Month 11:15, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5940:310 AM|
2Exodus 3/40, Yovel - Year 50/50
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 11 February 2017
The Hardest Mitzvah
Why So Few Believers Obey It
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el and Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name and may the Ruach (Spirit) minister to every heart assembled for worship and praise. We would like to extend a special welcome to an Australian brother who will be with us today and for some time afterwards,
The NCAY Motto
On the back of some Swedish coins is a motto of the reigning monarch which reflects his personal attitude toward his calling. We have a saying or motto in this ministry too that pretty much sums up our attitude to the Besorah (Gospel) and to life in general:
The Hardest and Greatest Commandment of All Time
"We do the difficult things first, and the impossible later."
Today I am going to break that rule and start with the impossible by challenging everyone assembled here and reading online to consider the hardest mitzvah (commandment) of all given by Yah'shua (Jesus) to His talmidim (disciples). As it happens, the hardest mitzvah (commandment) is not only the greatest mitzvah (commandment) but the greatest mitzvah (commandment) of all time - there is nothing harder or greater, and never will be.
A Most Misunderstood Commandment
There are many believers, not to mention unbelievers, who actually think this mitzvah (commandment) is easy. Nevertheless it is the hardest of all the mitzvot (commandments). If the hardest mitzvah (commandment) of all is believed by many - indeed, the vast majority - of Christians and Messianics to be 'easy', then there is clearly some considerable misunderstanding afoot.
How Many of Yah'shua's Commandments Do You Know?
As one who has been involved with, or had connections to, or friends in, numerous Christian churches and Messianic assemblies over several decades, it's surprising the degree of ignorance that exists in respect of this the hardest of all the mitzvot (commandments). To appreciate how such a state of affairs has come into existence, all you have to do is ask a cross-section of professing believers to list - lets say, 10 - of the mitzvot (commandments) given by Yah'shua (Jesus). If you can find anyone who knows 15 or 20 of His mitzvot (commandments) - and I don't mean reitterations of the Tanakh, Old Testament of Old Covenant mitzvot (commandments) - then I think you will be very surprised indeed. You can try this exercise privately afterwards, listing as many of the new mitzvot (commandments) that Yah'shua (Jesus) gave. And if you're curious enough, I would invite you to ask your Christian- and Messianic-professing believer-friends to answer this question too. Remember, I'm not asking you to list Tanakh commands like the 10 Commandments.
31 New Covenant Commandments
I have selected 31 of the new mitzvot (commandments) that the Master gave that are not to be found in the Tanakh (Old Testament) and which are applicable to all people in all ages and of both genders. They are an integral and important part of New Covenant Torah. However I am am going to initially leave the hardest - which has 5 components - to the very end. As you will see, the hardest mitzvah (commandment) includes, one way or another, not only the remaining 26 mitzvot (commandments) but the other mitzvot (commandments) of Yah'shua (Jesus) we're not going to go into today plus all the other 600 or so mitzvot (commandments) given by Yahweh, our Heavenly Father, in the Tanakh (Old Testament). So let's take a look at the first batch:
1. Make Teshuvah (Repent)
2. Follow Him
"From that time Yah'shua (Jesus) began to preach and say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'" (Matthew 4:17).
3. Let your light shine
"And He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men'" (Matthew 4:19).
4. Be reconciled
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
5. Don't Lust (Eagerly desire unlawful things)
"Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering" (Matthew 5:23–24).
6. Make no oaths
"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY', but I say to you that everyone who looks at a [married] woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell'" (Matthew 5:27–30).
7. Don't resist evil with evil
"But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of Elohim (God) ... But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil'" (Matthew 5:34,37).
8. Seek Elohim's (God's) Kingdom first
"But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you" (Matthew 5:39-42).
9. Don't Judge
10. Don't give what is qadosh (holy, set-apart) to dogs
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).
11. Treat people as you want to be treated
"Do not give what is qadosh (holy, set-apart) to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces" (Matthew 7:6).
12. Enter (heaven)Chayim (Life) through the narrow gate
"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Torah (Law) and the Nevi'im (Prophets)" (Matthew 7:12).
13. Beware of false nevi'im (prophets)
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to chayim (life), and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).
14. Follow Yah'shua (Jesus)
"Beware of the false nevi'im (prophets), who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:15–16).
15. Ask Yahweh to send out workers
"Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead" (Matthew 8:22).
16. Don't fear those who can kill the body
"Then He said to His talmidim (disciples), 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Master of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest" (Matthew 9:37–38).
17. Come to Yah'shua (Jesus) for rest
"Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the nephesh (spirit, soul); but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both nephesh (soul) and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).
18. Confront brothers in private first
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
19. Forgive Seven times Seventy
"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother" (Matthew 18:15–17).
20. Render to Caesar what is Caesar's
"Yah'shua (Jesus) said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven'" (Matthew 18:21–22).
21. Partake of the Master's Supper (Communion)
"They said to Him, 'Caesar’s.' Then He said to them, 'Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to Elohim (God) the things that are Elohim's (God’s)'" (Matthew 22:21).
22. Keep guard against sin
"While they were eating, Yah'shua (Jesus) took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the talmidim (disciples), and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body. And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you'" (Matthew 26:26–27).
23. Make Talmidim (Disciples)
"Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41).
24. Preach the Besorah (Gospel)
"Go therefore and make talmidim (disciples) of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).
25. Be on guard against greed
"And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the Besorah (Gospel) to all creation'" (Mark 16:15).
26. Invite the poor
"Then He said to them, 'Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions'" (Luke 12:15).
A Woeful Ignorance of the Commandments
"And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, 'When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous'" (Luke 14:12–14).
I wonder how many of these mitzvot (commandments) of the Saviour were on your list? As I said, if you take a representative sample of Christians and Messianics today, you'd be hard-pushed to find any who could name 10, let alone 15-20. And the reason is, for the most part, because they don't even know they exist. And the reason they don't know is because they don't diligently study the Scriptures or have only ever heard their ministers name a handfull.
The Most Common Answer
The most common answer you will get is that Yah'shua (Jesus) taught us to love Elohim (God) and to love others, as the next three New Covenant mitzvot (commandments) instruct us:
27. Love Elohim (God)
28. Love your Neighbour
"And He said to him, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YAHWEH YOUR ELOHIM (GOD) WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND'" (Matthew 22:37–38).
Is There Really Only One Commandment?
"The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF'" (Matthew 22:39).
The first of these is a quotation from Deuteronomy 6:5 - the the second part of the Shema  - but the second lifts the bar in a way unheard of in the Old Covenant. And one of the things you'll find a lot of Christians claiming is that if you love Elohim (God) and love your neighbour as yourself, that you don't need any of the other mitzvot (commandments). There is in the minds of so many believers only one commandment - to love! And technically that is true. If you are truly loving as Yah'shua (Jesus) you don't need any of the other mitzvot (commandments).
The Greatest of All the Commandments
Yah'shua (Jesus) called love - ahavah in Hebrew and agapé in Greek - the greatest mitzvot (commandment) and He did indeed say that this love sums up everything that the Bible teaches:
Are all the Other Commandments Redundant?
"All the Torah (Law) and the Nevi'im (Prophets) hang on these two mitzvot (commandments)" (Matt.22:40, NIV).
But does this statement somehow, as many would want us to believe, make the rest of Yah'shua's (Jesus') teachings redundant? The answer to that question hinges on two very important questions:
Commonly Understood Meanings of Love
- 1. Are we actually capable of practicing this mitzvot (commandment)? and
- 2. Do we properly understsand the extent and type of "love" that Yah'shua (Jesus) taught?
The word 'love' in the English language conjures up many images and emotions. It may evoke the pain of a broken heart. It may remind us of the warmth of a lover's embrace or the care and companionship of a parent, sibling or friend. And whilst the English word 'love' covers this spectrum of uses, it actually covers a lot more.
The Love That Yahweh Wants From Us
Yahweh deeply desires a love-relationship with each of us - that's why He created us! It's also why He created Eve for Adam. But sin - mankind's disobedience and rebellion - broke the relationship between Yahweh and humans. Love is so much more than an emotion, and Elohim (God) personally demonstrated His love for us by pursuing us in spite of our rejection of Him and our sin.
The Way to Love Elohim and Our Neighbour
The answer to the two questions - are we actually able to live this mitzvot (commandment) to love Yahweh and our neighbour - is to be found in the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The rest of what Yah'shua (Jesus) taught provides us with the derech or way to love Elohim (God) and to love our neighbour. And, most importantly, it defines what genuine, authentic, Christian or Messianic love actually is.
What Lies Behind True Loving
So if we use the mitzvah (commandment) to love Elohim (God) and our neighbour as an excuse for ignoring the rest of what Yah'shua (Jesus) taught, then the Greatest Commandment is almost certainly being used as a smokescreen for not loving Elohim (God) and for not loving our neighbours...at least not in the way Yah'shua (Jesus) taught. Any attempt to seriously obey the Greatest Commandment just naturally leads to more and more interest in the rest of what Yah'shua (Jesus) taught, down to the tiniest letter-stroke of the Torah (Mt.5:18). I want to love Yahweh more and I want to love my neighbours more too, don't you? But to do that I need to hear of what Yah'shua (Jesus) said in order to get it right.
Why Our Intentions to Love Fail
In theory both the world and the church/messianic community say a lot about 'love' today but in practice there is far too little of it, either inside or outside of the Body of Messiah. They 'talk the talk' but don't 'walk the walk'. You see, so much of what starts out calling itself 'love' ends up a very big disappointment. And the reason for that is because either the wrong kind of 'love', so-called, is being sought or because believers are seeking to love in their own power instead of in Yah'shua's (Jesus'). In addition to these, Yah'shua (Jesus) shows us in His teachings the extent to which true love will go.
The Two Essential Love Resources and a True Definition
What we're going to do now is consider the two basic resources needed in order to love others and then we'll finish with a description of love as Yah'shua (Jesus) defined it.
The resources we need to love people are:
A Question of Time and Material Resources
- 1. Time; and
- 2. Material possessions.
It takes time to help others or even just to listen to someone. And often it takes something material to do things like feeding or clothing people who do not have such basic, yet essential, resources. Of course, empathy  is important too but empathy is easy to fake. Nevertheless genuine empathy will lead to changes in our behaviour - changes which reach out to, and help, those whom we love. If we have that important invisible ingredient - empathy - it will show in our actions. The apostle John wrote:
And then He said:
"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of Elohim (God) be in him?" (1 John 3:17, NIV).
In other words, 'walk the walk' and don't just 'talk the talk'.
"Let us not love [only] with words or tongue but with actions and in emet (truth)" (1 John 3:18, NIV).
Time and Financial Management
Note that whether or not you have material wealth with which to help others in need, you do have time. Every one of us has 24 hours every day. How we use it says so much about where our heart is. Most platitudes  about love fall flat when it comes to how we use our time. I do not have the time to love my family properly if I am spending it all working for money. Then I have even less time to help the poor and needy people of the world. Yet people invariably argue that working for money will help them to get the resources that are needed to help the poor even if it doesn't give them enough time. Yes, true, money can be used to help feed the hungry and clothe the naked as Yah'shua (Jesus) taught but is that really what we spend it on after we have picked up our paycheck at the end of the week?
Most of us would have to admit that what we are really working for are bigger and better houses, cars, toys, appliances, schooling, vaccations, travel, and in fact everything that you could possibly spend money on. There is no limit because the more you get, the more you will want. And worse still, many if not most of us are already paying off things that we have taken possession of on credit even before we had the money to pay for them.
Spending on Self
So, when it comes to loving Elohim (God) with all that we have and loving our neighbour as much as we love ourselves, the mitzvah (commandment) of Yah'shua (Jesus) is demonstrably absent, pointedly ignored, blasphemously contradicted and cruelly silenced in just about every church and messianic assembly in the world today. We have no time because we are busy working for money and we have nothing or little for the poor because we have used it all on ourselves.
Understanding Human Perfection
In contrast, Yah'shua (Jesus) said to His talmidim (disciples):
29. Be perfect (in ahavah/love)
The Rich Young Ruler's Idolatry
"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).
"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me" (Matthew 19:21, NIV; see Luke 12:34).
Now we know that in this Scriptural example Yah'shua (Jesus) was addressing a very rich young man who obeyed, as he supposed, all the mitzvot (commandments) meticulously. But he was imperfect in one area - he loved his money so much that he was not willing to let go of it. His love of money was dragging him down into hell. Thus for him radical spiritual, emotional and practical surgery was needed - he needed to let go of his idol. Had he done so, he likely would have found the perfection Yah'shua (Jesus) required of him and all those talmidim (disciples) who trust and obey Him.
In Pursuit of Money
So here is my next question - is anyone teaching such radical doctrine? Yes, everyone is saying we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves. But when it comes down to dollars and cents, pounds and pennies, €uros and cents, Rand and cents, Kronor, Kyats, or whatever currency we may happen to use , most people are too busy trying to catch up with the Jones's to think about those neighbours that have less than us. Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
Where in the churches and messianic assemblies is that being taught?
"Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal chayim (life), which the Son of Man will give you. On him Elohim (God) the Father has placed His seal of approval" (John 6:27, NIV).
The Two Opposing Masters
Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
You won't hear many churches or messianic assemblies teaching that either.
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both Elohim (God) and Money" (Matt.6:24, NIV).
Stop Worrying About Basic Needs
The whole world is in a perpetual state of worry as to where they are going to get food and clothing. Yah'shua (Jesus) taught:
These creatures do not have jobs or bank accounts - they don't plant crops or make clothes - yet Yahweh feeds and clothes them. So won't He feed you too if you stop worrying about those things?
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matt.6:25-27, NIV).
So what should we be doing, then? Yah'shua (Jesus) continues in the same sermon:
Ordering Our Priorities
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matt.6:33-34, NIV).
Focus on ahavah/agapé-love, and what this actually mean practically, and He promises He will take care of these basic material needs. That doesn't mean you shouldn't work or labour to provide for your family - it simply means getting your priorities right. Then He'll provide the right job or work that will give you the time to manifest His ahavah (love) in the world as His witness according to your gifting, in whatever form that may be, including generous giving.
How to Make Time
So what am I saying? Quite simply, Yah'shua (Jesus) told us how to love. He said that if we would stop spending our time working for money and spend it instead in building Yahweh's Kingdom of Ahavah (Love), then we will have the time to love Elohim (God) and others in the way that He and the first talmidim (disciples) demonstrated their ahavah (love). How many churches and messianic assemblies are teaching us to do that nowadays?
Making the World a Better Place
Here, then is the key: only the teachings of Yah'shua (Jesus) will give us the kind of time that is needed to truly help others and to truly make those patches in the world we occupy a better place - in our homes, local congregations, work places, schools and local communities. But, you may ask, what about the material needs of the rest of the world? How will we be able to meet those needs if we stop working for money for its own sake? Ironically, letting go of all we have results in more opportunities to help people materially that are almost entirely absent when you are dedicating your life looking for money.
If, let's say, you sold your car and house right now and gave the proceeds to the poor, wouldn't that already be more than you have given to the poor in the last 20 years, during which time you've been doing it the other way? The argument is that is you make more money you'll be able to give more to the poor. But it isn't where the money goes, is it? It goes into more and more things for yourself and for your family. The poor only get the crumbs...if they get that.
The Ten Richest Christian Preachers
Now look at the net dollar value of 10 of the top preachers of the world today  - there are many more not on this list:
How the Church Has Gone Wrong
- 10. David Prince ($5 million) - USA
- 9. T.B. Joshua ($10 million) - USA
- 8. Billy Graham ($25 million) - USA
- 7. Kenneth Copeland ($25 million) - USA
- 6. Creflo Dollar ($27 million) - USA
- 5. Enoch Adejare Adeboye ($39 million) - Nigeria
- 4. Benny Hinn ($42 million) - USA
- 3. Chris Oyakhilome ($50 million) - Nigeria
- 2. Bishop T.D. Jakes ($147 million) - USA
- 1. Bishop David Oyedepo ($150 million) - Nigeria
Here is a prinme example of where the church has gone wrong. Unlike Yah'shua (Jesus), these preachers, thanks for the most part to their false 'health and wealth gospel, are multi-millionnaires in a world where starvation and malnutrition are ever-present realities. Now the figures I have quoted you are a conservative estimate - there are some who claim that Kenneth Copeland, for example, is worth as much as a billion dollars! By comparison, Billy Graham, with his 25 million, is 'poverty-stricken'.
Voluntary Redistribution of Wealth
All the evidence shows that these 'Christian' leaders, who have set the pattern for the rest of us, are not treating anyone outside their own families to a lifestyle that is the same as the one that they think they personally deserve. "Love your neighbour as you love yourself" (Mark 12:13) - does that sound like what these people practice? Well of course not! On the other hand, if we were to do things Yah'shua's (Jesus') way, we would have the time to learn practical ways to help people materially. We may also be surprised at how many times what they need, even in dire situations, is just someone to stand beside them and share their load in one way or another. We may be able to help them create real wealth at the same time that we voluntarily  redistribute the resources that are now available by sharing everything we have with them.
Wealth in Heaven
All of these actions, according to Yah'shua (Jesus), represent wealth that has been laid up in heaven where it will never be lost:
A New Commandment?
"Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted" (Luke 12:33, NIV).
Let us now turn to the quality of the ahavah-love Yah'shua (Jesus) was talking about. In actual fact, we have already been doing that just by observing how He and His talmidim (disciples) lived. But it goes farther than that. 'Love', of one sort or another, is taught in many places and in many religions. In the Tanakh (Old Testament) people were taught to love too. Yet Yah'shua (Jesus) had the audacity to say that He was teaching a new (not a 'renewed') mitzvah (commandment). What made His mitzvah (commandment) different?
30. Love one another
Love in Its Fullness
"A new mitzvah (commandment) I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My talmidim (disciples), if you love one another" (John 13:34-35, NIV).
"This is My mitzvah (commandment), that you love one another, just as I have loved you" (John 15:12).
"This I command you, that you love one another" (John 15:17).
There are so many ways that love can be expressed but Yah'shua (Jesus) expressed it in its fullness, choosing to love even the people who tortured Him to death. He said:
Love Your Persecutors
"If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt.5:46-48, NIV).
31. Love and pray for your enemies
No other religion in the world teaches such love.
"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:44–46).
A Jew Complains to Tolstoy
A Jewish friend of the famous writer, Leo Tolstoy, admitted that Judaism does not teach such ahavah (love). But he added to Tolstoy, who was a Russian Orthodox Christian: "Your religion may teach it, yes, but who practices it? When it comes to practice, you Christians are no better than us Jews"
Of Hierarchies and the Masses
And this is exactly the point that I want to make today. From loving Elohim (God) and your neighbour, to all the other hundreds of mitzvot (commandments) in the Scriptures, disobedience within the so-called 'Christian' churches and 'Messianic' assemblies is virtually universal. And practically nothing is being done about changing it. The hierarchies and masses react in unity against anyone who dares to promote the teachings of Yah'shua (Jesus).
The Hypocrisy of the Catholic Church
The current Pope may appear to be teaching it but the Catholic Churche is still holding on tightly to its fabulous wealth acquired from pillage and conquest throughout the centuries. Actions speak louder than words. In his book, The Vatican Billions, Avro Manhattan writes:
Are Christians Allowed to Kill?
"The Vatican has large investments with the Rothschilds of Britain, France and America, with the Hambros Bank, with the Credit Suisse in London and Zürich. In the United States it has large investments with the Morgan Bank, the Chase-Manhattan Bank, the First National Bank of New York, the Bankers Trust Company, and others.
"The Vatican has billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations such as Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, International Business Machines, T.W.A., etc....
"Some idea of the real estate and other forms of wealth controlled by the Catholic church may be gathered by the remark of a member of the New York Catholic Conference, namely 'that his church probably ranks second only to the United States Government in total annual purchase.'
"Another statement, made by a nationally syndicated Catholic priest, perhaps is even more telling. 'The Catholic church,' he said, 'must be the biggest corporation in the United States. We have a branch office in every neighborhood. Our assets and real estate holdings must exceed those of Standard Oil, A.T.&T., and U.S. Steel combined. And our roster of dues-paying members must be second only to the tax rolls of the United States Government...'
"The Catholic church, once all her assets have been put together, is the most formidable stockbroker in the world. The Vatican, independently of each successive pope, has been increasingly orientated towards the U.S. The Wall Street Journal said that the Vatican’s financial deals in the U.S. alone were so big that very often it sold or bought gold in lots of a million or more dollars at one time...
"The Vatican’s treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest.
"But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. When to that is added all the real estate, property, stocks and shares abroad, then the staggering accumulation of the wealth of the Catholic church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment..."
Well over 90 per cent of co-called 'Christian' churches and 'Messianic' assemblies go so far as to officially teach that it is OK to kill your enemies as long as you do so under the leadership of the country that you live in. One Protestant minister puts it this way:
The Glorification and Glamorisation of War
"There are brethren who hold that it would be wrong - sinful - to take the life of another person even in self-defence. And some of these are people that I love and I highly regard. But I come to a different conclusion when I read the Scriptures."
Most of these churches will tolerate members who think otherwise but even that tolerance disappears quickly if pacifist members start teaching other members to boycot war. The same restrictions are not there with regard to the war-mongers who glorify and glamorise war, making saints out of the troops we send to do the killing for us. They pray for victory on the battlefields and they ask Elohim (God) to bless their bombs as though He is on their side and no one else's. The Armed Forces provide employment to thousands of full-time Christian teachers and priests from almost all denominations. Religious leaders are entrusted to inspire the troops to go out and kill for 'God'. Hitler's armies were accompanied by Catholic and Protesant ministers just as Stalin's atheistic armies were accompanied by Orthodox ministers to do the same. Can you imagine what would happen if you had an army chaplain teaching the troops to love their enemies?
To Fight or Not to Fight?
Now I don't mind admitting that this can be a complex issue. Personally, I have always believed that a believer has the right to take up arms in self-defence and in defence of his family because this is what Torah teaches. At the same time, I believe that an obedient talmid (disciple) will find himself in situations where such an awful situation will not have to be made or Yahweh will permit him to be in it and will supernaturally intervene to prevent bloodshed. And there is most certainly provision in Torah for a nation to defend itself against an enemy attack. But - and this is a very big but - this should not prevent us from loving our enemy or showing him mercy and grace and since it is impossible to write a 'manual of situations' it has always been our position that how we react has to be a matter of personal conscience, and that the situation we find ourself in will also be a function of how we are living in relationship to Elohim (God). I certainly see no justification for most - if not all - of the wars currently being fought by Western nations. I would not recommend any believer joining the Armed Forces of any nation today because I believe they will be used in ungodly warfare. I am therefore a pacifist...except as a last resort. That is my opinion. I suspect that amongst our people that there are those who either take this position or who are absolute pacifists. General Sherman's statement, "War is hell," remains a truism and we should never seek it. One of the few wars fought in my lifetime which I consider to have been justified was the war of liberation of the Falkland Islands. All the recent wars in the Middle East I consider to have been evil.
No Easy Commandment
But do you understand and see the emet (truth) in what I am saying generally-speaking? The greatest mitzvat (commandment), ahavah (love), is certainly not an easy one to practice, at least not in the way Yah'shua (Jesus) taught it. And that is because it sums up all the others. The Greatest Mitzvah (Commandment) is by far the hardest.
The Terrorist Example and the Two Roads Choice
We have grown used to letting the word 'love' roll off our tongues, both sweetly and naďvely, without ever really counting the cost of what it means to love our enemies. Hatred for Moslems today, like so much religious bigotry in the past, comes most naturally from supposedly 'Christian' activists. The most liberal Christians teach that Moslems are not terrorists and because of that we should trust them. But the emet (truth) is somewhere between the two extreems. Any Moslem who subscribes to the Koran and the Haddith must support terrorism. Our ahavah (love) for Moslems should not be built on naďve ignorance about what they would do to us in the name of 'Allah' if they could get away with it. They would kill us all but still Yah'shua (Jesus) tells us to love them. And yet it is a truism that once a certain kind of spirit grips an extremist terrorist and a final line is crossed, there really is no choice but to either convert or kill them. Yah'shua's (Jesus') New Commandment does not invalidate the Torah that went before it - it simply requires us to choose a higher standard whenenever possible. That is why there is always, morally-speaking, a High Road and a Low Road to choose between.
Plugging the Chasm
There seems to be this huge chasm between those who want to kill the Moslems before they kill us and those who haven't got a clue about what the Koran actually tells Moslems to do those of us who have not accepted Mohammed as Elohim's (God's) replacement for Yah'shua (Jesus). I hope, in this ministry, that we have plugged that chasm and found the Scriptural balance.
To sum up, we need two things to truely love others:
- 1. We need time; and
- 2. We need resources like food and clothes.
Yah'shua (Jesus) taught that we will only find time to help when we stop trying to get things for ourselves for their own sake and instead start trusting our Heavenly Father for our material needs. When we do this, He also provides us with enough to help others as well, far more than we ever had when we were working for money instead. Now we work for the Kingdom and Yahweh provides the work and wealth both to further the Kingdom, takes care of our families and helps others through us. Yah'shua (Jesus) further instructs us to express this kind of ahavah (love), not just for our brothers and sisters in the emunah (faith) but also for our enemies. By doing that we will turn the world upside-down and conquer the hearts of those who have so far never seen such ahavah (love) demonstrated in the churches and messianic assemblies of the world. This is such an urgent task for the Remnant that in so many ways it superceeds all others. Amen.
 "Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our Elohim (God), Yahweh is echad (one)" (Deut.6:4, NIV)
 The power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person's feelings.
 Trite, dull or obvious remarks - staleness or insipidity of thought or language.
 Cody Carmichael, Top 10 Richest Pastors in the World – 2017 List Updated
 Alexander Light, The Catholic Church is the Biggest Financial Power on Earth
 As opposed to the compulsory redistribution of wealth by government according to the political ideology which is socialism
 Matt Slick, What Commandments Did Jesus Give Us?
 Anon., The Greatest Commandment...But Who's Obeying It?