The Clarion May, 2024

Volume 5, Issue 5              May 2024  


It’s nice to see all the Spring flowers. Winter can be so long.  I guess God created winter to teach us patience, to learn perseverance. Life has so many trials and tribulations that it is easy to forget that God is with us, that He walks with us and cares about us. Psalm 40:1-3 says, “I patiently waited, Lord,  for you to hear my prayer. You listened and pulled me from a lonely pit full of mud and mire. You let me stand on a rock with my feet firm, and You gave me a new song, a song of praise to You. Many will see this, and they will honor and trust You, the Lord God.”

Winter reminds us how we need to patiently wait for the coming Bridegroom. James 5:7-8 says this, “My friends, be patient until the Lord returns. Think of farmers who wait patiently for the Autumn and Spring rains to make their valuable crops grow.  Be patient like those farmers and don’t give up. The Lord will soon be here!”

But Winter can be long and dark and as we wait for Spring, well, we can grow weary like this parable of the 10 who waited and waited for the Bridegroom to come in Matthew 25:1-10. “The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten young women took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise.  The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil.  The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps. The groom was late arriving, and the young women became drowsy and fell asleep.  Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, “Here’s the groom! Come to meet him!”  When the women got up and started getting their lamps ready,  the foolish ones said to the others, ‘Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.’ Those who were wise answered, ‘There’s not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves.’  While the foolish ones were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The five who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed.” So when you see the flowers of May, remember how you patiently waited all Winter, and let it remind you that the coming of the Lord, either in our trials or that glorious return, is worth the wait.

Egypt: Salvation Part 11

We saw last month that Israel kept the Passover, and at the sight of the blood the death angel passed over their homes. We ended with God telling His people that only those who were part of the covenant could keep the Passover. You may say, “See that is why we do not keep the Passover, because of circumcision.” Yes, except when we accept Yeshua the Messiah as our Savior, we become grafted into Israel. Romans 11:17-18 says this, “ But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,  do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.”

As we continue in Exodus 13, God tells the people that every first born male was to be consecrated to Him because of the death of the firstborn in Egypt. So Israel went out with their livestock and their children and all that they gathered from the Egyptians. But when they left in such a hurry the yeast of their bread had not yet risen. This is why the day is called Unleavened Bread.  Paul tells us believers that we too must keep the Passover, and we must clean out our hearts of the leaven (sin).  1 Corinthians 5:6-8, “ Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 

What we read in Exodus 13:20-22 is very significant. After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert.  By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”  This same pillar of fire and cloud will not leave them for the next forty years. The term Sukkot means booths. The people built booths for their cattle and then they too, slept in the booths with their cattle, this was on their first night after leaving their bondage behind. The Feast of Sukkot is celebrated during the fall. It is to remind us of this, because their exodus is our exodus as we saw last month. So too their freedom is our freedom. It is believed that Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkot and where did Mary and Joseph find themselves? Yes, in a sukkah. We call it today, a manger. They, too, slept with the animals. We read last month that Yeshua’ blood covers us, as did the blood of the lamb, that covered the doorpost. Their exodus from bondage is our exodus from bondage, we were both slaves to our sin. Their unleavened is our unleavened. Their flight from Pharoah(the devil) is our flight and as we continue we will see even more.

Exodus 14: 3-4, 6-9 says. “Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for Myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this (camped by the sea). And that is just what happened when Pharaoh was told that the people had left.”  “So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him.  He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them.  The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.  The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.”

Now about 600,000 people are sitting in the desert, remember about 66 came to Egypt in the time of Joseph. But we are now over 400 years later. Israel is now a great nation, and they are moving along slowly with their livestock of great number, plus women and children. So Pharoah thinks he has the advantage. So when Israel saw the Egyptian army, they cried out with fear. You must remember that this was the first time they had experienced freedom. Exodus 14: 13-14 says this not only to Israel, but to all who are experiencing their first freedom from that which  they have been in bondage from.  “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”’

Now you have to think, how was Pharaoh going to capture 600,000 people? He experienced the power of God, and he knows how the judgment of God left Egypt in ruins, and yet, he is still  going after Israel to bring them back. If Pharaoh, and mind you there were many Pharaohs over those 400 years, thought that Israel was conquering Egypt from within, that they had to enslave the people, because of their great numbers, then why did he have all the male babies put to death?  If anything, you would think that he would have had all the female babies put to death, so that the male children would grow up and continue to build their great cities, and  eventually they would have all died out. So as we see Pharaoh pursuing Israel, it appears that he has vengeance on his heart. He wants to annihilate as many as he can, if not all of them.  One month before Passover on the Biblical calendar is the celebration of Purim. In that story the evil Haman, like Pharaoh, wanted to annihilate the Hebrew people. It seems that throughout history people have tried to annihilate God’s people. In Joseph’s day God did a miracle by multiplying the grain, and the people did not recognize the God of Joseph, and yet Pharaoh did by placing Joseph in charge. Over the years this was lost in Egyptian history, but now once again Pharoah will not recognize the One True God, nor His people.  

Exodus 14:21-28 says,  “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided,  and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea.  During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion.  He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.”  Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward  it, and the Lord swept them into the sea.  The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.”

Yes, the horse and its rider were cast into the sea, and Israel was now free. God said that He would deliver them with an outstretched arm, and He did. God brought salvation to Israel.

1 Corinthians 10:1-2 says, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and they all passed through the sea;  and they all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”

And when we cross over from our Egypt (the world) into freedom from sin, we too, have salvation. Romans 6:3-4 says, Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Messiah Yeshua were baptized into His death?  We were therefore buried with Him through immersion into death in order that, just as Messiah  was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Isaiah 12:2-3 says, “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.”

Next month we will continue with our last teaching on Egypt with the kings.    Are You Sure It’s Love?

 John Lennon wrote a song called, “All You Need is Love.”

But the question is, what is love? What you think is love may not be love at all. Love is more than just a feeling. In fact what we think is love toward someone could very easily be nothing more than lust. You see, in a relationship love has boundaries and it has respect and when you cross over those boundaries, you no longer have respect nor do you have love, but lust. Lust is nothing more than selfishness, which is the opposite of love. There is no freedom in love. Love is a very delicate thing and can easily be broken and shattered and non repairable. You have to handle love with care. You see it does not matter if you give gifts or spend money or even time, what matters is a relationship that respects one another. We think giving to the poor or being on the streets protesting or saying the right words is another form of love, but again our actions may not equal true love for our fellow beings. We may think that if we have justice we have love, this is true if it is real justice, but when we think something is right for someone, it may not be right. If we give people everything they want, this is not love. We can not take away from a person the dignity that comes from working and the result of seeing the fruit of one’s labor. Humans, from the beginning of time, worked and created, and were productive beings, taking part in this world to do good and not evil. Giving someone a helping hand is one thing, but taking away his incentive to be a productive human being is another. Allowing lawlessness is not love, it is stealing. Stealing, which we now say is right, no it is not right at all, because one person has worked hard to get where they are in life, while the other person takes it away. This is not love, and this is not right. Love does not take from one and give to another, because the one that is being taken from, is also a person who you must love. It is up to that person to give out of love, and that is not your decision. Here are a few things that God considers true love.  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud.  Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. In fact, there is no greater love than one who lays down his life for another. Love is not simple. It is not a matter of fact. Love must be something you consider when you encounter any person, what you say or how you act must all be done in love or else you are a hypocrite, a fake, and nothing more than a self-centered, selfish person. Love is the true test for everyone to use to measure who they really are. Today take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do I love or is it just lust? Do I give or do I simply take? 

Hebrew Corner:  Martyrs, Paul

Saul of Tarus, who was called Paul, was not one of the original Apostles and yet, It was Messiah Himself who chose him as Acts 9:3-6 tells us this, “As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Yeshua, whom you are persecuting,’ He replied.  ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”’

 But in 1 Corinthians 15:9 Paul says this, “For I am the least of the Apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 13 books of the Apostolic Scriptures are contributed to the writings of Paul. Paul endured great suffering and persecution for the sake of the Salvation Message. In 2 Corinthians 11:22-29 Paul speaks in his own words about his trials. “Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.  Are they servants of  Messiah ?—I am speaking as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.  Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent adrift at sea. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers;  I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the congregations.  Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?” Paul is an inspiration to all who endure the trials and tribulations in doing the work for the Kingdom. It is unknown how Paul died, but it is believed that he was beheaded in Rome. It is also believed that he was one of many believers who were executed by the Emperor Nero after the fires of Rome. Paul had been imprisoned in Rome at which time he wrote many of his letters to the congregations. Saul who took his Greek name Paul became one, if not, the most widely known of the Apostles. Serving the Lord with joy and gladness because he was once an enemy to those who believed in Yeshua, and found himself serving those whom he persecuted. What a great story on how God can turn our lives around. Philippians 3:7-11 says, “But whatever things were gain to me, these things I have counted as loss because of Messiah.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Messiah Yeshua my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them mere rubbish, so that I may gain Messiah,  and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Messiah, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;  if somehow I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

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