Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hidden Wisdom

Addressing the believers in Corinth, Paul stated: “We (apostles and prophets) speak the wisdom of Elohim in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which Elohim ordained before the ages for our glory,  which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7-8).  What didn’t the rulers of this age, or principalities and powers, know that caused them to regret having put Yeshua to death?  It is called a mystery and Elohim’s wisdom that has been hidden “before the ages,” but what is it?

There are a number of mysteries mentioned in the books of the New Covenant, such as “the mystery of the blindness of Israel” (Romans 11: 25); “the mystery of the kingdom” (Mark 4: 11); “the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19), etc.  But the mystery that I would like to focus on is the one that the rulers of this age lamented over.  As we observed, this mystery is also synonymous with the “hidden wisdom of Elohim,” and has to do with the execution stake, and Yeshua’s sacrificial death on it.  This occasion dealt the principalities and powers a “judicial” blow, resulting in their utter defeat: “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He (Elohim) made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (the cross) (Colossians 2:15).  

At Yeshua’s death YHVH ‘arranged’ for a semblance, if you will, of a courtroom. He ‘invited’ all the spiritual powers of this evil age to come to the ‘Passover’.  Because they could not tempt Yeshua to participate with their nature of rebellion, disobedience, pride and self-righteousness, they wanted Him dead. He was a great threat to them, as He represented His Father’s kingdom in the midst of their sphere of influence. 

A further glimpse into this issue is found in another of Paul’s letters:   “And you… He (the Father) has reconciled in the body of His (Yeshua’s) flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Colossians 1:21emphasis added).  Here the apostle explains that Man was reconciled to Elohim through the flesh body of Yeshua (see also Hebrews chapters 8-9; 12). What made this reconciliation possible? Again, the answer lies in the mystery of YHVH’s hidden wisdom.

Let us follow the succession of events: The spirit of Man became corrupted when Adam partook of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and as a result sin and the power of sin became one with his spirit. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).  Hence all humanity was locked into the kingdom of darkness, becoming slaves to the laws of sin and death.  Satan had now total dominion over mankind, and there was no escape. However, unnoticed by him, this “hidden wisdom” was advancing YHVH’s ultimate plan. 

After committing sin, Adam was sentenced to death in accordance with Elohim’s word/law.  But how, when, and where would this death occur?  It would seem that the Creator should have completely wiped out any trace of humanity right there and then. But because of His nature of grace and His declared purpose for Man, He preserved the line of the firstborn who held the rights of dominion that had been given originally to Adam. 
Paul resolves the ‘death penalty’ by establishing a judicial fact: “For the love of Messiah compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).  This, believe it or not, is the mystery of Elohim’s wisdom that was hidden in Elohim even before the Fall, but was made manifest in the body of Yeshua on the cross. 

Satan’s demise and defeat took place when YHVH seized the corrupted spirit of all humanity and placed it into the flesh of His Son, as was evident when Yeshua cried out to His Father: “Elohi, Elohi, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34).  It was at this point in time that the defiled spirit of Adam was placed into Yeshua’s body.  Up until then, there was never a time in Yeshua’s life when the presence of His Father was not with and in Him. But things were different during those moments of His dying, bringing about a change in the course of history.  Adam’s sentence was carried out and he died when Yeshua died.  The good news, on the other hand, is that the Father has reconciled Man back into relationship with Himself by the legal requirements of a perfect, holy, sinless sacrifice.  “For He [the Father] made Him [Yeshua] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of Elohim in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Halleluiah!!!!

“The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His holy ones.  To them Elohim willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations: which is Messiah in you, the hope of glory.  Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Messiah Yeshua” (Colossians 1:26-28 emphases added).   “And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in Elohim who created all things through Yeshua the Messiah;  to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of Elohim might be made known by the holy ones,  to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Messiah Yeshua our Lord,  in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Ephesians 3:9-12 emphases added).

Ephraim                     03/06/2011

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

If you continue

Looking back over more than 25 years of being involved with the restoration of our ancestral identity, I am convinced that it is truly founded upon the moving of the Father’s Holy Spirit, for the purpose of turning the hearts of the seed of the Patriarchs back to their roots.  YHVH’s intention in doing so is in order to demonstrate His faithfulness to the promises, one of which is the multiplicity that He swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and has carried out over 4,000 years of history.

In Romans 4 Paul writes: “What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?” (v. 1). He then goes on to quote Genesis 15:6:  "Abraham believed Elohim, and it was accounted to him for righteousness" (v. 3). What did Abraham believe that Elohim accounted to him for righteousness? 

”…Contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your seed/descendants be.’  And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb.  He did not waver at the promise of Elohim through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to Elohim and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.  And therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Romans 4:18-22). 

Did YHVH keep His promise to our forefathers?  Paul reveals YHVH’s faithfulness to execute His word to Abraham in one verse: “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise (of multiplicity) might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all”  (v. 16).  The question before us today is: “Does YHVH recon us righteous if we believe the same thing that Abraham believed?”   “He [Abraham] did not waver at the promise of Elohim through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to Elohim,  and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Romans 4:20-21).  When it comes to this present day restoration of the seed of Abraham (after the flesh) and that includes “all those who are of the faith,” do we waver in unbelief at the faithfulness of YHVH to perform what He promised?  What else does it say about Abraham “he obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws" (Genesis 26:5).     

When we talk about returning to our Hebraic roots, in response to the Spirit turning the hearts of the children to the patriarchs we are to "remember the Torah of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments” (Malachi 4:4).  However, this alone will not produce the fruit of righteousness, and this was the major concern that the apostles had with the believers they were addressing: “Now it was not written for his (Abraham’s) sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Yeshua our Lord from the dead,  who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:23-25). We, who came out of the “flesh of Abraham” through the deadness of a womb that produced Isaac, are now recognized as having the same faith as our father, which enables us to believe that Yeshua was delivered up to death for our sin and was raised for our justification.  Here is the key that opens the door to the fruit of righteousness.  It is found in the promise of the new covenant “I will put My Torah in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33).

“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled  in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight -- if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard” (Colossians 1:21-23, emphasis added). This little two-letter word that cannot be overlooked makes all the difference…  

In these days and within this ‘move’ too many are forsaking the “hope of the gospel of His kingdom” and are seeking to produce a fruit of righteousness by the “works of legalism.” The kingdom of Elohim [however], is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Some have become disenchanted because they have not witnessed or experienced the fruit of the Spirit in the “church,” and later on, in the Messianic groups with whom they affiliated themselves. Most likely they have not been taught how to overcome and walk in YHVH’s righteousness, bearing the fruit of their salvation through faith and obedience to His Word.  Yeshua warned about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees (see Mark 8:15), and Paul concerning the wisdom of men (1 Corinthians 2:5).

The “if” in the above quote, as stated, is very important: If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel.”  We have been reconciled to the Father, in the flesh body of Yeshua. Yeshua is our righteousness, and thus also the epitome of the fruit of the Spirit.

Additionally, our Messiah is the Word, and the Bread that has come down from Heaven.  Let us “sink our teeth”* into Him, chew well, mix with a little “heavenly wine,” take time to taste, smell and then swallow - so that at least ‘morsels’ of His Word assimilate into our very being; the Word becoming flesh…

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Father's judicial ways

Shalom Fellow Israelite,

“A dumb donkey speaking with a man's voice restrained the madness of the prophet” (ref. 2 Peter 2:16).  This verse may be very applicable in the attempt to tackle the following subject.

The judicial aspect of Yeshua’s role in YHVH’s Redemption, is not clearly understood by many who come out of mainline Christianity and into their “Hebrew roots.”  While affiliated with the Church, there were dogmas that they (we) followed blindly, but now after studying the Torah many start to question these doctrines and find them confusing.

A case in point is the doctrine which appears to be the main stumbling block for those who are stepping out of Church religion, and that is the doctrine of the Trinity: “God the Father,” “God the Son,” and “God the Holy Spirit.”  I know that writing on the ‘anatomy’ of God/Elohim is equivalent to madness, so please forgive me for falling back on my biology education, in the course of which, in our great ‘wisdom,’ we thought that when dissecting frogs and rats we were gaining more information about the theory of evolution. And so, even though bringing up this subject is stepping on to thin ice, yet such matters must be investigated as best we can in order to stand on solid ground.

Let us start with one of the scriptures that most have to face squarely when returning to their roots, and to the whole counsel of Elohim: " Hear, O Israel: YHVH our God/Elohim, YHVH is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4).
The apostles, in their commentaries in the books of the New Covenant, all held to the belief that there is only One God/Elohim and Father and that this Elohim is One Spirit, albeit with a variety of manifestations.  In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, for example, after mentioning each gift of the One Spirit he reiterates: “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (12:11). Similarly, all nine fruits of the Spirit come from the One Spirit (ref. Galatians 5:22-23), as well as the anointing upon the ministries raised for the Body of Messiah (ref. Ephesians 4:11). By this One Spirit YHVH, the Father, works to mature those who have been born of His Spirit, as is seen in Ephesians 4:4-6:  “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;   one Lord, one faith, one immersion; one Elohim and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.”  There is only one way that the Father can be “above all, through all and in all” and that is by His Holy Spirit. 

When Yeshua was talking with the Samaritan woman at the well, He described His Elohim and Father very clearly: "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father… But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  Elohim [the Father] is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:21-24). 

It was the Holy Spirit that fathered, conceived, or impregnated the seed of woman, (Miriam) (see Luke 1:35) who gave birth to His only begotten Son (see John 3:16; John 1:18) and called Him “Yeshua” (see Luke 1:31).  Yeshua’s conception was not by an ‘anointing’. He ‘originated’ from the very core Life of His Father. In other words, He came from the Father as an only begotten Son and later was anointed, that is “christed,” in order to carry out the role of the High Priest and Firstborn Kinsman Redeemer of the Melkizedek office (see Hebrews Chapters 7-8). “Mashiach” in Hebrew and “Christos” in Greek are both related to the action of anointing, or to being anointed. These words indicate or imply that the Father, that is the Spirit of Holiness, is influencing, manifesting, in, through, upon, and around those who are being used by Him for His purposes.  However, in the case of Messiah Yeshua, although “anointed” at His immersion, (Matthew 3:16-17), much more was involved.

The Father’s life and nature was in the blood of His Son, otherwise He (obviously) could not have been His only begotten Son.  Yeshua did not carry the same sin-defiled life that was in the blood of Adam.  This is very important to understand from a judicial point of view, as the Father’s requirements to redeem man are/were very high (see Psalm 49:7-8).  He could only accept His own nature of righteousness as propitiation for sin.  “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct inherited from your fathers,  but with the precious blood of the Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

The reason, therefore, that Yeshua’s blood was sinless and acceptable was because the life of His Father was reconciling Adam back to Himself through Him (the Son).  “Now all things are of Elohim, who has reconciled us to Himself through Messiah Yeshua, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:19-20).

In conclusion let us read Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:16-23.

Have a wonderful and blessed Shabbat as you bask in the Spirit of our Heavenly Father’s love in, through, and by Yeshua His Son.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My People

It is quite significant that it was at Passover time that YHVH declared Israel to be His “Am” (Ami - My people); the only people that would ever have this status before Him.  Israel’s birth as a liberated people came as a result of the death of a lamb, and its blood having been smeared on the doorposts of the homes.  I hope this year we will consider the importance of our unity as YHVH’s redeemed firstborn, and what it means to be called “AMI (My People).  Paul said that the feasts are but a shadow of things to come: May Abba grant us the ability to see beyond the shadows into the light of His redemptive work through the sacrifice of His lamb (Yeshua).  The redemption of the firstborn (the people of Abraham) means that the creation will be set free by these sons of YHVH, the "saviors" who will come out of Zion and establish His kingdom, as it is written: "Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom shall be YHVH's" (Obadiah 1:21; and ref. Hosea 1:10).

It was over 3,800 years ago, when the Elohim of Jacob sent His family down to Egypt to preserve them.  Speaking to His servant Jacob, He said: “I am YHVH, the Elohim of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation [goy] there’” (Genesis 46:3). One of the Hebrew words for “nation” is “goy”.  It is first used in the Tanach, in the Covenant that YHVH made with our forefather Abraham, “I will make you a great nation [goy]; I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2).   One man, one Elohim, one Covenant, one people, one national identity; this was at the heart of YHVH’s plan for the redemption of the creation.  The Elohim of Abraham set apart a man, and swore by His own name that his seed/sperm/life would become a great and holy (set-apart) people/nation.

When Jacob and his band of seventy souls arrived in Egypt, he found another family-member already down there. Joseph and his progeny had lost their identity and connection with their family of origin. Thus, Joseph's children were most likely uncircumcised when their grandfather adopted them, and in a sense formed a prophetic type of the lost tribes of Israel, the vast company of people that YHVH had promised to the forefathers. Paul discloses that this hidden company (treasure), in the nations, are those who have (even though uncircumcised) the "faith" of their forefather Abraham (ref Romans chapter 4). Moreover, in Egypt the Children of Jacob also multiplied profusely. This too was a prophetic picture of a time in which their numerical increase would encompass the entire earth. 

Jacob’s family, living in Egypt, eventually became slaves to the lords of the land. While in that state they lost their vision of being a nation, a family and a people with a purpose, and a Divine call.  This is portrayed quite vividly in the scene of the two Hebrew slaves who were fighting one another to their own demise (ref Exodus 2:13). The embittered seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was now characterized by survival instincts.  This was only natural, since they were living under extreme conditions, where their captors debased them into mere sub-human slaves.  So where was this great people/nation that was promised to Abraham?  His seed, now turned slaves, were cursing the day of their birth.  They had become nothing more than dead dry bones in the desert sands of Egypt. So helpless were they that they could not even respond to Moses when he came to them preaching the good news of their deliverance! (ref. Exodus 6:9).

The Passover story is replete with pestilence, famine and one disaster following another.  But when gross darkness covered the land there was still light in the tents of the Hebrews (ref. Ex.10:23), as the anointing of YHVH’s covenant word (which “is a light,” ref. Ps. 119:105) was still upon them to become a great people. How was this going to be made possible?  It certainly was not going to happen by their own strength. It was going to take a miracle, a Divine intervention. YHVH, therefore, dispatched a man with a message:  “Let My people go.”  Moses was faithful to bring that word to the ruler of the slaves, but YHVH hardened the heart of Pharaoh, just to make sure that His people would know that their deliverance was not going to come by the way or authority of man. Had Pharaoh given his permission, these Hebrews would have been forever indebted to their master. They would perpetually be looking to him as their deliverer, and thus would not be able to take up their divinely ordained position as the head of all the nations. In this manner, they would have been bound to Egypt.

YHVH had His plan of restoring these slaves to freedom and to their national identity. The moment the elders applied the blood to the lintels and the doorposts of the Hebrews’ homes, the latter were sealed into deliverance, freedom and their destiny. But even beyond that - their dependency on man has just come to an end.  They were now united behind the one sacrifice, totally dependent upon the powerful right arm of the Almighty to bring them out. “Let My people go!” YHVH had already announced to Egypt's rulers to whom these people belonged. This was a people that did not belong to itself. They were and still are today My people, [“ami” -singular] says YHVH.”  But now, through the blood of the lamb, they were set apart to enter into the next phase of His plan.  “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel" (Exodus 19:6 emphasis added).    

Whereas harsh conditions and bondage reduce human beings to mere existence, effacing their individual uniqueness, affluence can also keep one in bondage to extreme individualism.  Therefore, as we, Israelites (Ephraim and Judah), YHVH’s two families of His one People Israel, gather together to honor Him during this year’s Passover, let us leave our individualism (and may I add “   sectarianism” and all types of exclusivity) and lift up the cup of unity. Remember that we all were once slaves to sin and death and bound to the principalities and powers of this world’s (kosmos) dominion. It behooves us to, “purge out therefore the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Messiah our Passover is sacrificed for us.  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; (nor with strife, contention, bitterness and unforgiveness) but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7-8).  May we walk together through the Door that is splattered with the blood of the Lamb, out of the houses of our bondage and into the liberty of the new corporate life of the “One New Man.” The wall of partition in the House of Jacob has been broken down, so let us serve one another in the nature of the new creation person (Yeshua) who is the embodiment of the Royal Priesthood and Holy Nation Israel, Elohim’s firstborn! 

May the eyes of our hearts be opened anew to the fact that we are “My people Israel” in this generation.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!   (Ps. 133).