Are you en route to Beth-El, or still stuck in “Babylon”?

Genesis 35:1–15, Go up to Bethel. Jacob, twenty years earlier, had left Canaan in disgrace fleeing eastward into exile (as his descendants would do generations later), where in captivity to Laban he pays the price for being a deceiver. In captivity, Jacob prospers and finally is able to return to the Promised Land.

En route westward back to Canaan, he goes through a wilderness experience, as the children of his namesake would do several generations later. What type of individuals does YHVH not permit and permit to enter into the Land of Promise?

The answers are in Hebrews 4:1–11 where the writer speaks of doubt and unbelief, faith, hardness of heart versus resting in YHVH and not in the works of our flesh. (Read it.) To come home, like the prodigal son, to the home of his earthly parents and to that of his Heavenly Father (Beth-el or House of El) what was required of Jacob?

He had to manifest brokenness, humility, a new identity, repentance, and make restitution for past sins committed against others (Gen 34). Will YHVH not similarly break our stiff necks, refine and purify us to become suitable use in his spiritual house?

Are you fighting this same process that YHVH is working out in your life to prepare you for your spiritual Bethel—your place of eternal habitation with him? Jacob got hit again and again until his carnal will was finally broken, and his heart was circumcised. He was forced to die to the willfulness of his flesh and his scheming tendencies to bring YHVH’s will to pass in his life. (Have other notable personages of Scripture tried the same things and had their will broken before they were useful to YHVH? Remember Moses when he murdered the Egyptian? What did YHVH do with him for 40 years?)

Remember this. Neither the uncircumcised of the heart nor of the flesh will enter into the temple or spiritual house of Elohim (Ezek 44:9), which is the ultimate Promised Land of the saints’ spiritual inheritance. 

Where are you in this spiritual process? The Promised Land belongs to those (i.e. the seed of Jacob by faith) who pass the wilderness tests of YHVH (Gen 35:12). Who is that seed? You are if  you’re in Yeshua. (Read Rom 4:16; 9:8, 11; Gal 3:7, 9, 14, 28, 29.)

YHVH Elohim is now calling all the modern saints to follow exactly in our father Jacob’s footsteps by leaving our exile and captivity in spiritual Babylon (i.e. false religious systems, which contains a mixture of both good and evil, see Rev 18:4), and returning westward across the river Jordan into the land of Promise, to our spiritual inheritance, to the ancient and good paths of the Torah faith (Jer 6:16, 19), which is defined in terms of YHVH’s covenants with Israel (Eph 2:12–14). Can you see how Jacob’s life is a prophetic road map of the spiritual journey that each individual believer must go through to obtain his spiritual inheritance? Jacob’s journeyings back to Beth-El (literally, the house of El) is a prophetic picture of what all the saints—the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16), collectively, must go through as well.

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Is modern Babylon with its “Labans” holding you back?

Jacob and his family fleeing Laban and Babylon

Genesis 31:43, These daughters are my daughters. Laban claims that Jacob’s wives and children belonged to him. Laban was also steeped in the idolatry of Babylon having in his possession idols or images called teraphim (Gen 31:19, 34–35), which were legal symbols of his wealth, since they were actual title deeds to his property. The gods of one’s property also acted as good luck charms insuring the land’s prosperity. This is a picture of social and economic grip that end times Babylon attempts to exert upon the modern descendants of Jacob. What can we learn from this lesson in Jacob’s life?

Modern Babylon and its Labans want to control and possess the wives and children of the end times saints or the redeemed Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16). This it does by attempting to indoctrinate them in its pagan religious system, and then by keeping Jacob’s modern descendants (Christians and Jews) from returning to their spiritual and physical homeland and birthright inheritance, and from returning to the Torah-faith of their fathers. Aren’t governmental institutions (e.g. public educational institutions and state and federal Child Protective Services agencies, social welfare programs, various government regulations that have greatly diminished or eliminated many of our personal freedoms along with Elohim-given parental rights), socio-political organizations (e.g. ACLU, UN, many NGOs) and greedy corporate systems (e.g. banks and financial institutions) that enslave people through debt, corrupters of our food supplies that destroy people’s health into our foods (e.g. the additions of chemicals preservatives and taste enhancers, genetically modified food, the use of chemical pesticides that find their way into the foods we eat), pharmaceutical companies and the mainstream medical establishment that enslaves and destroys people’s minds and bodies through drugs the modern-day Labans who want to kill, steal and destroy for the benefit of money, power and control? Affirmatively yes! 

Revelation 18:13 says that end times Babylon the Great will traffic in the bodies and souls of men. This is likely a reference to the trafficking in human body parts (for medical purposes, no doubt) and the enslavement of men’s hearts and minds (through drugs and chemicals). 

All of these things speak at some level to the modern day enslavement of people including their religious expression, freedom of thought and action. 

In these end times, the saints of Elohim must protect themselves and their loved ones from the idols and the evil machinations of the Elohim-hating, devil worshiping idolators around them, even as Jacob, in order to protect his loved ones, had to flee Babylon and Laban. 

Let us not forget John’s closing words in his first epistle: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). An idol is anything that gets between us and Elohim, and which moves us downward and away from him on our spiritual path instead of upward and closer to him.

Laban and Balaam. It is quite possible that the false prophet Balaam, who heard from YHVH and had a sense of righteousness, though was still steeped in paganism, was a descendant of Laban. Both Laban and Balaam were from Aram (part of greater Babylon) and only 280 years separated them. One of the Aramaic Targums (Targum Jonathan) equates Balaam with Laban, while other Jewish scholars view Balaam as Laban’s grandson. Both were involved in a mixed-religious system in that they had some truth and some error, some good and some evil. This is the nature of religious Babylon (meaning “mixture” or “confusion”). A mixture of what? Of good and evil. Remember the tree by that name in the Garden of Eden? Who was the one who enticed man to indulge in that fruit in rebellion to YHVH’s commands? 

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What does it mean to cross over—to become a Hebrew, the Israel of Elohim?

Abraham, the father of the faithful, was one who left Babylon and crossed over to become a Hebrew. Crossed over from what? Read on…

Numbers 22:5, Pethor … by the river. Balaam was from the land of Pethor, which is “by the River.” This is a reference to the Euphrates River, the great river of Babylon (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 857). Thus Balaam was a Babylonian, although he may have been a transplanted Edomite according to some Jewish scholars (see The ArtScroll Bereishis/Genesis Commentary on Gen 36:32). 

One of the aspects of Babylon of the last days is her religious system (Rev 13:11ff) the head of which is the false prophet (Rev 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). The Babylonian religious system of the end days is a blend of both good and evil (reminiscent of the tree by that name in Eden from which the serpent beguiled Adam and Eve away from YHVH’s path of truth and righteousness into a false religious system). 

In the last days, YHVH is calling his people out of that false religious system (Rev 18:4) with its false prophets who prophesy a mixture of good and evil. 

Is not modern traditional Christianity a mixture of good and evil, truth and error (i.e. doctrines and traditions of men along with some paganism mixed in)? Reflect on the implications of this. To what degree have you heeded YHVH’s call to “come out of her”—namely, any man-made religious or church systems that has components that are contrary to the Word of Elohim? 

Like many in mainstream Christianity, the Scriptures seems to indicate that Balaam had some knowledge of the truth of YHVH, but he refused to wholeheartedly submit to YHVH’s word and will (2 Pet 2:15). 

Let us not forget Yeshua’s warning about false prophets arising in the last days who might deceive the very elect (Matt 24:24).

Numbers 22:10ff, Crossing over. Many carnal people—especially those playing at religion—want to be like YHVH’s saints, and to be the recipients of the blessings of Israel, and to be numbered among YHVH’s chosen, but few want to walk the difficult walk of holiness and righteousness required to receive these blessings and privileges. These may very well be the spiritual tares that surreptitiously exist along side the saints within their congregations.

Many people will “court YHVH” by getting as close to him as possible without actually crossing over that spiritual river that divides the land of Israel from the rest of the world. Those who actually cross over become an Ivrit or a Hebrew—a word which means “to cross over.” Abraham was one who crossed over. He forsook Babylon and crossed over the Euphrates and Jordan Rivers in his journey westward en route to the Promised Land as he followed YHVH’s leading. He was the first Hebrew (Ivrit) or “one who crossed over.” 

Crossing over means going from being a worldly Babylonian to becoming the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16; Eph 2:11–13) and a child of Abraham (Gal 3:29). It also means surrendering one’s life totally to the Elohim of the Hebrews who is YHVH. 

The sacrifice of crossing over is too great for most people to make and requires the payment price of a high price—the death of self, pride, one’s own will and perhaps a change in lifestyle and the loss of one’s friends and status in the world. To leave the world or spiritual Babylon and to cross over the Jordan River to YHVH’s side and come into the land of Israel as a spiritual Hebrew means that the fame and fortune that this world has to offer must be laid aside and one must become a servant-slave of YHVH. Moreover, it means embracing YHVH’s Torah as the law of life—Elohim’s instructions in righteousness. 

Balaam couldn’t cross over all the way. He still preferred the riches and fame Babylon had to offer. He was willful, carnal and greedy (Jude 11). 

Many religious game-players or cultural Christians in the mainstream church are like Balaam. They want the Savior part of Yeshua, but not the Lord part. How serious are you about serving YHVH? 

The Scriptures say of the end-times saints that they loved not their lives unto death (Rev 12:11). Paul declares that followers of Yeshua must become “living sacrifices” in the service of YHVH (Rom 12:1). Yeshua gave his very life for you. 

Are you holding back some of your life for him? Do the cares of this world, the desire for pleasures, material goods, money, entertainments or acclaim still have a grip on your heart? Are they preventing you from moving into your spiritual calling and destiny—to truly walk by faith in obedience to YHVH?

 

Dear Natan: What should be our attitude toward the church?

Someone on this blog just asked the following question:

Has the church developed another religion?

Natan’s reponse:

Yes and no. To me, it’s over simplistic and unbiblical when people categorically say either yes or no. In so doing, it usually supports their biases and arrogant thinking.

To be sure, the mainstream church is spiritual Babylon. Babylon means “confusion or mixture.” It’s a mixture of truth and error, good and evil, precious or holy and profane or polluted. Since post-apostolic times, the church to one degree has been feeding from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yet the people caught up in it are still YHVH’s (Yehovah’s) people. He says so in Revelation 18:4, when he urges, if not commands, his people to come out of spiritual Babylon. He calls them “my people.” So to parse this thing a bit further, the corporate, harlot church system is corrupt to one degree or another. Both good and evil have come from it, and YHVH’s people have been caught up on it unawares, and now he is urging them to come out of it.

Coming out is a process. None of us is out completely. Do we really even understand what it means to come “out”? For example, the Israelites came out of Egypt in a day, but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of them and for YHVH to get them ready for the Promised Land. Similarly, we can can come out of the world, and even out the the harlot, corporate, mainstream, Christo-pagan (or whatever other term you choose) Babylonian church system, but it will doubtless take a while to get all of its leavening out of us. We’re all still a work in progress, and there for his grace go each of us.

We should never look disparagingly upon the people caught up in the church system. We were there once too, but YHVH called us out of it. Now he’s cleansing us and preparing us to be the bride of Yeshua. We should only be thankful that he has called us and is long-suffering toward us. There is no room here for pride on our part, or for looking down on those who haven’t been called out yet. Only thankfulness, gratitude and humility!

Thus says YHVH: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, that I am YHVH, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says YHVH. (Jer 9:23–24)

 For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” says YHVH. “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word. (Isa 66:2)

 

Jacob Versus Laban = YHVH’s Saints Versus End Times Babylon

Is the greedy, idolatrous and enslaving grasp of modern Babylon holding you back from your spiritual destiny? It’s time to begin breaking free!

Genesis 31:43, These daughters are my daughters. Laban claims that Jacob’s wives and children belonged to him. Laban was also steeped in the idolatry of Babylon having in his possession idols or images called teraphim (Gen 31:19, 34–35), which legal symbols of his wealth, since they were actual title deeds to his property. These gods of one’s property also acted as good luck charms insuring the land’s prosperity. 

Is there a modern-day counterpart to this? Yes. Doesn’t modern Babylon want to control and possess the wives and children of redeemed Israel, indoctrinate them in its pagan religious system, and then keep Jacob’s modern descendants (Christians and Jews) from returning to their spiritual and physical homeland and birthright inheritance, and from returning to the Torah-faith of their fathers? Are governmental institutions (e.g. public educational institutions and state and federal Child Protective Services agencies, social welfare programs, various government regulations that have greatly diminished or eliminated many of our personal freedoms along with Elohim-given parental rights), socio-political organizations (e.g. ACLU, UN) and greedy corporate systems (banking systems that enslave people through debt, corrupters of our food supplies that destroy people’s health, pharmaceutical companies and the mainstream medical establishment that enslaves and destroys people’s minds and bodies through drugs) modern-day Labans who want to kill, steal and destroy for the benefit of money, power and control? Again, yes. 

Revelation 18:13 says that end times Babylon the Great will traffic in the bodies and souls of men. This is likely a reference to the trafficking in human body parts (for medical purposes, no doubt) and the enslavement of men’s hearts and minds. This speaks at some level of the modern day enslavement of people—of their religious expression, freedom of thought and action. In these end times, the saints of Elohim must protect themselves and their loved ones from the idols and the evil machinations of the Elohim-hating, devil worshiping idolators. 

Let us not forget John’s closing words in his first epistle: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). An idol is anything that gets between us and Elohim, and which moves us downward and away from him on our spiritual path instead of upward and closer to him.

Laban and Balaam. It is quite possible that the false prophet Balaam, who heard from YHVH and had a sense of righteousness, though was still steeped in paganism, was a descendant of Laban. Both Laban and Balaam were from Aram (part of greater Babylon) and only 280 years separated them. One of the Aramaic Targums (Targum Jonathan) equates Balaam with Laban, while other scholars view Balaam as Laban’s grandson. Both were involved in a mixed-religious system—some truth and some error, some good and some evil. This is the nature of religious Babylon (meaning “mixture” or “confusion”). A mixture of what? Of good and evil. Remember the tree by that name in the Garden of Eden? Who was the one who enticed man to indulge in that fruit in rebellion to YHVH’s commands? 

Even today, Satan the serpent is at the helm of spiritual Babylon trying to lure people into his system of good and evil. Like the tree of knowledge, the religious Babylon of today, out of which YHVH is calling his people (Rev 18:4), is just that—a mixture of truth and pagan lies. How else, for example, do we account for the name of the Christian festival called Easter or Ishtar named after the Babylonian sex goddess of fertility? Or how else do we account for the Christmas tree phallus symbol that also originated from Babylonian sex worship? Or how about the Easter egg (an ancient Babylonian fertility or sex symbol) or the egg on the Jewish Passover Seder plate? All these are symbols of pagan sex worship. 

As YHVH called Jacob away from Babylon back to Beth-el (the House of El), and as YHVH turned Jacob’s heart back to the ways of his fathers, is not the same YHVH likewise now calling his people to come out of religious Babylon (Rev 18:4), to separate themselves from that which is unclean or not kosher (2 Cor 6:17)? 

Yes, YHVH is pleading for the modern descendants of Jacob (redeemed Israelites or the Israel of Elohim, Gal 6:16) to not succumb to the lying forked-tongued Labans and Balaams of today who always over-promise and underdeliver—who would through deceptive lies pull Elohim’s back into their religious systems that are a mixture of truth and error. Elohim is urging his people to remember the good, ancient and blessed paths of the Torah of Moses his servant and to listen to the spirit of Elijah as the children’s hearts re turned back to the Hebraic fathers of their faith (Jer 6:16, 19; Mal 4:4–6).


 

Two Kind of Christians: Which One Are YOU? A Balaam or a Hebrew?

Numbers 22:10ff, Crossing over. Many carnal people—especially those playing at religion—want to be like YHVH’s saints, and to be the recipients of the blessings of Israel, and to be numbered among YHVH’s chosen, but few want to walk the walk required to receive these blessings and privileges. Many will “court YHVH” by getting as close to him as possible without actually crossing over that spiritual river that divides the land of Israel from the rest of the world.

Those who actually cross over become an Ivrit or a Hebrew, which means “to cross over.” Abraham was one who crossed over. He forsook Babylon and crossed over the Euphrates and Jordan Rivers in his journey westward en route to the Promised Land as he followed YHVH’s leading. He was the first Hebrew (Ivrit) or “one who crossed over.”

Crossing over means going from being a worldly Babylonian to becoming the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16; Eph 2:11–13) and a child of Abraham (Gal 3:29) It also means surrendering one’s life totally to the Elohim of the Hebrews who is YHVH. The sacrifice of crossing over is too great for most people to make—too great of a price to pay. To leave the world or spiritual Babylon and to cross over the Jordan River to YHVH’s side and come into the land of Israel as a spiritual Hebrew means that the fame and fortune that this world has to offer must be laid aside and one must become a servant-slave of YHVH. Moreover, it means embracing YHVH’s Torah as the law of life—Elohim’s instructions in righteousness.

Balaam couldn’t cross over all the way. He still preferred the riches, fame and sinful “delights” that Babylon had to offer. He was willful, carnal and greedy (Jude 11).

Many religious game-players or cultural Christians in the mainstream church are like Balaam. They want the Savior part of Yeshua, but not the Lord or Master part. How serious are you about serving YHVH? The Scriptures say of the end-times saints that they loved not their lives unto death (Rev 12:11). Paul declares that followers of Yeshua must become “living sacrifices” in the service of YHVH (Rom 12:1).

Yeshua gave his very life for you. Are you holding back some of your life for him? Do the cares of this world, the desire for pleasures, material goods, money, entertainments or acclaim still have a grip on your heart? Are they preventing you from moving into your spiritual calling and destiny—to truly walk by faith in obedience to YHVH?


 

Get thee out of Babylon!

And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. (Rev 18:4)

Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” (2 Cor 67:17)

These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to Elohim and to the Lamb.

Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of Elohim and the faith of Yeshua.…

Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of Elohim and the faith of Yeshua.

(Rev 14:4, 12)

Genesis 12:1, Get thee out of thy country. Did Abram immediately leave his father’s house and go directly to the country that YHVH would show him, or did he fulfill YHVH’s will for his life in incremental steps? (Compare Gen 11:31 with 12:1.) Did Abram leave his father’s house completely, or take part of his father’s house with him including his father and nephew? Haran is located in northern Mesopotamia and is nowhere near Canaan. When Abram finally made his way to Canaan minus his father, did he still have part of his kindred with him, something YHVH instructed him to leave behind (Gen 12:1)? Did his nephew Lot prove to be a help or a hindrance to Abram in fulfilling YHVH’s mission for his life in a new land?

What lessons can we learn from this account? First, YHVH is gracious to us even when we don’t obey him completely and immediately. Scripture still refers to Abraham as the father of the faithful or faithfulness (Rom 4:12, 16). Second, Abram was a man of prominence in Babylon (or Chaldea), was recognized as a mighty prince (Gen 23:6), and was 75 years old when YHVH asked him to leave the comforts of life in Babylon to trek across the desert to the backwoods region of Canaan. No doubt, this was not an easy move for Abram for the reasons stated above.

What did Yeshua tell his disciples about the sacrifices that would need to be made to be a follower of YHVH? (Matt 10:35–39). What did Yeshua say would be the eternal rewards of those, who like our father Abraham, set out in faith for a new spiritual destiny? (Matt 19:29) What physical obstacles stand in your way of fulfilling YHVH’s spiritual calling, mission and destiny for your life?

Presently, YHVH is calling his people out of the spiritual Babylon (Rev 18:4) of man-made religious systems that, to one degree or another, have supplanted the simple truths of YHVH’s word with doctrines and traditions of men. Anything that takes precedence in the hearts and minds of men that is contrary to the Bible is, by biblical definition, an idol. End times spiritual Babylon is full of idolatry. It is a confused mixture of truth and lies. YHVH called Abram out of Babylon, and he’s calling his people out of Babylon today to worship and obey him in Spirit and truth. His end time saints will be those who follow Yeshua the Messiah unconditionally wherever he goes (Rev 14:4–6). Their chief identification mark is that they follow the Torah-commandments of Elohim and have the faith of Yeshua—their lives have been transformed by the message of the gospel (Rev 14:17; 12:14).

Let us follow the example of our father Abraham and in faith follow YHVH Elohim as he leads us onward and upward. This is our righteousness!

And he believed in YHVH, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. (Gen 15:6)