Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Organic Living

 For quite a few years now major strides have been made, all over, of people changing their eating habits and turning to more natural foods.  “Organic” seems to be the buzz word for health and wellbeing.  Many even go out of their way to have gardens of their own, growing fruits and vegetables.  Health food stores have sprung up all over the place, with almost every label signed with the ‘magic’ word - “organic”.  Every supplement seems to have an ingredient that “supports” some organ or part of the body and brain.  Physical fitness always goes hand in hand with these efforts to keep our bodies in good working order.  Obviously there is nothing wrong with any of these efforts, because as born again believers in Messiah, disease can affect us just as it does non-believers.  We could pass off this reality as a, “we still live in an unredeemed physical world”.   True, but we just celebrated Shavuot and the remembrance of the giving of the Torah and the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, with the latter sealing the ‘new creation-resurrection’ life within us.

When praying for the sick, Isaiah 53:5 is often quoted: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5 emphasis added).  Peter echoes this, saying: “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed(1 Peter 2:24 emphasis added).  So why is there still so much sickness and disease in the “body of the Messiah”?  Why are we like the rest of the world depending on the “sciences of pharmacia” to heal us?  I’m not judging these dependencies, for scripture reminds us that the power of sin still works in our members, and that one of the culprits behind disease is the consequence of sin. 

Many times scriptures, such as the ones cited above, are used as formulae, deemed to bring about healing or deliverance by just being recited.  However, according to James the sick person should repent (James 5:16).  Paul says that “many are weak and sick”, while attributing this condition to not discerning the body of Messiah (ref. 1st Corinthians 11:29-30).   Yet no matter what the cause of human suffering, the effects of Yeshua’s suffering and shed blood cannot be diminished.  Without His death and resurrection we would not have received the Holy Spirit.  But now, having received this heavenly promise, we have the power and potential for healing, deliverance, and overcoming sin and its ensuring consequences. 

The most obvious battle that we have to contend with, on a daily basis, is with the power of sin that works in our members (especially of the soul).  Peter, however, reminds us that “having died to sins, we might live for righteousness” (1st Peter 2:24). In Galatians 5 Paul shares with us examples of the deadly works and characteristic of the flesh (ref. verses 19-21).  Then immediately following those warnings he contrasts them with the works, or characteristics of Elohim’s righteousness:  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”(Galatians 5:22-23 emphasis added). To this Paul appends: “Against such there is no law”. Why?  Because we have died to sin!  The Law was given because of sin, but if we have died to sin and are indeed living out His righteousness (the fruit of His Spirit) we should experience the blessings of health and healing. 

The fruit of the Spirit is the most organic substance that we can edify ourselves with: “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life” (Proverbs 11:30).  When speaking to the Ephesus community, who had left their first love, Yeshua declares: “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of Elohim."  (Revelation 2:7).  As we know the leaves of the tree of life are for healing (ref. Revelation 22:2).  Thus, the presence of the Holy Spirit within us gives us the opportunity to partake of this tree, taste its sweetness and receive its healing power (What a picture of the reversal of the curse resulting from eating of the forbidden fruit in Eden!) We know that when we (our soul) participate with the unloving works of the flesh, it produces sickness and other disorders in many areas of life. Therefore, the opposite is true when we participate with YHVH’s righteousness; and as mentioned above, the organic fruit of the Spirit will bring health and wellbeing to our spirit, soul and body. 

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of Elohim dwells in you…  And if Messiah is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness…  He who raised Messiah from the dead will also give life [quicken, vitalize] to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:9-11). 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Spiritual Israel


A wonderful phenomenon has been taking place over the last 50 years. The Spirit of Elohim has been filling the faith people in the Christian world, and also turning some to the Torah of Moses and the prophets.  These people have been called to be a spiritual witness, a testimony, of the righteousness of Elohim.  Yet, while many of them would claim the title of “Spiritual Israel” at the same time, in a subtle way, they end up in replacement theology. 

In Jeremiah 31 YHVH added a “new” or “renewed” covenant promised to the seed of the forefathers of Israel and Judah:  “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel/Joseph and the house of Judah” (verse 31). The content of this pledge included writing the Torah on their hearts, which means that they would be empowered by YHVH’s Spirit to be able to keep the righteousness of Torah, as they had already proven incapable of doing so on their own, or, conversely, have chosen to completely ignore it. In Ezekiel 36 additional information about this covenant of forgiveness and removal of sin is added: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

Many who have experienced this transition through the new covenant claim the title of “Spiritual Israel”.  At the same time, they confess that they do not “feel” that they are of the natural seed of the forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel.  Not seeing the relationship between the seed and what comes forth from that seed, sets the stage for replacing it with another seed.

 Paul addresses this identity issue:  “Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain -- perhaps wheat or some other grain.  But Elohim gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body” (1st Corinthians 15:36-38).  

In order to understand this dichotomy between “natural” Israel and “spiritual” Israel, we need to examine some very important principles from scriptures that cannot be ignored. First let us look at the “wheat/tares” parable of Yeshua, while keeping in mind the above (1st Corinthians) scripture. 

In Matthew 13:24 Yeshua shares a mystery about the “kingdom of Elohim”, He tells of a farmer who sows a good seed in his field, and then an enemy comes and sows another seed.  This farmer was actually following a Torah injunction to only sow one kind of seed in a field.  “You shall not sow your field with mixed seed” (Leviticus 19:19).  As we know, YHVH is just and righteous in all His ways and would not violate His own Torah laws. Thus He chose to sow the seed of Abraham and Israel into the field of this earth until it reaches a certain fullness.  But unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, the real life of that seed remains hidden.  Scriptures tell us that flesh and blood, meaning the natural part of the seed, cannot inherit the kingdom of Elohim (1st Corinthians 15:50).  But if that natural seed is planted it will sprout up a vibrant spiritual entity, which can then inherit or receive the kingdom.

Paul continues in 1st Corinthians 15 to explain this process:  “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body… However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual” (1st Corinthians 15:44, 46). Yes, the spirit life is hidden in the seed, but when it sprouts (into newness of life) its original identity does not change. A wheat seed is still a wheat with a spiritual germ. When buried and watered the germ that is in the seed will spring forth and become a wheat plant, and later will bear its fruit after its kind.  So how can the seed of natural Israel become anything other than “spiritual Israel”?   Yeshua points out in the parable of the wheat and the tares, that:  "The field is the world, the good seed are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one” (Matthew 13:38). 

To harvest the tares along with the wheat obviously one would have a problem the following year. The farmer would be sowing two seeds in the same field in violation of the Torah injunction, and worse, the enemy would not have to come in and sow tares as the farmer would have done it himself. 

Friday, May 14, 2021

Messiah's End-Time Anointing


Johnathan Cahn has just released another message on YouTube, “The Reign of Baal”, in which he summarizes some of what he has written and spoken in previous videos and books. Added to that was an exhortation to believers to basically take up the prophetic mantle of Elijah the prophet.  What does it mean to be an expression of this end time prophet? What was his main message to the people Israel?  As we know, Elijah was specifically a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. 

Johnathan Cahn uses the kings of the House of Joseph/Ephraim as templates to describe some of the recent leaders of the United States.  Back in the late nineties a song was released which became very popular (and no doubt most of you will recognize), called “These are the days of Elijah”. What do the scriptures say about this prophet of old and his relationship to the House of Israel today?  Malachi ends his book by saying that Elijah will come “before the great and terrible day of YHVH” and “will turn the hearts of the children to the fathers” and vice versa, with the exhortation which precedes these words being, to “remember the Torah of Moses… and the statutes and ordinances for all Israel” (see Malachi 4:4-6). Of course one would have to know that they are Israel - YHVH’s covenanted people - in order to heed the message and its warning. 

If this message is ignored, the Father promises, “to strike the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:6). This is no joke!  We are already experiencing several curses in the world and many more will come, as there is very little response to a message that has gone out to the believers in the New Covenant.  The apostles stated very clearly that the faith people are the children of the aforementioned forefathers (e.g. Romans 4:16). 

There is a powerful spiritual resistance from the religious establishments to the ‘disclosure of the identity’. They wish to keep this identity hidden. But Messiah’s ‘Elijah anointing’ is for the restoration of Israel’s identity in the latter days. Here are two end time prophecies from Jeremiah   “The anger of YHVH will not turn back until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; In the last days you will clearly understand it” (Jeremiah 23:20 emphasis added); The fierce anger of YHVH will not turn back until He has performed and until He has accomplished the intent of His heart; In the latter days you will understand this” (Jeremiah 30:24 emphasis added).

These two chapters (Jeremiah 23 and 30) are very clear about something that YHVH will do in the latter days, with anger and wrath poured out.  In chapter 23, He is acting as the Shephard of Israel and is taking back His sheep from all the places where they have been scattered. This is also confirmed in Ezekiel 34.  In chapter 30 (of Jeremiah), He is about to restore both houses and bring them back to their land. This is also confirmed in Ezekiel 36 and 37.  Thus the days of Elijah have to do with a very specific task, and we need to be, like never before, about our Father’s business. If we are in the last days, restoring the sons of the faith to the fathers of the faith would be the task of Messiah.  " And now YHVH says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him ( For I shall be glorious in the eyes of YHVH, And My Elohim shall be My strength),  Indeed He says, 'It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth' "  (Isaiah 49:5-6).

Friday, May 7, 2021

Eyes of Understanding


Psalm 119 is the longest prayer in Scripture.  One which every believer should pray through, at least once a week.  Indeed, this psalm is highlighted by many ministries at this time and should be taken to heart.  In the context of this psalm David is asking YHVH to show him His statutes, ordinances, precepts, commandments and testimonies, in order to receive and have “understanding”.   Why is it so crucial to have understanding of these particular aspects of YHVH’s Word? Let’s look first at the definition of “understanding”: 

 Understanding is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical object, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to think about it and use concepts to deal adequately with that object. ... Thus, understanding is correlated with the ability to make inferences, draw conclusions, and have discernment. This becomes very important when it comes to “TRUTH”. 

When the scriptures refer to YHVH’s statutes, testimonies etc. they are pointing to what we call the “Law” or “Torah”.  Thus, without the “Torah” we have no understanding and our ability to correctly divide the Word of Truth is seriously impaired. Yeshua pointed this out to His disciples through parables, which they (the disciples) always fell short of understanding.   When Peter, for example, asked Yeshua to explain what seemed to be a very simple parable, Yeshua said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also?” (Matthew 15:13).  This appeared to be the case with many of Yeshua’s teachings and allegories.  But while His followers were bewildered, the religious were offended and became angry.  Today we still see the same reactions to present-truth, many times even in a display of ignorance, meanwhile the Spirit continues to fulfill His covenants and promises to our forefathers.

In the parable of a farmer who sowed a seed (of wheat) in a field, while an enemy stealthily sowed another, beside the obvious interpretation, Yeshua also demonstrated the prohibition of “not [to] sow your field with two kinds of seed” (ref. Leviticus 19:19). He went on to explain that the field is the world. (Matthew 13:24).

Sometime later, Yeshua declared that, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted” (Matthew 15:13), or in the case of the tares, they will be cut off by YHVH’s messengers and burned (ref. Matthew 13:40). After that the wheat will be harvested and taken to the barn.  But if the tares/darnel are included in the harvest of the wheat, the former will defile the field and foul the bread that will be made from the two seeds.  If the mixed seed will be sown on the following year, it will be a violation of YHVH’s word and the field will be defiled. (Darnel when eaten causes one to get dizzy, off-balance and nauseous.)  Likewise, in the case of a vineyard. “You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seeds, or all the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled” (Deuteronomy 22:9).

Lack of understanding along with the doctrines of men and demons, have resulted in mission a very basic fact, that YHVH sowed one seed in the world of humanity, and that seed He called and chose some 4,000 years ago.  He anointed (‘christed’) that seed by His Word in covenants and promises, so as to produce a yield of righteousness through faith.  But the germ of this faith that was in the seed of father Abraham remained hidden until YHVH sent His seed to the family of Jacob/Israel - a Redeemer who bought the entire field and is harvesting the seed that His Father had sown.  Stated differently, the Redeemer was willing to give up everything in order to purchase the pearl of great price (ref. Matthew 13:46), or purchase the field for the sake of the treasure that was buried there (ref. Matthew 13:44).

“Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding,
but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth” (Proverbs 17:24).

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your Torah” (Psalm 119:18).