Sermons Series 3:91, 7 April 2007
Chag haMatzah 2007
The Tale of Rahab Do-Nothing
Shabbat Shalom in Yah'shua's Name and welcome to this morning's Sabbath Assembly. Of all the sermons I had to prepare for this Chag haMatzah season, this one was the most difficult. Usually the themes during Yahweh's festivals are fairly self-evident - we run through the Passover story, we talk about getting sin out of our lives during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and then we talk about the holiness of firstsfruit offerings to Yahweh and the resurrection of Yah'shua at Yom haBikkurim, which starts this evening. I had originally planned to give my firstfruits sermon now but the Ruach intervened to lead me to speak about a subject that I had not even considered as being remotely connected to this festival, until I got down to thinking carefully about the long-term objectives of discipleship and what the culmination of the spring festivals actually is. What got me going was something written by British popular writer Malcolm Muggeridge which brought me up short and plunged me into a journey of thoughts and feelings which I hope I can adequately convey to you today. This is what he wrote:
"I am like a man on a sea voyage nearing his destination. When I embarked I worried about having a cabin with a porthole, whether I should be asked to sit at the captain's table, who were the more attractive and important passengers. All such considerations become pointless when I shall so soon be disembarking ... the passion to accumulate possessions, or to be noticed and important, is too evidently absurd to be any longer entertained" ('Credo' in Jesus Rediscovered, Fount, 1969, pp.57ff).
As one who has travelled a lot in ships throughout my life this particular piece of imagery brought up memories. I particularly remember the scramble by passengers to get a seat at the captain's table on the passenger ships we used to travel on and, best of all, to actually sit next to him, since he was obviously the #1 man on board. And though I was a boy at the time, I do remember wondering why this was so important to the people. The ladies wore their best dresses, the men their white summer jackets and bow ties. There was a lot of laughter and banter and, of course, the alcohol flowed. I particularly remember my upbringing at the dusk of the old colonial days in the Far East and the passion that the irreligious Europeans had for partying, whether on board ship or on land. And about all I can remember was how absurd and meaningless it all was. As I grew up I saw it for what it truly was - a charade - a substitute for real living. And hearing the old folk who were brought up in this environment reminiscing on the 'good old days' and saying how wonderful it all was, and then seeing the emptiness at the end of their lives, makes me wonder still: what was it all for?
Needless to say, Yahweh does not care a fig about the 'social scene'. Anything that is not echad passes away. To Him it is all egotism and play-acting. It is the lure of a deceitful heart seeking to find worth in the approval of others whose values are not necessarily godly. What is important may be summed up in these words of Paul who reminds us of our own social status:
"Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But Elohim chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; Elohim chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him" (1 Cor.1:26-29, NIV).
Note that well: Yahweh nullifies the things that are - declares them to be of zero worth. Only what is of Him is of any worth. How do you measure 'success'? What is it you want to be successful in? The Scriptures make it very plain that the only success which matters - the only success that counts - is success with Yahweh, our Heavenly Father. And Yah'shua made it perfectly clear that the attempt to put Yahweh first in our lives is in continual conflict with other ambitions. That is the cause of internal civil wars. And He also made is very clear that there can be no compromise between Yahweh and these goals. The following scripture, I want to suggest to you, highlights one of the most important things in life: that of coming under true authority and of excluding all others that are not subtended to it:
"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" (Matt.6:24, NIV).
I am sure you will recall the power dispute between the first apostles - the desire to dominate - and how Yah'shua resolved it:
"Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Yah'shua said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves" (Luke 22:24-27, NIV).
The most common forces that drive people - money, power and fame - are the most obvious examples of what Yah'shua was talking about. Yah'shua does not beat around the bush:
"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell" (Matt.5:29-30, NIV).
I am sure none of you believe this means you should go and physically mutilate yourself. What we have here are two examples of Hebrew idiomatic speech. The right eye here is an idiom for the use of money at our disposal - if it causes us to 'sin', then it means we are stingy and mean. Best to get rid of the money than have your heart corrupted by it. Indeed, this was Yah'shua's counsel to the rich young ruler who in all other matters in respect of Torah was apparently faultless (Mt.19:16-24). The right hand is an idiom for our use of power or authority. If, having authority and power, we are tempted to abuse it, it is better to voluntarily forfeit the right to the exercise of that power before it leads you down to hell. Thus it is better for a politician to resign than to permit himself to abuse power.
Now do not suppose that because a person has no formal authority or power given to him in the home, in politics, in business or the local assembly, that such do not attempt to claim and use it anyway. They do. It is the tendency of the flesh to continually try to 'lord' it over others. The point Yah'shua is making is that until all our wishes, desires and ambitions are surrendered to Him, we will ever have divided loyalties and find ourselves going round and round in circles trying to make things 'work' for us as we dry to dominate and control our life situation and the situations of others we wish to influence or dominate.
Do you remember at the beginning of Chag haMatzah when I spoke to you about the three Rahab's? The first was the one who, recognising that Yahweh was all-powerful and His people unstoppable, decided the only sensible thing was to throw her lot in with Israel and abandon her own people - effectively betraying them? That prostitute made herself an outcast - a nobody - and for her sacrifice not only saved her life and her family but also became an ancestor of Yah'shua Himself! Her name is exalted forever!
The second was the one who played all sides and in effect achieved nothing - she was known as 'Rahab-Hem-Shebeth' or 'Rahab Do-Nothing'. She is the kind of person who tries to balance everything to make sure everything is 'fair' for everybody but principally for herself. The third is the pagan Rahab who thinks only of herself - your typical egotist - her sort was crushed by the falling walls of Jericho. But it's the one in the middle - the Rahab Do-Nothing - that interests me today, because she takes a mid-way position and ends up losing everything like the pagan Rahab. For the believer - for the one who wants to be saved and be successful for Yahweh - there is only one option: to become the lowliest servant. To surrender like the true Rahab who abandoned her Canaanitishness and became an Israelite by adoption.
The parable of the prodigal son is the story of the human race and the way back home. It is the story of our journey through self-rule and self-management to the lowliest rank in society and to the greatest humiliation possible (Lk.15:11-32). Pursuing the egotistical life, in what ever form, whether as Rahab the Pagan or Rahab Do-Nothing, who tries to make sure that she at least gets her 'fair share', leads to the pig swill. Every human being who clings to self and rejects the Path trodden by the Saviour ends up there. In fact, the whole human race is there, with many thinking they are prosperous when they are in spiritual poverty. The route back the same for every one of us: the path of humility and servitude. We have but one attitude to learn, and that is the willingness to be the lowliest servant. Yah'shua demonstrated that path in His own life of self-abnegation and service to mankind. Anything else is born of deathly pride.
I wonder if any of you have heard of a lady called Beatrice Webb? If you haven't, I recommend you read about her as a lesson in what not to do with your life. She was a radical socialist who was presented with three choices in life. One was to marry Joseph Chamberlain, a British cabinet minister, with whom she was in love. She could have become a great hostess. Instead she ended up marrying Sidney Webb, a socialist economist, with whom, had she given herself wholeheartedly to his cause (she didn't), she could have been a great influence in politics behind the scenes. And if she had chosen Yahweh she could have been, as Malcolm Muggerdige pointed out, a twentieth century St.Teresa of Avila, the great Catholic reformer. Beatrice Webb dithered between the three, a typical Rahab Do-Nothing. Because she would not choose, she ended up not believing in Yahweh any longer even though she would regularly go to pray in Westminster Abbey. She ended up wasting her life.
If we are to achieve anything, we have to be single-minded. If you dither between two or more positions, you end up going nowhere fast. Double-mindedness is perhaps the worst condition of the human soul because it utterly paralyses it. You might as well jump in the deep freeze. I cite briefly the story of Beatrice Webb who had a public profile, but you know, most people - your average person - is a lot more double-minded than she was. Most people never do anything. At least Beatrice Webb wrote some books even though her brilliance could have been better spent serving Yahweh rather than a humanistic political cause.
You cannot achieve anything worthwhile unless you are single-minded. Yah'shua's whole drive was a journey to the Cross. His brilliant teachings, miracles and other works were subtended to this Primary Mission. Nothing else ultimately mattered. What use would Yah'shua have been if He had left us His teachings and performed wonderful miracles but had failed to meet His appointment with the Cross? His teachings would have been useless because we would be hell-bound!
Every single human being has a Primary Mission and everything else is secondary. You have a Primary Mission. I have a Primary Mission. That mission is given to you by Yahweh. Your first task is to find out what it is, whether you are 18 or 80. And with the years that you have left, you are to throw your life energies into it. This means that there can only be One Authority in your life, and you must pursue that Authority with every fibre of your being, seeking to do its will. That's our Messianic declaration in the Shema (Mk.12:29-30). If that Supreme Authority places you under another human authority - like a husband or an apostle - then you must submit yourself to that designated authority with every fibre of your being too, because then it is the same as being under Yah'shua's authority. There can't be any other competing authorities. If there are, radical decisions have to be made to end the dilemma.
Yet time and time again, human beings fail to be resolute enough to give up a competing authority or relationship in order to make success of the other. Beatrice Webb dithered between Yahweh, Joseph Chamberlain and Sidney Webb. She rejected Yahweh and found herself in a heart-triangle with two other men leaving her with a good-cop, bad-cop choice. When you fail to give up one of two competing authorities or relationships, you end up failing in both. Always. The realists are those who, finding themselves in two mutually-excluding relationships, are single-minded enough to break off one. It could be a conflict between career and marriage, between parents and spouse, between Yahweh and a career, between Yahweh and a potential marriage alliance that would take you away from Him. It could be almost anything. And if your mind and heart are split - if they are divided between two ways - then one part has to yield or you'll end up going nowhere.
What this means in practice - and it would not be fair of me to talk theoretically without my clearly underlining the real choices and the price that has to be paid - is that in affairs of the heart a resoluteness bordering on ruthlessness (with oneself) is necessary in order that at least one ship might sail. Is not plucking out a metaphorical eye, or cutting off a metaphorical hand, ruthless? You won't find Yah'shua beating around the bush, will you? When He presents radical alternatives - and life really is a choice between radical alternatives - then to make such a choice, only ruthlessness is possible.
Imagine you're a single man at a dock about to board a ship. One ship is sailing for Argentina, let's say, where a wonderful career is waiting for you. There, unbeknown to you, a rich secular woman is waiting for you who is a famous socialite who will further you in your career. You will have children with her and they will become wealthy, though worldly, entrepreneurs like you. The other ship is sailing to China where Yahweh has called you on a mission where, unbeknown to you, your future wife and true soul-mate is waiting to be your companion in the mission field, and with whom you will raise children who will also become faithful believers, and with whom you will spend eternity.
If you choose the first, it may well begin 'well' but latterly things will go wrong and your marriage will fall apart. You will lose your children to the world. This calamity will bring you to your senses for trying to live life without Yahweh, lead you to repentance, and to salvation. You will spend the latter part of your life serving Yahweh bringing souls to Him. It is not as glorious as the first choice but it at least saves your soul from destruction and you can serve your Master with the talents that you chose to use for Him.
If you choose the second, you will face a hard life with many trials and tribulations but you will have a faithful wife and children to be proud of. You will spend all your life serving Yahweh and rejoice in bringing souls to Him. You will enter into glory.
So there you are, in the harbour, and there are the two ships. They are both about to sail. What will you do? Rahab Do-Nothing stands on the dock and the ships sail away without her. She just can't make her mind up - won't make her mind up - which to board. What is left for you to do? Go back home, to the place you started from, alone, praying to Yahweh to reveal your purpose in life and grant you a miracle even though He's already told you what to do. Nothing happens and slowly your faith ebbs away and you stop believing in Yahweh even though you routinely still pray to Him, just as Beatrice Webb did. I suggest that not choosing is worse than choosing the way of the world because in the first you have at least made a choice and still have the possibility of making something of your life. But maybe Yahweh, who is full of grace, will send that second ship back to dock once more so that you can have a last chance at choosing. He is known to be gracious and full of loving-kindness. But like the woman caught in adultery, who was told not to repeat her crime, there may only be one more chance. Don't squander it.
So why does Rahab Do-Nothing do what she does? She afraid to take risks. She's afraid to suffer. She's unwilling to take risks or suffer. In truth, what she wants is not to grow up but to remain Daddy's or Mummy's little girl and stagnate. She refuses to live and take what life brings, the good and the bad, the joy and the pain. She'd rather have neither - she'd rather be numb or asleep because she thinks that's more comfortable and more secure. Yah'shua calls this kind of person a Laodician - lukewarm - and worthy only of being spat out (Rev.3:14-22). Far better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all.
If you read about the lives of godly men and women who have been productive for Yahweh and His Kingdom you will almost invariably discover that the cause of their greatness was not some special giftedness they had but the fact that at some point in their lives they took a step which seems horrifying to us - something shocking, something unbelievable, something radical, even outrageous to your average man. Do you remember Elisha? He slaughtered his ox and used his ploughshare to make a fire with which to cook the ox, served a meal, and then left his farming profession for ever to serve Elijah (1 Ki.19:-21). That's radical!
There was a distinguished Anglican minister who was a professional artist before his conversion. Upon becoming a Christian, he burned all his paintings. The great English poet, Gerald Manley Hopkins, burned all that he had written in 1868 and resolved never to write anything more unless it was according to the wishes of his superiors. For seven years he wrote nothing. And you may remember the story I once told you of the guitarist who destroyed his guitar when he became a believer because he did not want to play worldly music anymore.
Do these stories shock you? Aren't you thinking: "What a waste!" All those lovely paintings, seven years of being totally unproductive, that expensive guitar. But it wasn't a waste at all. It served a purpose, just like leaving fields fallow one year in every seven, as required by Torah, is not wasteful. It allows the field to recover so that it can be fully productive again.
Now I am not suggesting that everyone necessarily gets this right. Some people can be too radical and may even get rid of the wrong things. Abandoning your wife and children to serve Yahweh is not an option. Shooting someone who is making your life hell and preventing you from getting on with your life is not an option. Yahweh has different solutions to such problems. There are good biblical examples like Elisha and his oxen, or the sorcerers who burned their expensive occultic scrolls and books (Ac.19:18-19) that illustrate what I am talking about. Sometimes we may overreact and we have to be careful of that.
Brethren and sisters, such single-minded ruthlessness that leads to the putting aside of everything that appears at the time to be in conflict with the priority of Yahweh in our life, applies in different ways at different stages in our lives. In every one of our lives there are certain decisive turning points - points at which we arrive and then make fundamentally important life-changing decisions. They don't seem to occur very often so we need to take them very seriously indeed when they come and not waste valuable opportunities. These can be both before and after we become believers - or they can be the very point at which we accept Yah'shua as Master and Deliverer and get baptised in the Ruach haRishon. The Bible seems to suggest that for those who are earnestly seeking the fullness there are up to seven major pivotal points in a lifespan, which we also call the Seven Overcomings of the Book of Revelation. Few, it would seem, get past two or three of them. The decisions we make may not be dramatic from the world's point-of-view but they are big events for us individually.
It is the testimony of Scripture and of those who have experienced it for themselves that when you turn your life over to Yahweh there is a complete reversal of priorities. The last becomes first, and the first becomes last (Mt.20:16). The whole way we approach relationships radically changes too. Now we're in a servant position. We're not Pagan Rahab's or Rahab Do-Nothings any more. We approach everything differently. We don't measure people or events like we used to, trying to protect our own self-interests. We're not even letting our left hand know what our right hand is doing because we're no longer centred on self but on Yahweh and others:
"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matt.6:2-4, NIV).
This is true not only of material things like wealth but of emotional, mental and spiritual things too. We are to be generous in everything. We're to be especially careful in our behaviour so that weak brethren don't stumble (Rom.14:13), even denying ourselves for their sakes. But like all things, we can take that too far if we're not careful. For instance, we shouldn't suddenly become 'less Christian' in order not to provoke a unbeliever, or start loving our spouse less so as not to provoke someone who is jealous of a successful marriage. Some things just can't be sacrificed. At the same time we can overreact like an air hostess did recently who insisted on wearing her crucifix whilst at work and who sued British Airlines when she disregarded the rules and carried on wearing her cross whilst at work anyway. It was a term of employment not to wear religious items and she should have honoured that or found another job. I certainly would have been upset if an air hostess wore a satanic upturned pentagram round her neck. We can instead advertise our faith in the way Yah'shua commanded - by radiating His love in our deeds and witness.
If we focus on our primary mission, everything else that we need will be added:
"But seek first the kingdom of Elohim and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matt.6:33-34, NKJV).
To do this may require - and often does require - radical sacrifices:
"Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first" (Matt.19:29-30, NIV).
All of us here have felt that pain of sacrifice. But when we have been called to give, we can't just grit out teeth and 'give' - there has to be a genuine releasing as it is written:
"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for Elohim loves a cheerful giver. And Elohim is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Cor.9:7-8, NIV).
I am sure you have heard the expression, "Give until it hurts" or the Christian version, "Give until it hurts, and then keep giving". Do we have an example of this in Scripture? We do:
"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Messiah Yah'shua, who, although He existed in the form of Elohim, did not regard equality with Elohim a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Phil.2:5-8, NASB).
How does this relate to us as mortals? What is the comparison? Obviously we are not sacrificing ourselves for others' sins since only Yah'shua can do - and did do - that. Since Yah'shua is the allegorical Messianic Bridegroom, then there must be parallel responsibilities for husbands and fathers, and wives and mothers. Yah'shua said:
"Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 13:34, NIV).
These words were His parting commission as He shared His Last Passover or Pesach with His intimate circle of faithful and dedicated apostles and disciples. We are to imitate the way He loved and loves. Earlier He had gathered His intimate circle together and washed their feet, stripping Himself to the waste like an ordinary house servant (Jn.13:1-17) and as David has done as he danced before the Ark of the Covenant as it was brought into Jerusalem (2 Sam.6:13-14). We are to strip ourselves of all pretentiousness, all 'heart-clothing' that would artificially and presumptuously set people above one another. Those who are kings of Yah'shua's Kingdom are, in any, case servant-kings. They may preside and rule and have the privileges of authority but they are also to 'empty themselves' of pride, arrogance, the lust for unrighteous dominion or power, the desire for fame or wealth for self-interest. What we ask Yahweh for is to enable us to serve and to seek first the Kingdom of Yahweh and its righteousness.
Our attitude must be that of the prodigal son who desired only, in the contrition of his heart, to be his father's lowliest servant. Our attitude must be that of the king who wrote that he would have been content to merely serve as an usher in the Tabernacle, just so long as he could serve. We must be content with the least. However, the fact that self-abasement leads to exaltation must not be the reason we abase ourselves - the prodigal son had no idea that his father would restore him, clothe him in costly robes, put an expensive ring on his finger, and give him a sumptuous feast. He was ready and prepared to be an ordinary farm labourer for his father and work alongside the hired men (Lk.15:11ff.). That has to be our attitude too because that is the only way we will be able to see sin and work it out of ourselves through repentance. It's the only way we can get the bad yeast out.
We come to Yah'shua, the allegorical Bridegroom, in that frame of mind, expecting nothing. That is how a wife should approach her husband too. Joseph's brothers must approach him in that way too in order to secure food for their belly for he is a Regent over them. Yah'shua, however, will not leave us prostrate on the ground - He picks us up and then prepares a banquet for us! A true husband with the love of Messiah in his heart will not leave his wife prostrate either - he will pick her up and give her a feast of love. And Joseph did not leave his brothers to prostration either - he lifted them up and feasted them and brought their families to him as their firstborn head. That is how we must also be in Messianic Israel. Judah, Reuben and the other brothers may hate it at first, and persecute Joseph for a while, but reality and Yahweh's will will bring them to their senses and to their proper positioning. They will come under proper authority.
We must all come under proper authority. There is no protection and there are no abundant blessings without it. If you want the full revelation and manifestation of the Kingdom in these latter days, then there is no other way. If you want to strut around in pride or offence, then Yahweh will give you something lesser, or take everything away, and you will have to be satisfied with your lot. But if you want the fullness, then you must empty yourselves of all pride and pretense, and make of yourself a bondservant like all the other leaders in true Josephite Messianic Israel. Our only 'ambition' in the Kingdom is to be a Deacon or Deaconess, like Yah'shua was our Grand Deacon. It's the most important office in Messianic Israel because you can't be an Elder or Eldress or any other rank unless you are first a shammash - a servant. "Once a Deacon, Always a Deacon" in this case is true for all true believers. The other callings - to be an Elder, Pastor, Evangelist or Apostle are heavy responsibilities with stringent accountability.
Rahab Do-Nothing never makes it even to the deaconess position because she too busy serving her own self-protection interests. She's too busy making sure she doesn't get hurt in the arena of life with all its troubles. If she helps people, it will be to protect herself. She's too busy in her little corner, not daring to expose herself, let alone reach out to help others for their own sakes. How are we to become shammashim? How are we to become bondservants full of zeal and love for others? Monica Furlung has this suggestion to make:
"The most difficult and worthwhile feat of all is to become so rich inside ourselves that we become careless of other forms of wealth and status. The richness and stillness out of which it comes, makes it really possible to love others" (Contemplating Now, Hodder & Stoughton, 1971, p.128).
It is by coming rich inside of ourselves, through the daily feasting of our souls on the Word and on the Banquet of the Bride laid out before us in our hearts, in the Garden of Yahweh, that we come to regard as foolish and superficial all that the world considers important. Richard Harries says:
"This inner transformation, though it can only come about by divine grace, involves us in a costly discipleship. For the Christian faith is not about vague and cosy feelings. It is about a God (Elohim) made known to us in the absolute claims and promises of Christ" (Prayer and the Pursuit of Happiness, Fount, 1985, p.105).
These claims are not vague, as we have seen - they are radical. Most believers pretend they are not, or try to explain them away as metaphors. For this reason - because the flesh is so diametrically opposed to the claims made by Yah'shua - the true disciple will experience a number of crisis points in this life where a choice has to be made for good or evil, for life or destruction.
There is the wonderful story of a Welshman who was being trained for the ministry. As you know, Wales has produced some of the most amazing revivals in Christendom where fire has poured down from heaven and changed hearts. After one revival, policemen were being made redundant because crime had almost totally disappeared! Anyway, this young trainee minister viewed his success in terms of knowing his theology. He passed his exams magna cum laude and went on to another Christian College where his professor asked him to write an essay on the Divinity of the Messiah. Sure enough, after six weeks of hard toil, be produced this magnificent theologically-correct essay, and was thoroughly pleased with himself. As he read the essay to his tutor, His Professor sighed from time to time and then asked the intending minister: "(I think I know about Barth and Brunner (two German theologians) as you?" to which the reply could only be "Yes". The Professor then knelt down on the floor, with essay in hand, and exclaimed: "The Reverend T.J.Davis, B.A., henceforth I commend you to the flames". He then threw the essay into the fire with the words, "ashes to ash, dust to dust". The intending minister was both astonished and horrified that his six weeks' worth of work was destroyed. Then the Professor gave him a personal sermon on how to mix his words with a touch of the soil, with the object of trying to convey the reality of Yah'shua rather than display his academic prowess.
A lot of people who come to me for deliverance learn to say the right words, having witnessed others being delivered. But saying the right words is not deliverance any more than making the right confession with one's mouth is salvation. You could pay a Satanist to say that "Jesus is the Christ come in the flesh" and he'd say it without meaning it. I don't know how many times I have heard people cite this Scripture:
"This is how you can recognise the Ruach Elohim: Every spirit that acknowledges (confesses) that Yah'shua the Messiah has come in the flesh is from Elohim, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Yah'shua is not from Elohim. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world" (1 John 4:2-3, NIV)
and who teach the pernicious heresy that reciting the right words is what saves you. That's false religion. That's trying to get saved by works - the works of your tongue. The NIV rendition of homologeo as 'acknowledge' or the KJV 'confess' really isn't enough because it contains within it the sense of thanksgiving too, in other words, a genuine heart-response. This confession has to involve your whole heart too, and not just your lips.
Rahab Do-Nothing knows all the right words. She can even be a mental genius but until her heart is involved she'll remain a 'do-nothinger'. I have known great theological geniuses whose hearts were filled with the yeast of malice and hate. They were not born-again at all. The Ruach haRishon had never touched them and they had never made the journey out of Egypt under the wings of the Ruach haShanee. While Moses and the children of Israel are marching towards the promised land, Rahab Do-Nothing remains in Egypt lecturing the Pharaoh on correct biblical theology or remains in the Areopagus in Athens philosophising with the Epicureans and Stoics after Paul has realised the futility of such a witness and moved on (Ac.17:16ff). Theology is good. Theology is important. But it's useless unless it serves the awakened heart filled with the love and passion of the living Messiah! Then it is better to have no theology at all beyond knowing with your whole being that Yah'shua is the Messiah and surrendering to Him unconditionally.
Every single one of us is faced with the challenge, one way or another, to seek first the Kingdom of Yahweh and to surrender our cherished human goals, whether they are lawful or lawless, it doesn't matter. We have to work for what is right in Yahweh's eyes and to look with either disdain or amusement at what passes as human success.
To Mr. or Mrs. 'Rahab Do-Nothing' I would like to share this prayer by Richard Harries and ask you to take it to heart because it distils the essence of what I have been trying to say to you this morning:
"O Yahweh-Elohim, complete in Yourself, You have yet surrendered Your self-sufficiency to make us, creatures of Your love; made us able to thwart Your purposes, able to hurt You. O Yahweh-Elohim, most perfect love become most vulnerable, help us to share in and not spoil Your great work" (Ibid., p.107).
- Richard Harries, Prayer and the Pursuit of Happiness, Fount, 1985
|Glossary of MLT Hebraic, Greek and English Terms |
For other terms and full details please see the Micropedia
AGlossary Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved
Adon(ai) = Master, a pagan fertility god, Adonis; used by many Messianics but not MLT
(a)eon(ian) = 7 dispensation- or age-long time periods, not forever (see le-olam-va-ed)
Alef-Tav = Alpha-Omega, A-Z, first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet = Yah'shua
Amen = truly, let it be so, written Amein by some Messianics
Apocrypha = Hebraic Scriptures not a part of the Protestant canon (e.g. Baruch)
Anti-Messiah = Hebraic term for the end-time Antichrist or anyone opposed to the Messiah
antinomian = lawless Christian who disregards all or part of Torah/commandments
Ashkenazi Jew = East European Jew descended from the Turkic-Japhethite Khazars
Assembly = church, congregation, ekklesia, community, fellowship, koinonia, gathering
Azazel = the Yom Kippur scapegoat
Baal, Ba'al = any other master than Yahweh, usually demonic in MLT terminology
Bachor(im) = firstborn son(s)
Bar/Bat Mitzvah = Son/Daughter of Commandment, covenant to obey Torah at age 12
being = soul, the whole person (spirit and body), e.g. "my whole being"
Beit, bet, beth = house, e.g. Beit Yisrael (House of Israel), Beth Lechem (House of Bread)
Beit haMikdash = Yahweh's Temple in Yerushalayim
B'rit Chadashah = the New Covenant; B'rit Chadashah Scriptures = New Testament
B'rit Milah = circumcision - abolished in the B'rit Chadashah, replaced by Mikvah
canon = authoritative Scripture (Heb. qaneh, Gk. kanŰn = measuring instrument)
Catechumen = a serious, covenanted investigator seeking Mikvah or Baptism in MLT
Chag haMatzah = Feast of Unleavened Bread, second of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Chavurat Bekorot = MLT's Priesthood Order, Holy Order and Assembly of the Firstborn
Cohen = priest; Cohen Gadol = High Priest (also spelled Kohen)
Council of Yah's elohim = the heavenly Assembly of the Firstborn or Chavurat Bekorot
demon = fallen malek or angel in rebellion against Yahweh (Heb. shad; see l-Shaddai)
derech = the Way, Path or Road - Yah'shua and the Gospel are the Way
Drash = moral or homiletic interpretation of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Echad = One, Union of two or more in one (as opposed to Yachid) - see Elohim
Echad Godhead Doctrine = Father Yahweh, Son Yah'shua and Sevenfold Ruach (Mother)
Êl, Eloah, Elah = God the Father, Yahweh
Êl-Elyon = Most High God, Yahweh
Êl-Shaddai = Master/Lord over all shads or demons
Elohim = God, the Godhead (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), lit. 'Mighty One(s)', 'Ruler(s)'
elohim = Israelite judges, rulers, angels or gods (false deities, idols, demons)
emunah = faith, actively trusting, clinging or adhering to (especially Yahweh or Yah'shua)
emet = truth, Yah'shua is the Emet
Ephraimite = descendant of the patriarch Ephraim and head of Messsianic Israel
Feasts of Yahweh = the 7 annual Moedim (Pesach, Chag haMatzah, Yom haBikkurim, Shavu'ot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot)
Gan-Eden = Garden of Eden, Paradise and state of the purified heart in Messiah
goy(im) = nation(s), Israelites or gentiles not born in or converted to the Covenant
hallelu-Yah = praise Yah(weh)!
Heylel = proper name of Satan or haSatan = the Adversary, the devil
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Hochmah = Wisdom, title of the 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
IDL = International Date Line, false man-made time division in Pacific Ocean
IDL Zone = Area between the true Divine Date Line (Lake Van/Eden) and the false one
Israeli = citizen of the modern Edomite-Khazar Republic of Israel (not Biblical Israel)
Israelite = citizen of biblical state of Israel or a modern follower of the Messiah
Jew = post-biblical term describing descendants of Edomite and Khazar converts to Judaism
Johannine = pertaining to the Apostle Yochanan (e.g. Gospel of John)
Josephite = descendant of the patriarch Joseph, the head of Messianic Israel
Judahite = a person in direct descent from the patriarch Judah, forefather of the Messiah
Judaism = a Talmudic-based religion rejecting Yah'shua the Messiah
Judean = a citizen of the Kingdom or Province of Judah until the 2nd Century diaspora
Kadosh la Yahweh = set-apart or dedicated to Yahweh, 'Holiness to the Lord', MLT motto
Karaites = Jews (from 700 AD) who reject the Talmud and accept only the Tanakh
kashrut = keeping kosher, food laws of Yahweh and correspinding lifestyle
Ketuvim = Writings or Hagiographa of the Tanakh
Khazar = a Turkic convert to Judaism ~700 AD forming the Ashkenazi Jewish community
kosher = clean foods authorised by Yahweh for human consumption
Lashon Hara = evil-speaking, gossip or slander
legalism = false route to salvation through works (self-salvation)
le-olam-va-ed = dispensation- or age-long, aeonian, not eternal, forever or for eternity
Lev = heart, as in Lev-Tsiyon = heart of Zion
Lev-Tsiyon = Heart of the Fortress [of Yahweh], Hebrew name of MLT's founder
Master = Lord, Sir, Adon(ai) - (one in authority, a ruler - a king, husband, prophet, judge)
Malak(im) = Angel(s), heavenly supernatural messenger(s)
manna = wafers of honey, bread from heaven (lit. 'what is this?')
matzah = unleavened bread, see Chag haMatzah
Menorah = 7-armed candlearbra = the 7 annual Moedim and 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
Messiah = Christ; Anti-Messiah = Antichrist
Messianic Community = Body of Christ, sum total of all true believers; all true fellowships
Messianic Israel = all who worship Yahweh, trust in Yah'shua, obey Torah and overcome
Messianic Jew = Messianic convert from Judaism still clinging to Talmudic traditions
Midrash = aggadic interpretation of scripture vi‚ Drash, a scriptural discussion
Mikvah = baptism by immersion of convert into Yah'shua or of wife into husband
Mishpachah = family: nuclear, congregational, tribal or the whole of Messianic Israel
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon = family of the heart of the fortress [of Yahweh]
Mishpat = right-ruling or judgement
mitzvah/mitzvot = commandment(s)
moed(im) = appointment(s) of Yahweh, 7 Annual Feasts, Sabbath and Rosh Chodesh
Nefilim, Nephilim = giant offspring of materialised demons and human women
Nevi'im = prophetic writings of the Old Testament or Tanakh
New Birth = spiritual conversion in the Ruach haRishon, being 'born again' with new heart
Nidah = a woman's menstruation period during which no intercourse is permitted
Olive Branch = collection of revelations, prophecies and visions published by MLT
Paraclete = Comforter, Advocate (NEB), Counsellor, Ruach haQodesh (Gk. paraklÍtos)
PaRDeS = method of textual interpretation (homiletics) - see P'shat, Remez, Drash, Sod
Patriarch = a father who is head of his family, clan or tribe (lit. 'father-ruler')
Pentateuch = first five books of the Tanakh (Genesis-Deuteronomy), also called Torah
peribolaion = headcovering worn by daughters/wives in submission to fathers/husbands
Pesach = Passover, first of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Peshitta = an Aramaic version of the Bible
Prototrinitarianism = early, simplified MLT formulation of the Echad Godhead Doctrine
Prush(im) = Pharisee(s)
Pseudepigrapha = Non-canonical Hebrew writings additional to the Apocrypha
P'shat = literal, contextual, philological, exoteric, outer meaning of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Qadosh Qadoshim = Holy of Holies, most sacred set-apart room of the Beit haMikdash
Qodesh, Kodesh = set-apart, holy (see Ruach haQodesh)
Rabbi = Teacher, term used by Messianic Jews and some Messianic Israelites = Pastor
Refuge, the 12 Cities of = divinely protected MLT fortresses during the 7-year Tribulation
Remez = hint or allegorical level of Hebraic understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Rosh Chodesh = monthly New Moon appointment of Yahweh
ruach = spirit of a person (lit.'breath')
Ruach Elohim = Spirit of God (the Spirit of the collective Godhead or Elohim)
Ruach haChamashee = 5th Ruach presides over Yom Teruah and Yom Chamashee
Ruach haQodesh = the Sevenfold Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost (lit. 'Set-Apart Breath')
Ruach haRevee = 4th Ruach presides over Shavu'ot, Yom Revee and Bar Mitzvah
Ruach haRishon = 1st Ruach presides over Pesach, Yom Rishon and the New Birth
Ruach haShanee = 2nd Ruach presides over Chag haMatzah and Yom Shanee
Ruach haSheshi = 6th Ruach presides over Yom Kippur and Yom Sheshi
Ruach haShleshi = 3rd Ruach presides over Yom haBikkurim, Yom Shleshi and Mikvah
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Satan = rebel archangel Heylel, father of lies, devil, chief demon (lit.'Adversary')
Sephardic Jew = West European Jew of mixed blood containing many Judahites
Septuagint = Greek translation of the Tanakh, LXX
Shegal haShabbat = 7th Ruach (Sabbath Queen) presides over Sukkot and Yom Shabbat
Shekinah = Divine Presence and Glory of Yahweh-Elohim
Set-apart = holy, sanctified, consecrated, dedicated, separated (to and by Yahweh)
Shabbat-Shabbaton = High Sabbath (e.g. Yom Kippur)
Shalom = heavenly peace, standard Hebraic greeting invoking Yahweh's peace
Shamash(im) = servant(s), deacon(s), attendant(s)
Shavu'ot = Pentecost or Weeks, fourth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Sheol = grave or pit, euphamism for Hades or hell - also see Tartarus
shofar = ram's horn, blown during Yahweh's Moedim
simcha = joy, keynote of Sukkot
Sod = mystical, anagogic, inner or esoteric understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Sukkot = Tabernacles or Booths, seventh of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Synagogue = Greek word used by Jews and Messianics (but not MLT) for a meeting house
talmid(a) = male/female disciple or student
Talmud = scriptures, teachings and commentaries belonging to non-Messianic Judaism
Tanakh = acronym for Old Testament Scriptures - Torah, Nevi'im & Ketuvim
Tartarus = place of imprisonment under the earth for rebellious angels and Nephilim
teshuvah = repentance, remorse and contrition leading back to Torah obedience
Torah = Yahweh's teachings or Law; New Covenant Torah includes Yah'shua's teachings
Tribulation, the Great = the final 7 years of the present aeon when Anti-Messiah rules
Trinity = Catholic Godhead formula - see Echad Godhead Doctrine and Prototrinitarianism
Tsiyon = Zion, a fortress, a name of Jerusalem and a prominent hill
Tzitzit/Tizitziyot = tassel(s) worn by men in remembrance of Torah
Universalism = salvation of all at the cosmic Yovel, with different rewards and punishments
Yachid = one, single person or item, as opposed to Echad (many in one, unity)
Yah'shua the Messiah = Jesus Christ (the Son)
Yahudah = Judah - see Judahite
Yahweh, Yah, YHWH = the true Name of our Heavenly Father, also carried by Yah'shua
Yahweh-Elohim = LORD God (the Father, Yahweh as Head of the Godhead or Elohim)
Yahweh haQatan = the sent Yahweh = Yah(weh)'shua, Malak of Yahweh's Presence
Yam Suf = Sea of Reeds, the true Israelite Exodus water crossing, not the Red Sea
Yarden = Jordan River (lit. 'meanderer')
Yerushalayim = Jerusalem
Yisrael = Israel (lit. 'ruling with l') = true believers under the New Covenant
Yom Chamashee = 5th day of the week (Thursday, Friday in IDL Zone)
Yom Din, Yom haDin = (the) Day of Judgement
Yom haBikkurim = Feast of Firstfruits, third of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Revee = 4th day of the week (Wednesday, Thursday in IDL Zone)
Yom Rishon = 1st day of the week (Sunday, Monday in IDL Zone)
Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement, sixth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Shabbat = 7th day of the week and Sabbath Rest (Saturday, Sunday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shanee = 2nd day of the week (Monday, Tuesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Sheshi = 6th day of the week (Friday, Saturday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shleshi = 3rd day of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Teruah = Day of Trumpets, fifth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yosef = Joseph - see Josephite
Yovel = Jubilee or Year of Jubilee
Zaqen(im) = elder(s) of an assembly or congregation, or senior members of a community
ZoŽ Life = Greek term for spiritual life in the Messiah
Commonly Used MLT Abbreviations
For additional abbreviations and explanations,
please see the Micropedia
Amp.V(er). = Amplified Version of the Bible
Aram. = Aramaic
AV = Authorised Version of the Bible - see KJV
BCAY = B'rit Chadashah Assembly of Yahweh - see NCCG
BoA = Books of Abraham (e.g. 1Abr., 2Abr., etc.)
cp, cf = compare with
CB(Q) = Chavurat Bekorot
CEV = Contemporary English Version of the Bible
ch. = chapter
CJB = Complete Jewish Bible
CLNT = Concordant Literal New Testament
CYe = Council of Yah's elohim
Eng. = English
ff. = and onwards/forwards
fn = footnote
Gk. = Greek
GNB = Good News Bible - see TEV
Heb. = Hebrew, Hebraic
HEM = Holy Echad Marriage, eternal marriage
HO = Holy Order - see Chavurat Bekorot
HOC = Holy Order Collection of revelations - see OB
HRV = Hebraic-Roots Version of the Bible
ibid. = ibidem (lit. 'in the same place'), referring to a book previously cited
ICJC = Independent Church of Jesus Christ, earlier name of NCCF
ISRV = Institute for Scripture Research Version of the Bible
JB = Jerusalem Bible
JBP/Phillips = J.B.Phillips translation of the New Testament
JNT = Jewish New Testament
KJV = King James Version of the Bible - see AV
LB = Living Bible
lit. = literally or literature
LXX = Septuagint, Greek translation of the OT
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon
Moff. = Moffatt translation of the Bible
MRC = Messianic Renewed Covenant Version of the NT
MS(S) = Manuscript(s)
NASB, NASV = New American Standard Bible/Version
NC&C = New Covenants & Commandments - see OB
NCCF = New Covenant Christian Fellowship, earlier name of NCCG
NCCG = New Covenant Church of God, earlier name of MLT - see BCAY
NCP = New Covenant Press, publishing arm of MLT
NCW = New Covenant Witness, MLT magazine
NEB = New English Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible
NKJV = New King James Version of the Bible
Nor. = Norwegian
NT = New Testament, B'rit Chadashah
NWT = New World Translation of the Bible, unreliable Jehovah's Witness version
OB = Olive Branch - see NC&C
op.cit. = opere citato (lit. in the work cited)
OT = Old Testament, Tanakh
p(p). = page(s)
pl. = plural - see s.
PWNC = Prophetic Words of the New Covenant, revelation cataloging system - see OB
QED = quod erat demonstrandum (lit. which was shown to be proved)
RCF = Restoration Christian Fellowship, earlier name of ICJC
RhQ = Ruach haQodesh, Holy Spirit
RSTNE = Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition of the Bible
RSV = Revised Standard Version of the Bible
RV = Revised Version of the Bible
s. = singular - see pl.
S&G = Smith & Goodspeed Version of the Bible
TEV = Today's English Version of the Bible - see GNB
Vulg. = Biblia Vulgata, Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible
WEB = World English Bible
This page was first created on 31 March 2007
Last updated on 31 March 2007
Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved