You don’t have to be around me very long to figure out that I have one single driving passion, one thought and prayer that is always with me, one desire at the core of my being that everything else revolves around. Simply, I desire to see the full and complete restoration of kol (all) Israel as prophesied throughout the Scriptures.
The restoration of kol Israel is much more than simply having a bunch of yahoos coming together. At the macro, it involves unity in government that is truly Torah based, and at the micro it begins with the building blocks of family and clan that begin to walk out the fullness of what God’s Word says and not the interpretations and additions of men.
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
Jonah is a pretty classic example of what not to do if God gives you a message. He was given a particular message and told what to do with it, yet he did precisely the opposite and wound up paying a pretty good price for his disobedience. Then, he still had to go do what he was told.
Without question, the major battle right now in our culture is redefining gender roles. While this has been building for decades, we have arrived at the point that literally, everything gender related is being redefined. In one sense this is highly disturbing, but on another level it is not surprising at all. This complete flipping of the system is one of the final straws in the revelation that Western culture is a product of Greco-Roman paganism.
Most in the Hebrew roots movement already recognize and reject the pagan elements that have long been hidden within Christianity and have been sifted. But there is much more sifting to come, both for ourselves and our many brothers who are yet in the church system. We have not ‘arrived,’ rather we have simply answered the call in one area…. but, there is more if we are truly to submit ourselves to the whole counsel of God’s Word and seek the restoration of kol Israel.
“For behold, I am commanding, And I will sift the house of Israel among all nations As grain is shaken in a sieve, But not a ]kernel will fall to the ground. 10 “All the sinners of My people will die by the sword, Those who say, ‘The calamity will not overtake or confront us.’
Recently, I have been pondering sifting, bread making and walking in the ways of the King.
We are yet a ways away from Shavuot, but one of the marks of the holy day was/is the waving of the two loaves before Yehovah, a waving that I believe represent the House of Israel and the House of Judah. The process for making the bread involves many detailed steps, one of the final ones being sifting. The flour was sifted, by tradition, thirteen times before it was fine enough for so holy a purpose.
For the grain of flour, being ground and sifted, sifted and sifted, must have felt like an eternity, but for those grains being included in the final loaves, it must have been gloriously worth it. They had been sown, grown, reaped, threshed, winnowed, parched, crushed (ground) then sifted, sifted and sifted before testing, baking and finally waving. At each step of the way, fellow grains, might we say, ‘friends and family’ fell away until they were left in the final pure and perfected hands full that would be used.
How often the process of following the Father, of growing in obedience has felt like crushing and sifting. How many along the way seemed like they would walk this path forever only to turn back at some level of refinement.
Many times I have looked around and been despondent at the ones who gave up or turned back, much like the thousands and thousands in Gideon’s original reaping. The sifted ones numbered a scant 300, yet Yehovah used them unconventionally to destroy a HUGE army of the fearsome Midianites
Do you feel like you are being sifted? Has the Father led you through one new test and new revelation after another until you feel as though you have no friends left yet you know the Father is leading and teaching and you cannot turn back? Fear not! Eventually, the sifting will end. Will you be left in the pile having submitted yourself entirely to the Father and His Word and ignored the tongue wagging of self righteous men?
The other day my wife, Kelly Clayton Rambo, showed me a meme that was on her Facebook page. I read it and immediately stated the corollary back to her…
“Righteousness, even if contrary to the traditions of men, is still righteousness, regardless of what everyone else thinks!”
While I have no idea who Russell M Nelson, the assumed author of the quote at left, is, I do know the quote is true. Scripture says so in multiple ways, but the most significant is,
Whatsoever thing I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add to it nor take away from it.
See? The two initial statements above, Nelson’s and mine, state in part the same truth. Let’s look at them in a little more detail.
“Sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin…” Man can’t change God’s Law by ignoring, overwriting, legislating or even erasing it. His Law is eternal and unchanging. To paraphrase God about some of His prophecies, ‘If you can make the sun stop coming up, or the sea cease to rush to shore, then you may be able to change the Torah.’ Murder is still murder, regardless of what the general populace believes, the government legalizes or how many copies of the Bible you burn. Murder (or, insert any other action condemned by God) is sin. Period.
The corollary for this is also true. Righteousness is righteousness, even if you don’t like it. Maybe people who keep the Feasts of the Lord, something He commands on multiple occasions, rankle you. Maybe it really irritates you that they choose to ignore, or even point out the verifiable pagan roots of some holidays. So? Keeping them is still righteousness, whether you like it or not. Same for Shabbat. Same for God’s everlasting dietary restrictions in Leviticus 11.
What is particularly interesting is when ‘believers’ don’t like a fellow follower of the Word because that follower actually does or believes what the Word clearly teaches. Imagine: someone studies the Word and sees that going to Jerusalem for the feasts is a commandment and begins to actually keep it while others, who may not understand or be convicted of that commandment, tear them down or separate from them. Does that action in any way undermine or change God’s commandment? No, it just exposes the sin and rebellion in the heart of the divisive.
How about a believer who separates from another because believing what the Bible says about a matter is ‘bad for public perception or public relations.’ Division and shunning is better than truth? Really? Pray tell what you think the Father’s opinion is of that course of action. I don’t see a single example of righteous men suppressing truth that ended well. In fact, the righteous in Scripture, prophets, apostles and the Messiah Himself, were willing to die for the hard truths, traditions and customs of men be damned.
Bottom-line: Sin is sin only if God says that it is sin. Righteousness is defined by Scripture, therefore, if Scripture calls something righteous, then we can’t call it otherwise. And, if God never calls something ‘unrighteous’ then we can’t either.
This really is simple stuff, yet people get wrapped around the axle. Do Bible stuff in Bible ways. Everything else is just religion and ‘religion’ is man-made rules for self-righteousness which, if based on man’s self made rules, is, by definition, sin!
So, do we instruct God in righteousness, or does He, the Lawgiver and Judge instruct us?
While I may not have written much lately, life has been very busy and I continue to dig and learn. Part of that process is reading and I have several titles to share. Of particular interest are two works of fiction, based on true stories, that are authored by Torah keepers and offer an Hebraic twist.
Very recently, we had the blessing of hosting Dr. Iglahliq Suuqiina in our home as he came through the region conducting a speaking tour. In advance of his coming I ordered and read his newest release, Two Winters, so I would be able to ask questions of him.
Dr. Suuqiina is a wise and humorous sage, and elder among the Inuit people of Alaska. He is also a very talented artist in multiple mediums from painting and jewelry to poetry and discourse. In Two Winters, Suuqiina uses autobiographical elements as well as the prophecies of an Inuit from the 1800s to weave a story of sudden disaster and survival by the few. More important than the details of the disaster are his interlaced lessons on community, interdependence and survival in isolation. Two Winters is a terrific story that reads so quickly that I finished the 250+ page book book in a scant 36 hour span and was left wanting more details.
I recommend Two Winters if only for understanding more deeply the hearts of our native brothers, but everything else presented is a bonus. You, like me, will look forward to inviting Suuqiina to come speak so that you can ask questions and sit at his feet to hear wisdom from an elder.
Two evenings ago, I attended musician Will Spires’ book launch for his first (hopefully of many) work of fiction. T.S.44: The Button Tree Prophet, written in the style of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill A Mockingbird, is immediately gripping as it spins a yarn through the adventures of a ten year old boy in Columbia, SC during WWII. Forced to be the man of the house during the days of rationing, young Travis sets out on a journey that is sure to touch you as it does the many characters he interacts with. A story of faith, hope and relationship as well a Divine direction, this is a story you will want to read aloud to your children and grandchildren.
The final volume that I am currently reading is significantly heavier and more challenging in its content and scope than the previous offers. Thelyphthora, published in 1781 by Reverend Martin Madan, arguably the most famous clergyman of his time, rocked the world. Independently wealthy, Madan was beholden to no one and unfettered in his willingness to pursue deep truths from scripture. And for that, Christian history has tried to erase his name and memory. Details in a minute.
Madan had used much of his wealth to minister to the least of London, England, the diseased and rejected prostitutes. As part of this work, as a 24 year old, he built the famous Lock Hospital to treat women and he served as its chaplain until his death at 65. Over the decades, his ministry and influence grew to the point that he built an 800 seat chapel that was filled weekly to hear him preach. An enduring gift that he bestowed on nearly every congregation in the world is the normalizing and polpularizing of hymns and hymn singing. He wrote both words and music for the Lock Chapel, songs and tunes lifted in whole or part by nearly every denomination and congregation in England before exporting the hymns to the world.
It was Charles Wesley who led the bright young Madan, an attorney, to the Messiah, yet, according to biographer Thomas Jackson, author of The Life of the Reverend Charles Wesley, “Charles Wesley’s hymns would never have influenced the Church, as they certainly have done, but for the intervention of Martin Madan.” Besides his ministry in London, Madan traveled as an evangelist and orator proclaiming truth with great effect. His further list of accomplishments would fill pages, but it was the fact that he was beholden to none and willing to pursue truth in Scripture, regardless the cost, that you have likely never heard of him or this amazing work.
Hebrew roots believers will appreciate and understand well what Madan says in The Preface to the Second Edition,
A work which militates against the received notions, long customs, and inveterate prejudices of mankind, can expect but little quarter from the world in general, and, of course, but little of that sort of candor, which is shewn to performances of authors who write on the popular side of the question. -This was fully experienced at the Reformation- when Luther, and others, published against the ridiculous fopperies and gross villianies of Popery, they had volumes written against them, in which they were represented in every odious light imaginable. -They were “heretics-antichrists-factors for the devil” – and, in short, all that was bad; -but the abuse of their adversaries had one good effect – it proved how much at a loss these were for fair argument, grounded on scripture-evidence, and how little able they were to meet their opponents with the weapons of a spiritual warfare. (See Cor. x. 4.) Seldom does abuse serve any better purpose in controversy, than to create a very strong presumption, that those who give it have no better on their side, and therefore are in the wrong, and that those who receive it are, therefore, in the right.
Of course, having heard his heart and knowing that there were none who could refute what he had to say, are we willing to dig into his work subtitled A Treatise on Female Ruin in its Causes, Effects, Consequences, Prevention, & Remedy; Considered on the Basis of Divine Law? Madan dared to speak truth to the religious powers and was promptly blackballed and erased from the pages of history. Because of his great love and concern for the women of England who were cast aside by the laws and culture, he had the audacity to search the Scriptures for answers regarding adultery, fornication, divorce and the Biblical definition of marriage.
While I have not finished Thelyphthora, I am thoroughly enjoying good scholarship and hearing truth from a man who stood for truth over reputation, a man who cared more for others than himself and a man who was willing to sacrifice himself for the good of others. I would that there were more such men, but experience has taught me that they are rarer than hen’s teeth.
If you want to drink deeply of truth and understand parts of Scripture that lesser men (and women) dare not address for fear of reprisal, I recommend Reverend Martin Madan’s Thelyphthora.
In recent months I have been studying the roles of men and women and their relative interaction as defined by Scripture. Maybe I’ll write a post or two on what I have learned, though I suspect the topic will chase my last two friends away. People just don’t seem to appreciate hearing the hard truths…
In the process, I found a few commonly repeated phrases that I used to laugh at. Now, I have come to recognize them as lies straight from the enemy of our souls that masquerade as ‘wisdom’ while undermining Biblical truth and structure. Here are three with some thoughts and scripture…
“The man might be the head, but the woman is the neck.”
The implied undertone is that she can steer him or make him look/go wherever she wants.
From a purely physiological examination, the statement proves utterly false. The neck can do nothing without the brain giving the command. Period. End of illustration. But for truth’s sake, what does Scripture say?
Eph. 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Simple stuff here that flies in the face of western Christian egalitarianism. What is especially poignant is that Paul gives this corollary, ‘wives submit to your own husbands’ and then follows with the proof: Christ (Messiah) is the head of the church (properly, qahal, or congregation) and the church/congregation submits to Christ.
Imagine the audacity of a church or body that says, ‘Christ may be the head, but we are the neck’ implying some sort of power or authority to steer or move Him. The lunacy of the supposed ‘wisdom’ is immediately exposed when held next to the higher example.
“Happy wife, happy life.”
This is another phrase of ‘conventional wisdom’ that makes me cringe when I hear it. A related line that is often applied to a wife with reference to her husband’s happiness is,
“If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
Both of these statements carry the strong joking undertone that she can pitch a fit and thereby manipulate husband and house into doing whatever she wants. And, if you will begin to watch this, you will see that indeed, the game is manipulation.
Using the previous verses to set the stage, where is there room for the church to pitch a fit and manipulate Yeshua into doing whatever it is we want Him to do?
Crazy, right? Yet, I have heard these very phrases and watched the underlying actions played out before my eyes in countless ‘godly’ couples.
Submission is not very popular to talk about. It is even less popular to bring up real male headship in the home and *gasp* don’t even breathe ‘patriarchy!’ But where does the Bible teach anything else? From Creation, in Gan Eden, before sin, Adam was head of his house and Chava (Eve) belonged to him and was his first responsibility to love and protect. (Yes, he is not to lord it over her or abuse/misuse his position, but that is a different topic for another day. The commandment to love and the commandment to submit are related, but not dependent on each other. )
The bottom line is that we are to be seekers of truth, particularly if we long for restoration! We are to seek out what Scripture says and be conformed to it, not bend it to fit our desires and designs.
How are we doing? Are we truly seeking to conform our homes and relationships therein to the Scriptural paradigm, or are we pursuing a worldly mark set by the enemy of our souls?
ABORTION WAS LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH WORLDWIDE IN 2018: More human beings died in abortions than any other cause of death in 2018, a new report indicates. A heartbreaking reminder about the prevalence of abortion, statistics compiled by Worldometers indicate that there were nearly 42 million abortions world-wide in 2018. Breitbart contrasted the abortion numbers to other causes of death, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, traffic accidents and suicide, and found that abortions far outnumbered every other cause. As of December 31, 2018, there have been some 41.9 million abortions performed in the course of the year, the report revealed. By contrast, 8.2 million people died from cancer in 2018, 5 million from smoking, and 1.7 million died of HIV/AIDS. Globally, just under a quarter of all pregnancies (23%) were ended by abortion in 2018, and for every 33 live births, ten infants were aborted. Researchers estimate about 59 million deaths world-wide in 2018, but that number does not include unborn babies’ abortion deaths.
Unborn babies are not recognized as human beings even though biology indicates that they are unique, living human beings from the moment of conception and they die brutal, violent deaths in abortions. The abortion number is incomprehensible, but each of those 42 million abortions represents a living human being whose life was violently destroyed in their mother’s womb. Each unborn baby already had their own unique DNA, making them distinct from their mother. That DNA indicated if the child was a boy or girl, their eye and hair color, their height, possible genetic disorders and other disabilities, and much more. In most cases, the unborn babies’ hearts are beating when they are aborted, too. In America, just under 1 million babies are aborted every year. Though abortion rates have been dropping in the past decade, abortion remains the leading cause of death in the United States as well. (Life News) Intercede that laws will be changed.
As we were finishing up the oneg after Shabbat last night, someone at the table brought up the recent brouhaha over the song titled Baby It’s Cold Outside. In their introduction they said that they weren’t sure about the subject or lyrics and that apparently, some were associating the song song with sexist or sexual harassment and/or possibly pedophilia. Nobody at the table knew the truth of the matter, and because of the potential for it heading into areas that we didn’t want to go, we decided not to explore the topic publicly.
So, this morning, after a cup of coffee, I had a few minutes to privately open that can and see what the issue is. While I no longer celebrate Christmas, avoiding the incessant shop-inducing music, prevalent even in the grocery store, is nearly impossible. Therefore, hearing that a song from the mid-1940’s is being vilified, is of interest.
A quick search of the internet revealed multiple articles that cleared the matter up rather quickly and exposed again one of the great problems not just in our culture, but in Christendom as a whole and even, to a degree, the Hebrew roots movement. This song and the current debate are worthy of exploring and understanding. There is a lesson here.
Is it too early to make Pesach plans? Not if you want to be in Jerusalem for the feast….
Consider joining Ani Yosef in Jerusalem for 13 days, just $825. Cost includes lodging and two meals per day. The first four days will be spent serving our brother, followed by Passover and lots of time to tour in and around Jerusalem! Come on! we would love to have you join this international team that hails from five continents!
Like many of you, I spend a great deal of time behind the wheel of my car. My commute to my office is quite short, but my job often has me on the road for three to five hours per work day. The first few months I spent the time listening to music and YouTube videos, but I slowly became convicted of the amount of time I was wasting. Then, three or four months ago I discovered that YouVersion Bible app has a play/listening mode for Scripture. Continue reading →
I miss Israel! Particularly Shabbats! Nothing, and I mean nothing beats silent streets, shops closed and watching sunsets in the most peaceful place on earth, even the Presence of Abba.
A bit ago Christy Ellis, MeWe friend, posted this video on her feed and I was immediately homesick. Besides the incredibleness of what Chief Joseph River Wind just witnessed, notice the peace at 3pm as Jerusalem shuts down. Notice the shops closed. Notice the very light foot traffic, and that hurried, as everyone is headed home for Shabbat!