Month 2:4, Week 1:3 (Shleshi/(Bikkurim), Year:Day 5941:34 AM|
2Exodus 4/40, (Omer Count - Shabbat #2)
Gregorian Calendar: Sunday 29 April 2017
Jericho March IV 2017
Mixed, Remixed and Separated Out
Continued from Part 3
The Compromised Nation
What does a 'separation' between the sheep and the goats look like? And how long does it take? You will recall from Part 2 that rebellion in the Camp of Israel was going on even after the conquest of the East Bank (Reuben, Gad, East Manasseh) had taken place. Now here is a critically important observation: though 2½ tribes settled on the East Bank, and though we tend to treat the East Bank as part of the 'Promised Land', technically the Promised Land was all on the West Bank. Yet 2½ tribes wanted the rich, ferile lands of deposed Sihon and Og. And they got what they asked for just as later Israel got the absolute monarchs (the good, the bad and the ugly) they so desperately wanted to have in spite of the ban.
Over-Romanticising the Second Generation of the First Exodus
By the time of Jericho Israel was already compromised, even in the Second Generation. And as I pointed out the other day, compromises took place on the West Bank too - a rash covenant on the part of Joshua with a tricky tribe (the Gibeonites) in disguise (something happened to his discernment), the looting of spoil set-apart to Yahweh (Achan at Jericho itself, followed by military defeat at Ai), failure to remove all the pagan tribes out of the land, Dan abandoning the fight against the Philistines and heading north, and much else besides. If we aren't careful, we can romanticise the Second Generation in the First Exodus and ascribe a spirituality to it that did not exist.
From Egyptian to Canaanite
Yahweh, of course, knew in advance that the first settlement would be a failure in the long run. Look at the lawlessness in the period of the Judges after Joshua and Samuel, ending with the observation, "everyone (not 'many', or the 'majority', but "everyone") did what was right in their own sight" (Judg.21:25, NAB). True, the Second Generation shed off their Egyptian identities but it wasn't long before they were hankering after Canaanite and other pagan national identities. Look how compromised the Judge and national hero Samson was.
An Unhappy History
Now we could, if we wanted to (and I pray you don't), walk away from a study of the First Exodus (which we do every year in the Spring Festivals and at Jericho time) and conclude that human nature is going to mess up every time, people are going to compromise with the emet (truth), and so Israel is always going to corrupt, and simply just accept that. We could do that. That's by-and-large what Christendom has done 'let's just agree to differ'. The history of Christianity is not a happy one.
The Example of Methodism
We could look at the great revivals and reformations of the past and conclude that because the Methodists hung on to infant baptism and much of Romish tradition (a reason, in part, Methodism has so utterly apostacised in our own day), that this is just a symptom of the way human nature spoils things and that we should not expect much better on the Second Exodus.
Some Favourite Evangelical Preachers
Last night I was listening to a fantastic sermon preached by John Bevere which a brother had sent me, and as some of you know, I have a lot of time for John Bevere. I am sure you have a list of preachers you regulary listen to for inspiration. I have mine that include John Bevere (Pentecostal), Dan Mohler (Pentecostal), Todd White (Pentecostal), John Piper (Calvinist/Baptist), Francis Chan (Independent/Evangelical), Louie Gigilo (Independent/Evangelical), Andy Stanley (Independent/Evangelical) and many others.
Hardly any of the preachers I listen to or read are Messianic with the exception of perhaps Benjamin Baruch. Why? Because they either bore me to tears or because are riddled with heresy. They just don't have the anointing these Evangelical preachers have. They're legalistic, arid and very judgmental with all who disagree with them doctrinally. Something is seriously missing from their witness because their focus is more on the mitzvot (commandments) than the new life in Messiah. I wouldn't want many of them pastoring my family and some of them, who are otherwise brilliant Torah-teachers from whom I have learned much, I wouldn't even want feeding my pet snake. As people - the way they treat others - some of them are quite morally repulsive.
But when it comes to sound teachings above and beyond the fundamental evangelical doctrines, I almost never go to evangelical ministers because they don't have a clue! If I want Christian philosophy, I go to Ravi Zacharias (Baptist) or Norman Geisler (Baptist). If I want Christian science, I go to John C.Lennox (Evangelical) and a whole host of sound creationists like Walt Brown, Ken Ham, Andrew Snelling and Henry M.Morris (all Evangelicals). If I want history, I go to N.T.Wright (Anglican), James R.White (Calvinist/Baptist), Ben Witherington (Methodist) and a number of others. If I want the best of the basic theology of John Bevere, Dan Mohler and others, I go to C.S.Lewis (Anglican), A.W.Tozer and others like then. If I want Pastoral material, I go to Frank Damazio (Evangelical), Albert Mohler (Calvinist/Baptist), Derek Prime, Alistair Begg and others. If I want fiery prophetic preaching, I go to Ian Paisley (Calvinist/Presbyterian) or Leonard Ravenhill (Independent/Ecangelical). If I want expertise on the transgender phenomenon, I go to Walt Heyer (Evangelical), or on homosexuality, to Michael Brown (Evangelical). If I want to know more about the Nefilim I go to Chris Putnam (Evangelical), Thomas Horn (Evangelical), Rob Skiba (Evangelical) and others like them. Why don't I go to Messianics about these things? Because they don't bother about them very much. They're more interested in Torah.
Towards Messianic Evangelicism
If I want to know about Torah, well, I almost always go to messianic teachers, because most (not all) of the Evangelical preachers are arid by comparison. This gigantic hole in their (Evangelical) knowledge makes their worldview defective and leaves them vulnerable. (I have to say that a lot of messianic teachers are awful too). True, there are some exceptions in the Torah categoy, and Michael Heiser (Baptist) is one of the exceptional ones, his expertise being in the Ante-Diluvian world, as also B.R.Hicks (Independent/Evangelical) who has brought forth much about the Tabernacle along with others like Kevin Connor (Evangelical). Evangelicals are cautiously moving into the Messianic world, and vice versa, and this is good. However, to be meaningful, the Evangelicals have got to let go of their Romish traditions and Messianics have got to let go of Judaism! Without the mutual forsaking of dark traditions, the polarities and dichotomies will remain, and echad (oneness) will be impossible. That is a major function of this Messianic Evangelical work.
A Complex Gathering
There are lots of other names I could mention who have been, and still are, my teachers and who have ministered to my soul, but there are simply too many of them to cover here. I thank them all, even those who taught me what not to follow by their bad examples. This is, outwardly, a crazy melting pot but Yahweh is controlling the process. The need for a gathering of all true principles out of this mix is as important as the need to gather out the 12 Tribes, a matter so huge and complicated that only Yahweh can do it through men and women properly submitted to Him. This is the greatest gathering project in the history of mankind, it can't be done in a day or ever a few years. This is a drawn-out process with so many facets that no one man can apprehend it all.
The Two Categories in a Dynamic
So there are broadly-speaking two categories of ministers I turn to: those who minister to my heart (almost entirely evangelical) and those who minister to my mind (almost entirely, though not exclusively, messianic). Isn't there something wrong with this set-up? Aren't we supposed to be teaching and practicing the same emunah (faith)? Shouldn't our minds and hearts be ministered to as one? Do you think Yahweh is happy with this set-up? Well, I hope the answers to these questions are obvious. Nevertheless, as I have already intimated, there is a danger in becoming over-simplistic as represented by the two extremes of Evangelicism vs. Messianism, as perhaps best expressed in the false dichotomy of Grace vs. Torah. The important thing is understanding the dynamic.
The New Revelation
Now broadly-speaking the evangelicals hold fellowship together and the messianics hold fellowship together and never the twin shall meet. There are exceptions - those who span the division - like popular speaker Jonathan Cahn (Messianic Jew) who is the darling of Christian chatshow hosts like Jim Bakker (a good thing) but they are not only few and far between but are far more evangelical than they are messianic and still hold on to both Romish and Jewish traditions. Not only, though, must Romishness and Jewishness be relinquished but space must be made for the new, complimetary revelation from Heaven that alone can complete the Remnant in its invisible and visible gatherings - that, along with Restoration of truths and principles that both Evangelicism and Messianism still regard as taboo because of their false traditions. In a word, the Remnant has got to be readied for Heaven's 'hot potatoes'.
Order in Apparent Confusion
We should not be surprised at the confusion and muddle that still obtains generally. However, things are most certainly changing. The Messianic-Evangelical emergence is taking place rather like an explosion in reverse. Explosions cause chaos and destruction. Man is adept at doing them, both instant and progressive over generations. What we stand for, and what we labour for and proclaim here, is a miraculous reverse explosion - miraculous because, although every individual and Remnant group must play his part, only Yahweh can bring it altogether supernaturally. We are in the middle of this apparent chaos, and I underline the word 'apparent' deliberately. There are 'quick reverse explosions' as Yahweh impacts individuals suddenly and dramatically and there are 'longer reverse explosions' which take time and involve lots of people corporately - people finding treasure chests of emet (truth) that people like ourselves have been gathering and then these people finding each other, spiritually resonating and then coming together as community. These communities are forming and reforming all the time, like globules coalescing, splitting and coalescing again, as a heavenly leavening process takes place. Were we to be able to see it all we would be astonished.
A Grand Restoration
This is what, broadly, the Penultimate Generation looks like. It's a "mixed company" becoming unmixed, remixed, unmixed again and then remixed until the mixing is perfect. Yahweh knows what the required ingredients are and knows how to supernaturally remove wrong ones. And I haven't even gone into the 'other' Christians like Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Adventists and others who are a part of this grand process too. We'll never fathom it all. But what we can do is be faithful in our calling and sphere of activity until Yahweh has accomplished His purpose and effected His Grand Restoration. The Second Exodus is underway. The Final Gathering is happening. Just don't be impatient. One Jericho at a time. I know what I am doing and where I am supposed to be. Do you?
Continued in Part 5