Archive for forgiveness

Witnessing 101

Posted in 01 : The Chief Cornerstone with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/09/2011 by timenolonger

The single most important thing, we as believers, will ever do aside from accepting our Savior ourselves, is bring His message to others.

The pure and simple foundation of our redemption, the Gospel, is the weightiest subject matter in the entire body of the scriptures.

Having an eternal impact on every single being accountable to a moral standard… what we do with the Good News is ultimately the measure of what kind of servant we were for Him.

Some of us are naturally more outspoken than others, and so that difference means that we will each have our own level of comfort when it comes to witnessing to strangers… or even those we know well.

There is no need to feel disabled by an innate level of shyness, however.

Even the most introverted and non-confident believer should understand that, if nothing else, the Gospel is the one thing in which he or she can have perfect confidence.

What is, unfortunately, often mislabeled as shyness is a sense of shame… a self-consciousness which comes from a desire for personal acceptance the believer feels might be lost if they share the truth with another.

There is a great deal of danger in being this sort of believer, not only to the cause of witnessing, but the entire relationship between the individual and his or her Elohim.

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the splendor of His Father with the sacred messengers.

– Mark 8:38

We can never excuse ourselves from the task put to us… to be the light in a dark world. Being that light not only means being able to communicate His message to others, but to do that correctly.

There is one simple difference between witnessing correctly and incorrectly, and that difference is directly tied to the motive we have for witnessing the Gospel.

Correct witnessing of the Gospel is much more about the why than the how… the reason we want to tell others the Good News, should obviously be the same reasons Yahushua wants us to tell others.

That every instance wherein we open our mouths and speak His message to another is a moment with eternal impact aught to put us in mind that we are literally becoming a part of that person’s eternal future, whatever it will be.

If we do this in any other spirit but His… a spirit of deep concern, compassion and genuine desire to see someone enter into His Kingdom… we have already failed.

The motive, too often, among believers is far more utilized like a call to battle with the lost person who is receiving the message.

It becomes a boxing match of clever words and memorized arguments, the goal of which is someone coming out “the victor”.

If the lost remain lost… no matter how cleverly you’ve stated your argument… there is no “winner”, instead you leave a lost individual embittered against the subject to a degree which will throw up road blocks in the face of the next to attempt to evangelize.

Remember, the lost don’t need to hear how well educated you are… they need to know that there is a Creator who cares for them.

The correct and incorrect reasons to witness are, very simply, compassion or pride.

The why will always mean much more than the how… but after you have witnessed His message to a variety of individuals you will quickly learn that there are various stands that the lost will take as their reasons for living a life apart from Him.

Being able to understand those positions and relate to how people came to hold them is an integral part of being genuinely concerned for the individual.

The lost must, by the very nature of their “lostness”, practice a certain level of dishonesty with themselves. This being the case… they are not able to be any more honest with you than they’ve been with themselves.

Spiritual discernment is crucial… that ability every believer has to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit can tell you much more about what makes the lost person tick than any words he or she will say.

There’s no possibility of putting every individual into a category… there will always be people who defy the usual, but there have been in my experience, very often repeated versions of certain types of unbelievers.

Here is what I’ve learned from them, which might in some way help others to understand their positions and what they need to hear (or not hear) from believers.

The Intellectual Atheist:

A case of seeming like everything they are not. These are those people who are a student of every kind of evolutionary science man has to offer.

They have spent hours reading books, taking classes and watching documentaries that bolster their faith in a theory of macro evolution.

Having done so and properly memorized every term and one-line argument that sounds intelligent… they are literally self-trained to wage verbal war with believers.

That is precisely what they have done… though you will never come across an Intellectual Atheist who will admit that all this time spent was for the sole purpose of disproving a Creator to themselves and others… that’s exactly what it is.

Atheism is a faith built of shaky ground, therefore it requires such maintenance as to seek out those who believe in a Creator and continually strengthen their own resolve by “winning” verbal wars with them.

As a believer, you will never effectively witness to these by engaging in those battles. It doesn’t matter how well you have researched the data and know that the “science” behind evolutionary theory is flawed… you will not convince them.

They have a desire in which they have invested a great deal of time, pride and desperate hope… their reasons are deeply emotional and your arguments threaten, what is to the defense mechanisms of their mind, a matter of survival.

They have a Need to not believe in Him… that need can stem from a place of having suffered terrible trauma which they can not or do not want to reconcile with the existence of a loving Creator.

It can also stem from a deep attachment to a lifestyle which is not morally sound… their resistance to Him is a resistance to accountability for sins they do not want to admit they commit.

Intellectual Atheists do not need an intellectual response… they require the knowledge that there is, in fact, a loving Creator Who is both worth living for (even if it’s difficult) and Who has promised justice to all those who cling to Him.

The Emotive Atheist:

While the Intellectual Atheist uses a necessary screen of shallow indifference to conceal his or her intense dislike of the concept of a Creator, the Emotive Atheist doesn’t bother hiding the fact that he or she despises the idea of an Almighty Elohim.

This person is outwardly angry, bitter, and tends to be a rather unpleasant person with whom to try to witness the Gospel. The arguments of Emotive Atheists normally revolve around their perceived lack of “fairness” of YHWH’s nature as presented in scripture.

These will often accuse Him of being tyrannical, violent and war-loving… they will mention His “indifference” to the suffering in the world and His general lack of compassion as they see it.

They’ll also not hesitate to call the believer a variety of insults for having faith in such a Creator.

Emotive Atheists are usually deeply hurt individuals. There is often terrible abuse in their past… not unlikely administered by their own parents or some other adult who was looked up to or trusted in their formative years.

Their raging anger is often towards that abusive parental figure and a Creator who, in their understanding, did nothing to save them from it.

Witnessing to an Emotive Atheist is normally done best in the shortest amount of time you can possibly spend on it for at least the initial attempt.

Anything which becomes a long ‘give and take’ will only allow the person to shut his or her ears and open their mouths in the familiar output of venomous hatred which is their defense.

Again… these need to understand that we follow an Elohim who is all about love and justice… even when, in our shortsightedness, we can’t see it immediately manifest.

Give them the option to come talk about it with you… but take care not to pursue.

The Pagan/ Pantheist:

Many believers might be under the impression that the worship of pagan deities is a thing of the distant past… but that couldn’t be more wrong.

Particularly in the recent decades, people have been more and more drawn to what they consider “older” faiths than Judeo-Christian beliefs.

There is a certain level of self perceived “enlightenment” in following after a “god” who is attached to romanticized notions of an ancient past. There is definitely a “fad” feeling to the modern adherents of pagan worship.

These individuals normally have very little actual knowledge of the faith they profess in their chosen deity… they generally don’t investigate what history has to say about those who, in the ancient past, gave homage to these beings.

The attraction of worshiping a pagan deity is often the sense of being able to choose among an extensive pantheon of beings to find the “right god for me”.

When that deity is chosen, even the peculiar attributes which are supposedly applied to them undergo a distinct adjustment by the whim of the pagan who chose them to further suit their own likes and dislikes.

You will find most Pagans/ Pantheists are quite unwilling to venture into the darker histories of the worship of their chosen being. Few want to admit that they bow to a creature who demanded child sacrifice or who tends to be more or less indifferent to their subjects wants and needs.

Modern Pagans know not what they worship… they simply have chosen a poor alternative solution to their very real need for a Heavenly Father.

They have done so in the most shallow and sin-friendly way available. A mystical, spiritual “experience” + a designer “god” + the ability to write their own moral code or live without one entirely.

These individuals have often been put off from Christianity by bad examples thereof. They have experienced rejection, poor teaching and a lack of understanding in churches or from representatives of Christian faith.

They want and need YHWH… but they are wholly disillusioned by how He has been presented to them.

They are not unlikely to also have attachments to morally questionable lifestyles which they are reluctant to give up or be convicted of. What they will certainly not have experienced in their choice of a deity is real love and an active interest in their lives.

What the Pagan needs to hear from us are good, sound reasons to logically conclude we serve a King above all Kings, that He is the One and the Only Being called Elohim who is a true Creator and loves His creation.

They need to understand that we, just like them, and every “Christian” they have ever met… are sin-natured beings and that our mistakes are not His.

The Unitarian/ New Age Collectivist:

I consider the Unitarian or Collectivist philosophy to be one of the more dangerous ones.This idea is founded on very ancient roots, but manifests in a very modern way to people who adhere to it.

I call this the Religion for Junior Luciferians.

Completely ignorant of why this concept exists or what its ultimate purpose in the world is, the people who believe in it are pawns of something much darker and more sinister than they could imagine.

Unitarianism might be defined as a separate entity from New Age Collectivism by many to adhere to one or the other.

Unitarianism is an “everything that equals nothing” faith. The lure of it is supposedly its wide tolerance for… whatever. Anything you decide to believe is true is fine… as long as you think everything you don’t want to believe is also fine for those who do believe it.

It means nothing except that you become tolerant of everything… except what is exclusive. The truth being, by nature, exclusive, simply means that there’s nothing you’re not allowed to believe as Unitarian… except the truth.

Collectivism is not much different… it’s just dressed up as more spiritual, sometimes adorned with the seriously weird and fantastic, but it ends in the same place.

You are subject to a concept that not just allows… but demands that you conform to a wide tolerance of everything except exclusive truth.

Those that have bought into either one of these ideas have done so in an outward attempt to be progressive, peaceful, more evolved, and unified in some idea of global brotherhood with all humanity.

The tolerance to which these ideas owe their call to arms is typically turned inside out. At the core of the matter… Unitarians and Collectivists have a desire to see the Truth snuffed out in the world.

They have a deep and even disturbing spirit-level hatred of the judgment they inevitably feel weighing on them from that Truth. As a passive-aggressive means of retaliation… they seek to become the “army of the enlightened” who would eradicate the presence of that Truth in the Earth if they could.

They are the ironic epitome of intolerance and they hold a philosophy which will be a mortal threat to true believers in the last days.

These are truly brainwashed individuals… mainstream entertainment, news, political climate and nearly anything else you can name in society has driven this message into the subconscious of the masses.

Truth is despised to the point of being called (insanely enough) non-existent in an absolute sense.

People are convinced of only relative truths, which is always more comfortable as one can dream up any “reality’ they like.

The mind of a Unitarian or Collectivist is not unlike a mind clouded by a cocktail of drugs, and in fact, you will very often find most of them on some sort of mind altering prescription drug. It is tough to deny the existence of reality you can observe without some manner of intoxication coming into play.

Perhaps some of the hardest people there are to witness to… the Unitarians/ Collectivists needs to be shown what should be readily obvious to them, but isn’t.

Very simple examples of truth they can not change or deny… very basic level logic. Not having a grasp of a basic level of reason means that they can not possibly process a higher logic which deals with spiritual things.

The aim is to not only illustrate that truth is whatever it is, regardless of our wishes… but also that ultimately the truth is Good News.

The Apathetic Agnostic:

These individuals don’t think much about spiritual matters. They are immersed in life right here and now… subject to the flesh in everything.

Because they enjoy and are deeply concerned with the temporal, the eternal is shoved to the back burner of their mind where it is only brought out on rare occasions when great adversity and loneliness descend on the individual.

It is normally just as quickly shelved again when that adversity has passed. Their general position on a Creator is “maybe there is and maybe there isn’t… but if there is, He’s certainly not that one talked about in the Bible.”

The Apathetic Agnostic doesn’t want to have to think about Him… they enjoy a far away, misty idea of going to heaven… something they hold onto for the sake of loved ones who have passed away, but not consciously for themselves.

They generally feel some level of invincibility… as if they, themselves, will never die. They normally like to live fast and destructive lifestyles; drugs, an overabundance of alcohol and promiscuous sexual encounters are not uncommon.

They are often people who either have been disillusioned by how Christianity was presented to them, or have grown up without any spiritual training whatsoever.

Eternity is always far in the unimaginable future to Apathetic Agnostics… a thing that might be out there… but they’ll never get to. The love of all things worldly that they subsequently manifest makes them a ticking time bomb of disaster…. headed for, in the best of cases, a rude awakening.

Since they are people who, for lack of a better term, are “chronologically handicapped” and believe “now = forever”, they find it difficult to concern themselves with what they see as an impediment to the enjoyment of their lives… a Creator to which they are accountable.

The Apathetic Agnostic, more than anything, needs to be made aware of how fleeting a thing it is in which they have invested all their energy.

These are those that require some fear… some sober words of truth about the consequences of ignoring even a Possibility that He exists and that He requires things of us.

The message to get across is that “someday” is some tomorrow’s yesterday and that this is not LIFE, but a preparation for it if we will have it.

The Seeking Agnostic:

Maybe one of the more fortunate groups of lost people out there… the truly Seeking Agnostics know they have a need to know spiritual truth.

These tend to be individuals who have had little to no training in spiritual matters growing up, but in whom that void has sparked a deep curiosity or even a desperate need to find out “what it’s all about”.

Though they are aimless and often dabble and experiment in a wide variety of spiritual outlets, they retain a general feeling of dissatisfaction and emptiness which causes them to keep looking.

The Seeking Agnostic is a good person for the witnessing believer to run into if they are fully prepared to answer the questions.

They have obviously not yet encountered any Christian who could answer those questions efficiently and that opportunity is a big one for us. Any truly Seeking Agnostic person will not be able to ignore the simple and true rational answers which faith in Him affords, if we are competent to provide them.

Anyone Really seeking the Real Creator of Heaven and Earth is good ground for good seed.

It’s our job to sow carefully… to be able to explain why we are all in need of salvation… why salvation had to come in the way it did, and why our acceptance and devotion to Him in truth is necessary.

We need to be able to explain why sin is the destructive agent that it is and why He hates it… where it began and when it will end.

The seeker needs to know why the void in him or her exists that is reaching out to an Elohim they never met… and that He can fill that and impart peace that resists temporary circumstance.

The “Christian” Cultist:

This category might cover a pretty broad spectrum of individuals. I do not define it, however, in terms of ‘Christians who simply don’t agree with me on one or more issue’.

I have found very few people who don’t, and I would venture to guess that most believers can say the same.

Differences of understanding what I call “secondary doctrine” are those which can not undermine salvation and do not constitute “lost individuals”.

It’s a very dangerous practice I see too often, that believers will label anyone of disparate views from theirs as essentially “lost souls”. We absolutely can’t spout idle words like that and not consider the consequences of being wrong.

The Christian Cultist is one who, in one or more way, entirely diverges from the core message of the gospel and presents some other “gospel” as being Christian.

“But even if we or a messenger from the sky preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. ” – Galatians 1:8,9

These individuals adhere to their choice of scripture… but subtract the elements with which they are not satisfied.

When this touches the core of the message… YHWH’s intervention on Earth as the physically embodied Messiah, the death of Yahushua, His bodily resurrection or His ascension which is the hope of His people, the message is entirely defiled and becomes something other than Christian.

Many examples of Christian Cult groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and Christian Scientists are under the control of leadership who practice a method of leading their flock in one understanding of their faith while holding a “secret” understanding of the roots of their belief to themselves.

The leadership understands that the religion they practice is not Christian… it’s only the lay people of the congregation who are kept unaware of that fact.

Often Christian Cultists have either been raised in the faith they are in or they were drawn into it as scripturally unlearned individuals who were seeking something genuine.

Since most of these groups do not encourage reading or studying scripture itself, and offer alternate texts and teachings to the bible, the adherent is usually entirely convinced of the righteousness of his or her faith.

Witnessing to these necessitates making them aware of what actual scripture actually says.

It’s not effective to bring your favorite English translation of the bible into such an endeavor because there is no clear way of proving the superiority of one translation over another by the use of those texts alone.

One needs to go a little further and provide concordance definitions of original words which can shed light on the meaning of scripture without an argument over one translation versus another.

The Spiritist/ Occultist:

One should be well versed in spiritual warfare before treading some of the more dangerous ground of witnessing.

Though most Spiritists or Occultists whom you’re likely to come across are simply dabblers in such things… there are very some serious individuals who have made a life’s endeavor of living with one foot in the Devil’s realm.

Occult practitioners are those individuals who call upon the power and knowledge of demons and fallen angels to manipulate the world around them in whatever fashion seems to them to benefit their goals.

This is a costly practice for them… though most who begin dabbling in it take a very reckless and childish view of those consequences, assuming that they are the ones who have control of the affair.

Save for a few who have only played with such things a short time and been very fortunate… you will hardly meet an occultist who has not become possessed or attached to by an evil entity.

The great draw of spiritism is the lure of power. Being able to manipulate natural life through the use of supernatural means is the stuff of every kid’s fantasy (thanks to Disney).

Having that “edge” against the average mortal is a most attractive prospect… attractive enough to sometimes Literally sell one’s soul to the Devil.

Not every occult practitioner… and very few dabbling individuals… will claim to be calling on the devil or any negative forces.

Most would like to believe, and hence convince themselves, that they have the ability to only call upon “good” spirits… and they rarely ask themselves if spirits could convincingly lie to them.

The more adept occultists are people that the average Joe is not likely to meet… these are people in places of great power and influence, who have come by wealth and worldly favor through their arts.

If ever one does have a chance to speak to them, you might find it next to impossible to speak to a real human being through the web of demonic spirits that have attached themselves to them.

It’s advisable to precede witnessing to an Occultist with a prayer… one that binds and silences every influence apart from the Holy Spirit.

Dabbling Occultists need reasonable and very sober words that sensibly explain the horrific consequences of being utterly possessed and enslaved by an enemy who is quite capable of lying.

The adept occultist no doubt has already realized the pitfalls… but often sees no means of escape or a way to relinquish that worldly power. These need to know that we serve an Elohim that practices an amazing grace, and that there is an escape, even from the full force of hell.

All Occultists need to understand that the world is full of temporary things… and the only thing worth living for is what is eternal.

The Satanist:

The mention of “Satanists” to many believers invokes a concept of “the worst of the worst”.

Though, (depending on what kind of Satanism one is referring to) there are some practitioners who are very deeply involved in some very dark things, there are many Satanists who are no more than hedonists who have made a religion of their selfishness, and use Satan as a symbolic, not literal, figurehead.

The Satanist, of whatever ilk, is someone who holds a deep resentment for YHWH. Most Satanists of a hedonistic sort begin their venture into such a religion through some manner of traumatic or disillusioning experience which makes them mistrust or hate YHWH.

The Satanist of the more literal type is quite often born into the scene by way of a family who has gained a powerful position through their practice.

Children born to Satanic families are almost always very damaged and not unlikely have been put through an intense, lifelong ordeal of producing in them a dissociative identity.

Unfortunately many of these individuals are caught up in a life that they have only broken memories of, and very little chance of escape from without divine intervention. These are the individuals who become the unknowing patsies of black op government projects and perpetrators of mass murders.

The Hedonistic Satanist is a mere dabbler… he or she is normally a very desperate and needy soul who very much wants to believe in better things than the life they lead.

They want to know He cares… even though they might entirely deny His existence. There is a place inside them that realized YHWH exists since it is impossible to hate anyone who does not… and they require someone to be the example to them of what He is really about.

The Literal Satanist is a much more difficult individual to reach. Chances are you are dealing with someone who has parts of their psyche programmed to respond with hostility, violence or escape back to their “handlers” in the event of anyone attempting to usurp their “system”.

Be very cautious… some of these include programs which will literally “self destruct” (suicide) the person in such an event. Witnessing to these should be done with a group of faithful believers who are well trained in dealing with DID/ SRA victims.

The Luciferian:

Perhaps the most unlikely lost individual you are to meet, simply due to the secrecy and high position that is usually associated with the belief system.

These are the counterpoint to the true Satanist… they are the servants of the Evil One, who disguise themselves throughout society and religion as benevolent… even Christian.

Whereas the Satanist practices a dark art forthrightly and is either viewed by the masses as non-existent or a rare, fringe element, the Luciferian is all but unknown to most people because they appear openly in the world in seemingly humanitarian, political and civil servant positions.

There is not much to be said for a “dabbling” faction of Luciferians because this belief is normally only understood in its entirety by the highest factions of their very powerful construct.

The lower novices among Luciferians are often presented with the notion that they are worshipers of the true Elohim, and as that person advances, the lines are blurred and finally erased to expose the fact that the “Christ” that they follow is not Yahushua… but Lucifer.

Luciferians along with Satanists are the ruling controllers of this present world age… they literally have their strings attached to every facet of government, entertainment, economy, commerce and infrastructure on the planet.

The Luciferian faction is in a position to be a much greater threat than the Satanists, perhaps due to their chameleon tactics in society and even amongst their own adherents. One does not “join” to Luciferians… they are born to it. Bloodline is of extreme importance to them.

The average Luciferian has been born into a generations old position… they are born to fill a spot in the machine that will one day bring about the “great vision”… the New World Order.

They are often very assured of the righteousness of their own undertakings and have been conditioned to believe in a very warped moral standard, including a twisted perspective of who YHWH is and the power of Lucifer which they suppose to be superior.

They are likely to view the average populace as property more than humanity, and understand this as a condition which is for the “greater good”.

Luciferians are, like Satanists, often subjected to a rigorous life that produces a dissociative psyche. The parts which are used to carry out more nefarious activities are often hidden from a front alter which is oblivious of those things and can present a very normal countenance.

The same cautions apply to witnessing to a Luciferian as with a Satanist and perhaps go even further… be aware that the high connectedness of a Luciferian can mean that one who is willing to leave their position is also marked for termination and needs prayer support as well as a safe haven.

——————

We are the followers of a Messiah who is a Rock of Offense to the world. Telling people of the Good News will, more often than not, be received as anything but good news.

Sometimes those encounters can degrade quickly into hostility and an evident attitude of rejection. It’s never good to proceed past the point of clear rejection… the point of witnessing is compassion, when your message carries on past where it has been thrown aside and trampled, you are no longer doing a service of compassion.

Remember… there is an eternal impact to that rejection every time it occurs… when the answer is clearly no, we don’t want to compound the condemnation with further rejection.

We might leave it lie for the time and present it again later… allowing for a different mood or mind set. Two rejections on two occasions is normally the finale for me. After our words have been rejected… our witnessing to that individual should be confined to using our lives as examples in action.

All we can do is sow the seed… YHWH alone can give the increase. Pray He leads us to good ground.

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Christian Living

Posted in 01 : The Chief Cornerstone with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 03/26/2011 by timenolonger

YHWH whom we know to have been manifested in the Person of Yahushua the Messiah according to the scripture is true Elohim. It is our first and primary goal to love and serve Him.

We can love and serve Him a number of ways. We look to the scripture to understand how we can accomplish this goal. Striving to accomplish this goal aligns us with the universe. We are fulfilling our purpose. Consider these verses…

I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from afar And My daughters from the ends of the earth,

Everyone who is called by My Name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.

Isaiah 43:6-7

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Colossians 1:16

We are created for Elohim’s Glory. We are created through Him and for Him. When we serve our King we are in sync with our ultimate purpose. This isn’t to say He doesn’t enjoy taking care of His children, or making us happy. If even evil men treat their kids good (in some cases) how much more will our perfect Heavenly Father treat us?

Let’s face it we are created for Him but there is nothing we can really do for Him.

What can a man give to Elohim, who is the source of all good gifts? The scripture quotes Elohim, and He tells us what we can do.

For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat.
I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink.
I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.
Naked, and you clothed Me.
I was sick, and you visited Me.
I was in prison, and you came to Me.

Then the righteous will answer Him Master, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?

And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?

When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

The King will answer and say to them,

Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.

Matthew 25:35-40

So the answer is to help the poor, and have mercy on those less fortunate than us. Our goal is to ease the burden of the poor. Also to do what we can to make life better for our fellow man in general.

And He said to him, You shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

This is the great and foremost commandment.

The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22:37-39

Stemming from a love for our Elohim YHWH we have a desire to follow His commandments. We desire this because we want to express our love for The Creator. We have discovered by study of the scripture that to exhibit our love for Him we are to follow His commandments.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

John 14:15

Spread the message of the bible to anyone who will hear and come to believe upon their Creator and have a desire to serve Him in these times. This includes a desire also to serve and love our fellow Christian brothers and sisters of course.

So when they had finished breakfast, Yahushua said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Master; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”

He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Master; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

And he said to Him, “Master, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

Yahushua said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

John 21:15-17

We should steady educate ourselves and gain enlightenment to be further equipped to serve YHWH and humanity. In order for one to gain true understanding and wisdom one must have fear of YHWH. This is the beginning of wisdom.

The fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.

Psalms 111:10

The fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Proverbs 9:10

The Spirit of YHWH will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of YHWH.

Isaiah 11:2

The first step to fearing Elohim is to know that he exists. Our faith is not in whether or not He exists. His existence is our reality. Our faith is based on the belief that YHWH makes good on His Word, and will fulfill all the promises He has made. With wisdom we are able to demonstrate and prove His existence using arts such as science and history.

But sanctify Messiah as Master in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.

1 Peter 3:15

With wisdom and an understanding of the universe we can help gather the remaining flock who have yet come to believe. Our fourth goal’s purpose to educate and gain wisdom is to take the advice given in 1 Peter 3:15, and help convert non believing hearts to their Creator.

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’

I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?

When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’

In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of Elohim over one sinner who repents.

Luke 15:4-10

To help gather in the lost sheep is to bring joy to Elohim our Father and to heaven.

And He said, A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them.

And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.

Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished.

So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.

But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!

I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”‘

So he got up and came to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate;

for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be.

And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’

But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.

But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours;

and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’

And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.

But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’

Luke 15:11-32

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Reference Index for Biblical and Hebrew Terms

Posted in 02 : The Truth Is Out There... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/01/2010 by timenolonger

I realize how confusing it can be to keep track of a large quantity of strange or unfamiliar terms, names and titles which often get used here. I’ve provided this reference source with definitions for an easy way to look up these terms when they are encountered.

I’ve tried to make it as thorough as possible but I will continually add to it if more should come to mind, or anyone inquires on something not listed here.

angel –

Term specifically referring to the messenger class of spiritual, heavenly beings created prior to humanity. Used in a modern context to refer generally to all classes of spiritual, heavenly beings.

cherub –

Class of spiritual beings having four distinct forms – humanoid, lion, eagle, ox. (plural: cherubim) Hebrew: keruwb.

chimera –

A term derived from Greek to describe any transgenic creature. Word originally applied to a particular transgenic which was part goat, part lion and part snake according to Greek mythology. Chimeras are termed “monsters” in apocryphal literature, referring to creatures derived from the genetic components of spiritual beings and animals.

demon –

Specifically a term referring to the wandering, earth-bound spirits of dead nephilim capable of oppressing, possessing and influencing living people. Generally used in a modern context to refer to any disincarnate malicious spirit.

giants –

The hybrid children of watchers and human women which were of immense stature.

gibbowr –

Hebrew word used often to describe descendants of various nephilim, literally meaning “powerful, warrior, tyrant, giant or mighty man.”

iyr –

Hebrew word for “watcher” meaning literally “wakeful or watchful one, one who watches.”

malak –

Hebrew word for angel, literally meaning “messenger”. (plural: malakim)

nachash –

Hebrew word for “serpent”, literally meaning “serpent, enchanter, or whisperer.”

nephil –

A person of human and angelic hybrid origins. (plural: nephilim)

raphah –

Demons which are regarded as ancestral deities and can incarnate repeatedly within a family line. (plural: rephaim) Hebrew: raphah, literally “to heal or quicken, a ghost, the dead”.

seraph –

A class of spiritual being (angel) which have six wings and can take the form of a dragon or serpent. Hebrew: saraph, literally “burning or fiery serpent”. (plural:  seraphim)

serpent/ dragon –

Either referring to the natural beast used by Satan to gain access to Eve and initiate human rebellion, or the class of spiritual beings to which Satan belongs (seraphim).

siren –

A spirit of a human female who was joined to a heavenly being in marital union during her mortal life. Capable of possession of living human beings and associated with bodies of water, they are known for specifically targeting men through lust and destroying them.

watcher –

A class of spiritual being (angel) which was charged with observance and study of creation, 200 of which rebelled in the transgressions of intermarrying with humanity and introducing forbidden technologies to earth. Generally humanoid appearance of large stature.

Anakim –

Hebrew: Anaqiy, descendants of the nephil “Anak” or “Anaq”, name literally meaning “choked, collared, strangle, encompassed by a chain, necklace.”

Armoni –

Fallen watcher who taught synthesized remedial medicine. From the Greek translation of his name (Pharmaros) is derived the modern terms Pharmacy, pharmacology, pharmacist, etc.. Hebrew: Armoniy “of the devoted or cursed”.

Azazel –

Fallen watcher who was an instigator of the rebellion of the 200. Taught the making and use of weapons of war and taught cosmetic enhancement to women. He is named as the being to which the released goat is sent to on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) to receive all the sins of Israel upon himself in accordance with the curse upon him mentioned in 1 Enoch “to Azazel ascribe: All Sin.” Hebrew: azaz +el “mighty impudence”.

B’nai Elohim –

Hebrew, meaning “sons of the mighty”, often rendered in translation “the sons of God”. Term of reference to any class of being or individual who’s origin is a direct act of creation by YHWH rather than a flesh and blood birth. Used exclusively in the old testament to refer to “angelic” beings in the general sense.

El –

Hebrew singular word literally meaning “mighty”, used in reference to YHWH or a lesser, created heavenly being. Often translated as “god”.

Elohim –

Hebrew plural word meaning literally “mighty ones” used at times in conjunction with a singular identifier to mean YHWH, or used as plural as a collective group of lesser heavenly beings. Often translated “gods”.

Enoch –

Antediluvian patriarch of the seventh generation. Son of Jared, father of Methuselah. He was a prophet who resisted the corruption brought into the world by the Watchers and who subsequently received knowledge of creation and the future through visions given to him by YHWH. He attempted to intercede on behalf of the rebel watchers and when that intercession failed, returned a message of conviction to the rebels from YHWH. Enoch was removed from the earth alive by YHWH prior to the flood. Hebrew: Chanowk “trained, instructed”.

1 Enoch –

A historical and prophetic text which was rejected from canon though validated as containing original writings of Enoch by Jude. Some material attributed to Noah also included in the text. General history of the preflood world, the rebellion of the Watchers and numerous parables and visions given to Enoch by YHWH, including many dealing with the last days. This book is not to be confused with 2 and 3 Enoch which are works written in much more recent times and which do not correlate to any canonical scripture.

Ham –

Son of Noah, one of three to survive the flood with him in the ark. Father of Canaan from who derived several nations of post flood nephilim as well as father of Mitsrayim, patriarch of Egyptian peoples.

Hermon –

Mountain on which the rebel faction of 200 watchers made a pact to enter into marital unions with mortal women and where they situated their headquarters while reigning on Earth. Hebrew: Chermown “seclude, devote, curse, consecrate”.

Ishtar –

Woman deified throughout multiple cultures under multiple derivatives of her name. Human wife of the watcher Shemyhaza, to whom it is said he revealed how to use the name of YHWH in ritual magic. She appears throughout ancient and modern culture as “the Queen of Heaven”, the mother goddess, the earth goddess, the Madonna. Often portrayed as a mermaid in connection with her status as chief of sirens. She is the personified “whore of Babylon” spoken in Revelation. Hebrew” Ishah+taher “pure woman”.

Japheth –

Son of Noah, one of three to survive the flood in the ark with him. Father of Javan, patriarch of Ionian peoples.

Jared –

Antediluvian patriarch of the 6th generation. Son of Mahalaleel, father of Enoch. The rebel watchers came to earth during his lifetime. Hebrew: Yered “descend”.

Lucifer –

Title ascribed to a chief fallen spiritual being in Isaiah chapter 14. Used in a modern context as a proper name for Satan though the title is neither a name nor describes Satan. Most applicably applied to a fallen Watcher, the Hebrew title is literally “heylel:, literally ” to shine or boast”.

Noah –

Man chosen to survive the flood with his family in the ark. Noah was chosen based both upon his willingness to remain loyal to YHWH and his untainted human bloodline which had not been mixed with nephil ancestry. Hebrew: Noach “rest”.

Satan –

Hebrew literal meaning: “accuser, adversary, one who opposes”. Chief of a vast rebellion of spiritual beings which took place in the heavens prior to the creation of mankind. “Satan” is not a name itself, but a descriptive title of the Seraph who led this insurrection and also tempted the first humans to disobey their Creator.

Shem –

Son of Noah, one of three to survive the flood with him in the ark. Patriarch of all Semitic peoples including Israelites. Hebrew: Shem “name, memorial”.

Shemyhaza –

Chief of the rebel faction of 200 watchers which transgressed in intermarrying with human women, begetting nephilim and introducing forbidden technologies to Earth. Hebrew: shem + ya’ah + aza “of the Name of power”.

YHWH –

Proper Hebrew name of the Creator, pronounced with vowel inflections “Yahuwah”, though often given as “Yahweh”. Literal meaning “self existent, or I AM”.

Yahushua –

Proper Hebrew name of Messiah, literally meaning : “the salvation of YAH”.

 

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Forgiveness 101

Posted in 01 : The Chief Cornerstone with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10/09/2010 by timenolonger

I’m accustomed to discussing the strange and incredible, the weird and the wonderful… the lesser spoken of topics of the bible.

Basic subject matters, like forgiveness and its place in the life of believers, have been well covered by multitudes of Christians and are fairly self explanatory in the plain text of scripture. In spite of that… I’ve come to realize that the basic things aren’t always so… basic.

As much as forgiveness is one of the central themes of our faith, it has, like many other biblical subject matters, suffered from a great deal of misunderstanding.

No believer is ever likely to have adverse feelings about their own sins being forgiven by YHWH and their fellow believers. When we are on the receiving end of mercy… it’s rarely difficult to accept.

Where it becomes fraught with difficult emotion is when we must do the forgiving.

In spite of the clarity of scripture on the subject, who has not found themselves trying to weasel around the command to forgive others when the offense done to us seems so overwhelmingly wrong and hurtful… especially if the offender shows no remorse?

The reactionary internal resistance to the idea of forgiving a great wrong is so overpowering, that at once it can concoct a long list of justifications for refusal to do so.

The Justifications:

Magnitude of Offense: “Forgiveness is one thing… but who could forgive this?”

The most common counteraction to forgiving another is the sheer weight of the wrong that was done. Some wrongs that are done to us really are incredibly vile… others just feel that way. The emotional response between the two are not really very different… whether we have really suffered a major blow or the blow is simply perceived that way in relativity to a person’s own experiences, either can result in such a depth of hurt and resentment that forgiveness seems impossible.

Lack of Remorse: “They aren’t even sorry!”

We can all attest to the fact that it’s much easier to forgive a wrong when the wrongdoer is willing to apologize and admit that they are guilty of an offense. Many times that doesn’t happen… sometimes it does and yet it seems insincere. Whether right or wrong, if we perceive our offender to be without remorse for their actions it can make us feel justified in not forgiving where forgiveness has not been requested, or not been requested to our satisfaction.

Repeat Offender: “Shame me once… shame on you… shame me twice… shame on me.”

Sometimes we have those people in our lives that we try very hard to get along with… forgive them their faults on numerous occasions and yet they continue to disappoint us. There comes a point when we want to ask ourselves how long we’re willing to be a “door mat”. Patience becomes exhausted and we simply want to give up on the individual.

Semantics: “I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget.”

Unless an individual is suffering from some manner of genuine cognitive disorder, forgetting is not realistically an option. What we really mean when we contrive this justification is that we really don’t want to forgive even though we’re well aware of our duty to do so. This usually comes at a point of internal conflict between the conviction to do what is right and the emotional resistance against it.

What the Bible has to Say:

As mentioned earlier… the Bible is as clear as crystal on the matter of forgiveness… it is perhaps one of those rare biblical topics that are so basically defined in a point-blank way that little if any doctrinal debate has ever taken hold of it.

Even though there’s not much getting around the point, nor any wiggle room for interpretation, anyone who has had to do some forgiving they don’t want to do knows how quickly the recall of this subject can be suddenly omitted from one’s thoughts.

The power of the verses dealing with our forgiveness of others is such that it backs us right up against the wall of conviction immediately. There’s no room to turn around and run, no quarter given to fight back… and it’s incredibly uncomfortable to try. It’s also the very remedy we need when we start justifying a non forgiving attitude. We require that stinging discomfort of conscience in the face of a truth we don’t like.

Scripture has an answer to every justification we can come up with. When the struggle is with the magnitude of an offense… we need only to compare what has been done to ourselves to what we have each been responsible for that resulted in the crucifixion of our Savior.

Have any of us ever hurt like He did on the cross? Yet we are freely offered His forgiveness.

“Therefore, as chosen of Yahuwah, sacred and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another. If anyone has a complaint against another, even as the Anointed forgave you, so you also must do.”
– Colossians 3:12,13

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as Yahuwah in the Anointed forgave you.”
– Ephesians 4:32

And if there is a lack of remorse by our offenders…

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in the sky forgive your trespasses.”
– Mark 11:25,26

“Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you and from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”
– Luke 6: 28-31

“Then Yahushua said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
– Luke 23:34

And if we deal with a repeat offender….

“Then Keph came to Him and said, “Master, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Yahushua said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
– Matthew 18:21,22

“And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
– Luke 17:4

And if we are tempted to hold a grudge anyway…

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your celestial Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
– Matthew 6: 14,15

“Judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”
– Luke 6:37

Since there is no question that believers need to forgive… no matter what… the only question left is “How?”.

Forgiveness can at times seem virtually impossible. The very sight or mention of someone who has done great personal offense can elicit extreme feelings of repulsion and anger and pain. How does one fight through such intense feelings to get to a place where forgiveness is possible? They don’t…

The command to forgive is a command to make a decision and act on it… it is not a command to tame our own wild emotions until we feel only good things towards our offenders.

The forgiveness that we enjoy from our Creator is not defined by His abstract warm feelings towards us… we would never benefit from that in a practical way.

We benefit through His act of redeeming us according to that forgiveness, and through the blessings He imparts on us as forgiven individuals.

In the same manner our good feelings towards our offenders… even if they are possible… are useless to them in any practical way. Our act of forgiveness must extend the same open hand of generosity that we receive from our Creator.

We have a duty to treat them with the same respect we want to be treated with, the same charity we want to receive, and the same concern for their well being that we would like extended to us.

It may seem strange or insincere to take those benevolent actions without “feeling it”… but in their proper place, feelings will conform to fit our obedience to YHWH… if the act of obedience is never carried out, our feelings will surely never prompt us to it.

Who Benefits by Forgiveness?

It is often argued by Christians that the act of forgiveness benefits the one forgiving most by way of releasing anger, resentment and hostility… an “unburdening” effect and that is presented as the motivation for believers to forgive.

If you’ve ever tried to live by that philosophy, though, you’ll find it very disappointing. You will not magically shed your emotions of anger and resentment as you one day make some internal statement to yourself like “I forgive this person.”.

Nor is an act of forgiveness ever done genuinely which is done simply to benefit self. Our forgiveness obtained through Messiah benefits Us… and our forgiveness of others should benefit Them.

We benefit in forgiving by doing what is obedient to YHWH, which is always beneficial, not because we have relieved ourselves of stressful emotion. Once we obey… then YHWH is able to begin to heal those stressful emotions so long as we continue in obedience.

Should it all go back to the way it was?

One of the trickiest issues in forgiveness is knowing whether or not to reinstate an offender to their previous position in one’s life. If an act of forgiving involves demonstrated good will toward the offender, does that automatically mean they should be offered the same trust they once might have freely been given?

Forgiveness does not equate with trust, and the decision to return someone who has wronged us to a former trusted position can depend greatly on what position they held in our lives, and what the manner of their wrong was.

A parent should naturally forgive their child of disobedience when they sneak out of the house and take the car for a spin… but they should not automatically trust that child to be left with the car keys after that action.

An unfaithful spouse should be forgiven of their crimes and yet that does not mean the faithful spouse is obligated to continue in a marriage that has been compromised.

An employee who gets drunk on the job should be forgiven of their bad decision by their boss… and yet that employer is within his rights to not trust his worker to continue in his employment.

What should be considered in a decision to return someone to a former position of trust is a consideration of what is practical versus what is purely emotional (e.g. Am I denying that trust out of spite, or because there is a serious matter at stake if the person is not trustworthy in the future?)… as well as consideration of a repentant attitude… a sincerely repentant person is less likely to repeat their offense if reinstated to a position of trust.

A Second Chance…

We’ve all been given a second chance… for that matter a third and fourth… etc. When one who has wronged us genuinely seeks a second chance to prove their trustworthiness to us, we should all consider how many chances we have been afforded by our heavenly Father.

We’ve all been grateful for those second chances, and so in an effort to do for others what we would want for ourselves, those requests should be honored if at all possible in a practical sense. This might take time and be extended to the individual one small step of trust at a time… but trust can be rebuilt.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

– Matthew 5:7

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Yom Kippur: The Peculiar Case of a Mysterious Scapegoat

Posted in 02 : The Truth Is Out There... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 07/23/2010 by timenolonger

Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement is perhaps the most mysterious of all holy days given to Israel to keep.

It is widely taught by Christian leadership that this day is a foreshadowing of Messiah’s atonement on the cross for believers, yet the foreshadowing of this event is much more applicable to another day which Israel was to keep in remembrance, namely Passover.

The bondage with which Israel served in Egypt is not unlike the bondage of the whole of humanity under Satan and his power.

The angel of death which was sent to smite the first born in Egypt is obviously counterpart to the fact that the wages of sin is death. The lamb’s blood which is applied to the doorposts is a direct foreshadowing of the covering of the blood of Yahushua, which causes the angel of death to “pass over” the believer. Eating the lamb is mirrored in the words Yahushua spoke at the last supper, which itself was a Passover meal…”this is my body..”

The purpose of Yom Kippur, then, would reasonably stand for a different set of circumstances relating to atonement and cleansing.

Here is the description of the instructions to Israel which were to be performed for the Day of Atonement:

{3} ‘Aharown shall come into the Sacred Place with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering and of a ram as a burnt offering.

{4} He shall put the sacred linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body. He shall be girded with a linen sash and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are sacred garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water and put them on.

{5} And he shall take from the congregation of the sons of Yisra’el two kids of the goats as a sin offering and one ram as a burnt offering.

{6} ‘Aharown shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and make atonement for himself and for his house.

{7} He shall take the two goats and present them before Yahuwah at the door of the tent of meeting.

{8} Then ‘Aharown shall cast lots for the two goats. One lot for Yahuwah and the other lot for the scapegoat.

{9} And ‘Aharown shall bring the goat on which Yahuwah’s lot fell and offer it as a sin offering.

{10} But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before Yahuwah to make atonement upon it and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.

{11} And ‘Aharown shall bring the bull of the sin offering for himself and make atonement for himself and for his house and shall kill the bull as the sin offering that is for himself.

{12} Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before Yahuwah, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil.

{13} And he shall put the incense on the fire before Yahuwah that the cloud of incense may cover the cover that is on the testimony lest he die.

{14} He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the cover on the east side and before the cover he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.

{15} Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the cover and before the cover.

{16} So he shall make atonement for the Sacred Place because of the uncleanness of the sons of Yisra’el and because of their transgressions, for all their sins, and so he shall do for the tent of meeting that remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

{17} There shall be no man in the tent of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Sacred Place until he comes out that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the assembly of Yisra’el.

{18} And he shall go out to the altar that is before Yahuwah and make atonement for it and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat and put it on the horns of the altar all around.

{19} Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the sons of Yisra’el.

{20} And when he has made an end of atoning for the Sacred Place, the tent of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat.

{21} ‘Aharown shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Yisra’el, and all their transgressions concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.

{22} The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

{23} Then ‘Aharown shall come into the tent of meeting, shall take off the linen garments that he put on when he went into the Sacred Place, and shall leave them there.

{24} And he shall wash his body with water in a sacred place, put on his garments, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people.

{25} The fat of the sin offering he shall burn on the altar.

{26} And he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water and afterward he may come into the camp.

{27} The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Sacred Place shall be carried outside the camp and they shall burn in the fire their skins, their flesh, and their offal.

{28} Then he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water and afterward he may come into the camp.

{29} This shall be a statute forever for you. In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you.

– Leviticus 16:3-29

The first action which is to be performed involves a bull. The bull is offered as a sacrifice for Aaron and for his own family personally.

The second action involves casting lots for two goat kids. Here is where, upon close examination, the ritual becomes very strange.

Lots are cast and one goat is selected randomly to be a slain sacrifice “for YHWH” to atone for the “uncleanness” of the children of Israel.

The second goat is then designated as “for the scapegoat” according to KJV and most other English translations. This goat is to be let go alive into the wilderness after receiving upon its head all the “iniquities” of Israel.

The notion that both of these goats are sacrifices for moral transgression does not make a lot of sense. One is slain, the other released, but if the slain goat is sacrificed to atone for moral transgression, what then is the point of also loading those same sins onto a live goat which will depart into the wilderness?

The first of these goats makes an atonement Because of the uncleanness of Israel, but the atonement is For the “holy place”. (“So he shall make atonement for the Sacred Place because of the uncleanness of the sons of Yisra’el” – Lev.16:16)

As the first goat is randomly selected by lot for a personal being, the Creator YHWH – it follows, naturally that the second goat is also selected for a Person – rather than the way it reads in English “for the scapegoat”, as if the lot is selected for the goat.

If the second goat is not designated as belonging to an individual, we would expect the first to be described in like manner, such as “One lot for the goat to be slain to YHWH, and the other lot for the scapegoat”.

The incongruity of the English translation suggests that a name has been omitted here.

The word for scapegoat, given in Hebrew is “azazel”… the definition for which is given “goat of departure, scapegoat”..

The claim of this definition is supposedly resting on the root words – “ez”, a word which is used for a she-goat in the singular and “azal” – to disappear or depart.

There is no question that the given root of the word azazel is flawed, and flawed in such a way that it’s almost impossible to imagine it being an honest error.

The word “ez” is not itself a root definition, but goes back to the word “az” which means, strong, powerful and fierce. The use of the word for a goat came from the goat’s exhibiting of these traits.

Furthermore, the word “azaz” which also derived from “az” and is clearly nearer the mark in reference to “azazel” means to harden oneself impudently or to be strong in opposition against.

The suffix “el” is very common in Hebrew and is a word which literally means “Mighty One” and can both refer to YHWH Elohim or to an angel.

Azazel, then, correctly translated, is “One Who Is impudently hardened against YHWH”.

Azazel is a being… one who has his fist scriptural mention in a book outside of canon:1 Enoch, and so it begins to make some sense as to why pains would be taken to eliminate a canonical reference to a name which only appears elsewhere in books rejected from canon.

“Moreover Azazel taught men to make swords, knives, shields, breastplates,

the fabrication of mirrors, and the workmanship of bracelets and ornaments, the use of paint, the beautifying of the eyebrows,

the use of stones of every valuable and select kind, and all sorts of dyes, so that the world became altered.

Impiety increased; fornication multiplied; and they transgressed and corrupted all their ways.”

– 1 Enoch 8:1,2

Back to the first goat which was to be slain… the indication of the fact that the atonement took away some uncleanness from the children of Israel, in order that they might not be an affront to YHWH in His holy place, brings up the question what manner of uncleanness might this be that is different from the iniquities which are placed upon the goat to be sent away.

Uncleanness here is the word “Tamah” which is to be contaminated or defiled.

This word appears in numerous places to describe physical characteristics of uncleanliness. A Woman in her menstrual cycle for instance, or someone who has a contagious disease in defined as “tamah”.

When it is understood that Yom Kippur, is in part, related to a fallen angel named Azazel, who numbered among rebels which physically polluted the human gene pool, it is more clear what a physical uncleanness might be which needs some amendment, at least spiritually, before the congregation can come before the Holy Place.

The nation of Israel was meant to preserve a pure human stock which was not to me mingled with the hybrid multitudes of other nations.

It still can not be expected that the congregation of Israel was Completely pure of intermingling… indeed we are told several times throughout scripture of the seed of Abraham taking to themselves wives from other nations.

Yom Kippur is also a commandment to foreigners who live with Israel… in other words, that uncleanness which is assumed to be in some small part contaminating some of Israel is surely to be expected in a foreigner.

An offering “for Azazel” might strike believers as very, very unseemly business for the people of YHWH to be commanded to do.

The implication that this goat is a sacrifice to a fallen angel has kept most believers from coming to terms with the meaning of Yom Kippur as it is stated in scripture.

This is a misunderstanding though… the released goat is not meant as a gesture of worship or a sacrifice to the fallen angel… rather it is meant as a means to convey the penalty of the sin which is upon Israel to the fallen angel.

In fact, the word which was used in English to replace Azazel’s name – scapegoat, has, to this day preserved the true meaning of the ritual which was ironically hidden by the same word.

Scapegoat now means to impart blame on a party other than the one who actually committed the transgression.

The very reason that such a ritual should exist goes back to a single, little known sentence which was spoken by YHWH to Enoch.

“All the earth has been corrupted by the effects of the teaching of Azazel. To him therefore write: All Sin.”.

– 1 Enoch 10:12

It was this curse placed upon Azazel which became the foundational reason for conveying the iniquities of Israel to him. Azazel was cursed to pay the penalty for all the sin of His people.

Azazel, of course does not represent the atonement for which Messiah came. Azazel merely became the temporary object of YHWH’s wrath for all that was done wrong by His people so that He could, instead of cursing them, bless them, until the Messiah came and forever removed the necessity for a “scapegoat”.

It is further made evident that Azazel is the focus of the second selected goat on Yom Kippur in that the goat was taken out into the desert to be set free.

The goat would not survive… it would surely die. We might assume it would die of thirst or starvation but Israel so feared that the animal would return to them and therefor bring back with it their iniquities, that they often threw it into a canyon to ensure its death.

It is told in 1 Enoch that the place they released the goat is also the place where YHWH sentenced Azazel to imprisonment beneath the Earth.

“Again the Lord said to Raphael, Bind Azazel hand and foot; cast him into darkness; and opening the desert which is in Dudael, cast him in there.

Throw upon him hurled and pointed stones, covering him with darkness;”

– 1 Enoch 10:6,7

The blood of bulls and goats of course could never set sinners free eternally from the bonds of their sin… neither could visiting those sins on a fallen angel.

Perfect Justice is not served in either way, as the life of animals does not equate to the life of a human being nor can a wicked angel be forced to carry the burden to any ultimate effect…himself having been a sinner who could not pay his own price.

For sin to be Eradicated… it required nothing less than Yahushua, perfect and Almighty, to be our Passover lamb.

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Two Sons

Posted in 01 : The Chief Cornerstone with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 05/22/2010 by timenolonger

Yahushua sat down to dinner with sinners and tax collectors.

The self-righteous of the day protested, but of course we know He came for just such a thing, to offer up a way of healing and a way of reconciliation – not for those who felt they ‘had it all together’, but for those who were, and knew they were, the worst of the lot and in need of some remedy.

Some stood ready to execute the full penalty of the Law on a woman who had been immersed in sexual sin… but Yahushua reminded those willing to dole out justice without mercy that they too had sins, and instead of stoning her, He offered her hope of forgiveness.

Ninevah would have been consumed in the wrath of YHWH. but for their repentance and His mercy, which greatly displeased Jonah, the messenger of their doom.

Repeatedly we see the demonstration of meaning in the words “I will have mercy and not sacrifice”. Repeatedly He shows that it is His mission to restore the un-restorable, to heal the hopelessly broken and to even turn back the irreversible sting of death, usually to the indignation and confounding of individuals who see themselves as much more worthy of His notice.

Unfortunately people do not often think the way He thinks or value what He values, and oftentimes it is believers who become the least willing to sit with the tax collectors or pardon the adulteress, or rejoice over the repentance of those who have been guilty of great wrongs.

What I read of His ability to have love for His creation is really something that goes beyond almost all comprehension. He says, of all things… to love your enemies.

That’s not easy to do, let’s not fool ourselves… it is one thing to say “i love everyone”, but it’s a completely different concept put into action. Not just an idea or a feeling, ‘loving an enemy’ means actively participating in good will towards them… praying for them, earnestly desiring their salvation and well being.

How easy is it to visit murderers on death row and try to bring them, not just a sermon, but an obvious display of compassion and concern? Now imagine trying to visit one in prison who had murdered your own child and show them compassion and concern.

We must be careful where we begin to justify withholding mercy, because as long as this age endures, He has set no limitations upon the degree of evil He is willing to forgive… or the degree of sinner He is willing to love.

What degree of sinner would be justified in His sight if there was a limit?

He is the standard of perfection for which we are to strive… we won’t be perfect in this age of the reign of sin, but all the same, we have no excuse for not making it our goal.

If our enemies are to be loved by us, and His enemies are loved by Him, being the standard of that perfect mercy…there must be no fallen being which is not included in that command, up to and including Satan.

If it comes as a horrific shock to hear that any believer should have “love” for the devil – then that shock comes from a place of having heard the attitude set forth throughout churches and by pastors of justified malice towards, at least, That enemy… being the most wicked enemy anyone has.

The attitude of malice towards that greatest of enemies is not present in scripture.

We are certainly warned to not invite him into our lives… to not model ourselves after him, to not take part in his temptations or fall under his control – but we are never commanded to despise him. Even Michael knew better than to use venomous words against him.

I do not predict that the Devil will ever repent… but that is a complete guess on my part based on the best evidence I have, and I don’t have all the evidence there is to have.

I do know that He created an angel, who later became Satan, and if He cares for sparrows, He has certainly cared for him. Even Satan is worth my hopes that he should find repentance, however small that possibility is.

As for fallen angels in general, I hold to a belief of the possibility of their repentance that does not go down well with most believers.

I’ve come up against a multitude of arguments persuading against it, and yet have never encountered an argument from a scriptural source which could utterly negate the possibility.

At best, there is the opinion that it’s just not even discussed in scripture, and while that’s true in the sense of a direct address of the subject… I’ve at least found better evidence of it addressed in parable and theme than any similar evidence to the contrary.

A really interesting section of Luke draws my attention on the matter… well known as the parable of the prodigal son:

“A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.

But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against the sky and before you and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”‘

And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against the sky and in your sight and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry, for this my son was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you. I never transgressed your commandment at any time and yet you never gave me a young goat that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'”
– Luke 15:11-32

We might be inclined to think of the younger and older sons in terms of chronology of origin, perhaps putting angels in the place of the older sibling… but this is a parable concerning a right standing relationship to the Father – and there’s no sense speculating that holy angels are irritable towards humanity’s repentance, as obviously it states that there is great rejoicing by them when one sinner repents.

Other than holy angels, all other beings are in need of reconciliation to obtain a right standing with Him, and that reconciliation was no doubt offered first and foremost to mankind.

Who could have been said to have taken a long journey into a “foreign country”, carrying with them the inheritance of the Father which fell to them and squandering it on sinful living?

Fallen angels have done this, and maybe it most starkly resembles the circumstances surrounding the Watchers’ rebellion. Now far removed from their native habitation, fallen angels exist as degraded, filthy and desperate sinners… figuratively wallowing in the pig pen, and spiritually starving for lack of the relationship to their Father in which they were created to thrive.

If one should “come to their senses” and repent, it is not difficult to see how the expectation of their best hope might be to return to their Father, not with the status of a son, but a hired servant.

The older sibling can then be likened to mankind… for whom the promise of a Savior has been established since the first man fell.

The repentance of a fallen angel would work on a different dynamic than a human… it would be comparable to the faith of the Canaanite woman who begged Yahushua to free her daughter from demonic possession:

“And behold, a woman of Kena’an came from that region and cried out to Him saying, “Have mercy on me, O Master, Son of Dawiyd! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’el.”

Then she came and worshiped Him saying “Master, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Master, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Yahushua answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
– Matthew 15: 22-28

Indeed… the food of the table belongs to the children, yet the dogs are not denied the crumbs.

Mercy

Only taking into account the reception that the prospect of angelic redemption receives in the Christian community, I am starkly reminded of that older sibling’s smug dismissal of the idea that this “unworthy” brother of his should, not only be welcomed back to the household, but welcomed back with great relief and much rejoicing by his Father.

Unfortunately, just like that older son, many allow their status as redeemed to be a point of personal pride to them. It is hard within the sin nature to divorce oneself from that urge of ego to take credit for one’s own salvation – the very same problem which begets believers who lean towards a “salvation by works” error.

If then, knowing the truth… that not one of us are worthy of the mercy He shows us, that there is nothing anyone could have done for themselves or for Him by their own power to acquire redemption… how differently ought we to regard the lost – of any persuasion – knowing that if not for His grace, we ourselves would be no better off?

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Mercy as Big as He Is

Posted in 01 : The Chief Cornerstone with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 05/03/2010 by timenolonger

Maybe many just remember Jonah and his book for a story about being swallowed by a big fish. Jonah is a special book to me, though. In this record of a man who was given instructions by YHWH to take a message of judgment to a sinful people, there is great and unexpected mercy where perhaps we would instead expect condemnation.

If you have ever been in need of great mercy when you knew you had no right to expect it, as i have, the book of Jonah is for you.

Jonah is commanded to take a message of condemnation to Nineveh,

Now the word of Yahuwah came to Yonah, the son of ‘Amattay, saying, “Arise! Go to Niyneweh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” -1:1,2

But instead, Jonah flees and boards a ship taking him in the opposite direction, He does not want the lot His Elohim has given to him. The consequences come with a storm which threatens to take the lives of all who are on the ship.

After praying to their own elohim and casting lots which fell on Jonah as the one responsible, they tried hard to find a way to spare him but at last reluctantly threw him overboard.

Because of these events, the pagan men who were aboard that ship witnessed first hand the power of YHWH, which resulted in them fearing Him, offering a sacrifice to Him and vowing vows to Him.

YHWH used these things which Jonah meant for selfish disobedience to turn these men who had been worshiping false elohim to Him. It is a show of mercy to those who had done nothing to deserve it which is maybe often missed in this book.

Jonah had become deserving of death for his disregard of the orders which His Elohim gave to him. A huge fish was prepared to devour him, and it did. Being swallowed whole and perhaps even experiencing death or near death for a time, Jonah had no reason to expect his death sentence would be reversed for any reason.

Still, Jonah hoped and prayed a desperate prayer in repentance, begging for His mercy.

“I cried out to Yahuwah because of my affliction and He answered me. Out of the belly of she’owl I cried. You heard my voice for You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me.

All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight, yet I will look again toward Your sacred temple.’

The waters surrounded me, to my soul. The deep closed around me. Weeds were wrapped around my head. I went down to the moorings of the mountains, the earth with its bars behind me forever.

Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Yahuwah, my ‘Eloah. When my soul fainted within me, I remembered Yahuwah, and my prayer went to You, into Your sacred temple.

Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy, but I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving. I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of Yahuwah.”
– 2:2-9

YHWH answered repentance with mercy in a situation which seemed impossible, and which should have meant certain death. Jonah was expelled from the fish’s belly onto dry land.

He did not make the same mistake twice but went directly to do what YHWH commanded him this time, and took the message of condemnation to Nineveh.

The people of Nineveh were known for their sinful lifestyles, and were deserving of the punishment which had been promised them, but instead of pridefully ignoring the warning, they made a decision to believe Him, and to respond with a repentance which perhaps they felt was mostly without hope.

“So the people of Niyneweh believed in ‘Elohiym, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.

The word came to the king of Niyneweh and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, clothed himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

And he proclaimed and published throughout Niyneweh by the decree of the king and his nobles saying, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Do not let them eat or drink water.

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth and cry mightily to ‘Elohiym. Yes! Let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.

Who can tell if the ‘Elohiym will turn and relent and turn away from His fierce anger so that we may not perish?”
– 3:5-9

YHWH had condemned them, He did not tell them if they repented, that He would reverse their judgment, but yet His mercy prevailed over the condemnation that they deserved.

“Then the ‘Elohiym saw their works, that they turned from their evil way, and the ‘Elohiym relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them and He did not do it.”
– 3:10

Perhaps believers often respond to seeing great works of mercy upon those they do not think should receive it, upon those who have already seemed to have received a message of condemnation, just as Jonah responded to seeing His mercy on Nineveh.

“But it displeased Yonah exceedingly and he became angry. So he prayed to Yahuwah and said, “Ah, Yahuwah, was not this what I said when I was still in my country?

Therefore I fled previously to Tarshiysh for I know that You are a gracious and merciful ‘El, slow to anger and abundant in kindness, One who relents from doing harm. Therefore now, O Yahuwah, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”

Then Yahuwah said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” So Yonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade till he might see what would become of the city.

And Yahuwah ‘Elohiym prepared a plant and made it come up over Yonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery.

So Yonah was very grateful for the plant. But as morning dawned the next day the ‘Elohiym prepared a worm and it damaged the plant that it withered.

And it happened, when the sun arose, that ‘Elohiym prepared a vehement east wind and the sun beat on Yonah’s head so that he grew faint.Then he wished death for himself and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

Then ‘Elohiym said to Yonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”

But Yahuwah said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night.

And should I not pity Niyneweh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left and much livestock?”
– 4:1-11

But we should all realize that His mercy is as big as He is, and i am eternally grateful that it is.

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