Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Right Armor for the Battle

We are told there is a time for every purpose under heaven, but doesn't it seem the warfare is outweighing the peace fair, by a significant margin? I'm not suggesting a kumbaya tolerance of everything, but warfare does seem much more draining than proclaiming. War is not the same thing as warfare. A war has a beginning and an ending, warfare is a way of life.

Ephesians 6 tells us we do not fight flesh and blood.
Scripture throughout tells us "the battle is not ours."
So what is with this militant argumentative attitude? I hear so many times about how Y'hshuwah cracked the whip in the Temple. Well for those that believe the two instances recorded are their personal instructions, then by all means go to that Temple Mount and see how that works out. The accounts of the Gospel record a great many more healings and deliverances by our Messiah, than whip crackings and arguments.

Ephesians 6:11-18
11. Put on the whole armour of G-d, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of G-d: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
It seems to me this "armour" is about us. It seems to be about fighting our own flesh to serve YHWH.

Notice the armor does not include a bull horn?

Now to Leviticus 8:6-12
6. And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. 7 And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith. 8 And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim. 9 And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses. 10 And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them. 11 And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them. 12 And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.

Although, it has through the years, even now, appeared to be almost a religious costume, there is serious spiritual significance in donning this apparel. These are the "work clothes" of the High Priest, not the video props.

Isaiah 59:16-17
16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. :17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. - Who is Y'hshuwah, except our righteousness!

Stand, and wash with water before putting on the ephod. Does this mean make a decision to be cleansed and stand in a new life? The belt is mentioned in both passages, in Ephesians the belt of truth, in Leviticus the curious "girdle" keeps on the clean ephod, as in continuing to seek the truth. Breastplate is mentioned in both passages and clearly righteousness is attributed to the High Priest. I'm going to add my perspective here, but Paul mentions feet with readiness of peace and Torah mentions shoes in reference to "holy ground." I don't know what the High Priest was required to wear, but standing humbly and walking softly in holy peace just seem to collate in the image. Is the shield of faith the Urim and Thumim? I believe every indication points that way, in that there is nothing but faith to rely on the answer one receives. The helmet of salvation for the New Testament believer would clearly be associated with the mitre and holy crown of the High Priest, as Y'hshuwah is our salvation, our High Priest wearing a holy crown.
Isaiah refers to the helmet, or knowledge of salvation and the breastplate or heart of righteousness.

Anointing oil is definitely associated with prayer and sanctification. It is the shield of faith, the Urim and Thumim that quenches the fiery darts of the enemy, not our words and discord. For the same reason the High Priests of the Hebrew Scriptures had a certain protocol to go beyond themselves in service, I see the same thing for New Testament believers. This spiritual attire is to carry the Word. The High Priests carried the ark, we are to carry the Gospel of peace. We are not called to a perpetual word or knowledge battle with fellow humans, as our warfare is not of flesh and blood, but we battle against the temptation to "be as gods."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

As A Roaring Lion - The Counterfeit . . .

I don't give much adherence to the devil. I simply don't see any need to. He was defeated at Calvary, and that's that! So why give him so much attention? He is a hot topic amongst the religious, however; and so I'm going to offer my one and only teaching at this time, on the adversary.

What if the best way to lure people away from the absolute truth, is to wind opinion and mythology around just enough of a morsel of truth to sound convincing and powerful?

Y'hshuwah is termed in Revelation 5:5, the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. While the reference to lion is used in I Peter 5:8 to describe the adversary. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: This indicates, Peter already knew how powerful and convincing temptation could be, and he'd already seen how devoutly the religious of his day clung to the power of their own opinions. This article desribes seven points, the seven course meal, if you will, served up regularly by the religious, to the adversary seeking whom he may devour.

First, let me point out that Peter makes the reference "as a roaring lion" indicating a copy, a counterfeit, or a facsimile.
What in our culture would counterfeit the Lion of the Tribe of Judah? All sorts of religious tradition spring to my mind, as well as the Sunday imitation of the Sabbath day? Have those willing to observe counterfeit celebrations in the Name of "the Lord" and ignore the day of rest embraced the counterfeit, already? Ignoring the example set by The Lion of the Tribe of Judah and disavowing obedience while maintaining their fervor for what they say is G-d's Word would already indicate having been devoured.

Second, the adversary gets a lot of credit for current events, which may be the results of the seals opened by the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
Prophecy being fulfilled should hardly be credited to the adversary. Y'hshuwah said it would happen. In all of Job's problems never once did he give credit to the enemy. Job stated it was allowed by Elohim - G-d. The Revelation 6 tells us the Lion of the Tribe of Judah - the Lamb is opening the seals. Giving credit to the enemy for what Messiah is doing is forgivable upon repentance, but meanwhile, those crediting the enemy, are being devoured.

Third there is so much talk about personal attacks. Let's address this for just a moment, shall we? The adversary is not omnipresent, so he can't possibly be bothering all the people who are claiming to be under attack at the same time. The adversary is more than happy, however; to receive glory for the works of the flesh, and even happier to receive glory for tests and growth opportunities our Creator allows in our lives. The notion that someone is always "under attack of the enemy" exults the enemy to the status of omnipresent and lifts the human perspective to a pretty prideful level. It's amazing just how many people believe they are a threat of such magnitude to the works of evil! Sometimes these "so-called" attacks are really just the consequences of works of the flesh. What many call personal attacks could actually be wake-up calls. The feeling that one is so valuable in the work of the kingdom as to be under attack regularly, could actually be nothing more than pride, which is a work of the flesh, not the enemy at all. The works of the flesh belong to the mindset of those who are being devoured, by self . . ., but devoured none the less.

Fourth is our focus on the warfare . . . We are told to put on the armor, and we are told to stand, and we are told to look up, keep our eyes on Moshiach . . . Scripture repeatedly states the battle is not ours. One of the reasons I do not focus on the adversary, is from having seen the horrible examples set by "ministries" that have literally become consumed by this focus. It doesn't take a thesaurus to know the word consumed is synonymous with the word, devoured.

The fifth way to offer one's self for devouring is this confusion of the passage in Matthew referring to that which is bound in heaven and that which is loosed. I have heard folks go from petitioning the Heavenly Father to arguing and demanding with the enemy, in the same breath! G-d shares His glory with no one, so addressing the enemy through prayer invites a real change of direction; regarding faith and answers. When we address our Creator and our enemy in the same sentence, we find ourselves having elevated the enemy to receving our prayer time. Distractions through prayer are bad enough, but to actually include and address the enemy is to be devoured.

It's interesting that the sixth point here, six being the number of man, is the fact that we all say we beleive death is the enemy and was defeated by Messiah's resurrection, but does the belief in our heart really match the lip service we spout. Death has been defeated, the enemy was defeated at the empty tomb - resurrecting an old fight that no longer exists is like being sucked into an old debate that is no longer valid, it is to be devoured.

The seventh and last point I believe would not even be necessary, if the people claiming to know G-d, observed His day of rest. The church actually proves the very point they claim to be attempting to dispel. Proclaiming John 3:16 and the epistles of Paul to discount the rest of Scripture is exactly and precisely against Scripture. Hebrews tells us "our G-d is a consuming fire, yet Sunday religious groups associate the adversary with fire . . .
I've never heard the enemy receive any credit when attending worship at synagogue. Where is the only place on earth that formally teaches about the devil? Satanists, themselves, will tell you their worship is of self. They are hedonistic in their beliefs. In synagogue, I never heard the adversary as the topic of a teaching, only mentioned when actually referred to in a specific passage of Scripture. Church is where the enemy gets addressed and discussed. He's even mentioned in some songs. The book of James clearly states that curses and blessings do not pour forth of the same source. It is my fervent belief that this adversary stalking "as a" lion, the counterfeit; basically only shows up under two sets of circumstances. One is by the permission of our Creator, and the other is by our invitation of attention.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Following the Sheperd or Rituals . . .

Since goats are also "kosher" why did Messiah separate the sheep and goats in his reference in Matthew 25? I've actually heard Christians say that Messiah rendered swine edible, but goats are terrible . . . As a goat rancher or herder or whatever the title is that applies to someone with goats, I've pondered this, and been blessed to live yet another agrarian parable.

When I first began homesteading I had sheep and goats, and they were kept separately for requirements regarding feed, as well as being just very different creatures. Goats require more copper in their diet than sheep, and too much copper for sheep can be lethal, so they were separate. I no longer raise sheep for several reasons that I find quite valid.

First and foremost, they are just not very bright, or entertaining for that matter. Perhaps the Scriptural comparison is more "mirror" than I can take. Sheep are not nearly as sociable or interactive as goats, and I don't like the flavor of lamb as well as I like chevon. Goat meat is so much more versatile than lamb. I can cook goat meat in every recipe I have for beef, venison, and lamb; whereas lamb is good in recipes for lamb.[period] I don't drink sheep milk, not even interested in trying to milk one, and the hardest work I've ever done in my life is shearing sheep. Needless to say, I can't do it the way those guys in Australia do. To shear the three sheep I was raising, took all of the morning, I didn't do a good job, and it took days for my arm to stop feeling the vibration of those heavy duty shears. Professionals don't even consider shearing less than 50. The lanolin was great for my skin, but it was just a great price to pay.

Goats on the other hand, are entertaining, much more independent and survival savvy. Their milk is delicious and I even use it to make products in my business. So, lets get down to the brass tacks of the difference between sheep and goats and what Messiah may have been indicating by this.

Now that I have been shepherdess to both, I have a few points of observation. Sheep follow the shepherd, or simply get lost, they don't have their own agenda. Goats on the other hand, follow the shepherd for three days, then they "lead the way" in the routine, and there is no changing that without a major battle.

Sheep are very dependent and eat the grass all the way to the ground, all the way to the ground . . . They must be moved regularly. Goats are wasteful and prefer reaching for the highest leaves or jumping on the tallest hay bale. They prefer a superior position. I've also noticed something that truly astounded me. Sheep will herd together and color makes no difference. The white sheep do not treat the black sheep or the spotted sheep differently. By that same token, the black sheep get along with all the other sheep, regardless of color. As for spotted sheep, they tend to be the leaders of the herd, but without the king and queen attitude. Goats on the other hand, will gather according to color and breed. I have a mixed herd, but it would be very rare to ever see a spotted goat sharing the same pan with a brown one. The only exception to this color and breed rule is the bucks through breeding season. They love all the nannies . . .

Now, one thing they do have in common, is the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but a sheep will just get caught in the fence, either their head or their wool, while a goat will manage a way to the other side and often it's very unclear just how they got there, but there they are, and they will lead other goats out of the security of the pasture.

Goats like excitement, sheep prefer calm, peace if you will.
I believe the biggest difference, yet similarity is the fact that both species are kosher or clean by Scriptural standards, and no Messiah Y'hshuwah didn't declare a swap between swine and goats. Swine are still unclean. But sheep are clearly and utterly dependent upon their shepherd daily. Goats watch, "study" if you will, then establish their own rituals which are good, but not ordered by their shepherd. Once my goats learn the ritual of feed time or the milking parlor, they lead me, or at least attempt, and there is no distracting them on their way to accomplishing their ritual agenda.

I truly believe my queen goats hear me turn on the stove in the morning when I'm making coffee. I know they notice any movement of curtains on my part, and then the noise begins. They can rally the whole herd to start sounding off. Goats are rather insistent and ritualistic in their expectations, which then inspires my little donkey to begin braying. It all sounds a perhaps bit like some prayer meetings . . . but I believe that's a parable for another day.

If I were to compare goats and sheep to people, I would say goats have the anecdotes while sheep have the testimony . . . If I were to compare goats and sheep to people, I'd say goats have the drama while sheep have the mundane report of provision . . . If I were to compare goats and sheep to people, I'd say goats have "grace" while sheep have merciful instruction to follow. If I were to compare goats and sheep to people, I would say goats are entertaining and sheep are persevering . . . If I were to compare goats and sheep to people, I would say goats prefer the exulted mountain tops, while sheep prefer the simple pasture . . . If I were to compare goats and sheep to people, I would say, "Know which one Y'hshuwah calls you."