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21
Aug

Shoftim

Written by Julie Parker. Posted in Sheepfold Gleanings.

SHOFTIM

Deuteronomy 16:18 to 21:9
Isaiah 51:12 to 52:12
Matthew 5:38-42, 18:15-20
Acts 3:13-26; 7:35-53
1 Corinthians 5:9-13
1 Timothy 5:17-22
Hebrews 10:28-31

The Hebrew word shoftim is plural for the singular Hebrew word shapat (Strong’s H8199) meaning to govern or to rule. This study points directly to Jesus Christ/Yeshua Ha Mashiach our Deliverer and Redeemer, and the desire we have for His indwelling presence to rule and reign in us. For Yeshua to have His Lordship in our lives we must first understand His moral principles so that we can walk in them.

In earlier lessons, we have been going over the fact that Moses starts Deuteronomy with the witnesses of heaven and earth and he closes Deuteronomy with the same witnesses. This is important, as a believer’s testimony rests on these two witnesses. If we do not understand what is included in the witnesses of heaven we will not be legal on the earth. Therefore Moses goes over and over this point so it will go well with us. We cannot stress this enough. Our very faith, believe and walk depends on these two witnesses. If we are missing the heavenly witnesses we will have a form of religion but deny the power and end up being a false witnesses on the earth(Deuteronomy 4:26; 31:28).

  • 2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

The heavenly witnesses are: The Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit and the three are One. The earthly witnesses are: the Spirit, the water and the blood – and these three agree as One. This is what is referred to as the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30).

  • 1 John 5:6-8 “This is He who came by water and blood - Jesus Christ/Yeshua HaMashiach; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.” (KJV/NKJV)

Verse 7 in 1John 5:6-8 has been removed in many modern translations of Greek therefore many believers have only been fed a diet of the earthly witnesses and not the witnesses of heaven, therefore many among them are weak and sick (1 Corinthians 11:27-30). Believers need to have the witnesses of both: the three witnesses of heaven and the three witnesses of earth in order to have a strong foundation to stand and build their faith on, otherwise they will have built on shifting sand.

  • Matthew 7:21-27 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them [on earth], I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine [from heaven], and does not do them [on earth], will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

When a believer enters into Covenant with Yeshua, their commitment to Him initiates the power of His word to activate in them. Therefore, with heaven and earth as their witness, it is imperative a believer’s walk is one in agreement to their confession, as are the three witnesses in heaven and the three witnesses on earth in agreement as One. If a believer’s walk is not one with what is written in the Word, they will literally turn their back on the blessings. As the legal status of the Covenant (set in place by a believer’s oath to it) is the witness of heaven on earth, it will become a witness for or against the believer. This is why Moses made sure Yeshua’s people all understood, and that their walk must be in agreement with Him (John 5:46-47; Hebrews 11:24-26).

The Word speaks very strongly about a believer’s walk being one in agreement with the heavenly witness on earth, as shown through the prophet Hosea. His life literally modeled this. In Hosea 2 we read how Yahweh describes His own wife (believers) as not being His wife and He not being her Husband. He describes her (believers) as having a spirit of covetousness: lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Because of this, she had not known that He had given her grain, new wine and oil and had multiplied her silver and gold. Therefore, the Word says, He will return and take away His grain in its time and His new wine in its season and take back His wool and His linen (all are signs that this woman (believer) was of the priestly line), but no one will deliver her from His hand. His hand will still be upon her (the believer). He will cause her to cease from her Baal worship feast days (Christmas/Easter), her Baal worship New Moons (worship of the heavenlies and the high places), her Baal worship of Sabbath (Sunday), and all other Baal appointed feasts. He will bring her into the wilderness where He will speak comfort to her and give her vineyards. There she will sing as in the days of her youth. She will call Him Husband and no longer remember the names of Baal. In that day He will make a Covenant and say,

“I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD/The Word/Yahweh [in the Flesh]. It shall come to pass in that day that I will answer,” says the LORD/Yahweh; “I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth. The earth shall answer [bearing the fruit of the witnesses of the two] with grain, with new wine, and with oil; They [the two witness of heaven and earth as One] shall answer Jezreel. Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God/Elohim!’ ” (Hosea 2:19-23; Deuteronomy 17: 2-7).

A believer’s commitment is the same as was the Israelites’ commitment at Mount Sinai. Contained within the DNA of the Israelites were all their future offspring, including believers today, as they are part of Israel, the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:7; 29). In essence they also were standing with them when they proclaimed in one voice, “We will do and we will obey,” meaning, “Please rule and reign in us.

  • Hebrews 4:2 “For unto us was the gospel preached [Mosaic Covenant spoken at Mount Sinai], as well as unto them [the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai]; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith [obedience to the instruction given] in them that heard it.”

Sanctification – The Redemption of Our Souls

  • Matthew 6:10 “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Today, led by the Spirit of the Holy One, many believers are returning to the prevailing standard of Yahweh’s Gospel given to Moses. The purpose and fullness of inheritance after salvation is to walk in this redeemed lifestyle - a picture of Yeshua’s priesthood in the Davidic Covenant. As part of Israel today, believers learning His ways of holiness through the Spirit of Yeshua, are partaking in the redemptive blessings. Obedience (faith in action) brings the blessings. In every aspect of personal and community life - civil, moral, religious and domestic - are either blessings or curses. This is why Moses was very careful to share the Tabernacle pattern in every detail of Yahweh’s Word with His people so there would be no misunderstanding or misinterpretation. It was when Israel ignored these instructions that she became ensnared in compromise with the world and the Nations around her. The consequence was the scattering of the tribes of Israel outside of their Promised Land, which resulted in their not being able to establish the Land entirely. 

This threat is still very true for Yahweh’s people today. Believers who are returning desire to take hold of their inheritance, just as the Jewish people are today, in order to keep the land safe and live in peace. The instructions of inheritance have not changed. They are still the same. Therefore the Words that Moses spoke are key to our very life and still applicable for all God’s/Elohim’s people today.

  • Hebrews 6:1-6  “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ/Messiah, let us [all believers] go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.   For it is impossible for those [believers] who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”
  • Deuteronomy 18:9 “When you come into the land which the LORD/Yahweh your God/Elohim is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.”

Three times in the book of Acts, the Jerusalem Council exhorted and encouraged Paul to preach the Gospel Moses gave at Mount Sinai to the remnant returning to Yahweh from the Nations. This was their standard recommendation and it is also our standard today (Acts 15:20-21, 29; 21:25).

Judges

  • Deuteronomy 16:18-20; 17:8-13 “You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which Yahweh your God/Elohim is giving you.”

Yahweh now makes sure there is a standard in place to help the Israelites deal with community disputes. He gave instruction for judges and officials to be selected one from each of the twelve tribes to establish good and fair rulings to encourage the people (Exodus 18:19-22).

Asherah Worship – The gods of Babylon

  • Deuteronomy 16:21 “You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of Yahweh your Elohim, which you shall make for yourself.”

  • Jeremiah 10: 3-5 “For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried.”

Believers are not to have any foreign Asherah worship poles in their midst. The temple today is dwelling in our hearts, as is the altar of Yahweh. To worship Yahweh by any other means or by way of an Asherah symbol would profane His Name thus it is an abomination before Him. In the study Eikev, we learned about various forms of occult worship practiced today. Totem poles with their carved images, church steeples, the obelisk in Washington DC, and the statue of Liberty in New York are all forms of Asherah poles from occult practices originating in Babylon. Asherah, also called the queen of heaven, was the supreme goddess of the Canaanites, the female counterpart of the Babylonian sun god Baal. An obelisk was said to be a petrified ray of the sundisk and that the sun god existed within it. This was the background behind why a star was chosen for the top of a Christmas tree (See the study Eikev for more information www.sheepfoldgleaning.com).

After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the ruler of Egypt, the Khedive Ismail, promised the United States an obelisk. That gift was sent to New York and on January 1881 the Egyptian obelisk was raised before more than 10,000 jubilant New Yorkers. William Maxwell Evarts, then U.S. Secretary of State, prophetically declared,

“Who indeed can tell what our nation will do if any perversity is possible of realization; and yet this obelisk may ask us, ‘Can you expect to flourish forever? Can you expect wealth to accumulate and man not decay? Can you think that the soft folds of luxury are to wrap themselves closer and closer around this nation and the pith and vigor of its manhood know no decay? Can it creep over you and yet the nation know no decrepitude?’ These are questions that may be answered in the time of the obelisk but not in ours.”

In the study/parshah Balak (Numbers 22:1-25:17) we learned how the early Church fathers took the Gospel that Yahweh gave to Moses at Mount Sinai containing our Covenant/ketubah, and separated this gift from Yeshua, the embodiment of the Word (1John 5:6-8 KJV/NKJV). This was accomplished by blending Yahweh’s Word with the Babylonian pagan religion in a form of worship (John 1:1,14). Mixing Yahweh’s Torah with pagan beliefs is called syncretism and is an abomination before Him (Reference Balak and Davarim www.sheepfoldgleanging.com).

  • Isaiah 1:10, 14 “Hear the word of Yahweh, ‘Your [Babylonian] New Moon festivals and your [man’s/Babylonian] appointed feasts my soul hates. They [Babylonian worship] have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them [pagan worldly idolatry].’”
  • Hosea 2:11 “I will stop all her [pagan worship] celebrations: her [pagan worldly] yearly festivals, her [pagan] New Moons, her [pagan] Sabbath days - all her [pagan] appointed feasts.”
  • Ezekiel 8:14-15 “Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of Yahweh, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz.”

Lent, Ash Wednesday – Easter - The Weeping for Tammuz

Lent was instituted by the Church of Rome approximately 600 or 700 years after Christ/Messiah and was adopted from Babylonian pagan rituals. Lent is a forty-day period ending at Easter.  Easter is another form of Ishtar the mythological pagan fertility goddess to whom Northern Europe held a festival. They celebrated her resurrection back to life every spring during the vernal equinox. Other names for her are - in Assyria: Semiramis and Ninus; in Babylon: Ishtar and Tammuz; in Egypt: Isis and Osiris; in Syria: Astarte and Bel or Baal (Marduk) (later Venus Urania and Adonis); in Greece: Aphrodite and Adonis and in Rome: Kybele and Attis (or Venus and Adonis). In time, Ishtar (Easter) was celebrated in the Sumerian civilization by mourning and weeping for the death of the god Tammuz. He was believed to be the only begotten son of the moon goddess and the sun god. Rejoicing at his rebirth or sunrise resurrection was on the vernal equinox at Easter (Reference: Article: Pagan Origin of Easter).

Ash Wednesday and the god of Shiva

At the beginning of the forty days of Lent, Christians in some main denominations (Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Anglicans) anoint their foreheads with ash in the form of a cross to mark the season they are entering of penance, fasting and self-denial. Many are innocent in thinking that Lent is for spiritual growth, conversion, and simplicity, and are not familiar with its pagan roots, which were adopted by Rome from the Hindu religion originating in Babylon called the weeping of Tammuz.

In Hinduism, ash is said to be the seed of the fire god Agni who had the power to cleanse and purify people. The mark of ash on the forehead is the symbol of the purifying blood of Shiva, the Hindu god of mercy and compassion. The mark represented Shiva’s third eye that protects devotees from evil forces.

  • Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

Ash Wednesday, Mardis Gras and the god of Bacchus

New Year’s Eve became a carnival, for eating, drinking, and sinning, on the theory that all sins would be wiped out the following day as the dying god of March (Mars) took his worshipers’ sins with him into death. The day was called dies martis, the Day of Mars and fell on a Tuesday. In France the carnival day was called Mardis Gras, Fat Tuesday, or in England Shrove Tuesday.

Mardis Gras developed into a three-day orgy on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday immediately before Ash Wednesday and before the start of Lent. The pagan origins of Mardi Gras are of a feast bowing down to Bacchus the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy. The term has since come to describe any form of drunken revelry - a time of immoral partying and sexual carousing exemplified by the extravagant celebration in New Orleans.

Many churches now observe Mardi Gras with a pancake breakfast (or other church meal), on Ash Wednesday eating together as a community before the forty day fast of Lent begins. Most are not aware that this celebration has no religious significance to Scripture or Biblical times.

  • Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying’s, murders, drunkenness, reveling’s, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you [believers] in time past [at Mount Sinai – through Moses], that they [believers] which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

The Journey of Lent – Via Dolorosa - Weeping for Tammuz

Some churches have a special time of prayer or meditation for one night of each week during Lent.  Often Catholic and high church traditions pray the Stations of the Cross. This tradition came into general use by the seventeenth century and is present today in nearly all Catholic churches. The Via Dolorosa and the Stations of the Cross are still a popular pilgrimage destination in Jerusalem. Each year during Lent and especially on Good Friday thousands of Christians retrace the route of Jesus through the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, many weeping, carrying small or large wooden crosses repenting and doing penitence, having been taught that this is somehow an act of holiness. What deception they have been led into, as the Stations of the Cross have their roots in the weeping of Tammuz.

  • Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”
  • Ezekiel 8:13-14 “And He said to me, ‘Turn again, and you will see greater abominations that they are doing.’  So He brought me to the door of the north gate of Yahweh’s house [in Jerusalem – also symbolic of our hearts]; and to my dismay, women [believers who have not know their roots - who are New Testament taught that - the Law/Torah and the prophets have been done away with] were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.”
  • 2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore [believers] ‘Come out from among them [pagan idolatry – that you once were in] and be separate [from them], says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’”

Worshiping the Signs of Heaven
Deuteronomy 17:2-6

Moses warns the people about violating Yahweh’s Covenant by worshiping other gods, especially bowing down to the sun, moon and stars in the sky. Worshiping the heavens is again Babylonian in origin from early times (Genesis 11:4) and is very prevalent today in our society. Many have become attracted to various forms of spiritualism such as magic, astrology, horoscopes and sorcery. Children especially are vulnerable and easily become enticed by apparently innocent sources such as Disney, the leading family entertainers. Witchcraft and sorcery are contained throughout their animated films using fairies, beautiful princesses and heroines, which are further encouraged by souvenirs, clothing, toys and even party supplies to expose children to the occult world.

Another game that is having a come back is the Ouija board, an occult devise that communicates with the dark spirit realm. It has now outstripped Monopoly as the leading board game in America. Also, with all the new techie apparatus available online or at your local store, there are now lots of software games involving wizards, witches, spells, violence, killing and outright presence of demonic spirits all advertised as entertainment. We have permitted or actually encouraged a gradual acceptance of these demonic forces in our children.

Witches now have a more palatable and acceptable name, called New Age channelers, intermediaries or mediums able to communicate between the spirit realm and the tangible world. Secret societies such as the Masons, Illuminati and their front organizations actively practice forms of demonic worship. The New World Order/government falls into the plans of these organizations. Unfortunately the dark world has so saturated our society that even believers do not recognize the demonic realm attached.

The Calendar, Sol Invictus, and Christmas:
The Feast of Saturnalia and the Worship of Tammuz

Another example of worshiping heaven is the Gregorian calendar, which is the Babylonian solar-based calendar that we use today. Yahweh’s biblical calendar is lunar-based. The Babylonian calendar has us indirectly paying homage to the sun, stars and planets as each day is dedicated to one of the Babylonian gods.

In 45-46 CE, when the Roman Julian Calendar, named after Julius Caesar, was adopted, December 24 was the shortest day of the year. Therefore, December 25 was the first annual day that daylight began to increase. This was where the early church fathers from Rome began to introduce Babylonian worship of our God in conjunction with the spring and winter equinox and mixed this pagan worship with Yahweh’s holy Word (called syncretism). Motivated by the pagan celebration of the rebirth of the Invincible Sun (Tammuz), they moved Yeshua’s birth from the Feast of Tabernacles (September/October) to December 25.

The Wikipedia is full of historical confirmation,

“In accordance with the Roman Julian calendar, the Saturnalia (which means ‘sun-stop’) is the week-long pagan festival of the winter solstice which began on December the 17 as the sun was seen to be rising further to the south and thought of as dying. By December the 25, the ancient world’s solstice, it could be recognized as beginning to turn northwards again and was said to be re-born and therefore was proclaimed to be the birthday of the sun-deity.”

“All of the known sun-deities were ‘born’ on December the 25, these include Mithra, Krishna (Vishnu), Osiris, Horus, Hercules, Dionysus (Bacchus), Tammuz, Indra, Buddha as well as all the other reincarnations of the child-god of the Babylonian religious system [as they are one in the same].”

“Nimrod, grandson of Ham, son of Noah, was the real founder of the Babylonian system. He built the tower of Babel, the original Babylon, ancient Nineveh, and many other cities. He organized this world’s first kingdom. The name Nimrod, in Hebrew, maybe derived from Marad meaning, he rebelled (Genesis 10:6,8-12).

“Nimrod was known as the god of the Chaldean Mysteries. In the Chaldean mysteries, the Babylonian dictator Nimrod was deified as Saturn. Satan and Saturn are one in the same: one Early Latin and the other Late Latin. His birthday was celebrated on December 25 or the Saturnalia.”

“Satur is the goat-legged half man half goat deity headed by Pan (a representation of Satan) also known as Goat-gods. Isaiah 13:21 identify the Saturs as belonging to Babylon. A deity with two goat-legs has always been identified as Satan.”

“The Saturnalia was named for Saturn, also known as the Greek god Cronus (also known as Tammuz). Tammuz was Nimrod reborn - alias, his son. His wife and mother was Rhea (Semiramis). Egyptian and Babylonian antiquities recognize his mother as Semiramis, and his birthday is celebrated on 25 December. His wife and mother was Rhea (Semiramis) was depicted as a virgin Madonna holding the Christ child. The Saturnalia, therefore, was just another observance for Tammuz/Nimrod, the Babylonian counterfeit redeemer.”

Ezekiel was shown some of the abominations taking place in the temple with Yahweh’s people incorporating the worship of Tammuz in their worship. The people were mixing the worship of the One true God with the customs of sun worship, which Yahweh says is an abomination to Him.

  • Ezekiel 8:15-16 “Then He said to me, ‘Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.’  So He brought me into the inner court of Yahweh’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of Yahweh and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.”

Yahweh says, “Do not learn the way of the pagans/gentiles” (Jeremiah 10:2).

The Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume II (1943-1973), under Christmas, we find:

“In the Roman world, the Saturnalia was a time of merrymaking and exchanging of gifts. December 25 was also regarded as the birth date of the Iranian Mystery god, Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness.”

“The sun god was also known as Saturnalia as well as Nimrod.”

“Mithra, according to ancient legend, was born on December 25, of a virgin. His birth was witnessed by shepherds and magicians [magi]. Mithra raised the dead and healed the sick and cast out demons. He returned to heaven at the spring equinox (northern hemisphere) and before doing so had a last supper with his 12 disciples (representing the 12 signs of the zodiac), eating mizd, a piece of bread marked with a cross, an almost universal symbol of the sun (hot cross buns)” (End of quote).

New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 223:

“December 25 was the date of the Roman pagan festival [Saturnalia] inaugurated [as a state religion] in 274 [by Emperor Aurelian 214 – 275], as the birthday of the unconquered sun which at the winter solstice begins again to show an increase in light. Sometime before 336 the Church in Rome, unable to stamp out this pagan festival, spiritualized it as the Feast of the Nativity of the Sun of Righteousness” the writer Hislop observes, “That Christmas was originally a pagan festival, is beyond all doubt.”

The Roman festival of Saturnalia was preceded by the festival of Consualia December 15 and followed by the festival of Opalia on December 19. These pagan celebrations typically lasted for a week, ending just before the latter Roman Imperial Festival for Sol Invictus (Invincible Sun) on December 25 the Solstice in the pre-Julian calendar.

Consualia: the festival, which honors Consus, an under-world god of mystery and the hidden. He was the protector of seed, grain and their storage bins/silos.

Opalia: (Also known as Ops or Opus) is Saturnus’ wife and sister. Opalia was the ancient Roman god of plenty and fertility who made the vegetation grow. Her abode was inside the earth and also known today as Mother Earth. Eventually her modern day dress and appearance was that of her husband Santa Claus and called Mrs. Claus.

Saturnalia was celebrated by what they thought was the sun’s return by having orgies, human and animal sacrifices and eating blood pudding which we today call the Christmas Pudding. Gift giving, feasting, singing and debauchery characterized the festival, as the priests of Saturn carried wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession throughout the Roman temples. People decorated their homes with green branches, evergreen wreaths, incense, candles, and religious figurines and gave them as gifts to one another. Families gave their children the little clay dolls that represented their former sacrifices.

The Asherah Pole and Christmas

The present day Christmas tree also has ancient pagan origins – in the worship of sacred trees in the ancient Babylonian empire (Jeremiah 10:3-5). Historically the evergreen tree has symbolized life, in that it was associated with the belief that the sun god Baal came to life through the incarnate baby Tammuz. The custom of decorating and worshiping trees spread throughout the known world, with the variety of tree used selected according to the natural growth of each area of the world. The Druids worshiped the oak tree; the Egyptians worshiped the palm tree, while in Rome the fir tree was the popular choice. The Romans trimmed their trees with trinkets and toys during the Saturnalia, and put candles on them to indicate the sun’s return to earth. They also added a star or an angel with a halo to represent the Queen of Heaven. Everywhere, people in these cultures stopped work to join in the celebration. The Christmas tree, the holly, the mistletoe, the lights, the gold and silver decorations and even the color theme of red (for the sun) and green (for new life) all are festivities associated with sun-worship at the feast of Satunalia/Sol Invictus – the worship of Tammuz.

The Roman Catholic monk Martin Luther (1483-1546) made this ancient pagan tradition acceptable to believers as a form of ‘Christian’ worship to Yahweh. The Christmas tree is a modern day Asherah pole, a male phallic symbol with decorative balls, that many worship and bow down to receive gifts in return. This is syncretism.  Worshiping and bowing down to a pagan image and then turning to worship Yahweh for His gifts (the Holy Spirit/Ruach Ha Kodesh)is an abomination. Many Christian believers who celebrate Christmas would not dream of celebrating it without their sacred tree.

  • Exodus 20:5 “you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me”
  • Jeremiah 10:1-5 “Hear the word which Yahweh speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says Yahweh: ‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles [Nations]; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles [Nations] are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves.’”

The winter solstice was also a festival called the nativity of the sun, a celebration of the birth of the sun god (known as Tammuz), which took place on December 24. The word yule, which we now see in the Christmas tradition of burning of yule logs, is Chaldean for child. December 24 was the accepted day of the birth of the incarnate sun Tammuz, who appeared as a baby child to redeem a world bound in darkness, and who was also to be the savior of the world. This festival was practiced by pagans centuries before Yeshua was born.

Sol Invictus – Messiah’s Christian Birth - Christmas

Eventually, the three celebrations (December 17: the festival of Saturnalia, December 15: the festival of Consualia and December 19: the festival of Opalia) were blended into the one celebration - Sol Invictus - on December 25.  This Roman state approved festival, under Constantine’s dictatorship, later changed its name to Christmas in order to please both the new Hellenized religion of Christianity and the pagans living within his kingdom.  

In 1582 CE the Roman Catholic Pope, Gregory the XIII, caused the current Gregorian calendar to be adopted in order to eliminate the solar time shift error introduced by the Julian calendar. The problem he solved was that the shortest day of the year had shifted 12 days on the Roman Julian calendar to Wednesday, December 12, 1582. However, the original December 25 Birth Date was retained for all pagan sun gods by the Roman Saturnalia and Sol Invictus traditions. Consequently a 12-day period between the respective shortest days was created, and was thence called the Twelve Days of Christ Mass.

Although the image of the god of Saturnalia (Satan) had been around for years, it was not until the Coca Cola company did a magazine add in 1931 featuring St. Nick as a kind, jolly man in a red suit that the Santa Claus image became popular with its focus on children, an image that today molds the minds of people of all ages, all over the world.

Feast of Tabernacles / Sukkot - Messiah’s Birth

Messiah was not born on or near December 25.  This date was the established birthday of the pagan sun gods, the time in which virgins were sacrificed, murder was commonplace and licentious living was the norm. The actual time of Yeshua’s birth is recorded in the Book of Luke. You can see this by looking up Zechariah’s priestly division in Luke 1:5-56 and in 1 Chronicles 24:10, which record the historic records for the service of the priesthood. Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, was six months pregnant when Mary conceived. Mary went to visit Elizabeth and stayed three months with her cousin before returning home just when John was born in the spring, at the time of Passover. Yeshua was born six months after John’s birth, which fell during the Feast of Tabernacles, in the fall, not in the winter months as taught by man’s traditions. 

Most believers have been taught that Yahweh’s Feasts have been done away with, missing the understanding that Yahweh establishes His heavenly Kingdom on earth through His Feast Days -as they are designed to restore/renew Yeshua’s Priesthood (Bride) on earth. Through a believer’s obedience to Yahweh’s Heavenly pattern, Yeshua establishes His Priesthood. It is through His Holy Spirit/Ruach HaKodesh that He empowers His Priests (the Bride/believers), with His heavenly power and His heavenly authority when they walk in obedience to His teaching and instruction.

 “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. …” (Matthew 6:10)

Gregorian Weekdays

Again, we still use the Roman solar calendar today. As such, the pagan gods we innocently and unknowingly pay homage to each day of the week are as follows: Monday honors the moon god; Tuesday, the god of Mars; Wednesday, the god of Mercury; Thursday, the god of Jupiter; Friday, the god of Venus; Saturday, the god of Saturn; and Sunday, the sun god. This is also where we get Sunday. Constantine saw himself as the sun god and wanted everyone to worship him, thus Sunday worship was instituted as a law and forced upon the people under threat of death, three hundred years after Yeshua. Whole religions are based around this solar worship, prevalent in Eastern religions and adopted in the West. Babylonian traditions have become very vogue in this modern day, namely, the New Age, along with astrology signs being posted daily, weekly and yearly to predict the future based on the sun, moon and stars and in this way govern those who worship the signs of heaven in the rebirth of Tammuz – Saturn - Satan.

  • 1 Kings 9:4-9 “Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’  But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and will hiss, and say, ‘Why has Yahweh done thus to this land and to this house?’  Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook Yahweh their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore Yahweh has brought all this calamity on them.’”

The Witness

  • Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15-21 “On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness” (Deuteronomy 17:6).

  • John 11:49-52 “And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.’ Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Yeshua would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of Yahweh who were scattered abroad.”

The witnesses in heaven and witnesses on earth are Yeshua’s witnesses. It is His people who walk in this understanding together (the House of Israel with the House of Judah), who carry His legal witness on earth – all that was spoken in Covenant at Mount Sinai called the Gospel. Yeshua died to unify and restore a people as one to Himself (Acts 1:6; 26:7).

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 “For God/Elohim did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua HaMashiach, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”
  • Ephesians 2:14-16 “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”
  • Matthew 18:22 Yeshua taught them, “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree [as it is in heaven] about anything you ask for [that agrees with heaven on earth], it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 6:9-13; 1John 5:6-8 KJV/NKJV).

The People Desire a King
Deuteronomy 17:14-15

In the wilderness, the focus of the Israelites was on Yahweh, as the cloud guided them by day and the fire by night. Once in the land, this would all change for the Children of Israel. The neighboring people would soon begin to influence them. This too was a test from Yahweh to see if their hearts would be steadfast on Him to obey His instructions. Sadly, their hearts would stray. Yahweh mentions this because He knew the people’s hearts. If they desired a king like the other nations, He would consent to their request, however it would be conditional. If Israel was no longer satisfied with the Kingdom of Heaven and wanted tangible leadership, then they would not be able to choose the one they wanted; only the king whom Yahweh chose would be their king, one from among their own brothers.

The Lust of the World and Earthly Kingship
Deuteronomy 17:16-20

If the people of Israel desired an earthly king rule over them, Yahweh was careful to lay down certain conditions that if the king overstepped them, his reign would end. These instructions were to keep the heart of the king humble and focused on obeying the Word in service to Yahweh’s people. The king would be blessed to the same degree he was obedient to the Word. His kingdom was to follow the witness of the heavenly pattern as outlined: The Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit/Ruach HaKodesh on earth, otherwise his kingship would be false on the earth. The conditions also included an outline on covetousness in regards to acquiring an over abundance of material wealth such as horses, wives, gold and silver. 

  • Matthew 19:16-22 “Now behold, one came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ So He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ Jesus/Yeshua said, ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, honor your father and your mother, and, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?’ Jesus/Yeshua said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions [a spirit of covetousness].”
  • 1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love [covet] the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world [covets], the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
  • Horses: The king was not to accumulate large numbers of horses nor return to Egypt for them. Scripture records that “Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt” (1 Kings 10:26-29).
  • Wives: The king was not to have multi wives or his heart would be led astray. “King Solomon loved many foreign women. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines. His wives led him astray after other gods and his heart was not fully devoted to Yahweh. He followed Asherah and Molech the detestable gods of the Ammonites. On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods” (1 Kings 11:1-8).
  • Silver and Gold: Neither were Israel’s kings to amass an over-abundance of silver or gold. King Solomon “made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones.” “The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents, not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the land” (1 Kings 10:14-15, 27).
  • The Word: To help the king govern the people, he was required to write out the entire Torah as his personal manuscript. One copy was to be kept in his royal treasury; while the other was to be kept with him at all times to be read all the days of his life.  This ensured that the king would safeguard all he was given pertaining to the kingdom thereby increase wisdom on how to effectively rule. This would ensure that his descendants would reign many generations after him (Deuteronomy 17:18).

All of Israel was united as one under the kingships of David and Solomon. However, because of King Solomon’s spirit of covetousness, upon his death, the kingdom was fractured in two when his son Rehoboam increased his father’s yoke of servitude upon the people.  The northern tribes then formed their own kingdom making Jeroboam their king, which then became home to the tribes of Reuben, Dan, Issachar, Naphtali, Asher, Zebulun, Simeon, Gad, Manasseh and Ephraim. Together they were called the Northern Kingdom. Terms like the House of Israel, the Ephraimites, Israelites and the House of Joseph all reference the Northern Kingdom. The remaining tribes of the House of David, consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, continued under Rehoboam’s reign. They formed the Southern Kingdom, also called the House of Judah (the Jews). Together the two Kingdoms (the Northern Kingdom/the House of Israel and the Southern Kingdom/the House of Judah) are referred to in Scripture as The House of Israel or the Whole House of Israel. The Nation of Israel that fractured after King Solomon’s death is yet to be restored as one to this day. Obedience to the written heavenly Word on earth through the Spirit of Truth/Yeshua HaMashiach – is the Repairer of the Breach (1Kings 11:43 - ch 12).

The Offerings to the Priests and Levites

  • Deuteronomy 18: 1-8 “The priests, who are Levites indeed the whole tribe of Levi are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the offerings made to Yahweh by fire, for that is their inheritance.”

  • 1 Timothy 5:17-18 “The elders who direct the affairs of the assembly/ekklesia are well worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘the worker deserves his wages.’”

The Torah intentionally keeps priests and Levites from possessing any allotments of land, for their service was not to be associated with any locality, but with the entire nation. They were to have no material worries; the nation would be responsible for their provision, thus they could devote themselves totally to their work of teaching and caring for the people and the community. The priests and Levites today are the teachers, rabbis and pastors who teach the difference between the clean and unclean, holy and unholy and the Sabbath, New Moon and Feasts of Yahweh (Ezekiel 44: 23-24; Lev.10: 10). For many today, this role as a teacher, rabbi or pastor is their primary means of support and they depend upon receiving tithes and offerings to support their families. The tithe was instituted before Mount Sinai and today it is still called our holy portion that we offer on earth, which then comes before our King Yeshua in His Heavenly Kingdom (See Re’eh Torah Commentary: www.sheepfoldgleaning.com).

Detestable Practices
Deuteronomy 18:9-13

The writings of Moses also gave an outline of what Yahweh considers detestable practices and what would happen if His people participate in them that would lead to their eternal death. These practices are not to be worshiped, explored or touched in any way, as this will bring contamination and violate the Covenant His people vowed to keep. These look obvious in Scripture, but how many believers realize they may be part of their lives today?

  • Isaiah 66:24 “And they [who have sanctified themselves by vowing to walk in a holy lifestyle] shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men [believers] who have transgressed against Me [by braking their vow of obedience]. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
  • Jude 1:20-21 “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua Ha Mashiach unto eternal life.”
  • 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you [believers] not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you [believer] may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we [believers] for an imperishable crown.  Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. There shall not be found among you anyone [a believer] who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one [a believer] who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one [a believer] who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one [a believer] who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one [a believer] who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to Yahweh, and because of these abominations Yahweh your God drives them [believers who practice these things] out from before you. You [believer] shall be blameless before Yahweh your God” (Deuteronomy 18:10-13).  

Sacrificing Sons and Daughters
Deuteronomy 18:10

In our school systems, for six hours a day, children are in the care of people who may or may not know the ways of Yahweh. Have parents effectively authorize these people to teach their children their belief system? It may seem innocent, but upon closer examination of our local school system it is a bit disconcerting. For one, prayer to God/Yahweh and the use of His name are not to be mentioned in the school or on school property. While the Canadian and American school boards have taken the Christian God out of the school system, they do embrace the gods of other religions and acknowledge their pagan holidays.

The elementary schools are teaching homosexual concepts to children as early as the kindergarten level and have a wide variety of perfidious elements, including witchcraft, within easy reach. The celebration of Halloween far outweighs the celebration of Thanksgiving due to its graphic content and the popular demand for terror and gory sights. Along with the curriculum, the children must learn to cope with peer pressures, influences and associations that daily affect their lives, influences too numerous to list here.

Personally, we know of one Christian family who said they were sending their child to a public school to be an influence and a witness in the schools. Yahweh warns us to not be unequally yoked, as this will weaken the stronger person, not cause the weaker to grow stronger. What child could cope with constantly opposing influences up to six hours a day, five days a week for nine months a year, year after year? This effectively is a contradiction of the family’s biblical beliefs. We may not agree with many of the things that happen in the school systems, but on the other hand we cannot turn a blind eye to their hidden agendas and immorality either.

Today there is a strong undercurrent pressurizing society to be socially tolerant of others. This sounds good but behind this debate is a heavily disguised gay programing to introduce new laws into our nation that are in direct opposition to God’s laws. They use words like the road to inclusion, progressive thinking, beyond tolerance, sexual equality, anti bullying and safe schools to push their gay, bisexual and transgender agendas. These laws are seriously underway in our school systems molding young minds. We now have a society telling us that abnormal is normal and re-writing rules that are quickly becoming laws for everyone. They even introduce words for those who disagree as being homophobic or lacking sensitivity to the issue. Here in Canada the Vancouver School Board received a standing ovation after it voted in favor of “a controversial policy providing new supports for transgender students.” It is now law that every school washroom is to have one stall labeled with this new sign.  

Actions speak louder than words. We can teach our children what we believe but if our action does not match our word, it is the action that will override the belief. We need to take responsibility for the things we authorize our children to be exposed to (Deuteronomy 22:10).

The question believers need to ask themselves is, “What are we authorizing our children to learn and is it in agreement with Yahweh and what He says we are to teach our children?” If we do what is right, it will go well for us and for our children; if not, we maybe opening the door for future difficulties.

Not only do we have to concern ourselves about the schools but also just going to a family department store can be offensive. Sears is selling hard-core pornography with bestiality content. JC Penny is celebrating same gender Father and Mother’s Day cards. Home Depot had workshops at the Philadelphia Gay Pride Festival for children that included nudity and homosexual activities. Macy’s sponsors Gay Pride Parades in many US cities that are highly-sexualized, and Office Depot has guaranteed one million dollars toward promoting a program in our schools to encourage our children to believe gay people are born this way. For more information or to voice your concerns see American Family Association http://www.afa.net/

The deductive thought process found predominately in a Christian culture is based on the Greco influence where the emphasis is on what we believe as being more important than what we do, whereas the Hebraic is we do because that is what we believe. It has been said that the Christian focus is: 80% on salvation and 20% on redemption, while the Hebrew focus is the opposite: 80% on redemption and 20% on salvation. Hebrew thought looks at the end result of their belief: How they walk is it in accord to Yeshua’s Gospel in regards to obeying what He taught them. Hebraic biblical heritage looks at what various teachings are built upon in order to guard over their children, for they understand that their children are their inheritance. Have our children been a sacrificed? Does our walk and daily speech match our confession? What will our children inherit?

Witchcraft

Witchcraft can be very subtle. 1Samuel 15:23 says that rebellion is as witchcraft and stubbornness is as idolatry. Idolatry is self-will and self-exaltation (Deuteronomy 18:10-13).

Hebrews 6:4-6 says of mature believers that,  “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away [rebelled], to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace” (NIV).

Who is crucifying Yeshua over and over again and putting Him to open shame before the whole world? Is it witches, satanists, or murderers? No. It is believers who have vowed to observe His Word with all their heart but operate in a mix of compromise allowing many offensive behaviors and unresolved issues to influence their lives. Eventually these will lure ungrounded believers by opening the door for a spirit of confusion and rebellion to take hold. Assimilation is very subtle. This is what re-crucifies Yeshua, grieving His Holy Spirit/Ruach HaKodesh, as His death gave believers the power to overcome temptation and gave them the victory to free themselves from all those shackles.

  • Galatians 5:19-20 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies.”

Fear is what motivates people to go into witchcraft/occultism. Fears such as fear of people, fear of rejection, fear of failure and fear of abandonment are all rooted in bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment and retaliation etc. All of these stem from a lack of direction and validation. A bitter heart comes from a broken heart. It is a broken heart that leads to a broken spirit and this is where fear gets a foothold. When a believer has anxiety and does not feel safe, they have fear. Fear is a lack of trust in self, others or God. When believers entertain fear, it opens the door to spirits of control over people, situations and their environment. Control (passive or aggressive) is another form of rebellion. Rebellion is witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:33) where a person manipulates others in order to help mask a hurting heart that only Yeshua can heal. In Scripture, resentment, bitterness, control, rebellion, witchcraft and occult are all called sin and are on equal level with sorcery, interpreting omens, casting spells, practicing spiritism and consulting the dead. Oppression and heaviness are effects of occultism. Health conditions such as chronic fatigue, depression, mental illness, chronic infections, and immune dysfunction to name just a few have roots originating from involvement in the occult. In order to receive healing, believers need to recognize the sin in their lives (or from their generations), take responsibility for it, and repent.

  • Mark 1:14-15 “Jesus/Yeshua came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’”

The door to the roots of occultism can also be opened through religious spirits, as occultism is spiritual and refers to what appears to be the real thing (light/spiritual truth) but is a counterfeit. Occultism – specifically the realm of divination – is at the heart of false religions. Adding to, subtracting from, or changing Scripture to be more to your liking are all examples of divination. Even prayer can be demonic if it is used to manipulate. You can see divination at work in homes, business or fellowships where meeting together is often lifeless and dry. There is little or no mercy; spirits of performance and drivenness are rampant and joy is sadly lacking. 

Other forms of occultism/religious spirits are less noticeable. Governing over others through excessive control or using manipulation creates fear, accusation, envy, jealousy, bitterness, and guilt. We see this in some charismatic churches and messianic fellowships. When this happens, the only thing charismatic is the uncontrolled witchcraft that is being tolerated by the congregation. Scripture says believers have dominion over all living things and the earth but not over people (Genesis 1:26).

Controllers

People who are controllers obsessively dictate how others are supposed to be, think and feel. They will even accuse people of what they are thinking and control people by invading their emotions. People with low self-esteem who see themselves as victims attract controllers. Controllers command by passive aggressive measures and make others feel small (guilty), and responsible for their failures. People under a controller are constantly reminded that they are the reason why there is a lack. In a church setting, it is the people who are made to feel guilty that there is not enough in the building fund or why the pastor does not have a Lear jet or a million dollar house to live in thus the constant drive for funds under the guise of tithes and offerings.

Controllers in congregations use power over others driven by a spirit of covetousness in their need to dominate and succeed, even admonishing the sheep (seen as inferiors) publicly, especially during meetings. A controller is terrified of failure, particularly their own and of being unable to fathom the consequences when things go wrong. There is a core of fearfulness or anxiety about their own limitations, false witness, worry about being exposed as a fraud or not being respected. They have no real respect for others and have everyone dance at their command. People feel like repressed children around them and their efforts are never really good enough no matter how hard they work on behalf of a controller. Thus the people often feel drained, fatigued, sick or completely burned out.

Controllers cannot love as they have never been loved, so they withhold love or speak down to people all in the name of Yeshua. These are forms of control and witchcraft. Some manipulate Scripture to gain dominance and always know how to get what they need or want. Controllers are extortionists. The fruit from this kind of leadership, pastorship, friendship or marriage destroys the heart, self-esteem and identity of the person under their control, as witchcraft has no sustaining life within itself. They are users of other people for their gain. What is most galling about these people is that they usually do not see themselves as controlling – only right. Bullies (seen as passive or aggressive) are also in this category.

  • 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother [believer], who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner - not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore ‘put away from yourselves the evil person.’”
  • Acts 8:18-24 “And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’ But Peter said to him, ‘Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.’ Then Simon answered and said, ‘Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.’ ”

Extort: To obtain (especially money) by threats, intimidation, persistence, demands, false blame, guilt, force etc. We see this in many churches and messianic congregations where the pastor/rabbi abuses his position to extract funds from the congregation to elevate his image or to fulfill his own need instead of his walk baring the fruit of the Holy Spirit/Ruach HaKodesh that provides all that is needed for Yeshua’s work, not his.

  • 2 Timothy 3:2-5  “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” 
  • Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says Yahweh of hosts.”  

Why do people go into occultism in the first place? Motivated by fear of insecurity, they look for ways to belong and find acceptance, therefore try to control their future rather than trusting Yahweh’s word for direction in their lives. Again, fear comes from a broken heart. So behind all this occultism is a broken heart. Victory over occultic bondage begins with the healing of people’s hearts and you do that by loving them (For Jezebel spirit information please refer to Korach Numbers 16 www.sheepfoldgleanings.com).

The Prophet

  • Deuteronomy 18:14-22 “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).

  • John 5:46-47 Yeshua said, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (Acts 3:22-26; 7:37-39; Exodus 19:4-6; 1 Peter 1:9-12; 2:8-10; Hosea 2:23).

A False Prophet

  • Deuteronomy 18:20 “But the prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.”

A true prophet today is one who studies the Biblical prophets. A person who has difficulty sitting under the authority of a teacher, not able to read or receive instruction from the written Word reveals a belief and lifestyle that is opposed to the Word of Yahweh and His biblical prophets. A rebellious nature will receive words and messages from a worldly prophet (frequently a self proclaimed prophet) as a substitution that overrides Yahweh’s Word. Commentaries and conferences can also act as a prophet to people. If a person is in rebellion to the written Word of Yahweh, how will they believe an authentic prophetic word from the same God?  They would rather have a message that tickles their soul and tells their future (fortune).

A carnal nature tends to be dependent on false prophecy more than Yahweh’s prophecy to the point of trusting their future and their very existence on a worldly prophetic word. To the untrained in Torah principles, Scripture says they are “tossed about by the waves and blown along by every wind of teaching, at the mercy of people clever in devising ways to deceive.” To them their sin distorts the truth so that even the very elect are led astray (Mark 13:22; Ephesians 4:11-14 CJB).

  • Luke 16:31 “And he said unto him, ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.’”

Three sources from which we receive words:

  • By His Spirit (through His Word, our spirits and others) (Acts 3:21)
  • From Satan’s kingdom (through the sinful nature/Tree of the Knowledge of Good and the realms of sin and death) (Genesis 3:4-5; Matthew 24:24) 
  • From ourselves (through our own thoughts, preferences, long term memory and inherited iniquities) (Deuteronomy 13:1-18, 1Corinthians14: 29-33).

In Deuteronomy 13:1-3 Yahweh states that He may allow a sign or wonder spoken by a false prophet to come to pass to test His people and see if their hearts will cause them to act contrary to His Word. Therefore the real test is not only to see whether a prophecy comes to pass or not, but also to see if it is in agreement with the Word of Yahweh.

A false prophet from outside one’s own community seems harmless compared to the false prophet from within the camp. This is our greatest danger. The Scriptures warn us about the Balaam’s, the Korah’s and the Cain’s in our midst (Jude 1:1-25). Remember, the Doctrine of Balaam claims you can keep your sin and have your blessing too. This is an anti-Messiah teaching that is rampant in the mainstream Church today.

The so-called grace and love that denies the leadership and authority of the Messiah and allows an open transgression of Yahweh’s principles is not biblical grace or biblical love. If we say we believe in Yeshua and are saved by grace through faith, but deny two thirds of His teaching, Scripture says we lie and the truth is not in us thus confirming that we are poor, blind and naked.  For our good intentions do not supersede what Yahweh deems to be obedience, which means that according to His Word, we do not sincerely believe or have true faith in Him. When we miss His Gospel, as outlined in the Mosaic Covenant, we miss the message of the cross and are not yet converted (renewed) (Luke 22:32 KJV; John 1:1,14; John 5:46-47; 1 John 1:6-8 KJV/NKJV; Revelation 3:17).

  • 1 John 2:4 “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Those who believe and teach others that what Yahweh calls unclean is acceptable, and those who openly call sin acceptable and clean, and teach others to do the same, will be called least in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 5:19).

Food has traditionally been used in Christian circles as a benchmark example of what has been restored to the newly converted under the so called new covenant. To believe and teach after salvation, that what was forbidden and unclean is now acceptable to eat, and then to pray Yeshua’s blood covering over the ‘food’ to make it acceptable and therefore clean is to deny Yeshua’s message of the cross. Scripture says that to do this is unholy, defiling and profane.

  • Matthew 5:19 “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
  • Corinthians 6:17-7:1 “Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’  Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for Yahweh.”

To teach that early rabbis and church fathers had the right to amend, change, reverse and contradict the spoken and written Word of Yahweh (through Moses, His prophets and His Apostles) and re-interpret Yahweh’s Word through the generations is wrong. That is called witchcraft.

Let us not follow after our ancestors who denied the Word and authority of Yahweh. We are all in transition as we leave behind the teachings and doctrines of Balaam, Korah and Cain so prevalent in the theological teachings and traditions of man through the generations. We need to be encouraged and uplift one another as we press on in our calling – the walk of holiness. Indeed, live up to the great inheritance, that of a royal priesthood and a holy nation gifted to us through Yeshua (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:8-12; Revelation 1:6).

Cities of Refuge
Deuteronomy 19:1-14

Yahweh set cities of refuge aside for people to flee to if they had unintentionally killed anyone either by accident or other traumatic situation. There they found safety from those avenging the blood of their slain relative. The three cities of refuge on the east side of the Jordan River are:

  • Kedesh (meaning holy) now called Kedes, 20 miles from Tyre in Naphtali territory
  • Shechem (meaning shoulder) now called Nablus
  • Hebron (meaning fellowship) now called El-Khalil

In total six refuge cities are listed, three on each side of the Jordan, which were studied earlier in the study Masei (Numbers 35). Of all the refuge cities, only one is in Jewish hands today, that city is Kedesh.

The land of Israel designated here in Scripture is only a portion of the size promised in the Covenant to Abraham. If the Children of Israel obey and keep Yahweh’s Words, He will increase their land and release three more assigned refuge cities. As yet, this has not happened. Yahweh’s Covenant still stands today and we are heirs of that Covenant. He is faithful to fulfill His Word to believers if we return to the Gospel/Song of Moses. Our calling is to rebuild David’s fallen tent (Covenant). Yeshua fulfilled all the Words spoken to Moses and gave believers His indwelling Presence, which guides us to walk in His power and authority called the paths of righteousness. We are no longer in a non-legal status but are carriers of His Covenant. The key is to love our neighbor as ourselves and to walk in His holy ways called Life/Chaim! (Amos 9:11).

Going to War
Deuteronomy 20:1-9

The next realm of Yahweh’s Kingdom that Moses reiterated was the blessings and curses of going to war. The importance of any successful mission is based on the fact that we serve in a heavenly kingdom first, not an earthly kingdom. Here they were reminded to take courage and remember Yahweh was on their side. Even if the enemy was physically bigger than themselves they were not to fear; Yahweh would go into the battle before them.

  • 2 Kings 6:15-18 “And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Yahweh, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then Yahweh opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to Yahweh, and said, ‘Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.’ And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.”

If Scripture says that Yeshua was slain from the foundation of the world, then Satan would have been defeated then also (Revelation 13:8). For it is Yahweh who fights for us and gives us victory over our enemies (physical and spiritual), as Scripture says, “Not by might nor by power but by My spirit, says Yahweh” (Zechariah 4:6).

“It is hard to imagine an ordinary nation’s constitution announcing that in the case of a general mobilization, before the military call-up takes place, all those who do not feel they have the necessary courage to face the enemy will be exempted. It would also seem strange for officers to send back to their homes all those who want to return, all newlywed men and all recently established cultivators of the land. Yet the Torah legislates exactly these measures” (TCT)

Israel depends first and foremost upon its moral integrity and its bond with Yahweh. Only in a mood of calm and confidence can a war serving the cause of good be waged. The establishment of homes, the good will of its people – these are among the values that must be preserved in all circumstances. Only those hearts that were truly focused on Yahweh were to enter into battle. This was for the safety of all the men going to war.

“Let your heart not be faint; do not be afraid, do not panic.” Rambam declares that whoever feels strong to fight in Hashem’s battle, and commits himself to do so should immediately put all his trust in Hashem and know that he is fighting in His Name. He should be courageous and not be afraid in any way... Whoever loses that focus, and begins to worry about the repercussions, transgresses the commandment of this verse. The lives of his fellow soldiers depend on him. If he does not strive for victory, if he does not fight with all his heart and soul, it is as if he was shedding the blood of his fellows. The prophet Jeremiah declared (48:10): “Cursed be the one who does Hashem’s work in bad faith; cursed be he that keeps back his sword from blood!” (Reproduced from ‘The Call of the Torah,” by Rabbi Elie Munk, with permission of ArtScroll / Mesorah Publications, Ltd.)

All of us have spiritual enemies and fight spiritual battles. Remember Israel is a great people who are strong in thought and action. Yeshua has given His people the victory and He is mighty to deliver!

  • Revelation 2:7 “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”

  • Revelation 2:11 “He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.’”

  • Revelation 2:17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”

  • Revelation 2:26-28  “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations - He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels’ - as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.”

  • Revelation 3:5 “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

  • Revelation 3:12 “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.”

  • Revelation 3:21 “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

  • Revelation 21:7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”

Taking the Land
Deuteronomy 20:10-18

When approaching a city that was located outside the borders of the Promised Land, the Israelites were first to offer the dwellers to live in peace along Israeli’s boarders. If the dwellers rejected the offer and aggressively came out warring against the Israelites, the Israelites were to defend themselves, killing all males and bringing the women and children under servanthood. The livestock and everything in the city became plunder. Of the cities in the Land that Yahweh was restoring to them, nothing was to be kept of the inhabitants, livestock or goods; all were to be cleansed off the land, as the Land was the Israelite’s possession. These are the instructions on how to restore the Promised Land, free from assimilation and pagan influences, and how to restore its Sabbath once again.

Haftarah
Isaiah 51:12 to 52:12

 I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, that you forget Yahweh your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth? For where is the wrath of the oppressor? I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand - I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’

Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed. At first my people went down to Egypt to live; lately, Assyria has oppressed them and now what do I have here? My people have been taken away for nothing, and those who rule them mock, all day long my name is constantly blasphemed.

Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I. How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

  • Luke 2:10-12 “But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, because I am here announcing to you Good News [the living Torah/Gospel – Yeshua] that will bring great joy to all the people. This very day, in the town of David, there was born for you a Deliverer who is the Messiah, the Lord [Yahweh].” (CJB)
  • Romans 10:14-17 “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news [Gospel] !’ But not all the Israelites accepted the good news [Gospel]. For Isaiah says, ‘Yahweh, who has believed our message [the Gospel]?’ Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message [Gospel] is heard through the word of God [Yeshua].”
  • Isaiah 52:8-11 “Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When Yahweh returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for Yahweh has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. Yahweh will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God (Yeshua – Strong’s #3444 means: salvation; our deliverance, welfare, prosperity, deliverance, victory). Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the vessels of Yahweh.”
  • 2 Corinthians 6:16 -7:1 “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says Yahweh. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
  • Isaiah 52:12 “But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for Yahweh will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”

Shabbat Shalom,
Julie Parker

References

Wikipedia: Lent and Feast of Saturnalia

Wikibooks: Sol Invictus: the Feast of Saturnalia

American Family Association http://www.afa.net/

David Wilkerson’s 1973 vision http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFoiz8BvAEU

The Jezebel Spirit: by Julie Parker Korach Numbers 16 www.sheepfoldgleanings.com

ED: Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew Matityahu Clark.

TWOT: Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament by Harris, Archer, Waltke Moody Press

TCT: The Call of the Torah: Rabbi Elie Munk www.artscroll.com

A More Excellent Way by Henry W. Wright www.beinhealth.com

Re’eh, Eikev, Balak, Masei studies: by Julie Parkerwww.sheepfoldgleanings.com

The Truth of Reformation by Jeffrey L. Weiss

CJB: Complete Jewish Bible by David Stern. Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc.

Sheep Banner by Phil Haswell

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