Month 6:22, Week 3:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5940:169 AM|
2Exodus 3/40, Yovel - Year 50/50 - Teshuvah 22/39
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 23 September 2016
The Two Sides of Reality
Being Productive in Chaotic Times
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el and mishpachah - may the grace and shalom (peace) of Yah'shua (Jesus) be upon you all, and especially those of our fellowship who are currently in, or close, to war zones or areas of civil unrest such as in the recent outbreak of ethnic violence in Charlotte, North Carolina. I fear this is but a glimpse of the widespread anarchy that is going to be almost everywhere before too long.
On the Verge of World War III
And now we have learned that a Russian reprisal against a US attack on the Syrian Army in violation of the Peace Agreement has resulted in the deaths in Aleppo of army intelligence officers from the USA, UK, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar who not only weren't supposed to be in Syria but who were actively directing operations by the Syrian rebels against a sovereign state. If this escallates there will be war between NATO and Russia, which means World War III, a war the élites have been trying to ignite so many times now so that they can create a precendent for global dictatorship. Truly "the earth [is now] corrupt in Elohim's (God's) sight and ... full of violence" (Gen.6:11, NIV) and judgment lies at the very doorsteps.
Yahweh Hates War
None of us here were alive when the world was last at war though our parents and grandparents were. Nevertheless horrible wars rage in the Middle East and elsewhere, and we know exactly what Elohim (God) thinks about them:
When Yahweh Permits or Justifies War
"Yahweh examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence His soul hates" (Ps.11:5, NIV).
War is vile, war is hell, even though Yahweh permits it in order to execute judgment. By nature, Yahweh is an Elohim (God) of shalom (peace) and reconcilliation, and by nature, those who are in Messiah are the same. Throughout her history, Israel had to fight and win many wars in order to survive as a covenant people of Elohim (God). Yahweh gave them strength and at times fought for them directly so that no or little human intervention was required. When ever Yahweh used Israel to wage war it was always to carry out His righteous judgment and divine plan. One thing He never did was to tolerate violence as a way of life.
About 23 centuries ago, the navi (prophet) Isaiah was called to delivere a ringing condemnation of violence as sin that causes Yahweh to turn His back in judgment, all the more pertinent again as the drums of war beat ever louder everywhere:
Faith is Stretched to the Limit in War
"Surely the arm of Yahweh is not too short to save,
nor His ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
you from your Elohim (God);
your sins have hidden His face from you,
so that He will not hear.
For your hands are stained with blood,
your fingers with guilt.
Your lips have spoken lies,
and your tongue mutters wicked things.
No one calls for justice;
no one pleads his case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments and speak lies;
they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
They hatch the eggs of vipers
and spin a spider's web.
Whoever eats their eggs will die,
and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.
Their cobwebs are useless for clothing;
they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their deeds are evil deeds,
and acts of violence are in their hands.
Their feet rush into sin;
they are swift to shed innocent blood.
Their thoughts are evil thoughts;
ruin and destruction mark their ways.
The way of shalom (peace) they do not know;
there is no justice in their paths.
They have turned them into crooked roads;
no one who walks in them will know peace.
"So justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows"
(Isa 59:1-9, NIV).
Such a time is again upon us, and especially upon the corrupt and decadent Israelite nations of America (West Manasseh), the United Kingdom (Ephraim) and their allies. Who yet knows how this destruction will affect us here in Sweden, or South Africa, or Myanmar, or wherever you happen to live? We do know what much suffering is coming that will RADICALLY stretch our emunah (faith).
The National Past is Dead
Last night I was watching a movie about England in the late 1960's when I was a middle teenager. It brought back so many memories of that time. Though the rot had already set in even then, there was still enough of the old Christian morality to keep the nation together. It is hard not to be nostalgic and even harder to admit that all that is forever gone. Those of you who have been around a while may well remember your own countries and how they were back in your youth and, comparing them with the moral decay and anarchy today, wish you could recover the good that has been lost. I have to say, though, that our national past is well and truly dead and unrecoverable now. I know a lot of you don't want to hear that but certain lines have now been crossed that only leave judgment.
All Will Be Destroyed
One thing I have desperately struggled with over the years is the question of why one should bother to do anything in a world that is on an irreversible parth to destruction. We're even told that all of man's works down here will be burned up in a fiery heat and be replaced by a new world entirely:
It Matters What We Do
"That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (2 Pet.3:12-13, NIV).
So yes, all the great monuments of man like Canterbury or Châtres Cathedral, the Eifel Tower, or whatever piece of architecture of the masters you may admire - all the art, all the books - everything in this physical domain - will be destroyed at some point. Much of it has already been destroyed in war. That's quite a depressing thought for many, myself included, and as I said, it has left me to wonder the point of building anything physical at all. But as the author G.K.Chesterton reminds us so well, what we do here matters somewhere else.
The Two-Sided Tapestry
On this side of the veil of mortality nothing makes a lot of sense but on the other an everlasting construction is taking place. Our righteous thoughs, desires and the works of our hands are creating for us, and for ther glory of Elohim (God), something imperishable. So be creative, build the Kingdom, knowing that on the other side of the veil a masterpiece reflecting your life and sacrifices is being created. It was Chesterton, you may remember, who invented the tapestry analogy, which I quote often to remind everyone that the work of art of our lives being created on the heavenly side is what ultimately matters because that is preserved forever:
The Worthwhile Changes We Can Make
So, yes, what we do here may not matter very much here in terms of any permanent improvement to society but it most definitely matters somewhere else, i.e. in heaven, and to the people we bless who are down here with us. We may change society for a while, long enough for righteousness to take root and for Yahweh to do His good work, but we need not assume it will be permanent. The goal is not, in any case, the world but the salvation of people who are destined to inherit Yahweh's own world to come. What we do matters if it is to the glory of Elohim (God) for that is most definitely recorded in Heaven and preserved forever for all the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) to see and give Yahweh thanks for.
For the Greater Good
We may not fully grasp this or even know much about it in the here-and-now but I am pretty sure we will absolutely know - and either delight or regret what we did here - in the eternities. We see this tapestry in part in our characters and how they change. So whether you are refusing an alcoholic beverage at a gathering, or refraning from using profanity while all around you colleagues are swearing, you are building character and gtiving Yahweh glory in resisting the Enemy. Watching a neighbour's child or making a meal for a neighbour when she is unwell is building your character as well as witnessing of the love of Messiah. Every simple act of everyday goodness, morality or kindness is depositing a future inheritance for you as well as building your character now. By doing these things we are allowing Yahweh to work in us and through us on behalf of others for the greater good.
Recorded in the Heavenly Temple
We develop godliness every time we let Elohim (God) have His way in our lives instead of insisting on our own way, even though our own way may seem pious and good to us. As we give ourselves more and more to Yahweh in trusting relationship, we come to know Him, and He is able then to fashion us to be more and more like Himself. As we do this, our personal tapestry grows in magnificence in the Heavenly Temple. And if you are an artist or an architect or a writer or designer or a builder or whatever requires creativity, it too is recorded in Heaven and has permanence if it was done to the glory of Elohim (God). So continue being creative for the King!
As the world seemingly collapses around us, continue working for Yahweh, not worrying about whether your labour is worth it or not. If it's for Yah'shua (Jesus), it's always worth it. Go in shalom (peace)!