The Badge of Christianity

John 13:35 (NKJV):

By this, all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

I’m sure we’ve all heard that love is the distinguishing mark of Christianity, yet why does it seem so elusive? There are plenty of scriptures that encourage us to love, to grow in love, or to exemplify love (Hebrews 13:1, Romans 12:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, 2 Peter 1:7-8, and of course 1 Corinthians 13). Yeshua himself states in Matthew 22:36-40 that the sum and substance of the Law and the Prophets (in other words, the entire Old Testament!) is to love YHWH with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.

We know from John 8:39-44 that, without (and before) being born again, we are not sons and daughters of YHWH, but rather sons and daughters of our illegitimate “father” the devil. And he, being the father of lies and incapable of love, did not teach us how to love, but rather how to lust.

Upon being born again and receiving the Holy Spirit, we are equipped with the tools to learn how to love, but like any other spiritual discipline, love must be practiced. We must also discern between the different kinds of love. There are three kinds most Christians are familiar with, along with a mysterious fourth kind I might propose.

The most familiar kind of love, and often the kind we think we have an easy handle on, is eros, the erotic type of love between physical lovers (i.e., man and wife). This type of love is also the type most easily perverted by the devil and turned into lust, and indeed a great deception of our time is the notion that human sexuality is “natural” and that it is “healthy” to explore it and have as much casual sex as one desires. This is not supported in the scriptures, as sex involves soul ties, spiritual unions and “two flesh becoming one” – not something to be done casually. Sexual addictions are often extremely damaging to the people that suffer from them. And as Yeshua taught in the Sermon on the Mount, looking lustfully can be just as spiritually damaging as fully engaging in the act – I can attest to the truth of this having been in bondage to a pornography addiction, which, among other things, corrupts one into viewing the opposite sex as objects and makes it difficult to treat them with true love.

The second type of love familiar to most Christians is phileo love, the kind of love demonstrated between very close friends (such as David and Johnathan). Service in the military is a great place to learn phileo love, as you learn to be willing to sacrifice your own life in preference for the lives of your battle brothers and sisters. Phileo love promotes harmony and unity, as described in Philippians 2:1-4.

The third type of love, exemplified in 1 Corinthians 13, is agapē love – a determined kind of love, a kind of love that says “I am going to love this person unconditionally, no matter the circumstance.” The scripture speaks for itself on this point, so I don’t think I need to elaborate on it much.

The fourth and somewhat mysterious kind of love is called sorgé love, and it is the Father’s love. Yeshua carried the power of sorgé love when he was on the Earth, and imparted sorgé love to heal and to cast out demons and to perform other miracles.

Just as Yeshua said the world would know his disciples by the love they shared for each other, he taught people can be known by their fruits. Because, if you’ll permit the word, real Christianity is about a living and loving relationship with the Creator of the universe, mediated by His Son through His Spirit, the fruit people bear in relationships with other people speak about the fruit of their relationship with the Father and vice versa. 1 John 4:20 attests to this principle.

How do we actually go about demonstrating our love for God? Read and reflect on the book of 1 John – but the sum and substance is, His love abides in us, is perfected in us, and we demonstrate our love for Him if we keep His commandments.

Of course, like anything, intellectual understanding only profits so much. Indeed, re-scripting the mind according to the scriptures and meditating on Biblical examples of love is a necessary first step towards becoming a loving person. But it can’t merely be an intellectual exercise; love must be put into practice. The mind thinks loving thoughts, the mouth confesses loving expressions, and the heart begins to swell with compassion and the same love Yeshua carried on earth.

Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand

Matthew 3:1-2 (NKJV):

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:17 (NKJV):

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

What does it mean to repent? If you look in a dictionary, the definition of the word probably entails feeling sorry and (hopefully) taking action to correct a mistake. But in the Bible, the word “repent” is derived from the Greek word metanoeo, which actually means to change one’s mind (or thinking).

Many verses in the Bible are concerned with the mind, and rightly so. It is the strategic center for spiritual warfare, and it is the place where the devil will most often try to attack you. Fear, depression, doubt, unbelief, and anger (to name a few) can all begin in the mind. If we know the truth – which Yeshua said would set us free – then we can also receive the peace of YHWH which surpasses all understanding. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV):

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

YHWH often works in trinities (Himself being triune), and one such trinity defines the way we live our lives. That trinity is the trinity of our thoughts, the condition of our heart, and the words that utter forth out of our mouths. Some great scripture to help in these areas are Romans 12 for the mind, Romans 8 for the heart and Romans 10 for the mouth.

The second part I want to highlight from the verses I quoted at the beginning is the phrase “at hand.” The Kingdom of Heaven was available 2000 years ago when Yeshua ushered it in, and it’s available now. This is because the Kingdom of Heaven is not temporal, but it is rather eternal. In the Gospel of Luke, the Pharisees ask Yeshua where the Kingdom could be found, and he answers that it does not come with observation, but rather is inside you.

Yeshua instructs his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount to seek first the kingdom (eternal), and all the other things necessary for existence in the temporal will fall into place. Our eternal fates are of far greater importance than our temporal fates, and it takes repentance (changing our thinking) to switch from a temporal view to an eternal view.

It is my prayer and aspiration to use the scripture to “re-script” my life, divest myself of sin, and be a vessel for the Spirit to help bring people out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Heaven. I am looking ahead to being part of the greater miracles Yeshua promised his disciples!

Metaphysics and Mystical Experiences

Continuing the train of thought from my earlier post on metaphysics:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T_P14JjMcM]
The video speaks for itself, so I won’t waste your time repeating its content.

Another topic I consider metaphysical – though some might not – is the topic of the make up of the spiritual realm. I encounter many people who seem happy to believe in Elohim – the Creator – and that a man named Yeshua (Jesus) existed some 2000 years ago. They may or may not believe in the miracles. They may or may not believe in the resurrection. They emphatically agree that loving God and loving your neighbors are the right way to live. But, often because of the history of the Bible or misunderstandings concerning how ancient texts are analyzed and translated, these well meaning people conclude we don’t need the scriptures to tell us how to pursue a relationship with God. When push comes to shove, they often cite their own “spiritual experiences” to back up their assertions.

Now, when I said I considered this topic somewhat metaphysical, it’s because it has to do with the nature of reality that is in fact much more real than observable reality. It kind of goes back to the difference between temporal reality and eternal reality – the spiritual realm is where angels, both righteous and fallen, reside. The Bible clearly affirms the existence of angels, as well as demonic spirits, and the spiritual realm. But if you are one to throw out the scriptures, you may argue that there are no such things as demons, or that Satan is just a metaphor for human misconduct, or there is no such thing as “evil.” And you might be arguing this because – and listen carefully – a demon disguised as an angel of light whispered sweet things in your ear about tolerance and respecting all paths to God and so on and you – being untrained in the scriptures; not believing in the scriptures; not recognizing Yeshua as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the way, the truth, and the life – are now living according to doctrines of demons!

But what really are “spiritual experiences,” especially if people who don’t prescribe to a certain religion can claim to have had such experiences from God? I think William James did a pretty good job summing it up in 1902, though he called them mystical experiences. To summarize, mystical experiences are defined by two major and two minor qualities – in the major, they (1) defy expression, (2) are authoritative as providing insight into truth; in the minor, they (1) are transient (cannot be maintained for a long time) and (2) are passive (i.e. cannot be voluntarily induced).

Don’t believe the what I said 2 paragraphs ago? Despite being exactly one of the people I describe (having succumbed to my own spiritual experiences, and consequently coming to some odd conclusions), the scriptures testify of these matters. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NKJV), Paul warns the church about false apostles but also expounds on Satan’s power to deceive:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Paul also warns Timothy – and by extension Church leadership – about doctrines of demons in 1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV):

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”

Not every sweet voice that whispers to you good sounding things is of God! 1 John 4:1-3 NKJV:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Why is it so critical we place our trust and faith – pledge our fealty and sacrifice our lives – to Christ? In large part because Christ is truth and everything else is a lie! John 18:37 (NKJV):

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Yeshua answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

John 14:6 (NKJV) reads:

Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 8:31-32 (NKJV) reads:

Then Yeshua said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in my word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Most people remember verse 32, but not verse 31, which instructs us to abide in Yeshua’s words, to be disciples (disciplined ones) of Him! We can see clearly from the scriptures above that a chief aim (or even THE chief aim) of Yeshua’s earthly ministry was to prove there is an absolute truth and to lead people to that truth! Ever notice how Paul frames spiritual warfare almost in the terms of a debate in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5? The scripture reads:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…

Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to Christ – the mind is central to spiritual warfare, and truth is central to obtaining the mind of Christ!

We now know that we cannot come to the Father, except through Yeshua. But are we allowed to worship our Father in just any way? Well, the answer has some depth. While Abba – YHWH our Father – is absolutely a loving God (1 John 4:8 NKJV: He who does not love does not know God, for God is love), he is also absolutely a Holy God – Jehovah Tsidkenu, the LORD of righteousness. (Leviticus 19:2 NKJV: “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I YHWH your Elohim am holy.”) In our Father, there isn’t even the slightest hint of evil – James 1:17 NKJV: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

In the Old Covenant, there were many rituals and laws designed to protect people from YHWH’s holiness. You might be saying – say that again? Because the people were sinful – and because the only mediator between YHWH and man was the Law, which was perfect but unattainable for man – YHWH had to protect the people from Himself lest he obliterate them with his holiness. Take for example the story of the profane fire from Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10 1-3 NKJV):

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before YHWH, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from YHWH and devoured them, and they died before YHWH. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what YHWH spoke, saying:
‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.'”
So Aaron held his peace.

Nadab and Abihu offered profane fire in a manner not instructed according to YHWH’s righteousness and were consumed by his holiness.

Now, Yeshua has come, and stated in John 4:24 (NKJV) “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Moreover, by His death and resurrection, He tore the veil between God and man, pouring out His Spirit and serving as Mediator of a new covenant that grants direct access to our Father (Hebrews 9:11-15 NKJV):

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Yet this still doesn’t mean “worship any which way you please!” As 1 John 2:3-4 states:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Yeshua had many commandments – such as the one above, “abide in My word.” Or the whole Sermon on the Mount. But it’s about time to wrap this post up.

The take away I’m getting at is, you can’t just trust your emotions when it comes to spiritual encounters. Satan is deceitful. Most people aren’t going to knowingly worship something evil, but they might be duped into abandoning the truth for a sweet sounding lie. (This is sometimes called COMPROMISING!) Make sure you know the truth. Pray that the Holy Spirit aid you in living the truth.

Metaphysics and Mystical Experiences

Continuing the train of thought from my earlier post on metaphysics:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T_P14JjMcM]
The video speaks for itself, so I won’t waste your time repeating its content.

Another topic I consider metaphysical – though some might not – is the topic of the make up of the spiritual realm. I encounter many people who seem happy to believe in Elohim – the Creator – and that a man named Yeshua (Jesus) existed some 2000 years ago. They may or may not believe in the miracles. They may or may not believe in the resurrection. They emphatically agree that loving God and loving your neighbors are the right way to live. But, often because of the history of the Bible or misunderstandings concerning how ancient texts are analyzed and translated, these well meaning people conclude we don’t need the scriptures to tell us how to pursue a relationship with God. When push comes to shove, they often cite their own “spiritual experiences” to back up their assertions.

Now, when I said I considered this topic somewhat metaphysical, it’s because it has to do with the nature of reality that is in fact much more real than observable reality. It kind of goes back to the difference between temporal reality and eternal reality – the spiritual realm is where angels, both righteous and fallen, reside. The Bible clearly affirms the existence of angels, as well as demonic spirits, and the spiritual realm. But if you are one to throw out the scriptures, you may argue that there are no such things as demons, or that Satan is just a metaphor for human misconduct, or there is no such thing as “evil.” And you might be arguing this because – and listen carefully – a demon disguised as an angel of light whispered sweet things in your ear about tolerance and respecting all paths to God and so on and you – being untrained in the scriptures; not believing in the scriptures; not recognizing Yeshua as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the way, the truth, and the life – are now living according to doctrines of demons!

But what really are “spiritual experiences,” especially if people who don’t prescribe to a certain religion can claim to have had such experiences from God? I think William James did a pretty good job summing it up in 1902, though he called them mystical experiences. To summarize, mystical experiences are defined by two major and two minor qualities – in the major, they (1) defy expression, (2) are authoritative as providing insight into truth; in the minor, they (1) are transient (cannot be maintained for a long time) and (2) are passive (i.e. cannot be voluntarily induced).

Don’t believe the what I said 2 paragraphs ago? Despite being exactly one of the people I describe (having succumbed to my own spiritual experiences, and consequently coming to some odd conclusions), the scriptures testify of these matters. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NKJV), Paul warns the church about false apostles but also expounds on Satan’s power to deceive:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Paul also warns Timothy – and by extension Church leadership – about doctrines of demons in 1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV):

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”

Not every sweet voice that whispers to you good sounding things is of God! 1 John 4:1-3 NKJV:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Why is it so critical we place our trust and faith – pledge our fealty and sacrifice our lives – to Christ? In large part because Christ is truth and everything else is a lie! John 18:37 (NKJV):

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Yeshua answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

John 14:6 (NKJV) reads:

Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 8:31-32 (NKJV) reads:

Then Yeshua said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in my word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Most people remember verse 32, but not verse 31, which instructs us to abide in Yeshua’s words, to be disciples (disciplined ones) of Him! We can see clearly from the scriptures above that a chief aim (or even THE chief aim) of Yeshua’s earthly ministry was to prove there is an absolute truth and to lead people to that truth! Ever notice how Paul frames spiritual warfare almost in the terms of a debate in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5? The scripture reads:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…

Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to Christ – the mind is central to spiritual warfare, and truth is central to obtaining the mind of Christ!

We now know that we cannot come to the Father, except through Yeshua. But are we allowed to worship our Father in just any way? Well, the answer has some depth. While Abba – YHWH our Father – is absolutely a loving God (1 John 4:8 NKJV: He who does not love does not know God, for God is love), he is also absolutely a Holy God – Jehovah Tsidkenu, the LORD of righteousness. (Leviticus 19:2 NKJV: “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I YHWH your Elohim am holy.”) In our Father, there isn’t even the slightest hint of evil – James 1:17 NKJV: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

In the Old Covenant, there were many rituals and laws designed to protect people from YHWH’s holiness. You might be saying – say that again? Because the people were sinful – and because the only mediator between YHWH and man was the Law, which was perfect but unattainable for man – YHWH had to protect the people from Himself lest he obliterate them with his holiness. Take for example the story of the profane fire from Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10 1-3 NKJV):

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before YHWH, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from YHWH and devoured them, and they died before YHWH. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what YHWH spoke, saying:
‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.'”
So Aaron held his peace.

Nadab and Abihu offered profane fire in a manner not instructed according to YHWH’s righteousness and were consumed by his holiness.

Now, Yeshua has come, and stated in John 4:24 (NKJV) “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Moreover, by His death and resurrection, He tore the veil between God and man, pouring out His Spirit and serving as Mediator of a new covenant that grants direct access to our Father (Hebrews 9:11-15 NKJV):

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Yet this still doesn’t mean “worship any which way you please!” As 1 John 2:3-4 states:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Yeshua had many commandments – such as the one above, “abide in My word.” Or the whole Sermon on the Mount. But it’s about time to wrap this post up.

The take away I’m getting at is, you can’t just trust your emotions when it comes to spiritual encounters. Satan is deceitful. Most people aren’t going to knowingly worship something evil, but they might be duped into abandoning the truth for a sweet sounding lie. (This is sometimes called COMPROMISING!) Make sure you know the truth. Pray that the Holy Spirit aid you in living the truth.

Dreams and Visions April 12, 2014

Acts 2:17 NKJV:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.

I just woke up from a very intense dream with a lot of imagery. I’m trying to write down what I can recollect of it before it disappears into the ether. (This post was written over two sessions – an initial session to outline as much as I could, then a second session to expand on my notes.)

I’m not sure where the dream started precisely, but some of the things I remember dreaming about include being joyfully reunited with an old friend and his family (sharing a big hug with my friend’s father), reliving a bizarre high school graduation ceremony for a high school I never graduated from (which involved people jumping from great heights and doing other kinds of weird circus stunts), and being in some kind of classroom environment with an old friend then acting like a giddy old fool when another (female) friend from the past comes in.

At some point, though, my dreams took on a spiritual nature. I can’t recall which came first, so I’ll share them in the order that makes sense. But a little background on my dreams of late first.

Over the past year or more, I’ve been having dreams that I knew were windows into the spiritual realm and the spiritual competition, but they were usually brief and usually visitations by dark spirits trying to frighten or bully me. Most of the time these dreams were wordless, and even after a fashion imageless, but sometimes I could hear dark spirits (I don’t want to say Satan is personally tormenting me when he has a whole army to do his bidding) saying specific things. I learned to start “calling on the name of YHWH” in my dreams, chanting “ani yod hey vav hey” over and over or quoting scriptures that came to mind. Sometimes I have the experience of descending from great heights into a deep depth.

Other times, light will dispel the darkness, and I’ll have the experience of being taken upward into the heavenlies. I can’t recall any specific messages that have been imparted to me there. Anyway.

The “spiritual” part of my dream began, I think, with a sort of vision of a battle in the heavenlies. There was the force of darkness on one side, which I didn’t get a good visual look at, and the force of light on another, which was represented by what could have been about a dozen human figures – I didn’t get an exact count. So it could have been the Apostles, or more likely just a representation of “the saints,” as they were obliterated(!) by the forces of darkness. Revelation 13:7 reads “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them…” Just as the darkness was to turn on me, I was whisked away.

Inside my dream, I had the experience of “waking up” and trying to call my spiritual mentor to tell him about the dream, but the dreamscape ended up shifting around so much it made using my phone difficult, and I accidentally called the wrong person.

Then came the most powerful part of the dream. I was in what must have been Paradise, where Yeshua himself was conducting a seder with several other people around a stone table under a tree. I was invited to sit at a seat across from a woman, and Yeshua was diagonal to me. I think I made some misstep when the food was passed my way because I took two bites instead of one and the participants laughed. That was all there was to this part of the dream, but it was powerful to me because I’ve been praying for a long time to have a visitation in a dream.

Then the scene shifted to some kind of strange desert tour for some reason. It seemed to be headed by some archaeologists and they were giving a sort of powerpoint presentation before we actually went on the tour. I can’t remember the exact words I saw on the screen, but they intimated something along the lines of being incorrect about their theory regarding the “god of creation” being a “lesser, jealous god” or something of the sort. Then we were in the middle of the desert, supposedly meeting this lesser god the presentation was talking about, who turned out to be a demonic spirit of some kind, with a face of pitch black. Suddenly, I was beset by all manner of verbal assault, foul language and blasphemy, and enveloped in a cloud of darkness as large skulls floated towards me. Curiously, this portion of the dream played out almost like an arcade game, where I deflected the skulls (I tried using verbal tactics like quoting scripture) and dissipated the darkness.

Then there was a portion of the dream that I can only describe as a sort of baptism. I was immersed in warm, purifying water and taken through a long sort of chamber. I awake sopping wet in a hotel room and encounter my spiritual mentor as I rush out the door. I get the sense that he already has had the same dream as I have had, or knows what I know, and moreover I’m overcome with this overwhelming sense of “living in the kingdom” – the only phrase I can use to describe it. Time doesn’t seem to have its usual effect on me, I feel like I finally grasp the true miracle of eternal life, and I stop rushing about to get things done. My mentor and I agree to meet up somewhere later to discuss the dream I had in more detail, but first I return to get changed.

Then the scene changes once more and I’m in the back of a truck with another of my mentor’s spiritual sons, a mutual friend, and I’m trying to get a hold of my mentor by telephone. I’ll spare going into too much detail as the dream is starting to come out of spiritual significance, but somehow I end up flying out of the back of the truck, landing on the top of it, doing stunts etc, jumping off it and some other silly things until a final scene change.

I suppose I’ll keep the last part private, since it concerns someone else’s walk and details, but after the last bit I wake up and began working on this post!

Now, if this sort of thing had happened to me a year, two years, or three years ago, I probably would have let it get to my head and thought “I am some kind of special chosen one” etc. even though there really isn’t anything to act on in the dream. Instead, it was simply a blessing (a tremendous blessing!) and a private answer to prayer, a chance to see Yeshua engaging in a seder as Pasach nears and to be in his presence. As Romans 2:4 says, “…the goodness of God leads you to repentance” and visions of his goodness certainly motivate me to continue on the path of a disciple, seeking holiness, righteousness, purity and the mind of Christ through Yeshua and YHWH’s grace!

Temporal Reality vs Eternal Reality

Ephesians 2:4-6 (all scripture references NKJV) –

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…

As some of you may know, I had a life altering experience in February 2010 that dramatically and publicly reintroduced me to El Shaddai. Now, I didn’t quite get a visitation from a blinding light, knocking me off a horse and requiring me to be laid up (blind!) for three days. Nonetheless, my pride was broken and my life path altered, and an intense spiritual competition ensued in a psychiatric hospital on Okinawa as well as at the Naval Medical Center San Diego.

I received what I believe to be a kind of revelation during this time, which was subsequently repeated a few more times. I’ve tried to articulate it to others before, and got confusing looks or worse, but I’ll try to articulate it here.

The initial thought I had was “time is an illusion.” Try to, if you can, think from a heavenly (eternal) perspective. From an eternal perspective, the victory has already been won, the devil is already in the lake of fire, the Great White Throne Judgement is already passed, the third heaven and third earth are already here. According to the verse quoted above, we’re already sitting in the heavenly places with Yeshua.

Time, I observed, has a way of enacting a toll on us. We’re constantly worrying about running out of time, not having enough time, making the best use of our time. “Where will I be one year from now, five years, ten years?” Yet Yeshua’s instruction in Matthew 6:25-31 on this point was in stark contrast to worldly wisdom or practice – to paraphrase, he teaches that each day has enough worry of its own, and that worrying can’t add anything to your life and shows a lack of trust in Jehovah Jireh to provide for you.

Then a key scripture in Matthew 6:33 –

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The Kingdom of God is eternal. His righteousness is eternal. Our spirits are eternal.

Too many Christians I’ve encountered have fallen into the same misunderstanding Yeshua’s disciples fell into when he was walking the Earth. Being Jews, they were expecting a conquering Messiah to sweep in and oust the physical Roman Empire and usher in a new physical Kingdom of Israel. (Jews today don’t recognize Yeshua as the Messiah for this reason – they await the third temple, the physical kingdom, the physical manifestation.) So many modern Christians seem to be waiting for the sweet by and by when the good Lord Jesus will come to rapture them up to heaven and judge all the sinners and establish his perfect Kingdom on the Earth. Yet we forget the cry of John the Baptist, some 2000 years ago – “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” echoed by Yeshua himself. We forget Yeshua’s answer to the Pharisees in Luke 17:20-21 when asked when the kingdom would come:

…”The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Moreover, there are numerous references to stay vigilant and keep watch strewn about the gospels, for Yeshua’s return will be sudden and unexpected. Consider this interpretation: Yeshua does not need to come back in the flesh, on the Earth, to come back for you. If you died tomorrow, would you not be with the Lord? If you are already living in the Kingdom of Heaven – a spiritual Kingdom inside you – each day, you won’t be swept up into the mania surrounding the second coming; you’ll simply be ready at the gates as instructed.

I’ll leave you with a final verse to ponder the difference between the nature of temporal reality versus eternal reality. 2 Peter 3:8 reads:

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Musings on Metaphysics

Because it’s been coming up every so often in my personal life, let’s discuss metaphysics, shall we?

Solomon laments the task of philosophizing in Ecclesiastes (a book estimated to have been written nearly 3,000 years ago) when he states (ch 1 v 9-11 NKJV):

That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who come after.

Some of the most basic questions pondered throughout the eons concern questions of metaphysics. What is the universe and how did it get here? Is the universe eternal or was it created? If it was created was it created by one god or many gods? If there is a god or gods, where did s/he or they come from? And one of the most fascinating questions is, how is it possible that there came to exist anything at all?

Regrettably, a lot of the discourse on this matter in contemporary times is sullied by a false dichotomy that pits science vs. religion, as if having faith makes it impossible to see the utility in science or being a scientist requires one to abandon the “God hypothesis.” On the extreme end of things, certain scientific explanations take on faith-like qualities of their own – I would argue, in any case, that it takes a lot of faith to believe that something can be derived out of nothing, or that a universe with this much order (from the laws governing celestial bodies to the laws governing microbial bodies and everything beyond and in between) was a result of mere chance. But I don’t mean to get into a protracted analysis of science and faith here, particularly when I’m out classed and others have already written well on the subject.

Nor do I mean to drag out all the old philosophical arguments for and against different worldviews – though, I may get to that one day. No, today I just thought I’d share some scripture that has spoken to me and ask if they speak anything to you. The metaphysical question I’m addressing is whether or not God (YHWH) exists. First, I submit a small quote from Romans (ch 1 v 20-25 NKJV):

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Paul’s argument here is that mankind has always known God existed. As David rejoices in Psalm 19, “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork.” Creation itself is evidence for a creator – when we stumble across a cabin in the woods we don’t assume nature put it there through a combination of chance, luck and time…we assume someone built the cabin!

But soon man was overcome with futile thoughts (take note of this, as the mind is the strategic center for spiritual warfare, which I’ll write about in the future) and his heart was darkened. Professing to be wise – and surely, many atheists and agnostics and critics of YHWH, Yeshua, and the Bible come across as not merely just wise, but articulate, cogent and intelligent – man began to create their own God or gods. And one must ask where this wisdom comes from – as James would warn us (ch 3 v 15), some wisdom “does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.”

I could quote the rest of Romans chapter 1, which essentially deals with a reprobate mind, but the sum and substance of it really comes down to people being deceived. They think life is better free from YHWH’s “rules” and “laws” and system of morality – certain influential atheists have even gone as far to say they developed and propagated their views simply because they wanted to be free to sleep around and do drugs (direct quotes available in this video – sorry, don’t have time stamps – and here). Now, I don’t mean to impute judgment on people who want to live that kind of a lifestyle, but what I’m getting at is that people like that don’t realize they’re being deceived into thinking they are free when really they’re creating bondages for themselves.

This notion that one needs to prove that YHWH exists or prove He doesn’t exist is silly to me. Admit it, like it, or not, all we have to guide us through this life is our belief system. Changing beliefs is famously difficult. Most people demand “evidence” and pretend to “objectivity” but really we all have the human tendency to listen to what we want to hear and believe what we want to believe. This, I think, is one distinguishing mark of a true disciple of Yeshua – Yeshua promises the path will be narrow, full of adversity, and that, just as he did, his disciples will have to take up their own crosses and lay down their own lives (die to self) for their brothers. But he also states in John 18:37 that the entire purpose for his coming was to bear witness to the truth, and elsewhere in John that most famous of quotations that the truth shall set us free.

Musings on Metaphysics

Because it’s been coming up every so often in my personal life, let’s discuss metaphysics, shall we?

Solomon laments the task of philosophizing in Ecclesiastes (a book estimated to have been written nearly 3,000 years ago) when he states (ch 1 v 9-11 NKJV):

That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who come after.

Some of the most basic questions pondered throughout the eons concern questions of metaphysics. What is the universe and how did it get here? Is the universe eternal or was it created? If it was created was it created by one god or many gods? If there is a god or gods, where did s/he or they come from? And one of the most fascinating questions is, how is it possible that there came to exist anything at all?

Regrettably, a lot of the discourse on this matter in contemporary times is sullied by a false dichotomy that pits science vs. religion, as if having faith makes it impossible to see the utility in science or being a scientist requires one to abandon the “God hypothesis.” On the extreme end of things, certain scientific explanations take on faith-like qualities of their own – I would argue, in any case, that it takes a lot of faith to believe that something can be derived out of nothing, or that a universe with this much order (from the laws governing celestial bodies to the laws governing microbial bodies and everything beyond and in between) was a result of mere chance. But I don’t mean to get into a protracted analysis of science and faith here, particularly when I’m out classed and others have already written well on the subject.

Nor do I mean to drag out all the old philosophical arguments for and against different worldviews – though, I may get to that one day. No, today I just thought I’d share some scripture that has spoken to me and ask if they speak anything to you. The metaphysical question I’m addressing is whether or not God (YHWH) exists. First, I submit a small quote from Romans (ch 1 v 20-25 NKJV):

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Paul’s argument here is that mankind has always known God existed. As David rejoices in Psalm 19, “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork.” Creation itself is evidence for a creator – when we stumble across a cabin in the woods we don’t assume nature put it there through a combination of chance, luck and time…we assume someone built the cabin!

But soon man was overcome with futile thoughts (take note of this, as the mind is the strategic center for spiritual warfare, which I’ll write about in the future) and his heart was darkened. Professing to be wise – and surely, many atheists and agnostics and critics of YHWH, Yeshua, and the Bible come across as not merely just wise, but articulate, cogent and intelligent – man began to create their own God or gods. And one must ask where this wisdom comes from – as James would warn us (ch 3 v 15), some wisdom “does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.”

I could quote the rest of Romans chapter 1, which essentially deals with a reprobate mind, but the sum and substance of it really comes down to people being deceived. They think life is better free from YHWH’s “rules” and “laws” and system of morality – certain influential atheists have even gone as far to say they developed and propagated their views simply because they wanted to be free to sleep around and do drugs (direct quotes available in this video – sorry, don’t have time stamps – and here). Now, I don’t mean to impute judgment on people who want to live that kind of a lifestyle, but what I’m getting at is that people like that don’t realize they’re being deceived into thinking they are free when really they’re creating bondages for themselves.

This notion that one needs to prove that YHWH exists or prove He doesn’t exist is silly to me. Admit it, like it, or not, all we have to guide us through this life is our belief system. Changing beliefs is famously difficult. Most people demand “evidence” and pretend to “objectivity” but really we all have the human tendency to listen to what we want to hear and believe what we want to believe. This, I think, is one distinguishing mark of a true disciple of Yeshua – Yeshua promises the path will be narrow, full of adversity, and that, just as he did, his disciples will have to take up their own crosses and lay down their own lives (die to self) for their brothers. But he also states in John 18:37 that the entire purpose for his coming was to bear witness to the truth, and elsewhere in John that most famous of quotations that the truth shall set us free.