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Month 9:22, Week 3:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5936:258 AM
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 5 December 2012
Salvation Issues
2. Framing the Finished Puzzle

    Continued from Part 1


    Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el in the grace of Yah'shua (Jesus) our Messiah!

    We resume our discussion this week by asking ourselves the question, what are 'salvational issues' and what aren't? We still haven't answered it and we have a way to go before we are ready to do so.


    We have been looking at salvation, emunah (faith) and works (deeds) and seeing how they are linked together. Last week I made the case for salvation being a little more complex than is traditionally understood by the 'once saved, always saved' people and we came to understand, I hope, that whilst salvation is of Yahweh's grace (His undeserved loving kindness or unmerited favour) and is entirely by emunah (faith) on the part of the sinner, that unless it is maintained by good works through our obedience to the mitzvot (commandments) in our desire to please and love Yahweh, that we can risk forfeiting that salvation. We saw that salvation is past, present and future and that all we can do is maintain it in the present by continued trusting, obedience and good works.

    Maintenance Through Love, Not Legalistic Observance

    A word of explanation when I say that salvation must be 'maintained' so as not to be misunderstood as teaching that we must 'earn' or 'keep' that salvation in a way that would be bondage rather than freedom and chayim (life). Paul reminds us in Galatians to continue the rest of our walk in Messiah in the same way that we started it, by simply trusting as a child. That genuine trusting or emunah (faith) always results in action that leads to spiritual growth, and it is by grace from beginning to end. What we do ot do not do is a kind of reality check that enables us to see what is actually going on inside, whether we are 'acting' to earn the keeping or maintenance of our salvation or whether we are motvated by ahavah (love) alone. True saving emunah (faith) is by the latter alone. If it is not, we have a spiritual issue that needs fixing, a false root that needs lopping off. And to remain in His ahavah (love) means being obedient in divine tavnith (pattern) in that ahavah (love).


    As promised last week, my goal today is to draw everything together and frame it precisely. I have as my task three objectives:

    • 1. To convince those who believe they don't have to occupy themselves with good works in order to hold on to their salvation in the manner I described above that they absolutely do - I hope I convicted those of this mindset last week;
    • 2. To show to those who are now convinced that we must be obedient to the mitzvot (commandments), identify what and which those mitzvot (commandments) are, and to show how obedience is not only possible but a pure simcha (joy)! and
    • 3. To encourage everyone to seek the bigger picture and not get bogged down in details by carefully following biblical tavnith or pattern, for only in this way can we have a wholistic or complete approach.

    The Importance of Divine Tavnith

    I cannot stress the third objective enough. It is absolutely no good if all we do is read those scriptural verses that back up our doctrinal suppositions whilst carefully ignoring or twisting those that do not. We do not have the luxury of ever being able to say, when reading a scripture, 'I don't accept that!' The moment we reject any part of Yahweh's Davar (Word) we are on the slipperly slope leading to apostacy and ultimately outright rebellion. Every emet or truth principle is a part of the puzzle and every mitzvah (commandment) is essential when arranged in the proper heavenly tavnith (pattern). Indeed I hope to show, by the end of this meeting, that there are no such things as 'non-essentials'. Our spiritual life in Messiah can no more thrive without the 'little' mitzvot (commandments) or 'little' truths than a cell can function without a 'minor' organelle or a body without a 'minor' organ. But more about that later.

    Honesty and Openness

    If we make it a habit to walk in Yahweh's Ohr or Light and not seek to shun it, Satan will have a much harder time blinding us. If a Scripture contradicts what you believe in, don't go round it - declare that you will accept it even if it initially makes no sense and ask Yahweh to convince you in your lev (heart) of its truthfulness because if you don't that Scripture will come around again and again until finally you surrender to its emet (truth) or become an outright rebel. Now there may well be a translation issue in which case you will need to do some careful research on etymology and syntax (if it's a New Testament passage, carefully check its Hebraic roots) but if it isn't then you have to grapple with a doctrine that may contradict your current belief structure. It doesn't matter if this research takes time so long as you are open and honest - some struggles take longer than others especially if a total readjustment of our whole world view is required. So by all means take the time you need rather than what you necessarily want - in other words, don't procrastinate but at the same time don't allow others to pressure you. Walk inbetween the two. And remember, it's ultimately between you and Yahweh.

    The Three Elements of Salvation

    I want to introduce a new element into our discussion today by proposing that the salvation of a soul at any one moment of time may be said to be a function of three things:

    • (1) Emunah (Faith,Trusting) [in Yah'shua/Jesus];
    • (2) The evidence of that Emunah (Faith) reflected in an obedient response [to the mitzvot/commandments]; and
    • (3) Spiritual maturity.

    Spiritual Maturity a Very Important Factor

    Absent from nearly the all the debates I have ever heard between evangelicals and messianics is the maturity factor. Yahweh expects different things of people at different levels of maturity, just as we as parents do of our own children when they are in different age groups. He never asks us to endure more than we are able at any one point in time knowing that one person might be crushed by some demands that would be nothing for others. Indeed, Paul says we are to present the Gospel (Besorah) at different levels depending on people's spiritual maturity. Gentile converts in the apostles' day were only to be given a smattering of Torah to begin with so as not to overwhelm them - interestingly few Christians today obey even these! Just take the modern Christian's response to the Ruach- (Spirit)-guided decision of the Council of Jerusalem:

      "You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things" (Acts 15:28-29, NIV).

    When Even the Basics Aren't Understood Properly

    How many Baptists or Pentecostals do you know, for example, who drain blood from their meat before cooking it? And yet we are commanded to do so in Yahweh's kashrut rules. As for sexual immorality, most Christians don't even know what the actual biblical sex laws are - all they know is their denominational traditions, many having very casual and lax attitudes toward marriage and divorce, for example!

    Ignorance Concerning Adultery

    How many of you know, for example, that according to Torah it is impossible for a single, unmarried woman to commit adultery no matter how hard she might try? She can fornicate and be instrumental in causing a man to break his marriage vows but at no time is she able to commit adultery. Single men can, as can married men and women, but not a single woman. Is this important? Absolutely! For there are different penalties for adultery, fornication and vow-breaking, and we are warned not to falsely judge others lest we receive the penalty for the sin we have wrongly accused another of. I don't propose to explain that here today - I only want to alert you to the abysmal ignorance there is of such things because of men's traditions. If your curiosity has been aroused, do some research! I will return to this illustration later.

    Do You Even Know the Mimimum Torah Requirements?

    So if modern Christian believers aren't even following the mimimum Torah rules for new converts and if they don't even know what these mitzvot (commandments) actually are, should it come as any great surprise to discover that they have got a lot more wrong too? You will discover that there are no mitzvot (commandments) revoking these in Scripture but you'll find plenty of churches and messianic assemblies denying them.

    Mercy in the Days of Ignorance

    Yet Yahweh is merciful in the days of our ignorance. We obviously can't be held accountable to truths we know little or nothing about in the same way that we are when we actually underftand them fully well. At the same time we must not fall for the trap that Yahweh does not hold us accountable, or that problems will not befall us because of the legal rights claimed by demons when we break universal Torah. If we sin, whether in ignorance or deliberately, trouble inevitably follows. We are told in Torah:

      "If a person sins, and commits any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the mitzvot (commandments) of Yahweh, though he does not know it, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity. And he shall bring to the cohen (priest) a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering. So the cohen (priest) shall make atonement for him regarding his ignorance in which he erred and did not know it, and it shall be forgiven him" (Lev.5:17-18, NKJV)

    Our Eternal Trespass Offering Today is Messiah

    Today Yah'shua (Jesus) is our eternal trespass offering so that we may obtain absolution for the sin of ignorance by trusting and repenting later when we come to know of it. If we sin in ignorance we are still punished, but that punishment is not as great as when we sin deliberately:

    Grades of Punishment Based in Maturity

      "And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more" (Luke 12:47-48, NKJV).

    Learning Obedience Through Suffering

    Here is where spiritual maturity enters the picture. Now obviously once you know what Scripture teaches, the believer is both under an obligation to obey and will be dealt with more strictly if he sins! In this way Yahweh demonstrates His mercy toward us sinners, making a distinction between ignorance (immaturity) and those who have Torah knowledge (maturity). The 'lesser' stripes we receive because we sinned in ignorance discipline us to be more alert and careful when we are 'older' and 'wiser' in the emet (truth). And sad to say, for most of us, we only learn in this way:

      "Although He (the human Yah'shua/Jesus) was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered" (Heb.5:8, NIV).

    Maturing Through Suffering

    Maturity does not occur without suffering, and those who refuse to suffer either for sin or for righteousness' sake, avoiding it like the plague, never mature. If the human Yah'shua (Jesus) required it, do you for one moment suppose that we do not? Admittedly He never sinned and we invariably do, but the principle and tavnith (pattern) is the same.

    Meat and Milk

    For spiritual infants in the emunah (faith), there is the equivalent of "milk"; and for those more mature, "meat" or "solid food". No two people are at the same place and no two people have an identical cocktail of needs even if we are all required to move toward the same goal of perfect obedience:

      "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles (revelations) of Elohim (God); and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb.5:12-14, NKJV).

    Parental Expectations of Children

    Do we not, as parents, expect different things of children at different ages? We expect much more of maturer sons and daughters than we do of younger ones. All age groups sin, and there is punishment for all sin, but the strictness with which we administer punishment depends on the level of maturity, does it not? Only unwise, foolish or cruel parents punish uniformly.

    Leaders are Judged More Strictly

    And so it is in adulthood - those in positions of toqef (authority) - whether they be parents, policemen, military commanders, heads of corporations or government - receive (or ought to receive in a law-abiding world) a harsher punishment for lawlessness than those who follow them. From this we learn that vitally important lesson that we are to show more grace to the spiritually young and immature than we are to the spiritually older and mature. This is how Yahweh works and this is how we are to work also, whether it be with our own songs and daughters or those who are our spiritual wards in congregation.

    Find Mature Elders

    Far too many believers ignorantly and destructively condemn to hell those who do not know what they do. Such have little or no knowledge of Yahweh's grace and ahavah (love) and understand even less about the Maturity Principle. Usually they are spiritually immature and need to be bridled by their elders. And if they are 'elders' or leaders, then their congregations are in serious trouble! Such attitudes tend to breed intolerance and extremism. If you have voluntarily submitted yourself to that kind of organisational toqef (authority) you need to get from under it because it will stunt your growth and quench the Ruach (Spirit) in your congregational life. The very definition of the zaqenim or elders is that they are spiritually mature! They are fathers (and mothers) who know where their spiritual children are and know how to be good spiritual parents. There is nothing as bad for a congregation as having a pastor or elders who are leading that congregation. Solomon said:

      "Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up: a servant who becomes king... maidservant who displaces her mistress..." (Prov.30:21-23, NIV).

    When the immature occupy positions requiring maturity, "the earth trembles" - only bad things can happen.

    Understanding the Divine Template

    If you are not familiar with this divine template or structure, then I would like to invite you to make an in-depth study of the Moedim or Appointments of Yahweh because they have been given to help us frame spiritual reality and emet (truth) by dividing it into sections or portions that are comprehensible to our finite minds. Begin with the summaries and then look into the spiritual meaning each of the festivals. They are a picture of redemption showing the relationship actions (human and divine) and processes. The following disagram is a summary:

    Near Death Experiences and the Bible

    For many years I have been following with interest the accounts of people of all kinds of religious and non-religious backgrounds who have had NDE's or 'Near Death Experiences'. All have entered and experienced a non-physical dimension of reality which has astounded and overwhelmed them. One Christian researcher, Quigg Lawrence, who has compared many of the experiences of these people with biblical teaching, came to the following very legitimate conclusions:

    • 1. The NDE messages are at odds with the many teachings found in Scripture;
    • 2. Yah'shua (Jesus) warned us to be on guard against the wiles and deceit of the father of lies, who has the power to lead astray the elect if that were possible;
    • 3. NDEs often produce paranormal events or knowledge that could be known only through supernatural means;
    • 4. Satan is the force behind these messages that are deceiving people, and behind these supernatural events and revelations that supposedly verify these NDEs and their messages;
    • 5. Careful investigation of the NDE'ers, reveals that few have had a biblical salvation event. Many have spiritual experiences, but few display evidence of having been regenerated; and
    • 6. None of the popular explanations suggested by major NDE researchers adequately explain the NDE.

    Discerning True and False NDE's

    I do not for one minute doubt that these people experienced something for I myself had an out-of-body experience when I was young and before I was saved, though it was not a trip to 'heaven' or anything like that. The experience, moreover, simply made me aware that there was more than the physical body which was an important key and step in my search for spiritual answers to the meaning of life. However, I do know of some NDE's that not only lead to an authentic encounter with Elohim (God) but also to a biblical salvation. I recommend that you take a look at Ian McCormack's theophany to see what I mean. So, yes, there are NDE's that result in encounters with the Ultimate Reality (Yahweh-Elohim) but there are also others that lead to encounters with a spiritual world of deception, however intense and authentic they may appear to be.

    So why am I bringing up this subject in the contect of our topic about salvation issues? Because a second NDE, by an atheist who became a theist as a result, provides a useful springboard into what I want to talk about next: the four levels of salvational experience.

    Encountering Elohim But Not Receiving Him

    I believe Quigg Lawrence is right...up to a point. There are many people alive whom I would say have encountered Elohim (God) in some way but have not yet been saved at any level of maturity, or indeed at all. I believe people are encountering Elohim (God) all the time but are simply not choosing to follow Him. Or they have been waylaid by false teaching and are going down false paths. I had all kinds of supernatural experiences before I was saved, many of them from the enemy but equally many of them not. Though I didn't know it at the time, Yahweh was drawing me to Him and revealing Himself a little at a time until I was able to come to the point and make an actual choice for Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and finally learn to discern spiritual matters with the Ruach (Spirit).

    Neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander's NDE

    One of the most interesting recent NDE accounts I have read, which is going 'viral' and which I think is a good place for some hyper-sceptical atheists to start with, is that of a neurosurgeon who suffered an E.coli infection causing bacterial Meningitis, who went into a coma for a week (most die of this disease) and was taken into spirtual realms. His name is Dr. Eben Alexander and he has recorded his experience in a book entitled, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife. In it he both shares his experiences as well as demonstrates scientifically that he couldn't have imagined, fantasised or 'made it all up' for the simple reason that his brain was totally inactive for the entire week he was 'absent'. He proves conclusively that consciousness is not a function of the physical brain, as atheistic materialists would have us believe, even though it interacts with it, but is 'something else' that is non-physical. To use his own words:

      "During my coma my brain wasn't working properly - it wasn't working at all...Many of the NDEs reported happen when a person's heart has shut down for a while. In those cases, the neocortex is temporarily inactivated, but generally not too damaged, provided that the flow of oxygenated blood is restored through cardiopulmonary resuscitation or reactivation of cardiac function within four minutes or so. But in my case, the neocortex was out of the picture. I was encountering the reality of a world of consciousness that existed completely free of the limitation of my physical brain" [1].

    A Scientist's Perspective

    He found himself initially in what he describes as an 'underworld' before being lifted up into beautiful countryside. Like others who have seen this spirit world (including myself), he experienced beauty, colour-depth and communication orders of magnitude more intense and unlike anything in the physical realm. What I find particularly interesting is that he brings a scientist's keen observational and analytical tools into play to describe what he saw in a very compelling way indeed. However, I don't give him (or anyone else) carte blanche when it comes to such experiences because I know how easily the enemy is able to deceive.

    The Three Biblical Heavens, Rabindranath R. Maharaj & Betty Eadie

    The Bible speaks of three heavens (2 Cor.12:2), the first of which is the physical sky, the second of which is what occultists like to call the 'astral realm' better depicted by its Hebrew term, nefesh, and a third purely spiritual realm belonging to Elohim (God) with its own three subdivisions corresponding to the three resurrection glories (1 Cor.15:35-49). Only this third 'heaven' is unpolluted by demonic beings. The astral or nefesh sphere, as I know from my own personal experience, is a dimension of considerable supernatural deception where such Hindu mystics and gurus as Rabindranath R. Maharaj initially believed he had met the Hindu gods in spectacular encounters there. The whole lie and demonic charade was eventually exposed to him upon receiving Yah'shua (Jesus) as his Deliverer (Saviour) [2]. I am threfore convinced that many, like Betty Eadie, who had NDE's, have been taken to this dimension where, because they don't have the blood covering of Messiah, have been deceived and shown false 'heavens' carefully tailored by the Enemy in the image of their own false gods. In the case of Eadie, the false Mormon system of heaven.

    But just as unbelievers and those in false religious systems have encounters with the living Elohim (God) without converting while in material consciousness, so I believe that many of the same have brief encounters with Him while in vision or out-of-body NDE's. In that dimension where everything is accentuated and enhanced, they naturally see miraculous things spectacularly which appear much less 'showy' or obviously supernatural when experienced only with their physical senses. Most of us live our conscience out in this compartively 'dull' and therefore less spiritually accentuated world.

    1. The Initial Encounter with Ahavah (Love)

    Many people encounter and respond to the essence of Elohim (God) without knowing His Name or His mitzvot (commandments) save in the ethical sphere. As the apostle John testified:

      "Elohim (God) is ahavah (love). Whoever lives in ahavah (love) lives in Elohim (God), and Elohim (God) in him" (1 John 4:16, NIV).

    The Sphere From Which We Came

    A baby or small child recognises and is drawn to this ahavah (love) by instinct because it was from that sphere of Elohim (God) that he recently came before his conception and birth (see Pre-existence). There are those who have grown up in this nameless ahavah (love), often without any sort of religion at all, though frequently in false religious systems, who simply recognise this sphere and made the choice to live it. Others, because of pain, injustice, abuse or any other number of encounters with evil, choose to leave it of their own free choice too.

    Our Pre-Earth Origin in Ahavah (Love)

    Every human being has come from this core reality we call 'love', and by 'love' I mean biblical ahavah or agapé-type love, which is selfless and unconditionally given. You will find people from every religion and from no religion who operate in this authentic ahavah (love) to some degree or another and at different levels of maturity.

    Those from the 'Dark Side'

    These people, whatever their false beliefs and practices may be (which is everybody at some time or another), are closer to Elohim (God) than those who profess to know Him but whose levim (hearts) are cold and loveless. The latter Paul describes as:

      "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, Elohim- (God)-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless" (Rom.1:29-31, NIV).

    Imminent Salvation

    Though the people of the first category are not necessarily yet 'saved' in the conventional Christian sense as we understand it, they are nevertheless pointing in the direction of true salvation and will receive it, by the by, once presented with the emet (truth). And though they, like everyone else, still have the choice to turn away from this ahavah (love), if they do not then they will become saved at some point. You could say that they are imminently or potentially saved just as an infant is who dies before reaching the age of accountability, for Yahweh knows their lev (heart).

    The Two Essential Kinds of People

    The world, at any one moment of time, is therefore divided into two main categories in Yahweh's eyes, I believe, the first being the saved and the imminently saved who walk in ahavah (love) at different levels of maturity, both religious and non-religious people; and the second consisting of those who do not walk in ahavah (love) at all, both religious and non-religious people. People are crossing between the two hemispheres all the time, so it is not static but dynamic. This means that the calling of every believer is:

    • 1. To draw by the power of ahavah (love) those in the lower hemisphere to the upper one; and
    • 2. Preach the Besorah (Gospel) to those in the upper hemisphere who do not know Yah'shua (Jesus) and then to make them into talmidim (disciples) once they have accepted Messiah and are regenerated.

    The Embryo and Baby Analogy

    All those who receive - or receive back - this ahavah (love) are allowing a spiritual fertilisation to take place in their levim (hearts) which is the beginning of their salvation journey. They're not saved yet but they have linked themselves by choice and by emunah (faith) to the proposition of a rebirth. They are, analagously, in the womb, awaiting a birth, with the risk of being aborted but yet with the potential of birth. This we compare to the festival of Pesach (Passover) which is the choice to leave the 'Egypt' of death, slavery and lovelessness and commence a process that will at length lead to a homecoming in the Promised Land. If you like, you can follow this metaphor with me by downloading and printing up the chart in A Model for Deliverance: The Exodus.

    2. When Ahavah Becomes Personalised: The New Birth

    As this ahavah (love) is incubated and begins transforming the soul (represented by the festival of Chag haMatazah or the Feast or Unleavened Bread), the spiritual embryo grows and it moves into the second, and arguably the most important, area of salvation which is the New Birth in Yah'shua Jesus). This New Birth is represented in the festivals by Yom haBikkurim or the Day of Firstfruits, because Yah'shua (Jesus) is the firstfruits of the resurrection. And just as birth is a very dramatic experience for a baby, moving as it does from the comfortable, warm, dark, protective watery womb wherein there is no thirst or hunger, so the one whose nurtured and guarded ahavah (love) is brought to fruition moves from one level of maturity and awareness to another - into the world of bright lights, noise, air and the need for conscious feeding! It's a whole new world! It even sees its mother and father for the first time!

    Knowing Where the Ahavah (Love) Comes From

    In this new world of experience there is an accute awareness of the source of this ahavah (love), namely, the Father Yahweh through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) through the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). The ahavah (love) now has a name and a face to it. Only those who make a choice for Messiah (Christ) can enter it. Once they have confessed their sins and have acknowledged that they cannot save themselves, and choose to surrender all to Yah'shua (Jesus), they are regenerated or 'reborn' into a totally new realm of awareness caused by a total cleansing from sin within. Indeed, they pass from one reality to another. They pass from death to chayim (life), from one set of perceptions to another set.

    Keys to Identifying the New Birth

    Ahavah (love) has for the first time become personal in the second dimension. It is here that we enter into a personal relationship with the Father through the Son by acknowledging the Son's work on the Cross. The reponse of the one born again or regenerated is to first, pour forth this ahavah (love) and adoration to Elohim (God), and second, to his neighbour, or people generally, because once a soul encounters thne fullness of the ahavah (love) of Yah'shua (Jesus) it at once experiences this incredible love for people too. So ahavah (love) becomes personalised, it is Yahweh-directed first of all and then directed to people, these two actions being the chief evidence of authentic salvation.

    The Shema - "Hear, O Israel, Yahweh-Elohim. Yahweh is Echad (One)"

    The Theatre of the Unregenerated

    Those who feel no particular or intense passionate ahavah (love) for Yahweh or for people have in all likelihood not taken the first step toward salvation but have rather embraced what one might call a 'religious spirit'. They embrace the form before the substance, having everything inside out or back-to-front. They put the cart before the horse and wonder why nothing is moving spiritually in their lives - everything becomes an act, behaviour generated to reflect what the unregenerated souls thinks this ahavah (love) ought to be like. And so the focus inevitably becomes his works. Worse, they're never really sure whether theyv are right with Yahweh or not and so they strive harder, pressing others to do the same to make themselves feel better, tell-tale signs that they do not know what this ahavah (love) is like except to observe it jealously in others. Yes, they often persecute those who have it, unwilling to receive it on the terms of repentance and surrender that Yahweh demands.

    3. Growth and Maturation into Spiritual Youth

    From the moment of birth, the baby starts growing into an infant, then a child and then a youth. There is constant movement and multiplication. By the time a born-again child of Elohim (God) is about 12 years old he is invited in his local Messianic Evangelical congregation to make the decision to bind himself by covenant to the mitzvot (commandments), as Israel did at Sinai, and as represented in summary by the Ten Commandments (Bar Mitzvah) as shown by the red box:

    Becoming Sons anfd Daughters of Torah

    This is an agreement to externalise the ahavah (love) - that comes about as the result of repentance and surrender leading to salvation - into concrete works - that is to say, the implanted divine ahavah (love) becomes measurable behaviour toward Elohim (God) and people through a choice to be obedient. Now we are beginning to discover ways of checking whether we have remained in right relationship with Yahweh and with people or not - the first four showing us whether we are properly connected to Yahweh and the remaining six to other humans in the way Elohim (God) wants. The Redeemed stop stealing, blaspheming, commiting adultery, coveting other people's possession and they start honouring their parents and observing the sabbath.

    The Ten Commandments

    These Ten Commandments are the first real mirror we have of ourselves as adjudged by external actions and form the basis of the Shavu'ot (Pentecost/Weeks) covenants that all young men and women are expected to enter into when they are 12 years old. These mitzvot (commandments) tell us whether we are still walking in ahavah (love) and whether we are still saved. If we fall short of their requirements, then we know we have repenting to do and therefore lifestyle readjustments to make.

    The Yardstick of the Shema and Salvation

    These Ten Commandments are the yardstick we are to use to make sure we don't backslide out of our salvation. By means of them we are able to begin quantifying the Two Great Commandments found in the Shema of the second stage:

      "'Love Yahweh your Elohim (God) with all your lev (heart) and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest mitzvah (commandment). And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Torah (Law) and the Nevi'im (Prophets) hang on these two mitzvot (commandments)" (Matt.22:37-40, NIV).

    The Modern Mutilation of the Ten Commandments

    At first sight the Ten Commandments look pretty plain and simple. But in reality each commandment has near infinite depth, each reflecting an aspect of the Core Essense or Nature of the Lev (Heart) of our Elohim (God). Each poses all kinds of other questions about lifestyle and inter-personal relationships. And yes, amazingly, you might think, there are Christians who:

    • 1. Claim the Ten Commandments have been 'done away with' on the Cross and are no longer needed...we are simply to be 'led by the Holy Spirit' (they're basically existentialists who believe, because they think they are fully regenerated, that their levim (hearts) will never deceive them, even though the evidence of their contradictory doctrinal systems, neo-paganism and practices glaringly contradict such a claim);
    • 2. Ignore the Sabbath because they claim its not moral but 'ceremonial', insisting the entire 'ceremonial' law (Torah) that's been 'done away with' even though their pick and choose those outward, ceremonial ordinances that suit them like baptism and the Lord's Supper - since, they say, they already have their 'internal rest of sabbath in Christ', what need to they have of an outward ordinace! They're resting (they claim) every day, forgetting that the sabbath is also about physical rest and congregating to worship and receive prophetic words for the Local Body;
    • 3. Maintain the Sabbath is on the modern Roman Gregorian Sunday (Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox) or Saturday (Messianics, Jews, Seventh-day Adventists, Armstrongite Churches of God, and other 'Sabbatarians'); or
    • 4. Ignore those commandments which they don't like, e.g. not worshipping idols or statues (Catholics).

    Doctrinal Schizophenia in Orthodox Christianity

    There is often a kind of doctrinal schizophrenia when it comes to evangelicals and the Ten Commandments. On the one hand, most claim the Law with its Commandments have been "nailed to the cross" (Col.2:14) when in actual fact it is the penalty of the Torah (Law) that has been abolished, being taken care of personally by the Messiah in His atonement for our sins. Thus if someone asks an Evangelical whether it's alright for a Catholic to bow to statues of the Virgin Mary he will immediate be pointed to the Third Commandment. If a person has a fully regenerated lev (heart) then, according to evangelicals, that shouldn't be necessary since the Torah (Law) is supposed to be written on the lev (heart). The reality is always different because the lev (heart), as Yahweh said to Jeremiah, "is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jer.17:9, NKJV). Yes, that remains even amongst regenerated Christians and Messianics in the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant)! But then they confuse the corruption of the mind and lev (heart) with the ruach (spirit) which are different things.

    Confused Between Covenant and Law?

    I don't obviously have time to get into this large and important subject today but if you're one of those people confused as to the position of the Torah or Law in the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant), then I strongly recommend a careful study of the book by Dr. David Perry, Covenants of Promise which you can download and/or print from our website. There is great confusion in the orthodox Christian world because they don't understand the difference between b'rit (covenant) and torah (law), or indeed the different kinds of 'law' - they tend to bundle them altogether as though they were all of the same category. The fact that the Old Covenant is at an end (sadly, there are some Messianics who deny even this and speak of the New Covenant as a ReNewed Covenant!) does not mean that the Torah has been scrubbed too! Many of the paradoxes and contradictions which you have been taught from the pulpit will be ironed out after you have read this excellent book [3].

    4. The 'Little' Commandments

    Yah'shua (Jesus) taught:

      "'Love Yahweh your Elohim (God) with all your lev (heart)and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest mitzvah (commandment) {the Shema}. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Torah (Law) and the Nevi'im (Prophets) hang on these two mitzvah (commandments)" (Matt.22:37-40, NIV).

    In the illustration above the coat hanger represents the Shema and from it are hanging the Ten Commandments which explain to us what the Shema consists of. From each of the Ten Commandments I have 'hung' a couple of other markers representing a couple of other mitzvot (commandments) from the Torah which explain and amplifly the Ten Commandments. In reality, there may be dozens of such markers 'hanging' from each of the Ten Devarim (Words/Commandments) that illustrate what is meant. If we add the new Torah that Yah'shua (Jesus) added in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament), then there are about 800 or so of these markers. Added to these are the nevi'im or prophets which are also amplifications of Yahweh's Davar (Word).

    The Adultery Illustration Again

    Let me give you an example from earlier. You may remember I asked you if you knew what adultery was and I asked if you were aware that a single woman could never commit adultery, which I have no doubt surprised some and appalled others. Yet the Eighth Commandment forbids adultery. But how can you avoid committing adultery (and so properly love Yahweh and your neighbour) if you don't know what it is? [4]

    Marry Your Sister?

    I once asked an evangelical minister - a Baptist - if it was alright for a man to marry his own sister. He looked at me as though I was joking but I was deadly serious. He imemdiately started thumbing the pages of his Tanakh (Old Testament) and pointed me to the passage in the Torah that explains Yahweh's sexual laws (Leviticus 18) and to the one which says you cannot marry a near relative. I agreed whole heartedly with him, of course, and then asked him if he believed we should obey the Torah. His standard answer was, of course, no, because (he insisted) the Torah had been 'fulfilled' and done away with - "nailed to the cross". I then asked him why he was quoting from it and making it a rule in his belief system if that system of rules was no longer binding. He could not answer me. I then pointed out that Adam's sons must have married their sisters and since he did not believe the Torah was binding anymore, what was to stop someone pointing out what happened in these early marriages and imitating them? Why not go ahead and marry sisters?

    A Third of the New Testament is Tanakh

    I frankly find it amazing that anyone could believe the Torah has been abolished when it is reiterated so many times in the Messianic Scriptures by Messiah and the apostles, and especially by Paul whom evangelicals say affirmed the Torah was abolished! For a book supposedly of little relevance any more, it is amazing just how much the Tanakh (Old Testament) is quoted in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament)! A full one-third of the New is actually quotation from the Old!

    Showing What Ahavah Actually Consists Of

    It soon becomes clear that the Torah is very important in establishing what loving Yahweh and your neightbour actually consists of (on the second level of salvation awareness), and what adultery (for example) is (on the third level of salvation awareness). This last 'layer' qualifies and clarifies exactly what ahavah (love) is in the practical aspects of human relationships. Marrying sisters is no longer permitted doubtless, in part, physically because of the degenerative state of the gene pool today (inbreeding results in all sorts of horrible medical conditions, as the genealogical charts of royal families show), and in part because marrying close relatives was the only way to propagate the species in the earliest days. The Torah was given to make clear what was, and what was not, permitted in that immediate post-Adamic time, and to establish the norm after the population had sufficiently increased to end the earlier practice.

    A Complete Spiritual Covering

    I have included some of the categories of the fourth layer in the diagram above, which corresponds to the final festival of Israel known as Sukkot (Tabernacles). It represents a complete spiritual covering. A careful study of the Torah soon makes clear why it is so important.

    I didn't ask that Baptist minister to define adultery for me, nor did I attempt to show him from the Torah what adultery actually is because I knew he wouldn't be able to handle it. It would shatter a major plank in his Protestant belief system and force him to confront the lies of the ages. There are times and seasons for such things.

    Yahweh's Torah Provokes Demonic Strongmen to Anger

    So many of Yahweh's torot (laws) contradict cherished orthodox Christian positions about Yahweh's acceptable and pure lifestyle, and provoke a lot of demonic strongmen to anger as they jealously and furiously guard their unkosher traditions that do not align with divine tavnith (pattern). That's why so many traditionalists refuse to go down the Torah road for the terror it would cause them in exposing many of the false foundations of their emunah (faith). They would rather appeal to a New Agey, existentialist, heart-based rationalisam, by saying that their personal feelings are superior to any old 'law' because their levim (hearts) have been 'born again' so they can't be deceived! They're on (many think) a 'higher spiritual plane' than the ancients. Or they hide in the 'law of the land'. This was one reason Martin Luther raged against the Torah and anyone who adhered to it (including the apostles James and Peter), creating in his own mind the straw man that those who follow the Torah cannot possibly be born-again believers under grace.

    The Sabbath Day Illustration

    I have given you a couple of Yahweh's sexual laws as an illustration because of this subject's contentiousness in a very promiscuous age. I also mentioned the Sabbath earlier as this too is a contentious question. As we saw, the Fifth Commandment on the third level requires that Yahweh's people keep the Sabbath Day holy (set-apart, qodesh) as a time to abstain from regular work and to congregate to worship and hear Yahweh's Davar (Word) as an Assembly. But what is the 'seventh day'? The Ten Commandments don't tell us and it's here we need the rest of the Torah so that we can understand and then calculate it.

    From Sabbath to All the Moedim

    Once you start figuring out how to calculate the Sabbath it soon becomes apparent that there is more than the Sabbath to observe - you need the New Moon to calculate the weekly sabbaths for any month and you need the same New Moon to calculate the annual festivals which along with the Sabbath and New Moons are an integrated package of observances binding on Yahweh's people in perpetuity. They're so inter-connected that you can't separate them. Yah'shua (Jesus) tells His talmidim (disciples) of the present and the future to pray that they will not have to flee on a Sabbath when the Great Tribulation begins at the end of this age prior to His return, clearly showing that Sabbath-observance would remain a part of the true emunah (faith) when He comes back:

      "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matt.24:15-22, NKJV).

    The Seventh Day Sabbath Remains Binding

    If you do not believe that the Great Tribulation has come (only Preterists do) and if you believe that we still have a winter season every year and will continue to do so for the forseeable future, then you have no choice but to believe that the Sabbath is still binding on Yahweh's people. If you refuse to accept that, then you need to get a pair of scissors out and cut that portion of the Scriptures out which you refuse to accept or obey. So if Sabbath-observance is still required of Elohim's (God's) people, and if the Sabbath is on the seventh day of the week as Yahweh says it is in the Ten Commandments written with His own finger in stone, then all that remains is for you to discover which "seventh" day this is on which calendar - one of the Roman ones [5] or the biblical one? And if you don't know what the biblical one is, now is the time to find out - see The Creation Calendar.

    The Fifth Commandment Exposes All Pagan Traditions

    As you look more deeply into this subject, you soon discover that the Sabbath stands in the Fifth Commandment as a representative of a whole calendar system and lifestyle. And the moment you realise that, then all the pagan traditions that false Christian and Messianic belief systems have accrued to themselves like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, New Year's Day, and so on, demonstrate not only how far traditionalists have fallen away from true worship but how much they have failed to LOVE Him too! The Torah is the great exposer of sin, the detailed yardstick showing either our faithfulness or our apostacy.

    Examine Yourself, Don't Fail the Test!

    There can be no full repentance or salvation until we have forsaken all sin, and the only way to do that is by examining ourselves carefully (1 Cor.11:28), as we are commanded to do in taking the Lord's Supper. Not only that but the apostle Paul warns:

      "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the emunah (faith); test yourselves. Do you not realise that Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) is in you - unless, of course, you FAIL the TEST?" (2 Cor.13:5, NIV).

    And what test do you suppose that is? Here it is, summed up, in a single diagram:

    How Holy is the Holiness Movement?

    It would amuse me, were it not so serious a matter, to see how those of the 'Holiness Movement'(who exalt obeying the commandments) fall apart when they understand what real holiness consists of! It is sometimes radically different from the lifestyle they lead, with the exception of morality and ethics. Don't get me wrong, I applaud their desire to be obedient to the mitzvot (commandments) when so few evangelicals bother much about them. Yet they only focus on some because of their belief in the lie that the Torah has been done away with. It's so much bigger and glorious than they think!

    The Expansive World of Salvation

    A better way to represent the same emet (truth) of the pyramid scheme is to show how these four levels expand from a central point in a series of concentric circles. The core of ahavah (love) is constant and without it, all the rest is meaningless. We're not moving 'from' one 'level' to another but growing from a central divine reality or emet (truth). For this reason a better illustration would be the following diagram:

    (Image Copyright © 2012 MLT - All Rights Reserved)

    The Beginning Again

    The core of salvation is an encounter with Divine Ahavah or Love which for one very small in the spirit need not yet have a Name or be known as a Personality even if it does have a name and is intensely personal. You don't make house rules for babies; and Yahweh doesn't give mitzvot (commandments) in a sinner's initial encounter with Him. If someone is converted to rules before encountering His ahavah (love) then they have started at the wrong end and will pervert the whole meaning of the Besorah (Gospel). Our only focus in bringing souls to initial salvation must be to lead them to a place of contact where they can experience this divine ahavah (love), much as a baby comes to learn what ahavah (love) is from its parents. Without this there is no authentic conversion and you will likely lead people to a system of religion not unlike the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Catholics or others for whom other things like their 'organisation', 'church' or 'authority' and its claims take precendence.

    The Infant's Hidden Torah

    This 'first encounter' in which a soul becomes enamoured by this ahavah or agapé love is represented by the first of the cycle of annual festivals called Pesach or Passover. This feast represents Divine Conception because as a conceptus is invisible along with its developing embryo during the nine months of gestation, so too is Yahweh's Law or His Torah to the spiritual child. Though the Torah lies behind this ahavah (love) it is not yet needed in any conscious or defined form. Only as we spiritually grow up into maturity do we have the need to know Elohim (God) personally and to share the ahavah (love) He imparts to us with others and to incarnate that ahavah (love) as ones who guard the Ten Commandments and the whole Torah. As we grow we get more and more hungry for emet (truth) which the Torah furnishes us with. As we integrate them in our lives then the ahavah (love) of Elohim (God) makes greater and greater sense. The meaning of chayim (life) in the world and in the eternities becomes crystal clear. They bring us a wholeness of mind, lev (heart) and ruach (spirit). Once we have taken all of this on board, adore it, and live it in simcha (joy), then we possess a fullness of salvation. We have moved from Alef or Alpha Salvation in Yah'shua (Jesus) and have reached Taw or Omega Salvation in Elohim (God).

    The Framing of Salvation

    This is how salvation is framed. It is how it becomes complete. It's core is the simplicity of the divine life-force called ahavah (love) and its outermost boundary is all the complexity and beauty of the created spiritual universe around it.

    Essentials vs. Unessentials?

    In the light of all of this, was is 'essential' and what is 'unessential' when it comes to salvation? That depends where you are - on your level of spiritual maturity. Wearing a tzitzit or not committing idolatry is obviously irrelevent to a small child who cannot possibly understand these things. But for a spiritually mature adult who is walking in ahavah (love), in the Shema, and in the Ten Commandments these things are essential because Yahweh expects them. They are still a part of the essence of Yahweh's emet (truth). Then men wearing tzitzit (tassels) and women headcoverings [6] become essential - they can be properly understood and appreciated by the mature.

    Blind Passion

    Not one of us exactly knows where the other is inside and so it becomes impossible for us to see or judge as Yahweh does. For this reason we should be cautious about judging others and default to grace - Yahweh's undeserved loving kindness. Only this last week some Saturday Sabbatarians got quite upset with my stance on the Creation Calendar and a pointless debate, which I wanted to avoid, started to get underway. People who are sometimes passionate and zealous about their beliefs do not always see the 'bigger picture' because they're not yet able to. They get upset when contradicted and it's not long before you are accused to teaching 'false doctrine', or being a 'heretic' or an 'apostate'. That kind of 'striking out' is rather like a child who is losing an argument and bringing the discussion to an abrupt end by saying, 'Anyay, you stink!'

    Patience is Indispensible

    Bringing people into the fullness takes tremendous patience and wisdom. You cannot ram meat down a babe's throat and not expect it to choke, not can you prize open someone's mouth with a crowbar who does not want to eat. You can only lead the horse to the trough of emet (truth) and then leave them to decide whether they want to drink or not.

    What is Essential is a Function of Maturity

    What is essential or not essential, then, is a function of maturity. The thief who accepted Yah'shua (Jesus) while impaled on a cross had little opportunity to learn, grow or do much. He was hours away from death when he accepted the Messiah and was saved. Yet it was enough to admit him into Paradise. But for those not thus limited everything was expected, in its proper season, by the One who gave everything - even His life as a ransom for sin.

    He Wants All That You Have Now

    Yah'shua (Jesus) wants all that we've got, and if it's only a 'little', then it's a 'little' we must give. From the woman with only a mite, He wanted a mite, and from the rich young ruler who had considerable wealth, He wanted that wealth. If we have 'a lot', then He wants that. The one who is 'little', however, need not suppose that he can remain in his 'littleness' - he is expected to grow, and as he grows, more is expected.

      "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more" (Luke 12:48, NKJV).


    This has been a long discourse and I thank you for your patience. I had a lot of threads to bring together to enable you to see the 'bigger picture'. The core of all of this remains simple - we are delivered or saved by ahavah (love) when we are tiny, by the Master of Ahavah (Love), Yah'shua (Jesus), when we are big enough to personalise this ahavah (love), by ahavah (loved) in Messiah lived out in the Ten Commandments when we are spiritual youths, and by the whole system of mitzvot (commamndments) in divine tavnith (pattern) when we are spiritually grown up. But even in the latter two levels or sphere, it's still all about ahavah (love) and loving Yahweh and people. The focus remains the same. It all falls back on the central point of emet (truth).

      "For when Gentiles, who do not have the Torah (Law), by nature do the things in the Torah (Law), these, although not having the Torah (Law), are a Torah (Law) to themselves, who show the work of the Torah (Law) written in their levim (hearts), their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when Elohim (God) will judge the secrets of men by Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), according to my besorah (gospel)" (Romans 2:14-16, NKJV).

    So how can you know whether someone is saved - mature or immature? See how they treat their Elohim (God) and see how they treat people. You may be hugely suprised.

    So what's a salvational issue and what's not? That depends where you are in your spiritual growth. If in doubt, just accept them where they are and continue teaching the emet (truth) patiently and meekly in ahavah (love), without calling them names or accusing them of being 'false', and let Yahweh do the rest. Amen

    Continued in Part 3


    [1] Dr. Eben Alexander, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife (Piatkus, London: 2012), p.9
    [2] Rabindranath R. Maharaj, Death of a Guru: A Hindu Comes to Christ (Hodder & Stoughton, London: 1977)
    [3] Readers should be forewarned that Dr. Perry is a Saturday Sabbatarian and though we agree with 99% of his propositions, some we do not
    [4] The sexual sin of adultery is defined by the Torah as sexual intercourse between a married or betrothed woman and any man other than her one-and-only
    [5] The 8-day week Julian one that the Romans followed in New Testament times (Saturday was the first day of their week then) or the seven-day week Roman Gregorian one which began on 24 February 1582 and is used everywhere today
    [6] Men are not supposed to wear headcoverings or tallit (prayer shawls)

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