Month 13:15, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5936:369 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 26 March 2013
The Plague of Locusts
and Priorities in the Gospel Today
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el and may the grace and favour of our Messiah be upon all of you who trust and obey Him!
The False Passover and the Locust Swarms in Egypt and Israel
Last night most Messianics and Jews celebrated Passover a month early even as locusts swarmed into the southern part of the Israel Republic threatening to devastate all its farmland. Some, who observe the Babylonian timing method of thre first crescent, will be observing it tonight.
The Plagues Did Not Touch Israel
I thought it rather ironic that many of these self-same Messianics regarded the same locust swarms pouring into Morsi's extremist Islamist Egypt as a sign relevent for their month-early Passover this year. As you know, prior to the Exodus, Yahweh sent plagues into Egypt when Pharaoh, blasphemously acting as incarnate god for the whole of the land, refused to release Israel from slavery. Only after nine of the ten plagues, did Israel celebrate Pesach (Passover) and leave the country following the fulfilment of the tenth...and the humiliation of 10 of the chief Egyptian gods. Note that the plagues were not directed toward, nor did they affect, Israel, and especially not the last one - the death of the firstborn - provided that fateful night they abode under the Blood of the Paschal Lamb in their homes, the blood that pointed to the salvation of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) that would come.
Why Are Plagues Sent By Yahweh?
So let us be clear - plagues are sent to those who either violate their covenants or blaspheme against El Elyon, the Most High Elohim. If the current locust plague is a statement against the violent anti-Christian Islamist Egypt, as it surely must be, then any locust invasion of the neighbouring Edomite, Zionist and anti-Messianic Israeli Republic must be a similar statement. Indeed, does not the apostle Paul himself declare that the Messiah-rejecting Judean state of his day that insisted on clinging onto the Old Covenant after the New Covenant in Messiah had come was, in consequence, but an extension of Egypt spiritually, and specifically, Arabia?
The Israeli Republic is 'Egypt' or 'Arabia'
"One covenant (the Old) is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia (Egypt) and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above (the New Covenant) is free, and she is our mother" (Gal.4:24-26, NIV).
Mount Sinai is a part of Egypt. The moment Jerusalem, which represents the whole of Israel and of the people thereof, rejected the King of Israel, it ceased being Israel and reverted to Egypt. And you will remember that Canaan was originally an Egyptian colony though it was contested by once great powers in the north. Those in charge of the modern Israeli Republic are either atheists, Rothschild occultists, or anti-Messianic Jews who reject Yah'shua (Jesus) as Messiah and are today persecuting the small Messianic minority there. Let us be clear: the modern Israeli Republic is spiritually Egypt and therefore a part of that land and indeed has been ever since the mass explusion under the Romans, save for a brief time when it was under the control of Ephraim between the two world wars. If you are confused about this subject, then I recommend you read my series of sermons entitled, Jacob's Trouble
Israeli Republic Under Locust Attack
An Israeli newspaper writes:
"Crop-dusting planes on Monday bombarded a scourge of locusts with pesticides in an effort to cull the biblically timed plague that threatened to annihilate crops in southern Israel.
"Israel has battled swarm after swarm of the voracious insects for the past three weeks, with ever-larger plagues of the destructive insects arriving daily from neighboring Egypt...
"The latest swarm to hit Israel on Passover eve carries biblical significance: Of the 10 plagues which, according to the Bible, smote Pharaoh to ensure the release of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, the eighth was locusts." 
Ezekiel's Prophecy: The Southern Forest
Let's be clear, then: the same plague of locusts devastating Islamist Egypt has now invaded Zionist 'Israel' and is beginning to consume the Judean south. Let us not forget what Ezekiel prophesied:
The Destruction of the Israeli Republic Imminent
"The word of Yahweh came to me: 'Son of man, set your face toward the south; preach against the south and prophesy against the forest of the southland. Say to the southern forest: 'Hear the word of Yahweh. This is what Yahweh-Elohim says: I am about to set fire to you, and it will consume all your trees, both green and dry. The blazing flame will not be quenched, and every face from south to north will be scorched by it. Everyone will see that I Yahweh have kindled it; it will not be quenched''. Then I said, "Ah, Yahweh-Elohim! They are saying of me, 'Isn't he just telling parables?'" (Ezek.20:45-49, NIV).
The "southern forest", as we know, refers to Israel (Ezek.17:2). The whole prophecy covers a large span of time from the initial Assyrian, Babylonian and Roman destructions to the very end-times. We have yet to witness, to the horror of Zionists, the destruction of this modern Edomite State, which I believe our own generation may see very soon. The locust incursion into the southern part is a warning.
The 13th Month of Stripping
I said last Sabbath that this 13th month was to be a month of stripping and there is no doubt in my mind that this stripping is well underway, even as locusts strip away all the vegetation from the areas they are invading in Egypt and the Republic of Israel. They are a prophetic sign of everything false during this last month of the year, including the false calendar of the Talmudists. Locusts are kosher creatures we are allowed to eat, as John the Baptist did, so they represent righteous judgment by Yahweh.
Tribulation Confusion Because of False Markers
Many things are happening simultaneously on the prophetic scene today and there is much confusion because of all the false markers that believers are using to try and map out biblically prophesied events. The vast bulk of evangelicals and messianics still believe that current events are now ushering in the Seven Year Tribulation or that we are almost mid-way through it based on false prophetic markers concerning Israel.
The Staging of Events
I can very well understand why they believe this because the counterfeit demonic system has made a convincing job in its manipulation and staging of events whose purpose is to persuade the world to embrace a false messiah. As we see one freedom after another taken away, and as the world hovers on the edge of total economic collapse, it certainly looks like the end.
A New Pope and the Petrus Romanus Prophecy
The accession of the new Argentinian Jesuit Roman Catholic Pope, Francis I, has only added to the confusion as believers proclaim the fulfilment of a Catholic prophecy about Petrus Romanus! This fleshy groping around for anything that looks supernatural or 'prophetic', no matter the source, does not seem to bother people much. It should. People are not going to successfully navigate the end-time chaos without the true prophetic markers and, critically, the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and not simply fleshy or psychic feelings which give the illusion of spirituality.
Learning to Accept Unpopularity
This morning my wife told me that had I not preached and lived unpopular 'hot-potato' doctrines that my ministry would be far and wide and I would be having an enormous influence. However, as we both know, I could never have lived at peace with my conscience if I had compromised any fraction of the emet (truth), however unpopular.
Right now people are upset at me about the Creation Calendar and two or three prominent ministers have recently written pieces attacking it. However, I believe that events in Egypt and the Republic of Israel in particular will bear the emet (truth) out. Just look at the symbolism objectively: either the locust plage has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with prophetic events (which, it has to be admitted, is a real possibility) or it is telling the world that the Israel Republic is not what so many believers believe it to be and that this is not the true Passover season. Obviously I do not believe this is the spring Passover - it's still winter-time!
Not Trying to Wage War
Having said all of that, I am not here to wage war against fellow Messianics observing Passover at the wrong time, which brings me to what I really want to talk about today.
The Jim Palmer Questions
Reading a short but highly effective statement by Jim Palmer called 21 Mistakes I Made as a Senior Pastor, which my wife came across and shared with me, got me thinking about something we don't address often enough, namely, getting our priorities right.
Controversies Across the Ages
Every generation has its gospel controversies. We've just been talking about one of them, namely, the calendar. Protestantism separated from Catholicism over a number of things but one of them was about what should be emphasised. Protestants stressed grace in an age of extreme legalism whereas Catholicism stressed authority and tradition in an age of anarchy. One of today's 'great controversies' is between Evangelical Christianity and the Messianic Movement. Evangelicals are stressing grace and Messianics Torah. Evangelicals accuse Messianics of being 'legalists' and Messianics accuse Evangelicals of being 'antinomian' or lawless, or unsaved heathens for not using the True Names of Deity. And then Evangelicals fight amongst themselves, and Messianics among themselves too. The fact there has been no resolution between them is because of some fundamental errors all are making. Once these blind spots are exposed, there will be a revolutionary shift in the Body of Messiah. That is a large part of my work at the present time and the work of some others.
Losing Sight of Love
The truth is, both Evangelicals and Messianics are right...at different times...in many things. Evangelicals can get so honed in on grace that they forget Yahweh has a code of mitzvah- (commandment)-obedience what we are supposed to be following as evidence that we love Him (Jn.14:15; 2 Jn.6, etc.) - a divine lifestyle, if you like. And Messianics can get so honed in on Torah that they forget to show grace in their eagerness to condemn Evangelicals for their lawlessness and false traditions. Somehow the most important thing, the fundamental building block of the Besorah (Gospel) - ahavah (love) - gets lost in all the squabbling. And that is not right because without ahavah (love) all the doctrines are ultimately worthless. Why? Because Ahavah (Love) is the the Greatest Mitzvah (Commandment).
Quitting False Traditions
The emet (truth) is, both Evangelicals and Messianics have false traditions - they've got to get rid of them, from Christmas to Purim, from the Roman Gregorian Calendar to the Talmudic Jewish Calendar, from Eternal Punishment to Annihilation, from Trinitarianism to Monotarianism, from Calvinism to Arianism, and so forth. Many are the doctrinal controversities of this age, and resolving them is important! However, it is also possible to get ones horns so locked into fighting doctrinal civil wars that believers of all stripes can end up missing the most important things of the Besorah (Gospel). If those who have been born again and love Yah'shua (Jesus) behave in an immature way and stop loving and start shunning one another because of these controversies, something has gone seriously wrong - it is possible to agree to disagree while adhering to the fundamentals while encouring those who are yet deceived to continue exploring honestly. The Zinzendorf Anointing is perfect illustration of this.
Not Here to Denounce
I for one, however passionately insistent I am about the emet (truth), am not here to 'denounce' other believers (unless they are committing serious moral sins like adultery) but to encourage them. I hope those of you hearing and reading me who don't agree with me understand that.
Jim Palmer's Table of Priorities
Below is a table consisting of pairs of Besorah (Gospel) aspects arranged in two columns. Pause for a moment and ask yourself: which is your priority - the item in the left-hand column or the right-hand column? These would make a wonderful discussion point at home and in your local congregation because I think they address the heart of disunity in the Body. If you were to place each priority in the left hand column, what would your table look like? For instance, do you place Orthodoxy (Doctrinal Correctness) over Love, or Love over Orthodoxy?
A Over B, or B Over A?
All Aspects are Important, But Some Have Prior Place
Every single one of these 42 aspects of the Besorah (Gospel) is important but as far as priorities are concerned - given a choice of emphasis - every single pair is back to front. I know some Messianics and Evangelicals will dispute that some of these items should be there at all - how many of these items did you want to strike out altogether?
Let's take the first one: Church, Assembly or Denomination versus Community. Human beings have a tendency to be very sectarian and partisan. We love our 'clubs'. And we love them because they are breeding grounds for pride which says, 'I'm better than you are'. As far as believers are concerned, enlightenment comes only when we realise we are one Body or Messianic Israel, for this is Yah'shua's (Jesus') 'club', not this or that ministry, denomination or group. He doesn't even see these artificial man-made denominational boundaries, even if He blesses those who are truer to Him more than those who are not. There are no 'Methodists', 'Catholics', 'Messianics', 'Nazarenes', 'Mormons' or any other group in heaven. And important though the Evangelical concept of 'Body' verses the Messianic concept of 'Israel' is, what's more important is the living community and whether folks are loving each other in spite of their differences and disunity or not. And this doesn't just apply to the community of believers but to everyone. We are all a community of Yahweh's children, the unsaved as well as the saved, at one level or another. There are different levels of community and every one of them has an importance, even if the Kingdom - as Yah'shua (Jesus) taught - must be our priority (Mt.6:33).
Let's take another example. One of the knee-jerk reflexes of Evangelicals is usually to demonise 'religion' as something 'bad' whilst totally ignoring what the Bible says on the matter (Ac.25:19; 26:5; 1 Tim.5:4; Jas.1:26-27). Yes, the Bible absolutely teaches that religion is important:
As you will see, James explains four areas in which Yahweh expects us to be religious:
"If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that Elohim (God) our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:26-27, NIV).
To Be Religious is to Observe the Heart of Chag haMatzah
- 1. Controlling our speech when necessary however passionately we may feel about certain things;
- 2. Looking after orphans;
- 3. Looking after widows; and
- 4. Keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world.
The fourth of these is the heart and substance of the coming Chag haMatzah or Feast of Unleavaned Bread next month. So those Evangelicals who declare that all 'religion' is 'bad' are lying. James makes it clear: we are to be devoutly religious in these four areas at the very least. In their zeal to avoid 'legalism' (saving yourself through your works) Protestants do tend to be a bit extremist which is reflected in their hostility to anything to do with Torah, law, rules or regulations. We are asked by them to believe that so long as one has the 'Spirit' that we will live as Yahweh wants. Which is true...if you absolutely know that you live by the Ruach (Spirit) 100 percent of the time. Come on, no one really knows whether they are, do they? That is why Yahweh gave us the Torah in the first place so that we would know whether we were operating in the Ruach (Spirit) or not! So if someone goes and eat pork and the 'Spirit' tells them it is alright, then they can know it is not the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) leading them in this matter.
The Essentials of the Apostles' Creed
Having said that, it is true that spirituality is more important than religion! Unbelievers - unsaved people - can be very religious too. A spiritual person loves a fellow believer whereas a religious one contends over the details however important these details may be - he does not brand him a 'heretic', an 'apostate', or condemns him to hell. Thus I don't go disfellowshipping or demonising Evangelicals who eat ham sandwiches. It is more important that I love them so that per chance I can reach them by attraction when, and if, they are ever ready. It is more important that we unite on what we agree upon, most vital of which are the essential doctrines of the Emunah (Faith) outlined in the Apostles' Creed:
Appearance vs. Authenticity
1. We believe in Yahweh-Elohim, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
2. We believe in Yah'shua haMashiach (Jesus Christ), His Only Begotten Son, our Master.
3. He was conceived by the power of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and born of the Virgin Mary.
4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
5. He descended to the dead.
6. On the third day He rose again.
7. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of Elohim (God) the Father Almighty.
8. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
9. We believe in the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit),
10. the universal Community (Body) of Messiah,
11. the communion of qodeshim (set-apart ones, saints),
12. the forgiveness of sins,
13. the resurrection of the body,
14. and the life everlasting. Amen.
Let's take another example: Do we place Appearance over Authenticity, or Authenticity over Appearance? Most believe in authenticity first and yet there are those who would strike out appearance altogether just as they would religion. But is appearance altogether wrong? Shall we let the good, the bad and the ugly inside ourselves out in order to be 'authentic'? I may feel like calling someone a moron, and be authentic, but that might not necessarily benefit me...or him. Obviously authenticity is vitally important in the Besorah (Gospel) - however, we are also to avoid the appearance of evil so as not to give people an opportunity to gossip or slander or malign the Name of Messiah. That's why when I am counselling a married woman I insist them someone else be with me, usually my wife, not because I don't trust myself to be chaste but because of the destructive gossip and tale-telling it might cause. Though these are 'appearances' they are actually important for righteousness in an evil world. The same is true of dressing.
I realise the word 'appearance' can be viewed in dufferent ways and this is not perhaps what Jim Palmer had in mind. Even Yah'shua (Jesus) was "found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Phil.2:8, NKJV). His divinity was concealed...for a purpose. So, yes, there are times and seasons for concealment but authenticity, in the sense of being true to who you really are, is more important. Pretending to be pior when you are not would be a case in point.
Charisma over Compassion
We'll end today with one more as we don't have time to cover them all, namely, charisma over compassion. As you will have deduced already, many of these overlap. In the secular world, charisma is everything. Unfortunately, many preaches lay great stress on being charismatic to attract people. However, charisma can also conceal a dark soul. Many an evil person has been charismatic but no evil person was ever compassionate. Charisma is typically ego-centric, attracting for self-gain in some way, but compassion gives no thought to self. Paul the apostle was not charismatic but by all accounts was rather ungainly. Moses was the very opposite of charismatic! But who doubts the righteousness of these men? Charisma can serve the Kingdom to be sure, if it is not rooted in pride, but can also be the stone over which egotistical men and women stumble and fall.
Don't Become Extremist
My concern today is that we seek priorities without becoming extremist and trying to destroy anything in Column A. Everything in the first column has its place but they must all be subservient to their companions in Column B. One of my weaknesses, for which I am sometimes criticised, is that I often put functionality before beauty. And I think we all - especially in the Messianic Movement - have a tendency to put knowledge before action! There can be much pride in knowledge and cleverness. Be careful!
Today, as most of our Messianic brethren celebrate Passover, let us be slow to condemn them as we ask the same from them in return. We are all pilgrims honestly searching for the emet (truth). We must respect one another for that. And some of the doctrines are tough especially when you come out of a religious or cultural background which is diametrically opposite to the emet (truth)! So let us be very careful before we pronounce anything 'anathema' because usually when we do it is because we are boasting in our own efforts to have found the emet (truth) rather than in the emet (truth) itself and the ahavah (love) behind it - Yahweh's ahavah (love)!
Have a blessed Shabbat!
 Philip Podolsky and Aaron Kalman, Israel fights off locust scourge on Passover eve