Sermons Series 3:107, 18 August 2007
Defeat in Messiah
The Biggest Lie of All
Never in my whole life have I had to struggle so much to know the will of Yahweh in bringing to you a Sabbath message. This is my third attempt at delivering His word to you today. When I chose a theme on the first occasion, I literally felt totally dead inside and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was out of His will. On the second occasion I found a theme and felt this 'rush' inside but it turned out to simply be something that I personally wanted to talk about, yet even as I was preparing my second version, I knew what Yahweh wanted me to talk about, but I was so occupied in my pet theme that I just could not obtain the presence of the Ruach to write it.
Today's 'version' came a week ago in the place of my greatest inspiration, the shower. But there was no ethereal experience or sublime revelation. In fact, when I entered the shower I found the floor flooded with dead flying ants floating in old greasy shampoo bubbles that had been regurgitated by the drain! Attempts at a 'quick solution' - blasting the overflow pipe with a jet of hot water - was a total failure and just brought up more dead ants from the smelly depths. I realised I would have to get on my knees, endure the stink and get my hands dirty in the bacteria-infested filth I was sure lay beneath. When I prized open the lid covering the overflow drain and pulled out the filter I found two fistfuls of stinking, rotting human hair which had blocked the pipe which was very hard to dislodge because it had so badly decomposed and had all glued together. Revolting isn't it? Well, brethren, that's what happens when we believe in lies and let them multiply within our soul. Sin is revolting and if Yah'shua could enjoy the filth of billions of human beings on the cross then I am sure you can bear a couple of minutes of graphic detail from my sewage pipe!
The last couple of months have seen me find personal liberation in many things as I have struggled under very painful circumstances and in a state of helplessness because in my own flesh I have been unable to accomplish anything I wanted to. In twenty years of ministry I have watched as many Christians and Messianics have struggled with a whole host of issues and apparently made little, if any, progress. As I watched the bathroom floor flooding while I desperately tried to wash away the mess with clean water, it reminded me of our attempts to free ourselves of spiritual issues through 'religious' activity - through liberal outpourings of prayer, Scripture study, worship, service and the like. But no matter how much water we pour out, the problem remains, because our spiritual drains are blocked with our own refusal to be obedient or inability to untangle inner hurts because of spiritual blindness. And we remember Yah'shua's warning not to be merely verbal or ritualistic in our attempts to live the Christian life:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven" (Matt.7:21-22, NIV).
What sadly happens - and it happens all too often - is that when the drains of our lives continue to be blocked, we turn off the blast of spiritual activity - prayer, scripture study, praise and fellowship - by withdrawing ourselves from the Christian life in the hope that this - as a last ditch effort - will effect the solution we need because it 'seems' as though Christianity isn't working. Turning the water off, however, just makes the drain pipe muck dry out and become a solid mass - our hearts become hard and unyielding, creating the illusion of a solution, however far from satisfactory. Many attempt such worldly solutions and while they seem to offer temporary relief, they are, in fact, storing up far worse problems to come because without Yah'shua we are not only uncovered but are operating blind. The pressure to find a living solution may seem to be off but the price is inner death and exposure to the world of the enemy.
Others decide that since the water of the Gospel doesn't seem to work that something more drastic is needed so they abandon the Gospel and get toxic chemicals to 'dissolve' away the blockage in the form of false religion, human philosophy, psychotherapy, or carnal pleasure. This attempt at recruiting demons to get the job done ends up corroding and damaging our whole drainage system - our whole inner being - such that we do far more damage than we ever imagined possible, when the solution all along was a hand willing to get dirty. The thing is, the solution to your spiritual issues is not your hand but Yah'shua's because neither you, nor anyone else's hand, is going to get you out of your spiritual predicaments. There are no do-it-yourself manuals when it comes to rescuing the human soul. The only solution is Yah'shua. We can either choose to believe that now and get back on course or we can throw ourselves into the hands of 'fate' and 'fortune' and waste a good many years of our life being buffeted by Satan as we learn the hard way. I urge you not to throw your life away by choosing the latter and certainly not to drag innocents with you if you have responsibility for others.
Yahweh's answer to every spiritual issue is always simple. But before Yahweh is able to effect the healing, cleansing or change that we so desperately need, we must first be brought to a place of total surrender of our own will. So long as we think we have a 'better way' we will never arrive at that situation where we can be set free. So what does Yahweh do? He takes us down a grueling obstacle course, a spiritual and physical marathon which has as its ultimate purpose not to educate us in all the complexities, confusions, deceptions and cleverness of the flesh-life and its demonic creators (even though we may indeed learn from such and serve as living warnings to others not to imitate us), but to bring us to a place of such total exhaustion and despair that we finally cry out, 'No more!' and become willing - perhaps for the first time - to actually listen to what Yahweh has to say to us with a believing heart AND THEN DO IT. It's not until we stop trusting our own solutions that we are finally in a position to really trust Yahweh.
I began my Christian life over three decades ago in a state of desperation realising that my own academically-trained mind, with the best education anyone could wish, couldn't possibly figure it all out. I had systematically studied as many of the Christian doctrines and paths that I could find (having discovered that Yah'shua was Elohim), determined to scrutinise them in depth, and by a process of comparative analysis figure out what New Testament Christianity had been and then find the church which exactly matched that doctrine. When I realised that my search literally encompassed all knowledge, metaphysical as well as physical - and since Elohim is the author of everything - it soon became apparent to me that I had embarked on a 'Mission Impossible'. My brain was short-circuiting. I was, moreover, a very young man in my early twenties, naïve and inexperienced. Thirty years later, after intense study of scripture, history, language and science, I realise that I am only marginally better off than I was in the 1970's as far as my understanding of the universe is concerned. Today, like then, I have been forced to repeat the same exercise of self-defeat and acknowledge that the path of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is not the solution - ever.
I began my Christian life in simple faith at the foot of the cross - helpless, defeated, and in need of someone bigger than myself to lead me into the light. I began my Christian life on 30 March 1973 on my knees, totally free and liberated, in a new dimension of reality with praise cascading from my lips through a work that was entirely not my own but supernaturally received on the basis of one decision: to humble myself and believe. A few hours later, on 31 March 1973, I had partially turned away from that true life in Messiah and chosen a system - Mormonism - that is based almost entirely on self-effort. In making that choice I lost the simplicity of the Tree of Life by compromising with the Tree of Death. It is because of this tendency on the part of humans to find salvation based on self-effort that Paul warned:
"But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Messiah" (2 Cor.11:3, NKJV).
Are we getting this? To be in Messiah is SIMPLE. The way you watch Messianics dissecting Torah, delving into the Talmud, looking for mysterious signs in the Hebrew letters through the use of kabbalism and gematria, you wonder if they have totally missed Solomon's discovery:
"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of Elohim, the Maker of all things" (Eccl.11:5, NIV).
And even though we know a lot about embryology today we are still ignorant as to how a body is actually assembled. We still don't know how the body is chemically and mathematically programmed in three dimensions. I'm a Biochemist, and whilst I am a little behind on current research, the ignorance of scientists from what I have been reading is self-evident: we still can't make life de novo (from scratch) and never will. Mapping the human genome (DNA) may be a phenomenal accomplishment but, comparatively speaking, it's little greater than mapping all the warts and birthmarks on my skin compared to knowing how my inner heart works.
For over 30 years I have been passionately and systematically digging into the Bible like the research Plant Biochemist I once was briefly. During that time I have written somewhere in the order of 3,000 articles and several books. I remember once when I was in an LDS book shop in Salt Lake City many years ago hearing a Mormon say: "Oh, if only I could read and memorise all these books, then I'd be able to answer every critic!" That Mormon's faith was Gnosticism - he thought that he could defend his religion and bring others to salvation through knowledge. I had that mindframe once - I amassed a huge library of Mormon books, about 1,000 in all (which I am trying to sell now because it's quite useless) and tried to find my spiritual way that way. But evangelical Christians and Messianic are no different. There are Christians with huge libraries of books containing theological treatises, commentaries, biographies, discipleship programs, and the like. There are Messianics with huge libraries containing books on Torah, the whole Talmud (a library in itself), the Mishnah, the Zohar, and various rabbinical commentaries. They all believe - whether Mormon, Evangelical Christian, Messianic, Catholic, or whatever tradition, that so long as they can learn all of Spurgeon's works, or the works of the Puritans, or the Catholic saints, or Maimonides, or other luminaries and sages, that they will find life and rest.
You are listening to a bibliophile preaching to you today. I don't know how many books I have got - over 5,000 I think now, maybe more, I have lost count. My daughter catalogued them all once - many more have been added since - but when I think how many have really blessed me, or which I regularly use, there are in reality only about 50 volumes, apart from various Bible translations. From being a passionate book collector, I now can't get rid of them fast enough, because I have re-realised what I discovered on 30 March 1973 but forgot a few hours later: that abundant and self-sufficient life is to be found not in gnosis but in death of self and abiding in the resurrection life of Yah'shua.
Are you one of those people who is always losing things? I'm terrible when it comes to papers, and remembering names, dates and numbers. Sometimes I momentarily forget the names of my own children and have to run through a mental list! Some people have problems keeping track of their glasses. Some people can't find keys. But one thing we all of us have in common is we have a tendency of lose the connections in intimate relationships. How many friends have you won and lost? How many of your school buddies are still close friends today? And if maintaining human relationships is problem enough, how many of us lose touch with Yahweh?
I said earlier that Yahweh brings us to the point of total exhaustion - to the end of ourselves - to persuade us that self-will and self-life is futile. He does it not because He is some control freak but because in His love He knows that self-life is bondage and never leads to happiness. And since we only have one life, He naturally has a sense of urgency. His one desire is that we are happy, fulfilled, whole and abiding in His shalom which can only come about by abiding in His will. Just as an ant can find no purpose without the rest its colony, so we cannot find rest without our Creator and Heavenly Father, our spouses and families, and the Messianic Community.
A week ago my family and I were at a model aircraft show. A young boy had wandered from his mother and was totally absorbed with everything that was going on around him - the planes, stands, people and so on. And then, suddenly, he realised that he was alone - that his mother was not with him because he had wandered away in his self-absorption - and at once panic seized him. He began to cry and wander aimlessly through the crowd crying out to his mother - and when he found her he was even angry with her!
We are all like that. Yah'shua says we are like sheep who wander off to do our own thing (Mt.15:24; Lk.15:4ff.) and then suddenly realise that we have taken our eye off our true security and safety, and panic. When that happens, our inbuilt instincts placed there by Elohim tell us what to prioritise - like the boy absorbed with all the exciting sights and sounds around him, he suddenly realised that what mattered the most was the love and safety of his mother. Nothing else, then, mattered. But first his attention had to be drawn away from what didn't matter to what did. It's like that with us.
We are no different whether we are 5 years old or 50. We may fancy ourselves as 'free' and 'independent' but the truth is we need safety - all of us, and in every age group. We were not made to be alone. Satan, knowing this, sends false shepherds who offer 'love' and 'care' but will readily abandon us to the wolves when their safety is threatened because they are driven by self-interest. True shepherds, true parents, true husbands and wives, and true leaders in general do not think about themselves but the well-being of their wards, even to the point that they are willing to lay down their lives for them (Jn.15:13). This is what Yah'shua calls true love. When we fail to have this right-mindedness and right-heartedness, we demonstrate that we have wandered away from the One from whom this right-mindedness and right-heartedness towards others flows naturally to us when we are in right relationship with Him. And when we do that, we either become totally insensitive and cold or "weary and burdened" (Mt.11:28, NIV). When Yah'shua called such, saying:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matt.11:28, NIV)
it wasn't because He simply felt sorry for those overloaded with cares and wanted to relieve them so that they wouldn't have these burdens and cares any more, but so that they could have these replaced with LIFE to enable them to unite with the rest of His spiritual family and thereby have purpose, hope, love, passion and joy in mutual service made possible through His resurrection power and contained within the vessel of His Father's Torah way-of-life. When Yah'shua spoke these words to the weary Judahites 2,000 years ago, He understood that what they most needed was not just relief but total re-energisation. They needed the life that He bore. And He didn't just have your oppressed, starving peasant in mind, but also the super-intellectuals like Saul of Tarsus, because both were weary, both needed life, and both had their calling and place in His Kingdom of Joy. You may think you are clever enough to find a way around Yah'shua so that you don't need Him to prosper, but I guarantee you're wrong. Totally wrong.
Every single one of us is carrying burdens, young and old, new believer and mature believer, male and female, single and married. We all have them. And most of them fall within one of the following categories - marriage, children, job, finances, health, relatives, and so on. I, like most, happen to be carrying burdens in all of these areas! And, yes, I'll admit it, I am tired - tired beyond words. However, if you too are tired, do not see this as something bad.
If you are exhausted because of a long inner struggle, then there is a purpose - and that purpose is to bring you to total surrender so that you will come to rely on Yah'shua more than ever before and not the arm-of-flesh. The worst advice anyone could give you is to go on a holiday. They'll tell you that you'll feel a lot better and more equipped to 'cope' with the vicissitudes of life. Wrong. That kind of 'rest' is the world's solution and is solves no problems when it comes to the inner man. Indeed, what it tends to do is to cause us to seek disastrous solutions. Instead of dealing with marriage, children, job, financial, health or other issues, it can so often lead us to cop-out solutions that brings needless sorrow and pain to ourselves and to others. Some end marriages, abandon children, quit work and go onto social security, decide they are 'permanently sick' and make no effort to get well, and so on. The reasons and excuses offered may be legion but irrespective of what these are, they constitute an abandonment of the victorious life of the Gospel in Yah'shua. They are the coward's solution to life. And the cowardly, remember, have no inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven (Rev.21:8). How can they? They themselves have chosen to abandon the Kingdom - to leave or forsake it. It has nothing to do with Yahweh 'excluding' or 'punishing' them - they exclude themselves. I speak as one who cowardly abandoned everything for two months - I know what I am talking about.
And yet, why do we give up on marriage, children, career, health and so on? Is it because we have made no effort? Most believers who quit do so not because they don't care about these things but because they feel defeated. They feel they have done their best, it hasn't worked, so it's time to give up and move on - try something else. They are driven by restlessness and desperation. This us not what Yah'shua has in mind. If this is the conclusion you have come to, it is because you have swallowed a lie that is so common that nearly everyone assumes that it's the truth. As Andrew Murray observed:
"If you must work to be something, you prove yourself not to be that thing at all".
If you're trying to be the perfect father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, employee, minister, or whatever, you've missed the point entirely. In that condition - with that attitude of mind and heart - we fail time and time again. And as Michael Wells explains this predicament: it's like having a puncture and filling the tyre again every morning but never repairing the hole. It was like me trying to wash the overflow down the drain without unblocking the pipe.
Our journey through life and salvation is not at all unlike the wandering of Israel from Egypt to Canaan. We start our new life in Messiah enthusiastically and with great joy, we go off the rails, start again, go off the rails, start again, and so on ad infinitum. The same pattern repeated itself in the Book of Judges: obedience, complacency, dissatisfaction, rebellion, oppression, repentance, obedience, complacency, dissatisfaction, rebellion, oppression, repentance, obedience, complacency, dissatisfaction, rebellion, oppression, repentance, and so on. What is it that goes wrong?
Paul said that our life in Elohim is simple. Staying in that life is simple. What does it require? What do we need to do to remain in Him? What did the Israelites continually fail to do? They failed to put their love, hope and faith in Yahweh. Instead, they transferred it elsewhere - to what they could accomplish themselves.
This issue cuts across all denominational divisions, it cuts across the evangelical-messianic divide too, because it has to do with ground-level Christianity. We are still in the realm of the Ruach haRishon - the first principles of the Gospel - salvation and empowerment. In our anxiety not to be 'left behind', we often depart from the elementary principles and get lost in the 'advanced studies'. Paul complained:
"We have much to say... but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of Elohim's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!" (Heb.5:11-12, NIV).
Because of what followed - Paul's complaint that the people weren't willing to grow up and mature on the meaty doctrines of the Kingdom - many (and that has at times included myself as a minister and teacher) assume that it is vital to push the people forwards and into the deeper realities of the Kingdom, Torah-obedience, deep mystical doctrine and the like. And whilst this we should and must do, we must never lose the foundation, because without it, the rest becomes mere legalistic bondage, creating hopelessness and despair. And what is that foundation? Total and absolute dependence on Yah'shua for everything. When we lose the foundation, we start getting ludicrous thoughts like: 'If I observe the commandments more faithfully, things will get better in my marriage'. The truth is, it doesn't work like that. If either or both spouses don't have a firm foundation in Messiah - if they haven't put self to death and if they aren't living their life in and through Messiah, then pushing one another to be even more obedient to the commandments will just create even more resistance and resentment - or worse, spiritual death. Paul said:
"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from Elohim. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant - not of the letter but of the Ruach (Spirit); for the letter kills, but the Ruach gives life" (2 Cor.3:5-6, NIV).
When you try to live the Gospel without the Ruach, without Yah'shua, in self-life, the letter of Torah will kill you - it will suck the life out of you - because without the Ruach you are under a death sentence: the Torah puts you under a death-sentence, not because it is bad, but because without the means to be delivered from the death sentence, Torah will not be appreciated for what it is for - to expose sin and lead you to Messiah and to Life everlasting. Until you have met the Messiah and given your life to Him, Torah will be the most offensive and ugly thing in the world - not because it is "offensive and ugly" but because the flesh is, and the soul will never accept it until it is crucified (Gal.2:20). So no wonder those who are dead to the Ruach are driven away from it and from Yahweh because they have not yet seen the Kingdom (Jn.3:3) - they haven't tasted, touched and experienced it for what it is. (Or otherwise they have wandered away and simply forgotten - then it's just a question of remembering again). And until they do, it will seem like bondage to them. Until they have seen the tasted and desired the love behind it, they'll never understand it.
Ask yourself a simple question - it's common sense really: Let's say I am having marriage problems. I'm not Messianic but am planning to be because I see it is the truth. I tell my wife: "Look, we have marriage problems. Let's quit pork and see if Yahweh blesses our marriage." Do you think my marriage will get better by eating kosher? Will throwing pig meat into the trash can overcome depression, my sense of inadequacy, or my failure to love? Of course not! The answer is so obviously in the negative - it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out but the one with an unregenerated mindset - who has totally missed the point - he will tell you that if you obey the kashrut laws, Yahweh will bless you, and that will improve your marriage because your marriage needs blessings at this very moment in time. However, the truth is that whilst observing kashrut will improve my health and please Yahweh because of my obedience, it will have no effect on my marriage whatsoever because the basis of a good marriage lies not in what I eat (or whether I speak in tongues, believe in the Trinity, am baptised by immersion, use the KJV, use the true names of Deity, or go to church regularly) but in my heart-relationship to my wife. And that is governed by a wholly different set of rules which are spiritual. Experience tells us that outward solutions on their own do not work - like buying off the wife with some jewels. We have to find the real source of our problems.
As I have preached tirelessly for 30 years, doctrine is very important but the kinds of doctrines I am speaking of will not set you free or (for example) make your marriage work or build bridges between friends. Whether you call our Heavenly Father 'Yahweh' or 'God', whether you use the King James Bible or the Hebraic-Roots Version, whether you speak in tongues or don't believe in the gifts at all, whether you attend church on Sunday or assembly on Saturday or on the luni-solar sabbath, whether you eat pork or lamb, or any of these things - these have nothing to do with salvation whatsoever, because salvation concerns your heart-relationship to Yahweh and the way to restore what is broken between man and Deity. Indeed, they have nothing to so with any kind of relationship-building, because we build up relationships on the basis of 'observing' something completely different. Making relationships work has nothing to do with methods or outer things. Getting right with Yahweh first and foremost has nothing to do with Torah-observance. Getting right with your husband or wife has nothing to do with domestic rules and regulations. Getting right with people - whether divine or human - has to do with one thing, and one thing only.
If you still don't understand what I am getting at, ask yourself the following questions: Is it possible for a Satanist to observe the true Sabbath? Is it possible for a Hindu to observe kashrut? Is it possible for a Catholic to use the divine Names? (Their Jerusalem Bible uses 'Yahweh' instead of 'Lord', by the way). Is it possible for a Protestant to observe Yom Kippur? Is it possible for an atheist to observe the biblical dress code? Is it possible for a Buddhist to revere Yah'shua the Messiah? Actually, yes, they could all do this if they wanted to, even if some might feel a bit uncomfortable doing so. I had a Hindu friend who used to read the Gospel of John frequently, but he was still a Hindu. I know atheists who dress modestly. I know Satanists who have impeccable manners. It is possible to 'do' all of these good things which Yahweh wants us to do. But 'doing' these biblical things will not bring liberty and freedom to the soul. They're 'good' and 'right' things to do but none of them meet the fundamental need of the soul for a relationship with Elohim. They only have meaning and we can only reap the greatest blessings from them within the context of something even bigger.
If you told your son not to verbally abuse you in front of his brothers and sisters, would that make him right with you because he was at the same time dressing modestly, reading his scriptures daily, observing the Sabbath, eating kosher food, and otherwise obeying the commandments? How would you feel if this otherwise very obedient son continued to speak disrespectfully to you? Would you say he was in right relationship with you? Not at all. In spite of doing everything else right, the relationship is broken. Equally, should he stop doing all the other good things? Obviously not - common sense tells you that it is not right to break all the other commandments just because you have broken one. That would just make things worse. Still, the relationship is broken and that is what has to be repaired. He could shut his mouth and stop badmouthing you but that would not change the condition of his heart. The heart is the real problem, not the outward actions, behaviour and habits, though self-discipline in the outward actions is far, far better than total anarchy. Please don't make the mistake of becoming antinomian (lawless) just because you haven't found the solution to living the victorious life or because there are bad Messianics who are either legalists or who haven't personally met the resurrected Messiah yet. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water!
Observance of Torah does not deal with the issue of spiritual bondage otherwise we'd still be operating under the Old Covenant. Rejecting Torah, on the other hand, is not the solution either. Our approach to Torah is therefore critically important for there are three vital things about Torah (Law) that we must realise. A.W.Tozer observed:
"It is time we get straightened out in our thinking about the law. The weakness of the law was threefold: (1) It could not cancel past sins that is, it could not justify; (2) it could not make dead men live that is, it could not regenerate; (3) it could not make bad hearts good that is, it could not sanctify. [But] to teach that the insufficiency of the law lay in man's moral inability to meet its simple demands on human behaviour is to err most radically. If the law could not be kept, [Yahweh] is in the position of laying upon mankind an impossible moral burden and then punishing them for failure to do the impossible (Paths of Power, p.46).
There is truth here that both Evangelicals and Messianics must not fail to grasp. (Tozer was an evangelical, incidentally). Yahweh did not give us a Torah to keep what was impossible to keep and then punish us for failing to do so. Such would be a cruel Elohim. That would be like giving an 8 year-old a university-level test every day and then beating him for failing every day too. Yet that's what a lot of Evangelicals teach! If the Law couldn't be kept, why give it to us? The answer is: the Torah can be kept and must be kept BUT NOT IN OUR OWN POWER. Only Yah'shua was able to keep it in His own power. Therefore to keep the Torah which Yahweh has commanded us to keep means that we must do so in Yah'shua's power. So the big question is: how do we get that power - that ability to be victorious over sin?
Salvation is not, moreover, in the systematisation and understanding of Yahweh - that is the false occultic doctrine of Gnosticism. People wonder why the Old Covenant was so permeated with blood and death. If offends a lot of people. But then that's the whole point. Salvation can only be accomplished in blood and death - the blood and death of the Messiah, once and for all in the place of the original animal sacrifices, at Calvary - and death of the recipient of that salvation - the death of self-life, laid down in exchange for Messiah-life, to provide the receiving vessel for that life. Only then can we do what we were created to do and which gives us the full purpose of our existence - worship of, and obedience to, Yahweh-Elohim, our Heavenly Father.
That also offends because carnal man, if he is totally honest with himself, wants self-worship. Look at the behaviour of everyone about you: if you study them, you'll see that's what it's all about: who gets to worship who. What was Satan's second temptation of Yah'shua? To get the Messiah to worship him in exchange for illusiory power. Just go to the school yard and see the power-struggles in action. There are 'tough' or 'brainy' boys and 'beautiful' girls seeking to be idolatrously worshipped. Everybody on this planet is after worship - everybody. - that is, everyone who is not truly worshipping Yahweh because you either worship or seek to be worshipped. It's a battle of dominate or be dominated, survival of the fittest. Even in so-called egalitarian societies, the same 'laws' operate. Egalitarianism is a myth. There will always be those who dominate and those who are dominated, either by free will or by choice. The fascists were perfectly correct - in a godless world, their philosophy is rational and real, however evil. Of the two, communism was the bigger lie because it claimed to offer something it couldn't give - a kind of politicised Christianity without Christ. And those who dominate always present themselves as 'messianic' or 'Mafia' figures - submit and be protected, refuse to submit and suffer the consequences. This is true of every carnal relationship. It's the basis of the world system.
Worldly philosophies fail to take into account the construction of human nature and the real needs. As I discussed with you last week when we compared Western and Hebraic mindsets, we were made to exist within hierarchies. And yet we have an inbuilt aversion to hierarchies because we know how unjust human hierarchical systems are and how tyrannical they can become. We know how power within such is abused. And yet no system without hierarchies has even been created, or will be. The Illuminati-inspired French revolution promised egalitarianism - it's still in the French national motto - but what resulted was a terrible oppression. Soviet Communism promised egalitarianism but it too produced oppression and was highly hierarchical. The Chinese Communists tried and failed too, even abolishing rank in the Red Army for a while until chaos ensued. The political doctrine of Anarchism promises nonhierarchical egalitarianism but it has never succeeded anywhere on the face of the earth. There were anarchist communities during the Civil War in Spain but they fared no better than the other Marxist groups whom they most closely resembled. Society without hierarchy is a myth. Every group that has tried it has always ended up with a hierarchy because that is the way we are made. We are social creatures and there is always hierarchy in social relationships. There may be no written, formal or visible hierarchy but in any relationship, it is implied and operates. I guarantee it. There are always controls and influences in any society of people, whether it's within your family, in the Messianic Community or Church, or in society in general. The country I live in is one of the most 'egalitarian' societies there is but the much vaunted 'freedom' is within the context of tight control and regulation. The 'political correctness' here is suffocating. We hardly ever see policemen here but they're 'there' all the same. Just because something is invisible doesn't mean it isn't there, whether those powers are human, demonic or divine. The question then boils down to whether you want to be within the hierarchy of true Messianic Israel and true family life or within the world's and religion's oppressive counterfeits?
Everywhere you look systems and schemes are being offered that promise 'success' and these can either be secular or religious. "The Church is cluttered with shipwrecked scholars who thought the Bible was written for understanding and did not recognize that it was written to give life", writes Michael Wells (Wells, Ibid., p.25). Well, he's half right. Life is the principle goal, not gnosis or 'knowledge', because real understanding comes through Life.
There are, however, two types of 'understanding' - one that comes through the Tree of Death, which is futile - merely intellectual - understanding, and one that comes through the Tree of Life through the Ruach haQodesh which is understanding with life. It is the latter we are admonished to seek after (e.g. Prov.4:5). That means to get proper understanding we must first get LIFE:
"Through [Yah'shua] all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men" (John 1:4, NIV).
When we search the Scriptures to find gnosis instead of life, the result is broken marriages, rebellious children and a lack of abundance in the spiritual life. That's what the Pharisees did and what so many Christians and Messianics still do! Listen to what Yah'shua said to them:
"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life" (John 5:39-40, NIV).
Life does not come from Scripture Study. We search the Scriptures to find Yah'shua and thus Yahweh, the source of Eternal Life, surrender to Him by releasing self-life, get Eternal Life, and then gain wisdom from further Scripture Study as we press on to maturity in the Ruach. Leave Yah'shua - and I mean the real, living Yah'shua and not just the intellectual theory about Him - out of the equation and your Scripture Study is futile. That means that THE first and most important thing you must do, before anything else, is to get filled with the Ruach haRishon, the first of the seven Holy Spirits. But to do that, you must trust in the right Saviour who will - in trusting Him - fill you with life and lead you to do the right things, namely, obey Torah. If you don't, you'll end up with a demonic counterfeit. Any spirit that causes you to break the commandments with impunity is not from Him but from a lying demon masquerading as some other 'Yah'shua', 'Yeshua' or 'Jesus'.
A friend in Norway shared a website with me earlier this week about a missionary team called 'TX Vikings'. They describe themselves as an "extreme evangelism tool to reach urban people" by using stunts, sports skills, smashing things like piles of bricks using judo and preaching. 1 They are, of course, as antinomian as they get. They've all had miraculous deliverances from lives of crime, drug abuse, alcohol, promiscuity and the like - genuine Ruach haRishon experiences - but they have been turned off going further by their bad experiences with hypocritical Churchianity and legalism. Their experience is common. I do sympathise with them but their conclusions are wrong. They all understand the importance of loving and caring but none of them want to come under discipline or discipleship. Some have even had theophanies - of Yah'shua physically appearing to them. They rightly condemn the "oversized fat preacher that points his finger and talks about repentance", as one of them puts it, because they see there is no life in a lot of pulpit ministers - they are just scripture manuals - but they are wrong to think you must imitate the world in order to gain its respect and so get a door to witnessing. We need repentance on all sides of the man-made denominational divisions. We must get life first, as they have done, and then move on:
"Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity" (Heb.6:1, NIV),
yet antinomians don't even get this far, for Paul adds:
"...not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in Elohim, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment" (Heb.6:1-2, NIV).
Many get no further than "faith in Elohim". Our calling is to get Messianics back to basics and take Evangelicals to maturity in Torah and then bring the two together. My goodness, they need each other!
All knowledge that leads to Life is important. Knowledge that leads you away from it - and you could spend a billion lifetimes acquiring it and get nowhere - is a total, utter waste of time. Indeed, you might be gambling your eternity on such a pointless quest. Anything that takes the place of Yah'shua, anything that becomes an alternative solution to daily life, even 'good' things, is a cursed thing. As Michael Wells rightly points out:
"All knowledge needs to move eighteen inches lower than the brain - into the heart" (Ibid., p.26).
So how can I know the difference between the knowledge that leads to life and the knowledge that doesn't?. The knowledge that takes you away from true Life will stop you praying, it will stop you assembling with your brothers and sisters in Messiah, it will cause you to hide away in yourself or seek sanctuary in the world, it will cause you to seek non-biblical solutions to life's problems and in general move you away from the biblical Messiah and into a secular counterfeit one that uses all the right words but demonstrates an absence of Life by the lifestyle of disobedience it causes you to pursue. And if you have problems, such will lead you away from Yah'shua the Healer of mind and soul and to psychotherapists and human counselors who do not know or follow the biblical Messiah. I guarantee it. And they will mostly tell you that deliverance from your problems lies in self-knowledge and that monstrous New Age lie called 'self-realisation'. We are commanded to cast our cares on Yahweh, not on psychotherapy or self:
"There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our Elohim and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, 'The gracious hand of our Elohim is on everyone who looks to Him, but His great anger is against all who forsake Him.' So we fasted and petitioned our Elohim about this, and He answered our prayer" (Ezra 8:21-23, NIV).
And did you notice the name of the canal by which they were fasting and praying? It might look like an irrelevant detail but it isn't. It was called the "Ahava canal". And who can tell me what ahavah means in Hebrew? It means 'Love'! We must fast and pray in love - true love - Yah'shua's agapé love - with open hearts, by the stream of love which is the River of Life (Rev.22:1). And if the heart has become blocked then we must be willing to let Him open it again and become vulnerable to the Ruach. Without that, no prayer will be answered ... except the one to get aid to reopen the heart and overcome our unbelief (Mk.9:24).
Out there on the 'Christian Marketplace' are scores of methodologies and systems as to how to 'live the Christian life'. Each of these systems involves a series of actions we can 'observe' or 'do'. The result of this is always a lifestyle that leads us to exalt ourselves and judge others who have failed to achieve our own level by not doing this or that - Messianics are particularly prone to this sinful behaviour, but not only them. Others judge those who do not speak in tongues, or who reject the Catholic Creeds, or whatever. But none of these brings Life - which is why Messianics, Pentecostals, Baptists, Catholics, and every type of Christian imaginable have the same kinds of problems no matter what they religiously 'do'. Again, I am absolutely not saying 'doing' is unimportant - I am saying that without Life it is ultimately meaningless but if you are 'doing' right, continue doing it but don't leave it there or abandon 'doing' while you get Life.
Every sincerely honest believer of whatever denomination or religious tradition is seeking for a fuller spiritual life, victory over sin and abundance in joy. Yahweh respects all of these more than those who are not but who may be 'observing' the right outer things because this is what matters. Yahweh can, and does, work with such people. That's why all the 'saved' aren't just Messianics or just Evangelicals And if they remain honest after they obtain life, He will lead them to do the right things too - He will make them Messianic Israelites. But not before.
Now I am pretty sure that everyone hearing me or reading this, and who regularly comes to hear and read what this ministry is teaching, is searching for the things I am talking about. If you're one of these people, then the following story, related by an Indian believer, may interest you.
There was once a man who lost the key to his house one night and, finding himself locked out, began to look for it under the streetlight. As the neighbours noticed the man they would ask what he was doing, and one by one they joined him in his search. Finally, one of the neighbours asked him: 'Exactly where did you lose the key?' The man replied: 'Over there by the house'. The neighbour responded: 'If you lost the key by your house, why are we looking under this light?' The man answered: 'I couldn't see well enough where I lost it; I can only see under the light.' (Wells, Ibid., p.28).
The trap that nearly all of us fall into when things go wrong - and especially when Yah'shua seems far away - is that we look where things appear to be clearest and not at the source of our defeat! If you have domestic problems and you metaphorically lost the key outside your front door, then the solution is not looking outside someone else's house. Go home! Looking and searching in the wrong places never yields the key to deliverance and freedom, and just because there is a measure of light in the false places - like going to worldly counselors - doesn't mean it is the right place to look, and doesn't mean we should continue. Going back to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is never the solution but people go there when they trade in the Light (with a big 'L') of the World (Jn.8:12; 9:5) for the light (with a little 'l') of the world. Yahweh turns our darkness into light (2 Sam.22:29; Ps.18:28) when we go to Him but when we go to others and turn away from Him, they appear to be in light and He in darkness because theirs is counterfeit light (2 Cor.11:14).
The thing is: how stubborn are you? If you have tasted the goodness of Yah'shua, and know where you're supposed to be and what you're supposed to be doing, why persist in error when you know the truth? Do you really suppose there is a viable alternative? Does that even make any sense? So why do we choose insanity? Because the truth means connecting to our pain and working through that and most people want to avoid that and are therefore willing to trade that in for demonically-mediated numbness or counterfeit love in order to 'have a break' or an 'easier life' with fewer responsibilities. Most people are running away from responsibility.
As I said, there is no holiday or vacation from the truth that does not lead to spiritual death and unhappiness after the initial surge and illusiory feeling of 'freedom'. The Adam and Eve solution will always lead you to disaster. Always. Without exception because Satan's party lasts only as long as you have something to give of yourself to the party-makers - or rather, something they can steal. Once it runs out and you are dry, they will desert you or make you a perpetual slave of their twilight world, in bondage to sin.
And now the solution - a solution so ludicrously simple that you may not at first believe it. But it is true - I testify to you of it now even before I tell you what it is. It spells the death-knoll of Gnosticism, occultism, and all the evangelical and messianic 'programs' out there. It's so simple that a child can grasp it. I could quote many scriptures but I choose this one because it points us both to the Grand Key as well as to Torah-life as well lest we forget that that is part of the 'deal':
"Remember that at that time you [Gentiles] 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.2:12-13, NIV).
Please observe the details of this passage carefully. What were the Gentile losses before salvation? And what are the losses of all those "separate from Messiah"? They are:
1. Exclusion from citizenship in Israel (literal and spiritual);
2. Exclusion from the covenants of promise;
3. No hope and without Yahweh in the world.
This is what we miss when we are not in Messiah - things which are critically important to life in Messiah Yah'shua. How, then, do we obtain them, since they are so connected and desirable? Indeed, do we actually want them? How many Evangelicals want citizenship in the Nation of Messianic Israel? Do they want to come under its Law? Do they want its lifestyle of Torah-obedience? Do they even want the promises that belong to Israel or have they bought into the lie that these belong only to the 'Jews'? What about Jews and some Messianics? They think they have Yahweh and have hope for the world to come yet they reject Yah'shua and/or His Deity. They are, in truth, without Yahweh and without hope because no one comes to the Father except through the Divine Son (Jn.14:6).
Now, one who is moved upon by the true Ruach - the Set-Apart Spirit of our Heavenly Father - desires citizenship in Israel with all of his or her heart! Such a person longs for the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Such a one adores the commandments - the Law, the Torah! I know I do! I don't want any other kind of society. I don't want any kind of Government. I am 'hopelessly' in love with it because it is the love-creation of my Master. I want all He wants. That is why I am looking forward to in the Millennium and what I want to build in the here and now in companionship with my brothers and sisters in Messiah. I don't give a toss for the world system. I hate it, just as Yahweh does (1 Jn.2:15). Trevor J. Saxby said:
"Most Christians live in the world and go to church. God's intention is that we live in the church and go to the world".
Converting that to biblical language:
"Most Christians live in the world and go to their church down the road once or twice a week. Yahweh's intention is that we become citizens of Messianic Israel under Torah government - the Kingdom of Elohim - and go out into the world to witness and bring converts back with us into Messianic Israel!"
If you believe that, then you have understood Paul's message to the Ephesians. If you are in agreement with me, then we can go to the next and most important stage of all - ABIDING IN MESSIAH YAH'SHUA THROUGH HIS BLOOD. Everything hangs now on us understanding what this means practically in real, experiential life. We can now ask ourself THE question - the most important question you will ever ask yourself or invite others to consider, not just in your head, but FAR more importantly, IN YOUR HEART:
Am I IN or OUT of Messiah Yah'shua?
The criterion on which our salvation is based - the criterion by which we are accepted or rejected by Yahweh our Heavenly Father - is whether we are IN His Son Yah'shua or not. If we are IN, we're OK. We're safe, secure, and a success. If we are OUTSIDE Yah'shua, we have failed - we are unsafe, unprotected, lost, no many how many carnal protective devices you have surrounded yourself with. As simple as that. The great hinge of truth as to our future in the eternities rests on the reality behind the meaning of these two words:
IN or OUT
Nothing else matters until we know for an absolute surety that we are IN Messiah or not. This truth only gets complex and confusing if we seek to understand it intellectually by going to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil so don't go there please! Only when we eat the forbidden fruit does Yahweh's simple truth get distorted and we start wandering down false avenues of salvation. Now to the crux - what does this mean exactly? Michael Wells explains it beautifully:
"Let us divide the tree [of the knowledge of good and evil] into two - good on one side and evil on the other. If a man eats from the evil side of the tree and commits evil deeds, what does [Yahweh] do to him? The answer is obvious: He rejects this one whose deeds are unrighteous and who has fallen below [Yahweh's] standard of being in [Messiah]. But if a man eats from the good side of the tree and does many good works, what will [Yahweh] do? Will He accept him and his good works? On the contrary, [Yahweh] will reject him also, because his works have added to [Yahweh's] standard of being in [Messiah], and the man has committed acts of self-righteousness. [Yahweh] commands righteousness of us, and yet we are told every righteous deed is like a filthy garment (Is.64:6). Good and evil come from the same tree and are treated alike by [Yahweh] - rejected. 'Darkness and light are alike to Thee' (Psalm 139:12). Doing evil is a sign of disbelief that [Elohim] exists or will judge, but doing good is a sign of unbelief in [Yahweh's] standard of acceptance. We prove that we do not believe [Elohim] at all when we add to this standard. We are touching upon one of the greatest deceptions in Christianity. [Yahweh] does want us to do good works, but what makes a work fitting is not the content but the origin; if the source of the work is faith as [Messiah] expressed Himself through us, then it is acceptable. But all other work is unacceptable, based on unbelief and self-righteousness" (Ibid., pp.29-30 - emphasis added).
What this means is that the 'Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil' is also the 'Tree of Knowing Through Unbelief and Self-righteousness' and the 'Tree of Life' is the 'Tree of Knowing Through Echad Union with Messiah'.
Now you may think that the fruit of the 'good' part of the 'Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil' is 'better' than the 'evil' part. The interesting thing is that Yah'shua held out greater hope for people like tax collectors who were doing evil deeds than the Torah-observant (for the most part) Pharisees who were eating from the 'good' side of the same tree. This is indeed one of the ironies of the carnal life: the 'evil' are more responsive to the truth, as a rule, than the self-righteous. The reason for this is simple - those who are evil see more clearly that they have a need to repent than the self-righteous! There is a deep blindness that comes from eating the good side of the forbidden tree. So what was so bad about the Pharisees? What did this 'good works' self-righteousness led them to do? What was its fruit?
"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it'" (Matt.23:13-16, NKJV).
And the list goes on:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" (Matt.23:23-24, NKJV).
Evangelicals and other lawless Christians please note: "These (justice, mercy and faith) you ought to have done, without leaving the other [commandments/Mitzvot] undone". There is no escape from Torah, people! None at all. You can wriggle and squirm all you want but you must face the TRUTH. Yah'shua and the apostles did not cancel the Torah!
I fear that far too many Messianics fall into these Pharisaic traps. They major in Torah and minor in justice, mercy and faith. They go around condemning Evangelicals for following pagan customs while they themselves lack what many of these good Evangelicals have: a genuine heart-love for people. Which do you suppose will enter heaven first? A hardhearted Sabbatarian or a Sunday-worshipper full of love? The hardhearted Torah-observer is like a man who opens a bank account in heaven and fills it with money earned from Torah-obedience but can't ever draw from it because he never qualifies for heaven - he isn't trusting in Yah'shua. A lawless but alive evangelical is like man who qualifies for heaven because he trusts in Yah'shua, opens a bank account there, but never deposits anything in it because he is disobedient to the commandments. Yah'shua says he becomes least in the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt.5:19a). But the 'Messianic Evangelical' who is alive in Messiah and obeying Torah out of love will have a fat bank account when he gets to heaven and become great in the Kingdom (Mt.5:19b):
So ask yourself this question: which of the commandments or mitzvot are the "weightier"? Which are the most important? Again, I am not excusing antinomians - there is no excuse for willful disobedience of the commandments when you know what they are and Yah'shua and the apostles have testified of them:
"Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.5:19-20, NIV).
Do you believe that? If you believe in Yah'shua, you'd better! Torah is vitally important but we must, and shall, lay the proper emphasis and foundation where it is due. And the first priority is making sure you are IN Yah'shua before anything else. The big question is, for those who do not know Him in their hearts yet want to is: how?
A good way to understand the right and wrong way of coming to Yah'shua is to be gained by a simple comparison. And I'll do that by quoting a favourite scripture of those who eat from the 'good' side of the Tree of Death - the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil:
"For Elohim so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever never sins, lusts, or has an evil thought, reads his Bible, always attends church, never yells at the kids, prays, memorises scripture, does not own a radio or TV, witnesses to his neighbours, speaks in tongues, obeys her husband in everything, is generous in giving, wears modest clothing, has had a conversion 'testimony', observes the seventh day Sabbath, follows the kashrut laws, observes the seven festivals of Yahweh, uses the True Names of Deity, and is continually pure, will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16, Expanded Pharisee Version).
You know, I sometimes think the Bibles of some believers are twice as thick as the ones we purchase. People are 'adding' all the time and then wonder why they are plagued with doubts, a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness (Rev.22:18). They may not be adding to scripture with their pens but they most certainly are with their minds and proving it in their behaviour. This has to stop! We have to get back to the simple truth. And that simple truth is:
"For Elohim so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For Elohim did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the Name of Elohim's one and only Son" (John 3:16-18, NIV).
Let us please keep this simple and not add to it, however well-intentioned. Let's stick to the original sense:
"For [Yahweh] so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only-begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish - come to destruction, be lost - but have eternal (everlasting) life. For [Yahweh] did not send the Son into the world in order to judge - to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on - the world; but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. He who believes on [Yah'shua] - who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him - is not judged (he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation; he incurs no damnation). But he who does not believe (not cleave to, not rely on, trust in Him) is judged already; (he has already been convicted; has already received his sentence) because he has not believed on and trusted in the Name of the only begotten Son of [Yahweh] - He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in [Messiah's] Name [Yah'shua]" (Jn.3:16-18, AmpV).
Your entire salvation - your future in the eternities - your entrance ticket into heaven - depends on only one thing and it has nothing to do with Torah-observance! Your requirement - your only requirement - is that you believe, trust, cling to and rely on Yah'shua with your whole might, mind and strength. When you do that, you abide in that state of reality and power called ETERNAL LIFE. That is your eternal security. If you are doing that, all judgment against you is false and of the devil. How do we know that we are believing, trusting, clinging to and relying on Yah'shua? Because we are not seeking to do anything in our own strength - we are not seeking to do our 'own thing' - we want His will and nothing else. We are not pretending, hiding or being unreal with other people but are operating in His life-force and -flow. It means that we are trusting Yah'shua to meet every need, help us overcome every difficulty. It means we absolutely believe what we read earlier in Ezra:
"The gracious hand of our Elohim is on everyone who looks to Him, but His great anger is against all who forsake Him".
It means that we desire His lifestyle for us in every particular, without being picky or choosey - we want it all and we want to give all. We want to retain no part of our lives for ourselves but give it all to Him, for by this means we come under His full government, direction and protection. Let's read more in John to see what salvation is not:
"The [basis of] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for their sentence) lies in this: that the Light is come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil (Is.5:20). For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the light and will not come out into the light, but shrinks from it, lest his works - his deeds, his activities, his conduct - be exposed and reproved. But he who practices truth - who does what is right - comes out into the light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are, wrought with [Yahweh] - divinely prompted, done with [Yahweh's] help, in dependence upon Him" (Jn.3:19-21, AmpV).
Do you get the picture? Do you see the relationship between trusting in Yah'shua and the things we do? We know what we must do because of two things:
1. They are divinely prompted; and
2. Those works will - because righteousness and sin are defined by them - agree with Torah.
How will you be divinely prompted? By reading Torah, of course, because if you have the true Messiah in your heart, you'll want to obey! A surrendered soul won't NOT be able to obey Torah - he will be head-over-heels in love with it just as he is with his Master! Our response to Yahweh's commandments is indicative of our state of surrenderedness and dependence on Him. How could we not want to do what the One we love wants?
The truth is that our relationship and eternal security are bound up not in what we do but in our actively trusting. Our doing is merely an outward sign of our degree of trusting. What we must understand is the differences between the two Trees - Satan loves to confuse the two in our minds. So lets try to simplify even more.
- Tree of Death: You did evil, now do good
- Tree of Life: You do evil by disposition, so cling to the Son, and let Him do good through you by living His Life in you.
You can convert to any number of religions or to no religion at all and stop an evil lifestyle and start 'doing good' of your own free will. But whether you do evil or good, it's still self-life and still Tree of Death-based. There are millions of people out there doing 'good deeds', including those calling themselves 'Christians' and 'Messianics', but will they survive the fire of judgment? The Roman Catholic Church has done many good deeds - building hospitals, schools, and the like. Communists, fascists, Hindus, Moslems and animists build hospitals and schools too. I know of a Pakistani drug baron who has built a drug addicts' rehabilitation centre in Karachi. I've read stories of British prisoners-of-war being shown extraordinary kindness by nazi SS officers who at the same time were butchering Jews. Will Yahweh weight up their good deeds against their bad deeds and save them if their good deeds outweigh the bad? That's the teaching of nearly all false religion. The point is, as our own sovereigns and masters, we will always be doing good and evil deeds, just as you would expect of someone eating from the Tree of Death. Even Satanists do good deeds! There are devil-worshippers out there who are Christian ministers by day and sadists by night. But the one who is IN Messiah has no disposition to do evil any more. When you are IN Messiah the Jekyll-and-Hyde split disappears removing both Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde, the 'good' and 'evil' side of man's fallen Nature. 2
Satan scores his greatest victory against Christians and Messianics when he persuades them that their 'good' fleshy side is, in fact, "Messiah in you" (Col.1:27). What a deception! Once you believe that the 'good' in your flesh is "Yah'shua in you", Satan can lead you down the primrose path of self-righteousness, and straight into hell! That happens when we rely on our own strength and abilities instead of Yah'shua. Consider the warning of Paul:
"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Yah'shua the Messiah. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames" (1 Cor.3:11-15, NIV).
Eating of the Tree of Death blinds us with a spirit that leads us to do works which may lead us to think we are doing something great and important but which, to our surprise, are burned up at the last day. Satan loves us eating from this tree because just as there are levels of evil we can do, so too there are levels of good. Herein lies the trap of legalism. The Pharisees insisted on doing good - on obeying Torah - but they also insisted on killing the Son of Elohim. Of what use were all their good works, then? And what tends to happen when we advocate good works through the power of the flesh is that the higher we 'climb' in good works, the deeper we fall. Why do so many Protestant ministers fall into serious sin? You'd think that the main culprits - the ones who pursue Torah - would be the Messianics, wouldn't you? Well, Messianics have exactly the same problem. And it so often turns out that those who are the most zealous for Torah or zealous for holiness are the ones who fall into the deepest sin! Look at Saul of Tarsus! Look at some of the tele-evangelists. You will often find that those who are the most zealous for holiness and Torah are the ones who end up committing serious sin, not because holiness and Torah are wrong but because they are operating in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and not the Tree of Life! They become spiritually bipolar. What then often happens is the antinomian or lawless Christians point the finger and say: "There you are! There's your proof of what happens when you try to obey the commandments! God has nailed them to the Cross! Hallelujah!" But they are just as deluded for as we have seen they too are playing into the hands of the devil, the Lawless one (2 Thes.2:8-9). There are two different problems here. One is lawlessness vs. Commandment-keeping and the other is commandment keeping in the flesh vs. commandment keeping in Yah'shua. We must not confuse the two.
I have good news for the legalists - for those trying to obey the Torah in their own strength and trying to earn salvation, and who as a result live lives of failure and defeat - there's a much simpler way and it works without fail. It works because we no longer have to rely on the flesh to succeed but on the one who lived Torah perfectly and who has infinite resources for us to do so IN HIM. There is only one thing we have to do - and that's the tough part (not living Torah) - and that is to die to the self-life and let Yah'shua take over. To die to self means TAKING RESPONSIBILITY.
Moreover, it doesn't matter what your situation is, what your handicaps are, whether you are rich or poor, living in peace or under persecution, a new believer or a mature one, male or female - because the Way is exactly the same for everyone. No-one - absolutely no-one - is disadvantaged when it comes to what it is one has to do to be saved and forsake the self-life. There are no shortcuts to the spiritual life and there are no physical hindrances to it. None whatsoever. Whether you are paralysed in a wheelchair, in chains in prison, or have everything that you could possible ever want in terms of money, family, love, friends - the conditions and opportunities for entrance into the Kingdom, and living victoriously in the Messiah, are exactly the same.
There are no grounds for resentment in comparing your life with someone else's even if you may think there are. Satan wants you to believe otherwise. So why on earth do we listen to him?? It is because of that cursed tree. And look at how many 'Christian' movements have been infected by it! Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses have their converts eating from it, trying to earn a place as a god making and populating planets or in Jehovah's Paradise. The Prosperity Movement people have millions believing that if they are not healthy and wealthy that they are cursed and aren't being 'faithful' enough. Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Orthodox have millions believing that unless you are a part 'the true church' that you will be going to hell. They encourage those who do join them to view themselves as a 'cut above the rest'.
But the truth is, in order to be saved, the issue is not how many points you have scored in the Good Works League, or whether you have joined the True Church, or whether you are abounding in good health and rolling in money, or whether you're emotionally on a 'high' or not, or whether you're speaking in tongues - the issue is whether you're running your life or Yah'shua is. If we allow ourselves to believe that we need to have or be doing any of these things in order to be saved or living in Messiah, we have swallowed the biggest lie that there is, and it is the very same one that Adam and Eve bought into when they started sinking their teeth into forbidden fruit. The harder we try to do things in our own power - in the self-life - the more remote and impossible the quest for perfection comes. Unless we have swallowed an antinomian lie, Yah'shua's commandment to us seems like an impossible dream:
"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt.5:48, NIV).
Notice that Yah'shua isn't commanding us to be perfect like He was and is, but perfect like El Elyon - the Most High, the Eternal Elohim, our Heavenly Father is! Many have tried to tone that down by 'reinterpreting' it to mean something else, usually by reducing it to known human possibilities. But are the 'known human possibilities' - what we're genuinely capable of doing in our own strength - remotely to be viewed as 'perfection' Aren't they, in truth, filthy rags? Of course they are! And if that is the case, Yah'shua must be meaning that the way to perfection is by means of a supernatural agent, not a human one. Does it mean that we are going to become Elohim as Yahweh is Elohim like the Mormons and New Agers teach? Not at all. Even Satan didn't try to pull that one with Eve - he 'merely' said that she would become "like Elohim" (Gen.3:5, NIV). However, Yahweh has also said that we are to be "like Elohim" and so did Paul!
"Then Yahweh said to Moses, 'See, I have made you like Elohim to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet" (Ex 7:1, NIV).
"In that day Yahweh will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like Elohim, like the Angel of Yahweh going before them" (Zech 12:8, NIV).
So how are we to become "like Elohim"? Well, not the way Satan meant but we are to become like Him! Paul explains how:
"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like Elohim in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph.4:22-24, NIV).
So let's get rid of this false piety - which is pride in one of its many disguises - that we are somehow irresistibly helpless and destined to be weak, defiled and filthy no matter what. That's a lie! It's the diametrical opposite of the lie that Satan told Eve but it's just as big a lie! Yahweh wants you to be like Him in moral attributes, in set-apartness and holiness BUT He insists that you cannot do it by accumulating good works (because that is impossible) but by "putting on the NEW SELF" and getting rid of the OLD SELF. The accumulation of good works - the works we can draw from our heavenly bank account in the Kingdom of Heaven - flow out of being IN Yah'shua's resurrection life, not our own!
There is an infallible way of knowing whether we have put on the new-self and have discarded the self-life, and I bet you want to know it. Well, you shall (if you don't already know). But before I share that with you, let me also say that it is as easy to step back into the old-self as stepping out of it and into the new-self. The old-self is always 'around' to be stepped back into any time we want. We can get 'in' and 'out' of Messiah at any time, and unfortunately we do. We can continually choose throughout life whether to be 'in' or 'out'. I'll admit it . I wander in and out quite a bit especially in times of great adversity, though I hope I am doing so less and less the more I mature in Yah'shua.
So how do I know when I am 'in' Messiah, how do I know I have put on the 'new-self', how do I know I am eating from the Tree of Life and not the Tree of Death? By experiencing the supernatural - and I am not talking about parting the Red Sea, healing the sick, having spectacular visions, or outer things like that. When we are 'in' Yah'shua we experience such things as peace, mercy and a lack of condemnation when wronged by others because these things cannot be accomplished in the self-life. Yes, there are counterfeits, but there are various signs that indicate what these are - Satan can mimic peace by numbing the heart but it is an artificial peace that leads to arrogance or indifference towards people, especially those exposing the false peace. There is a wholeness of soul in Yah'shua when the going gets tough that cannot be imitated. There is a sense of intimate knowing that is just and merciful, loving and kind, full of grace, truth and peace. And that can only come through Yah'shua:
"The Torah was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Yah'shua the Messiah" (John 1:17, NIV).
There is, however, more to our relationship with Yah'shua than stillness and peace. Michael Wells observes:
"I am not saying that [Yahweh] never stirs our emotions, but rather most of us have never learned to rest in a relationship with [Him] when it is calm and quiet. We want more and more. If [Yahweh] is not inclined to stir our emotions and thoughts, then we will find artificial means to stimulate them. This is all the more compounded in groups that only give glowing, spectacular reports about what [Yahweh] is doing and what great things they are hearing. These people have come to believe that our relationship with [Yahweh] is to be a continuous climactic arena, and they cannot rest and enjoy the simple aspects of their relationship with the Creator" (Ibid., pp.35-36).
We often assume that to be in 'relationship' we have to be having some dramatic theophany, revelation, vision or emotional outpouring. Whilst these are given from time to time, they are not the normal state of being. The normal, natural, whole state of being when in a wholesome relationship is quiet assurance. When my children are doing what I want them to be doing, I hear little from them. They're either quietly working with their school work or are out at play obeying the rules. It's like that with Yahweh too. When we are in His perfect will, we hear and feel little or nothing at all.
So how do we know how to get in His will? When alternative choices arise, we say: "Thy will be done", not mine (Mt.6:10, KJV). If, for example, we're moving house and there are two alternatives, how do we decide what's His will and what isn't? How do we go about ensuring we don't mistakenly hear our own flesh and choose what we want over His perfect choice? We can do what Gideon did - ask Him to open doors to the correct choice and put obstacles to the false one if there are no obviously reasons why one shouldn't be right and the other wrong. Obviously, if one choice means we have to break a commandment, then it's obviously wrong. If I am offered two jobs and one is running a grocery shop and the other a porno shop (to give an extreme example), then there is no choice, is there? We have Torah to guide us in most of our choices. Then all we have to do is choose to do what is right - that's what makes one 'right-eous' because one is making 'right-rulings'.
One sound piece of advice is, having got what you believe is the correct answer from Him, to wait a week to see if Yahweh closes any doors to that choice. Many struggle with prayer in desperation, thinking that the more they struggle, the more likely Yahweh is going to respond. Prayer is best undertaken in quietness, never under duress - terrible decisions are usually made when under stress. We should always allow time for things to settle and see how Yahweh responds. I have seen so many lives ruined by rash, impulsive decisions, or decisions made under pressure from others. Indeed, many of the things we pray about we shouldn't even be asking!
"Pray in the Ruach on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests" (Eph.6:18, NIV).
Prayers in the flesh don't work. The prayers that do work are those which involve complete submission to Yahweh. Now I'll admit there are prayer situations that I don't like. And one of the hardest is to wait. Impulsive decisions caused by impatience have led to the worst mistakes in my life. It does no harm to wait if we are unsure. We won't hear Him, anyway, unless we are very quiet:
"Be still before Yahweh and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes" (Ps.37:7, NIV).
Yes, it's tough, but the difficulty actually lies in our unsurrenderedness, not in not getting a direct answer from Yahweh. If we're surrendered, and are not getting answers, then we can rest in His shalom. The perfectly surrendered soul always gets the answer it needs, whether it is a clear direction to act or the peaceful, assuring silence that says, "Wait". And if you want a case study - a good example - read how Elijah learned to hear Yahweh's Voice when he was all worked up because of Queen Jezebel's threats (1 Ki.19:11-13).
It should be obvious by now that seeking to get right with Yahweh and finding inner peace just by doing good is not done on the basis of faith but on self-righteousness and therefore does not bring us true peace. If we are defeated and overwhelmed it is because we have wandered out of Yah'shua and into the flesh. Under such circumstances we tend to make disastrous mistakes based on ill-advised choices. If Yahweh subsequently stirs things up, disturbing our artificial peace, then He does so in love, because He desires to take us to the place of perfect liberty - the place of complete obedience to His will. Having moved out of darkness and into the light, there then remains the challenge of staying there.
It is just as important to remain in Messiah as it is to put the new-self on. The new-self is birthed and maintained IN Him. We have to fight to stay in Him because Satan will continually be offering us that deadly fruit. Having in the last three months won some major spiritual victories over issues that have dogged me most of my life, I have to fight to make sure I don't drift back again. There are daily choices to be made to remain in Yah'shua or one gradually gravitates away and back into the false comfort and peace that Satan offers especially when the going gets tough. Let us remember the words of Moses when it seemed to Israel that they would be overcome by calamity:
"Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance Yahweh will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. Yahweh will fight for you; you need only to be still" (Ex.14:13-14, NIV).
You need only to be still. But the trouble is with those who are out of Yahweh's will, and know it, being still just reminds them of their sin. So they try to keep busy, to drown out the voice of conscience. The more they do this, the more miserable they get until, like the adulterous wife of Hosea, they finally realise:
"I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now" (Hos.2:7, NIV).
This is not, however, the way Yahweh wants us to do things. The way of the prodigal son and the way of Hosea's wife are the 'low way' to Yahweh, the hard way, not the 'high way'. Yet why do so many believers choose it? Why do they insist that they have 'missed out' on something - that they have been cruelly 'denied' something that might make them even happier? That's how Satan stirred Eve up - to make her feel hard-done by when both she, the prodigal son and Hosea's wife had everything they could possibly have ever needed. Yah'shua warned:
"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15, NIV).
In Eve's case, it was not 'possession' of the forbidden fruit that was the problem but a desire to experience something which looked good but which was, in fact, murderously poisonous. Adultery is rampant in the world today - people are out for something or someone 'better' all the time because their minds and hearts are carnal. Just look at the spam mail in your e-mail account to see how people think - those merchants know what people want or they wouldn't bother, would they? Yah'shua could well have said:
"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of experiences"
When I was a boy, we would travel to exotic countries in the Far East and Africa to see the sights and understand the cultures. When my family went to Egypt when I was a boy it was not to party but to see the pyramids, museums, mosques and wild life and learn about the people. When people go to the Far East today - to countries like Thailand - it is mostly to inexpensively sodomise and fornicate with adults and children.
Now I am not saying any of you are like that. However Satan will lay temptations before you that will cater to your own special weaknesses, many of which are the fruits of generational curses. Some people travel abroad just to binge drink. Others to indulge in drugs. And 'abroad' doesn't have to be to the Far East - it can be down the road or to the next town. And as we have seen, you may not be tempted by any of these things. You may be a committed Christian who has wandered out of Yah'shua and are trying to 'do good' by eating of the Tree of Knowledge. If you're doing that, trouble lies ahead. A Christian trying to do good in the flesh is, as I have said, in many ways more vulnerable than someone who is doing evil ... which is always in the flesh. Today I am mostly concerned about the former, because if you go down that road long enough, you'll end up doing evil too because this is not two trees we are talking about but one tree - it's a false echad tree of 'good and evil'. To be in Yah'shua means remaining in Him. It means total self-surrender to Him no matter what you may feel. Let Him be the judge of what is right and best for you.
We who have tasted sin are always more urgent and passionate about warning people against it than those who have not and are witnessing simple based on written truth or observing others. Each day Satan confronts me with the biggest lie of all - that I am defeated - and I am challenged to resist it. Well I am not, so long as I am in Yah'shua. Now, I am not for one moment suggesting you should go out and sin so that you can be a better witness against sin - Yahweh forbid! But what I am saying is - listen seriously to those who have made mistakes and been saved from them! I praise Yahweh that I have not murdered, committed adultery, fornicated, swindled, been a drunk or drug-abuser. But I have fallen into other errors, and especially the error of self-righteousness that comes from mistakenly thinking I was in Yah'shua when I was eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good. Without knowing it, I have slipped into gnosticism from time to time and forgotten my first love and the others given into my care to love and protect.
I have barely got into what I wanted to talk about this week and that is dying to the self-life and living in Yah'shua. I will be continuing in more detail about this next time. In the meantime may I encourage you to seek nothing else but an end to the self-life and enter into a covenant, followed by concrete action, to let Yah'shua truly be the Master of your life. Amen.
Michael Wells, Sidetracked in the Wilderness, Devotional Life Press, Littleton, CO: 1991
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|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
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 17 August 2007
Last updated on 17 August 2007
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