Walking in Light
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
The article, Demons (click on highlighted words to view content), resulted in a large number of responses from readers who were experiencing similar situations with family members. While well intentioned, almost all of them contained a declaration in some form to "pray" for my son that he would be "healed and delivered" or asking that "prayer" be extended toward their family member for the same result. While the thoughtfulness of those responses is appreciated, we need to measure what we have been traditionally taught about prayer against the benchmark of Life we have been given to determine whether our actions are pure or perverse. If Yeshua is that benchmark, if His life is the example by which we are to emulate, it is not recorded where He ever prayed for anyone to be healed or delivered. For that matter, how many times did He ever invoke "in the name" of His Father to be healed or delivered? That answer is - never. We either live the Life the Son lived out before us or we engage in the tradition of men - there is no middle ground.
Scriptural prayer, in and of itself (contrary to popular Christian theology), is not designed to change external circumstance. Prayer (whether it is in tongues or in the natural) is not a magic wand or supernatural elixir to use to make life better or easier - for us or for those we care about. Praying is communication between two people who love each other - between me and my Father. Words mean things. Scripture tells us prayer is designed as a means of communication in Spirit with YHVH so as to build our faith to be able to confront the difficulties we face in our life with the confidence that He is Good in all circumstance - nothing else. Just look at Yeshua's response for validation of that statement when asked "how do we pray"? He answered concerning issues about reverence, sustenance, forgiveness and guidance - these are all matters concerning the inherent state of the one praying. He said nothing about external circumstance. When Yeshua was tempted in the wilderness, the issues confronting Him were about sustenance, guidance and reverence. What was His response toward those issues? Did He "pray" for those circumstances to be changed? Or, did He resist that temptation in favor of trusting the Goodness of His Father in the midst of the circumstances He found Himself in?
"But, I know prayer works because when I prayed such and such, it came to pass!" is often the claim of those who would disregard the words given to us that validate what we hear or believe is Truth - or not. That something may have come to pass may be true; however, scripture tells us that even if something does come to pass but leads us away from the Nature of Spirit contained in His Words - it does not come from YHVH. Whenever we start to use prayer to change externalities, even though our motivation might be well intentioned - we have moved. We have crossed the line between the realm of the Kingdom into the realm of witchcraft and sorcery. Sorcery may work - but that is not the Kingdom we are called to live in. Then, if prayer is not the instrument, if uttering "in the name of" is not scriptural - what does change things? The embrace of the Life of Yeshua, to become as He Is, is what affects this earthly realm.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of YHVH is eternal life
When asked how to obtain eternal life, Yeshua answered by saying, "…if you would enter Life, keep the commandments." There was a distinction in His response because He knew that Life came from being in the Presence of the Eternal One Who IS Life. He then went on to quote YHVH's Words of Exodus 20:1-17 and Leviticus 19:18 just to be sure there was no mistaking which commandments He was referring to. Scripture tells us that YHVH is the Source of LIFE - not His Son. Scripture also tells us that YHVH is LIGHT - not His Son. That Life is the Light of men. So, in the scripture from Romans above, Sha'ul (the Hebrew apostle Paul) is merely restating the Truth found in Yeshua's words. The free gift isn't from Yeshua - it is from YHVH through the embrace of the Life found in the Messiah. YHVH's gift of life is free but it comes packaged in a particular way. Most are often so intent on getting the gift, there is a tendency to ignore the wrapping. In fact, most are not even aware the package is even wrapped! The packaging is particularly important to Sha'ul, however, and he describes all the glorious wrapping in one tiny Greek preposition, en - a small word that carries a great deal of meaning. The gift of eternal life is not a personal possession. It is found IN the Way of Messiah who is Yeshua. No one owns eternal life. It is a relationship that operates with those who are actively engaged in it. Eternal life is not a self-addressed ticket. Without "in the Messiah" there is no gift. Eternal life does not depend on some religious formulaic words - it isn't the result of a proper prayer. It is YHVH's gift wrapped way even if I don't know anything about the right words or the gift wrapping. Sha'ul's statement is not a mechanism but a fact of being.
...the Words of Light
From the Hebraic perspective of scripture, whatever is not Life is death. Life = Light and death = darkness. Death is living in darkness but Light dissipates darkness. Darkness does not "flee" in the face of Light - it is dispelled. However, that only occurs through an active choice of behavior to embrace Light, which is the example of Yeshua's Life. The dictionary definition of darkness is the absence of light. Shades of grey are the weakening of darkness - not of the Light. There is no more of a struggle for Light to prevail over darkness in you any more than there is a struggle for light to overwhelm darkness when you enter a room at night and turn on the light switch. Have you ever walked out into bright sunlight after spending a couple of hours in a darkened amphitheater? What was the first thing that happened? You squinted and tried to hide your eyes from the brilliance of that sunlight because the light hurt your eyes. Think about it - demons live in darkness. When you fill your vessel with Light, it hurts them badly - so badly that they are motivated to go search for easier prey. In scripture, whenever Yeshua appeared on the scene of demon activity - what was the first thing that happened in each instance? Those demons either fell at His Feet or, at the very least, verbally acknowledged His Power over them. The opposite of YHVH's gift is death. Sha'ul doesn’t say "eternal death" since that seems to be an oxymoron. Dead is dead. How long is dead? If you’re dead, are you really counting? The important point is not being alive. Life is what matters and YHVH provides Life packaged in His son, the Messiah. This reminds me of Moses. There is a way that leads to death. There is a way that leads to life. Choose life!
Yeshua says in John 15:3 that we are made clean by the Word which He speaks and the only words He speaks are those of His Father, YHVH. The word translated in English as "cleanses" in the verse from 1John at the start of this article has its root in the same Greek word katharos, meaning to "purge or cleanse" that Yeshua uses in Matthew 5:8 and is translated as "pure". The Hebrew word for "pure", barar, carries this same meaning (as used in Psalm 18:26 and its derivative, bar, used in Psalm 19:8 to declare YHVH's commandments, His Words, to be pure). Of course, what is cleansed is pure, thus, katharos is the same word Kiefer (the apostle Peter) uses in 1Peter 1:22 telling us HOW our lives are cleansed and made pure - by obedience to the Truth through Spirit. That Truth is contained in YHVH's Words (Exodus 20:1-17 with emphasis on verse one), Who IS Spirit. The practice of the Words of Spirit "brings forth" the Kingdom of Spirit into this earthly realm (Matthew 6:10). Behind the words is the idea of purging, getting rid of things that do not belong - restoring purity.
It has now been six months since my son, Quinn (spoken of in the article Demons), has come to live with me. In the beginning, as mentioned in that article, as those demons began acting out through him; when I called them out through all the Christian tradition I had been taught - all that resulted was a blank stare from the eyes of my son. I was as perplexed as the disciples must have been in Mark 9:14-29. In seeking the Father for some guidance, He reminded me of the decades it took for me to build my faith through prayer and fasting and learn what it meant to not walk in darkness - to become Light. Should I then expect any less from anyone else? He also reminded me of the years spent in frustration wandering the Christian "ministry" circuit and seeing many delivered from demon oppression - only to return to those same places a few months later to find it was as if nothing had happened. They would proclaim how they had been delivered "by the blood of Jesus" with their mouth but were upset that the Presence of Spirit they had initially encountered was still missing. We were frustrated because the Christian theology we had all been taught was that all that was needed to be free of bondage was to be "forgiven" of sin. Forgiveness was treated like a "get out of jail free" card that gave us the right to go on living however we pleased, believing those choices to be without consequence. Christians are taught that their behavior does not matter for salvation - not understanding that salvation and deliverance are the same in any language and which is different from forgiveness.
...the Blood cleanses the Temple
"So important is this mishkan (Hebrew for "place of residence") that we must constantly be building it - preparing it and making it fit for His rest. Anything that soils it or makes it inappropriate for His Presence must be jettisoned from our lives and repudiated as unbecoming a child of YHVH whose primary goal in life is to have on-going communion and friendship with the Creator" (Tim Hegg, Studies in Torah: Exodus, p. 158). Now we have a better Hebraic sense of atonement which is not so much the forgiveness of our sins as it is the wiping away of that which defiles and so prevents the present residence of the Creator. To atone is to clean up so that YHVH may take up residence - for Him to remain in residence means to adopt Yeshua's Way of Life of perpetual cleansing. Forgiveness is a forensic matter. It deals with guilt. But at-one-ment is house-cleaning. It is the removal of all impurities. From a Hebraic perspective, to say that Yeshua provides our atonement is to say that with His Life, He shows us how to clean the house so that we may appropriately invite YHVH into residence. All of the ritual acts of cleansing associated with the Temple and with sacred practice are connected to this idea of atonement (Ezekiel 44:14-16). In the final analysis, atonement removes death, the last impurity that blocks full participation with the Elohim of Life.
Today, I am pleased to report that YHVH is faithful to His Word and my son is experiencing real deliverance because he is choosing Life on a daily basis by abandoning those behaviors which previously had him enveloped in darkness.
"Here is a call for the endurance (patience) of the saints,
those who keep the commandments of YHVH AND the faith OF Yeshua.
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in YHVH from now on'. Blessed indeed, says Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!" Revelation 14:13
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.