Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

A Tale of Two Trees

“Out of the ground Adonai, God, caused to grow every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9).

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

The tale of this tree begins when Elohim presented two trees to Adam in the Garden of Eden. He explained the consequence of eating from the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil: death.

I have a vision of this Tree as having one large split trunk called Knowledge. The part of the trunk splitting to the right is ‘Good’ and the other is ‘Evil.’ From each trunk smaller branches reach out with numerous leaves hanging from the branches. Each leaf defines what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil.’ Whether a leaf produces ‘good’ or ‘evil’ fruit, it is still the fruit of the same tree, a tree that brings death.

Death has two parts: physical and spiritual. Physical death happens when the mortal body returns to the dust from which it came (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Spiritual death is described as eternal separation from Elohim. Even though a person may have a physical life, if they remain spiritually dead, they will be thrown into the lake of fire burning with sulfur to suffer for all eternity (Revelation 14:10-11, 20:15).

After Adam and Havah (Eve) disobeyed Elohim and ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, they were removed from the Garden of Eden. They were sent into the world where they experienced the full knowledge of ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ Havah had children which was ‘good,’ but she watched her son become ‘evil’ and kill his brother. Though there was some ‘good’ with the birth of Seth and when people called on the name of Adonai, ‘evil’ escalated from Nimrod to Noach (Genesis 6:5).

Many years ago my mother-in-law and I discussed death and eternity. She felt she had no need for ‘God’ because she considered herself a ‘good’ person. In fact, she was anti-semitic and wouldn’t have considered a Jewish Savior. I discussed this same subject with a young man who believed only ‘bad’ people went to ‘hell’ and didn’t consider himself ‘bad.’ My question to both: “Who determines the baseline for ‘good’ and ‘evil’? You? Me? Who?

“Because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die” (Genesis 2:17 NASB).

When people die, especially innocent ones, those who grieve create a dishonest theology. For example, a young man driving home from work falls asleep at the wheel of his car, hits a tree, and dies leaving a wife and three small children. At his funeral his loved ones say, “He is watching over us.” Why do they say this? Because they need to believe that ‘good’ people are rewarded with some sort of life after death. It makes them feel ‘good’ to believe ‘someone’ they love or loved them is watching over them; that isn’t ‘evil.’

Or, a young alcoholic woman goes to a bar, gets drunk, drives her car off the road and not only kills herself, but several others walking along the road. Inevitably, at the funeral of the ‘innocents,’ the loved ones will say, “They were such good people and we will see them again” with the idea that because of their tragic death, they will be rewarded life after death. The poor girl who caused the accident may be deemed ‘evil’ by those same people while her family rationalizes their pain by suggesting she is now ‘resting in peace.’

Apart from bringing sin into the world through Adam, the serpent brought forth a great deception when he said to Havah, “It is not true that you will surely die” (Genesis 3:4). This lie is the tap root that established the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the soul of mankind. The lie that there is no eternal death keeps the masses believing that everyone who automatically dies passes into some ‘happy ever after’ realm. After all, how many people would honestly say, “Poor Joe is now lost for all time?”

Adam and Havah lost their spiritual life in the Garden and each of us has been born into that same loss. We chew on the same ‘good’ and ‘evil’ leaves of the Tree. There is no one born into this world who will not surely die –– physically as well a spiritually –– whether they pick leaves from the ‘good’ trunk or ‘evil’ trunk. They are both trunks of the same Tree of Death.

The Tree of Life

“Adonai, God, said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, to prevent his putting out his hand and taking also from the tree of life, eating, and living forever” (Genesis 3:22).

The tale of the second tree also begins in the Garden of Eden. Though Elohim explained the consequence of the one tree, He didn’t explain death. He also did not explain the blessing of eternal life with Him.

Adam and Havah learned quickly that death separated them from their Creator. They were removed from Paradise because Elohim did not want them to eat from the Tree of Life while in a state of spiritual death. He did, however, explain that One from the ‘Seed of woman’ would come and restore Paradise (Genesis 3:15).

Restoration to eternal life with our Creator comes through the ‘Seed of woman’ who defeated the curse of death by rising from the dead. He is the only One who is able to watch over us and see what we we’re doing. He is the One who raised people from the dead because he is the ‘resurrection and the life’ (John 11:25). He is the One who restores eternal life to anyone who puts their faith in him (John 3:35-36). He is the Way that restores spiritual life to all mankind because it is Elohim’s will that each person return to the Garden of Eden. This One’s name is Yeshua and means ‘salvation.’

When Lazarus died, Martha believed in a resurrection of the dead at the Last Day and put her faith in the promises of the prophets. She knew that Yeshua represented the presence of Adonai on earth and proclaimed her faith in Him. She was rewarded with seeing her brother restored to life and tasted a healing leaf from the Tree of Life.

“Yeshua said to her, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies; and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

Do you believe what Yeshua asked Martha? Do you believe that Yeshua is the Way to the Tree of Life? Everyone who rejects the Way provided by Elohim does not experience eternal life after physically dying. If family and friends have not accepted the Way provided by Yeshua, then they don’t have any life after death either. Without Yeshua, there is no eternal life; there is no eating the leaves of the Tree of Life.

The Two Choices

When Yeshua hung on the cross, two criminals hung with him. Each of them had the same choice that each of us has up to the moment of death: to trust Yeshua for eternal life or reject him. One criminal mocked Yeshua as many do today; he continued to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The other criminal, even though he knew he was guilty of a crime, acknowledged that Yeshua was the King of a coming Kingdom. Proclaiming his faith in the promise of eternal life even with his last breath brought a promise from Yeshua –– that in the Last Day he would be with him in Paradise eating leaves from the Tree of Life (Luke 23:39-43).

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).

My mother-in-law who was 92 years old passed away several years ago. She went to sleep never to wake up in Paradise. She was definitely a ‘good’ woman and loved by her family, but she did not understand the offer of Yeshua and didn’t choose it. Her eternal destiny is the lake of burning fire and sulfur unless in the last breaths of her life, she admitted her sinful condition and cried out like the criminal on the cross. I won’t know until the the Resurrection, but I cannot say with confidence that I will see her in the ‘land of the living.’

My mother passed away when she was 43 years old. She was a ‘good’ woman, too. Tragically she died young from leukemia. Though the process of her death was very difficult to watch, I knew when she passed that I would see her again at the Resurrection on the Last Day, not because she was young, loved, or suffered for months, but because she had put her faith in Jesus and his promise of eternal life. She lived and died walking out that faith bearing fruit –– the very large church was packed with those who loved her at her funeral. I know that I will see her in the ‘land of the living.’

Today, we still have a choice between eternal life and eternal death. We can choose to continue eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and remain in a spiritually dead condition thinking everyone is ‘good’ and there is no one truly ‘evil’ and worthy of eternal death in the lake of burning fire and sulfur. Or, we can choose eternal life through faith in Yeshua and enter the restored Garden of Eden and eat the healing leaves from the Tree of Life.

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Plague Against the Nations

“Adonai will strike all the peoples who made war against Yerushalayim with a plague in which their flesh rots away while they are standing on their feet, their eyes rot away in their sockets, and their tongues rot away in their mouths” (Zechariah 14:12).

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Whom Shall I Fear?

Fearing human beings is a snare; but he who trusts in Adonai will be raised high [above danger]” (Proverbs 29:25).

Working as a camp host in the summer in Alaska, I meet people from all walks of life from all over the world. In this year of 2021, discussions arise about the shot, the jab, the experiment, the ‘vaccine.’ Many people have taken the jab, others reject being a guinea pig and part of a human experiment messing with the mRNA of the immune system. Sadly, it is also interesting the number of people who reject the whole idea of the shot, but took it because of this, that or the other reason. In other words, though they believe one thing, they don’t act accordingly.

New York City now requires vaccine passports to do anything public, the first of its kind in the United States, truly the beginning of a great demise of our country and the value of human life. The one unelected official directing the path of humanity in the United States now says that loss of liberty is worth the health of many even though statistics don’t support his version of the ‘truth.’ Citizens in nations like France, Germany, and Italy are protesting en masse, burning their vaccine passports because they know firsthand the direction such ‘violation of liberties’ –– totalitarian government control leading to the mass murder of everyone who doesn’t fit into the coming world order.

This virus came from Wuhan. Period. It was created by man. Period. So, why do people look to man to solve a man-made biological warfare issue? Do they really believe that those who are part of the great web of who created this virus really want to fix the problem? Those who believe these people have good intentions really don’t understand the sinful heart of power-hungry and money-hungry men!

The agnostic ignorant believe that more people have been killed by religious wars than atheist leaders like Napoleon of France (6 million dead), Kim Jon of North Korea (4 million Koreans), Mussolini of Italy (1 million dead from poisoned gas, concentration camps), Mao Zedong of China (murdered 50-67 million), Pol Pot of Cambodia (murdered 2 million), Joseph Stalin of Russia (murdered 60 million), Hitler of Germany (12 million). In the past 200 years alone, atheist leaders have murdered 151 million people, more than all religious wars combined. And now in the United States we have a godless, atheist administration forcing experimental serum on its people through bribery (money) and loss of liberties such as buying, selling, and entertainment.

This is why we must choose whom we shall fear. Though it seems ‘right’ to fear those who will kill from a godless, atheistic, heart, it is only the God of Israel who can intervene and bring salvation from this perceived ‘curse of death.’ I am not afraid of the Communist China Virus. If I die from it, I die. But, I won’t ever ask humanity to stop living because I got sick and died.

Even though I can see where the world is heading with vaccine passports and the separation of the goats from the sheep, I don’t fear the leaders of this world. They are part of a plan of destruction; not of restoration. They are part of a plan to take over the world even though I know who will one day sit as King in Jerusalem. I fear Adonai Elohim. I believe He is the only One who can redeem us from the pit that we have allowed ourselves to be dumped into. I believe He is the only One who can save us from the dark tunnel we are heading down. I believe He is the only One who can judge those who kill the body and mame the weak.

“My friends, I tell you: don’t fear those who kill the body but then have nothing more they can do. I will show you whom to fear: fear him who after killing you has authority to throw you into Gei-Hinnom! Yes, I tell you, this is the one to fear!

Am I human? Do I worry about buying and selling? Do I grieve over the prospect of never seeing family again? Yes. Yes. And yes. This is the very reason why I raised my children with faith, faith that would allow them to enter the eternal Kingdom, a Kingdom for which they are a light in this world. By entering into that Kingdom through faith they have hope not fear. Yeshua was very clear when he told us who to fear and who not to fear.

Whom do you fear? God or Man? One offers a scam to change your DNA and immune system created by Elohim; the other offers an eternal way of life free from sickness, disease, and totalitarian rule. You choose. It’s still a choice each of us have that no man can take away until the day:

“That in honor of the name given Yeshua, every knee will bow — in heaven, on earth and under the earth — and every tongue will acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai — to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

©2021 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

‘Agree to Disagree’

The phrase ‘agree to disagree’ has become the latest phrase of promoting tolerance within the Body of Messiah. When two or more individuals disagree about a ‘doctrine’ or ‘dogma’ and can’t seem to overcome their differences, the phrase ‘agree to disagree’ usually comes out of someone’s mouth to end to the uncomfortable discussion. However, ‘agree to disagree’ is not a statement of victory over a disagreement, it is a statement that debilitates the growth of the Body of Messiah because it allows each person to continue on the path of their own viewpoint rather than being transformed by the Truth through the renewing of their mind (Romans 11:1-2). In other words, one person’s preconceived religious ideas matter more than the Truth of God’s Word and the Truth suffers.

Many times the discussion or debates are quenched because of someone pulls out of their pocket the false love gospel. If someone is challenged because of a false teaching, then the person challenging the false teaching is criticized for not being loving. How foolish! Love, in its fullness, allows for correction and rebuke so an individual is trained in righteousness. Love does not allow for living in rebellion against Adonai.

First Corinthians 13:6 says that “love doesn’t gloat over someone’s sins, but delights in the truth.” Love delights in Biblical Truth, not false teaching that wraps people in sin. Most in Christandom, if they truly studied the Bible, would realize that many things they believe as Truth are not even found in the Bible. They are grounded in false gods and lies. The one pointing out those false gods and lies is loving them more than those who taught them the lies.

“Moreover, love is this: that we should live according to his commands. This is the command, as you people have heard from the beginning; live by it!” (2 John 1:6).

True love for Adonai and Yeshua is that we live our lives according to the commands of Elohim. If we live out a false teaching which is opposed to the Bible, we no longer walk in Truth, but a lie.

One good example is the Sabbath day. The Bible is clear that Adonai created the seventh-day Sabbath as a memorial to creation; He blessed the seventh-day. The day had no beginning or ending because it was to be eternal. He showed the Israelites the purpose of Sabbath was to trust in His provision. He made the Sabbath day one of the Ten Commandments. He said the Sabbath was a ‘sign’ between Him and His people. The Sabbath rest remains. The Sabbath will be restored as Eternity.

Over time, the Truth of Sabbath became illegal through the Council of Laodicea, anti-semitic church doctrines and fathers, the Roman catholic church and today, it remains hidden under the guise of the first day of the week, Sunday. If and when someone brings to light the lost Sabbath of Adonai and His command to ‘remember and keep it,’ a discussion inevitably ensues that ends with let’s ‘agree to disagree.’ With that statement, the person is admitting they are wrong about Sabbath and no longer have a desire to understand the Truth. They will continue to reject the Truth no matter how much Truth they are shown. They will believe what they want to believe even if it is false and leading them away from the faith they claim to have. They will remain hindered in their spiritual growth.

Once they have determined their belief is correct, apart from Biblical Truth, they will stop searching the Scriptures for the Truth. They will no longer be like the Bereans who eagerly welcomed the Truth, checking the Scriptures every day to make sure that Sha’ul was speaking Truth (Acts 17:11).

“Now the people here were of nobler character than the ones in Thessalonica; they eagerly welcomed the message, checking the Tanakh every day to see if the things Sha’ul was saying were true” (Acts 11:17).

The Greek word for ‘checking’ is anakrino and means ‘examine,’ ‘investigate,’ and ‘question.’ The Bereans received Sha’ul’s words with a mind ready to investigate whether or not he spoke the Truth. Too many today rely on church fathers, church history, denominational dogmas, and other religious books rather than seriously ‘examining’ the Scriptures. They no longer examine, investigate or question the validity of anything they believe. Those who refuse to investigate false truths will remain in the false truth, going deeper and deeper until they dig their heels into the ground to protect whatever they believe about a cherished doctrine which will in turn take them further and further into false teachings.

When ‘agree to disagree’ blocks any further discussion, the person who uses the phrase is saying, “I will believe what I want to believe, and you believe what you want to believe.” Apart from being arrogant in thinking that they have stopped an argument or debate by being a peacemaker, they are promoting a ‘different spirit’ than one of Truth that unifies. They are allowing the false ‘spirit’ that governed in the days of the Judges when ‘everyone did what was right in their own eyes’ rather than doing what is right in the eyes of Adonai. They have become the mouthpiece for promoting the world’s tolerance in the Body of Messiah.

When spiritual growth is quenched, the Truth becomes offensive and is avoided at all costs even by using platitudes and worn-out phrases. I am reminded of someone who once said to me, “Don’t rock the boat or my golden calf will fall out.” That person spoke words of Truth when they heard the Truth. The Truth did rock their boat and eventually they did lose the idol of of their affection.

©2022 Tentstake Ministries Publishing