Israel Is a Sinful Nation Then and Now

Isaiah 1:1–27

Based on this passage in Isaiah, can we see any spiritual parallels between Judah and America (and most other nations, for that matter)? Some might ask what a prophecy given by a Hebrew prophet to the Jewish nation some 2600 years ago has to do with us today? To answer that question we would pose several questions: Have YHVH’s standards of righteousness and law and order ever changed? Is sin still sin today as it was then? Is there a day coming when YHVH will hold humans accountable for their sinful action? Is there a heavenly judgment seat before which all must eventually appear? Is there a day coming at the end of the age when Elohim will pour out his wrath and man will be punished for his sins against his Creator? With these things in mind, let’s see if the sinful activities of humans have changed much in 2600 years since Isaiah’s time.

Isaiah 1:2, They have rebelled against me.What is the scriptural definition of rebellion? Rebellion against what? For the concept of rebellion to be relevant and applicable there has to be a standard or rule of law the violation of which constitutes rebellion. What is YHVH’s standard of righteousness by which he will judge nations and individuals? Has that standard ever changed? Make no mistake, YHVH’s standard of righteousness is his immutable Word, and by it he will judge all humans. There is no escaping this fact. (Read John 12:48 and Deuteronomy 18:19.)

Isaiah 1:3, The ox knows its owner. The “Beasts of the Field Explained.” Apostasy and spiritual degradation leads to one place: a complete loss of one’s spiritual identity. When one forgets one’s spiritual heritage and relationship with their Creator, they becomes, in a sense, like an animal, maybe even worse. (See 2 Pet 2:12 and Jude 1:10.) 

As an interesting side note, Scripture prophesied that Israel would become animalistic in its apostate condition as it sought to imitate the heathen nations around it. As a result and in judgment, YHVH would allow Israel to be taken over and swallowed up by the same nations, which Scripture refers to by the Hebraism or Hebrew poetic metaphor “the beasts of the field.” In Deuteronomy 7:22, we see that this same Hebraism represent the nations of the earth from which Israel was to stay separate. (See also Jer 12:9; 27:6; Dan 7:3.) The children of Israel were scattered or exiled and became “meat” or prey for all the beasts of the field (Isa 56:9; Ezek 34:5; Hos 2:12). Scripture likens exiled Ephraim (the Northern Kingdom), who fell into idolatry and mixed with the beast (Gentile) nations, to beasts of the field themselves (Hos 2:16–19 cp. Acts 10:12). In the future, YHVH will make a covenant (a marriage betrothal agreement or ketubah) with Israel who had themselves become “beasts of the field” (Hos 2:18; see also Jer 31:31–33 cp. Rom 1:23,18–25).

Can you see America and the formerly Christian West in this? These nations were once a predominately Christian, but now have rejected and scorn their spiritual heritage. What has been the result of this spiritual and moral declension? What is the current state of Christianity in these formerly Western Christian nations? Can we not see how YHVH has been lifting his hand of blessing off of them, and how with their spiritual and moral decline they have been declining economically, goepolitically and culturally?

Isaiah 1:4, A sinful nation.The Word Goy Explained. The word nation is the Hebrew word goy (Strong’s H1471) meaning “gentile”or, in a spiritual sense, “heathen”This is one of a number of passages in Scripture where Israel is referred to as a gentile nation

In the KJV, Goy is translated in the Tanakh as nation 374 times, as heathen 143 times, as Gentiles 30 times, and people 11 times. Whenever the word gentile is used in the KJV it is the word goy. According to Strong’s Concordance, the meaning of goy is “a foreign nation; hence a Gentile; also (fig.) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts.”According to Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon,the word goy means “a people, a confluence of men,” and “contextually in holy Scripture it is used to refer to the other nations besides Israel, the foes of Israel, and strangers to the true religion of Israel.” 

There are times when this word refers specifically to Israel: 

  • The descendants of Joseph in general (Gen 48:19) 
  • The Southern Kingdom of Judah when it forsook Elohim and its covenant with him and became like the surrounding heathen nations (Isa 1:4) 
  • The Northern Kingdom of Israel or Ephraim or Samaria (Isa 9:1) 
  • Israel in general (Isa 26:2; 49:7; Ps 33:12; Gen 12:2; 35:11). 

There are numerous other instances in Scripture where the words goy or goyim (plural) are applied to the descendants of Abraham. Scripture’s use of the term is unbiased and lacks any of the pejorative implications that have been applied to the term subsequently (e.g. Gen 17:4, 5, 6, 16; 18:18; 25:23; 46:3; Exod 19:6; 33:13; Deut 4:6, 7, 8, 34; Ezek 37:22). 

As already noted, goy simply means “people group.” The Greek word ethnos (Strong’s G1484) as found in the Testimony of Yeshua is equivalent in meaning to the Hebrew word goy.

Isaiah 1:4,They have forsaken YHVH.As a society, the West has forsaken its biblical heritage, and has turned its backs on YHVH. Not long ago, a popular bumper sticker read, “God Bless America.” Many want YHVH’s blessing, but how can he bless us when we have become an irreligious, amoral, irreverent, rebellious and hedonistic people? He will not bless wickedness! That bumper sticker instead should read, “Bless God America!” or perhaps even humbly beg, “Please God, bless America.” It is only when we begin blessing him through worshipping him and obeying him that he can then bless us. We will then show him by our righteous actions that we are not forsaking him. The Torah and the Prophets sections of Scripture all reveal that YHVH’s were conditional upon Israel’s obedience to Elohim. Curses were the result of disobedience. This is stated no more clearly than in Deuteronomy 28.

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Church, Inc.—Drive merchandizing out of the corporate church!

Matthew 21:12–13, Yeshua went into the temple.

Greed, merchandizing, corporatism, and peddling must be driven from the church, even as Yeshua drove the money changers and merchandizers out of his Father’s house of prayer. The church of Elohim must be cleansed of these illegitimate and unrighteous activities. The tables of those who promote such a system must be overturned.

Yeshua is going to clean house before his second coming and expose those who are the greedy hirelings who are shearing his sheep for their personal financial gain versus those who have a heart of sacrificial service and obedience to him. 

Elsewhere Yeshua rebukes the selfish shepherds who refuse to lay down their lives for his sheep (John 10:11–13). Ezekiel the prophet also excoriates the greedy hireling shepherds who feed themselves instead of feeding YHVH’s sheep resulting in spiritually weak and malnourished sheep who are prey for the grievous wolves (Ezek 34:1–31). 

At the same time, YHVH promises to raise up shepherds after his own heart who will gather in and care for his lost and scattered sheep (ibid.). 

Similarly, Paul the apostle though in full-time ministry for decades still worked with his hands as a tent maker to support himself financially. He rebuked some of his fellow ministers when he said, “For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of Elohim; but as of sincerity, but as from Elohim, we speak in the sight of Elohim in Messiah” (2 Cor 2:17). Paul goes on to say elsewhere that in his day there were those preachers “whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain” (Titus 1:11). 

Peter chimes in on the subject as well identifying those in the ministry who “[b]y covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber” (2 Pet 2:3). 

Finally, Yeshua when speaking of rewards refers to those who serve YHVH for earthy rewards versus those who do so for heavenly rewards:

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Is the mainstream Western church apostate?

2 Thessalonians 2:3, Falling away [Gr. apostasia].

Whether the mainstream Western church is apostate or not depends on how define the word “apostate.” The word apostate comes from the biblical Greek apostasia, which literally means “a falling away or defection or forsaking of the truth.” That word is found in only two places in the NT. One place is 2 Thess 2:3. What is Paul telling us that people are falling away from? From the truth (see verses 10, 12, 13). What is the truth? Yeshua is the truth (John 14:6), so is the Word of Elohim (John 17:17), and so is the Torah (Ps 119:141, 152), and finally, to unite everything together, Yeshua is the Torah-Word of Elohim in flesh form (John 1:1, 14).

The other place that apostasia is found in the NT is Acts 21:21 where some Jews were falsely accusing Paul of forsaking or falling away from the Torah—an accusation he vigorously opposed, even to his own personal detriment. In defending himself against this lie, he eventually was arrested and sent to Rome for trial, which eventually led to his martyrdom. Ironically and sadly, the mainstream Christian church, to this day, believes the lies of Paul’s false accusers—that he was forsaking or abandoning or falling away (apostasia) from the truth of the law. So now to answer your question specifically: Is the American church apostate? The answer is yes and no. To the degree that the church, any church, or person, or denomination or whatever doesn’t have the truth (as the Bible defines it) is the degree to which that person, church or religious institution is apostate. The church teaches many biblical truths, but also teaches many lies. To the degree that any person or institution teaches against the truth of the Bible is to the degree to which that person or system is apostate or a part of the Babylonian mystery religious system, which YHVH is currently calling his people out of as per Revelation 18:4.

The word Babylon means “confusion or mixture,” and it’s a confusion of truth and lies, good and evil, like the tree by that name. The devil or serpent is in the details. However, when we read the details of Scripture and put the pieces of truth together (“here a little, there a little” and “rightly dividing the word of Elohim”), a very different picture emerges, and it’s not always a pleasant picture either; namely how humans have often twisted and eviscerated the pure light of YHVH’s biblical truth, with the help of the serpent who is slyly hiding camouflaged in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

What is the main point I’m trying to make here? Simply this. None of is right before YHVH. (Only the imputed righteousness of Yeshua and the work of the Spirit of Elohim in our lives makes us right before the Kadosh One of Israel.) To the degree that any of us (including our Christian, lost sheep of the house of Israel brethren) aren’t walking according to the light of the truth of both the Living and Written Torah-Word of Elohim is to the degree that we are apostate and under the control of the world, the flesh and the devil.

 

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)

 

Is the church apostate?

I just got an email from Mark who asked me some questions that I suspect many of you are asking, have asked, or know people who have these questions. Maybe my answers below will help someone to emerge out of some of the fog of religious confusion.
The first question: What has been happening in the Western Protestant church in Elohim’s bigger scheme?
Since Luther and the Protestant Reformation to the present, it has become clear to me that Elohim has been slowly restoring biblical truths that the early apostolic, Book of Acts church had and that the proto–  and Roman Catholic Church either lost or suppressed. As each new truth was rediscovered, a denomination or institution formed around that truth. After each such occurrence, institutions were formed around those truths, and then humans politics, pride, greed and and corporatism entered in along with unbiblical traditions of men. As new biblical truths were subsequently discovered, new groups split off of the existing denominational structures and the process simply repeated itself. Elohim has been restoring truths to his church for the past 500 years. Most people park themselves at various truths and then pridefully name themselves after those who discovered those truths (e.g. Lutherans, Mennonites, Amish, Wesleyans, etc.) or after the truths themselves (Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, etc.).
Meanwhile, there are truth-seekers who keep pushing forward as they see more things in Christianity that don’t line up with Scripture. This brings us to the modern day biblical roots movement where many people are returning to the first century apostolic faith, which was Torah-based and believed that Yeshua was the Messiah.
What made you leave the evangelical church to come back to where you are now?
I was born and raised in a basic Torah-observant, Christian family. When I was 30 I left that and went into Protestant Christianity for several years where I learned a lot of good things. Pretty soon, I began to realize that they weren’t teaching the whole truth of the Bible, so I left that and struck out on my own. Soon, I found others who believed as I do. That’s where I am today.
Is the American church apostate?
It depends on what you mean by “apostate.” The word apostate comes from the biblical Greek apostasia, which literally means “a falling away or defection or forsaking of the truth.” That word is found in only two places in the NT. One place is 2 Thess 2:3. What is Paul telling us that people are falling away from? From the truth (see verses 10, 12, 13). What is the truth? Yeshua is the truth (John 14:6), so is the Word of Elohim (John 17:17), and so is the Torah (Ps 119:141, 152), and finally, to unite everything together, Yeshua is the Torah-Word of Elohim in flesh form (John 1:1, 14).
The other place that apostasia is found in the NT is Acts 21:21 where some Jews were falsely accusing Paul of forsaking or falling away from the Torah—an accusation he vigorously opposed, even to his own personal detriment. In defending himself against this lie, he eventually was arrested and sent to Rome for trial, which eventually led to his martyrdom. Ironically and sadly, the mainstream Christian church, to this day, believes the lies of Paul’s false accusers—that he was forsaking or abandoning or falling away (apostasia) from the truth of the law. So now to answer your question specifically: Is the American church apostate? The answer is yes and no. To the degree that the church, any church, or person, or denomination or whatever doesn’t have the truth (as the Bible defines it) is the degree to which that person, church or religious institution is apostate. The church teaches many biblical truths, but also teaches many lies. To the degree that any person or institution teaches against the truth of the Bible is to the degree to which that person or system is apostate or a part of the Babylonian mystery religious system, which YHVH is currently calling his people out of as per Revelation 18:4.
The word Babylon means “confusion or mixture,” and it’s a confusion of truth and lies, good and evil, like the tree by that name. The devil or serpent is in the details. However, when we read the details of Scripture and put the pieces of truth together (“here a little, there a little” and “rightly dividing the word of Elohim”), a very different picture emerges, and it’s not always a pleasant picture either; namely how humans have often twisted and eviscerated the pure light of YHVH’s biblical truth, with the help of the serpent who is slyly hiding camouflaged in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
What is the main point I’m trying to make here? Simply this. None of is right before YHVH. (Only the imputed righteousness of Yeshua and the work of the Spirit of Elohim in our lives makes us right before the Kadosh One of Israel.) To the degree that any of us (including our Christian, lost sheep of the house of Israel brethren) aren’t walking according to the light of the truth of both the Living and Written Torah-Word of Elohim is to the degree that we are apostate and under the control of the world, the flesh and the devil.

 

History Repeats Itself Again and Again—The Golden Calf, the Church and YOU

Exodus 32:1, Moses delayed coming. Moses is a prophetic picture of Yeshua. Moses’ descending from Mount Sinai is a prophetic picture of Yeshua descending from heaven to the earth the first and second time. When the people presumed that Moses delayed his coming, they fell to the temptation to syncretize with the heathen religious system around them by yielding to their baser nature giving in to the lusts of their flesh as expressed in golden calf worship. Heathen, man-made religious systems have lower moral and spiritual standards than those of YHVH. In many respects, the mainstream church has done the same thing as the ancient Israelites by acting as if Yeshua has delayed his second coming, and by conforming to some of the world’s standards and customs. This is a form of golden calf worship, which is a mixture of Torah-truth and pagan practices. Yeshua warned his disciples against this proclivity of humans to grow impatient and spiritually cold wile waiting for his return (Matt 24:48).

Exodus 32:2, Break off the golden earrings. The Christian people have generously given the mainstream church much gold and other wealth over the past 1900 years. In the mean time, with that wealth, the church system has constructed many huge religious monuments. These are monuments, in part, to the gods of materialism, and is a form of golden calf worship. Neither Yeshua nor his disciples needed vast sums of money, resources or monuments to spread the gospel message. What they lacked in material resources they made up with passion for the gospel message and with the anointing of YHVH to proclaim that gospel with miraculous power. What the mainstream church largely lacks in passion and the anointing to spread the gospel, they now, sadly, substituted with wealth and religious monuments.

The Golden Calf Incident: A Prophetic Picture of the Church

On Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost), at Mount Sinai, YHVH entered into a marriage covenant with the children of Israel, but they were not ready to live up to the terms of that covenant. Those terms, simply stated, involved the Israelites being faithful and obedient only to YHVH, Israel’s Elohim (God) and spiritual husband, and to follow his instruction in righteousness, the Torah. This Israel quickly demonstrated they were not Continue reading