Month 2:16, Week 3:1 (Rishon/Pesach), Year:Day 5939:46 AM|
2Exodus 2/40, Omer Count Sabbath #4/5
Gregorian Calendar Monday 4 May 2015
Late Yom haBikkurim 2015
The Golden Ramp and the
False Altar of Sacrifice
Continued from Part 2
Introduction: Presenting the Firstfruits
Chag sameach Yom haBikkurim kol beit Yisra'el and may the grace of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah be with you all on this important day not of commemorating the resurrection of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah who is its firstfruits, but it is also the presentation before Yah'shua (Jesus) as our Cohen Gadol or High Priest, the firstfruits of the Remnant in this part of the Vineyard.
The Ripened Possession
The word 'bikkurim' which we render as 'firstfruits' in English, in actual fact means 'first ripening', coming as it does from a root, reshit meaning 'first processed'. Like the firstborn male of every household, the 'first processes' or the 'first ripened' are intrinsically qadosh, holy or set-apart to Yahweh, and therefore become His automatic possession.
In acknowledgement that Yahweh owned the land as well as the crops produced on it, and also in acknowledgement that He brought Israel into the land in the first place, the first part of the crop was transferred to Yahweh before the rest could be consumed. Without that transfer there could be no blessing on the rest of the crop . This transfer of the firstfruits to Yahweh was required not only from the first ripe of the crop, but also from the first processed of some products: grain, new wine (unfermented grape juice), new olive oil, first syrup, leavened food, bread, dough, and even wool .
What Firstfruits are You Presenting to Yahweh
A problem with mankind is that it does not know it is owned. Mankind believes it owns itself and so it makes no presentation of its first ripening to Yahweh. Indeed, mankind even keeps the first and best for itself. This goes not only for mankind collectively but for each individual soul. So the big question on our minds this morning must surely be: what of myself am I presenting before Yahweh? What am I offering up to Him as His rightfully possessed bikkurim or firstfruits? And what of my bikkurim (firstfruits) have I presented to my flesh instead? Is my sacrifice a full and complete one or am I still sacrificing to my own ego and private agenda? What have I actually presented of myself to the Kingdom and therefore to Him?
Present the Bikkurim Before You Eat Anything
The very first sheaf of grain harvested (almost certainly barley, since it ripened first) was transferred to Elohim (God) by the 'wave', 'elevation' or 'raising' (NRSV) ceremony performed before Yahweh (Lev.23:10ff.). This ceremony was performed before the the consumption of the new harvest, along with other sacrifices. This public act proclaimed that the harvest belonged to Yahweh.
Ascent the Mount With Thanksgiving
I was up again last night preparing this address but it was not with the same simcha (joy) as the previous one. Truthfully I am saddened. I have, until today, poured my heart out to everyone, and like a parent anxious for his children, have pled that all would make a complete teshuvah (repentance), present an acceptable sacrifice to Yahweh and ascend the Mountain of our Elohim (God) with pure hearts and with thanksgiving.
So, yes, I was up last night again, struggling in prayer, anxious to know what last words I should now say the boarding of the Ark tomorrow, and wondering about the state of all our souls. I was, of course, very concerned about Brother Ljungstrand who was in much distress yesterday over having eaten some 'over-ripe' meat that he had brough with him. It got me thinking about what happens when we try to gather extra manna that has been allotted to us for one day and try to stretch it to last two. You will remember that when the Israelites did this the manna turned rotten and was consumed by worms.
One of the great sins of this generation is its greed in demanding the fruits of other men's labour without labouring themselves. The work of the Kingdom is always a mutual effort of mutual sacrifice, each man and woman according to his or her gifts. When the first qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) received the outpouring of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) at Shavu'ot (Weeks, 'Pentecost'), they didn't carry on as normal. They didn't go back to fishing, they dropped their nets and went and preached the good news of the Kingdom because it had drawn near to them.
Anointings Change You Forever
Can you imagine any of them carrying on as before? Anointings radically change your life - they cause you to leap to your feet and to proclaim what Yahweh has given. There was no doubt, no hesitation, in their minds, was there? All their doubts vapourised, their depression and discouragement lifted, because of the resurrection that they had become witnessesn to! This was no timid flock. And where before their eyes had been on their navels and in their disappointment at what they had concluded was a dead-end ministry because of the murder of their Master as they sat huddled in that upper room, now their eyes were on evangelism - and passionatelty so! That is what an annointing of Yahweh does to you. I makes you want to share and to invite people to come, declaring: "Come and see what Elohim (God) has done for us! Come and eat at this table!" like that Australian woman, Rachelle Hamilton-Cohen, whose testimony we heard yesterday evening.
Anointings and New Ways
Now admittedly this Sukkot (Tabernacles) anointing is a little different but the commitment is no less. Where it enters the hearts of the ones prepared to receive it, it binds those souls together. They lay down their besetting sins and can think of nothing else but service to the Giver of the Anointing. How do we thank our Heavenly Father for what He has given? Certainly not by continuing in our old ways. What a slap in His face that would be! You do not receive a gift from the Father and then consume it upon your lusts as the carnal man does. You do not continue in your old ways any longer. You shed the load of besetting sin and you leap to your feet like a hart and you go forth and testify.
The Second Sign
Moreover, you don't stop going forth. It doesn't burn out like those false charismatic anointings. It doesn't give you a psychic high and then collapse under its own weight as its force is expended and expires. The Anointing, once there, brings constancy with it. It is a wave that does not lose its height or its force. It does not crash on some distant shore and then vanish. And that, brethren and sisters, is its second sign. It remains, and it remains because its recipient is changed, and because its recipient is changed he moves onwards and ever higher in his or her spiritual calling. Those first talmidim (disciples) nailed their colours to the mask so that everyone could see and know that they meant what they professed. There is progress, not stagnation.
Ungodly Connections and Salt Covenants
Now last night, as I said, I was preparing this and I was exhausted and heavy. I gave up after an hour-and-a-half and went to bed. Yahweh did give me part of the message but He needed me more alert to receive the rest. No sooner had a laid my head down on my pillow than I came under spiritual attack and I wondered why. So many of the struggles we have come because we make ungodly connections, and those connections act as conduits for the driving spirits in the people with whom we make connections. Those connections become even more cemented by the B'rit Melah or salt covenants we inadvertantly make with those we share our table with. You never know who the Amalekite is untikl he reveals his true colours for he will present himself as an Israelite when he is of the enemy. Remember the Amalekite who brought news of Saul's death to David and who lied in order to worm his way into David's favour? David was no fool. He knew how Saul had truly died and this lying Amalekite sealed his own fate by his deception. That is what the flesh does, brethren and sisters, lying and trying to worm its way into Yah's favour but in the process earning a full and terrifying condemnation - an execution order!
VISION OF THE GOLDEN RAMP
Last night I was shown a vision that puzzled me at first. I saw this enormously long golden ramp made of metal that graduaally ascended, over a long distance, to a small altar that seemed to be made of stone. I knew this was not the Brazen Altar in the Courtyard because the ramp was made of gold, and there is no gold in the Courtyard of the Tabernacle. Another anomaly was that the altar was tiny so as to be totally dwarfed by the ramp. At first I thought that this was a representation of the journey of the Remnant in the pig picture and that somehow the altar represented the sacrifice of the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones). But there was nothing beyond this altar - absolutely nothing - no sign of a Sanctuary of any kind. There was a solitary figure on this ramp - he was quite small in size by comparsion.
The Man o Self-Exaltation
As I pondered this vision this morning and asked Yahweh to give the meaning of it to me, He told me the following. The man on the ramp is all display. The altar is small because he really has no intention of sacrificing. Indeed he has no intention of going to the altar at all. He simply wants to be seen on the golden ramp and to receive the admiration and praises of men. He is after glory for himself. He has covered the ramp he walks with gold - with self-glory - forgetting that the steps to the Brazen Altar are not made with precious metals but with humble stone. He is not there to serve the King or the Kingdom but himself.
The Amalekite Theatre
Like the Amalekite he is able to put on a convincing show for a while until he is found out. The man in the vision had stopped about half way up the ramp, high enough to be seen and admired but not so far up that he would be exposed as the fraud that he was since he had no intention of making any sacrifices for the Kingdom whatsoever. Actors, when they play heroes, are not themselvs heroes. Indeed, from what I have seen on most actors and actresses, they are the most miserable of men and women.
Thinking They Belong to the Kingdom
Yah'shua (Jesus), commenting on the emunah of the Roman centurion whose servant He was about to heal at a distance, said this:
The Kingdom Within and Around
"What I am about to tell you is true. In Israel I have not found anyone whose emunah (faith) is so strong. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west. They will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of heaven. They will sit with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But those who think they belong to the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness. There they will sob and grind their teeth" (Mt.8:10-12, NIRV).
What have you brought before Yahweh this morning on this the Day of Firstfruits - Yom haBikkurim? What has been your sacrifice for the King and the Kingdom? What are you ready to tell the world as a witness of the first deposit of the Sukkot Anointing received last month? And and is your witness solo or a part of a united Body of Messiah? What I am asking you is this: what is the exact nature of your witness? What are you waving before the Cohen Gadol, the High Priest of Messianic Israel? And what outward manifestation of the Kingdom are you promoting? For the Kingdom of our Elohim (God) is not merely within you but it is around you, as the Amplified Version of the Version so well puts it (Lk.17:21).
Solo Christians and Communists
The Kingdom - if it is not a fleshy counterfeit - we understand well, but what Kingdom is 'around' you too? Just yourself? Just your family? The people in this room along with all our brethren in Africa? Or do you have in mind something less tangible like 'the Body of Christ' which sounds grand in words but has no real impact on your living simply because it so ephemeral? One of the psychopathies of communists that I discovered, and an explanation as to why they have so little heart for individual people, is the way they worship the intangible 'revolution', the idea of the 'masses', which is so distant that it can never be real or personal. Solo Christians have a tendency to view the Body of Messiah in a similar way and their religion evolves into something very self-centred indeed, a huge fantasy, in fact.
One Entrance Only
As we approach the collapse so we must be sure we are on an Ark of Safety. But we cannot invent our own ramps and altars. There is only one entrance into the Kingdom Ark and only one way to get in - to crawl in on your hands and knees. False humility can be manufactured to be sure but by-the-by it soons exposes itself in all its ugliness. The storms take care of that, washing off the actor's make-up. The actors perish in the flood waters along with their misguided admirers.
Messianic Firstfruits Metaphors
In the Greek Septuagint (LXX) and up to the first century AD, the word aparché is used for 'firstfruits' sacrificed to Yahweh. In the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) Paul uses the concept of firstfruits as a metaphor for Yah'shua (Jesus) as the first one to rise from the dead, the first in a series of those who will rise from the dead in the future (Rom.16:5):
Diotrephes: To Whom Submitted?
"Watch, stand fast in the emunah (faith), be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with ahavah (love). I urge you, brethren -- you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the bikkurim (firstfruits) of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) -- that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labours with us (the apostles)" (1 Cor.16:13-16, NKJV).
The firstfruits are devoted to the ministry and to the apostles who have stewardship over the ministry as a whole. We are not to submit to the toqef (authority), teaching or ministry of anyone, like Diotrephes, who do not submit to the apostles - the emissaries - of the Kingdom. Who was Diotrephes?
The Conception, Birth and Maturation of an Amalekite
"Diotrephes won't have anything to do with us (apostles). He loves to be the first in everything. So if I come I will point out what he is doing. He is saying evil things about us to others. Even that doesn't satisfy him. He refuses to welcome other believers. He also keeps others from welcoming them. In fact, he throws them out of the assembly. Friends, don't be like those who do evil. Be like those who do good. Anyone who does whatb is good belongs to Elohim (God). Anyone who does what is evil hasn't really seen or known Elohim (God)" (3 Jn.1:9-11, NIRV).
Diotrephes was a ful-blown Amalekite pretending to be a Messianic Israelite. He didn't get that way in one day. Amalekites have to be conceived, born and then ripen in iniquity, becoming bikkurim or firstfruits to Satan. They yield to the fleshy nature and cultivate it in a Gospel setting and are the most dangerous king of Amalekite there is. They are journeying up that golden ramp of self-glory.
The Ruach as Bikkurim
In Romans 8:23 Paul describes the gift of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) as firstfruits:
The Dough and the Tree
"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the bikkiurim (firstfruits) of the Ruach (Spirit), groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this tiqveh (hope) we were saved. But tiqveh (hope) that is seen is no tiqveh (hope) at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently" (Rom.2:22-25, NIV).
In Romans 11:16 Paul uses a double metaphor of the dough as firstfruits to the whole lump, and secondly a tree, naming roots and branches:
Firstfruit of the Resurrection
"For if the bikkur (firstfruit) is qadosh (holy), the lump is also qadosh (holy); and if the root is qadosh (holy), so are the branches" (Rom.11:16, NKJV).
Yah'shua (Jesus) is the bikkur (firstfruit) of the resurrection and by our being grafted into Him as branches, we too are rendered qadosh (holy, set-apart) but for only as long as we remain grafted. If we are grafted in, we become like Him in nature. When we cease being grafted in, we become more and more like the Amalekite - at first something between the two, part Israelite and part Amalekite - but as more of the Amalekite sap flows through our being, so we begin to lose the Israelite sap.
Firstfruits of Yahweh's Creatures
Both the image of the lump and of the root stress also that collectively that the branches of Messianic Israel are qadosh (holy, set-apart) too because because of her qadosh (holy, set-apart) origin, despite unholy appearances at this time caused by continuing resident 'Amalekiteness'. Similarly, the apostle James uses "firstfruits of (Yahweh's) creatures" (Jas.1:8) as it is written:
Firstfruits: Undefiled, Without Deceit, Spotless
"Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the Davar Emet (Word of Truth), that we might be a kind of bikkurim (firstfruits) of all he created" (James 1:16-18, NIV).
In Revelation 14:4 the 144,000 are a "firstfruit" for believers; they are undefiled, without deceit, and spotless:
The Firstfruits of NCAY
"These are those who did not defile themselves with women (false religion), for they kept themselves pure [as virgins]. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as bikkurim (firstfruits) to Elohim (God) and the Lamb" (Rev.14:4, NIV).
Today is a gathering and presentation of the bikkurim (firstfruits) of this work, of those who call themselves 'Messianic Evangelicals' not only with their lips but through identifying with this part of the Body through their works of service for the ministry and through their commitment by covenant and by sacrifice, who are united with the apostolic heads, those whom Yahweh has chosen to be emissaries to the world of this evangel. Compared to the harvest as a whole, the bikkurim (firstfruits) are always a very tiny remnant indeed.
And so it is that we have gathered the bikkurim (firstfruits) of the Remnant and specifically the bikkurim (firstfruits) of the New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh. Their number and identity you will not know until the door of the Ark has been shut by Yahweh Himself tomorrow. Even now as I speak they are being waved or lifted before the Throne of our Cohen Gadol (High Priest), Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), in the Heavenlies. Only after they have been dedicated can the rest of those who have been called to this work come in proerly at the Tabernacle Emet (Truth) Gate. I will speak to you again tomorrow. Amen.
Continued in Part 4
 Leviticus 19:23-25; 23:14; Deuteronomy 26:1-5; Proverbs 3:9-10
 Leviticus 2:12; Numbers 15:20; 18:12; Deuteronomy 18:4