Saturday, October 13, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - October 13, 2018

Today's Reading:

Revelation 14

Esther 5:1-6:13

Psalm 106:24-48

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

The eighth day, following the Feast of Tabernacles is the Last Great Day. Tabernacles prefigures the Great Day when we will dwell (Tabernacle) with our Holy God. Throughout the Feast of Tabernacles, we have looked at the sacrifices and symbols which all teach us something about preparing for that wonderful Day when we'll physically be in Yahweh's Presence.

Preparing for this moment, we are on spiritual journey from spiritual Egypt (which represents bondage to sin) to ultimate Canaan (our Eternal reward). What does it take to prepare to dwell with our Holy God? Today, we’ll be talking about the process of leaving Spiritual Egypt preparing to enter Canaan.

When the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, they were often ungrateful and unhappy for the process Yahweh took them through in their journey to the promised land (Exodus 16:1-8).

When Yahweh lead the children of Israel from Egypt to Canaan, He didn’t use the direct route.  Why was this?  They needed to come to know Him. Slavery is more than a physical state. It is also a state of mind. The children of Israel needed more than just a bodily deliverance.

The experience of Tabernacling in temporary dwellings in the wilderness was a needed one. It gave the people the opportunity to become mentally and spiritually free from the trappings of Egypt.

And this is the same calling Yahweh gives to us today. As it says in 2 Corinthians  6:16-18
“…What agreement hath the temple of Yahweh with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as Yahweh hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith Yahweh, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith Yahweh Almighty.”
As always, Yahweh provided well for His people. Their clothing and shoes did not wear out. They were shaded by day with the cloud of His presence and warmed and lighted at night by His pillar of fire. Yahweh even brought water from rocks and fed them angel food.  But all of this wasn’t enough to keep them from grumbling against Him.

When Yahweh tested their faith by having them wait and seek Him prayerfully for His blessings, the children of Israel failed Him time and again. 

In Exodus 15:24, it says, “And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?”

Deuteronomy 1:27 - “And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because Yahweh hated us, He hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.”

The people even went so far as to desire the things and gods of Egypt that Yahweh had delivered them from.

Here they were, on their way to Canaan, but the people longed for the flesh pots of Egypt. They actually preferred slavery to the promised land, if getting there meant suffering at all. 
Exodus 16:3  "And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of Yahweh in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger." 
Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 10, to not repeat the sins of the children of Israel. Rather, we are to learn from their mistakes and walk with Yahweh in pure faith. We can read his admonition found in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 .

And coming out of spiritual Egypt isn’t going to be all miracles and easy street living either! Yahweh purposely brings trials across our path. Without them we wouldn’t be fit for Canaan.

So how do you respond when the going gets tough? Being able to trust God through the difficult times requires submission to Yahweh and great faith.

Most often, when people face problems or setbacks in their lives, they respond by doubting God. Some even go so far as to doubt God’s goodness or loving nature. Sadly, here are some common Christian responses to trouble:
  • ¨“Why is Yahweh doing this to me?”
  • ¨“How can a loving God let this happen?”
  • ¨“I can’t stand strong under these circumstances?”
  • ¨“Yahweh doesn’t care about me.”
  • ¨Complain… Grumble
  • Become miserable… Bitter…  Lose hold on Yahweh

As it says in Romans 8:28:
Romans 8:28  -"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His Purpose."   
When you understand that all things work together for good, you see that even the trials in our lives are for good.  We may not see the good, but we must know it’s there and trust Yahweh.

There are two groups of Christians: the called and the chosen.  The dividing issue between true and false Christians is which category they fall in.  
Matthew 20:16 - "...for many be called, but few chosen."
The “chosen” will be found in the Kingdom of Heaven. They will make the full trip from Egypt to Canaan. But why are many called and few chosen? Does Yahweh only want a few to be in Heaven?

Absolutely not!  The Bible tells us that Yahweh is not willing that any should perish. The reason many are called but few are chosen is that few accept the process of being chosen.
Isaiah 48:10 - "Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

How we handle the refining fires of difficulty determines which group we will be in. 

It is faith and pure character that Yahweh values.  These are more precious than a treasure house of gold (1 Peter 1:7).  Our faith is on trial in each test. Will we hang onto the Most High in trust? Or will we doubt Him and lose hold on Heaven? Each trial, faithfully endured, leaves us stronger for the next difficulty to come.  This is the process of Tabernacling with Yahweh in the wilderness experience.

As our faith is tried, little by little Yahweh is perfecting us.
James 1:3-5 - "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."  
Oddly, by rejected the suffering and the trials that Yahweh would have us endure, we are rejected the refining process that would make us “perfect and entire” and as it says in James 1:3-5 “wanting nothing.”

Yahweh also uses the trials to prove our loyalty to Him.

This is especially evident in the story of Job.  Yahweh had said that Job was loyal, but the only way to prove this was to allow Job to experience difficulties.  As Job continued to live in faith, remaining submitted to Yahweh through it all, his loyalty to Yahweh was revealed before seen and unseen beings.

Job’s testimony of faith needs to be our testimony, too. May we all firmly state, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
Psalm 119:165  - "Great peace have they which love Thy Law: and nothing shall offend them." 
In the world, peace is dependent upon the circumstances.  While all is well around a worldly person, they can be at peace.  But all is rarely well around anyone. In the experience of Tabernacling in the wilderness with Yahweh, He is teaching us to be at peace in Him no matter what happens.
So the next time you're facing a trying situation, remember the three blessings found in a trial: 

1) it refines your character
2) it strengthens your faith
3) it demonstrates your loyalty to Yahweh. 

Don’t cave in to difficulty and fail the test. In so doing, you miss out on the blessings Yahweh intended in this trial.

When serving Yahweh, we must come to understand that even the irritations which He allows us to experience are for some good.

One of the most beautiful and valuable jewels mentioned in the Bible is the pearl. It is interesting to note that each of the 12 gates of the heavenly city are made up of one large pearl, as it says in Revelation 21:21.  This is especially significant when you consider how a pearl is made.  

A pearl is made by transforming an irritation into something beautiful.  It all begins with a grain of sand.  The grain of sand gets into an oyster and irritates its soft body. The oyster then secretes layer after layer of a substance that coats the grain of sand. The coating hardens into a pearl. If the oyster had never experienced the irritation of the sand, the beautiful and valuable pearl would never have been produced.

A diamond also has little value until it experiences the cutting.  In the rough, a diamond is hardly recognizable. It contains a great deal of potential for becoming valuable. But, without the needed cutting and shaping of a skilled jewler, it looks like little more than a jagged piece of glass.  But what a dramatic change takes place when the diamond has been cut. Now it refracts light and scatters rainbows about.  It has become a thing of great value and beauty, because of the cutting it has endured.

When you really think about it, it makes perfect sense that the gates to the heavenly city are made of pearls. Pearls – the jewel specifically created from turning irritations and trials into something beautiful to God’s glory.  This is the kind of people who will enter those gates. They will have passed through suffering and will have endured.

In the end there will only be two classes of Christians, those who have rejected the choosing that comes with the furnace of affliction and are weighed in the balances and found wanting and those who have submitted to God in everything, even in suffering. This second group will be found to be “wanting nothing” and ready to dwell with our holy God.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the Will of God in Christ Yahshua concerning you."  

And this is how we prepare to Tabernacle with our Holy God for all Eternity.

Daily Bible Reading - October 12, 2018

Today's Reading:

Revelation 13

Esther 3-4

Psalm 106:1-23

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

Today I will be continuing our study into the significance and ceremonies of Sukkot, which has just passed. During the Feast of Tabernacles in the time of Yahshua, just before the light ceremony was performed each night, a beautiful water ceremony took place. Today, we will be studying the significance of this ceremony and what dimensions it adds to the overall message of Sukkot.

Yahshua is not only called the Light, He is also our Living Water. 
John 7:37-38  "In the last day, that Great Day of the Feast, Yahshua stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of Living Water."
John 4:14  "But whosoever drinketh of the Water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the Water that I shall give him shall be in him a Well of Water springing up into Everlasting Life."   

The water ceremony was conducted by filling a golden container with water drawn from the pools at Siloam in Jerusalem.

As the priest arrived at the Water Gate- shofars would sound three notes, and he would pour the water on the great altar. The ceremony of the water-drawing held a significance much deeper than the agricultural implications. The rain represented the Ruach ha Kodesh, and the water drawing pointed to that day, when according to the prophet Joel, Yahweh would rain His Spirit on Israel (Joel 2:28). 

The water ceremony had yet another layer of application. It pointed to the promise of the Water of Life. As the water was poured out, the participants looked forward to that great day when they would taste of the Water of Life that flows from the Throne of God.

When Yahshua attended the feast of Tabernacles, it was during just such a ceremony that He announced, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come unto Me…”  In other words, if you want to drink from that Heavenly water, I am the Way.

A beautiful Scripture was recited as the water ceremony was being performed.  It is a promise found in Isaiah 12:3:
Isaiah 12:3  "Therefore with joy shall ye draw Water out of the Wells of Salvation." 
The water was drawn from the pool in a beautiful golden pitcher, which also represented Yahshua. The gold pointed to His pure character and full obedience to the Torah, or Law of God.  The water being poured out was the promise that He would be poured out like a drink offering.  And as He was completely emptied of Life, that water of Life would flow to all on the Earth who desired it.

And once we’ve drunk of the Water of Life, it flows through us to others (John 7:38)! 

The significance of the Water Ceremony at Tabernacles is that we are being invited to partake of the spiritual living water now.  By doing so, we’ll be enabled to drink of the Water of Life in Yahweh’s Kingdom very soon.

Tabernacles is about God dwelling with man. And for all who’ve partaken of His spiritual water, it will be during Tabernacles that Yahshua will invite us to drink from that Heavenly River.
Revelation 22:1-5  "And He showed me a pure River of Water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the Throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him:  And they shall see His Face; and His Name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for Yahweh God giveth them Light: and they shall reign for ever and ever."  
What does the golden pitcher mean to us personally. Well, the pitcher is a vessel. Just as you and I are vessels designed to contain the indwelling Presence of Yahweh. Gold represents pure, Christ-like character. And our characters are formed by the way we think and the way we feel.  In fact, it’s kind of like a math formula. Thoughts + feelings = character.  As the Bible says, in Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in your which was also in Christ Yahshua.” And as we prayerfully keep our thoughts and feelings stayed upon Yahshua through all that we face, our thoughts and feelings become more and more like His. This is how our characters become formed into His lovely image.

When gold is passed through the fire, it isn’t a comfortable process. The fire melts the gold down to a pool of liquid. But in that process, all the dross is burned out and the gold becomes completely pure.  Yahweh promises us that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). This means that Yahweh even uses the trials and difficulties for our good. They are like the fire that burn out the dross.

In Revelation 3:18, Yahweh tells us,  “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich...” Thus, we find that the golden pitcher points to us as the purified and refined vessels Yahweh is calling us to become. It is about having the character or mind of Yahweh.

Now what about the contents of the pitcher?  The contents represent the Water of Life. This is what Yahshua, our Example in all things, offered the Samaritan woman by the well. As it says in John 4:14, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Water, in Scripture, points to the refreshing and cleansing work of the Holy Spirit.  In John 3:5 we find, “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  So the full pitcher is a symbol of having been spiritually reborn and indwelt by the Spirit of God. In other words, to be completely filled with living water is to be completely filled with the Holy Spirit.

In the Water Ceremony, the Water doesn’t just stay contained in the pitcher. The Bible tells us in  Isaiah 12:3-4 that we are to draw water out of the wells of Salvation. And as we do so, we are to be His witnesses.  It says, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise Yahweh, call upon His Name, declare His doings among the people, make mention that His Name is exalted.” 

In John 7:38  Yahshua says, “He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” So the possession of water isn’t for containment. We are to be a channel through which the water can flow to others. The act of pouring the water out points to our role as Yahweh’s witnesses.

And as we remain connected with Heaven, the life giving water continues to fill us and flow through us in a never-ending supply.

The act of pouring out the contents of a vessel is not only one of sharing, it is also one of sacrifice. In the Sanctuary services, each day a drink offering was poured out before the altar. This pointed to our thankful response to Yahshua for His great sacrifice. As the drink offering is poured out, it reminded the worshippers to be so submitted to God that noting was too great a sacrifice. Nothing was held back from Heaven.

This meant that the worshipers would serve Yahweh with every fiber of their being. And as long as Heaven supplied the water it would be poured out in sacrificial service to the glory of God. So great was the submission embodied in this act, that even martyrdom was not too much for Heaven to ask.

Paul referred to the potential for martyrdom in Philippians 2:17 “Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” And again in 2 Timothy 4:6, Paul said,  “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.”

James wrote, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers (many) temptations (adversities)” James 1:2.

When Peter and some of the other apostles were beaten for preaching truth, they rejoiced that Yahweh considered them worthy to suffer for the honor and cause of Heaven!  As it says in Acts 5:40-41 “…And when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the Name of Yahshua, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name.”

So how does one even get to that point?  The little choices we make on a daily basis determine how we will handle the big tests. Are we faithful to Yahweh and obedient to Him even when it costs us something? In order to come to the fully submitted place the apostles were (which all of Yahweh’s people must do if they will bear the End-time Message) we must place honor and obedience to Heaven above our own comforts and even above our needs.

How does this look? Well, if you’re told that you’ll have to choose between your job and keeping the Sabbath, you keep the Sabbath and praise Yahweh knowing that somehow He’ll supply your needs. If you’re family is going to reject you if you become a full Torah-keeper, you keep the Torah and pray for your loved ones. If you’re stranded on a desert island and the only thing standing between you and starvation is a pig, you leave the pig because you know that eating swine’s flesh is an abomination in Torah…   

Are you seeing a pattern here? This is the pattern of sacrificial giving. It means that we obey FIRST. And trust Yahweh to supply our needs or bring good out of our sacrifice.

We won’t be willing to stand selflessly like Peter and Paul, to the point of death, if we can’t submit to Yahweh today over the smaller matters. We must come to the point that Yahshua did when He said, “Not My will, but Thine be done.” Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we need to stand and say, “Our God is able to save us, but if He will not – we still will not bow the knee in disobedience to Him.”

This is what it means to live as a drink offering. We thankfully offer ourselves as living sacrifices no matter the personal cost. 

Now let’s turn our attention to the meaning in the light ceremony, reviewing what we covered yesterday. The first lesson in the menorah is the lesson of abiding. We, as the branches must abide or remain joined to Yahshua, the Vine. Now it’s easy to remained joined to Heaven when things are going well.  But what about when the going gets tough? Abiding in Yahshua at all times means facing temptations by praying for Divine help and using the Heavenly weapons. It means that we understand we cannot detach ourselves from Him and successfully handle any situation. 

As it says in John 15:4-5  “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.” 

Next let’s consider the spiritual meaning of light. In Psalm 119:105, we find that the Word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. In other words, we become enlightened as we study the Bible and live by what we find.

Also, we are called to memorize the Scriptures for added strength. As the psalmist said, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not (have the strength not to) sin against Thee.”  Spending time in the Word of God feeds the flame of truth in our own souls.

Remember the Bereans. The Bible says that they were more noble than some of the brethren elsewhere. Why? Because even when Paul came to preach to them, they didn’t just take his words as fact.  Neither were they unreceptive to new light.  But, when Paul said something they hadn’t heard before, they listened eager to know truth. Then they went home searched their Bibles. As it says in Acts 17:11 “These (the Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

Too often we are tempted today to leave the studying to the theologians. Then when we hear something new, we run to them to find out whether what we’ve heard is truth or not.  But did you know that there is not even one Scripture that tells you to handle truth this way?  The Bible does say in 2 Timothy 2:15  “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

WE are to study and pray for Yahweh’s leading. We are not to run to our pastors and leaders to find out if things are so. The Bereans listened eagerly to what Paul had to say, and then checked up on Paul by personal Bible study!  This is what we are to do.

Think about what would have happened if God’s people in the past had thought of the quote unquote spiritual leaders as the fount of confirmation for truth.  In Noah’s day, they would have been told to stay away from the ark.  Most must have listened to the spiritual leaders of their day, because only eight did accept the invitation to life. 

In Yahshua’s day, if the people went to their spiritual leadership for confirmation, they would have rejected the Messiah.  In the early Christian church, those who followed the theologians missed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Searching the Scriptures on a daily basis is a key element to having Yahweh’s enlightenment. And the second ingredient is walking in the light we have found.

The unseen elements of the menorah are as vital as the parts you can see. For within the menorah itself resides the oil. Oil points to the Holy Spirit.  As we gain more and more of this oil, the light that shines forth from our lives grows. And this is vital. Yahweh’s light either grows or it dims and eventually extinguishes. 

There are elements needed to keep Yahweh’s light growing in us. First, we as we abide in Yahshua, our lives will become filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Second, we must have the right attitude about light. To think we already have all the light we need is the Laodicean condition.  As we can plainly read in Revelation 3:14-17, this condition is not one God approves. In fact, it makes Him sick! 

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot (neither completely the devil’s nor completely God’s), I will spue (vomit) thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing (I already have all the light I need to be saved); and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:16-17).

The Bible tells us plainly that there will be more and more light to come to us right up to the day of Yahshua’s Return! Proverbs 4:18 says,  “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”

Plainly, if we would keep shining, we must also continue growing. 

In the Kingdom of Heaven, no blessing is simply absorbed and kept selfishly within. All blessings are shared. So it is no surprise that as we possess light in our lives, this light will naturally enlighten others.

Sharing light with others is the calling of Yahweh’s people in the last days. It’s implied in the concept of being Yahweh’s witnesses. It’s central to the idea of being a watchman on the walls of Zion.  The final Gospel message is represented, in Revelation 18, as light shining to every sin-darkened corner of this world. 

Such a life radiates Yahweh’s Light and enlightens others. This is what the Saviour meant when He said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

In the WATER and LIGHT Ceremonies of Tabernacles we find the following personal invitations:

  1. We are called to abide in Yahshua as our only Source of strength.
  2. We are to recognize that Yahweh uses trials to purify us and remain submitted to Him in every test.
  3. We are to be born again as a new creature now indwelt and filled with Holy Spirit.
  4. We are to search the Scriptures to know the Truth and live in obedience to what we find.
  5. We are to expect more light and seek it as we daily pray for the fruit of the Spirit to fill us.
  6. We are to remain connected to Yahweh as a channel of grace that the Water of Life may flow through us to others.
  7. We are to witness through word and life as a living testament of Yahweh’s loveliness and power.
  8. And we are to be fully submitted and obedient to Yahweh in all things, no matter what it costs us.
This is the personal message we find in the water and light ceremonies of Tabernacles.