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Except Ye See Signs
It is not unusual to have a sincere seeker after Truth raise the question, “How can one determine the true body of Messiah?” With some 450 religious groups all preaching from the same Bible, the question of just who is preaching the Truth leaves us with our minds whirling as we try to examine the various groups we see around us today. We have the promise of the Savior Himself who stated the He would build His Assembly, and gates of the grave (hades) could not prevail against it. (Matt. 16:18).
Yahshua said that His true body of believers would always be upon this earth, and that the assembly would not die out, as there would be new converts to take the place of the deceased. This is what Paul has in mind in his discourse in the “resurrection chapter” of 1Cor. 15:29 about those being baptized “for the dead,” were to take the place of those who died. We have the guarantee, then, that somewhere upon this earth is the true Assembly, the body of Messiah.
Paul refers to the “House of Elohim which is the assembly of the living Elohim, the pillar and ground of the truth,” 1Timothy 3:15. Obviously, Paul is referring to the true Assembly as the custodian of spiritual truth given them by the Holy Spirit.
A growing number realize the true body of believers is different from nominal churchianity. Enlightened Bible scholars are aware that a number of practices and teachings of mainline churches are nowhere found in the Bible but have their roots in paganism. An observant Bible reader will soon realize that xmas, Easter, Lent, Halloween, and Valentines Day certainly are nothing the Savior or the Apostles practiced. Neither can we seize upon the New Testament only and allege we have all the truth, and ignore the Old Testament entirely. After all, the Savior and His followers had only the Old Testament from which to base their teachings. The New had not yet been written.
Knowing and calling upon the Sacred Name is certainly commendable, for it is the seal. Keeping the weekly Sabbath is the Sign. Adhering to the clean food laws of the Scripture is for our own good as is abstaining from tobacco and street drugs or other poisons. The Scripture teaches that the true body of Messiah will strive to keep the whole counsel of Yahweh,
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of Yahweh, Acts 20:27.
This “whole counsel of Yahweh” includes all ten of the Commandments in the Old Testament to foot washing and baptism in the New. We must look for Scriptural guidance to govern our daily walk as well as our worship.
When it is noted that we of Yahweh’s Assembly in Yahshua are constantly striving to remove from their lives all things that offend,
Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire, Matt. 18:8-9.
This should be done so that we might be an obedient people and questions often arise. Because we have accepted the sacrifice of the Savior we strive to keep Yahweh’s Commandments and obey them lest we walk all over the shed blood of the Savior again. We obey to please our Heavenly Father and obey just as did the Savior.
Where Are the Miracles?
Another question has to do with the performing of miracles by the body of Messiah. It is assumed that an obedient people will be blessed with supernatural gifts of the Spirit and are able to cast out demons, heal the sick and lame and maybe even raise the dead. It is expected that these miraculous gifts would be very much in evidence and carried out in wholesale lots so that the broad populous would take note and benefit from these miracles.
The implication is that such phenomena would be proof positive that any group with such healing and supernatural powers must indeed be that true body of Messiah! If the called-out people of Yahweh’s Assembly cannot perform such healings, then the question arises, "Is this the true body?" Or “Why do you not have that power to cast out demons and heal?” Where are the miracles?
Signs and Wonders
When the young nobleman entreated the Savior in John 4:47-54 to heal his child, Yahshua replied in the 48th verse, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” However, even seeing signs and wonders was not enough, for Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 1:22, “For the Jews require a sign.” Yet for all the miracles that the Messiah did, the Jews as a whole did not accept Him as their Savior. Yahshua did not measure up to their expected performance. They wanted the Messiah to throw off the Roman yoke and restore the physical Kingdom to Israel, Acts 1:6. They sought a physical kingdom on earth.
Had He launched on a program to perform miracles wholesale at that time, He would have had the entire nation flocking to Him. However, it was not His purpose to restore the Kingdom at that time. His purpose at that time was to preach the good news of the Kingdom, commission His followers to continue the preaching, and, of course, His greatest work was that of His atoning sacrifice on the stake. He did not attempt to build a huge following by supernatural means, but to call out a people for His Name,
Simeon hath declared how Yahweh at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name, Acts 15:14.
This also is true in this age! He wants a dedicated, obedient people, learning of Him,
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls, Matt. 11:29.
Only as we overcome our carnal nature through obedience to Yahshua do we inherit all things,
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his Elohim, and he shall be my son, Rev. 21:7.
Reject the Message
It is a very grave situation to have miraculous things performed among us only to summarily reject the source, the Word of Yahweh. Notice the condemnation which the Messiah poured upon the populace of Chorasin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum in Matt. 11:21-24,
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
He states that had the miracles been performed in Tyre and Sidon they would still be in existence. That it will yet be more tolerable for the land of Sodom (which was destroyed because of their wickedness —Gen. 19:1-29) than for Capernaum. In spite of the miraculous, mighty works that were accomplished in that city, the unregenerate people continued in their worldly ways and refused to believe and come to repentance.
Experiencing miracles among us, but rejecting the message of the worker, puts us in jeopardy. The miracles Yahshua performed basically were to call attention to the message of the Kingdom. The miracles of restoring the sick to health and food in abundance were a portent of future glories of a healthy, joyful people enjoying the fullness of the Kingdom. The Jews in Yahshua’s time witnessed miracles, but these did not change their hearts. A broken and contrite heart is what is needed today.
Restore All Things
Before the Messiah returns as King and Master of this world, we are told there must be a restoration of all things.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of Yahweh; And he shall send Yahshua Messiah, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which Yahweh hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall Yahweh your Elohim raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people, Acts 3:19-23.
It will be a restoration of spiritual things ignored and brought to ruin over the centuries. This will include those institutions that will be held in the Millennium such as the Feasts (Zech. 14:16-19), the Sabbath (Isaiah 66:23), and clean meats (Isaiah 66:17). Yahshua’s Name will be changed and He shall be known as Yahweh-Zidkenu, “Yahweh our Righteousness,” Jer. 22:6, Is. 52:6.
Yahshua must rule until He establishes a righteous earth:
Then cometh the end when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to Elohim, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and authority and power, 1Corinthians 15:24.
Malachi 4:5 promises that Eli- YAH the prophet shall be sent before the return of the Messiah:
Behold, I will send you EliYah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Yahweh.
In Matthew 17:11 we learn that there will yet come an EliYAH people who will restore all things:
Yahshua replied, “To be sure, EliYah comes and will restore all things, NIV.
John the Baptist came the first time and preached a message of repentance, a turning back to Yahweh’s laws. It is this restoration of Yahweh’s laws and obedience to His word that we of Yahweh’s Assembly in Yahshua are striving to fulfill, in addition to restoring the Sacred Name. There must be a people who answer the high calling to return to the way of Yahweh and warn the world of Yahweh’s imminent coming just as did John the Baptist.
Come Out of Her, My People
If we are to be a people preaching the message of John the Baptist, we must look at his life and see what kind of life he lived and the miracles he performed. We know that he was the son of a priest, and that he was a priest in his own right, Luke 1:5-13. However, he left the priestly robes behind him and he was garbed in the simplest leather girdle and a coat of camel’s hair. He left behind the cloistered walls of the city, and he left the ritualistic rules of temple worship to go the open freedom of the out-of doors. There he was able to preach the message of repentance without being encumbered by tradition and formalism.
When the sincere seeker-aftertruth seeks to fill his emptiness with spiritual truth and leaves the established traditions and conformity to worldly religions and turns to the pure Word of Yahweh, only then will he be able to worship Yahweh in Spirit and in Truth:
Yahweh is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth, John 4:24.
This well may mean the leaving of one’s friends, relatives and associates, as did John the Baptist. It also means renouncing our former name of “Christian” even as John gave up the name Zechariah by which the custom of the day dictated he should be known. Christianity is a Greek word given to our Jewish Savior, and is associated with many pagan celebrations, such as xmas, Easter, hallowe'en, lent, Good Friday, Sunday worship, etc., which we do not wish to take part in through celebration.
In His wisdom, Yahweh has seen fit not to bestow His supernatural gifts without measure upon His people at this time. Our goal in this life should not be to see who can perform the greatest miracle, but it should be to “study to show thyself approved unto Yahweh, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of Truth,” 2Tim. 2:15.
We must first learn how to control our thoughts and deeds by yielding to the Word of Scripture so that our very attitudes and actions are a reflection of our obedience to Yahweh. To be given this great power of the Spirit without having become completely submissive, we may in a fit of anger or frustration use this “pneuma hagion” (power from on high) for a purpose other than the glory of Yahweh as James and John proposed:
And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Master, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elias did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You know not what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” And they went to another village, Luke 9:54-56
If performing of miracles were the test of faith, then whoever could perform the greatest miracles would have the largest following! People would come for miles just to see or participate in the miracles of Yahshua, much as they enjoy a circus performance today.
Miracles Are Not a Test of Truth
We read in John 10:41, “John did no miracle, but all things John spake of this Man were true.” If the EliYah for to come did no miracles, why should we seek miracles as a sign to confirm the proof of one’s ministry? John the Baptist did no miracles, and doubted within himself if Yahshua were the One the world was looking for. He even needed reassurance that Yahshua was the promised Messiah.
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Messiah, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Yahshua answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me, Matt. 11:2- 6.
John was not popular with everyone because he rebuked those who were in error, including even Herod.
Our goal, then, should be not that of seeking to perform miracles, but rather that whatsoever we teach of the Word is true. Apparently there will be those who look for miracles as “signs” or “proof” that this is the true body of Messiah. Almost as if predicting this, the Messiah said in Matt. 24:24,
For there shall arise false Messiahs and false prophets, and SHALL SHEW GREAT SIGNS AND WONDERS; inasmuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
The Egyptian magicians Jannes and Jambres could imitate the miracles of Moses (up to a point). See also Rev. 16:14; 19:20. Let us not be among the deceived because of signs and wonders.
To Your Faith Add Virtue
One of the most Spirit-filled men in the Bible sought thrice that his thorn in the flesh be removed from him:
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought Yahweh thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Messiah may rest upon me, 2 Cor. 12:7-9.
Yet, Paul tells us that because of this infirmity he had to rely on Yahweh all the more and this weakness of Paul’s was retained for Yahweh’s glory. This is a wonderful passage of Scripture for us who are suffering from an affliction that does not leave us. It is probably for Yahweh’s glory that at times afflictions remain. These force us to turn to our Heavenly Father for help.
This is not the time to look for a group that seemingly performs miracles of healing, raises the dead, speaks in tongues or performs what the world has set up as the standard. Signs and wonders will not by themselves prove the true assembly. Yahshua tells us:
Many will say to me in that day, Master, Master, have we not prophesied in thy Name? and in thy Name have cast out devils? and in thy Name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity, Matthew 7:22-23 AV.
Yahshua had already said,
Not every one that says unto me, Master, Master, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven, Matthew 7:21.
This should be a time of study, learning, and growing in the word. We should examine our goals to be certain we remain on the spiritual plane of the Kingdom and not seek thrills and sensual pleasures and miracles. To our faith in Yahweh and His word, we should add virtue, or moral character, as well as knowledge, 2 Peter 1:5. With prayerful concentration on these things we can overcome the allurements and pleasures of this world as did John the Baptizer.
We should seek to become a “glorious assembly, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that we should be holy and without blemish,” Eph. 5:27. Only by seeking the Kingdom and doing His will can we “be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is,” 1 John 3:2. When we put on immortality at His Second Coming, then we will have a glorified body and will be able to perform the miracles, the greater things promised to us. If we seek first the Kingdom, all these things will be given us. Are you working to rid yourself of all spots and wrinkles?
-Elder Donald R. Mansager
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