Month Aviv 1:20, Week 3:5 (Chamashee/Teruah), Year:Day 5938:020 AM|
Passover Season Day #7/8,
CHAG HA-MATZAH (Unleavened Bread) 6/7
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 19 April 2014
Chag haMatzah 2014
VI. The Tent of Sarah, House of Hope
Continued from Part 6
NCAY Spring Conference 2014, Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon,
Chag haMatzah Sameach kol beit Yisra'el and may the Ruach haSheshi bless you all on this the sixth day of the festival in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name.
Sarah at the Entrance of Her Tent
In asking Yahweh what I should speak to you about today I was given a Scripture that was at first mystifying until I realised it connected with a passage one of the brethren shared the other day which is quite close by. This is what He gave me:
"Then they said to [Abraham], 'Where is Sarai your wife?' And he said, 'Behold, in the tent ('ohel)" (Gen.18:9, NASB).
Naturally, I read on in order to fill out the context, and you all know that Abraham receives the promise that his wife will become pregnant that was the occasion for her laughing, both because she knew she was well past her menopause, that she was worn out and lacking the strength to raise a child, but also because her husband was 'past it' too. When Yahweh questioned Abraham as to why Sarah laughed, Sarah went into denial and lied about laughing, not just, as some claim, because she didn't believe the pregnancy would happen, but because she did believe and was afraid (v.15).
Sodom and Lot's Family
Then follows Yahweh's revelation to Abraham that He is about to destroy the wicked cities in the plains and Abraham goes into intercession on behalf of the righteous that might be there. It's a unique account where Abraham asks if Yahweh would destroy the cities if 40 righteous souls were to be found in them, and then after each reassurance that He would not, gradually whittles down the number from 40 to 10. We don't know whether Abraham tried to continue reducing the numbers because we're not told - we only know that Yahweh ended the conversation. Was 10 the outer limit? All we know is that the malakim (angels) went into Sodom and Gomorah to collect Lot and his family, the invitation being extended to Lot, Mrs. Lot, his two daughters and their two husbands, a total of six souls. Two refused to come (the sons-in-law), Mrs. Lot disobeyed and was turned into a pillar of salt, leaving only Lot and his girls. There is some pretty tough teaching in Genesis 19 but we are not going to go into that today. Rather, I came across the passage that Brother Ljungstrand shared in which Lot serves matzah or unleavened bread to his two angelic visitors:
The Types of Abraham and Sarah
"Now the two malakim (angels) came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. And he said, 'Here now, my masters, please turn in to your servant's house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.' And they said, 'No, but we will spend the night in the open square.' But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked matzah (unleavened bread), and they ate" (Gen.19:1-3, NKJV).
But let us return to the main passage about Sarah. As Torah-obedient believers in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus), we are the sons of Abraham in the Ruach (Spirit). Here Abraham typologically represents Messiah. As Abraham was told he would do the 'impossible' in human thinking in bringing forth a child in his old age, so Yah'shua (Jesus) did the 'impossible' in human terms in rising from the dead. Likewise, Sarah is a type of the Messianic Bride, she was called to bear a child in her old age, when she was exhausted and barren, and laughed at the absurdity of it, but caught herself knowing that Yahweh does not lie and so was afraid. Sarah is a symbol here of us called to do the impossible, this work being led by (and I'm sorry to say this, brethren!) relatively 'old men' who are 'passed it' with very little strength left in them because of infirmity, old age, and so forth. Truthfully, I have looked many times at this calling we have been given, I have looked at my handicaps as I am sure you have looked at yours, at our financial poverty, and all the restrictions that we have that speak out againt us being the flag-bearers of any kind of end-time work such as this - a 40-year leadership after a 40-year 'exile' in 'Midian', and part of me wants to laugh and the other knows this is not a laughing matter at all and is afraid.
Under the Double Covering
When Sarah heard the news that she was going to become a mother, after having waited for decades seemingly in vain, where was she? She was listening at the entrance to her 'ohel, her tent, and specifically, the 'ohel of her master and husband Abraham. She was under sukkah or a covering, and this tent, as you know, symbolises both the husband's covering of his wife and the blood covering of the Messiah. The husband stands covered by a single tent, wives by two. Abraham, you will notice, did not laugh, because he knew that the Davar Elohim (Word of God) had to be taken seriously.
The Three Vistors
These three visitors he had received, though in human disguise, were in reality the two malakim (angels) that were sent to gather Lot and his family out of those cities marked for destruction, and the third was Yahweh Himself, though most likely Yah'shua (Jesus) as the 'Lesser Yahweh'. This was no ordinary visitation, though at first it appeared to be so.
The Tent as a Picture of Sukkot
Sarah stood at the entrance of her 'ohel, her sukkah, her tent, representing Sukkot or the Feast of Taberbacles. We are here being shown a prophetic image of the remnant and how, like Abraham and Sarah, they shall be called 'in old age' to do what is impossible for man. Therefore they must not think as men but as Yahweh. They must not, moreover, take as their prime example, the works of those great men and women of the Shavu'ot (Weeks) or 'Pentecostal' age which ended a few days ago. They have to think bigger and muster even greater faith.
Brother Yun From China
Brother Rustad who is here with us today from Oslo, Norway, has been telling me the story of a remarkable Chinese evangelist called Brother Yun from the Sinim Christian House Fellowship. He has been through unspeakable tortures for Messiah and has literally lived out the kind of faith that was demonstrated in the Acts of the Apostles. He told me, quite sincerely, that after reading this biography that he did not feel like a Christian at all. I totally agree with him. We who are from the affluent (for now) West, who have been left alone to practice our religion in peace and become lukewarm as a result of that freedom, in spite of complaining against the occasional 'minor' abuse by government, have nothing on this man, or others like him who know what it is to really suffer for Messiah. It makes you feel like nothing.
Avoiding the Sin of Comparison
But we must be careful. We must be careful not to fall into the sin of comparisons. When believers compare themselves with other believers, all kinds of dangerous mistakes can be made. Yes, we are to learn from other believers and emulate what is good in them, but we cannot be them or walk in their calling. We must walk in our own calling, in our own emunah (faith), and meet our challenges and trials of emunah (faith). Though many of us will have shared callings, as Abraham and Sarah did, and as husband-wife teams often do, we must all of us stand in our own emunah (faith). We can support one another in prayer and in other ways but we cannot be one another.
The Disaster of Lot's Sojourn in Sodom
Lot and his family were in the wrong place just as many believers are today. When judgment comes - as it is about to come to the nations (see Yahweh's Mishpat I), we just can't afford to be in any place where the servants of sin congregate, be they in cities or anywhere else. For one, the risks of spiritual contamination, not to mention the risk life itsef, are frighteningly high - of the six called out of Sodom, only three made it, and what followed afterwards was an abomination that resulted in children being sired who would be the seed of Abraham's implaccable enemies. What I am trying to say is that those believers who choose not to leave the Cities of Wrath not only risk losing loved ones but risk taking dangerous moral risks and end up justifying abominations in order to survive. Lot's daughters justified incest to survive, as they supposed. Lot's wife longed for her friends and family back in the City of Destruction and fatally turned back. Her yearning for family connections and friends amongst the unsaved killed her. So many wrong choices were made and they have been recorded to serve as a warning to us.
The Sukkot Anointing
Abraham and Sarah's life had not exactly been trial-free before the Promised Seed was eventually granted to them under 'impossible' (by human standards) circumstances. Brethren and sisters, you need to know, and understand, and be prepared, for the fact that the Final Gathering and the Second Exodus are all about the 'impossible'.
Letting Go of Corrupted Shavu'ot Anointings
This will require an extraordinary emunah (faith), a letting go of your human sight so that you can 'see' supernaturally in spirit as Yah'shua (Jesus) does. Whatever 'methods', 'techniques' and other things you have learned in the corrupted Shavu'ot-based churches in order to mimic the true gifts, like tongue-speaking and all the other junk that has come through the charismatic movement, you have got to learn to let them go - to place them on the altar of sacrifice so that they can be consumed, because they stand in the way of the true gifts promised to the Sukkot (Tabernacles) qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones). Like the Adventists' and Messianics' Saturday Sabbath and orthodox Christianity's 'Trinity', so the Pentecostals (so-called) have got to let go of all the gibberish that that they falsely call biblical 'tongues'. Yahweh wants His ministers to be given the true gift of tongues, the true gift of languages, which is the supernatural ability of His Sukkot (Tabernacles) ministers, who will be few in number and who will be sent into areas where there are no natural interpreters, where speaking supernaturally in known languages will be the order of the day. So, yes, we do absolutely believe in biblical tongues, but it cannot be babbling, it cannot be meaningless baby-talk and in the worst-case scenarios, the cursing speech of demons.
From Milk to Meat
The Sukkot Anointing is for adults - mature qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones), not babes. We have to obey the injunction of the apostle Paul who said:
The Full of Age
"But Elohim (God) has revealed [the things which Yahweh has prepared for those who love Him] to us through His Ruach (Spirit). For the Ruach (Spirit) searches all things, yes, the deep things of Elohim (God). For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of Elohim (God) except the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God). Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Ruach (Spirit) who is from Elohim (God), that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by Elohim (God). These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God), for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For 'who has known the mind of Yahweh that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Messiah.
"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Messiah. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal" (1 Cor.2:10-3:3, NKJV).
"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of Elohim (God); and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb.5:12-14, NKJV).
The Sukkot Anointing is for those who are "full of age" (mature), that is to say, "those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil". And this includes all those who are willing to come under their sukkah or covering and follow them until they, too, have become mature and are under the fullness of the same anointing. Therefore for all there must be a conscious choice to leave the old behind and embrace the new that Yahweh is doing.
Opposition, Denominations and True Ownership of the Assemblies
Now this has excited some jealousy and indeed rage from those who will not leave the old behind, or their false traditions. Those who claim the Name of Christ, who should have known better, and who should be covered with shame for dishonouring the Name of Christ and allowing such darkness into their hearts, have sent people into our meetings to disrupt them because they fear to lose their flock to the greater light. First of all, as shepherds we do not 'own' the flock we have been entrusted to. We are like parents who must see their chicks grow up and eventually leave the nest. Yahweh sees no denominations or 'churches', He sees only people. he does not care what labels you wear, be it 'Catholic', 'Protestant', 'Pentecostal', 'Seventh-Day Adventist', 'Baptist', 'Lutheran', 'Anglican', 'Eastern Orthodox', 'Messianic', 'African Zionist' or even members of 'New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh' - He does not care for such things. He cares only that His children walk in light and emet (truth) and emunah (faith) and ahavah (love). Ultimately we are one Bride, Israel, or we are not. When people try to protect their own 'churches' or 'denominations' for their own sake, then in truth they are only defending human tradition and are displeasing the Most High. We are commanded to go to wherever there is all emet (truth) and where the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) is manifesting in the fullness. Yahweh will not deal kindly with those who, because of pride or bitterness or for a ministerial salary or for power, seek to control the children of men and take the place of Elohim (God). So, yes, should we ever fall from the emet (truth), go away from us, and go instead where you are led by Him into the fullness.
True and False Prophets
For now there is a Divine Sukkah (tent) here, the one at whose entrance Sarah, representing the Sukkot Bride, the Children of the Firstborn, stood in fear. She had the fear of Yahweh in her, and the fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom (Ps.111:10). Like her husband, who walked in the prophetic, she learned not to walk as the sons and daughters of the earth walked, but as Yahweh's people walk. Such do not obey the rules of the children of the flesh. Indeed, perhaps some of you have noticed how apparently 'rude', by human standards, Yahweh's nevi'im (prophets) could be. They did not obey our cultural etiquette - they spoke the emet (truth) plainly. Yet I have to say also that some claiming to be 'prophets' today, who are not 'prophets', have not only spoken rudely and out of spiritual turn but abnoxiously and arrogantly too. The fruits of the Ruach (Spirit) are not in them, and they do not imitate the works of the true nevi'im (prophets), because they cannot do them. They are all wind, they are actors on a fleshy stage that Yahweh detests. These too must repent. Likewise, there are thousands who call themselves 'apostles' who cannot duplicate the works of the true shlichim (apostles) because the fullness is not in them but are acting the rôle of the shlichim (apostles) with false psychic gifts and a lot of noise and emotionalism. This too is an abomination and they must repent. Let everyone be who they have been called to be and not invent their own callings. For, as it is written:
"No man takes this [ministerial] honour to himself, but he who is called by Elohim (God), just as Aaron was" (Heb.5:4, NKJV).
He must be called not by some leader on his own authority and initiative, a mere man who has set himself up as a priest or minister, in his own will and flesh, but he must be called by the authentic voice of Elohim (God). One who does not follow this order may succeed for a little while but the devil will take him by the by and he will start doing the works of the devil, which are lying, deceptions, destructions, pride, vanity, false doctrine, fleecing the flock of Yahweh's tithes, and all manner of evil.
Go on to Perfection
The milk Besorah (Gospel) is for babes, but try feeding this to adults and they will not remain happy for long. They will starve. Their spiritual bellies will rumble. Adults need meat and they will resent being spoon-fed with milk by ministers who should be serving them meat. Again the apostle Paul admonishes us:
Repent or Perish
"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of Elohim (God); and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Messiah, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of emunah (faith) toward Elohim (God), of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if Elohim (God) permits" (Heb.5:12-6:3, NKJV).
Yahweh not only permits this now but commands it because starving believers, fed only milk, have turned to the doctrines of devils to fill in the gap and reaped the whirlwind. Look at the desperate measures some of them have taken to stop our meetings! Look at all the vileness that they have published about us on the internet! They behave like the heathen and that is because they have become heathen while continuing to use the Name of Christ. Therefore they must repent or perish by the hand of Elohim (God) (Lk.13:3,5).
The Examples of Sarah and Hannah
Here we are, then, like Sarah at the tent door, and we have heard incredible things that have challenged our emunah (faith). New teachings which the churches and synagogues have hidden from us or have not known about, because they were blinded by tradition and quenched the Ruach (Spirit), and new callings. Not only Sarah, but I am reminded of another woman, Hannah, the mother of Samuel the navi (prophet). Like Sarah, who had a treacherous sister-wife in Hagar the Egyptian, Hannah's sister-wife Peninnah was horrible. She mocked Hannah because Hannah did not have children as Hagar had mocked Sarah. Now, truly, Sarah had made a big mistake in giving her servant-girl to Abraham as a wife because she was in a hurry to have the Promised Seed. As Hannah learned, Yahweh will not be rushed. Our impatience does not move Him to act on our behalf. Sarah got ahead of Yahweh and tried to do His work for Him in having Ishmael. But Ishmael was not the Promised Seed, even though Islam twists the story and says he was. Abraham sinned too in yielding to his wife who must have nagged him incessantly. You all know the trouble that followed because of Hagar.
Rushing Ahead of Time
We must not do Yahweh's work for Him. I speak as one who has tried himself, to my shame, when I announced the time of a prophecy had come several decades before its time because I was impatient. I made a fool of myself and destroyed much trust. The prophecy was true, and will soon be fulfilled, but I would not wait at the time. I was like Sarah - in a hurry for an early serving, unwilling to be further disciplined by hardship. She chose a desperate solution, abusing plural marriage.
The Example of Rachel
Rachel, second wife of Jacob, was left barren for other reasons and presumably had to be brought to some spiritual point of emet (truth) before she was given Joseph. And though Joseph was indeed ordained to be the Firstborn, he was not born the physical firstborn. Leah's son Reuben was. Rachel had to be humbled because she thought she was the 'number one' wife, Jacob's favourite, as indeed she was. In the end she lost her life in giving birth to Benjamin, to Jacob's enormous grief, but it made a righteous and fair man of him in the end.
Now Hannah had to be brought to the point of brokenness before she would come to the point of being able to present Samuel to the Codeh Gadol (High Priest) for godly training. I venture so suggest that had she not had such a bitchy wife as Penninah she might never have done this. She would never have made a vow to give her firstborn to Yahweh but kept him to herself. That is not to justify Penninah, who was wicked, but it is to say that Yahweh uses whom He will to bring us to the point of total surrender. And we are all Sarah, Rachel and Hannah, for we are all the called Bride, if we will follow and obey.
Our Daily Bread is Also Trial and Tribulation
There is not a single soul in our assemblies today who has not been through - or who is not going through now - trial and tribulation. There is purpose in it all, and how we respond to it is a measure of our emunah (faith) and relationship to Yahweh. Life is a harsh and difficult crucible, I will not minimise that, and it is hard to accept that if our focus is on this earth-life being our final home. We are only passing through. And if you are hurting, as I know you are, please remember this: hell has no hurt that heaven cannot heal. Yah'shua (Jesus) is alive and real and He will continue to be with us in this Second Exodus as He was in the former one. He knows our hopes and fears. Our business is first of all to continue growing in emunah (faith) and ahavah (love), to know our doctrine in pure emet (truth), to submit to accountability and morals, and to worship Yahweh. This is the recipe of the spiritual life and is what we as Messianic Evangelicals are about.
In Search of Tiqvah
Many of you are struggling to find tiqvah or hope, and I want to finish on this matter today. We cannot, however, have any sort of 'hope' as the world understands 'hope' to be, it has to be a certain kind of hope, which is why I use the Hebrew word tiqvah to distinguish it from the world's form of hope. Biblical tiqvah (hope) must at all times be rooted in biblical emunah (faith), which is why I use that Hebrew word too, because the world's 'faith' is not biblical emunah (faith, trusting). So important is it that we obtain this tiqvah (hope) that it is described as part of the spiritual armour and meant to protect our minds and hearts. If our armour is defective, then we will get hurt; and when people get hurt, refusing to turn to the biblical Derech (Way), then they substitute false, heavy and burdensome armour which slows them down and makes their spiritual walk impossible. To obtain this biblical tiqvah (hope) we have to endure the same shame and difficulties as Yah'shua (Jesus) did so that the true tiqvah (hope) can be imparted to us, His talmidim (disciples). Yah'shua (Jesus) had tiqvah (hope) because He had tiqvah (hope) in Yahweh alone.
The Hope of Abraham and Yah'shua
This concept of biblical tiqvah (hope) very much connects to these feasts of Pesach (Passover) and Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread) that we are celebrating because in the days of the First Exodus tiqvah (hope) was very much central to the salvation of Israel. It was this same tiqvah (hope) that led the mortal Messiah to willingly go to the cross. The moral, human Yah'shua (Jesus) was only capable of doing that because He had true tiqvah (hope) that Yahweh would save Him and raise Him from the dead. Abraham demonstrated that same emunah (faith) and tiqvah (hope) when he was commanded to take Isaac to the sacrificial altar. And it is the same emunah (faith) and tiqvah (hope) that we too must demonstrate in this new Anointing. Against all the odds, we must exercise emunah (faith) and tiqvah (hope).
Like the Mighty Prophets of Old
We are required to have the true trust and belief in who Yahweh is, the true tiqvah (hope) in the promises of Scripture so that we believe that Yahweh will do what He said He would do. Do you believe what we read the other day from Isaiah 4? Do you believe He will guide this Second Exodus with a cloud of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night? Do you believe we will do, when He commands us to do them and empowers us to to them, deeds mightier than the children of Israel under Moses, deeds mightier than the first shlichim (apostles) did? Do you believe this? Do you believe we shall call fire down from heaven, when He commands us, as Elijah did? Do you believe that He will raise up nevi'im (prophets) like Elijah and Elisha of old? These things, and more, are coming.
The Hope of the Master and of Job
None of this means that we will be absolved of difficulty or pain. I would be lying to you if I said otherwise. We have to walk in the same footsteps of the Master. Yah'shua (Jesus) knew beforehand that what He would have to do would be HUGE but He was willing to walk forward and endure because He had tiqvah (hope) - He knew, and believed, that Yahweh would come through at the critical moment even when He was crying in desperation, at His sense of utter loneliness hanging on the cross, when He cried out to His Heavenly Father: "Why have You forsaken Me?" (Mt.27:46). Do you remember that Job felt the same?
He Was Willing to Endure For Us
"For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth" (Job 19:25, NKJV).
Tiqvah (hope) is central to the Pesach (Passover) message. The willingness on the part of the Saviour to endure the cross is also the message of Yom haBikkurim (Day of Firstfruits), and beccause He was willing to hold out to the end, Yahweh saw Him through to the end.
Enduring the Pain and the Shame
The promise, then, is that as Yah'shua (Jesus) was willing to endure, if we will do the same, that if we cling onto tiqvah (hope) in Him that we will not be disappointed. Please understand this - and please mark it well - that while there may be encouragement along the way that tiqvah (hope) is not always just a 'warm and fuzy' feeling. It is not fake religious cheeriness because I doubt Yah'shua (Jesus) was feeling or experiencing any these things on the cross. BUT He remained there. He did not yield to the temptation of His mockers to supernaturally come down from the cross and 'prove' that He was the Messiah (Mt.27:40,42; Mk.15:30). He didn't need to do that and praise Yah that He did not! He remained, enduring the pain and the shame, because of the tiqvah (hope) that He had.
For The Joy of Us All
What motivated Him above all?
A Taste of Joy in the New Birth is Vital
"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).
Amen? Amen! Now it follows, that if we are to retain tiqvah (hope) through all of that we must, somewhere along the line, have had a taste of that simcha (joy). We must! We cannot possibly endure all of that without knowing the simcha (joy) of salvation. This means that the soul must be born again, he must be baptised in the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), the soul must have the Yom haBikkurim (Day of Firstfruits) experience or he will never be able to endure and never be able to cling on to tiqvah (hope) because He won't know what it is. Therefore the born-again experience is INDISPENSABLE and must be sought for with ALL urgency.
Though He Slay Me
Job was only able to endure his suffering because of the tiqvah (hope) he had - he knew by a revelation of the Ruach (Spirit) that his Redeemer would walk the earth. He endured the pain and humiliation caused by the loss of all his family but his complaining wife because of that hope - he stuck it through because He was clinging to Yahweh and His promise and Hope in Him:
Learning to Die Daily
"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15, NKJV).
Every one of us is called to the cross to die to self-will and the flesh - daily. Are we willing to trust Him in this? Do we have the tiqvah (hope) of better things beyond the cross, of the simcha (joy) beyond the pain of that dying, to enable us to complete this necessary journey into the Eternal sphere? In this life we must face many deaths - death of hopes and dreams, the death of relationships. There are many spiritual landscapes of great pain and sacrifice that we must pass through. These dying experiences are never pleasant but they are necessary so that we can move on. Wrong beliefs must die amongst other things. Whatever it is we must face and endure in that dying, Yah'shua (Jesus) will be there to help us, to do what we cannot. Only our tiqvah (hope) in Him and the promise of what lies beyond enables us to complete these dyings, because we know at the other side is genuine chayim (life)- New Chayim (Life), the chayim (life) that lies behind the Cross.
The Frontline of the Mind
The essence of Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavaned Bread), which we have been celebrating now for nearly a week, is a picture of a life of sanctification, of progressively getting cleaned out, by struggling to overcome defects of character by giving up unlawful things and untrue things that we hold dear. The motivation for doing so is the tiqvah (hope) of sanctification, and the front line is our thoughts. The front line against sin and unhappiness is the battle between right and wrong thinking. Satan always commences his assault on us by attacking though, hoping to persuade us to believe lies, knowing that wrong thinking leads to concrete impacting of our feelings. And if wrong feelings are generated caused by lies, these feelings will lead to harmful actions both for ourselves and for others.
Fighting for Hope
The moment we stop trusting and hoping in Yahweh and what He has promised, we become vulnerable and open to sin and enemy attack and vulnerable to temptation. It is the beginning of an Enemy assult that does not stop until we have been utterly overwhelmed by him or we have realised we were lied to, begin to resist and call upon the Name of Yah'shua (Jesus) for deliverance, and drive the Enemy out! I believe that most, if not, all the fortifications of our mind founded on emet (truth) start giving way and crumbling the moment we start losing tiqvah (hope). Biblical tiqvah (hope) is rooted in emet (truth), that emet (truth) protects us, because when we have it, we choose differently, in a way that builds us up, strengthens us. Strange though this might seen, tiqvah (hope) is not the mystical fruit of passive trusting but must be actively fought for, and the way we actively fight for tiqvah (hope) is by clinging tightly to what Yahweh says is emet (truth).
The Ultimate Trusting
If we are to safely make it through this war of the mind, heart, body, and spirit - yes, earth life is a total war zone, whether like it or not (and we can either discover that the easy or hard way) - we have to trust Yah'shua (Jesus) to bring us resurrection power when we adhere to His emet (truth) and rejoice, through this emunah (faith), in His faithfulness. Tiqvah (hope), in the final analysis, boils down to trusting in the promises in the Davar Elohim.
So we have come full square back the Bible. Will you believe in its words as the very Davarim Elohim (Words of God) or not - from Genesis to Revelation - or not? In the promises made there in we find our tiqvah (hope), and from the living Davar (Word) speaking to us complimentary (never in place of) to that written Davar (Word). This is the foundation of tiqvah (hope) which enables us to endure to the end and to profit by our endurance, bringing with it the simcha (joy) of knowing Him deeper and deeper as we do. Endurance is the road that takes us to our destination and to our Eternal Destination, giving us a tiqvah (hope) that is never in vain. Amen.
Continued in Part 8