Monday, April 30, 2018
The word Sabbath in both its Hebrew and Greek forms means to repose, to rest, to cease from exertion. It speaks of coming into a state of restfulness where Yahweh’s creation is not striving in any manner, but all is in complete harmony with the Creator.
Today mankind frequently associates the term Sabbath with a day that occurs once a week in which physical work is not performed. This is viewing Sabbath on a purely physical plane, and it leads to many false understandings. When one understands Sabbath aright they will understand that a person can be in a state of complete rest before God while physically they appear to be laboring. The Jews did not understand this so they condemned Yahshua and His disciples as Sabbath breakers. The Jews saw Yahshua’s disciples threshing grain in their hands on the Sabbath day and they condemned them for it (Matthew 12:1-8). Similarly they condemned Yahshua for healing on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:10-14).
The problem for the Jews then is the same problem many have in Christianity today. Men look at things outwardly, on the surface, without discerning what it is that God is intending. Yahweh desires that all men come to a state of rest before Him. He desires that men should cease from their own labors and that they only do the things He leads them to do. Yahweh desires for man to come to an end of personal initiative; for man to set himself to do nothing that arises from his own soul. This is the Sabbath that He desires.
Yahshua proclaimed that He was Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). His whole life was an example of true rest before the Father. The essence of this rest is found in His following words.
"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
Yahshua therefore said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”
Yahshua said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.”
"For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.”
"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”
In these words, which Yahshua often repeated, we see what it is to truly enter into God’s rest. Entering into His rest requires ceasing from one’s own labors (Hebrews 4:10). Sabbath is not defined by what a man is doing externally, it is defined by being in a state of perfect harmony and agreement with God. When a man no longer seeks his own will; when he no longer goes his own way; when he is no longer guided by his intellect and reason; when he has died to all personal initiative; when he only does the will of the Father - then he has entered into rest.
It is revealed in Yahshua’s words that the rest we are to enter into extends even as far as the words we speak. Yahshua proclaimed that He did not speak a word of His own initiative. He only spoke that which the Father gave Him to speak. This is perfect rest. It is true Sabbath.
It mattered not whether Yahshua and His disciples were doing something physically that looked like work on the Sabbath day. If they were doing the will of the Father then they were at perfect rest, they were fulfilling Sabbath. Sabbath is not determined by external observation, it is an inward state of complete agreement with the Father. Sabbath is perfect obedience. It is doing precisely what the Father wills for man to do, no more and no less.
When Yahshua was condemned by the Jews for healing on the Sabbath, He revealed to them what true Sabbath was, but they did not have ears to hear it.
And for this reason the Jews were persecuting Yahshua, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working."
In another place Yahshua said that He was always beholding the Father, and He was doing those things He saw the Father doing. Yahshua healed on the Sabbath day because He saw the Father healing on the Sabbath day. This is what He declared to the Jews that they did not understand. True Sabbath is doing what the Father is doing. True Sabbath is obedience to what He reveals we are to be doing.
If Yahshua had observed the Father healing on the Sabbath day, and He had refused to do so Himself, He would have been a Sabbath breaker. When the Father makes His will known to us in any instance, we are at rest when we obey. We fail to enter into rest when we refuse to obey.
The Jews only saw the external type that was given to represent Sabbath. They saw the Law which said that work was not to be done on the seventh day. Yet they failed to see what the Law was truly typifying. Yahweh was not concerned that man should rest from all physical labor one day a week. However, He was immensely concerned that man should not do anything that originated outside of the will of God. The Laws concerning the Sabbath day were merely types and shadows, but the Jews could not get past the types and shadows to see the true fulfillment.
Yahshua was fulfilling Sabbath completely by never doing anything of His own initiative. Sabbath was not fulfilled by adhering to that which was a shadow of the Sabbath. Yahshua walked in the substance while the rest of the Jews were walking in shadows and figures. The Jews would refrain from physical labor one day a week, but they failed to truly walk in Sabbath. If they had known true Sabbath rest they would not have condemned One who was walking in complete harmony with the will of the Father.
The whole Godhead is in a state of Sabbath rest. There is only one will, the will of the Father. The Son is in complete agreement with the will of the Father, being fully surrendered to the carrying out of His will. Likewise the Spirit is in complete agreement with the Son, carrying out His will.
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”
Yahweh is looking for man to also enter into this place of rest where there is no initiative anywhere in creation other than Yahweh’s own initiative. When the Father wills one thing, and others will something else, no matter how noble or good it appears, this is defined as striving. Striving is willing something that has not originated in the mind of the Father.
Christianity is striving continuously. They are always willing things the Father is not willing. They are continuously setting their hands to do things which they have not received by the Spirit of God. It does not matter how noble or right it seems. A person can share the gospel with another human being and be striving. A person can heal the sick and be striving. A person can cast out a demon and be striving. A person can prophesy and be striving. A person can perform all manner of miracles and be striving.
How can these things be? How could it be striving and sin to do any of these things? The answer is revealed in the following words of Yahshua.
“Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
The Lord reveals that on the day of judgment there will be many who will come to Him thinking they will receive praise and honor, yet dishonor and punishment will be their portion. What is the sin that these have committed? Their actions were that they were prophesying in His name, they were casting out demons in His name, and they were performing miracles in His name. What could possibly be wrong with these activities? Why are these people condemned as those who practice lawlessness?
Yahshua is not speaking against adulterers, thieves, or murderers here. Such transgressions were clearly forbidden in the ten commandments. If one has eyes to see, however, they will realize that what is spoken of here is also in violation of one of the commandments. The commandment is “remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.”
As we have already defined Sabbath, it is entering into the rest of God. Sabbath is only doing that which the Father leads us to do. Whether one does an apparently good act, or an evil act, it is still a violation of Sabbath if the Father is not the originator of it. Any activity arising of man’s own initiative, even seemingly good deeds, is a violation of Sabbath. Yahshua did all of the things He spoke of in this passage; He prophesied, He cast out demons, and He performed miracles. However, He never did any of these things of His own initiative. He only did that which the Father instructed Him to do.
It was very possible for Yahshua to do miraculous works of His own initiative. Before He began His ministry He was tempted in this very point. After fasting for forty days in the wilderness we are told that He was hungry. Satan came to tempt Him and his first temptation was for Christ to turn the stones into bread and thereby satisfy His hunger. Yahshua could have done this.
One might ask, “What would be the evil of such an act?” Yahshua was hungry. He was the Son of God. It wouldn’t have hurt any man or any part of creation to turn the stones into bread. It would have only violated one thing, it would not have been the Father’s will.
And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'"
Yahshua understood this matter of Sabbath and doing the Father’s will, and His answer to Satan addresses this very important point. In essence He said, “True life is found in doing only those things which God reveals to us.” In another place Yahshua said, “My meat is to do the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 4:34). The Father already had a provision for His Son’s hunger. After Satan departed we are told, “and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him” (Matthew 4:11).
Christianity at large does not understand this most vital concept. If put in a similar circumstance, how many saints would consider whether doing an act within their power is the will of the Father? Most only think of what they are able to do. They give no thought to whether the Father would have them do it. It is possible to prophesy, and many do so very often. Few consider whether the Father would have them do so. They only concern themselves with “Can I prophesy?” They do that which seems good to them, falsely believing that any prophesying is pleasing to the Father if it is a true word of prophecy.
Many saints are involved in casting out demons, and again most only concern themselves with whether or not they can do so, not considering whether it is the will of the Father. The same is true of performing miracles, including miracles of healing. There are some who say that it is always the Father’s will to heal and there is no need to seek the mind of the Father in this issue. Such people are deluded and they should take the words of Yahshua to heart. He said, “Many will come to Me in that day” and they will say, “Did we not do these things in Your name?”
The word many in this passage can have the connotation of meaning the majority. How incredible to think that the majority of saints will stand before Christ in judgment and they will falsely believe that they were pleasing God when they were doing all of these works of their own initiative. Yahshua clearly defines in this passage what pleases His Father. The one who will enter into the kingdom of heaven is “he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”
The saint who only considers what he can do is on the wrong track. His first thought should always be to discern the mind of the Father in any matter. If the majority of saints are displeasing to the Father, then there is no value in being in the majority. Simply because the masses of Christendom are thinking and acting in a certain manner is no reason to join them. What comfort will there be in knowing that you and a majority of saints hear the words, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”?
To those who still doubt the meaning of Yahshua’s words here, consider why He referred to these who were doing this prophesying, casting out demons, and miracles as those “who practice lawlessness.” Lawlessness is the state of being out from under authority. Lawlessness is having your own law, disregarding the established law.
Yahweh is the only true law. He alone has the power to determine what man should do. Yahshua proclaims that men who do the will of the Father in heaven will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Those who fail to do His will are considered lawless, even if their actions are seemingly good, and even if they appear to be of a supernatural nature.
You may wonder that the saints could perform such supernatural deeds if the Father is not directing them to do so. How could they have the power to do these things unless the Spirit is guiding and leading? The scriptures plainly reveal that men can do so. Yahshua could have turned the stones to bread, and likewise Yahshua has given the same power and authority that He walked in to mankind. Consider the implications of the following passage of scripture.
I Corinthians 14:27-33
If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and let one interpret; but if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. And let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
The church in Corinth was a church that was out of order. There was great confusion in their meetings, and this confusion was not the will of God. What was the source of confusion? Were people fighting and screaming and fornicating and indulging in every form of debauchery in their meetings? No! (Although, these things did exist among them.) Their chaos was the result of people exercising spiritual gifts. They were speaking in tongues and prophesying, but it was sheer bedlam.
Did Paul say that these people were prophesying and speaking in tongues by the power of Satan? No, he never asserted any such thing. The anointing of God was present in these things, but these saints had not learned that they needed to submit all such activity to the Father and to seek His mind and His will. To exercise these spiritual gifts apart from the leading of the Father is lawlessness, and lawlessness leads to chaos, which is what they had in their meetings.
Did you note Paul’s words, “the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets”? In essence he is telling them, “Just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you have to do a thing. Just because you can speak in tongues doesn’t mean you must. Just because you can give a word of prophecy doesn’t mean you have to do so. You can control yourself. The spirit within you is subject to you.”
Some saints mistakenly think that every time they sense a tongue or a prophecy is present within them that they must speak it out, even if it causes a disruption to the assembled body. No! Paul is saying, “You can control it. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.”
The Father is not honored when people speak a tongue, when they prophesy, when they cast out demons, when they perform miracles. He is only glorified when people do these things as He directs them. Yahshua did not heal every leper. He did not open the eyes of every blind man. He did not heal all those who were sick. He only did those things the Father led Him to do. He did nothing of His own initiative.
What a critical matter this is. Christianity is running over with personal initiative. There is little consideration for the will of the Father. People only consider what they can do, disregarding whether it is the will of the Father. For this reason the majority will appear before the Lord on that day of judgment and He will say, “Depart from Me, you lawless ones.”
If the Corinthian believers had considered the words of Yahshua they would have seen their own error. He said, “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak” (John 12:49). Yahshua could have spoken many profound things. He could have proclaimed mysteries. He could have spoken astonishing revelations. When He taught He could have spoken plainly instead of cloaking His meaning in parables. He could have done all of these things, even as saints today can speak many things, but He did not do so. He only spoke that which the Father commanded Him to speak, and so should we.
There are many things people can do today, but they are not all the will of the Father. Many saints mistakenly believe that because something is supernatural that the Father must be the author of it. This is not true in the supernatural realm anymore than it is in the natural.
In the natural realm we are told that all things in heaven and earth have been created by God, and in Him all things consist or hold together (Colossians 1:16-17). The presence of God is everywhere in His creation, and we are told that He is “over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6). Yet just because He is present in His whole creation we cannot argue that everything done by man is the will of the Father.
Man was created by God, and man’s abilities were given to him by the same. The power of procreation is one such ability, and indeed there is much that is supernatural in this ability of man. We cannot say that because man can go out and have relations with any woman he desires, and that this intimacy can result in offspring coming forth, that it is the will of God that man do so. In fact, we have clear words from the Father telling us that it is His will that man should NOT be promiscuous in this manner. Yet the Father allows man to do this if he should desire.
It is no different in spiritual matters. The Holy Spirit has given gifts to men in the church, and they can exercise them much as they please, but it is not the will of the Father that they do so. A saint cannot assert that because he was able to prophesy that it was the Father’s will, anymore than he can say that because he could raise up offspring by a woman that is not his wife that it was the Father’s will. The scriptures state that spiritual gifts are good, given to edify the body, and it also states that children are a blessing from God. However, both spiritual gifts and the power of procreation can be misused in a lawless manner.
As one considers this, and as they understand what Sabbath truly means - perfect agreement with the Father and His will in every situation, it is possible to see that virtually all of the sins of this world are the result of Sabbath breaking. They are the result of man doing something of his own initiative.
Entering into the Sabbath rest of God is to embrace death to initiative. We are at rest when everything that the Father wills becomes our will. We are at rest when we have no initiative of our own, no will of our own in any matter. Even if we should discern that the will of the Father will lead us to places that are painful we should seek to proclaim as did Yahshua, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Thy will be done.” This is Sabbath rest.
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Friday, April 27, 2018
A word of explanation is necessary at the start of this book. In this work you will find the writer using names in reference to God the Father and God the Son that are more faithful to their Hebrew original than the names and titles generally in use by the church today. The name Yah, or Yahweh, will be found in reference to God the Father, and the name Yahshua will be utilized when speaking of the Son.
This usage is not intended to be divisive, nor does it serve as a renunciation of the usage of titles such as Lord or God. Neither is it a condemnation of those who choose to call the Son of God Jesus. My intent as a teacher of the Bible is simply to illumine and instruct. There is great meaning in the Hebrew names of the Father and the Son, and these names are directly related to one another. Many of the people whose lives are portrayed in Scripture also serve as types and shadows of God, bringing to light truths that might otherwise be hidden.
For example, Joshua, the Israelite leader who led the people of God across the Jordan and into battle to take possession of the land of Canaan, bears the same name as the Messiah. They both were called Yahshua. Like Joshua in the Old Testament, the Son of God began His ministry at the Jordan River as He was baptized by John. Both men labored to establish a kingdom dedicated to Yahweh, the first external and natural, the latter internal and spiritual.
Yah is the name used in reference to the Father on forty-nine separate occasions in the Old Testament. Most Christians have utilized this name of God without knowing that they were doing so. Whenever the word hallelujah is uttered, the speaker is literally exclaiming “Praise Yah,” for this is the meaning of the Hebrew word from which it is derived. The longer name Yahweh is found an additional 6,828 times.
The name of the Son is likewise significant, for Yahshua is understood to mean “Yah’s Salvation.” The Gospel writer indicates that this is the meaning of the name given to the Savior at His birth.
“And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Yahshua, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.”
It has been the practice of this writer for many years to use these names, which more clearly represent their Hebrew originals. It is my hope that their employment in this book might aid the reader by bringing forth light on relationships that are obscured, as well as promoting an increased intimacy with God the Father by calling Him by His memorial name, instead of a title which men have substituted.
It has been nearly 6,000 years since Adam was created by Elohim. It has also been 2,000 years since Yahshua (Jesus) walked this Earth in fulfilling the ministry that His Father entrusted to Him. It is recorded for us in scripture, that in the mystery of Yahweh’s plan of the ages, a thousand years correlates to one day, and one day to a thousand years. We find this truth revealed in II Peter 3:8, Psalms 90:4, as well as in other passages.
II Peter 3:8
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
When Yahshua walked among the Jews He chided them because they could forecast the weather, but they could not discern the day in which they lived.
He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”
In contrast, when David went to Hebron to establish the kingdom we are told, in a very favorable mention, that among those who joined themselves to him were 200 chief men from among the sons of Issachar, “who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (I Chronicles 12:32). It is an important matter with Yahweh that His children have an understanding of the days in which they live.
As we examine Peter’s words we can discern that not only have 6,000 years elapsed since Adam’s creation, with man poised to enter the 7th millennium, but man equally stands ready to enter the 7th day of Yahweh’s divine timetable. We can understand much of what this 7th day will hold as we look at what occurred on the 7th day of creation, and what the 7th day represents throughout scriptures.
The 7th day is a day of rest. The 7th day is the Sabbath. In the epistle to the Hebrews, Paul wrote that there yet remained a Sabbath rest for the children of God to enter into (Hebrews 3, 4). He gave great cautions lest any of the saints of God should fall short of entering into this rest. Entering into this rest holds far more significance than most saints have considered, and many are oblivious to the peril of failing to enter in.
The Sabbath is much more than just a day that occurs once a week in which physical labor is to be avoided. It was given to be a symbol of something much greater. In understanding the symbol we can see that its significance has such importance as to touch on Satan’s original sin, as well as mankind’s transgression in the Garden of Eden. By violating the principles that the Sabbath represents all the sins listed in the ten commandments of Yahweh ensued, including lying, covetousness, envy, and murder. It is in returning and entering into the true fulfillment of the Sabbath rest of God that these transgressions will be overturned.
We live in that very transitional period of the ages when man will enter into the 7th millennium, the Sabbath rest of Yahweh. However, not all will enter in at the appointed time. Some will be prevented due to disobedience and unbelief. This book will address this peril in the hope that some will awaken from their slumber and apply all diligence to the pursuit of entering into the Sabbath rest of God.
There are other significant scriptures that speak of the awesome day in which we live. It has been nearly 2,000 years since Yahshua walked this Earth and completed His ministry. It has been nearly 2,000 years since that great Pentecost when the Spirit was given to indwell mankind. In the ensuing years man has known what it is to be divided as his flesh has warred against the Spirit, and the Spirit has warred against the flesh (Galatians 5:17).
This torn and fractured state of mankind has been appointed to last for a specified period of time appointed by the Father. The Scriptures declare that our healing is fast approaching when no longer will man be torn asunder, but he will be made wholly into a creature that fully agrees with Yahweh in spirit, soul, and body. We find this prophecy in Hosea.
“Come, let us return to Yahweh. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him.”
For 2,000 years, two days in Yahweh’s timetable, man has been torn as he has known the agony of the war of flesh and Spirit raging inside his members. The victory has been assured. The life of Christ overcomes the death of sin. It is appointed unto men to experience this warfare in their members, but a glorious day is quickly coming when the warfare will end and life will fully overcome death.
For 2,000 years, from that awesome Pentecost when man received the promised indwelling Spirit of Yahweh, man has known the agony of being a divided house. The flesh has tried to resist and wage war against the life of the Spirit, and the Spirit has been seeking to put the flesh to death. We stand at a juncture in time that is doubly important. We can look forward with anticipation to entering into the Sabbath rest of Yahweh and also being freed from the torn and embattled state that man has known for 2,000 years.
There has been very little rest in the first six days of mankind. Man has known misery and suffering. For six days the whole creation has been subjected to the futility of the curse, and with groaning and travail it has been longing for its deliverance when the sons of God are finally manifest in their restored state (Romans 8:19-23). Full deliverance will come when we lay aside these mortal bodies that are subject to the curse of sin, and we are clothed with immortality; when we will lay aside this corruption and put on incorruptible bodies (I Corinthians 15:53).
We live at the transitory date when man will enter the 7th millennium, the Sabbath day of creation. Our healing awaits us. A true Sabbath rest awaits us. May your soul and spirit be stirred as you anticipate the awesome things which will soon appear.
Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.
Understanding the Present Hour
Before proceeding into the subject matter of this book, it is necessary to address some issues that could cause the reader difficulty. Much of what is written in this book is contrary to what is commonly accepted and taught in Christianity today. This will undoubtedly cause some concern to certain readers. It is often difficult to receive some truth that we have not previously heard, but it is even more difficult when the truth is in clear contradiction to what has been preached by myriads of pastors, evangelists, and teachers until it has become the accepted standard, or norm, of our day.
Unfortunately, there are few saints who actually understand what is clearly foretold in scriptures, that the last days before the return of Yahshua would be a time when great error would exist among the saints of God. Once one understands this, then they can appreciate that when truth is proclaimed it will be very common to find that it flies in the face of the accepted beliefs of the day in which we find ourselves. Let us look at a few scriptures that reveal this understanding, that the days preceding Yahshua’s return would be days of profound deception and error.
II Timothy 3:1-7
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Note very carefully here that Paul identifies the day he is speaking of to Timothy. “But realize this, in the last days difficult times will come.” How many ministers today are proclaiming that we live in the last days? It seems that many recognize that the hour is late, but they have failed to discern what the state of Christianity would be at this late hour. Paul begins this passage by saying, “in the last days difficult times will come,” and he concludes by saying that people would be “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” In between these two statements Paul describes the heart of mankind in these days, and it is due to the corrupt state of the heart of man that these days are difficult.
Timothy was charged by Paul to preach the word, and things were already difficult in those days, but consider the difficulty of any minister who finds himself proclaiming truth to those described in this passage. Indeed, their task would be very formidable. Yet Paul doesn’t stop here. Paul is still maintaining the same train of thought when he speaks the following words.
II Timothy 4:1-4
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.
When should one expect this time to come when men will not endure sound doctrine? Paul already has informed us that he is speaking of the last days, the days in which we now live. If men are not heeding sound doctrine, what are they listening to? They are listening to great accumulations of teachers that are speaking the things their wayward hearts want to hear. They are turning aside unto myths and fables.
It should be obvious that the days we live in are the subject of Paul’s discourse to Timothy, for we are in the last days, yet what preacher will admit that it is his congregation that has hired him to tell them the things they want to hear? What preacher would confess that he is simply tickling the ears of those listening to him, that he is teaching falsehood and myth?
We live in very difficult days, for the masses of Christendom have departed from truth and they prefer to hear things that agree with their own lusts. Paul said that in the last days men would be “lovers of self, lovers of money... lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God.” What sort of things do you suppose that such men would like to hear?
Perhaps they would like to hear a message of financial prosperity. Perhaps they would like to hear a message that says that God wants to pour out blessing after blessing of material goods upon those who are His children. Is this not what is being proclaimed today from so many pulpits? Yet men do not realize that Paul was warning Timothy about those who are within Christianity in this very day, people who have accumulated teachers unto themselves to tell them the things they want to hear.
In contrast, sound doctrine has no home among such saints who are lovers of self, of money, and pleasure. It is with difficulty that Yahshua’s words are shared with them.
"No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Mammon is the system of world materialism and it is identified with the love of money and all that money can purchase. Myriads of saints today are in that tragic condition of trying to straddle the fence. They want to serve God and mammon at the same time. To accomplish this feat they have developed false doctrines that proclaim that it is the will of Yahweh that every saint should be running over with the goods of this world. Yahshua, however, said that His kingdom followers should not concern themselves with issues of what they would eat and drink, or what they would clothe themselves with, but they should seek first His righteousness and His kingdom.
The Pharisees who heard these words scoffed at Yahshua, for we are told that they loved money. Multitudes also scoff today for they share the same affliction.
Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things, and they were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”
We live in a day in which men are proclaiming those things that they esteem, while neglecting the things God esteems. I have picked just one topic, albeit a major one, that is being falsely taught today to demonstrate that men have departed from truth and have sought out teachers that would tell them things in accordance with their desires. Men in their love of self and love of money have devised all manner of false interpretations of scripture to justify their lust for things. Absent is the message of the disciple’s cross and the proclaiming of the Christ’s words that if we would save our soul life, we must lose it, but if we lose it we will save it. Absent is the message of taking up our cross daily and following Yahshua.
Then said Yahshua to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds.”
The message of self denial is not found in the houses of prosperity today. Every man will be recompensed for his deeds, yet the recompense will be very grievous for those who have accumulated to themselves teachers to tell them the things they desire to hear. The very issue of self denial is at the heart of a true understanding of Sabbath, for in Hebrews we read these words of Paul.
For the one who has entered His rest [Sabbath] has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
If we are to enter into God’s rest, we must cease from doing our own works. This is self denial. This is the work of the cross in the lives of the saints. Because men have not ceased from their own works, preferring to indulge the selfish desires of their hearts, they have strayed from truth and have embraced falsehood and myths. The issue of serving mammon is but one issue in which this has happened. There is virtually no area of truth that has remained unaffected due to the difficulty of the days we live. In the book of II Thessalonians, Paul described the dire state of these days with the word “apostasy.”
II Thessalonians 2:1-3
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Yahshua the Messiah, and our gathering together to Him, that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first...
Once more Paul is writing about the days that precede the return of Yahshua. He is writing of the days we live in, and he states that Yahshua will not return unless the apostasy occurs first. Strong’s Dictionary of Greek words defines apostasy in the following manner.
646 apostasia (ap-os-tas-ee'-ah);
feminine of the same as 647; defection from truth (properly, the state) ["apostasy"]:
As one looks further into the meaning of this Greek word, it is seen that it shares a similar root with the Greek word meaning divorce. The apostasy of which Paul speaks is literally a divorcement from truth. Taken in relationship with Paul’s other statements we can discern that the last days will be a time when those who claim to be followers of Yahshua will divorce themselves from truth, and they will in turn be wed to myths and fables. They will figuratively heap up for themselves teachers that will proclaim error and falsehood unto them.
This is the perilous circumstance that we find ourselves in today. It is not the masses that are proclaiming truth, but the remnant. Truth is not widely preached and received, rather it is largely rejected, having been replaced with falsehood. How did this circumstance come about? Again the apostle Paul informs us of the reason.
II Thessalonians 2:10-12
Because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved... for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
Because men have preferred lies over truth, the Father has sent a deluding influence upon them so that they might believe what is false. This passage and the others we have looked at are not talking about the world, but those who claim to be followers of God. Paul earlier said they would have “a form of godliness, but deny the power of it.” This is speaking of the church. The true power of godliness is the power to transform men’s lives, but men have preferred not to be transformed. Instead they have desired to transform the scriptures to support the pursuit of their soulish life and its desires.
Those who read this book, and other writings that are proclaiming truth in this hour, must realize that what is written here is out of synch with the masses of Christendom because the masses of Christendom are themselves out of synch with God. Yahshua said He was the truth, yet the truth is not loved in the last days before Yahshua’s return, and as a result the Father has sent delusion upon mankind so that they might believe what is false, which is what they prefer.
As one examines the scriptures with an understanding heart they will perceive that it has ever been the case with mankind that only a remnant has really known what the Father was doing in the day in which they lived. In the days in which Moses led the children of God forth from Egypt and into the wilderness, there was truly a large body of people who were known as God’s chosen people, but not all understood what they should have known.
He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.
What a gulf separates knowing Yahweh’s ways, and witnessing His acts. Of the millions of Israel, only one man was said to have known the ways of Yahweh in the day in which he lived. We see the same thing in the days of Daniel, of Jeremiah, of Elijah, etc..
Certainly this was also the case in the day the Father sent His Son to be born and to walk this Earth in the form of man. There were myriads of Jews dwelling in and around Jerusalem. The temple and the synagogues were a center for the people to learn the things of God. Was it to these centers that Yahweh sent His messenger to prepare for the coming of His Son?
“There came a man sent from God whose name was John...”
What was John’s message? Was it not to prepare the way for Messiah to come? If there were myriads of devoted Jews in that day, a priesthood, as well as many teachers of the Law, then why did not God use these men to proclaim His truth and to prepare the way for His Son? Why did He not have the message proclaimed in every synagogue?
It is ever the remnant that Yahweh works through. He chose a man who was little esteemed. He had him to grow up in the wilderness, not in the centers of power. And He had him accomplish his ministry away from the synagogues and the temple. Why should it surprise the understanding saint to hear that those who will prepare the way for the second coming of Yahshua will follow a similar pattern?
In the gospels we are told that Yahshua “came to His own, but His own received Him not” (John 1:11). Knowing this was the case of His first appearing to mankind, and that history ever repeats itself, the importance of the following scripture should give rise to serious consideration, as it speaks of His second coming.
“However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"
Yahshua is here speaking of His second coming to the Earth. At His first coming there was a whole nation of people who claimed to be followers of His Father. There was a well used religious system centered around the Temple and the synagogues. People were studying the scriptures continuously, and they claimed to be waiting for the appearing of Messiah.
Do we not have a similar scenario today? There is a body of people, huge in number that claim to be followers of Yahshua (Jesus). There is a religious system that is utilized regularly. In place of synagogues there are church buildings on every street corner and at every crossroads. This great body of believers also claims to be awaiting the return of their Messiah.
With all of this teaching and religious structure in place, those who claimed to be waiting for Messiah did not recognize the day of their visitation when He appeared 2,000 years ago. Yahshua was despised and rejected. Certainly the Jews and their leaders would never have admitted to having a wrong understanding of Messiah and what His appearing would be like, anymore than would those in Christianity today. Yet Yahshua asks whether He will find faith on the Earth when He returns. Incredibly, Yahshua describes the last days prior to His return, unto His disciples in the following manner.
"And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.”
Many will fall away; many will be mislead; most people’s love will grow cold; men will be lovers of self, lovers of money; men will not endure sound doctrine; men will turn aside to myths and fables; Yahshua will in no way return unless the apostasy occurs first; will He find faith on the Earth?
These things should sober any sincere follower of Christ. It is the remnant who will be saved. The true flock of Yahshua is called the “little flock” (Luke 12:32). Why then do the churches preach that there will be a huge body of believers worldwide who will be raptured at the appearing of the Lord? Are they not deceived? Yahshua Himself questioned whether He would find faith on the earth at His return.
I urge the reader to keep these things in mind as you proceed to read the pages of this book. Great deception has fallen upon the church in this hour, and it was foretold over and over that this would be the situation on the Earth prior to Yahshua’s return. Do not be surprised that so much that is written here is in contradiction to that being preached in thousands of pulpits throughout the world today. One should expect no less when the scriptures are properly discerned and the descriptions of the days we live in are rightly perceived.
May you have eyes to see and ears to hear as you study the things written herein.
This book was written in 2001. The Lord has kept this message at the center of all my writings from that date forward. Most Christians do not understand what Sabbath is. It is far more than one day out of the week. It is of ultimate important, even as failing to keep Sabbath was a capital crime in the Old Testament.
You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to Yahweh. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
Seeing that the Sabbath of rest was so holy to the people of the Old Testament this book seeks to make it known to the sons of glory (both male and female sons). Sabbath
Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Now that I am through posting the book Evidence of Things Unseen I can tell you about some of the good news that is going on here. I had some exciting news a couple months back. The good news involves my daughter. First let me tell you about my daughter.
Kristin was born 30 years ago and has been a solid Christian from the time she was a young girl. She is our oldest living child, and has been a joy her entire life. She is not the oldest child we had, for Tony and I had a son before Kristin. That son was stillborn, being full-term. His name was Joshua Caleb. I wept a great deal over the loss of our firstborn son. I remember well that I was still deeply saddened by the death of our son when the Father met me one day when I was returning from work. He said, “I have seen your sorrow, and I am going to restore your joy. I am going to give you a daughter and her name will be Kristin Noel.”
To say that Kristin has restored my joy is a true word. She has always been a sweet little girl. I don’t remember ever having to spank her. One time Tony asked me to spank her and I took her in our room and sat down on the bed with her. I began to tell her what she had done wrong. As she heard that she had done something that was displeasing to her father her lower lip began to tremble. I had only talked to her for less than a minute and she was in tears. Her heart was so much directed toward pleasing her father that she couldn’t bear the thought of having caused him pain. I picked her up and consoled her without having to spank her. I knew the difference between children because we had a son a year and a half younger than Kristin. I loved Josiah also, but I had to spank him. He was a lot like me when I was a little child.
Kristin had heard about the word that God spoke to me from the time she was very little. She knew she was given to me to restore my joy. Over the years as she grew older she has always borne a missionary heart. She has gone on short trips to Honduras, Guatemala, and Germany. When she has been back at home she was planning trips into the local neighborhoods of the church she attended, and teaching the girls from the sites she visited. She would also go with the singles and young people to Macon on Friday, once a month or so, to share the good news with the college age youth who were out on the town.
Kristin has also been a musician since she was fourteen. She wanted to play guitar, so we got her a Yamaha guitar and she has continued to play it over the years. Also she has gotten a Djembe, an upright drum that you beat upon with your hands. She has a Taylor guitar that she got a number of years ago as she has stayed with it. Right now Kristin is recording an album with two of her friends. George Young, my friend, is also serving as the production manager. They are hoping to have it done by the end of May.
Time is getting short for Kristin. On July 19th Kristin is flying out of Atlanta to go to Poland. This will not be a short trip like her previous missions trips. She will be going for two years to work with a missions organization. She will be teaching the Poles English and she will have as much opportunity to share the gospel as she desires.
Kristin met a family who has been in Poland for at least 18 years. They were staying this past year in Montezuma, our home town. The family had girls aged 18 and 16, and were here on a stayover for about a year. They had many other children, too, but these were the girls that Kristin was close to. At the end of their stay they invited Kristin to come with them to Poland for one of their missionary girls was at the end of her two year stay and would be returning soon. Kristin spent at least a month praying about it, for she knew her being gone would be a big thing. Not only would she need to quit a very good job that she has had for years, but she would be leaving her two parents who are getting up in age and have some health problems. Kristin does not have an assurance that her parents will be around for many more years. She definitely wanted to know what Yahweh was saying.
I have a great comfort in listening to Kristin. She listens intently for the voice of the Lord. During the month or longer that she was seeking the Lord she spent many days fasting. The Father knows how to talk to Kristin. He does so in much the same way He speaks to me. Kristin shared with me what she had been asking the Father, and the things she had been hearing. I am going to share a few things that she wrote down for me briefly in her own words.
-November, committed to fasting and praying during this month, and to seek the Lord for direction regarding Poland, while not talking with (family returning to Poland) or sharing anything that was on my heart before the month was out. During this month, a number of specific answers to prayer (signs?) happened:
1. I was praying about my dad and my house, not wanting him to have a difficult time finding a new place to stay if I would leave. The best idea I could come up with would be if George would move into my house, and I prayed about this and considered asking George about it in December, if it was still on my heart. Well, November 4 was Nick’s birthday, and we had a party at my house. During the party someone mentioned how cozy my house was, and George looked at me and said, “Yeah, Kristin, be sure to let me know when you leave so I can get your house. I mean, I’m sorry- I don’t know why I said WHEN, I mean IF…”
2. One day when I was fasting and praying, I felt I didn’t even know what to pray for specifically as far as how to know what God was leading me in, and I just told God that I don’t know what to ask for, but He knows how to get my attention. That day when I was at work I got an email from Mid-GA’s (her employer) bank asking me to take a survey, and below there were three links for different languages- The first two were normal- English, Spanish- the third looked super weird and it struck me- That’s Polish! I don’t believe I had ever seen Polish as a language option for anything in the South before… This happened two other times.
3. I was praying and not sure how things would all go down if I felt like God was indeed laying this on my heart to go to Poland. I specifically prayed one day and told God if He wanted to lay it on my heart and have me go to (the married couple from Poland) and share it I would, but that I would really feel way better about things if they would ask me to go teach, not me just volunteering. I believe it was that weekend that C and I took (two of the young girls from this family) up to Virginia to their family, and spent the weekend there with them. While we were there they invited a family to come have church at home with us Sunday morning, and this family had been in Poland with them. That afternoon I walked in on them discussing something, and they told me I caught them talking about me (discussing options for teachers). The guy had some questions for me, which I casually answered to the best of my ability, without telling them I was already praying about this or considering it. That evening after the family left (the couple) started seriously questioning C and I about our views on missions and such, and (the wife) shared she wanted to know some of these things in case I would get contacted by the mission to teach. I also found out that the guy that was there earlier was actually one of the board members for the mission in Poland.
So December arrived, and I didn’t know quite what to expect or where to go with these things building in my heart. But mid-December I got a message from (the husband) one day asking for my email address, and telling me I would probably be receiving an application from the mission in the next few days. The following Monday I got an email from the field director of the mission, asking if I would be interested in teaching there, and sharing that the (family) had recommended me. I wrote back a couple days later saying I was interested, but definitely wanted to pray and seek clarity.
Thursday I shared with MaryAnn about all this, and Friday morning she texted me and said she had a song she wrote a couple weeks ago that she wasn’t planning to do anything with, but she felt God was putting it on her heart that the song was for me, and she needed to send it to me. She sent it and these are the words to the first verse and chorus:
“Fear is a weight you carry around. It holds you back- It drags you down. But God’s got a work for you to do, so friend, allow me to remind you:
You’ve got no reason to fear his leading. You’ve got no reason to doubt the King of Kings.
He’s so much bigger than any giant you could meet, so throw off your fear and run free.”
I also received another email from the mission that same morning- they asked for an answer by the second week of January, and included an application if I feel led to move forward.
So that afternoon I talked to my dad about all of this. I knew I would want his blessing if I would move forward, and I didn’t imagine he would be opposed, but I was a little surprised how instantly in favor of it he sounded. He right away said he’s excited about the thought, and that he’s been thinking recently about me and wanting me to be involved more in ministry.
After this I met with (the family from Poland) and just asked all the questions I could think of, and also had them share what was on their hearts regarding the mission, what my role would be, etc.. Everything seemed to be answered in a way I felt very at peace about.
(This family) were leaving to go back to Poland the end of the first week of January, on Saturday, and that following week was when the mission board has requested an answer by. I was praying and asking the Lord to allow me to have clarity to give them an answer in person before they left, because I felt either way I would be relieved to have a face-to-face conversation and share my heart, whether it was a yes or no. With all the evidence building up, and the thought of Poland not going anywhere but staying in my heart, I felt pretty sure God was asking me to go. The final week (the family) were here I was battling feeling like I was on the edge of a huge leap of faith, and feeling pretty certain it was of the Lord, but still just having that little bit of hesitancy of not wanting to make such a huge decision in any error. One morning that week I laid all the evidence out before the Lord, told Him how I was feeling, and basically said “Lord, I believe I’m supposed to do this, but if I am somehow misled in this, I am begging you to put a check in my spirit and stop me.” That same day I got to work and had another Polish survey from the bank- I almost laughed.
After that, I reached a point where when I would even pray asking if this was for sure the right thing to do, it was like a disconnect, almost like God was saying “why are you still asking when you know what I’ve said?” Then a settledness entered my spirit where I knew what I was supposed to do, it was just a matter of doing it.
I did a lot of praying, and on Friday afternoon I met with (the family from Poland) and shared the whole story with their family. They had no idea what my answer would be, and were bracing themselves for a “no.” I had never shared with them any of the things that had been happening, or how God had been laying this on my heart before they even asked me. The look of amazement and excitement on their faces when they realized I was agreeing to go to Poland was a wonderful moment.
God has continued to bring together all the details, and I have truly felt my heart sealed with a tremendous peace through the whole journey. I have a ticket for July 19th, and can only imagine what the Lord has in store for this adventure. It’s exciting knowing that He has been clearly leading in this.
Come July 19th Kristin will be boarding a flight for Poland and George will be moving into her house, which is a rental. I will not have to relocate anywhere. I know by the things Kristin has shared that Yahweh has spoken to her. That she is thirty years old brings some focus to these things. Joseph, David, Solomon, and Yahshua were all thirty years old when they entered into that ministry that Yahweh had prepared for them.
Additionally, the song that MaryAnn has written contains the very thoughts and words that Yahweh spoke to Tony, my wife, in following Him. Kristin is going on where few of us have trod. Many fears have to be faced, and confidence in Yahweh must be met with real faith. The disciples feared when they were faced with the stormy waves, and with many enemies. It certainly is a large thing to consider giving up all that you have gained in the previous years of your life. Kristin will sell her car. She will put all of her things that she wants stored in a room in her house. George will live in the rest of the three bedroom home. Kristin has confessed to me that she knows that she may not come home in two years. What God has in store for her in two years time is up to Him.
What excitement is this life of ours. Walking into the unknown with Yahweh is a wonderful trip. Going to another continent where the language is very different will be strange, and yet it will encourage her to trust God all the more. I look forward to seeing my daughter give an account on that day of judgment. To have met God and said “Yes” is a tremendous thing.
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Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063
Friday, April 20, 2018
I had suspected for years that Yahweh might one day require me to experience imprisonment even as that other Joseph, the son of Jacob, did many years ago. God’s ways of perfecting His sons have not changed. A man must pass through many humiliating, sorrowful, and distressing circumstances in order to provide the right environment for spiritual growth.
In February of 2008 my son Josiah turned 18 and the child support I was required by the county judge to pay to Tony came to an end. Tony had requested from the judge that I pay her alimony after the child support ended.
When the Father directed me to leave employment at the Macon Rescue Mission in 2008 to return to full-time ministry, I sought to pay Tony the alimony she requested. Yahweh enabled me to do so for a period of 8 months, but then the financial support I was receiving from the saints of God began to dwindle. This led to a period of intensely seeking to know the mind of the Father.
It had ever been my hope that Yahweh might somehow effect a reconciliation between my wife and I. I had no bitterness in my heart toward her, and sought always to send her money for support at the earliest opportunity, rather than waiting until the last day of the month. When it became impossible for me to send Tony the money she requested from the courts, I inquired fervently of the Father to know why this was transpiring. I told the Father that I did not want Tony to think I was bitter toward her, or unwilling to send her support. In reply, the answer I received from my Father in heaven was that I was to trust Him. That He was working out all things according to His wisdom.
I knew that my inability to pay the alimony award put me in a place of peril. The Father would not allow me to seek secular employment again. He continued to affirm it to be His will that I minister full-time. In a few months I received notice from Tony’s lawyer that contempt charges were being filed against me for not paying alimony, and in November of 2009 I was ordered to appear in court.
I appeared before the same judge that granted Tony the divorce she sought in 2005. Once more, the Father made known that it was His will that I not hire a lawyer, that I give no defense, and make no charges against my wife. I was to be as a sheep led to the slaughter.
The judge ordered me to lay aside the full-time ministry and to seek secular employment so that I might be able to pay Tony the money she sought. In much meekness I shared with the judge that God had directed me to leave secular employment in 2008 and to return to full-time ministry. I told him that I could not in good conscience do anything else. I was led in handcuffs from the courtroom and taken to the county lock-up where I spent 60 days in a jail cell.
In 2010 Tony instructed her lawyer to bring the matter before the judge again. Once more I was required to appear in court, and the result was the same. I was led away in handcuffs and taken to the county detention center where I remained for 74 days. It was during this latter period in jail that I wrote the following article which I sent to my daughter and asked her to post on my blog site.
The Garment of Humility (Written from jail)
Joseph Herrin- 6/19/2011 (Father’s Day)
There are certain experiences that are common to the disciples of Christ that are unknown to the majority of professing Christians today. I would share with you regarding one mark of discipleship that Yahweh has made abundantly clear at this season both through His word and through personal experience. Let me begin by looking at the very first book of the Bible where we read of the story of Joseph who serves as a type of Christ.
Joseph was born as the eleventh son of Jacob, being the first son of Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel. Joseph was the son of Jacob’s old age. Doing the math we read that Jacob was 130 years old when he came to Joseph in Egypt. (Gen. 47:9) This was the second year of famine, the ninth year since Joseph was brought out of prison to serve as Pharoah’s second ruler in the land. Joseph was 39 years old. By this we understand Jacob was 91 years old when Joseph was born. Joseph was the son of Jacob’s old age, and greatly beloved by his father. (Gen. 37:3)
It is in Genesis chapter 37 that we see a remarkable theme begin to weave its way through the pages of Scripture. Jacob gave to Joseph a special garment to denote that he stood in his father’s favor. Many Bibles describe this garment as a “coat of many colors.” I read a teaching on this many years ago that suggested that “a long sleeved tunic” is a more accurate translation. The teaching reported that it was common for a man of wealth to adorn the son who was to receive the birthright with a long sleeved tunic. Whether it was a coat of many colors, or a long sleeved tunic, it is clearly evident that Joseph’s brothers recognized the special garment he wore as a mark of their father’s special love and favor toward Joseph.
“When his brothers SAW that their father loved [Joseph] more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.”
The response of Joseph’s brothers to the favor of their father was identical to that of Cain when Yahweh had regard to his brother Abel’s offering, but not to his own. Cain was filled with hatred and murdered Abel. Similarly, Joseph’s brothers were filled with hatred and they spoke of murdering Joseph. (Gen. 37:18-20)
Though Joseph’s brothers were persuaded not to murder him, what they did do stands as a great parable.
“And it came to pass, when Joseph came unto his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him.”
To understand this parable one must know the significance of a person’s garment. The garment represents a person’s identity, their reputation before God and man. Without a garment all men are naked and covered in shame. Yahweh, in His mercy, covers the shame of man. Christ Yahshua becomes our propitiation (literally - merciful covering). Paul exhorts Christians to “put on Christ” and to “clothe yourselves with Christ.”
God is no respecter of persons. “He has mercy on whom He chooses, and He hardens whom He chooses.” (Romans 9:18) Yahweh does not favor the rich man above the poor, nor the mighty man above the weak. God does not choose the wise man more than the foolish. He favors whom He chooses, and He hardens whom He will. From the same lump of clay He fashions one man to receive His honor, and another for dishonor. (Romans 9:21)
That God would choose to have mercy on one man over another strikes the heart of fallen man as capriciousness. Rebellion is stirred up in the natural mind, and it is exhibited as hatred and a spirit of murder toward those who receive the Father’s favor. Christ described the logic of fallen man in the following parable.
“Then said the Lord of the vineyard, “What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. It may be that they will reverence him when they see him.” But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.”
In these words, the heart of fallen man is revealed. If men truly loved God, they would honor those whom He honors, they would love those whom God loves. When the sons of Jacob spoke of murdering Joseph, they knew such an act would grieve their father deeply. They proved that they cared little for their father when they sold Joseph into slavery and made it appear as if a wild beast had slain him. When Jacob received this evil report of his sons he entered into deep mourning for Joseph and would not be comforted (Gen. 37:34-35). In a similar manner, the Jewish people revealed that they did not have God the Father’s desires in mind, for they slew His beloved Son.
Let me point out an important part of this parable. Joseph had his garment stripped off twice, perfectly paralleling a work in the life of Christ. The first time Joseph was stripped of his garment of honor was when his father sent him to his brothers. (Gen. 37:13) Similarly, Yahshua emptied Himself and took on the form (garment) of a bondservant when His Father sent Him to His brethren. (Phil. 2:7) Even as Joseph had the robe of favor removed from him, Christ did not consider equality with God something to be held onto, but laid aside the glory He shared as He dwelt with the Father, and took the form of a slave.
This first stripping of Joseph and Yahshua is something all disciples must experience. Christ said that a disciple is not above his master, but must become like his master. “Before honor, comes humility.”
All who come to Christ must lay aside the honor, the glory, the reputation and esteem they had in this world. This is far more difficult for the rich than the poor, for the mighty than the weak, for those esteemed as wise than those without esteem. To be a disciple of Christ is to be reproached, scorned, mocked, and ridiculed. The ways of Christ are not the ways of the world. What man esteems is despised in the eyes of God. To surrender to be led of the Spirit of Christ is to embrace a life of humility.
In 1999 the Spirit of Christ challenged me to follow wherever He would lead. I had a good job as a computer professional. I had honor among my co-workers. I had honor in my church, serving as a minister. When I surrendered to follow the Spirit I was led to leave my place of employment to begin a ministry of writing. My circumstances became much more humble. Many in the church could not accept such a walk as the will of God. I was soon cast out of the church. Outwardly my standard of living declined greatly.
In a similar way Joseph left the abundance of dwelling with his father and became a slave in Egypt; Christ emptied Himself of the glory He shared with the Father and took on the form of a bondservant. Even in human terms, His life was a humble one. Yahshua was born in a manger. His years of ministry were spent as a homeless man. He was buried in another man’s tomb. Those who would follow Christ must lay aside the garments of honor that they have in this world and accept the garb of a bondservant. A bondservant wears whatever his master gives to him to wear. Should our Master give us a very humble garment to wear, we must wear it with grace. The apostle Paul wrote:
“I have learned, in whatever state I am in, to be content. I know both how to be abased, and how to abound... both to be full, and to be hungry, both to abound and to experience lack.”
How do we wear the garments of humility with grace? We do so as we lay aside all bitterness, forgiving those who have treated us shamefully. We refuse to be ruled by a spirit of self-pity, seeking instead to be faithful wherever our circumstances have led us.
Joseph was stripped of his garment of honor and sold as a slave in Egypt. He was bought by Potiphar, a key servant of Pharaoh, the captain of his bodyguard. Joseph did not sulk in Potiphar’s house. He bloomed where he was planted. Yahweh showed favor to Joseph, giving him wisdom and causing everything he did to prosper. In all of Potiphar’s household there was no one as faithful as Joseph. In all of God’s house there has been none more faithful than Yahshua. Both rose to positions of honor as they devoted themselves to labor humbly as servants. Potiphar entrusted everything in his possession to Joseph, and Yahweh entrusted all judgement to His Son, considering Him faithful. Both ever lived to do the will of the one they served.
When we embrace discipleship, following Christ wherever He leads, He will most certainly lead us to many humble experiences we would not have chosen for ourselves. We glorify God by being found faithful wherever He places us. A spirit of complaint, of discontentment, must be resisted. God will honor His faithful sons in due time. Our times are in God’s hands.
Those who are faithful as servants will begin to rise to positions of honor in the house they labor in. Joseph was made overseer of Potiphar’s house. Accordingly, he was given a new garment as a symbol of honor. The garment was not as glorious as that which his father Jacob had given to him, but it denoted honor nonetheless. The day came, however, when this garment was wickedly stripped off of Joseph and he was cast down to an even lower position.
Potiphar’s wife lusted after Joseph, entreating him daily to lie with her. One day she found Joseph alone in the house and grabbed hold of his outer garment, entreating him to commit adultery with her. Joseph refused, leaving his garment in the woman’s hands as he fled.
Potiphar’s wife stripped Joseph not just of his garment, but of his reputation. She took away Joseph’s reputation as a faithful servant to his master and clothed him in the garment of a transgressor as she falsely accused him of trying to rape her.
The parallel in the life of Christ is obvious. The Jewish leaders envied Christ. They brought false charges against the Son of God. His garment was also stripped away and Yahshua was clothed in a garment of shame. Yahshua “was numbered among the transgressors.” Even as He was being crucified, the Roman soldiers parted His raiment and cast lots for His cloak.
Those who are to “clothe themselves with Christ” must wear this garment of abasement as well. Consider how many of Christ’s disciples named in Scripture were accused of transgression and subjected to imprisonment, beatings, or worse. Among those named are Peter, James, John, Paul and Timothy. Some of these repeatedly were numbered among the transgressors. This is the lot and privilege of those who would follow in the footsteps of Christ. To yield to be led of the Spirit as Christ was, is to embrace a life of humility, of shame and reproach.
I write these words from jail. It is now the second time I have been placed in here as I have sought to remain faithful to the call of God on my life. One of the first things that occurs as a man is put in jail is that his clothes are taken from him and a prison jumpsuit is given to him. I am wearing a bright orange jumpsuit. On the back in bold letters are emblazoned the words, “Houston County Jail.” I am marked as a transgressor and share a domicile with thieves, murderers, and men accused of violent offenses and drug trafficking. Joseph shared a place with similar offenders. Christ was hung between two thieves.
What do these experiences signify? What is their purpose? I believe the answer is found in the garments. Yahweh wants to clothe His sons in garments of humility. Those destined to receive ruling authority and power must be exceedingly humble. Joseph was chosen by God to be elevated to the second position in the greatest nation on earth. Christ has been exalted to the right hand of God where all power and authority has been given to Him. Those who can endure patiently being abased, being content in the knowledge that such is the will of God, prove by their submissive spirit that it is God’s will and pleasure that is uppermost in their mind.
Experiences of abasement, suffering, and reproach, when endured in the Spirit of Christ, produce a meekness in a man that is not present in the Adamic nature. Being willing to sink lower than one’s normal situation in life, lower even than one’s companions, produces a humility in a man that is highly esteemed in the eyes of God. It is He who inspired the words to be written, “God gives grace to the humble, but resists the proud.”
In being willing to sink lower, to be as David when he danced with abandon before Yahweh, testifying “I will be more vile than this, and will be humble even in my own sight...” (2 Samuel 6:22), finds great favor with God. Such an attitude is a great contrast to Satan when he declared, “I will ascend..., I will exalt my throne above the stars of God..., I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). On the one hand there is a willingness to sink lower to satisfy the will of God. On the other hand is manifested a pride that is discontented with one’s appointed station, demanding ever to rise above others.
Sinking lower, becoming humble and vile in one’s own sight, is a great trial to the soul of man. The soul must be crushed as an olive in the olive press. There are times when this crushing causes even godly men to cry out in their distress. As Christ viewed the cup of suffering His Father presented to Him at Gethsemane (interpreted - “olive press”), He cried out, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death...” (Mark 14:34). Sinking lower yet, Christ uttered the words that always glorify the Father, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Thy will be done” (Mark 14:36).
In a sense, the first time the disciples of Christ are stripped of their garments they embrace becoming “of no reputation.” They willingly lay aside all that they previously gloried in. The apostle Paul recounted his former reputation; A Hebrew of the Hebrews; born of the tribe of Benjamin. He was zealous, joining the strictest sect of the Pharisees. He was educated in the school of Gamaliel. As to the righteousness found in the law, he was accounted as a perfect man. This same Paul testified, “Those things that were gain to me, I considered loss.” He compared them to dung that he might gain Christ.
All disciples must for a time lay aside the garments of honor as a favored son and array themselves in the clothing of a servant. A great many Christians and ministers refuse to do so. They hold on jealously to raiments of honor. They constantly assert their position as sons of the Most High. They refuse to accept anything but honor, accolades and prosperity. In doing so they follow the pattern of Satan, despising the humility of Christ.
There is a second stripping that causes the disciples of Christ to descend even lower, following the path of Joseph who was placed in Pharaoh’s dungeon. We must be willing even to be stripped of the garments of a servant, to be arrayed with the shame of a transgressor.
As I pondered this matter sitting in jail, the Spirit opened my eyes to understand an event that occurred at the crucifixion of Christ. In the time of His suffering we read that some standing near, hearing Christ say “I thirst,” dipped a sponge into some sour wine and offered it to Christ to drink.
King David, speaking prophetically in the Psalms, wrote of this event, “They gave me gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” The words “gall” and “vinegar” both described the sour wine those nearby offered to Christ (Psalm 69:21). About a week after I was put in jail a letter arrived from a close family member. They spoke words of condemnation, urging me to abandon the path of obedience God had laid on me that I might come down off the cross.
Soon after, an inmate in an adjoining cell called out to my cell-mate. He said, “Ask the minister what gall is.” I asked him to tell me how the word was being used, for it has more than one meaning. He quoted the above verse from the Psalms. How precious is our Father in ordering our steps.
The Spirit showed me that the gall offered to Christ to drink is a symbol of the bitter things that those close to Christ’s disciples will offer to them even as they are enduring the cross. How bitter it is to have those close to us add to our reproaches in an hour when our soul is being crushed.
We often hear someone speak of a “galling experience.” They are referring to something very bitter. Someone is said to have a lot of “gall” when they speak, or act, in a very presumptuous and unkind manner. Even as Christ hung on the cross, remaining there out of love for others and obedience to the Father, those nearby hurled abuse and scorn at Him. He was mocked and condemned. Those nearby said, “If you are the Son of God, come down off the cross,” and “He saved others, He cannot save Himself.”
Those who would clothe themselves with Christ must accept such experiences with grace and forgiveness. Joseph found it an exceedingly bitter experience to be branded as a transgressor. For a while this garment chafed at him as if he were arrayed in sackcloth. He yearned to remove this ill fitting reputation, and declared his innocence (Gen. 40:14-15). Yet it was Yahweh’s will that he wear it two more years.
There have been times in my present incarceration when I have found my circumstances galling. My soul has been weighed down under a burden on some days. I am encouraged when the Spirit reveals to me that such experiences are the portion of all who would be perfect in Christ. To put on Christ, we must put on His humility.
There have been many trials and attacks from the enemy at this time, but the grace of God has been more abundant. Even as Christ was comforted to spy John and some of the faithful women standing nearby, sharing in His hour of tribulation, so have I been much encouraged by those faithful saints who have written to me and offered up prayers on behalf of my family.
The Father has encouraged me in other ways. I have been put in cell number 40. The Spirit led me to the Psalm of this same number. It begins,
“I waited patiently for Yahweh; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in Yahweh.”
It is truly my hope and earnest desire that a remnant will observe the Father’s grace and keeping power in my life and be encouraged to abandon their lives fully into His hands. He has declared that there is “an afflicted path that leads to life, and few there be that find it.” Yet His grace is able to keep the weakest, and most timid of those who will commit their lives unto Him. Though the way of Christ’s disciples leads through fire and flood, through lion’s dens and the valley of the shadow of death, we have an omnipotent Shepherd who watches over us. We will never walk alone.
If we will accept the garments of humility that Christ wore, we will wear the garments of honor. The hour came when Joseph was brought out of the prison of Pharaoh. His garment was changed once again. Pharaoh arrayed Joseph in linen garments. He placed the necklace about Joseph’s neck, and a signet ring on his finger. Pharaoh declared that in Joseph was the Spirit of the holy God. Joseph received glory for abasement, and honor for shame. This is the heritage of the overcomers in Christ.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
Note: I was released from this second imprisonment after 74 days in jail.
This is the final excerpt from the book Evidence of Things Unseen:
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P.O. Box 804
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Tuesday, April 17, 2018
This addendum continues the history that leaves off in the last chapter of the book. It is offered for those who have written to ask me what has occurred in our lives since the book was completed. The trials have continued, and so has the grace of God and His supernatural intervention. He has not spared His people from suffering, but He has never left our side.
I Corinthians 15:31
I die daily.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”
Yesterday, a Christian sister from the West Coast wrote to me and inquired as to how I am doing. We have corresponded often, and I am knowledgeable of her many trials, as she is of mine. I understood that her question was more than mere politeness when she asked, “How are you doing?”
Yesterday had its own set of specific trials, including a letter from a lawyer threatening legal action and sanctions. The threat was a direct result of my walking a path that the Spirit of Christ has led me down. The Spirit of Christ has put me in peril’s way. Such a thought is foreign to most Christians today, and it would even produce a rebuke from more than a few. “Surely,” they would contest, “the Lord will bless the man who is a true servant of God. God would not bring His obedient children into reproach and disrepute.”
In a recent writing I shared that since 1999, when I completely surrendered to the leading of the Lord in my life, God has led me down much more difficult pathways than when my own will was the determinant. He has led me to experience more trials, more reproaches, more rejection from Christian brothers and natural family, more perilous situations, more perplexity, and more fear than when I was still holding the reins of my life. This was certainly the experience of the apostles when they fully yielded control of their lives to God.
Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
II Corinthians 4:8-13
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Yahshua, that the life of Yahshua also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Yahshua's sake, that the life of Yahshua also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.
Certainly I knew some trials in the many years preceding 1999. After all, I had a sincere devotion to Christ, and a desire to please Him. But my trials were fewer and far between. There were great seasons when the Lord simply left me alone to follow the desires of my heart. Since 1999, when I understood that Yahweh needed to do a work in my life of bringing all things in this soul of mine under subjection to His rule, the pace has greatly accelerated. I said, “God, bring me to a quick death, for I want the life of Christ to be revealed in me.”
He began by stripping me of all that I had acquired through many years of covetous living. In 1999 I was forced to file for bankruptcy. I surrendered my home, and my custom van to the creditors. At the direction of the Spirit of Christ I held a yard sale and sold all my furniture and worldly goods. He then led me to trust Him for all of my provision as I focused on fulfilling the ministry of writing to which He had called me.
I had a wife and two children, and my faith was far from perfect. The Lord led me to trial after trial in the area of provision, and at each test I had to wait patiently, not seeking to deliver myself by carnal means, and in every instance He came through. What a sifting it was to this man who has feet of clay and a mind unsettled by many fears, doubts and unbelief. In six years time the Lord led our family to move over fifteen times, and at each new move I had no idea where I was to go, or through what means my family’s provision was to be manifest. As I obeyed, and put my feet to the path the Father showed me, He always opened up a way. His pattern was always, “Put your feet in the water and then you will see them part.”
“And it shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of Yahweh, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above shall stand in one heap.”
It would do the Israelites no good to protest that everyone else who crossed the Jordan did so by boat. Why should they have to do things differently? I also knew that it would do me no good to protest that no one else I knew was living the way I was. I did not know of anyone else who was going out to move their family time after time without knowing where they were going or how they would find their provision. This was the path the Spirit led me on. I had to do as He directed. It did make things more difficult that even the Christians I knew called me a fool and condemned my walk. I was reproached for my obedience to the Spirit’s leading.
For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached Thee fell upon Me."
Have you ever considered that Christ was reproached for living in the manner in which His Father directed Him to live? He had no job. He had no home. He traveled about with a number of disciples, and they received their substance from whatever means the Father provided. Oftentimes the Lord’s provision came from the hands of a group of devoted women who followed Him.
And it came about soon afterwards, that He began going about from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God; and the twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.
I can hear the Jews now. “Why don’t you get a job and quit sponging off of others? Be a man and quit living off the money of these women. If you are God, why don’t you turn the stones into gold? You are just a pretender. If it weren’t for these women you would have starved to death long ago.”
Oh yes, I have heard similar charges. Sure, God could have dropped a bag of money out of heaven and taken care of all of my needs. Why then did He choose the methods employed? It was that I might learn humility, even as His own Son learned obedience from the things that He suffered. Had he turned the stones into diamonds, or the dust into gold, the lesson of humility that comes from being often reproached would not have been learned.
I can imagine the charges brought against Yahshua. “You are not a very good provider for your followers. They haven’t eaten all day, and now they are making a meal by walking through the fields and threshing grain in their hands. Can’t you do better than that? You have job skills. Why don’t you get a job and provide them with a real meal?”
There were days when the members of my family and I had no more than a sandwich, or two, and a glass of water for lunch and supper. One day we had only a bag of grits in the house. Yet we never went hungry. God always provided something. When we allow God to begin choosing our path for us we will find that we are met with many circumstances we would not have chosen for ourselves.
Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.
Yahweh still chooses to perfect His sons and daughters by letting them know lack, by them being cast upon Him for daily provision, and at the same time He teaches them humility. I have certainly been reproached for the care I provided for my family. It would be one thing to experience such humble means in a third world nation, but I was living in the midst of America, the land of plenty, the land of idolatrous consumerism. How could I justify such experiences to members of the church who had been inculcated with doctrines of prosperity and the love of mammon?
The answer is that I could not justify myself in their sight, so I quit trying. I simply had to bear reproach. I had to choose to die daily to the respect and affirmation my soul desired. My hope was that I might attain to all that the Father had for me and my family as I persevered and continued to follow the Lord wherever He would lead.
After six years of closely following the Lord my wife had enough. She had listened to other Christians telling her that it was not necessary that we live as we were. She had heard numerous criticisms of her husband, often from pastors and their wives. The decision to leave troubled her soul, for she had seen the hundreds of ways in which the Lord had intervened in our lives to manifest provision during the years of full-time ministry. Yet, she did not see any others living as we were doing, and she desired to be free of the trials and afflictions that seemed to beset our family more than all others around us.
In 2004 my wife left. Our son went with her to live with a wealthy Christian family who had boys his age. My daughter remained faithful in her desire to follow wherever God would lead, and the Lord opened a door for her to stay with a family in a Mennonite community, with my blessing. I was left by myself. Since I was by myself, the Lord was able to accelerate the trials even further. I found it much easier to endure hardship alone, than with wife and children.
II Corinthians 11:23-30
Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane) I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.
My suffering has not been to the degree of Paul’s, but I can testify that I have endured far more than most of my Christian brothers in America. I spent five months living out of a car, eighty days camping in the forest in a small tent. During this period many days I was without food, and often was low on water. I spent a week one time without eating, and at another time I went seventeen days before the Father provided something to eat. In five months I lost forty pounds.
I knew exposure to the elements, camping out in a small tent in the woods in November and December. Some days I awoke to ice on the ground, and I had no winter clothes with me. I wore layers of summer clothing and had one fleece pullover. For months at a time I had no other human companionship, no one with whom to carry on a conversation, no one to share my burden. Yet through it all the Lord was with me. He made it abundantly clear that this was a path He had chosen for me. It was a cross appointed unto me to bear. I had to remain until He released me, and I received abundant grace to do so.
While camping the remnants of a hurricane passed through the area. The ground was already saturated from another tropical storm that had come through earlier. For three days it rained constantly until water began to seep through the sides of my tent. The wind was blowing and the ground so saturated that huge trees began falling over in the forest all around me. I lay in my tent listening to the thunderous crashing of huge pines as they fell close by. A restless night was spent listening to the sounds of the wind, rain, and crashing trees. I thought to get out of the tent and sleep in the car, but I considered that it afforded no better protection. My safety was in the Father’s hands. He had led me to this place. He would be my shelter.
After five months living as a homeless man, the Lord directed my steps to an inner city rescue mission. I was there a few months and they asked me to fill the position of Resident Manager. I was given a small room in the men’s dormitory, and I was responsible for the oversight of the Mission after staff hours. This required 80-100 hour work weeks, and my pay was room and board and $100 a week. In eight months time I had three days off (I worked every weekend from sunup to sundown). In this the Lord was teaching me endurance, patience, and many other needful things.
While at the mission I received notice that my wife had filed for divorce. Papers were served to me on Good Friday 2005. This was the day the church remembers the Lord being brought before the courts, falsely charged, and delivered to be scourged and crucified. The Spirit spoke to me that day and said “This is a cross I have appointed for you. You are to bear it willingly as My Son bore His.”
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
The Lord said I was to accept this cross in the same way His Son accepted His own. He directed me to Peter’s writing.
I Peter 2:21-23
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously...
The Spirit of Christ revealed that I was not to hire a lawyer. I was not to mount a defense, or make accusation against my wife. I was to go to the divorce proceeding and entrust myself to the care of the Father. When the date arrived I did as the Lord instructed. I had no counsel, no witnesses, while my wife had brought both. I was accused of neglect of my family, of being heartless and uncaring, failing to provide for them as I was capable of doing. It was recounted how many times we had moved during the six years of walking in faith and performing the ministry entrusted to me. How irresponsible this seemed to those who did not judge things by the Spirit. False accusations were added that I might be made to look utterly reprehensible.
The judge gave me opportunity to speak, and I recounted how the Lord had led us as a family to this walk of complete trust in Him. I shared that we had seen God’s provision miraculously an uncounted number of times, and we had even seen our son healed of a hereditary bone disease that caused him to fracture 12 bones by the age of seven, when we cast ourselves over onto God at obedience to His direction. I shared that since my wife had left me that she had gone back on what God had spoken to us as a requirement to see our son healed. We had been told to cancel his SSI and Medicaid benefits and God would keep him from breaking bones. For seven years God had been faithful to this. Yet one of the first things my wife did after leaving me was to take out government benefits on our son once more. Just a few weeks later he broke his elbow when a friend jumped into the swimming pool and landed on him. He had to have surgery and to wear a cast for months.
The judge listened somewhat impatiently, and then said, “Mr. Herrin, in some ways I find your faith to be admirable, but I must conclude that it is my judgment that it is misguided.” The judge granted the divorce and required that I begin paying alimony and child support amounting to $900 a month. At the time I was only earning $400 a month, but the judge based this amount upon what I had earned six years earlier while employed as a computer professional.
After the divorce was granted, my father came from out of state to visit me. He and my mother had concluded years earlier that I was a religious heretic, filled with many ideas relating to God’s word and life in the Spirit that were unsound. I knew it would probably be a trying meeting, so I prayed before I went to meet him that God would give me grace to simply express my love for my father and to not allow my tongue to say anything disrespectful.
My dad shared that he placed the blame for my divorce upon my shoulders. He said that if I continued to do as I was doing in seeking to be led of God in all things that I would probably end up in jail for not paying child support. I told my father that I understood how he arrived at his conclusions in this matter. I told him that if I had lived the life that had been mine since 1999 because I had chosen it for myself, and that God had not chosen it for me as he believed, then he could only judge me to be a great fool. In response my father replied, “That is right. I believe you are a fool.”
After we finished sharing a meal together, we went to part. My father stuck out his hand in parting, but I drew closer and hugged his neck instead. I told him I loved him, and I have not heard from him since that day. (My father died December 25th, 2012).
As I drove back to the rescue mission I told the Lord that I did not know what the future held, but if it was His will for me to go to jail as my father suggested, then I was willing. My life had been so much like Joseph’s, the son of Jacob, that I could almost imagine it to be God’s will that I also suffer this ignominy. I confessed to the Lord that my life was in His hands. He had told me not to hire a lawyer or mount a defense, but to entrust myself to His care, and I had done so. I told Him I would continue to rest in His care.
The next day a man from New Zealand sent me $5,000. This was the largest gift I had ever received. Five is the number of grace, and it was as if the Lord had answered the challenge of my father, and said, “You trusted me in this, and I will provide for you. You will not go to jail for lack of ability to pay child support.” Right after this happened, the director of the mission approached me and said that he was going to fire the two managers of their thrift store that day, and he wanted me to step into a management position there immediately. In this way the Lord provided the means to pay my wife every month.
In February of this year (2008) my son turned eighteen, and my child support obligation was fully met, and paid on-time. God has been faithful. There were more trials to come, however. Little did I realize how much my own trials were to resemble Joseph’s. My wife’s wealthy friend that she moved in with hated me with a passion. She was very restless in seeking to cause me trouble, despite her confession of being a Christian. She began to go down to the Mennonite community my daughter was in and tell the people my daughter was staying with that I was a terrible person and that Kristin should not be helping me in any way. My daughter Kristin had been receiving my mail and forwarding it to me, but due to the influence of this woman the people at whose house my mail was being sent decided they should not be involved anymore.
This was merely a minor inconvenience to me, but it disturbed me that this woman was going out of her way to spread evil reports. My wife accompanied this woman and listened quietly as her friend made charges against me. This woman heard that I had been hired by the mission in a staff position, and although she had been the driving force behind the demands that I pay child support and alimony, she sought to get me fired from my job. She called the mission director and accused me of being an abuser of my wife and children. The director called me into his office later and related these things to me. He said that he informed her if these things were true that there was no better place for me to be than at the mission, for their goal was to help troubled men.
This woman called repeatedly to the director, and then she even had the pastor of her church send an e-mail to the director to warn him of the type of man he had hired. This pastor had never even met me, yet he gave forth this evil testimony. The director called me to his office again and shared with me the e-mail he had sent back in response. He informed the pastor that he had known me for over a year and had sufficient knowledge of me to form an opinion of my character. This director had recently given me an award at the mission's holiday banquet, saying that I had been the best Resident Manager the mission had ever known. Thus, the attempts of the enemy to cause me discomfort were thwarted.
No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.
Like Joseph of old, God had given me favor with my employer. The director of the mission became my defender, negating the need for me to defend myself. Yet the worst actions of this woman were still to come. She went to this Mennonite community again, and she openly suggested that the reason my daughter had sided with her father was that there was an unrighteous relationship between us. She went so far as to suggest that my daughter and I had been having sexual relations together.
The woman in the home my daughter was staying at was so appalled at this suggestion, knowing the purity of my daughter, that she told her husband that she never wanted to meet with that woman again unless her husband was present. This wealthy Christian woman began spreading this accusation around to others who were willing to listen, and I even heard the report come back from the mouth of my own mother.
When the Lord desires to prepare a son to share His glory, He does so by first subjecting the son to shame, reproach, falsehood, and many trials. Joseph, the son of Jacob, spent many years in prison being known as the man who attempted to rape Potipher’s wife. God did not remove this reproach from Joseph until the day he was brought into Pharaoh’s presence and made second ruler in the land. It is also appointed to the sons of God in this age to suffer many things. God is seeking to bring forth a humble, forgiving spirit in His sons. He wants them to die to the opinions of men that they might live only for His opinion, His judgment.
Yahshua, the firstborn Son of God, learned much from the things He suffered as well. He heard the crowds cry out “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Just a short while later these same people were crying out, “Crucify him!” God must bring all of His sons to a place where the opinions of men no longer move them. They must recognize that both the praise and condemnation of man are without weight. All that really matters is what God thinks.
At the same time, being subject to persecution, unjust accusation and the enmity of men and women provides the child of God with an opportunity to die to all offense that arises from their soul. As they clothe themselves with Christ they can cry out, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” This has been the confession the Spirit has brought forth from my mouth time and again as offense has been added to offense. Ours is not a ministry of condemnation, but of forgiveness and reconciliation.
For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.
“And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."
It is a true statement that declares, “by the judgment you have judged others, you shall be judged.” Those who are merciful shall obtain mercy. When we are reviled we are to speak a blessing in return. How can we do these things if there is no one to revile us, to speak evil of us, and to unjustly accuse us? If they did these things to the Lord of glory, how much more will they do so to those who are His disciples?
II Timothy 3:12
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Yahshua will suffer persecution.
My trials did not end with these things. For two years I labored at a menial job at a thrift store. Had I chosen to do so I could have returned to the computer field and made a large salary, but this was not the Father’s will. Instead I was called to toil at a thankless job that was fraught with many difficulties. It would have done me no good to say, “But Lord, I can do so much more. I remember the days of heady success when I worked as a computer professional. I made a good salary and had money to spend upon many things. I remember the years I worked in ministry, writing books and teaching your children.” We must submit to whatever the Lord chooses for us. He alone knows what is necessary for our perfecting as sons.
If we will surrender to the direction of the Lord in all things, we will find that He brings us into circumstances where it is necessary that we die daily. The desires, thoughts, and ambitions of our soul must be subjugated to the will of the Father. We must walk according to the leading of the Spirit, not according to the natural course of this world.
All those who do so will certainly be considered odd. They will be met with many reproaches. In the hour when their commitment to obedience is producing in their being the greatest sacrifice, they will find the world, and a worldly church, casting condemnation at them. If they hurled insults at the Son of God as He was offering Himself as a sacrifice in obedience to His Father, will they not do so with all those who follow in His steps?
In closing the letter I communicated to this sister yesterday, I wrote the following:
I have been thinking recently whether we truly have a proper mindset in regard to suffering. We are Christ, for we are a part of His body. Yahweh has appointed a cup of suffering that Christ must drink. Yahshua drank the largest portion of it, and then He has presented the cup to the rest of His body. Most have chosen to not drink from the cup at all. Yet a remnant have acquiesced. Some have sipped at it, trying to only get a taste, but no more than they had to. It has been a mere remnant among the remnant that has had the mind to drink fully that the sufferings of Christ might be brought to completion and that they might set an example for others.
Are we not brought to a quicker death if we drink deeply? Christ's sufferings were intense, but short lived. Others have seemed to smolder like a wick all their lives. Their sufferings have never burst into flame, but Yahshua is so gracious that He will not even extinguish a smoldering wick. They will have to smolder a long time, however, before the work of purification is accomplished in their life.
Consider that the three Israelites who were cast into the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual. They were in the furnace but a moment, and even then the visible Son of God was present with them. The more intense our trials, the greater the manifestation of the Lord we will be met with. He is near to the brokenhearted, to the sorrowful, to those suffering for righteousness sake.
So be encouraged sister. Suffer well with me as we embrace the cross God has appointed unto us. And thanks for asking about my welfare!
Back in February of this year I was led by the Spirit to leave the mission after three years of service. The Lord has indicated that I am to prepare for a ministry of teaching. I believe I will be traveling and the Lord will provide open doors of opportunity. Yet even in this time of preparation the trials continue. I still find that I must die daily. The message the Lord has given me to proclaim is the message of the cross.
I am no glutton for punishment. However, I realize that suffering is appointed to us in this time. My great hope is that I might not resist this work, but that I might willingly drink deeply from the cup of suffering presented to me. This willingness is of itself a triumph, for it goes against the inclinations of the natural man. It is choosing identification with Christ above self-preservation.
I expect the trials will continue even as the Lord sends me out on the road. Yet I look to the Lord to walk with me through every trial. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Let us encourage one another with these words.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
This excerpt is from the book Evidence of Things Unseen:
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