The four horsemen of the apocalypse

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

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Turn on the TV or browse the Internet and you will find many indications pointing to the fulfillment of end-time prophecy, whether in the continued conflicts in the Middle East, the economic woes of the United States and Europe or the decline of morality in general.

Yahshua in His parable of the fig tree explained how these signs will precede His coming. “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh. So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matt 24:32-33). As nature reveals the coming of the seasons, Yahshua states that prophecy reveals the timing of His return.

Two specific forewarnings of the tribulation are found in the Olivet Prophecy and the vision of the Four Horsemen. These mirror and detail each another and foretell the events of the first three-and-a-half years of a seven-year covenant that the Antimessiah, commonly called the Antichrist, will establish (Dan. 7:25).


The first sign that stands out in both the Olivet Prophecy and the Four Horsemen narrative is deception. Yahshua in His Olivet Prophecy states, “…Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Messiah; and shall deceive many…For there shall arise false Messiahs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” Matthew 24:4-5, 24.

During this time there will be deception as never before. Many false prophets and false messiahs will surface and do astounding things. The word for “signs” is derived from the Greek semeion and refers to a miracle. Many will witness these great wonders and believe in the authenticity and power of these false men. Their signs will be so remarkable that even the most sincere may be deceived. Yahshua put it this way: “…if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” Matthew 24:24.

Because of these dangers, this time will require complete faith in and devotion to the One we worship. If we are deceived by a false prophet or false messiah we will forfeit our eternal salvation. “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of Elohim, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name,” Revelation 14:9-11.

Those who forsake Yahweh for the worship of the Beast or Antimessiah will pay with their eternal life. Scripture warns that they will drink of the wine of the wrath of Elohim. Our Father will destroy the Antimessiah and those who follow him. This includes those who receive the mark of the Beast on their right hand or forehead.

How will we avoid such deception? We must know the signs that our Savior gave in the Olivet prophecy and to John of Patmos in the book of Revelation. These serve as a roadmap of that which we’re to avoid as believers. As the end becomes closer these threats become more real and dangerous!

In fact, the Apostle Paul prophesied of a great falling away that would precede the revealing of the Man of the Sin. He wrote, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Master Yahshua Messiah, and by our gathering together unto him, that you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Messiah is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed the son of perdition,” 2Thessalonians 2:1-3.

This same admonition is as relevant to us as it was to the people of Thessalonica. We are not to be soon shaken. In other words, we must hold firm to the promise and truth of Scripture. This is why it’s critical that we as believers prove all things, as Paul instructs in 1Thessalonians 5:21. An intense desire to learn the truth characterized the Bereans, “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These 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,” Acts 17:10-11.

The consequence of not proving all things can lead to deception and even defection from the truth. Paul prophesied of a great falling away that would occur before the exposing of the Man of Sin. Will we be one of the deceived or one of the elect who was not quickly shaken in faith?

The answer lies in our willingness to study and prove what we believe from our Father’s Word. If we simply coast through life without confirming our core beliefs, then what makes us think that we will have the spiritual stamina and strength to hold firm to the end? If we are unsure why we believe as we do, that belief can be quickly snatched away by deception and error.

The life of a believer requires action and this was the message of our Savior in His Olivet Prophecy. This is why He again warned first about deception. He knew that this would be the most destructive. Obeying the commandments and holding to the faith of Yahshua the Messiah, our Savior, will strengthen our resolve and dedication. Any man claiming to be a prophet and trying to persuade that Yahshua is not the Messiah is to be avoided.

Now we might think that we could never be deceived by a man claiming to be a prophet or the Messiah. Then why did Yahshua say that false prophets and false messiahs would show great signs and wonders and if possible, deceive the very elect of Yahweh?

For this reason, it is incumbent to put on the whole armor of Yahweh: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of Elohim, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the good news of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Elohim,” Ephesians 6:16.

Notice that Paul defines the sword of the Spirit as Yahweh’s Word. The greatest defense against deception will be the knowledge of the truth found in the Scriptures. Without it, we will have no way of knowing whether something is true or false. It is for this reason that we must study and prove all things. This doesn’t only apply to prophecy, but to all aspects of our worship.

 The First Horseman

In Revelation 6:2 we find the first horseman and manifestation of the Messiah’s warning about deception in the Olivet prophecy: “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”

There is debate among scholars as to what or who this horseman represents. Some say it is the Messiah, based on Revelation 19:10-15: “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Yahshua: worship Elohim: for the testimony of Yahshua is the spirit of prophecy. And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of Yahweh. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of El Shaddai.”

While similarities exist between Yahshua and the first horseman, there are also significant differences. First, the timing of these passages is different. While the first horseman appears at the beginning of the seven-year tribulation, Yahshua arrives at the end. Second, Yahshua has a different weapon. Unlike the first horseman holding a bow but no arrows, Yahshua holds a sharp sword.

For these reasons, a far more likely interpretation for the first beast is the Antimessiah and his campaign of deception. Another reason for this view is the parallel between Yahshua’s Olivet Prophecy and the four horsemen.

As Yahshua began His prophecy in Matthew 24 with a warning against deception through false messiahs and false prophets, we find here the same message. There is one last parallel to consider. While both Yahshua and the beast wear a crown, the crown of the beast indicates kingship through Satan the devil. The Antimessiah will go forth conquering (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:4) and will rule this earth as the ultimate despot (2Thess. 2:4; Rev. 17:12-13).

 War and Rumors of War

Along with deception, Yahshua also warns against coming conflict. “And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matt. 24:6-7a).

As we near the end we will see an increase in war. The Messiah verified that nation would be against nation and kingdom against kingdom. The word “nation” comes from the Greek ethnos and means a race or tribe, referring to tribal conflict and civil wars. Since 1550, over 100 civil wars have been fought around the world. At present, we see such conflicts in Colombia, Afghanistan, Uganda, Somali, Yemen, Chad, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and Syria.

Yahshua also said that kingdom would be against kingdom. This word is from the Greek basileia and means, “royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm (literally or figuratively)” (Strong’s). The word “kingdom” then refers to sovereign nations. Are we seeing wars between nations today? Absolutely! As of early 2013, news of continued conflict was reported in the Middle East, including Afghanistan, where forces of the United States, Europe, and Australia were still fighting insurgents.

Besides active wars, our Savior also said there would be rumors of wars. It may be only a matter of time until Israel strikes a nuclear Iran, which according to some could begin a world war. From a Fox News article dated February 2, 2013, war with Iran may be imminent:

“Judging by its expanding nuclear program, harsh sanctions against Iran have done little but impose hardship on its people, while diplomacy has also failed to slow the Islamic Republic’s atomic progress. And while more talks are planned for later this month, there is a growing sense that the nuclear standoff between Iran and the international community is reaching a tipping point.”

The analysis continues, “But Iran shows no sign of budging, and Israel’s threat to hit Tehran’s nuclear targets if negotiations fail stands, as does the possibility that such a move would draw the United States into the conflict. Iran could enrich uranium to arm one weapon within half a year even though analysts say it would take years longer for it to actually create a full working nuclear weapon.”

Beyond Iran there is also the un-predictable North Korea. Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of North Korea, has followed in the footsteps of his father, Kim Jong-il. Instead of pursuing peace with South Korea and its neighbors, he continues to take provocative steps that only amplify the current concerns of the international community. In a recent move, Kim Jong-un has threatened nuclear war with the United States. While some experts believe that their nuclear arsenal is not ready for such a bold move, the threat remains and will inevitably grow.

An article from the New York Daily News dated April 3, 2013, states, “Ratcheting up the rhetoric, North Korea warned early Thursday that its military has been cleared to wage an attack on the U.S. using ‘smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear’ weapons. The Pentagon, meanwhile, said Wednesday that it will deploy a missile defense system to the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam to strengthen the region’s protections against a possible attack.”

As our Savior prophesied, we continue to hear of threats of conflict. Instead of arrows and spears, however, it’s now nuclear war, which has the potential of wiping out hundreds of thousands, if not millions!

 Warring Against the Saints

In addition to war in general, the Antimessiah will specifically target Yahweh’s saints, i.e., those who observe the commandments of Yahweh with the faith of Yahshua the Messiah, Revelation 14:12. In Revelation 13:7, John of Patmos provides this frightful warning, “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”

We also find a second warning in Daniel 7:25: “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”

Prophecies show that this time will be especially dangerous for those who follow Almighty Yahweh. The first Beast of Revelation 13, the Antimessiah, will murder some of the saints. He will do this in a time of transition for a space of three-and-a-half-years, as confirmed in Daniel’s prophecy. It will require incredible spiritual stamina to hold firm to the end.

Martyrdom is also seen in the fifth seal of Revelation, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of Elohim, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Yahweh, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled,” 6:9-11.

Some will be called to sacrifice their lives as witnesses or a testimony to their faith. If that is our destiny will we have the boldness to remain faithful? Those who do will be given white robes. The white robes represent the salvation of the saints. Those who faithfully serve Almighty Yahweh unto death will be assured eternal life. Yahshua said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it,” Luke 9:24.

 Protection in the Wilderness

Even though some of the elect will be martyred, death is not certain for all. Scripture states that many of the faithful of the Father, symbolized by a woman, will be protected in the wilderness: “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent,” Revelation 12:14.

The wilderness symbolizes a place of refuge on earth for the last three-and-a-half-years of the Great Tribulation. Here, the elect will find safety and provision (nourished). This word comes from the Greek trepho and means, “to stiffen, i.e. fatten (by implication, to cherish (with food, etc.), pamper, rear)” (Strong’s).

During this time, Yahweh promises that He will feed His assembly in the wilderness, as He did for Israel in the Old Testament during a similar time of escape. This will likely be done with manna, as the risen Messiah prophesied to the Pergamos assembly, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the assemblies; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it,” Revelation 2:12.

In addition to Revelation, we find two additional passages in the Prophets promising protection. The first is in Isaiah 26:20: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.”

The word “chamber” is the Hebrew cheder and also means, “a room, parlor, an innermost (or inward) part, within” (Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon). This “chamber” or room represents a place of refuge for Yahweh’s elect.

The second example is in Zephaniah 2:3: “Seek you Yahweh, all you meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be you shall be hid in the day of Yahweh’s anger.”

The day of Yahweh’s anger here is a reference to the Great Tribulation. Although He will hide His people during this time, it is not a rapture. The Bible indicates that this protection will be a place on earth, in the same way He protected His people in the Old Testament. We also see that there is a prerequisite for those found worthy of this protection.

The prophet says to seek righteousness and meekness. The word righteousness derives from the Hebrew tsadaq and refers to doing what is right or just. Paul states, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good,” Romans 7:12. In addition to obeying our Father’s Word, Zephaniah says that we are to be meek and humble. Yahweh will reject all who are proud.

 The Second Horseman

In Revelation 6:3-4 we find a parallel to the horsemen prophecy: “And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.”

This second horseman rides a red horse, likely symbolizing the blood of war. According to Strong’s, the word “power” is not found in the ancient text; however, based on the context this can be assumed. This horseman is given authority to cause death through the act of war, which is symbolized by the great sword.

As we also found in the Olivet Prophecy, before Yahshua’s Second Coming this earth will suffer horrific conflict. It will begin in the first three-and-a-half years of the Tribulation, also known as Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7). The Antimessiah will likely leverage these global wars to bring peace (Jer. 6:14) and unite all nations under him for the last three-and-a-half years of the Great Tribulation.

 Armageddon – the Final Battle

Yahweh’s Word speaks of one last battle, which will occur at the end of this age. Many call it Armageddon. While this word appears in Revelation 16:16, it does not describe the place of the last battle. Instead, Armageddon is a staging location in southwest Jezreel (“El sows”) Valley on the plains of Esdraelon where the armies of the world will gather before the age-ending battle of the ages.

In that colossal conflict the world’s armies will attack Jerusalem. Zechariah 12:2-3 states, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”

For those who come against this holy city, Yahweh will make it a burdensome stone. As prophesied by Zechariah, He will defend and aid the people of Judah and Benjamin: “In that day, saith Yahweh, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in Yahweh of hosts their Elohim. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. Yahweh also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. In that day shall Yahweh defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as Elohim, as the angel of Yahweh before them,” 12:4-8.

Those who attack Jerusalem will be stricken to the very core of their being. Yahweh will smite every horse with astonishment and rider with madness. The word “astonishment” is from the Hebrew timmahown and refers to a “bewilderment or confusion.” Horses, which are still used in modern warfare, especially in the Mideast, will become confused or disoriented when they come against Yahweh’s Holy Spirit. The riders will be rendered insane.

If this were not enough, Yahweh will empower and strengthen His people. The governors will be like a hearth of fire among the wood, consuming those who oppose them. Even the most feeble or weak will become strong like David the warrior. Possibly the greatest revelation here is that those of the house of David shall be as Elohim. There is only one other place where man is given such a position. In Exodus 4:16, Yahweh promises Moses that He would be to the people as Elohim. There is not an army in the world now or in the future that will be able to defeat Yahweh and those He empowers through the strength of His Spirit.


Widespread famine is in both the Olivet and the Four Horsemen prophecies. In Matthew 24:7 Yahshua prophesied, “…and there shall be famines…” Before the Great Tribulation occurs, there will be a shortage in foodstuffs in part because of war.

Famine is devastating wherever it occurs, and historically has been most difficult in the Middle East. Egypt was hit particularly hard both in the days of Joseph and in 1064-71 CE, both famines lasting seven years. When human beings are under a prolonged famine, they will do about anything to survive, even to the point of what McClintock and Strong call “indescribable enormities”: “Parents consumed their children; human flesh was, in fact, a very common article of food” (Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, vol. 3, p.480).

As inconceivable as it is, Yahweh issues a famine prophecy against Jerusalem that has similar but more severe implications. He said of Jerusalem through Ezekiel, “A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.”

Now notice verse 10 and the consequences of this severe famine: “Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds.” Along with what Yahweh calls “the evil arrows of famine,” He promises even an increased famine severity, evil beasts, pestilence, and war, vv. 16-17.

Famine is one of the greatest threats to life today. According to Bread for the World, “a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad”: “[In] 2008, nearly 9 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday. One third of these deaths are due directly or indirectly to hunger and malnutrition. Malnutrition is not having enough nourishing food, with adequate amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals and calories to support physical and mental growth and development. Children who survive early childhood malnutrition suffer irreversible harm—including poor physical growth, compromised immune function, and impaired cognitive ability.”

As we approach our Savior’s Coming, famine will become more common, directly related to an increase in war and other plagues. Can you imagine a day when you are unable to provide food for your spouse and children? Even though hard to contemplate in this nation of plenty, the future possibility isn’t only probable but prophesied.

 Reminders from the Great Depression

In the 1930s this nation underwent the Great Depression. Prior to the Crash was a time of great prosperity. It was unthinkable that such an economic calamity was imminent. But with the fall of the stock market in 1929, the unimaginable became real. Mothers were unable to provide for their families, fathers were unable to find work and food was either nonexistent or so expensive it was nearly out of reach for most families, and especially for those who did not farm.

From National Public Radio come two personal accounts of the Great Depression:

  • “Unfortunately, we lost the house. I can remember to this day — and I become emotional when I think of it — literally being placed on the sidewalk [with] every last possession that my poor mother had because she wasn’t able to supposedly pay the mortgage. And an incredible number of people came to my mothers’ aid, literally wheeling wheelbarrows of coal to help warm the house.”
  • “It was always a challenge to keep warm — we hugged each other on the floor. We had little beds that open and close. When I think about it, it was horrible. It was horrible. And then the sanitation of the community — garbage was just put in the alley — and did that create a condition? Yes it did: TB [tuberculosis].”

These are just two accounts from the millions who suffered during the Great Depression. It was a blessing to simply have food for your family during those difficult days. Those old enough to remember this time still tremble at the thought of these challenges. Could a time such as this one occur again?

 A Second Great Depression

With the national debt increasing rapidly, coupled with a lethargic economy, such a scenario does indeed exist. Wayne Root, former Presidential candidate and the 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee, explains why such a situation is not only possible, but also why today’s economic disaster might be much worse:

“….This time the results are going to be dramatically worse than 1929. This time we are facing The Greatest Depression ever. Why? Because The Great Depression had NONE of the structural, economic, and social problems, nor the massive obligations we are now facing. Read the facts:

  • In 1929 America was not $16 trillion in debt, and facing over $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. That’s over $360,000 in debt per citizen.
  • In 1929 most states were not bankrupt, insolvent and dependent on federal government handouts to survive….
  • In 1929 we did not have 21 million government employees with bloated salaries, huge pensions, and free health care for life. Today 1 out of 5 federal employees earns over $100,000.
  • Today, 77,000 federal employees earn more than the governors of their states.
  • Staggering numbers of federal government employees retire at a young age with $100,000 pensions for life.
  • Unfortunately on the state and local levels it’s even worse. There is now nearly $4 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities for state government employees.
  • Protected by their unions and the politicians they elect, government employees are bankrupting America. In Illinois there are retired government employees making over $425,000 per year.
  • In 1929, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid didn’t exist. The federal government had no such obligations threatening to consume the entire federal budget within a few years.”

With all these uncertainties, this nation and much of the world are teetering on crises. If this day ever arrives, such a disaster would usher in famine and other prophetic signs that our Savior predicted would come to pass before His coming.

 The Third Horseman

The plague of famine is also seen in the third horseman of Revelation 6: “And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (vv. 5-6).

“Balances” is key here. According to Barnes’ Notes, “This word properly means a yoke, serving to couple anything together, as a yoke for cattle. Hence it is used to denote the beam of a balance, or of a pair of scales—and is evidently so used here.” These balances indicate the shortage and scarcity of food. The word “penny” refers to the denarius, a Roman coin that was worth about one day’s wages. A quart of wheat or three quarts of barley is considered the rations for one man, specifically a soldier. The prophesied famine will be so severe that it will require an entire day’s wage to purchase the rations for one man. Where will this leave millions of families with children and those tending to the needs of others? It is not hard to envision a population that will do just about anything to obtain for themselves whatever food is available.

Now, why is this horseman told not to hurt the oil and wine? This passage has led to several interpretations. Some scholars point out that these represent discretionary items typically reserved for the rich and will be abundant. Key food staples like wheat, corn and barley, on the other hand, will be extremely scarce.

 Death from Disease

The last plague is death from pestilence. In Luke 21:11, a parallel to Matthew 24, Yahshua prophesied, “…and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.” The word “pestilence” comes from the Greek loimos and means a plague or disease. Before Yahshua’s coming, diseases will increase.

Some of the most common diseases today include: cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In addition to these, there are several more ominous maladies such as the bird flu and mad cow disease.

One of the worst plagues in our modern age is the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of transmission is homosexuality and drug use. From CDC’s Fact Sheets, “Gay, bisexual, and other men who have [relations] with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV. In 2009, MSM accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections, and MSM with a history of injection drug use (MSM-IDU) accounted for an additional 3% of new infections. That same year, young MSM accounted for 69% of new HIV infections among persons aged 13–29 and 44% of infections among all MSM. At the end of 2009, an estimated 441,669 (56%) persons living with an HIV diagnosis in the US were MSM or MSM-IDU.”

Homosexuality and drug use are diametrically opposed to Yahweh’s Word; homosexuality being called an abomination (Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:27; 1Cor. 6:9). Is this simply a coincidence or a curse for not following our Father in heaven?

Ironically, we find that those who worship the Beast’s image will also suffer from a horrific plague, “And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image,” Revelation 16:2. The word “sore” is derived from the Greek helkos and refers to an ulcer or to an open wound. We also find a similar curse in the Old Testament: “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of Yahweh thy Elohim, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee…Yahweh will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed,” Deuteronomy 28:15, 27.

 The Fourth Horseman

The parallel account to this sign is found in the final of the four horsemen. “And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” (Rev 6:7-8).

The word “pale” is from the Greek chloros and means, “greenish” (Strong’s). Some scholars attribute this pale-greenish color to sickness and disease. The rider on the horse is called Death, being derived from this Greek hades, symbolizing its purpose. The word “hades” simply refers to the grave. In addition to representing pestilence, the fourth horseman likely represents the cumulative death that will befall mankind during the Tribulation. He is given power to bring death by sword, by famine and by disease. In essence, he is the cumulative impact of the previous three.

 Holding Firm

As Israel had to endure the first four plagues of Egypt, it appears that the saints will suffer from these Four Horsemen. Consequently, it is imperative that His people remain strong in Almighty Yahweh and Yahshua the Messiah. We must place our trust in the One we worship. If we falter in faith, we may lose the very hope that we treasure.

John in Revelation 2:10 wrote: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Even though this was written historically to the assembly in Smyrna, the message is also prophetic for the last days. Yahshua says here to not fear death. Those who overcome and are faithful to death will receive a crown of life. There is not a greater promise in Yahweh’s Word. No matter what we may suffer in this life, it is inconsequential when compared to the promise of Yahweh’s Kingdom.

As believers what must we do to be saved? We must obey the commandments and have faith in Yahshua the Messiah. We find this in several passages in the book of Revelation: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of Yahweh, and have the testimony of Yahshua Messiah,” 12:17.

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of Yahweh, and the faith of Yahshua,” 14:12.

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city,” 22:14.

From these three key passages we find that we must obey our Father in heaven and believe or have faith in the testimony of Yahshua the Messiah. They go hand-in-hand and are not mutually exclusive. Contrary to popular belief, obedience and faith are not at odds with each other. James explains that faith and obedience work in concert. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works,” James 2:17-18. We show our faith by our life actions, including obedience to our Father in heaven.

Those who obey the commandments and have faith in Yahshua the Messiah will be tested as never before. For this reason it’s incumbent that we stand strong and hold firm unto the end! Those who do will be blessed immeasurably.

As Yahshua prophesied in His Olivet Prophecy, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory,” Luke 21:25-27.

Even though the Great Tribulation will bring unparalleled deception, war, famine, and disease, for the faithful the end will be one of great blessings. As Yahshua with His angels descend from heaven, those who stand firm unto the end will look up and see their redemption or salvation drawing near. At this time, those who died in Messiah will arise and those alive will be caught up together with them to meet Yahshua the Messiah in the clouds as He descends to the earth, 1Thessalonians 4:16-17.

If you yearn for the blessings of our Father in heaven and Savior, then the time is now for us to fully dedicate our lives to them. Salvation comes not through passiveness, but through an earnest desire to wholly commit our lives to Almighty Yahweh and our Savior, Yahshua the Messiah!

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The Truth About Acts 15

A first-century lesson to new converts who had a background in pagan religion clears up a common misunderstanding today about Acts 15 and obedience.

The activity and success of the Apostles was creating in­creasing interest among the Gentiles. The pressure by the Sadducees and especially the Pharisees had stifled the conversion of Jews to the Savior.

Now the pertinent question con­fronting the Antioch Assembly, which Paul and Barnabas were to help answer, was how necessary is circumcision for the Gentiles? The Jewish leadership said it was mandatory. “And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1).

Missionaries of the Assembly at Antioch, however, had accepted uncircumcised Gentile believers into their ranks. Be­cause the issue was raised, Paul and Barnabas, along with some others, were sent by the Assembly to Jerusalem to see what should be required of the Gentiles coming into the Assembly.

Jerusalem‘s Influence

In Acts 8: 14, the Jerusalem apostles had sent Peter and John to help the brethren in Samaria with their question concerning baptism of Gentiles. A later Jerusalem meeting recorded in Acts 21:18 was to clear suspicions of Paul. Jerusalem was looked upon as the spiri­tual center for the scattered assemblies. Now they were to recommend a course of action in dealing with Gentile converts.

Peter said there is no difference among peoples in Yahweh’s eyes: “And Elohim which knows the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as He did unto us, and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:8-9).

Peter emphasizes that Yahweh gave the Holy Spirit to both Samaritans and Romans, that everyone potentially can be saved by the grace of Yahshua. The nagging question remained: Why then was circumcision required for any man to enter the Temple? (Ezek. 44:7).

One issue was already clear. Yahshua is now our High Priest and we are not required to of­fer animal sacrifices in the Temple. We can approach Yahweh directly anywhere, any time, once we acceptYahshua. He explained this to the woman at the well: “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. Yahweh is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth(John 4:23-24).

Animal Sacrifices and Physical Circumcision

Upon hearing of the matter of circumcision of Gentiles, both Paul and Barnabas recalled their experiences of miracles and the wonderful things that had taken place among the Gentiles who gladly accepted their message. James the brother of Yahshua then summarized the decision of the Apostles: “Simeon [Peter] has declared how Yahweh at the first did visit the Gen­tiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written” (Acts 15:14-15).

James goes to some length to show that Yahweh’s purpose is to reveal Himself to the Gentiles, to take from them a group of people for His Name. Not to save the world now, but to take out a nucleus of chosen faithful from both Israel and the Gentiles. These will become the kings and priests to rule in the Kingdom, Revela­tion 1:6. The salvation of the world comes later, Revelation 20:6.

“After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after Yahweh, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my Name is called, says Yahweh,who does all these things” (Acts 15:16-17).

James emphasizes that Yahweh is now calling out a special people. The called-out ones today are of the Melchizedek priesthood under Mes­siah. Animal sacrifices and circumci­sion are not required of us, for this “residue of men” will be baptized into His Name,and called by His Name. Circumcision has a deeper meaning already explained in the Old Testament as being humble and of a willing heart: “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked” (Deut. 10: 16). We are to love Yahweh with all our heart and be obedient to Him in all things. He will soften the heart of our offspring and lead them to obedience:

“And Yahweh your Elohim will cir­cumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deut. 30:6).

Circumcise the Heart

The New Testament teaches that cir­cumcision is not a great concern for the people of Yahweh. Our goal should be obedience to Yahweh and to His Commandments, His way of life: Paul wrote, “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of Yahweh” is what is important (l Cor. 7: 19). When a person is baptized into the body of Messiah,he or she stands before Yahweh as sinless. All sins are washed away, and we are jus­tified in Yahweh’s eyes, washed clean of our past.

Henceforth we can go directly to Yahweh in prayer and have our sins for­given. We are now a new creature, a son or daughter of the Most High Elohim. Baptism is a cleansing, and with repentance is referred to as the circumcision made without hands. “In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Messiah” (Col. 2: 11).

James then goes on to caution the brethren not to make things difficult for the new Gentile converts by expecting them to keep the sacrificial laws and be circumcised. When one is converted to Yahwehs truth and follows it, then one is circumcised in heart. That is what Yahweh wants!

Remove Practices of Heathenism

His next suggestion was that a letter be written to all the Gentiles with the fol­lowing message: “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 has in every city them that preach him, being read in the syna­gogues every sabbath day” (Acts 15:20-21).

This letter to the Gentiles has four special prohibitions mentioned: 1) have nothing to do with idols, 2) no fornica­tion, 3) eat no strangled animal, 4) drink no blood. Why these four? Simply because these customs of the Gentiles played prominently in their former worship. They had before worshiped idols and dealt with temple prostitutes. They of­ten ate strangled animals in order to eat the life-blood of that animal. They also drank blood from an ani­mal, assuming to transfer to themselves the strength that was in the blood of a bull or goat.

The Gentiles were to avoid these four habitual practices immediately. Then, James says, they will in time learn the rest of Yahweh’s truth be­cause when they attend the synagogues or assemblies every Sabbath, the other laws will be preached and ex­plained to them.

Jamessummary of the proposed action pleased the apostles and elders along with the entire assembly. They decided to send theirselected men to Antioch with the following letter: “The apostles and elders, your brother, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syriaand Cilicia:Greetings, We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your mindsby what they said. So we all agree to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul- men who have risked their livesfor the name of our Sovereign Yahshua the Messiah. Therefore, we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are toabstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell(NIV, Acts 15:23-29).

A Starting Point

This letter does not specifically include the point that each Sabbath the laws of Yahweh would be taught by reading of the Torah each week in the synagogue. But from verse 21 we learn that such is the intent. A removal of offend­ing practices was the starting point, while more truth would be revealed once these abominations were elimi­nated. Silas, Paul, and Barnabas stayed in Antioch for some time teaching the people more of Yahwehs truths.

Paul and Silas later went on to Derbe and Lystra where Paul met young Timothy. They continued to de­liver the letter warning thegentiles to desist from idol worship, from drink­ing blood, eating strangled meat, and from sexual immorality. They were also expected to observe the Sabbath each week and join in worship with the assembly.

“And as they went through the cit­ies, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the assemblies established in the faith, and increased in number daily(Acts 16:4-5). In Acts 21 Paul was commended for his activities among the Gentiles. The elders glorified Yahweh over the thou­sands among the Jews that believed. However, there was gossip that Paul was teaching the Jews who were among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after their cus­toms.

To convince the people of his integ­rity, Paul was advised to purify himself with four other men who had a vow. Paul then could dispel any doubting, while the truth would be shown that Paul was orderly, keeping the law, verses 21-24.

Words Added to the Text

Verses 2526 are quoted below to show that translators have added the capitalized words that are not in the text of Acts 21. Carnal man strives hard to do away with the law and set aside obedi­ence, calling it bondage. But Paul kept the law and taught us to keep it as well.

As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written [and] con­cluded THAT THEY OBSERVE NO SUCH THING, SAVE ONLYthat they keep themselves from [things] of­fered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them en­tered into the temple, to signify the ac­complishment of the days of purifica­tion, until that an offering should be offered for everyone of them(Acts 21:25-26, boldface words not in the text, omitted by newerversions).

To recap, Acts 15 is the account of the Jerusalem meeting of the Elders in deciding how to deal with Gentiles who become a part of the assembly. There were four pagan customs they were to refrain from participating in as they began their walk with the Savior.

They were also expected to meet with brethren on the Sabbath where they would have Moses taught and the Torah expounded to them. Note that the Gentiles were to be taught from the Old Testament, the teachings of Moses. Perhaps some day we can join the great thronYahweh is preparing and teach and help others in the Kingdom. We read of this prophecy in Isaiah:“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of Yahwehs house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exaltedabove the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many peopleshall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word ofYahweh from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more(Isa. 2:24).

Paul answers those who would return to physical circumcision, “For in Yahshua the Messiah neither circumci­sion avails any thing, nor uncircum­cision; but faith which works by love” (Gal. 5: 6). May his words be a guide to all who would miss the spirit of the law whilekeeping the letter.

by Donald R. Mansager

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

‘Prophet’eers Merchandising the Message

Long before the days of the slick, silver-haired as well as silver-tongued televangelists there were those who found gain and personal profit from the Word of Yahweh. The account of the moneychangers in the temple is one of the most shameful and condemnatory behaviors Yahshua addressed in the New Testament. It is also one of the only times we see His anger flare into a physical response.

“And Yahshua went into the temple of Yahweh, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, my house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves,” Matthew 21:12-13.

Today’s Moneychangers

Modern examples of shameless money-changing in the temple are found in large and small congregations alike. Coffee shops and other vendors pollute church vestibules, carnivals raise cash in the church basement and restaurants and book stores do brisk business on days of worship inside some mega-churches. The justification is always the same: “This is to help fund the work of g-d.” What’s next, selling tickets for next week’s sermon?

All of this is really not surprising, considering that most of today’s Bible believers do not understand or keep the Sabbath command in any way, shape or form. The prohibition of buying (or working) on the Sabbath is not even an afterthought. Blind followers of the blind stop at the chain store on the way home from church to purchase materials for their Sunday afternoon hobby or building project after visiting the family steakhouse for lunch.inventory

I am really not surprised with those L-rd’s-day worshipers who have strayed so far from the Torah of Yahweh. Their behavior is a foregone conclusion. What concerns me is a little closer to home.

Blurring Lines

For decades the Sacred Name Movement has been relatively free from the commercialization common in churchianity. You would never find a Sacred Name believer merchandising the Word of Yahweh. The Sacred Name standard has always been to “Freely give” all materials, or for more expensive works like Bibles or magazines, a donation to cover “costs.”

As the Hebrew Roots movement has grown in the last 15 years (springing from Christianity and adopting the Sacred Names and the Feasts), the lines between what many today call “Messianic” and Sacred Name have been considerably blurred. As one brother put it, “The Sacred Name was Hebrew Roots before Hebrew Roots was cool.”

Among the church baggage that has been brought over into this movement. i.e. trinity, oneness etc., the merchandising of Yahweh’s Word has been the most evident.

Many of these teachers beg for money, collect tithes, and then sell books and videos for outrageous prices. Some give excuses for such merchandising, saying, “Well, they have to live as well.” Such was an acquittal from an individual who was defending the cost of a $30 holy day calendar (YRM gives them away free of charge).

One “teacher” sends several e-mails a day selling or “hawking” his religious merchandise. Visit some Messianic websites and from the jargon you would think you accidentally clicked on the site of some department store. Advertising slogans like “limited time offer” or one of my personal favorites, “inventory reduction sale” pepper their promotions.

Repackaging the Truth

The Sacred Name has been proclaiming and publishing the Name of Yahweh gratis for eight decades. Recently an attractively packaged DVD expounding the Sacred Name of Yahweh was being offered for $50. The part that made my stomach turn was finding out that this is the same material the Sacred Name movement has been teaching for free.

The Word of Yahweh was never meant to be sold but freely distributed. Yahshua says in Matthew 10:8: “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” One of these religion salesmen twisted this Scripture by adding the word “now” to it, saying “Freely you have received now you freely give.” (That still didn’t explain his price tag.)

Revelation 22:18 harshly denounces anyone who puts words in Yahweh’s mouth: “For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, Elohim shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.”

Dividing the Messenger

We are instructed to rightly divide the Word of truth and hold teachers accountable for their actions. The Word of Yahweh is not an avenue to wealth or personal gain but quite the opposite. The Truth of Yahweh should be a sacrifice of love and deep concern for the salvation of others by bringing them into right understanding. That was always Yahshua’s example. He never merchandised His message.

Yahshua once ran into a rich young ruler seeking salvation and claiming to have followed the commandments from his youth, but was more concerned with his “possessions” than following Yahweh: “Now when Yahshua heard these things, he said unto him, Yet you lack one thing: sell all that you have, and distribute unto the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Yahshua saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of Elohim!” Luke 18:22-25.

This ministry will always freely distribute the Word without profiting by it. Your tithes and generous offerings allow us to do that. We will abide by the same means Yahweh established to promulgate His Truth by never selling it for profit. Making a commodity of the Word is one of the most egregious of sins, utterly detestable to Yahshua, and believers must turn from those who traffic in it.

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

What’s Important in Life

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” This is not the most cheery way to start a book, but this is how King Solomon began his book in Ecclesiastes 1:2. How did Solomon come to this conclusion?

As we will find in the Book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon contrived a great experiment in his life to find out what really satisfies and what is truly important in life. Solomon was able to take on such an experiment better than anyone because of who he was. He has much to teach us.


Short Solomon Bio

Solomon was born into royalty through his father King David, who was ruler of Israel. When King David died and Solomon took the throne, Yahweh came to Solomon in a dream in 1Kings 3 and told him to ask for whatever he desired. Verses 9-12 give the account of how Solomon responded, and then how Yahweh responded back:

“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased Yahweh, that Solomon had asked this thing. And Elohim said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.”

Solomon became the wisest and richest king ever because of this blessing from Yahweh, and he was able to build Yahweh’s temple in 1Kings 6. Because of his vast resources, Solomon conducted his great life experiment to find out what truly satisfied one’s life. No one could ever have done this experiment better than Solomon because of all that he had.

Some of Solomon’s exploits can be found in Ecclesiastes 2:1-9, “I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.”

Still Not Happy

How did Solomon come to his conclusion that life is vanity? One could look at all that Solomon accomplished and believe he must have been the happiest man alive. But he wasn’t. He realized that none of those things he did would last; it was all temporal, vanity.

In Ecclesiastes 2:18 Solomon writes, “Yea, I hated all my labor which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.” Imagine the frustration one would have in climbing the ladder to success, getting to the top, and realizing that you are leaning against the wrong wall.

As a castle built upon sand will topple, so too did Solomon’s perception of happiness when he leaned upon it.

This is not a totally sad story though. Through his struggle Solomon finally came to the conclusion of what is really important in life. In Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 is his most wonderful synopsis on what really matters, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear Elohim, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For Elohim shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

Solomon realized after all he had accomplished, his only lasting fulfillment was obedience to Yahweh.

Lessons for Us

Ponder for a moment our own lives. The cars, the cell phones, the home, our clothing, the trophies we may have, our jobs, and everything we possess will one day be gone. Now on the one hand this doesn’t give us a license to abuse or neglect what we own; we should be good stewards of all.

And neither does it mean that we are necessarily to sell all our possessions and live in abject poverty. The point is that these things we own should be more peripheral rather than the focus of our lives.

Yahshua spoke a parable that illustrates this point in Luke 12:16-21, “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But Elohim said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward Elohim.”

Most focus on the temporal riches and pleasures of life, which give only temporary pleasure and satisfaction. Solomon found it best to focus upon obedience to Yahweh, as His rewards are eternal.. And what does He command of us? Our Savior Yahshua spoke of it with instruction in Mark 12:28-31, “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Yahshua answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; Yahweh our Elohim is one Yahweh: And thou shalt love Yahweh thy Elohim with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Love Is What’s Important

Having a loving relationship with Yahweh our Father through Yahshua our Messiah, as well as a loving relationship with each other, is the most important thing we can ever accomplish. Keeping love in the forefront of our minds is so important to our very existence that Yahshua commanded that we must even show love to our enemies. Yahshua knew that without love, everything we become or accomplish is hollow.

What is love? “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things,” 1Corinthians 13:4-7.

While we were still sinners and enemies of Yahweh, He showed His love for us by giving us what He loved the most, Yahshua His son. Yahshua obeyed Yahweh because He loved Yahweh and wanted to please Him, and also loved us far greater than His own life, even to the point of extreme anguish. That one act of love sent an eternal ripple in our lives so that we too could have a chance to live forever. That is the power of love.

Love is the only thing that has lasting value in this life. Paul writes in 1Corinthians 13:8 about the enduring nature of love; “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophesies they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” Obey Yahweh, it will last. Forgive one another, it will last. Give to those in need, it will last. Console one who is mourning, it will last. Do all that you can out of love, it will last. The love we produce in our hearts and then show to the world will have more lasting results than anything else that we can ever do.

We conclude with the final two verses of 1Corinthians 13, summarizing what is really important in life: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

By: Joel Wirl

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

Cultivating our lives

Many love to garden. Gardens are wonderful because the produce is fresher and the flowers smell sweeter. Gardens are not without problems, however, mainly in the form of weeds and the multitude of weather conditions that affect the plants.

Now this is not going to be a lesson on how to garden, but a lesson from gardening. Yahweh’s wisdom is so great that He puts it right in front of and all around us. Many times in the Bible farming and the description of nature were used as a lesson for us. This is another such case where we can learn to cultivate the gardens of our lives.

Get Rid of the Weeds

Those who have gardened or farmed know that weeds are a nuisance. They deplete the soil of the nutrients the plant needs. Yahshua illustrated this point in His parable of the sower in Matthew 13:7 when He talked about the seed falling on various types of soil. The passage reads, “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.” The thorns or weeds represent the things that destroy us—the seed or plant.

What do some weeds look like in our lives? This answer can be generalized as harmful behaviors, but is much more specific towards each individual. Each person has a certain weakness inherent within, which means the weed can be a different thing for each person, but the effects are just as harmful. A weed can come in the form of entertainment, an insulting remark about someone, intentionally flirting with a married man or woman, or many other things that might seem small at first, but later turn into big problems.

The weeds in our lives are not going to go away. All gardeners know that you can pull up the weeds one week and the next week it looks as if your work was for nothing. Weeds will continue to come since we are still flesh and sinful in nature. Yet, we have the power to control whether we feed the weeds and also have control so that some of the weeds don’t come back. It takes much discipline, though, and we must be constantly vigilant.

It starts by controlling what comes into our minds. What we watch, read, and experience can be either harmful or helpful to our lives. Second, it comes from controlling our actions. We can have complete knowledge of the Bible but if we don’t act our knowledge is worthless. By guarding what goes into our minds and what comes out in our actions, always with a focus on Yahweh, the weeds will become weak and die. As we eliminate the weeds the plant should be fed every day.

The Root of the Problem

What if we have some weeds in our lives, how are we to treat them? When you pull a weed, just yanking from the top will often not destroy the whole weed, especially if the weed has large roots. You have to dig deep and yank out the weed by the roots, otherwise it will grow back again. We can’t play nice with weeds but be totally committed to eradicating them, otherwise they will keep coming back.

Others may see our garden without the weeds as a garden only of produce and beauty, but you know that below the surface is a different story. Isaiah 1:16-17 reads, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Remove the weeds.

How do we know what is a weed and what is a vegetable plant? A boy was asked by his mother to pull some weeds in their garden. Their garden included cucumber plants. The boy didn’t know what cucumber plants looked like and pulled up cucumber plants with the weeds. The mother, not understanding why her cucumber plants weren’t surviving, planted cucumbers two more times, but he continued making the same mistake. Needless to say there were no cucumbers that year for the family.

Our culture in its depraved state tells us what it thinks is right and wrong. So much bad media fills our minds that it sometimes gets difficult to distinguish truth from fiction. Yahshua is to be our model in life.

Paul in Ephesians 4:14-15 writes, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Messiah.” If you have trouble, look to Yahshua, look to the Bible and the weed will become more easily seen and differentiated from the plant.

Help the Plant Grow

It’s not enough to just pull the weeds of wrong from our lives, but we must fill up our lives with good as well.

An example of this principle is found in Luke 11:24-26, “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

What the man failed to do was fill himself with helpful habits and behaviors. We must replace bad behavior with a good, something that will benefit our lives and those in our lives.

Plants need water to grow. Just as the average person can’t live more than a few days without water, spiritually we can’t live without nourishment from Yahweh. What kind of spiritual nourishment do we need in our lives? One very important type of nourishment that we need is a consistent dose of Scripture reading.

Usually we hardly ever miss a meal during the day because we get hungry and weak, but do we take this same approach with our spiritual lives? In Deuteronomy 8:3, when Moses was addressing Israel, we read, “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh.” Everyday we must feed on Scripture by reading and meditating upon it.

Power of Prayer

Another great dose of spiritual nourish-ment comes from prayer. Prayer is such an important aspect of our spiritual development, and Satan knows it. In Daniel 6, when the commissioners and satraps caused an evil law to be created so that they could destroy Daniel in the lions’ den, what did the law prohibit? It prohibited prayer.

If Satan can cause us to stop com-municating with Yahweh through Yahshua Messiah, then so many things in our lives become disoriented. If we don’t praise Yahweh and look to Him for our blessings, we become arrogant. If we don’t thank Yahweh for all that He has given us, then we become envious of others, complacent, and bitter. If we don’t pray for others’ needs, then we become selfish and only interested in ourselves.

Prayer also can transcend reading of Scripture because prayer can be done anywhere or anytime. It keeps us connected to Yahweh, keeps us humble, keeps us thankful, keeps us unselfish, and so many other things.

Even Yahshua, our Savior and King, found time to pray to Yahweh. If Yahshua, a man whose character was flawless and perfect, found it important to pray, then we too should take time to pray.

Help from Brethren

Lastly, we need good, spiritually oriented people in our lives for our spiritual development. Proverbs 27:17 reads, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

We will become dull in righteous living if our only contact is with people who do not strive to live righteously. Unless our resolve is strong enough, their habits will influence and rub off on us in a negative way.

It is in our human nature to want to belong, to have a connection to people. We need each other so that when we feel weak others can strengthen us, and when others are weak, we can strengthen them.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”

Satan desires us to sin in strife, jealousy, and lies toward each other because it tears us apart, but in righ-teousness we become stronger together through Yahshua. Even if one is isolated from believers in Yahshua, finding a way to communicate or associate with believers will make a huge difference in a person’s life.

The gardens of our lives require much attention and constant work. If we are not vigilant, the weeds will choke out the good things in our lives, and we will not have enough nutrition to keep the plants thriving and fruitful. Thankfully, we are not alone in this great endeavor; Yahshua is there to guide us through this process. He is a true friend and companion who loves us all, and He will be with us as our lives become cultivated for good.

By: Joel Wirl

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

Joy in living

With all the suffering and turmoil in this world, retaining joy in our lives is paramount. Joy can help give hope and peace in your life even when the entire world seems to be crumbling around you. It is this type of joy we seek after and can be found by following some simple advice from the Scriptures.

No matter what age we are, we will always be considered by Yahweh as His children. Yahweh is sovereign in the heavens, the earth, and all of creation, and we are a part of His creation. It is Yahweh through Yahshua whom we trust who provides for our needs, just as a child looks to one’s parents for his or her needs.

We all have needs, and many times when those needs are not met when we believe they should be met, we get anxious and worried about life. Pray to Yahweh and ask that He provide for your needs. In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul says, “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 passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Messiah Yahshua.” Pray, believe, and have joy knowing that Yahweh is in control of all things and can provide for your needs.

Also, praying for our own needs is not enough; we must pray for the needs of others. Look beyond yourself and find out how you can help someone by saying a prayer for his or her needs. Praying for another’s needs is an act of love, and that love will yield joy within your heart.

Humility of Mind

Humility is more than just being humble toward Yahweh but also humble toward one another. In Philippians 2:3-4 Paul says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” To view oneself as less important than someone else is contrary to the mentality of this world. So much emphasis in this world is placed upon serving self rather than serving one another.

Yahshua came to this Earth to serve rather than to be served. He gave up everything that he had and emptied himself because he had a desire to please Yahweh and to give us a way to eternal life through his life, sacrifice, and death. He did not do all these things for himself or to serve Himself, but He served for Yahweh and for us. We ought to model ourselves after Yahshua’s example and give to others freely with humility of mind just as He did.

Joy doesn’t come from merely fulfilling our own needs and desires, but real joy comes from forgetting about ourselves for a while and focusing in love on what can be done for someone else. As Paul says inActs 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”


Joy can truly come from how one approaches a situation. In Philippians 2:14 Paul says, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” This type of attitude doesn’t mean the tasks that we are not so fond of must suddenly become fun, since everyone is different and everyone has certain likes and dislikes of what to do. But we are told that in all the things, even the not so fun tasks, that we must not complain.

Consider the example of Yahshua. When He came to earth He didn’t complain to Yahweh about coming. He came with a joyful spirit, even though He fully knew He would die a painful death. He didn’t squirm or try to get out of what He had to do. He came without complaint.

Yes, there are many bothersome things in life, but complaining about every one of them will not make the situation better, but will only make us feel worse. Just the small effort of not complaining about every bad situation will assuredly increase the amount of joy in life. Someone said, “The antidote to negative thinking isn’t positive thinking, but gratitude.”


Focus on the blessings that Yahweh has given and not on the things that we don’t have. We humans tend to have wandering eyes toward what we don’t have and forget about all the things that we do have.

In Philippians 4:12-13 Paul says, “I know how to be abased and I know how to abound everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to abound and to suffer need; I can do all things through Messiah which strengthens me.” Paul was content in all these situations because his goal wasn’t for comfort in his life but to glorify Yahshua through his life.

Life is not about what we own, but about living as Yahshua did, and realizing that the things we do have are blessings that Yahweh has given us. Be content and thankful for the blessings you have been given, and joy will truly follow.


Our surroundings are more than just what’s around us. They are also the thoughts we have and the people with whom we associate. These are the influences that can either erode the joy in our lives or create joy.

In dealing with our thoughts Paul says in Philippians 4:8, “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.”

The characteristics in this verse are attributes of Yahshua and are a glimpse into the kind of thoughts He had. We become the thoughts that we think, so it is important for us to fill our minds with good things and forget all the negative thoughts.

In dealing with others Paul says the following in 1Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.” Yes, we are to be lights to the world, but when you hang around someone too much who constantly has a bad attitude, that attitude tends to rub off on you. If at all possible, surround yourself with people who would rather encourage you than complain about everything. Peace comes from being around those of a like-minded faith and joy, and in turn will produce joy in our lives.

Our circumstances don’t have to regulate our joy, but the things we do, the things we think, and our attitude about life will regulate our joy.

To dovetail all these points, loving Yahweh and loving others really is the focal point of all these ways to create joy in your life. Focus on good things, do good deeds, and Yahweh will surely fill your heart with joy.

by Joel Wirl

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

Psalms 77 A Journey from Doubt to Hope

We all experience trials and difficulties in life in some form. Many times when those difficulties last for prolonged periods of time, our hope for Yahweh to intervene on our behalf many times decreases. The hope that we once had gets smaller when the trials get bigger. Asaph, a man recorded in the Bible, encountered this sense of hopelessness in his life, too. In Psalm 77 we can find how Asaph changed his perspective from doubt to having hope in life.

 A Cry for Help

Psalm 77:1-3: “I cried out to Elohim for help; I cried out to Elohim to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought Yahweh, at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered you, O Elohim, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint.”

Asaph is dealing with a great deal of turmoil. Untiringly he stretches his hands out to Yahweh pleading before him for help, but the pain from his circumstances is still so overwhelming. His pain is such that his soul even refuses to be comforted, and nothing can be said that will take away Asaph’s pain. He has no more enjoyment in life.            Doesn’t this situation remind you of a situation you may have gone through or are now going through? The difficulties we face can be so overwhelming that we feel that we will break from the strain in our lives. Asaph took the right approach in dealing with his pain; he sought Yahweh and cried out to Him for help. Although the pain may be great, we can always turn to Yahweh for help.

 Reflecting on the Past

Psalm 77:4-6a: “You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night.”

“Back in the day” is the beginning of many a story by people who wish to reminisce about the past when things were somehow better. It is a way to compare how much better things were then. Asaph, too, thinks about his past and remembers the good times. He remembers when his heart was glad and he sang songs in the night. Life now is much different for him, and he longs for those times because right now all he feels is pain. We do the same when we encounter painful experiences. We wish we could somehow go back in time and relive those moments, but we can’t, and even that knowledge of not being able to relive those good times can add to the pain we are already suffering.

 Questions of Doubt

Psalm 77:6-9: “My heart mused and my spirit inquired; Will Yahweh reject forever? Will He never show his favor again? Has His unfailing love vanished forever? Has His promise failed for all time? Has Elohim forgotten to be merciful? Has He in anger withheld his compassion?”

The accumulation of turmoil and pain and the longing for better times have created in Asaph’s mind seeds of doubt. His pain feels like it has lasted forever and will never cease. He feels rejected by Yahweh and that Yahweh has stopped loving him. He knows that Yahweh has promised that He will never forsake His people, but Asaph questions whether this is still true.

When we get sick, even if it’s just a cold, it sometimes feels that we will never get better and that there is no end of misery in sight. Similarly but even more so, Asaph questions whether the suffering will ever end. Asaph discovers that suffering does end and that there is hope.

 Remembrance for Hope

Psalm 77:10-12: “Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.’ I will remember the deeds of Yahweh; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.”

“Then I thought” is the breakaway point in Asaph’s thinking. He stopped what he was doing, which was reacting poorly to the situation by doubting Yahweh, and he started to really think. about Yahweh. He remembered Yahweh’s deeds, Yahweh’s miracles, and of all the works that Yahweh had done. The cares and the worries that he just had a moment ago are not so big anymore. The pain is not so unbearable because Asaph knows that Yahweh is powerful enough to help him through any amount of suffering. He has stopped focusing on the pain and started focusing on Yahweh.

 Remembrance of Who Yahweh Is

Psalm 77:13-15: “Your ways, O Elohim, are holy. What Elohim is so great as our Elohim? You are the Elohim who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.”

Yahweh is the one who is in charge, not us. Yahweh is the one has great power, not us. Asaph remembers, as we need to, that Yahweh is sovereign in all things, even during our pain. Asaph takes the focus off himself and puts it on Yahweh where it belongs. We can do nothing alone, but with Yahweh all things are possible. We need to constantly remind ourselves of who Yahweh is and what He can do. We need to trust in Yahweh and believe in His power. Remember that Yahweh is great and awesome and that if He is with us, who can stand against us?

 Recalling Yahweh’s Power

Psalm 77:16-20: “The waters saw you, O Elohim, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”

Asaph remembers when Yahweh led Israel out of Egypt and how He delivered them from the Egyptians. Israel had to go through trials too, just as Asaph did and just as we do, but Yahweh never left Israel during their trials, and Yahweh will never leave us. Times may be scary or painful, but we can be assured of Yahweh’s power and promise to help us though.

Remembering who Yahweh is and what He can do is just the first step in overcoming doubt. We must believe in who He is that He can do all things. We must also humble ourselves to His will in our lives and know that Yahweh is sovereign and not us. Asaph started losing hope during his pain, but by focusing on Yahweh he regained his hope. We too can regain hope in our lives during our times of doubt; we just need to stop, remember, and believe.

by Joel Wirl

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

When You Can’t Tell It Like It Is

You’ve just insulted someone. You didn’t really mean to do it; you were only half thinking at the time. But now you have a sickening feeling and a desire to do anything to redress your thoughtlessness.

Does this sound familiar? Of course. We’ve all done it, You either say something without thinking or say the wrong thing in the heat of the moment. The results are the same, sensitivities are hurt.

It doesn’t need to happen, however. There is a successful way to handle people in a difficult or emotional moment when the wrong word could spell trouble. What you need is tact. Tact is the ability to appreciate the delicacy of the situation and to do or say the kindest or most fitting thing.

To use tact effectively, you must understand one of man’s strongest urges—the need to feel significant. Here’s a common example. You’re standing in line at a busy sales counter of your favorite store. The minutes pass but the line hardly moves. You look at your watch as you grow increasingly anxious. Thoughts of all the things you have to do speed through your mind. As the customers fumble with the debit machine and the cashier waits for check approvals you decide you can wait no longer.

Then comes the cheery voice of the clerk. “I’ll be right with you, sir.” You nod and smile. Your anxiety subsides. Suddenly you don’t mind waiting. Why?

With only six words the clerk completely changed your attitude about her, the line in front of you, and about how the rest of your day would go. It cost her nothing to say them, but it could have cost the store plenty in future business from you had you become exasperated enough to leave and not return. What she did was simple. She gave you acknowledgment.

One of man’s most powerful urges is his hunger for attention, to stand out as a needed and appreciated individual in the mass of humanity. It is part of what drives men to seek high office. Almost every employee has a need to feel that he is an indispensable part of the company’s operation. Customers will go to the bank or store with the friendliest clerks where they receive personal consideration. Attention, praise, and admiration all make us feel that we are special.

We Inherently Dislike Criticism

Criticism, on the other hand, does the opposite. Disagree with what someone believes and he perceives it as a direct assault on himself. Reprove a man’s behavior or views and you may as well flog him. That’s human nature.

In his book, The Mind in the Making, James Harvey Robinson offers lucid insight into why we react as we do to criticism of our actions or beliefs:

“We sometimes find ourselves changing our minds without any resistance or heavy emotion, but if we are told we are wrong we resent the imputation and harden our hearts. We’re incredibly heedless in the formation of our beliefs, but find ourselves filled with an illicit passion for them when anyone proposes to rob us of their companionship. It is obviously not the ideas themselves that are dear to us, but our self-importance that is threatened. The little word my is the most important one to human affairs, and properly to reckon with it is the beginning of wisdom. It has the same force whether it is my dinner, my dog and my house, or my faith, my country and my [Yahweh]. We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to it. The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do.”

Not only do we naturally seek support for what we believe, but once challenged our knee-jerk response is to assail our challenger. Ninety­nine percent of the time no one criticizes himself for anything. A wrongdoer will blame everyone but himself for his actions. Shoplifters rationalize that the store charges too much for its merchandise anyway, so why can’t I take an item now and then?

Sharp chastisement of another nearly always ends in bitterness. It might feel good to tell someone off, but your harsh rebuke will cause a hurt that may last a lifetime. You can’t change a man’s mind by force. Arguments will only stir up anger in another person by what he perceives as an attack on him personally.

Tact By-passes Hostile Emotions

Dealing with the defense reflex we all feel when criticized or getting your point across effectively and at the same time avoiding hurt feelings requires diplomacy. Colossians 4:6 reads, “Let your conversation be always gracious, and never insipid; study how best to talk with each person you meet,” New English Bible.

Children typically fight because they lack tact. Instead of convincing a playmate to share a toy, a child will grab it from him, with an added shove for good measure. Disliking something another did, one child will call the other names. The results of both are predictable.

In similar ways adults do the same things to each other.  There are tried and true ways of tactfully dealing with others to avoid problems that could arise in tenuous circumstances.

Use of Tact is Scriptural

The Bible contains examples of how men of Yahweh used tact effectively when a single careless remark could have meant disaster. One of the most important techniques in dealing with another is first to put yourself in his place, seeing the problem from his perspective. Forget for the moment what you want. Ask yourself, knowing what I know about him, how will he react if I say this or that?

The Apostle Paul used this strategem in his ministry and found it very successful. He wrote, “I have made myself every man’s servant, to win over as many as possible. To Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; as they are subject to the Law of Moses, I put myself under that law to win them, although I am not myself subject to it. To win Gentiles who are outside the law, I made myself like one of them, although I am not in truth outside Yahweh’s law, being under the law of Messiah. To the weak, I became weak, to win the weak. Indeed, I have become everything in turn to men of every sort, so that in one way or another I may save some,” (1Cor. 9:19-22, NEB).

Fulfill Others’ Needs First

After you have won a person’s confidence, work on satisfying his desires. Successful salesmen understand that the secret to a good sales record is the ability to talk in terms of the other man’s desires. To sell a customer, the customer must be made to realize that he has a need to buy, a desire that must be filled.

Yelling at a small child to clean up his room may be effective, but more often than not he will do it grudgingly. Make it a contest between him and a brother or sister, however, and the toys will fly into place. What child won’t want to make a game out of work? Scolding him into doing something only diminishes his feelings of worth, whereas a contest promises a chance to prove his abilities. As he matures, he will realize the importance of conducting himself in a way that shows love for his family and Yahweh.

Farmers know that to make an animal do what you want it to do usually conflicts with what it wants to do. Singlehandedly trying to chase a herd of cattle over a bridge may be an exercise in futility. But lead them through with a wheel­barrow full of hay and both you and the animals end up satisfied.

Compliment Sincerely

One of man’s strongest needs, we have seen, is to be recognized. Therefore, before you give needed advice or suggest a change, praise the person. Everyone likes a compliment, including those who seem to be embarrassed by it. The important point to remember is be sincere in your praise. Cheap flattery is self-serving and easily recognized. The most popular people in the world are those who genuinely make us feel good and useful.

Use of praise worked effectively for Gideon.  A problem had risen in Gideon’s camp requiring great diplomacy. The men from the tribe of Ephraim were angry with him because he had not chosen them to pursue the fleeing Midianites. They were told only to hold the fords of the Jordan against the enemy.  A serious split in the ranks was brewing, born of the Ephraimites’ envy.

Notice how Gideon tactfully handled this powderkeg when he said to them, “ ‘What have I done compared to you?  Are not Ephraim’s gleanings better than the whole vintage of Abiezer?  Yahweh has delivered Oreb and Zeeb, the princes of Midian, into your hands.  What have I done compared with you?’  At these words of his, their anger died down” Judges 8:13, NEB.

By recognizing their achievements and downplaying his own, Gideon was able to appease the men of Ephraim.  He replaced their destructive feeling of jealousy with the desirable one of self-respect.

Accent the Positive

As was Gideon, always be positive in dealing with others and put yourself second.  If you are trying to show that someone is wrong, don’t come on with, “Your wrong and I’m going to prove it to you.” That’s like saying, “I’m superior and therefore have the right to change your mind.”

A better, tactful approach is to say, “This is the way I understand it.  Now, I have been wrong, so if I am wrong I want to know it and correct myself.  Let’s look at it together.” Who would reject an approach that puts your belief on the line and not his?  He’ll want to be just as open minded as you are.  Simultaneously, you are discreetly conveying the fact that error on either part must be corrected.  Focusing on only the issue, you preserve his desire for worth and keep harmful emotions from interfering.

Never Do This

In trying to convince others, there are certain approaches you must never use. Do not attack a person’s character. Never call names or condemn. Anything that communicates, “You’re stupid and you’ll never be able to understand” is an invitation for nothing more than a counter­attack. Yet, it is surprising how many people resort to some form of name calling or belittling with spouses or friends. Aside from its completely negative approach, your condemnation will switch the emphasis from reason to emotion—a surefire way to get nowhere.

What you say in a fit of anger or in sarcasm could have far­reaching consequences. You may be causing a hurt that may never completely heal, no matter how much you apologize later. You also risk damage to your own character. The Bible shows that you are what you speak. Luke 6:45 reads, “A good man produces good from the store of good within himself; and an evil man from evil within produces evil. For the words that the mouth utters come from the overflowing of the heart” NEB.

Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s most astute diplomats, said, “I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody.”

Never boast. Paul maintained that he was given an affliction to keep him humble. He said, “About such a man as that I am ready to boast; but I will not boast on my own account, except of my weaknesses. If I should choose to boast, it would not be the boast of a fool, for I should be speaking truth. But I refrain, because I should not like anyone to form an estimate of me which goes beyond the evidence of his own eyes and ears,” 2Cor. 12:57, NEB.

Yahshua the Messiah had every right in the universe to flaunt the fact that He was the very Creator’s Son. But He was the most humble person ever to walk the earth. His entire ministry focused on what he could do for others. He never exalted Himself. By your passion in emulating Yahshua’s humility, you instill the same humility in others.

 Don’t Fight Ridicule with Ridicule

King Saul was being verbally attacked by the. men ‘of Belial, 1Samuel 10:27. He could have catered to the vengeful emotions he likely felt by ordering them strung up by the toes. What was his reaction? “He held his peace.”

If a discussion becomes heated, it is sometimes best to leave your thoughts unspoken. Only Satan wins in a war of words. James says in 1: 19 of his epistle, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

Yahshua knew how hopeless it would have been to try to explain who He was to Pilate. He simply stated the facts of His presence,John 18:36-37, and then was silent when Pilate pressed the issue, 19:9.

Be mindful of that well-known aphorism, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” Proverbs 15:1.

Most important, don’t seek to correct others until you have perfected yourself. The urge to condemn someone for the way he or she acts or lives is one of our worst and most common flaws. Usually we are acting on assumptions that have little or no basis in fact.

Be the first to admit a mistake and apologize. Five of the nine fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 deal with a personality refined to be understanding and humble: peace, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, and temperance.

Acknowledging our mistakes and changing when we are wrong is one of the most difficult of human accomplishments. But unless we are willing, how can we expect others to do the same? “Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: And he that hateth reproof shall die,” Proverbs 15:10. Be patient with others when they can’t see your point of view. Trust in Yahweh to work out your differences.

There is everything to gain by being tactful. Try it the next time you have a confrontation or feel a need to give advice. You’ll have fewer, arguments, more cooperation, and the blessings that harmony will bring in relationships with your spouse, brethren, and friends.

How to Take Criticism

At one time or another all of us will be the target of some criticism, some justified and     some not. Here are some suggestions that can help you handle criticism without alienating the other person and perhaps ruining the relationship.

Don’t listen defensively.  It isn’t your automatic responsibility to defend yourself against disapproval.  It’s never easy to take criticism objectively, but if you make an effort, you might see that the person may have made a few beneficial points.

Think independently and examine each remark on its own merit.  Don’t decide the criticism is unjustified before you hear it, and don’t decide that it is all correct. The criticizer could be wrong and so could you.

Look for the meaning behind the message.  There may be more to the person’s point than what you hear.  To understand its full scope, listen to the speaker’s voice and watch his face.

Give a tactful response. While it is easier to give criticism than it is to take it, the person offering advice probably has some anxiety about doing it, especially if he is honestly trying to be helpful.  Be aware of his feelings and thank him for his consideration.

Pray before you decide to respond.

by Alan Mansager

scriptural headship; headship; biblical headship; obey your husband; love honor and obey

Scriptural Headship

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A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and like the chain, a society is only as strong as its basic element. The basic element for any civilization is the family. Without a proper family structure the culture will collapse like a house built on sand.

Yahweh in His great wisdom realized that to be strong and unified the family must have a leader — a person who will take responsibility for the physical and spiritual welfare of that family. Neither a family nor Yahweh’s assembly can function properly without a head, and Yahweh has chosen the husband to be that head in the family relationship.

In the beginning when Adam was created Yahweh saw that He was incomplete and needed a help mate, thus the creation of the first woman. From that point the relationship of husband and wife, as his helper, was defined.

Yahweh told Eve, “…Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Gen. 3:16). Yahweh clearly says here that the man is to lead the family. Yahweh also emphasizes that the husband must love, respect, and care for his wife as if she were his own flesh. Spousal abuse is never warranted, either mentally or physically.

If this loving behavior — ordained by Yahweh Himself — were followed in all marriages, we would not see the discord, heartache, and broken homes that plague our culture today. The husband and wife are each given a special role to fill and they will find happiness by meeting Yahweh’s expectations for each of them.

In the Scriptures a token sign of this sacred relationship is the veil or headcovering. In ancient times it was customary for the woman to have her head covered. This physical concealment of the hair was a sign of love and respect for her husband.

Paul wrote, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Messiah; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Messiah is Yahweh” (1Cor. 11:3).

Here, Yahweh extends His jurisdiction to this earth through His authority. The apostle explains the proper relationship ordained by Yahweh between the Father, His Son, man, and woman. Yahweh is the Head of His spiritual family, with His Son immediately under Him. Paul says that man and woman also have their appointed places in respect to this authority.

The Apostle shows that the man is subject to Messiah even while being head of the woman. That means that the man is to be governed by Yahweh’s laws in respect to his relationship with his wife. Peter writes that wives are to “be in subjection to your own husbands,” 1Peter 3:1, and also that the man is to honor the wife “as unto the weaker vessel,” 1Peter 3:7.

Proper Roles Through the Covering

Continuing in 1Corinthians 11, the word “head” denotes authority, which is Paul’s topic in verse 3. It is significant that this topic concerns the actual head as an object lesson in Biblical leadership.

Paul continues, “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered” (1Cor. 11:4-6).

The man is not to have his head covered in a worship setting. To do so would misrepresent and confuse his proper role. On the other hand, being under the man’s authority the woman is to have her head veiled to show that distinction.

The word covered in verse 4, referring to the man’s covering, is from No. 2596, kata in the Greek. Thayer’s Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament says: “having his head covered.” Clearly, the Greek word kata found in verse 4 refers to a physical veil or covering.

The word covered that refers to the woman in verse 6 is from another Greek word, which is derived from No. 2619, katakalupto, and is defined by Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: “to cover wholly, i.e. a veil:— cover, hide.”

The two words that are used for our English word covered in verses 4 and 6 both carry the same meaning —to cover. However, when it pertains to the woman the Greek seems to be more precise when it defines a veil that covers her hair, hiding this natural covering which was given to her by Yahweh as a sign of beauty and power.

Recognized scholarship defines the substance of these verses in the following explanations:

• Adam’s Clarke’s Commentary note on 1Corinthians 11:6 states, “For if the woman be not covered. If she will not wear a veil in the public assemblies, let her…be shorn — let her carry a public badge of infamy; but if it be a shame — if to be shorn or shaven would appear, as it must, a badge of infamy, then let her be covered — let her by all means wear a veil.”

• The Harper Collins Study Bible note on 1Corinthians 11:5 reads, “Unveiled, or more generally ‘uncovered,’ perhaps with loose, flowing hair (typically associated with promiscuous women or priestesses of pagan cults).”

• Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary on 1Corinthians 11:6 explains, “A woman’s hair is given her by nature, as her covering (vs. 15), to cut it off like a man, all admit would be indecorous: therefore, to put away the head-covering, too, like the man, would be similarly indecorous. It is natural to her to have long hair for her covering: she ought, therefore, to add the other (the wearing of the headcovering) to show that she does of her own will that which nature itself teaches she ought to do, in token of her subjection to man.”

• Barnes Notes commentary on 1Corinthians 11 says, “With her head uncovered. That is, with the veil removed which she usually wore. It would seem from this that the women removed their veils, and wore their hair dishevelled, when they pretended to be under the influence of divine inspiration. This was the case with the heathen priestesses; and in so doing, the… women imitated them. On this account, if no other, Paul declares the impropriety of this conduct. It was, besides, a custom among ancient females, and one that was strictly enjoyed by the traditional laws of the Jews, that a woman should not appear in public unless she were veiled.”

• Finally, the Companion Bible note on verse 5 states, “If she discards the covering which is the symbol of her position, she may as well discard that which nature has given.”

By voluntarily covering her hair during worship, a woman demonstrates her desire to comply with her special role toward her husband and to Yahweh. Not to do so would in effect be placing herself equal with her uncovered husband, which is forbidden by Yahweh.

The statement in verse 6, “but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered” is taken directly from the teachings of the Torah. In Deuteronomy 21 Yahweh explains that it was a dishonor to shave a woman’s hair and trim her nails, which Paul uses here to illustrate those women who refused to submit to their husband’s authority. This shows that the covering of the hair, which all women have by nature, is not what Paul is talking about in this chapter, but a covering placed willingly over the hair. He says that if she won’t do that, she may as well shave her head.

“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of Elohim: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man” (1Cor. 11:7).

The Apostle reveals here why the man is not to cover his head. Paul says that man is created in Yahweh’s image, and because of that fact the man is not to wear a covering or veil. However, since the woman was created from the man and in man’s image she is to wear a veil to show that she is taken from man and is under his leadership.

Male Caps from the Pagan Greeks

The Jewish tradition of the male kepha or yarmulke derives from a heathen Greek custom of wearing a beanie-like cap in sports competitions (see 2Maccabees 4:10-13). Greek philosophers wore the hat of the pagan god Hermes to show they were educated, a custom still seen in the beanie under the tasseled mortarboard worn at graduation ceremonies.

In the Scriptures, the male headcovering was a sign of mourning, as seen in 2Samuel 15:30; 19:4, and Esther 6:12. Had the average man customarily worn headcoverings, the Scriptures would have no need to make special mention of it in these passages.

Man is to reflect the glory of Yahweh and the woman the glory of man. “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels” (1Cor. 11:9-10).

Verse 9 reaffirms the fact that the woman came from man. Therefore, she is not only to have her head covered for her husband, but also for the angels. Some believe this speaks of the rebellious angels who refused to be subject to Yahweh’s authority and threw in with Satan, while others maintain that it refers to accepting the proper role Yahweh has given, just as do the angels in His hierarchy.

“Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in Yahweh. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of Elohim” (1Cor. 11:11–12).

Paul maintains that even though the woman is under the man’s authority, that both are equally dependent upon each other, and that without the other each would be incomplete. Even though the man has the leading role, Paul notes that the man is formed in the woman’s womb, and both are always subject to Yahweh in all things. Men are commanded to love their wives, Ephesians 5:25.

“Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto Yahweh uncovered?” (1Cor. 11:13). The word uncovered in the above passage is from the Greek, akatakaluptos (No. 177 in Strong’s) and is defined by Strong’s as “unveiled or uncovered.” This Greek wordakatakaluptos means to be physically uncovered, without a veil or headdress. Paul asks, is it right for a woman who is worshiping Yahweh to have her head uncovered? By Paul’s question we see that he certainly wanted to make known the importance for a woman to wear a veil while worshiping Yahweh.

Is Long Hair a Woman’s Covering?

The one concept that has not yet been examined is what a woman’s long hair represents. The majority of Biblical scholarship today will explain that long hair for a woman represents beauty and a gracefulness that Yahweh endowed her with upon the creation of Eve. Consider the following :

• “Women’s hair was a common object of lust in antiquity, and in much of the eastern Mediterranean women were expected to cover their head” (The IVP Bible Background Commentary note at 1Corinthians 11).

• “For a woman taking off her head covering in public and exposing her hair was a sign of loose morals and sexual promiscuity” (TheNIV Study Bible note at 1Corinthians 11:5).

From the biblical sources above we find that a woman’s long hair represents beauty, and by not wearing a headdress she is placing her beauty, or the power which Yahweh has given her through that natural covering, over her husband. She would essentially be placing her authority if not over, then equal to her husband’s.

Yahweh has given long hair to a woman as a thing of beauty. By refusing to hide that beauty in a worship setting she is outshining her husband, which is not permissible in Yahweh’s Word.

“Does not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering” (1Cor. 11:14-15).

Paul is admonishing the Corinthian men here not to have long hair, because such was intended naturally for the woman. This word covering does not mean a physical covering and cannot replace the added covering that the woman is commanded to wear while praying or prophesying. The word covering in verse 15 is from the Greek peribolaion (Strong’s No. 4018), and is defined by Strong’sas “something thrown around one, i.e. a mantle or veil.” The difference between the covering mentioned in verse 6 and here in verse 15 is that the covering in verse 6 is not a natural covering from Yahweh, but a man-made

object used to cover the head. The covering in verse 15, which is a natural covering that frames the face and serves to enhance the woman’s beauty, is not a man-made covering, but one given by Yahweh. Notice the following comments on verse 15:

“Long hair is given to her as a covering. This is not the same word as that used in verses 5-6. The point here is that as the hair represents the proper covering in the natural realm, so the veil is the proper covering in the religious” (Ryrie Study Bible note at1Cor. 11:15).

“Her hair…for a covering — Not that she does not need additional covering. Nay, her long hair shows she ought to cover her head as much as possible. The will ought to accord with nature” (Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary note at 1Cor. 11:15).

Reasons Women Are to Be Covered

Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible note at 1Corinthians 11 gives the following reasons, some historical, that a woman is to be covered in worship:

• “It has been the custom for ages for women to be veiled (Gen. 24:65; 38:14, 19; Ruth 3:15; Isa. 3:23).

• “It was a Jewish law that no woman be seen in public unveiled. Among Greeks, Romans, and other nations it was also the custom.

• “Only public prostitutes in the East went without veils, hence to pray or prophesy without a veil would be identifying [True Worship] with harlotry.

• “If a woman appeared in public without a veil she would disgrace her head – the husband. It would be the same as women who had their hair shorn off as punishment for whoredom and adultery.

• “The man was not to wear a veil because he was the image and glory of [Yahweh]. The women needed one because she is the glory of the man being created for him. The woman needed to wear her veil on her head as a sign of her husband’s power over her…

• “The woman needed to cooperate fully with the husband and keep the customs as being equally blessed of [Yahweh].

• “It was becoming for a woman …to be veiled and not common for a [righteous] woman to pray or prophesy unveiled. That would make her like the heathen priestesses who prayed and delivered the oracles bareheaded or with dishevelled hair.

• “It was natural for women to have long hair, thus indicating they should be veiled.”

In today’s society that is being driven in many respects by the liberation movement, the concept of the headcovering may seem out of place. Yet, only 40 years ago it was not considered out of place by devout worshipers who understood the significance of the headcovering in worship. As a people called out for the hope of becoming a kingdom of priests, we conform to a higher calling,Revelation 5:10. We submit to the One we worship with the hope that we would be pleasing to Him.

Paul wrote that when it comes to True Worship, we must not let the world, its ways or customs dictate how we will honor Yahweh: “I entreat you, then, Brothers, by the mercies of [Elohim], to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to Elohim, for this is your rational worship. Do not conform to the fashion of this world; but be transformed by the complete change that has come over your minds, so that you may discern what [Elohim’s] will is — all that is good, acceptable, and perfect,” Romans 12:1-2, The Twentieth Century New Testament (TCNT).

Paul completes his discourse on the headcovering in 1Corinthians 11 by enjoining: “If, however, any one still thinks it right to contest the point — well, we have no such custom, nor have the [Assemblies of Yahweh]” (TCNT).

Neither do we. Our desire as Yahweh’s people is to honor Him in all things, putting our own interests and wants secondary regardless of whether it may conflict with popular practice or social dictate. In so doing, we show our humility and willingness to conform to Yahweh’s Word, while resting in the assurance that He will honor our worship.

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The Meaning of Sincerity

What does it mean to be “sincere”? Are we sincere in our relationship with Yahweh and His Son? In making the point of sincerity, many have given the analogy of ancient pottery makers in Corinth.

As the stories go, there were many fine pottery makers in the Roman world, and it turned out to be a lucrative business. The pottery would be formed, then placed into an oven to cure. The well-respected potter would inspect his pottery after firing, and if any cracks were found, the vessel would be discarded and he would start over. Naturally, this would increase the overall price and value of fine pottery.

Given the same situation, other less reputable potters would take the blemished vessel and rub wax into the crack, perhaps melting it somewhat, then paint over the imperfection and sell it as if it were pristine. These individuals could sell their pottery for cheaper prices, thus undercutting the sincere pottery makers.

This prompted the honorable pottery makers to hang a sign over the entrance to their stores: sincerus … meaning this store has pottery without wax. The actual definition of the Latin word means to be pure or clean.

Whether the stories of the ancient pottery makers are true is debatable — but the idea of being “without wax” in our personal lives with Yahshua is valid.


Paul tells us that we should strive to be “sincere and without offence” in his first address to the Corinthians. Could Paul have been thinking along these lines? Notice:

“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavenedbread of sincerity and truth,”
1 Corinthians 5:8

Yahweh knows all things, and it is in vain to attempt to cover up deceitful ways.The Greek word for sincerity, , is number 1505 in Strong’s and is defined as: clearness, i.e. (by implication) purity (figuratively):–sincerity. The root meaning is to be ‘genuine’, ‘unmixed’, ‘without deceit’. Are we as believers being genuine and sincere in our mission to serve the Most High Yahweh, or are we apt to cover the imperfections that are inherent to humans?

Judged by Sunlight

Another Greek word for sincere is number 1506, and is found in Philippians 1:10: , judged by sunlight, i.e. tested as genuine (figuratively):–pure, sincere. By some accounts of the Corinthian potters, a person could check the purity of the vessel by adding hot water (if wax is present, it will melt) or by holding it up to the sunlight and observing it with a critical eye.

Yahshua the Messiah is the “Light of the World” (John 9:5). If we are held to the light and brightness of His countenance, will the cracks and flaws in us be open to scrutiny and correction, or will we be found in contempt, being vainly covered for outward appearances?

If there be any “wax” in our lives, let us repent and remove it while there is still time.