The Letters of Faith
Letter 4: Elohim (God), His Love & His Discipline
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline;
be zealous therefore and repent”
(Revelation 3:19 ENB).
Thank you for your sincere and objective response to my last letter. I delight in knowing that your questions and doubts are being addressed. The fact that we do not see the Ekklesia fully functioning today, as described within Scripture, can never deter us from noticing that many individuals are independently working according to everything prescribed. Eventually, these individual pieces will connect, and the Body will be whole. Be encouraged by this truth my friend, because I believe we are standing at the precipice of the most exciting time in history, and as children of Yehoshua, in whatever capacity, our labor today will contribute to the work that must be done.
Your questions about Elohim and the spiritual gifts are insightful too, and your search to comprehend the pain and suffering of life are equally appropriate. While there surely is much pain and suffering today, Elohim has given us the answers you seek. We will delve into these things today, therefore, for your peace of mind, and for your continued growth. Furthermore, your thoughts clearly indicate that it is time for you to know more about the nature of the Elohim whom I strive to serve, and about His manner and purpose for administering discipline in our lives. Be objective in your reaction and response to these things as well, because an understanding of these matters is fundamental to anyone seeking to know Him; basic to anyone seeking to know The “True Truth”.
Today, when the world speaks of “God”, countless images, names and phrases are used to imagine or describe whom or what people think he/she/or even (it) is. One of humankind’s primary failures in the past one hundred and fifty years, however, has been the increasing denial that The Creator (if there even is a Creator, they say) ever communicated with His created beings. And, in questioning this communication, they openly deny that He even exists. The simple fact of the matter, however, is that we must somehow (through an outpouring of His grace, to be sure), refocus our heart’s and mind’s eye to the fact that Elohim does exist, and that He has communicated with us… The entire creation has a purpose, and to create something this magnificent, with beings of such complexity and wonder (created in His image and likeness, if you can accept His Word on the matter), would be an absolutely senseless, mindless, wasteful and absurd act, without some sort of communication with those created beings. Well, Elohim is not senseless, mindless, wasteful nor absurd! The Elohim whom I serve has a plan, and He revealed the fullness of that plan, as far as we need to know, thru His inspired Word!
Please understand that I am not saying that Elohim has revealed everything we need to know about every topic, because He has not done that… He has revealed everything that we need to know though! In His revelation to us, He has provided everything we need to know in order for us to fulfill our purpose, and He has provided everything we need to be solidly grounded – in Him – as we search, research, study, learn and grow. In denying His existence though, and in denying the fullness of His Word to us, humanity is ignoring, disregarding and denying Him and His instructions, and the result of those denials is evident in our rapidly collapsing society.
As we investigate His Word, therefore, and as we accept the truth that Elohim has revealed Himself to us, we must understand and accept the fact that Elohim cannot lie! Lying is against His nature; against His very essence. Therefore, when we turn to Scripture and see what He might say about Himself, we can know with certainty that He is telling us the truth within that revelation. He has no need to lie! We may not see the Person of Elohim yet, but thru His Word we can certainly see the fullness of His nature (or essence), because He has revealed those things to us. As seekers of the Truth, therefore, and specifically in this search for knowledge about the very Elohim of creation, our path of discovery must yield for us knowledge of His exact essence. Our search of and for Him must leave us with enough understanding about Him that we can know with certainty whether any image, name or phrase is in fact Elohim, or merely a deviate pretender striving for our attention; a false deity intent on distracting us from the purpose of our life. This grounding knowledge is essential, because the words, actions and deeds of a spirit will ultimately reveal the true nature of that spirit, and Elohim has provided ample knowledge of His essence and nature, so that we should never be confused in our dealings with Him!
Facts of Elohim’s nature permeate His Word, but a few particular passages reveal monumental clues into His very essence. 1 John 4:8, for instance, says that, “Elohim is love,” 1 John 1:5 teaches that, “Elohim is light,” and John 3:33 reveals that, “Elohim is true.” The wisdom, insight and knowledge attainable from just these three passages (and the supporting verses found throughout His Word), provide almost everything we need to know about the true nature of the Elohim Who is there. And, as you will come to see, they also reveal everything we need to know to expose every false deity.
We begin then with the fact that, “Elohim is love”, and in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, The Holy Spirit tells us that, “Love is patient, and is kind; love does not envy; love does not brag, and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (ENB).
Sixteen attributes define Elohim for us, in relationship to the fact that, “Elohim is love”. The definitions of love’s attributes, therefore, will certainly provide any seeker with insight into the very essence of the Elohim of Whom I speak, and of Whom I strive to serve. I am going to describe these attributes for you, my friend, and include a definition of the primary Greek word for each phrase.
(And please, dear Seeker, do not concern yourself with the proper pronunciation of the Greek words that are offered throughout these writings. I am presenting these words for edification and substantiation only. You are certainly welcome to research these words further, and I provide them here so that you can research these matters, if you so choose. I think it is important, however, for you to know where and how I acquired the facts that I am presenting to you, and providing the Greek (or Hebrew) words ,that are actually used within the Scriptures, upholds the law of validation, of which we have spoken).
Nonetheless, as these words are outlined, I ask that you seriously consider what the opposite affect would be for each attribute, because every pretender, every false deity, and every detractor from the truth, will evidence some act that stands in opposition to that which only the true Elohim possesses.
1. Love is patient. The Greek word used for patient, MAKROTHUMEO, means, long suffering. Here, we are simply being told that Elohim is not hasty in dispensing wrath or punishment. Of His patience, Peter wrote, “The Master is not slack about His promise, as some count slackness, but is patient toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 ENB). Elohim’s wrath, issued against Sodom and Gomorrah for example, was not done hastily. His actions were intended to cleanse the land from the blight of sin. His deeds were also issued as an example. Even so, Elohim’s patience is being displayed once again in these days, for us, because the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah pale in comparison to what this generation is doing. Elohim truly does not wish “for any to perish”.
2. Love is kind. CHRESTEUOMAI, the Greek word we interpret as kind, means obliging or assisting. Elohim is assisting in that He will always help those who truly seek to find Him (See Matthew 7:7). Elohim’s kindness is forever being displayed in His effort to reconcile the world unto Himself. His kindness though, cannot be confused with the false spirits of accommodation and relativism, which permeate society and the false church, because situational ethics are compromising… Elohim is not compromising on anything – ever. Elohim is very constant and consistent, and He will always be Who and What He is. Similarly, Elohim cannot act unbecomingly or in opposition to His essence.
3. Love does not envy. Envy, in 1 Corinthians 13 is ZELOO, which speaks of envy, lusting and forcefulness. Elsewhere, in James 4:5, we are told that Elohim jealously desires us. I mention this here, because I do not want there to be any confusion over envy and jealousy, because 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that Elohim will never force Himself upon us. Elohim will not rape. His desire for us is never laden with lust or envy. But O, how He yearns for His children!
Today, the Humanists teach that humanity is genetically bent toward certain tendencies, and insist that we are without the will or the way to overcome sin. 1 Corinthians 13 partly exposes that lie, because here we learn that Elohim will not force His will upon us. Although He desires us, He will not impose Himself upon us. Elohim has given us a free will, and moment-by-moment we choose how we are going to react toward Him. And while Elohim is not forceful or lusting, neither is He negligent. We can choose to ignore Him, but He still provides the air we breathe, as well as the other basic necessities of life (for now at least). He does this in the desire that we will return to Him of our own free will. While He desires the spirit abiding within us, He remains patient in His provision for us, in the hope that we will voluntarily repent and return to Him. We are NOT ‘bent’ in any way, except for the fact that we humans are sinful, as Adam and Eve were sinful. We can choose to repent though, and it is the denial of self that the humanists cannot tolerate!
4. Love does not brag. Humanity’s difficulty in comprehending this statement is found in our natural tendency to bolster our image. PERPEREUOMAI, Greek for brag, speaks of puffing up, and here we are told that Elohim does not do this. The revelations to be found throughout Scripture about the Elohim Who is there are astounding, but we should be further amazed by the simple fact that everything He says in His Word about Himself is true. Being humble, by the way, means that one has a true estimate of oneself. That said, we must realize that if Elohim cannot lie, then everything He says about Himself is true. Therefore, in all that Elohim says of Himself, He remains humble, because His estimate of Himself is absolutely true. We should find ourselves in awe!
The next step in the truth that “Love does not brag” is equally important though, because in this world – arrogance always seems to accompany power. With Elohim, this is not so. Elohim’s humility is perfect, just as He is perfect, and His power and authority are perfectly balanced in the fullness of His essence…
5. Love is not arrogant. This statement is clearly in step with the fact that love does not brag, but PHUSIOO, Greek for arrogant, is more concerned with conceit. Even if I have the capacity to accomplish a task, the manner in which I reveal that capacity speaks directly toward humility or conceit. When Elohim speaks of Himself, He does not do so in a prideful manner. His revelations to us of Himself are done for our enlightenment and faith, so that we may know Him and confidently believe in and upon Him. Arrogance and pride stand in direct opposition to the essence of Elohim though, and with these facts, identifying that which is false becomes an increasingly easier task, because Satan (and his minions) simply cannot comprehend Elohim’s lack of arrogance!
6. Love does not act unbecomingly. ASCHEMONEO, the Greek word we interpret as unbecomingly, teaches that Elohim does not act in an ugly, indecent manner. Nothing about Elohim is evil, ugly or indecent. Elohim is Holy, and in His Holiness He desires that we, as His children, become holy too. Elohim’s actions always lead toward right living; toward reconciliation; and toward holiness.
And the rudeness and crudeness we witness in the world today, decry an absolute lack of reverence toward the Elohim Who is there. Instead, these acts always show obedience to the one who always stands in opposition to Elohim; Satan…
7. Love does not seek its own. Simply, this verse speaks against anything that is self-serving. The word, ZETEO, means to seek, or a seeker, and the Greek word HEAUTON means “own”. Together, in this passage, they mean that Elohim never asks, “What’s in it for me?” This is a far cry from what we hear today though, isn’t it? And it is so especially when so many religious institutions are presenting a, “Name it and claim it” theology, which is wholly self-serving. The fact that love does not seek its own, however, also makes the identification of Elohim easier.
8. Love is not provoked. PARAXUNO, Greek for provoked, is directed toward impulsive indignation, or rousing to anger. Too many people get confused over Elohim’s seemingly amiable nature, versus His contrasting wrath. The wrath of Elohim is as much a part of His essence as these other things, but PARAXUNO tells us that Elohim does not simply lose His temper. When the wrath of Elohim is poured out, it is a calculated, intentionally timed and intentionally directed assault. His actions are not random or irrationally motivated. Elohim is not whimsical in dispensing wrath or discipline. He is thorough, however. Let’s not forget that…
9. Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Elohim is not motivated by the wrongs, KAKOS, He endures, because His motivation stems solely out of His love for His children. (That would be us, in case you’ve forgotten). Judgment is not determined by our evil deeds, but on how we judge others in relationship to our deeds. KAKOS speaks of evil and wickedness, and although Elohim’s wrath will come because of these things, His long suffering is evidenced by the patience He displays today.
10. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. ADIKIA speaks clearly of injustice and unrightness. The false teachers of our age are promoting a theology of tolerance, accommodation and compromise; teaching forgiveness without repentance. Additionally, the world’s legal system is breaking down, because today – there is a total disregard for justice, and in the eyes of the humanists, there is no such thing as absolute truth; no such thing as right or wrong. Without the foundation of Elohim’s Word, and without the absolute reality of right and wrong, legal decisions are based upon the whims of society; whims that are ever changing, accommodating and compromising. While it is imperative that we accept every sinner in the love of Elohim, our acceptance must bespeak repentance and obedience to the truthfulness and fullness of Elohim’s Word. Elohim does not rejoice in the unrighteousness that has permeated society, and neither can we. Justice and rightness must resurface, however, at least in the hearts of those who would confess Yehoshua as Master and Messiah, and the word “REPENT” must echo throughout the land – not judgmentally – but in love, peace, compassion and kindness.
(That word, “Repent”, by the way, means, “To have a change of heart”, so the call above for repentance, means to change how we approach and think of something)…
11. Love rejoices with the truth. The Greek word for truth, ALETHEIA, speaks of verity, reality; truth as evidenced in relation to the facts. Sin is sin. Righteousness is not unrighteous. Love and hate oppose each other; they stand in antithesis to one another. The truth revealed throughout the Holy Scriptures is not meant to harm, but to enlighten and redeem. Elohim rejoices when truth is dispensed, and He rejoices with the truth. In contradiction to this fact, the world now holds sway to the notion that there is no absolute truth; that truth somehow is manipulative and situational. Clearly, in this fact alone, we see a difference between the Elohim Who is there, and the teachings of this world.
12. Love bears all things. The Greek word for bears, STEGO, speaks of a covering. STEGO covers the faults of others, and does not seek to expose them for harm. In subjecting His Son to the cross, Elohim covered the sins of humanity with His blood (for those who will accept His act). Although Elohim exposes the sins of mankind, He does so only for good – for deliverance and sanctification. Remember, Elohim allowed His Son to die on the cross, knowing the extent of our sin beforehand, and the Elohim Whom I strive to serve bears all things, in that, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7 ENB).
13. Love believes all things. PISTEUO, Greek for believes, means ‘firmly persuaded’, as opposed to perplexed or doubting. Our confusion or perplexity over any situation surrounding us does not impact or affect Elohim, and our faith in Elohim must be grounded upon the fact that He is never perplexed. Elohim never doubts, nor is He confused! Believing Elohim to be true, therefore, provides us with the grounding fact that we too can exercise faith, and not be moved or swayed by situations.
Humanity is about to witness tremendous tribulation. The Prophetic Word of Elohim is very clear on this. Our faith can remain firmly rooted and intact, however, and we can have peace in all things, regardless of the situation, because our Elohim is never perplexed or doubting. In other words, because Elohim believes, we can believe with Him!
14. Love hopes all things. The Greek word for hope(s), ELPIZO, means to expect with desire, to trust or confide. If Elohim hopes all things, then He never despairs; He is never dismayed. That Elohim’s desire is for His children to come to repentance is clear (James 4:5; Acts 17:30), but while He will not force Himself upon anyone, He still hopes. In abandoning Elohim, and in disregarding His Word, His Truth, and His way, humanity is rapidly losing all hope – in all things. You know this is true! We, on the other hand, can confidently cling to the fact that Elohim never looses hope. Never! And in that truth we can have peace, because we can trust Him!
15. Love endures all things. HUPOMENO, Greek for endures, teaches that Elohim is persevering; He can bear-up under anything. The intent of HUPOMENO is that Elohim is not abandoning or forsaking. Unlike humanity, once Elohim sets His sight on something, or makes a promise, He will never abandon or forsake that promise or thing. For example, He has promised that He will never forsake or abandon those who put their trust in Him (Hebrews 13:5), and considering that Elohim cannot lie, His endurance is not only eternal, but also fundamental to our deliverance and redemption.
16. Finally, we are told that, love never fails. As we consider the realities of what love is, we must comprehend that Elohim never stops acting in accordance with His essence. His patience, kindness, hopefulness and endurance, for example, never cease, and His hatred for unrighteousness will never diminish. In knowing that Elohim cannot change, therefore, we can know without a doubt that love never fails! The love displayed and practiced in our society, as you can clearly see, has nothing in common with what Elohim tells us about love; about Himself. But because we no longer comprehend the meaning of love, we are willing to accept cheap imitations of the real thing. We must understand and apply Elohim’s Word to our lives though, and use His definition as the plumb line. Once we apply His standard in discerning love, our eyes will be opened to that which is false, and we will once again recognize everything that stands in opposition to Him. In that knowledge, we will realize that true love never fails.
Additionally, of His essence, we are also told that, “Elohim is light” (1 John 1:5). The entire passage says, “This then is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you, that Elohim is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him and walk in the darkness, we lie and (we) do not (do) the truth; but if we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Yehoshua ha Mashiach His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us.” (1 John 1:5-10 ENB).
Sin is darkness, but Elohim is light. Unrighteousness abides in the darkness, but “In Him there is no darkness at all”. Our heavenly Father wants us to know that His essence is pure of all unrighteousness, evil and sin. He also wants us to know that we too can walk this same path, because, “The blood of Yehoshua ha Mashiach His Son cleanses us from all sin”. This passage is also significant, in that it offers us an insightful look into Elohim’s love for us. He says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Seeing as Elohim is light, we must realize that as His children, the light must abide in us as well. Elohim has provided the Light for us.
Another thing that makes every passage we read significant, is the fact that, “Elohim is true” (John 3:33). Where love rejoices with the truth (ALETHEIA), the word we interpret as true in John 3:33 is ALETHES, and ALETHES speaks solely of one who cannot lie. Rejoicing with the truth is not the same as being the truth, but because Elohim is true, we can understand why He rejoices whenever He hears the truth spoken (by us).
The fact that Elohim is love, light and truth, should paint a very clear picture for us of His true nature, and in this knowledge, we should also be able to understand what He desires for us, because He has openly stated that, “Speaking the truth in love, we may grow up in all ways into Him, Who is the head, Messiah” (Ephesians 4:15 ENB). Believing on Yehoshua ha Mashiach, and accepting Him as Master and Messiah, means that we are His children. Even though each person possesses a unique personality, and we each appear somewhat different, the basic essence between parent and child is meant to remain the same. And so it is meant to be with the children of Elohim.
As I consider what I have written so far, I see that I have given you some very basic facts about Elohim. But the Elohim I know and strive to serve is much more than just these basic truth’s. While it is true that Elohim is love, love must occasionally turn a cold shoulder in order to accomplish an essential task. And yet, Elohim is also warm, kind and merciful. Although His discipline is firm, I always know that He loves me. No, I do not receive everything I seek. Frankly, the past twenty-five years have been void of affirmative answers to many prayers on a personal level. Yet even in these lean times, I know that He amply provides, day-to-day, and in His provision I am thankful… Although I cannot explain why things are as they are, especially on a personal level, I know that the Elohim Whom I strive to serve, cares for me (every moment of every day). And every day I am reminded of the fact that He loves me!
And it is He who loves you!
Has Elohim not displayed every attribute of love toward you? Has He not amply provided for your needs? The Elohim of all creation is love, truth and light, but because we have chosen to live in the darkness for so long, we find it almost easier to close our eyes to the brilliance of His presence. In the darkness of our ignorance of Him, many recognize Him as cold, hard, unloving and uncaring, but in the full light of what is in fact true, Elohim is Wonderful, and His love is never ending.
Another reality we must face about Elohim though (and this one causes many people to become disillusioned with Him), is that His caring for us includes discipline. Who of us does not want everything to be easy? Who of us would not like for everything to be given to us without any strings attached? Who of us truly enjoys being disciplined? Not many, to be sure! Nonetheless, the fact remains that every walk with Elohim will require discipline, and we cannot shy away from this integral part of our relationship with Him. Why? Because His discipline of us is one of the basic proofs of our salvation! This fact must really be understood and accepted, though, because just as we must discipline our own children, Elohim disciplines His children. However, where we may administer discipline whimsically, Elohim always administers discipline fairly and individually. His discipline always has a purpose, and if we permit it (and yes, we have a choice here too, because we are free to reject Him at any time), accept it, and remain faithful to Him throughout His discipline, it is through this discipline that we become like our Messiah in this life. It is through His discipline that we become increasingly useful to Him.
You must know these things, dear seeker, because if you accept Yehoshua as your Master, Messiah and King, and you ingest and treasure His teachings into your heart, you will surely experience His hand of instruction in your life. I did not want you to become disillusioned with the Elohim Who cares so deeply for you, when His hand presses hard against you, and you are left wondering why.
This fact is undeniable: He always disciplines those whom He loves!
And, just so you know, Scripturally speaking, discipline can be either physical or spiritual. Furthermore, physical discipline falls into two categories as well:
The first type of physical discipline deals with punishment, as in spanking.
The second type of physical discipline involves training, as like for athletes.
Whether physical or spiritual, though, Elohim’s Word offers clear instructions in both areas. And, not surprisingly, Satan has twisted the importance of these two types of discipline within our society. Today, we place physical beauty well above spiritual maturity (Distortion), and wonder why Elohim does not work through our lives as He is known to have done in the past.
Regarding the spanking aspect of physical discipline, Elohim says, “Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike them with the rod, they will not die; you will strike them with the rod, and deliver their soul from the grave” (Proverbs 23:13-14 ENB). In contrast to this teaching from Elohim, Satan has manipulated society so thoroughly, and distorted our thinking so completely, that life itself holds little value today. Physical abuse: child, spousal and parental, is rampant throughout the world. Pain is routinely administered without thought or regard, while at the same time, parents refuse to spank an errant child. Pain is generally administered without purpose or goal, while the instructional discipline prescribed by Elohim is withheld. How screwy is that?
Newspaper headlines around the world decry the outright evil permeating the ranks of our youth (and society as a whole). Sadly, the distortions we witness today are grounded in the psychological teachings that have influenced our society within the last two generations. Children killing children! Children killing adults! Children committing suicide at alarming rates! Children completely void of conscience or discipline! Children; five, seven, nine years old, involved in sex, drugs, gangs and guns. Why? Why has this happened in such a short period of time?
The lack of proper discipline in a child’s life has distorted the thinking of humanity within an 80 year period (two generations). So thoroughly have parents been confused (and the truth distorted) about physical discipline, that parents out-rightly (and even proudly) refuse to administer a physical spanking, against Elohim’s advise and instruction, and society is now paying the price. Although the affects are numerous, the cause of our societal dilemma is easily identified. The primary failure of humanity today is a disdain for Elohim’s Word, rejection of Elohim’s love, and outright contempt for Elohim’s discipline. Elohim says, “Spank the errant child”, the psychologists say, “don’t spank”, and we fail by choosing man over Elohim. The children of this age are troubled because loving discipline, administered firmly, consistently and faithfully, is essential to a child’s development. But Elohim has been abandoned for self. Humanism has ascended humility, and mankind is lost in pride.
If a child cannot depend upon their parents for instruction in the matters of faith, morality, purity, honesty and love, where can they go? The instructional and political institutions of our age are morally bankrupt and monetarily corrupt, and are not trustworthy to teach the basics of education, let alone the realities of life. Sadly, too, is the fact that our spiritual senses are so dulled, we cannot discern between those spiritual leaders who are walking in faith, or those whose interests lie only in tickling our ears while they line their pockets. Without proper discipline in the home, our children have been left to seek guidance on the street corners, and we now see where that has taken us.
Spiritually, Yehoshua covers the husband, who covers the wife. Together, the husband and wife cover the child. The breakup of the family, another of Satan’s areas of intense labor, has shattered that covering. Many children are left without the protection, teaching and discipline in the home that is necessary for proper growth. And, without these essential requirements being met, society is left with the murder and mayhem being witnessed throughout the world. There is no place for civil authority either, because loving authority is no longer being witnessed or taught in the home.
Elohim knows how to raise children, how did we ever think we could know better?
It is also true that we look at things differently than does Elohim regarding physical training. Elohim says, “Exercise yourself rather unto reverence; for bodily exercise profits little, but reverence is profitable for all things, having promise for the life that now is, and for that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8 ENB). Where bodily discipline (physical training) has some value, the true emphasis of our lives must be on our spiritual discipline and training, because time spent studying Scripture, spent in prayer, and knowing the power of His Holy Spirit in our daily walk, far exceeds the strength gained in any gym.
Spiritual discipline, therefore, has one purpose: To be like our Elohim (Ephesians 4:15). We exist to glorify Him, and He is glorified when we magnify Him. And we magnify Him by being like Him.
Hebrews, chapter twelve, is an outpouring of Elohim’s Word on the topic of discipline, and all who would seek Him must study this passage carefully, because when we voluntarily accept Him into our lives, we do so in the knowledge that we are surrendering our lives unto Him. That surrendering includes obedience! When we accept Him as our Messiah, we also must accept Him as our Master, and in so doing we place ourselves in His hands. Hands, which will in fact, discipline us for our own good. We must know these things!
While many false teachers want you to believe that the child of Elohim must “speak in tongues” in order to prove the baptism and indwelling of The Holy Spirit, that teaching directly contradicts the Word of Elohim (1 Corinthians 12:28-30). To be blunt, that teaching is a lie!
Discipline, Elohim’s truth, the fruit of The Holy Spirit, and works, are the four primary areas that prove His presence in our lives. And discipline, administered from the hand of Elohim, is essential (Hebrews 12:7-8), because without it, there is no legitimacy to our claim as His children. Through His discipline, however, we are blessed (Psalms 94:12-13), and the discipline administered by our Father will be directed toward those areas of our lives that are lacking or weak, or to those areas which we refuse to surrender unto Him. In His love, compassion and mercy, Elohim instructs and corrects us, but we are not to reject His lessons (Proverbs 3:11-12), because the results will be poverty and shame (Proverbs 13:18). Strangely, and remarkably, therefore, there is happiness in being reproved by Elohim, because His reproof confirms our legitimacy as His children (Hebrews 12:8-11), and assures us, in a constant stream of intercourse with Him, that He loves us.
The most gratifying moments of my life have been those times of intimate communion with Him where, after being reproved, He has touched, healed and restored me, and expressed His love of me. Scripture tells us that Elohim’s thoughts of us (individually) are more numerous than the sand (Psalms 139:17-18), and that His desire is for us (Song of Solomon 7:10). Without spiritual discipline, however, we would end up in ruin, like Satan, instead of sitting at the right hand of Yehoshua.
Elohim’s children must constantly strive for enabling and instruction, with the goal being love, purity, a good conscience and sincerity of faith (1 Timothy 1:5). We must also remember though, that Satan desires our destruction, and would have us believe that Elohim can or will abandon us in our times of trouble. As long as we remain faithful however, Elohim will never abandon us (Hebrews 13:5), nor will He allow any temptation to overtake us without providing an avenue of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Every child of Elohim must know how much they are loved by their Messiah, must abide in an unshakable faith, and must believe at all times that Elohim is working to perform a purpose for their good (Romans 8:28). And this discipline comes not in anger, but in love!
In regard to sin and repentance, I believe there is a basic spiritual law of increasing discipline, which is directly applicable to our relationship with our Father. This law of increasing discipline teaches that Elohim’s administration of discipline to His children is directly related to our humility before Him, or to the hardness of our heart in His sight, with regarding our personal sin.
The first situation in the law of increasing discipline comes when a disciple discovers a sin in their life, sincerely and humbly confesses that sin in a spirit of true repentance (Repentance, meaning to have a change of heart), desires to never commit the sin again, and seeks Elohim’s aid in overcoming whatever it may be; also seeking forgiveness for the offense. Without any discernible intercession on Elohim’s part, the disciple acknowledges a sin, confesses it and seeks to change. The Master, in this instance, forgives and enables very gently.
Elohim says, “They who conceal their transgressions will not prosper, but those who confess and forsake them will find compassion” (Proverbs 28:13 ENB). Elohim’s compassion for us is clearly displayed in the Gospel of Luke where, while He was hanging on the cross, we are told the following occurred: “And one of the criminals who also was hanged railed on Him, saying, ‘If you are Messiah, save Yourself and us.’ But the other answering rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear Elohim, seeing you are in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds, but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ And he said unto Yehoshua, ‘Master, remember me when You come into your kingdom.’ And Yehoshua said unto him, ‘Amen I say unto you, today you will be with Me in paradise'” (Luke 23:39-43 ENB).
Confession and forgiveness! Acknowledging that he was dead in his sin, the second criminal sought and received immediate forgiveness. It really does not get much better than that…
The second situation in the law of increasing discipline involves sinning and, failing to acknowledge the act as sin, choosing to deny it and hide it instead. Under this circumstance, Elohim will thrust His child down a trail meant to enlighten them to their error and bring them to repentance. The severity of discipline naturally increases in these instances though, and the trail that He chooses for us is, more often than not, unpleasant.
A perfect example of denial and hiding is found in 2 Samuel 11 and 12, and it involves King David:
David lusted for Bathsheba, and had intercourse with her, knowing that she was married. Upon learning that she had conceived, David then had her husband killed to further hide his sin. After sufficient time had passed, without a confession by David, Elohim sent the prophet Nathan to confront David. The confrontation is classic. Nathan presented a parable of David’s own sin unto the King, and David was so enraged against the supposed perpetrator of the deed, that he declared the man deserving of death. (Through his own judgment, by the way, David sealed his punishment, but Elohim had other plans for him). It was not until Nathan declared, “You are the man!” that David finally confessed, “I have sinned against YEHOWAH.”
As you can clearly see, this method of exposing sin is extremely painful, and the punishment David received was severe; including the death of the child born in the illicit affair.
While you should take the time to read these two chapters of 2 Samuel, I want to point out 2 Samuel 12:14, because of the light directed here on the affect of sin in the spiritual battle. Here we are clearly shown that sin gives occasion to the enemies of Elohim to blaspheme Him. Our actions have spiritual ramifications that not only impact our relationship with our Elohim, but also cause Him grief and pain as well (Ephesians 4:30).
The last situation in the law of increasing discipline occurs when Elohim’s child repeatedly strays down a known path of error, even after having been enlightened by the Word of Elohim, by The Holy Spirit of Elohim, or by other disciples (Galatians 6:1-5). Refusal to repent of a known sin by a child of Elohim, invites a truly harsh response from the Father.
In the Book of Daniel, Elohim gives us an example of this truth in His handling of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (Daniel 4). Nebuchadnezzar was told through a dream, and the proper interpretation, that his pride was going to cause him trouble. He ignored the warning, and the punishment was severe. In His handling of Nebuchadnezzar though, Elohim brought the king to repentance and faith, which are exactly His motives in dealing with us.
On another note, we must never confuse punishment with tribulation and/or suffering, because tribulation and suffering are interwoven throughout the fabric of life, and nobody is entirely immune. Tribulation and suffering are a part of life, because of sin in general.
All too often, those within the ‘church’ judge and accuse a suffering brother or sister, when some sort of tribulation or suffering enters their lives. In truth, however, what we really need to do is offer our love and compassion instead. People often ask, “Why did this happen”, or “why did that occur?” And as Elohim’s children we must be prepared with answers of real life faith. Unlike Job’s comforters though, words like, “You must have sin in your life”, or “Elohim is angry with you”, or any other such judgment, must not cross our lips. We can never presume to know why Elohim permits things to happen in one person’s life, while other people appear to walk through life unscathed. Unless we know with certainty that sin exists, we can never presume that someone’s troubles are caused by sin. Judgmentalism must cease for us!
Our Elohim is extremely faithful, dear friend, and His love is proven through His sacrifice for us on Calvary’s cross! Furthermore, where we are blind to the future, His wisdom, knowledge, understanding and discernment are infinite. We cannot see beyond a given moment, but His knowledge is infinite. We must, therefore, learn to trust Him explicitly, whatever our situation, and confidently approach our times of discipline and tribulation with a heart prepared to glorify Him; “Thankful in all things”….
Is this easy? No, I know it is not!
In Him, however, we can endure all things.
If we are being disciplined, Elohim will insure that we know why. Otherwise, we can stand firm against the attacks of Satan, as did Job, and in standing firm we will be assured that our eternal reward will be great. If we are acting with great pride, and knowingly confess this failing to Elohim in truth and sincerity, He will acknowledge the meekness of our confession and gently guide us to greater levels of humility. If we display an arrogant attitude about any area of our life, however, and ignore Him, as His Holy Spirit speaks to us about that arrogance, His dealings with us will be swift and harsh – in a love that is tough and enduring.
Finally, I believe it significant for you to know that Spiritual discipline, like the education learned throughout a lifetime, is a process. Elohim does not expect immediate perfection from us. He expects faithful obedience and growth. As we maintain our faithfulness, abiding in His Word, Elohim will show us those areas in our lives that need correction. If we receive His reproach and repent, He will compassionately forgive us, encourage us and provide ample opportunities for additional growth and service. If we deny our sin and attempt to hide our misgivings from Him, however, He will handle us sternly and powerfully. After all, He is our Master and our Messiah.
It is important that we recognize a significant spiritual truth right now, beloved, and that truth is:
We cannot enjoy the deliverance provided by Yehoshua ha Mashiach, without also enjoying the training and discipline of His Mastership; training and discipline that are necessary to inherit His kingdom.
Without His discipline we are illegitimate, but with it we can grow to become like our Master; we can attain a likeness with Him, which truly glorifies Him!
Whether we speak about the training we receive from Elohim, or the disciplines we use in our daily worship, prayer, study or works, the effectiveness we enjoy in our every endeavor is derived almost solely through our openness to the guidance and leadership of His Holy Spirit. The fact that He abides within us though, or the fact that we are forgiven by Him, can never foster a spirit of superiority within us. If we consider the nature and essence of Elohim once again, we will see the exact essence that The Holy Spirit is going to represent to us, represent within us, and represent to the world through us – if we permit.
Strengthen your faith, my friend, and prepare your heart, because your search for Elohim and His Truth is about to yield a tremendous harvest in the knowledge and understanding of the Elohim Who is there. Be forewarned as well, however, “Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain” (Ecclesiastes 1:18 ENB).
I pray for the next period in which we can sit face-to-face and discuss the glory of Elohim. Until then, however, I remain faithfully your servant in Yehoshua our Messiah.
Letter 4 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; SS7:10; 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: 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.
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Lawrence T. Vosen
All Scripture quotations are taken from The Exalted Name Bible™
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Lawrence T. Vosen, PhD. Used with permission.