Tag Archives: Satan

Which Law?

Not everyone who says to meThis article is the final of three articles in a series entitled “Living Kingdom”.  We will examine the importance of choosing to abide by YHVH’s commands as we consider the choices of individuals in Scripture.  The Good News (Gospel) is about YHVH’s kingdom.  Salvation is necessary for Kingdom Living, but it is a part of the process, not the goal.  We face the same challenges as the Israelites:  recognizing and obeying our King. 

Yeshua said, “If you love Me, obey My commandments” (John 14:15).  Misinformation abounds among present-day followers of Yeshua concerning what Yeshua meant by “commandments”.  It is time to clear away the cobwebs of lies and confusion that impede us from all that YHVH intends for us.

Sha’ul (Paul) discusses more than one type of law even though many Bible translations speak of all types as just “law”.  Sha’ul is talking mainly to Gentiles who were involved in pagan worship and were heavily influenced by the law of hasatan (Satan).  Sha’ul pointed out that they had been released from the law of sin and death and were now free to pursue the law of YHVH which leads to freedom and life.  It is helpful for us to use a translation that clearly distinguishes the different types of law, so all Scripture quoted in this article will be taken from New Living Translation (NLT).

In Deuteronomy 30:19-20, YHVH clearly points out that we have two choices.  “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!   You can make this choice by loving [YHVH] your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.…”  The Israelites had lived in a pagan culture (Egypt) for over 400 years.  The choices given here were between YHVH’s law or hasatan’s law.  We all live in a world that has been influenced by the values of hasatan’s law which are sometimes called “worldly ways” or “living in the flesh”.

In the first chapter of Romans (1:18-32), we find mention of the two types of law.  First there is the law and order of YHVH expressed through His creation: They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God (v 18-20).  YHVH’s ways are evident throughout creation, but He has also given us His law in written form (Scripture) and has written it on our hearts.  The opposite of YHVH’s law, satanic law, is graphically described in verses 28-32:  Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.…  They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.  If hasatan had his way, this is the only law any of us would know.  Therefore, he has worked throughout history to obscure and misconstrue YHVH’s law.

There has been confusion about the law since the time of the apostles.  First, some Jewish leaders were adding pre-requisites before receiving salvation.  We are rescued (salvation) from the dominion of hasatan through faith and even that faith is a gift from YHVH (Eph. 2:8).   Second, Constantine, in an effort to unite his empire, combined the sacred with the pagan and forbade keeping Torah under pain of death, thus distorting the Sabbaths and replacing the appointed times of YHVH.  Later, in the time of Martin Luther, grace was misconstrued as being the opposite of keeping law.

One dangerous heresy that has resulted today is the widespread belief that Yeshua’s followers are no longer under any type of law.  Grace reconciles us to YHVH and keeps us in relationship with YHVH when we transgress while unlearning hasatan’s ways and learning YHVH’s ways.  Grace is not a replacement for obedience to YHVH’s laws but rather the application of the atonement and covering of Yeshua when we repent of our sin.

Another myth today is that the laws of YHVH are too difficult to keep and therefore YHVH has done away with them.  There are 613 laws in the Torah and no one person is accountable for all of them.  Some are for priests only, others just for men, some for women only, and so on.  There are actually 1,050 commands in the New Testament!

Adam and Eve were influenced by hasatan and sinned against YHVH, subjecting themselves to hasatan.  Until hasatan distracted and confused them, they were capable of keeping YHVH’s law.  Now, we who are born under the dominion and influence of hasatan, struggle to keep YHVH’s law on our own.  Therefore, through Yeshua’s covering and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit we can maintain our relationship with YHVH while we are being perfected.  For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Phil 2:13).

Yeshua rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees for their false teachings and actions.  Under the guise of keeping Torah, the Pharisees were more often keeping their own man-made laws (Matt 23:15-30).  hhhahasMan-made law is the distortion of YHVH’s law thanks to humans who have disobeyed by adding to or subtracting from YHVH’s law (Deut 4:2).  Man-made law is actually satanic law in another guise.

Salvation is not a one-time event, but a process.  Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear (Phil 2:12).  YHVH has not changed, neither has His law nor His expectations of us.

Discerning Wisdom

Seeking Wisdom

Where do we get our wisdom?  If this seems to be a foolish question for followers of Yeshua, perhaps we are assuming instead of discerning.  YHVH has given us incredible minds and great capacity for wisdom, but does our wisdom come from ourselves and our Creator?  Are we ever influenced by hasatan’s workers without being aware?  Could we be listening to the enemy and thinking it is our own wisdom or wisdom from YHVH?

A most enlightening book entitled War on the Saints has just come to my attention.  Jessie Penn-Lewis wrote the book with Evan Roberts, a great revivalist during the Welsh revival.  The book was originally published in 1912, but through the efforts of Hannah Lowe, was reprinted unabridged in 1973.  There have been several printings since then.

This is a relevant book for the last days, since it reveals our greatest vulnerability to evil as well as our ignorant compliance with hasatanWar on the Saints resonated with me from the beginning because of my experience in spiritual warfare.  My own awakening to the truth occurred one day in 2008 when I “woke up” and realized that I was on a spiritual battlefield, fighting against trained soldiers who had very sophisticated equipment while I was ill-prepared and poorly armed.  It was a frightening day but a turning point for me.  Since then I have learned more about spiritual warfare and realize that I still have much to learn.

War on the Saints educates YHVH’s children on the tactics that hasatan uses on humans.  Many followers of Yeshua today are more focused on the physical realm and remain largely ignorant of the spiritual warfare that is going on around us.  This is evidenced by the emphasis on physical preparation for end times’ challenges.  Scripture repeatedly warns us about the latter days, but does not advise us to worry about our physical welfare.

Many followers of Yeshua are being swayed by the multitude of prophecies and “revelations” pouring forth today.  The greatest threat we face is deception coming from the spiritual realm, and many of us are plunging headlong into the very thing we need to avoid at all costs.  Yeshua told us not to worry about what we will eat or drink or wear or even about what we will say when we face persecution and trial (Matt 6:25, Luke 12:11-12).

How can we be truly wise in these last days?  Two Hebrew words used in Scripture provide the answer.  The word chokmah (wisdom) concerns obeying YHVH and relying on His wisdom and binah (understanding) comes from knowledge of YHVH gained by spending time with Him.  Our focus should be on correctly following Scripture and spending quality time with our heavenly Father.  When we spend time with YHVH and His Word, we gain His wisdom.  Our own wisdom is no match for our enemy.  Human wisdom is influenced either by YHVH or the enemy and too often followers of Yeshua have assumed that all spiritual revelation comes from YHVH.

Note that Yeshua was not immune to bouts with the enemy even after His baptism.  Yeshua met the enemy’s challenges by correctly quoting and applying Scripture.  Yeshua spent many hours, sometimes even whole nights communing with His Father.  We should follow the example of our Teacher.  The enemy is well-versed in Scripture and is able to subtly but powerfully distort it in efforts to confuse or distract us.  We should be aware that as we grow and mature in our relationship with YHVH, the enemy changes his tactics to meet our new level of spiritual sophistication.  The enemy is not only an accuser and tempter, but first and foremost a deceiver.

Scripture warns us repeatedly to be wary of being deceived (partial list:  Dan 6:35, Matt 24:4, Luke 2 :8, 2 Cor 11:3, Col 2:8, 2 Tim 3:13-14, Titus 3:3-6, Heb 13:9, James 1:22, 1 John 4:1).  It is easy for us to be deceived, especially if we remain ignorant of the spiritual realm and the tactics of our enemy.  There are two things that make us especially vulnerable:  (1) ignorance or misunderstanding of the spiritual realm and (2) passivity.  Our ignorance and passivity enable the enemy to wreak havoc without detection in our congregations and communities, as well as in our individual lives.

Many of us do not realize the levels of deception that hasatan utilizes.  For example, for people who are still controlled by their flesh, hasatan influences them to lust for fleshly desires.  People who have more control over their flesh will not fall for such tactics, so hasatan moves to other wiles, such as attempting to influence our intellect and reasoning.  In the last days, the greatest deception will occur because of faulty doctrines (2 Cor 11:3-4).

YHVH’s people are the strongest when they are the most aggressive in fighting and withstanding the enemy, such as the Israelites under Moses and Joshua, or the early church under the apostles.  When we are actively on guard against the enemy we are the strongest.  When we are ignorant and/or passive concerning spiritual warfare, the enemy is able to accomplish horrendous evil through followers of Yeshua.  Many of our predecessors have done horrendous things in the name of Yeshua, no doubt thinking that they were pursuing righteousness.   Examples:  the Crusades, Christian persecution of the Jews.

People tend to avoid learning about how the kingdom of darkness functions.  It can seem frightening, but the most frightening thing we can do is to ignore them and pretend they don’t exist.  We inadvertently assist Hasatan and his followers as they work undetected to wreak havoc among us.   I urge you to get a copy of War on the Saints and read it for yourselves.  Then prayerfully seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help acquire wisdom and understanding from YHVH alone, so that you can detect and discern the subtle work of hasatan and refuse his evil influence.  We cannot afford to live in ignorance or passivity, especially now.

A House United

that they all may be oneA 2009 Barna Group article entitled “Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist”* sheds light on some basic reasons for the divisions and disagreements among members of the Body of Messiah. The nationwide survey on adult spiritual beliefs indicates that there is much disparity and confusion among American adults on the subject of their faith. Here are some interesting points to consider:

  • Roughly one-fourth of those surveyed aren’t sure who God is.
  • Sixty percent think that Satan is or could be just a symbol of evil, not a living being, yet about 47% of those people believe they are influenced by demons
  • Approximately 48% of those surveyed believe that Jesus sinned or might have sinned while He was on the earth
  • Approximately 58% believe that the Holy Spirit is not a living force, but a symbol of God’s power, although half of that group believes that the Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches.
  • Well over one-half believe that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches, yet approximately one-third of that group also believes that the Bible, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon all express the same spiritual truths.

Several truths glared out at me after studying this survey. First, we need a personal relationship with the Father, Yeshua, and the Holy Spirit in order to understand clearly who God is. Those whose statements on their faith could categorize them as “born again” were more consistent and clear about the Bible’s accuracy, the influence of demons, the true identity of the Holy Spirit, the nature of God (omniscient, omnipresent, e.g.). They were also more adamant that a person must choose between God and Satan and that there is no middle ground. We are called to represent Yeshua on the earth. How can we do that if we don’t truly know Him? We must not only be born again, but we must actively pursue a relationship with YHVH.

Second, it is essential to know the Holy Spirit, for Yeshua promised to send us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us (John 14:16-17). If you are born again, you are born of the Spirit (John 3:6-8). In order to truly follow Yeshua, it is necessary to abandon the sinful nature and live according to the desires of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:5-6). It is essential to eagerly seek all that the Holy Spirit has to offer to us. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth (John 16:13. 14:26; 1 John 5:6). Baptism in the Holy Spirit is vital for each member of the Body of Messiah (Matt 3:11, Acts 1:5).

Third, all believers need deliverance. We were born into the kingdom of darkness and in bondage. The divisions, accusations, moral scandals and confusion within the Body of Messiah are all evidence that many believers are still in bondage to Satan.  If deliverance were offered to and accepted by all followers of Yeshua, Satan would lose a lot of his current influence and the credibility of those representing Yeshua would rise considerably. Once we have been delivered from demon oppression, the “blinders” are removed and we see more clearly how our enemy operates. We can then engage in spiritual warfare effectively (Rom 12:21; 1 John 4:1)

Fourth, those who believe in the accuracy of the Bible and at the same time believe that the Koran and the Book of Mormon teach basically the same principles, clearly need a better understanding of the Bible as well as the teachings of the other two books. It is essential to accurately understand our Hebrew roots in order to truly comprehend the Bible. Many Christians who are well-versed in Scripture are still lacking this basic paradigm for understanding what the Bible says.  In other words, they are well versed in what they think the Bible is saying, but they still lack a great deal of understanding that our Jewish brothers and sisters in Yeshua can teach us.  My people perish from a lack of knowledge (Hos 4:6 KJV).

What would happen if the Body of Messiah had a deep, personal relationship with YHVH, were free from demonic manipulation, were taught and guided exclusively by the Holy Spirit, and had a firm grasp of the Bible? The Body of Messiah would become more unified, more certain of the truth, and more effective in the Kingdom of YHVH.  We would be powerful citizens of YHVH’s kingdom and more effective workers in His harvest.

We, as followers of Yeshua, are called to be united. If some of us deny the existence of Holy Spirit, Who guides us into all truth, or of hasatan who guides us into all lies, then confusion and division are inevitable. We are on the battlefield in the middle of a war. If all of us don’t recognize our Commander and listen only to His voice, how can we hope to be united in Him? If we can’t identify the enemy and his wiles, we will not be able to defend ourselves against his attacks. Our enemy knows that his time is growing short, so he is increasing his efforts to bring us all down. It is more important than ever to stand united.

How I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Cor 1:10-12).

 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph 4:3-5)

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity (John 17:22-23 NIV).

* “Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist. Barna Group, 2009, https://www.barna.org/barna-update/faith-spirituality/260-most-american-christians-do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exis#.VbuKg_mpeSo