Month 6:08, Week 1:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5936:156 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 25 August 2012
Get Out of Babylon!
Time to Leave Before It's Too Late
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el!
"Now Yahweh had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed'" (Gen.12:1-3, NKJV).
I hope that you have all had a blessed week in spite of the trying times and that Yahweh will refresh everyone here today. It has taken me a little readjusting not preparing daily devotionals and restricting myself once again to a single sermon once a week. So many things have cropped up that I have wanted to share but I have held back, sensing that there was something else of greater importance that I should first share with you. Indeed, I received the substance of today's message four days ago.
Today's passage, which is the calling of Abram to leave his family and homeland to an unknown destination abroad, is well known to you. Yahweh breaks into this pagan man's life - a successful businessman and moon-worshipper - and tells him to abandon all for a far-off destination - his religion, his occupation, his way of life and his family. He is not told where he is going and he is not given a map. He is simply told to pack up and go. He is given only enough information for each day's journeying. He is not told what he is to expect, the hardships he is going to encounter, the heartbreaks that will meet him, or the kind of lifestyle he is to live even though we know that this journey required that he change everything about his life as he knew it. The nature of his social relations, the contacts with the pagan world in which he was nurtured and with which he was familiar, his kith and kin - everything - had to be abandoned  for the new future Yahweh had planned for him and indeed for mankind as a whole. He was to be a new path-finder, a pioneer, the father of nations. Indeed, he moved from the bustling metropololis of his day and headed out for the wilderness into a country which must have seemed to him culturally very primitive by comparsion with what he had known, a bit like someone being told to quit a luxury apartment in New York and a well paid job and instead become a herder in Afghanistan living the bedouin life in a tent. But it was precisely in this unfamiliar and doubtless not very attractive-at-first land that Abram got to know the living Elohim (God) and became Abraham, a completely new person, Indeed his is a journey not unlike the great exodus that would take place centuries later under a descendant called Moses.
I dreamed that I was abandoning all that I had known in the system that had raised me. I was walking alone down a road in the wilderness and this horse and cart pulled up. On board were three women - a grandmother, her daughter and her granddaughter. There was something about them I recognised, distant and yet familiar. I got on board the cart, sat down, and without a word to anyone took the reins and we drove toward a city. When we arrived, the three women disembarked and went to their place, leaving me alone. I did not follow them. I was not supposed to. It was a parting, an ending. Part of me wanted to search them out but the better part said no.
This reminded me of the Prussian air ace and legend, Baron Manfred von Richthofen's final battle. He knew that day, by an unknown and unseen power, that he would not be returning. And many of his comrades and faithful companions knew too. This was a moment of great soberness, of making every last moment count, of savouring the last seconds of peace and of life, making eye contact with loved ones and silently communing with the heart. It was the last that he saw of all that was beloved to him - his woman, his brother, his adjudent, his mother and his father, his comrades in arms, his home in Schweidnitz, and his fatherland. The only thing he escaped was the despair of defeat that his country would suffer a few months later. Others would live on to witness that and agonise over the loss of loved ones and the bitter humiliation of their great nation.
If you are not inspired by what you do, then you are dead. And if you are not willing to die for what you believe in and what inspires you, then you were never truly alive. Abram had to die to his old life in Ur of the Chaldees in order to live for the new life Yahweh was preparing for him and his family in a far off place where nothing was familiar. The Scriptures teach us that those who truly belong to Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) are the children of Abraham (Gal.3:7), doing the works of Abraham (Jn.8:39). If we claim to be believers - Christians or Messianics - then we are the children of Abraham, his sons and daughters loving his works, his lifestyle and his Elohim (God). But, alas, so many believers - Christians and Messianics alike - fail to understand, let alone accept, that becoming a talmid (disciple) means leaving your old unsaved life behind in every possible way - it is a journey away from the familiar and into the unknown, but an unknown of great promise. So radical a change is required that when Yah'shua (Jesus) illustrates what is required of those who accept His challenge to follow Him into His Kingdom - into this new life, into this way of being, the reaction, though not mentioned, is not untypically shock and a drawing back. And it was so in His day in mortality:
Ours too is a journey like Abraham's, away from whatever Ur of the Chaldees raised us to be and into the unknown that is our own Canaan. And though there was a transitioning place in Haran for Abraham - a mid-way stop, as it were - the break from Babylonia was complete and final for this man of Elohim (God) . Abraham never returned to his homeland again, never went back to his old family - never visited them. For him it was as it would one day be for Elisha, the slaughtering of his oxen and the burning of his plough, a burning of his bridges so that there could be no way back:
"He said to another, 'Follow Me.' But he said, 'Master, let me first go and bury my father.' Yah'shua (Jesus) said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of Elohim (God)'" (Luke 9:59-60, NKJV).
We do, however, return to our pagan cities or origin in our dreams and though we have left them in the flesh, our hearts and thoughts remain there. In my dream I had taken a part of Babylon with me when I became a believer and it was necessary to return there what I had brought. I neglected to mention that the young woman - the daughter - had a son and his name was Swain. That may be an unfamiliar name to most of you but it is the old English for the Norwegian 'Svein' ('Sven' in Swedish). The name means a 'youth' or a 'young man'. Indeed, he was a very angry man indeed, and quite frightened me, for he was possessed of an inner rage because of what had been done to him. Again, some of you may recognise these three women, for they are known in the occult as the maiden, the matron or mother, and the crone, the triple goddess of neopaganism and the counterpart of the horned god, Satan. Those of you familiar with deliverance ministry will know that these three 'goddesses' are three aspects of a demoness called Hecate who along with another demoness called Lilith (who operate together) have caused great destruction amongst mankind. The younger of the three, the 'maiden' (so-called), had caused great despoilation, suffering and sorrow to me as I grew up even after I was saved and for many, many years thereafter. In my dream I took charge of this 'triple goddess' and returned them to the City of Destruction - from Babylon the Great Harlot - from whence they had come, and they left.
"So [Elijah] departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, 'Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.' And he said to him, 'Go back again, for what have I done to you?'  So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen's equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant" (1 Kings 19:19-21, NKJV).
I have known so many people who have hankered for the Ur's they have left for the Besorah (Gospel) and everyone who has returned to it has stayed in it and been reabsorbed by it, forgetting everything they learned in their 'Canaan', even their Elohim (God). It is a very, very powerful pull but Yahweh's men and women are not made by yielding back to it. They must overcome it, however hard it pulls them back, and however many times they find themselves sliding back, until they have no inclination to return to it any more. Flesh-and-blood, and the heathen culture that formed us - including those that claim to be 'Christian' but who are still heavily influenced and sometimes ruled by the spirit of Babylon - exert powerful holds over us. Yahweh knew, when He commanded Abram to leave all of this behind, that in order to make him the progenitor of a new nation, that these severences were absolutely necessary. And when Yah'shua (Jesus) told a prospective talmid (disciple) to let others bury his late father, he was referring not only to his progenitor in the flesh but to the prince and father of this world (Eph.2:2) whose passing we are not to mourn or to give him any recognition whatsoever, even to giving him a funeral with all the rites. The spiritually dead alone should concern themselves with such things. We are not to focus on the shell but on the life within.
Now before we go on I want it understood that I am not saying that we should cut off all ties to our kith and kin when we become believers and our family refuses to follow suit, as some radical and uncharitable groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses insist. We are not to cut them off like the cults or shun them like the Amish even if we are to be wary about preventing ungodly soul-ties to form. We belong to Yahweh, not to them. Indeed, we are to be witnesses to them, in grace and ahavah (love), if they will listen. We are still to love and fellowship with then when it is right to do so. But what I am absolutely saying is that the spirit of the cities of the Babylonian world system are not a condusive environment - especially today - for the formation of talmidim (disciples). And so we must be careful with our bond-forming especially when our families are still a part of that system and are trying to draw us back into it in order to make themselves feel comfortable when they refuse our Elohim (God).
The whole concept of the city state was the invention of the antimessiah (antichrist) Nimrod, a deliberate attempt to concentrate people so that they could be more easily controlled (and ultimately enslaved) by a central - and most typically - evil authority. The cities are the devil's own spawning ground for humans being shaped in his image - they are a giant womb. In the West today, 75% of the people live in them, leaving only 25& in the countryside. In the Third World it is reverse which is why there is less government control there, making them in that respect better off than us.
The flesh always wants to go back to the slavery it emerged from because it believes the lie that it was better there than the trials and tribulations of the wilderness. It believes the lie that Babylon is better for the soul than the emet (truth) because in the moment (rather than in the long-term) it seems and feels better. The Israelites missed their Egyptian diet in the wilderness because of their Spartan diet but conveniently forgot that they were slaves without freedom, toiling seven days a week for a cruel master. The Master of Babylon is Satan who has no love for his slaves.
The other day I over-indulged myself in some chocolate and paid for it a while afterwards - for those of you who don't know I have recently made a radical diet change. It tasted heavenly at first but then I got a belly-ache. Sin and slavery are just like that too and the only way to see through its illusion and deception is to have an element of prophetic foresight, a combination of trusting in Yahweh's Davar (Word) and remembering experiences of the past. This means the emet (truth) must reign in our levim (hearts) above feelings and above carnal rationalisations if we are to overcome and remain free. The emet (truth) lies above the sensual world. In a word, the hankering back for the city that we sometimes get is a rejection of Yahweh's formative and rarely easy processes that make us into sons and daughters, leading to lasting happiness. The undoing of His work, though it doesn't happen in a day, does eventually happen, in small increments like the frog slowly being boiled alive, until all is forgotten and we start regarding slavery as 'normal'. Once we are in that lost state again, it becomes a lot harder to accept the emet (truth) because the lies are what our flesh want to hear. Only courage and determination to pursue emet (truth) and to physically get us out of bad environments enables such slaves of the system to find and keep freedom.
Central to this ministry has always been the doctrine of gathering out of the system inwardly and outwardly. Scripture prophesies of this gathering of the remnant or righteous, faithful leftover of 12-tribed Israel in many places:
Resistance to gathering has been powerful amongst Yahweh's people, the more so the longer they have become acclimatised over many generations as citizens in Babylon's cities and nations. Resistance among our own followers since we started in the late 1980's has been no different, and all but three of our original flock have been allured back by the bright lights and sleaze. In the early days of this ministry it was an uphill battle and just as Moses had to wait another 40 years in Midian before Israel would be receptive enough to want to leave on Yahweh's own terms. So we have had to wait long in our 'Midian' for the same day in these end times. It frankly baffles people why we are still here, and others it has irritated and yet others it has driven to rage and an obsession to exterminate us. Even today, though we are but a handfull, there are those seeking our destruction. Why? Because Satan hates this work. Why? Because the final gathering of the Tribes signals his end, and so he is terrified of the event. The longer he can postpone it, as he supposes, the longer he can 'enjoy the war while it lasts', not understanding - or not wanting to understand - that Yahweh controls the times and seasons, not him. It's one of the reasons we are currently going through our present difficulty. It is, however, ultimately doomed to failure. Yahweh will gather when He chooses to gather using whom He will.
"I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold,
like a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make a loud noise because of so many people. The one who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it; their king will pass before them, with Yahweh at their head" (Mic.2:12-13, NKJV).
"'But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,' says Yahweh" (Jer.23:3-4, NKJV).
Though our early members were mesmerised by the dream of spiritual community based on Yahweh's pure system back in the 1980's and 90's they did not want to do the work involved, and especially not in Yahweh's timeframe. They wanted Tsiyon there and then and to hell with their lack of spiritual sanctification. When things did not come when and how they wanted, they returned to Babylon, where they remain to this day, partying, making merry and doing their own thing. What they don't yet realise is that this is, for them, the last party.
The brutal reality is that most won't respond with the necessary steps to make teshuvah (repent) until forced to by adverse circumstances to do so, for this is against their natural, uncrucified carnal, or fleshy will, which they love so much. We need not prematurely rejoice when such are forced by circumstances to repent against their will because they are usually the first to revert to their old ways when better times come. It's the old cycle of repentance and apostacy that we see recounted throughout the Bible - read the Book of Judges for typical examples. Such people tend not to be reliable in the long-term and in this end-time are likely to desert to the Antimessiah (Antichrist) system when the chips are down and they have to really start counting the cost. We want first and foremost those talmidim (disciples) who will choose the right of their own free will without having to be forced to tread the right path by continual corrective adversity. To be sure, we are all corrected this way sometimes, and most of us have to be brought to the end of ourselves until we will fully rely on and trust in Messiah, but this ought not to be something that is habitual, or else we have in truth learned nothing of substantial spiritual importance. Those convinced against their will, as the old saying goes, remain unconvinced still.
We are also apt to forget that the nation of Israel did not arise in Abraham's generation - the first generation - or even in the second, but in the third. It was his grandson Jacob who sired the twelve tribes. Even then, after it had multiplied, it had to go through centuries more purging in exile in Egypt before it was ready to accomplish the task Yahweh had originally set Abraham: to occupy the Promised Land many generations later under Moses the Levite and Joshua the Ephraimite.
We are not, however, in the process of establishing Israel de novo (from scratch) but of re-gathering it. It's already here in the churches, in the messianic assemblies, and in the world at large amongst unbelievers who are believers but don't yet know it. They are the last generation, the remnant of Messianic Israel. We have had it made very clear to us that this would be a two generation job. I was told many years ago that I would not live to see it completed, but that my children would. The first generation is to consist of Abraham's and Isaac's who must, above all, seek a shem tov or good name - they and their families - by getting fully out of the world system to work out their salvation (Phil.2:12) just as our ancestor did. It is to consist of David's painstakingly gathering the building blocks and finances for the spiritual temple, making it ready, while defending and consolidating their gains against predatory and relentless enemies.
This work is mental, emotional, physical and above all spiritual. Once the desire to return to the old Babylonian system with its many labels and variants has died in the soul truly aspiring for the Kingdom, then the second generation - the Isaacs and Jacob's and Joseph's - will be ready and preparation for the great work of gathering that is to be done. However - and this I must repeat and emphasise - this won't be happening in any modern 'Ur of the Chaldes'. It will not be a revival in some city like Pensacola or Weimar. There has to be separation from the system to both learn the lessons that must be learned as well as to be purged from the Babylonian lifestyle and mentality. Therefore it is essential that the 'Abrahams' do not return in any way to their unsaved roots if they are serious about this task. If they join the ranks of the second resurrection fellowship, refusing to go beyond the Shavu'ot, then they have in effect turned down the offer of a final gathering - the end-time cities of refuge - and elected to plunge right into the Great Tribulation without proper covering or protection - they and their families with them.
That is not to say that Yahweh cannot, and will not, use those who do not choose to do gather, for He absolutely will and already is, but it will not be according to the Torah-fullness and therefore never enjoy the richest blessings. The called who rebel will not be chosen (Mt.22:14). So it is not my task or desire to reprove those who reject this ministry and its calling (or others like it) - people must choose what they will and indeed do what Yahweh tells them. My commission is to gather those who are serious about this and will not turn back before the real trouble starts and begins shaking lax believers to their cores. But first I have to have my own house (including myself) to fully get in order and it has taken me far longer than I ever could have dreamed. Obviously, otherwise I would not have had that dream and would not have been waiting in my own 'Midian' so long.
I wonder if Abram ever hankered after his old life? I venture to suggest that he would not have been completely real and honest if he had not, though I am, of course, speculating. Perhaps he was a cut above us all. I am quite sure his family members longed for Chaldea or Egypt. Lot's wife longed for Sodom and her relatives and friends hours after leaving the doomed city - even while it was being destroyed and was consumed she looked back in longing! That's right, we must not only fight the temptation to go back but we must resist the desire to so much as even look back. We recall the warning of the malakim (angels) to Lot:
Let me remind you again of the exacting standard demanded of us by the Saviour Himself:
"When the morning dawned, the malakim (angels) urged Lot to hurry, saying, 'Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.' And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, Yahweh being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, 'Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed'" (Gen.19:15-17, NKJV).
Most people reading this passage don't take it seriously - or they may squirm and suppress what they read and hear, denying it's true implication, and were you to ask them to apply it in real life they would undoubtedly resent the suggestion. Have you ever read a scripture like this, recoiled, and refused to deal with it? Lot's wife did and lost her life when the critical moment came (Gen.19:23-26). Or have you reacted strongly when someone has read it and explain its plain sense to you, desperately wanting to claim that it does not apply to you? Well, we can't treat Scripture like that. If we react in this way, we have an issue to deal with, an enemy to overcome, and much spiritual wrestling to do. Have the guts to acknowledge there is a problem if you react this way, freely admit your struggle, and then grab the bull by the horns and wrestle in your soul like Jacob on Peniel until you have overcome the fleshy tendency and stand victorious. There are no 'but's' in this work - it's all or nothing which is why we have never had any place in this work for riff-raff or spiritual 'camp-followers', the insincere who are out to 'get' something (safety, prosperity, fame, etc.) but give little of themselves sacrificially. And though we have welcomed them when they have come, bound by ahavah (love) to minister to them as long as they will remain, they have always fled in the end, some of them to become bitter opponents. Our resolve has to be that strong if we are to do what we have been called to do.
"Then [Yah'shua/Jesus] said to another, 'Follow Me.' But he said, 'Master, let me first go and bury my father.' Yah'shua (Jesus) said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of Elohim (God).' And another also said, 'Master, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.' But Yah'shua (Jesus) said to him, 'No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of Elohim (God)'" (Luke 9:59-62, NKJV).
The Abraham's will, and do, have major problems just as Abraham himself did. He was not perfect by any means. We start very unpolished and unrefined indeed. Hagar in particular was a big headache and in the end had to leave with Ishmael because her lev (heart) was not echad (one) with her husband Abraham's purpose and tavnith (pattern) in Yahweh. She could not see further than her own flesh-and-blood. Her son Ishmael, like Esau after him, turned out to be a carnal, jealous wild man with murderous intent who did not appreciate the things of the Ruach (Spirit). One of the reasons Isaac did not qualify to raise up the twelve tribes of Israel is that he still had too much of this nature in himself, and the fact that he favoured Esau in his old age certainly suggests this. It was his wife Rebekah who had the good sense to see that Jacob was the man of Yahweh but made the mistake of resorting to deception to ensure her son received the birthright. Javob too inherited both these traits from his parents but did finally overcome at Peniel. Yahweh's people have to be of that callibre to do the job that needs doing.
Abraham didn't only have to deal with Hagar and Ishmael but with others in his camp too, including Sarah upon occasions, so that his calling to bring forth the promised seed would not be deflected or threatened. This entailed him passing through many a trial and tribulation, some of his own making, some of devil's and some of devilish men and foolish relatives. I myself have passed through many and am still passing through them as I speak. Some days I am not sure if I will have the energy for another day. This is part of the job description of every authentic talmidn (disciple) - it goes, as it were, with the territory. We will always be opposed and more vigorously as Satan senses his end approaching with the rising of the end-time Kingdom and especially the Sukkot anointing, but if we are true and obedient, we will also be protected and guarded by our Heavenly Father through all adversity.
There are, moreover, no 'supermen' in this work. So many believers are looking for 'great and mighty ones' to lead them like Moses and Joshua, and even though there may be a few here and there approaching such a stature, most are not and we are rather to put our emunah (faith) in El Elyon, the Most High, through Yah'shua (Jesus) His Son. It can be, and often is, an exhausting, painful and lonely walk. But in the midst of this there is shalom (peace), assurance, direction, strength, hope and much ahavah (love). This is what makes us choose this way, the good fruits that we see, and the assurance of what is to come, from an Elohim (God) who has always proven reliable and trustworthy.
In a dark moment quite recently, as I sought guidance and revelation for a difficult and challenging set of circumstances, and quite unexpectedly, two days ago, on the very day that Yahweh had some weeks before said something important would be happening without telling me what, I was awakened at about 4 a.m. and shown a startling and unexpected vision, which is what I want to conclude with today.
I found myself looking south from Arvika harbour here in Sweden and over the lake. Arching from the left to the right and completely filling the field of vision was a huge, brightly coloured rainbow of spectacular beauty. As I looked at it I saw, in an instant, hope for I understood that Yahweh had not forgotten me, nor had He renegged on the covenant He had made with me to do the work to which I have been called and, moreover, it would be fulfilled in the place, here in Sweden, to which I was called 15 years ago, again by a revelation, in which I was shown the house I would buy and live in. The wilderness doesn't always make a lot of sense at the time but wildernesses have a tendency to be transformed into oases when Yahweh's hand touches them. And that is what we are to be, oases in the wilderness of life for genuine seekers, gathering the building blocks for the final gathering which draws ever closer as the world accellerates into ever deeper anarchy and tyranny.
I hope that this will encourage you as we plunge deeper into the financial crisis and as I once more - perhaps for the last time - urge you to clear your debts and stock up on essentials for a minimum of 6 months. Do it over the next two weeks if you haven't already done so because time is fast running out.
May Yahweh bless you over the coming week until we meet again. Amen.
 Except, of course, his immediate household - his wife and servants
 It was also the opportunity for other family members who did not want to go further with him to exercise their agency and choose the life that they wanted
 "Go on back, why all the excitement?" (1 Ki.19:20b, LB); "Alright, go back, I'm not stopping you!" (GNB) - or as the GNB footnote has it, "Go on, but come back, because what I have just done is important"; "'Go back', he replied, 'what have I done to prevent you?'" (NEB).