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Month 4:01, Rosh Chodesh, Year:Day 5937:090 AM
ROSH CHODESH IV (Revee haChodesh),
Omer Count: 7 Sabbaths + Day #22
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 8 July 2013
Rosh Chodesh IV
Preparing for the United Order

      "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Elohim (God); nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed -- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'

        "O Death, where is your sting?
        O Hades, where is your victory?'

      "The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the Torah (Law) ("sin draws its strength from the Torah" - JSB/CJB [1]). But thanks be to Elohim (God), who gives us the victory through our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Master, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Master" (1 Cor.15:50-58, NKJV).


    Chag sameach Rosh Chodesh kol beit Yisra'el! We are assembled today, as we are on each New Moon, to heard the Davar Elohim (Word of God) for the coming month and to honour the fathers - our Heavenly Father, our fathers before us of the Council of Yah's elohim, and our earthly fathers who are charged to lead, protect and provide for us, in the same way that we honour the mothers each Sabbath. I therefore come before you in a fatherly capacity to present spiritual and practical direction for that part of the Body called to shelter and serve amongst us.

    Start Walking!

    A certain evangelist was due to speak at a church some distance away. Whilst he had enough money to get there, he didn't have enough to get back home. Confident that Yahweh would provide, he went to the church, spoke, and then hung around as unobtrusively as possible waiting for some angel of Yahweh to slip him some money or offer him a lift. He waited, and waited, and waited. Eventually everyone left. Finally, standing all alone, he prayed: "But Lord, you promised to supply all my needs" and felt that Yahweh wasn't reponding as He ought. Then He heard Yahweh's voice: "That's right, and you need exercise. Start walking!" [2]

    Reasons Why Yahweh Doesn't Always Answer

    I know that a number of us - if not all of us - have been anxiously awaiting a personal Davar Elohim (Word of God) in various matters and have been waiting around wondering why none has come. Or maybe we have been waiting for Him to intercede in some situation and been frustrated at apparent 'inaction' on His part. There can, of course, be several reasons why Heaven appears silent at times or doesn't seem to be stepping in to provide for various 'needs' and we would do well not to over-simplify matters by categorising all similar occurrences with the same label. Yahweh had indeed provided for the evangelist and it was a pair of healthy legs. This reminds me of the time when I was street evangelising in East Berlin during the close of the communist period and walked around a huge section of the city carrying cans of tinned sardines to eat as we couldn't afford public transport or restaurants. Yahweh will only do for us directly or through others what we cannot do for ourselves.

    Don't Complain When Others Fail

    You may recall that one congregation that the apostle Paul visited at Corinth offered no financial support for his mission. Rather than complain or lay claim to some 'entitlement', what did he do? He went to work and paid for his own expenses making saddles (Ac.18:3, HRV) [3]. When we hired our first meeting hall in Oslo in 1989, I found the toilet there filthy, and cleaned it myself - I didn't wait for someone else to volunteer or complain that it was the responsibility of the deacons. Yahweh expects us to be pro-active because that reflects a positive outlook. Paul admonishes us not to "complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer" (1 Cor.10:10, NKJV) but to just get on with it, and not be resentful as the prophet Jonah was when things didn't turn out the way he had wanted or expected. I am glad that evangelist responded to Yahweh's instruction without griping - I assume he walked home with a joyful heart. Or at least I hope he did.

    Ministers Should Not Be Salaried

    You see, the issue was not that the congregation he had visited didn't help or offer to drive him home. Arguably, they should have shown hospitality and done so, since they had invited him over to preach, just as the Corinthians should have offered Paul some kind of financial support so that he could preach as much as possible. Instead of getting upset with them, he recognised that he was not 'entitled' to anything, since he was the servant of Yahweh, and so simply paid his own way. Many ministers these days expect a regular 'salary' from their congregation. They love to quote that passage, "the labourer is worthy of his hire" (Lk.10:7). And, yes, we are responsible to assist our ministers financially when such is needed, and that is, in part, what the third part of the tithe [4] is for though it also includes providing for the needs of the local congregation and for evangelism. Paul, like the other apostles and evangelists understood that they should expect to provide for themselves by having some sort of trade even if they understood that part of the tithe was to support them when their work for the Kingdom did not give them the time to work. It has always been the policy of this ministry not to salary the ministry [5]. Before I retired, I always had a job on top of my pastoral duties and never expected to be paid.

    Yahweh's Taxes vs. the Secular State's

    The great curse of the modern secular society is that it cultivates a sense of self-entitelment. It keeps us bound to the cradle, dependent of the state which thereby justifies both its continuing existence thereby as well as demanding more and more control over us. And that inevitably means more taxes. What percentage of tax do we pay the state today? It varies from country to country but in Yahweh's theocratic system 'taxation' was never more than 19% which took care of the poor, ministers (the Levites) and financing the moedim! When you consider all the stealth taxes we have to pay in addition to the 'visible' taxes, in countries like Sweden where I live, we are in effect paying over 80% tax to the state. So we have a problem in the current system in which we live that crushes initiative and financial independence.

    The Parable of the Labourers

    However, that is not what my message is really about today. It's how we view what we see as our 'rights' when it comes to Elohim (God). One of the big differences between the Old and New Covenants is the Old Covenant rigidly quantified everything. The difference between the two is no better illustrated than by Yah'shua's (Jesus') parable of the labourers. This emet (truth) is missed by so many believers, it would seem, that we need to be constantly reminded of it.

      "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the labourers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day?' They said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.' So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the labourers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.' And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.' But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?' So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen" (Matt.20:1-16, NKJV).

    The Value of Labour or the Generosity of the Employer?

    This runs totally counter to the established Marxist doctrine of the value of labour. Your modern unions would have had a cow over this. The typical reaction to this parable of Yah'shua (Jesus) is that the first labourers were hard done by. However, that is not true. Their salary was not only fair but it was negociated and when the first labourers entered into a contract with the landowner, were they complaining then? No, they were satisfied because it was enough for them and their families. You cannot accuse the landowner of oppressing them by giving them an exploitative or oppressive salary. It was probably the 'going rate'. The complaint was against his generosity in paying those the same salary who only worked for 9, 6, 3 or 1 hour(s) as those who had been given a contract and had worked the whole day for 12 hours in the blistering heat. Thus those who have only worked for one our in the cool of early evening would have been paid 11 times as much in terms of the amount of labour given than those who had worked all 12 hours.

    The Firstborn Way

    Brethren and sisters, I would hate any of you to miss the deep emet (truth) being taught by Yah'shua (Jesus) here. The first labourers accused the landowner of being unfair because they were measuring the value of their labour and comparing it with the hours of the other labourers. Indeed, Yah'shua (Jesus) said that their "eye [was] evil", that is, the way they saw things and the way they passed judgment on the landowner, when, He declared, that He was, in fact, "good". Yahweh's sense of fairness and righteousness is not like our own. His is not of the flesh but of the spirit. Yes, we can choose a lesser system of weights and measures, and of contracts, if we wish, as our ancestors did under the Old Covenant - and, yes, fallen man needs such a system, to a degree, in a fallen world. But that is not Yahweh's preferred way of dealing with man which demands greater trust in His ultimately fairness and generosity, so it is not that which is practiced by the firstborn sons of Elohim (God). They covenant to obey even before they know what it is they are being asked to do or endure. So the 'contract method' is not what we are about even if others may choose it because it makes them feel safer.

    Living by Grace

    Yah'shua (Jesus) said that what He did with what was His - what was the landowner's - was His business and no one else's. It was not for anyone else to judge what was good to be evil, or just to be unfair. We are not capable of using such cosmic weights and measures perfectly anyway. The landowner showed grace - undeserved loving kindness - and we are not to judge that either but rejoice in it even if we have laboured the full metaphorical '12 hours' and they have not. Rather, we are to live by it ourselves and extend the same grace to others in our daily interactions. And once we have lost consciousness of weights and measures we are promised we will be considerably happier, happiness does not come about by continually weighing and measuring others and what they give or what they get.

    An Example in the United Order of All Things in Common

    That does not mean, of course, that those who are in leadership positions (like pastors, fathers and husbands) should not strive to be 'fair'. But how can you measure fairness? Not everyone's need is the same. I remember years ago when we actively discussed the United Order of All Things in Common, and reflected on the experiences of other groups of believers who had worked through this historically, we came to the conclusion that man's carnal weights-and-measure system is not only meaningless but actually detrimental to his spiritual health. Let me give you an example we once discussed. Let us say that two families join a community where everything is shared or held in common and a day comes along as to who has what musical instrument deeded to him or her as a stewardship in that community. One plays the piano, one a harp, one an organ, one a violin and one a flute. Now these instruments have considerble difference in their financial value or cost and the carnal man might argue that it would be 'unfair' that one person be given an expensive piano, organ or harp while another has a comparatively cheaper flute or violin. But that is not the point. The point is, each according to his need and gifting, because everything is Yahweh's anyway.

    The Collapse and the United Order

    It has been many years since we have spoken about such things and that's because there hasn't been a need. But as the collapse gets under way and people are finally forced to gather for survival, they will arise again. We have long prepared for this eventuality. Sharing musical instruments is one illustration and actually one of the simpler ones. I am sure you can think of more difficult ones that the leaders of these future communities will need to make decisions about.

    The Landowner as as Type of Messiah

    In the parable of the labourers the landowner is, one one level, a type of Messiah or of Yahweh Himself. But he is also a type of fathers, husbands, and of bosses in general...and indeed landowners! The righteous leader will always meet two kinds of people in this life - those who want a negociated contract where everything is laid out in detail (like a salary for so many hours a day for so much kind of work) which is after the tavnith or pattern of the Old Covenant, and those who simply trust in the fairness and generosity of their employer, saying, "whatever is right you will receive", the "right" here being whatever is "righteous" in Yahweh's eyes according to His Torah standards. And what is "righteous" here is not in some expected sum of money or division of labour but in the generosity of the landowner whose privilege it is to give as much (or little) as he wants. Though we're not told why He gave a denarius to the late arrivals, presumably it was sufficient for their needs, whatever they were. And that's the whole point - we don't need to know precisely what those needs were.

    Judging Leadership

    The burden of all leadership is to be judged as unfair in showing generosity to those who don't necessarily deserve it. However, consider that those who are led have an obligation to be like their leaders:

      "Rememeber your leaders. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their emunah (faith)" (Heb.13:7, NIV).

    Imitate the Grace of True Leadership

    Consistently imitate the way they extend grace and make that your constant. It is no accident that the writer of Hebrews then states in the next line:

      "Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is the same yesterday and today and for ever" (v.8).

    Grace is Not Something Yahweh Has Recently Started Giving

    This is not something 'new' that Elohim (God) suddenly started doing in the 'New Covenant' 200 years ago because it is something He has always done. He has always been generous and He has never appreciated it when men and women have judged Him as being 'unfair' or showing the kind of 'favouritism' which is undoubtedly unrighteous [6] when He has extended unmerited favour (grace). The thing is, He does it to all of us but we're usually not aware of it.

    Never Too Late to Be Saved

    Notice that the landowner didn't show injustice by paying the latecomers more than one denarius though it may have appeared as 'more' to the early comers applying ungodly weights and measures. The point of Yah'shua's (Jesus') parable was, of course, to teach His listeners that late comers receive the same salvation (as opposed to rewards) as those who came at the last hour. Therefore it is never too late to repent, it is never too late to be saved because there is every advantage to doing so.


    The United Order of All Things in Common which involved placing all ones possessions at the feet of the apostles for distribution to the poor and for the assignment of fair and equal stewardships based on need, gifting and calling, has been a somewhat remote principle in this ministry because in our early years we were never able to find a people equal to its spiritual demands. Unlike the first believers in Jerusalem who lived it voluntarily because they were filled with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), the modern Christian or Messianic, though often claiming to be 'Spirit-filled', is usually filled with something else and balks at this lifestyle, so has rarely lived it voluntarily or had bad experiences with leaders who have not implemented it righteously or indeed according to Yahweh's revelation. However, that time is fast approaching again, and that is why I am giving this message today so that we may ready ourselves for it. So let us conclude by reading just how this was in the early days to remind us of how it will be again [7]:

      "Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Master Yah'shua (Lord Jesus). And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet" (Acts 4:32-37, NKJV).



    [1] Meaning, the Torah (Law) exposes sinful behaviour in us by contrasting that with the righteous standard of our Elohim (God), forcing us to deal with it through repentance or otherwise have our strength sapped away through persistent sinning. Without the Torah we would be ignorant of our sin and continue in our cut-off state from Elohim (God), blissfully ignorant yet perishing nonetheless
    [2] Gary Benfold, Why Lord? The Book of Job for Today (Day One Publications, Epsom, Surrey, England: 1998), p.61
    [3] Most translations say Paul was a tentmaker because they are based on Greek texts. Tthe Peshitta and other Aramaic versions state he was a saddle-maker. Only one version (the RSTNE) claims he was a tallit or prayer-shawl maker - the problem with this claim is the tallit did not come into existence until way after Paul's time
    [4] The second third of the tithe is for the poor and the third for the festivals
    [5] Based on a revelation received in 1989: "The Davar Elohim (Word of God) to the New Covenant Christians on the subject of paid ministry - Thus saith Yahweh: thou shalt not salary the ministry at any time but the ministry shall labour for its own support. The Davar Elohim (Word of God) is beyond the price of rubies yet thou shalt not charge even one penny for it. Did the Son of Man charge the children of men even one senine {penny} for it? Did the Son of Man charge the children of men for His words? What father would charge his son for his counsel? The Davar Elohim (Word of God) is free and thou shalt demand no price for it, but thou shalt follow the good examples of the apostles who laboured with their own hands for their support notwithstanding their many travels abroad to declare My Gospel. That which is spiritual is spiritual and shall hold no fellowship with mammon; all else is usury and priestcraft, saith Yahweh. Thou shalt put out of office the minister who demandeth recompense in gold and silver, for upon such shall be heaped hot coals and a seared conscience. But thou shalt not forbid the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) giving support to their ministers, nor those gentiles who offer hospitality. And behold, the apostles should go forth as in days of old relying upon My grace and providence. Ye shall have no kings but Zion shall be governed by judges, saith Yahweh of Hosts, for kingcraft is nigh unto priestcraft in its evil. And the judges in Zion shall labour for their own support, even as it is written. Amen" (Covenants & Commandments, Chapter 148).
    [6] See, Does Yahweh Show Favouritism? and Equality and Favouritism: Appearances and Reality
    [7] This is a principle that has been grossly abused by some groups who have often kept the wealth of people when they have left. It should be understood that in its godly form, if anyone chooses to leave such a community, they are to have their original wealth returned to them. Anything else is theft. This would amount to the equivalent of one of the late labourers deciding not to trust the landowner and opt for a contract like those who worked the full 12 hours. They would still remain labourers (saved servants of Messiah) but have rather opted for the alternative way or 'low road' - see Will You Take the High Road?

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