Theresa Harvard Johnson

Copyright 2012 Theresa Harvard Johnson

Matthew 23 stands out to me, much like Jeremiah 23 & John 10 . These chapters have brought me much chastisement along my walk; and also great comfort as I am reminded of just how much Father loves each one of us. It also reminds me of how much it grieves Him to see HIS PEOPLE misuse, mistreat and abuse one another.


It reminds me of the remnant-walk that is taking place in this present move of the spirit: “A walk of greater death to self and to people; and a deeper press into His perfect will no matter the cost to one's flesh.”

The people Yeshua rebuked in Matthew 23 , and God spoke against in Jeremiah 23 and John 10 were not strangers to the Word, nor were they unfamiliar with His will. They were active, present and mature men who were officers in some capacity over the people. Not only were they social with one another, but they were the role models and examples of the Gospel to those “in the way.”

When reading Matthew 23 , we sometimes stop with the woes. I want to encourage you, even before finishing this post, to read further. You will find that Yeshua was not only out raged by the deliberate evil actions of the Pharisees and scribes but by the lengths that they would travel to preserve their traditions, theology and philosophies.  You see, they were willing to risk their souls to be “right” in their own lives and to maintain control of their established denominations and beliefs. In other words, they were willing to hold on to all this “stuff” rather than cleave to the newness, the fresh fragrance that Yeshua himself was offering them.

 

In Matthew 23:32-36 CJB we find Yeshua “SHOUTING” the WORD OF THE LORD in righteous indignation: “Go ahead then, finish what your fathers started! You snakes! Sons of snakes! How can you escape being condemned to Gei Hinnom (hell or the eternal, permanent separation from Yeshua)? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and Torah-teachers -- some of them you will kill, indeed, you will have them executed on stakes as criminals; some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so, on you will fall the guilt for all the innocent blood that has ever been shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Hevel (Abel) to the blood of Z'kharyah Ben-Berekhyah ((Zechariah, son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo) whom you murdered between the Temple and the altar. Yes! I tell you that all this will fall on this generation!”

 

Here we have the Yeshua very few recognize or want to talk about in scripture. Here we have the Yeshua whose heart is outraged by the atrocities committed behind pews and pulpits by profiteers. The same Yeshua who over turned the money changers table and DEMANDED that our present temples – the dwelling place of Holy Spirit – become houses of prayer.

 

You see, these SNAKES and these SONS OF SNAKES have not gone anywhere. They haven’t “left the building.” Instead, they are fully operating or attempting to move in the presence of a Holy God just as they did during the time when our Lord walked the earth in human flesh. The broken people behind the wrath of these people are crying out like Abel’s blood from the earth for rescue and deliverance. Why? Because the broken soul knows that “such snakes” desire to murder them between the temple and the altar – just like they murdered the Prophet Zachariah.

 

And here we have Yeshua declaring that even though these snakes seek to KILL HIM and others like him that HE WILL continue to send more righteous men forth. In verse 34 our Lord shouts: “Therefore I am sending YOU prophets and sages and Torah-teachers -- some of them you will kill, indeed, you will have them executed on stakes as criminals; some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.”


People of God, grasp hold of this. Look at how defiling this is! But this is what happens when we CAUSE BRETHREN TO SHED BLOOD. This is why the EARTH CRIED OUT when Abel's blood was shed. THIS IS WHY Yeshua came in demonstration. This is why LOVE IS SO NEEDED IN THE BODY... just not as an outward show.

 

THIS IS WHY we have such division among our members.

 

The people doing the killing WERE NOT PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE CONGREGATION. They were those within – the very ones that should have been able to DISCERN good from evil, brother from foe. What’s even more important here is that THE REMNANT MUST GRASP HOLD OF THIS SIMPLE TRUTH: “If you are a prophet, a man of wisdom or a teacher of the word – YOU ARE BEING MATURED TO BE SENT TO YOUR DEATH! You will be sent to SHOW FORTH THE GLORY OF GOD before the very one's that want you dead, destroyed, dessimated, etc."

 

Was this not a huge part of our Lord's walk?

 

Father is speaking to us - especially in the U.S. - so profoundly in this hour. And there are many who attempt speak on our behalf who want “this view of Yeshua” silenced. They desire to prophesy peace in the midst of war, torment and death when what we need as a people is Father’s truth concerning our CONDITION as a spotted Body….that must be washed clean and unified before we can enter in.

 

“Remnant! Remnant!” says the Spirit of the Lord. “Don’t be afraid of this journey, this torment! It is I who have sent you as sheep among wolves! It is I who have placed my voice in you and commanded that you prophesy! I have declared that some of you they will kill, some will be placed on the execution stake and some will be flogged in synagogues and pursued from town to town! This beloved must happen, but I AM WITH YOU! I AM WITH YOU! Beloved, I have to keep on sending you forth… until my will is fulfilled…”

 

Some of us may have to walk out “this kind” of ministry. We will have to stand in the gap and declare: “Not my will Lord, but your will be done! I will not stand silently or withhold my pen when Father requires that I write, speak, dance or declare! I will not leave my rampart! I will be who I was created to be in FATHER even in the face of men who have counted me out and killed me with their HEARTS!"

 

Father is also calling us to declare that we will not be a part of the the division that He hates; but a part of the solution -- as one crying out in the wilderness to prepare the way. Truly, the spirit of John the Immerser is upon the remnant!

 

People of God, we are being COMMANDED to stop killing one another by Father. Holy Spirit is well able to show us the areas in our lives in which we BRING DEATH to the relationships around us. He is also well-able to teach us in the ways that we walk that are full of error. You see, the “temple” is YOU and the altar is your PLACE AND POSITION OF RIGHT STANDING WITH GOD, YOUR POSTURE OF SACRIFICE AND WORSHIP. THAT BETWEEN PLACE IS A PLACE OF CHOICE, DECISION – one in which every man must decide whether or not they are going to follow the God of Yeshua OR the one of their flesh and emotion. That BETWEEN PLACE is one of death, preparation and testing as you approach the ALTAR.


You see, we murder with our contemplative thoughts FIRST and then with our outward action in the very temple where Holy Spirit dwells. THEN, we have the audacity to go before GOD ON OUR KNEES and try to present ourselves in postures of truth as our own hearts deceive us.

Zachariah’s murder may have taken place between a physical temple and altar (after leaving the presence of those he believed to be brothers); but it is a picture of what we do IN OUR HEARTS daily and in our outward actions that the Lord sees and judges. This is what the PHARISEES & SCRIBES whom Yeshua rebuked were doing! This is what happened in Jeremiah 23 ! This is what was being set up in John 10 and so many others places in the scripture. Who have you murdered? Who are you murdering? Will you turn to Father and repent?

People of God, if these things were no longer relevant… and if they didn’t matter or no longer matter, then explain: Why was so much time spent IN THE WORDS OF OUR LORD commanding us to love one another? Why did the emissaries constantly talk about how we should conduct ourselves? Why did our Lord declare that we would be sent out as sheep among wolves? Why are we warned about persecution IF EVERYTHING IS PERFECT in this exact moment?

Remnant, Father always raises Sons to carry His truth – not human subjective truth, but His truth! He raises us to walk in LOVE. It is WHO HE IS... and who he has called us to be.

Yeshua said in verse 35: And so, on you will fall the guilt for all the innocent blood that has ever been shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Hevel (Abel) to the blood of Z'kharyah Ben-Berekhyah (Zechariah, son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo) whom you murdered between the Temple and the altar. 36 Yes! I tell you that all this will fall on this generation!”

My journey in Father is still progressive; yet, there have been many murder attempts on my life. Nearly all of them have come from INSIDE my closest circles of influence. In these latter days, I am finding that they are coming outward in… at increased progression. For a while, I’d stand my ground fighting and fighting only to have Father say this to me: “I will fight your battles. Walk as I command you to walk. Say and do what I tell you to do and I will uphold my promises concerning you.”

Remnant, please know that Father has your back – watch and pray. Our greatest lesson here is that we do not become the MURDERERS or allow the murderous influence of others to hinder Father’s call on our lives – whatever our portion may be. Our challenge in this present time is to ensure that our temples are undefiled and that our altars release a righteous fragrance before our Father.

Yeshua GRIEVED over the treatment of HIS BODY. Where is your godly sorrow? Your weeping and tears, groans and moans over the atrocities done in the TEMPLE? I pray that we come into the unity of the faith...

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