The Letters of Faith
Letter 1: Faith, Discipleship & Spiritual Warfare
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline;
be zealous therefore and repent”
(Revelation 3:19 ENB).
Knowing that you are studying Scripture has kindled a fire in my heart. How wonderful! I want you to know, Seeker, that I care greatly about your search for Elohim (God) and His Truth. In today’s world, I think it important for you to know how sincerely I desire for you to grasp the fullness that Scripture holds for you. Furthermore, you need to know that someone exists, who does not have any ulterior motives. My hand will never find its way into your pocket. My only motive in extending a helping hand, is for you to know the fullness of Elohim’s Word, and your need for Him in your life.
Elohim loves you, my friend, and I want to insure that you see the fullness of His love of you, and for you, in your studies. While I pray you are well, I also pray that your curiosity about spiritual matters never abates. If you wish, therefore, I am offering my services as a tutor, to insure that you gain the knowledge, wisdom and understanding you seek.
Available Bible Translations:
While many different translations of the Bible exist today, the only recommendation I wholeheartedly make is The Exalted Name Bible™ , (Abbreviated as, ENB), available online at: www.exaltednamebible.com/
Thankfully, due to technological advances, The ENB is also available in e-Book format at Kindle, and Amazon.com for other e-Readers. And today, an Audible version of The ENB also exists, and can be found at audible.com.
That aside, I want to tell you that the genuineness of your questions, and your openness to my replies, has given me the boldness to offer my aid in your quest. My personal experiences, and my exposure to others who are seeking to learn the truth about Elohim, His Word and this creation, have shown that every new reader of Scripture is burdened with a seemingly overwhelming number of questions. If you are seeking answers, therefore, I wish to offer my assistance, because I would have no greater joy than helping you find the fullness of Elohim’s truth – in and through His Word.
Discipleship is not an easy task:
Should you decide to open this door, however, you must know that I am prepared to challenge you – as well as to be challenged by you. The truth is not a simple commodity, and any quest with such significant ramifications (for you) must be undertaken with the knowledge that the trek will require tremendous effort on your part. My personal quest is now a 35 year voyage! Furthermore, I am willing to expend whatever resources are needed to assist in your search, but what I need from you, is your fervent commitment to the whole of this undertaking.
The truth is not impossible to find or know. Maintaining and defending the truth, however, in light of the manner and workings of this world, is another thing altogether. I am willing to expend the time and energy, but I will not waste and squander that time or energy on a half-hearted or deceptive ‘search for truth’!
Let us begin:
The fact that we need a starting point to our discussions dictates that this first letter begin as a narrative. The topic, therefore, is of my choosing, or – in reality – is what I believe I am being led to discuss. In subsequent letters, I will attempt to answer whatever questions you may have, address whatever issues you may raise and introduce some new information of my own that may prove helpful to your studies. Remember though, I am here to help you. I am not here to dictate a prescribed plan. If you do not like something I say, tell me. If you disagree, say so. I must know your opinions and feelings, because you are certainly going to hear mine. Otherwise, we will unacceptably waste considerable time.
Spiritual guidance can be found in numerous forms today, but sadly enough, most sources of this guidance fall woefully short of the fullness of Elohim’s Word. While I believe that spiritual knowledge and wisdom is found solely within Scripture, many “christian’s” no longer recognize Scripture as the source for truth or righteous living, and because of this, the fullness of Elohim’s Word is not being taught or believed. Elohim, however, speaking through His Prophets, foretold that as we approach the end of the age and the return of Messiah, there would be a drought with regard to His Word, and an increase in satanic activities.
The Great Harvest:
It is also said though, that before Messiah returns, there would be an outpouring of truth and revelation through a revival referred to as the “great harvest”. I believe your interest in Elohim, and your search for the Truth, is a product of these prophecies. Please don’t be offended by that presumption! It may comfort you to know that your quest is one shared today by countless souls around the world. My concern lies in the fact that too many false prophets and false teachers are in our midst, attempting to divert the true seekers from finding the fullness of Elohim’s Word. The Letters are being presented as my attempt to stand in the gap with my Father’s other faithful Disciples. The truth must be heard today, and that truth is only found in the Word of Elohim!
And while Elohim is stirring the hearts of many people, the condition of society certainly bears out the Prophecies regarding Satan’s activities for the end time. This is true because Satan, who knows the end is near, has permeated society (including the church) with innumerable distortions and delusions (especially within the past 100 years), which is why confusion reigns today regarding just what is true and what is false. The distortions and delusions are significant enough that many people, including many professing ‘christians’, sincerely profess there is no such thing as absolute truth.
Well, let’s settle this issue right now, because absolute truth DOES exist! There is a right and there is a wrong, and the wrongs are not merely ‘non-rights’. Wrong is wrong! Evil is evil! Sin is sin! Truth and lies stand in complete opposition today, as they did at the beginning of the creation. The world and the ‘church’ have turned their back on these matters, however, which is why I am profoundly concerned for your spiritual growth and well-being.
Validation is Essential:
In light of Satan’s activities, therefore, we must heed Elohim’s advice regarding the validation of every teaching we hear, and apply His rules whenever we discuss His Word. Scripture says we should, “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, to see whether they are from Elohim, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1 ENB). He also said we were to, “Not despise prophesy, but prove everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:20-22 ENB). In order to “hold fast to that which is good; and abstain from all appearance of evil”, we must first KNOW what is good; we must know what is evil! And we only KNOW what is good or what is evil by reading, studying and absorbing Elohim’s Inerrant Word. Only in this way can we compare and uphold everything truthful, or dispute and defend against the erroneous and evil social and scientific ramblings that are so rampant today. Elohim’s Inerrant Word is the foundation of all Truth, and society, especially the ‘christian’ society, has failed to comprehend and believe what Elohim has said. Shame on us all!
Admittedly, comparing and upholding every teaching or theory against Scripture, makes the search for Elohim and His Truth an arduous task, but the fullness of His (law) of comparison must apply to every teaching, including whatever I may write or say. I think it important to add a note at this juncture, however, regarding Scripture, because nowhere in the Bible, or in my teachings, will you find it said that the Bible reveals ALL knowledge of ALL things. The foundation of understanding is established within Elohim’s Word, but His Word allows us to build upon that foundation. Elohim’s LAW is and remains LAW! Try as they might, humanity cannot change Elohim’s LAW. But mankind is free to research the sciences; the humanities; the cosmos – and grow and progress thru that research. Sadly, we have drawn many erroneous conclusions in our studies, because the Word of Elohim has been ignored or distorted. Scripture reveals everything that Elohim has chosen to reveal to us. His word tells us everything that HE finds essential to tell us. Scripture, however, does not contain the fullness of Elohim’s knowledge of all things. If you believe and grasp nothing else from this paragraph and teaching, please grasp this: Man’s knowledge does not (and will never) exceed the fullness of Elohim’s knowledge about anything. How arrogant we are! How sinful we have been! To even think we could possibly know more about anything than the Elohim who created us in His image, is exactly the same sin Lucifer committed.
Elohim created us in His image, and gave us dominion over this creation; dominion to learn and to grow. In His Word He challenges us to pray for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, and that challenge applies to every facet of our lives. Elohim wants us to learn and grow! We have forgotten to remain faithful to the foundation of His Word though, and because of our sinful pride and arrogance, in neglecting to believe His Word, we are rapidly advancing in a faithless march toward His wrath – and eternal damnation.
One can easily say, therefore, that in neglecting the (law) of comparison, and in disregarding and diminishing the Dominion of Elohim in our lives, society is now adrift in a rudderless craft that is laden with false teachings, false understandings, false doctrines and false directions. The humanist agenda has been vigorously and faithfully pursued, while the ‘christian’ world slept and accommodated society’s sinful lifestyle. Neglect of the law of comparison is also a major cause for so many “religious” people to be so faithlessly out of step with Elohim. The teachings that have propagated in our society, in the last seventy years alone, have not been held accountable to the standard of His Word, and the failure of society, as a whole, is its result. Clearly, the intense spiritual battle raging against the Word of Elohim and His people, is not being discussed today either, because Satan has infiltrated to the core of the religious institutions, and he is not looking to be exposed. Prophetically, this agrees with every end time message, because the apostate religious system will be a primary tool of the antichrist during the end time period. The faithful will remain faithful, but in not examining everything, the weak are dying, and Babylon is thriving through the deceptions.
As one who claims to be a disciple of YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach, therefore, I am committed to abiding by the teachings and faith that YEHOSHUA gave us, regardless of the cost. I have learned that discipleship is a commitment to conduct and discipline, which must faithfully stand against every internal and external attack sent to distract us from the progress of YEHOWAH’S purpose, or diminish the glorification of our King.
A disciple is a forgiven and forgiving sinner, who has claimed the deliverance provided by Elohim through YEHOSHUA our Messiah, who determines to dedicate their life to abiding by Elohim’s Word and Will, and who dedicates their life to the worship of Elohim, continually communicates with Elohim thru prayer, and fervently labors in the harvest of Elohim – in His love! None of these actions, by the way, add in any way to the Deliverance provided by YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach thru His Scourging, Crucifixion (Death) and Resurrection. His work is perfect and complete, and nothing any of us do can add to the deliverance He has already provided. He is my Master, Messiah and King, and as His disciple, I choose to follow His lead every day of my life.
I have also learned two other important facts as well, which must remain foremost in the minds of anyone seeking the truth, because Elohim is in the people business. These facts are:
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against The Holy Spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies” (Ephesians 6:12ENB).
“Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through Elohim, to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4ENB).
Elohim hates sin, but Elohim loves the sinner; He died for the sinner. The struggle for truth, righteousness and discipline has come at a great cost, but as far as we are able, it can never be at the expense of another’s soul. I am telling you these things, dear friend, because, while I believe that Elohim’s truth must be taught, I also believe that every teaching must be shared in His love and grace. Therefore, I offer the experience I have gained in love, without judgment, and I need you to know that the openness and sincerity of my heart is due to the profound realization that I am nothing more than a forgiven sinner. As such, I have no right, nor authority, to judge anyone. You are free to discuss the burdens of your heart, without having a finger pointing in your face in return. I will call sin – “Sin!” I will cry for repentance! But by the grace of YEHOSHUA, I will not judge.
The discipleship which I confess and teach is not an expectation of perfection in this life, nor is it an event. THE EVENT of importance on a personal level, comes when we believe that YEHOSHUA is exactly Who He says He is, and accept Him as our personal Messiah, Master and King; following Him in immersion baptism as well. Our lives, and the disciplines we acquire after our confession of faith, are a process.
It is clear that only by abiding in YEHOSHUA can we ever attain to the fullness of His desire for us. Only through Him can we overcome failure. In His eternal knowledge and wisdom, He can guide and teach us. And His love, compassion and mercy not only abide within us, through His Holy Spirit, but allow us to confess our sins with the full assurance of forgiveness when we do screw up (1 John 1:9).
Furthermore, certain knowledge is essential to any who would seek to know the truth about Elohim. That knowledge, simply put, is that Elohim created us (in love) for His glory, and this life is a battlefield for our souls. Whether we believe in Him or not, the battle rages about us, and for us. While Satan desires to keep us blind to these realities, you must be made aware of the fact that your interest in Elohim and His Truth is upsetting to Satan. Therefore, he will use whatever means are necessary to discourage your search. If you can keep these truth’s in mind, you may recognize his distractions, and maintain your focus on Elohim’s Word. In so doing, you will ultimately find the truth.
As one who has been taught these things then, I would be remiss if I did not fully inform you of this battle being waged for your heart, mind and soul. (Letter #23 is another expose on the fullness of spiritual warfare, which should be read by every disciple – just to keep our level of discernment high). What you must know at this point though, is that everyone searching for the truth can expect the aggression of Satan to radically increase in his or her life. It is difficult to express the subtlety and intensity of this battle though, when so many people no longer acknowledge Elohim, Satan, or the spiritual struggle. Good and evil exist, however, and we must deal with this truth! I say this because while you may not yet believe Scripture to be The Truth, He who has stirred your heart to begin seeking, will protect you as you earnestly seek Him.
It is also true though, that the protection offered by Elohim does not immediately lessen the agony caused by the ridicule or rejection you may receive because of your studies. Only time with Him can eliminate that pain; only trust in The Holy Spirit, as our Comforter, can help you overcome these things. Yet, I think it will also be comforting for you to know that your search is a result of Elohim’s intense love and desire for you, and that in spite of, and possibly even as a result of Satan’s attempt to interfere and disrupt your search, that same Elohim is ready, willing, and able to come to your aid. This letter is certainly intended as an encouragement.
So how is a disciple of YEHOSHUA supposed to maintain balance during life’s struggle? By keeping our eyes focused upon YEHOSHUA, even in the midst of battle, we learn to grow in Him; grow in His love and His forgiveness. Only in YEHOSHUA can we overcome; only in Him can we attain victory. In our awareness of the utter death and destruction around us, we learn to rely upon YEHOSHUA for our marching orders. And we learn to trust that He will insure our preparedness for whatever He asks us to do. Our faith acknowledges the existence of sin and evil, but our faith also turns to Elohim for protection from that sin and evil. In Him we overcome. Don’t for a moment, however, think that we don’t ask, “WHY?” sometimes, when things go badly, because we do!
The dilemma confronting all involved in this battle between good and evil, is the simple fact that although YEHOSHUA is to rule in the lives of His children, “the whole world lies in evil” (1 John 5:19-20 ENB). The enemy prefers we never find the Messiah, and attempts to confuse us spiritually, bind us from discovering the Truth, silence any expression of faith or inquiry, and place us along the wide path to destruction. While Satan has deluded mankind into either following him outright, or denying his existence altogether, those entangled in the occult know his power, and are delighted that the rest of us maintain our ignorance. Disciples of YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach, however, cannot remain ignorant of Satan though, because the walk of faith is spiritual – aware of the darkness of evil, but abiding in the light.
Aside from this life being a battleground, it is also a field of preparation and opportunity. We believe that those who overcome sin through YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach are the children of Elohim (Psalm 82, for instance). As His children, He will allow us full run of His eternal kingdom. Isn’t it true that your children have full use and access to your home? Our Father is no different! Within Scripture, therefore, we are told that testing and cleansing are essential for growth. (See 2 Timothy 3:12; Luke 6:40 and James 1:2-4, 1:12 and 5:1-10). In this life we are taught love, humility, patience and a great deal more; lessons essential to living in our Father’s kingdom. (See Hebrews 5 about piety). Don’t be discouraged as the battle rages though, because there is a purpose, and, “We know that all things to work together for good to those who love Elohim, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 ENB).
Additionally, Elohim’s instructions for this life have been given so we would be, “perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ENB). Within His instructions we are told to: “Be strong in the Master, and in the power of His might put on the full armor of Elohim, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies. Therefore, take up the full armor of Elohim, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, take up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of The Holy Spirit, which is the Word of Elohim. With all prayer and supplication, pray at all times in The Holy Spirit, and with this in view, keep watch with all perseverance and supplication on behalf of all the saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18 ENB).
There are three commands issued within this passage from Ephesians which must impact our lives. Those commands are: “Put on”, “Take up” and “Stand firm”.
The last Sunday school class I taught (about 30 years ago) was dedicated to a three week study on the commands issued in Ephesians 6:10-18. We were covering one command per Sunday. On the first Sunday we discussed what “Put on” meant, and just what it was that we were to put on. The next week we discussed what it meant to “Take up”, and just what, when, how and why we were to take “it” up. We intently discussed the spiritual warfare raging about us and for us, and there was genuine excitement in the knowledge being found. Our conversations were brisk, and the Scriptural support for our discoveries was tremendous. We never discussed what it meant to “Stand firm”, however, because the series was deemed too controversial by the church elders and deacons (of which I was one), and that last class never assembled. My days as a Sunday school teacher and elder ended in a political heap.
When I first began to prepare for that Sunday school study though, my intent was to present a brief expose on “PUT ON”, “TAKE UP” and, “STAND FIRM”. I never finished the final lesson though, until a few years ago, when I sat down to write a letter similar to this. In my disappointment over not concluding the study, I dropped the ball, and did not pursue the final element – even for my own knowledge. While it may not have been time to discuss such matters, Elohim finally motivated me to conclude my study, and the resulting revelations are something I try to share with every seeker.
As the return of YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach draws near, and we enter into the final days of this age, monumental spiritual outpourings and displays, both good and evil, are prophesied to occur. As these events draw near, knowledge of Ephesians 6:10-18 increases in urgency, because the call to faith has never been stronger, the necessity for a united army of Elohim (Body of Messiah) throughout the world has never been more intense, and the need for the power of His Holy Spirit within the body of The Messiah – to withstand the arrows of Satan, has never been greater. The harvest will come through the moving of His Holy Spirit, but this will only be accomplished by the Ekklesia when they exercise wisdom, knowledge and love. It will not happen in ignorance, intolerance, accommodation, or bigotry.
And the fact that there are more people alive today, than have died throughout history, indicates the harvest will in fact be “Great”, because the end time population is so great. Elohim has prepared it so!
Although I originally intended for the Ephesians 6 study to be an easy romp through an exciting passage, I could not get past the command to, “PUT ON”, without something being revealed to me about my own life. When I really understood the words that were used by The Holy Spirit, and when I really believed what Elohim was saying throughout the New Covenant, when He was telling us to “PUT” something on, I realized that for a long period of my walk with Him, what I was really putting on, was – myself.
I cannot say I have “put on” everything we are going to talk about here, every day since that study, but I do sincerely try to dress in the full armor of Elohim. My desire in discussing this passage and teaching these matters, therefore, is to simplify the process for others who may be seeking Elohim, so we can understand what we are being commanded to “PUT ON”, and so we can envision the fulfillment and results which our faithfulness will bring. Then, as we continue searching together for Him, we can help each other put on our armor every day.
The Greek word used in Ephesians 6 for “PUT”, is ENDUO, and the primary meaning of ENDUO is, to clothe or be clothed with, (in the sense of sinking into a garment). Literally, it means to slide intentionally into; to be embraced by and/or with. If we look at Scripture, we find that those who would believe in the Messiah are commanded to “PUT ON”:
“The full armor of Elohim; the breastplate of righteousness; the preparation of the gospel of peace” Ephesians 6.
“The armor of light; the fullness of the Master, YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach” Romans 13:12-14.
“The incorruptible” 1 Corinthians 15:53-54.
“Our house from heaven” 2 Corinthians 5:2-3.
“The new self” Ephesians 4:24.
“The new self: a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness and love” Colossians 3:8-17.
“The breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of the hope of salvation” 1 Thessalonians 5:8.
“Power from on high” Luke 24:46-49.
Paraphrased, we are to clothe ourselves with power from on high, “PUTTING ON” the breastplate of faith and righteousness. In our new self, which is the imperishable dwelling from heaven, we are to attire ourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness and love. And, wearing the helmet of the hope of salvation, we are to proclaim the Gospel of peace (the Good News of peace) in YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach.
Please notice one important fact here though, beloved: The act of “putting on”, as discussed in Ephesians 6, is an entirely voluntary action. On a moment-by-moment basis we consciously decide, whether we will get dressed or not. And, the decision is entirely ours, because Elohim will not force His will upon us. If we are faithful to His call, we will strenuously attempt to attire ourselves just as YEHOSHUA did in His walk on this earth. Otherwise, we deceive ourselves about our faithfulness unto Him, and in our pride we determine instead to walk under the delusion of our own power and authority. Such is the spiritual battle!
We are also commanded to “Put aside” certain behavior, and the putting aside is voluntary as well. Those things which we are to shun include, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy and shameful language. (Colossians 3:8). And Galatians 5:18-21 expands upon these traits, referring to them as, “works of the flesh”. Faithful disciples, fully trained and mature, must know that Elohim does not ask them to do anything that is beyond His capacity to see fulfilled within their lives. If Elohim is telling us to put on certain things, and put aside others, it must be possible (in Him) for us to do so. But the only way to accomplish any of these things is to have faith in Him. That basic faith is our breastplate, and it is to be worn snugly! (Letter 16 discusses the Gift of Faith, and as you will see, there is a difference between basic faith and the Gift of Faith). But I digress…
The second command of Ephesians 6:10-18 is, “Take UP”, and interestingly enough, two different Greek words are used in this passage to describe, “take”. In Ephesians 6:13 & 16, the Greek word is ANALAMBANO, while DECHOMAI is the word used in Ephesians 6:17.
ANALAMBANO is derived from two other Greek words. The first word, ANA, is a primary preposition and adverb denoting upwards or up. As a preface, like in its use here in ANALAMBANO, it denotes up, again or back. The second portion of the word, LAMBANO, means to take, or receive. The forcefulness of the word ANALAMBANO, therefore, is very similar to the strength of the word ENDUO that we just studied, because just as forcefully as we are to “PUT ON”, ANALAMBANO is serious about the fact that we “TAKE UP”. So how do we apply “take up” in our lives?
Paul used the word ANALAMBANO four times in his writings, and two of them are here in Ephesians 6:13 & 16. The other two uses are in 1 Timothy 3:16, and 2 Timothy 4:11. In 1 Timothy 3:16 we are told that YEHOSHUA was “taken up” in glory, and in 2 Timothy 4:11 Paul is telling Timothy to “Take Mark”, and bring him to him. Just as YEHOSHUA ascended in power, Paul was informing Timothy to take Mark – forcefully if necessary, because he was useful for service. The command to ANALAMBANO the full armor of Elohim and the shield of faith is something that we are being told to do with force and power. Physically, mentally and spiritually we are to take up, put on and uphold our armor and our shield.
In Ephesians 6:17 we are told to, “Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of The Holy Spirit, which is the word of Elohim”. The word used in this verse for “TAKE”, is the Greek DECHOMAI, and as a primary verb it means to receive. I began to wrestle with these words though, as I looked at the verse, wondering why Paul didn’t use ANALAMBANO in this instance also, seeing as they both appeared to mean, to receive or “take” up. What I discovered is interesting:
When Paul penned what we interpret as “receive”, he used DECHOMAI three times and LAMBANO eleven. Aside from Ephesians 6:17, DECHOMAI is used in 2 Corinthians 6:1 and 1 Thessalonians 1:6, and in all three instances the implication and method for receiving is a mental process. Therefore, where LAMBANO is spiritually physical, DECHOMAI is entirely mental. While one command is spiritually physical, the other represents a deeper spiritual cognizance or awareness – a learning.
Obeying the command of Ephesians 6:17, that we “Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of The Holy Spirit, which is the Word of Elohim”, is an internal act of faith with regard to salvation, but a mental act of acquiring the knowledge found in the Word of Elohim. That is why studying Scripture is so important for us all. Elsewhere in Scripture we are told that YEHOWAH‘S disciples are, “Bringing every thought into captivity of the obedience of Messiah” (2 Corinthians 10:5 ENB). The only way even one thought can be brought into captivity unto our Messiah, is through faith in Him. A strong realization that, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal” (2 Corinthians 10:4 ENB) is helpful too. The helmet of salvation is internalized first, and then it is shared with non-believers. The sword of The Holy Spirit, which is the Word of Elohim, is internalized first, meaning that it is first learned – then it is shared.
Everything we do is voluntary, and everything is subject to the spiritual battle that rages for our hearts, minds and souls. We decide when or if we are going to “put” anything on, and we decide when or if we are going to “take-up” anything. As beings with a free will, we decide if we are going to “stand firm”, just as we determine our usefulness on a moment-by-moment basis. This is the heart of the spiritual battle, my friend, because Satan does not want us to “put on” anything that will ward off his attacks, nor “take up” anything that will interfere with his activities. He most assuredly does not want us to “stand firm” against him personally, which is why my interest in your studies is so intense. Or didn’t know that you were cared for so highly?
A popular teaching raging throughout the world today is that many sinful life-styles are genetic. Specifically, in case my reference is too vague, I am speaking to the homosexual lifestyle which has ensnared so many men and women. While we will discuss this issue in greater length at a later time, it is important for you to know that the decision to obey Elohim, or to disobey Elohim, and the decision to believe His Word, or to not believe His Word, is entirely our own. We have a free will, and those who elect to participate in a homosexual lifestyle, do so at their own choosing. Nonetheless, sin is sin, and to explain away sinful actions as mere genetic manifestations is as sinful as the acts themselves. Society must repent of these defiant acts, not flaunt them. Elohim has a free will, and as beings created in His image, He has blessed us with this same free will. We choose to put on, take up and stand firm. And this too is another watershed teaching, because we either believe the Word of Elohim or we do not. I choose to believe His Word. Please keep one thing in mind though, because you must know this about me: The condemnation just discussed is not presented out of hatred or anger. This teaching, as are all of my teachings, is presented in my love for my Master, Messiah and King. Repentance from sin – ANY SIN – and being born again – are all available thru faith in YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach. To believe anything less is also a sin!
Our final phrase in this study, “STAND FIRM”, is actually only one word in the Greek, and that word is HISTEMI. HISTEMI means to stand fast, erect, established and balanced – with endurance. Within Ephesians 6:10-18 we are told to “stand firm” three times, and those commands read:
“Stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
“Having done everything [else], to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13).
“Stand firm, therefore” [having done everything else] (Ephesians 6:14).
Whether at home, work or play; with family, co-workers or friends, Satan will use whatever means are available to distract us from our search for truth, or walk of faith, and thereby obstruct us from fulfilling our life purpose. The difficulty in dealing with spiritual realities, is simply that Satan and his minions work very, very subtly, and normally with exceptional speed. An awareness of the intensity of this spiritual warfare increases our ability to acknowledge a battlefield though, and our knowledge of the enemy’s tactics enables us to wisely stand firm. Mark my words, however, because I assure you that within the next few weeks or months, your efforts to continue your studies will be thwarted. Recall this warning! Rebuke the evil one in the name of YEHOSHUA, and press on in your search. You will not be disappointed.
Quite frequently, our prayers are disrupted, and we do not understand why we cannot concentrate. Our time for Scriptural study is interrupted, and we cannot comprehend why we do not have enough time to read. An effort to do something good, or a time of evangelism is hampered by outside forces, and we feel helpless. This need not be. The spiritual deliverance outlined in the eighth chapter of Romans is complete, but in not even acknowledging the reality of spiritual warfare, we have allowed the forces of evil to run unhindered against us. Yet, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. For I am confident that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, not things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of Elohim, which is in Messiah YEHOSHUA our Master” (Romans 8:37-39 ENB).
If you consider the daily events of our lives, including the news from around the world, I am certain that you can identify many “bad things”. I doubt, however, that as events unfold, demonic forces are being recognized or acknowledged for their involvement in those events. Only two groups of people acknowledge spiritual warfare at any level: First, are the Disciples of YEHOSHUA who are fully trained. Second is that group of souls who are deeply involved in the occult. Only these two opposing groups know that the mere mention of the name or function of a ‘devil’, in effect “calls up” that devil, and only these two groups know that once solicited, those devils must be dealt with. Left unattended, the minions of Satan are free to test, try and prod wherever they desire. And that is one primary area of failure within the “church” today, because we fail to train YEHOSHUA’S disciples in these matters – and Satan is running a muck in our midst.
YEHOSHUA said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32 ENB). The truth revealed in the Word of Elohim does indeed make us free, but our freedom requires that we resist Satan, and humbly submit to Elohim. (James 4:7). This is why I am taking this opportunity to submit these warnings to you as you begin your quest for the truth. I know the enemy! I know he will do everything to stop you from continuing your search. Don’t for a minute be fooled into thinking that resisting him is easy though. Spiritual warfare has raged for thousands of years, and Satan will not leave us alone simply because we resist his workers with a flippant ‘Be Gone’. We are involved in an intense spiritual battle, and we must prepare our mind and heart for the intensity of that battle. We must maintain our focus on the eternal goal, which is what our interest in Scripture is really all about. Only then we will be able to stand firm in the power of Elohim.
Now, about spirits and spiritual warfare: Since my childhood, I have been a great fan of the movies and television. Aside from three years spent overseas in the Army, I haven’t missed very much of what Hollywood has produced for viewing by the general public; good or bad! If you consider television specifically though, and in particular the shows of the fifties and early sixties, you will find some violence and sexual innuendo, but for the most part, adjectives like: innocent, wholesome and entertaining are applicable.
The innocence ended in the mid and late 1960’s, as we watched the evening news, and “saw” the youth of our nation being killed, and killing, in Southeast Asia. We saw many “live” events: Bombings, firefights, and the carnage of war, including instances where Buddhist Monks poured gasoline on themselves, and ignited their lives into oblivion. We watched and we absorbed… And the result of all that absorption was made manifest across the land, and around the world, as the ‘devils’ released upon society through what we saw and heard, aroused into fever pitch many hundreds of thousands of protesters against “the war” (and against all involved). It was a grave mistake inviting the Vietnam War and these other horrors into our homes the way we did though, because another war was waging for our minds at the same time. A spiritual battle raged without any recognition by society or the ‘church’.
I realize how simplistic this sounds, but a comparison of television and movie content between the early sixties, and the late sixties, would provide dramatic evidence of an increase in violence, sex and corruption. And politically, as well as socially, morally and ethically, our world followed. What happened to cause the shift? Simply stated, we literally called up and exposed ourselves to the vilest and most disruptive spiritual forces known – while we watched the evening news. And we allowed the most intense spiritual battle possible to enter into the very core of our lives. Very few people knew enough to rebuke, let alone recognize those forces, so we became numb to death, destruction, violence and crime, and in our numbness we asked for more.
Today, while the content of television exposes us to every demon conceivable, society’s sensitivity to good and evil has vanished, and our power of discernment no longer exists. We regularly expose ourselves to spiritual forces without knowing, but the devils involved do not care whether we know what we are doing or not. We have been told to carefully watch what comes out of our mouths (Matthew 12:34-37; Ephesians 4: 29; Colossians 3: 8), and what goes into our ears (Mark 4:24), because if we do not stand firm against the evil we see or hear, we will become absorbed in them, and they will proceed from us as well. And this is not a simple-minded or prudish exhortation either. Take a quick glance at your newspaper tomorrow morning, and tell me that humanity is not absorbed in evil.
Throughout the industrial world, people are leaving the urban and suburban centers of society, and moving to rural locales, in the hope of finding a slower lifestyle and less crime. Sadly, it is not being found. The reality is, in the forties and fifties, which is the time we yearn to relive; society pretty well agreed upon what was right or wrong. Although criminals existed, there was still a “code of ethics” even within criminal circles. Certain activities were unacceptable even for organized syndicates. While society has never been exclusively “Christian”, the elementary principles of the “Judeo-Christian” teachings, regarding right and wrong, were widely accepted. Discipline was taught and administered, life was simpler, and crime was almost manageable. This is no longer true. Regardless of where you live today, there is no longer an accepted standard of right and wrong, and society is collapsing. Children kill other children in Montana and North Dakota, just as easily as they do in California and New York. While Vietnam and television are certainly not the cause of mankind’s fall, the reality of their being used as an impetus toward a spiritually collapsing society, is inarguable.
The decline in morality and the value of life, and Satan’s influence and infiltration into society and the religious institutions, happened because men and women, and especially the church (EKKLESIA), grew tired of standing firm. Complacency and affluence following the allied victory of World War II, allowed a spirit of apostasy to enter the hearts of the industrialized world, and the evil we now witness within society is a direct result of that spiritual warfare – and our sinful failure to fight the good fight of righteousness!
Those who believe upon YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach today must seek a personal reawakening and revival within their own hearts, must repent of our apostasy, and must once again enter into the battle fray with intensity, determination, unity, power, and, above all, love. We must recognize the immense responsibility that we have been given by the Elohim of creation, and we must fight for the fullness of Elohim’s Truth and Good News thru YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach. Our reentry into the warfare is the practical application of Ephesians 6, and while we must “take up”, “put on” and “stand firm” in our personal struggle against the attacks of Satan, we must fight against Satan for humanity as well. The True Church, The Ekklesia, must once again “stand firm”, which is another reason why I am compelled to become involved in your search…
Finally, in James 3:1-12 we have an incredible teaching for life given to us. The truth we find there is this: Our tongue defiles our entire body and establishes the course of our lives. Elsewhere we are told that Elohim does not tempt anyone, but that each is tempted when they are carried away by their own lusts (James 1:13-14). In other passages Elohim has told us not to judge others, lest we be judged (Matthew 7:1), and that the things which we speak defile us (Mark 7:15). The point here is simply that as we are bombarded with words and images, from whatever source they come, and as we acknowledge the reality of the spiritual battle raging for our souls, we must, in our minds and hearts, constantly rebuke every evil confronting us. We must maintain a vigil against the forces that seek to destroy our search or our salvation. As we think, so we are. As we speak, so is our heart. Test the spirits, therefore, keep what is good and rebuke what is evil. Learn how to “Fight the good fight of faith” and “take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called” (1 Timothy 6:12 ENB).
Admittedly, spiritual warfare may seem an unusual place to initiate a discussion on Elohim and Scripture. In reality though, spiritual warfare is exactly where we must begin, because you must know that your search for the truth about Elohim is at the very core of the creation. The purpose of life is to glorify our Heavenly Father thru His Son, YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach – for in so doing we become complete beings. Satan knows this truth, despises the truth, and will do whatever he can to stop us from learning the truth and achieving our goal. The faithful application of this teaching is merely spiritual righteousness in a very intense spiritual battle.
Clearly, therefore, spiritual study requires “putting on”, “taking up” and “standing firm”. If your search is in fact a gift from Elohim, it will be helpful for you to know why your attempts to study are interrupted; or why your life suddenly turns upside-down. Satan will place every possible obstacle in front of you to stop you from discovering the truth. If you search faithfully though, Elohim will execute forcefully on your behalf – in the name of YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach. The battle being fought for you is constant, however, and I thought you should know these things.
I wish to maintain an open discourse with you. Furthermore, I am ready and willing to discuss whichever topic you choose. My agenda is simply to help you discover the truth, which is why this letter is strewn with passages for your verification; passages that wholeheartedly support the law of comparison. I promise that I will always provide you with a list of Scriptural verses, upon which my conclusions, assertions and beliefs are based. And the topical concordance I developed will follow each letter, in order to offer support for the primary topics discussed within each letter. It has been helpful to those seekers I have been privileged to assist in the past, and I hope it will provide you with a tool to expedite your studies as well.
In conclusion, please note that I am not seeking anything from you! I am not asking for anything! The teachings provided in these writings, and any personal exchanges we may have, are posted and rendered solely for your benefit. The e-book fee for these writings is minimal as well. And I will never ask for any donations. You might be asking, “Can anything worthy really be this cheap or free?” Allow me to respond to that by simply saying that YEHOSHUA ha Mashiach freely gave His life for our sins, and thru His actions He offered salvation to all of humanity – without charge. I am merely a disciple following in my Master’s footsteps.
With all my love in YEHOSHUA, I send my fondest prayers for you and your family, and I remain faithfully and humbly your servant in YEHOSHUA our Messiah,
Letter 1 Topical Concordance:
Old Covenant: Deuteronomy 31:6; 2 Chronicles 15:2, 16:9; Ezra 7:10; Job 8:5-7, 11:13-19, 22:21-30; Psalms 119; Proverbs (all); Ecclesiastes 1:18; Isaiyeh 14:12-17; 50-51, 55:8; Jeremiyeh 15:16; 17:5-8; Ezra 28:11-19; Zephaniyeh 2:3.
New Covenant: Matthew 5:11-12; 8:18-27, 10:24-42, 13:52, 16:24-26, 28:18-20; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 6:40, 10:1-20, 12:33, 14:26-35, 18:18-30; John 3:3,5,30, 8:31-32, 13:5-17, 13:31-35, 14:12-27, 15, 16, 17; Acts 7:2-53; 8:5-40, 11:26, 13:52, 14:9-19, 18:9-10, 28:22; Romans 8:31-32; 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, 10:3-4; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:10, 4:15, 6:12; Philippians 3:8-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21; Timothy 2:24-26, 3:16-17; Hebrews 12:8, 13:5-6; James 4:3-4; 1 John 2:27, 3:9-11, 4:1; Revelation 2:7,11,17,26-28, 3:3,12,21, 5:14, 12:11, 14:9-16, 18:4.
Old Covenant: 2 Samuel 11 & 12(12:14); Job 2:10, 5:17; Psalms 50:16-17, 66:8-12, 94:12-13, 119, 139:17-18; Proverbs (all) – But see: 3:11-12, 13:18, 19:27, 22:6,15, 23:13-14, 28:13; SS 7:10; Isaiyeh 55:8; Jeremiyeh 10:24; Daniel 4.
New Covenant: Matthew 9:10-17, 18:8-9; Mark 2:21-22; Luke 23:39-43; John 15:1-6; Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 10:13, 12:28-30; Galatians 6:1-5; Ephesians 4:15; 1 Timothy 1:5, 4:7-11; 2 Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 12:7-13; 2 Peter 1:5-11; 2 John 1:9; Revelation 3:11,19.
Old Covenant: Genesis 1:1, 4:1-15, 16:16, 17:1, 21:22, 24:3, 31:5, 38:9-10; Exodus 20:5, 34:14; Numbers 16:22, 23:19; Deuteronomy 3:20-22, 4:24-39, 6:4, 6:15-16, 7:9, 7:21, 13:3, 33:2-3; 2 Chronicles 6:18, 6:30, 16:11; Ezra 1:1; Job 38(all); Psalms 1:6, 5:4, 6:2-9, 7:1, 8(all), 10:16, 11:7, 18:30, 23:1, 24:7-10, 29:4-9, 31:5, 33:5, 33:13-14, 44:20-21, 46:10-11, 63(all), 75:7, 89(all), 94:8-11, 99(all), 103:8, 145:8, 147:8; Isaiyeh 30:18, 42:5, 43:8-13, 44:6, 44:24; Ezekiel 18:4; Hosea 7(all), Amos 4:13; Jonah 4:5-11; Nahum 1:2-7; Habakkuk 3(all).
New Covenant: John 3:16 ff, 3:33; Acts 10:34, 17:24-29; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Colossians 1:6, 1 Timothy 6:13-16; Hebrews 6:10-18, 12:29; 1 John 1:5, 3:20, 4:8, 5:7.
Old Covenant: Exodus 14:14; Numbers 14:8-9; Psalms 37(all), 101(all), 107(all); Isaiyeh 58(all); Jeremiyeh (all).
New Covenant: Mark 9:23, 11:22-26; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:16-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Philemon 1:6; Hebrews 11:(all); James 1:27.
Old Covenant: Genesis 13(all), 15:6, 22(all), 24(all); 1 Samuel 2:30, 14:6-15, 17:20-58, 26:23; Job 16:18-22, 19:25-27; Psalms 25:1-3, 73:1, 89:14, 107(all), 115(all), 119(all), 125(all); Proverbs 10&11, 21:21; Isaiyeh 3:10-11, 55(all); Jeremiyeh 22:15-16; Ezekiel 18:4-9; Daniel 3(all); Amos 5:21-24; Habakkuk 3:17-19.
New Covenant: Matthew 17:14-21, 21:21-22; Mark 4:39-40, 5:25-43, 9:23, 10:52; 11:22-26; Luke 7:50, 17:6-10, 18:7-8; John 11:21-41; Acts 3:16, 18:27, 26:18; Romans 1:5, 1:17, 3:22-28, 4:4-5, 4:21, 8:10, 8:15, 8:24-25, 9:30-32, 10:9-10, 10:17, 12:3-6; 1 Corinthians 2:5, 13:1-3, 13:13; 2 Corinthians 8:12, 13:5; Galatians 2:16-21, 3:7-14, 5:6; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 2:5-7, 3:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:3, 2:13; 1 Timothy 1:5, 5:12; 2 Timothy 1:12, 3:15-16, 4:8; Philemon 1:6; Hebrews 2:16, 3:19-4:11, 6:12, 10:19-25, 10:39, 11(all), 12:2; James 1:2-8, 1:27, 2:14-26, 5:13-16; 1 Peter 1:5-9; 2 Peter 1:1; 1 John 5:4-5; Jude 1:20, Revelation (all) see 2-3.
Old Covenant: Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 10:19; Psalms (all); Proverbs (all).
New Covenant: Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:30-33; Luke 6:31-35; John 13:34, 15:12; Romans 12:9-21; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 16:13-14; Galatians 5:13-14; Ephesians 5:2,25-27; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 John 4:7-8; 1 Peter 4:8.
Old Covenant: Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:31; Ezekiel 13:17-23.
New Covenant: Acts 8:9-10, 16:16ff, 19:19; 2 Peter 2:10.
Scripture, the importance of memorization:
Old Covenant: Job 22:21-30; Psalms 119; Proverbs (all), 2:1-5, 22:17-21; Jeremiyeh 15:16, 36(all).
New Covenant: Matthew 4:4-10; John 15:7-11; Acts 8:35; Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:15.
Old Covenant: Exodus 14:13-15; Judges 3:1-3; 2 Samuel 12:14; 2 Kings 6:16-17; Psalms 35, 55; Proverbs 16:32, 20:27, 25:28; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiyeh 58(Faultfinder); Daniel 6:5; Malachi 2:15-16.
New Covenant: Matthew 7:1; 12:34-37; Mark 4:24, 7:15; Luke 6:40, 11:24-26, 22:31-32, 24: 39, 46-49; John 4:23-24, 6:63, 8:31-32, 14:26; Acts 19:13-17; Romans 7:23, 8(ALL), 13:12-14; 1 Corinthians 2:12-15, 9:25-27, 12:3-13, 14:8, 15:53-54; 2 Corinthians 5:2-3, 10:3-7, 11:13-15; Galatians 5:18-21; Ephesians 4:24,29, 6:10-19; Colossians 3:8-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:8,21-22; 1 Timothy 3:16, 6:12; 2 Timothy 1:7, 2:3-4, 3:12,16-17, 4:11; Hebrews 2:4, 5:14; James 1:2-4, 1:12-14, 3:1-12, 4:1,7, 5:1-10;1 Peter 2:8,11; 2 Peter 2:18-19; 1 John 1:9, 4:1-6, 5:19-20; Revelation 12:10-11.
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Lawrence T. Vosen, PhD.
All Scripture quotations are taken from The Exalted Name Bible™
Copyright © 2010-2019,
Lawrence T. Vosen, PhD. Used with permission.