A word of explanation is necessary at the start of this book. In this work you will find the writer using names in reference to God the Father and God the Son that are more faithful to their Hebrew original than the names and titles generally in use by the church today. The name Yah, or Yahweh, will be found in reference to God the Father, and the name Yahshua will be utilized when speaking of the Son.
This usage is not intended to be divisive, nor does it serve as a renunciation of the usage of titles such as Lord or God. Neither is it a condemnation of those who choose to call the Son of God Jesus. My intent as a teacher of the Bible is simply to illumine and instruct. There is great meaning in the Hebrew names of the Father and the Son, and these names are directly related to one another. Many of the people whose lives are portrayed in Scripture also serve as types and shadows of God, bringing to light truths that might otherwise be hidden.
For example, Joshua, the Israelite leader who led the people of God across the Jordan and into battle to take possession of the land of Canaan, bears the same name as the Messiah. They both were called Yahshua. Like Joshua in the Old Testament, the Son of God began His ministry at the Jordan River as He was baptized by John. Both men labored to establish a kingdom dedicated to Yahweh, the first external and natural, the latter internal and spiritual.
Yah is the name used in reference to the Father on forty-nine separate occasions in the Old Testament. Most Christians have utilized this name of God without knowing that they were doing so. Whenever the word hallelujah is uttered, the speaker is literally exclaiming “Praise Yah,” for this is the meaning of the Hebrew word from which it is derived. The longer name Yahweh is found an additional 6,828 times.
The name of the Son is likewise significant, for Yahshua is understood to mean “Yah’s Salvation.” The Gospel writer indicates that this is the meaning of the name given to the Savior at His birth.
“And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Yahshua, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.”
It has been the practice of this writer for many years to use these names, which more clearly represent their Hebrew originals. It is my hope that their employment in this book might aid the reader by bringing forth light on relationships that are obscured, as well as promoting an increased intimacy with God the Father by calling Him by His memorial name, instead of a title which men have substituted.
The Son of God spent most of His time upon this earth ministering to those whom the religious crowd sought to avoid. He did not go to the rich and powerful. He rarely was found in the homes of esteemed members of society. No, the Son of God went to the outcasts. He spent time with the prostitutes, the impoverished, with those enslaved to sin. Those who were religious criticized Him for this, but His answer reveals that their hearts were not aligned with the heart of God.
And it happened that as He was reclining at the table in the house, behold many tax-gatherers and sinners came and were dining with Yahshua and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners? But when He heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice, ‘for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The church is referred to as “the body of Christ.” In effect, those born again of the Spirit of Christ become His hands, His feet, His mouth, His ears, etc.. As His body, these individual members are to continue the work that Christ began when He walked in bodily form on this earth. He still walks this earth, continuing His ministry through His sons and daughters.
A tragic thing has occurred in the churches of God. Christ’s body has lost its connection to its Head. It has largely become self-directed, and due to this it is failing to act as Christ desires. Rather than reaching out to the lost, rather than going to the sick and the sinners, she has turned her focus upon her own entertainment and a pursuit of worldly success. Just visit any Christian bookstore today and observe how many of the best selling Christians books are focused upon ‘Becoming a Better You,’ or ‘Achieving Success, Prosperity, Health and Blessings.’ Then look as hard as you will and see if you can find a best selling Christian book on ministering to sinners, and healing the morally and spiritually sick of society.
There are some in the church who realize that the body of Christ has strayed from the will of her Savior and Lord. Some are convicted as they read the Gospels and the Acts of the apostles, noting that the church today is not reaching out to the despised and rejected members of society as Yahshua and His disciples did. I was often convicted of this as a young man growing up in the church. I remember thinking upon this on a number of occasions.
Like a great number of those raised in the Church in the West today, I was brought up in a good home in a middle income family. I grew up in the suburbs. My friends, and those I associated with, had similar lives. I did not rub shoulders with prostitutes, alcoholics, drug addicts, the homeless and poor. Because I did not know any people like this, I adopted a mindset of fear toward them.
As a child growing up in church among “good people” I was reminded that “bad company corrupts good morals.” I heard stories about those who used illegal drugs. I was told that people who used crack cocaine, or other commonly abused substances, would turn into demented, violent thieves and murderers who would as soon stab a person as look at them. My only knowledge of these people came from the headlines of the newspaper, and the horrific accounts of the evening newscast.
My isolation, coupled with the stories I heard, served to create a barrier that prevented me from being used of Christ to reach the very ones He came to save. There were occasions when I prayed to the Lord about this matter. I confessed my desire to do His will, while also admitting that I felt woefully unprepared. I lacked familiarity with this portion of society. I did not understand their struggles. Neither did I consider myself knowledgeable about the solution to their problems. I only understood that Christ was God’s solution to man’s slavery to sin, but the actual details of how Christ could help the addict and alcoholic were hard for me to define.
God is able to prepare His people for service. Christ does not expect us to figure things out for ourselves. He will not give to His children a ministry and expect them to carry it out in their own strength, and according to their own wisdom. Those whom He calls, He will qualify.
I did not anticipate where the Spirit of Christ would lead me in the years since I confessed my desire to be used by Him according to His will. It has truly been an adventure. There have been many trials, sorrows and heartaches along the way, but there has also been an abundance of grace to enable me to stay the course. As I have followed the Good Shepherd I have found myself being prepared to serve as His hands, His mouth, His feet. He has led me to the very ones God has always had compassion upon. He has taught me many things along the way. I have learned the struggles of this segment of mankind, and I have learned the details of Christ’s salvation in such a deep and profound way that explaining it to others now flows from my innermost being as water from a spring.
For the past three years I have found myself living and working at an inner city rescue mission. I did not choose to come to this place. The Spirit ordered my steps and brought me to it. And what a profitable experience it has been! Even as Joseph was prepared for a ministry in Egypt as he toiled in Potipher’s house and then in the prisons of Pharaoh, I have found myself being prepared for a ministry. This is not MY ministry. It is CHRIST’s ministry. It is also the ministry of the entire body of Christ.
This book declares the things the Spirit has taught me, and I believe it will be profitable for those who also are hearing the call to be Christ’s body, as well as for those to whom Christ is reaching out, the captive, the downtrodden, and misunderstood members of this Adamic race.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding as you read.
Chapter 1 – Slaves to Sin
A brother in Christ who attended a local Bible Study with me made the following insightful remark. He said, “In order to get people saved today, you first have to convince them that they need saving.” He went on to explain that he had found that most men and women do not understand their sinful condition. They had not come to a place of honesty where they would confess that they were enslaved to desires and impulses that they could not control.
It is necessary in leading you to understand the enormity of what God has done in sending His Son to earth to become the Savior of mankind, to clearly present how desperate man’s condition is. You must come to agree with God’s testimony concerning your condition. You must understand that you are a slave to sin, and without the least hope of being able to break free of this captivity through any human means. Willpower cannot break the bonds of sin. No amount of instruction will set you free. Twelve step programs that proclaim a generic view of God and a works based solution will not loose the bonds of sin. Only Christ can set men free from the bonds of sin.
We must back up a step further, for, in order to understand the salvation that God offers, you must agree with God that your addiction is sin. Many have not admitted even this basic truth. Psychiatry and the medical profession today most often classify addiction as a sickness, or a disease. Yet they cannot tell you how a person contracts this disease, nor how it can be scientifically identified. Neither can they prescribe a cure. They can only suggest a treatment, and this treatment is not promised to cure anything. It must be continued all the days of one’s life.
The reason that the medical profession lacks a clear diagnosis and remedy for addiction, is that it is not actually a sickness at all. At least it is not a physical sickness. Addiction is merely a symptom of man’s sinful condition. Addiction is the fruit of our first ancestor’s transgression of the will of God while in the Garden of Eden. In his letter to Rome, the apostle Paul share the following points (Romans 5:12-19):
· through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…
· by the transgression of the one the many died…
· the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation…
· by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one…
· through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men…
· through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners…
Let us examine what is said here to be sure that it is understood thoroughly. In the opening book of the Bible we read of God creating the first man and woman. He placed them in a garden that He had planted, and instructed them to tend it. At this point there was no death in the creation, no decay, no sickness. Man would never know death if he continued in this state.Yahweh told the man and his wife that there was one thing they were not to do. It was forbidden for them to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Nothing else was off limits. There was only this one thing they were not to do. Yahweh warned Adam and Eve that in the day they ate from this tree they would most assuredly die. Death would enter into their beings. Decay and sickness would begin to take hold of them until their bodies finally succumbed and life was no more.
Death is the fruit of sin. It was due to sin that death entered the creation. Sin is departing from the will of God. It was not Yahweh’s will that man should eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. To do so would be a departure from God’s will, and this is sin. If man ever embraced a path of sin, he would not be able to depart from it apart from God’s help. If man were to choose disobedience to God’s will, he would become a slave to disobedience. It was therefore critical that he never start down this path.
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
God, through His Holy Spirit, has inspired men to record for us the history of our first ancestors. We are told that there was present with them in the Garden of Eden the serpent. This serpent was none other than Satan, the adversary of God and mankind.
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world…
The serpent first approached the woman in the Garden. Through craftiness and deception he enticed her to eat of the forbidden fruit.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which Yahweh God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Some have concluded that this account is nothing other than a fantastic tale. Mention of talking beasts, and fruit with miraculous powers has led them to conclude that it is merely a fictional account that early man devised to explain the presence of evil in this world. The Spirit of Christ testifies differently. What is described here actually occurred, and the events are not only historical, but they serve as a spiritual parable. To understand the parable, we must look at the context of the entire creation account.
In Genesis chapter one we read the account of Yahweh creating the earth. Genesis chapter one recounts the six days of creation in which God created the earth, culminating in His creation of man on the sixth day. God then gave the man and his wife a command. It was the first command given to man, and is therefore filled with prophetic importance and tremendous significance.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
It has always been the practice of God to reveal, and hide, truth through means of parables. Christ declared that He did not speak anything to the people during His ministry without the use of parables. Christ did not speak the first parable during His life as a man on earth, however. We are told that Christ spoke the creation into existence.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
By faith we understand that the ages were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
Jesus Christ, Yahshua the Messiah, is called “the Word of God.” We are told that He spoke the creation into being. He has always spoken through means of parables, and the creation story and the fall of man, though historical, is one great parable. The first commandment God gave to mankind was to subdue the earth, and rule over all the beasts. What does this mean? How are we to understand this parable?
The earth is a symbol for mankind. We are told that mankind’s body was made from the dust of the earth. The apostle Paul further tells us:
I Corinthians 15:47-49
The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
The natural man who was created on the sixth day is closely associated with the earth. In particular, man’s flesh is directly linked to the earth. From dust we are made, and to dust we shall return. The commandment to subdue the earth can be understood as a parable of God’s desire for man to rule over his own flesh. The command to subdue the beasts and rule over them, serves as a parable of Yahweh’s desire that mankind rule over all the things that dwell inside his soul (the depths of the sea), all the things that reside in his flesh (the beasts and all creeping things on the earth), and to rule over all spiritual forces in the heavens (the birds of the air).
(If a more thorough study of this parable is desired, I would recommend the book The Mark of the Beast.)
The serpent that appeared unto Eve in the Garden was a beast. In Chapter three of Genesis the serpent is twice described this way.
Genesis 3:1, 14
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which Yahweh God had made… Yahweh God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field…”
Yahweh’s command to the man and woman was to rule over the beasts. This they failed to do. Rather than making the beast submit to them, they submitted to the beast. Rather than demanding obedience from the beast, they became obedient unto the serpent. Remember then the words of the apostle Paul.
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey…
When Adam and Eve presented themselves to the beast for obedience, they became slaves to the beast, becoming subject to the spirit of the beast. What was the spirit of this beast that they obeyed? We can define it as we see how the parable continues.
Yahweh God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life…”
The nature of the serpent is described in the curse that Yahweh spoke upon it. The words “on your belly you will go” are filled with symbolism. The spiritual sense of this statement is that the serpent would be ruled by its appetites, it would go forth on its belly. The next phrase is also symbolic, “and dust you will eat all the days of your life.” This too is a parable pointing to the type of appetites that would rule the beast. Man’s flesh was formed of the dust of the earth, and here is symbolized an appetite for fleshly things.
When Adam and Eve presented themselves to the beast for obedience, they fell under the rule of the beast nature. They began to be driven by the appetites of their flesh. The apostle Paul alludes to this form of slavery in the following words:
For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things.
Christ referred to Satan as “the god of this world.” This fallen sinful world lies under his dominion, and those who are citizens of this world are ruled by their belly. Their minds are set upon earthly things. They are dust eaters. Paul also defines for us what many of these fleshly appetites are to which man is enslaved.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Addictions of all types certainly fall inside the scope of this list. Some are addicted to various forms of immorality and sensuality. Some are addicted to idolatry, they covet the material possessions of this world. Some are addicted to anger and all that goes along with it. Others are addicted to drunkenness and carousing, which would include addictions to all types of substances that alter one’s mood and mental state.
All these fleshly appetites entered into the human race through our first ancestors. “Through the one man’s transgression, the many were made sinners. Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
As we understand that the accounts of the creation and the fall of man are historical, as well as being spiritual parables, we begin to perceive many things. Consider for a moment how a serpent kills its prey. A serpent injects venom inside the victim’s body, and this poison begins to spread death through the entire body. Eventually the vital organs shut down and death results.
This too is a parable, revealing the manner in which Satan has poisoned man’s being. Satan enticed the man and woman to eat of that which was forbidden, and in doing so sin entered into their being. Sin always results in death. It is a toxin that is present in all mankind from the day they are conceived. The very seed of mankind is infected with sin, and so death and sin are the portion of all who are born of the lineage of the first Adam.
The apostle Paul has aptly described the condition of all men under the curse of sin.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh…
When you and I are born, sin is already present within us. We are born enslaved to the desires of the flesh. A child does not have to be taught to lust, and covet, and act selfishly. No man needs to go out searching for an addiction, or an enslaving desire. These things are present in our flesh, for we are all under the curse of sin.
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
I have met many addicts as I have lived and worked at a rescue mission. Many have been struggling with addictions for as long as they can remember. I have sat in meetings with them and heard them testify of their resolve to do better, and to finally overcome the appetites of their flesh. I have watched these same men fall, some almost immediately after purposing to not do so. I have seen the look of resignation in the eyes of the more honest ones. They have given up the delusion that they might somehow free themselves from their captivity by a further act of willpower, or from some renewed commitment. The emotion of the moment always fades away, and some moment of weakness comes and they fall once more.
The first thing you must do in order to be set free from your slavery to the appetites of the flesh is to agree with those things God has testified concerning your condition.
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”
It requires humility to agree with God concerning our human condition. The proud man or woman wants to believe there is some good in them. They want to testify that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to. They want God to acknowledge that they are inherently good, when He testifies that our condition is just the opposite.
Some might argue that they have heard of instances of men and women who overcame their addiction quite apart from God. I too know of some rare instances where men and women have ceased taking illegal drugs, or put away a life of drunkenness, and some of them knew nothing of the salvation of Christ. This is merely part of Satan’s deceit to keep men and women perpetually trying to improve themselves by their own efforts.
What those who point out such examples are not acknowledging is that though these men and women might have put away one manifestation of the sin that resides in their flesh, that the poison yet remains, and it always manifests in some form. Some have been able to quit drinking, but they have then made the pursuit of their life the acquisition of material possessions. This is an addiction that is not condemned by society. Even a carnal church speaks highly of such a pursuit. Christ, however, sees that nothing has changed in the person’s life. They are still going forth on their belly, living to satisfy a hunger for fleshly things. There is actually much more written in Scriptures to condemn a pursuit of material possessions, than there is to condemn a life of drunkenness.
So do not be deceived. No man or woman has ever in history overcome the power of sin that is resident in their being, apart from the deliverance provided through Jesus Christ, Yahshua the Messiah. Neither will you be able to do so. If you can receive this as truth, and are humble enough to admit your inability to free yourself from the raging appetites inside your being, then you have taken the first step to receiving true deliverance through the Son of God.
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