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The Gospel: Earnestly contend for the faith Sermon

This is a brief outline of the sermon notes (not verbatim with the audio sermon)  from a Sermon preached at Living Hope by Gary Crous on Sunday January 11, 2015. You can listen to the audio Sermon Here or by clicking the Internet Archive logo hereunder.

THE GOSPEL: EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH

(GALATIANS 1; JUDE 3)Internet Archive

A brief recap from last week’s sermon: Our Resolve for 2015

1. “walking epistles known and read of all men” (2 Cor. 3:12)

2. The Great Commission (Matt. 28:19,20) – Might I add “Go and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

3. Formula 4 (Acts 2:42). “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. [Be reminded and prayerfully examine yourself as we will be coming around the Lord’s table which is an act of worship that shows Christ’s death until He comes again].

4. A “model” Church (1 Thessalonians 1:7) as ensamples to all that believe. We do not want to be a holy huddle up on the hill, but we want “to be the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14).

5. Living a life of Holiness (Hebrew 12:14). “We are to follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” There is a huge responsibility upon us as to how we conduct our lives.

6. How to not “left your first love” (Revelation 2:4). The Gospel of Christ is about abiding in Christ as we heard last week from John 15:1-8; He must be our First Love.

We were reminded that all these are covered in being a “good and faithful servant” (Our proof text coming from Matthew 25:14-30).

We then saw that Our Resolve for 2015 will be FAITHFULNESS! So want to hear the words: “Well done good and faithful servant … enter!” Might I add, not only for 2015, but until the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved (Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13).

This is the race, a lifestyle – it is not how you start, but how you finish. Philippians 3:14 reads: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

NOW, we get onto this weeks Sermon titled: THE GOSPEL: EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH

GALATIANS 1:1-24 (READ)

1  Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
2  And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
3  Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
4  Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
5  To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
11  But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
13  For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
14  And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
15  But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
16  To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17  Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
18  Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
19  But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.
20  Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
21  Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
22  And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
23  But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
24  And they glorified God in me.

1. Location – v. 2

2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:

All those with him and the churches of Galatia [a large area in Asia Minor boarded on the north by Ilithynia and Pontus, on the east by Cappadocia, on the south by Phamphlia and Cilicia, and on the west by Phrygia and Pisidia] – these people were initially Gallic or Celtic who settled there in the 3rd Century BC following their invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC into Asia Minor and it finally became a Roman province under the Roman Empire. Paul penned this epistle sometime between 40-60 AD, possibly in 53 AD. Galatia of the New Testament is initially the Gauls of the east. To set the geographical location, this area is present day Turkey a Muslim nation dominated by Islam. The churches of Galatia in Paul’s day are probably underground churches and not out there in the open today, but this epistle also finds application for us in our lives in Pietermaritzburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal and further afield.

2. Revelation – vv. 11,12

11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

This Gospel was by the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The Gospel preached by Paul was not after man, received of man, or taught of man. It was by the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

If we are born again has God revealed the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives by a divine revelation.

3. Salvation – vv. 15,16

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

When it pleased God and called Paul by grace, it was not by his own devises. It was a work of God. God revealed His Son Jesus in him.

Salvation is as per Ephesians 2:8,9 as we read:

8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

In 1 Corinthians 2:1,2 Paul says he came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. He also says Woe unto me if I preach not the gospel. (1 Cor. 9:16)

4. Proclamation – vv. 6-10

6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Expound upon the true Gospel that is grace by faith, not as some were preaching a pervert gospel of keeping the Mosaic Law.

There were those coming in and preaching a different Gospel. [JUDE 3 – “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation [my emphasis a salvation they all knew], it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” There weren’t many types of salvation, it was a common salvation that they knew; and the faith was delivered (made known/revealed) once unto the saints. {Elaborate}

The word “pervert” which is a verb is to distort or corrupt the original course, meaning, or state of something and it can lead (someone) away from what is considered natural or acceptable.

Paul says, if I am a man pleaser then I should not be the servant of Christ.

5. Glorification – vv. 23,24

23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
24 And they glorified God in me.

God is glorified in me. Does people see Christ-likeness in your life so that they glorify God in you?

How do we contend for the faith once delivered to all the saints? We will look at fifteen imperatives (commands) of this faith:

I · Do the Word – Jesus said My mother and my brethren are these which hear the Word of God, and do it (Luke 8:21). In Matthew 12:49 Jesus made it abundantly clear who His disciples were when He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said Behold my mother and my brethren! In verse 50 He said: For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, sister, and mother.

II · Be in unity – 1 Corinthians 1:10 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.

We are commanded to speak the same thing. Let us look at the word “Theology” – it is made up of two Greek words: theos = God; logos = word. Theology is therefore God’s Word, “The study of the nature of God and religious belief.”

  • Same mind – 1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. – We are warned in James 1:8 A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. [I pray and hope there are no double-minded people in this assembly]
  • Same judgment – 1 Corinthians 2:14,15 (14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (15) But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

III · Keep the unity of the Spirit – Ephesians 4:3-7 (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. (7) But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Carry on in Ephesians 4:11-16 (11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: (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: (16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, making increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

IV · Be active in the ministry of reconciliation – 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (18) And all things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given unto us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

  • We are representing the Kingdom of God as Jesus preached, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2) and in Mark 1:15 Jesus said, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
  • C.H. Spurgeon said: “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.”

V · Peace, holiness and righteousness – In Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. And in 2 Corinthians 5:20 “… we might receive the righteousness of God.”

VI · Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. – Matthew 5:48.

VII · Study [the Word of God] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

VIII · Make disciples – not Christians – and teach them. – Matthew 28:19,20.

IX · Preach the gospel one to another. – Romans 1:15 ~ So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

X · Be Holy Spirit lead and walk in the spirit and not after the flesh. – Galatians 5:16 ~ This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

XI · Love one another so the world will know we are Christ’s disciples. – John 13:35.

XII · Let your light shine before all men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16.

XIII · Preach the Gospel to the heathen world. – Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8. Be a witness for our Lord Jesus Christ.

XIV · Contend for Truth and reprove all works of darkness – Ephesians 5:11 ~ And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

21  Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
22  Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? ~ 1 Corinthians 10:21,22

XV · Pray, pray and pray some more! – This is communication with God. Make sure our prayers are according to God’s will – (14) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. (15) And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. – 1 John 5:14,15.

CHALLENGE

Do YOU resolve to contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

  • When we do His will – we are His disciples.
  • When we do His will – He hears us.
  • When we do His will – He grows His Church.
  • When we do His will – He is Glorified.

So let us hold to the five Solas:

  1. Sola Gratia (Grace Alone) [Acronym G.R.A.C.E. – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense]
  2. Sola Fide (Faith Alone) [Acronym F.A.I.T.H. – Forsaking All I Trust Him]
  3. Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
  4. Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)
  5. Soli Deo Gloria (To the Glory of God Alone)

Amen.

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.

South Africans Deceived

In accordance with the latest statistics on religious denominations in South Africa, one must go as far back as the Census 2001 to find out what you are looking for. The Census 2011 questionnaire did not even include any questions about religion due to what is perceived as low priority [a]. A 2012 poll indicated that the number of South Africans who considered themselves religious decreased from 83% of the population in 2005 to 64% of the population in 2012 [b]. It is estimated that in the world there are approximately 41 000 “Christian denominations” alone. This blog posting will show that this nation is NOT Christian as the vast majority of the South African population would like to think and believe they are. There is only a remnant of truly born-again disciples of the one and only True and Living GOD Yeshua Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, in South Africa.

Census 2001

Hereunder are the statistics of the vast denominations and religions within the South African demographics. It makes for some interesting reading of how the people groups classify themselves within the religious framework in South Africa.

Denomination

Adherents

Dutch Reformed churches

3,005,697

Zion Christian churches

4,971,931

Catholic churches

3,181,332

Methodist churches

3,035,719

Pentecostal/Charismatic churches

3,695,211

Anglican churches

1,722,076

Apostolic Faith Mission

246,193

Lutheran churches

1,130,983

Presbyterian churches

832,497

Bandla Lama Nazaretha

248,825

Baptist churches

691,235

Congregational churches

508,826

Orthodox churches

42,253

Other Apostolic churches

5,627,320

Other Zionist churches

1,887,147

Ethiopian type churches

1,150,102

Other Reformed churches

226,499

Other African independent churches

656,644

Other Christian churches

2,890,151

African Traditional Religion

125,898

Judaism

75,549

Hinduism

551,668

Islam

654,064

Other beliefs

283,815

No religion

6,767,165

Undetermined

610,974

Religion

Adherents

2001

%

Adherents

2007

%

Christianity

35,750,641

79.77

29,684,861

73.52

Non-religious

6,767,165

15.10

3,262,428

8.08

Other

283,815

0.63

Buddhism/Chinese folk

12,113

0.03

Islam

654,064

1.46

985,460

1.45

Undetermined

610,974

1.36

Hinduism

551,668

1.23

504,707

1.25

African Traditional Religion

125,898

0.28

6,056,487

15.00

Judaism

75,549

0.17

68,640

0.17

Kindly bear in mind that from the aforementioned statistics which appear at Wikipedia the grouping of all “denominations” that include the Roman Catholics, Zionist churches, Orthodox churches and other churches (that include the Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, and other cultic churches) are misrepresented as being ALL Christianity! They ALL certainly are NOT Christians holding to the Judeo-Christian doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ as contained in the Holy Bible’s Old and New Testaments which also exclude the Apocryphal books of the Roman Catholic church. This shows the deception that South Africans believe when they “agree that all who name the name of Christ are Christian”. This is not so! [*]

Overall, there has been a general decline in the religiosity of South Africans and it shows that even in the latest Census 2011 no questions were asked about religion. The South African Constitution still has in its preamble “God bless South Africa”, but since the democratically elected South African government of 1994, the ANC government has NOT governed this nation in accordance with Romans 13. We are told that the ‘rulers,’ which is the government, are not there to be “policing” good works, but to those that do evil. The Scriptures read as follows:

Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Romans 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

From what will follow, we will see that the ruling government has not ministered for God and eradicated evil from our society. In fact they are not the solution to godly rule, but has become the problem in not executing proper justice and by their promulgating ungodly legislation that pampers to the depravity of evil and wicked men. The latter part of the following Proverb is a true reflection of life in South Africa:

Pro 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

The tyranny of the Marxist socialist government is using the term “democracy” as a front in an otherwise communist state. The laws are ungodly and corruption, fraud, and lawlessness is the order of the day, so how can the government rule with justice? South Africa has the highest rates of murder and rape in the world. According to a factsheet compiled by Africa Check for the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the period 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013, quote: “the violent crimes that cause the most fear and trauma amongst the public has increased. For the first time in six years there is an increase in both the number and rate of murders and attempted murders. Murder is an important indicator both because it is the most accurate of all crime categories and because it is internationally seen to be an indicator of a country’s stability. There was also a small increase in the number of sexual offences recorded by the police.

“The facts about the increases in inter-personal violence are as follows:

  • Incidents of murder increased from 15 609 murders in 2011/12 to 16 259 murders in 2012/13.
  • This means that there was an increase of 650 murder cases or a 4,2% increase when comparing the total numbers of murders with the previous year.
  • This works out to almost two additional murders per day on average during the 2012/13 financial year.
  • Consequently our murder rate increased from a total average of 43 murders per day to 45 murders per day.
  • Using the correct census data for 2011, the murder rate in 2011/12 was 30,3 per 100 000 population and not 30,9 as reported by SAPS in the last reporting period.
  • The murder rate for 2012/13 stood at 31,3 per 100 000 population which reflects an increase of 2,8% in the rate of murders (not 0,6% as presented officially).
  • South Africa’s murder rate is therefore about four and a half times higher than the global average of 6,9 murders per 100 000. [writer’s emphasis]
  • Attempted murder cases increased from 14 859 to 16 363, an increase of 10,1%.
  • Attempted murder rates increased by 8,7% in the past year.
  • Sexual offence cases increased from 64 514 to 66 387, an increase of 2,9%.
  • Sexual offence rates increased from 125,1 per 100 000 to 127,0 per 100 000 population, an increase of 1,5%.

The crimes above are not easy to reduce through policing alone. This is because most (around 60% to 70%) of murders, attempted murders and rapes, occur between people who know each other and occur as a result of a mix of particular social and economic factors. These crimes are often referred to by the police as inter-personal violent crimes. Only between 15% and 20% of murders and attempted murders are the result of aggravated robbery while inter-group conflicts and vigilantism make up the rest. …”, unquote. The remaining crime statistical data can be read at this link: FACTSHEET South Africa: Official crime statistics for 2012/13. [c]

The South African nation shows the depravity of man in this evil and wicked society. And whilst this nation is ecumenical in faith and belief systems worshipping all manner of gods, the blood of the murdered cries out from the soaked earth for revenge, and as a Christian I am comforted knowing that Almighty God will execute perfect justice come the Day of Judgment. Whilst the majority of the population are GOD-hating atheists, agnostics, environmentalists (a.k.a. evolutionists), custom and tradition ancestral worshippers, cultists, and false “christians” – those that are secular humanists, new agers and lukewarm compromising believers involved in a false-gospel, prosperity-teaching, easy-believism religion; the real believers at times seem to be asleep in the pews while this generation spirals out of control walking on the broad way to Hell (see Matthew 7:13,14). Christian soldier, forget about all the dainties of this life and the various church programs that make you feel good – Stop it and report for duty!! If necessary, Repent and seek God’s forgiveness.

Statistical data gives a reflection of what is taking place in any society. Given that in 2007 73,52% of the population were following the “Christianity” faith, it would therefore be expected that at least two-thirds of the population would vote for a Christian party in the 2014 General Elections that took place in South Africa on May 7, 2014. Well, let the truth be known – as with all denominations, there is no unity; and besides, the voters’ true hearts were revealed – they would rather vote for an ungodly communist government dictated by their Marxist ideology, a totalitarianism government that enforces their ungodly agendas that violate every command of YHVH (Yehovah God), as those professing christians agree in principal and by their conscience they have exercised their free speech that they accept the practices of abortions, homosexuality, same-sex marriages, co-habiting partner relationships (fornication), idolatry, alcohol and substance abuse, pornography, prostitution, human-trafficking, the destroying of Biblical family-life, the decline in education and moral values, as well as witchcraft! [d]. In fact as a Christian we are commanded by our Master and King Jesus Christ from His Word,

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

In fact, the government and majority of the population hold to the other extreme and call evil good and good evil, but hear the rebuke to such wickedness through the prophet Isaiah:

Isa 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isa 5:21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
Isa 5:22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
Isa 5:23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
Isa 5:24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

From a Christian worldview perspective, the political results below show a sinful outcome that is certainly not God honouring. As a follower of The Way – a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, my conscience would not allow me to vote for any political party due to their many corruptions that are the work of darkness and the Devil! Even the two “Christian” parties have difficulty in finding unity! They might be Christian-based and Bible-believing, but I would truly love to see them preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ from the political platform from which they have an opportunity to do so. Sadly, most of the opportunities are lost. As Christians we are called to “earnestly contend for the faith” as we read:

Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Results of the 2014 General Elections

Party

Votes

%

+/−

Seats

+/−

African National Congress

11,436,921

62.15

-3.75

249

-15

Democratic Alliance

4,091,584

22.23

+4.65

89

+18

Economic Freedom Fighters

1,169,259

6.35

New

25

New

Inkatha Freedom Party

441,854

2.40

-2.15

10

-8

National Freedom Party

288,742

1.57

New

6

New

United Democratic Movement

184,636

1.00

+0.16

4

0

Freedom Front Plus

165,715

0.90

+0.07

4

0

Congress of the People

123,235

0.67

-6.75

3

-27

African Christian Democratic Party

104,039

0.57

-0.24

3

0

African Independent Congress

97,642

0.53

New

3

New

Agang SA

52,350

0.28

New

2

New

Pan Africanist Congress

37,784

0.21

-0.07

1

0

African People’s Convention

30,676

0.17

-0.04

1

0

Al Jama-ah

25,976

0.14

-0.01

0

0

Minority Front

22,589

0.12

-0.12

0

-1

United Christian Democratic Party

21,744

0.12

-0.26

0

-2

Azanian People’s Organisation

20,421

0.11

-0.11

0

-1

Bushbuckridge Residents Association

15,271

0.08

New

0

New

Independent Civic Organisation

14,472

0.08

New

0

New

Patriotic Alliance

13,263

0.07

New

0

New

Workers and Socialist Party

8,331

0.05

New

0

New

Ubuntu Party

8,234

0.04

New

0

New

Kingdom Governance Movement

6,408

0.03

New

0

New

Front National

5,138

0.03

New

0

New

Keep It Straight and Simple

4,294

0.02

-0.01

0

0

Pan Africanist Movement

3,815

0.02

-0.01

0

0

First Nation Liberation Alliance

3,297

0.02

New

0

New

United Congress

3,136

0.02

New

0

New

Peoples Alliance

1,671

0.01

New

0

New

Total

18,402,497

100.00

400

Valid votes

18,402,497

98.65

Spoilt votes

251,960

1.35

Total votes cast

18,654,457

100.00

Registered voters/turnout

25,381,293

73.50

Source: IEC

Combined, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) (0.57%) and the United Christian Democratic Party (UCDP) (0.12%) achieved less than 1% (0.69%) of the General Election population’s vote. So in reality, the census figures are skewed, for there is only a remnant of believers. Kindly also bear in mind that from these statistics we are not guaranteed that all who voted for the ACDP and the UCDP are truly born-again believers who hold to the Judeo-Christian doctrine of the Holy Bible. [**] We are reminded in Scripture how we are to conduct our lives for the sole glory of God alone as we read in Second Corinthians:

2 Cor 4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2 Cor 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
2 Cor 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2 Cor 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2 Cor 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
2 Cor 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Cor 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

As we read from Matthew Henry’s commentary on the preceding verses, quote:

“The best of men would faint, if they did not receive mercy from God. And that mercy which has helped us out, and helped us on, hitherto, we may rely upon to help us even to the end. The apostles had no base and wicked designs, covered with fair and specious pretences. They did not try to make their ministry serve a turn. Sincerity or uprightness will keep the favourable opinion of wise and good men. Christ by his gospel makes a glorious discovery to the minds of men. But the design of the devil is, to keep men in ignorance; and when he cannot keep the light of the gospel of Christ out of the world, he spares no pains to keep men from the gospel, or to set them against it. The rejection of the gospel is here traced to the wilful blindness and wickedness of the human heart. Self was not the matter or the end of the apostles’ preaching; they preached Christ as Jesus, the Saviour and Deliverer, who saves to the uttermost all that come to God through him. Ministers are servants to the souls of men; they must avoid becoming servants to the humours or the lusts of men. It is pleasant to behold the sun in the firmament; but it is more pleasant and profitable for the gospel to shine in the heart. As light was the beginning of the first creation; so, in the new creation, the light of the Spirit is his first work upon the soul. The treasure of gospel light and grace is put into earthen vessels. The ministers of the gospel are subject to the same passions and weaknesses as other men. God could have sent angels to make known the glorious doctrine of the gospel, or could have sent the most admired sons of men to teach the nations, but he chose humbler, weaker vessels, that his power might be more glorified in upholding them, and in the blessed change wrought by their ministry.” [e]

To GOD be the glory alone!

Act 5:20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

____________________

Resources:

[a] “Census 2011 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)” statssa.gov.za. Retrieved 22 October 2012. ~ Wikipedia

[b] “Fewer religious people in SA – survey”. news24.com. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012. ~ Wikipedia

[c] Africa Check a non-partisan organisation which promotes accuracy in public debate and the media. www.africacheck.org

[d] It would have been prudent for Christians to have consulted “A Voter’s Guide for 2014” before going to the polls.

[e] Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, e-Sword.

[*] and [**] represent amendments included on July 25, 2014 to clarify the position surrounding true “Christianity” in accordance with the Judeo-Christian faith as contained in the doctrine of the Holy Bible.

Biblical films’ Hollywood comeback

Hollywood that has always blasphemed the Holy Name of God and His Son Jesus Christ, that has pushed Roman Catholicism in the religious parts of movies, that has advocated the homosexual agenda and promoted the evolutionist, humanist and environmentalist doctrines, is now going to make billions of dollars off the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible; that Hollywood, a.k.a. Sodom and Gomorrah,  which has trashed the Holiness of God with much disdain.

Gullible Christians are going to be duped into parting with their money to support and enrich people like Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Will Smith, Brad Pitt and Steven Spielberg. Most of the actors, actresses, directors and producers are the very people that blaspheme YHVH – God Almighty – and show their hatred for all things Biblical, the very people that promote fornication and adultery, murder, stealing, lying, covetousness, drunkenness, swearing and a whole host of other immoral abominations are going to greedily get rich off the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And many of the actors and actresses cannot even stay married to one partner during their careers, but have been bed-hopping as the seasons pass!

The real devilish thing is that the very True Bible doctrines are going to be compromised just to have a box-office hit. The facts will be changed for action and dramatization effects and the story line will be changed to suit those directing and producing the films. It’s already seen in the film Noah – where the hereunder article speaks of Noah’s “adopted” daughter played by Harry Potter (witchcraft movie) actress Emma Watson. Scripture says nothing about an “adopted” daughter. In fact the Bible says only eight souls were saved –

Genesis 7:7  And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.

Genesis 10:1  Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.

2 Peter 2:5  And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Be forewarned Christian – do not be duped by the devil’s work.

However, our evangelical prayer in all of this is that the unbelieving Hollywood actors, actresses, producers, directors, and everyone associated with ‘Tinseltown’, the movie-goer and even the lukewarm and false Christian will be converted and be born-again, that God Almighty will be glorified and He will use what is intended for evil to be for His ultimate Good! With God all things are possible.

The original article appears at The Telegraph website.

Superheroes are being elbowed out by Noah and Mary as Hollywood makes 2014 year of the biblical epic.

poster_2805468b

Mary Mother of Christ, whose title character will be played by Odeya Rush Photo: REX FEATURES

Nick Allen

By Nick Allen, Los Angeles

3:41PM GMT 25 Dec 2013

The saint-like image of a hooded woman looms out from the movie poster, her arms outstretched as a divine light bursts from the sky. A message written above is simple and unambiguous: “You Will Believe.”

So goes the promotional campaign for the forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster Mary Mother of Christ. “It is a part of Mary, Joseph and Jesus’ life that has not been shown on the big screen before,” reads a synopsis. “Under the reign of terror of Herod the Great and, against all odds, they survive as young parents in one of the most treacherous times in history.” It promises “faith-based high action drama” − and there is no room in the audience for doubting Thomases.

Mary Mother of Christ, whose title character will be played by Odeya Rush, a 16-year-old Israeli-born actress, is one of a series of unashamedly Christian biblical epics due to appear next year, marking an unprecedented overture by Hollywood to America’s evangelical heartland.

Studio executives who have spent the past few years releasing superhero and zombie films have, it seems, had an epiphany. Now their new best friends are evangelical pastors whose endorsements they actively seek, even inviting them on to sets during production. Pastors in turn play clips from films of which they approve to 10,000-strong congregations on 40ft wide movie screens.

Larry Ross, who has handled publicity for Christian groups and leaders including Rick Warren and Billy Graham, said “no pastor goes to seminary in order to market movies” but if the movie “proves edifying to their congregation, if it builds their faith”, they would recommend it.

In March audiences will be treated to Noah, a $150million special effects-laden extravaganza, in which Russell Crowe will build an ark and rescue mankind from the Great Flood. Harry Potter actress Emma Watson will play his adopted daughter, and Sir Anthony Hopkins is portraying Methuselah. The ark was built on Long Island, New York.

Noah will be followed by Sir Ridley Scott’s Exodus, in which Christian Bale, as Moses, will part the Red Sea. Scenes from ancient Egypt have been reconstructed in southern Spain, with Bale wielding a bow and arrow and Sigourney Weaver playing the Pharaoh’s wife. Scott has described the film, in a less than godly phrase, as “F—— huge”.

[Video appears at the original webpage]

Another movie of Moses’ life called Gods and Kings is also planned. Steven Spielberg was due to make it but has been replaced by Ang Lee, who won the Best Director Oscar this year for Life of Pi. Meanwhile, Son of God will tell the story of Jesus’ life, with Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado in the lead role. Will Smith is said to be planning a film based on the story of Cain and Abel, and Brad Pitt is rumoured to be playing Pontius Pilate in a separate project. There will also be Resurrection, in which a Roman soldier is sent to investigate Christ’s death. It has been likened to “Gladiator, with a mystery bent”.

Phil Cooke, a film-maker and media consultant to Christian organisations, said Hollywood’s epiphany had financial, not spiritual, origins. “What’s happened is they’ve understood it’s very good business to take Christians seriously, and this is a real serious market,” he said.

“For years Hollywood bent over backwards to reach special interest groups, be it feminists or environmentalists. It has finally realised that there are 91  million evangelical Christians in America.”

For their part, studio executives have taken something of a leap of faith that films in which religious figures save the world will bring big box office receipts.

That faith is based in no small part on the success of The Bible, a television mini-series shown on the History channel earlier this year, which averaged 11.4 million viewers and became America’s most watched cable show of 2013.

“It made the Bible cool to talk about again,” said Mr Cooke. “The separation of church and state in America is so strong that people had become afraid to talk about God, at work or at school. Suddenly, these Bible stories were water cooler conversation again.”

Since the days of epics such as Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments more than half a century ago, Hollywood and America’s Christian areas have rarely seen eye to eye. A low point was Martin Scorsese’s 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ, which featured sex scenes, and flopped after Roman Catholics led a boycott.

But in 2004 Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ achieved great commercial success, thanks partly to the endorsement of prominent Christians such as Rev Billy Graham. Since then, studios including Warner Bros, Sony and Fox have nurtured faith-based audiences. They have created “faith” divisions and employed Bible scholars to check scripts. “Mega-church” pastors have been invited to preview films months before their release.

Websites have also been created for pastors to download trailers to show during sermons. The push includes promoting films with Christian groups globally, particularly in South America and Africa.

However, that audience is knowledgeable about the subject matter and Hollywood is wrestling with questions of dramatic licence. One of next year’s epics has already run into controversy. Test screenings for Noah with a Christian audience in Arizona, and a Jewish audience in New York, reportedly produced troubling results. It has been suggested that the film shows Noah as an early opponent of climate change. Its director, Darren Aronofsky, has called him the “first environmentalist”.

Brian Godawa, a screenwriter, claimed to have read an early version of the script and said it portrayed a scenario in which the Great Flood was caused by man’s “disrespect” for the environment. Paramount, the studio behind Noah, remains adamant that it will sail on to success.

Whatever happens, Noah will have the same advantage for studios as the other biblical epics. Unlike movies based on superheroes, or the latest literary sensation such as Fifty Shades of Grey, the studios will not have to pay millions of dollars in copyright and licensing fees. The stories in the Bible are free to use.

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!

Strange Fire

Just recently the Grace to You ministry of Grace Community Church under the leadership of Pastor / Teacher Dr John MacArthur held a three day Strange Fire Conference in Southern California from October 16-18, 2013. While I have previously followed most of the speakers and do welcome the preaching against the false teachings of the Pentecostal / Charismatic / Word of Faith (PCWoF) movements, there still remains some teachings that I do not agree with. One teacher that teaches well is Justin Peters in his A Call For Discernment; I attended his conference that took place at KwaSizabantu Mission at Kranskop, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in 2012. As early as August 5, 2013, I also got to hear of Conrad Mbewe of Zambia and also posted his blog-posting Why is the Charismatic Movement Thriving in Africa at my Luke 9:23 Evangelism blog.

Whilst I am NOT a Calvinist, and I am NOT an Arminian, I do see myself as a Biblist that believes what is written in the Holy Word of God, The Bible. In faith I take what is written therein to be the very Words of God and Truth for all teaching as it is written in 2 Timothy 3:16,17 ~

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16,17

One of the most theologically sound teachings I heard from the Strange Fire Conference was the presentation by Dr Steve Lawson entitled The Puritan Commitment to Sola Scriptura. Agreeing with what was expounded, based on the five points of Calvinism, does not make me a follower of Calvin or should even term me a Calvinist – it can be seen from the Bible what is True. Instead of taking on the name of another man as a Calvinist (who incidentally had Michael Servetus murdered because of a theological disagreement), I do rather profess to being a follower, a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ and therefore need not ascribe to any man’s doctrine to confirm what I believe. The litmus test is: Are you truly a follower after God’s Word – Sola Scriptura? Or is there Strange Fire even in what you believe? We read of the account regarding strange fire from the Holy Scriptures, as it is written in Leviticus 10:1,2 ~

1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

Now, whilst much can be learned from the preachers / pastors / teachers from the Strange Fire conference exposing false prophets (see Jeremiah 14:14; Matthew 7:15, 24:11,24; Mark 13:22; Luke 6:26; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1), false apostles (see 2 Corinthians 11:13), false teachers (see 2 Peter 2:1) and healers – in a description wolves in sheep’s clothing (see Matthew 7:15) – we come to Scriptures that seem to be overlooked by the same main stream teachers that do expose error. If we are to hold to Sola Scriptura, then we are to teach accordingly in all matters the Word of God; this even includes the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. It is worrisome to see that Dr John MacArthur, who is an expository preacher, has ignored the Scriptures that give the very historical date that can be calculated of the birth of our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. It is sad that many believers still brandish the name “Christmas” around when this very word does not appear in Scripture. If anyone would want to refer to the birth of Christ, a more accurate way would be to refer to His nativity and not use the pagan infested word of “Christmas” – the mass of Christ with its pagan and popish traditions. As one of the most quoted preachers Charles Spurgeon preached on December 24, 1871, said, quote [writer’s emphasis in italics and bold]:

We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it whether it be said or sung in Latin or English; and secondly, because we find no scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. [C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1971, pg. 697].

John MacArthur’s ministry promotes “Christmas” and along with it the purchasing of his books (even some having “Christmas” in the titles) and other materials as “Christmas” gifts (refer to the many times Carl Miller promotes the buying of “Christmas” gifts on the Grace to You radio show). To hold to Sola Scriptura in the Holy Word of God according to the Gospel of Luke which gives pertinent historical and Hebrew information, we can see that the Scriptures tell us that the birth of the Saviour of the world was at the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths). To preach and teach anything else is heresy. When the whole world appears to worship or celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25, discernment would warrant that we should test why Roman Catholics, New Agers, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Word of Faith, unbelievers, pagans, Christians and many other religious and cult groupings “celebrate” at this festival day. One should then ask the questions:

a) What has Christ and Belial in common? and

b) How can a Christian for the love of God mix His Truth with Satan’s deception?

What I have found really disturbing is how preachers would negate certain teachings or teach falsely to fit with the preachers’ dogma. A point in question can be seen from an extract from John MacArthur’s sermon The Announcement of Jesus’ Birth, Part 1 from July 11, 1999 which says, quote [writer’s emphasis in bold]:

And so typically shepherds would stay out in the fields on the elevated plain of Jerusalem, the mountain area near Jerusalem from April to November typically. That’s one of the reasons why people doubt that Jesus was born in December because typically the shepherds wouldn’t be there in December. Well you can’t really be dogmatic about that either, we don’t know what month it was. There is really no way to know. We don’t even know what year Jesus was born, somewhere between 6 and 4 B.C. He was born as we calculated the calendar back, we can’t be specific, we don’t have enough data for that. There’s no reason to believe it was December 25, that was invented in order to try to sanctify a pagan festival. They thought if they put the birth of Christ celebration on the same day as Saturnalia, the worship of the sun god, they could sanctify that and all they did was corrupt the celebration of the birth of Christ with all the Christmas legend. It backfired on them. But there’s no way to know when He was born. It is possible they could have still been out there in December, we don’t know that.

What Dr. MacArthur says is that “There’s no reason to believe it was December 25” and that the date was a “pagan festival” and further “But there’s no way to know when He was born.” All three statements are contradictory and therefore misleading and deceptive for we certainly can calculate when our Lord Jesus Christ was born if we will just believe the Scriptural text and do the math from the very pertinent information provided to us in the Scriptures. Here is an extract from a book writer wrote titled The Birth, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ [incidentally the Christian printers I approached would not undertake the project of printing the book – I guess it goes against the fabric of man’s traditions and customs – you can email me to obtain a pdf version] that reads as follows [Quote]:

To calculate when the course of Abijah would appear in the year we need to first understand the Jewish calendar. The time when Jesus Christ was born into this world, the Jewish calendar would be using the post exilic sacred months as recorded in the above diagram on this page.

The Jewish Calendar

MONTHPRE- / POST EXILIC OF YEAR SACRED / CIVIL MODERNEQUIVALENTMONTHS
Abib / Nisan

1 / 7

March / April

Ziv / Iyyar

2 /8

April / May

Sivan

3 / 9

May / June

Tammaz

4 / 10

June / July

Ab

5 / 11

July / August
Elul 6 / 12 August / September
Ethanim / Tishri 7 / 1 September / October
Bul / Heshvan 8 / 2 October / November
Chislev 9 / 3 November / December
Tebeth 10 / 4 December / January
Shebat 11 / 5 January / February
Adar 12 / 6 February / March

Therefore, the year would start off in the month of Nisan and the months were based on the lunar calendar of 30 days per month. This would therefore equate, according to the Jewish calendar, to a 360-day lunar year. In accordance with the course that the priests would appear in the Temple, the calculation would be:

24 Courses multiplied by 2 Temple duties a year equals 48 weeks, plus the three pilgrimage weeks which totals 51 weeks.

The 51 weeks equate to 357 days which fits within the 360-day lunar year calendar.

As a result of these calculations we can therefore see that the course of Abijah, i.e. the eighth course (1 Chronicles 24:10), would serve the tenth week during the first half of the year, as a result of the following:

  • Passover / Feast of Unleavened Bread were celebrated starting on 14th / 15th Nisan:

5In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. 6And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. 7In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.8But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. ~ Leviticus 23:5-8

  • The Feast of Weeks [Shavuot (Pentecost)]:

15And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. ~ Leviticus 23:15,16

Zechariah had his vision while serving in the eighth course of Abijah, which fell in the tenth week of the year, calculating from the beginning of the sacred year in the month Nisan. As with the manner of women, let us add two weeks to comply with the purity laws (Leviticus 15:19,25) which would then bring the conception of John to be in or about the 12th week of the year. If John was born about thirty-nine weeks (nine months) later (for we are not sure of the exact day of conception calculated at about 39 weeks from Elisabeth’s last menstruation cycle) during the fifty-first week (12 + 39 = 51) that would bring us to the birth of John at the Passover festival. [Our present day calendar works on a 52 week year, but according to the Jewish calendar they were working on a lunar 360-day calendar, that equates to approximately 51 weeks.] The writer believes that in God’s providence John the Baptist was born at Passover at the very time that Elijah was, according to the Jewish tradition, supposed to appear.

Now, continuing and using the calculations in operation and the Scriptures told, God’s mandate is perfect and He is very specific about times and shadows of events to come (past, present and future), that His Son Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit six months (about 26 weeks) after John the Baptist’s conception. For we know that the Scriptures say that thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her” (Luke 1:36). This means Christ Jesus was conceived about the 38th week around the festival Hanukkah. This would also mean the Light of the world [see John 1:9] was conceived during the festival of lights! Conceived, not born in flesh entering into the world, as the Christmas holiday dictates – there is a huge difference here!

To fulfil prophecies, the prophecy would have to be fulfilled to the last detail and therefore it would be clear to understand in fulfilment of God’s prophetic Words, God would not generalize specifics as this would take away from His omniscient glory. To be precise in the prophetic Word given, God, being a God of divine order, would be exact and precise in bringing His Word to pass, just as the star (see Matthew 2:2) in the night sky appeared at the exact time He sent it to appear, and the angel Gabriel appeared at the exact time he was sent by God as His messenger, so too was the birth of His Only Begotten Son precisely when God chose for His Son to enter this world – on time to the last detail, as we read:

4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, ~ Galatians 4:4

Therefore, understanding God’s precise mandate and ordination of all things, Jesus was born thirty-nine weeks later (around week 76 from the beginning of our calculations at the preceding year’s month of Nisan; that is week 25 of the following year) which brings us to the time of the autumn (fall) Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) in the month Tishri (i.e. September/October). Is God giving us a Revelation of when He revealed Himself as His Son, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin and entered into this world as the God-Man? – “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) – “Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (see Matthew 1:23). [End Quote]

Birth of Christ

___________

From research we also notice that for about the first 4 centuries no such tradition of “Christmas” was recorded by the early Church celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and we can also pick up that “Christmas” was not entertained by such men in later years as the Puritans, the Reformers, John Knox, the Scots, the English, by settlers of America and by Charles H. Spurgeon, to mention but a few.

“So why did the Scots ban Christmas? Depending on which site you visit, the blame generally seems to lie with John Knox and dates range for 1562 to 1583, even though he was dead in 1572. What is certain is that with Cromwell and the Puritans, the rest of Britain took on the Scottish policy and Christmas was banned in 1644, being changed by parliamentary decree to a fast day rather than a “popish holiday”.

Charles II restored Christmas in 1660. Unfortunately for America, the Puritans took their anti-Christmas beliefs to America with them. Christmas was banned in Massachusetts in 1659, with the law remaining on the statute books for 22 years, which is strange as the same state was the first one in the US to make Christmas a legal holiday in 1856.

Pennsylvania and New England resisted Christmas celebration too for long periods.”

___________

Spurgeon also said, quote: “When it can be proved that the observance of Christmas, Whitsuntide, and other Popish festivals was ever instituted by a divine statute, we also will attend to them, but not till then. It is as much our duty to reject the traditions of men, as to observe the ordinances of the Lord. We ask concerning every rite and rubric, “Is this a law of the God of Jacob?” and if it be not clearly so, it is of no authority with us, who walk in Christian liberty.” (from Charles Spurgeon’s Treasury of David on Psalm 81:4.)

“Knox believed in the Regulative Principle of Worship, that anything offered to God in Worship should be fully and unequivocally sanctioned in Scripture. Needless to say, because there is no ‘Christmas’ in the Bible, and because we are to do nothing to diminish God’s commands in worship, Knox had no time whatsoever for a Christmas festival, or any other religious festival. He wrote . . .

“That God’s word damns your ceremonies (referring to Christmas and the other Roman Catholic inventions), it is evident; for the plain and straight commandment of God is, ‘Not that thing which appears good in thy eyes, shalt thou do to the Lord thy God, but what the Lord thy God has commanded thee, that do thou: add nothing to it; diminish nothing from it.’ Now unless that ye are able to prove that God has commanded your ceremonies, this his former commandment will damn both you and them.”

See Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32 ~

Deut 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deut 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

(Quote from John Knox’s History of the Reformation in Scotland (Ed. by William Croft Dickinson; New York: Philosophical Library, 1950), Vol. 1, p. 91.)

So is there Strange Fire being offered to God contrary to what He has commanded? I do think so – it is worship of God not as God has commanded! What Scripture does tell us, and Sola Scriptura for that matter, is that we are to remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ until He returns at His second coming, as it is written:

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.
20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. ~ Luke 22:19,20

and

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

And then, to cap it all off, here is a disturbing teaching that John MacArthur teaches regarding the taking of the mark of the beast. MacArthur says that a person could take the mark of the beast and still be saved. If he holds to this teaching, he is misleading people due to the fact that the Scriptures teach that those that take the mark of the beast are damned to the lake of fire for they worship the beast. This is what the Holy Scriptures – Sola Scriptura – reads in Revelation 14:9-11 ~

9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Since the same sermon [Q&A session] remains up on the Grace to You website and has not been removed; and it appears that MacArthur has not recanted his early teaching on this issue nor publically repented for this false teaching, there is Strange Fire in John MacArthur’s ministry that is heresy and goes against the Word of God! Here is a video that deals specifically with this issue:

In closing, another thing that is disturbing is that the Grace to You ministry is not satisfied with tithes and offerings, the selling of books, CDs, DVDs and other merchandise, but they also request people to partner with them and to donate to their ministry. It’s a very prosperous ministry, akin to the prosperity preachers’ ministries of TBN, and yet they could not answer a call for some financial help on June 6, 2011, nor even having the courtesy of answering the email. I am reminded of the words of the Lord Jesus Christ ~

35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. ~ Act 20:35

SOLI DEO GLORIA

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