One Torah For All

One Torah shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
Exodus 12:49

I have told you in advance."

Chapter 16:
Spiritual Preparedness

Materialistic thinking

Of all that one can do to prepare for what is coming in the days ahead, if one thing is more important than the rest, this would be it, simply because, if one is not prepared spiritually, then it becomes doubtful if one would have the proper tools to “endure to the end.” The importance of being prepared in this area may be emphasized only from an academic perspective, considering that a person is a unified being; i.e., he is made up of all the aforementioned areas. While he is probably not balanced in these areas, this does not release one from the duty of seeking that balance within himself, and to be prepared in all aspects for whatever comes into the life of the disciple.

One might do well to reread the first section on “How to Study the Scripture,” and the subheading of “Like Messiah” in the chapter, “Empowered for Service,” to help in preparing one spiritually. Keeping those principles in mind, and building upon them, additional areas will be covered here. The significance of living a holy life every day carries so much weight, that unless a person is practicing that kind of lifestyle, it will be impossible for him to prepare himself properly. This is so true, and so important, that the author hopes the reader will allow him to repeat it again as a safeguard for him. The significance of living a holy life every day carries so much weight that unless a person is practicing that kind of lifestyle, it will be impossible for him to prepare himself properly.

1 Peter 1:15
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

By practicing living in this manner, it will not matter in what order the events surrounding the return of Yeshua in the “last days” occurs. Nor, for that matter, the magnitude of the circumstances in which one finds himself, whether that be in his daily living before or during the tribulation. It might be pointed out here that there are, most likely, to be times in a person’s life when he does not measure up to the standard of holiness that YHWH requires. However, more significant than the actual flawless execution of YHWH’s will, is the intent in which the disciple tries. YHWH knows the intent of every person’s heart, whether it be for obedience or for disobedience.

Hebrews 4:11-13 (NAS)
Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. For the word of YHWH is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Verse 13 in the above passage, can be a very comforting truth, if one is an obedient child of the King. However, if one is a disobedient child, or a non-disciple, then it can be a very discomforting truth to know that there is nothing hidden from the One True Judge. Moreover, hopefully, this knowledge would move one into full obedience to the Word of YHWH.

By allowing Yeshua to live His life through the disciple by the power of the Holy Spirit, one is ready at all times to go be with his Master. As was discussed in an earlier chapter, one’s life may be required of him at any time (Luke 12:13-21). This becomes especially pertinent when considering the role that the Anti-Messiah will play, and the relationship he has to the body of disciples.

The Anti-Messiah and the Body of Messiah

Since YHWH has already warned us through His Holy Word, it is not clear from Scripture how much immediate warning the disciple will have that the Anti-Messiah has arisen. Thus, he must be prepared to deal with him at all times.[34] Being somewhat familiar with Revelation 13 and related passages will help prepare one’s heart and mind for when the Holy Spirit will speak to him telling him that this is Anti-Messiah. Each person must be firmly convinced that he can in no way swear allegiance to the Anti-Messiah and have eternal life. There is no way that a person can maintain his relationship with YHWH, and pay homage to the Anti-Messiah.

Revelation 14:9-11
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of YHWH, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name.

One of the things that will be done under the rule of the Anti-Messiah, will be that all will receive a mark upon their foreheads (symbolic of thoughts) or right hands (symbolic of actions); and anyone who does not receive this mark, will not be able to buy or sell. That will make it difficult to obtain food and other necessities, but probably not impossible. Therefore, the pressure to receive the mark of the beast will be very intense, possibly making one feel desperate at times.

Understanding that one cannot join in with the Anti-Messiah may not be the most difficult reality to grasp during this period. However, it may be, as king Nebuchadnezzar discovered, that understanding that all authority is established by YHWH, and that no authority can be established without Him, may be difficult to grasp, as the kingdom of the Anti-Messiah is established.

Daniel 4:25b
Till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever
he will.

And again;

Romans 13:1, 2 (NAS)
Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from YHWH, and those which exist are established by YHWH. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of YHWH; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

This puts the disciple in Messiah, in a quandary that seems to have no answer. The Scripture teaches YHWH’s people, that they are to be in subjection to the government which YHWH has established over them. However, there is a government coming that is so opposed to YHWH, that YHWH has seen fit to warn His people in advance of the establishment of that government. This does not release one from the obligation one has under His law to be in subjection to (not fight against?) the government that He chooses to establish over mankind. Moreover, to put it bluntly, the government of the Anti-Messiah is YHWH’s will. This will be a hard one for many to understand, but it is true according to Scripture. The establishment of this wicked government, may not be the direct result of YHWH’s hand, but He does allow it to be established.

It should be said here that YHWH can, and does, use unrighteous men to further establish His own kingdom. This is not to say that there is any unrighteousness in the nature of YHWH, only that He is sovereign over His creation. This is the truth that was revealed to king Nebuchadnezzar. YHWH will place in authority over a people the type of ruler they deserve. If the people are wicked (or desire wickedness), then He will place a wicked ruler over them. If the people are righteous (or desire righteousness), then He will place a righteous ruler over them.

Therefore, the dilemma is as follows, since one cannot join, nor can one fight against this coming wicked government of the Anti-Messiah, then what is left? Turn now once again, to the words of Yeshua as recorded in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 24:15-21
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Shabbat day: for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Who or what is “the abomination of desolation?” This may be the key to understanding this passage as referenced in Daniel 9:23, 27; 12:11. He is most commonly known as “the Anti-Messiah.” So Yeshua warns that when the reader sees the Anti-Messiah standing in the holy place,[35] he is to flee to the mountains. Yeshua seems especially concerned about those who are in Judea, probably because of the close proximity of the Anti-Messiah. However, He also addresses those who are in the field or on the housetop, wherever they may be. They too, are to go in such haste that they leave everything behind. Yeshua even tells his disciples to pray that their flight would not be in the winter or on a Shabbat.[36] Have you prayed this prayer? If not, why not? YHWH’s word tells His people to do so. Perhaps, you do not really believe YHWH’s word.

The implication of what Yeshua says in this passage could mean the difference between life and death; between freedom and imprisonment; between being a part of His Kingdom and not being a part of His Kingdom. Now is the time to think this issue through. The quickness with which Yeshua implores these to flee indicates that any indecision or hesitation may make it too late. Why the expeditiousness of the hour will be so crucial will be examined in this study next.

The Anti-Messiah against the Body of Messiah

Since disciples are the body of Messiah, it is only logical that the Anti-Messiah would be anti-disciple (anti-body) as well. The book of Revelation teaches some specific things about what the beast will do against the body of Messiah.

There are many synonyms for the body used in the New Testament. Among those used frequently, are “church,” “assembly,” “elect,” “saints,” “brethren,” and “body of Messiah.” Here in this passage, one of those terms is found.

Revelation 13:7, 8
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was
given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

It would do the reader well to take note, that every person who has not accepted Yeshua as his personal Savior will worship the beast. This is bad news for the non-disciple, because all who worship the beast, will burn in everlasting fire.[37] On the other hand, those who have accepted Yeshua, and whose name is written in the Book of Life, will be sought after by the beast with a vengeance, as though a war had been declared. This will be very similar to what Hitler did in Nazi Germany, only much worse, for it will be worldwide.

Once in conducting a Scripture study on the subject of the second coming, a person brought up the question of her husband who was, at that time, unsaved. This is a valid concern for anyone who has loved ones who have not yet accepted Yeshua as their own personal Savior. Her question dealt with what she should do when the Anti-Messiah came into power if her husband was still not saved. This is a valid question, and a question that needs an answer for many people who live in a home where one, or both, the husband or wife are not saved.

First, each person must realize that YHWH loves you! YHWH loves your unsaved spouse as well, and desires for them to repent and believe upon Yeshua. However, one must begin to deal with this issue at the point of his own relationship with Yeshua. If one’s relationship with Yeshua is where it should be, then that person can be assured that YHWH will take care of him in ANY circumstance in which he might find himself. Of course, the best scenario would be for the husband (or wife) to accept Yeshua and that they face this coming tribulation as a family. However, Yeshua teaches that there will be those families that “father will be against son, daughter against mother, etc.” Therefore, each person should begin now to answer the following question, “What would I do when this happens?” Staying with an unsaved spouse may mean imprisonment and perhaps death, but there is nothing wrong with that, as one would just go to be with Yeshua. Staying may also mean the salvation of that unsaved spouse. Hopefully, each will be obedient to Messiah, regardless of the cost. Again, it is imperative that each person get close to, and remain close to, Yeshua through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, so one will not have “hearing” problems when it becomes critical to hear clearly His instructions. Whatever the decisions, whatever the course of action taken, keep in mind the mandate of the Master - go and make disciples.

The spiritual preparation to deal with this contingency should begin now, as that will make it that much easier to deal with when the Anti-Messiah does rise to power. This writer is not suggesting that one live in the realm of “what if...?”, rather to be aware of one’s own personal situation and be prepared to act accordingly at the appropriate time according to Scripture.

Verse 15 echoes the truth that the Anti-Messiah will kill those who refuse to worship him.

Revelation 13:15
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

It was shown in the previous passage that everyone whose name is not written in the Book of Life will worship the beast. Therefore, if a person is a member of the body of Messiah the Anti-Messiah will make war against him and many will be killed; everyone else will take the mark and worship the beast.

Revelation 13:16-18
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.

The Anti-Messiah who is described in this chapter is a man. This passage gives the number of that man. Exactly what that number means can only be guessed at now; but when the man, the Anti-Messiah comes, the Holy Spirit will teach all true disciples who he is, and what his number is, what it means, and what the mark is, and anything else that is pertinent to this situation.

Remember, YHWH loves you and cares for you. He does not want you to be deceived and perish. Practice listening to His Voice now, so that when the time comes you will be able to hear His Voice clearly when it will be a life or death matter. The reality is that it is a life and death matter right now; only it is difficult to see this truth due to the ease in which people live today.

Lastly, the Anti-Messiah will even gather the armies of the world, in an effort to do battle with the returning King of Kings, Yeshua. However, as has been shown earlier, the Anti-Messiah will be slain when Yeshua returns (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Revelation 19:19, 20

This is the last battle of this present age, in which every nation of the earth is involved. Notice, that the battle seems to be over, even before it starts. Yeshua simply takes these two, the beast and the false prophet, and throws them into the lake of fire.

Why Flee?

The question that this heading asks is one which rarely seems to be addressed in the believing community today. Just before Yeshua ascended into heaven, He commissioned His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. This task seems to be nearing its completion. Those final days during the reign of the Anti-Messiah, will see the fulfillment of the body’s task. This is the very reason for the flight. Look at what happened to the early disciples, to help understand what will be happening during the reign of the Anti-Messiah.

Acts 8:1b, 4
And at that time there was a great persecution against the assembly of disciples which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.

A great persecution had broken out against the disciples, and as a result of this, the disciples were scattered throughout the region. As these disciples went, they told everyone they came in contact with the good news of Yeshua. They preached Yeshua!

When that final and great persecution begins, disciples will have to flee in order to stay one jump ahead of the Anti-Messiah. Moreover, as they go, they will preach Yeshua. Some will be arrested. Some will be killed. However, many will come to know Yeshua in a personal and saving way. The disciples will fulfill their commission during the reign of the Anti-Messiah. The commission that Yeshua gave to His disciples will be fulfilled by His disciples in the last days!

How should I react?

One reaction that should be avoided, is that of fear. Fear will paralyze and rob one of the joy of YHWH. The love of Yeshua in one’s life should keep one from being fearful of any situation that might come into his life.

1 John 4:17, 18
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.

A child of the King is not reserved for judgment, therefore one should not fear. Any suffering that will come in this life is only temporary, no matter how severe or intense it may be. There are some practical responses that one can, and should, take. The first of these, is that one should be alert to what is taking place in the world, in the Community of Disciples, and in his own community.

Mark 13:37 (NAS)
“And what I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert.’”

And again;

1 Thessalonians 5:4-6
But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

This passage teaches, that as a child of the light, he has a duty and responsibility to know and be aware of what is taking place. True disciples are not to be surprised by what YHWH does and is doing. While they do not, neither will not, know the exact timing of Messiah’s coming, because they are children of the light, they will not be surprised. Let that truth soak into your being. The truth of this promise is so great that its meaning will bring joy and victory to those who will hear the Spirit in the days ahead. True disciples will not, and cannot, be surprised by the coming of Messiah because He has given His own Spirit to them. The Spirit of Messiah (the Holy Spirit) dwells in them. In other words, Yeshua cannot surprise Himself! Can He? His desire is not to sneak up on them, but rather to love, protect, and preserve them until He comes.

Along with being alert and sober, is the importance of prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; 21-22 (NAS)
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is YHWH’s will for you in Messiah Yeshua. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.

This passage presents an intriguing parallel. The words “always,” “without ceasing,” and “everything,” tell something about the completeness of what one’s life in Messiah should be like. “Rejoicing always” represents a life of worship. “Praying without ceasing” represents one’s constant companionship and communication with YHWH.[38] “In everything give thanks” represents an attitude and acknowledgment that one receives everything he has, and has nothing that he has not received from YHWH. A person doing these things, will be joyful in spite of any adverse circumstances, appear to have just talked with YHWH, and act as though he were taking care of YHWH’s business.

This brings to light the need to exhibit self-control.

Everything will come to an end soon, so, to pray better, keep a calm and sober mind.
1 Peter 4:7 (Jerusalem)

Unless a person is willing to control his desires, or perhaps more accurately, allow YHWH to control them, since one does not have the strength to resist temptation, he will not be alert. Notice how prayer ties in with being alert, sober, and self-controlled.

One more item needs to be looked into here: that of worldliness, materialism, or worldly concerns. If a person’s drives and ambitions are directed towards the things of this world, then he will not be as alert as YHWH desires for him to be.

Luke 21:34-36 (NAS)
“Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Yeshua taught His disciples that they should be alert. They should not let the things of this life take their attention away from the things that really matter: Kingdom things (eternal things). Yeshua promised that if a person puts the things of YHWH first in his life, then He will provide all the necessities of life (Matthew 6:33). This can be especially applicable to the time when a follower of Yeshua will not be able to provide for himself. Dependence upon YHWH must be complete.

One’s reaction, then, should be one of action, not in fear, but in the power of the Spirit, in prayer, in watchfulness (alert), in self-control, and in not being weighed down by the worries of this life.

[34] There will be many anti-Messiahs and false prophets that go out into the world; and the followers of Yeshua need to be ready to deal with them at any time, regardless of when the Anti-Messiah of the great tribulation arises.

[35] Just where and what the “holy place” might be can only be guessed at now. As it related to the tabernacle of the Old Testament, it was the first “room” the priest entered on his way to the “Holy of Holies,” the place where the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat were placed. This is probably the most likely meaning here. However, this writer would strongly admonish the reader not to limit himself to a narrow interpretation of this verse. Certainly this should not be excluded, but one must keep in mind, that in Jerusalem, there are many “places” considered “holy.” One such place is the Wailing Wall. The disciples must depend upon the Holy Spirit to inform and teach when the time is right. Therefore, keeping abreast of the current events in the world, especially in and around Israel, take on a new urgency. Furthermore, this passage does not specifically tell us that the “holy place” is in Jerusalem. Perhaps it is in another location?

[36] This is only one passage of many, which gives strong indication that Yeshua’s true disciples would still be observing the seventh-day Shabbat just as they were when Yeshua said this, and that this prophecy was recorded for us today. The Fourth Commandment is still in effect; it has not changed. The key word in this commandment is the word “remember.” Only Yeshua was able to keep the Shabbat, we can only observe it (remember it).

[37] The reader may do well to take note of Matthew 5:30. Could it be that a person who has taken the mark on his right hand could still be saved by repenting and cutting off his hand or plucking out his eye? Neither of those acts would save a person; it would still be YHWH doing the act of salvation. However, in order for the repentance to be genuine, would a person have to remove the mark from his body? It’s something to consider.

[38] In the Body today, there is a lot of rhetoric on how YHWH answers prayer. The most common version goes something like this, “YHWH answers prayer with a ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘wait.’” I would challenge anyone to find this concept anywhere in the Scripture. The truth of the matter is that this statement borders on idolatry. Now, if you think that is too strong a statement, consider the following. When a person chooses to believe something that is not true about YHWH and acts as if it is true, then this is the essence of idolatry (see A.W. Tozer, “The Knowledge of the Holy,” pg. 11-12). For then one is serving a god of his own making. YHWH wants to have a relationship with you as an individual. Consider the relationship between a husband and a wife. If the wife would continually ask the husband questions and queries, and the only answers she would receive would be either, “Yes,” “no” or “wait,” that wife would soon lose interest and the relationship would break down. The truth is that YHWH wants to have a conversation with you, and that, on an ongoing basis. This is the type of relationship that is needed in order for one not to be deceived by the Anti-Messiah. Yeshua said that His sheep know His voice. Won’t you take time to cultivate listening to the Voice of YHWH?