2017 Maritzburg District Football Association (M.D.F.A.) U10

27  He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
28  And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29  And Jesus answered him,
The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 
30  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 
31  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. 
32  And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: ~ Mark 12:27-32

2017 M.D.F.A. Under 10

By the grace of a divine GOD and through His blessed Son, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, according to His will and purpose, I was chosen as an assistant coach for the Maritzburg District Football Association (M.D.F.A.) Under 10 team that participated in the SAFA Pinetown Local Football Association (PLFA) Junior Incoming Tournament that took place on 6-7 October 2017 at the Forest Hills Sports Club, KZN. The Tournament hosted teams from Gauteng that represented Rand Central, Easterns, and Pretoria, and the KZN Associations from Durban, Pinetown and Pietermaritzburg (M.D.F.A.).

For a team that came together for about three weeks before the tournament commenced, the M.D.F.A. Under 10 team performed and equipped themselves reasonably well against the well drilled teams from the Gauteng province. We were informed that a team like Easterns had already been in preparation for four (4) months leading up to the tournament. So finishing fourth out of eight teams was an achievement in itself. The squad comprised sixteen players, two coaches and a manager. The squad assembled was as per the team photo above and the squad listing hereunder:

  1. Ryan Mustard (GK – Savages FC)
  2. Thando Hlophe (Pirates FC)
  3. Andile Ngwane (Savages FC)
  4. M.D.F.A. LogoKofi Atta (Pirates FC)
  5. Baseer Abrahams (Savages FC)
  6. Siyamthanda Skhakhane (Savages FC)
  7. Curt Rogers (Pirates FC)(Captain)
  8. Cee-Jay Mulder (Pirates FC)
  9. Kaydon Adonis (Pirates FC)
  10. Malachi Momplé (Pirates FC)
  11. Tynin Sampson (Savages FC)
  12. Farhdeen Khan (Westside Lads)
  13. Azande Zondi (GK – Pirates FC)
  14. Thuba Myeni (MDAS)
  15. Deolin Marais (City Saints)
  16. Declan Pillay (Savages FC)
  • Miles Rogers (Head Coach – Pirates FC)
  • Gary Crous (Assistant Coach – Pirates FC)
  • Mrs. Leigh Mustard (Manager – Savages FC)

The following statistics record our performances. We played three matches on Friday 6 October 2017, starting off well with two straight wins, but losing in the third match. Kindly note that at Under 10 level you have nine players per team on the field with substitutes available. Here are the results:

Line-up 01 Line-up 02 Line-up 03

And on Saturday 7 October 2017 we played four matches as follows, failing to score on day two which might well have cost us a position or two. However, one should always remember that GOD knew our results and position even before it came to pass:

Line-up 04 Line-up 05 Line-up 06 Line-up 07Final Log Positions

The team was well supported by the players’ parents over the two days and here are some photographs to enjoy in random order:

The M.D.F.A. U10s showing off their squad numbers  IMG-20171007-WA0002Assistant Coach Gary Crous in the rain Thulani Zondi and son Azande Two Soccer Moms giving their support(L) Declan Pillay and (R) Farhdeen Khan  vs. Easterns "A"Curt Rogers taking a free kick . . .  . . . and kicking it up fieldAndile Ngwane clearing in defence vs. Easterns "A" Team Manager/Photographer Leigh MustardVincent Myeni, dad of Thuba  Boys milling around between matches. L-R: Deolin Marais (obscured) by Cale (#6 U11), Thando Hlophe, Kaydon Adonis, Baseer Abrahams, Curt Rogers and Thuba MyeniC.J. Sukraj and Thabiso Madlala of Soccer Kids Academy/DCLFA(Durban)  M.D.F.A. U10 Goalkeeper Ryan MustardDCLFA (Durban)(L) and M.D.F.A. (Pietermaritzburg)(R) line-up before the match  Captain Curt RogersCee-Jay Mulder and Malachi Momplé on the ball  Cee-Jay Mulder showing determinationAyanda Mdlalose (DCLFA) and Kaydon Adonis (M.D.F.A.) compete for the ball  Curt Rogers and an opponent and looking on is Cee-Jay MulderGame over and the sportsmanship handshaking  Win or Lose friendships prevail

The players’ rewards for their wonderful performances were being acknowledged in The Witness, a local newspaper, on two occasions thanks to our Media Liaison Officer, our Manager Mrs Leigh Mustard. Well done boys!

The Witness, Tuesday 10 October 2017 The Witness, Thursday 12 October 2017In closing, my ongoing prayer in completion of this time spent with these precious boys, their parents and the coaching staff is that GOD will be merciful and all will come to true repentance and faith in the only Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ, the Son of the true and living GOD YEHOVAH! For,

43  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
~ Matthew 5:43-48

Soli Deo Gloria

____________________________

Foot Notes:

To all who did not receive the Gospel tract My Friends Are Dying And, Though They Be Alive, They Are Dead Men Walking please do spend some time reading the same at the link and where necessary, Repent and Believe. ~ Your friend, Gary

A related blog posting to also be read: 2017 Champions ~ Are You Ready?

Tishri 15 . . . or December 25?

Birth of Christ

TISHRI 15 . . .

OR

DECEMBER 25?

~ ‘Christmas’ is a Pagan Tradition ~

~ With Compliments ~

Repent and Believe South Africa

Gary Stephen Crous

Cell: +27 (0) 72 221 1233

E-mail: luke9.23evangelism@gmail.com

Website: http://www.luke923evangelism.wordpress.com

Introduction

The physician Luke’s account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes very pertinent information that none of the other Gospel writers have included in their accounts. It is not that Matthew, Mark and John had overlooked this information – it just appears that Almighty God gave Luke the insight of recording the historical and legal information for our benefit.

To say Scripture is silent concerning the birth of Jesus Christ is to not take the Author of the Scriptures, YEHOVAH, at His Word. Man is to live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Mat. 4:4; Deut. 8:3), and he can truly know when the Christ child JESUS entered into this world – when God took on human form (John 1:1,14). From examining His Scriptures we can know when Christ was born. We will start with an important piece of information given to us as recorded by the apostle Luke in verse 1:5 of the Gospel – the word “Abia” (or “Abijah”). This is our referenced starting point and it is from here that we will calculate towards the birthdate of the Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

The Course of Abijah

From Scripture, the Levite priests of the sons of Aaron were allotted to serve at the Temple as recorded in the Law of Moses and these courses were divided into twenty-four divisions, as recorded in 1Chronicles 24:1-19.

Each course served for two weeks of each year, once in the first half and once in the second half of the Hebrew year. The Temple priests also served collectively for three weeks during the year as commanded by God during the three pilgrimage festivals as recorded in Deuteronomy 16:16 “in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles”.

The Jewish Calendar

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

The year starts off in the Hebrew month of Nisan (March/April) and the months are based on the lunar calendar of 30 days per month. The Jewish calendar would therefore equate to a 360-day lunar year. In accordance with the courses that the priests would appear in the Temple, the calculation would be:

MONTH

PRE- / POST EXILIC

OF YEAR SACRED / CIVIL

MODERN

EQUIVALENT

MONTHS

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 / Adar I

(Leap Year)

12 / 6

February / March

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, the course of Abijah, i.e. the eighth course (1Chr. 24:10), would serve the tenth week during the first half of the year, as a result of the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread being celebrated starting on 14th/15th Nisan (Lev. 23:5-8) and the Feast of Weeks [Shavuot (Pentecost)] (Lev. 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 month Nisan. As with the manner of women, we add two weeks to comply with the purity laws (Lev. 15:19,25) which brings 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 brings us to the birth of John at the Passover festival. Therefore, in God’s providence John the Baptist was born at Passover at the very time that Elijah was to appear.

The Seder Table and Elijah

During the Passover feast, Jewish tradition has a chair left open and a wine goblet set at ‘Elijah’s place’ at the seder (lit. set order) table, each year awaiting his arrival. A quote from a book titled Christ in the Passover sets out 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 . . . 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).

During the Passover, a child 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 this is done every year as they await his “arrival”! We read in Scripture that John the Baptist came 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, reading in Matthew 17:10-13

10And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12But 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. 13Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. [See also Mark 9:10-13 and Luke 9:33].

From the preceding calculations, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit six months (about 26 weeks) after John the Baptist’s conception. For God’s Word says thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her” (Luke 1:36). Therefore, Christ Jesus was conceived about the 38th week around the festival Hanukkah. This means the “Light of the world” [John 1:9] was conceived during the festival of lights! Conceived, not born in flesh entering into the world, as the ‘Christmas’ man-made tradition dictates – there is a huge difference here!

To fulfill prophecies, God, being a God of divine order, is exact and precise in bringing His Word to pass, so too was the birth of His Only Begotten Son precisely “when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4).

Therefore, concerning God’s precise mandate and ordination of all things, Jesus was born thirty-nine weeks later (around week 76 from the preceding year’s month of Nisan; that is week 25 of the following year) which brings us to the autumn Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) in the month Tishri (i.e. September/October). God fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah (7:4) when He revealed Himself as God the 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) – “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Mat. 1:23).

The Feast of Tabernacles

It all points to the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot, Booths). A combination of two aspects – firstly, the taxing that Caesar Augustus decreed (Luke 2:1-4), and secondly, every Jew was required to come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 16:16), and this would have resulted in Jerusalem being “booked out” where the Temple was situate as well as Bethlehem just five miles away. Therefore, it would be understandable that “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). We must remember that Jews attending the Feast of Sukkot would be residing in booths for the duration of the festival according to the Jewish Law.

In Genesis 33:17 ~ 17And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth*. [*That is Booths]

The Hebrew word for “booth” is [+] 5521 sukkâh, sook-kaw’: feminine of 5520; a hut or lair– booth, cottage, covert, pavilion, tabernacle, tent. A specialized usage is employed for booths constructed for the fall harvest festival (Lev. 23:42,43) which is known as the chag hassukkôwth, the Feast of Booths (Deut. 16:13,16). This reminded the Israelites that they lived in booths when the LORD brought them up from Egypt (Lev. 23:43).

Therefore, Joseph and Mary stayed in a booth during the Feast of Booths at the time of Jesus’ birth and not in a cave nor in a stable. His birth was 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” (Lev. 23:34), and He was circumcised on the “eighth great day”. Shemini Atseret (“Eighth Day of Solemn Assembly”) is observed immediately after Tabernacles on 22nd Tishri, as laid down in the Pentateuch: “on the eighth day shall be a holy convocation . . . it is a solemn assembly (Atseret);” (Lev. 23:36; cf. Num. 29:35). The term Atseret was the original “Simchat Torah” (Rejoicing of the Law) which celebrated the Law of Moses. The Son of man entered the covenant (circumcised) on the day of “rejoicing in the Torah.” Sukkot is symbolic of God dwelling in a “tabernacle” (body) with us. John 1:14 reads ~ 14And 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.

The Greek word “dwelt” is [+] 4637 – skēnoō; to tent or encamp, i.e. (figurative) to occupy (as a mansion) or (special) to reside (as God in the tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion):- dwell.

The Shepherds of Bethlehem

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. ~ Luke 2:8

The word “abiding” is the only time that this word is used with the Greek word agrauleō [+] 63 – agrauleō; to camp out – abide in the field. The shepherds were camping out which would not be the case if they were in the Gregorian month of December. Winter would have set in and the latter rainy season would have commenced from late October and it would be unlikely that the shepherds would have their flocks out in the fields at night. When the rainy season started in the late fall, temperatures would also be freezing, the shepherds would have already brought their sheep in from the fields and sheltered them. The shepherds always bring their flocks in from the mountain slopes and fields no later than October 15th!

The Bible also states that winter is a rainy month: 11For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; ~ Song of Solomon 2:11. And in Ezra 10:9,13 we are told in “the ninth month” there was “the great rain” and “a time of much rain.” The ninth month referred to is Chislev (November/December).

Swaddling Clothes

Also note the “clothing” that the baby Jesus was wrapped in at the time of His birth which would not be appropriate for the middle of winter. We read pertaining the swaddling clothes:

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. ~ Luke 2:6,7

The Greek word for “swaddling” is [+] 4683 – sparganoō from sparganon (a strip from a derivative of the base of 4682 meaning to strip or wrap with strips); to swathe (an infant after the Oriental custom):- wrap in swaddling clothes. This reveals that Joseph and Mary were not only poor by the offering that they offered at the Temple, “a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:24 and Lev. 12:6-8), but the clothes were also strips of wrap. From the evidence, the birth of Jesus Christ could not have been in the middle of winter.

The Wise Men

Another misconception about the practice of ‘Christmas’ is depicting the “three wise men” at the birth of Christ handing over three gifts to Jesus. This shows the inaccuracy that the world portrays during Nativity scenes, school and church productions of Jesus’ birth and on ‘Christmas’ cards, alike. We need to consult the Scriptures in Matthew 2:1-12, 16-18 to see the correct events as they happened concerning them coming to worship King Jesus. It would have taken them months to travel before arriving in Jerusalem, where they asked king Herod where is he that is born King of the Jews. When king Herod heard this – in order to fulfill Scriptures – “he demanded of them where Christ should be born” (Mat. 2:4b).

The shepherds were the first to see the baby Jesus lying in a manger and they broadcast the good news (see Luke 2:17,18) – the first evangelists!

A false depiction is given of the “three wise men” around the manger when the historical facts relate to two descriptions of Jesus. In the manger the word for “babe” is used [+] 1025 brephos, bref’-os; of uncertain affinity; an infant (properly unborn) literal or figurative:- babe, (young) child, infant. However, when we read the account of the wise men meeting Jesus, He is a “young child in a house” and the Greek word for “child” in Matthew 2:11 is [+] 3813 paidion, pahee—dee’-on; neuter diminutive of 3816; a childling (of either sex), i.e. (properly) an infant, or (by extension) a half-grown boy or girl; figurative an immature Christian:- (little, young) child, damsel.

At least two years had elapsed from the time the star first appeared to the wise men, and them informing king Herod, for when Herod saw that he was “mocked” by the wise men who did not report back to him, he fulfilled an ancient prophecy recorded in Jeremiah 31:15 when he “slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.” So when the wise men saw Jesus he was not a babe, but a young child.

Conclusion

Based on all the true facts given in this document we should have absolutely nothing to do with a man-made pagan tradition such as ‘Christmas’. We are never commanded in God’s Word to celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, we are commanded:

23For 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: 24And 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. 25After 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. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. ~ 1 Cor. 11:23-26

Soli Deo Gloria

________________

Footnotes:

[+] Strong’s Complete Word Study Concordance

Published by Repent and Believe South Africa

Please visit the website for more information.

This tract may be copied for free distribution if it is copied in full

Gospel Tract Distribution in Alexandra Park

A panoramic view of the venue in Alexandra Park, Pietermaritzburg On Sunday 27 November 2016, I went to Alexandra Park in Pietermaritzburg to distribute Gospel literature at the “1st Annual Christmas Festival.”

'1st Annual Christmas Festival' poster Had some conversations with various faiths and denominations, inter alia Christians, Orthodox, Muslim, Hindus, an Indian Anglican that agreed that Anglicanism is very close to Roman Catholicism, and a very fruitful conversation with a Zimbabwean named Naison, whose wife is a ‘Methodist’, and who is looking for a place to fellowship! Judging from the various people groups who attended this secular “Christmas Festival” it would appear that the true Gospel of the true Christ was missing! It was just another commercialised money-making secular event that pampered to the world with their advertising an “inflatable water theme park, beer garden, snake shows, live band and night market”! All these activities pamper to the flesh! The Lord Jesus Christ is no-where to be seen in events of this nature! You cannot put the true CHRIST back into “Christmas” for He never was in it to begin with!

Set-up on Park Drive This event surely needed the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! So i set-up on Park Drive to engage the ‘whosoever’ would be attending this event. Also had the privilege of a Hindu lady threaten taking the “Reincarnation . . . or Resurrection? ~ A Message to Hindus” tract to The Witness newspaper seeing that she is a Hindu as she pointed out! Writer did ask that if she did so that she must make sure that they quote the full tract in context! Please pray for Hindu communities to come out of idol-worship bondage! For GOD the Creator says,

4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 
5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 
6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. ~ Exodus 20:4-6

A sample of our own printed tracts

TISHRI 15 . . .

OR

DECEMBER 25?

~ ‘Christmas’ is a Pagan Tradition ~

 

~ With Compliments ~

Repent and Believe South Africa CC logo

Gary Stephen Crous

Cell: +27 (0) 72 221 1233

E-mail: luke9.23evangelism@gmail.com

Website: http://www.luke923evangelism.wordpress.com

Introduction

The physician Luke’s account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes very pertinent information that none of the other Gospel writers have included in their accounts. It is not that Matthew, Mark and John had overlooked this information – it just appears that Almighty God gave Luke the insight of recording the historical and legal information for our benefit.

To say Scripture is silent concerning the birth of Jesus Christ is to not take the Author of the Scriptures, YEHOVAH, at His Word. Man is to live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Mat. 4:4; Deut. 8:3), and he can truly know when the Christ child JESUS entered into this world – when God took on human form (John 1:1,14). From examining His Scriptures we can know when Christ was born. We will start with an important piece of information given to us as recorded by the apostle Luke in verse 1:5 of the Gospel – the word “Abia” (or “Abijah”). This is our referenced starting point and it is from here that we will calculate towards the birthdate of the Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

The Course of Abijah

From Scripture, the Levite priests of the sons of Aaron were allotted to serve at the Temple as recorded in the Law of Moses and these courses were divided into twenty-four divisions, as recorded in 1Chronicles 24:1-19.

Each course served for two weeks of each year, once in the first half and once in the second half of the Hebrew year.  The Temple priests also served collectively for three weeks during the year as commanded by God during the three pilgrimage festivals as recorded in Deuteronomy 16:16 “in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles”.

The Jewish Calendar

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

The year starts off in the Hebrew month of Nisan (March/April) and the months are based on the lunar calendar of 30 days per month. The Jewish calendar would therefore equate to a 360-day lunar year. In accordance with the courses that the priests would appear in the Temple, the calculation would be:

MONTH

PRE- / POST EXILIC

OF YEAR SACRED / CIVIL

MODERN

EQUIVALENT

MONTHS

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 / Adar I

(Leap Year)

12 / 6

February / March

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, the course of Abijah, i.e. the eighth course (1Chr. 24:10), would serve the tenth week during the first half of the year, as a result of the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread being celebrated starting on 14th/15th Nisan (Lev. 23:5-8) and the Feast of Weeks [Shavuot (Pentecost)] (Lev. 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 month Nisan. As with the manner of women, we add two weeks to comply with the purity laws (Lev. 15:19,25) which brings 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 brings us to the birth of John at the Passover festival. Therefore, in God’s providence John the Baptist was born at Passover at the very time that Elijah was to appear.

The Seder Table and Elijah

During the Passover feast, Jewish tradition has a chair left open and a wine goblet set at ‘Elijah’s place’ at the seder (lit. set order) table, each year awaiting his arrival. A quote from a book titled Christ in the Passover sets out 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 . . . 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).

During the Passover, a child 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 this is done every year as they await his “arrival”! We read in Scripture that John the Baptist came 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, reading in Matthew 17:10-13

10And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12But 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. 13Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. [See also Mark 9:10-13 and Luke 9:33].

From the preceding calculations, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit six months (about 26 weeks) after John the Baptist’s conception. For God’s Word says thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her” (Luke 1:36). Therefore, Christ Jesus was conceived about the 38th week around the festival Hanukkah. This means the “Light of the world” [John 1:9] was conceived during the festival of lights! Conceived, not born in flesh entering into the world, as the ‘Christmas’ man-made tradition dictates – there is a huge difference here!

To fulfill prophecies, God, being a God of divine order, is exact and precise in bringing His Word to pass, so too was the birth of His Only Begotten Son precisely “when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4).

Therefore, concerning God’s precise mandate and ordination of all things, Jesus was born thirty-nine weeks later (around week 76 from the preceding year’s month of Nisan; that is week 25 of the following year) which brings us to the autumn Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) in the month Tishri (i.e. September/October). God fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah (7:4) when He revealed Himself as God the 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) – “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Mat. 1:23).

The Feast of Tabernacles

It all points to the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot, Booths). A combination of two aspects – firstly, the taxing that Caesar Augustus decreed (Luke 2:1-4), and secondly, every Jew was required to come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 16:16), and this would have resulted in Jerusalem being “booked out” where the Temple was situate as well as Bethlehem just five miles away. Therefore, it would be understandable that “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). We must remember that Jews attending the Feast of Sukkot would be residing in booths for the duration of the festival according to the Jewish Law.

In Genesis 33:17 ~ 17And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth*. [*That is Booths]

The Hebrew word for “booth” is [+] 5521 sukkâh, sook-kaw’: feminine of 5520; a hut or lair– booth, cottage, covert, pavilion, tabernacle, tent. A specialized usage is employed for booths constructed for the fall harvest festival (Lev. 23:42,43) which is known as the chag hassukkôwth, the Feast of Booths (Deut. 16:13,16). This reminded the Israelites that they lived in booths when the LORD brought them up from Egypt (Lev. 23:43).

Therefore, Joseph and Mary stayed in a booth during the Feast of Booths at the time of Jesus’ birth and not in a cave nor in a stable. His birth was 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” (Lev. 23:34), and He was circumcised on the “eighth great day”. Shemini Atseret (“Eighth Day of Solemn Assembly”) is observed immediately after Tabernacles on 22nd Tishri, as laid down in the Pentateuch: “on the eighth day shall be a holy convocation . . . it is a solemn assembly (Atseret);” (Lev. 23:36; cf. Num. 29:35). The term Atseret was the original “Simchat Torah” (Rejoicing of the Law) which celebrated the Law of Moses. The Son of man entered the covenant (circumcised) on the day of “rejoicing in the Torah.” Sukkot is symbolic of God dwelling in a “tabernacle” (body) with us. John 1:14 reads ~ 14And 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.

The Greek word “dwelt” is [+] 4637 – skēnoō; to tent or encamp, i.e. (figurative) to occupy (as a mansion) or (special) to reside (as God in the tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion):- dwell.

The Shepherds of Bethlehem

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. ~ Luke 2:8

The word “abiding” is the only time that this word is used with the Greek word agrauleō [+] 63 – agrauleō; to camp out – abide in the field. The shepherds were camping out which would not be the case if they were in the Gregorian month of December. Winter would have set in and the latter rainy season would have commenced from late October and it would be unlikely that the shepherds would have their flocks out in the fields at night. When the rainy season started in the late fall, temperatures would also be freezing, the shepherds would have already brought their sheep in from the fields and sheltered them. The shepherds always bring their flocks in from the mountain slopes and fields no later than October 15th!

The Bible also states that winter is a rainy month: 11For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; ~ Song of Solomon 2:11. And in Ezra 10:9,13 we are told in “the ninth month” there was “the great rain” and “a time of much rain.” The ninth month referred to is Chislev (November/December).

Swaddling Clothes

Also note the “clothing” that the baby Jesus was wrapped in at the time of His birth which would not be appropriate for the middle of winter. We read pertaining the swaddling clothes:

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. ~ Luke 2:6,7

The Greek word for “swaddling” is [+] 4683 – sparganoō from sparganon (a strip from a derivative of the base of 4682 meaning to strip or wrap with strips); to swathe (an infant after the Oriental custom):- wrap in swaddling clothes. This reveals that Joseph and Mary were not only poor by the offering that they offered at the Temple, “a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:24 and Lev. 12:6-8), but the clothes were also strips of wrap. From the evidence, the birth of Jesus Christ could not have been in the middle of winter.

The Wise Men

Another misconception about the practice of ‘Christmas’ is depicting the “three wise men” at the birth of Christ handing over three gifts to Jesus. This shows the inaccuracy that the world portrays during Nativity scenes, school and church productions of Jesus’ birth and on ‘Christmas’ cards, alike. We need to consult the Scriptures in Matthew 2:1-12, 16-18 to see the correct events as they happened concerning them coming to worship King Jesus. It would have taken them months to travel before arriving in Jerusalem, where they asked king Herod where is he that is born King of the Jews. When king Herod heard this – in order to fulfill Scriptures – “he demanded of them where Christ should be born” (Mat. 2:4b).

The shepherds were the first to see the baby Jesus lying in a manger and they broadcast the good news (see Luke 2:17,18) – the first evangelists!

A false depiction is given of the “three wise men” around the manger when the historical facts relate to two descriptions of Jesus. In the manger the word for “babe” is used [+] 1025 brephos, bref’-os; of uncertain affinity; an infant (properly unborn) literal or figurative:- babe, (young) child, infant. However, when we read the account of the wise men meeting Jesus, He is a “young child in a house” and the Greek word for “child” in Matthew 2:11 is [+] 3813 paidion, pahee—dee’-on; neuter diminutive of 3816; a childling (of either sex), i.e. (properly) an infant, or (by extension) a half-grown boy or girl; figurative an immature Christian:- (little, young) child, damsel.

At least two years had elapsed from the time the star first appeared to the wise men, and them informing king Herod, for when Herod saw that he was “mocked” by the wise men who did not report back to him, he fulfilled an ancient prophecy recorded in Jeremiah 31:15 when he “slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.” So when the wise men saw Jesus he was not a babe, but a young child.

Conclusion

Based on all the true facts given in this document we should have absolutely nothing to do with a man-made pagan tradition such as ‘Christmas’. We are never commanded in God’s Word to celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, we are commanded:

23For 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: 24And 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. 25After 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. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. ~ 1 Cor. 11:23-26

Soli Deo Gloria

________________

Footnotes:

[+] Strong’s Complete Word Study Concordance

Published by Repent and Believe South Africa

Please visit the website for more information.

This tract may be copied for free distribution if it is copied in full

“Happy Birthday Lord Jesus”

So where were all the posts in social media by Christians ‘congratulating Jesus on His birth’? If any ‘day’ holds the credence of being the Birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ – The Messiah – this would be the day. Tishri 15 in the Hebrew calendar (Tishri 15, 5777 = October 17, 2016; ט״ו בְּתִשְׁרֵי תשע״ז) being the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot I)* holds the truth according to the Holy Scriptures given to Jew and Gentile by GOD.

Christians and heathens alike cannot say, “The Holy Bible is silent on the date of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ” – the sent and anointed Son of GOD – when the Word of GOD speaks specifically pointing to the Feast of Tabernacles when one starts reading in the historical, literal and grammatical context the Gospel account by the physician Luke in chapters 1 and 2, cross referencing other Scriptures, for Scripture confirms Scripture.

Why will true Christians hold to pagan and heathen tradition ‘celebrating with the world and cult religions’ a false birthday and birth date of the sovereign King Jesus?

Here is a Birth Chart worth considering (click to enlarge) –

Birth of ChristSoon we will be entering the silly season with all its deceptive man-made traditions given to the world by Satan through the Roman Catholic institution. Almighty GOD YEHOVAH has not commanded Christians to celebrate HIS ‘birthday at December 25th’, but the fulfilment of GOD manifest as man in the Person of Jesus Christ is in accordance with HIS WORD at the Feast of Tabernacles, and no other. To remember and celebrate at a date nowhere confirmed in the Holy Scriptures is to ‘worship another Jesus’ for HE was not born on that day! It is tantamount to compare it to the Muslim Isa of their Qu’ran, who is not the Lord Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible, for Isa is not the Son of YHVH, Isa is not the incarnate YHVH, and Isa did not die upon a cross for sinners! So, as Isa is not the true Lord Jesus Christ, so the ‘Jesus’ born on December 25th is not the true Lord Jesus Christ born on Tishri 15! For the incarnate and sovereign YEHOVAH our Lord Jesus Christ confirmed how we are to remember HIM,

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

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

For more posts pertaining to this true historical fact kindly visit the following links –

Soli Deo Gloria

__________________________

Footnote

* Sukkot / סוכות

Sukkot (Hebrew: סוכות or סֻכּוֹת, sukkōt, or sukkos, Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles) is a Biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei (late September to late October). It is one of the three biblically mandated festivals Shalosh regalim on which Jews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Go preach to every creature . . .

1  Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. ~ Isaiah 58:1

Yes indeed! Go, stand and speak (see Acts 5:20). We are commanded to “GO” and proclaim by way of preaching the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the nations. We are commanded by GOD to make disciples of all nations and this can only come about by teaching, for it is written,

18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
Amen. ~ Matthew 28:18-20

We are instructed in the Gospel according to Mark, for it is written,

15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
~ Mark 16:15,16

Whilst it might seem nigh impossible to reach every creature, one should endeavour to attempt to reach as many as you can from every tribe, tongue and nationality using every opportunity that presents itself by GOD’s leading! For GOD’s ways are not our ways, for it is written,

9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
10  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 
11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. ~ Isaiah 55:9-11

For we preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified, for as it is written,

21  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24  But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:21-24

Here are some picture stories of our evangelism adventures for the Glory of GOD Alone . . .

Saturday January 8, 2016

Jono, Philip and his son Obadiah distributed Christian Gospel literature and DVDs, whilst Gary preached with a loudhailer in Raisethorpe on the main road Chota Motala. The predominant people groups reached were Indian / Asian, of the Hindu, Islamic and other religious faiths. Was heckled by a Hindu woman who said we cannot judge other peoples’ faiths and also chirped by a coloured “professing christian” woman who took offence at us saying drunkards will not enter the kingdom of GOD (see 1 Corinthians 6:9,10).

Gary proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus ChristRaisethorpe OutreachRaisethorpe OutreachRaisethorpe OutreachRaisethorpe OutreachRaisethorpe Outreach

Wednesday March 2, 2016

Outside Bessie Head Library Jono, Aziz and Gary joined up to spend time sowing Gospel literature into the hands of people congregating outside the Bessie Head Library and passing by the Magistrate’s Courts across Church Street in Pietermaritzburg. Had a solid 1-on-2 Gospel conversation with two African youth, before breaking out into an open-air proclamation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to a gathered group atop the stairs. Much literature was distributed.

Wednesday March 9 and Thursday March 10, 2016

Attended at Townhill Psychiatric Hospital and was lead of the LORD to speak with and present the Gospel to an Islamic woman named Nasreen who was divorced by her Islamic husband. She was there to pick up medication from the outpatients’ department for her eldest daughter that suffers with Autism. On the Thursday Aziz and Gary visited the Northdale Hospital’s outpatients and much Gospel tract distribution was done to patients and medical staff alike. An open-air preaching session went forth unhindered as GOD provided an open door to make known the Gospel of His Son our great physician Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour Who heals a disease all of humanity suffers from – SIN! Whilst physical healing was being sought there, the greatest miracle would be spiritual healing of one’s soul by GOD Almighty through His Son Jesus Christ to all who believe upon His name. 

Friday March 11, 2016

Jono distributed many tracts and Gary distributed some tracts whilst preaching open-air atop “The Box” outside the Harry Gwala Stadium’s South Gate before the Maritzburg United vs. Golden Arrows ABSA Premiership League soccer match. It became a cold and a very wet evening for which we thank GOD our Father for we are in a drought at present!

Soccer fan outreachSoccer fan outreachSoccer fan outreachSoccer fan outreachSoccer fan outreachSoccer fan outreach

Saturday March 12, 2016

Attended outside the Mall @Scottsville where a school fundraiser for four primary schools were taking place. Jono and Gary sowed the seed of the Gospel and whilst Gary preached there appeared to be some “mocking” comments made from what we perceived to be some Varsity students. This Mall is near the UKZN Campus with students passing by regularly. The passerby was told they must repent and turn back to GOD and have their faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (see Acts 20:21).

Jono making tract distributionJono making tract distributionScottsville fundraiser in the Mall @ScottsvilleScottsville fundraiser in the Mall @ScottsvilleJono making tract distributionJono AndersonGary preaching atop "The Box"Gary preaching atop "The Box"Gary preaching atop "The Box"Gary preaching atop "The Box"Gary preaching atop "The Box" 

Friday March 18, 2016

It was break-up day for the Easter holidays outside Scottsville Primary School. Whilst waiting for our grandson, Gary and his wife Tammy distributed Gospel tracts, including one titled: “The Reason You Must Be Born Again.” He also proclaimed the Gospel to the pupils, and passing parents, that Easter is not about bunnies and chocolate eggs, but the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of the Saviour of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ! Children and parents took many Gospel tracts. Praise be to YHVH!

Scottsville PS outreachScottsville PS outreachScottsville PS outreachScottsville PS outreach: Gary preaching to the pupilsScottsville PS outreachScottsville PS outreachScottsville PS outreach: girls reading the tractsScottsville PS outreach: Girls reading the tractsScottsville PS outreach: Gary preaching to the pupilsScottsville PS outreach: Gary preaching to the pupilsScottsville PS outreachScottsville PS outreachScottsville PS outreach: Gary preaching to the pupilsScottsville PS outreach: Look what I have receivedScottsville PS outreach: Look what I have receivedScottsville PS outreach: Look what I have received

8  But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 
9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 
10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ~ Romans 10:8-17

Soli Deo Gloria

What’s With Christmas?

Heathen tradition ~ Jeremiah 10:1-4 It is that time of year again when heathens and “hardcore” Christians “celebrate” in much the same way and where both camps will attempt to ratify the ‘reason for the season’ to fit with their own worldview! It would be understandable if only the heathen and the “wishy-washy deceived christians” were those who were being hoodwinked into believing the lie – just as many regard the fables given to their children when they lie about the “Tooth fairy” and “Santa Claus and his little helpers” – but it is tragic that those who purport to be theologically and biblically sound in their Christian doctrine are also going along with the lie and are partaking at the table of devils,

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

We can read in the Matthew Henry commentary,

The apostle applies this to feasting with idolaters. Eating food as part of a heathen sacrifice, was worshipping the idol to whom it was made, and having fellowship or communion with it; just as he who eats the Lord’s supper, is accounted to partake in the Christian sacrifice, or as they who ate the Jewish sacrifices partook of what was offered on their altar. It was denying Christianity; for communion with Christ, and communion with devils, could never be had at once. If Christians venture into places, and join in sacrifices to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, they will provoke God.

We are to continue steadfast and follow the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42) “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;” (Ephesians 2:20) – we are not commanded to follow after man’s customs and traditions for they make the word of God of none effect (see Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:13). We see Christians following after men and worldly traditions when GOD has NOT given those commands. The apostle Paul confirms our Lord Jesus Christ’s commands of His remembrance,

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

The word “shew” in verse 26 here above is,

G2605 καταγγέλλω, kataggellō, kat-ang-gel’-lo; from G2596 and the base of G32; to proclaim, promulgate: – declare, preach, shew, speak of, teach.

Therefore, “ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” NOT His birth! It is therefore safer and an act of obedience to continue proclaiming the death of our risen Lord Jesus Christ who through His death purchased a believer’s redemption, than be found to be “celebrating with strange fire” when our GOD has NOT commanded us to do so! If you could, go and confirm with Nadab and Abihu about offering strange fire in an act of worship before the LORD Who changes not – there is no freedom to worship as you please before a Holy, Perfect and Righteous GOD Who hates idolatry! It is an abomination in GOD’s sight! We Christians – ALL, not some, are to worship GOD in “spirit and truth” (see John 4:24) as said GOD’s only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Any action other than in “spirit and truth” is to commit spiritual adultery against the bridegroom our Lord Jesus Christ.

002 So, why are “Christmas trees” found as central decorations in houses during the 25th of December’s “Christmas” celebrations? When GOD manifest Himself and took on human form in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, was a “Christmas tree” put up by Mary and Joseph to “commemorate” His birth? And every year is there a “Christmas tree” in Heaven before the Throne of GOD to “celebrate” the birth of GOD’s only begotten Son? If you think the two latter questions are so ridiculous and would be answered in the negative, then why would a “Christmas tree” be erected and decorated in a place of prominence where gifts – not for Christ – will be placed under them? If no gifts are placed under them, then why are “Christmas trees” erected in homes in the first place? How does “Christmas trees” glorify our King of kings and Lord of lords? And where in the Scriptures does the Lord Jesus Christ or His apostles command us to do so?

A German-inspired carol “O Tannenbaum” that has a whole host of English variant translations, reads as follows:

O Christmas tree!*

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

Thy leaves are so unchanging;

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

Thy leaves are so unchanging;

Not only green when summer’s here,

But also when ‘tis cold and drear.

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

Thy leaves are so unchanging!

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

Much pleasure thou canst give me;

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

Much pleasure thou canst give me;

How often has the Christmas tree,

Afforded me the greatest glee!

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

Much pleasure thou canst give me!

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

Thy candles shine so brightly!

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

Thy candles shine so brightly!

From base to summit, gay and brightly,

There’s only splendour for the sight.

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

Thy candles shine so brightly!

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

How richly God has decked thee!

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

How richly God has decked thee!

Thou bidst us true and faithful be,

And trust in God unchangingly.

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

How richly God has decked thee!

–ooo–

Not only are the above lyrics pandering to the lust of man’s flesh, the lyrics should read in its simplest form:

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree! Thou art idolatry!

GOD’s Holy Word will have the final say concerning this day and all its heathen traditions, as we read,

1  Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 
2  Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 
3  For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 
4  They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. ~ Jeremiah 10:1-4

Click on the Birth of Christ Chart to open in new window The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ** can surely be known! Just trust His Word! To not do so is unbelief which is sin, as we read,

12  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
13  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. ~ Hebrews 3:12,13

Soli Deo Gloria

___________

Footnotes:

* Do a Google search of “O Christmas tree” to see the many English variances of the carol.

** Various links hereunder of previous blogposts dealing with the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ –

The following 120 Reasons Against Christmas are as they appear at the website LetGodBeTrue.com. We at Repent and Believe South Africa ministries agree!

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We Don’t Celebrate Christmas Because . . .

. . . the LORD condemns using pagan religious practices in His worship (Deut 12:29-31).

. . . the LORD condemns adding to or taking away from His commandments (Deut 12:32).

. . . the LORD condemns doing anything under green trees in His worship (Deut 12:1-4).

. . . the LORD condemns the heathen use of decorated trees at a solstice (Jeremiah 10:1-4).

. . . the LORD commands us to separate from and not touch pagan religion (II Cor 6:14-18).

. . . the LORD commands us to come out of Roman Catholicism and her sins (Rev 18:4).

. . . the LORD condemns turning to the left or right from His commandments (Deut 5:32-33).

. . . the LORD told the apostles to teach us to observe only His commandments (Matt 28:20).

. . . the LORD rejected David’s worship for a small detail and killed Uzzah (II Sam 6:1-10).

. . . the LORD rejected and killed Nadab and Abihu for offering different fire (Lev 10:1-7).

. . . the LORD rejected Moses from seeing Canaan for a slight modification (Num 20:12).

. . . the LORD rejected Cain’s worship simply for bringing an alternative sacrifice (Gen 4:7).

. . . the LORD rejected Saul forever for noble intentions in a modification (I Sam 15:22-23).

. . . the LORD rejected Uzziah and gave him facial leprosy for a new idea (II Chr 26:16-21).

. . . the LORD rejected and killed Ananias and his wife for fudging a large gift (Acts 5:1-11).

. . . the LORD requires reverence and godly fear in worship to avoid His fire (Heb 12:28-29).

. . . the LORD seeks true worshippers to worship Him in truth, not superstition (John 4:23-24).

. . . the LORD commands us to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered (Jude 1:3).

. . . the LORD requires us to esteem all His precepts but to hate all other ideas (Ps 119:128).

. . . the LORD commands us to prove all things by Scripture and reject the bad (I Thes 5:21).

. . . the LORD expects us to be noble and search Scripture to know true worship (Acts 17:11).

. . . the LORD gave Scripture to perfect us, which does not mention Xmas (II Tim 3:16-17).

. . . the LORD curses any gospel different than Paul’s, and he didn’t preach xmas (Gal 1:8-9).

. . . the LORD condemns fellowship with men having only a form of godliness (II Tim 3:5).

. . . the LORD condemns loving pleasure more than God as perilous times (II Timothy 3:4).

. . . the LORD condemns anything different from His Word as dark ignorance (Isaiah 8:20).

. . . the LORD abominates anything popular with the world and esteemed by it (Luke 16:15).

. . . the LORD condemns friendship with the world as becoming His enemy (James 4:4).

. . . the LORD condemns traditions in His worship as evil and vain hypocrisy (Mark 7:5-13).

. . . the LORD hates the polluting of His glorious name with pagan idolatry (Ezekiel 20:39).

. . . the LORD condemns the superstitious idolatry and blasphemy of the Mass (I Cor 11:26).

. . . the LORD condemns bringing any item of false religion into our houses (Deut 7:25-26).

. . . the LORD commands us not to set up any image, which He hates (Deut 16:22; Ex 20:4-6).

. . . the LORD hates religion that goes under green trees (I Kings 14:23; Isaiah 57:5; Jer 3:6).

. . . the LORD condemns adopting any practices of the pagans around us (Leviticus 18:1-4).

. . . the LORD condemns sun worship (Deut 4:19; 17:3; II Kgs 23:5; Job 31:26-28; Eze 8:16).

. . . the LORD endorses only apostolic traditions, and they never celebrated it (II Thes 2:15).

. . . the LORD is honored by gifts to Him rather than a selfish exchange of gifts (Matt 2:11).

. . . the LORD teaches us to remember His death rather than His birth (Phil 3:10; I Cor 15:3).

. . . the LORD gave baptism and His supper to remember His death (Rom 6:3-5; I Co 11:26).

. . . the LORD resents the hatred of pagans who exchange gifts against His men (Rev 11:10).

. . . the LORD condemns "the spirit of Christmas" as another spirit He hates (II Cor 11:1-4).

. . . the LORD condemns a mother and child wearing halos as another jesus (II Cor 11:1-4).

. . . the LORD condemns a tradition glorifying sun worship as another gospel (II Co 11:1-4).

. . . the LORD loves us to give up dear things as proof of our love to Him (Matt 10:37-39).

. . . the LORD did not come to bring peace on earth but rather a dividing sword (Mat 10:34).

. . . the LORD blessed giving over receiving, but Xmas is selfish exchanging (Acts 20:35).

. . . the LORD calls Jewish holy days matters of liberty, but not pagan holidays (Col 2:16).

. . . the LORD calls Jewish holy days matters of liberty, but not pagan holidays (Rom 14:6).

. . . the LORD considers the birth of His Son worthy of honor rather than folly (Heb 1:6).

. . . the two chief New Testament ordinances – baptism and the Lord’s supper – pertain to His death, not His birth.

. . . celebrating Christmas sincerely is identical to Jeroboam’s two calves (I Kings 12:26-33).

. . . Aaron led Israel to worship the LORD with a golden calf to their judgment (Ex 32:1-5).

. . . it breaks the first commandment by having other gods – the sun god Mithra (Ex 20:3).

. . . it breaks the second commandment by having images – a Christmas tree (Ex 20:4-6).

. . . it breaks the third commandment by taking His name in vain – "Christmas" (Ex 20:7).

. . . it breaks the fifth commandment by promoting children’s greed over parents (Ex 20:12).

. . . it breaks the tenth commandment by promoting covetousness to children (Ex 20:17).

. . . many Baptist martyrs gave their lives to oppose Catholic superstitions and traditions.

. . . it was a crime to observe Christmas in America, when our country truly feared God.

. . . it was a crime to observe Christmas in England, when that country truly feared God.

. . . all the God-hating, Christ-denying, and sin-loving pagans get excited about this day.

. . . Santa Claus is a pagan mockery of God the Father with white hair, grandfatherly image, eternal, lives in the North, unlimited resources, omniscient of children’s behavior, omnipresent for a night, hears confessions, comes as a thief, blesses children, and distributes judgment for works.

. . . the name Christmas came from "Mass of Christ," and Christians hate the Catholic mass.

. . . every sincere birthday party honors the one born that day rather than all the mere guests.

. . . a gift exchange dictated by a calendar is not a message of love but a ritual of obligation.

. . . a gift exchange at the winter solstice was invented by pagans to celebrate the sun god.

. . . Christianity is giving gifts unexpected without obligation to reciprocate (Luke 14:12-14).

. . . secular encyclopaedias will gladly tell you that Christmas came from pagan sun worship.

. . . the first state in our Bible-oriented country to make it a holiday was Alabama in 1836.

. . . a little drummer boy did not travel to the manger to play his drum for the infant Jesus.

. . . for the two centuries following the Pilgrims, Christians in America called it "popish."

. . . English parliament under Oliver Cromwell outlawed it in 1644 and punished violators.

. . . loving Jesus Christ is keeping His commandments, not decorating a tree (John 14:15).

. . . you cannot do unto the LORD what the LORD has condemned (Deut 12:1-4; 12:29-32).

. . . Christmas is not a matter of liberty left up to our consciences and/or heart preferences.

. . . true followers of God will not follow a multitude or majority to false worship (Ex 23:2).

. . . Xmas is most adored by women, whom God calls silly and weak (II Tim 3:6; I Pet 3:7).

. . . a time of unbridled greed, covetousness, and materialism cannot honor Jesus Christ.

. . . this unique holy day in the Roman Catholic calendar is exalted by three profane masses.

. . . the world loves a ‘jesus’ helpless in a manger, but God’s Christ is the LORD and Judge.

. . . on Christmas Eve the Pope of Rome conducts a special mass seen by much of the earth.

. . . godly parents don’t lie to their children about a Roman Catholic myth named Nicholas.

. . . the Bible is totally silent about using this day or any such celebration to honor Christ.

. . . the gospel according to Christmas tradition, cards, and plays corrupts the Bible facts.

. . . the Pilgrims in 1620, seeking to worship God in truth, formally banned the holiday.

. . . the Puritans in 1659, seeking to worship God in truth, set a 5 shillings fine for keeping it.

. . . the modern Christmas tree was not introduced to this country by Germans until 1821.

. . . Jesus was not born in December, for one-half year back from Passover is rather October.

. . . Jesus was not born in December, for shepherds did not stay in the fields during winter.

. . . Jesus was not born in December, for taxation would not have been in the dead of winter.

. . . Jesus was not born in December, for wise taxation would have been shortly after harvest.

. . . Jesus was not born in December, for careful calculation of the priest’s courses exclude it.

. . . the Roman feast at the winter solstice was to the sun god Mithras from the Persians.

. . . the Roman, extended feast prior to the winter solstice was to Saturn, god of agriculture.

. . . so many consider Christmas a "sacred cow" and beyond questioning or condemning.

. . . our past lives suffice us for lusts, excess of wine, revellings, and banquetings (I Pet 4:3).

. . . Emperor Aurelian picked December 25 for this holiday in 274 to worship the sun god.

. . . pagan sun worshippers had a great festival to the sun at the winter solstice before Jesus.

. . . it would be wrong to have a golden calf with candles to worship the Lord our Strength.

. . . the public schools in Boston were still open for classes on December 25 as late as 1870.

. . . the "birthday of the invincible sun" (dies natalis Solis invicti) was this date in Rome.

. . . December 25 was chosen by being the date of the winter solstice in the Julian calendar.

. . . Satan uses this pagan feast to steal glory from the Son of God for ignorant sun worship.

. . . Christmas American-style is oppression of parents by greedy children (Isaiah 3:1-5, 12).

. . . Jesus promised that the majority are on the wrong road leading to death (Matt 7:13-14).

. . . Charles Spurgeon, the most popular Baptist minister, preached against it as late as 1871.

. . . all the unique customs of Christmas may be traced individually to pagan religious rites.

. . . Hindus, Jews, Mormons, Pagans, and other cults celebrate it while despising Jesus.

. . . using Scripture’s silence to justify anything not expressly forbidden will lead to Coke and chips for the Lord’s supper and ouija boards for difficult decisions.

. . . it creates the most foolish, hectic, stressful, guilt-ridden, and unproductive time of year.

. . . the LORD is a jealous God and will judge any playing with other gods (Ex 34:12-16).

. . . New Testament charity may accommodate weakness, but it cannot error (Romans 14:1).

. . . the moderation taught in the New Testament is temperance or self-discipline (Phil 4:5).

. . . it would be identical to offering incense to the brasen serpent of Moses (II Kings 18:4).

. . . the only day observed by the apostles was the Lord’s day (Rev 1:10; Acts 20:7; I Cor 16:2).

. . . we choose to emulate Jacob, who put away family idols to worship God (Gen 35:1-5).

. . . we choose to emulate Jehu, who defiled Baal worship to please God (II Kings 10:26-28).

. . . we choose to emulate Josiah, who defiled all pagan worship to please God (II Kings 23:1-37).

. . . we choose to emulate Asa, who defiled his mother’s favorite idol (II Chron 15:12-16).

See Also …

Christmas is Spiritual Adultery

A ‘Prophet’ Rebukes Dr. John MacArthur

Dr John MacArthur being rebuked by a Scottish 'prophet' named John O'Niell (Source: YouTube/Screengrab)On Sunday August 16, 2015, a Scottish ‘prophet’ named John O’Neill rebuked pastor John MacArthur on stage at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, after Dr MacArthur had returned from a summer break and where O’Neill claimed to be a prophet sent by GOD to bring a message that MacArthur’s “doctrine of cessation is in error.” Please view the video hereunder to see the “drama” as it unfolded before O’Neill was summarily escorted out of the worship centre by the GCC’s security team!

The transcript: “You have grieved the Holy Spirit of God! Your doctrine of cessation is in error. He has been grieved, John MacArthur. I have been sent here to tell you, you are sharpening the sword and they are cutting each other. You do not believe in prophets, you are looking at one! God have mercy on you and teach you the truth. Your doctrine of cessation is in error, John MacArthur! It’s in error! I have been sent to tell you it’s in error! For the unbeliever: repent of your sin! [Unintelligible…] You don’t have time! Jesus Christ is coming back soon! God bless you, people of God! God bless you people!” ~ The Gospel Herald Opinion

Due to the above video being removed on Youtube we hereby attach a further video from SO4J-TV ~ updated February 10, 2016

Whilst much has been already written on this particular incident, and whilst the two proponents in the camps of the cessationists and the charismatic continuanists have been going back and forth for decades trying to quantify and qualify their position in this debate, this blog post will look at the two groups from a pure Biblicist viewpoint and make an impartial judgment using the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42) contained in the Holy Bible (AV1611). So was Scotsman John O’Neill who confronted Dr John MacArthur a true ‘prophet’ sent by GOD?

1. Are there prophecies and prophets in the church today?

The conflict surrounding cessationism (the ceasing of sign gifts) and continuanism (the continuing of sign gifts) is due to the presupposition from which each camp comes from in how the 1 Corinthians 12-14 Scriptures are interpreted.

We read from the prophet Joel about the last days, in which last days we are presently in which started after the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we read,

28  And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29  And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 
30  And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 
31  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 
32  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. ~ Joel 2:28-32

In the Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary pertaining to Joel 2:28-32 we read,

The promise began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, and it was continued in the converting grace and miraculous gifts conferred on both Jews and Gentiles. The judgments of God upon a sinful world, only go before the judgment of the world in the last day. Calling on God supposes knowledge of him, faith in him, desire toward him, dependence on him, and, as evidence of the sincerity of all this, conscientious obedience to him. Those only shall be delivered in the great day, who are now effectually called from sin to God, from self to Christ, from things below to things above. ~ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on e-Sword

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was authenticated by the laying down of the foundation by the apostles and prophets as we can read,

20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; ~ Ephesians 2:20

The ekklesia is founded on the doctrine of Christ which has been delivered by the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New Testament. At the time during the first century as there was no Bible as we have today and the apostles had not reduced GOD’s Word to writing yet, the Gospel would have also been declared by the prophetic word. Therefore, the apostles and those who were scattered abroad and went every where preaching the word as we read in Acts 8:4 would have given the prophecies as ‘truth tellers’ of the past events, fulfilled events and future events still to be fulfilled through the leading and headship of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, even today evangelists, pastors, teachers and even those who witness to unbelievers are in a sense being prophets as ‘truth tellers’ of the Holy Scriptures if being lead by the Holy Spirit. From Scripture it would therefore appear that the only appointed ‘office’ of persons mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 that does not exist today, which have ‘ceased’, are the apostles. As stated here before the initial apostles were called by GOD to authenticate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and they were appointed to death, as it is written,

9  For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. 
10  We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
11  Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
12  And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
13  Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
14  I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. ~ 1 Corinthians 4:9-14 

The remaining “. . . and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” (Eph. 4:11) are still present in the New Testament ekklesia,

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 fulness of Christ: ~ Ephesians 4:12,13 [my emphasis in bold and throughout]

We are reminded in Scripture by our Lord Jesus Christ and the Lord’s apostles Peter and John that there will be many “false Christs” and “false prophets” (see Matthew 7:15, 24:11,24; Mark 13:22; Luke 6:26; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1) who would “arise,” “be among people” and “gone out into the world.” As there would be “false prophets” it also stands to reason that there would be true prophets for the apostle Paul wrote ca. A.D. 60-62 to “the saints which are at Ephesus” (Eph. 1:1) saying, Christ “gave some prophets” (Eph. 4:11) and the apostle Paul also previously confirmed the same when he wrote ca. A.D. 55 “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours;” (1 Cor. 1:2), and said, for it is written,

27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29  Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 
30  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 
31  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:27-31

The apostle Paul confirms that “God hath set some in the church [ekklesia] . . . secondarily prophets, . . .” and Paul then goes on and asks questions of certain gifts, in which is included, “are all prophets?” The obvious answer to each of the questions would be “No”, for the apostle Paul had already recorded that GOD has only set some and not everyone to receive certain gifts, but he also stresses that the saints should covet earnestly the best gifts. Would the saints receive these gifts that they desire to have? If GOD determines that they should receive a specific gift, whether they desire it or not, it is the Holy Spirit who gives as He will, as we read concerning the diversities of gifts by the same Spirit (see 1 Cor. 12:1-10), and the Holy Spirit divides to each man, as it is written,

11  But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:11

So from GOD’s Word we see that a man – not mentioning only the apostles – but it says a man could have several gifts as the Holy Spirit of GOD divides to every man severally as He will. The ekklesia – who are the called out ones, congregation, assembly which is known as “church” – is mentioned as a body and each part as members have need of the other in order to have a living function together, working in harmony and unity, as we read,

17  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19  And if they were all one member, where were the body? 
20  But now are they many members, yet but one body. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:17-20

Every part of the body has need of the other, even the more feeble parts are necessary, and this is where we have problems and divisions within the ekklesia today for there is no true unity. In the Gospel of John our Lord Jesus Christ says, for we read,

24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. ~ John 4:24

If there are so many different doctrines and teachings within the ‘institutional and contemporary local denominational churches’ we must question who have given us these doctrines and teachings? The Holy Spirit does not contradict or cause division and if we are required to worship GOD in spirit and in truth, surely we must have the same Spirit and there can therefore not be many truths! Truth is not subjective, but objective! There can only be ONE TRUTH! Back in the mid first century the problems of today were already being addressed by the apostle Paul which problems were already playing out back then, as we read,

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

Is the present day ekklesia all speaking the same thing? No. Are there divisions among us? Yes. Are we perfectly joined together? No. With the same mind? No. And the same judgment? No. Are there contentions among us? Yes. The modern church of today is a spiritual cripple, it is disjointed and just as every one back then were saying “I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ”, so ‘professing Christians’ are saying today I am of John Calvin; and I of Jacobus Arminius; and I of George Whitfield, of Charles Spurgeon, of John Knox, of John Wesley, of Charles Wesley, of Leonard Ravenhill, of John MacArthur, of John Piper, of Ray Comfort, of Kirk Cameron, of Paul Washer, of Rick Warren, of T.D. Jakes, of Benny Hinn, of Ellen G. White, of Joel Osteen, of Creflo Dollar, of Joyce Meyer, of Paula White, of T.B. Joshua, of Pastor Chris of Nigeria, of Jesse Duplantes, of the charlatans on TBN and GodTV, and so on, and so on, . . . By your customs and traditions of men you make the Word of GOD of none effect (see Mark 7:13) and you divide Christ! This is idolatry making your favourite pastor or teacher or theologian your golden calf! We are not commanded to follow the aforementioned men and women. Our faith is upon the foundation of the Bible apostles’ doctrine as Paul says,

1  Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1

So what is the signs of a New Testament ekklesia prophet? It certainly is NOT what one would see coming out of the mainstream Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements. There is a form of prophecies that the PCWoF Movements are peddling where they are prophesying extra-biblical revelation adding to the Scriptures when the canon of Scripture is closed. We have a sure prophecy within Scripture where GOD warns about adding to and diminishing from His Word, as we read,

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. ~ Deuteronomy 4:2

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

5  Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6  Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. ~ Proverbs 30:5,6

18  For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. ~ Revelation 22:18,19

This is sadly done by men who self appoint themselves in the ‘offices’ of apostle and prophet to be seen and admired of men. These men are generally the health and wealth prosperity-gospel preachers who preach that ‘mighty men of God’ should be prosperous, healthy, wealthy and lacking nothing, and these are the ‘prophets’ who are the one’s who normally prophesy over their church members and teach a ‘name-it-and-claim-it’ heretical doctrine. The problem is that no one tests against the Word of GOD what is being prophesied! Scripture tells us to test all spirits, as we see in the first epistle general of John written in the late first century,

1  Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. ~ 1 John 4:1

GOD also gives an extremely severe warning against prophets that say they represent Him when they have not been commanded to speak for GOD, as we read,

14  Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
15  Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. ~ Jeremiah 14:14,15

After all, the apostle Paul to the Corinth ekklesia encourages the spiritual gift of prophecy, as we read,

1  Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:1

He says that “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3) and further in Chapter 14 the difference between speaking in tongues and prophesying is compared, where the distinction is made that by speaking in tongues it is a sign not to those who believe, but those who believe not, and vice versa concerning prophesying, as we read,

22  Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:22

So from GOD’s written Word it is evident that prophecy does find its place as a spiritual gift in the ekklesia for by prophesying which serves the believer as a gift to reach unbelievers who can come to repentance and worship GOD, as we read,

24  But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
25  And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:24,25

The prophesying here is not extra-biblical-further-revelation-jargon, but prophesying the great Truths of the Holy Scriptures that the indwelling Holy Spirit makes known to the prophet through the preaching and teaching of GOD’s Word! What i am saying can be summed up by Matthew Henry on verses 22, 24 and 25, quote:

Would it not make Christianity ridiculous to a heathen, to hear the ministers pray or preach in a language which neither he nor the assembly understood? But if those who minister, plainly interpret Scripture, or preach the great truths and rules of the gospel, a heathen or unlearned person might become a convert to Christianity. His conscience might be touched, the secrets of his heart might be revealed to him, and so he might be brought to confess his guilt, and to own that God was present in the assembly. Scripture truth, plainly and duly taught, has a wonderful power to awaken the conscience and touch the heart. ~ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on e-Sword

Now therefore, was ‘prophet’ John O’Neill in or out of line to publically bring a “message from GOD” and rebuke Dr John MacArthur? It is reported that MacArthur had commented to his congregation after the event that if O’Neill was a prophet he would not have acted like that. Then how should he have acted? The only way to have tested the veracity of O’Neill being a prophet with a message was to adhere to what Scripture tells us. If GOD had in fact sent O’Neill to lovingly rebuke MacArthur, then MacArthur, the GCC congregation and the security team would have done well to have listened to what O’Neill had to tell MacArthur as a ‘sent messenger.’ If O’Neill was not truly sent by GOD, but was acting out of a ‘revengeful’ spirit to openly rebuke MacArthur due to MacArthur’s public Strange Fire Conferences, or MacArthur’s doctrine of cessationism, or the like, then it would have been wise also to have tested what O’Neill had to say. We see that our Lord Jesus Christ openly rebuked the apostle Peter with even sterner words, saying, “Get thee behind me, Satan:” (see Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33) and the apostle Paul publically withstood the apostle Peter to the face (see Galatians 2:11), so was O’Neill in line to do likewise to MacArthur?

The answer is two-fold. Firstly, as we have performed an exegetical review of Scripture we can determine from the foregoing whether O’Neill was being a New Testament ekklesia prophet, for Scripture tells us, as we can read,

29  Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 
30  If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 
31  For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 
32  And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 
33  For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:29-33

There had to be a plurality of prophets, two or three, that would have confirmed that GOD was speaking through the Holy Spirit and that it was not a false prophet masquerading as a messenger of GOD. For previously, we read and quoted that by prophesying “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3). For the prophets would each take turns to “prophesy one by one” “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” for if they are truly speaking by the Holy Spirit the others would judge to see if what is being said is True and confirm the same. Hence, the false prophets would speak into the air and be found liars when a righteous judgment is made being lead of the Holy Spirit! This is why GOD and His Word should be feared and revered lest you speak in vain, be seen to blaspheme and found to be liars and lying against the Holy Spirit (see Acts 5 – Ananias and Sapphira)! See also the severe warning of prophets that prophesy lies as mentioned in Jeremiah 14:14,15 as an example above.

And Secondly, whilst O’Neill did not meet the criteria of having a plurality of prophets prophesying for the edifying of the ekklesia (Eph. 4:12), we cannot dispel and call him a ‘false prophet’ for he could have brought a loving rebuke to MacArthur as a single messenger prophet as we find in the Old Testament, for GOD can will as He purposes. O’Neill’s ‘correction’ could also have been brought in accordance with the New Testament, for we read,

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

5  Open rebuke is better than secret love. 
6  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. ~ Proverbs 27:5,6 

It should also be noted that in the very act of preaching sermons and engaging in street-preaching evangelism we are uttering prophecies still to be fulfilled as prophets of GOD! We are ‘truth tellers’ of Scripture.

The whole contention of cessationism and continuanism rests on a faulty premise and interpretation of a portion of Scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, which reads as follows,

8  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 
9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 
10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 
11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 
12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

This contentious portion of Scripture is making a distinction of charity (love) never failing and that it is everlasting, but when the perfect time comes of meeting the Lord Jesus Christ we will not have need of prophecies which fails in comparison to charity, neither will tongues profit anything as they will cease in comparison to everlasting charity, and even the knowledge that we have now will vanish away compared to the charity that never fails! All the spiritual gifts profit nothing if they are done without charity, as we read concerning prophecy,

2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:2

The knowing and prophesying in part now will be fully known when the perfect time comes and the knowing and prophesying will be done away with as we will not have any need of them any longer. Paul uses a further comparison with the analogy of a child maturing to a man. The  prophecies, tongues and knowledge is in comparison to an immature child, and the fullness of meeting the Lord is compared to the maturity of a man. The immature things are put away when the fullness has come. Now we only know in part, but meeting Christ “then shall I know even as also I am known.”

A further summary by Matthew Henry in respect of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 reads as follows, quote:

Charity is much to be preferred to the gifts on which the Corinthians prided themselves. From its longer continuance. It is a grace, lasting as eternity. The present state is a state of childhood, the future that of manhood. Such is the difference between earth and heaven. What narrow views, what confused notions of things, have children when compared with grown men! Thus shall we think of our most valued gifts of this world, when we come to heaven. All things are dark and confused now, compared with what they will be hereafter. They can only be seen as by the reflection in a mirror, or in the description of a riddle; but hereafter our knowledge will be free from all obscurity and error. It is the light of heaven only, that will remove all clouds and darkness that hide the face of God from us. To sum up the excellences of charity, it is preferred not only to gifts, but to other graces, to faith and hope. Faith fixes on the Divine revelation, and assents thereto, relying on the Divine Redeemer. Hope fastens on future happiness, and waits for that; but in heaven, faith will be swallowed up in actual sight, and hope in enjoyment. There is no room to believe and hope, when we see and enjoy. But there, love will be made perfect. There we shall perfectly love God. And there we shall perfectly love one another. Blessed state! how much surpassing the best below! God is love, 1John 4:8, 1John 4:16. Where God is to be seen as he is, and face to face, there charity is in its greatest height; there only will it be perfected. ~ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on e-Sword

Therefore, MacArthur is not entirely exonerated from being corrected even if it was by a stern rebuke from ‘prophet’ John O’Neill, for Scriptures confirm that there are New Testament ekklesia prophets today. We just do not see a whole host of them in the modern ‘institutional and contemporary local denominational churches’ of the 21st century, for the ministry of the Holy Spirit is being severely quenched by congregations which are merely passive spectators in ‘church buildings’ and in the Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements you have the other extreme where the majority of churches are doing everything contrary to what Scripture teaches.

2. Have the miraculous sign gifts ceased? or do they continue today?

We know that the cessationists, like Dr John MacArthur, agree that there are spiritual gifts as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12-14 which are in operation today, but they believe the sign gifts of prophet, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues, and the gift of healings and miracles ceased in accordance with 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. The reason cessationists would believe this to be the ‘facts’ is because they hold to a faulty premise and interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 as afore-stated.

I stress, i do not hold to the cessationist position neither do i hold to the continuanist position, or to how both camps peddle their doctrine and teachings, but as before mentioned i hold to the pure Biblicist position and the apostles’ doctrine contained in the Holy Bible (AV1611).

I certainly do agree that there is Strange Fire (see Lev. 10:1; Num. 3:4, 26:61) being offered before the LORD which GOD did not command, when it comes to certain unbiblical practices in the Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements that blasphemes GOD’s Holy Name by their very actions. And there is certainly also Strange Fire that is being offered in many evangelical protestant institutional-contemporary-denominational churches of today!

In Scripture we are told to do all things orderly. In 1 Corinthians 14:40 the apostle Paul says, as we read, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” In the very preceding verse, Paul tells us,

39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:39

This is simple and clear, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul who is called to authenticate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ through the will of God (see 1 Cor. 1:1) says, “… covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.” This statement is spoken to the brethren (saints) in the ekklesia (church).

The Scriptures teach that “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Cor. 12:7), and we can read further as the Scriptures explain how the gifts are given by the Spirit, as it is written,

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:8-14

It is therefore left to the Holy Spirit to give spiritual gifts to born-again believers for the edification of the ekklesia which is the one body which is Christ, and with the greater gifts one would need to exercise more humility so that the prideful spirit would not hinder the working of each member in the unity of the body, as we read,

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:25-27

If speaking with tongues and interpretations and the gifts of healing were not for the ekklesia of today then the apostle Paul would not have asked the following questions and encouraged the coveting of the best gifts, as we read,

30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:30,31

The answer to each of the above questions are “No.” Some receive as the Spirit will. In Chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul makes the distinction between speaking with unknown tongues and prophesying. Paul says that he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not unto men, but unto GOD, for no man understands him (see v.2). Paul then says that he that speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself, but he that prophesieth edifieth the church (ekklesia) (see v.4). Paul then says that he would that ye all (ye = plural and “all”, that is stressing that “everyone”) spoke with tongues, as we read the actual verses,

5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? ~ 1 Corinthians 14:5,6

Paul says that he has spoken in tongues more than “ye all” (see v.17) and although he says that he would rather speak five words with his own understanding than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue (see v.19), he goes on and says that speaking in tongues is as a sign to those that believe not (see v.22).

This is where the Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements get it all totally wrong and are in great error. They go totally contrary to verses 23, 27 and 28 with their “babel” or “babbling” in unintelligible gibberish tongues with no interpretations which are a cacophony of sounds, shrieks and noises that are supposed to be “unknown tongues”, but are far from it! It is a spirit of pride that drives them to speak in babbling tones out of fear of not being seen as having ‘true spirituality!’ As a result of their actions and their violations of the following Scriptures, it leaves them “mad?”,

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? . . .

27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:23,27,28

To this day there are missionaries who speak foreign languages in distant lands and interpretations are also performed. The reason we do not see more of proper language tongues being spoken in the ekklesia is that the Holy Spirit has been grieved in many respects through unbelief that it does not take place today and also by the false performances of the gifts! And what is performed by the continuanists is a very poor unbiblical display of gibberish, babbling, cooing and at times various animal noises. This results in what the cessationists term Charismatic Chaos, which is exactly what it is, being unbiblical and heretical!

Many of today’s ‘faith healers’ and ‘miracle workers’ are deceiving charlatans who are more interested in putting on televised performances akin to circus acts with their signs and lying wonders. What comes to mind is Todd “Biker Boots” Bentley who says he was instructed by the ‘holy spirit’ to kick certain people with cancer in their stomachs. His “BAM”-healing charades were certainly not biblical and it is definitely another spirit that told Bentley to do that, but certainly not the Holy Spirit of GOD! In one word, Bentley’s actions were: DEMONIC! Other unbiblical performances that make a mockery of the gifts of the Holy Spirit can be seen at these links, which are not an exhaustive collection of the wicked charlatan brigade:

In view of what GOD’s Holy Word truly teaches, we suggest Dr John MacArthur and the cessationist camp revisit their position and stance in this regard, and where necessary recant their teachings. We also suggest that the Pentecostal-Charismatic-Word of Faith-Movements who are teaching a false gospel and performing unbiblical spiritual acts of the gifts, they too should recant their teachings!

We need to get back to the first century ekklesia where the Holy Spirit leads all proceedings under the Headship of our Lord Jesus Christ and which looked decidedly way different to what masquerades as “church” today, as we read,

26  How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:26

We need to be brutally honest. There are Christians who meet week after week in ‘church buildings’ that are passive and non-participating due to the way that the meeting is conducted through the ‘pastor’ and ‘clergy’, where every member is not functioning as they ought to by the leading of the Holy Spirit and under the Headship of our Lord Jesus Christ. The ‘meetings’ are devoid of the ministry of the Holy Spirit! We Christians largely have depended on being sermonized by various doctrines and teachings for decades on end and still remain babes in Christ lacking maturity. Christians are not transformed by hearing sermons – expository or topical – week after week. We are transformed by regular spiritual encounters with our Lord Jesus Christ and those who do preach Him are called to preach Christ and not information about Him! The spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12-14 are available as the Holy Spirit will to every member functioning in open-sharing, Spirit-inspired teaching, prophesying ekklesia meetings by the leading and Headship of our Lord Jesus Christ! This is how the ekklesia should look like,

4  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 
5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 
6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 
7  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 
8  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 
9  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11  Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12  Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13  Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14  Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16  Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. ~ Romans 12:4-16

The power of the Holy Spirit appears to be ‘boxed’ in the ekklesia meetings through grievance and quenching of Him. However, it is good to know that GOD is still in the business of performing healings and miracles as many of us can testify to His sovereign grace . . .

Soli Deo Gloria

_______________

Here are some previous related blog posts:

> Have We Really Been Doing It By The Book? (Part 1 ~ April 27, 2011)

> The Calf Path¹ (Part 2 ~ April 28, 2011)

> Church ~ The Ekklesia of God (Part 3 ~ April 29, 2011)

> A Spiritual House (May 13, 2011)

> “Why” Some People Quit Going to Church (June 4, 2013)

> Christian, Are You Playing Church? (October 19, 2015)

> Doctrines, Dogmas and Denominations cause Divisions! (November 23, 2015)

  • This blog post was amended on December 11, 2015 to include a heading and by adding in a few more names of ‘men’ followed in the institutional contemporary local denominational churches.
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