Month 7:22, Week 3:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5939:199 AM|
SHEMINI ATSERET, 2Exodus 1/40
Gregorian Calendar: Wednesday 15 October 2014
An Appointment With Reality
Continued from Part 3
Chag sameach Shemini Atseret and shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el in the Name of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), our Saviour and Deliverer who knows the thoughts and intentions of every heart and who has watched over all those who have assembled this Sukkot.
The Eighth Day
This will be our last day of assembly and my last message of the Sukkot (Tabernacles) season until we officially assemble again next Pesach (Passover). Today is the eighth day of assembly during this Sukkot (Tabernacles) season and is known as Shemini Atseret, literally meaning 'the eighth day of assembly' or 'of remaining' but which is traditionally come to be known as 'The Last Great Day', representing 'the day after time'. It is atseret because we 'remain with Him (Yah'shua/Jesus)' (atseret) an extra day which represents the Millennium, and for those who complete the Millennium after the final testing, eternity. And eight is the number of Messiah.
The Former Rains
Traditionally, Yahweh's people pray for geshem or 'rain' on this day for as you know the winter season in the Holy Land is the rainy season. These are what are known in Scripture as the malqôs or former rains. Though for us living here in extreme northern latitudes (Scandinavia) we buckle down for winter and more or less 'hibernate', waiting for the spring, in Israel what next happens in terms of rain or lack thereof is critical for the survival of the nation. If it rains, the land will be fruitful; if not, the country is doomed to famine followed by starvation. For us who observe this cycle according to the mitzvot (commandments), what we are seeking is spiritual rain - we do not wish to be barren and forsaken. We desire to be productive and useful shammashim (servants/deacons) of El Elyon (the Most High). And we know that our simcha or joy is very much a function of whether we have been productive for the Kingdom in our several callings or not. We desire that rain which is an outpouring of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and we desire that rain which is a deeper and closer relationship with Yah'shua (Jesus) which comes about because of an intimate acquiantance with, and obedience to, His Davar (Word).
A Second Witness
Today's message was received for you two nights ago, as I told most of you yesterday, when Yahweh roused me at 2 a.m. and set me writing for three hours. As you will hear, in a moment, some of what I received was spoken in the DVD we were listening to on the Creation Gospel - I was led to exactly the same scriptures. That was a second witness to me as I hope it will be for you.
Preparations for the Sh'mittah and the Conceit of Satan
Our theme this year at Sukkot (Tabernacles) has been, as I said, the Creation Besorah (Gospel) because we need a sufficiently deep and intimate acquaintance with His Davar (Word) as will prepare us for the Sh'mittah or Sabbatical Year is approaching in 2015. And no preparation is adequate unless there is disciplining, which means correction, so that we do not wander off course and lose our way. We lose our way when, like Satan, we rebel because of pride, and do not do as we are told; and we rebel when we exalt ourselves above our station, abandoning our place for one which Yahweh has not given us. We exalt ourselves when, like Satan, we declare in our conceit:
The Judgment of Esau
"'I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of Elohim (God);
I will also sit on the mount of the moed (congregation)
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like El Elyon (the Most High)'" (Isa.14:13-14, NKJV).
It was therefore somewhat ironic that the very teacher we have been listening too, who is quite brilliant and in possession of many spiritual keys, in the tenth episode also elevated her own people and demanded obeisance from the that group of believers who are regarded as second class by them. That attitude, though denied, sadly prevails generally and will not be tolerated by El Elyon (The Most High) and you will see that judgment before your very own eyes in the Middle East as Esau is pronounced unfit for leadership, and his nation, as in a generation long ago, is swept off the face of the earth by the Destroyer.
The Moedim as Expressions of the Divine Will
Notice, if you will in this passage in Isaiah 14, that the Enemy not only wants to exalt himself above the Throne of Elohim (God) but also wishes to "sit on the mount of the congregation or assembly". The word for congregation or assembly here is moed, literally, "appointment". The moedim are the festivals. Satan rebelled against the festivals which Yahweh appointed for mankind. He rebelled against their details and added his own. He rebelled against their timing, causing the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) to assemble too early or too late. And finally, he removed the moedim (appointments) altogether, and created new ones that exalt himself and at times which destroy the sacred tavnith (pattern) altogether, changing the very meaning of the seasons themselves.
Why the Changes?
Why did he do that? Why was he so concerned to specifically rebel against Yahweh's appointed times? And why, then, are these appointed times so important? Because the moedim, which appear to be no more than physical gatherings on the sacred creation calendar are more than mere on outward things. The moedim (appointments) are teaching instruments. They reveal eternal emet (truth). They express and define Yahweh's toqef or authority. They are the divine will set in time and are for the disciplining of our tabernacles - our bodies. They contain within them, as you have learned this past week, a revelation concerning the whole Plan of Salvation in great detail - a divine manual of instruction for Yah's people. There is so much detail in them that there can be no doubting that are from the Shamayim (Heavens), and yet how different is their message from the various man-made versions of that Plan of Salvation. The moedim (appointments) are therefore more than mere vessels of emet (truth): they are an expression, and a very important expression, of the DIVINE WILL. In the absence of our obedience both in actually gathering at these sacred times and in terms of what they represent, we unwittingly participate in the Rebellion of Satan. We hinder Yahweh's will on planet earth. We remove ourselves from the divine harmony of the cosmos and its assigned purposes - we participate in a spirit that is antithetical to the Creation itself.
Competing Plans of Salvation
It is bad enough that the world observes man-made festivals like Christmas, Halloween (which is only two weeks off this year) and Easter, some of which give the appearance of honouring the Father because of their thin veneer of emet (truth) about the birth and resurrection of Messiah, but which in reality honour the devil. They honour the Enemy by blasphemously ascribe to Elohim (God) what is, in fact, Satan's mismatch and version of alternative reality - his 'plan of salvation' which as you know is being realised before our eyes as the One World Religion takes shape. Christmas is happily followed by nearly all religions (excepting Judaism and Islam), including atheistic ones. There are communist, nazi, New Age, Hindu and even satanist versions of it because its roots are in paganism. Such festivals not only inculcate lies but in many ways omit important, saving principles too. The 'Good News' is not to be found in many different religions but only in one place and at one time, and of course in the timeless realm itself from whence it came.
Linking Our Souls to Life
But what of those who only observe these festivals outwardly and fail to link their souls to the one thing that will lift them out of darkness and into the fullness of the light? What of those who, in observing these false festivals, and especially what of those who know these festivals are man-made and unbiblical, seek their own will rather than His and unknowingly are doing the devil's will? We cannot, moreover, console ourselves with how 'spiritual' we are by dismissing the very clear instructions Yahweh has given in His Davar (Word) to assemble at specific times of the year to meet with Him. We are nowhere given permission to 'spiritualise' things away just because we are too lazy or indifferent to be obedient. If Yahweh declares that these temporal mitzvot (commandments) are necessary then we have no business defining what 'spirituality' is by choosing to ignore them. We have no business claiming that divine ordinances rooted specifically in time, and declared from the very beginning in Genesis 1, are too 'spiritual' for us to be bothered about them. We cannot, for instance, claim that there is something 'more important' that we should be doing as an excuse not to attend them.
The Western View
Many of Yahweh's commandments not only require the exercise of our minds and hearts but also physical effort. He does not view us in the way we do in the West. We dissect ourselves up and then absolve part of ourselves from His requirements. No, Yahweh regards us as 'souls', as unified beings, and when He speaks to us in His Davar (Word) He speaks to all of us. The physical, emotional, mental and spiritual are all equally important, so long as we are alive. When we eat a meal, as we have done this morning, we do not meditate on our digestive system and consider where our food is being digested at any one point in time. We don't say, 'Ah! Now it is in the duodenom. Roll up, colon!' We don't say, 'Ah, there come the pancreating juices' or 'Ah, I see the colon absorbing the last of the water' and then going away thinking about how wonderfully we have conserved everything. All of this we experience as a single process, more or less. When Yahweh sees us, He sees the whole person. But in addition to seeing us as individuals, He also views as collective as though we were one person, one Wife, one Bride. He viewes married people as a single entity too. We have to learn to see as He sees and not according to the fragmenting and ultimately degrading philosphies of man. We are viewed, therefore, at different levels of echad (oneness).
So amongst the many things we have to relearn as Torah-obedient and Messiah-trusting talmidim (disciples), unlearning what the world and its corrupt traditions taught us, is not to scorn different 'aspects' of ourselves. And in particular, in this lazy, sedentary generation we are not to treat with scorn or disdain anything or everything that requires any kind of physical effort, organisation or discipline. Even our attitudes to the temporal define our spirituality, because attitude is a function of spirituality, for if we do, then we end up declaring that the intent is sufficient, and the required action is not always necessary. The movement of our beings in the temporal is what completes and actually enhances our movements in the spiritual, mental and emotional, and vice versa, because all of these were designed to be echad or one. Yahweh meets us not only in our hearts but in every part of our being, which incidentally he claims ownership of. He also meets us in time and space, which He created and sanctified for holiness. That is why He ordered the construction of the mishkan or tabernacle and that is why Yah'shua (Jesus) entered the sukkah or tabernacle of His body without which no atonement would have been possible of man, of the earth and of the universe. Satan divides and separates, and then reunifies in a disjunctive and harmful way. Yahweh divides and separtes what Satan has made and what He, Yahweh, has made, and then gathers and unites in the proper order. That separation and reunification also includes the inner from the outer. We are not blocks of Lego thaty can be dismantled and rebuilt. We are unified systems. And that is why division and reassembly is a painful - and in some respects - an 'unnatural' process, like surgery. But it has to be done.
Meeting Yahweh at the Moedim
According to the Davar Elohim (Word of God) expressed through the navi (prophet) Zechariah, Yahweh meets His people at the moedim (appointments):
"Peoples shall yet come,
Inhabitants of many cities;
The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying,
'Let us continue to go and pray before Yahweh,
And seek Yahweh of hosts.
I myself will go also'" (Zech.8:20-21, NKJV).
One and Many as One
I emphasise the three times the verb "go" is used here along with "come". It is no accident that the Besorah (Gospel) is called the Derech of Way (e.g Acts 9:2) because the whole being has to move in a fixed direction in order to be saved and remain saved. But this movement or journey is not just about whole individuals. It is all about movement as the uniplural Bride, one Bride consisting of many brides, us. Our Torah teacher this Conference called this the one-two-one principle.
We learn the necessity of corporate action and especially in worship and shared responsibility. The covenants of Shavu'ot (Weeks) flesh these out in declarations which requires that we come out of our closets, where we obtained our initial salvation by trusting in Messiah as represented by the spring festivals, and to put that One-to-one salvation into meaningful action by assembling in spirit and in space and time with the people of Elohim (God) to learn how to become the Sukkot (Tabernacles) Bride. We assemble under one tent, temporally, like the one in this assembly room, to learn how to live together as a uniplural Bride. This is not as easy as we might at first suppose, because close contact with others has a way not only of bringing out the best in us but also the worst. There is both gelling and friction. There is gelling as the spirits merge but also friction as the carnal clashes. And when it comes to the latter, it forces us either to work on making Scriptural corrections by making teshuvah (repentance) or to stop assembling together. A common reaction of the flesh is to separate and go in separate directions, or to try finding another fellowship that will, as we suppose, meet our carnal demands. But the very nature of the Corporate Bride is that she has to die to the carnal, to the flesh, to the Adamic nature - no soul alive in this world wants to merge with someone else's carnality! The carnal, by very definition, according to its satanic nature, wants to dominate and rule and control others, putting others into its orbit of expectations, demands and views of its imagined 'rights'. This is how the secular state works, offering to take care of its people provided the people will bow down to it and worship it. It offers us an idolatrous substitute for Yahweh.
The Womb Retreat
When the flesh fails to obtain what it is seeking for, when it has exhausted every avenue of self-entitement through experiencing multiple, vain attempts at getting its own will or finding a carnal niche in societies - religious and secular (for the soul will never be satisfed by such ego-centric relationships), it follows the only path left available to: it turns back along the road it came and seeks for the womb from whence it came, where it had no responsibilities, where mother took care of all its needs within the dark, soft, warm protective walls of its beginning, where it experienced the unconditional love of that particular sphere. In terms of the festivals and of the spiritual journey we are bidden, this condition is best illustrated by what I call the self-confessed 'solo Christian'. Then each believer becomes his or her own 'private church' with which they learn to be content, becoming more and more egocentric, defining love in terms of how its needs are best met whilst in that condition. There is little or no responsibility in such a state but equally there is little or no simcha (joy) either, for the greatest simcha (joy) comes in what we were all designed for: collective fellowship as a uniplural Body in our Messiah. Retreating to the spirit of the womb of the early spring festivals where we were conceived, gestated and delivered into the New Birth which is the reality of the heavenly sphere is not the solution. Some of you may have heard of stories of women who never gave birth. I remember one account of a Moroccan woman in her 70's in whom was found a baby she had conceived some 50 or more years before. The infant had died in the womb and had literally fossilised - its dead tissue had been replaced by mineralised. She was carrying within her a heavy stone or what had once been a living creature. This, too, happens to us when we refuse to be birthed into the world of risk and pain, or retreat back into the womb because of risk and pain. We were never meant to stay where we were and fossilise. We were mean to come forth and walk on the Derech (Way). That is why, on one level, the Pilgrim Festivals of Pesach, Shavu'ot and Sukkot are known as the 'foot festivals'. Under the Old Covenant it required a journey, sometimes long, to Jerusalem. In the New, until Messiah comes, it requires journeys too. Many of you have come from afar. And in terms of spiritual growth and developments, it means that we must consciously choose to move from our safe and secure beginning and out into the real world with all it risks. It requires that we exercise that emunah (faith) that is qualitatively and quantitatively different in the autumn festivals from the emunah (faith) in the spring festivals. It requires that we learn a different, maturer kind of ahavah (love) too, and to eat meat instead of milk. I think you know what I mean.
The thing is, we were not designed to hide inside by reteating into artificially- (and often demonically-) constructed wombs. The womb, which is Pesach (Passover) and the first day of Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavaned Bread), belongs only to slightly more than one seventh of our life experience. On the second day of Chag haMatzah (Unleavaned Bread) we are supposed to leave the womb and be born again spiritually. Thereafter we are not to look back but to complete Chag haMatzah, negociating the Derech (Way), avoiding the temptations on either side of that road, and heading resolutely to Shavu'ot (Weeks) and beyond to Sukkot (Tabernacles) which is the vantage point I am speaking to you from today. The spirit and inner condition of Pesach (Passover), with its dispositions, hopes, loves, and expectations, should be way behind us by now. And it is the task of those on the way to help those in fellowship to keep pointing forwards and enter into new spiritual endowments and realities. The child must be allowed to come forth to be loved, discipled and disciplined. No child likes the latter, does it? It abhors the pain and often concludes that it is unloving, but as it grows wiser, it sees that correction is actually ahavah (love) afterall, for its driving force is not to knock down but to built up in emet (truth). What we do not want to see is any soul become like that fossilised inside the womb of its mother - it remained protected, to be sure, but it remained protected too long. In the end, it was killed by it.
Did We Fail?
So now to some sober questions from the perspective of this festival which lies at the end of process. Was our behviour this Sukkot (Tabernacles) spiritually consistent with that of the Redeemed Bride? Were we echad (one) or fragmented? Did we share that common sphere that is the manifestation of the Ruach haShibi'i - the seventh Ruach (Spirit), and therefore all the other six Ruachot (Spirits) as well - or were we separated spheres with private agendas seeking our own wills? If we were the latter, we failed, because we did not walk in the obedience demanded by the Master who wants His Bride to be echad (one), not fragmented. And if we were fragmented, failing to fulfil the purpose of this moed (festival) to be so united that simcha (joy) spontaneously broke forth in shared prayer, worship and fellowship, then we failed to measure up to Yahweh's demand and expectation and instead continued to walk in the spiritual disruption that characterises the Adversary. We chose to stop walking forwards somewhere down the line at some other place on the Derech (Way) that describes the festivals. And if the latter, then we failed to attain the goal which was to be that Bride. Rather, we walked like Leah and Rachel in carnal competition for their own wills to be fulfilled, like squabbling children in adult bodies - Leah desperately seeking vainly to be loved as Rachel was, and Rachel seeking vainly to stay ahead in the child-bearing stakes in fear that she might have to share her husband's love with Leah.
Jacob was not exactly a successful model of the Messiah either which he was called to be. None of what I am talking about today relates to only one gender. Yahweh wished him to be a foreshadowing of the messianic ideal, as his son Joseph would later become; and Leah and Rachel were not exactly the model of echadness or unity. Lessons were, to be sure, learned later but only when Jacob overcame his carnal self at Peniel, wrestled hard, refuse to retreat or give up, persevered like Job, and became Israel. Leah and Rachel have still not learned the lesson down the march of history which has been characterised by the separation of Judah from Joseph and the various rivalries of the tribes in the modern nations today. But Ephraim and Judah must reunite, Ephraim and Judah must overcome their petty rivalries which imitate the negative tavnith (pattern) of the fallen malak (angel). That is why we gather at the moedim (appointments) of Yahweh - the festivals - so that we can bury the hatchets of rivalries and learn to overcome our own will to rule, stay childish and unmatured, dominate or preside over one another by stubbornly insisting our own ways, because until we do we cannot be the Bride. Until we do, we must keep on repeating the divine course of spiritual instruction that is the assembling of Israel in the festivals and at sabbaths and at the new moons until we finally let go of the flesh, let Yah'shua (Jesus) put it to death, and finally become a proper echad (one) Bride.
Failing to Make Proper Teshuvah
Will anyone here deny that we failed to make a complete and proper teshuvah? Our actions demonstrated whether we did or not. The lessons we are supposed to learn each and every day of our lives are tested at the festivals when we are thrown together, to see how we do together - whether we are aware of, and fellowship with, everyone, or whether we break off into flesh-serving cliques meeting our personal needs rather than others', to see if we have been obedient and have even assembled at all - they are Yahweh's examination times, when Elohim (God) assesses us just as the Priesthood is assessed at Yom haKippurim.
Have We Passed the Test?
I don't suppose anyone here is dishonest enough to claim that they passed the test. And if we are in any way still comparing our behaviour in little and small things with each other, and passing judgment, instead of comparing ourselves to the standards of the life of Messiah and our Heavenly Father's standards detailed in the Torah, and keeping our eyes on Him, revealed so starkly to us in the Creation Besorah (Gospel), then we have failed the Sukkot (Tabernacles) test ... again.
No Renewal of Priesthood
Brethren and sisters, Yahweh sent a small cloud during this Feast, the vision of that I related to you yesterday. It was not very tall and the only way it was possible to be immersed in it was by getting flat on our faces in humility and repentance. It was only waist-deep. It remained here until sunrise this morning and has now been withdrawn. I have to tell you, sadly, that we were not judged worthy to receive it this year and that we must wait until next year for it the next time. In all likelihood, and as I wish to show in the remainder of my address to you today, we have yet to have a proper Shavu'ot (Weeks) immersion. Therefore there will be no renewal of priesthood licences or new ordinations until next spring, Yahweh willing. We remain, spiritually-speaking, unorganised. And quite likely we will have to be birthed in the midst of affliction before we will wake up sufficiently to get out of our shells.
Forwards, Stagnant or Backwards
Having said that, I hope we are realistic enough to admit that perfection is probably impossible in this sphere but honest enough to acknowledge whether we have actually made any progress or not. What is important is that we remain facing Yah'shua (Jesus) and that we make teshuvah (repent) when we mess up, as we all have. What we do not want to have to confess or admit is that we either stagnated - made no progress at all, and are the same today as we were last Shemini Atseret - or that we regressed by stubbornly not only refusing to make teshuvah (repent) but rather rebelled even more and went backwards. We stand condemned if we stagnate or regress; we are justified when we have moved forward, even if it is only a little bit, because we are then confirmed as being in movement as the mayim (waters) below (on earth) are in movement in rivers and we confirm that we have made contact with the shamayim or fire-waters which are the heavenly waters above (spirit realm), which have interacted with our souls and changed us. If those of the First Exodus were, as the Psalmist testified, "a stubborn and rebellious generation" (Ps.78:8, NIV), then what hope is there for the Second Exodus if we insist on imitating the bad example of our forefathers? If you want to know why my generation - this generation - is not going to be around for the Second Coming, you have, in part, your answer already because of its stubborness.
Self-Entitled and Spoiled
Right now we are not concerned about the Second Coming, even though we are commanded to live as though Yah'shua (Jesus) might have returned this year, or may yet return next year, because this will determine what kind of reward we shall receive in the eternities, if any at all. We are concerned about the imminent collapse of the existing world order which will be like - yet far worse - than the days of the collapse of the Roman Empire, the days of the destruction and the northern Kingdom of Israel, or the days of the destruction and exile of the southern Kingdom of Judah. Do either tribe honestly have anything to boast about when it comes to their historical conduct? Are we any better than the first talmidim (disciples) from New Testament times? Are we even endowed with the same Shavu'ot (Weeks) endowment of the New Testament qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) yet? Do we possess, and use, the gifts of the Ruach (Spirit) that they enjoyed yet? Do we yet have their zeal? If not, what on earth possesses us to arrogantly suppose that we are ready for a higher and greater anointing that is the Sukkot (Tabernacles) Anointing? How dare we be so arrogant or presumptuous! Our defects are worse than bad. We are a pampered, ungrateful, boastful generation, sometimes thinking ourselves great when we are nothing. We are self-entitled, spoiled brats and it is going to take the tribulation that is unfolding to burn that pride and laziness out of us. If we, in the decadent, self-absorbed and sleepy West, with our spiritually dead or half-dead churches and congregations think we are having a hard time now, we are under a major delusion.
No Fake Joy
I refuse to stand before you today to put on a show of the simcha (joy) as though we were collectively walking right with Yahweh. I do not pass judgment on anyone individually, for only Yahweh knows your individual hearts and deeds, but rather speak collectively for the ungathered and yet scattered nation of Messianic Israel as a whole. Stupid decisions and choices are still being made that will make it tough when calamity descends on us as it is already doing in the war and epidemic hot spots around the globe. Many are not going to make it because many are claiming to be of the remnant who are not. That separation has yet to be, and will be, made in the weeks and months ahead. There are those who have made almost no preparations at all and are expecting to be taken care of as though they were helpless sheep incapable to making choices of their own, who are, in spite of all the evidences around them, pretending as though the storm will not come to their doors. It will strike, and it will strike hard, and only those who have made physical preparations and have built squarely on the Ruach (Spirit) will survive it. Instead of preparing for war, they are getting ready to go on vacation! Instead of falling on their knees in desperate prayer for deliverance - the kind of prayer that leads to true teshuvah (repentance), they going about their lives as though everything was about to continue as before. Instead of making preparations they are playing Russian roulette and are expecting others will take care of them when they appear, unannounced and expectant, on the doorsteps of those who did make preparations. Have you so soon forgotten the warning that we received that those who, like the five foolish virgins made no preparations, found themselves locked out by the mighty hand of Yahweh? What will you do as the modern Army of Pharaoh bears down on you when you find your backs pressed against the shore of a modern Red Sea? Will you blame your nevi'im (prophets) as the Israelites First Exodus bad-mouthed Moses? Or will you sit down and have a tea party and pretend Pharaoh's army doesn't exist or that a flotilla of barges will suddenly appear out of nowhere?
Wake up, Israel! This is neither the time to stagnate nor continue to rebel! Time is very, very short, and just because our speculations as to when the collapse or when war will come have not come to pass, and the troubles have not really touched our shores yet in any great degree, they have fallen violently upon the shores of many nations already and will soon be here, or wherever you are. Patriotism will save noone, belief that emotionally blackmail with pity stories or demands as to some imaginary 'rights' we think we have on those who have prepared will be of no avail, nor any false belief that grace without discipline will justify anyone before heaven because discipline and obedience share a common coin with grace - they are two faces of the same divine reality. Oh, I know, there are some who likely do not want to hear this, but hear it we must, because these are our very lives on the scales, our families who stand to suffer if we don't assemble when Yahweh tells us to and don't assemble with "a broken and a contrite heart" (Ps.51:17, NKJV). This is not like last year, or the year before it - and even if calamity does not strike next month or for another ten or elevent months, calamity will strike. And if we are not right with our Maker, we will not find sanctuary from the violent whirlwind and the storm. I not only promise you that, I guarantee it. If we love our lives, and the lives of our families, we had better get right before El Elyon, the Most High on His terms and not those of the flesh, and be in the right place at the right time having made all the necessary preparations. For as the five foolish virgins were excluded from the Wedding, so too will we.
Making Real the Covenants
Our very patient and long-suffering Heavenly Father wants each of us to make real those covenants we took at Yom haBikkurim (Day of Firstfruits) to follow Messiah all our days, and at Shavu'ot (Weeks) to obey the Torah, not just outwardly but inwardly too. He wants us to enter into an ahavah (love) relationship with Him by trusting the Son and by obeying the mitzvot (commandments) with a right heart. Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
The Prophecy of Joel
"'He who has My mitzvot (commandments) and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.' Judah (Judas) (not Iscariot) said to Him, 'Master, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?' Yah'shua (Jesus) answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Davar (Word); and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My Devarim (Words); and the Davar (Word) which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me" (John 14:20-24, NKJV).
If anyone is yet unsure what that actually consists of in practice, may I remind you of the revelation given through the navi (prophet) Joel:
The Penultimate Judgment
"Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my qodesh (holy, set-apart) hill.
Let all who live in the land tremble,
for the day of Yahweh is coming.
It is close at hand -
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and blackness.
Like dawn spreading across the mountains
a large and mighty army comes,
such as never was of old
nor ever will be in ages to come.
"Before them fire devours,
behind them a flame blazes.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
behind them, a desert waste -
nothing escapes them.
They have the appearance of horses;
they gallop along like cavalry.
With a noise like that of chariots
they leap over the mountaintops,
like a crackling fire consuming stubble,
like a mighty army drawn up for battle.
"At the sight of them, nations are in anguish;
every face turns pale.
They charge like warriors;
they scale walls like soldiers.
They all march in line,
not swerving from their course.
Tey do not jostle each other;
each marches straight ahead.
They plunge through defenses
without breaking ranks.
They rush upon the city;
they run along the wall.
They climb into the houses;
like thieves they enter through the windows.
"Before them the earth shakes,
the sky trembles,
the sun and moon are darkened,
and the stars no longer shine.
at the head of his army;
His forces are beyond number,
and mighty are those who obey His command.
The day of Yahweh is great;
it is dreadful.
Who can endure it?
"'Even now,' declares Yahweh,
'return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.'
"Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to Yahweh your Elohim (God),
for He is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in ahavah (love),
and He relents from sending calamity.
Who knows? He may turn and have pity
and leave behind a blessing -
grain offerings and drink offerings
for Yahweh your Elohim (God).
"Blow the trumpet in Zion,
declare a qadosh (holy, set-apart) fast,
call a sacred astsereh (assembly).
Gather the people,
consecrate the assembly;
bring together the elders,
gather the children,
those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room
and the bride her chamber.
Let the cohenim (priests), who minister before Yahweh,
weep between the temple porch and the altar.
Let them say, 'Spare your people, O Yahweh.
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
'Where is their Elohim (God)?''
Then Yahweh will be jealous for His land (Joel 2:1-18, NIV).
and take pity on his people"
Now you and I know that this prophecy primarily applies to final things and that this is not the final day - nevertheless, this is a 'final day' for this cycle of history, and the circumstances will not be a lot better in our time, because that is how cyclical prophecy works. You would be well advised to prepare as though this was the final day, because it will closely resemble it.
The Sukkot Offerings of Cain and Abel
It is well to remember also that when Cain and Abel brought their respective sacrifices before Yahweh that they were celebrating an early form of Sukkot (Tabernacles). It is written:
Of Murderers and Martyrs
"And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to Yahweh. Abel also brought of the bikkurim (firstborn) of his flock and of their fat" (Gen.4:3-4, NKJV).
The phrase "And in the process of time it came to pass" translates the Hebrew words miketz yammim which literally means "at the end of days" or "at the end of time" even though this was right at the beginning of earth's history. You know what followed. Yahweh did not respect Cain's offering because he was disobedient and presumptuous. And when he was judged for his disobedience, this manifested within him the lonjg festering angry, demonic heart, filling him with the spirit or murder. This is why the rebellious persecute and murder the righteous - always. For the rebellious it truly is an "end of days" or "end of time" both in this world and in the next; and oftentimes is is an "end of days" or "end of time" in this world when the righteous are slain by the jealous who are in rebellion against the moedim (appointments), when the righteous become martyrs for the sake of the Davar (Word). And whilst their earthly life may be cut short they inherit an eternal glory.
Flesh Not Grain
Yahweh wants our flesh, not our grain, when flesh is called for. He wants the offering that He wants and not what we want to make. We cannot pick and choose. And you can't fake an unwilling heart, or hope that the false offering will be accepted - it is false precisely because a righteous heart cannot align up with false sacrifice, a sacrifice made with wrong motives, or a sacrifice not made freely but with the intent to manipulate Yahweh into agreeing to our own agenda. If you offer grain like Cain, or strange fire like the sons of Aaron, or make unauthorised sacrifices like Saul, your end will not be a happy one for Yah will not be mocked. No, brethren, excusing yourself and others because you thought yourself more righteous in your disobedience will not do. Cain, the sons of Aaron and Saul no doubt 'felt good' about what they did - they flattered themselves into believing that they 'meant well' when they did evil, even if on the surface, and before the consequences of their rebellion were manifested in judgment, revealed that in their self-justification they were liars both to themselves and to others. Consider well the eloquent words, sounding so very theologically correct, of Job's friends. Such an attitude has no part of the true Zion, the true Israel, the true Christian or Messianic. Such is of the father of lies - Heylel, Lucifer, Satan - who made it his purpose to change the ordinances and moedim of Yahweh even before there were any men to live them, the very moedim (appointments) we have come to learn this Conference were created by Yahweh even before we came into existence. Will you now have a deep and respectful reverence and fear of them, knowing that they are the essence of Yahweh's heart and purpose for all time and eternity? Perhaps not now, but in the midst of tribulation when they will take on an added dimension not readily perceived or understood in the present days of comparitive tranquility, when you lives will likely depend on them as times for communion and empowerment. I hope and pray you will not sacrifice the safety of teshuvah (repentance) now when there is no-one or nothing to force you for one motivated by a sound thrashing for persistent disobedience.
Throughout my quarter-of-a-century ministry in Scandinavia I have witnessed these things on a smaller scale. I have observed human nature up closely and it has dismayed me. I have seen the unnecessary suffering it has caused, especially by those who thought they were righteous. And I have had the rod applied to my back too as part of the learning and disciplining process. So if I seem persistent and urgent it is out of genuine concern. The trouble is, the fleshy nature never takes warning seriously. So experience has taught me to expect that only a remnant of whose who believe they are the remnant will heed such warnings - the rest will get a thorough thrashing. And I hope none of you will dare say you were never warned when you were ... repeatedly, not indulge your carnal passions with phoney righteous rage if you are not admitted into the sanctuary of Yah's House. May you never merit the rebuke, as it is written:
"'You have said harsh things against me,' says Yahweh. 'Yet you ask, 'What have we said against You?' You have said, 'It is futile to serve Elohim (God). What did we gain by carrying out His requirements and going about like mourners before Yahweh Almighty? But now we call the arrogant blessed'" (Mal.3:13-15, NIV).
The problem here was not that the people didn't observe the moedim (appointments) but rather how they went "about like mourners before Yahweh Almighty" - it was an act, a pretense, like those professional mourners who cried and wailed over the death of people they knew and cared little or nothing for. Yahweh will not respect the long faces of self-pity that are pretending to mourn. He will not accept an act, or recognise false piety that puts on a show in order to conceal unresolved anger or bitterness. The emet (truth) must come out, and will. But how it comes out will be the difference between true and false teshuvah (repentance).
The Last Day of the Autumn Festivals
This is the last day of the Sukkot (Tabernacles) season - this day, with its sevenfold anointing of the Ruach haShibi'i, accompanied by the other six, will not return again for another year. I do not expect the world to be anything like it is today by then. I hope I am wrong but I don't think it will be this time. May I remind you of the visions Yahweh gave me yesterday that I shared with you in our morning prayer meeting? First, of the drill - Yahweh has a long metaphorical drill which He will apply to the thick and woody unrepentant heart if you will give Him permission to do so. Second, He will fill every well that lacks simcha (joy) once you have allowed Him to fully penetrate any calloused heart that puts on a pretense of spirituality, giving you chayim (life) for death. And thirdly, as I mentioned earlier, He offers a foretaste of the Sukkot (Tabernacles) Anointing, inviting you to step into the cloud of His presence, the same cloud that was here. May I remind of you of the passage of Scripture that was cited yesterday?
"For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Messiah. Nevertheless, Elohim (God) was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert" (1 Cor.10:1-5, NIV).
We face challenging times, we have not passed the grade this time round, but there is tiqveh hope and we are invited to partake of the first spiritual rains this winter. Though the annual festivals are over for another five or so months, there is much to do inwardly and outwardly. This is by no means a hibernating season for us, we must complete all our preparations, complete our teshuvah (repentance) and prepare ourselves for the great labour that awaits after the cessastion of the Third Wave and the judgment of the nations. I look forward to seeing as many of you who are able and who desire to meet up with us on the regular sabbaths and new moons, to hear the ongoing devarim (words) of the nevi'im (prophets) and to continue to advance the Kingdom of our Elohim (God) by whatever means are available to us. We pray blessings over those who are travelling abroad over the next few days, for safe journeys and for the blessings of His presence always, in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name. Amen.