Month 1:14, Week 2:6 (Sheshi/Kippur), Year:Day 5941:14 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 10 April 2017
The Judgment of Cain
Chag sameach Pesach kol beit Yisra'el, Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon and to New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh worldwide - grace and peace to you all on this the 14th day of Aviv on which, after sunset, we are commanded to assemble to partake of the Passover Meal. We want to especially welcome those of you who are either celebrating Pesach for the first time or doing so the Messianic Evangelical way for the first time.
The Law of First Mention and Passover
The late preacher Ian Paisley of Belfast, Northern Ireland, whenever he approached the Bible topic that he wished to preach or teach, applied what he called the 'Law of First Mention'. So had he wanted to approach the topic we are called to address today, namely Pesach or Passover, the first of the annual and spring festivals, he would have sought out the first scripture that mentions it because he believed it supplied the golden key to every other mention of that particular topic, doctrine, person or emet (truth). I don't doubt there is something to be said for that.
The First Mention of Elohim
"This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is Yahweh's Pesach (Passover)" (Ex.12:11, NIV).
Let's take another example, the first mention of Elohim or God is the first verse of the first chapter of the Bible and of Genesis - "In the beginning Elohim (God) created the heavens and the earth" (Gen.1:1, NIV). How is this a golden key? Because to have any understanding of, or relationship with, Elohim (God) is to first of all understand that He is the Creator of all that is. And as you read on, you are presented with a majestic description of this Elohim (God) of how He created and ordered the earth so that it might become His dwelling place. There was nothing accidental in the appearance of this world, it did not spontaneously generate. It was created with a Divine Purpose - His purpose. Whoever we are, we, then, were created to fulfil a purpose in this creation of His - specifically, to be a dwelling place for Him. Elohim (God) created us so that He might live in us. What an incredible emet (truth)! What a golden key of understanding!
None of what I am saying today is accidental or random and to prove it I want to tell you how what I have just shared with you came about. It started five days ago, as I was retiring to bed just before midnight. I was very tired and I had offered a short prayer and asked if Yahweh would supply a davar (word) to which I could turn in Scripture so that I might sleep on it. I did not have Passover in mind at all. I just wanted something for that hour. As I listened for His response to my prayer, I heard the Ruach (Spirit) whisper, "Genesis 4:6". So that's what I turned to and here's what it said:
Complaining to Yahweh
"Then Yahweh said to Cain, 'Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it'" (Gen.4:6, NIV).
Now what you don't yet know is that earlier that day I was having a beef with Yahweh - I was not at all happy. I was complaining. Prayers were not being answered and I was frustrated - very frustrated to the point that my frustration was rapidly approaching that dangerous territory called Anger.
A Crippled Girl
I was in a shop in our local town and I saw a mother pushing her crippled daughter in a wheelchair. She had probably been there most of her life. She was a young woman, her face and body contorted. Dozens of times in my life when I have seen such a sight I have offered up quiet prayers and on most occasions I have wished that I could go up to the mother, or whoever was pushing the wheelchair, and ask to pray for the person and petition Yahweh for a miracle. I would picture how wonderful it would be for such a person to be healed and to come to salvation. Haven't you ever wished for that?
A Half-Hearted Prayer
Such healings take place, to be sure, but not that often and never before through my intercession that I know of. So I saw this girl, but instead of taking pity and praying for her as I would ordinarily have done, I stopped myself short, and muttered silently to myself and to Yahweh: 'This would be a perfect opportunity for Yahweh to demonstrate the power of prayer, given my recent disappointments at His appent silence.' I didn't expect anything to happen, but I quietly prayed nonetheless for her and moved on. I was annoyed, irritated, not at all unlike Cain in the early stages of anger-formation.
An Ian Paisley Collection of Sermons
I couldn't lie down that night, even though I was desperate to sleep, because my fibromyalgia was so bad. So I went to my study and thought I might as well start preparing today's address while the medication began to work. I knew, obviously, that today's sermon had to be about Pesach (Passover) but I didn't want to mechanically regurgitate some lifeless teaching. I wanted the Ruach (Spirit) in it so that my listeners and readers might connect. I didn't want it to be me. So I sat down, wrote the introduction, and stopped. 'What now?' I thought. My eye alighted on one of Ian Paisley's collections of sermons which was just a few inches away. 'OK,' I thought to myself, 'I'll just open that book and take a look' as it's not a book I have read. I opened the book and glanced at the index. Half way down the page I saw a large section entitled, Blood of the Lamb, occupying over a third of the length of the book. 'That looks promising,' I thought to myself, since I was on the hunt for material on Pesach (Passover).
The Sacrifices of Can and Abel
My interest was piqued, since the blood of the Lamb is the main theme of Pesach (Passover), so I turned to the chapter and in the first paragraph where he talked about the 'Law of First Mention'. Was I supposed to read this? My mind flashed back to the passage the Ruach (Spirit) had directed me to read in Genesis 4 an hour before. I read it, and was convicted of my own bad behaviour toward Him earlier in the day. I had been annoyed, and when I am annoyed with Him, guess what happens? Inspiration dries up. Communication breaks down. You can't communicate with an irritated or angry person. Cain had accused Elohim (God), reading between the lines, of favouritism toward Abel because He had accepted Abel's offering but not his own. Why was Abel's offering accepted? Because he did what was right - he offered the correct sacrifice - a blood sacrifice - and Cain had not, offering instead a sacrifice of plants.
The First Murder
You all know what happened next. In a fit of jealous rage, Cain premeditatedly murdered his brother, becoming the first to shed human blood:
Increments of Sin
"Now Cain said to his brother Abel, 'Let's go out to the field.' And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him" (Gen.4:8, NIV).
I'm sure that you, like me, have read this account numerous times. But this time it was different. I now reacted quite strongly. There's a whole unspoken and unwritten story behind these few, short, crisp sentences. All we are left with in this briefest of accounts, is is the bitter equivalent of condensed milk! It's matter-of-fact, compressed and hard-hitting. At any rate, it hit me hard because it struck me like a punch to my stomach. We don't know what small increments of doubt and disobedience led Cain so far down the road of sin to execute the most heinous sin of all. What no doubt started as what we might consider 'nothing' ended in murder.
Am I My Brother's Keeper?
Then, as you know, the excuses offered in response to Yahweh's questions were quick in the coming: "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen.4:9, NIV). He was denying responsibility and culpability. The rest is history - the terrible history of humanity's sin and rebellion against Yahweh.
The First Mention of Blood
Are you persuaded that Yahweh was guiding me in preparing this address for you? Wait till you hear what Ian Paisley said next:
The Curse of a Restless Wanderer
"So in keeping with that law [of first mention] I open my Bible to first the first mention of the blood. You will find it in Genesis chapter 4 and verse 10. Carefully notice that the first person in the Bible to mention the blood is Elohim (God) Himself. That is very significant" .
Those were Paisley's words. Now to the verse he cites:
Reviewing the 'Coincidences'
"Yahweh said, 'What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth'" (Gen.4:10-12, NIV).
Well, the 'coincidental' sequence of events leading to this sermon don't end here. The following morning I attempted to continue writing this sermon and everything went blank. I just couldn't get back into it and once more I was...frustrated. Yahweh had clearly led me to the story of Cain's rejection and thence to Ian Paisley who spoke about blood, the central element in the story of Passover who brought up the 'Law of First Mention' which happened also to be about Cain's murder of his younger brother. Feeling uninspired, I put the sermon aside and get on with various tasks. Each time I returned to the sermon, no inspiration was forthcoming.
Into the Books of Abraham
I have quite a few unfinished projects going so I thought I might return to one of those. No inspiration. I am not formulating any particular prayer, just expressing in my deepest part that hunger for some direction as on the previous night. No words are involved - just that sense of needing direction again. I find myself looking through our main website and heading for a particular section which records the Books of Abraham, a long a detailed revelation about the Holy Order or Chavurat Bekorot. I have just listened to a video about thye nefilim and remember that there is quite a longish revelation about them in the Book of Sabea. So I start reading it - three longish chapters about antediluvian history, and then a short chapter about Isaac, and I am about to stop as my interest is waning, and I come to the fourth chapter where my attention is immediately arrested - it's about CAIN again... and blood!
Why Cain Was Not Executed
It was to the story of Cain that I had been led the night before, then to Cain a second time through Ian Pasiley, and now I find myself being led to Cain a third time. The fifth chapter of the Book of Sabea is rather long so I can't share that with you this morning. What I can share with you, for it is germaine to this talk, is the theme which revolved around the question which the book poses and answers: since the penalty for premeditated murder is death, why was the life of Cain spared? Why was he instead cursed to be a vagabond the rest of his life, hunted down by others seeking his life, yet protected by Yahweh?
A Premeditated Muder
Cain's sin is the worst kind, and not just because it was murder but because it was committed with deliberate deceit - he lured his innocent brother. It was cold and calculated, a murder committed in a fit of sudden passion. And the apostle John uses Cain as an object lession to warn believers:
Cain Was a Believer
"This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous" (1 John 3:11-12, NIV).
We know that Cain was a believer. How do we know? Because he talked with Yahweh! There's a dialogue between the two. They are communicating:
Cain Was in Communication With Yahweh
"Then Yahweh said to Cain, 'Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it'" (Gen.4:6, NIV).
How is this possible? How many of us struggle to hear the Voice of Yahweh? Well, Cain didn't. He knew Yahweh and He knew what His torot (laws) and mitzvot (commandments) were but he chose not to obey, like a son or a daughter openly rebelling against his or her earthly father whom he or she can hear and see! Why do so many believers have this idea that just because they're born-again - spiritually regenerated - that they must so far away from the spirit of murder that it could not possibly touch them?
To Love is to Possess Life
Yet we see this happening all the time. See what the apostle John goes on to say:
"We know that we have passed from death to chayim (life), because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal chayim (life) in him" (1 John 3:14-15, NIV).
Anyone who does not love remains in spiritual death - in an unregenerated state, unborn-again, no matter what 'Sinner's Prayer' you may have prayed and been told you are eternally secure, forever saved, unable to fall from grace, unable to be lost, unable to go to hell. Anyone who hates his brother - a fellow believer - a regenerated, born-again believer - is a murderer! Cain hated Abel. Abel was regenerated, Cain was not. How do we know Abel was regenerated? Because the Scriptures say so. Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself speaks of "the blood of righteous Abel" (Matt.23:35, NIV) and the writer of Hebrews testified:
Seth Like Abel
"By emunah (faith) Abel offered Elohim (God) a better sacrifice than Cain did. By emunah (faith) he was commended as a righteous man, when Elohim (God) spoke well of his offerings. And by emunah (faith) he still speaks, even though he is dead" (Heb.11:4, NIV).
Seth was exactly like his brother Abel:
A Murderer in His Heart
"Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, 'Elohim (God) has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him'" (Gen.4:25, NIV).
This was a replacement not just of a lost son but of a son who was exactly like Abel spiritually, one reborn in the image of Elohim (God). Abel loved, Seth loved but Cain hated, therefore he was a murderer in his heart long before he committed the dastardly deed and spilled blood. Abel had eternal chayim (life) in him, Cain did not, even though both were talking to, and hearing, Elohim (God)!
So What is Right and Be Accepted
Don't ever assume that because you are talking to Yahweh and He is talking back to you, and you are hearing Him, that you necessarily have eternal chayim (life) in you simply because your spiritual ears are working! Unless you choose to love, you're dead. Unless you love your fellow believer, you're headed for outer darkness. Think on that. Abel had eternal chayim (love) in Him, therefore he must have loved His brother Cain, even though his brother had the spirit of murder in him and was in danger of losing his soul: "If you do what is right," Yahweh said to Cain, "will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it'".
The Reason for The Feast of Unleavened Bread
The seven day-long Festival of Unleavened Bread or Chag haMatazah is all about getting sin out of our lives in order live a righteous life and be acceptable. It's why we get rid of all products leavened by yeast, which is living (unlike artificial leavening agents like Sodium Bicarbonate which are not). Therefore the apostle Paul urged:
Do What is Right No Matter What You Feel
"Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Pesach (Passover), was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast (chag haMatzah, the Feast of Unleavened Bread), not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and emet (truth)" (1 Cor.5:6-8, NKJV).
This is such an urgent matter that Yahweh devotes seven days to Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread). Seven days! And seven is the number of perfection or completion. If we obey - if we do what is right, irrespective of how we may be feeling, we will be accepted, because our choice to do what is right, and obey, is based on emunah (faith), and it is by that emunah (faith) that we are justified (Rom.5:1).
Sin is Personified Evil to Be Overcome
The failure to trust and obey, says Yahweh - to do what is right (righteoues) - means that "sin is crouching at your door". This sin is not something abstract, it is personified evil - it's a power with mean character, it is a disposition to do evil in the physical, even to murder. "It desires to have you" - it has a will, it pursues its victim. "But," says Yahweh to Cain, "you must master it" - get a grip on it - you have got to fight it and overcome it! And that's why Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread) is so, so important!
Consequences of the Spirit of Murder
Here is the message of Pesach (Passover), beautifully summarised. We have inherited this curse because of rebellion. We may not have spilled literal blood ourselves but you know you can be a 'muderer' in all sorts of different ways. Anything destructive, both to ourselves and to others, is murdering or killing something, even if only by small daily increments. Like what? What happens when we thus 'murder'? Things don't work out very well for us. The metaphorical ground no longer yields crops (though this is literally true too, of course) and we end up "restless" and "wandering" like Cain, driven by something dark and relentless which won't allow us any shalom (peace). And though we may push it down in our unconscious for a while, pretty soon it pops up to torment us again.
The Inherited Responsibility of the Unsaved
Just because you haven't taken someone's physical life doesn't mean you aren't a murderer. Not loving a brother or sister in Messiah (i.e. hating them) will do it. Shed blood "cries out" (Gen.4:10) from the ground like a navi (prophet) testifying against a murderer and includes within the fold of the accused not just those who physically shed blood but but also those who refused the Blood of Atonment of the Messiah which alone cancels the blood debt, even as Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself testified:
Responsible for Others' Sins?
"Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the nevi'im (prophets) that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all" (Luke 11:50-51, NIV).
Are you surprised? 'But I thought we were only responsible for our own sins?' you may ask. Yes, you can only repent for your own sins, that is true, but that isn't the point. The issue is whether you are alive or dead. The issue is whether you love or hate. If you hate your brother or sister, you are dead and no longer the possessor of eternal chayim (life) and therefore belong together with the unsaved who refuse to obey Elohim (God), who refuse to do what is right, sharing the same fate - they who refuse the righteousness that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) can alone impart. And if you do that, where are you? With whom are you in alliance, knowingly or unknowingly? With those who murder, and have murdered, from Abel to the present, even as that generation was for rejecting Yah'shua (Jesus), for the spirit of murder will condemn you as much as murder itself, just as committing adultery in your heart will condemn you as much as actually doing the physical deed of adultery (Mt.25:27-28), even though it is truly a deeper darkness than the commission of sin in your heart. But the origin is the same and there is no light in it, no love and therefore no redemption.
Murdering Your Own Heart
Unforgiveness is murder even though you end up spiritually murdering yourself rather than the one you hate. Cain physically murdered his brother Abel but he murdered his own heart first from the moment he started hating and did not overcome his hatred.
A Punishment Worse Than Death
To return to my earlier question - why wasn't Cain executed for his sin? Well for one thing, Cain considered his punishment worse than death:
A Loss of Livelihood and Safety
"Cain said to Yahweh, 'My punishment is more than I can bear. Today You are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from Your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me'" (Gen.4:13-14, NIV).
Cain lost both his livelihood - we would cease being a farmer and become a bedouin of sorts - and live in constant fear of being killed. To live a life of unfruitfulness is indeed a terrible thing because profitable work enobles a man, and to have a harvest of righteousness to present to Yahweh is one of the greatest ways a man can return Yahweh's ahavah (love) to Him. To be useful is a need placed by the Creator in the soul of man - we all need to be useful. We want to be able to produce something that counts. We want to leave a legacy, to have done something good and worthwhile, to have been a blessing to someone, to have built the Kingdom in some way. And that was denied Cain beyond being permitted to have a family in his exile, which was a huge concession for a murderer.
Cain and His Family
The reason why Yahweh permitted him to live was not to torture him (hell would be torture enough after his life ended) but because He had plans for his family. It was not necessarily for Cain that Cain was allowed to live. It's a similar reason as to why the nation of Judah was permitted to continue for so long when it deserved the same punishment and fate as northern Israel for its repeated wickedness and apostacy. Why did Yahweh preserve Judah for so long, at least until the Romans were permitted to destroy it? Because the Messiah had to come and prophecy be fulfilled...plus there was a remnant to redeem. Yahweh has multiple purposes for allowing the families of the wicked to continue. Why was Cain's permitted to continue? We read:
Why Cain Was Allowed to Live
"Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron" (Gen.4:19-22, NIV).
For reasons best known to Elohim (God), Cain's descendants were ordained to become cattle ranchers, musicians and tool-makers. It has been suggested another reason his family was permitted to live was because there were too few people on the earth at that time. We could speculate on. Certainly many kinds of spirits needed to incarnate from the pre-existence, many of whom would turn to evil as indeed Cain's descendants did, thus making their choice according to the gift given to all people. Those who would choose to do wickedness have to incarnate somewhere.
Later Yahweh would instruct Noah:
The Importance of the Image of Elohim
"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of Elohim (God) has Elohim (God) made man" (Gen.9:6, NIV).
Murder, seconded only in evil by adultery, does more to deface the image of Elohim (God) than any other sin and must finally be blotted out. Images of Satan cannot not allowed to survive Satan's final removal. We shall, during these spring festivals, be talking more about the importance of preserving and restoring the image of Elohim (God).
A final thought about why Yahweh did not destroy Cain, and this is explained more fully in the Book of Sabea which is held in custodianship by the Chavurat Bekorot or Holy Order:
No Longer Allowed in the Chavurat Bekorot
"'He was cursed from the earth, that it might not yield its fruitfulness unto him, that he might have no fruit therefrom; His punishment was that he should become a vagabond and a fugitive, wandering from place to place. But El Elyon preserved his life, and placed a mark upon him, that none might kill him.' Abram said: 'Yea, this was the punishment of Cain, who said unto El Elyon: 'My punishment is greater than I can bear.' And yet El Elyon gave unto him his life and his wife, and she bare unto him a son, and he builded a city, and prospered him, giving unto him and his descendants cattle; But the spirit of murder was not far from him, for his descendants were also murderers; and therefore he dwelt with a sword by his side and a dagger under his pillow, for the curse was unto seven generations, and he lived in fear of his life'" (8 Abr.5:16-22).
But this was not the greatest curse put on Cain, for later in the same text we read:
Cut Off and Restored
"'Now the punishment of Cain was great and grievous, but the greatest punishment of all was that he no longer walked in the Chavurat Bekorot of our father Adam, and was sent out from the presence of El Elyon'" (v.25).
To have walked and talked with Yahweh all your life and to suddenly lose that communion is a huge loss. Adam and Eve were, of course, cut off from His Presence too when they were cast out of Eden but it is plain that the lines of communication were restored through repentance and their children were able to enjoy that reconnection. In spite of the curse, the Family of Adam conversed freely with Yahweh, much as Moses would in the Tabernacle.
The Cursed Earth Through Blood-Letting
The earth had not at this time been cursed even further by the spilled blood of the innocent. When you consider how much the earth has been cursed by blood-letting over the millennia, we should not be surprised that the Presence of Yahweh does not come easily to the children of men, and now only by the merits of the Blood of Messiah, which Pesach (Passover) prefigured.
The subject of the Book of Sabea talks a lot more about this topic and this is the realisation she comes to:
Promise of the Cross
"'O, how terrible is the shedding of blood, my lord, for not only doth the shedding of blood destroy the image of Yahweh, but it cutteth off the soul that sheddeth blood from the presence of El Elyon! Therefore the gulf that separateth man becometh wider and wider until, O, how great is that gulf!'" (vv.42-43).
The loss of sweet communion and of hearing the comforting and assuring voice of the Creator day by day, that is a huge curse. So why did Yahweh preserve Cain's life? There is a greater reason and that is to provide an object lesson to us of how terrible it is to fall out of communion with the Most High, El Elyon, because of sin, and to remind us that the restoration of that communion comes at a price, the shedding of blood - of chayim (life) - of the Perfect Life, that of the sinless Son of Man which not only cleanses the soul of sin, not only washes away the residue of guilt left behind by sin, but restores that most precious and sweetness of that great gift of being able to fellowship with our Heavenly Father - to hear Him, know Him, experience Him and His rest in shalom (peace). The shedding of blood at the First Pesach (Passover) was both an effectual annual atonement on the far side of the Cross as well as the promise that a permanent solution lay in the future with the coming and Eternal Atonement of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)
A Series of 'Coincidences'?
So this message I was given for you is from Yahweh. There are, if you refuse to acknowledge Elohim's (God's) hand in my experience the other day, a lot of 'coincidences'. That this happened by chance is statistically highly unlikely. Paisley's book just 'happened' to be the nearest book to me and I am surrounded by thousands of books in my study. Yahweh had a message for me to address my doubting and sinning, so that I became the illustration of what not to do, he applied the 'Law of First Mention' to me before I even heard about it by fist 'mentioning' Genesis 4:6, I came across the same narrative that talks about blood, both the blood Cain wickedly spilled and the blood of redemption, represented by Abel's blood sacrifice, which lies at the heart the Passover message. Blood alone saves, because blood is chayim (life), and chayim (life) alone can overcome death. And because death is so final in the mortal sphere, only chayim (life) of an immortal sort can address the issue of death and suffering in perpetuity.
The Actual Reality
Five days ago I asked Yahweh, in considerable disbelief, why some of my urgent prayers were not being heard, and that same day He proved to me, as I was about to go to bed and as I stayed up to prepare this sermon, that He does hear and that He did hear. He proved that He was there by demonstrating the impossibility of 'random coincidences' which unbelief claims is the reality of 'life'.
The Ultimate Choice
Now it is true - and we have to be honest here - that we can and do 'read in' a lot of things that aren't there, through the faculty of the imagination which, though a gift to an artist, can become a curse when it runs wild and is used amiss. So often we want something to be there, perhaps because we seek vindication for our emunah (faith). But equally - and my little story is a very simple but nevertheless important (to me, at least) reminder that Yahweh is as much in the little daily things of life as He is in the big ones, like the mighty deliverance of Israel from Egyptian captivity that these spring festivals are all about. Yahweh not only hears and answers our prayers in the daily concerns of life but He also answers the bigger questions of whether this life has purpose or not and whether or not we will continue to live after death. More importantly, He answers an even bigger question of whether kind of life there is after death or not, and the fact that we are absolutely responsible for choosing it while we are hear. In its most basic terms, that choice is between Heaven and Hell - not between doing good or evil but between believing or refusing to believe. Whether we do good or evil only matters, in terms of our future happiness or misery, depends entirely on the emunah (faith) choice - to believe in Yah'shua (Jesus) and His blood, or not to believe in Yah'shua (Jesus) and His blood.
Poitning to the Resurerection
In a couple of days' time we will be observing the third of the spring festivals, Yom haBikkurim or the Day of Firstfruits, which pointed to Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) as the firstfruits of the Resurrection:
Preparing for the Passover Meal
"But Messiah (Christ) has indeed been raised from the dead, the bikkurim (firstfruits) of those who have fallen asleep (died). For since death came through a man (Adam), the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man (Yah'shua/Jesus). For as in Adam all die, so in Messiah all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Messiah, the bikkurim (firstfruits); then, when He comes (Second Coming), those who belong to Him" (1 Cor.15:20-23, NIV).
What we will be doing after sunset this evening - those who have made the choice to trust and accept Yah'shua (Jesus) as their Saviour and Deliverer from sin and death - is eating a meal packed with theological symbolism, a meal that recounts the story not only of the First Exodus of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land but - even more importantly - it reveals a second layer of symbolism...the most important once...which is about that portion of mankind which accepts Messiah and so makes a spiritually equivalent Exodus out of sin and spiritual bondage to Satan (the condition of those who are not saved) to one of Eternal Chayim of Life, which is our ultimate 'Promised Land'. The symbolism of Passover is dense with meaning and those of you who are new to this ordinance will be digging more and more emet (truth) out of it year after year and become progressively more amazed at how brilliantly Yahweh embeds the Salvation Story into the events of a little nation which itself needed deliverance or salvation from bondage.
For all of us gathering this evening, but especially for those of you who may be unsaved, this may possibly be a new beginning, more so as the world spirals into anarchy and war as Yahweh passes judgment. This is a time of firsts, of beginnings, of having the judgment pass over us, and of the hope of better things. For others, this may be a renewal - indeed, that is what Passover is supposed to be about for those already saved. We recelebrate it every year because the journey continues. This is also very important time for the Remnant because it really does have to leave the system, not just inwardly, but outwardly, cultivating self-suffiency, home education, and in most cases, leaving the cities and centres of imminent destruction. My prayer is for radical emunah (faith), obedience, renewal and healing for all of us as we finally - as if we still need to be reminded - leave the wicked Illuminist Egyptian system behind us and enter fully into His rest and places of refuge. As the pope, the servant of sin, prepares his journey to Egypt at the end of April during the high satatanic season to make peace with the devil's own and symbolicallty walking in the footsteps of Cain, so we are to leave it - for good and without delay. I will see you in the morning for the High Sabbath of Chag haMatzah. Amen.
Continued in Part 2
 Ian R.K.Paisley, Expository Sermons (Ambassador, Belfast, Northern Ireland: 1996), p.59