely pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways', declares Yahweh" (Isa.55:1-3,6-8, NIV).
So what does it mean to hold fast to the "Covenant"? The "words of the Covenant" or the Testimony, are the Ten Commandments (Dt.4:13; 9:9-10). Please notice that the SABBATH is singled out in this crucial passage because it is the "sign" or mark of those who have taken on the Covenant:
"The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between Me and the Israelites forever, for in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He abstained from work and rested" (Ex.31:16-17, NIV).
This was, and is, a creation ordinance, even predating the Covenant of Moses. It was observed by Abraham, and had all nations within its scope. Sabbath-observance is a sign of Yahweh's people in all generations. Do you believe in Yah'shua? Do you believe in the Bible? Do you love Yahweh? Are you observing the Sabbath? If you're not, then you are demonstrating that you do not love Him and are going your own way, taking your own counsel, and following your own fleshy heart. You're making a declaration, in your failure to be obedient, that you are not a disciple because you won't discipline yourself any longer. You're declaring independence from the Most High and saying: 'I'll stand on my own in my own counsel.' Does that show reverential awe for Yahweh? Is that how you worship Him? My friend, if you have departed from His Torah, knowing what the truth is (no longer being ignorant of it) then I guarantee that the Ruach haQodesh has departed also, and that it won't be long - if it hasn't happened already - that you will disobey one commandment after the other until you are in full apostasy. Remember what the Council of Jerusalem told the Gentiles? Observing kosher, keeping sexually pure, and observing Sabbath are MINIMUM requirements for NEW BELIEVERS! If you're not a new believer - if you have been a believer for some time - then I guarantee you are in serious trouble and I'll wager you are breaking dozens of commandments and are in serious drift from Him.
Now, look, I am not trying to be 'mean' here. I am not trying to rub salt into wounds. Some of you may think you have good reasons for turning away from Him. Maybe you feel He has let you down. Maybe you are hurting. If you are hurting, the solution is never to get farther away from Yahweh but to draw even closer. Why is it that people get it into their heads that drawing away from Yahweh will make things easier? It's one of the commonest mistakes people make. They get infected by the 'freedom bug' that infected Western civilisation in the 1960s through the hippie movement and destroyed it in one generation. Lawlessness never produced happiness. The 'freedom bug', moreover, is intoxicating, and you can be a carrier of it for years while it slowly eats you away without your noticing before it's too late, like the frog being slowly boiled alive. I have seen many people ruined by it. True freedom is in Yahweh.
Yahweh spreads His true freedom in all sorts of interesting ways. Who would have dreamed that Yahweh would bless all nations through Abraham by scattering the 10 Tribes into all the nations and letting them interbreed with the Gentiles? I know there are many who think this doctrine is fallacious but let me show you why it is true. Let's read Yahweh's promise to Abraham:
"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Gen.12:2-3, NIV).
These are stupendous promises. For one thing, the promise is to "all peoples", that is, "all nations". But what do you suppose being "blessed" entails? A knowledge of the Scriptures? Of Yahweh? The Hebrew word here for 'blessed' is nivreku and it can be translated as "be blessed" or "bless themselves". But the grammatical form of this verb is very rare - it's called a Niphal Perfect. When used in this form, the word can also mean to "BE GRAFTED IN". In other words, "all nations on earth will be grafted in". But "grafted in" to what or who?
To understand what this means we need to go to Paul in the 11th chapter of Romans to understand how Gentiles become Israelites. If you're a Messianic, you'll know this chapter well. If you're not, I strongly recommend it because it upsets a lot of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant sacred cows concerning the fictitious entity called the 'Church'.
In this chapter Paul explains that Yah'shua did not replace the nation Israel with a new entity called the 'Church'. He explains that the nation of Israel, established by Yahweh through Jacob, continues to exist to this day. It is not, moreover, the non-Christian Jews so that you have two divinely blessed entities - 'Israel' and 'the Church'. This is doctrinal schizophrenia.
Paul explains that when the Judahites of Yah'shua's day rejected Him as the King of Israel, they, as branches of the 'tree' called 'Israel' were broken off so that they ceased being members of the Commonwealth of Israel. In other words, they ceased being Israelites, whether Judahite (Jew) or Ephraimite. Let me repeat this: those who rejected Yah'shua who are descendants of Jacob were cut off from the House of Israel. They're still House of Jacob biologically and by descant but they are no longer House of Israel nor recipients of the blessings promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The only true Israel in Yah'shua's day were Israelites (Judahites and Ephraimites) who accepted Him as Messiah, rejected the Talmud, and continued observing the Torah. To these true Israelites - Messianic Israelites - were added believing Gentiles who, through their faith, became adopted sons and daughters of Israel through grafting into the Tree of Israel. Lest these newly adopted Israelites of Gentile origin get cocky and arrogant, Paul gives a warning:
"If some of the branches have been broken off (unbelieving Judahites), and you, though a wild olive shoot (Gentiles, non-Israelites by lineage), have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, 'Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.' Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief [of the Judahites], and you stand by faith [in Yah'shua]. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if Elohim did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either" (Rom.11:17-21, NIV).
In other words, don't get arrogant and think you can become 'liberal' as far as Torah is concerned. Your ingrafting is an honour because it means, through abiding the New Covenant of Israel, through your faithful obedience to Torah, you receive the blessings of an obedient Israelite, and these blessings are many.
So how did all the nations or peoples of the world come to be blessed by being grafted into Abraham? Paul explains to the Galatians:
"Understand, then, that those who believe [Yah'shua] are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that Elohim would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: 'All nations will be blessed through you.' So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith" (Gal.3:7-9, NIV).
The Judahites - and especially the religious leaders - were boasting that they were the children of Abraham because of biological descent but here Paul is saying that a child of Abraham is one who has faith in Yahweh as Abraham did and who had the Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah announced in advance. We become the children of Israel and of Abraham by faith - not passive faith, but active, adhering and obedient faith in the faith.
"Consider Abraham: 'He believed Elohim, and it was credited to him as righteousness'" (Gal.3:6, NIV).
What about Sarah? Is there a relationship between believing women with Sarah as between believing men and Abraham? Yes! And you know the scripture well but perhaps need to be reminded of it again:
"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewellery and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in Elohim's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in Elohim used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear" (1 Peter 3:1-6, NIV).
The sons of Abraham and daughters of Sarah are us - if we do what is right and imitate the faith of these our father and mother, not yielding to fear. If we don't belong to them, then we belong to someone else. And they belong to Yahweh.
Today we believe in Yah'shua - actively follow, responding in loving obedience - and that faith is credited to us as righteousness too, just as it was to Abraham. Once that faith responds in Torah-obedience, we are grafted into the Nation of Israel - Messianic Israel. We're citizens both in heaven and (in the Millennium) of a nation with borders and a theocratic government.
This Covenant between Yahweh and His nation is repeatedly renewed. The covenant is a dynamic one because it involves a relationship, just as a marriage covenant does. Even the Covenant given at Sinai at Shavu'ot (Pentecost) was not a static one - it was an ongoing relationship. Moses made an initial covenant in the year of Exodus but it is renewed 40 years later (Ex.24:7-8; Dt.29:1). Then there is a further covenant made at the end of Joshua's rulership (Josh.24:14-25). That same covenant is renewed under Joshua and Nehemiah (2 Ki.23:1-3; Neh.9:38). All these covenants are essentially one because they all refer to the same consecrated partnership between Yahweh and His people.
What does that partnership or relationship consist of? Christians often talk blithely about the 'relationship' they have with Yahweh without understanding what the Scriptures mean by it. That partnership or relationship begins with trust but also involves:
1. Commitment to His Torah; and
2. Dedication to the Kingdom of Elohim.
The heart and core of that relationship is:
"I will be their Elohim (Mighty One, Ruler, Master), and they will be My people" (Jer.31:33, NIV).
This key phrase is repeated many times in Scripture (Lev.26:12; Jer.7:23; 11:4; 24:7; 30:22; 32:28; Ezek.11:20; 14:11; 34:30; 36:28; 37:23,27; Zech.8:8). And as you know so well, this intimate relationship between Yahweh and Israel is repeatedly compared to a marriage relationship (Jer.31:31-33). It is not primarily a legal, constitutional, or dispensational idea because essentially there is only one covenant, and Abraham participates in this same covenantal relationship 400 years before Sinai, and Sarah through Abraham. Notice the language of Genesis:
"I am El Shaddai; walk before Me and be blameless. I will confirm (establish) My covenant between Me and you" (Gen.17:1-2, NIV).
And when a soul lays hold of the covenant - enters into the relationship in obedience to all its statutes - that soul becomes a "friend of Elohim" (Jas.2:23; cp. 4:4), he is said to be "walking with Elohim" (Gen.5:22,24; 6:9) because he is intimately participating in the Divine Plan of modelling justice and righteousness (right-ruling) to the world. This is the true and original notion of the 'Abrahamic Faith'.
Therefore, this idea that racists and exclusivists have is inconsistent with the biblical revelation that the Covenant is not restricted to the national promises of Israel which Yahweh will fulfil regardless "for His own Name's sake" (1 Sam.12.22; Is.48:9). Entering the covenant of Israel can therefore be a wholly individual choice and is a wholly individual choice in the New Covenant of Messianic Israel. Anyone who turns to Yahweh, adheres to Yah'shua and His saving blood, takes up the Covenant, observes the Sabbath and becomes a part of the people of Elohim by supernatural ingrafting (as symbolised by water baptism) becomes an Israelite and a son or daughter of Abraham and Sarah:
"No one whose hope is in you (Yahweh) will ever be put to shame ... All the ways of Yahweh are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of His covenant .... Yahweh confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them" (Ps.25:3,10,14, NIV).
This is a matter of the deepest and most intimate level of spiritual conversion. This way is open to everyone - to Judahites, to the scattered ten tribes of Israel, and to non-Israelite Gentiles provided they are willing to repent of their sins and turn to Yahweh by faith in His Son, Yah'shua:
"Yahweh is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth" (Ps.145:18, NIV).
The word "truth" here - emet - also means 'trustworthiness' and contains within it the sense of 'stability', certainty, faithful and steadfastness. When we speak of biblical TRUTH we mean all these things. If you claim to love the truth, and are embracing it, then these are the attributes of character that you will be manifesting through the supernatural activity of the Ruach haQodesh in your soul. Yahweh has said that He is no respecter of persons (Ac.10:34) - meaning He shows no partiality, no favouritism of any kind, because He looks to the heart rather than on external appearances (1 Sam.16:7). His love is extended to every human being who fears Him. David had this deep, personal, intimate relationship with Yahweh as we see in the yearnings of his heart in Psalm 51:
"Create in me a pure (clean) heart, O Elohim, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Ps.51:10, NIV).
This Psalm is probably, more than any Scripture text, a model for individual spirituality in the Bible:
"The sacrifices of Elohim are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O Elohim, you will not despise" (Ps.51:17, NIV).
David understands, along with all who love Yahweh, that getting into right relationship with Yahweh involves:
2. Having the Torah implanted deep within; and
3. Receiving the Ruach haQodesh.
Sadly most Christians try to skip #2 because they either do not see, or do not want to know, the relationship between the inner heart and the outer world in which we live and share with others. Consequential religion is resisted by those who wish to remain unseen and therefore unaccountable. That religion which separates inner from outer is what is known as existentialism and it is a blight on truth faith. The Hebrews made no such distinction, as we saw earlier.
Now such a personal conversion does not require joining any religious organisation or denomination. It cuts across all such cultic labels which are usually more sociological than generally religious. It does not, moreover, require formal conversion to one of the schools of Messianic Judaism or Christianity. Rather, it involves a relationship directly with Yahweh through Yah'shua which is accomplished by the new birth of which I spoke last week and before. It involves the baptism of the Ruach haQodesh which leads to speaking in the tongues of genuine praise. But once this has been accomplished - if this is a genuine anointing of the Ruach - it will lead to an insatiable desire for community life because Yahweh neither made us to be alone without marriage spouses nor did He make families to be alone either. A vertical relationship with Yahweh begins one-to-one but it cannot ever remain there - it absolutely demands a horizontal one with others who are in similar vertical relationship with Yahweh because we are all together a collective or uniplural Bride whom Yahweh views as one or echad. How does this work in practice?
To become a citizen in Messianic Israel means to become a citizen of a nation. That nation consists of twelve tribes, each tribe consists of clans, and each clan consists of families of which the husband is head. The family is, if you like, the ground level 'Church of God' or Assembly of Yahweh with the husband its priest or pastor. The Torah regulates the association of this society, explains what we are to do as a community in our worship each Sabbath and on the Festivals, how we are to behave towards each other, what is and what is not permitted in the types of relationships between people, and so on. In short, the nation is to live a lifestyle. This lifestyle does not exist simply to create a general uniformity in behaviour, dress, eating habits, worship patterns, and so on. The lifestyle, by virtue of the patterning of Torah, in love through faith, causes a passionate love for Yahweh, a reverence of the Holy Scriptures, and imparts an enthusiasm for sharing the Good News of Yah'shua crucified and resurrected with the unsaved. In doing all these things, deeply rich communities are formed which serve the plan of Yahweh in preparation for the Millennial Kingdom to come because there is a passion for that Kingdom - a Kingdom not only of the heart but an external social one too. Those who "fear Yahweh", moreover, have a deep solidarity with one another. The bond that comes from knowing the true Elohim through His Son Yah'shua, living the Torah, and longing for the Kingdom (Mt.6:10; Lk.11:2) - a Kingdom not of this world system (Mt.18:36; cp. 8:23) - runs deep and tends to obliterate the boundaries of 'religious affiliation' or national, ethnic or social background. As they "speak to one another", there is a strength of fellowship that comes only through the Ruach haQodesh:
"Then those who feared Yahweh talked with each other, and Yahweh listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared Yahweh and honoured His Name (Yahweh). 'They will be Mine,' says Yahweh-Elohim, 'in the day when I make up My treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve Elohim and those who do not" (Mal.3:16-18, NIV).
"You will again see the distinction..." The liberals says there is no distinction - so long as we profess Christ and are kind to one another, we are all God's children. But Yahweh disagrees. He goes to a great deal of trouble to tell us the difference between righteous believers and wicked believers - remember, Malachi is addressing Yahweh's people. So how can we tell the difference? By seeing what these professors of faith DO - their lifestyle tells us whether they are righteous or wicked because all we have to do it compare it with the requirements for national living in the Torah. Are they living the Gospel visibly? What does their lifestyle demonstrate? Does it indicate a love for the Kingdom of Yahweh or a love for the world? How do we even know what the Kingdom consists of, especially without the Old Testament?
Which leads me to bring up an important matter regarding the relationship between the Old and New Testaments and the different emphases Christians put on these two parts. Why is there such confusion? Such disagreement?
Last Yom haRishon (Sunday) Yahweh woke me up and told me something interesting. I started my morning Scripture Study a little before 6 a.m. as I usually do and was reading through the Gospel of John. There is a great deal of sod or mystical material in John's writing that contain a mine of revelation on many different levels of life and living. As I was reading some of the discourses on heavenly symbolic marriage, Yahweh impressed clearly upon my mind the understanding that the Old Testament was the Bridegroom and the New Testament was the Bride of the Bible. The Old Testament is incomplete without the New and like a wife she completes her husband, 'filling him up' much as Yah'shua fills up or completes the Torah. Later that day He showed me that the New Testament was, in fact, two 'books' - the fourfold Gospels representing the Son, and the rest of the New Testament the Ruach haQodesh. Yah'shua came to complete Torah and fulfil parts of it - the Ruach haQodesh came to fill that completed vessel up. The altar of the old tabernacle is still there but there are no more sacrifices on it because Yah'shua was the last sacrifice. That altar is now a feast table:
"We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat" (Heb.13:10, NIV).
The Jews will attempt to set up the tabernacle - a new temple in Jerusalem - again but their sacrifices will be in vain. And just as those who ministered in the Temple of Herod had no right to eat after Yah'shua's death and resurrection, so those who do the same in a latter-day temple to be constructed in modern Jerusalem will not partake of the heavenly meal that belongs to those of us who believe in the Resurrected One. The Old Testament needs the New Testament just as every man needs a wife, and every wife a husband, to be complete. We must not only believe in Yahweh the Father, and Yah'shua the Son, but we must also be baptised in the Ruach haQodesh to be complete. That is why Yah'shua told us to baptise in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Ruach haQodesh AND teaching them to obey everything Yah'shua commanded the first disciples (Mt.28:19-20). Don't you want the fullness? Don't you want to be complete? I do!
"From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another" (John 1:16, NIV).
Do you want "everything" that Yah'shua offers? They you've got to obey everything Yah'shua commands. Do you want "everything" that a marriage offers? Then you have got to obey everything that a godly husband commands in righteousness. It's no use balking at some things and then expecting the fullness.
Next week I want to share some insights on the self-life, how to recognise the symptoms and how to lose that self-life. We will, I hope, come to see and understand how an Abram becomes and Abraham, a Sarai becomes a Sarah, and how a Jacob becomes and Israel. Yahweh may have called you and I as Abram's, Sarai's and Jacob's but He does not mean that we remain so. Yahweh is love (1 Jn.4:8). Since love has an object, we must understand what that object and that objective are - it's us, of course, but not just as we are but as He wants us to be. Until next week, Yahweh bless you all. Amen.
Michael Wells, Sidetracked in the Wilderness: Find the Way Back to a Victorious, Abundant Life (Devotional Life Press, Littleton, CO, 1991), pp.82-83
Brian Knowles, The Hebrew Mind vs. The Western Mind