As I write this, Christian pastors and parents in Syria tell their children as they go to bed that they may wake up in Heaven. Or the children may wake up hurt or seeing blood, but they must not worry. Imagine how courageous and faithful Syrian Christians, and indeed all Syrians who have not fled, must be right now. Imagine living in Damascus knowing that, according to prophecy, that city is to be destroyed some time in the future, and that the time may be tonight as they sleep. Is it foolishness or faith to remain there?
Anyone who has followed my blog from the start or near to it knows of my particular present ongoing trials. Today as I read HEBREWS 11 about the heroes of faith, I was struck by the thought the Christian Church has a wrong idea of faith. In fact, the prevailing belief with us is no different from that of unbelievers: if it’s a little bit out of the ordinary, it’s not of YHWH because He’s sensible, isn’t He?
The ultra-faithful are considered fools, unbalanced, weird, shunned, and ignored so as not to embarrass the Church. This has happened to me. But what DOES the above Scripture say? …every act that does not spring from faith is sin (ROM. 14:23). It talks about food offered to idols. Does it apply to everything, not just food?
Having perused a few more passages about faith today, I conclude that the faith that Father expects from us occupies a much more central place than we imagine. There is something about faith that actually MAKES things happen. And something about the lack of it that ties YHWH’s hands.
If we are unfaithful, the Bible declares, He remains faithful. But how far does this go? Aren’t there millions of people in the world today who are faithful to their particular belief system or religion even when it is false? They live, breath, prosper, succeed, appear blessed, just like Christians, until one day they die, some by martyrdom, just like Christians. I don’t see any Enochs around, either in Christianity or outside of it.
What did Enoch do to be taken up to Heaven alive–raptured? He went up by faith it says (HEB. 115), because he was pleasing to YHWH. For without faith, the verse continues, it is impossible to please Him. Enoch did not go to Heaven alive simply because he wanted to, believed he would, thought the Bible said he would, or believed preachers who said he would. He went because he pleased the Almighty.
So faith pleases YHWH. Not only that, but he whom I (YHWH) find righteous by faith will live, and if he shrinks back, My soul will not be pleased with him (HEB. 10:38 RBV). Clearly we must be righteous as well as faithful to be pleasing: Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (HEB. 10:22). For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins (10:26).
Scary stuff, this. Let’s say, for instance, we receive a prophecy, revelation, word of knowledge, an understanding from Scripture–such as the information in my blog here–and it is true–from YHWH Himself (directly or through a third party)–but you reject it as unimportant or false. Yahshua therefore ceases to be your sacrifice for sin. For you there is but some dreadful anticipation of judgment and of a fierce fire (of Hell), that is to devour those who oppose YHWH (v.27). That’s where faith again comes in. Sometimes though a message appears foolish but agrees with Scripture, we must accept it by faith alone, even for many years before we see its fulfilment. For YHWH not only has a will, but a time. He may reveal His will but bid us to wait for His time. His time is as important as His will. We should not rashly beget an Ishmael. All matters must be committed entirely into Father’s hand. By faith!
Faith and righteousness go hand in hand. We must come to YHWH by faith yet we must be righteous too. Even as Abraham believed YHWH, and it was accounted to him for righteousness (GAL. 3:6), the just (or righteous) shall live by his faith (HAB. 2:4; HEB. 10:38). There is a spiritual law at work here. Righteousness makes one faithful, and faith leads one to be righteous. This law releases spiritual authority, as shown by our heroes of faith:
By faith we understand… (HEB. 11:3);
By faith Noah…devoutly constructed the ark…while he fell heir to the righteousness that springs from faith(v.7);
By faith Abraham obeyed… (v.8);Also by faith Sarah received power(v.11); By faith Abraham, when he was tested, brought Isaac as an offering (v17).
We will all be tested. Should we do any less than those who have led us in the way? What did this authority rewarded by their faith produce?
- Kingdoms were subdued;
- Righteousness was wrought;
- Promised blessings were obtained;
- Mouths of lions were stopped;
- The power of fire was quenched;
- The faithful escaped the edge of the sword;
- The weak were made strong;
- They waxed valiant in fight;
- Enemies were turned to flight;
- Women received their dead raised to life;
- And there was persecution and martyrdom too.
I see a lot of the last one in the news and newsletters. But I see few of the dead raised, and kingdoms overthrown. Could it be we have missed out on this authority because of our lack of righteousness, and little faith? Have we misunderstood true Christianity? Didn’t Yahshua ask: When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth? SHALL He find true faith that subdues kingdoms and raises the dead?
If your 90-year-old great-grandmother came to you saying she was pregnant, what would you say? That she was a nutter and put her in a mental hospital? Do you tell people you are going to live forever? Or have you got a funeral plan? What about when you are sick? Are you willing to endure it while seeking Father as to why He is chastening you? Sickness is not normal, you know. It’s not in Father’s agenda for His people. It came as a result of Adam and Eve’s FALL INTO SIN. Are you willing to let go of all your insurances and let YHWH protect you from theft, fire, accidents and the like? That’s extreme faith. It has no limits. Neither is it easy.