Fellowship Of Suffering
The proper “Road Map” will always have you arrive at the correct finish line.
The New Testament exhibits a partial fulfillment of the Old Testament’s promised glories of mankind. Hearts and minds are joyfully gladdened upon comprehending the many great events promised and alluded to in the Old Testament as explained and expanded through Yahshua. Adding to the joy was His sending the Holy Spirit to indwell us. Perhaps the grandest news is that it is possible for obedient human beings to become the veritable son or daughter of our Heavenly Father Yahweh. As Firstfruits, we will become spirit beings at the first resurrection!
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the [children] of [Yahweh]: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the [children] of [Yahweh] it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is, 1 John 3:1-2 AV.
Those in the first resurrection will be brought to life in the spirit world and can manifest themselves at will in the physical, human tradition or remain in the spirit realm, becoming invisible. Just as Yahshua could move through walls or buildings and emerge on the other side, so will we be able to vanish and appear at will.
And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight, Luke 24:31 AV.
And as they thus spake, Yahshua Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit, Luke 24:36-37 AV.
Read our mini-study “The Spirit Realm.”
Road Map To The Kingdom
To help in achieving our goal of being in the first resurrection, we are given a “road map” to the kingdom. This roadmap lists seven times of the year that Yahweh expects us to take time from our busy calendar of worldly activities and spend time reviewing and learning more about the coming “World Tomorrow,” a rehearsal of life in the kingdom and what is expected of us now and what is anticipated in the future. We joyfully take time from our activities and concerns in the mundane world so that we can renew our spiritual
goals in preparation for our greater responsibilities in the kingdom. The weekly Sabbath also keeps us alert to the signs of the times.
Numerous promises in Scripture continually motivate humans to enter into the covenant with Yahweh and become a partaker of these wonderful blessings. The “Who’s Who” of saints found in Hebrews 11 tells of the heavy price some of the faithful paid for their determination to be a partaker of these wonderful promises. By faith they obeyed Yahweh, and subdued kingdoms, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, and weakness was turned to strength. Others were tortured, chained, put in prison, stoned, and sawed in two, verses 33-40.
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented. (Of whom the world was not worthy). They wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: Yahweh having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Joined Through Baptism
Through baptism we have joined with these dedicated saints and together we await the return of Yahshua. We are determined to do whatever it takes that we will indeed remain steadfast in His truth, and be accounted worthy of the high calling in Yahshua.
The price required by some of the faithful for resisting Satan’s forces of evil is beyond our comprehension. Words do not instill the anguish, neither the mental and physical torment suffered by many of the martyrs throughout history. Persecutions will increase in number and grow in intensity as we near the end of the age, and Satan will pull out all stops in his program to thwart Yahweh’s plan of redeeming a lost world.The Word is clear that many will share in the sufferings of the Savior as well as martyrs who have gone before:
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, Php. 3:10 AV.
Paul encourages all who have willingly entered into a relationship with Yahweh to remember we are heirs of His and joint-heirs with the Messiah. If it is our lot to suffer, others also will suffer, and we all will share in His glory:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of Elohim, and joint-heirs with Messiah; if so be that we suffer with [Him], that we may be also glorified together, Rom. 8:17 AV.
His sons and daughters are heirs to the promises with Messiah and are considered heirs of Yahweh.
Many who turn from the ways of the world and may even get baptized into Yahshua’s saving Name expect their life from that time on will be a rose garden of pleasure and ease. They realize the Heavenly Father is rich, for He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills, Psalm 50:10.) and His omnipotence allows Him to do whatever He wishes. However, we cannot expect Him to take care of all our needs.
The Apostle John fully expects those who accept Yahshua as their Savior will have “tribulation” just as all the other followers were also tested. The NIV note on Rev.1:9 mentions three dominating themes in Revelation: Suffering, Kingdom and Patient Endurance. John is said to have lived out his life on the island of Patmos:
I, John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Yahshua Messiah, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of Yahweh, and for the testimony of Yahshua Messiah, Rev. 1:9 AV.
From that time forth began Yahshua to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from thee, Master: this shall not be unto Thee. But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art an offence unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of Yahweh, but those that be of men, Matt. 16:21-23.
We read here that at one time the Apostle Peter rebelled against the idea that Yahshua would suffer. He later realized suffering was acceptable for the glorious power that would come as a result of trials he received as a worthy servant:
But rejoice insofar as you share Messiah’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed, 1 Peter 4:13 AV.
We are expected to mature and grow within the guidelines of Scripture and be an example of righteous living to the world. When we have a problem and need help or guidance, Yahweh will see to it provision will be forthcoming. This is how we develop integrity.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of Yahweh: and if children, then heirs; heirs of Elohim, and joint-heirs with Messiah; if so be that we suffer with [Him], that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us, Rom. 8:16-18 AV.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory; for this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal, 2 Cor. 4:17-18 AV.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith being more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Yahshua Messiah, 1 Peter 1:6-7 AV.
The Reward Awaits Us
It is only as we have fellowship in the sufferings of Messiah and are made “conformable (like unto) unto His death” that we will experience the mighty power of Yahweh to raise us from the dead and exalt us to His own right hand with Messiah. There is a price to be paid to prove one’s wholehearted willingness and sincerity in following Yahshua.
Our understanding and comprehension is through the fellowship of His sufferings—by identification with Him in His ordeals and death, by imputation. It may also be bearing the “cross” or whatever is laid on us, after His example, "filling up that which is behind the afflictions of Messiah” so we participate in His death. This is especially true at Passover time when we rehearse the initial Passover of ancient Israel and follow up with the New Testament account where we are given an annual reminder of the price He paid for our salvation:
That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death, Php. 3:10 AV.
Goodspeed makes our participation even stronger:
I want to know Him in the power of resurrection, and to share His sufferings and even His death in the hope of attaining resurrection from the dead, Php. 3:10 Goodspeed.
Yahweh's Historical Plan
In observing the the seven annual Sabbaths [moedim], we are given a yearly reminder of the grand design Yahweh has in store for mankind and the opportunity offered to us. He is calling us out of the world to spend time each year in a refresher course that reminds us of the commitment we have made in seeking His truth.
Through a very simple plan, Yahweh demonstrates that by the growing of crops. He makes an analogy of harvesting human souls to be a kingdom of priests to rule on a restored earth. He begins with the account of Israel’s being slaves in Egypt and how they were freed from slavery on Passover night. They left Egypt in an organized manner and joyfully started for the Promised Land.
Protected in their homes in Goshen, Israel ate the roasted lamb with unleavened bread on Passover night. No drink is mentioned. The daylight of Passover found Israel gathering up their herds and heading for the rallying point at Rameses. Israel continued eating unleavened bread for seven days until they were completely out of Egypt. The unleavened bread reminded them of their days of slavery in Egypt. The proscription against eating leavened bread with the Passover lamb or the seven days following continued:
Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, [even] the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life, Deut. 16:3 AV.
In the New Testament we keep the Passover as a memorial of the true Passover Lamb Who died for the sins of the world. We eat the unleavened bread (the bread of affliction) as a memorial of His suffering and death, and we are reminded of ancient Israel’s slavery as well as our present bondage to worldly ways. Messiah has paid the price of our freedom from past error, and now we seek His way of life so that we might walk with Him on higher ground.
Remain Steadfast And True
And our hope of you [is] steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so [shall ye be] also of the consolation, 2 Cor. 1:7 AV.
[It is] a faithful saying: for if we be dead with [Him], we shall also live with [Him], 2 Tim. 2:11 AV.
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Messiah in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the Assembly, Col. 1:24 AV.
And he that taketh not his torture stake, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me, Matt. 10:38 AV.
Then said Yahshua unto His disciples, If any [man] will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his torture stake, and follow Me, Matt. 16:24AV.
Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of Elohim, and afflicted, Isa. 53:4 AV.
Note the many verses that correlate the suffering we might undergo as a badge of our sincerity in following Yahshua. Baptism is for the individuals to become a part of the body of believers who then join with others in celebrating Passover and Unleavened Bread.
Deuteronomy 16:3 reminds us that unleavened bread is called the “bread of affliction” to be eaten during the days of unleavened bread to remind us of the fellowship of suffering we share with others and take on a deeper feeling for the suffering of the Messiah.
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Messiah’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy, 1 Pet. 4:13 AV.
Rather than ignoring the sufferings of the Messiah, let us set aside the glories of His coming again so that we are able to realize the price He paid for our salvation. We can join with others in joyful admiration for the gift of Yahweh, His Son Yahshua!
-Elder Donald R. Mansager (deceased)
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