Month 1:15 (Aviv 15), Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5940:15 AM|
2Exodus 3/40, Yovel - Year 50/50
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 22 April 2016
Chag haMatzah I 2016
2. The Great National Exchange
Continued from Part 1
"But now, thus says Yahweh, he who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you: and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am Yahweh your Elohim (God), the Qadosh (Holy, Set-Apart) One of Israel, your Deliverer (Saviour). I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Se'ba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in My sight, and honoured, and I love you. I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life" (Isaiah 43:1-4, NRSV)
Shabbat shalom and Chag haMatzah sameach kol beit Yisra'el and mishpachah! Welcome to this assembly both at home and abroad, greetings to all the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) whose hearts are aflame for Yahweh and His Son Yah'shua (Jesus) and are on fire for this work. May grace be yours in abundance today through the Pascal Lamb who offered His life an atoning sin for you and for me.
The Faithfullness of Yahweh
I have chosen today's scripture from the Book of Isaiah to remind everyone that Yahweh never breaks His side of any covenant He has entered into. Jacob, or Israel, is the name of the Covenant People, whether of the earlier (Mosaic) covenant or of the new one in Messiah. In this short passage we are reminded of two things. First, that Israelites "pass through the waters", meaning that we are called to pass through difficulties. However, as we walk across rivers of difficulty, having emunah (faith), and not doubting, we have the promise that we shall not be overwhelmed. Be it water or fire we must pass through - and we are about to pass through a great fire in our time - we shall neither be drowned nor burned. Indeed, who is it who drowns when Yah's people cross the waters? Is is not Egypt? And so we have the promise again, ratified each time a new prophetic cycle comes along, that we shall not be scalded or burned up. Our Covenant Partner, our Heavenly Bridegroom, takes care of His Bride. And though faithless we may be, from time to time, He does not break emunah (faith). He remains ever true.
The Great National Exchange
There is contained in this promise a beautiful and frightening emet (truth) and it is this:
"I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Se'ba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in My sight, and honoured, and I love you. I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life".
This is, at face value, a hard thing to understand but one we must grasp. If we return to the story of Israel crossing Yam Suf, the Sea or Reeds or 'Red Sea', it's important to realise that two peoples pass through these waters. The first are the children of Israel and the second are Pharaoh and his cohorts. The first pass across unharmed and the second are swallowed up and are drowned. But what we may not perhaps realise is that there is a 'trade' of sorts going on - the lives of one group of people for the lives for another. "I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Se'ba in exchange for you" and "I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life".
The Ransom Made at Calvary
One of the reasons we must sorrow over our enemies is because there is, clearly, a law in heaven which demands this trade-off. If a wicked person seeks to destroy a righteous one, the life of the wicked one is (ultimately) destroyed instead, unless he repents and begs for forgiveness and salvation. And being as all of us are sinners, are we not ourselves in the place of the wicked when we are in rebellion? And when we are thus in rebellion, are we not, in a manner of speaking, seeking the destruction of the Righteous One? Isn't that why the Judeans crucified Him? Do you see the tavnith (pattern)? There is a price to be paid for the wicked who repent, and that price was the cross at Calvary.
All Religion is About Blood
This cosmic trade-off is loathed by Satan and by those who have his dark spirit. The reasons are many but one of them is that Satan never offers anything of himself for anyone or anything. Voluntarily sacrificing and taking the proxy punishment is the hallmark of divine ahavah (love) and lies at the root of the atonement. It's cost is high - chayim (life) itself, which in the physical realm is in the blood, "for the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Lev.17:11, KJV). Satan loves to steal blood, for he has none of his own, and Heaven offered it, once and for all, in the Person on the Incarnate Elohim (God), Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). A religion without blood is no religion at all, it has no power, no ahavah (love) and no tiqveh (hope). The thought of it may turn our stomachs, at least the stomachs of those sensitive, and that is as it is supposed to be too, for love was not supposed to be spilled, and would not have had to be spilled, had mankind not rebelled.
Nations Come and Go
Now this exchange principle, of which I speak, is everywhere to be found in Scripture. We learn from the Bible that Yahweh is the author and creator of nations. Numerous of them have come and gone in history. Nations you see today will disappear in the lifetimes of many of you. In my own lifetime nations have disappeared (like the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia) and new ones have appeared (like Slovenia and South Sudan). They are transientory things so don't invest too much of your life energy in them. I dare say we will see some new nations appear in the Middle East soon. Only one nation emerges at the end of the age, and that, as Yahweh informs us through the navi (prophet) Isaiah, is the nation of Israel - not the entity bearing that name in the Middle East today, but the covenant nation of Yahweh's people - the nation of New Covenant Israel:
The Extinction of Oppressing Nations
"As for you, have no fear, My servant Jacob, says Yahweh, for I am with you. I will make an end of all the nations among which I have banished you, but I will not make an end of you!" (Jer.46:28, NRSV).
Every nation to which Israel has been banished comes to an end, doubtless because those nations oppressed Israel, even though it was in Yah's ordination that these nations become His instruments of chastisement. Judah was sent to Babylon. It has vanished though the Enemy is seeking to resurrect it. Israel was sent to Assyria. It has vanished too (though some Christian Assysrians as a people without a nation). Israel was also enslaved in Egypt and that nation - the original peoples - has also vanished, being taken over by Arab conquerors who, though retaining the name 'Egypt', are not the original inhabitants. Whenever a nation has oppressed the Covenant People, an exchange has to be made - the life of the oppressing nation in exchange for the life of the nation of Israel. Every nation that oppresses Yahweh's people will become extinct and every nation that gives Yahweh's people sanctuary will be preserved. There is great honour and reward to giving shelter to the sons and daughters of Yah'shua (Jesus).
The Remnant of Israel
I am not, of course, necessarily speaking of the blood descendants of Jacob and his four wives. I am speaking of the children of Israel the overcomer, Israel the faithful, Israel the loyal, Israel the spiritual, Israel the obedient, Israel the heart full of divine ahavah (love) and chesed (mercy), Israel the true. Israel is a separate thing from Jacob, even though the two terms are often used interchangeably in Scripture. Israel has a biological root in Jacob but to Israel are added multitudes of gentiles, grafted in through the emunah (faith) in the King of Israel, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and obedience to His national torot or laws. Thus Paul, citing the Tanakh (Old Testament), reminds us:
The End of the Middle Eastern State of Israel
"Though the number of the children of Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved; for Yahweh will execute His sentence on the earth quickly and decisively" (Rom.9:27-28, NRSV).
I would have everyone remember that, especially when calls for your allegiance to fleshy states and fleshy peoples are made to you. We owe no allegiance to any Israel save the Israel in Elohim (God). Many a Christian and Messianic will lose his life in the coming troubles because he gave his loyalty to a Rothschild state and to a satanic Zionist ideology. And the faith if these people will be shaken to its foundation when that Middle eastern state, that counterfeit nation, is exchanged for the true Israel in Messiah! Remember these words for most of you will see them fulfilled.
The Meaning of the Feast
Today is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread - Chag haMatzah - which we shall be observing for seven days both to remind us that our Messiah was utterly without the leaven of sin in His life, qualifying Him to thus become our eternal Pesach Lamb and Cohen Gadol (High Priest), making intercession on behalf of those who trust and obey Him before the Thone of the Father, Yahweh.
Becoming the Bride
"Therefore let us keep the feast (Chag haMatzah), not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread (matzah) of sincerity and emet (truth)" (1 Cor.5:8, NKJV).
It is also to remind us that, though we are legally or jurisdictionally without sin because of Messiah as far as the Father and His Judgment of sin is concerned, that we are nevertheless called to engage in the daily process of working out our salvation and getting the sin of leaven out of our own lives through the resurrection power of Yah'shua (Jesus), because we cannot become the Sukkot Bride until we have done so.
The Acquisition of Righteousness
This is not a passive Besorah (Gospel) and indeed one of the chief differences between the Remnant and the rest of Christendom/Messiandom, is the fact the Remnant works to remove all sin out of its corporate and individial life whereas the rest do not. The rest have believed the half-truth that there is no need to do any overcoming, even though the B'rit Chadashah (New Testament) Scriptures speaks of it again and again, because - they say - since Messiah has done it for us, there is nothing else for us to do. Yes, it is true, that no man can save himself by his deeds of righteousness, as he supposes they are, because our attempts at righteousness apart from Messiah are, to use the stark metaphorical language of Scripture, like a woman's soiled menstrual cloth, or as the King James Version puts it:
Dealing With Sin
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isa.64:6, KJV).
Only the Blood (Dahm) of Messiah - which contains the Chayim (Life) of Messiah - can actually cleanse us. We can, and must, make the initial choice to repent and to ask Yah'shua (Jesus) to cleanse us of the filthiness of sin, by making a confession of emunah (faith) with a right, sincere and honest heart, and that cleansing is granted to us. We are made new creatures. However, we must remain separated from sin and from the daily enticing of the flesh and of demons, and as we all know, we not only sin daily but oftentimes discover that there are areas of our lives which we have not yielded to Messiah and which must yet be yielded. This is a part of our ongoing struggle and bespeaks the need to overcome, dealing with the slip-ups we have made and getting to grips with those sin areas which we never actually yielded upon our initial profession of emunah (faith) and spiritual rebirth.
Two-Fifths Annual Festival Time Dealing With the Leaven of Sin
This is the whole story of Chag haMatzah, it's why Yahweh has commanded us to devote seven days of festival-observance focussing on out of a total of 18 days of annual festival observance - that's nearly 40 per cent of our observance! That being indisputably so, it may then become necessary for us to re-evaluate our priorities in the spiritual life, to assign more time, if required, to actually dealing with besetting sins until they are conquered in Messiah. The moment you stop wrestling, the moment you surrender to the momentum and pressure of sin in your life, and the moment you deny the efficacy of the Blood of Messiah in dealing with sin, you are sliding down the slippery slop toward atheism and spiritual destruction. I have seen it happen so many times to so many people and the result is always the same. I am not therefore in need of convincing.
The Threshhold Beyond Which There is No Return
As Brother Ljungstrand has reminded us today, because this is a Day of Judgment, we are shortly to pass a threshhold that will see many suffer the fate Paul warned about:
We have not yet arrived at this threshhold but it is most certainly very, very close. There are souls gambling dangerously with their salvation.
"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), who have tasted the goodness of the Davar Elohim (Word of God) and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of Elohim (God) all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace" (Heb.6:4-6, NIV).
The Future of This Ministry and the Great Commission
In the minds of all of us is the question as to where we are going as a body from now on. Yahweh has already told us that we are to be engaged in the Great Commission - that was His message to us on New Year's Day. That is a very general mitzvah (commandment) and yet it is also all-encompassing - go and win souls for Yah'shua (Jesus) and then disciple them - teach them the whole Besorah (Gospel) from Genesis to Revelation and do so according to divine tavnith (pattern) and with the keys of revelation He has given us. I think we all know that and have taken this as given. And yet the reminder has been needed for many that witnessing is the key to all. A salvation hoarded is a salvation that whithers and dies. It has to be shared. This work must be about sharing emet (truth) from beginning to end.
Witnessing and Teaching are Key
But does Yahweh want us organised? And if so, how? For the last year I have been meditating and praying about this question in earnest and getting no answer beyond that first davar (word) on Aviv 1. That's the evangelical part - we are all to be evangelists and anyone who does not want to witness cannot, by default, be a part of us. The messianic part is to disciple - to teach Torah in its fullness. We have been doing both for years and will continue doing so.
All are Called to Be Ministers
But we have known that Yahweh has wanted something else of us - something that has been impressed upon us by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) practically from Day #1 in the 1980's when we first began, and is is this: He has wanted a COVENANT people, loyal, faithful, obedient and truthworthy both to Him (of course) and to each other, and willing to be chastened and instructed in ahavah (love). Like I have said before, there can be no camp followers in the Remnant because everybody is called to be a minister, that is to say, to minister of share the Davar Chayim or Word of Life with the world. Someone who is not a deacon, deaconess, elder or eldress and serving diligently and enthusiastically in that calling by the time they are 30 years old, having been with us a while, cannot be said to be a spiritual part of us. And this much I know - a minister, whether deacon or elder - is either pastoring, witnessing, teaching or serving in some was for the building up of the Kingdom. It is as Paul said:
Congregation Building and the Second Exodus
"It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be nevi'im (prophets), some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare Elohim's (God's) people for works of service, so that the body of Messiah may be built up until we all reach unity in the emunah (faith) and in the knowledge of the Son of Elohim (God) and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Messiah" (Eph.4:10-13, NIV).
Now you can't do this without assembling together which means this kind of labour cannot be accomplished without congregational life. You just can't. The dilemma, though, has always been in the fact that we have been so scattered. However, we have never been in the business of regular 'church-building', and whilst the planting of congregations is a natural and necessary result of evangelism, we have to remember the time we are now in. We are in the time of EXODUS - the second, last and final one - that will be in the process for anything up to 40 years or a whole generation.
Miracles and the Final Gathering
Our situation, then, is somewhat different. We know that there is to be a Final Gathering into twelve cities or locations of refuge around the world but we also know that that isn't quite yet because it can only be accomplished by the unmistakable supernatural element that charaterised the First Exodus, that is to say, there has to be a whole lot of miracles! You can't, therefore, fake the Second Exodus, because the real one will be accompanied by genuine miracles. Though Satan will undoubedly seek to counterfeit these, they will be discerned, exposed and overturned with power by the nevi'im (prophets) of the True Exodus.
Organising from the Inside Out
What I am sharing with you now is part of the response that Yahweh gave to me this morning when I asked Him whether we are to organise again. My question was, 'Shall we organise?' And His answer, not in direct words but conceptually, was: 'How can you not organise?' but with the qualifier that He has given so many times in the past, namely, that He must do the organising from the inside out. He then reminded me how wine must be held in a vessel so that it is not spilled and wasted which was why over decades He has caused a Constitution to be evolved and to serve as that vessel to contain this supernatural working of the Ruach (Spirit) in people. And with that confirmation I received a flashback of what He had done with us over 30 or so years, with all the mistakes we have madem, the chastisements and learning experiences and how He has been leading and preparing us for this day.
Living for Others' Acceptance?
I asked my wife this morning what it was that she thought Yahweh was seeking in us corporately and she said it in one word: LOYALTY. Loyalty to Elohim (God), loyalty to the Body of the Remnant and to its leaders, and loyalty to each other as brothers and sisters. That resonated with me at once. I think part of my personal struggle has been that there has been so much disloyalty in the past (often followed by persecution) that the Enemy has used this to discourage me time and time again. However, this will always be. Life will not change, the world will not change. And if we are to be truly and effectively a prophetic people, then we must learn to recognise, in the words of Lecrae, of the foolishness of seeking acceptance from anyone:
Praying for Our Enemies and Then Moving On
"If you live for people's acceptance, you will die from their rejection."
Rejection and persecution are part and percel of being witnesses of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Once we have accepted that - for real - we will no longer be dragged down by disloyalty and opposition. We shall pray for our betrayers and enemies, forgive them, and then move on. Then it will be to them whether to repent or walk into tribulation of their own making. We shall not wallow in their pity-partying nor hang around for to hear their ragings. The dogs may bark but the caravan moves on. And that we aim to do.
Each According to Their Gifting
Now I am not saying everyone of called to be a pastor, a travelling evangelist or a local teacher. We all witness in our own way and according to our own gifting. And it may simply be by radiating ahavah (love) and chesed (grace, mercy). However, one thing Yahweh has made absolutely clear about this work: everyone is welcome where thy are provided that are willing to struggle and overcome. We will be there to help them.
No Stasis, No Staying in Ruts
We must absolutely set and maintain high standards (this is a ministry of priests) and be strict about that but there must also be grace...tons of it...for weaknesses which will always be here but which we cannot allow to remain. And whilst we must never surrender to them, we must at least recognise that it is OK to make mistakes provided we don't remain in our ruts, provided we struggle to overcome and move on. What we cannot do is remain in statis - and I know I have said this many times before, but it is true: we must always be on the move spiritually and, I suspect, in the physical realm too. Think like a soldier for that is what we are.
Loyalty and Grace
That is a characteristic of the Remnant which is in Exodus - leaving the world - on the move, never static, never stationary for very long. The Enemy will hound and go for the stragglers and their weaknesses as he always has done which is why we must maintain tight ranks and cohesiveness, with everyone making an effort to do his or her part. The world we are entering, as I have again said so many times, will not be gentle or kind, and if you don't maintain ranks, you will perish. Hence the stress on loyalty and grace.
Crossing Lines into Perdition
So we shall be reorganising but not until we disembark from the ark on 2 June. We have yet to receive more instructions and to get various other matters resolved. Economic collapse may or may not have happened by then. My very real concern is those who have been systematically crossing line after line out of the light they once lived in and into the darkness for there are not so many lines left. For some, the next line may well be into perdition.
There is more that Yahweh has to tell us and we shall, I am confident, receive it over the next few days. In the meantime, the pattern and structure of the 10th Constitution will serve as the organisational template for what will follow, pending further revelation over the days ahead.
Tomorrow we shall assemble again for Yom haBikkurim, the Day of Firstfruits, Resurrection Day. May you have a blessed Shabbat!
Continued in Part 3
Comments From Readers
 "Awesome teaching" (WAW, USA, 23 April 2016)