Q. A few days ago you were talking to an abuse victim to help her understand what divine ahavah (love) was and it struck me that this was such an important subject that it would be worth discussing it in more depth since it's the #1 principle of the Besorah (Gospel). One hears all kinds of ideas as to what 'love' is so I wonder if we might take a closer look at it today?
A. Yes, without a doubt this is the most important principle of the Christian/Messianic emunah (faith). A proper understanding of it will, we are promised, set the captives free and bring new chayim (life). A wrong understanding of it simply leads to the same or a different kind of captivity. One thing you soon realise as a minister is that if you don't have a proper understanding or experience of divine ahavah (love), you will never be able to help anyone and end up causing more harm than good if you teach or share it in the wrong way. In a society where values are being increasing defined in terms of one's own 'personal existentialist experience' without reference to some kind of divine absolute, concepts of true ahavah (love) are being so blurred to the point that people are no longer able to communicate properly with one another.
Q. You mean that the ahavah (love) of Elohim (God) is a medium which allows true communion with people unlike all the other forms?
A. Yes. It is possible for humans to commune or communicate with one another at certain levels with human love but if you want a panoramic picture of the whole it must be through the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Only Yahweh knows the human heart perfectly, only He is able to create the bridge that links souls. And to do that - for people to really have a deep spiritual communion - we must first love Him with all our might, mind and strength. And to do that He must first touch us with His own ahavah (love). Messiah says that we are only able to love because He loved us first (1 Jn.4:19). The capacity and ability to love is not something of our own making - it is from Him alone.
Q. We none of us love perfectly even if Yahweh has touched us with His ahavah (love). So would it not be true to say that love is a principle that must be unfolded. I mean, we don't get it all in one go, do we?
A. I agree. Nobody loves perfectly even after an encounter with Yahweh. It's something one learns to do by communion with Yahweh on a daily basis and by living out the Christian/Messianic life according to the tavnith (pattern) He has revealed. To know, to receive and experience the full love, you have to live it on three simultaneous levels - firstly, on a personal level with Yahweh through Messiah; secondly, through loving your spouse and children; and thirdly, through loving the Body of Messiah through intimate association with a local assembly or church. These are the three perfecting 'love environments'. Love is not an aesthetic thing. You can't isolate it in yourself and come to know it in a mystical way.
Q. In other words, locking yourself in a monastery won't bring you a fullness of divine ahavah (love)?
A. Right. There is much that can, and needs, to be experienced alone in silent communion with Yahweh. That's certainly the starting point. We are told, for instance, to go into our closet and pray in secret to our Heavenly Father. That is important. But we cannot stay there. If we do, our world will be no bigger than the closet .... or the monastery ... or wherever we are trying to confine it. Love is an expansive power which is supposed to fill self, overflow into one's spouse and children, fill and overflow into the body of the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones), and thence fill and overflow into the world where it can bring redemption in place of slavery.
Q. Do you think that a right order is important?
A. It is no doubt the best. We learn to love ourselves - to develop a sense of self-worth - and to obtain a capacity to love, by growing up in a godly environment. Our parents were created to be reflections of the Elohimhead (Godhead) - the father as Yahweh and the mother as the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) - for their children. Our initial capacity to love and be loved unquestionably comes from them in the first instance. Of course, as children, we are exposed - or ought to be exposed - to more than just our parents. An elder sibling who loves you, aunts, uncles, and friends, are all different conduits for love. But they can also bring fear and evil. Our ability and capacity to love is initially shaped by all the people we know and interact with as we grow up.
Q. So the spiritual damage we find in society today is largely the result of distorted or imperfect love in the growing up years?
A. I think everybody recognises that, both ministers of the Besorah (Gospel) as well as secular psychologists and lay people. Thus a child who is, for example, molested or physically abused in some other way will have problems loving later on in life if they do not obtain divine healing. Most of the failed relationships in life, and especially marriage bust-ups, are caused by this kind of initial damage. Abuse is traumatic and literally dents our spiritual vessel.
Q. And the cure?
A. The cure is always bucket-loads of divine ahavah (love)! Not psychoanalysis ... though this undoubtedly helps sometimes ... but a constant flow of heavenly ahavah (love), shaped in the vessel of the divine way of living.
Q. You mean, living the mitzvot (commandments)?
A. Yes. The Torah defines what ahavah (love) is in a practical way. The Ten Commandments, for instance, may well be described as the 'Ten Categories of Loving Relationships' with both Elohim (God) and man. They are a summary of the minutiae of the Torah (Law). And the Two Great Mitzvot (Commandments) are a further summary still. You can never love as Yahweh loves if, like King David, you do not love His ways. A love-relationship with the Father is to be in love with everything that He stands for, and is, and which he has codified, for our benefit, in terms of moral and ethical laws. Each of the Ten Commandments beautifully summaries the ten principles of true love towards God and man, as reflected symbolically in the ten fingers of both our hands. Each finger is of different length and may be used for different things. For instance, the best way to put a drawing-pin (thumb-tack) into something hard is by exerting hard pressure using your thumb. Your little finger (pinkie finger) isn't much good, is it?
A. It is the same way with the Ten Commandments. Each mitzvah (commandment) is vitally important for the functioning of the whole, but each has slightly different functions. The thumbs are used for pressing, often in combination with the other four fingers. When you open a door, you grip the handle with the four fingers wrapped around it, with the thumb wrapped around them. In the same way, to open heavenly doors you have to grip its handle with the second, third, fourth and fifth commandments - not making graven images, not swearing (taking Yahweh's Name in vain), keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, and honouring your father and mother - and around these you wrap the first mitzvah (commandment) - having no other gods before Yahweh, and that includes - and especially - self.
Q. You would include honouring parents in the collection of Yahweh-honouring mitzvot (commandments)?
A. Absolutely. Parents are a reflection of the Elohimhead (Godhead) on a lower level. From them we first learn love and to follow rules and obey them. Their function is to point us to the Ten Rules of Ahavah (Love), or the Ten Devarim (Words, Commandments). They are an important link.
Q. But so many parents fail these days? What hope does a child have?
A. The parents have as their primary rôle to point their children to their Heavenly Parents. Their function is not to make their children carbon copies of themselves. The parental rôle is a temporary one. Our children are our stewardship for only as long as they remain single. Once a man or woman has grown up and got married, the rôles of guide, protector, educator, and so forth, passes to the spouse, and in particular to the father and husband. The union between husband and wife is a far more intimate one than between parent and child. That is why, in the divine scheme of things, our union with Yahweh our Father is only accomplished through having a marriage-like relationship with Messiah, His Son. The most perfect and complete intimacy, oneness, and wholeness is always described biblically in marriage terms. Always. It is a tavnith (pattern) that pervades the entire body of Scripture.
Q. It seems sometimes that parents usurp that rôle?
A. Absolutely. Very often, parents wish to retain that control they had over their unmarried children when they leave home and get married. They are unwilling to cut the original bonds. Marriage is always described as 'leaving' home - of going away from that environment. We are not to remain there. To remain in the childhood-forming environment after it has served its function is positively harmful. It causes stunted spiritual growth, because the soul was not designed to remain there. For an adult son or daughter to be tied to mother's apron strings or father's control is to damage the soul. We've all seen such people. They are often emotional cripples because they have never had the opportunity to spread their wings and fly in the freedom of the spirit.
Q. But I guess what you're not saying is that a child thus released is released to do whatever it wants.
A. Now there you have entered into the realm of the secular lie. The doctrine we are taught by the secular establishment is that we should, when we become 16, 18, or 21, just fly out of the nest and explore the world. We should go and 'do our own thing'. But you will find no support for such a doctrine in the Davar Elohim (God's Word). Our freedom and exploration should always be within the framework of Yahweh. And as I said there are always three frameworks:
At no time are these ever separated from one another. It's not like you do one after the other as though you were visiting different stores on the main street. It is when we remove the divine framework that problems start, and the soul starts to inflate itself, and to fall into serious sin.
- 1. Self;
- 2. Marriage/Family; and
- 3. The Body of Messiah.
Take the Body of Messiah. That is something we should grow up in. Being a part of a local assembly or church, even when we are a child at home, forms us into the kind of social creatures that are of the eternal sort. Our primary friendships should always be formed within that context, because that is eternally the believer's home - in this life and the next. If once we prioritise a social life that does not include that spiritual family, we are allowing ourselves to be formed by other modes of thinking and behaviour. The mitzvah (commandment) is unapologetically that we should be separate and distinguishable from the secular society. That is the biblical definition of holiness. Once we enter the lifestyle of the world, we become a part of the world, and progressively alienated from the divine lifestyle, communion with Yahweh, and from the Body of Messiah.
Q. And yet we are to interact with it?
A. Oh yes, absolutely. But we are not to go into it for our nourishment. Again the Scripture is clear: we are to interface with the world in order to bring the redemptive message of Christian/Messianic ahavah (love) and to bring such people into the divine family, the local assembly or church.
Q. You stress the local assembly (church) a lot.
A. Absolutely. And when you find people who reject it in any way, you find people who are rejecting not only the Christian/Messianic Derech (Way, Path) but the "derech (way), emet (truth) and chayim (life)" (Jn.14:6). And when they do that, they invariably reject the mitzvot (commandments). Such people automatically become Torah-haters and finally hate or rewrite the Bible in their own image. And they soon come to detest not only other believers but Yahweh Himself.
Q. They reinvent Elohim (God).
A. Yes. They create a god in the image of their rebellious selves. In short, they become Satanists!
Q. What?? You can't be serious!
A. You are surprised, I think. And yet it is the emet (truth). So I will explain what I mean by comparing the world of Yahweh with that of Satan when it comes to ahavah (love).
Q. I would be most grateful if you would.
A. Very well. To begin with, we need to define a few characteristics of ahavah (love) in a way that everyone will be able to recognise it, even if their knowledge or experience of divine ahavah (love) is limited.
Ahavah (love) is both vulnerable and strong. And one of the things that unbelievers fear about divine ahavah (love) is that it apparently makes you weak. And nobody likes to feel weak or in a position where they might be hurt. The reflex of the soul is to protect against pain. This can be good or bad, as we shall see, for all pain is not bad. There is destructive pain and redemptive pain. One pain kills the soul and the other reforms it to make it even more loving. The way of redemption is always though a certain measure of pain, as the Way of the Cross - the suffering of Messiah on our behalf - shows beyond question. And we are told that to be followers of Him we must be a part of that "ministry of suffering" as pain-bearers ourselves - we are to "be an example of suffering and patience" and to count ourselves blessed when we successfully endure it for ahavah's (love's) sake (James 5:10). Indeed, this is a hallmark of divine ahavah (love) - it is willing to suffer for others, and not recoil and protect itself from the discomfort of pain. Messiah willingly embraced all our pain for us in an act of atonement - we in our turn are to embrace that of others until they are themselves able to lay it at the foot of the Cross for healing.
Q. What would you say are the two main hindrances to divine ahavah (love)?
A. Without a doubt fear and anger. Once these grip you, you are a prisoner. You can pour ahavah (love) over a person who is possessed of these things and gently persuade him to release them, but until he voluntarily lets go, the full measure of Yahweh's ahavah (love), and the revelation of that ahavah (love), will never fully penetrate him, and he will not understand it. True ahavah (love) must always be received in emunah (faith).
Q. It would be true to say, wouldn't you agree, they we are all raised dysfunctional to a certain extent because of our parents and peers?
A. Certainly. Humans have the unfortunate tendency to damage one another. But the more you walk in divine ahavah (love), the less that damage is, until one is only up-building. But ahavah (love) is more than able to manage that. Ahavah (love) is not supposed to run away but hold its ground, be a punch bag for a while, and then become a fountain that cleanses. Ahavah (love) endures all things - it does not run away.
Q. When soul is damaged, the reflexive instinct is to run away.
A. Yes. And often it runs away to a place where it is damaged even more. That is why there must always be a local assembly or church or house fellowship to which we can go. Best friends and family may mean well but unless they are fully in Messiah and walking in Torah, they are more likely to do harm than good, and take a soul out of the Derech (Way). The moment you are isolated from the local assembly or church, or neglecting the mitzvot (commandments), your soul is in serious jeopardy. You are on a slippery slope that will take you away from divine ahavah (love). We should always check carefully to make sure that the arms we run into are those that will nurture us in the Derech (Way) and not take us off it, no matter how well intentioned and sincere they may be, and no matter how much warm feeling there may be towards you. The warmth of a heart can either free or kill you.
Q. How so?
A. I know many unbelievers who have warm hearts, who are caring and sensitive. They possess the attributes of ahavah (love). And indeed they may have the real article. But, there is great danger, and I will illustrate.
I knew of a woman who was raped and became pregnant. She was, of course, utterly devastated inside. She sought out a friend whom she new cared deeply for her and got advice. Her friend was sympathetic, caring, and unmanipulating. She felt safe and loved. She ended up getting an abortion because that was what her sincere, caring friend believed was the best thing for her.
Now we must pause here to reflect. Her friend was not a Christian but a New Ager. Her system of morals and ethics were not those of our Heavenly Father, Yahweh. She was not walking on the Derech (Way) that leads to eternal chayim (life). That counsellor caused that woman to break the sixth commandment, become a murderer, and to get demonised, just as her counsellor was. Do you see what I mean about being careful, and making the Torah as our guide in all things? And why we must love Torah?
Q. Yes. Ahavah (love) turns out not to be the most important thing after all.
A. Well, yes and no. Ahavah (love) is the chief principle of life but it has to be love in truth. The truth is the means by which we are able to determine whether the love we feel is godly or satanic. And that truth is known from Yahweh's revelation, His Torah. The moment we trust experiences or personal revelation over the Torah we are out of Emmanuel's Land and on the devil's own turf. Experience and personal revelation are, of course, vitally important for one on the Derech (Way), but the moment you divorce it from the given Davar (Word), you cannot discern. The heart is wicked and deceptive, even if the feelings carousing through it are 'warm' and 'sweet'. Why do you think there are so many people who possess this warmth and sweetness in false religious systems? Evil is not only hatred and anger - anyone can recognise those. Warm feelings are a human phenomenon - they are a product of our own soul-life. Elohim (God) does not 'send' warm feelings. Elohim (God) sends the pure emet (truth), and these activate good and virtuous feelings. Satan can send lies and activate identical feelings. The difference is that the good feelings produced by emet (truth) cause us to obey that emet (truth) by living it, whereas the good feelings produced by lies cause us to break the mitzvot (commandments), like having abortions! Is that not plain?
Q. Crystal clear. It's the fruits of our actions that tell us whether we are walking in true ahavah (love) rather than counterfeit love!
A. Yes, Amen! That is the emet (truth)! If warm and cosy feelings cause you to break the Sabbath, for example, and you know the Sabbath law, then you are throwing the fourth commandment straight back into the Creator's face and declaring your independence from Him. You are doing exactly what Satan did. You are becoming a Satanist and an enemy to all righteousness without even knowing it whilst all the while having warm feelings within.
Now this emet (truth) is so vital that is must be shouted from every pulpit in the land. It is one of the primary messages that Yahweh has give me and I assure you it is not popular! And why is it hated so much? Because people want to do things their way independent of Elohim (God) and accountability. They want to divinely love in their own image (were that possible) - the image of their lusts - instead of Yahweh Himself. They scorn Torah and the mitzvot (commandments) and proclaim that they are laws unto themselves. These are the people Yah'shua (Jesus) declared hell-bound. Listen to His own words. Here they are in Matthew 7:21-23:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Master (Lord), Master (Lord),' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Master (Lord), Master (Lord), have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice Torahlessness (lawlessness)!"
But people don't want to hear this. They want to practice their own religion - their own 'Christianity' or 'Messianism'. They want a Yah'shus (Jesus) or an Elohim (God) in the image of their own souls. However, we are the image of Elohim (God), not the other way round! The Torah has been given to us - we have not been granted the right to make our own private torah and fling it back in Yahweh's face and say: 'Hey, You do it our way!' Can you understand why such an arrogant and blasphemous attitude merits the worst of possible sentences - eternal separation from Yahweh?
Yes, there are people who are claiming the Name of Messiah and acting in it but doing their own thing, and have already departed from Him inside. When they meet the resurrected Messiah they will be told to depart forever. They will have been the instruments of their own judgement. Their love will be seen to have been false. Like Frank Sinatra, they will have tried to do things 'my way'. Well, there is no 'my way' that leads to salvation - only His way.
The moment you start throwing mitzvot (commandments) away, you are throwing Elohim (God) away and yourself into hell no matter what warm and cosy feelings you may have inside. If you believe that your feelings are the indicator of emet (truth), you are under a massive delusion. That is idolatry. It is the worship of self. Because you are declaring that your feelings are the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) when they aren't. Listen to what Yah'shua (Jesus) says in John 4:24 and mark it well:
"Elohim (God) is spiritual, and those who worship Him must worship in ruach (spirit) and emet (truth)".
We are to worship the Elohim (God), not in our feelings, but in ruach (spirit) and emet (truth). This is not the same as worshipping Him in our feelings, unless those feelings have been generated by the Emet (Truth). If the good feelings you have have been generated by a lie, then even though you call upon His Name, you are not worshipping Yahweh but Satan.
Q. This is terrifying!
A. It is worse. It is damning. And it may even be accompanied by supernatural manifestations. That is how I lost my first wife because she was led by deep feelings and a false revelation that led her into adultery and the destruction of our family. And it is happening again. You absolutely cannot trust feelings or revelations apart from Torah-Emet to be your beacon. You have a 50:50 chance of being led to hell. It is like playing Russian roulette with eternity. And yet this is the way modern man in the West has been educated. 'Just follow your feelings', Luke Skywalker is told in the first episode of the movie Star Wars. No! It is a lie! We must follow Yahweh's Torah for there is no safety outside it. Why do you think the majority of the Bible is spent extolling it and why is it you think the majority of Christians spend their time rejecting it? They ignore the very words of Yah'shua (Jesus) who said quite emphatically in Matthew 25:19:
"Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these mitzvot (commandments), and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven"
And He wasn't talking about the Ten Commandments but the little mitzvot (commandments) of which the Ten Commandments are a summary - the jots and tittles. He was telling us to be attentive not just to the broad sweep of the Mitzvot (Commandments) - the Two Great Commandments and the Ten Commandments, but to the very least detail of them because they are qadosh (holy, set-apart). They are what make us qadosh (holy, seta-apart). People have enough struggle obeying the Ten Commandments - the vast majority of Christians don't even get the to next level!
Q. People say the Torah has been done away with, that any kind of commandment-keeping is 'Old Covenant'.
A. Yes, and what a pack of lies that is! Yah'shua's (Jesus') own words repudiate that. What indeed does He say? Read the next verse:
"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (v.20).
Q. In other words, the details matter.
A. Of course they do. If you redecorate your house, you don't just strip the old paint off the walls. You put an undercoat on. And when you have done that, you put another layer of paint on. In the Besorah (Gospel), we are to strip away the old life of Torahlessness (lawlessness) away and put on the undercoat of the Two Great Commandments. On top of that we paint the Ten Commandments. And finally, we paint on the details of the rest of the Mitzvot. The Besorah (Gospel) life is a three-layered one, as I have said ...
Q. Self, marriage, community of Messiah ...
A. Yes. And love of Elohim (God) and man, obedience to the Ten Categories, and all the mitzvot (commandments) within those Ten Categories that we call the Ten Commandments. Why do you think that Yahweh has gone to such trouble to give us such detail? Is it to weigh us down? Was it a waste of time? Did He want to enslave us? Was He in error? Not at all. It is to help us see the Emet (Truth) and what true Ahavah (Love) is - what it consists of. The mitzvot (commandments) reveal Divine Ahavah (Love) and care and expose our deficiencies. They protect us from going astray. That's why wives are to wear head coverings, and why men are to wear tzitzit (tassels). The wives are thereby reminded that they are to follow their husband in all things (Eph.5:24) and the husbands to follow Yahweh in everything.
The Emet (Truth) defines Ahavah (Love), and not the other way round.
Q. So you are not denying that the undercoat is unimportant?
A. Absolutely not! The undercoat is the foundation - the ahavah (love) principle, with all the beautiful feelings it produces. But the end of the road is not those pure and virtuous feelings, nor is it the only thing. Listen to what the apostle Peter says in 2 Peter 1:5-8:
"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness ahavah/agapé (love)" (NKJV).
We are to add all these things to ahavah (love): brotherly kindness, godliness, perseverance, self-control, knowledge, virtue, emunah (faith), and diligence. The Besorah (Gospel) is about adding progressive layers of light manifested through deeds. The undercoat of ahavah (love) is what makes life worth living - it's the only thing that Christians/Messianics ultimately live for. Even unbelievers are seeking for ahavah (love)! But that ahavah (love) is not something you can buy off the shelf in a store. It is like a reservoir constantly being used and refilled. There is a dynamic in ahavah (love) which is part and parcel of living a life in Yah'shua (Jesus). It's a lifestyle, a way of life, within parameters called marriage - marriage to an earthly spouse and marriage to a Heavenly Spouse. The Bible begins with a marriage - Adam to Eve - and ends with a marriage - the Body of Messiah (us) to Messiah the Bridegroom. The Besorah (Gospel) is lived in a dual marriage relationship. And even if you are temporarily single, the goal is always marriage. It was never good for man to be alone, and vice versa, otherwise Yahweh wouldn't have continued creating woman.
Q. It is hard to walk with an open heart ... so easy to close it off.
A. Yes, it is. Paul said to the Corinthians:
The heart is not supposed to be closed except to falsehood. Even when we are asleep, our heart is supposed to be open. The Shunamite wife of Solomon said:
"We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open" (2 Cor.6:11, NKJV).
We must all sleep physically. But when you put your heart to sleep, you start to slowly die. It may seem peaceful and restful at first, but that is a lulling into a false sense of security, because it is through the heart that the emet (truth) must manifest. To close the doors of the heart is a death sentence.
"I sleep, but my heart is awake" (Song 5:2, NKJV).
Ahavah (love) is all about trust. Without trust, ahavah (love) can never flourish. It is the most wonderful sustaining force in the universe. And now I speak of a particular love, which the Greeks call agapé love, and the Hebrews ahavah or chesed, that is to say, sacrificial love. This is the love that does not consider self but others. It is the ahavah (love) of Messiah, the ahavah (love) of the Messianic Community or Church, the ahavah (love) of heaven. Everything else is just a pale shadow of it. It is this ahavah (love) that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) moves through. It is this ahavah (love) which gives eternal chayim (life), because its source is the eternal. All other loves are temporal and temporary. They are rooted in time, in the flesh, in the body, in the psyche. They have their place in mortality, but once they obtain the ascendency, they crush out the eternal.
Q. What loves do you mean exactly?
A. There are several. The love of a child for its parents, which is a childish love from which we must eventually be weaned and substitute it for agapé love, before that love is a dependent love and is designed specifically for a period of life only, the growing-up period. The Greeks called this Storgé love. There is brotherly love, what we sometimes called platonic love, the natural attraction between the psyches of two people. The Greeks called this philadelphia, from which an American city obtains its name. And then there is sexual love, or eros, between husband and wife.
All of these become transformed and subtended to ahavah/agapé love as one walks in Yahweh. They become completly transformed or absorbed, as with parental love.
Q. Meaning that our relationship to our parents changes?
A. Absolutely. Marriage is the first formal change. It's a very big change, actually. Parents often feel that loss keenly when it happens which is why mothers are sometimes jealous of their sons' wives. Many a mother has tried to interpose herself between a marriage relationship because of this problem, which is harmful and sinful.
Q. And presumably fathers do the same with sons-in-law too?
A. Indeed. It is a big readjustment for parents. I think most have a problem letting go which means that married sons and daughters often want to get away because they feel their parents' intrusion. Such 'intrusive love' is actually adulterous and incestual. Parents eventually become our brothers and sisters in the eternities, and we should always be moving in that direction in our relationship towards them as we grow in Messiah. If your parents are not in Messiah that is admittedly a problem which is why distance sometimes becomes necessary. Marital love always supersedes parental love ... not diminishing it but replacing it.
Q. You don't mean we should stop loving our parents?
A. Perish the thought, no! We should reduce and stop loving them in storgé and increase loving them in ahavah/agapé love. If parents have been wise, they will teach their children to be their friends, so that when their overlordship ends in their children's marriages, there will be this wonderful friendship to build on.
Q. You said that ahavah (love) must be trusted ...
A. Yes, and especially in a marriage relationship where everything is so intimately intertwined. Ahavah (love) always causes problems.
A. Yes, problems, because ahavah (love) shines powerful lights on self, and especially parts of self that we would rather have hidden away. Only in marriage can every part of a human heart be fully illuminated and why such knowledge is so sacred and private. If it were not so, we would not need marriage, and we could find its intimacy elsewhere.
When you open your heart to someone, you make yourself fully visible. That is why Paul always had his open. He made himself transparent and, as a result, vulnerable. People knew where he was coming from.
Because the ahavah (love) of true marriage is so deep, Yahweh places a hedge of protection around it, not just in the seventh mitzvah or davar (commandment) but spiritually too. As the husband covers his wife and is a sukkah (tent) for her, so Yahweh places His sukkah (tent) over the couple themselves and treats them as a single unit. In that double safety, the more vulnerable of the partners - the wife - can open herself fully to her husband and know, if he dwells in Messiah, that she is completely safe. When that covering is ripped off through adultery or the unilateral or mutual ending of a marriage (not that the latter is actually possible in Yahweh's eyes), those opened heart-doors become a quick prey to the wrong kinds of influences. That is why the breaking-up of a marriage is so permanently damaging. Only one man may open a woman's heart so fully, and once that connection has been made, it is a door that can only be closed with the gravest consequences for her spiritual life. Whether the pain is inflicted from the outside, or self-inflicted, attempts to regulate it outside of the marriage bond by admitting others through its sacred portals constitutes spiritual adultery.
Only certain things are supposed to be revealed to certain people. Yahweh does not reveal all of Himself to us but that which is lawful and beneficial to us only. To have the full force of His ahavah (love) exposed to us would burn us up in an instant. The intimate sexual relationship between a man and wife is not supposed to be viewed by anyone else. Even discussing it is to allow someone else spiritually into your bedroom and constitutes a sin. All the nevi'im (prophets) know that sometimes the things Yahweh reveals to them are not to be revealed to others, for those peoples' spiritual safety and well-being, but are entirely for the navi (prophet), and are sacred to that one-to-one relationship. When Yahweh permits them to speak, then they may do so freely without sin.
Everyone who is in Messiah is a navi (prophet) to some degree, because everyone has been given the spirit of prophecy to discern that Yah'shua is the Messiah (Jesus Christ) (Rev.19:10). So there is the spirit of prophecy in an individual's union with Messiah, and that is absolutely unique until (if it is a woman) she is united to her husband, and a new joint revelation is given to them. There are therefore levels of prophecy and levels of secrecy and openness.
The secret is not given to everyone but to the navi (prophet) who has the commission to promulgate it. The same principle holds in the marriage relationship, in the relationship of a Pastor with his flock, and in all relationships involving patriarchy of some sort. In marriage, husbands and wives reveal their full secrets to one another which is for them alone, and which is their prophetic commission to each other. A Pastor knows that he cannot break the confidences of those who share their innermost problems with him, and the same tradition has been inherited by the medical profession in some countries. A heart can never fully open unless it can be sure that its secrets are safe with the one to whom it has been entrusted. To break that confidence is a form of spiritual rape and a most grievous sin.
"Surely Yahweh-Elohim does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the nevi'im (prophets)" (Amos 3:7, NKJV).
Q. People don't seem to know the boundaries these days.
A. No, they don't. The prevailing secular belief is complete openness in everything. That is why there is so much pornography. But Christians/Messianics sometimes forget that there is a spiritual side to this too. To display the secrets of a marriage relationship to those who have no right of access to it is a kind of spiritual exposure or pornography. So if, for instance, someone comes to me and wants to discuss the details of someone else's sex life, I will refuse to hear it. If it is a transgression of moral torah (law), I need only know the general nature of it, and not the details. The Ruach (Spirit) reveals what is right and wrong and it is enough to confront on a general level to set the wheels of repentance and reformation in motion.
Titles of respect have all gone. Everyone is on intimate first name terms even if they don't know each other and that cheapens the whole idea of intimacy which must be by voluntary unfolding and permission. The Bible nowhere supports modern notions of total exposure. The world has become a spiritual nudist camp swarming with pedophiles
Q. Love gets cheapened when it is exposed like that ...
A. Certainly. Love is sacred thing which must be voluntarily given to those who are entitled to receive it.
Q. But is love not for everybody?
A. Ahavah/Agapé/Chesed love, yes. But not necessarily all the others. Sex (eros) is for married people only, along with intimate discussions of the subject. The trust a child should give to a parent should not automatically be given to someone else. There are boundaries, and purposefully so, for protection.
Q. Ahavah (love) has a great capacity to endure which I think most who reject it don't fully understand.
A. In dealing with people involved in Satanism either voluntarily or against their will, I am struck by how often such claim that love is weak and unattractive. Unlike hate, which controls you when you yield yourself to it, true love is always under your own control. Love endures so much more than hate, and when love rules your heart, you are its master and can expel it whenever you want - as easily as blowing a feather away. But hate, once in your heart, sits there like a parasite digging its claws into you.
Q. Is love so fragile?
A. Love is not about compulsion but free will. It is Yahweh's gift. Even if a person has been in the heights of love for years, it is simply a matter of choice to evict it. But if it has leavened your soul - which true ahavah/agapé love always does - the result of ejecting it from your heart is to immediately create an inner civil war. The very fabric of the soul is literally ripped apart.
Q. But we are free to eject love whenever we want?
A. Yes, we are not compelled to have it if we don't want to. It is a Torah (Law) - a mitzvah (commandment) to love - but we can choose to reject it.
Q. And it will just 'go'?
A. Yes. That is the power and, I dare say, the terror of free will. Free will is an awesome force. It literally gives us the power to destroy ourselves and others if we want to. But if you freely eject love by denying it in anyway, you are literally cutting your spiritual throat. Love that is placed in the heart, if it is rooted in Torah, is also rooted in Yahweh and is there by His will. Love which is not in His will never leavens the soul. It produces no fruit. But true ahavah-love - Yahweh-sanctioned love - produces delicious fruits which everyone can see.
Q. But you say that rejecting it is like blowing away a feather?
A. That depends how deep it is, I guess. If it is deep, you must literally pull it up by its roots, and if you do that, it will break your heart until you have little or none left. When people break up marriages it is like ripping someone apart limb by limb.
To throw out divine ahavah (love) when you have it is the greatest act of folly in creation. And Satan wants us to do that all the time. He offers, typically, an 'easier' way, one which promises 'less pain'. Well, having pain killer medication may reduce pain but it also numbs vital feelings. You know what it's like when you get an injection in your gums before a filling or a tooth extraction. Your face goes dead. When a soul rejects divine ahavah (love) in order to minimise pain he kills himself. Pain, as I have said, can be either good or evil. I have also said that the Derech (Way) of Messiah is the Ministry of Suffering. To know ahavah (love), and be blessed by it, you have to know suffering - not of the evil variety which robs and destroys, but that which edifies and makes strong and whole. We are promised in Scripture that we are never sent trials that we cannot cope with. If these trials are not the result of our own sin actions, then they are permitted for a righteous purpose, even if that purpose if not immediately discerned. If pain is the result of sin, then it is because Satan has legal rights to inflict it. Then the only course of action is repentance and a change of direction.
Q. I think Satanists and the victims of satanic abuse have problems distinguishing the two.
A. If they have never known godly pain, certainly. Like warm and good feelings, pain may be the fruit of either good or evil. It is a serious mistake to think that all good feelings are because of emet (truth) and all pain because of falsehood. Pain is also a feeling, physical or spiritual.
The true ahavah (love) of Messiah has no barriers. It is all-embracing. To know it, you simply have to love. It is not some secret mystery that needs a 'special revelation' - ahavah (love) is available to everyone on the simplest of terms. It is the Whore of Babylon who is described as "mystery" - she is the creator of the so-called occult 'mystery religions' where the goal is a kind of head-knowledge only.
Ahavah (love) makes permanent connections that nothing can break. It is not some illusion. It is stronger than the cords of death. It does not abandon the object of its love but is true to it always. Ahavah (love) never betrays you, even though you may believe it does because of unresolved sin issues. Even in people who hate and who have rage inside because of evil done to them, there is always a well of ahavah (love) present. A large stone may cover its mouth and it may be temporarily invisible but it is always there.
Q. You mean that anyone can be reached, no matter how evil?
A. If they have not committed the unpardonable sin, yes, everyone, no matter how evil. Only when the well of ahavah (love) is violated and voluntarily emptied is there no tiqveh (hope). But that is rare. To do that you have to deny Messiah having a full knowledge of who He is, as Satan and his demons have done. That is why they cannot be pardoned. Yah'shua (Jesus) speaks of evil people who love their own children - yes, there is a well of ahavah (love) there. But it gets sealed off when the well to Hades is opened in its stead.
People who have hated or otherwise not known real ahavah (love) often feel foolish when they speak the language of ahavah (love). 'I feel so lame!' is often the reaction I get from people experimenting with ahavah (love) for the first time. That is because people who have only known hate, or who are influenced by it in any way, always operate from a position of power and control. But ahavah (love) requires that one operate from a position of vulnerability and powerlessness. The only power that ahavah (love) knows is attraction.
Q. Why then do so many people who claim Messiah reject His mitzvot (commandments)?
A. There can be many reasons. Mostly they do not know the ahavah (love) which lies behind each and every mitzvah (commandment) because they have never really made a connection with Yahweh. Instead, they have made an image of Him in their own likeness. Such a god will always disappoint because it is not founded in reality. The true Elohim (God) is ultimate reality.
The language of true ahavah (love) is most beautiful to those who are in this ahavah (love) but is often viewed as weak, feeble, and to be despised by those who are not. They cannot understand how believers in Yahweh can be so foolish. They think the ahavah (love) of Elohim (God) is so flimsy and wishy-washy that it can just be washed away. But that is the incredible thing about it. It is by no means weak! It has the cutting power of a glacier gouging rock, and the eroding power of waves on sand that makes stones as smooth as glass, or which wear coastal mountains away. And yet it is amazingly soft to the touch. It runs gently through your fingers and tickles them. It is supremely gentle and at the same supremely powerful. Those who do not know this ahavah (love) are entirely mystified by it. They cannot understand why it endures their most bitter and violent assaults.
Q. This has been said of NCAY, has it not?
A. Oh yes. And we have been violently assaulted from without and from within. Yet here we are. It is not because we are fanatical madmen defending an illusory dream, but because we know we have something that is defined by these qualities of ahavah (love). We have discovered a strength that endures, that does not require us to chop and change with the fickleness of human nature, for we have found that which endures for ever (1 Pet.1:25). It has never let us down, even in times of great loneliness and isolation. We know exactly where we stand and exactly where we are going. If it were wrong, it would have crumbled long ago, for you cannot maintain a lie indefinitely.
Q. You once said that it takes strength to talk the language of ahavah (love). What did you mean by that?
A. To talk the language of ahavah (love) is to open yourself wide and to allow those who have decided to do whatever their good or evil hearts want to do. It is an ahavah (love) that does not strike back but takes its afflictions patiently. That is why I ask new believers to keep using the language of ahavah (love) and to abandon the world's 'tough talk'. For one thing, it distinguishes you from the world - sets you apart from it - which is what we are commanded to do. That is what being qadosh (holy, set-apart) in the external sense means. When it is also a natural fruit of your heart, then it becomes internal too.
Whenever someone who possesses this ahavah (love) sees this ahavah (love) manifest in someone who is discovering it for the first time, it makes you rush towards that person and embrace him. Ahavah (love) attracts ahavah (love). The smallest glimmer of it is a beacon that the children of ahavah (love) rush towards.
Satan cannot actually destroy ahavah (love). He can only invert it or hide it.
Q. I have never heard that before. What do you mean by that exactly?
A. Ahavah (love) can be buried but not extinguished, except in the one case I have already mentioned. Given a chance it will always spring up like a fountain. And when such happens in someone who discovers ahavah (love), it must be allowed to do so and be encouraged. Great emotional outbursts of simcha (joy) in such a situation must never be regarded as uncomely but a beautiful natural expression of liberation. When we get excited we sometimes are rather noisy. Ahavah (love) has its noisy moments, especially when it is being discovered for the first time. And that spontaneity should be allowed as one would allow a child expressing simcha (joy) at some wonderful blessing. That bursting ahavah (love) brings healing in its wings. You see, just as hate has a life of its own, so ahavah (love) has a life of its own too. It always radiates outwards towards others. It moves against the downward gravity of hate which eats a soul up from within.
Now that life force of ahavah (love) is much more powerful than the death force of hate. It is much stronger, much more enduring. Ahavah (love) is eternal whereas hate is not. Even Satan's hate will one day collapse. He will not be able to maintain it forever. It will consume him dry and leave him all shrivelled up like a prune. Hate is a flash-in-the-pan. Anger in angry person eventually dies down of its own accord, doesn't it?
Q. Yes, that's true. So instead of him taking in and thriving off the hate and anger of others, it is in fact draining him?
A. Correct. You cannot maintain anger without burning yourself to a cinder. Ahavah (love), on the other hand - true ahavah (love), and not the emotional outburst type of love - is constant. It never recedes. If it does, then it is counterfeit! If, for example, you have been deeply in love with your spouse and can the next day say it is gone and you are loving him only as your brother, then that love you are now claiming to have is counterfeit. You have exchanged it for something else. True ahavah (love) is eternal, but to maintain its position in your heart, you have to choose for it to remain there. It can be called back as easy as blowing that feather away in denying it.
Q. People seem to thrive on hate ...
A. Ah, but it is an illusion. It's like an acid that will eventually eat him alive. The 'thriving' is a perverse form of simcha (joy) - an 'anti-joy' - that cannot last. It eventually collapses like a worn-out engine because in humans it derives its power from the flesh, from our bodies. And when those weaken, then it becomes more difficult to maintain the energy of hate. Hate will either totally destroy you or compel you to surrender. It consumes even the container that holds it. No human container can hold it indefinitely.
But love - true ahavah (love) - does not come from our bodies but through the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) from heaven. Because it is eternal, never-ending, it reinforces and protects itself. It constantly expands and embraces everything in its reach. The counterfeit, however, retracts, and embraces less and less, demanding instead idolatrous worship of self. True ahavah (love) nourishes all it touches so that everything is attracted to it. True ahavah (love) does not rend hearts into pieces or drive people away. Even evil souls are attracted by it and will stay to attack it rather than leave it alone. Only darkness flees.
Q. But that means that hate can appear under the guise of love?
A. Oh yes, and frequently so. How else does Satan lure his victims in the first place, the ones he cannot directly abuse but must win over? How else will he try to deceive the elect? Think of the woman who recommended that abortion. Was that not hate?
Q. That is a hard question to answer.
A. It is a poisonous combination of love and hate - what may be called 'love-hate'. The ultimate result is hate. 'Love' is used as the Trojan horse.
Q. That must be hard to detect.
A. Yes, that is why the apostle Peter says:
We can't afford to let down our guard. We can't afford to be careless. Survival in this world requires much alertness, for even those who are saved, for none is immune from falling. Ahavah (love) never presents itself forcefully. But hate does. It thrusts itself forward in an aggressive mode. That is often how you can distinguish the two.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:7-9, NKJV).
Q. If that is the case, then the counterfeit is always going to be the 'loudest', as it were, and people are going to be misled.
A. Yes. Ahavah (love) has to be sought for. It does not parade itself in an unseemly manner. And yet when hate is confronted with the emet (truth) of ahavah (love), it frequently flees.
Now the power of ahavah (love) is known to most. If a pregnant mother lays her hand on her unborn child and pours ahavah (love) out of her heart towards it, that child will shift position in the womb to get nearer the hand. That is the attractive power of ahavah (love). It doesn't yell at the baby and say, 'Come here!' Its power is its own attraction, like a gentle glow which warms.
Now it is true that sometimes ahavah (love) comes in great waves or surges and this is a time to stand still and bathe in it. But if it is counterfeit - for counterfeit love can do the same - it will always turn you inwards and away from other people and your divine obligations to them as spouses or brothers or sisters in Messiah. Always. The 'love' that completely occupies self is not from Yahweh. More than likely it lacks some essential element, like sentimentality, for example. Much New Age music lacks this element, and deliberately so. Much of it was especially composed by a demon. It gives a sense of being carried away high to some remote place and directs love to self.
When two people experience pure ahavah/agapé love they stand still and bathe in one another. It glues them together in a qadosh (holy, set-apart) bond of fellowship. The more two people have contact in this ahavah (love), the more it increases.
Q. I can see a potential problem here, especially in the realm of romance. What if a marriage relationship is having problems, and the two separate, for whatever reason, and one or both declares that they do not feel married any more. Let's say that the separated wife then gets romantic inclinations towards someone else and wants to bathe in that. What then?
A. That would not be divine ahavah/agapé love at all but a violation of the seventh mitzvah (commandment) not to commit adultery. A marriage is not defined by how you feel in any one particular moment of time. One day a couple may feel dizzily close to one another, on another day remote, and perhaps they are at each other's throats the next day. Do we say that they are in different marriage relationships on the three different days? This is an existentialist approach to marriage which has no warranty in the Bible anywhere. A marriage is defined by a mutual b'rit (covenant) in the presence of witnesses and is then physically consummated. Once that has taken place, that is a marriage for life. If adultery is committed, then by the letter of the Torah (Law) divorce may take place, though the spirit of the New Covenant Torah (Law) requires forgiveness and reconciliation. To refuse to forgive and reconcile, Messiah teaches, is to cut ourselves off from His forgiveness of us. To refuse to forgive is to break the sixth mitzvah (commandment) on the spiritual plane. It is to wilfully kill in an unlawful manner. If a couple are married and erotic love is engaged into with someone they are not lawfully wedded to - whether it is mental, emotional, or physical - it is adultery, pure and simple. There is no getting around this. When covenants have been entered into and the marriage has been consummated, it is marriage in Yahweh's eyes and no amount of spiritualising or rationalising it away can change that. Whatever feelings that may transpire outside that bond of a romantic nature are filthy and abominable in Yahweh's eyes, no matter how 'good' they may feel in the moment.
Q. I suppose that even pedophiles claim they feel 'good' in what they do.
A. I'm sure, yet they are hell-bound. Feelings do not define love. Emet (truth) does.
Q. What about those who are plagued by doubts and fears?
A. This is the natural lot of man when his emunah (faith) wavers. Just because we have these does not mean that ahavah (love) is absent, only that we have momentarily weakened in our resolve to be faithful. The carnal nature will always throw these things up to destabilise us, aided and abetted by those not of Messiah and the demons who drive these things. Only as ahavah (love) multiplies do doubts and fears subside. That requires a conscious effort to love and to trust in Yahweh's promises. And both require emunah (faith, trusting). When we make that faith-choice, so we are able to lower our buckets into those wells within and draw out the refreshing waters from the well of ahavah (love). It's a very gradual process, and sometimes we are impatient that it is not faster. Whereas hate is like a fire which consumes quickly, ahavah (love) is like the construction of a house. Creating order from disorder always take more time than creating disorder from order. That why patience is listed as one of the virtues of ahavah (love), and it's a patience that must last a lifetime. Ahavah (love) is not always dramatic, though it can be. My own New Birth was very dramatic but mostly people's New Birth is gradual and imperceptible, like a baby growing in the womb. And it can only be discerned by stepping back and looking at a snap shot from an earlier time. When my New Birth took place it was like a fountain bursting up from the quiet earth and spraying water everywhere. I describe it like suddenly standing under a waterfall, for that was my particular experience. But whether it is dramatic or gradual is not important so long as it happens!
We all have doubts. I have my fair share of them. And we are often buffeted by fears, but it gets so much easier to deal with these as ahavah (love) multiplies and leavens the soul. As it does, we go from strength to strength. The burden of sin falls away like dead weight as this ahavah (love) multiplies, and especially as it drives away hate. Sometimes you want to just cry for simcha (joy) at its wonder. It is rarely passive. And when it is still, it compels you into action pretty soon afterwards. Yes, we are to "be still" and know that Yahweh is God (Ps.56:10) but we are not to remain that way. True ahavah (love) compels us into immediate action, to right wrongs, return to where we are supposed to be if we have left out post, and to actively be about building the Kingdom. True ahavah (love) is a dynamo. If 'love' is making you sit on the sidelines and not doing what you are supposed to be doing, it is counterfeit.
Q. You talked earlier about trusting true ahavah (love). What does that entail?
A. Well, to trust in true ahavah (love) means trusting in Yahweh because "Elohim (God) is love" (1 Jn.4:8, 16). There is no such thing as true ahavah (love) apart from Elohim (God), even though you may experience it before you come to know Him as its source. As soon as you have experienced true ahavah (love) and come to know who the Author is, you will naturally love Him. And what is it like to love Him? Well we all know that answer, don't we?
If we truly love Yahweh we become Torah-observant. You cannot escape it! And if you are not Torah-observant, yet claiming to have His love and to love Him, then you are a liar and the emet (truth) is not in you (1 Jn.1:8; 2:4). And what does that make us? It is too horrible to say, and yet it has to be said, even if your hearts rebel at saying it out of love for those who do this - for if we openly rebel, having a full knowledge of Yahweh's Davar (Word), we become like the hypocritical Pharisees, and children of hell (Mt.23:33).
"If you love Me, keep My mitzvot (commandments)" (Jn.14:15, NKJV).
To trust ahavah (love) is to trust Yahweh is to trust His Davar (Word), the Torah (law, Teaching, Doctrine, Principles). There is no beating around the bush. In our discovery of ahavah (love) we may not know Torah, and that is all right; but if we remain in that ahavah (love), we will always be impelled towards the Emet (Truth). And it is that emet (truth) which ultimately sets us free (Jn.8:32). Notice that it is not love that makes us free, but EMET (TRUTH). Let us read it in its plainness and not be deceived:
"If you abide in My Davar (Word), you are My talmid (disciples) indeed. And you shall know the emet (truth), and the emet (truth) shall make you free" (John 8:31-33, NKJV).
Please note that ahavah (love) does not deliver is from the chains of spiritual imprisonment but emet (truth) does, and specifically, the emet (truth) of Yahweh's Davar (Word).
Q. And that is why we use it in deliverance ministry.
A. Yes. We are only true followers of Messiah if we abide in Torah by which we can know the emet (truth) and be made free. If we claim to be free and yet do not abide in Torah we are not free. We are living a lie and true ahavah (love) is not in us! It is a counterfeit. You cannot separate the Christian/Messianic lifestyle from the emet (truth), and you cannot separate the emet (truth) from eternal chayim (life), and you cannot separate eternal chayim (life) from ahavah (love). All are connected as one echad. If you try to play around with any part you are gambling with spiritual death.
When you invite Yah'shua (Jesus) into your heart you discover who Yahweh really is, and that He is ahavah (love). And when you have that true ahavah (love) you immediately enter into a love-relationship with His Davar (Word), His Law, His Torah. The Davar (Word) becomes lechem (bread) and mayim (water) to you, because in it you discover what the righteousness of Elohim (God) truly is, and not the man-made constructions of most of the churches and those who deliberately make themselves churchless.
If you want to know who Yahweh is, read His Torah - all of it, from Genesis to Revelation. This is the revelation of Himself and His ahavah (love). When we do that, we do not need to listen to peoples' opinions or even experiences of Yahweh because we can obtain the emet (truth) for ourselves. The moment you start believing and relying on other people's experiences of Elohim (God), you are believing human flesh. And if you then ask to have what they have experienced, then you likely will, and become drawn into their orbit and spiritual gravitational control. It's an old story, repeated a million times a year. People listen to preachers or to friends or to relatives and believe them instead of Messiah, and partake of their psyche and claim it to be Elohim (God) - the ultimate blasphemy!
Q. It is surely all right to believe those who preach the unadulterated Davar Elohim (Word of God)?
A. Of course, so long as they check it out for themselves. A true minister of Yahweh will invite you to do that and "prove (test) all things" (1 Thes.5:21).
Q. And that is what we have consistently done, and often been criticised for it.
A. The emet (truth) hurts our pride and cherished traditions. It offends us to be told that we are worshipping self and walking on the path to destruction. However, what else can true ahavah (love) do? Even at the pain of rejection, opposition and even death? It must proclaim the emet (truth) else true ahavah (love) can never be known. It has no choice but to proclaim the revelation of the Father, for that is the only way to know the Father and be truly made free.
Q. Emet (truth) and error are rather like the two sides of a coin, then?
A. And can be flipped over quite effortlessly. It is enough to choose to believe one lie to have everything inverted.
Q. Just one?
A. That is what Yah'shua (Jesus) said. Didn't He tell us that every pen-stroke of Torah was valid - every letter?
Q. That is true.
A. And yet people want to spiritualise this away or box it away as something 'old' and not relevant to us. The emet (truth) does not change! All that has changed are the shadows and types which have been fulfilled in Yah'shua's (Jesus') death and resurrection. All that has changed is the ceremonial Torah. The substance - the emet (truth) and ahavah (love) that lay behind the types and shadows - remain eternally. And people who have diligently studied the Bible know that. They know it well. But they choose to believe the lie because their hearts are in rebellion. And that's why Paul said:
"And for this reason Elohim (God) will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the emet (truth) but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess.2:11-12, NKJV).
Q. These are not small matters, then?
A. I would have thought not - indeed, they are a matter of life and death, of salvation and damnation, and we should be crying this on the rooftops! 'Repent and change your ways!' Time is desperately short, and the spirits of delusion and error are multiplying at such an alarming rate that the earth is literally bathed in a black cloud of demons from one pole to the other. Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against unseen principalities (Eph.6:12) who would wish us to believe in counterfeit, lawless 'love'. I tell you, such a thing does not exist!
And note this too: when you are in any kind of counterfeit, you are powerless to wage spiritual warfare. The only power the demons gives you cannot be used against itself: demons will not give you their power to cast them out!
Q. People do still have a big problem connecting ahavah (love) with Torah-observance. There is almost a pathological hatred of systems and rules since the hippie revolution in the 1960s. How do we counter this?
A. One lady once told me that the gospel we preach at NCAY "is not all about love and such, it is about rules and surrender and forgiveness and bowing your knee".
Q. That's what I mean.
A. It's a common misconception. This is what I told her: as true ahavah (love) enters your soul, it creates a tension with the darkness within. You realise that the two aren't compatible, and that one or the other has to give way. As ahavah (love) triumphs and your soul is bathed in it, you discover that it has a special life of its own. At this point in your spiritual rebirth you are "in love with love", in a way, and you want nothing else. But you soon discover that it operates on the basis of certain laws: do one thing, and it departs from you. Fail to repent, and something else enters and takes its place. Return to what you did before, and the original love returns. What happens is an inner revelation on the workings of the true ahavah (love) of Yahweh. You discover, in fact, that true ahavah (love) isn't just some sort of 'energy' like warm water caressing your body, but that it has structure and even more importantly PERSONALITY.
Q. So ahavah (love) is not a force separate from Elohim (God)?
A. No, no, absolutely not. You can't detach ahavah (love) from Elohim (God). You cannot distill it out of Him and put it into a private bottle labelled with your name of ownership. Elohim (God) is ahavah (love).
Even if you don't know the source of this true ahavah (love) when you first experience it, you find that you are bowing your knee anyway because you are so grateful for it. You are surrendering to it naturally and without compulsion. Ahavah (love) and Elohim (God) are synonymous. You can't have the one without the other. The New Age tries to separate the two and claim that this 'love' is naturally resident within man and that man is therefore God himself! That is pantheism, the worship of nature (Wicca) and self (Satanism).
Now there are always two ways to get to know the emet (truth). One is joyful and the other painful.
A. The Christian/Messianic way is the joyful route. Pain comes in the realisation that you are separated from the ahavah (love) you most want. This is what may be called "qadosh (holy, set-apart) pain". This is not the kind of pain that comes from abuse but what we have ourselves welcomed into our souls.
There is false 'love' and true ahavah (love). The one is sickly sweet with lots of barbs on it and the other is free and genuine. True ahavah (love) attracts, false love forces and has strings attached.
Q. That is rather an indictment of the 'hell and damnation' preachers.
A. If they have no ahavah (love), yes, but it would be fatally negligent of us if we did not warn people of the reality of hell. The thing is to stress ahavah (love) and to not keep on harping on the negative and so drive honest searchers away.
Where emet (truth) enters to challenge falsehood, it sets up a tension and may well provoke an inner war that leads to much suffering. The soul at this juncture is presented with some very real choices. Then comes the moment of decision. That contest causes pain, and there are always two ways to deal with it. The first, is to drive out the emet (truth) and believe the lie. The second, is to drive out the lie and believe the emet (truth). The pain we receive in this struggle actually enables us to "see" and is ultimately constructive, for we might not otherwise choose to look. Yet we are forced to look so that no man may claim he was ignorant. The emet (truth) illuminates and this exposes the lie. It is up to us to choose the emet (truth) or the lie.
Q. Is there no hope for the person who chooses the lie?
A. There is always space for repentance. There is always grace (unmerited favour). But that period is not indefinite. At some point the Torah (Law) of Justice must claim her own and grace must withdraw. But we had better be careful not to exploit that grace lest we find ourselves cast out. Yah forbid that anyone hearing or reading this should do that. Be wise and be saved!
Now this pain is a part of the healing process because it allows us to invite the blood of Messiah into our souls for cleansing and forgiveness. We must see the positive side of this pain caused by the struggle of the soul. True ahavah (love) is not pain-free. Compare that with the counterfeit 'love' of the oriental religions which are concerned with the suppression of feelings. This is the 'enlightenment' of Satanism, that requires the death of the heart.
Q. You mean there is Satanic enlightenment?
A. Certainly. One can obtain great knowledge through Satanism but it cannot save you. Satanism gives you much head-knowledge but no heart-knowledge. It is empty. Useless. Satanic enlightenment destroys the soul like a cancer and forces a knowing on you through the suffering you must go through - suffering which neither sanctifies nor upbuilds the soul. In actual fact, Satanic 'enlightenment' is a kind of unknowing. It causes you to forget ahavah (love) and emet (truth), and cuts you off from Yahweh. Through this kind of 'enlightenment', which comes in many guises (like meditation, yoga, etc.) and not just raw Satanism, you never know what ahavah (love) is. You can even be a 'Christian' or 'Messianic' and be destroyed in exactly the same way. It doesn't matter what label you wear, it's the reality of the process that matters. This kind of 'enlightenment' divides the soul into two with a spiritual butcher's knife - it 'gives' with one hand and robs with the other. In the end, you are left a mere robot, a shell of your true self.
Q. So 'love' can do this?
A. Counterfeit 'love', yes - anti-Torah 'love', yes.
Q. You mean that those who reject Torah are Satanists??
A. Ultimately, yes.
Q. Even if they proclaim the Name of Messiah?
A. Even if they do mighty works in His Name like casting our demons, yes. Yes, yes, yes! Anything which is anti-Torah will naturally unfold into Satanism even if it is not visible at first. That is why thousands of Christians are returning to Torah and to true ahavah (love).
True ahavah (love) heals the soul on every plane. It begins by simply trusting the one who is speaking words about it, whether a minister or an apostle in the Bible, or whoever. You then reach a point where you are able to yield to the emet (truth) in your heart. Traumatising the heart is Satan's #1 goal! Then he distorts our thinking so he can separate the two halves. Finally, he buries the truth-half so it is no longer visible, and hate - if it is admitted - eventually separates the two. And you know, even hate can be subtly hidden away. People can appear loving but behind the facade is a resentment and a bitterness. And that can be detected by the desire to control and to put pressure on you to yield to them rather than to Yahweh. Of course, even Yahweh can be used - His Name, that is ...
Q. But divorced from Torah ...
A. Exactly. Once Yahweh of Yah'shua (Jesus) are separated from EMET (TRUTH) and TORAH (LAW), you have a FALSE 'Yahweh' and a FALSE 'Yah'shua' ('Jesus'). The delusion is then complete, the trap is set, and the soul is walking in darkness thinking it is walking in Light!
Q. Oh my gosh ...
A. That is just one of Satan's methods. As a minister you get to know them well.
Q. So what does one do?
A. One prays, and one pours true ahavah (love) out on the victim until the half that is imprisoned stirs into wakefulness and desires to break free again.
Q. And what if the victim breaks contact with you?
A. Ah, yes, that is the tragedy - for Satan hides his own away - doesn't want them exposed to the Light. He creates a fear within them that they will be 'polluted' or even destroyed by the emet (truth) (which he calls a lie, of course - everything is upside-down with him). Then all you can do is hope and pray.
There are so many subtle lies. Hate is an easy thing to spot. But what if the battle is between true ahavah (love) and counterfeit 'love'? It is much more difficult to contrast the two so that the one in bondage can 'see'. But Yahweh always has ways, and the one ministering must ever be sensitive to these.
Q. You stress the centrality of the Davar (Word) in all you say about true ahavah (love) ...
A. Yes, absolutely. There is really no other way to discern it until you have reached perfection, and I dare say that none of us would claim to have done that. Yahweh's people - the true followers of Messiah - are followers of Torah - not heartlessly but in the primacy of ahavah (love). Hear it said in the Book of Revelation:
"Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Yah'shua (Jesus) and for the Davar Elohim (Word of God), who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands" (Rev.20:4, NKJV).
Notice that the righteous have a twin Witness - their witness of Yah'shua (Jesus) and their witness of the Davar or Word (Torah). This is repeated many times in the Book of Revelation and in John's First Epistle. The saved are those who have a testimony of Messiah and obey the mitzvot (commandments). There is simply no debating the matter without rejecting the Bible and its Author.
My heart is deeply pained because loved ones and friends are deliberately rejecting the emet (truth) because of pride, or fear, or resentment. Many have been abused and are struggling to accept themselves and think that they can do so by worshipping themselves. That is an even worse bondage. The only true freedom is through the true ahavah (love) of Messiah which is received in emunah (faith), and which leads to Torah-obedience.
Q. A final word on ahavah (love) ...
A. How shall we list the main differences between true ahavah (love) and counterfeit 'love'? I have given some, such as Torah-observance, but let us get even more specific by appealing to the revelation which is Paul's magnificent Psalm to Ahavah (Love) to the Corinthians:
"Ahavah (love) suffers long and is kind; ahavah (love) does not envy; ahavah (love) does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the emet (truth); bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor.13:4-8, NKJV).
Or as the TEV paraphrase puts it so well:
"Ahavah (love) is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; ahavah (love) is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; ahavah (love) does not keep a record of wrongs; ahavah (love) is not happy with evil, but is happy with the emet (truth). Ahavah (love) never gives up; and its emunah (faith), tiqveh (hope) and patience never fail."
Are you trying to walk away from Elohim (God), or from the mitzvot (commandments), or from your local assembly, or from a marriage because you have personal problems, or you think others do? Don't do it! Ahavah (love) seeks the emet (truth), it doesn't give up, but perseveres! Go back to the place Yahweh set you in and trust Him, through His ahavah (love), to work things our for you. It may take some struggle and some tears, but under no circumstances give up. Ahavah (love) perseveres, and does not yield to the forces of destruction and chaos; it builds up, not destroys. It forgets the past and looks forward to the future. Don't look back - the past is dead - only the present is alive. Yahweh works with the raw materials of the present and is able to work mighty miracles with them.
May the King of Ahavah (love) bless and keep you and lead you into His perfect shalom (peace) is my prayer in Yah'shua's (Jesus) name. Amen.
Kadesh-biyqah, Sweden, 6 September 2002