Category Archives: Hearing from God

Repent or Face the Consequences

There are several interesting points to consider in Revelation 3 in the message to Sardis.

Not surprisingly, we are reminded that just because a church has a reputation, or name, for being alive and in the Spirit and serving YHWH does not mean that it it actually true. We see again a potential indication that a church that was very vibrant has faded over time and lost their passion and purpose, though they continue in their reputation.

Once again we are reminded that those who are called by His name are expected to repent or there are consequences. He is not OK to just accept everyone as they are without change. He loves us too much to leave us how we are.

We see that there are a few who are righteous. It certainly does not sound like a majority. This is typical. In fact, Yeshua states that these are worthy and will walk with Him and their names will not be removed from the book of life. This next statement may be controversial or upsetting to some as it goes against what many teach, but that does not make it wrong. Think about the fact that He specifically says He will not erase the names of some worthy people from the book of life. The fact that this is news and worth saying, and is directed at a small audience, leads me to conclude that there may be people who could be removed from the book of life should they not repent. Why else would He bother to say this if no one’s name could ever be removed?  These are people who have willingly turned away from YHWH after knowing Him in truth. They have turned back to culture and the world instead. We should all take heed and not be complacent in our faith, simply trusting that we need not repent of anything in our lives but just remain as we are today, or worse, drift into accepting and compromising with the world.

Revelation 3:1-6

Message to Sardis

      1“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. 4‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Be Faithful Unto Death so that You Get the Crown of Life

We are continuing to examine and reflect on the letters Yeshua sent through John in Revelation to the seven churches of Asia. They were written for a specific audience long ago, but have broad applicability for us as well. Let us test our walk and our church against these encouragements and rebukes.

Message to Smyrna

      8“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:

      9‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’

Once again, Yeshua introduces the letter with a reminder that He is one with the Father, He is the first and the last. Further, He reminds them that He is the one who died and was raised. He is not unaware of the struggles they are experiencing… tribulation, poverty, and false teaching.

Yeshua warns them that they are about to suffer difficulty so that they will be tested. He encourages them to be faithful unto death so that they would receive the crown of life from Yeshua. We should likewise take heed when we experience hardship and testing.

It would appear the second death may appear to those who are cast into hell in separation from YHWH. Those who are faithful in life, will not be hurt by the second death.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Patmos Vision Begins – Revelation

John reminds us that to be a partaker in the kingdom sometimes means we are also a partaker in tribulation, or trials. It is the perseverance through Christ which strengthens us for such a challenge. John did not say this lightly, as he was stuck on an island due to his sticking with the word of YHWH and the testimony of Christ.

I find it interesting he notes that he experiences the vision on the Lord’s day, which I presume to be Sabbath (Saturday by today’s calendar). He also notes he was “in the Spirit”. He was in a mindset where he was set aside and focused on the LORD.  We should each ask ourselves how often we create that environment for ourselves to be with YHWH, absent other distractions. For me it is not often enough.

Revelation 1:9-20

The Patmos Vision

      9I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, 11saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

      12Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; 13and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

      17When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. 19“Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things. 20“As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Clearly YHWH intended for John to receive and deliver this vision to seven churches identified. This message is for them rather than us, but it appears as we read and study Revelation that there is plenty for us to apply in our lives as well. Humans have not changed. We are still embroiled in the same struggles with rebellion, sin, and self as ever. We should heed the messages to the churches and test our own lives and with the body of Christ where we engage with others.

There is much symbolism throughout Revelation. It communicates real tangible prophecy and warnings that are not fictional or imaginary. Studying the symbolism unlocks more depth of meaning. I encourage you to study more, but you may need to explore a couple of different sources to test and validate the understanding of all the imagery in Revelation. I am not an expert here and have much to learn. Ultimately, test Revelation vs. the rest of the scripture.

In Revelation 1, we get a break… Yeshua tells us what some of the symbolism means. Keep in mind, however, that the Hebrew word for angel and messenger is the same. Recognizing Revelation may have been written in Aramaic, it would still be interesting to test if it really says “angel” or “messenger” of the seven churches, which could be their leader or pastor. The sword perhaps is the sword of YHWH, which is His word. This is how it was referenced by Paul when he spoke of putting on the full armor of YHWH. It would make sense. Nothing comes from Yeshua except the true word of YHWH.

I look forward to exploring this book with you. One book you may consider as a reference to help you get started is The Apocalypse Code, by Hank Hanegraaff.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Hear and Heed What Is Written – Revelation

The book of Revelation can be very intimidating. There is a tremendous amount of imagery and prophecy and deep meaning on many levels. There are many studies into Revelation and if or when you feel ready to dive in and fully understand it (as best we can), then I encourage you to start with prayer and perhaps a study partner. Test what others say about it. Give yourself time to explore and understand. Do not be in a rush. Be ok with not having all the answers as you begin and move through it.

I will be walking through Revelation and will look to focus on some of the more obvious elements to help get us all started. I have studied some, but not a lot considering the depth available to explore. Keep in mind, that YHWH wants His people to hear this message and understand. It was written to John thousands of years ago, but there is much significance to us still today and in the future.

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it.

Revelation 1:1-3

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

      1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Doing What the LORD Commands You Is A Big Deal

Most of us may be tempted to make excuses for Saul in this situation we will read about. We may be tempted to empathize with him. We may say his disobedience was “understandable”. However, we should check ourselves. The LORD says otherwise, and so rather than focus on thinking “God is harsh”, we should know that “God is just” and we should seek to learn from this episode.

Doing what the LORD commands you to do is a big deal, even if you think it will not work. It is a matter of faith in God vs. yourself. Wait on the LORD, even when you may begin to worry that you need to get involved and do it your own way with intent to accomplish what the LORD has called you into.

Another key concept to pay attention to is that the consequences are declared by the LORD through Samuel long before they are enacted in a tangible way in which Saul can see them. Consequences from our Father are not always immediate.

1 Samuel 13

War with the Philistines

      1Saul was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty two years over Israel.

      2Now Saul chose for himself 3,000 men of Israel, of which 2,000 were with Saul in Michmash and in the hill country of Bethel, while 1,000 were with Jonathan at Gibeah of Benjamin. But he sent away the rest of the people, each to his tent. 3Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” 4All Israel heard the news that Saul had smitten the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become odious to the Philistines. The people were then summoned to Saul at Gilgal.

      5Now the Philistines assembled to fight with Israel, 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and people like the sand which is on the seashore in abundance; and they came up and camped in Michmash, east of Beth-aven. 6When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait (for the people were hard-pressed), then the people hid themselves in caves, in thickets, in cliffs, in cellars, and in pits. 7Also some of the Hebrews crossed the Jordan into the land of Gad and Gilead. But as for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

      8Now he waited seven days, according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him. 9So Saul said, “Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him and to greet him. 11But Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, 12therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the LORD.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.” 13Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14“But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”

      15Then Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people who were present with him, about six hundred men. 16Now Saul and his son Jonathan and the people who were present with them were staying in Geba of Benjamin while the Philistines camped at Michmash. 17And the raiders came from the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual, 18and another company turned toward Beth-horon, and another company turned toward the border which overlooks the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.

      19Now no blacksmith could be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears.” 20So all Israel went down to the Philistines, each to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, and his hoe. 21The charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to fix the hoes. 22So it came about on the day of battle that neither sword nor spear was found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan, but they were found with Saul and his son Jonathan. 23And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Torah Portions

The Torah and the writings of the prophets are the scripture that Yeshua studied and taught from and likewise his disciples and Paul. There are many references to them throughout the New Testament. They are the foundation. They are not obsolete and meaningless as some would imply, but they can be challenging to understand in parts and in how to apply today. In large part this is because churches and seminaries do not teach all of it as relevant content to help is draw near to the LORD today.

We have all heard about plans to help read the Bible in a year. There is a similar, long standing concept by which the Torah portions are scheduled to be read over a year. I have started doing this with my family. There are many sites  available as reference and some not only provide the  references for each week, but also some teaching to support it. Some have broken it down for children as an audience and some have even 15 minute or less summaries for folks who may feel they can only invest that much each week. Others go deep and have hours of teaching.

I encourage you to try it and stick with it. You may be surprised what you learn. These are not meant to take you away from also studying the New Testament, but help you dive into all of God’s word.

  • TorahPortions.ffoz.com by First Fruits of Zion
  • BillCloud.com/audio-page/ has Torah Portions and Torah Tidbits by Shoreshim Ministries. It also has an excellent series I recommend called Returning to Our Roots.
  • Ruach Life with Yitro has some teaching available on youtube, simply search ‘Torah Portion Yitro’
  • MTOI.org by Messianic Torah Observant Israel has a weekly Torah study video you can join live or watch later on YouTube or Facebook.
  • Psalm119 Ministries has a series of weekly short videos called Parashah Points at 119ministries.com/teachings/video-teachings.
  • MessianicTorahPortions.com also included suggested New Testament scriptures alongside Torah portions weekly.
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  • Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Do Not Believe Every Spirit, But Rather Test Them

Scripture continually warns us to test our understanding of God’s instruction to ensure we are not deceived. We go back to the Torah and the writings of the prophets to validate truth. It has not changed. More recently, but entirely consistent with the first, we can also test our understanding with the record of the New Testament, recognizing that if our understanding of the New Testament implies inconsistency with the Old Testament then we are in error. In fact, the New Testament builds on the Old like the framework of a house is built upon the foundation. Without a good foundation, the rest will not stand.

1 John warns us to test every spirit… not to believe every spirit. We are again warned that there are many false prophets… many. They speak as from the world and the world listens. Those who know God will listen to us, who truly follow Christ. Thus, do not be surprised if the majority of people will not follow someone who teaches and proclaims truth. On the other hand, if someone claims Christ in name and teaches a compromised doctrine that seems palatable or comfortable to the world, then many will follow him.

Keep in mind that the very idea of a false prophet implies that they present themselves as if representing God. The same is true today. Perhaps they do not claim to be prophets today, but rather pastors and bishops. The point is that the false teaching is not something that “those unbelievers” are presenting, but rather will come from what appears to be within the church, within the body of Christ.

1 John 4:1-6

Testing the Spirits

     1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Reflecting further, this is not simply referring to false prophets. It seems to be deliberate in choosing the word “spirit”. I would need to study further, but it seems to imply that Satan will attempt to influence us and deceive us even in sending his messengers to seemingly deliver or confirm the (wrong) word of God to us. We must stay focused on the true Spirit, which is always aligned with the Word, to ensure we are not led astray.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Remember The Words Of the Prophets and Of Our Savior

The commandments of our LORD and Savior are consistent with the words spoken by the holy prophets. They are not different. Peter calls us in his second letter to remember both as he then goes on to remind us of what they both said. Yeshua fulfilled the message of the Torah and the prophets. He did not change the message or end it. Let us remember as Peter encourages us to do.

We are also reminded to look forward to the coming day of the LORD. For those who gladly follow him now, this is a great hope and expectation. For those who reject and rebel against him, it will stand as a day of judgment. Let us keep this coming day in mind as we choose to live our lives daily.

2 Peter 3

Purpose of This Letter

1This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.

The Coming Day of the Lord

            3Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

      8But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

A New Heaven and Earth

     10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

      11Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

      14Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Do not miss the warning Peter gives regarding Paul in verses 16-18. Paul is still misunderstood and has been since he started teaching. If he was misunderstood then by people who shared his culture and language and customs, then it is easy to imaging how so many Christians today misunderstand him and what he was teaching. As an example, many  say he taught against the Torah and the law, but this is wrong. He taught against the law for salvation. He did not teach against obeying the law. This is one simple example. He is perhaps the most misquoted and misunderstood of any Biblical figure and often his letters are used as an excuse to behave differently than how Yeshua (and his disciples) actually demonstrated for us. (For more on this: Understanding the Law – What Does It Mean For Us Today, Is God’s Law A Burden?, Remember the Sabbath)

I truly encourage you to test everything you are taught against what the word actually says and pray for wisdom and discernment.

I include some helpful links on my website at Focused Ministries – Understanding Hebrew Roots.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Eye Witnesses To Yeshua’s Glory

Part of what made the disciples so bold and effective was clearly that YHWH sent the Holy Spirit to go with them and be their helper. They were transformed in their courage and boldness. However, another part is that they were eyewitnesses of these events with Yeshua. If they were making these things up, they would surely have turned away when persecution came. The received no earthly riches or power by proclaiming Yeshua. They believed. They had witnessed. It should be an ever present reminder that the Bible is filled with historical accounts and reliable as a source of of knowledge to better understand history. I believe it is divinely inspired, essentially written by YHWH through men. It was written over long periods of time by many authors, and yet when properly understood… never contradicts itself. For those who do not believe it is divinely inspired, it remains clearly the most reliable historical document about the relationship YHWH has had with his people and also the most reliable historical account of Yeshua’s time on earth among us.

It’s value is deeper than gold, but only if we read and study it actively and apply what we learn to our lives.

2 Peter 1:16-21

Eyewitnesses

      16For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— 18and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

      19So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

It is a significant point he makes at closing in this chapter. No prophecy is subject to our own interpretation. It is according to YHWH’s will. True prophecy, spoken by a true prophet, must come to pass because it was spoken by YHWH through them. They did not have to interpret it. There is no room for human error. For those of us reading prophecy in the Bible,  the question simply becomes whether or not we understand it properly.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.