Month Aviv 1:15, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5938:015 AM|
Passover Season Day #2/8,
CHAG HA-MATZAH (Unleavened Bread) 1/7: Annual Moed #2
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 14 April 2014
Chag haMatzah 2014
I. Removing the Marbles of Sin
Continued from Part 1
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el and Chag haMatzah sameach! May the grace of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) be with you all both here in Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon here in Sweden, with our daughter congregations in Kenya and Tanzania, with our friends in Norway, Rwanda, Ghana, India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia, the Philippines, the United States and elsewhere. May the Ruach haRishon bless you and anoint you from on High as we gather for worship, and praise, and instruction.
What We Know and Don't Know About Elohim
Those of you who are ministers will know something of the struggle sometimes that comes in preparing messages for congregations, especially if you fear Yahweh and desire only to speak His Davar (Word). And at this time in history there is no greater need than to hear the Davar Elohim (Word of God) very clearly indeed! You would have thought that having been in the ministry now for 40 years that this would be a moreorless routine and effortless task, but our Elohim (God) is not a man and though we think we know Him, we only know "in part" (1 Cor.13:9). And one thing we do not know yet is the length, breadth and height of the Sukkot Anointing which even now is beginning, in its early phases, to replace the old Shavu'ot or Pentecostal Anointing. We cannot expect, in this last segment of history before the Second Coming, to operate as we have done before, in our imperfect ways and in the traditions of our fathers.
Old and New Together
I'll explain, if I may, before we start talking a little more about the spring festivals. The Song of Solomon, an allegorical love poem, hints strongly at this in the following passage:
"The mandrakes give off a fragrance, and at our gates are pleasant fruits, all manner, new and old, which I have laid up for you, my beloved" (Song 7:13, NKJV).
The "beloved" is Messianic Israel, but can anyone tell me what a "mandrake" is? The mandrake is a plant of the genus Mandragora, particularly the species Mandragora officinarum, belonging to the nightshades family. Not only that, but the roots contain bifuircations so that they look a bit like human figures. For that reasons pagans have used them in magic rituals, and still do. It has been used medicinally since Greco-Roman times for amputations and one of the earliest known anaesthetics, putting the patient into an hallucinatory stupor. The Byzantines later used it, together with other herbs, as an analgesic, sedative and anaesthetic Shakespeare describes Cleopatra using it:
However, what Solomon is alluding to is not their human-like shape (from which all kinds of mediaeval superstitions arose - they used to believe mandrakes utter a shriek every time you pulled it by the roots) but to their fragrance. Biochemists like myself are interested in mandrakes because they contain tropane alkaloids such as atropine, scopolamine, apoatropine, and hyoscyamine, one or two of which you may recognise as being organic chemicals connected with the nervous system. In fact, these are hallucinogenic drugs that can make a person high or sleepy.
"Give me to drink mandragora… that I might sleep out this great gap of time. My Antony is away" (Antony and Cleopatra, I.v).
Something Out of This World
Of course - and I need to underline this for those of you who are new to this ministry - I am absolutely not suggesting that we endorse the taking of drugs! My point is - and this was Solomon's - that our relationship with Yahweh, when it gets really deep, it a bit like having a 'high' - a dizzy, mystical, joyful experience that is 'out of this world' much like the effect of the mandrake plant. So when Yahweh-Elohim says, "the mandrakes give off a fragrance, and at our gates are pleasant fruits, all manner, new and old, which I have laid up for you, my beloved", He's telling us that in addition to the "old" that there is also something "new" and wonderful, that is to say, new depths, new simcha (joy), new shalom (peace), new passion, new everything - something really out of this world!
The Spiritual Deposit
When we are born again, which is the subject of our talk tomorrow, we do not get a full, complete draught of the Ruach (Spirit), but a "deposit" with the promise that if we stay true, as a good wife to a husband, that there will be more and more, and it will always feel new, refreshing and exhilarating:
The deposit is not only like a 'sample' to excite our interest but is also a "guarantee" of the greater depositing that is to come in the resurrection - the complete 'filling' of our metaphorical 'spiritual bank account', as it were. The deposit increases as we realise the spiritual fruits of each of the seven festivals in our lives, with the final resurrection being the greatest 'deposit' of all.
"Elohim (God)...has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Ruach (Spirit) as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come" (2 Cor.5:5, NIV)
An Insight into the Sukkot Anointing
So if you want to know what the Sukkot (Tabernacles) Anointing is like, I can't tell you, because it will be brand new and nothing like the old or former Shavu'ot (Pentecost) deposit that we were initially given. Indeed, it's the difference - if I may use a marriage allegory again - between being betrothed and being fully married. It's covenanted marriage versus consummated marriage. It's the difference between being at a distance and being in your spouse's arms.
Welcoming the African Brethren
Today I have many hundreds of new members in Africa to welcome to our first divine moed (appointment) together as a family so I would first like to begin with them. May Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) bless you as you seek for an ever deeper relationship with the Father through Him. May you be satisfied with what He gives you each day and live in hope for greater, newer things, holding onto, and cherishing the old.
The Double Message
Many of you are from traditional Protestant backgrounds, some from indigenous churches, some Catholic, and the odd one may have been Messianic. Many are from Pentecostal backgrounds. We come with one message to all of you which is two messages, really - two-in-one. That message is that Yah'shua (Jesus) never threw old the "old" on the Cross. Yes, He brought the Old Covenant to an end, with its priesthood and ceremonies that including animal sacrifices and circumcision, but He did not bring the Torah or Law to an end! That is an important difference which we shall be studying over the Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavaned Bread) season. All kinds of nonsense is taught about it incleading deliberately misreading the plain English as in this verse by Paul:
What is the 'End' of the Torah?
"Messiah is the end of the Torah (Law) for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Rom.10:4, NKJV).
This does not mean that Messiah is the 'conclusion' or 'termination' of the Torah but its completion. When I say: "I want to be a doctor. To this end I will study medicine" it does not mean I am bringing medicine to an end in order to become a doctor. It is the means by which I become a doctor. Likewise, the Yah'shua (Jesus) is the "end" or object or goal of Torah (Law) - that is what the Torah was made for, to lead souls to Messiah!
Messiah Became Our Punishment
So what was brought to an 'end' or 'termination' by Messiah? By His death on Calvary He brought the penalty or the punishment of the Torah (Law) to an end for all who would seek sanctuary or refuge in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). That is to say, Yah'shua (Jesus) has become our punishment on the Cross for our transgressions, if we will humble ourselves and repent, and make restitution where we can. He will cancel our debt note of sin and wipe away our guilt. That does not mean, however, that we can sin indefinitely and exploit grace, His undeserved loving-kindness. We can never treat grace lightly. That blood spilled on Calvary is infinitely precious, it cost Yah'shua (Jesus) everything. It broke His heart, it made Him bleed at every pore, it brought upon Him cosmic pain, as He paid the price for every human sin. That was the Pesach (Passover) sacrifice that we memorialised in the meal we partook of yesterday.
The Helping Partner
Alas, indeed, for anyone who must walk this life alone, but how much greater "alas" for someone who must wander this earth without a Divine Partner, a Saviour, a Redeemer, who has the power to cancel the effects of sin, and not only that, but to add something new.
"Alas for the man who falls alone with no partner to help him up" (Eccl.4:10b, NASB)
The Filling Up of Torah
So we are here today to say, the "old" remains - all the mitzvot (commandments) which have not been fulfilled and are no longer binding. All the remaining mitzvot (commandments) are binding on us - both the ordinances such as the sabbaths, new moons and festivals, the dietary laws, the marriage laws, everything BUT Messiah brings to the old something "new" too. What does He do? Does He end the Torah (Law) as so many of our awful English Bible translations tell us? Does He "fulfil" (end) or does He "fill up" (complete)? You cannot cut off your feet and then put on a pair of shoes! You cannot cut off your head and then wear a hat, or cut off your hands and wear gloves. Yah'shua (Jesus) did not take away any essential part of His Torah but brought it to completion. You can't complete something you got rid of, and you cannot have grace without law, because the refusal of grace is judgment, and you cannot be judged without law. He filled Torah up, rather like filling up a half-filled glass to the rim.
The New Does Not Invalidate All the Old
We are here, every year, to proclaim both the "old" and the "new". The festivals we celebrate are very old indeed. They were celebrated by our forefathers thousands of years ago. Even the Lemba Tribe in Zimbabwe have ancestral memories of these things though they are very distorted now because of all the time that has passed. The Chinese have ancient memories, going back 4,000 years to the Creation and the Flood, hidden in the characters of their pictographic language! The old is good if it is true and is not invalidated by the new. Can I give you an example?
Adultery Old and New
The Old Covenant taught that adultery is punishable by death. What did Yah'shua (Jesus) say? First, he said that if any man looks on a married woman with adulterous eyes - if he thinks impure thoughts towards her - he is committing adultery in his heart (Mt.5:28). He took the mitzvah (commandment) on adultery and filled it up, made it complete, by reminding His listeners that all sinning starts in our thoughts, it is fertilised in our heart, and it is brought to fruition in our bodily actions. Old Covenant Torah did not legislate for adultery of the heart, only for adultery of the body. But the New Covenant Torah legislates for unclean thoughts and feelings too, at least as far as the eternities are concerned! Yah'shua (Jesus) made the requirments for purity much harder, much tougher. BUT He brought something that had not been available before. For capital offences like adultery and murder, He brought forgiveness and one more chance, if there was proper repentance. To the woman caught in adultery, who ought to have been executed along with her lover, He brought pardon provided she did not do it again (Jn.8:2-11). This is grace - undeserved loving kindness - mercy. The Old Covenant had little mercy because it was severe. And it was severe because the people were hardened or calloused by sin. They chose a lesser path when they refused to deal with Yahweh face-to-face on Mt.Sinai.
Old and New Covenant Moedim Compared
The festivals we have started celebrating are similar to those of the Old Covenant. There are no longer animal, grain and drink offerings because the Levitical or Aaronic Priesthood and the Old Mosaic Covenant are at an end. There is no longer a Tabernacle of Temple because we are not that temple (1 Cor.3:16; 6:19). Rather we celebrate them, at exactly the same times and for the same duration, but in the spirit or substance of the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) under the Melchizedek Priesthood which, like Messiah Himself, is without beginning or end of days (Ps.110:4)), and is the Greater Priesthood. We celebrate the Pesach (Passover) meal just as the ancients did but without the ritual offering, though we do eat roast lamb as they did. We abstain from yeast-leavened food products for seven days just like the ancients but without the ritual offerings. We come in the same spirit but, in the case of the first four annual festivals, we live them in their fulfilment, and in the spirit of Messiah to whom they pointed. We celebrate the Birth of Messiah, His death at Pesach and His Resurrection at Yom haBikkurim, the need to obey the mitzvot (commandments) by getting sin out of our lives at Chag haMatzah, and the outpouring of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and our betrothal to Messiah at Shav'uot (Weeks/Pentecost). The last three annual festivals we also celebrate without the Levitical rituals, but unlike the first four, these have not yet been fulfilled - the second coming of Messiah at Yom Teruah, the Final Judgment at Yom haKippurim and the Millennial Marriage Feast of the Lamb - our full marriage at Sukkot! Obviously if three of the festivals have not been fulfilled yet, we cannot not observe them, because we are still awaiting their fulfilment. They're there to keep us fully focussed on what is to come, when, and why.
Every year we are commanded to observe Pesach, Chag haMatzah, Yom haBikkurim, Shavu'ot, Yom Teruah, Yom haKippurim and Sukkot, and we are not only to continue doing so until Messiah returns, but according to Scripture we are to continue observing them after He returns throughout the Millennium. One thing He has not commanded us to observe is Christmas, Easter, the pagan New Year (1 January), Lent, Valentines Day, Halloween, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Saturday worship, Sunday worship, or any other man-made, demonically-inspired tradition. In fact, He has positively forbidden that we do:
All Points to Yah'shua
"This is what Yahweh says: 'Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them. For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it will not totter" (Jer.10:2-4, NIV)
All that needs to be observed was given through Moses in Torah. Did you know that every New Moon is a father's day, and every Sabbath is a mother's day? We celebrate the Birth of Messiah, the Death of Messiah, the Resurrection of Messiah, the return of Messiah, the Judgment of Messiah, and the Glory of Messiah in every annual festival, new moon and sabbath? All of these ordinances pointed to Him! And they still do - to His Return and Glorious Reign! The Torah is the most Messiah-centred Besorah (Gospel) you will ever hear! If you want to lead the kind of life that is pleasing to your Heavenly Father, then first you must surrender to the Son and be born again and live by grace. Then, through His resurrection power, you must live the King's Law, His Torah. No other religious observances are permitted. It's a complete system revealing the perfect divine tavnith or pattern. It was given complete in the beginning and now Messiah has brought it to completion or is in the process of doing so.
The Passover Season
Yesterday, on the 14th day of the first month of Aviv at sunset, we celebrated the first spring festival of Pesach (Passover) and began eating unleavened lechem (bread) called matzah from which all biological leaven or yeast has been removed. For seven whole days, the duration of most of the Passover Season as we celebrate the second spring festival, Chag haMatzah or the Feast of Unleavaned Bread, we eat all our bread and food without this leaven, as commanded by Yahweh in Scripture. Why we do so - its spiritual lesson - is very important.
The Mitzvot of the Festival
There are two reasons we do this. First, because it is an historical mitzvah (commandment) from the Torah given by Yahweh that is to be observed by His people in perpetuity no matter what covenant they are under:
Army Exit Day and Anticipating Life
"Seven days you shall eat matzah unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove se'or (biological leaven, barm, yeast-cake) from your houses. For whoever eats chametz (that which is leavened by yeast) from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day there shall be a miqra qodesh (holy/set-apart convocation), and on the seventh day there shall be a miqra qodesh (holy/set-apart convocation) for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat -- that only may be prepared by you. So you shall observe Chag haMatzah (the Feast of Unleavened Bread), for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat matzah (unleavened bread), until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no se'or (biological leaven, barm, yeast-cake, starter-dough) shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats chametz (what is leavened by yeast), that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. You shall eat no chametz (nothing leavened by yeast); in all your dwellings you shall eat matzah (unleavened bread)'" (Ex.12:15-20, NKJV).
Notice that the first (like the last) day of Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread) is a miqra qodesh or holy (set-apart) convocation and is a sabbath. This is unlike Pesach (Passover) which is a "memorial" or "night to be much observed" (Ex.12:42) but not a sabbath - the death of a Lamb is hardly a restful scene. That is because Pesach (Passover), which represents death - has passed - and after the 'gap' represented by this the first day of Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread), we celebrate Yom haBikkurim or the Feast of Firstfruits tomorrow which represents the resurrection on the Third Day and therefore chayim (life)!
From Death to Anticipating Life
Yesterday we memorialised death and today we anticipate the chayim or life that is the fruit of the resurrection of Messiah. Specifically, today is the day we commemorate the bringing of Israel's armies out of Egypt. And the very fact that we have assembled, according to mitzvah (commandment) today, means we are anticipating our final justification - the reward of our emunah (faith) in the death and resurrection of Messiah. But before we can fully rejoice, we must purge out sin through Messiah. And that is what Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavaned Bread) is all about.
No Time to Make Leavened Bread
Historically the Israelites had to leave so quickly that there wasn't time to make their lechem (bread) rise. They left with dough, not very much, for their provisions were slender indeed. That's a bit how we are saved - it's all very sudden when it happens, like a storm out of the blue! This dough they had prepared to bake but hadn't the time to do so - the order to march came before they could add any yeast-cake or starter-dough. By the time they arrived at their first stop, a small settlement called Sukkot (a picture of the end of their spiritual journey...but only a reminder), they baked their unleavened dough. And though this was insipid and rather dull, they were so full of simcha (joy) because of their liberty that they didn't care too much! So this rather tasteless bread became the most happy meal of their lives! The simcha (joy) of freedom meant more than delicious lechem (bread). So don't worry about material riches - there is no room for materialism in the Besorah (Gospel) of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) - but rather focus on spiritual riches and the simcha (joy) thereof.
Why Such a Hasty Departure?
Why did they leave so fast? Because the Egyptians urged them to do so. They had experienced the 10 plagues and they didn't want the Hebrews around a moment longer for fear of more calamity. Do you want to remain in sin a moment longer than you need to? Do you want to remain in despair, depression or hopelessness a moment more than you need to? Do you want to remain unforgiven, uncleansed, unpurified more than you need to to? This is what is being depicted here. So the Israelites carried their dough on their shoulders and made matzah when they got to Sukkot. They saw their Salvation - their freedom from oppression - and they desired it. They wanted it more than anything else now. They did not want to wait a moment longer! What they didn't realise was that this action was prophetically designed by the Creator as a lesson about the whole salvational process - in its minutest detail. It was messianic theology being enacted.
Leaven of the Kingdom and Leaven of the Enemy
Though elsewhere leaven is viewed in a positive light representing the Kingdom of Heaven (e.g. Mt.13:33), in this situation it is a metaphor for sin. Likewise, Yah'shua (Jesus) warned His talmidim (disciples):
The leavening spirit in them was not from heaven but a murderous one of the devil. By their evangelism they were making each convert "twice as much a son of hell" as they were (Matt.23:15, NKJV). One wonders about many professed believers who these days are likewise filled with the spirits of demons rather than the Spirit of Yahweh.
"Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees" (Matt.16:6, NKJV).
Poverty and Joy
You will no doubt have noticed, if you have been around long enough, that those in poverty who have tiqveh (hope) and simcha (joy) care little about sinning. The 'Matzah life' represents a life of discipleship - a life of simplicity, sinlessness and confidence in a future led and energised by Yah'shua (Jesus). We who are in Yah'shua (Jesus) don't need much in terms of material things and we ought not to be too focussed on them. One who is filled with the Ruach (Jesus) does not care for material prosperity but with spiritual prosperity because it's the only thing he can take with him when he dies. Yes, we need the basic necessities and we must provide them - food, clothes, shelter, warmth, safety, medicine, education - but more than this we need very little. We certainly don't need constant entertaining but rather we need to be witnessing to lost souls.
When Sin Spoils the Spiritual Life
Yah'shua (Jesus), the Paschal Lamb of Pesach (Passover), as a result of His atoning death, provides chayim (life) to all who will accept Him in emunah (faith). However, as we all know from practical experience, it is not easy to maintain this simple, joyful life when sin enters the picture. The flesh is constantly tempting us, dragging us, persuading us to sin. That is why we must crucify it in Messiah. It is an enemy - not your physical body, which is a blessing and must be taken care of as the Temple of the Ruach (Spirit) - but the fallen, carnal, fleshy, Adamic impulses arising from it. And how does sin enter a believer's life? Through the breaking of the mitzvot (commandments) of Torah. Then we are required to do what? Remove the sin from our life by means of repentance, restitution and a covenant not to sin again. That is what Chag haMatzah signifies. Why is it seven days long? Because seven is the number of completion, meaning that we must continue to repent and be cleansed of sin until our life on earth is complete. The number 7 represents our whole life which we must work with until we are taken home. The removal of all chametz (representing sin-leavened behaviour) from our households right before Chag haMatzah represents, through ordinance - through a physical exercise - the decision that we will do this so that we may enjoy the promises made for the seventh millennium where all sin is banished.
Easter vs. Yom haBikkurim
How very different this all is to the pagan 'Easter' festival with Roman Catholicism mixed in with the resurrection of Messiah. That Christians celebrate the resurrection is good and right but the resurrection apart from Chag haMatzah robs it of its practical application in daily life. The resurrection, which is observed on the second day of Chag haMatzah and on the third day of the Passover Season (tomorrow), is thus shown typologically to be an integral part of the daily removal of sin by getting right with Yah'shua (Jesus)! Why? Because resurrection power, though the fullness is available to the talmid (disciple) always, cannot be received in its fullness if unrepented sin blocks its way. This is a very important principle, so permit me to explain it to you.
Vessels Like an Empty Glass
Here is a glass (see right). It represents you, the vessel, your body. You are thirsty and to properly slake that thirst you need it filled! We must all have water to live physically, and we must all have the water of chayim (life) - Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) - to live spiritually, else we thirst and die.
Filled with the Marbles of Sin
So, look, here I am holding this glass (see left), which represents you and me. Now, look, I have filled it with marbles or stones. It is full to the very top. The marbles or stones are of different sizes, some small, some medium, some large. They all represent sins. We are born innocent, without sin, without these marbles or stones, and as we sin we stuff more and more of them into the glass which is our bodies until the glass if stuffed full. That is an unsaved soul. Fully of of sin and dry. There is no water, no Ruach (Spirit). The soul is dry, waterless, spiritless, and doomed to wander the same dry places as demons wander, the place we call hell, the place where Dives begged for water from Lazarus whom he had mistreated when he was alive (Lk.16:24). Those who are not born again of the Ruach (Spirit) are dry and stony like this glass filled with marbles or stones.
The Washing Away of Sin in Messiah
When you genuinely repent of your sins and accept Yah'shua (Jesus) as your Messiah, he sweeps all these stones of sin away and replacesd the dry place with living mayim (water)! Let me do that for you by means of an illustration by throwing all these stones out and filling the glass with water. This is a new-born child of Elohim (God)! This is a saved soul, a regenerated believer, one who is born again! He is filled to the top!
Vessels Small and Large
Now you will have noticed that I have three cups here - a small orange one, a medium-sized blue one and a large yellow one (see left). These represent our souls enlarged by the experienes of life, the smallest is a young soul and the large one an older one. The older you get, the more experiences you have, the greater capacity you have for good or evil, even as you will. Life's trials and tribulations carve us out, increasing our capacity for good or evil. Perhaps you can understand why we don't live as long today as the first patriarchs because of our capacity for evil! Imagine if Mao Tse-tung, Josef Stalin, Idi Amin, Pol Pot or any other dictator had lived to be 900 years old and remained in power that long! Praise Yah our life is as long as it is and no more.
The Sinning Believer
So now let us fill one of the empty cups to the top with water, which is your being being filled with the Ruach (Spirit). There are many who teach that a person who has been saved cannot sin again but the epistles of John prove them liars:
Displacing the Ruach, Losing Your Salvation
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the emet (truth) is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Davar (Word) is not in us" (1 John 1:8-10, NKJV).
So what is not in us if we say we have no sin? The Davar Elohim (Word of God). What, then, is in us? Some other word, but not Yahweh's. We are more than able to sin after we have been saved, and we do, every day! Every time we sin, it is like adding marbles to the glass full of water - to the Soul full of the Ruach (Spirit). What happens to the water as I add marbles or stones to the glass? Yes, the water spills out! When you sin, you displace a part of the Ruach (Spirit), and the more you sin without repenting, so eventually over time you displace the Ruach (Spirit) altogether. Is it possible to remove all the Ruach (Spirit) from a born-again believer? Most definitely. A saved soul can lose his salvation by displacing the Ruach (Spirit) so consistently with sinning, without remorse, that he becomes hard and calloused. And these sins need not be great ones like murder or adultery (the worst sins against our fellow being) or idolatry or blasphemy, but the more you sin without repentance and changing your life, the less and less you have of the Ruach (Spirit) until there is none left. Therefore there is no such thing as 'once saved, always saved'. If Judas could become a son of perdition, then any man can. There are many men and women who were formerly saved who become devils like Judas. Joe Stalin was studying to be a priest when he turned against Elohim (God) and became a communist instead! He is second only after Mao for having killed more human beings than any other man in history.
Inner and Outer Torah
The outward sign of faithfulness is the Torah lifestyle and the inward sign is a regenerated heart through emunah (faith) and grace. The Torah is both outward (actions) and inward (the condition of our mind and heart). Only when the two are in agreement or are echad (one) can you know that you are as you ought to be.
Remove All Yeast
The message of Chag haMatzah, which symbolically lasts the seven days of your whole life, is that you have got to get your hands wet and get those marbles or stones of sin out! That's why before sunset on the day of Pesach we are commanded to get all yeast products out of our homes - our home represents our physical body, the parameters of our life. We cannot do this by our own works or effort or righteousness - we cannot earn salvation or cleansing, we can only surrender all to Messiah. You need a supernatural miracle to get that sin out, and that is the miracle of the atonement and the resurrection:
A New Creation
"The dahm (blood) of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7, NKJV)
When we are born again, Yah'shua (Jesus) cleanses us supernaturally by His blood and we become new creatures:
The Old Man of Sin
"Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Cor 5:17, NKJV).
Here "old" is used in a different sense to what I was saying earlier. Here "old" the undesirable 'old man of sin' who is our ticket to hell rather than to heaven. He has to go - all of him - and only Yah'shua (Jesus) by the power of His blood and resurrection can do that. Paul reminds us that ordinances or ceremonies cannot save us:
"For in Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus) neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything (is of any use), but a new creation" (Gal.6:15, NKJV).
That includes baptism - if you are baptised the physical water cannot wash your sins away, only
the waters of the Ruach (Spirit). Nevertheless we are commanded to be baptised both as a witness that we are covenanting to follow Messiah all our days, that we are truly regenerated by the Ruach (Spirit), and as a teaching tool as to how we are saved - by full immersion IN Messiah!
Spiritual Fish and Immersion
Did you know that there are about 90 passages in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) that talk about being IN Messiah - IN Christ? This is what it means to me immersed or buried in water. We must be bathed in Messiah - bathed in the Ruach always. We must hereafter be spiritual fish! We must live in and breathe this spiritual life. Outside of it we die like a fish removed from the water.
An Unusual Festival That Overlaps With Others
Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread) is one of the most interesting festivals because like Yom haBikkurim (Day of Atonement) is begins at sundown and ends seven days later at sundown - all the others begin and end at sunrise. Why? Because it is about death - the death of self-will and surrender to our Elohim (God), as represented by the darkness that starts and ends it, the final darkness being physical death and the transitioning to Eternity. As a result, as you can see from the chart we looked at earlier, it overlaps with the latter part of Pesach (Passover) and on its second day embraces Yom haBikkurim (Day of Firstfruits). Why does it do that? Why must it both be a festival unto itself as well as touching part of one and the whole of another? At the other end of the year, in the autumn, there is another seven day festival called Sukkot (Tabernacles) but this doesn't overlap with any other festival. Why?
A Beautiful and Simple Festival Message
The answer is as beautiful as it is simple and bears testimony against many false doctrines in Christendom. Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread) is all about getting sin out of your life, a process that touches Pesach (Passover) at which a soul makes a decision for Messiah and begins a spiritual gestation process. A spiritual fertilisation takes place, but not a birth, and that requires that a preliminary decision be made: to be honest, sincere and earnest about becoming a talmid (disciple). That is why Chag haMatzah overlaps with the dusk-to-dawn period of Pesach because that decision initiates a spiritual dawning - not the full awakening but the initial conception. It starts in the darkness of the world and ends with a decision for Messiah that ends in the rising of the "sun of righteousness" (Mal.4:2). A 'day' must pass before Yom haBikkurim comes, the festival which corresponds to the New Birth which is marked by baptism - a time of earnest soul-searching, the will to hang on until the New Birth comes, which requires emunah (faith) or trust which also requires patience, endurance, and the beginning of resistance to sin as the seeking soul becomes aware of it, for if he does not, he may become stillborn - an aborted spiritual foetus. The second day of Chag haMatzah, also beginning at dawn (representing and even greater awakening), is the New Birth itself - Yom haBikkurim - that explosive inner transformation of which we spoke earlier when the whole cup of the soul is washed out and filled with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Five more days of Chag haMatzah follow, representing the rest of his life, representing the continuing Chag haMatzah (1) and the summer and autumn (fall) festivals that follow (4) - a total of 5 'days'.
Paul Sums Up Chag haMatzah
So what is the message of Chag haMatzah? We'll let Paul tell you himself by first confirming that the first believers observed it, and second, what its purpose was generally:
"Do you not know that a little leaven (yeast) leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven (yeast), that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Pesach (Passover), was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the chag feast (Chag haMatzah/Feast of Unleavaned Bread), not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and emet (truth)" (1 Cor.5:6-8, NKJV)
"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is Elohim (God) who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of Elohim (God) without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the Davar Chayim (Word of Life), so that I may rejoice in the day of Messiah" (Phil.2:12-16, NKJV).
This important festival therefore tells us that salvation is three things: salvation past (the day you were born again at Yom haBikkurim), salvation present (wherever you may be in the last 5 days of Chag haMatzah working your salvation out continually), and salvation future...where you are spiritually when you die. This Feast of Yahweh tells you that you cannot be complacent or idle, that salvation, once obtained free, must be maintained - you must struggle to work out a full salvation in your life until you are finally an overcomer and can enter the Marraige Feast of the Lamb at Sukkot where only the Bride may come, for the Bride is must first be purified before she can wear white wedding robes. The Bride must "fight the good fight of emunah (faith)" (1 Tim.6:12, NKJV) and be counted amongst the "blessed who endure" (James 5:11, NKJV). The witness of the festivals is that no cheap-and-easy salvation is offered, and whilst it may be free, it will cost you everything you've got to maintain it and grow into the fullness as a faithful talmid (disciple). Amen.
Continued in Part 3