Posted by Truth Ignited on Monday, October 29, 2018


King Solomon made 200 full body shields of beaten gold—600 shekels of gold on each shield—and 300 small shields of beaten gold—three minas of gold on each shield. The king put them in the Forest House of Lebanon.
~1 Kings 10:16-17 (TLV)

Now it came to pass in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, King Shishak of Egypt marched against Jerusalem. He took away the treasures of the House of Adonai and the treasures of the royal palace. He took away everything—even taking all the golden shields that Solomon had made. So King Rehoboam made in their place bronze shields and committed them to the hands of the captains of the guard, watching over the doorway of the royal palace.
~1 Kings 14:25-27 (TLV)

          This is a fascinating story, a hidden gem of sorts, in the midst of the reign of King Solomon and later on during the time of King Rehoboam. Solomon had created all of these magnificent shields made of gold that were kept in the Forest House in Lebanon. Later a king of Egypt came in and stole the gold shields.

          What did Rehoboam do? He replaced them with bronze counterfeits.

          They looked the same. The craftsman may have even been able to get the color to match relatively close to real gold. Sure, being bronze they likely tarnished easily and required people to polish them, a process I am all too familiar with as I have polished my fair share of brass while serving in the United States Navy. But no matter how close they may have looked to the original gold shields, they were nothing more than knock-offs.

          Certainly we have all had some experience with counterfeit products at some point in time. Maybe someone tried to sell you a Rolox watch or a Cucci handbag. During my time serving in the Navy I had the opportunity to visit other countries. One time while sitting on a beach in Mexico some kid approached me and one of my friends from the ship trying to sell us the “Oakley” sunglasses he had. They were a great deal, after all.

          I asked to see pair, knowing good and well they could not possibly be real. The looked like the real thing; from their outward appearance you might never know they were fake. Until, that is, he handed me the pair I asked to see and immediately I could tell just by the feel of the material they were made from that they were far from being authentic Oakley® sunglasses.

          More and more I am seeing Christians, so-called, using cuss words, drinking at bars, talking about going to nightclubs, and all sorts of things. And these are the things that traditional Christianity speaks against, not even getting into the things that most Christians do not obey due to their ignorance like the food laws or celebrating the Biblical Feasts.

          I’m not talking about the folks that might say, “Well, you know, I kinda believe in God, I guess, I mean, I’m not really sure, but my mom goes to Church and took me to Sunday school as a kid and I suppose I still sorta believe in that stuff.” I’m talking about the kind of people you see in Church every week, the kind of people who are actively involved in whatever they call “ministry”.

          Just in the week leading up to my beginning to write this article I have seen people I know personally, people I have known for years, share updates on their social media page with profanity in it. And I am not talking about one or two. One of them was actually one of my college professors at a Christian Bible College!

          Recently I saw a video rant put out by a young lady who once tried to convince me she was a “prophetess”. She bragged to me about how she had “predicted” things that have come true. In her video rant she was complaining about something and cussing. On top of that, her social media picture at the time of this rant was an image of what looked like a gypsy or a witch wearing all black, including a black veil. We need to be very careful because there are people out there trying to convince us Believers that they are one of us. Just because you accurately predicted something doesn’t make you a prophet or prophetess of God. If you are on the Internet ranting and cussing and representing yourself as a witch, soothsayer, warlock, sorcerer, wizard, or whatever that’s exactly what you are. But you are no representative of Yahweh, that’s for sure! There actually is an organization called Christian Witches whose motto says that they love Christ and witchcraft and refuse to give up either.

          Not so long ago I was helping out some Christian friends. At one time the couple had shared with me that they refused to watch the movie Noah, the one starring Russell Crowe, because all of the Christian reviews advised against it as it was produced by an atheist on a mission. Yes, it’s true that the producer bragged about how he set out to make the most unbiblical Bible movie ever, and it’s true that there were elements of the movie that were way off—though, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the movie Exodus: Gods and Kings that was also produced around the same time.

          Funny thing—or maybe not so funny—when I was at their home one day talking to the husband he was casually talking and used a profane word. It was just normal talk, and he probably didn’t even think I heard it. I also noticed on a table in their home the whole set of the 50 Shades Of Grey books. So, let me get this straight: You are too holy to watch a movie about Noah because an atheist made it and intentionally messed with the storyline, but you cuss and read pornography novels? I was at a store recently and saw a copy of the 50 Shades Of Grey book, so I looked at the back cover. This is what it says, summarizing the storyline of this novel:

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

          Erotic and demonic! Does this sound like something a Christian should be feeding their mind and spirit with? Not to mention that they say right on the cover that you will become possessed by reading this book. People have long asked the question: Can a Christian be possessed by a devil? Before we even get to that question, however, YOU HAVE TO BE A CHRISTIAN, NOT A COUNTERFEIT!!!

          Just while I am writing this, I saw a social media status from a young “Christian” lady bragging about how she was out “clubbin’” (hanging out in nightclubs, you know, certainly the most holy place you could be at). I saw a picture of another person, a professing “Christian”, out drinking at this local brewery in the area that was having a big drinking party. Look, we can sit and debate about whether or not it’s a sin to have a single alcoholic beverage or if you have to actually be getting drunk. We can talk about whether or not it’s OK to have actual wine for your celebration of Passover or Shabbat or any of the other Holy Mo’edim. But people don’t go to bars, nightclubs, or brewery events to “have a beer”. They go there to get drunk. And besides that, what in the world kind of witness for Yeshua are you being when you do these things and then post them publicly on your social media page for the world to see?

          In contrast to this, I know a guy who once told me that he refuses to walk down the alcohol aisle of the grocery store because that would “give the appearance of evil” (see 1 Thessalonians 5:22, KJV). Then I saw one time where he shared pictures on his social media pumpkins he had carved into lanterns around Halloween time. They were not true “jack-o-lanterns”, they were pop-culture cartoon characters if I recall correctly, and he said he was not doing it for Halloween. Let me ask you: What gives off more of an appearance of evil? Walking down the alcohol aisle, when drinking alcohol isn’t even outright forbidden in The Bible (not that I endorse it, but it’s not forbidden) and you clearly are not putting booze into your shopping cart or carving a pumpkin lantern during the world’s Halloween celebration, even if you say you aren’t really celebrating Satan’s highest festival of the year?

          I also know plenty of professing Christians who seem enamored by modern culture, embracing many of today’s fictional comic book and cartoon characters. They seemingly don’t know, or simply don’t care, that characters like Marvel Comic’s Thor is based directly around a pagan god from ancient Germanic-Norse (Viking) mythology, DC Comic’s Aquaman has a direct connection to ancient Rome’s god Neptune, and Disney’s Aladdin is a genie. These things are plain demonic. Not to mention all the witchcraft prevalent in almost all of Disney’s princess movies or how many “Christians” walk around with a coffee cup proudly displaying the pagan goddess Melusine on it. They claim to serve Yahweh, but surround themselves with false gods and demon spirits.

          How is it that people who have such a strong façade of Christian faith are, in reality, so fake? How can someone filled with the Holy Spirit of God Almighty even be attracted to these things, let alone be entertained by them? Has the Christian Church of today become Solomon’s Forest House where the gold has been replaced by bronze, and we don’t even have discernment enough to recognize it?

REPENT! For the Kingdom of God is at hand!

Counterfeit Christianity

Counterfeit ChristianityYou seem so gullible: you believe whatever anyone tells you even if he is preaching about another Jesus than the one we preach, or a different spirit than the Holy Spirit you received, or shows you a different way to be saved. You swallow it all.
~2 Corinthians 11:4 (TLB)

For [you seem willing to allow it] if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted. You tolerate all this beautifully [welcoming the deception].
~2 Corinthians 11:4 (AMP)

          I chose these two translations of this verse because of the last sentence used in each one. The Living Bible says “you swallow it all” and the Amplified Bible says “you tolerate all this… [welcoming the deception]”.

          The passage presents three counterfeits, of which we will look at individually in just a moment. But then it poses the idea that people are deceived by these imposters; falling for all of it. Some people might fall for one of these knock-offs, others two, and still others all three. But the bottom line is that people are latching onto a fake “Jesus”, fake “Spirit”, and fake “Gospel” and whether they fall for one, two, or all three those who are deceived by these things are embracing what can only be described as a counterfeit Christian faith.

          I am well aware that many are looking to get away from use of the term “Christian” to identify their faith in Yahweh through Yeshua, their Messiah. It is not my objective here to discourage or encourage this behavior. I have come to prefer identifying myself simply as a Believer in Yahweh (God), follower of Yeshua (Jesus), and recipient of the Ruach HaKodesh (Spirit of Holiness). Despite that, I do identify myself as a Messianic-Pentecostal Christian, particularly when ministering to Christians who may not yet understand the Hebraic foundations of their faith or why people would abandon use of the term Christian (because it has come to mean anything but faith in The Bible it seems).

          Regardless of how any of us choose to identify ourselves regarding our faith, ultimately if we place our faith in the work of Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection we are Christians. This means that we have to deal with those who are counterfeits—those taking the title of Christian but not living like Christ, Yeshua the Jewish Rabbi and Messiah.

          Now, understand that when I use the term “Christian” to identify my faith I am not referring to Modern American Christianity, derived from the errors of Protestantism and Catholicism before it. I find it interesting that our opening Scripture takes place during the life of Rehoboam, during his reign as king of Israel. You may be familiar with what was happening at this time in Israel’s history, and if not I go into it in much more detail in my article That’s Not What If Means To Me! where I discuss the history of Israel’s idolatry.

          It was during this time period that the nation of Israel split into two separate kingdoms: Israel and Judah. There were ten tribes that became the northern kingdom of Israel and two tribes that made up the southern kingdom of Judah. The tribes remaining in Israel were those that were taken away into what is called Diaspora, or the dispersion. The southern kingdom of Judah, made up of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, would become the people known today as the Jews (though it is debated whether or not those of the tribe of Benjamin would be considered Jews—however, Paul, in Philippians 3:4-6, identifies himself as an Israelite, a Hebrew, a Pharisee, and from the tribe of Benjamin).

          What I find most interesting about this is that it was during this same time of division that the counterfeit shields were used to replace the authentic gold shields from the time of Solomon. One of the major reasons I believe there is so many counterfeits in Christianity today is because of this ungodly division that is the hallmark of Protestant Christianity. This is not the product of real biblical faith, and part of the reason why Protestantism is one of the greatest deceptions the adversary has ever devised. God is not in rebellion and division, and the root word for Protestant is “protest”, a word synonymous with rebellion and division.

          We MUST renounce the Protestant and Catholic influences on Modern Christianity and return to the faith held by the first century Christians, if we can even truly call them that. The term “Christian” is not used many times in the Bible. The first time it is used is in Antioch, and appears to be a derogatory term used by the haters to describe the Messianic faith of those who identified themselves as The Way and the [Jewish] Sect of the Nazarenes. I am no more a Protestant than I am a Catholic. Why would I want to be a member of a 500-year-old religion that has never been in harmony with the whole Bible? That’s what Protestantism is, you know; a 500-year-old religion that started out as a revolt against the Catholic Church. Protestantism, at its core, is heavily anti-Semitic and is where all the major heresies of Modern Christianity originated; from hyper-grace under Luther’s errors to the outright heresies of Calvinism (predestination, radical cessationism, and eternal security). If you call yourself a Protestant it is possible that you may simply be confused or ignorant to the full implications of the term, but it is much more likely that you are wrapped up in the counterfeit version of “Christianity”.

          Have you ever stopped to think why there are over 40,000 Protestant Christian denominations? It’s because every time someone has a protest with an unbiblical doctrine in the Protestant Church they are in, they start a new Church in protest. And the unbiblical doctrines in Protestantism are plenty because no Protestant Church seems to have ever taken a whole Bible approach to their faith. Most of them are steeped in the heresy of Replacement Theology.

          So, where do these counterfeit Christians come from? More than anything else I believe they come from counterfeit conversions. Apart from that, there are also those who are planted in our midst by the adversary. To look at these two issues we will look at two familiar teachings of Yeshua.

Wheat And Tares, Sheep And Goats

Sheep and GoatsHe presented to them another parable, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while the men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Now when the stalk sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. So the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’ But he replied, ‘An enemy did this.’ Now the slaves say to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and gather them up?’ But he says, ‘No, for while you are gathering up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time, I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the weeds and tie them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
~Matthew 13:24-30 (TLV)

“Now when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them from one another, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will put the sheep on His right, but the goats on His left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. … Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Go away from Me, you cursed ones, into the everlasting fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.”
~Matthew 25:31-34, 41 (TLV)

          I want to consider a possible alternate approach to these passages from what may be the traditionally held interpretation today. This is not to say that the traditional meaning of these analogies is wrong. According to both Jewish and Christian interpretation methods there are prophetic layers of meaning in biblical passages and when you peel back the layers, like peeling an onion, Ruach HaKodesh (God’s Spirit of Holiness) may reveal to you a new layer of meaning in the text.

          Traditionally these passages have simply meant to Christian beliefs that there will come a time when the “saved” will be separated from the “unsaved”. While this is certainly true, I think once we go beyond this surface meaning to each statement we can find something a little more concerning, something that directly effects the state of the Body of Messiah.

          First consider the passage of the wheat and the tares. In this account we find that the tares are weeds that an enemy sowed into a man’s wheat field. Consider for a moment the field not as the whole world, but as the Body of Messiah or even any given local Church, congregation, or fellowship. As shocking as it may seem, there are those in the Body that are direct plants from our adversary, Satan. For example, while I don’t want to come out and directly accuse anyone of being such a person, it would seem at least some of the examples I above could fit the definition of tares.

          One thing about tares that is often noted by Bible teachers who refer to this passage is that the tares look a lot like the wheat. That is, until the time of harvest comes and only when the fruit of the wheat and the fruit of the tares are revealed does one see a difference. So then the tares may represent not just the generally unsaved of the world, but also more specific to the Body of Messiah those who are planted by the enemy, those who do a good job imitating Christians in order to mislead people.

          Now we come to the sheep and the goats. Again, the general interpretation of the passage as a separation of the “saved” from the “unsaved” certainly stands, particularly as this passage speaks of all nations. But let’s consider a characteristic of the sheep and the goats that perhaps you have never thought about in relation to this passage.

          According to the Torah, both sheep and goats are clean animals (see Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14). I strongly believe that an alternate approach to this warning is that there are the truly born-again Believers in the Body and the counterfeits who look a whole lot like the real thing that many have a hard time telling the difference.

          Think about it for a moment: both lamb and goat are acceptable for the Passover meal. While the greater emphasis and perhaps the preference of God Himself is that we eat lamb prepared with bitter herbs on the Passover, goat is listed as the only acceptable alternative. This is likely because of the similarity of both animals, especially regarding cooked meat.

          Consider the separation of the sheep and the goats as a separation of real Christians from counterfeit Christians.

          So, with these views in mind, we have a separation of the Body of Messiah from those planted in the Body by our adversary and then a separation within the Body itself of those who are real from those who are fake. 1 Peter 4:17 says: “For the time has come for judgment to begin with the house of God. If judgment begins with us first, what will be the end for those who disobey the Good News of God?” I don’t know if I will ever understand why people choose to practice a religion they are not passionately and wholeheartedly committed to, but at some point everyone will have to give an account to the Master. If you are not taking this thing seriously then you are gambling with eternity. Are you sure you want to do that?

Counterfeit “Jesus”

Counterfeit JesusYou seem to be quite patient with anyone who comes to you and tells you about a Jesus that is different from the Jesus we told you about.
~2 Corinthians 11:4 (ERV)

          Let’s talk about what might be the three biggest problems with the modern-day “Christian Church”, starting with the problem of the counterfeit “Jesus”. Paul, the Apostle that the counterfeit Christians of today love to misquote to justify their false doctrines, to their own destruction (see 2 Peter 3:15-16), actually warned about this fake “Jesus” and expressed great concern that people just accept it.

          Before we get into this, I want to consider one thing right away, and that is that “Jesus” is NOT the name of our Messiah. His name is Yeshua. This is important because Yeshua means “salvation” and “Jesus” has no meaning at all. “Jesus” is simply a transliteration of a transliteration (the Hebrew שוע is transliterated to the Greek Ιησούς [Iesous] and then further transliterated to “Jesus” in English), and as a transliteration it is simply a meaningless placeholder that merely points back to the correct name of Yeshua, which means “salvation”.

          Now, I need to point out here that there is absolutely, positively NOTHING wrong with Christian use of the name “Jesus” to refer to Messiah Yeshua. There are people who have made false claims that the name “Jesus” is connected to the Greek god Zeus, something that is very easily debunked. I have also heard people try to promote an idea that if you say “Jesus” you are not saved and you can only be saved if you call Him Yeshua. This is nothing more than satirical propaganda pushed by extremists among certain Messianic and Hebrew Roots fringe groups.

          “Jesus” is a valid name for our Messiah, but it is also a meaningless placeholder, a transliteration of a transliteration. Yeshua, on the other hand, is the divine name of our Messiah, meaning “salvation”, and as such it holds divine power.

          With this in mind, let me ask you a question: What is to stop devils from presenting themselves as false Messiahs using the meaningless name of “Jesus” to identify themselves? Yeshua warns us, as recorded in Matthew 24:24 (TLV), “For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen.”

          There are many counterfeits of Yeshua in religion today, all taking the name of “Jesus” because the false messiahs do not have the authority to take on the true name: Yeshua. There is the popular white “Jesus”, complete with long blonde or brown hair, blue eyes, and a neatly groomed beard. There is the black “Jesus”, the “Jesus” with dreadlocks, the “Jesus” with a short haircut, and all manner of others that Modern Christianity has come up with, all assigned with the name “Jesus”.

          But the true Messiah, Yeshua, was and is a Jewish Rabbi, a man of Middle-Eastern descent, whose ancestry connects Him to the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David. He lived His whole life as a Torah-observant Jew. There was nothing “Christian” about Yeshua—He was NOT a Christian at all.

          What’s important about this is that 1 John 2:6 tells us that whoever abides in Yeshua must walk just as He walked. How many Christians today are walking just as He walked? I assure you, very few are.

          There is a radically false view today of who Yeshua was. People ignore the outbursts of rage against evil and hypocrisy because they don’t mesh well with the modern fake-grace message and the “nice, peaceful Jesus” they want to portray. They seemingly miss the fact that the REAL Yeshua never once ate a piece of pork or some kind of shellfish or any other unclean animal flesh, because then walking just as He walked would require of Christians to obey the biblical food laws. They do not have any regard for the facts surrounding His birth, because they need to justify their celebration of Christmas, a holiday that originates directly from pagan festivals that pay homage to the rebirth of the sun at the winter solstice.

          Have you ever noticed that all of these popular secular-pagan holidays need to be justified and be presented as alternatives to their evil variations in the world? Whether it is Christmas, Easter, Halloween, or whatever else Christians want to celebrate—despite not being in the Bible—there is always the need to make excuses to justify their existence and provide alternative celebrations to what the world does with them. I have posed the question in the past, knowing that Yeshua was not born in the winter, anywhere close to December 25th, how using only a Bible we can justify celebrating Christmas. Nobody has ever been able to give an answer, just a lot of excuses that typically start out as “Well, I don’t know, but…”

          Do you know what celebrations need no justification, excuses, or alternatives to what the world does? The Feasts of Yahweh listed in The Bible! You don’t need an alternative to the world’s celebration of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, the Day of Pentecost, the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, Tabernacles, Hanukkah, and Purim because the only people who celebrate them are people who obey The Torah. Many Jews who do not accept Yeshua as Messiah celebrate them, but they still obey The Torah. So then these secular-pagan holidays (Christmas, Easter, Halloween) actually sit as counterfeits in their own right to Yahweh’s Holy Feasts we do find in The Bible.

          And, on top of all that, the REAL Yeshua, our Messiah, celebrated these Feasts of Yahweh. If Yeshua were present in the flesh with us today, He would not only still be celebrating these Feasts, but He would be going into all these Churches that celebrate Christmas, Easter, and Halloween and start flipping over tables, kicking the pews over, and screaming at the people, chasing them out of the Church with a bullwhip—starting with the backslidden Pastors that promote them.

          If you are a part of this counterfeit religion calling itself Christianity, don’t think for a moment that Yeshua would be nice to you. He was not nice to the religious hypocrites in His own day. He most certainly would not be nice to any of these fake Christians today. If you read my message The Narrow Path: Part 1 you are familiar with estimates that as low as five percent to even one half of one percent of all professing Christians are really saved. Regardless if it is 1 in 20 or 1 in 200, the 1 who is saved is the 1 who does what The Bible says, walking as Yeshua walked.

          Faith in Yeshua requires an abandonment of the ways of the world. John 15:19 (TLV) records Yeshua telling His disciples, which includes all today who sit under His discipleship, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. But you are not of the world, since I have chosen you out of the world; therefore the world hates you.” We are called to live apart from the culture around us, not assimilated into it or attempting to bring the culture into the Body of Messiah or the Church under the guise of evangelism.

          Today many Churches use all sorts of worldly methods to try and lure in the people. They claim that they are not celebrating the ways of the world but looking to bring people into their Church so they can minister the Gospel to them. But what “gospel” and what “Jesus” are they offering if they are using the ways of the world to draw them? Consider these statements in the classic work Christ & Culture by H. Richard Niebuhr:

It is relevant, however, to point out that cultural Christianity is not, evidently, more effective in gaining disciples for Christ than Christian radicalism is. … In efforts at accommodation, Gnostics and cultural Protestants find it strangely desirable to write apocryphal gospels and new lives of Jesus. They take some fragment of the complex New Testament story and interpretation, call this the essential characteristic of Jesus, elaborate upon it, and thus reconstruct their own mythical figure of the Lord. … The number of special objections of this sort that are raised against the Christ-of-culture interpretation can be multiplied; but whether few or many they become the basis of the charge that loyalty to contemporary culture has so far qualified the loyalty to Christ that he has been abandoned in favor of an idol called by his name.

          Just let that sink in for a little bit. This is not some modern-day radical extremist who wrote this and self-published as a digital book. This is a classic work that I have been told is a standard in seminaries. When you assimilate the God-hating culture into your Christian faith in any form, you are basically making a mythical figure, calling it “Jesus”, and setting it as an idol in place of the real Yeshua. On top of that, as Niebuhr points out, this is no more effective than just taking The Bible alone and doing what it says. Yeshua said that if we lift Him up, He will draw the people in. You may draw people in by using worldly and cultural methods of evangelism, but what are you drawing them to? I’ll tell you what you are drawing them to: A counterfeit Christianity, a counterfeit Christian Church, a counterfeit “Jesus”, a counterfeit “Spirit” (we’ll talk about that next), and a counterfeit “gospel”. If you want the REAL THING you absolutely must abandon the world and its culture.

Counterfeit “Spirit”

Dove in the air with wings wide open          In a message titled Is The Ruach Schizophrenic? I dealt with two primary issues regarding God’s Ruach HaKodesh (which literally means Spirit of Holiness). The first thing I talked about was a heresy that presented Ruach HaKodesh as having multiple personalities or even being two separate and unique spirits: Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost. I will not talk about that here, as this problem was thoroughly addressed in that message.

          The other thing I brought up in that message that I want to go into again here is who the REAL Ruach HaKodesh is. As I parenthetically inserted a moment ago, the Hebrew term Ruach HaKodesh literally means Spirit of Holiness. The Real Spirit of Yahweh is a Spirit of Holiness, meaning that if you have Him, He will cause you to live a holy life.

          Before I get too deep into this I want to emphasize an important point here. Because of laws set forth in Scripture regarding free will, the Ruach HaKodesh will never force you to do anything. You must submit yourself to Him if you want Him to take control of your life and lead you in holiness.

          The same is true of demon possession. A person must do something of their own free will to open their body up to outright possession by a demonic spirit. However, I do believe that every person who is not really saved is on some level being influenced by demon spirits. That may be why the counterfeit Christianity of today has so much power and why so few people in Churches—possibly as low as one half of one percent of all professing Christians—are actually saved, because the Church institution is ultimately being controlled by demonic powers, or those who are being influenced by devils.

          As I stated in my aforementioned message on the Ruach, if we regard Him simply as the Holy Spirit we often tend to view Him as one who helps us outwardly. The Holy Spirit works in divine healing; an outward act. The Holy Spirit delivers us from the power of demonic influence; an outward act. The Holy Spirit gives us gifts, such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, wisdom, knowledge, discerning of spirits, faith, interpretation, working of miracles, and healing (see 1 Corinthians 12); all received from a Holy Spirit outwardly.

          But if you get a revelation of the Ruach HaKodesh as God’s Spirit of Holiness He goes from being a provider of outward blessing to being the provider of holiness working from the inside out. This is not to say that “Holy Spirit” and “Spirit of Holiness” are different things, ultimately they are just different was of saying the same thing. If the Spirit of Holiness is in you, if you have truly invited Him in, been baptized (fully immersed) in Him, if you have seated Him in the most holy place of your body as His Temple (the most holy place being the human heart), then you will be consumed with holiness.

          In the past I have noted that there are several things that happen to a person who is truly saved. Such a person is a new creature in Messiah (2 Corinthians 5:17) with a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26-27), Yeshua lives in him or her (Galatians 2:20), he or she is the Temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17), the Temple of God’s Spirit of Holiness (1 Corinthians 6:19) and God Himself has placed His Torah in his or her mind and written His Torah on their heart (Jeremiah 31:30-36, Hebrews 8:8-12).

          But regardless of all that, let’s just focus in on the Ruach HaKodesh. If the Spirit of Holiness is living in you, if you have truly invited Him into your life and given Him His rightful place on the throne of your heart, then you will be so overwhelmingly consumed with the things of God that the other 95% to 99.5% of those so-called “Christians” out there who aren’t really saved will think you are a crazy radical fanatic who is not normal. This, of course, is because such people define normal based on what they see everyone else doing instead of rightfully defining normal by what The Bible says.

          Since we are talking about percentages, consider this quote that is widely attributed to the late A.W. Tozer, though it appears there is no original source for the quote that can be tracked down:

If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.

          I don’t think it is a coincidence that men like Ravenhill and Reidhead present estimates that between 95% and 99.5% of professing Christians are not even saved and Tozer says that if the Ruach HaKodesh were removed from the Church nobody would even notice because 95% of what we are doing is NOT OF GOD. The Christian Church, for the most part, has become a social club of an unsaved mass majority doing the opposite of what The Bible says to do. And the moment a true man or woman of God says something about it they are labeled crazy, radical, fanatical, extremist, zealot, or whatever other indignant term these hypocrites want to come up with to protect their own interests.

          Think about it: If The Bible is the only standard of truth in the history of the world, which it is, then The Bible is the only standard for which the word “normal” can be defined. But if you are not careful all those devils in the Church will convince you to live like the world, because that’s what they consider to be “normal”. I have a whole message about this titled What Is Normal?, I suggest taking some time to read it if you want to know more about this.

          All of those characteristics of a truly saved person I mentioned a moment ago will cause you to hunger for the things of God and the pages of The Bible. If you are not drawn to a Bible, hungry for it’s words, seeking out anything and everything it commands so you can obey it, then you are not saved. It’s just that simple. You cannot have all of those characteristics in your life and refuse to read a Bible. Yes, there is the extremely rare situation where a person is physically incapable of reading a Bible, but even then there are ways to get the Word inside of you in most cases.

          But think about the Ruach HaKodesh, the Spirit of Holiness, for a moment. If you didn’t have any of those other things, if you were not a new creature in Messiah with a new spirit and a new heart, if you did not have Yeshua living in you, if you were only the Temple of the Spirit of Yahweh and not of Yahweh the Father Himself, and if Yahweh did not put His Torah in your mind and write it on your heart, and you ONLY were given the Ruach HaKodesh upon receiving Yeshua as your Messiah you would still have more than you need to live right.

          The Spirit of Holiness is THE driving force of holy living. The other characteristics of being saved I mentioned are wonderful and helpful. I mean, it’s awesome that God puts His Torah in our mind and writes it on our heart, because then the Torah becomes a part of the very fiber of our being. That means that when you read the 613 mitzvot (commandments) in the Torah there is no question about whether or not to obey them because they are already a part of who you are. When you read even the ones rejected by most of the Christians like the food laws (Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14), the Feasts (Leviticus 23), the Sabbath Day (Exodus 20, one of the Ten Commandments), or not to wear wool and linen fabrics/fibers together (Leviticus 19:19, Deuteronomy 22:11) you will just obey them because the Torah is as much a part of you as the blood flowing through your veins, if you are truly saved of course.

          I remember when I first was taught the truth about the food laws years ago. It wasn’t even a question for me. I didn’t need to go into a Bible and try to figure it out. Why? Because I was and am saved, the Torah was already written on my heart and implanted into my mind. When the truth was spoken and it lined up with what was already inside of me, the Ruach HaKodesh took over and I have not touched any unclean thing (at least knowingly) ever again.

          But regardless of the Torah being written on our hearts and placed in our minds, it is ultimately the work of God’s Spirit of Holiness that drives us to live holy. The bottom line is that if you are not consumed by The Bible and driven to live holy—sanctified and set apart to the things of God as commanded in The Bible—then you do not have the REAL Spirit of Holiness. You might have some kind of a spirit, but I assure you it is not the Spirit of Holiness, the REAL Holy Spirit. Most likely, the spirit you have is a demon spirit and you need to seek out someone filled with the REAL Spirit of God to cast that thing out of you!

          Let me also take a moment to say, as I did in my previous message and alluded to a moment ago, that I don’t see any issue with saying “Holy Spirit”, it is the accepted English variant of Ruach HaKodesh. I personally would recommend refraining from saying “Holy Ghost” as the word “ghost” represents the demonic world and death. But if your personal conviction after reviewing the facts on this does not agree and you want to continue saying “Holy Ghost”, technically this “name” for Ruach HaKodesh comes from a time when the word “ghost” was not associated with the demonic the way it does today. I know it’s very difficult to break some people from traditional terms and older Pentecostals are simply accustomed to saying “Holy Ghost”. As long as people are not creating heresies like those I presented in the past about this, it’s probably not the worst tradition Christians hold onto.

          However, since these phrases—“Holy Spirit” and “Holy Ghost”—are not the literal transliteration of Ruach HaKodesh and neither one really means the same thing as Spirit of Holiness, it makes me wonder if, much like I said regarding the name “Jesus”, demon spirits can manifest under these names as well and present counterfeits of the Spirit of God. I mean, after all, there are plenty of Churches out there that think they have the Holy Spirit when they clearly do not, because if they were to have the REAL Spirit of Holiness they certainly would not be doing the things they are doing.

Counterfeit “Gospel”

Counterfeit Gospel          The third counterfeit presented by Paul is a fake “gospel”. I firmly believe that the reason we have counterfeit conversions and statistics of only one half percent to maybe five percent of professing Christians actually truly saved is because we have a counterfeit “gospel”. More than a counterfeit “Jesus” and a counterfeit “Spirit”, this counterfeit “gospel” is perhaps the most damning of them all. After all, the false “Jesus”, as many as there are, and the false “Spirit” are essentially the result of an alternative of the true Gospel; the imitation that Paul warned us about.

          To get into this, let’s first consider what Andrew Farley says in his book The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Here In Church:

It’s frustrating to operate under a counterfeit belief system and not know why it fails you. I know, because I’ve been there. But the message of “Christ in you” is the real thing—the word of God in its fullness.

Today’s alternative is a message that’s an inaccurate part of the whole. All around us, we’re inundated with a lackluster gospel that advocates partial forgiveness, a pressure-filled motivation for behavior change, and the promise of earned rewards in heaven or a cash return while on earth. This counterfeit is the reason that the church sometimes doesn’t appear much different from the world. It’s time to start over, if necessary, and seek the real thing.

Jesus Christ in us are our resource for everyday life is out only hope for any real change.

          A.W. Tozer, who I already referred to once, said in a sermon titled What Does It Mean To Accept Christ?: “If your Christian conversion did not reverse the direction of your life; if it did not transform it then you’re not converted at all, you are simply a victim of the ‘accept Jesus’ heresy!” Think about that, the counterfeit of the true Gospel message actually creates a HERESY out of accepting Yeshua as Messiah. Had I not already mentioned Niebuhr’s work, this would also be a good place to bring that up.

          How is this possible?

          A counterfeit gospel causes you to accept a counterfeit “Jesus” and be filled with a counterfeit spirit. And that should be cause for concern!

          A gospel that does not lead you toward obedience to God’s Torah is not the real Gospel at all. God’s Spirit is the Spirit of Holiness, He will always lead you back to the Torah and push you toward full obedience. Yeshua is the Torah made flesh to tabernacle with you and in you, His whole mission centered around the Torah and fully filling you with that same Torah. That’s what Matthew 5:17 is all about, after all.

          Many people take Yeshua’s words in Matthew 5:17—“Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill”—to somehow mean that He would abolish the Torah after He said that’s not what He came to do. This is a very misunderstood passage that many use to try and claim that Yeshua’s work on the cross ultimately ended the need to follow Torah. Let’s take a closer look at what this verse is really saying.

Abolish – Greek “kataluó” – It means: destroy, overthrow, tear down, unyoke, unharness.

Fulfill – Greek “pléroó” – It means: accomplish, amply supplied, complete, fully carry, fully preach/teach.

          Fulfill, from an English etymology, is the combination of the two words “fill” and “full”. This is in harmony with pléroó and can combine with how this Greek word is defined and further define pléroó as “to fill full”. So, knowing this, we can read the verse this way for a more proper understanding:

          Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to destroy them, overthrow them, unyoke them, or tear them down, but rather to accomplish them through you, supply them to you, complete them in your presence as an example, fully carry you in them, and fully preach and teach them to you—to fill you full of Father’s Torah. ~Matthew 5:17 (My Own Expanded Paraphrase Translation)

          Sid Roth, a well-known Messianic Jewish author and host of the Christian television program It’s Supernatural!, says in his book The Incomplete Church: Unifying God’s Children, “What would the church be like today if we started from scratch? What would happen if we removed all tradition from Judaism and Christianity, and Jews and Christians came together as one?” These are profound questions, and they certainly require an answer. If not from the Body of Messiah as a whole, they should certainly be considered by any individual Believer to whom they are presented (that would mean you, as you are reading this).

          What would happen, indeed, if we eliminated the nearly 2,000 years of Christian and Rabbinic Jewish history that developed after the Apostles penned the writings that make up what is commonly, but perhaps wrongly, referred to today as the “New Testament” and we simply went back to The Bible? Before holidays like Christmas and Easter were invented. Before some Bishop posthumously named as a Pope made some vague statement that was deemed the “official change” of the biblical food laws. Before any of today’s traditions were developed, regardless of any claims of them coming from pagan religions or merely being the result of misinformation. What if we just went back to The Bible alone?

          I’ll tell you what would happen. We would not need to argue over whether or not certain holidays come from pagan religions, because we wouldn’t be celebrating them merely by default that they are not in The Bible. We wouldn’t be debating about whether or not it is OK to have Church on Sunday, because all we see even through the whole Book of Acts is God’s people keeping The Sabbath Day and making it their custom to gather in corporate worship on the biblical Sabbath—Yeshua included. We wouldn’t have movements justifying everything the Bible says not to do and calls an abomination—from the food laws to homosexual lifestyles—because The Bible says not to do them and calls them an abomination. If we got rid of all doctrines and denominations and just went back to The Bible I can assure you that Christianity would be different in just about every way imaginable from what we see proclaimed from today’s pulpits.

          When you preach a counterfeit “gospel” with a counterfeit “Jesus” and a counterfeit “spirit” you get counterfeit Christians. But those few who have chosen not to compromise, those who have made a conscious decision to follow the whole Bible, must stand as the pillar of hope. Many will reject us as intolerant radical fanatics, and perhaps even haters of the very places of worship we may choose to connect with.

          This is nothing new, just read The Bible. Throughout history it seems there has always been a majority. There has always been a crowd in the wilderness that God called a stiff-necked people (see Exodus 32:9). There have always been leaders who provoke the wrath of God by choosing the culture over the Kingdom (just read about all the kings of Israel whose legacy is that they did evil in the eyes of God by molding golden calves, building altars to Baal, burning incense in the high places, and raising up Asherah poles—all of which is really no different than so-called “Christian pastors” today who bring Santa Claus, colored egg hunts, and trunk-or-treat into their Churches during Christmas, Easter, and Halloween).

          But there are also those rare characters like Nathan the Prophet whose primary legacy in The Bible is that he rebuked the king of Israel, David, regarding his sin with Bathsheba. There were a few kings in Israel, every now and then, who did what was right in God’s eyes and tore down the altars to Baal and the Asherah poles. The big question, then, is are you going to follow the crowd, or are you going to be listed among the few who actually decided to DO what The Bible says?

~Blessings and Shalom~

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