- the two-faced Jupiter or Zeus of the Romans who is himself the pagan representation of Satan - who supposedly looks back at the old year and forwards to the new. It is a festival popular with Satanists today and a day which its victims dread.
Janus is the devil in disguise offering two demonic choices - to remain in the old dark ways or to choose a 'new' dark way which has promise of better results and rewards than the previous failed one. It's a bit like a searcher for happiness exchanging one cult for another, or a spouse in an unhappy marriage exchanging an abusive husband or wife for another abusive husband or wife. Janus wraps up a new package deal, like the dishonest salesman that he is, when the victim sees that the old one and its false promises are wearing thin, one that offers initial promise with perhaps a few sugar cubes of enticement before wrapping the victim in the chains of bondage once again. And in an appeal to Fortune or Fate (Is.65:11, NIV), people make New Year resolutions hoping to appease the gods, resolutions few ever manage to keep, because it is not possible to indefinitely keep covenants except in the power of the Ruach haQodesh, even - and especially - to oneself.
The Hidden Occultic New Year Ritual
Every secular New Year, people enact, without realising it, a ritual that perpetuates the demonic lie and spiritual bondage of the enemies of their soul. And it's not something that they necessarily do only on New Year's day - indeed, it's something they do practically every day of the year, hoping that better times are coming.
Now last week, you may remember, I quoted Job in his longing for 'better times' and how he waited patiently for them. And they came, because the One in whom he was relying always comes through. And you will also recall, there wasn't a lot that he could personally 'do' - he was exhausted and had come to the end of himself. Once he had finally surrendered and stopped justifying himself, simply bowing to Yahweh's will so that Satan could no longer accuse him, the pall of darkness was dispersed and his life turned around in a major way, and the blessings once more poured out of heaven as they had done before so that the writer of the book could say:
"And YHWH blessed the latter days of Iyob (Job) more than his beginning" (Job 42:12, ISRV).
The Myth of Evolving Good Fortune
One of the illusions that Satan tries to spin is essentially a spiritual version of evolutionary doctrine - everything will gradually improve in a uniform, linear sort of way. Life tells us that this rarely, if ever, happens.
Life consists of a great deal of motion up and down, back and forth, so that whilst it appears we are in movement, we are, in fact, standing still. That is the demonic way - lots of activity that takes us nowhere. Yahweh, on the other hand, can create circumstances whereby we believe we are standing still and stagnating when, in fact, there is profound spiritual movement going on invisibly.
Can you imagine Abraham, day after day, herding his cattle and sitting around in his tent apparently not doing a great deal? Life must have pretty much looked the same every day for decades. Your modern carnal, restless, entertainment-driven 21st century Western human would go mad in such an environment. He has a promise and he is waiting for its fulfillment but it never seems to come. He tries to take a short cut through Hagar but that doesn't turn out the way he hopes, does it? And then, suddenly, after decades of waiting, it's time for the promised son to arrive! It's an ordinary day, and he has three heavenly visitors who change everything. From then on, after a lifetime of waiting, a chain of events takes place and the cherished Messianic Seed arrives. Would you have that patience? Do you think Yahweh wants you to? Men and women of character know how to wait upon divine promises but equally, when Yahweh gives them the 'green light', nothing in this world will stop them.
The Story of Abraham
Now it is true Abraham has had adventures before and perhaps he thinks that he can now settle down in his old age and live the 'good life', albeit it as a nomadic herder, raise his son, and safely secure the Messianic line without much trouble. Needless to say Satan is never idle and trials and tribulations follow. You see, when we really want to do Yahweh's will, we will always provoke hell into action. Always. Carnal, fleshy Ishmael doesn't want to drop down in rank to #2. Jealousy is aroused and he gets the full backing of his mother. Furthermore, things aren't finished with our life until we have done all Yahweh planned ... or reject Him and run away.
There is nothing more threatening and frightening to Satan than someone doing the Father's will. For one thing, Satan has a reflexive rage against anyone who trusts in Yahweh because he so loathes his former head whom he rebelled against. He will do anything to spoil Yahweh's plans and generally make Him hurt, and he knows that Yahweh's soft spot is His faithful children, like Job and Abraham. And whilst Yahweh definitely hedges us in and gives us times of refreshing, we are still soldiers in His employment and our job is never done so long as we are drawing breath. Whether it is to build something for Him or simply suffer to bring glory to His Name, we all have a purpose in Him that contributes toward the better world under construction.
Life Challenges and Spiritual Movement
So let us be clear about one thing: life is not some endless comfortable plateau. Life consists of constantly moving waves. Life alternates between calm spells, squalls, storms and tempests caused by the interaction of the forces of good and evil fighting for ascendancy in your life. 'Pharaohs' and 'Abimelechs' will be around to steal your wives - or try to. Neighboring 'herdsmen' will be around to squabble over 'well rights' and seize the fruit of your hard work - or try to. Jealous siblings will be around to start squabbles and family infighting will threaten to spoil the home - if you let them. All these things will be around to challenge us to make choices and grow, or hide and stagnate.
Janus and the Illusion of Progress
Sometimes we will make wrong choices and have to backtrack to set things straight, other times we will surge ahead. What Satan will want to do, more than anything else, is create the illusion of progress, and one of his most effective agents comes in the person of the demon Janus, the New Year 'god'. How does he accomplish this? Simply, by masterfully employing mental and emotional filters so that we only see and feel what he wants us to see and feel. And never assume that Satan is so stupid as to only want you to see and feel 'evil' and 'lawlessness' - he would never fool the elect for a season that way - he employs good feelings and orderliness in his mix too. He will recruit your sense of fairness, kindness and philanthropy towards your fellow man - do we not find good men and women in devilish - religious and secular - organisations trying to do good? Some of the most devoted people I have ever met have been communists, fascists, and cultists. They're the right people in the wrong places. Equally we find devilish people lurking in the Messianic Assembly, waiting to thieve and despoil.
Mixing Good with Evil
What Satan does is to only allow us to see and feel things selectively so as to give us a distorted image of the past and point us towards a distorted image of the future. To prevent you going down another path - and especially the Path laid out by the Saviour - he will set up warning signs or triggers along the way and try to alarm you into not to taking those lifesaving turnings because (he will try to persuade you to believe) they will only bring you 'misfortune' and 'unhappiness'. Obviously you would expect Satan to 'cry wolf' and deceptively signpost the path to the Tree of Life with warning signs against going there, wouldn't you? His purpose is to manipulate your reason and feelings so that you no longer think clearly but rather act impulsively and illogically, blurring the lines between truth and lies with passion, fear and pain.
So the principle behind the Janus spirit is splitting one evil into two and then presenting a choice - 'will you follow a career of burglary or armed robbery?' 'Will you marry a psychopath or a schizophrenic?' 'Will you get drunk on vodka or beer?' These are, of course, obviously exaggerated illustrations to make a point. When it comes to splitting the soul - which is achieved through believing lies about oneself or Elohim or other people, and then disobeying the protective hedge of the commandments - Satan has a pretty predictable system which he sets upside you. I have seen it time and time again.
Twin Sisters of Darkness
Firstly he gives you a choice - do you want to be pitied for your life's problems? Then have people gather around you to unconditionally comfort you and win people by getting their sympathy for a poor, helpless vulnerable creature like yourself who 'deserves' to be taken care of (that later comes to be seen as an inalienable right) - or do you want to go to the opposite extreme and get violently angry at the perceived unfairness of life? Satan sets up these two poles - a passive 'victim' mode (which is presided over by Lilith) and an active, angry 'I'll do it my way' mode (which is presided over by Hecate). Janus is the demon that keeps the two apart because - and this is the big discovery I made this New Year - no matter which mode you choose, you actually end up with BOTH.
How Janus Splits the Mind
When a person seeks solutions to problems apart from Yahweh, Janus splits the mind and heart into two aspects - one Lilith-based and the other Hecate-based with a third aspect in the middle which is both and neither. It's the occultic balancing force (so-called), the neutral player, the interface between the Yin and Yang, which has to choose between the two extremes as the situation demands: "is a self-pity response here to my advantage - to win by eliciting a paternalistic or maternalistic sympathy for our helplessness - or a display of anger to cower those around me into submission?" Either way, the soul - under demonic tutelage - soon discovers what works best when, and life consists of a seesawing to figure which works best at any time. Most people decide what 'works best for them' so they end up being either predominantly Lilith- or Hecate-based, but both modes are always there, because they are like the north and south poles of a single demonic magnet.
Satan's Spiritual Dolly Mixture
Now most people - except those who have decided to accept a demonic submissive rôle to these types of people (Hecate and Lilith have their dom and sub rôles too), which even they get fed up with after a while - get tired of the sickly-sweet, slippery, snaky and manipulating Lilith - and the bad-tempered, rude, bludgeoning bossy Hecate - and move on. There is so much that a soul is willing to tolerate. So Satan comes along and redresses his shop-window - there are many different styles of 'Lilith' and 'Hecate', the most persuasive being the intelligent ones who can keep up the illusion a little bit longer thereby. It all boils down to a game of controlling people so as to keep them in your orbit as either comforters or punch-bags to vent ones woes and angers, respectively. Either way, or in combinations of both, the attention is kept on self, which Yahweh says has to die, because self is of the flesh.
Why People Hang On to the Illusion
You may ask, why it is people that people cling on to these Hecatic and Lilithic modes of false life so tenaciously? Well, it can be because they know nothing else but more likely it is because they don't want to die to self. Old habits die hard. The self loves to be worshipped - it loves the sycophantic flatteries of those who think that there is something to be gained by being in the 'in' crowd of Lilith's and Hecate's, especially the successful ones in life who have drawn crowds of admirers, because the more 'faithful' the Lilithic or Hecatic soul follows Satan, the more satanic 'gifts' he bestows upon them.
A Lesson from Alexander the Great
A few days ago I watched the movie directed by Oliver Stone called Alexander, starring Colin Farrell hoping to enjoy a biographic film about one of the most charismatic and successful personalities of military history - Alexander the Great. I absolutely do not recommend you watch it - it was a propaganda piece for witchcraft and homosexuality. For sure, the Hollywood interpretations aside, Alexander, like Hitler, was a magnetic and charismatic personality whom people were willing to follow and die for, hoping thereby to participate in the dazzling glory of this the world's most incredible conqueror and gain some measure of fame and 'immortality'. He was a foreshadowing of the evil Antiochus Epiphanes who tried to eliminate Torah-study and -worship in Syrian Palestine by making the Jews Greek. At the age of 25, Alexander had already conquered vast territories but could not stop - he was driven by a lust for more until in India he finally exhausted himself and suffered battle wounds that would eventually lead to his death. He was consumed by an enormous ego which gained respectability by hiding it in the form of Macedonian nationalism - he regarded the Greeks as the Master Race destined to rule the world, much as the Nazis did last century and some extremist Talmudic Jews do today.
Ego Glues the Repulsive Parts of Sin Together
Janus presides over the splitting of the mind and heart into two apparently polar natures - the Lilithic and Hecatic - who appear antagonistic but are in reality on the same side masterfully playing the good cop/bad cop rôle in their dupes. What keeps the system in place is the ego - the desire to rule the self. The battle between Caesar and Cleopatra which resulted in a union was classic Hecate vs. Lilith. Combined they made a most powerful force of evil.
I don't know what you did on New Year's day and I shan't be asking. People get all excited about it because of an artificial change of numbers representing a change of years on the Roman calendar. There's a mood, usually optimistic. The soul needs hope. People let of fireworks, drink lots of alcohol, have a party and call it 'living life'. However, the only real hope comes through living out the Divine Cycle, not Satan's counterfeit ones with their endless pagan deities. Our New Year - Yahweh's New Year - comes in the Spring at Nisan 1, in late March or early April. We can look forward to Passover or Pesach. Why can we do that? Because Yahweh has consecrated these days which He expects us to observe so that He can give us His gifts of the Ruach. This is not mere ritual or ordinance. These activities are literally impregnated with the Ruach haQodesh. When we gather in His Name, whether according to commandment or personal choice, He is there! There is always something present at every human gathering in His Name and especially at times He has appointed!
Alexander and Dionysus
Alexander the Great's favourite 'god' was Dionysus, also known as Bacchus, the demon of the so-called beneficial fellowship of alcoholic inebriation. Every time you go to a drinking party it is to that same fellowship. It should come as no surprise for you to learn that Dionysus was a son of Zeus/Jupiter/Satan and is described as being 'man-womanish'. Alexander was married to Roxanne (a Bactrian Princess) and Stateira (a Persian Princess) but also had a male lover, Hephaestion, who was (according to one interpretation, which the movie chose to accept) the main love of his life. Whatever the complexities of Alexander's personal life may have been, there is no doubt he came under multiple demonic entities, resulting in him awarding himself the Persian title, Shahanshah or 'King of Kings', a blasphemy which arguably may have ended his life at 33, as this title belongs to Yahweh alone (1 Tim.6:15; Rev.17:14; 19:16). Like his spiritual descendant, Antiochus IV, the bloodthirsty enemy of Israel, who blasphemously called himself 'Epiphanes', meaning, 'Incarnate God', his vanity eventually got the better of him. His fraternisation with the 'god of alcohol', Dionysus, must have been a major catapult to his ruin and it is fairly certain that his death was precipitated by his excessive drinking. Yahweh knew all about him, though, even before he was born, and prophesied about him through the prophet Daniel, 250 years before he was born, representing him as a he-goat (Dan.8:11ff). Don't be a stubborn goat like Alexander was.
Alcohol: Decay and Death
In the absence of the fellowship of Yahweh, people turn to other fellowships, of which Bacchus is the most common. Alcohol is the fruit of death and decay caused by fermentation. The kings of old drank freshly-pressed grape juice which was known as the 'wine of kings'. You will remember Pharaoh's cup bearer whose happy restoration Joseph prophesied whilst in prison. It was the cup bearer's duty to squeeze the grapes in the presence of Pharaoh and then drink a sample to ensure it was not poisoned. Obviously freshy-squeezed grapes were not alcoholic. Wherever you read of "new wine" in Scripture, it is unfermented grape juice that is being spoken of. This new wine is 'alive' whereas fermented wine, and other alcoholic drinks, are the product of disintegrating plant life. Alcoholic drinks are drinks of death and decay, and those who find pleasure in them find pleasure in the spirit of decay and death. Even wine with the alcohol distilled from it is a product of death. When you celebrate the New Year with Janus and inebriate yourself, you are welcoming another year of continued death and decay. Yah'shua wants you to rather choose life. He wants you leave the world system behind and come to real freedom. He wants you to abandon the cage which pretends to be freedom and accept the freedom which Satan paints as a cage.
It's Not So Complex
The world and its ways are complex. I look back with amusement at the time, when I was a student, investigating Nichiren Buddhism. And much as I love the Japanese and their values, which we sorely need here in the West, I was not enamoured with the idea of, first, having to learn Japanese (though in itself that would have been an admirable exercise had I had the time), and second, having to memorise 50 pages of the liturgy of Nichiren Shoshu called the Daimoku. How many times, I wondered, did one need to chant the Daimoku to achieve Buddhahood? I once asked, and was quoted the founder, Nichiren Daishonin, who said: "A single recitation of Daimoku is not insufficient; nor are a million Daimoku sufficient". In other words, you don't know - maybe you'll make it, maybe you won't.
Atheists, of course, laugh at all of this, and yet they have their own insurmountable world of complexities, trying to make sense out of purposelessness and never knowing who they really are. The psychologists to whom they turn haven't much of a clue either. If you've ever studied the different schools of psychological thought, you'll know what I mean.
Self is Complex
Life always becomes complicated when we look at ourselves and try to figure out what's going on inside through our own reason and experience. I guarantee that every single person who is not wholly leaning on Yah'shua for their daily living is focusing on something about themselves where they feel they are failing - with women, it's usually their weight or the way they look. With men, it's usually their lack of success in making enough money to satisfy their lusts. With both genders you'll find a preoccupation with personal failures and regrets, worthlessness, a lack of accomplishments, and other embarrassments. Everyone is consumed by something. When we start looking in on ourselves, life invariably becomes complicated and unsatisfactory. We discover we can't really fix our own problems and the attempts we make are usually little better than Band-Aid solutions.
What, then, do we have to offer the world? What is the secret that we, as Christians or Messianics have? As you read the teachings of Yah'shua, you are immediately struck by one thing - He does not cover myriads of topics but sticks to one theme only:
"I and My Father are one (echad)" (Jn.10:30, NKJV).
To see Yah'shua is to see Yahweh. But the only way we can see either of Them is by denying SELF. That is the secret. Not denial for its own sake - there are lots of religions that teach self-denial, even non-religions - but denial so that Messiah can live in us. The heart of this spiritual 'system', if I even dare call it that, is not the commandments or even the Bible, important though they are, but a single focus in everything. And that focus is Yah'shua the Messiah.
Let me suggest an experiment. Zoom in on what you consider to be your #1 problem today. If it's your chief issue, then I guarantee a day does not pass without your being occupied in your thoughts and feelings about it, both while awake and while you are asleep. It doesn't matter what it is - maybe its your pride, your lack of commitment, unclean thoughts, a bad temper, laziness, indifference to people, impatience, the inability to master a subject at school, unwillingness to grow up, or whatever. And then what I want you to do is to resolve very firmly that for 24 hours you will absolutely not think about that particular problem area. You will refuse to entertain a single thought or feeling about this problem for a whole day. If you manage to do that - and you can - you will discover something very interesting. - that not thinking about that one area of Self has a domino effect because the obsession with self is all or nothing. Either you're totally focussed on Self or totally focussed on Him.
I do not believe there is such a thing as 'partial obsession' or even a 'little obsession' because our mind is like a light switch - it's either Self-on or Self-off. Michael Wells observes:
"If you do not spend the day in self-loathing, you will not spend the night in fear. If you do not spend the day in pride (pride which is self-hatred, embarrassment, depression, and more), you will not spend the evening in lust. Just practice the domino effect. Now to add some spice to the equation: Try obsessing on just one of the characteristics of Yah'shua or Yahweh. Has He shown you mercy, do you love His humanity, or do you like the fact that He really, truly lives? All of this will help you to begin the journey. Always remember that you and your flesh are boring both to you and to Him. To date, you have never fixed a single thing in your life". 2
That may seem unbelievable to many of you. Those of you who are strong-willed - who like to get up and go and get things done - may well deceive yourselves into thinking that you can fix, if not all things, then at least most things. But have you considered on what the energy that propels you through life actually rides? Where does it come from? I mentioned Alexander the Great earlier - he was energetic right up until his last days - but on what life energy was he feeding and building his life? It did not sustain him in his last days. When his lover, Hephaestion, died Alexander was a broken man. He had fed off a relationship with another human being in order to live, and that was all that was left him when his days of military glory were over. (Interestingly Babylon was his headquarters). Like Alexander, the flesh has a tendency to lean and build on success, money and parasitic relationships with others. And it may give the illusion of being life but it isn't - yes, it's a kind of life, called psyche but it's not the real thing - it's not Zoë - it's not Ruach. The psychic life is the energy that comes from Self, but Self is dead, is it not? He had the illusion of being alive just like driving a car with a tank full of petrol or gas gives the illusion that it will drive forever. We can, if we wish, choose the psychic path and enjoy a very inferior form of 'life' for a while but if at the end of the day we have not filled our lamps with Ruach, we will depart this life empty and hell-bound. We will have 'lived' for Self and died for 'Self'.
Now I am going to assume that you are not 100% purely selfish - I think only the devil is that. Let us say that like most people you are living a double life. I have already challenged the possibility of this happening - I have already claimed that one is either 100% obsessed with Self of 100% obsessed with Yah'shua or some other external object. I do believe that we try to do both, and fail miserably at it. Let's examine that for a moment because I think it's important.
Let me ask you another question: have you ever had the experience of having two conflicting thoughts at the same time? If you think about it, I am sure you have. Part of you wants to be kind to someone and the other wants to be mean simultaneously. In psychology this is called cognitive dissonance and it describes the uncomfortable tension that results from having two mutually opposite and conflicting thoughts - it can also describe engaging in behaviour that conflicts with one's beliefs. 'Cognition' may be defined as any element of knowledge which may include attitude, belief, emotion or behaviour. I don't think there is a single person who does not experience this. In fact, what it describes is life in the flesh. When you have these contradictory impulses, you are driven by sheer necessity to acquire or invent new thoughts or beliefs, or modifying existing beliefs. Beliefs often change to match behaviour when beliefs and behaviour are in conflict. This is how false religion and philosophy evolve. This is how diversity in doctrinal belief arises - it's the flesh's way of coping without surrendering.
The truth is very simple. The way to inner harmony and peace is very simple. Firstly, it consists of radically surrendering the Self - not just temporarily, but permanently. That means dying to the flesh and being crucified with Messiah. Secondly, the truth - all the essential, primary truth that we need - is in the Bible. It starts with one principle, Love.
Love is explained in Scripture as total love for Yahweh our Heavenly Father (and I underline the word total - we're not talking shares here) and then loving your neighbour as yourself with that total love you have for Yahweh - not with the surplus love you didn't give to Him and saved for others so that you could take credit for it. That's important to emphasise. If we take credit for ANY of the love we have, I promise you that that 'love' is not love consecrated to Yahweh. It's the quality of 'love' that we expect a RETURN on - 'investment love', if you like. That isn't love! It's SELF no matter how strong or passionate it may be. In fact, you'll discover that it's psychic love. So what is true love? And how does it differ from the psychic variety that the world exalts so much?
Loving Yahweh is defined by the first four commandments, and loving your neighbour by the other six. That means (1) there can be no other Mighty One, Lord, Master, Elohim or God but Him. It means (2) not making any images of Him and worshipping them, whether physical, psychic or spiritual. It means (3) holding His Name, Yahweh - and all it stands for - with the deepest of reverence and respect. It means (4) honouring the Sabbath - the seventh day of the week, by not doing your own thing. This is how love of Yahweh is defined. Define it any other way and you are believing, and ultimately living, a lie.
If you have fallen down in any one of these you have problems. It means you serve other gods. If you break just one of these you're breaking all the others! Didn't Yah'shua say so? It means that your mind and heart are not single to Him but that you are living in a state of cognitive dissonance - you're a walking contradiction. Put in other words, you're living in the flesh, which means you're living in rebellion. And if you claim to be a believer, what you ultimately will do is invent your own religion and god. You have to! There's no way you can't until you have fully surrendered to Him in everything. And the longer we live in this cognitive dissonant state, the farther and farther away we get from Yahweh. It doesn't matter what you call yourself - you're not living what you believe so you're forced to change your belief to get some kind of 'peace'. It's not real peace, of course - it's the peace of the world, not the shalom of Yahweh.
I have only mentioned four of the ten commandments here - they're the measuring stick of our alignment with Yahweh or lack of it. The rest concern our interpersonal relationships. If you have truly surrendered yourself to Yah'shua and are therefore one with Yahweh, because He is one with the Father, then it means (5) that you are honouring your father and mother, by treating them deferentially and with respect, loving and honouring them as images of our Heavenly Parents, however imperfect they may be for the sake of the calling and stewardship (parenthood) that Yahweh has bestowed upon them. Iit means (6) not committing murder, whether in the flesh, psyche or spirit - and remember that Yah'shua said that to hate your brother is the spirit of murder. It means (7) not committing adultery by being true to your marriage vows because the love of Yahweh is first of all covenant love. Yahweh never breaks covenant with His Bride, Israel, and we are supposed to imitate Him. It means (8) not stealing. It means (9) not lying by giving false witness about someone, no matter how you may feel about them. And it means (10) not coveting or desiring that which isn't yours. Obedience to these reveals godly character and our ability to be obedient reveals Who is in charge of your life.
This little memory exercise of the Ten Commandments needs to be engaged in often. By closely examining them we can see whether we truly love or not. If we are disobeying any one of them and claim to still be loving people, we are liars. It is testimony that Yahweh is not ruling. It is the testimony that the flesh is in control. It is testimony that you are on the path which leads to the invention of your own religion, whether theistic or atheistic. It is by not dealing with this primary issue that all apostasy begins and its end is the pit if repentance is not sought. And you'd be surprised how people try to ascribe different emphases or priorities to different commandments. It is frankly amazing to me how so many people de-emphasise Sabbath observance, for instance, and start compromising it once they're on the slippery slope. I cite that as one example. They reason that it's a 'temporal' thing and therefore not that important. The moment they do this they set themselves up as God because Yahweh has made it a test of faith and obedience to the extent that He sanctified it at Creation! The moment you start minimising or rationalising away one of the commandments all the others follow. THAT IS NOT TRUSTING YAH'SHUA. That is trusting the arm of flesh. That is saying you are more intelligent, knowledgeable and wise that Yahweh-Elohim. That is trusting SELF! And when such a spirit grips a man or woman, it has the same source as that spirit which set itself up above Yahweh-Elohim even before we were created - it's the spirit of pride, the spirit of Satan.
Why is it necessary that I most forcefully remind people of the elementary principle of the Gospel? It is because our rebellion starts at the elementary level. Even a child can understand it. In fact it starts at the first principle called 'love'. Oh how that word has been reinvented by man, and reinvented and reinvented again! It is subject to more 'dissonant resonance' than any other word or principle in the universe. The fact of the matter is, the flesh reinvents EVERYTHING - ethics, moral standards, social behaviour - everything. Yahweh has plainly laid it out in the Ten Commandments and made His point about its importance by taking the trouble to write it Himself. Forget the other mitzvot - forget the other commandments - if you have fallen flat on your face here at the 10 Commandments level you'll be reinventing the other mitzvot! Look at any Jewish calendar and see for yourself - there is no shortage of things that are celebrated by Orthodox Jews, Israelis, Messianics and others. They gripe at antinomian Christians for celebrating their own pagan inventions like Christmas and they do the same thing themselves! Being Torah-observant does not make you right with Yahweh. Dying to self and trusting in Him does. And when you're doing that you'll spontaneously and joyously obey the 10 commandments and other mitzvot and need no more because joyful Torah-observance is the sign that you're in right-relationship with Him. It's a self-sufficient package! It's all there.
Get an Attitude
We must start with simple principles. Deviate from them and you'll end up with another gospel which is no gospel at all. Do you want to know how to be dead to Self and alive in Christ? It's simple. And I'd like to explain it to you with another illustration by Michael Wells:
"The State of New York did a survey on a fish market in California where the men had terrible jobs; all their workday held in store for them was a very early beginning to their morning and return trip home reeking of fish.
"Yet something changed in the men and they began to have heaps of fun, and now people come from all over to buy their fish and just watch the men work. Here is what was discovered from the survey regarding the men:
"Play: It's about having fun, enjoying ourselves, and being spontaneous and creative. Life is too short to spend in frowning, and FISH brings a smile to faces. Make their day: It's about doing something special for our customers and coworkers. When we make people's day, we have given them a special gift they will not soon forget. It feels good to give it.
"Be there: It's about being totally focussed on the moment and on the person or task in which we are involved. When we are fully engaged with our customer, we listen deeply, and important opportunities do not escape us.
"Choose your attitude: It's about accepting full responsibility for al our choices, even our attitude at work. A positive attitude is a decision we make moment by moment". 3
What I want to suggest you do is apply these attitudes to YAHWEH - if you want to know how to love your neighbour as yourself, these are excellent principles to start with. Firstly - and this is my testimony - knowing Yah'shua is enormous fun! I don't view the Gospel or commandments as some terrible burden to bear, to grind through life with in order to appease a grumpy, killjoy deity - the Ruach haQodesh is liberating. Sabbath-enjoyment is wonderful! If you see it as a day to get through as quickly and painlessly as possible, you've missed the whole point. You have not connected to the Elohim who thought it important enough to make it the fourth commandment. If you view the Festivals as an intrusion into your activities, with their many extra Sabbaths, you're still missing the point. Yahweh invented this lifestyle to be fun but it can only be enjoyed in HIM! The deep, positive relationships that arise out of a life filled with the Ruach haQodesh are exhilarating - and it's not about titillating the senses (they're there as an extra), it's not about entertainment or 'things' - it about interacting in Yahweh's reality and knowing Him as He really is - Someone wonderful to have live in you!
Getting a Handle on Dying to Self
I know that some of you out there are looking for 'handles' as you struggle to get out of a self-centered fleshy, carnal life, and rather than repeat clichés and theological terms which can get a bit numbing when repeated too often, let me take Chuck Swindoll's approach. This is what he advises:
"The longer I live, the more I realise the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, fiftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you: we are in charge of our attitudes". 4
Think about it - we are defined by our attitude to what we read in Yahweh's Word. When you read Scripture, how do you decide to react? Do you choose to follow your feelings - your impulsive reactions from their complicated and unfathomable maze of thoughts, feelings and experiences - or do you choose to say: "Yes! This I choose to believe. This I choose to want and implement by default - always! This day I will do this!" That is an attitude. It's the right attitude. It's the attitude that works. So if you've been evading the commandment to observe the seventh day Sabbath, for example, and tried to reason that 'one-in-seven' is what Yahweh really meant (so that you could walk with the Christian 'crowd' and observe Sunday instead), how about a change in attitude? How about agreeing with Yahweh and saying resolutely: "I'll do it!" You know I used to offer that very excuse - I even wrote an article which is still on the old website justifying rebellion and even had the gall to accuse those faithful to it as being 'legalists' (the same 'sin' rebellious antinomians accuse Messianics of today) - I have left it there as a testimony of my own fleshiness back then, and added a footnote explaining how and when we finally repented and changed as a fellowship.5
One of the things I like about the New International Version of the Bible is that it conveys the sense of having a right attitude well:
"Our attitude (phroneo) should be the same as that of Messiah Yah'shua" (Phil.2:5, NIV).
Gosh, that sounds as though it might be important! What does it mean? Notice that the attitude is one of mind. It's a decision of thought and of heart. It's a whole disposition:
"Let this mind be in you ('have this attitude') which was also in Messiah Yah'shua, who, being in the form of Elohim, did not consider it robbery to be equal with Elohim, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men" (Phil.2:5-7, NKJV).
Give Yourself to the Greater
In other words, Yah'shua happily chose to give Himself to something greater than Himself! What was that? His Father in Heaven! His mission to redeem mankind from sin. He left comfort and immortality and made Himself uncomfortable and mortal. He exposed Himself. The secret do dying to self is to take a daily attitude to serve the One who is the Greatest and to esteem our neighbour as better and more important than ourselves (Phil.2:3) by taking risks. That is the only way you can forget self, and so die to self, by serving Yahweh with all you have - and choosing to do so every morning - and in so serving Him, serving others, not knowing what the result is going to be. That is the only way. By no longer obsessing on Self we obsess on Yahweh, and on our neighbour - the people Yahweh has put into our immediate vicinity - and we allow Yahweh to carry us through our day.
What, then, is your attitude? And what will you make it? How will you consecrate your mind and heart to Yahweh each morning as you start your day? And how will you continue throughout the day? To what or whom will you dedicate it?
Becoming a Son or Daughter
To throw yourself on Yahweh like this does require faith in Yah'shua - which is what, after all, saves us. If you've been living the cognitive dissonant way of life, which I guarantee is the case if you have not surrendered to Him, then your view of Yahweh will be based on a false religious view which will lead you to mistrust Him. It will mean that you do not view Him as the Father that He really is. And the reason you have a false father-picture of Him is likely based on the fact that your own earthly father failed you in some way and gave you a distorted picture of fatherhood. All earthly fathers do faith, some more than others. I know this has been an issue with me as I have wondered if He is going to be there for me what I most need Him.
Only the other day Yahweh woke me up in the middle of the night and, knowing the assurance that my heart needed, spoke audibly to me, saying: "Christopher, you are My son." I was astonished, not because I didn't know theologically that He was my Father, but because I now perceived it in my spirit in some new way. That was to set off a chain-reaction.
I didn't feel anything special when He spoke those words to me but it certainly got my heart going. I started dreaming in bright technicolour - it was so bright that I could barely 'keep my eyes open' inside! My dreams were so intense for three nights that I woke up feeling as though I had been on some long trek. There was, moreover, so much content in my dreams that I had to struggle to remember the smallest part of them. And they were jam packed with revelation. I was shown two people - those who were parasitic 'camp followers' and had to be dismissed and two who really wanted to know Yah'shua and who could be helped. I was shown four family members (by marriage) who would be saved - three women and one man. One was already starting to repent. One of the dreams is of such prophetic significance that I want to share it with you.
Dream of the Three Trees on Fire
I found myself standing in my home with three 'thermal bombs' in my hand. I could feel them getting hotter and hotter and knew that if I delayed getting rid of them that they would explode in my hand and either injure or kill me. So I put them into an old wooden cigar box and rushed out the back door into the night and threw them into the neighbouring forest. Nothing seemed to happen - there was no explosion - but the next thing I knew was that three tall pine trees next to one another at the edge of the forest had caught fire and were furiously ablaze. I panicked, and rushed to call the fire brigade, yet the odd thing was that none of the neighbouring trees caught fire even though they were touching one another - it was only those three. I tried to phone the fire brigade but got a wrong number even though I had correctly dialed Emergency. I asked a visitor to phone for me while I dashed to the back of the house where the fire had been only to find that not only had the fire gone out spontaneously and completely but the three trees had disappeared as well. There wasn't a trace of a fire anywhere. There was no sign of them, Moreover, there were no trees along the entire bank at the back of the house bordering the forest - they had all gone, including the ones that had not caught fire. Instead, arranged in a neat straight line, were seven huge clay flowerpots and in each of them seven sapling trees about three feet tall - they had appeared out of nowhere! Immediately behind them, where the rest of the forest had been, was a city at night - the neon lights were blaring. It reminded me of Oslo. That was the principal dream. The rest was about other people and what would happen in the near future.
Those who have the gift of interpretation will be able to understand the meaning of this dream. Obviously I am not sharing all of it as it concerns private individuals but the gist of it is a new beginning and the revival we have been waiting for in Scandinavia for so long. When this will happen, I do not know, but it is at last now in sight.
As you all know, I have been working day and night on the new website - more properly, the redesigned old website - for several months. It has been quite a journey down memory lane but more importantly I have been able to refresh my memory with the many promises Yahweh has made to me and to this ministry and the many instructions He has given. It has been a reawakening in many ways. I have been appalled at how spiritually 'sleepy' I had got and how much I had forgotten. I hope you will use the website liberally - it will be finished and added to as there are several hundred articles that have never been put online that will eventually appear.
There is much I want to share with you but it must wait a while as time does not permit. This ministry is going to grow and it is going to be orders of magnitude stronger than it ever was. The stakes have been raised and greater risks must be taken but we shall not fail our Heavenly Father. We will accomplish the task which we have been set.
A word in conclusion and the message of my address to you this week: the path to freedom and to the abundant life is very simple 'but' it costs you everything. It costs you your psychic life which the world calls 'living' but which is in reality just a waltz over a cliff blindfolded to death and oblivion. As one of my currently favourite preachers, John Piper 6, said in one of his Ruach-packed sermons:
"Don't try to be strong in your own need - it just won't be there when you need it".
If you want life, and want it abundantly - the real thing - then it means leaning on Yahweh fully and totally. Indeed, only leaning on Him, for that life. No human being can give it to you though they may point you to it. That's our job as ministers. Forget the beggarly elements of the world (Gal.4:9) and especially the vacuous promises of Janus and the whole 'New Year' illusion. Don't seek for solutions in the flesh. Get yourself a new daily attitude and watch Yahweh work! Amen.
 Michael Wells, How Do I Begin the Journey of Denying Self? in 'Life Line' (Abiding Life Ministries International, Littleton, CO: March 2007)
Ruth Johanneson, Janus: A Twist to the Freedom of Choice
Michael Wells, Op.cit., p.18
Michael Wells, Ibid., pp.18-19
Charles R. Swindoll Quotes
What is the True Sabbath Day?
See John Piper website