28 Kislev 5775

1500 PST

Forgot to honor the Sabbath, which is another habit I need to revive.

Spent some time in the Word, but was also engaged in some fruitful correspondences. Read some of my old pieces from In Mala Fide because I was interested in the comments (a lot of the comments on many – maybe all – my Spearhead posts are now gone). I had made a greater impact than I gave myself credit for, and also followed the rabbit hole down through someone who expressed interest in my writing just as I was ceasing from it. [Ed note: I have uploaded the four pieces that I wrote which were published on In Mala Fide, comments more or less intact, for those seeking more context to this post. Just check out this category to see them.]

A lot of truths [my Pastor] teaches, I had known (if not in whole at least in part) before even meeting him. I liken the situation almost to Romans 2:14-16, though in truth I had learned, internalized, and never fully abandoned some scriptural principles beginning from a young age. Where I missed the mark was in some of the conclusions I drew, as well as properly identifying, discerning and dividing the truth from sweet sounding deceptions [Hebrews 4:12] (which I have written more in depth about previously).

This man that I found has – bless his heart! – chosen to stay true to the narrow path. He was reaching out to me just as he began his own journey, to choose whether ot hold fast to the faith and principles he had grown up with or follow down the seductive paths of nihilism and hedonism that the red pill manosphere offers young, intelligent, lonely but otherwise extremely capable and talented men. Given the choice between the promise of ridicule and loneliness for virtue’s sake or the offer of, essentially, on-demand sex through mastery of the arts of seduction, he made the choice few indeed would make. From what I have read of him, he certainly deserves the following he has attracted and his commitment to physical as well as mental and spiritual discipline puts me to shame.

I pray earnest that, on his path to truth, the temptations of the flesh would not stumble him as they have me. I also pray he can receive revelation of YHWH’s names and attributes, to be blessed by the increased intimiacy such precious knowledge and wisdom allows I pray too that his understanding of the essential Jewish qualities of the savior and messiah I know he wishes to serve with all his heart, mind, soul and strength would grow and increase in this season we are entering. If I am to be the one to shout YHWH’s name in the wilderness (of the manosphere remnant) in accordance with the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3-8, then I pray for repentance (to change my thinking according to the seed of truth you have sown in me that I might bear fruit through my actions) so I may one day have the same boldness and authority as the man prophesied to carry out that task in the scriptures. And if I am the natural voice that this man I am praying for is to hear in order for his spiritual ears to receive the deposit of the Ruach Qodesh – the very breath of Elohim, of YHWH, which gave life to the adamah (dust of the Earth) to the first adam (man, Adam) – then Amen and Selah! Not my Words but yours, Adonai – nor my glory but instead yours. I know in my spirit you have called him to great responsibility and he will have a huge impact on the King’s Harvest. Amen!

In other developments, I launched my Patreon, and transcribed all that I have written so far. I have been able to resist temptation and tame my flesh for at least a few days. Perhaps another Confession of Sins is in order should I succumb?

Undoubtedly some will read what I have been writing, having come from my Facebook link to this project and think, “Well, he is headed for straight for the loony bin again.” This is because what people have come to expect from mainstream Christianity is, in fact, insane! Prove to me in the scriptures that we should have blind faith! Prove to me in the scriptures that we should erase all of El Elyon’s names (and thus attributes) and only know Him by two titles! Prove to me that the power of YHWH’s son’s name is in the Greek rendering “Jesus” and not in the Hebrew “Yeshua” or “Yohoshua” he was known by! When you pray in the name of Jesus – WHO ARE YOU PRAYING TO? I am not likely to respond to the name of Juan* – nor am I likely to appreciate you insisting upon calling me that when I’ve told you my name – simply because it is more comfortable for you! Why do we think it is any different for YHWH, Yeshua or the Ruach Qodesh?

*Special exception exists for the men and one lady of the 2009-2010 Okinawa Calibrations platoon, from whom Juan is in fact a high term of endearment.

2200 PST

Lots to write about. Spent 4 hours with [a friend I met in a college course locally]. First few hours were great, but (not to imply things ended unwell) towards the end we hit a wall that we always do.

At first he was pleased to just hear me share about the reasons why I feel compelled to do what I will be doing, but then he began to ask perfectly fair and reasonable questions of me. I tried to make it clear that neither I, nor truly the words of ANY man, would be able to satisfy the burden of evidence he desires – the exact same evidence I wish to also see for myself! Moreover, because I ONLY have my human intellect and perhaps some outward fruits of the Ruach Qodesh (Galatians 5:22-23), but haven’t completely conquered the sins of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), I haven’t even the most fundamental of the MANIFESTATIONS of the Ruach (1 Corinthians 12-14). And not having those, if my friend’s spiritual ears could not hear YHWH’s voice through my natural voice, then because I have no power of the Ruach Qodesh to substantiate my arguments then they would all just be vain persuasions of man (1 Corinthians 2).

When I am called to minister in the role of an evangelist, I am acutely concerned and compassionate towards the eternal mindset and stature of the person (and spiirt!) to whom I am ministering. However, I also realize it is not my role to convict, bring about repentance or conversion. Those are all offices of the Ruach Qodesh and up to the free will choice of the person to whom I am conversing with. (Call me false or accuse me of watering down the wrath of YHWH, but please do so in the scriptures so that I can respond in kind.) My only responsibility in that moment is to ensure that the person I am speaking with can no longer claim ignorance about the free will decision that is their gift from Elohim to make, nor the potential eternal consequences of it.

My friend had difficulty following the logic of why an agnostic doesn’t get a free “out” when it comes to the existence of a creator, despite what some agnostics may think (including myself when I was an agnostic with this belief). Logically, either an ultimate creator – the true first cause, all of that – either exists, or does not exist. Deists have staked their wages on the bet that said creator does exist, while atheists have cast their lots on the side that says a creator does not exist. Agnostics say that they do not have enough evidence to arrive at a conclusion. However, EVERYONE must play the game simply by living life. If the atheists are right then everybody’s dead and that’s the end. If the deists are right then the creator decides your fate according to how you lived your life – little hope for atheists in most cases (EXCEPT ironically in the case of Yeshua and YHWH as revealed in the scriptures), and if agnostics refuse to make a decision regarding diety it is unlikely they would have lived in such a way as to sufficiently pleased most deities (though, again, even in these dire circumstances there is still hope in Yeshua).

You can’t escape the logical necessity of the question by refusing to commit to one position or the other. Everyone is forced to take the gamble by simply living. If you want to knowingly roll the dice and “let come what may” – and the idea that 80-120 years of live could have eternal ramifications for you doesn’t bother you – then more power to you! So long as you understand the gamble we all must take – and what is at stake – I have done my due diligence. Everyone peddling a religion and a church will tell you they have the one true way. While I, too, believe that there is only one true way – the Messiah, Yeshua, who sits on the Great White Throne at the end of days to render judgment and rewards to each and every one as according their deeds and place in the Book of Life or Lamb’s Book of Life – I am not going to insult your intelligence by pretending my human intellect and whatever gift of persuasive argument I may possess will be able to convince you of such a monumental truth proposition. Again, only the Ruach Qodesh, the very breath of YHWH and “Spirit of Truth” sent to verify and testify of Yeshua can do such a thing.

Earlier in the conversation, before the doubting and the wall we hit – we were at a restaurant and I was blessed to learn our waitress was blessed to have heard our conversation. My friend misunderstood her enthusiasm as attraction towards me, when really it was just her spirit responding to the words of life contained in the scriptures that I was speaking to my friend. And praise Elohim (I was fortunate to be able to teach her some of what Elohim means!) that she did have ears to hear, as the daughter of a pastor! I gave her one of [my Pastor]’s cards, as I don’t yet have my own, and would be blessed whether she chose to press in or whether we don’t hear from her again.

My friend remained distracted by her, however, insisting that I should ask her out several times. There was no denying her attractiveness! But it wasn’t my flesh she was responding to, certainly – I have a jacked up haircut, no fashion sense, bad teeth, broken smile, unkempt beard and I’m about fifty pounds overweight. No, it was the Ruach Qodesh speaking to her that ignited her!

I tried to explain how I could understand my friend’s response, because of the absolutely toxic and vile effect pornography has had on how I’ve related to women, but my friend views pornography as natural and healthy so there’s no sense pushing the subject.

Lastly… MGySgt W shared some words that brought about tears for the first time in a long time. It is difficult to express the daily guilt I feel over the circumstances of my early exit from active duty. I feel I dishonored the brotherhood and the memory of my grandfather, Lieutenant Colonel William Lee Donner, who fought on the isle of Iwo Jima and in the Korean War. To be affirmed as an “outstanding Marine” by anyone of senior rank is an honor, but particularly so by this Marine who not only had the acumen to rise to the top of one of the most technically demanding jobs in the Corps, but who also possessed the Honor, Courage and Commitment to serve in a combat tour outside of his MOS – to literally bestow the greatest love, according to Yeshua: to lay down his life for his friends… To be so esteemed by such a  man means very much indeed. So if you are reading this, too, Master Gunnery Sergeant, thank you.

Now, to sort clothes.

22 Kislev 5775

10:50 PST

Going to try to start using Jewish calendar. Talked to [Ryan] about how I had ordered Names of God translation and he alerted me to ISR which I immediately ordered. Waiting on service to begin; perhaps 10 people gathered although most were on time today!

[Ryan] prayer: Jeremiah 11:1-5, 12:17, John 21:12-19

1 John 3:18, 4:20

Jeremiah 17:5-10

[Pastor]: Psalm 138

John 17

15:45 PST

I wanted to wait until I had a more accurate – if that is the word – translation of the scriptures before I dove into this topic, but I feel the need to write my thoughts.

I’ve sampled some of organized Christianity for a few years now and I see two major issues that do not sit right with me. The first is that people go on and on about “knowing the LORD” and “knowing Jesus” but they neither know the Father’s nor the Son’s name! The second issue has to do with our performance of love.

I could elaborate on the name but people may miss the point. As regards love, Yeshua said the world would know his disciples by the love they have for each other. The apostle “John” wrote that if we cannot love the brother whom we we see, how can we love the creator who we cannot? Moreover he admonished the called out ones to love not in word or tongue but in deed and action.

[Psalms 51:16-17, James 1:21-27, 1 John 3:18, Luke 6:46-49]

David writes that YHWH does not desire sacrifice nor burnt offering. James writes about the folly of hearing and not doing. Yeshua himself laments how readily people will call him “Lord, Lord” and yet do not do the things that he says.

Many will tell you many things about how to “get spiritual.” While you sometimes might find a scriptural example of a particular ritual, you’d be hard pressed to find any Biblical character teaching it as a rule. Other than… do the Word!

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.