Nothing else will. And in the process, we will become sanctified and more Yahweh-like! That is the purpose of life. And it is not random, it is not purposeless. If we do what is right, we will gain not only here in our equipping but also access to all that treasure stored in heaven when this test is over (Mt.19:21; Lk.12:21). If we do what is wrong, then we will have to endure the company of the same evil forces we hate in being cooped up with them in hell for goodness knows how long. If keeping company with them in the here and now is bad enough, imagine a protracted stint but with full, visible awareness of them. Imagine sharing a tiny overheated cell with a 1 watt bulb for lighting in a prison with no guards or protection for the rest of your life with a mass murderer, rapist, sadomasachist, Yahweh-hater, blasphemer and thief and maybe you'll get some idea of what hell is like.
Satan Carries a Torah Scroll
Knowing that we have a rôle in this drama called mortal earth-life helps a bit, doesn't it? Our conduct not only brings numerous blessings to us and to those whom we impact but it also condemns the fallen angels and vindicates Yahweh's Word. Do you see why Torah is so important now? Do you see why we must be passionate about it? Torah is the Cosmic Law Book and the angels are either justified or condemned by it. The rules are few and simple - far simpler and far less in number than man's rules or laws. Our success or failure both for ourselves and our families rests on our adherence to them or not. Satan carries a Torah scroll around with him looking for every opportunity to accuse and afflict you. He is bound by that Law Book. He can't ignore it. His supernatural powers cannot circumvent it. It is ironic that man, who is not supernatural, thinks that he can! When you disobey, he gets a ticket into your inner universe - your soul - to cause havoc. When you obey, Yah'shua is enthroned in that universe and showers blessings innumerable, planting them in the botanical garden of your heart. When a parent or one in authority receives these blessings, his children are likewise blessed. When he allows Satan in, his children are cursed. Herein is our RESPONSIBILITY but the flesh nature hates it so much that it seeks to run away from it just as the demons once did. They abandoned their responsibility and their duty in order to be 'free' .... of responsibility and duty. They wanted to have a nature that is totally contrary to Yahweh's - a nature that is quite simply 'freedom without responsibility'. And that nature is anti-love. It is hate. It is evil. It's selfish. It's what our flesh wants because our fleshy nature comes from Satan.
The Responsibility to Choose
We have to take responsibility for every choice we make. We can't blame others by saying: "He made me do it". We can choose to react to our circumstances as Yah'shua would have done or as a demon does. Knowing as we now do that the life that happens to us isn't always simply a matter of what we have done or have not done enables us to cope with the inexplicable and the injustices of life just as Job did. We cope because we realise that we are part of a drama that is bigger than us and yet which includes us in its final outcome. We are not discardable but infinitely precious and wanted. We need not be fatalists as Shakespeare was or try to measure salvation in terms of karma as Hindus, Buddhists and new Agers do, because such is far too simplistic an approach to life. Life is about choosing how to respond to whatever is laid in our path and for whatever reason. When we respond with love, we bring glory to Yah'shua and receive an influx of blessings. When we respond with hate, we vindicate Satan and part of us dies. It's really as simple as that.
What We are Here to Build
The stage is not, moreover, the 'end'. The 'civilisation' that is being built around you in the world consists of temporary props that will be cleared away at the end of the play. So don't get too hung up on them. We are not here to build Thousand Year-long Third Reichs, Roman Empires, Democracies or New World Orders - the present system has only one fate: flames and ashes. It's all temporary. And as far as the different worldly systems being 'good' or 'evil', it's all relative and all must be judged in the light of Yahweh's system. We can as easily grow and prosper spiritually under a dictatorship or a genuine democracy which is why the New Testament teaches us that we should pray for all governments - and remember, the context then was a Roman dictatorship. We are to live above the system, not get swallowed up into it. But the world is not, as believers in karma teach, illusion or maya. It's real enough. Don't fall for the Gnostic lie that matter is evil or the occultic one that it is impermanent. Life may be a stage but when the stage is cleared the world will be transformed into its final glory and its ultimate form for which it was originally created. When Yah'shua returns we'll still be walking on this clod of earth. What will be gone is the world system and its pollutions, not the earth or matter itself. The goal is not to vacate our physical bodies as quickly as possible but to complete our missions in them and await their restoration and transformation.
What Angels Have Endured
I wonder if we realise what Yahweh's faithful malakim have had to go through all these millennia? Yes, they're supernatural and not encumbered by the same sorts of weaknesses as we are yet they have for now been denied things that we take for granted, like marriage, family life and homes. They remain under-appreciated by humans who have these blessings. They too have made sacrifices. I wonder if we realise how faithful they are in looking after us? Are we, in our turn, going to vindicate them by living the kind of life Yah'shua wants so that their efforts will not have been in vain? They are, after all, a part of the same Family of Yahweh as we are. Could we please thank them by adhering to Yah'shua and obeying His commandments so that we can have the eternal life to love and convert those of our own Adamic race who are lost? Could we possibly get this vision?
You and I cannot possibly make 'sense' of all that's going on around us by trying to assemble a meaningful picture from mere observation. Don't you think Job tried ... and failed? Didn't Solomon? What we are a part of is infinitely larger than our ability or capacity to comprehend. The reason there are so many distinctive philosophies or life and religions is man's vain attempt to make sense of what it much larger than himself. We do not need to figure it all out - Yahweh has already done that for us in the Bible, if we'll just trust it. We have all we need to know and we will grow in wisdom and stature as we rely on what He has provided and not go seeking for add-ons in forbidden territory.
In the light of this truth we can make more sense of lives such as that of Jeremiah. His life seemed so thankless, didn't it? He preached a message all his life that was never received and for which he suffered terribly. Almost no one responded. Almost no one was saved. But there was a purpose in it. There was a purpose for his own soul and there was a purpose in terms of the cosmic drama. The very fact that Judah was condemned by Yahweh through him also brought with it the promise of happier times in the future. By postponing Judah's punishment - had that been possible even - Jeremiah would also have postponed her redemption. If it is the reason for repentance - as it was recently in our calendar during Teshuvah - then it is there precisely so that a season of joy can follow because without repentance there can be no joy. Finally, Jeremiah, by his selfless sacrifice, vindicated Yahweh and demonstrated to those angels who had been true that Yahweh was worthy of such great love and devotion, and to those that rebelled, that their punishment was, and is, just. You see, angels don't have mortal bodies and a carnal nature as we do. They don't have to struggle under limitations. They made their choice in the bright light of spiritual day, knowing all truth, which is why there is no forgiveness for those who rebelled. By watching us love when everything is sometimes being lost inspires them and confirms that Yahweh is good. When we suffer for righteousness' sake, we are Yahweh's own living testimony that He is worthy of all devotion and praise, otherwise why else would we do it? One who is trustworthy and loyal is precious above rubies, as it is written of the good wife:
"The heart of her husband safely trusts her" (Prov.31:11, NKJV).
Loyalty in true Torah-obedient love brings safety.
A Foundation of Effort and Sacrifice
All good things rest upon a foundation of effort and sacrifice. Our redemption comes only at the price of Yah'shua's suffering. Our redemption comes only at the price of Yahweh's broken heart in sending His Son to Calvary. Our children's happiness comes only at the price of our sacrificing for them, just as our parents sacrificed for us ... or should have done. And when parents don't sacrifice, the children suffer. We learn to sacrifice only by the example of those who sacrificed for us because in observing and interacting with that sacrifice, something deep within is touched and awakened that alerts us to our true divine origin in heaven.
The soul that has never thus been touched is, in a very real sense, deprived because his only example is the satanic alternative. And needless to say our hedonistic society, which puts self first and worships man rather than Elohim, has ensured that children not only fail to make contact with the principle of sacrifice but in so being deprived fail to make contact with the divine within which is itself rooted in sacrifice. Which leads to this inevitable conclusion: if men and women are to make contact with the divine, and if they have not been taught the principle of sacrifice by their parents who are living this principle out, how are they going to learn it? They have to learn it from somewhere. They have to be inspired from somewhere. And yes, if you haven't already figured it out, we, who have embraced the Sacrifice of Yahweh's Only Son, have to be that instrument of inspiration. No one else will do the job, will they? Our is the ministry of reconciliation, is it now? But how can we reconcile others if we are not ourselves reconciled? And by what means shall we reconcile and be reconciled? It is written:
"...Elohim , who reconciled us to Himself through Messiah and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that Elohim was reconciling the world to Himself in Messiah, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Messiah's ambassadors, as though Elohim were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Messiah's behalf: Be reconciled to Elohim" (2 Cor.5:18-20, NIV).
Are you still calling yourself a Christian or Messianic Believer? To be one requires constant, lifelong effort, sacrifice and suffering because it is by this means that the love of the Father is revealed to lost souls - it was by this means that the love of the Father was revealed to us, by the sacrifice and suffering of His Son.
Christian Labels and False gods
Now it should equally be obvious that not everyone who calls themselves a 'Christian' or 'Messianic' is ready to respond to that calling because the vast bulk of those who wear these labels follow other gods and not the true One, Yahweh-Elohim. Also, it should be obvious, that there are people in this world who neither know nor profess Yah'shua as their Master - or who may even belong to false traditions - who choose the sacrificial way, live it, and inspire others to do the same. These are they whom Paul says live the Torah without even knowing it. They are walking the Redeemer's Path without knowing His Name, responding to His Nature which they have admitted into their hearts, and in so doing have received Him to one degree or another. Yahweh knows these souls, blesses these souls, and is gathering these souls, even if by ways we do not yet comprehend. They may be indirectly and inadvertently sacrificing to demons without knowing it by serving false systems and religions (as Paul did with Talmudism) but there is hope for them - more hope than perhaps some who have met and known Yah'shua, rebelled, and who now only live for themselves. That's why Paul was redeemable. That is why we must be careful in judging others for whilst we can observe actions and behaviour only Yahweh truly knows what is going on in the depths of each man's heart and what he would choose were the blindfold to be taken from his eyes. More than likely they are the elect who have been temporarily deceived because of all the lies Satan has told in the world about Yahweh and Yah'shua.
Learning Contentment on the Stage
If the world is a grand stage upon which many dramas are being played out, and if only Yahweh has the complete overview, how then are we to live lives of contentment? How are we to find shalom? Should we even seek it? Or should we just grit our teeth through life and await better times in the resurrection? No, that is not what Scripture teaches.
Paul reminded Timothy that "godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Tim.6:6, NKJV) not as something that would be 'nice' were it 'possible' but as a reality every believer can know. But to obtain it, we must first have a grasp of reality and gain as much of a vision of the bigger picture that Yahweh will permit us to. To get this contentment does, first of all, require that we get the right perspective of what this life is for. In the next breath the apostle writes:
"For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content" (1 Tim.6:7-8, NKJV).
Which Currency Do You Use?
We need to pause to think about this. Is Paul really saying that "having food and clothing" is enough to be content with? What he is saying that what we brought with us into this world - which materially was nothing - is enough for us to have heart-contentment. In fact, he insists, this is where heart-contentment comes from. That begs the question: what did we have before we came into this world? If you don't believe in pre-existence, you immediately have a problem, because it means you had nothing in your heart either because you didn't have one! Like Adam and Eve, before we were born into this world, we lived in the presence of Yahweh and that was our contentment. The problems occur when we lose that connection, as is so easily done in this sphere of existence where the spiritual is largely invisible to our physical eyes and we must live by faith to secure and maintain it. And what problems are those? Well, in the absence of the currency of universal spiritual exchange which belongs to the sons and daughters of the Most High, we seek a visible currency which we talked about last week, the love of which is the root of all evil, namely, money. Paul connects the two up:
"Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition" (1 Tim.6:6-9, NKJV).
The Wealth We Choose
And as we discussed last week, we're not just talking about monetary wealth here but other kinds of 'wealth' like self-esteem, beauty, fame, and so on. People seek wealth in all sorts of things and in particular, because everyone is seeking to be loved, they seek it in the approval of their fellow man. People want to dance before the world to be admired and praised by it. In the absence of divine love - in the absence of the Ruach haQodesh - they will compensate by making people and things into their gods, both the kosher and the unkosher. Paul is simply saying if you do this, you won't find contentment. He adds:
"For the love of money (or any other kind of human currency) is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Tim.6:10, NKJV).
The People in Our Lives
If you want to be content, living for the stage of life will not bring it. The stage and its props, whether people or things, are temporary. Think about it. 99% of the people who have been a part of your life have come and gone. The only ones that are permanent in the divine scheme are those who belong to our Master Yah'shua, and even then our interaction with them here may only be brief like two ships passing one another in the ocean. The relationships that mean the most our those of our spouses because they have a depth and binding in Messiah that is deeper than anything else. And if they are not in Messiah, then they are only temporary anyway. That is why Paul said that "godliness with contentment is great gain" - he didn't say that contentment by itself was a gain - the principle thing is GODLINESS - the Elohim-centred life.
Vision of One who Has Turned Away
Last night I saw in vision someone who used to be one of the most obedient and faithful Torah-obedient people I know. I saw that she was breaking more and more of the commandments as she descended further into the darkness. To all who once knew her it would have seemed impossible but then what King David did seemed impossible too, as we shall see presently. How we treat the commandments - whether we guard them or not as instructed by Yahweh - reveals whether the choices we have made are based in truth or lies. Any choice that leads to rebellion against Torah is not of Yahweh. If you want to know if someone's choices are in Him or not, ask them if they are still being true to Yahweh's Law. If they're not, then they belong to the lawless one, and they are not justified. Though they may give the appearance of contentment, their ungoldiness will reveal that it is a sham. They have lost, not gained.
We are Transit Passengers
I view this life much as I do a transit airport in my journey from my point of departure (my birth) to my final destination (heaven - whether in the temporary spirit dimension or the permanent resurrected Millennial world). Any other view of this life will inevitably bring disappointment because it will shape within us an essentially atheistic attitude even if we cloak it with religious words and behaviours. Do you still want contentment? I assume no one here seriously wants to be discontent, do you? No, of course not. Well, if we are agreed about this - if we agree with Paul's words that "godliness with contentment is great gain", let us continue to look at this.
Doctrine as it Relates to Contentment
We have seen what Paul said after he wrote these words but are you aware of what came before and what led him to record them? To understand Scripture, always look to see what came before and what comes afterwards. Are we ready? Then let's see:
"If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing" (1 Tim.6:3-4, NKJV).
We'll look at what he meant by "otherwise" in a moment as I don't want to bite off more than we can chew. Here we see a relationship between contentment and doctrine. A lot of people think that doctrine isn't important - that all you have to do is "love" to be content - but this is absolutely not true. Doctrine shapes the way we view Yahweh, the world and each other. It shapes the way we love because of its ultimate goal. Doctrine shows us the context of loving. And that context is always TRUTH, and specially the incarnate Truth that is Yah'shua and the lawful Truth that is Torah. That is what doctrine is. Don't forget that Satan carries around his Torah scroll for a purpose. And if he thinks it's important, we had better watch out and start viewing it even more seriously than he does.
Agree to Wholesome Words
The commandment here is to "consent" or "agree" (ISRV) "to wholesome words". We must have a heart that is in accord with true doctrine. Our heart must embrace it. Specifically, we are commanded to consent to the words of YAH'SHUA. Simply put, any teaching that does not agree with the words or teachings of Yah'shua is FALSE.
Now most Christians will reflexly say "Amen!" or "Hallelu-Yah!" to that until they read out other words of Yah'shua that contradict their tradition. What words did we read out last week? Do you recall? We read His teaching to the rich man about obtaining eternal life from obeying the Torah. Do we still agree with that? Or is there some other 'teaching' that reacts against that in your heart? If there is something inside you that reacts negatively to that then that 'something' is false and must be discarded, mustn't it? Of course it must! Even if it's from an apostle, or seems to be from an apostle. And if that is the case, we'd better make sure we have not misunderstood the apostle, and that means digging deep into the word. 'Jesus first!' or 'Jesus only!' is a common evangelical war-cry that has become a cliché but do we really believe it? If we do, we'll do as Paul says, and as common sense dictates, and reject any teaching that does not agree with the words of Yah'shua which Paul calls "wholesome" because otherwise what are we agreeing with? And what is the true state of our spiritual knowledge? Yes, you know it - if we disagree with Yah'shua we are listening to PRIDE and the author of pride, Satan. And if you are doing that, what does Paul say you actually know? "Nothing"! Then Paul goes on to list the fruits of such an attitude:
"If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself" (1 Tim.6:3-5, NKJV).
What Gain Do You Seek?
Oh my! Here Paul is contrasting the false quest for godliness as "a means of gain" and the true quest for godliness which leads to real "contentment". Why did the rich man obey the commandments? Was it because he worshipped his Elohim, Yahweh? No! Yah'shua reveals that his god was money and that he lived the Torah for personal gain rather than to worship of Yahweh!
Obeying Torah is the first step but then you have to question your motives. Why do you do it? To please your pastor, father, husband, wife, mother? Or is it, as it should be, as a thank-offering for the free gift of salvation that Yah'shua gave you? We are to withdraw ourselves from people who live religious lives with false motives and we will know who these people are by their conduct, and specifically these are the people who are "obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, evil suspicions" and "useless wranglings". Paul says: "From such WITHDRAW yourselves". Yahweh takes no pleasure when we engage in such. Such intercourse serves no good because it simply entrenches the proud - those who are too puffed up to repent. We are to withdraw from such people and do what?
"But you, O man of Elohim, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses" (1 Tim.6:11-13, NKJV).
And how, last week, did Yah'shua says we were to enter into life? If you've forgotten, let me remind you:
"'...if you want to enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.' [The rich man] said to Him, 'Which ones?' Yah'shua said, ''You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' 'Honour your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.'' The young man said to Him, 'All these things I have kept from my youth'" (Matt.19:17-20, NKJV).
Entering Life and Eternal Life
So my question to you is this: how can you possess eternal life if you haven't even entered into life? And how do you expect to enter into life if you don't keep the commandments? One who possesses eternal life can only do so by first entering into life, and you can only enter into life if you are obeying the commandments. 'What about Yah'shua?' you may ask? Well, what did He teach. He taught that He was life (Jn.14:6) and the apostle John taught that the person who has Yah'shua has life (1 Jn.5:12). How to we 'have' Yah'shua? By trusting Him - by clinging to Him, relying on Him. That is the message of Pesach, is it not? We receive the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts of our hearts. But Pesach is not the end - it is just the beginning. What else does Yah'shua teach?
"If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15, NKJV).
What is commandment-keeping the sign of? That we love Yah'shua. If we do not obey the commandments, what is that a sign of? That we do not love Yah'shua. If we still claim to be loving Yah'shua while wilfully disobeying the commandments, what does that mean? It means that we are loving a different 'Yah'shua', a lawless, counterfeit Messiah, and the truth is not in us.
"If you love Me, keep My commandments (Dt.11:1,13,18). And I will ask of My Father and He will give you another comforter (Is.66:13) that will be with you forever, the spirit of TRUTH that the world is not able to receive because it has not seen and does not know. But you know because the Ruach abides with you and is in you" (Jn.14:15-17, HRV).
If you claim to love Yah'shua but are disobeying the commandments is it proof positive that you neither love Yah'shua, nor is the truth in you any longer, but you have become a liar.
Now I am speaking the truth to you today because it is pure Scripture - pure Word of Yahweh - and, yes, I am saying the same things over and over again. Why do I do thus? Because believers have become blinded by the prince of this world. Only the truth will set them free, and that truth has to be told again and again until it sinks in and is either received or rejected. What will you do? Will you receive it and remain honest? For, as one wise man once said:
"When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest" (Anon).
If you're not honest, nothing I say will make any difference, so if that is your disposition, go away and repent and then come back. You know, we have people in our online discussion group who are pretending to be honest seekers after truth. They ask many questions and pretend to be meek and ignorant. But they are liars. They're just playing a false part. They need to repent before Yahweh cuts them down!
How are You Rich?
So what if you are rich? What if you have money? What if you have been blessed with talents? What if you're beautiful? What if you are charismatic? What should you do with this wealth? Paul has the answer:
"Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living Elohim, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life" (1 Tim.6:17-19, NKJV).
Have You Laid Hold of Eternal Life?
Oh boy, there it is again - "eternal life" - and how to lay hold on it. Is Paul disagreeing with Yah'shua? (laughs). No! He is basically repeating what Yah'shua told the rich man to do but with some concrete examples on what it means to love your neighbour - "do good", "be rich in good works", be "ready to give", be "willing to share". What is this round about way of doing? Worshipping Yahweh! What blessings does it bring the doer? It lays "a good foundation for the time to come" SO THAT we "may lay hold of eternal life"! Do you see the connection? Faith without works is dead (Jas.2:20.26). Faith without works does not enable us to lay hold on eternal life because there is a connection. Faith and living Torah are inseparably connected, just as body and spirit are in the resurrection. You can't have the one without the other and if you try, faith will either diminish, or you will cease doing good works - and in the end, both.
Open Your Red Letter Bible
Brethren and sisters, those of you listening to me today and those of you reading from afar: if you call yourself a 'Christian' or a 'Messianic', may I respectfully suggest that you buy yourself an exercise or note book or diary, get a Red Letter edition of the Bible, and simply copy out every word that Yah'shua said in the Gospels, the first part of the Book of Acts, and the Book of Revelation? And when you have done that, covenant with Yahweh to obey every single word He says? Make that your doctrine and rule of faith! And then, to be absolutely sure, get a Messianic translation of the New Testament which is based on the Aramaic or Hebrew so that you can get the full meaning of the original words and concepts which tend to get smudged and obscured by Greek translations. Do that and I promise you that you will rapidly be on the road that leads to Eternal Life. And then, after you have done that, ask yourself this question: what was the Bible the apostles and first believers used between the time of Yah'shua's birth and the time the apostles started writing their gospels and epistles? And you will discover it was the Tanakh or Old Testament. When Paul, Peter and John preached, they took their Old Testaments to assemblies and only much later - after they were long dead - did some of their sermons and letters become Scripture! Now whilst I am certainly not asking you to canonise my sermons, or the sermons of anyone else, what I am saying is that it is important that we get a right perspective.
Follow the Scriptural Rule
I have absolute confidence in what I preach and teach because I follow this basic rule. Yah'shua's Scriptures were the Tanakh or Old Testament so that's where I start too. Then I read Yah'shua .... and, as expected, He 100% confirms and adheres to the Tanakh. Then I follow the writings of those who lived with Him and heard Him teach - Peter, James, John and Matthew (though Matthew was a chronicler, not a teacher). Finally, I follow the writings of those who came afterwards - Mark, Luke, and lastly Paul. Why do I do that? Because each of these groups of writers builds on what came before them and that means they cannot be understood until that which came before is understood too. We should start with the Old Testament. However, since I know Yah'shua endorsed that totally, I have no problem with people starting with the words of Yah'shua. They're Torah teachings from beginning to end.
Orders and Priorities
So here you are, on the grand stage of life, doubtless a little baffled, maybe scared somewhat, probably hurting, yet you believe in Yah'shua and you want to make sense of your life and calling. Just as there is an order in Scripture authority so there is an order in the priorities of our life. Break that order and turmoil results. Then there is usually a mad hurrying around to either hide the pain and confusion by keeping busy or a readjustment of one's world view, philosophy and religion. When this happens every time there's a crisis it usually means only one thing: we're running away from Yahweh and from Truth, and we are left comfortless. And if we're that, guess Who isn't there and why.
Last week I promised you I would share with you what King David did. Praise Yahweh he repented, unlike his son Solomon, who adjusted to paganism, keeping an outward semblance of true faith to Yahweh but nonetheless dying in his sins because he allowed himself to be steered by his family, and in particular, his unbelieving wives. That, as we saw last week, is one thing David didn't do because he remained loyal to Yahweh and to Torah, only (with one exception) embracing wives who put Yahweh first. The same was true of Jacob. But his brother Esau chose pagan wives and fathered a nation of Yahweh-haters and rebels, the Edomites. He chose the way of the flesh and brought curses to his household and descendants who even today for the most part refuse to accept the Messiah.
Learning from King David
David is rightly praised for his big heart. We all love him. We love his humanness and so gravitate to his psalms. Yet the Scriptures also starkly reveal his weaknesses and sins. These revelations are not there to humiliate him or his descendants but to instruct us and prevent us from imitating him and falling hard. Will we heed them?
Little Has Changed Over the Millennia
We may not be monarchs or even in positions of rulership or authority in our 21st century society but as humans we are no different from him. We may think of ourselves as sophisticated and enlightened but the truth is we still think and behave just as our forefathers did three millennia ago. The New Agers may believe we are in transit from Homo sapiens to Homo spiritus or some other highly evolved state but if we are brutally honest with ourselves we are all born with the same dispositions and will retain those dispositions no matter how much spiritual camouflage we attempt to put on them and pretend to be something more 'evolved'. In every age of the past and in every age of the future, until the great cleansing and restoration of all things at the return of Yah'shua the Messiah, we have been, are, and will always be, the same Homo sapiens - though personally I think we should be called Homo carnalis or Homo idiotus. The only other species of man that has ever been, is, and will be is when Homo carnalis puts on the Messiah and becomes transformed within by a power not of his own origin. Then we may rightly be said to be at one of the stages that leads to Homo christus. - and this not of ourselves (Eph.2:8, KJV).
The Passionate Heart That Fell
What happened to King David? How was it so easy for him to fall by committing the two greatest sins in creation - adultery and murder? Here was a man with the heart of Yahweh and called by Him His friend. His heart was open, his heart was alive, his heart was passionately in love with Yahweh and with His Torah and yet he was to commit two despicable crimes that Yahweh loathes that so nearly cost him his salvation. What thought processes led him to do what he did? How could he get so lost so quickly? Why was not having a full heart enough to protect him? What about those people whose hearts are so disconnected from others that they kill and seduce other men's wives without batting an eyelid or showing any remorse afterwards?
The Lessons of War
I have been teaching one of my sons about the Vietnam War. He's always been interested in weaponry but seeing and understanding the brutal truth about war has made him finally come to hate war. I am glad he is learning early. He has understood at a young age the truth of General Sherman's words that "war is hell". At the same time he has come to understand, in the words of the same General that "wars are not all evil, they are part of the grand machinery by which this world [system] is governed". We are trying, in the 21st century, to live 'above' and 'beyond' war but not doing very well. Are we surprised? Even if we had a world dictatorship that banned war, man's perverse nature would still vent itself by killing anyway. Wicked regimes kills their own people and murder their unborn. Ban one avenue for evil (war between nations) and the depraved human soul will find another one. Human diktats will not eliminate killing or evil. Only Yah'shua, living in men's hearts, has the power to do that.
Murdering Your Loyal Friend
So we are amazed when King David organises the murder of one of his most loyal subjects! Kings have enemies enough, as David knew only too well, to go and kill a faithful supporter. Not that he killed him personally but had it 'arranged' to make it look 'accidental'. Not only was he a murderer but a coward too. Do you attack people behind their backs? Especially true and loyal friends? Do you do that to your spouses? That is the coward's way. David had the commander-in-chief of the army send this honourable army officer and hero to the worst part of the battle field in the war against Ammon where his chances of survival would be low. How did wicked plan come to pass? It started when he feasted his eye on something beautiful but unlawful.
The Avalanche Caused by a Single Wrong Choice
Now David had all he could possibly have wanted. He had faithful, Yahweh-fearing wives. He didn't go marrying pagan women as his son Solomon would in order to 'protect' himself militarily and politically. He had none of that worldliness that Solomon experimented with. David was a good man, a man of the earth, a shepherd, brave and fearless who would risk his life against lions and other wild creatures to protect his flock of sheep and lambs. He was a man willing to give everything to protect those he was responsible for. Indeed, he was overprotective after losing his first child through his adulterous relationship to the point of being wicked. He protected the guilty of his own household - seditious and licentious sons whom he should have disciplined before things got out of hand instead of letting his subjects pay the price for his laxity. Yes, we can find much to fault David with. Still, the question remains: how did it all start? What was the dominoes effect that led to disaster and a troubled future for his family?
It all started with a woman who was ritually purifying herself from her monthly menstrual period. I insert the word 'ritually' here purposefully because her heart can't have been right before Yahweh. We read:
"It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, 'Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?' Then David sent messengers, and took (fetched - ISRV) her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house" (2 Sam.11:1-5, NKJV).
Obeying a Lesser Law and Breaking a Greater One
The insanity of this relationship is compounded when you realise that David would have refused intercourse with this married woman during her menstruation and yet was unwilling to obey the higher law not to commit adultery! To have sex during menstruation meant a penalty of being unclean and being separated for a fixed period of time. It was, and is, one of Israel's mitzvot. He would have been obedient to the niddah law of Torah forbidding union of the sexes during a woman's period but he was quite prepared to sleep with another man's wife which carried with it the death penalty! Moreover, Bathsheba, too, was unwilling to disobey the Torah statute on being celibate during the menstruation period and was obedient to the cleansing process required by the Law whilst at the same time being willing to betray her husband by not resisting the wicked monarch, because what David did was wicked. This is about as insane as a person claiming to be a Christian because they have told other people they are whilst all along they are living immorally like the heathen.
What on Earth Happened?
Here we have David who loves Yahweh and loves Torah and who extolls both in his poetry and songs in the Psalms. What has happened to him? He sees something very beautiful - a naked woman bathing after her period of abstinence - and he starts eagerly and lustfully desiring her. Here is a man passionately loyal and devoted to Yahweh and Torah who suddenly loses all reason. He betrays all he stands for. It is like a veil of forgetfulness suddenly blankets all of that off. And remember, this is the man who is portrayed in Scripture as a messianic figure! He is a type of Yah'shua Himself! He's a forefather of Yah'shua. Here is a man who has been drinking from the river of life - here is a man who loves and obeys the commandments who suddenly sees a beautiful woman and throws the tenth commandment clean out of the window:
"You shall not covet your neighbour's house; you shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour's" (Ex.20:17, NKJV).
To covet is to lust after or eagerly desire something or someone who does not belong to you but to someone else. To not be in a state of covetousness is to be in a state of love, even as it is written in the Torah:
"You shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am Yahweh" (Lev.19:18, NKJV).
It has All to Do With Ownership
Yah'shua called this the second great commandment after the Shema (Mt.22:35-39 cp. Dt.6:4-5). In other words, to love Yahweh and your neighbour is to respect the property rights which Yahweh has established in the Torah. To covet your neighbour's wife is to desire something that does not belong to you. Worse, to covet your neighbour's wife is to covet a marriage relationship which belongs to Yahweh! To covet someone else's relationship is to steal from the Most High. Yah'shua said:
"What Elohim has joined together, let not man separate" (Mark 10:9, NKJV).
Why? Because it's His relationship, signed, sealed and blessed by Him by the Ruach haQodesh. If we belong to Yahweh then don't you think our relationships do too? When we interfere with relationships sealed by Yahweh, we are interfering with Yahweh Himself and rejecting the whole heavenly judicial process.
When a married woman desires a man who is married to someone else, or is single, she is not coveting something that does not belong to her because a woman cannot own a man. A woman commits adultery in her heart when she desires to be owned by someone other than her lawful husband. If she desires to own a man who is not her lawful husband she is overturning other Torah statutes about who owns who. Throughout Scripture Yah'shua uses human marriage to compare the relationship between Himself and those who believe in and obey Him, the Messianic Community or 'Church'. He is described as an allegorical Bridegroom and the saved are collectively the uniplural Bride. In making this comparison Yah'shua reinforces the truth as to who owns who. The Bridegroom owns the Bride not as an inanimate object, as one might own a piece of furniture or a car, but as a person who is cherished, loved and bought for with a heart-price.
When You Know the Truth, the Heart Must Obey
Now Bathsheba - that beautiful woman whom David espied from the roof of his palace - belonged to her husband Uriah. She was his, not her own. She was not in a position to give herself to any man. She did not resist David's advances and so was as guilty as the king. Both committed a cardinal sin that placed the death sentence over them. David knew what the Torah said about adultery. He knew Torah intimately. He was meditating on it day and night as the Shema commands, and as we should be too, because from the Torah comes eternal life because it comes from the Father who is Eternal Life. But the moment he started coveting he forgot all that. A power seized that man of Elohim, this friend of Yahweh, this lover of Torah with such a big heart, and he was rendered progressively blind. For what happens now is the tendency of sin to effect a cover-up:
"Then David sent to Joab (who were at the Ammonite battle front), saying, 'Send me Uriah the Hittite.' And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered. And David said to Uriah, 'Go down to your house and wash your feet.' So Uriah departed from the king's house, and a gift of food from the king followed him. But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. So when they told David, saying, 'Uriah did not go down to his house,' David said to Uriah, 'Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?' And Uriah said to David, 'The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.' Then David said to Uriah, 'Wait here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.' So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house" (2 Sam.11:6-13, NKJV).
Carnal Solutions to Big Troubles
David has got Bathsheba pregnant and is in trouble and knows it. He and Bathsheba concoct a plan to deceive Bathsheba's husband. They'll bring him back home from the front and get him to have sex with his wife so it will look as though the baby is Uriah's. Presumably they have no intention of continuing the affair because they still fear Yahweh enough not to take their sin to the next stage. They will create a scenario that gives the appearance that what David and Bathsheba did never happened.
But Uriah loves the Torah too. Uriah loves Yahweh too. And he knows that when a soldier is at war he is not to sleep with his wife. That is why Paul advises husbands and wives to abstain by mutual agreement for spiritual warfare (1 Cor.7:5). It's the same principle. David wants Uriah to go home and sleep with his wife but this loyal soldier to both Yahweh, Torah and his King sleeps outside in a tent. Desperate, David plasters him with wine and gets him drunk so that he will forget his oaths and sleep with Bathsheba. But he again refuses.
Uriah More Righteous Than David
Here we have a man more righteous than David! Let's not forget that. Here is a monarch abusing his power and the wife of a righteous man who places this temporal power and authority above the power and authority of Yahweh. She is spitting in her husband's face and in Yahweh's face because Torah says that a woman who is approached or forcibly taken by another man must resist by at least crying out (Dt.22:24). She did neither. We too are commanded to "submit to Elohim" and "resist the devil" with the promise that he will flee from us if we do (Jas.4:7). I guarantee David would have fled if she had resisted. And had the rôles been reversed, David should have fled just as Joseph fled from the adulterous advances of Pottiphar's wife. Non-resistance to sin is a SIN AGAINST YAHWEH because of the promises given. It didn't matter that David had more temporal power. It didn't matter that he was an anointed King of Yahweh, what mattered was the truth. The power may seem overwhelming but it never is - because of the promise of protection that Yahweh gives. If Satan, a supernaturally-empowered malak will flee one who resists him, then do you not think that Yahweh will not come to the defence of one who trust and relies on Him using His supernatural powers?
Crossing More and More Lines
David has already crossed one line that separates dark from light - he has committed adultery and now he's trying to cover it up. But it hasn't worked. I can imagine the panic he is in - and when you panic, you rarely make wise choices. He has tried to cheat Uriah into believing that Bathsheba's bastard child is his own. But the Ruach constrains him. He loves his king but he loves his duty more! What a man! A righteous man. And now David crosses a second line - he plans to murder his loyal subject. He's been willing to forgo the adulterous relationship (though who knows what he was planning to do in secret had his plan to deceive Uriah about the baby's father had succeeded) but now he's trapped. He has two choices: (1) Repent or (2) Go the full way into deepest, darkest sin.
He must have weighed up the options. I can just see him feverishly calculating a whole wide range of plans. He probably has a number of excuses too - if he confesses, the people won't trust him; if the people won't trust him, the kingdom will be weakened, therefore he must guard the safety of the kingdom, and so on. I am sure he thought through all the ramifications. How foolish of Him to suppose that he could keep any kind of wickedness secret. His descendant would teach:
"For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known" (Matt.10:26, NKJV).
Abandoning Truth and Reason
You and I can argue from common sense and from the truth of Yahweh's Word but we all know that when we start crossing certain lines we forget divine reason and we start to think like demons. Read the speeches of Job's friends - don't they seem reasonable? Yet we know they were liars and Yahweh rebuked them. They had to ask Job for forgiveness and to pray for them. Each line of sin you cross leads you into progressive blindness. Never, never suppose that someone is too 'great' or 'wise' not to do it. David did, Solomon did. Watch out! Remember whom Judas consorted with.
Success in Sin Leads to Exposure and Failure
David's plan to murder Uriah works. What he does not know is that he will be exposed by the prophet Nathan. He does not know that Bathsheba's baby will die. He does not know that he will be repenting of the evil he did for the rest of his life and that his own household will be cursed because of it. Remember Amnon who raped his half-sister. Remember Absalom who seized the throne and raped some of his father's wives. Remember Adonijah who thought he should be king and wanted to have one of his father's wives. Remember Solomon and his idiocy. O Elohim, spare us from such madness! Yet all around you that is what the world is doing because it has no respect for Yahweh and His laws.
Please Don't Tempt Yahweh
Please, please never believe that experimenting with sin is 'OK'. Please never believe that Yahweh will just brush it aside after a day or two of tears. Please never believe that it won't affect your children and your grandchildren, and your great-grand children down through many generations, or your friends or relationships with others in general if you don't repent. And don't assume that the effects of sin can be erased as quickly as forgiveness blots out our debt notes to Yahweh and to others. Sin ruins the quality of life for yourself and for others around you. But if you do sin, please stop yourself before you cross more of those 'lines' - the more you cross, the worse it becomes. Never forget the fate of 'wise' Solomon. And don't assume that just because others agree with your sinning that that somehow makes it less serious. They too must answer for them.
Break One Commandment, Break All
David turned a blind eye to the 10th Commandment and ended up breaking nearly all of the others. Didn't James say that's what happens? "Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10, NKJV). But he repented. And we love him for it. Repentance is sweet.
Working Out or Postponing - Which Will It be?
So here we are on this stage called 'life'. Intelligent people know it is not an accident. Honest people retain that 'knowing' and grow in grace and truth. Life is not easy. People are rarely who we think they are. Everyone is working out their salvation - or postponing it - and I mean everyone. There are no 'super-humans'. Even Yahweh's 'greats' like David messed things up on a large scale. But we need not imitate them if we are resolved to do what is right without the distorting lens of pride. The stage is carefully crafted to test men and women. Our life circumstances are not accidental even if they may appear so. There are things we must learn, sinful dispositions to overcome, gifts to develop and press into productive service for the Master. Ultimately it boils down to one of two choices: do we choose to live for self (and therefore serve self) or live for Yahweh (and serve Yahweh).
A Prophecy of Persecution Fulfilled
About ten years ago in a meeting near a Norwegian town called Moss I prophetically drew a diagram predicting the future of this work. I accidentally came across it whilst rummaging through some files in search of some legal documentation and showed it to my family, a couple of whom had been there at the time. The chart showed our progress as it had been and was then, around 1996. At the latter end of the chart was a wave showing that systematic persecution would start in the year 2005 and develop thereafter. Those of you who have been following this ministry will know this is literally true and don't need me to tell you all that has happened since 2005 and is currently happening. Yah'shua warned:
"Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offence comes!" (Matt.18:7-8, NKJV).
You Have Been Warned About the Future
You will be able to look back and say: 'This we knew would happen, because Yahweh revealed it'. Some of you going through trial and tribulation now, or have recently been through it, were forewarned of what would come. Be strong like oaks. But those who do not want to know are quick to forget. We are all under trial. The stage is not a picnic, it is a testing ground. Yahweh, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, said:
"Therefore thus says Yahweh-Elohim: 'Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily" (Isa.28:16, NKJV).
Be careful how you judge. Take care before you act. Yahweh continues:
"Also I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet; the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place" (Isa.28:17, NKJV).
You have been told of many things to come. They will come to pass and the refuge of lies will be swept away. This goes for every living soul. That cornerstone that Yahweh laid is, of course, Yah'shua the Messiah, our Master, the "stone of stumbling and the rock of offence. And they stumbled by Him in that they not persuaded by the word to which they were established" (1 Pet.2:8, HRV).
Abandoning the Truth is Fatal
There are people who once claimed to be believers who have ceased being believers by their own profession even having testified of wonderful miracles in their life. And there are those who still claim to be believers who are now, even as I write, ceasing to be believers, because they were offended by the truth . Like our ancestors they said to themselves:
"We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hidden ourselves" (Isa.28:15, NKJV).
No Hiding Place: Heed the Warning
You can't hide! Not for long. The message I bring to all who will hear is the same one I brought, as a much younger, inexperienced and in many ways naïve minister, 20 years ago when this work began. One of the Five Commissions given us has been to bring a warning voice and I do so again, and will continue to do so, no matter what evil is concocted against us. To those who will not repent I echo these words:
"For the bed is too short to stretch out on, and the covering so narrow that one cannot wrap himself in it. For Yahweh will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be angry as in the Valley of Gibeon -- that He may do His work, His awesome work, and bring to pass His act, His unusual act. Now therefore, do not be mockers, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard from Yahweh-Elohim of hosts, a destruction determined even upon the whole earth" (Isa.28:20-22, NKJV).
Our Unsettled World Today
There are, as usual, "wars and rumours of wars" (Mt.24:6). Relations between Russia and America are souring again after a brief peace - just as was prophesied in the Olive Branch in 1989 when Russia was getting ready to throw off the yoke of communism and the world was filled with optimism for peace between East and West (OB 158). Today America and Iran are rattling sabres and the threat nuclear war is looming again. And as the West - principally the USA and Britain - bleed themselves dry in Iraq and Afghanistan, China rises.
Prophecy About China
One day the Chinese will be our masters and the pride of the West will be crushed. They have old scores to settle with us dating back to the Opium Wars. We need to repent of what we did to them in the name of 'commerce'. Respect the Chinese. Learn from them. For Yahweh is doing mighty things in that nation even as Satan is planning to use her for his own ends. Learn Mandarin or Cantonese! You may need it sooner than you think!
The Stage Changes Props
Don't make the mistake that the Judeans made in refusing to come to terms with Babylon as Yahweh told Jeremiah to tell them. When Yahweh sets up new masters, He has a purpose. The Romans have come and gone. The Germans have come and gone. The French have come and gone. The British have come and gone. The Russians have come and gone even though they are trying to make a comeback - they never will. And the Americans are our masters today but they will soon be gone. Yes, the world is a giant stage, and we, the people and the nations, are but actors playing out a script to refine our choices so that we can see them clearly and to maximise the possibility of acquiring limitless blessings if we will choose the right. But if we don't, a fearful burning awaits us.
Vision of the Five Snakes
Three says ago Yahweh showed me a vision. He showed me grass and in the grass lay five sleepy snakes. One of them was bigger than the others. Suddenly,. A large man grabbed the larger snake with both his hands and pulled the snake into two. The head wriggled furiously in its death throes until all was lifeless. The force was tremendous, tearing its middle. The other snakes lay undisturbed. Let those who have ears, hear. This is about to happen.
False Theologies and Prophets
Brethren and sisters, we are entering a time in history unlike any other time. It has been building up slowly for many years, priming itself, as it were. It will shatter for ever all the false 'Kingdom Now' theology which says that a better world will gradually come to pass in small increments - a Christian, millennial world. The prophets of this doctrine are liars. It is not how it is going to be. Even unbelievers with a modicum of common sense can see how things are developing. The time is short in which to make critical choices. I am not saying that the Tribulation is about to begin, or anything like that, because I believe other things must happens first. Yahweh's people have to be trained up for it, for one thing, and we are far from ready. Therefore Yahweh will interfere with the Illuminati clocks until He says the time is right for the man of sin to be revealed. But not before. Is he here? Oh yes, he is here, but it is not his time yet (2 Thes.2:3).
The Large Stone
Thousands of years ago the children of Israel left Egypt and stood in the Promised Land under the leadership Joshua. We read:
"Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law (Torah) of Elohim. And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of Yahweh. And Joshua said to all the people, 'Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of Yahweh which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your Elohim'" (Josh.24:26-27, NKJV).
As Joshua or Yahoshua, who is a type of Yah'shua, wrote the words of Torah and set it on a stone, so has Yahweh set the Torah in Yah'shua, the Rock, so that all who accept the true Messiah will have that same Torah written in their hearts today. Your choice - my choice - is to receive the Messiah in our hearts and along with it Yahweh's Torah so that we may do it. The oak tree is symbolic of the sturdiness of the covering given to those who do.
More Storms to Come
More storms are coming - get used to them, they will become a way of life one day until Yah'shua returns. The day of Christian Europe, Christian America and Christian Australasia is nearly over. We're entering a new Dark Age. You'd better be prepared for it and make sure your children escape it under true covering. Learn godly contentment even in the storms.
May Yahweh bless you and keep you and give you His shalom as you rest in Him this Sabbath, and always. Amen.
William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 2:7
Larry Wood, Marriage Grace: Spiritual Dynamics in the Space-Time Coordinate System
We can't be certain what their final fate will be. Some universalists believe that the demons will also be subject to the release at the Cosmic Jubilee. I do not.