|...Ezekiel before the Shekinah Glory of YHVH|
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"THEN CAME certain of the elders of Israel to me and sat before me. And the word of YHVH came to me:
Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and put the stumbling block of their iniquity and guilt before their faces; should I permit Myself to be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak to them and say to them, Thus says YHVH: Every man of the house of Israel who takes his idols (of self-will and unsubmissiveness) into his heart and puts the stumbling block of his iniquity (idols of silver and gold) before his face, and yet comes to the prophet (to inquire of him), I, YHVH, will answer him, answer him according to the multitude of his idols, That I may lay hold of the house of Israel in the thoughts of their own mind and heart, because they are all estranged from Me through their idols.
Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says YHVH: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations. For anyone of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who separates himself from Me, taking his idols into his heart and putting the stumbling block of his iniquity and guilt before his face, and yet comes to the prophet to inquire for himself of Me, I, YHVH, will answer him Myself! And I will set My face against that (false worshiper) and will make him a sign and a byword, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people; and you shall know (understand and realize) that I am YHVH.
(The prophet has not been granted permission to give an answer to the hypocritical inquirer) but if the prophet does give the man the answer he desires (thus allowing himself to be a party to the inquirer's sin); I, YHVH, will see to it that the prophet is deceived in his answer, and I will stretch out My hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of My people Israel. And they both shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the iniquity of the (presumptuous) prophet shall be the same as the iniquity of the (hypocritical) inquirer, That the house of Israel may go no more astray from Me, neither defile themselves any more with all their transgressions, but that they may be My people, and I may be their Elohim, says YaHoVeH." Ezekiel 14:1-11
Within just a very short time after meeting this One True God Who is Truth and beginning a life-long journey of understanding Who He is, He gave me a glimpse into this spirit world we occupy and I saw the face of the spirit of deception up close and personal. What I saw scared me. It scared me so much, that right then and there I told the Father that if He ever found me in the grips of that spirit of deception, He had my total permission to do whatever it took to get me out. Being young at the time, I thought that to be a pretty safe prayer because I could not imagine myself being in that situation to begin with, let alone conceive of a set of circumstances that would so captivate me. Little did I know that 20 years later YHVH would look down at this miserable wreck of a life I had created (still believing myself to be aligned with Him), reach into His pocket and say, "Look at what I have here - a get out of jail free card." In His Graciousness, in His Mercy, He honored that prayer and, today, I am so glad He did. The issue itself that put me into that state is not of importance, for any one of us could find ourselves in a similar position over a host of issues. What is important to know is that spirit of deception cost me everything I had held dear in life - wife, family, friends, possessions, honor and dignity. I am so eternally grateful that Elohim had compassion on me. It was something He didn't have to do - I have no one to blame but myself for being as deceived as I was.
|...the maze of deception|
What is sobering about the passage above is that YHVH says HE WILL CONTINUE TO SPEAK TO US all the while we are deceiving ourselves. But, since we have set up these self-will and unsubmissiveness idols before the face of our heart, those idols then become a filtering mechanism by which His Words travel THROUGH those idols ("I will answer him according to the multitude of his idols") - so that by the time His Words actually reach our ears they are skewed, having lost their original meaning and intent. Since we hear those words coming from the same Voice we have become accustomed to, however, we become deceived into thinking He is certifying and sanctioning our way when just the opposite is true. When He sends us others to speak to our waywardness, we write them off as being insensitive to "the Spirit" because WE HAVE HEARD GOD. Folks, I don't know about you - but, to me, that's a scary place to be in (1John 4:6). If you find yourself the only one advocating a position, more likely than not - you are in error (Matthew 18:16 quoting Deuteronomy 19:15, John 8:17-18).
The sneaky thing about the way this spirit of deception works is that he doesn't just hit you all at once with a big fat falsehood - that would be too obvious. He sets you up little by little into believing you are hearing more clearly than anyone else in your immediate range of connectedness to others in the Body. In the time prior to my being totally enveloped in deception as well as when I was in the depths of darkness, the Father kept sending people by who would try for a while to convince me that I needed to consider some other facts - but I wouldn't listen, eventually wearing them out to the extent they just quit trying. Scripture says the way we stay out of error is to hear our brothers. I am not talking about every winky-dink that floats in off the highway - but those whom He has put us in close proximity with, that have shown themselves to be trustworthy in deed as well as in word. These are the ones that we must listen to. If they are speaking something counter to what we think YHVH is saying, we must lay down at the feet of the Father what we think Him to be saying to us and WAIT on Him to give us HIS DISCERNMENT. He is faithful to do that if we don't try to possess what we are wrestling over.
So far, we have been looking at individual deception. Is it possible that a whole group of people can be deceived all at the same time, all thinking they are on the path of righteousness - perhaps, a whole religion? In the passage from Ezekiel above, YHVH addresses the whole of Israel in His indictment. Read how He continues to speak to the whole of Israel a little further on:
"Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says YHVH: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have
among the nations wherever you went'." Ezekiel 36:22
Does this indictment of YHVH's people leave you stunned? It should. Israel was supposed to live in such a way that they would be a a light to the nations. Instead, they slandered YHVH's name by the way they behaved and, consequently - YHVH judged Israel.
Ah, you say, "Those were the old days. Ezekiel was a prophet to Israel. Now we live under the Messiah. The old ways don't apply to us. We don't slander YHVH's name." Really? Let's examine the word halal (to profane) and see what YHVH calls profaning His name. In eighty-eight occurrences, halal is used to describe uncleanness, both physical and spiritual. This is primarily with regard to violations of YHVH's Torah. Specifically it involves 1) not keeping His Sabbath, 2) engaging in illicit sexual relations including the abuse of helpless females, 3) exacting substantial financial punishments for minor infractions, 4) offering gifts to YHVH in the same way that gifts are offered to other gods, 5) engaging in acts that cause physical uncleanness such as touching the dead, 6) misusing YHVH's name by attaching His integrity to false statements, 7) stealing, 8) lying, and 9) engaging in any behavior that would cause the nations to diminish their respect for YHVH. We can modernize these actions pretty easily. The modern list includes ignoring His Sabbath, engaging in sexually prohibited acts, abusing power, demanding usury, refusing to worship in the way YHVH commands, ignoring ritual impurity and abdicating responsibility to uphold the name of YHVH among non-believers. Embracing these idols is what profanes YHVH's Name.
What is the result of profaning His Name? - Judgment, pure and simple. When we live like the world, think like the world, act like the world; guess what - we are the world. And the world falls under the judgment of YHVH. When we claim to be His children but our lives are no different than the best examples of pagan morality, we slander His name. Ezekiel's warning to Israel is just as much a warning to us. There is a lot more than rule-keeping involved in being one of His own. His very reputation rides on our behavior. What others see in those called by His Name is what they know of YHVH (1John 4:17).
|...living in YHVH's Judgment|
When we choose to embrace YHVH's judgments willingly, that is what causes us to become righteous before Him (Psalm 19:9-11). By so doing they become a part of us, they become Life to us, they live within us - we carry judgment within us. As we allow that Life to begin to shine through our words and deeds, as Yeshua did, the Father's judgments then become manifest through our life as it was with Yeshua because, after all, it is His Life we are talking about. The darkness of men's hearts we encounter begin to become exposed, placing upon them the responsibility for the choices made on their own behalf - to embrace Light or to remain in darkness (2Thessalonians 1:5-6). If we walk in the Light of judgment, as He is in the Light - we then can have fellowship one with another because we are walking together in righteousness. That Light shines through the Body of Believers congregated around us within whom He Lives. If we are to stay on course, we need one another. With all our faults, with all our short-comings, with all our idiotness - we need one another if we are to stay free of deception.
|"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Hebrews 10:31|
Please feel free to email me at email@example.com. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.