3rd of the 4th month 2020/2021.
Ma’asei/Acts 26:16-18 “But rise up, and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you a servant and a witness both of what you saw and of those which I shall reveal to you, 17 delivering you from the people, and the nations, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and the authority of Satan to Elohim, in order for them to receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are set-apart by belief in Me.”
These were the words of our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah, that He spoke to Sha’ul, when He appeared to him on the way to Dammeseq; and in this account in Ma’asei/Acts, Sha’ul was recounting these events before sovereign Agrippa.
Sha’ul made it clear, the urgent commission that he had received from the Master; and that was to rise up, stand on his feet and go and witness to the nations, the Besorah of Messiah!
As we consider the life of Sha’ul, we are continually encouraged by the zeal and urgency with which he went out, in proclaiming the Besorah of our Master; and the example of his life, as well as others in Scripture, ought to stir us to be urgent in our zeal, in being bold and courageous in proclaiming the Truth.
In a message called, ‘STAND UP AND SPEAK THE MASTER’S WORD!’, I would like us to look at the clear command of our Master and Elohim, that was given to Yeḥezqěl, which in turn, should cause us to take heed and give ear to the command that has also been given to us, to be a people who shine the light of the Truth and proclaim the Truth with great confidence..
Please turn with me to Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 2 and let us hear the Word that stirs a true working faith (Read).
The name of יְחֶזְקֵאל Yeḥezqěl – Strong’s H3168 means, ‘El strengthens’, and comes from the two words:
1) חָזַק ḥazaq – Strong’s H2388 which carries the meaning, ‘to grow firm, fasten upon, strengthen, take firm hold of’ and can have the concept of ‘grasp between your ears, get a firm handle on the matter’ and
2) אֵל el – Strong’s H410 which means ‘mighty, power or mighty one’ and is also used as a title of יהוה.
Yeḥezqěl was certainly commissioned with a great task, of calling a rebellious people back to Elohim, and here, in this chapter, we are able to learn a great deal, of how we must be strengthened by Elohim, so that we too, can be urgent, and boldly courageous, in our need to call many rebellious and stubborn people back to the Truth!.
After having seen a magnificent vision of the heavens, that were opened before him, we see in this chapter, the clear command that Elohim, who had revealed Himself to Yeḥezqěl, had given him for the task at hand.
After seeing the esteem of יהוה, and hearing the voice of יהוה, Yeḥezqěl fell on his face to the ground, and here in Chapter 2, we see the Word of יהוה being very clear, as Yeḥezqěl was commanded to stand on his feet!
‘Stand on your feet and I will speak to you!’.
From this command, we can learn a great deal, as we begin our journey through this chapter.
And, in doing so, we can take a clear lesson from this, in answering the question of,
‘how, or when does יהוה speak to us and equip us to do what He has called us to?’.
The answer is actually very clear – it is when we stand on our feet, so to speak!.
As already mentioned, these were similar words that were spoken to Sha’ul, and so, we also need to hear this call to ‘stand on our feet’.
This call to stand on our feet, is a clear idiom for obedience!
יהוה is basically saying that He will speak to us when we are standing on our feet!
From a Hebraic perspective, this carries the need to be totally obedient to the commands of Elohim, with one’s ear being completely attentive to hearing the Master’s voice!.
To stand on your feet, implies a readiness to do what is instructed, as well as being completely submitted to the commands of the Chief.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘stand’ comes from the root word עָמַד amaḏ – Strong’s H5975 which carries the meaning, ‘to take one’s stand, present oneself, abide, appoint, arise, stay, be steadfast, remain, be or become a servant’. .
In Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 7:2, we see how Yirmeyahu was to ‘Stand in the gate of the House of יהוה, and proclaim the Word of יהוה to all who were entering the gates to bow down to יהוה’. Yirmeyahu was not just told to stand up, but rather, more firmly, he was told to take a stand and be steadfast, in standing up to speak the Word of Elohim, as he was to confidently take a stand against the hypocrisy of false worship, and ‘proclaim’ the Word of יהוה.
Stand up and speak up – this was what Yirmeyahu was told to do – and as we look at his life, we can see that while he was repeatedly told to do this, he was not well received; and in fact, he was, more often than not, hated for the words that he had to stand up and speak, to a wicked generation.
The same was true for Yeḥezqěl – he was called to stand up and speak!
In other words, he was basically told to be a steadfast servant of the Word!.
In Hebrew, the root word for ‘feet’ is רֶגֶל regel – Strong’s H7272 and means ‘a foot/feet or to walk’, and often speaks of one’s obedience to walking according to the commands of Elohim and obeying His call to keep His feasts as commanded, as we take note that this word is also translated as ‘times’, as in:
Shemoth/Exodus 23:14 “Three times in the year you are to observe a festival to Me.”
To stand on one’s feet, can give a clear reference to walking wholeheartedly in the commands of Elohim, and guarding His Sabbaths and Feasts!.
In the ancient pictographic script, the Hebrew word רֶגֶל regel – Strong’s H7272 is written as follows:.
Resh – רֶ
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as ‘the head of a man’ and has the meaning of the head of a man as well as chief, top, begging or first. Top as in the top or head of a body and chief an is head of a tribe or people as well as the one who rules the people..
Gimel – גֶ:
This is the letter ‘gimel’, which in the ancient script in pictured as – –which is ‘a foot’ and carries the meaning to ‘walk, gather, carry’, as clearly referring to the functions of a foot; and it can also give the meaning of a gathering of people, and we know that ‘feet’ in Hebrew speaks of one’s walk and ability to keep the feasts of יהוה, and represents one’s ‘walk!.
Lamed – ל:
In the ancient script this is pictured as , which is pictured as a ‘shepherd’s staff’, representing ‘authority’ and can give the meaning of ‘to or toward’ and can represent that which pushes or pulls a flock in a direction, and can speak of authority or a yoke that is used to lead and guide, as well as the ability to bring back by Authority, as well as be submitted under the Authority of the Good Shepherd!.
When looking at these pictographic letters, in terms of understanding our needed obedience to keeping the Feasts of יהוה, we are able to clearly understand the message in these, as:.
IN OUR WALK OF OBEDIENCE, WE GATHER AS COMMANDED,
AS WE ARE LED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF OUR HEAD.
Stand on your feet, clearly highlights for us the call to obedience and the proper walking in the Torah of Elohim. We can only stand on our feet, because our Master and Elohim is the One who has equipped us, washing our feet, through His blood, giving us all we need to stand!.
In verse 1, we see this verb עָמַד amaḏ – Strong’s H5975 being used in the ‘qal’ tense, showing us the clear command to stand; and in verse 2 the verb עָמַד amaḏ – Strong’s H5975 is written in the ‘hiphil’ tense, which is the causative action of the ‘qal’ tense, and is translated as ‘set’.
What is very clear here, is that when we obey to the commands of Elohim and respond to His call to stand and be girded with the Truth, it is the Spirit of Elohim that actually causes us to stand on our feet..
The Greek word that is used here in the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of the Tanak) for ‘stand’ is ἵστημι histēmi – Strong’s G2476 which means, ‘to make to stand, to stand firm, be established, stand upright, stand ready and prepared, be of a steadfast mind, to uphold and sustain the authority of something’.
It is also the word that is used in Eph’siyim/Ephesians 6, where we are told to ‘stand’ firm in the armour of Elohim; and so, we can clearly see that this ‘standing’, that is being called for, is an equipped standing, in that the required dress code (that of righteousness – which is to guard to do all the commands) is adhered to and is properly functional, in us being a faithful set-apart priesthood, that is able, as good stewards with that which He has given us, to stand before our High Priest and King – יהושע Messiah!.
Our Husband and King is the One who washes us through His Word and gives us the ability to stand in His presence! When we consider the design of the Tabernacle and its function that represented a clear pattern of that which is in the heavens, we are able to see the wonderful work of our Master, who came to cleanse us in His Blood. The bronze laver was used in the Tabernacle, for the priests to take water from and clean their hands and feet, before doing service in the set-apart place. As we know, the bronze laver is a wonderful picture of the Word that washes us, as we take note that the bronze laver was made from the bronze mirrors of the women who worshipped at the door of the Tent of Meeting. It is with this imagery, that we are able to see how we are to look intently into the mirror of the Word and allow His Word to cleanse our walk, so that we are equipped to stand before Him!
Our Master and Saviour is the Door of the sheep, and we come to Him and accept His offering of Blood that cleanses, through our immersion in His Name, giving us access to stand in Him and be equipped to serve!
This ability to be called to stand to our feet, is made possible by His Word that cleanses and sets apart, those who have ears to hear and respond as they should!
It is with this imagery of the Tabernacle and the work of our Master, that caused me to recognise the wonderful confirmation of this equipped stand that we have been called to, being clearly seen in the pictographic rendering of the root word for stand..
In the ancient pictographic script, the root word עָמַד amaḏ – Strong’s H5975 which carries the meaning, ‘to take one’s stand, present oneself, abide, appoint, arise, stay, be steadfast, remain, be or become a servant’, is as follows:.
Ayin – עָ
In the ancient script this letter is drawn as – and is pictured as an eye and carries the meaning of ‘insight and understanding’ or that to which you look upon and the ability to ‘look and see’..
Mem – מַ:
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as ‘water’, and also carries the meaning of ‘chaos’ (from the storms of the sea) and can also picture that which is mighty or massive as well as the unknown.
We are also able to understand this letter as representing the nations, for the nations are often likened to the seas in Scripture. Knowing this letter represents ‘water’, we are also able to see how this can render for us the meaning of ‘washing’ or ‘cleansing’..
Dalet – דֶ:
The ancient script has this letter as and is pictured as a ‘tent door’. It can also have the meaning of ‘a back and forth movement’, as one goes back and forth through a tent door, and so speaks of an access point. It can also carry the meaning of ‘dangle’ or hanging as the tent door would hang from the roof pole of the tent. It speaks a great deal in terms of understanding the door of the tent of appointment as the only means of access..
In terms of this grouping of pictographic letters that render the word עָמַד amaḏ – Strong’s H5975, we are able to identify what is being clearly represented for us here, especially as we consider who it is that we are to be looking to, in order to be equipped to stand.
These pictures can render for us the following:.
LOOK AT/SEE THE CLEANSING AT THE DOOR.
When we run to the Master, the veil is taken away and looking to Him, the Prince and Perfecter of or belief, we are able to respond to His calling us to our feet, by being immersed in Him and receiving the washing that He, the Door of the Sheep, brings to us, in order that we can be caused to stand and speak!.
As Yeḥezqěl listened to the Spirit, he was set on his feet, and here we able to see a practical example of how ‘belief comes by hearing the Word’, as Yeḥezqěl’s belief was an active belief, as he heard the Spirit of Elohim speaking to him.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘stand’, in Yeḥezq’ěl being called to stand on his feet, is the root word עָמַד amaḏ – Strong’s H5975 being written in the ‘qal active’ verb tense, which represents the “simple” or “casual” action of the root in the active voice and hence, we can see the clear command being given, with the assurance that should he respond correctly the יהוה would speak to Him .
Then we see the clear fact that Yeḥezq’ěl had ears to hear, as יהוה spoke to Him and ‘caused him to stand’, as we take note that the Hebrew word that is translated as ‘set’ in verse 2 comes from the root word עָמַד amaḏ – Strong’s H5975 and is written in the ‘hifil verb tense’, which usually expresses the “causative” action of Qal tense.
In other words, he was caused to stand, when the Spirit entered him..
Notice the sequence that is given to us here:
Firstly, יהוה told Yeḥezqěl to stand on his feet and then, He caused Yeḥezqěl to stand, by His power! For it is the power of the Spirit of Elohim that ‘happens upon’ the obedient!.
Being set firmly on his feet, Yeḥezqěl heard the One who was speaking to him!
By being obedient to the command to stand, a true believer can, and will, hear the voice of Elohim, as His Spirit teaches us and directs us in the Way, according to His Word!
Yeḥezqěl was being commanded here to go and speak to a rebellious people, and this is no easy task; and the key to doing it as we should, is to do it according to the Word and then see how the Spirit equips our ability to stand firm, as we obey without compromise!
With this command to stand on his feet, there was an expected service required of him, just like a soldier receiving orders from his commanding officer.
We who are commanded to STAND on our FEET, and stand, stand and stand, and after having done all, to keep standing, are to do so in reverent awe of Elohim, and with great courage, as a faithful soldier of our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah!.
In our ability to properly stand, we need to give our ear to the Truth, by giving our ear to the proper hearing of the Torah of Elohim, and here in verse 2, we see that Yeḥezqěl says that he ‘heard’ Him who was speaking!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘heard’ comes from the root word שָׁמַע shama – Strong’s H8085, which carries the meaning to not just simply to hear, but rather, ‘to listen with attention, comprehend and discern, give heed to what is being spoken’.
So, when we hear the words, ‘he who has ears let him hear what the Spirit says’, we are able to clearly see, that it is only those who are truly standing on their feet (that is: those who are faithfully obeying and walking in the commands) that will have ears to hear.
Any disobedience to the commands or any rejection to walking according to the Torah of Elohim, will result in one being deaf to the Spirit, and as a result, be unable to be led forth in the Truth!.
Those who have ears, as they stand firm on their feet, will hear the clear instructions and guard to do them.
In verse 3, we see the clear commission given to Yeḥezqěl, the one who is strengthened by Elohim! יהוה told this prophet that He was sending him to the children of Yisra’ĕl, that is: to a nation of rebels that have rebelled against Elohim!
The Hebrew root word that is translated as ‘sending’ is שָׁלַח shalaḥ – Strong’s H7971 which means, ‘to send, dispatch’, and in the LXX (Septuagint), which is the Greek translation of the Tanak (O.T.), the Greek word that is used, is a construct from the word ἀποστέλλω apostellō – Strong’s G649 which means, ‘to send forth, set-apart and send out (on a mission), ordered to go to a place appointed, send away’, which is a technical term for the sending of a messenger with a special task..
With this command being given to Yeḥezqěl as, ‘Son of Man, I am sending you to the children of Yisra’ĕl…’, we are able to see a clear prophetic shadow picture of our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah, who was sent for the lost sheep of Yisra’ĕl!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 15:24 “And He answering, said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’ĕl.”
As His body, we too must recognise our mission – and that is, to go stand up and speak the Master’s Word to the lost and rebellious Yisra’ĕl!
Yeḥezqěl was given this command around 130 years after the northern 10 tribes of the House of Yisra’ĕl had been exiled into Ashshurian captivity and were scattered over the face of the earth, and he was being sent to speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, who by now, had become nations of rebels, as they were so mixed with the world!.
The Hebrew word that is translated here as ‘nations’ is גֹּויִם go’yim which comes from the root word גּוֹי goy – Strong’s H1471 which means, ‘nation, people, gentiles’.
They were now a ‘wild olive branch’ in nature, having lost their natural identity, as a people who are called out as a set-apart nation, due to their rebellion; and here, Yeḥezqěl is sent to speak to them and call them back..
This too is our call and commission today, as a faithful body that stands in the Master!
Go and speak to rebels who have rebelled!
A very daunting task indeed, yet a task that was to be obeyed – and a task that is still to be obeyed today, by an obedient priesthood that finds their strength in Elohim!
The term ‘rebels’ or ‘rebellious’ is used 7 times in this chapter, which clearly expresses what is being addressed here.
Two Hebrew words are used:
The first Hebrew root word that is used twice, in describing nation of rebels that have rebelled, in verse 2, is the root verb מָרַד maraḏ – Strong’s H4775 which means, ‘be rebellious, to rebel, revolt’, which, in the context of a broken covenant, refers to this rebellious nation’s rebellion against The Living Elohim, as their rebellion is directed against the authority of the Word of Elohim, and the need to walk in obedience to it, as a called out and covenanted people..
The second Hebrew word that is used 5 times in this chapter (verses 5, 6, 7, and 8×2) for ‘rebellious’ is מְרִי meri – Strong’s H4805 which means, ‘rebels, rebellious, bitter’ and comes from the primitive root מָרָה marah – Strong’s H4784 which means, ‘to be contentious or rebellious, to be disobedient’. .
Neḥemyah/Nehemiah 9:26 “But they became disobedient and rebelled against You, and cast Your Torah behind their backs. And they slew Your prophets who had warned them, to bring them back to Yourself. And they worked great blasphemies.”
Here מָרָה marah – Strong’s H4784 is translated as ‘disobedient’ and מָרַד maraḏ – Strong’s H4775 as ‘rebelled’!
Disobedience is rebellion, and those who cast the Torah of Elohim aside and refuse to walk in obedience to it are disobedient and rebellious and are ‘the wrong’.
The disobedient and rebellious have no right to claim to be the Bride of Messiah, nor do they have a right to claim His Covenant promises!
Tehillah/Psalm 50:16-17 “But to the wrong Elohim said, “What right have you to recite My laws, or take My covenant in your mouth, 17 while you hated instruction and cast My Words behind you?”
So many like to ‘recite’ the 10 commandments and love to claim the Covenant promises and blessing found in the Word, while they rebel against the Word that they are reciting and claiming as their own as they wilfully cast aside The Word of Elohim by casting His Torah behind their backs and declaring that it is no longer valid!.
The warning against being rebellious, is clearly spoken all throughout Scripture, and when one does not listen up and obey TODAY, bitterness grows and the heart becomes more and more hardened to hearing the Truth – to the point where the heart becomes a slippery slope, where the Word does not even get planted any longer, and is sadly brushed off as irrelevant – to the point where compromised hearing, and doing (or lack thereof), leads to total rebellion and lawlessness, leaving only a degenerate, rather than a fruitful vine – which shall be thrown into the fire!.
Rebellion leads to a hardness of heart and causes one to be stiff-necked toward proper submission and obedience to the Truth.
Hardening of heart is something that we are clearly warned in Scripture against, as it will only result in rebellion to the Truth and causes one to be headed for destruction, if not repented of!
Tehillah/Psalm 95:8 “Do not harden your hearts as in Meriḇah, And as in the day of Massah in the wilderness”
The Hebrew word that is translated here as ‘harden’ comes from the primitive root קָשָׁה qashah – Strong’s H7185 which means, ‘to be hard, severe or fierce, stiffened’, and the Greek word that is used in the LXX (Septuagint) is σκληρύνω sklērunō – Strong’s G4645 which means, ‘to harden, becoming hardened, to become obstinate or stubborn’ and is the word that is also used in:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 3:8 “do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness”
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 3:12-15 “Look out, brothers, lest there be in any of you a wicked heart of unbelief in falling away from the living Elohim, 13 but encourage one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened by the deceivableness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Messiah if we hold fast the beginning of our trust firm to the end, 15 while it is said, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”.
What becomes abundantly clear from various passages in Scripture is that the severe warning of a heart becoming hardened is a very real danger if not guarded against! When people do not like what they hear and rebel, they do so because their heart is hardened to the Truth and here, we are also warned of the deception of sin that hardens the heart!
A hardened heart is a stubborn heart that refuses to submit and walk in the Truth and will cause one to grow in pride, rather than in humility!
Shemuʼěl Aleph/1 Samuel 15:23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of יהוה, He also does reject you as sovereign.” .
In Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 18:10, we are clearly told that no one who practices divination should be found among us; and to rebel against the commands of Elohim, is as divination or witchcraft
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 17:11 “An evil one seeks only rebellion, so a cruel messenger is sent against him.”
The evil one, that is: the dysfunctional one, seek only rebellion!
As previously discussed, we understand from Scripture, that the clear difference between good and evil, is complete obedience verses disobedience; or better understood as, that which functions correctly in accordance to the perfect design and will of our Creator, and is therefore good, versus that which does not, and is therefore dysfunctional or evil!
Those who have no regard for walking in and guarding the Torah of Elohim, will seek only rebellion and not the Truth!
They will rather seek out traditions that will tickle their ears, which leads them astray, instead of seeking יהוה and meditate upon His Torah!.
Rebellious people are those who refuse to hear, guard and do the Torah, as we see, in that which Yeshayahu was told, when he was told to go and speak to the stubborn and rebellious children:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 30:8-10 “And go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it on a scroll, that it is for a latter day, a witness forever: 9 that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who refuse to hear the Torah of יהוה, who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right. Speak to us what is smooth, prophesy deceits.”
It is clear – the rebellious are lying children who refuse to hear the Torah of יהוה, and by hearing, I mean hearing and doing!.
Yeḥezqěl was now told to go and speak to people who refuse to hear, and in verse 4, he is clearly told that they are ‘stiff of face’ and ‘hard of heart’.
All through Scripture, we can clearly see the intensity of the great love that יהוה has for His Covenanted people, as He continually sends His messengers to tell her (the rebellious Yisra’ĕl), that if she just gets rid of the rebellious attitude, she can return!.
Stiff-faced and hard-hearted – these are not the easiest of people to go and call back!
And it is no different for us today, as we too have been commissioned to go and speak to a stiff-faced and hard-hearted people, who refuse to hear the Truth!
To be ‘stiff-faced’, speaks of being callous to one’s shame, so much so, that you do not even blush for your erroneous ways.
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 6:15 “Were they ashamed when they had done abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall. They shall stumble at the time I visit them,” said יהוה.”.
Having a stiff face, implies that the rebellious one does not even consider the error of his/her ways, as they become callous toward their guilt.
Sha’ul reminds us that we should no longer walk as the nations walk, and described them as being callous, in:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 4:19 “who, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecency, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
The Greek word that is used here for ‘callous’ is ἀπαλγέω apalgeō – Strong’s G524 which means, ‘to cease to feel pain, become callous, to be past feeling, to grow or become insensible’.
This is the word from which the English word “analgesic” is derived, which means, ‘that which takes away pain’.
In other words, those who rebel against the Torah, become so calloused that they go beyond feeling any guilt for their rebellion and are hooked on their rebellion, that becomes an analgesic to them, keeping them from feeling any hurt or pain, for rebelling against the Most-High!.
To be hard of heart, is also a term that describes a bitter rebellion against the Truth.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘hard’ comes from the root word חָזָק ḥazaq – Strong’s H2389 which means, ‘strong, stout, mighty, hard, stubborn’, and while the root of this word can certainly teach us how to be strong in the Master, we can also see the negative side of this word, that describes those who become hard and strong against the Truth.
They become so stubborn that they will not move!.
Once again, as we consider the state of the hearts of this rebellious nation that Yeḥezqěl was called to speak to, we are able to identify with the daunting task that we, as a set-apart and royal priesthood, have at hand!.
In verse 5, Yeḥezqěl is basically told that there is no guarantee that anyone will listen to him, and this should not be a deterrent, as he was to go and do what was commanded – which was to stand up and speak the Master’s Word!.
Just speak the Truth, is the clear lesson that we must take from this! In other words, just stand up and speak the Truth – even if no one will listen – just stand up and speak the Master’s Word!
For when you do, the rebellious will know that a prophet has been in their midst!
The role of a prophet of Elohim was always to call people back to the Truth and call people back to walking in the Torah, and point them back to the narrow path!
With the call to return, there also comes a severe warning against any disobedience to the call to return, and therefore, it is clear that a prophet’s words may not always be welcomed, by a rebellious people, as their response to the Truth may not be a positive one!.
We are to have our behaviour among the nations as good, and always be ready to speak the Truth, no matter the possible response of rejection and ridicule!
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:11-12 “Beloved ones, I appeal to you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts which battle against the life, 12 having your behaviour among the gentiles good so that when they speak against you as evil-doers, let them, by observing your good works, esteem Elohim in a day of visitation.”
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 3:15-16 “But set apart יהוה Elohim in your hearts, and always be ready to give an answer to everyone asking you a reason concerning the expectation that is in you, with meekness and fear, 16 having a good conscience, so that when they speak against you as doers of evil, those who falsely accuse your good behaviour in Messiah, shall be ashamed.”.
Why will people speak against you, as an evil doer, if you are simply tickling and soothing their ears?
What Kěpha is reminding us of here, is that we are to be bold in our proclaiming of the Truth!
Those who rebel against the words of the Master, that we speak, shall one day know that they were told, and will realise that they had no excuse!.
In verse 6, we learn how we must be encouraged, as Yeḥezqěl was, to not be afraid of those that we are called to speak to.
Do not be afraid of the rebellious, stiff of face and hard of heart people!
Do not be afraid of the words of a rebellious one!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the being. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both being and body in Gehenna.”.
I think that one of the biggest stumbling blocks many people face, when considering how to speak to a rebellious people, is the excepted response and the fear of their rejection, of what we are to be proclaiming, and this should not be so!
Do not be afraid of people and their word and actions, nor be discouraged by them!.
The Hebrew word translated as ‘discouraged’ is חָתַת ḥathath – Strong’s H2865 which means, ‘to be shattered, dismayed, broken into pieces, abolished, afraid, break down or be scared’.
Yehoshua was also told not to be discouraged, in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 31:8, and this word can also carry the meaning, ‘to be prostrate or lie down’; and so, what we can see and learn here, in this instruction which carries extreme importance for us to heed, is that we are not to fall on our faces when our enemies (even loved ones or family members who do not walk according to the Torah) come against us!.
When most are unable to see a ‘way out’ or when the whole world is bowing down to the ways of the world, or even to the stubbornness and wickedness of their own hearts, in following what seems to make sense to them, we must not bow down and follow, in bowing to their demands for lawlessness.
And we must not give in to any ‘cuteness or crying’, which is often used as a means to manipulate one into falling for their wicked and lawless ways and bowing to their requests that lead away from obedience to the Torah.
Do not be afraid of being ‘broken down’ or ‘shattered into pieces’, by those who speak a false accusation and speak slanderous words against you for doing the Truth.
Stand on your feet and speak the Master’s Word – for Elohim is with you!.
In verse 6, we are also given the encouragement, to not be discouraged by the many thorns and thistles that are with us, as we dwell among scorpions!
The Hebrew words that are used here for thistles and thorns, are only used here in Scripture and both speak of briers or thornbushes of some sort, which pictures for us a very thorny bush, that is difficult to move through, and metaphorically, it can picture that which is dubious, which is that which can give rise to uncertainty and create doubt!.
What we must learn from this is very clear.
Do not get discouraged by the many thorns and thistles that are around you!
In other words, do not get distracted by those things that can give rise to doubt and uncertainty.
Practically, this can picture for us various theologies or misguided teachings, that can cause one to doubt the Truth and become uncertain!
We must recognise that there are many thorns and thistles out there, and it often seems difficult to move through these things, as its purpose is to simply hinder our walk of complete obedience.
We have seen how some, who begin to walk in the Torah, become easily pierced through, with teachings that cause an uncertainty to the Truth being been taught to them!
Rabbinically influenced teachings can also be a form of thistles and thorns that can cause doubt and uncertainty to the Truth, and what we need to be soberly reminded of, is our need to stick to Scripture and not to add or take away from the commands of Elohim!.
Thorns and thistles are things that can pierce the skin, which also can picture for us the very things that can ‘tear’ our garments of set-apartness – the very things that can easily cause one to become uncertain and compromise the called for set-apartness!
Do not be afraid of those who ‘get under your skin’, so to speak!.
We dwell among scorpions and scorpions can be extremely dangerous, and cause severe damage, even death!
Do not be afraid! Stand on your feet and speak the Master’s Word!
Whether people will listen or not!
Stand on your feet and speak, speak and speak!.
When Sha’ul teaches us, in Eph’siyim/Ephesians, to stand, stand and stand, he was teaching us this very principle of standing on our feet and speaking the Truth, without fear or discouragement!.
In verse 8, יהוה makes it very clear to Yeḥezqěl, that he must hear what is being spoken by Elohim and not be rebellious like the rest of the rebellious house!
The way we are able to guard ourselves against rebellion, is to ‘HEAR’ – that is to listen attentively to the Word of יהוה, and GUARD to DO His commands, so as to not be rebellious!.
Yeḥezqěl is told to open his mouth and eat, as he is severely warned against being rebellious; and herein lies the clear truth. Eat the Word, for it is our daily Bread – and it is that which nourishes and equips us to stand up and speak!
If we are not ‘eating’ the Word on a daily basis, we will not be able to stand on our feet and speak that which we should, and when we are not speaking, we are being as rebellious as the rest!.
The command to not be rebellious, is a severe warning against our natural weakness and tendency to shrink away from conflict and confrontation!
Do not lower yourself to the level of rebellion, because of fear… but rather, be bold and be strong – stand on your feet and speak the Master’s word!
This can only be done if your diet is good!
Are you eating the Word as you should?
Are you taking in a proper Scriptural diet of ‘solid food’ each day, or are you still sucking on the milk of the Word (Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 5:14)?
Are you able to encourage others, by sound teaching (Titos/Titus 1:9)?
Are you equipped in the Truth?
Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work.” .
Yeḥezqěl was told to eat, and so, we are also able to see how Yirmeyahu had a similar experience:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 15:16 “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. For Your Name is called on me, O יהוה Elohim of hosts.”
Is the Word of יהוה to you, the joy and rejoicing of your heart?
If it is not, then you are not equipped to speak, as one standing on your feet!
When we are eating the Good Word of Elohim and growing in our maturity, through complete obedience, then the Master יהוה can entrust His Word into our hands, as His Spirit equips us to do as we should!
His Word of lamentations and woe, can only be entrusted to the faithful ‘eaters’ and ‘doers’ of His Word!
Those who are unable to deliver the very clear lamentations and woes for rebellion, are clearly not eating as they should!.
What is worth taking note of here, is that the scroll that Yeḥezqěl was given to eat, was written on both sides!
This was contrary to the typical manner in which scrolls were written, as they generally were only written on one side.
However, we are able to see a clear picture that is seen, in bringing a message of warning.
This scroll being written on both sides, is similar to the scroll that we see in Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 5, which too is a severe warning against the lawlessness that is being taught..
We also see in Ḥazon/Revelation 5, that the scroll that was in the Hand of Him who sat on the Throne, was written on both sides; and this was the scroll that contained the severe judgements that have been sealed up until the end, when the Lamb will open it and send forth His warnings!
In Scripture we find that this picture of a scroll being written on both sides is typically representative of a message of woe, that can only be delivered by the mature and faithful, who stand on their feet and speak up, without being discouraged!.
As we continue reading, we take note that in Chapter 3, he was told to eat the scroll and it became sweet as honey in his mouth.
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 3:3 “And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I am giving you.” And I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.”.
As we read further, we see the responsibility that comes with eating the sweet Word:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 3:4-11 “And He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Yisra’ĕl, and you shall speak to them with My words. 5 “For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and of difficult language, but to the house of Yisra’ĕl, 6 not to many people of foreign speech and of difficult language, whose words you do not understand. If I had rather sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 “But the house of Yisra’ĕl is going to refuse to listen to you, for they refuse to listen to Me. For all the house of Yisra’ĕl are hard of head, and hard of heart. 8 “See, I shall make your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. 9 “Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I shall make your forehead. Do not be afraid of them, nor be discouraged at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” 10 And He said to me, “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. 11 “And go! Come to the exiles, to the children of your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus said the Master יהוה,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse.”
We are also given the following account, in:
Ḥazon/Revelation 10:9-11 “And I went to the messenger and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it, and it shall make your stomach bitter, but it shall be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” 10 And I took the little book out of the messenger’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11 And he said to me, “You have to prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and sovereigns.” .
The Hebraism of eating the sweet word, is to grow in the knowledge of Elohim, and with the sweet Word becoming bitter in our stomach, we are able to see another Hebraism that teaches us how many may not receive the Good News of the Reign of Elohim, and what we will see happening, in these days, may reflect a bitterness on the part of many, yet we must endure and proclaim the Truth, while holding fast to walking set-apart, knowing that we will be the fragrance of life to life, to some, and to others, we will be the fragrance of death to death, yet our Master is the One who makes us competent for such a task, as we eat of His Sweet Word and throw off all bitterness!.
We are to eat His sweet Word, that may often make the stomach bitter!
This signifies the commission that we have in Him, in going to proclaim the message of the Kingdom of Elohim to many – even though many will not hear!.
As the body of our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah, may we hear this clear call to be faithful to the task of delivering the Truth without compromise, or fear of discouragement, from a rebellious people who may not listen – even though they are the ones to whom we have been sent!.
In hearing this call to stand on your feet and speak – how are you doing?
Have you been standing firm in the Master, dressed in the armour of Light – that is His Torah?
And are you boldly proclaiming the Truth to a deaf and rebellious people?
Or have you buckled under the pressure of ridicule and discouraging words, so much so, that you have been silent, due to the thorns of uncertainty that you have allowed to pierce and hinder your called for walk of set-apartness!.
As we consider the times that we are living in, I want you to carefully consider, and give heed to, this chapter 2 in Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel, and realise that this Word is very much alive, for each and every one of us, who has been redeemed and delivered from rebellion!.
The commission of our Master and Elohim is clear to us all:
Eat, stand on your feet and speak the Master’s Word
and do not be afraid or discouraged of what man can do to you!.
If you have been rebellious, by not standing on your feet and speaking boldly, as you should, then hear this call to do so, with urgency.
This call to speak the Truth, along with the very severe lamentations and woes, will not be readily received or welcomed, yet I encourage you to take courage and be strong, for our Master and Elohim is with us!, And as we HEAR, GUARD and DO His Word, His Spirit sets us on our feet!.
This is time for those who have ears to hear, acknowledge the call to be strong and courageous, and take their firm stand in the Truth, always ready to give a reason for the hope they have in the Master, in whom we stand!.
As we eat, stand and speak, so to speak, we shall grow in the knowledge of Elohim, through a proper obedience that brings understanding and in doing so, will be strengthened to take out stand and fight the good fight of the belief, as proper armed ones of the Most-High!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 24:5 “Mighty is the wise in strength, and a man of knowledge strengthens power”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 24:10 “If you falter in the day of distress, your strength is small!”
As one ponders on the words contained in Mishlĕ/Proverbs 24 verses 5 & 10, we are able to recognise the following:
How you stand (or fall) in the midst of the battles of life will reveal your strength (or lack thereof) in the Master and therefore reveal the knowledge and wisdom (or lack thereof) of His Word operating in your life!
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘strengthens’ in Mishlĕ/Proverbs 24:5 comes from the root word – אָמֵץ amats Strong’s H553 which means, ‘to be alert both physically and mentally, be fully alert – awake and not asleep, be steadfast’.
This word is often translated as ‘courageous’ in Scripture, as seen in:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be afraid of them. For it is יהוה your Elohim who is going with you. He does not fail you nor forsake you.”
These were the words that Mosheh spoke to all the children of Yisra’ěl, after which he also gave the same instruction of being string and courageous to Yehoshua.
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 31:7 “And Mosheh called Yehoshua and said to him before the eyes of all Yisra’ěl, “Be strong and courageous, for you are going with this people to the land which יהוה has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you are to let them inherit it.”
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘be strong’ comes from the root word חָזַק ḥazaq – Strong’s H2388, which we have already looked at, when looking at the name of Yeḥezq’ěl, yet I will remind you, that this word carries the meaning, ‘to grow firm, fasten upon, strengthen, take hold of’ and can have the concept of ‘grasp between your ears’.
When we grasp between our ears, what we ought to, because we are taking our fir stand in the Master, then יהוה will strengthen us to be courageous and speak His Word!.
In Hebrew, modern soldiers are often told the following phrase:
‘חֲזַק וֶאֱמָץ – ḥazaq veematz
This phrase simply means, ‘be strong and courageous’, and is a phrase that we see being used a number of times in Scripture.
What we can learn from this, is that for us to be ‘strong and courageous’, in Messiah, we need to ‘grow firm’ in the Torah and have the commands of Elohim fastened upon our hearts, as we stand up on our feet and take hold of the Truth and walk in it with boldness, being fully alert and steadfast in walking in the Truth.
And it is through the ‘command/s’ of the Torah (Mosheh) that we are commissioned, appointed and strengthened ‘in’ Messiah, to stand up and speak His Word with much confidence, because we guard to do it!
We must remember to put on the armour of Elohim and fight the good fight of belief; and therefore, as soldiers of Messiah, we need the encouragement ‘stand up and speak the Master’s Word’ and in doing so, take heed of the call ‘to be strong and courageous’.
And we are also to be reminded that we are equally responsible in encouraging each other, in this regard too.
As the faithful remnant Bride of Messiah, we must be strengthened in His Word and stand courageously firm in the belief, as we remain steadfast in the prescribed set-apartness that we are called to walk in!.
In Mishlĕ/Proverbs 31 Shelomoh gives us a clear description of a capable wife that strengthens herself:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 31:17 “She shall gird herself with strength, and strengthen her arms.”
The capable wife is dressed and ready for action!!!
This is a parable that highlights how we, as the Bride of Messiah, are to be a capable wife that is girded with strength by walking in and staying in the Truth!.
Hear then this call being given to the strengthened ones of יהוה:
STAND UP AND SPEAK THE MASTER’S WORD!.
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face upon you and give you Shalom!.