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Introduction
   A survival magazine someone had given to me years ago highlighted an article on the Five Steps to Survival in the Wilderness.
   What I would like to do today is reference the author's points, but put a spiritual application to each. So, today, we'll address in this article at the Five Steps to Spiritual Survival.
   The five steps presented in the magazine were, as follows.

      1. Assess Risk
      2. Stay Calm
      3. Prioritize
      4. Be a leader
      5. Stay Positive


Assess Risk
   First we have to recognize the truth, that we are actually in a wilderness of sorts and that the guide for survival is actually the written Word of Yahweh. Believing that the Bible is inspired from Genesis to Revelation and fearing the One who inspired it is the beginning of wisdom, but belief alone is not enough. The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever, Psalm 111:10 NASB.
   When we hear that Yahweh expects us to live by a certain standard. That is, by His instructions He lays out for us. We can then start to understand how our lives were contrary to His ways of living; we can then start using His Commandments, statutes, and laws, as a compass and find true north; we can then start to walk in the right direction, in righteousness (Psa. 119:172). We, of course, find the Son of Yahweh living according to this standard, perfectly, without any sin at all (Heb. 4:15). He points us in the right direction. Yahshua says:
  
But seek ye first the kingdom of Yahweh, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you, Matthew 6:33 KJV.
   If you're in the wilderness and lost, what do you need? Shelter, food, clothing, etc. We are assessing the risks in the wilderness and thinking about these things, but Yahshua is pointing us in the direction we should go. We are looking towards Yahweh's Kingdom and seeking His righteousness. What is righteousness; what is the truth?
  
Your righteousness is everlasting and Your law is true. Trouble and distress have come upon me, but Your commands give me delight. Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live. I call with all my heart; answer me, Yahweh, and I will obey Your decrees, Psalm 119:142–145 NIV.
   From the heart, seeking Yahweh and what He wants from us, is paramount. He wants obedience from the heart (Deut. 5:27-29). And this is granted in the New Covenant, through His Son and through His Spirit (Jer. 31:31-33; Heb. 10:15-18). Accomplished by Him as we submit to His Spirit and His ways in the body of Messiah.
  
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them, Ezekiel 36:26–27 NKJV.
   This is still in process of being done, it started at Pentecost with the outpouring of the Spirit. As new believers come and recognize they are lost in this wilderness of the world, they are seeking the help that comes from on high to survive and come out alive.
   We come to realize that we need to move forward toward Yahweh and His Kingdom. That we need His help and His Messiah to overcome and be ultimately saved from death. Not a first death, mind you, but rather a second death. A spiritual death.
  
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves, Matthew 7:13–15 ESV.
   In the wilderness there are a lot of traps and pitfalls, that Satan has set up. Satan shows the world ministers of light, but they are actually full of darkness. Why? They are out to get what they can; they are not laying down their lives for the sheep. Also, because they teach ways that do not lead to eternal life. They teach of a different Messiah than the One we know Scripture speaks of.
   The Messiah we follow is sinless and we know He did not break His Father's instructions, but rather taught us how to live by them.
  
As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Yahshua said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except Yahweh alone. “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’” And He said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Yahshua felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. And Yahshua, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the Kingdom of Yahweh!” Mark 10:17–23 NASB.
   Did Yahshua say "forget the commandments and follow Him?" No, He said, "Keep the Commandments and follow Him." Not only did He say, "Keep the Commandments and follow Him." He essentially pointed out that the man shouldn't be laying up treasure on earth, like he was, but putting the love of Yahweh's Word into action was to be done. Just like what Yahshua essentially told the Pharisees about tithing, “tithe," but don't neglect the weightier matters of the law (Matt. 23:23).
   The law is living and active, the Word is living and active (Heb. 4:12). It is full of justice, mercy and faith, but again, don't leave the other undone. Just like obeying the law of the land and stopping at a stop sign, but if there is someone having difficulty with getting a wheelchair over the sidewalk to cross the street, for example, and you're the only one there with the time and means to get out and help, don't drive off and think you're living a righteous life acceptable to Yahweh.
   Want to be part of the family? Yahshua our Savior tells us how it's done.
For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother, Matthew 12:50 KJV.
   This takes us back full circle to what Yahshua was saying about entering through the narrow way or gate and in context he says beware of false teachers along the way which teach a different way, contrary to Yahweh's laws. They say things like, "We can't obey His Commandments" or "Those Old Mosaic Laws are done away with, now we are under the dispensation of grace alone."
   In the context of what Yahshua was saying about entering through the narrow (hard-pressed) way that few find, and being aware of the false prophets or teachers along the way, He says you'll know them, by what?
  
“So then, you will know them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Master, Master, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ Matthew 7:20–24 NASB.
   Do we understand what we just read? False teachers are known by their fruits. What fruit is Yahshua focused on?
   These false teachers (and individuals) seem to be a little bewildered, and are asking: “Didn't we do, not just a few, but many miracles in your name?” “Did we not prophecy or teach, in your name?” “You're not seriously saying we had the wrong name are you?” “Wasn't it enough, to proclaim your name as we understood and to have done the things we did to impress the mega congregations we led into the broad way?" …Sarcasm, to make a point.
   Yahshua specifically says to these men on a day of judgment, "Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness." Whose laws are they judged by? Yahweh's, of course. The standard, the compass that points true north.
   Belief in the Messiah alone or grace alone, wasn't enough in the end for these men. They thought calling upon Him would save them (they may have even expressed some of the weightier matters of the law). They thought, if they did miraculous things and taught in His name, that they would be saved. But they ultimately didn't have the proper fruit that is required.
   Their fruit was disobedience to Yahweh's laws. They even taught against His Commandments, statutes, and judgments. They were false teachers and disobedient children (2 Pet. 3:16-17). The prophecy is clear in Mathew 7, Yahshua’s words will stand.
   The opposite fruit will be of the true teachers and children of Yahweh (1 Thess. 2:10-13). They will be saved and live, because they submitted to Yahweh's Spirit, performing not only the basics, but going beyond and producing the spiritual intent of all those laws.
   Why, again, is the Spirit granted in the New Covenant? So that we can submit to His Word and be obedient children and part of the family who are brothers and sisters and mothers of the Messiah as the Messiah had said (Matt. 12:46-50).
   Those whom Yahweh calls and the Messiah accepts are the ones who truly do risk assessment of their situation. They actually count the cost (Luke 14:28) and work out their salvation (Phil. 2:12), according to Scripture in the Spirit of Yahweh.
   They end up knowing the difference between right and wrong, because of practice (Heb. 5:14). They choose what is right in Yahweh's sight and survive, following the Messiah into the narrow gate to eternal life (Matt. 7:13-14). They avoid the bad fruit, which if eaten, will kill rather than give life. Remember the garden of Eden?
   Will some get lost and die in the wilderness when the storms come?
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My Name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another, Matthew 24:9–10 ESV.
   It's one thing to die for Yahweh willingly, it's another to reject Him trying to save your own life physically (Matt. 10:39).
   By panicking, and not trusting Yahweh, there will be those who will evidently lose their salvation.
When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die, Ezekiel 18:26 ESV.
   When you read through Ezekiel you get the sense that whatever is the last thought you die with is the one, you're going to wake up with. That is to say, if you curse Yahweh in your dying breath, all your previous righteousness will be forgotten in the Judgement. A first death is a sleep, until the resurrection.
   Assessing the risks takes time, but in the end will be worth it. This leads us to the next step.


Stay Calm
   We have to keep our head straight in difficult situations. The reality is, that no matter what situation you find yourself in, Yahweh can protect and guide you through it. There is nothing that can harm you unless it is in the will of Him in which it occurs. And, we are told that it will occur for some. For others, Yahweh will see them through the storms unscathed. We have this encouragement, and, if we look at it today, we can relate this to what is happening spiritually:
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A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “Yahweh is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, Psalm 91:7–10 NIV. Do we trust in Yahweh? Do we trust Him enough to say, In Elohim I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me? Psalm 56:11 NIV. This was stated by King David, a man after Yahweh's own heart who said His law is true and was one of the few in history who was given Yahweh's Spirit. Today, that door is opened to us, but with a condition:
  
And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom Elohim has given to those who obey Him, Acts 5:32 NASB. This was addressed to the Pharisees who had bad fruit.
   They had the poisonous fruit of disobedience to Yahweh's laws. John the Immerser and Yahshua Himself called them a brood of vipers for distorting and making of no effect Yahweh's laws (Matt 3:7; 15:3-9; 23:33; Luke 3:7-9).
   Can we stay calm in a life-threatening situation and stand firm? We are to pray that we may be able to do just that. “And Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of Yahweh, which He will work for you today,’” (Exodus 14:13a ESV).
   After this they went through the Red Sea and were saved from the army that was behind them, and the seemingly insurmountable obstacle that had been in front of them.
   In the
New Testament this was related as a type of baptism that the people went through. Regrettably, they persisted in disobeying Yahweh and were not allowed to go into the Promised Land (Heb 3:12-19). It's a lesson for us today as we symbolically come out of Egypt and find ourselves in the wilderness.
   Is there any significance of why only two entered the Promised Land (Num. 26:65), besides those not of the age of accountability (read our mini-study on the Scriptural Age of Accountability). One thing brought out is clear that Joshua, son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, had a different spirit about them (Num. 14:24-30). They were willing to obey Yahweh and had the faith in Him who saves. We see a parallel with the saints (Rev. 12:17; 14:12).
   There is also a deeper message that is given to us. When we research who Joshua and Caleb were, they were from two different tribes. Do you know which ones? When we look at the lineage, Caleb is from the line of Judah, while Joshua is from the line of Ephraim (which became the dominant tribe of the northern 10 tribes, and was dispersed by Assyria).
   Does this relate to what is prophetically happening today, that Ephraim is going to be spearheading the effort to enter into the Kingdom of Yahweh according to His ways? We, of course, understand that Messiah leads us all, but what is Ephraim's role in the end time? Revelation 12, may give some insight into this, when we consider the two houses of Israel. It may also be there is the reason more established assemblies are here in America reaching out around the world than all the other countries combined. America has often been considered Manasseh, but maybe it is a little more like Ephraim in this case.
   Nevertheless, many people tend to get lost in the wilderness when they don't stay calm. They don't think things through. Many Israelites lost their lives in the wilderness, but Yahweh is working things out. The end result is going to surprise a lot of people, as He ultimately brings the two houses of Israel together into the Promised Land (read our mini-study on The Hope of Israel).
   The idea of staying calm is just that, don't panic. Don’t panic, but do repent. Speaking of repentance, many don't understand what proper repentance is. Repentance is turning from a former way of life which is contrary to Yahweh's way of life; actually stopping, turning, and heading back toward Yahweh and submitting to Him.
   Moses told the people to be silent and to move forward. Lot and his family were to move forward, and not look back. We are to move forward and not look back so that we might somehow yearn to live again in sin. To do so is like a dog returning to its own vomit (Prov. 26:11).
Here is something interesting said by John the Immerser.
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Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance, Matthew 3:6–8 NIV.
   Do we comprehend what fruit is needed in keeping with repentance? John the Immerser understood it. Do we understand? When we do, it will help us stay calm and to stay the course, doing Yahweh's will even in the most difficult of situations.
   The next step given is to prioritize.



Prioritize
   Being baptized is an outward sign of commitment to a new life and the death of an old one. We accept and grow after believing, repenting (producing the fruit thereof), being baptized, and avoiding sin. Remember Lot’s wife, and don't look back.
   Peter spoke to those who were at Pentecost and they were pierced to the heart convinced they needed to be baptized in Yahshua's Name. He gives further instruction in 2 Peter 2 about faith, moral excellence, etc.
  
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, righteousness, and in your righteousness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love, 2 Peter 1:5–7 NASB.
   In the study of love, we find that both obedience to the law of Yahweh and walking in the Spirit of Yahweh produces love. They don't counter each other, they complement each other. They both produce life if submitted to. They also both produce death, if resisted. This is why Yahweh says,
   Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says Yahweh Elohim. “Therefore turn and live!” Ezekiel 18:31–32 NKJV.
   Prioritizing our lives in accordance with Yahweh's Word and Spirit in Messiah is the way to spiritual survival.
   It may seem unusual as first, but we are to all be leaders with the next step.


Be a Leader
   What do leaders do? Or, more specifically, what do spiritual leaders do? They continue to learn knowledge and they gain understanding; they grow in character and integrity; they help others to repent; they look and move forward toward the goal and reward in the coming Kingdom; they stay focused; they set the example.
   We are all to be leaders in our small corner of the world and it helps us and others in those areas to survive spiritually. Joshua the son of Nun was encouraged to stay strong and help serve the people. Noah was helping to lead his family and build the ark, but no one else was listening. Israel was also to lead the other nations, by example.
  
Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of YAHWEH your Elohim that I give you. You saw with your own eyes what YAHWEH did at Baal Peor. YAHWEH your Elohim destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, but all of you who held fast to YAHWEH your Elohim are still alive today. See, I have taught you decrees and laws as YAHWEH my Elohim commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way YAHWEH our Elohim is near us whenever we pray to Him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? Deuteronomy 4:2–8 YLT.
   Setting the example, living according to Yahweh's way of life is how we will survive today. That is, by choosing life (Deut. 30:19).
   The last step in this process is to stay positive.


Stay Positive
   Overcoming, staying faithful, avoiding sin, knowing help is on the way we so we see the light at the end of the tunnel. Staying positive is no doubt easier to do if you're close to Yahweh, but times of distress can test one's mettle (determination) to see how strong it is.
   If the rest of the foundation is in place, namely Yahshua and living in Him correctly, and following the Spirit's lead and Word of Truth then one can be very positive of the outcome.
   For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Yahshua Messiah. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work, 1 Corinthians 3:11–13 NASB.
   Messiah is the Cornerstone of the Temple today. The Temple before had gold and silver, but mostly gold. Precious stones could even be seen in the breastplate of the High Priest and wood covered in gold was there as well. We can suppose the hay and straw was used to start the fires for the offerings outside.
   In Paul's day there most likely could be seen houses built with such things. The edifice in Paul's mind, must have been the Temple of Yahweh. He related it to us, however, as a people unto Yahweh.
   It's worth noting that the Law was in the holy of holies, protected at the heart of the Temple.
   What was at the core of Messiah? The law and Yahweh's Spirit, which also entered the holy of holies. Also the 10 Commandments and the book of the law, or the constitution of the coming Kingdom.
   King David said, in Psalm 119:73, The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Those things were also in the treasury of the Temple. Yahshua said in Matthew 4:4, quoting the book of the law on the side of the ark within the holy of holies. It is written, “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF YAHWEH.”
   The Temple spoke of the Messiah in just about every aspect of it. The law went forth from the Temple, as it will again from Jerusalem in the coming Kingdom. Even the unblemished Red Heifer, which Israel now (according to the
The Temple Institute in Israel) has, is needed to be able to sacrifice and purify a physical Temple. It speaks of the Messiah Who's sacrifice sanctifies and purifies us.
   The point is, if we are building on moral excellence, knowledge of righteousness and the Word of Yahweh that was the living Messiah, then we will have a building that won't be burned up. We will survive spiritually and see redemption from these corruptible fleshly bodies of ours.
   There are rewards and promises for those who call upon the Name of Yahweh and do His will in Messiah, Yahshua (Joel 2:32; John 11:23-27; Acts 4:12). Notice, especially, the following:
  
Then those who feared YAHWEH talked with each other, and YAHWEH listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared YAHWEH and honored His Name. “They will be Mine,” says YAHWEH Almighty, “in the day when I make up My treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve Elohim and those who do not. “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says YAHWEH Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere My Name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in [His] wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says YAHWEH Almighty. “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel,” Malachi 3:16–18, 4:1-4 NIV.
   Those that rely on relativism or other philosophies or religions of men are like the hay and straw that the Apostle Paul spoke about. Messiah is, however, the embodiment of the entire Word of Yahweh. And if He lives through us through the Spirit, we are on solid ground.
   Yahshua, like Malachi, pointed to obedience to the law of Moses, which was Yahweh's Word given to him (Num. 31:21).
   Those who disobeyed died in the wilderness, it was counted to them as unbelief. We are those who believe, just like Joshua and Caleb and are heading toward the Promised Land.
   We have to put into practice what we preach, and be the people who can survive any trouble that comes our way. Why? Because we follow in the righteous path of Yahshua which leads into eternal life. In His wings, like a dove, is the fullness of the Spirit of Yahweh. The Spirit will transform us and completely heal us.
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33b KJV). Yahshua survived spiritually, and we can too, if we complete the
Five Steps to Spiritual Survival.

Final Thoughts
   Beyond these things, always be on alert and pray to be able to stand on the day of His return and survive spiritually (Luke 21:36). Let’s do the things we need to do.
   When it comes to the physical survival, they say the order of importance is seeking shelter, fire, water and food. However, the physical, which is of importance, is not as important as our spiritual lives.
  
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds, Matthew 16:26–27 NASB.



-Elder David Brett


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