Lies, believe you

Ma’Asei [Acts] 21-22 reveals quite a bit about “Pavlos” [Sha’ul “also called” Paul] and all believers in Messiah in his day…

First, in these verses we see that he was still a keeper of Torah, and that as they lie today about him that he was not, they did then as well…

“Our brother, see how many thousands there are in Y’huda who are believers, and they are all zealous for the Torah: but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Y’hudim who are among the Goyim to forsake the Torah of Moshe, stating that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to follow after the customs of the Torah. ………then everyone will know that what has been said against you [Sha’ul] is a LIE, and that you [Sha’ul also called Paul] yourself uphold the Torah and OBEY IT.” [present tense]

In these verses we learn that Sha’ul and all of Jerusalem spoke HEBREW! NOT greek, as it has been forced on the community of faith to believe for the last 1700 years.

“And when he had given him permission, Pavlos stood on the stairs and beckoned with his hand to them. And when they were quiet he spoke to them in THE HEBREW LANGUAGE and said to them: “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now make to you.” And when they heard him speak to them in THE HEBREW LANGUAGE, they were the more quiet.”

Here in this next verse we see that “Ananias,” the one who gave Sha’ul back his sight and immersed him into the faith of Messiah, is seen as a TORAH KEEPER! This is a believer in Yeshua the Messiah who kept Torah! And ALL of his peers knew that about him [because they did too, and expected it of each other.]

“And a certain man, Khanan-Yah, righteous according to the TORAH, as testified by all the Y’hudim concerning him….”

In this next verse, we see that the BELIEVERS in Yeshua assembled in the SYNAGOGUE!! Would Sha’ul LIE to Messiah Yeshua in prayer, deceive him, or misrepresent HIS followers to Him?

“And I said, ‘Adonai, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every Beit K’nesset those who believed in you.”

“Shema, Yisra’el”

Open Letter to U.S. Governors

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Dear Governor,

I write because you represent the people of your state.  Your duty is to protect the lives of those people.  Their location should not matter, as long as their corpus is within the boundaries of your state.  I believe that deep down, you should understand this.  You did not get elected because you are ignorant, nor a fool.

In our country, there is one state that has chosen to defy human decency and common sense.  That state is New York.  In all likelihood, your state does some sort of business/commerce with New York.  That exchange should cease, until New York changes its new stance on killing newborn babies.  One of the first declarations of our rights in our founding documents is the declaration that every citizen has a right to LIFE.  That’s the FIRST one.  Because it is very basic.  When a state chooses to kill, or to sanction the killing of American lives, it is violating our Constitution in the most egregious way.

New York has chosen not to protect the lives of its citizens.  They have determined that the rest of America does not understand the very basic definition of “life” or “human being.”  Just for clarity, we [humans] define life this way: “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.”  We define the human being as “a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.”  Lest one equivocate over the human infant’s capacity to reproduce, speak, or stand upright, no one doubts that given the chance to exercise its capacity to GROW, he will also eventually stand upright, speak, and have the capacity to reproduce.  Your reading this is itself proof of that premise.  Further, our federal government has chosen to protect the American Bald and Golden Eagles, to the extent that we protect the EGG as if it were an Eagle.  Are we NOT to apply the same logic to the HUMAN, who is simply removed from the potential place of death by a mere few inches?  Or worse, one who simply has not taken his first breath?  Do you not see the hypocrisy?

I come to you as a citizen.  I plead with you, and with your whole state government: speak out about this heinous new law that New York has just instated.  Call Governor Cuomo and reprimand him for his inhuman act of signing that bill into law.  Sanction that state for NOT PROTECTING ITS CITIZENS.

What is to stop a mother from simply killing a baby that is a day old, a week old, a month old?  Do you not, seriously, see the slippery slope this country is on since Roe V. Wade?

Do not think for a moment that a callous, hardened heart will somehow escape the reward of approving of, condoning, celebrating, or even ‘tolerating’ such thought.  Whether you believe in a G-d or not, most of us in America do.  And our Creator, mentioned in our Declaration of Independence, hates this new law, and I state that with absolute confidence. Not because I think myself a prophet, or better than any other man, but because the scriptures upon which our laws were founded, whether you’ve denied that fact or not, state: “There are six things which יהוה hates, yes, seven which are an abomination unto Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood…”  He clearly believes that the person who is residing in the womb of his mother IS a person.  He told the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came forth out of the womb I set you apart…”  The prophet, John the Immerser, leaped in the womb, when he sensed the presence of the Messiah in his cousin’s womb.  How dare anyone think to take the life of an infant, simply because he has not breathed his first breath. He is partaking of his mother’s LIFE while he is in the womb.  He is a person.  Ask any mother or father in this country whether they would have grieved at the loss of their child, before or after his birth.   Do NOT harden your heart to these infant citizens.

I am, along with as many as I can persuade, demanding that you and all U.S. state governors SANCTION the state of New York, and speak about the atrocity that is this new law, and rail against the murder of American Citizens, born and unborn.  If we do not, then eventually, simply passing through any door, real or imagined, will be cause enough for the death of any of us.  This wicked, perverted, heinous line of thought must be extinguished.  If it is not, this country will perish.  Mark these words.

Sincerely,

Daniel W. Crouch

Concerned American Citizen

[Feel FREE to copy and mail in.  Being mailed via post to all 49 other governors. Gov. Cuomo will get his own, personal letter soon]

Murder Will Not Go Unpunished

I am angry.  I’ve seen the headline from New York probably about seven times now.  And every time I get more angry.  But, I know what an utter waste of time my anger is.  Just this morning on my bus ride in, I read these verses: “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; fret not yourself, it tends only to evil-doing.  For evil-doers shall be cut off; but those that wait for יהוה , they shall inherit the earth.”  And of course, we all know that the meek, or the humble, they are those who will inherit the Earth.  This ‘tehillah’ says so as well: “And yet a little while, and there will be no more wicked; yes, you shall look well at
his place, and he will not exist. But the humble shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of shalom.”

Nothing epitomizes wickedness more than mothers killing their babies, except those who promote, cajole and convince those mothers to do so, and twist ‘morality’ in order to justify killing innocent children, writing it into the law of the land.  No one in their right mind thinks that the baby ‘transforms’ from ‘fleshy matter’ to ‘human’ via the brief passage through the birth canal over the period of moments.  There is no other way to explain this thinking other than that the people who think this is justifiable have abandoned G-d, and have decided that they themselves are the arbiters of what is right and good.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that change darkness into  light, and light into darkness; that change bitter into sweet, and sweet into bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”

I realize that none who think this way, who may by some strange happenings actually read this far into this post, would ever think for a moment that G-d is real, and that they might some day answer for their crimes against Him, and against innocent human beings.  But, if you are reading this, rest assured, there is a Creator, you were created by Him, you are subject to Him, and you will answer to Him, unless you turn away from this base, inhumane,  heartless thinking and behavior.  This is nothing short of the worst sin and perversion of truth.

If an average American is reading this, especially any of those who say the believe in G-d, whether only as “Adonai”, or as “Jesus,” or any other strain of religious thinking, we’d all better be fasting and praying, and lamenting this and other sins that lawmakers in this country are committing.  They are ‘elected’ officials.  I’m in Texas, and I feel those of us here had better send a LOUD message to VOTERS, that this is HORRIBLE behavior.  There should be SANCTIONS against NEW YORK for this.  There should be an outcry over the loss of innocent life this will bring.  Silence is just NOT going to do.  The Torah instructs us NOT to sit by while someone kills the innocent.  I just don’t know myself what to do, other than to post this, and then send letters to Senators and Congressmen, and try and convince anyone of how SERIOUS this is AGAINST G-d.

America, if you do not wake up and say something about this, you will watch your land destroyed UTTERLY.  G-d is not so unjust that He does not care about those lives.  He has not turned a blind eye nor a deaf ear.  He is giving those who think they are righteous, who claimed to be washed in the Blood of His Son, Yeshua, a chance to speak on His behalf, and on the behalf of those already slain, and on behalf of those who now will be slain in New York, MOMENTS before they are born.  This is a moral outrage.

To the women AND men of New York.  DO NOT think this law expunges you in the eyes of the Creator.  Do you think you were given the power to create LIFE and NOT the responsibility to protect it?  You protect your own life, by eating, by not crossing the busy street, by not jumping outside of tall buildings…. why would you NOT protect someone who CANNOT protect himself, by mere circumstance of his location, six inches up the birth canal, inside a womb, versus on the birthing table?  You will spend the rest of eternity regretting your decision to kill YOUR CHILD, apart from your confessing it as sin and being forgiven by the ONE who died in YOUR place: Yeshua, the Son of G-d.

STOP thinking of YOURSELF.  You chose to procreate.  You KNEW the possibility of conceiving LONG before you consented to sex.  You will not fool G-d with a flimsy excuse.  If New York, and the rest of the states, do not stand AGAINST this heinous ‘law’, this license to kill, then the U.S. will answer for it.  Especially those who SAY they believe in the Creator.  Sooner, I’m afraid, than later.  It won’t be long before New York finds itself in a condition similar to the below, as will the rest of the country, for being in league with them:

“Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink; that justify the wicked for a reward, and take away the tzedaka of the righteous from him!” “Therefore as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as the chaff is consumed in the flame, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust; because they have rejected the Torah of יהוה Tzeva’ot, and shown contempt for the word of HaKadosh Yisra’el. Therefore is the anger of יהוה kindled against His people, and He has stretched forth His hand against them, and has smitten them, and the hills did tremble, and their carcasses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still. …. And they shall roar against them in that day like the roaring of the sea; and if one looks unto the land, behold darkness and distress, and the light is darkened in the skies thereof.”

Kovei יהוה‬

 

This Miqedem song is from a very popular verse:

“They that hope in יהוה shall renew their strength; they shall soar in the air as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”

“Hope” is that first word, ‘kovei’.  It is in the same root as “Tikvah”, where we get “HaTikvah,” “The Hope,” the name of the National Anthem of Israel.  It is also the same root as “Mikveh,” or “Immersion pool,” where one is immersed [“baptized”].

I find myself right now ‘hoping’ in  יהוה  for many things in my life.  Some of them rather dire, some of them possibly a mite frivolous.  Some translations render “kovei” as “wait,” and this is not ‘wrong,’ but, it is a waiting with ‘expectation,’ ergo, ‘hope.’  One might say that this is ‘waiting expectantly,’ with TRUST.  After all, Sha’ul defines ‘faith’ as the substance of things for which we ‘hope.’  A more literal rendering of that verse [Ivrim 11:1], which I favor, is: “Now HaEmunah [The Faith] is the trust in HaD’varim [The Words] in which there is hope, as if they have already come to pass; and it is the revelation of unseen things.” בְּתִקְוָה  is the word there for ‘hope,’ “b’tikvah” IN HOPE.

We as Messianic Peshitta Jews find ourselves ‘hoping’ in  יהוה  in ways others do not yet understand.  We hope in Him alone to set our “Mo’edim” the special times/appointments of the year when we assemble, in order to follow HIM in worship.  He sets our appointed times by the ‘khodesh’ and the barley.  And right now, we ‘wait/hope’ to know when our next Mo’edim will be set.  We know they will; but we just do not know precisely when.  Yeshua spoke in this manner concerning the timing of His return, and His return is tightly intertwined with His Mo’edim.  We ‘hope’ and ‘wait’ for His return, expectantly.

The fact that “hope” is tied to “Mikveh” came to mind, as I listened to this song.  [Yirme-Yahu 17:13-14] “You, O Mikveh of Yisra’el, יהוה ! All that forsake You shall be ashamed; they that depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken יהוה , the fountain of Mayim Khayim.” “Heal me, O יהוה , and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for You are my praise”.”  This verse is rife with prophecy.  In fact, it was somewhat fulfilled when Yeshua wrote in the dust while religious men were accusing a harlot that Yeshua forgave.  But, the fact that our Savior IS our immersion pool of “Mayim Khayim,” “Living Water,” is something certain in which to ‘hope.’  It’s interesting that so few EVER quote the verse that follows this one: “Heal ME and I shall be healed; save ME and I shall be saved.”  The writer is still talking to the Mikveh of Israel, the ‘gathered/hoped-in’ LIVING WATER that is יהוה .  This calls to mind another verse, one to which Miqedem also so skillfully put music: Ta’amu, u’rei’u ki Tov יהוה . “TASTE!  and SEE! that  יהוה  is GOOD.”  After all, we not only immerse ourselves in Yeshua, our Mayim Khayim, but we also DRINK of that same Water.

I think also, however, that hoping in Him means accepting even the worst circumstances, and hoping ‘beyond hope.’  Avraham’s hope was this way, who was promised a son in his twilight years, when all hope was gone.  Dani’el hoped/waited this way, when thrown into a den of lions.  His three friends did the same, saying they’d go into the fire, even if their G-d did not save them from it.  That’s because this ‘hope’ is founded on the ‘Words’ that are the words of HaEmunah, The Faith.  This word is where we get our word “Amein,” and is rooted in the concept of ‘firmness’, a thing that is ‘firmly established,’ ‘well founded.’  I want to be so well founded that I’m flying, as this song implies. “They that hope in יהוה shall renew their strength; they shall soar in the air as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”  One day a literal flight will happen, I ‘firmly trust’ in that.  But, today, I want to soar, in spite of all the bad that might be.  I want to be immersed in the Mikveh of Yisra’el.  I want to be healed, and not written in the dust to be blown away, out of His memory.  Kovei  יהוה  yakh’lifu ko’akh….

 

Have you considered my servant, Iyov?

…that there is none like him in the earth, a pure and an upright man, one that fears Elohim, and shuns evil?

Was taking my brief, mid-day walk, and praying for people who I know are going through things.  I relied on my having been through similar things, in order hopefully to pray aright for them.  Some that I had in mind are dealing with life-long sin issues, things from which they feel they cannot be free.  Some are dealing with substances that control them.  Some, near poverty circumstances.  Some, ill temperament due to personal circumstances and dealing with other people.  I petitioned Abba, not asking ‘why’, but wondering, ‘will they ever truly be free’?  Is it possible that You will, some day, deliver them.  Most of these folks already trust that Yeshua is the Son of G-d.  Some even give themselves over heartily to worship, and to fellowship, and to keep His appointed times [and not those of men who claim to speak for Him].  Yet, they suffer.

Then, the images of children born with disabilities, extreme disabilities, went through my mind.  It always breaks my heart to hear of children born without limbs, born disfigured, born without the capacity to think and interact with the world around them.  Why them?  Some of that, much of it probably, is likely because mankind has taken to embrace behaviors and substances inordinately, or behaviors and substances that G-d clearly directs us to stay away from, and as such, we, collectively, have begun to make being born without defect a bit of a crap shoot.  But, is being born in that condition worse than not being born?

Iyov, Job, came to the place where he began to rue the day he was born.  But, was that right?  G-d finally told him, “Can you thunder with a voice like mine?  Do you have an arm like mine?”  In other words, like Sha’ul said, “Who are you, O man, to talk back to G-d?”

In Iyov’s case, he was innocent.  He was not born with any condition whatsoever, no apparent hindrance in life.  He had succeeded, having great wealth, a beautiful, large family and a loving wife.  And Elohim allowed all of that to be taken from him, finally, all the way down even to His own health and complexion.  He became disgusting to every other human, and only three people deigned to speak to him, and all they did was lecture him about how unrighteous he was.

Yeshua spoke of the man born blind, as the folks around him wondered if he had sinned, or had his parents sinned, and this is why he was born blind.  Yeshua taught that it was neither, but that he was born in order to bring G-d glory.  We all assume the ‘glory’ that G-d got was when Yeshua gave the man back his sight.  But was that the ‘glorious’ part of this man’s existence?  Or was it, by chance, the ‘way’ the man went through his life as a blind man, and gaining his sight was simply the reward.  After all, Iyov went through what he went through with great composure.  And he continued to trust in and love G-d, in spite of his circumstances.

As I pondered these things, reflecting on many of those I love who suffer, I realized, Iyov was ‘chosen’ for that purpose.  It was the will of G-d that he suffer.  Should it matter whether that suffering is done from birth, or later in life?  Might Iyov have been grateful for all those years of health and bounty, while he went through lack and sickness?  Might he have been a rare bird, and really learned how compassionate יהוה  is, in appreciation for all those blessings, knowing from where they came?  It appears so to me.

Then, it dawned on me.  Iyov is the root word of ‘enemy’/’hated’.  The man who was like NO OTHER MAN on the earth, feared G-d, shunned evil, pure, and upright, his very name meant ‘hated one’.  The bi-line above reads, “Have you considered my servant, Iyov?”  Have you?  G-d asked that question of HaSatan, the ‘Adversary,’ the one meant to bring us trouble.  And we can rest assured, that at the beginning of every evil issue of life that we deal with is this ‘adversary,’ this embodiment of perdition.  If we are marked to be the children of Elohim, and have trusted in His Son Yeshua, then you can bet, your name could be placed in the question?  “Have you considered my servant, the hated one?”  The ‘world’ hates us.  Is it possible that in his day, Iyov was the “Enemy” of HaSatan, because he was so ‘different’ than the rest of mankind?  That appears to be born out in his discourse with G-d!

Is it possible then, that G-d, who knows the end from the beginning, ‘allows’ His upright ones, those He marked with His seal, to be ‘buffeted’ by the adversary, to show His Kavod to ‘the adversary.’  Is it possible that G-d, then is ‘proud’ of you?  Knowing that you have what it takes inside of you to endure whatever the hardship is?  Because He put it there [light].  Isn’t that exactly what Yokhanan said when he started his account of the B’sorah?  “And the light shined into the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.”   Might that be why in Matti, when Yeshua began to teach the Torah, that He says, “You are indeed the light of the world; a city that is built upon a mountain cannot be hidden. [they do not] light a Menorah and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, so it gives light to all who are in the house.  So let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and glorify Avikhem [your father, plural ‘your’] in Heaven.”  The person who keeps the Torah is indeed ‘Iyov” to anything born of darkness.  Sickness, disease, affliction, perversion, dependency, conflict, hate, oppression, all of these things are born of darkness, and all of His children are subject to them.  The question is, how do we ‘bear up’ under them.  Do we remain faithful to G-d, as did Iyov?  If we truly are the ‘enemy’ of darkness, then we will.  And G-d KNOWS that.

He did not come to make us all strong.  He came to the weak, to confound the strong.  He came to the simple to confound the wise.  He came to the sick to confound those who are well.  He gives us of His strength, over, and over, and over again, as long as we are willing to fight.  “But we are not among those who shrink back.”

The man born blind, indeed, did receive his sight.  But, look how long he’d been blind.  Not everyone gets healed.  But, everyone who loves G-d and is consecrated from this world DOES glorify G-d, simply by continuing to be obedient, and to trust Him, and not to complain at whatever human ailment afflicts us, but finds His way to the merciful Elohim in spite of it.

Be Iyov.  Today, and every day, if need be.  Until HE is done getting glory from you.  Does He not deserve it?

נִתְקָרְבָה נָא בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם

“”Therefore, let us draw near with a whole heart, in full assurance of absolute trust, having our hearts sprinkled and cleansed of evil thought and our bodies washed with pure water.” ~ Ivrim 10:22

I ‘practiced’ this today.  And then I thought of this verse.  Let me explain what I mean.

There are times, for me, that it seems nothing I ‘do’ in regard to worship seems to ‘work.’  I do not mean in the sense of ‘feeling goose bumps’ or emoting to any degree.  I mean in the sense of finishing prayers, and having absolute “shalom,” even though the circumstances of life have not changed.  Don’t get me wrong, many days I do that.  But sometimes I think that is quite by accident, and not a cognitive function.

There was a moment in my life, during the hardest year of my life to date, the year I lost both my parents and both my grandparents, mom and dad only six weeks apart, grandmother barely eight weeks later, and grandpa right near my birthday.  During all that and the collateral turmoil, I just could not get ‘shalom,’ and I still remember the very spot I was standing when these words came across my lips in a plea from deep within:    ” יהוה Ro’i, lo ‘ekh’sar”….  And I ‘gave’ myself over to Him.  In a moment, in the blink of an eye, all the angst left me.  I stood there in joyful shock, having thought that I’d never have a still mind again.  There I stood, in perfect shalom.  I will never, ever forget that brief moment, whose ‘shalom’ lasted for quite some time.

But, since then, there have been times when I struggle to get to that place.  I slip back into the human habit of thinking it’s G-d’s job to come to me.  I slip almost subconsciously into typical human thinking and behavior, forgetting the reality of His Presence, of His Compassion, and His ‘khafetz’ toward His people, His deep, affectionate desire for us to draw near to Him.  To delight in HIM.  To TRUST that He is waiting there for us, and for us to ‘move’ into Him.

I consciously had to do that again today.  The last week or so has been inordinately stressful, for various reasons.  Nothing catastrophic, just things of life that must be dealt with, several converging all at once.  And I decided, consciously, deliberately, that He is waiting for me to worship Him.  To make a move.  I was singing a melody I wrote for parts of Tehillah 135 and 115, that starts out “Bless יהוה ,” and then ‘Trust in יהוה ,” speaking to Yisra’el, the houses of Aharon and Levi, and those who FEAR יהוה .  The imperative plural for ‘trust’ is ‘bit’khu’.  It dawned on me how very similar בִּטְחוּ  and  בְּתֹוךְ are, ‘bit’khu’ and ‘betokh’.  They are, ‘trust,’ and ‘in the midst of’, respectively.  They’re similar mostly just phonetically, having two letters the same.  But, It just occurred to me that my ‘trust’ is what ‘moves’ me into the ‘midst of’, betokh, the “High Tower,” the “Shield,” the ‘Buckler’, the ‘strong fortress, the ‘ever present help’, that is יהוה .

It really is that simple.  One thing I am learning more and more, is that men complicate G-d.  Men make it difficult to ‘get to Him.’  Men impede others’ progress in their walk. Yeshua said of the Rabbis that they make proselytes “Two-times the sons of Gehinom” as they are.   Men do this, because we all think the ‘systems’ of brilliant men must be ‘the way.’  Nope.  HE is.  And HIS WAY is simple.  His burden is easy.  His Torah is a DELIGHT.  And HE HIMSELF is so FULL of compassion, and a ‘desire’ to commune with us, and be our comfort.

There really is a paradigm shift in ‘shalom,’ when we come to Him with a ‘whole heart,’ like the verse quoted above says.  נִתְקָרְבָה נָא בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם   Let us ‘draw near with a WHOLE heart.  The word for heart there is its full version, ‘levav.’  Two ‘houses’ and a king.  The King perhaps ‘joining’ the two houses together.  The word there for ‘whole’ is ‘shalem.’  It is the last letters of Yerushalayim, and the root word of “Shalom.”  Shalom, in Hebrew, means ‘being complete,’ having need of nothing.  The verse I quoted those years ago, ” יהוה “ Ro’i, lo ekh’sar” has a similar idea.  “ekh’sar” is sort of an opposite of ‘shalem’.  It means ‘lack,’ not complete or whole, unsatisfied.  But, in the verse, it is negated by the word ‘lo’. ” יהוה  is my shepherd, I will lack nothing.”

This is deeper probably than I can convey herein… but I hope this helps someone whose mind ‘lacks’ shalom.  Bit’khu is ‘confidence’, being translated as trust.  I hope someone is able to ‘move’ a little closer, realizing you settle your heart by KNOWING He is also coming to you….

Early Rain

Each week, I do a ‘drash’ at our Synagogue, where I ‘seek out’ and teach from the weekly Torah portion that Jews and Messianic believers the world over are reading during the week [hopefully!].  Many have asked me in times past, early on in the week, what specific scriptures will be read from the Bimah, and what will the subject of the ‘drash’ be…. and usually, I have to say, “I don’t know,” because I usually don’t, until that Shabbat morning when I rise early with Messiah and make my notes.

This week, as soon as I read that portion, I ‘knew’ what we would be discussing in our drash, and what scriptures we would read.  This has only happened once before, that I can remember, over the last eleven years.  And, I’ve promised to keep my drash ‘short,’ because of other things our congregation needs to do this Shabbat.  Hopefully, the impact of what is delivered will be as powerful as I feel it right now in my own heart and life…..

spring

Khazku L’vaveikhem!

“O, You rich men, weep and howl for the miseries which shall come upon you! Your riches are destroyed and rotted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are tarnished, and the rust of them will be a testimony against you, and will eat your flesh. The treasures which you have heaped together will be as fire to you for the Akharit HaYamim. Behold, the wage of the laborers who have reaped your fields, that which you have fraudulently kept back, cries; and the cry of the reapers has already entered into the ears of  יהוה  Tzeva’ot. For you have had your luxuries on earth and have been greedy; you have fed your bodies as for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered HaTzadik, and yet he does not resist you. But my brethren, be patient until the coming of  יהוה , just as the husbandman waits for the precious crop of his field, and has long patience for it, until he receives the early and the latter rain. You be patient also; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of Adoneinu is at hand.”

I recently completed the “Messianic Megilah for Purim,” which is an abridged version of the book of Eisteir, the source of the Purim celebration, and it has questions and commentary to make the Shpiel a teaching opportunity, as well as jubilant and fun for children and adults.  Eisteir is an underrated book in scripture, and gets very little attention.  I have since decided to teach this book, using the Megilah as a guide, during our Congregation’s Torah Study, after the next study, done by Paul Torason over his book, “These Things You Should Have Done,” is completed.

The book of Eisteir is replete with Messianic overtones concerning both the “Former Rains” and “Latter Rains” of Messiah’s ministry on earth.  The primary spirit dealt with in the book is that of anti-Semitism, rooted in ‘Sheker HaMashi’akh,’ going all the way back to the beginning of the history of Yisra’el.  Our upcoming study will likely link the book of Eisteir to Ezrah and Nekhem-Yah, as the episode of Eisteir probably occurred between the 6th and 7th chapters of Ezrah.  Having taught the book of Ezrah concerning ‘spiritual warfare’ some years ago, and seeing how closely related anti-Semitism and Sheker HaMashi’akh are, it is fitting to teach these things again, as we creep ever closer to the last of the Akharit HaYamim.

The passage above, from Ya’akov Chapter 5:1-8, was ‘fresh’ in my reading scripture one day on the bus as I rode in to work.  The book of Ya’akov was written to the Jewish believers in Messiah who were scattered throughout the Aramaic regions east of Yisra’el.  But, this passage seems to have been written to someone else?  It is addressing the wealthy WITHIN THE BODY Of BELIEVERS!  Our sacred scriptures are not written to the world, but only to those who trust in Elohim!  The world mocks the scriptures, and denies them, and fights against them.  The intended audience of the Words of Elohim, in general, are for those who say they trust in Him!  And if one checks the context of this passage, the previous chapter is addressing congregants who are wealthy, how they are treated versus the poor, et cetera.  This passage is written to believers, proven by the last statement, “But my brethren…” which is a reminder to hold out to the return of Messiah, continuing to trust AND obey HIM.

So, how can these previous words of warning apply to believers?  Should unbelievers hear these words and heed them?  Of course.  But, we know they will not.  That is the nature of unbelievers: they deny the Words of G-d.  But, the warning goes out to them as well, and that is who I first thought of in the reading of it.  But, it also occurs to me that there are many believers, or those who profess to believe, who need to hear this dire warning, especially in the day in which we live.  And especially in the lavishness of our lives, even among the most obedient of believers.  We cannot allow our success and worldly comforts distract us from the grander scheme of things!  It is so EASY to forget how very brief this life is, and how very critical to salvation the B’sorah is, and the need for our constantly declaring its Truth, ‘hearing’ it ourselves, as well as causing others to ‘hear’.  We are supposed to be living for and looking for the day of His return.  No matter that it has been 2,000 years since these words were written.

The first part of this prophecy about the wealthy deals only with the wealth, how fleeting and useless it is, and how it is a snare to those who possess it.  And how they will suffer for robbing their laborers.  That probably, admittedly, does not apply to most believers, but it does to some.  I’ve seen and been the victim of those robbing myself and others, professed believers who owed me wages they did not pay.  But, by and large, the average person does not fit in this category.  But, the two passages that stood out are toward the end of what I cited, before the reminder to remain faithful comes.  The first: “you have fed your bodies as for the day of slaughter.”  Some people will not understand that passage.  But, as a boy, I grew up on a little ‘ranch,’ and we kept hogs.  The sole purpose of those hogs was to get fat, so that we could slaughter them near winter and have a freezer full of meat.  Ya’akov is here saying that these people to whom he writes are fattening themselves as if for the same purpose.  Pigs eat whatever you put in front of them; whenever you put it in front of them.  I personally believe this sentence is given for layers of interpretation.  First, we are in the last days, and those who do ‘have’ are certainly obsessed with eating, so much so that the ‘diet industry’ is making a fortune off of those who are trying to keep  on eating yet look more slim.  They literally want their cake, and to eat it too.  But, also, the ‘consumption’ of spiritual junk food is run amuck in our day.  We ‘take in’ far too much bad information, ideas and images that go against the design of G-d, and we just keep on doing it.  We ‘feed’ on it incessantly, instead of consuming HIS WORD.  It is no wonder we have an epidemic of adultery and fornication, divorce, alcoholism, homosexuality, transgenderism, drug addiction and deaths, suicide, and on and on.  Our spiritual diets are fattening us for the day of slaughter, and no one wants to ‘step back’ and take an assessment.  Right thinking is all but gone!  

The next statement of note was: “You have condemned and murdered HaTzadik, and yet he does not resist you.”  This would appear at first to have been written only to the lost.  But, we MUST remember, it is OUR sin, MY sin [insert yourself here] that nailed Him to the tree!  Further, Sha’ul reminds us that anyone who continues to LIVE IN SIN after he has tasted of the heavenly gift TRAMPLES the BLOOD of  BEN HaELOHIM under foot, and spurns the covenant of that shed blood. [Ivrim 10:29]

We are indeed in the “Akharit HaYamim,” and have been for 2,000 years.  But, we who live now are at the end of the end.  Yes, there have been so many wing-nut, false prophets who have caused many to be jaded, crying ‘wolf’ about his return and making the community of faith look foolish at times, but, that does not detract from the hard truth that Messiah is about to come back.   Our scriptures predicted that people would be jaded due to false prophets wrongly predicting His Return [2 Tim 2:18], and also about those who mock as a result of that!  [2 Peter 3:3-8]  As a matter of fact, Yeshua Himself said that He will come in such an hour as ‘you think not.’  Is it possible that that hour, that moment, people have finally given up on His Return, precisely because they are jaded as a result of the confusion of false prophets and lukewarm believers?

His return is indeed at hand.  How soon?  I’m not certain, but I refuse to be jaded and numbed by all the junk out there, and end up not being prepared.  I am looking forward to this Purim, the next celebration on our calendar, more than I ever have.  Writing that little Megilah has done a lot for me, and I anticipate His coming with great excitement, and cannot wait to reinvigorate those who come to the Shpiel with more understanding of where we are, in the “Latter Rain.”

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