Month 4:22, Week 3:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5937:111 AM|
SHABBAT 4:3, Omer Count: 7 Sabbaths + Day #43
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 29 July 2013
Seeking False Security
The Folly of Hiding Outside Yahweh
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el and may the grace of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) be upon this assembly. We are in our last week before Shavu'ot (Weeks/Pentecost) and look forward to welcoming you to the summer festival.
A Message From Deep Agony
Before I get into the heart of today's theme, I want to to share an experience I had three nights ago when my stomach ulcer 'got going' again and I was thrown into 7 hours of agony. Obviously I never enjoy these times...there have been far too many occurrences...but I always learn something from each. Admittedly I'd rather learn these lessons by gentler means but I think all of you will readily acknowledge that one of the ingredients of human nature, to which we regrettably keep on turning for an ego-boost or a power-trip (I speak here of pride), rarely budges when given the gentle treatment. It's a sad indictment of our fallen state that we need calamity of one sort or another to awaken and sober us. I guess as Paul had his thorn-in-the-side so many of us have our medical woes to do the same job.
Doubts and Complaints
When you get ill, all kinds of doubts come floating to the surface, doubts and complaints that we otherwise wish to pretend don't exist. And I have to say that mine came bubbling to the surface at a time when all I wanted was some divine comfort. In the midst of excruciating pain, I was oscillating between begging for relief and complaining that He wasn't doing anything, even arrogantly reminding Him that I, as a father, never ignore my children when they are in distress. The result of that presumptuous line of thought was, of course, complete silence on His part, and deservedly so. In the end I just gave up trying to fathom what I intepreted as disinterest on His part or irredeemability on mine, and just yielded, and as a result I started getting snippets of sleep.
The Foundational Choice of Life
I had a choice in such a moment, as I do every time I am in agony - to continue trusting Him or to reject Him. Every one of us faces such choices. Though in the midst of my tribulation I was unable to recall any of His acts in my life, they soon came flooding back the following morning when I took the time to quietly meditate on what I had done. I realised - as I am doing more and more as I get older - that Elohim (God) is just too big for our finite minds to process. Worse, we, as His creations - His creatures - are too complex to understand even. I told my wife that morning that after three decades of being a talmid (disciple) I have learned an awful lot but at the end of the day I still know practically nothing. The more onion layers of life I peel off, the bigger the onion gets. We will never come to full gnosis or knowledge while we are here  - we have no choice but to trust in either Yahweh-Elohim or blind futility. That's really the choice we make.
The Admonition of Psalm 78
Shortly after this I opened my Bible to the 78th Psalm and received a confirmation of what I had learned that night of physical pain and spiritual struggling:
Faith in Elohim vs. Satan's Cassino
"Mark my teaching, O my people, listen to the words I am to speak. I will tell you a story with a meaning, I will expound the riddle of things past, things which that we have heard and know, and our fathers have repeated to us. From their sons we will not hide the praises of Yahweh and His might nor the wonderful acts He has performed; then they shall repeat them to the next generation. He laid on Jacob a solemn charge and established a torah (law) in Israel, which He commanded our fathers to teach their sons, that it might be known to a future generation, to children yet unborn, and these would repeat it to their sons in turn. He charged them to put their trust in Elohim (God), to hold His great acts ever in mind and to keep all His mitzvot (commandments); not to do as their fathers did, a disobedient and rebellious race, a generation with no firm purpose, with hearts not fixed steadfastly on Elohim (God)" (Ps.78:1-8, NEB).
Looking back I could see many of the miracles in my life. They may not have been as dramatic as those experienced by the children of Israel in the Wilderness but they were real, things inexplicable in the natural realm, but no less real than a parting of the Red Sea or any of the other miracles done by Elohim (God) throughout the ages. It all boils down to emunah (faith) - what it is we are willing to trust in. Sooner or later we discover what's reliable and what isn't. I do not, however, recommend the 'trial-and-error method' - life is simply too short to gamble and throw away in that kind of roulette game. True emunah (faith) is not a laboratory of experimentation, of trying to pin the tail on the donkey wearing a blindfold, though most who reject Yahweh do just that and wonder why they keep on missing the target again and again . Satan may nudge you in a desired carnal direction every now and then to convince you that the trial-and-error method has some merit, and may even reveal himself as some benevolent occultic (hidden) 'power' if you'll pay him a price for his service. But there's always a 'payback' and the end of that is always ruination. So the choice is very simple - either we have emunah (faith) in Yahweh by trusting in His Son and obey His mitzvot or we play Satan's Cassino.
Seeking Assistance from Egypt
Today's davar (word) came while I was away in eastern Sweden (on 16 July) a couple of weeks ago, and I received it at daybreak. I had planned to give it to you last week but was given another message for that particular assembly. Today the Ruach (Spirit) is in this earlier message, and flows from what I have already shared with you, so I will now relate it to you as I received it. This was the passage of Scripture I was powerfully drawn to, its theme is one of not seeking for protection or safety in the wrong places which is today's theme:
A Woe for Those Who Seek Apart from Yahweh
"Woe to those who go down to Egypt to seek help there, who build their hopes on cavalry, and who rely on the number of chariots and on the strength of mounted men, but never look to the Holy One of Israel nor consult Yahweh" (Is.31:1, Jerusalem Bible).
This davar (word), given through the prophet Isaiah, is one of six woes delivered to ancient Israel in its state of apostacy and is a rebuke at that nation's attempt to find solutions to its national difficulties by means of politics, diplomacy and dubious military alliances instead of trusting in Yahweh. Here Egypt refers to the historical nation but can also represent any nation, government, power or human agency to which faithfuless men turn for support in the day of trouble instead of to Elohim (God). The "cavalry", "chariots" and "mounted men" can likewise refer to physical resources like money, the law, the military, social influence, the courts, gangs, 'old schoolboy networks', secret societies like the Masons, or any of the many different means that people turn to in seeking protection and safety apart from Yahweh. You will notice that Elohim (God) warns Israel not to "go down to Egypt" which can both refer to geographically going 'down' as well as morally going 'down' from a place of light to one of darkness. Seeking aid from 'low' places - like borrowing money from the Maffia, for example - is frought with danger.
The Folly of Alliances of Convenience
Choosing a traditional enemy of Israel as an ally, one that once enslaved the nation until its appointed deliverence through Moses, must surly be viewed as rank folly, for such nations enter into no agreements unless there is an advantage to them in doing so...and usually at the expense and great disadvantage of the one seeking help. A country that does not follow Elohim (God) does not enter alliances out of love but out of necessity for its survival or because it calculates it can gain some temporary or long-term advantage. You all know how the sad truism, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", can backfire. Thus the Western nations formed an alliance with mass-murderer Stalin in order to defeat a mutual enemy in mass-murderer Hitler and ended up considerably strengthening Stalin, causing half of Europe to be enslaved by communism for half a century, causing woe and misery to millions for a couple of generations. But this is the 'way of the world', is it not? When in the past Israel or Christian nations have turned their backs on Elohim (God) and relied on military alliances with nations of dubious morality, they have always reaped trouble for themselves. Just look historically at how alliances change, and how your 'friend' one day can become your enemy the next. They are fickle things.
Egypt as Self
But Egypt in the abstract is not just these things. Egypt is also a symbol of the self and therefore represents the flesh or the Adamic nature, because Egypt denotes carnality. To rely on "Egypt" can therefore also be self-reliance apart from Elohim (God). And whilst this may feel good for a while, it does not last. To seek primary help from the world system and the people thereof without leaning on Yahweh is an invitation to certain woe. As Yahweh's prophet reminds us in the next couple of verses:
Going Down Together With Your Carnal Ally
"Yet He (Yahweh) too is skilled in working disaster, and He has not gone back on His word; He will rise against the house of the wicked, and against the protectors of evil men. The Egyptian is a man, not a god, his horses are flesh, not spirit; Yahweh will stretch out His hand to make the protector stumble, the protected will fall and all will perish together" (vv.2-3, JB).
By seeking help from Yahweh's enemies only means that you will go down with Yahweh's enemies when He brings them down. There is no lasting protection, and the short-term protection is therefore mere illusion. If we seek human protectors, then they must be Yahweh's own men, instruments of His own Hand, the proxies of the King of kings:
Blessings are Predicated on Integrity
"A [righteous] king reigns by integrity and [righteous] princes by Torah (Law); each is like a shelter from the wind, a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in dry places, like the shade of a great rock in a thirsty land. The eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, the ears of those who hear will be alert, the heart of the hasty will learn to judge, the tongue of stammerers will speak clearly, the fool will no more be called noble, nor the villain styled honourable" (Is.32:1-5, JB).
Blessings only accrue when we seek shelter from those of integrity, who encircle with the hedge of Yahweh's Torah and not man's own rules and traditions. Those who seek shelter amongst those who lack integrity, whose law of life is not Yahweh's Torah, who do not love the Creator, are simply witnessing their foolishness:
The Expectancy of Compromise
"For the fool speaks folly, and his lev (heart) meditates wickedness, that he may practice godlessness and speak wild words about Yahweh, and leave the hungry man's craving unsatisfied, and refuse drink to the thirsty. And the villain - his villainies are evil; he devises wicked plots to ruin the poor with lies even when the cause of these lowly ones is just; but the noble man plans only noble things and bears himself nobly" (Is.32:6-8, JB).
Common sense alone should tell you that taking shelter with an enemy against another enemy is foolishness because for one thing you'll be expected to 'fit in' with the ways of the one whom you are sheltering with. Was Egypt ever a lover of Yahweh? It will be in the Millennium, yes - but before, no. Egypt has always mocked Yahweh and His Torah and those who shelter will be expected to do the same as the Egyptians in order to maintain credibility and be accepted amongst the protectors.
The Pergamos Qodeshim Compromised
The qodeshim (set-apart ones, saints) who lived in ancient Pergamos were criticised by Yah'shua (Jesus) for this compromise with evil. We are not told why they tolerated these antinomians amongst them, with their licentiousness, but they did:
The Nicolaitans: Behaving Like Goats
"And to the messenger of the assembly (congregation) in Pergamos write, 'These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My emunah (faith) even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth" (Rev.2:12-16, NKJV).
This is a pretty good description of the condition of the Body of Messiah today because of its tolerance of immorality and Torahlessness. The believers are valiantly faithful in other respects but their stumbling block is their tolerance of the Nicolaitans. Clement of Alexandria says that "they abandoned themselves to pleasure like goats, leading a life of self-indulgence." Their teaching perverted grace by claiming a lawless form of 'liberty' that excluded Torah-obedience, thus replacing law with license.
But isn't this typical of people rebelling? They seek excuses to sin by claiming the Torah has been done away with which gives them the right to 'follow the Spirit' apart from any written code because they believe their minds and hearts have been fully redeemed in Messiah and will never deceive them. And that's precisely why we have Torah in the New Covenant as well as the Old, because "the lev (heart) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jer.17:9, NKJV). And this virus plagues Protestantism especially. The Torah is our hedge of protection, our measuring stick of emet (truth) for when the lev (heart) and mind deceive believers who are not as sanctified as they would sometimes like to believe, it leads them into delusion:
The Idle and Over-Confident
"The coming of the Torahless (lawless, anti-law, anti-Torah) one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the emet (truth), that they might be saved. And for this reason Elohim (God) will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess.2:9-12, NKJV).
Those who sought the safety of Egypt from other enemies are given a good redressing in Isaiah. The women are next to be condemned for their licentiousness - notice what is repeated especially:
Of Women and Daughters
"Stand up, you idle women (wives), listen to My devarim (words); you over-confident daughters, pay attention to what I say...you will tremble, you over-confident women (wives)...shudder, you idle women (wives), tremble, you over-confident women (wives); strip, undress, put sackcloth around your waists. Beat your breasts, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine, for the soil of My people, where thorns and briers grow, for all the happy houses...the palace has been abandoned and the noisy city deserted..." (Is.32:9-14, JB).
As before, there is a figurative as well as a literal meaning of this passage. Not only is this describing the destruction of the land caused by sin and rebellion but the inner condition of the rebels. And the "women" and "daughters" are not just those of the female gender but those in female position toward Yahweh, that is, all talmidim (disciples) as the collective Bride.
The Soil of the Soul
You will recall in Yah'shua's (Jesus') parable of the sower (Mk.4:3-20) that "the soil of My people" also represents symbolically the condition of men's levim (hearts):
Thorns and Briers as Reward for Rebellion
"The sower sows the davar (word). And these are the ones by the wayside where the davar (word) is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the davar (word) that was sown in their levim (hearts). These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the davarword, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the davar's (word's) sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the davar (word), and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the davar (word), and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the davar (word), accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred" (Mark 4:14-20, NKJV).
In the passage of Isaiah, "thorns and briers grow" in "the soil of My people" - these are the useless fruits of the rebellion, which cannot feed their souls, because of their choice to take shelter under godlessness. Their "houses" are no longer "happy", the "pleasant fields" and delight that comes of planting righteousness in emet (truth) in ahavah (love) have long gone. All that is left is barrenness of soul.
Returning to Prosperity
Once the false protection is abandoned, and the repentance genuine and complete, with every and any desire to return to the 'old ways' of sin and profligacy extinguished because it is now hated, then return and prosperity are again possible:
Justice and Security
"Once more there will be poured on us the Ruach (Spirit) from above; then shall the wilderness [of the soul] be fertile land [again] and fertile land become forest [productive, protective and nurturing]. In the wilderness [of the world] justice will come to live and integrity will bring shalom (peace), justice giving lasting security. My people will live in a peaceful home, in safe houses, in quiet dwellings... Happy will you be, sowing by every stream [in the waters of ahavah/love]..." (Is.32:15-20, JB - my comments in [square parentheses]).
Note especially that it is justice that brings security and therefore lasting justice begets lasting security. Thus ETERNAL SECURITY is a function of being obedient to the emet (truth) of Torah (Yahweh's Law) in the ahavah (love) that comes through spiritual regeneration in Messiah which comes through full surrender. To find security you must be true; to receive lasting security, you must remain true, the cement being faithfulness to your b'rit or covenant.
Eternal Security and Tempered Words
You cannot expect eternal security if your commitment - whether to Yahweh, Yah'shua (Jesus) or a spouse - isn't eternal too. And on what is all eternal justice founded? On Torah. And what is the living Torah but Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself. The one who chooses to walk day by day, and forever - le olam va ed - in security will no longer "speak wild words about Yahweh", complaining about His ways, because they now walk in integrity.
Integrity a Function of Righteous Choices
There is a process or sequence of choices and resultant spiritual sanctifications that leads to integrity of character and trust. It doesn't just 'happen'. There aren't people who have integrity, on the one side, and those who don't on the other, as though it were something genetically predetermined. Integrity is a function of character and character is a function of choices...tens of thousands of them, large and small.
The Process of Return as Seen Through the Festivals
This process is revealed in the deeper meaning of the Festivals of Yahweh as I have taught for many years. Yahweh does not take His Bride unto Himself until she has first proven her faithfulness and integrity by, first, being true to her Pesach (Passover), and second, to her Shavu'ot (Penetcost) covenants. The full marriage celebration or feasting does not take place until the final festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles). There must be a demonstration of felicity to the first two covenants first of all. There must also be the habitual repentance of Chag haMatzah in deed as well as in intent leading to the visible firstfruits of Yom haBikkurim (Firstfruits), which is humility, corresponding to the poor man's barley bread, and the secondfruits of Shavu'ot (Pentecost), corresponding to the rich man's wheat bread and the lushiousness of a sanctified character breaking forth in light and emet (truth). Then there must be the judgment of Yom Kippur, the test that determines whether the abundance of the Grape Harvest and New Wine is present in the life of the redeemed soul as represented by Sukkot (Tabernacles). This is Yahweh's Derech (Way) and there are no short-cuts to it, even as Yah'shua (Jesus) is that Derech (Way), as He is the Emet (Truth) and Chayim (Life) too (Jn.14:6). This is the way of every true "king" and "prince" of Messianic Israel, and therefore every true leader, father and husband too.
Ravi Zacharias once said that in the Besorah (Gospel) "there is an egalitarianism of people and an Úlitism of ideas". There is only one Derech or Way to Elohim (God) - you can't pick and choose your religion or private morality - but it relies on no single man or Úlitist group of people to promulgate it on earth. You come to a level playing field when you join that Derech (Way) - you have to climb down from your ivory towers of self-worship and join a vast company of people with whom you are an equal, as Yahweh showed me last week in the vision I shared with you. It is not the Body's privilege that you join it - rather it's your privilege to be a part of the Body, to be linked into the uniplural Bride of Messiah-in-the-making. There are no celebrities or stars in the Kingdom except Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself but the reward of the Bride is everything that the "Bright and Morning Star" (Rev.22:16) has. We receive our rewards on our faces as we cast our crowns before Him (Rev.4:10), not as we claim our entitlements on self-erected pedistals or thrones. That is the difference between the godly and the satanic way. Our safety and worth is in Yah'shua (Jesus), and Yah'shua (Jesus) alone, not in Egypt, the world or in self. Self is dead, but Yah'shua (Jesus) is "the Derech (Way), Emet (Truth) and Chayim (Life)" (Jn.14:6). Amen.
 Which is why all forms of Gnosticism, or salvation-through-knowledge, are false, because the goal is unrealisable - it's utterly impossible
 Sin is defined as 'missing the mark, target or goal', which is redemption and eternal life in Messiah
Comments from Readers
 "Golly Moses, this is really good. It really spoke to me" (DL, USA, 29 July 2013)