Monday, April 23, 2012

New Beginnings

Letter 180 (new beginnings) 09/05/03

In the letter that I wrote before Passover I mentioned that a new beginning seemed to be in the offing. Although I was not sure then what the nature of that new beginning would be, it is now becoming clearer and clearer that it has to do, yet again, with one more aspect of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Twenty years ago, the Spirit brought a revelation of the faithfulness of the God of Israel to the covenant of multiplicity that He had made with our forefathers (see Gen 12:2; 13:16; 15:5; 17:2-6,16). This portion of the promise was to be fulfilled through Jacob’s son Ephraim (Gen. 48:19). While reading the blessing of Jacob to this adopted son (Ephraim), the revelation and understanding that came brought me into the knowledge of my own Hebraic ancestry. My soul responded as it did the day I was saved, ten years prior. I wept for joy and my heart was glad as from wine, just as the prophets foretold (see Zech. 10:7). In the course of these years many questions were answered, while I was making more and more discoveries about the importance of this identity restoration.

Various facets of the Two House teaching, the importance of our identity as First Born and our unity in the restored House of Jacob continued to occupy my time and energy. However, I repeatedly prayed not to get caught up in a single revelation, but to always be fed with “present truth”, as Peter put it (2 Peter 1:12). I believe YHVH has now answered my prayer, and a new beginning has been launched for me with what may be a shift from the “depth”(the earthy or natural) to the “height” (the life in Messiah) of Gospel reality.

As the Spirit continues to bring the revelation of redemption to light through the Torah and the Prophets many are waking up to their identity and to what it entails, and are forming organizations, assemblies, synagogues, house-groups etc. to promote this wonderful message. However, in spite of the blessing which is inherent in this knowledge, strife, contention, bickering and disputes, typical of our ancestral heritage, seem to be all too rife in the family. The hand of fellowship, which is being offered by those who are beginning to repent, often ends up being slapped and then rejection sets into an already wounded ‘Abrahamic’ soul. This has been a very painful subject, and one that we, and others, have travailed over in prayer. But as I stated above, YHVH set in order a new beginning, and thus, as exciting and important as YHVH’s plan for the redemption of the “old” creation is, it must not cast a shadow upon the glory of the “new creation” life in Messiah Yeshua.

Paul the Apostle was adamant about the difference between the natural and the spiritual realms. He describes his illustrious past as a zealous religious Jew, who was circumcised on the 8th day, was of the nation of Israel, even knew his tribal identity as a Benjaminite, was a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Torah, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the Ecclesia, as to righteousness which is in the law, was found blameless (ref. Phil. 3:5-6). But these words are immediately followed by the statement: “What things were gain to me, [the above list] these I have counted loss for sake of knowing Yeshua the Messiah…,” (Phil. 3:7-8). This was the punch line that put a crunch on my rediscovered Ephraimite heritage.

Paul was not afraid to admit weaknesses: He was a proud and zealous rabbi who persecuted the early believers and had them imprisoned, flogged and stoned to death, but one day, in the midst of these pursuits, he was ‘knocked off his high horse’ by Yeshua. His world was turned up side down and instead of persecuting the believers in Yeshua he now became one himself. He learnt what it meant to suffer for Yehsua’s sake, and so tells us about his experiences: Beatings (5 times, 39 lashes each time), stoning (3 times), hard labors, imprisonments, beaten with rods, shipwrecked, a night and a day in the deep, meeting up with robbers, beasts in the wilderness, being persecuted by his own countrymen because of his faith, at times he was without food, clothing or water, and suffered from cold and many other hardships (ref. 2 Cor. 11:22-27). However, through all of his troubles Paul’s zeal for introducing “present truth” to the body of believers never waned. He knew that the foolish boasting of all his woes would not, in itself, be profitable as a testimony (2 Cor. 11:21) and that only the quest of knowing Messiah Yeshua, through visions and revelations of His divine life within him, would suffice (ref. 2 Cor. 12:1).

The following words of Rabbi Saul of Tarsus spoke deeply into my heart: “What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Messiah. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Messiah Yeshua my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Messiah and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Messiah, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Messiah Yeshua has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Messiah Yeshua. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in any thing you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule; let us be of the same mind” (ref. Phil. 3:7-15).

This must become our first priority too, as without this principal ‘ingredient’ nothing else is of any worth or substance, nor will it find fulfillment. It was the Father’s good pleasure to glorify His Son in and through a People that He called out of the loins of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In this generation we are this People; apprehended and chosen to overcome and destroy the works of the enemy (“principalities and powers in heavenly places”, Eph. 6:12), and to bring to light the glory of the New Covenant Gospel.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Two Kingdoms

In looking at the world we live in from a spiritual perspective, we must acknowledge that there are only two spiritual kingdoms that - from this standpoint - are evident: the kingdom of God in the hearts of a redeemed remnant, and Satan’s kingdom working through the hearts and minds of unregenerate man and which, I might add, also influences the redeemed.

Satan governs His kingdom through principalities and powers in heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). The scriptures point out two of those princes: the prince of Persia and the prince of Greece. When YHVH wanted to bring back to the Land a remnant of Jews (from the house of Judah and Levi), who were in exile in Babylon, two of Satan’s most powerful princes stood up to oppose this move. And so we read in Daniel 10:13: "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.” Further, in Daniel 10:20 it says: “Then he [Michael, YHVH’s chief prince] said, ‘Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come.’”

As we know, Satan’s kingdom is a counterfeit of YHVH’s, and thus he too has kingly and priestly positions in his hierarchal system with two princes who fulfill those two roles at the highest spiritual level. The prince of Greece governs the political realm, and the prince of Persia the priestly one. In the days of Nimrod Satan set up his counterfeit kingdom in the family of man, and used Nimrod to build the city of Babel as the first expression of his nature (rebellion and self worship, ref. Gen 10:10; 11:3-4). Not surprisingly Nimrod’s name means, “we will rebel”. Because of iniquity and sin YHVH never allows these two orders (the priestly and kingly) to remain together, therefore when He judged Nimrod’s kingdom He by necessity divided it. The priestly or religious office stayed in the region of Babylon, in the Valley of Shinar, under the control of the prince of Persia, but the political portion went with Javan and sons to the area that today we call Greece. Just to note some scriptural evidence of this fact: One of Javan’s sons’ (Nimrod’s cousin) was Rhodanim, whose name stems from the root r.d.h. meaning “rule or dominion” (Gen. 1:26). The Island of Rhodes gets its name from this son and has a very interesting history. One of the Seven Wonders of the World was situated there; the Colossus, which was a giant statue of Helios the sun god.

During this time period in the history of the manifestation of Satan’s kingdom, the Greek beast (the leopard with the four heads) was brought to power. One of the heads of that beast was the political head - “democracy”. This was the head (one of four) that was to be wounded “like unto death”, but destined in latter days to be “healed”. All seven heads of the four beasts are described in Revelation 13:2-3: “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”

According to Rev.2: 12-13, Satan’s seat is in Pergamum (or at least around its spiritual environs), which is in northern Turkey, north of the Land of Israel. Apparently Satan sits in the heavenlies and looks down upon the Land of Israel with his two princes; the prince of Greece on his right, and the prince of Persia on his left. Lucifer knows that one day YHVH is going to unite the two houses of Israel and restore His kingdom order to the House of Jacob, and that the kingly/priestly office of the Melchesedic order will again be made manifest through them in the Land, forming one nation and one kingdom. However, YHVH will permit Satan to have his day, by allowing him to bring together the two offices of his kingdom.

If the political system of democracy is the kingly portion of the beast, and if Islam were its priestly expression, we would suspect that eventually those two will somehow work together to accomplish Satan’s plan. Actually, examining the results of the three wars that were fought in less than a decade for the cause of democracy (which was imposed on autocratic governments) – in Bosnia, Kossovo and Iraq - will verify Islam’s victory. In Iraq the Shiites, who are the most fundamental and radical of Islam’s two main sects, came out on top, and being a majority in a (future) democratic system will guarantee their political and religious supremacy in that area. Notice that the coalition’s military made sure that no mosques and Islamic holy places were destroyed or harmed (except in instances when the forces were fired upon). Additionally, if we look at the looming “peace” process in Israel, we cannot help but sense that Israel is going to be the scapegoat in future negotiations with the Palestinians and the Syrians. Although President Bush balked when Tony Blair insisted that the Quartet’s “road map” to peace in this area be a pre-condition to coalition cooperation in the war with Iraq, he did ultimately concede. Syria also has been placed on notice to stop cooperating with terrorist groups and leftovers of the Saddam regime. If Syria plays ball with the Quartet, “democracy” will make sure that the Golan Heights be returned as a good will gesture.

What is really behind all these wars and so called peace negotiations? What motivates Islam to rule the world and to be seen as the one religious system that can bring true justice to this earth? What will happen if Islam adopts democracy or some form of it, with Islamic law governing the judiciary? Is this what Satan is looking to accomplish in order to bring the two offices together? Will YHVH allow it to happen at this time? Could this be why the United Nations is so intent on establishing a “democratic Islamic Palestinian state” in the heartland of Israel with East Jerusalem (the Old City) as its capital?

What is it about democracy and Islam that challenges YHVH’s original plan for Israel, His chosen nation? What did Mohamed steal from the Torah to make Islam a viable competitor in this conflict?

Ephraim 25/04/2003