Month 2:6, Week 1:5 (Chamashee/Teruah), Year:Day 5939:36 AM|
Jericho March 6/7, Van Staden Count 6/14
2Exodus 2/40, Omer Count Sabbath #2/5
Gregorian Calendar Friday 24 April 2015
Continued from Part 26
One of the most traumatic experiences people go through is being forced to change identity or discovering you are someone entirely different to the person you thought you were. This is particularly true of those who are adopted and who then discover, normlly when they are late teens, that they have an additional set of parents, uncles, aunts, couins, nephews and nieces ... and sometimes even brothers and sisters. Wanting to know why they were put up for adoption can be especially hard - dealing with the sense of abandonment very painful. True, not all are affected in the same way. It can be hard on the adoptive parents too if they have been loving, to see their child, whom they have loved as theit own, turning away from them in search of their biological forebears. Sometimes it can be a release if the adoptive parents are not so loving. Sometimes the parents may be dead leaving a sense of never being able to get resolution to unanswered questions and hurts.
What Nationality am I?
Life is for sure not simple - ever - for anyone. I still struggle over identity but for different reasons. I was not adopted, mind you. My problem is one of nationality. I was born in Singapore to British parents and raised in Malaysia. For ever so long I regarded myself as Malaysian - an Asian. That wasn't so hard because like the United States Malaysia is multiracial and multicultural: Malay, Chinese, Indian and European for the most part, though we Europeans were the tiniest minority and in the end came to be unwanted by the majority because we were the descendants of the former colonial power.
Returning to the United Kingdom was tough. You might think returning to my ancestral land would have been a relief but it was not. But it just produced longings to be back 'home' in the Far East. You adapt, of course, over the years and it is true ancestral ties do mean a lot. However, I was never at home with mid- to late-20th century England - if I had been given a choice of when to have been born it probably would have been the Edwardian era which, in my estimation, was the apex of English culture.
The traumatic breakdown of my first marriage found me emmigrating again - first to Norway and then to Sweden which, though European like England, still weren't 'home'. Indeed, England and Malaysia have changed so much in the quarter of a century I have been in Scandinavia that neither of these are 'home' any more either. And all seven of my children, who are half English and half Norwegian, have to deal with who they are too.
The Israelies Became Culturally Egyptian
It must have been a shock for Prince Moses discovering he was not an Egyptian, let alone of royal blood but that he belonged to a despised slave class. Egypt was multiracial like the Malaysia and the USA but the cultural was broadly singular. Though the Israelites there - once favoured now disdained - knew who they were, immersion in the culture over many generations changes you. Anyone who has ever been an immigrant to another country eventually discovers that their children soon adopt the ways of the new country, however much they try to preserve the values and traditions of the homeland.
Effects of the Dominant Culture
Most of my own children are Scandinavian in outlook even though they are half English. True, there are differences between, say Italian Americans and Hispanic Americans where suffient numbers of them gather to form ethnic enclaves or ghettos. But once the school system, the media and the ubiquitous culture get their hands on them, their young, impressionable minds soon become vigorously leavened. It's the dilemma of Christian and Messianic families, particularly as the home culture becomes more and more degenerate and depraved.
The Israelite Identity Problem
The first generation of Exodus Israelites had a huge identity problem. They had become thorougly Egyptianised and paganised. Matriarchy (as in modern Judaism, though nominally patriarchal) ruled the day as Moses found out when Mirian, his sister, briefly tried to exercise it. Yahweh knew there wasn't much hope for that first generation. Yes, they could have changed if they had wanted do, but that was the problem - they didn't want to. It takes characater and courage to swim against the tide. Only a handful of those millions did. Only two actually made it to the Promised Land. Only two of those vast numbers marched around Jericho and overcame - Joshua the Ephraimite and Caleb the Judah-adopted Edomite.
Socialising Our Children
I think serious-minded believers often feel guilty 'separating' their children from the mainstream of society even if that society is degenerate and harmful. They want them to have lots of friends and to be well socialised and they suppose that can only be accomplished by throwing them into the mix. Because we, as parents, were immersed and raised in a particular system we assume that anything outside it is unsafe even if we know fully well that the system is ruinous. If an agent had come to Egypt during the time of slavery and presented to the Israelites the idea of becoming refugees in a hostile desert - without nationality, as bedouin of sorts - how many of them would have taken up the offer?
Security Through Familiarity
Here's the problem - we find our security in FAMILIARITY. We feel safe in what we know. The idea of the unknown makes us uneasy, unsure, and sometimes fills us with dread. That's just the way we are. We were created for familiarity. That's why it's so easy to acclimatise slaves, given enough time. The ruling élites know this, steeped as they are in behavioural psychology, and have become expert social engineers. They all know that given one generation of children to work on that they can change perceptions, attitudes and indeed the whole culture. You only have to look at Communist Russia and China, or Nazi Germany, to see how successful they have been. By creating artificial dependencies, they keep human beings mentally and emotionally imprisoned so that they come to actually love and defend their servitude.
Israel's Love-Hate Relationship With Moses
So it's not difficult to see how the first generation of Israelites resented Moses, Aaron, Hur, Joshua, Caleb and the first leaders. It must have been a love-hate relationship, actually. They loved him because they knew Yahweh was with him doing mighty miracles and protecting them ... though there must have been times when it appeared He wasn't. And even when He was, some of those miraculous things became so common-place - like the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day - that in time even that no longer reminded them that Yahweh was there and in charge, or they may simply have grown indifferent. It didn't stop them building a Golden Calf or from engaging in heathen orgies at Baal-Peor. It didn't stop them challenging the leadership and demanding a new one. It didn't stop them from wanting to return to their slavery in Egypt for sake of a little variety in their food and some sort of permanent address, even if it was a dirty hovel.
We're In It for Our Spiritual Children
As a leader pioneering I have experienced that love-hate relationship only to keenly and there's nothing lovely about it. What's lovely about contrary natures that want to hug and thank you one minute then stab you in the back the next? You don't lead a Remnant for power, glory or fame because there isn't any, which is why the counterfeiters often pack up shop or get booted out by their own. The good news is that Moses and Joshua have their reward. I personally stick it out because of the tiqveh (hope) of tomorrow. Like a parent, I do it for the next generation because they are, in a way, our spiritual sons and daughters. And you are prepared to do a lot for your children, aren't you, even if they do snarl and gnash their teeth from time-to-time? I know the others who share this ministry with me have similar sentiments.
Western and African Attitudes
Here in the West we have grown accustomed to scepticism, materialism and humanism. The sueprnatural just isn't on the radar for a humanist- and Darwinist-indoctrinated society<. Go to Africa and the supernatural is a way of life. Westerners and Africans are comfortable with different things because of cultural upbringing. What is familiar to a rural African is alien to a metropolitan Westerner, even to Christians, who are amazed sometimes by the great emunah (faith) of African believers, the numerous miracles that happen among them, and their readiness to accept the supernatural in their lives. It's a matter of upbringing for the most part. You see, the social scientists are right up to a point - what we are raised in counts hugely in the way we accept or reject things. Africans have no problems with sueprnatural miracles, but Westerners do. Each have areas of overcoming to deal with in their lives - the Westerner has to overcome his scepticism and materialism, the African his superstitions. Both have been called by Yahweh to form a new nation - the Nation of Messianic Israel. And do we need each other!
Time is Needed for the Second Generation
One of the many reasons I know that the Second Coming isn't about to happen, theology aside, is because there hasn't been enough time to form a Second Exosus generation. My generation is too steeped in the ways of the world because we were raised that way, though the older amongst us did catch the tail end of a once Christian culture. And whilst there is a handful of us who have - or are still trying to - overcome the world, like that small handful of die-hard faithfuls in Moses' day - we will always be a tiny minority because the bulk of people simply don't want to change, and won't. That's a fact. That's one reason we have always had two tiers in this ministry - one for those who mean to cling onto their cultural baggage, who won't - as Leonard Ravenhill would put it - leave their national flags at the foot of the cross - and one for those prepared to lay all down for Messiah including the identities that were so integral to their social formation. We're still not there - by a long shot - but there is now a band of those who are willing to have a real go at it, or think they are. Not all, of course, will stay the course, and will prefer to drift back to old ways and take their chances in the Outer Court.
The Problem With Messianic Israelite Gamers
I don't want any of us to be under any sort of illusion. I don't want us to pretend at being 'Messianic Israelite' either. These annual marches aren't jolly outings or picnics where we 'play Israelite'. It's not a charade, theatre or some happy theological mental exercise. We're in earnest and we only want those in the core who are earnest too. It has to be voluntary, without coersion, and it has to be genuine. Those of you who are new to this work have to understand from the outset that as far as the Remnant are concerned, 999 in every thousand will think they are Remnant material, find out they are not, leave, go back to what they were doing before, or start a counterfeit 'Remnant' where standards are compromised left, right and centre, possibly even becoming a cult. The 'one-and-only' brigade tend to have a lot of illusions as to who they are, invariably become authoritarian, make it easy to join their group and very hard to leave. The messianic movement is full of such élitists. But when the fire of affliction comes, they either fall apart or become even more authoritarian. And ironically if the latter, they become like the very Egyptians they say they are fleeing from. But that's the way of the flesh, as we all know.
Voluntary But Tightly-Knit
We are a voluntary brigade - not democratic, but patriarchal. If you choose to be 'in' you do have to come under toqef (authority) and divine tavnith (pattern). Israel is not a loose confederation of families but a tightly knit clan but with plenty of space to breathe. But you're not a prisoner. You can leave whenever you want and do so with our love, affection and blessings. You'll not be hounded or guilted though in our experience, because the soul needs to rationalise why it's making a bad move, if you do deny emet (truth), your calling or a spiritual anointing from Heaven, there are always consequences. How could there not be in a rationally-ordered, co-dependent Universe, where everything interacts with everything else? And that, of course, goes for any group claiming to be, or a part of, the Remnant.
The Ones Who Went Back
The second generation of Isarelites marching around Jericho knew who they were. And they had no hankering after the fleshpots of Egypt as their parents had done largely because they had no memory of them. That's not to say they didn't have their Aachan's, Korah's and innumerable set-backs and heart-aches, because they did. All humans societies do, the good, the bad and the ugly. They carried the same fleshy nature as their parents, as do we. Every one of us is more than capable of returning to Egypt and so long as we allow the flesh to have any sort of dominion over us, to Egypt we will always return, whether that Egypt be New York, Nairobi, Stockholm, Oslo, Belfast, Berlin, Pretoria, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi or wherever it is we are from. I have seen it happen so many times that I don't have the slighest doubt. I have had plenty of illusions popped. I have seen born-again stalwarts of this work go back to the world as raw heathen over time. Most have forgotten everything and couldn't care less any more though seeing us in the flesh, or chancing across us online, does sometimes make them feel uncomfortable. Some think (and who knows, maybe they have) found something better and look down on us with pity and condescension. Others can never really fully deny it and are fighting civil wars within and are most miserable creatures but for them least there is hope - they only have to make a choice and head out into the desert. They at least have the advantage of having memories that can be reawakened by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Others have waged open war on us ... and been crushed because Yahweh guards His work in spite of the fickleness of His people.
When Ignorance is Bliss
In some ways ignorance is bliss. However, once thing I can guarantee is this - if you come up to this work you will rapidly cease being ignorant and start seeing things as they really are. However, knowledge comes with a huge price tag: it makes you responsible and accountable. You can subsequently deny it, suppress it or run away from it, or even attack it viciously, but it will always pursue you and rise from the depths to either stir your conscience into repentance and keep biting your backside until you do. We none of us have the luxury of obtaining a heavenly education without the responsibility of sharing it responsibly with others. We are witnesses and teachers of what we have learned and now know.
Anointing and Stewardship
Once Israel stepped foot in the Holy Land - once it had supernaturally crossed the Jordan River - there was no stopping. You never go back to Egypt once you have crossed that frontier - ever. You either conquer, get enslaved by new masters or die. Some of you received your initial anointing during the Great Dedication - that was your Jordan Crossing. But it's only the beginning. There are mighty spiritual fortresses like Jericho to be overwhelmed, cities, towns, villages and hamlets in large numbers to be taken. And the mindset of those ancient pagans has to be eradicated from you being. You can't do it all at once, nor does Yahweh, or any of us, expect you to. But we do expect you to remain in spiritual motion. You have to keep moving, you have to discipline youself even when the flesh is screaming to go in the opposite direction. Again, it's your responsibility and your choice as to what you do. There are no cosy niches here.
Why the Need for Priesthood and Organisation
Priesthood officers comes up for review every year just before Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonements) in every congregation because Priesthood is not a gratuity but a stewardship - a serious responsibility. One sister asked me the other day why we need NCAY as an organisation at all and this is one of the many reasons (I'll get around to giving her a full response in due course). Bedouin tend to quarrel or keep their distance when there's trouble. None of us have either of those luxuries - we stick together, work together and resolve our differences peaceably in the common anointing. And without that anointing, there is just squabbling and denominationalism in the Courtyard. Then organisations become cages we either want to control (to feel the fleshy version of safety and comfort) or get out of. So if we ever lose the anointing and start controlling in the flesh, know that a free exit pass is written into our constitution.
The Necessity of House Rules
Since we're coming clean, I'll admit we were controlling to a certain degree in our early days. We had to be because the first generation Messianic Evangelicals (or New Covenant Christians as we called ourselves then) were an unruly lot. Without clear house rules there would have been chaos (there was chaos anyway). Yes, Yahweh's hand was still upon this work, but it was far from perfect. That first band all but perished in the metaphorical wilderness. Most of those early structures have long since gone, designed in pre-Torah days and useful for the season they were created, for a very unruly mob indeed. Every family has its house rules and so does every ecclesiastical organisation. That much has to be granted. It's common sense, really. The problems start either when you have bad house rules, the leaders are control-freaks or the members are likle wild bulls - or a mixture thereof. House rules will continue to exist but largely be unnecessary if the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) will walk in the anointing because the Ruach (Spirit) - the 'real McCoy' - causes you to govern yourself without the need of Big Daddies with corrective sticks. But the stick will still be needed for those who prefer the Courtyard, hence our extensive (and still incomplete - because I only have one pair of hands) Constitution.
The Nature of the Torah Culture
There are giants in the land - Anakim - still to be overcome, your fears of principles and practices that go against the grain of your fleshy upbringing in 'Egypt'. Everything has to be, and will be, redefined until what seemed strange, far off and maybe even repulsive (especially for the wild bronchos under taming) becomes natural, familiar and - ultimately - cherished. Messianic Israel has a culture all of its own with which you must become familiar. It's a Torah culture, a Torah way of life that's unlike anything in 'Egypt'. But the moment you crawl under that curtain in the Courtyard and face the Brazen Altar and Laver you have to make real decisions as to the direction in which you're going. You have to leave your Plan B's behind because Yahweh wants singualarity of mind. Double-mindedness is a recipe for disaster (Jas.1:8), you're either in or out, there are no 'parallel' Israels, each tailored to individual members' quirks. We cannot be duplicitous or double-minded. After the Courtyard the goal is the Sanctuary - first the Holy Place and then the Holy of Holies - where there is pure, blessful echad (oneness) in Yah'shua (Jesus) because He is truly Sovereign of both individual and the collective Nation, the Torah loved, cherished, guarded and written on the heart without the stick of a Constitution for correction.
VISION OF THE SANCTUARY: THE FIERY DOORS
Yahweh shoed me something interesting the other day which I thought I was add as an aside. It was after one of those two experiences I had recently in which I was ushhered into the Holy Place of the Sanctuary again. I'll share one of those experiences with you today to encourage you. I was lying down and I saw these two doors open - not fully, but only half way, but with more than sufficient space for me to walk easily through. The insides of the doors seemed to be on fire, but it was not a fire that consumed. There were flames coming out of it. Inside was unspeakably bright. I could see people wandering around inside, dressed in white robes with coloured saches. It was so bright inside that I could not see clearly - everything was blurred so I couldn't see the features of the peoples' faces either. I strained with all my might to bring everything into focus but I could not. Then the vision closed.
Familiar Spirits - Who's In Your Spiritual Family?
Though many gained admission on Aviv 9, it's still not a place which is familiar to us. We have to go back again and again until it becomes familiar and we stop drifting back into the Courtyard, with its old ways and patterns, which is more familiar to us. You have to fight to maintain the immediate awareness of this anointing - don't let it slip through your fingers! Experientially, the Courtyard is the only place most believers actually know, it's the only place they think actually exists, and that goes for us too. You see, we come back again and again to what is 'familiar' to is. I am sure you have heard of the biblical concept of 'familiar spirits' - it's a a useful old King James Bible term for demons that reminds us how demons can become 'family' to us: because we've been around them for so long:
Unfamiliarity May Be the Key
"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am Yahweh your Elohim (God)" (Lev.19:31, KJV).
You'd be surprised how many believers think their familiar spirits are Elohim (God). Quite scary, actually, when you think of the consequences of such false belief. Just because something is 'familiar' or 'well known' with which we have grown comfortable doesn't mean it is necessarily good. If the emet (truth) scares you, understand that the problem is not the emet (truth) but your unfamiliarity with it. It's not known to you, it appears strange, maybe even a little scary. It may make you squirm. A bit like going to the dentist for the first time - or maybe the second if you're a bit squeamish.
The Ways and Thoughts of Yahweh Are Accessible
"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,' says Yahweh.
'For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts'" (Isa.55:8-9, NKJV).
I hope you're not one those people who reads that passage and comes away with the idea that our thoughs and ways can never be Yahweh's, and use that as an excuse not to get to know Him better! If you are, please read the verses before this one because what He's saying is that our carnal thoughs and ways of doing things aren't His. We're told to get that sorted out!
Becoming Familiar With Tabernacle Life
"Seek Yahweh while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to Yahweh,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our Elohim (God),
For He will abundantly pardon" (Isa.55:6-7, NKJV).
This is quite clearly a call to repentance, to get our flesh-inspired thoughs and ways aligned with Yahweh's. That means getting out of the world with its familiar spirits and into the Taberbacle with His Ruach (Spirit) and to remain there until we become so familiarised with it that we never want anything else. That's what this passage means.
The Revelation of Elohim in the Tabernacle
Inside the Tabernacle - Temple - a new reality impinges upon our spiritual senses. At first they amaze us, surprise us, filling us with wonder, but by-the-by they become comfortable, natural, wholesome and perfectly delightful. We see Yahweh and people in a totally different way. Inside you will meet the Elohim - the Divine Family - and be astonished because it's not at all what Rome, Geneva, Wittenberg, Canterbury, Lhasa, Vilna, Mecca, Pensacola, Salt Lake City, Brooklyn, Amritsar, or any of the other capitals of the world religions tell you because they don't know. They haven't a clue. They are for sure familiar with their gods and feel 'peaceful' about them, though that false peace soon evapourates when they encounter someone filled with the true Elohim (God) because He drives their familiar spirits - their 'God' - crazy.
A Question About Time
Oh, something else that will fascinate you because it came as a revelation out of the blue after my last Sanctuary encounter, particularly for those of you who have a scientific inclination. It concerns time. I always assumed that Yahweh's domain is timeless. It isn't, even though He knows and understands the full scope of time. If there was no time in heaven there would be no events - no starts or finishes, no beginnings or endings. You all know Peter's testimony:
Time in the Different Parts of the Tabernacle
"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With Yahweh a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day" (2 Peter 3:8, NIV).
One thing I am discovering from Sanctuary experiences is the duration of time, if that makes any linguistic sense. A day in Yahweh's Presence is as 1,000 years on earth. Time moves much faster in that sphere. This is what I learned: one day in the Holy of Holies is as a thousand years outside the Tabernacle, one day in the Holy Place is as as hundred years outside the Tabernacle, one day in the Courtyard is as ten years outside the Tabernacle. And outside the Tabernacle? Time is just time, the regular monotonous time that eventually takes us to our graves. And it's like that in the resurrection too, depending where you are. Everything is quickened, much faster, much more intense, more alive, in the Presence of Yahweh-Elohim in the Holy of Holies. Viewed from there, we on the outside must look like slugs or sloths. Imagine what the slow learners look like.
The Three Resurrection Time Zones
Now I am by no means preaching a doctrine of evolution here nor am I suggesting that you can exactly callibrate these different time realities as a scientist might callibrate an instrument in the laboratory. Peter uses the word "as" or "like" deliberately, so we need not take this analogy too far. There are three resurrectiion glories whose brightness is compared to the sun, moon and stars (1 Cor.15:41-42). But those who will live in them will also differ in the way they experience time. Given sufficient universal 'time' these three spheres will become very different because they will progress and change at different rates and the resurrected souls within them will become very different from one another. This is a sobering thought when you consider that all created beings started on an even plane. We are where we are and who we are because of the choices we have made but we need not remain that way. We will grow to the degree that the sphere we have chosen through overcoming allows us to grow, and growing never ceases. That is part of the vision of eternity that excites me. We'll always be learning, always maturing, depending what part we chose - which glory, which resurrection - while we were here on earth. Each will be satisfied with his or her own final destination because anything above where they are will be incomprehensible to them. We will adapt, become familiar with, the place of our choosing based on our willingness to believe and obey. This is the Eternal Promised Land we can look forward to.
A Chance to Overcome
Now back to the reality of this world. This is the sixth day of our annual march. Tomorrow, because it's the last day, will be an important decider for the coming year, just as the seven annual moedim (festivals) are each year. We're being offered the chance to overcome fears, difficulties and burdens if we will accept Yahweh on His terms, trusting His instructions and obeying them meticulously. And if He grants you your miracle - your overcoming in whatever area you are currently struggling - please don't make the mistake of Aachan and steal what is consecrated to Yahweh from your Jericho. Leave it where it is until it is collected for the Heavenly Treasury.
Brethren and sisters of the covenant, and those assaying to come up to it, let us rejoice at the opportunity that is being given to us to experience the greatest identity change in our lives thus far. The things we have talked about for so long can now become a reality if we choose aright. Consider what you are willing to now lay on the Brazen Altar, and though this identity is currently unknown - or only partly known - embrace it enthusiastically when it is presented to you. And may the grace of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) be with you during this ongoing season of choosing. Amen.
Continued in Part 28