to Pilate "...My Kingdom is not of the world."
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world." John 18:36
"I have given them Your Word and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from evil. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth." John 17:14-19
"Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy. Behold, I am coming soon, bringing My recompense with me to repay each one for what he has done." Revelation 22:10-12
As seen in a previous article (click on highlighted words to view content), the word hatta'ath is the Hebrew word most often translated as the English "sin". From the Hebrew perspective the bible was written in, hatta'ath is understood as the violation of a standard of behavior which lies in opposition to the accepted cultural norms found within YHVH's Kingdom. To attempt to apply those standards to those who have not subscribed to YHVH's covenant is futile because they belong to another culture, another kingdom where the standard is different. This is not a sanctioning of abhorrent behavior, but a scriptural clarification of Kingdom response to what the world embraces. Without taking the time to ask deep questions about which culture we choose to live in, we will simply slide along with the masses, never realizing how much of what we think and do is formed by the patterns of this world - both for and against.
Those belonging to YHVH's Kingdom are not called to impose YHVH’s standards on the rest of the world, but to be separate from the world, even while living in the world (John 15:19). That includes a separation from the politics of the world. Many see the Supreme Court ruling supporting homosexual marriage as an over-reach by government into their lives and are using that ruling as justification for arming themselves in preparation of an eventual conflict with government authorities. However, the words of the Master who's Life we are to emulate tell us that armed insurrection has never been the Way of Yeshua. That others would attempt to use His Name for such purposes simply shows where their kingdom lies. Those of His Kingdom are not called to return evil with evil. YHVH's actions concerning judgment and recompense is up to Him alone and He assures us - there will be judgment.
Those who believe America is a "Christian nation" that will be spared the consequences of its decisions are just not familiar with history. The refrains that are often heard are: "It can't happen here," or "Our country is different." But the reality is that nations are born and die just like individuals. Their longevity may exceed the average person's lifespan but the reality is that nations also die. History has shown that the average age of the great civilizations is around two hundred years. Countries like Great Britain exceed the average while other countries like the United States are just now reaching maturity. Historians have listed the stages in the decline of a nation. These stages should not be too surprising to any student of the Tanakh (OT). The stages of decline parallel the stages through which the nation of Israel passed. But neither should they surprise a student of the Messianic Writings (NT). In the opening chapter of the Apostle Paul's letter to the assembly in Rome, he traces a similar progression. In fact, Romans 1 shows the decline of a civilization from a societal perspective. Looking at the Hellenistic world of his time, Paul reflects on the progression of decline in a nation.
The first stage is when people turn from righteousness to idolatry. Although the Creator has revealed Himself in nature to all men so that they are without excuse, they nevertheless worship the creation instead of the Creator. This is idolatry. In the past, this took the form of actual idol worship. In our day, it mostly takes the form of the worship of money or the worship of self. In either case, it is still idolatry. A further example of this is a general lack of thankfulness. Although they have been prospered by the Creator, they are ungrateful. And when they no longer look to the Creator for wisdom and guidance, they become vain and futile and empty in their imaginations - no longer honoring Him, their foolish hearts become darkened. In professing to be wise, they have become fools. The second stage is when men and women exchange their natural use of sex for unnatural uses. Here the Apostle Paul says those four sobering words, "God gave them over." In a society where lust-driven sensuality and sexual perversion dominate, God gives them over to their degrading passions and unnatural desires - affecting their perception. The third stage is anarchy. Once a society has rejected the Creator's revelation, it is on its own. Moral and social anarchy is the natural result. At this point they have been given them over to a depraved mind so they do things which are just not proper. This results in a society which is without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Finally, there comes judgment. Righteous Judgment rightly falls upon those who practice idolatry and perversion. Certainly an eternal judgment awaits those who are guilty, but a social judgment occurs when a nation is given over to its unrighteous behavior in the here and now.
Notice that this progression is not unique to the Hellenistic world the Apostle Paul was living in. The progression from idolatry to sexual perversion to anarchy to judgment is found throughout history. In the times of Noah and Lot, there was the idolatry of greed, there was sexual perversion and promiscuity, there was anarchy and violence, and finally there was judgment. The book of Judges shows that the nation of Israel passed through these same stages where there was idolatry, sexual perversion, anarchy (in which each person did what was right in his own eyes) and finally judgment. This progression happened throughout the Bible and to Greece, to Persia, to Babylon, and to Rome. If it happened to these great nations, then it can happen today. Unless there is a return to YHVH's Words, decline and destruction are inevitable. Do you hear that? There is no turning back from the consequences of rejecting YHVH's Words. America's decline will come of its own determination - no one has to help it. When you consider the Greek word apostasia (translated the "falling away" or "rebellion" depending on which English version is used - the word "apostasy" is not actually found in scripture) spoken of in 2Thessalonians 2:1-12 has as its main ingredient the mystery of "lawLESSness" (Greek anomia) and that the word "law" does not mean the regulations of men but of Torah - is it any wonder why the "Christian nation" of America finds itself headed toward demise?
|"Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that anti-messiah is coming, so now many anti-messiahs have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. " 1John 2:18|
"More than nine hundred years ago, Maimonides, regarded as perhaps the greatest of Jewish expositors of sacred literature, wrote, '…when the power of Edom (the Christians) and of Ishmael (the Mohammedans) shall be at their peak and their dominion shall extend throughout the world as it is today… There is no doubt that these are the birth pangs of announcing the Messiah.' Maimonides also regarded the present as the end of time. 12th Century Judaism was at fever pitch in its attempts to determine the end of days based on the book of Daniel. Under enormous pressure from both Christianity and Islam, Jews were persecuted across the Mediterranean region. This led to a panic about the coming of the Messiah - a way to relieve the terror of life. Therefore, everything was interpreted as signs of the end.
"Nine hundred years later, we seem to be obsessed with the same fever. The world is chaotic. Economic uncertainty is coupled with political ineptitude and personal alarm. What better solution than the return of the King who will reward the righteous, punish the wicked and straighten out our bank accounts? What have we learned from history? Apparently nothing. Each generation considers its time to be filled with signs of the end. Each new threat to prosperity and the social order of things precipitates another round of "end time" thinking, stretching biblical credibility beyond its limit in order to excite even the dead (and sell a lot of books). Prosperity does come - to the authors of these far-flung fantasies, but for most of the readers, it is just another tale of wishful speculation" (Skip Moen, Lunar Lunacy). Or, as Winston Churchill said, "The one thing we have learned from history is that we don't learn from history." Today's prophets are concerned with the future - not with behavior in YHVH's Kingdom that will be the standard for the future.
Things that pertain to the end times or the millennial reign do not concern me as much as they do others because, frankly, nobody REALLY knows how it is all going to come about - Yeshua Himself said the same. Consequently, all that can be advanced on these issues is pure speculation and is done so usually in order to sell someone's book. Everything pertaining to the end time and beyond has been left a mystery purposefully because we have enough to do at hand right here, right now. We have enough work to do right now in helping the Body of haMashiach just love the brethren as Yeshua commanded rather than to try and complicate the task by bringing more topics for division and distraction into the mix that may or may not happen. My biggest contention with end time theology (as with a lot of other Christian doctrinal issues) is, regardless of where you fall on the speculative timeline, that it takes our eyes off of what we should be focusing on right now - our unity in Him that He has already placed among us (Ephesians 4:1-3).
There is only one "coming" mentioned in all of scripture - the Day of YHVH. But, this is the mystery of echad - to be one in His Spirit is to be Him in this world (1John 4:17). Just as those who keep His Words comprise the Body of Yeshua, so Yeshua is the Right Arm of YHVH (Isaiah 52:10, Ephesians 1:20) - not replacing Him, but manifesting His Nature. So, the "Day of YHVH" will be that time when His Spirit will prevail over the spirit of man. The Spirit of YHVH and those who have become Him, Yeshua and the saints, will be manifest on that Day (1Corinthians 6:2, Romans 8:19, Zechariah 14:5). But, with YHVH, a day is as a thousand years so that manifestation has been ongoing since the Resurrection of Yeshua which fulfilled the Covenant; in other words, if Yeshua has come to live and abide in you - has He not already come (John 14:23-24)? How long will that last before the Day of YHVH? Only the Father knows - but, perhaps, on the third day.
So, what do we do in the meantime? How do we respond to this recent assault on our beliefs? The current cultural debate within America about homosexual marriage is precisely that - a cultural debate! It is an argument over what is acceptable in the culture of America and since the cultural meanings of the terms can change when the culture changes - so can the acceptable standards of behavior. That homosexuality has now become an acceptable behavioral choice in American culture is based upon the legal ground of equal rights afforded everyone - as it should be from an American perspective. But that is not true in every culture! The challenge before those of us choosing to remain within YHVH's Kingdom is to uphold His standard before the world so that some will see and will then begin to abide in His Name.
|"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. " John 17:20-21|
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.