Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Who Is This Messenger?

This week's Torah portion has been exceptionally interesting to me, especially Exodus 23:20-23 (ISR):  

See, I am sending a Messenger before you to guard you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have preparedBe on guard before Him and obey His voice. Do not rebel against Him, for He is not going to pardon your transgression, for My Name is in Him.  But if you diligently obey His voice and shall do all that I speak, then I shall be an enemy to your enemies and a distress to those who distress you. For My Messenger shall go before you and shall bring you in to the Amorites and the Ḥittites and the Perizzites and the Kena‛anites and the Ḥiwwites and the Yeḇusites, and I shall cut them off. (emphasis mine)

I kept wondering, is this Messenger Yeshua?

Here are some verses that make me think the Messenger might be Yeshua: 
  • John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in Elohim, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many staying places. And if not, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I shall come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you might be too.
  • John 14:15 If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.
  • John 14:21 He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.
  • John 15:10 If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love, even as I have guarded My Father’s commands and stay in His love.
  • John 15:14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
  • Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, see, a bright cloud overshadowed them. And see, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, the Beloved, in whom I did delight. Hear Him!”
  • Deuteronomy 18:15-18  YHVH your Elohim shall raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brothers. Listen to Him, according to all you asked of יהוה your Elohim in Ḥorĕḇ in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of יהוה my Elohim, nor let me see this great fire any more, lest I die.’  And יהוה said to me, ‘What they have spoken is good. I shall raise up for them a Prophet like you out of the midst of their brothers. And I shall put My Words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be, the man who does not listen to My Words which He speaks in My Name, I require it of him.
  • John 5:43-47 I have come in My Father’s Name and you do not receive Me, if another comes in his own name, him you would receive. How are you able to believe, when you are receiving esteem from one another, and the esteem that is from the only Elohim you do not seek? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Mosheh, in whom you have set your expectation. For if you believed Mosheh, you would have believed Me, since he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings,how shall you believe My words?
  • John 10:25-30 Yeshua answered them, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s Name, they bear witness concerning Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them everlasting life, and they shall by no means ever perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one."  (emphasis in all verses mine) 

I could only come up with one reason why the Messenger in the Exodus 23 passage might not be Yeshua: In most other verses where the Messenger mentioned is often considered to be Yeshua, the phrase "Messenger of YHVH" (or more commonly "Angel of the LORD") is used.  In Exodus 23:20, it is simply "a Messenger" that is mentioned.  However, in Exodus 23:23, "My Messenger" is used.  SO, could that mean it is the "Messenger of YHVH"?

IF this Messenger in Exodus 23 IS referring to Yeshua, THEN, in my opinion, that brings much more clarity as well as consistency when reading Yeshua's words

  • "If you love Me, you shall guard My commands."(John 14:15)  
  • "He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him."  (John 14:21) 
  • "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My Words, has one who judges him: the Word that I have spoken shall judge him in the last day. Because I spoke not from Myself, but the Father who sent Me has given Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, as the Father has said to Me, so I speak.”  (John 12:48-50)
 As I was considering the Exodus verses, I initially thought, "Well, it says that the Messenger 'will NOT pardon your transgression', and we are pardoned when we confess and repent of our sins (I John 1:9) because Yeshua paid our penalty for transgressing the Father's Torah. So maybe the Messenger is NOT Yeshua." But then after looking for more confirmation in the Bible, the verses in Deuteronomy 18:15-18 (see above) and in John 12 (see above) seemed to address that very issue.  This is also addressed in Hebrews 10:
Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we sin purposely after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a slaughter offering for sins, but some fearsome anticipation of judgment, and a fierce fire which is about to consume the opponents. Anyone who has disregarded the Torah of Mosheh dies without compassion on the witness of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think shall he deserve who has trampled the Son of Elohim underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was set apart as common, and insulted the Spirit of favour? For we know Him who has said, “Vengeance is Mine, I shall repay, says יהוה.” And again, “יהוה shall judge His people.” It is fearsome to fall into the hands of the living Elohim.

Deliberate sin is NOT pardoned! 

I don't know about you, but I find it exciting to think that Yeshua could be the Messenger referred to in Exodus 23:20-23!  This also brings more clarity (to me) when I consider that according to Hebrews 4:1-2, the Gospel (aka Good News) was preached to the Israelites

 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

Let me see if I can bring all of this together:  In Exodus 23, YHVH told the Israelites that He would send a Messenger before them and lead them to a place He prepared for them.  This Messenger was to be heard and obeyed, because this Messenger was going to speak what YHVH commanded.  Obedience was a must, because the Messenger would not pardon disobedience (aka intentional sin).  This Messenger came in the Name (authority) of YHVH.
Yeshua said that He would be going before His followers to prepare a place for them.  Yeshua stated over and over that those who love Him would hear and obey His commandments, which were the same commandments given by the Father. Yeshua also stated that whoever did not receive His words would be judged by His Word (which was given to Moses).  In addition, Yeshua came in the Name (authority) of the Father.  

So, who is this Messenger?  



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Turn the World Upside Down

I recently read a news article that is disturbing, and is reflective of an un-biblical mindset that has plagued the Church for years.  The article is about a Baptist "church" that recently hired a lesbian couple to be co-pastors of their congregation!
I believe this is happening more and more because the Church does not truly understand the definition of sin: 

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
  1 John 3:4(KJV)
Most Christians today (but obviously not all, thus the situation the article addresses) consider homosexuality a sin.  Many people will even point out that homosexuality is an "abomination" in the eyes of God.  However, when I did a word search on "abomination" in the Bible, I was surprised by what I found. Homosexuality is not the only thing the Father considers abominable: 
And this is NOT an exhaustive list!

 When we excuse one abomination, but condemn another, then we don't truly believe that sin IS sin - and that it is an affront to the Most Set-Apart God.
I remember reading in Acts 17:6 where it described the Followers of Messiah as those who "turned the world upside down". Today, the world is turning the Church upside down and inside out!
 Followers of Messiah MUST be consistent and set-apart in their walk in order to make a difference.

We must believe how the Father defines sin, and stop trying to redefine it to make ourselves feel better.  Again - "Whosoever commits sin, transgresses the law - sin is lawlessness." 1 John 3:4 

Yeshua warned us in Matthew 7:
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter into the reign of the heavens, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the heavens.
Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’
And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!

Prayerfully read Psalm 119.  Study the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), the Psalms,and the Prophets - for these teach us about Messiah! (see Luke 24:27). 

I pray that we will return to the Way the Father has laid out in His Torah - the Way Yeshua Himself lived. Yeshua IS the Way!  I pray that we will start living truly set-apart, so much so that we, like the Apostles, will turn the world upside down!

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Holy Zeal or A Life of Compromise?

In my last post, "Taking a Stand for Holiness and Righteousness", I wrote about the account of the Maccabees reclaiming Jerusalem and YHVH's Temple.  I shared a horrific account that is recorded in the Book of Maccabees 2 where a mother of seven was faced with either standing for the righteousness of YHVH, or compromising her faith and encouraging her sons to do so as well.  I also mentioned a man by the name of Mattathias, who began a revolt against the wicked Antiochus Ephanes, who captured Jerusalem and profaned the Temple of the Most High. But I did not go into detail about the compromising Jews of the time.

According to 1 Maccabees 2, Mattathias was mourning over the desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple. He and his sons tore their clothes and put on sackcloth.  The king's officials came to town and demanded that the people offer pagan sacrifices.  Mattathias was considered a leader of the town, and so the king's officials told him that he should lead by example and do as the king desired.  Mattathias replied:

 "I don't care if every Gentile in this empire has obeyed the king and yielded to the command to abandon the religion of his ancestors. My children, my relatives, and I will continue to keep the covenant that God made with our ancestors. With God's help we will never abandon his Law or disobey his commands. We will not obey the king's decree, and we will not change our way of worship in the least." 1 Maccabees 2:19-22

But as he finished speaking, another man (a Jew) approached and decided that he would compromise and follow the king's order to offer pagan sacrifices.  This ignited a holy zeal inside of Mattathias, and he killed the man right there on the altar!  He then went throughout town shouting: 

"Everyone who is faithful to God's covenant and obeys his Law, follow me! With this, he and his sons fled to the mountains, leaving behind all they owned." 1 Maccabees 2:27-28

Thus began the revolt that led to the eventual reclaiming of Jerusalem and the Temple.  

Mattathias' zeal for holiness is one example of many that have been recorded throughout history.  One of the first can be read in Exodus 32.  The Israelites were waiting for Moses to return from the mountain, but they became impatient and pressured Aaron to fashion a golden calf to replace Moses as their mediator.  Aaron compromised and did what the crowd demanded. 

And Aharon saw and built a slaughter-place before it [the golden calf]. And Aharon called out and said, "Tomorrow is a festival to YHVH.
Exodus 32:5 (ISR, emphasis mine)

Aaron and the Israelites decided when and how to worship YHVH. They also implemented pagan elements into their worship.  This was NOT what YHVH commanded and so YHVH instructed Moses to have the Levites strike down those who had participated in the profanity.  The Levites obeyed with a holy zeal:

 And Mosheh stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Who is for יהוה? Come to me.” And all the sons of Lĕwi gathered themselves to him. And he said to them, “Thus said יהוה Elohim of Yisra’ĕl: ‘Each one put his sword on his side, pass over to and fro from gate to gate in the camp, and each one slay his brother, and each one his friend, and each one his relative.’ ” And the sons of Lĕwi did according to the word of Mosheh. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.
Exodus 32:26-28 (ISR)

Another example of holy zeal can be found in Numbers 25.  A Levite by the name of Phinehas rose up against a man and woman who were also profaning holiness of YHVH at the Tent of Meeting. 

While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.” So Moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death those of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.” Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman’s stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.
The Lord said to Moses, “Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. Since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am, I did not put an end to them in my zeal. Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”
Numbers 25:1-13 (NIV, emphasis mine)

YHVH approved of Phinehas' actions, and made a "covenant of peace" with him!

 The Father is set-apart and He expects His people to be set-apart as well!  

For I am יהוה your Elohim, and you shall set yourselves apart. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart. And do not defile yourselves with any creeping creature that creeps on the earth. For I am יהוה who is bringing you up out of the land of Mitsrayim, to be your Elohim. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart.
Leviticus 11:44 -45 (ISR)

For years the Church has used the term "holy" instead of simply saying "set apart", and I think this has been a huge mistake.  The word "holy" sounds so vague and gives the impression that it is unattainable. But YHVH has not and will not command His people to do something that is impossible for them to do!  He has even given His people the Torah - His Instructions - so that we can know what to do and HOW to do it!  Being set-apart IS possible! 

I have strength to do all, through Messiah who empowers me.
Philippians 4:13 (ISR)

One of the atrocities that Antiocus Ephanes enforced during the time of the Maccabees was sacrificing a pig in the Temple of YHVH.  We can read about that and even agree that it was horrible, yet many today do not give a second thought about defiling their bodies by eating pork - even though this goes against Yah's commandment (see Lev 11 and Deut 14). Our bodies are called the Temple of the Holy Spirit and of Elohim (God)!
Or do you not know that your body is the Dwelling Place (Temple) of the Set-apart Spirit who is in you, which you have from Elohim, and you are not your own?
1 Corinthians 6:19 (ISR) 

 And what agreement has Messiah with Beliya‛al? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what union has the Dwelling Place of Elohim with idols? For you are a Dwelling Place of the living Elohim, as Elohim has said, “I shall dwell in them and walk among them, and I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.” Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you. And I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says יהוה the Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:15-18 (ISR, emphasis mine)
We say that YHVH and His Word "never changes" (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8), but do we really believe that? 

When we as YHVH's children define for ourselves what is or is not set-apart, we are profaning His set-apartness! Where is the holy zeal for the things of Yah?!  Sadly, just as some of the Jews in Mattathias' day, Believers today have compromised, preferring lives of comfort over holiness, preferring to fit in with the crowd instead of being a "peculiar people" set-apart for the Most High! 

YHVH sets the standard for holiness - we don't. 

YHVH defines sin - we don't.  

 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
1 John 3:4 (NIV, emphasis mine)

The only thing we do rightfully decide for ourselves is whether or not to walk His Way.  

His Way leads to life.  

Man's way leads to death. 

 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 14:12 (ISR)
 See, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil, in that I am commanding you today to love יהוה your Elohim, to walk in His ways, and to guard His commands, and His laws, and His right-rulings. And you shall live and increase, and יהוה your Elohim shall bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away, and you do not obey, and shall be drawn away, and shall bow down to other mighty ones and serve them, I have declared to you today that you shall certainly perish, you shall not prolong your days in the land which you are passing over the Yardĕn to enter and possess. I have called the heavens and the earth as witnesses today against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore you shall choose life, so that you live, both you and your seed, to love יהוה your Elohim, to obey His voice, and to cling to Him – for He is your life and the length of your days – to dwell in the land which יהוה swore to your fathers, to Aḇraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Ya‛aqoḇ, to give them.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (ISR, emphasis mine)

 And there shall be a highway, and a way, and it shall be called “The Way of Set-apartness.” The unclean does not pass over it, but it is for those who walk the way, and no fools wander on it. 
Isaiah 35:8 (ISR)

Personally, I have had to admit that I was wrong.  I have had to repent from doing things my way, even  aspects of "worship" - just like Aaron and the Israelites!  Oh, how merciful Yah has been to me!

I no longer want to live a life of compromise.  I want to have a holy zeal for things that please my Heavenly Father.

What about you?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Taking a Stand for Holiness and Righteousness

Many times throughout history groups of people have been faced with heart wrenching events that tried their stamina and tested their faith.  America was founded by men and women who fought with all their being to establish a home and country where they could live free from tyrannical oversight.  A great pilgrimage took place primarily for a people who desired to worship God according to their understanding of the Bible, and not according to a monarch's interpretation. However, while worthy of remembrance and reflection, it is not the history of America that I want to revisit.

The Hebrew month of Kislev, which corresponds with the Gregorian month of December, ushers in a time of remembering another, more ancient battle for freedom.  It is the month when many people observe the celebration known as Chanukah (also spelled Hanukkah).  This holiday is observed in order to remember one of the most heart breaking and mind numbing accounts of profanity, blasphemy, and cruelty that I have ever read about! The historical account is best described in the Book of Maccabees, but the Jewish historian, Josephus, also has a written account of what took place in Jerusalem under the tyrannical reign of Antiochus Epiphanes.

After the death of Alexander the Great, four rulers took over his reign, one of which was Antiochus Ephiphanes.  Antiochus was an evil man, to say the least.  He arrogantly entered YHVH's Temple, stealing all the precious, holy items. He also profaned the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar!  However, this was not enough to satisfy Antiochus.  He demanded that all Jews reject the Torah (Law) of YHVH, meaning that they were not to keep the Sabbath, the Feasts of YHVH, nor were they to circumcise their males or abstain from eating pork.  Unfortunately, many people caved under the pressure and rejected the Torah of the Most of High, and embraced a Greek lifestyle.  It was more important to them to live a comfortable life than to take a stand for holiness and righteousness!

One of the more heart wrenching accounts to read concerns a mother of seven sons. She was forced to witness each one of them being tortured and ultimately killed for their refusal to profane their bodies with eating pork, thus breaking one of YHVH's commandments:

2 Maccabees 7 

On another occasion a Jewish mother and her seven sons were arrested. The king was having them beaten to force them to eat pork. Then one of the young men said,
What do you hope to gain by doing this? We would rather die than abandon the traditions of our ancestors.
This made the king so furious that he gave orders for huge pans and kettles to be heated red hot, and it was done immediately. Then he told his men to cut off the tongue of the one who had spoken and to scalp him and chop off his hands and feet, while his mother and six brothers looked on. After the young man had been reduced to a helpless mass of breathing flesh, the king gave orders for him to be carried over and thrown into one of the pans. As a cloud of smoke streamed up from the pan, the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die bravely, saying,
The Lord God is looking on and understands our suffering. Moses made this clear when he wrote a song condemning those who had abandoned the Lord. He said,
The Lord will have mercy on those who serve him.

After the first brother had died in this way, the soldiers started amusing themselves with the second one by tearing the hair and skin from his head. Then they asked him,
    Now will you eat this pork, or do you want us to chop off your hands and feet one by one?

He replied in his native language,
    I will never eat it! So the soldiers tortured him, just as they had the first one, but with his dying breath he cried out to the king,
    You butcher! You may kill us, but the King of the universe will raise us from the dead and give us eternal life, because we have obeyed his laws.
10 The soldiers began entertaining themselves with the third brother. When he was ordered to stick out his tongue, he quickly did so. Then he bravely held out his hands 11 and courageously said,
God gave these to me. But his laws mean more to me than my hands, and I know God will give them back to me again. 12 The king and those with him were amazed at his courage and at his willingness to suffer.
13 After he had died, the soldiers tortured the fourth one in the same cruel way, 14 but his final words were,
I am glad to die at your hands, because we have the assurance that God will raise us from death. But there will be no resurrection to life for you, Antiochus!
15 When the soldiers took the fifth boy and began torturing him, 16 he looked the king squarely in the eye and said,
You have the power to do whatever you want with us, even though you also are mortal. But do not think that God has abandoned our people. 17 Just wait. God will use his great power to torture you and your descendants.

18 Then the soldiers took the sixth boy, and just before he died he said,
    Make no mistake. We are suffering what we deserve, because we have sinned against our God. That's why all these terrible things are happening to us. 19 But don't think for a minute that you will avoid being punished for fighting against God.
20 The mother was the most amazing one of them all, and she deserves a special place in our memory. Although she saw her seven sons die in a single day, she endured it with great courage because she trusted in the Lord. 21 She combined womanly emotion with manly courage and spoke words of encouragement to each of her sons in their native language.
22 I do not know how your life began in my womb, she would say,
I was not the one who gave you life and breath and put together each part of your body. 23 It was God who did it, God who created the universe, the human race, and all that exists. He is merciful and he will give you back life and breath again, because you love his laws more than you love yourself.

24 Antiochus was sure that the mother was making fun of him, so he did his best to convince her youngest son to abandon the traditions of his ancestors. He promised not only to make the boy rich and famous, but to place him in a position of authority and to give him the title
    Friend of the King. 25 But the boy paid no attention to him, so Antiochus tried to persuade the boy's mother to talk him into saving his life, 26 and after much persuasion she agreed to do so. 27 Leaning over her son, she fooled the cruel tyrant by saying in her native language,
    My son, have pity on me. Remember that I carried you in my womb for nine months and nursed you for three years. I have taken care of you and looked after all your needs up to the present day. 28 So I urge you, my child, to look at the sky and the earth. Consider everything you see there, and realize that God made it all from nothing, just as he made the human race. 29 Don't be afraid of this butcher. Give up your life willingly and prove yourself worthy of your brothers, so that by God's mercy I may receive you back with them at the resurrection.

30 Before she could finish speaking, the boy said,
    King Antiochus, what are you waiting for? I refuse to obey your orders. I only obey the commands in the Law which Moses gave to our ancestors. 31 You have thought up all kinds of cruel things to do to our people, but you won't escape the punishment that God has in store for you. 32-33 It is true that our living Lord is angry with us and is making us suffer because of our sins, in order to correct and discipline us. But this will last only a short while, for we are still his servants, and he will forgive us. 34 But you are the cruelest and most disgusting thing that ever lived. So don't fool yourself with illusions of greatness while you punish God's people. 35 There is no way for you to escape punishment at the hands of the almighty and all-seeing God. 36 My brothers suffered briefly because of our faithfulness to God's covenant, but now they have entered eternal life.[a] But you will fall under God's judgment and be punished as you deserve for your arrogance. 37 I now give up my body and my life for the laws of our ancestors, just as my brothers did. But I also beg God to show mercy to his people quickly and to torture you until you are forced to acknowledge that he alone is God. 38 May my brothers and I be the last to suffer the anger of Almighty God, which he has justly brought upon our entire nation.
39 These words of ridicule made Antiochus so furious that he had the boy tortured even more cruelly than his brothers. 40 And so the boy died, with absolute trust in the Lord, never unfaithful for a minute.
41 Last of all, the mother was put to death.
42 But I have said enough about the Jews being tortured and being forced to eat the intestines of sacrificial animals.

It was this tyrannical, deviant behavior, and the *compromising of many Jews* (see note below), that fueled the righteous indignation of the Maccabees - a small group of Jewish men who rose up under the leadership of a man name Mattathias. Mattathias died and his son, Judas Maccabeus became the leader of the revolt. They fought back to regain Jerusalem and her holy Temple.  After many years of fighting, Jerusalem and the Temple of YHVH were reclaimed and rededicated. An eight day celebration was instituted to commemorate this victory. 

Chanukah is the Hebrew word meaning "dedication", thus this time each year the Feast of Dedication is observed.  Hanukah is also known as the Festival of Lights, and many people celebrate it by lighting candles on a nine branch Hanukkiah (not to be confused with the seven branched Menorah, which was commanded to be in the Temple). Hanukah is mentioned in the Book of John:

 Now Hanukkah was taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking around in the Temple inside the open porch of Solomon.

After reading the historical accounts of the "Jewish Revolt",  I have contemplated the level of faith and faithfulness it took for those men (and women) memorialized for taking a stand.  Scripture states in multiple places that true followers will "stand firm to the end". In fact, Revelation 21:8 states that the cowardly will be thrown into the lake of fire! 

 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (ESV)
I don't know if my family and I will ever be faced with such unthinkable atrocities or not.  My prayer is that we won't, but if we are, my prayer is that we will have the faith to take a stand for holiness and righteousness! 

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13 (NIV)

 For more (and probably better) information about Chanukah, I encourage you to check out the following:



  *This bit was added after I first published the post, and I plan on elaborating on this in a future post.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Great Awakening - Signs of Revival

Most of the Body of Messiah has been praying for revival.  I know that I personally have for more years than and I count.  I began by praying for a personal revival, because I believe that Scripture points to that.

One of the most frequently used Scriptures quoted for revival is 
2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV):

 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

This verse gives us a formula, if you will, of what needs to happen in order for a people, even a land, to experience revival: 

  1. Humble yourself
  2. Pray
  3. Seek Yehovah's face
  4. Turn from your wicked ways  
I have seen steps 1-3 take place frequently, however, step 4 is more challenging.  Why is that?  I think it is more challenging because we don't all understand what the Father has defined as "wicked".  Our definition of "sin", is typically very vague and subjective.  I was always taught that "sin" means to "miss the mark", but no one really ever explained what the mark was! I know that I was doing things that in my opinion were acceptable, even pleasing to the Father, yet in His mercy, He eventually helped me to see that those things were not acceptable nor pleasing to Him!  But because of my doing steps 1-3 so frequently, step 4 became more accessible for me to take. The Holy Spirit helped me to see that the true definition of sin is "lawlessness": 

 Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness
I john 3:4 (ISR)

Well, whose law?  Yehovah's, of course! Thankfully, He helped me to connect the dots. I don't kid myself into thinking that I have fully obtained anything - I am still a work in progress! 

In the last couple of years, I have started noticing more signs of revival - others who are connecting the dots.  It is so encouraging to hear about believers waking up and taking notice that something just isn't right within the churches.  That is exactly what prompted me to cry out and weep for more

So, I want to share links to a few accounts of this revival taking place. For the most part, I think that the Body of Messiah will be surprised to see how the Great Awakening we are all praying for is unfolding.  Yehovah's ways are higher than ours, and His thoughts are above our thoughts, so He always works outside the box we keep trying to put Him in! (see Isaiah 55)

I hope that you will take the time to watch, read, and/or listen to the following testimonies of what I believe is the Great Awakening.

This awakening is so great, that our brother, Judah (the Jewish people), is starting to take notice!  This is fulfilling prophecy!!

And finally, a new documentary was recently released.  Now, to view this, you will need to purchase a copy for yourself.  You can buy it either in a download version or DVD.  It is well worth the price!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

What Should We Remember on 9/11?

As I was praying this morning, I asked the Father that as we remember the attack that happened against the two towers (as well as the others), to please help US, the Church, to remember the attack against HIS Two Tablets.

Church, until we recognize that WE are guilty of breaking Yehovah's Law, His Torah, and that WE need to repent, our prayers are futile. Proverbs 28:9 "He that turns away his ear from hearing the Torah, even his prayer shall be abomination." 

It's time to stop pretending that there are only NINE commandments. It's time to stop pretending that because Yeshua paid our PENALTY for breaking Yehovah's commandments that we no longer need to worry about keeping them - think about that for a minute!

Remember what Yeshua Himself said in Matthew 5:17-19:
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete. For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done. Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens."

I don't pretend to have it all figured out as far as how to live out all of Torah, but I am willing to learn and do what I understand. The Father says all throughout the Word - TURN BACK TO ME! Trust Me! Do what I've said to do and you will receive blessings! Don't do what I've said to do and you will receive curses! Was 9/11 a blessing or a curse?!

Yeshua says over and over that if we love Him, we WILL keep His commandments!

Believing in Yeshua isn't enough. Even the demons believe! (James 2:19) We must TRUST in Yeshua's having died & rose again for us, repent of breaking His Torah, submit to Him as our Lord, and THEN we must live as He lived - by keeping the Father's commandments!

Revelation 12:17 

"So the dragon was furious with the woman and left to wage war against the rest of her offspring--those who keep Yehovah's commands AND have the testimony of Yeshua."

Revelation 22:14 

"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."

Revelation 2:5 

"Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent."

Revelation 2:16-17 

"Therefore repent! Otherwise I will come to you shortly and wage war against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

Acts 17:30 

"The times of ignorance Yehovah overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent."