Category Archives: apologetics

Hanukkah The Feast of Dedication [by Batya Ruth Wootten]

Hanukkah
The Feast of Dedication
by Batya Ruth Wootten

Shalom
The following article was previously published in a House of David Herald Newsletter. Batya enlarges on the subject in her feast book, Israel’s Feast and their Fullness – Expanded Edition. In it, she points out that the Hasmoneans forced conversions and began a Dynasty that took leadership from King David’s House – so they were opposed by some from his line (See Maccabees). The Hasmoneans also mandated its celebration, which is unscriptural (Deu 4:2). This may be why Messiah Yeshua was watching the celebration off to the side, while walking (treading? Strong’s # G 4043) in Solomon’s Portico (John 10:23). He was from King David’s house and would have been aware of the error of usurping the calling that was upon the House of David.

Zechariah apparently recognized a separation between Judah and the House of David. Speaking of Israel’s endtime return to the land, he said, “The LORD also will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem will not be magnified above Judah” (Zec 12-7).

Hanukkah began as a late Tabernacles celebration, but later became a symbol of Jewish perseverance (see the Apocrypha, 2 Maccabees 10:6-9).

Hanukkah History

Menorah Nine BranchIn 168 B.C., on the 25th day of Kislev, which falls during November/December, the army of the Greek-Syrian King, Antiochus Epiphanes, desecrated the Temple of the God of Israel. He also ordered the sacrifice of a pig on the Temple altar, had pagan idols brought into the Sanctuary, and forbade all worship of the God of Israel – as well as following the Law of the God of Israel. Those who chose to obey the Holy One rather than man, were seen as violators – the decreed punishment being execution.
Under the leadership of Judah the Maccabee, who was also known as the “Hammer,” a faithful remnant resisted the Syrians. They called on YHVH Tsavaot, the God of the Armies of Israel, and asked Him to aid them in their battle. Although they were greatly outnumbered, the Maccabees managed to regain control of Jerusalem in 165 B.C.

According to tradition, the Almighty then caused a one day supply of Menorah oil found in the Temple to last for eight days, while fresh oil was being consecrated – thus giving light in the Temple. (Note: There is no historical record of this miracle in the early accounts of Hanukkah and it is contested by many.) The Maccabees then cleansed the Temple, and on the 25th day of Kislev, exactly three years after the Syrians had profaned the Sanctuary, a new altar was dedicated.

It is said that in commemoration of this victory over evil, and because they had been unable to celebrate Sukkot/Tabernacles at its proper time, for eight days the Jewish people celebrated – giving glory to their God for delivering them from their enemies.

Hanukkah means “Dedication” and is thus thought to be a “Sukkot” type celebration that ultimately took on a life of its own.

In the Apocrypha, in I Maccabbees 2-4, we read of these zealous Israelites who refused to bow down to false gods. To honor the event in our day, worship services in synagogues around the world include the prophetic passage from Zechariah: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts” (Zec 4:6). For eight consecutive days Jewish people light candles on a nine branched Hanukkah Candelabrum (as opposed to a seven branched Menorah like the one that was in the Temple). Just before sunset, families gather to light the first candle during this “Festival of Lights.” Children are given gifts of gelt (money) and chocolate, and a dreidel game is played using a special spinning top and beans. Hanukkah songs are sung and the story of redemption is retold.

The center, or otherwise prominent candle of the Hanukkia Lamp is traditionally called the shammas or servant. Each night, it is used to light the other candle(s). On the first night, it is used to light one candle (starting on the right), on the second night two; adding one candle each night until, on the last night, all eight are lit by the shammas, which is lit every night. Nine-branched Hanukkah lamps were created for this occasion because the rabbis felt Jews should not reproduce anything that was in the Temple. These should be called Hanukkia lamps, to distinguish them from the Spirit-inspired seven-branched Menorah that was in the Tabernacle and Temple.

Long ago, the Maccabees won a great military victory for our Jewish people. They won because they were faithful to the Almighty alone. Due to their faith-filled actions (coupled with YHVH’s grace), the Temple was rededicated and freedom to worship the God of Israel was restored. In and through them, the God of Israel once again confirmed His desire to preserve His people.
In this story we see a picture of deliverance for those who follow “good shepherds” – leaders like the Maccabees. The focus of the celebration is on faithfulness, on being dedicated to righteousness. We are to be faithful and righteous even as is our God. But how should the non-Jewish Believer in Messiah relate to this Holiday? Are they to simply to follow the traditions of our Jewish brothers, or is there something more for us to see here?
In John 10:22-24, we read, “At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Yeshua was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.”

Some feel these verses prove that Yeshua celebrated Hanukkah. Others feel they portray Him as being off in the distance, looking on, from Solomon’s portico. Regardless, we know He was there, and that, at that time, some from Judah asked Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.

In response, Yeshua affirmed His oneness with YHVH, and He made it clear that He was leading His people. He said, “You do not believe….because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” We read that, when He said this, “the Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.” They told Him they did this, “Because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (John 10:24-32). This is the second time they sought to stone Yeshua. The first time was during a Feast of Tabernacles when they were lighting the great menorahs and He cried out, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

When questioned about His Messiahship during Hanukkah, why did Yeshua answer by affirming His Oneness with YHVH, and by talking about His sheep hearing His voice, and about them being protected by the Father?
Because the people were putting great emphasis on physical deliverance from their oppressors. Even Judas Iscariot wanted a Messiah who would crush the Roman oppressors like the Maccabees did with the Syrians. But Messiah Yeshua wanted something greater and more lasting for His followers…

Cleansed Temples and Pure Lights

Messiah Yeshua wants people who do not love their lives even unto death. He seeks those who will focus on cleansing a different temple, one that is being built up by His Holy Spirit. As his people, we are to be temples of the Living God, and we are to allow His Ruach HaKodesh, His Holy Spirit, to cleanse our hearts. In that way, Yeshua’s light will shine forth from our inner man. Messiah Yeshua will pour in the oil (which symbolizes the Holy Spirit) and we will become living examples to all the world of His protection and provision (2 Cor 6:16; 7:1; Heb 9:14; 1 John 1:9; Mat 5:14; John 8:12).
Messiah Yeshua is the “Servant” named “Israel” who was sent to “raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel.” Yeshua is especially “a light to the Goyim (Gentile Nations),” to those who were once destined to become a melo hagoyim, or “fulness of the Gentiles.” He is the Shepherd God of formerly scattered Ephraim Israel, those of the supposedly “Lost Tribes” (Isa 49:6; Gen 48:19).

YHVH said He Himself would search for His lost sheep. He also said. “And I will set over them one Shepherd, My Servant…He will feed them Himself and be their Shepherd… will be their God and My Servant David will be Prince among them…. They will live securely, and no one will make them afraid…. Then they will know that I, YHVH their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people….For, I will take…Ephraim and Judah and their companions…and make them one stick in My hand…and they will be one nation in the Land…” (Isa 8:14; Eze 34:11,23-30; 37:15-28; Amos 9:9).
Those who follow the Good Shepherd do not need to fear oppressors. They simply need to trust in Him and be filled with His light (Isa 2:5; 1 Pet 2:9,10; Hos 1:2-11; 2:23; Luke 1:33).

At this Hanukkah season, let us celebrate by rededicating ourselves to our God, to the Holy One of Israel.

Let us ask the Father to empower us to: Better hear the voice of our Shepherd – Help build up His Holy Temple in the Spirit – Be willing to be cleansed when the Ruach shines His light on our sin – Be more dedicated to the restoration of His Kingdom to the whole house of Israel.

So gather family and friends, light the menorah, and meditate on verses of Scripture that have to do with light, such as:
Night one: John 1:1-12; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-36.
Night two: Psa 4:6; 27:1; 56:3; 89:15; 119:105,130.
Night three: Isa2:5;10:17;Mat5:14-16.
Night four:Luke11:30-37;Acts26:18;2Cor4:4-6.
Nightfive:Phil2:14-16;Isa42:16.
Night six: Eph 5:8-15; Pro 6:23.
Night seven: 1 Pet 1:1; 2:9-10; 1 John 1:5-9.
Night eight: John 3:19-21; 1 John 2:9-11.

Father, we ask You to cleanse us and to help us to walk in a way that causes our internal light to shine before men, so that they too might find hope and safety in You.

During this season of lights, help us to lift up the One Who is both the Light and Shepherd God of Israel. For “in Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).

“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of YHVH has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).

Batya Ruth Wootten
For the Patrol
batya@mim.net

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There is Another….

There is Another . . . .
by Rick Erb
Shalom

Decades ago, in Episode VI of the Star Wars series (Return of the Jedi), we sat incredulous, as Yoda gasped out with his final dying breath: “There is another · · · · Skywalker.” With the verbalization of that singular bit of information, which had been true all along, Luke was jolted into the realization that he was not the only remaining member of his family, as he had previously assumed.

The Spirit of Almighty G-d does not gasp, but sometimes He does whisper. He whispers, but not all are willing to hear. For years now, He has been whispering to people around the world, in growing numbers, about their hidden ancestry and their previously unrealized connection with Israel.

These are, for the most part, people who are not known to have any Jewish ancestry, and who come from what would be considered by most to be a Christian background. Many are at a complete loss to explain to their friends and family members why they are suddenly observing Sabbath on the seventh day, changing the foods they eat, observing Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, and the other Biblical holidays, and why they have a longing to learn Hebrew and move to Israel.

These people have also experienced outright rejection in one form or another. The rejection has in many instances come from friends and family members who are not willing to leave behind their Christian traditions. However, the rejection has also come from a number of people who describe themselves as Messianic Jews. Some of these Messianic Jews have even suggested (wrongly) that these people are nothing more than insecure “wannabees” who are simply confused Christians having an identity crisis. Again, some people do not listen when G-d whispers.

The historical record is not always clear, but on this point there is not much room for discussion: The twelve tribes of Israel were long ago divided into two separate nations, they warred against one another, and those two separate nations were never reunited. Oh, sure, there were some individuals from the North who crossed over to the South, and maybe even some from the South who went North. But those undocumented aliens became part of the nation to which they moved, and that did not in any fashion constitute a reunification of the two nations.

One of those nations, the one to the north, was conquered, its citizens were driven out of their land, and its descendants were swallowed up by the surrounding pagan nations, where those former Hebrews were outwardly transformed into gentiles. This nation is referred to in the Bible as either “Israel” or “Ephraim.” Their fate has long been the stuff of rumor, myth, mist and legend. The other nation, the one to the south, separately described in the Bible as “the Jews” or “Judah,” ultimately lost its homeland, but never its identity. One noted and highly respected author has described what happened in this way:

Long ago the Father divided Israel into two houses: Ephraim (Israel) and Judah. As His two witnesses they were sent in two different directions to serve two different purposes, to establish His two immutable truths of Law and Grace. And now, in this last day, YHVH would have the two Israels (and their companions) come together, that they might fulfill His Divine purpose and begin to confirm His truth in the earth.

Israel. Her story is a simple one:
Two Houses
Two Directions
Two Different Purposes
Now it is Time to Put Them Back Together Again. (See Note 1)

That seems simple enough. In fact, it should be that simple, but back when Judah and Ephraim separated from one another, they were not on friendly terms; in fact, they were bitter enemies. The family started formally feuding after Solomon died, they divided into two clans, and some of the descendants still don’t seem to realize that the feud is over-or at least it’s supposed to be over. Though a number of Jews are eagerly awaiting the reappearance of Ephraim, and have increasingly come to grips with the notion that Ephraim seems to have been largely hidden among the Christians, many within the Messianic Jewish movement still haven’t acknowledged the possibility that there are Israelites other than themselves who profess faith in Yeshua as Messiah.

Perhaps all of us in this movement would do well to meditate on this promise of a change in the heart, mind and Spirit: “Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, And those who harass Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, And Judah will not harass Ephraim.” (Isaiah 11:13, NASB). This promise is fulfilled as part of the events of the Messianic Age. If we are living in the days leading up to that promised time, then shouldn’t we be expecting to see the events which are described?

When the nation of Israel was first divided, shortly after Solomon died, the division came from G-d (1 Kings 12:24; 14:7&8, 2 Chronicles 11:4). If the fact that Israel was divided into two houses is troubling, then the matter should be taken in prayer before the G-d of Israel; it was His handiwork which resulted in the existence of two houses, and it was He who coined that phrase. Even the prophet Isaiah spoke plainly of two houses, and he was quoting G-d when he did so. “He (YHVH) shall be a sanctuary, but also a striking stone and a stumbling rock for the two houses of Israel; a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 8:14 Stone Edition). The “Two House” teaching originated with the Holy One of Israel, and it was He who made separate promises to each of the two houses.

He also imposed separate punishments or curses on each of the two houses (Ezekiel ch. 4). The punishment imposed upon Ephraim included no longer being a people for a period of time. Some believe that the duration of the punishment announced in Ezekiel 4:5 is multiplied by seven, as a result of the application of Leviticus chapter 26. Under that line of reasoning, Ephraim’s punishment would be 2,730 years in duration. (See Note 2) If that term of punishment began in 734 BCE, when the House of Israel became a vassal of Assyria, then the period of punishment ended in 1996. If that term of punishment began in 722 BCE, when Ephraim was no longer a people, then the period of punishment ended in 2008. It was during the span of those twelve years when the Messianic Israel (otherwise known as the “Ephraimite”) movement seems to have begun in earnest, so there is compelling evidence to indicate that this is a valid understanding.

Before Ephraim was dispersed among the nations, there were a few times when the kings of the two houses attempted to join together, and it did not go at all well. Jehoshaphat formed an alliance with Ahab, and he was rebuked for it (2 Chronicles 18:1-19:2). Jehoshaphat also joined with Ahaziah, and G-d destroyed their joint venture (2 Chronicles 20:35-37). Ahaziah (a different one, a king of Judah) attempted an alliance with Jehoram, and they were both killed, just as G-d had warned (2 Chronicles 22:5-8). Not only were the two houses not allowed to join together by way of alliance, they were also not allowed to be joined together by way of conquest over one another (2 Chronicles 28:5-11). Israel was divided into two houses, and it was G-d’s will for things to stay that way until the time of the end.

After G-d had His fill of Israel’s disobedience, the Northern Kingdom was completely deconstructed, and its people were scattered among the nations. Moses foresaw all of this long before it happened. He told our ancestors before they ever entered the land that their descendants would become disobedient, and that they would be scattered among the nations, to the very ends of the Earth. He also stated plainly that their descendants would one day be awakened to their identity, that they would draw near to G-d’s instructions, and that they would then be restored to their rightful place as part of Israel. He spoke this prophecy to all 12 tribes (Deuteronomy 30:1-5), not just to the small remnant from the Southern Kingdom which remained after Ephraim was gone. After the curse was finally imposed upon the Northern Kingdom, it was not long before those people-as a people-were erased from the pages of history.

Out of all the people who once comprised Israel, only Judah remained (2 Kings 17:18). The prophet Hosea tells us the story about how G-d would be dealing with Ephraim. He stated plainly that He was going to scatter Ephraim among the nations, that he would have no mercy on Ephraim, and that Ephraim would no longer be a people. However, G-d also promised, through Hosea, that after the curse of that dispersion was lifted, G-d would once again have mercy, and that Ephraim would be awakened as a people, and be regathered and restored along with the rest of Israel.

Isaiah prophesied: “now within another 65 years Ephraim will be shattered, so that it is no longer a people” (Isaiah 7:8, NASB). He did not prophesy that all of the Northern descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would suddenly merge with those in the South, and be simultaneously renamed as “Jews.” In fact, Jews apparently weren’t even called Jews until after Ephraim was well on its way into oblivion. The first reference in the Bible to “Jews” (depending on the translation) appears in 2 Kings 16:6, and the two nations were not in the process of reunifying. It is clear in the Hebrew that “Jews” and “Judah” are essentially synonymous terms, sharing the same root, and differentiated by only one letter. Ephraim then went on to vanish, just as Isaiah prophesied, and the Jews (the Southern Kingdom) gradually became synonymous (in the mind of humanity) with “Israel,” because, as we know, people tend to define things on the basis of what can be seen, rather than on the basis of what G-d has declared.

For thousands of years that paradigm worked because the descendants of Ephraim disintegrated and were hidden among the gentiles; they were no longer a people, and they no longer realized they were descendants of Ephraim, much less that they were descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Let’s not forget this truth: Being a descendant of the House of Ephraim also means being a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But because the identity had been completely lost, it no longer mattered that there were literal physical descendants of the patriarchs other than the Jews. Ephraim had been placed in suspended animation, as it were, and would not re-emerge on the scene of world affairs until the time of the restoration of all things, just as the Hebrew prophets had foretold.

The paradigm that “Jews” is synonymous with “Israel” also worked pretty well during the time of Yeshua, and when Sha’ul (Paul) wrote about the gentiles being grafted into Israel. The reality is that some (many, if not most) of those “gentiles” likely were descended from Ephraim, but because the individualized cognizance of that identity was erased by G-d until the time of the restoration of all things, it was little more than a trifling theoretical notion; Ephraim had been completely disintegrated by G-d, and no longer existed as an identifiable people. Although, Yeshua’s brother, Ya’akov (James), was very specific in his epistle. He declared that he was writing to “the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad.” (James 1:1, NASB). In his epistle, Ya’akov does not even use the word “Jew” anywhere in his letter, even though he himself was a Jew. Yet he is clear that he is writing to twelve tribes. Those twelve tribes collectively comprised the whole House of Israel, even though most of Israel had lost its identity and been dispersed abroad long before he wrote.

We seem to have entered that period of human history in which the fulfillment of all prophecy may very well occur. Part of that which has been prophesied includes the awakening of Ephraim as he yearns and returns to Torah, and the regathering and restoration of Ephraim begins as a visible, physical, literal, identifiable group of people who will be joined with the Jews, and together with the Jews, we will take on the forces of darkness. The prophetic writings are replete with references to two separate but unified-in-purpose groups of Israelites.

The Jews are part of that equation-a valued and integral part, as they have carried the nation’s “banner” at great expense as the only identifiable portion of Israel over the millennia-but they cannot be two completely separate groups and at the same time be collectively referred to in the singular as “the Jews.” There is still a difference between a Jew and an Ephraimite. Only now, praise G-d, we are no longer at war with one another. Instead, our purpose is unified and mutually beneficial. We are now in a symbiotic relationship, and we are well on the way to once again being made into one unified people in the hand of Messiah. Together, we will make up the Whole House of Israel at the appointed time.

G-d revealed to our ancestors, before they entered the land of Israel, that their descendants would not live according to the instructions which had been delivered to Israel, and that they would be removed from the land. He went on to promise that He would not forget the covenant He had made with the Patriarchs. He further promised that He Himself would remember the covenant for us, even though we ourselves had no memory of it. He said: “But despite all this, while they will be in the land of their enemies, I will not have been revolted by them, nor will I have rejected them to obliterate them, to annul My covenant with them-for I am Hashem, their God. I will remember for them the covenant of the ancients, those whom I have taken out of the land of Egypt before the eyes of the nations, to be God unto them-I am Hashem.” (Leviticus 26:44&45 Stone Edition). Some have argued that self-described Ephraimites have no way of “proving” or “knowing” that they are descendants of Israel. While that might seem to be true in the natural sense of things, the fact of the matter is that the Holy One of Israel has remembered that fact for us, and He has revealed it to us on an individual basis (Hos 5:3).

A significant number of folks in the Messianic Jewish movement have for decades been vilifying and encouraging intolerance toward those who identify with Ephraim. These tormentors would do well to recognize that you need us and we need you. The family feud is over, and we all need to get with the Father’s program. You do not get to be both the bow and the arrow (Zechariah 9:13). You are the bow, and we are the arrow. You are useless without us, and we are useless without you. You do not get to be both sticks (Ezekiel 37:16). You are one of the sticks in His hand, and we are the other. The L-rd G-d Almighty has told us in advance that He will whistle for us, Ephraim, and gather us back in at the appointed time (Zechariah 10:7-9). We are getting ready for that definitive promise of G-d, but many of you stand against it. He has also stated that at the appointed time, He is going to roar for us (Ephraim) to awaken (Hosea 11:10-11); many of us have done so while He is still whispering, and we have already come trembling.

Very likely, He will not be whispering much longer. He has told us in advance that He will roar for Ephraim at some point. When that happens, there will likely no longer be any question in your minds about the rebirth of Ephraim. We are preparing for action; but many of our Messianic Jewish brothers and sisters are still trying to feud with us on the basis of traditional manmade religious boundaries, rather than honestly dealing with the plain text of the Bible. Hostility is inconsistent with the Father’s program, and we need to unite, get with His program and start bearing good fruit together. Such fruit will be evidenced by love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, humility . . . and unity (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 4:1-3). Such positive attributes have been sadly and completely lacking in many of our Messianic Jewish brothers and sisters (see note 3). But as we see in the story of the Prodigal son, it is fitting to celebrate and be glad.

“There is another · · · ·”; there most certainly is, and we are him. We are that people of whom the prophets spoke so very long ago. Are you ready to join with us or not? Are you ready to start evidencing the fruit of the Spirit or not? Are you ready to start framing your theology and your identity on the basis of what the Bible actually says or not? The G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has whispered to us; we have believed Him and we have responded. Once again, some people do not listen when G-d whispers. Are you planning to wait until He roars?

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Some thoughts on Haiti.

I know that the “popular thing” to do right now is rush down to Haiti and help out. YES, as Christians we should. BUT. what then?
The headlines on MSN.com say that the U.S. is taking the lead in the effort to “aid” this country. BUT, what then?

“I am weary with repenting”, saith The Lord [ Jeremiah 15:6 ]

TRUE healing for Haiti can ONLY come from YAHWEH, whom they have rejected. For over 200 years ago, Voodoo and witchcraft became a main source of power for Haiti, and the current leader has declared it a “religion” acceptable for Haiti. When ANY “king” seeks power from any source but YAHWEH, then scripture is clear of the outcome. People who can’t see God The Father in this, had better WAKE UP. HOW LONG, O LORD, will you put up with a rebel who runs to and fro?

Look Up, you who call yourself Christian, but are not! Your redeemer draws closer. And His Judgement as well!!
The U.S. has a leader who says we are not a nation of Christians. The SAD fact is, he is close to being right. For many have forgone the truth, and run after the things of the world. Calling themself Christian, yet denying the very power there of.
YES, run to Haiti and help those in need. BUT, run with God The Father, as the Healer and Truth. Yes give them food and water, clothing and shelter. BUT, give them The Bread of Life along with The Waters, that they may never hunger or thirst again. Bind up the wound of those who are hurt, BUT release The Healing power of God on the sick. Give them THE TRUTH!! Less we too fall into the snares of the enemy.

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Abstinence. It’s Good For What “Ails” You!

 

 

 

Abstinence. It’s Good For What “Ails” You !

Let’s set the record straight to start with!! This isn’t ENTIRELY about “pre-marital” sex. As a matter of fact, it is more about what The Word of God says about “Abstain”

Our central text comes from 1 Thessalonians 5 and read like this;
21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The word “abstain” is a New Testament word and doesn’t appear in the OT when you research it out. BUT, by it’s very meaning, Abstain, is mentioned throughout the whole Word of God. Let’s look at what Webster’s Dictionary says about “Abstain”.
Definitions: Abstain
Abstain
Verb
1. Refrain from voting.
2. Choose to refrain; “I abstain from alcohol”.
Source: Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. Copyright © 2001 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

Date “abstain” was first used in popular English literature: sometime before 1010. (references)

Synonyms: Abstain
Synonyms: desist (v), refrain (v). (additional references)
Antonym: consume (v). (additional references)
Top

Synonyms within Context: Abstain
Context Synonyms within Context (source: adapted from Roget’s Thesaurus).
Absence of Choice Verb: be neutral; Adjective: have no choice, have no election; waive, not vote; abstain from voting, refrain from voting; leave undecided; “make a virtue of necessity”.
Avoidance Verb: abstain, refrain, spare, not attempt; not do; maintain the even tenor of one’s way.
Disuse Verb: not use; do without, dispense with, let alone, not touch, forbear, abstain, spare, waive, neglect; keep back, reserve. lay up, lay by, lay on the shelf, keep on the shelf,lay up in ordinary; lay up in a napkin; shelve; set aside, put aside, lay aside; disuse, leave off, have done with; supersede; discard; (eject); dismiss, give warning.
Inaction Verb: not do, not act, not attempt; be inactive; abstain from doing, do nothing, hold, spare; not stir, not move, not lift a finger, not lift a foot, not lift a peg; fold one’s arms, fold one’s hands; leave alone, let alone; let be, let pass, let things take their course, let it have its way, let well alone, let well enough alone; quieta non movere; stare super antiquas vias; rest and be thankful, live and let live; lie rest upon one’s oars; laisser aller, faire; stand aloof; refrain; (avoid) keep oneself from doing; remit one’s efforts, relax one’s efforts; desist; (relinquish); stop; (cease); pause; (be quiet).
Temperance Verb: be temperate; Adjective: abstain, forbear, refrain, deny oneself, spare,swear off.

As you can tell, Abstain can be summed up with one word, refrain. To simply “Not do” or “Stay away from”.

In the context of Biblical Scripture, Abstain is most often used in that vernacular.
The problem with most people is they are of a “rebellious spirit”, and they often look at “abstinence” in the wrong way and call it “Legalism” , “out of date”, or for most Christians, “not under the New Covenant” as in reference to “Grace”.

When we look at what is sin and what isn’t, there are many varied opinions.
One of the most quoted explanations is “sin is anything that comes between you and God”. This definition is really very simple, but it really can be misinterpreted as well.

I am going to take the “Dietary Laws of God” for an example. Just for those who don’t know it, “The Dietary Laws of God” is a term given to “thou shall not eat…”.
This really is a confusing statement to many people, BUT, in today’s modern “scientific” world, one should easily understand why God said “thou shall not eat ….”. God, who is infinitely wiser than any man ever has been or will be, simply knew what’s best for us. After all, The Creator, would know how He created these things, right? So, He would know whether, say, pork, shellfish, bottom feeding fish, or “buzzards” would be good for us to eat. SO, when He said don’t eat them, it wasn’t so He could give us a bunch of rules to live by, as some try to claim. It was simply because He knew and still knows, what is best for us. For one to claim that these are a “Law of God” and by not keeping it, you will go to hell, WELL, that’s simply not the truth. You will probably die a lot quicker, by not eating good healthy food, that God made for us and gave us to eat, BUT, eating these things isn’t going to send you to hell.
We are to “Abstain” from these things for our own good. God, the Father, knows best!!

When we look at the simplest meaning of “Abstain”, it is really hard to misunderstand it, from a purely Biblical sense.
We are to “hold on to the good things” of God, and “Abstain” refrain or stay away, do not do, “those things” which are bad for us.
When we do that, we begin to become the “New Creature”, who has died to our “fleshly, lustful ways” and have been “Crucified with Christ”, “Born Again, Resurrected” into the Child of God, that a Loving, Caring, Merciful, and yes, even Graceful, God would be proud of. As parents, it should be easy for us to understand how God The Father, wants what is best for His Children.
ABSTAIN from anything that would keep us from standing before YHWH and having him say, “Well done!”

Here are ALL six[6] times that the word “Abstain” appears in the KJV of the Bible!

Acts 15:20
But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
Acts 15:29
That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
1 Thessalonians 4:3
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
1 Thessalonians 5:22
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
1 Timothy 4:3
Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
1 Peter 2:11
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

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Getting Naked Before The Lord!!

I was recently reading over some notes that I had made back in 2006. I had forgotten this one and wanted to share some of it with you. 
 

This came to me in the form of a dream, in which was very personal and I will spare you the details of. When I woke up and asked The Lord for the interpretation of it, He said, Expose yourself, Get naked, Get real!!
This is a time of humbling”

In 2006, I thought that to be a good “Word” for me, and I knew nothing of the Spiritual signifagane of it, as far as the timing. I had this dream on September 22, 2006. Now, three years later, as I am studying more on The Festivals and seasons of God, I find that this time of year is time for us to reflect on our sins, “Rosh Hoshanna”, followed by “Ten days of Awe”[Reflection], that conclude on Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement. While these are considered ancient “Jewish”customs by many and some who follow Christ, teach that we “shouldn’t pay these no attention”, They would do well to read what YHWH tells us in Levitcus 23, that These are HIS Feast and that they should continue always. Just as the weekly Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath, so it is with these feast. They are YHWH’s Holy Days.

Now! Back to the “Getting Naked”.This is how it all ties together.

<i><b>When The Holy Spirit told me this was a time of humbling, He took me to 2nd Chronicles 7:14. This has got to be probably one of the most qouted verses out there today.
God says “If my people” [that isn’t just talking about Israel, if we are grafted in, THEN we too are HIS people] who are called by My Name, [not Buddha, Allah or any other name] shall humble themselves….

WHOA! there is that word “humble” again. It hit me,from my dream, how humbling an experience it is to find yourself standing naked, exposed to someone. BUT, that is what YHWH wants us to do for Him. According to Romans 12:1&2, that we become a “living sacrifice”, that is to say, an ongoing sacrifice unto The Lord. That we will allow ourself to “crawl up on the altar [spiritually speaking] and let YHWH expose to us those things that are not pleasing unto Him. When they sacrificed the animals on the altar, they had been cut open and laid out, just as HE wants to do for us, exposing those things and “burning” them away. His Tounge is as a Sharp Two Edged Sword and Speaks the Truth, HE wants to perform surgery on us, then “HEAL us [I will heal their land].

The Spirit said this to me, “You can dress it all up and call it what you want, BUT YHWH see’s through it anyway! You might as well go ahead and get real before Him and let Him get real with you.”

Esther spent a year getting prepared to go before the king. Why? Because she had an “Awe ” of the King, she Feared the king. She feared rejection and the ultimate consequences of that.

Most people can’t get “naked” or “real” with each other for the same reasons. People fear what others might think, if the “real person” is seen. People fear what others might say, if they walk down the aisle and give themselves unto The Lord. Beloved, that shouldn’t be!!
Hebrews 10: 23-26 teaches us that “We shouldn’t forsake the assembly” that is the coming together. WHY? For the edifying and exortation of the Body. People should be able to come and be able to “get naked” before the Lord, without fear of man. They should be able to “get real” with God!! 
A few weeks ago I got a message on “Blinded by The Light! And Deaf Too! “, in which the Apostle Paul was recounting his experience with The Lord on the road to Damascus. Then known as Saul, he said that “Others saw the Light, and were afraid, But none heard the voice, except me” [paraphrase mine]
Beloved, CAN YOU HEAR what the Spirit is saying? Some in the Body have saw the Light [ Jesus ] and are afraid, not wanting to be exposed, not wanting to get naked, not wanting to get real!!!
Before YHWH will heal you, His Word declares that you “shall [MUST] humble yourself”, It is time, This is the season!
September 19th,2009 is the Feast of Trumpets!! Rosh Hoshanna!! Could this be the year that “The Trumpet of God” shall blow? Let’s get real folks!! Let’s examine ourselves and ask Him to expose those things that aren’t pleasing unto HIM!! He wants to Get Real with you!!!!

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Special Event ! Red Envelope Day

This is from Pastor Bruce Greene,
 This is concerning the subject of “Abortion”, and a 1 day chance to send a signal to Washington, DC.
Please take a look at this link. I invite you all to participate and also to forward this along to whomever you are led to.
 
Love in Yahushua, Christ Jesus
Jake

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“A Case of Stolen ID”

  

 I would like to report a crime !!

There has been a case of ID Theft !

That’s right, someone has stolen the ID of a host of people and tries to steal mine too, from time to time.

 

This is and age old problem and has many walking around with a case of “Mistaken Identity”.

 

It all started back in the Garden, you know, when satan tried to confuse Eve and succeeded, by planting a seed of “doubt and unbelief”, which brought a “harvest” of mistaken ID. In doing so, satan was able to steal our authority from us and has kept our minds in a state of confusion ever since.

 

The text for this message today comes from Luke 7 : 9;

 9When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

 

As Jesus was making His way into Capernaum, he was greeted by elders, who had been sent on behalf of a Roman Centurion. They told Jesus what all this Gentile Centurion had done on behalf of the Jewish church and was asking that Jesus would come and heal the servant of this Centurion. As they approached closer, according to Matthew’s account, the Centurion approached Jesus.

Matthew 8:7-9 (King James Version)

 7And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

 8The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

 9For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it

 This Roman Centurion recognized the Authority that Christ Jesus walked in.

This is similar in the case when Jesus asked the disciples;

 

 

From Matthew 16;

 13When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

 14And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

 15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

 16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

 17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not

revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

 18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and

whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

 

Notice what is said here. Peter, by revelation from the Father, recognized the authority of Jesus by calling Him Christ and confirmed that by saying that Jesus was the Son of the living God.

In both cases, the Centurion and Peter, there comes a moment of blessing as they recognize Jesus’ authority. The Centurion’s servant is healed and Peter is bestowed with the “keys of the kingdom of heaven”.

Those of us who have called on the name of Jesus and have recognized Him as Christ, The Son of the living God, also inherit the “keys to the kingdom of heaven”, along with the power, the authority, that comes with being a “Born Again” child of God.

BUT, the devil comes for but one thing, to steal, kill and destroy. Satan wants to confuse us by stealing our identity, by telling us “You ain’t a child of God”, “You’re just an old sinner”, “you won’t never amount to anything”, “why you ain’t nothing but poor old white trash”. Even Jesus was confronted in such a way when He was in Nazareth, as many said, “why he’s just Jesus, the son of that old carpenter Joseph”.

The devil tries to kill you by stealing your dreams. By stealing your children. By destroying your very identity !

OH!!!!!!! BUT, the devil is a liar and the father of lies.

The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 2;

3If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

 4To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

 5Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by

 Jesus Christ.

9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of

him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

 10Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained

 mercy.

Listen to the Words of Jesus in the Book of Revelations;

2: 17  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the

hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that

receiveth it.

 

Beloved, do you hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying here?

You aren’t anything what the devil says, BUT, you are “Living Stones”, “an holy priesthood”, “a chosen generation”, “a royal priesthood”, “an holy nation”, “a peculiar people”, says the Spirit of the Lord !

You are an “Overcomer” and The Lord will give you a “new name” and the only one who will know it is you.

CAN I TELL YOU A SECRET ? That new name is JESUS !!! When Abba Father looks down from Heaven, He no longer sees what satan say’s about you. God, The Father, sees the “new creature” formed in the very image of Christ, covered by the very Blood of Christ.

When you get to know “Who you are and Whose you are”, then you can walk in the very authority that ALL, Born Again, Children of the Most High have been given to us all, who are in Christ Jesus, and HE in us.

Now, I know that some of you may have some problems with this teaching, and that’s OK. You just need to recognize that satan will try his best to keep you from receiving the truth. He will try to shut you down and keep you bound up.

 I know what the doctrines of man teach you in most mainline churches. That’s religion and will keep you bound up in legalistic junk that has no place in The Kingdom of God. The relationship that you grow into as a Child of God, will set you free from that stuff.

 When the devil tries to tell you of your past, you need to remind him of his future.

 When religion tries to tell you that “you are just an old sinner saved by grace” , say WHOA, I am saved by Grace and washed in The Blood of The Lamb. My Father has forgotten my sins, “As far as the east is from the west”.

When the doctors tell you that you have only a few weeks to live, tell them you don’t receive that word, BUT by the Word of my testimony, I have already Overcome death and BY the Stripes of Jesus, I AM HEALED !!!

It’s time The Body get it’s identity back. That the enemy will flee from you, as you remind them of “Who you are and WHOSE you are !!”

 

 

 

 

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