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Say "No" To Cigarettes
Smoking = Death (Physically & Spiritually)
     In the coming Kingdom of Yahweh, we can ask certain questions as to what will be there. Will pornography be promoted? Will abortion clinics be tolerated? Will people be sitting under their own fig tree smoking cigarettes?
     None of these images seem to fit into the Kingdom picture. But could smoking possibly be allowed, because it’s not perceived as sin?
     Yahweh is sending His Son to rule with a rod of iron as King of Kings over all the earth. It is also prophesied,
     And all the nations shall be gathered before Him, and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats, Matthew 25:32 TSS.
     Which line would you want to be in? It’s not going to go well for the goats. Goats tend to be a bit stubborn and are not like the sheep who hear their Master’s voice and humbly follow and submit to Him completely.
     Yahweh’s people are called to be an overcoming people, rather than being overcome. Elimination of filth out of our lives is a must.
     And he saith unto me, seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still, Revelation 22:10–11 KJV.
     We know that there is a separation that will be made by Yahshua, the goats on the left and the sheep on the right, and they will be divided in this manner. Those that are righteous and holy need to accept Yahweh’s Word on this. It is His will. But, those who are unjust and filthy still have time to repent.
     While we’re referring to this concept in the New Testament, it also appears in the Old Testament . In Ezekiel 3:27 NASB, Yahweh speaks and says,
     But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you will say to them, “Thus says Yahweh Elohim. He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.”
     Will there be, at the end of the age, those of the House of Israel that will refuse to listen and some who will? It was this way in the past, and we can suspect it will be the same in the future. We can recall, too, that Yahshua said more than once, He who has an ear, let him hear. It makes one wonder if it wasn’t because of this prophecy which stood at Ezekiel’s time. It might have reminded people of Yahshua’s time and ours. Do people need reminding? Is there a little bit of Manasseh (forgetfulness) in all the tribes of Israel?
What are we Learning?
     Thus says Yahweh, “Do not learn the way of the nations, and do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens although the nations are terrified by them; for the customs of the peoples are delusion; because it is wood cut from the forest, the work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. They decorate it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers so that it will not totter,” Jeremiah 10:2-4 NASB.
     Do we consider so-called Christmas trees today a delusion of the peoples? How about smoking which came from a people who worshiped nature spirits and other idols? Were they under a delusion? Did they understand that their heathen practices were harmful to them both spiritually, as well as physically? Or were they unaware and under a delusion?
     Doesn’t Daniel prophesy that knowledge shall increase in the end times? Do we act on knowledge? Do we learn?
     SMOKING STATISTICS, by the World Health Organization (May 28th, 2002), says,
Smoking-related diseases kill one in 10 adults globally, or cause four million deaths.
By 2030, if current trends continue, smoking will kill one in six people.
Every eight seconds, someone dies from tobacco use.
About 12 times more British people have died from smoking than from World War II.
Cigarettes cause more than one in five American deaths.
Half of long–term smokers will die from tobacco. Every cigarette smoked cuts at
least five minutes of life on average – about the time taken to smoke it.
Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death. It is a prime
factor in heart disease, stroke and chronic lung disease. It can cause cancer of the lungs,
larynx, esophagus, mouth, and bladder, and contributes to cancer of the cervix, pancreas,
and  kidneys.
More than 4,000 toxic or carcinogenic chemicals have been found in tobacco smoke.
     Are we under a delusion, or do we know what the ramifications are, both physically and spiritually? Are we learning, growing, and removing the filth out of our lives with Yahweh’s help?
     Do you not know that you are a Dwelling Place of Elohim and that the Spirit of Elohim dwells in you? If anyone destroys the Dwelling Place of Elohim, Elohim shall destroy him. For the Dwelling Place of Elohim is set-apart, which you are, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 TSS.
Is Smoking a Sin?
     It’s one thing to be ignorant, it’s another to willfully do or practice wrong. Is sin wrong? Yes. But, is smoking a sin? The Apostle James answers the question, in James 4:17 NLT,
     Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
     Is it a sin to have the knowledge that smoking is not only harmful for you, but also harmful to others? Even causing their death? A comprehensive study finished in 2010 said 600,000 a year die around the world specifically due to second hand smoke, with over a million becoming sickened each year. ....Was the command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”? It wasn’t a suggestion, was it? Of course not.
     On a personal note, my mother had a sister who was raised in a house with a smoking dad. Her sister died just a couple of years ago. She never smoked, but died of lung cancer. My mother knew what the cause was. It’s self-evident with the knowledge we have today.
     One could say, “it’s common knowledge.” It’s common knowledge that smoking can cause premature death, at least physically. But, it appears that it will kill spiritually, too, if one persists in it defiantly and openly refuses to quit. It kills, because it is sin.
The Candy and Cake Argument
     Have you heard of the candy and cake argument? An often used argument is: eating cake and candy can kill a person, too, physically anyway. While it is not comparing apples to apples, there are some taxes called “sin tax” which are levied on items such as candy bars, but is typically associated with alcohol and cigarettes.
     So, what’s the difference? Here’s the difference, and it’s one we should all remember: when death-related incidents are attributed to alcohol, for example, the adjectives, such as “excessive” or “abusive,” are used. Those adjectives are not used in the health or death statistics seen with cigarette usage. The “sin tax” really is a “sin tax,” when it comes to cigarettes. The other things in moderation are not sinful. In fact, both chocolate and wine can add both health and life to a person. Cigarettes, on the other hand, take health and life away, whether smoked in moderation or not.
Let’s Get Educated
     The more educated people are, the less likely they will smoke. It’s shown to be true. If you truly understand that cigarettes can indeed cause health problems and disease, and ultimately kill you, then you are more than likely not even going to start. But, what if you do start because of peer pressure or some other factor, and then find you can’t stop?
     Cigarettes have nicotine, a highly addictive chemical, which causes serotonin levels in the brain to increase along with other physiological changes in the body. Do you think maybe knowledge of this affected the tobacco companies just a little in the way they handle their product?
An article in WebMD Health News by Salynn Boyles in January 18, 2007 (© 2011 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved), states, “Nicotine levels in cigarettes rose 11% from 1998 to 2005, according to a Harvard School of Public Health analysis. Nicotine is the main addictive ingredient in cigarettes. The Harvard analysis confirms an earlier report by Massachusetts health officials. Tobacco industry officials deny there has been a deliberate attempt to manipulate nicotine levels in cigarettes, saying the nicotine in tobacco products fluctuates randomly from year to year. But the lead author of the Harvard study says the upward trend cannot be explained by random market fluctuations.”
     Did Yahshua the Messiah have in mind the following when thinking about what tobacco companies have allegedly done?
     Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven, Matthew 5:16 NASB.
     Not at all. How about us? Wouldn’t Yahshua have had in mind that we are not to have the appearance of evil and are to be doing good things instead? Of course.
     The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life, Proverbs 16:17 NIV.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil, 1 Thessalonians 5:21–22 AV.
     Is smoking wrong? Is it evil to do? Is there an adverse effect on smoker’s health as well as those around them? Isn’t smoking seen by many as an irreligious and filthy habit? How would that affect witnessing? Does one love their neighbor by harming them? Can this be related both physically and spiritually?
Stop Doing Wrong!
     How does one stop doing wrong? Going to Yahweh, seeking His will and humbling oneself, is one of the first steps. Cigarette smoking can have a more addictive hold on some people than heroin, but fasting and prayer can be used to combat and overcome it. Can anything else be done? This brings us to another topic needing to be addressed. Namely, medicine.
     The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines medicine as : “1) the science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease (in technical use, often taken to exclude surgery). 2) a drug or other preparation for the treatment or prevention of disease.”
     After we seek Yahweh's help, is it wrong to do other things, in addition? What does prophecy tell us? The prophecy for the coming kingdom indicates there will be trees which will provide leaves which can be used for healing.
     By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing, Ezekiel 47:12 NASB (See also Rev. 22:1).
     There is also a technique for addicts to gradually go off the substance that has a hold on them. Patches, gum, and other means are allowed to help one overcome. Some will say that Yahweh is against medical treatments which include medicine or otherwise.
     The Greek word pharmakeia, used in Scripture, does not disallow help to be given with medicine. But, what about someone who has a lifestyle of smoking crack, getting drunk and stoned, just so they can get high? Well, Scripture is pretty clear. Those who persist in doing such things will not be coming into the Kingdom of Yahweh.
     In Revelation 21:7-8 KJV, it plainly says,
     He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his Elohim, and he shall be My son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers (drug users), and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
     The second death is a spiritual death.
Helpful Pharmacy Medicine
     Medicine that helps a person can be used. Medical-type salves were evidently common enough for Yahshua to say:
     I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see, Revelation 3:18 NASB.
     Yahshua also knew that there were physicians which the sick were in need of:
     And hearing this, Yahshua said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners," Mark 2:17 NASB.
     It is said that Luke was not a “despised physician,” indicating his trade, beside himself, was not rejected, but rather accepted:
     Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas, Colossians 4:14 NASB.
     This was spoken by the Apostle Paul, the same Paul that advised Timothy to take some wine as a medicine for his ailing stomach and frequent ailments mentioned in 1 Timothy 5:23.
     Is it then not alright for someone, anyone, who is trying to change their life around for the better, to use some of the tools that are at his disposal today?
     Going back to the initial Scripture we started out with, in Revelation 22:11 KJV, it states,
     He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
     When we come out of the world, we are in the process of getting ourselves clean and drawing closer to a clean cloud of witnesses in Messiah. We should not be desiring to stand still but to move forward, to set an example among the nations on how to live clean and righteous lives in Messiah, Yahshua.
     When we read Revelation 22:11, do we see the picture? We’re not to have one foot in the past and one foot in the future. We need to come clean and come over to the other side. It means making a clean break, sometimes even dressing differently, and having a change in attitude and mannerisms, being more and more conformed into the image of Messiah Yahshua. Would Yahshua have smoked?
     On another personal note, I noticed a Christian friend of mine, some 25 years ago, had let his pinky nail grow long. None of his other nails, just his right pinky nail. Back at that time, some of us were going for the Don Johnson and Miami Vice look.
     But, sometimes that look crossed the line and made one look like a drug dealer or at least a drug user. Cigarette smoking was also part of the cool persona. All of it really needed to go, as it clearly had the appearance of evil. Same today with the “gangster look” (for the guys), or the “sexy look” (for the girls). They don’t represent who we are to be: a clean and holy people.
     We are ambassadors for Messiah. What kind of behavior should we have in front of others? Should it include smoking? Not at all.
     Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify Elohim on the day of visitation, 1 Peter 2:12 ESV.
     One of the best witnesses we can have is being transformed from the old way to a new way of being. If we were really on the dark side, we don’t match the look of that anymore, having come out of it, and we certainly don’t act the part of who we were before as we came more and more into the Light. Right? Yes, there may be residuals left over, but with time we grow and they fade away. This includes negative friends and certain influences of the past.
     The Apostle Peter plainly stated,
     For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead, 1 Peter 4:3–6 NIV.
     Let’s continue to break free of the past, and get rid of everything that hinders us from being a good example to others.
     For you were bought with a price, therefore esteem Elohim in your body and in your spirit, which are of Elohim, 1 Corinthians 6:20 TSS.
     Smoking is a dark, destructive habit that has both physical and spiritual implications for those who, knowing the consequences, continue in it. Notice, Peter also said, in 2 Peter 2:19b NIV,
     People are slaves to whatever has mastered them.
     We are not to be mastered by our fleshly desires, but rather we are to master them.
A Final Warning
     Going back to ancient times, we see lessons for today. We are warned by Yahweh,
     If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it, Genesis 4:7 NASB.
     Take time out to pray and fast, even call to be prayed over. Do anything but take another drag to get that nicotine fix, because it is a drug and a delivery system that is killing millions. Don’t let it kill you. Remember, we’re not talking about just a physical death, but also a spiritual one for willfully continuing in sin.
     This last Scripture was talking about Cain, who didn’t give an acceptable offering. I suppose we could also think about Aaron’s sons who brought strange fire to Yahweh. The point is, we are to be living in such a way that no one can accuse us of doing wrong against the calling we’ve been given.
     So as Scripture says in 2 Pet. 1:10, make your calling and election sure. Don’t be like Cain or like Aaron’s sons, but come before Yahweh with clean hands, clean clothes, and a humble attitude to do what is right in Yahweh’s sight. Bring a sweet aroma that is acceptable to Him, not the filth we see others do in the world.
-Elder David Brett

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