Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

What’s Important in Life

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

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


Short Solomon Bio

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

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

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

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

Still Not Happy

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons for Us

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

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

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

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

Love Is What’s Important

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

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

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

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

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

By: Joel Wirl

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

Cultivating our lives

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

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

Get Rid of the Weeds

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

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

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

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

The Root of the Problem

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

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

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

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

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

Help the Plant Grow

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

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

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

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

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

Power of Prayer

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

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

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

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

Help from Brethren

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

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

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

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

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

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

By: Joel Wirl

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

Joy in living

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

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

We all have needs, and many times when those needs are not met when we believe they should be met, we get anxious and worried about life. Pray to Yahweh and ask that He provide for your needs. In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul says, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto Elohim. And the peace of Yahweh, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Messiah Yahshua.” Pray, believe, and have joy knowing that Yahweh is in control of all things and can provide for your needs.

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

Humility of Mind

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

In dealing with our thoughts Paul says in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

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

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

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

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

by Joel Wirl

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

Psalms 77 A Journey from Doubt to Hope

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

 A Cry for Help

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

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

 Reflecting on the Past

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

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

 Questions of Doubt

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

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

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

 Remembrance for Hope

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

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

 Remembrance of Who Yahweh Is

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

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

 Recalling Yahweh’s Power

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

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

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

by Joel Wirl

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

When You Can’t Tell It Like It Is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Inherently Dislike Criticism

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

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

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

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

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

Tact By-passes Hostile Emotions

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

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

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

Use of Tact is Scriptural

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

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

Fulfill Others’ Needs First

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

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

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

Compliment Sincerely

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

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

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

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

Accent the Positive

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

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

Never Do This

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

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

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

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

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

 Don’t Fight Ridicule with Ridicule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Take Criticism

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

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

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

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

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

Pray before you decide to respond.

by Alan Mansager

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

Scriptural Headship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proper Roles Through the Covering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Male Caps from the Pagan Greeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Long Hair a Woman’s Covering?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reasons Women Are to Be Covered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

The Meaning of Sincerity

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Judged by Sunlight

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

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

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

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

The Armor of Yahweh

Throughout history various types of wars have been fought—some for the establishment of freedom and some for the rule of tyranny.  The one consistent element in these wars (and even during times of peace) is the conflict everyone has to face on a daily basis, the war of and for the mind.  Paul understood this clearly and even included his thoughts on the matter in Ephesians 6:10-17.  He knew the fight which we face is not against the physical that we can touch and feel, but is against the unseen forces of evil and all its many devices that try to ravish our minds and cause us to turn from Yahweh.

Paul also understood that for any member in this great fight to succeed, he or she needs to be equipped to fight the evil and protect against it.  But what equipment does one need to defend and attack evil?  Paul, who was under Roman guard when he wrote the Book of Ephesians, saw their armor and  Roman weapons and drew a correlation between the physical armor to the armor we are to put on spiritually.  This armor is not from ourselves, but is the armor of Yahweh.

Looking through Ephesians 6:13-17 we find what kind of armor we need and what importance each piece is to our spiritual battle. “Therefore put on the full armor of Elohim, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the good news of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Elohim.”

The Belt of Truth                                                                                                                        

The Roman soldier’s belt served a two-fold purpose.  One was for defense through the use of leather strips that hung in the front of the belt to protect the lower part of the body.  The second was to hold the soldier’s sword in its scabbard.  But what does a belt have to do with truth?                                     

Yahshua defined truth in John 17:17 when he prayed his prayer to Yahweh, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”  What Yahweh says is truth.  His precepts, His commandments, His promises are all final and complete truth since Yahweh cannot and will not lie.  If we are to be effective in our struggle against evil we must bind truth around us, just as we would a belt.  We can’t just sort of know the truth, but we must constantly be striving to understand Yahweh and His words through the Scriptures.

The danger of not knowing the difference between truth and error is that you become a person with no stability or character, and become open to Satan’s attacks.  James 1:5-8 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask Yahweh who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from Yahweh.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

Now James is referring to faith in prayer, but the same can be said about our knowledge of Yahweh’s Word and His truth.  If we don’t know what is true then when we hear some new idea from someone we will wonder if that idea is true.  Then we will hear another idea from someone else and wonder if that idea is true, too.  It turns into a seesaw effect where you are constantly going back and forth and never stable.

Learn what is true and don’t let it go.  Bind it around you and let it protect you against Satan’s constant attacks.  Without this critical element in our armor, the belt of truth, there will be weaknesses. Gird up your loins and wear your belt.

The Breastplate of Righteousness                                                                                          

The breastplate for the soldier was the main part of his armor.  Without a breastplate the soldier would be open to attacks to the vital organs of his body.  With a breastplate, though, the soldier could withstand the blows from his enemy that got through his defenses and be able to live longer in the battle.  But what does a breastplate have to do with righteousness?

Righteousness is defined in Deuteronomy 6:24-25, “Yahweh commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear Yahweh our Elohim, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before Yahweh our Elohim, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”  Yahweh didn’t enact His laws so that we might be miserable, but to protect us and so that we would have more fulfilling lives.  If we go against His commands we put ourselves in harm’s way because of sin’s consequences.

Righteousness, being obedient to Yahweh’s commandments, keeps us from constantly suffering from our mistakes, since Yahweh tells us what we should and shouldn’t do.  Righteousness will deliver from great suffering, as it says in Proverbs 11:4, “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”  Keep your breastplate on and protect yourself with Yahweh’s words.

Feet Fitted with Good News                                                                                                    

When Paul is physically describing feet fitted with righteousness he is referring to shoes. Ephesians 6:15: “And your feet shod with the preparation of the good news of peace.”  Naturally shoes played a vital role in a soldier’s armor because shoes are used to protect one’s feet.  It would be silly to have a warrior charging into battle, sword swinging, only to have him step on something sharp so that he can barely walk.  The question though is what do shoes have to do with readiness and the Good News of peace?

First, what is the Good News?  The Good News is salvation—salvation from death through Yahshua and then onward to inherit the kingdom of Yahweh which will come down to earth.  Yahweh’s grace is given to us now so that we might have a chance to repent from our sins and come to Him.  This Good News, the knowledge of salvation and Yahweh’s grace, must not be kept to ourselves but  proclaimed to the world.

In Mark 16:15 Yahshua said, “Go into all all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”  He commanded us that we must not just keep what we know to ourselves, but that we must share it with others.  By having our spiritual shoes on, we can move more easily when we share the Good News.  Paul in his day physically walked, traveled, and sailed thousands of miles in the pursuit of spreading the Word of salvation to the nations.  We don’t necessarily have to do that, with the wonders of the Internet and faster transportation, but are we at least doing our part in spreading the Word of salvation?  We must put on our “shoes” and walk steadily toward the goal of the Kingdom, and also share with others the great and awesome plan of Yahweh.

Shield of Faith

The shield was the soldier’s main defense against attack.  A Roman soldier’s shield was about three and a half feet in height, which provided ample area for defense from arrows or physical combat.  Also, in the middle of the Roman shield was a knob called a “boss” which could be used to push back or attack an opponent.  But what does faith have to do with a shield?

Hebrews 11:1 reads, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  The evidence is Yahshua’s resurrection and how Yahweh helps us on a daily basis.  We weren’t there when Yahshua was raised from the dead, nor can we see exactly how Yahweh affects our lives, but these things did and do happen.  The greater our belief in Yahweh’s awesome power, the more we will be able to protect ourselves from Satan’s attacks.

Belief and faith connect us to Yahweh.  In Matthew 14, when Yahshua walked on water, Peter was able to walk on the water also when Yahshua called for him to come, but when Peter got fearful, he started to sink.  How many times do we forget that Yahweh can truly do all things, and that there is nothing out of His grasp to do? Satan will see our doubts and fears and will attack us at once, like a ferocious lion, and without our absolute faith in Yahweh’s power to help us in any situation we will get hurt.

Paul said in Ephesians 6:16 that we must take up the shield of faith.  This requires action, just as does pursuing faith.  James 2:17says, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”  Let’s take a stand and live a life of faith through our works.  Take up your shield of faith and use it.

The Helmet of Salvation

The helmet, of course, was used by the Roman soldier to protect his head.  A soft blow to any part of the body may not cause instant death, but most strong blows to the head in a deadly battle will mean demise for the warrior.  The head must be protected during battle, but what does it have to do with salvation?

Salvation is Yahshua and what he did for us.  We were all born into sin, destined for death, but with Yahshua there is a difference.  We read in Romans 6:23,“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of Yahweh is eternal life in Messiah Yahshua our Master.” Yahshua died for us; he took that penalty of sin upon himself so that we could be saved from ultimate death.  This death is not the first death of the flesh, but the final death that will happen during the judgment of all creation.  Through Yahshua we are saved from death, and we must constantly be focusing on this.

The head is where all the thinking is done.  If our head is thinking wrong then we will do wrong, and wrong thinking is so prevalent in society.  How many times during the day are we bombarded with wickedness and bad thinking?  We need to fill our minds with good things, as Philippians 4:8 states, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

The sacrifice that Yahshua gave for us, his very life, should be at the forefront of our minds at all times.  Because we know what the cost was for our salvation we would never want to trample upon Yahshua’s sacrifice with our sins. We constantly need to remind ourselves of this so we don’t sin.  Yahshua’s precious blood was shed for mankind.  Protect your minds, and put on your helmet of salvation, the salvation of Yahshua.

The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of Yahweh

The final piece of the armor is the sword, which was the main defensive weapon for the Roman soldier.  This type of sword was called a gladius.  It was double-edged, and when sharpened was able to pierce most armor.  Without a sword the soldier was just a walking piece of armor not able to attack the enemy.  But how can a sword be related to Yahweh’s word?

The Word of Yahweh, which was spoken of earlier, is truth.  This can be verified by looking at John 17:17, which says, “Sanctify them in the truth, Your word is truth.”  Yahweh’s Word, His truth, is our attacking weapon because it attacks falsehood and lies.  Yahweh’s Word is able to cut through lies and deceit, just like a sword.  Hebrews 4:12 reads, “For the word of Elohim is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

When Yahshua was confronted by Satan after his 40-day fast (Matthew 4:1-11), Satan misquoted some Scriptures.  Matthew 6:5-6reads: “Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of Elohim, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will command his angels concerning You; and on their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”  Satan was misquoting Psalm 91:11-12, but Yahshua in turn quotes real Scripture, real truth.  Yahweh’s word, the sword, gets to the heart of the matter, and can discern between what is right and what is not, and attacks evil and lies.

All of these pieces of armor, when put on, provide an unstoppable defense against Satan.  Each piece plays a different role in our spiritual life, but each one is important—just just like the Body, where each member is fitly framed and put together to form the Body.  As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12, every member, although some may not seem as important as others, is important.

Focus on all of these pieces of armor that Yahweh provides for us and take up your fight against evil for the glory of Yahweh in Messiah Yahshua.

by Joel Wirl

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

Salvation Begins With Repentance

A recent survey of self-professed believers found that half of all who claim to have been converted and “saved” go back on their conversion within a year. Most do not understand what being saved is and because of that are only half-hearted in their commitment. In most of these failures exists a misunderstanding of salvation and what leads to salvation.

Yahweh’s Word teaches that salvation is not instantly guaranteed in a believer’s life, particularly not so based on some mere confession or statement. The Apostle Paul talked about having a “hope” of salvation in 1Thessalonians 5:8-9. He explained in2Corinthians 2:15 that being saved is a process that is not completed until the end.

In 1Corinthians 3:15 he describes salvation and being saved as being a state no one automatically possesses and is not instantly achieved upon conversion. In fact, he wasn’t even sure of his own future but he simply had the “hope” that he might attain the resurrection. He said in Philippians 3:11-12: “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after…”

If this apostle who was taught by the resurrected Savior Himself (Gal. 1:11-12) and who wrote much of the New Testament was not certain of his own salvation, how can anyone today say they are already saved? Yet you hear well-meaning evangelists ask, “Are you saved?” and proceed to tell you just to pronounce a few words to accept the Savior and you are home free. Those who think they have salvation may then live any kind of life they please and still be assured an eternal reward. Is this what the Word says?

In Hebrews 6 we read that there are those who were enlightened and tasted of the prospect of salvation and were even given the Holy Spirit. Yet they are warned that should they fall away from the truth that there is no longer any hope for them. Their salvation would be permanently lost.

It is impossible “if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they impale to themselves the Son of Elohim afresh, and put Him to an open shame.”

Falling away means a complete and utter rejection of the truth and the Savior who died for us. People ask, what if I committed some bad sins, am I forever lost? Not if they confess their sins and repent. That is the first step in renewing a right standing with Yahweh.

Repentance from Sin

You don’t hear much about repentance these days, yet the act of repentance is essential to being a converted child of Almighty Yahweh in the process of becoming saved. Many have missed this key part of conversion in the New Testament. Without understanding repentance and changing of your life, you cannot know what it means to be saved.

Before we can repent we need to comprehend what sin is.

Everyone knows what crime is. Webster defines a crime as an act that violates a law. A crime is like a sin.

Breaking of law is also true for sin. In the clearest and most precise definition in the Bible, 1John 3:4 says that sin is a violation of Biblical law: Here is the Bible’s fundamental definition of sin:  “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” That’s crystal clear!

If sin is breaking of law, then NOT breaking of law means not sinning We can break a law in ignorance because we did not know about it. That doesn’t mean that sin is not imputed to us simply because we are unaware of it. We are still guilty.

We can speed down a highway not realizing what the speed limit is and still be charged with a traffic violation. Ignorance does not nullify the law.

Everyone has broken Biblical law and therefore all humans are sinners whether they know it or not.

The law includes the Ten Commandments. Lying, stealing, killing—these are all acts of sin by Biblical definition. The Bible also gives other laws that Yahweh commands to be observed, and violation of any one of them is also sin by the simple definition of sin. Sin leads to eternal death.

If we are guilty as charged of a lifetime of unrepented and willful sin, our hope of salvation will be dashed.

The Scriptures tell us that unless we confess our sins, seek forgiveness, and turn completely around to live a different life we are spiritually lost. There is no hope beyond this earthly life unless we change and conform to the Scriptures in how we live.

James 4:4 tells us that following the ways of the world make one the enemy of the Heavenly Father Yahweh, and those ways lead to death. On the other hand, Proverbs 12:28 reveals, “In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.”

And that is where repentance is pivotal. Repentance moves us away from sin and toward righteousness.

Almighty Yahweh will not allow an unrepentant sinner to sit on a throne in His coming Kingdom. The Messiah Yahshua instructed His followers in Matthew 18:3, “Except you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Conversion requires change and it begins with repentance.

Repentance Is a Transformation

In Luke 13 we read that there were some murdered Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. In verse 3 our Savior said, “Except you repent, you shall likewise perish.”

Repentance is fundamental. Our sins have separated us from our Father in Heaven. Those sins must be forgiven as the first step to salvation.

One Greek word translated repent in the New Testament is metanoeo. It is a verb that includes a realization that one is a sinner. But it goes beyond just realization. It means to change one’s very perception or view of sin and to understand that sin is death. Sin that is practiced in one’s life ultimately leads to everlasting death. A related word for repent in the New Testament is the Greek nounmetanoia. This word signifies a real change in one’s entire attitude toward sin itself, which affects the whole life. It means a change in how we live. It amounts to a complete turnaround, not just to be sorry for sin but to make a 180-degree reverse course in behavior. It means a renouncement of sin and its destructive ways and to practice it no more.

Too often, however, is the more common and erroneous understanding of repentance, signified by the Greek metamelomai. It simply means that I regret what I did because I got caught. It is the kind of regret children often have when their parents punish them for doing something wrong. It is also that kind of regret that Judas Iscariot felt for betraying the Savior Yahshua.

But this is a false regret that lacks the power and force to effect permanent change in one’s life. It is shallow and easily reversed. As soon as the punishment stops, the person is back to his sin again.

Genuine, scriptural repentance is the person who admits his sin, seeks forgiveness, and then makes a complete turnaround – permanently stopping what he or she had been doing, never to repeat it. True repentance leads to true conversion. Nothing less will do.

Just to say I’m sorry is not enough. Just apologizing for your sin but failing to turn from sinful behavior is not repentance. If I steal your car, then tell you I am sorry but I still keep the car, I have not repented.  A transformation must take place in the heart. I also must make everything right again.

Ezekiel 18:21 gives us the proper perspective on repentance. The prophet writes: “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he has committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?  says Yahweh Elohim: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”

In the New Testament, which in most doctrinal respects is a mirror of the Old Testament, we read from Acts 17:30: “And the times of this ignorance Elohim winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent.”

Lesson from a Wayward Son

Not a man or woman alive is sinless. Everyone on earth has sinned in many ways. Paul tells us this fact in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of Elohim.”  Everyone is in need of repentance if they have any hope for life everlasting.  The sincerely and truly repentant individual loathes his sin and resolves never to repeat it.

The parable of the prodigal son is an object lesson in what must take place in a sinner’s life under scriptural repentance. It is about a son who squandered his inheritance through riotous living and transgressions. And after suffering miserably—even losing all he had—he is reduced to feeding slop to pigs. He finally comes to his senses, realizing that his life is a dead-end road.

The first step is realization. He has to admit he has done wrong. No one else can do it for him. Oftentimes we are brought low through the pain of trials for this exact purpose—it is the only thing that will bring us to our senses about the self-destructive, sinful behavior we are in.

After we realize this we have a decision to make. If we want to change our standing before our Father in heaven, an honest desire to go in a new direction is mandated.

Next comes a deep and total remorse; “And the son said unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son’ ” (Luke 15:21). He had to get to the point where he would sacrifice all his self-centered goals, wants, desires, and ambitions and humbly ask for forgiveness both from Yahweh and from his family.

Finally, and this is the key to repentance, comes a complete and permanent change in behavior. He must take the first two steps to reach the third. It is a process necessary for anyone who wants to achieve true repentance!  This is a lesson in how our Heavenly Father will indeed forgive anyone who sincerely and with a true heart repents and turns to Him.

His forgiveness of our transgressions is shown in how the prodigal’s father reacted to his son’s sincerity:

“But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry” (Luke 15:22-24).

Sin kills. Sin’s result is always  death. The only way to get out of a life of sin and to begin to overcome it is through repentance.

King David’s Lesson

King David’s heart-rending confession in his Psalm 51 “gold standard” model of repentance is a tribute to the person the Bible calls a man after Yahweh’s own heart.

David’s genuineness is clear from the very beginning. When approached about his sin by Nathan the prophet David     immediately    confessed to his murderous and adulterous transgression. He did not shift blame to Bathsheba, saying something like, “Yes, but she tempted me. She should not have done that. She’s guilty, too.” He did not play the blame game or offer personal excuses, like, “Oh it was just one of my weaker moments. After all, I’m just a red-blooded Israelite.” On the contrary. He immediately confessed openly and honestly: “I have sinned.”

David sinned in profound ways. There’s no denying that. But just as he showed a complete and utterly sincere repentance, so can we.

The Bible is an amazing book. It details the dirt, the warts, the blemishes and the evil in the heart of man. It shows us the good, the bad, and the ugly of life. It is completely honest. No other historically accurate book is so candid and forthright.

Because life is an unending string of evil as well as good, we must be aware and ready for any pitfalls that could snare us. The Word shows how to overcome life’s dangers.

A Yearning for Yahweh

Sincere and true repentance is always followed by a permanent change in behavior. It is the kind of change others will quickly notice. The genuine believer will put his Heavenly Father Yahweh before everything else in his life. The Apostle Paul shows clearly that a changed heart is a heart like David’s, one that desires to please Yahweh in all things.

Many try to have it both ways. They want to live for themselves and for Almighty Yahweh at the same time. Romans 8:7 says, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against Yahweh: for it is not subject to the law of Elohim, neither indeed can be.”

We read in Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of Elohim.”

Repentance is a necessary prelim-inary to baptism. In his message Peter commanded those gathered in Acts 2 to “repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yahshua the Messiah for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

An insincere repentance leads to a false baptism. Only a genuine desire for forgiveness, coupled with a change in heart, mind, and action, will be acceptable to the One who grants salvation to those He chooses.

by Elder Alan Mansager

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

The Battle we Fight

Many times people look at the New Testament prophecies of the end-times and conclude that those predicted events were for the most part fulfilled in 70 CE when the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed.

Undoubtedly, the authors of those prophecies felt that the time of the end was near and so they were motivated to record these prophecies. The Apostle John stated this view when he wrote: “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antimessiah is coming, even now many anti-Messiahs have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1John 2:18, NKJV).

There was a partial fulfillment of prophecy then, and there will be total fulfillment of those same end-time prophecies in the near future. The antimessiahs described in 1John will ultimately lead to “the Antimessiah.”  His appearance will bring about the time known as the “Great Tribulation.”

At the very center of all past, present, and future evil is Satan the adversary. He is the one who deceived Adam and Eve in the garden and he is the one who comes down with great wrath upon the end-time believers of spiritual Israel.

“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our Elohim, and the power of His Messiah have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our Yahweh day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.’” (Rev. 12:7-12; NKJV)

In the time of the end, that evil deceiver will seek to destroy the spiritual offspring of believers who keep Yahweh’s commandments and have the testimony of Yahshua. The forces of darkness are directed by Satan to make war with those believers.

“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of Yahweh and have the testimony of Yahshua Messiah” (Rev. 12:17; NKJV).

Two-front War

A war is being waged against Yahweh’s people on two fronts. First, there is the physical front where Satan seeks to destroy the followers of the truth. Second, there is the spiritual front where Satan desires to deceive those who attempt to follow the truth and cause them to fall away from the truth.

Yahshua prophesied of both of these battlefronts in Matthew 24.

“Then they will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:9-13; NRSV).

These predicted events had a partial fulfillment in the time of the apostles. The complete fulfillment will come in the time of the end. Having knowledge of these events prepares us to face these adversities and endure to the end.

At the present time, True Worshippers are not facing the threat of death. Satan is waging a war of deception and temptation to lead people astray and to put them in bondage to sin, just as he deceived Adam and Eve with his lies, so he has deceived the majority of people.

Only a remnant, a miniscule amount of people will not be deceived by the Adversary. For the most part we are waging a spiritual war against the dark forces of evil. This is what the Apostle Paul spoke of in his epistle to the Ephesians.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in Yahweh and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of Yahweh, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:10-12) NKJV.

Sin as His Weapon

Even though the devil uses people to do his dirty work by attacking and betraying Yahweh’s people, it must be understood that we are waging spiritual warfare against the dark forces of evil.

First and foremost, the devil seeks to destroy our faith through sin and deception. As each of us works out our salvation, we must not allow sin to get a foothold within our heart or mind. Satan is out to destroy the saints, and his tried and proven method is to make people slaves to sin through deception.

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which Yahweh has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by Yahweh;’ for Yahweh cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:12-16; NKJV).

The battleground for the war we wage is in our hearts and minds. We must control our thoughts and actions if we are to prevail over the enemy.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in Yahweh for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Yahweh, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Messiah’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Messiah’s, even so we are Messiah’s” (2Cor. 10:3-7; NKJV).

By taking ourselves in hand and obeying Yahweh we will be able to be victorious against the powers of darkness by remaining pure within. We encourage all to follow the advice of the Apostle Paul when he wrote:

“But you, O man of Yahweh, flee these things and pursue righteousness, holiness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of Yahweh who gives life to all things, and before Messiah Yahshua who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Master Yahshua Messiah’s appearing” (1Tim. 6:11-14; NKJV).

Overcome Fiery Trials

Yahweh gave Yahshua so that we might receive salvation through forgiveness of our sins. Because Yahshua suffered for us, we must be prepared to partake of His sufferings. The adversary is responsible for motivating those who defect from the truth to accuse the brethren and cause them to suffer. We must not allow such persecutions to stop us from sending forth the Truth of Yahweh’s Word.

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Messiah’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Messiah, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of Yahweh rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a believer of Messiah, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify Yahweh in this matter.

“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of Elohim; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the good news of Yahweh? Now if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the unrighteous and the sinner appear? Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of Yahweh commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:12-19; NKJV).

Never be surprised at the ways and means that the adversary uses to wage war against Yahweh’s people in these last days. Prepare yourself for what is ahead and fight the good fight against the devil and his followers. Don’t allow sin to dominate you. Overcome and be strong through Yahshua.

Facing adversity will either make a person better or it will destroy him or her. We must turn the negative into a positive and let Yahweh turn all curses into blessings.

The fire that we face in the end-times will purify us and make the faithful members of the Body of Messiah better people who will exhibit the love of Yahweh in their lives. Let us remain faithful to our calling and receive the gift of life.