Mishpachah Yeshua Newsletter

A Newsletter To The Family Of Jesus From Restoration Ministries

The Hebraic family is not simply an individual or private matter.
Rather, it is an institution in which the whole community has a stake.
Thus, the Hebrew word “mishpachah,” meaning family, not only refers to parents and children,
but to the whole extended family worldwide in the body of “Yeshua”—our Jesus.

[click here for a printable copy]

November 2002  Topic: Your Pilgrimage to Heaven — Living Consecrated to Jesus

Dear Friends,
In this letter we want to share with you the important foundation for your pilgrimage to heaven: a holy fear of God. Fear of God produces a life of studying and applying His Word. Our applications yield a consecrated life that can be recognized by our actions.
Have you ever stopped to consider how much you think you can get away with and still make it to heaven? On our recent seven-week trip we met too many who consider themselves “Christian” but wallow in the same depth of sin and depravity that the world does. Their motives and those of the people plunging toward hell were indistinguishable. This compromise with evil pained Sue and me greatly.
The Bible stresses eternal consequences for the choices we make, especially if we continue to walk in unrepentance (see 1 John 3:6). Paul warns that some will just make it into heaven by the narrowest of margins: “He himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames” (1Cor. 3:15b). We encountered far too many willing to chance that they could tread in murky waters of sin and still “just make it.” I found myself anguishing before our Lord, “How do people who glibly use Your Name become so calloused to You?” Later in this letter I’ll share what He showed me.

Set Apart in Jesus
Far more encouraging, Sue and I also encountered family in Jesus whose trust and love for our Lord set them apart from the world. Their trust has only grown stronger as God has isolated them from religious forms until their relationship with their heavenly Father is so precious that no cost is too high to pay. It’s as though, in order to restore the Hebraic Foundations, our Lord Jesus is calling individuals and families to spend a period of time concentrating on their relationship with Him. He brings about a fullness that can be accomplished only by time alone with Him without the prop-up of religious form.
We want to encourage those of you whom our Lord has called out of the Hellenistic church: Don’t look back! Permit the Lord to do His work in you and your family. Your lack of religious busyness is a good thing. “In [Christ] you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ (Col. 2:11).
Our Lord requires your undivided attention in order to conform your mind, will, and emotions to His. In order to accomplish this you’ll need to call out for the help of Jesus. Humility and a contrite heart go a long way with our Lord! Jesus wants you to know that He really is the preeminent focus of your obedient trust and loving devotion.
If you’ve been part of the Hellenistic church system, you need time apart with Him in order for the two center layers of the Restoration Diagram to become real in your life. As you and your family grow in the supremacy of your relationship with Jesus as your chief priority, you’ll yearn for fellowship with others who are equally consecrated to Him. The lukewarm and those who refuse to turn from their pet sins can’t go on with you. There can be no fellowship between light and darkness (see 2 Cor. 6: 14-18).

“Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”
(Deu. 5:29).
Look at the simplicity of this verse. Your fear of God and your desire to keep His commands through His Spirit bring His blessing for generations. What better way can you show your love to your progeny than to help them receive God’s blessing!
During our trip we discovered a line of demarcation between those who lived as the world does and those who are consecrated to our Lord. Consecrated people bear an awesome fear of God that yields an intense desire to keep His Word. I know that in our psychologically-bent “feel good” Christian culture, “fear” is a bad word. However, on the biblical faith pilgrimage that ultimately leads to heaven, fear of God is indispensable.
The God Who by His mere word made all things, the God Who is holy—His requirement for all mankind is to keep His commandments and be holy (1Pet. 1:16). Obedient trust that results in holiness (being set apart for His purposes) is indispensable if you are going to be welcomed at the Judgment Throne.
In this life our Father disciplines His children to bring us into conformity with His righteous standards: “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it ... be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:10,11,14b).
Children love their parents, but also have a reverent fear of them. Dad and Mom are responsible to discipline their kids. This fear is good. Reverent fear and love are not opposites. Reverent fear displays an awesome awareness that a child understands the position of the parent. He or she can then grow into learning the holy fear of God.
The hell-bound and rebellious who teach lawlessness in the church today have destroyed the role of parental authority and have defined God from their Hellenistic vantage point. To the lawless, the Lord is their servant to meet all their wants and to ward off any and all suffering. They have no fear of God, nor are they convicted of not keeping His Word.

Fear of God is the First Step of Your Pilgrimage
The entire Older Testament overflows with fearing God. The problem is that many Christians today think  “we’re in an age of grace; we don’t have to fear God any longer.” Listen! God does not change! He didn’t suddenly set aside His awesome righteousness between testaments. Mary, the mother of Jesus, clearly expressed the way of God: “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation” (Luke 1:50).
As the earliest church burgeoned, a common thread marked why God prospered them: “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord (Acts 9:31).
The criterion of fearing God extended also to the Gentiles: “Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right’” (Acts 10:34,35).
Paul, too, made sure that followers of Jesus reckoned with the awesome power of God. Fear of God motivated him to dissuade others from disobeying Him: “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience” (2 Cor. 5:11). My walk with Jesus began with an eagerness to know His Word and live it out. To this day I eagerly get up early to read the Bible and converse with my Father. His Spirit brings clarity to what I read and opens up rhema for His will for me for that day.
During my first year of following Jesus I was given a prophecy about the nature of my future work on His behalf. It came from Ezekiel 33:8,9: “When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.” You who have been part of our ministry over the years know that we warn as well as teach so that you won’t fall short of what our Lord requires.

Fear of God Produces a Life in the Spirit
The biblically-mandated fear of God brings forth a way of life with our Lord Jesus that stands apart from those who have no fear. Fear of God yields a consecrated life. Your life is set apart—dedicated to the service of our Lord Jesus. Paul expresses the incompatibility of fleshly motivations with spiritual wholeheartedness: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:24,25).
Your life in the Spirit is made increasingly richer and more fruitful as your mind, will, and emotions are circumcised of their old motives and the mind of Christ rules. [You may need to demolish generational strongholds that are hindering your ability to respond fully to the freedom Jesus offers. See our workbook, Demolishing Strongholds, for more on this.]
If the Spirit of Jesus is in you, your life choices, your motives, and the very words you use to express what is important to you are foreign to those who have no fear of God. Paul tried to clarify for the Corinthians their misunderstanding of the work of the Spirit: “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:12-14).
Can the impasse of the consecrated in trying to  communicate with those who feed their sin nature be made any more plain? This is the difficulty Sue and I experience as we interact with those who have no fear of God. Very little of their discussion flows from studying and applying God’s Word to their lives. While they consider us foolish, we grieve over their delusion that analyzes spiritual matters through worldly filters.

To Fear God is to Apply His Word
In Matthew’s account, Jesus offers an extensive discourse on the Kingdom of God. There is something about this Kingdom that can only be spiritually discerned. The Lord uses many parables, not to stump the people, but to simplify the spiritual truth He wanted to convey. Parables are not riddles. They are familiar illustrations used to clarify a teaching. Parables enable a teacher to communicate an otherwise abstract spiritual truth—that is, to take the spiritual and convey it into the physical realm. Remember, the Jews were looking for a “Messiah” to establish an earthly kingdom. The Lord, however, knew that His Kingdom was “not of this world.” How to get that across? Jesus used parables!
Kingdom living called for Christ-followers to embrace a responsibility that only the religious leaders had been doing for generations — applying Torah on behalf of the people. Jesus called for this responsibility to be taken on by all who fear God and recognize Him as Messiah. Therefore He took His disciples to the heathen shrine of Pan at Caesarea Philippi in northern Israel. Standing in front of a cave that was called “The Gates of Hell”, He promised them, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (see Matt. 16:17-20).
What are the keys of the kingdom? Traditionally, the Hellenistic church has seen them as power reserved for the ecclesiastical authorities. No! Under the Newer Covenant that He was about to inaugurate, Jesus was giving His followers halakhic authority. [See our book, Christian Halakhahs, for more on this topic.] Earlier He had prepared them for this when He taught, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old” (Matt. 13:52).
The “old treasures” are the literal meanings of God’s commands in the Older Testament. The “new treasures” are the applications, that is, the halakhahs the person who understands the Kingdom brings forth to live by. A consecrated follower of Jesus who fears God can see throughout the Older Testament the Messiah, the work of the Messiah, and the ultimate goal of the Kingdom of which Jesus speaks.
Your fear of God leads you to a deeper desire to study and apply His Word to your life. It is this combination of both the “old” and “new” to which the writer to the Hebrews is referring when he calls God’s word a “double-edged sword”: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
People need to see your life bearing witness to the wisdom that has resulted from your fear of God. When you are questioned about your trust-based lifestyle, you can share both the halakhic application and the Scriptural basis for your way of life. This is the way of life in the Kingdom, and each of us in Christ has the keys to do this. Your double-edged testimony of the Word and your application goes deep into the lives of others with whom you share.

Applying God’s Word Produces Action
The Older Testament cascades with people who feared God and took deliberate action that confirm their consecrated life to God:
At first, the descendants of Levi were chosen to be priests before God because of their biological tribal lineage. But a time came when they were called to consecrate themselves to God. At this point, Moses had just  returned from the mountain after the people had made a golden calf idol to worship: “Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, ‘Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.’ And all the Levites rallied to him. Then he said to them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. Then Moses said, "You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day” (Exo. 32:25-29).
When the Midianites sought to seduce Israel, a certain Israelite man took a Midianite woman into his tent. “When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear through both of them—through the Israelite and into the woman's body. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped” (Num. 25:7,8). By responding to God’s call for holiness, Phinehas displayed his consecrated heart by taking action to uphold God’s holy standard.
Through the Psalmist the Lord stressed the importance of this consecrated act: “But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked. This was credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come” (Psa. 106:30,31). That man’s one act blessed his progeny for generations to come. God does this for each one of us whose fear of God results in consecrated action.
When we think of David and Goliath we get excited about a young shepherd boy with a sling standing on the battle field confronting a giant clad in armor  hefting a spear. But we need to grasp the consecrated motive of the young shepherd who thought he was only on a mission to bring cheese to his brothers. “David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied’” (1Sam. 17:45).

A Life in Jesus is an Action-filled Pilgrimage
Fear of God was foundational for the early followers of Jesus. The Newer Testament cautions that a life consecrated to Jesus must evidence trust-based actions that reflect our Lord Jesus to the world. People of the Spirit have no difficulty with the exhortation of James: “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder... You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by trust alone... As the body without the spirit is dead, so trust without deeds is dead” (see James 2:14-26). Your deeds reflect the halakhic applications that undergird your way of life in our Lord Jesus.

Guard yourself:
   NO Fear of God
+ NO Consecrated Life
+ NO Application of His Word
+ NO Trust-based deeds

A Warning to Fairweather/Hell-bound Retirees
Sue and I spent a considerable amount of time with retirees on this trip. God has no problem if you stop working when age and physical disability warrant. But you can’t find a biblical basis for the pleasure-bent lifestyle so many seniors have embarked on. Instead of fulfilling their biblical responsibilities to God, to their family and faith community, many have moved away to the “sunbelt” to cater to recreational pursuits or escape cold climates. How unrelational and applicationally-devoid your church experiences must have been in order for you to move away so readily! Is the pursuit of pleasure that abdicates responsibility what you want to role-model for your children and grandchildren?
No one we talked with could come up with a halakhah for abdicating responsibilities to God, family and faith community to pursue a life of pleasure. In fact, I challenge pastors in the “sunbelt” to come up scripturally with justification for self-gratification. Instead of coveting the tithe of the retirees in their congregations, they should be prophetically challenging them to “be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10,11).
Like Paul, quoted earlier in Philippians 2: 12, Peter understood the importance of “pilgrimage” as a key element in the salvation process. The Psalmist also encouraged our understanding of this, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage” (Psa. 84:5). Salvation in the early church was understood as a pilgrimage, not as a single point in time as so many false gospels teach today. You must live a consecrated life of action until you die—“make your calling and election sure.”
Those who live in fear of God evaluate their lives in terms of what they can do to serve our Father and bring Him praise. By applying God’s Word they are careful not to join those the Psalmist warns about: “O Lord, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life (Psa. 17:14a). God-fearing people have prepared themselves to be His instruments in preparing successors in the faith: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green” (Psa. 92:12-14).
Sadly, these are too few. I don’t foresee any change until the days of darkness come on this nation and God chastises it. Only then will the Hebraic Foundations be embraced and God-fearing older men take up their rightful place of eldership.
The majority of sunbelt retirees we have interviewed were led into a pleasure-bent lifestyle by husbands who wanted to relive their childhood on a golf course. Tragically, this choice often meant moving away from their families to the sunbelt. These hell-bound men feel that the world owes them for all the years they worked. They rationalize that their children can make it on their own as they did. That self-indulgent decision often creates great tension for their wives by separating them from the grandchildren they yearn to grandmother. 
Again the Older Testament has something to say to these family-destroying men: “They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed” (Psa. 106:36-38). Play all the golf you can. You won’t be playing in hell.
Just a word to you widows: You have the potential to be the greatest blessing to your families and others in your faith communities. Or, you bring the greatest destruction. Much is written to you in the Bible. For example, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Pro. 31:30). Also consider, “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God (Titus 2:3-5).
Qualified widows of the earliest church were the first line of caring for those who could not care for themselves. “No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds (1 Tim. 5:9,10). This passage was the basis for the earliest nuns of the Catholic Church who were widows. It wasn’t until Hellenism crept in that young virgins became nuns. This command of God for the church to care for widows who help others is still in the Bible. Think about this!
A warning to widows who have become destructive role models for their families: “But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives” (1 Tim. 5:6). We have received so many calls and letters from families devastated by self-indulgent widowed mothers and mothers-in-law. It has become so epidemic that I said rashly a few months ago, “Getting rid of self-indulgent widows could save a lot of marriages!” Ask your family for feedback if this situation is occurring in your midst.
For all you who have retired from your biblical responsibilities: A time of chastisement is coming upon this nation. I only know that “the children of today will not become grandparents before the ‘days of darkness’ come.” Some of you may share the mindset of King Hezekiah. The prophet warned him that all he owned and even his sons would be carried away to exile. “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good," Hezekiah replied. For he thought, ‘Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?’” (2 Kings 20:19).
You may be thinking, “So chastisement will come on my descendants for my sins. At least I won’t have to suffer.” Just remember: There is a Judgment Throne. Are you excusing both your own disobedience as well as that of your children and grandchildren by rationalizing, “My generation messed around and we came out OK.” Do you really want them to suffer the self-loathing and shame that come when no alarm has been sounded?
Please, I exhort you, if you have taken the idolatrous path of self-indulgence, repent and ask Jesus to help you fulfill all of your service to Him. Don’t ignore your family responsibility. You’re being seduced into a path to hell and you are bringing the generations behind you with you.
Some suggestions for you to consider:
• Use your time to establish the halakhahs for your family that you failed to do before. Help younger people in your faith community to establish their own.
• Volunteer weekly in a nursing home.
• Find parents who need a grandparent-person in their children’s lives.
• Join with other men in your faith community and establish biblical halakhahs pertaining to seniors.
• Solicit problem situations from your faith community family and research pertinent biblical applications.

If You Haven’t Retired
Ask God for a holy fear of Him. Get into your Bible and start establishing halakhahs for you and your family. Some of you are the people Paul warned Timothy about in 2 Tim. 3:1-5. Repent of motives and goals that parallel this world’s. Instead, seek to live a holy life. Don’t make the Stock Market or your bank account your idol. Don’t let yourself entertain a pleasure-bent goal for your senior years. Now is the time to prepare yourself to be the zaken, the biblical elder, who has achieved the pinnacle of his life. After the time of chastisement on this nation our Lord will rebuild His Church. Why don’t you begin now to prepare yourself to be one He can use? Permit God to bless your progeny through the righteous actions you take. [See our book Pastoring by Elders for more on how to prepare yourself.]
If you consecrate yourself to the Lord Jesus, you will lose some friends initially. But, Oh! the fellowship both with God and with others that you gain! It is this special intimate relationship your soul has always longed for. Only consecrating yourself in holy fear can ever fill the hollow spot in your inner being. We leave you with this encouragement: “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts” (James 4:8a).
Our love and understanding of the cost,
Mike & Sue

Sue and I have been doing research on compulsory public education in this country. It made us sick to study the motives of those who introduced government-sponsored public education to make it a state prerogative. In essence, the real goal behind government-controlled public education is to produce a godless society that makes the state more important than the parents in the life of the child. It boils down to a pitched battle of the State vs. fathers.
What was frightening is that public education in this country has its roots in Plato. His influence is more pervasive and more demonically inspired than anyone can imagine. The child of Plato, Hellenism, is the dominant pattern of thought and practice for both church and education in this nation. Sue and I are in the process of writing our next book. Part of our writings will reveal more about this insidious plan to remove children from the biblical influence of their parents, in particular, their fathers. We will also undergird the importance for communally-based home schooling within home fellowships.
Please keep in mind this important point: The ultimate goal of public education is to produce a godless society in which the state is preeminent. Some of the secret organizations we discovered that have been bringing this about for decades made our research even more frightening. It’s no small thing to realize that hell is contained in Hellenism!