Month 2:15, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5939:45 AM|
2Exodus 2/40, Omer Count Sabbath #4/5
Gregorian Calendar Sunday 3 April 2015
Late Chag haMatzah 2015 I
Meeting the Amalekite Challenge
Continued from Part 1
Shabbat shalom chaverim and welcome to this assembly on the first day of the Late Chag haMatzah or Day of Unleavened Bread. I hope Yahweh has blessed your night sleep and spoken to your souls. Today is late the festival of removing chemetz of leaven/yeast out of our homes and eating matzah or unleavened bread for 7 days to indicate our willingness, by covenant, to get the leaven of sin out of us and living unleavened lives, as we recounted in the Pesach (Passover) meal yesterday evening. Let us remmber that the focus must not be so much on what is removed but on what replaces it when it is removed! For you have all heard it said by innumerable witnesses that there is a space in the heart that Yahweh alone can fill which the soul reacts violently to when it is filled by anything else. It is like a spiritual immune system - the more you fill the place which is owned by Elohim (God), the more the spirit within resists it. It is this incompatability of space and alien substance that causes us to war within.
Dealing With Sin Issues
I don't know what sins you think of when you meditate on Chag haMatazah. What do you home in on? What particular problems immediately surface that seem to demand your urgent attention? Well, though we want to anticipate all that is tov (good) and wonderful and joyful and blessed that we know Yahweh brings when we let Him in, we do have to identify what it is that is causing us to stumble and fall. Most of you I am sure are more than aware of your besetting sins and some of you may be desperately ashamed of them and simply want them gone forever. It is one thing - and a very necessary thing - to face our Messiah and simply let the flesh lose its power through starvation, but it is another thing to no longer feel any power in it so that it is well and truly dead.
What Should We Be Doing at This Time?
My question to Yahweh last night as I was preparing this address to you was this: what especially do YOU (Yahweh) want me to focus on? What, to Him, are the chief besetting sins that he wants taken care of first of all, not just for me personally, but in general? What is it we shall today contend with as a Body or are we still disconnected from one another because we are so absorbed in our own inner skirmishes that we don't think of what it means existentially or experientially to be part of something bigger? Are we still solo Christians or have we truly become part of something bigger? I know the latter question belongs, for the most part, to Shavu'ot (Weeks) and yet we cannot forget that either. And to be more specific for all of us here, what, today, at this Late Pesach (Passover) which we have been commanded to celebrate, ought we to be chiefly occupied with?
Understanding New Covenant Chag haMatzah
My answer came quickly as a scripture came to the fore so I hope you will recall with me Paul's words and revelation about what Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread) is to the B'rit Chadashah or New Covenant. I speak of his words to the Corinthians in which he pinpoints the two chief sins which Messianic Israelites are commanded to contend with at this time, and every time sin raises its ugly head, and what it is we are to replace them with, thus identifying our goal in the positive sense. Let me refresh your memories:
A Complete Amplified Version of 1 Corinthians 5:8
"Therefore let us keep the moed (feast, 'appointment' - RSTNE) [of Chag haMatzah/Unleavened Bread), not with old ('leftover', JNT/CJB) chametz (leaven), nor with the chametz (leaven) of malice ('wickedness' - JNT/CJB, 'evil' - JB, CLNT, 'evil' - ISRV, 'corruption' - NEB, 'vice' - AmpV, Knox, JBP, Griesbach, 'injuriousness' - NWT, 'depravity' - Wright) and wickedness ('bitterness' - AENT, HRV, 'evil' - JNT/CJB, NRSV, 'mischief' - Knox), but with the matzah-lechem (unleavened bread) of kenut (OJB) (sincerity, 'purity' - AENT, HRV, GNB, Knox, S&G, 'clearness' - MRC, 'nobility, honour' - AmpV, 'innocence' - Moffatt) and emet (truth, 'sanctity' - AENT, 'holiness' - HRV, 'unadulterated truth' - AmpV, JBP, 'honesty of intent' - Knox, 'integrity' - Moffatt)" (1 Cor.5:8, NKJV; cp. Ex.12:14-15; Dt.16:3).
Now I spent over an hour last night pouring over this single verse of Scripture - first checking over 30 different translations (Protestant, Catholic and Messianic), including renderings by individual theologians, followed by lexicons and commentaries. I was astonished by the fact that there were so many ways of translating this passage even though the overall sense seemed clear enough to me. So let me read it again this time with all the nuances that are to be found in both the Aramaic and Greek texts. I consider this to be my own personal 'amplified version' which I hope will be a blessing to you:
An Unleavened Life
"Therefore let us keep the appointment or Feast of Unleavened Bread, not with old or leftover leaven, nor with the leaven of malice, wickedness, evil, corruption, vice, injuriousness, depravity, wickedness, bitterness or mischief, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity, purity, clearness, nobility, honour, innocence, unadulterated truth, sanctity, holiness, honesty of intent and integrity" (1 Cor.5:8, author's translation).
That is quite a mouthful but it really does capture the full essence of what it is to live the unleavened life - the New Covenant Chag haMatzah or Festival of Unleavened Bread. I am so grateful Paul wrote this passage because he has captured, in a single sentence, what it means to be in Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) and what the Living Torah produces in a person. There is no room for squirming and every hidden motive for what we do to resist it is exposed. He tells us what is in the heart of the one who is in the Sanctuary or onboard the Ark and what must not be. I am also grateful for all the translators who have together conveyed the full essence of meaning of what the New Covenant Feast is all about. For if, over the next few days, you merrily eat matzah (unleavened bread) whilst deliberately and consciously and without any sort of repentance having any malice, wickedness, evil, corruption, vice, injuriousness, depravity, wickedness, bitterness, mischief, insincerity, impurity, unclearness, lack of nobility, dishonour, lack of innocence, lack of unadulterated truth, unsanctity, unholiness, dishonesty of intent or a lack of integrity you are in serious trouble for such have no place or resting ground in the Kingdom of our Elohim (God). If you persist, firmly embrace or deliberately refuse to repent of any of these there is absolutely no point your being here, there is no point your hoping you will board the ark or enter the Sanctuary, to be there when the storm reaches our shores and comes up the threshhold of our homes.
The Moed and the Ark
So what more is there to be said about this Seven Day Festival of Yahweh? Absolutely nothing. Paul and the translators have summarised it admirably for us. And it is no accident that this moed (appointment) is occuring at the same time that those who love Yahweh and His mitzvot (commandments) are assembled in the Ark and waiting for the door to be shut by His hand. And do you know what? Those men and women in Noah's day who were laughing and mocking Noah - indeed, displaying some or all of those negative characteristics - really believed they were on an ark of safety under their own feet. They lived the delusion that they were on a kind of Ark - terra firma - which had always served them well when they were actually in the gravest danger because their sin had blinded them. And there may well be some gathering in the name of the Remnant, either here or abroad, who truly believe they are holding a valid ticket as bona fide passengers, who may even have born testimony of the Aviv 9 Anointing but who are yet on the inside. So, please, don't get complacent or cocky. We none of us can afford it.
The Amalekite Attack
Yesterday, after the sermon, Brother Ljungstrand reminded those of us who stayed behind to listen, that in the First Exodus, the Amalekites attacked Israel shortly after the Second or Late Pesach (Passover) (about three weeks into the third month) and Israel was forced to directly engage this evil nation in open battle. As he related the incident the Ruach (Spirit) bore testimony that we need to be prepared:
Aaron's and Hur's Needed
"The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, 'Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of Elohim (God) in my hands.'
"So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up -- one on one side, one on the other -- so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
Then Yahweh said to Moses, 'Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.'
"Moses built an altar and called it Yahweh-Nissi - Yahweh is my Banner. He said, 'For hands were lifted up to the throne of Yahweh. Yahweh will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation'" (Ex.17:8-16, NIV).
After sharing this davar (word), our brother prayed for me that the Aaron's and Hur's amongst you would hold up my hands in prayer during the battle that would follow after we are attacked. We will not take this passively but are to engage in spiritual warfare aggressively until the end of that day. Please notice that the Amalekites were not wiped out, only subdued. Furthermore, Yahweh said that He would "be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation". So who, or what, do they represent?
Hating Without a Cause
Firstly, Amalek was a grandson of Esau (Gen.36:11-12) and the Amalekites originated in Edom, so they were a very ancient people and traditional enemies of the Hebrews. You know all about Esau and the Edomites. They were nomadic and spread out, mostly along the fringe of the southern border of Canaan with Egypt but ranging over a wide area from western Sinai to Arabia . They frequently clashed with Israel from the time of Israel's wanderings and until the time of David. The attack we have just read about was unprovoked. Speaking of His own enemies, Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
Fight or Flight
"They hated me without reason" (John 15:25, NIV).
People will hate and persecute us without a good reason also. They will invent reasons out of the wicked imaginations of their hearts. You will not be able to reason with them because they don't want to reason with you because they don't care about the emet (truth). They are driven by passions that they have no understanding of because they have admitted demonic spirits into their souls who are at perpetual was with the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones). And when you cannot reason with such persons, you must either flee or engage them in battle as Joshua did until they are defeated.
Dealing With the Amalekite
Now Joshua, whose Hebrew name was Yehoshua, was a type of the resurrected Yah'shua (Jesus), not the mortal Messiah. In some conflicts we are to be as the mortal Messiah, as the innocent lamb, receiving our blows without complaint for the sake of suffering with the Messiah as a witness of His ahavah (love). But in other conflicts we have no choice but to engage the enemy as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah in the power of the Resurrected Messiah. The Amalekite cannot be negociated with and you cannot offer him the other cheek because he will destroy you otherwise. You have to strike him down until he ceases his aggression. He will be craven for a while but soon become sullen, and in time his sullenness will turn to aggression, and so the cycle repeats. This was exactly the same behaviour that Pharaoh displayed toward the captive Israelites who were not commanded to offer the other cheek other than to wait for Yahweh's mishpatim (judgments). Indeed, Pharaoh had to be struck ten times before he himself, and his kingdom, were finally destroyed in the waters of the Red Sea. So Amalek will return after a while and do the same thing again, and must be struck down again, until he is fully ripened in iniquity at the time of his final judgment arrives, when grace can no longer be extended to him because he adamantly refused to repent. I believe many 'Amalekites' who have repeatedly waged war against us will be struck down this time.
The Ziklag Incident
There are many accounts in the Tanakh (Old Testament) of Israel's wars with the Amalekites. You may remember the time when David was a fugitive from Saul and his camp at Ziklag was attacked by them whilst he was on a raid against the Philistines. The Amalakites carried off David's wives and children along with the wives and children of his men. The incident almost sparked off a revolt in his own camp but David launched a counter-raid and recovered all their families and goods intact (1 Sam.27:8-9; 30:1-25).
Saul's 'Amalekite' Spirit
Here is one reason why Amalek has to be attacked - he goes for the vulnerable in the Kingdom - wives and children - and takes them captive. How many of us have lost wives and children to the Enemy? Many, and sometimes more than once. But the men are not to rest until their wives and children have been recovered. You see, King Saul - rebel and liberal that he was - failed to do this properly when he was ordered by Yahweh through the navi (prophet) Samuel to do a thorough job. He spared the Amalekite king's life and took the booty for himself even though Yahweh had forbidden him to do both, forcing Samuel to do the job for him (1 Sam.15:8-9,20,32-33). Don't you dare fail to do what Yahweh commands you to do if you claim to be of the Remnant for it will not go well with you if you do.
The Amalekite Who Tried to Worm His Way into David's Favour
But there is another side of Amalek that needs to be understood, a devious and lying spirit. You willr ecall the tragic death of Saul on the battlefield. Fatally wounded and not wanting to be taken prisoner he commanded his armour-bearer to carry out the fatal blow. When the armour-bearer refused, Saul fell on his own sword with the armour-bearer following suit afterwards. Then an Amalekite came with a fabricated story of how he had been responsible for killing David's enemy, bringing the evidence with him. He did so with the intent of winning David's favour. David's wrath at this Amalekite must have taken him by surprrise for David proceeded to accuse him of killing the 'Anointed of Yahweh', something he, in his honour and loyalty, had resisted doing ever since Saul turned on him. David slew the lying Amalekite without a second thought. Using lies the Amalekite pretended to be righteous in order to curry favour and obtain advantage. And this, surely, is the most diabolical trait of the 'spiritual Amalekite' - he is a lying weasel, a sneaky serpent trading in other men's blood and reputation, pretending to be righteous and loyal when he is a traitor. Yah'shua (Jesus) warned:
"A time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to Elohim (God)" (John 16:2, NIV).
Be warned for there are always such types, charming and generous on the outside but inside they are predatory devils plotting evil, preying on the weak and vulnerable in the same way that the historical Amalekites preyed on the stragglers in the camp of Israel - the weak, the old, the careless, the immature and the infirm. They divide communities to their own advantage, seeking disciples for themselves, but are predictably the first to abandon the flock when trouble comes:
All Edens Have Their Serpents
"They tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd" (Zech.10:2, NIV).
Yahweh's people have always been plagued by them and have enjoyed no shalom (peace) until they have been rooted out by His Almighty Hand. It is deeply saddening to even have to think about such things but we must deal with realities both now and in the future. We will not be spared from them that our discernment and emunah (faith) may grow. All Edens must inevitably have their serpents to tempt us. Never forget that. Though it is an unpleasant matter, Yahweh uses such people to teach the spiritually young invaluable lessons. Having experienced the unpleasantries of these slippery 'Amalekites' this many times in my ministry, it is not news to me personally, but for many of you it will be an unpleasant and rude awakening. But it will hopefully also show you the utter futility of trusting in the flesh. Our good will to all men must finally be tempered by the sober awareness that not all people who call themselves 'Christian' or 'Messianic' love us as we seek to love them, but are in pursuit only of their own egotistical agendas.
After the incident at Ziglag, the Amalekite survivors came to be collectively known with other nomadic groups as 'Arabs'. The word 'Amalek', incidentally, is believed to mean 'warlike' or a 'dweller in the valley'. The Israelites, by contrast, are dwellers on hills or mountaintops. Enough of you have had prophetic dreams or visions to know what I am talking about, and indeed I shared one of my own with you a few months ago. Yesterday I talked to you about mountains and pyramids in connection with the Messianic Kingdom. The 'Amalekite' is one who likes creature comforts, who prefers the ease of the valley to the inconvenience of the cold, windy and wet mountain-tops. Given a choice between austerity and indulgence, they will always choose the latter. Given a choice between self-reliance and entitlement, they will always choose the latter. But Yahweh meets us in the windy heights thrashed by the elements, not in the comfortable valley beneath. Consider Moses and Elijah as two examples.
Fruits of the Sukkot Anointing and the Amalekite Spirit Contrasted
Recipients of the Sukkot (Tabernacles) Anointing, in any degree, automatically have responsibilities as witnesses and defenders of the emet (truth) and of the Kingdom. Those who remain in the anointing are always attracted by, and to, the unleavened bread of sincerity, purity, clearness, nobility, honour, innocence, unadulterated truth, sanctity, holiness, honesty of intent and integrity. The Amalekite, by contrast, is attracted by, and to, the leaven of malice, wickedness, evil, corruption, vice, injuriousness, depravity, wickedness, bitterness or mischief.
Trouble in the Days Ahead
Your loyalty to the Kingdom will be tested in the immediate days ahead and you will either find yourselves holding up the arms of Moses as an Aaron or a Hur or joining the Amalekite camp as a 'satan' or adversary. Sad to say, I have made predictions of this kind in the past, and they have happened as the Ruach (Spirit) told me they would. Some of you here will remember them vividly.
The Plot Against Nehemiah
I have not got around to sharing those other visions with you that I mentioned yesterday but hopefully tomorrow. I want to conclude a true story of faithfulness and to impress upon you what faithfulness may sometimes imply and require of us. Let me start withan incident from the life of Nehemiah so that you can better understand the kind of character that defines godly men and women of Yahweh, of which the Remnant is composed. There was a plot to intimidate Nehemiah by false friends, and specifically a false navi (prophet) called Shemaiah, with the intent or luring Nehemiah into the safety of the temple with a view to murdering him:
"One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, 'Let us meet in the house of Elohim (God), inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you - by night they are coming to kill you.' But I said, 'Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!'" (Neh.6:10-11, NIV).
Now to a modern story, about a man called Francisco, of the southern African nation of Angola. He lived in a city that repeatedly changed sides during that country's civil war some years ago. Every time a different side captured the city, Francisco was arrested as a suspected collaborator. He could have bought his freedom by fighting for whichever side happened to control the city, but he was determined to not to do this because of his emunah (faith) in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
One day the guards made him dig a deep hole in the ground. When it was ready, they began to bury him alive. When the dirt/soil was up to his mouth, they gave him one last chance: kill for them or die. Francisco chose death, declaring that he had to do Yahweh's will and not theirs. They finished burying him, but he didn't cry out. Something made the commander dig him up quickly before he was smothered, and today Francisco still serves Yahweh in that city.
Job's Faithfulness and Reward
Our loyalty must be like that of that Angolan believer Francisco. We must be loyal even unto death. Perhaps our greatest gift to Abba Yahweh is our trust when we are suffering and can't see or hear Him. Job went through that experience, didn't he? but he kept holding on to "the devarim (words) of the Qadosh (Holy) One" (Job 6:10). Yes, he complained a lot, but he hung on nevertheless. He experienced severe trials and none were harder to bear than Yahweh's apparent silence. But it is in His silence that we are tested to the most and those who pass the test have their emunah (strengthened) and gain the ability to climb yet another step of that stepped-pyramid, ever higher into the Sukkot (Tabernacles) Anointing. Job would not let go of his emunah (faith), unlike so many I have known over the years, and he was rewarded with a stunning revelation of Elohim (God) (Job 42:6).
Leaving the Valley of Perpetual Comfort
I told you last time - and I have told you before - that I would give it to you straight and not mince my words. If you are to remain in this adventure of the Remnant you have got to step out and take risks. You can't remain in the valley of perpetual comfort. I know that can be hard. It's hard for all of us, but we must do it. You can do it of your own free will and step aboard the Ark or you can adamantly refuse to come out of your safety zone and await for the waters of the floods to buffet you enough to hopefully finally awaken you and kick you out of the nest of your own self-protection and ease. The coming collapse is going to be very traumatic for this pampered, self-entitled generation, as all their fleshy safety nets are swept away and they are forced to stand on their own feet and rely wholly on Yah'shua (Jesus). None of the subtle manipulation, pretenses and acting will work for them any more because the waters will dash such pretentions upon the rocks of their own folly.
The choice is ours - in or out, true or false, real of pretentious, honourable or despicable. We're less than two days away for those who want to remain on the Ark to make those choices. Let me read to you Paul's words one last time and we'll leave it at that until we assemble again later today and tomorrow at Yom haBikkurim (Day of Firstfruits):
"Therefore let us keep the appointment or Feast of Unleavened Bread, not with old or leftover leaven, nor with the leaven of malice, wickedness, evil, corruption, vice, injuriousness, depravity, wickedness, bitterness or mischief, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity, purity, clearness, nobility, honour, innocence, unadulterated truth, sanctity, holiness, honesty of intent and integrity"
Continued in Part 3
 Numbers 13:29; Judges 12:15; 1 Samuel 15:7 30:1-2