Baptism of the Holy Spirit

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Many churches put a great emphasis on conversion and water baptism, and for good reason; they are crucial steps in the life of the believer and are the doorway to a new life in Messiah. But not many people talk about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Yet this special gift, given by Yahweh, is available to all believers. Though not required for salvation, its true importance is not generally understood. It represents a deeper revelation of and communion with the Father, as well as spiritual empowerment.

John the Baptist spoke of this experience: “I indeed baptize you with water, but He comes who is mightier than I, the latchet of whose sandals I am not worthy to loosen. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16. See also Matthew 3:11 and Mark 1:8).

Yahshua the Messiah promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as well: “For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence” (Acts 1:5). This promise was fulfilled only days later on Pentecost:

“And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind… there appeared to them tongues dividing apart, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:2-4).

Was this outpouring limited to those who came together that day? No, it was not.

“And Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Yahshua the Messiah to the remission of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

In fact, there were numerous instances in the New Testament where people received the baptism of the Holy Spirit: Acts 8:14-17; 9:17-18; 10:44-47; and 19:1-7. In all of these occurrences there was evidence to prove that Yahweh had poured out His Spirit on a person or a people. While there may be many proofs of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the two initial signs identified most prominently in Scripture are speaking in tongues and prophesying.

As we already saw in the account from Acts 2, the disciples were filled with the Spirit and began to speak in other tongues. We find a similar occurrence in Acts 10, where the apostle Peter was ministering the Gospel at Caesarea to Cornelius and many of his friends:

“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. They of the circumcision who believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in other tongues and magnifying God…” (Acts 10:44-46).

At Lion of Judah Family Worship Center, we wholeheartedly embrace all of the spiritual gifts as outlined in Scripture, including both speaking in tongues and prophesying (see 1 Corinthians 12 and 14). Tongues can take several forms: as a private prayer language, for the edification (building up) of the one praying, in order to stir oneself up to greater faith and expression of worship; or as an utterance in the congregation as an expression of one of the gifts of the Spirit. When this happens, it will be accompanied by interpretation by someone in the assembly, so that the whole Body may be edified. Prophesying, on the other hand, is a divinely inspired utterance in a known language for the purpose of edification, exhortation, and consolation of the Body (1 Corinthians 14:3-5).

If you have never put your faith in Messiah for salvation, we exhort you to do so. And if you have, then we also exhort you to receive the gift of the Father – the baptism of the Holy Spirit – and experience a new dimension in Him. Yahshua said, “It is expedient that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart I will send it to you” (John 16:7). He went on to say that the purpose of the Comforter coming was to “lead you into all truth” (John 16:13). What a blessing for all believers!

Should you have any questions about this experience, please don’t hesitate to ask. You may also listen to free audio teachings on the subject on our Sermons page.

The Five-Fold Ministry

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Everything that our heavenly Father does is according to a pattern. We can see that on a grand scale in the wondrous beauty of Creation all around us; we can see it on a more personal level by considering the incredible complexity of the human body, from the operation of the circulatory system and the brain down to the sub-molecular level of individual strands of DNA.

Likewise, everything Yahweh does in Scripture is also according to a pattern. When He told Moses to build the tabernacle in the wilderness, He said, “see that you make it according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain” (Exod. 25:40). This wasn’t some vague outline but a very detailed “blueprint”. Moses built the tabernacle according to Yahweh’s very exacting specifications, and when he had finished it and everything was in place, that’s when “the glory of Yahweh filled the tabernacle” (Exod. 40:33-38).

Similarly, after his father David had given him the pattern of “all that he had by the Spirit” (1 Chron. 28:11-12), Solomon built the temple at Jerusalem. Again, it was when he had finished it and everything was in place that the glory of Yahweh filled it.

Today, Yahweh no longer dwells in temples made with hands. Instead, He dwells within His people as individuals and collectively within His ekklesia (“church”). Nevertheless, He still has a specific pattern by which His dwelling place – the ekklesia – must be built. What is that pattern? According to Scripture it is what some have termed the “five-fold ministry”.

We’re told in Ephesians 4:8 that when Yahshua ascended to heaven, He gave “gifts” to men. A few verses later, those gifts are identified, along with their purpose: “And He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of ministering, to the building up of the Messiah: till we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of Yahweh, to a full grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Messiah” (Eph. 4:11-13).

The “five-fold ministry” consists of 5 ministry gift offices: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. They were given collectively to the Body for the purpose of the perfecting of the saints. Are all of the saints perfected? Have we achieved the ‘unity of the faith’ and reached the ‘stature of the fullness of the Messiah’? The obvious answer to these questions is ‘No’. Since the Body hasn’t become that ‘perfect Man’, then we obviously still need ALL of the 5-fold ministry gifts, including the apostle and prophet, functioning within the Body of Messiah.

When we build His house according to His pattern – the pattern of the 5-fold ministry – then and only then will His glory truly be manifested in all of its fullness. Only then will we become Yahweh’s glory on the earth, having prepared and readied ourselves to rule and reign with Him.

At Lion of Judah Family Worship Center, we recognize that we must build Yahweh’s house – the ekklesia – “according to the pattern” that He has given us. We fully embrace not just the concept but the reality of all of the 5-fold ministry gifts. We also recognize that, in order for the Body to become all that it is meant to be, each of us must take his or her place in the local assembly. We cannot fulfill our awesome purpose without men and women like you, people who recognize the need, understand the purpose, and desire to be a living part of the restoration of Yahweh’s order.

Come and join us in this incredible end-time work!

“So then you are no more strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow-citizens with saints, and of the household of Yahweh, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the Messiah Yahshua himself being the chief cornerstone.” (Eph. 2:19-20)

The Sabbath

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A Memorial

We live in a fast-paced world, and people are working more and more hours just trying to “make ends meet”, often to the detriment of marriage, family, and even health. Our heavenly Father had a better way in mind – a way He instituted at Creation specifically for our benefit.

“And the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day Elohim (eh-low-HEEM, ‘God’) finished His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it He rested from all His work…” (Gen 2:1-3).

So our Creator rested on the seventh day, and He blessed it and hallowed it (set it apart) because He had rested on it. The simple fact of His resting created special time.

Many hundreds of years later, following their deliverance from bondage in Egypt, the ancient Israelites were reminded of this wondrous act:

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of Yahweh your Elohim… for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; Therefore Yahweh blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Ex. 20:1-2, 8-11).

The weekly Sabbath is actually a memorial, a memorial of Creation and of redemption (see Deut. 5:12-15, for instance).

The “Jewish Sabbath”?

Many people have been taught that it is the “Jewish Sabbath”. But we need to remember a couple of things: first, there were no “Jews” at Creation! Second, the term “Jew” actually refers to the descendents of Judah – only one of the twelve sons of Israel. Third, the Sabbath is never identified in Scripture as only for the Jews. On the contrary:

“And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, Yahweh’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations — My appointed times are these: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to Yahweh in all your dwellings” (Lev. 23:1-3).

So it is not the “Jewish Sabbath.” It is an appointed time (appointment) of Yahweh, and a holy convocation (gathering). In fact, all of the feast days identified in Leviticus 23 are “feasts of Yahweh.” Over and over again, Scripture tells us that there is to be one law for the foreigner and the native-born Israelite.

Messiah and the Sabbath

During His earthly ministry the Messiah had to contend with accusations from the scribes and Pharisees that He was teaching people to disobey and disregard the Sabbath. But what we find is that He did observe the Sabbath – just not according to their traditions. In fact, He told them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath’ ” (Mark 2:27).

He did NOT say that the Sabbath was made for “the Jews,” but rather for man (all mankind). Nor did He say that people weren’t to observe it any more. He never objected to the Sabbath; what he objected to were the man-made rules and regulations about it that the Pharisees and scribes had imposed upon the people.

Many sincere believers have been taught that the Sabbath was “done away with” when Messiah died. However, that’s not what the Bible teaches; on the contrary, according to Scripture there remains a Sabbath rest (sabbatismos – literally, ‘the keeping of a Sabbath’) to the people of Yahweh (Hebr. 4:9). Yahshua the Messiah kept the Sabbath, as did Paul and the disciples (see Luke 23:56; Acts 13:14, 27, 42-44; 15:21; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4, etc.).

The seventh day Sabbath is holy to Yahweh. As followers of Messiah, it holds a special place in our lives, too – a memorial not only of Creation, but also of our redemption through the Blood of the Lamb. At Lion of Judah Family Worship Center, we don’t see the Sabbath as an imposition or burden but rather as a delight (see Isa. 58:13-14) – one day a week when we can rest and be refreshed, leaving behind the cares and concerns of this world – and worship the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

If you have any questions about this subject, please don’t hesitate to ask. You may also request our free in-depth booklet entitled “A Day to Remember”.

Why ‘Yahweh’ and ‘Yahshua’?

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Why Yahweh?

Names are important. They’re important in the world in which we live, and they’re especially important when it comes to worship. In fact, every major religion has a personal name for its object of worship. Yet if you were to ask most professing Christians the name of the one they worship, they would likely respond with “God” or “the Lord”. But these are generic titles, not names. Neither word specifically identifies who they mean. English-speaking adherents of all of the world’s major religions use these same terms in reference to their deities.

Our heavenly Father actually does have a personal Name, and it is clearly revealed in the original Old Testament Scriptures. In fact, He revealed His holy Name to Moses at the burning bush. When Moses asked who he ought to tell the Israelites had sent him, he was told:

“… You shall say to the children of Israel, Yahweh – the Elohim (‘God’) of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob – has sent me to you: this is My Name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations” (Exod. 3:15).

Most English Bible translations replace ‘Yahweh’ with ‘the LORD’ here. In fact, the underlying Hebrew word – יהוה – occurs 6,823 times in the original Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament, but it has been replaced in most English versions of the Bible by the titles ‘God’ and ‘the LORD’. Nevertheless, most Bible scholars acknowledge that the Father’s Name in the original texts is ‘Yahweh’ (pronounced “Yah-way”).

The key is to understand that proper names are not translated but transliterated – written in a language to replicate the pronunciation in another. In other words, the pro-nunciation of a name doesn’t change when it is transliterated from one language to another. For example, the name Ronald Reagan is still pronounced as Ronald Reagan, whether one is speaking English, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, or Swahili. Similarly, Mikhail Gorbachev’s name is pronounced the same, regardless of the language.

“I am Yahweh – that is My Name, and My glory will I not give to another, nor My praise to carved images” (Isa. 42:8).

At Lion of Judah Family Worship Center, we call upon our heavenly Father by this personal, revealed, memorial Name – Yahweh. Although we also occasionally use the terms “God” and “Lord”, we recognize that those are titles, like “man” or “woman” or “Pastor” – they’re not His name. We don’t use ‘Jehovah’ because, although it is a name, it’s not the name of the Creator. The Hebrew language does not and has never had a “J” sound. In addition, the word ‘hováh’ in Hebrew means ruin, mischief, or disaster. Therefore ‘Jehovah’ or ‘Yehovah’ could not possibly be a proper rendering of the name of God.

Why Yahshua?

The angel Gabriel, appearing to Joseph, told him that Mary would give birth to the promised Messiah of Israel, who was to be given a specific Name for a specific purpose: “And she shall bring forth a Son; and you shall call His Name YAHSHUA; for it is He that shall save His people from their sins… And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of Yahweh commanded him, and took unto him his wife; and knew her not till she had brought forth a Son: and he called His Name YAHSHUA” (Matt 1:21, 24-25).

As mentioned previously, there is no ‘J’ sound in Hebrew (or Greek), so the Messiah’s Name could not have been ‘Jesus’, which is an Anglo-Latin-Greek hybrid name that didn’t exist until about 400 years ago. The Hebrew name Yahshua means ‘Yah is salvation’. Yah is the shortened or poetic form of Yahweh. It’s appropriate that the Messiah, the Son of Yahweh, would bear His Father’s Name. In fact, He said that He came in His Father’s Name (John 5:43).

The revealed names of Yahweh and Yahshua are of utmost importance. However, we recognize that this is new revelation for many people, so we at Lion of Judah Family Worship Center make it our mission to receive people where they’re at. We encourage you to study this subject in depth and allow Yahweh, by His Spirit, to reveal this truth to you. He is seeking true worshippers who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24).

Should you have any questions about this subject, please don’t hesitate to ask. You may also request our free, in-depth booklet, “In the Name of the Father”.