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Lev Falkovich

Adam and Eve were the first and, unfortunately, not the last who fell into the trap, set up by Satan. What was this hidden trap that destroyed Adam and Eve? Satan promised independence: “… and you will be like God…” and even now Satan sings the same song: you are educated enough to make your own decisions, you do not need to depend on anybody, including God. This seductive desire for independence of Adam and Eve passed on to all mankind. This is a mark of Satan – “the old Adam” – a fallen, sinful nature that is hidden in every human being.

All the history of mankind is a search towards independence from God. You can acknowledge at least three of these ways:

א. The first way – knowledge. The moment that Adam and Eve turned away from the tree of life, and chose the tree of knowledge, became a critical moment in the history of all mankind. Scientific achievements became the main purpose of life on Earth. However, the explosion of scientific and technological progress did not only not solve the most acute problems of humanity, but in many ways aggravated them; injustice, cruelty, wars, poverty and diseases, destruction of families. Science gave humanity the resources for mass destruction; and they are in the hands of the proud, the cruel, and the wicked people who are ready to use them ignoring the required morality and mercy.

ב. The second path to independence from God: religion. Humans set religious rules in various methods. Follow the rules and there is no need for God. A person finds satisfaction practicing religious rules created by people, but becomes more independent from the Creator.

ג. The third way which leads humanity to achieve independence from God is hoarding large sums of money and wealth. Yeshua, as an example, told the parable of the rich farmer who had achieved such success that his storehouse could not fit the entire crop. Then he decided to build a new storehouse and said, to his soul, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry! But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ Luke 12:19-20. A large, uncountable number of people throughout history have been seduced by the desire for independence, making the same tragic mistake as this rich farmer. And today a lot of people continue to make the same mistake, devoting their lives, to stashing up their riches, and not caring about their soul.

The desire to be independent from God is the distinctive feature of those who belong to the kingdom of satan – rebellious angels, demons and fallen humanity. This is a distinguishing feature of this world. And Yeshua emphasized that he and his disciples cannot belong to this world: “They do not belong to this world any more than I do” John 17:16. In other words “the world” is made up of those who have not subjected themselves to the power of God. Among them are very religious people, people of high morals as well, but when God challenges them to obey to the rule of the Torah unconditionally, then the “old” rebellious person comes out in complete aggression, claiming his independence. Yeshua said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. In order to become a disciple of Yeshua, we must realize that He took all the fullness of punishment for us, and our inner self, the proud rebel, died on Golgotha together with Yeshua, as the Scripture says, “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.” Romans 6:6. Here is the proposition of discipleship set by Yeshua: “… you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.” Luke 14:33.

What must we give up? Yeshua said: everything! This means that every obstacle that stands on the path to get closer to God should be eliminated: the worldly fame, career, money, reputation, and even friends, if they are blocking our way to God. When we let go of all of this, and stop being dependent on the external circumstances, and learn to devote our whole life to God and then God can restore all what we are experiencing a need in. This means a true circle of real friends, this is financial stability for our life, a career and reputation, and all that what we really need. But we will no longer be the ones in charge; we are simply servants who must give an account for everything we had control over. Sometimes in order to fully realize our dependence on God, we need to be in a crisis, or even in distress.

God sends Apostle Shaul to Rome, Shaul was the messenger of God, announcing God’s will to the entire Roman Empire. At the same time, Shaul goes on this journey, traveling like a prisoner. The ship, he was on, was caught in a terrible storm and was trapped in it for two weeks. After two weeks the ship was thrown onto the rocky coast of Malta. On top of all the troubles, Shaul was bitten by a poisonous snake. If Shaul really was sent to Rome to do the will of God, then why did he have to go through such rigorous trials? Shaul was close to despair, and he exclaimed: “… at last all hope was gone…” Acts 27:20. The purpose of the trials that Shaul went through was to lead him to a place where all hope vanished. God had not left Shaul any hope but to trust in Him alone. God leads us to the places where our complete dependence is on Him, and demonstrates His reliability. The path to Rome, with all the trials, prepared Shaul to an uneasy service in the capital of the Roman Empire. Shaul got a lesson of completely dependence on God. The more dependent we are on the Lord, the more results we see; results that we could never achieve, not having this close intimacy with the Lord.

Jacob, in a physical fight lost his independence. He wrestled all night with a mysterious stranger and He stroke his hip. Having lost his own support, Jacob was forced to grab hold of Him, and found, in Him, eternal support. The damaged hip was the testimony of the victory over his independence. Only after that, Jacob was able to return to his father’s home, to the Promised Land. Who was that stranger who wrestled with Jacob? He was said to be a person (Sochino), since, in appearance, he looked no different then a man. But the next day Jacob says, “… I have seen God face to face.” Genesis 32:24-30. Later, the prophet Hosea says this, about the interaction: “… Yes, he (Jacob) wrestled with the angel….” Hosea 12:4. Thus, this Being was a person, but at the same time God, but also an Angel, a.k.a. a messenger of God. Indeed, it was Yeshua of Nazareth – Man, God and a messenger of God. If we want to go back to the Father and enter into the promises of God, then we must do the same as Jacob did. Stop relying on our own abilities, crush your pride and enter into complete dependence of God.