The Enemy Is At The Gates

The Enemy Is At The Gates

Most believers are familiar with this passage, which serves as a reminder to avoid living the lifestyle of a drunkard. However, this verse alludes to more than a simple warning against being a drunkard. More importantly, this passage reminds us that the devil is always actively seeking to destroy a believer who is engaged in any sinful practice. This repeated warning can be seen throughout the entire Bible, where kings fall due to their sinful choices and where believers in Yahusha (Jesus) fall away. This passage from the Apostle Peter instructs believers to be watchful, reminding us to stay vigilant. It emphasizes the importance of being on guard, like disciplined disciples and vigilant soldiers protecting a kingdom’s gate.

You Must Remain Situationally Alert

When believers lower their guard, they allow sin to enter their lives and can easily become entangled in the fallen ways of the world instead of staying aligned with the righteous ways of Elohim Yahuah. It is essential to consider the spiritual aspects related to these verses:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I shall give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your beings. For My yoke is gentle, and My burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 TS2009

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

In Deuteronomy 7:3-4, Yahuah warns the children of Israel against the wicked idolatrous practices of the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites:

Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, because they will turn your sons away from Me to worship other gods. Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and He will swiftly destroy you.

3 John 1:11 states, “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.” Ephesians chapter 5 describes how light cannot be mingled or yoked with darkness, instructing believers not to be partners with the wicked who are on a path of destruction but rather to walk as children of the light being partners with the righteous.

Beware of Enemy Combatants

Many other verses in the Bible emphasize the importance of believers not getting involved with sinful or wicked people or activities, which is a consistent message throughout.1 The point is, that as children of God, we should separate ourselves from those who do not follow Yahuah’s laws and hate evil, just as He does.

The Apostle Paul agrees. In his letter to the Romans, he describes love this way:

Love is to be sincere and active [the real thing—without guile and hypocrisy]. Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good.

Romans 12:9 Amplified Bible

As disciples and imitators of Yahusha who desire to follow God’s laws, we must pause and reflect on our lifestyles, relationships, careers, and devotion to Yahuah’s Torah. We are instructed to be imitators of God (Eloah) and Messiah Yahusha, who always obeyed the laws of his heavenly Father.

Ephesians chapter 5 begins with a list of sinful behaviors to avoid and advises against partnering with those who lead an evil lifestyle. When we consider the broad scope of biblical history, we can clearly observe the spiritual cause and effect that arises when believers align themselves with either Yahuah’s ways or the ways of the world.

During the reigns of righteous leaders like Moses, Joshua, David, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah, Israel flourished under Yahuah’s protection. However, in other biblical periods, both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah strayed from righteousness, engaging in idolatry and worshiping false gods and demons. These sinful decisions resulted in plagues, war, death, and slavery. They ultimately led to the destruction of both kingdoms, where all of the Hebrew tribes were dispersed among the nations as a form of punishment by God.

When the children of Israel yoked themselves with the world’s sinful lifestyle, they no longer retained the hedge of protection provided by Yahuah. They opened the door for evil spiritual powers and principalities to dominate their lives, separating them from their heavenly Father, Yahuah.

When we choose to rebel against Yahuah’s ways and remove his light yoke, we become yoked with Satan, the evil one. This choice leads us down the broad path of destruction. Truly, we have no one to blame but ourselves as Yahuah gave us free will. 

Spiritual Warfare

Every day, believers must make the Joshua 24:15 decision to choose whom they will serve — good or evil, God or Satan. There is no middle ground or grey area, which scripture describes as lukewarm. Revelation 3:15-16 graphically illustrates God’s disgust with those who are lukewarm. We must not kid ourselves or fall prey to false teachings. Many false Christian teachers preach the lie of the tolerance and acceptance of evil. 1 John 2:15-16 makes it clear: if you love the world or the things of the world, the Father is not in you.

Honor the Father’s Rules of Engagement

When the yoke of the world is chosen, it is a dangerous path. And, as Romans 1:24 points out, God will turn the rebellious over to the sinful desires of their own heart. Likewise, as Jeremiah 17:9-10 warns, the heart is deceitful above all things. Furthermore, 2 Timothy 4:3 warns of the very problem we see today as it pertains to this subject, where it reads:

“For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.”

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

From a spiritual perspective, one can see many pieces of evidence that lead to idolatry. Paul also cautions against this in 1 Corinthians 10:20, highlighting how engaging in idolatrous practices aligns us with demons. This points to the root of the problem, whereby mankind rejects Yahusha’s easy yoke and light burden.

In today’s world, we witness the persistent efforts of rebellious individuals who reject God’s ways, the Torah, the Gospel, and the laws of liberty. They confidently assert their own understanding as superior. Believers who are perceptive can observe how these individuals, within the “Woke Cultural and Progressive Movement,” subject themselves to numerous layers of human rules and regulations. Ironically, this self-imposed burden further enslaves them under the weight of others’ expectations. By choosing this path, they distance themselves from true freedom and the liberating principles found in the Torah and the Gospel of the Kingdom message.

Consider that when the world imposes laws that starkly contrast biblical morality, it is not simply that they disagree with “religion’s laws” but that such laws have a stark spiritual contrast as well. 1 Timothy 4:1 describes it as follows:

Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared.

HCSB

Make no mistake; we are living in the times of 2 Timothy 4:3, 2 Peter 3:3-4, and 2 Timothy 3:1-5 where it is written:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

English Standard Version (ESV)

Believers must diligently follow the instructions of Luke 21:36, which reads:

But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.

ESV
Open Bible

As we continue to see the world devolve into a perpetual state of wickedness and rebellion against God, now more than ever, we must hold fast to God’s ways, observe the Torah, and work hard to be self-disciplined at all times. We must be imitators of Yahusha Messiah and endure until the end. In Matthew 24:37-39, Yahusha draws a comparison between the end times and the era of Noah. Genesis chapter 6 illustrates the extreme wickedness of humanity during Noah’s time, with their continuous focus on evil thoughts.

The Enemy Is Always At the Gate

We can expect the same to happen again as the end times grow closer. We can already see the passage of numerous laws protecting wickedness and essentially criminalizing the laws of God. It would be no surprise to many believers if wicked leaders eventually declared the entire Bible a hate crime, banning it as we see across the world in many communist countries.

Our only real protection comes from the Father Yahuah, which is only available to believers who walk in righteousness and follow God’s laws and not man’s laws, not yoked with evil but yoked to Messiah. We must remember that scripture teaches us that we are not of this world but sojourners in it. We belong to another kingdom, the kingdom of Yahuah the Father.

However, we as believers do not fear wicked men, but we have a respectful fear of Yah and faith in the promises written in His word.

Be encouraged and be courageous in these turbulent times. Remember that it is written, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NLT). It is also written that “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7).

Brothers and sisters, the enemy is at the gates of our spiritual and physical temples. We are always in a state of spiritual warfare against the powers of darkness. Be encouraged brothers and sisters and always remember that Elohim Yahuah’s protection exists in both the physical and spiritual realm and we are only to fear Father Yahuah, keep his commands, trust in him, keep our faith in Messiah Yahusha, and find refuge in His promises. I will close with this passage of encouragement from the Apostle James (James 1:12):

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

Blessing and Shalom.

FOOTNOTES

1 Proverbs 8:13, Psalm 97:10, Amos 5:15, Psalm 119:104, and Psalm 119:128.

How The Furnace of Affliction Teaches Us Obedience

How The Furnace of Affliction Teaches Us Obedience

Some of the most valuable lessons of obedience are learned in the furnace of affliction. Those who have been through seasons of spiritual pruning or divine discipline can attest to this. The challenge for us believers in Yeshua is remaining faithful in the fire of Yah’s testing. And if our ultimate goal is to navigate this present darkness with biblical fidelity, we must expect to be tested and trust that the Ruach will provide the necessary light to stay on course.

A key to remaining faithful during trials is to remember that:

  1. Embracing and overcoming hardships helps forge resilient and mighty warriors for the Kingdom
  2. Every follower of Yeshua will encounter seasons of testing
  3. The purpose of the test is to guide us toward a profound level of spiritual growth and maturity

Hardships Make for Strong Kingdom Soldiers

Praying for Strength

Times of hardship and soul-crushing disappointments are not unique to believers in the Gospel message. The lives of Moses, Job, Joseph, the Prophets, and Yeshua bear witness to the fact that those who desire to walk the narrow path of righteousness will suffer. This is normal and is to be expected. 

Faithful lives dedicated to the pursuit of righteousness and in service of Yahuah require hardship.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test you [that is, to test the quality of your faith], as though something strange or unusual were happening to you.

1 Peter 4:12 (AMP)

The word rendered “fiery ordeal” here is the Greek word purosis.1 It can mean to be on fire, to burn, a conflagration, or any severe trial. It can also be used idiomatically to describe a major calamity. Metaphorically, it represents a trial that puts one’s faith to the test, similar to how gold is refined through fire. In this context, the fiery ordeal serves as powerful imagery that conveys the notion of how enduring trials test one’s faith and purify our spiritual walk.

Moreover, a righteous person is not promised peace and tranquility in this life.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that bears no fruit He takes away. And every branch that bears fruit He prunes, so that it bears more fruit.

John 15:1-2

The Gardener’s special brand of spiritual pruning comes in a variety of disciplines:

  • Discipline administered within a Torah-based congregation  
  • Allowing the person to experience a period of testing
  • Allowing the pressures of life to expose a person’s true character/beliefs
  • Removal of ‘worthless branches’ through death

All true followers of Yeshua who are united to him in faith will devote their time and prayer life to abiding in and drawing from the Vine. 

Theologian Albert Barnes:

Of course, no one in their right mind wants to suffer. Almost instinctively we gravitate toward the twisted mindset of the Laodiceans who presumed that their prosperity was evidence that all was well with them and their Creator. (Revelation (Hazon) 3:17-19)

They were doing the “works” but they lacked enthusiasm — they were just going through the motions.  Their spiritual blindness and the nakedness of their soul were on full display. (Ephesians 1:18) Confession, repentance, and submission were needed to procure true riches from the proper source – Yeshua, our High Priest. 

I advise you to buy from me gold refined in the fire so that you become rich; and white garments, so that you become dressed, so that the shame of your nakedness might not be shown; and anoint your eyes with ointment so that you see.

Rev 3:18 (Halleluyah Scriptures)

The cure for their pride and perceived self-sufficiency could only come from the purifying fire of suffering.

…so that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested and purified by fire, may be found to result in [your] praise and glory and honor at the revelation of [Yeshua ha’Mashiah]. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not even see Him now, you believe and trust in Him and you greatly rejoice and delight with inexpressible and glorious joy, 1 Peter 1:7,8 AMP

Unfortunately the spiritual state of today’s “church” is not much different from the lukewarm Laodicean assembly in Revelation. 

It can be said that many contemporary congregants have a “form” of godliness. They are taught to gorge on grace while ignoring Torah stipulations designed to teach righteousness — the character of the Most High and His Son. They are taught that ‘grace’ absolves them of any responsibility in ‘working out’ their salvation because Yeshua did all the heavy lifting for us. So they sit back and enjoy the ride, believing that since Jesus paid it all there is nothing left to do but wait for the last trumpet to sound. 

Every follower of Yeshua Will Encounter Seasons of Testing

Some assume that suffering is always a sign of punishment from Yah. If this is true, then how do we explain the honor given to those ‘witnesses’ called martyrs who suffer unto death, refusing to bow the knee to religious and political despots? 

They were stoned [to death], they were sawn in two, they were lured with tempting offers [to renounce their faith], they were put to death by the sword; they went about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly treated.

Hebrews 11:37

While faith is often expressed in words, true biblical faith is always validated in acts.

Moreover, a righteous person is not promised peace and tranquility in this life. To expect this to be true is delusional and misrepresents the Father’s love for us. Unfortunately, this is the message of the apostate church. It is a mindset whereby those who outsource their biblical knowledge and understanding to pastors fall victim to the soulish doctrine that equates blessing with material goods. 

This mindset is pervasive today. We are all too familiar with the heart-wrenching stories of individuals who, despite being bestowed with abundant material blessings, tragically find themselves in a state of spiritual and material deprivation. Their lives of ease led to their ultimate downfall. This is as true of the Moabites as it is of those who adhere to a Laodocean brand of theology.

Moab has been at ease from youth, settled like wine on its dregs; he has not been poured from vessel to vessel or gone into exile. So his flavor has remained the same, and his aroma is unchanged.

Jeremiah 48:11

‘I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! Thus, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am about to vomit you out of my mouth! Because you are saying, “I am rich, and have become rich, and I have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and pitiable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire, in order that you may become rich, and white clothing, in order that you may be clothed and the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed, and eye salve to smear on your eyes, in order that you may see. As many as I love, I reprove and discipline. Be zealous, therefore, and repent!

Revelation 3: 15-19

When we abide in Yeshua our thoughts, dreams, and prayers will align with his desires to bless those following Covenant Torah. 

However, we must be willing to go through the fire of adversity with a heart of obedience. It is the only way we can utter “thy will be done” in prayer and truly mean it when we experience life’s hardships.

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 15:7 

Enduring the Pressures of These ‘Last Days’

Technically, the ‘last days’ began at the resurrection and ascendancy of Yeshua into his High Priesthood. Before departing, he issued this warning:

“I have told you these things so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogues [sacred assemblies]. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do these things because they have not known the Father or Me. But I have told you these things so that when their hour comes, you will remember that I told you about them. I did not tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you.

John 16:1-4

Paul echoed this message in his letter to Timothy.

But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Paul’s instructions to Timothy apply to us. First of all, we are to draw strength from knowing that even though we are undeserving of it, Yah ( through our High Priest Yeshua) will ‘grace’ us with eternal life and completely pardon our sins in the resurrection. In the meantime, we are not to be entangled with the distractions of this life. This includes a preoccupation with secular civilian affairs such as presidential politics, social media, or entertainment. These are the distractions of the enemy. We must always remember that Yah is the Sovereign of Creation and all outcomes are in His hands. (Psalm 31: 15)

It is He who changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and establishes kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and [greater] knowledge to those who have understanding!

Daniel 2:21 AMP

Secondly, we need to know who the real enemies are: the principalities and powers behind rulers and those in authority who desire to keep us in bondage to a beast system of spiritual, psychological, medical, and financial enslavement.

We have been warned that, as Yeshua’s return draws near, religious hypocrites will be exposed for all to see, and true believers who proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom will be vilified and persecuted. This “falling away” will precede the unveiling of the Man of Sin – one of two personalities referred to as ‘beasts’.        

The Greek word used for falling away is skandalizo,2 which means “to put a snare (in the way), to cause to stumble, to give offense.” Skandalizo is closely related to the word scandalize, which means to speak falsely or maliciously of, or to bring into reproach.

This is exactly what happens when we try to share new insights with professing believers. Many will reject our message and then proceed to scandalize us without ever examining the veracity of what we are proclaiming. This falling away phenomenon has to occur before Messiah’s second coming — so don’t be shocked when it happens.

Let no one deceive you in any way, for it will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness – the son of destruction – is revealed. He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship. So he will seat himself in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 2 Thessalonians 2: 3-4

2 Thessalonians 2: 3-4

Enduring Testing Yields A Profound Level of Maturity

As mentioned earlier, testing does not necessarily imply guilt or sin. The Father loves us and wants us to experience the fullness of His Kingdom while still on earth in this mortal body. The goal is to become better saints. The way we get there is by enduring the pressure of the test or trial. The prophets of old understood this all too well.

My brothers, and an example of suffering and patience, take the nebi’im (prophets), who spoke in the Name of Yahuah.

James 5:10 HalleluYah Scriptures
End Time Tribulation

There was no talk amongst them about a pie-in-the-sky ‘rapture’ event that would spare certain believers from the tribulation and stresses of the last days. This brand of religion falsely promises that no one will ever be tested, asked to defend their position or suffer for their beliefs. Instead, they will be whisked away before the really bad stuff hits the fan. In the book Vain Traditions, the rapture doctrine is explained as such:

And indeed, all those wanting to live reverently in Mashiaqh Yahushua, shall be persecuted.

2 Timothy 3:12 HalleluYah Scriptures

Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has been tested, he shall receive the crown of life which the Master has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12

Practices Essential to Enduring Suffering

What are the keys to enduring suffering? There are several.

First, we must begin with prayer and trust in the promise of 1 John 5: 14-15:

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. and if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

The ‘whatever’ in this passage is limited by ‘anything’ that lines up with Yah’s will for us individually. It has been said that faith is a “relational” response of trust. All relationships have their idiosyncrasies or behaviors unique to each individual. As we spend more time in relationship with the Father through prayer and study, our petitions line up with His. We then are confident in whatever, whenever, and however way He decides to answer, we are going to be alright.

Secondly, we must abide (remain) in the Vine that is Yeshua.

Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me.

John 15:4

Abide is an Old English word signifying progressively to “await,” “remain,” “lodge,” “sojourn,” “dwell,” “continue,” “endure”; to remain stable or fixed in a state.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

In our times of awaiting an answer to prayer, we often experience restlessness, exasperation, and even hopelessness. We want the pain to end or the problem solved now. So we are tempted to fix the problem using our limited carnal wisdom and strength. Instead, we must resist. And in resisting we allow the fire of the Ruach to burn away our fleshly emotions and carnal attempts at solving the problem. We must trust that the Ruach will help strengthen and guide us until the season of testing is complete.

Thirdly, we must believe that this testing is not meant to hurt but to heal and bring us to a greater level of spiritual and relational maturity. On the other side of the test, when the answer has been provided, we will possess the very thing in our spiritual arsenal to help others who are facing the same situation.

Finally, we must take responsibility for knowing what the Scriptures say and obeying the written Torah.

Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 AMP
bible study

The only way to know Father and Son relationally is to spend time in the Word. The only way to be shielded from “end time” deception is to love the truth of Yah’s Word as revealed in the totality of the Scriptures. This includes some extra-biblical texts that were removed from most Bibles. 

…because they did not welcome the love of the truth [of the gospel] so as to be saved [they were spiritually blind, and rejected the truth that would have saved them]. 11 Because of this God will send upon them a misleading influence, [an activity of error and deception] so they will believe the lie, 12 in order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe the truth [about their sin, and the need for salvation through Christ], but instead took pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 AMP

A New Testament-only focus will keep you in a state of partial scriptural blindness. The Ruach ha’Kodesh (Holy Spirit) left us the first half of the Bible for a reason. The Biblical canon of 66 was meant to be studied from front to back — in its entirety and in context. Simply defined, context is the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed. It is derived from the Latin contextus (a joining together).

Uncoupling First Covenant (Old Testament) study from Renewed Covenant (New Testament) study has led to profound biblical illiteracy and the tendency to rely solely on the pastorate to guide our thinking. Yahuah’s set-apart Spirit — His Ruach — was given to help believers understand what the Word is saying. Yah’s set-apart Spirit is never wrong, however, men are apt to make mistakes or champion false doctrine.

Fast and pray for understanding. Remember, the people who will be deceived in these last days will be those who reject the truth. 

Own Your Faith

We have been blessed to live in a time when technology has put a myriad of study materials at our fingertips. It is the individual’s responsibility and duty to show themselves approved through prayer, study, and endurance.  

It is never too late to start owning your faith. A good starting point would be to learn how to study your Bible. Ask the Father to lead you to a Spirit-led community of believers in Yeshua. Build up a library in your home so you can research independently of technology in case the grid goes down. Memorize the Scriptures so you can pray effectively. Learn what it means to walk in Covenant obedience with the Most High. 

Expect to be challenged and pray for the courage necessary to remain faithful until the end.

___________

Main image by Stocksnap from Pixabay

FOOTNOTES

1 G#4451: a burning, calamities or trials that test the character, the burning by which metals are roasted and reduced. (Thayer’s Greek definitions)

2 Strong’s #G4624

Vain Traditions is a not-for-sale paperback book published by vaintraditions.com. It is a compilation of information collected from a variety of sources.

The Challenge of Raising Righteous Sons

The Challenge of Raising Righteous Sons

As a father of three boys, I am often worried about how my sons will cope with the abounding wickedness we see across the world today. I recognize how challenging it will be for them to guard their hearts and minds against sin as they grow into young men. I couldn’t even begin to list all of the wickedness observed in the world today, as it will fill volumes of books. Yet, I am reminded that the scriptures teach us that there is nothing new about the sinful nature of humanity.

What has been will be again, and what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 BSB

Ecclesiastes goes on to say in chapter 3:14-15:

I know that, whatsoever Elohiym does, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and Elohiym does it, the men should fear before him. That which has been is now; and that which is to be has already been; and Elohiym requires that which is past.

Although, at present, demonic activity seems to be progressing quickly, rest assured the above verses are true, and these types of cultural sins and temptations have been around on earth in ages past in one form or another.

Other Torah observant fathers have faced these challenges before, albeit without the technology we have today, from Babylon to Ancient Greece and from Roman culture to modern cultures. So be encouraged, Yahuah was with those believers then, and He is with us today.

Righteous Sons Have Committed Fathers

Righteous sons have committed fathers

As a father, I want to prepare my sons in the best way possible for their current challenges and the challenges to come. As a believer in Yahusha, I want to instill in them biblical morals and principles to lean upon as they face these challenges in the hopes that they make the best choices possible. Likewise, as any loving parent, I pray they make better choices than I did at their age and as young men.

I know that I don’t have all the answers, and I also know that with the generational gap, I don’t honestly know what it’s like to be in their shoes, walking in this wicked world in these trying times. What I do know is that the scriptures reveal Truth.1 The Bible warns us in 1 Peter 5:8 to:

“Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.”

HCSB

Therefore, as a father, I must always be on guard, knowing that evil is always seeking after my family’s hearts and minds.

Sword of the Spirit

Sin is indeed assaulting Fathers and sons from nearly every angle. In the United States, masculinity is broadly under attack, where being a strong male is shunned. The World expresses the idea that strong men are not welcome in our society except where we might need them for security, wars, and entertainment. After that, strong men are expected always to be passive, submissive, and weak. However, as men of God, the scriptures remind us in several passages to be strong, brave, righteous, and imitators of Messiah Yahusha at all times.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, nor be discouraged, for יהוה your Elohim is with you wherever you go.”

Yehoshua 1:9 TS2009

Of course, this does not refer only to the physical but also to the spiritual, as it relates to being a good father, a good son, and a righteous man of Yahuah. To prepare and combat these spiritual battles we face each and every day, scripture advises us to prepare ourselves daily for what may come.

“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:10-12 HCSB).

Ephesians 6:10-12 HCSB

There is, of course, a time and a place for physical strength and courage required of any father in protecting their family, but what fathers and sons are predominantly facing in this culture pertains to the spiritual attacks we encounter daily from the world.

Fatherhood In The Age of Wokeness

What advice can I give fathers and sons in coping with the onslaught of wokeness, lawlessness, sexualization, and perversion the world is attacking believers with? I can only turn to the scriptures for guidance because, as Proverbs 3:5-6 teaches, we are not to lean on our own understanding and are to seek wisdom from Yahuah as James 1:5 instructs.

Father instructing son.

I couldn’t begin to list all the verses and stories in Scripture which express the wisdom of Yahuah of how a father should instruct and prepare his sons for the world. However, the Bible, as a whole, expresses the character of Yahuah as the perfect example of a loving father, which is an example in and of itself of how we are to guide our sons in life.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13 BSB

Here are a few particularly instructive and encouraging verses, which I hope fathers will read and pray about. Proverbs 13:25, Ephesians 6:1-4, Deuteronomy 6:6-7, 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, Proverbs 20:7, Matthew 7:9-11, Colossians 3:21, Proverbs 3:11-12, Proverbs 14:26, Hebrews12:7, and 2 Samuel 7:14-15.

For what it’s worth, I know from the scriptures that fathers, as servant leaders of the household, must set the example of righteous living so that our sons can see us walking the walk and talking the talk of scripturally righteous living. If we fathers serve Yahuah with all our heart, mind, and strength, perhaps Proverbs 17:6 will truly become a reality in the fullness of time, which reads, “Parents are the pride of their children.”

Actions indeed speak louder than words. As my oldest son quickly approaches the age of 16, even though his youthful foolishness is often on display, I have observed that when it counts, the biblical principles I have tried to instill in him come to his mind and are revealed in his actions.

We Must Trust Our Righteous Heavenly Father

I know and trust that my Father Yahuah is at work in my sons.

Additionally, as it pertains to preparing my sons for coping with the abominable wokeness of the world, the book of Proverbs is very fitting for today. I choose to be open, honest, and blunt with my sons about many of the difficult topics written about in Proverbs. Although I feel uncomfortable discussing whores, harlots, and other more mature subjects, I know that the woke, perverted people of the world would not hesitate to discuss these things with my sons and implant a sinful point of view in their minds.

Therefore it is critical that my sons hear these topics from me, a God-fearing father, from a biblical perspective first — so that the truth is already rooted as a foundation in their minds. If we fathers remain diligent, disciplined, and dedicated to biblical righteousness — unrelenting in teaching biblical truths to our sons — then I believe we will one day hear a good report spoken regarding them and experience the father’s joy spoken of in 3 John 1:4:

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth”


FOOTNOTES

1 Pontius Pilate famously asked Yahusha “What is truth?” Although philosophers come up short with a proper definition, the Scriptures are clear. There are three aspects from which we can measure Truth: Yahusha (John 14:6), the Word (John 17:17), and the Ruach HaKodesh or Holy Spirit (1 John 5:6).

Where Do We Go When We Die – Sheol or Heaven?

Where Do We Go When We Die – Sheol or Heaven?

My mother passed away in the Autumn of 2021 at the age of 97. On several occasions, during the final days of her life, she would point to someone apparently standing at the foot of her bed. “Do you see him?” she asked. “Who?” I would reply. “That man,” she said, with a big smile on her face.

No, I did not see the “man.” But I believe she saw something — or someone.

I choose to believe, based on what the Scriptures tell us, that she saw the angel assigned to soon escort her to the place where she would await her resurrection. (More on this later.)

Notice that I did not say the angel who would take her to Heaven. That’s because, contrary to what most of us learned in church, the Bible does not say Heaven is the next stop after we die. According to the Scriptures, both believers and unbelievers alike go to a place referred to as Sheol1 in Hebrew, or Hades2 in Greek.

Sheol In The Scriptures

It has been said that the problem with Sheol is that both the righteous and the wicked go there. Sheol is the mysterious place (grave) from which righteous souls will be resurrected when the trumpet sounds on the Day of the Lord. It also contains a sort of “waiting room” for unrepentant souls destined for the lake of fire known as Gehenna.3

The Prophets and Patriarchs made mention of Sheol on several occasions, and its whereabouts are noted in Enoch’s writings. In Genesis and Jubilees, a distraught Jacob declared that he would go there after examining Joseph’s blood-stained coat.

Then they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a young goat, and dipped the robe in its blood. They sent the robe of many colors to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe or not.” And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, “For I will go down into Sheol unto my son mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.

Genesis 37:31-35 Berean Study Bible
jacob examines the coat of joseph

Jacob examines Joseph’s coat

And the sons of Jacob slaughtered a kid, and dipped the coat of Joseph in the blood, and sent (it) to Jacob their father on the tenth of the seventh month. And he mourned all that night, for they had brought it to him in the evening, and he became feverish with mourning for his death, and he said: ‘An evil beast hath devoured Joseph’; And he mourned for Joseph, one year, and did not cease, for he said: Let me go down to She’ol mourning for my son.

Jubilees 34:12-13,17
Korah goes down to Sheol
Korah, his followers, and his household go down to Sheol

The rebellious Korah and all his kin went down alive to the pit (Sheol) for trying to usurp Moses’ authority in defiance of the Almighty.

If these men die a natural death, or if they suffer the fate of all men, then Yahuah has not sent me. But if Yahuah brings about something unprecedented, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them and all that belongs to them so that they go down alive into Sheol, then you will know that these men have treated Yahuah with contempt.

Numbers 16:29,30

The Prophet Enoch wrote this regarding Sheol:

In those days shall the earth deliver up from her womb, and Sheol deliver up from hers, that which it has received; and destruction shall restore that which it owes.

1 Enoch 51:1

Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Tobit spoke of Sheol and this place is mentioned in the Psalms, Habakkuk, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Job, and the writings of Baruch (Jeremiah’s scribe).4 It may surprise you to learn that Sheol is also mentioned by one of the three Hebrew men thrown into Nebuchadnezzer’s fiery furnace.5

While we do not understand the exact nature of Sheol, we do know that it is the first stop on our journey to the afterlife. Unfortunately, Sheol/Hades has been mistranslated as “death, pit, grave, and hell in various versions of the Bible. These descriptions have led to much confusion as to its features and whereabouts over the centuries.

According to Fred B. Pearson Th.D., Sheol is a place located in the lower parts of the earth where departed souls reside.6

The Old Testament word for the abode of the dead is Sheol. It is derived, as most scholars think, from a word meaning hollow. To the Hebrew mind Sheol was simply the state or abode of the dead. It was not the same as the grave, though it was so translated in some of the older versions. The grave was the resting place of the body from which the spirit had departed, while Sheol was the resting place of departed spirits, or personalities. Usually, Sheol was thought of as being deep down in the earth, as hell is often thought of today. In Old Testament Sheol is represented as the opposite of the upper sphere of life and light. It is “deep Sheol.” Its direction is “down.”

from Sheol and Hades in Old and New Testament

Enoch mentions that Abel is currently there, along with everyone else who has died since his murder at the hands of his brother Cain (Qayin). However, there is an important distinction made regarding this realm.

Pearson:

Always Sheol was regarded as the appointed place for all persons, the great rendezvous of the dead. Here the dead are gathered to their tribes and families. Often we find, especially in the Pentateuch, such expressions as “to be gathered to one’s people,” “to go to one’s fathers,” etc.

from Sheol and Hades in Old and New Testament

We learn from Enoch that the righteous dead are placed in separate compartments from the unrighteous souls in Sheol. (1 Enoch 22) According to Enoch’s vision, the compartment containing the righteous is “bright and there is a fountain of water in its midst.” The water is perhaps symbolic of resurrection; which makes sense in the context of the parable that Yeshua told of the rich man and Lazarus.

The Rich Man and Lazarus in Sheol

One of the best explanations given of our intermediate destination after death is found in Yeshua’s discourse with the Pharisees in Luke’s gospel, in which he expounded on the Law, Prophets, and the Kingdom.

So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. “And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. “Then he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”

Luke 16:22-24
The Rich Man and Lazarus in Sheol
” The Rich Man in Hell and the Poor Lazarus in Abraham’s Lap” – Hans Leonhard Schäufelein (1480-1540)

These verses are very illuminating. In them, we learn that Lazarus was carried by angels to a place called “Abraham’s bosom.” The epithet is used to describe a place of comfort.

Bosom of Abraham” refers to the place of comfort in the biblical Sheol (or Hades in the Greek Septuagint version of the Hebrew scriptures from around 200 BC, and therefore so described in the New Testament)[1] where the righteous dead abided prior to Jesus’ resurrection. 

Bosom of Abraham. (2023, April 27). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosom_of_Abraham

We are also told that the rich man was suffering in a lower level of Sheol/Hades in that he had to “look up” to see Abraham and the beggar. Many theologians teach that the rich man was in a fiery Hell, suffering in the torment of literal and unquenchable flames. However, this conclusion has several flaws:

  1. The first resurrection has not yet occurred
  2. The unrighteous have not been judged (Revelation 20:11)
  3. Hell is mistranslated in some Bibles as Hades
  4. Torment here is referring to an emotional state, not literal flames (a Catholic notion)

When the Scripture speaks of this man being in torment, it is speaking of the emotional torment of a person awaiting the second death, which is total annihilation in the Lake of Fire known as Gehenna. The word for torment or agony is odunaó. HELPs Word Study offers this insight into what this Greek word means:

3600 odynáō (from 3601 /odýnē, “very painful sorrow”) – properly, to experience intense emotional pain (WP, 2, 223), i.e. deep, personal anguish expressed by great mourning (LS). This root (ody-) literally means “go down” (as the sun in a sunset) and refers to consuming sorrow.

The rich man was not asking for a literal drink of water. He was desirous of something that he could never have — resurrection.

Contrary to what we were taught in church, the unrighteous dead will spend their time in a dark compartment of Sheol awaiting the final judgment at the end of the millennium. They will have had hundreds, if not thousands of years to contemplate their ultimate destiny in Gehenna — the lake of fire that will completely annihilate them. The wicked will not be forever burning in a lake of fire. This is a Catholic notion and insults the merciful and gracious nature of our Heavenly Father and his Son Yeshua, our High Priest

We Must Be Born Again

In his conversation with Nicodemus, Yeshua ties water and Spirit to the salvation experience. Once we are redeemed from Sheol and “quickened”, we will no longer be made of flesh and blood. In order to enter the New Jerusalem (heaven), our bodies will need to be recreated (reconstituted) and our nature will change.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

John 3:3,4 NKJV

When Yeshua told Nicodemus that we must be born again to enter into Yahuah’s Kingdom, the Pharisee was understandably confused. But he, like us, had to expand his way of thinking. He had to think of Sheol as a type of womb that would “birth” (resurrect) new “creatures” (creations) made of water and Spirit. (James 1:18) This event is known as the first resurrection. (1 Thessalonians 4:16)


“Truly, truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” John 3:5


In John 3:1-21, Yeshua marks the way to eternal life with breadcrumbs for us to follow. These verses contain a wealth of information that contradicts much of what we were taught about the new birth, the way to Heaven, the punishment of Gehenna, and the authority Yeshua’s name carries. This authority is tied to his purpose and has a huge impact on how we understand the sequence of events that lead to our redemption.

Water holds historical, ritual, eschatological, and metaphorical significance in the life of a believer. It is tied to the conduct of individuals and nations. As a rule, covenant breakers, the lawless, and the disobedient are denied water. Those who desire to walk in righteousness are given it abundantly as a sign of moral purity.

Eschatologically speaking, when the righteous are caught up to the New Jerusalem, Yahuah will water our “dry bones.” At this time we will be sprinkled with clean water and purified. This sprinkling represents both the resurrection and the indwelling of the Spirit.

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.  And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

Ezekiel 36:24-26 New Living Translation

Life After Death

The Scriptures speak of our bodies metaphorically as a tent or sukkah — a temporary dwelling place. The essence of who we really are (our mind, will, emotions, and life experiences) is contained in our souls.

Now we know that if the early tent we live in is dismantled, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.

2 Corinthians 5:1-3 Berean Study Bible

When we die our bodies return to dust, Yahuah withdraws His life-giving breath, and our souls go to the Sheol. The righteous souls who occupy “Abraham’s bosom” will be ransomed from there on the Day of the Lord, when they receive their resurrection bodies. The wicked will remain in their “holding cells” until the Great White Throne judicial proceeding is spoken of in Revelation.

This first resurrection has been called the rapture7 by many in mainstream Christianity. However, it can be more appropriately thought of as the first resurrection or even the second exodus.

I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death. O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes.

Hosea 13: 14 ESV

Your dead will live; their bodies will rise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust! For your dew is like the dew of the morning, and the earth will bring forth her dead.

Isaiah 26:19 Berean Study Bible

And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to everlasting life, but others to shame and everlasting contempt.

Daniel 12:2 Berean Study Bible

Sheol’s Connection to Biblical Cosmology

Artist illustration of flat earth biblical cosmology

It must be stated that belief in Sheol’s existence beneath the earth is tied to biblical cosmology. Specifically a geocentric versus a heliocentric model of our home in this physical realm. Why? Because if you adopt a heliocentric mindset, then you will likely believe that the earth contains a liquid outer region surrounded by a solid iron core.

This model not only makes the existence of Sheol as described in the Scriptures almost impossible, but it also injects an element of doubt into what the Bible says about:

Whether you agree or disagree, please take time to test everything that is written in this article against Scripture. Ask the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to guide your thinking.8

When you understand what the Bible has to say about a place called Sheol, you will be well on your way to discovering what happens nanoseconds after you die. Your final destination will either be life in Yahuah’s (YHWH) Kingdom or total annihilation in the lake of fire — the second death. Sheol just is a stop along the way as we all await the resurrection.


FOOTNOTES

1 Sheol (#H7585): underworld (place to which people descend at death). Hades, or the word of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates; grave, hell, pit.

2 (Strongs #G86hádēs (from 1 /A “not” and idein/eidō, “see”) – properly, the “unseen place,” referring to the (invisible) realm in which all the dead reside, i.e. the present dwelling place of all the departed (deceased); Hades. Source: HELPS Word-studies

3 (Strongs #G1067) geenna – Gehenna is a valley west and South of Jerusalem, also a symbolic name for the final place of punishment of the ungodly. Source: Strong’s Concordance. (Strong’s #G1067) géenna (a transliteration of the Hebrew term, Gêhinnōm, “the valley of Hinnom”) – Gehenna, i.e. hell (also referred to as the “lake of fire” in Revelation). Source: HELPS Word-study

4 Isaiah 5:14;28:15, Ezekiel 31:14(b);15(a)

5 The “Prayer of the Three Hebrew Children” was once included in the King James bible but was later removed. This is the prayer that Hadrach, Meshech, and Abednego (Hanania, Mishael, and Azariah) prayed while in the furnace. The furnace is symbolic of the Lake of Fire — the ultimate fiery furnace spoken of in the Book of Revelation.

6 Pearson, F. B. (1938). Sheol and Hades in Old and New Testament. Review & Expositor35(3), 304–314  https://doi.org/10.1177/003463733803500304

7 The origin of the Rapture doctrine (theory) can be linked to two men: John Nelson Darby, a 19th-century theologian, and C.I. Scofield, author of the Scofield Reference Bible.

8 The Gospel Worth Dying For goes into detail concerning life after death, Sheol, Gehenna, and the days leading up to the return of Yeshua. Download the book here.

The Easy Yoke and Light Burden of Yahusha Ha’Mashiach: A Contextual Torah Perspective (Part II)

The Easy Yoke and Light Burden of Yahusha Ha’Mashiach: A Contextual Torah Perspective (Part II)

Bible scholars have spent many hours and much ink expounding on what the easy yoke and light burden of Yahusha Ha’Mashiach really meant. 

Some visualize a vibrant and strong Messiah on one side of the yoke joined by a crossbow to an exhausted and nearly dead human. They picture Yahusha dragging this feeble person along the narrow path.

One can see where some can come away with this perspective, which corresponds to the message of Psalm 68:19-20: 

“Blessed be יהוה, Day by day He bears our burden, The Ěl of our deliverance! Selah. Our Ěl is the Ěl of deliverance; And to יהוה, the Master, belong escapes from death.”

TS2009

Psalm 55:22 reads: 

“Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” 

TS2009

It is vital to consider a few other verses to get a fuller contextual understanding. First, in Luke 11:46, Yahusha issues a warning: 

And He said, “Woe to you also, you learned in the Torah, because you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.”

TS2009

Similarly, Psalm 38:4 reads: 

For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden, they weigh too much for me.

TS2009

Also, consider the context of loving your neighbor as yourself as described in Galatians 6:1-18: 

 “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.” 

With these considerations in mind, I would posit that scripture teaches the concept of a relationship with Messiah Yahusha by which we are yoked with him in our life walk. Indeed, he is the leader whereby we obediently follow him; doing our fair share of the work as we tread the walk of life down the narrow path toward salvation. 

Additional passages for contextual consideration can be found in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37, Numbers 11:17, and Exodus 18:22.

Biblical, Hebraic, and Modern Historical Considerations

To further understand the context of Matthew 11:28-30 and how it applies to our lives today, let’s look at some biblical and Hebraic history as well as some modern-era considerations. 

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you are like whitewashed tombs which outwardly indeed look well, but inside are filled with dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you too outwardly indeed appear righteous to men, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Matt 23:27-28 TS2009

As we dig into a few biblically historical examples, it is essential to consider not only the physical aspects of this subject but also the spiritual. 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, by against principalities, against powers, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12 Cepher

However, the underlying spiritual aspects of perverse laws calling evil good and good evil is an entire study in and of itself.

The Heavy Burden of Tradition

The eleventh chapters of both Luke’s and Matthew’s gospels are examples of how manmade laws and traditions had become excessively burdensome for the people, compared to how the Torah was meant to be interpreted and applied. The Pharisees of the time had elevated their traditions and added legal requirements to the Torah before Yahusha’s Passion. 

Burden of Tradition

Consider how many laws are in the Talmud, Mishna, and Gemara. 

The Mishna alone adds 63 additional tractates. Among these are some thirty-nine categories which further define what is considered “work” on the Sabbath. Within these thirty-nine categories, are several additional sub-categories, thus adding even more laws and regulations to the already established 613 Mosaic Torah instructions. 

With this in mind, one can see why Yahusha was so critical of the Pharisee’s additions and why he made it a point to invite the crowds to adopt an easier way to walk through life at his side. 

Now consider a few modern-era examples we see in our time.

 “Congress has enacted approximately 200–600 statutes during each of its 115 biennial terms, so that is more than 30,000 statutes which have been enacted since 1789.” 

Source: Wikipedia

A 2014 Washington Post report reveals that “an average of 462 new laws per state” are added yearly. 

The yoke and burden of God’s 613 Torah instructions, of which 248 are positive commandments (the do’s) and 365 are negative commandments (the don’ts), suddenly seem much lighter and less burdensome by comparison. 

And, not all 613 laws apply to every individual. It all depends on your particular life circumstance. For example, since the Temple no longer exists, we cannot offer up animal sacrifices as described in the book of Leviticus. We are living in a different administrative era. (1 Corinthians 12:5)

Keep in mind that there are gender (male or female) and marital-specific (married or unmarried) laws included in the 613 in addition to those that only apply to widows, orphans, strangers, etcetera. 

An objective survey of the 613 Torah commands reveals that a believer is to observe even fewer than 613 regulations, thus proving the Torah that Jesus preached to be even less burdensome, and the yoke to be even lighter than one might imagine. It is undoubtedly lighter than the countless manmade laws and traditions which the world would have you place on your shoulders to bear throughout your lifetime. 

 If you ask a child if it would be easier to follow 613 or 30,000 laws, what would their answer be? Are we not instructed to “turn and become like children” in Matthew 18:3? Just something to consider during your time of prayer and meditation on the context of this message.

The Treachery of Good Intentions

What began with some Rabbis simply trying to add a few laws for “clarity” quickly snowballed into an exceedingly burdensome system that few, if any, could follow without violation. 

Treachery of Good Intentions

As is the case in the United States, what began as a few constitutional laws and amendments, ballooned into a federal monstrosity with so many laws and regulations in place that even teams of lawyers, judges, and justices continually struggle to interpret and apply them. 

The United States has a massive Federal Register that would take half a lifetime to read and interpret. Congress routinely enacts 4000-page bills, which the average educated person has no means to acquire the legal expertise necessary to comprehend. Is it even possible for a citizen to obey the laws of this land without error?

We are truly living in Mystery Babylon. (Revelation 17:5) The confusion we are all experiencing can be traced back to religious traditionalists who sneer at the Torah, thumb their noses at Yahuah, and arrogantly proclaim that they know better. 

The Dangers of Ignoring The Truth

Let’s take another look at a Hebraic historical passage in the book of Genesis as well as passages from the extra-biblical book of Jasher to observe where the progressive path of law-creation and perversion can lead. 

Adding to Torah

Many of us are familiar with the Genesis story of Sodom and Gomorrah where Yahuah heard the cries and supplications concerning Sodom’s cruelty. There is the apparent sexual immorality observed in the account, which is central to the morality and resulting judgment of the story. The passage describes how the people of Sodom want the two men (messengers of God in disguise) to leave Lot’s home so they can have intercourse with them. 

However, when you study the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Jasher1, you can gain additional insight into how perverse manmade laws had become in Sodom, beyond the legal rape culture described in Genesis.

When you read the insane narrative surrounding Eliezer’s trial in verses 17-21, the death sentence trial of Paltith in verses 34-35, and the similar fate of another woman in verses 36-43, it becomes painfully obvious how twisted and perverse manmade laws can become. Genesis 19 is a prime example of how Sodom’s depravity became an acceptable expression of the townspeople’s proclivities.

Sodom’s laws had strayed further and further from God’s laws which Noah had taught to all his descendants following the Flood2. In the not-too-distant past, these same laws were commonly understood to be ethical and moral.

As It Was In The Days of Noah

Let’s take a brief look at just a few of the insane anti-biblical laws in practice in the United States today. 

Infanticide (the murder of babies in the womb and up to the moment of birth) remains legal in numerous states. Theft is seemingly legal in multiple states and cities. California’s Proposition 47, has made shoplifting “de facto” legal, where people cannot be prosecuted if theft is less than a specific dollar amount. Our nation has redefined marriage, which is historically and biblically defined as between a man and a woman in the Holy Scriptures. 

Child abuse has been effectively legalized with the abominable practices of gender reassignment surgeries and chemical hormone experiments on minors. 

Frivolous lawsuits abound where open persecution of Bible believers is allowed, providing virtually no protection under the law to prevent double jeopardy. Such as with the repeated lawsuits against the Colorado Christian Baker, who, despite winning a Supreme Court case in his favor, continues to face repeated lawsuits and harassment, with no justice served against the individuals violating the high court’s ruling. 

There are also some federal agencies expressing anti-First Amendment sentiments regarding freedom of religion. Recent news of the FBI’s leaked documents shows that the bureau issued a warning that traditionalist Catholics pose an extremist threat.

These are only a few more recent examples. Countless other anti-biblical laws can be found with minimal research. As one can see, just as with the historical, moral decline of Sodom, the world is following a similar path of degradation, perversion, and destruction. However, this should be of no surprise to the Saints. 

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

Ecclesiastes 1:9 KJV

 So again, as believers, we are instructed by the Messiah Yahusha concerning these last days that we should expect our world to mimic what Noah experienced just prior to the flood. 

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

Luke 17:26,27 KJV

With all this in mind, the question remains: How are believers to react and function in this crazy modern Mystery Babylonian world, whose laws and morals often oppose sound Biblical morals and principles? This question brings us back to the lesson taught by Yahusha in Matthew 11:28-30. 

The yoke and burdens of Yahusha are easy and light compared to the madness of the world’s endless stream of laws, wokeness, changes, and double standards. It should be evident to Bible believers that the world’s yoke and burden are impossible to carry. 

How can one maintain their biblical morality and loyalty to the kingdom of heaven’s laws, which the Creator uttered at the beginning of time, and simultaneously practice the perverse laws of the Mystery Babylon? Attempting to please the world and satisfy its demands amounts to trying to hit a moving target while blindfolded, constantly having your feet swept from underneath you on sandy ground, which has no foundation in truth. 

However, with Yahuah’s laws and ways, the target is fixed and our feet are planted on solid ground. We are anchored to an unmovable foundation built on Biblical truth. Yahuah’s ways lead to freedom and rest for one’s soul – rest from the madness mentioned earlier in Genesis, Jasher, and modern societal anti-biblical law examples.

Yahusha Lifts Our Burdens

In closing, I want to clarify that I am not suggesting any rebellious anti-government sentiment. The purpose of these examples is to remind Bible believers that we are to be set apart and be a light to a lost world. 

Yahusha lifts our burdens

It is my hope and prayer that you will begin to see that the instructions provided in the Torah, the Prophets, and the Brit Ha’dasha (New Covenant) writings are not a heavy burden. Taking up the yoke of Yahusha, walking at his side on the narrow path, is indeed easy in comparison to the endless list of laws the world imposes on mankind. 

As the scriptures teach in John 15:18-19, Matthew 5:16, Romans 12:2, and 1 Peter 2:9, we are not of the world and are called to Yahuah’s Kingdom as a set apart people. We are to live our lives set apart as an example to a very lost world that is burdened by a mountain of manmade laws.  Yahusha, our Messiah, is a living example of how God’s laws model an easier way of life. 

In the freedom with which Messiah has made us free, stand firm, then, and do not again be held with a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1 TS2009

So יהושע (Yahusha) said to those Yehuḏim who believed Him, “If you stay in My Word, you are truly My taught ones, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 8:31,32 TS2009

Blessing, shalom, and all glory and Honor to Yahuah on high.

Photos by Ulrike Mai and Karl Fredrickson


FOOTNOTES

1 We acknowledge the controversy surrounding the authenticity of the Book of Jasher. These references are made to boldly illustrate how mankind goes astray when Yah’s rule of law is perverted.

2 See Jubilees chapters 6 and 7.