Which Date in 2016 for Easter or Passover?

On April 9, 2015 we wrote an open article directed at “Dear _____(insert the name)_____ Church” in a blogpost titled “Passover or Easter Controversy”, wherein we discussed at length the etymology of the translation of the words “Easter” in the Authorised Version (KJV 1611) and “Passover” in the modern translations pertaining to Acts 12:4. We also directed the readers . . . , let God be true, but every man a liar; . . . ~ Romans 3:4 to two articles dealing with the true etymology of Easter which were posted in September 2014 under the title “Correct Rendering of Easter at Acts 12:4” which can be read at these links Part 1 and Part 2. We do suggest that you read these preceding articles to gain the context from which this particular article is written.

As discussed online, and via an email to a local body of believers at LHBC where I once fellowshipped, writer pointed out the following pertaining to the celebration of “Good Friday” in 2015 in relation to the Jewish Passover, bearing in mind that the oracles of GOD were committed unto the Jew (Israel)(see Romans 3:2), yet the “Gentiles” make up their own ways as they deem fit! The quote read as follows concerning the date Easter was celebrated in 2015:

This “Good Friday” (3rd April 2015) was before the true Jewish Passover (Nisan 14) for 2015 which only took place at sunset on Saturday 4th April to sunset Sunday 5th April 2015 [the first day of the week] and therefore the resurrection would be three days and three nights later on Thursday 9th April 2015 [the fourth day of the week]! Just “celebrating ‘Good Friday’” as the day of the crucifixion would be in and of itself Roman Catholic! And this year “we” have failed to keep the Jewish feast! This is why we have a real drastic problem keeping days and feasts as we are warned in Galatians 4:9,10 ~

9  But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
10  Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. ~ Galatians 4:9,10 

Do you desire again to be in bondage? The real problem actually comes into true contrast when we see how the modern denominational churches – including some “professing remnants” – will celebrate Easter/Resurrection Sunday in 2016! Now which date are you going to use for your church/celebration services? The Roman Catholic and protestant churches have “Good Friday” set down for Friday March 25, 2016 and “Easter/Resurrection Sunday” set down for Sunday March 27, 2016! However, about 2,000 years ago our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified at Passover Redeemed by Yeshua, the Passover Lamb and the Jewish Passover in 2016 takes place from Nisan 14 (see Leviticus 23:5-8) in the Jewish calendar which equates to the secular calendar of the evening of Saturday April 23, 2016 and ends seven days later in the evening of Saturday April 30, 2016! There is about a month difference from the “Gentile celebration” preceding the actual celebration day and date of the Jewish Passover. So which day/date holds the more credence? Biblical truth? or man’s traditions and customs? This shows the disjointed ways of modern churchianity. However, the reason for the month’s difference which will escape many is that the Jewish calendar is also in a leap year, i.e. today, 20th of March, 2016 is 10th of Adar II, 5776. The chart hereunder reflects the first day of the Passover celebration which is the First day of unleavened bread proper (see Matthew 26:17ff; Mark 14:12ff; Luke 22:7ff):

 

YEAR EASTER PASSOVER* DIFFERENCE
2013 Good Friday, March 29 – Sunday, March 31 Evening of March 26 (Nisan 15, 5773) – evening of April 1 Easter in the midst
2014 Good Friday, April 18
– Sunday, April 20
Evening of April 15 (Nisan 15, 5774)
– evening of April 21
Easter in the midst
2015 Good Friday, April 3
– Sunday, April 5
Evening of April 4 (Nisan 15, 5775)
– evening of April 10
Easter one day before
2016 Good Friday, March 25 – Sunday, March 27 Evening of April 23 (Nisan 15, 5776)
– evening of April 29
Easter one month before
2017 Good Friday, April 14
– Sunday, April 16
Evening of April 11 (Nisan 15, 5777)
– evening of April 17
Easter in the midst

* A date converter from the Gregorian calendar to the Hebrew calendar can be found at: www.hebcal.com/converter/

[The same unbiblical situation with secular feast days plays out every December 25th, too!]

Jesus suffered God's wrath in your place Brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord Jesus Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13) “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter [law], but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life (2 Corinthians 3:6). Therefore, we are called to be of the same speech, of no divisions, perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment, and as there were contentions back in the first century so there are contentions even today which ought not to be so, as it is written:

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

1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 
2  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 
3  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 
4  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 
5  One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 
6  One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 
7  But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. ~ Ephesians 4:1-7

11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. ~ Ephesians 4:11-16

Today’s churches appear so disjointed and divided from what we have just read from GOD’s Word, the Holy Scriptures that speak of our Lord of Glory Jesus Christ. How is it that there are so many different days kept for Christ, or teachings taught that are  diametrically opposed to the unity in Christ and His disciples are The Holy Bibledivided? Surely, the “His disciples are divided” statement would be an oxymoron? Right?

Then there are believers who proudly state that they are Calvinists or Arminianists or (fill in the blank) when we are to follow the Bible’s teachings of the apostles’ doctrine (see Acts 2:42). John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius and (fill in the blank) did not establish the foundation and authenticate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ for you as the apostles and prophets of old did, for the “written works” of Calvin, Arminius, et al, are extra-biblical,

19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 
20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 
21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:19-22

By way of another example: How can believers hold to “a pre-trib rapture”? “a mid-trib rapture”? and/or “a post-trib rapture”? and each holding to each of the respective teachings think their doctrine is correct! These are three different doctrines. Surely, if believers are abiding in Christ and have received the Holy Spirit of GOD, He, the Holy Spirit, does not divide by teaching diametrically opposed teachings?

33  For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:33 

Ekklesia of GOD, something is drastically amiss and in error! We can learn a valuable lesson from the apostle Paul. He said that if his eating meat would offend his brother he would abstain from it, as we read,

11  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 
12  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 
13  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. ~ 1 Corinthians 8:11-13

If we are serious of being obedient to GOD’s commands, then we ought to keep His commandments and also lay down our lives for our brethren. It must cost us to be a true disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ! Sadly, what is playing out in modern churchianity is that there are teachings and celebrations that are done in lust and pride for one’s own gratification and teachings to make a name for oneself which is sinful and contrary to glorifying GOD. We are told by our Lord Jesus, for it is written,

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

If we are not in agreement, how can we be of the same Spirit and Truth? That is why our Lord protects us from sinful behaviour of having contentions amongst ourselves of observing days, and months, and times, and years and draws all of His born again disciples into unity when He gave command to remember His death through His instituted supper until He will come back, as we read, for it is written,

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 [my emphasis]

Some will hear and sadly others will neglect the Biblical instruction and continue on as they please: But, be warned, all must give an accounting to Christ Jesus . . .Soli Deo Gloria

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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.

Doctrines, Dogmas and Denominations cause Divisions!

Doctrines, Dogmas and Denominations cause Divisions!

There is nothing in Scripture which says, “Endeavouring to keep up your ecclesiastical arrangements for centralization;” but the exhortation runs thus: “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

A plague upon denominationalism! There should be but one denomination: we should be denominated by the name of Christ, as the wife is named by her husband’s name. As long as the church of Christ has to say, “My right arm is Episcopalian, and my left arm is Wesleyan, and my right foot is Baptist, and my left foot is Presbyterian or Congregational,” she is not ready for the marriage. She will be ready when she has washed out these stains, when all her members have “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

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

Jesus is NOT

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

Soli Deo Gloria

Christian, Are You Playing Church?

In Imbali Township Here is a teaching that was in part preached by writer on the evening of Thursday October 15, 2015 at Imbali Township upon invitation by Brother Lungisa Joctrey. The transcript has been expanded upon and the audio is a later private recording Internet Archivedone today. Please press the icon to the right to listen while you can  read the transcript simultaneously. (Duration 49:49) > > >

— OOO —

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I come to you in humility and believe that this is a teaching from our Lord Jesus as we will deal with our responsibilities as Christians – more precisely as disciples of our risen Saviour our Lord Jesus Christ; those who follow after His Way!

We will look briefly at the three times the word Christian appears in the Holy Bible, before we will look at what is required of a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. A Christian is a Christ-follower.

Firstly, we read in the Book of Acts, that “. . . the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). During that time we read that Barnabas had departed to Tarsus to seek Saul (who is Paul),

26  And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. ~ Acts 11:26

The questions to be asked, are: a] Are you not neglecting the assembling of yourselves with the ekklesia, the assembly of believers? (see Hebrews 10:25) and b] Are you teaching much people? (see Matthew 28:20)

Secondly, we also read in Acts 26:28 of another account where the word “Christian” is used and that is when the apostle Paul is laying his case before Festus and king Agrippa, as we read:

28  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. ~ Acts 26:28

Christian, are you persuading non-believers to become Christians through your witness to them?

And Thirdly, we read in context the following portion of Scripture, in 1 Peter 4:14-16,

14  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
16  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. ~ 1 Peter 4:14-16

Christian, are you being reproached for the name of Christ and experiencing His sufferings for the glory of GOD? (see Matthew 5:10,11)

In modern church circles much learned men will tell us we must have an outline and possibly three or four points when presenting a sermon. This teaching has an outline and i will be drawing an example from the greatest sermon every preached, by the greatest preacher who ever walked this earth, when He preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 through 7). Our Lord Jesus raised 10 points alone in the Beatitudes from what we read as verses 3 to 12! So go do the math in your study time for there are 111 verses! The point is, we will hear many Scriptures, for we will allow GOD to speak from HIS Word!

To reiterate, here is the question again: Christian, Are You Playing Church?

As a Christian, what is required of you? To be a Christian, a disciple of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, you have to be born again. We read in John 3:3,

3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Are you born again by the Spirit of GOD? There are many who say, they said a prayer one time and now they are “born again”. But are you truly born again by the Spirit of GOD? You see there is an account of Nicodemus, a man of the Pharisees, a ruler of the Jews, who came to Jesus by night, and Jesus deals with the main issue straight away, “. . . Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” We then read further from the Scriptures in John 3:4-8,

4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5  Jesus answered,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 
6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 
7  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 
8  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. ~ John 3:4-8

A Christian is born twice – first by water, a natural birth in the flesh, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh;” and secondly by a spiritual rebirth “and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” In John 1:11 to 13 we read that this rebirth is all of GOD and that power is given by Him to those who received Him to become sons of GOD in believing upon the name of Jesus Christ, not by men’s devices, customs and traditions or by their schemes,

11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. ~ John 1:11-13

Scripture further tells us,

12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. ~ Acts 4:12

Dear friends, have you truly called upon the name of Jesus Christ and by faith believed upon Him? And if you have, have you counted the cost of following Jesus Christ, not just any “Jesus”, but the LORD JESUS CHRIST of the Holy Bible. The One Who is Yeshua haMeshiach, the Messiah, the anointed of GOD, the One Who is the Son of GOD.

You see dear friends, our LORD JESUS CHRIST even posed the question to His immediate twelve disciples as we read the historical account in Matthew 16:13-17,

13  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. ~ Matthew 16:13-17

You see the LORD JESUS CHRIST whom we speak of here is the One Who always existed from the beginning, as we read in John 1:1-3,

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. ~ John 1:1-3

And in verse 14 of John 1, we read,

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

The One Who spoke of Himself, and said,

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. ~ John 3:13

We are speaking and exalting and glorifying the One and Only True and Living GOD: a Good GOD, a Righteous GOD, a Holy GOD, a Perfect GOD, a Just GOD, a Merciful GOD and a Gracious GOD who is a Saving GOD, the Elohym manifest in human form, the man Christ Jesus who openly stated: “Before Abraham was I am” and because of this statement of fact the Jews wanted to stone Him (see John 8:58,59). He uses the very Name of YEHOVAH (the English spelling = JEHOVAH, see Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 12:2, 26:4), YHVH (Hebrew Yod Hey Vav Hey ~ the Tetragrammaton YHVH), and when GOD met with Moses and spoke to him out of a burning bush before GOD sent Moses to deliver Israel from out of the bondage of Egypt, He says “I AM”, as we read in Exodus 3:13-15,

13  And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
14  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
15  And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. ~ Exodus 3:13-15

Do you know this LORD JESUS CHRIST? where GOD’s Word says in 1 Timothy 3:16,

16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. ~ 1 Timothy 3:16

And in Philippians 2:6-11, for it is written,

6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 
7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 
8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 
9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 
10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 
11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:6-11

Dear friends, now that we have established the LORD JESUS CHRIST that GOD the Father speaks of, and Who we know, He also warns us to beware of what you hear and from what source, for our LORD JESUS CHRIST said that there would be many deceivers, false prophets, false apostles, false teachers and a false gospel. There would even be those that would come in His Name and say they are Christ! Do not be deceived Christian!

Do you know the true Gospel – the Good News of the LORD JESUS CHRIST? And are you following this True LORD JESUS CHRIST?

In Luke 9:18-22 we read a parallel portion of Scripture that we dealt with earlier in Matthew 16:13-17, where Jesus asks His disciples, “Whom say the people that I am?” Luke goes on and records that the apostle Peter said Jesus is, “The Christ of God” (Luke 9:20), and Jesus Christ continues,

22  Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. ~ Luke 9:22

Immediately after this verse Jesus Christ goes on to lay down what is required of being a follower of Him, as it is written in Luke 9:23-27,

23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
24  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
25  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
26  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.
27  But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
~ Luke 9:23-27

Have you counted the cost of your life as a Christian? If not, are you busy weighing up what it will cost you to follow Jesus Christ? You see, to follow Jesus Christ will cost you everything . . . yes, EVERYTHING! Have you counted the cost of your discipleship? Now here comes the hard sayings of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. In Luke 14:26-33 Jesus tells us the conditions to being His disciple and who are disqualified:

Luke 14:26  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Does your love for GOD the LORD JESUS CHRIST far exceed the love for your earthly family, and all your earthly affections? The ‘love’ you have for them will appear as hatred as Jesus confirms in Matthew 10:34-37,

34  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 
36  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
~ Matthew 10:34-36
 

Our love for GOD must be first and foremost (see Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7). Nothing else, even including family must take precedence to the love for our Creator GOD! Anything that takes our affections, our heart and our mind from the love and worship of GOD is idolatry! (see Exodus 20:4-6; Deuteronomy 5:8-10). Or,

Luke 14:27  And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

The cross is one of death. Do we consider the cost of it requiring us to mortify our sins and that it will even possibly cost you your life. Today preaching the cross might be foolishness to them that are perishing, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God unto salvation (see 1 Corinthians 1:18 and Romans 1:16). However, in the second epistle of Paul the apostle, to Timothy, he writes,

11  Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. ~ 2 Timothy 3:11,12

We might not be experiencing persecution here in South Africa to the extent of what the apostle Paul and the disciples went through, but our Brethren in the Middle East in countries like Israel, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, on the African continent, in Asia, South America, in Australasia, are being persecuted and even martyred, and yes, persecution and violence has even come to neighbourhoods in Europe and in North America. A case in point was the recent shootings at Umpqua Community College in the USA where a shooter asked who was Christian and those that answered in the affirmative were shot in their heads. Students who remained silent or answered not as Christians were shot in their legs. We are living in an evil and wicked time when Christians are being beheaded and taking bullets for being disciples of our LORD JESUS CHRIST! Have you counted this cost?

The remainder of Luke 14:28-33 deals with two examples of how it will cost you to follow Christ and it ends with Luke 14:33 which reads as follows,

33  So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. ~ Luke 14:33

Have you forsaken all to follow Jesus Christ? Have you given up on the things of this world which makes you an enemy of GOD? (see James 4:4). In other words are you holding to the things of this world that are spiritually meaningless. Our LORD JESUS CHRIST said, for it is written,

26  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? ~ Matthew 16:26

Or as we read in Proverbs 11:4,

4  Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death. ~ Proverbs 11:4

Are you being rich toward GOD as to where you are storing up your treasures? as we read,

19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 
20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 
21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ~ Matthew 6:19-21

Further, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, are you keeping His commandments and forsaking all else? For He said in John 14:21,

21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. ~ John 14:21

Are you keeping GOD’s commandments? Or are you continuing in your sin, grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit? Go to the Scriptures that deal with personal sin that can also affect the organic Body of Christ. We can examine them, and bear in mind these Scripture portions were written to the Churches of believers:

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 we see a whole host of sins. Do you find yourself in the following list, as we read,

9  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or are there still sin in your life as contained in Colossians 3:5 to 10, as we read,

5  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 
6  For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 
7  In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 
8  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 
9  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 
10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: ~ Colossians 3:5-10

To mortify is to utterly destroy. To put to death. Christian, be killing sin, or sin will be killing you! There are so many more Scripture portions where you can go and examine yourself, like the following two Scriptures,

2 Timothy 2:22  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

1 Thessalonians 5:22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Are you dead to sin? In the great doctrine Book of the Bible, Romans, in chapter 6 verses 6 to 13, we read,

6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 
7  For he that is dead is freed from sin. 
8  Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 
9  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 
10  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. ~ Romans 6:6-13

Then in Romans 6:18, we read,

18  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. ~ Romans 6:18

Dear friends, if you know GOD, you will not sin! Live in victory, for in 1 John 2:29, we read,

29  If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. ~ 1 John 2:29

The enemy Satan loves to twist Scripture. Know this, you can live a sin free righteous life. Hear these stern warnings in 1 John 3:8-11, as it is written,

8  He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 
9  Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 
10  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 
11  For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. ~ 1 John 3:8-11

You see, our reasonable service to GOD is found in Romans 12:1 and 2,

1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. ~ Romans 12:1,2 

You see if you have sin it also affects the other believers in the assembly. That is why Church discipline is so important. That is why the Lord’s Day meeting – any day that you esteem unto the Lord (see Romans 14:5,6) – should be for believers only. Allow our Lord to add to His Bride and let us not get ahead of ourselves for the filling of seats. Is the “tithe” the reason for growth in the meeting? then pastors and teachers you need to repent! Are man-made programs being implemented to increase growth in the assembly? then there must be repentance! GOD adds to His Church! We are not saved by works. Works righteousness is found in the Roman Catholic movement, by Muslims and Hindus, and the 37,000+ denominations and cults that men have made. Our faith certainly must be active with works, but we do not work to obtain our salvation. Works are ordained by GOD and will be a result of salvation!

In the general epistle of James, chapter 2 verses 17 and 18, we read,

17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. ~ James 2:17,18

We also read in Ephesians 2:8-10,

8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 
9  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 
10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:8-10

Are you about GOD’s business here on earth? Those who do the will of the Father are His children. We are even told to walk as Christ walked.

The early ekklesia – which is the assembly of believers which we know as “church” – turned the world upside down. Through persecution they went everywhere preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ (see Acts 8:4). Are you sharing Christ Jesus with this evil and wicked world? Or are you keeping Him to yourself? You see, if you have the true Jesus Christ, and He is Lord and Saviour of your life, you wouldn’t be able to remain silent whilst your neighbours, colleagues and family walk headlong towards Hell! Do you understand the gravity of this issue? If not, then you need to search for GOD! Or maybe, certain practices that are unbiblical have crept in to the assembly, like women pastors and those who usurp authority over men in meetings, as we read,

11  Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12  But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13  For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
15  Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. ~ 1 Timothy 2:11-15

The assembly of believers is not to be a P.C.S.C., i.e. Politically Correct Social Club! It is not about pandering to ‘women-libbers’ and their fleshly wants! It is all about what GOD ordains for His Bride, for a woman cannot be the “husband of one wife” (see 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6), not even in the evil and wicked practice of lesbianism! Look, women find their place in the Church teaching younger women, as we learn from Titus 2:3-5,

3  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 
4  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 
5  To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. ~ Titus 2:3-5

Or maybe it is the dumb-downed Bible translations that are a plethora (i.e. overabundance) of ‘butter-knives’ that are perverse and contradict one another. Corrupt men have corrupted GOD’s Word for the love of filthy lucre! We need to stand upon the infallible, inerrant, inspired and preserved Word of GOD which is the sword of the Spirit (see Ephesians 6:17)! The LORD commands us neither to add to nor take away from HIS Word – which is the Holy Bible. We see this in Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 4:20,21; and Revelation 22:19. We also read in Proverbs 30:5 and 6,

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

And in a Psalm of David, we read, as it is written,

6  The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7  Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. ~ Psalm 12:6,7

In Psalm 119 we read, for it is written,

Psa 119:140  Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Psa 119:160  Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

And in Psalm 138 A Psalm of David, we read, for it is written, that the LORD GOD’s Word is magnified above all His name,

Psa 138:2  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

It is for this reason that we should agree with GOD’s Holy Word in all points and echo what the Scriptures declare: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11).

This is where the modern ecumenical church has lost its way with humanism, abortions, homosexuality including gay-clergy infiltrating GOD’s assembly. These practices are an abomination to GOD and we must defend our Christian liberties! Do you contend for the faith and warn against the practice of these evils?

Further, do you evangelise the lost with a Biblical message? Or do you peddle a man-centred gospel that has absolutely no power what-so-ever? Or do you leave it up to the evangelist to do all the work in our LORD’s harvest field. Jesus Christ summed it up clearly,

2  Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. ~ Luke 10:2

Sadly, many inside the churchianity system do exactly that, and only that. They pray – for “others” to “go”! You see it is easier to speak to GOD about men, than to speak to men about GOD! At this hour, at this day, we need real men – soldiers of the cross – who will report for duty and “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3). Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a 19th century English preacher, said: “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” Dear friends, where do you stand on this quote?

Have you read and understood Ephesians 4:11 through 16,

11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. ~ Ephesians 4:11-16

Is there unity in your faith with the ministry of reconciliation, by the word of reconciliation where the members are ambassadors for Christ? (see 2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Or has the assembly where you attend rather become more concerned about getting ‘fat’ on the Word, than exercising your faith and putting feet to it by going and sharing the Living Word with this heathen and pagan generation? The “church” of today – not to be confused with the pristine and beautiful remnant Bride of Christ – the “church” of today is lukewarm and asleep and very much heretic and apostate! A “holy huddle” up on the hill, and not as our LORD JESUS CHRIST declares in Matthew 5:14-16,

14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:14-16 

If you have truly been saved through “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21), then brethren you will be urgent about the will and purpose of our Heavenly Father!

There is so much more that can be said, but in closing we will look at what the Church really is! The problem is, is that people in general have a wrong understanding of what “Church” is. Here is the deal – you cannot go to something that you are! The ekklesia – assembly, congregation of believers – are the Church! We are lively stones. In Scripture there is a beautiful revelation of the Bride of Christ. She is living, praising, praying, active, worshipping, glorifying and organic, where fellowship is had with the Father and Son by the moving of the Holy Spirit! No discussing the latest fashions and fads, ipads and technologies, or sporting and entertainment events! It is organic and alive. GOD does not live in buildings made with hands. Nor in idols of silver and gold, wood and stone. He lives in people! In 1 Peter 2 and Ephesians 2, we read, and i will explain the “spiritual house”, that is reliant on every member part as a living body, this is the Judeo-Christian meeting of the first century – and why should it be different today? – as we read,

42  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. ~ Acts 2:42

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

1  Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 
2  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 
3  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 
4  To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 
5  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. . . . 
9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. ~ 1 Peter 2:1-5 and 9,10

18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 
20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 
21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 
22  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:18-22

As with any building being built, a cornerstone needs to be laid perfectly and then the foundation will be also sure and perfectly laid. However, if the cornerstone is askew then the foundation will also be askew because of its alignment and as a result all the walls built from the askew cornerstone and the askew foundation will also be askew! The same principle applies with the spiritual house of GOD. As Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone who is a Perfect Foundation and the Rock upon which we need to stand, and as He is Upright, Sure and Perfect, we as the lively stones – living stones – are joined to our Chief Cornerstone “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit”, this is the spiritual house that is made not with hands, not a brick and mortar building, but this spiritual house is the true ekklesia – assembly, congregation, Church – of GOD! As the living stones (spiritual walls) we Christians will be upright, erect and perfect being aligned with the Chief Cornerstone and Foundation of our LORD JESUS CHRIST!

Therefore, as the Body of Jesus Christ, we need the Spirit of GOD to move mightily in each of us in unity! And if we want to see the power of GOD’s revival, it must start with us by humbling ourselves in repentance of sins! Before we can get the community in order our spiritual house must be in order!

17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. ~ 1 Peter 4:17-19

Christian, Are You Playing Church? And Church, Are You Missing What Church Really Is?

May we urgently examine where we have been derailed and get back on track to the Glory of GOD Alone!

Soli Deo Gloria! Amen!

Passover or Easter Controversy

Dear _____(insert the name)_____ Church

Greetings in our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, who almost 2000 years ago took up His life (see John 10:18) in the Resurrection and ascended to the right hand of God our Abba Father! Brothers and Sisters, please do consider this blogpost very carefully.

Firstly, over this period of time (March/April) the “age-old discussion between Passover or Easter?” always rears its head. This is why I make this earnest plea to you all to consider this posting very carefully and test all things with an open Bible. Secondly, the Roman Catholic church has sullied the word “Easter” with their misrepresentation of “Christendom.”

For those of you who do not know, The Authorised Version (KJV1611) has the word Easter in Acts 12:4 – surprised?? – which is not a pagan word, but refers to the Christian Church’s (ekklesia’s) post-crucifixion “celebration” which has fulfilled the Messiah’s Passover, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Easter might sound like “. . . the Anglo-Saxon  “Estre” – “Estara” – “Eastre” – “Ishtar” the pagan goddess of  Spring and fertility”, however this is far from the Truth. Let us first consult the Strong’s Complete Word Study Concordance with regards to the word “Easter” from Acts 12:4 (Authorised Version):

Gk #3957 πασχα pascha, pas’-khah; of Chaldee origin [compare Heb #6453]; the Passover (the meal, the day, the festival or the special sacrifices connected with it):- Easter, Passover.

The Hebrew word is:

6453 פּסח  pesach, peh’-sakh; from 6452; a pretermission, i.e. exemption; used only technically of the Jewish Passover (the festival or the victim):- Passover (offering).

A masculine noun meaning Passover, a Passover animal, a sacrifice. The word is used forty-nine times, usually referring to the Passover festival or celebration. It is first used to describe the Passover ritual while Israel was still in Egypt (Ex 12:11, 27, 45, 48; 34:25). The first Passover ideally was constituted as follows: on the human level, the Israelites killed the Passover sacrifice on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month, Abib or Nisan (March or April). They then took some of the blood of the slain Passover animal (Dt 16:2, 5) and smeared it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses (cf. Ex 12:7). The Passover ritual and the Passover animal were directed and belonged to the LORD (Ex 12:11, 48; Dt 16:1). Then they roasted the animal (lamb, kid, young ram, goat – a one-year-old without any defect) and ate it with their sandals on their feet and their staffs in their hands ready to move out in haste at any time. The angel of death passed through Egypt and passed over the Israelites’ houses with the blood of the lambs on the doorposts, but the angel struck the firstborn of all the Egyptian households (cf. Ex 12:12, 13, 29). Later Passovers were held in commemoration of the historical event of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

The animals eaten were also called the pesach, the Passover sacrifice (Ex 12:21; 2Ch 30:15; 35:1). The Passover was celebrated throughout Israel’s history before and after the exile (Nu 9:4; Jos 5:10; 2Ki 23:22; Ezr 6:19, 20).

The root word from which we get the Hebrew pesach, is from the Hebrew word:

6452 pâsach, paw-sakh’; a primitive root; to hop, i.e. (figurative) skip over (or spare); by implication to hesitate; also (literal) to limp, to dance:- halt, become lame, leap, pass over.

A verb meaning to leap, to pass over, to halt, to limp, to be lame. The first occurrence of this verb is in Exodus, where God states that He will preserve the Israelites by passing over their homes when He goes through Egypt to kill the firstborn (Ex 12:13, 23, 27). This sentiment is echoed by the prophet Isaiah (Is 31:5). In 2Sa 4:4, the word is used of Saul’s grandson who became lame. Before Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal, he confronted the Israelites for their syncretism. He asked how long they would bounce back and forth between the LORD and Baal (1Ki 18:21). Then during Elijah’s confrontation, the prophets of Baal began to dance on the altar that they had constructed (1Ki 18:26). This was probably some sort of cultic dance performed as part of the sacrifice ritual.

As can be seen nowhere does it make reference to ““Estre” – “Estara” – “Eastre” – “Ishtar” the pagan goddess of Spring and fertility.” The true etymology of Easter can be found at the following blogposts Part 1 and Part 2 dealing with the Correct Rendering of Easter at Acts 12:4. It should also be borne in mind that “one” needs to be very vigilant and discerning as to what “information” is gleaned from the internet – we are told in Scripture to try the spirits (see 1 John 4:1).

On Thursday 2nd April 2015, at my flat I was approached by a cleaning lady named Virgina who said to me that there were a lot of “Afrikaans Bibles in a black bag dumped in the garbage room.” Well, long story short, “one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure”, I am now in possession of a 1o6 year old Dutch Bijbel. The reason why I make reference to this Dutch Bijbel which “came into my possession just at the right time” is how it translates Acts 12:4 in connection with the other parts of Scripture:

Ø Easter = Paasch-feest – Acts 12:4 – “Welken hij ook, gegrepen hebbende, in de gevangenis zette, en gaf hem over aan vier wachten, elk van vier krijgsknechten, om hem te bewaren, willende na het Paasch-feest hem voorbrengen voor het volk.” [my emphasis and throughout]

Ø Passover = Pascha – 1 Corinthians 5:7 – “Zuivert dan den ouden zuurdeesem uit, opdat gij een nieuw deeg zijn moogt, gelijk gij ongezuurd zijt; want ook ons Pascha is voor ons geslacht, namelijk Christus.”

Ø Passover = Pascha in the other Scriptures.

A Google Translate in Dutch for the word “Easter” comes up as “noun Pasen, Paasfeest; adjective paas-”; and the English/Dutch translation for “Passover” comes up as “noun Pasen, paaslam, Joods Paasfeest.” Kindly also note that even Scripture gives a clear distinction of the “Jews’ Passover” in John 2:13 and 11:55.

To test Acts 12:4 further, I have consulted the Spanish Bible on my e-Sword and the parallel translation reads:

Ø Easter = páscoa – Acts 12:4 – “E, havendo-o prendido, lançou-o na prisão, entregando-o a quatro grupos de quatro soldados cada um para o guardarem, tencionando apresentá-lo ao povo depois da páscoa.”

Ø Passover = páscoa – 1 Corinthians 5:7 – “Expurgai o fermento velho, para que sejais massa nova, assim como sois sem fermento. Porque Cristo, nossa páscoa, já foi sacrificado.”

My Oxford Spanish Mini Dictionary records in English:

“Easter” as “/n Semana f Santa; (Relig) Pascua f de Resurrecciόn;” and

“Passover” as “/ n Pascua / de los hebreos.”

For Easter it is for the Resurrection and for Passover of the Hebrews. In the Spanish side of the dictionary: “Pascua f (fiesta de los hebreos) Passover; (de Resurrecciόn) Easter;”.

Comparing English / Dutch / Spanish they all appear in agreement. Now to test the etymology further, read the articles that appear online here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Kindly also note that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has fulfilled the Feasts of “Passover”, “Unleavened Bread”, “First Fruits” and “Pentecost”. To continually revisit these feasts can lead one to “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:6). We are told in Colossians 2:16 let no man therefore judge you . . . “in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:” for in Colossians 2:17 we read: “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Those “holyday / new moon / sabbath days” being the “shadow of things to come” have been fulfilled by the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ who dies no more (see Romans 6:9,10). Whilst we might be warned of the “Roman Catholic Easter”, kindly remember every year when one comes together for “Good Friday” sermons if they are not kept strictly according to the Jewish feast dates then “those days” have their origins from the “Roman Catholic church’s” formula received at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. As the feasts have been fulfilled by our Lord Jesus Christ how can we “celebrate” them continually year after year? How many times must Christ be crucified “Passover/Unleavened Bread” and be raised to life “First Fruits”? The argument could then be made that most protestant churches “celebrated” Easter as a Roman Catholic church! This “Good Friday” (3rd April 2015) was before the true Jewish Passover (Nisan 14) for 2015 which only took place at sunset on Saturday 4th April to sunset Sunday 5th April 2015 [the first day of the week] and therefore the resurrection would be three days and three nights later on Thursday 9th April 2015 [the fourth day of the week]! Just “celebrating ‘Good Friday’” as the day of the crucifixion would be in and of itself Roman Catholic! And this year “we” have failed to keep the Jewish feast! This is why we have a real drastic problem keeping days and feasts as we are warned in Galatians 4:9,10 ~

9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

However, we do have a wonderful way of rest from all of this. Let us first look at the Biblical Historical Account of our Lord Jesus Christ’s crucifixion on a Thursday in order to fulfil Matthew 12:39,40 (three days and three nights), and if we want to be more specific let us use the day-naming as God uses throughout Scripture. Our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on day five and resurrected on the first day of the week, as follows:

ELEVEN-DAY BIBLICAL CHRONOLOGICAL ACCOUNT (From The Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ by Gary Stephen Crous)

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Sunset (9th Nisan) – FRIDAY [sixth day of the week]

Sunrise

1Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. ~ John 12:1

This was when Mary, Martha’s and Lazarus’ sister, anointed Jesus Christ’s feet with a pound of ointment of spikenard (see John 12:3) the day before His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (see John 12:12).

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Sunset (10th Nisan) – SATURDAY (Sabbath Day) [seventh day of the week]

Sunrise

The Triumphal Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1,10; Mark 11:1; Luke 19:29,37,38; John 12:12). The Messiah is the paschal lamb of the Jewish Passover as God Almighty had commanded that a lamb without blemish was to be set aside on 10th Nisan (Exodus 12:3) and this lamb would be killed on “the fourteenth day of the same month: . . . in the evening” (Exodus 12:6).

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Sunset (11th Nisan) – SUNDAY [first day of the week]

Jesus went to Bethany with His disciples (Mark 11:11).

Sunrise

On the morrow when they came from Bethany, Jesus cursed the fig tree (Mark 11:12-14), He cleansed the Temple and taught (Mark 11:15-18).

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Sunset (12th Nisan) – MONDAY [second day of the week]

And when even was come He went out of the city (Mark 11:19).

Sunrise

And in the morning they passed the fig tree and He speaks of the Power of Faith (Mark 11:20-24) and He teaches on forgiveness and addresses the question of authority (Mark 11:25-33). Jesus then teaches extensively (Mark 12:1-44, 13:1-37; Luke 20:1-47, 21:1-38).

1After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. 2But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people. ~ Mark 14:1,2 (Cf. Matthew 26:1,2 and Luke 22:1,2)

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Sunset (13th Nisan) – TUESDAY [third day of the week]

Sunrise

Judas Iscariot plans to betray Jesus. This event took place sometime after Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and before the first day of Unleavened Bread as we read in the Apostle Luke’s account:

1Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover . . . 7Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. ~ Luke 22:1,7

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Sunset (14th Nisan) – WEDNESDAY [fourth day of the week] – Passover (Leviticus 23:5)

Sunrise

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Sunset (15th Nisan) – THURSDAY [fifth day of the week] – First Day of Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6)

The Passover is prepared and the Passover lamb is killed (Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-13).

“Now when the even was come,” in the evening the Passover meal is celebrated and eaten (Matthew 26:20-25; Mark 14:17-21; Luke 22:14-18)

The Lord’s Supper is instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19,20)

After the meal, they depart for the Mount of Olives and Peter’s denial is predicted (Matthew 26:30-35; Mark 14:26-31; Luke 22:31-34; John 13:36-38)

Jesus and His disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 17:1-26)

Jesus is betrayed and arrested (Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-11)

Jesus’ Trials –

  • Before the Sanhedrin by Annas and Caiaphas the high priest (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:54, 55, 63-71; John 18:12-14, 19-24)

Sunrise (First Day – part)

Jesus’ Trials continue “And straightway in the morning …” (Mark 15:1)

  • Pontius Pilate the Roman governor (Matthew 27:1, 2, 11-28; Mark 15:1-14; Luke 23:1-7; John 18:28-40, 19:1-16)
  • Herod Antipas (Luke 23:8-12)
  • Pontius Pilate the Roman governor (Luke 23:13-25)

Jesus is lead away to be crucified at Calvary (Golgotha)–

  • 3rd Hour (9am) – Jesus is crucified (Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24, 25; Luke 23:33; John 19:18)
  • 6th Hour (12pm) – 9th Hour (3pm): There were three hours of darkness over all the earth (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44)
  • 9th Hour (3pm) – Jesus died giving up His spirit (Matthew 27:46-50; Mark 15:34-37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30)

Fulfilment of Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 12:39,40 = Part of One Day, No Night

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Sunset (16th Nisan) – FRIDAY [sixth day of the week] – The Preparation Day (First Night – full)

Jesus is taken off the cross and buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathae and Nicodemus – when evening was come, the day before the Sabbath (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-55; John 19:38-42).

54And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. ~ Luke 23:54

As it was the day of preparation and the Sabbath drew on no body could remain up on the cross on the holy preparation day and the Sabbath day. Also, according to Deuteronomy 21:23, it commands that “a body shall not remain all night upon the tree”. When this is mentioned in John 19:31 the high Sabbath day is in reference to a Sabbath day during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Sunrise (Second Day – full)

Fulfilment of Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 12:39,40 = Two Days (1 part + 1 full), One Night (1 full)

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Sunset (17th Nisan) – SATURDAY [seventh day of the week] – Sabbath Day (Second Night – full)

In the grave (Luke 23:56).

Sunrise (Third Day – full)

Fulfilment of Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 12:39,40 = Three Days (1 part + 2 full), Two Nights (2 full)

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Sunset (18th Nisan) – SUNDAY – First Day of the Week – The Third Day (Three days dead Thur./Fri. – Fri./Sat. – Sat./Sun. and raised on the Third Day) (Third Night – part)

Jesus raised to life in the Resurrection “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week” (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10)

Fulfilment of Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 12:39,40 = THREE DAYS (1 part + 2 full), THREE NIGHTS (2 full + 1 part)

Sunrise

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As Judeo-Christians we have a problem celebrating the Passover as given to the Jews. In 2015 the “resurrection” would have been on the fifth day of the week (9th April 2015 – TODAY!) when the Holy Bible says Jesus Christ was resurrected “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week”, the day the apostle Luke refers to as Easter. Therefore (in light of all that has been said before), in order to get away from all the day/feast squabbling, our Lord Jesus Christ gave us a better Feast and we can partake of it everyday! This is why we are commanded to remember our Lord’s death through partaking of the Lord’s supper, as we read:

1Cor 11:23  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

1Cor 11:24  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

1Cor 11:25  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

1Cor 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

I hope you all will prayerfully test all things and remember to read the aforementioned articles here: Part 1 and Part 2. That is why we must Study the Word – God commands us to do so (see 2 Timothy 2:15)!

Soli Deo Gloria!

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