The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. So in their case this prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled: You will listen and listen again, but not understand, see and see again, but not perceive. For the heart of this nation has grown course, their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, for fear they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed by Me. Matthew 13:13-15 (JB)

Perceive: 1) To attain awareness or understanding of, 2) To become aware of through the senses.

How we view and understand our reality is based solely upon the information we receive. The root of our perception of reality is formed early in our lifetime, we then built upon this foundation as we are instructed by parents, teachers, and religious/spiritual leaders. The foundation of our perception is primarily formed by our parents, or those who raised us through childhood. Those that laid our foundation also began their life having the foundation of their perception laid by their parents and so, ad infinitum. God emphasized the very important responsibility that parents have in instructing their children to follow the way of righteousness, to love and obey Elohim, and to love and respect their neighbor.

‘Let these words of mine remain in your heart and in your soul; fasten them on your hand as a sign and on your forehead as a circlet. Teach them to your children and say them over to them, whether at rest in your house or walking abroad, at your lying down or at your rising. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that you and your children may live long in the land that Yahweh swore to your fathers he would give them for as long as there is a sky above the earth. Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (JB)

“Honor your father and your mother, as Yahweh your God has commanded you, so that you may have long life and may prosper in the land that Yahweh your God gives to you. Deuteronomy 5:16 (JB)

The purpose of Elohim in giving the “Law and Prophets” was to instruct the children of Israel in the ways of righteousness, but Israel rarely paid attention to that instruction and commands from Elohim. The Children of Israel were born and raised in the land of Egypt, therefore the foundation and structure of their life was Egyptian. The God of their fathers, who had only recently shown up in a wilderness encounter with Moses, was completely foreign to them. The Israelites determined early on that they preferred the ways and worship of the gods in the land of Egypt.
The Israelites must have been under the impression that this “God of Moses” was giving them a choice; that they could either choose to worship and obey Him, or go back to Egypt and continue the life that they had come to know.

And the whole community of the sons of Israel began to complain against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness and said to them, “Why did we not die at Yahweh’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we were able to sit down to pans of meat and could eat bread to our heart’s content! As it is, you have brought us to this wilderness to starve this whole company to death!” Exodus 16:2-3 (JB)

Once the Israelites entered a blood covenant with Elohim they could not pretend it never happened. Elohim had preserved all the first-born of those who had applied the blood of the Passover Lamb to the doorposts and lintel of their houses. In doing this they had entered an irrevocable covenant with Elohim. The only way to be liberated from this covenant was by death. The marriage covenant operates under this same principle. All but two of the first generation of those who left the land of Egypt (Joshua and Caleb) died in the wilderness.

Elohim does not coerce anyone into a vow of obedience, it must be prompted by love. Before you love someone you must know them. When it comes to knowing Elohim, you must first know the truth. In general, Christians are satisfied with the information they hold to concerning God. What is important for them is their “Christian walk”, whether it is the truth or not, it is the ‘truth’ that works for them.

Therefore, understanding God’s truth the only way to come to know God, and once you find the truth you must obey it. If the truth is merely what you prefer to believe then the god of trooth you believe in and worship is one of your own creation. You notice I purposely misspelled truth. It is evident to anyone reading this paragraph that there is an error in spelling. But if this ‘trooth’ was spoken out loud, you would hear ‘truth’, and never know that the trooth that was spoken was not the correct ‘truth’, because they both sound the same. Does it really matter how the word truth is spelled as long as it sounds the same? Does it really matter whether I know the God who is truth, or simply believe the god that sounds troothful. In the end the God of truth triumphs over the god of trooth, and over all who preferred his trooth.

Knowledge applied with understanding is wisdom. True knowledge applied with true understanding is true wisdom. Elohim has given us the truth, and They have preserved the truth throughout the ages by making it available to the whole world, each in their own language. This describes the wedding invitation offered to everyone, good or evil. All one need do is read the words of the Law, Prophets and testimony of the Son of God, and pay attention to the explicit instructions, follow them carefully and precisely, so they will be wearing the proper wedding attire at the great marriage feast (see Matthew 22:1-14).

Yes, as the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do. Isaiah 55:10-11 (JB)

Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find, knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. Matthew 7:7-8 (JB)

It would be wise if we could learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before us, because we know that making the same mistakes will give the same results. The mistakes made by the children of Israel were many, but these mistakes have a root cause, and this cause is they did never knew their God. They were satisfied with what they had learned in Egypt, and what this “new” God was doing and saying did not appeal to them in the least.

Elohim had put together a wonderful system of learning through participation in the processes that detailed every requirement for becoming righteous. This learning process included God providing their daily bread (mana), the functions of the tabernacle/sanctuary, and the pure genius of the testimony/Ten Commandments. The children of Israel went through the motions, but never understood the meaning of what Elohim was teaching them. They saw and heard, but did not perceive and understand. Elohim was trying to show Israel the way to the kingdom of Elohim, but Israel decided to take another way. The way to the kingdom of Elohim is the way to eternal life, any other way leads to eternal death.

Who, if any, are accountable for the failure of the Children of Israel to accomplish what Elohim had instructed as the demands of righteousness? Some may blame Elohim for the poor a choice of people, a seemingly difficult/impossible process, poor choice of priests, clearer learning tools, better relationship. Others may blame the leaders. Moses was a difficult person to work with, because of his unwillingness to confront Pharaoh, short temper, and not thinking twice about his hubris in giving God counsel, before He did something foolish or rash. The priests certainly must be high on the list of responsible culprits, because the priests are the teachers/shepherds of the people.

Come back, disloyal children -it is Yahweh who speaks- for I alone am your Master. I will take one from a town, two from a clan, and bring you to Zion. I will give you shepherds after my own heart, and these shall feed you on knowledge and discretion. Jeremiah 3:14-15 (JB)

The shepherds are the ones who have been stupid: they have not searched for Yahweh. This is why they have not prospered and why their whole flock has been dispersed. Jeremiah 10:15 (JB)

I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice and there will be only one flock, and one shepherd. John 10:14-16 (JB)
Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News (Gospel) of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest’. Matthew 9:15-17 (JB)

These texts are but a few examples of what God has been saying throughout the ages to those who have acknowledged He exists. An acknowledgment that God exists and believing is not what Elohim has required from those who desire to be accounted for in their kingdom.

Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people. There will be no further need for neighbor to try to teach neighbor, or brother to say to brother, ‘Learn to know Yahweh!’ No, they will all know me, the least no less than the greatest- it is Yahweh who speaks- since I will forgive their iniquity and never call their sin to mind. Jeremiah 31:33-34 (JB)

There is ample evidence proving that it was a lack of knowledge that kept the children of Israel from becoming the righteous kingdom of Elohim, and accomplishing God’s mandated purpose. If knowledge is light, then lack of knowledge is darkness. If truth is light, then the absence of truth (lies) is darkness.

‘The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased your whole body will be all darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be! Matthew 6:22-23 (JB)

This article began with the text from Matthew 13:13-15, where the Son of Elohim answered the question posed to Him by His disciples; “Why do you speak to them in parables”. His answer may be understood in two different ways. One way is that which is “obvious” to everyone. The purpose of a parable is to cull the flock, but this would be quite the opposite of what the Son of Elohim said about the “lost sheep of Israel”. To cull the flock is to reduce it, so in this instance the flock would need to be already in the sheepfold of Elohim. Then those who could not understand the parables would be put out. Yet this is not consistent with a shepherd looking for lost sheep to bring into his fold.

The Jews gathered round him and said, ‘How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ/Messiah, tell us plainly’. Jesus replied: ‘I have told you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name are my witness; but you do not believe, because you are no sheep of mine. The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know then and they follow me. I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me. The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father. The Father and I are one.’ John 10:24-30 (JB)

The Jews (religious leadership) were certain they had the truth. And the evidence of this was that Moses had received the Law/Torah directly from God. They also had the word of God which He had given to His prophets. For the Jews, this compilation is their scripture “Holy Bible”.

‘You study the scriptures, believing that in them you have eternal life; now these same scriptures testify to me, and yet you refuse to come to me for life! Do not imagine that I am going to accuse you before the Father: you place your hopes on Moses, and Moses will be your accuser. If you really believed him you would believe me too, since it was I that he was writing about; but if you refuse to believe what he wrote, how can you believe what I say? John 5:19,46,47 (JB)

Here is a critical question: Do you believe in God and His Son, and trust them, and do you recognize their voice? I am sure that most, if not all of you would answer, ‘yes’. But the truth of the matter is that if what you believe is founded on a lie, then the truth will sound like a lie to you. The voice of Elohim is always the truth and only those who recognize the truth will recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd.

‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had! Matthew 7:24-27 (JB)

The Son of Elohim states clearly that His words are the standard of truth (the rock) upon which our hope is built. Therefore, the words from anyone claiming to have received special instructions from God must be compared to that standard of truth.

There are many deceivers about in the world, refusing to admit that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. They are the Deceiver; they are the antichrist. Watch yourselves, or all our work will be lost and not get the reward it deserves. If anybody does not keep within the teaching of Christ but goes beyond it, he cannot have God with him: only those who keep to what he taught can have the Father and the Son with them. if anyone comes to you bringing a different doctrine, you must not receive him in your house or even give him a greeting. To greet him would make you a partner in his wicked work. 2nd John 7-11 (JB)

John was very concerned that the testimony of his Master/Teacher would be lost or distorted. John knew that the Son of Elohim had come to this earth ‘in the flesh’ for a very important reason, which was to testify to the truth. What John is emphasizing by using the phrase “refusing to admit that Jesus Christ came in the flesh” points to the fact that the testimony of Jesus that He gave ‘in the flesh’ is the standard by which all other teaching must be compared and judged. Any teaching or ‘gospel’ that goes beyond (or is outside of) the clear boundaries of the testimony of truth as provided by Jesus ‘in the flesh’ are lies; and those that teach these lies are blasphemers, and teachers of wickedness.

‘So you are a king then?’ said Pilate. ‘It is you who say it’ answered Jesus. ‘Yes I am a king, I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth: and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.’ ‘Truth?’ said Pilate ‘What is that?’ John 18:37-38 (JB)

What does the testimony of Jesus confirm? Everything in the Law and the Prophets continues to be authoritative, as well as His own testimony as recorded by His own eyewitness disciples in the New Testament. This includes the command to keep the ten commandments, which is the covenant of the kingdom of Elohim (Deut. 4:13). That Elohim requires righteousness in practice, not in theory. In order to enter the kingdom of Elohim you must be born from above (your Mother must be a spiritual being, i.e. the Holy Spirit). To accomplish this you must first become as a little child, one who knows nothing and is now ready to learn. Your Teacher must be the Holy Spirit, and the curriculum must be the Law and Prophets and testimony of the Son of God, as recorded by His eyewitness disciples Matthew, John, and Mark. Mark was not one of the twelve disciples, but it is proposed that he wrote for Peter, and this testimony is consistent with Matthew and John, (except for the ending which was added later-chapter 16:9-20). Everything John wrote is consistent with the testimony of Jesus. The two letters attributed to Peter (1Peter, and 2Peter) are believed to be pseudonymous, that is, no one knows who actually wrote them. Finally, Paul’s teaching goes completely against the testimony of the Son of Elohim.

Paul teaches that Jesus died to set us free from sin. The Son of Elohim teaches that the truth sets us free from sin. Paul teaches that sin is the transgression of the ten commandments, and the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus teaches that the ten commandments must be kept by all who want eternal life.

Then the dragon was enraged with the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, that is, all who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. Revelation 12:17
These are the ones who have kept their virginity (purity) and not been defiled with women (spiritual harlots); they follow the Lamb wherever he goes; they have been redeemed from amongst men to be the first-fruits for God and for the Lamb. They never allowed a lie to pass their lips and no fault can be found in them. Revelation 14:4-5 (JB)

How we perceive the information we have available today is vital to our eternal life. Does our preference (our frame of reference or paradigms) affect how we perceive? Of course it does. People have said, ‘Paul says so many wonderful things’; or, ‘You are throwing out the Bible or the New Testament’. Simply stated, what is being disallowed is everything that conflicts in any way with the Law and Prophets, and the testimony of Jesus.

Elohim gives everyone the freedom to choose what they believe, but this freedom to choose does not exclude the judgments, which come with the choices we make. We are free to choose to obey all that the Son of Elohim commanded. We are also free to disobey. Just because we are free to disobey Elohim does not free us from the outcome of the final judgment.

On these grounds is sentence pronounced: that though the light has come into the world men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds were evil. And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed; but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God. John 3:19-20 (JB)

How is the following statement to be perceived? “I don’t hate the light, I certainly do not prefer darkness. I do not do wrong, so what I do I do in God”.

Here is the bottom line question: Do you refuse to test what you have always believed simply because it seemed to work for your parents and grandparents, or because it seems to work for your church/denomination? Do you believe that God has confirmed your beliefs through external/internal phenomena, rather than the Words of Truth that Jesus brought from His Father in heaven? This is the same attitude displayed by the Jews and the children of Israel when their King came in person (in the flesh) to try to help them see the truth, and what they asked for instead was ‘signs and wonders’.

All of us, since birth, have been in spiritual darkness, because we were taught to believe lies. We must become as a little child again and learn from the Holy Spirit as she guides us through the Law and Prophets and the testimony of the Son of Elohim. The Holy Spirit is represented by the woman in Revelation chapter 12. She is the One in the heavens through whom we are born, because we must be born from above (born again, spiritual birth). When this happens we understand spiritual things, as well as earthly things. We are then fit for service to the kingdom of Elohim.

God is our shelter, our strength, ever ready to help in time of trouble, so we shall not be afraid when the earth gives way, when mountains tumble into the depths of the sea, and its waters roar and seethe, the mountains tottering as it heaves.
Yahweh Sabaoth is on our side, our citadel, the God of Jacob!
There is a river whose streams refresh the city of God, and it sanctifies the dwelling of the Most High. God is inside the city, she can never fall, at crack of dawn God helps her; to the roaring of nations and tottering of kingdoms, when he shouts, the world disintegrates.
Yahweh Sabaoth is on our side, our citadel the God of Jacob!
Come, think of Yahweh’s marvels, the astounding things he has done in the world; all over the world he puts an end to wars, he breaks the bow, he snaps the spear, he gives shields to the flames. ‘Pause a while and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted over the earth!’
Yahweh Sabaoth is on our side, our citadel the God of Jacob!
Psalm 46 (JB)

The judgment is coming, and it now is. What kind of people should we be? Are our eyes sound, is our integrity pure? Are our hearts full of light with the truth? The outcome for each one of us depends solely on our perception of the facts in evidence. If we ignore the facts then the evidence testifies against us.

If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully, it is not I who shall condemn him, since I have come not to condemn the world, but to save the world: he who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For what I have spoken does not come from myself; no, what I was to say, what I had to speak, was commanded by the Father who sent me, and I know that his commands mean eternal life. And therefore, what the Father has told me is what I speak.’ John 12:47-50 (JB)

Rick Sterling

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