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That I May Know Him
by Maurice Sklar

Dear Friends,

I pray that this teaching letter finds you well and growing in grace
and the knowledge of our Messiah Yeshua.   I wanted to share with you
a revelation that the Lord gave me concerning knowing Him.  All true
believers in Messiah have a longing to know the Lord and experience a
closer and more intimate fellowship than before, donít we?  Some time
ago (I think it was in 2006) I asked the Lord to show me how I could
know Him better.  I would like to share this with the Bride of Messiah
now.

The letter to the Philippians written by the Apostle Paul is perhaps
the most joyful book in the New Testament. Many times (fourteen!),
Paul encourages us to receive this supernatural joy that comes only
from our intimate fellowship with our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.  Yes,
indeed, the greatest secret and the greatest joy in life can be ours
only if we can abide in this joy.  It is truly ëthe pearl of great
priceí in Godís grace extended to His people.

Sometime ago, I read the book of Phillipians fifty times through and
prayed in the Spirit (tongues).  (By Godís grace, I did this with
every letter in the New Testament over a period of about 4-5 years.
It was usually at about half to two thirds of the way through that the
Holy Spirit would ìbreak the bread of each letterî and ìfeedî it to
me.  I had learned about doing this from a teaching series of Pastor
Dave Robersonís called ìMeditation by Assimilationîwhich you can find
on his websight for free download if you are interested.  By this
process each letter became like a personal love message to me from
God.  The revelation of each letter got down on the inside of me and
it became a part of my inner man.  I highly recommend doing this,
though it takes a great deal of patience and tenacity to complete it!
I started with the shortest letters of 2 John, 3 John, then Jude, and
so on until finally the longer books of Romans, 1 Corinthians, etc
were finally done.  THIS was a life-changing process for me.  I was
never the same afterwards.)  As I was reading about the 15th time
through, I began to notice that this one passage kept jumping off the
page in bold relief:



"But what things were gain for me, those I counted loss for Messiah
(Christ).  Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the
excellency of the knowledge of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) my Lord:
FOR WHOM I HAVE SUFFERED THE LOSS OF ALL THINGS, and do but count them
dung, that I may win Messiah (Christ), And be found in him, not having
mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through
the faith of Messiah, the righteousness which if of God by faith:



THAT I MAY KNOW HIM, AND THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION, AND THE
FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS,...being made conformable unto his death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the deadÖbut
this one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and
reaching forth unto those things which are before, I PRESS towards the
mark for the prize of THE HIGH CALLING IN THE MESSIAH YESHUA (JESUS
CHRIST).    (Philippians 3:7-11;13b-14)




It literally looked just like that as I read it. Each time I would
pass through the third chapter those verses just grabbed a hold of me.
 I knew they were important, but I still was in the dark.  Then one
day, during the 43rd or 44thtime through, I suddenly understood them.
It was like a light turned on, or the sun came out or as the saying,
it ìdawnedî on me.  I suddenly had a glimpse into the most precious
truth I had ever been given by Godís grace! Praise the Lord! Amen.

Look at the phrase from verse starting with ìThat I may know Himî.
That is the highest mountain peak of Paulís writings, in my opinion.
(The other I found in the entire eighth chapter of Romans.)  That is
the whole reason for our existence and our entire purpose in life.
This is the deepest heart cry of the Apostle Paul in all the Epistles.
 Wow! What a treasure!

Let me give you some historic background to this letter, and then come
back to this revelation.  Most scholars agree that the letter to the
Philippians was written during his imprisonment in Rome after being
brought there in chains as described in the end of the book of Acts,
although a few have disputed the location saying that it might have
been in Ephesus some time before.  But, regardless of where it was,
conditions in a Roman jail were not very pleasant, to say the least.
Paul was writing this, ìin bonds (chains)î.   However, because of the
unique circumstances of his situation in Rome and the fact that he was
a Roman citizen allowed for him to answer his mail and to receive his
friends.   The prison wasnít any picnic, though.  Depending on where
he was, it could have been very severe conditions, and might have even
involved torture.  Some prisoners were chained to the wall of the
sewer system of Rome, which was an awful place to be with human waste
being dumped upon them, and standing up to their waists or even their
necks in it naked for days.  The Romans were extremely cruel and
merciless in their treatment of prisoners ñ especially Christians in
Neroís day.   It certainly wasnít the Martha Stewart type of ìclub med
vacationî conditions!  We donít know exactly where he was, and perhaps
it was a little more humane than the torture of the vast majority of
Christians in prison during that time, but, still, it was VERY bad to
be in prison in ancient Rome, even if Paul did have the privileges of
returning his mail and seeing a few Christian friends.  Another words,
Paul was experiencing horrible suffering during the writing of this
letter.

The most amazing thing is that you canít even find a hint of it in
there!  It sounds like he is having the most joyful and happy time on
vacation in the Bahamas or something, the way he sounds!  This struck
me really hard as I kept reading over and over.  How could this man be
so happy and thankful in such terrible conditions?

There are two ways that we know Yeshua.  The first way we know Him is
ìin the power of His resurrection.î  What does this mean?  Well, years
ago, I remember hearing ìthe faith messageî for the first time.
Suddenly, the Word of God seemed to come alive on the inside of me.  I
began to see what Yeshua our Messiah had done for me, in His death, in
His resurrection, and His ascension and His seating at the right hand
of the Father in heaven.  I learned what He did for me in redemption.
I learned about my authority as a believer in Him.  I learned about
the authority in the Name of Jesus.  I discovered that I could speak
life out of my mouth and change my future.  I learned how to pray in
faith.  I learned about the benefits of the New Covenant ratified by
the blood of Yeshua.  I learned how to put the promises of God in my
mouth each day.  I learned that Yeshua defeated the devil for me and I
could walk in victory over evil in this life.  I have authority over
all the realm of evil in Yeshuaís finished work; by the power of His
shed blood, and in the might of His awesome Name.  Yeshua purchased
for me a standing of sonship by grace in Him.  I was seated with Him
in heavenly places.  I was blessed with all spiritual blessings in
Messiah.  I was healed by His wounds when He was scourged.  I was
redeemed from poverty, sickness, and spiritual death -  Yeshua became
cursed for me personallyÖ.so that I could receive the blessing of
Abraham.  I am more than a conqueror.  I can do all things through
Messiah who strengthens me.  I am abiding in the secret place of the
Most HighÖHe is my victory and safety.  He is my shepherdÖ.I shall not
want, etc.  Yeshua came to give me life and that more abundantly.

All of these things are true.  They are an eternal reality.  I learned
who I was in Messiah, who He is now, what I can do in His Name, and
that I could be a ìpartaker of his divine natureî as I received the
promises of the New Covenant.  I believe that this is what Paul was
talking about when he talks about knowing Yeshua in the power of His
resurrection.  No one knew these truths better than he.  God called
and revealed to the Apostle Paul the revelation of grace as recorded
in His mighty Epistles.  Praise the Lord!  Amen.

But, there is more to knowing our Lord than just knowing about these
wonderful promises.  There is also knowing Him ìin the fellowship of
His sufferingsî.   Our modern day ëcharismaticí  Christians here in
the western world know almost nothing about this.  The Bible actually
has much more in it concerning this than the ìfaithî part I mentioned
above.  Paul instructed us to follow Him as He followed Messiah.  Paul
suffered greatly for the cause of the gospel.  He was shipwrecked,
stoned and left for dead, beaten with rods multiple times, homeless,
hungry, thirsty, a prisoner, nearly drowning several times, thrown in
stocks, mocked, ridiculed, persecuted, and tortured during his
ministry.  Then, he was finally beheaded by the Romans.  That does NOT
sound like a ìsuccessfulî Christian life in our definition nowadays,
does it?



Perhaps, you might think that Paul was the exception.  But, actually,
he had it far easier than the some of the other eleven disciples.
According to tradition, almost all were martyred with the exception of
John, who was exiled to the island of Patmos after they could NOT kill
him no matter what they did, including attempting to boil him in oil.
 Here is a brief summary of their deaths according to historical
documentation:

ï       Andrew

◦       According to Hippolytus:

◦       Andrew preached to the Scythians [modern day Georgia] and
Thracians [modern day Bulgaria], and was crucified, suspended on an
olive tree, at Patrae, a town of Achaia [Greece]; and there too he was
buried.

ï       Bartholomew

◦       According to Hippolytus, Bartholomew preached in India:

◦       Bartholomew, again, preached to the Indians, to whom he also
gave the Gospel according to Matthew, and was crucified with his head
downward, and was buried in Allanum, a town of the great Armenia
[modern day southern Georgia].

◦       Eusebius, in his Church History, confirms the ministry of
Bartholomew in India, and adds an eye witness account:

◦       About that time, Pantaenus, a man highly distinguished for his
learning, had charge of the school of the faithful in Alexandria...
Pantaenus...is said to have gone to India. It is reported that among
persons there who knew of Christ, he found the Gospel according to
Matthew, which had anticipated his own arrival. For Bartholomew, one
of the apostles, had preached to them, and left with them the writing
of Matthew in the Hebrew language, which they had preserved till that
time. ---- (Book 5, Chapter 10)


ï       James, Son of Alphaeus

◦       Hippolytus identifies that James was stoned to death in Jerusalem:

◦       And James the son of Alphaeus, when preaching in Jerusalem,
was stoned to death by the Jews, and was buried there beside the
temple.


ï       James, Son of Zebedee James was the brother of John, the
disciple ìthat Jesus lovedî.

◦       According to the Book of Acts in the New Testament, James was
killed by Herod:

◦       Act 12:1 And at that time Herod the king threw on his hands to
oppress some of those of the church.

◦       Act 12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

◦       This is confirmed by Hippolytus:

◦       James, his brother, when preaching in Judea, was cut off with
the sword by Herod the tetrarch, and was buried there.

◦       Eusebius descibed more precisely what was cut off of James:

◦       First Stephen was stoned to death by them, and after him
James, the son of Zebedee and the brother of John, was beheaded...
(Book 3, Chapter 5)

ï       John, brother of James and son of Zebedee John was one of the
few disciples that did not die a cruel death, but of ìold ageî.

◦       Eusebius discusses the reason that John wrote his Gospel:

◦       Matthew and John have left us written memorials, and they,
tradition says, were led to write only under the pressure of
necessity...And when Mark and Luke had already published their
Gospels, they say that John, who had employed all his time in
proclaiming the Gospel orally, finally proceeded to write for the
following reason. The three Gospels already mentioned having come into
the hands of all and into his own too, they say that he accepted them
and bore witness to their truthfulness; but that there was lacking in
them an account of the deeds done by Christ at the beginning of his
ministry.î (Book 3, Chapter 24)


◦       According to Hippolytus, John was banished by Domitian to the
Isle of Patmos, and later died in Ephesus:

◦       John, again, in Asia, was banished by Domitian the king to the
isle of Patmos, in which also he wrote his Gospel and saw the
apocalyptic vision; and in Trajanís time he fell asleep at Ephesus,
where his remains were sought for, but could not be found.

ï       Matthew/Levi

◦       Eusebius referenced to Bishop Papias of Hierapolis, as early
as c. 110 A.D., bearing witness to Matthewís authorship of his gospel:

◦       ....Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the
Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.î
(Eusebius, Book 3, Chapter 39)


◦       According to Hippolytus:

◦       Matthew wrote the Gospel in the Hebrew tongue, and published
it at Jerusalem, and fell asleep at Hierees, a town of Parthia.\224
[Parthia is near modern day Tehran]


ï       Simon/Peter

◦       Eusebius, quoting Papias of Hierapolis (c. 110 A.D.), records
a tradition that the Gospel of Mark preserved the Gospel as preached
by Peter:

◦       ìMark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down
accurately whatsoever he remembered.... he accompanied Peter...î ----
(Book 3, Chapter 39)


◦       Irenaeus (c. 180 A.D.) records a similar tradition, and
mentions that Peter and Paul founded the Church in Rome:

◦       ìMatthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in
their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and
laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the
disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing
what had been preached by Peter...î (Irenaeus, ìAgainst Heresiesî,
Book 3, Chapter 1.


◦       Eusebius records that Peter was put to death under Nero in Rome:

◦       It is, therefore, recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome
itself, and that Peter likewise was crucified under Nero. This account
of Peter and Paul is substantiated by the fact that their names are
preserved in the cemeteries of that place even to the present day.
---- (Book 2, Chapter 25)

◦       (Paul was a Roman citizen and could not be crucified but got
an ìeasierî death sentence)

◦       Hippolytus confirmed the fact that Peter was crucified by Nero in Rome:

◦       Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus, and Galatia, and
Cappadocia, and Betania, and Italy, and Asia, and was afterwards
crucified by Nero in Rome with his head downward (upside down), as he
had himself desired to suffer in that manner.


ï       Philip

◦       According to Hippolytus, Philip preached and was executed in
what today is eastern Turkey:

◦       Philip preached in Phrygia, and was crucified in Hierapolis
with his head downward (upside down) in the time of Domitian, and was
buried there.

ï       Simon the Zealot

◦       According to Hippolytus, Simon the Zealot was the second
Bishop of Jerusalem:

◦       Simon the Zealot, the son of Clopas, who is also called Jude,
became bishop of Jerusalem after James the Just, and fell asleep and
was buried there at the age of 120 years.


ï       Thaddaeus/Judas son of James According to Mat 10:3 (KJV):
Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the
son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus....
Thaddaeus is also known as Lebbaeus.

◦       Hippolytus records:

◦       Jude, who is also called Lebbaeus, preached to the people of
Edessa, and to all Mesopotamia, and fell asleep at Berytus, and was
buried there.


ï       Thomas

◦       Hippolytus records that Thomas was an active missionary, and
that he met his fate in India:

◦       And Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians,
Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Margians, and was thrust through in the
four members of his body with a pine spear at Calamene, the city of
India, and was buried there.


There is still some debate about among historians as to exactly hoow
they died.  Church tradition states that they were all killed as
martyrs.  This is a conservative view that I included above, that only
sites ancient and reliable historic documents to verify their deaths.
Some have said that Bartholomew was first flayed alive and tortured
before being killed by crucifixion upside down.

Now, this is only the stories of the first twelve apostles.  If you
want to really have your eyes opened, then I urge you to read Foxes
ìBook of Martyrsî.  John Foxe painstakingly records the suffering,
torture, and deaths of some of the greatest men and women of God from
church history.  You see, something big is missing from our modern day
ìtheologyî that excludes suffering.  Especially since in is written:

ìFor even hereunto were ye called: because that Messiah (Christ) also
suffered for leaving us an example, that ye should follow his stepsî.
(1 Peter 2:21).

Now, I donít believe we have to all die this way to be pleasing to
God.  I do know, however, that if we start really pressing in
spiritually and radically surrender every day to God, forsaking all
for our Lord and the Gospel ñ a shift takes place in the spiritual
realm.  You see, the primary reason that we are NOT opposed is that we
are not enough of a threat to Satan for him to come after us.  The
vast majority of ìChristiansî today are so only in name. Their lives
have very little of the mark of Yeshua on them.  They are so conformed
to this world system that the devil hardly pays any attention to them.
 They are lukewarm, full of compromise and sin, prayerless and Bible
ignorant, and taken captive by their own lusts and desires.  They are
no threat to the kingdom of darkness.  The enemy just leaves them
aloneÖafter all, they arenít bringing any glory to God by their lives
anyway.  Most of them are on the way to hell themselves.   Satan
finally learned that the best way to neutralize the church was by
affluence and prosperity.  Very few love Yeshua enough to really break
through their own selfish ways and truly make Him absolute Lord of
their lives.

But, be that as it may, I have discovered a joy that has come into my
life that far exceeds the weight of the trials I have experienced;
though my ìtrialsî are nothing in comparison to those that have gone
before me.  The greater suffering we experience for the Lord and His
gospel, the greater the grace that comes to sustain us, and the
greater the joy!

I remember once sitting in a church service when this family of
missionaries got up to testify.  The church I was visiting was
sponsoring them and they were back home for a few weeks in the U.S.
This lovely young couple came up on the platform with five children.
The youngest was about eight years old and the oldest about sixteen
years old.  They were all smiling ear to ear.  Mom spoke up and said,
ìGod bless you all!  We are so happy to see our friends here at church
again!  As you know, we have spent the past few years out in the
jungles of the Amazon reaching out to ìsuch and suchî tribe.  It has
been such a joy!  We have nearly finished our Bible translation for
them, and the whole region is in revival and many natives are getting
saved every day!  Of course, it isnít so nice thereÖwe live in an area
that has malaria-carrying mosquitoes and other terrible diseases.  We
live out on the water in a swamp area on top of a foundation of wooden
pillars.  We have to be sure to stay under the mosquito netting or we
could be bitten.  Our youngest daughter __________, got sick with
malaria last year and almost died, but Praise God, the Lord came and
healed her!  Sheís fine now!î  She looked down and patted the cutest
little blond-headed child.  They were all beaming from ear to ear!
She continued, ìWell, it took a little while to adjust to the local
diet.  They eat beetles and other insects there, but, we learned how
to prepare dishes that hide the bad tastes, etc.  It really is kind of
nice food, once we adjusted.  The first few months were really hard,
especially when we got dysentery.  There were no facilities when we
arrived, so we just went to bathroom just like our people do.  Itís SO
wonderful to be serving the Lord.  We are so much happier now in the
jungles of the Amazon than we were when we lived here in the states.
There is just nothing like ministering for the Lord and giving
yourself to those that are so needy.  We just love them all so much!
Hallelujah!î

I just sat back in my chair and stared at them in astonishment!  They
were in such terrible hardships, and yet they looked like they just
stepped out of the glory and joy of heaven itself.  I donít know
hardly any family in my travels that seemed as happy as they were.
How come?  I sought the Lord about this, and He reminded me of the
scripture,

ìI have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to
support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Yeshua
(Jesus), how he said, it is more blessed to give than to receive.î
(Acts 20:35)

He said to Me:

ìThe reason that they and others that forsake ALL to follow Me are so
happy is because I am with them in a way that only they can
experience.  They are happy because they know Me as the living
Messiah, not a dead religion of complacency and selfishness.  My heart
and My life is being continually poured out upon the suffering of the
world.  My eyes and ears are open to their cries.  You wonít find Me
in the soft comfortable and plush pews of most of the American
churches because, I cannot manifest Myself fully until I am taken to
the perishing, the starving, the homeless, the destitute, and the
so-called, ìscum of the earthî.  If My people would only know the joy
that would come to them if they would find the perishing and help
them.  It is IN loving them, that YOU will find true love in this
life.  It is in dying that you live.  It is in giving all away that
you find the true riches of heaven come to you.  It is in losing your
life for Me that you find it.  If you want to really know Me, than you
have to enter into the fellowship of My sufferings.  What is that?  It
is ME that is suffering out there in the perishing and starving
nations of the world.  It is ME that is being tormented in the insane
asylums.  It is ME bound in the fanatical extremes of Islamic terror
and hatred.  It is ME that is homeless, destitute, broken in heart and
spirit, starving to death and thirst out there.  When will you leave
the comfort of your blessings and go to the least of these ñ My
brothers and sisters?  Wonít you relieve My sufferings?  Wonít you
rescue the lost from eternity in damnation in hell?  Who will go for
ME?  The time is SO SHORT!  Where are My labourers for the end time
harvest?  Will YOU enter into the fellowship of My sufferings?  The
greatest joy that any one can experience can only come when you pour
yourself out for the lost and suffering of the world around you.  Then
and only then will you find My pearl of great price!  It is MY joy
fulfilled in you, My faithful Bride.î

Beloved, my prayer is that we may know Him in both our glorious
inheritance of the power of His resurrection AND in the fellowship of
His sufferings!

May we be anointed to receive this and to walk in it now!  This is the
true abundant life that the Master promised!

My love to you all in our Messiah!

Maurice Sklar

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