7th of the 3rd month 2018/2019
We have now come to DAY 46 of our count to Shaḇuoth and it is with the reminder of being a counting people that I would like to take a brief look at some passages and relevant key words from Scripture regarding the idea of counting or being counted.
In this season of counting, we are commanded to count 50 days from the waving of the sheaf of the first; and what we take note of is that while we are to literally be counting each day, as commanded, this time of counting teaches us to be a people who are carefully considering our ways and weighing up our actions and the intents of our thoughts and words in order to properly assess our lives to ensure that we are pleasing to the Master.
This season of counting reminds us how we are to be allowing the mirror of the Word to be that which continually keeps our lives clean and set-apart as we meditate day and night on the Torah of our Master and not only during the counting season. We are to be a daily living offering that is pleasing to our Master, for this is our reasonable worship before Him:
Romiyim/Romans 12:1-2 “I call upon you, therefore, brothers, through the compassion of Elohim, to present your bodies a living offering – set-apart, well-pleasing to Elohim – your reasonable worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well-pleasing and perfect desire of Elohim.”
While we are to be presenting our bodies, a living offering that is set-apart and well pleasing to Elohim, on a daily basis, this times of counting from the waving of the sheaf of the first to Shaḇuoth is a great time of assessment. A time of assessment where we can recognise the importance of counting and being counted worthy to enter the reign of our Master.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Can I be counted worthy by the Master?”
In order to answer that correctly, we need to be reminded of the clear standard of set-apartness that He has set before us.
Mattithyahu/Matthew 10:37-38 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take up his stake and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
After having commissioned His taught ones to go and proclaim that ‘the reign of the heavens is near’, He told them that He was sending them out as sheep amidst wolves and they were to be wise as serpents but innocent as doves, as He warned them against the wicked craftiness of those who would deliver them up, even family, as He said that they would be hated by all, for His Name’s sake! Those who endure to the end shall be saved! He told them this as He encouraged them to not be afraid of those who would be against them and that they should hold firm their confession of Him before men and not deny Him! And then He spoke these words that I have quoted from Mattithyahu/Matthew 10, of worthiness or the lack thereof!
Worthy or not?
What our Master was basically saying is that:
- Putting others before the Master, including/especially family, renders one not worthy, and:
- Not being willing to walk as He walked will render you as being not worthy!
The phrase or term, ‘not worthy’, comes from two Greek words:
1) οὐ – ‘ou’ – Strong’s G3756 which is an adverb that simply means ‘no’ or ‘not’
2) ἀξιόω axioō – Strong’s G515 which means, ‘to deem worthy, consider, deserve, desire’ and this comes from the root word ἄξιος axios – Strong’s G514 which means, ‘worthy, due reward, befitting, deserving’, and this can have both a positive and a negative meaning, as we know that each will get what they deserve and will be rewarded according to the works of their hands!
In the message given to the assembly in Sardis we take note that the Master said that there are a few names in Sardis who had not defiled their garments and that they would walk with the Master in white, because they are worthy; where this word ἄξιος axios – Strong’s G514 is used:
Ḥazon/Revelation 3:4-6 “Nevertheless, you have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. And they shall walk with Me in white, because they are worthy. 5 “He who overcomes shall be dressed in white robes, and I shall by no means blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I shall confess his name before My Father and before His messengers. 6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.”
The reason that I have quoted this passage from Ḥazon/Revelation, regarding those in Sardis that are deemed as being worthy by our Master, is that we take note of the wording He uses here in this regard, as He declares that He shall confess the Names of the worthy who have not denied Him, nor defiles their garments!
This fits perfectly in lines with the words He spoke to His taught ones in Mattithyahu/Matthew 10 when commissioning them to go out and be bold ambassadors of the reign, keep clean and endure, so as to be counted worthy to enter His reign!
The Greek word that is translated as ‘defiled’ in Ḥazon/Revelation 3:4 is comes from the word μολύνω molunō – Strong’s G3435 meaning, ‘to stain, defile, soiled’. It is from this root word that we get the noun μολυσμός molusmos – Strong’s G3436 which means, ‘defilement, filthiness, an action by which anything is defiled and rendered unclean and unfit’, and is translated as ‘defilement’, in:
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 7:1 “Having, then, these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and spirit, perfecting set-apartness in the fear of Elohim.”
The way we perfect set-apartness in the fear of Elohim is to makes sure that we cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit! This is absolutely necessary…not just defilement of the flesh, but also of the spirit! Yes, we need to cleanse ourselves from all defilement of spiritual matters that have nullified the Torah of Elohim and have denied that our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah, is יהוה.
We are to keep our garments from being stained or soiled by sin and compromise and cleanse ourselves in the Blood of Messiah and obey His Word!
Cleansing from defilement of the flesh and spirit entails a proper coming out of that which is not of us and separating ourselves from the things that can cause us to be filthy!
In the process of counting we also see the need for us to be an alert, and active people in our counting.
The time of counting to 50 is about having been rid of sin and lawlessness, as pictured through Pěsaḥ And Matzot; and now in this period of counting, we are being permeated with the good leaven of the Kingdom that many will taste and see that יהוה our Saviour is Good!
Learning to count as commanded gives us wisdom and understanding that we may be a united loaf in Messiah which we will look at and celebrate this coming Shaḇuoth!
Counting requires a concentrated effort and it requires a daily choice of choosing life over death, blessing over curse and the joy that this responsibility brings must result in our alert ability to call many out of darkness – for we know the times – after all we can now count! The only way to be a part of his body is to ‘count’ correctly so that we may be counted worthy to enter the reign of our Mighty Master, Elohim and Saviour!
Have you denied self? Are you following Messiah? Are you taking up your stake daily? Are you counting correctly so that you may be counted worthy to attain that age?
Only true ‘counters’ or those who are being taught to number their days, by the pure wisdom of Elohim, will understand what His desire is, and this counting to 50 confirms this for us, as we who walk in His wisdom by guarding His Sabbaths, Feasts and all His commands understand His desire – which is our set-apartness! Those who cannot count are like the foolish maidens who lack pure oil and will be rejected as not being known by Elohim! Those who disregard the Sabbaths and Feast of יהוה clearly reveal that they cannot count, as they cannot count to 3, 7 or 50, and if they continue to refuse to be taught how to number their days they will not be counted worthy to enter the reign of our Master and Elohim!
The ability to count and the responsibility of obedience that goes with it will lead us to Shaḇuoth – and ultimately lead us to the final Yoḇel – where a Bride comes face to face with her Husband – therefore, let’s be a counting people, aměn!
May our hearts be established in applying the wisdom of Elohim each and every day, guarding the charge to be a counting people!
In answering the Sadducees, who questioned our Master about the resurrection, we take note of His words in:
Luqas/Luke 20:34-36 “And יהושע answering, said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,
35 but those who are counted worthy of attaining that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are they given in marriage, 36 for neither is it possible for them to die any more, because they are like messengers and are sons of Elohim, being sons of the resurrection.”
The Greek word that is translated as ‘counted worthy’ is καταξιόω kataxioō – Strong’s G2661 which means, ‘to deem worthy, consider worthy, count worthy, judge worthy’ and comes from the tow root words:
1) κατά kata – Strong’s G2596 which is a preposition which carries the meaning, ‘down, against, according to’ and
2) ἀξιόω axioō – Strong’s G515 which means, ‘to deem worthy, consider, deserve, desire’, which we have already discussed.
We see this word καταξιόω kataxioō – Strong’s G2661 being used again, when our Master tells us in:
Luqas/Luke 21:36 “Watch then at all times, and pray that you be counted worthy to escape all this about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Aḏam.”
We again see this word καταξιόω kataxioō – Strong’s G2661 being used in reference to the emissaries that were beaten for the sake of Messiah:
Ma’asei/Acts 5:41 “Then indeed they went rejoicing from the presence of the council, because they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name.”
We are to be watching at all times, praying that we be counted worthy to escape the coming wrath of Elohim that is coming upon the sons of disobedience.
Our Master tells us that we are to bear fruit ‘worthy’ of repentance (Mattithyahu/Matthew 3:8)! This further emphasises our need to be a people that are counting correctly, so that we make sure that we are not marked as being ‘not worthy’, but are ‘counted worthy’, to escape all that is about to take place and joyfully enter the reign of our Mighty King!
Watching, counting and bearing fruit worthy of repentance! This is what is required of a productive taught one of the Master and it takes steadfast endurance and belief in all matters to do so!
Sha’ul commended and encouraged the taught ones in Thessalonica for their endurance and belief, which was clerly evident in their lives:
Tas’loniqim Bět/2 Thessalonians 1:3-5 “We ought to give thanks to Elohim always for you, brothers, as it is proper, because your belief grows exceedingly, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the assemblies of Elohim for your endurance and belief in all your persecutions and afflictions which you are bearing, 5 clear evidence of the righteous judgment of Elohim, in order for you to be counted worthy of the reign of Elohim, for which you also suffer”
Amidst the trying times, these believers in Thessalonica we being steadfast in their endurance and belief, showing that they were being a clear evidence of people that would be counted worthy of the reign of Elohim, as they remained steadfast in all the persecution and afflictions that they were bearing!
This passage highlights for me how we are to recognise that we can endure and hold firm the belief in our Master in all that we bear, not giving up when things get tough! How? By being a people who are counting correctly, counting the cost on a daily basis, of what it truly means to take up our stake and follow Messiah, guarding to do all He has commanded us to do!
Sha’ul says the following in:
Romiyim/Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the esteem that is to be revealed in us.”
That which we suffer now cannot be compared to that which is to be revealed in us! He was basically stating that the sufferings of this present age are not even worth counting mulling over, when we consider what is coming!
He again says in:
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart, but even if our outward man is perishing, the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary pressure is working for us a far more exceeding and everlasting weight of esteem. 18 We are not looking on what is seen, but on what is not seen. For what is seen passes away, but what is not seen is everlasting.”
When we carefully consider that which our Master has called us out of, cleansed us of and set us apart to enter into that which is coming, then the persecutions, afflictions and troubles we face now, can be endured as we remain steadfast in the sure hope of that which is coming!
The Greek word that is translated as ‘endurance’ in Tas’loniqim Bět/2 Thessalonians 1:4 is ὑπομονή hupomonē – Strong’s G5281 which means, ‘a patient enduring, steadfastness, perseverance, a remaining behind’, and this word comes from the Greek word ὑπομένω hupomenō – Strong’s G5278 which means, ‘to stay behind, to await, endure’, which comes from the two words:
1) ὑπό hupo – Strong’s G5259 which means ‘under, in subjection to’, and
2) μένω menō – Strong’s G3306 and means, ‘to stay, abide, remain, stand’ – which is the word that is used in Yoḥanan/John 15 where we are told to ‘stay in, remain in’ Messiah!
Proper endurance in the Master calls for us to ‘stay in’ Him and ‘be in subjection to’ Him, by guarding His commands! In Luqas/Luke 21:19 our Master tells us to ‘possess our lives by endurance’!
This call to possess our lives by endurance implies that endurance is certainly needed, especially as we live in a world that is corrupt and wicked and if one does not ‘possess by endurance’ they may just see their lives being stolen away through the influence of sin and compromise.
As faithful talmidim (disciples) of Messiah, we recognise that while He ascended to the Most Set-Apart Place, where He continually intercedes for us as our High Priest, we need to endure and be steadfast in staying in Him, as we walk in subjection to His clear Torah, bearing the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:2-4 “My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the proving of your belief works endurance. 4 And let endurance have a perfect work, so that you be perfect and complete, lacking in naught.”
Ḥazon/Revelation also repeatedly reminds us, in relation to what is to come in the days ahead, the clear call for the faithful endurance of the part of the set-apart ones.
‘Endurance’ is the ability to stay true to the Truth – keeping your eyes fixed on the Prince and Perfecter of our faith and running with great perseverance the race set before you.
The Greek word that is translated as ‘count’ in Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:2 is ἡγέομαι hēgeomai – Strong’s G2233 meaning, ‘to lead, command, consider, account, suppose, think carefully upon, count’. This is used 30 times and is also translated as, ‘governor, think, thought, esteem’.
Ya’aqoḇ did not waste time in his letter to make it clear that we are to be a counting people; and when we link the concept of counting to counting to Shaḇuoth – a joyful harvest feast of the wheat being brought in and the joy of the bread being made as a pleasing wave offering unto Elohim, we see how Ya’aqoḇ encourages us to count it joy – the end result is worth it and we ought to go through the counting period until our Messiah comes again with great joy and perseverance!
As already mentioned, our Master tells us that if any one of us comes to Him and does not hate father and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and his own life too, is unable to be His taught one; and whoever does not bear his stake and follow after Him is unable to be His taught one.
Hard words they may be, but what He is saying in effect is that we are to put our total trust in Him and not in others and to do that may cost us some things that we may find hard to count as lost!
Luqas/Luke 14:27 “And whoever does not bear his stake and come after Me is unable to be My taught one.”
The reason I have quoted our Master’s words, in this regard, from Luke, is that we see another Greek word being used here, translated as ‘unable’. In Mattithyahu/Matthew 10 we are told that if we do not take up our stake and follow our Master then we shall not be worthy of Him; and here in Lukas/Luke 14 He tells us that if we do not do so then we shall be unable to be His taught one!
יהושע is not looking for fans, He is calling for true followers who will stay in Him and walk, even as He walked! It is easy to be a fan or a part of the crowd, or rather it is made to appear to be, yet they are going absolutely nowhere, and in fact it is easier to be a true follower as we take up the easy yoke of Messiah and walk in His Torah, not being weighed down and burdened by false traditions and twisted dogmas of man. Following takes commitment, while being a fan requires one to be constantly putting on a show! Fans are here today and gone tomorrow.
Many may claim to be followers yet they are not, as they prove that they are merely one of the crowd that renders excuse after excuse as to why they cannot and will not do what is clearly commanded in the Word!
Crowds and crowd pleasers cannot be true followers – they are unable to be true taught ones of the Master!
The term translated in from the Greek as ‘unable’ comes from two words:
1) οὐ – ‘ou’ – Strong’s G3756 and δύναμαι – ‘dunamai’ – Strong’s G1410. οὐ – ‘ou’ is an adverb that simply means ‘no’ or ‘not’ and
2) δύναμαι – ‘dunamai’ Strong’s G1410 which means, ‘to have the capacity or ability, to be capable or have the power to’.
So, this compound word ‘unable’, from the Greek ‘οὐ δύναμαι’ – ‘ou dunamai’, simply means, ‘to have no capacity to do or no ability to do’.
Therefore, those who do not give יהושע there full commitment do not have the capacity, power or ability to be followers of Messiah. In other words what יהושע is saying is that in order to be able to be one of His followers or talmidim (disciples) involves a standard that is no less than total devotion, supreme commitment and absolute surrender to Him and His will.
So what יהושע was doing here was warning the multitudes that were trying to follow Him that they need to understand the level of commitment that is required to be a true follower or disciple instead of being a fan.
Are you correctly counting the cost? If you do not bear your stake and stay in Messiah, walking, even as He walked, then you will not have the power to be a true taught one and shall be reckoned as being unworthy for His reign!
Ḥazon/Revelation 22:14 “Blessed are those doing His commands, so that the authority shall be theirs unto the tree of life, and to enter through the gates into the city.”
The obedient shall be counted worthy and enter the reign, having power to be true taught ones of Messiah!
The obedient are those ‘doing’ His commands!!!
How about you?
Are you counting correctly in order to be counted worthy?
On the topic of counting, and taking up and bearing our stake as we should, יהושע uses the following imagery in the following parable:
Luqas/Luke 14:28-30 “For who of you, wishing to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation, and is unable to finish it, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was unable to finish.’”
When we become followers of יהושע we may even ask, “Do I have what it takes to finish?”
And typically, the answer is always no! But, it is not our resources that are necessary, for Elohim provides all we need for life and reverence. What יהושע is talking about here is total commitment – an enduring persevering heart – not giving up when the times get bad and the going gets rough.
Do not be one who gives up on following wholeheartedly after יהושע; for if you do others will then look on and say that you began but couldn’t finish it or follow through. Let me tell you that a true follower of יהושע does not shrink back and get destroyed, even when setbacks come, but a true follower is one who believes and is saved, one who lives by faith with works (Torah observance), even when it is rough and the chips are down!
Often people are committed, but only for a while then, through various reasons, they drift away and walk away from following the Truth and walk away from יהוה. Do not be one of those. Are you willing to pay the price for true discipleship?
The Greek word that is translated as ‘count’ in Luqas/Luke 14:28 is ψηφίζω psēphizō – Strong’s G5585 which means, ‘to count or calculate’ and this root word is used only 2 times in the Renewed Writings and helps understand our need to be able to count with understanding.
The other time it is used is in:
Ḥazon/Revelation 13:18 “Here is the wisdom! He who has understanding, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”
This is pretty awesome stuff!!! Our need to count properly requires us to have wisdom and understanding, and as we know, we are instructed to get wisdom and understanding:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 4:5 “Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.”
We now begin to grasp a little more of our need to be able to ‘count’ and ‘count’ correctly, so as to gain a proper and clear understanding of the Word, so that we are able to calculate and discern what is the number and mark of the beast, who has attempted to change the Appointed Times (Feasts of יהוה) and Laws (which would amount to lawlessness), and caused so many to be drunk and unable to count correctly, causing them to not be properly grafted in to the True Body of Messiah! If we do not properly count the cost of following our Master then we may end up being unable to finish what we so eagerly started! And this is why this season of counting to 50 is extremely important in teaching us to number our days and walk in the wisdom of Elohim!
As we draw closer to Shaḇuoth may this message encourage you in your ability to be counting correctly and have the confident assurance of being counted worthy of the Master, as you stay in Him, guarding to do all His commands, with great joy and steadfast endurance in the belief that works!!!
CORRECTLY COUNTING AND COUNTED WORTHY!
Count as you should and you shall be counted worthy! This is a season where we are to reflect on our much-needed response of obedience in being a people that count as commanded, in order that we can have the firm assurance of being counted worthy to enter the reign of our Master and be a people that are bold in their declaration of the Good News: יהושע Messiah!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face upon you and give you shalom!