Friday, December 30, 2016


In the days of Eli the High Priest and his two sons Hophni and Phinehas, who were officiating in the Mishkan in Shilo, the Philistines were at war with Israel.   Shmu’el who had joined that family as a child, grew up in the proximity of the Mishkan, and when just a lad he heard the voice of YHVH declare the demise of Eli’s family.  Idolatry was running rampant in Israel at that time, including in the priesthood.  As a result YHVH caused the Philistines to make war on Israel. Over time, the Israelites had lost a number of their cities to the enemy.  On this particular occasion, Eli’s sons decided to carry the Ark of the Covenant to the battlefield, as Israel was being defeated by the enemy.  They had in mind that this holy article would bring them ‘good luck’ in the war.  Thus, the Ark itself had become an idol; just another of the gods, or an object that the Israelites were putting their trust in.  Our forefathers seemed to be prone to idol worship, adulterating their relationship with their Spiritual husband, Elohey Israel.
Is it any different today? Do we still serve idols, even as believers in the New Covenant?  Idol worship during those times was external and tangible in nature; objects that could be seen, like the Ashtarot, Baals and the many foreign gods of the nations.  In his letter to Timothy, Paul describes other types of gods that would become prevalent in the latter days: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,  traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4 emphasis added).  The one most common idol in today’s world is humanism, which is the result of worshiping oneself and exulting in pride and self-righteousness manifested in the works of the flesh. This is illustrated in the book of Daniel by Nebuchadnezzar, who was the representative head of the statue which epitomized humanity and its achievements (ref. Daniel 2:36-38).
But this of course does not apply to us, believers in the Gospel of the kingdom… or does it?  In our day idol worship is seen as a thing of the past, definitely not pertaining to those who worship the God of the bible.  We attend church, synagogue, congregation, or a home fellowship, study the Word and give praise, honor and glory to Whom it is due.  This all seems well and good, but do we still have idols in our lives that we are concealing in our hearts?  To the New Covenant believers it is written:  Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is [oopsss..] idolatry! (Colossians 3:5 emphasis added).   Have you ever considered that when entertaining the “works of the flesh” (see Galatians 5:19-21) you were actually serving an idol and adulterating your relationship with Yeshua?  In the days of Shmu’el, the enemy was allowed to make war against Israel because of idolatry.  Is it not written: “Now all these things happened to them [Israel] as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11)? 
We read in the scriptures: “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves servants to obey, you are that one's servant whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)  “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts” (Romans 6:12), which is idolatry Yeshua spoke a truth that not only pertained to Him and the Father, but can also be applied to our relationship to Sin:  "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him” (John 13:16).  Satan is the prince and power of the air, which is the spirit realm of the kingdom of darkness. Thus Satan, who is the “strong man” of his kingdom, sends his underlings to carry out his will – killing, stealing and destroying. These lesser entities are the ones that tempt us to cooperate with their fallen nature.  If we submit our will to their dominion, we become their servants, and in actuality we are worshiping the one who is greater than they, “Satan”.  Many are led to believe that Satan worship is some grotesque occult practice (which it is), but the evil one also masquerades as an angel of light, and his subtle tactics can fool even the most mature believers.  We need to realize that when we cooperate with the nature of sin, we are actually worshiping Satan and will experience the consequences by being defeated by our spiritual (and natural) enemies, as did Israel of old, unless we repent.  
After the loss of the Ark of the Covenant and the ensuing death of Eli and his sons, YHVH raised up Shmu’el to bring the nation to repentance.  “Then Shmu’el spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If you return to YHVH with all your hearts, put away the foreign gods and the Ashtarot from among you, and prepare your hearts for YHVH, and serve Him only; He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines’" (1 Samuel 7:3 emphasis added).  The Spirit of YHVH warns us throughout the Word that, if we entertain idols we will not inherit the Kingdom of Elohim (see Galatians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9).  We cannot serve two masters.  When Yeshua was casting out demons, He was accused by the religious leaders for invoking Beelzebub. Yeshua’s response to them is also very important for us, helping to gain an understanding about YHVH’s Kingdom:  "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of Elohim, surely the kingdom of Elohim has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28).  The evidence of YHVH’s Kingdom is our ability to cast down every evil thought and imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim and His righteousness, peace and joy (see 2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Have you noticed that in the past few years, since the Media has given everyone a voice through the cyber entertainment world, there are more distractions, confusion, and mesmerizing influences, even to the point of gender mix-up?   However, what is more disconcerting is that multitudes of distractions are also operating in the Christian world, especially in the so- called Hebrew Roots movement.  The cyber world is full of teachers (rabbis, prophets, etc.) who are taking shots at what is happening, or will happen in the future. Some are even trying to take actions that they deem may help fulfill or advance their ideas of end time interpretations. 
The fascination and interest regarding the timing of Yeshua’s return is at epidemic proportions.   Sadly all of the above, and more, could create false hopes, accompanied by fears of apocalyptic destruction.   Instead of coming to know the Creator and Sustainer of life, these seekers reach for doctrines of escapism or knowledge that is even supposed to bring about (or hasten) Yeshua’s appearing on the Mount of Olives (Who will then ‘take care of everything’ for them, and ‘bring an end’ to all their troubles). 
One example of this kind of fascination and involvement is the building of the Third Temple. This being so because the Temple/Tabernacle/altar has to be in place so that the anti-Christ can come and set up his rule in Jerusalem (there is more to this scenario), as this is supposed to precede Yeshua’s stepping down on the Mount of Olives.  Here enters another factor: Are the individuals who are caught up with this really interested in the deep and sincere yearnings of the Jewish people for the rebuilding of the Temple, or are they propagating the idea (and perhaps even helping with this endeavor), just so that “anti-Christ” or a false messiah can (supposedly) deceive the Jews who will then suffer the consequences? This is a critical heart matter that has to be examined by those ‘to whom it may concern’. 
With all this activity, commotion, and goings on, one can miss the Spirit of prophecy (Yeshua) who is being made manifest (or “trying to”) in and through His presence in us, individually but more so corporately, in what we call His “body”.  Not to mention the fact that He is also fulfilling His promises and prophecies pertaining to and in the House of Judah - remember what YHVH said to that house in Hosea 1:7. 
The prophets of old always reminded YHVH’s people of Who Elohim is, and ‘quoted’ His own descriptions of Himself, such as in the following:   “For thus says YHVH, Who created the heavens, Who is Elohim, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: ‘I am YHVH, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, 'Seek Me in vain'; I, YHVH, speak righteousness, I declare uprightness [truth/justice]’” (Isaiah 45:18-19).
Isaiah goes on to prophesy against the (religious) daughters of Babylon: “Therefore evil shall come upon you; You shall not know from where it arises. And trouble shall fall upon you; You will not be able to put it off. And desolation shall come upon you suddenly, which you shall not know.  Stand now with your enchantments and the multitude of your sorceries, in which you have labored from your youth -- Perhaps you will be able to profit, perhaps you will prevail. You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels; Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, and the monthly prognosticators stand up and save you from what shall come upon you” (Isaiah 47:11-13 emphases added).  These words may be applicable to some among us who are looking to “prophets” or “prognosticators” for the purpose of calculating when Yeshua will appear and what will be the signs of His arrival.*  Yeshua left us with examples of such, regarding His “appearing” in Mathew 24.  For over two thousand years some of these signs have been occurring in many of the generations (which only shows that His unseen presence has been present in all the generations).  However, He also said to His inquiring disciples, regarding His “coming” (though the term used there is, again, “perousia” – presence):  "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (v. 36).  So why do we spend so much time trying to figure out what the Father will not reveal until His determined time?
Many (spirit filled) believers have their eyes turned to these external signs and so have inadvertently strayed from the knowledge of His (Yeshua’s) Spirit that is now present in their own bodily mishkan/tabernacle.  The distraction of having to know the day and time of His appearing on the Mount of Olives, and all the accompanying signs which are supposed to take place before this happens have become an obsession, taking away from the believer the knowledge and purpose of His indwelling spiritual presence.  “And because you are sons, Elohim has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). “For as many as are led by the Spirit of Elohim, these are sons of Elohim. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption [Spirit of Yeshua] by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’" (Romans 8:14-15).  Paul again stresses the meaning of “Christ” or “anointing” in the following statement:   “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Yeshua the Messiah” (Philippians 1:19 emphasis added).  
Much of the strife and contention that is rife among believers, as well as personal inner conflicts, actually originate from an “anti-Christ” spirit which is working in their bodily ‘mishkan’, that being so because they are  blinded to Yeshua’s presence in them (read 1 John 2:18-29; 1 John 4:2-4).  The evidence of His indwelling Spirit is the manifestation of Elohim’s righteousness and our love one for another.  Yeshua makes several emphatic exhortations in regards to being watchful and preparing for His coming (e.g. Matthew 25:1 ff.), but none of those point to end time determinations or calculations.

So let us ask ourselves: Which is more important, to prepare for His coming so that His “perousia” presence in us will be revealed more and more, or to try and calculate and busy ourselves with endless end time predictions, especially when the latter is at the expense of the former?

Personally let me say that it has not been easy writing this, but since this issue has been weighing heavily on my heart, I felt that it had to come to the light, particularly as it seems to be a distraction taking away from the most weighty matter, which is “the Spirit of Yeshua in us the hope of glory” – to be displayed and made manifest in a most real and authentic way as a witness to the reality of our Creator “Father” and His more-abundant life.

The verb used in many of Yeshua’ references to His “return” is “erchomai” – arrival, whereas in 2nd Thessalonians Paul uses “parousia” – the Presence (shekina), being also the term found in the disciples’ question in Matthew 24:3