Honoring the Royal Law – July 2013

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by Batya Wootten

As I awoke one recent morning my Heavenly Father was writing an encouraging insight on my heart. It was only a few words, but they came alive to me with new meaning. The experience might even be called a gentle, yet loving “rebuke,” a beautiful reminder of His call on My life and of His love for me. I want to share my story because I think many of you may need the same type of love and encouragement.

Abba did not tell me something that I did not already know, but He did move knowledge from my head to my heart. He made His truth come alive with new and personal meaning. My prayer is that He will do the same for you as you read this.

What I saw has to do with breaking His “Royal Law.” I think many of us are guilty of doing just that, but probably not in a way that we think.

A Royal Law is important, even primary. The Apostle James defined that Law for us when he said, “If you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well” (James 2:8).

Royal is here translated from Strong’s # G937, basilikos (bas-il-ee-kos’) and means “connected with a king, royal, regal.”

We do well, even honorably, and will surely be commended by our King when we live by Yah’s Royal Law. But how can we best do this?

When Messiah Yeshua was asked which of the commandments was the greatest, He said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the greatest and foremost commandment.

“The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Mat 22:35-40).

Yeshua said this because the first four commandments are essentially covered by the command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind,” and the last six command-ments are essentially covered by the command to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Exo 20:1-17).

In the two commands that Yeshua listed we find a common denominator in the word “love.” And, John says, “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” And, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” John also says, “The one who loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:8,16,21). Finally, Paul tells us that, even if we know all things, but have not love, we are but a clanging cymbal – meaning, we may be making a lot of noise about God, but we do not really know Him or His ways (1 Cor 13:1-3).

It is interesting to note that, if “loving our neighbor as ourselves” is the “Royal Law,” it appears to trump “loving God.”

How can that be so? It is true because, we can claim to love our God but not obey Him by loving our neighbor. On the other hand, showing love to a neighbor exhibits His traits and thus proves our love for Him and His ways. Restated, we cannot love YHVH unless we likewise love our neighbor. Messiah Yeshua even said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

You shall love your neighbor as yourself…

We all know this commandment, but on this particular morning, I saw something in it that had to be added to my “Love List.”

Many times in Scripture we are told that we must “love our neighbor as we love ourselves” (I.E., see Lev 19:18; Mat 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; James 2:8). But there is an important aspect of this command in the last part of the verse that we may have overlooked. We see it when we apply an ellipsis to it.

An ellipsis is a set of dots (…) that indicates an omission of words. It can legitimately be used so long as the omission does not change the context of what is being said. People use them because sometimes, removing some words can help to highlight a point, it can help us to see something we might otherwise have overlooked. And, what I felt on that morning, what I saw and heard was an “Ellipsis from on High.”

First, while in a dream-like state, I saw the commandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Then I saw it change. Some of the words disappeared and at the same time, I heard the Father say to me, “You shall love…yourself.”

I tend to beat up on myself, and I knew in that moment that He wanted me to stop it. Completely. Forever. The Father wants me to stop it because He loves me and wants me to see myself as He sees me.

He was gently correcting me. It is funny that I had to be told to love myself because I’m always reminding others of our need to be kind and loving. I am famous, even notorious for it, and now, Abba was telling me that I have been unloving toward my self for years.

To be candid, it has been hard for me to have others lie about what we teach without them being called to account for it. For that reason, I have felt hurt, ashamed and unlovely, and have beaten up on myself on a regular basis. I have not held fast to the truth that Yeshua taught: “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Mat 5:11-12).

Yeshua could say that because He experienced those things. He was mistreated, beaten and scarred yet continued to be faithful to the end. And like Him, we cannot allow the ugly things others do to us keep us from being faithful. We must continue in kindness and in faithfulness.

Our Father wants to encourage us. He does this by commanding that we “love…ourselves.” If, like Yeshua, we have been wounded in the house of our friends, or abused, or rejected, etc., we must nonetheless remember the caveat attached to His “love your neighbor” commandment. We must “love…ourselves,” even as He loves us.

How does He love us? How do we love ourselves and others?

Love is patient, kind, not envious, boastful or proud, does not dishonor, is not self-seeking or easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.

Let us learn to love ourselves, our neighbor, and our God.

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What is Torah Producing in Our Lives?An Evaluation of the Heart

by Shoshana Swedlund

We need to ask ourselves some important questions. In our lives, in the life of our Shalom al Yisrael community, what is our devotion to Torah accomplishing? Is it:

  • Progressively drawing us to a greater understanding of YHVH and His Mashiach; to a more intimate relationship with Him by the Ruach?
  • Giving us a deeper love and compassion for YHVH’s creation: people, animals, and all the beautiful things He has made on this planet?
  • Increasing our grief and sorrow for the lost, to desire to intercede before YHVH and break the bonds of darkness from people who know nothing but darkness and don’t even know that it is darkness and that it will end in their destruction?
  • Causing our hearts to be more desirous to be delivered of and walk out of sinful actions and into a life of obedience to the righteous instructions of YHVH?
  • Giving us a deep inner strength that will sustain us in the most difficult challenges and situations of life? Helping us to be able to stand against the missiles of the evil one and survive? Helping us to stand for the Torah truths of the Kingdom of Elohim, no matter what pressure comes against us?
  • Dealing with our prideful heart, breaking its hold on our being and allowing us to walk in the freedom of humility and submission to YHVH Elohim by His Mashiach?
  • Enhancing the Light and Love of Mashiach so that it radiates from us in an even greater way, causing those in darkness to be drawn to the True Lover of their souls?
  • Infusing our souls with shalom, with His peace?

If these things are true of us, then we can walk in the confidence and security that we are truly representing Torah as the Lifestyle, the way of living on this planet that YHVH has promised His people and that He will bless.

On the other hand, we also need to ask, in our lives, is our interpretation of Torah:

  • Causing us to be angry and/or disgusted with people on a consistent basis – whether it be wife, children, family, friends or strangers?
  • Causing us to be depressed, weary or fearful about the present condition of this world and a possibly dim future?
  • Causing us to be more withdrawn and not wanting to be around people, even Believers?
  • Causing a gap between us and YHVH, making it more difficult to hear His voice and to know His direction for our life?
  • Causing our soul to be full of agitation and frustration?
  • Causing our hearts to be fearful that perhaps we will not be “hidden” and that we may be one of those who will perish when the Final Judgment manifests?

If our devotion to “Torah” is resulting in the above things in our lives, then we are in bondage and not experiencing the true freedom that Torah by the Ruach/Spirit brings to its followers. Torah is Life, with a capital L. Anything less than that is legalism and just another form of religion that will bring forth death.

My prayer is that the truth of our hearts might be revealed to us by the Ruach haKodesh, so that we might be broken before YHVH and then raised up and empowered to walk in the glorious, liberating truth of YHVH’s True Torah, the Living Torah, Yeshua the Messiah.

Shoshana and her husband, Terry, were born again in 1973. They pastored in northeastern Colorado as a charismatic church and during that time a love for Israel was birthed in their hearts. During this time YHVH also revealed to Shoshana her Jewish ancestry and began restoring her heritage. In the early 1980’s they became part of the Messianic Jewish movement and lead a congregation in Colorado. After moving to Ohio, they were given Batya’s book, “Who is Israel?” The revelation presented there resulted in a paradigm shift in their hearts and ministry. They immediately became a Messianic Israel congregation. Of primary importance in the vision for their congregation is to experience the House of Ephraim and the House of Judah walking in echad, oneness, according to the Living Torah, Yeshua the Messiah and the Written Torah, instruction for Righteous living. It is their honor and privilege to have known Angus and Batya Wootten and been part of and serve the Messianic Israel Alliance (now A.R.I) for many years. They have lead their current congregation, Shalom al Yisrael in Englewood Ohio, for 16 years and in conjunction with the congregation have a Judaica store-ministry called Shalom Judaica. Shoshana can be contacted at: shosh1948@ frontier.com

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How Do I Love Thee?

by Ran Ricard

In Matthew, Mark and Luke it is written that Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) was asked the question,

“What is the greatest commandment?” He answered. ‘The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31, ESV).

Unfortunately some folks interpret this to mean that the Master is telling us that these minimal requirements are all that He expects us to follow. But that misses the point.
Yeshua’s statement was meant to reveal a simple perspective to us by which adherence to these two commands will automatically make us compliant to all of His Instruct-ions. If we love our Creator with all of heart, soul, mind and strength we will stop at nothing to be the obedient children He desires us to be. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we incorporate the “Golden Rule” into the very fabric of our lives and will stop at nothing to always treat others the way we want to be treated.

Messiah Yeshua said, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Mat 7:12).

As we study the writings of the Apostles and what is recorded that Yeshua said, it becomes evident that He is dealing with a people who wanted to pick and choose what commandments they would obey … or to disregard them completely. Yeshua was reminding them that the Commandments of God were always intended to be Instructions given by a loving Father to His children on how to love Him and each other. In a time when some were wielding the words of the Most Holy God as weapons to keep people in bondage, Yeshua was telling them that losing sight of these primary commands would always result in the failure to properly keep the other commands. Loving God and loving people is what God’s commands are all about.

Loving our neighbor has very practical and far reaching implications. It is written, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him” (Lev 19:17).

When differences and difficulties arise with people, we are not to hate them. Hatred is a beast with many faces. It’s not simply negative and angry thoughts toward another person. Many times it moves us to disregard, shun and completely cut off our neighbors – and that empties us of the compassion and love that is befitting our station as Believers in Messiah Yeshua. Our Heavenly Father is clear that instead of ignoring issues we have with others we need to deal with them through open and honest discussion. This is what “love your neighbor” is all about.

If we think about the instruction, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” what might we be able to say that includes? A few things would be: Being mindful of those among us that are less fortunate, not stealing, always conducting business in a fair way, always speaking the truth to others, not using God’s name to justify anything wrong, not “lording” position over others, paying what is due on time, giving encouragement and respect toward the elderly and physically handicapped, not speaking ill of folks (especially behind their backs), not paying back insult for insult and vengeance for being wronged, and not bearing grudges. Indeed, loving our neighbor is far deeper than most of us normally think it is.

To love our neighbor isn’t always necessarily having the warm “fuzzies” or showing kindness to them, though it may include those things at appropriate times. Our Father’s version of loving others involves a very deep understanding of His ways and how they relate to how we are to treat others. He tells us in His Torah how it is to be done.

To love the way we are told to love is a vehicle that shows a fallen world Who we belong to; it is a filament that creates a light that the nations can see. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us be that light.

Ran Alan Ricard is a Viet Nam Combat Veteran and Retired police officer. He and his wife, Brenda, have 3 children and 7 grandchildren, 2 Yorkies and a motorcycle. They live in Florida where he and his bride take care of Ran’s elderly mom. With his excellent voice, he read and recorded Batya Wootten’s book, “Redeemed Israel-Reunited and Restored.”

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Ten Words and Right Order

by Angus and Batya Wootten

In Hebrew, the word for commandments is debarim, orwords. It comes from debar, meaning word (Strong’s # H1697: speech, word). YHVH’s Ten Commandments are sometimes called the Ten Words. The Words were given to help establish and bring order to a nation. They are obligations and responsibilities that the people must regard if they desire to demonstrate their devotion to Him. His people have regard for His commands because lawlessness brings disorder and destruction, while positive laws help to establish
right order in the world.

We often think of the Father’s Commandments as rules that can be broken, but there is more to it than that. The Ten Commandments are rules for His nation that work like gravity – which is a rule, even a reality. If you go against the rule of gravity, in the end, the reality is that it will possibly break you. So it is with YHVH’s Laws. We don’t break them, instead, when we disregard them, on some level, they break us, and they cause a break in our fellowship with our God.

YHVH’s Ten Commandments are Realities that speak of His Right Order.

In John 3:16, we read, “God so loved the world that he gave His Only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Here, we see that Yah loved the “world.” The Greek word used is kosmos, which means both order and the world. This verse speaks of Yah’s love for the inhabitants of the world and for an “ordered system” (see Strong’s #G 2889).

The Ten Commandments/Words/Realities speak of Yah’s love for us, of our call to love our neighbor, our selves, and our God. In honoring them, we find right order.

The Only Begotten Son, Yeshua, said to us, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Since He is “One with the Father,” and was with Him from the “beginning,” we know that Yeshua spoke of and was affirming the Ten Commandments (John 1:1-3; 4:9; 10:30; 14:15; also see page 2, first two paragraphs).

YHVH especially wants us to keep His Ten Rules because they are His Covenant with us:”He declared to you His covenant, the Ten Commandments” (NIV). “He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone” (NAS).

These Covenant Tablets were carried by the Levites in the Ark of the Covenant (Deu 4:13; 31:9). As for the Book of the Law, the Torah, or Five Books of Moses, Yah “commanded the Levites who carried the Ark, saying, ‘Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant…that it may remain there as a witness…'” (Deu 31:26-27).

The Torah was placed beside the Ark, but the Covenant Tablets were in it. The Torah is a witness. Its written words give further testimony, even help to serve as a gauge as to whether or not we are abiding by YHVH’s Covenant. The Ten Commandments, in their brevity, are its essence. There is a loving spirit behind the Torah – that of YHVH and the Ruach HaKodesh. Yah wants to write it on our hearts when we embrace Messiah and His New Covenant (Jer 31:31-33; Heb 8:8-13; 10:16-17).

In Yeshua we find eternal life. That is why His New Covenant is repeatedly called a “better covenant” (Mat 25:46; 1 John 1:2; 3:15; 5:11 Jude 1:21; Heb 7:22; 8:6; 12:24). However, even in our new life in Him, we want to honor the Covenant Commandments of our God-because they are eternal. Without them we have no order, we only have lawless-ness. In the final judgment, many will claim to know the Messiah, and even claim to have done good works in His name; but if they did not honor His Ten Covenant Words, He will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Mat 7:23).

The Ten Commandments are listed in Deuteronomy 5:6-22. They begin with the Holy One saying, “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” They begin with a declaration of relationship.

YHVH’s Commandments are not about us “keeping laws” or being in bondage to, or “under the law.” They are instead about us entering into a loving relationship with our Creator – about us embracing His established plan for Right Order. They are about His desire to bring us out of our bondage to sin and unredeemed flesh (Rom 8:8). He first wrote them on tablets of stone, but it was always His intent to write them on hearts of flesh – by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In an Internet article titled, “The Ten Commandments and Christian Living” (www.askthepastornm.com), Pastor Paul Holt writes:
“It is not until we enter into fellowship with Him, adopted into His family and have our heart of stone exchanged for a heart of flesh that we are able to live by the Spirit and walk in His ways. Grace allows us entrance to the path and way of the Lord. It is not until we enter though our Lord Jesus Christ that we are able to keep His reality. It is not possible to keep the Sabbath until we have submitted to the Lord of the Sabbath. It is impossible to be faithful without the Faithful One showing us how.

We are no longer under the law of sin and death, but we are now able to hit the mark by the power of the Living Word of God. The Ten Commandments are meant to teach us how to live, how to rest and how to glorify and worship God. May we always hold them in the highest regard.”

All we can say to that is, “Amen and Amen.”

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Walking in Step With the Ruach

by Pastor Wallace E. Smith

Recently, I was contemplating Biblical numeric patterns. Many studies have been conducted on this subject and brought forth by fine teachers within our Restoration Awakening. I have not received any new revelations to add to or subtract from their learned commentaries. It was quickened in my spirit, however, as I was looking at the pattern of the number 3, that there are 3 main steps in our walk with the Lord. I will concede that you might find a few more steps, and I have even thought of a few, but they seem to fall into the category of “little steps” that are contained within the three giant steps that I saw.

Our 1st step is when we realize that we are not as good a person as we once thought we were and that we have committed grievous sins against our Creator. On the heels of that revelation, we come to realize that we are worthy of the death penalty. Then, lo and behold, we hear the gospel, the “good news” that Jesus/Yeshua paid our penalty with His own blood, setting us free from eternal damnation and granting us the free gift of eternal life. We joyfully accept God’s gracious gift and we’re then spiritually cleansed and become members of Yeshua’s “Commonwealth of Israel” (Eph 2:11-22). All believers take this 1st step but, unfortunately, far too many take no further steps.

We now come to the 2nd and 3rd step, which may be interchanged, as we see in Scripture, but for the sake of my oft-times dyslexic thought process, let us refer to the 2nd step as “Torah Awareness.”

Through the grace of God’s/YHVH’s indwelling Ruach haKodesh (John 14:26), we were able to cut through nearly 2000 years of Christian errant indoctrination – espousing that the law of God “was nailed to the cross and died when Jesus died” and thus is now obsolete. We were awaken-ed to the fact of what Yeshua taught: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Mat 5:17-18). We then saw John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments,” and, John 14:21, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father….” With that, we’re off and running in hot pursuit of Torah. We experience the blessings of obedience, as well as the scorn and accusations of our yet to be awakened Christian friends, who proclaim that we are legalists, Judaizers, or members of some sort of cult. We become “outcasts” by those we love. Nonetheless, we are of good cheer because we know that the Lord is gathering “together the outcasts of Israel,” and that, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psa 147:2; see also Isa 11:12; 56:8).

What also goes hand-in-hand in this pursuit of Torah is that we are walking a road that is full of potholes, trash, and speed bumps – all put there by our adversary to trip us up. Much to our chagrin, we can identify with the Apostle Paul who said, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Yeshua came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst” (1 Tim 1:15). Indeed, our desire is to be Torah obedient, to “do well so that our countenance may be lifted up,” even as we learned to do in Genesis chapter 4. However, verse 7 goes on to say: “If you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

We are told to “master sin” or, “rule over it.” That sounds like a directive straight from Heaven, but how do we do it? This question brings us to step 3, which is the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.

As I alluded to earlier, step 3 may actually be step 2 in some people’s walk with the Lord, as it was in mine. Over the years, I’ve conducted a personal nonscientific survey and the evidence seems to indicate that the majority of Believers who are now adherents to what has come to be called the Messianic Awakening (I prefer to call it the “Restoration Awakening”) have made their personal Exodus from traditional Christian Sunday churches that were considered to be Charismatic or Pentecostal. My own church experience is rooted in a main line, Pentecostal denomination, and I am grateful for the good things that I learned there. However, since coming into this Awakening and learning to look at the Bible through Hebrew lenses, I have come to rethink, re-learn and re-teach many Pentecostal doctrines.

In a Charisma Magazine article titled, “Messianic Church Growth Mirrors Rise of Charismatic Movement” (12/27/11), Bill Koen confirms the results of my survey
(see www.charismanews.com/world/32564).

I have also discovered, through the same nonscientific survey, that far too many people are raising a voice of concern that our Messianic movement is as dry as the dead bones that God commanded Ezekiel to speak to. I’ve had folks take me aside at various conferences and ask, “Where’s the Ruach?” I’ve heard statements such as, “When I visit a Messianic congregation or attend a conference, it’s like someone sucked the air out of the place.” Or, “It’s like going to a Baptist synagogue.” Frankly, I know exactly what they’re talking about. I’ve experienced this same dry bones phenomenon-multiplied exponentially. And, it has occurred within my own congregation.

Yes, we need an infusion of the Holy Spirit within our Restoration Awakening and I am certain, as are many others, that God is going to “cause breath [Ruach] to enter in that we may come to life” (Eze 37).

Friends, it is prophesied, thus it is certain; that there will be a great outpouring of the Ruach haKodesh in the “last days,” but this great outpouring will only come to a sincerely seeking people.

Why Pentecost?

The purposeful work of the Ruach HaKodesh in the life of a disciple of Yeshua haMashiach (Jesus the Christ) is to empower, comfort, convict, guide, and seal (Acts 1:8; 9:31; John 16:8,13 Eph 5:30), YHVH’s “set apart” people. This empowerment and presence of the Ruach in a Believer’s life has not changed since Yeshua’s first century earthly sojourn-wherein He performed His redemptive ministry and sent His Ruach to indwell and infill Spiritually baptized Believers.

Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” A Believer, after receiving Him as their Redeemer and Lord, is rooted in Him, is a branch in His Olive Tree, a member of His common-wealth of Israel, and subsequently receives the indwelling of His Holy Spirit (Rom 11:1-36). Restated, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside you. Ephesians 1:13: “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” A Believer is also called to receive the “infilling,” or “fullness of the Ruach,” known in Christian circles as the “Baptism with the Holy Spirit.” Every Believer should be encouraged to seek and receive the empowerment, presence, and gifting of the Ruach haKodesh. Through the baptism with the Ruach, YHVH extends His power and presence to all Believers. Our role, as His followers, is to seek, ask, knock and receive. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:10-13, NKJV).

This baptism is marked by an initial act of receiving and it is to be continual process in our lives. “The disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52, NASB).

Moving Into a Restoration Awakening

John 4:23-24: “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (NKJV). From these two verses we see that Yeshua’s true followers are to “worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” It has been acknowledged, that our Messianic Israel movement has been focused on the honor and pursuit of Torah (the teachings and instructions of our God). And, while we need to pursue these things, we seem to have a problem. It being that, at least on the surface, we appear to have been consumed with intellectual pursuits – and we have thus let the fire go out in regard to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we suggest that we need a new, “Restoration Awakening,” one that is indeed concerned with the pursuit of “Torah’s truths,” as well as a pursuit of our necessary empowerment in the “Holy Spirit” (1 Sam 2:9; Zec 4:6).

Many leaders are now recognizing our need for the empowerment of the “Spirit” as well as the “truth” found in Torah. But many are cautious (as good shepherds should be) and want to avoid the abuses historically associated with modern Pentecostal/Charismatic movements. They have made many leaders “gun shy” regarding the the Ruach, and many have avoided rekindling that fire. Nonetheless, we suggest that now is the time for a paradigm shift; now is the set time for us to look at these matters in the light of Spirit coupled with Truth. As for our God, we are told to “worship Him in spirit and in truth.” And now is the time for us to do so.

The Endowments/Gifts

The Baptism with the Ruach haKodesh is evidenced by certain endowments, which have come to be known as “gifts of the Spirit.” While manifestations of these endowments are not required to receive the Ruach, they are common. We see from 1 Corinthians 14:32 that: “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” YHVH is no respecter of persons and thus will not interfere with your free will. Therefore, a person can willfully withhold the manifestation of any particular endowment. On the other hand, we must also understand that manifestation of any endowment is not an indicator of spiritual maturity; the gifts of the Spirit are a response of openness and faith to and in YHVH. Spiritual maturity combines obedience, faith and character in a process that molds us into the likeness and image of Yeshua. These giftings, or endowments, include:

  • Vocal gifts: tongues, prophecy and the interpretation of tongues
  • Knowledge gifts: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits
  • Power gifts: healings, faith and miracles

These gifts are Godly, true and evident in Yeshua’s universal ecclesia/church. However, these manifestations can also be found in the counterfeit church which has Satan, Yeshua’s chief adversary, as its head. We say this because, it is a historical fact that everything YHVH does; the enemy soon comes along “to kill steal and destroy” (John 10:10). Satan always comes up with a counterfeit, and counterfeit goods are always inferior. Thus, we are plagued with counterfeit theologies, calendars, diets, Sabbaths, and holidays. As Messianic Believers, what we wish to avoid at all costs, is to embrace the counterfeit manifest-ations of Satan, especially now, as we enter this time of a paradigm shift in our thinking. Our focus, once again, must be on that which is true and genuine and has come down directly from our God.

The Way of Obedience

Acts 1:8 tells us, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The word, “witnesses,” in this verse is the Greek word, “martus,” meaning a “martyr”(Strong’s # G3144). It speaks of,

  • One who is a spectator of anything, e.g. of a contest
  • One who testifies by personal knowledge
  • English: “martyr,” one who bears “witness” by his death

In the context of Acts 1:8, we are to witness or bear testimony of Yeshua. We are also to be a “martyr” in the sense of dying to self for the purpose of being made into the image and likeness of our Lord. This requires “power,” which is the Greek word G1411, dunamis, meaning force or miraculous power. Our English words dynamic and dynamite are derived from it. It’s primary root, G1410, dunamai, means to be able or make possible. Therefore, without destroying the Law and the Prophets, we can reasonably translate Acts 1:8 as, “But you shall receive dynamic power with great ability when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be mighty witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The question then remains: What is the most sure and certain way to be a witness for Yeshua? It is for us to imitate Him, to be like Yeshua! We are called to be a reflection of Him, and not like an image in a dirty or smudged mirror. We are called to minister as Yeshua ministered. When the non-believer looks upon God’s people Israel, they are to see a perfect reflection of Yeshua (perfect meaning mature). We are to be a reflection of His love, and He told us how to love Him: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).

We are to obey Yeshua, obey His commandments and obey His Torah! It is called: “the way of obedience” and this is the single primary purpose of the Baptism with the Ruach haKodesh: It is given to grant the believer supernatural power to obey. All the manifestations of the endowments, as wonderful, desirous and useful as they may be, are secondary to the power to witness through obedience. That is the marvelous gift that Yeshua told his disciple to wait for in Jerusalem. God’s Torah was given at Mt. Sinai and the supernatural power to obey Torah was given at Mt. Zion.

On that fateful day, when the disciples received this new kind of power-the power to witness effectively – they turned the world upside down. Within a few years the gospel penetrated areas of the world where a thousand signs and wonders would only have been ignored. What the disciples received on that Pentecost, 50 days after Yeshua’s resurrection, was the great power of the Ruach to open the eyes of the spiritually blind, to unstop the ears of the spiritually deaf and to raise the spiritually dead. This is the power that the “Spirit baptized” Believer is promised in Acts 1:8. It is the power to do the spiritually impossible! That kind of power had never been known before! It was brand new! It is still with us today and is for every Believer!

God’s purpose and desire for His covenant children, Israel, was and is, for them to be filled with the same Holy Ruach that empowered Yeshua’s life and raised Him from the dead. To receive this wonderful gift, we simply go to YHVH in an attitude of faith and ask for it.

Yeshua is the Baptizer with the Ruach haKodesh – it is His desire to fill His children – which gives His people the power to obey His Torah. By experiencing the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit, we can effectively share Messiah’s love and power-and, like the early disciples, we too will be empowered to turn the world upside down.

Wallace E. Smith is the Shepherd at House of Israel Fellowship in Las Vegas, NV and he is a Shepherd with the Alliance of Redeemed Israel.

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