"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". Only those who recognise that in their own strength they won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven will actually enter it because they are binding themselves to Yahweh in intimate trust and obedience. Yes, those who try to run their lives on pure willpower or psyche may well indeed have a short-term consolation but when the oil runs out of their lamps, then they will discover, to their horror, their poverty and find themselves locked out of the marriage of the Lamb, as Yah'shua taught in the parable of the Ten Virgins (Mt.25:1ff.).
These sermons are all about self-sufficiency verses Yahweh-dependence. They are about arrogance verses humility or meekness. And what they teach us about forgiveness is so essential to our salvation that we dare not miss it. Only in this Yahweh-dependency can we ever forgive our enemies, because it is only by being twisted around Him that we will ever have the power to forgive them. Without that intimate connection there will only ever be hate and bitterness. We can pretend all we like but until we have made that heart-penetration within we will not be able to love our enemies - impossible! Until Yah'shua rules for real inside - and we'll know He's there because it will make us meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, eager for Torah, merciful rather than harsh, and pure in our hearts and thoughts, there can never be any empowerment to love our enemies, let alone forgive them. And if we are in that condition, we are in serious trouble, because we cannot honestly pray the Lord's Prayer in which we make the petition:
"And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us" (Luke 11:4, NKJV).
In other words, we can't ask Yahweh for forgiveness and mercy at Yom Kippur or at any other time unless we are willing for forgive those who wrong us - those who may persecute and even despitefully use us. And if we can't to that, then we remain unforgiven and in our sins. We remain condemned and the doors to the Kingdom remain closed to us as demonstrated by our hardened hearts and our disinterest in, and our unwillingness to obey, Torah.
Have You Killed Your Heart?
There are people out there, some of whom may be hearing or reading me today, who have shut off their hearts, possibly even killed them off by inviting demons to numb them because they are unwilling to do what is right. Their hunger and thirst for righteousness has been turned off for a multitude of reasons. However, as we look at these people, we must not ourselves misjudge them either. We, if we are possessed by Yah'shua - if we are entwined around Yahweh - will remember another important truth. Longfellow also said:
"Every heart has its secret sorrows which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad".
How many times have you been accused if being cold-hearted when in reality you were either sad or brokenhearted? Sometimes, when the heart feels overwhelmed, because it is not leaning on Yah'shua, or doesn't know how to, it just shuts down. It just can't manage or cope so it does the only thing it knows in order to survive. Moreover, this is something everybody does and it's something that causes everybody to suffer. That is why Yah'shua says it is a woe to try to manage on your own, apart from Him and apart from doing what is right in living the way He has ordained. All other modes of living are a curse! They may seem to offer short-term release but by the by the demonic debt-note is presented by the dark powers and they demand payment. And when it comes to payment, Satan is utterly merciless because he will take every last bit of you that he can. In the same way that you did not demonstrate mercy to yourself and to others by pursuing life in your own will and strength, so will Satan do the same to you by demanding his rights based on one simple universal law: everything that you do not give to Yahweh, SATAN CLAIMS AND TAKES because that is his right. Everything, ultimately, boils down to ownership: either you are owned by Yahweh or by the Rebel Angel. And though you may convince yourself for a while that you belong to yourself (and even to Yah'shua when you in fact don't), time - and it is wasted time - will reveal that you never did because you never had the power in your own psyche.
You may very well be agreeing with everything I am saying to you this evening in your mind but in your heart of hearts there is fear and doubt. These are the chief weapons of the enemy that are thrown at us whenever we seek to draw near. It is at this point we must resist and press on. We can now approach Yahweh directly through Yah'shua to have our issues fixed. There is a solution immediately at hand. Paul writes:
"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Yah'shua, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain (veil), that is, His body, and since we have a great cohen (priest) over the house of Elohim, let us draw near to Yahweh with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb.10:19-25, NIV).
Let us draw near to Him, brethren and sisters! Let us hold unswervingly in our Torah-obedient lifestyle - without deviating, turning round or turning back - to the hope we profess with our mouths when we claim to be believers, because Yahweh's promises are reliable, and Yahweh is faithful in keeping them. In so doing these things we will spur one another along in cleaving to love, in doing good works, and in meeting regularly. We will be busy! We will be walking in the understanding that we are not self-sufficient after all but need one another, and together acknowledging that we need Him above all else. But beware - the flesh nature will seek escapes, and that nature is devious. Very devious. And the demonic will egg it on and try to persuade you to postpone your repentance - again and again and again - and by that means keep you and your dependents in captivity. To illustrate let me share an experience with you.
The Woman with the Two Pie Dishes
"I came to a house and opened the back door. There, in the kitchen, was an old woman working feverishly on a dessert. What she was doing, however, was most unusual, and when I enquired about it, she was most irritated and mumbled something angrily I did not understand, as though she resented my enquiry and intrusion.
"There were, on the kitchen table, two dishes - the first contained a pastry bottom filled with fruit that looked like large black currants that had been made some time before. The woman was scooping out the black currants into another dish containing freshly baked pastry as fast as she could because, I suppose, she considered that the former pastry was no longer satisfactory or was too old. She did it in a manner which suggested that she did not wish to be observed, hence, I suppose, her annoyance that I was looking at her. The woman in question reminded me of a Jehovah's Witness lady I had once known in England who was little active in that organisation but who nevertheless retained many of their beliefs. Her religion was a 'private' one."
This was a dream I had on the morning of 21 September. Upon awakening I of course remembered the parables Yah'shua had taught about sewing new cloth patches on old clothes and filling old wineskin bottles with new wine. The reason I share this with you this evening at the commencement of Yom Kippur this year is because we have just commenced a 24 hour fast and the context of this parable was Pharisee criticism of the fasting habits - or presumed lack of it - of Yah'shua's disciples. There are some important principles here about repentance that we need to examine before we conclude this season of Teshuvah.
"But the Pharisees and the teachers of the Torah (law) who belonged to their [Pharisaic] sect complained to [Yah'shua's] disciples, 'Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?' Yah'shua answered them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.' They said to him, 'John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.' Yah'shua answered, 'Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.' He told them this parable: 'No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better'" (Luke 5:30-39, NIV).
Fasting at Yom Kippur
Today we are fasting and so actually were the disciples of fasting though they made no public announcement of it unlike the Pharisees who loved to parade their 'righteousness' as they supposed. Yah'shua had instructed His disciples to keep their fasting private and to conduct themselves in such a way that it would not be obvious that they were actually fasting. It was something each disciple was to keep between himself and Yahweh. Throughout the year when we fast we do not announce it and so virtually nobody knows. When we fast with that attitude in mind, it then ceases to be a mere outward observance and quietly assumes its true meaning and purpose, which is as a tool to assist us in drawing closer to our Heavenly Father. However, it is rather difficult, if not impossible, for us to conceal fasting at Yom Kippur since it is a commandment that devolves upon all New Covenant Israelites so we all 'know' that we're fasting or ought to be fasting. Since we can hardly conceal what we're all doing today we must make a special effort to ensure that our motives for fasting are pure and set-apart. No one should be judging another whether they are fasting or not since we all know the commandment and some may have good reason to eat or drink. So I hope you will not pass judgment on anyone here on what they are supposed or not supposed to be doing because this is between them and Yahweh. The only thing that I do ask is that those who aren't fasting for health or age reasons please show consideration by eating and drinking discretely and not in front of those who are fasting, for obvious reasons. And likewise, those who are fasting, if they know that others are not fasting, should not pass judgment on them.
Systems of Religion
For the last forty days we have been talking about how we individually should be repenting and we have done so pretty extensively. But there is one last area that we have not dealt with, one that is very important because it concerns our right-relationship with others of the Body.
The Pharisees, as is well know, habitually fasted for two days out of every seven. They did this as a religious observance and must have believed that that made them a 'cut above' everyone else. They certainly liked to parade their fasting, their long tzitzits and other items which would catch the public eye and gain respect and admiration.
We find this egotistical trait in all religions. In Hinduism, for example, so-called 'holy men' who physically deny themselves, perform feats involving pain, cover their hair in cow dung, sit meditating for weeks, and other things that your average person does not feel much inclined to do, are viewed with great admiration. In most religions where such things are done, your average person becomes dependent on such holy men because of a 'special deal' that is offered them: respect, reward and maintain such holy men and part of the 'merit' (or karma) that these men have supposedly acquired because of these activities becomes yours by association and good deeds done to them. Thus without fasting, but by covering yourself in metaphorical dung or meditating for weeks you too, in this religious system, can acquire 'blessings' by simply feeding or otherwise recognising their status over you which you yourself do not feel inclined to do.
The Spirit of Priestcraft
This false system under its many guises is called priestcraft. It is a system of exploitation that enables an élite to maintain power it neither deserves nor has any right to. The system of religion that existed in Yah'shua's day hid itself behind not only the legitimate and set-apart Torah commands but also a mountain-load of burdensome human tradition and rules. The attitude that the Pharisees had towards Torah and Talmud is the same many Christians so-called have towards their Bible and denominational traditions. Even within the Messianic movement this Pharisaic attitude still sways. New believers, as well as those repenting from antinomianism (lawlessness), are often looked down on and held to spiritual ransom by unrighteous leaders who insist you must come to them because only they know the 'secret' of how to make a tzitzit, how and when to fast, how to interpret Torah and so on. The fact of the matter is almost everything we need to know is plainly stated in Torah if we'll only be bothered to study it. And you can tie your tzitzit any way you want - all that's required is that there's a blue thread in it.
External and Internal Religion
Excelling in outward acts of devotion is totally irrelevant to Yahweh because whatever we are commanded to do externally (like fasting) has, as its purpose, an inward change of heart which only Yahweh can see fully. Therefore two people may be fasting externally, one of whom is accepted and one who isn't. Is the outer form important? Well, yes, it is if for no other reason than Yahweh has commanded it in the external physical world, so there must be a purpose for it externally too.
We saw last Sabbath some of the mitzvot, the violation of which carried the death penalty. And whilst in the New Covenant we are not executed for violating these commandments, the breaking of them is still a serious sin. Killing someone, for instance, is not a sin simply because our heart is filled with the darkness that leads to the act of murder - the act of murder itself - an outward act - is obviously a terrible thing. Likewise, when adultery is committed, it's not only the state of the heart that matters, or the hearts affected by adultery, but the actual sexual intercourse itself is evil because it is a violation of the physical temple of the Ruach haQodesh. Similarly, breaking the Sabbath is not just a matter of whether your heart is right or wrong but the fact that you are doing external work when you're not supposed to be. When Yahweh judges us it is both for the sinful condition of the mind and heart AND the physical action BECAUSE YAHWEH JUDGES INNER AND OUTER AS ONE. We're judged as a whole person.
The Totality of Yahweh's Domain
It is a grave mistake to separate inner from outer. That is why when we sin under Torah there is both inner and outer punishment. There is the punishment that comes from guilt and there is the punishment that comes from various outer penalties. Under the Old Covenant this included economic penalties, floggings and executions. By the implementation of such, society was constrained both externally by force and internally by appeal to conscience. The two must always operate hand-in-hand. Because man's judgment is flawed, because his heart is not necessarily pure, Yahweh gives detailed legislation in Torah. It might make heavy reading but it is lifesaving and therefore important. We have to understand and accept that the domain of Yahweh is not just the heart but also the outer world also. He expects to be accepted and recognised as the judge of both. The problem that we have - and this is a point I raise many times - is that inner and outer rarely match. Peoples actions don't always match their true heart and mind. The Pharisees fasted and paid tithing but their hearts were all wrong. The 'natural' response at such hypocrisy is to 'forget' or 'dismiss' the outer and concentrate only on the inner. But there is actually no scriptural precedent for that. The only 'outer' we can 'forget' or 'dismiss' is that which neither Yahweh nor Yah'shua have prescribed, such as the Talmudic traditions of the Pharisees or the religious traditions of men generally.
Yom Kippur is a very simple observance. We fast for 24 hours and we observe a strict High Sabbath or Shabbaton for the same period of time. Those are the external obligations on us if we are under covenant - if we say we belong to Yah'shua and wear the label 'Christian' or 'Messianic'. So long as you still claim to belong to Yahweh, no matter how spiritually lost you may be, no matter how many spiritual issues you may have, you are still under covenantal obligation to observe the Sabbath which He has appointed and you will be judged if you fail to do as He says. It's called obedience whether your heart agrees or not, whether you are suffering because of it or not, because that's not only what Yahweh expects but it's also the example that Yah'shua set. Our faith is simple and we are called to simply obey:
"Although He (Yah'shua) was a son, he learned obedience from what He suffered" (Heb.5:8, NIV).
Obedience and 'Hypocrisy'
If anyone tells you that you are a hypocrite for observing outwardly what you are not observing inwardly, remember that everyone - when placed on the scales of Yahweh's righteousness - falls short in something or other: "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of Elohim" (Rom.3:23, NIV). But because a child makes mistakes in school doesn't give that child the right to stop attending school, whatever the reason. It's the same at work - you don't quit a job because you don't do it 100% perfectly, whatever the reasons may be. We are all hypocrites in something or another. If the person then tells you not to observe the outer because it does not equal the inner, then they are inciting you to lawlessness, disobedience and rebellion.
Think about it: which is better? Let us say that Brother Smith feels like committing adultery but he forces himself externally not to do so. Inner and outer do not agree. Should he then abandon self-restraint and go and commit adultery so as not to be reckoned a hypocrite? Yah forbid! We must discipline ourselves to do good works even if our hearts don't agree for the sake of others and for the sake of obedience. Is that not love? To not commit adultery, to not steal, to not kill, to not miss Yom Kippur when our heart wants to do the opposite, is the most loving thing you can do, surely? But we can't leave it there - obviously. For the danger is not in the realisation of the discrepancy between inner and outer but is believing the lie that our forced outward compliance means that our heart is right. That's what we have to watch out for! Doing what is right externally is the first stage of repentance and is the response to love from somewhere. The heart may still be in uproar BUT the fact that the will is choosing to override the desire to sin and impose restraint indicates that LOVE IS AT WORK. Do not be deceived into thinking that someone whose heart is 'against' what he chooses not to do is not loving. The fact that something somewhere says 'no' indicates that deep down the true heart - the true self - has chosen not to listen to an alien power that may feel like us but which is an invader. The reason inner and outer don't equal one another is because there is a demonic presence and we are hosting it.
I beg you not to judge the demonic power as being the person him- or herself. This is by no means to exonerate the person for making the wrong choices that lead to sin and demonic infestation. We are absolutely judged for such choices. But once you realise that when you see someone fighting the demonic inclinations of the heart and saying 'NO!' to sin outwardly, know that the reason they are not is because they still love, you will view them with a more merciful attitude. It is this understanding that gives us the capacity to love our enemies - those who would otherwise be our friends once freed of Satan's influences.
The goal is the fullness. The goal is equalising the heart with the outward action and vice versa. But don't let that goal blind you to what's actually going on in others, especially if they have made wrong choices, admitted demons, and are fighting an internal civil war. Show mercy! Pray for them! Be wise, though, because the demonic in them will seek to influence and destroy you.
False Guilt Trips
If you are in that position - if you have made bad choices and are at war within, please do not fall for the false guilt trip that Satan gives when he accuses us of hypocrisy and tries to make us abandon the outer as well as the inner because we continue doing what our heart doesn't want us to do. When he gets you to do that, he gets you to apostasise completely. Don't let the demonic anger override all sense and reason. Say 'no' to breaking any of the commandments. Hang on and continue working out your salvation. Choose to fight the enemy within in by asking Yahweh to show you the lies you have come to believe that allow the enemy access in the first place.
This ought to be common sense. Someone who stays away from the assembly of believers is less likely to get help than one who regularly meets together, as Paul admonished, in order to be "spurred on toward love and good deeds". We are to gather for fellowship, prayer, Scripture reading, preaching and teaching (1 Tim.4:13; 1 Jn.1:3,7; Col.4:2). So even if you feel a hypocrite, even if you feel a failure, even if you feel like running because of guilt, praise Yah that you are here! The fact that you have any guilt at all is evidence that you want to repent. Those who stay away and refuse to do what is right because they feel no guilt and no spurring to be with loved ones demonstrate that they have killed off their heart and their relationship with Yah'shua, and surrendered to the enemy. We should all be here helping one another not heading for the lawless wilderness.
I must warn you all again, as I do often, not to rest on the laurels of the past. Our righteousness is counted in terms of what we are IN NOW, not yesterday. What use is having been in the salvation of Yah'shua before if you are not in it any longer? Never forget the fall of Solomon. You are to be judged today based on what you are now.
This morning I had the shock of my life when Yahweh showed me in vision the state of a woman who had been spiritually strong, vigorous and full of wisdom in Yahweh just a few months ago. She was dressed like some New Age version of an Amazon warrioress with metal plates on her shoulders and elbows, and snake-like metal wrapped around her arms. In making one fateful choice, she murdered her heart and let demons 'protect' her feelings, and threw away everything she had fought for for years. It is amazing and horrifying when this happens and we never believe it is possible until it actually. But do not be deceied. We are ALL one step away fromn the Kingdom of Darkness because where we 'are' spiritually depends on a single choice - whether we abide IN Yah'shua or not. However, as I have warned you before, getting back is rarely as easy as leaving. It depends how much damage you have let Satan wreck. If you have departed, don't delay your return a second longer!
Have you ever seen the artwork on the boxes of computer hardware like motherboards? They usually have very seductive-looking women on them dressed in fancy armour - they look just like demons! The imagery which is everywhere to be found on the wrappings of PC equipment is straight from hell, most of it. That artwork is so common that people have become accustomed to it. Worse, they view it as something 'cool' and desirable. But what it's doing is programming you to accept demonic imagery and ways of thinking and feeling - they want you to 'project' yourselves into this kind of psychic matrix where people are 'cool' and 'tough' - the very opposite of the way Yahweh wants us to be.
Old Fruits are Not Evidence
So who was this woman I saw in vision with the two pastry dishes? The heart of the pie is the fruit - pastry without fruit isn't very appetising. The pastry, moreover, assumes the form of the dish, doesn't it? The dish is the letter of the Torah which shapes our lives - creates our lifestyle - and the pastry, which follows its shape, is the spiritual blessing deriving from obedience. But the fruit is of the Ruach which is contained IN and BY the lifestyle. This fruit must be renewed daily through being in right heart-relationship to Yah'shua. The righteousness of the past is the not the righteousness of the present and you CAN'T transfer it to today. Each day brings fresh fruit as we align ourselves to Yahweh. This woman was trying to bring forward her right-relationship with Yahweh into the present but she was CHEATING and LYING and that is why she was so irritated because she had been FOUND OUT.
If anyone comes trying to minister to you on the strength of their anointing of the past, but have since fallen, do not be deceived by them. They are deceivers. As I said at the beginning of this address, people are not always as they seem. Check them out carefully. Make sure that they are still walking in the commandments, still true to their spouses and still under proper accountability.
Brethren and sisters, former fruits are not evidence of our present standing with Yahweh. All that matters is where we are with Him today. The righteousness of Solomon meant nothing on his deathbed because he had turned away from the living Elohim and to paganism. Your condition last Yom Kippur has absolutely no bearing on your condition this Yom Kippur. It is for your behaviour over the last year, and where you stand today, that you will be judged.
We have 24 hours to get ourselves right with our Heavenly Father. Today you are either alive and in shalom in the Ruach living in a way pleasing to Yahweh, true to your spouses and families, or you are driven by demons and are hell-bound because you have forsaken your "first love" in deed if not in name (Rev.2:4). There is a fierce battle going on right now, and doubtless it will continue beyond Yom Kippur. Yesterday Yahweh showed me some things that are going on in the invisible and visible that made my heart rise up in pain and anger, leading me to make some far-reaching decisions for the coming year. He has called me to a new ministry that will take me to places I have never been to before. He is calling you all too. There is something new for every soul gathered here today and it will not be last year's fruit. There's a new harvest!
I am fixing on my spiritual armour and I invite you to do the same too. But first there must be a full repentance and we have been given 24 hours to get things right before I call you tomorrow evening before sunset for the Neilah service. In the meantime, you are invited back tomorrow morning to gather again when I want to share some more thoughts and experiences with you. May your minds and hearts be stayed on Him in earnest prayer is my own prayer now in Yah'shua's Name. Amen.
See Isaiah 11:4
1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5