30Understanding the Bible is a Journey, not a Destination.

Exploring the Bible is a Journey Down God's Path

Today is the 33rd Day of the Omer Count Up To The Feast of Weeks

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Test

The prophetic scroll of Isaiah has been around for some 2,700 years. Theologians say it was written in Jerusalem over a 40 year period from 740-700 BC.

This includes the time window that the northern 10 Tribes of Israel were taken captive and exiled by Assyria.

Why did this happen?

They turned their back on Jerusalem and went their own way. They were counseled and warned but they did not repent of their pride, lust and idols.

They did not repent.

Instead, they chose their own path, they made their own religious rules and they did not walk in God's ways, so they failed the test. Because of that, eventually they were dragged away from the Promised Land, imprisoned if you will in captivity to their own sins and they lost their identity. They paid the ultimate price of their own desires as they were divided and separated from God's Kingdom. 2Kings 17:6 tells us:
"In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and he carried them away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of Medes."
In the years 732-722 BC, the northern Kingdom of Israel basically disappeared from the Promised Land. Conquered by the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V, they were exiled to upper Mesopotamia and Medes. There they faced persecution and slavery.

If you are wondering where they went, just type in "Syria and Iraq".

At a time when the marauders of Shalmaneser moved in to take their prisoners the book of Isaiah was written and there is a Messiah connection, a test to learn from.

The book of Isaiah can be trusted. It's unchanged form day one. How do we know? When the Dead Sea scrolls were found in the caves of Qumran, they were dated long before the ministry of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). The ancient scroll is online. It's still very much intact and virtually identical with the Hebrew Masoretic texts which make up our modern day version of the scroll of Isaiah.

Perhaps more importantly, it is critical to consider just "who" gave the words to the prophet in Isaiah's scroll. We are told just 'who' this is by none other than Isaiah, and the very same words were given to the Apostle John, some 700 years later on the Isle of Patmos.

We have to take also note, the messenger, who calls himself Israel's King and Redeemer meets the two or more witness requirement of Torah (God's teaching in Deuteronomy 19:15). Three witness statements are given in Isaiah and two in Revelation.

This is a BIG deal and it is tied to... The Test.

The great prophet Isaiah only writes what he hears:
1) "Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD with the first of them and with the last I am he.” Isaiah 41:4

2) “This is what the LORD says — Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Isaiah 44:6

3) “Listen to me, Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last. Isaiah 48:12
John writes what he is hears as well from the same voice that spoke to Isaiah:
1) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. Revelation 1:17

2) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Listen to me, Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he. Just before this declaration in the first verse of Isaiah 48 we read these words from the King James Bible translation:
"Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have [chosen] thee in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10 KJV
The King James translators used the word 'chosen' here. Interestingly, the NIV shows the word 'chosen' much closer to its Hebrew meaning which is... "test, testing, tested". The Hebrew word for [tested] is "bachan" בָּחַר (bet-hey-rosh), and the present active form [testing] is the Hebrew word "bochan" בֹּחַן (bet-hey-vav).

All Hebrew letters have "photographic" meaning: the bet meaning is "in" or "at", hey means "behold", the meaning of rosh is "first" and vav represents a "nail".
See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have [tested] you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10
So, how do we read this? Is it chosen or tested? Perhaps it is both. But just who is to be "chosen and tested" in the furnace of affliction?

We are if we are Messiah's.

Many have heard or read the story that Jesus was 'tempted'. We can find the account in the King James Bible:
"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." Matthew 4:1 KJV
"Tempted" is the 'olde English' word that the King James translators used, but in a way, it puts out a slightly different connotation and as we will see, the disciple James (Jacob) writes about tempting - so we should examine that too.

Matthew records the story of a "furnace of the affliction," the test that occurred during Messiah's 40 days of fasting. During those 40 days in the wilderness, we actually see the "test" as Jesus would be proven worthy as King since Adam, the first man failed his test.

Satan would be shown to have 'no hold' after the wilderness test of Yeshua. We must 'behold' Messiah to understand this and the tie to the words given to Isaiah.

Yeshua is the "first and the last". His is the Alpha and Omega. The Aleph and Tav and He would be held by the nail for the ultimate test at the cross where He would, in justice and righteousness, release the death penalty given to Adam for those that would rely on Messiah the second Adam as the cornerstone (1 Corinthians 15:45). He gave His life for His bride: Israel.

As we've seen, the King James Bible translation gives us something worth repeating:
"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." Matthew 4:1
And the NIV gives us a footnote stating the Greek word for "tempted" here means "tested".

The Greek tempt word is peirazō - "to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quality, or what he thinks, or how he will behave himself." It is the same as the Hebrew "bachan". Strong's concordance tells us "bachan" means: "to test, prove, try (of gold, persons, the heart, man of God)."

The Older Testament, the Tanakh points to Jesus' exam to prove His heart as the man of God and James [Ya'cob], the half brother and disciple of Yeshua teaches us something critical about the big tests that we face each day:
"When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed." James 1:13-14

We tend to want to blame the devil
for our trials and tests.
Since the beginning, we all cast blame.

Isn't that the first thing Adam did when God questioned him? Adam blamed Eve. And Eve then blamed the serpent. But the thing is this: we have to consider those important words from James and we need to mull them over very carefully... they are critical:

"By their own evil desire".

Does the truth of the test matter? If it does, we must realize we are descended from Adam and Eve and what that means. They failed the test and blamed haSatan. The Exodus people at Mt. Sinai and the Ten Tribes of northern Israel did as well. We too have failed the test - but Jesus (Yeshua) overcame the test for us. He did not fail the 40 day test in the wilderness (Luke 4:2) or at the cross (Luke 23:34). Instead He offered forgiveness.

If we step back, we can see that haSatan tested 'bachan' Yeshua THE MAN, the Son of God, just like the first Adam was tested in his examination. There was a test in Eden, and Adam failed. He was weak like the 3,000 that failed their 40 day test at Sinai when they chose their own way and worshiped the golden calf. Will we continue to fail ours?

I wonder if Adam and Eve had lived just 40 days after God's instruction about the tree of good and evil when they were tested?

We do not know just yet, but I do know Messiah had victory in His test so that the cornerstone could be set.

Let's look at a parable prophecy of His wilderness test...
"So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place." Isaiah 28:16-17
Yeshua proved Himself to be the tested cornerstone that Isaiah wrote of and because of that Paul wrote:
For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Ephesians 2:18-20
The cross is the final measuring line and the plumb line of the cornerstone. The first son of God, the man Adam, failed his test from haSatan and brought corruption and entropy on the world giving temporary authority of our planet to "the prince of this world" that Jesus will come again to take away.

The deceiver's test of Yeshua demanded signs from Heaven, miracles, and like Eden, it it started with food by the rock to bread test. So Jesus, the bread of life, declared His authority over haSatan with the warning of Deuteronomy 8:4: "Do not put the LORD your God to the [test].

You can do the same if Yeshua is in you.

The Pharisees and Sadducees also came to Jesus attempting to test him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven (see Matthew 16:1). Others also attempted to test Him by asking for a sign from heaven (see Luke 11:16).

Zechariah saw a foreshadow of the wilderness test: "And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him." Zechariah 3:1

Testing is required by God to prove righteousness in truth. It's our duty to test.
In Revelation 2:2, Jesus says: "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false."
In the end, Messiah's ultimate mission is about eternal life and love. That is why we must carefully examine all of His words and deeds and make them our own.

Some of the hardest passages to comprehend in the Bible are from our Savior, but we don't need to back down. I feel like the terrified disciples when I read and consider some of them, but the thing is - they did not understand the work of the cross just yet when they heard Him speak. That is why Jesus taught them was "with God all things are possible". Let's take a look:
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments." 25-26 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:16-17 NIV
In the book of John, we see the possibility. Thomas said... "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:5-6

Believe it or not, like always, Jesus was claiming another Torah promise... "See, I am sending an angel [mal'ak messenger] ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared." Exodus 23:20

The story given in Matthew 19 is repeated in Mark 10, but instead of the word astonished, the word amazed is used.
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." Mark 10:26-27 NIV
The words astonished and amazed are the same Greek word [ekplēssō] and this Greek word actually has the meaning to be struck by "panic and shock", so we can see in Matthew and Mark's account, the disciples were hit by a blow of panic and shock.

Sounds a lot different that astonished and amazed if you ask me. Those words tend to render awe and wonder. But the reality is: the disciples were [panicked and shocked], and said to each other:

"Who then can be saved?"

Following the Messiah's teaching about eternal life, their fear is accelerated: "They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid" Mark 10:32

The word astonished here is 'thambeō'. It literally means "terrified". And the word afraid is 'phobeō' it means to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away).

So can we see the reality... They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were [terrified], while those who followed were afraid [scared away].

This was a chaos moment !!

That is why Jesus then immediately explained the purpose of the cross to the twelve. His work there would provide the way, the way to eternal life.

He overcame the law of the death penalty for us. It is Messiah in us that gives us the strength to pass the test when we are dragged down by our own evil desires because He is the first and the last and He is in us if we are in Him.

The conflict between the “law of sin” that governs our earthly bodies and the “law of God” that governs the heavenly realm continues in all Believers.

So, our goal must be the Spiritual mind that serves the “law of God”. It opposes the carnal “law of sin”. It is the “law of sin” that brings us into captivity and bondage, not the “Torah of God.” The “law of God” is life, the “law of sin” is bondage to ourselves.

Once we ask The Lord into our life and follow Him, haSatan will continue his fight with the law of sin, but he has no right to our hearts and minds because the authority of Messiah resides in the Believer is the covenant of God written on our minds and hearts - so we must never say it is done away with or we will lose our battles every day.

God's law, His Torah declares "blessing" for walking in it and it describes the “curses” that are the result of our breaking God’s instruction for living.

The Torah is where the concept of the “curse of the law” originates. By this, we can easily see Paul is not saying God's law is done away with and he is not inventing anything new. Folks, he is not calling the “law of God” a curse. The “curse” is the result of deliberately breaking or ignoring God’s word and seeking our own way.

Have we all done it? Yes, we have all broken God’s law. Are we cursed? Yes! Yet Yeshua gives us the answer. We all have to deal with the curses of the Torah. If we don't do that, then we remain under the law and we will go to the second death at the God's judgment of Yom Kippur with our heads held in shame, not covered by the blood of Messiah. That is the final curse.

That is why we need to receive our Savior Messiah Yeshua, to heal the division within us and save us, from ourselves.

Man's sin brought death to creation, not Satan. Creation was introduced to the curse by Adam and Eve. Among them are of atrophy and entropy. The ultimate curse of sin is the punishment of death and separation from life, isolated from our Creator God. Believe it or not, the laws of physics make note of this. The reality of death stems from our engagement with the second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy tends to increase in an isolated system.

In the study of physics, this is the law of sin and death, we are isolated from God and life.

But there is another law, a higher law. The blessings which are life, life eternal. Believers that follow Messiah are no longer under the eternal curse of the law of sin and death through grace by faith in Yeshua our Messiah who takes away the ultimate curse of sin.

The Spirit of this truth is given to us by God.

Messiah Yeshua asked God to forgive us. In authority at the right hand of God He also sent us the advocate, so God gives us help and comfort by His Spirit. Let's read from John:
"Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work." John 14:10

"If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." John 14:15-16

"Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them." John 14:19-21

"Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." John 14:24
The gift of the Spirit of God is our inner guard against Satan while we wait for King Yeshua's return. We can see this promise in Exodus 23:20 if we look closely:
"See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared."
This is a great promise and it carries the power of God.
"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26
Yeshua explains the role of God's Spirit as our teacher, and because of that, Satan has no right to our domain because of the Spirit of God is with us. Satan does not have the authority to stand beside our Elohim. God gives us the this authority and we MUST claim it.

We should therefore ask our Abba Father to pour
His Spirit on us and renew us daily.

Why? It because life is just as James teaches: we have to contend with ourselves, deny ourselves in a humble spirit as we take up His cross daily in our testing to live the crucified life (death to self). Only then, can Jesus truly live His life of sacrificial love through us. This is like beholding the nail in the Hebrew word "bochan" בֹּחַן (bet hey vav).

There are no excuses but we have to understand we must still contend with our mortal selves because our physical bodies have not yet been glorified in the Shekinah of our Creator. Our flesh remains as our perishable refuge of flesh. We are literally living out the entropy that Adam and Eve brought into the world, but praise Yah, halleluyah... our souls have been redeemed in the first coming of Jesus and one glorious day, our bodies will be redeemed in His second coming as King on Earth. But for now, we must be humble and press on in the walk of Messiah searching out His instruction, allowing the Spirit to teach us humbly in repentance each day.

Our lives are tested and will experience more testing. Perhaps by seemingly overwhelming problems, because from the beginning, by our own nature we have purposefully rejected God's voice in Eden as we have turned away from His perfect Kingdom instruction.

Under God’s inspiration, King David wrote of mankind's dilemma:
“They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one”. Psalm 14:1-3
The prophet Jeremiah shows us that we are largely blinded by the deceit of our own motives and intents:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”. Jeremiah 17:9
But there is a solution His name is salvation:
"Yeshua said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die". John 11:25
Flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom. The Kingdom is not of this world, but Messiah is coming again to renew us on Earth. It will be here, Heaven on Earth because the prince of this world and the enemy of God will be defeated. Death will be swallowed in victory.

So, we must be adopted from above as Romans 8:23 teaches and we must work out our salvation in great fear and trembling with a pure heart as Paul admonishes in Philippians 2:12. Our life battle, the conflict that many blame on the devil, is really the conflict of our own flesh against God's Spirit:
"For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other..." Galatians 5:17.
God has given us His word to help strengthen us and His Spirit to teach this and love is the foremost instruction that we have been given as we contend for the faith. YHVH God has made this clear over the centuries through all of His prophets.

God’s ways are different from ours. “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’”. Isaiah 55:8-9

One way we can enhance our vision of the coming Kingdom of God is by understanding the meaning and timing of God’s seven annual Feasts. Although most people think of them as 'Jewish' things, or the observances of Judaism, God makes it clear that they are, in reality, His Feasts, His appointments and seasons (see Leviticus 23:2-4).

God gave us these set apart appointments to help us understand Messiah's role in our salvation and how the Kingdom of God will be established on earth. The Bible’s ultimate promise is that Messiah coming to earth as King to sit on the throne of Israel forever. The Kingdom of Heaven is here on earth and it is the hope of resurrection.

All nations will be under His Kingship the nation of the God of Israel. Messiah will regather His people to Jerusalem. Despite what you may have heard, going to heaven isn’t our final destination so we need to know the plan of the God of Israel. If you want to learn more about the identity if Israel, consider: Don't Be a Victim of Identity Theft!

In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul referred to the Feasts as “a shadow of things to come.” Paul and the early followers if Yeshua kept them as reminders of the promise of the coming Kingdom of God. Even though others criticized the Colossians for the way they observed these days, Paul grasped the connection between the purpose of these days and the gospel message (see 1Corinthians 5:7-8; 1Corinthians 11:23-29).

Understanding the meaning of these annual appointments can help us understand the wonderful message of Messiah Yeshua in God’s plan for His coming Kingdom and eternal life on our redeemed planet. If you would like to know more about the annual festivals and God’s plan, you might want to check out "The Feasts of The Lord".

In the end, God's Feasts show us that He will restore us and eliminate the battle of our flesh against the will of His Spirit in resurrection when Messiah returns to tabernacle with us:
"So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable" 1Corinthians 15:42
And ultimately God will use Satan's authority against him:
"I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. Come now; let us leave." John 14:30-31
Jesus tells us, the prince of this world comes so that the world may learn that Yeshua passed the test.

That's our assignment too, but we can only do it in truth and in Spirit. The test started in Eden and it zeroed in on the planet at Mount Sinai as shown in Exodus 20:18-20:
"When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid.

God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
What does this all mean?

It means that it is now time to stop sinning. It's time to repent and return to God's covenant, return to hear and do His word and walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that you can ready your lamp for your coming assignment.

God is a sovereign God. He is a loving God and He has provided a way to offer you His salvation. You can accept His gift of life. Consider carefully what your life consists of, look at it and repent of your sin, ask His forgiveness and accept His gift of love through Messiah Yeshua.

Today is the time, you can only pass the test through Messiah. If you know you need to get your life right with God, don’t wait for tomorrow, get it right with Him now!
Psalm 38:17 I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17