Friday, August 28, 2020

On or Off Curse


“The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws [“torot”, plural for torah], violated the statutes [chok, single statute or law], broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth (Isaiah 24:5-6).  

I wonder how many Bible believers in what is called the Judeo/Christian world would agree that we are living today under the above curse.

In using “torot” – instructions, and chok – statute, the above scripture points to the entirety of YHVH’s decrees – as many of its injunctions are preceded by “the torah of…” (each of the sacrifices, for example, is a “torah” in itself, there is also the “torah” of the Temple, the “torah” of leprosy, etc.).  Forsaking “chok” means that the very idea or concept of law has been nullified and made void. It doesn’t take more than this kind of attitude and deeds which follow, for the everlasting covenant/s to be broken and for the curses to come.  John warns, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).   Just how far must a nation go before the consequence of sin catches up with its inhabitants and for the curses of Deuteronomy 28:15 to materialize:  But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of YHVH your Elohim, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…” 

Israel of old has experienced over and over again the fulfillment of these words, but somehow each generation did not seem to learn from the previous.  So YHVH made a New Covenant with the house of Israel, with the intent of giving them a fresh start.  However, ignoring the Torah still remains a problem, even though it is supposed to be inscribed on the hearts and minds.  It would be great if the Torah on the heart would be made evident with the waving of a magic wand.  However, this cannot happen instantaneously.  Acts of obedience of faith and knowledge of YHVH’s Torah, is what will bring about the blessings and break the curses.   

In one of our recent fellowship meetings, a visiting Jewish brother from England shared with us what is happening in the UK, where as early as in the 2nd grade the children can decide, on a daily basis, their preferable gender, dress accordingly and use the bathroom facility of their choice.  Speaking out against this incurs violation of the law, and hence the believers/Christians are living in fear and do not speak out, or else have to face the consequences. One has to ask the question: What has taken place in countries where in the past there was a substantial presence of the “faith people”?  The above scripture drops a very big hint.  They have abandoned the Torah of Moses, and by so doing began, in ignorance, to transgress the moral laws that are contained therein. 

In neglecting the Torah these “faith” people, i.e. those who are actually believers in Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel, have left behind, again in ignorance, a major revelation of their Messiah.  And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).  "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46, 47).   Also, hidden within the Torah is the mystery of their identity as the seed of the forefathers, and the irrevocable calling and destiny as the “sons of the living Elohim”.   

Scriptures remind us that: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Yeshua the Messiah to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:4-5).  Please note the emphasis of “in Him”.   Thankfully through the New Covenant He is in us by grace, but in order to know Him we need that abiding intimate relationship that is found only in Him, as He is our life (see Colossians 3:4).  “We live and move and have our being in Him” (ref. Acts 17:28) and by “knowing Him and the power of His resurrected life” (ref. Philippians 3:9) we will survive the coming days. While those who dwell in the earth are convicted [found guilty], therefore they are burned, and a small minority of mankind is left” (Isaiah 24:6 literal translation).   Yeshua, however, has given us encouragement and hope in His parable of the “Tares and the Wheat” (see Matthew 13:24-30).

Friday, August 14, 2020

On or Off Course


In the last article, “Aspects of the Elijah Mandate”, the emphasis was directed toward “preparing the way” to make straight the “highway of holiness”.  A compass was mentioned, so that the correct direction might be known and followed.  Continuing with the idea of preparing a way for the Messiah’s coming, we pose the question: what about “the way, or “path” that YHVH has prepared for us?  It seems the two ideas (these two “roads”) may be very much connected. We are to be moving toward a specific destination, and on a pathway that YHVH has already ordained and prepared for us.  The corporate body/nation of redeemed Israel must walk in obedience to the leading of the Spirit of Yeshua, a condition which in itself creates the way to Zion.  “Therefore the redeemed of YHVH shall return, and come with singing to Zion” (Isaiah 35:10).  Those who were once there are the same as those who will be returning (though, obviously, with a changed heart and disposition).  YHVH’s compass always points in that direction.

In his epistle, James uses the analogy of a ship, a pilot and a rudder.         “Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires” (James 3:4).  One can place the emphasis on the rudder but it is controlled by a steering wheel, with the pilot/helmsman stationed behind it.  Let’s take a look at the meaning of “helmsman”.  Pilot (or helmsman) is “yü-thü'-no” in Greek, and has a very interesting meaning: “to make straight, level, plain, to lead or guide straight, to keep straight or direct the ship”. In this particular section of his letter, James is actually referring to “teachers” who incur a stricter judgement, especially if they lead one of YHVH’s children astray from His calling and destiny. Yeshua chided religious leaders who were notorious for doing so, and this is the reason why the Holy Spirit/Spirit of the Son has been given by the Father, that is, to teach and guide us into all truth - for He is the Truth, He is the Way, and Life. He is also the Light that shines upon His own pathway. "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26; 16:13).

However, He is not the one who steers the vessel. YHVH is actually positioned on the bridge, giving the commands to the helmsman.  He is the captain, who not only knows all there is to know about the ship, including the logistics of running and getting the cargo and its passengers safely to the “Haven of Rest” as stated by the famous old gospel song, but He is also intimately associated with the crew.

But in spite of all of the above, the ship can be stirred off course, if the helmsman does not take the instructions as the captain directs, or if there is a mutiny and the crew, along with the helmsman, decide to take things into their own hands.  This is basically the story of “Christianity”, which has abrogated its divine authority here on earth, as predicted:  Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”  (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 emphasis added). This text, of course, can be interpreted in different ways but for the sake of an example, one might cite the ‘religion’ of humanism, which is the worship of oneself and the works of one’s own hands.  Pride, which is every “high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5), is sin’s influence and deception that gives rise to these ‘performances’. Thus, those who are called to be the temple of the Spirit of Elohim may turn out to be the temple of “the god of this world”. Falling from faith in the gospel of YHVH’s kingdom and Yeshua as LORD of one’s life, is a daily possibility.

  Hence, if we are at a time in history when certain world powers or leaders are stepping into the gap to take control over the population of this world, it is largely made possible because the so called body of Messiah has been in rebellion against three major areas of YHVH’s instructions.

 In the writings of Isaiah we read these words of historical import to Israel:  “The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away; the haughty people of the earth languish. The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the Torah, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.  Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left(Isaiah 24:4-6 emphases added).  The present world condition, as already mentioned, could very well be the result of “the falling away” as YHVH sees it, permitting a few rich, powerful and influential people to take the wheel of the ship of humanity and guide it into the days of YHVH’s judgments. In next week’s article (Yah willing) we will begin to break down the three areas that the prophet points out as the main reason for the situation that humanity is in, and will be facing in the near future.