Month 1:29, Week 4:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5939:29 AM|
2Exodus 2/40, Messianic Countdown 72/1
Omer Count Sabbath #2/5
Gregorian Calendar Friday 17 April 2015
Vision of Aaron
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yi'sra'el and may the grace of our Master Yah'shua (Jesus Christ) be upon the Remnant, the friends of the Remnant and all those of the Body of Messiah seeking Yahweh with all their mind, might and strength, on this the 29th day of Aviv and penultimate day of the 72-day count.
The New Atlantic Divide
The time has gone fast, hasn't it, since Yahweh told us to start counting 6 February 2015? The eclipse of the sun, dividing the Old World from the New has come and gone - President Obama has since privately said that the special relationship between America and Britain is over, and in terms of international relations Europe and USA are drawing ever increasingly apart. This must happen so that the judgments can be apportioned according to nations and conglomorates of nations
Yahweh's New Move of the Ruach
We also gathered for 16 days at Aviv 1 and received our deposit on Aviv 9. Everyone has been changed in some way and yet we know this is but the first paragraph of the first chapter in a long book that must be written in the personal and corporate deeds of the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones). Having heard and read your testimonies it is plain that Yahweh has started something over which we have no control other than to choose to copntinue walking into the wind of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) or (Yah forbid) to walk away from it. I believe the most important thing we learned on Aviv 9 was the right way to approach Elohim (God) - according to the eternal divine tavnith (pattern) hidden in the Tabernacle structure and the ministrations of the former Levtical Priesthood.
Talkers Rather Than Walkers
So often we come to Him as 'talkers' but not 'walkers'. Ron Smith once said that "we come with a demanding attitide that sounds something like this: 'Listen, Lord, for your servant is speaking'" .
The Amazing Anointing of Aviv 9
How different was the young Samuel's approach - "'Speak, Yahweh, for your servant is listening'" (1 Sam.3:9, NIV). If we really want to know what is in Yahweh's heart for us, we must come as attentive and expectant listeners. It took us 9 days of seeking to get to that place during the Great Dedication. We came to hear Yahweh speak, and He did speak, though not at all in the way we expected. Since it was evidently what Yahweh considered best for us, it was better than our expectations, modelled as I think many of them were on the false noisy and emotional manifestations in the charismatic movements. What came was absolutely silent but awesomely powerful. What we did, and what Yahweh did for us, especially on Aviv 9, must become habitual. We cannot enter into our destiny, as Samuel did, until we have properly learned that lesson. He wants us to experience the Sanctuary every day, and especially at this dangerous time in the world's history.
I think most of us will admit that after the 16 days were over we started drifting back into old habits and had to fight the tendency of the flesh to lead us away to once again face and be buffetted by the flesh. Yahweh is not finished with us and indeed, as I have now said many times, the anointing has only come in part. We haven't even got anywhere near the Holy of Holies yet! We have become so habitualised to the Outer Court over the years - we are so programmed to its ways - that we have not yet understood that what we experienced on Aviv 9 has to become the 'norm' so that we can approach the Holy of Holies. We cannot possibly approach the Holy of Holies if the default renmains the Courtyard! The immediate task is to resist the flesh, turn to Yah'shua (Jesus) and to stay in the Holy Place and that is what we are being called to do this Second Month. A reason we are to congregate for a Late Pesach is so that we can habitualise Aviv 9. We cannot fall back into the old ways of the Courtyard again.
Covenant Committment and the Sanctuary
I did not have Yahweh's Shabbat message for you until this morning. It connects with this habitualisation process and it can only occur if we are finally willing to commit to one another as a covenant fellowship - as MLT and NCAY, or to some other fellowship where Yahweh has done the same thing. If anyone came up the Great Dedication, whether physically present here in Sweden or spiritually at a distance, planning to continue going solo or in some ecumenical spirit, holding multiple fellowships with others in non-covenantal relationships, then I have to tell you they will fall back into the Courtyard as a matter of course. There has to be committment to a covenant fellowship where Yahweh is clearly working with the same anointing or endowment because the Courtyard will not sustain the anointing that belongs to the Sanctuary. It wasn't designed for that.
VISION OF THE GLORIFIED AARON: SHOWING OBEISANCE
Though I didn't realise it at first, this was part of the meaning of Yahweh's message to me when He spoke to me this morning. I had woken up feeling no inspiration or direction and drifted off to sleep again. As I was awaking the second time I saw a vision of a man. I could not see his features clearly because everything was so bright, though he was dressed in a long white robe. Then I heard the Davar Elohim (Word of God) saying very cleary, "Show your obeisance to Aaron." It was Aaron, the one-time Cohen Gadol (High Priest) of Israel, arraigned in glory in the heavenlies.
Still very tired from three very strenuous days in which we have been rushing around to get everything in order before the end of the count, I drifted off to sleep the third time. After a very short nap indeed, I arose to meditate on what I had seen and what Yahweh had said so as to prepare this message. Why did Yahweh choose that old middle French word "obéisance" (from which we get the modern English word 'obedience') which you'll find in the old King James Version but not in modern ones? In that venerable version it is used nine times - three times in Genesis where Joseph's brothers bow down before him - first in Joseph's dream, and then in real life in Egypt when Joseph was Prime Minister (Gen.37:7,9; 43:28), then when Moses bowed down before his father-in-law Jethro (Ex.18:7), and the remaining six times when various people - both men and women - prostrated themselves before to demonstrate their submission and obedience king (2 Sam.1:2; 14:4; 15:5; 1 Ki.1:16; 2 Chr.24:17).
Ungodly Leadership and Excommunication
Every now and then we get investigators, and sometimes even members, who believe there should be no leaders beyond the head of the house of a family, with some even rejecting scriptural leadership in the home. There are usually a variety of reasons as to why people adopt this position, one of the most common being that they have had a brush with ungodly ecclesiastical authority. I certainly did, before Yahweh called me to this work, and indeed I went through the painful process of being excommuncated because I would not sustain teachings that were not only anti-Biblical but even contrary to the denomination's own historical beliefs and traditions. I learned a lot from that traumatic experience, and from the experiences of others who had been similarly treated. So I have much sympathy with those who find themselves under pressure to conform to doctrines and practices that are contrary to their consciences and who, if they resist, may be unjustly 'thrown out of the synagogue', like the blind man who was healed by Yah'shua (Jesus).
Departing of Free Will
The second and last time I had a problem with the church I was a member of (it was changing its doctrines and rapidly becoming liberal and ecumenical) I made sure that I left of my own accord. Though more tolerant and less authoritarian thanh the first church I was thrown out of, it was also organised along non-scriptural lines. But then Yahweh had called me by personal revelation whilst still a member of that church to start a new fellowship and I simply waited for Him to give me the green light to leave. Though they did not bless me on my way when I did leave, they did not, at least, hound me or damn me to hell like the first one did. So I have had much time to reflect on ecclestiastical systems over the years and to learn more about the divine tavnith (pattern).
Reacting to Bad Experiences With Authority
Those who want open fellowship structures without covenant committments tend to be of two kinds. The first are those reacting to a bad experience and who tend to respond by heading towards an opposite pole. They usually construct a utopian paradigm based on the scriptural promise that at some point of time in the future there will be such spiritual harmony and unity occasioned by walking faithfully in the Ruach (Spirit) that no kind of leadership will be necessary. Though time and experience usually cause such utopian dreams to eventually crumblem, a lot of time can be lost discovering what the biblical middle ground is.
Reacting to a Love of Sinning
The second group are those who simply don't want to be accountable because they love sinning. They usually appeal to the same set of scriptures as the first group but give them a different twist. Typically, they quote from the Johannine writings which more readily lend themselves to misinterpretation precisely because they are more esoteric than the more concrete matter-of-fact Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). More often than not, they delude themselves into believing that they are not sinning when they are.
Our Own Experience: The Third Rebellion
One or two of you will remember many years ago when this very same question was raised that led to what has come to be known by us as the Third Rebellion (there had been two minor rebellions before it that had led to two short-lived schisms) which to all intents and purposes brought an end to this ministry in Norway and led Yahweh to instruct us to leave that country and move to Sweden. This revolt took place exactly 20 years ago.
Authority and the Carnal Man
This tendency not to come under authority and accountability is deeply rooted in the fallen carnal, fleshy Adamic nature and has been the cause of terrible suffering to mankind for millennia. Those who were afflicted by this existentialist malady in our earlier fellowship found themselves outside, metaphorically drowning. Not one of them today is a Bible-believing Christian or Messianic. And as we know we are about to board another 'Ark' preparatory to Yahweh's mishpat or judgment being executed on our world here and now. So this is a matter, since it has surfaced once again, that has to be quickly resolved by those who believe they may be called here by Yahweh but who want to be fully independent of corporate toqef (authority). The dangerous times we face makes this doubly imperative.
Lording It Over the Brethren
Every one of us has had bad experiences of unrighteous toqef (authority) being exercised on us, from the state, to churches or messianic assemblies, to individuals, along with all the ungodly guilting and threats. We hate it, and rightly so. There is a fine balance between godly and ungodly toqef (authority) as Paul was at pains to remind His followers:
Beware of Man-Made Ecclesiastical Utopias
"Not that we lord it over your emunah (faith), but we work with you for your simcha (joy), because it is by emunah (faith) you stand firm" (2 Cor.1:24, NIV).
There are leaders in position of divinely sanctioned toqef (authority) in the Messianic Community (Church) and always will be until there is complete echad (unity) in all things (Eph.4:11-13), and even then there are leaders in the Heavenlies today and will be in the Millennium. For the modern liberal secularist, making any sort of obeisance (obedience) is anathema though in truth the state - liberal or totalitarian - still demands obeisance of us and will take the steps to get it with guns when citizens resist. We know, because it is eternal divine tavnith, that heaven is not some sort of communist paradise - I know that sounds ironic and contradictory because the communists are amongst the most murderous totalitarians of them all. But then the Marxist doctrine of equality, which was not, incidentally, an original concept but comes directly from the Illuminists (Karl Marx was the third cousin to a Rothschild banker) who wished to break down Christian authority structure in Europe and the New World, and which found its first expression in the blood-letting of the Paris Commune, is a complete sham.
Leaderless Societies Do Not Exist and Never Can
There is no such thing as leaderless humans in any society, yet independence appeals to the flesh and its desire to be completely unaccountable and unfettered by any kind of rules or those who enforce them. Their excuse is the tyrannical love of control that socially dysfunctional, busybody, carnal, cloistered politicians and church leaders seem to love who, if you challenge them, get all puffed up like outraged bullfrogs. Unfortunately, two wrongs don't make a right. Bad leadership doesn't ipso facto mean that leadership is wrong.
The Problem of Fear
I ought perhaps to insert here a truism of the flesh that often throws spanners into the works of embracing and implementing emet (truth). I speak of fear. Those who are flesh-centred always seem to be frightened by something. In the Britain of the 1960's we were frightened by the prospect of nuclear war. In the 1970's, it was of a new ice age. In the 1980's and the 1990's we were terrified of Salmonella, AIDS and T-bone steaks. In the 2000's it was Global Warming and now, in the 2010's, it is Ebola, Carbon Dioxide Poisoning and and you-name-it. It's exactly the same in the religious sphere. At the time of the Protestant Reformation, believers reacted to ungodly toqef (authority) and over the several centuries Protestantism has become more and more liberal, lawless and anarchistic. Messianics are terrified of spontenaity and grace, Evangelicals of law. There's always something to be scared of. But perfect ahavah (love) drives out all fear (1 Jn.4:18). When you're in Yah'shua (Jesus) you stop being afraid, like Smith Wigglesworth wasn't when Satan appeared at the foot of his bed and he said, 'Oh, it's you', and just rolled over and went back to sleep. There are those who fear law because they're scared of lawlessness, and there are those who fear grace because they're scared of coming out of a law-only-encrusted cacoon.
The Demise of the Third Rebels
It is not my purpose to resurrect what are very painful memories of the now long-gone Third Rebellion in our history. I do, however, believe it was Yahweh's intention that we experience it so that we never again succumbed to the folly of such dangerous ideas. Not one of those who espoused that doctrine are today believers, as I said earlier, a sobering reminder of how important it is that divine tavnith (pattern) is preserved amongst us in all its facits.
I know a lot of you have experienced the crushing foot of men and women who have attemped to exercise unrighteous dominion over you. And as I said, many of us have experienced
first hand that ugly spirit of rebellion against the divinely instituted order. Those of you who know me well know also that that this is one aspect of being a pastor that I do not enjoy, in the same way that a father - if he truly loves his children and wants to see them filled with simcha (joy) as was Paul's desire for his parishoners - does not want to have to discipline his children. It breaks my heart having to discipline children. I broke my heart 20 years ago having to excommunicate so many people, most of whom were family members, and bring the work in Norway to and end. But I will not hestitate to do it again if I have to.
No Private Kingdoms Allowed
The 'name of the game' is not setting up a private kingdom but in being true to Yahweh's Derech (Way). I promise you that I will end this work yet again if I have to and if necessary walk alone if anyone tries to force me to abandon the stewardship I have been given by compromising with any aspect of the Besorah (Gospel). People are always welcome to ask questions about anything, and lots of them, until they find shalom (peace) with issues, provided they do so in a respectful and honestly enquiring way. We love openness, we hate forcing people to do anything they don't want to, we don't mind giving people all the time they want, and we would hound people who feel they don't belong here with us...indeed we will bless them, but we won't dilute the Message - ever. Let that be made perfectly clear. Satan periodically sends in his predators - the overt as well as the subtle - but we are experienced now in spotting and dealing with them.
Accountability in NCAY
Alright, now to a legitimate question. In the words of Juvenal, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" - "Who will guard the guardians?" Who will make the leaders accountable? Aside from the obvious answer, the Torah, that is the job of the apostles - Paul checked Peter when he started getting legalistic, you will remember - they guard one another. The reason we have a complex judicial system in NCAY, evolved as the result of many years of experience, is to make sure everyone is accountable. As one who has been the leader for 99% of the time in this work, I have always had a senior Elder to whom I was accountable, in additional to their being a system which allows all the members to hold their leaders accountable. Read our Constitution.
Wrestling Hard to Do What is Right
I wrestled long and hard yesterday over this whole business of leadership. I wrestled all night last night and slept very little. I know how serious a matter this is. And I also know how dangerous to the Body of Messiah it is to let in the spirit of anarchy that comes of rejecting formal structures and orderliness in the kingdom. I speak not of those who willfully want to bring in disorder or heresy but those who, often because of a lack of experience, unintentionally bring in error. You'll find many sermons and articles online that talk about the strictness of the way, and as recently last February when I shared with you the vision of the ploughed field. As I said, we're a very open people and love to thrash things out together wherever possible. Such makes for a cosey relationship too.
The Office, not the Officer, is the Main Thing
In the Kingdom of Yahweh there is a proper balance between strictness and freedom. There is a fence and it is not negociable but within its boundaries there is freedom. That fence is Torah. Since I do not want to preach at you today, I am going to focus on what Yahweh told me to do this morning. At first hearing, it might sound strange that Yahweh would want me to do obeisance to Aaron. He, after all, is a type of a Covenant long since gone, not to mention being dead. You might also think Aaron an unlikely fellow to whom anyone should do obeisance given his idolatrous involvement with the golden calf. But then you only have to look at the thousands of imperfect pastors that have presided over congregations to see human failings in leadership. Again, a long time ago, back in 1992, I preached a sermon called The Pastoral Office in which I made the important point that it is the divinely ordained office that is the main thing, not the less-than-perfect officer walking in that office.
All Equal in the Sin Stakes
Let us be honest and realistic. Until the resurrection there is going to be sin and perfection in everyone. That is not to invite laxity or to encourage us not to be diligent in not dealing with sin - the Great Dedication ought to have taught us that! The pastoral office is not overall a fun one - it's a heavy duty and calling. It has its joyful moments, to be sure, but overall it is not an easy or glorious one. Speaking as one, pastors are the punch-bags of sinful men and women who expect their leaders to be perfect whilst applying a lower standard to themselves. In the sin-stakes, we are all equal. We all share the same baggage that Adam and Eve left behind for us. What qualifies someone for office is, more often enough, a willingness to forgive and show grace coupled to a passion for Yahweh's emet (truth) and torot (laws). Leaders are first and foremost guardians of these things, men and women of integrity.
Aaron was a failure. Big time. Yet Yahweh retained him in his office as Cohen Gadol (High Priest) for Yahweh's own sake and for the sake of the office on which he had placed His Name and Toqef (Authority). As we become more sanctified and more acquainted with the Sanctuary, so the need for leaders to 'rule' will diminish because then the qadoshim (saints, set-apart ones) will be governing themselves - not 'self-rulership' but voluntary submission to all of Yahweh's ways.
A Twelve-Tribed Priesthood
There is no Aaronic Priesthood located in only one tribe of Israel today because we are today under a Melchizedek Priesthood which is located in all the tribes. Yet there is still a presiding tribe (Joseph-Ephraim) and there are still cohenim (priesthood) and the spiritual devinition of the latter has not changed. Aaron is still a cohen (priest) and were he to come back we would be under his toqef (authority) - not as a minister of the Levitical or Mosaic Covenant, which has passed away, but as a minister in the heavenly Council of Yahweh's elohim.
Our Leadership Covenant
Now I can speak with some authority in this matter because I have met them in person and I can declare that so long as I am in this mortal body I am under their toqef (authority) in Yah'shua (Jesus). I know it. I felt like a son to them and they as my fathers. That is what I experienced. And that is what true priestly authority - it is one of loving yet strict fatherhood to sons and daughters. As for myself, that is the way I aim to conduct myself, and all the elders, eldresses, deacons and deconesses under my purview. That is our obligation and that is our covenant.
A Kingdom of Priests
Yah'shua (Jesus) is, and remains, our perpetual Cohen Gadol (High Priest) but He is not the only cohen (priest) in either heaven or on earth. That ought to be common sense and common knowledge. If anyone says He is our only cohen (priest), mark him down as a liar. Only the flesh rejects priests/leaders for the flesh finds it infinitely more comfortable to be accountable to someone far away, who does not execute Final Judgment until way down the timeline, then to be accountable to others who are in the same room. We are under a Melchizedek Order that is full of cohenim (priests), but not all are cohenim (priests) because they haven't yet properly submitted themselves to Yah'shua (Jesus) or the mitzvot (commandments) or because they are simply too young and immature spiritually still. Any number of scriptures will confirm this doctrine:
"You (Yah'shua/Jesus) are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men for Elohim (God) from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them (the qodeshim/saints) to be a kingdom and cohenim (priests) to serve our Elohim (God), and they will reign on the earth" (Rev.5:9-10, NIV).
I find it pure simcha (joy) to be submitted to godly men set in authority over me. We all want and need fathers. Paul described himself as a spiritual father who cared for his flock. But he brooked no nonsense from from the young and headstrong - the wild Corinthians spring to mind. We are entering a phase of our ministry where a tightly-knit body of cohenim (priests) - male and female in their proper Torah order - are being raised up in the Remnant. They are essential to a Tabernacle-based ministry. It's early days and we have no intention of rushing anything or stepping beyond the mark. But proper structure and leadership there will be - a confederation of patriarchs (governing their families) in the proper Melchizedek Order. If Abraham, the father of our emunah (faith), submitetd to Melchizedek (Shem), paying tithes to him and received a Sacred Meal from him, what makes you suppose Yahweh intends something more diffuse for us? Since when was the New Covenant less strict than the Old? We are an Order, but not an Order invented by men, but of Elohim (God), suffused with the first stirrings of the Sukkot Anointing. Please don't cut yourself off from it and get left, exposed, in the Courtyard. Amen.
 Ron Smith, Hooked on the Word (West Shore Books, 1994)