Month 2:8, Week 1:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5939:38 AM|
Van Staden Count 8/14
2Exodus 2/40, Omer Count Sabbath #3/5
Gregorian Calendar Sunday 26 April 2015
The NCAY Ark and Evangelism
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el and may the grace of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) be with one and all. The Jericho March this year is over and by Yah's grace I really hope that people were able to make sacred tavnith (pattern) connections and were able to use it to draw closer to Him and away from the fleshy man.
Earthquake in Nepal
Our thoughts and prayers this morning are with the qodeshim (saints) in Nepal who have suffered a major earthquake, killing several thousand and levelling the homes of so many. The earth is restless these days, groaning under the sins of mankind and the impact of cosmic forces as two solar systems invade one another's space and trigger one another's crusts . Nepal is, I fear, but the beginning of woes of this kind all over the world, from the Ring of Fire in the Pacific to the the San Andreas Fault in California, to the European Alps, the East African Rift Valley and the Himalayas. The earth is a complex system of floating and grinding tectonic plates which, when set in motion, tend to impact one another globally.
Of War and Salvation
On top of this, the planet seem to be locked into perpetual war. This time is especially dangerous as the present world power, gripped as it is by immorality and corruption, struggles to maintain its grip in the face of challenges from new and old powers alike. The world is in upheaval and it is therefore with urgency that we are not only getting prophetic warnings out into the world but also the simple Davar Elohim (Word of God) to the unsaved.. So we pray for missionaries and evangelists everywhere for whom the task is always challenging in every generation. There are obstacles known and unknown, principalities and powers to be identified and overturned, and there is the perpetual thorn-in-the-side of competing doctrines and practices. And yet in spite of all these problems, the basic foundational Emet (Truth) does get out and the Ruach (Spirit) leads the humble and contrite to salvation.
Tyndale Unchained the Bible for the Common Man
I think of William Tyndale who lived between 1494 and 1536 in a Catholic age. The hegemony of that church, with all its false doctrines and practices, which held Europe in its thrall, did not stop him. Tyndale did a remarkable thing, accomplishing what few Bible translators do well: he translated the Bible into English so that a ploughboy could read it for himself and not have it mediated by a priest with his own blindness and prejudice. He unchained the Bible from the pulpit and put it into the hands of the common man.
Many centuries later Pandita Ramabai, the daughter of a high-caste Hindu Brahmin, a poet and scholar who lived from 1858 to 1922, did the same as Tyndale by translating the Bible into the Marathi language of India so that ordinary women could have access to the Davar Elohim (Word of God) who otherwise would never have been able to hear or read the Besorah (Gospel). Inspired by George Müller and Hudson Taylor she went to refugee camps when a great famine came to India and was instrumental in saving widows from death and abuse. In her book, The High-Caste Indian Woman she exposed the practice of child brides and the terrible state of women in Indian society.
The Great Biblical Legacy of Protestantism
Priestcraft is always worried about putting the Bible into the hands of ordinary people and there is no doubt one of the greatest and lasting contributions of Protestentism was doing this. Without need of denominational interpreters, the simple message of the Besorah (Gospel) has spread like wildfire through communist China. And though every translation reflects the biases if its translators to some degree, the simple Davar Emet (Word of Truth) will be had and millions can hear and embrace it. Where it is forbidden, the hungrier the people become. It is so in the Muslim world today where thousands are converting to Messiah as they see for the first time the evil that is their native religion (Arabia) or their native secularism (China).
Bible Translations Must Be Accurate and Readable
In a work such as this one must never forget the simplicity that is its underpinning or neglect the most important task of all. Having a readable Bible is therefore surely as important as having an accurate one - a Bible that will be its own evangslist without the need of an expert to explain the linguistic anachronisms of, for example, a 16th century Protestant King James Version (KJV) or, for the uneducated, the sack of Hebrew words of a 20th century Messianic Restored True Names Edition (RSTNE) one. Good translations are needed for serious discipleship - and discipleship is a serious and important matter not to be neglected but we also need versions that are accessible to the simple man in the field.
The Need for a Messianic Paraphrase Version
We need Bible paraphrases for the young, the immature and the uneducated but we also need accurate scholarly ones for those growing in their emunah (faith).
So long as those who receive these simple reader version are told that what they have in their hand is by way of an introduction only, whether by mouth or by means of a flyer accompanying it, then there are certainly some good ones we ought to be able to recommend. One that has impressed me since its publication in 2006 in this regard is the New International Readers Version (NIRV), produced by the International Bible Society. It is a marked improvement on paraphrases like the Good News Bible (GNB) which has wide circulation in Africa and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. Like the New International Version (NIV) on which it is based, though, it has a marked anti-Torah bias. The need for a Messianic paraphrase version becomes essential, in my view, for the last generation, one that is free of pro-Judaism biases like the otherwise very readable Complete Jewish Bible (CJB), which has unfortunately led many Messianic Jews to convert to the Judaism its translator insists on clinging onto, and without all the strange English usage of the Institute for Scripture Research Version (ISRV) which uses a form of English vocabulary different from the current vernacular, making it difficult for simple English-speakers to follow.
A Messianic-Evangelical Readers Bible is Needed
Why am I saying this? Because a carpenter's creation, however skilled he may be personally, is no better than his tools. We have struggled over which Bible versions to use since our beginning and it has not got any easier. Since there will never be enough preachers, missionaries and evangelists to accomplish the huge need for outreach, what is needed is a new messianic-evangelical reader's edition that can be produced inexpensively that is easily understood by the modern ploughboy but accurate enough to ensure that anti-Torah biases are removed. It needs to be well footnoted explaining how biases in other versions have been erroneously introduced into more familiar and popular versions.
Plain, Accurate and Scholarly
I bring this up as a matter for serious prayer and to solicit ideas from our people. We have long wanted and needed a Bible version for our mission but have hestitated for lack of scholars so that no accusation can be levelled against us, as has been against the Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, whose Watchtower New World Translation (NWT) was prepared by men with no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew - it was a version designed solely to propagate a doctrinal position, and a seriously erroneous one at that. Our version must be both plain, accurate and embedded in solid scholarship.
Preparing to Board the Ark: What is It?
I wished to start today by unburdening myself of this need which has been impressing me of late. Which brings me to today and where we are, which is preparing to board the Ark for the great storm that lies ahead. We board in three days and then have a week to have everything shipshape and bristol fashion. Since obviously we are not talking about a literal physical ark, beyond those places Yahweh has told families to gather for safety, it's obviously important we spend some more time today explaining what that ark is.
Free Licence Was Not Given to Noah
To begin with, let us recall that Yahweh commanded Noah to build the ark of very specific dimensions. He was not given the licence to innovate or use his artistic or architectural flare. He wasn't given a free hand. I don't know what profession Noah had before he began the Ark Project but I am assuming he was a simple man of the earth, a farmer, who understood the importance of a farmer's know-how, attention and dedication in taking good care of his animals and crops. To fail to do so - to risk crop failure - could mean starvation and death. He was not a man of the metropolis, like Abraham, who I am sure would have been quite unsuited for that particular task. And that's something well worth remembering - we are all fitted or equipped for our particular tasks or jobs in the Kingdom. Now we must labour together to get this ark built and seaworthy.
The Dimensions of the Ark
Paraphrases like the NIRV, which use imperial measurements (feet and inches), are quite useless when it comes to understanding deeper symbolic emet (truth) so we'll use a modern scholarly version, the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV):
An Engineering Wonder
"Make yourself an ark of cypress (acacia, gopher) wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch (tar). This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its width 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second and third decks" (Gen.6:14-16, NRSV).
I am not going into the engineering genius of the ark's design other than to say that such dimensions made it practically incapable of capsizing. The scientists among you I will leave to research that further. What interests us are the dimensions and the sacred tavnith (pattern).
The Cubit and Its Subdivisions
First, notice that the measurements are given in cubits which was the basic unit of linear measurement both in ancient Israel and generally throughout Near Eastern societies. Literally, a cubit is a 'forearm', the distance between the elbow and the fingertips. Its subdivision (like we divide meters into centimeters and millimeters, or yards into feet and inches) was the span, the hand and the finger. The actual length of a cubit obviously varied from person to person and we know there were variations according to date and region. In 2 Chronicles 3:3 we read of "cubits of the old standard" (NRSV), presumably the one in use by Noah. The actual length is not as important as the PROPORTIONS of length, width and height because it was the right proportions that both lent physical stability as well as tell us about spiritual emet (truth). These proportions were 300 x 50 x 30.
The Mesopotamian Ark Compared
This is very different from the Mesopotamian flood legend, The Epic of Gilgamesh, where the ark is a cube measuring 120 by 120 by 120 cubits which would have rolled around like a dice during the storms and mixed all the animals up into a giant messy cocktail had such a structure ever been built. However, for you mathematicians, there was an important emet (truth) in these dimensions nonetheless, because it confirms what we already know that measurement at that time involved decimal-point notation in base-60 whereas our modern system uses base-10. The Mesopotamian ark's dimensions therefore consisted of multiples of 60, and to be precise, 60 x 2 (as well as 12 x 5). More about that in a minute.
Symbolism of the Three Decks
Before we look at these numbers I want you to especially note that Yahweh ordered the construction of three decks or levels. You all know that 3 is the number of divine perfection, possessing the necessary dimensions for substance - length, breath and height. It is used also in Scripture whenever Yahweh wants to emphasise something by drawing our attention to it. Let me give you some examples:
Triple Formulas in Scripture
"Do not trust in these lying words, saying, 'The temple of Yahweh, the temple of Yahweh, the temple of Yahweh are these'" (Jer.7:4, NKJV).
"O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of Yahweh!" (Jer.22:29, NKJV).
"Qadosh (holy), Qadosh (holy), Qadosh (holy) is Yahweh of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" (Isa.6:3, NKJV).
You'll find this triple emphasis also in Aaron's Benediction (Num.6:24-26). The baptismal formula given by Yah'shua (Mt.28:19) and in the apostolic benediction of 2 Corinthians13:14):
Yahweh is the Designer
"May the grace of the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), and the ahavah (love) of Elohim (God), and the fellowship of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) be with you all" (2 Cor.13:14, NIV)
Though there are practical engineering reasons for Yahweh instructing Noah to build 3 decks on the ark , spiritually the reason is to emphasise that YAHWEH IS THE DESIGNER in the same way that He was the designer of the Tabernacle. That being the case, we may expect to find spiritual emet (truth) hidden up in the dimensions of the Ark just as we have found to be the case in the dimensions and details of the Tabernacle.
The Number 60
This could be a deep study so I am going to keep it simple today so that we can go away from this assembly knowing what it is we are doing over the coming period of time as it relates to the ark. To remind you, the dimensions of the ark were 300 x 50 x 30 cubits and the system of mathematics of the ancient Middle East was to base-60. Where is the number 60 to be found in the Ark's dimensions and what does it spiritually mean?
To answer the first question, the number 60 is to be found in the length, height and volume of the ark. The mathematicians can play around with the numbers afterwards but here are the basic figures:
- 1. Length: 300 cubits = 60 x 5
- 2. Height: 30 cubits = 60 / 2
- 3. Volume: 34,000 cubic cubits = (603 x 2) + (602 x 5)
The Odd Man Out
The 'odd man out' is apparently the width which was 50 cubits. So what is Yahweh trying to tell us here?
Multiples of Three
First of all, notice that the length and height are multiples of 3 (3 x 100 and 3 x 10). 3 is the number of divine perfection or completion and 10 is the number of completeness of law and order, as found in the Ten Mitzvot (Commandments) which are a summary of the whole Torah. The perfect government of man is of the number 10.
Sixes and Tens
Let us go to the 60's. 300 cubits is 60 x 5, 30 cubits is 60 / 2 (we'll leave out a discussion of the volume as its rather more complicated). The number 60 is a 6 x 10. 6 is the number of man and his imperfection. Multiplied by 10, the number of completeness of law and order, and we see that the spiritual message is that imperfect man (6) is brought to completeness by Torah (10) of which Yah'shua (Jesus) our Messiah is the perfect incarnation. In other words, imperfect man is brought to completion and wholeness by Yah'shua (Jesus)!
Fives and Tens
But why does the breadth of 50 cubits apparently not connect to the number 60? (In fact, it does). And what does the number 5 signify? Two things to immediately note which give us important clues. The breadth (along with the height of 30 cubits) defines the BOW and the STERN of the boat. 50 is a multiple of 5 x 10 and 10, as we have seen, is the completing number. So whatever 5 represents, it is completed by the 10 of Torah and of the Living Torah, Yah'shua (Jesus).
The Perfection of Man Through the Living Torah
5 is the number of Creation (4) plus 1, a new beginning, grace or favour. Notice also that the length of the ark - 300 cubitsb - also contains this number, for it is 60 x 5, that is, the perfection of man through the Living Torah by grace - by Yahweh's undeserved loving kindness! The ark is a description of the foundational elements of the Besorah (Gospel) of salvation by grace through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)! That is our ark of safety, it is what will see us through the coming troubles and dangerous times. And it most definitely represents a new beginning for us as a people, just as our new birth represented a new beginning for each individual soul in Messiah. Though we don't have time to examine it today, you will find all the elements of Pesach (Passover), Shavu'ot (Weeks, 'Pentecost') and Sukkot (Tabernacles) hidden up in the Ark's dimensions. And note the number 3 again, the 3 prilgrim feasts.
Twelves and Fives
One more aspect to the number 60 which is not only 6 x 10 but also 5 x 12, thus linking the width with the length and height. 12 is the number of governmental perfection and rule (3 x 4) of Yahweh over His creation.
The Ark of Salvation By Grace Leading to Torah-Obedience
The ark that we are boarding is the Ark of Salvation by grace represented by trusting in Yah'shua (Jesus) for our personal deliverance at Pesach (Passover) - our dedication or engagement to Him (which was what we were doing during the Great 2015 Dedication a month ago) - also our communal Torah-Covenant to Him at Shavu'ot (Weeks) which is our Betrothal to Him - and finally the Full Marriage to the Lamb at Sukkot (Tabernacles), representing the fullness of the Tabernacle of Moses, which is the complete covering of protection - the sukkah or 'tabernacle roof'. The boarding of the Ark is therefore our total committment to the meaning of all seven annual feasts, from Pesach to Sukkot. And those who are excluded are those who are not so committed but who only want to go part of the way. That is the meaning of this action.
So, brethren and sisters, you need to know your mind, heart, body and spirit by the time it is time to board the ark in three days' time, the day on which you will remember that the Paschal Lamb was selected. This is therefore selection time. So far we have only talked about it but now we must make our committments. The door of the Ark will remain open another week before Yahweh slams it closed, and it will remain closed until the Ark carrying this small body of people, arrives at its destination at the other end of this coming and already erupting Tribulation.
With or in Parallel?
The divine dimensions are clear but the divine timing will not be clear to those who are not committed. There are those who walk with us and there are those walking in parallel with us. You cannot walk in parallel with the Ark because there is only one Twelvefold Ark of Salvation and of Perfection. You're either onboard or you're not. That's not to say, as I have said before, that there aren't any other 'arks' or 'fellowships' like ours because there must surely be, but if there are, they must be walking in the same tavnith (pattern) in order to receive the same anointing.
We are approaching Pesach (Passover) again (the late one in our case) which represents, does it not, the seeker's first committment to Messiah? We must recommit to Him as a Body of Remnant Messianic Israel. We know, because the Bible tells us so, the pattern of the storm that's coming, its probably nature and components (economic collapse, war, famine, pestilence, earth changes, et.) and its duration. This will be a year's ride at minimum (calculate for 14 months is my counsel) so you have better be prepared for that or you may not make it. That's why I have urged you for so many years to prepare phsyically and spiritually. There is safety upon this Ark, it has been designed to weather all storms. It will not capsize. We will still be here as a Body at the end of the storm and the long wait. We will have plenty to do preparation-wise as we ready ourselves for our new world mission afterwards  such as totally redesigning the main website, preparing printed teaching materials for the missions, getting knowledge and experience about permaculture and aquaponics, and perhaps laying the groundwork for a Messianic-Evangelical Readers Bible (MERB). Yahweh is gathering whom He is gathering and nothing can stop it. We have simply got to get aligned with His will, rejoice in it and find shalom (peace) with it. This is a great adventure, as it was for Noah and his family. And though it will have its unavoidable trials and tribulations, it's end is guaranteed to be tov (good).
So join with me in committment and trust as we ready ourselves in three days' time. This is Yahweh's timing, not ours. This is not a yarn, or a tale or a fantasy, and you will see that is not when concrete things start happening in the weeks and months ahead. Truly, then:
"Grace to you and shalom (peace) from Elohim (God) our Father and the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)" (2 Cor.1:2, NRSV).
 See The Advent of Nibiru: Are We Facing the Woes of Wormwood?
 Consider also the three resurrection glories that these levels represent too
 See, for example, The new Sweden: Christianity and Communism at War