Have you ever had an unexpected guest come to visit your home with too little time to prepare for them? Someone important… someone that you respect greatly? If so, you probably rushed about trying to make things presentable only to have the time expire and there you stood, cleaning cloth in hand as you looked up in their presence.
Early one morning during a time of earnestly seeking the Lord in prayer, I had such an experience. I was seeking Him because I needed SOMETHING to change. Years of active involvement in the Christian church and years of trying to apply techniques for better discipleship had left me frustrated. I knew deep down that it all felt shallow and inauthentic, so I found myself crying out that morning for God to reveal TRUTH to me and for Him to show me the PROTOCOL of His eternal Kingdom. I sensed a shift as I continued to pray. It was as if I myself and the room I was in were transported to a higher dimension. I somehow instinctively knew that the supreme, majestic, presence of the Most High God was about to enter the room! A room which was messy with several magazines laying around and floors un-swept. Then, right as I’m caught in a state of embarrassed panic and wanting to quickly sweep dirt under the rug and organize the magazines, HE ENTERED the room. I never saw His face, but I knew that He extended His right hand toward me as I sat on the sofa looking toward Him. The gesture of His raised hand brought calmness and assurance to me as He said, “It’s okay, it’s okay… we’re going to take this ‘item by item’.” The very next instant He was leaving through the room’s eastern wall. I saw Him in faint detail at a distance, and He was wearing a backpack (yes…a backpack). He looked back at me over His right shoulder saying, “You know, We are ‘outfitting’ you for royalty” and He was gone.
As my eyes opened from praying, I was so stimulated with euphoria that I found myself repeating the words “DO WHATEVER HE SAYS!” over and over that entire day “DO WHATEVER HE SAYS!”. I knew that the backpack symbolized an adventure and a journey whereby the “items” would be dealt with one at a time through my obedience. I also knew that the protocol which I yearned for would be given to me along the way in this journey toward the reality of His eternal Royal Kingdom. It was a personalized message of assurance and His answer to my cry. It was as if all things were being made new!
The next several weeks became some of the most rewarding of my life. A copy of the “Complete Jewish Bible” found me at a Christian bookstore. I read from it every day while seeking to obey, and the Holy Spirit began to reveal scriptural truth to me. I learned that thinking of the Old Testament through the “lens” of the New Testament because the Old Testament is “done away with” (as Christianity had taught me) was completely wrong. The reverse is true! The Old Testament (the Torah or first 5 books, the Writings, & the Prophets) is the historical and chronological FOUNDATION of biblical faith. I also learned that the Hebrew word “Torah” (commonly translated into English as “LAW”) literally means INSTRUCTIONS & TRAINING in RIGHTEOUSNESS. It was immediately obvious to me that obeying the Torah (instructions and training) was what God meant when He said to me that we would “take this item by item”. I thought, “This is it! This is PROTOCOL of the kingdom that I was asking for!”.
About this time, I began to attend a wonderful Torah observant Messianic assembly called Ruach Ministries International in Brandon, Florida. There it was revealed to me that most of the holidays that I had kept since childhood were rooted in pagan worship, and that God has appointed Holy days for us to keep instead. I learned that keeping the Torah means that we assemble with other obedient believers to keep the appointed times (weekly Sabbaths, seasonal feasts, & new moons) as a choice to keep the covenant offered by YHVH – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel – to His people. I also learned that Yeshua (Jesus) kept the Torah perfectly, and that by faith in Him & obedience to His and His Father’s commands, we are considered by God to be a part of the commonwealth of Israel and brought near to participate in the covenants and promises which have been made to Israel. Furthermore, I discovered that YHVH is calling forth a ROYAL Priesthood and a Holy Nation who keep His PROTOCOL to be light unto the world as He establishes and gathers the body of Messiah Yeshua from the four corners of the earth in the restoration all things.
In retrospect, the experience of God’s personal visit that morning changed me deeply. It left me with the inescapable conclusion that… If you want to be who our creator made you to be, if you want to be “outfitted for royalty”, you will love Him with all your heart and obey His Torah “item by item”. Everything else is chaff that the wind blows away.