Timing Is Everything

מַה נִשְׁתָנָה הַלַיְלָה הַזֶה

Tonight begins Pesakh, the Passover of  יהוה  , commemorating the SALVATION of our Jewish people, and all those who would trust in Him through His Son, Yeshua the Messiah.  Yet most of our Jewish people, including many of those who are Jewish and also believe in the Son of G-d, are not holding Pesakh until tomorrow night.  And many who are not Jewish but who do trust in the Son of G-d for Salvation will not observe it at all, with many of whom who have declared this previous first day of the week “Palm Sunday”; all of that group will celebrate the time they ‘think’ the resurrection occurred, on the next first day of the week.  ALL OF THESE ARE WRONG.

Yeshua is the Son of G-d.  He is also, as declared in the Brit Khadashah [NT] scriptures, our ‘Kohen Gadol’, or High Priest.  As such, it is Him we follow in regard to keeping the sacred observances set down by His Father, the Creator of the Universe, and observed by Him as a Jew while He was here on earth.  Yeshua kept His Pesakh Seder [Passover meal] the night before the Jewish Rabbis of the day did.  They had moved it, for convenience’s sake.  Another group of religious Jews, and many observant Jews not in a particular religious order, kept it the same night as Yeshua, including His own Talmidim [Torah Students, known now as ‘disciples’].  His Talmidim came to Him on the third day of the week, a Tuesday, and asked Him, “Where do you wish that we go and prepare the Pesakh for you to eat?”  As this was a day earlier than the Rabbis, the P’rushim [Pharisees], kept their observance, we see that the Talmidim aligned with many in Yisra’el who had not yet conformed to the erroneous observance of the P’rushim.  Yeshua kept His Pesakh, therefore, according to the instruction of Torah, ON the EVENING of the FOURTEENTH day after the observed Khodesh [crescent new moon] was seen along with the ripened, “Aviv” barley.  That is how the calendar was set in Yisra’el, by the Kohen Gadol.  This, the Rabbis still did right at that time, blowing the shofar at the Khodesh that was observed along with the ripened barley, to declare the 1st “month” of the new, sacred year, rather than observing a 13th month.  [The Aviv barley is how the Creator determines when Pesakh is, and when the new year is].

Since Yeshua was in Beit Anya for six days leading up to this day, and travelled back and forth to Yerushalayim for the four days leading up to His Pesakh, then Yeshua’s ‘triumphal entry’ would NOT have been on a ‘sun-day’, but on Shabbat!  Our ‘saturday’.  The day they waved palm branches and hailed Him as King, they sang part of the Hallel, Tehillah 118, “Hoshia Nah!  Barukh HaBa B’Shem יהוה , ” a traditional Pesakh song [Ps 113-118 are the Hallel] “Please save us now!  Blessed is He who comes in the Name of יהוה .” Yeshua then held His Seder four days later, being examined as the spotless Pesakh Lamb for four days, just as Yisra’el was instructed to do in Shemot 12 [Exodus] for the first Pesakh offering.  They drilled Him with questions and insults more than any other year during that four days, and found Him to be ‘without fault’.  On TUESDAY night, Yeshua held His Pesakh Seder with His Talmidim [Matti 26, Yokhanan-Markos [Mark] 14, Luka 22, Yokhanan 13].  He was tried after midnight that night, in violation of the Torah, without the whole court present.  He was ‘examined’ by Herod, and by Pilatos, and found innocent.  He was yet sentenced to death, whipped and beaten, and executed at 3:00 P.M. on Wednesday afternoon, and was taken down off the tree just before sundown on Wednesday evening, just before the Rabbis, the “Shammai” sect of the Pharisees, observed their erroneous Pesakh on the FIFTEENTH evening of the 1st khodesh, as most of our Jewish people today still do, missing Messiah, blind to His leadership, as is the rest of the world.

Yeshua remained in the grave for THREE DAYS and THREE NIGHTS, just as HE SAID He would. [Matti 12:40]  Wed night through thursday, thur night through friday, and friday night through saturday DAY.  Yeshua ROSE from the dead at the END of Shabbat, at ‘deep dark’, at the beginning of the Jewish week: SATURDAY NIGHT!  The end of Shabbat and the beginning of the week are marked by “Motza’ei Shabbat”, the ‘exit of the Sabbath’, with a ceremony called “Havdalah”, or “Making Distinction”.  We Messianic [Peshitta] Jews and Gentiles celebrate the Sabbath as a Mini Pesakh [as do all Jews, but not seeing Messiah in it].  We mark and commemorate His death and atoning for our sins on Erev Shabbat, the beginning of the Sabbath on fri night; we rest and assemble on saturday day, and then hold Havdalah on Saturday night after sundown, at ‘deep dark’, to commemorate the TRUE time of His Resurrection on a weekly basis.  But we fully celebrate the Pesakh, just as Sha’ul [Paul] says we should [1 Cor 5, “Let us celebrate the Khag”], each year in its proper time.

I’ve said all of that to say this.  “Ma Nishtana HaLailah Hazeh?”  That is the question at the top of this article.  It is a question the children at a seder ask in song, “Why is THIS night DIFFERENT from all other nights?” For us, it is so vastly different this year!!

My family and I used to have to observe Pesakh at home with just us, because twenty years ago there were NO OTHER MESSIANIC JEWS assembling in our town!  After we began to build His Congregation, we started holding public Pesakh Seders, just as Yeshua did for His last Seder.  This year, we ‘have’ to observe our Seder in our HOMES again!  And this time, NOT because there are no others to observe it with us, but because there is a PLAGUE!  And because we have been ‘commanded’ not to have gatherings more than TEN people, the SAME number to which Elohim [G-d the Creator] limited the first Pesakh Seders!

Further, THIS year is one of those RARE years when we are doing it on the SAME DAY as Yeshua, when He held His LAST SEDER and declared to Twelve JEWISH MEN , “This [the cup after supper, the third cup in every Jewish Seder] is the cup of the Brit Khadashah in my blood, which is shed for you.”  That was spoken on a TUESDAY NIGHT, roughly 1990 years ago.  Because the ‘khodesh’ is declared by the observance in Israel of the crescent moon and the Aviv barley, and because Pesakh is always the 14th evening of that khodesh [NOT the 15th as most Jews do today], Pesakh is hence not always on the same night of the week.  It moves.  But, THIS YEAR, in the midst of a PLAGUE, it IS on the same night that Yeshua observed it, and I contend ALSO the same night of the original Pesakh.

THIS year it is indeed different for those who keep The Word according to it’s PLAIN MEANING [Peshitta/Peshat].  We are in lock step with the TRUE “Savlanut” [suffering, ie ‘passion’] of Messiah.  He was plagued that night with false accusations, curses, beatings, etc; and that ‘day’ [wed] He was mocked, scourged, and executed, shedding His blood for the very people who were doing it to Him, and for ALL the world.  He was put into the grave on the first ‘day’ of Matzot, the second day of eating Matzot, with six days remaining [Deut 16:8] , the day of commemorating having made MORE Matzot [unleavened bread] for their journey out by NIGHT on the FIFTEENTH evening [THAT is what we SHOULD be commemorating/meditating over on the actual 15th night, that AND Yeshua’s journey into the netherworld for us, for three days and nights].  Note that Yeshua marked the ‘cup of the renewed covenant in His Blood’ while His blood was still contained in His living Body.  That is the night we celebrate the Brit Khadashah [Jer 31:30-34], the fulfillment of G-d’s promise to write His Torah upon our hearts.  That process BEGINS when we truly understand Yeshua’s work for us, and ‘trust’ that HE ALONE can redeem us from our sins, and that He was RAISED from the dead THREE DAYS and THREE NIGHTS LATER, at the END of the Sabbath, at the START of the [Biblical] week, on Saturday night.

This year COULD be the LAST year ever that we have a somewhat “peaceful” Pesakh Seder, observed in relative freedom [although already abridged this year], before terrible things change this earth.  This night is indeed different from all other nights! ESPECIALLY for the VERY, VERY SMALL strand of believers who actually follow Yeshua in His observance of this, HIS PESAKH.

Many believers are cognitively aware that an ‘anti-messiah’ would come.  Some are also thus aware that the ‘spirit’ of the anti-messiah is already in the world. But, what most DO NOT know is that this Ben HaAbadon, this ‘son of destruction’, the MAN who would embody that spirit, would ‘Change the Mo’edim’ and the ‘Torah’. “…he shall think to change the Mo’edim and the Torah…”  [Dani’el 9]  The “Mo’edim” are the sacred APPOINTED FEASTS of  יהוה .   This happened already in our history!  That ‘spirit already changed the Mo’edim, and the Torah. Our Jewish people moved the Pesakh, Matzot, Bikkurim, and Shavu’ot, some 2500 years ago [time, times, half a time].  Since then, they now consider ‘Talmud’ as sacred writ, and observe many mitzvot that G-d did NOT speak, though they claim He did.  Notice that they did NOT move Yom Teru’ah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot!  The early ones in the spring, the first four, point to what Yeshua HAS ALREADY DONE, and because the Rabbis MOVED those feasts, most of our Jewish people remain BLIND to Yeshua’s fulfillment of them!  But, they STILL observe Yom Teru’ah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot on the right days, the ones that teach about His Return and coming Kingship.  But, they only coincide when the khodesh of G-d [the seventh crescent from the Pesakh] aligns with their declared ‘Rosh Hashanah’, AS IT DOES THIS YEAR!!!!!!!!  Because today, they ‘calculate’ the khodesh, and do not ‘see’ it.

Timing is VERY IMPORTANT!  Yeshua said, “KEEP WATCH”, saying that His Day will come as a THIEF, at such an hour as you know not.  Our Jewish people do not ‘know’ that Yom Teru’ah could mark the beginning of the Time of Jacob’s trouble [Great Tribulation].  Our fellow believers do not know that Yom Teru’ah is the “Day That No Man Knows”, the “Last Shofar”, the “Day of Judgment”, the day of the Wedding of the King, the “Coronation of the King’, etc.

Tonight is indeed different than EVERY OTHER NIGHT!!  Our little group is having virtual fellowship, so we can all observe it in Hebrew, together.  But, we will be gathered as families this year, in our homes, safe from the ‘plague’.  This feast was the very beginning of the OBSERVANCE of HIS yearly ‘sabbath’ DAYS!!! And it STARTED IN THEIR HOMES!!!!  We will also have a virtual ‘q&a’ about ‘end things’, because, with all that is happening in the world, we who trust in Yeshua had BETTER take His advice, “34But take heed to yourselves that your hearts may not become heavy by extravagance, and drunkenness, and the worries of this world, and that day come suddenly upon you.  35For like a downpour it will entrap all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.  36Therefore keep watch always, and pray that you may be worthy to escape all these things which are to happen, and that you may stand before Ben HaAdam.”  

Many times when Yeshua was asked and/or began to teach about ‘end things,’ the FIRST thing out of His mouth was, “do NOT be deceived“.  That is our prayer.  But, since He told us to be alert, and to watch, and gave us the ‘signs’, it would be FOOLISH not to pay attention to what’s going on right now.  There are many opinions and streams of thought about ‘why’ we [in the world] are going through what it is we are going through right now.  It is so easy to be deceived about it.  And there are thousands of interpretations of the prophecies about end things, most of which IGNORE the biblical model of interpretation. THIS night is different tonight, because of the very things going on, for all who actually observe HIS WAYS, and keep the Pesakh of  יהוה .  It is NOT the “Jewish Passover.”  It is HIS! [Shemot/Exo 12:27].  This year, our spring observance is lock-step with the Year Yeshua suffered.  And we will likely be on lockdown through ALL the spring feasts.  Most believers are forbidden to fully observe their erroneous “easter” observance, but we have been given the OPPORTUNITY to observe the Pesakh in our HOMES, FULLY, the way it was originally observed!  Yet we still can ‘relax’, and not eat in haste as did our forebears, but can still eat in a relaxed manner like the twelve did, when Yokhanan leaned against Yeshua’s bosom and asked, “Is it I?”  Is not  a false observance of HIS PESAKH a betrayal?  Yehudah [Judas] the betrayer was not permitted to finish the Seder with Yokhanan and the eleven faithful.  Ask yourself if you are among the betrayers.  Are you keeping Pesakh for the right reason?  At the right time?  If you think motive and ‘timing’ do not matter to G-d our Creator and Father, you are sorely mistaken.

Timing is, indeed, everything.

Quarantine Challenge

Here is a video I was challenged to make; I hope it helps someone get through tough stuff during all this chaos.

I made it before finishing my second cup of coffee, so I’m still a little disheveled.  But, the scriptures are very helpful for those who would ‘hear’.

I wish you all shalom, Simkha, and Bri’ut.

 

Redneck, Yeshua?

I mean that with the utmost of respect, both for Yeshua, and for those who are called or consider themselves ‘redneck’; I come from a long line of ‘rednecks’, given my understanding of that word.  My dad used to say, “There are some smaaart people hiding in these woods.”  And indeed there are.  Rednecks, like myself, can be very plainspoken, and frank, which to some is offensive.  That is not my intent.  But, the plainspoken part is: Yeshua was VERY clear about ‘end things’, and very, very clear about us not fearing. “Do not fear” is the most repeated command in all of scripture.

We are indeed in tricky, weird, perhaps even perilous times.  Along with all the chaos in the world, with the panic of a pandemic, economic systems failing, and everyone’s livelihood being threatened by a depression, which would probably take ten years or more to recover from, especially if a stimulus is not offered sooner than later, I have also heard of other types of suffering.  And it put my heart in a deeper mode of supplication for His Presence this morning.

After saying ‘the prayers’ that are customary every morning [Acts 2:42], I presented my pleas for others, who have or have not asked it of me, feeling some measure of their pains and fears, and a little of my own, admittedly, though I have had great shalom these past few months.  As I sat and meditated, and hoped for Him to ‘move’, [sometimes I hate our cliches, but that is what I was hoping], the letters to the seven congregations in the Revelation went through my mind for some reason, particularly the last phrase of each letter, repeated seven times: מִי שֶׁמְּנַצֵּחַ , “mi shem’natze’akh”, whoever ‘overcomes’, ‘obtains victory,’ ‘perseveres’…

Life is challenging enough.  Living a life of true faith in this world is even more challenging, and is not for the weak, or those who want to live a basically trouble-free life. And a trouble-free life can be achieved, without faith in the Creator and His Messiah.  There are those in the community of faith who would say otherwise, but I assert that they do not understand the life of Faith, and may themselves not truly know Him.  Faith in Messiah Yeshua separates you from people.  “I did not come to bring shalom, but a sword, to divide” people.  “In this world you will have tzarah..” You WILL have ‘tribulation’; not ‘may,’ but ‘will’. בָּעוֹלָם צָרָה יֵשׁ לָכֶם; אֲבָל הִתְעוֹדְדוּ, אֲנִי נִצַּחְתִּי אֶת הָעוֹלָם  There is for y’all tribulation in this world, but y’all CHEER Yourselves up!  I have ‘overcome’ this world! [Redneck, uh, literal Yeshua].  His word there for ‘overcome’ is the same word as in the seven letters: nitzakhti.

As I sat and thought, I strove to remember what exactly it was that we were to ‘overcome’, or have ‘victory’ or ‘perseverance’ over.  Some of those ‘tribulations’ came to mind, as I have studied those letters many times.  And as I sat there thinking on them, I was compelled to share them here, and remind the believing community of our hope.  And of against what our ‘fight’, our ‘struggle’, really is.

Yeshua dictated seven letters to seven congregations in the general area of western Greece in Asia Minor, what we know today as modern Turkey.  These Greek cities each had their own chief, false gods.  The congregations were founded there by Paul [Sha’ul], and had existed for at least twenty to thirty years by the time of Yeshua’s visit to Yokhanan on the Island of Patmos, which was west of all these cities.  If one were to look at the map, one could ‘see’ a Menorah formed between Patmos and these seven cities.  Yeshua said that he walked among the seven “Menorah”s, which is the spiritual manifestation of His Presence in an assembly of believers.  He warned them that if they did not correct their error, individually as congregations, He would remove their Menorah from their midst.  But, with that correction, came encouragement.  “Mi shem’natze’akh,”  WHOEVER OVERCOMES….

Many good minds over the last 2,000 years have attempted to analyze those letters, and theories abound as to what the seven congregations represent.  I’m going to look at it from a very simple, unified approach.  Yes, there are many individual assemblies around the globe.  In our day, unlike in that day, there are many individual assemblies even in the smallest of towns, much less in cities.  Back then, there was ONE congregation in each of these cities, even if they met in various homes or public venues.  These were assemblies that were likely founded by Sha’ul who was the Shali’akh to the Goyim, [Apostle sent to the Nations/Gentiles] who went into the SYNAGOGUES of these cities, where Jews AND Gentiles met to worship יהוה , the Creator, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of the Jews, from the Gentile perspective.  Sha’ul introduced this mixed company to Yeshua, the Son of God, who gave them His Ru’akh.  [Breath/Spirit]  Time has passed, and they are now entering into error, and Yeshua Himself is correcting them, warning them to prepare for His return, and warning them that if they do not “Shema”, “HEAR”, [the greatest command in all of scripture, Mark 12], His Presence will leave them.  In those seven cities today, there is no congregation!  So, who do these cities ‘represent’ for us, the modern reader of the Hitgalut?

As I said, the theories abound, but there is no doubt that ‘they’ represent the WHOLE, INDIVIDUAL congregation of Messiah, His Body, throughout the ages, and the struggles that every assembly would or could endure until He returns; the struggles they faced are the same today.  The spirits they fought have been the same for every true assembly through all the ages.  The Body of Messiah worldwide has always and will always face these same challenges, until the day He puts His foot down on earth and brings everything under His rule, finally.  How individual assemblies respond to those challenges determines whether their veracity is lasting, whether His Presence remains with them, or whether they become obsolete in the realm of the Spirit.  In the practical, these seven congregations became obsolete, so much so, that within 1,000 years they were gone, and today, there is barely a vestige of their memory in those places.  Most ‘assemblies’ of people today have become obsolete in His Realm, and merely function as gatherings of people, and not as light and truth, healing, compassion, and change for individuals and families.  At least, not on a lasting, eternal level.

How can we, then, as individuals, learn from these seven letters, and how might they encourage us in these most perilous of times our generation has seen?

The first assembly Yeshua addressed is that of Ephesus.  He told them that they have left their first love, and then turns around and tells them to return to the FIRST WORKS.  Efesus is the ONE city that we have more information on in the scriptures than the others.  Perhaps that is why Yeshua started with this one?  Sha’ul had spent three years there, and he had used the “School of Tyranus” in order to teach the SCRIPTURES every day for those believers, also going house to house on Shabbat to do so.  [Acts 19-20] Sha’ul did not teach them to abandon the Torah, but to walk it in Messiah, trusting Him for Salvation, but also obeying Him, as He obeyed His Father.  He taught them to love one another.  He taught them the Jewish customs [1 Kor 11:2, 2 Tes 2:15, 3:6] in order to show them how to worship.  They all, together, worshipped on Shabbat.  The ‘first works’ of Efesus, then, can be none other than what Sha’ul taught them for three years.  When Yeshua tells this assembly, ‘Whoever overcomes,’ the promise for them is that they will partake of Etz Khayim, ‘The Tree of Life’, in Gan Elohai, the Garden of His God.  Gentiles and many theologians have a hard time admitting it, but Etz Khayim, the Tree of Life, has always been represented figuratively by the Torah, and symbolically by the Menorah.  This is well established in ancient Jewish custom.  Yeshua is telling His congregation to return to the Torah, as evidence of their trust for Him and obedience to Him, and be rewarded with Eternal Life as a result.

To the next assembly, Yeshua says, ‘do not fear anything that you SHALL suffer.’  The first struggle of every congregation, other than that of the propensity to turn away from simple obedience to His Word/Torah, is that of physical suffering of some sort: poverty, persecution, etc.  Both of these come with the threat of physical, earthly death.  Yeshua says to the ones who persevere that they will not be ‘hurt’ by the SECOND death.  Many do not understand what this is. Many believers in Messiah do not realize that EVERY human will rise from the dead!  Believers and unbelievers alike!  Believers will rise from the dead before He returns, unbelievers 1,000 years later!  And those will experience/be hurt by the SECOND DEATH: eternal separation from the Creator, and other suffering we cannot pretend to explain.  Those who ‘struggle,’ those who strive to continue to trust Him and obey, will ‘overcome’, and not be hurt by it.

To the next assembly, He instructs that they should repent from two doctrinal errors: that of Bilam, and that of the Nicolaitans.  We know without doubt what the error of Bilam was: he desired money for his service to God.  He fell away from being a true servant because of his desire to profit from harming Israel through false prophecy.  The Nicolaitan error is harder to ‘see’, as there is no recorded history of a possible people group, but it is encoded in the name itself.  The name means “controller of the people”, where the suffix is actually where we get our word ‘laity’ from, as in, ‘lay people’, who are led/controlled by a clergy, a superior religious class that feigns to serve, but actually controls people, using money as the catalyst.  This is true of MOST EVERY assembly today, but especially of those that are institutional in any way, or married to the state by contract on paper in any way.  This is a ‘spirit’, and Yeshua warns this assembly to free itself from it through REPENTANCE.  Interestingly, it is to this city that Yeshua says He knows where they live, where “Kiseh HaSatan” is, the throne of Satan.  Yes, there was an altar to Zeus there, that looked like a throne; but, on a spiritual level, it is the place where  the ‘laity’ are controlled by those ‘above’ them spiritually [temple on high places].  Many ‘churches’, even today, have a ‘throne’ somewhere, where the ‘leader’/clergy sits.  The name of this city actually means ‘high/exalted’.  When people think they are the ones who judge or are ‘in control,’ Yeshua has left the building.  If we are able to repent, and to ‘overcome’ this, we are promised first the ‘hidden manna’; Yeshua is telling us that His Body, the WORDS of His truth, cannot be deprived from us by any human, even if that human[s] pretends to serve in His Name; we are also promised a “New Name”, with a white stone that has a ‘secret name’ written on it, known only to the individual and to Him.

The next city has a spirit that is very, very common in many, if not most congregations, a spirit that our last assembly was not able to avoid, unbeknownst to most there, though we prayed and were aware of its threat.  This is Jezebel/ Yizevel.  Yizevel is the spirit of adultery/harlotry.  Because of this ‘spirit,’ which many people think is simply that of a contentious woman, Yeshua promised that whoever the prophetess was that brought it into the Thyatira congregation would be put into a coffin.  The adultery about which we speak is physical adultery, which can be an outward manifestation of spiritual adultery/harlotry.  People today in MOST congregations do NOT take this spirit/sin very seriously at all.  We ‘tolerate’ it abundantly in our culture.  Most assemblies today are packed with people who court with/lust after and sleep with one another before marriage.  We use the business of life and the attitude of the world as an excuse to ‘try on’ a person sexually before marriage, like we try on shoes.  We use the excuse of ‘grace’ to justify breaking up a home in order to have ‘happiness’, in spite of a covenant made before God with a spouse.  This is such a serious sin in an assembly that Yeshua promised that the congregation leader who was committing it would die.  He warns the whole congregation to repent of it.  Along with the harlotry/adultery, there came the practice of eating things offered demonically to idols.  Most do not realize that this is not a ‘mythical/symbolic’ thing, but that people were eating food that Yeshua said not to eat, particularly things that were offered up to other gods.  We have today pagan restaurants that actually offer their food to demons, “Buddha,” “Krishna”, and others found in many ‘eastern’ themed restaurants.  Further, we have “Halal” food flooding our grocery stores and restaurants, meats that have been offered to Allah by a muslim Imam.  And churches do not seem to care, but want to accommodate these practices and overlook them.  Most of the believing world is quite content not to pay attention at all to what they put in their mouth.  But, Yeshua was very serious about this, as this was part of the practice of an adulterous, false prophet.  Consider this: food is a serious matter.  So serious, that it was over FOOD, over WHAT we put in our mouth, that ALL sin came into the world!  Yeshua warns this congregation to repent, saying He will put Yizevel into a coffin, and all those who follow her into ‘great tribulation.’  This is a warning that any believer who does not turn from these behaviors will go through the WORST of the tribulation!  Incidentally, the name of the city here means ‘the stench of affliction/tribulation’.  The promise of reward for repenting of her adtultery, however, is ‘authority over the nations,’ and ‘the morning star’.  The ‘morning star’ is the sun, in practicality.  But, Yeshua called Himself the ‘morning star’ at the end of this book [Rev], so it is clearly a reference to Himself.  This could obviously be a reference to ‘eternal life’, which I truly believe it is, as all the ‘rewards’ offered at the ends of these letters allude to eternal life.  It is, I believe, the RESURRECTION, as the sun gives us a picture of this every single morning.  Kefa tells us of this concept in his second letter:

“We have also a D’var Nevu’ah [Prophetic Word] which is true; you do well when you look to it [Torah] for guidance, as you look to the lamp that shines in a dark place until the dawn of day, when the sun will shine in your hearts, knowing this first, that not every prophetic writing is made clear in its own book.”

He is speaking here of the Torah, and of the rest of scripture, which prophesies about Yeshua as a ‘Star out of Ya’akov,’ saying the Scepter [authority of kingship] shall never leave His hand.  Overcoming the spirit of adultery/harlotry is thus rewarded.

The next city is warned to ‘wake up,’ or He will come as a thief.  This is clearly a reference to Yeshua’s warnings to believers to be alert to His coming, and of the signs He gave to signal it.  He tells them that there are only a FEW who do not have dirty garments, who will walk in white, because they are worthy.  Yeshua told us in Luka 21:

“But take heed to yourselves that your hearts may not become heavy by extravagance and drunkenness and the worries of this world, and that day come suddenly upon you. For like a downpour it will entrap all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.  Therefore keep watch always, and pray that you may be worthy to escape all these things which are to happen, and that you may stand before Ben HaAdam.”

All of this is most probably an allusion to the wedding theme of His return. And those few who are ‘awake’ for it are the ones who overcome, and are then promised they would be given ‘white robes’; interestingly, the city’s name means ‘red ones’; ‘though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be white as snow’; they are then promised that their names would not be ‘blotted out’ of the Sefer Khayim, the Book of Life, but their names would be confessed by Yeshua before His Father.  Being ‘spiritually’ awake, then, assures clean garments, and is itself a means to overcome this world.  Might it be that the stupor of sleep causes the other sinful things already mentioned to the other assemblies?

The sixth city has ‘a little strength’; ‘meh’at ko’akh.’  “Ko’akh” is the outward presence of the Ru’akh ‘upon’ those who have Him inside by trust, who have been transformed by His resurrection.  It was promised to the believers who assembled a week later on Shavu’ot and received it.  Yeshua acknowledges that the assembly has but a little of it.  It is interesting that shortly after the Hitgalut was written, a believer asked of Polycarp, the student of the Yokhanan who wrote the Hitgalut, why there was so little ‘power’ or ‘miracles’ any more in the assemblies, and this was a mere 1 generation from the Shali’akh [Apostle].  Certainly now we have but very little outward ‘ko’akh’.  None of us are raising the dead, healing the sick [though so many claim to be; if so, why are so many still ill after they ‘name it and claim it’; they excuse their lack of a miracle somehow.  The miracles of Yeshua are undeniable.]  We experience a small amount of His Ko’akh, at times, as have I, and my whole family, but we are not overflowing with it like the apostolic generation was.  Anyone who says otherwise is fooling themselves.  It is self-righteous self-hypnosis.  Having ‘meh’at ko’akh’, just a little of His power, is not a bad thing, but seems to be a compliment from Yeshua!  Encouragement.  Be GLAD that He does allow it to manifest ‘on’ us at times!  He tells them, ‘You have OBEYED my Word and have not denied MY NAME.’ That is FAR more important than having signs and wonders.  He mentions false Jews here, those who ‘claim’ to be Jewish/Israel and are not, but do lie.  This time, He mentions the ‘synagogue of Satan’.  Most people are not aware that this was actually a name for the “School of Shammai,” an early first century way of thought of a Rabbi named Shammai, a Parush [Pharisee].  He taught that salvation was by obedience to the Torah.  He taught that Gentiles must become Jews, with the final sign of that conversion being circumcision in the flesh.  His error is the same error of Galatia.  THAT is the ‘synagogue of Satan.’  One does NOT become ‘Jewish’ by circumcision in the flesh, but by TRUST in the Creator, and in His Son Yeshua, the King of the Jews. [Rom 2:29] It is interesting that those of us who simply obey the Scriptures are accused of being the ‘synagogue of Satan,’ though we NEVER claim salvation by circumcision, or by obedience to any mitzvah.  What if THAT is part of the ‘hour of testing’ that will come on the world, to see if we know the difference between a real “Jew,” and anyone who puts any trust in their flesh in any way.  It is my contention that most of the Hebrew Roots/Two House people fall dangerously into this category, trusting their flesh, even if in the smallest way, to be part of their salvation.  So many people of ‘faith’ are indeed coming to an outward Torah walk, but are also ‘identifying’ with the Jewish, though they call themselves “Israelites” and claim their genetic descendant from the 10 tribes is ‘why’ they are saved.  They have fallen from grace.  They put their trust in their flesh, the fact that they are Ephraim or Dan, or another ‘lost tribe’, and that this is one reason Abba ‘called them’.  This is a self-important ‘work,’ that of being “Jewish” by any means but trust in Him.

This assembly is told that because they continue in the Word of Suffering/Patience, I will keep you from the hour of testing that is coming on the whole world. This ‘time of testing’ will be to ‘try’/’prove’ those on earth. But Yeshua will keep those who indeed have ‘a little strength’ from going through it.  THAT is the ‘gate’ that is opened to them!  The “Opening of the Gate” is a reference to Yom Teru’ah/Rosh HaShannah!  And in the very next chapter, that gate is opened, with a SHOUT and a BLAST, and Yokhanan is told to ‘come up here!’  Those who have a small bit of strength, ‘ko’akh,’ will indeed be kept from the time of tribulation that is coming on all the world, by going through the gate at the sound of the shofar!  He tells them, ‘hold on, so that no man can take your crown,’ and we see the crowns in the next chapter, where PEOPLE are assembled around the throne of God in Heaven.  He promises these who ‘overcome’ the temptation to be concerned with genetics and self-importance versus TRUST ALONE that they will be made ‘pillars’ in HIS SANCTUARY, which is above.  They will have the Name of Elohim written on them, and Yeshua’s NEW name, whatever that may be.  That is a ‘sign’ of His character, and again, a reference to life eternal.

The last assembly gets the worst warning.  But, remember, all of these apply to all of us through all times.  Just because a believer dies before the Shofar is blasted and is not alive before Yeshua returns, does not mean that his soul will not be weighed in the balance; every person will stand before the Judge, at one time or another.  Yeshua tells this assembly immediately that they are neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm.  Lukewarm is a mixture of cold and hot.  Mixture is similar to adultery.  It is a combining of the thoughts of God with the ways of this world.  It is a ‘comfort zone’.  Yeshua basically tells us that we are, in this condition, ‘blind,’ ‘naked’, ‘poor’, ‘wretched’, ‘helpless’.  He tells us to acquire ‘white clothing’, and to anoint our eyes so we can ‘see’.  This is done, He says, with GOLD REFINED IN THE FIRE.  This is no doubt a reference to His Torah.  Indeed, ALL the thoughts of these letters seem to be summed up in Tehillah [Ps] 19:

“The heavens declare the glory of Elohim, and the firmament shows His handiwork; Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge; There is no speech, there are no words, neither is their voice heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them has He set an Ohel [tent] for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his Khupah, and rejoices as a strong man to run his course. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it; and there is nothing hidden from the heat thereof. “

Pay particular attention here to the last half, in regard to ‘gold refined in the fire’:

The Torah of יהוה is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of יהוה is sure, making wise the simple.

The precepts of יהוה are right, rejoicing the heart; the Mitzvah of יהוה is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of יהוה is clean, enduring forever; the ordinances of יהוה are true, they are righteous altogether;

More to be desired are they [commandments of the Torah] than gold, yes, than much fine gold [refined in the fire] ; sweeter also than honey, and the honeycomb.

Moreover, by them is Your servant warned; in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Clear me from hidden faults. [Yeshua is revealing these faults to us]

Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins, that they may not have dominion over me; then shall I be faultless, and I shall be clear from great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You, O יהוה , my Rock, and my Redeemer.

It is just very interesting that His Name is seen SEVEN TIMES in this song.

Here, those who ‘overcome’ ‘sit down on His throne, as He is on His Father’s throne, which we see in the next two chapters.

So, we are to overcome:

  1. Turning away from the Torah/Scriptures, our first love
  2. Fear of suffering and persecution
  3. Religious greed and embezzlement, and classism
  4. Adultery/harlotry, physical and spiritual, and idolatry of any kind
  5. Spiritual laziness and lack of concern for His coming, identifying oneself in the flesh and NOT in TRUST ALONE in Messiah Yeshua.
  6. Ignoring our ‘little strength’; getting weary in our suffering, forgetting of His promise to escape all tribulation, for those ‘worthy’
  7. Self indulgence that creates a ‘laissez faire’ attitude Toward God and His WHOLE Word.

It is evident to anyone who has even the smallest measure of His Ru’akh that we are in the last of the last days, whether it all begins this year, or fifty years from now.  Regardless, our ‘faith’ is definitely being put to the fire right now.  So, in the words of Redneck Yeshua:

“In this world you will have tzarah..” You WILL have ‘tribulation’; not ‘may,’ but ‘will’. בָּעוֹלָם צָרָה יֵשׁ לָכֶם; אֲבָל הִתְעוֹדְדוּ, אֲנִי נִצַּחְתִּי אֶת הָעוֹלָם

There is for y’all tribulation in this world, but y’all CHEER Yourselves up!  I have ‘overcome‘ this world!”

 

 

Buh-buh buh-buh buh. buh. Why? CORONA!

Are we really in a pandemic that justifies the reaction our government is demanding?

I do not disbelieve that there is a ‘bug’ out there.  From the start, which for me was back in December, I’ve known there is actually a virus; I just also know it was manufactured and released, and did not just ‘appear’ from nowhere.  It is manmade. So I do not see the cause for the degree of response I am seeing, but for the willingness of people to accept at face value that there is a plague of death threatening us. Unless they are not telling us all we need to know, which, to me, is always the case.  But, what they are not telling us has nothing to do with the severity of this ‘disease,’ but with the why of it, the who of it.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, either, trying to be very careful of doomsayers and alarmists, but, I also know that the governments of this world, ALL of them, belong to someone other than HaTzadik, the Righteous One, for now.  Yeshua the Messiah is indeed and always has been on the throne, since forty days after His resurrection.  He is indeed ‘in control’ of HIS Kingdom.  But, for now, the ‘kingdoms’ of THIS earth, ALL earthly governments, belong to other powers.  

I have read too much history, and witnessed too much sleight of hand on the parts of ‘governments’ and politicians, just to accept on face value anything they say.  I have seen nefarious behavior from both political sides in our country; subterfuge, to achieve a political agenda. I am of the mind that all of what we ‘see’ is a grand stage, and that if there are any individuals in the political realm who are indeed honest, they are powerless to change anything.  

More than that, a host of individuals who are oblivious to the two kingdoms that are really at opposite ends of the spiritual paradigm is not going to change for one or two people who actually understand that people are evil, and that governments are controlled by spiritual things that even governments themselves do not understand.

The kingdoms of this earth are controlled by ‘other’ rulers.  Unbeknownst to the ‘people’ that are their apparent rulers.  The adversary has dominion over them all, and uses them all in a grand game of chess, fooling those who try to ‘watch’ the game.  But most people are the pawns and kings in the game, and do not understand that all the pieces are moved by the same force.  And fewer still understand that ALL of it happens by G-d’s leave!   There are not two players in the game of world governments; only one.  There are two players in the very real ‘game’ of life: truth and lie.  Darkness and light.    

So, I want to get at the truth of things, before I react.  I have been taught by humanity not to trust man, whatsoever.  And that means I do not just patently accept that this virus is potentially going to wipe out humanity, and that we must all react as if it were.

Historically, the Black Plague was far worse.  It killed upwards of 200 million people across Europe and Asia.  Interestingly, it originated in Asia, much like our current ‘virus’.  But, they did not know the source of it then, and for a long time.  We know precisely where ours started: Wuhan, China. In a lab. Is it a coincidence, then, that a typically liberal American ‘scientist’ from Harvard was working with China, went to Wuhan, and all of a sudden a pandemic breaks out?

Harvard Professor, BU Researcher Among 3 Charged With Illegal Ties To China

Is it a coincidence that the H1N1 virus, which broke out under our former President’s watch, and was far worse, also originated in China?  And the bird flu before that?  And each election year plague we’ve had over the past 16 years or so?  Were those possibly just to get our minds ‘set’ to accept these global outbreaks without question?  Every second or fourth year for the last 16 years, we’ve had an Asian outbreak of some kind.  Hmmm.

So, if there IS something nefarious going on behind the curtain, what is it?  And to what end?

Some are thinking it is that the Democrats want Trump out of office, so they are using this, playing the blame game, and they will force him out somehow, by hoping to cause an economic crash.  Or maybe that they intend to expose him to the virus? Perhaps he’s already infected; after all, he’s an old man?  Some think it’s an attempt to force single-payer health care on society, and forced vaccines, using scare tactics.  Some think its to cause a global economic meltdown to ‘reset’ monetary systems and make one currency.

What if it is ‘all of the above’? And more?  Back in December, at my birthday, I declared for myself and my family a Yovel, based on the fact that I’ve been hearing The Word of God for fifty years.  I wrote an article stating that I believe I have finally anchored the last actual, biblical Yovel of Yisra’el to 27 AD, the day Yeshua stood in His home-town Synagogue and made the declaration, likely around Yom Kippur:

18“The Ru’akh of  יהוה  is upon me; because of this He has anointed me to declare good news to the poor; and He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, and to proclaim release to the captives and sight to the blind; to strengthen with forgiveness those who are oppressed, 19and to declare the year of the favor of  יהוה .”  

These are Yovel words that The Creator instructed Yisra’el to declare in the year of the Yovel.  I believe the Yovel is the clock of prophecy.  I have long believed that, and have studied and searched for an anchor, a benchmark of time; I now believe that it is indeed 27AD when HIS ‘clock’ declared a Yovel, and He used HIS OWN SON to declare it, simply, from a Synagogue in a small mountain town in Northern Israel.  If that is true, and 27AD was a Yovel, then 2027 would be forty Yovels from that date; in other words, forty Yovels will have passed since 27AD.

You will note that we would then be SEVEN YEARS from the Yovel of 2027, if indeed it is a Yovel.

The Yovel, if not observed, brings punishment to the nations.  Those punishments are seen clearly in VaYikra 25-26 [Lev], and in the Hitgalut [Revelation].

The punishments of the Hitgalut clearly take place over a seven-year period.  The Yovel is the year of RETURN, when possession of land goes back to its original owner.  The earth has been leased from the Creator by mankind for nearly 6,000 years.  It is possible, then, that it will return to its owner in 2027, the possible beginning of the seventh, ‘Shabbat’ Millenium.  A time of Great Trouble is supposed to occur before that.

Remembering that the calendar of prophecy is rooted in the original, Biblical calendar, where the tracking of time/years began in the fall, it is fitting to note that certain people who ‘own’ a patent on this corona virus met in the fall of last year, in October, to plan for a pandemic coronavirus outbreak.  Using the coronavirus as a model.  This virus, incidentally, a modified, manmade version of it, has its origins in the pig, an ‘unclean’ animal that many people who do not follow His instructions love to eat.

https://tbsnews.net/opinion/coronavirus-and-event-201-eerily-similar-41469

During this time, protests were pretty frequent in China, and intensifying, and on the mainstream and other news sources every day.  The coronavirus broke out in December [right around the declaration of our personal ‘yovel’], but was perhaps released in October [there are certain sources that insist this is so], and the Chinese protests came to a screeching halt.  Their plight is forgotten.  Use 1 of COVID-19, perhaps?  Many left-wing people began to call for the death of others, publicly stating that the elderly should just be allowed to die if they contract that disease.  Most recently, European hospitals are obliging on that.  Martial law was declared in New Rochelle, NY, today, and no one is batting an eye, because they’re not even calling it that, though that is precisely what it is.  Has this ever happened over the influenza virus that is endemic?

So, an ‘engineered’ virus was sold to the Chinese by a liberal, Harvard professor, who was quietly indicted; the outbreak mysteriously starts there when demonstrations were heating up, and they’re pretty much squelched. It very quickly spreads around the world, even though it supposedly started in a chinese meat market in Wuhan? Exactly how many tourists were there?  And people, this time, respond as they hoped: panic.  Largely because the media keeps crying ‘wolf!’.  Mortgage debt is being ‘forgiven’ in Italy, since the country is locked down and many people cannot work.  Euthanasia for the elderly is ‘declared’ necessary, martial law is being used on American soil.  Something is ‘going on’, and it ain’t just a cold.

If you are not one who believes in the Messiah, and in His promised return, which is a huge part of His gospel, as He stated in His Passover Seder:

“I go to prepare a place for you.  3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to me, so that where I am you may be also.”

then you may just think this is a cyclical event of the world, a consequence of living as a human.  Another case of fleas infesting the rats in ships.  If you ARE a believer in Messiah, then you ‘may’ have the itch that something of significant import is going on?    Something you can’t quite put your finger on.  That this is a ‘sign’ of things to come?

I’m not certain it is.  But, what I can say is this: this thing ‘came out of the east’.  Every biblical ‘plague’ that I can think of came out of the east.  This thing was engineered by a leftist, sold to a communist nation bent on the destruction of democracy, in a nation that has released a new plague during EVERY U.S. election cycle for the last 16 years; it has been treated by the media as a very deadly force, though no evidence is given to show that it is worse than the endemic flu we experience every single year; [this virus may also become endemic, meaning we’d have to deal with it every year, just like ‘flu season’] economic instability is on the horizon, ruining the best economic run the country has ever seen, coincidentally in the middle of an election cycle; this thing started right after the failed coup attempt via impeachment of Trump just ended; this thing started right after the WHO and the Gates foundation ‘practiced’ a pandemic scenario with coronavirus; [Gates is pushing for a culling of the poor and weak from the population, by death] Leftists of every ilk are salivating at the death of anyone they decry as enemy; it is bringing out the worst in humans.

Whether or not there is a wizard behind the curtain, something is amiss.  The reaction to this thing far exceeds the evidence of any danger worse than the flu.  I cannot find ONE scientist who has said this thing is more deadly than the flu.  But, the whole world is willing to SHUT DOWN, simply because it is ‘new’.  How does something barely more dangerous than the common cold cause such disarray?

Something is not right. And it matters not to me.  I certainly HOPE that as few as possible contract this infection; I prayed to that end moments ago. I certainly do NOT wish for the economic stress it is going to bring. I mourn the resultant inhumanity of man that is arleady rearing its ugly head. But, I do NOT fear for myself or my household.  I’ve been working from home for near two weeks now,  by compulsion, but I have quite enjoyed it.  I’m seeing some very positive advantages to having the whole world in an uproar.  But, I know that humanity is indeed on the precipice of change, and that this is indeed a ‘sign of the times.’  But, probably not in the way that many think.

I have said for years that the believing community of Messiah, those who truly TRUST in Him, will indeed go through ‘birthpangs’, that we will NOT escape ALL the trouble that is coming on the world.  I think it is entirely possible that, given the timing of this thing, this is indeed ‘another’ sign that mankind is going to be disciplined by the Creator, in the hopes that ALL men “do teshuvah”.  

There is a popular meme going around that cites a verse about G-d staying the plague if we REPENT.

That was Yokhanan HaMatbil’s [John the Baptist] message; that was Yeshua, the Son of God’s message.  The word ‘repent’ is a bit weighed down with stigma, with the idea that “Repent!” is a mean and negative word spoken from the platform of hypocrisy.  For Yeshua, it was spoken from the platform of perfect tzedaka, ‘righteousness’; for everyone after Him, it SHOULD be spoken from a low place of grateful humility.

And many are ‘saying’ it, or ‘implying’ it, but so few ‘understand’ it.  To ‘repent’ means to ‘turn back to the Creator and His ways.’  Israel had turned away from His compassion and His free gift of righteousness [Genesis 15:6], which has ALWAYS been the way of Salvation, and had turned to self-righteousness and hypocrisy.  The P’rushim [Pharisees, Rabbis in control of religious Israel in the 1st century] made up ‘new rules,’ to control and manipulate people, and to make money off of religion, and moved His feasts to suit their needs [Yeshua clearly observed Passover a day before the Rabbis did, and He would NEVER move a sacred feast].  Yeshua came to set the example, to call for TURNING BACK TO TRUTH, and ALSO to GIVE people the ‘power’, the ‘authority’, to do so!  And He took the spiritual authority away from the Rabbis, and gave it to those who TRUST in His blood, and His FREE GIFT of perfect tzedaka before God, which is proven ONLY by obedience to Him.  That obedience is our expression of LOVE for HIM, for saving us, for giving us His Breath of Life.

To ‘repent’ means to recognize that the direction we are going in is ‘away’ from God, and to turn and go TOWARD Him by following the narrow path He put in front of us.  That path is indeed His book, the book of the Torah, and the rest of scripture that comments on and clarifies how to walk it.

There are indeed ‘signs’ of the times given to us.

First, we’ve been in the “Last Days” for the last 2,000 years, since the day of Shavu’ot, when Kefa [Peter] stood up and declared that we were in the last days.  Yeshua gave us very clear ‘signs’ that we who trust would be able to ‘see’ and interpret:

“Be careful that you may not be deceived; for many will come in my name and say I am the Mashi’akh, and the time is near; but do not follow them.  And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be afraid, for all these things must first come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in different places, and famines and plagues; and there will be alarming sights, and great signs will appear from the heavens; and the winters will be severe.”

From this, we can glean that all the things He said would happen have happened.  His treatise here [Luka 21] and in Matti 24-26 are not in any way chronoligical, but He bounces around in the chronology of things; but, to the trained eye, He leaves us clues that relate to the Mo’edim, the prophetic timepieces of the Torah. I do not have time to elucidate all that here.  But, I want to remind us of one thing He said as He taught and foretold our day:

“But when these things begin to happen, have courage and lift up your heads, because your Salvation is at hand.”

Yeshua ilucidated in both treatises on ‘end things’ a general overview of the last days, and then a ‘zeroing in’ on the last seven years.  We are not there yet; but, I do believe we are closer than we care to think.

Sha’ul, in teaching these things, warns of other ‘symptoms’ of the last days.  People often cite part of this passage, but MISS one of the BIGGEST blessings in it:

1Know this, that in the Akharit HaYamim [Last Days] disastrous times will come.  2And men shall be lovers of themselves and lovers of money, proud, conceited, blasphemers, disobedient to their own people, ungrateful, wicked, 3false accusers, addicts to lust, brutal, haters of good things, 4traitors, hasty, boasters, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of Elohim; 5having a shade of the fear of Elohim, but far from the power of Elohim [to become sons, Yokhanan 1:12]; from such turn away.  6For of this sort are those who creep into houses and captivate women sunken in sin, led away with diverse lusts, 7ever striving to learn, and never able to come to the knowledge of HaEmet. [Truth. Torah.]  8Now just as Yannes and Yambres stood up against Moshe, so do these also resist the truth, [Your Torah is Truth; Ps 119:142: Your Word is Truth Yokh 17:17 ] men of corrupt minds and far off from HaEmunah [The Faith].  9But they shall not progress, for their folly is well known to every man, even as that of the others also was.

Sha’ul warned us NOT to resist Moshe/Torah/Truth!  The Torah, followed as MESSIAH teaches it, would prevent all these evil human behaviors.

Anyone who studies this life and people knows very well that these things are progressively manifesting faster and faster; people are absolutely godless, and many of those who say they trust in Yeshua yet ‘mingle’ with things of this world far too much.  Might Yeshua be trying to get our attention, gently, by shaking the rest of the world, to show us all the folly that Sha’ul wrote about?  We’ve got to examine ourselves and compare ourselves against this passage, and Gal 5:19-21

19For the works of the flesh are well known, which are these: adultery, impurity, and lasciviousness, 20idolatry, witchcraft, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, stubbornness, seditions, heresies, 21envyings, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and all such things; 

Becaus Sha’ul goes on and warns us:

those who practice these things, as I have told you before and I say to you now, shall not inherit Malkhut HaElohim.

Nineteen years ago, on 9/10, after dinner that evening, and after I played the piano and worshipped for a bit, I sat my two children down at my feet, who were about 7 and 10, and read the 2 Tim passage above to them.  When I read the word ‘brutal’, my daughter asked what it meant.  “It means people will kill for no reason.” And I further explained to them that those scriptures were ‘intensifying’ in our day. Then, twelve hours later, 9/11 happened.  Seven days before Rosh Hashannah/Yom Teru’ah.

I do not desire to ‘scare’ people; unless they do not know Messiah at all.  Most do not.  Would that people would listen.  But, we, the WHOLE world, are in a similar frame of mind to Kena’an, and to S’dom and Amorah, and to the Israel of Yirme-Yahu’s day: though we ‘hear’ the Word of God, we do not change; we do not fear God.  We do not consider our latter end.  We scoff.  Even beleivers scoff at the notion that we might indeed be on the precipice of great change:

3Knowing this first, that there shall come in the Akharit HaYamim, mockers who scoff, following after their own lusts 4and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since our fathers died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”  5Of this they are willingly ignorant, that by D’var HaElohim the heavens were of old, and the earth emerged from water and by means of the water; [evolution predicted] 6and those men, because of whose deeds the world of that time was flooded, perished under that water; 7but the present heavens and earth are sustained by His D’var and are reserved for fire on Yom HaDin, which is the day of the destruction of ungodly men.

Regardless of WHEN Messiah returns, though I say with confidence we are closer to it than we’ve ever been, we can clearly see that things are progressing as expected.  This current ‘virus’ situation may indeed be one of the plagues mentioned by Yeshua.  But, there is a biblical timeline mapped for us in the Torah, that most people ignore.  

But, even IF they think it is close, the message of repentence is a soft whisper by most who declare it, and betrayed by a lack of knowledge of what that actually means.  And, the fact that mankind initiated this plague, and is using it for some other, hidden agenda, is missed by far too many.  “All the world is a stage, and we are merely players.”  Most of the world is being ‘played’ by darkness.  This ‘plague’ is just a tool.  

Even IF we know Messiah, we should find ourselves sobered a bit by the threat this ‘plague’ poses to our lifestyles.  We should consider what TRULY matters: the people with whom we ‘hunker down’; the BLESSINGS we have taken for granted for far too long.  The blessing of His Presence, invoked by our repentance and supplication to the most merciful יהוה , Yeshua HaMashi’akh.

This coronavirus may indeed be one of the signs of the times; but, as I said, these things get far worse at the ‘end of the end,’ during “Et Ketz”.  This is why Yeshua said:  

“Therefore keep watch always, and pray that you may be worthy to escape all these things which are to happen, and that you may stand before Ben HaAdam.”

Tare It!

“Let them both [wheat and tare] grow together until the harvest; and at the harvest season, I will say to the reapers, ‘Pick out first the tares, and bind them into bundles to be burned; but gather the wheat into my barns.””

Recently, during a time of testing, I was told by someone I thought had some wisdom that we have to let a false brother stay in fellowship, because of what Yeshua said in the verse above. 

I knew communicating with this person about this, at that time and in those circumstances, and probably now, was a waste of breath, so I didn’t retort.  But, it concerns me that we as believers think that we have to accommodate false brethren IN THE CONGREGATION.  It was almost a ‘pc’ attitude of being nice to fake brothers.  “Only Yeshua knows who the tares are.”  NO. That is NOT what He said!  In fact, in the parable itself it is the SERVANTS of the landowner [the landowner is the seed-sower, Yeshua] who notice the tares.  They ask the landowner: “from where did the tares come into it [the field]?”  Yeshua did NOT say we’d not know who the tares are!  ESPECIALLY if they come into the congregation!

The parable of the seed is just that, a parable; a mashal.  It must be understood from a proper perspective.

Yeshua gives us the interpretation, and NO WHERE does He say that the seed and the soil are the CONGREGATION.  In fact, the soil is best represented in “The World”.  “Earth”.  The WORD goes out into ALL the world, but tares appear IN THE WORLD [the field], sown alongside the seed, by HaSatan, in order to mimic real believers.  Not all who say to Him, “Adon, Adon”, are His.  Tares are fake.  The tare had been sown along side the ‘seed’; it’s false seed; they ‘look like’ wheat.  But, they are in the field.  Trying to force this into an analogy on the Congregation does not fit the rest of scripture.

The seed is Yeshua, His Word, going forth INTO ALL THE WORLD.  The lesson is NOT that we should accommodate sinful people in the congregation, especially adulterers and slanderers, liars, and such.  The lesson is that we as believers are going to have to live among sinners in the world, and that it is not the believer’s job to separate from the world, to judge the tares before judgment day.  In fact, Sha’ul says:

“I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with immoral persons. I do not mean that you should separate completely from all the immoral people of this world, or from the fraudulent, and extortionists, or from idolaters; otherwise you would be obliged to leave this world. Now what I have written to you is this: you are not to associate with any person who is known as a brother and yet is immoral, or fraudulent, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortionist; with such a person you must not even break bread. For what business have I to judge those who are outside [the congregation]? But you may judge those who are within [the congregation]. Elohim will judge the outsiders [tares]. Therefore, put away from among yourselves those wicked persons.”

It is the duty of believers to discern spirits, and by that, to discern whether someone who professes to be a brother is actually a brother.  This morning, I read Mishlim 6 in my quiet time, and that chapter tells us very similar things to what Sha’ul wrote that is cited above:

“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; A heart that devises wicked thoughts, feet that are swift in running to evil; A false witness that breathes out lies, and he that sows discord among brethren.”

Those same things align with some of the things Sha’ul instructed concerning whom to put out of the congregation.  We must learn to recognize these behaviors as symptomatic of an unrepentant heart.  We must become ‘kadosh”, as individuals and congregations.  Yeshua is coming back for a spotless bride, for a kadosh people. 

הָשִׁיבָה לִּי שְׂשׂוֹן יִשְׁעֶךָ ; ורְוּחַ נְדִיבָה תִסְמְכֵנִי

“Restore unto me the joy of your Salvation; and let a willing Ru’akh uphold me”

I have been meditating on and teaching/encouraging His Body concerning going ‘into’ His Presence, and ‘practicing’ it more and more.  It is as much a function of the mind as it is the Ru’akh.  The mind of a believer in Messiah is supposed to be a ‘sacred’ place.  It is the ‘seat’ of ‘renewing’ who we are.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Elohim, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, consecrated and acceptable to Elohim, by means of reasonable service. Do not imitate the way of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, that you may discern what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of Elohim.” [Rom 12:1-2]

“If you then are risen with Mashi’akh, seek those things which are above, where Mashi’akh sits on the right hand of Elohim. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth, for you are dead, and your life is hidden with Mashi’akh in Elohim.” [Kol 3:1-3]

This very thing is the ‘practice’ I previously mentioned.  And recent events have spurned me to hone the practice of actually going into His throne room; not that I’ve never been there, but to be evermore aware of what I’m doing when I pray.

Tehillah 51 is probably one of the better ‘praises’/’prayers’ to foster that.  It is Melekh David’s prayer of ‘teshuva’, or repentance, after he had committed both adultery and murder.  In the verse I cited in the title in Hebrew, there’s a bit of depth I wanted to “Selah” on, after having read the prayer this morning.  Typically, I read the “Tehillim” [psalms] in order, in batches of 15 or so per day, give or take a bit depending on circumstances.  This morning, however, I ‘chose’ this one, for some reason.  And stayed in it.  I read it in English first, and then ‘yearned’ to read it in Hebrew.  When I got to this verse, verse 14, I did ‘pause and reflect’, [Selah], as several of the words were very ‘familiar’, and their meanings redoubled on me.

First, “hashivah li”.  From the root word of ‘return’ , ‘shuv’, where we get our word “teshuva” for repentance.  “Return unto me”… then, “yishekha”, ‘your Yeshua’, where Yeshua’s name has the vav [nail] removed and replaced with an extended khaf, or ‘hand’. “Return to me joy your Yeshua”.  Our punctuation is what gives us more meaning.  But, what if the bare meaning without punctuation is better?  “V’ru’akh nedivah tism’kheni”. First, ‘nedivah’ is ‘free will’, and is the name of one of the offerings in the Torah, the ‘free will offering’.  We all know and trust that every offering was in some way a foreshadowing of Yeshua giving up his life for us.  So now, when we pray, depending on our prayers, He takes the place of those offerings.  In the case of asking Messiah to return to him, David says, expressed another way, “Let a spirit of free will lay upon me.”  “Lay upon” comes from ’tism’kheni’, where ‘samakh’ is the root, and gives us the concept of ‘the laying on of the hand’.  The verb describes ‘leaning on’, where the object leaned upon actually does the supporting.  This is pictured in the ‘smikhat ha yad’ on a lamb offering, where the lamb has the hand leaned upon him, and the lamb takes the sin burden off of the supplicant.  It’s kind of a ‘two way’ verb.

His Ru’akh is His, Yeshua’s, JOY!  And it ‘lays upon us,’ and ‘holds us up,’ as much as we ‘hold it up’ by having it upon us.  His Ru’akh is indeed ‘freely given’ to us by Yeshua, through our trust in Him.  Many times in the Tehillim we are told to rejoice in His “Salvation”, which is the meaning of Yeshua’s Name.

There are many ways to look at these words.  Not just the one from any singular translation we may read, however good.  When we err, then, does His abiding breath [Ru’akh] depart?  This is at least what David feared, and must have felt, as He asked Him to ‘return’ to him.  Or do we walk out from under it?  Either way, it is devastating.  When we do teshuva, like David does here, genuinely, in brokenness, then His Joy returns to us.  David said after this, “THEN will I teach transgressors your ways, and sinners ‘yashuvu,’ [will return, third person plural, from shuv] unto YOU!  Verses 14 and 15 are bookended by ‘return’.  When He returns to us, they return to Him.  The ‘declaration’ of His good news is sometimes best done through demonstration of true contrition over our own offenses, because when we understand the depth of our offense, and experience the ‘return’ of the Joy of Yeshua in His Ru’akh, ‘offenders’ of G-d cannot help but see it.

Holy Cost

I’ve been seeing lots of holocaust articles and memes of late.  It’s caused me to think back on my discovery of my Jewish lineage, which I always suspected, but especially when I discovered a love for the Torah back in my early twenties.  “Dreyer” was my maternal grandmother’s heritage.  Her grandfather was one of the many Jews who fought in the U.S. civil war, and is memorialized in the Simon Wolfe database, perhaps along with another family Jew, Jacob Shuler, on my dad’s maternal line.  L.A. Dreyer’s son followed him from Germany, and I have books that must have been carried in his luggage, with personal notes written in German.  Many of the Dreyers in the second image  below, who were murdered by Nazis during the Holocaust and are memorialized in the Yad VaShem database in Yisra’el from where I captured this image, were born in Germany around the same time as the son previously mentioned.  They may be his siblings/kin.  One day I will do the research to find out.

About twenty-six years ago, my wife and I were standing in a book store here in Texas, and doing research on both our family names.  I was curious about her maiden name’s origin, as it is very rare, so we looked it up to find out it originated in northern England, a few counties away from where my Crouch family originated.  We then went back a generation, and I looked up “Dreyer,” and the book said, “Jewish name of German origin”.  About six months later, we visited my grandmother in Georgia, and I told her, “Grandma, did you know Dreyer is a Jewish name?”  In a matter-of-fact way she simply said, “Yes.  I’m Jewish.”  And she had someone fetch a leather-bound book that a family member had made that told the story of the second Dreyer, one of many children [I think twelve] of the first, the Civil War soldier, from Germany to Savannah, Georgia.

About twelve years later, while working on my Master’s Degree in Military and Jewish history, I was doing a paper on “Jews in the Civil War”, and it was then that I learned of the Simon Wolfe database of Jewish Civil War veterans.  Out of sheer curiosity, I typed in L.A. Dreyer’s full name and the state of Georgia, and to my amazement, he was in the database, listed in the 63rd infantry regiment of Georgia.  Years later, at my grandmother’s funeral, I found myself standing beside his grave, and noticed the Confederate flag on his tombstone.

My son, who was about fourteen at the time of that discovery of the Wolfe database, came into my study while I sat there in amazement, and he was looking at the memorial to Crouch family veterans of American wars that I had made for my father before he passed, that was hanging on the main wall in my study.  He saw Jacob Shuler, curious about the name because his name is also Jacob, and asked if he too was in the database, but we only found a J. Schuler.  However, J.M. Shuler, which matches the poster we’d made, was indeed listed as a prisoner of war at Ship Island in Mississippi.  His name is Ashkenazi, but he’s not found in the Wolfe database; perhaps I will submit it to those who maintain it.

posterCrouch Family Veterans of American Wars, poster

Later, in doing my master’s, I did a paper on Jews in World War II Germany, and I discovered the Yad VaShem database of holocaust victims, and decided to see how many Dreyers may have perished in the holocaust.  The number was significant, reaching near thirty.  I captured some of them below.

dreyer

Dreyers in Yad VaShem Holocaust Database

I pondered the possibility of myself and my son not existing at all, if those two Dreyers and Jacob Shuler had stayed in Germany.  I remember sitting in silent meditation for a bit, contemplating the horror of what these families went through, and thanking G-d that my forebears had left.  DNA tests have since found Jewish cousins in Lithuania, and a large swath of kin that are of ‘unknown origin’.  As the rest of my family is of very English and Scottish pedigree, I am certain that the 1/3 of my ‘missing/mystery dna’ is my Jewish heritage.

Understand, I put zero stock in my dna for my inherited righteousness that comes from Yeshua and a circumcised heart.  I do rejoice in having some actual kinship to Avraham, and Yeshua, and His people.  But more, I only contemplate the amazingly thin line between life and death, and the constant threat to the existence of the Jewish people, and how precarious our very existence is.  It made me consider the statement to the Navi, Yirme-Yahu, “Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came forth out of the womb I set you apart,” and of one of the songs of David, “Your eyes did see my unformed body, and in Your Sefer they were all written, even the days that were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”  As chaotic and random as birth and death seem to be at times, our Creator planned the path of His redeemed, way ahead of time.  That is comforting, and makes me very grateful, considering what ‘could have been’.  Those Dreyers on that list had to endure watching their own loved ones die, being imprisoned in concentration camps, and then being murdered themselves by heartless people who yet claimed to believe in Christ.  Dreyer and Shuler of civil war fame survived the brutality of war and imprisonment on American soil, or myself and my son would not exist.  How precarious is our history! [Incidently, the civil war Robert Love on the poster, one of my father’s maternal great-grandfathers, nearly had a duel with Andrew Jackson; had the townspeople not intervened, we’d have not had that seventh president, or my son and I would not exist.] How very improbable was our birth!  How grateful I am that it went the way it did amidst all the chaos, and how I mourn for those who did not survive, and wonder who in the Dreyer or Shuler families may have survived the Holocaust, to give me a Jewish cousin in eastern Europe today.

“Man, that is born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble.” [Iyov 14:1]