Are You Pure or Are You Perverse?
“…and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, YaHuWaH, are in the midst of this people. For you, YaHuWaH, are seen face to face. Your cloud stands over them and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.” Numbers 14:14
“With the purified one You show Yourself pure, But with the perverse one You show Yourself cunning.” Psalm 18:26
Most of us carry an image of perversity as some deep, dark, evil proponent when, in fact, there is no moral equivalency associated with its definition at all. The English translated word perverse found in Psalm 18:26 comes from the Hebrew word ‘ikkesh whose primary definition is twisted, distorted, crooked. This is the same Hebrew word used in Deuteronomy 32:5 citing the cause of YaHuWaH’s separation from His Sons.
The Greek word used in Matthew 17:17 by Yahusha is diastrepho, which means to distort, a turning aside. We see in both languages that the meaning of perverse is not some demented thing, but merely a slight distortion of or turning from the Truth. Hearkening back to geometry class in high school I can remember the professor drawing two straight lines, each having the same starting point at one end but with a one degree of separation between them. As those lines were extended, for the longest time they appeared as a single line. It was only after a length of extension that the separation between them became evident with their eventual end points noticeably miles apart. So it is with becoming perverse. A slight separation from Truth only becomes evident over time. The motivation behind how that slight turning comes to be is not addressed in either definition but could be very well intentioned. A friend of mine recently told me that he “didn’t care what the scripture says, the Spirit tells me what I need to know and He will not tell me wrong”. The only problem with that line of thought is when it begins to collide with what the words of scripture say and mean. The reason we are given scripture is to validate that what we hear in spirit is actually of YaHuWaH – or not because He will never deny His Nature revealed in those words. There are many voices out there. Believe me, I know as I have listened to most of them at different points in my life. While they can be very, very enticing, they can also be very deceiving, often presenting themselves extremely convincingly as an angel of Light.
“Already you are clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” John 15:3
So, then, if “perverse” is not what it is commonly thought to be – what does it mean, scripturally, to be “pure”? Here, again, there is no moral equivalency associated with the word’s meaning. The English word translated pure found in Psalm 18 above comes from the Hebrew word barar which means to purify, select, polish, choose, purge, cleanse or make bright, to test or prove. It is also used in 1 Chronicles 9:22 to describe the Gatekeepers of the temple. The Greek word translated as the English “clean” in John 15:3 above is katharos and means purified by fire, free from every admixture of what is false. Yahusha said it is because of the words He spoke that, as we incorporate those words into our behavior, we become pure. What words were those? He prefaced what He said in John 15:3 with what He said in John 14:23-24 that the words He spoke were not His – but the words of His Father, YaHuWaH.
So it is that the Words of the Father, YaHuWaH, is what purifies us. The “fiery law” of Deuteronomy 33:2 appeared as “tongues of fire” upon those believers waiting on the Promise at the Hebrew feast of Yom Shavu’ot (day of Pentecost) – the same earthshaking day the Words of YaHuWaH’s Nature had first been given in fire to the family of Jacob (Yisra’El) at Sinai on tablets of stone. These are the same words given with such a fiery intensity that, when kept, purifies the holder of those words. Yahusha came to baptize with ruach ha kodesh (reading right to left is Hebrew for the set-apartness of spirit) AND WITH FIRE. It is the fire of life’s tribulation that causes the impure to separate from the pure – not the other way around.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see YaHuWaH.” Matthew 5:8
The religious hirelings tell us we can barter set-apartness for convenience, faithfulness for success, wisdom for teachings, sound doctrine for personal gain and our lives will still be acceptable worship to YaHuWaH. But, Yahusha says that if you are going to be the salt of the world, you will have to remain pure to YaHuWaH’s purposes. That means doing as He instructs – not bringing our favorite agenda to the table. The real translation of the word used for “pure” in this verse comes from the same Greek word translated as the English “clean” used earlier – katharos, meaning to “purge or cleanse.”
Also seen earlier, the Hebrew word for “pure” is barar which has as its derivative, bar, used in Psalm 19:8 to declare YaHuWaH’s commandments, His Words, to be pure. Of course, what is cleansed is pure; thus, katharos is the same word Kiefer (the apostle Peter) uses in 1 Peter 1:22 telling us HOW our lives are cleansed and made pure – by obedience to the Truth. That Truth is contained in YaHuWaH’s Words, Who IS Truth. Yahusha said He only spoke what He was taught of His Father. Yahusha is the Way to the Truth Who Is the Source of Life. It is in the practice of the Words of Spirit that we are made clean – “bringing forth” the purity of Spirit through our lives into this earthly realm. This is what it means to SEE YaHuWaH – to be scripturally Born Again.
Interestingly, the only place where salt loses its saltiness is in the crucible of fire. Mixing motives for selfish gain, concerns for self-protection, preoccupation with selfish desires and moral “holidays” with the real salt only turns us into Salt Sea salt – salty, but useless in YaHuWaH’s Kingdom. How, then, are we able to determine whether we are being Pure or Perverse in a situation? It is by how we behave when we are confronted with the circumstances of life. We can embrace the Father’s Glory as demonstrated by the Life of Yahusha, allowing the Father to use the circumstance to polish us into a brighter Light of His Image – or we can lay hold of the situation and become determined to fashion it into what we would like to see happen, all in the “name of righteousness” and “all for the glory of YaHuWaH” of course.
For me, throughout my life it has been a struggle when I hear Him speak or see a need to continue to wait until He illumines the next step in the path He desires me to take. Waiting for Him to not only say, “…this is what I would have you to do” but, also, and equally as important, “…this is how I would have you to do it.” The bane of my spiritual walk has been seeing the path He has laid out before me and thinking, “…I know how to do that” (a slight turning), then skipping merrily off doing what I know to do, sure I am in His Will – until I find myself way off down the road in an utter balagan (Hebrew for a huge mess), apart from where I should be and wondering what happened.
YaHuWaH does not need my help in executing His Plans and Purposes in this earthly realm. All He is after is a willingness on my part to be obedient to His Words in the face of what is set in front of me. For some of us (me) that is easier said than done. In a sweet conversation with an equally sweet sister in the Faith, Y’hudit spoke of a hobby someone in her family had of polishing rocks. This person kept a small rock polisher in a back room that, when filled with water and a drop of lubricant, would cause the small stones placed inside to tumble against one another for 24 hours, knocking off the impurities they had collected lying around in someone’s driveway. What would start out as insignificant, ugly rocks would emerge as beautiful, polished gemstones – sparkling in the light of day. She recounted of how she remembered this person saying that there would always be one stone harder than the others that would require many sessions before it became radiant, but, in the process, was instrumental in making sure the softer rocks were cleaned and polished thoroughly. Some of us (like me) are just a bit harder and require extra sessions in the tumbler to be polished completely. To become a highly polished gemstone, to be stripped of our own agenda, to be cleansed of the things we have held onto as dear to us, is not a ‘fun’ process – but, it is an essential process if we desire His Life to become our Life (1John 4:17).
When we allow Him the freedom to do with us as He pleases, the end result is that we BECOME Pure and are able to see Elohim in the Purity of Who He Is (see what it means to Become Vulnerable).
Tradition comes from the Greek word, paradosis, which means a giving up or giving over, the act of giving up. For most of us, what we believe is what we have been taught by others. We carry within us a mixture of what is true and what is false coming mostly from our embrace of the traditions of men wrapped in teachings handed down to us as “truth” (Mark 7:6-9). We embrace what we have been taught because those teachings sound reasonable and keeping them is easier than digging out Truth for ourselves (not really, but we convince ourselves so). In so doing, we forfeit the ability to hear YaHuWaH for ourselves by “giving ourselves over” to the agendas of other men. Scripture tells us we do not need some man to teach us of Who He Is. Yahusha said we can trust Ruach to guide us into all Truth for He is Truth. However, there is a price to pay for learning of His Truth – we begin to be “tumbled”. Yahusha said in John 16:13-14 that He “…came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” What is abundant Life? If you put Life on a graph from 0 to 100 with 0 being the pits and 100 being the highest mountain top experience, then the line denoting “Life” within the graph would be 0 and 100 – and everything in between! Abundant Life is experiencing everything – love, loss, joy, grief, gladness, sorrow, success and failure. It is from these experiences, the circumstances of our life lived in this earthly realm with others, that He is able to polish the impurities of our life into the Glory of Who He Is IF (a big little word) we give those circumstances to Him and, while in the middle of the circumstance, proclaim His Goodness by giving YaHuWaH praise – thanking Him for Life.
“I will call upon YaHuWaH, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.” 2 Samuel 22:4
The “enemies” we face are not according to the flesh (in spite of what the man-made religion of Christianity perpetually teaches) but, rather, any thought that might surface from within that would exalt itself against what we have come to know of the Nature of YaHuWaH (according to the flesh). The English word “praised” used in 2 Samuel 22:4 is translated from the Hebrew word halal which means “to shine, to flash forth light”. When we embrace YaHuWaH’s Words by surrendering ourselves to those Words with a willing heart, holding nothing back, we “flash forth” the fire of those Words. We become Light. We manifest YaHuWaH’s Nature. This is what it means to “embrace” Yahusha’s Life for this is what He did while in the flesh.
It was not until after I had failed through the better part of 17 years of being a Christian, thinking that I knew Him, that I came to understand that the Father loves failures – He endears Himself to them (Isaiah 57:15). Today, because I have given Him those failures to use however He wishes, somehow (and I honestly don’t know how He does it) He is able to sculpt those failures into something that imparts Life to others who are at a loss, grieving or in the depths of despair. He uses them to encourage and help keep some who would receive the lessons of those experiences from falling into a place of embitterment (Hebrews 12:15).
It is only from languishing in that pit of despair that causes one to be able to relate to the pain others are suffering. How can we do that if all we have is health and prosperity? Nowhere in scripture are we guaranteed health and Yahusha makes plain that riches and Ruach do not coexist. Our testimony, then, becomes how the Faithfulness of this One Who First Comforted me with the Light of His Life while still in that blackness sustains me today (Romans 5:1-5). Sometimes He extracted me from the pit, but more often than not He allowed me to remain there for a season for my spiritual benefit and that I might have a testimony of His Goodness in the face of overwhelming darkness. That no matter what I see, no matter what I hear, no matter what I feel, no matter what I think – He remains Faithful and Good (Romans 8:28).
He was able to show me, in the middle of what seemed to be entirely bleak situations, how He had never left me, had not abandoned me, had not forsaken me. He imparted Life to me. His pillar of cloud guided me by day and His pillar of fire that now resides within gave me hope in the midst of dark circumstance that He was there with me – that I might share that Hope with others (2 Corinthians 1:4). The testimony, the Word we keep, is His Life lived in and through us – today, in the here and now (Rev. 12:11).
“For YaHuWaH knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” Psalm 1:6
It is a laughable fact that statistically most people believe they are above average. It is a very sad fact that most people believe they are not among the wicked. Despite considerable warnings about the narrow way, most religious people believe that they are on the “right path”. Most adherents to the Christian religion think once you have your ticket stamped, being good is good enough. Christians are being baptized into a way of life that has been syncretizing pagan customs for 2000 years into a way of life that sees no connection to Torah – into a way of life that is about being a good (and successful) person.
But, if we begin to talk about David’s definition of the wicked, the conversation ends abruptly. The first Psalm is about the preeminent place of Torah, the only true guiding light for Life. The wicked are defined as those who do not follow the instructions of YaHuWaH found in His Words. Just like the statistics about “average,” the Greek paradigm of the Christian Church convinces their followers that they are among the righteous in spite of their obvious behavioral misalignment to the Words of YaHuWaH and Yahusha. Who, then, does scripture consider to be the wicked? In this verse from Psalms 1:6, the Hebrew word is rasha’ – someone who is hostile to YaHuWaH. In Paleo-Hebrew, the definition is “the person consuming experience” – suggesting that the wicked are those who live according to their experience of life, whose standard is not the one revealed by YaHuWaH outside the human frame; but, rather, the standard of what pleases now, inside the human frame.
Does it matter if that standard is determined by the Church rather than the civilization? The paradigm is still not revelation. It is accommodated revelation, modified and adjusted to the culture. Yes, the Church does advocate acts of righteousness, compassion, benevolence and moral character, but on what basis? The Bible? The Bible teaches Torah. Every prophet, every disciple, even the Messiah teaches Torah. The Bible does not teach a higher human morality. It teaches a revelation from YaHuWaH – that His Pillars accompany those that unequivocally trust Him behaviorally through their faithfulness to His Words in all circumstance. Adjustments of that revelation are the signs of wickedness. That He will change circumstance to accommodate our comfort and convenience is an adjustment to His Words.
The Words of Life
Most Christians, Islamists, Buddists, Hindus, etc., are good people trying to live good lives and be faithful to a religious god they don’t really know. They just have not been taught that Torah obedience is the standard of righteousness. Consequently, they are unable to imagine that Torah disobedience is wickedness. No one has ever taught them that the Greek word translated as the English “law”, nomos is Torah and anomos is lawLESSness, i.e., without Torah. Water Baptism means nothing without subsequently becoming observant followers of the revelation of YaHuWaH found in His Words.
From the time of Noah, everyone on the planet has carried the corrupted blood of Adam which meant that, like Adam after the separation in the Garden, anyone on the planet could hear the voice of YaHuWaH speaking to them but they have refused to hear Him say, “Now follow in My Ways” because, instead, they have heard the Church tell them that their tickets are stamped, now go be a good person – but 2000 years of anti-Hebraic teaching does not make that position excusable. Words mean things. These folks can read and just reading the scriptures should convince anyone that YaHuWaH does have a standard and He expects His people to live by it. Those of us who know this are also expected to help others see it, to help them become citizens of the Kingdom of YaHuWaH. It was not until I decided to go against all of the traditional “comfort theology” I had accumulated over the years to embrace what I was reading in scripture not to “pray in faith” the circumstances I considered adverse to change but, instead, to wait within those circumstances on Him in whatever form His Goodness appeared in – that I only then began to truly see Him for Who He said He Is.
If my waiting on Him in those circumstances meant it would cause me to perish – then, like the boys before Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace, I would perish. When they made that commitment with their lives, they did not know whether YaHuWaH would deliver them or not. Either way, they were determined to not bow to unbelief (Daniel 3:17-18). It was not until I became determined to remain in that place that He brought me into the realization of how seeking for healings, signs and wonders to extricate us from the uncomfortableness we find in our life is just an indication of our unbelief in His Goodness in the present circumstances (John 4:48, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9). The external manifestation of His Power is deliberate – to gain the attention of the unfaithful. For the faithful who have embraced His Life, that Power becomes manifested internally, within us, to purify, to cleanse and that we might be made whole. This is virtue – an excellence of spirit. This is how we BECOME Light (1John 4:17). We BECOME Light, as did Yahusha, for the benefit of others – not ourselves (James 4:3).
We look upon this brief, breath of a lifetime as trying to make it as comfortable, convenient and painless as possible. The whole of society, indeed, the world is geared toward convincing us that we can extend our life and make it better by doing certain things, eating certain foods and thinking certain thoughts. The reality is – everybody dies. The most important lesson I have learned is that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. We are not even guaranteed the rest of today! Every person Yahusha healed – died. Except for Yahusha, no one has escaped this life with their flesh intact – and His was transformed. The Father knows this. This is why He said to “…take no thought for tomorrow,” and, “…He knows what you have need of” (Matthew 6:31-34). We have not been placed here to curry a few more days of favor on this planet. We have been placed here to be a beacon of Light set on a hillside in the midst of turbulence for all to see that others might be influenced to partake of this Life we are so privileged to enjoy (Matthew 5:14-15).
The Father is more interested in the eternality of our spirit than He is in the immediacy of our circumstance. We should begin to approach this life from His perspective instead of from our own.
“Since therefore Messiah suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of YaHuWaH.” 1 Peter 4:1-2