Friday, March 28, 2014
According to Scripture, the “Two Houses of Israel” are two separate and distinct entities. Each of them has its own specific prophetic destiny. But even though two, they are still bound to the calling which they have inherited from their forefather Jacob - that is, to be one chosen nation of kings and priests. However, in the course of their history YHVH divided the nation into two nation/kingdoms for His purposes and plans that are directly related to the covenant that He swore to Abraham. Thus, it is very important to understand the first-born concept and its centrality in YHVH’s plan of redemption, and its connection to the Two Houses of Israel. Grasping the firstborn principle is paramount to the understanding of the latter day events recorded in the Tanach.
Isaiah 8:14 presents the ‘Two House truth’: “He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to BOTH the houses of Israel”. As long as these two continue to stumble and take offense over the One who is their Rock they will remain two distinct entities.
Many like to define the two groups as ‘Christians’ (Israel/Ephraim), and ‘Jews’ (Judah), as if they are made up of two religious sects. In spite of that we must realize that all tribes are represented in both houses, and that together they constitute multitudes of peoples, which make up many ethnic groups. But for our purpose here, let us relate to them as nations. We have, then, the nation of Judah/Israel today, being made up mostly of Jews from Judah. On the other hand, because YHVH is true to His word, there is also the other house (Joseph/Ephraim), which YHVH has sown or mixed into many peoples in literally all nations: "Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples” (Hos. 2:8), being the “fullness of the nations” (Genesis 48:19), even though most of them are unaware of their identity. The influence of the multitudes of Ephraim, on some of these nations, brought about blessings of multiplicity, military prowess and economic wealth (see Genesis 49:22-26). In the blessing to Joseph, through his son Menasseh, Jacob pronounced that they would become a great people. However, as a great people the descendants of the northern kingdom would not be able to connect their greatness to the fulfillment of the prophecies, as YHVH was going to blind them and cause them to forget their identity (which is indicated by the meaning of the very name “Menasseh”).
Judah never lost its identityOne of the keys to understanding the end time scriptures is to watch for Judah’s lead. The Jews have never lost their identity, but have been preserved by the Almighty: “Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah, I will save them by YHVH their Elohim, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword or battle, by horses or horsemen." (Hosea 1:7) And: “He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts [or rejected ones] of Israel [Joseph/Ephraim], and gather together the dispersed [but preserved and recognizable] of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12)
In Ezekiel 37 we see that Judah’s stick (nation) is gathered first (and indeed it was restored in 1948) and is also being ‘written upon’. (v. 16) Then, during the times of the “latter rain”, Judah is called as a nation to be “a mighty war horse in battle.” (Zechariah 10:1,3) In the course of those days Jerusalem is restored to Judah (which was fulfilled in 1967), who is called to prepare for war against its surrounding nations (see Joel 3:1-2,11). In these self-same days the stick of Joseph/Ephraim is also to be gathered and to be ‘written upon’. (Ezekiel 37:16) Sometime later the two are to join together in the war with the surrounding nations (ref. Isaiah 11:13-15, Zechariah 9:13). These are but a few of the scriptural descriptions and references that have been and are yet to be fulfilled, in what are called the ‘latter days’. [Hebrew word for ‘latter days’ is ‘acherith’, which means latter days or has been translated as ‘hindermost’ by some expositors.]
Our day and age
The nations surrounding Judah and Jerusalem are hostile and belligerent at present. Their hostility extends not only toward Judah/Israel but also toward some of the peoples of Joseph’s progeny who are supportive of the Jews, and who are aligned with them economically and militarily (such as the United States and the British Commonwealth of Nations). With impending war and other potentially catastrophic world events, it is necessary to gain an understanding of the prophetic perspective. When we know that all of this has been predicted beforehand, and that in YHVH’s strategy it is as good as having taken place already, we can rejoice, for our full redemption is drawing closer.
According to the prophets of old, these days are marked by wars and great turmoil. Yeshua’s words about these days also reiterate the same thoughts: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, `I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many, and you will hear of wars and rumors of wars’.” (Matthew 24:4-6) Most of us don’t have any problems relating today’s world situations to what Yeshua or the prophets said on the topic. YHVH has given us the scriptures, His Spirit and this wonderful world of communication as a tool to reveal to us the truths of His Word.
So why are the kingdoms of this world being shaken? Is it because YHVH so hates the world that He is bent on destroying it? That is far from being His motivation. YHVH’s true motive is always based on His nature, which is, of course, unconditional love, righteousness and faithfulness. All that YHVH does revolves around possessing His inheritance, and establishing His kingdom here on earth. “YHVH’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” (Deut. 32:9) YHVH sent His Son (Yeshua) to restore the House of Jacob (both houses) and set up His everlasting kingdom in and through them (Luke 1:31-33).
What then are these ‘heavy-duty’ judgments all about? Could He be acting now in the same manner that He did in the days when His people, our forefathers, dwelt in Egypt? At that time too YHVH wasn’t just being vindictive when He hardened Pharaoh’s heart. He was not looking for a pretext in order to harm the land and people of Egypt. Neither was He trying to convince them that they had to repent from their ways and turn to Him (at least not directly). He was motivated by faithfulness to His word and compassion toward His people. He wanted to establish them and His kingdom according to His pre-ordained plan, so that Egypt and the rest of the nations would know that He was the Elohim of His people Israel. He never once called Himself the God of Egypt, or the God of Amalek, but He did say repeatedly that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
YHVH says about Himself that He changes not. He is the God of Israel (both houses) and we still belong to Him, just as did our forefathers. We, who have come into the revelation understanding of our true identity, must face up to our history as His covenant people and to our relationship with Him, especially now that He has raised us from the dead spiritually and restored our lost national (natural) identity through the new covenant. One scripture that we have quoted over the years, along with other Two House teachers, is Acts 3:19-21:
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Yeshua the Messiah, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which Elohim has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”
The position of the firstborn
Although we had been focusing mainly on the restoration of our natural identity, as well as on what it means to be an Israelite and a firstborn in humanity, and how that bears upon the restoration of YHVH’s kingdom to Israel, there is yet another very important ‘ingredient’ that the redeemed Israelites must consider. This ingredient is perhaps the major theme of the writings of the New Covenant books. It may be defined as, ‘who we are as the first fruit of a new creation order’. James wrote: “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.” (James 1:18) Paul also says that “if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (Colossians 5:17) Presumably, if that is the case, who needs the ‘old’ and ‘natural’ Israelite, since now we are all ‘new’ and ‘spiritual’ Israelites? Well, let’s not jump to conclusions too soon. The Greek mindset would definitely analyze it from that perspective, but the Hebraic point of view is able to integrate these concepts (otherwise there would be no male or female either).
The Hebrew word for firstborn, in Exodus 13:12, is “peh’ter”, meaning to separate, or first to open. Breaking forth and opening up the way was the responsibility and calling of a firstborn. Thus Yeshua was the first to break forth into the new creation life and existence (spiritually speaking). His birth into this new life was a guarantee that the rest of His brethren would soon follow until “all of Israel will be saved.” (Romans 11:26) And thus, once the Father brings forth His first fruit company (Israel) of the ‘Adamic’ family, the rest of their brethren in the family of man will follow.
What manner of people ought we to be?However, the question remains: having our restored identity now, what kind of people aught we to be in these days “in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of YHVH, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat”? (2 Peter 3:10-12) In the midst of this very forceful message, Peter challenges and importunes the believer with the question: “What manner of persons ought we to be?”Those who have come into the revelation knowledge of their true heritage and ancestry, and have had their eyes open to the mysteries which have been hidden throughout the ages, must face this question. Paul, writing to the Laodicean congregation, addressed this mystery: “Messiah in you the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27 emphasis added) It is the one “mystery” that, according to his own admittance, he had struggled with greatly in conflicts and sufferings, to bring to the nations. His true motive was to proclaim Messiah Yeshua, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that he might present the believers prefect in Him (ref. Colossians 2:24-28). Since this is the case, then “what manner of persons aught we to be?”
The Apostle answered the question as he labored, striving in accord with the Spirit of Holiness that was mightily at work in him (ref. Colossians 1:29). He wanted the believers to know how great a conflict he had for them over this issue, especially for those in Laodicea (mentioned also in Revelation 3:14 and generally compared to the believers of today, especially in the ‘first world’ nations). His burden was to see love, that is, Messiah manifest in the life and relationships of the believing community. He also wanted them to understand the riches of the fullness of these mysteries that are at work in them: the mystery of Elohim, the mystery of the Father and the mystery of “Messiah in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:1-3).
The Apostle did not want these believers to be “deceived by persuasive words of man’s philosophies,” but to remain steadfast in their faith in Messiah Yeshua, and to allow Him to be master of their lives, walking in Him and “being rooted and built up in Him and abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:4,6-7) Try to imagine having today apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers with this same incredible motivation and burden for the flock of YHVH!!!
The manifestation of His life in and through a chosen and called-out people was YHVH’s plan from the beginning, as recorded in the Tanach (Old Testament). This people had its natural beginning through four mothers, three of whom (Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel) were barren with dead and unproductive wombs, but with YHVH’s intervention they brought forth the life of our forefathers (Isaac and Jacob). Paul writes about this phenomenon in his letter to the believers in Rome. “As it is written, ‘I have made you [Abraham] a father of many nations’, in the presence of Him whom he believed -- God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did [i.e. the nation that would be birthed in a dead womb], who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your seed [Isaac] be.’ And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb” (Rom. 4:17-19).
Even though they had this incredible and miraculous beginning, as the called, chosen and elect of the covenant-keeping God of Abraham, the nature of sin was still active in them. The progeny was true to its ‘Adamic’ character and engaged in idolatry, adultery and rebellion, and as a result would need to be redeemed from that condition.
Ephraim the ‘new man’
Having had this miraculous beginning, but a tainted nature, Ephraim (of the two parts that make up the progeny), has had the following endearing words said of him: “Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still; therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says YHVH. Set up signposts; make landmarks; set your heart toward the highway, the way in which you went. Turn back, O virgin of Israel.” (Jeremiah 31:20-21)
Speaking to the Ephraimites, YHVH addresses them as, “My dear son”, and almost in the same breath as a “virgin”. In one case male imagery is used, and in the other feminine gender. Intriguingly, through Hosea (1:2) YHVH calls these same people a “harlot”. How is this possible? A virgin is one who had never had intercourse, whereas for a harlot it is a way of life. So what has happened to Israel that YHVH would look upon her so differently? In that same chapter of Jeremiah a new covenant is made with Israel/Ephraim and Judah. This covenant was activated by Yeshua’s blood, when He gave himself to the will of His Father and poured out His life. It is through this covenant that YHVH removes the life of the sinner and does away with it. However, within this same covenant the provision is also made for man to have a new spirit life, a ‘new creation’ nature. This new life is the life of YHVH’s risen Son, who is the image and likeness of His Father (see Jeremiah 31:31; Hebrews 1:3). As mentioned above, the twelve tribes of Israel are to be the first fruit, or the first expression of this new life.
Paul knew this when he went out to preach this good news to the “lost sheep of the House of Israel” scattered amongst the nations. In this generation we are the remnant who have received mercy and have been born again into this living hope, “Messiah in you the hope of glory.” We hear a lot about the “one new man”, but mainly in the context of an answer to the question of ‘who is a gentile, and who is a Jew’, while the Apostle’s perspective and objective was not who the one new man was made up of (ethnically or in gender). Rather, Paul emphasized and depicted the nature and character of this “one new man”, describing him as a holy temple in which the Spirit of YHVH was (and is) resident (ref. Ephesians 2:21-22).
“Therefore, what manner of new creation persons aught we to be, as the elect of God, holy and beloved?” We are to be an expression of “tender mercies, kindness, humility, and meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, and if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Messiah forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection, and let the peace of Elohim rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Messiah dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to YHVH. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Yeshua our master, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:12-17) This is not what we will become. This is who we are already through faith, “for He [Yeshua] is our life.” (Col 3:4)
Friday, February 01, 2013
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in” (Psalms 24:9). Gates seem to be very important to YHVH, as He told Israel to write His commandments on the gates of their tents and houses: “Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, and thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates” (Deu. 11:8,20). Every three years the Israelites were to bring in their tithes and place them in the gates (ref. Deut. 14:28). The elders, judges and officers sat in the gates and conducted the affairs of the city. Thus, whoever was in control of the gates commanded all that went on in the city or the country. These ‘gate sitters’ had dominion over all the affairs of the kingdom. Thus, in order to overcome a city, its gate had to be conquered first.
I have often wondered about the significance of the word that YHVH had spoken to Abraham after the latter returned with Isaac from Mount Moriah: “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies” (Gen. 22:17). Before leaving her family to join Isaac, Rebekah’s relatives blessed her: “Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them” (Gen. 24:60). Isaac and his seed were given a double blessing; YHVH was giving them a prophetic mandate to possess, control or rule by force the gates of those who “hated them”.
Hence, Isaac’s progeny was given a position of authority in the earth. Can this fact be detected in the words that YHVH used to describe the multitudes which would come from the forefathers: “stars” (designed to govern the night Gen.1:16), and “sand of the sea” (boundaries for the ‘waters of humanity’)? “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel, for YHVH’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance” (Deut.32:8).
While YHVH speaks about His faithfulness to the covenant of multiplicity, He also points out that Isaac’s chosen seed (Jacob) would have a position of dominion and authority. They were to be the head of nations, a boundary for the peoples and the spiritual gates that would either protect or allow the spiritual enemies of Elohim to enter and control the rest of humanity. YHVH had given them exclusive rights to His scepter when He called them after the order of Melchizedec; a nation of kings and priests.
When Israel relinquished the lordship of Elohim, and no longer regarded Him as their king, the prince of this world, Satan (the dragon), took over and entered in, giving his ruling power to the beast (the flesh of man): “And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority” (Rev. 13:2). The worship of the beast (humanism) has become so prevalent that nothing may be compared to him: “who is like unto the beast?” He has become so powerful that it is said of him: “who can make war with him?” (Rev. 13:3-4). Yet, right during this state of the beast’s dominion and control, a little stone appears strikes its clay feet and then grows into a huge mountain until it covers the whole earth (see Daniel 2:35). We know that this little stone is YHVH’s ruling Son Yeshua, and that His coming and the giving up of His life released the power that overcomes the gates of hell, which therefore can prevail no longer.
Gabriel, Elohim’s angel, said to Miriam when he appeared to her, that the one to be born of her would set up the kingdom of Elohim in the house of Jacob: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and YHVH shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end”(Luke 1:32-33).
Where the Messiah would set up his kingdom is very clear. Perhaps this is why the disciples of Yeshua, asked Him, just before he ascended to heaven to sit at His Father’s right hand, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6b).
The word “restore” indicates that the kingdom must have been in
some time in the past. During the days of the prophet Samuel we hear the
prophet complaining to YHVH that the people were not listening to him and that
and they were seeking for a king to judge them, like the other nations
(1 Sam. 8:5). YHVH’s answer was: “They have not rejected you, but they have rejected me as king over them” (1 Sam. 8:7; 1 Sam. 12:12). Obviously the number one characteristic of a kingdom is that it is headed by a king. Thus, for YHVH’s kingdom to be restored to
a king must be enthroned over the nation.
Gabriel’s message leaves no room for doubt as to whom that king is.
Messiah responded to the disciples’ question by telling them that His intention was to make them witnesses to and of this kingdom. How? “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you shall be my witness...” What is the
Paul tells us very clearly in his letter to the believers in kingdom of God Rome:
“The is not meat or drink, but
righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit of Holiness” (Rom. 14:17). In other words, the kingdom constitutes the
nature of the Father in the life of the new-creation man. The main reason for the power from on high to
come into the life of the believer was in order to set up the dominion and
lordship of the Messiah in and over the life of each redeemed person. But even
more so, this lordship and dominion is to ultimately be seen in the corporate
House of Jacob and in the twelve tribes of kingdom of God Israel. This is why the
principalities and powers in heavenly places oppose so vehemently the
restoration of all Israel
as a single nation. These principalities have been controlling the gates (of
the twelve tribes), but as the Holy One, through the power of the His Spirit,
cleanses the gates and comes into them as the King of glory Satan’s rule on
this earth will be cast down and the malenial reign of the Messiah will begin. This is why Yeshua must restore those twelve
These “twelve gates” are also described as Yeshua’s shields in the earth: “The princes of the people are gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: He is greatly exalted” (Ps 47:9).
Having been taken out of the kingdom of darkness and having been transferred to the kingdom of YHVH’s beloved Son (see Col. 1:13) is not a future event, it happens to every believer who has received the “Holy Spirit”, the power from on high. Thus resident in the life of the believing nation, the redeemed twelve tribes, is the authority to rule the nations with a rod of iron, but not only to rule, also to sit and to judge the sons of men with equity and to be the eternal light to these nations.
Our warfare is not with flesh and blood nations, but with the principalities and powers of this evil world. As redeemed Israelite believers we must become mature in holiness, even as our Heavenly Father is holy. If we do not defeat this power of sin in our personal lives, how are we going to do it when it comes to nations? May those gates now say:” But thou, O YHVH, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head” (Ps 3:3).
Thursday, January 24, 2013
YHVH calls the prophet to prophesy against one of Lebanon’s major cities - “Zidon”: “Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it, and say, ‘Thus saith YHVH: Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee and they shall know that I am YHVH, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her’” (verses 21-22). What did YHVH mean by “being sanctified in Zidon”? How was He going to accomplish this? “I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am YHVH” (verses 21-22). What is most interesting is the effect that these judgments were to have on Zidon’s neighbor, the House of
“And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of ,
nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them;
and they shall know that I am YHVH. Thus saith YHVH Elohim; ‘When I
shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are
scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then
shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob’” (verses 24-25). Israel
In the past few weeks I have been mentioning that Yeshua came to destroy the works of the Devil, and that we are the vessels through whom He chose to execute this work. What I have been realizing is that while Yeshua is doing this, He is also sanctifying me at the same time. Since He is my life (ref, Col. 3:4) I am every thing that He is, and anything that is present in me that is not of Him is also not of me, but is of my enemy, the power of sin (or the work of the Devil) (see Rom 7:17, 20). As I believe His Word, which is Truth, I am made free by this Truth from the law of sin and death. Therefore, Yeshua’s blood and word cleanse me and separate me from the enemy of my soul, as I cooperate with His Spirit and discern, or learn to exercise my senses to know good and evil (see Heb. 5:14), repenting for my participation and renouncing the demonic spirits that were influencing and tormenting me. In other words, there are no more pricking brier, grieving thorn or tormenting spirits to harass me as a new creation-being in Messiah. The mere fact that YHVH is executing judgments upon my enemies enables me to be sanctified wholly - spirit, soul and body (ref. 1 Thes. 5:23).
I had never seen this truth before, but now it is a daily experience. Our enemies surround us, just like they do the nation of
Israel. Once those surrounding enemies are dealt
with, there is peace (just as Ezekiel points out in chapter 28). We, who have been redeemed and were “born
again”, have the Father’s life living in us (through Yeshua). This is what faith tells us about ourselves:
“I am who He is because I am born of Him”. “Whosoever is born of
Elohim does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin,
because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9).
Hence, when the enemy is removed I am able to express this new nature of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and humility, naturally. It is not a work that I have to perform. We should not have to work at being what we already are by nature. The work that we do is that which Yeshua came to do, that is to destroy everything that is not of His Father’s life and nature, by casting it down under His feet. “For He must reign, till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death; for He has put all things under His feet. But when He says all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him” (1Cor. 15:25-27). “Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet. For in that He put all in subjection under Him, he left nothing that is not put under Him. But now we see not yet all things put under Him” (Heb. 2:8).
After YHVH delivered King David from his enemies, David said the following: “Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy gentleness has made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them. And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet” (2Sam 22:36-39). We have the privilege of doing the very same thing, with the weapons that are mighty in the Holy One, to the pulling down of strongholds: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through Elohim to the pulling down of strong holds” (2Cor. 10:4).
David describes YHVH as having “darkness under His feet” (Ps. 18:9; 2 Sam 22:10). Could this be why we are exhorted to subject and cast down every thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of Elohim? It is an unequivocal “yes”. We are to bring these principalities and powers of darkness down, in His name and through the power of the Holy One, and put them under our feet. His feet are our feet, as we are His body on earth. And when these demonic powers are no longer in the high places of our spirit and mind, we will be sanctified wholly - spirit, soul and body. “And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that YHVH may be all in all” (1Cor. 15:28). Halleluya!!!
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Matthew 25:31 states that when the Son of Man returns in His glory and with His angels, He will sit on His throne and judge the nations whom He will divide up like a shepherd does his flocks. That is, He will distinguish between the sheep and goats. He will tell the sheep - those who were faithful and wise (ref. Mat. 25:1) - to come and inherit the Kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the “cosmos” (which is His fixed order of government). On the other hand, the goats, that is, those who were foolish and unfaithful (ref. Mat. 25:14), He will cast out to be with the Devil and his angels.
What is the standard that Yeshua judges by? From the description given in this example we learn that both the sheep and the goats are judged by the same criteria: “That which you have done to the least of these my brethren you have done to me” (Matt. 25:40, 45). In both cases Yeshua is asked: “Lord when did we see you a stranger, naked, sick, or in prison?” (vs. 37-38, 44). Since the outpouring of the Spirit at Shavu’ot (Pentecost) and until His return, Yeshua has been making His abode in a people who live for His namesake. As we recall, Paul asked the believers to examine themselves and to see if they were in the faith, concluding that the essence of that faith was the knowledge that Yeshua was present within them (ref. 2nd Cor. 13:5). If that is indeed the case, as the scriptures indicate, then it follows that whatever is happening to us is shared also by Yeshua.
However, there are many believers, who in spite of Yeshua’s life in them, also house spirits of the enemy and are sick because of the sin of unbelief, or because of some other spiritually rooted disease (sin). Some have become estranged from Yeshua (that is, from His life in them), from themselves (as new creation beings) and from others in the body of Messiah because of spirits of rejection and alienation. Others are in spiritual prison houses of fear, anxiety, bitterness and unforgiveness. These conditions are caused by the work of the Devil. “He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same,[and still does in us] that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
How does the Son of God destroy these works of the devil? “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (John 14:10). Since this is our assignment, how does Yeshua enable and expects us to carry it out? “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through Elohim to the pulling down of strongholds); Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Messiah; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Cor 10:3-6). Above we saw that Yeshua came to destroy the works of the Devil. During His life on earth the works that He did were to heal the sick, lame, blind, to bind up their wounds, to grant deliverance from demons and to raise the dead. But that task was only just beginning, because Yeshua commissioned or anointed us to do the same thing, on an even greater scale. How are we to go about doing this? He says “believe on me” [the living Word] (John 14:10), “and you shall receive power from on high” [the Holy Spirit] (Acts 1:8). After this happens, we are able to do what the above scriptures require, that is to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Messiah, and then to revenge all disobedience by being obedient.
Yeshua stipulated that before all this could take place He had to go to His Father (ref. John 16:7). Why did He have to do that? Because these “greater works” could only take place after His death, burial and resurrection: “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it [in the cross]” (Col. 2:15); and then the Father “raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1:20-21). From this position, Yeshua was and is able to send into the called-out ones the same Spirit with the same Kingdom-power that worked in Him while He was on earth, thus giving access to the believers to His life and authority. But we, who have this Kingdom and power within us, must understand that it is not of us. Yeshua told His disciples when He gave seventy of them a test-run of what was yet to come, not to rejoice that the demons were subject to them, but to rejoice that their names were written in heaven (ref. Luke 10:20).
As Yeshua’s servants we have been given these precious talents, gifts and the power of the age to come, with the assignment being the same as His: “The Spirit of YHVH Elohim is upon me, because YHVH has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of YHVH, and the day of vengeance of our Elohim; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of YHVH, that He may be glorified." Then “they [we] shall rebuild the old ruins, they [we] shall raise up the former desolations, and they [we] shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations… and instead of confusion you shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in your land you shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be yours” (Is. 61:1-4, 7).
Friday, January 04, 2013
Letter 200 (Yeshua’s Sonship) 17/10/03
“For it is impossible, those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:4-6).
This is one of the most solemn scriptures in the entire bible. It was written specifically to a New Covenant, born again, Spirit filled believer in Yeshua as the only begotten Son of our Heavenly Father. In another scripture we read that in the latter days many will fall from “the faith” (ref. 2 Thes 2:3; 1 Tim 4:1). What is the “faith” referred to here?
In his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, Paul asks the believers to examine themselves to see if they are in “the faith”: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Yeshua the Messiah is in you? -- Unless indeed you are disqualified” (2Cor. 13:5). Paul is very specific in what he is asking the New Covenant Israelite believer to do.
In the last few years and even in recent months, we have been hearing of a growing number of believers who are deserting the faith in the “sonship” of Messiah Yeshua and are relegating Him to an anointed (‘christed’) man, who through this special anointing carried out ‘a’ plan of God. They are openly denying His conception by the Spirit of Elohim in the womb of an unmarried maiden and virgin. If what they are saying is true, Yeshua would have been conceived out of wedlock and Joseph, being a righteous man, should have put Miriam away and had her stoned in accordance with Torah. Based on the above, Yeshua would and should have been labeled a “bastard” and his mother a “whore” (ref. Deut. 23:2; Deut. 22:20-21).
If Yeshua were born of the seed of man, He would have been a created being just like Adam. He therefore would have had the defiled nature/life of Adam, which naturally would have disqualified him from being the required unblemished Passover lamb for the remission of sin. His blood, or I should I say the Adamic life that was in the blood, would have never been accepted by a holy God as the required payment for the redemption of man’s soul. He himself would have a need of a sacrifice to atone for His own sin nature.
“None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him --for the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever --
that he should continue to live eternally, and not see the pit” (Ps. 49:7-9).
In the book written to the Hebrews (as they understood blood sacrifices, priesthood and temple worship), the writer speaks about a High Priest (Yeshua) who qualified to be the very sacrifice that He Himself would carry once and for all into the Holy of Holies (ref. Hebrews chapters 3-10). Why was this sacrifice necessary? Because, “You, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, [there is nothing holy and blameless about the Adamic life] and above reproach in His sight if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard…” (
Peter also exhorts the believers when he writes: “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness [in the faith], being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Yeshua HaMashiach; to Him be the glory both now and forever” (2 Pet 3:17-18).
When we are born again we receive the life of the Son of God and we become a new creation-being in Spirit (ref. 2Cor. ). This Spirit life is not our life, as our spirit is now hidden in this new life, which is the life of Yeshua and the Father’s. We thus become one with them in the Spirit of Holiness. “For you died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in God. When Messiah who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:3-4). “I have been crucified with Messiah; it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20-21).
What is so tragic about denying Yeshua as the Son of Elohim and demoting Him to mere manhood? The dreadful conclusion is that under such a state there cannot be a “body of Messiah”. In other words, no one can have His life and nature, nor can He be present in any one. Yeshua as a mere man could not and cannot be omnipresent. As a new creation being we live through faith in His Sonship. But when we deny this truth, we actually crucify again not only His life - but ours as well. Thus our inheritance is taken away from us just as it was taken from Esau, who despised his birthright, “who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Heb. -17).
Why is it impossible to be brought back to repentance once a believer has denied Yeshua as the Son of Elohim, and his own ‘new creation’ life? Within the heart of unredeemed man there is still a spark of spirit life that has not yet been snuffed out. This spark contains the faith that is necessary for believing the gospel, and as long as one remains steadfast in this faith (once embracing it), the Spirit of Holiness will continue to draw him into further revelation. But if, after having been born anew, one crucifies to himself the Son of God all over again, with it goes the ability or enablement called “faith”, leaving the unbeliever without any means to return or repent.
“Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed…” (Rom. ).
“Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:28-29).
“Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today’, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin [unbelief]. For we have become partakers of Messiah if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Heb -14)
“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Heb. -36).
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Letter 199 (YHVH”s counsel)
“The counsel of YHVH stands for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose Elohim is YHVH; and the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance” (Ps. 34:11-12). “For YHVH'S portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance” (Deu. 32:9). “For I am YHVH, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal.3:6). What encouraging words for those of us who have seen and experienced personally the fulfillment of Malachi 4:6 “And He will turn the hearts of the fathers [Patriarchs] to the children [their progeny/seed], and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse"! We now have no doubt about the faithfulness of YHVH, His loving-kindness and His tender mercies. We also have the advantage of understanding the “counsel” of YHVH as it refers to this generation of His nation (“inheritance”). Even the head of the first church in Jerusalem, James, addresses his letter to the twelve tribes that are scattered abroad, and speaks to them about a Father of light who has no variation or shadow of turning (see James 1:1, 17). James then continues with these words: “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures” (James 1:18). Is this “exercise of His will” going to be contrary to the promises that He made to our forefathers? Is He now going to establish a lie, by choosing another inheritance?
YHVH said that “Ephraim is My first born [first fruit]” (Jer. 31:9), and “
is My son, My first–born”
(Ex.4:22). YHVH has remained true and consistent to His word. Knowing this fact is vital to our faith,
because had He not stayed faithful to Israel Israel His covenant-bride, and had
gone out after another nation, we would have an adulterer for a husband. Likewise, if we preach another bride and
another inheritance, we become a false witness; “A false
witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaks lies shall not
escape” (Pro. 19:5). Even the commandments tell us not to bear false witness,
especially against God. We, of the
redeemed remnant of the lost sheep of the House of Israel, are to sing a new song;
“Sing unto Him a new song; play skillfully with aloud noise. For the word of
YHVH is right; and all his works are done in truth” (Ps. 33:3-4).
“Therefore thus says YHVH, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed;, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he sees his children, the work of Mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify My name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the Elohim of
They also which erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that
murmured shall learn doctrine” (Is.
Do we fully understand the responsibility that comes with knowing who we are, and what our purpose here on earth should be? We are the first-fruit of the new creation order, called to be the servant administrators of YHVH’s kingdom here “on earth as it is in heaven”. His order in humanity has never changed. It was decreed that Japheth will dwell in the tent of Shem, not visa versa. However, within the “tent of Shem” there is also the order of the first-born. The Patriarchs were the ones to inherit this “tent”, which houses YHVH’s presence. Therefore for humanity to come into the “presence”, the tent has to be fully restored.
As we celebrate the Feast of Succot this year let us remember who we are, as the first-born is a type of “Succah” (temporary dwelling place of the Most High). As such, we are exhorted to purge and cleanse ourselves that we might be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use and prepared unto every good work. We are to flee youthful lusts and follow righteousness, faith, love, peace and call on YHVH with a pure heart (ref. 2nd Tim 2:21-22). Before Joshua brought our forefathers across the
Jordan into the land, he asked the
people to sanctify themselves: “Sanctify
yourselves: for tomorrow YHVH will do wonders among you” (Josh 3:5).
I sometimes wonder if the reason why YHVH is not doing wonders among us
is because these vessels are not yet fit for the Master’s use.
In the days of Nehemiah the Torah was read during the entire Feast of Succot, and was celebrated with much joy and feasting. But on the last and eighth day (Hoshana Rabbah), they sanctified themselves with fasting, sackcloth and earth upon their faces. They read from the Torah one fourth of the day, and the rest was spent in repentance and worship (ref. Neh. 8-9).
“On the last day, the eighth day [Hoshanan Rabbah], that great day of the feast [of Succot], Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’" (John -38).
The Holy One of Israel is working today in the area of sanctification, and those who are responding in obedience are receiving healing and deliverance in ways that are almost unprecedented. YHVH is preparing us today to be, as mentioned above, the administrators of the new creation life, which will flow out of our innermost being. He has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the indwelling Spirit of Holiness (ref. 2nd peter 1:3), therefore we can walk in newness of life and in the more excellent way.
I am reminded of an old song we used to sing in ‘days of old’ at fellowship meetings. Here are some of its verses:
There’s a river of life flowing out of me,
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see,
Opens prison doors sets the captives free,
There’s a river of life flowing out of me.
Spring up O well within my soul…
Spring up O well and make me whole…
Saturday, December 01, 2012
Letter 197 (Nitzavim)
In the Torah reading of NITZAVIM (Deut. 29:10 – 30:20) we find the chosen people standing before YHVH. They have just received another covenant (Deut 29: 1) and awesome commands which enumerated the consequences of obedience and disobedience (the blessings and the curses). But were they ready for the final oath that would catapult them into something so fearful, yet so promising as this covenant with the Elohim of their fathers? The conditions were clear, and so was their inherent weakness (which would make meeting the requirements almost impossible).
How could YHVH subject these men, women and children to such laws, when He already knew that they were born of the “sin nature”, and would thus miss the mark of Torah and suffer the consequences? Moshe said to them: “Yet to this day YHVH has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear” (Deut. 29:4). How unfair it all seemed, or was YHVH concealing His plan in the darkness of the “mystery of iniquity” (2nd Thes.2:7, also Eph.2:1-2)?
A MATTER OF THE HEART
“YHVH has not yet given you...” In this short phrase we see that YHVH holds Himself responsible for the future success, or failure, of His plan. Even after the flood YHVH declared that, “man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21). Because of this inherent condition, Moses, under the anointing of the Holy One, begins to prophecy the destiny of the Hebrew people: “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations, where YHVH your God has driven you…” (Deut. 30:1). Before the Children of Israel had a chance to prove themselves, or even to make any kind of free will choice, YHVH already knew what would happen to them, because of the condition of their heart.
As mentioned, YHVH had made Himself accountable regarding the covenant that He made with the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, a covenant replete with blessings of land and fruitfulness that would multiply and spread to all nations. But this covenant (‘of Moav’), issued before entering the land was conditional. Standing before YHVH, they are looking toward the land that they are about to enter, the land of milk and honey promised to their forefathers. However, the conditions for remaining in the land are now hanging over their heads like a seething prophetic refining pot. "But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess” (Deut. 30:17-18). It was as if YHVH was using this conditional covenant as a tool to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant, and preparing the way for an even greater promise.
History reveals that YHVH was true to His word, even though the potential consequences of the Moav Covenant may be interpreted as negative and even disastrous (abounding in curses and not blessings). Some may even venture to condemn the generations of our forefathers for failing to live up to the righteousness of Torah. YHVH, aware of these weaknesses, built into the Sinai Covenant the sacrificial system for atonement and forgiveness of sin to be in effect year after year throughout the cycles of the feasts. But did the Sinai Covenant take care of the condition of the heart? Obviously we would have to answer: “no, it did not”. In fact, it did the very opposite, revealing the corruptness of the heart. Yeshua pointed out this condition, as recorded in the Gospel of Mark: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (7:21-23). This is why Yeshua describes the religious man as a white washed tomb. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Mat. -28).
How was YHVH going to have a People that would become a holy nation (Ex. 19:6), and be His witness (Isa. 43:10,12)? As Moses continues to prophesy we are given one of the first glimpses into the mystery of the will of YHVH (ref. Eph. 1:9-10), and into a covenant that would once and for all deal with the condition of the heart: “YHVH your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live” (Deut. 30:6). A door of hope was left open; the destiny of the people was sealed by the prophetic word. The irrevocable calling upon them as YHVH’s people could not fail. YHVH said: “I WILL”, thus leaving no doubt that it was not going to be by the will of man, nor by might, nor by power but by the Spirit of the infallible Word/Torah of YHVH.
THE FINAL COVENANT REVEALED
The seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was called out for YHVH’s namesake, called and chosen to be His firstborn (Ex. , Jer. 31:9), and, yes, to become YHVH’s possession and inheritance (Deut. 32:9). YHVH was not obligated to take care of them because of who they were. Their seed would become His witness and light to the nations because of His name, and the love that He had for their forefathers (Acts 1:8).
The prophet Ezekiel reiterated these same promising words many years later: “Therefore say to the house of Israel, this is what YHVH Elohim says: ‘It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord’, declares YHVH Elohim, ‘when I show myself holy in you before their eyes. For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my Torah. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers, you will be my people, and I will be your God’” (Eze 36:22-28).
Through His covenant-relationship with
YHVH was literally putting His head, His “Godship”, His name (nature) on the
“chopping block” of humanity. If He
would not have been faithful to carry out His word, His covenant promises, to
His people, especially to Abraham, then our faith and trust in Him would be to
no avail, and the bible would simply be a book of bad jokes. Israel
Step by step and line upon line God was setting the stage for the final covenant that would accomplish His purpose for the ages. It would be a blood covenant of grace and mercy, a covenant that would embody, fulfill and absorb all the previous covenants. This covenant would include a divine act of circumcising the heart, changing our very nature, in order for us to be able to love YHVH our Elohim with all our heart and with all our soul, and keep the commandments and live. This future covenant guaranteed life, because of the unconditional, unchanging, unfailing love and faithfulness of the God of Israel.
Standing before YHVH is often seen as a time of consecration and sanctification, therefore just as our forefathers stood before YHVH, let us stand before this portion of His word, examining its prophetic past and its reality and fulfillment for today. May we conclude and say ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ to a Father who is sovereign, just, faithful and true` who keeps covenant and shows mercy; who gives grace and truth through His Redeemer – Messiah Yeshua - who gave His life not only for us but TO us.
Surely, we who have received the grace of the New Covenant, having a circumcised heart that we may understand, eyes to see the reality of the Kingdom of YHVH and ears to hear His Word, can agree with the statement from this week’s portion: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it” (Deut. 30:11-14).