Month 4:15, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5937:104 AM|
SHABBAT 4:2, Omer Count: 7 Sabbaths + Day #36
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 22 July 2013
The Army of Elohim
A Vision of the Body of Messiah
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisrael and may the undeserved loving-kindness of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) be upon this assembly this morning and upon all those who participate in this fellowship of the Ruach (Spirit) later whether online or through the printed word. We're on the 35th day of the Omer Count following the first seven sabbaths so the pivotal summer festival of secondfruits or Shavu'ot (Weeks/Pentecost) is only two weeks away! Let us keep this in prayer as we prepare to assemble to hear Yah's revelation and instructions for us as individuals, families and as a fellowship.
Meditating by the Baltic Sea
As most of you know I have been away for a week with one of my sons on a course in eastern Sweden by the Baltic Sea. This has given me the opportunity for some deep reflection and prayer in a new setting. I was up at the crack of dawn one morning sitting alone in a garden chair looking over the sea toward Estonia and doing some intense listening in the middle of nature. For some reason wherever I go in this country one or more wagtail birds seem to attach themselves to me and on this occasion a couple did just that, standing on a rock nearby at the water's edge. I must admit I am rather fond of these creatures and they offered some nice company while I was in prayer along with some fish occasionally breaking the surface of the water and a large raven looking down from a stately pine tree. Feeling the rising son on my face was an added boon. Sweden in summer is truly glorious.
Knowing What to Pray For
One thing you learn early on with Yahweh if you are listening properly is that you can never force a revelation out of Him. We present our petitions and simply wait on Him. Straining to hear Him when He does not wish to speak to you yet about a matter that is important to you can so easily open the door to the Enemy who is only too willing to speak at your behest, though of course it will be according to his evil agenda and contain information crafted to deceive you. I did not receive any concrete revelations that morning by the Baltic Sea nor did I get the answers to pressing questions during the week I was away that I was looking for, though He did speak to me in visions and in the davar (word) about certain matters. And quite typically we aren't even asking the right questions, at least not at any one given moment in time, which is why we are also to ask Him what we are to pray about! Paul puts it this way:
Praying in the Name is Praying in the Ruach
"Likewise the Ruach (Spirit) also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Ruach (Spirit) Herself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Ruach (Spirit) is, because She makes intercession for the qodeshim (set-apart ones, saints) according to the will of Elohim (God)" (Rom.8:26-27, NKJV).
When Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
He meant that whatever we ask in the Ruach (Spirit) will be granted, since the Name must always be in harmony with the Ruach (Spirit) which seals and confirms it. That means we cannot ask Him to murder someone for us and expect to be heard simply because we invoke the Name 'Yah'shua (Jesus)'. The Name is not a magic incantation - that concept, brethren and sisters, is occultism, and is condemned by the Torah. Neither are we to ask for something in order to test Yahweh (Is.7:12). Indeed the Master implied that asking also included "searching" and "knocking" (Mt.7:7) which means that we have certain responsibilities and obligations in asking Him for anything. So the only time a prayer is guaranteed the resposne we desire is if it is right, if it is in His will, and if it is in His timing. In other words, the praying must be directed by the Ruach (Spirit) and not by the carnal nature and its ungodly appetites!
"And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:13-14, NKJV),
When Prayers Aren't Answered
If you get frustrated because prayers aren't being answered it's usually because of one of these reasons. Now as I have said, I have been petitioning Yahweh for a lot of different things over a very long period of time. And many of these requests are the wrong ones because we're not listening to the Ruach (Spirit). It follows, then, that cultivating communion with the Ruach (Spirit) is of the utmost importance otherwise how are we ever to know what to pray about? To do that means we must learn to approach Yahweh in the right way which in a nutshell is simply laying aside our own plans and surrendering to His will, something readily intended but rarely done easily so long as we are clutching onto carnal toys. If He is silent then we are often looking in the wrong place or barking up the wrong tree.
VISION OF THE BODY OF MESSIAH
So this morning I got a bit of surprise. I wasn't praying for anything. I had had a terrible night what with the current heat wave and ended up sleeping in our meeting room to get cool. I was laying on my bed trying to get to sleep when suddenly a vision opened wide before me. What I saw took me completely by surprise. In front of me was rank after rank of men and women of all ages and races, arms interlocked in unity creating a solid wall, moving toward me as far as the eye could see on either side. There was intense purpose and direction in them and it was clear they were united by a single Ruach (Spirit). I knew instantly that this was not the Council of Yah's Elohim (which I have seen and communed with before) but the Body of Messiah, the Messianic Community, in its entirety. Whether it was a mixture of the qodeshim (set-apart ones, saints) in heavan and earth or only those on earth alive today I could not tell. All I knew was that I had to be in their ranks, and that within seconds I would be, because this army was bearing down upon me fast. Moreover, you either had to get into place or be left behind. You were either in or out.
An Army One in Purpose
When the vision closed many things became clearer to me. First of all, those groups - messianic, evangelical, or anyone else naming the Name of Messiah - have got to totally abandon any 'special status' notions that they have about being 'Yahweh's pet believers' or unique 'restorations' and get into line! Yes, there is still disunity generally, yes there is still a mass of false doctrines that need to be sorted out, but what united all of these people was not that they had everything worked out yet but that they were all, to a man and woman, regenerated by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) through self-surrender and a desire to obey the Master in all things, including those things they don't yet understand brecause of false traditions. They were all at different places in their spiritual growth, but they were echad or one in their purpose, which was to be servants and talmidim (disciples) of the Master.
United by a Common Regeneration and the Core Teachings
Secondly, this was an army of all kinds of different believers united by the essential core doctrines, which the earliest believers identified in the tenets of the Apostles' Creed - things like special creation, the Deity of Messiah, the Virgin Birth, the crucifixion, death and physical resurrection of Messiah, the Ascension, the Final Judgment, the work of the Ruach (Spirit), the Universal Body of Messiah, the communion of believers, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the dead and everlasting life. This was their strength, what caused them to be linked together so tightly. And Yahweh was in it...unmistakably!
An Army Heading Off to War United in Truth
Thirdly, this was "an army marching as to war", heading to the front line to engage the Enemy in spiritual places. And this war is not going to be won by believers turning on each other. Yes, the emet (truth) must continue to be proclaimed; yes, we are not to acknowledge any kind of doctrinal lies, nor practice them, but we are not to force our understandings on fellow believers who are not where we are necessarily, remembering that we too have things to make and get right. Those who are so absorbed with the details of the Torah (Law) that they miss the fundamentals of what it is to be in union with Messiah through a full surrender of the lev (heart) are going to miss the boat - they are going to be fighting the wrong battles and be overwhelmed. This is the army we are all to be a part of.
Pride and Self-Righteousness
Such is an offence to those who pride themselves in being right. And whilst being right-eous is important, it's not something that we 'do' ourselves anyway - it is what Yahweh makes us through a sovereign act of grace (undeserved loving kindness, unmerited favour) when we hand our lives over to Him, repent of the sins we know of (it's an ongoing process), and accept the sacrifice Yah'shua (Jesus) made for us on the Cross to blot our offence out and cleanse our guilt. THAT IS THE BASIS OF CHRISTIAN/MESSIANIC UNITY - it's not having every doctrine and practice nailed down even though we must not cease from making that our goal.
All Are Works in Progress
Those who are absorbed with being 'right' often forget that they haven't got it fully 'right' anyway. What they mean is that they want everyone to agree with them where they are today because, as a rule, they usually think they have it completely right at any one point of time. They are usually surprised to discover they have something wrong and resist hearing and implementing some new emet (truth) when they are presented with it because their focus is on self-rightness, which is to say, self, instead of being focussed on YAH'SHUA (JESUS).
Abstract vs. Incarnate Truth
I see this all the time. I have fallen into this trap myself, and it is lethal to spirituality. It seems to be spiritual because the quest is for emet (truth), and who can say that seeking for emet (truth) is wrong? The error is in substituting the abstract ('truth') for the personal or incarnate, which is the Emet (Truth)... which is the Person of Yah'shua (Jesus) - not as an abstract, distant 'goal' but as a living reality. This is, moreover, typically a male mistake. The female mistake is to get so wrapped up in the Person that the need for emet (truth) principles appears unimportant, and so only relationship is stressed. They're both important but it is the Person of Yah'shua (Jesus) that is the most important thing.
Processed vs. Living Truth
When you are ill or dying what is it that is the most important to you? The physical presence of someone who cares or remembering how that person has cared for you in the past? It is the immediacy or direct application of emet (truth) in ahavah (love) that matters more than any ideas about it. Fresh food is better than processed food just as living emet (truth) is better than processed mental emet (truth). I had another sermon half prepared for you today but it wasn't alive and I had to set it aside - I needed the injection of the Ruach (Spirit) given to me when I saw the vision this morning to make these devarim (words) living: "for the letter kills, but the Ruach (Spirit) gives chayim (life)" (2 Cor 3:6, NKJV). I hope you can sense that today.
From Living Ruach to Truth Principles
The job of every minister is to point you to the Person of Messiah and encourage you to get to know Him personally through the living Ruach (Spirit) in the same way that two people get to know each other by communing inwardly. Only then are we to go into Phase II, as it were, namely, as Yah'shua (Jesus) tells us:
Spiritual Truth vs. Nefesh Truth
"But when the Ruach Emet (Spirit of Truth) has come, She will lead you into all emet (truth), for She will not speak from the mind of the nefesh (flesh) but all that She hears, that will She speak, and She will make known to you future things. And She will glorify Me, because from Mine she will take and will proclaim to you. That which My Father has is Mine. Because of this I have told you that from Mine She will take and will proclaim to you" (John 16:13-15, HRV).
Please note - and note it will - that, first, the Ruach (Spirit) must come to each soul personally, through intimate communion, and then emet (truth) in the abstract and concrete. First there must be Her Presence otherwise our thinking will be of the nefesh or soul.
Truth without the Ruach - What is It?
You see, even unbelievers can accept emet (truth) principle without possessing the Ruach (Spirit). An unbeliever can find a passage of Scripture which he likes and declare, "Yes, I agree with this!". It might be something like, "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love" (1 John 4:18, NKJV). I can think of a lot of unbelievers who would agree with that. But they would reject the next part: "We love Him (Yahweh) because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19, NKJV) because they don't believe in Elohim (God). So what does that person have? He has a snippet of emet (truth) about the incompatibility of love, fear and torment but he will not accept the definition of "love" which cannot be understood or experienced apart from Yahweh Himself because He does not accept that "Elohim (God) is ahavah (love)" (1 Jn.4:8, NKJV) because he doesn't believe in Elohim (God) and therefore has no intimate knowledge of Him. He lacks the bigger picture and the integrative principle. So his 'truth snippets' are disconnected and cannot cohere until He accepts that Yah'shua (Jesus) is the Emet (Truth) (Jn.14:6).
Truth-Snippets and the Integrative Principle
The trouble is, unregenerated Christians and Messianics tend to do exactly the same thing as unbelievers. Yes, they believe in Elohim (God) and they believe that Yah'shua (Jesus) is the Emet (Truth) in an intellectual, propositional way, but they have not repented of their sins and have not been spiritually regenerated to understand emet (truth) spiritually. So their focus, inevitably, is on collecting truth-snippets and parading them as 'theirs', and demanding that others accept them or be dismissed as 'heathen', 'apostates' or 'heretics'. Theirs becomes a gospel of self-righteousness because whilst they have accepted truth-snippets, they have not got right with the Creator yet! Or they have only done so in part and continue to be prevented because their emphasis is all wrong. They have what I call a variant of the 'one-and-only-true-church syndrome' like the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses. They have not suceeded in separating their own understanding and quest for truth-snippets from what it is to be in union with Messiah because they still don't know what that is even if they are able to eloquently proclaim the theology of it! There's a gospel of the head and of the nefesh (which is not the real thing - it's just a two-dimensional picture), and there's the real 3D thing unites and binds souls in the depths of their being and not just in their intellects, just as I saw in my vision. Only Yah'shua (Jesus) integrates the intellectual snippets and waters them in eternal chayim (life).
The False Gospel is a Form of Satanism
Having had experience in the 'one-and-only-true-church' error I know how easy it is to fall into such a mode. It is the differece between standing alone and standing with linked arms with all other regenerated believers who understand that the substance of the Besorah (Gospel) is in the basic tenets of the Apostles' Creed. The 'one-and-only' syndrome is actually the fruit of ultra-individualism which claims that everyone has his or her own existentialist emet (truth). Everyone is their own god just as they believe they are in satanism, because it is satanism . You'd be surprised just how so many professing believers fall into its trap and then try to recruit others around them to believe as they do. It's the original lie told by the serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden.
The Linked Body vs. Ivory Towers
The difference between true believers and 'one-and-onlyers' is the difference between that army I saw on the ground and
various little or large prideful groups shouting how right they are from various ivory towers dotted across the landscape criticising everyone - believer and unbeliever alike - but never engaging in the battle where it matters, never finding common cause, because it is easier for them to knock others down whom they believe to be inferior than to serve with them. What is particularly important to realise about the message of this vision is that Yahweh is using this Army and not one of the many ivory tower ministries or groups. And like their Sumerian forebearer at Babel, Yahweh has a way of knocking down towers and scattering their builders.
Those who build private or group ivory towers lose faith eventually. All that keeps their projects together is false belief about themselves and about Elohim (God) and when that is exposed, everything collapses. What these people have to realise is that the problem is not with Elohim (God) but their false picture of Him. And they won't get that sorted out until they finally meet Him. Can you realistically think of any other way of knowing what universal emet (truth) is and not your private version of it? Can you think of any other way of knowing who He is? People who have never met me personally have formed all kinds of ideas as to who I am but when they meet me they are usually surprised. That's true of all of us. To get to know the emet (truth) about someone, go and meet them and then get to know them well over time. Even a first impression won't be sufficient.
The Parable of the Barber
I am sure some of you know the story of the sceptical barber and if you have please bear with me as I share it with those of you who do not. This is so typical of those seeking their own emet (truth) and have found excuses for dismissing the existence of Elohim (God).
A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of Elohim (God), the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists."
"Why do you say that?" asked the customer.
"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realise that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine loving a God who would allow all of these things."
The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, filthy hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and un-kempt. The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist."
"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"
"No!" the customer exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside."
"Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens is, people do not come to me."
"Exactly!" affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! What happens is, people don't go to Him."
Yahweh is waiting to meet with you today. And He wants to share Himself completely with you so that you can know Him as He really is. All you have to do is give your life to Him without preconditions, including and especially those things you like the most. And He'll give you back what you're allowed to keep but will give you far more of things you'll never want to lose, and won't lose unless you deliberately wander from Him. Then He wants to enroll you in His Army, to link arms with all these redeemed people and serve together with them:
As we prepare for whatever Yahweh has in store for us this Shavu'ot (Pentecost), let us make sure we're linked into that army by going to Elohim (God) for that haircut. Amen.
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Yah'shua (Jesus), the author and finisher of our emunah (faith), who for the simcha (joy) that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of Elohim (God)" (Heb.12:1-2, NKJV).
 See, Might You Be a Satanist Without Knowing It? Exposing the Philosophy of Anton LaVey
Comments from Readers
 "The Spirit is all over this sermon. It really did witness to me. Amen and amen" (DL, USA, 22 July 2012)