In 1Samuel 13 we are thrust into a battle scene in the land of Gibeah. King Saul, Jonathan, and their Israelite army of 4,000 men are fighting the Philistines. They strike a mighty blow to the Philistine garrison, which in turn incites the Philistine army to counter by sending about 36,000 soldiers to the battle.
Being massively outnumbered, most of the Israelite army flees from fear and hides in the mountains and caves, leaving only 600 men who stay by their king’s side. To make matters worse for the Israelite army, a group of spoilers from the Philistine army raid the Israelite camp and steal their weapons. The Philistines, not wanting their enemy to gain any advantage, remove the weaponsmiths from the land so the Israelites cannot make replacement swords or spears. The only weapons they have left are what King Saul and Jonathan have with them. The war effort is starting to look impossible for Israel.
In 1Samuel 14 Jonathan decides it is time to confront his adversaries. Perhaps he sees the lack of courage that afflicted the Israelite army, but for whatever the reason, he chooses to quietly sneak away to the enemy camp, unbeknownst to the others, taking only his armor bearer with him. Upon reaching the enemy camp, Jonathan tells his armor bearer, “Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that Yahweh will work for us: for there is no restraint to Yahweh to save by many or by few,” 1Samuel 14:6.
Note what Jonathan said, “There is no restraint to Yahweh to save by many or by few.” Although Jonathan was speaking of a military victory, it has much greater application. The Oxford Dictionary defines restraint as, “A measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits.”
This definition makes one think of someone under another’s power with limited decisions and actions, like being a slave to another. In the verse, though, Jonathan says that Yahweh has no restraint, which means that there is no entity with power enough to control Yahweh.
Is Yahweh’s power limited only to military victory? Of course not. If one has power in one area, but not another, then he or she is still limited. Therefore this applies to all things; Yahweh has no restraint on His power from anything.
Jonathan elaborates further by saying that Yahweh’s unlimited power is not held back by numbers. Jonathan proves this when he and his armor bearer attack the Philistines, killing twenty soldiers, thus causing confusion in the camp that leads to fighting among themselves.
This impetus spurs the rest of the Israelite army, and those who had gone into hiding, to fight hard against the Philistines, thus defeating them. All of this happened because of whom? Was it Jonathan and his armor bearer who did it? No, without Yahweh’s causing confusion in the camp and allowing the final victory, the initial attack would have been short lived. So why does Yahweh not want to save by many but rather chooses to save by few?
Gideon and His Few
In Judges 6 the Midianites had overtaken the land of Israel because the people had sinned. The Israelites were so greatly impoverished by their oppressors that they finally cried out to Yahweh to save them. Yahweh, in His infinite mercy instructed Gideon to attack the forces of the Midianites. Gideon reluctantly agreed and gathered a force of 32,000 soldiers to fight. The army camp, pitched beside the well of Harod, waited to attack the host of Midianites on the north side of the hill. Yahweh said to Gideon, “The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me,” Judges 7:2-3.
Yahweh knew that if Israel had won the victory, they would have attributed their success to themselves and not to Yahweh. So Yahweh had Gideon release from the army all who were too fearful to fight, leaving 10,000 soldiers, which was still too many for Yahweh. The soldiers would probably be even more arrogant in victory because the fewer they were, the more amazing they would think their own skills would be.
Yahweh told Gideon to take his men to a body of water for a test. Those who bowed down to drink would be excluded from fighting, but those who lapped the water would stay. Those who were chosen to stay were only 300 men.
These men were probably the best of the best but even with their skill level, it would have been nearly impossible to beat the entire Midian army with only 300 soldiers. Their enemy was described as being a multitude like the sand of the sea. Yet only 300 was enough for Yahweh.
Yahweh gave Gideon and his 300 the victory. Yahweh would rather save by a few than by many because “by many” puts the glory on the group.
When it’s few facing impossible odds it is hard to not recognize that Yahweh gives the victory. It puts the glory where it belongs, on Yahweh and not us. When you go up against an army with only 300 men and win, it is hard to conclude anything other than divine intervention. Our greatest human strength cannot come close to even His weakness, which is none. He too has an army. And although we may not be able to see it, it is there.
Elisha and the Angels
In 2Kings 6 we find the Syrians battling Israel. Elisha the prophet was assisting the Israelite army. Each time the Syrians would plot an assault, Elisha would warn Israel and thwart the attack. The king of Syria became troubled when Israel always knew his battle plans.
He first wondered if it was a conspiracy within his own ranks, but after inquiry it was made known to him that Elisha the prophet was prophesying to Israel what the Syrian army was about to do.
In 2Kings 6:13-16 we see that the king of Syria had plans to kidnap Elisha, “And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan. Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of Elohim was risen early, and gone forth, behold an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Yahweh, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see, And Yahweh opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”
Note his statement, “For they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” We may not be able to see the angelic forces as Elisha and the young man did, but they are there nonetheless. Yahweh’s army fights for those who believe and trust in Him.
Yahweh worked with Jonathan and Gideon to bring about a victory for good, and He wants to do the same for us. He wants us to fight for Him in the battles we all face, and He wants us to realize that it will be won by His strength and not just our own.
Fighting Our Own Battles
We may not have to face an enemy in armed combat as the Israelites did, but we too fight a battle against the moral decline of this nation and much of the world. You just have to watch a small portion of the news to see this trend.
Immorality is becoming legalized, much of the education system is teaching obedience to a system rather than to Yahweh, the love that man once had for his fellow man is growing cold and stale, happiness is based on entertainment rather than living a righteous life – these are the trends of the culture.
We also see the teachers of morality, the churches and religious centers, are many times not preaching the message of repentance from sin, but rather watered down and smooth messages that don’t convict a person to turn from his or her wicked practices and back to Yahweh in obedience to Him. Nature dislikes a vacuum, and it is the same with our minds. Our minds will fill with something, whether good or bad. Correct biblical principles are needed to transform the mind and heart.
Much of the religious scene is changing in the world. The former Archbishop of Canterbury warned that Christianity in England is one generation away from extinction.
And yet as the tide of Christianity seems to be ebbing, we see the strong tide of Islam crashing through the world. This is a scary thought for those who understand that what is taught in the Islamic faith is Sharia law, which is a law of no toleration but rather domination.
We are in a battle for truth. Bible truth is now considered an archaic ideal, replaced by worldly values that inevitably lead to destruction. We fight a battle not only to keep discovering truth ourselves but also to help others learn. It is up to us, with Yahweh’s supreme help, to do it.
Jonathan and the Israelites won the victory because Jonathan knew that numbers mean little to Yahweh in getting things done. Gideon and his army won the victory because they trusted in Yahweh’s power and strength rather than their own. Elisha did not panic when he saw the enemy surrounding him because he knew that good is greater than evil. We must realize the same because much is at stake.
Malachi 4:6 and Matthew 24:14 speak of a restoration back to the truth in the end times. The restoration is of people turning back to Yahweh and away from sin. If this is the end times that we live in now, if this truly is the period spoken of in prophecy, then the time is now to stand for truth. To stand up and live a life of righteousness. To be the example Yahweh wants us to be to the world.
Prophecies spoken of in the Bible will come to pass. As much as our culture wants to deny the Bible and what it teaches, it will not stop the inevitable. The question we must ask ourselves is whether we will just go along with what the world is teaching, to just be like everyone else, or will we be a force for good? We can make a difference, because if Yahweh is with us who can be against us? It is by Yahweh that the victory will be won in our time, but we must still do our part.
The enemy is strong, and seems to be invading all aspects of our culture. What can we do about it? What can we do to fight back against such overwhelming odds? We can do what is right. We can shine our light to a world filled with darkness. We can worship Yahweh rather than man or institutions. We can make a difference. It is always better to do something than nothing at all.
Our acts of kindness, choosing Sabbath rest rather than working, consistent prayer, and other acts may seem small and insignificant. Even small deeds of righteousness, however, impact the world. As the Syrian army was unable to see the angelic host, we may not see the instant benefits of doing a good deed, but they are there.
Those who truly desire to serve Yahweh with all their mind, heart and soul must not lose heart. We have a mission to spread the good news of the Kingdom to the world, to help people come to the truth. And it doesn’t matter how small in number His followers are because with Yahweh, He is more than enough.
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Most would agree that the trends we’re seeing in the world today are troubling. Radical Islam is on the rise, and Bible believers are being persecuted throughout this world. Many western and democratic countries are passing laws, including the United States, restricting freedom of religion. In addition, traditional marriage and values are under attack, along with many other unfavorable developments.
What we’re witnessing today will only get worse with time. It’s entirely possible that these current trends will usher in the Tribulation and the Second Coming of our Savior, Yahshua the Messiah.
For this reason, now is not the time to be spiritually asleep or negligent with our faith. It’s more important than ever before that we strengthen our faith and devotion. Even though many are facing different challenges and trials, few know the meaning of true persecution.
If and when this day comes to our time, as believers we must be strong and courageous. To achieve such discipline, we will be reviewing the following lessons:
• First and foremost, we need to know and understand the One we worship;
• We must be strong in faith and courage;
• We must be willing to make a distinction in our behavior and worship; and,
• We must keep life in perspective and always maintain proper balance. Each of these points is crucial to remain strong and overcome as a believer. They will provide us the strength and character to persevere.
Discover Yahweh’s Splendor
To begin with, let’s consider the greatness and immensity of the One we worship. The Old Testament in 1Chronicles 29:11-13 provides a glimpse of Yahweh’s splendor: “Thine, O Yahweh, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Yahweh, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our Elohim, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.”
Our Father Yahweh is above all! He is the greatest and all power, glory, and majesty on earth and in the heavens belongs to Him. Possibly the best illustration of our Father’s awesome power is this universe.
For thousands of years man has looked to the heavens to understand Yahweh’s creation. Today we have massive telescopes, but even with these we comprehend only a small fraction of what this universe offers. Its complexity is far beyond man’s comprehension.
Consider the following: it’s believed the number of atoms in the universe is somewhere around 10 to the 78th power. This is 10 with 78 zeros after it. Such a number is beyond our grasp.
The believed diameter of the known universe is 93 billion light years. A light year is the distance light travels in a year. In miles, this number is 5.87849981 x 10 to the 12th power. It’s estimated that the Milky Way galaxy contains 200-400 billion stars. Overall, it’s believed that this universe contains around 100 billion galaxies.
This should give all reason to pause and consider the greatness of our Father in heaven. It’s important we realize that all of this came into existence through the power of our Creator, Almighty Yahweh. If He can design and create such a vast universe, surely He’s capable of seeing His people through life’s problems.
Saying that, it’s important also to realize that sometimes it’s His will that we suffer. The Apostle Paul had a “thorn in his flesh” and prayed three times that Yahweh would remove it. Yahweh never did and Paul soon realized that he was made strong through that thorn or weakness.
The fact remains, though, our Father in heaven is bigger than anything in this universe; He is in control of the smallest atom to the largest galaxy.
Even though this world can be a chaotic place, as long as we remember that we serve an awesome El, nothing should discourage us or pull us away from the faith. There’s nothing beyond His power or control – He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.
Obedience Brings Blessings
Another way of succeeding as a believer is by obeying our Father in heaven. Deuteronomy 30 says that we’re blessed when we follow His commandments. “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love Yahweh thy Elohim, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and Yahweh thy Elohim shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it,” verses 15-16.
As believers, it’s imperative to understand that there are consequences for how we live. If we live a life of righteousness after Yahweh’s commandments, we’ll be blessed and prosperous in this life and more importantly, in the life to come. However, if we choose to rebel and ignore His Word, we will not find life, but death.
Yahweh’s commandments are for the good of mankind. As our Creator, He’s established a natural order in this universe and His commandments are the guide to achieving success in this order.
For example, He’s given commandments regulating our diet. He tells us to avoid things such as shellfish and swine, which medical science is now finding are a detriment to human health.
Dr. Rex Russell in his book, What the Bible says About Healthy Eating, says, “One reason for [Yahweh’s] rule forbidding pork is that the digestive system of a pig is completely different from that of a cow. It is similar to ours, in that the stomach is very acidic. Pigs are gluttonous, never knowing when to stop eating. Their stomach acids become diluted because of the volume of food, allowing all kinds of vermin to pass through this protective barrier. Parasites, bacteria, viruses and toxins can pass into the pig’s flesh because of overeating. These toxins and infectious agents can be passed on to humans when they eat a pig’s flesh,” pp. 76-77.
As Yahweh designed, these meats are a detriment to man’s health. So in this case when we obey Him, we’re more likely to maintain better health.
Yahweh also established marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman, Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:6. If you consider the impact of divorce that we’re seeing in this nation, whether that be single parent homes or broken families, there should be no wonder why He says what He does.
Based on data from the 2010 census, one-third or a total of 15 million children are without a father in the home. Statistics have shown that a child suffers emotionally and socially without the influence of a father. Consider the following statistics:
● 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes – 5 times the average (U.S. Dept. of Health/Census).
● 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
● 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
● 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average (Justice & Behavior, Vol. 14, p. 403-26).
● 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – nine times the average (National Principals Association Report, thefatherlessgeneration.wordpress.com).
Everything our Heavenly Father says in His Word is for our good. The problem is most people are simply too stubborn to listen. It’s amazing, though, how many of these same people will ask, “Why are these things happening?” Even though the truth is obvious to the sincere seeker, they’re blind to it.
Acts 5:32 provides another benefit for obedience. It reads, “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom Elohim hath given to them that obey him.”
The Bible declares that the ruach ha qodesh, i.e., Holy Spirit, is given to those who follow Yahweh’s Word. Now, what benefits do we find through our Father’s Spirit? It brings us into deeper truths and helps us change from whom we are today into how we should be based on Yahweh’s will. It also gives us wisdom to rightly apply our Father’s Word. Finally, it offers encouragement and strength in times of need and trouble.
Blessings Through Faith
Succeeding as a believer also demands faith. Before we explore why faith is important, let’s first understand the meaning of faith. Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The author of Hebrews tells us that faith is believing or having a conviction in something that can’t be seen. In this case, it’s a conviction for our Heavenly Father, Yahweh, who Scripture says is invisible and immortal.
Verse 6 goes on to explain why this characteristic is so important: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to Elohim must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
We can’t please Yahweh without faith. We must believe in Him and His promises, including His promise of everlasting life in His Kingdom. If we don’t believe in these promises, then our faith is not genuine and not pleasing to the One we worship.
Because faith is a belief and conviction in our Creator, it should be obvious why it’s essential in remaining strong as a believer. Without the promise of the resurrection and His Kingdom, what would be the motivation to follow Him? Yahweh has promised all this and much more in His Word; all we must do is believe and follow Him.
Have Courage to Overcome
Another important attribute in succeeding as a believer is courage. John Wayne once said, “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” In essence, courage is responding even in those moments when we’re afraid. In other words, courage is not allowing fear to control our response.
In the first chapter of Joshua, Yahweh commands the Israelite leader to remain strong and courageous: “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for Yahweh thy Elohim is with thee whithersoever thou goest,” 1:7-9.
Yahweh told Joshua to obey His commandments so that he would have success. As confirmed in Deuteronomy, when we follow His commandments we’re going to be blessed.
Second, Yahweh tells Joshua to be strong and of good courage and not to be afraid. There’s a connection between faith and courage. To achieve either one we must believe in Yahweh and in His promises. If we have a deep faith in our Heavenly Father then even death should not concern us. The Bible promises that for those who lose their lives for His sake will find them in the life to come.
Like faith, courage requires that we are resolute in our conviction of Yahweh and willing to do whatever is necessary to remain true to Him. If we allow fear to control us, then we may never achieve the goal of everlasting life.
Yahweh gave this key message to Joshua, the son of Nun. This man had the task of not only leading a nation, but doing so during a time of conquest. He was going to war for the nation of Israel and for Almighty Yahweh. Yahweh knew that this would require strength and courage like never before. He would risk everything to obey the One he worshiped.
If indeed Yahshua’s coming is closer than what many realize, we as believers will require this same level of courage and faith as this time approaches.
Yahshua in His Olivet Prophecy stated that the Great Tribulation would be the worst time this world has ever and will ever see. Nothing will rival the sin, depravity, and the persecution that this world will experience prior to Yahshua’s coming. The challenges that we go through today are nothing compared to the tribulation we might see in the days to come. Joshua showed courage and strength against nations and peoples greater than he. Can we do the same?
Show a Difference
Another key in succeeding as a believer is to show a distinction. Paul conveys this message in 2Corinthians 6: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Messiah with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of Elohim with idols? for ye are the temple of the living Elohim,” verses 14-16a.
The Apostle Paul asks, “What concord has Messiah with Belial?” The word “Belial” here is a euphemism for Satan the devil. There is no greater contrast than that between Yahshua the Messiah and the Evil One.
We don’t have to look hard to see sin in the world today. In the last few decades we’ve seen a lot of change in this nation. Many no longer know what is morally right in this day and age. The concept of absolute morality has been thrown out the window. Today’s belief in diversity and political correctness has replaced biblical standards.
It seems that everything we read in the Bible regarding immorality is happening today, including the acceptance of sodomy and a complete disregard for Yahweh’s commanded standards.
As we find in the fifth chapter of Isaiah, they now call evil good and good evil. We may very well be witnessing the final collapse of biblical values in this nation. This is why it’s so important that we make a distinction between us and this world.
Just because we live in the world doesn’t mean that we live like the world. We must show a difference in what we watch, what we listen to, how we behave, and most importantly, how we worship! We will not be found worthy if we don’t come out of this world.
Never Lose Perspective
Another key in succeeding as a believer is keeping a right perspective. In Psalm 103:15 we find a fact about life that is true for all people. It reads, “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.”
David compares the life of man to a flower in the field. For some, 70 or 80 years seems like a long time. Truth be told, man’s life goes by very quickly. Before we know it, we’re at the end of our days and there’s no way to get that time back. There’s no way to rewind the clock or to redo what we did.
For this reason we must keep in mind that this life is not the only life. While this life is short and transitory, the life to come is forever.
How many decisions do we make every day with this thought in mind? Many people are so caught up in the day-to-day that they completely forget about why we’re here and what’s most important.
Is it more important that we work to excess to get ahead, or spend time with our families? Is it more important that we take a vacation or attend Yahweh’s appointed Feasts? Is it more important that we buy that big screen TV or support our Father’s work through our tithes and offerings?
Life is all about setting priorities and keeping perspective on what’s most important. Yahweh remembers what we put first in our lives. Before we know it our days will be over and the record of our lives will be established for all eternity.
What should the believer be focused on? Solomon, in the last chapter of Ecclesiastes, provides one answer. He says, “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,” 12:13-14.
How does Solomon define the whole of man? Obey the commandments and fear our Heavenly Father. To be found worthy as a believer we must obey Yahweh and always remember to show Him fear and reverence. If we do these things, not only will we overcome this world, but we’ll find blessings in this life and in the life to come.
Maintain Proper Balance
Now the last key in succeeding as a believer is maintaining balance. In the Old Testament, Solomon prayed for divine wisdom. Because his heart was right, we know that Yahweh blessed this man with incredible wisdom. The Bible says that he had more wisdom than all those in the east and in Egypt.
Solomon in Ecclesiastes 7:16 speaks about balance. In the New International Version it reads, “Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise – why destroy yourself? Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool – why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears [Elohim] will avoid all [extremes].”
The word “overrighteous” here likely refers to self-righteousness. What are some of the attributes of a person who is self-righteous? To name a few: arrogance, a lack of compassion, a sense of entitlement, an unwillingness to admit wrong. The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines this word as, “convinced of one’s own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others.”
In essence, this is why our Savior reprimanded the scribes and Pharisees in the New Testament. These people had the written law down to a science, but through their self-righteousness they lost that which was most important. They forgot about things like love, mercy, and faith, and because of that Yahshua chastised them for their hypocrisy.
As believers, it’s not only our actions by which we’ll be judged, but the motives behind our actions. As believers we can physically do all the right things and yet in the end fall short. We must ensure that our life is balanced according to our Father’s Word.
Solomon closes here by saying that the man who fears Yahweh will avoid all extremes. In other words, we should not venture to the right or left, but remain on that narrow path. While we are to obey, we must not be pharisaical in that obedience. It’s all about striking a balance in our walk as believers.
This world is becoming worse by the day. We’re seeing an increase in crime, sin, and immorality. If we’re going to succeed as believers and please Yahweh, then we need to be resolute in our faith and devotion. If we find something in our Father’s Word that we’re not doing now, we must make that change. It’s about serving Him, following Him, obeying Him, and making Him the center of our lives.
As Yahshua told the Laodicean assembly – be either hot or cold, but not lukewarm. Going part-way as disciples of Yahshua will never be enough. Either we’re all in or we’re all out. Yahweh will not accept half-hearted commitment. He has big plans for His people and He wants only those with total dedication who will one day rule in His Kingdom.
A June 2, 2015, Gallup Poll reported that most Americans are pessimistic regarding the moral trend of this nation. It stated, “Most Americans (72 percent) continue to believe the state of moral values in the U.S. is ‘getting worse.’ “Large majorities have said the state of moral values in the U.S. is declining since Gallup started asking this question annually in 2002.”
It’s not hard to see why so many are less than optimistic today about the moral direction of this once great nation. To make matters worse, the Supreme Court on June 26 possibly placed the last nail in the coffin when they legalized homosexual (sodomite) marriage in all 50 states.
Amazingly, what the Supreme Court now defines as marriage, the Supreme Creator defines as an abomination, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with woman-kind: it is abomination,” Leviticus 18:22. This word “abomination” comes from the Hebrew tow’ ebah and refers to “something disgusting (morally), i.e., an abhorrence,” Strong’s Concordance.
Clearly this ruling is the most radical shift in the last 30 years of this nation and perhaps second only to the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion. When we as a country change the definition of marriage, we change the very foundation of our culture, and tell Yahweh we no longer need Him.
Spiritual Faith to Bondage
Alexander Fraser Tytler lived from 1747 to 1813. He was a Scottish advocate, judge, writer and historian who served as Professor of Universal History, and Greek and Roman Antiquities at the University of Edinburgh.
As a historian he understood govern-ments. He stated the following in reference to democracies, “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”
Does this sound familiar with our nation? This is in fact the strategy of most politicians today. Our current national debt is over $18 trillion and we continue to increase government spending and programs. Shockingly, much of the populace supports this out-of-control spending so long as it benefits them. According to many economists, this fiscal trend is unsustainable; at some point we’re going to hit rock bottom, as we’re seeing in nations like Greece.
Tytler is also credited with the following observation: “The average age of the world’s greatest civilisations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”
This man had incredible insight on the rise and fall of nations. Where do you suppose America falls in this progression? Based on current trends, many would agree we are somewhere between apathy and dependence.
The majority of the people in America are indifferent to what’s occurring, and more than half are now dependent in some way on government welfare. According to Tytler’s theory, bondage follows dependence.
It’s not difficult to see that the policies of our current government are increasingly more oppressive. As time goes on, those who openly speak out against certain sins, including sodomite marriage, will likely face retribution.
As believers, it’s important that we follow the Word of our Heavenly Father above all else. As we find in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter, we look to a greater kingdom, one not ruled by the opinions and ever-changing morality of man, but by our Savior, Yahshua the Messiah.
Who’s Really to Blame?
As much as we would like to blame our politicians for the monstrous straits we’re in, the majority of blame belongs elsewhere. Before we pinpoint where, consider the following quotation from Alexis de Tocqueville. He was a French political thinker and historian who lived between 1805 and 1859.
He wrote in Democracy in America, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there …in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there…in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there…in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
What an amazing observation! This man realized that the greatness of America was to be found in the church and the message of our Father’s Word and not in its riches or political structure.
Back in the day, most ministers understood and taught morality. They understood principles like sin, repentance, and the virtue of living a righteous life. Where do we hear these same concerns from the pulpits today? Sadly, we don’t. Many are too busy competing for cash and numbers; they’re too concerned with fitting in with the trends of this world and putting a Starbucks in their own vestibules.
The blame for the state of our union is placed at the feet of the ministers in this nation. Many have abandoned morality and biblical principles for numbers and greed; in doing so they’ve allowed the culture to fall, possibly beyond the point of return.
Ignorance Is Not Bliss
The Apostle Peter tells us that this re-bellion is not because of ignorance, but choice. He says, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of Elohim the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water,” 2Peter 3:3-5.
When will these events happen? Peter attests that they are reserved for the last days. If we’re not in those days, we’re likely very close. He confirms that we’re going to see scoffers. This is from the Greek empaiktes and refers to “a derider, i.e. (by implication) a false teacher” (Strong’s).
Describing many people in our culture, he goes on to say that these scoffers will walk after their own lusts. They’d rather do it their way instead of Yahweh’s way; doing it their way allows them to pursue selfish wants unhindered by our Father’s Word.
We also see that these scoffers will question the return of Yahshua the Messiah, asking, where is His coming? How many people in this nation really believe in the return or Second Coming of our Savior? According to a 2013 poll by the Pew Research Center, only 47 percent of Christians believe that the Messiah will “definitely” return. Even more alarming is the fact that 52 percent of Christians either say that He will not return or are unsure.
Peter closes this passage by saying these scoffers “willingly are ignorant.” This phrase comes from the Greek thelo lanthano and refers to those who choose or prefer not to know the truth. How many do you know who simply choose to ignore what they know to be right? Deep down most people know that what we’re seeing in our world is very wrong, but they simply choose to ignore it.
And the Cycle Continues
Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes verified that events have a way of repeating themselves. Even though much of the prophecies in Isaiah are directed at Judah, it’s almost as if these same passages were written for America. It’s true that many prophecies in the Word are dual in nature. We find one such prophecy in the first chapter of Isaiah: “The ox knoweth his owner, and the donkey his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken Yahweh, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward…Hear the word of Yahweh, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our Elohim, ye people of Gomorrah…And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood,” verses 3-4, 10, 15.
Here Isaiah describes the nation of Judah before its fall to the Babylonians. Does any of this sound familiar? As a people, we too have forgotten our Heavenly Father. There’s no better proof of this than the recent decision by the Supreme Court changing the definition of marriage.
It’s ironic that Isaiah compares Judah to Sodom and Gomorrah. As time goes on, we too are looking increasingly more like these deplorable cities. Sadly, there are many people, including some who claim to believe in the Bible, who try to justify homosexuality or sodomy. These people are “willingly ignorant.”
Even though Judah was guilty of horrible sin, Yahweh still offered her an opportunity to repent (see verse 18). We know historically that Judah never accepted this offer and as a result was taken captive by the Babylonians. As a nation, will we repeat Judah’s mistake or find it within ourselves to humbly repent and turn back to our Heavenly Father?
Consider the level of change this type of action would require. Political correctness would need to be thrown out. Sins like abortion and homosexuality could not be culturally accepted. The biblical family union would need to be restored. Without some sort of divine awakening the chances of all this happening are slim to none.
As believers it’s important that we never lose hope. If not for us, for our children and their children after them.
What happens when a nation becomes incorrigible in her sin? As Isaiah prophesied, Yahweh will not hear their prayers. Sin matters. Sin has consequences. When we refuse to honor and acknowledge our Heavenly Father, He in turn will refuse to bless and acknowledge us. If we’re going to reap His blessings we must be willing to follow Him.
Woe Unto the Wicked
In Isaiah 3:8-12 the son of Amoz prophesied that Judah had no remorse for her sin. “For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against Yahweh, to provoke the eyes of his glory. The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”
Just as Judah did many years ago, we as a culture parade our sins. There’s nothing more abhorrent than the current sodomite parades and other shows of public immorality. The people who partake in these events are proud of their sin. Instead of hiding or being discreet, they make it as visible and deplorable as possible.
As Isaiah says, “Woe unto the wicked.” Those who engage in this behavior not only harm themselves, but society as well. The tragic consequence of all this is the family. As Isaiah prophesies, children are their oppressors and women rule over them.
Many families are in disarray today. Consider the following: people living together out of wedlock; a divorce rate at 50 percent, single parent homes with multiple children; and kids killing kids.
Many of these problems are the result of absentee fathers and diminishing of his function. In today’s culture it’s common for the father to be viewed as nothing more than a babbling buffoon incapable of leading his family.
Our Heavenly Father defines fathers as the head of the family. Fathers bring strength and stability to the family. When the father is absent his significance is weakened, families suffer. As we learn from wise Solomon, there’s nothing new under the sun; what has been will be again.
As Isaiah prophesied in the fifth chapter, people no longer understand common notions of biblical morality. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter,” verse 20.
Do we see in our nation where good is considered bad and bad is considered good? A person who speaks against fornication is ridiculed as old-fashioned and narrow-minded. A person who speaks against homosexuality is considered intolerant and hateful. A person who speaks out against abortion is judged uncompassionate and anti women. A person who speaks out against radical Islam is called racist and an Islamophobe.
What we read in Isaiah is happening right now in this nation. Many today don’t know the difference between right and wrong, moral and immoral. The belief in absolute morality has all but vanished.
What is the cause of this twisted understanding? Paul in the first chapter of Romans explains why this is and its connection to homosexuality. “For this cause Elohim gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain Elohim in their knowledge, Elohim gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient…knowing the judgment of Elohim, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but have pleasure in them that do them,” verses 26-28, 32.
How can anyone read this passage and still justify same-gender unions? Whether it’s men with men or women with women, Paul defines their behavior as vile and against nature. Our Heavenly Father created marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman. Anything outside of this is against what He established in the beginning at creation.
To understand the depth of our Father’s disgust for homosexuality, consider the meaning of the word “vile.” it comes from the Greek atimia and means, “disgrace.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines this word as, “dishonor and ignominy.”
The Bible condemns homosexuality as an abomination. It’s one of the worst sins a nation can allow and now we’ve changed the very definition of marriage to include this debauchery. How is it possible that we as nation have strayed so far from our Father’s Word?
Paul says that when we refuse to acknowledge Yahweh that he will give us up to a reprobate mind. The word “reprobate” comes from the Greek adokimos and means, “unapproved, i.e. rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally),” Strong’s.
Similarly, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words states, “…(a) of things, Heb 6:8, ‘rejected,’ of land that bears thorns and thistles; (b) of persons, Rom 1:28, of a ‘reprobate mind,’ a mind of which [Yahweh] cannot approve, and which must be rejected by Him, the effect of refusing ‘to have [Elohim] in their knowledge’;…in 2Tim 3:8 of those ‘reprobate concerning the faith,’ i.e., men whose moral sense is perverted and whose minds are beclouded with their own speculations; in Titus 1:16, of the defiled, who are ‘unto every good work reprobate,’ i.e., if they are put to the test in regard to any good work (in contrast to their profession).”
As seen above, the word “reprobate” refers to a person who’s been rejected and unapproved because of sin and perversion. Even though Paul wrote Romans in reference to what was happening in his own day, it’s also prophetic of ours. All that we find in this epistle is happening right now in this nation.
It’s amazing just how much support there is for gay rights and gay marriage in this country. Most people are simply oblivious to the impact we will suffer as a nation because of this sin and others like it.
Is Repentance Possible?
Considering everything that’s occurring and the state of our union, is it possible for this nation to repent? Absolutely. We find a promise in 1Kings 8:33: “When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house: Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.”
If we as a nation would fall down and repent, our Heavenly Father would heal the land. Understand, though, that repentance is not merely a verbal confession of our remorse. It’s a complete forsaking of our sin and a return to Yahweh. If the populace of this nation would sincerely repent and change their ways, we would see a change like never before. For this to happen, though, we would need to fall down in sackcloth and ashes and realize what we’ve done.
If this doesn’t occur, what are we as believers to do? We are to hold firm and make our own election sure. For some, there will be persecution and for others there will be protection. There are many examples in the Bible and throughout history where good people had to suffer.
As Yahweh told Joshua, though, as believers we must obey Him and be of good courage. We must never back down, we must never compromise what we know to be right; and we must never forsake the One we worship.
Yahshua the Messiah said that if we lose our life for His sake, we would find it.
It’s important to remember that no matter what happens in this life, we have a greater life to come. If we believe in the resurrection and the promise of everlasting life in our Father’s Kingdom then nothing now should make us lose hope.
Testifying about and sharing the Word effectively is one of the most important skills for any believer. A person’s witness can be both a benefit and a detriment, as contradictory as that may sound. Just as our tongue can be used as an instrument to bless Yahweh and curse man (James 3:9), our testimony can have the same result. We are instructed to let our light shine (Matt. 5:16) and to have a ready answer to all who may ask.
How then does a person witness in a way that is both persuasive and a blessing to Almighty Yahweh? What are some of the methods of effective witnessing? Surprisingly, the Word provides many.
Basis of All Truth
The most important of all is the primary use of Yahweh’s Scriptures themselves. All other approaches are built upon them. We find in the Book of Hebrews that Yahweh’s Word works in powerful ways. The author of this dynamic, ageless book, wrote, “For the word of Elohim is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
This passage compares the Word to a two-edged sword, which is able to discern the thoughts and motives of the individual. Understand that when we witness that we are engaged in a spiritual battle. Satan wants nothing more than to discourage us from sharing the Truth. There is no weapon more powerful to oppose Satan than the Word.
Another advantage of using the Word is that it keeps personal opinion or bias from entering the discussion. In sharing the Scriptures avoid statements like, “I think” or “I believe.” Instead, simply say, “The Word says.” Who can refute the inspired text?
When Yahshua the Messiah taught He typically used and referred directly to the Scriptures. There are many examples of such in the Bible. One instance is when He was confronted by Satan after His immersion. “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Elohim…Yahshua said unto him, It is written again, you shall not tempt Yahweh your Elohim…Then saith Yahshua unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, you shall worship Yahweh your Elohim, and Him only shall you serve” (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10).
How did Yahshua respond to Satan’s direct temptations? In every instance He replied, “It is written…” There is no example where the Messiah prefaced His response with, “I believe” or “I think.” He simply referred to the Word. No greater weapon stymies the Evil One more than the pure and unadulterated Truth of our Father in heaven. Personal opinion or man’s thinking means nothing compared to the Word. It matters not what we believe. If we cannot prove what we believe then we have a problem that must first be reconciled with the Word. When we evangelize, what we say must be based on the truth of Scripture. One of the best ways of ensuring this is to simply quote pertinent verses.
Another instance of this approach can be found in the evangel of Mark: “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Mark 7:6).
Yahshua could have attacked these men with personal judgment, but instead He simply yielded to the Word. As was seen in Hebrews, nothing is more impacting than the inspired Word of Almighty Yahweh. Yahshua understood this well. This is why it is so important that all believers make time to study the Word. How can we refute a false belief if we do not have adequate knowledge of the Truth?
Find Common Ground
Another key to witnessing is finding similarities, meaning focusing on those aspects of truth that might be shared. The Apostle Paul frequently used this method with often incredible results. One example can be found in his witness on Mars’ Hill. “And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bring certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN MIGHTY ONE. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you. Elohim that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Sovereign of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:19-25).
On this occasion, Paul used the object with the inscription “to the unknown Mighty One” to connect to his audience. Paul was basically saying, “Let me tell about this One whom we worship.” In doing so, Paul was forming a relationship between him and his hearers. It is also noteworthy that Paul began his witness at creation. Since the “Athenians and strangers” were ignorant of Scripture, Paul began at the beginning to build a foundation. Two lessons can be derived from this example: (1) similarities may be found even in the most difficult of situations, and (2) it is often necessary to build a foundation. If we focus only on our differences, we remove the motivation for the listener to change. Part of witnessing is building a relationship. A relationship is very difficult when there is no common ground to build on.
Another time that Paul used this approach is in his first epistle to the Corinthians. “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law (being not without law to Elohim, but under the law to Messiah), that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1Cor. 9:19-22).
Paul’s statements here again illustrate his strategy of forming a bond with his audience through similarities. He said that he became a servant to all so that he might gain the more. How did this great Apostle become a servant? To the Jews he became a Jew and to those who were without law as one without law. Is Paul saying that he followed all Jewish traditions or lived without law to win more to the faith? Absolutely not! The Apostle is stating that he found common threads with those groups and used similarities to win them to the Messiah.
Too much of anything can be a detriment. As with most of life, there must be a balance with witnessing, specifically with the volume of knowledge that can be shared. Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:12 said, “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”
Solomon understood that excessive study could be a detriment. The same applies to witnessing one’s faith. Most individuals are capable of receiving only so much information at a time before reaching sensory overload. The limits will vary with the person, of course. The best approach is to volunteer a little and then let them ask for more. If we are not cognizant of this principle we may make it very difficult for our listener to retain the knowledge we share or worse, may discourage our listener from being receptive to future teaching. Let them digest a little at a time. Balance and moderation are keys to successful witnessing.
The detriment of excessive knowledge and the need for moderation did not escape the Apostles and elders of the early assembly. They applied this principle to the first wave of gentile converts. “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to Elohim: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day” (Acts 15:19-21).
In this passage the Apostles and elders were gathered to discuss what was to be done with the new gentile converts regarding physical circumcision. The conclusion of this meeting was that circumcision would not be required of those uncircumcised gentile converts. The reason is important. Scripture says that the elders and Apostles would not trouble the gentiles with circumcision because they understood that to burden them at this time with that requirement would have been excessive and a detriment.
Instead of requiring circumcision, the Apostles commanded that they begin their walk by abstaining from four specific practices that were all connected with their previous pagan worship. The rest of the Truth they would learn in due time as they met each Sabbath to hear the law as given on Sinai. To avoid discouraging the early converts, the Apostles and elders saw the benefit of allowing them to learn gradually. Give then only a little at a time and make them hunger for more.
Witnessing is like sowing a seed. When a seed is planted only a small amount of water is needed. Give it too much and it might wash out. But as the plant grows greater amounts of water are required. This same concept holds true for witnessing the Word. When planting the seed use moderation and discretion and don’t inundate.
Shun Personal Attacks
In addition to having self-control we should never attack or belittle another’s beliefs. That will get us nowhere. An example of a right approach can again be found in Paul’s encounter on Mars’ Hill. “Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious’” (Acts 17:22, NKJV).
Notice that instead of attacking these people for their pagan worship he said that he perceived that they were very interested in religious things. He himself was more religious too, so he found common ground with at least their desire to investigate. Paul understood that to attack their faith would have been counterproductive. Witnessing with aggression and a desire to humiliate is not only self-defeating, but also reflects poorly on the Faith. Personal attacks should always be avoided. They will only escalate contention and frustration.
Even when he was confronted with pagan worship Paul had a way of approaching the situation in a manner that disarmed them and connected with his listeners simultaneously. Yahweh’s people should follow this example. His approach is dignified, sincere, and effective at drawing them in to desire more of Yahweh’s Word.
Let Your Light Shine
Perhaps the easiest, and one of the most influential ways to evangelize is by personal example. The Messiah in Matthew 5:15-16 commanded that all believers were to allow their lights to shine: “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Our Savior commanded us to allow our light to shine so that our good works would be a positive testimony to Yahweh. Someone said, “You may be the only Bible someone else reads.” The examples that we set by our lives may indeed be the only model of truth that some will ever experience. With this principle in mind, it is crucial that we live daily according to the Word.
It is important that we understand that our examples can either be a blessing or an obstacle. If we willfully commit sin then we may discourage others from the Faith. For a believer, hypocrisy is not an option. As our Savior lived a life free from sin, we must strive to do the same. “For even hereunto were ye called: because the Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:21-22).
This principle not only applies to witnessing, but also to personal relationships. Peter encourages wives to win over their unbelieving husbands by their good works: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives,” 1Peter 3:1. The word “conversation” comes from the Greek anastrophe, meaning “behavior.”
No matter what situation we are discussing, living a life that reflects our Savior can lead others to change and to accept the truth of Almighty Yahweh. Whether it is a wife trying to win over her husband or a believer trying to win over a friend, we must always set a right example. If our examples contradict our words then we lose credibility and what we say will fall on deaf ears.
The Virtue of Patience
In addition to the other techniques, patience and refraining from anger are indispensable when witnessing. Solomon in Proverbs 15:18 wrote, “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.” According to Solomon anger creates more strife. Our discussion may already be fragile and adding emotion will only push it over the edge and defeat our goal. Our goal should be to ensure that our witness is a positive experience for both us and the person we are communicating with. Being impatient and argumentative will ensure that this won’t happen.
While anger causes strife, patience calms strife. When we witness we must learn to control our emotions, especially anger, and to be patient. Remember that in many cases, it is not what we say but how we say it. When we confront someone face to face they see our facial expressions, which speak just as loudly as what we may say. If what we say is in strife, then no matter what validity we may have it is all for nothing. It is also important to remember that not everyone is on the same spiritual level. While some may accept certain truths quickly, others may not. This is why patience is a virtue when witnessing the Word.
Scripture is clear that discretion is key when witnessing. Not everyone is in a position to receive Yahweh’s Word, especially those who are in open defiance to their Father in Heaven. Yahshua warned us of this in Matthew 7:6: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”
In other words, we are not to share Yahweh’s word with those who would reject or pollute that Word. If discretion and wisdom are not used then our witness may not only fall on rebellious ears, but may also come back to bite us. In 2 Peter 2:12 we find that there are some who are “as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed.” These people have no regard for Yahweh’s Word and will destroy it if possible, especially that which is holy. This is the reason we are told to abstain from sharing the Truth with those who would scorn, abuse, and defile it.
Wait on Yahweh
The last principle to understand is the one that often causes the most frustration. When we witness we must learn to wait on Yahweh and to accept His will. Even though our witness is often motivated from a deep desire to see a person change, we must understand that only Yahweh can change hearts and minds. In many cases, regardless of the evidence we present or how well we may articulate our words, it is not meant for some people to see the truth. Not everyone is called at this time.
We find in Matthew 13:10-13 that this was the reason why Yahshua spoke in parables: “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”
In this passage Yahshua explains that He spoke in parables to avoid revealing the truth to those whom it was not given. It is not Yahweh’s desire that all receive knowledge of His Word today. A truth that is often missed by many Bible believers is that today is not the only day for salvation. Scripture speaks of two resurrections, one for the saints in Messiah (1 Cor. 15:23, Rev. 20:6) and one for the rest of mankind (Rev. 20:11-15). All of mankind at some point will have an opportunity to learn and accept the promise of salvation; some have that opportunity today, while others will have that opportunity in the future.
Keep this principle in mind when sharing the Word. Yahweh may have a reason for not revealing His truth at this time to someone we might know. Even though it may be disappointing, we must have faith that Yahweh is in control and has a plan for those whom we love. Life often has a way of taking turns we cannot always foresee. When our witness does not take root then we must leave that seed to Yahweh.
From the Apostle Paul we learn that only Yahweh can bring forth the increase. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Master gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but Elohim gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth is any thing, neither he that watereth; but Elohim that giveth the increase” (1Corinthians 3:5-7).
In this passage we find that while we can plant and water, we cannot bring forth the increase; only Yahweh can produce the fruit of our labor. Yahweh is the only one who can open eyes and change hearts and minds of men. Even the greatest orators in the history of man have failed to convince some. Wait on Yahweh.
To witness the Word effectively we must use discretion and wisdom. We must engage those techniques that cultivate success and avoid those that only offend. Considering the weight and significance of our witness, it is of necessity that we strive to present the best witness possible. Our witness can be both a benefit and a detriment; may our witness not be of the latter.
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From the beginning this nation has stood as a beacon of hope to the world. The principles that formed the foundation of this once great country were different from all others before it. As John Adams, a founding father, once stated, “Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence… What a Utopia, what a Paradise would this region be” (Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9).
Clearly from the writings of John Adams and other founders who shared his view on government and morality, it was a widespread hope that every person would live life based on the moral precepts of the Bible. If they did, we would have a much different world today. It’s not hard to see, however, that something has gone horribly wrong, especially with the ever-increasing acts of violence committed by today’s youth.
In 1973 one key court decision greatly contributed to the moral decline of our culture and that was the federal ruling to allow abortion. Since this infamous day, millions of legalized abortions have been committed under the banner of pro-choice and women’s rights. Even though many see the abortion issue as only political, the truth is, it is a deeply moral issue that every Bible believer should stand up and cry out against. It is a travesty of complete disregard for the lives of children.
We hope that after reviewing this publication you will agree that abortion is not only morally wrong, but it is also up to every believer concerned about the future of the culture to stand against the practice. To understand the gravity of the issue, let’s begin with the number of abortions here and abroad.
In 2008 there were 1.21 million abortions reported in America, down from the 1.31 million in 2000. According to the National Right to Life Committee (the largest and oldest pro-life organization) and the Guttmacher Institute, in 2011 the number of abortions dropped to 1.05 million.
Even though we’ve seen a decrease in the number of abortions, we’re still seeing over a million abortions per year. Since the notorious court case of Roe vs. Wade in 1973, we’ve seen over 50 million legal abortions. The current population of the state of California is 38,332,521, according to a July, 2013, census report. This means that one child has died for every man, woman, and child living in California … plus 12 million more!
In addition to domestic abortions, the number of international abortions is nothing short of a travesty. Based on a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, in 2008 there were 43.8 million abortions worldwide. Below is a breakdown by region:
Region No. of Abortions (millions)
Excluding Eastern Europe………………………………..3.2
In addition to the number of abortions, it’s important to understand the demographics behind this epidemic. According to the Guttmacher Institute:
Eighteen percent of U.S. women obtaining abortions are teenagers; those aged 15–17 obtain 6% of all abortions, 18 to19-year-olds account for 11%, and teens younger than 15 account for 0.4%.
Women in their 20s account for more than half of all abortions: Women aged 20-24 obtain 33% of all abortions, and women aged 25-29 obtain 24%.
Non-Hispanic white women have 36% of the abortions, non-Hispanic black women 30%, Hispanic women 25% and women of other races account for 9%.
Thirty-seven percent of women obtaining abortions identify themselves as Protestant and 28% identify as Catholic.
Women who have never married and are not cohabiting account for 45% of all abortions.
About 61% of abortions are obtained by women who have one child or more.
Why are so many teenagers having abortions? The most obvious answer is that they are not waiting for marriage and are not being reared to respect the sanctity of both marriage and life; instead they are promiscuous and with little concern about the consequences.
Abstinence is a novel idea today, relegated to the era of “Father Knows Best” and “I Love Lucy.” Instead of teaching moral principles, schools are handing out birth control pills and by doing so encouraging illicit behavior.
Abortion is a moral problem and it begins with our children. Instead of ingraining the values and virtues of our Father’s Word, our culture instead is communicated a very different message. This message is one of total tolerance and acceptance, and the result is what we are witnessing in the breakdown of today’s family. When we refuse to take moral stands and to impress upon our children the concepts of abstinence and the sanctity of marriage, we will lose their hearts and minds.
Women in their 20s account for more than half of all abortions. This is the result of not raising our young people with the morals and ethics we find in the Bible. Many consider the Bible old-fashioned and out of date, but the Bible has stood the test of time. While our growing secular nation continues to fall apart, the Bible is the very source needed to cure our moral sickness. As a nation we need to repent and return to the virtues that our Father Yahweh has given us in His Word. Without His teachings we will continue the downward spiral.
Reasons Given for Aborting
Out of all the information regarding abortion, possibly the most concerning are the reasons why most women choose this path. In 2004 the Guttmacher Institute did an extensive survey on why women have abortions. Some of the reasons may surprise you:
Why Women Abort(in percentages)
Having a baby would dramatically change my life………………………………………74
Would interfere with education………………………………………………………………..38
Would interfere with job/employment/career…………………………………………….38
Have other children or dependents………………………………………………………….. 32
Can’t afford a baby now…………………………………………………………………………….73
Student or planning to study…………………………………………………………………….34
Can’t afford a baby and child care……………………………………………………………..28
Can’t afford the basic needs of life……………………………………………………………..23
Can’t leave job to take care of a baby………………………………………………………….21
Would have to ﬁnd a new place to live………………………………………………………..9
Not enough support from husband or partner…………………………………………….14
Husband or partner is unemployed…………………………………………………………..12
Currently or temporarily on welfare or public assistance………………………………8
Don’t want to be a single mother or having relationship problems………………..48
Not sure about relationship…………………………………………………………………….. 19
Partner and I can’t or don’t want to get married………………………………………….12
Not in a relationship right now…………………………………………………………………..11
Relationship or marriage may break up soon……………………………………………….11
Husband or partner is abusive to me or my children……………………………………..2
Have completed my childbearing……………………………………………………………….38
Not ready for a(nother) child……………………………………………………………………..32
Don’t want people to know I got pregnant…………………………………………………..25
Don’t feel mature enough to raise a(nother) child………………………………………..22
Husband or partner wants me to have an abortion……………………………………….14
Possible problems affecting the health of the fetus……………………………………….13
Physical problem with my health………………………………………………………………..12
Parents want me to have an abortion……………………………………………………………6
Was a victim of rape……………………………………………………………………………………1
These alarming statistics show that most often abortion is done for personal convenience or finances. Medical reasons amount to a small percentage; only 1% is for rape. What do we hear, though, from most abortion advocates? They will justify abortion for the health and safety of the mother. The greater part of abortions is committed to simply avoid personal responsibility or inconvenience.
As created beings we’re to be accountable for our actions. When we make a mistake, we’re to own up to that mistake and do what is necessary to make it right. This includes both the biological mother and father. That unborn child has two parents, each of whom is responsible for their actions and must step up and take responsibility.
Injury and Emotional Impact
A common misconception is that abortion is harmless and without much risk; the facts show otherwise. According to the Pro-Life Action League, the consequences of abortion include both physical and psychological problems.
“Contrary to the claims of many abortion advocates, there are many serious physical and psychological risks to abortion. Among the physical risks are infection, perforation of the uterus, hemorrhage, cervical incompetence, cancer, and even death. Among the psychological risks are regret, nervous disorders, sleep disturbances, suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, child neglect or abuse, divorce or chronic relationship problems, and repeat abortion.”
While the physical risks are real, the psychological problems are more common. The following list of those consequences is provided by the American Pregnancy Association:
Sense of loneliness or isolation
Loss of self confidence
Insomnia or nightmares
Suicidal thoughts and feelings
With so many risks involved, abortion is anything but safe. It can leave both lifelong physical and psychological scars. The emotional scars are often hardest to live with.
Testimonials from Mothers
Consider the following testimonials from those who experienced an abortion (Source: Silent No More Awareness):
“For seven years I’ve not allowed myself to think about it. I’ve blocked it out so that I wouldn’t hate myself for my decision. I still haven’t fully forgiven myself, although the more I speak about it, the more healing I find.” – Melissa, MD
“Regardless of my outward appearance, I’d personally given up the hope of ever feeling whole. I constantly battled rage and self-loathing. I’d suppressed the memories of my abortion so deep, yet the reality of them was evident in how I lived my self-destructive life.” – Tammi, PA
“I will never know if my babies were boys or girls – what they would have been like, what they would have liked doing…I hope my story will help someone, or keep someone from having an abortion. It was the worst thing I have ever done in my life – I will never escape the pain!” – Laney, AL
“I am a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. My appearance of normalcy deceptively masks the reality of my abortion experience. There is nothing normal about aborting one’s child…I am writing my true story to warn others who may be considering abortion to carefully consider not making the same fatal choice that I made over four decades ago.” – Charlotte, CA
“I made my unborn child suffer. I made myself suffer. I don’t know how I couldn’t see that no one was going to win, that this wasn’t a game. It’s been four days, and I don’t know how I can go four weeks or months or years.” – Lucie, FL
“It was so easy to believe the lies, that what would be removed was simply a piece of tissue, and that, by having it removed, I could simply go on with my life, never looking back. Everything and nearly everyone was pointing to abortion. This was not just my choice, this was the choice of a society.” – Cindy, OR
“The bottom line for me is this: No matter how much noise pro-choice people want to make, there’s something speaking even louder in each human being. It is called our conscience. Whatever argument you want to tell yourself to believe that abortion is right, your conscience will tell you it’s not.” – Marisela, WA
“Do I wish I had made a different choice…that I would have even been told I had a choice? Absolutely! But it is important to not condemn the young women who made this choice; from experience, I know how much it hurts them…If telling my story helps even one woman, saves even one baby, then it’s worth it. I want all women to know that taking your baby’s life destroys your own…that’s why I am Silent No More.” – Marie, WI
From the above testimonials, there is no denying the guilt and emotional grief that many women suffer from after an abortion. While many abortion advocates desire to mask or hide this, the fact is, it’s very real! The only solution is to bring awareness to this important issue and to change the hearts and minds of this culture.
Alternatives to Abortion
It’s crucial to realize that there are other answers than abortion. Alternatives can be categorized in two ways: pre- and post-pregnancy. The obvious preventive measure to ensure that abortion is not needed is to remain celibate before marriage. Even though this concept is viewed by many as old-fashioned, not only is it biblical, but it also provides the only solution to ensure that pregnancy does not happen prior to marriage.
For women who find themselves pregnant, there are three alternatives to consider:
The first is parenting. For those not married, this option can be especially challenging. It’s not easy being a single mother. However, even though this may be a difficult option, it is also the most rewarding. Being a parent offers rewards not found with anything else in life. Caring for your child brings a connection of love and hope not found in any other relationship. This also shows character. Our character is often defined during moments of trial. As the Apostle Paul shares in the fifth chapter of Romans, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of Elohim is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us,” verses 3-5.
A second option is interim foster care. This choice provides a loving and safe home while the mother can adapt to and prepare for the needs of the child. It can offer assistance from a few hours after the child’s birth to a few months after the pregnancy. Options for caretakers include foster and family members, including the family of the biological father.
A third option is adoption. While this option is more permanent than interim foster care, it provides for a lasting solution for the child without the need of terminating his or her life. There are several types of adoption programs available, including: open adoption, semi-open adoption, and closed adoption. Open adoption allows for continued contact between the child and biological mother. In some cases, the mother will choose the parents and draft the terms of the adoption, including the frequency and type of communication allowed. While semi-open adoptions also allow for communication between the biological mother and child, the contact is normally through an intermediary source, e.g. adoption agency.
The last option, closed adoption, allows for no contact between the biological mother and child.
Even though some mothers feel that they are abandoning their child through adoption, they should also realize that they are saving the life of that child and giving him or her an opportunity to survive and thrive.
Adoption Story of Judy V.
“As a senior in college I found myself pregnant after a fling. There was no chance of marrying the father, and abortions were not legal at the time. Besides, it was not the baby’s fault that I was pregnant. With the help of the county’s social services department, I went to a home for unwed mothers in a distant city.
“During counseling sessions with a social worker, I analyzed my past, my character, and my potential. She emphasized that, in deciding whether to raise my baby or to put it up for adoption, I should consider the results of raising a child as a single woman. It was possible that in trying to be responsible, I could condemn us both to lives of poverty and unfulfilled potential. We could be isolated, as well, for unwed mothers and their children were shunned in the society at that time. For these reasons, I might also end up resenting the child. It was very important that both of us be loved. Ultimately, I realized that an adopted baby was loved twice – not only by the family that received the child, but also by the mother who gave the child to them. I opted for adoption.
“In those days, there were no open adoptions that allowed the birth mother to keep track of her child. But I did have one last opportunity to hold my baby girl and say goodbye…Then she was gone, given to a young couple who could not conceive and who were anxious to love and guide her.
“I felt empty, yet full. Gone was the baby who had been within me for nine months. Some wonder if I ever had guilt over giving up my baby. I can truly say, never! I did the best I could for my child. I gave her life, not death, and offered her to a family that welcomed and loved her.
“When she was twenty-one, my daughter searched for and found me. I welcomed her, and our families were united successfully. She has blended with her three younger half-sisters and now has nine children of her own. Her family resides in Germany, where she currently serves as the prayer partner and advisor to the president of the Hessen area military women’s Christian outreach program. Adoption works.”
Support for Mother and Family
One of the greatest ways to avoid abortion is support from the biological father and family members. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 14% of mothers choose abortion because they were pressured by their partner or spouse. The influence of a loving spouse and family can make the difference between life and death. For this reason, it’s crucial that support be given to the mother, regardless of the situation.
Another place where support can be found is in crisis pregnancy centers. There are more pregnancy centers than abortion clinics. As of 2013, there were 2,500 pregnancy centers and 1,800 abortion clinics nationwide (“Pregnancy Centers Gain Influence in Anti-Abortion Arena,” New York Times). Most of these clinics offer various programs and assistance for both the biological mother, father, and child, including peer counseling concerning abortion, pregnancy, adoption, and other related topics. They can also offer financial assistance and classes on child-rearing. Some even offer programs allowing you to earn clothing and other items for your child.
Development of a Baby
To understand that an unborn baby is a human being, one must simply look at the development of a child. Once a person understands such facts as the heart begins to beat six weeks after conception, there should be no doubt that the unborn is a living, growing, human being.
The following is provided from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. We will consider weeks 5 – 21 and the development of the child at various stages:
The embryo’s cells multiply and start to take on specific functions. This is called differentiation.
Blood cells, kidney cells, and nerve cells all develop.
The embryo grows rapidly, and the baby’s external features begin to form.
Your baby’s brain, spinal cord, and heart begin to develop.
Baby’s gastrointestinal tract starts to form.
Weeks 6 – 7
Arm and leg buds start to grow.
Your baby’s brain forms into five different areas. Some cranial nerves are visible.
Eyes and ears begin to form.
Tissue grows that will become your baby’s spine and other bones.
Baby’s heart continues to grow and now beats at a regular rhythm.
Blood pumps through the main vessels.
Baby’s arms and legs have grown longer.
Hands and feet begin to form and look like little paddles.
Your baby’s brain continues to grow.
The lungs start to form.
Nipples and hair follicles form.
Arms grow and elbows develop.
Baby’s toes can be seen.
All baby’s essential organs have begun to grow.
Your baby’s eyelids are more developed and begin to close.
The outer ears begin to take shape.
Baby’s facial features become more distinct.
The intestines rotate.
Weeks 11 – 14
Your baby’s eyelids close and will not reopen until about the 28th week.
Baby’s face is well-formed.
Limbs are long and thin.
Nails appear on the fingers and toes.
Baby’s liver is making red blood cells.
The head is very large–about half of baby’s size.
Your little one can now make a fist.
Tooth buds appear for the baby teeth.
Weeks 15 – 18
At this stage, baby’s skin is almost transparent.
Fine hair called lanugo develops on baby’s head.
Muscle tissue and bones keep developing, and bones become harder.
Baby begins to move and stretch.
The liver and pancreas produce secretions.
Your little one now makes sucking motions.
Weeks 19 – 21
Your baby can hear.
The baby is more active and continues to move and float around.
The mother may feel a fluttering in the lower abdomen. This is called quickening, when mom can feel baby’s first movements.
By the end of this time, baby can swallow.
Another key fact is that a baby can feel pain near the 20th week of pregnancy. This, along with the stages of development, verifies that a “fetus” is a human life. Knowing that a new life begins at conception, it is clear that abortion is the killing of a human being.
Yahweh Knows the Unborn Child
Now beyond medical science, we also find evidence for life beginning at conception in the Bible. David in Psalm 139:13 wrote, “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” The word “possessed” here is from the Hebrew qanah, a primitive root in Hebrew meaning, “to erect or create.” The word “covered” comes from the Hebrew cakak, meaning, “cover over or to protect.” The Bible confirms that not only did Yahweh create David, but He also protected him while yet in his mother’s womb. So from a biblical standpoint, this shows that a “fetus” is a human being created and protected by our Father in heaven. But David wasn’t the only one known while yet in the womb.
Jeremiah 1:5 verifies that Jeremiah was also known by Yahweh before his birth. It reads, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Not only was Jeremiah known, but he was also sanctified while yet in his mother’s womb. The word “sanctified” comes from the Hebrew qodesh and means “to consecrate or dedicate.” As Scripture clearly relates, Jeremiah was consecrated as a prophet while yet in his mother’s womb, providing undeniable evidence that a human life begins at conception. A baby in the womb is no less a human being than any other person.
Another individual known before birth was John the Baptist. Luke 1:15 states, “For he shall be great in the sight of Yahweh, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb…And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,” verses 15, 41. There was something very special with the conception of John the Baptist. He received the Holy Spirit while yet in the womb. If this doesn’t provide biblical support that a human is alive at conception, what does? Surely the ability to receive the Spirit shows proof of life.
Another person known in the womb was the Apostle Paul: “But when it pleased Elohim, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood,” Galatians 1:15-16. Paul was “separated” from his mother’s womb. This word comes from the Greek aphorizo and refers to “the Divine action in setting men apart for the work of the gospel, Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:15” (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words). Like Jeremiah before him, Paul was divinely appointed by Yahweh from his mother’s womb.
Beyond the examples showing that we are known from the womb, Exodus 21:22-23 provides a passage verifying that the unborn is considered a human being. It reads, “If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life.”
According to the Torah, or Old Testament law, if two men fight and accidently injure a pregnant woman, causing a miscarriage, the person responsible for the injury had to provide a settlement for his action. Keep in mind that this was unintentional. What happened in the event that the guilty person continued to fight? As we read, if mischief or hurt followed, the person had to pay life for life.
In other words, if the initial injury was accidental, the person responsible had to pay what the husband and judges determined. However, if the conflict continued and death followed, he was to give his life for the life of the unborn.
Not for the purpose of condemnation, but to understand the view of the other side, let’s now consider an excerpt from an article that was written by a pro-choice advocate:
“At the outset, let me say that from a pro-choice point of view, the status of the fetus is a peripheral issue. Regardless of whether a fetus is a human being or has rights, women will have abortions anyway, even if it means breaking the law or risking their lives. Even women who believe that abortion is murder have chosen to get abortions, and will continue to do so. That’s why we should leave the decision up to women’s moral conscience, and make sure that they are provided with safe, legal, accessible abortions. Because ultimately, the status of a fetus is a matter of subjective opinion, and the only opinion that counts is that of the pregnant woman….”
One key sentence here summarizes the error with the pro-choice point of view. The author says, “Regardless of whether a fetus is a human being or has rights, women will have abortions anyway….”
It does matter whether a “fetus” is a human being, which is the crux of the issue. If the “fetus” is not a human being then there is little debate on either side. From the evidence, a “fetus” is alive; that unborn baby has a beating heart six weeks after conception.
The other argument that women will have abortions regardless of its legality is extraneous. The same argument could be made for any offence, whether murder, theft, drug use, etc. What people will do does not justify wrongdoing. We can’t set standards by the actions of society. Regardless of personal opinions or bias, everything about the abortion issue comes back to whether that “fetus” is a human being, and from medical science and Scripture we find undeniable evidence that life begins in the womb.
Ancient Parallels of Child Sacrifice
Even though widespread abortion is a recent phenomenon, we find similar acts of violence involving children in Scripture and history. One such practice included the worship of Molech. He was the national god of the Ammonites, also known as “Milcom.” To show their devotion to this deity, worshipers would kill their children and then lay them upon the arms of Molech. The child would slide from the arms into a fiery inferno. This worship was so vile that Yahweh called it an abomination.
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary further explains Molech worship, “A Semitic deity honored by the sacrifice of children, in which they were caused to pass through or into the fire. Palestinian excavations have uncovered evidences of infant skeletons in burial places around heathen shrines. Ammonites revered Molech as a protecting father.
Worship of Molech was stringently prohibited by Hebrew law (Lev. 18:21; 20:1-5). Solomon built an altar to Molech at Topheth in the valley of Hinnom. Manasseh (c. 696-642 B.C.), in idolatrous orgy, also honored this deity. Josiah desecrated the Hinnom valley altar, but Jehoiakim revived the cult.
The prophets sternly denounced this form of heathen worship (Jer. 7:29-34; Ezek. 16:20-22; 23:37-39; Amos 5:26, marg.). No form of ancient Semitic idolatry was more abhorrent than Molech worship.”
Even though there are obvious differences between abortion and the worship of Molech, they have one fact in common, the intentional murder of children! Why do you suppose our Heavenly Father abhorred the worship of Molech? Was it the deity itself or the worship involved? There were many gods and idols in the ancient world and while Yahweh warns against idolatry, He was most concerned about the worship of Molech. He loves and values human life, including both the born and unborn. As Scripture confirms, life does not begin at the moment of birth, but at the moment of conception, which is actually a continuation of life from the father and mother.
Without Natural Affection
Paul, writing to young Timothy, provides a prophecy that partially speaks to abortion: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,” 2 Timothy 3:1, 3.
Notice that these prophecies are for the last days, which may very well mean today. Paul says here that “perilous” time shall come. This word is derived from the Greek chalepos, meaning, “difficult or dangerous.” In this difficult time, Paul states that people and society will be without natural affection.
Along with abortion, this can be seen in many facets of today’s society, including the plague of bombings and shootings in public places. As a culture we’re becoming numb and callous to these horrible crimes and acts of violence. Abortion is the taking of a human life. With over one million abortions per year, this cannot be denied!
The blame, however, cannot be wholly applied to women receiving abortions. As a culture we’ve given abortion acceptability and legality. If there is any hope for change, we must as a culture reverse course by acknowledging the sanctity of life.
Is Forgiveness Possible?
Perhaps the number one concern of women who have had abortions is: Can I be forgiven? The answer is yes. Forgiveness can be found for those who have aborted their babies, particularly for those who did not understand the full scope of their actions.
The Apostle Paul in the sixth chapter of 1Corinthians states, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of [Yahweh]? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of [Yahweh]. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the [Master Yahshua Messiah] and by the Spirit of our [Elohim]” (verses 9-11, NIV).
While we don’t find abortion specifically mentioned here, we see that forgiveness is possible if we repent and seek baptism. There were those in the early assembly once guilty of these sins, but they had been washed and justified through the blood of Yahshua the Messiah by the waters of baptism.
In addition to what Paul says, we find the forgiveness of King David. Paradoxically, David, the most famous king of Israel, was guilty of adultery and murder in his actions with Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. Even though he would suffer because of his sins, he found forgiveness from Yahweh through humbly repenting.
Nothing captures his sincere remorse greater than Psalm 51, “Have mercy upon me, O Elohim, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O Elohim; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”
Evident in this Psalm is David’s deep sorrow and profound remorse. This is what Yahweh seeks of us when we transgress. He wants to forgive us as well if we would just submit to Him and change our lives.
It is the hope and prayer of this Ministry that this publication will change not only the hearts and minds of those seeking or contemplating abortion, but of society as well. Until the people of this nation and world realize the immorality of abortion, this sin will continue.
Pray that hearts will soften and eyes will be opened to this worldwide plague. And just as with David, those who sincerely repent and follow up with baptism into Yahshua’s Name will find forgiveness of their transgression.
Watch “Abortion Facts” with National Right to Life President Carol Tobias below:
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The most important building block of any society is the family. The family is the foundation, the cornerstone, of civilization. Within the family one of the most important roles is the father. Today the father’s significance has largely been diminished. One area in which this is painfully evident is with his authority. Paul addresses the family structure in his epistle to the Ephesians.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Master. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Messiah is head of the Assembly; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the Assembly is subject to Messiah, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Messiah also loved the assembly and gave Himself for her” (Eph 5:22-25).
In today’s politically-correct-driven climate, most individuals simply refuse to accept that the husband is the authority within the family. However, this is what our Father in Heaven says in his Word. Paul says that the wife is to submit to her husband as to the Messiah. He went on to explain that as the assembly is to obey the Messiah, the wife likewise should also obey her husband. According to Scripture, the father is the final authority within the scriptural family.
Paul also said that the husband is to love his wife as the Messiah loved the assembly. It is important to note that our Savior, Yahshua the Messiah, never abused his authority over the assembly. In the same way the husband should never use his given authority to abuse his wife or family. The husband is to love his wife.
Over the years there have been many published studies on the importance of fathers. Without a father a child is much more likely to engage in activities that are abusive or harmful. In an article entitled The Plight of Fatherless Children from Gazette.net the following discoveries were noted with children without fathers:
Sixty-three percent of young people who commit suicide are from fatherless homes.
Eighty-five percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders are from fatherless homes.
Eighty percent of rapists are from fatherless homes.
Seventy-one percent of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.
Seventy-five percent of all adolescent patients in chemical-abuse centers are from fatherless homes.
Seventy percent of juveniles in state operated institutions come from fatherless homes.
Eighty-five percent of youth in prison are from fatherless homes.
Seventy percent of pregnant teens are from fatherless homes.
In the majority of studies documenting the impact of fatherless homes, there is one recurring theme —without strong fathers at home children suffer in many profound ways. Yahweh knew what he was doing when He created man and woman and brought them together as a family. Without this core unit that our Father in Heaven established, no culture has a chance for long-term survival.
What does it mean scripturally to be a father? What responsibilities do we find within Yahweh’s Word for the father? Perhaps the most basic role of a father is the provider.
The Family Provider
“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1Tim 5:8). For a father there is no greater basic responsibility than to provide for the necessities of his family. Besides obeying our Father in heaven, there is no obligation more important for a father.
As fathers we can be the best Bible students, but if we lose sight of our basic obligation to our families then all our efforts are for naught. As fathers we must always provide for our families. Yahweh has no patience for fathers who are lazy or refuse to provide for their immediate household. The only obligation more important than reading the Word is living the Word. If we read the Word without putting that knowledge into action then that knowledge is worthless.
Another duty of a father is the responsibility of disciplinarian. It is clear from scripture that this is primarily a father’s role, which explains why children require a father’s influence.
An amazing fact of Scripture is that many characteristics of the father are the same as our Heavenly Father. According to the author of Hebrews, His discipline is one of them.
“And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of Yahweh, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom Yahweh loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, Elohim deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons” (Hebrews 12:5-8).
According to scripture, those whom Yahweh loves he rebukes and chastens. If we are not being rebuked, we are not considered legitimate sons of Yahweh. Why is this? Through discipline Yahweh shows his concern for those whom He loves.
Correction or admonition should not to be considered bad. Correction is often the catalyst to change. A person who receives no admonition is a person who often does not change. Scripture is clear that is it Yahweh’s will that all of mankind would be saved (Ezek. 18:23, 1Tim. 2:4); however, it is written that salvation is given to those who obey (Heb. 5:9). Obedience is not the means of salvation but is the responsibility of a believer (Rom. 7:1, Acts 5:32).
As Yahweh’s correction is advantageous to those whom He calls, a father’s correction is also beneficial to his children. In the Book of Proverbs, Solomon speaks of the benefits of a father’s admonition. For instance, in Proverbs 3:12, Solomon compares the discipline of Yahweh to the discipline of a father. “For whom Yahweh loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.”
Solomon in his wisdom wrote that as Yahweh corrects those whom he loves, a father does the same. If as parents desire our children to be well behaved and sons and daughters of the Most High then correction is crucial. Those who receive no admonition are those who often leave the path of righteousness. As a parent we should discipline with a desire to see our children succeed morally. Again, correction or admonition should not be viewed negatively. There is more hope for a child who receives correction than for one who is spoiled and does not know correction.
Correction is becoming increasingly taboo today, but not in Yahweh’s Word. Solomon in Proverbs 23:13-14, wrote, “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from [the grave].”
Yahweh’s Word specifically says that a parent is not to withhold correction. Matter of fact, it says that if a parent uses a rod of correction that he or she would save the child from the grave. The word for “beat” in the above passage is derived from the Hebrewnakah, which is a primitive root meaning to strike. To be clear, the Hebrew word nakah does not promote the idea of physical abuse.
As with all things within the Word, there is a balance in discipline. This passage is not to be used to justify physical abuse that causes harm to a child. Nothing good comes from child abuse. Studies have shown that when a child is abused he will often later in life rebel and go the opposite way from the parents’ admonition. Moderation and discretion must be the corner of all actions, including with admonition and discipline.
Even more important is the good example of a parent. As we find in this passage, to spank a child is scriptural; to abuse or to cause harm, however, is not to be tolerated. As parents we need to remember that our correction of our children is a reflection of how Yahweh rebukes us. While Yahweh shows correction or admonition, he never shows abuse.
Spiritual Guidance from the Father
Solomon in Proverbs 22:6 offers a nugget of truth that if followed will benefit a child for all of his or her life. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” How is this accomplished? Besides correction and admonition, a parent must be willing to spend time with his or her child. Nothing is more important in this life than our families. Many fathers do not realize the impact that they have on their families. As a father there is nothing more important than spending time with your child. It is truly sad to find fathers ignoring and not fulfilling this fatherly role.
And no more important time is there than that spent in Yahweh’s Word and especially doing so with a son or daughter.
Our Father in Heaven commands that we teach our children of Him throughout each day of our lives. “You shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7).
As we find within this passage, before we can train our children we must first have Yahweh’s words within our own hearts. There is nothing worse than a hypocritical parent who does not live what he himself is teaching.
In this passage we find that we are to teach these words diligently to our children. The word diligently comes from the Hebrew word shanan, which is a primitive root meaning, “to point (transitive or intransitive); intensively, to pierce; figuratively, to inculcate” (New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).
To accomplish this goal, we find that we are to teach our child Yahweh’s Word when we sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up. In other words, we not only teach our children Yahweh’s Word every day, but we also live its precepts ourselves
A Father Nurtures
Along with the duty of being chief provider, disciplinarian, and instructor in the family, the father shares the task of nurturing. While this responsibility seems to be dominated by the mother, the father also plays a significant part in the nurturing of his children. In doing sohe must be cautious not to discourage his children. “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of Yahweh” (Ephesians 6:4).
Paul refers to punishment that is excessive and unwarranted, which will ultimately provoke a child to harbor resentment and anger.
“That is, by unreasonable commands; by needless severity; by the manifestation of anger. So govern them, and so punish them — if punishment is necessary — that they shall not lose their confidence in you, but shall love you. The apostle here has hit on the very danger to which parents are most exposed in the government of their children. It is that of souring their temper; of making them feel that the parent is under the influence of anger, and that it is right for them to be so too.” (Barnes’ Notes, note on Ephesians 6:4).
As with all things in life, there is moderation in discipline. Is it a known fact that many children who live in abusive homes frequently do the opposite of what the parent attempted to reinforce through punishment. Remember that our Father in Heaven never promotes the abuse of a child, which as we find in this passage will only kindle enduring anger and animosity. If we are harsh in our correction, we may defeat the very purpose for that correction. It is important for a father to remember that when discipline is required that the result of that discipline is to nurture and not to create enduring anger or animosity.
Along with the role of nurturing, a father must show kindness and compassion to his child. There are many examples where Yahweh’s love for His people is compared to the love found between a father and son. One such passage is found in the Book of Psalms: “Yahweh is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father pities his children, so Yahweh pities those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:8-13).
Through this Psalm we find Yahweh is full of mercy and compassion. We also find that as a father pities his children, Yahweh pities those who fear him. The word “pity” comes from the Hebrew word racham, which means, “to love or to have compassion.” Solomon wrote that there was a time for every season. As there is a time for correction, there is also a time to show lovingkindness. Often the show of compassion will impact a child more than correction. If Yahweh only showed correction and admonition and disregarded mercy and compassion, where would his people be today?
In one final passage, Paul sets an example that is relevant to all generations. “You are witnesses, and Elohim also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children” (1Thessalonians 2:10-11).
Paul said that he exhorted and comforted those in Thessalonica as a father would his own children. Following in this example, a father should also encourage and comfort his children. Children require their father’s approval and encouragement for a well-balanced emotional state. A son and daughter look to their father for encouragement and guidance as they mature to adulthood.
In summation, a father’s role is vital to the physical and emotional needs of the family. Without a father, a child often suffers from emotional problems, which in some cases leads to crime, immorality, and other forms of sin. Yahweh established the family unit with one father and one mother. When this is tampered with, confusion is frequently the result. However, when we live within the confines that Almighty Yahweh established we experience peace and blessings that can only be found with His Word.
“Do you have a personal relationship with the L-rd?” the evangelist shouts to a packed auditorium. “Do you know Him, I mean really know Him?” Heads nod excitedly in affirmation. Many in the audience reach skyward, and with eyes closed cry an emotional, “I’m saved. Thank you J-sus!” The choir sings, “Saved by the Blood” as dozens whisk down to answer the altar call. Outside, ushers pass out tracts while buzzing, “Are you saved? He loves you.”
Most are familiar with this scene, either firsthand or from television. But few understand the Biblical truth about “knowing” Him. That which constitutes a “personal relationship” according to the Bible is far removed from such superficiality. And how can we be so sure we are “saved,” when even the Apostle Paul admitted he could easily compromise his own salvation through misconduct? (1Cor. 9:27)
We need to get past the tired clichés and spoon-fed indoctrinations and delve into the heart of the issue of knowing Yahweh, focusing solely on the Scriptures for our instruction.
Today’s Backward Approach to Yahweh
Most approach this subject in reverse. Rather than looking for what Yahweh can do for us, we must first come to grips with what He expects from us, His creation. The teaching of the Scriptures is that if we don’t please Him by our lives then we cannot have a close relationship with Him, which means salvation is out of the question until we do. Paul calls it being “strangers from the covenants of promise,” Ephesians 2:12.
The key to enjoying a close bond with the Father Yahweh is found in what He expected from Israel, the one and only people with whom He made a personal covenant. In the precise terms of that covenant relationship, He stressed what Israel had to do in order to be His special people: obey and be blessed; disobey and be cursed, Deuteronomy 28.
Israel became Yahweh’s chosen through a promised commitment, just as one does through the marital vow. Similarly, He told Israel, “I am married unto you,” Jeremiah 3:14. Israel entered a personal relationship through a covenant agreement in Exodus 24. Yahweh said, “Do this and I will be your Elohim and you will be my people.”
Their promise to do all that Yahweh commanded in His law “and be obedient” sealed this covenant and brought them into a relationship with Yahweh unknown by any other nation or people. He in turn would be all they needed of Him: their Deliverer, Protector, Healer, Provider and Salvation.
The covenant agreement Israel entered is the only avenue revealed to mankind by which we can “connect” with Yahweh and know Him. Just as a bride takes on her husband’s name, Israel was known by the One to whom they were spiritually married and worshiped. “Your people are called by your Name,” the prophet Daniel wrote in 9:19.
Through doing what He required, Israel knew well who Yahweh was and exactly what He expected of them. What bride would marry someone she knows nothing about?
Not only did Israel know and call on the personal Name of their “Husband,” but Israel also knew what pleased Him, as well as the conditions establishing their marriage. It boiled down to obedience —”what must I do to deserve and receive His blessing?” When they obeyed, they were blessed. When they disobeyed, they were punished.
Yahweh’s bride ultimately chose to break the covenant she had made by ignoring Yahweh’s laws and worshiping the deities of the nations, Jeremiah 3:8. Yahweh called it adultery and He separated from Israel.
No-law Teachings and Charges of Legalism
Now the question becomes, did Yahweh give up on making any more covenants with mankind? Does He now come into a personal relationship with anyone who simply professes to know Him while attending large, religious “crusades“? Does a proper day-to-day walk and specific way of worship no longer matter for us today as it once did with Israel?
A majority assume just that, believing that personal behavior is irrelevant for salvation, and that Yahweh will save us in spite of ourselves. Not so, according to Yahshua’s words about his coming judgment in Luke13:27: “But he [the Savior] shall say…I know you not whence you are; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity.” Yahweh will consider strangers anyone who does not do as He commands. Iniquity is lawlessness.
Many decades of endless onslaught against Yahweh’s law from pulpits everywhere have conditioned most people to think there must be something wrong with the law. The knee-jerk reaction against those who seek to obey their Heavenly Father with all their hearts is the accusation of “legalism.“ There is little the Evil One could have wanted more than to have the masses believe that there is something inherently wrong with obeying the Heavenly Father Yahweh. He convinced Adam and Eve to disobey, and he has been working the same ploy ever since. His successes have been overwhelming in our day because of the spiritual and moral decay and liberal attitude of the times.
The prophet Isaiah predicted exactly what we are seeing: “O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths,” Isaiah 3:12.
Paul said his mission was to be an instrument for Messiah to “make the Gentiles obedient by word and deed,” Romans 15:18. We find that those who walk in the light of obedience will be cleansed from all sin, 1John 1:7. Yahweh’s people in the New Testament are called people of the way precisely because they walk in a prescribed way of obedience to Yahweh (Acts 9:2; 18:25-26; 19:9, 23;22:4; 24:14 and 22).
A Renewed Covenant
Following the death of Yahshua the Messiah (who was the Mighty One in the Old Testament who interacted with Israel), Yahweh was free to marry another. That old marriage covenant was dissolved by Yahshua’s death. The new bride, potentially you and me, consists of the ones who have entered a “personal relationship” with Him through a new Covenant. That new Covenant is explained in Hebrews 8:10: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Yahweh; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a mighty one, and they shall be to me a people.” His laws are now put within us.
When a woman remarries upon the death of her husband, she makes new vows to be faithful to the new husband. Similarly, when a husband remarries through the death of his wife, he expects his new wife to make the same promise of commitment and faithfulness made in his prior union. Yahweh is taking another Israelite bride, you and me. He as our “Husband” has not changed, Malachi 3:6. Therefore, the same vows of obedience and faithfulness are intact and in force. It is the New Testament Assembly that must fit into the covenant with Yahweh now, Ephesians 5:31-32.
Yahweh defines faithfulness through a commitment to keeping His laws. “I delight to do your will, O my Elohim: yes, your law is within my heart,” Psalm 40:8. The writer of Acts makes this crystal clear: “This is he, that was in the assembly in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us.” “Lively oracles” refers to the sacred utterances Yahweh gave to Moses — the law. That law included not just the Ten Commandments, but all the applicable law.
Exodus 34 is a recap of the giving of the law on Sinai. Yahweh proclaims His Name to Moses, and Moses uses His Name, verse 9. Then Yahweh details the terms of the covenant or “marriage vows,” terms that include His Feast days (vv. 18-23). Observing of His Feasts is a marriage obligation under both covenants, Hebrews 8:8-13. Israel agrees to adhere to those commands.
We found in Hebrews 8 that the law is at the core of the New Covenant as well. The basic marriage terms are the same, but the bride includes others. To know and love Him is to keep His commandments, 1John 2:3; 5:3. Yahweh still demands fidelity and obedience from His bride. Before the feminist movement, marriage vows for the bride included the words, “love cherish and obey.”
The New Covenant is the Old Covenant renewed, not thrown out. Paul explains in 2Corinthians 3:6, “Who also has made us ministers of the new testament (Greek diatheke, covenant)… . Notice that “new” in this verse is the Greek kainos, which means “renewed.” If Paul had meant brand new the word neos would have been used.
Today, the New Covenant is a revitalized Old Covenant, where Yahweh’s laws are placed in our hearts, to become a part of us. One exception is that because Yahshua became our sacrifice offering once for all (Heb. 10:10), we no longer sacrifice animals.
You cannot know Yahweh unless you obey Him, learning how He thinks and discovering what is important to Him by doing what He asks of you. Yahshua said, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” We are joined to Him when we call on and accept His personal Name, just as a bride takes on the personal name of her husband.
Study Yahweh’s Word. Let Him guide you in all truth. Then, become His bride by your faithfulness to Him and through the only Name that holds salvation.
A rather savvy Pharisee named Nicodemus privately approached the Messiah Yahshua at night to say he was convinced that Yahshua was a teacher sent from Yahweh.
Yahshua used the opportunity to reveal a central fact about the Kingdom. “Yahshua answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Elohim,”John 3:3.
Confused by Yahshua’s statement, Nicodemus asked how can a person be born when he is old? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born all over again?
Then Yahshua detailed what He meant. “Yahshua answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of Elohim.”
Yahshua said that being born again for salvation involves two fundamentals: being born of water and the Spirit. Yahshua was talking about a process of conversion. That spiritual transformation that must occur in a Believer’s life leads to a full-fledged, new creation of an individual who no longer continues in his old nature, indulging in the world’s pleasures and sins, but now reflects the very image of Yahweh in thought and action.
A Process Taking Time
Conversion is a life-long development, not an easy and quick confession followed by back to business as usual. To be found worthy of the Kingdom requires a complete, permanent change of mind and heart.
Transforming of the individual from a serial sinner into a spiritually mature individual useful to Yahweh in advancing His Kingdom requires a lifetime of tests and trials. It doesn’t happen with a mere declaration of Yahshua as one’s personal Savior; that’s only the start.
John gave us a crucial element to being born again: “For whatsoever is born of Elohim overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,” 1John 5:4.
In Revelation 2:26 Yahshua says, “And he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.” Obedience to the Word is how we overcome in this life. It leads to a position of rulership in the next, “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne,”Revelation 3:21.
To be born again means overcoming. But what does “overcome” mean? Isn’t a simple confession enough? Not any more than blowing on your hands will wash away grimy dirt.
Overcoming our old nature and the pulls of this world is serious, difficult business. It takes a lifetime.
Windfall Blessings Now?
No wonder people want to believe that being born again (being “saved”) is just a five-second confession! Isaiah tells us what everyone would rather hear: “Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits,” Isaiah 30:10
Tell everyone that entrance into the Kingdom is easy and effortless and filled with all the worldly blessings imaginable. That’s prophesying (teaching) deceits. That’s today’s popular messages in a nutshell and an amazingly accurate prophecy about them.
The popular doctrine of being born again says it’s all downhill once you accept Yahshua. You are now saved, and you will slide on through completely unscathed. Even better, you will have great health and wealth and prosperity as well.
But where’s the evidence? Which person who has undergone real, authentic conversion has been inundated with health and riches—and no problems from then on? This most popular of sermon themes of nominal worship is fundamentally not just flawed but a lie from the very the lips of haSatan himself.
Nowhere does Yahweh’s Word teach it and nowhere is there any evidence of it in the Word. In fact, the opposite is the truth.
A Tribulation Guarantee
Instead of sunshine, lollypops and roses, many of His true Worshipers will pay the ultimate sacrifice for living for Yahweh. We read of the consequences for some followers in the end times in Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
Forget the sugar and spice and everything nice. Forget wealth and health. There’s going to be conflict when you take up the same walk that Yahshua took, which is the only walk that leads to salvation. This is fact and is anything but popular. The world in general has little love of the truth of Yahweh because the truth is convicting. And remember how Yahshua ended up—nailed to a post! Is Yahweh going to give you what He didn’t even give His own son? Are we to have it better than Yahweh’s own, beloved Son had it?
We are told not to be surprised when tested for our faith. Yahshua guaranteed it, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes [shall be] they of his own household,”Matthew 10:34-36.
This is why the way is called narrow. Salvation comes at a great sacrificial price. Peter wrote, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Messiah’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy,” 1Peter 4:12-13.
If we follow in Yahshua’s footsteps then we will experience the kinds of things He did.
That’s all part of the refining process. Sifting takes out the junk. Heat melts away impurities. What is left is a highly refined product that Yahweh can use. He can’t utilize what is tainted with unrepented sin, 1Corinthians 6:9.
Let’s dig into the ancient language itself and see what “born again” actually means as taught by Yahshua Himself.
The Greek and ‘Born Again’
“Born again” starts with being begotten from above. Let’s look at the two words individually. “Born” is the Greek gennao and in Yahshua’s teaching means the entire birth process – from the beginning at begettal to the ending at birth. Gennao is used inMatthew 1:20, where Joseph is told by the angel that Mary’s conception (gennao , begetting) is by the Holy Spirit.
“Again” is anothen and means: 1) from above, from a higher place; of things which come from heaven or Yahweh; 2) from the first, from the beginning.
We are begotten spiritually by the Word of truth, James 1:8 tells us. Yahshua uses the process of conception and growth of a baby to illustrate the same concept with a babe in the Word. First the conception, then the gestation period, then the actual birth. In that process the newborn undergoes radical change—from a single ovum or egg barely visible to the unaided eye to the birth of a fully developed infant.
When the egg becomes fertilized the begettal occurs. Spiritually for the True Worshiper it starts at baptism, when a part of the Holy Spirit is given by the laying on of hands of the ministry to start the spiritual growth process. Paul said in 1Corinthians 1:22 that we are “…given the earnest of the spirit in our hearts.” He said again in 2Corinthians 5:5: “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] Elohim, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.”
Earnest means down payment, from the Greek arrabon. It is just the initial infusion of His Spirit. So long as the person does not quench the Spirit through sin, it will then develop and grow over time to create a fully developed Believer ready to be delivered by rebirth of that believer. He is at that time “born again.”
John 3:34 reveals that Yahshua is the exception to this. He got the FULL measure of the Spirit at His immersion by John. “For he whom Yahweh hath sent speaketh the words of Yahweh: for Yahweh giveth not the Spirit by measure [unto Him].”
Resurrection by the Spirit
Now we can review what we know so far about Yahshua’s teaching of being born again. From John 3:3 we learn: “Yahshua answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Elohim.”
Nicodemus needed further clarification, which Yahshua provides in verse 5: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of Elohim.”
A man who was once being counseled for immersion said he believed that baptism wasn’t really necessary. Not only did Yahshua contradict that by His own words and by His own example of baptism, but the man was essentially saying he didn’t need the Holy Spirit, either, because at baptism is the very time the Holy Spirit is given through the laying on of hands of the elders.
Simply put, without the Holy Spirit in you, you will not be raised in the coming resurrection. Paul wrote, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Yahshua from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up the Messiah from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you,” Romans 8:11. See also John 6:63 and 2Corinthians 3:6.
The path to salvation begins with repentance from past sins followed by water baptism and laying on of hands for the Holy Spirit. Being born of water is not speaking of the fluid in the amniotic sac, as some have claimed. We all are born that way, and it would be pointless to mention it as something required of the believer when he has no choice in the matter!
To be born again we need power that comes down from above—from Yahweh Himself. And that power is the infusing of His Spirit. If this doesn’t happen, you cannot enter the Kingdom.
Changed By the Spirit
When Yahshua comes back to this earth His people will be drawn to Him by the Holy Spirit they were given at baptism. John 12:32: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.” Draw is the Greek helko and means to draw by power. The Spirit will act like a magnet, and you must be “magnetized” to be drawn to Yahshua.
This is exactly how Yahshua was resurrected: “For Messiah also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to Elohim, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” 1Peter 3:18. He was instantly changed and raised by the Holy Spirit.
Now comes the key verse 6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” What does He mean to be born of the Spirit? Once that seed of the Holy Spirit is given it grows within the mind and heart to produce a mature believer.
Ultimately, and this is the result of the entire process, that person will be physically changed to spirit essence at the resurrection.
Paul had written in 1Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Master himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Savior.”
The process of spiritual maturity that started with repentance and water immersion ends with a miraculous transformation of a mind and heart, and from a physical human being into a spirit being at the return of Yahshua. He will raise His own at that time and reward them with a position in His kingdom.
“Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death had no power, but they shall be priests of Yahweh and of Messiah, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).
This is the ultimate work of the Holy Spirit and the glorious future that awaits the faithful who keep the commandments and have the faith of Yahshua.
The saints will no longer be flesh and blood but will have spirit energy as do Yahweh and Yahshua.
Like the Wind
Yahshua demonstrated it further. He said in John 3:8, “The wind blows where it lists, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
Yahshua compares the transformation to spirit essence with the wind. Wind is the Greek pneuma as demonstrated in Acts 2 when the Spirit was given and they heard a mighty sound like wind. Wind is often used in conjunction with the Holy Spirit. It has much the same properties.
Wind blows where Yahweh desires it to blow. He has complete control over it. Wind is invisible, you can’t tell where it comes from and where it goes. Yet it has power. So is the spirit essence of the True Worshiper in his spirit body at the resurrection.
Yahshua in spirit form could appear and disappear at will. Suddenly there He was in a locked room with His disciples. He could present himself to His Father in heaven and be back on earth that same day. How did He do it? With Spirit power. He was spirit. Someday His chosen will have the same. Spirit essence is not limited by time, space or physical restrictions.
One must be begotten before one is born. The process of being “born again” is not a simple conversion experience. Pursuit of a Scriptural way of life must then follow.
Following are some key reasons you cannot be born again and still be a human in a physical body:
Peter explains it clearly in 1Peter 1:23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of Elohim, which lives and abides for ever. For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falleth away:”
The spiritual commitment and life-change that is done spiritually ends with an actual spirit body that cannot break down, get sick, die or decay (incorruptible!). It will be immortal. Peter said plainly, being born again means not being physical, not being corruptible but incorruptible. Incorruptible is the Greek aphthartos and means immortal. It is used of Yahweh Himself. Being born again means you are immortal.
Yahshua said in John 3:6, that which is born of the spirit IS spirit, not flesh. Being born again means to be of spirit in form and substance. “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Elohim; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption,” 1Corinthians 15:50.
“Born again” is an entire process not just a confession; a declaration of sin is just the start of the spiritual process that results in being reborn.
They No Longer Sin
Now read 1John 3:9, “Whosoever is born of Elohim doth not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of Elohim.”
Here is another simple test for the “born again” claim. Is the individual now sinless? Can he or she commit sin? The fact is, no human is sinless in this present world, Romans 3:23. Therefore, no one but Yahshua has been born again. He is the only one who was resurrected into spirit essence and the only one who is sinless.
Paul said in Rom. 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of Elohim.” No one is any different from anyone else on that score. John said that if you are born again you cannot sin. The reason is simple. Being born again you are now a spirit being. You’ve made the cut. You are completely transformed in mind and heart as well as in essence.
Being born again you have overcome your sinful, human nature, the world’s obstacles and Satan’s devices. As a spirit being your mind is transformed so you no longer rebel against Yahweh through sin.
“If you know that he is righteous, you know that every one that does righteousness is born of him,” 1John 2:29. Righteousness is sinlessness. Show me a sinless person and I would agree that he or she is born again. I would also agree that they are now spirit beings and no longer flesh and blood.
Spirit Given by Measure
John 3:34 reveals that the Holy Spirit is given in limited fashion. As we grow in grace, knowledge, and obedience, more of the Spirit is given to us. Acts 5:32 says He gives His spirit to those who obey.
With Yahshua it was different. The Spirit was not given to Yahshua in increments, but in whole: “For He whom Elohim has sent speaks the words of Elohim: for Elohim gives not the Spirit by measure unto Him.”
But to us He gives just a small part of the Spirit at first, to see whether we will continue faithful and grow with it. “Who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2Cor. 1:22). Earnest is the Greek arrhabon and means a pledge or an advance, like a down payment.
As with Yahshua’s human begettal, the Holy Spirit is given us as a spiritual “begettal.” Then as we grow spiritually more of the Spirit is given, helping us mature into the nature and righteous stature of Yahshua.
Before any spiritual begettal takes place, though, repentance must occur. We find a prime example of repentance in Acts 2. It came following Peter’s explanation to the assembled Jews who came from 15 countries to keep Pentecost, saying that because of their sins and false accusation they themselves were the ones who put Yahshua to death. They were devastated, ashamed, stirred up, and asked Peter, “What shall we do?”
They were humbled and willing to change and do anything they were asked to do. That is the spirit of true repentance.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yahshua Messiah for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as Yahweh our Elohim shall call” (Acts 2:38-39).
Yahshua likened the Holy Spirit to flowing water, which will cover the earth when the Kingdom comes. His cleansing blood at Passover allowed the Holy Spirit to come and remain on earth. Through the sacrifice of Yahshua we receive the Holy Spirit by baptism in His Name. Our sins are washed away, and once empowered by the Spirit, we keep Yahweh’s laws and strive to stop sinning.
Yahshua Was Born Again
You may be wondering, has anyone ever been born again? Yes indeed. As the firstfruits of many brethren, Yahshua Himself was.
Yahshua was the first to be resurrected with a body changed from flesh and blood to spirit. Those in the first resurrection shall also be changed to a spirit body: “And he is the head of the body, the assembly: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18).
Paul also wrote, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many believers” (Rom 8:29).
Yahshua as the firstborn among brethren was “born again.” That occurred when His physical body was changed to spirit essence when He rose from the dead. He was begotten (gennao) of water baptism and of the Spirit and was ultimately born from above (anothen) when He took on spirit form.
Being given the Holy Spirit upon baptism into Yahshua’s saving Name is just the beginning for us.
Work of the Spirit
His indwelling Spirit gives us peace of mind and produces fruits: “But the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).
But beyond what it does for us now, the portion of the Holy Spirit we receive upon immersion is also a kind of pledge or security toward an inheritance one day of the Kingdom.
Paul writes that we are sealed in Yahshua with the Holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13. He adds, “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:14).
Just as in a legal contract when an earnest deposit is made, there is a period during which the legal system puts everything in order. All necessary groundwork must be laid so that both parties are satisfied that they are getting just what they are bargaining for.
What, then, is expected of us during this early begettal and “spiritual gestation” period prior to being born again?
Peter writes, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby: If so be you have tasted that the Savior is gracious” (1Pet. 2:1-3). We must grow in grace and knowledge of the Word, 2Peter 3:18.
This change is imperative.Yahshua said, “Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again” (John 3:7). To be different from the natural man with his envies, jealousies, hypocrisies, lies, worldly desires—that is the work the Spirit implanted at baptism.
Most are too busy with their daily lives to focus on their Father in heaven. Only when it is too late will many get serious about how they live.
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able,” Luke 13:24.
His chosen are humble and teachable as little children and they put into practice what the Bible requires. “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).
We develop the character and love of Yahshua our Savior through obedience, just as He did. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered,” Hebrews 5:8.
Carnal Won’t Enter
Yahshua went on to say that only a few would be willing to pay the price to be in the Kingdom.
We are told plainly in 1Corinthians 6:9-10 that those who practice sin will have no place in the Kingdom, and will not be begotten of His Spirit and born again.
“Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of Yahweh? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, not idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of Yahweh .”
During the spiritual bettal when the Holy Spirit is working in the repentant heart, the old nature gives away to a completely different individual:
“Therefore if any man be in Messiah, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,”2Corinthians 6:17-18.
A Few Are Called Now
Being “begotten from above” by Yahweh’s Holy Spirit is a fulfillment of the promise made by Yahshua. The Heavenly Father is calling a few select people now to become His sons and daughters and to rule with Him in the Kingdom.
This is all made possible by the death and resurrection of His Son Yahshua, who paid the price for our sins and arose that we might have life. He is now our Advocate as we struggle to overcome the world, Satan, and our carnal nature.
He intercedes for us, and through the Holy Spirit we grow in grace and knowledge of Yahweh, fitting into His design for the faithful. Once our spiritual growth has reached a maturity that Yahweh can use for His Kingdom, then we are ready to be born again.
Believing in the words of the Scriptures and believing the admonitions given us entail much more than is commonly accepted by certain groups who contend that we are saved by grace.
Certainly we are saved by grace. There is nothing that we could do to merit salvation. Through the gift of Yahweh we are called to salvation. Yahshua’s choosing of those who will become a part of His Body, however, entails considerably more than merely believing that He is the Redeemer of Israel.
The writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Messiah, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works,” Hebrews 6:1. Clearly we are to continue on with more than mere repentance and reveling in the grace that we are given to become a part of the Body of Messiah.
Of Fresh and Rotten Fruit
The 15th chapter of John has one main theme – growth. Development and progress in Yahweh’s ways are not mere desires or requests made by the Father. They are absolute necessities.
A follower of Yahshua must adhere to certain requirements in order to continue as a believer. Yahshua plainly taught these inJohn 15. We are likened to branches and Yahshua is likened to a vine. Branches can be removed from the vine if necessary by the Father who prunes the vine. The good branch is one that “brings forth fruit.” The branch produces fruit by abiding in the vine (truth). If a branch fails, it withers and is cast away.
Yahweh made His creatures. He is called the husbandman. He can rightfully expect fruit from those that are in the vine. Scripture says, “The husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth and has long patience for it,” James 5:7.
Belief Is Not Enough
Believing and trusting in Yahshua the Messiah is the first requirement to becoming a part of the Body of Messiah. Belief is vital. It is the necessary starting point without which no one could be saved. But we cannot stop there. Many have failed to recognize that Yahweh the Father EXPECTS something from man for his part in the covenant.
The salvation of man is not a one-sided affair in either cost or profit. For salvation, a covenant is entered by two individuals – Yahweh and man. Each will assume a specific part of the covenant and each is to do his part.
Too many modern clerics portray Yahweh as a great sovereign who without any expectations of man rescues him from a burning hell. They would have us believe that the whole world had potentially been saved since the death of Yahshua the Messiah. On the contrary. To believe in the promises of the Bible requires effort. One has to study and prove to oneself that the Bible is true. The promises offered in the Bible carry with them certain obligations.
Examples of Belief
The Philippian jailer in Acts 16 asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved. Paul responded, “Believe on the Savior Yahshua the Messiah and you shall be saved and your house,” verse 32. According to just this statement, belief would not only save the Philippian but also his family. If this man had 10 children, all of these and his wife would have been converts or followers of the Messiah the moment the Philippian jailer believed on the Messiah. This seems logical if we were to select only this passage, isolating it from all other Scriptures.
In establishing any doctrine, how-ever, we are required to incorporate all pertinent Scriptures. The foundation stone of our belief must rest not upon one verse, one chapter or one book of the Bible. Our doctrines and belief in the Scripture must rest upon all Scripture. The entire Bible is given by inspiration of Yahweh, 2Timothy 3:16.
In the time of Yahshua the Messiah some believed on Him but failed to continue to act on that belief. We read in John 12:42, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” Here were men who were convinced deep down in inside that this was indeed the promised Messiah. Yet they feared what others would say about their belief and therefore did not confess Him before men.
If all the Philippian jailer had to do was to believe, then because all the chief rulers also believed they were saved as well, no matter what they did. But is this conclusion biblical? Even the devils believe, James 2:19.
Yahshua answers in Matthew 10:33, “But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.” These chief rulers denied Yahshua not because they did not believe on Him, but because they placed a greater value upon the praise of men than upon Yahweh. They were embarrassed to have acknowledged before all men that they believed He was the Messiah.
Rather than risk ridicule, they decided it was better not to make public their belief in Him.
Salvation Is Doing Yahweh’s Will
Believing in Yahshua the Messiah and accepting His Word as truth is not the entire prerequisite expected of Yahweh’s people. Yahshua said in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone that saith unto Me, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto Me in that day, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ … I will profess unto them, ‘I never knew you.’”
Mere belief does not make us a part of the Body of Messiah. Belief in Yahshua merely opens the door to becoming children of Yahweh. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of Yahweh, even to them that believe on His Name,” John 1:12. There is a great difference in having power to become something and actually becoming it.
When we believe in Yahweh’s Word, we naturally act upon that belief. When we accept His Word as true, then acting on it shows that we do in fact believe it. Paul said he had not yet come to a point at which he felt secure. Notice his words in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended of Messiah Yahshua. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended… I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Yahweh in Messiah Yahshua.”
Paul admitted that he had not yet attained his high calling, but was making every effort to reach it. Further, in 1Corinthians 9:25- 27, Paul says, “Every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. I therefore so run. . . I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Paul boldly states that the Messiah’s vine and branches – believers – are to bring forth fruit or be cut off.
He wrote to the Romans, “Know you not that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey?” Romans 6:16. Paul also pleaded with the believers in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Yahweh, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto Yahweh which is your reasonable service.”
Very clearly in the eighth chapter of Romans Paul warned that we cannot live a worldly life and expect to be totally acceptable to Yahweh. Notice his terse comment, “They that are in the flesh cannot please Yahweh. If you live after the flesh you shall die,” verses 8 and 13. Paul clearly says that we must live our lives for Yahweh day by day, seven days a week, every week of the year.
John Recognized a Duty
John was the disciple “that Yahshua loved,” Scripture says. He had every reason to believe in the grace Yahweh has for His people. But notice the obligations He mentions in 1 John 2:4, “He that says I know Him and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” In verse 3, John says to know Him is to keep His commandments.
In the first chapter he places the condition for the covering of the blood of Yahshua upon our walk in the light. Notice, “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Yahshua Messiah His Son cleanses us from all sin,” verse 7. Clearly, there is no cleansing by the blood of Yahshua to anyone who fails to walk in the light. We have an obligation and a duty.
Becoming a disciple of Yahshua the Messiah is a lifetime occupation. Living for Him is a constant growth and overcoming effort. We are to become closer followers of Yahshua day by day. We are to bear fruit for the Heavenly Father. By our fruits we are known. The fruits become obvious as physical manifestations of Yahweh’s Spirit work through us.
We find the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 as “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” All of these require effort and demonstrate Yahweh’s Spirit taking hold of our lives. We must allow His influence to dominate us to the point that our own wills give way to the Spirit of Yahweh’s goodness.
When we have achieved this goal then we can say that our lives are in harmony with Yahshua’s.
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.
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.
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.
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.