Evangelism Training

New Evangelism Training Program!

We are happy to announce a new push into evangelism headed by our very own Brother Michael Bishop. Brother Michael and his wife Meandy have worked very hard putting together a series of evangelism training videos to help you in your efforts. They cover all kinds of things like overcoming your anxiety when witnessing to people and dealing with fear. All of these can be found by using the following link. YRM Evangelism Program

On top of the incredible evangelism training videos, they also host one Zoom call a month for registered users. (Don’t worry, it is free!)

If this seems like something you would be interested in, please visit the following link and sign up. We can all be witnesses for Yahweh’s Kingdom! YRM Evangelism Program

To become a YRM outreach partner, CLICK HERE>> If you qualify, you will be sent a selection of our booklets to distribute in your community every month.

Passover Day

Redemption Starts at Passover

Many believe that our Creator Yahweh’s plan of redemption was finished when Yahshua was impaled on Passover day. They assume that His death marked the end of the old Jewish system, including the laws of the Old Testament.

His ascension and the Feast of Pentecost of Acts 2 also allegedly marked the start of a new faith called Christianity, which replaced Israel as the chosen of Yahweh. Consistent with this notion is the belief that Christianity has little use for the Old Testament or its commanded observances.

The facts tell a far different story, which show that the church lost its way early on.

The truth is, Yahshua as the Passover Lamb holds the key role in a continuation of Yahweh’s design for His human creation.

Passover: The Plan Begins

The Passover is the first of the annual observances of Yahweh and is the starting point for the rest of Yahweh’s design for salvation.

Granted, the original hopes that Yahweh had of an exclusive, special people who would follow and worship Him, had now changed. Because of Israel’s continual rebellion, Yahweh opened up His calling to all who would repent and turn to Him. Not only is Israel still included in His plan, but they are still central to it. Romans 9:27 says a remnant of Israel shall be saved.

When we look at the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread that follows, we see a progression – and not an end – of a salvation plan that was established at creation itself.

Passover is a memorial of an actual event that occurred long ago in Egypt. Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread that follows also foreshadow events to occur later in the New Testament and into our own future. What Yahshua did by becoming the Passover Lamb was realized only in part. He spoke of another fulfillment of Passover yet to come. He said just as He was taking Passover with His disciples that He would keep it anew in His Father’s Kingdom, Matthew 26:29.

We see the importance of this special observance throughout history. From ancient days to the Kingdom, the Passover is key to Yahweh’s blueprint for the salvation of His creation and the establishment of a coming Kingdom on earth.

When in chapter 12 of Exodus as one Egyptian firstborn died after another, Yahweh was sending a clear message to all of mankind. It was to the firstborn that twice the family inheritance was given, which was known as the birthright. With the death of the firstborn, Yahweh demonstrated a salvational fact that those not covered by the blood of the lamb will have no life – meaning no inheritance in His Kingdom.

The other lesson we learn is that we can be covered by that blood only if we follow Yahweh’s instructions explicitly. If anyone in Israel had not done exactly as Yahweh commanded by putting the lamb’s blood on all sides of the doorpost then he would have faced the same consequences as the Egyptians. Yahweh had to see the blood of protection at each home, Exodus 12:23. The entire door frame had to have a blood covering, symbolic of His people’s being completely surrounded by the blood of the Lamb.

A Calling Out

Without the blood of Messiah covering for our sins, we face everlasting death. Rather than having little meaning for us today, the Passover and Feast have much more serious implications. The immediate physical consequences that came anciently for disobedience translate today into serious spiritual ramifications if we are not in total compliance.

Looking back in history, we see that Yahweh began a recalling of His people at the Passover, ultimately to take them out of Egypt and unto Himself through their worship and devotion.

He does the same today in the New Covenant observance of the Passover. It is an annual memorial and lesson for all who would be His elect to come clean and not get involved in the sin of the world. The world can easily enslave us, just as Israel was enslaved in Egypt for repeatedly refusing to obey their Heavenly Father.

Passover was an opportunity to re-dedicate their lives to Him, to turn back to Him again in truth.

The Passover was also Yahweh’s judgment on the false religion of Egypt, and figuratively on the false religions of the world. Lest we think that this is just an ancient judgment on ancient people, think again. In today’s world the Passover is a lesson in True Worship as well.

Certain Plagues Are Coming Back!

The Passover, which gets its name from the passing over of the death angel, was the last of 10 plagues unleashed on Egypt and the finishing stroke that finally freed Israel.
Note that each plague was directed against a certain deity worshiped by the pagan Egyptians (see Ex. 9:14-16 and chapters 7-11):
1) River to blood (against Hapi, spirit of the Nile, who had life-giving waters)
2) Frogs (Hekah, frog-headed deity who symbolized fertility)
3) Lice (against the earth deity Geb)
4) Flies (Beelzebub, lord of the flies)
5) Murrain or disease on the cattle (against Apis, the bull deity, and Hathor, a cow deity)
6) Boils (ashes from the altar of Typhon, to whom human sacrifices were offered)
7) Hail (against Isis and Osiris, the deities of crops, v. 25, and Nut, female deity of the sky)
8) Locusts (Seth, deity of storms and chaos)
9) Darkness (RaAmon, the sun god)
10) Firstborn (because Pharaoh him-self was worshiped as a god, his own son and heir to the throne would die).

In Revelation 6 we learn that some of the same plagues that Egypt suffered will be unleashed on earth in the last days.

With the opening of the third seal we see famine and disease; famine because of the locusts and disease from the murrain. Next is darkness. Then devastating hail will also fall, Revelation 8:7; a third of the seas will become blood, v. 8, followed by a plague of locusts, 9:3.

Just as Israel was protected from the latter plagues but felt the effects of the initial ones, so Yahweh’s people who obey Him now and faithfully keep His appointed days will be protected after the first several plagues are unleashed (Rev. 7:3). They will be sealed in their foreheads and safeguarded through Yahweh’s Name, Revelation 9:4 and 14:1.

Yahweh will even have two witnesses testify of Him (11:7), just as He did in the persons of Moses and Aaron who witnessed against the Kingdom of Egypt.

A Crucial Matter

To keep the Passover is a deadly serious matter. Many think of Yahweh not as a Heavenly Father but as a kindly old grandfather who puts up with spoiled children who disobey Him. Not so.
Yahweh punished even believers in the New Testament with sickness and death for observing Passover carelessly, 1Corinthians 11:27-31.

This year the Passover will be observed on the night of the 13th of April, which is the 14th day of Abib, the first biblical month.

The Jews keep it a day later, on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, thus making Passover a High Day.

John 18:28 shows that in Yahshua’s day, after Yahshua had observed the Passover and was arrested around midnight, the Jews still hadn’t kept it.

But from John 13:27-30, among many other passages, we see that the Passover is a memorial. It is not a High Day where no buying or selling or work may be done. Therefore the Passover is called the preparation day, a preparation for the Feast that follows, John 19:14, 31. One could not do any preparation work if it were a High Day, nor would it be called a preparation for the Feast of Unleavened Bread if it also fell on the first day of the Feast.

Exodus 12:19-20 is a warning against anyone who would not take the Feast of Unleavened Bread seriously enough to avoid eating leavening. “Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.”

Remove Offensive Leaven

Each time we participate in the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we undergo a renewal with Yahweh. Our obedience to these commanded times resonates with Him and carries untold blessings. No other observances of the world do that. That is why it is necessary to keep these annual set times and forget the empty holidays.

Most important of all, He calls them “My feasts.” They honor Him. And they are central to the redemption of His people.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a time to rededicate our lives to the Father as we recount the sacrifice of His Son, and remove leaven from our lives in the seven-day Feast that follows Passover.
“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to Elohim, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim?”

Suppose you took a survey and simply asked, “What is leavening?” More women than men would probably know, by virture of their experience in the kitchen. Most who know would probably answer, yeast. But yeast is only one substance that we are to refrain from having or consuming during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Other leavening agents include cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda, and calcium phosphate. Any chemical that causes a puffing up of a cereal grain would be classified as leavening. (See p. 19 for more.)

Of course, it is what leavening symbolizes that is important for the Truth seeker.

Leavening in the Scriptures pictures hypocrisy, false teachings, and wickedness. When leaven is removed, the evils that it represents are symbolically removed as well. Yahweh’s people are called “peculiar” in Titus 2:14 (KJV): “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

This verse speaks directly of Yahshua’s sacrifice at Passover and what it does to renew our dedication to Him. “Peculiar” means a people who are His possession. Additionally, if you are not seen as “peculiar” by the world around you, then you need to reassess your walk with Yahshua.

Yahweh’s people should be an exceptional beacon of righteousness to those around them. And the further this world sinks into darkness, the more your light should stand out as a witness.

Losing A Sense of Sin

Yahweh’s people should be vastly dif-ferent from the world and distinct from churchianity. Churchianity sets its standards and values mostly by public opinion, just as the world does. If the masses don’t like a certain stand the church may take on a moral issue, today’s church will water it down to be less offensive and more inclusive.

But Truth doesn’t change with the times. If you harbor sin in your life, the Word will offend you because it opposes sin in its many manifestations.

Today’s appalling lack of right Biblical counsel from those who are supposed to represent the Word is throwing the floodgates wide open to self-destruction. If more who claim to teach the Bible had the backbone to speak out against sin, the less we would find sin acceptable today. Look back only 50 years to see the difference in the culture when the Word was preached with authority and less compromise.

Come the judgment, Yahshua isn’t going to take a public opinion survey to determine the worthiness of an individual. His standards are right and true forever. And if we don’t meet them, we face His judgment. We answer to the supreme Judge and no one else. He doesn’t come down to our level, we rise up to His.

Society’s moral collapse is an example of Biblical leavening. It permeates every-thing and works slowly to induce change. Spiritually, it is corruption of the heart.

When we were in grade school science we learned of the various changes to substances. The simplest was physical, like water to ice or steam. A physical change leaves the molecular structure intact. Then there are chemical changes that change the very nature of the substance.

Leavening induces a chemical change. It symbolizes changes that alter our spiritual constitution.

To be constantly exposed to the leaven of hypocrisy, false teachings and wickedness of the world will eventually create a dynamic spiritual change in a person not unlike the substance change brought on by leavening.

The lesson of the Feast of Unleavened Bread makes us aware that we live among influences that can alter our behavior and the way we live if we are not careful. To be unaware of leaven is to be unaware of the Satanic influences that can destroy us spiritually.

You can’t continually be bombarded daily by trash and not get any on you. You may even come to accept it as normal. That is what we see today. People are not recognizing sin for what it is.
The evil of the 1960s was in its iconoclasm. At no other time in history have so many bedrock traditions and societal authority come under such attack and held up to ridicule.

The fallout today is an unending stream of perversion and iniquity that is force-fed families through many powerful conduits. Each year the Evil One pushes more limits and tramples more moral barriers until what would never have been tolerated even 10 years ago is now acceptable.

The masses are preconditioned and, like leavening, their thinking and behavior have been permeated with corruption.
No wonder Yahshua asked that when He returns, would He find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8.

Return to the Source of Truth

Many are searching for meaning in all the wrong places.

It is a testimony to Yahweh’s power that at the beginning of our world’s intense moral decay that Yahweh was calling believers to begin a restoration of the truth of His Name and Sabbaths. It is during a time of great decline that Yahweh is raising up a people who would stand for His truth and challenge not just the corruptions of the pop culture but also years of false teachings.

Yahweh tells us here is the way, now walk in it. But most will accept anything so long as it isn’t the Truth. People thirst for the latest dead-end craze. But to go back to the foundation of all teachings for life itself, the Old Testament? Not on your life!

For 2,000 years churchianity has been ignoring the Bible’s true teachings, that were first established with ancient Israel, in favor of empty traditions mixed with ancient mystery worship.

Discover the real thing. Forget hollow traditions of man. Learn the teachings that Yahshua and His disciples taught from the Old Testament and gain insight you never had before. When you do, the Bible will finally start to make sense.

For more info on the Passover and Passover Day check out our 2020 LIVE Passover service.

Here is another great article on the Passover and Passover Day: Passover and Salvation.

For more great articles be sure to check out our articles page.

How He Loves Us

He is jealous for me

Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree

Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.

When all of a sudden,

I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,

And I realize just how beautiful You are,

And how great Your affections are for me

              

Oh, how He loves us,

Oh, how He loves us,

How He loves us oh

 

He is jealous for me

Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree

Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.

When all of a sudden,

I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,

And I realize just how beautiful You are,

And how great Your affections are for me. Oh how He loves…

Yea He loves us,

Oh how He loves us,

Oh how He loves us,

Oh how he loves

 

And we are his portion and he is our prize,

Drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes,

If His grace is an ocean we’re all sinking.

And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,

And my heart turns violently inside of my chest.

I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way…

 

Oh how He loves us, Oh

Oh, how he loves us,

Oh how he loves us, oh, how He loves…

 

Yeah He loves us,

Oh how He loves us,

Oh how He loves us,

Oh how he loves

Yeah He loves us,

Oh how He loves us,

Oh how He loves us,

Oh how he loves

Forever Reign

You are good, You are good, when there’s nothing good in me

You are love, You are love, on display for all to see

You are light, You are light, when the darkness closes in

You are hope, You are hope, when the world is caving in

You are peace, You are peace, when my fear is crippling

You are true, You are true, even in my wandering

You are joy, You are joy, You’re the reason that I sing

You are life, You are life, in You death has lost its sting

Oh, I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms

The riches of Your love, will always be enough

Nothing compares to Your embrace, light of the world forever reign

You are more, You are more, than my words will ever say

You are King, You are King, all creation will proclaim

You are here, You are here, in Your presence I’m made whole

You are Yah, You are Yah, of all else I’m letting go

Oh, I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms

The riches of Your love, will always be enough

Nothing compares to Your embrace, light of the world forever reign

Oh, I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms

The riches of Your love, will always be enough

Nothing compares to Your embrace, light of the world forever reign

My heart will sing, no other name

Yahweh, Yahweh x4

                                              

Oh, I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms

The riches of Your love, will always be enough

Nothing compares to Your embrace, light of the world forever reign

Oh, I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms

The riches of Your love, will always be enough

Nothing compares to Your embrace, light of the world forever reign

Because He Lives

I believe in the Son
I believe in the risen One
I believe I overcome
By the power of His blood

Amen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen  , Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives

I was dead in the grave
I was covered in sin and shame
I heard mercy call my name
He rolled the stone away

Amen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen, Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, every fear is gone
I know He holds my life my future in His hands

Amen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen, Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends

Amen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen, Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends

Because He lives
Because He lives

.

Restoration Times Jan – Feb 2021


In this issues of the Restoration Times we discuss:

• Are we Living in the End Times?

• Yahshua Spoke the Name Yahweh

• Destination Earth, the Center of Everything

• Q&A

• Letters

Read on Issuu>>  Read past issues here>>

Possessing a Positive Attitude

The Apostle Paul has an attitude that we as True Worshipers must possess if we are to endure to the end and enter the Kingdom of Yahweh.

Philippians 4:4-9 provides his valuable instruction:

“Rejoice in Yahweh always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Master is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto Elohim. And the peace of Yahweh, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Messiah Yahshua. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the Elohim of peace shall be with you.”

Paul was no hypocrite; he practiced what he preached. Here was a man who had much that he could have complained about. Second Corinthians 11 gives an account of his many trials:

“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the assemblies. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities” (vv. 24-30).

Despite all his sufferings, rather than dwell upon the negative with grief and sadness, Paul instead chose to look on the bright side with joy and a positive attitude. He turned the sorrow and weakness of adversity into joy and strength.

We read in 2Corinthians 12:9-10: “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Messiah may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Messiah’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

The Forerunner Commentary describes Paul’s attitude this way: “Paul turned what could have sent him into deep bitterness and passivity…into a strength (humility and a deeper reliance on [Yahweh]). As painful, frustrating or hindering as it was, his circumstance never deterred him from being an apostle who by the grace of [Yahweh] labored more abundantly than all others.”

Finding joy in times of sorrow and strength in times of weakness was the hallmark of the Apostle Paul’s ministry.

 

Our Attitude

As sincere seekers of Truth, each of us should possess this same positive attitude and express joy in the face of all adversity and trouble. We must be a people with positive attitudes if we are to endure the difficult times that lie ahead.

Our Savior Yahshua the Messiah also instructed His disciples to have a forward-looking attitude regardless of the difficulties faced.

“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see Elohim. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of Elohim. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you,” Matthew 5:1-12.

Take special note of that last verse. Yahshua tells us to rejoice… for great is your reward! For those sincere seekers with an upbeat attitude, adversity will always motivate them toward great spirituality. They will be a people of joy who rejoice in their reward in the Kingdom.

We also see that joy and a right attitude is an important element of the fruits of the Spirit, as we read in Galatians 5:22-26. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Messiah’s have impaled the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”

 

The Day of Destruction

Isaiah describes a very horrific time in the future, a day of trouble and distress, the day of Yahweh.

“Howl ye; for the day of Yahweh is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of Yahweh cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of Yahweh of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land. Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished,” Isaiah 13:6-16.

 

Our Reward

It may be quite difficult to think of having a positive attitude during such a gruesome time. However, by having joy in adversity and looking on the positive side, we will be better equipped to endure and thereby receive a reward; Jeremiah 31:1-9 gives us hope for such a reward.

“At the same time, saith Yahweh, will I be the Elohim of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. Thus saith Yahweh, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. Yahweh hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto Yahweh our Elohim. For thus saith Yahweh; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Yahweh, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.”

As long as we possess an optimistic attitude, and remember the adage, “this too shall pass,” we have the ability to get through any difficulties that we may face.

 

Yahshua’s Advice

As a final thought, we rely on Yahshua the Messiah to be our guide in how to balance sorrow and adversity with the joy that shall ultimately come in the Kingdom of Yahweh. John 16:19-24 reads:

“Now Yahshua knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

May our joy be made full as we reflect the mind of Yahshua.

New Testament Basis and Basics

How often have you accepted something as fact and later found out it was false? The experience is too common.

Even conventional wisdom often turns out to be just smoke and mirrors built on hearsay and tradition.

Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was among the first to say that the earth was not the center of the universe, and it got him into big trouble with the church. The belief for centuries was that the universe was finite, with the earth at its center, a belief accepted by nearly everyone. To say otherwise was heresy.

The majority view is frequently in error and often proven so by facts. Just because the majority accepts a belief does not mean you should hang your hat on it.

We challenge you to prove everything from the Scriptures, and determine for yourself the truth of what we teach. In fact, when it comes to any religious teaching, don’t take someone’s word for it, including a room full of pastors, until you first verify it yourself from the Scriptures. Don’t assume it is correct and true even if your parents and grandparents believed it all their lives.

Proving what you believe is commanded in the Scriptures. If you don’t have a conviction for your beliefs, how can Yahweh judge your heart? If you are stuck in neutral and are not engaged in your beliefs then you are just riding on another’s coattails. Yahweh judges the heart.

Yahweh’s Mandate: Preach and Prove

The job of a minister is to “preach the Word,” 1Timothy 4:2. The responsibility of the hearer is to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” 1Thessalonians 5:21. Notice Paul says prove “all” things. And when you find a teaching or tenet you may not have heard before, test it by the Word. If it is true and right, then embrace it and walk in it. If not, reject it.

There are typically several interpretations for a Bible teaching. Yet, only one can be right. In Matthew 15:9, our Savior Yahshua calls doctrine that is not inspired vain, the teaching of men. Vain means worthless and without profit.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Acts 17:11 about a people who were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

Their minds were open to truth and because of that they were called noble. They searched it out and proved everything for themselves. They didn’t accept a teaching simply because they had always believed it. They put it up for cross-examination.

Our Father in heaven did not give us His Bible for someone else to interpret it for us. Each of us is responsible for ourselves to study, learn, and follow the truth revealed by the Word. Peter wrote, “All scripture is given by inspiration of Yahweh, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16. If you go by the Scriptures themselves you can’t go wrong. They lead to salvation.

 

Name ‘Christian’ Unauthorized in NT

Have you ever wondered, if only one way is right, where are those living and teaching it? What denomination or group of believers will one day be given a place in the Kingdom of our Savior Yahshua? Do they have a name?

A related question is, what did the early New Testament believers call themselves? These would be those who were taught by the Savior and Apostles themselves. They got their beliefs and practices directly from the source of truth.

Believe it or not, the New Testament assembly of believers did not have a specific name. They are simply called people of the way or that way in the Book of Acts.

The term “Christian” was first applied by Greek gentiles to the Apostle Paul’s Hebraic-based faith after he began to minister at Antioch (Acts 11:25-26). “Christian” is Greek and means one espousing the beliefs of the Christos or Messiah. Surprisingly, it is a name used only three times in the entire New Testament.

The early New Testament believers were all Hebrew, not Greek. The faith of the New Testament is Hebraic and based on the Old Testament Scriptures, the only Scriptures in existence at the time of Yahshua and the Apostles. The faith they lived and taught was not Greek but would in a couple of decades pick up Greek influence through ecumenism with pagans. That includes the name “Jesus,” a Latinized Greek name.

Whenever Yahshua and the apostles quoted the Scriptures it was only the Old Testament they used and taught from. The New Testament had yet to be written.

In Acts 26:28 we read, “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, almost you persuade me to be a Christian.” Although Paul was the one on trial, he redirects the inquiry in an effort to convert the ruler Agrippa himself. He questions Agrippa about the ruler’s belief in the prophets. Agrippa recognizes his strategy.

The term Christian was applied to Paul by this half-Jew, Herod Agrippa II. Amazingly, we never find Paul or any of the Apostles using this name for themselves or their movement.

Paul seeks familiar ground with the ruler and the common basis he zeroes in on is that he also believed the law and prophets. In saying this, Paul links the New Testament movement with its foundation, the Old Testament.

Yahshua the Messiah never gave a name to the New Testament movement either. He refers to His followers simply as disciples and believers, followers, and friends, but does NOT designate a formal group label.

The earliest body of believers was called Nazarenes in the New Testament, or the followers of the One from Nazareth.

 

New Testament’s Hebraic Roots

In about the year 50 CE a crisis developed that Paul dealt with by consulting the other elders at Jerusalem. It began with those who thought converts had to change to Judaism and adopt Jewish customs before they could enter the New Covenant. Why? Obviously because of the clear Jewish heritage of the early New Covenant Assembly.
These followers of the Messiah in the New Testament believed and practiced the laws of the Old Testament. They kept the Feast days of Leviticus 23. They worshiped on the seventh-day Sabbath, just as they did in the Old Testament. They ate clean foods.

All of this is easily seen in the New Testament Scriptures. Just follow the ministry of the Apostle Paul and you will see that. Rather than believing Paul changed Old Testament mandates and made obedience unnecessary, just read what he believed, taught, and did himself.

He kept the seven annual feasts long after the resurrection of the Savior Yahshua. Why didn’t he say that those days were just for Old Testament Jews? Obviously he knew they were for him as well, and he is seen observing them.

The Messiah Yahshua told His disciples in Matthew 10:6 to go only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, meaning the Hebrews, the Jews of His day: “These twelve Yahshua sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter you not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Paul believed the priority Yahshua put with Israel. He wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Evangel of Messiah: for it is the power of Elohim unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

Paul’s mission, along with the Apostle Peter’s, expanded the outreach to other nations and peoples known as Gentiles. Gentile converts faced one very real problem. They were joining a Jewish sect, and to be Jewish traditionally involved circumcision.

The issue was over circumcision, not whether to obey the law. The laws of the Old Testament were never an issue in the New Testament. It was what man added to those laws that became a problem. Many still have the same difficulty understanding Paul that they did back in the days of the New Testament, thinking he taught against Old Testament law.

Not so. He proved he was a law keeper 24 years after Yahshua. Paul says he believed all things written in the law and prophets, Acts 24:14.

 

Paul Never Advocated No-Law

Paul had no authority to do away with biblical law. He had no authority to trump our Savior, who said in Matthew 5:17 that he did not come to do away with the law. Misunderstanding of Paul’s letters has led to the false notion that he was against Yahweh’s laws.

James in Acts 15:19 settles the matter over whether to circumcise: “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to Elohim: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.”

James explained that the law is preached in every synagogue all over the place. They will learn the necessity of the law eventually, but first, these newly converted gentiles needed to clean up the filth from their lives. They needed a cleansing. They must first leave their pagan ways behind. You can’t take the old baggage with you if you are taking on new truth. This age-old problem is still with us today.

There were no great sweeping transformations in going from Hebraic truths to the New Testament faith of Yahshua. In fact, according to Eusebius’ History, the first 15 Bishops of Jerusalem were “of the circumcision.” They were Jewish. The big difference comes in accepting of Yahshua as the Messiah, elimination of man-added laws and understanding the spiritual meaning of obeying from conviction, and not just knee-jerk compliance.

The polytheistic influence of the Canaanites on Israel was matched in early Christendom. In the second and third centuries there were Christians who believed in one mighty one. But there were others who insisted that there were two. Some said there were 30. Others claimed there were 365. This notion came from the influence of the religions around them, some of which had a god for every day of the year.

But one characteristic is found throughout the earliest Assemblies of the New Testament—there was explicit and total fidelity in teaching and practice to the Law and the Prophets, which pointed to Yahshua’s coming.

Yahshua was very clear that He understood Himself in that Hebraic context. In Luke 24:44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

 

Early Assembly Followed a Way

Another significant truth is in what Paul said in Acts 24:14. “But this I admit to you, that according to the way [the term ‘way’ is what they called the New Testament believers–people of the way because of a specific way in which they lived and believed] which they call a sect I do serve the Elohim of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law, and that is written in the Prophets.”

Even Paul was misunderstood by the religious majority of his day just as today. They thought he came to destroy the law and the need to obey the one they worshiped.

Following are some other references to this term “way” that was used of the New Testament church or assembly:

• Acts 9:1-2: “Now Shaul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Master, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”

• Acts 19:8-9: “And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of Elohim. But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the way before the multitude, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.”

• Verse 23: “And about that time there arose no small disturbance concerning the way.”

• Acts 24:22: “But Felix, having a more exact knowledge about the way, put them off, saying, ‘When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.’”

Epiphanius, one of the church fathers, gives us an actual by-name for the New Testament people: the Nazarenes. His Panarion (generally known as the Refutation of All Heresies) was written during the period 374-376 CE. Panarion 29 is an extensive treatment of his sources and data on the Nazarenes, and the salient facts about them.

This is probably the earliest group of believers of which we have record outside of the New Testament Scriptures.

 

Traits of the New Testament Believers

Of these Nazarenes, he says: “They use both the Old and New Testaments, without excluding any books known to Epiphanius (7, 2). He writes, ‘For they use not only the New Testament but also the Old, like the Jews. For the Legislation and the Prophets and the Scriptures, which are called the Bible by the Jews, are not rejected by them as they are by those mentioned above.’”

Epiphanius continues, “They have a good knowledge of Hebrew and read the Old Testament and at least one Evangel in that language. These Nazarenes ‘have a good mastery of the Hebrew language. For the entire Law and the Prophets and what is called the Scriptures, I mention the poetical books, Kings, Chronicles and Ester and all the others, are read by them in Hebrew as in the case with the Jews, of course.’

“They have the entire Evangel of Matthew in Hebrew. It is carefully preserved by them in Hebrew letters.”

Jerome, a church father who translated the Bible into Latin, is another important source of early New Testament belief and practice. He wrote, “The most important conclusion of this chapter is that the Nazarenes were not mentioned by earlier fathers not because they did not exist but rather because they were still generally considered to be acceptably orthodox.”

According to Jerome, these early New Testament followers of Yahshua, believed the following:

• They hold to a very high belief in Yahshua (i.e. virgin birth, pre-existence.) He was of divine sonship.

• They have a high regard of Paul and the ministry to the gentiles.

• They accept the Tanakh/Old Testament and New Testament.

They were not considered heretical until Epiphanius confused them with the Ebionites.

If there is a group to whom we can draw a connection to the very original assembly of the New Testament, it would be those known as the New Testament Nazarenes.

The New Testament is a continuation of the teachings of the Old, but with deeper understanding of Yahweh’s plan for His people. It emphasizes the reason for obedience and the sacrifice of the Messiah for sin when we don’t obey.

In 1John 2:7 we read, “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.”

Unless we get the foundation right, the structure will be weak and will collapse in time. The foundation for the New Testament is the Old Testament. It is what our Savior taught from, it is what His followers believed, and it is what keeps proper worship on course when we follow His lead.

These fundamental truths go untaught in our day with fateful results.

“Hosea 4:6 prophesies, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy Elohim, I will also forget thy children.”

May we not be among those cut off by deliberately ignoring truth in the Sriptures. May we have the kind of respect for Yahweh that takes His word seriously. May we enter into the joy of our Master, Matthew 25:23.

Life is short; make the most of yours by living for Him.

Angelic Realm

Shedding Light on the Angelic Realm Part 2

In shedding light on the angelic realm part 1 we looked at some general characteristics of angels, including their existence, their appearance, their knowledge, their purpose, and more. In this segment we will delve into the different types of angels based on what we find in Judaism and the Bible.

Let’s begin by reviewing how Judaism defines this hierarchy of angels. Because different Jewish scholars had diverse opinions on the hierarchy of angels, you may see different results depending on the source and unique views.

Angelic Hierarchy

For our list we will refer to a man known as Maimonides, whose birth name was Moses ben Maimon and who lived in the 12th century. He was a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most influential scholars of the Middle Ages. Part of his work included defining the following hierarchy of angels:

  • Chayot Ha Kodesh
  • Ophanim
  • Erelim
  • Hashmallim
  • Seraphim
  • Malakim
  • Elohim
  • Bene Elohim
  • Cherubim
  • Ishim

Descriptions for each of these angelic classes follows. Understand that much of the information is rabbinic or traditional, and even mystic from the Kabbalah. In no way does Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry vouch for those lacking biblical attribution. The descriptions are provided for educational purposes only.

  • Chayot Ha Kodesh – “The living creatures, living beings, are a class of heavenly beings described in the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the heavenly chariot in the first and tenth chapters of the Book of Ezekiel. References to the creatures recur in texts of Second Temple Judaism, in rabbinical merkabah (‘chariot’) literature, and in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.” (wikipedia.com)
  • Ophanim – “The ophanim or ofanim (Heb. ‘wheels’), also called galgalim (‘spheres,’ ‘wheels,’ ‘whirlwinds’), refer to the wheels seen in Ezekiel’s vision of the chariot.” (Ibid.)
  • Erelim – “An Arel, Ar’el, or Er’el (Heb. ‘hero,’ ‘valiant one’) refers to a rank of angels in Jewish Kabbalah and Christianity. The name is seen to mean ‘the valiant/courageous.’ They are generally seen as the third highest rank of divine beings/angels below God.” (Ibid.)
  • Hashmallim – “The Hashmallim are angelic entities in Judaism. The word hashmal appears in the Hebrew Bible in Ezekiel 1:4: ‘I saw, and behold, there was a stormy wind coming from the north, a great cloud with flashing fire and a brilliance surrounding it; and from its midst, like the color of the Hashmal from the midst of the fire, and in its midst there was the likeness of four Chayot (living creatures).’ ” (Ibid.)
  • Seraphim – “Tradition places seraphim in the highest rank in Christian angelology and in the fifth rank of ten in the Jewish angelic hierarchy. A seminal passage in the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-8) used the term to describe six-winged beings that fly around the Throne of God crying ‘holy, holy, holy.’” (Ibid.)
  • Malakim – Hebrew for Angel
  • Elohim – Hebrew for Mighty One/ Mighty Ones
  • Bene Elohim – Sons of the Mighty One
  • Cherubim – “A cherub (plural cherubim) is one of the unearthly beings who directly attend to God according to Abrahamic religions. The numerous depictions of cherubim assign to them many different roles; such as protecting the entrance of the Garden of Eden.” (Ibid.)
  • Ishim – “In Judaism. The Ishim (Heb. ‘men,’ ‘personages,’ ‘personalities,’ individuals’) or Eshim (‘fires,’ ‘flames,’ ‘sparks’) are a class of angels said to be the closest to the affairs of mortals. They are composed of fire and snow, and are described as the ‘beautiful souls of just men’ who reside in Makon, the 5th Heaven.” (Ibid.)

 

Satan As a Cherub

Let’s see what the Bible says about different types of angels. We’ll begin with one you may not have expected, Satan the devil.

In Ezekiel 28 we find a description of Satan before his rebellion. “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith my Sovereign Yahweh; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of Elohim; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of Elohim; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of Elohim: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more,” Ezekiel 28:12-19.

This is a dual prophecy with part referring to the king of Tyrus and part to Satan the devil. What’s intriguing about this passage is that we find in it a description of Satan before his fall, a being full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. These are not characteristics we generally attribute to the Evil One, yet at one point he was wise and beautiful. When you think about the fact that he deceived a third part of all the angels, it is consistent that he would have these grand attributes. Even in the New Testament, Satan is described as an angel of light.

We also see that he was in the garden of Elohim and that every precious stone was his covering. As a side note, every stone mentioned here was also on the breastplate of the high priest.

Satan is also identified as an anointed cherub. As we’ll learn later when we probe the topic of cherubim more extensively, cherubim are a special class of angels among the celestial realm.

Evidence shows that Satan was created. The Bible says that only Yahweh has always had immortality, i.e., eternity.

But Satan fell from grace when iniquity was found in him. The reason for his iniquity is in verse 17: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.”

Ironically, it was Satan’s wisdom and beauty that was his ruin. He allowed his heart to become prideful and, as we see in Isaiah 14, desired to usurp Yahweh’s authority.

An Archangel Named Michael

Another angel, who was a major nemesis to Satan the devil, is Michael the archangel. In Daniel 10, starting in verse 4, we find an inciteful encounter between a messenger, a prince of Persia, and Michael.

“Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy Elohim, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.”  Daniel 10:8-13.

Here is an angel delivering a message to Daniel the prophet. What’s intriguing is that this messenger was restrained from coming to Daniel for 21 days while the Persian prince confronted him.

The prince of Persia is likely a fallen angel, evidently one of great strength and power. The messenger was finally able to communicate with Daniel when Michael the archangel came and removed the Persian monarch. This provides us with a glimpse of the angelic realm. Just as we humans have conflict and war, it appears that similar conflict exists in the spirit realm.

We also see indications that there are other archangels similar to Michael; however, Scripture seems to give Michael a premier ranking in the angelic sphere.

Revelation 12:7-8 provides another scene involving Michael. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.”

There are many views on this passage. Some say it’s symbolic, some say it’s literal, some say it has already happened, and some say that it has yet to happen. We believe this is literally speaking about a cosmic battle between Satan and his fallen angels and Michael and his angels. Some believe it is a past event, others future. We lean toward the past, but it’s possible that this could be a future prophecy.

What’s more important, though, is not whether this is past or present, but what we find transpiring between Satan and Michael. As we read in Daniel, we once again see Michael withstanding and defeating Satan and his fallen angels. It also hints that Michael is over Yahweh’s angelic army. This further shows the special role that Michael has among the angelic realm.

A Messenger Named Gabriel

Unlike Michael, Gabriel does not appear to be an angelic warrior. Instead, he serves as a messenger angel; we find him providing prophetic messages to Daniel in chapters 8 and 9 and also to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, and Miriam, the mother of Yahshua, in Luke 1. So while Michael and Gabriel are both archangels, they serve very different roles.

Cherubim

Our next focus is on the cherubim. Satan the devil was once an anointed cherub in the garden of Elohim and ironically the first mention of cherubim is in Genesis 3:24, in the Garden of Eden. “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

After the sin of Adam and Eve, Yahweh cast them out from the Garden of Eden and to prevent them from returning, He placed Cherubim with a flaming sword on the east side. (As a side note, the “im” at the end of cherubim is plural. The singular is simply cherub.)

The cherubim are also found in the following passages:

  • Exodus 25 and 37 – cherubim were placed on the mercy seat upon the Ark of the Covenant.
  • 2Samuel 22:11 and Psalm 18:10 – David describes Yahweh as riding on a cherub.
  • 1Kings 6 and 2 Chronicles 3 – Solomon had images of cherubim in Yahweh’s temple.
  • Ezekiel 9:3 – Yahweh’s glory is seen rising from a cherub.
  • Ezekiel 10:2 – Ezekiel is told to gather coals of fire between the cherubim.
  • Ezekiel 28:14 – Satan was once an anointed cherub in the garden of Elohim.
  • Ezekiel 41:18 – images of cherubim will be used in the Millennial Temple.

From these verses we learn that the cherubim: 1) hold a special place in the angelic realm; 2) their images were used in Solomon’s temple and will be used in the millennial Temple; 3) they have wings and can fly and often have a connection with Yahweh’s glory; and 4) Satan was a cherub in the garden of Elohim before he rebelled against Yahweh.

Beyond this, there’s a lot of speculation in Judaism and Christianity as to who and what these creatures are. As we know, most of these beliefs have no biblical basis; they are purely rabbinic or man-made.

Seraphim

Another type of angelic being is the seraphim, found in Isaiah 6:2-4. “Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Yahweh of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.”

Probably the most fantastic trait is that the seraphim have six wings – two to cover their face, two to fly, and two to cover their feet. Why they have these characteristics is unclear, although some scholars connect a symbolic meaning, that the wings covering the face indicate humility, while the wings covering the feet signify reverence.

Whatever the case might be, we see they are exceptional beings among the angelic realm. This is the only reference to seraphim that we find in Scripture, but based on this one example, it appears that seraphim may exist to honor and recognize the holiness of Yahweh. In this prophecy, we find them crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh of hosts.” As is seen in the Old Testament, when a word or phrase is repeated three times it’s normally for emphasis. In this example it expresses the supremely holy nature of Almighty Yahweh.

Other instances of this usage of repetition are: Jeremiah 7:4: “Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of Yahweh, The temple of Yahweh, The temple of Yahweh, are these;” Jeremiah 22:29: “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of Yahweh;” and Ezekiel 21:27: “I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.”

Ezekiel’s Vision

One of the most striking and perplexing passages in the Bible is found in the prophecy of Ezekiel 1. According to Barnes’ Notes, special caution is encouraged when reading this passage. “The exposition of the fundamental principles of the existence and nature of a Supreme G-d, and of the created angels, was called by the rabbis ‘the Matter of the Chariot’ (compare 1Chron. 28:18) in reference to the form of Ezekiel’s vision of the Almighty; and the subject was deemed so mysterious as to call for special caution in its study.” Based on this warning, it’s important that we use caution when reviewing this passage.

“And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning,” Ezekiel 1:4-14.

Mentioned here are four living creatures, which in Ezekiel 10:20 are identified as cherubim. “This is the living creature that I saw under the Elohim of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.”

One difference between the cherubim in Genesis 3 and the cherubim we see here is that in Genesis they had two wings and here they have four wings. It appears that cherubim can have a different number of wings.

Another characteristic of the living creatures, or cherubim, is that according to verse 5, they had the appearance of a man, possibly referring to their general stature or the way they stood.

They also had four faces – one of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. Many ask whether we should view this literally or figuratively. In other words, are we seeing an angelic being with four faces or are these faces symbolic of something else? I tend to view this literally and not just figuratively, as some do. If what we find here is indeed literal, it shows the diversity, complexity, and uniqueness of the angelic realm. If we could get even a glimpse, what we would find would totally amaze us.

We also discover that their color is like burnished brass. Revelation 1 gives a depiction of Yahshua’s divine presence and He too is described as brass that is burned in the furnace. It appears there’s something very special about burnished brass when it comes to the angelic realm.

The Ophanim

An even more mysterious being is revealed in verses 15-24 of Ezekiel 1. “Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.”

As you can imagine, there are many ideas as to what Ezekiel saw here, including UFOs. Whereas we don’t give any credence to UFO’s, all would agree that the imagery we find here is not of this world.

We again see the four living creatures or the cherubim but we also see something else, i.e., wheels within wheels. This is one of the most mysterious beings in Scripture. How can wheels within wheels travel multiple directions without turning? For verse 17 says, “When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.”

Now we also see here a connection between the living creatures and the wheels, as the wheels would follow the living creatures. In fact, verse 21 states that the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

From verse 18 we see that the rings of the wheels had eyes all around them. It seems that the eyes here verify the wheels are some sort of angelic being. As we see from Maimonides’ list, the Jews call these beings Ophanim, from the Hebrew ophan. A more thorough description of the Ophanim is: “Members of the ophanim rank of angels never sleep, because they’re constantly busy guarding G-d’s throne in heaven. They are known for their wisdom. Their name comes from the Hebrew word ‘ophan,’ which means ‘wheel,’ due to the Torah’s description of them in Ezekiel chapter 1 as having their spirits encased inside wheels that moved along with them wherever they went. In Kabbalah, the famous archangel Raziel leads the ophanim.”

Much of this derives from Jewish rabbinic thought and even Jewish mysticism. We can only speculate what this being really looked like and what Ezekiel must have thought as he saw this vision. Verse 18 also tells us that the wheels were dreadful, which in Hebrew means to fear or to reverence. This must have been an overwhelming vision for Ezekiel.

 

The Glory of Yahweh

One more part of Ezekiel’s vision is found in verses 26-28: “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.”

Above the cherubim was a throne with an image of man, whose appearance was of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh. The word “likeness” here is from the Hebrew demuwth and according to Strong’s refers to a “resemblance; concretely, model, shape; adverbially, like.” Since the appearance was a resemblance of the glory of Yahweh, this would imply it was not Yahweh the Father. With that in mind, the only Being who could sit on a throne with the resemblance or likeness of Yahweh is the Son of Yahweh, i.e., Yahshua the Messiah.

The Son was with the Father before the universe began. In fact, Yahshua in John 17:5 said He had glory with His Father before the world was or existed.

Now whether this was the Son or the actual presence of the Father’s glory, the pinnacle of this vision is found in these last verses. The four living creatures and the wheels within the wheels are subservient to the being on the throne, who is described as the having the appearance of fire.

Interestingly, there seems to be a connection between the angelic realm and the appearance of fire. Evidence of this is when Yahweh appeared before Moses in the burning bush. The bush appeared to be on fire but never burned. In this case, it was likely only the appearance of fire, similar to Ezekiel’s vision.

There are things about the angelic realm that we will never understand in our present life. But we can see enough here to realize just how incredible and amazing it is!

 

The Throne Room

An equally amazing prophecy is found in Revelation 4. In the RSB we’ve titled this passage, “The Throne Room in Heaven.” Beginning with Revelation 4:2, we read, “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Yahweh El Shaddai, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Yahweh, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created,” verses 2-11.

There are several similarities between Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4. John of Patmos was in the spirit, which seems to  imply that he was seeing a vision, similar to Ezekiel. In this vision he sees a throne in heaven and one sitting upon the throne, most likely the same throne and the same being as we saw in Ezekiel 1. As already stated, this is likely the Son in a glorified state or the actual presence of Yahweh’s glory.

We also see a few other similarities, including precious stones, lightnings, and thunders. The thunders and lightnings are reminiscent of when Israel was around Mount Sinai, Exodus 19:16: “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.” So we see that thunders and lightnings are often connected to Yahweh’s presence.

Also seen are 24 elders who were clothed in white with crowns upon their heads. As noted in the RSB, these elders are likely angelic beings of a celestial council. According to verse 10, their purpose is to worship the One on the throne day and night, casting their crowns before Him.

We also notice that before the throne there was a great sea of glass with four creatures around the throne, full of eyes  in front and behind. While many might believe that the imagery here is only symbolic, it may very well be literal.

Sometimes people are too quick to dismiss certain items and view them as only symbolic. Oftentimes this is done when they don’t understand something or it seems too difficult to believe. We need to remember Yahweh’s ways are much greater and higher than our ways. The imagery we find here is astonishing and beyond any words that we could ever convey.

But we need to recall that what we see here is a vision of Yahweh’s throne room. We should expect nothing short of astonishing when considering the majesty and glory of Yahweh. Whether we’re talking about the cherubim, seraphim, or ophanim, the spiritual realm is amazing. If we could actually see the angelic realm, we would all be totally astounded by its splendor and greatness. For those found worthy of Yahweh’s calling, they will someday have the opportunity to witness the amazing creatures that we’ve uncovered. Hopefully this small glimpse of the angelic realm will encourage and motivate us to become better disciples of Yahweh.

Christmiss – Folly of the Holly-day

As December days shorten, darkness overcomes light. Frigid blasts whistle through leafless, lifeless trees. Frozen ground is covered in silence. Nothing moves. By all appearances nature has died. But then, intruding on the pervasive quiet, comes the most hyperactive frenzy of merrymaking glitz and glitter ever conceived by man. Wine flows freely, songs of cheer echo through halls strung with holly and mistletoe. Gifts are exchanged while candles and fires like a thousand points of light puncture the darkness.

Out of the throes of encroaching death springs a wild celebration of life –  all in the urgent hope of awakening the gods of life and fertility.

It’s Christmas, 2,000 years before the Savior’s birth. Or, it’s today. Time has no claims on this ancient rite.

Early American Warning
Contrary to common belief, Christmas anciently was not the celebration of the birth of the Savior at Bethlehem. That connection came much later to this heathen festival celebrating life.
The fact that the holiday is deeply rooted in pagan sun worship was more than enough reason to keep the Puritans and other early American settlers seeking spiritual purity from having any part of it.

“Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen at that precise time of year, in honor of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents to Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ. This tendency on the part of Christians to meet Paganism half-way was very early developed,” Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 93.

No Thanks to Babylon
Christmas, with its trappings of life-celebrating superstitions, stretches back to ancient civilizations.
Steeped in beliefs of reincarnation and immortality, the pagan Babylonians thought that their king and sun-god Nimrod, who had been cut down, was brought back to life in the form of a green tree.

His return coincided with the winter solstice at the end of December, when the sun returns in its astronomical cycle and days begin to lengthen once more. And so we see the burning of the yule log signifying the sun’s light and warmth, and the evergreen tree wrapped in lights.

As pointed out in the book, 4,000 Years of Christmas by Earl W. Count, “Mesopotamia is the very ancient Mother of Civilization. Christmas began there, over four thousand years ago, as the festival which renewed the world for another year,” p. 18.

Lies of Yuletide
None of the facts surrounding Christmas is a mystery. You can read about them every year in newspapers and magazines appearing in December. The total indifference churchianity has to the revelation of the heathen roots of Christmas is remarkable.

Saturnalia is the forerunner of Christmas. It was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the god Saturn, held on December 17 of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to December 23. It was the most popular holiday in Rome and its celebrations are the source of many of the traditions we now associate with Christmas.

But by the fourth century CE western Christian churches settled on celebrating Christmas on December 25, which allowed them to incorporate the holiday of Saturnalia. Many of the traditions of Saturnalia—including giving gifts, singing, lighting candles, feasting, and merrymaking—had become absorbed by the traditions of Christmas.
Unable to refute its pagan origins and practices, they shrug, “We keep Christmas for the children. How can we deny them that?”

Think a minute. Aside from being anchored in dark, mystery worship, the perceived “biblical” side of Christmas is tethered to a series of falsehoods and distortions. Should heathen fictions be the basis for the adoration of the Son of Righteousness, even if He were born then? Jeremiah 10 clearly says not to learn the ways of the heathen.

Saint Nick has usurped the role of the Savior. Children are taught to be good for Santa’s sake (a mythological character who can do magical things), not for the righteous Judge whose birthday is presumably being honored.

Yet, we still have a big problem even if we remove Kris Kringle from the scene.
Christmas promotes covetousness in its obsession with gifts. This annual greedfest is betrayed by the fact that retailers earn up to half their yearly sales during the Christmas shopping frenzy.
What a strange birthday observance anyway — where celebrators gather to give gifts to one another and not to the one whose birthday is supposedly being honored!

Through common angel and mother-child icons displayed during the observance, both young and old are exposed to blatant idolatry. This is in flagrant violation of the Second Commandment not to make any graven image of any likeness on earth or heaven nor to bow down to them.

The tree itself becomes that image of adoration. Contests are held for the most beautifully decorated trees and homes, while churches long ago broke the barriers to the forbidden by erecting evergreens in their halls.

Christmas transfers the ancient worship of the sun to worship of the Son, violating Yahshua’s own words to Satan, “You shall worship Yahweh your Elohim and HIM only shall you serve,” Matthew 4:10.

Tradition says the shepherds came and worshiped Yahshua in the manger. The Bible, however, says they glorified Yahweh the FATHER for all that they had seen and heard, Luke 2:20.

No Command for Christmas
Nowhere does the Bible say or even hint that the Messiah was born on December 25. That date coincides with the Saturnalia, the pagan Roman feast held in December at the winter solstice in honor of the returning sun (god).

In the spirit of throwing in with what cannot be overthrown, the Roman church adopted this day of the sun’s annual rebirth as the birth of the Son of Yahweh.

Significantly, not one verse in the Scriptures commands man to remember the birthday of Yahshua’s human advent. If there were, rest assured man would virtually ignore it, as he does other direct commands of Yahweh. Ironically, this holiday conspicuously missing from Scripture tops the charts of man’s religious celebrations!

“In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” Yahshua said in Matthew 15:9.

Other truths twisted into fantasy include the fact that the wise men never came to the manger but to the Messiah’s house as much as two years later (Matt. 2:11). Neither is it clear how many came. Nor were their gifts meant as birthday presents but royal offerings for a King, of the Jews.

A Relative Latecomer
Nowhere in the entire Bible do we find that anyone kept Christmas. In fact, Christmas as a celebration of the Savior’s birth was not observed before the fourth century of the modern era. These facts alone are testimony to the absence of any heavenly command or mandated biblical practice.

As Hislop reminds us, “That Christmas was originally a pagan festival, is beyond all doubt. The time of the year and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origins. In Egypt, the son of Isis, the Egyptian queen of heaven, was born at this very time, ‘about the time of the winter solstice.’ The very name by which Christmas is popularly known among ourselves –Yule-day – proves at once its Pagan and Babylonian origin. ‘Yule’ is the Chaldean name for infant or ‘little child’ and as the 25th of December was called by our Pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors…long before they came into contact with Christianity,” pp. 93-94.

A person who seeks only the pure word of truth will give up the solar survival of Christmas in favor of what Almighty Yahweh DOES command in His Word. Leviticus 23 lists seven annual observances that Yahweh gave man as an ordinance “forever,” but which are largely ignored today.

These are called Feasts of Yahweh, not Feasts of the Jews or of any other nationality or race. They are for ALL men everywhere in honor of the one true Creator Yahweh, the Designer and Maker of the universe. Shouldn’t True Worshipers seek to keep the days specifically COMMANDED in the Scriptures, and not the holidays man has devised – that are not?