Evangelising the Jew; Division in the Church

The Word of God was first given to YHVH’s chosen people Israel as the custodians of the Holy Scriptures. In view of this fact, when witnessing to a Jew concerning the prophesies of the coming Messiah contained in the Tanakh, the canon of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), how would one be able to show the birth of Yeshua haMeshiach, our Lord Jesus Christ, from the Old Testament text that He has already been born into this world and fulfilled His first advent as the Messiah?

If a Gentile is to witness to a Jew, surely the Gentile must be able to give empirical evidence from the Holy Scriptures, the Hebrew Tanakh, confirming the nativity of the Messiah in fulfilment of the prophesies contained in Isaiah 7:14, 9:6; Micah 5:2 as reflected in the Old Testament of the Bible. If a Gentile will point to the Old Testament Scriptures, evidence must be provided or the Jew will never believe that the Messiah has already come in the person of Yeshua haMeshiach (Jesus Christ), for at every Passover the Jews are still awaiting the arrival of Elijah to announce the arrival of Messiah.

If a Gentile refers to the Scriptures and then refers to the “fact” that born-again Messianic Jews and Gentiles celebrate the nativity of Messiah (Christ) on December 25th, the Jew will refute the date as evidence that He was born into this world as the Messiah, due to the Tanakh not confirming this date as one of the Hebrew festivals contained in Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 16:16. If this date cannot be found to be true whilst evangelising God’s chosen people Israel, “for salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22c), then how can it be “true” to the Gentile who holds to the freedom of “celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25th”?  To win a Jew to his Messiah, the Gentile, with the help of the Holy Spirit, must be able to prove the Messiah’s coming in fulfilment of His nativity, for how else would Messiah come in fulfilment of the prophets and the law? If a Gentile cannot prove the nativity / first coming of the Messiah and the prophesies of Messiah’s death, burial and resurrection (Isaiah 53) from the Tanakh then it would be best to remain silent than try convince a Hebrew Jew to follow a man made tradition and custom (December 25th). One cannot have it many ways as the Hebrew Scriptures is the basis of our Judeo-Christian faith.

During a morning time before our LORD, the following was brought to my attention. Whilst reading through 2 Kings 13 and 14 I went back to 1 Kings 12 to recall the sin that Jeroboam did that brought sins continually against Israel. We know that the nation of Israel was divided when Rehoboam went to Shechem for all Israel had come to make him king. It came to pass that Jeroboam the son of Nebat returned from Egypt where he fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam came with all the congregation of Israel and spoke to Rehoboam saying,

4  Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. 
5  And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed. 
6  And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? 
7  And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. 
8  But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: 
9  And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?
10  And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.
11  And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
12  So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.
13  And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;
14  And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
15  Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
16  So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. ~ 1 Kings 12:4-16

We then read that all Israel rebelled against the house of David and when Jeroboam had come they sent and called him to the congregation and made him king over all of Israel. There was a division that was created that only the tribe of Judah followed the house of David – the lineage through which our Saviour Jesus Christ would be born. Rehoboam came to Jerusalem and assembled all the house of Judah with the tribe of Benjamin to fight against the house of Israel to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah.

God then intervened when God sent His messenger Shemaiah the man of God, saying,

23  Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying,
24  Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD. ~ 1 Kings 12:23,24

Rehoboam hearkened unto the LORD and did not go to war with Jeroboam and the house of Israel. Jeroboam was afraid that Israel would return to the house of David by going up to the house of the LORD and sacrifice at Jerusalem, so he also feared that if Israel returned to king Rehoboam they would kill him. Therefore, Jeroboam did the following wicked thing:

28  Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
29  And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. 
30  And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. ~ 1 Kings 12:28-30

Jeroboam, king of Israel, caused the kingdom of Israel to sin by committing idolatry against God. What we see here is a division of the nation Israel – the majority of the tribes, ten in all, followed their king Jeroboam, while the remnant tribes – Judah and Benjamin – followed their king Rehoboam, of the house of David. This is a reflection of the Church of today where there is a majority of “believers” following after a pervert faith and idolatry (those on the broad way), whilst the remnant believers (those on the narrow way) are Abraham’s seed through the house of David who belong to The Seed – Yeshua haMeshiach (Jesus Christ). There is a division that exists between those who hold to the Holy Scriptures and those who hold to, and even side with, man’s traditions and customs. We also see that every generation of kings that followed in the kingdom of Israel, evil would not depart from Jeroboam and Israel for they were involved in idolatry, but yet God’s “servant David kept His commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes” (see 1 Kings 14:7-13).

Throughout every generation in the kingdom of Israel, it followed:

16  And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin. ~ 1 Kings 14:16

The kings of Israel that followed did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin. Yet the kings of the remnant tribes of the house of David were blessed.  God also sent a deliverer to Israel, and yet He too sends the Saviour to the Church that holds to idolatry (Jesus calls the Churches to Repent in Revelation 2 and 3).

So which kingdom are you following after? The idolatrise kingdom that continually sins against God? Or the remnant of the house of David as God’s servant David who kept His commandments, and who followed God with all his heart, to do that only which was right in God’s eyes? Truth is objective and absolute and cannot change. Therefore, two conflicting "truths" cannot both be true, for example “Tishri 15” (September/October) and “December 25.” In John 14:6 ~

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

And as Jesus is the Truth He alters not, for Hebrews 13:8 reads ~

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Therefore, Jesus Christ being the living Word can not contradict in two apparent “truths” and as disciples of Christ are to be sanctified by God through His Truth, for His Word is Truth (see John 17:17) we are to live and obey the Word of God and not man’s traditions and customs. In Hebrews 1:2 we are told that God “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,” Who is God manifest in flesh (see 1 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, the final authority of God’s Word comes from the Son, and we are therefore to adhere to His Word and commandments.

In another parallel of the division within the Church, in 1 Kings 18 we read the account of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. We read that Ahab brings an accusation against Elijah asking him if he is the one that is troubling Israel. Elijah then corrects Ahab and says that he has not troubled Israel, but it is rather Ahab and his father’s house, for they have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and have followed after Baalim. We then read that Ahab is commanded to bring all Israel and the prophets of Baal (450) and the prophets of the groves (400) which eat at Jezebel’s table. And so Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel and gathered the prophets – all 850 of them – unto mount Carmel. And this was Elijah’s address to them ~

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. ~ 1 Kings 18:21

That is exactly the situation and issues of today’s “Churchianity” and “Christianity”. The people in the majority, just as in the days of the divided kingdom, those following after Jeroboam and his sins (idolatry) that he caused Israel to sin are those that will hold to their Baal worship – that which God has not commanded. There is a division within “Christendom” which is so prevalent over the month of December when the pagan feast day comes around, and we are not speaking about the lost, but by what we perceive to be “Biblically sound brethren” who hold to a “truth” that cannot be proved from Scripture. If Scripture is silent on an issue how can it be proved to be true? If Scripture speaks on an issue it can be proven as Truth. We come back to that statement made earlier:

Truth is objective and absolute and cannot change. Therefore, two conflicting "truths" cannot both be true, for example “Tishri 15” (September/October) and “December 25.”

Can the Holy Spirit regard both conflicting “truths” to be true? Obviously the answer is NO! So one must be true and the other a lie. We are also reminded in Scripture let God be true, but every man a liar (see Romans 3:4), and Jesus warned that the devil is the father of lies and that no truth is in the devil for when he speaks lies he speaks of his own for he is a liar and the father of it (see John 8:44). In Jeremiah we hear the prophet speaking the Word of God, warning ~

9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. ~ Jeremiah 17:9,10

God gave Israel what they deserved (the fruit of their doings) due to the sins of Jeroboam that caused Israel to sin, and judgment came upon the 850 Baal idol worshippers, and judgment will also come upon professing believers who have chosen idolatry in the name of “Christendom” that is an abomination in the sight of YEHOVAH (YHVH).

The Apostle Paul addressed the exact same issues with the Galatian churches where there was a perversion of the gospel being preached and also to the Corinth church where there were divisions amongst believers as we read:

9  God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? ~ 1 Corinthians 1:9-13

We are encouraged, commanded by way of imperatives, to be in UNITY – to “all speak the same thing”, “and that there be no divisions among you”, and to “be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” We are to have one mind and one mouth to glorify God (see Romans 15:6) for we have the mind of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 2:16). In 1 Corinthians 1:12,13 we see that in Corinth, just as in our present day, the “believers” were following after various men and due to disunity the question is asked – Is Christ divided? Do not think that just because you said a prayer you are now saved and grace will keep you from the wrath of God that will condemn you to Hell? This is a walk with God in His holiness and His righteousness that requires that “he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13) and we are to “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Hebrews 12:14). If there is no peace and holiness then the alternative exists: “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (1 Samuel 15:23).

The Body of Jesus Christ – the ekklesia (called out ones) – will speak the same thing and will have no divisions where they are perfectly joined together in the same mind and same judgment. Judgment is to start at the house of God, as we read:

17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? ~ 1 Peter 4:17

So, will you be able to faithfully witness to a Jew and a Gentile in Truth presenting the True Gospel? Or will the “Church” remain divided just as the devil would want it to be?

Soli Deo Gloria!

Kirk Cameron’s “Saving Christmas” Film

It is with unhappiness and much sadness that I write this article as it relates to two men I came to respect and love in the ministry and had the privilege of meeting, labouring with and being instructed in the ways of open-air preaching and sharing the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. By the providence of our Great God and Saviour I was able to leave the shores of Africa and visit the United States of America in June 2008 and briefly attend the Ambassadors’ Academy 3, a ministry of Living Waters, under the leadership of the two brothers in the faith, namely Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron of The Way of the Master ministry.

Saving Xmas

Just recently I viewed Kirk Cameron’s Facebook page where he had been promoting his “Saving Christmas” film as depicted here-above. I had been made aware of this film through an article that appeared at Christian News Network where it is surprisingly quoted:

Was Santa Claus a Christian? A ‘defender of the faith’? Is this reason to sit on the lap of the bearded man at the mall who “knows if you’ve been naughty or nice”? That is what Kirk Cameron is claiming as proof why Christians should celebrate Christmas in a new documentary that opens this Friday [November 14, 2014] in theatres across the country—an assertion that is raising concerns over Cameron’s confusion of Roman Catholicism with Christianity.

Cameron, best known for his role as Mike Seaver on the 80’s TV sitcom “Growing Pains” and films such as “Fireproof” and “Left Behind,” has been promoting his new film “Saving Christmas,” in which the actor seeks to “keep Christ in Christmas,” stating that some holiday traditions aren’t so bad or pagan after all.

Saint Nicholas, as painted on the Kizhi monastery in Russia. After recently asserting that Christians should celebrate Halloween, in a video clip released last week entitled “Do You Love Santa Claus,” Cameron stated that “maybe someone like Santa Claus is actually on our team.” He then released a second video providing the history of the figure of Santa Claus, who was actually the Roman Catholic Bishop Nicholas of Myra, Turkey under Pope Sylvester I.

“He was a devout Christian,” Cameron states, but not noting Nicholas’ Roman Catholic faith. Read more Here (Full Report)

Another Christian News Network article that should be read appears at this link: ‘Maybe the Grinch Had a Point’: Kirk Cameron’s ‘Saving Christmas’ Won’t Be Saved From Critics.

Whilst I have personally not viewed the film, and will not be viewing the same in its entirety, I have watched the trailer and read some reviews on it, and have also seen the comments on Kirk Cameron’s Facebook page – for the film vs. against the film; pro-Christmas vs. anti-Christmas; man’s pagan traditions vs. Biblical Historical Truth. It all makes for interesting reading, but there can be only one Truth. Just as our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ said:

31  . . . If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
36  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. ~ John 8:31,32 & 36

Birth of Christ This is the saddest part of this blog posting. I had placed a comment on Kirk’s Facebook wall, including the birth chart to the left (click on it to enlarge in another tab), and my comment was deleted. You read right – D E L E T E D. It appears that when one confronts error with the literal Biblical Historical Truth you are summarily deleted and not allowed to “play in the play-group.” I am saddened and really disappointed by how professing Christians can censure Christians if they do not agree with their world view! It goes much deeper than that as it is a matter of Truth vs. error and those in error do not want to listen! Well argue with the Word of God then. When one reads the Holy Scriptures, are you able to find “Christmas Day” mentioned in YHVH’s Holy Feast Days in Leviticus 23? Or maybe it was instituted in the New Testament and I have just missed the Chapter and Verse! No, you can’t find it, because it doesn’t exist.

Surprisingly an initial comment with the chart also appears to have mysteriously disappeared on Ray Comfort’s Facebook wall, and this before I reposted three more comments randomly! It is also very surprisingly that Kirk Cameron who is attempting to evangelise the masses has also changed his comment settings and you have to “possibly like” his page before you can comment thereon; or is the comment feature only not available to me? Well, getting back to the initial comment on Kirk’s page which went something along these lines, not verbatim as the original one was deleted:

Christian, please read your Holy Bible and you will find out that Yeshua, our Lord Jesus Christ, was born on 15 Tishri (September/October) at the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) and He was born in a Sukkot (Booth) and not a stable/cave. If you know what to look for start reading: Luke 1 and 2; 1 Chronicles 24:10; Leviticus 23:33-44; Deuteronomy 16:16; and many other Scriptures.

To help with the Scriptures quoted here-above please view the afore-stated Birth of Christ Chart together with the following powerpoint presentation: The Nativity of Yeshua HaMeshiach.

Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron receive literally thousands upon thousands of “hits/likes/shares/comments” on their Facebook accounts and it is mostly by idolising Christian folk. If a message is being proclaimed please make sure it is without error. In the past I too fell into the trap of “idolising” men such as Comfort and MacArthur, and I had to REPENT before God for being so caught up in men’s ministries in idolatry instead of listening to the leading Holy Spirit and walking with God. Don’t say it will never happen to you. For many of you it has already happened and you can’t see the woods for the trees!

The only conclusion I can arrive at is that the literal Biblical Historical Truth that I presented showed up the errors in Kirk Cameron’s “Saving Christmas.” My plea to ALL reading this is: Stop trying to put the Lord Jesus Christ into something He was never in to start off with! Do you think the “Christmas” practices that are undertaken every year were at His birth? Was there a Xmas tree and all the tinsel and trappings in the sukkot Yeshua, our Lord Jesus Christ was born in? Or do you think there is a Xmas tree in heaven before the throne of God Almighty every year to celebrate His Son’s birth? Obviously the first century believers never celebrated this way so why should you/we do so now? YES – certainly preach the Gospel at every opportunity including on December 25, but don’t be pagan like the rest of the heathen world. You can do so separated from the worldly system (see James 4:4). You are to be in the world, but not of the world, as it is written:

15  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
~ John 17:15-17

We are commanded to have unity in the Christian faith. Unfortunately we don’t see unity, but rather divisions. As it is written:

9  God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? ~ 1 Corinthians 1:9-13

3  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5  One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6  One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. ~ Ephesians 4:3-6

14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: ~ Ephesians 4:14,15

Christ Jesus made it abundantly clear how we are to remember Him. It is recorded what we are to do in remembrance of Him until He returns for His spotless, unified Bride:

23  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; read with Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19,20. [my emphasis]

Maybe Chris Williams, movie reviewer for the Advisor and Source in Michigan has it right. At the second Christian News Network report above, quote: “Williams said that in the end, “Kirk Cameron hasn’t made a movie for Christians. He’s made a movie for Kirk Cameron.””  I would have thought Kirk would contend for the faith and would have told the literal Biblical Historical Truth and stood as a light in this dark wicked world, and “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). We read further in Romans 13:12  “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11). The “Saving Christmas” film is not reproving the unfruitful works of darkness, but encouraging them. If this is so, then brother Kirk Cameron in sincere love I call you to repentance.

SOLI DEO GLORIA!

_______________

P.S. This blog posting will be placed on my Facebook wall and Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron will be tagged accordingly.

15 Tishri ~ You Can Know the True Day of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Birth

We can truly know the correct day of the nativity of the God-man our Lord Jesus Christ, if Christians who hold to Sola Scriptura and who live by every Word of God will only read and trust the Scriptures as they say they always do.

Those who say they celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ on December 25 each year should go back and examine, study and search out the Scriptures that speak of our Lord Jesus Christ. Those who exegete the Scriptures and know much historical accounts of the Word of God, choose to reject the historical evidence presented in God’s Word. To say God reveals every other detail of His story, but remains silent on the incarnation – the birth – of His only begotten Son is to be downright naive. The only possible reason that this might be the mindset of many Christians is that they do not wish to surrender their desire for the heathen day with all its pagan traditions. Too many people – family, friends, children and grandchildren are going to be affected by this change in their life. If there is no change, is this not going to be a compromising of the Word of God?

What we should realise is that daily Christians should be thankful for God coming to this world in the Person of His Son in order to redeem sinners to Himself. I do not think that any Christian denies the birth of our Saviour. It is just a matter of understanding when our Saviour was born into this world. In order to find out we should understand that our Lord Jesus Christ was born into this world still under the Jewish Levitical system and every detail revealed in Luke chapters 1 and 2 are of pertinent importance. Every Word is God breathed and has a real reason why God has revealed it in Scripture for our instruction and teaching and His clear revelation.

At any given time, we have at some time dealt with and made the complex calculations of the Daniel prophecy dealing with the 70th Week, without any problems it would seem, but when it comes to making the calculations surrounding the birth of our Saviour, Christians who are “Daniel experts” have found it a problem to tie up the information given to us to calculate the time of Christ’s birth, even saying we cannot be sure of His birth, but yet how can you then be sure of the complex Daniel prophecy? Is it not a choice to want to speak with authority on the Daniel prophecy, but neglect the birth of the Saviour out of a choice to be wilful ignorant holding to the “Christmas” tradition of man? Whilst some might look into dictionaries to find the meaning of “Christmas” or the “mas” portion of the word, we should in fact look to the very Word of God, examining the law and prophets, the historical events and the translations from the original Hebrew and Greek autographs, if possible. This will reveal the Truth; but we have the added benefit of Bible helps by being able to look into lexicons and concordances without being experts in the Hebrew and Greek tongues.

The Gospel of Luke is the foundation from where we can start our study leading to the calculation of when our Lord Jesus Christ was born. To start from the course of Abia (Abijah) cross referencing the Holy Scriptures to see that it was the eighth course according to 1 Chronicles 24:10 and that the Hebrew calendar was a 360-day lunar calendar that had 51 weeks (357 days) and that due to the priests appearing twice in the year according to the 24 courses of 1 Chronicles 24 plus the three festivals when all the males had to appear before the Lord in accordance with Deuteronomy 16:16, “in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles,” we end up with 51 weeks = one year. We also know that the feast of unleavened bread was on the fifteenth Nisan (Leviticus 23:5-8) and the feast of weeks (Shavuot/Pentecost – Leviticus 23:15,16) appear in the early part of the year, therefore the course of Abia (Abijah) would be in effect week ten (2+8) and the feast of tabernacles (Booths – Leviticus 23:33-43) would appear in the Hebrew seventh month starting fifteenth Tishri (i.e. September/October). We learn that after an angel appears to Zacharias in the temple confirming that his wife Elizabeth would conceive and the child to be born would be named John (the Baptist) (see Luke 1:13) we are also told that John would be a forerunner to the Messiah who “shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias” (Elijah) (see Luke 1:17). We are then told that:

Luke 1:23  And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. Luke 1:24  And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Luke 1:25  Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. Luke 1:26  And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, Luke 1:27  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

So Elizabeth conceived, possibly after her monthly menstruation in accordance with Leviticus 15:19,25 which was after two weeks to comply with the purity laws which would then bring the conception of John to be in or about the 12th week of the year. If John was then born about thirty-nine weeks (nine months) later then John’s birth would take place at the Passover during or just after the fifty-first week (12+39=51). Also remember that Elizabeth’s cousin Mary also conceived in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. In Luke 1:31-36 we read:

Luke 1:31  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. Luke 1:32  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: Luke 1:33  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:34  Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? Luke 1:35  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:36  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

Therefore, from these calculations that there is a six month gap between the conception of John and the conception of our Lord Jesus Christ we know that six months would take us from the Hebrew month of Nisan (March/April) to the Hebrew month of Tishri (September/October). Therefore, if John the Baptist was born at the Passover (Nisan), the Son of Man Jesus Christ was born six months later at the feast of tabernacles (Tishri). But how do we confirm these two dates. Well we need to look at what Scripture tells us. Let God speak to confirm His mandate and revelation.

In Jewish tradition of celebrating the Passover here is an extensive quote from a book penned by writer titled The Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ which reads as follows:

The Jewish tradition during the Passover feast has a chair left open and a wine goblet set at Elijah’s place at the seder table each year awaiting his arrival.

The word seder is:

Hebrew for “set order”; the ritual Passover meal that is observed in specific order. (Christ in the Passover, Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Moody Publishers, Chicago, page 10 under definitions)

A quote from the book titled Christ in the Passover will also set out the setting of a traditional Jewish Passover seder table:

“Also at the seder table, beside each place setting are small wine goblets – small because four times they will be filled with sweet, red Passover wine during the seder. The custom of drinking four cups dates back to ancient Temple times. The Mishnah [Hebrew for the collection of oral law that forms the basis of the Talmud; compiled by Judah ha-Nasi (c. AD 135 to 220) – page 9 under definitions] teaches that, according to two authorities, Rabbi Yohanon and Rabbi Benayah, these four cups correspond to the four verbs in Exodus 6:6-7, describing God’s redemption: I will bring you out; I will free you; I will redeem you; I will take you to be My people.

“Two of the wine goblets at the table are usually larger and more ornate than the rest. They have silver, intricate pictures of the Bible history crafted into the metal. One of these goblets sits at the head of the table for the ruler of the feast; the other occupies a prominent place at the foot of the table, before an empty chair. It awaits the lips of Elijah, who, according to Malachi 4:5, is to announce the coming of the Messiah. The prophet is the invited guest of honor at every seder, for, should he come, it would indeed be the most festive of Passovers! The Messianic hope prevails more strongly at Passover than at any other time, for Midrashic tradition says: “Nisan is the month of redemption; in Nisan Israel was redeemed from Egypt; in Nisan Israel will again be redeemed” (Exodus Rabbah 15:12 Cf. chap. 6, 64-66) (Christ in the Passover, Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Moody Publishers, Chicago, pages 82-83)

More will be discussed later in this book under the Passover section dealing with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, during the Passover traditions, a child goes and opens the house door to see if Elijah has “arrived”, to accept the invitation to come inside and announce the coming of the Messiah, and as he is not outside the door, tradition has it that the Jewish Passover celebrators keep his place open awaiting the “arrival” possibly next year! This goes on year after year. Now let us read what Scripture says about John the Baptist coming in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17). At the transfiguration of Christ, Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus and His disciples Peter, James and John. And this is recorded in Matthew 17:10-13 ~

10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already [see Matthew 11:14], and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. [See also Mark 9:10-13 and Luke 9:33]”

We also read about the account of our Lord Jesus Christ that also confirms why He was born at the feast of tabernacles. A very important Scripture that reveals the Word of God who was with God and who was God becomes flesh and “dwelt” on the earth as we read:

John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Let us examine the word “dwelt” that appears in the Strong’s Complete Word Study Concordance as Greek word 4637 skēnoō, skay-no’-o; from 4636, to tent or encamp, i.e. (figurative) to occupy (as a mansion) or (special) to reside (as God did in the tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion): – dwell. The Greek word 4636  skēnos, skay’-nos; from 4633; a hut or temporary residence, i.e. (figurative) the human body (as the abode of the spirit): – tabernacle. The first word skēnoō is the only time it appears in the New Testament. It is also a fact that when “a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed” (see Luke 2:1) took place it was at the time of the feast of tabernacles. For Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem for he was of the house and lineage of David (see Luke 2:4) and the place would have had also all the house of Israel to present themselves before the Lord in accordance with Deuteronomy 16:16 and as determined beforehand that our Lord would be born in the month of Tishri, there would have been an overcrowding where no place would be found in the inn. However, in accordance with the requirements of the feast of tabernacles, all Israelites were to dwell in booths as we read in Leviticus 23:39-43:

Lev 23:39  Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. Lev 23:40  And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. Lev 23:41  And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Lev 23:42  Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: Lev 23:43  That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

We therefore see that they stayed in a tabernacle – a booth for the duration of the feast as commanded by God, which then would dispel the notion of a stable, for the Holy Scriptures do not speak of a stable. The angels said the sign would be, as we read:

Luke 2:12  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

There is nothing that dispels this sign, as in booths mangers were found. We read in the Strong’s Complete Word Study Concordance the Hebrew word 5521 sukkâh, sook-kaw’: feminine of 5520; a hut or lair – booth, cottage, covert, pavilion, tabernacle, tent. A feminine singular noun meaning a booth, a thicket. This term is used for temporary shelters used to cover animals (Ge 33:17); warriors (2Sa 11:11); and the prophet Jonah (Jnh 4:5). It is used poetically to refer to the clouds (Job 36:29; Ps 18:11[12]). A specialized usage is employed for booths constructed for the fall harvest festival (Le 23:42,43). The festival was known as the chag hassukkôwth (2282), the Feast of Booths (Dt 16:13,16). This was to remind the Israelites that they lived in booths when the Lord brought them up from Egypt (Le 23:43).

The feast of the tabernacle also fits with our Lord Jesus Christ being born on the first day, being fifteenth Tishri which was a Sabbath and He would have also been circumcised on the eighth day which was also a Sabbath. See also the significance that God rescued His people out of Egypt, a type of the world, and our Lord Jesus Christ was born at the festival to rescue sinners out of the world, too. Another quote from the text of The Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ reads as follows:

If Jesus was born on the first day of Sukkot, “The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD” (Leviticus 23:34), then He would have been circumcised on the “eighth great day” a festival following Sukkot. Shemini Atseret (“Eighth Day of Solemn Assembly”) is a festival observed immediately after Sukkot (Tabernacles), i.e., on 22nd Tishri (i.e. the seventh month), as laid down in the Pentateuch: “On the eighth day you shall observe a holy occasion … it is a solemn gathering (Atseret); you shall not work at your occupations” (Lev. 23:36; cf. Num. 29:35). The term Atseret (lit. “concluding festival”) is also applied to the last day of Passover (Deut. 16:8) and, by the rabbis, to Shavu’Ot (RH 1:2; Shev. 1:1). This day was the original “Simchat Torah” (Rejoicing of the Law) {n. Judaism A festival celebrating the Law of Moses and the completion of the year’s cycle and subsequent new beginning, observed on the 22nd or 23rd day of Tishri (September/October) – which is now held the following day in Rabbinic Judaism. [Hebrew śimhat tôrâ, rejoicing in the Torah, Simchat Torah: śimhâ, joy (from śāmēah, to rejoice) + tôrâ, torah.]} (www.answers.com/topics/shemini-atseret).

For a moment stop and consider this, that our Lord Jesus Christ who as a growing boy would have celebrated all the feast days as His Father God Almighty had commanded in the Torah, and most specifically whilst appearing before the Lord at the feast of tabernacles, as all the males had to appear as commanded in the law, our Lord Jesus Christ would have celebrated the holy convocation of how God had delivered His people Israel out of Egypt (bondage). He most probably also heard the account from Joseph and His mother Mary of His first nativity, that He was born at one of the feast of tabernacles and He would most probably have heard how He was laid in a manger and that the shepherds had come to see this wonderful event (see Luke 2:8-14). The people present would have also known about the birth of the Saviour in and amongst them, for the shepherds – the first evangelists – went about broadcasting the news to those present (see Luke 2:15-20). As a young child, in a house, with His mother, later He would also have experienced the wise men from the east coming to worship Him and giving Him gifts (see Matthew 2:11). Our Lord Jesus Christ would have understood that He was the Saviour who was born into this world to redeem His people just as God had redeemed His people. There would have been great celebration to God in heaven by the people, whilst right in their very midst was the Saviour, the Messiah who, too, would redeem His people, Jew and Gentile, one day in the future with His own precious blood as a sacrifice and an atonement, when our Lord Jesus Christ would fulfil another feast celebration at the feast of Passover/unleavened bread. There would have been no “Christmas trees, boughs of holly or mistletoe” in His booth or any booth for that matter. There would have been no intention to celebrate as such, for God had not commanded these particular practices, and certainly there would be no fat-man with a white beard in a red-suit named Satan Claus making his rounds from booth to booth delivering gifts to those in attendance, for the attendees were celebrating and remembering their journey in the wilderness and how God delivered and kept them and lead them into the promised land. And our Lord Jesus Christ fulfiled the feast by delivering and keeping His people and leading them into heaven. Besides, the Jews would have known what the prophet Jeremiah had spoken about “Learn not the way of the heathen” (see Jeremiah 10:2).

You see, the a foregoing Scriptures and many others, confirm the true birth day of our Lord Jesus Christ. There can be no other way, for Christ knows when He was born. Therefore, how can man, Christian or heathen, say the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ was on December 25th? Why would anyone remember and celebrate the birth of God’s Son on a day He has not commanded in Old and New Testaments. In fact, it is clear that God’s Word speaks of another day in which the anointed of God took on human form, as we read:

Galatians 4:3  Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: Galatians 4:4  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, Galatians 4:5  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

In “the fulness of time” was at the feast of tabernacles, no other time. We are to be witnesses for Christ in this world sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we are given a command how to remember our Lord Jesus Christ, by everyday, or as often as we partake in it, “this do in remembrance of me,” as we read:

Luke 22:19  And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Luke 22:20  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

1Cor 11:23  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 1Cor 11:24  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 1Cor 11:25  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 1Cor 11:26  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

SOLI DEO GLORIA!

Jesus said Come, Follow Me!

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A Comprehensive Study

 

Jesus said Come, Follow Me! 

 

Table of Contents

Forward

Introduction

Chapter 1 – The Beginning

Chapter 2 – What Did Jesus Do?

Chapter 3 – Jesus said Come, Follow Me

Chapter 4 – How to Approach God

Chapter 5 – What is the Church?

Chapter 6 – Christ’s Holy Spirit Led Body

Chapter 7 – Except the Lord Build the House

Chapter 8 – Being a True Follower

Chapter 9 –The Knowledge of Man

Chapter 10 — The End

Conclusion

Church ~ The Ekklesia of God

Here is the third part of understanding what is Church. What we have been taught and come to understand what is “church” is how the western world has defined it for us with their interpretation which is a definition that is not what the Bible describes as the Body of Christ – The Church. Before we accept what we would believe to be how to “do church” we need to examine the Scriptural way of how the church functioned and what it was in the first century.

It would always be probably best to go back to the original word used in scripture to see what we are actually dealing with. So let us look at the Greek word for “church” and “churches” which is ekklēsia and which is recorded in the Strong’s Complete Word Study Concordance as follows:

1577. έκκλησία, ekklēsia, ek-klay-see’-ah; from a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): – assembly, church.

Noun from ékklētos (n.f.), called out, which is from ekkaléō (n.f.), to call out. A convocation, assembly, congregation:

(I) Of persons legally called out or summoned (Acts 19:39, of the people); and hence also of a tumultuous assembly not necessarily legal (Acts 19:32,41). In the Jewish sense: a congregation, assembly of the people for worship, i.e., in a synagogue (Matthew 18:17), or generally (Acts 7:38; Hebrews 2:12 quoted from Psalm 22:22; Sept.: Deuteronomy 18:16; 2Chronicles 1:3, 5).

(II) In the Christian sense; an assembly of Christians, generally (1Corinthians 11:18, a church, the Christian church).

(A) A particular church, e.g., in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1; 11:22); Antioch (Acts 11:26; 13:1); Corinth (1Corinthians 1:2; 2Corinthians 1:1); Asia Minor (1Corinthians 16:19); Galatia (Galatians 1:2); Thessalonica (1Thessalonians 1:1; 2Thessalonians 1:1); Cenchrea (Romans 16:1). Also “the churches of the nations” (a.t.) means churches of Gentile Christians (Romans 16:4); the church which meets at the house of someone (Romans 16:5; 1Corinthians 16:19; Philemon 2); the churches of Christ (Romans 16:16); the church of God at Corinth (1Corinthians 1:2).

(B) The universal church (Matthew 16:18; 1Corinthians 12:28; Galatians 1:13; Ephesians 1:22; 3:10; Hebrews 12:23); church of God (1Corinthians 10:32; 11:22; 15:9; 2Timothy 3:15 [cf. in the Sept. the church of the Lord {Deuteronomy 23:2, 3}]).

We also read in Colossians 1:18 –

18 And he [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church [ekklesia] who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

The church is not a place, but a lifestyle of the assembly of people as we read on in verses 20-22 and 24 of Colossians 1 –

20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
. . .

24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

The church is discipleship in action.

In Scripture wherever the church is mentioned it is not a place or building that falls under a denomination, but the believers who meet in or are from a city. We will look at some Scriptures that confirm this (my emphasis in bold):

30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: ~ Acts 15:30

35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. ~ Acts 15:35

36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the LORD, and see how they do. ~ Acts 15:36

2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. ~ Acts 16:2

22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch. ~ Acts 18:22

In the introductions and conclusions of the Pauline epistles one will read extensively of the churches in the cities as can also be seen from the Scriptures listed under Strong’s above. In the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians we see the point made:

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother. To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1,2). For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis (4:13). Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house (4:15). And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea (4:16).

The ekklesia is the body of believers who are in one accord (see Acts 1:14; 2:1, 46; 4:24; 5:12; 15:25, 26; Philippians 2:2) with the doctrines of the Holy Spirit and not believers who are divided by doctrines and traditions of men which make the Word of God of no effect (see Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:13). We do see that denominations are divided in that what may be accepted for one congregation of people might not be accepted by another congregation of people. Is the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth divided? NO!!

Jesus being the chief cornerstone, of His Body, the church, is set perfectly. Just as any structural building would have to have the cornerstone set perfect, for if the cornerstone is askew the whole foundation would be askew and the building would be unstable; so the Living Christ being the chief cornerstone is set perfectly for His building to be perfect. The foundation is therefore sure and fast. The believers, the ekklesia, are the living stones (1 Peter 2:5) that fit jointly to form the spiritual temple of which true Christians are part of the Body of Christ, a temple not made with hands. For the Spirit of Christ indwells the body of the disciple, who is the temple of the Living God. By letting God work His will through His ekklesia we would see the true power of God moving upon this earth seeing the will of God being done “… in earth as it is in heaven …” (Matthew 6:10). The mind-set needs to be changed from thinking “we go to church” to that of “we are the church,” a living, vibrant manifestation of God’s will upon this earth, living in community and relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, not only on Sundays in a church building (institutional church), but in everyday breathing and living (organic church), making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19a) and pointing prospective disciples (unbelievers) and disciples (believers) to Christ, because they see more of Christ in you and none of yourself. The ekklesia is about transformation – the old is dead (passed) the new is a new creation (alive) (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). We must be as John the Baptist witnessed:

30 He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease. ~ John 3:30

Brethren, the call shouldn’t be get back into the local church (denomination driven institutional church), which has no Biblical foundation; it is allowing Christ to be your Head of His Church – the precious, beautiful, holy, righteous, living, disciple making Bride of Christ.

4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. ~ 1 Peter 2:4-10

Please seek God on this matter. Amen.

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